Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saint Michaels, Maryland

It must be Sunday morning...


Leaving Annapolis and heading for Saint Michaels, the weather was beautiful. It wasn't a sunny postcard day, instead; a muted, desaturated depiction of a day that made for a comfortable cruise and a few interesting photos. Mel and I have always enjoyed running inside the boat on cloudy misty days; in the same way as our dead of winter boat trips on the Tennessee River, it's like cruising through an old black and white movie.

On this day, the Bay was flat, the winds were light; sunless and foggy, but not uncomfortably so.

Relaxation was our only reason for visiting St Michaels and we certainly accomplished that.
No work on this stopover, just a good time visiting friends and exploring one of our favorite places.
Steve and Jane, long time friends from our days at Sunset Bay in Stuart, have created a beautiful home in St Mikes with views that frame the harbor entrance; so they saw us coming in to tie up. Their thoughtfully renovated house truly looks like a page torn from a Chesapeake Bay Magazine; not too big, just Eastern Shore cool. It was good to spend time with them again, they're awfully nice folks, as are most of the locals we met. We're finding friendly to be the norm up here in Maryland.
That night, we all sat for dinner at the marina's Crab and Steak House. The small town lifestyle of St Mikes was prevalent; everybody knew everybody and now, much thanks to Jane, they know us too.


Hanging out at St Mikes is like stepping back into time, everything is as it should be. The harbor has the appearance of a 19th century fishing village. Walking the dogs through the neighborhoods is like stepping back into the 50s until you pass one of the old churches, then you realize just how old the town really is.


After a couple of days, we moved over to the Harbour Inn Marina and it was good that we did.
The distant Hurricane Jose passed by and pushed the Bay waters up so high that St Michaels Marina was underwater. No danger but we couldn't have hopped off the boat without boots. (we have no stinking boots, we're from Florida)


Steve and Jane loaned us their car and we drove over to Oxford to check out Campbell's Boat Yard. Scott Kinney at DeMillo's Yacht Sales actually let us test drive a 41 Back Cove downeast style boat. An interesting boat that would make a good little Bay cruiser. Pretty too.




Dinner for our last night in town was at 208 Talbot. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was even casual enough for us in all our boatiness. (we've been out for 5 months and we're quite boaty) The restaurant's an old house on the main drag that's a local favorite and understandably so. The steaks were great, however the homemade ice cream?!

St Mikes is a always a good hang and we always leave here not wanting to. The Lindemanns showed us a really nice time and we'll always stop here when on the Bay.

As I write this... We're tied up in Deale, Maryland at Herrington Harbour North Marina — another new stop for us on the Chesapeake.

More about HHN later.

Adios,

ps: Happy Birthday, Jane!!




Sunday, September 17, 2017

Annapolis

The Hurricane is over, Florida is busy rebuilding itself and quickly coming back to life, our home in Jupiter has returned to 100%, and now, we're back to doing what it is we do.  Currently, that's exploring Annapolis.

Here, The weather's perfect.

We've spent quite a bit of time in Annapolis and we always find it interesting. The Annapolitans are  friendly folk. They seem to go out of their way to be kind to strangers. They love their city, boats, good food, and they don't seem to mind sharing all those things. We're grateful, we love all those things as well.

Everywhere you look is a photo that needs to be taken and I've taken quite a few.
The photo to the left is Back Creek. We were tied up at Port Annapolis before moving closer to town and Annapolis Yacht Basin. The Yacht Basin's pricey but worth spending a few bucks for a couple of days in the middle of all things Annapolis





Speaking of Hurricanes, before I forget — this link is to Southeast Cruisers' Net's list of marinas that have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Pretty useful. http://cruisersnet.net/marina-conditions-and-updates/

A beautiful weekend with perfect weather brought out all kinds of vessels and their toys. The harbor was crazy busy.


So to better enjoy the day, we dropped the dink, loaded up the boys, and went out to join all those boaters doing the same.


Dinkabout Spa Creek



The end of another great day, the sun goes down.

This is truly a cool town, our kinda place. We always fantasize about picking up stakes and moving here to enjoy the city and the convenient cruising lifestyle that living on The Chesapeake Bay allows. The weather is a disagreement, Mel likes the idea of seasons, I do too — if we could exclude winter.

We'll stick around another day to watch some football and probably do another dingy ride; tomorrow we're booked into St Micheals. Just a short ride over to the Eastern Shore, it's an altogether different experience. There are old friends at St Michaels and it'll be fun seeing them again, been a few years.

After a week of stress and worry brought about by Hurricane Irma, it's certainly relaxing to kick back and absorb Annapolis.

Unfortunately, we're forced to remain mindful of the new storms currently spinning out in the Atlantic. Right now there are 3 different disturbances that could become something to pay attention to.

As Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, once said.

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...”

