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For the action packed Delivery of 2010 through 8 foot waves and 30 knot winds across 140 nm of Lake Erie, click here.
Eagle Cove, Gibson Island, July 25-27, 2014
The weekend began late, but still with a BANG!
Crew Bill, Sarah, Guy and Ollie didn't reach the fuel dock at Annapolis Landing Marina until after dark, but the party began immediately. Provisions and gear were loaded and stowed even as the party broiled around the activity. Local guests from the marina joined us in Kelly IV's cockpit as we toasted the cool evening and discussed our plans for the following day. No one actually timed the party's conclusion, but we did depart the fuel dock before the marina needed the space in the morning. (Back Creek Anchorage Video)
Our newly gained local knowledge included news of a horse farm on a beautiful anchorage at the north end of Gibson Island, Magothy River. Although we made that our destination for the weekend, we decided a swim stop at Dobbins Island (definitely on the way) would prove fun as well.
There was enough breeze that Kelly IV sailed with her main and jib under the imposing Bay Bridge (Video, 2nd Video), then motored into the Magothy and anchored off Dobbins Island. The weather was bright and clear so the crowd was easily a couple hundred or more people, families, youths, young adults, cruising oldsters and everyone you might imagine has access to a small boat. There were even a couple large motor yachts anchored to watch the activities. Given the large crowd, it was no surprise to see the representatives from Maryland DNR, USCG, and the Maryland State Police cruising the waters and beach. Although we witnessed them board a nearby sailboat, there were no scenes that would make the papers. In fact, Bill took a number of great videos showing the festivities. (Pudgy Video)
Once lunch and swimming were concluded, we raised anchor and headed the last two miles to Eagle Cove. After a brief dogleg through the protecting shoals, we emerged into a sizable bay with plenty of depth and room for many boats. In fact, Kelly IV was probably one of about twenty small yachts to anchor there. Even so, there was still plenty of room for everyone's water toys and we were not to be left out. Bill, Sarah and I lowered the dinghy, rigged her sail, leeboards and rudder, then took turns sailing the little pudgy between the wide open spaces amongst the anchored vessels. Sarah particularly enjoyed sailing close ashore to see the horses up close.
The meal that night was an extravaganza including alligator, tuna and sauces prepared by chef-extrordinaire, Bill. It was delicious and there were no leftovers!
Sunday proved to be another grand weather day, but the forecast predicted otherwise so Kelly IV departed early to ensure an easy trek back and a simple disembarkation of crew and gear. The early departure put us back in Annapolis by 10am and the weather was perfect for a trip through Ego Alley. We made the trip twice and tied up at Pusser's for a couple drinks and relaxed conversation before returning to Back Creek and the workaday world.
Last Updated ( Monday, 01 September 2014 09:50 )
Chestertown & The Middle Bay, July 14-20, 2014
Kelly IV was joined by great friends and long-time crew, Bob Zimmerman and Jack vanArsdale on Monday the 14th. Kelly IV and I picked them and their gear off the sea wall between B and C piers at the Annapolis Landing Marina before topping off our fuel and water and returning to the anchor, faithfully maintained by the pudgy dinghy in our absence.
Due to the rainy weather, we decided to play tourist locally in Annapolis until the weather cleared. All of us would rather be sailing, but Annapolis is a fun town to visit and we made the most of it, including the US Naval Academy, USNA Chapel, and the excellent museum on the USNA grounds, featuring a magnificent collection of half hulls and ship models created by prisoners. We almost didn't miss sailing, the tourist gig was so cool!
The forecast for Wednesday was excellent, so we departed Back Creek, had the sails up and the engine shut down within minutes. The 12 knot northwesterly breeze was perfect for sailing a port close reach to the Chester River. We dashed across the Chesapeake, splitting the small waves and ducking behind the dodger to avoid the spray. It is always fun sailing beneath the Bay Bridge and Bob got some good photos as we did so.
The wind seemed to be challenging our efforts to sail directly to our turning mark just above Love Point, Kent Island. Every time we tried to pinch a bit higher to be certain of laying our mark, the air seemed to head us. Thankfully the little headers weren't much and an occasional lift would enable us to just lay the mark and fall off into the Chester River for an easy and very quiet broad reach, then a run as if we were making for the Kent Narrows.
Since Chestertown was our destination, the run sheeted into a broad reach, which became a close reach again as we followed the horseshoe curve that is the mouth of the Chester. Just as we approached our waypoint for turning east and into the narrower portion of the river, the wind died. It seemed quite alright with us as we had expected to motor this stretch due to the twisting, narrow channel that stretches to Chestertown.
It is a beautiful, pastoral scene as Kelly IV chugged past gorgeous homes, green fields, pleasant campgrounds and numerous copses of trees. As the day wore hot in the still air, we decided to take a swim before reaching our destination. Anchored off Devil's Reach, the mildly brackish water provided the cooling we needed to face civilization.
