Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Celebrating the New Year

The celebration of the new year came a day early for us. Rick and Lynnie Tierney caught up with us in Titusville yesterday and we celebrated the new year aboard their boat last night complete with silly hats and champagne. We didn't ever get to the champagne due to a surplus of martinis, so they're saving the bottle of champagne for mimosas when we meet up again. We dined on quarter pound hot dogs they got from Stewart's market in St. Augustine which lived up to their reputation as being scrumptious. We missed Rick and Lynnie - it was fun to get nutty with them again.

Today we traveled almost to Vero Beach and are docked at Jones Fruit Dock from which the 89 year old owner used to sell fruit. In fact he and his wife delivered two grapefruit to us when he came to collect the $20 for the night. We had a lovely conversation with him - we can only hope to be as engaging as he at 89. The Jones' have been selling fruit on this farm for generations. Mr Jones tells us that he has sold fruit to the Queen of England and to many US Presidents. He has had Walter Croncite (sp?), an avid sailor, on his dock and other celebrities. He even had the presidential yacht "Sequoia", a very old Trumpy here. This is a lovely place and perfect for bike riding too. Our dock was surrounded by palm trees full bloom with coconuts. Next time we'll arrive early and go touring.

Tomorrow's run is to Stuart where we'll dock near friends Steve and Di Koch. Steve will help Norm install the watermaker and other fun maintenance items and Vicki has a bunch of projects planned. Stay tuned for the blow-by-blow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spaced Out

Kennedy Space Center is spectacular! We rented a car in Titusville and went for the day. There’s a ton to do there – it’s one of the best attractions we’ve experienced.

Astronaut Winston Smith gave a presentation about going into space. He went on the Space Shuttle and Apollo. Interesting tidbits… each crew of six designs its own patch and selects its own shirt to wear. Winston’s space shuttle crew selected the second ugliest shirt in the Land’s End catalog because the first ugliest was sold out. You can see him here trying to get Vicki in his clutches. By the way, that suit weighs 350 lbs. (On most computers, you should be able to click on the photo for an enlargement. If not, call your handy IS geek.)
The Space Shuttle Launch Experience is a new simulation at the park. They’ve done a good job making it seem authentic. After belting into your seat, the seat tips back to simulate the starting position for astronauts which is on their back with feet in the air. Take-off involves a lot of noise, shaking and bouncing around, and the seat-back simulating g-forces. The ride gets a little smoother when the rocket boosters detach, and then when the big fuel tank jettisons, they are able to simulate the feeling of floating in space. Way cool!

We saw…
*The launch pads for the shuttle. The pic on the right is launch pad 39A where the shuttles take off from. Launch pad 39B is being prepared for the new replacement shuttles, which we were not able to get information on.
*The shuttle processing building where the shuttle is prepared for its next flight in 90 days. The mammoth shuttle assembly building (see on the left) where the rocket boosters and the fuel tank are attached and then the shuttle attached to those – they have cranes which can move horizontally 1/52nd of an inch for positioning. This building is so huge that there are 6 feet between the stars on the American flag painted on the building and the stripes are 8 feet across.

*The crawler which takes the whole assembly to the launch pad - it travels max 1 mile per hour and gets 42 feet per gallon of fuel. That's almost as good as Tide Hiker.
*The processing facility for the international space station where everything that goes to the space station gets tested to make sure it will work once it arrives.
It was all maximum cool and our grandsons Jake and Evan will love this when they are old enough.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where's the Drama?

It may seem that since we left Annapolis for the winter part of our journey, there has been much less drama than in earlier chapters. That is true, thankfully. Less drama, however, does not equate to NO drama. There have been a few near misses ….

We almost plowed into a 20-foot iron ocean buoy earlier in the trip. The boat was headed straight for it and the person driving the boat (who shall remain nameless to preserve marital harmony) was not paying attention to business. After veering away from the buoy, we discovered that we were headed out to the ocean when we wanted to stay in the Intracoastal Waterway – we were lost for a few minutes until figuring out our bearings.

The dinghy went in the water yesterday without the plug in the bottom. Norm noticed right away and rescued it before much water got in. Whew!

Tidehiker touched bottom twice while checking out potential anchorages. That always freaks out Vicki who pictures us stranded there. Norm got us into deeper waters each time.

Please keep saying those prayers to keep us safe! We need them.

OK-OK-OK - this is really wierd. Yesterday as I was writing a draft of this blog, the generator shut down unexpectedly. So far, Norm has not been able to re-start it. He's trying some things this morning and we're hoping for the best. I guess I spoke too soon about having less drama!

And.... not 5 minutes after publishing this blog, Norm successfully started the generator. Whew! We like our electricity and really didn't need another maintenance bill. Thanks to Steve Koch, Jim Roberts and Rick Tierney for their consulting advice on the problem. As Vicki's Dad said, Norm is a great problem-solver... and having wise friends helps a lot.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not so fast about the heat!

We were going to the beach on Christmas Day no matter what! But our plans to enjoy grilled burgers, etc was overshadowed by damp, chilly weather. We went anyway, we just didn't picnic there. We grilled back at the boat. Here's Vicki in her cold weather bathing suit. And, Mike, Norm and Fran securing the adult beverages so sand crabs don't abscond with them. But, the colder temperatures kept the beer cold and the wine chilled. So, after an hour--when the mixed nuts were gone--we headed back to the boat for burgers and to play with our new Christmas toys.

We left St Augustine on Friday, the day after our "sunny beach Christmas day" and continued our journey south--still in search of warmer climes. Our first stop was in the Matanzas River where we anchored in front of an old Spanish Fort. Very pleasant stop.

The temps have improved since then. We're in the 80's, wearing shorts and t-shirts again and enjoying sunny days. Saturday was the Memorial Bridge anchorage in Daytona, yesterday and today we're anchored at Titusville north of the bridge. Today we will tour Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space complex. This will be a first for Vicki. Norm did it in 2002 while completing the Great Circle Route. (For readers who do not know what that is, it is a 6000 mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of the U.S.) Anyway, Norm is looking forward to the space port again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

St Augustine Christmas with the Kumbiers!

