We don't usually do any Christmas presents, but this year a couple of new hatches found their way under the tree. Well, not actually under the tree, they're bigger than our mini tree. We have been living with the original hatches, dark, crazed, really hard for me to open. Did I mention dark? To open one, I had to stand with one foot on the settee and one foot on the edge of the table, not easy when it's rough. These we can just push up and open! And we can see through! And they don't leak! And they open from the outside, too! We always say, it's the little things in life that are important.
M&M's is a bar/restaurant a block away. They have a great Tues night steak special and then from 7 to 9 it's Music Night in the back bar. On Music night they take turns making CD's and hosting the evening. It's a very rowdy version of Name That Tune and this group is really good. A couple of them can hear the first part of the first note and shout out the song and artist. Last night's host was a Brit named Steve, who sang in a top 10 group, in England, in the 60's. All the songs were, at one time , hits in England, in the 60's. You can guess how well we scored. It was great fun anyway, a good meal and a good way to get to know our neighbors.
The theater, first built in 1945 has been restored to host local civic and cultural events as well as the performing home of the Oriental Repertory Company. The max capacity sign says 170…but that would have to be standing room only. With seats all the way to the rear being just 10-12 paces from the performers it is an intimate venue for the small group, in this case the Gregg Gelb Jazz Quartet.
The music was excellent. Pianist Steve Anderson displayed superb talent from the soft chord progressions supporting the group to fantastic solo improvisation. Gregg Gelb, quartet lead, is masterful on both tenor sax and the clarinet. It is the clarinet however, where true jazz soul came through as he shaped the tone and pitch to match the mood and interplay of the quartet. Gregg’s son Chris Gelb on drums was very impressive as he picked up key riffs and drove every transition forward in a style somewhat like what Buddy Rich did for the big band, but tailored perfectly to the quartet. He is an artist I expect to hear more of down the road. Paul Ingbretsen rounded out the quartet on bass moving so easily through progressions it belied the difficulty and technique required putting down the quartet foundation. Excellent night of Jazz…who’d of thought it would come right to our rail here in Oriental?
We had the rental car for most of the week and did a lot of provisioning. I've had a little bit of panic, as if we're going to be snowed in here all winter and I had to have 4 months worth of food on hand. The beautiful sunny days this week are helping me to relax.
We also did some sight seeing, going back to Seymour-Johnson AFB, our first assignment 25 (!) years ago. Our daughter, Hannah, was born there. It's changed too much for me to recognize. The house we lived in is now a field. We also spent a day in Morehead City and took a walk on the beach. We rode on the car ferry, very odd to be sitting in the car on a boat.
The picture above is the Oriental Marina, where we're staying. We're in the bottom row, just about in the middle. The shrimp docks are on the top right. The boats come and go at all times, day and night. We made a stop at the shrimp store (below) today and got fixings for a shrimp and flounder chowder. This is a great town for walking and we've been walking a lot, no sidewalks but not really any traffic, either.
We love road trips and had a good time taking the side and back roads across the country. Steve had never been to West Virginia, so we did a lot of meandering through the hollers. Beautiful country, the leaves are still changing color there.
We had a chance to stop at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. Steve had been there years ago and always wanted to go back. It's a wonderful place and rivals the Smithsonian's Air and Space in DC. So much history, we could have spent 2 days there. The photo is from a nose of a B-29 and seemed appropriate, since we've been trying to decide if we should stay here in Oriental for the winter or go south for the winter.
We didn't actually flip a coin, but finally did decide to stay put. We really like it here and the marina is nice and the people are nice... lots of good reasons. We may have to buy another space heater, though.
Steve's Dad is doing well for now, his appetite seems to be getting better. He starts radiation today on some of the tumors in the bones in his back, a way to maybe get the pain under more control. Thanks to everyone for your concern and thoughts.
Our Daughter, Amanda and Steve cleaning shrimp in the milk house.
N 36 deg 50.743
W 76 deg 17.929
Our morning coffee is getting later and later as Fall progresses. Now instead of getting up very early to beat the heat, one of us usually stays in bed until the coffee is brewed and the sun is starting to warm things up. The nights have been getting into the 50's, wonderful sleeping weather. The water temp is warmer than the air, so the mornings are lovely and misty. Steve is freezing his little tush, so it's finally time to leave our nice anchorage and trundle south.
