Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Home on Thursday

We left Norfolk on Saturday night (originally planned for Sunday morning) after a day where the temperature was in the 100s. Figured it would be cooler at night and no thunderstorms were predicted. Went out the Bridge/Tunnel into the Atlantic and up the Delmarva coast in a very light breeze. By the time we got near Cobb Island there was a string of thunderstorms from Cobb Island to Smith Point in the Chesapeake. We watched the lightning but it never got to us. We got into Cape May about 6 PM the next day only to find 18 other boats in the small anchorage at the Coast Guard station. By the time we got up the next morning, most of them had left and by that evening we were the only ones there. Two days later, while waiting for crew, we went to the South Jersey Marina, way into the end of Cape May. Very protected from the front scheduled to come by but at $3.00 a foot (was $2 last Sept). DR joined us and we had a fabulous dinner at the Lobster House.
9:00 AM on Wed morning we left, after a real breakfast at a pancake house. Light winds so we motor sailed up the NJ coast and arrived at Keyport at 4:45 AM only to find that the pennant was not on our mooring. We grabbed someone else's and zonked for a few hours. By the afternoon, our mooring had been fixed and Harmony is now home.
Sleeping in our own bed is a treat even though it feels like it is rocking. We even put on the air conditioner...what a concept!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

FW: We're on the water!

> After 3 weeks and one day up on stilts ... the yard crew calls it 'on the hill' ... we were haulled back into the water at about 3 PM yesterday (Friday). All the systems seem to be working so we have refrigeration again. This morning I'll go grocery shopping then return our rental car. When I get back to the boat I'll do some cooking ahead so we can heat up a few things quickly while underway.
It is lovely to be rocking gently again. There are swallows nesting under the dock near us, entertaining us with their chatter. I think a dolphin slipped by early this morning but I didn't get a good look, just saw the bubbles after the gentle splashes. Sunrise was serene on the silky water. No boatyard noises! Ahhhhh, Harmony once again.
Tomorrow we are hoping to get off this dock about 5 AM and head outside to Ocean City MD, on DE Bay. It will be a long day sail and should be a good anchorage for the night. Then we'll go outside again and get to Cape May on Monday. New Jersey! What a concept! Our friend DR will meet us there sometime on Tuesday and probably Wednesday we'll take off for Keyport. It is 27 hours from Cape May home and the weather looks like it is going to cooperate - even if it is hot.
Judy, you could turn on the refrigerator in the condo on Thursday. Thank you!
With all that has gone wrong this trip I'm hesitant to say we will be home soon - but it seems we will be. I can't wait! I've told Lew I don't want to even talk about another trip for at least 6 weeks. He's not sure he can keep still that long. But there is so much to be done at the condo that trying to plan another boat trip is totally overwhelming for me.
We hope you all are doing fine.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Life on the hard

Josh working on the hole in the keel

By the time we get Harmony back in the water we will have been living 20 feet above the ground for at least three weeks. The fiberglass work is coming along beautifully. Josh is a magician and the port keel will be stronger than ever. We have installed a thru-hull GPS fish finder ahead of the port keel so we will be able to see the depth under that pontoon. One of the reasons we’ve run aground in the past is because the depth finder is on the starboard side, aft. That isn’t much help with a 21’ beam in narrow channels.
The plus of being “stuck” in mid air is that there is plenty of time to get the chores done. Lew has been varnishing like crazy. I have cleaned and polished the isinglass. In spite of the dust from the yard and the sawdust from sanding the bright work, Harmony is beginning to sparkle beautifully.
Inside, I’m in the process of cleaning out every closet and drawer in the whole boat as well as cleaning every surface from top to bottom. If we were home, I am sure I would not dedicate 6 - 8 hours a day to spring cleaning the boat. So, however reluctantly, we are getting our floating home in ship shape again. We’re even getting the Dismal Swamp souvenirs, tannic acid stains, off the white hulls. If we ever do the Swamp again it will be in a brown boat.
The boatyard is a memorable experience in itself. Imagine a whole fleet of garbage trucks starting at 6:30 AM - and staying on your block. The enormous lift-cranes begin moving boats in and out of the water, power hoses blast away for bottom cleaning, and painting, drilling, sanding and grinding all begin during or before morning coffee. Because this is a marina that can handle large boats, there have been boats hauled in on flat-bed 18 wheelers from the west coast and every where in between. Norfolk is a good place to begin the summer sailing migration up to New England and Nova Scotia, beginning with a leisurely trip up the Chesapeake, so some people have their yachts trucked overland to start.
Harmony is on the corner of two gravel “streets” that are double- and triple-deep in boats of every size. From our cockpit we see a tug, numerous sailing yachts, a “pirate” ship, a commercial cruiser and, in the yard next door, a whole fleet of Navy ships. Last week three Zodiacs or similar Navy boats were brought by trucks, smaller trailers and all. A day after we arrived a submarine was hauled up. Today a Coastguard, Tow Boat US and some Army inflatables arrived. All we need are the Marines.

We are supported by stanchions and climb a portable staircase to get inside. We are so high up that both Lew and I have been in the cockpit when a duck flew by at eye level! We could step off our boat onto the top of the truck cabs. The lifting crane passes by within a couple of feet a few times a day as we watch some yacht gently swinging in its sling. It really isn’t what you expect to see out your window. As the gentleman in Maine comments, this is neither a leisurely “vacation” nor “retirement” but it certainly is an adventure! The best part of an adventure is to have lived through it and enjoy the stories you can tell. Maybe it is keeping us young.