Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Aboard the USS Tarsk, above and below. K.T. How did you do it?
Baltimore is home of the famous TV show "Homicide, Life on the Street." This plaque is on the Baltimore City Police Station in Fells Point. Wonder if they would let us take a tour?
Who knew? Baltimore is also home of the Trapeze School. Unfortunately it was not in session.
At right, intereseting pub in Fells Point. Look closely at the name!
One of many Crabs in the city, Baltimore's version of the Chicago Cows.......
We're much more interested in the live creatures swimming in the Patapsco River. Yikes!
Broadway Market in Fells Point....fragrances of crabcakes and hot dogs as you walk by.
I love how the city uses existing buildings as part of their beautification and development. The four stacks used to be a power plant. Now the huge building houses Barnes and Noble, ESPN Zone, and other hot spots. You actually walk through the towers as you brouse for books at Barnes and Noble. Very Cool.
And some of the people we've met while in Baltimore......
Eileen, Jimmie, and Hal who visited with Sue and took her out to dinner while Scott was away in Chicago. Thanks Maggie for having family in my neighborhood!
Brian on his Bristol 40 in the Inner Harbor. It was great to share cocktails and sailing stories. Hope to see you in Florida!
Lauren who helped us celebrate our 100 days at sea while dining at the Cheesecake Factory. You never know when your picture will be blogged!
AND Steve and Linda who treated us to dinner. We met Steve 2 years ago during our 6 week cruise on Lake Michigan. It was great to meet again and get expert advice on sailing the Chesapeake!
We hope our sailing paths cross again soon!
Sunday, September 25, 2005
As reported here recently we had a 'minor' problem with the engine dying for no apparent reason. I then deduced that it was the paper filter in the Racor water separator which had never been replaced! After replacing the filter we ran the engine for an hour to make up for charge on batteries and to make sure all was fine with the engine. Later that night we returned to the boat and as is our policy run a little engine to top off batteries before turning in for the night and the engine died after only a couple of minutes. Now what? Seems like the engine is not getting fuel so I suspected the fuel pump itself which is
electric on our engine. This brings up another list of potential suspects: Is the pump itself broken or are the little electrons not even getting there? There are some circuit breakers up stream from the pump and shorting them out didn't help. I also took a wire and brought 12 volts directly to the pump...nothing. OK it IS the pump.
Broken Fuel Pump.....also sad.
Now we are hanging on the anchor in Baltimore's inner harbor. This is now Thursday morning and on Friday morning I am flying to Chicago from DC to surprise my daughter on her birthday. That means that Enee has to be put into a slip today so Sue can have electricity (hey she deserves it!) while I'm away. If possible we'd also like to find a new pump and put that in so that I don't have that worry while I'm away. Looks like a busy day for us!
We have a marina we intend to go to about two miles back out of the harbor called
The Anchorage. Now how to get Enee there? We called Tow Boat as they were so helpful when we went aground. They are not so helpful this time. They consider this sort of tow mooring to mooring and only cover half. I say no deal. Instead we lashed the dingy tightly to the starboard quarter with the engine on it. Sue rode in the dingy and steered the outboard while I steered the mother ship. I'd only read about this solution but it turns out to be easy as long as you are in pretty calm conditions which we were. We motored at about 2.5 knots and with some help from the harbor hands, got Enee nicely into a slip. One job done.
Imagine.....approaching the Anchorage Marina with Scott at Enee's helm, binoculars raised, and barking orders to Sue who is 5 or 6 feet below in dingy lashed to starboard with outboard throttle in hand and the roar of the motor in her ear.....What?.....Imagine......
Now, while I cleaned the ugly mud off of the boat that the anchors brought up Sue went to pick up a rent a car. Our good friend, Sean, from Authentic Yacht Brokers and come through again and found us a pump at the Hartge Boat Yard south of Annapolis. Ok, we are ON it! We only got lost 3 or 4 times on our way to the yard but once there they did indeed have the pump. Back to Enee. While Sue threw in some laundry I installed and wired the new pump. Not difficult except for the standard dropping of small parts into the bilge a few dozen times. Upon starting the engine I heard the good old sound of the pump clicking away and knew this was the solution we were looking for.
Now for the point: If someone asks me what is a 'typical' day like in the cruising life I'm sure I'd have no answer. Some days we are sailing fine, some we are getting thrashed about by wind or waves, some swinging on the anchor, walking through a small town, or going on a quest for a needed part. Maybe this is part of the allure of cruising...no typical days!