Its Christmas morning in St Augustine. We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas.
We’ve been busy having fun the last couple of days with friends Fran and Mike Kumbier here in St. Augustine. Tuesday, our arrival day from an overnight anchorage in the Tolomato River, they toted us in their jeep to do some provisioning at a super Wal-Mart and then we dined at O’Steens. It’s just up the block from the marina and famous for fried shrimp. The shrimp and also the scallops were delectable and lived up to their reputation. Just beyond O’Steens is Stewart’s Market where Vicki stocked up on wonderful local produce at good prices. Yesterday we hopped on the bikes for some touring - good stops at Flagler College (previously the Flagler Hotel) and the Fort Castillo de San Marcos. Geezer Norm was able to get us all in free on his National Parks Senior Pass.
We then had a scrumptious Christmas Eve dinner at the Rain Tree restaurant—another highly recommended spot. Both the Beef Wellington (one of their specialties) and Ahi Tuna were to die for. We don’t usually eat out so much, but this being our Christmas stop we decided to “indulge”.

As you can see, Tide Hiker was decorated for Christmas. We packed a few things aboard… The tree is very festive. The stockings were hung with care on the back door. Rick and Lynnie gave us the coolest lava lamp snow man that plugs into the computer. Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without mistletoe which Norm cleverly hung by wedging a toothpick into the light fixture and hanging the mistletoe from the toothpick. This morning we exchanged our $10 gifts. Vicki got her back massager and a subscription to download music from Apple’s I-Tunes. And, Norm got the red and green crabs he’s been wanting forever. Let us explain: These crabs are for the pilothouse and as the red and green buoys change from left to right or vice versa, we change the crabs. This way we stay reminded as to which side of the waterway we should be in. It’s actually very important and a fun way to get it done. Oh, Oh, this guy didn't have red and green crabs.

Today, the four of us will be headed to the beach for a picnic of grilled burgers, baked beans, salad and homemade apple pie with cheddar cheese on top; and of course……….cold beer ! (No, not sun-baked beans, chiln’s). Norm washed the boat this morning so of course the rain clouds are approaching. On radar it looks like it’s a small cell that will pass—hopefully. Else, we will just have to have the picnic on the boat. We're definitely not skipping the pie!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fernandino Beach, and warmer weather!!

Saturday’s voyage was three hours from an anchorage in the Brickhill River south of Jekyll Island GA to Fernandina Beach FL. See Main street left and an interesting shot of the robust foliage growing up this huge tree at a private mansion. We got a mooring ball two nights and will head toward St. Augustine today, anchoring at Pine Island tonight and then on to St. Augustine tomorrow where we’ll stay for Christmas. It's been very cold and windy so we have been "horsing" around on the mooring line quite a bit. We found a great breakfast cafe in Fernandino Beach called Bright Mornings and would recommend it to anyone coming this way. Fernandino Beach is also home to the oldest tavern in Florida--The Palace.

Here are some priceless photos from Fernandina Beach.... A VW Bus for daughter Chris and husband Joel to covet. ...and Norm, the Chrismas Dandy!

A few days ago we were lamenting the fact that friends are all around us, a few cruising days or a week away, but none will be in St. Augustine. Rick and Lynnie plan to be in Fernandino Beach for Christmas, the Gypsies and Steve and Di are in Stuart where we’ll be to celebrate the New Year, Joe Nekola parked his boat in Georgetown SC and rented a car to visit family for Christmas, Robin and Jim parked their boat at Palm Coast and got a car to visit family. Then, out of the blue, we get a call from Fran and Mike who are neighbors on dock B in Delaware. They’ve been tooling around Florida in their land yacht (aka motorhome). They are now in New Smyrna Beach which is a short ride away from St. Augustine and will head to St. Augustine to spend Christmas with us. What a blessing!

We spent some time with Glen and Jill Moore yesterday. They are DeFever cruisers who reside in St. Augustine. We had called them to get recommendations of what to do in St. A and see if we could connect while there. They’ll be gone while we’re there, but were headed up the coast in their DeFever, so we got to spend some time together in Fernandina Beach. Of course, they know everything about this area and gave us lots of tips on anchorages, shoaling in the Intracoastal Waterway, Restaurants, etc. They are also experienced Bahamas cruisers and shared some tips. The one Vicki is most likely to remember is..... don’t swim after 4:00 PM because that’s when the sharks come out --- to FEED!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Power to the People

Electricity is a beautiful thing. You’ll recall that Tide Hiker’s electrical system was upgraded in Annapolis. Since then we’ve enjoyed plenty of juice. The boat is now fully charged after a day of cruising so there’s no need to run the generator after cruising. There’s plenty of electricity to last until the next day. We used to have to run the generator every night which (a.) uses fuel which costs money, (b.) creates stinky diesel fumes which like to waft into the boat or wherever you’re sitting outside, (c.) creates peace-shattering noise (d.) and makes anchoring neighbors cranky because of b and c -- no wonder sailboats call us “stinkpots”.

There’s so much electricity that we are now able to run the coffee maker, the dishwasher, and the crock pot while underway. Crockpot cooking is perfect for a boat – no need to turn on the generator to use the stovetop or oven. The meal cooks all day and is ready when we get to the anchorage. I bought a new low-amp crock pot, so on a short run when the meal needs to cook longer after anchoring, it can do so on the battery. When we’re in hot weather, it will be nice to have a cooked meal without heating up the house.

Today’s voyage is three hours from an anchorage in the Brickhill River south of Jekyll Island GA to Fernandina Beach FL. We’ll get a mooring ball there and head to St. Augustine for Christmas. Sadly, friends are all around us, a few cruising days or a week away, but none will be in St. Augustine. Rick and Lynnie plan to be in Fernandino Beach for Christmas, the Gypsies and Steve and Di are in Stuart where we’ll be to celebrate the New Year, Joe Nekola parked his boat in Georgetown SC and rented a car to visit family for Christmas, Robin and Jim parked their boat at Palm Coast and got a car to visit family. We’ll miss them and see them soon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Protection in the Georgia Marshes

We were in Thunderbolt GA for two days, just 7 miles south of Savannah. Stayed at Hinkley’s Yacht Service, walked to the bus stop and took the bus into Savannah for a day. Did the River Walk which is where the cotton brokers did business in the 1800s. Would have liked to learn more of the history of the place, but the museum was closed for remodeling. The best part about Savannah is their squares. The town was laid out with 22 squares, two blocks apart. Many have a fountain or statue in the center, benches, and lovely homes surrounding them. We walked at least half of them and read the story of each in the tourist booklet.

The highlight of the trip to Thunderbolt was a visit by friends Wally and Karen. Wally and Norm have been friends since working together at Miller Brewing. They ran five marathons together and Karen and Vicki tagged along to the cool locations (NYC, Boston, DC). Wally and Karen were on their way from home in Ormond Beach FL to Milwaukee for a Christmas visit with the kids. They left on their trip a day early just to stop and visit us! They are very good friends, indeed. Wally confessed that he gets all the news from our blog through neighbor Pete who reads it regularly and gives Wally the highlights. According to Wally, Pete says it’s better than any reality show! We’ve never met Pete, but plan to call him when we’re near Ormond Beach.

