Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cruising the Chesapeake Weeks 11-12 Annapolis, Maryland

Sunday, July 19

After two weeks at Solomon's Island, it was time to move the adventure on. Jacob, Caleb and Brian worked on cleaning the anchor chain, anchor and dinghy bottom. Anchor was up around 9:20. Quick stop for fuel and we were on our way back into the Bay.

Our original plan was to sail to Deale, MD. Upon arriving we could find no suitable place to anchor, so that was a quick duck in, duck out visit. We moved onto Annapolis.

We arrived in Spa Creek and hooked onto a mooring ball at 8pm.

This mooring field is located right in front of the United State Naval Academy. We saw the tourist schooner Windwood returning from a sail. It was our first experience on a mooring. Moorings are quicker to hook up to, but we found there is more motion to the boat from other boat traffic.

Monday, July 20

The next morning we were greeted at 6am by a recorded bugle and all of the Navy midshipmen doing their morning exercises in the football field nearby.  We decided to move over to the next creek called Weems Creek.  We were able to snag a Navy mooring ball, which are free when not needed by the Navy. They only use them if a hurricane or major storm is coming.

Once settled on the new mooring, we had breakfast and got ready to see the lay of the land. First thing was to find a landing place. We found one about a ten minute dinghy ride up the creek. It was a public dock leading up to a small park in a neighborhood. With GPS in hand, we set off to find the visitors center.

Once at the visitors center, we got a local map and directions to Bacon Marine, a large marine and consignment shop someone had told Brian about.

Along the way we started encountering chicken statues.  For whatever reason, Annapolis does Chickens, like New Bern does Bears.  Here are a couple of the more interesting ones.

We found the marine store, and the library. After a picnic lunch and time checking out the library, we went back to the boat for a bit then took the dinghy around to the downtown docks.

In Annapolis, any street that ends at the water has free dinghy tie ups.

We crossed the Spa Creek bridge and went into the neighborhood of Eastport. Wandering around and looking at all the sailboats took up a good portion of time.

Tuesday, July 21

This day was cloudy and very humid. Brian did a trash run and we did not do much of anything until that evening, when we went to the library.

Wednesday, July 22

Time to play tourist day!

First stop was the State House.

Next stop was the Navy Academy Museum and campus.

We could not go into the chapel, but were allowed to see the crypt of John Paul Jones located next to the chapel.

Stained glass made by Tiffany.

The neighborhood streets in historic Annapolis are very narrow and still have  brick and cobblestone sidewalks.

Thursday, July 23

Baking and cleaning around the boat day. Went to the library after dinner.

Friday, July 24

We took the dinghy Eastport. Toured the Annapolis Maritime Museum and toured multiple boats most of the day.  Brian is playing around with the idea that we need a larger boat. But nothing we look at compares with our Grace.

Saturday, July 25

Library day.  Earlier in the week we had seen a notice about a showing of the Lego Movie at the library on Saturday and Nathan had been looking forward to seeing it again.  Brian was researching boats, a favorite passtime, and came across of 50 ft. Beneteau. So we left the boys at the library and dinghied over to Eastport and took a look at it.  It was huge and would meet our space needs, but the mast was too tall and the draft was too deep.  We would not be able to go under ICW bridges or get back to New Bern very easily. While we were in the area, we looked at more boats, some for the second or third time.  But again, nothing can compare to what we already have. We met the boys back at the dock, sent them on to the boat and had a date night.

Sunday, July 26

Spent the day on the boat. We listened to Shine FM out of Baltimore and heard two sermons. Jacob cleaned the bottom of the dinghy again with Luke and Caleb helping hold the boat in place.  There is a ton of boat traffic on the weekends.  As we were just past the mouth of the creek, we caught most of the power boaters wakes, causing our boat to rock quite a bit.

Monday, July 27

Library day again.  The boys love the libraries for the free wifi. I love the opportunity to just sit and read.  Maryland libraies do not issue cards to people out of state, so everything has to be read on site.  I was able to finish a book on Martha Washington over the several hours spent there.

We rented the movie Unbroken from Redbox to watch that evening.

Tuesday, July28

We had decided to move the boat to Back Creek, closer to Eastport. The long dinghy rides in all the boat traffic were getting a little old. We anchored near Jabin Boat Yard because it is closest to a dinghy dock with access to a main road. We got situated,then dinghied over and walked around Eastport more, looking at boats. We walked the mile or so up the road and found the grocery store.  We ended up having dinner at a small Latin type restaurant. Orders of beans and tortillas really hit the spot.

