Dennis Point Marina, Southern Maryland

This is the end of the line for Makai’s cruise this year.  We have about 3 weeks in the Dennis Point Marina and Campground, then Makai will be hauled out in the ship yard here for some under the water line servicing and summer storage before starting our 3rd season underway. Eric and I have a long list of projects to work on in the next few weeks, but we have priorities here.  Like crabbing!

Roy immediately hooked up with our neighbor Tom for the low down on Dennis Point crabbing.  Tom has a few traps on the dock and a live crab storage crate.   Roy had fun scooping the crabs up as they swim by and crawl up the pilings around the marina.

The bait balls bubble the water around the marina as well.  Roy got this fabulous white perch in this throw net while he was collecting bait fish.  Strangely enough, he has been unsuccessful with fishing here.

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This facility is mostly a campground with permanent sites occupied by campers that look like they’ve been here for years.  Many have porches, decks, gardens, and sheds.  There is also a large lawn for short term campers that includes a volleyball net, tether ball and horse shoes. Along the water there are tie ups for small boats, many are vacant during the week but the weekend campers bring their boats to play on the water.  In our little corner is a short dock that has four slips on either side and a long dock at the end that can accommodate two catamarans.   In the parking lot we have a nice swimming pool, small bath house with one washer and drier, the office and a weekend restaurant/bar.   Beyond that is a long lot for boat storage and a travel lift for hauling boats out of the water.  We selected this location for our haul out because the lift is wide enough for Makai and they allow owners to do their own work.  Many ship yards require you hire their yard to take care of all your work.

Roy made the most of the area fishing.  He used the cleaning station to fillet his perch.

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He worked his crab lines for about 3 days, checking each crab for size and gender.

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When he got a whopper Roy would be sure to show it to Tom, otherwise, just pull up the holding pen and toss it in with the other guys on death row.  One of the problems with this holding pen is that the crabs fight to the death.  So if you leave them in there too long they start killing their buddies and you can’t eat a crab that didn’t die in the steamer.

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Roy quickly came up with at least two dozen crabs, Tom threw in another dozen from his traps and they fired up the steamer.   First, the crabs were put on ice to quiet them down.  Apparently they try to kill each other in the steamer, so if they’ve been iced first they are more relaxed in the pot.

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Tom brought out a gallon jug of Old Bay seasoning and coated each layer in the steamer.

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They stood in the hot sun steaming up Maryland’s seafood delicacy.

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Finally, dinner was served. We set the table with crab claw crackers, little pick forks, a bit of melted butter, and a roll of paper towels.

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Beth, Ken and Jeanette from Dream Catcher just arrived from their ‘Connecticut to Florida and back’ road trip, perfect timing for a feast.  We had plenty of lobster feasts with them in the Bahamas.  Picking crab is rather laborious, I tend to get tired of it before I’m full of crab.  We did our best then put away the rest for later.  I carved out time over the next two days to sit there and pick the crab leftovers for crab cakes.

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Everyone agreed crab cakes were a two thumbs up.  I figured that each crab provided one cake.  We mixed the meat with chopped vegetables and an egg, and sometimes I added a hand full of bread crumbs for extra crunchiness.

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While Roy was out crabbing Eric and I got to work on projects.  My number one project was replacing the main sail stack pack and canvas jib cover.  The old stack pack was worn thin in places, patches over old holes were coming off, the zipper was severely frayed on the end.

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This is the perfect time to change the color to Persian Green, my favorite Sunbrella canvas color.  Our first boat was decked out in this color as well.  Genny and I laid everything out and carefully measured and cut the pieces.

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After three days at the machine, sewing bolt rope, zippers, lazy jack straps, and pounding grommets it was finished.

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Our friends didn’t even recognize us.

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Next, is the fifteen inch strip of canvas that runs along the edge of the sail.  This sacrificial canvas is exposed to the sunlight when the sail is rolled up on the fore-stay. I spent an afternoon at the pool watching the kids while removing the old blue canvas.  This job wasn’t too difficult as most of the thread was sun rotten and weak, so I could clip a few threads and simply tear the canvas off. Next is sewing new stuff on.  I started in the middle of the foot of the sail.  Everything went smooth, just a little struggle moving the bulk of the fabric, but otherwise no problem.  My success gave me confidence to tackle the clew and tack corners of the sail.  Immediately, the needle broke.  Then the heavy duty motor would drive the needle down and strip set screws forcing the machine out of timing.  Soon I found that more time was spent repairing the machine than sewing.  After a whole day of tearing out stitches, working on unconventional modifications to the cover, and machine repair I got no further.  Within about 10 minutes I located a sail maker, had the jib rolled up and stuffed in the van.  The limits of my machine and my skills were exceeded by this project.

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My mood was pretty low at this point so I made something I could make, an insert for our new wagon.  Roy and I went on errands to Walmart and came back with this cool folding wagon.  We’ve been in the market for another rolling cart to haul groceries while we’re cruising and I’ve been wishing for a cart to pull around our lunch box and packages at the county fair and a local water and ride park we visit each year in Buffalo.  The wagon folds to a compact size, feels strong with rugged wheels and the man at Walmart said he loves it for fishing, but I was sure that beautiful red canvas would get trashed in one outing with the Makai crew.  So, a Makai Persian Green canvas insert not only protects the wagon but also allowed me to finish off my day of sewing failures by making something I can make. See the new fore-stay coiled in the ring behind the wagon.  That’s a job for another day.

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My last big job for the week was a road trip.  Our pals on Dream Catcher borrowed our van to move their household goods from Connecticut to Florida last month.  The poor old van is meticulously mechanically maintained by Eric, but due to age, unexpected mechanical failures are around every corner.  Before they set out on their trip, Eric and Ken had to make an emergency coolant hose repair and charge up the air conditioning.  Now in the last 300 miles of their journey the transmission tanked.  Then Ken, Beth, Jeanette and their kitty Beauty were stranded in North Carolina.  After some discussion and research it was decided that they would have the van towed to the Ford dealer for the repair and then they rented a car for a week to return to the Marina.  At the end of the week Beth and I set out on a 14 hour road trip to retrieve the van.

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We pulled out of the dealer and headed for the gas station, smoke billowing all over the place as it chug chug chugged on acceleration.  Beth had recently driven the van and said it didn’t feel right.  We went back to the dealer where they explained the smoke was from the transmission fluid that sprayed when the old transmission failed and that the chugging was also from the burning of the fluid.  Beth and I rolled our eyes at the chugging of the engine from the burning off of the transmission fluid explanation, but headed home anyway.  Eric later discovered that when they fixed the transmission, they knocked a wire off the spark plug, so another project was lined up in his queue.

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Eric has been working full time all week to pay for repairs and parts while I sew, Roy crabs and the girls play with Jeanette.  The adults have been taking turns as pool monitors as we all try to survive the hot humid days of southern Maryland’s summer.  Eric squeezed in a few projects as well.  In the last few months of sailing the the Bahamas we noticed that our wind direction indicator was off.  You could look 70 feet up to the top of the mast and see that it wasn’t pointing into the wind.  Eric ordered a new unit and went up to remove the old one.  Check it out, the plastic melted or something and isn’t straight.

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A couple of trips up to the top of the mast and Eric had a new wind direction indicator installed.

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Eric also started delegating and training the crew in the area of repair projects.  Our deck hatches have this nifty handle that twists to latch and then lays flush so you don’t stub your tow.  The handles in the cockpit had corroded right off.  Roy and Genny were each tasked with replacing a handle.  The project required the use of channel locks and an allen wrench for the set screw.

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Roy also replaced the shower head on our back step swim shower.

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Genny put her new sewing machine to good use replacing the velcro on the van’s curtain tie backs.

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I went back to cleaning projects. The bottom of the dinghy was covered with marine growth and tannin from the brackish water in the rivers we anchor in. I also scraped and scrubbed the grill grease that caught on fire last week.

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The girls were tasked with cleaning the canvas with soapy water.  Yippee a fun thing to do on a hot day.

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Eric removed the six vertical blinds around the inside of the cabin. They were dirty and covered with disgusting black mold.  On a recommendation from the Leopard Cat forum, we used Lysol Mold and Mildew Blaster. Aside from a little sun fading, they look sparkling new.

On our last shopping trip in town, we stopped at JoAnn’s where the girls picked up a few crafts and a sundress fabric with the stretchy top already prefabricated.  They had fun making their own dresses.

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We had a big week, very productive and plenty of rain to keep us on our toes.  The rain came down in buckets, you couldn’t run from the car into a store without getting soaked. Often the rain came down horizontally because of the strong wind and the lightning gave us a good show.   This is all a great experience for a bunch of California kids where the heat is dry and it only rains a few days a year.

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St. Michaels, MD

Comegys Bight to St. Michaels is only 20 miles as the crow flies but 55 miles when you sail down the Chester River,  tack upwind in the bay, around Kent Island and up the Miles River.  The many tributaries into the Chesapeake Bay result in plenty of coastline and waterways.   On the way we tacked past the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse.  Of the 45 cottage style screw pile lighthouses in use in the 1900s, only 4 remain and this is the only one still in service.  Amazingly, we visited the other three in museums. Seven Foot Knoll is in Baltimore, Hooper Straight Lighthouse is in St. Michaels, and Drum Point Lighthouse is in Solomons Island.

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Soon after arriving in the anchorage, Roy found our first new pest.  The Japanese Beetle.  While it is beautiful, they manage to invade Makai and fly inside the cabin.  Luckily, they came, they saw, they conquered and thankfully they left.  These beetles can really do a number on leaves, stripping the leaf from a plant, leaving only the branches and veins. Another reason not to grow crops on Makai.