For the past two nights we’ve anchored in the marshes of Georgia between Savannah and Brunswick – Kilkenny Creek and Frederica River. The anchorages in Georgia are typically tidal rivers running through marshland. Did you know that the tidal highs and lows are about six hours apart and move a bit later each day? I have to say that I (Vicki) didn’t know squat about tides until the start of this trip. Tides in Georgia are as serious as they are in Maine. Nine foot tides here between Savannah and Brunswick.

Tides affect the amount of rode (chain) put out when anchoring. It’s calculated using the depth of the water plus the distance from the water to the bow. Norm usually uses a scope of 5 times that measurement (more if stormy weather). Nine feet of tide adds a lot to the amount of chain put out. If the weather is stormy or windy enough that the chain will fully stretch out, we need to be sure that there is sufficient swing room. There wasn’t quite enough room one night near Charleston and we ended up starting the engine at o’dark-hundred to winch in some of the chain so as not to swing into the island behind us.

The Georgia rivers run through acres and acres of marsh with a single type and uniform height marsh grass. Not a lot of scenic variety and little protection from wind or storms. “Protection” would be trees or hills --of which there are few – just miles and miles of Marsh grass. Fortunately we haven’t needed protection because the weather has been very ‘settled’ --- that’s marine-speak for low wind, wave and no storms. The only reason we might need protection is that these remote anchorages seem quite Deliverance-esque. We’ve been the only boat anchored in the last three anchorages . Whenever the occasional boat goes by, I keep an ear open to make sure it keeps on moving! Norm mentioned yesterday that he needs to get to work on buying that stainless steel shotgun – yeah, Georgia’s outback will make you think of things like that.

The peacefulness of these places is incredible. Thebeauty last night was spectacular - the sunset was red, red, red. And the stars were so bright – they were reflecting in the water. God created quite a special place for us - the Earth is amazing. His is the real protection we need on this journey.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

When Will It Get Warm?

Our most humble apologies for being absent from the blog for a while. We have been very busy with continuing our cruising south, anchoring, and visiting some historic places. We are currently anchored in a small creek off the Intracoastal Waterway near Hilton Head, SC. It was rated very well by several cruise guides but we have found that the depths are not “as advertised”. Took us a bit to find a safe spot. Anyway, we seem to be ok now.

We spent the last two nights in Beaufort, SC. On our way there, we had to traverse some "skinny cuts" on the Intracoastal Waterway. A cut is a man-made ditch that connects rivers, creeks, etc. Here is a pic of some unlucky sailor who aimed the pointy end on the wrong side of the channel. See what we mean about the depths on this waterway?

Beaufort is a charming small town with a nice marina and staff (only one in this town). There were good restaurants and the weather cooperated, although a bit windy. Come to think of it, it’s been windy for a week. Rick and Lynnie, aboard Rickshaw, stayed behind there to rest up and to complete some on-board chores they have wanted to get done for some time. So, Vicki and I are alone again on our journey south. Here we are just after lunch at one of the local restaurants. Nap time?

We spent the previous two nights in an anchorage just south of Charleston, SC. The weather was not good. So, we did not get the dinghy down. In fact, we were in a very narrow creek and when we spun around as the tidal currents and strong winds (up to 40 knots) changed, we almost found our stern in a patch of sea grass. Storms were present or threatening for the two days. We were glad to be out of there. Rick captured these pictures of a rainbow. It was a perfect arch, but the whole thing is not visible on the camera.

Prior to Charleston, we spent one night in a marina in Ocean Isle, NC because the temps were dropping to 27 degrees. When it gets that cold, we like to be hooked up to dock electricity for running the heaters all night.

Tomorrow we’ll make a short run to Thunderbolt, GA. Thunderbolt is a small town on the Intracoastal Waterway about 7 miles south of Savannah, GA. There we’ll meet with our good friends Wally and Karen Juzenas who will stop to visit while on their family holiday migration North to Milwaukee. We'll also take the bus into Savannah for some sightseeing.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Southward Bound

We're back on the water, headed south. Left Beaufort NC yeserday. Tide Hiker is feeling sassy with a newly painted bottom. Anchored last night at Mile Hammock Bay which is part of the Camp LaJeune military base. Two Osprey (combo airplane and helicopter) flew right over us yesterday - we felt like a target. Four manned and armed military boats came charging upriver toward us at a high speed - again, it was easy to feel like a target. They were scary which is how they should be. If I had been an enemy combatant, I'd be cleaning my pants.

It was a balmy 43 degrees at anchor last night, so the newly purchased electric blanket didn't get a work out. Sunday it will be 27 degrees - we'll see if the blanket is needed then.

We stayed at Tierney's house through Sunday and then on their boat Monday and Tuesday. They were fabulous hosts. And we loved being able to go for a run or walk whenever we wanted, drive to stores, and easily get a Sunday paper. Here's Vicki, Norm and Lynnie. And, Norm after the "turkey enzyme" kicked in.

Being on land like we were at the Tierney's is like a vacation for us. We realized that it's a relief to get away from the day to day responsibilities of the boat. There is a level stress associated with taking your home from here to there on the water - not usually DIStress, and lower than the stress we used to have in our lives -- but it's still a vacation to have NO stress. Sounds odd, doesn't it? Most people vacation by getting ON a boat - we vacation by getting OFF the boat.

We're buddy boating south with Rick and Lynnie aboard Rickshaw. It's been a while since they've been on the water, so we're the lead boat. We had good role models following Jim and Robin aboard Adventures--- we'll try to do them proud.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey and Dancing with the Tierneys

Today’s voyage is a short one from Oriental NC to Bock Marine near Beaufort NC. Tide Hiker will be hauled there to have her bottom painted. Because the boatyard is closed over the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend, the work will not be completed until sometime early next week. This gives us a great excuse to visit Rick and Lynnie at their home in Cary NC near Raleigh. Their boat is near the boatyard where Tide Hiker will stay. Rick is on his boat now getting ready to go cruising south with us. Later today Rick will pick us up (by car) and we’ll drive to Cary. It’ll be fun to be landlubbers again for a while.

