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Friday, May 27, 2011

Baltimore to Delaware City

Waiting outside the Baltimore Harbor for a pilot boat



Departure 6:30      Arrival  2:30       Distance travelled   65NM



Total distance travelled:  1286 NM



Up and at em very early! Between the no wake zones, slow speed areas and all the floating logs it took us over an hour to get out of the Baltimore Harbor. The whole way up the Chesapeake we were watching for logs floating debris and of course crab pots. At one point a large Sea Ray type boat took aim for us - Garth and I were both so shocked .... Garth hit the horn and the idiot quickly changed course. Very strange!!! We set a speed record today coming through the C&D Canal, the current was pushing us and we were zipping right along at 11.5 knots.  A white knuckle ride!!! (just kidding)
We arrived in Delaware City around 2:30, tied up and walked Zeke around town. Delaware City is advertised as Williamsburg without the admission - well we have been to Williamsburg and I really do not think the two towns compare.
There is one other Looper boat here - a sailboat from Sweden! They have been gone three years and just started the loop in Fort Lauderdale. We joined them at the Crab Shack and then meet them later on the main street when they were looking for fresh bread!!  Bakeries seem to be a thing of the past, we have yet to run across a town bakery.

Chesapeake & Delaware Canal

Delaware City

Main Street  Delaware City

Innovative hazard warning -plastic chair, tomato cage and fluorescent ribbon!

Spending the weekend here so will take a few days off from blogging . Since I started doing this I have stopped getting emails from some of you. So, you all know what we are doing but we do not hear back from you....... a pitfall of blogging . Drop us a line why don't ya!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baltimore


Rabbits and mirrors all over the bus.

The entrance to the museum

This boat was made from 190,000 toothpicks and 5 gallons of glue!!
Hot hot hot today - down right muggy - even Zeke was feeling it. Zeke has a new friend - Harley, a golden doddle that lives on "Grumpy". They played together the last few mornings and tonight Zeke went looking for him. Too cute. Harley has a captain and a stewardess to take care of him!! Lucky dog.
We had great intentions of going to two art galleries today but Garth did some touch up on the fly bridge and cleaned off the ICW mustache. We did make it to the American Visionary Art Museum and it was different in a good way. The theme of the museum at present is "What makes you smile". They had woopie cushions on an entire bench, postcards written to Santa, gingerbread houses with soldiers guarding them, cartoons, car art and a boat made of toothpicks - not part of the laugh theme. They also had an exhibit by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein who drew in the 50's - and it took him anywhere from one to three days to draw a picture. You would think it was art from the eighties. We both enjoyed it. 
Making plans for the big exit tomorrow - heading for Delaware City.

Celebrating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Who won that war?
Everyone won? No?


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baltimore, Charm City & Home of the Orioles

Home away from home

It is unusually hot for Baltimore this time of year, 86 degrees ( 30 C) today and calling for 93 degrees (34 C) tomorrow, everyone is complaining.  We are right downtown in a beautiful location, stores, museum, the aquarium and people everywhere - getting our big city fix!
We decided to walk around the harbor and find lunch.  Ended up in Little Italy and I had a great veal &eggplant sandwich, Garth indulged in gorgonzola gnocchi. Yummy!  We went to a little market that had all kinds of ethnic food but the stalls were closed up. We walked around the area of town known as Fell's Point - a little like Parkdale in Toronto, cool eclectic stores and cafes.  We decided to walk to West Marine, thinking it was close - not so much. After walking another 45 minutes I called the store and he said we were about two miles away, so we carried on. It was really only about another half hour away. We stopped for Big Gulps at the 7 -11 and then went shopping. We needed to get big ball fenders for the locks and they did not have them but they ordered them for us and we will pick them up at the Cape May West Marine. I should be doing a review of West Marine stores along the route! We also got a little hand held GPS for the dingy, so now we can really go exploring!  We walked past a big grocery store on the way so decided to walk back and do some shopping then take a taxi back to the boat. Getting a taxi was a challenge - finally hailed one down and off we went. This guy should have been wearing gloves and a helmet - it was like being in the Indy 500.  He was on a mission and nothing could slow him down. The traffic was heavy because of the Orioles game tonight but he took it as a challenge to weave and speed!!  I am getting too use to moving at a snails pace.
So, what turned out to be a little walk around the harbor ended up being an all day event and we did not get back to the boat until 6:45!!


Our new neighbours!
Great art work
The Munchkins door I think!
Broadway market

Looking across the harbor.








Oxford, Maryland to Baltimore,Maryland

Departure 7:30    Arrival 1:45           Distance travelled 53.8 NM

Total distance travelled 1221 NM
                                                             

The wind was pushing us off the dock making for an easy get away.  A smooth crossing and a quiet day on the radio! Not like Saturday when there was a person floating in the Elizabeth River, a sailboat on a pile of rocks in the St. Marys River and flares going off in Hampton Roads!!!! The Baltimore Harbor is huge and although not busy in the water you can see barges being loaded and cranes hard at work all along the shore. It is different seeing a city from the harbor. We are staying three days and looking forward to the market and the art gallery.

