Friday, December 28, 2007

Sailing off Fort Pierce, FL

We departed Vero in the AM heading south for the ocean inlet called Fort Pierce to go sailing for the day. Being tied to the docks for a week made us long for some sailing. So, with 10 days till our new Drexel U. semester begins, we decided to take off on some Island Spirit Adventures. Here is a video of our day sail. We had an easterly swell of 3 feet with a SE wind of 8-10 knots, so sailing was not that adventurous, but still, it is December and we were sailing! Temps are in the 75-80 degree range and the water temp is 68.8 degrees. After sailing, we headed back in the inlet and anchored off the G9 anchorage.

Right after the anchor was set, the cell phone rang and it was Sam and Carolyn, IP owners of MELAKA II, an IP485, who called as they were looking at us from the balcony of their condo! They invited us to come ashore and share a drink and go out for a bite to eat! What a treat, and what a community of Island Packet Owners! Here we are, anchored off Fort Pierce, FL and an IP owner calls us to come on over for a!

Sailing Video of the Day

Merry Christmas from Florida

We spent our first Christmas onboard Island Spirit at Vero Beach City Marina. We went to the beach to watch the sunrise over the ocean on Christmas morning, what a treat. Then back to the boat for a wonderful breakfast and baking of christmas cookies. The afternoon was spent with 95 wayward sailors who also were spending Christmas onboard and we all planned a pot luck buffet for 2 pm in the marina park. The food was international and very diverse and very good. We had 4 turkeys and 3 hams with plenty of deserts for everyone. This was a new experience for us and our first christmas aboard the boat. Here is our photo of the day...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

ICW Vero Beach Florida

The ICW north of the Vero Beach, Florida, is a winding and well-marked path fulll of pines and palms. It is the first place we've seen many really large waterfront homes. After the Wabasso Bridge, the houses are gorgeous and so is the wildlife. Under our Flordia Discovery Map on the lower right, there is a map point near Vero marking the first place we have ever seen a manatee from the boat. What a thrill! The huge palm trees and mangroves prove that "The Tropics Truly Begin at Vero Beach!"

NOTE: Click videos twice, once to select, once to start.
Video #1 Just South of Melbourne, FL
Video #2 Just North of VERO BEACH, FL

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Delta 2 Launch

Image Reference
There SHE GOES….

A Delta 2 missile launch! All day the Coast Guard had been announcing that vessels had to stay clear offshore nine miles north and south of a specified latitude and longitude in anticipation of the launch.

Even though we knew it was coming, it was such a thrill to see NASA launch a GPS satellite ! We were circling around looking for a place to drop the hook outside Melbourne Harbor when the rocket shot off over our bow.

In one photo, it looks like pieces of the rocket are separating. The aftershocks did not hit us until after the vapor trail was dissipating. They were loud and low and long. This is a moment we’ll never forget! Here are the four best photos.

Titusville, FL

Titusville is a great town to stop in for a few days. The anchorage, just south of the NASA RR bridge, is very large with a friendly and accommodating City Marina. We took on fuel and a frozen Snickers bar and pumped out on Tuesday afternoon before anchoring in 8 – 10 feet of water. The dinghy dock is free if you will be using it for less than a week and showers in the spotless bath house are $2. Within easy walking distance there is a Save-a-lot grocery store, a CVS, a 7-11 and a waterfront post office.

On Wednesday, we continued to play hopscotch with our car as we moved our car from Titusville to Vero Beach. We were pleased to find Vero Beach to be a lovely town, with an interesting mix of old and new. The marina feels friendly and cozy and very protected. Seeing three boats on each mooring ball is still a surprise – it looks even tighter than Cuttyhunk Harbor in Massachusetts! It was so nice to find three holiday boxes waiting for us from our family!

Bob Wiley, IP-380 Judith III, had contacted us via the discussion board and kindly offered to meet us in Vero Beach and drive us back to Titusville. A Floridian for over 30 years, he gave us the grand tour of Routes 1 and A1A, pointing out anchorages, bridges, good sailing areas and remaining hurricane damage from the 2004 storms. We stopped at beautiful Cocoa Village Marina to see the progress on his varnish work. The highlight of the day was more interesting conversation over dinner with Bob at the world famous Dixie Crossroads for corn fritters, rock shrimp (like tiny lobsters –yummy!) and chocolate mousse cake. We are so lucky to be a part of the IP community. Thank you Bob Wiley.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

ICW Smyrna Beach FL

While running south on the ICW below Daytona Beach Florida, you will snake your way around Ponce de Leon inlet and then New Smyrna Beach Florida area. This being our first time down the waterway, we are amazed at how protected AND beautiful the waterway is. This video we shot in the AM with the sun over the bow, nice clouds, and a narrow area of the ICW just below New Smyrna Beach. As usual with the waterway, there are dolphins playing all around and it has been very difficult to capture any dolphins in a photo or video. In this video I wanted to show the waterway and how narrow it can be, and sure enough, dolphins surfaced right off the bow. We are really taken with the all the dolphins, pelicans, egrets, manatees, and other birds! The ICW is a wonderful trip and we are so lucky....

Here is our short video...(please excuse the grammatical slips, I was simply overwhelmed)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BOARDING in Ponce!

