May 4, 2003, Florida
Being back in Florida seems like home to us. With the cell phone and cell internet working, We have been in touch with friends back home that we couldn't stay in touch with from the Bahamas. We sailed to Jensen beach first where we met George and Leo from Shenandoah. They were staying in nearby Fort Pierce and had a rental car, so they picked us up at Jensen beach and we went out for a great dinner there. The next day we sailed to the Fort Pierce Marina where we met them again and spent the day.
Meanwhile Otto, our antique autopilot had been acting up and in trying to fix him I actually broke him completely. He hadn't been 100% OK since his compass was replaced in Fort Lauderdale in December. On the 140 mile return from the Bahamas we had to constantly adjust him to stay on course. Turns out the company that Built Otto in the 70's is still around and still supports the product. George and Leo gave me a ride there and we dropped off Otto for repair.
Fort Pierce was great as was George and Leo's hospitality. We sailed to Vero Beach to go pick up Dani for a week. Vero has great moorings for cheap and is a great place to take a few days to explore Florida. We rented a car, closed down the boat, and drove to Orlando for 4 nights to visit Amy and the kids for Easter weekend, picked up Dani on Monday and went straight to Sea World for an afternoon of watching the amazing sea creatures and riding the intense roller coaster there. Thanks again to Amy, Jen and Susie for your company and hospitality. We had a great time.
Back to Vero and the boat, picked up Otto at Stewart, and met Leslie and George from Whiskey Dream. We hadn't seen them since before Georgetown and they had many great stories to tell about their Bahamas trip and especially the Abacos. We met them again in Cocoa and then in St Augustine where they were hauling out to have their boat trucked back home to Ontario. It was sad that their trip was coming to an end.
From Vero beach we sailed to Cocoa, and since the Indian river is nice and wide for a good stretch, we got some nice sailing in with the motor actually off. Our enjoyment was halted just before Cocoa when we went to start the engine and found it flooded again!! Turns out the check valve that had prevented this for many months had begun to leak a bit and sure enough, sailing on starboard tack had caused our fourth engine flooding of the trip. Waah! Fortunately we know the drill and the sailing conditions were smooth enough that we had it fixed within 20 minutes, in time to anchor in Cocoa. In the Bahamas I had taken out the muffler and inspected it to find out that the lift tube inside of it only extended up a few inches. My assumption was that it went all the way to the top and this would prevent the flooding, I spoke to the manufacturer, Soundown about this problem and they committed to fix it, but it requires taking the boat out of action for a week. I'm going to try to do it when we get home, and until then manually close the valve when we're sailing, remembering to open it again before we motor.
We stayed in Cocoa two nights so we could go hang out at the beach for a day and shop at RonJon's surf shop. After lunch at a beach bar the tourists got back on the bus to head home. The next day the forecast was for afternoon thunderstorms so we headed out early for a 50 mile trip up the Indian River , through the Haulover Canal and up to New Smyrna. We went into the funky New Smyrna Municipal Marina and met Amy and Susie who had been at the beach there, for a late afternoon drink. Sure enough as we were relaxing after a long sail, a big squall and thunderstorm came thru. Alex and I disconnected our radios and electronics to prevent lightning damage when BAM, a big lightening bolt came very close. It turns out it blew out a bunch of electronics on several adjacent boats! Our slip was nicely protected from the squall though.
Next day we sailed the short sail to Daytona. This stretch was where all three of us ran aground one day on the way south. So we carefully avoided the shoals and only bumped the bottom once. At Daytona we had a little marina excitement. First the marina directed us to a slip with only 5' of water where we promptly ran aground. Then they directed us to B35, but there were two B rows and of course we took the wrong one. These rows were very narrow and with the strong wind we were unable to turn around and had to back out which is a dicey operation. When we finally got to the right B row we passed our slip (it was impossible to see the slip numbers until it was too late) and had to back out again. Finally we settled in and looked forward to spending the late Saturday afternoon exploring the shopping area of Daytona. But most of the shops were closed. We went for appetizers at a pub and wound up staying for a nice dinner.