Now, that is the tender I want, can you imagine the launch!!

The navy ships blend right in and are hard to spot

Welcome to Baltimore

Fort Mc|Henry

Red White and Blue Buoy
This buoy marks the spot where Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the American National Anthem. "During the war of 1812 he was a prisoner aboard a British barge and was looking for the flag above nearby Fort McHenry during the siege."  (Chesapeake Bay Waterguide 2011)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oxford, Maryland



We had intended to go to St. Michaels today but the forecast did not look great, 15-20 knot winds, we have been moving right along and we just couldn't get motivated to move so we spent another day. I cleaned the electrical cord - fun job, it ticks me off when we spend all this time cleaning the boat then when we put away the power cord is runs along the deck and all the gunk falls off or it leaves black streaks. So, I scrubbed three quarters of it this morning.  we worked around the boat until noonish then got the dingy down and we went in search of Quest and lunch. We went over and picked up  Frank and Carrie and off we went. As we were getting organized "Sea Estate" and "Blue Angel" pulled in to the harbor and anchored.  We circled the harbor and ended up having lunch with them at Schooners.

Ed, Connie, Jim, Sharon, Carrie , Frank & Garth  having lunch!

We were having trouble with the engine on the dingy, when we docked for lunch we paddled in and Ed grabbed the lines - always something. Anyhow, we left with Carrie and Frank and went in search of "Quest" .  Didn't think it was possible to hide a 54 foot Hatteras with a big "Q" on the stack but we could not find it.
Frank & Carrie on the hunt

Garth & Zeke searching for Quest.

We had fun blasting through the water - you'd think after being in a boat all the time being in a little dingy would be boring but it is like leaving your house and getting in the car to go for a drive around town!
We ended our search, returned to the marina and Garth and I watched as Carrie & Frank lowered there platform by remote , drove their dingy right onto the platform and leisurely stepped off.  So James Bond like!  I WANT ONE!!!!Back at Algonquin I almost fell in the water getting off, managed to do the splits and recover - gracefully I might ad!!! NOT - we need to come up with an exit strategy.
We found dinner at the Inn and enjoyed a chocolate ganache Smith Island cake.  It was pretty gooood!
Our plans have changed, we are going to skip St. Michaels and spend the next three days in Baltimore!

Smith Island cake

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Soloman Island, Maryland - Oxford, Maryland

OK, boat talk for a minute. Yesterday at lunch Frank and Garth were talking about boat maneuvers - we have seen boats that just move sideways - seriously, it is so cool - they literally slide - we or at least I assumed that they had a bow and a stern thruster --- NOT SO. Frank was describing how to do this move and he had explained it to another Looper - Captain Barb, on Tropical Breeze. So, I non chalantley said to Garth - "If a women can do it then you must be able to do it" .....nothing like a challenge of the sexes!! So, this morning we did a "Frank" off the dock - let me tell you it was so stealth like and Garth did a fabulous job!
We arrived in Oxford around noon and had made arrangements to dock at the Tred Avon Yacht Club, when we got there the women said that there was no one around to help us dock and the sailboaters who were out on the race course had all left their lines on the docks ..... so we continued on and ended up at the other end of town. We walked around had some crab balls for lunch, found the bank and general store then returned to the dock . It was nice to see that , "Once Around", "Jet Stream" and "Tropical Breeze" were all here. Docktails at 5:30,  Garth and I quickly cleaned the boat cause we had been somewhat neglectful since leaving Norfolk, joined in for docktails and are now catching up on emails and phone calls.
YEAH - Another beach

White picket fence & beautiful 
flowers


Off to St. Micheal's tomorrow.

Tangier Island, Virginia to Soloman Island, Maryland

We did leave early but not early enough because when we got up the other boats we were blocking appeared all ready to go......need to work on this early morning thing! Sea Estate and Blue Angel had listened to the weather reports and were a bit concerned as their boats are not as big or as heavy as ours. They helped push us off the dock and we promised to radio back the weather and wave report when we got out in the bay. We also said that if it were bad we would be back!  It was pretty smooth, still no cell service so we were communicating with them by VHF. Once we crossed the VA- MD state line we got one bar of cell service and as we got closer to land the signal got stronger.
We arrived in Soloman Island about noon and as we were entering I got an email from Frank & Carrie on "Once Around" saying they were in the Soloman Harbor on their dingy - so, as we were tying up they came along and we made plans to meet up for lunch. Let me tell you about their dingy - centre console inflatable with a 40 HP motor, GPS & fish finder,VHF radio, drink holders - it's like a second home - Frank had it shipped from California cause he wanted his dingy!!!  Not only that but it sits on a platform that lowers into the water. You step off the boat into the dingy press a button and you're off!!! I WANT ONE!!
                 SUPER DINGY & CARRIE  -this is actually from today in Oxford

