Where we at

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Atlantic City to Seaside, anchor

Unlike yesterday, this was a relaxing day. Which we welcomed. Two days of drama and intensity -- what with engines failing one day then twisty, skinny channel tracking the next -- we needed a break.

We definitely had shallow waters, some around 2 feet beneath our keel, but the track was straight and wide. That makes a difference in your mindset. With a twisting channel you wonder if you'd have more depth just 4 feet to the right, but an open wide channel is, "Yep, this is what it is. Just go slow."

High Tide behind us. This gives you an idea
of our dreary day.
We've never been up the Barnegut Bay before. Sadly, it was very overcast, with mist on the horizon. I'm sure this would have been a pretty ride, but we saw nothing but the choppy water. Once we got anchored the skies got bluer.

This is the typical Navionics view. The track, 
which is usually magenta, is black and red.
As far as I can tell that's Navionics way of saying
"You are going to die if you do this!"
Now we're looking ahead. The plan had been to get to Manasquan tomorrow, then run to NYC Friday morning. But things might be moving quicker, meaning the nice weather window will be here sooner. Our plan now is the leave here around 8 am, and do a quick check when we get to Manasquan. If the winds have indeed quelled sooner, we'll run to NYC in the afternoon.

I'm hoping that will work out. It would be nice to get this bit of planning, fretting, and drama behind us.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Cape May to Atlantic City, anchor

OMG I'm exhausted. This was one of the most stressing days I've had on the water.

Early on Russ realized some bridges may not open due to the high winds. He called Sea Tow, asking for some local knowledge. They told us it was skinny but, if you stay in the channel, we'd be fine. So, we ventured out.

The winds were 25 to 40 knots most of the day (bad thing). But since it came from the east it blew in about 3 feet of water, which created more depth on this very skinny piece of waterway (good thing!).

A good portion of the day was marshy,
much like Georgia or the Carolinas.
The wind did not create huge waves given it's intensity (good thing) but made standing station and correcting "navigational issues" fairly difficult (bad thing!).

Hm. "Navigational issues." Care to explain, Jax?

Typically we use Navionics to make us a route. We may or may not follow it depending on what we know about the waterway (like Bob's route says to hug that red, for example). It was a constant struggle to get Navionics to plot us a route at all. It seriously hated the JICW. We'd plot a waypoint 1 mile out, it would chart a way. We'd add another 1 mile from that, it would chart a way. Add one more... nope! OUTSIDE YOU GO! We plotted a path in small increments, swapping between our tablet and 2 phones to have just some idea of where we needed to go.

Most of the day I followed the sail line on AquaMaps while eyeing the sonar depth on Navionics (which, by the way, Navionics doesn't use, otherwise it would be happy plot me a path). Every now and again we'd have to slow or stop while we double check our position, the sail line, and where the channel was supposed to be. All while being blown out of whatever channel we had. 

Once we backed up, changing our minds. 

Wait! The channel goes to the right!!

Once we "had a discussion" about weather to follow the sail line or the channel markers. 

I really hate it with the sailing line and the channel
do not agree on where to go.

Once we hailed High Tide behind us, "We think we missed the turn and the inlet looks rough." "Would the inlet be faster?" "Yep." "We're good for that!" So we did that.

Going through the inlet reaffirmed why we were doing 
THIS and not THAT!

The shallowest we had was under 2 feet. That only lasted 10 yards. More importantly, it was also very thin, with channels (and bridge openings) not much wider than our boat.

Near AC there were lots of channels between
neighborhoods, and bridges that needed to be
For future boaters, the Navionics sonar was very accurate. That was encouraging.

Needless to say the level of concentration we used today made it exhausting.

Oh, I almost forgot. The starboard engine worked just fine!

Finally! Atlantic City!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Delaware City to Cape May, anchor

This will be a good news/bad news/good news type of post.