Yes, we got boarded in the Ponce de Leon Inlet area by two very intimidating fully armed Coast Guard Officers! They were checking MSDs, the heads for onboard vs. overboard. The boarding was VERY fast with very little warning and they were in the cockpit through the zipped enclosure before either one of us could even say, “Sure, come aboard!” Two officers boarded while one maintained his boat speed off our stern quarter. These guys were fully armed and with full bullet proof vests and they were very intimidating and LARGE! I welcomed them aboard and they asked…”Sir, if I were to place dye into your toilet and pump, where would that dye show up?” I answered that it would show up in the holding tank. “OK, we would like to inspect that,” and below they went with Radeen following behind. I kept driving around the markers, avoiding the many shoals and making my way through the inlet.

Down below…. As usual with us, we are pumping into our holding tank and keeping a count of the down strokes on a sticky note on the head wall. We know that 330 down strokes fills the holding tank, and our sticker was at 210, so were not yet full. Radeen gave the guards a tour of our head, pointed out our tabulation sticker, and then opened up the locker and explained our plumbing system, showing how it was going into the tank. The lead officer decided NOT to put the dye into the head and pump. Next, they checked our photo IDs and our vessel documentation numbers, asked us our destination, and left promptly to go board the next of 6 sailboats all heading south.

I thanked them for their services and their work, but they were too serious to accept the compliment. I will say, this was a very stressful situation, and I cannot imagine how scary this would be if you WERE breaking any laws. This is only the second boarding on Island Spirit. The other one was offshore approaching Block Island from sea in 2002, under sail with a reefed main. Those three officers boarded our leeward side and were onboard just as quickly. They were training a new officer in vessel boardings. I am happy to help with their training and their work and I appreciate that they are doing the work they are doing. Now let’s inspect a few more container ships BEFORE they arrive in port!

Map…of boarding location

Monday, December 17, 2007

ICW Palm Coast FL

We are finding the ICW south of St. Augustine to be very protected and narrow as we run south in a cold NE wind of 15 knots. This being our first time heading south on the ICW, we are amazed at how protected the waterway is. We are also amazed at how narrow it is, with boathouses and docks projecting out into the waterway. You really have to pay attention or you could easily hit a dock or a boat. We had no idea it would look like this.

Here is a little video of what the waterway looks like near the Palm Coast area in a place called creseant beach.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Brrr...St. Augustine, Fl

Well, it is still better than the snow and ice in the northeast, but it is a cool 65 degrees at sunset and a forecast for 30 degrees overnight, so…BRRRR from St. Augustine!

We did ride out our FIRST FLORIDA COLD FRONT last night which arrived at the usual o’dark hundred, or 3am to 5am Sunday morning December 16, 2007. This front was well forecasted and we know that it was bringing 30 knots of wind from the Southwest, then the West, then Northwest, so we were ready. Ready was, we had out 100 feet of 5/16” chain and a 44 Lb Bruce anchor set well in 10 feet of low tide and 14 feet of high tide. When the 5 feet from water to bow roller is added to these depths, we had a scope at low tide of 100’/15= 6.6 to 1 and at high tide we had 100’/19’=5.2 to 1. Needless to say, we did not move or drag when the winds peaked at 30 knots. What is odd was the way the 2+knots of current effects how the boat swings on anchor. It seems that with an Island Packet’s full keel underbody, the tide has more effect than the winds. So the boat will tend to point bow into the current and then the second effect is the wind, which will push the boat’s stern downwind a little bit. So this means that the boat may not be facing into the wind, it may be off at an angle. The other odd effect is that the bow may be facing into the current yet the anchor is behind or near abeam of the boat as the wind drives the boat downwind. This was the case last night and we found it rather interesting to study. At 3 am we used our Verizon Broadband network to see the Jacksonville live radar and tornado warning areas! Yes, we had tornado warnings for our area for about 2 hours! That was not fun, but lucky for us, they passed north of us and we only had heavy rain and high winds.

Today with the front passage came clear skies and a brisk north wind and a high of 65 degrees. We were getting spoiled by the 85 degrees and 65 degree nights where were above normal. We took the dinghy to town to meet up with IP owners, Debbie and Craig Roser, IP440 Charmed, and had wonderful Cuban sandwiches and coffees at Columbia on St. George and Hypolita streets in old town St. Augustine. It was great to catch up with our good friends and visit over lunch. Tomorrow we head out at o’daybreak hundred to go 50 miles south on the ICW bound for Daytona, Fl.

Sunset St. Augustine, Fl w/old sailboat (a work in progress)

St. Augustine Fl

(Radeen here) St. Augustine’s beautiful 1928 Bridge of Lions is being restored and a temporary lift bridge partially obscures it on approach. This small quaint city is the oldest continuously settled community in the United States! We enjoyed walking around the shops, grand old hotels, horse drawn carriages.
Our mail from home was not being forwarded, as had been so carefully arranged several weeks ago, so this meant a trip to the local post office to fill out more forms. The post office was amazing – everyone has to take a number like at a deli counter and then wait to be called. There were even comfortable chairs for the sitting and the waiting! There were 18 customers in line ahead of us.

P.O. in St. Augustine, FL....TAKE A NUMBER and a SEAT!