Note to all who like to comment: You'll notice now that to leave your comment you'll have to type in one of those word verification deals. I've been getting a lot of automatic spam comments and this prevents them. Only one more step so don't let it stop you from commenting!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
We took the dingy ashore. No need for the motor as shore is about 200 yards away. Just oars. Lots and lots of restaurants including (and I’m not making this up) the “Rusty Scupper”. We had to have a rum and coke in the Rusty Scupper as it was also national “Talk Like a Pirate Day”. Who knew! (Yarrrrrrrrr..)
Back to Enee and a spaghetti dinner and to bed. . . . Holy Crap what’s that noise? At about 10 pm a crew came into the aquarium which is just the other side of the submarine and began to disassemble a metal stairway with JACK HAMMERS! (Look closely at the picture. The infamous stairs are just beyond the sub) It was the loudest racket I’ve ever heard and I played drums in some pretty bad bands. Luckily the workers stopped at 5:00 AM so I could then get my hour and a half of sleep. My body demands to get up at 6:30 no matter what for some reason.
Tuesday we looked at a number of boats. We really like the Endeavor 40 and plan to look some more tomorrow. Sean, our broker from Authentic Yachts, was a great guide and drove us around
Went for a long walk today to the West Marine. Did you know you had to replace the little paper filters in the Racor water separator filter? I didn’t. Finally this filter was so clogged the engine shut itself down. But enough about my mechanical acuity, the walk was through some more interesting
Monday, September 19, 2005
The following is a photo story of our recent travels and adventures. Hope you enjoy! Remember, you can click on any picture to get a larger version. Then hit your 'back' button to return to the riviting text!
On our way to finding an anchorage, Scott looks up and says, "Hey look at that plane. I think it's going to land!" One shouldn't always have both eyes on just the depth meter!!!! He landed alright...about 100 yards off our stern. Plenty of room, I guess!
Learning about low tide in Lloyd's Neck, Long Island. Those bumps weren't there when we drove our dingy over to the channel earlier in the day!
Dan and Judy of sailing vessel Tortuga! They have been cruising for 10 years on their 33' Ranger and have many stories to tell as well. We first hooked up with them in Castleton NY, just missed them in NYC and then hooked up again in Port Washington. We hope to see them again somewhere down the coast.
Our first day on the ocean...Scott hasn't been this happy since the 1985 Bears!
While sailing the Atlantic from Atlantic City to Cape May we had a visitor! But not for very long since we jibbed and scared him away. Sorry Gracie!
Yikes! What just happened? Oh, the main sheet disengaged from the traveler. Good thing we are only sailing the ocean and the seas are calm. (Actually they were). Quick Captain Snappy... time for repairs at sea, your favorite!
Right-O....I'm on it.
Canyon Resort harbor in Cape May, NJ.... a very fisherman friendly marina. Note the gas pumps on the docks!!!!
However no one could top Utsch's marina in Cape May for hospitality. Look at the goody bag they gave us! Yes, that is a bottle of wine.
This is the Cape May canal the day before we traveled it.
You guessed it. This is the day we 'sailed' the Cape May canal. Fortunately there are no large freighters on this canal.
However, Delaware Bay is another story. The fog did lift though and the freighters came and went. The seas built steadily from the south and we finally made our way into Delaware City, on a very secluded creek.
In Delaware City we met up with Jack and Ruthie who are relatives of Georgia, Scott's stepmother. Jack has flown a Cessna for 30 years and we had many adventures to swap over dinner including the time Ruthie accidently turned off the fuel while flying!
One of the many fishing boats in the ocean. Resemblances of 'perfect storm.'
Sue arriving in Baltimore. She loves arriving by sea!
Captain constantly searching for a wifi connection.
Gracie....she's not dead yet but what's with those eyes! Heavy betting action on Gracie making it to the Keys. Bet 'em up!
And Enee in Baltimore harbor among the other historical sites! Yes, we are anchored next to a submarine!
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Tomorrow we will take the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal into Chesapeake Bay and find an anchorage. We are very much looking forward to exploring the Chesapeake.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Sorry no pics today. Just discovered that the marina we're in has wi fi!
Thanks to all who write and comment but NOT the spam comments from who knows who!!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Yesterday we got up at 3:00AM and got Enee going at 4 to sail from the base of Sandy Hook to Atlantic City...ON THE OCEAN. OK, we were pretty excited about this trip. About 70 miles down the coast. First of all we had to negotiate a number of buoys and read charts to make it around the point of Sandy Hook in the dark while keeping an eye on the numerous ocean going liners and freighters. That done the sun came up in a perfectly blue sky! Wind was about 10 kts out of the NE and we were able to broad reach, wing and wing, and some motor down the Jersey coast. Ocean swells were about 2 feet and felt wonderful. We're really in the ocean and sailing SOUTH!