The next day we sailed the 35-ish miles to St Augustine. It was a glorious Sunday and every boat was out on the ICW. Normally I expect too much traffic and wake on the ICW on weekends, but this day was a delight. That stretch of the ICW is beautiful with islands, winding bends, and beaches everywhere. In St Augustine we met Leslie and George as planned for dinner. The next day we rented a car and drove Dani to the Orlando Airport for her trip home. We all (especially Michelle) enjoyed her great company for the week. We stayed in St Augustine and hung out with Leslie and George for a few days before heading out.
May 8, 2003, Georgia
Two days later we were in beautiful Cumberland Island Georgia. Cumberland is a state owned island preserve with camping, hiking, beautiful beaches, and beautiful grounds with ruins of mansions. We explored it a bit late on the day we arrived, and got ready to do a major expedition the next day. That night at 2:30am we heard the wind pick up a bit and within 5 minutes it had shifted and was 40 knots. Then 50. I had a good anchor down and the bottom was good holding, so I wasn't too worried as I listened to it howl. Then we started to drag. I put down the second anchor just in time to keep us off the beach! We spent the squall in only 7 feet of water and way too close to the beach for my liking. To make matters worse we tried to motor forward a bit to take the strain off the anchor, and caught the anchor line in the prop, making the engine useless. When the wind abated to 20 knots I used the dinghy to run out another anchor to get us further from the beach. We called Tow Boat US at 5am to come after light and dive on our prop to clear the anchor line, correctly figuring that I wouldn't be able to do it in the strong current there. Turned out they were in the harbor already getting other boats off the beach. Turns out that all 8 boats in the harbor dragged either onto or very close to the beach that night. A real freak squall, and with no forecast at all!! Just south of us in Fernandina there was the big Shrimp Festival going on and in addition to mayhem in the anchorage, all the exhibitors tents (and much original art!) was blown away or ruined. By 7am we were free and back to anchoring. We spoke to the rangers and the local ferry boat drivers and they'd never heard of such a thing happening there. See below for Michelle's epic version of the story!
The next night we spent in the neat small town of St Mary's in a marina in case nature decided to throw us another curve ball. Then back to Cumberland for a night and a beautiful hike to see the ruins, the beaches, the forests and neat wildlife including an Armadillo. The next fay we sailed to Jekyll Island which used to be winter vacation homes for the rich. It is perfectly restored with museums and tours, and some of the larger places are available for vacationers. The Cranes (of Crane's Castle Ipswich) had a beautiful summer house there. We tried half-heartedly to anchor but between the soft bottom, narrow channel and the current we gave up and stayed at the marina. The next day we headed for a quiet creek about 35 miles north. The next night was last night and we stopped at a tiny marina in a tiny town 2 miles off the ICW called Kilkenny Creek. Tonight we plan to stop in Isle of Hope, a town that has bus service to Savannah and then spend all Friday wandering around Savannah. Savannah is supposed to be beautiful and is the last stop before the South Carolina border.
Georgia was lovely as we expected from other cruiser's reports. It was all salt marshes with beautiful large barrier islands like Cumberland and Jekyll. The tide is 8-9 feet and the channels shoal up, so we have done all our traveling at half tide or higher. Fortunately high tide has been mid day this week. There are about 5 inlets in about 120 miles so we have seen more ocean here than the entire rest of the ICW. Many of the inlets you need to go near to the ocean to find deep enough water to traverse the ICW. But all the inlets have been well behaved despite strong currents and moderate winds. By timing our travel at high tide we not only avoided the bottom (so far) but have also gotten mostly favorable currents to push us along.
The bugs are pretty brutal here. First the no-see-ums every night and morning, with one really buggy night in St Mary's. Then the greenhead flies during the day. On the VHF we heard that the most important piece of boat equipment is a fly swatter. Fortunately the greenheads aren't as vicious as the North Shore ones: they rarely bite. Then yesterday swarms of these tiny flies showed up. They didn't bite, but along with them were swarms of crawling ant-like things. These we attacked with bug spray and then a wash down of the boat.
