Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween and Storm Prep

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Getting into the Halloween spirit at the Cafe On The Bay.
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Pumpkin carving at the town gazebo, Anjulia Sue in the background.
Aila and I loved getting dirty and messy. Tai, not so much.
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Getting lines set up for the upcoming storm.

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This dinghy ain't going anywhere!
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Supposed to be a headless sailor but more suitably described by Bonnie,
"You look like someone who has had trouble putting their coat on properly."
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Leopard. Aila sewed her own tail and ears!
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Last minute costume: ghost with a target.
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Anyone who has sailed in Maine will know the very real terror of Maine lobster pots.
We tried to capture this in an abstract way for Bonnie's Hallowe'en costume.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Goodbye New Jersey - Hello Maryland!

Another night passage under our belt!

Atlantic City to Chesapeake City, about 100 nautical miles, 22 hours total. We sailed, motored and motor-sailed.

Wave height was only 3 or 4 feet, and the period between them was consistent and far enough which meant nobody got sick - bonus!

We left Atlantic City at low tide yesterday evening to make sure we got the tides right when we entered the Delaware River and then the Chesapeake Canal later on.

But it meant us leaving at low tide, which then resulted in running aground (basically hitting the bottom of the ground with our keel) a few times! Oops. Luckily it was only soft mud.

Coastal cruising is not that relaxing when there is a lot of traffic and navigation buoys to look out for. It was foggy and misty all night which didn't help matters.

Listening into the late night chats on the VHF can provide some humbling insights.

A captain of a huge container ship talks about how he just "came in from the ocean" and that he should "probably cinch their line" to the container he's pulling because "well, ya know, there are sailboats out here now."

This was in reference to us who didn't know the protocol of sharing the canal with other sailors. In essence, we needed to move out of the shipping lanes ... Or else get run over.

Another captain was teasing someone else on another boat about him having so much overtime, he could probably buy ten Ferrari's.

The other guy answers, rather soberly, that he was working the extra hours in order to pay for his wife's cancer treatment.

As you can imagine, hearing that on a public channel makes you feel like you're eavesdropping.

Good lesson: it is easy to judge people from the very beginning but everyone has a back story.

Tonight we are tied up alongside in Chesapeake City at the free city dock. We got the last available spot on the dock, phew!

Normally you are only allowed to stay for 24 hours but with this gale blowing through late Thursday/early Friday, we were told we could stay until that's over.

Just a step off our dock, there are some cute shops and cafes just one block away.

It is such great access that I even went out later tonight when the kids were down to get a slice of cake I was eyeing at the cafe earlier today.

I nearly killed myself by taking a bite and then realized it was peanut butter inside. I am allergic to peanuts.

You never saw someone spit and cough food out as fast as I did!

So much for convenience at the dock. Greed kills!

Tomorrow, Halloween!!

Passing yet another massive container ship. It really makes you realize how
much of our stuff gets shipped across the world.
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Aila's journal
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Entering the Chesapeake canal.

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Playing basketball at the local school in our PJ's. Passage making is simply about getting from A to B. We have very little protocol for what we wear, eat or even if teeth brushing has been done.
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Tai's journal. I am called Mommy Meower. Apparently I am part cat.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Could it be we're ready to leave?!


Dare we say it? 

I think we might be ready to leave here after a short break to fix some wonky electronics turned into a multi day stop with cooling hoses replaced and new dipstick tube gasket made, all in a location where locals warned us never to walk the streets, even in daylight.

Even here we found some kind and generous people that helped us on our way but we're glad to be prepping for departure.

Food is being prepared, sleep catch up, dinghy being raised onto the deck and note our rough passage plan, so many tidal gates crossed out as they came and went while we struggled to get the boat work done.

But at 4am tomorrow if all the stars align we should be rounding Cape May, saying good bye to New Jersey (sorry Kia and other NJ folk, I still much prefer old Jersey!) and do the long stretch up the Delaware Bay/River to enter the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal mid afternoon tomorrow. 

We will probably then stop at Summit North Marina to recuperate then head on down for the Chesapeake Bay and hopefully a more relaxed schedule as we wait to welcome Guy Thornington on board!

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Playing on their Fire tablets.
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Our passage planning sheet.

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Hot lunch is served!!
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Hoisting the dinghy onto the foredeck.

Monday, October 28, 2019

"Don't Gamble!"

Atlantic City is not set up for transient cruisers at all. No dinghy dock or amenities to speak of.

The best part about it is our calm and protected anchorage where a lot of wildlife sit and just hang out.

There's a nearby beach where we see many people fishing pretty much all day, everyday.

Apparently there are 300+ trucks that park on the beach in the summer! Every single day. Yikes. It makes me very happy we have come during the shoulder season.

Yesterday it rained nonstop. But first we had to deal with our anchor dragging. Yup, the wind and gusts were a bit strong the previous night. Letting out some chain seemed to do the trick. Luckily we dragged to a better place in the lagoon. Well, there's always a first for everything!

We needed to get some parts and the closest West Marine was about 20 miles away. Getting an Uber there was more expensive than renting a car for one day, so we opted for a rental.

It was through Turo, a car sharing service. Very efficient and cost-effective.

The owner of our rental car was Bowen, a super charasmatic guy who works the craps table in two local casinos, secondhand smokes two packs of cigarettes per day and is (self-proclaimed) Atlantic City's most liberal Republican.

He had this frenetic energy about him, talking a mile a minute and driving like a race-car nut.

Just in our five minute exchange, the kids learned a whole host of new vocabulary like: junkie, dope, getting high, hustlers and weed.

