Nov. 30 – Dec 1, 2017 – Solomons Island Yacht Club

We’ve really enjoyed our stay at the Annapolis City Docks. Tyler, the Harbormaster and his staff have really been accommodating for us and we’ll make sure we try to get back into here on our way back north in the spring. It’s another beautiful fall morning as the skies are clear, there’s no wind and the waters are relatively calm. Tracy is at the helm while a dockhand and I work the lines to clear the dock. Tracy takes Kailani out of Ego Alley and into the Severn River right alongside the United States Naval Academy as we head back out into the Chesapeake Bay. There’s about 8 commercial freighters anchored out in the channel all heading north. So Tracy takes us into the channel and turns south leaving a good safe distance between the anchored freighters and Kailani.

Seas are down and the current is slightly helping for the first part of today’s cruise, so everything is smooth. Tracy runs the boat for an hour, then Nick takes over and Tracy goes into maintenance/renovation mode and starts cleaning and staining the wood on the helm. IMG_20170830_104406912_HDRThe air is so beautiful today that when Tracy brings out the satin varnish, we’re still able to open a helm window and be comfortable, and that’s just in a short sleeve shirt.

We’ve been using the radar every day since we left Cape May, so we’re getting pretty good at identifying object, buoys, shoreline, etc. This will come in handy when the situation arises where we’ll only have the radar visibility. We both are getting more comfortable with the readings. However, it doesn’t help later in the day with me at the helm and a large commercial freighter approaching from about 3 nautical miles ahead. From this distance it looks to me like he’s staying on the starboard side of the channel, so I make a definite move to port and show him that we intend to pass starboard to starboard. As soon as I make that commitment, I get a call on the VHF from the freighter captain. He asks that he noticed we moved to port and it kind of confused him because he’s about to turn his vessel in a direction that will put him close to us and if I had stayed on the conventional port to port side of his vessel, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Lesson I learned was to make contact with the freighter before committing to a port to port or starboard to starboard passing.

As was previously agreed, once we crossed the Drum Point Buoy, we’d call Al Redfield and he would meet us at the dock for assistance. As we turned to corner towards SIYC, there was the Drum Point Buoy so we called Al, worked our way into the harbor and there was Al waiting on the dock for us. Solomaons Island Yacht club.jpgHe had previously told me that his plan was to put us in the Commodore’s slip based on our size and the winds and he was sticking with that. The GPS estimated our ETA to be 1440 and we docked, tied up, and hooked up the electric and it was 1440! There was literally only one other vessel in a slip at the yacht club because we learned that earlier in the year all the vessels had to be moved to make way for a scheduled repair of the docks and once the job was done, everyone just kept their vessels where they were.

Al told us about the pot luck dinner at the clubhouse later this evening and we agreed to meet him and his wife there for dinner so we could meet some of the other members. We could bring our paperwork and money then for the slip so we agreed to meet up with Al later for dinner.

We had already decided to stay for two nights, so we brought the paperwork up to the clubhouse and paid Al for two nights. The weather didn’t look good for Friday, plus we needed some groceries and could always do another load of laundry. So during the dinner, Al agreed to be Uber Al tomorrow and shuttle us to the grocery store whenever we were ready as long as it wasn’t too early in the morning since he was planning to winterize his boat. After dinner, we chatted with some of the members for a while and returned to Kailani around 9:30 pm. I set up the coffee pot and we got an early start on sleep.

Friday morning brought another day of relatively warm air, but the winds that we had been expecting, showed up and it was quite breezy today. We did some chores around the boat, started the laundry and agreed to meet Al about noontime in the clubhouse parking lot.

Al showed up on time and as we headed out to the grocery store, Uber Al showed us some of Solomons Island’s best restaurants and museums along the way. He dropped us off in front of Weis’ Market and said he’d be in the parking lot whenever we were done. About 20 minutes later, we wheeled out our shopping cart and Uber Al asked if we left any food on the shelves for other customers! I guess we really needed to restock the Galley.

After shopping, returning to Kailani and putting away all the groceries, I finished the dryer loads of the laundry and brought all the clean and folded clothes back to the boat while Tracy caught up on some website work. She’s really trying to get all the blogs and media caught up so we can go forward with just daily posts.

Douglas Smith, the AGLCA Harbor Host, showed up around 4:30 pm after working for two days on his daughter’s house in Annapolis. We invited him aboard and we sat and chatted for almost two hours about the loop, boats and family. IMG_20171202_083649617_HDRHe told us that an editor of a local boating magazine had approached him about doing an article on AGLCA Harbor Hosts and the editor said she wanted some pictures of Doug with Tracy and I on our boat in the Solomons Island Yacht Club slip. IMG_20171202_084533So we agreed that he would come back in the morning before we shove off and we’ll take the pictures, and forward them to Beth Crabtree of SpinSheet Magazine. Afterwards, he and I went up to the clubhouse for happy hour while Tracy started working on dinner. I only stayed at the clubhouse for a short time. I wanted to see Al and his wife again to thank them for everything they’ve done for us because we plan to leave early tomorrow for the 5 plus hour trip to Chesapeake Boat Basin. After returning to Kailani from the happy hour, Tracy had a delicious steak dinner prepared and waiting for me.   Nice to have fresh food in the galley! Another early night and we’re off early in the morning for Indian Creek and Chesapeake Boat Basin.

Nov. 28-29, 2017 – Annapolis

il_340x270.677183590_9vskWe’ve been experiencing some difficulty with completely pumping out the aft head holding tank lately, so after yesterday’s pump-out where we got about 25% of the tank pumped, we decided to hook up again this morning before departure and try to get some additional fill out of the tank so it will last longer. Colleen is the Dockmaster today and she has already been prepared for us to pump-out. Foster had warned us that she’s a rock star on the dock and she came thru as expected. Tracy is the pump-out specialist on Kailani, so she got into position, Colleen handed the line to Tracy and away she went with the pumping. She was able to get about another almost half the tank pumped, which is good for now, but eventually, this will be a nasty repair for me on my to-do list as it just should not be this difficult to completely empty the black water tank.    After the pump-out hoses were returned to their racks, I got Kailani ready for today’s five hour cruise to Annapolis while Tracy went into the office to chat with Colleen for a while as they hit it off talking about the Great Lakes and sea glass. Meanwhile, Foster called me again to make sure everything went smoothly this morning with the pump-out.

So a 9:45 am we were leaving the docks of Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbour after a very nice evening as their guest.

Today’s marine weather looks spectacular and we make our way out of Bohemia Bay at idle speed since the entire bay is six feet deep at this tide. Foster had told us that it’s all sand, so you just kick up a trail of dust if you bottom out, but we didn’t want to prove that theorem anyway, so we just cruised out of the bay at idle. Once we merger with the channel in the Elk River there was virtually no vessel traffic, no waves, no current and no wind for the first two hours. Cruising was spectacular as we made our way into the northernmost parts of the Chesapeake Bay.