We could have traveled to the boat yard yesterday, but they don’t have cable TV hook up, so there was no guarantee that Vicki could watch the finals of “Dancing with the Stars”. Definitely ‘must-see TV’ for Vicki. She called several marinas in Oriental before finding one that had cable hook-up. We paid a quarter more per foot to stay there. Was it worth it? Oh, yes! Last week, we were at Washburn’s boat yard in Annapolis on Monday – oh, no! they didn’t have cable hook-up. We used their courtesy truck to drive to the nearby Hilton Garden Inn and watched the dancing on the big screen TV in the lobby. Crisis averted! Tonight is the final dance of competition and the winner is announced, so we’re hoping that Rick and Lynnie get good reception!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ice on Deck

The prime rib and fried chicken were delicious as was the chocolate toffee cake. We're living high on the hog in North Carolina. Today is a 10-hour trip to Belhaven. Ice on the boat deck this morning. Norm said the eisenglas on the bridge was covered with frost. Brrrr!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prime Rib Tonight

We're headed toward Coinjock NC where the Coinjock Marina is famous for it's prime rib. Left at 6:30 this morning, now stopped for fuel in Portsmouth, planning to arrive Coinjock around dark. This will be Vicki's first experience with bridges - there are a bunch of them on this leg of the journey. Jim (we're buddy boating with Adventures again) tutored Vicki over cocktails last night in the art of timing bridges. We're planning to make the 11:00 opening of our first bridge and if we don't make it, we have to wait for the Noon opening which will delay our arrival until well after dark.

Hampton VA was a good place to be for two nights. We had good Thai and Chinese food the first night with Robin and Jim. Went to the Air and Space Museum yesterday. It's a wonderful museum with lots of hands-on exhibits and flying simulators. On a cold Friday afternoon there were about two other people there, so we got all the fun toys to ourselves.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the Dark

It's Thursday morning and we're on our way from Solomons MD to Norfolk VA. We left at 5:00 a.m. - it's now 6:00 a.m. - and it's dark outside. This is our first experience driving in the dark. Norm has to drive up top from the bridge because the instruments in the pilot house are so bright that they interfere with the ability to see outside - guess that's our next project! He also has to drive with the window panel down so that the instruments up there (which are dimmer) don't reflect from the window. Gotta keep a look out for crab pots. This would all be fine if we were in the balmy tropics, but it's 30-something chilly degrees. Had to dig out those winter gloves and hats. Luckily, the sun will be up in an hour and we'll be enjoying hot oatmeal and pumpkin bread in the pilot house. Can't wait!

It's 11-12 hours to Norfolk. If all goes well, we'll be pulling in before dark. Afterall, that's the point of leaving so early.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frost on the Boat Deck

It's time to head south! It was slippery on the boat deck this morning when we left Annapolis. You know it's cold when Captain Norm chooses to drive from the pilot house instead of the bridge.

We're heading to Solomons Island MD and will be there tomorrow for a minor repair and to wait out the 30kt winds forecast for tomorrow. Solomons Island is also the home of Vicki's favorite flavored coffee - Coconut. Good thing Norm made some extra storage room for those beans of fresh-roasted coconut coffee. Yummy!

Speaking of coffee, we just made a fresh pot of coffee while underway. We've never done that before because we were always conserving electricity. Now that the electrical repairs have turned us into a "Powerhouse", we're brewing whenever we want. Such freedom!

On Wednesday, it's off to Deltaville near the Potomac, then Norfolk. We're hoping to make Morehead City NC by Thanksgiving to have turkey with friends Rick and Lynnie.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weeeeeee're back, "my friends".

Dear Friends,
It has been a while since we posted on this blog, so open an adult beverage, sit down and get caught up. Since we last reported here, we have laughed, cried, worried, worked, rested and voted. There’s a lot to report, so, here's the cliff notes...............
Sadly, Vicki’s father passed away on October 25 after a long illness. Fortunately, we were able to spend some quality time with him and Avie, Vicki’s mom, two weeks before. Vicki is back in Tucson now helping her mom with all the arrangements and Norm is with Tide Hiker in Annapolis attending to some much needed, long overdue and previously-contracted electrical upgrades. Shortly, Norm will join Vicki and her family in Tucson for the memorial service on Nov 13. With all that has been happening, our long-awaited and desperately needed rest from retirement was extended. If all goes as scheduled, we will return to Tide Hiker on November 15 for the continuation of our journey to warmer climes. In the meantime, both of us completed our annual medical checkups and except for our weight gain, we got clean bills of health. Norm successfully installed the new water heater with some initial heavy lifting help from friends Jerry and Roger on Dock B. Thanks guys!! Vicki re-provisioned the galley and household items. The freezer, and every dry goods nook and cranny, and most importantly, the spirits locker is once again stocked with sustenance for 4-months. BTW, we would not have been able to do this easily were it not for our friends.
My brother Mike said, and I repeat, "If wealth were measured by family and friends, I am a rich man." So are we. We have been inundated with never-ending love, generosity, compassion, comarade and.................great food and spirits! Our friends loaned us a car for the month, helped us with maintenance; scared a transient boater out of a slip so we could return to Dock B and be close; stored some of our provisions while we were in Maine this summer; helped Norm bring Tide Hiker to Annapolis then returned the following weekend to make sure he was not lonely and was appropriately fed; hosted several lunches, dinners, parties for us; and, arranged secure and scenic dockage in Annapolis at significant savings. Also, friends on a DeFever like ours stopped by our marina and we, you guessed it, dinned with them a couple of times, including picking some crabs. We are blessed with so many great friends we have been confused for John and Cindy McCain. Yes, we breakfasted, lunched, suped and snacked our way back into their huge open hearts and enjoyed every last bite, ooops, I mean minute of it. Most importantly, we reconnected, got caught up and laughed, sometimes till it hurt. Thanks to each and every one of you for your love and generosity. And again, each one of you are invited to join us aboard Tide Hiker for a part of our cruise. You are very hard to leave again and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you soon.
What’s next? We will continue our journey to North Carolina and meet up with friends Rick and Lynnie aboard their DeFever and buddy boat south to the Keys; to the DeFever Rendezvous in Ft Myers; and, on to the Bahamas. More later, my friends.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Land Ho!

We'll be home (Delaware) this afternoon. Yea! We've missed everyone. We're looking forward to being Land Lubbers for a few weeks.

A new water heater has been ordered. The old one was corroded and leaking from the bottom. That means no hot water on the boat until the new one is installed sometime after we return from Tucson. Until then we'll shower at the marina, do laundry using the marina machines and (most aggravating) do dishes by hand, heating water in the microwave.

Fortunately for the Dock B neighbors, we were able to shower last night at the marina in Cape May.

