Wednesday, October 31, 2012

H.M.S. Bounty

We were sad to hear about the H.M.S. Bounty being lost in Hurricane Sandy. While it is good news that members of the crew were saved, it is sad to hear that one crew member died and the Captain is still missing.
The Bounty is a replica of the original 18th century sailing vessel. It is a beautiful, majestic boat, which has been in a few movies, and caught my attention this past winter. Shirl and I were on a cruise that stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico last December, and the Bounty was docked near where we disembarked. I was impressed with the condition of the ship, and stood by and watched as crew members went about their duties. I did take a few pictures. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of lost crew members. The loss of life as well as the ship are tragic reminders of the power of nature. Our sincere thanks go out to men and women of the the U.S. Coast Guard, who rescued the crew of The Bounty, and are there for all of us that choose to travel by boat.

H.M.S. Bounty docked in San Juan December 2011 
A majestic ship!
The Bounty is fairly large.
 Another view
Port side
Crows nest
Today I will put Serenity back together and we will continue our journey tomorrow. We have a good weather forecast with favorable winds for tomorrow and Friday...sail on.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our window on the world...Annapolis

We are back aboard Serenity. She appears fine with no visible damage. Serenity is a tough old boat. In hindsight we could have stayed on the boat, but the storm was too unpredictable. There is very little damage that I see at the dock.. As far as wind goes, Annapolis may have caught a break. While at the hotel last night we were watching live coverage of the storm, and one of the locations the reporters were using for live coverage was right in front of the dock we are at. I got a look at Serenity three times during the storm. Each time I told Shirl...Serenity looks fine. according to the reporter, at one point the wind was gusting to 65 m.p.h.

Once we checked out Serenity we decided to go for a walk. We crossed the bridge and headed for downtown Annapolis. Annapolis is such a beautiful city. When you walk up and down the streets, it is obvious the the city was planned and created before the invention of the automobile. Annapolis is built and designed to human scale. Buildings are small, streets are narrow, and sidewalks are the size that encourage walking. There is a very efficient use of space in Annapolis. Maybe that is why it feels so comfortable, so inviting, and so friendly. Shirl and I walked the downtown area again today. Many of the small businesses along the streets are open, the ones in the flood area are sandbagged and closed. There is the possibility of more flooding late this afternoon at high tide.
What a contrast after visiting New York City last week!
Annapolis is the state capitol of Maryland, and the home of The United States Naval Academy.

 Downtown Annapolis flood waters.
 Kunta Kinte - Alex Haley Memorial in high water.
 Kids were playing in the water on the streets.
 More downtown.
Curving, narrow streets, with sand bags
 This reminds me of pictures I have seen of old European cities...narrow streets with small houses in close proximity, with the large church steeple overlooking the street, as a reminder to residents.

 More Annapolis houses.
 Human scale.
 The flooding is lifting this boat up and away from the dock. This is the city dock which is downtown.
 You can see the bay as well as many boats from the city.
Anyone want to guess what this building was in the past?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Riding the storm out...

We are sitting here in the hotel room hoping that Serenity rides this one out. She is a stout boat, and should do well if the dock does well and other boats do not break loose. The wind is really picking up and power outages are becoming frequent. We are watching the news and it appears that Sandy is hitting the coast near Cape May. I hope all the people there are prepared. We expect to loose power at some point. I will update the blog when we go back to the marina tomorrow morning. We are fine and will stay safe. A special thank you to the gentleman who has a boat near where Serenity is docked, who yesterday told me we could stay at his house if things got bad, and called today to check on us and repeated his invitation. We have met some very nice people on this cruise. Talk to you tomorrow...


