Day 186, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 9

Day 186, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 9
Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Weather: Mostly Sunny Day, Evening Rain, Winds NE 5-10, Temp Upper 60’s F
Latitude: 38 19.245 N
Longitude: 076 27.356 W
Location: Chesapeake Bay, Anchored Behind Solomon’s Island, Solomon’s, MD

Mark, Lee, and Lynda spent their day motoring up the Chesapeake Bay while Heather and I started planting the 2013 Goldstone garden with the help of Ollie, Jonah, and neighbor Molly (Jonah’s age). Our goal was to get a few things planted to take advantage of the predicted rain. It is very dry here and we had only a few sprinkles in the afternoon, so we ended up watering anyway. But then tonight, we did get some rain. So hopefully those seeds will sprout quickly. Heather went to dinner tonight with the scientists that will be presenting at a colloquium at Woods Hole Oceanographic tomorrow night. She is the moderator of tomorrow evening’s panel discussion examining the impact of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. So meeting the visiting scientists from Japan this evening was important. That left Oma here with the task of getting three little boys to bed. We all survived!

130508 Day 186 Cape Cod, USA–Planting the Garden

Mark’s thinks Windbird will arrive in Woods Hole next Tuesday. So far they have had less than perfect weather and tomorrow looks like another motoring day. But when I checked Weather Underground tonight, it looks like they could have a good sail on Saturday from Rock Hall, Maryland to Chesapeake City and then moderate W, NW, and SE winds for the off-shore passage from Cape May, New Jersey to Woods Hole. I’m hoping this forecast sticks.

And now for the Captain’s Log for Wednesday, May 8:
“Today we motored. Nothing else. A beautiful sunny day with no wind and calm seas. No mishaps, no adventures. You might call it boring but we enjoyed the tranquility. And I got a photo of my personal red and green markers on the front of the boat, aka Lee and Lynda. About the time we got to Solomon’s we got a few drizzles – of course, just as I had to go to the bow of the boat to drop the anchor. But not enough to really get wet.

Then the highlight of the day. I had called friends Suzie and Ron Williams earlier in the day and we agreed to get together for dinner. Well, when we arrived we no sooner had the anchor down than they pulled alongside in their “launch” that had a bimini to keep us out of the rain. They motored us over to a nearby dock and we all went to the Yacht Club for dinner. It was great catching up with them. And we made plans to meet next March or April in Culebra!

Tomorrow we will head straight for Rock Hall where we will tie up to the municipal free dock. Today I was able to contact the guy we bought new batteries from when we were at the Annapolis Boat show and he will deliver them whenever we want on Friday. And Lee and Lynda will get to spend some more time looking at the boat they are particularly interested in.”

130508 Day 186 Passage to Cape Cod–Day 9, Solomon's, MD

Day 185, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 8

Day 185, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 8
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Weather: Mostly Sunny Day, Evening Rain, Winds NE 12-25, Temp Upper 60’s F
Latitude: 37 30.632 N
Longitude: 076 18.111 W
Location: Chesapeake Bay, Anchored Behind Cherry Point, Mouth of Piankatank River

Captain’s Log for Tuesday, May 7:
“We had three bridges and one set of locks to go through this morning before we got through Norfolk and headed up the Chesapeake Bay. And two of those bridges don’t open between 6:00 and 9:00 am. So we started out at 8:00 am, went through the first bridge and then entered the lock. This was a first for Lynda and Lee so they enjoyed the new adventure. All went well. Then we got to the second bridge in time for the 9 am opening, but there was a hitch. The railroad bridge just before the lift bridge is supposed to be normally open. It was closed and the lift bridge couldn’t open until the railroad bridge opened. A train was obviously coming – but when? We circled for about half an hour. Finally the train came and both bridges opened. One more to go. Luckily it opened on time and we were off for a 63 mile run up the bay. The day turned out to be mostly sunny and warm in our enclosed cockpit. By late morning we were raising sails and motor-sailing north with East-Southeast winds in the mid and upper teens. We motor-sailed because we had lots of miles to go and the bridge stuff really set us back. Except for bucking a negative current all afternoon, it was a delightful day. Only thing that would have made it better would have if we had not had to run the motor. We anchored in a new place for Windbird. We have come into Jackson Creek before and it is a nice peaceful anchorage near Deltaville. But there are enough boats headed north that we thought it might be a bit crowded. So we picked an anchorage behind Cherry Point, a peninsula just south of the entrance to Jackson Creek. Very pleasant. Tomorrow is a much shorter run up to Solomon’s. Roughly 45 miles. Maybe (over the next few days) we will get to sail a bit without the motor running.”