Our impressive neighbor at anchor off Chestertown was the bright green schooner, Martha White, who claims Chestertown as her home port. We spent the next day exploring the streets, homes and history of this tree-filled colonial village. A free concert was presented at the riverside park, so we enjoyed the concertina, cello and voices of the performers before returning to Kelly IV. Click for Video
The breeze on Friday never exceeded 5 knots and was mostly nonexistent. So the trip to Swan Creek, the anchorage by Rock Hall, MD was a motoring trip for the entire 6 hours. It is noteworthy that we passed a log canoe being towed to Chestertown for a race the next day as well as a skipjack (also under power) taking her passengers for a hands-on history lesson.
A quick three hour motor tour (no wind) was all Kelly IV needed to bring her crew to Dobbins Island in the Magothy River, across the Chesapeake Bay from Swan Creek. Bob, Jack and I went ashore in the dinghy to join the hundred-plus revelers already enjoying the sun, beach and water for an afternoon swim. A light breeze kicked in as we raised anchor, so we also unfurled the jib and meandered across the Magothy dropping anchor in Mill Creek.
The return to Back Creek and the real world of work and responsibility took less than four hours but the motor did get a break for a couple of those as we sailed a port broad reach under the Bay Bridge. Our annual sail on Kelly IV took us 100nm around the middle bay, not bad considering we lost two days to weather and one to wandering in Chestertown. It was, in fact, another wonderful week spent with great friends aboard Kelly IV.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 August 2014 13:54 )
Newfoundland & the Maritimes, June 25 – July 7, 2014 - For Photos from this Trip, Click Here.
Once committed to a return to the Canadian Maritime provinces for the St. Lawrence sail with Ron (See Previous Trip Log), it seemed a logical step to revisit places in the Canadian Maritimes I'd seen from Kelly IV and to enjoy new places and people in this terrific wonderland.
While camping in Houlton, ME I met a gent who was raised in New Zealand, but emigrated to Maine many years ago and had great stories about Maine and NZ. We were later joined in conversation by a lady who is an artist and was visiting her mother in Houlton. The next day I drove through New Brunswick on my way to Matane, QC and saw my first moose on the roadside. Sorry, I missed that photo.
Returning from my sail with Ron, I enjoyed a bus trip to the ferry in Godbout, QC which took me directly to Matane where I camped for the night. The next day I drove across the Gaspe' Peninsula enjoying dramatic vistas of boisterous rivers, colorful wooden covered bridges and mountains still touched with snow.
Evening brought me to the small port of Richibucto, New Brunswick, where Kelly IV and I met my wife while she was visiting me during my 2011 cruise. As Kelly IV was in the marina for about a week, I got to know the dockmaster and even bought his two CDs from him. Yes, he is a singer who performs his lyrics in both French and English. I was playing his English CD on the radio when I pulled into the marina to see if he was still there. Lo and behold, there he was in the parking lot right where I pulled in! He was pleasantly surprised to hear his music being played in a car with Pennsylvania plates and we enjoyed a wonderful chat catching up on old times. And he directed me to a splendid campground on the water at the edge of town (click pics for videos).
The next day was a lot of driving to reach Baddeck, Nova Scotia where I camped for the night. After a foggy exercise jog along the Bras d'Or Lake, I drove to North Sydney, NS and caught the ferry for Newfoundland. People waiting for the ferry were out of their vehicles enjoying the sunny weather, so I met folks from Punxsutawney, PA (geocachers) and Americans (from NJ/CO) who owned property in Newfoundland and enjoyed their summers there. On board the ferry I met and enjoyed the conversation and company of several “Newfies” who gave me tips and suggestions for how best to enjoy their rugged corner of the world. My ferry trip proved to be fun and very helpful as I learned so much about what to do and where to go. The ferry arrived at the port of Argentia, NL on Friday morning, June 27.
Having learned that there were two icebergs just off Cape Spear and the harbor at St. John's, I drove directly to Cape Spear, the easternmost point of the continent of North America. According to my GPS, I was standing at N47*31.463' W52*37.247'. Just a few yards across the rocky cliff lay the Atlantic Ocean and nothing but water between me and Ireland.
Unfortunately, no iceberg was visible. In fact, nothing more than a few yards offshore was visible! The water was so cold and the air so warm that a thick fog prevented all visibility beyond a quarter of a mile (see Video).
Not to be deterred, I drove to the other location for sighting the icebergs, Signal Hill on the north side of the harbor entrance at St. John's, about an hour drive from Cape Spear. It was a beautiful, clear, brilliant day of sunshine in the city of St. John's so it was a fun drive through town to Signal Hill. There were lots of tourists so I walked along the western wall enjoying the view over the harbor and city. The view was so dramatic (click for Video), I just kept walking along forgetting about the icebergs entirely. As I got to the southern point and began following the wall along the ocean front, I noticed patchy fog with thick wisps blotting a view of the ocean, but scattered openings in the fog showed bright blue sea peeking back.