We left Weems Creek in Annapolis this morning and did the "Trifecta" on our way out of town. According to Bob and Kitty, this is where you fill with diesel, fill the water tank and empty the holding tank. We also filled the dingy gas cans and have clean laundry! For a day or so, we are ahead of the game. We put down anchor in the Rhodes River where we'll spend the week at the SSCA Gam. It'll be great to watch the other boats come in and see who we recognize. A lot of people we've just heard in the radio, so nice to put a face with the voice.
Last weekend, my friend Kathy came from Alexandria, VA. She was our first overnight guest since we left Florida. Kathy and I worked together, once upon a time. We broke out the Captain, the good stuff, the Private Stock, and proceeded to catch up. As you can see, the Captain and I got along very well. It was great to see you again, Kathy, come back any time!
Joe’s approach was all encompassing in earning, spending, and saving for the good life. His concept was that all things earned were done so by trading “life units”, not an hourly wage or salary. His position for calculating earnings is that we must also include all the intangible costs or life units invested, like the time and frustration of the commute, the social events, the special clothes required for success and stature, the right neighborhood, car, social clubs, missed ball games, where we had to be while trading our units, etc. He emphasized that if we truly want to succeed and be happy we must decide first what is most important to us, then how many life units we are willing to trade for it, where we want to be and what we’d prefer to be doing while trading away (forever) those units. As I retired from the USAF out of the Pentagon, there were many opportunities in the Virginia and Washington DC area. Many would have been challenging positions and a continuation of the path, education, and experience I’d received during 24+ Air Force years. We thought hard, but not for long. We chose to go sailing instead. Yes, retiring early means we will have less “stuff”.
We sat at an anchorage at Still Pond on the northern Chesapeake last weekend waiting for Tropical Storm/Hurricane Danny to choose a path. We knew we’d see some wind so found a protected place we like, buried a couple large anchors with lots of chain, and waited. The storm fizzled, the weekend rolled into Monday and the anchorage cleared out as people returned to their investment of “life units”. The water at Still Pond is clean and fresh…so fresh the watermaker turns a mere 210 psi before clean fresh water is filling the tank. We swam every day. As I crouched on the back deck agitating a tub of laundry by hand I contemplated the life units I was trading and the return on that investment. Last laundry we did was around $11 and not without some of our time involved, so roughly my return would be around $5/hr. Yup, I‘d earn a lot more than that in DC, or on some consulting circuit. On the other hand this was a workday Monday and we were the only boat in the anchorage. Probably would be tomorrow too…and we’d still be here. In the end, I’d be earning a lot more pretty much so we could come out here and enjoy this on a few weekends a year. I looked at the large tree 300 meters to my side and watched Bald Eagles spread their wings while leaving then returning to their perch. I thought about the dozen plus deer we watched grazing on the slope to our other side the evening prior. I considered the last time we purchased fuel, two months ago, and the hours of run time still in the tank. Cool weather, sun shining, wind generator gently whirring overhead, I went back to agitating the tub. The return might just be a lot more than the $5/hr. Joe had it right, still does.
We got back into the Chesapeake this week. Great weather now, much cooler and MUCH less humidity. I can actually wear a piece of clothing twice! We will stay in this part of the Bay for most of the month. We have a Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam from the 25-27th, just south of here. A 'gam' is what the old sailors used to call the flurry of talking and trading that took place when boats met out on the ocean. So we'll get together with a bunch of other sailors for a few days and do a lot of gamming. There is also a pretty good flea market on the last day, a chance to find some treasures.
This is a nice city to be in, a grocery and laundromat, two essentials, within walking distance. If only there were a newspaper delivery boy coming by in his dinghy in the morning, it would be perfect.
So as you can see, Steve put his time to good use. I, on the other hand, read The Improbable Voyage, by Tristan Jones and spent a lot of time petting Adjima.
We're back aboard tonight after another day of touring around New York. We've spent hours walking through Central Park and have barely seen a third of it. I can't think of a better place to be on a summer Sunday afternoon. There were people of every size, color and nationality. And they were everywhere. We sat on a big rock and watched the softball games, listened to some really good jazz, walked the Ramble and got a little lost. It was wonderful.
We sat for a long time on the middle of Times Square, eating ice cream. There were thousands and thousands of people there, all taking pictures and shopping, eating.
It's an incredible place to just sit and watch. I met the Naked Cowboy! He was playing his guitar and singing, having his picture taken with all of us tourists. He was very interested when I said we came in by sailboat. As he leaned in for the photo, he said huskily, "Does that mean you know Bob Bennett? I didn't think I had any competition out there but now I've seen his blog photo, I'm a little worried".