Going back to the boat, we saw that someone had anchored too close to us. His boat was actually touching ours. There was plenty of room surrounding to anchor, we could not figure out why he was so close.  No one was on board, so Brian took in some of his line so the boats would not hit.  They guy came back to his boat, and Brian explained what he did and why. The guy went off for at least twenty minutes. I was frantically looking up the Harbor masters number in case we needed it.  Brian just let him rant. He truly put into practice Proverbs 26: 4, " Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like unto him."  We had anchored first, this guy was clearly in the wrong.  He finally simmered down.

We all swam off the back of the boat and then went to bed.

Wednesday, July 29

Brian saw the guy leave very early in the morning. Thank God!

Near where we dinghy to is a nature trail.

We followed it around. It was maybe 1/2 -1 mile looping back to the beginning. Then we walked to the Eastport library to check it out. On the way we stopped at Dollar General and picked up things for a picnic lunch. While at the library it started lightly raining. We didn't think much of it, but after awhile we decided we had better go check on the boat.  We had left most of the hatches open and even though Brian had put tarps up, if the wind picked up it could still blow rain in.  There was some water on the table and some clothes stacked up got wet, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  When the rain stopped, we hung everything out to dry.

After dinner, Brian and I decided to go back to Dollar General and get a few provisions that would cost less than the big grocery store.  We got more than we planned, but they were have a great sale on canned goods. So we got our weight training workout in pack muling  the 1.5 miles back to the boat.

Thursday, July 30

Today finds us back at the library. The boys were invited to a free lunch here today. After that we will get more provisions at the Giant grocery store and head back to the boat.  Brian is scheduled to look at another boat with a broker this afternoon. We are planning to stay through the weekend and then head to our next stop of Baltimore.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cruising the Chesapeake Week 10 Solomons, Maryland

Wednesday, July 8

Solomons is a very walkable town. Which is a good thing for sailors like us, who pretty much walk everywhere once on land.  From the various landing places, most stores are within a mile or two. 

There are no less than a dozen marinas to choose from. A lot of marinas offer free book swaps. I really enjoy this. We always anchor, but visited one to get a repair made on the swim ladder.

With Solomons having a large sailing community, there is a West Marine store. Brian ordered a cover for the new compass on Wednesday and was told it would arrive on Friday.  It arrived the next day. Great service.

Thursday, July 9

Brian and the boys went on a trash run and donated some books. Then Brian and I went to town and had lunch at Roy Rogers after he had picked up his compass cover.

Later that afternoon the boys went to the library.

Friday, July 10

Back to West Marine for tape to rewrap the dinghy handles. We walked all over town looking for a church we had read about online. We could not find it, which was very weird.

We did find a fun photo op.

 We happened by the visitors center for the biological research lab located on the island. Back at the boat we had lunch and then went swimming at the Comfort Inn pool.  Brain asked permission first, and we were thrilled when they said yes.

Back to the boat for dinner and a movie. We watched the classic Where the Red Fern Grows.

Saturday, July 11

Reading the news, Brian discovered it was 7-11 Day. So we loaded up to hang out at the library and later stopped by 7-11 for our free slushies.

Sunday, July 12

We walked on the board walk. The boys got ice cream cones at the local stand. Brian got popcorn. We were debating about leaving the next day to move on when we came across a banner promoting VBS that week. Nathan said he would like to go, so the decision was made to stay another week.

We also met a fellow liveaboard who was anchored out. He has been here several months and gave us the lowdown on the town. His boat is a bright yellow trimaran with hand painted pictures. It reminded me of a 60's VW bus. Sorry I didn't get a picture to post.

Later, walking again, Brian the the older boys came across a tire in a dumpster.  Brian has been wanting to make sandals from an old tire, something he read about online. Tire sandals are supposed to be indestructible, and with as much walking as we now do, we need indestructible; some of us more than others.  So they went back later with some tools and brought back the usable parts.

Monday, July 13

We dropped Nathan off at VBS and then went to the library. Back to the boat for lunch after picking Nathan up.  After lunch it was time to make a template for the sandals.

Cutting the tire proved to be harder than antisipated. We just didn't have the proper tool.  So now we are on the lookout for a motorcycle tire or a little spare tire doughnut. Thinner rubber, but still strong.  Templates are filed away for now.

