Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Home is Reached 2015

...Hayden sails to Rock Hall, MD...
And this is a WRAP. We closed the loop of Maryland to Florida to Abaco, Bahamas, to Maryland on Saturday, June 20, 2015 when we returned to our home dock in Rock Hall, Maryland. Our last blog post had us departing Portsmouth, VA and sailing for our home area of Annapolis and Rock Hall. Well, we always turn into Annapolis and take a mooring ball for a time of reflection and celebration, and this year the celebration coincided with a birthday party for Ken of  IP40 Tintean. His lovely wife, Sara, was hosting a party for Ken on Friday night in Annapolis at their condo/marina/pool resort!

Sara and Ken, our Bahamas buddies and good friends
So, after a quick stop and Thursday night / Friday morning in Annapolis, we motored over to Ken and Sara's dock and had a fantastic time visiting our buddies and swimming in their beautiful pool. The birthday party was a blast with their interesting friends and neighbors. Our mutual friends of IP460 Cutter Loose, Eric and Patricia, stopped by as they had just driven into town to work on their yacht. What a fantastic place and facilities the Severn House complex is! We can see why Sara and Ken chose to live there and dock their boats there. Top notch facilities and beautifully landscaped grounds, walkways and pool, with lively neighbors, too. Thank you, Sara and Ken, for the dockage and the great party.

Hayden and Radeen sail under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
The next day, we departed to make our final jump to our home dock in Rock Hall, where we reconnected with Madelyn, the marina owner and our friend of 24 years. There is something very special to us in returning to the exact slip where we built these sailing and cruising dreams. We first docked at Spring Cove Marina in 1992. In 2001, we built and commissioned Island Spirit here. Over the next ten years, we dreamt of going off cruising and someday sailing to the Bahamas. Now, all these years later, after accomplishing many goals, we sailed back to the same slip where we first formed our dreams. There is something magical about this and we really love it. This is our HOME dock and always will be. You know that there is no place like home.

Jeff and Sharon, our good friends
While docked for the weekend, we had a wonderful time with Jeff and Sharon, our great friends of many years and fellow IP owners, IP35 Lucille. Jeff and I have worked many hours on each of our boats, Jeff more on ours than us on his. We have cruised together and even shared BVI charter vacations together. Again, it was great to come home and spend time with these dear friends.

Mike and Betsey gave us a ride to PA
Speaking of close friends, Betsey and Mike, sailing buddies from our Lake Nockamixon days in the 1980s, also dock at Spring Cove. They offered to give us a ride home to PA to find our cars and our house. What a kind gesture that was! After all, Mike and Betsy, our most loyal Island Spirit Blog followers, took our car home to PA from MD when we sailed out in October. Thank you, Betsy and Mike, for all your wonderful help and support. We really appreciate this.

Hayden and Radeen in Saltbox 13 with "The Staircase"

Arriving home in PA, we found our cars at our local service center and drove them home, where we turned on the water, well pump, water heater, drained out the old water, flushed the pipes and checked out the property. WOW, it is great to be home. We built this place in 1984, a passive solar home, super insulated, and we are very proud of the project. Inside, we built all the millwork, cabinets, staircase, moldings and trim, flooring and furniture.

Saltbox 13, circa 1984 and still looking good
THIS is our home and always will be. We love it. We call it SALTBOX 13 because the design and architectural drawings (which I drafted) went through 13 revisions until we broke ground in April of 1984. We know this house so well and that is why we keep it.

We plan to off load the boat and put her away ASAP so we can take a break from boating, That way we will be ready to head south in October for year #5 with a fresh outlook. For now, we plan to be back and forth until we close up the boat and set ourselves up at home. Thanks for sailing along, it has been a great year!

Here are some photos....

Longtime Boat Buddies, Eric and Patricia of IP460 Cutter Loose

Radeen reflects on the Bay Bridge, we are home

Island Spirit knows how to sail under the Bay Bridge

HOME, Spring Cove Marina, the best of Rock Hall, MD

Radeen and Sharon on the porch at Spring Cove

THIS is OUR place, THE HARBOR SHACK, The BEST restaurant in Rock Hall, MD
Thank you, JIMMY, and all the great staff
Radeen's favorite flower, Day Lilies, so we have many planted at home
Radeen, my favorite photo subject
A Mammatus Cloud Formation after a big storm 
Day Lilies frame our back deck
Radeen working the landscaping beds and the Day Lilies
Year #4 is a wrap and we feel so blessed and so lucky to be living this long planned dream. We are happy to share the adventures and photos with you and we appreciate you sailing along with us. Your comments are sent to us via email. We see every comment and enjoy your feedback.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Portsmouth to Maryland

The continuing push for our home dock was made as we departed the South Ferry Basin of Portsmouth, VA for a 155 nm run to Annapolis, MD.  Due to the high heat and threat of thunderstorms, we took slips at Deltaville Yachting Center in Deltaville, VA, and Calvert Marine in Solomons, MD. We can never pass by Annapolis without going to our favorite spot, Spa Creek, and taking a nice, calm, secure mooring ball just under the bridge. We took mooring ball #50, popped a bottle of Champagne and enjoyed reflecting on our 2,817 nautical mile journey. We departed Annapolis, on Oct 13, 2014, and now 8 months later, we returned "Home." What a great trip year #4 has been! This was a review tour, returning to our favorite places like, Charleston, Biscayne Bay and The Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Harbour Cay Club and the great people there, Abaco, Bahamas with our home base at The Jib Room and the wonderful owners, and of course, Greg and Kate's in Beaufort, NC. These are the special places we have fallen in love with over the past 4 years of cruising and we really enjoyed our times at each of them.