 

Adios,


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Irma's Gone


Day after day of staring at images like the one above, we had moved on, we'd resigned ourselves to and accepted the outcome of the overwhelming probabilities. Pretty much everything we owned in Jupiter, FL was about to be relentlessly swept away by this massive hurricane. Normally, we don't pay much attention to the weather-heads, but this time — just the size of the damn thing was undeniable.
We kept saying things to each other like, "it's just stuff", and "all that really matters is on the boat right now", nonetheless in our hearts and minds, we were controlling the sad thoughts that much of the business that we'd worked hard to build, our little bungalow by the beach, and our world in Jupiter was about to be blown away. Life was about to change.



Irma finally arrives.
Sitting on the boat, on the Chesapeake Bay, enjoying beautiful weather, it was unnerving seeing all this unfold on TV and the net, but as time went on, we started breathing a bit easier after seeing the storm leaving Cuba and pushing west. Now out of the "Cone of Uncertainty", though not out of the woods yet, it no longer looked like the end of the world as we know it.

Because we had access to the many surveillance cams onSpot has installed along the coasts, we were glued to our computers watching the increasing blow at the marinas that were in the path of Irma, .
Key West was the first to go dark, but before losing video I watched a large fellow, (wearing a child's life preserver?), standing in front of the Southernmost Point Buoy. He seemed to enjoy the massive breakers that violently smashed him head on - then hurled him backwards. He'd get knocked down and sweeped back to the street only to get up and do it over and over again. That's Key West.

North Palm Beach Marina lasted much longer, but eventually marina management was forced to cut power and it too went dark; the surge had pushed water over the fixed dock landings where the electrical power was located. Danger.
The Bluffs Marina stayed live till late but went offline after a large yacht broke a line and smashed into a power pedestal - completely knocking out power and water for the whole marina.
Then, other than the little Drop Cams, taped to the windows of our house, we were without eyes on the storm. A bit disconcerting, but...

As the storm moved North and the winds subsided, we starting feeling better about the house and the area in general. Though there wasn't much to see in the darkness, just knowing electricity and internet was still working gave us hope that everything was pretty good.

Then at 11:03, video died at the house, which means lost power.

Luckily, the next morning, other than no power or air conditioning, we discovered there was comparatively little damage, everyone's good, and all is okay other than a mess to clean up.

Thankfully, we seem to have dodged another bullet. There's still a life in Jupiter.
For us on Istaboa, if there's anything good that came outta the storm, it's the realization of what really matters most.
IT IS just stuff and all that really matters is on the boat right now.   (although there is a guitar at home I would have missed.) Realizing that everything in Jupiter was about to just go away had been fairly easy to accept; kinda liberating actually. We'd envisioned our old life as our new life — again.

Simple = (insert what you want here)

Our next door neighbor posted a video of Irma's blow on Instagram. Doesn't look too dangerous, but I bet the anticipation was killer.

A post shared by Glenda Green (@glendagreenart) on



Now, for the clean up.

I spoke with a couple of friends yesterday and both said they were amazed how quickly the area was being brought back to life. All agree that the South Florida's East Coast escaped disaster.

Old Port Cove Marina.
Mark Lavery told me that they are having electrical problems. The docks are okay, but so far power is not on. He hopes to have power back to the inner docks today.
North Palm Beach Marina.
Serious electrical issues. "It may be a while." was all Mark would say.
Ft Pierce City Marina
No power at this time.
The Harborage at Stuart
Fixed docks are seriously damaged. No power to the floating dock either.
Bahia Mar Marina
The marina is back up and running, per Megan Legasse, the GM
Soverel Harbour Marina.
The marina is okay, but no power for now.

miraculously, the marinas around the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas are reporting little to no damage.

That's all we've got for now.

Will and Carl, are assessing the damages and onSpot has already started rebuilding. Yesterday they went to Ft Pierce City Marina then worked down to Stuart to bring back 3 marinas there.
Of that group, The fixed docks at The Harborage in Stuart was hit hardest. Pics below






The guys have plenty more work to do, but as they did after last year's Matthew, they'll have them all back as soon as it's safe to do so.

Key West? We've yet to see anything there. It may be a while.


All in all, the storm wasn't as bad for those in South Florida as we had feared.

This crew is happy with the decision to keep on going North after leaving the Bahamas. The Chesapeake Bay is very pleasant... so far.

However, no one is exempt from Hurricanes on the East Coast. We just hope our luck continues.

Adios











Sunday, September 10, 2017

Solomons Island and Irma

Yep, another beautiful Sunday morning after a somewhat sleepless night.

There's a loss for words when trying to describe the feeling while looking out the salon window. Out there, the reality is the beginning of another beautiful day in Solomons' tranquil little harbor. Meanwhile, at home, in Jupiter, our house is being pounded and our friends, who have stayed put, are confronting Hurricane Irma that's bearing down on South Florida. (See live video of the effects of Irma here: NPBM)

Below, in the video that's streaming from a front window at Spearfish, as I write this, not much is happening. It looks just like last year's Hurricane Mathew that passed by without doing much damage.