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The first few days in St. Michaels were unbearably hot and humid. We laid around completely zapped of energy. Eric cranked up the generator and ran the air conditioner for an afternoon movie.  Without the humidity and dripping sweat we felt comfortable.  We could only lay around moaning about the weather for so long before we decided to seek out someone else’s air conditioning.  A museum sounded like a good possibility.

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Even though some of the exhibits were outside, they had plenty of shade and a nice breeze to keep cool with.

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The Hooper Straight Lighthouse completed our tour of the four Chesapeake Bay screw pile lighthouses.  This design was useful to secure the cottage into the soft muddy bottom with screw posts.

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The Fresnel Lens was accessible unlike most of the museum lighthouses where they block off this area. The Corning Museum of Glass, which we visited last summer, has a nice exhibit about lighthouse lenses.

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Museum members have docking privileges.  With the July 4th events coming up at the museum, people were starting to come in.  We met Snickers here and had a nice little puppy break.  We miss Topaz but know that she’s a lot happier at Nannie’s house. We sent Topaz ahead to Buffalo so she didn’t have to endure the heat and be stuck on the boat while we tour museums. My mom and her dog JJ are taking care of Topaz.  The dogs get three meals a day plus snacks, a pool to swim in, unlimited potty breaks on land, a great living room to lay around in and watch TV, and top notch grooming.

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We walked past this little boat with a huge engine and made up all kinds of explanations why you would have an engine this big in such a small boat.  I was sure they just towed it here using the boat and trailer for transportation.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  That engine is actually installed in this small push boat.

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During the 1800s Oystering was a booming business, but in the last 100 years the oyster beds have virtually disappeared. When motor boats appeared on the scene the oysters were already in trouble so dredging was restricted to sail only. Early attempts to conserve the oyster beds limited the use of push boats to going to and from the dredging areas. Then while dredging, the push boat had to be hoisted up on the davits.  Since the 1960s the push boat could be used two days a week.   To me, this push boat looks like a floating outboard engine.  It is simply a boat with an engine and a propeller.

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We spent as much time as we could inside the buildings.  They had some fantastic exhibits on the watermen, work and pleasure boating, fishing, oystering, and water fowling.  So many of the exhibits explained passages in James Michener’s book Chesapeake. I read this book just before leaving the US to join Makai in Grenada and Eric read it right after that.  Now Roy is hooked on it now. I think it’s his most challenging book to date.

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They put Old Bay on everything around here.  You can buy popcorn and potato chips seasoned with Old Bay.  It was developed by a German immigrant in 1939.  At that time crabs were so plentiful they were served for free in the bars and Old Bay was used to spice them up a bit to encourage the patrons to buy more beverages.  This reminds me of the Buffalo Chicken wings which were also served in bars for free to encourage the patrons to cool their pallet with a cold beverage.  That was the good old days, now both crab and chicken wings can clean out your wallet. I can see crabs becoming more scarce, but what about chicken wings?

 

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The kids only have so much tolerance for museums, then the ‘please ring me’ bell display gets a work out.  Luckily we were the only ones in that building at the time.  Roy looked over the marsh critter exhibit and noted that he’s seen all the animals listed except for the snake.  But wait, there’s a snake, now he’s managed to spot them all.

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On the way back to Makai we stopped at the Acme market and everyone picked their own 1/2 gallon of ice cream.  It’s a much better deal to buy a tub of your favorite flavor at the market than a cup of it at the ice cream stand. We went back to eat our treats and watch the sky for signs of rain.  It seems like there’s a weather cycle here of fives days building to unbearably hot and humid, then a cold front brings thunder storms and a few days of pleasant weather before turning hot again.  This evening, the cold front came buy with it’s light show, wind and rain to cool us off and encourage us to get cleaned up and ready for the hurricane.

Hurricane Arthur passed by us on the 4th of July, the day after a cold front rained on us from the west.  St. Michael’s events are planned for tomorrow so we’ll just take it easy and enjoy the cooler weather.  Two seasons back was Hurricane Sandy which the East coast is still recovering from, last year there weren’t any major tropical storms coming up this far, but Arthur is the first for 2014.  Makai is the blue dot on the chart above.  The wind arrows point in the direction of the wind with the feathers in the back.  Each long feather is 10kts and short feathers are 5kts. Our area of the Chesapeake experienced 20+ kts out of the north, Makai is in a small bay reducing the fetch to form wind waves, so we were safe and snug and we didn’t have any rain. By late afternoon Arthur had continued to the north and the wind slowed down.  Whew, that was the extent of it.

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When it was safe to go out in the dingy, Becky and David arrived for the weekend.  Becky and I used to sail, windsurf, scuba dive, play, party and work together when we were in Hawaii around 1990ish. Since then she and David have met us on our adventure and we spent some time with them in D.C.

This weekend Becky spiced up our holiday by bringing her Salsa Dancing troop over for a bbq and fireworks.

We even had a guest dog!

 

Makai was brightened up with flowers.  They were so beautiful, I really enjoyed them.

We sailed the Hobie, enjoyed refreshing gin and tonics on the bow. Roy picked out a two cup set so he and I could both have a blue crab cup.

Chef David became a fireman when the sausage ignited the greasy grill.

Roy did a little fishing and crabbing, no luck though.  The girls came out of their cocoons sporting new hair colors.

Genny with a purple stripe swinging from the spinnaker halyard.

If we were in the Bahamas she would have let go and taken a plunge, but with the threat of sea nettle jelly fish, she held on tight for a safe return.  One morning we heard some teasing on the neighbors boat.  A couple went for a swim and they guy mentioned feeling a jelly which sent the lady shooting out of the water in a panic while reprimanding him for teasing.  It doesn’t sound so funny here on the blog, you had to be there.

Genny made friends with a neighboring boat and went Hobie sailing.  Marie carefully sat on a surf board and paddled around.  In the morning we woke up in the anchorage with three other boats and by afternoon the anchorage was packed waiting for the fireworks.

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When we wait for the July 4th parade in Creede, CO an AT-6 WWII trainer plane flies over the crowd which starts the festivities with a big cheer.  Here in St. Michaels we had two dinghies fly by.

I’ve never seen such a thing. Aliseo in Miami sells them and will even provide training. Be sure to bring your Sport Pilot License with you.  I think we’ll keep our dinghy in the water.

Makai arrived in the anchorage several days early to secure a good location for the fireworks show.  Since our friends on Lux got a late start, we offered a side tie. We met Terry and Peggy last July at their house in the western Chesapeake near Annapolis, MD. They and their partners on this Leopard Cat cruise it to the Bahamas every year where they leave it with a charter company.

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Our friends on Whistling Cay told us they raft up all the time and then we started.  It’s lots of fun!

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Finally the event the whole bay has been waiting for, the July 4th fireworks.

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We had people in the cockpit and up on the hard top.  This was the display that wouldn’t quit.  Every time we thought the last blast of pyrotechnics was the finale, a few more would start and off they go again.

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We had a great weekend but are anxious to get the marina.  After seven months of hiking for supplies, making water, watching the weather and now with the Chesapeake heating up and not being able to cool off, a much needed break awaits us at the marina. The wind is still out of the south so we tacked down to the Choptank River the first night and then to the Potomac the next day.  One the way down we passed the USS Hannibal.  The Hannibal served the US until 1944 when she was designated for target practice.  In 1966 there wasn’t much left of the Hannibal so the Navy brought in the American Mariner and sunk it next to the wreck of the Hannibal.  Out of tradition it is still referred to as the Hannibal and is still used for live target practice.

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Comegy’s Bight

Comegy’s Bight is like coming home.  A few years ago we accidentally intercepted email for Roy Mears of Chestertown, MD.  Eric contacted him and last summer we spent a week here visiting with plans to come by again this summer. Roy’s mother in law, Mal, lives here on the Chester River.  In the evenings her children and their spouses come by for sun downers and a dip in the pool.  We enjoyed visiting, fishing, and swimming on the hot humid days.

Roy and Roy both love fishing.  Most of the days we were anchored in the river the Roys would go out and see what they could catch.  The deal was that while Big Roy was working in the mornings, little Roy had to catch the bait.  We got really good at spotting the bait balls, sneaking up on them, and then Roy would throw his net and collect a few dozen bait fish.

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Even though they went out looking for white perch, catfish is really what was biting.  Here in the Chester River they are whoppers.

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Last year’s catfish is in Roy’s fishing gallery, this year he got several slightly smaller ones. They were still big whiskery sea monsters.

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After a few hot sticky weeks along the Atlantic coast, Mal’s swimming pool was a welcome sight. Just before the weather turned hot, we were in Sandy Hook, NJ. The weather was chilly and we were shopping for bathing suits and jackets at the same time.  Those poor bathing suits were put away for warmer days like today!

During the chilly weeks we also lost our sun tans.  Even with sun screen slathered on, we still turned a little pink after spending the day in the pool.

One evening we were invited down the street and around the corner to Roy and Molly’s house for Chinese take out.  Oh Yea!  They share their road/drive way with Molly’s sister.  It took us forever to get down the road because we kept spotting things like flamingos, parrots and polar bears in the woods.  It was great fun and kept the kids interested in “eye spy with my little eye.”

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Who would have thought Roy’s trailer is a great place for a photo opportunity? Roy loaned us his company truck for trips to the grocery store and such. We waved back to people around the neighborhood who spotted his truck, and even saw other work vehicles and t-shirts around the neighborhood.

