Monday, October 25, 2010

The Preface & Prologue

                                                     A New Boat, A New Sailing Adventure
2009 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 36i now named ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ was purchased on Oct. 12, 2008 at the Annapolis Boatshow from Norton’s Yacht Sales Inc.; at least a downpayment was paid until, as the agreement stated, final payment was due July 1, 2009.

The boat returned to it’s home port, Deltaville Virginia. We continued our trip along the Chesapeake eastern & western shores from Maryland to Virginia on the Viking. Upon arriving in Deltaville we were received with open arms & a warm southern welcome. We had an hour’s sail out on the Rappahannock on a beautiful, sunny day.

On May 13, 2009 we returned to Deltaville on our northern trek home. At this point we decided to end this first adventure here in Virginia. We made our final payment, made arrangements to transport the Viking home on a flat bed & started transferring non-perishables from one boat to the other. The question we repeatedly asked ourselves was: what can we leave safely on board a boat that will be locked up tight for a hot mid US summer& that we do not need back home? We placed an order for canvass work in the colour dubonnet , black stern sunshade & vinyl side panels to be done over the summer.

‘Sweet Chariot’ arrived safely back in Ottawa on June 3, 2009 & ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ survived the summer quite nicely until our return on Aug. 31, 2009.
 Throughout the proceeding months we took our pictures of many parts of the boat & measurement  to make personal improvements & preparations. Then we had the great pleasure to actually customize her internally & externally. Over a nine day period we fine tuned the new canvass ie bimini, dodger & connector, added a BBQ, installed the dinghy motor mount & repositioned the jenny furling line to the port toe rail. Internally oil lamps & bookcase installed, new linens for V- berth & aft cabins, head & galley accessorized & shelving units added to increase storage capacity with convenience in mind, designation of location for non perishable foods according to frequency & convenience to mention a few of the many jobs. 

The Maiden Voyage took place on Sept. 12, 2009 on the most glorious sunny, warm day with the bluest of skies & light gentle wind but enough to sustain a full main & jenny. Over the next two months we explored the many bays, rivers, creeks, & parks on both the eastern & western shores north of Deltaville. We attended the Annapolis Boatshow on Oct. 9 & 10. 

We met a warm, kind, gracious & generous family, the Buckleys while anchored in Harness Creek off the South River when staging ourselves for arriving guests before during & after the boatshow--- the Godfreys , Carol Laidlaw & the Dargavels. With them we explored more of the Chesapeake north of Annapolis. All good things must come to an end; on Oct. 27 we drove back to Ottawa after putting our new baby to bed for the winter.

An event filled winter it was ie I was selected as a volunteer at the Vancouver Winter Olympics (Feb. 7-Mar.2, 2010). 

On April 20, 2010 we returned to the ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ & explored more of the middle & upper Chesapeake. The Dargavels revisited us. One week prior to our planned return home my grandmother died on May 29th, 2 months shy of her 100th Birthday. 
More thinking & planning & prepping took place over the hot Ottawa summer for this is the winter that we will be returning to the south for a possible eight month adventure after a year off. That was the agreement Graeme & I made since both of us enjoy all seasons especially winter for our skiing. Now let the show begin…
Tues. Oct. 5, 2010 (Week 1, Day1): 
Beautiful few days prior to our departure. I had my final cycle in 2010 to the Champlain Lookout . But I now have a folding bike for the boat. It is a experiment to see how much use it will see, how well it will store on the boat, how easy it will be to transfer it to the dinghy & then to land, & how well it will stand up to a salt air & water environment. On a clear night, we left Ottawa at midnight; the van was heavy & jam packed. We encountered no problems at the US border & little traffic especially transport trucks going south--- off to the side resting, whereas heavy transport traffic travelling north. It was dark & rainy while I drove right after Syracuse (0300 hrs.) till dawn in Pennsylvania (0730 hrs.). After our breakfast stop we changed drivers & Graeme followed exact GPS directions while I slept. This route took us closer to Baltimore & Washington rather than our usual route 81à17à95à66à33à3. It became more sunny but on the cool side as we headed south. Arrival time= 1345 hrs. even after we picked up our new grab bar for around the GPS consol. ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ was on the hard but the bimini etc. was reinstalled after Hurricane Earl’s scare in Sept. of heavy wind & rain for this area. We immediately started unloading one box or container at a time, cleaning before filling the space with our supplies, clothes etc. It seemed overwhelming at first because at the end of the day there seemed little to show for our efforts & a lot more to do. When we finished for the day it was late, we were tired & hungry & decided to go to ‘The Galley’ for supper (Bella Pizza was closed tonight). Bed made up, climbed right in & fast asleep in no time. We did though take note that on this cool night the abundance of stars was phenomenal & the Milky Way was amazing.