First, the good news

After a Captain's briefing by Tim (side note: Tim was the dockmaster of Delaware City Marina, and he always goes above and beyond the call of duty. In short, he rocks. Now back to the post...) all 6 of us who attended knew we had a window before a Nor-Easter would pounce. The sooner we left Dodge, the better. Tim's words were, "You want to get to Cape May by noon if possible. Now's not the time to spare the diesel!" Words of wisdom.

Leaving the channel before sun up.
A skinny entrance, but good depth at the marina.
We were up around 4:30 which gave us time to have coffee before getting underway. Engines on at 5 am, and we were pulling off the dock by 5:15.

As predicted, the ride was awesome. To add to the ease of it, we got to ride a decent out-flowing tide towards the Atlantic, getting us to 10 knots. While the weather apps all said the winds would kick up around 2 pm, just as we boated into the Cape May channel right around 11:45, I noted the first gusts over 20 mph. So, yay!

Not many passed us today, but man, the wakes!
Now, the bad news:

The ride to Cape May is about 6 hours, a little less for us since we had the tide with us. The first 4 hours were outstanding. Great visibility, great sky, great water, nearly no winds. With the exception of the occasionally freighter passing by, we had 0 wakes.

Suddenly both of us noticed a noise, as if another boat was running right beside us. We looked out to see what could be that close. Then I noticed the starboard engine was getting hotter... and hotter... and hotter. Once it reached 200 degrees we backed it off to idle to let it cool. Russ went into the engine room to check for obvious issues, like a broken fan belt. Not the problem.

Over the last couple months Russ noticed a small amount of coolant leaking from the starboard engine. He topped it off. It did take a fair bit, so... maybe that? Nope, the engine still makes a weird droning noise and still over heats.

Port engine hummin' along, starboard,
not so much. And it's still 195 degrees.

Maybe we snagged something on the prop? Nope... if we revved the engine in idle (so the prop wasn't spinning) the engine makes the same noise. We limped into Cape May and got anchored on 1 engine.

Quick intermission before returning to our story:

After some quick naps I made a spaghetti lunch. While eating I notice another boat had joined our anchorage, and (always a shock) it's an Endeavour named High Tide -- 40 foot model with a fly deck, like Cat-n-Dogs. They are Kevin and Mary King, doing the loop. We watched as they anchored then hailed them, as Endeavour folk do. We aren't many! Some quick chit chat, "where are ya headed?", yes, he's headed up the JICW too. Yay, a buddy boat! 

So, if we can just get this engine fixed...

Back to good news:

While working on the engine's raw water pump (which also cools the engine) Russ found it. Or rather he didn't find it. A small "key" was missing; it's a round piece about the size of a dime that holds a large gear in place. Russ had been talking to a number of folks both while underway and at anchor about our issue. Now that he had an idea of what he needed he called them back, asking advice.

Looks like misc parts but those are 2 of the
3 keys we needed. The third is already in place.
Turns out Kevin of High Tide was a diesel mechanic. He doesn't have the part but he's confident he can make one from washers he had. Yep, he's got machine shop stuff on his vessel! All Russ has to do is get the pump over to him and see what he can do. 

What a small wonder! Of all the people to anchor just feet from us, it's the guy that can make a motor part... AND he's a looper.... AND he owns an Endeavour! Such is boat life.

A little bit of a trick in the wind but Russ dinghy-ed over and came back about 45 minutes later, tiny pieces in hand. Kevin didn't make one for us, he made 3, just in case.

One slipped in nicely and locked the gear in place. We're too tired to get to it tonight. So, stayed tuned for our next chapter, "Does it work?" Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Baltimore to Delaware City, marina

After nearly three weeks in Baltimore we headed out this morning. Do we think the weather is looking good for the next few days? NO WE DO NOT. But after watching the weather closely for a couple of weeks we've notice forecasts change almost with each update, and for some of our weather apps that's every 3 hours. We've concluded we need to be ready to pounce at a moment's notice.

Tomorrow morning is such a weather window. A Nor-easter is coming. But there's a decent window to get down the Delaware beforehand. 