After reading today that a hurricane hunter aircraft found winds over 90 miles an hour 150 miles southwest of the eye of the storm, and realizing that our location puts us to the southwest of the storm, and in the south edge of it's predicted path, we decided to leave Serenity and check into a hotel. We are at the Best Western in Annapolis until tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. The worst should be over by then. We hope Serenity fairs well. They are predicting that wind gusts could be 70 m.p.h. I would have preferred to stay aboard, but Shirl would not go to the hotel without me...and I did not want her to be afraid on board, so here we are. Although I think it would be safe but uncomfortable on Serenity, this storm is so large, and the fact that it is combining with other systems makes it more unpredictable. They have also raised the predicted water surge levels which could be a problem as well.
This hotel does not have a generator, so we may be without power at some point. We are safe here and wanted to let everyone know.

 USA Today
 We are hoping the dock behind us as well as the drawbridge help protect Serenity from the wind and waves we know are coming.
Shirl stands by one of the many closed businesses in Annapolis, with tarps and sand bags in place because of predicted flooding.
 Annapolis is a very beautiful city...very clean with a friendly atmosphere, with small businesses that line the streets. 

 A family favorite...Kilwin's better known as "Little Killies" 
Dinner with Neala, Jeff, Grady and our waitress "Hurricane Sandy" at McGarvey's which is the oldest pub in Annapolis.
"It is a lot more fun to eat in a bar than to drink in a restuarant"...sign at Shakey's

  Update on Sandy: the storm is now moving at 28 miles an hour, and will hit the southern New Jersey coast about 6:00 p.m. Sandy is tracking a little further south at this point.

Tiki bars and rum drinks...

Not hardly...still in Annapolis waiting for Sandy. It has rained all night and the wind is beginning to pick up. They are predicting 6 - 10 inches of rain. It is a bit chilly outside as well. This will be a boat day. As Sandy approaches the coast we expect significant winds, but as you can see we are on the southern  edge of Sandy's path. I am very happy we came up the Delaware Bay last week. That area will be impossible during this storm. We are watching the storm's path very closely. As long as Sandy keeps heading northwest we will stay on the southern edge of the storm which is means less wind than the northern side. We will continue to monitor Sandy. They are predicting power outages here tonight. Do not be alarmed if we can not update the blog. We will use Spot Tracker to check in.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Serenity is as secure as we can get her. I decided to leave the dink on the davits, but tied it in every direction. I wire tied as well as line tied the solar panels. The main sail cover is wrapped with our jack line and rope. The stay sail and the genoa have sail ties and are wrapped with the extra halyards from the top of the mast. The canvas is removed and stored inside. The grill has been removed as well. All the dock lines are doubled, and extra spring lines were added. We did complain to one of the people who work at this marina that the boat next to us was not tied well and if it broke loose it could damage Serenity and other boats. He tied it with a furling line that was laying on the dock...we will see. I did put a bumper on that side, and will keep an eye on it. The owner actually has the spring line tied to a plastic pulley...not sure what he was thinking.
They are still predicting a New Jersey landfall for Sandy. Monday a.m. until late Tuesday appears to be the period of the highest winds for us. They are predicting 50 mph winds, and flooding as well. The flooding is not an issue since we are on a boat tied to a floating dock, and as I posted we have tied down everything, so hopefully the winds will not damage anything.

 Serenity tied and secure. As you can see there is a drawbridge and a dock behind us offering some protection.
 Securing the dink and the solar panels
Serenity from the stern. it will take hours to untie everything.
Hey we are in Annapolis...we had to hit a happy hour and try the crab. We may go back today...the price is right!
We should be available by cell unless there is an interruption in service. If you can not reach one of our phones call the other...we may turn one off to keep it charged. Grady is leaving for Colorado tomorrow, if his flight is not canceled,  so we plan to meet for happy hour at the crab place this afternoon. Then it is stay put, books, movies, and relax.
About comments: We really appreciate and welcome your comments on our posts. We want to keep the process as simple as possible, but unfortunately we had to put the "word recognition" back in place to stop the spam comments, or robot comments, that are popping up on the older posts. I am told that word recognition stops these attempts to use Blame Buffett to advertise. Once your blog starts getting a certain amount of traffic, they start commenting to get the readers attention by leaving a link to their web address. I am not sure I understand the process, but do not want them using our blog.  Sorry...but keep commenting, we love it.
I will try to update as long as we have WiFi and electric.

