Thursday, June 23, 2011

May 31, 2011 (Week 35, Day 239)

Tues. May 31, 2011 (Week 35, Day 239) Our Final Day! Weather: sunny & hot--> warm
That’s right, this is the final day! The last day of the month, the start of the 35th week or 239 days since we left Ottawa, Oct. 5, 2010! Just a drive of about 9 hrs. + a 1-1/2 hrs. detour to Kingston at a good pace, reasonable traffic, good road conditions & good weather. We certainly brought the hot weather north with us. Out first stop in Ottawa was to embrace my Mom! Then Home Sweet Home! We certainly have a lot to be thankful for! And I wonder what 2 years from now will bring!

May 24-30, 2011 (Week 34, Day 232-238)

Tues. May 24, 2011 (Week 34, Day 232) Weather: extremely hot >90F, humid, mostly sunny; rain shower late pm then clear
After breakfast both of us got right into the list of jobs. With my bathing suit on I tackled cleaning & polishing all the exterior stainless steel. Graeme emptied the jerry cans of diesel into the boat tank, performed an oil change & got rid of waste diesel & oil + ?few other jobs. Later in the afternoon Ken had to move us from the fuel dock to another T-dock. Late in the day we made a trip to the grocery store for badly needed bread & milk for morning breakfast. Despite the intense heat cooked supper anyways & ate in the cockpit with of semblance of a breeze. Supper= pork tenderloin, peas & pickles. I wrote up the last 4 days of my journal as I had been negligent in doing each evening until it was too dark to see in the cockpit (2100 hrs.) & mosquitoes while Graeme read & slept & read & slept. When it felt slightly cooler I showered & hit the sack. Graeme went for his shower & I did not hear him return.
Wed. May 25, 2011 (Week 34, Day 233) Weather: beautiful & fabulous temp & sunshine early in the am; mid am it was already too hot but not as humid as yesterday; temp high= 88F Wind: S & very slight only
After breakfast we took the head sail off & folded it, followed by my more cleaning (shower walls & glass door, all the main cabin cushions) & finalizing my inventory list, even some internet & computer updates. Graeme’s work list included talking to & showing the service manager a possible placement of the ICOM VHF’s outside operating unit, retrieving the new/used dinghy motor (Yamaha 8) & fuel tank, removing the Tohatsu motor & packing it in the van & installing the Yamaha on the stern rail mount. After lunch we drove to town mainly to say hello to Jeannie at Nauti Nells + few other stops. Boy, it was hot & most of my work was in the shade today! Supper somewhat early (1900 hrs.)= butter chicken with rice--> very good from my perspective. We drove & walked about the north point of the entrance into Broad Creek then around to Regatta Point where we saw 2 young deer. It was very calm out on the Bay. A cool down shower before bed. A very calm, slightly cooler but still very warm night.
Thurs. May 26, 2011 (Week 34, Day 234) Weather: hot, 90+F, sunny & no clouds Winds: calm to 8K from SSW
We both slept well despite the heat, but woke up early. By 0700 hrs. Graeme had showered, I washed my hair, breakfast eaten & the day’s projects started. These projects included: -checking something in the engine compartment -washing & window panels of the surround part of the enclosure -hauling the dinghy on land to wash & scrap with a metal trowel all the millions of crustaceans -spraying a mixture of wood bleach/oxalic acid on the dinghy’s hull & interior floor & the tannic ICW water stain on the stern -scrubbing the 6 cockpit cushions -removing soft drinks from 2 floor compartments & cleaning thoroughly
It appears that we will be able to split our 13 hrs. drive home to Ottawa by visiting friends in Solomons on Sun. & other friends in the Annapolis area on Mon. A hot dog lunch for a change. Exhaustion, that feeling of no ambition & laziness & sleepiness set in about 1600 hrs. mainly because of the heat Graeme slept in the shade in the cockpit while I read till it cooled a bit. Supper late (1930 hrs.) in the cockpit= meatloaf, peas & the last of the dill pickles. I showered then tackled journal entry as it has been 5 days now without working on it. Still hot at bedtime.