Suddenly there it was, an irregular, almost triangular shape of pure white with a small “My Favorite Martian” spaceship landed on it!
It was the iceberg (Video) I had been hoping to see. Then through another hazy clearing in the offshore fog to the southeast appeared the second iceberg. I was fortunate to see both icebergs from the same vantage point on Signal Hill, St. John's.
The next morning I packed my gear from the campsite in Pippy Park, St. John's and began the Irish Loop drive around the Avalon Peninsula, the southeastern corner of Newfoundland. It is such a windblown stretch of land that much of the ground is barren of trees or the trees are small and just clustered into the hollows and dips in the landscape. (Video) The open views are dramatic and awe-inspiring.
As I drove back north I passed a large waterfall inland south of Whitborne, NL at Colinet. (Videos of Lower Falls, Upper Falls) This portion of the drive was along a provincial route that was dirt and gravel, pretty common for all but the major roads and those in the larger towns.
After crossing onto the “mainland” of Newfoundland, then turning south onto the Burin Peninsula, I discovered a small beach lakeside campsite. (Camp Video)
Apparently, many campers (mostly with trailers or RVs) just pull off the rural roads and camp where they please. And many of the sites have magnificent views near the many inland ponds and lakes. My little campsite was only a few hundred yards off the main highway, but very secluded and private with a grand panorama looking across a sizable lake. While the biting flies and mosquitoes were thick at sunset and in the morning, my purposely smoky fire kept them at bay while I prepared my meals.
The next day my trusty Suzuki carried me south along the western coast of the Burin to a couple small, picturesque towns, Terrenceville and Harbour Mille (Video).
Even at the wharfside, the water was so clear I could see the bottom in 10 to 20+ feet. That evening I set up camp at Frenchman's Cove (Video), my home for a couple days while I toured the southern extent of the Burin Peninsula and rode the ferry to France. Yes, France holds two small islands off the coast of Newfoundland, St. Pierre and Miquelon. While touring the Burin I spent some quality time at the Provincial Seamens' Museum in Grand Bank, NL, south of Frenchman's Cove.
While the weather was clear when the ferry departed Fortune, NL bound for St. Pierre, it was not long before the fog closed in. It was a fine example of “thick enough to cut with a knife.” The fog remained as I spent the day walking about St. Pierre. When clear, I'm sure the views would be magnificent, but they were still quite stirring, even through the misty haze.
My last day in Newfoundland found me motoring back to Argentia to meet the ferry returning to Nova Scotia. Arriving a bit early for the ferry, I stopped in a nearby cafe and met a gregarious couple from New Zealand who lived in Australia and were currently touring Canada and the US aboard their huge 5th wheel trailer and massive pickup truck. Their style of camping sounded quite luxurious compared to my one-man tent and old scout cook kit. :-) And it was great fun swapping stories about their travels and mine.
I learned about Hopewell Rocks from my new Aussie friends, so made the long drive that day so I'd be able to enjoy learning about and observing the huge tide changes on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. As it was late in the day I made plans to visit again in the morning after the tide ebbed and I could catch the imposing rocks as they stood clear of the receding waters. Later that same day I caught the next tide at the “Reversing Falls” in Saint John, NB. It is quite thrilling to watch as the huge flow of water changes direction and begins flooding upstream!
The drive through new Brunswick as I began the return trip to Annapolis was an adventure as well since I had to drive through Tropical Storm Arthur as it flipped large trees out of the ground and scattered branches and debris across roads, flooding the low lying, smaller throughways. Gradually, as I made my way south to Bangor, ME, Arthur was left behind. The next day proved to be clear and sunny so I completed the return trip to Annapolis in one day from Bangor.
Newfoundland is a grand place with monstrous icebergs, magnificent camping, friendly fun people and vistas unique to the northern landscapes. It was an adventure I was lucky to enjoy.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 July 2014 15:00 )
Sailing Again on the St. Lawrence (River and Gulf), June 20-24, 2014
When Kelly IV and I sailed south from Canada in 2011, I thought that would be the end of my sailing in those waters, especially north of Nova Scotia. And I assumed my northernmost point of sailing would remain at N49º19.265' W65º42.224', a location just a few miles offshore, north of the Gaspe' peninsula. Thankfully, I was wrong about that!
In April 2014 I got an email from a friend who sailed the St. Lawrence River on his own boat, Old Hand in 2011. Old Hand is a 1988 Beneteau First 285. Her owner, Ron, has fitted her nicely for cruising, including radar, AIS, chartplotter, ESPAR diesel heater, mainsail pack and lazy jacks. There isn't much difference in room down below between Ron's Old Hand and my Kelly IV. Both are small boats so space is at a premium.