About two hours into the trip we started crossing with some extremely large barges and cargo ships, but the waves, wind and current still were on vacation. We had even opened one of the flybridge windows for some fresh air because it was like a sauna at the helm. It wasn’t until we were passing the entrance to Baltimore Harbor that wind and waves started reminding us that we are boating in late November in Chesapeake Bay. The waves were worse than the winds and after passing under the Chesapeake Bridge and turning to starboard towards Annapolis, the waves were banging our port beam all the way into the Severn River. But once we turned into the cut for the Annapolis City Docks, the waves became a distant memory and all was calm for docking. Tracy called the Harbormaster and he met us on our wall tie-up, helped us secure our lines and hook up the electrical and at 3:30 pm we were settled in for the evening in downtown Annapolis.

As we were tying up, Tracy spotted a BBQ restaurant across the way from us (one of about 15 restaurants surrounding us) and we were off for an early dinner to Mission BBQ.

At dinner, we took the time to check the marine forecasts for tomorrow to determine if we should stay here for another day, or push on to Solomons Island tomorrow. Weather is cooperating, so if we stay here tomorrow, it will be totally a selfish decision and not a necessary decision. This is definitely a nice position to be in, so before turning in for the evening, we agree to stay another day and explore. Forecast calls for sunny weather in the mid to upper 60’s tomorrow anyway.

When I get up, I get ready to call Tyler, the Harbor Master as soon as he opens the office to let him know we’d like to spend another day at the docks and is that possible. He says there’s no problem and we can stay, however we should make plans to move over from the side of the cut we’re on to the busier side because the power company is planning to turn off the power on this dock at noon today. So I tell him that we’re planning to head out for breakfast and as soon as we return, we’ll fill up our water tank and move Kailani across the cut to the other side.

IMG_20171129_091148We walk less that one block to the Iron Rooster Café for breakfast. It’s a specialty restaurant with four locations, all in Maryland. The service is topped only by the food and we have a great breakfast, walk back to Kailani, fill up the water tank then call Tyler on the radio to let him know we’re moving across to the other side. Stanley comes out to meet us on the new side and we re-tie the lines, re-hook the power and we’re set for another day. Our plan is to do the guided walking tour of the United States Naval Academy. It’s literally a one block walk to the visitor’s entrance, so we get Frankie ready for some alone time, and we head over to the USNA Visitor’s Center. Just as we get to the ticket booth, a tour is heading out. The tour guide tells us if we hurry up, she’ll wait right outside for us and we’ll be able to join her tour. We run in, buy our tickets at $10.00 each for seniors and we join in on the tour.

Navy GoatThe tour of the United States Naval Academy takes us through most of the public areas of the campus, so we get to see the Athletic Center with the two replica Heisman Trophies won by Joe Bellini and Roger Staubach, the Armory-Dahlgren Hall which is decorated for the Christmas holiday, largest dormthen into the rotunda of Bancroft Hall which is the lone dormitory on campus that provides housing for the entire brigade (some 4,400 midshipmen) making it the largest dormitory structure in the world with 33 acres of floor space and 4.8 miles of corridor, Johm Paul Jonesthe Chapel which seats 2,200 people at one time, and under the Chapel we get to tour the Crypt of John Paul Jones, famous for his statement “We have not yet begun to fight”.

After the guided tour, we make our way to Preble Hall, home to the Naval Academy Museum.

navy model                                                              One floor is dedicated to ship models of many three master schooners and their history while the first floor is dedicated to a walk-thru of the timeline of the history of the United States Navy including every war in which the navy and or marines have fought in and all of the USNA alumnae that have explored space as astronauts.

After a full afternoon at the Naval Academy it was time to enjoy a second helping of the Mission BBQ fare for dinner. It didn’t disappoint and we left full for the evening.

Back on Kailani, we checked the marine forecast again for tomorrow’s waters and went to bed knowing that tomorrow we would be heading south to Solomons Islands, the Solomons Island Yacht Club, and Harbor Host Doug Smith.

Nov. 27, 2017 – The C & D Canal

It’s a beautiful sunny morning as we prepare to get an early start on today’s voyage. We’re adding some extra time to the travel day since we see that we’ll be going against the tide for most of the day. Oh well, you can’t beat Mother Nature we just try to accommodate her. Our goal today is to complete our northward run on the Delaware River, turn west into the C & D Canal, then come out on the other side in the Elk River which is effectively, the upper northern portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

We untie from our dock at Greenwich Boat Works at 8:55 am and as Tracy pulls away, we wave goodbye to Marvin as he’s working in his marina. He’s been a pleasure to spend time with as he has lots of stories about the history of the area and his family marina.

We navigate the ess curves of the Cohansey River once again staying in the middle of the river. It’s near low tide so our depths are about six feet shallower than when we came upriver, but we still have plenty of water for navigation. As we approach the mouth of the Cohansey, we’re hit with the expected current and as the boat moves along at 9.4 knots, our speed over ground is a whopping 6.7 knots! This will be a long day and it’s fortunate that we left somewhat early so we do not run out of daylight. As we look to merge into the Delaware River channel, there’s a cargo ship motoring upriver already in the channel, so we watch our radar and the actual terrain for merging. It doesn’t take long to realize that at 6.7 knots, we have no worries about risk of collision with the cargo ship. In fact by the time we merge with the channel, he’s 2 nautical miles ahead of us.

Our first attraction of interest is the Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station on the New Jersey shore. We had learned from Marvin yesterday, that this nuclear power plant sends the majority of its power to New York City. I guess that’s why the lights in Times Square are so bright. It’s built on an artificial point and as we cruise around it we’re approaching the Baker Range and Liston Range with with range lights that are reported to be the brightest lights in the western hemisphere! Once we complete the runs of the Baker Range and Liston Range, we’re able to see the entrance to the C & D Canal. This is a 14 statute mile cut thru northern Delaware and Maryland that takes boaters and commercial traffic from the Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay.   It’s virtually forty feet deep from shore to shore and today, we’ll need the entire width.   When we enter the canal, there’s no traffic ahead and Tracy confirms that we’re clear to stern. After being in the canal for about a mile or so, I see a blip directly to our stern about 1.5 nautical miles behind and gaining. As it approaches we see that it’s a large working Coast Guard vessel, so I move to the starboard side of the canal and give him plenty of width to overtake us as we’re still only travelling 6.7 knots. I thought is was somewhat odd that he passed us with silence on the radio, but I figured that he recognized that we had given him the channel, so he didn’t have to ask which side to pass us on. Once he is completely ahead of us and we negotiate his wake we fall back into follow the Coast Guard leader and continue our journey west on the C & D. After we’ve passed the Summit North Marina, which is approximately the halfway point in the canal, we hear the Coast Guard vessel radio to a barge ahead of him. The barge says he can pass on either side of him and they agree that the Coast Guard will pass to port. The overtaking is complete well before Chesapeake City and now it’s our turn to pass the barge. I radio to the Gulf Coast and ask the captain for preference of side and he confirms that we can pass to port also. As we start our overtaking, we’re now about a mile from from Chesapeake City. Just as we clear his bow, we reach the no-wake zone of Chesapeake City and we slow down, but the commercial traffic does not! So after we clear Chesapeake City inlet, we resume the pass. Again we’re nearly past the Gulf Coast bow and we hit a second no-wake zone and end up falling back a second time. Once clear of the no-wake zones and looking at open water ahead, we finally pass the Gulf Coast for the third and final time and make way for the mouth of the Elk River and the end of the C & D Canal.

