Calm Days Before the “Storm”: 9/24 – 10/7

Confident paddler- and yes the board needs more air

Confident paddler- and yes the board needs more air

Oh give me a home where the paddle boards roam and the waters are calm all day; Where seldom is heard, “Oh crap I fell in”, and the SeaDoos don’t come out and play.

Yes, we know a place like that; Harness Creek off the South River next to Quiet Waters Park. We’d anchored there for nearly a week 5 years ago for weather and to get Ms. Ortolan’s screecher repaired after Russ lost the race with s/v Pride of Baltimore off New Jersey. 🙂

And first off a few good boat pics as we headed down the Bay.

Time to clean

Time to clean. Too messy and LOUD to do at the dock.

We keep out of the channel, which is for the big ships, but at one point just before I took this shot, it sure looked like we’d be meeting up head on. The day was overcast and not very pleasant so we were surprised to find lots of local boats anchored in Harness Creek.

Perspective- 600ft vs 27ft

Perspective- 600ft vs 27ft. Prometheus Leader – probably a car carrier, left a negligible wake. Good boy

Sunday was sorta warm and quiet pleasant so why not practice? In the top part of the photo you can see the yellow rental kayaks, (SUPs too) at the floating dock. It’s where you can leave your dinghy to walk through the park.

Looking good!!

Looking good!!

The resident blue heron kept me busy but I missed a good in-flight shot.dsc04099-800x584

Monday brought breezy and a chance of showers but we bravely walked through the park headed for lunch at Main Ingredient, another great dining spot only one mile away.

Deer show no fear as we walk through Quiet Waters Park

Deer show no fear as we walk through Quiet Waters Park

Because Main Ingredient also caters, the dessert offerings are extensive and from our booth I could hear them calling out to us. The Andes (Mint) chocolate multi-layer cake served us for two dinner desserts.  We share. 🙂

Lunch at Main Ingredient. Tempting desserts taunted us from our booth

Lunch at Main Ingredient. Tempting desserts taunted us from our booth

Next stop Solomons, where we’d re-connect with our friends Mike & Ann of Traveling Soul, now also owners of a beautiful condo unit. Spot was more active than we usually have seen her, as she’s got more leg room (even though Traveling Soul is a large Defever motoryacht) and an attentive audience.

Spot is mezmerized by the garbage disposal

Spot is fascinated by the garbage disposal, but you should have seen her with the Soda Stream!

Do you know you can grow more romaine lettuce from the ends?  Ann told me you just do like in the photo below and soon you will have more for your money. Nice uh?

The lettuce whisperer

The lettuce whisperer: growing more from the bottom hearts

We were invited not only for dinner and Vodka & Tonics made with Ann’s magical formula homemade tonic, but to do a load of laundry. I know some of you can’t imagine how great that was, but it was pretty special.

My best new laundry helper

My best new laundry helper

We got to spend three nights at Calvert Marina (same place as this past June), but they were booked for the weekend due to the upcoming Krogen Rendezvous and a Defever Rendezvous after that. Rain was the word, especially Wednesday which of course was errand day. Ann took me to shop and we both got some things off our lists.

After leaving the dock we moved less than 1/8 mile up Back Creek to anchor. The wind was still honkin’ in the Bay although we felt little all tucked in, and rain came and went through Saturday evening. During our Solomons stay the wind display function on our wireless weather station crapped out. I don’t think you will be surprised to learn that the one year warranty recently passed.

The last hurrah of a line of scattered heavy rain. Was so narrow you could see brightness beyond.

 

Behind the trees and tall flag pole is Mike & Ann's Solomons Landing condo

Behind the trees and tall flag pole is Mike & Ann’s Solomons Landing condo complex.

Early on during our Solomons stay we began reading about Tropical Storm / Hurricane Matthew. The models disagreed, the spaghetti strands fanned out like octopus tentacles and we devised several plans, each based on severity and guestimate location of the storm as it headed up this way.

Top Rack was a planned stop for diesel and dining but they’d kick us out if a hurricane warning was in effect, so we had to cancel. I mean did we want to just assume we could find room at a protected marina close by? Not many choices for those.

One option was to head way up the Potomac as far in as possible; either find an acceptable anchorage or protected marina with floating docks.

One suggested marina could only offer us the outside of a T head, so even though it was a floating dock we declined and kept calling.