Good news - Vicki's hair stylist, the wonderful Lorraine, will do Vicki's hair Sunday so that she won't frighten Mom and Dad on the trip to Tucson next week.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Calendar

We're in Atlantic City NJ - almost to Delaware. Two more cruise days. We'll arrive Saturday afternoon. Just checked the weather and there is a small craft advisory today due to wind (15 knots, gusting to 25), so we'll stay put rather than punish ourselves for the 6 hour trip to Cape May. Tomorrow and Saturday look like fabulous days on the water, so we'll take advantage of them. Unfortunately, this means that Vicki will have to cancel her Saturday haircut and color which she really wanted to get before going to Tucson to see Mom and Dad. We hop on the plane Monday and return Saturday, Oct 11. Then we're in Delaware through at Oct 22. Hoping to get to Annapolis at the end of that week to have Bob Smith beef up our electrical system (more power to the people).

Another DeFever (53 RPH) is cruising with us. Joe Nekolo aboard Sea Pearl dropped anchor next to us at Sandy Hook. We introduced ourselves on the radio and he dinghied over with Salty Dog, his very cute and laid-back puppy. We're buddy boating to Delaware and he's going on to Annapolis for an engagement and then on down to Florida, so we may be able to travel together again. Yesterday we......

.....News flash... Norm just emerged from the engine room saying that he thinks the hot water heater is shot. He heard the bilge pump working this morning and went to investigate a leak in the in the hot water heater. I'm not sure what the implications of this are other than we may be a little ripe when we arrive in Delaware!

Yesterday we strolled the boardwalk of Atlantic City and gave Donald Trump a wee bit of money. Joe cooked us a scrumptious feast of linguini and Long Island Sound clams in red sauce. He'll be here tonight for meatloaf. (Guess you can tell who's more the gourmet.) Today we're going to Harrah's to try to cover the maintenance expenses of this trip or at least the cost of a new water heater.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hi Ya, Kids, Hi Ya, Hi Ya...We're back...........

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail.......prevented us from enjoying our forced (ho-hum) stayover in the Big Apple. We took in a couple of broadway shows, we ate, we shopped, we relaxed. Wow, what a great vacation from retirement. The weather broke today and we cruised a short distance to Sandy Hook, NJ for refueling. Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, here, is known for their great fuel prices on the East Coast; so, we filled her up. We had not taken on fuel since Southwest Harbor in Maine on July 5 and our tanks were down about half.

We are currently anchored inside the municipal breakwater here in Sandy Hook. Soon after our arrival, another 49ft DeFever Pilot House arrive and anchored not too far away. Joe and Salty Dawg (a cute poodle) dinghyed over and we chatted a bit. We will try to "buddy boat" tomorrow to Atlantic City--a 12-hour run from here.

All is well!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vicki Goes A-Paddling!! / The Big APPLE

Vicki Goes A-Paddling!!

Vicki inaugurated her new kayak at Oyster Bay, NY. And Norm took a spin in it too. Vicki paddled over to town and picked up a Sunday New York Times so we could get up to date on the news and to prepare for "doin" the town. Oyster Bay is a must see anchorage just off the Northern shores of Long Island Sound (just as the last three have been). Again, it is a lovely, quiet harbor with plenty of room to anchor and good holding.

It was another great ride from Oyster Bay to NYC, although a bit overcast. We timed slack at Hell Gate just right after a 3-hour cruise from Oyster Bay. However, we did not expect the US Coast Guard escort as we passed the United Nations complex on the East River. Seems the president of Iran was there and the security was tight. I can't pronounce his name, but Vicki says that Oprah uses "I'm-A-Dinner-Jacket" and that sounds about right for us. Anyway, we were being closely watched by armed coastguardmen. That 50 cal. gun on the bow was a bit threathening. We survived the escort, though, and continued into NYC harbor amongst all the ferrys and work boats and on into our marina.

The view of Manhattan from Liberty Landing Marina is spectacular. We’re looking at the melt-down area – the financial district at the southern tip of Manhattan. I could probably see the Chase building from here if I knew how to identify it. The view is even more spectacular at night when the

skyscrapers light up. The boat on the left is a 142 yacht that takes up the entire outside facing dock. We've chatted with the crew a couple of times but have not seen the owners. The bow of that yacht appears to be taller than our flying bridge--perhaps 20 ft or so.

Tuesday's venture was over to Ellis Island and then broadway for dinner and a play. Ate at Becco’s which was recommended by friend Nancy and was fabulous – the food was excellent, but the big draw is a huge wine selection at $25 per bottle.

Wednesday, we hit broadway again for lunch and a matinee; then, we scurried home to meet a fellow DeFever owner living on his boat in this marina. Matt Bryne joined us for cocktails Tuesday evening. Matt had posted an email inviting other members of the DeFever Cruisers Association to stop by when cruising through NYC. He’s a lovely person and has been outstandingly helpful with restaurant recommendations (notably CafĂ© de Bruxelles) and tips and directions on how to get around NYC--most importantly, how to get back to the marina late at night. We had a great evening getting to know Matt.
We were scheduled to depart Liberty Landing Marina on Thursday (yesterday). Unfortunately, the seas along the Jersey Coast were 6-12 ft and are expected to be that way until Monday. So we negotiated a "weekly rate" with the marina and decided to wait out the weather here. On to manhattan for some shopping. We had lunch at Cafe de Bruxelles in Greenwich Village. Excellent for mussels, trout, and the best french fries (or do you say pommes frites?) in the city. We shopped at Century 21, the discount dept store near the World Trade Center site. It was packed with people at 2:00 Thursday afternoon –aren’t these people supposed to be working?
The storm came in last night – it will be rainy and windy all day, so today is a work day for us – cleaning and projects on the boat.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hotbed of Coopers

Friday we dinghied into Sag Harbor and caught the bus to Southampton to hobnob with the beautiful people. Southampton was a hotbed of Coopers in the 1600s-1700s! Vicki’s ancestor, John Cooper, who came from England was a founder of Southampton. Yes, this is the same John Cooper who started at Lynn Massachusetts where he was one of the town officials to sign the document that planted the town of Southampton,and he was among the first 20 people from Lynn to settle Southampton. We went to the historical museum and the researchers helped us find references to him in books. It was a pretty cool experience. We bought a couple of books to send to Vicki’s Dad who did the genealogy of the Cooper family which traced their roots back to John. In the picture above, Vicki is reading a deed transfer of land from John Cooper to someone I can't spell. Below are some shots of Vicki and some of the Cooper landmarks in Southampton, NY.

Yesterday (Saturday) was a perfect cruise from Sag Harbor along the northern coast of Long Island to Port Jefferson which is about half-way to New York City which is where we'll be tomorrow through Wednesday. Port Jefferson is a wonderful and picturesque harbor with loads of anchorage room in good sticky mud. And, it is well protected on all sides.