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Critters are always fun.  One morning we found a frog on the back of Makai anchored out in the river.  There are frogs and toads hiding out around the bushes and in the grass.  The swimming pool has these interesting floats with a bridge to the pool deck for critters to climb out.

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There are also critters that give us the chilly willys and make everyone squeal like a little girl.  The black rat snake had us watching were we stepped.

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Flies came and got us again.  Tacky fly strip paper is pretty gross, but not as bad as being swarmed. I was worried with flies landing on us all the time we would get used to it and National Geographic would feature us on their cover or something.

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Makai was decorated with a dozen fly strips and after about 3 days we were down to an acceptable level of flying pests. The fly strips are extremely sticky which prompted horror stories from our hosts about getting these things tangled in hair. 

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At dusk the fire flies come out twinkling their bio-luminescence all over the yard. I remember chasing fire flies as a kid, it was just part of summer evenings.

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Roy captured a few and made a lantern in a old salad container.

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Coming to Comegy’s Bight also means presents. All winter long we think up projects, maintenance, and upgrades.  Depending on the size and urgency the presents get shipped to the next person that visits us or in this case the next person we visit. Everyone was anxious to receive their orders that were sent to Roy and Molly.

The dream for this trip was blissful days playing board games, crocheting doilies and reading books.  The reality of it is such a dream can’t be met in a week’s vacation, a month, or even a summer for us. During our first year, Roy did a good job of plowing through the paperbacks on board.  In the first half our second year Genny had several books started and did an acceptable amount of crocheting and drawing. But it wasn’t until the last six months that Marie and I could play games all afternoon and the kids went nuts with reading on the simple Kindle eInk they got for Christmas. We can easily download books from the library when ever we have internet, we share books with friends, and Amazon always has something to download. Roy and Genny had been doing such a good job of reading that they requested an upgrade with a back light and touch screen. A few weeks ago when my mom came to visit she brought several packages of replacement parts and Kindle Fire HDXs for the kids.  They immediately worried about screen protection and cases.  Since when did they get so responsible?  

Anyway, the point here is that Kindle cases were waiting at Roy’s house for the kids… Yippeee!  The kids also got a Beauty Rest GeoMat, 4″ foam mattress topper for their beds.  Our bed got one last year, its like sleeping on a cloud.  Our camera got new batteries and an external charger. Eric had several boat parts waiting as well as a new air conditioner unit.  Makai has three air conditioners to service the forward cabins, main salon, and the aft cabins. Two of the three units need to be replaced starting with the main salon.  Summer on the east coast can be very hot and even worse, humid.  We can only run the air conditioner if the generator is running or if we’re plugged into shore power.  Soon Makai will be at a marina while we take care of a long list of projects and the air conditioner will come in handy.

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Molly’s nephew comes by regularly.  He has an interesting garage filled with fishing and hunting equipment, tools, welding equipment and mechanical stuff I only barely recognized.  He also brought Louie his young hunting dog. As you can imagine, missing Topaz, we all cooed over this beautiful Golden Retriever.  Louie also lives with a Boston Terrier named Tara.  This combination sparked our interest because our pals in California have a Boston Terrier named Louie that plays with our Golden Retriever, Ha!

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Sunday was family picnic day.  Mal and her five children filled the yard with adult grandchildren, great grandbabies and a few friends. 

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We ate all the normal picnic foods like the corn on the cob.  Maybe it was from one of the many corn fields here in town.

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Men at the BBQ flipping burgers and hot dogs. Pot luck salads and side dishes to over flow our lunch plates with delicious foods. Don’t forget an icy cold beer to wash it down.

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In Maryland a common summer picnic food is steamed Blue Crab covered in Old Bay seasoning.  Last year we were invited to a Memorial Day picnic and were introduced to this tasty delicacy.  There is a table set on the side dedicated to crab picking.  The table is covered with butcher paper and set with a roll of paper towels, a pile of mallets to crack the claws with and a couple of small knives.  All day long people wander over a few at a time to chat and pick crabs.

You start by cracking off the front arms with the claws and putting them aside.  Then lift up the piece on the underside that looks like the Washington Monument (these are males, females look like the Capitol building and they get thrown back to make baby crabs for next year) continuing to lift off the top of the crab shell.  Using the knife, scrape out the pile of guts and such from the meat.  From there pick the meat out from the shell sections and then pound the claws to expose meat inside there as well.  After three or four crabs take a swig of cold beer, scrape the pile of shells into the trash, wipe the goo off your fingers and make room for someone else.  I will surely miss this tasty way to socialize at a Maryland picnic.

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Eric had a chance to discuss ancestors with Roy’s son who also has a hobby of researching genealogy. Unfortunately, they haven’t come up with a common ancestor yet.

The kids swam in the pool, swam in the river, played with the hose, played on the swing set, and went off for a ride.

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What a fabulous day.  We had fun meeting everyone and a goal for our family to enjoy each other as our family grows and expands.

 

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Baltimore, MD

Dragon flies, that’s one kind of fly we don’t mind. Over the last few weeks we’ve grown so accustomed to living with flies you could feature us in a National Geographic Magazine.  After several weeks of flies, Makai seems to be pest free today.

Our sailing days seem to be over.  Either there is no wind or light wind on the nose since leaving Atlantic City.  We sailed, off course, most of the way to Cape May for an over night stop.  Then motored up the Delaware Bay and anchored over night at the entrance of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal. Today we motored through the canal and down the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore.  Last year we drove through Baltimore just long enough to tour Fort McHenry and then continued on to Gettysburg.

Baltimore is about 10 miles up the Patapsco River, which I guess isn’t all that far considering Washington D.C. is 50 miles up the Potomac River.  Even still motoring for two hours looking at the industry and industrial ruins gets tiring.   We had fun waving at the cruise ship as we passed under the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Marie spent the time hiding behind the mast and poking me with her toe.

The Sea Dog cruise came speeding by with a helicopter low in the sky chasing after it.  I suppose they were taking photos or something.

Fort McHenry is situated on the tip of the peninsula that separates the Patapsco River from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s famous for defending Baltimore September of 1814 while Francis Scott Key watched from the British ship where he was being held.  This is the battle in the War of 1812 that inspired him to write the Star Spangled Banner when he saw the fifteen strip and fifteen star flag flying over the fort at ‘Dawn’s Early Light’.

Along the Patapsco river we saw the ruins of a Bethlehem Steel plant, the same plant all the men in my family worked at and people in Buffalo relied on for jobs when I was a kid.   We went by the Lehigh Cement Company, and name that prompted a bit of research.  As a kid I remember the Lehigh Valley railroad running through town, recently I flew into the Lehigh Airport in Bethlehem, PA, and here is that name again.  Apparently the name comes from the Lehigh river that flows through eastern Pennsylvania and into the Delaware River at Bethlehem, PA. Since the Steel Mill and Railroad are on the path along this river, they adopted the names.

How about Domino Sugar?  A few weeks ago we passed the Domino Sugar plant along the East River on the Brooklyn side.  The NY refinery was the first and in use from the mid 1800s until 2004.

Finally in the Inner Harbor there was a bustle of activity.  The rim of the harbor is lined with shops, restaurants, marinas, harbor cruises, the Science Center and Aquarium, and historic ships. This red lighthouse is a screw pile house and is a common design in the Chesapeake Bay. The piles are screwed into the soft muddy bottoms of rivers and estuaries. We’ve seen a few of these in museums as well as out there on the bay, they were popular after the Civil War when the lighthouse board decided to replace the light ships with these light houses. This red light house is the Knoll Light and once marked the entrance to the Patapsco River starting in 1855-1988.

We arrived on a hot sticky afternoon but right in front of our dock were kids running in the fountains.

From the water front, looking down Camden Street, you can get a glimpse of Oriole Park at Camden Yards (the first of the retro stadiums built in the 1990s).  We aren’t big sports fans here on Makai.  Baseball means hot dogs, Monday night football is associated with beer and wings, soccer is something the kids in the neighborhood play on Saturday, other than that I don’t know too much about it. Baltimore is full of banners and people wearing Oriole shirts, I bet everything comes to a standstill on game day.

First thing in the morning the kids and I walked 1 mile around the water front to the Whole Foods Market.  We don’t normally shop here so we were definitely impressed, they sure had yummy foods.  The produce was beautiful, the deli was delightful (like that bit of poetry), prepared foods made our mouths water and Ooh La La the pastries couldn’t be passed up.

On the way back, pulling the rolling cart and lugging bags we watched the harbor vacuum cleaning floating debris from the bay.

The spring chicks were all out following mamma around as well.  Everyday Roy asks, “Can I have a duck?” and everyday the answer is the same, “NO.”

After breakfast the harbor was a flurry of activity again. The dragon paddle boats cruised around, people wandered between the restaurants, harbor cruise ships, museums and historic ships. A hand full of harbor cruises depart from the Inner Harbor.  There are booze cruises, sight seeing cruises, water taxis and the larger ships host weddings and other such formal events.  It was fun watching the women dressed up in their finest party clothes tip toe down the boardwalk in 4 inch heels and the men in suits and tuxedos.