Then I came across Sunset Boating Center in Hampton, VA. Up the Hampton River and down a dead end canal, it met all our criteria.

We arrived on Monday Oct 3, well ahead of the very slow moving hurricane. The NE Bay winds were forecast to pick up mid week so why endure a rough trip when we can avoid it?

Never visited Hampton before, so a few days of settled weather allowed us to explore by dinghy and by land.

Sunset Boating Center- no frills lots of protection. Before removing cushions and closing bimini top

Sunset Boating Center- no frills lots of protection. Before removing cushions and closing bimini top

Over by the side street entrance sits the Barking Dog where we ate dinner. Casual atmosphere as you can see. Hot dogs, several types of sausage grinders are menu’s focus but they also make a fantastic crab cake-super thick and virtually all crab. Hush puppies were great too.

Fantastic friendly service at The Barking Dog

Fantastic friendly service at The Barking Dog. Our waitress was an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10!

Tuesday morning we walked approximately 1/2 mile to a nearby Food Lion. At the checkout the woman ahead of us pegged us for boaters (lugging a cooler bag) and offered us a ride back. She told us of a great dining spot downtown, “next to Goodys” with pizza, tapas and more. She even gave us her name and phone number should we need anything.

After stashing the groceries we head for downtown and well what do you know? we stumble (ya right) upon a doughnut place. If you dinghy up the Hampton River to Hampton Public Piers there’s a place to tie up and walk one block to downtown Hampton. The area is small but has many restaurants, a few gift shops, the Air & Space Museum Hampton History Museum, water access, tour boats and a restored carousel.

We easily scout out the dounut shop, but alas closed Tuesdays

We easily scout out the donut shop, but alas closed Tuesdays

Intersection of Queen & King

Intersection of Queen & King

We find Goodys and next door is Venture. (hidden behind the trees)  The posted cocktail menu was all we needed to lure us in. Priced to entice with Classic and Crafted Cocktails averaging $7, you can see below these were not eensy teensy drinks.

One size crafted pizzas made with their own dough, sandwiches, salads and seafood; tapas items served starting at 4pm. But what are Tots? Our waitress- phenomenal- plopped down this free sample. Cook potatoes and skins, add just the right amount of seasoning, spread in a jelly roll pan, chill, cut into small squares and fry em up fresh!!  Served with a side of spicy mayo, they were out of this world delicious. Some entrees are served with a side of Tots but you can also order them as an appetizer.

Venture's signature Tots- to die for

Venture’s signature Tots- to die for

Another great spot with a view! Excellent menu and cocktails too!!

Another great spot with a view!

 

This gorgeous restored carousel has a Connecticut connection

This gorgeous restored carousel has a Connecticut connection

 

Reminds me of the carousels at Quassy, Watch Hill and Greenport (especially)

Reminds me of the carousels at Quassy (CT), Watch Hill (RI) and Greenport (NY) (especially)

Each day small boats arrived to be hauled out and placed into rack storage. We had a front row view. The only other transient boat here was the blue sailboat you can see a bit of in the below photo.

Lifting up and into storage building

Lifting up and into storage building

Matthew was due to be at its closest to us sometime Saturday night-ish, and Friday’s weather was pleasant so why not one more trip into town? This time we walked and before ending up at Venture for an early dinner, we popped into the Hampton History Museum for a side of culture.

At this point any of our considered options would have been fine, even Top Rack but we were happy with Sunset as many days in a slip can add up those $$$$ and this place was “B2G1F” and only $1/night for 30amp power (only had 30amp). It’s a smaller boat place lacking nice scenery; even across the water is a huge barge. But the power was great; many places cause our ground fault warning to sound, the wi-fi worked well and we could easily get to downtown,groceries, pharmacies and yes, ok doughnuts!

Thank you to all who checked on us. 🙂   Next up; fun times during and after Matthew.

 

 

“Smokin'” or “Warp Speed”: same result!

a see-yourself shine

Russ worked long and hard for this shine. Pretty good teamwork getting those boot stripes on straight.

After four weeks hauled out Twins and crew were ready to find a happy place on the water. NOAA and other weather sources indicated several days of benign traveling conditions. That clever Captain devised an aggressive schedule that would land us near the C&D Canal at the end of the third day. I mean is he crazy?  Getting up at o’dark thirty?? This guy hates getting up before 7:30!! You’d think we were going to be flying out on a tropical vacation.  But in all fairness, I am ALL for calm traveling conditions and since we were ready to go; let’s do it.