Today we treked westward about 30 miles across the northern shore of Long Island to Oyster Bay Harbor. Oyster Bay, is another great hideaway anchorage about 2 miles south of Long Island Sound through a tricky channel; but, worth the effort. We're anchored in about 15 ft of water, pretty much protected all around and have a good hold. It is such a nice day, Vicki is going to try out her new kayak. More on this later.

Tomorrow we will make the 35 mile run to NY Harbor (via the East River and ...........HELL GATE!!!!!!). Oooooooooooh! We'll get a slip at Liberty Landing Marina (just behind the statue of Liberty) because we are planning to "do" the town and there is good water transportation to Manhattan from there. Vicki went on line and got tickets to two broadway plays and a tour of Ellis Island where Norm will look up his ancestors who arrived in this country through there.

Friday, September 19, 2008

View from our friends........

This blog is being written by Rick and Lynnie Tierney who were so very lucky to be invited by Vicki and Norm on Tide Hiker for a 10 day cruise in Maine. What fun!

We met Norm and Vicki at the docks in Portland, Maine, and set off the next morning, heading NE for Casco Bay. The scenery along the coast is nothing short of spectacular, until of course the fog rolls in. Then the anxiety level bumps up a few notches, and while sounding fog signals underway at about 5 kts, four pairs of eyes alternately scanned the radar, chart plotter, lobster buoys, and fog bank for when the radar blips turned into real boats.

We certainly had fun learning about the lobster traps. We read somewhere that at any given time there are about three million lobster traps deployed in Maine, all with their colorful floats. At times it seemed that whatever harbor or anchorage we entered, at least two million of them were there with us; endless opportunities for wrapping one of the float lines around a prop. We found them plentiful in anywhere from 15’ to 350’ of water, and then learned that as the season progresses, the lobsters move to deeper water, and the watermen follow. After a couple of days worth of dodging lobster buoys Rick began to consider the logistical challenge of sorting out who “owned” what color pattern for the buoys.

It always seemed reasonably obvious that each lobsterman has their own unique color pattern, but how is it that they’re all unique? There must be a master government regulated lobster buoy color pattern clearing house for the State of Maine! How else could order be maintained? Well, it turns out those folks in Maine have been doing this for a lot longer than there have been governments. Rick asked a couple of the locals and discovered that there is indeed a clearing house of sorts for buoy color patterns. It seems to generally fall on the shoulders of the local harbor master for a given area. He makes sure the color patterns are unique for that area only, so duplicates are possible in other parts of the coast. It seems to all work OK somehow. For those who relish knowing how much markup there is on a pound of Maine lobster at your local Piggly Wiggly in Georgia, we were told that lobstermen currently get about $2.50/lb out of the trap. Put another way, at today’s fuel prices, a lobsterman has to haul about 2 pounds of lobster per gallon of fuel just to maintain his vessel and break even. But the traps usually looked pretty full when we saw them pulled up, so hopefully the lobster folk are doing OK. After all, we always depend on their product for our New Year’s Eve meal in North Carolina, where the local Food Lion sells Mr. Maine Lobster for $12.99/lb.

Every day was an adventure. We visited some fantastic channels, harbors and anchorages with names such as Five Islands, Booth Bay, Tennants Harbor, Fox Island Thoroughfare, Carver Cove, and Rockland. I know lots of folks recommend restaurants, and it’s hard to avoid the clichĂ© sometimes. However, if you’re ever in Rockland, and you want some really wonderful local fare, don’t miss Contes, located on the waterfront near the town docks. There you will have a most unusual dining experience, but get there before 7:00PM as that’s when the line forms. It’s hard to describe exactly, but we all agreed that great food was plentiful, and the ambience was very similar to eating inside a working lobster market, complete with restaurant supplies piled all around the paper covered tables.

We fondly remember visiting Mosquito Island; at least one of them, and took the dingy about 50 yards to its shore for a hike. There was even a summit to explore. Norm led the way, followed by Vicki, then Lynnie, with Rick, last taking pictures. We all had applied bug spray. However, it soon became apparent that whole-body environmental suits would not have sufficed. Shortly after Norm disappeared into the woods, he came running back down the hill, engulfed in a serious swarm of mosquitoes and black flies. We quickly launched the dingy and returned to Tidehiker to nurse the bites with wine. So much for island exploration in August. Later that evening, shortly before dusk, there were several people on the island, some wandering around, and others trying to harvest mussels on the low tide. So perhaps the bugs drop off as daylight wanes. We didn’t try again, however.

For Lynnie, there were some wonderful cooking classes with both Vicki and Norm. We laughingly remember how we did the Conga Line to Vicki’s music on the upper deck as Rick let the chicken burn on the grill. We put the table up out under the stars and watched the sunset. Magical. We hope to be invited aboard again to share some more wonderful meals!

Vicki also taught Lynnie a new card game called Blink. Lynnie still has no idea what the game is about since from the time the first card was played Vicki started laughing. Those of you who know and love Vicki know that she has an infectious laugh. Lynnie lost every game but would play it again tomorrow just to hear Vicki laugh. Rick was watching, and Lynnie was laughing harder than Vicki. Then of course, Norm and Rick followed suit.

We also learned about the value of Sippy-cups. We believe that every boat should have a few dozen on board. Everyone knows that at some time, when you least expect it, your adult beverage in a lovely wine glass may end up somewhere outside of said glass. Unfortunately, when it lands on a laptop keyboard, this can, in fact, kill a computer as did happen with the Tide Hiker PC. Fortunately, things are back to normal as concerns the PC, and we are all still friends. Amazing.

So, what do we miss MOST about cruising with Vicki and Norm in Maine? Hmmm, how about:
- we aren’t with Vicki and Norm
- we aren’t on Tide Hiker
- we aren’t in Maine.

We miss the natural exuberance of Vicki and Norm in the morning. Being retired guys, the Tierney’s don’t usually get up very early in the am. When we would emerge from the guest suite, there was always a smiling Norm, who was plotting out the day’s cruise, giving us a big ‘Good Morning’! Then a walk down to the galley for some much needed coffee and Vicki would add her own big ‘Good Morning’. Wow, what a wonderful way to wake up!! The rest of the day was an extension of those feelings.

We had a grand time. Thanks Friends!!

Talk Like a Pirate, Maties

Aye Maties! It's International 'Talk Like a Pirate' Day. Shiver me timbers!