Fri. May 27, 2011 (Week 34, Day 235) Weather: very warm, 88F & sunny with occasional cloud but less humidity in the afternoon Winds: S 5-10K here at Norton’s but a small craft warning out on the Chesapeake with 15-20K winds & 2-3 ft. seas
Happy Birthday Debbie! We woke at 0600 hrs., quickly had breakfast so as to tackle the exterior boat cleaning before the heat really hit. Mid morning it was already hot. Fortunately I was working with water & on the water removing the yellow “moustache” stain from the waterline of the bow & all the port side of the hull, the transom & only 1/3 of the starboard side as that was the side boat was tied up on; looked good & the task was made much easier by using wood bleach. After lunch I tackled scrubbing the head & shower floors & their respective mats, the deck & most of the cockpit & transom. Graeme met the lady from Bay Canvass who will give us a quote for firmer foam for the starboard cushions in the main cabin; he made some purchases in town, attempted unsuccessfully to remove the shore lock for the dinghy--> cut it off; he gave the service staff a case of beer. All but the last minute jobs have been completed. I showered early as we were invited to a farewell & thank you party for the staff at 1630 hrs. on the Jeanneau 49 that is leaving in the am for Norfolk then offshore to New York; I had prepared a few munchies to bring so there was lots of food, beer & even champagne. The party finally broke up at 2200 hrs. What a beautiful & comfortable evening!
Sat. May 28, 2011 (Week 34, Day 236) Weather: phenomenal! sunny with few dark clouds in the am; in fact a few drops of rain actually fell but by pm as predicted blue, blue skies & hot (90ishF) especially when out of the breeze Winds: S with good breeze & chop on the Bay according to local casual fisherman, but we were very protected here at Norton’s
Another early rise; since Graeme lay awake since 0500 hrs. he finally got up & had a shower while I prepared breakfast & worked away at catching up with my journal entry. The day was left for odds & sods & near last minute jobs, ie: -Graeme packed up his clothes -I washed the bimini & connector windows & Graeme took them into “The Ships Tailor” -we lifted the dinghy & moved it to it’s storage area on land; Graeme returned to Hurd’s Hardware for a tarp -a quick wipe to the stainless splashed with land’s hard water & the bird poop on the nice clean deck -Graeme back to town to buy a bottle of Goslings for the office staff
It is hard to express the business decisions & work attitude & ethics that are made here at Norton’s in such a caring, thoughtful & personable way. Many a time it has been said that we feel like family, but the entire staff makes us feel important like family as they do to us. How do you express that in meaningful words?
Once the heat of the day had subsided a bit, we repacked the van; man-o-man I don’t understand why some stuff I questioned can’t stay here! A nice cool shower for both of us then Graeme insisted going to Bellas for a pizza; it holds no match to Granby St. Pizza in Norfolk. I checked emails when we got back as I listened to the fireworks for Memorial Weekend here in the US. And now I am also caught up in my journal entries. This was our last sleep here in Deltaville, our last sleep on ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ as part of this trip! And a calm, beautiful night it was; a perfect ending!
Sun. May 29, 2011 (Week 34, Day 237) Weather: sunny & hot, hot, hot! Winds: calm
Another early morning. We got right to the last minute jobs before it got too hot: -turned off the power to the fridge & freezer -removed the linen from our bed; will take back to Ottawa to wash -moved items in the storage area to the V-berth or the main cabin to give Norton’s staff room to perform their work on our work list -washed & removed the dodger & stored in the main cabin -covered up the wheel; now with the new handrail around the nav console, unable to cover console up with the original cover--> will ask Ken it he has something that might work
Now with only the fridge & freezer to empty, clean & dry, I decided I had time to attend Zoar Baptist Beach Service at 0930 hrs. (1 hrs.) & so took a very quick shower & skaddadled to Stingray Point. On return we got right to work at emptying the fridge & freezer of it’s contents into the cooler then removed any existing ice from the freezer box & wiped dry the entire fridge/freezer compartments. Man it was hot! One realizes the protection the dodger & bimini provide when they are not in place. With the cooler packed into the van, we closed tightly all the curtains & blinds in the boat, locked her up, thanked her for keeping us safe for the last 7-3/4 months & said good bye till the Fall! By noon we were on our way to visit Jody & Joe Frost in Lusby, Maryland (Solomons)--- a 3 hr. drive. Soon out from the agricultural Deltaville area, the flat lands gave way to gentle rolling, very green, lush hills. It was a wonderful afternoon & evening of chatting, catching up on each other’s news & eating a delicious BBQ steak, sweet potatoes & asparagus with an assortment of fresh fruit & cream for dessert, outdoors on the patio surrounded by flowers, pots of herbs, under the shade of trees overlooking Mill Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River! And to add more icing to the cake, Carol & Richard (Kilissa) were present! Richard filled us in on the details of his accident in the Fall & his recovery phase; my he has come a long way! The Frosts kindly let us stay the night in their very nicely decorated house.