In the evening, we went back to the Plaza for an outdoor Christmas Concert by the Southeastern Navy Brass Ensemble. They played a beautiful mix of contemporary and traditional carols surrounded by holiday decorations and palm trees!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fernandina Florida: Report 1

Report #1 from FERNANDINA FLORIDA! After having our boat delivered here by Ron and Paul, IP owners, while we stayed home to focus on our Drexel University Grad school work, we have finally arrived. The photos help to tell the story with Radeen packing up and provisioning the boat back in Rock Hall, MD with tons of food for the delivery and for living aboard in Florida. Four complete dock carts of food was secured, stowed and packed aboard along with a full menu plan and inventory of locations so Ron, Paul and Jeff could easily make planned meals. Once the boat was in Fernandina on a mooring ball, Paul and Ron flew home from Jacksonville. Two weeks later we drove our car down to Florida and moved aboard. Job #1 was to get the dinghy running, so I had to tear down the carburator and clean the fuel bowl, fuel pump, fuel line and fuel filter plus add a new spark plug. Once this was completed, we have a running dinghy. These ethanol fuels tend to clog up if allowed to sit for a while. Now the dinghy is running better than ever. Living aboard on the mooring ball, we completed our last papers for our course work and after 4 days, we submitted our work and ended the fall semester! WHAT A FEELING - Drexel is a ton of work. They make you write so much. As it turns out, the boat is actually a good place to study from, with no distractions and we have adjusted well.

Perfect Sunset in Fernandina, FL

This town of Fernandina Beach, Florida, is really a great town and the city should be commended as to the work they have done, focused on the boating community. With a newly built marina with floating docks and a clean bathhouse and wonderful restaurant, the location is very welcoming. The town is a short walk right over the railroad tracks and has cute shops, ice cream parlors, famous bars, a great Mexican restaurant, library and post office all within a few blocks of the marina. The beach is about 1 to 1.5 miles east of the marina, but with our car, we were able to explore the entire Amelia Island area. With rolling sand dunes and vacation homes on the beach, you can see why this location is so popular. Lucky for us, we have a very unusual warm front giving us 80 degree days and 65 degree nights. Now with our car shuffled down to Titusville, we are waiting out the fog, and as soon as it lifts we will head south for Jacksonville, then on towards an anchorage just below there for tonight. The we will pull into St Augustine where we plan to anchor off the fort and spend a few days before moving on south. So, our first Florida adventure NOW begins!

Radeen Loading up in Rock Hall, MD

Working Drexel University from Rt. 95

Job #1, Rebuild the dinghy's (our car) fuel system and get running

Radeen exploring the wonderful town

Pelicans are everywhere!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Florida Mission

Ron and Paul did a wonderful job of exploring the ICW from Rock Hall, MD to Fernandina Beach Florida and delivered Island Spirit to the destination right on time!

Now the Florida Winter Exploration #1 can begin as soon as we wrap up our Drexel University Quarter.

Here is a Google Map of all there points along the way and the many beautiful places they stopped.

Use this link to see the interactive map online.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Prep for NOEL, Currituck Sound, VA

Team Island Spirit is anchored down in Blackwater Creek at the north end of Currituck Sound in preparation for tropical storm NOEL to pass off the North Carolina coast. (on this chart Currituck sound is the northern most sound) Tonight will be a long night as it looks like the team will have to stay put all day Fri as they deal with this storm. She has come in closer to the coast than originally forecasted. Below is the current NOAA forcast as of 1 hr ago!

Anchored location is:
36-35.635 N
76-02.807 W.



12 hr.

24 hr.

36 hr.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arrival in Hampton VA

Team Island Spirit has arrived in Hamptom VA after a 3 day run in a beautiful HIGH pressure centered over the eastern US. Departing Rock Hall, MD on Monday at daybreak, the team of Ron Smith (IP380 CAVU), Paul Lyons (IP350 Tranguility III) and Jeff Gabor (IP35 Lucille) are delivering Island Spirit to Florida or anywhere in between. Day one was Rock Hall to Solomons Island. Day 2 Solomans Island to Deltaville VA. Day 3 Deltaville VA to Hampton, VA. Here is an arrival shot from the team...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Preparation Being Made for Trip South

Preparations are being made for a Sunday PM departure from Rock Hall in route to warmer climates.  Ron Smith (IP380 Cavu), Paul Lyons (IP350 Tranquility III) and Jeff Gabor (IP35 Lucille) will deliver Island Spirit to sunny Florida while the owners continue to advance their academic careers.  The merry men of 3 will sail down the great Chesapeake Bay and hopefully land 24 hours later in Norfolk, VA.  From there, the trip will lead the 3 friends on a motor ride through the ICW.  Stay tuned for updates along the way.  Hayden and Radeen – don’t worry, your Island Spirit will be well cared for and treated with the respect she has earned.


Submitted by Jeff Gabor




Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Great to Be Home in RH

After 12 weeks and 1,100 sea miles, it is great to be back in our home slip at Rock Hall, MD. (this Great Blue Heron was on a piling in our marina) You can get spoiled easily while in dock. Unlimited WATER, POWER, a CAR and no rocking, life is EASY at the docks! For 12 weeks we have carried all our water to the boat. We walked for all our food and carried it back to the boat. We managed our electrical usage and conserved power because all power has to be made via solar panels or an alternator. We slept on the anchor for over 79 nights and some nights were sleepless as we were up on deck for anchor watch due to high winds.