During the pass at Chesapeake City, I had called Foster Schucker to let him know of our progress. Originally he was going to meet us at his marina if we had arrived by 2 pm, but since the currents have been at our bow all day, we are now looking at 3:15 pm to arrive and that puts him into another commitment. But he says that once we pass the bridge at Chesapeake City, we should have about another hour of travel to arrive at Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbour. As we complete our passage of the C & D Canal, we turn slightly southwest and head directly into the afternoon sun for the short run on the Elk River to Bohemia Bay.

The entire Bohemia Bay is shallow with no specific navigable channel. It’s mostly 6-7 feet deep and we decide to just take it slowly and work our way into the marina. We call Andrew the Dockmaster and he guides us into the marina and meets us at the fuel dock for a pump-out and to tie up. Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor is a beautiful marina with covered slips, some covered parking for vehicles and plenty of amenities (although some are shut down for the season now). We set a plan to put a couple of loads in the laundry, then let Frankie run the grounds for a while as we do the laundry. He really must’ve needed the exercise because he ran full out for a good ten minutes. We were getting tired just watching him! One thing we found out about him is that when he gets running along pretty quickly he starts hopping like a rabbit. What a goof!

With the laundry done through the washers and both loads started in the dryers, we went back to Kailani to wait for Foster to show up. He had said earlier in the day that he could make it to the marine by 6:30 pm, bit he got out of his afternoon commitment a bit early and was knocking on our door at 6:00 pm. He stayed for a good hour and a half and left us with some great information, recommendations, and locations to visit during this southerly swing and for next year along the loop. As Foster was leaving, we learned that he actually lives ten minutes from where his afternoon commitment was and yet, he drove an hour and a half to spend that same amount of time with us then, drove back home for another hour and a half. As soon as he got home, he sent out an email to Dave Skolnick, Harbor Host for Annapolis and to Doug Smith, Harbor Host for Solomons Islands to let them know that we were heading their way and to look for us to contact them. That’s what we call service. Thanks Foster!

Nov. 25, 2017 – North to go South

Noth to go south.jpgSaturday morning at Utsch’s Marina and there’s lots of early morning activity as this is prime fishing season for lots of the boats in this marina and most of Cape May. We’re docked right in front of the Bait and Tackle shop and they have coffee brewed at 7 am. Today we’re going up the Delaware River to Greenwich, NJ where we have a reservation at Greenwich Boat Works and Marina on the Cohansey River. It’s 38 nautical miles so it should be a leisurely day. I let Tracy sleep in for a change and I wander the marina saying hello to people. Fred in the Bait and Tackle shop is cleaning a bluefish and offers us a filet. It’s now in our refrigerator. After Tracy gets up and has some coffee, we start working to depart. The marina dockhands will hand us our lines, so we don’t have to prepare them for solo departure, and then they’ll meet us at the fuel dock. Tracy prepares the helm while I retrieve the dock lines and she takes us over to the fuel dock. After running for 224 nautical miles we should be taking on 200 plus gallons. This is not very economical, but remember, we used approximately 115 gallons to run 83 nautical miles from Staten Island to Atlantic City. Therefore we used 85 gallons to run the other 140 miles to date.

Once we’re fueled (we take 204.7 gallons) we say goodbye and thank you to Utsch’s Marina and head out the Cape May Canal towards the Delaware River. This leg of the trip marks the end of one chartkit and guidebook and the start of the second chartkit and guidebook as we put away the Cape May to Nantucket set and open up the Chesapeake to Florida set of charts and guidebook. This is another milestone for our journey south. In the middle of summer, the boat traffic on the Cape May Canal can be very heavy, but here, on Saturday November 25th we only see four other boats and no ferries.

Coming out of the canal, our plot is to run a diagonal course to meet the channel between the Bank Light and Miah Maull Shoal Light.   Bank lightAs we are navigating this diagonal course, we can see a caravan of eight cargo ships about a half-mile apart and already in the channel, so I monitor the approach to the channel carefully as I confirm that we will eventually merge into the channel at least 2 miles ahead of the lead ship, north of Bank Light. So we maintain course and speed for the next hour. As we’re within 30 minutes of the intersection with the channel, I notice that all eight ships are steering a course west of the channel and are passing Bank Light to their starboard side and the Bank Light should be on the port side when in the channel. So I’m not sure where they were going, but any risk of collision is now gone and we can merge into the channel with no other traffic.

This is the loneliest segment of the river as here, once in the channel, and regardless of the visibility, you cannot see any land in any direction. This is some river! Also in this segment, to stay in the channel there are times when the ship’s compass shows us travelling due north! I thought we were heading south.  Oh well, the truth is that in order to maximize safe seas and avoid any more open ocean travel, we must go UP the Delaware River, thru the C & D Canal, then back DOWN the Chesapeake River, a little north to go south maneuver. The good news is that we were fortunate enough to plan this northerly run during an incoming tide, so once in the channel, we were getting a 2 knot push up the river.