Yesterday Scallawag Norm and his Wench put the bikes in the dinghy (a first - they fit just fine folded up) and biked the roads of Shelter Island (near Sag Harbor). It was gorgeous. We stopped for lunch in Derring Harbor at Dory's overlooking a pond - very picturesque. Also took a 6-mile hike at the Mashomack Nature Conservancy Preserve. We're anchored just off the preserve and got a view of the boat through the trees.

We've discovered that our preferred style of cruising is to select a destination to be at for a few days or more. It's more leisurely, we don't feel as rushed, and the dinghy doesn't have to go up and down as often which is a hassle for Norm. That's better than going to a new place everyday. We got tired and bored with arriving at a place in the afternoon, taking the dinghy down to go into town, walking around town for a while, going back to the boat and putting the dinghy up. There wasn't enough reward for the effort - the towns are lovely, but we're not big on shopping, we've seen enough museums for a while, we don't usually stop at a bar or restaurant because they're expensive and we're watching our wastelines. So we partake real home-made good-eatin on board. We love grilling and watching the sunset (not necessary together). We've seen several sunsets like this one lately.

Our next destination is New York City. We'll leave tomorrow (Saturday) and will be there Monday. In between, we won't feel compelled to dinghy in to each town which might make us want to walk the plank! We'll be back in Delaware in early October. The plan has us arriving around October 1. Doctor appointments have been made for the week of October 13. That allows ample time for weather or mechanical delays. We plan to leave Delaware October 18 or a few days later, going to the Annapolis area for electrical work, then Washburn's in Solomons Island Maryland for a few maintenance items, then on to North Carolina to buddy up with Rick and Lynnie aboard Rickshaw for the trek to Florida and the Bahamas.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Girl"noculars and "Boy"noculars

When we arrived in Jamestown at the Clark’s Boat Yard mooring in a driving rain, we thought we saw a yellowish lobster trap buoy about 30 ft from our boat. Then, it was gone. Where did it go? We reported the sighting to the owner and the harbormaster. We all arranged for a diver to come out to the boat and inspect. Yep, there it was on the bottom, but with no painter line. We must have cut it with our spurs on the shafts—designed for such events. Or, what we saw was already afloat and cruising by at that moment. Sam, the diver, ripped open the cage so no crustacean would get caught and starve to death. He also did an inspection of our hull and all was good (paint, no barnacles) with the exception of a shaft zinc anode that was loose. So, we had him replace it. (These zincs are placed on metal parts of the boat that are under water to protect those metal parts from electrolysis.)

We were in good company in Newport. This cruise liner was there and left the day before us. We are continually amazed at the size.

Yesterday, we cruised from Jamestown RI in Narragansett Bay to Montauk NY on the eastern tip of Long Island. We had a very nice cruise and due to the currents and winds, we averaged 7.1 knots using only 1500 RPM. We timed the notorious currents around the tip of Montauk well and arrived with little or none. We anchored in Montauk Lake in 12 ft of calm water. Needless to say, we got some good “ZZZZ’s” last night. We dingied to town and walked around among all the restaurants and shops. We spent most of our time there at Gossmans, a compound of restaurants and shops and a fresh fish market. Norm tried to make contact with a friend of our friend Roy Adler (from Annapolis), but could not get an answer on the VHF radio. Very unusual since this guy has a Sea Tow franchise up here. However, it is very “dead” up here now that the season is over. While the restaurants and resorts still seem to be open, we saw very little auto and people traffic. We had the whole town to ourselves.
We also got a tour of the Montauk Coast Guard Station – very cool – went on two boats - a small red one we see often on the water and one of the all-aluminum self-righting cutters The cutter is designed to right itself if by chance it rolls over. Occupants sit on seats that are mounted on air springs so they’re not jarred by the waves (hey- we could use that!) and they are strapped in like they’re in a fighter plane.Yesterday’s cruise was the first opportunity to use our new binoculars. They are fabulous – the automatic focus feature is ultra convenient. The ‘girl’noculars are now distinguished from the ‘boy’noculars by orange polka-dot ribbons attached to either side – very pretty.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Need Some Shut-eye

Saturday’s trip from Martha’s Vineyard to Narragansett Bay on the coast of Rhode Island was calm. Norm timed the currents and we were flying down Vineyard Sound at over 8 knots –whoohoo! The Sakonnet River forms the eastern part of Narragansett Bay. We tucked in behind Sachuest Point and anchored for the night. What looked on paper to be a great stop based on expected winds, turned out to be a mistake! The swells rolled around the point and prevented us from getting much sleep. It felt like the carnival fun-house where the floor shifts all around. We left early (6:30) Sunday morning because we just couldn’t take it anymore and to try to outrun incoming storms.

We cruised a few hours yesterday over to Jamestown RI across the Bay from Newport. It was an overcast day with seas around 2 ft. We cut a corner to make up time and ran into a “box canyon” of fishing nets suspended by barrels. So, we lost the time we had saved by circling back. The captain of the fishing vessel called to thank us for making the “U” turn. We arrived in Jamestown just in time for the storm and we moored in a blinding shower at Clarks Boat Yard. We took the ferry into Newport for the Newport Boat Show and had a great fish sandwich at the Brick Alley Tavern. Spent the afternoon at the boat show talking to vendors about some of the things we’ll be purchasing before crossing to the Caribbean (e.g. water maker, larger anchor). We also purchased a block and tackle for $100 less than West Marine was asking. It will be used with the Life Sling to hoist a person out of the water and (perhaps – we have to try this) to lower and raise the kayak from the boat deck.

The most exciting purchase was his and hers binoculars. Bushnell 7x50’s. They are too cool. You set each lens for your eye and never touch a setting again. The binoculars automatically focus on whatever you are pointing at. Amazing! What a convenience – no messing with dials to bring the object into focus. We had to each have our own pair because our eyes are so different (Vicki has monovision: one eye sees distance, one close up). Vic will be decorating hers to distinguish them apart…perhaps bicycle handlebar streamers and a bell?

Last night brought more sleep deprivation. The wind was gusting up to 35 knots at about 4:00 this morning. The boat was dancing around the mooring giving us a rolly/jerky ride… and the mooring line was making unsettling stretching sounds. All that kept us awake for a few hours. At one point Norm felt a “jerk” and wondered if we had dragged the mooring. He went out to check on the tie up and all looked secure so we just waited it out.

It’s a beautiful sunny morning. We’ll be here in Jamestown for another night because the winds are still strong. Perhaps a nap is in order.

Friday, September 12, 2008

On the Road Again

All is well. The inverter was successfully installed yesterday. This morning we cruised to Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard. Took the shuttle from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs and to Edgartown. (It was a grey day threatening rain so we decided to forego our original plans to bike.) Got a taste of each town. We've been thinking that the cute little towns are starting to look the same, but these three were really similar. The same coffee shop (Motts), ice cream shop (Mad Martha's) and many other shops were in triplicate on the island, one in each town.