Now at the docks life is S I M P L E and we are living large. Driving a car is a real contrast because we have not driven a car for 12 weeks and we have not moved faster than 6-8 miles per hour for months. So getting in a car and speeding down the road at 55 MPH is crazy fast!

Water, endless amounts of water, long showers, hot water, water heater, no solar shower, bath house, and non marine toilets are also real treats as well. Life is simple at a dock.

So it is wonderful to be home and great to be back at our dock. Here is a video of our home dock area. You will see why we enjoy our spot.

Video: Great to Be Home:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Canvas Work Annapolis MD

We spent the day in Bert Jabin’s Yard as we had Chris Ford of Yacht Canvas redesign our canvas roof. The original design sloped from the high bimini down to the low dodger. This sloped canvas prevented us from standing up in the cockpit and was a real pain. We have put up with this for 7 years now and that was enough. So back in June, before we headed out, we hired Chris to design a new and improved roof, making this sloped piece raised and horizontal so we could stand under it. He made the new stainless steel bows and canvas while we were gone and now it was time to have the new roof installed and fitted. Chris is the best and his work and canvas designs are always perfect. The guy will settle for nothing less, and that is why we like his work. This canvas job is a two phase project where phase one is fitting and installing the new roof, and phase two is making and fitting new side enclosure pieces and a small windshield. So, Chris fitted the new roof and it is BEAUTIFUL as expected. Next week, we will get the side drops fitted and the canvas work will be complete.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

C & D Canal to Annapolis MD

Welcome to Annapolis, MD, where you will always see one of the best sailing cruises in the world, the mighty fine WOODWIND II. (see photo) Woodwind takes people out on day sails from the Marriott docks and this photo was taken as we sailing into Annapolis MD and Woodwind was sailing out. Someday I hope to be a crew member and work as a deck hand on this sailing vessel. That would be a great summer job!
Today was a long day as we pulled up anchor just outside of the C & D canal and headed for Annapolis, MD some 50+ miles away. Unfortunately the wind was blowing directly FROM Annapolis so we had to motor directly into the wind. With the bow rising and falling 3 feet each time due to the wind blown waves and the tide running into the wind, we were taking bow waves OVER the bow and into the cockpit ALL morning long. This is a real mess because the salt spray blows into your face as you sit at the wheel some 35 feet away from the bow. What a wet damp ride it was for the next 5 hours! This is always the problem when you have to be at a certain place by a certain date, you go when you would normally NOT go. So go we did.

Lucky for us, when you get to the Annapolis Bay Bridge the course turns to the right, starboard, by 30 degrees and we could sail in. We had a reefed mainsail up all morning, so out came the full 135% jenny and off went the motor. We had another GREAT SAIL moving along at 7 to 7.5 knots with the boat happy and the crew much happier. We sail into Annapolis maybe 10 to 15 times a year, and we never get tired of it. The Chesapeake Bay is HOME to us and we know the waters so well. It felt odd sailing right past our home of ROCK HALL, MD, but we did. It has been over 2 months since we left home as we sailed New England. It feels good to be back HOME., nome on the Chesapeake Bay.

Sailing into Annapolis, MD:

Sights and Sounds of Sailing (no narration)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Cape May NJ to C&D Canal

What a perfect sailing day, no threat of storms, clear skies, a building wind from the stern! We left the Cape May, NJ anchorage, just off the Coast Guard Station, at 10am and made our way out the canal and into the Delaware Bay. I must be getting use to this leg because the RR bridge did not scare me this time for the first time in 5 years! Passing the ferry terminal we entered the Delaware Bay around 10:30 and rolled ou the jib. The wind was on the stern at about 7-8 knots and with our forward speed of 6, there was only an apparant wind speed of 2 knots, BUT THIS WOULD CHANGE!

The wind forecast was for 10-15 from the SE. And by noon, that is what we had. but by the late afternoon the wind was 20-23 knots with small craft advisories NOW forecasted. I love how NOAA seems to miss the forecast and then when the weather is HERE, they must look out the window and call it what it is. So, with the winds now at 20+ knots, we simply sailed on and sail we did! These Island Packet Yachts love to get up and go when the wind picks up. We were sailing at hull speed, which is 7.2 knots - the fastest the boat is designed to do -for many hours. Check the 2 videos below!

While I sailed the boat (was on watch from 10-6pm) Radeen worked on her Drexel University exam review. She has to take a 90 question exam with 2 essays by Sat 11 pm. We had planned to stop in Engineer's Cove but the tides were flowing into the Chesapeake Bay so we pressed on for the bay. Last night, we dropped the anchor off Arnold's Point about 8.5 miles beyond Engineer's Cove at 8:30pm.
Video: Wing on Wing @7
Video: Wing on Wing @8

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back to School

NOT this Year, that is right we will not be returning to our teaching position this school year! We both have taken study sabbatical leave and we have returned to Drexel University to obtain current, updated and additional Masters Degrees. I am working on a new Masters in the Science of Instruction with an added certification in Information Technology. Radeen is working on a new certification in TESL, Teaching English as a Second Language. In order to qualify for a study sabbatical we need to take 24 graduate credits (12 per/semester) making us fulltime college students. Our sabbatical starts now, and we will return to our same teaching positions in September 2008. For now, we are college students once again but at the age of 50+.