Anyhow, just as we were settling in a Portuguese Water Dog and it's owners came down the dock - they had been watching us enter the harbor as they were sitting on their 1979, 53 Hatteras Yachtfish !!  Would you believe their dogs name is Zeke!!! Really nice people - Tim & Jan and they are actually members of the Hatteras 1510 club we joined - so they are the first people we have meet.
Zeke out for a dingy ride/
We meet Carrie and Frank, had lunch then Garth, Zeke and I went for a dingy ride around the harbor! Pretty cool, we visited with "Jet Stream" from Nevada ( meet in Norfolk) ,Carrie and Frank were holding on to them talking so we held on to the "super dingy" and had a chat.  Continued on around the harbor then back to the boat and chilled.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Onancock to Tangiers Island

We slept in and departed Onancock about 10 am. We were only going twelve miles so no need to get up early. We headed northwest to Tangier Island. As we approached I saw what I thought was a sinking boat but it turned out to be a fishing boat – well, two fishing boats, a really big one circling a smaller one. 
I called Park’s Marina yesterday and spoke to Mrs. Parks, she said they had room for a 53 footer but. no, I could not make a reservation and she said to make sure I came in from the west and to call in the morning.
We were a little hesitant but decided if it didn’t work out we could just carry on. As we were approaching I tried to call but no cell service was available. Garth tried to call on the VHF but no answer. HUMM  -- all of the sudden we heard on the radio  “somebody trying to call Parks Marina” .  Three boats replied,  as we approached we saw two trawlers docking. They were having a difficult time because of the wind and a strong current. Garth and I were talking on our handy dandy headphones and basically decided we would try one approach at the one and only face dock and if it did not work out we would leave.  Mr. Parks was helping everyone tie up – he is 80 years old!!
The one trawler, “Sea Estate”, turned out to be friends of Judy and Dan on “Quest” ! Small world of boating – we knew they were headed north.
Dockage here is 30 dollars plus 5 dollars for power, but no water! The deal of the century!! We usually pay anywhere from $75 a night to $125.00 a night. We hooked up the power, changed and went in search of crab cakes!
This is a one of a kind very special place, which, if you told me about I would say – you’ve got to be kidding! First off, there is no cell service, no wifi, no ATM, and the stores and restaurants close at 5 pm.  The main method of transportation is via golf cart; although there are a few cars and a few pickups on the island. The whole island is dry, so you can’t get any wine to go with the fabulous crab cakes!
We walked around the whole town and the first things we noticed were the cats – cats everywhere, apparently there are 500 people that live here and about 400 cats!  These cats are not afraid of dogs and just basically hold their ground and stare you down.  We had read on the internet about Hilda Crockett’s Family Style crab restaurant and decided to give it a go. We sat with the fuel barge captain and his daughter from Crisfield. He said that these were the best crab cakes on the Chesapeake and seeing as he delivers fuel up and down the bay I believe him. They were excellent, as was the corn pudding, cole slaw and pound cake. We ordered a few cakes for the freezer! After lunch we went on a walk about around town.  Several homes have family graves right in the front yard.  Everyone is very friendly and they speak with a dialect that I found difficult to understand unless I listened very carefully.  Even the dogs were all friendly; we had a little dog follow us all the way to the beach.
When we got back to the marina Garth had to go find Mr. Parks to pay him. He asked if we would like a tour of the island – YES. Off the three of us went in his golf cart and he took us on the grand tour – he said hello to everyone, to all the men he said “Hi George” and they all answered  back “Hi George” he called one women Georgette ! I don’t know??  Not sure if his eye sight is failing or if he had been nipping at the bottle but his driving left a lot to be desired – even in a golf cart. We came very close to people, other carts and even a building at one point.  When we got back to the marina we joined “Blue angel” and “Sea Estate” on the dock for cocktails, alias docktails. Mr. Parks came out and entertained us for quite a while. The main point of all his stories was that the good people are all in Tangiers and the bad ones in Cape Charles. He is indeed a character!
There is a great story about him and the island in the magazine “Sounding” Sept 2010 issue page 32, not sure if it is on-line (no internet tonight) but if you can find it it is worth a read.
Right now on one side of the boat I hear a cat fight and on the other I hear fish jumping!!
Tomorrow we are off to Soloman Island. We have to be up early cause we are blocking everyone 
else from getting out!

Some type of fishing

Approaching Park's Marina

Crab pots everywhere

Cool garbage cans

Main Street 

Did you say Crab cakes!

Graveyards in the front yard

Beach Bums

Mr. Parks telling stories
http://www.soundingsonline.com/features/destinations/263742-tangier-island-va


Click on the link above to read the article about the island, it is very interesting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Norfolk to Onancock Virginia

Garth & Zeke 

Zeke loved these fountains

Finally made it out of Norfolk. The rendezvous was over on Tuesday, we got some great information on the route and also on "boats". We rented a car on Wednesday, picked up some oil for the oil change production and spent about three hours trying to find a vet for his majesty. He woke up Wednesday morning with an eye infection and we wanted to get it dealt with before leaving. We arrived in Onancock about 3 ish and walked throughout the town/village. A few antique stores, a gourmet store which seems out of place here and a few restaurants. Not a lot going on, but I have to say the people are very nice and friendly. Not sure where we are headed tomorrow - North??

More Navy ships on this side of Norfolk

This one was on its way in

Lighthouse at the Norfolk entrance


Spring flowers
Entering Onancock

The Liars Bench, Onancock Virginia