Greenwich boat works.jpgWhen we are an hour away from the Cohansey River entrance, Tracy starts to reach out to Greenwich Boat Works for info on the river approach and depths in the river. On charts it appears to be navigable, but there are no buoys for this snaking river and I’m concerned about depths even though we timed this for slack high tide. There’s no answer at the marina (Marvin is out in the yard working), so as I have Kailani on approach to the Cohansey River inlet, and we’re still not sure of navigation strategy, I back down and stay in the Delaware River while Tracy calls TowBoatUS. We’ve found out that they are a great resource for us on water and navigation issues. She calls the national number, tells them immediately, that we do not need a service call and asks for the local contact for information. They always connect her to the local operator and he/she has always been willing to give us advice on water depths, hazards, etc. This valuable asset is worth way more than the cost of membership. The end result from this conversation is that the Cohansey River, in spite of no marker buoys, etc. is very safe for travel and since it’s slack high tide, we should have no issues travelling upriver to the marina. TowBoatUS says, “just stay in the middle of the river and you’ll have minimum 30’ and sometimes 60 ‘ of water”! So now, I confidently turn Kailani and head for the mouth of the Cohansey River and just as we are passing the last buoy to enter the river, Marvin calls Tracy back and reiterates the same information as TowBoatUS, so we now have complete confidence in our strategy. Greewich marina approach.jpgThe ess curves of the Cohansey are extremely picturesque and all the land surrounding the river is lowland reed grass so visibility in all directions is excellent. In fact, from two mile and fifteen turns away, we can spot our destination. The Cohansey is flat calm and with our confirmed confidence, I put Kailani back up to 1200 rpms and we gracefully navigate the curves maintaining a somewhat equidistant relationship to each shore and make our way up to Greenwich Boat Works and Marina. Marvin meets us on the dock and helps us secure the lines and power. Today is a spectacular weather day with very comfortable temperatures and I realize that I’m not even wearing my sweatshirt and I’m still comfortable. It’s nearly 3 pm and the temperature is hovering around 60 degrees!

Since we left Great Kills Yacht Club on Thanksgiving morning, we’ve travelled for three straight days, put on 158 nautical miles and we’re ready for more. Our next stop will be Bohemia Bay Yacht Club and our next Harbor Host, Forest Schucker. So the afternoon is spent with me getting the description of the marina facilities from Marvin while Tracy has to put 2 fishing poles in the water. This is still salt water here so there are striped bass all around the docks. Marvin had previously told Tracy three days ago that he had pump-out services, but today it’s down and we will not be able to get pumped out. We’ll have to wait until we get to Bohemia Bay.

As we settle into evening darkness, we start researching tomorrow’s plan and weather. IMG_20171115_134311What we find is that there are small craft warnings for the upper Delaware River thru Sunday morning and there are also small craft warnings for the upper Chesapeake River thru Sunday afternoon, so it’s decided that we’ll have to stay two days here in Greenwich and Sunday will be a day for chores and catching up on paperwork. I send off an email to Forest to let him know and we go to sleep thinking of all the stuff we can catch up on tomorrow while tied up. I think Tracy will definitely catch on of those striped bass!

Nov. 24, 2017 – Cape May, New Jersey

 This morning is a crystal clear morning with no winds here at the dock at Farley State Marina at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City. We’re looking forward to 39 more nautical miles to get off the North Atlantic Ocean for this trip. I mentioned to Tracy that this is our southbound version of the Gulf Crossing for Loopers. We get to break up the trip into two days and therefore, wait out bad weather if necessary, whereas the gulf crossing is typically a ten hour or more ordeal that must be completed in one shot. Many people start their crossing at 2 am so they are arriving at the other side in the afternoon and before a second bout of darkness. We are doing ours in all good weather daylight hours, but still, it feels the same due to the weather watching we had to put in to make this jump. So arriving in Cape May later this afternoon will be a welcome feeling of accomplishment for us. The seas are forecast to cooperate with winds of 5-6 knots and waves of 2-3 feet with 9 second periods.

fixing linesToday, I do the dock lines, while Tracy takes us off the dock and out of Absecon Bay into the ocean for the turn southward to Cape May. Prior to leaving, we decided that we had enough fuel to run at 8-9 knots for the whole trip. This five hour run should burn about sixteen gallons of fuel and we have one hundred and twenty gallons in the primary tanks. So our plan is to fuel up at today’s destination, Utsch’s Marina where we have a reservation.

After a short while, Tracy turns the helm over to me and we’re basically planning to run a course of 240 degrees compass for about thirty nautical miles then, turn into the Cape May Inlet. Today’s run is boring, there’s no whales or dolphins, so we start talking about looking for something to pass the time on these types of commutes. We come up with audio books played thru a smartphone. Tracy starts looking for choices and we decide to start with The Legend of Tarzan. Tarzan bookcoverI’ve read the book, but Tracy has not, so I know it will be a good listen. This helps pass the time and keep us together on the bridge, so today’s trip is very pleasant.

When we reach the Cape May Inlet, we call Ustch’s Marina and they give us all the information necessary to safely navigate into their marina and where we will be docking, then send two guys to meet us on the dock to help us tie up for the night. They put us right at the fuel dock so in the morning, we’ll be able to fuel up right before leaving. When I get the power cords for hooking up the 50 amp service, I see that our 50 amp splitter is gone from the end of the two 30 amp cords! Neither of us can find it, and finally, we decide that it either fell in the water at Atlantic City, or we left it on the dock. Neither of these scenarios are at all believable, but nevertheless, we do not have our splitter on board, so it’s definitely somewhere else but here. So instead of hooking our two 30 amp cords into a 50 amp circuit, we hook up each of the 30 amp cords to a respective 30 amp circuit and power up the electrical circuits aboard. This marina is also the first since we left Chester Marina that still has its water service on, so we’ll hook up to the city water for now and also replenish our water tank in the morning.

IMG_20171124_190924There are lots of fishing vessels here and at other local marinas and we realize that fishing season is still in full swing around here and it’s probably one of the reasons that full services are still available in this area. Fishing business dictates the market here. In fact we overhear one boat crew prepping to head out at midnight and stay out for 18 hours! That’s a fishing trip.

Tracy can’t resist doing some shopping in the Marina Bait and Tackle shop while I get the boat all heated up inside and cleaned up from today’s trip. Patriotic tvWhile in the tackle shop, she remembers that we still need more dog food for Frankie, so she gets directions to a local WaWa Store and we take a nice stroll to get Frankie’s food. He could use the walk as he’s been mostly confined to the boat for the last couple of days. We get back to the boat around 5 pm so we rest, relax, start prepping for dinner and a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s trip to Greenwich Boat Works on the Cohansey River off the north side of the Delaware River.

Nov. 23, 2017 – The North Atlantic Ocean

Nick and TracyHappy Thanksgiving from Nick, Tracy and Frankie aboard the Kailani! It’s 8:15 am, the lines are rigged for departure, power cords are tucked away on board, its 38 degrees outside, sun is beating on the helm and we’re ready to shove off for our run to Atlantic City today, Thursday, November 23, 2017. To make Atlantic City in one day, we have to cover 83 nautical miles of open ocean, specifically, the North Atlantic Ocean. This has been the single reason for our weeklong delay at Great Kills Yacht Club, we had to wait for an acceptable marine forecast in order to shove off and we have to be prepared for burning lots of fuel as we run the engines up to 2,000 rpm’s and cruise at 17 knots in order to get to Atlantic City before sunset. If our plan was to cruise at our normal 9 knots, it would take over nine hours and there isn’t enough daylight this time of year for that, so we’ll just have to watch the fuel gages go down for a while!