Our first stop was the USS Constellation, a sloop of war launched in 1854 and the last sailing ship built by the US Navy. During the Civil War she was sent to disrupt slave trade, before WWI she brought famine relief to Ireland and exhibits to the Paris Exhibition. During WWI she was a practice ship for the Naval Academy and Naval Training Center. In 1933 the Constellation was decommissioned but then recommissioned in 1940 as a relief Flag Ship.  This is the crazy thing, by this time she was confused with a 38 gun frigate with the same name built in 1797 and broken up the same year this one was built.  Be sure to check the link to read about this confusion.  It sounds like the old ship was never taken off the books, some if it’s timbers were used on the new one, and when money was allocated to build the sloop some of it came from a fund to rebuild the old frigate.  Its kind of like naming the new puppy Spot after the old Spot passed away.  Just because he was using the same name, same bowl and credits at the vet, they just assumed he was the same dog.

 

Ahh yes, who can resist ringing the bell.  The Constellation is a hands on museum.

We could ring the bells, play with the cannons, touch this and feel that, sit on anything not roped off.  Its great with curious kids.

We found a Hidden Mickey in the shape of the lock.  See what Disney Geeks we are, not me just them :)

When little legs were sore, everyone found a hammock. The Historic Ships of Baltimore runs an overnight program for groups.  You can stay on the mid 19th century USS Constellation, the USS Torsk a WWII submarine, or the USCGC Taney that witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The USS Torsk is right next door and quite a contrast from the Constellation. The USS Torsk is a Tech Class diesel submarine that was launched in 1944, transited the Panama Canal, stopped in Guam and Hawaii and eventually patrolled off the coast of Japan.

She spent the rest of her career in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea and even the Great Lakes.

The torpedo room was impressive with the museum quality shine on the metal.

We tried to get the kids to take us on a ride, but the controls are all locked down.

Traveling through the submarine we ducked through these 3 foot high hatches. Watch your head! and knees.

The path to the next ship leads around the Aquarium. The Maryland Blue Crab, which is the state crustacean by the way, is a very appropriate symbol for this state.  This little guy is on the menu at all the restaurants, displayed on flags, napkin holders, t-shirts, and most tasty on my plate.

The last historic ship on the tour is the Coast Guard Cutter Taney.

On December 7, 1941 the USCGC Taney was moored in Honolulu Harbor which allowed her to be the last ship still floating to fight in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  She served as a search and rescue, troop transport and protecting our many territories in the Pacific. She supported the Navy and assisted in attacks as well. Toward the end of her career she assisted in the search for Amelia Earhart, worked in drug interdiction and fisheries protection and holds the distinction as the last ship serving as an ocean station weather ship. Ships were stationed throughout the North Pacific and North Atlantic to collect weather data and transmit it back to the US.  They also provided search and rescue in the square of ocean they each patrolled.

How about some sugar.  ”It’s Sugar“, candy store was a main attraction as we walked back and forth along the water front.  The store was colorful, smelled good, had plenty of bulk gummy things as well as giant candy.

We weren’t the only ones taking pictures of things like this 5 lb gummy bear.

The street performers at the Harbor Place Amphitheater were entertaining. We saw musicians, balloonists, unicycles, and jugglers.  Maryland is home to the Center Ring Circus School and Charm City Movement Arts here in Baltimore.   All the performers have a permit and are on the Harbor Place schedule where they can practice their artful entertainment.

What tourist town would be complete without Ripley’s.  Someday we’ll buy a ticket and go see the oddity reproductions, but for now we’re having fun using Wikipedia to look up the tallest man and three legged boy.

That evening our pal Becky came from D.C. to spend the rest of the weekend with us.  We had dinner on Makai and watched the tour boats go by.  The next morning with our legs all rested up we toured the National Aquarium.

This aquarium goes on and on, one exhibit more interesting than the next.

They had two dozen 4 foot long reef sharks ( prefer to see them here than in the wild ;) , and a gigantic sea turtle.  There were at least 4 floors of exhibits and tanks almost that tall.

Along the perimeter of these huge tanks there are smaller ones with tiny animals like the peacock mantis shrimp and sea horses.

The Australian section had snake necked turtles with very long necks, and in the Amazon mysterious fish that Jeremy Wade from River Monsters would feature like the Silver Arowana.

This aquarium is so big they even have dolphins.

Lastly were the jelly fish.  Beautiful as they gracefully float through the currents, but delivering a sting you’ll not soon forget. The nettle exhibit reminded us of the invasion they’re about to impose on the Chesapeake Bay.  We learned that the jelly thrive in waters where many other fish perish.  Waters that are low on oxygen and even choked out with pollution can support a thriving community of jelly fish.

The Blue Belly Jelly was kind of cute.

Baltimore is full of tourists and a little something we didn’t expect was that since Makai was moored there in the center of activity she became a photo opportunity.  This nice Chinese family took pictures of each other and pictures with us before running off to their tour bus.

Most people respected the boat owner’s private property but once a couple of guys climbed on a neighbor’s boat to take pictures and the woman below leaned against Makai for a picture.  Do you know what happens when you lean against a boat at the dock?  It starts pushing away from the dock, the woman had to get help from her friend when she was hanging on to Makai’s stanchions so she wouldn’t fall between the boat and the dock. We had people take pictures of us in the cockpit doing puzzles, watched wedding pictures taken on the dock and a man with his shirt off flexing muscles for a shot.

Along the south side of the bay is Federal Hill which got its name  when the parade celebrating the ratification of a new Federal Constitution ended here. After riots in 1861 the Union constructed a fort aimed at ensuring the allegiance of Baltimore and the state of Maryland to the federal government throughout the Civil War.

Today the top of the hill has a park and playground with a fantastic view of the city and harbor.  From the war of 1812,  a 15 strip and 15 star flag flies above. One of Baltimore’s major attractions is Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key, who anxiously waited for dawn’s early light to see the flag flying above signaling America’s victory over the British in the attack, was inspired to write the Star Spangled Banner.  The fifteen stars and stripes reflected the addition of Vermont and Kentucky in 1795 and remained that way until 1818 when a plan was passed for the flag’s stars to reflect the current number of states and thirteen stripes to honor the thirteen original colonies. The original Star Spangled Banner flag is on display in Washington D.C. in the Smithsonian’s American History museum.

The centerpiece of the celebratory parade for ratifying the constitution in 1788 was a 15 foot miniature ship called the Federalist built as a gift to George Washington. It was then sailed down to the Potomac to Mount Vernon in June and then sunk in a July hurricane. What a bummer!  It was left as a wreck and recently archaeologists searched the area but never found it. Lucky for us Baltimore built playground equipment to honor the little ship.

Right below Federal Hill is the Museum of Visionary Art. While we didn’t tour the inside of this museum, the outside provided quite a bit of entertainment.

The big hand sticking out of the back of the building first got our attention, then we noticed the strange horizontal thing and finally figured out that it is a movie screen.  I guess the hand is shaped like it is flicking something and they call the Thursday night movies they project there for people sitting on the hill, Flicks on the Hill.  Sounds like fun to me.

Much of the art around the outside is bling, bling and more bling.

I sure hope they’re having good luck with all those broken mirrors out there.  Maybe they actually cut the mirrors so the broken mirror curse doesn’t apply. The front sidewalk was a 200 foot mural of Baltimore’s part in American History.  Including the Magic Bus covered in mirrored glass.

Who can resist a silvery mirror pine tree.

Our last hours at the dock were filled with using hose water that Makai has only seen twice since the first of the year, doing laundry and taking showers at the marina facilities, and rushing off for a cheeseburger and fries that ‘someone else’ made.  Most meals around here come straight from Makai’s galley, but for lunch we decided to try 5 Guys which originated in the D.C. area.  With full bellies we wobbled out of the mall area but something shiny caught the eyes of me and Genny.  We settled on this pretty little crab.  What could be a more appropriate souvenir in Maryland than a crab?

On the way out of town we stopped at the Anchorage down the way near where we fueled up for the first time since Nassau in April.  The anchorage was conveniently located directly across the street from a Safeway grocery store and a West Marine, down the road from a fishing store and Ace Hardware and best of all right next door is the Anchorage Marina where our friends on Rollick are living.  We met Andrea and Bernie and their two little girls Alex and Jordan when we were in Georgetown.  What a wonderful marina, I would love to live there for the summer.  They had a huge lounge with a TV, pool table, showers and vending machines.  Then out on the end of the docks was an extra wide dock with a floating swimming pool, picnic tables, bbqs and another small lounge with rest rooms and showers.  We spent a few nights there going into the market for donuts in the morning and a trip to Patterson park and another cool playground. I did my best to find a link for these interesting playgrounds with custom equipment that reflects the piece of history made at that site, but believe it or not, the internet just didn’t give me answers to my questions about these playgrounds.

On the way out of town we passed Fort McHenry and just before the Key Bridge we spotted the Star Spangled Buoy. The Coast Guard has been placing this buoy here every summer since 1972 to mark the location where Francis Scott Key witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry prompting him to write the Star Spangled Banner. We put our hand on our hearts and sang the song as Makai cruised by.

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Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ is on Absecon Island, a sandy barrier island on the New Jersey Coast.  As with most urban islands, it’s hard to see the water on all sides defining it as and island.  In this case the Atlantic ocean is on one side and the Absecon Inlet, salt marshes, creeks and the inter-coastal waterway cut it off from the mainland.

The Miss America Pageant has been held here since 1921.  Beautiful young women compete for scholarships, fame and a chance as a traveling ambassador. The wikipedia article on Miss America gives some interesting history for the pageant including the original reason for the pageant was to extend the tourist season on the boardwalk after labor day.

Atlantic City boasts the first boardwalk in the United States opening in 1870 by hotel owners trying to keep the sand out of their lobbies. Prohibition brought a boom for drinking and gambling to Atlantic City, go figure reverse psychology working here. Then a economic decline until gambling was legalized in 1976 and the big casinos moved in.  When my grandparents went there as a break from Las Vegas casinos, I never realized how new the Atlantic City casinos were.   The lonely little lighthouse is a symbol of simpler times.