We just made it to Atlantic City as it was getting dark. After much swearing and gnashing of teeth (we're still a little tense when we get into shallow water...you know less than 50 feet!) we found a slip at the Trump Marina. Yes, THAT Trump. Nice place but a little pricey but, hey, we deserve it. Besides, I'll win back the price of the slip at the crap table!
Tomorrow we're off to Cape May which is only another 20-30 miles down the coast.
Anchored in Great Kills, Statin Island waiting for a clue about weather around here! NOAA radio reports winds around 5 knots from the west and a small craft advisory! What? How can those two go together? After some attempts to have our land bound advisors (Leah and Barry) check the NOAA website we are sort of convinced that we should stay put. The weather is beautiful though! On Thursday we call our broker friend Andy who is going to show us a Globe 41 that we are interested in (stay tuned!). He is at the Atlantic City boat show and says that the seas are running 6 feet or so but they are very gentle large humps and very little wind so come on down! He suggests making the entire run from Sandy Hook to Atlantic City and not even mess with the little inlets at Barnegat Light or Masaquan Inlet. These inlets shoal and are small and if there is anchoring it is not clear where it is.
We agree but are bored staying at Great Kills so we opt to go for a little 5 mile sail and drop the anchor in Horseshoe Bay about half way along the western coast of Sandy Hook. We talked about this bay with another sailor a few weeks ago and remembered he said to go way wide of the northern tip to avoid the shoals as they’re not marked. Fine. (Do you see bad things about to happen? Foreshadowing!)
Another beautiful day. Light wind but then it picked up and we had to tack our way in toward Horseshoe Bay. Fun and we could use some honing of our sailing skills since we have not been doing a whole lot lately. We dropped the sails and approached the bay from the west going straight in way south of the shoal area. But not south enough! The depth sounder went 20’…14…7.BAM! Hard aground in sand! Shit. Some good news: it was nearly low low tide so maybe we can just wait and float off. There is a 5 foot tide differential here and that would be plenty. The bad news: The wind and waves are up and pushing us in toward the shoal area. We are not moving but we’re thinking that as soon as we begin to float again we’ll just get pushed back into a new shallow place. We decide to kedge out an anchor to do two things. 1. Keep the above from happening. We don’t like being grounded but we don’t want to move from here either out of control. 2. It can’t be far to the deep water. If we can set the anchor way out in deep water and then put the rode on a winch we may be able to drag ourselves off.
I put the anchor and chain in the dingy while Sue paid out rode as I rowed (Ha! synonym? Homonym?) the dingy out astern. Tough rowing an inflatable into the wind but lots of swearing and steady strokes got me out there. I sounded the bottom with my lead and it was plenty deep! I threw the anchor over the side (making sure it was in no way attached to me!) and Sue hauled in to set it. Perfect.
Back on board I sound the bottom abeam and it is 4 feet. I only need 5.5 feet to float. This could work! I begin to crank on the winch hauling on the anchor rode. I pull in maybe 10 or 20 feet of rode. Is the boat moving or am I dragging the anchor across the bottom? I can’t tell. Hard to believe I could drag the big Bruce anchor with 100’ of rode out. I pull some more and then sound the bottom. Now it’s 3.5 feet! Either I’ve pulled us into even shallower water or more tide has gone down. That’s possible because we are still and hour from low low tide. Now I’m worried that if I keep cranking I’ll just pull the anchor and have to start the laborious process all over again. If we wait we may still have the problem of Enee swinging on the anchor I’ve set and re setting herself on the shoal before we can back off. Also, to wait for high tide is to wait for about 10 o’clock at night. Then I’ve have to retrieve my anchor at night AND stay off the shoal.
We call Tow Boat US! Luckily I had just upgraded my towing insurance to UNLIMITED. This is NOT a reflection of my piloting skills. It’s just cheap! Unlimited towing for $105 a YEAR. Everyone should buy this.
