Tuesday, October 29, 2013

She's a brick house . . . boat

Our boat is literally filled with concrete in the keels and overbuilt in general. So she is heavy and sturdy but not necessarily speedy. However, it's one thing to know that your boat is not built for speed. It is another to be constantly reminded of it over two days.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hampton, VA - Mad boater friendly

Our anchorage in Hampton. Our swing radius brings us
within ten feet of some of the boats docked nearby.

Look familiar? If we had been here earlier, maybe
we would have been on the cover of the visitor's guide.
Hampton goes out of its way to welcome boaters. In addition to the free internet that some progressive cities provide, the city marina offers $1 hot showers (including complimentary hair dryers and flat irons), the use of free bicycles, and fresh herbs for the taking.  This year they even organized a "Snowbird Rendezvous" which attracted a large number of boats. We heard about it too late so didn't get to participate in the free meals and booze they were dispensing, but Matt attended a few of the seminars while I stayed with the kids. Not quite sure how they financed it, but we did see one officer writing 4 speeding tickets in the course of 1 hour. So watch it if you arrive by car instead of boat.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Annapolis to Solomons Island

Tilted chairs at the closed up bar are a sure sign the summer season is over.
We had our visit to (and departure from) Annapolis all planned out because we are such awesome planners (I'm pretty sure we can use the word awesome even though we have probably less than a 1-in-3 success rate). Although pretty much nothing worked out the way we thought it would, we are much better off because of it. This is in spite of nearly a week of solid rain and chilly weather in a roll-y anchorage.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Here I come to save the day (sung like Mighty Mouse or Andy Kaufmann, your choice)

After getting questions from the kids on when we were heading back south (almost every other day- all summer long) we finally got back to Annapolis so that they could have their Lego battle with the Mighty, Mighty Zach. Once the battle ended ("We made peace," said Mark), we sailed with our friends Cindy and Doug and their two kids, Zach and Naia, on Majestic to visit some areas around Annapolis that we missed during our race up North to visit family.

After a quiet (and shallow) evening in the very secluded Granary Creek, we headed over to the more populated area of St Michaels.  As we took the dinghy to shore, we saw the boat pictured above heeled over a bit. That would be normal for a monohull except that this one was anchored. Apparently the owner had spotted her friends' boats and headed directly for them, realizing too late that there was a very shallow area in between. Her boat was aground enough that it wasn't going anywhere without assistance. Mistakes in boating can be hard to hide.
We headed over to see if they needed help, not really expecting to be able to do much with a modest dinghy crammed full with four adults and four kids. Doug and Matt grabbed a couple of halyards and used our dinghy to pull the sailboat sideways. This pulled the boat way over while the owner gunned the engine. After a couple of tries, the sailboat finally broke loose and the halyards sprang back to the sailboat. I was mildly surprised that everyone stayed in both boats and there was no major injury or damage. Matt did have a bit of rope burn but he injures himself regularly doing far more mundane things, so I consider it a win.

We had minor flashbacks to a previous episode of ill-conceived endeavors. But it was a happy ending and it was exciting for the kids, who wanted to save someone else immediately. Matt asked whether he could make a "women drivers" joke and I reminded him how he was driving when we hit our bottom. We will be hauling out in Beaufort to fix the damage from that little accident.
St. Michaels is a charming town with the best Maritime Museum we have visited so far. Cindy wrote about their visit a few months ago during an intense heat wave. Our weather was much more pleasant and we almost had the place to ourselves.  With warmth but no wind, we motored back to Annapolis where our nice spot in Back Creek had been taken.  Dozens of boat are arriving each day in anticipation of the upcoming boat show, so we've been forced to anchor out in the much more rolly main anchorage. 
The morning after we arrived back in Annapolis, the kids almost got to rescue someone else.   A sea plane was circling overhead and about to land.  A boat came by and said they were supposed to tow the sea plane to a  nearby dock but their dinghy was having engine trouble so  could we help them out? Sure!  Sounds like fun.  So we lowered our dinghy and headed over. Unfortunately, after landing, the plane decided "I don't need no stinkin' dinghy", zipped down the main fairway and docked itself.  Of well, it was still cool to see.