Atlantic City is also home of Monopoly properties. Due to business moving out and malls moving in, some of the properties have changed their values. Baltic and Mediterranean, the least expensive properties in Monopoly, host an expensive outlet mall now.  ScoutingNY has an excellent post with detailed descriptions and photos describing how each property looks today.

It was fun walking through the Atlantic City streets and picking out Monopoly streets.

The Absecon Lighthouse still stands as a museum. We toured the city on Father’s day and Eric was honored with free admission.  Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey but was decommissioned in 1933 because of the lights from the fast growing city surrounding it rendering it useless.

We all climbed the 228 steps to the top.  Eric has a huge fear of heights which must be a problem for him since he’s spent so much time at the top of our 70 foot mast and climbed every light house we stopped at as well as the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. Eric did appreciate the bars around the walkway on the Absecon light’s walkway.

We continued our mile long walk toward the beach and boardwalk enjoying signs along the way. Roy decided to ‘hang out’ for a bit to see what would happen.  This end of the city has lonely row houses.  Each block is home to two or three of these tall narrow houses which used to have identical houses adjacent filling up the block. CityLab has photos of similar houses in Baltimore.

Once at the beach Eric and Roy thought they might like to take a dip at an unprotected beach. Mustn’t swim without a lifeguard you know.

In contrast to any neglect the neighborhoods on the path to the beach might display, taking a walk on the Boardwalk makes me think I should have passed GO to collect two hundred dollars before heading down this path.

The thumping music of Revel’s beach club greeted us on the north end of the boardwalk.  Trump’s Taj Mahal spread the rest of the way to the Steel Pier and entertainment appropriate for the kids. Armed with a fist full of cash Nannie gave us before she left us in Atlantic Highlands, we had ice cream and beers on the boardwalk and then played a few carnival games on the pier.  The kids always drool over these games.  One year Disney’s California Adventure had a Halloween party and all the carnival games were free.  Winners received a bit of candy but were excited to be able to play these games that parents normally say NO to.

The sign on the wall said that as long as 4 people played the winner could pick an prize.  Marie was jumping around like a kangaroo so I put enough for 4 people to play, there weren’t any customers besides us which guaranteed a Mears winner. Luckily, Eric won so there wasn’t an argument and struggle over the prize.  Marie the kangaroo picked an orange tiger..

Next we headed to the ticket booth to pay for thrills on stomach turning rides.  They all wanted to go on one that catapults the passenger into the air on a bungee and of course there are the ones that spin you high in the air upside down

In the end they settled for the Crazy Mouse.  Marie wasn’t tall enough to go without an adult so Eric got to go for free because it’s Father’s Day.

This small thrill with have to suffice until they have jobs to earn the entrance fee for the catapult ride while I’m not watching.

We also rode the Ferris Wheel which gave a great view of the beach.

We didn’t all fit in one car so Roy and Genny rode together in another car and waited for us at the bottom.

The last of the tickets were spent for Marie and Eric on the Merry Go Round.

We were getting hot and our water bottle was empty but managed to squeeze in one more attraction.  The town is getting ready for a sand castle competition and we got a glimpse of what was yet to come.

The next day we took it easy with just a stroll on the dock where we tied up the dinghy and quick tour in the aquarium.

Aquariums are fun but, snorkeling in the Bahamas is funner.

I’m sure Roy is always wishing he had his pole or spear.

What else is there to do on a warm afternoon on the boat but maybe fashion shows.

Marie dug through her new summer dresses and Genny did her makeup.  Wow!

 

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NJ and NYC

Sandy Hook and Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey is another town revisited for the fishing.  Upon arrival, we anchored on Sandy Hook next to the Coast Guard Station so we could meet up with Ortolan, friends from the Bahamas. Roy brought a couple of frozen bunker so he could get his line in right away.  Sure enough, Eric and I are recovering from our night watches when Roy yells, “Fish ON!”

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This is the first time in a long time we’ve used the net.  Roy reached in to de-tangle the fish when it went and bit him in the finger.  Yeow, we’re used to fish blood all over the boat, but this time it was Roy finger blood.  So, I held it down with a rag while he freed the lure and teeth.  Since this is our first bluefish this season there was a moment of discussion as to what type of fish it was until it bit Roy.  Then we were sure it was a bluefish.

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After saying goodbye to our friends we continued two miles into Atlantic Highlands to the anchorage. It was a little difficult getting the anchor up.  I thought, “Wow, the mud sure is thick here.”  The anchor windlass tripped the electrical breaker several times until the anchor finally came up.  With the anchor up, we were still stuck to the bottom. Apparently we pulled up an old net and a piece of chain that was still stuck on the bottom.  It was so gooey, I called Eric up to push it off the anchor, he doesn’t mind getting his hands icky.

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Once anchored Roy set out to capture his own bait. He got this idea last year from the locals here in Atlantic Highlands.  The schools of Atlantic Menhaden are so dense that a toss of the net can bring in several of these 10 inch, oily, smelly, bait fish. They are part of the herring family and have historically been used to fertilize crops.  Wikipedia talks about the large schools and mentions that some have been reported to be 40 miles long.

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Menhaden are filter feeders so won’t bite at bait or a lure.  The other way to catch them is with a large weighted treble hook. Roy casts it out over the school and reels in fast and easily snags the fish somewhere along the way.  Occasionally a bluefish chomps down on it before Roy can get it back to the dinghy.

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Back to those Bluefish, they have really big teeth.  Roy was lucky the tip of his finger only got a nick, I’m sure this guy could have easily taken the entire finger off.

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Or even his arm.  The guy at the meat market said bluefish contain mercury so only the smaller ones should be eaten. With a little Mahi left in the freezer we decided Roy should be looking for trophy fish to have his photo taken with.

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Back on Makai more civilized activities are happening.  Like selfies with Topaz and reading.  For Christmas, the kids each got kindles to encourage reading.  Now Roy and Genny spend hours and hours reading.  We got some books by trading with other cruisers and there are more books available from the public library’s online service.

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Every morning we wake up to a clamming boat.  There is usually a single guy on a 20 foot skiff with an interesting basket shaped like a shovel at the end of a 20 foot pole with a T handle.  He just floats around digging into the bottom to collect his catch.  This is another seafood delicacy that Roy has come to enjoy recently.  Clamming required a permit and special equipment, so we indulge in the bargain the local grocery store is offering.  Fifty little neck clams for $15.  I steam them in a pot with 2 cups of water and a chicken bullion.

The municipal marina was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy but appears to be rebuilt.  The marina is busy on the weekends with the launch ramp, fishermen, and sailors.  Next door is the yacht club, sport fishing boats, the Seastreak Ferry to Manhattan, and a few restaurants. First Street takes care of us with a laundromat, movie theater, Napa Auto Parts and a supermarket at the top of the street. We can take the dinghy around to the east, closer to Sandy Hook and the West Marine is a half hour walk away.  Friday was Farmer’s Market day, Roy got a Frisbee there.  He and I are looking up to catch it and Topaz is looking down to chase the shadow.

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All along the US coast services like Tow Boat US and Sea Tow offer memberships, similar to the AAA, offering members assistance if they have mechanical difficulties or get stuck in the mud, which is easy to do here.  This frees up the Coast Guard and the taxpayer’s money from assisting with boats out of fuel or run aground.  Last year we bought the membership after listening to a sailboat stuck at night, in the surf at the end of Sandy Hook.

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We loved our Cape May, NJ lobster dinner so much I googled around for another place to get steamed lobster.  Lusty Lobster is a market a few block in from Atlantic Highlands, in an area just out of our walking distance. But, the man at the seafood counter at the FoodTown supermarket said they get their seafood from Lusty Lobster, so I guess I can get my seafood from FoodTown.  The bonus is that the supermarket has a steamer and will cook the lobster for me!  My mom came for a visit from Buffalo, so this is a perfect time for a lobster dinner.

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Bright and early Sunday morning we headed out for NYC.  Miserable weather is predicted in the next few days so we better enjoy a nice day while we have the chance.

Entering New York Harbor everyone poses like Lady Liberty.

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We learned that Liberty Island was originally called Bedloe Island and the star shaped base the statue stands on was Fort Wood which shared the island for 40 years until the National Parks system took responsibility of The Statue of Liberty.

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The harbor was full of life with tug boats, ferries, speed boats, sail boats, and sight seeing cruises coming and going.

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The Staten Island Ferry was hard to miss. These ferries commute back and forth on the 5 mile run from Staten Island to Manhattan 24/7.  During rush hour they are scheduled every 15 minutes and in the middle of the night you have to wait an hour for the next ferry.  The best news is that this service is free!

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Entrance into the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Park is Free as well.  The catch is that you can’t approach or land on the island unless you are on a Statue Cruise ferry.  These boats move between NJ and the park or Manhattan and the park from 8am to 7pm daily.

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Makai’s harbor tour passed at least 400 feet of the park islands and then to an anchorage on the north side of Ellis Island where millions of immigrants passed through to their new life in America.

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This anchorage offers a million dollar view of New York Harbor’s activities and Manhattan. During the day it was crazy rocky from the boat wakes but worth every minute of it.

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My mom brought a stack of packages with items we’ve been ordering for Makai.  Eric broke out a new American Flag for Makai. We’ll save the old one for Roy to retire with his scout troop when we return to California.