Sandy prep update...

One of the web sites we use for monitoring weather is www.wunderground. The illustration above is their latest prediction of the route Sandy will take. The storm should hit the east coast north of us. Since we are in the upper Chesapeake Bay we have the probability of high winds and a storm surge. We have prepared for this. Again it will depend on where the other storm from the north meets Sandy to change her direction to northwest.
illustrations borrowed from this site

As you can see they are predicting a three foot storm surge for the are we are in. The floating dock we are on has the ability to raise six additional feet at high tide, so we expect to be fine with the surge. We are being told that there is the possibility of a power failure because of the high winds. If we can not post we will continue to update our spot tracker. It will let everyone know we are ok even though our position will not change. I would think we would still have cell coverage. We plan to stay here through Wednesday. We did get groceries yesterday and we have books to read and movies to watch.(thanks Rachel) I will try to keep everyone updated as much as possible. Today I need to figure out what to do with the dink. I do not like it hanging on the davits with the possibility of so much wind.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea." -Thomas Fuller

This quote really reflects my thoughts about our sail south as well as the fact that Sandy may pay a visit. There is inherent risk in most all of life's activities. Some choose to stay in a place to avoid as much risk as possible, others take on the risk. It is just human nature. For Shirl and I this cruise is about risk management. We always do what ever we can to ensure our safety, and that of Serenity. We accept the fact that an adventure like this poses some risk, like getting caught in a storm, and continue to plan to manage that risk. Does that mean we will always be successful at risk management? I don't think you can ever prepare for everything, but you can prepare for a lot.You can only do your best, which is what we are doing now. Are we If that were the case we would have never started this cruise. We have every confidence that next week we will be headed to Norfolk.
I checked the forecast first thing this a.m., and appears the storm will hit the coast somewhere north of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. The Annapolis marina we are in is seems very protected, but we will most likely get a lot of wind as well as rain. We are on floating docks that should allow for a significant storm surge. Although uncomfortable, because of high winds and rain, we should be fine. We will be removing all the canvas from Serenity today, and securing all sails with lines. All available fenders will be used to protect the boat in the event of high winds and or waves. We will also tie double lines to secure the boat to the dock where possible. The solar panels and dink will be secured as well. It is very difficult to predict what will happen when Sandy combines with the other systems, but hopefully Frankenstorm will not occur.
In case of an electrical outage, we have battery back up, as well as a Honda 1000 generator. (thanks Rodger). Serenity is also equipped with a diesel heater, which warms the boat nicely. Our water and fuel tanks are full, and our holding tank is empty. The engine can also be run to charge the batteries. We plan to get groceries today. Should we be without power for a few days we will be fine. We are not connected to power every time we sail.
Although we are obviously anxious to get south, this trip has always been about the journey...not just the destination. The fact that our trip is delayed is of little importance to us...this storm has the ability to impact so many people's lives in such negative ways.
Just rechecked the weather and Sandy is again a hurricane. Got to get to work...more later. We will keep you posted. On a good note, I have been asking Shirl to do a blog post for a month. She has finally agreed. We may have a woman's perspective soon.

Friday, October 26, 2012


We are docked in a marina in Annapolis for several days until Sandy goes away. We could have made more progress south, but that would have put us closer to the storm. We decided to stay in Annapolis. If the forecast has not changed by tomorrow we will prepare Serenity as best as we can for Sandy. They are projecting 40 mph winds, and several inches of rain.Our plan is to relax, get the boat prepared in case, and get a few projects well as a few blog posts.

 Deadliest Catch...Chesapeake Bay style.

 Another one of Shirl's bridge shots. This bridge crosses the Bay.

 As we arrived in Annapolis we saw this race going on.

 We went through this draw bridge to get to the marina.

 Sailing with the Genny only.

Some of the crab pot markers are hard to see...such as this black float. You watch carefully because running over one of these may mean diving under the boat to clear it. The water is cold!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An eye on Sandy...