Each day brought rougher conditions than the previous, but with luck, skill and damn long days we covered 317nm (that’s 365 landlubber miles) in three days, anchoring in the upper Chesapeake’s Bohemia River Thursday, September 22 at 5:15.  Whew.

Wow, what a way to start what I call PDQ Yr 2, but you can also call it Nomad Yr 7 (4 yrs s/v Ortolan, 1 yr m/h Anne Bonny and this will be Yr 2 with m/v Twin Sisters).  Getting to be so many years I am losing track.

Kitchen Little- place of birthday breakfast dining- as we pass by on Sept 20

Kitchen Little (with blue awning)- place of birthday breakfast dining- as we pass by on Sept 20

We left Mystic very early so that we’d have time to pop up the CT River a few miles and fuel up at Old Lyme Fuel Dock, which saved 20cents/gal.  Long Island Sound gave us no trouble plus a bonus of favorable current most of the way to our anchorage immediately before the Throgs Neck Bridge.

M/V The General- the first of what will be many interesting vessels we see along the way. Yes a tree

M/V The General– the first of what will be many interesting vessels we see along the way.  Tree at stern?

fish going crazy

Fish going crazy!

When Russ started looking at the things we always do, like; current, especially in New York’s East River (which isn’t technically a river) and Hell Gate; weather (wind, waves, rain) and offshore conditions, we got a surprise. The United Nations would be in session that week and on various days much of the East River by Roosevelt Island would be closed to pleasure craft. Between the short good weather window and the need to get past the UN before 9am, we needed to end Day 1 as close as possible and the moderate-sized anchorage next to the Throgs Neck Bridge was as close as you could get.

The night was very calm but boy the highway noise never let up.

Sunset as seen from Little Bay anchorage next to bridge

Sunset as seen from Little Bay anchorage next to bridge

 

just before 7am Looking back at Throgs Neck Bridge

Just before 7am.  Looking back at Throgs Neck Bridge. Three photos with our devices; Russ had the winner

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Our CG escort past the UN bldg

Our Coast Guard small boat escort past the UN building. Keeps them from getting bored.

 

On the Roosevelt Island side, more enforcement vessels wait to enforce the 9am west channel closure

On the Roosevelt Island side, more enforcement vessels wait to enforce the 9am west channel closure

Our goal Day 2 was Atlantic City. The inlet is decent, not great, but boats have two places to anchor. One is subject to current so you will swing when it changes, and the other is tricky but you are more protected. We chose tricky and protected.

Waves and outgoing tide made for a slow soppy ride- but we sped up

Waves and outgoing tide made for a slow, sloppy ride- but we sped up

We are heading for the narrow cut between the grass and the beach

We are heading for the narrow cut between the grass and the beach

As often happens, we are entering a very narrow entrance, trying to follow stakes that mark the way in and a tour boat is coming out on our left side. We move right, too much and almost run aground in mud. Russ quickly reverses and I firmly indicate we NEED to go toward where that boat had been.  Leaving the next morning at low tide- oh I didn’t say that we’d come in one hour before low today- was really going to be “fun”.

Harrahs large moving lit sign

A red-sky-sailors-delight sunset behind Harrahs

Departing the Atl City anchorage at 7am

Departing the Atlantic City anchorage at 7am. Followed the stakes and the path out was obvious.

We moved along at 3000 rpm which means roughly 13kts, headed for the tip of Cape May, then rounding up into the Delaware River.  With wind and waves behind us the ride was OK but rougher than yesterday. Rounding Cape May was quite unpleasant as the wind and waves were more broadside, and larger. Russ mentioned later that we often hit 19kts down a wave. Once further into the River we slowed down and by golly the forecast was accurate and by noon we’d reached very mild conditions. Ahhhh.

A bit of sun and all was pleasant on the often yucky Delaware. Sorry George. An incoming tide moved us along with an extra 2kt boost and we realized we could also have a favorable boost through the C&D Canal if we continued on, so we did.

Wowza! What a start. Three days from Mystic, CT to the Bohemia River on the upper Chesapeake Bay.  We did it!  The re-balanced props boosted our speed and we are finally in line with other PDQ 34s. Burned a bit of fuel as expected; price one pays for smokin’ at warp speed!