The Sojourn’s Sojourn
by Michelle Erickson
The mighty Sojourn, long and tall,
Was said to handle any squall
Until that fateful chilly morn
The winds let lose a mighty roar
And with the winds, in came the sea
The boat off the wrong shore, unfortunately
To the wake the boat looked suddenly small
And surely its restraints would fall
The crew awoke with an almighty leap,
Piling on jackets and awake from sleep
The night was dark, the sea was darker
Waves crashed over the buoy marker
With one quick bash, the anchor let
Before the captain could get another to set
The boat was thrown along the waves
The wind howls harder and rain hits like raves
The shore creeps closer, the waves pick up
Rodes wrapped around the propeller and the engines stuck
In panic another anchor drops
Feet from mashing the dock, we seem to stop
With a hard jolting yank, captain shouts, “We’re hooked!”
The first mates want an airplane home to be booked
As crew listens to the wind scream and rain pour
They decipher a plan, how to swim ashore
The little boat trashes and bashes with sudden thuds
We thank god the bottom is made of mud
As the winds died down, our hearts rose
We were waterlogged, from our shoes to our clothes
The sun began to slowly rise
The water flattened, the waves disguised
The cabin’s wet with salty water
From the sea’s righteous oceanic slaughter
Although our minds our somewhat wired
Physically we are tremendously tired
Not a bump or splash, or minuscule peep
As the crew now headed off to sleep
May 19, 2003 South Carolina, Y'all
We wanted to see Savannah Georgia which is about 8 miles up the Savannah river. Instead of dealing with the detour (and the river currents) we stopped at Isle of Hope which is right on the ICW and took the local bus to Savannah for a nice long day. What a beautiful city it is! Lots of history, classic architecture and the beautiful squares dotted evenly throughout the city. We had a lovely time there being touristas, eating, riding the tour bus, and taking many photos.
The next day we took off for South Carolina, stayed one night in a secluded creek all alone, and the next day headed past ritzy Hilton Head for Beaufort SC. Another lovely city. We anchored out one night and had a bit of a hard time in the current, catching the anchor line on the keel once. The next night we stayed in he marina there. Again, doing the tourist thing in this neat town. The next day we stayed in Togodoo creek one night on our way to Charleston where we were to meet my sister Annie and niece Sarah for a long weekend. But first a diversion: engine troubles.
Our 2 year old (700 hour) Yanmar has been great. However since the flood in Coca a few weeks back it's been running rough. I only check the oil about once a week since it's always been perfect. When I checked it I noticed it was a bit high. I attributed this to overfilling it at the last oil change. Then on the way to Savannah, the engine ran away! This is a very scary event that often ends in a destroyed engine as the engine runs off it's own engine oil and cannot be stopped until it races out of control and self destructs!! Fortunately we were able to stop it quickly, and we had the anchor down fast in the ICW while we investigated. Also the oil pressure was low and fluctuating. Weird! I found the engine oil level to be very high, and drained some out. When I restarted it it still ran a bit rough and the oil pressure was OK. I though the oil might be too thin (15W) so I switched to 30 W in Isle of Palms. It ran quieter and everything seemed ok. Three days later on the way to Charleston, I looked down at the oil pressure and it was low and fluctuating again. I checked the oil and found it to be very high again! I did another mid-ICW oil change and noticed that the oil was thin, even though it was 30W. Then it clicked. This was diesel fuel getting in the crankcase. That explained the high level, thin oil, the runaway, and the erratic oil pressure. I called up Yanmar tech service at Mac Boring and they suggested it was a leaky injector. I looked at the engine manual and saw very few ways that fuel can get into the crankcase. The common one is a busted fuel feed pump diaphragm. One more oil change got us to Charleston where we tied up to the Ashley marina, home of Bill, the Yanmar mechanic. After getting a slot in their busy schedule, Bill and I suspected either a leaky injector or low pressure fuel pump. Bill showed me a neat diagnostic trick for finding a bad injector: loosen the high pressure fuel lines to each injector just a bit, one at a time while the engine is running. When you see fuel leak out a bit, the engine should slow down indicating a good cylinder is no longer getting fuel. In a bad cylinder it makes no difference. Sure enough on the third (out of 3) injector, the engine didn't respond. Then I remembered that when I had that fuel line off (after the flooding at Cocoa) it didn't feel tight at the injection pump. I figured if it wasn't leaking then it must be ok. Wrong! Bill showed me how to tighten the connection (it has a separate lock bracket) and sure enough the engine started running on all 3! Turned out that the fittings are funny valves and need to be firmly mounted. Instead of leaking when it's not tight it prevents fuel from flowing. Bill still suspected the low pressure pump so I cleaned it off and manually pumped it for 10 minutes to see if fuel leaked. Not a drop. I suspected that the injection pump couldn't deliver fuel out that line, so it put it in the oil pan. I changed the oil and filter again and two days later the engine runs great and has no extra oil. So far so good.