130507 Day 185 Passage to Cape Cod–Day 8, Great Bridge Lock

Back to Cape Cod . . . Well, if my weather information is correct, I’m afraid they won’t get to sail tomorrow or the next day. It looks like there will be very little wind and a heavy chance of rain. But you never know, there could be wind and tomorrow could be delightful day. Let’s hope so.

Life here is crazy—the way life is when you have three little ones. Heather was up with Ollie most of the night and was up for the day by 6 am. That’s when I heard her go downstairs. I stayed in bed another half hour, but then it was up and at ‘em. Heather and Ollie walked Sam to school at 8:30 am and I took off with Jonah in the van for Woods Hole where he goes to pre-school. On my way home, I stopped at the dump to drop some things off at the Swap Shop. Heather had loaded those things into the van yesterday. When I got home, I loaded more things in the van for another trip to the Swap Shop and then ‘loaded’ Heather and Ollie in the van to take them to the doctor (with another stop at the dump on the way). As suspected, Ollie has yet another ear infection (the sixth since February). So I took Heather and Ollie home and went back to the drugstore to get the needed antibiotic. By the time I got home, it was time for Heather to head back to Woods Hole to teach a class on climate change. Ollie and I stayed home and took a much needed, long nap. Heather got home at 3 pm, I handed Ollie off to Heather and I walked to pick Sam up from school. He had ridden his bike to school, so I spent time letting him ride his bike around the track at school, and then we headed home so I could get in the van and drive back to Woods Hole to pick up Jonah. At this point, I’m wondering how in the world Heather does this when Jed is at work and she has no one to help out. But the day isn’t over. When I get home with Jonah, he and Sam play with the neighbor kids while I watch Ollie and Heather adds a second layer to the beehive and fixes dinner. We all eat and then I take off with Sam and Jonah to hear two astronauts speak at the local high school. We get home, read stories, and then all the boys go to bed. Whew! My jobs are done for the day, but poor Heather will be up and down with Ollie all night unless the antibiotic works some sort of miracle. Then when morning comes, we start all over again. I must add that Heather still has the energy at the end of the day to ‘play’ momma Orangutan with Sam and Jonah and let them attach themselves to her while she carries them upstairs to bed. It’s all I can do at that point to take a photo of them and wave goodnight.

The astronauts we went to see at the high school were Suni Williams (a woman from Massachusetts) and Aki Hoshide (originally from Japan). Suni commanded the International Space Station during a mission that began in 2012 and Aki was a flight engineer on that mission. They spent 127 days on the space station during that mission and shared some of the details of what it is like to live in outer space with the audience tonight. Jonah announced at dinner that he was going to wear his NASA space suit and he couldn’t have been cuter. Both he and Sam got to shake hands with both astronauts and get their autographs on their tickets for the evening. At the top of the list of the most interesting things learned during the evening was how astronauts go to the bathroom in outer space. It made me glad I live on Planet Earth full time!

130507 Day 185 Cape Cod, USA–Meeting Astronauts and Momma Orangutan

Day 184, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 7

Day 184, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 7
Date: Monday, May 6, 2013
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Winds ESE 8-15, Temp in the Low 70’s F
Latitude: 35 43.204 N
Longitude: 076 14.206 W
Location: Intracoastal Waterway, Docked at Atlantic Yacht Haven, Mile 12.5