Sleepy sunrise in Baltimore
The trip here started a little lumpy, with 2 footers on the nose. The further we traveled up the Chesapeake the less of an issue they became. Once near the CND (Chesapeake And Delaware Canal) the boat density increase 100 fold. Most of our bouncing at that point was due to a ton of wakes.

Not the worst water we've seen.
We'd been to Delaware City Marina before when we looped, so it's been a few years. Off a quiet and small canal the marina is one long dock. It's one way in and one way out. As a result, before you settle in they like you to turn around so you're pointed forward on your way out. If you're a small enough vessel they do that for you. As for us, we do it on our own. Just a tad exciting.

Take me down to Delaware City
Where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
Early morning tomorrow. Fingers crossed that storm doesn't come in early.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Waiting for weather in Baltimore

Morning in the marina
Now that we're ready to go the weather isn't cooperating. What's worse is that we use a variety of weather apps and information to make plans. Of late, these aren't agreeing much, which fills us will less confidence to travel.

So. We wait.

A while ago Russ sent me this. Same time, same day, 2 very different predictions.

But Baltimore! It's so odd I like this town so much. No one talks about how great Baltimore is. Sure, you hear about Chicago and New York and San Francisco, but we really enjoy this town. Good food, good for walks, good for scooters (which we use to get around quickly). If we gotta be somewhere for a while, you could do worse!

High Wind is here. They've been here all winter!
Hannah and David are buckin' to get underway.

Remember that AC unit we took out? Funny story -- Russ put
the new Skylink in it's place. The company changed its
program for boaters, and with it the hardware. We're hoping
there won't be another one of these for a while.

On Sunday we took a tender ride around the fort to go to
lunch at Nick's. They have some of the best fish and chips.

Sunset through the neighbor's bimini.

April's month in review.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Sandy Point -> Harness Creek -> Baltimore, marina

We left Sandy Point very early, knowing we'd have an 8 hour day ahead of us. While we just did an 8 hour day yesterday, the days seem much longer when you're ending around 5 or 6 in the evening. This way, we'll be ending around 3. That's just how my brain works -- seems shorter.

Like the previous day it started out slightly bumpy but smoothed nicely as the day went on. The journey was almost boring -- no winding, no twisting, no depth issues, and not a lot of boats on the water.

Quiet sunset at Sandy Point
Originally we planned on dropping anchor just inside the South River, below Annapolis. What winds were expected would come from the south, and we could tuck in just behind a small peninsula. As we were checking out the location, boats zipped up and down the South River, to and from the bay. Looked like it might be bouncy. We headed across the river up Harness Creek. We've anchored there before. Turned out to be the right call -- we had a calm and cool night.

As a result it was only a 4 hour ride to Baltimore. We got in around 11 am. No issues.

Harness Creek, nestled in between some trees.
Baltimore is one of our favorite places. We tend to use it as a launching point for heading north. Last year we spent 3 weeks here before the voyage to Maine. This year it will be about a week, depending on the weather. Then we'll head out.

Hope the rest of the trip is just like these last 3 days!

The only thing to do on the Chesapeake is watch out
for these guys. Large ships traverse the bay.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Norfolk to Sandy Point, anchor

We're back at it! After almost 3 weeks off we got underway today. Russ was still waiting for a package to show up, which he'd been tracking for day with the USPS. Before he headed out he made once last attempt to get it from the post office. They didn't have it.

Of course, at some point during the day he got a delivery message. Go figure.

As a result, though, we didn't get our typical early start. The winds were up over the night, causing small craft advisories until 7 am, so the timing worked perfectly, regardless.

We didn't leave early but I got a great
dawn shot of Norfolk.
When we got onto the Chesapeake Bay we had a 1 - 2 foot chop. As the day went on that smoothed to nearly nothing. The ride was longer, but very pleasant to do.

We did the anchorage on our way up last year. Winds are supposed to climb tonight, coming from the south. This little protected bay should ensure a quiet night.

