Friday, May 25, 2007

New York, NY

We departed Manasquan Inlet in New Jersey and headed around Sandy Hook into New York harbor. We didn't time this entry quite right and ended up heading against the current of the Hudson river. After passing Coney Island we saw the Statue of Liberty in the distance and then the skyline of Manhattan.

We spent a little while circling in front of Liberty while dodging the numerous tour boats and then passed by Ellis Island. This is where G'Dad passed through when he was 3 years old immigrating to the U.S. from Wales.

All six of us headed into the city and, of course, went to Times Square. Two blocks from here is a restaurant called Carmine's that is a family style Italian restaurant where Bill and Gail had been before. One dish is more than enough for four and we had salad and two entree dishes. Needless to say we brought enough back to the boat that 4 of us had it again the next night.

Stacy and I roamed the city on Friday starting at the South Street Seaport and then walked up to the World Trade Center site. There is still a great deal of clearing and deconstruction taking place and it is a popular spot for people to watch all of the activity.

On our way back toward the boat we stopped in at Nat Shermans cigar shop and I looked at all of the personal lockers in the walk-in humidor. I just had to know what Joe Torre and Rudolph Guliani kept in their lockers.

Stacy stopped at the New Amsterdam Theater to see if there were any tickets available for that nights performance of Mary Poppins. There were only two seats together available so she bought them for she and Gail to attend the performance.

Today Bill, Gail, Stacy and I went into Central Park. The times I have been to New York City in the past I have never been into Central Park. This is a great park and it is used by many people as their back yard. Even with as many people that live in close proximity to the park, many sections of it did not really seem that crowded. There are many trails, lakes, fountains, statues, and green spaces for everyone to have a place to visit.

One of the small ponds has a building where people keep model sail boats that they race in the pond.

We also went into the Tavern On The Green restaurant in the park to look at all of the Tiffany glass light fixtures and windows. They are all through the restaurant.

Chuck and Chris were visiting with their daughter and son-in-law in the city and after we had returned to our boat they came by to say hello.

We will spend a couple more days here and probably leave on Tuesday after the Memorial Day crowd has left the river. We will need to check weather for the next few days and decide the best timing for heading on up the Hudson river.

Chesapeake City, MD to Manasquan Inlet, NJ

We went to Chesapeake City after we left Annapolis. Chesapeake City is on the C & D Canal linking the Chesapeake Bay to the Deleware River/Bay. This is one of the normal staging locations for waiting for weather for heading down the Deleware to Cape May, NJ. There is a free dock here if it is available and we worked out getting all three of our boats on after a few hours waiting for some of the local boaters to leave for the evening.

While we were there, Bill & Gail needed to repair their bimini top and we told them we had a sewing machine on board (Stacy's mother gave us her machine) so we opened the SEASEA Repair Shop and Gail sewed the bimini so they did not have to replace it.

We spent two nights in Chesapeake City and then had a good weather window for making the run down the Deleware. We left early in the morning and had a good run to Cape May. The weather was looking good for the next week so we just anchored for the night and then headed out early for an outside (in the ocean) run up the coast to Atlantic City. There was a beautiful sunrise just as we were headed out the jetties into the ocean.

Chuck and Chris and Bill and Gail had not been to Atlantic City so we left early out of Cape May to go to Atlantic City so we could get there early enough to see the boardwalk and visit the casinos.

While we were there Stacy had to play one slot machine for our friend Betty DeLorme from Athens. She succeeded in turning $5 into $17 and then called Betty to let her know.

We had a funnel cake before leaving the boardwalk and heading back to our boats.

The following morning we headed out to Manasquan Inlet. We checked on anchorages at Manasquan and found that the only good anchorage would have been a backtrack after getting into the inlet so we decided to take the inside route to Manasquan. This turned out to be a very stressful decision. We knew there were shallow spots in the NJ ICW but it turned out that the majority of the trip was in very shallow water. At one point Chuck launched his dinghy and led us through a few miles where he could sound the depths ahead.

Gail referred to him as Merriweather Lewis and we all made it through but we made this entire run at or near low tide. By the time we got to our anchorage we were regretting not running outside and backtracking to the anchorage. We got some sleep and then headed out the inlet early the next morning to make our run into New York harbor.

I will update our New York stay in the next blog installment.



Monday, May 21, 2007

Post-Trip plans

There seems to be some confusion as to our plans once we complete this trip. We are planning to end our trip on the Tennessee River in or around Chattanooga sometime around October. We will be keeping the boat there for some time (a few years maybe) while we move back to Athens. We will be using the boat during the "season" on the Tennessee river and eventually sell it from there. We currently do not plan to sell the boat as soon as we arrive there nor do we plan to live on the boat in Chattanooga. I am not sure where the confusion came from but since I keep getting the same questions from different sources, I thought it might be good to clarify. If anyone has any questions about our plans, please ask. These plans are firmly written in pencil in sand!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


This is the second post for today.

We arrived in Annapolis and took a mooring ball in the harbor. This is a very historic town and has a great waterfront harbor.

The state house here is the oldest continuously used state house in the country. We toured the state house and saw the room, still in use today, where George Washington resigned his commission as Commander of the Army.

In Annapolis we met up with friends that we had originally met in Ft. Myers Beach. Chuck and Chris Hewitson. We joined them on their boat for dinner and Stacy and I took them to breakfast the next morning. We went to Chick and Ruth's Delly (sic) for breakfast. This is the place where more Maryland politics takes place than any other. Something unique here is that every morning at 8:30 everyone stops and recites the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

After checking with the Naval Academy, we found out that we are here for the week leading up to commissioning (graduation). We headed over to the Academy the next morning for the formal parade and then toured the campus. Chuck, Chris, Bill, Gail, Gail's sister and brother-in-law, Stacy and I formed our own review of the proceedings.