Wed. Oct. 6, 2010 (Week 1, Day 2): 
Up at sunrise; cool first thing in the morning; sunny with cloudy periods & moderate coolish breeze. The boatyard preferred that they install our new wind generator when we had arrived so Graeme had a lengthy conversation with the installer--- BBQ would have to be relocated as far over as possible from its present location for the best & most efficient bracing required. Up & down the ladder+++ but a lot accomplished & 90% of the boxes & bins were emptied , although the interior looked like a cyclone had been through.  Graeme did a lot of jobs as well eg installation of the new grab bar surrounding the GPS consol; we stayed out of each other’s hair; there will be enough time for that! My aggravation for the day was setting up my US cell phone (Tracfone); what I thought to be simply reactivating a phone whose service time had expired turned out to be the most complicated procedure--- 2-1/2 painful hours in the morning, a required wait period of 4 hours, then an additional 1-1/2 hellish hours in the afternoon; and this is with insistence of speaking to two supervisors! I believe the phone works, although I found out a day later that my phone number had changed!  Another cool but lovely night (50’sF) but the stars & Milky Way were amazing once again.

Thurs. Oct. 7, 2010 (Week 1, Day 3)
In no time the bright sun warmed the cool morning air & the birds were singing away. We were off after breakfast & a shower to Eastport/Annapolis to pick Reid Buckley up & proceed to see the sights of Havre de Grace. It was a 2-1/2 hrs. drive to Annapolis. Due to some unfortunate work issues, Reid was not able to join us for the trek to Havre de Grace. Early afternoon we drove to Annapolis Harbour & purchased our 2-day boatshow tickets in advance, then the 1-1/2 hrs. drive around Baltimore to Havre de Grace--- a small sailing community on the north end of the Chesapeake on the Sasquehannah River, a freshwater river that empties into the Chesapeake & controls the salinity of the Bay. A walkabout Market St. & Tidewater Marina, a very late lunch at McGarvey’s (friendly owners, staff & clientele), & a walk on the Boardwalk . Unfortunately the Maritime Museum was closed , not interested in the Decoy Museum, & the unused lock & museum at the opposite end of the community was also closed. All in all a little disappointing affair but the wonderful sunny, warm day made up for it. We returned to Annapolis to the Buckley’s for a few hours of catching up with each others news, then bedtime.
Fri. Oct. 8, 2010 (Week 1, Day 4): 
When we woke & appeared outside our bedroom the view was that of Harness Creek just off the South River just south of Back Creek in Annapolis where we have anchored several times last Fall & this Spring. Charlie drove us close to the boatshow . We walked around for an hour until the opening at 1000 hrs. There were lots of people from the get go. On some boats, then took in some exhibits, lunch on the upper deck above Pussers & then more boats & more exhibits until 1700 hrs. We had a great gathering of the clan, both of friends from Ottawa (NSC) & of people we had met along the way on our Bahamas ’08-’09 trip. We had many lovely hours visiting & conversing with Carole & Bob Noble over dinner at the Boatyard; good adventures in India in November! We taxied back to the Buckley’s. Just a perfect day of weather (sunny, warm with a light breeze) & of meeting of friends!
Sat. Oct. 9, 2010 (Week 1, Day 5): 
Another awesome day with sun, blue skies & temps of 80-85F. After breakfast Reid drove us to Market Square. We took the free shuttle to Weems & Platt for our replacement oil lamp reservoir, then into the boatshow first to purchase Larry Morrow’s list of LED lights for his boat, then the same routine of boats & exhibits. At noon we met up with Joe & Jody Frost & their friends Karl & Jan (White Pepper—C&C 41) who will be heading south in the next few days. More boats, more exhibits & another gathering at Pussers at 1700 hrs. although smaller. Shortly after 1800 hrs. we attended the Jeanneau Party for Jeanneau owners--- free food+++, & free booze & met the Norton-Schmalenberger Family, a few local Jeanneau owners & people from Rhode Island. About 2200 hrs. we caught a taxi outside of the Mariott. A beautiful evening. Although pleasant the taxi driver left both of us with an uneasy feeling; and we were alone in the house tonight as the Buckleys took their boat across the Bay & up into the Wye River for the weekend. Needless to say I did not sleep well.