Mon. May 30, 2011 (Week 34, Day 238) Weather: sunny & hot
A shower then a quick departure by 0800 hrs. as the Frosts were expecting friends to arrive mid morning. We grabbed some breakfast on our way to Annapolis, just 1 hr. away. We had a good time walking about downtown Annapolis despite the intense heat. A big surprise--- we bumped unexpectedly into Dave (Firecrest) at Fawcetts & then Patric & Karin (Artful Dodger) at the Magazine Shop in Annapolis! Who would have guessed! The canals up north just opened due to flooding & there is a big back log of boats waiting to travel the canal systems. They decided to spend time in awesome Annapolis. After 1500 hrs. we met up with the Buckley Family; lots of conversation of each other’s happenings, an invite for a wonderful supper (pork roast, salad then ice cream) & an overnight stay! How fantastic has this has all been!

May 17-23, 2011(Week 33, Day 225-231)

Tues. May 17, 2011 (Week 33, Day 225) Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) Weather: partly cloudy, partly sunny with a daytime high of 79F & low 62F, rain shower midday Winds: SE gusting 10-20K till evening
Sunrise at 0555 hrs. A sleep in morning then good shore showers before breakfast for the 2 of us. The trawler in front of us left. We spoke to the Morrows on the phone; they had dinner with Patric in Elizabeth City last night. Patric’s emails said they would be in Norfolk on Wed. if they could get off the docks in Elizabeth City in the morning. The antivirus scan finished on 1 computer & the same was started on the 2nd; updates downloaded. We started our walk around downtown not much before 1000 hrs. as that is usual opening time for businesses, still looking for “Winds from the Carolinas” in bookstores; visited the Visitor’s Center, Graeme withdrew money from a local bank ATM, visited the MacArthur Theatre & Museum (free, good & well done), briefly visited MacArthur Center & then to Granby St. Pizza for a stromboli we split for lunch; owner, Peter recognized us & chatted. Afterwards we took a NET bus (free in the downtown area) for one complete round. We checked out “Bibliophile”, a used &/or rare bookstore (unsuccessful) then walked towards Elizabeth River & Waterside Festival Marketplace to the boat via the Japanese garden, Nauticus, the Wisconsin & Town Point Park. More internet, emails & cleaning up the Inbox & made up a batch of spaghetti sauce. A sailboat tied up in front of us & had a similar exciting landing. A late, late supper= spaghetti. The SE winds calmed right down. To Hooters for dessert--> Graeme= caramel pecan cheesecake & I= chocolate mousse cake as the key lime pie was still a little frozen; we watched period 2 of the Tampa Bay vs Boston hockey game (semis). Back at the boat we listened to NOAA--> weather has improved for tomorrow, acceptable with lowering SE winds but seas still a little high & better Thurs. with the seas laying down. A comfortable cool evening, light winds, clear skies, official full moon & higher high tides & lower low tides.
Wed. May 18, 2011 (Week 33, Day 226) Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) Weather: calm, warm, partly cloudy, partly sunny, light rain shower in the am but heavy rains & lightning & thunderstorm about 1600 hrs. Winds: SE calm most of the day, 10K with the storm & about 8K after sunset
A relaxing morning, waking at the usual 0600 hrs. Many “Loopers” were moving out today & more tomorrow & the sailboat in front of us left. We took advantage of the opportunity to walk the boat forward for an easy exit early tomorrow am without help as the staff do not start till 0800 hrs. Another good shower; I’m spoiled now. By 1000 hrs. we were well on our way walking about, especially through MacArthur Center (huge shopping center close by) till 1300 hrs., hunting for a semi dressy pair of black shorts. Then it was lunch back at Granby St. Pizza for a more than substantial slice of a delicious pizza. In a round about way we made our way back to the boat with black+++, threatening+++ clouds looming to the north & east. We scrubbed the decks & cockpit with brush & cleaning solution & fresh water hose until the skies opened up & the skies light up with lightning with thunder. We then ran & hid in “Hooters”, looking out at the storm over a beer & a coke & a plate of onion rings for Graeme; I’m still stuffed from lunch. A few emails & reading till 2000 hrs. while Graeme slept. Supper= hot dog in a soft tortilla. Graeme fuelled the boat tank before it was pitch dark in preparation for an early morning departure then he went to “Hooters” to watch part of the Vancouver vs San Jose hockey game; I joined him a little later. Mostly clear skies with some clouds & pleasant cool temps.
