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Friday, September 29, 2006

Calvert Maritime Museum

We anchored in a sheltered portion of Mill Creek near Solomon’s Island since thunderstorms were in the forecast. We played Quiddler last night while the wind gusted to 31 and the rain and thunder rolled through, so this was a good spot to be in. Of course, the wind did a 180 shift so we worried about dragging anchor, but it looks like we are okay, just a bit closer to the shore on 60’ of chain.

A wet dinghy ride took us into Solomon’s proper to visit the Calvert Maritime Museum yesterday afternoon. It is a fun facility with a few surprises. We all climbed up into the restored Drum Point lighthouse where a local woman who was born in the lighthouse helped to restore it authentically. It is one of the few lighthouses that allowed the keeper to have children since it was close enough to shore for them to safely attend school. A live exhibit of skates and rays was a hit. Skates take three months to hatch from a “Mermaid’s Purse” and via backlighting we could see the skates in different stages of development. Two otters were also fun to watch. An exhibit showing fossils found in nearby Calvert Cliffs, lead to a full size recreation of a Megalodon Shark skeleton, strategically located around a dark corner with its mouth open wide.  The museum is worth the visit and the staff was great about answering questions. If you come by boat, there is a nice dinghy dock and West Marine and a 7/11 are both nearby.



Here’s Noah’s perspective on Skates and Rays:
"Skates and rays are vary difrent. Take the sothern ray and the plain skate. Same coller same size. But the ray stings and the skate dosen’t, and they breath difrent ways. No you don’t skate on a skate. They are born difrent, rays are born alive buy skates are born in eggs called a mermaids purse."



We will probably leave on Saturday for Deltaville and then hop down to Hampton. The alternator/tachometer problem came back and the light in Noah’s room rusted apart ejecting the bulb onto the floor so we have a few projects to keep us busy today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

SSCA

The Seven Seas Cruising Association took over Ruth & Chicks Deli this morning for breakfast. There were close to fifty cruisers in town for no special event. This is a weekly affair for however happens to be passing through. It was a noisy, crowded, fun place to eat. Noah complained that he couldn’t hear and the manager pulled a red napkin out of Noah’s ear.  The whole place stopped at 8:30 and took time to say the Pledge of Allegiance as they do at that time every morning. We were hoping to find some more cruising kids but, although everyone was nice, nobody within fifty years of Noah’s age was in attendance.  We were almost late for the event due to a problem with the dinghy. We will now pull the dinghy out of the water every night when in Annapolis. Not due to fear of theft, but because of ducks. It was unbelievable how many feathers and duck droppings needed to be cleaned up before anyone would join me in the dinghy.

After picking up some bolts (yes Pat, we do at least one repair per day whether we mention it our not) we dropped the mooring ball and headed South. The wind was on the nose, but Intuition motored like a champ. We covered 45 miles in just over seven hours. Not many boats were out in the middle of the week. We did see a boat just like ours passing the Thomas Point Lighthouse and managed to snap a picture. A coast guard cutter passed us at one point heading North to check out an EPIRB signal. This is a device you set off in an emergency that gives the coast guard your position via satellite. Their machine guns were nicely covered in blue sunbrella. Noah and Beth checked out the new observer’s seat on the bow pulpit. Beth tied a fender board up their and it is a real seat with a view.
Mark -- Beth had the camera for a change.




We are anchored out in Mill Creek near Solomon’s Island. It is wooded and residential with no other boats anchored in sight. The Trawler Fest is in town through this weekend, so there is no space at the marinas, but this is much more peaceful anyway. Will stay here until after the cold front moves through. Although we stopped here on our way North, we never went ashore, so we will explore tomorrow.

 
Mill Creek Sunset

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Annapolis

We left Rock Hall this morning and had a great couple hours of sailing towards the Bay Bridge. The wind really died back about lunch time and we decided to head over towards Annapolis and Eastport to see if there was any space to anchor. It is really filling up as people jockey for spots to stay for the big sailboat show that starts the first weekend in October. No luck in Eastport, but we found a mooring in Annapolis right away. We had heard that there is a used sailing and watersports store in Eastport, so we walked around town, but never found it. Noah did find a car he liked! We also stopped in at the Sailrite store and bought some new mosquito netting for the cockpit door.