It took two boats! The first tow boat couldn’t get in to me because it was even too shallow for him. He sent for the ‘jet boat’. Yes we can saved by a jet boat! It took forever. He turned us and then drug us south about 100 yards through the sand to find deep water. Communication was impossible in the wind and waves so I never figured out why he didn’t turn me more and drag me back west to the nearby deep water. Anyway we finally saw the depth sounder go to 4, 5, 6, 10 feet and could see the mast finally straighten up and we were free. They towed us out a ways and then cut us loose. The first boat stayed with us as we motored 2 miles to Atlantic Highlands Marina. They do this because often sailors will unknowingly run their engine to get off and suck sand up into the water intake. Then they need another tow when their engine overheats! Jesus I’m glad that didn’t happen to us even though I did run the engine a couple of times in vain attempts to back off (the deep water was soooooo close!)
We are so glad we upgraded our insurance. Amount billed to Boat US: $615!! My charge: $0.00. Wow, a smart financial move? I NEVER do that!
We took a mooring ball from the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club even though there is a nice anchorage at the mouth of this harbor. We just were all in and didn’t want to fool with anchors looked forward to a peaceful nights sleep. What a day. Just a nice little sail over to Horseshoe Bay my ass!
Epilogue: We come back to the boat after going out to dinner in town and find that our holding tank is full. No head on board and we are out on a mooring ball. What a day…
Addendum: Some other things that didn’t work
Just running the engine in reverse. This can work if your quick about it and not too stuck but you have to give it up quickly. You can just burn up the engine and you can suck sand into the water intake. We tried a little and then gave this up mostly.
Me hanging outboard pulling on the upper shroud in a vain attempt to tip the keel or rock the boat out of the sand. (If I’d thought to swing the boom out and hang on the end that may have worked but I didn’t think of it.)
Now as you read the following failed attempt remember the idea came from a professional physicist. I wanted to get more leverage to try to tip the boat and pop the keel out of the bottom. So I took the main halyard and some extra line and rowed the inflatable dingy out about 50 ‘ to the side of the boat. Now I have some angle and can pull on the halyard and maybe tip the boat. Do you all see why this is not going to work? I pulled really hard on the halyard and what happens? I simply pull the dingy back to the ship and fast too! Yeah this could only work if I had the power to suspend Newton’s third law briefly. A law that I spent the better part of my life teaching. I laughed and laughed at how physics can still come around and bite me in the ass! I guess that’s why I enjoyed teaching it so much in my previous life!
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Barry returned our weather-check phone call at 8:00 a.m. Barry is our friend in Muskegon Michigan and fellow sailor. When in need of internet weather we call Barry and he relays what he sees to us. Scott talked with him about what details were available on-line about the Jersey shore, which isn’t much, then went back to bed. I, for a change got up and made the coffee. As I got comfortable in the cockpit with the computer, 5 small fishing boats and one large ‘trawler’ came into our anchoring neighborhood. They’re clamming with those long poles with baskets on the end. Now we can see how this really works….. I’ve got to take some pictures…..
We’re back on board after checking out the yacht clubs and town of Great Kills. Many restaurants and a couple delis but no internet. Right now Scott is plotting our course for tomorrow. We plan to head as far as Barnegat Inlet about 50 miles south. This will be the first time we’ll sail so far in the Atlantic. Exciting and scary. We have our charts and NOAA weather radio, but we don’t yet have a good sense of what the sea conditions are like. What does it look like when the radio predicts waves 3 to 6 feet; swells from the southeast? Tomorrow we’ll find out. Although the wind is suppose to be from the west tomorrow. We think that’s a good thing.
Tuesday – Through Hell Gate and Beyond!
We checked and double checked the ebb and slack times at Hell Gate where they say the waves can get to be 6 and 10 feet if the conditions are just right. Our plan for the day was to sail from Port Washington in Manhasset Bay to Sandy Hook, which is past the V Narrows Bridge and just south of Statin Island. We left our anchorage at 11:00 a.m. and noted the multitude of boats, both sail and motor yachts, cruising on by us making their way through Hell Gate as well. We think we were the last sail boat through but our timing worked because the current, though evident in the swirling waters, wasn’t very strong and we were flowing with the tide. Our boat speed in the water was about 5 knots but the water was flowing about 3 knots in our favor so we were flying down the East River.
After dodging the many tour boats and ferries as well as freighters and other cruisers, not to mention tourist helicopters we passed Lady Liberty once more and were heading out to the Atlantic. Or at least a beginning piece of it. As we approached the V Narrows bridge Scott said, ‘Just let me know when you want to put up the main.’ I hesitated too long because as we cleared the anchored dozen or so huge freighters just before the bridge the wind picked up (it felt like 15 to 20 to me), right in our face of course – from the south and the waves were significant. The wind was blowing against the current which makes for tricky seas – like those tales of 6 to 10 feet at Hells Gate. Only this is the OCEAN! So we plodded on just with the motor past the bridge then picked a ‘lull time’ to raise the main. Much better now. Our speed picked up and for sure we’ll be able to pass across the freighter channel before that next one come by. Right? These ships are loaded with at least 50 train car size trailers stacked 4 or 5 high. Very impressive.