Tuesday, July 14

Nathan to VBS. Us to the library. Pick up Nathan, back to the boat for lunch. That afternoon we worked on cleaning the outside of the boat and dinghy.

Wednesday, July 15

Again, Nathan to VBS, then Caleb and Jacob went to hang out at the library while Luke, Brian and I caught the bus to cross the river to California, MD, to  the closest Wal-Mart for groceries.  Shopping went fine. But we missed our bus to come back to Solomons and had to wait two hours for the next one. It was very exciting. We watched people and traffic go by, Luke and I played squares on notebook paper. We watched ants carrying a dead catipillar away from their hill.

No trouble getting back on the next bus. Called Jacob to pick us up and back to the boat to put everything away.

Thursday, July 16

Nathan to VBS. Brian had a conference call on the boat. The older three boys and I did laundry on the public dock. We set up our little Wonder Washer and the boys took turns carrying a bucket up to the restrooms for HOT water. After a load was done, we rung out the clothes and then divided them up to go rinse in the restroom sink, then back to the bench to semi dry until we could go back to the boat and hang on the lifelines.

Friday, July 17

Nathan to VBS. The rest of us walked to the library. I had gotten the hours mixed up so it wasn't open, but we sat outside and read and did tablets anyway.  Brian and I walked to a nearby yard and looked at boats. Then we hurried back to the church for the end of week program.

On Monday all of the kids had made tie dye shirts and were supposed to wear them on Friday.

The kids sang all of the songs they had learned during the week.

Went through each days Bible point.

They finished with prayer and a group photo.

We dropped the boys back at the boat and Brian and I went on a lunch date. Then we picked up a Redbox movie to watch later with the family. We chose Mall Cop 2 with Kevin James.  Funny movie!

Back from our errand and lunch, Brian did some work on the engine and painted it to help prevent corrosion.

 At 4:00 the boys went to an open field and played ultimate frisbe with another cruising family that has a 16 year old son.  They had a great time. Back at the boat we had a light dinner, popped popcorn and enjoyed our movie.

Saturday, July 18

We are back at the library for this blog update. Later we will return our movie and get the boat ready to head out tomorrow if the weather is good. Plans are to go to Deale, MD and then on to Annapolis.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cruising the Chesapeake Weeks 8-9 Colonial Beach, Kinsale, Solomons

Tuesday, June 23

With the summer heat, it was time for the guys to get summer cuts.  We set up shop on the sugar scoop of the boat, heads over the trashcan and plenty of extra power cord on the buzzers. After each cut, the boys would just jump in the water to rinse off.

Ever since we bought the boat last year, the compass has had a bubble in it.  That bubble has bugged Brian to no end. He finally got to the point of wanting to fix it. He figured out how to take it out of it's spot in the end of the cockpit table and learned from our new friend Bill Bowman at the Boat House Marina that you can add mineral oil to fill in the bubble. He went to the Rite Aid store and bought some oil and we came back to pour it in the compass.  It was trickier than he thought it would be. And the bubble was still there. He and I went back to the store for more mineral oil. We ended up finding it for less at the Family Dollar and bought 2 more bottles. Back at the boat, he tried again. As you know, oil is a slippery mess. We ended up spilling most and got a nice polish on the table. The old compass had seen the end of it's days. Brian ordered a new compass through Bill the next day.

 Wednesday, June 24

 Wednesday morning was spent playing scrabble with the boys and after lunch we hiked to the grocery store.

Thursday, June 25

Brian and the boys worked on filling the water tanks. They did this by putting the two jugs in the dinghy and going over to the docks and filling them from the spigot. Our  two jugs each hold 7 gallons. Our two  water tanks on the boat each hold 70 gallons.  We work off one tank at a time and when it gets low, we switch to the other one and refill that one. So to fill one tank is about 5 trips back and forth.

We took a picnic lunch to the beach then went to the library.  The library became one of our favorite spots to hangout. It really was one of the nicest we have been to.

Brian and I left the boys at the library and walked to the store for some ice cream to bring back as a treat for everyone.  We stopped on the way at a beach store and bought some t shirts from the dollar rack and some sandals for Nathan.  Back at the marina, Brian picked up his new compass. It is smaller than the old one, but he is much happier with it.