While I was grilling dinner, I recognized “Diva” from last winter in Lake Worth as they picked up a mooring just a couple down from ours. We stopped by after dinner and visited for a bit. Found out that there is a cruiser’s breakfast in the morning at a local deli, so we’ll go to that. We enjoyed some good big band music coming from a nearby park where the town has “September Serenades”  Need to turn in early as we recall from our summer visit that the midshipman at the naval academy will start serenading us at 0600 as they start their morning workouts.  It is good to be cruising again.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blue

Noah authored and typed this poem in school this morning:

Blue
                      by Noah Haskell

Blue tastes like a glass of water.
Blue sounds like waves on the shore.
Blue smells like the salty sea.
Blue looks like the sea.
Blue makes me feel hungry.


While Beth was teaching, I checked off a few projects this morning. Wired up the new alternator temperature sensor that was graciously provided by Rick Jones at Balmar, even though it was out of warranty. Also added ductwork to blow air directly onto the alternator so it might stay cooler.  

The technicians here at Gratitude have been great. Dave loaned me his truck to run into town and restock groceries this morning.  It took a little longer than planned to get the service done, but we were treated very well and it gave us a chance to catch up on laundry and boat projects. The tank sensor arrived late in the day, so we decided to stay one more night. Had dinner with the Jenny and her family at the Harbor Shack and enjoyed a tasty steak tenderized with coffee grounds. Jenny and her husband have done all the work putting the old engine on eBay and she is the always pleasant voice that answers the phone here at the marina.


Today ended with another nice sunset and, we hope, it is the end of our engine saga. Tomorrow we start heading south. Time for new adventures!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Perseverance

Today’s blog is dedicated to Earl Quick (pictured in our little dinghy above) who diagnosed our radio email problem after working with us via phone and email since June. He stuck with us and finally isolated it to a cable.  We sent our first position report and email using Winlink this afternoon!  Noah even got into the troubleshooting and helped with continuity checks on the cable. This means we should, knock on wood, be able to send position reports and short emails from anywhere in the world.  We celebrated here by finishing off the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer. 

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fall Fest

We walked into Rock Hall to join in “Fall Fest” which is a craft and music festival in the center of town. It started with the local “Blues Brothers” followed by a barbershop chorus dressed as pirates. Clowns, jugglers, a mime, puppet shows and musicians kept Noah entertained most of the day. We did take a break from kid stuff to enjoy the Cantonsville High School Steel Drum band. They are from Baltimore and the twenty kids put on an incredible and very professional concert. We caught the Rock Hall “Trolley” back to the marina and the driver was one of the Blues Brothers.

Today’s photo is one of our neighbors here in the marina. We have seen him fishing from this dock every morning and evening. 

Friday, September 22, 2006

Calibrated, Adjusted and Almost Ready

This week has been spend at Gratitude Marina waiting for the 50 hour engine service. Today’s photo is a view of the Bay Bridge as seen from the marina. We did some cleaning and maintenance waiting for the technician to get to us. Today he adjusted the valves and realigned the engine and prop shaft. Also calibrated the electronic tachometer so that it now reads correctly with our high-output alternator. We changed the oil in the engine and transmission. Also wrote up the old engine and took some pictures for eBay. Search for Yanmar Marine Diesel if you are looking for a project.

Has been a bit windy and bouncy here this week and there is a chill in the air that makes us ready to head south. We topped off the water in preparation for leaving this afternoon and learned there was a leak in the top of the tank where the sensor is mounted. Turns out that the sensor head was cracked and the stainless screws used to attach it to the aluminum tank had mostly disintegrated - a perfect example of galvanic corrosion. A new sensor unit should arrive on Monday, so it looks like we’ll be here for the weekend. That might be okay as there is a Rock Hall Festival in town tomorrow and Sunday that sounds like fun.


Noah has been getting caught up with school and doing lots of reading. Not many kids to play with, but he did manage to fish on the docks with the son of one of the Marina guys and they actually caught some fish. His remote controlled jeep provided some entertainment too.  A fawn came into the boat yard while he was driving it around and the mixture of curiosity and fear in the fawn was interesting to watch. He stuck around for a good five minutes watching the RC car until deciding to head back into a field.

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