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Not only was the harbor a flurry of activity, so was the air. Kennedy Airport is off to the east, Laguardia Airport is north east, Newark to the west and the south end of Manhattan hosts a heliport, don’t forget military airbases and about 28 smaller outlying airports and heliports adding to the traffic passing by. In the afternoon, five military helicopters came down the Hudson River, circled the Statue of Liberty a few times and went up the East River.  I learned on June 6th, to honor D-day, they poured rose pedals on Lady Liberty.

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Roy put out a line but didn’t have much luck.

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Just when we thought we had seen everything, the cruise ships start coming down the Hudson River.  Norwegian Dawn sports the Statue of Liberty on the Starboard bow.

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Finally, the sun went down and the harbor traffic went home, the wakes subsided for a pleasant evening. One World Trade Center, The Freedom Tower, rises above the city with the top of the tower 1776 feet above the ground.

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When we visited NYC last year, Liberty and Ellis Islands were closed while repairs from Hurricane Sandy were being made.  Lucky for us, we got another chance this year.  It was a quick dinghy trip around the corner to Liberty Island Marina to park the dinghy and a short walk to the ferry landing.  Too bad it’s a stormy day.

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The ferry leaves from the north end of Liberty State Park near the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.

 

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In its hey day the Terminal welcomed passengers from the B&O and Reading Railroad and was surrounded by more than a dozen ferry slips for passengers to continue their trip across the bay. The timetable in 1936 shows 132 weekday departures.  The terminal operated from 1889 to 1967. This train station transported an estimated 10 million immigrants to destinations throughout the United States.

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Now the platforms and rails are empty but I’m sure they have many stories to tell of the lives they changed.

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Well, the rain finally stopped, we made it through security and aboard the Statue Cruise ferry we’re heading to Ellis Island.

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The ferry passes by Makai with Nannie and Topaz aboard.

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The first stop is Ellis Island’s Immigration Museum.

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Many of the artifacts are still stored off site as the climate control system has not yet been repaired from Hurricane Sandy.  Still we spent many hours wandering through the exhibits. The Ellis Island Immigrant Processing Station opened it’s doors January 1, 1892 and 12 million immigrants were processed here until it closed in 1954.  Ten million of those immigrants spread across the United States at the New Jersey Train Terminal. Most of these people were registered, checked in, inspected and transferred the same day they arrived. The museum did a fantastic job of describing immigration past and present.  This sign says it all.  The journey can be a trip to Costco, a day at the beach or Disneyland, a vacation in Hawaii or camping.  Maybe even an offshore cruise on the family sailboat, or maybe relocating alone, with friends or family to another city, state, or country. How about the people who did this before mail deliveries, telephone, email, or internet blogs.   Wow, they are brave.

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Next stop is the ferry trip to Liberty Island and the statue the French law professor  Édouard René de Laboulaye and sculptor Auguste Bartholdi worked so hard to erect as a symbol of freedom and friendship from the people of France to the Americans.

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Yesterday, Eric and I went to the ticket office to check into today’s adventure.  A few years back the kids and I came to NYC but couldn’t climb to Liberty’s crown because Marie wasn’t tall enough.  This time we were excited about the prospect of the 354 step climb to the crown only to be told the wait list is 18 months long.  On the other hand, because we came a day early, we can climb the 200 steps to the top of the pedestal.

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Maybe the climb wasn’t so special, but access to the museum inside was great. The lobby houses the original torch that was replaced in the 1984-1986 refit.

I watched the fireworks from Battery Park in 1985 on July 4th with my brother.  Lady Liberty was covered in scaffolding, but he was 16 and I was 20 and these two country mice had plenty of fun in the city.

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I suppose the pedestal provided a great view of the harbor, but the weather lowered a foggy cloud over the tops of the sky scrapers.

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Once at the top of the pedestal we could look through a window that gave us a glimpse of what it looks like under Liberty’s robes. Her copper sheeting is 3/32 of an inch thick beaten into shape using the repoussé method under the supervision of French scuptor Bartholdi.  The thin copper skin was reinforced with asbestos by Effel the French engineer who designed the statues internal metal framework.

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Eric was in awe of Liberty’s giant nuts… and bolts.

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On the lower level is a fantastic museum describing the more than 21 years of dreaming, planning, fund raising, and work to bring us the Statue that welcomed millions of immigrants into the United States and stands for freedom to people all over the world.

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This museum shouldn’t be missed if you decide to visit Liberty Island.  Be sure to order your tickets in advance at the ticket office or online.

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Think about the excitement of a new life for the people arriving aboard ship after crossing the Atlantic as they passed the Statue of Liberty.

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Next is our trip up the East River.  We’re a little short on photos because my favorite Olympus T2 camera was out of battery and the charger failed.  Ho Hum.  I love the photos this camera takes, how easy it is to use, being able to take it under water, and how small and easy it is to carry around.  What I don’t like is that over the last six months that we’ve had it, it has occasionally given me door seal errors and just as we were leaving the Bahamas, it occasionally didn’t want to turn on.  Ahh, why does my favorite camera ever have to be broken?  I have replacement batteries and an external charger on order, hopefully that will solve my problems.

But luckily not much has changed on the East River. Check out our blog post from last year, there are some great pictures on it including a picture of Makai from a B17 as we rounded Liberty Island. At the end of the river we spent two nights at City Island.  The area was quiet New York town with yummy fried seafood, a fun playground and nice people to talk with.  Roy picked out balancing game Suspended by Melissa and Doug.

This is our turn around point, Makai is heading back south to Maryland.  Back at Atlantic Highlands our friends from Dream Catcher came by.  Eric and Ken took an excursion to Milford, NJ and the Harrison’s house where our van has been waiting.  Beth, Jeannette and Beauty stayed with us on Makai while the guys made repairs and preparations for the van to take the Pimentels on a road trip. Topaz and Beauty co-habitated nicely taking turns visiting the people in the main salon.

In the usual North East style, every few days a nice black storm cloud passes by.

We had neighbors over for sundowners and the rain dumped down filling up the dinghies.  The kids got out the soap and scrub brushes to clean the dinghies and take a bath.

Bright and early Saturday morning Nannie and Topaz jumped ship.  They’re heading to Club Nannie where Topaz and JJ get 6 meals a day, frequent trips to the grass, comfortable couches to watch TV on, and a private swimming pool just for dogs and their guests. We really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, and more reallys miss Topaz.  We miss cuddling and kissing on her, we miss giving her our scraps, we miss her barking at the jet skis and stealing our sandwiches, but when the weather gets warmer and she can’t swim and we’re busy doing boat projects or going to museums, Club Nannie will be better for her.  See you at the end of July Nannie, Topaz and JJ.

The rest of the day we spent at the movies.  How to Train Your Dragon 2, was great, there was a classic car show on First Street, and then we headed out for Barnegat Bay, 40 miles to the south.

The sail was fantastic, we had great wind, and a favorable current which carried Makai at 8 to 10 knots arriving in the anchorage just before sunset.

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Cape May 2014

We’re revisiting favorite towns we explored last year.  Cape May was like coming home.  Everyone had their list of things to do and places to go, and the weather was predictably unpredictable. Our last grocery trip was a week ago in Saint Augustine, so we better walk to town and pick up some produce and dairy.  Our first few days here were pretty rainy, so along the way we took shelter from the weather at the fire station.

We first spotted the Fire Station’s 1928 LaFrance fire engine in their firehouse museum. The original firehouse was no more than a roof over the engine, a desk and sleeping quarters big enough for just a couple men. Eric is a collector of t-shirts especially fire department t-shirts, so we picked one up.

The harbor’s navigational markers are a home for the osprey. These raptors are impressive fishermen, swooping down to snatch an unsuspecting fish near the surface of the water.

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Ever since our last lobster dinner in the Bahamas, Roy and I have been talking about the seafood market in the harbor.  We were there when the fishermen pulled up with bushels of crabs.  We talked to him a bit and learned that these small blue crabs are about to molt, which happens once a year. The people at the market watch the tanks carefully and have to pull the crab out of the water quickly before is forms a new shell.  The soft shell crab is a delicacy, so we brought a few home with us.  You just peel off the paper thin shell, clean off the lungs and guts, take the whole thing and coat it a little with bread crumbs, the gently fry in it oil.  After having spent quite a bit of time picking at blue crabs last year, I can appreciate the quantity of meat you can get out of a shell-less crab.  These morsels of meat go for $6 or $7 a piece when they are plentiful.

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The market supplies local resturants and also serves steamed seafood. We picked out an 2lb lobster for them to cook up for us.

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The lobster we eat in warmer tropical waters are also called crawfish and are more closely related to crabs. These crawfish are what is served at the Red Lobster.  After the many feasts on crawfish we were interested in comparing them to the cold water lobsters which have have claw meat.

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The lobster looked small to us, but I think those claws contain quite a bit of meat. The fishing regulations say the lobster’s carapace must be between 3.25 and 5.5 inches, which is similar to the spiny lobster, but I think the spiny lobster has a bigger tail.

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Either way, dinner is served lets taste this guy.

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Last year Roy and I shared a lobster and he barely ate half a claw.  This year with his seafood pallet maturing, he ate both claws and tried to dig into the tail until I confiscated it for my lunch.

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We entered the harbor during a storm, the anchorage was full of people taking shelter from the wind and rain and the only space to anchor left was right next to the Coast Guard dock.  Every morning we heard the first call to colors to alert us to the 8am flag raising and national anthem, and every evening the flag was taken down at sunset.  I have the bugle and colors  routine ingrained in my memory from 6 years on the Navy Base.  So at 8am everyone came outside to show respect to our flag.