Friday, June 26

Brian and I got up and took an early morning walk. After breakfast, Bill took Brian to buy supplies for installing the new compass and to get one of  our propane tanks filled. We were really impressed that one tank lasted three months, with being used several times a day for the stove and oven. Back at the shop, Bill cut out the base for him. That afternoon, Brian installed it.

That evening we had a date night and went to a Chinese Restaurant called Hunan. I made the mistake of wearing cheapy sandals instead of my Keens to dinner. They were crumbling and falling apart before we even got to the restaurant and just got worse as the evening went on. Before getting back in the dinghy to go back to the boat, they went right in the trash.

Saturday, June 27

All week we had been seeing banners around town advertising an event for Saturday. A Bluegrass Gospel group and kids activities to be held at a local park. We got up had breakfast and went to hang out at the library until time for the event. We had packed a lunch to eat, but did not end up needing it. 

It was cloudy and cooler and we wondered if they would still have the event. We stopped by around one and only saw a few people. We asked if the event was cancelled. The singing group was, but they fed us sandwiches, the balloon guy made everyone something, and we met a couple who would become friends.

Carl and Brenda set up the event and we asked if they were part of a local church. They were. On all of our walks we had passed by Colonial Beach Baptist Church several times. Brian noted an early service. We had already decided to attend the service the next day. This couple was from that very church! We told them we planned to attend the next morning and they were very excited. It rained all afternoon and into the night.

Sunday, June 28

We first thought to go to service, slip out and head on down the river. Once at church we were invited to come back Wednesday evening for a pre fourth potluck and prayer meeting. Not having set plans and learning that Colonial Beach puts on one of the best fireworks displays, we decided to stay through the fourth of July.

After church, we went back to the boat and did laundry. Brian and Luke had been researching a new operating system for the laptop. They decided to go to McDonalds for the free wifi and install it. They took the dinghy to the top of the bay and only had to walk a few blocks. They came back a few hours later with success! No more slow computer with endless pop-ups.

Monday, June 29

Brian took Luke out to lunch as a thank you for his work on the computer. The rest of us went to the beach.

Tuesday, June 30

Back at the library again. Luke needed to do some tweaking on the computer and install plug ins so we could watch movies. That evening we walked to a local gas station and had some of the best fried chicken for dinner.  Back in Onancock, our friend, Paige, had told us that gas stations usually have the best chicken, she was right!  Then we went on to Family Dollar and got cookies for dessert. Have you noticed how frugal we are yet??

Wednesday, July 1

Brian and the boys went to town in the morning and I stayed on the boat cooking and reading. That afternoon we loaded up our potluck contributions and headed back to hangout at the library until time for church.

We love pot lucks. Such a great variety of food and visiting. We visited more with the pastor and learned that he and his wife home school. They go to the local Classical Conversations group.  Although we have never done that, we have many many friends who have and do. Brian gave him a bit of our history and told him that we are wanting to serve and share the Gospel as a family as we travel around.

After dinner was the prayer meeting.  We have been to plenty of prayer meetings over the years, but this one was extra special somehow.  The pastor read Scripture and then would open up the floor for "popcorn prayer" Whoever wanted to pray could.  At the end, he shocked us by asking if they could pray for our family and our journey.

Thursday, July 2

In our new effort to find ways to serve, we were invited to come to the churches food closet.  They do not just hand out bags of food to those who come, they also have a room where the people can come in and be prayed for before leaving.  We were honored to be in the prayer room and not only join hands with those receiving prayer, but hearing the stories of all of the answered prayers from this.

During our stay in Colonial Beach, we got a temporary library card and had been checking out movies and documentaries. Our evening were usually spent in that way. We learned about whaling, pirates,and Lincoln. We, mainly the boys, watched superman, Stranger than Fiction, and To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Friday, July 3

We were getting low on bread stuffs, so I made english muffins for breakfast and tortillas for lunch. Brian and the boys took a final trip to the library to return our movies. Later in the afternoon Caleb, Luke, Brian and I took the dinghy back to the top of the bay and walked the few blocks to the store to reprovision again. We came back and put everything away and had taco salad for dinner.

Saturday July 4

Earlier in the week, when we told Bill at the marina we were staying through the fourth, he invited us to the marina potluck Saturday evening before watching the fireworks.  He had been so good to us during our stay, we couldn't help but say sure! Plus you know we love a good potluck!