Now, back on our home waters of the Chesapeake Bay and only one day from our home dock in Rock Hall, it seems so surreal. The best part of being home will be seeing the friends and family we have missed! We will soon be back at our dock, and then we will be driving cars 65 mph down I-95, and running around in the crazy, busy pace of the Northeast. All the while, we will be planning and thinking about how soon we will return to these beautiful places south on the ICW and into the Bahamas only 4 months from now! The cruising life is a dream and we are so lucky to be living this dream. Thanks for sailing along with us.

Here are some photos of the last leg.

The best theater in USA, The Commodore in Portsmouth VA
Always a required show in Norfolk

The USS George H W Bush aircraft carrier off our bow!

A security boat kept us clear of the aircraft carrier

Look at this sailboat next to a container ship. This is WHY they scare us at night doing 20 knots!

15 containers wide

Radeen off watch and doing what librarians love to do
Cove Point Light House

Cove Point LPG ship terminal

Calm clear day, winds were to be 20 knots off our stern....nope

Thomas Point Lighthouse and Woodwind II off our port beam

Thomas Point Lighthouse, a screwpile piling lighthouse

Welcome to Annapolis Yacht Basin with a few large boats

There it is OUR Spa Creek Bridge, our favorite

Pop the champagne, we are home

Our Log with 2,817 nautical miles traveled since leaving here Oct 2014

Breakfast at Chick and Ruth's is required and the Pledge to the flag is at 0830 on weekdays

Annapolis, MD State House Dome

Too beautiful

Radeen, my favorite model, strikes a pose

Hayden and Radeen, walking downtown Annapolis

Tall ship replica of LYNX a Baltimore Clipper Ship built in 1812
Baltimore Clipper complicated rigging

So, it is almost awrap, year #4 Maryland to Florida to Bahamas to Maryland. We feel blessed and very fortunate to be in this cruising life. Our next challenge will be getting home, starting our cars and setting up our home. Thank you for sailing along with us this year once again.

Here is a link and a picture of our 8 months on a map. Interactive MAP link here

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Alligator Dismal Swamp Portsmouth VA

...Departing Beaufort, Adams Creek Sunrise....
We are pushing hard to get north! Once you start running for the barn, it seems like you just hit it and go for it like a Captain Blaine Parks Delivery! Now that man can really get it done!

Here are the legs we ran from Beaufort.

#1. Beaufort, to Dowry Creek Marina, 54 nm fuel, water, pump out, dock for AC and storms.
#2. Dowry Creek to Elizabeth City, 71 nm! Dock, no AC, no power, dine out.
Shrimp Boat heading to work
#3. Elizabeth City to Dismal Swamp to Portsmouth VA 46 nm, 2 locks, dock, no AC, no power, go to Commodore Theater for dinner and Jurassic World to cool off.

This section of the ICW, the Alligator River Pungo River Canal, Albemarle Sound, Elizabeth City, Pasquotank River, South Mills Lock, Dismal Swamp, Deep Creek Lock, and Portsmouth are by FAR the most interesting section. I never get tired of running this part of the waterway. I capture the most interesting photos and reflections here. So, please allow me to share the best 30 photos of the hundreds that I shot. You, too, will see the beauty of this portion of the ICW.

Radeen at the helm

Alligator River Pungo Canal Fly

My favorite Bridge Tender is at Alligator River Swing Bridge
This man is so kind and friendly and does a great job!

Crossing the mighty Albemarle Sound

The placid Pasquotank River, leading up to the South Mills Lock

Radeen enjoying the reflections

Too beautiful to not take lots of photos

Morning reflections

My Favorite reflection

Baldcypress Trees

Anchored at South Mills Lock waiting for the opening

Radeen is a great line handler in the lock as the water rushes into the lock

We are being lifted up 8 feet to the Dismal Swamp level for some Dismal Swamp reflections

LOOK AT THIS, 22 statute miles of canal

The canal was completed in 1805 and is on the
National Register of Historic Places

The heat index is degrees and we are running with the sunshade up

It is JUNE and the biting flies almost killed us. This fly swatter is a gift
 from the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome to Virginia, the VA-NC State Line in the swamp

The Deep Creek Bridge prior to entering the lock

Entering the Deep Creek Lock, our favorite,

Radeen under the shade and tending her bos line

We have run EVERY MILE on this sign, except the last 50 to Eastport, Maine

Line handler, Radeen

Radeen lets the line out as the boat drops 8 feet

Welcome to Portsmouth, bridges, tugs, barges, ships, crazy boat traffic

WE DID IT, we made it to the Commodore Theater for the movies!
A 9 hour day of only 46 nautical miles, with time spent waiting for locks and bridges.

The South Ferry Basin, Portsmouth VA, a must stop town
This is the route from Elizabeth City into the Swamp and up to Portsmouth VA. Click to make larger.

There you have it, 30 photos of our last few days of running north. Today, we enter our HOME waters of the Chesapeake Bay with a 105 degree heat index and zero winds. We will head out and power on north. Thank you for sailing along, it is great to share this wonderful adventure.