Sun. Oct. 10, 2010 (Week 1, Day 6): Another awesome beautiful, warm, sunny day with the bluest of blue skies. After a shower & breakfast we packed up & headed to the Navy Stadium (boatshow parking = $10.00) & took the free shuttle to the harbour front to have our last look around, checking out the Helly Hansen store & enjoying the ambience. We had lunch at McGarvey’s sitting beside an affluent couple; she has property in the Bahamas & he does a lot of business in there. He gave us a few tips & advice that we helpful. At 1400 hrs. we shuttled back to the Stadium, then easily found our way to Hwy 50Wà301. We stopped in at the Walmart in Waldorf for a particular kind of engine oil & a replacement square pail or similar, arriving back in Deltaville at 1730 hrs. Some more organized packing, then a good pizza supper at Bellas. Boy have we blown the budget these last 4 days!  A gorgeous warm night.
Mon. Oct. 11, 2010 (Week 1, Day 7): Happy Thanksgiving in Canada!
 No turkey this time, this year for us. Sunny, warm to hot with no humidity & the cheerful singing of the birds early in the morn. Graeme installed his homemade ICW (Intercoastal Waterway) cockpit seat (not pretty but very functional) + a scads of other jobs while I reorganized the V-berth, the head storage area under the sink & behind the toilet & unsuccessfully attempted to organize my clothes & bits in lightweight cloth storage bins with heavy duty Velcro (does not work with plastic suction cups). All the empty container bins & luggage were rearranged in the van . The house flies have been numerous & pesty but the fly tape established last evening was already very successful. 1800 hrs. & time to make supper---fettucine alfredo, not close to turkey at all! Some internet, skyped Mom but not home; I should have called at Dave’s. A sliver of moon shone in the clear sky on such a warm night. But tonight I suffered from Phil Hunt Syndrome & woke at 0230 hrs.; I pondered about getting up & reading or working on this journal but instead just laid there looking out the port & staring at Orion’s Belt. Sleep eventually came.
Tues. Oct. 12, 2010 (Week2, Day 8): 
Already a week has passed! Another magnificent day---sunny, hot & blue skies. The flies continue to be pests but the fly tape is even more successful. The jenny was attached to the furler (Furlex), the bimini rearranged, the decks & cockpit swept; we need to get launched soon. In the afternoon we filled an empty propane tank at Revere ($12.00 no matter how empty or full), to West Marine to question the fee of our renewal + washers & nuts, to Nauti Nells (closed on Tues.), Ships Tailor (locking the door) & to Deltaville Boatyard to look for the Morrow’s friends (Dorothy & Glenn & their boat 'Dot’s Way') whose engine blew up just outside Jackson Creek. On returning we fitted the homemade no-see-um screens to the ports but there is no lip or way to attach so for now scotch tape worked well. Then finally our first sit down with a drink & cheese & crackers. The evening was so warm that we BBQ’d pork chops until the mosquitoes got too bad at sunset. Internet, skyped Mom. Clear skies & a quarter moon when I got in bed & just falling off to sleep when a short rain shower fell. The wind picked up during the night & the temp fell.
Wed. Oct. 13, 2010 (Week 2, Day 9): 