Thurs. May 19, 2011 (Week 33, Day 227) Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) to Deltaville Departure: 0600 hrs. Arrival: 1405 hrs. Mileage: 66SM/57.47NM Weather: very calm & mostly sunny at dawn, moon still up, partly sunny & cloudy during the day with suspicious clouds building over land Winds: W 8-13K, 1-2 ft. seas
The alarm went off at 0500 hrs. We readied ourselves & the boat to shove off for our last sailing day! Finally by 0830 hrs. we were outside the Hampton Roads Channel & turned north at Thimble Shoal Lighthouse out into the vast Chesapeake, unfurling our jenny fully. We motorsailed along comfortably at 6-7.8K in 1-2 ft. seas toward ‘Sweet Chariot Too’s home port. It was hard to believe this day has come, after 7 months, 30 weeks & 212 days from departure date (Oct. 20 ’10- May 19’11)! Like I said in the past, a bittersweet feeling. I was taking it all in--- the smell of the sea, the water depths & tides, the channel markers, the crab pots, the fishing boats & other power or sailing boats, the VHF chatter, the sun, the sky, the cloud formations. This has been our life for many months. We tied ourselves up at the end dock at Norton’s Yacht Sales Inc., immediately noticing the many songs of the birds. We announced our return to the staff. Now the hardest part, the packing up & cleaning up & out. We informed Ian Pierce (service manager) of our plans. Tomorrow we will sit down with him re some electrical issues of concern. The van was parked at the sailing school building; the battery was dead but Ian & Graeme put the battery charger on it for approximately ½ hour then zoom; tires a little low so Graeme manually pumped them up. In the meantime I Skyped Mom & Lynn & Larry to let them know we were safe & sound back in Deltaville. I was putting off the commencement of the inevitable. Some packing & inventory taken; I knew I had purchased a bottle of salsa. Supper= pork chops & pork ‘n beans followed by chocolate pudding (easy & good). Suitcases in cockpit & we started filling them. Enough for one day; bedtime. Super calm, dark night with a few stars above.
Fri. May 20, 2011 (Week 33, Day 228) Weather: glorious, sunny & warm am; clouds moved in late pm & a brief rain shower about 1300 hrs. Winds: calm
We woke none too early to the birds singing. Shore showers X 2 then breakfast; I forgot to use my toaster again. Packing+++ & cleaning to a lesser degree, updating part of my inventory list. Four loads of laundry took up most of the day; I used my bike to go back & forth. We had our meeting with Ian at 1230 hrs. X 2 hrs. showing & discussing in length the battery charging system, new alternator & electric windlass, engine blower fan, tachometer, occasional & small salt water leak in 2 under floor compartments & a few other items. Even did some internet work. We prepared our clothes, food & comforter/blanket/curtain laundry to take to Edenton as we were visiting the Morrows X 2-1/2 days. About 1700 hrs. I received a call on my TracFone from Dave of ‘Firecrest’; surprise, he & ‘Artful’ were anchored in Jackson Creek close to Fishing Bay Yacht Club. We were trying to get together for our last hurrah; some difficulty finding the correct road & finally just met at Deltaville Marina. We drove them around showing them some of the destruction from the tornado Apr. 19th--> down trees, up rooted trees, roofs damaged, windows blown out but worst was the Zoar Baptist Church--> middle section of the red brick building was completely leveled. We showed them our boatyard & the Rappahannock River. Then it was dinner at “Cocomos Restaurant (new old management). Then it was good bye, farewell & safe voyage as they head north towards Toronto. A dark night, quiet & few stars. We are looking forward to our trip to Edenton tomorrow.