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The week was very relaxing.  We got caught up on school work and Eric’s work, played a few games when it was cold and rainy, walked across the bridge one way to West Marine or 1.5 miles the other way to the grocery store.  We found a laundry close by and Roy scored on a few Guy Harvey t-shirts.  We love this artist’s work and Roy just picked up a Guy Harvey Magazine. After reading his bio, we love him even more. Guy Harvey was a college professor, has a marine science research center and is dedicated to ocean conservation.

We also made friends in the anchorage.  Its wonderful to hear stories about where people came from and are going to.  The Motor Yacht, Nomad brought over Ginger to visit with Topaz.

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Cumberland Island to Cape May

“North of Cape Hatteras by June 1st”, that’s the boat insurance company’s requirement and what has dictated our end of the season plans.   Saint Augustine, Fl – Cumberland Island, GA – Cape Lookout, NC – Cape May, NJ, 700nm in seven days including stop overs.

The trip to Cumberland Island was a 50nm day sail to the St. Mary’s River which marks the Florida/Georgia border. We’ve been having a lot of luck selecting good weather to sail,  Makai has been performing great and saving diesel. After a week of running around and enjoying land activities everyone was happy to be at sea, cuddled up with their kindle.  Between our library, and ebooks borrowed online from our public library, no one is short of reading material. Everyone has their initial marked with duct tape on the back.  I have an ‘M’ for mom in fancy paisley tape.

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We arrived in the anchorage after dark but were ready for an adventure first thing in the morning.  We only had the morning to tour before getting underway again in the afternoon.  Cumberland Island is a barrier island at the southern end of Georgia. Throughout history it was inhabited by native people, Spanish, and English until the middle 1700′s. After the revolutionary war the island was acquired by Nathanael Greene.  Today Cumberland Island is a National Seashore under the National Parks system.  There are ruins, beautiful foliage, beaches and animals to explore. Visitors arrive on a ferry or private boats like us.   The mud flats at the dinghy dock were covered in fiddler crabs.  It was hard to tear ourselves away from watching them go about their work.

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We walked along a path with a full canopy of live oak trees dripping with spanish moss and palmetto plants. When the path came near the water Roy went down to the mud to check out the animal tracks. He spotted raccoon and deer tracks.

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As we approached the south end of the island and the Dungeness Plantation we started walking on cleared lawns. The mansion was first built by Nathanael Greene’s widow in 1803, and in the 1880′s was owned by the Carnegie’s.  The island is also home to around 200 feral horses who’s ancestors were thought to have been left here by the English in the 1700′s.  These horses are similar to the Assateague and Chincoteague ponies we saw last May in Maryland.

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Strolling along the paths, with a little imagination, was a nature walk through history.  Can you just see the girls in southern belle dresses and the boys in suits?

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The park ranger said the turkey vultures keep the island clean, but I wouldn’t want to be cleaned up by these bad boys.

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Flocks of turkeys wander the grounds. The feather was impressive. I could see our family decorating their hats with these feathers.

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We ran across this interesting tree where an oak wrapped around a palm.

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The Dungeness mansion and out buildings are made of tabby, which looks similar to coquina. In Saint Augustine we saw coquina, a naturally occurring stone made from shells, limestone and sand.  Tabby is man made using lime from burnt oyster shells, water, sand, and oyster shell pieces, all poured into molds.

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This is all that is left of the Dungeness mansion, in 1959 it was destroyed by a fire.

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We returned to the dinghy dock by walking along the beach.  It was low tide and the sand was covered with cool things.  We saw several mermaid purses, more accurately described as a skate egg case.

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We also came across a whelk egg case. A whelk is a large predatory snail common on the east coast.

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The weather was warm, the breeze was refreshing, not too many bugs, very pleasant morning excursion.

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The path back from the beach led us through a maritime forest.  This wooded area is bordered by sand dunes and consists of plants that thrive in sandy soil and salt air.  This beautiful path goes through a camp ground.  Tents are tucked in under the trees and bushes, walking distance from the beach.

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Next stop is a two day trip to Cape Lookout, NC.  We are beginning to see shrimp boats along the coast.

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We had a great run through the Gulf Stream.  The water temp was up over 80 degrees, the air was perfect, water is clear and blue, and the 2-3 knot current is like getting on a moving walkway at the airport.  Makai zipped along at 7-8 knots and the current boosted our speed over the ground to 11 and 12 knots, YIPPEEE!

Roy had his line out and sure enough, FISH ON!

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This mahi mahi was almost free. It weighed in at a mere 5 lbs and was only three feet long.  We were a bit confused after bringing in the mumbo jumbo king daddy mahi in the Bahamas.  Roy pulled this guy right up on the back step where I put a towel on it and picked it up.  Wow, no fight, no adrenalin rush, no blood and fish parts everywhere.

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Roy went to work cleaning it and Mahi #4 for this season is packed up and in the freezer.  Come visit, I’ll make you a nice mahi dinner.

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We pulled into Cape Lookout just as the sun was setting and the storm was arriving.  The wind whipped up, rain poured down in buckets and temperature dropped.  The anchorage is full of locals ready for Memorial Day Weekend fun in the sun, but this poor guy dragged anchor and got stuck in the sand.  Luckily for $170/year you can get a SeaTow membership for assistance in such situations.

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The beaches were beautiful and the wind gave us a chance to fly the kite the Hill family brought to us in the Bahamas.

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Roy did a bunch of fishing, we saw a huge turtle, played on the beach, rested for two nights and then the wind came out of the south again.  This south wind is only predicted for two days so we better get going quick.

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The first 12 hours didn’t provide enough wind to keep Makai moving toward Cape Hatteras, so we cranked up the engines and motored.  At daybreak we said goodbye to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and set the auto pilot for Cape May.  The last two times we rounded this cape at least one of Makai’s crew was tossing their cookies overboard, today everyone was smiling and happy with the calm weather.

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But, this isn’t the tropics any more.  We had our winter canvas windows on, wore sweaters, and blankets, and cuddled up with Topaz.

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As the afternoon wore on we approached the Delaware Bay and it happened again.  Arrrrhhh! the flies, the flies attacked us.  Last year when we went to Lewes, DE at the mouth of the Delaware Bay they came in swarms and it happened again.  Inside they swirled around like a tornado over a trash dump, outside they clung to the mast, sail, trampoline, solar panels.  It was horrible. As we entered the Cape May channel, just like at Cape Lookout, a huge storm hit us.  The only bonus to the storm is that wind, lightning and rain blew the outside flies away.  We opened all the windows hoping to get rid of the inside flies, but they were much more comfortable inside Makai than out exploring the beach on their own.  In the morning I used a whole bottle of Windex drowning them where they rested and blowing them out of the air.  Then Roy followed up with the swatter.  Whew, now we only have the acceptable hand full of flies to deal with.

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It’s quite chilly for this tropical cruising family.  The air is below 70 degrees and the water is below 55 degrees.  We are wearing long sleeves and long pants with socks.
This morning we heard Ozzy Ozbourne’s “Mama, I’m Coming Home”.  Wow, it’s coming from a Coast Guard ship, USCGC Vigorous was returning from a deployment and we’re anchored a stone’s throw from the base.  This morning we all got to put our hand over our heart for the raising of the colors and watch the Vigorous clean up their ship after a stretch at sea. We do similar things like take the trash out and clean up.

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It looks like we’ll be here for about a week before the wind comes out of the south again and we can make our way up to NY Harbor.

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Saint Augustine, Florida

We had a wonderful two day crossing from the Bahamas to Saint Augustine, Florida.  Most of the day was spent sailing west into the Gulf Stream with a stiff breeze moving Makai along at 7-8 kts.  As the sun went down we entered the Gulf Stream and headed north making 10 -11 kts with the help of the Gulf Stream’s swiftly moving river of warm water.  The next day the wind decreased and it was apparent that we wouldn’t make it into port by night fall, so for most of the night with the sails down, we along at 1 knot waiting for the sun to come up to safely enter the harbor.

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Eric called U.S. Immigration to check in.  They took our passport numbers and directed us to the office where we could have our faces matched to the passports.  The rental car company couldn’t come pick us up until late afternoon, so we did a little sight seeing. I visited Saint Augustine when I was 11 years old on a family vacation and then again a few years ago when the kids and I visited my mother while she was escaping a Buffalo winter.  This is a beautiful place to visit.

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Saint Augustine was claimed for Spain in 1513 by Ponce de Leon, the settlement was later established in 1565 and is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America.  Entering the harbor you are greeted by Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S., built in 1672. This fort was later occupied by the British, Spain again, Confederates, Union, and finally became part of the United States when Florida became a state in 1845. Castillo de San Marcos is made of a stone called coquina, meaning little shells in Spanish.  Ancient shells fused together, similar to limestone, and was able to withstand the shock of cannon balls without cracking and crumbling like harder other stone might.

 

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The view from the top of the fort looks over the mooring field where Makai is waiting for us, as well as the Bridge of Lions.

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The Bridge of Lions was finished in 1927 connecting the mainland with Anastasia Island. A pair of Medici Lions guard the entrance.  This bascule bridge opens regularly to allow sailboats to pass into the south end of the river.

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We showed great restraint walking along St. George Street.  This walking street is several blocks long, lined with shops full of brightly colored trinkets and restaurants with live music and delicious smells.  The kids spotted dream catchers and thought of our friends on the Leopard Catamaran DreamCatcher. Hi Jeanette, Ken, and Beth

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Once we got the rental car all kinds of adventures were open to us.  Like lunch at Panda Express.