We toured the grounds and had a great view from the visitor's center overlooking the harbor where we are moored.

There were a few very interesting exhibits at the academy. Inside the chapel is a pew reserved for POW's. It is never used but the candle is lit for each service.

Many of the stained glass windows here are Tiffany windows and there is a special cobalt blue glass that is blue when viewed from the outside but clear from the inside. We were told that this glass was made by a glass company in Germany prior to WW2. The glass factory was bombed and the formula for the glass was lost. To this day, the glass has not been able to be duplicated. Under the chapel is the crypt of John Paul Jones, considered America's first Naval hero.

The academy is also the repository of the largest collection of ship models in the world. These models, dating from the 1700's were originally built by the shipwrights prior to building the actual ship under contract. The detail in these models is incredible and there is detail in the lower decks that can be seen using fiber optics. The other group of models were built by prisoners during the Napoleanic wars. These are made almost exclusively from bone and woven hair for rigging. These are kept under diminished lighting and they were as intricate as the shipwright models. Needless to say this was a facinating display for me since I am in the middle of building a similar model.

The other interesting location here is the place where the speed of light was first measured. The dots in this courtyard is the line of sight used by a professor here to first measure the speed of light. Because of this finding, he was the first American to win the Nobel Prize.

We had been told by some other boaters in Portsmouth that there were two places in Annapolis where you could get free appetizers during Happy Hour. We all went to one of these after the Naval Academy tour and they were serving shrimp and mussels. This was basically dinner for Stacy and I.

While at the Academy, we found out that the next morning was the traditional "Herndon Climb". This is the culminating event for the first year students "Plebes" and completion of this tradition brings them back to human level. During this entire year, the Plebes are basically sub-human and it is a very testing time for them. One parent we spoke with said that most of the students come here after being "stars" during high school and get a strong reality check in the transition from civilian to military life. The Herndon monument is an obelisk of granite that has a "Dixie Cup" (the traditional sailors cap and the one the Plebes must wear) taped to the top. The monument is then completely covered with lard (thick enough that a thrown shoe sticks to it). The Plebes must climb the monument, remove the Dixie Cup and replace it with an Officers "Cover". Tradition has it that the one that succeeds in this endeavor will be the first in his/her class to achieve the rank of Admiral. This has never actually happened, but why mess with tradition. This year the time to complete this event was just over 1 and 1/2 hours. The longest recorded time was over 4 hours. It is an exercise in human nature. Since only one person can be the one awarded the Admiral Board, it seems to be every man for himself. Eventually they figure out that it will require teamwork and the task is completed. This is a very celebratory event as it is the event that transitions these first year Plebes into "Youngsters".

We had a great time in Annapolis but looking at the weather again we determined that we need to be staging for the Deleware River and Bay down to Cape May, NJ and then around to New York. It looks like this next week may be the time so we are moving today to Chesapeake City on the C & D Canal to stage for this part of the trip. We need good weather for this trip to NY so we will wait at Chesapeake City for the weather to be right for us.

Solomons to Annapolis

Two blog entries today. This is one of two.

After a day or two in Solomons I was feeling better and we went into town to see the Calvert Museum. There was not much in town other than many boat yards. This is the place to be if you need work done. We went to the museum and saw how the watermen made their living when crabs and, more particularly, oysters were the dominant money makers on the Chesapeake. There are boats that were built specifically on the Chesapeake for the oyster and crab harvesting. These were actually modifications of log canoes. The boats would be built of two, three, or five logs joined together. There was a large selection of original boats at the museum.

The smaller boats would then off load their catch onto larger "Buy" boats. One of the best examples of a buy boat is still in operation as a charter boat and is the oldest vessel currently certified by the Coast Guard as a passenger carrying vessel.

The museum also had a display of fossilized remains of whales and large sharks that were in the area eons ago. Apparently the cliffs around this part of the bay are loaded with fossils although most is private land.

The other big sport on the bay is waterfowl hunting. During the turn of the century, duck hunting was a major source of food and hunters devised many different ways to take more ducks. This was one method. The gun is called a "Punt" gun and was outlawed along with some other equally devastating firearms. Most of these are homemade from iron pipe.

This museum also had a display of fish, rays, skates and otters that make the bay home.

A unique type of lighthouse was built for the Chesapeake and one of the originals is on display at the museum. It is called a "Screw Pile" light house in that the supporting legs are literally screwed into the mud bottom and the lighthouse built on top of it. The bell was originally mounted up on the lighthouse and the keeper would wind a mechanical striker every two hours during fog so the bell could sound. One of the more unique structures is the "outhouse" that was built out over the water.

From Solomons we went to St. Michaels and anchored in San Domingo creek behind St. Michaels. Here we went to another large museum of the Chesapeake and it was much the same as the one in Solomons. The bird population is starting to change as we head further north. We started seeing Swans here and many more ducks.

We originally made plans to ride our bikes the next day to a ferry to go over to visit Oxford. After looking at the weather forecasts we determined that we were in for a few days of winds and thunderstorms and so we decided to leave St. Michaels and head for Annapolis the next day. We figured that if we were going to be waiting out weather somewhere we would rather be in Annapolis than St. Michaels. Other than the museum and some shops, there was not much else there to see. We headed for Annapolis the next day and on our way we went through Knapp's Narrows. This is a small canal cut through to save a few miles of travel. It was narrow and the entrance and exit was heavily shoaled. The bridge tender cautioned us to stay close to the markers and we did not realize how close until we saw a crab boat coming in as we were leaving that almost touched the marker making a turn into the narrows.

As we headed in to Annapolis we were passed by the YP "Yard Patrol" boats of the Naval Academy. These are boats used for seamanship training.

I'll cover Annapolis in the next entry.