This is a nice change, but as we tested out the course work this summer, it is a lot more work than first expected. We work on Drexel from 6am till around lunch time, which has become 1:30ish. Then we have lunch, pack up the laptops, shut down, and head off to the days explorations. We return to the boat around 5ish, hit the solar shower, make some refreshing drinks, share some snacks, and check back into the Drexel discussion boards where we chat and post reactions to the weeks readings. We enjoy a lovely dinner around 7pm, watch the sunset, pick up the boat, and do more reading. Around 9-10pm we hit the bunk, sleep and begin the day again with Drexel at 6-7am.

This sabbatical is a study sabbatical and with the new technology we are able to take all our coursework online via the Internet. We have full access to all the college libraries via online, we have an HP 5180 series all in one network printer, scanner, copier and a Verizon Broadband network distributed via wireless onboard. We have two Dell laptops which connect to our network wirelessly and Radeen works at the nav desk, and I work using the drop down table.

Power is a big issue since these laptops take about 8 amps of 12 volt power, so we have two solar panels mounted over the roof and they produce about 75% of the electricity we use. The extra power is made up from running the engine every 2 days to store back up the lost power in our 5 battery bank system.

We feel very fortunate that we can take this time to advance our degrees and at the same time enjoy living on the boat which we both love to do. It has taken some discipline because the boating life is really not a work environment but we are making it so. We have found that this IS a great place to read, study and write because there are no distractions for very long periods of time. We have a TV, but it has not been used since installed over 2 months ago.

Life is good aboard Island Spirit, our new college classroom, and college dorm room!

Links to our Drexel Online Programs:

Hayden’s Masters

Hayden’s IT Certification
IT Courses

Radeen’s TESL Certification
TESL Courses

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Atlantic City to Cape May, NJ

Wea re currently sailing off wildwood on our way from Atlantic City to Cape May NJ and I had to upload this "Lazy Sailing" video! When we left AC NJ the winds were 20 knots from the NE so we simply launched only one sail, our jib and sailed downwind all day. We left AC NJ at 10 am and we are off Wildwood NJ with the wind dropping to about 8 knots, so it is calm now. This video shows the view and the waves. Very nice sailing day! Enjoy the video...

Lazy Sailing Video of ocean waves...

Here is another VIDEO...Beautiful Ocean Sailing....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rum Point Absecon Inlet Atlantic City

Wed, Thur, Friday Aug 29, 30, 31, 2007....Rum Point Anchorage.... SEE VIDEO BELOW

Here is a full update on Atlantic City, RUM POINT anchorage where we still are anchored. The key features:
1. Easy in/out entrance
2. Homemade day markers REDS guide you in
3. The channel has now been dredged due to million dollar plus homes newly built in the cove
4. 5 min across the creek into CLAM CREEK for fuel, water, and pumpout
5. Dinghy dock at Senator Frank S. Farley marina / Trump Casino
6. Great Family owned KAMMERMAN’s Marina and FUEL dock OPPOSITE from Trump.
a. Trump docks = $4.50/foot
c. Kammerman’s docks = $2.40/foot
d. Kammerman’s fuel = $2.80/gal diesel
e. Ice cream = $2.00, but boat water is free

Now the update on the anchorage. The anchorage is all 10-12 feet deep at mid tides and the tides are 4-5 feet, so anywhere is good. The bottom is all mud and goo, and you need a deck wash when you haul up chain. The entire cove, creek name? is about 1-1.5 miles deep with canals off the main creek. Homes are new, beautiful, and have 50 to 60 foot POST fishing boats tied up to the back of the homes. The creek / cove has NO PUBLIC EXIT POINT, yet the end of the cove is right at a shopping center with food store, liquor, bank and a burger king as far as we can see from the dinghy. At anchor the small 20 foot ski boats with a child wake boarder or skier behind may circle you for 30 minutes and yes the fast jet ski with a person or tube in tow will also circle you in the cove. They are not allowed to run the creek, 6 knots there, but in the round cove to the right and the left of the creek where the anchorages are, they ski and run full tilt. No big deal because they are small and it is mid week. I bet on Sat / Sun this place would be a full blown race track. For some reason they do not ski or run out the channel and into the ocean or back bays. They like the flat water of the cove, just like we do. By 7pm they are all home for dinner. Yesterday we had 2.

We have been here all day yesterday, and we plan to stay here all day today as we wrap up our week #10 of 10 for Drexel University Graduate school. Verizon broadband is the fastest we have found from Rock Hall to Block Island so we have easy access to the Drexel resources and our classroom boards.

We will move to Cape May, NJ and anchor off the Coast Guard Station for the Labor Day Weekend, and there, we will be thrown out of our bunks at 5am as the fishing fleet departs the harbor. Then by mid day the pleasure boats will be running the inlet and it would be too much to ask for them to slow down as they pass the 10 or more anchored sailboats. This IS the reality of the Cape May anchorage. So that is why we are staying here and working.

Our treat tonight will be a dinghy run over to Trump Casino and a walk around the resort.

2 min Video of the Cove, inlet and anchorage!
(click video TWICE to play)

Sandy Hook to Atlantic City

Tue, Aug 28,, videos and details to follow...

NY Harbor to Sandy Hook

Mon, Aug 27, 2007...Sailing New Your Harbor is an Exciting Experience! What a RUSH.