The Great Kills Harbor and Lower New York Harbor are both relatively calm and as soon as we are out of the Great Kills Harbor, we accelerate Kailani up to 17 knots and work our way out of Lower New York Harbor and around Sandy Hook to turn south and run off the New Jersey coast. After passing Manasquan Inlet and Toms River, we’re rapidly approaching Barnegat Bay Inlet and our chartplotter shows that our ETA in Atlantic City will be 1:15 PM. So after running for 2 hours and 45 minutes at 17 knots, we decide to conserve some fuel and return Kailini to her normal cruising speed of 9 knots. This means that instead of arriving at 1:15 pm, we’ll arrive at 3:15 pm or so and that still leaves us a margin of safety for daylight. The better reason for slowing is that up to Barnegat Bay, our fuel tanks have gone from three quarters full to three eighths full and from there, the fuel gages don’t move any more for the last four hours! We burned approximately 112 gallons in the first 2 hours and 45 minutes at 17 knots and burned 15 gallons in the last 4 hours and 30 minutes at 9 knots. Twice the speed for more than seven times the fuel consumption. Not a very economical way to run, but today it was definitely necessary.

For the entire week we were in Staten Island watching the weather, we kept saying we needed to be very sure of a decent weather window to run outside on the New Jersey coast.   As we passed Sandy Hook and turned south, all the references on maps and our chartplotter said we were now in the ‘North Atlantic Ocean’. And here we were thinking all we had to do was run 80 miles down the New Jersey coast! And just to remind us of where we actually were, we spotted two bottle-nosed dolphins and one whale. The dolphins ran close to our starboard side while the whale first presented himself about 400 yards dead ahead of us with three blasts of his blow hole, then he broke the surface. That was a sight!

There ware many vessels out today, mostly before noontime and mostly straight out from the various inlets. We figured that these were all men who had agreed to take care of buying the Thanksgiving turkey and forgotten so they were all out here with us trying to get fish on the table for today’s dinner!

Today also showed us a new anomaly that we’ll have to be very careful of in the future. Even at 1.5 miles off shore, there are numerous shallow water shoals and as I was following my Navionics blue line for today’s trip, it was taking me directly into waves breaking out in the ocean directly in line with our course! Navionics will plot courses for us based on Kailani’s draft and typically avoids depths less than 15 feet in the ocean, but today, the blue line had us headed straight for an area of 11 to 12 feet of water due to the low tide, and the waves were breaking hard! This was right after we crossed the Barnegat Bay Inlet and I had to divert hard to port to avoid this shallow water area and waves. We did get caught by one of those waves and a few items fell off the dashboard at the helm. Tracy always wanted a monocular, well now she has two, as her set of binoculars broke apart at the hinge joint!

All in all, with the fuel burn, shallow water mishap, and fairly cold day, it was still a nice run and after 7 hours and 15 minutes on the water, we were safely tied up at Senator Farley State Marina, Golden Nugget Casino. Since today is Thanksgiving, there are not any staff at the marina, but Tracy had spoken with the marina manager on Wednesday and he said to just dock wherever we wanted and he’d check in with us on Friday. So we turned in on the finger dock behind the fuel dock and tied up. Farley has 630 slips all on floating docks and there are still quite a few boats in the water here. Tomorrow we’ll be in great position to fuel up and get pumped out prior to our departure.

So Kailani is tied up, 50-amp service is feeding the circuits, heat is on and Frankie will be warm as we change into decent clothes and walk up the dock for a Thanksgiving dinner at the Golden Nugget Buffet. Atlantic city buffet signWe have so much to be thankful for on this first big holiday away from family and friends and an opportunity for a nice meal prepared by the Golden Nugget is just one more for the list.

Tomorrow looks like smooth seas also, so we plan to head down to Cape May so we can complete our ‘North Atlantic Ocean’ segment of this trip.

Nov. 16 to 23, 2017 – Great Kills Yacht Club

It’s Thursday, November 16th, 2017 and we’re tied up at Great Kills Yacht Club. John Calascibetta provided us with information and resources to get anywhere in the City with the MTA system, so we plan a trip to the Cloisters in the Bronx. Our transit plan is to walk six minutes to the X1 bus on Fieldway and Hylan, then get off in lower Manhattan at Chambers where we can get the A train right up to 190th Street, then a ten minute walk to the Cloisters.

Nick at the CloistersOnce there, we plan to take the scheduled one hour fifteen minute guided tour that starts at three pm. Then we reverse the transit plan and get back to Kailani in time for supper.

The Cloisters is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it’s dedicated to medieval art and architecture, which is very interesting to both Tracy and I. So we’re really looking forward to this trip. The CloistersJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. had the Cloisters constructed in the mid 1930’s partially from new at-the-time stonework that combines with medieval stonework that had been dismantled, numbered and shipped to the jobsite for re-construction in exact order. So effectively, the structure becomes a medieval exhibit in itself. This is ingenious and extremely well done to be able to see actual stones and statues cut and shaped by hand from the medieval ages seamlessly incorporated into modern stone construction. The last thing Rockefeller did prior to completion of the Cloisters was to purchase seven hundred acres of New Jersey land directly across the Hudson River and dedicate that land to open space, so there couldn’t possibly be any high rises or other visible structures when looking out from the grounds of the Museum.  (Nick raved about the stonework but the carvings were exquisite.  Here are a few examples.  The last one is a rosary BEAD, that opens and is carved inside and out.  -tc)cloisters3

cloisters2cloisters open rosary beadSo to say we had an enjoyable day is an understatement as we were extremely pleased with this trip.

Getting around in New York City is a challenge unto itself, however smartphones and available apps have taken most of the unknowns out of the transit process. Just like directions in Google maps, there are apps where you enter your starting point, your destination and when you are available to depart and the app will map out for you the trains/buses/ferries, etc along with walking directions to recommended stations. IMG_20171116_171046301Tracy also found an app that provides real time data on when a bus/train is approaching. This is the kind of information smartphones are meant to provide! That’s the good news, the bad news is that for this trip to the Cloisters, we basically stepped off Kailani at twelve o’clock noontime, spent the hour and fifteen minutes at the Cloisters, and got back to Kailani at six thirty pm! Six and a half hours for a one plus hour visit. It takes a different person than me to get used to doing this everyday!

Getting back to Kailani was all good as Tracy went into the galley and came out with delicious penne ala vodka with sausage and garlic bread. A nice hot cup of tea topped it off and we slept well that night.