N 40 deg 24.989
W 74 deg 01.393
The plan: leave yesterday with southerlies rolling to westerlies and head up the coast toward Sandy Hook then off straight to Block Island if the weather held. Dinghy up, sail covers off, Mr Mac called since it would be a two night off shore and well, someone should know where we're expected to show. Last minute weather check showed 25+ knots predicted south of Long Island right about when we'd be passing through. Why do that?
So leaving today: South-westerlies predicted are blowing right at 10 knots, beautiful sailing weather but...they're blowing out of 355 degrees. (NOAA still repeating southwest over the radio) Could we sail that? Maybe but again, OK anchorage here and no schedule so why do that?
Leaving tomorrow: I confess, I haven't yet bothered to look at the forecast for tomorrow ...
38 deg 56.964 N
74 deg 53.279 W
Cape May is a really pretty beach town, old Victorian houses all over, quite a few of them for sale, if you're looking. Most of them are huge, which makes them easier to see through all the tourists. Yes, we're on the South Jersey Shore, in August. The streets are packed with people, in cars, who don't really want to spend any time outside in the heat and humidity, they just want to look. They try to run us over as we hike around and they drive madly from one place to another. I want to yell "What's the matter with you? Are you not comfortable enough, sitting there in your air conditoning, eating and drinking?". And then I remember that 84 days ago, I was them. And I think "Oh, those poor people."
We have a leak in a seawater pump seal, and are waiting for one to be sent from St Petersburg, of all places, so will be spending a few more days touring around.
We just finished our third month of full time cruising! Actually 83 days, since we didn't leave on the 1st of May. I like to keep track of a lot of stuff, I'm kind of compulsive that way. So I have what I consider to be some interesting stats. Steve said "You're killing me here". Of our 83 nights out, we spent 47 at anchor, 10 on mooring balls, 14 at docks that charge a fee, 5 at free docks and 7 underway. We've spent $1286.35 on groceries (a $15.35 daily average or $7.67/per person/per day), $507.83 on liquor (or $6.11 per day or $5.99 for Steve and .12 for me per day), and $451.19 for fuel (or $5.43 per day) fuel includes gas and diesel and the propane for the BBQ and stove. As you can see, we eat and drink well.
And to poke a few more pins in the Steve doll, we've seen 21 cities in 6 states, spent $42 dollars doing laundry. We also have eaten out 20 times, for a total of $581.70 or an average of $29 per meal, including drinks. That's only $14.50 per person. If anyone has any questions on any other useless trivia, jus let me know. I have other lists.
We also made it to the weekly SSCA breakfast where we had a chance to meet some other cruisers. A BIG THANK YOU to Al and Marianne for their help in getting our propane tank filled.
This photo is just for Hannah. We saw Les Miserables on Broadway for my 40th birthday and have been singing the songs ever since.
Indicative of our late trust in the weather/wind forecasts of the Chesapeake, we went to bed last night expecting the forecast to change. We left the dinghy in the water and the rest of Celebration pretty unprepared for sailing out with the easterlies forecast. Getting up this morning to find easterlies, we hoisted the dink and the anchor, preparing the rest as we motored out of Solomons sipping the first coffee. Turned into an excellent morning sail up the bay, 5 1/2 knots against a 9/10ths knot current. Like all things, it couldn't last and the last few hours turned into a gentle motor-sail as the breeze laid down, then turned slightly enough from the north to make a straight sail untenable. At that point the current was well with us so an idle of Nanni was all it took to pick up a mooring before 1730 and sit back to evening cocktails.
N 38 deg 58.424 min
W 76 deg 28.833 min
Next was a dingy visit from Frank and Joanne, S/V Fantasy Island, SSCA members who on noticing our SSCA burgee stopped by to say hi. For us new-bees it was a welcome visit. They provided a couple tips and local knowledge from their experience cruising that have proven very helpful in our short stay here. Tomorrow, we'll hit the Tiki Bar, one of our all time favorite people watching spots. Then if the weather actually develops into something sailable, we'll head north toward Annapolis. Meanwhile we are enjoying the festivities of the Screwpile Lighthouse Regatta as we relax.
N 38 deg 20.309 min
W 76 deg 27.578 min
N 36 deg 57.311
W 76 deg 18.610