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This light house on Anastasia Island in Saint Augustine was built in 1874 and is still used as an aid to navigation for mariners.  We watched its light during the night before our arrival.  There are many lighthouses along the eastern shore, each with unique tower and light patterns.  Saint Augustine’s sister light house is Cape Hatteras, check out our  Outter Banks post to see if you see the difference. It might be hard to see from this angle, but they both have black and white stripes, only Saint Augustine is red at the top and Cape Hatteras is black.

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Mears must be a popular family name here on the east coast.  In Florida there is a Mears transportation company with buses and taxis, Mears Marina in the upper Chesapeake Bay, and Hank Mears was a Saint Augustine Lighthouse keeper.

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The water outside of Saint Augustine is very shallow with breaking waves for at least one mile from land.  The channel markers aren’t even posted on the charts because the sand shifts so often that the markers are moved regularly.

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We climbed the 219 steps for a spectacular view.  From the lighthouse we could easily see the Bridge of Lions, Castillo de San Marcos and Makai in the harbor waiting for us.

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The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park was an interesting mix of history, science and wild life.

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While there are tales about searching for the Fountain of Youth for thousands of years across many cultures, I didn’t see any real evidence that this is what brought Ponce de Leon to Florida’s shores.

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I’m sure the spring they found here was an asset for their new claim.  The Timucua people had already been living in the northern part of Florida for nearly 200 years before the Spanish claimed ‘all they can see’ and beyond.

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Spanish Moss is plentiful in the south eastern states.  It grows in long drapes over live oak and cypress trees.  The kids like to wear it like an old man’s beard.

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The park is also home to a muster of Indian Peafowl.  The white ones are simply the product of recessive genes. This guy spent quite a bit of time with his feathers fanned out and even vibrated them a bit to attract the attention of a peahen.

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All of these military exhibits like to demonstrate the use of gunpowder. We learned a bit about cannons and plugged our ears for the demonstration.

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The kids put themselves back in time to do a little exploring in a dug out canoe.

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My boy Roy turned 13 today, May 14th. We discussed what he might like to do.  Since we had our fill of beaches, snorkeling and fishing, Roy decided to do something a little crazy for his birthday.  He started with the new Captain America movie and then a little miniature golf.

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The day finished up with Chinese food in the captain’s lounge watching River Monsters and finally lemon cupcakes on Makai.  We now have a teenager on board.

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The original plan was to stay for two or three days and then continue north, but a weather system came through bringing wind out of the north and thunder storms so we decided to live the good life.  We had showers, laundry, tv, a rental car, access to stores and west marine, and a beautiful waterfront to walk along.  Now lets get a few projects out of the way.

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Our VHF antenna was worthless. We could only hear people in the same bay as us if they were using their radio on high power.  In fact our hand held radio received transmissions better than Makai’s big radio.  Before leaving the Bahamas, Eric ordered a new antenna and cable to go with it.  After half a day at the top of the mast the little 18 inch antenna was replaced with an eight foot whip.

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He finished the installation just in time to avoid the cold front.  This season we’ve been able to see the fronts pass by.  They look like a huge band of black clouds that passes over head.  On the other side of it the air is much colder and brings wind and rain.

Last year we noticed our propane tanks were getting old.  They’re in great shape but the inspection date expired and U.S. fill stations don’t want to fill them without a visual inspection.  Having the car is great because a 5 mile ride down the road is a breeze.

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The rental car came in handy once again, Eric spent a day helping a neighbor find new batteries for their boat. After a few trips to West Marine and an excursion to Jacksonville, they were in business.  Meanwhile I lifted the Hobie, removed the trampolines, and restitched along every seam.  Over time the thread rots and the stitches disintegrate, one of the tramps was held together by little more than the grommets around the edge. Unfortunately, I was half way through the three seams on the second tramp when my needle hit a grommet, threw the arm off to the left and snapped a metal piece in the machine.  I can order a new piece, but it means I never finished the job.  Eric bought new line to tie them down with and it took the rest of the day to tighten them down.

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This week is an art and music festival at the waterfront. These young guys did a great job with old time surf music, no vocals, just jam’n guitars.

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The marina is also home to two Spanish Galleons, El Galeon & Nao Victoria. There are also a pirate cruise and a harbor sailing cruise that sail by a few times each day.

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Within walking distance is the Lightner museum displaying exhibits from the Gilded age.  The museum started out as the Hotel Alcazar in 1887, built by railroad magnate Henry Flagler.

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Walking through the rooms it was fun to imagine the beautiful clothes and parties this hotel hosted.

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Back to 2014, how about a trip to Costco.  Oh yeah! we loaded up on grapes, cashews, and juice.  Somehow a few hundred dollars later we escaped with only one cart load.

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Our week is almost over, better get that last minute haircut.  We got tips on how to apply the fancy colors into that pretty blonde sister hair and trimmed several inches of dry abused hair off the ends.

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Now we’re making our way to Cape Hatteras.  Check out http://passageweather.com/ and the maps for the western north Atlantic, Florida to Cape Hatteras.  Over the next week we’ll try to stay in the Gulf Stream, keep the wind to our back, and keep warm.  The guys were complaining that it was getting cold so they had to put on a shirt.  Wait until they’re north of Cape Hatteras, then they’ll be wearing a jacket and hat too.

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Abacos

Last week was a quick trip through the Abacos.  This island group is the northern most in the Bahamas and looks very different from the Exumas where we spent most of the winter.  The islands are more forested with tall pines as well as low brush and instead of a sandy bottom that gives the water a swimming pool appearance, the bottom is covered with grass which makes it look dark.  Luckily, the water is still clear and warm.

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We buddy boated with Dream Catcher.  The girls had fun playing, we shared a few great dinners, sunsets, and beach time.  These islands are lined with beautiful houses, boat docks, and occasional towns.  We had a bit of fun on the Hobie sailing between anchorages with the three boat fleet of Hobie, Makai and Dream Catcher.

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Hope Town has a protected harbor filled with moorings and lined with restaurants and docks. The red and white striped lighthouse was built in 1862 and was one of the last operational kerosene lighthouses in the world. We went into town and strolled along looking for lunch.  The crew had cheeseburgers and I had jerk chicken and conch fritters.

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The beach houses and little hotels were beautiful but we’re still happy to be on Makai.

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Eric quietly turned 50 with cupcakes and friends over for sundowners and a movie.  May 4th was Star Wars day, so we watched the original from our youth.  Ok, say it slowly: may the force be with you / May the 4th be with you.  Get it?

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A little Northern wind was expected so we moved over by Marsh Harbor.  The first night we anchored on the south side of the island for protection and the no-see-ums got me.  Little did I know that their bites would produce 2am hives.  The next day we went around into the harbor on the other side of the island and got hives at 1am.  One of them nailed me on my upper lip and it swelled up like Daffy Duck, oh boy.  The upside to Marsh Harbor is a fantastic grocery store and other such provisions.

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By now we were getting sick of towns and wanted to get a little snorkeling in.  Fowl Cay on the other side of the channel had some over the top great reefs.

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We could see ‘forever’, the water was warm, the reefs were huge and full of fish.

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Topaz always snorkels with us.  She could see the fish in the water and spent her time scrambling around after them.

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One of the reefs was shaped like a mushroom surrounded by white sand.

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The coral was all very healthy like this beautiful stag horn coral.

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This area is also a preserve so the fish are gigantic.

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The reefs were only a 100 feet away from each other but their structures were very different.  One was a long bar, another a mushroom, others had tunnels.

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Some had those big stag horn corals and others had schools of fish.

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Next was Guana Cay. Disney’s cruise ship used to anchor here, they called it Treasure Cay, to treat their passengers to private beach parties. Instead Makai and Dream Catcher rafted up so the girls could visit each other at their leisure.

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This is where we said goodbye to Dream Catcher.  They are on their way to Maryland to start their summer projects and adventures.  We’ll meet up with them in a few weeks. Makai continued on, two more stops before leaving the Bahamas.  While we’re underway I usually cook.  Today I made corn muffins, a loaf of bread and bagels.

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Allans Cay was an interesting stop.  This must be a boater’s favorite stop with trees dangling all sorts of junk and strange collections of trash put together to look like a club house.

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After a few attempts to find the path, Eric finally made his way through the jungle to the other side of the island.  He was in search of the ruins of a 1960′s missile tracking station.  We met a Bahamian boater who said he remembered coming here as a kid and it was a busy place.

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Roy loved it because it was a fisherboy’s paradise.

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One throw of the cast net filled his bait bucket with cigar minnows.  Apparently everything in the bay eats these poor little guys. He caught snapper, one after another.  A shark came and took his bait and about 50 feet of line before we cut it.

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Marie came to try her luck.  She finally got brave enough to put the bait on the hook, but still needed help taking the fish off.

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Besides snapper of all sizes, Roy also caught a Bonefish which is a sportsman’s dream.  Sorry, no picture, it got off the hook right at Roy’s feet.

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Roy also caught a puffer fish that puffed itself up while he was getting the hook out, and a few houndfish.

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We could have spent the day there seeing what Roy would catch next, but the biting flies were getting bold and we had a long sail ahead of us.  This evening we’re at Double Breasted Cay.  This is our last night in the Bahamas, tomorrow, Saturday, evening we’ll set out for St. Augustine, Fl. The conditions look to be comfortable and we should arrive on Monday morning to rent a car and check back into the U.S. with immigration. Follow us under the ‘Where’s Makai’ link.

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