We decided to stay on board Kailani for Friday doing some chores that we had on our list(s). Tracy did some sanding and staining of the salon woodwork and I replaced the wall sconces in the master stateroom. We had purchased the replacement fixtures prior to our departure, so this was a nice opportunity to get some boxes that had been taking up space off the boat. The staining and electrical both came out to our liking and we were pleased that we spent this time on board. IMG_20171119_212810657_HDRAlso, today, Tracy found a way to buy discounted theater tickets, so we made plans to go on Saturday back into the City to see ‘Latin History for Morons’ with Johm Leguizamo at Studio 54 on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday is another day for travel into the City, but now, we are a bit more mentally prepared for the transit ordeal. The Studio 54 is on W 54th St so our commute shouldn’t be as long, but we will want to get into the city early enough to pick up the tickets and get a bite to eat before the two pm show, so our plan today is to depart around ten am. While we are walking through the yard of the yacht club a gentlemen approaches us and introduces himself. He tells us that he heard that we were AGLCA members cruising the loop and tells us of his loop journey in 2015 where he and his wife took there three children ages two, eight and ten and took off for a year on the loop. He was so impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of loopers along the way, he just had to pay it forward and offered us unconditional use of his Mustang Cobra for the entire time we are docked here at GKYC! This place is just overflowing with great people. Harbor Host John also let us know that the club was having their Thanksgiving Dinner Party later on this evening and we were more than welcome to join the members for a huge turkey dinner. Tracy told him of our tickets to the theater and let him know we would try to catch the last part of the dinner upon our return. So off we went to meet our X1 bus into the City. This trip would be mush easier because there were no transfers. The X1 bus would take us right to 6th and W 52nd St where we would have a short walk to 8th and W 54th ST. And if we weren’t lucky enough already, as we headed north up 6th Ave, the bus was diverted at 42nd St over to 8th due to a Greek street festival on 6th Ave that blocked all traffic north of 50th St. So we were let off at 8th and W 52nd St basically two short blocks from the theater. It was just noontime, so we went directly to the theater and picked up the tickets, then walked back to a diner we had passed for a scrumptious, freshly made $20 lunch. IMG_20171118_130241791_HDRAfter our lunch we still had some time, so we walked up to the southern edge of Central Park and walked around Columbus Circle and into the Park. didn't do nuffin.jpgAs we were dodging street merchants trying to get us to sign up for bicycle tours of the Park, we spotted four of New York’s Finest standing at the USS Maine Monument and they graciously agreed to pose with Tracy. Then we had to start heading back towards the theater.  (But I din’ do nuffin’ officer!  -tc)

Today’s show, ‘Latin History for Morons’ is a two-hour, one-man show written and performed by John Leguizamo. In it, he tells the real life story of explaining the rich history of the Latin Culture to his eighth grade son. He does this in extremely humorous fashion that only John can pull off and we thoroughly enjoy ourselves. If we only knew what the MTA had in store for us we wouldn’t be so relaxed as we walked out at the end!

We only had to walk one block east to 7th Ave and one block south to W 53rd St but we ended up missing the 4:04 pm pickup by only two minutes. It was drizzling out when we exited the theater, but no worries because there were buses every fifteen minutes, or so we thought! As the X1 riders started to pile-up at this stop, we didn’t see an X1 bus come by for at least 45 minutes. When we first got to the stop, there was another couple that had been in the same show and waiting for the same bus, so we started talking with them and the wife had an app that said the next bus was 9 minutes away. Nine minutes later it was 4 minutes away, then 8 minutes away, then 2 minutes away, then 6 minutes away. That bus never came.   But finally, we got an X1 bus around 5 pm and we were off to Staten Island. What we didn’t know at first was that the southbound side of the Hugh Carey Tunnel (formerly the Battery Park Tunnel) was closed and there was only one lane north and one lane south in the northbound tunnel. So by losing an hour with the bus wait, coupled with the traffic snarls created by the closed tube of the tunnel, we thought there would be no way to catch up with the hospitality offered by the Great Kills Yacht Club members and their Thanksgiving Dinner. And it turned out to be right, by the time we walked back to the yacht club, there were only a few stragglers remaining in the banquet hall and all the food and desserts were gone. But Harbor Host John and his wife Juliet were still there and I got to spend an hour or so with them while Tracy walked straight back to Kailani to attend to Frankie who had been left alone on the boat today.

Tomorrow, Sunday, still doesn’t look favorable for a departure, so I let John know we’d still be around for a few more days and he said that if we needed more water in our tanks to just go ahead and hook up the hoses and get whatever we needed. I said my goodnights and thank-you and walked back down the dock to Kailani. Overnight and into Sunday morning we should be getting some rain and very heavy winds.

Sunday comes and we’re watching the weather closely, and it looks like it’s possible to safely head south by Wednesday. So for the next couple of days, we’ll do some chores on board, like cleaning, organizing, etc. and continue to watch the marine weather. We also start reaching out to resources farther south. I make contact with Lance Chambeau and Foster Schucker. Lance is the Harbor Host for Toms River, NJ and Foster is the Harbor Host for Chesapeake City. Both respond to us with feedback on strategies, marinas, etc. Also, Tracy calls the Barnegat Bay BoatUS service provider and he gives her some tips on bailouts into the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway in case we need to use that option.

As it turns out there end up being small craft warnings each day thru Wednesday so we look for a Thanksgiving departure to head for Atlantic City.

IMG_20171121_143223440_HDRStaying here this long gives Tracy’s friend Diane Dowling a chance to come visit us on her day off, so on Tuesday, Diane comes down to the Great Kills for the day and we have a great day with her. IMG_20171121_164604117_HDRShe brings us some Italian cookies which we all enjoy with coffee after our late lunch. Diane falls in love with Kailani and Frankie.  We make plans for her to come back again when we’re in a warmer climate and she can enjoy an extended stay cruising with us.

Wednesday’s data for the marine forecast looks like we’ll be able to plan a Thursday morning departure for Atlantic City, so we enjoy our last day in Staten Island riding back into the city to catch one more broadway show. IMG_20171122_170219This time we get tickets for Miss Saigon at The Broadway Theater and again, the production is spectacular. Also in attendance at this matinee performance is actor Richard Kind, sitting second row center.   Actors enjoy watching other actors also! While we’re waiting for the show to begin, Tracy takes the opportunity to confirm our arrangements for Farley State Marina on Thursday afternoon and also calls Greenwich Boat Works where we plan to be by Saturday afternoon.

Traffic in the city is especially heavy today as the city prepares for tomorrow’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and everyone else prepares for getting away the day before a holiday. We make it back to Kailani by 7:00 pm and Frankie is waiting by the window for us. Tracy makes a nice macaroni dinner and we plan for an early bedtime so we can start bright and early tomorrow morning.