Newport Marina, Jersey City

Sat, Sun Aug 25, 26, 2007...We spent $2.40/foot for a 40 foot/night for a slip in Newport Marina in Jersey City only to be tossed and turned as the boat rolls side to side due to the water taxis and ferry wakes. The other marinas in the Manhattan area charge $4.50/foot for a slip per night, but this one was only $2.40/foot/night. Why the DEAL? Well this video shows you why the price is so low.

Video of Newport Marina:

We still had a great time especially since our good friends, Tyler, Anita and Mark made a big effort to drive up to New York and sail Manhattan Harbor with us. We sailed right past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as well as under the Brooklyn Bridge and past Battery Park. What a fantastic sail, exciting, good wind, lots of sights, and MANHATTAN off the BOW! Absolutely incredible. One of the best sailing days of the entire summer. There is nothing like sailing past the Statue of Liberty.....noting beats this.....Welcome to NYC.

Running Hell Gate

Sat, Aug. 25,, videos & details to follow....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Waiting in Manhasset Bay

Why move? Why go in cold windy weather? We are staying here in Manhasset Bay, Port Washington NY until the weather improves. We have a great town here with good services, water taxis, city docks, free town morring balls, fantastic town and shops, and the LIRR, Long Island Railroad right in town. LIRR is a 30 min ride to New York City, so yes we are hitting the city from here. Very fun.

Here is the weather report and why we are not heading for Sandy Hook and the ocean.

433 PM EDT TUE AUG 21 2007








Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hell Gate Prep

We are in Manhasset Bay awaiting the tides and weather to make the fast run through Hells Gate on our way to New York City and Sandy Hook, NJ. At first we pulled into City Island and took a mooring ball there only to find the harbor a bit rough with the south winds. So we pulled out and moved over to protected Manhasset Bay and now we are going to explore Port Washington. From the write-up in the cruising guide, this town sounds fantastic! The town has 15 mooring balls and we can stay here for free for 2 nights on the town and after that it is $25.00/night. So for now, we will exlore the town and enjoy the beautiful harbor. This photo is a picture of the chart with Manhasset Bay on the bottom, City Island on the top and the entrance to the east river and Hells Gate on the bottom left. The train ride to Manhattan is only 45 minutes - that is tempting!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

10 Videos Added Today

We have added 10 videos to YouTube today, attempting to catch up on our blogging. We have been having some really good sailing days as we sail into Long Island Sound from Block Island. We sailed around Shelter Island. We sailed CT river to Milford. We sailed Milford to Port Jefferson. We sailed Port Jeff to Oyster Bay. ALL UP WIND CLOSE HAULED.

These videos show how nice the sailing has been.

Currently hanging out in Oyster Bay, NY

Block, Watch Hill, Shelter Island, Milford Ct

Block Island to New London

We left Block in mostly clear conditions and were hit by fog the whole way to the Thames River. We tied up at IP Dealer Hellier Yachts dock in New London – what a great bunch of people. They made us feel very welcome. Congrats to Vin on his retirement. This was a whirlwind tour with a rental car (upgraded to a Cadillac!) for 24 hours. We shopped Defender and West Marine, where Radeen got a cute red folding bike and got the usual groceries. We saw the Coast Guard Academy museum and toured the beautiful campus by car.

New London to Watch Hill

The anchorage and ocean beach at Watch Hill are so great! The little town is charming, too. We enjoyed seeing the antique carousel and walking out to the Coast Guard Station. Sunday we had fun with Jim and Vanessa from IP-420 Windrunner. They met us for lunch at the Olympia Tea Room where Marilyn Monroe worked as a teenager. The St. Claire Annex has been in business for over 100 years and is fun for breakfast and made on the spot ice cream.

Watch Hill to Block Island

Let a new adventure begin! Radeen has not ridden a bike solo since she was 11, so Payne’s dock early on a weekday morning was a good place to get started. By day four, she rode the rough and hilly road to the Coast Guard Station and the next day we rode into busy Old Harbor and had breakfast at Aldo’s to celebrate. Another celebration was dinner with Craig and Debbie on IP440 Charmed in honor of the start of their southbound cruising adventures.

Fun on Block Island

Friends we met at the public library, Norm and Shelley, invited us to dinner at their beautiful home off Corn Neck Road and then took us to a concert sponsored by the Block Island Residents Association called “Blues on the Beach.” We are starting to feel like locals now! A restored Army vessel named “The General” flying a 4 star flag ,had a ceremony each nite at sunset, complete with 3 progressively louder cannons, a fly-by from some sort of fast airplane, a bugler playing “Taps” and a properly lowered flag. We “dressed” the dinghy in bunting and participated in the air horn salute.

Block Island to Dering Harbor, Long Island

A neighboring local boat shared his freshly caught clams with us and we made New England style chowder which seemed so appropriate for our last night in Block. What a dream to be here from July 4th to August 7th with just a few side trips. We departed on a favorable tide with the new Hylas 49 Black Diamond on her shakedown cruise. She is the beautiful new boat of former IP45 Time Bandit owners, Rich, Bonnie and daughter Alex. The sun turned to fog which made for a somewhat stressful trip across Block Island Sound. It lifted as arrived in Gardiner’s Bay and took a mooring ball in Dering Harbor. Jack’s Marine is a fascinating old hardware store with an amazing toy department – worth a tour!