Tomorrow we're heading over to Narragansett Bay... should be in Long Island Sound early next week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rx: Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies

Once again our cruise is stalled by a maintenance issue. Crap! The inverter has gone belly-up and our cruising is delayed until we can replace it. A new one will be here (in Falmouth Mass on south shore of Cape Cod) by noon tomorrow and should be installed by end of day.

We cruised from Falmouth to Hyannis on Monday with plans to go to Nantucket and then to Martha's Vineyard this week. We walked the town and to the JFK Memorial built by the people of Hyannis. It was a lovely park setting overlooking the beach and another mooring field in the Hyannis Harbor. Here's Vicki overlooking the harbor. And on the right, Norm in front of the fountain. We understand that Ted was staying at the Hyannis compound but we did not see him. We also understand that his 50ft sail boat is moored in the same place we are, but we did not see it either. We were hoping he would be on his boat and we would swing by in the dinghy and get invited up for afternoon tea, but no luck.

Monday night Norm noticed that the inverter wasn't working and smelled an electrical burning odor at the inverter. Not good! He did all the troubleshooting and nothing worked. We called around and decided the best place to go for installation was a boatyard in Falmouth. So, back to Falmouth we went on Tuesday.

Norm ordered a new inverter from Bob Campbell, the electrical guru in Annapolis, who was already working on a proposal for our boat to make some modifications to the electrical system. He has worked on several other boats like ours and was able to quickly recommend the inverter that would be best for us and had it shipped to us.

Resilience seems to be a key ingredient for successful cruising. It's important to bounce back when things go wrong or don't go as expected. In that vein, we decided to have some fun this morning and took the Shining Sea bike path to Woods Hole to the Pie in the Sky bakery and had what had been described to us as “amazing” pecan rolls (and they were). You can see our transportation in the picture on the left. (You thought you'd get a picture of the pecan rolls, didn't you?) Then we toured the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute exhibit. We learned all about how they discovered the Titanic, and the amazing research submersible “Alvin” that explores 3 miles down. Fascinating.

Our resilience was also aided by making the Ghirardelli double chocolate brownies that Robin had given us the mix for. There's nothing like a chocolate stupor to make you forget your troubles!

Let’s hope the inverter arrives on time tomorrow and the installation goes smoothly. We plan to go to Martha’s Vineyard on Friday. If something prevents that....well, we have brownies in reserve!

Happy Birthday to Vicki's Dad. He's one of our most faithful readers and we love chatting with him about our cruise.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hanna Was a Non-Event

Hanna was pretty wimpy here. Looks like the majority of the weather went west of here. We didn’t experience anything like 40-50 mph winds. We watched a movie on cable until midnight, then Vicki went to bed. Norm slept on the couch for a while, expecting Hanna’s fury to arrive at any moment, but it never came. When he woke up on the couch at 3:00, everything was quiet outside. We’re thankful and yet, in a twisted way, after doing all that work to get ready for the storm, it’s a bit of a let down.

We slept late and walked into town for a hearty breakfast at the diner – the sign in the window says “eat heavy” and that’s just what we did. We spent the rest of the day cleaning and putting everything back in its place aboard Tide Hiker. Tomorrow we’re heading to Hyannis, then on to Nantucket and to Martha’s Vineyard. The weather is supposed to be beautiful this week – sunny and 70s.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Preparing for Hanna!!

Our First Tropical Storm
Today was spent preparing for Hanna. Tonight she will be unleashing sustained 35 kt/40 mph winds with gusts to 45 kt/52 mph. Yikes! We’re in a slip in Falmouth, MA on the south shore of Cape Cod. It’s a pretty protected harbor for waves, but the winds will still beat on us but to a lesser degree.

How do we prepare for a tropical storm? We had no idea! Luckily we were aided by the DeFever Cruisers Forum. An experienced member had posted on the forum a list of hurricane storm prep activities. That was incredibly useful. We had a few other questions that were answered by a call to fellow cruisers Steve and Di Koch who have a boat like ours based in Florida but are currently in Long Island Sound (and also preparing for the storm). A big decision was whether or not to take down the isinglass from the bridge—we decided to do it —putting it back up may be a BIG JOB. It kept us warm while cruising in cool northern winds and sheltered us from rain, but we may not even want it up when we reach southern climates. (We can always drive from the pilot house in inclement weather.) The big question is how the freezer will fare in the rain, unprotected by the isinglass. That’s a question for tonight, but also a question long term. We may need to find a different location for the freezer if we don’t re-install the isinglass.

Here are some of the things we did to prepare for Hanna…(you won't recognize Tide Hiker--she's Bare. Doubled the dock lines. Placed fenders to keep us away from hitting dock and the boat next to us.
Removed everything from the bridge and boat deck that could blow away. The bikes are sitting on the dock tied to pylons; the new kayak is stored in the marina shed; the lounging chairs and settee cushions and dinghy cover are stored in the forward stateroom. Everything else that could blow around is stored in the eyebrow (really, the eyebrow! – boat people like to speak in code - it’s the name for the storage area on the front of the bridge (that’s the sky scraper top of the boat that we drive from).
More…………..we taped down the instrument covers on the bridge and anything that could fly up, open, or allow water incursion. Our first moment of consternation was when we discovered that we didn’t have any of the right kind of tape aboard. We had duct tape which leaves tear-your-hair-out sticky residue and painter’s tape which would fly off when wet. Luckily, the West Marine across the street had ‘clean removal’ duct tape. We’re counting heavily on the ‘clean removal’ description because we bought the giant roll and used the whole thing! If it doesn’t live up to its promise, we’ll be counting on Roger and Lisa (our friends in Delaware) to once again come to our aid when we get there. (They removed much of the sticky residue from last winter’s escapade with shrink wrap tape which was used to seal doors and window—now that’s a good friend! )
More……………we removed pop-in screens from the portholes. And a bunch of other stuff.
Storm preparations were done by 3:00. So, we won't miss cocktail hour at 5:00. It took 6 hours with about a 10-minute lunch break. We decided to take a walk down the dock to check out everyone else’s preparations. It was evident that people had removed or tied down things that would fly around, but no one had taped anything – not hatches, not doors, not nothin’. Several still had biminy tops up and many had isinglass. The word ‘overkill’ came to mind as we compared our preparations to others’. We’ll see. At this point, we’re comfortable with our readiness, and hope for some sleep and that no one else breaks loose and careens into us. We’ll let you know tomorrow.