The members of Great Kills Yacht Club that we’ve met this past week are some of the best boaters we’ve run into. Their hospitality and friendliness have been over the top and we can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done to make us feel at home here. Even to the point where just after the show this afternoon while waiting for the X7 bus, I got a call from Gold Looper John Scarcella who said that he was at the yacht club earlier today and noticed that we were still docked. So if we were still here tomorrow (Thanksgiving), there was no way he was going to let us spend the holiday alone on Kailani and he was insisting that we spend the day at his house with his family. Great Kills Yacht Club LayoverWe now have something very special to be grateful for and that is the Great Kills Yacht Club and its members!

Nov. 15, 2017 – Our First Harbor Host

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 starts with cool temperatures, but clear skies, so the bridge will be considerably warmer for this trip than yesterday. Our re-verified reports still call for northeast winds at 8-10 knots and seas at 2-3 feet with 5-6 second periods, so we shove off at 10:10 am for the short 31 nautical mile trip to Great Kills Yacht Club in Staten Island. Tracy has kept in contact with John Caliscibetta for three weeks now as we’ve planned this stop for a while. John is an America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association Harbor Host and a Gold Looper. AGLCA Harbor Hosts are volunteers to the association who devote their time, hospitality, experience and knowledge to passing AGLCA Loopers.  These are members who volunteer to assist Loopers when they enter the Harbor Hosts’ home waters. (Most will recommend services, share local knowledge and navigational tips, and often provide transportation for re-provisioning.- tc)  John is our first contact with a Harbor Host and so far he’s been extremely helpful even though we’ve only met on the phone.

Today’s run will take us past some of the most densely populated scenery and some of the busiest waters even for mid-November in the northeast. So even though we have a short run, we want to get going and budget extra time for any event that might delay us. We will be running the entire East River passing such icons as Riker’s Island, LaGuardia International Airport, the United Nations Building, all of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Hell Gate.At a distance but obvious

Hell Gate is a tidal convergence from Long Island Sound, Harlem River and the upper bay of New York Harbor.  (All at different tide levels!  -tc)   The goal is to pass Hell Gate at slack tide for the smoothest ride. We had a little bit of planning luxury, but we wanted to get going nonetheless. So we experienced a bit of eddy action, but nothing Kailani couldn’t handle.Approaching NYC

Coming out of the east side of Roosevelt Island we could see the United Nations Building immediately to our starboard side and the entire of Manhattan Island opened up to our close-up view. This is truly a spectacular sight from the water. Also, the southern tip of Roosevelt Island was the green light for the crisscrossing maneuvers of the New York Transit Ferries and the ensuing wakes resulting from those maneuvers. This would be the heaviest seas we’ve encountered to date and they’re not even from mother nature! John had clued us in that when we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge we should turn to port and keep Governor’s Island to our starboard. This would save a few miles and keep us out of the main channel for a while longer, thus avoiding the parking lot of barges anchored in the channel waiting for entry into their respective ports. Tracy did some research and found that the Smothers Brothers were born on Governor’s Island. (Mom always liked you best!  -tc)

As we came out the south side of Governor’s we had an extremely gigantic Maersk liner bearing down on us from our starboard stern as we maneuvered into the main channel. I wasn’t completely confident that we should cut in front of this floating iceberg that was only two miles off our stern, but with careful lookout and Tracy prodding me that we were totally safe, (I sorta, kinda, not really called him a chicken but “prodding” is a better word.  -tc)  I got into the main channel ahead of the container ship and made way for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and Staten Island. Tracy was completely correct, we had plenty of water between us and Maersk. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened and the amazing thing is that the Engineers had to take into account the curvature of the earth at that distance and the two supporting towers are actually farther apart at the top than at the base!

Once we were safely under the bridge we turned to starboard to follow the coast of Staten Island down to Great Kills. Tracy had been in constant contact with John Caliscibetta throughout today’s trip notifying him when we left City Island to texting him when we passed under the bridge. John had told us that he was handling another one of his volunteer duties today and counseling seniors on medicare options and choices and he would be tied up until 2:00 or 2:30 pm. Since we had left City Island right at high tide, we had gotten a four knot push all the way down the East River, so we were motoring at 9 knots but moving over ground at 13 knots. This put us entering Great Kills Harbor around 1:00 pm and John would not be able to meet us on the dock, but gave us specific directions for how to navigate the harbor and where to tie up. His advice was spot on and at 1:15 we were tied up, electrically connected and waiting for John to show up when he became available. Tracy had told him that if there was any way to get water into our holding tank that would be appreciated, since our dirty dishes were building up and Tracy could not use her vac-u-flush without water in the holding tank.  (Actually, I threatened to come to his house to do both. -tc)

When John showed up and met us, he immediately went to work stringing out about 300 feet of hose to get from their water supply, down the entire run of docks and onto Kailani so we could get about one hundred gallons of freshwater into our holding tank. Now we can do the dishes and use the second head on board! After John acclimated us to the club, and the expectations for us, he offered to take us to the local Frank & Sal’s Italian Market to replenish our cupboards.  00AB28B1-DA2D-40B0-8673-D6453B79D75C(What a delight!  So many thing fresh and homemade.  Sauces, and pestos, and sausages, oh my!  However, the most amazing thing was the vanilla coffee cake.  Anyone how knows me well, knows I will butter anything.  THIS cake did not need butter.  In fact, butter would have ruined it.  We went to this market twice and the second time bought two cakes.  -tc)  Tracy asked about access to the bus into the city and John offered to meet us later tonight in the clubhouse and he’d provide us his pass and route maps so we could explore the city at our leisure.

As we look at the marine forecasts looking for a decent window to make the 81 nautical mile trip to Atlantic City it seems that we may be here for potentially a week waiting for fair seas. At least we won’t be held up by smoke!!  (My chance to edu-ma-cate Nick on the finer points of life in NYC. -tc)

Nov. 14, 2017 – Lets Try This Again

It’s now exactly one week since we started moving south and we’re only one day from our homeport!  (We are definitely the tortoise and not the hare.  -tc)  At this rate, by the time we make it south, it’ll be warm again up here in the north. But today is a good day to sail, so we get up and prepare Kailani for leaving the docks of Milford Landing and heading to our planned destination at City Island, New York. Marine forecast says winds, seas and visibility are acceptable but before leaving we need to stop in to see Ray at the marina office and thank him for his total hospitality during our stay. As we’re walking back down the ramp to slip #15, it starts to drizzle and visibility is reduced a bit, so we turn on the navigation lights and at 9:20 am we shove off. Once we’re back into the Sound and we turn west around Charles Island, the visibility is about 2 plus miles until it clears in Norwalk and the seas are a bit choppier than forecasted, but we move on. Cold Day on Long Island SoundToday offers zero greenhouse benefits on the bridge and Tracy has difficulty keeping herself and Frankie warm.