I don't know what went on in their brains, but they were certainly wide-eyed and hanging on to every single word!

After West Marine we needed to do something active so we looked for a pool.

This was no easy feat. I called numerous hotels and resorts to see if we could pay to just use their pool for the day. We could, but the minimum age was 21.

In the end we found Ocean City community centre, about 45 minutes away. It was kind of on the way from West Marine so we decided to go there.

This morning we got up early and dinghy'd to get back to the car on shore. Our goal was to track down a brass fitting for the two hose pipes that we were replacing.

Based on a recommendation, we went to a plumbing store about 30 minutes away.

This place was on the main street of Egg Harbor and had been in business since 1890!!! The guys in there certainly looked like they had been around for a good chunk of that time.

Luck was on our side and the obscure brass fitting was found in the store!

When one of the men asked how we intended on fixing it all together, Matt kinda shrugged and the next thing we know we're following the older gentleman in his red pickup truck down some country lane lined with the most gorgeous fall leaves you could imagine.

Suddenly we turned into this brown shed building and inside was an incredible workshop!

Within minutes he had it all welded and fixed up. With a nod and strong handshake, we were on our way.

We returned the rental car just in time. Bowen had just come off a night shift and was going home to sleep. He wished us well on our journey and waved goodbye.

The last thing he shouts out the window as he zooms off is, "Bye kids. Have fun. DON'T GAMBLE!!"

Oct 27 and it poured and poured like crazy! 
Still, we had stuff to do so had to get to shore somehow

Our little Golden nugget car in front of the Golden Nugget casino.

You can typically tell what kind of place it is based on how many masts you (don't) see.

At friendly Sam's workshop.

Our boat is somewhere in that lagoon!

Walking back to our dinghy from ACME grocery store.

Beautiful new hose and brass fitting. It is the seawater hose that feeds the exhaust elbow. 

This is access to the engine on galley side. I'm holding a 
disgusting bag of oily rags just mopped up from the bilge.

Matt accesses the engine from the galley side.

Our engine has fairly decent access. I'm in the aft heads cleaning the bilge under the engine.

Parking Lot Dinners are our 'thing' now!

Oct 27 journal continued. "Dinner on the benches" = we bought fried chicken and a baguette from a grocery store and ate it outside on the bench. Yes, people stared and smiled politely at us.
But we were happy and enjoying our cheap dinner.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Intentionally Unplanned

"The wise cruiser has intentions rather than plans."

Our cruising coach Behan Gifford wrote about how cruisers must adopt the 'intentionally unplanned' mindset in order to thrive in her latest blog post.

It has come as a timely reminder to Matt and I as we try to 'accomplish' things with a schedule.

This transition is steep and curvy and so hard.

We had to be Type A goal setters and planners in order to get our cruising dream kick started.

But now that we have become cruisers, we need to shift our mindset, attitude and expectations.

We need to redefine what 'success' means to us.

Cruising is so much more challenging and intense and emotional in every respect.

We are often overwhelmed every single day. Not an exaggeration.

Today was an uphill battle with boat jobs and homeschooling.

Don't feel like it was much of a win in either departments.

We did end up going to shore and partaking in happy hour at the Golden Nugget casino restaurant.

I'm sure we were quite the sight when we walked in with our rain jackets, rain boots, splash pants and life jackets.

Honestly, I didn't care.

We just all needed to sit down somewhere without a tool in sight and literally stretch out without touching one another.

I suppose the smiles on the kids' faces when they were served a Shirley Temple (Aila) and Coke (Tai) was a win.

Sometimes when I'm completely done with the day and have crawled into bed, Matt is still up reading engine manuals and researching obscure parts and where to source them. I feel so grateful for his drive and determination.

If I've learned anything so far these past few months, it's that we're all in the same boat together for better or worse. Pun definitely intended.

Anchored in the lagoon in Atlantic City.

Happy Hour at the Golden Nugget!

Journal writing

This. This makes me happy.

Friday, October 25, 2019

New York New York!

Sailing through New York City with my family on our sailboat on a bright sunshiny day ranks as one of the top things in my life so far.

Just plain awesome!

We got through Hell Gate no problem and when we got down to Sandy Hook we decided to keep going south.

We were quite offshore for a while and unfortunately that's when the swells got up.

The kids were loving the big roller coaster feeling of riding the waves and every so often, bashing hard down into a trough.

Tai was delighted when he saw a rainbow in the mist. Aila stuck her head out the entire time to get sprayed on. Those Stugerons, they certainly work wonders!

Unfortunately I was not feeling so hot and I ended up going to bed when the kids did around 9pm. At midnight I came up to take over but Matt saw how yucky I was still feeling and sent me back to bed. I didn't have the energy to argue!

There was more excitement as the night wore on. The electrics stopped working at the steering pedestal and so that meant hand steering for a while and also no AIS. Luckily there was another boat nearby, Canadian flagged, that buddy boated with us until we pulled into Atlantic City.

We are in a very quiet protected anchorage now. Good muddy holding with just one other boat nearby.

We had an easy day of napping, games, a few boat jobs, baking and more games.

There is a gale forecasted in the next couple of days. If we leave tomorrow to make more headway we will need to be somewhere protected by tomorrow sunset at the latest. This anchorage is nice and protected (and free!) so we may just stay here and wait it out.

No use trying to outrun bad weather. Maybe we should try our luck at the casinos first!

Goodbye Port Washington! Thanks for everything.

Tai steering us through New York City!!!!

After a 20 hour run, we anchored in Atlantic City just as the sun 
was rising behind all the casinos.

A somewhat quiet game of Catan while daddy naps in the morning.

Brownies for the win!!