Captain’s Log for Monday, May 6:
“Surprise–no rain today! Well, almost no rain. We did get a quick drizzle just before arriving at the Atlantic Yacht Haven where we filled the water tanks, topped off the diesel, did some shopping, and did the laundry. We are now ready for another week or two of travel.
Last night’s anchorage (suggested by Active Captain) turned out to be a great one. Active Captain has been very helpful a number of times on this trip. Maybe it will come up with a good anchorage for tomorrow night as our original plan to go to Reedville may be just too far for one day. Today we made 63.7 nautical miles, but I think Reedville is closer to 75 miles from here. We are in a rush to get to Rock Hall because I ordered some new Rolls AGM batteries and need to pick them up there by Friday. It will be an interesting week given the forecast for little or no wind. And it just started pouring rain!!! Such is the cruising life. Though I think if I were really cruising I would just sit still until the weather got better. Enough for tonight. I need to plan tomorrow’s trip.”

Back to Judy on Cape Cod–If the weather forecasts I am watching are correct, Mark, Lee, and Lynda would have to sit still for quite some time to get better weather. In any case, it looks like they are going to have rain, rain, and more rain. And now that the wind is finally coming from the south, there is not going to be enough wind to sail. It looks to me like Windbird will be motoring up the Chesapeake and maybe all the way home. What a bummer! Not to mention the cost of fuel. Mark was trying to get here by mid-May to start his job at West Marine. Otherwise, it does look like we should have waited until mid-May to start the trek north. But even then, the weather could be uncooperative. Weather is one of those things we just can’t control.

Things here are moving along just fine. Sam and Oliver are very slowly getting better and the rest of us are holding our own. Tomorrow all the boys will be school or day care if health permits and Heather has to go to work. That should leave me some time to get some spring cleaning chores done. But that is, IF health permits. Heather is thinking that Oliver might have to stay home, so we’ll just have to wait until morning to see how he is doing. And just now I went downstairs to put clothes from the washer in to the dryer and found that the washer has stopped spinning. Oh, no. Not sure what we’ll do about that, but it sounds like a new washing machine to me. There’s always something.

Day 183, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 6

Day 183, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 6
Date: Sunday, May 5, 2013
Weather: Overcast and Rainy, Winds NE 12-25, Temp in the 60’s F
Latitude: 35 56.404 N
Longitude: 075 55.930 W
Location: Intracoastal Waterway, Anchored Near Mile 80, Alligator River, NC

Captain’s Log for Sunday, May 5:
“Things looked good this morning for crossing the Albemarle tomorrow, so we took off for the anchorage we used on the trip down near the headwaters of the Alligator River. It drizzled on and off all morning – not the most pleasant trip. However, Auto did much of the steering which was great. Then we heard that the Alligator Swing Bridge was now opening! Hurray! Lee spent some time on Active Captain and came up with the suggestion that we go on through the bridge today while it was opening. Winds might be higher tomorrow possibly causing it to close again. Active Captain had a few suggested anchorages on the north side of the bridge, before entering the Albemarle Sound. One looked really promising, so we went for it. It was a long slog up the Alligator River in rain most of the time. At a little after 6:00 pm about five miles off the Intracoastal on the east side of the mouth of the river. After we anchored, Lee fixed a delicious spaghetti dinner (spaghetti sauce courtesy of Judy’s advance cooking). In summary, this was a day you do to make a delivery, not one you undertake for a pleasant cruise. And unfortunately it looks like we might have rain for the next three of four days. But with all that, I think the crew is enjoying the trip, the challenges, and the learning opportunities. And I am glad Lee and Lynda are along, sharing much of the work and just being good company.”

I just got off the phone with Mark and he says they will have a short day tomorrow taking them across the Albemarle Sound and on to the marina at Coinjock. The ‘marina’ is just a sea wall along the Intracoastal where you can tie up, get fuel, do laundry, buy a few necessities in the marina store, and eat at the little restaurant if you like. Town is about three to five miles away, so the only amenities are at the marina itself. Hopefully the winds are going to switch tomorrow to start coming from the southeast. That will make life much easier. Seven days of fighting wind on the nose is just no fun.