Cloudy morn & cooler temps but the skies cleared to sun & clear skies; the temp was only in the upper 60’sF. I did a written inventory of all the storage area in the main cabin while Graeme got things set up for me to help him install the pad eyes for the new drifter. After lunch we brought the bimini to ‘Ships Tailor’ to have another window installed to see the sail better when sitting in the ICW seat, West Marine for spare choker valves, Nauti Nells to say ‘hello’ to Jeannie but on vacation till Fri. & the Flea market house (open Wed. & Sat.). I set up internet connections on my new little netbook + emails.  Supper = lasagna hamburger helper (quite good). The plan is to launch us tomorrow if all goes well. Weather is coming in Thurs. to Sat. or Sun. with rain & gusting winds. The evening was coolish & high west winds. Electric heater is on & we were toasty warm . In the wee hours of the night the winds increased & the wind generator was whirling away---a new sound to get used to.
Thurs. Oct. 14. 2010 (Week 2,Day 10)
Grey & cloudy morn, slightly cool but warm enough for shorts; good east breeze blowing even where we are on the hard. Ready to drive to Richmond to obtain our cruising permit which we were unable to get in Ogdensbury, N.Y. on two occasions, when Ian (boatyard manager) arrived to discuss work Graeme wanted done on the bow roller in order to fly a drifter & answered questions re the ammeter for the wind generator + the Xantrex multi purpose calibrator for the 5 new batteries ( 1 dedicated entirely for the engine & 4 for the house for a total capacity of 400 amps. + 80 or 90 amp hr. alternator). Ian also explained the problems with the LED mast light replacement. The rain has started. Finally at 1030 hrs. we were off to Richmond , an hour & 20 min. drive in pouring rain. US Customs & Border Crossing office is located on Huntsman Rd. close to the airport; GPS did not recognize but called them for exact directions. When Graeme said he is an American citizen it was like magic & we had the permit in 15 min. but we were reminded to check into to the nearest port of each state. After lunch we toured the Virginia Aviation Museum next door to the Customs & Border Crossing office. Out in the front lawn is a SR-71 plane--- a high altitude (80,000 ft) spy plane that has broken all known speed & distant records ; a neat museum (senior admission= $5.00). Then it was a hurry to get back to Deltaville to pick up our bimini by closing time. Back to Norton’s & ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ had been launched & tied up on ‘A’ dock . We reinstalled the bimini & side panels in the rain; a clearing sky approaching. The weather forecast for tomorrow + Sat. & Sun. had improved; tomorrow a good day then to clean the deck & cockpit---a full day job. We decided to go to Gloucester & do our last minute shopping at Walmart (a sailor’s best friend). A cool west wind this evening, temps about 54F; stars & near ½ moon. The heater kept us warm & the wind rolled us gently at dockside, a feeling we will be exposed to now for 7-8 mons.
Fri. Oct. 15, 2010 (Week 2, Day 11): 
Beautiful Fall morning, cool but clear skies & sunny & that fabulous Fall lighting. Laundry day & day to run my antivirus program on my computer (8 hrs. process). By midday a west wind increased & gusting+++ & clouds rolled in + rain (not predicted). The other goal of cleaning the decks has now been put on hold. Graeme having a bad day; everything he touches seems to go wrong ie his BBQ ½ hrs. project took all morning. No LED mast light yet, no lewmar screens & heavy gusty winds on the Bay keeps us on a holding pattern. A trip to town to Hurd’s Hardware, Nauti Nells to see Jeannie & give her maple syrup, West Marine for screws & nuts, then back to Norton’s to retrieve my computer & laundry from the cottage. By supper the skies were clearing & the west wind decreased with only an occasional strong gust but cool; heater was on during supper & the rest of the night. Supper= chili & bread. By bedtime the skies cleared, a bright ½ moon shone & the west wind increased again.
Sat. Oct. 16, 2010 (Week 2, Day 12)