Sat. May 21, 2011 (Week 33, Day 229) Weather: warm & sunny
Breakfast & showers, we packed the van & on our way south to Edenton, N.C. by 0900 hrs. Along the way we passed through Gloucester & saw the school that was hit by the tornado. Later we learnt that the school buses parked at the school were tossed over a mile away all twisted up. We made a stop at Deep Creek Bridge & had the perspective from the approach by land; 3 boats were waiting for the 1100 hrs. opening & we saw the Mexican restaurant cruisers talk about. We even stopped in at the N.C. Welcome Center; no boats at the dock. Highway 17S bypasses Elizabeth City & passes through a very agricultural area. We arrived at Edenton & Lynn & Larry’s about noon as they were sitting on big rocking chairs on their huge front porch. First was a tour of the house; beautiful, open concept bungalow, beautifully & tastefully decorated in Early American d├ęcor. We sat around the kitchen counter chatting & munching on cream cheese & red pepper jelly while doing 2 loads of laundry; laundry room is right off the kitchen. Later in the afternoon we were given the grand tour of historic downtown Edenton, with thriving businesses all along main street (boulevard) with parking in front of the shops, restored Cupola House (1758), the gorgeous historic homes, waterfront on the Albemarle Sound with free docks for transients X 2 days, the mill factory & the supervisors’ residences with 2 doors for 2 families & the workers’ living quarters, now condos & expensive homes respectively, whose exteriors have been kept to near original but the interiors updated to the latest technology. Then the plantation home that has remained in the family & all it’s land & working fields which thus remain intact, as well as the workers & their small contrasting homes within the boundaries of the plantation. Umpteen acres of sage, miles of lilac or white flowered rows everywhere all at their prime ready to be harvested & manufactured into oil for perfume. In the Fall acres of cotton fields are mechanically picked & stored & dried in cotton buggies before taken to the cotton gin. And then it was dinner at the yacht club. Once home it wasn’t long before everyone retired to bed early. A most wonderful day!
Sun. May 22, 2011 (Week 33, Day 230) Weather: magnificent view of the sun rising from the guest bedroom windows; very warm & sunny day
A very relaxing start to the day, sitting around drinking coffee, checking emails or Facebook & chatting. Larry cooked up a very delicious omelet of eggs, cheese, portobello mushrooms, spinach & onions. Mid morning the four of us drove to Oriental to see 2 specific stores & lunch at the deli at the marina that makes wonderful sandwiches; all farming countryside with the unique tradition of family cemetaries. But all 3 places are not in existence any longer X 6-12 mons.: (1) Inland Waterway Provision Co., (2) kayak place, now a gallery, (3) grill at Oriental Marina. Surprising & disappointing after that long drive. Larry did purchase a new toilet for the boat at West Marina; we had good fun caboosting with Jim, the salesman. Onto Washington on the Tar River off Pamlico River (locally called Little Washington). It is an active & industrial town with tourism growing in importance, a redeveloped waterfront with complimentary dockage X 2 days (no utilities) + transient slips with water & power. A late lunch at Washington Waterfront. Once home we were relaxing & chatting on the front deck lazily swaying on rocking chairs. Finally Larry & I had our long talked about & longtime waiting drinks of gin & tonic together. Later we munched on cheese fondue with fresh bread while the last 2 loads of laundry finished. Supper= scrumptious marinated BBQ steak with grilled packets of potatoes & herbed butter & a salad chalk filled with yummies, followed by carrot cake for dessert! Another fabulous day with dear friends & fabulous sleep!
Mon. May 23, 2011 (Week 33, Day 231) Weather: hot & humid, partly sunny & cloudy.
Oh, how time flies! We must head back to Deltaville & continue with unpleasant task of packing & cleaning. We are all so used to rising somewhat early. Another very relaxing am trying different flavours of coffee to start the day. Larry, as always, spoiled us with homemade waffles, sausages & more coffee. Afterwards we drove through more farmland & sage fields very soon to be harvested, until we reached Nixon’s Hardware---everything from soup to nuts; this store gives the hardware store in Cocoa a run for it’s money. 1100’ish hrs., time to depart, a very sad moment saying our thanks for 7 most wonderful months + this weekend in Morrows’ gorgeous home & our goodbyes with hopes that they will visit us in Ottawa in August!!! A pleasant drive home via Virginia Beach; West Marine was holding some replacement lazarette locks which appear to be in short supply or perhaps a discontinued item. Hot, sunny & humid in Deltaville. We stopped at Nauti Nells to say hello to Jeannie but it was her day off. No lunch so we had a somewhat early supper by our standards lately at the Galley. Sheet lightning in the sky while I sitting outside the office doing emails. Very warm, humid & only an occasional gust of SW to W winds.