Monday, September 30, 2013

Sailing in the Chesapeake

Atalanta anchored off the CC Station at Cape May

Our time in Cape May was extended by a day due to weather.  When traveling from Cape May up Delaware Bay one must be aware of both wind and current.  Our winds were on the nose (from the north) and current was from the south.  When you have the wind and current moving in opposing directions, there is a steep chop and big waves (up to 8 feet).  While progress was slow, we made our way up the bay for a wonderfully peaceful anchorage up the Cohansey River.  While this was our first night of “gunkholing” it would not be our last.  
Cape May Victorian
Welcome to Cape May
Once through the Delaware Bay, we entered the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (the C & D).  While this canal is not the most scenic, it is relatively short.  Within 4 hours, we were entering the Chesapeake Bay.  The Sassafras River and Turner Creek provided us shelter and a wonderful sunset.  As we sailed south to the Annapolis area.  After picking up a mooring in the Back Creek we were joined by Linda and Jim for an afternoon sail and evening dining aboard.  This was a reunion for Richard with his long time friend and graduate school advisor.  A very special night!
Annapolis Bridge
Bob on Morris Point
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Sailing in the Choptank River
Bob, Joanne, Kay and Murray
While Annapolis is a port worth spending time in, the boat show was coming up in a week or so and the harbors were getting quite busy.  With this in mind, we decided to continue south to the eastern shore and the Choptank and Tred Avon River area.  Once in Oxford, Bob and Joanne joined us for three days of sailing, , gunkholing and just catching up.  We truly enjoyed our time with our DC based friends.  We discovered a wonderful cove just behind Morris Point and had a fabulous night. 

While in Oxford, we decided to have the Oxford Boat Yard look at a few items that need attention including our battery charging and AC.  We should be back on the road in a day or so.  Its time to move to the lower Chesapeake and enter the intercoastal waterway.  We should be there in less than a week.  The plan is to go through the ICW behind Cape Hatteras and then sail on the outside to Charleston.  Time will tell as weather determines all.
If you wish to follow our progress, in addition to this blog you can track our progress on a sight called  Look for Atalanta.

Oxford, Maryland

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Bound

As planned (which a great deal of sailing is not) we departed Bristol and had a successful trip to Mamaroneck, NY.  On the way we spent time at Block Island, Stonington, Port Jefferson, and Darien.  It was great to spend a few days with Mom and visit with Mark and Noah before heading offshore. We had a 6:00 AM start from Mamaroneck on Thursday, motored through the East River and around the Battery before dropping Mark off near his neighborhood.  With a “touch and go” we were off into the heart of New York Harbor.  This is one busy place with water taxis, ferries, pleasure boats, and very large commercial ships all criss-crossing the harbor in every direction. We rounded Sandy Hook and headed south for our first overnight sail bound for Cape May at the southern tip of NJ which is home to a reasonably vibrant commercial fishing industry and many sport fisherman.
Rounding the Battery
The sail From NYC to Cape May took approximately 35 hours.  It began with a spectacular view of Lower Manhattan and the new Freedom Tower which redefines the skyline.  Once past the Battery, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island add to departure in ways difficult to describe.  The cruise past Coney Island and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge is only surpassed by entry into the Atlantic.  From there, it’s a straight shot down the coast.  Our first overnight sail brought 15-20 kt winds and 3-4 foot seas.  It was a bit bouncy but a decent sail.
Ellis Island
Reached Cape May just after sunset and felt our way between the breakwaters to the inner harbor where we dropped the hook, had a night cap and called it a day.  Saturday is a stay put day while we are docked at the South Jersey Marina.  We will visit town, do a few boat repairs (never lacking for those), and relax.  Tomorrow brings another early start to reach Delaware Bay and the C & D Canal, our gateway to the Chesapeake.  We are looking forward to “gunk-holing” our way through the Bay and visiting with friends while in the DC area.

Life is good.
Leaving New York Harbor for Points South

Monday, September 16, 2013

And We're Off.................