Seriously, you cannot ask for better water
on the Chesapeake.
Tomorrow we plan an earlier day to cross the Potomac. Hopefully, we'll get close to Annapolis by the late afternoon. We're jammin' up the bay, but when we come back we'll spend some time playing on it. It's a lovely boating destination.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

A trip to FLA

Lighting the Birthday Cake.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
We got a slip here in Norfolk for a month largely to get ready for our trip back south to Florida. We spent a couple of days with my folks. My dad's birthday happened early in May.

From there we had plans to meet friends in Disney World. We hadn't been in years, so we planned a huge stay -- 4 days. We went to the Animal Kingdom park, the Magic Kingdom (2 days there), Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios (1/2 day each of those). We walked anywhere from 20k to 30k in steps a day.

The view from our room.
We watched the fireworks from here.
Disney has greatly improved the average visit. Cell phones can be used to unlock your hotel door, as well as get you into that parks and order food in advance. Food there has also greatly improved. Most eateries (both sit down and quick eats) offer some vegan dish, including Impossible everything (burgers, empanadas, meatloaf, just to name a couple). We found a selection of beer and interesting cocktail drinks in every park.

The Wilderness Lodge.
Reminds us of the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite.
Gone are the days of the Fast Pass. Now it's Genie Plus or Lightning. You can buy a Genie Plus for $20 or so, then have it schedule you a ride. Once you've checked into that ride, you can schedule another. When the lines get crazy long it was a time savor. But some lines are worth standing in (they've done a LOT to entertain you at every moment). We only used Genie+ one of the 4 days.

Everyone knows this one.
Lightning Passes offered another quick way to ride a ride, but it was pay for each ride. If there's only 1 ride you really, really want to do, Lightning is a decent option. If there are 4 or 5 you want to tackle in a day, get the Genie.

Russ and I spent most of our time with Hannah from High Wind. Her husband, David, and their local friends, Bethy and Alex, joined us on the last day. We had such a great time!

Obligatory bunch of Disney photos, followed by political rant. Just a warning.

Magic Kingdom, 7 Dwarves Mining ride.
(Russ in front, Hannah and me in back)

Epcot, all 6 in the front 2 rows.

Back: David, Alex, Me, Russ
Front: Bethy, Hannah

Disney makes photos very easy.
Find a park photographer, and the pics magically
show up on your phone.

We're in the front row.
Apparently, Hannah and I were a bit judgy on 
whatever special effect we're seeing.

Russ and I on TRON. You ride the coaster like a 
motorcycle, which is incredibly smooth.
And fast. It tops out around 60 mph.

 Lunch in Pandora. Excellent lunch bowls with tofu
and blue noodles.

Aw. It's a Minnie Van...
Get it? Minnie Van

Grabbing a quick lunch in between rides.

In Hollywood there is a Star Wars section. The architecture
is astounding.

For fellow geeks, yes, this is the Millenium Falcon.

Chewbacca and Rey. People follow Chewy around, 
like a little parade.

Rise Of The Resistance is an amazing ride. But you get caught
by the empire. I snapped a quick shot of the storm troopers
before getting marched off into questioning.😟

At the Animal Park, the baby gorillas were having a ball.


Disney World occupies 27,000 acres. On that land they've build a number of theme parks, water parks, resorts, hotels, condominiums, and shopping centers. They will get on average of nearly 21 million visitors every year.

Disney can do whatever they want with that land. What they've chosen to do they do well. It's not all used to make money. Portions of that acreage are for nature preservation.

They provide mass transit. One day Russ and I traveled around to various parks by boat, monorail, sky way (gondola), and bus.

They make power. They have 4 solar farms.

They purify their own water. They do that so well they give their excess water to neighboring counties.

They pave their own roads -- not a pot hole anywhere to be found.

They employ over 75,000 people. They can get them in, around, and out of the parks all while "back stage" and out of the public eye. Until showtime.

They are profitable, and in turn, continue to make product (movies, tv shows, etc) and manage their land with care.

They are the epidemy of Market success. They are the shining example of why markets work. They are the jewel in the crown of "big business".

So I ask you... why in hell does DeSantis want to screw with this?