We have heard from a lot of people expressing concern about us being out here sailing with the possibility of hurricane Sandy tracking up the east coast. While there is always some risk doing what we are doing, we have been taking every precaution to remain as safe as possible, and this situation is no different. Our plan is to sail to Annapolis tomorrow and stay for a few days until we see what Sandy is going to do. We are currently far north in the Chesapeake Bay, which should be relatively safe. While we are in a hurry to get south, we would rather be safe. We really appreciate the concern and want everyone to know we will stay as safe as possible.
We did not travel yesterday. I spent time buying an outboard motor for the dink, which Shirl then decided to looks new! When I bought the dink it had been in storage for a couple of years, and had collected a lot of dirt. I also cleaned the salt off of Serenity yesterday. This a.m. we left the CDC canal, entered the Mohawk River which took us to the Chesapeake Bay. We are anchored tonight in Fairlee Creek...our first night on anchor. We will be doing a lot more anchoring. This is so nice! Serenity is riding on a 44 pound Bruce anchor, with an all chain rode. Tomorrow it is off to Annapolis. We have a few projects to do and are planning on chilling and eating great sea food. We will move south after we know what Sandy is going to do.
Thanks so much for following our adventure!

 Our car...Clean dink thanks to Shirl.

 Dink's new motor...the ropes are a harness so that I can lift it onto the sailboat rail...I do not want to drop it in the water!

 Boat on the bank...not been moved in a while.

 The Coast Guard, a little faster than us!
 We saw palm trees today...this far north!
Sundowner on Serenity! A lot of fun.
We will be in Annapolis tomorrow! Click the Spot Tracker to check our position.
Got to go on anchor watch!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Delaware Bay

I had heard a lot of stories about how difficult Delaware Bay can be. We were very fortunate in that yesterday the water was calm, and even the temperature was warmer than normal for this time of year. We were able to sail in the southern part of the bay, but eventually the winds shifted to the west and lessened to 3 to 4 knots. We motored the rest of the way.
There is a lot of commercial traffic on Delaware Bay, so it is good to stay out of the channel as long as possible. It was a relaxing day with great weather. We are now in the CDC Canal that connects the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay. The canal is 12 miles long and does not have locks. It is very wide and deep because it is used by so many commercial ships.
We attended our first sun downer last night on board Northern Lights. They came up the bay at the same time we did, (buddy boating). We had a couple cocktails with Jeff, Neala, and Grady, and discussed how fortunate we were that the Delaware treated us well.
I am looking at an outboard today...a used 2009 Tohatsu that Shirl saw an ad for. We need a motor for our Dink, as lightweight as possible, but with enough horse power to plane. I researched the motor last night and discovered that Tohatsu makes Nissan, as well as all Mercury small motors. I really wanted to get a Yahama, but if the Tohatsu is in great shape, runs well, and the price is right, I may purchase it. It is a four stroke, which is fine with me and only weighs 81 pounds.
We are undecided if we will travel today. After I check out the motor Shirl and I will review the Chesapeake Bay charts and Waterway Guide and come up with a decision.

We cruised from Cape star at bottom, to CDC star at top. Check the Spot Tracker!
 Northern Lights leaves the Cape May Inlet ahead of us. She is a great boat!
 This was a fantastic sunrise...there is a fishing boat right next to the sun.
 We were greeted with calm waters as we entered Delaware Bay...not expected after our sail down the coast.
 The Grand Pearl, not to be confused with the Black Pearl, came up behind us in the channel...I moved over. 
 Grand Pearl as she passed us...notice how close she is to the right side of the channel. We are out here with the big boys!
 Sunset in the CDC Canal. Time to rest.
 Shirl is feeling better...we are back to a full crew.
The water in the upper bay was as smooth as glass.
There is a lot of talk about the storm that could come up the coast. We will keep an eye on that one.

Update: Our "car" has an engine. The Tohatsu has less than 20 hours on it. It runs well. I put it on the dink and took a long ride. It cost significantly less than 50% of the price of a new one. So Tahatsu it is. I will include a picture with the next post.