Once we got both sails out we had a beautiful sail heading west. So it was time to let the wind take us to the next place and we changed our destination to Great Kills instead of Sandy Hook. We snuck into the narrow channel where the sandy shore was a rocks through away and the depth got as low as 7.5 feet. Once inside the depths are 15 and 20 feet, except for an unmarked 3 and 5 foot shoal which becomes obvious since no sailboats or mooring balls are there. We headed to the northeastern part of this well protected ‘lake’ and anchored just past the boat ramp.
As we sipped our successfully anchoring Enee beer we realized all of the drama of the day: Pay attention to the tide and currents and don’t get caught ‘the wrong way’ and beware of the swirling water and don’t get turned around and watch out for the many floating debris in the East River like wooden doors and make sure you stay clear of the barges and freighters and ferries because they have the right of way and read the bouys correctly because you don’t want to get in the shallows! Let’s have another beer.
Last night we looked at the charts to make a plan for our next trek. The detail on the chart doesn’t include bouys in the channels of the few inlets between here and Cape May and some depths are charted as 2 and 3 feet. Can we really get into these places? Today when we went ashore we stopped into Mike’s Bait and Tackle store to find more detailed charts. There weren’t any but Mike told us that there’s no problem getting into Barnegat Inlet. It’s well marked and plenty deep. He’s been there with large yachts that draw 8 feet. Local knowledge is the best.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Scott and Sue are currently in Atlantic Highlands. Yesterday was exciting as they put the boat on the bottom at Horseshoe Cove on Sandy hook. Apparently there was a shelf and the water went from being 8 feet deep to 2 feet deep. It was pretty bad as they had to have 2 rescue boats come out and pull them off. Eek. But all is well now and they are planning a long long long sail tomorrow to try and get to Atlantic City (I think...well it's somewhere really far) This will be Ocean sailing and Scott is very excited to stay the least.
Stay tuned for more!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I just talked to Scott and they are now at Great Kills on Staton Island. As you see the map has changed (again) because the arrows on the old map were bigger than the area the sailors were exploring. So you can see where they are now and as usual stay tuned for more updates.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
As we had more or less planned we are spending the Labor Day weekend back in Manhassat Bay before heading back down the East River and out to Sandy Hook NJ. While here we have accomplished a few necessary tasks and have few to go.
Sue Goes All the Way…
The water lift muffler…
is a clever invention. Unlike powerboats, sailboats tend to have their engines below the water line. Seawater is taken in for coolant from under the boat but now how to get it out? The water is mixed with the exhaust from the engine in a box. As the pressure in the box builds due to the exhaust the water is pushed out the exhaust pipe along with the exhaust gases. Clever. Ours though was barely connected to the deck any longer and was constantly oozing water into the bilge. Not good. So, we ripped it out of there to truly see where the problem was and hopefully repair it. Upon inspection we discovered that the bottom of the muffler was a laminate of two pieces of fiberglass much like a piece of plywood and it was de-laminating and the water was coming from between laminates. I put a few screws into the seam between laminates to open it up a little and then drizzled epoxy into the void. When it seemed filled I clamped it tight and let it set for a few hours. Like most engine work there is no room to work and it was difficult to get the darn thing back in but when we did and started the engine…NO LEAKS. We’ll see how it is after 20 or so hours of running time though.
I don’t know what it is about the water around here but it seems to leave a white powdery residue on everything! Enee is getting used to saltwater and we are already seeing the effects in small patches of rust in places where we never saw it before. We are keeping an eye on this and cleaning with fresh water when ever possible.
Last Wednesday we got the effects of the hurricane all the way up here in
Speaking of friendly people...
When we were back in North Port we struck up a conversation at dinner with a very nice couple, Pat and Heidi. Pat, an avid fisherman, was shocked that I had NONE of the proper lures to fish with in the Sound. We agreed to meet again the next morning for breakfast and Pat brought me a SACK of giant lures to use. I've kept fish in Michigan that were the size of these lures. I'm a little afraid to use them for fear that they might work and then I'll have to figure out how to get a 20 pound 'Blue' into the boat! Maybe Gracie will help. Thanks again Pat and Heidi!