Monday, August 6, 2012

Goodbye Chesapeake
Moonshadow had been based in Annapolis for three weeks and we were ready to leave, but first, we had some chores to do. Both the engine work and the canvas work we had done while here needed a revisit by the vendors, so we had to wait over the weekend for Monday.

We moved Moonshadow from her slip at the Annapolis Yacht Club to an anchor in "Spa Creek" behind downtown Annapolis and spent the weekend getting Moonshadow shipshape doing things like cleaning the seawater strainers.  On Legacy in San Diego, the strainers get checked and cleaned maybe once a year.  In the Chesapeake, Moonshadow's strainers get an overhaul at least once a week.  

Here are before and after shots of the strainer that sees the most water pulled through it to serve the heads, anchor wash-down and galley seawater supply.  

As you can see, Moonshadow has been in some really muddy water.  In amongst all the brown yuck were some bits of jellyfish too!

Another weekend chore was to clean the brown "mustache" from Moonshadow's usually white hull.  That same brown yuck we found in the strainers ends up on the hull a foot high at the bow.  She looked great when we were done, but the 'stach came back after a day motoring on the Chesapeake.

We were also entertained by the local kayak tour that passed by Moonshadow twice a day.  

We got to the point where we'd both memorized the monologue the guide gave, and even the "ad-lib" remarks by his wife in another kayak, which never changed!

Monday we moved around to another bay called Back Creek where the engine mechanics arranged a dock for Moonshadow while they fixed the exhaust leak.  It turned out that the fiberglass water lift muffler had a crack on the flange where the 4" hose attaches which they were able to fiberglass and put back into service in an afternoon.  While there, we had the canvas man return to make some adjustments to the new dodger.  Finally we left Annapolis for a beautiful night anchored in Martin's cove just five miles away. It finally felt like we were "cruising" again!  

The next day it was on to Georgetown, across the Chesapeake and up the Sassafras River.  This beautiful shot of the sun behind some clouds turned into a loud thunderstorm and squall with raindrops the size of grapes.

From Georgetown, we motored up to the "C and D Canal" which connects the north ends of the Chesapeake and Delaware bays.  There's a tiny little basin at a place along the canal called Chesapeake City, just big enough for Moonshadow to swing a circle around her anchor, and that's where we stayed and enjoyed another lovely sunset.

The best part about the C and D canal is the bridges.  Yes, you read that right.  The minimum bridge clearance along the canal, where there are six bridges, is 132 feet, or exactly twice Moonshadow's mast height!

Delaware Bay is a bit boring with low land on either shore and not much else.  There were also some huge pieces of flotsam we had to keep an eye out for.  Here we had some helpers identifying a big log.

The east coast has some great lighthouses and Delaware Bay has a pretty interesting collection of its own.  I'll bet each one has some great stories to tell if they could talk.  I also imagine being a lighthouse tender would be a really boring job.

At the south end of Delaware Bay is the southern tip of New Jersey with Cape May just around on the Atlantic Side.  Actually, there is a canal that cuts across New Jersey to Cape May, saving a few dozen miles, but it has a fixed bridge with a 56 foot clearance so we went around and anchored just inside the Atlantic inlet, by the Coast Guard Station there.  This Coast Guard base looks like a recruit depot as there are hundreds of men and women marching and chanting all day long.  We took the dinghy in and tied it to the Lobster House's schooner called the "American" where we had lunch.  The American is a steel version of the old Grand Banks Gloucester fishing schooners so it was cool to imagine being aboard under full sail on this 164' beauty...just move these dining tables and the bar out of the way, put some dories over here, add a couple miles of heavy manilla rope and some crusty guys in oilskins...and you have a scene right out of "Captains Courageous".

After lunch we took a walk through Cape May and saw their "Painted Ladies" which are old Victorian houses that line the main street and some of the ocean front boulevard.

There are hundreds of these houses, which are all very old and in various stages of repair, but most are in beautiful shape

When we returned to Moonshadow, we were treated to a fantastic fireworks show that lasted over a half hour.  

We were feeling pretty special until we figured out this was the United States Coast Guard's 222nd birthday.

From Cape May, we chose to skip New York and Long Island Sound and leap-frog up to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.  The weather looked right for this 265 mile jump so we left at 0730.  The wind never got strong enough to sail but came up enough to boost our motoring speed to over 10 knots, so we were happy to watch the miles roll by so easily.

Here's our command center.  Two B&G instruments give us all kinds of data on wind, speed, distance travelled, you name it.  The Garmin is set to radar mode with a guard zone to alarm if anything gets too close.  Also available are the VHF radio, autopilot and engine instruments.  

In the red box is our Watch Commander which sounds a soft alarm every 15 minutes in case we're resting our eyes.  If we hit the reset button, the Watch Commander leaves alone for another 15 minutes, but if we try to sleep through 30 seconds of soft beeping, an alarm sounds that will wake the stowaway lizard in the engine room! Actually the lizard finally died.  

Every 15 minutes when the Watch Commander sounds the person on watch will check the horizon, check the compass heading, wind, radar, check the engine gauges and count crewmembers.  On the hour or every fourth alarm, we log our position and plot it on the paper chart. Also available to those on watch at our command center is a searchlight, fog horn, binoculars, M&Ms, water, etc.

 Below, all is well with dinner in the pressure cooker kept level on the gimballed stove.

We had a really pleasant passage and finally diverted to Block Island, because it was about 50 miles closer and sounded pretty interesting in the guide book we were reading.  In the end, we covered 210 miles in 23.5 hours for an average just below 9 knots!

When we arrived at New Harbor on Block Island some very thick fog lifted so we could find our way through it's very narrow channel.  Once inside New Harbor widens to a huge bay that was actually once a lake.  We could see about 250 yachts inside.  All day, boats streamed out of the harbor heading back to the mainland to return to work the next day.  We decided to stay and play hookey... 
what'll they do fire us?

In the mornings, Aldo's bakery drives around in a Boston Whaler shouting "Andiamo" and offering breakfast and pastries from their bakery.  This is their 43rd year doing this service for the yachts moored in New Harbor. Breakfast was delicious and we hope fortifying for our walking tour of Block Island today.

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