Heather and I are trying to keep our heads above water here. Between her work, three kids, laundry, and cooking, there’s not much time for anything else. But we are making a little progress at doing some spring cleaning. Today I spent the morning playing with Sam and Jonah. After lunch we all made a trip to Walmart so Sam could buy something with the money he got from the Tooth Fairy. He spent only a dollar of his money and donated the rest to the purchase of new Lacrosse stick. His stick ‘disappeared’ a couple of weeks ago, and both he and Jonah really enjoy ‘playing’ Lacrosse. Late this afternoon I took them to the school playground so they could practice. Ollie wasn’t feeling up to par today and wanted to be with momma constantly. But he did feel good to put on his evening ‘Ollie Show.’ And he also loves to play with the Lacrosse stick—and he looks like he knows what he is doing! Sam is still sick as well and has been taking a two hour nap every afternoon which is not normal for him. Heather thinks she’ll keep him home from school tomorrow in hopes that another day of rest might set him on the road to recovery. She goes to work for a couple of hours tomorrow morning, so we’ll see if I survive the morning with all three kids!

130505 Day 183 Cape Cod, USA–Ollie the Lacrosse Player

Day 182, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 5

Day 182, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 5
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Weather: Overcast, Winds NE 12-20 in Protected Anchorage, Temp in the 60’s F
Latitude: 35 32.433 N
Longitude: 076 37.980 W
Location: Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 135, Still in Belhaven

Windbird didn’t move today, so she is still at anchor in Belhaven. The Alligator River Bridge has not reopened so we’ll just have to wait and see what progress is made tomorrow. We are keeping our heads above water here, but three little boys take enough time that not much other than just taking care of them is getting done. Our day starts between 6:00 and 6:30 am when the boys get up and there’s not a minute to sit down between then and 8:30 pm when they go to bed. I must admit that I did get a nap this afternoon as I was holding Oliver during his nap. But otherwise, it is go, go, go for fourteen straight hours. And then when they go to bed, it is time to clean-up the kitchen, so I don’t sit down to read emails and write the log until after 10 pm. Heather did get some time today to work on beehive projects, but that was the only non-kid related work that got done—other than the constant laundry. Sam and Jonah had requested a Saturday morning breakfast of pancakes with red, white, and blue whipped cream, so that is what we had this morning. I then watched in the boys in the backyard while Heather worked on the hives. We all had naps this afternoon, and Ollie, Sam, and I are all feeling much better today. After nap we took the boys to the local elementary school playground (which has a great circle track) to ride bikes. Sam is loving bike riding now that he can do it without training wheels. And today Heather rode her bike to the playground with the kid trailer attached. I took Jonah and Ollie in the van and once there, they both rode in the bike trailer. Ollie continues to entertain us. Tonight while Heather and I were sitting on the bed reading to Sam and Jonah, Ollie was playing on the floor. He decided he wanted our attention and came over and played peek-a-boo. He would squat down so we couldn’t see him and then pop up with a great big smile. He did this over and over and had us laughing so hard our stomachs hurt.

130504 Day 182, Cape Cod, USA–Saturday at the Goldstones

Now for the Captain’s Log for Saturday, May 4:
“Though it has not turned out to be as windy here as predicted, the Alligator River Bridge is still closed and the predictions are for high winds again tomorrow. Apparently it must be windier there than here at anchor in Belhaven. We have enjoyed a quiet day. We put the dingy in the water with the outboard and went into town late this morning. We enjoyed walking around town which has some old southern-style homes and a small downtown with a hardware store as big as any city might have. Since it was Saturday we poked our heads in on a church organized yard sale. Except it was inside, not in a yard. People are very friendly – and of course, they seemed to know immediately that we were off a boat. That’s probably because the town is small enough that everyone who lives here knows everyone else who lives here. When we dinghied back to Windbird we saw dolphins cavorting in the harbor around us. Once on the boat we snoozed, read, and checked the weather once again. We left the dingy in the water in case we end up here another day. We can pull it out in the morning and head on to Alligator River if the weather looks like it will calm down by Monday (when we will be crossing the Albemarle Sound). I think we all feel we have done Belhaven and are ready to move on. We are starting to plan our days sailing up the Chesapeake.