Charleston with Annie and Sarah was great. We played tourist again, ate great seafood at Hymans, and did what one does in Charleston: walked around taking lots of pictures and hanging out at cafes. I also found Ludens, a great chandlery, and replaced our aging jib sheets, the broken (and spliced) anchor rode, and did a few other projects that had been on hold waiting for a decent marine store. We stayed at the Ashley Marina 5 nights and really enjoyed the town and the visit from Annie. We also met Graeme, Nicola and 1 yr old Amelie Nichol on "Skimmer" a J 30 set up for cruising. These guys are originally from South Africa but now live in New Jersey and are doing an ICW trip for the winter.
Tonight we are staying at the lovely Awendah Creek, about half way from Charleston to Georgetown. Then two more nights in SC and we're in NC.
June 24, 2003 Sandy Hook, New Jersey
The trip up the east coast went well. As usual, cruising is a tradeoff between seeing everything and making miles, but I think we have been getting it right. We sailed just about every day in North Carolina and then hit the Chesapeake and slowed down a bit. The wet weather that plagued the Northeast this May and June mostly skirted the south. Every three or four days we would stop for a day to wait for it to stop raining or storming.
From Georgetown SC we went to Barefoot Landing where we spent three nights. Barefoot landing is a big free dock at a big open mall near Myrtle Beach. There are outlets, many stores, tons of restaurants, and even a nature preserve. When we pulled in we met our first alligator, a really big one that cruised the docks for handouts. Good idea not to feed him. As usual when we dock somewhere for a few days we got to know some nice other cruisers. We went to dinner at the House of Blues. Unfortunately there was no live entertainment while we were there. A big motorcycle rally with thousands of motorcycles was happening, and busses were shut down for it. Strange. We went to a movie, shopped and hung out. It rained a bit while we were there but not too bad.
Then on to Southport NC. We called in at the Southport maria and it was full for the Memorial day weekend. But the nearby marina had room and turned out to be a great place to spend the night. Next day up the Cape Fear River and to Wrightsville Beach. We walked around the beach for the evening and enjoyed the funky beach town atmosphere there. Next day we headed to Mile Hammock Bay, the anchorage at Camp Lejune. There were helicopters cruising around for hours, I guess to celebrate troops return from Iraq, but fortunately it was quiet at night. Next day we headed for Beaufort, NC, but along the way we heard of tornado warnings along our path, so ducked into nearby Spooners Creek for a night at the Marina there. It was walking distance to a WalMart so we got some boat and food shopping done. Spooners Creek is a neat protected harbor with marina and anchorage, with a very convenient dinghy dock dock shopping.
Next Day the short trip to Beaufort NC. We had a nice stay, but because of the strong current in the anchorage, had to re-anchor with two hooks in the middle of the night. We need to fix this boats tendency to misbehave when anchoring in a current. The next day we headed for the short sail to Oriental, NC. On the way, there is a confusing spot just north of Beaufort where our chart was ambiguous. I called up Tow Boat US to find how to traverse one buoy, and got more confusing input. I thought we could do it OK, there were lots of boats heading our way, and we ended up in a dead end branch with only 5' of water at low tide. In attempting to get off by kedging and heeling the boat, we got ourselves really stuck, and at high tide. I called Tow Boat US for a tow, and they came promptly. They used a clever technique of digging a trench in the mud with their prop wash. It was slow, taking 5 or 10 minutes to move us 10 feet, but after about 45 minutes, it worked to get us into deep water. I was amazed. On we went to Oriental, where another thunderstorm was coming. We tied to the marina there for the night. Oriental is a neat place. Alex and I went out for drinks and appetizers and again met some neat people at the docks, and learned something about canvas work, and about sailing in the Pimlico Sound area.