Boat traffic is a few fishing vessels and some commercial barges which all are 2-3 miles away from our path, until we turn the bend after Hempstead Bay where we meet two oncoming Bouchard barges. Both passes are non-eventful and shortly after, we’re rounding the southern tip of Hart Island and headed into Minneford Marina for the night. Again, the marina has power, but no water and choice of slip is completely ours. We dock at 2:20 pm exactly 5 hours from departure and we’ve added 42 more nautical miles onto our trip. We dock on an outside finger within the main entry canal of the marina and there’s a dockhand painting steel pylons right next to us that helps us tie up. He’s on a six foot step ladder and repainting about eight vertical feet on each pylon. It’s low tide and in the morning, we’ll find out that all the new paint is underwater as they have a nine foot tide here! Thank you to whoever invented floating docks.

By the way, once we’re hooked up with shore power, our new inverter/charger is working completely as designed, loads are as expected and we’ve now gone a few days without smoke. (Everyone sing halleluiah!  -tc)

In the evening, we check the marine forecast(s) and decide that tomorrow will be another good day for travel to our next destination, Great Kills Yacht Club in Staten Island.

 

Nov. 7, 2017 – We Begin our Southward Migration

9E741D43-8F79-42F2-AB77-81E8DD7B4963Tuesday is the day. On Monday evening, we both agree that Tuesday’s forecast is good to sail, with northeast winds at 5-10 knots and seas of 2-3 feet with acceptable periods. So Tuesday morning at 9:30 am we leave our wall at Chester Marina for the winter. Tyler and Jesse are there to see us off and we’re on our way. The Connecticut River is calm today and boat traffic is negligible (a cool Tuesday in November!) save for a couple of fishing boats as we get closer to the mouth.

Tracy has set up a slip for us at Milford Landing. She talked with Ray and he said there was power, but water was turned off already. However, we could pull up to his pumpout dock and pump our tanks and we certainly needed that! So even Long Island Sound was relatively calm with shallow rolling waves, and the winds just providing a slight nudge from the stern as we were nearly matching the speed. Everything was ordinary with no hidden surprises or experiences. Even for a cooler day, the flybridge was a nice greenhouse on this partly sunny day. IMG_20171124_101530496_HDRTracy took the helm as we entered the harbor and guided us close to our marina. Ray had said he would not be at the marina, but just tie up at any available dock and the pumpout was between slips 15 & 16. Milford Landing has floating dock on the west shore and they also manage a series of floating docks, which are moored in the channel predominantly used by sailboats in season. As we approached, all the floating docks were vacant, however we entered on the port side of the floaters and the channel was actually on the starboard side. So Tracy gave the helm back to Nick and she called Ray again for some better detail on the location of the marina. Soon, we were tied up secure at slip #15 right next to the pumpout. The docks were very well built and Tracy handled the lines completely from onboard as she secured two lines temporarily onto two deck cleats. With no wind or current, Kailani just sat right there while we completed securing the lines and adjusting the fenders to our liking. By 3:00 pm Kailani was settled in for the night and the available daylight remaining gave us plenty of time for pumpout.

Somehow it evolved (I am very appreciative in this regard!) that Tracy handles the pumpout process. (The Queen of Poop!  -tc)   So I handed Tracy the pumpout hose while I went to hook up the shore power.

Here’s where our new adventure started! The shore power offered two 30 amp plugs and did not offer a single 50 amp plug, so I removed our 30 amp to 50 amp yolk and plugged our two 30 amp cords into the tower and turned power on to the circuit breakers. I proceeded onto the boat, checked the panel for incoming power and turned on the necessary circuits. Since it was a bit cool, I turned on the Salon heater along with the circulating pump while Tracy was still outside handling the pumpout. Soon afterwards, the circulating pump stopped (remember that this is the third new pump we have installed since July) and I failed to diagnose properly that is was actually the circuit breaker on the shore tower that tripped. I just thought that we were in for another replacement. So I tried to be calm and just rig up two space heaters we have on board. Bad mistake since each space heater draws 9 amps and all the electrical outlets run through the inverter, I  (We) had just overloaded the inverter I immediately found out that there’s a whole new way for me to generate smoke in the engine room!!!  (So much smoke billowing out.  This was my third run for the fire extinguisher.  Luckily no flame again, but very unsettling and frustrating.  We had made it a whole 25 miles!  -tc)

We ended up turning off all AC current to the boat and most of the DC current on the boat. We had a refrigerator full of food stocked on Monday for the trip, so we switched the refrigerator to DC source and also made sure all four bilge pumps were powered and then we packed up some clothes and Frankie, called Uber and checked into the Red Roof Inn of Milford for the cold night.

First thing Wednesday morning, I got on the phone and called Connecticut Diesel and Marine. Paul Walker told me he had a technician who he was just sending out to another job, but that he would divert and have the tech come to us within 15-30 minutes. Also, he was scheduled to check out a boat job near where we were docked, so he would stop by also and help diagnose the issue.

Time for a new InverterI had already sent him some pictures of the positive cable roasted right where it comes out of the inverter and what I thought he would need for parts to complete the cable replacement. He and Pete showed up as scheduled and worked professionally to get the roasted cable replaced. Everything was going as planned until the new cable was completed, power was restored, and we could not get the inverter to power up! This seemingly simple fix was turning into a fiscal nightmare and threatening to cancel our migratory plan. Paul gave me some options including two marinas locally that might have space for us at this late date for haulout and winter storage, allowing Paul the entire winter to complete the necessary repairs. We were really starting to think that this whole boating thing was not meant for us. Paul and Pete left us to think about our options and we agreed to let him know which way we would go after doing some soul searching. One thing was certain, in spite of their extreme convenience, we were getting tired of having to call Uber every time we had to get from the Red Roof Inn to the marina or vice versa. So we decided to get our friend Kim to come down, pick us up, and drive us to Chester Marina to pick up our car that we had left there. On Friday, Kim met us at the Red Roof Inn, took us over to the boat where we took some additional clothes and other items off the boat, emptied the fresh water holding tank to prevent freezing issues, inspected to dock lines, and headed back to Simsbury for the weekend to make some important decisions.

In spite of a rental cottage on the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina looking very appealing, and with mild confidence that if we repaired Kailani and continued on now, weather would start to be an issue, we made a firm decision to replace the inverter now and continue on our journey. (In all honesty, we just about gave up.  We made a “firm” decision after two days of back and forth about whether to south go by car or try to fix this now and go by boat.  We looked at rentals in the south and they were very doable, but when it came down to it, I guess we are too stubborn to not keep trying.  -tc)  So we called Paul to let him know that we would meet him on the boat first thing Monday morning and the inverter would get replaced. Everything went smoothly on Monday and we were now ready to get back on the water, but we had to get driven to Milford from Simsbury so we didn’t end up leaving our car in Milford for the winter. Tracy reached out to one of our best friends Mike Uccello and he graciously agreed to drive us back down to the boat Monday evening so we could return to our migration.