I made a pan of brownies that morning to take. Brian had dropped the boys off to walk around town. Once the brownies were cooling, we went walking as well. back at the boat, we made a quick picnic lunch and went back to find the boys and eat and people watch.  Colonial Beach is usually a population of about 3500. On the fourth, it more than doubles.

From as early as 9am people started claiming their spots on the beach.

They closed off the town pier because this is where they shoot the fireworks from.
They had a big moving truck full of fireworks they were off loading.

After lunch we walked to the store for, you guessed it, more ice cream!  We also stopped by a farm stand and got some tomatoes. The guy was so nice. He gave each of us a free peach and several more to take with us as well.

We stopped by all the antique shops. Brian was on a mission to find a plastic crab for decoration on the boat. He didn't find his crab yet, but got a small blue fish.  Nathan was thrilled to find the first three Star Wars dvd's for $7 at one shop.

Back at the boat, I made another pan of enchilada's for the pot luck while Brian and the boys scrubbed the waterline of the boat.

It started to lightly rain as we were heading over to the marina. No big deal, they just moved it inside.

In addition to grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, people brought all kinds of delicious salads and sides. As with most boaters,we met some of the nicest people. One couple started and run the largest farmers market in Richmond and have just started one in Colonial Beach. They gave us a watermelon at the end of the evening.

Back at the boat, the rain had let up, and we got to see fireworks shows from other marinas,the camp ground and some of the main show over on the beach.

Sunday, July 5

It had been just shy of two weeks. the longest we had ever stayed in one place.  Time to load the dinghy and get ready to head on.

After some major scrubbing first.

The chain and anchor were just as bad. We got the anchor up by 8am and were on our way. Last stop on the Potomac River was Kinsale. A tiny village with a big history. We put the anchor down at 1pm and Brian, Luke, Caleb and I went exploring.

While wandering around the town park, a lady stopped her car and asked if we wanted to see the museum. The hours were only for Friday and Saturdays, but she offered to open for us after she dropped someone off at their house.

Kinsale had a tiny museum but Lynn made it come alive with her animated, friendly story telling.

Kinsale is located on the middle section of the Yeocomico River. Yeocomico means Place of Four Dwellings. As the river forks there are four land places.

We anchored near this house, which turns out is a major part of the town's history.  It is called the Great House.  The following is a brief history from the Kinsale's 300th Birthday Celebration booklet.

" In 1667, the General Assembly ordered a fort on the Yeocomico River for the defense of the Potomac.  That same year the original Great House was built by Stephen Bailey. 

During the war of 1812, the U.S.S. Asp was attacked by British forces just off shore the Great House.  Her commander, midshipman James B. Sigourney, was killed defending Kinsale.  His body was brought ashore and buried in the Bailey cemetery."

Now to the museum director's great story telling.

The house was destroyed and by the Civil War was just finishing reconstruction. The Yankees were coming to attack and were planning to burn the Great House. The lady of the house begged them not to, but they would not listen. Then the woman's little girl took the commanding officer to the cemetery and showed him the grave.  The officer had a complete change of heart.  Why??  The officer's  name was James B. Sigorney.  The only loss the Great House suffered that day was that of their Christmas goose.

Another bit of history recently discovered is that of a son of Kinsale who was in WWII.  Clarence Kaufman Douglas, a/k/a "Grinzer"  was in the same group of soldiers as Louis Zamperini; recently made famous from the book and movie, "Unbroken".  Clarance's own grandson played him in the movie.

The night of the fourth, Kinsale's fireworks had gotten rained out, so they rescheduled for the following night.  So we got to see yet another show.

Monday, July 6

Brian did a semi oil change and then he and the boys raised the anchor and we were off for the Solomons.  We had been on the Potomac exactly one month, 31 days. Time to get back onto the Bay.

We sailed all day and got to our new anchorage at 5:45pm.

Tuesday, July 7

Brian, Jacob and Caleb kayaked in the morning. Jacob and Caleb came back in but Brian stayed out.  When he did come back for lunch, he said he had been asked to be a part of a commercial for the Maryland Department of Tourism being filmed.  They shot him kayaking around the marina.

After lunch we put the kayaks away and put the dinghy back in the water.  We took the swim ladder to a marina for  a quote on strengthening the steps. Then we grabbed a free map and set off for town.

Brian finally found his crab in one of the many shops. The picture will have to wait for the next up date.

We picked up pizza for dinner and enjoyed a quiet evening.