Next day across Pimlico sound to Belhaven, a fairly long sail. We anchored in Belhaven one night and then headed into Downey Creek Marina to wait out a rough evening when it poured rain and howled 35 knots out of the SSW. The protection in the marina for the SSW winds wasn't great, and when it picked up, a line came off a cleat and we bumped into the next boat. Not good in 35 knots of wind. Just scratches, but I was off the boat when it happened. Alex and Michelle got help and did great but were shaken up by the experience. That night the boats were so bouncy we hung out in the Marina lounge and ordered pizza for about 5 boats. The next day it was still real windy so we stayed put another night. Again we met great people there. John and his family on Their Manta 42 Catamaran "Paragon" was there. We met them at Spooners, and then again at Elizabeth City. I really enjoyed talking to John.
Next day was a long (80 mi) sail through the Alligator-Pungo Canal to the Alligator river, and then across Albemarle Sound into Elizabeth City. The canal is very neat and the Alligator river has cypress everywhere. When we got to the free docks at Elizabeth City the boats were bouncing around in the 15 knot south-easterlies. We headed into the cheapie marina just to the east, and had a nice quiet night. We arrived just in time to go to the movie and dinner nearby. The theater serves meals and is a fun evening out. Next day we explored the town for a few hours before heading into the Dismal Swamp Canal. The winding stretch north of Elizabeth City is one of the prettiest on the ICW. Because of the fixed lock opening times, we got to go nice and slow through there. We stayed at the NC visitors center two nights because of more rain, and had a nice quiet stay. There we met Joe and Marie from San Francisco on the Nonsuch, Odyssey. We sailed with them a few days until Annapolis. We left the ICW at Norfolk and went instead to Hampton for the night. At Hampton the new Jacques Cousteau center was just opening that day. We wandered around Hampton a bit before heading north into the Chesapeake bay. We stopped to anchor, in Jackson Creek near Deltaville for two nights (to wait for yet another rainy day) and once in Reedville. Reedville is a neat little town with few cruisers. Most are scared away by the huge fish plant downstream. But if you hold your nose and continue upstream you are treated to a beautiful anchorage and a great little town with a long history. We got a brief history of the area from some locals and had a great dinner at the crab house there. Awesome crab cakes!
June 27, 2003 City Island, NY
We sailed with Odyssey to Solomons Island MD and stayed for two days. This was the first time in a while that we actually stopped for a day in nice weather. Went to the marine biology lab, walked around town. There we met Buddy and Jody on "Second Chance" who we also met in Oxford and Annapolis later. They, like many Chesapeake sailors we met were heading for Maine for the summer. From Solomons we sailed to Oxford for one night. A nasty squall accompanied an evening thunderstorm. We put two anchors down in the narrow Oxford anchorage, and held OK in the 50 knot gusts. Oxford is a very neat place with many sailboats in the marinas and boatyards. The town is very quaint. Then we sailed to Annapolis where we spent five nights at a town mooring. We met our friends the Allen's who live aboard on the nearby Magothy River. They let us borrow a car which we used to go to Washington and visit the Smithsonian Museums. Annapolis is such a great, cruiser friendly city, with shops and restaurants everywhere, cafe's, and every possible marine supply. I rode the bus to Bacon's Chandlery, perhaps the biggest supplier of used sails anywhere, with lots of consignment gear also. I bought a longer chain for our anchor and Mrs. Bacon gave me and the heavy chain a ride back to the waterfront in her famous Volvo Wagon. Annapolis was great. A bit of rain, but not much. The boat traffic through the mooring area is incredible with the local tour schooner passing thru the moorings regularly.