Dering Harbor to Greenport

After a stormy morning, we crossed to Greenport and took a mooring ball in Stirling Basin. What a charming town! The BLISS Rendezvous will be held here next July and we look forward to exploring it more. Highlights included pizza with Black Diamond, a fascinating old department stored called The Arcade, a visit to a convenient and clean Laundromat and a tour of one of 6 wooden Yard Patrol training vessels on summer cruise with cadets from the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Greenport to Sag Harbor

We had a fabulous sail around the western side of Shelter Island to Sag Harbor. A sudden change in the forecast dictated a mooring ball and then we dashed ashore for the Thursday nite Summer Concert series. When we were here in 2004, the local band played patriotic songs; this year “The Cascades” played 50’s and early 60’s. We admired the mega-mega-yachts “Bad Girl” and “ My Iris. ”The really dreadful weather didn’t arrive until Friday, but that didn’t stop us from sharing a lively hot lunch with Al from IP32 Half Moon aboard Black Diamond.

Sag Harbor to North Cove on the Connecticut River

We had a leisurely sail out of Gardiner’s Bay and enjoyed shooting some beautiful photos of IP 32 Half Moon before exiting at Plum Gut. We were looking forward to meeting our Rock Hall friends, Bob and Kathy of IP380 Drake’s Passage. They are amazing - so much energy! They got to their boat in Oyster Bay, Long Island, at midnite on Friday nite. Till they loaded everything and the 2 girls and the 7 month old baby aboard in the pouring rain and high winds, it was 1:30 a.m. They got up at 6:00, left at 7:00 and sailed against a foul tide for 10. 5 hours to meet us for dinner and mini-golf. We were ashore by 6:00 p.m., seated at 6:30 and dinner didn’t arrive till after 8:00. The children were soooo good! Kathy Ann read a book and Alley drew a nautical chart with grass, water, docks and boats. The round yellow object in the corner we all assumed was the sun, till she informed us that it was the compass rose on her chart! After we ate, we played mini-golf till 10:00 and THEN went for ice cream!! Unbelievable day!

North Cove to Milford, CT

We anchored in the Gulf south of Milford behind a curving, mile long sand bar that is bare at low tide and then covered 6 hours later by a 7 foot tide. It was a great place for a swim, a walk on the bar and a chat with the park ranger who drives out to Charles Island. The long harbor was tight with boats moored on floats in the middle, a fast current and lots of boat traffic on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Milford, CT to Port Jefferson, NY

Another great sailing day, this one across the Sound. Port Jefferson is not a very cruiser-friendly place unless you take a mooring ball and use the launch. The fuel dock claimed to have no water, till we found a faucet and used our own hose. The door to the Harbormaster’s two story office is impossible to find. There is no sign to indicated that you are supposed to enter through the electrical closet! The town dock has no dinghy landing and we nearly got a ticket for tying up there since we couldn’t talk to anyone in the harbormaster’s office. Danford’s marina charges $7, not per day, but every time you come ashore. The best part of Port Jeff was meeting Kiwis, Roy and Doon, aboard Bold Endeavour. See their adventures at

Port Jefferson to Oyster Bay, NY

The best sail of the entire summer! The videos show it all! Now we are In Oyster Bay for several days.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Clay Head, Block Island, RI

We discovered a new area of Block Island yesterday called Clay Head on the Northeast side of the island. Clay Head has a nature trail that leads to a rocky beach with tall eroding clay cliffs.

To reach this area we took the dinghy to the far NE side of the Great Salt Pond where we could land the dinghy on one of the many sandy beaches that line the pond. After securing the dinghy with an anchor tossed up on the beach we began our 2+ mile hike UPHILL to the clay head trail. We wondered our way through the trail arriving at the beach. Much to our suprise the beach was not a sandy beach but was covered with thousands of satin smooth polished rocks of various colors! These rocks would be rolled uphill onto the slooped beach and then with the receding tide they would tumble down the slope make a really interesting sound.
(see videos to hear this sound)

Clay Head is on the NE side of Block Island.
Great Salt Pond is just off the bottom left of this picture

On the beach there were two other families enjoying the day, one couple with a crazy black lab that loved to chase a tennis ball into the raging surf. He was a fantastic swimmer and would not stop chasing the ball.

We walked the rocky beach and listened to the tumbling rocks and simply enjoyed the day. Here are some photos and two videos of the adventure. Thanks for following our Island Spirit Adventures.

Video #1 of Clay Head w/ narration
(note: click video twice)

Video #2 of Clay Head, no narration
Listen to the rocks!

Photo: From the beach looking north at Clay Head

Radeen and Hayden on the beach (self portrait)

I Love to take photos and Radeen is getting use to me taking tons of photos
This is photo # 4, 350 taken with this Canon A700 and I have only had this camera for 1 yr!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rain Day at Block Island

There are benefits to a rain day, you can catch up on your readings, watch a movie and fill your water tanks! Our boat holds 90 gallons of water and the fill point if on the deck about midships on the starborad side. When it rains the water runs right over the deck water fill cap. So all that is needed is a simple way to damn the water and direct it into the water tank. This picture show the water pouring into the tank and actually in this picture the tank is FULL and the water is backing up to the deck! Perfect. Before we take on water in this way, we allow the decks to be washed off first and I will even take a deck brush and scrub the deck during the start of the rain.