Hope it stays that way.

Guilt is certainly not the descriptor that comes to mind, though anxiety is definitely in the mix. Conflicted doesn't seem to fit either.
Is there a word that combines fortunate and grateful? If so, that's it.

And then I turn and look out the salon window again —


Yes, anxious, fortunate, and grateful all apply. — God willing, we can add "Lucky" later.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the path of Irma. For those who stayed in Florida, please be safe. For those of us away, who have property in Florida — it's just stuff.

Adios,





Thursday, September 7, 2017

Live Video -S Florida- North Palm Beach/Jupiter/Key west


onSpot wifi Live Video Feed:
North Palm Beach Marina -Power or internet is down for now
The Bluffs Marina - Jupiter, FL
Key West - Power or internet is down for now
online — as long as possible.

 


The Bluffs Marina - Jupiter, FL

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Bay



It's another one of those peaceful Sunday mornings (My favorite way to start a day) quiet, overcast, the view from the salon window is like an old photograph, and so far, other than a few geese, there's not a soul stirring around the harbor.
We're now tied up at Solomons Island, MD - Spring Cove Marina where we're spending a soggy Labor Day Weekend. Though the sun may make an appearance today, it's probably too little too late; a disappointment for those deserving a sunny respite from work. Especially for the marina operators; all prepped to handle the large crowd of boaters who for the most part have canceled reservations.

So far, we're enjoying the bay, we always do. I like motoring to all our favorite towns and marinas while mostly running in deep-ish water — comfortable cruising — unlike the attention demanding shallow windings of the ICW or the long runs offshore with only the occasional ship or pod of dolphin to break the monotony. Mel likes the local restaurants serving good Blue Crab and local fish...  and the little shops. We both enjoy bumping into old acquaintances and making new ones, this seems to happen a lot on the Chesapeake.


Lady M, Marty and Amy, we've known them for years.  Now 88, Marty and his girlfriend Amy have been running up and down the east coast longer than most of us have been able to spell BOAT. Marty is a wealth of knowledge and experience, he's our personal cruising guide. If we have doubts about an inlet or a marina, we call Marty. Been there done that, many times. Yes, we can get that same info from a publication or online, but Marty usually shares an amusing anecdote to augment his bits of wisdom. We always enjoy their company and we did for the few days at Atlantic Yacht Basin while repairing our lightning damage. (Which, by the way, seems all good)







Leaving AYB and heading out into the Chesapeake, we found the Bay to be a bit sloppy, but soon the tide changed direction and all settled down.

Around Thimble Shoals Light, we made way toward the York River, Gloucester Point, VA and York River Yacht Haven. We've done this many times so with the comfort of following former track lines, we effortlessly skirted the shoal and eased into the marina.



We were surprised to see Southern Star on the same T-head. Istaboa was briefly tied next to N-47 Southern Star while at Old Port Cove. Later we got together with Ted and Jenny and we've enjoyed their company several times since.
Nice folks.





YRYH gave us a great tie, out on a T-head with a killer view from our stern. Waking early every morning and having my coffee with the sun rising above Sarah Creek was always a pleasure and certainly worth the effort of getting out of bed.













While at YRYH we endured a tropical disturbance that could have been much worse. With wind constantly blowing hard, gusts to 40mph, and hard rain all day, we discovered a couple of good leaks. Nothing that we couldn't quickly stop, although they did require some creativity to overcome. Wind and rain found the tiny breaches, duct tape and a plastic bag stemmed the leaks. A proper fix was done the following dry day.




 The next morning brought an end to bad weather and we started that day with sunny skies and pleasant temps. It's been a long time since we've experienced mid 70º temps, we're actually wearing pants. Nice.

So after a few days of weather, both good and bad, we untied and pulled out of York River.

We like YRYH; they've made many changes for the better and as we did a few years ago, we booked our slip there on a monthly. We'll be returning from time to time, making this our base on the Bay. It's a nicely tucked away marina that will make for a decent hiding hole in a blow. (we hope)


Our 90 mile run from YRYH to Solomons was nice and smooth. On the way up we passed through the fleet of commercial fishing boats from Reedville. We presume the Menhaden must be schooling.



Now and for good reason, everyone's attention is on Hurricane Irma. Our intentions are to hang here for a few more days and take care of some biz. Then move on to Herrington Harbour and Annapolis, if we don't have to head back to York River to hide out.
We'd like to visit old friends over at St Micheal's and stop at a few more little port towns along the Eastern Shore before heading back — we'll see.

Damn, it seems every hurricane update brings even worse news for everyone on the East Coast. It's still early in development so no reason to start battening down the hatches yet - - time will tell.

Fake News? Don't bet on that.

Just crossing fingers for now.


Adios,