And I am envying Judy’s time with the grandkids!

130504 Day 182 Passage to Cape Cod–Day 5, Belhaven

Day 180, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 3

Day 180, Year 8: Windbird’s Trek to Cape Cod, Day 3
Date: Thursday, May 2, 2013
Weather: Winds 8-30 NNE to ENE, High Temp in 70’s F, Light Rain in AM
Latitude: 34 58.034 N
Longitude: 076 34.733 W
Location: Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 180, South River off the Neuse River

Tired is the word of the day, but it is ‘tired’ in a good sense. Mark, Lee, and Lynda put in a very long day and the word from them is that they exhausted—but good progress is being made. I’m remembering just how tiring it can be caring for three little ones, but it is something I love doing. Oliver, Heather’s youngest, still has an ear infection and is having trouble sleeping. Heather dealt with him for most of the night, but at 3:45 am I took him and held him until the ‘big boys’ got up at a bright and early 6 am. Oliver is warming up to me more quickly than I thought. When he looks at me, he puts his hand up to his ear as if he is talking to me on the phone. Heather thinks he is trying to figure out why I’m not inside the computer or the telephone! Jonah came in first this morning to make sure I had arrived and what a smile I got when he saw that I really was in the bed. I bought models of a US Airways and American Airlines plane for Jonah and Sam and they had great fun playing with those before school. Jonah and I walked Sam to school while Sam rode his bicycle. This is only the third day he has ridden it without training wheels and he is doing great. Then Heather took Jonah to school and Ollie to day care while I stayed home and did laundry and house cleaning, but before noon, Heather returned to take time to check her beehives. Then it was time to pick Sam up from school and take him to the dentist. He had to have his four lower front-and-center baby teeth extracted to make room for his permanent teeth. The front two had already come in behind the ones pulled today, so he doesn’t really look like a snaggle-tooth. This was the first time he has had any teeth pulled and he was a very brave little boy. Tomorrow promises to be even busier than today, so I had better send this log and get to bed.

130502 Day 180 Cape Cod, USA–First Day Back at H & J's

Now for the Captain’s Log for Thursday, May 2:
“It was a long day. We started at 6:00 with the twilight but before the sun was up. All day we ran the boat hard with RPM’s at 2800 so we could make the almost 75 statute miles (61.7 nautical miles) we needed to do to get to South Creek. As it was we still didn’t arrive until 1825 (6:25 PM). I have used statute miles instead of nautical miles as that is the way the waterway is measured and marked on charts. I guess that’s because the Corps of Engineers is Army, not Navy.

This was not an uneventful day. We had wind against us all day in the range of 8 to 30 knots. The tide was generally in our favor, which is the only thing that counteracted the winds to get us as far as we went. In addition, we had rain – usually light, but enough to restrict visibility- throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Then things slowly cleared and by anchor down we had hot sun! Sometime early this morning we lost charging from the alternator. I investigated and found a wire to the regulator had broken loose. I taped it back as a temporary fix and it never stopped our progress. We motored past Moorhead early this afternoon and turned north. Somehow the head winds followed us so we continued to beat into them. But the real excitement came when we exited Adams Creek into the Neuse River. Now out in the open, the winds had built to 20 to 25 with occasional gusts to 30 – and of course, still on the nose! For two hours we beat into short steep seas, hobby-horsing with a vengeance. Dipping the bow into the seas, then rising out pointing to the sky. Lynda was sleeping in the V-berth and must have levitated with each thrust of the bow but somehow slept through most of it! It was a chance to learn the difference between what is dangerous and what is merely uncomfortable. And it WAS uncomfortable!

When we arrived we were all tired. Lee and I had our ‘anchor beer’ and then I wrote in the log, checked the engine oil and transmission fluid, and spliced and re-connected a couple of wires connecting the regulator to alternator. Lee fixed a salad and heated up some Lasagna (prepared in advance for us by Judy). Lynda did the dishes. And now we are all ready for an early bedtime. Tomorrow we start early once again as we have 72 miles to go. But if the weather is as bad as today’s we may stop after about 45 miles at Belhaven. We will see.”