We went up to the Sassafras River in the northern Chesapeake for a night at the quiet and lovely anchorage there. Then the next day we rode the strong current up the C and D canal to Delaware City to wait for northerly winds and fair current to get down Delaware Bay. The people at Delaware City were as always very friendly. We met a couple of young blacksmiths that had recently opened a blacksmith shop in town where they do artistic metal work with traditional tools. Very nice. We went for the final Delaware crab meal with Peter and Mary Ann from the Island Packet, "Escape". The trip down Delaware bay was in good weather, and the current boost at the beginning of the trip had us going 9+ knots for several hours. We arrived in Cape May in the afternoon and anchored off the Coast Guard Station. We stayed for four nights waiting for southerlies and smooth seas to take us all the way up the new Jersey coast to Sandy Hook, more than 100 nM, and our first ocean passage since we arrived from the Bahamas. At Cape May we met Angie and Adrian and their three kids aboard Canto, a Mason 43 we had met earlier in Dowry Creek. They too were heading to Maine via NYC and followed us by one day up the Jersey coast. In Cape May we visited the beautiful town, had dinner, and went for many walks. The people at the Corinthian Yacht Club there were super friendly, even giving us rides to town. In Cape May is the only Coast Guard training base so each morning we heard cadets marching, bugles sounding, etc.
The trip up the Jersey coast was a lovely overnighter. We left at 11 am and arrived in Sandy Hook just after sunrise the next morning. The lights ashore (we were only about 4-5 miles off) contrasted with the pitch dark offshore during this moonless night. The stars were out and the seas were calm. What a contrast to our last trip in the same waters with 25 knots of northeasterlies. The only problem was that we had to hand steer the whole way: Otto had crapped out for the final time in Delaware Bay, and we decided this was the time to splurge and replace him once and for all. In Cape May we ordered a brand new Simrad autopilot and all the mounting stuff from Defenders, and had it delivered to the marina in Sandy Hook. Picked it up and installed it when we got there and it works swell.
Sandy Hook was lovely, and we did the traditional pizza and a movie there. I got my hair cut in anticipation of my return to the corporate world. We spent two nights and headed up past NYC, the Verrazano Bridge, past the Statue of Liberty and up the East River (10.5 knots! thru Hell Gate, and to City Island. What an amazing sail that is. The shipping thru the Narrows and into the NY harbor is intense! And in the middle of all this tanker and ferry traffic, the Coast Guard decided to board us for a safety Inspection which went fine. After so many days in quiet places, the noise, smells, chop, 5 knot currents, and sights were just overwhelming.
We anchored off City Island and had a great little explore of this Bronx neighborhood. We were told by the lady in the hardware store that "Yoo don' look like your from Da Bronx". Again we were reminded just how friendly New Yorkers are.
June 28, 2003 Rowayton, CT
Finally back in New England, we did a short sail from City Island to Rowayton Connecticut to visit a friend, Ginny who we met in the Abacos. She is a friend of Scott and Kitty and is just moving aboard in preparation to head for a winter in the Abacos. We swapped sailing stories for a while, and then went to see the open air theater in town which shows "Shakespeare on the Sound". Fantastic production of The Merchant of Venice. As predicted it poured for 30 minutes just as the play was to begin, but the hundreds of die-hard theatergoers all stayed to see the play.
July 4, 2003 Block Island, RI
From Rowayton we sailed to Port Jefferson on Long Island. The crowds on Long Island Sound are a bit hard to take. Port Jeff had a perfect! anchoring spot just off the town, which we were asked to vacate by the launch operator. We moved to deep water nearly a mile away. We left in the morning and sailed to Duck Island, just off Clinton CT. It was busy with boat traffic on Sunday afternoon but got really quiet by nightfall. We woke up to a fog so dense we could not see the breakwater only a few hundred yards away. We brushed off our Maine sailing skills and sailed buoy-to-bouy to Stonington CT. We had called a number of places looking for a reasonably priced mooring to stay on for three days while Abby and Cal visited and while I rented a car to go on a job interview in Marlborough. Stonington is a lovely harbor, and it turns out that Second Sojourn was moored in Stonington for 15+ years under the ownership of Bob Sundman when it was called "Fancy Free". I called Bob before we arrived and he was very excited to see his old boat. Bob has been rebuilding a Cheoy Lee Rhodes Offshore 40, and showed us his handiwork as well. He has done an amazing job on an abandoned boat. Bob and his wife Jan invited us to dinner and we had a lovely evening with them. Early the next day, I headed for home and a job interview. I had errands to do, like get shoes and sox, pick up clothes at home, and get my car running. I stayed with Della and had a nice visit. On the next day I headed out for the interview. It went well and I am hopeful.