A magnificent Fall morn, spectacular lighting & singing birds when we woke at dawn; crisp air, wall to wall sun & a steady 28K NW winds + gusts+++on the Bay. Five grain pancakes for breakfast. Graeme tackled cleaning the dinghy while I cleaned ‘Sweet Chariot Too’s’ deck & teak toerail to blinding whiteness. Sid (boatyard staff) worked on a few teak strips on the transom we were not happy with & cockpit seats; must remain dry till tomorrow. Late in the afternoon I cleaned the area of the cockpit below the seats but not the cockpit floor & table. Graeme added cleats to the transom for visiting dinghy tie ups + teak fiddles for the main cabin cushions. Supper = BBQ steak with potatoes & the last of homegrown beans, but BBQ not working well; steak finished on stoveà delicious. Beautiful sunset & red sky & 2/3 moon in the clear night sky.
Sun. Oct. 17, 2010 (Week 2, Day 13):
Another crisp morning & beautiful sunrise with far less west wind & no clouds, temp= low 70’sF. I drove to Church of the Visitation for 0900 hrs. Upon return I got down to business & cleaned the top of the cabin behind the dodger, remainder of the cockpit & the transom. No clouds, brilliant sun & warm for shorts & t-shirt. Graeme worked on odds & sods of things +BBQ finding just a bad connection (5/8 full but wants to refill before leaving). At 1600 hrs. we drove to Gloucester looking for propane refill station (most just do exchanges) & Varsol (an almost unheard of item). Supper= breaded pork tenderloin, potatoes & broccoli. Skyped Mom & did some internet & journal work.  A warmer evening; no heater till well after sunset. Stars, near ¾ moon & calm winds.
Mon. Oct. 18, 2010 (Week 2, Day 14)
We slept so well we didn’t rise till 0700 hrs. A brilliant sun at sunrise, warm until slight cloud cover came & went throughtout the day, but still mid 70’sF & in shorts & t-shirt. Mast light successfully replaced with Larry’s LED; a huge thank you. Graeme refilled BBQ propane tank at Revere---no charge & did not find Varsol even at Nappa ; he purchased some cheap rum for his coffee & beer for himself & Bud for the boatyard staff, while I washed port & hatches inside & out + vinyl windows of dodger, connector & bimini side & back panels. I decided  not to thaw meat from the freezer but instead purchased some boneless round steak for beef stir fry for this evening’s supper. Sid did some  more teak repairs & gave us some of the yard’s supply of Varsol. After over 2 weeks finally Graeme made an appointment for a repair of a cap that had fallen off a molar--- appointment tomorrow at noon. Antivirus completed on netbook + a external DVD program installed then the Engenius program. Larry Morrow called on our US cell; a good anchorage in Campbell Creek off Goose Creek. The dinghy was launched then hauled onto the foredeck. Beef stir fry & rice supper was excellent. I skyped the entire family at Donna’s as they were celebrating Marcie’s birthday; kind of makes you homesick. Internet & journal but somehow lost tonight’s work. A lightly hazy sky with a ¾ moon.
Tues. Oct. 19, 2010 (Week 3, Day 15)
Some sun & cloud today; when sun out it was nice & warm & a touch cool when not. Today was a kind of relaxing day as the only thing holding us back was Graeme’s dental appointment at noon. I decided to do a load of laundry (darks) while I worked on my journal/blog. Then we were off to the dentist (Dr. Lennon). Facilities were very modern, staff very knowledgeable & busy. Two x-rays, reglueing of cap onto right molar + replacement of large loose filling on left molar & we walked out at 1330 hrs. having paid $751.00! Oouch! Filled the dental insurance papers & sent them via mail immediately. We deliver the Bud beer to the boatyard staff office & Gosling rum to the administration office. It was my job to fit my folding bike into the garage---no problem. Supper = leftovers as Graeme could only eat soft foods. Internet after dishes washed---Joe Frost emailed re Richard Hackett’s fall off a neighbour’s roof last week fracturing both wrists & an elbow; 3 surgeries had already been performed he was still in hospital in Baltimore; we emailed back immediately. I skyped Mom that we were leaving for Norfolk in the morning. A light NNE wind & hazy over a full moon.

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