If it keeps raining and we have extra, then we pump that into our 5 gallon flexible water jugs to be used later. Sure we could pull up the anchor and move to a fuel dock to take on water, but that is more difficult than this. If we are at a fuel dock we will always take on water, but for the most part we collect water and we carry water back to the boat while at anchor.

Here is a video of our rain collection method on Island Spirit as we collect water from the decks via a damn at the deck fill plate.

Video of Rain Day

Monday, July 16, 2007

New London, CT

We attended in New London, CT thanks to the invite from Debbie and Craig owners of IP440 Charmed. We arrived Thursday from Block Island after going through "Lords Passage" and via Fisher's Island Sound. The harbor mooring field was all full so we dropped our anchor in the harbor and rode out the party for Thur, Fri, and Sat nights rocking and rolling with all the other crazy people who were anchored out as well. SailFest puts on the largest fireworks display in the NE with 22,000 rockets launched from 3 barges in 22 minutes! We were anchored about 150 yards from one of the barges and it was truly spectacular. I will upload a video of the finale and you will see how impressive this was.

Friday IP440 "Team Charmed" invited us over for cocktails and then we strolled around the harbor and to the otherside of the creek to eat at SCOTTs Seafood Place which turned out to have the BEST LOBSTER BISQUE in the state. We enjoyed the sunset and good company and a cool 60 degree evening.

Saturday was the BIG SAILFEST day we invited Craig and Debbie out to Island Spirit in the rocking and rolling harbor for dinner aboard and fireworks from the anchor. After dinner we invited Venessa and Jim out to enjoy oven warmed homemade fresh fruit cobbler before the grand show. Sure enough at 9:25pm the fireworks began and it was absolutely incredible especially being so close AND on the water. (See video below)

22,ooo Fireworks in 22 Minutes!

Sunday we helped Windrunner who had to emergency anchor in the harbor as his engine oil pressure alarm went off as he left Shaw Cove railroad bridge. Jim called me as aske me to come over as a second pair of eyes and see what we could figure out. The entire engine bilge was full of oil. As we both inspected the engine room we discovered the oil filter gasket was forced out the side of the filter's mount and that must have been the cause of the leak. We removed the oil fiter, inspected the o-ring and re-seated the filter. Jim had another gallon of oil so we filled her back up and she was good to go! Now the clean up. We helped sop up all the oil from the engine pan and due to the OUTSTANDING engine room access on the 420 this job was not too difficult. Jim and I worked on the clean up and Radeen and Vanessa had a chance to visit and talk and we were glad to help out. Seatow was cancelled and Windrunner was on her way home.

Sunday afternoon we moved into Shaw cove to take a dock so we could easily do grocery shopping and laundry. Craig and Debbie loaned us their car and we made one run to the store returning with 10 bags of groceries! It is so easy to do shopping when you have a car, thanks IP440 Charmed!

Monday, we departed New London and headed back to Block Island, our new summer home.

Photos From New London, CT & SailFest XXX

We were anchored about 50 yards off the pier

Debbie and Craig on their NEW IP440 Charmed The US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT
we need to return to tour this Logo

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Broadband Network Aboard

The broadband network aboard Island Spirit:

What the goals were:
1. Have two or three laptops online on the boat.
2. Have access to a printer from the laptops.
3. Have broadband speeds via wireless in the boat to the network.
4. Use ONE Verizon broadband card! (no way)

Readings: (what is EVDO) (PCMCIA) Express Cards) (USB)

(great source for all info on EVDO)
(their store where I bought all the gear)
(my connection / ISP, look for PLANS…BROADBAND $59.00/mo)
(The EVDO router, FANTASTIC)
(The trucker antenna) (Wilson Electronics the source for the antenna);HHOJSID=HcnJGWMJ1n38JT2Zb1F4v2vsHJRClfmgtbpf1qJ3GJmKTyYPsyrT!1752868021
(HPPhotosmart C5180 all All-in-one printer)

Speed Test for your Network:

How it works:
GREAT….nuff said!

OK, How it really works….
Since we have two laptops with different card slots I needed to buy the Verizon USB720 Broadband card. Card are available in PCMCIA (old school) PC Express (new school) and USB universal (all computers.) Since I needed the USB Verizon card, then I had to go with the Kyocera KR1 EVDO router since it is the only one that accepts a USB modem/broadband card. The KR1 will also accept a PCMCI card as well. FYI: Linksys also makes an EVDO / broadband router, but that one only takes PCMCIA cards. The problem is that we are stuck between a card slot computer change, changing from PCMCIA to PC Express slots. If you only have new laptops, then PC express is the answer.

With the Verizon USB720 broadband modem plugged into the KR1 EVDO router, you simply turn on your laptops and connect to the router which is connecting to Verizon’s broadband network. If you are in range of a cell tower and if you can make a phone call, then you will have internet delivered to the laptops via the KR1 router. The external antenna is not amplified (yet) and it is simply run to the USB720 Verizon card down in the router. Right now I have a range of about 15 miles, and if I amplify the antenna I will be able to get 25+ miles. Overall, this has worked out way better than expected. We seem to have speeds of 1100 kbps download and 500kbps uploads. Check your speed right now. Use and pick a large city nearby to check your speeds. I am on the east coast and I use Chicago as my speed tests. If you are international, then use and pick a country.

Thanks for reading about our network, it does work and we are proud of the setup!