Meanwhile Alex, Michelle, Cal and Abby were tourists in Connecticut. They went to Mystic and Essex, and rode the antique train and river boat from Essex up the Connecticut river. We met for dinner at the famous "Mystic Pizza" and Cal headed home. Abby stayed for a few days more. On Thursday 7/3 the remnants of tropical Storm Bill went off the coast of Long Island giving us a wet and bumpy ride to Block Island. We left later in the afternoon to let the worst weather pass and to catch the outgoing tide thru Fishers Island Sound. We arrived in Block Island to an amazing crowd of boats here for the 4th of July. The anchorage is packed and we picked up a mooring labeled 'occupied'. So far we've had it one night. We'll see what happens the next two nights. From here we sail to Buzzards Bay, Provincetown, and home!!
July 4, 2003 Block Island, RI
So I do a morning scan of the harbor with the binoculars, and what do I see in this mobbed harbor? Why it's a shiny red Apache 37 anchored about 5 boats away. I row over and sure enough it's Peter and Michelle on Sundance. We ask if it's OK to raft with them and it turns out this is their mooring, so it's OK. We hung out with them a bit and then Bob and Jan arrived on their club mooring, just a couple away. We went to the parade, watched sets of three rafted boats dragging across the harbor, watched the fireworks which were postponed one night due to high winds, and had a jolly time. we left Block Island after three nights and sailed to Padanaram in Buzzards bay to drop off Abby. The Sundmans went to Cuttyhunk for the night.
After a night there at a Yacht Club mooring, we sailed up the bay to Onset where we met the Sundmans again. Then we sailed up the canal on the tide, and across to P-Town. Dead calm day so we motored there. The Sundmans had never been there so we all enjoyed the eternal street show that is Provincetown. We said our good-byes early the next morning for the 50 mile sail home. It was calm so we motor-sailed as usual. As we passed P-Town point, on the last sail of the trip, the fish gods finally felt bad for me and rewarded a year of no-fish with two lovely bluefish! Around Boston Michelle went up to the bow so she'd be the first to view the Salem Power Plant towers. By early afternoon we were back at our mooring in Salem Harbor, meeting Wiz, Jane and Cali for dinner at the Rockmore (floating restaurant in the middle of Salem Harbor). Home at last!!!
Sept 20, 2003 Topsfield MA
Home at last. The first 2 days we were busy moving back in. Our amazing and wonderful tenants left the house in great shape. We scrounged a couple of mattresses and began collecting our stuff from Ed's, Della's, Bethany's and our own basement. By Sunday we had basic services operational, a running and registered car, and all the boxes and furniture back in the house. That week we kept unpacking and unpacking. Amazing how our cabinets, shelves and closets are so empty after all the stuff we unloaded before the trip.
Back to the land of lawn-mowing, jobs, traffic, bills and such.
I began the search for work before arriving back and had a few leads. But during July and August, the job market for EEs was dead as a doornail. I had a bit of consulting to do for Peter and for one other company. But after a few weeks of limited work, It became apparent that money was needed. My neighbor Bethany asked me to do a few small carpentry jobs, and before long had lined up more work at her brother's and than at her sister's. The network is growing and I have been pretty busy doing carpentry during the days and a bit of consulting in the mornings, evenings, and weekends. After Labor Day I began getting calls and emails for real jobs and for temp jobs.
Alex started up her practice a couple of weeks after we arrived home and a month later it's going full swing.
We all wondered who would be the first to crack and want to be back on the boat. The best guess was me, then Alex, and Michelle, never. Well, Michelle was the first to crack, then Alex, then me. Turns out life on a boat is way simpler. But we're all doing ok with this ever so complicated life.