Our New Neighbor
Queen Mary II

The first step is the hardest.  On September 10th, we began the journey.  After leaving our home mooring in Bristol, RI we headed south toward Newport.  While this is the weekend of the Newport Boat Show, we were able to find a comfortable place to anchor in Brenton Cove.  After celebratory dinner at the Moorings Restaurant we headed back to our floating home.  When we awoke the following morning we had a new neighbor in the anchorage, The Queen Mary 2.  Interestingly, its length is listed as .1 nautical miles and its depth as 36 feet.  This is one huge ship.  Not the kind of cruise ship that frequents Newport. 

Murray enjoying time on Block Island's
Crescent Beach
Block Island 
After a walk in Newport with Murray, we set off for Block Island.  Winds were strong (up to 30 knots) from the SW, the direction we were heading.  With 5 tacks, we were able to sail all the way past Point Judith and on to “the Block”.  Once in the Great Salt Pond, winds picked up a bit making for a lively night out.  The Great Salt Pond is a wonderful anchorage but because of the frequent use by motor and sail boats alike, the bottom provides fairly poor holding.  With high winds and poor holding, we hopped on a town mooring for the night.  Block is one of our favorite places and a fitting spot for our first “stay put day.”  We visited Crescent Beach where the combination of wind and sand gave us a “exfoliating spa treatment”, dad lunch and a beer at the Oar and walk into Old Harbor.  Few places have the charm and beauty of Block Island. 

Sunset on Fisher Island Sound
From here we took a short hop to Stonington, CT.,  a beautiful and protected harbor.  With a charming waterfront area, Kay had a chance to visit a number of stores that she is fond of.  The beginning of our journey seems to have a familiar stops in our favorite places, ones that will not see for a few years.  Once we drop below NYC we will begin visiting new territory, places neither of us have ever been. 
Anchored in the Sand Pit
Port Jefferson, NY
We left Stonington at 5:55 AM on Friday for a 65 mile sail to Port Jefferson, NY.  While 65 miles may not sound like much, @ 4.5-6 knots it is a reasonably long day sail.  We picked up a mooring in the sand pit at sunset and settled in for dinner and rest.

Murray meets his match
Sunday, we had a sweet sail to Hay (Zeigler) Cove and again picked up a mooring for the night.  This is where we interned both my father and nephew.  It is a special place in our hearts for that reason.  Tomorrow we will venture to Mamaroneck where we will spend a few days with mom before heading south.  Hopefully we will be joined by Mark for the ride to “the city” before heading off the New Jersey coast for our first overnight sail of the journey.  Time in the Chesapeake is in the future.
As the fall weather seems to be upon us, it feels good to be heading south, following the moderate temperatures and hopefully clear skies.  

Thanks for following our adventures.  More to come soon.
Richard and Kay

Friday, September 6, 2013

Bristol and Counting

Kay enjoying the sunshine
Bristol, our home port for the past 4 years, continues to have a hold on us.  While we boarded Atalanta one week ago as our new home, we have not been able to begin our journey due to a few "minor" last minute repairs.  As Richard was replacing the "spreader boots" on the mast, he noticed a crack in the end cap of one.  This is a small but critical piece that holds the stays (cables holding the mast up) in place.  Since the mast is 30 years old, the part has to be fabricated.  That will happen on Monday.  The chart plotter was another piece of equipment acting a bit funny so it is on the bench of Ray Marine being repaired as we speak.  Hope to see it reinstalled on Monday as well.

Once these final items are taken care of, it is our hope to be joined by our good friend Paul and sail to Block Island.  Block seems like a fitting first port on our journey as it is one of our favorite places in the world.  It will be our last time on Crescent Beach and eating at the Oar for some time.

We don't think Murray really knows that this is his new home and that it will be a while before he gets to sleep on the old couch.  With time, he will learn.

We are anxious to get going and see all that is ahead.  In the mean while, we will enjoy the company of new friends here in Bristol and the warmth of the sun.