Ron's email invited me to join him sailing on the St. Lawrence in late June 2014. It was clearly an opportunity I could not pass by. I had enjoyed myself immensely when cruising these waters in 2011 aboard Kelly IV and knew I'd have a great time sailing with Ron. We had chatted via emails before we departed for our respective trips in 2011 and even spent a day at the Toronto Boat Show in January 2011. Then enroute we kept in touch including meeting at a marina in Montreal for a night while he was returning from his trip and I was still headed downstream. We felt we knew enough about each other to be comfortable for a few days on board a small sailboat. That proved correct!
I drove from Annapolis to Matane, Quebec over the course of three days. The driving trip is over 1,000 miles, one way. Arriving in Matane on a rainy, grey afternoon, I found Ron and Old Hand in the small marina and yacht club. It was my first time at the yacht club since in 2011, I never got off Kelly IV. Already I was expanding my experience from 2011 and we hadn't left the marina! After packing my seabag with sleeping bag, clothes and my GPS, I moved aboard Old Hand,leaving my car in the yacht club parking lot under the watchful eye of the local staff, a young woman, bilingual and smart.
The next morning, Ron and I headed out of the marina into a beautiful, sunny day. No breeze to speak of, but a great day to be on a boat on the St. Lawrence River. We sailed by the same coastal towns that Kris and I had sailed by in 2011, but this time we could see the homes and churches on shore. Old Hand's destination was St. Anne des Mont, QC, a port that Kris & I missed in 2011. Ron and I sailed into the small, well-protected harbour, tying up on the long pier just aft of a boat being sailed by new friends Ron had met a few ports west/upriver. Also, there was a sistership, another Beneteau First 285 in the little marina, so Ron and the other owner swapped ideas and stories.
That evening as Ron and I were walking through the quaint hamlet, we crossed paths with 3 young people who asked us a question in French almost as weak as mine. When we asked if they spoke English, they happily acknowledged they did, but their accent told us that English was not their primary language. When Ron asked where they were from, they responded “Netherlands” and Ron immediately broke into conversation speaking Dutch! Ron's parents emigrated to Canada before he was born, yet raised him to speak Dutch, as well as English. He is quite fluent and the trio and Ron enjoyed a great time discussing the success of Dutch World Cup team up to that point.
The next day our destination was first set for Mont Louis, QC, but we had a nice lift from the current and were making excellent time. As a result, we reset our destination for Grande Vallee', a picturesque burg that I was happy to revisit. And I hoped to be helpful sharing what I recalled about the entrance and facilities. As it turns out, we found they were nearly complete in their building of a new marina (none there before) so we had a great place to dock for the night at the new floating piers. A local gent let us know that they expected to complete the marinawithin a few weeks, as it already sported a nice, modern, floating breakwater that hung perpendicular to the government wharf, providing excellent protection in any weather.
Ron and I were up at 3:30am local time as our next trip would be a long one (65nm) across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, passing Anticosti Island as we made our way to Riviere au Tonnerre, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. It was quite breezy (15k-20k) as we departed the marina, but the wind died as we moved offshore making us decide that the wind was merely a local land effect breeze. Our efforts to use the mainsail and jib were dashed and we furled the main, but got a bit of benefit from the jib as we motorsailed. A few freighters were seen using Ron's AIS as we crossed the shipping lanes south of Anticosti Island. The prevailing southwesterly breeze was enough to create some 1-2 metre waves, but these diminished gradually over the day as we distanced ourselves from the shore breeze and the calm day had its effect on the water.
The landmarks shared in the cruising guide finally came into view and Ron steered us through a narrow opening into the natural rock harbour. We were surrounded by smooth, red boulders and slabs forming a nearly perfect circle of a harbour with an L-shaped government wharf at the western side. We rafted up to one of the fishing boats as all the positions on the wharf were taken up by the local fleet. Old Hand was the only recreational boat in the harbour. At 50*16' north, they don't see many cruisers!
Yes, we attained a latitude that was 60nm further north than I had ever sailed before!
We had enjoyed three beautiful, sun-drenched days and now the forecast called for weather much less enjoyable. Ron was at his turnaround point and expected to stay put a few days waiting for the weather to clear, so the next morning I took my leave, boarding a bus to return to my car in Matane.
Spending three days sailing with Ron was terrific. He is a first class gent and sailor, as well as a superb cook! It was definitely a worthwhile trip to sail with Ron and I'd do it again, anytime.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 July 2014 15:32 )
Mid-Bay Living Aboard, June 4 – 9, 2014
Having heard, per local knowledge, that there were free moorings available in Weems Creek and elsewhere around Annapolis, I decided to check it out. Previously, I had driven my car to one of the streets that ends on Weems Creek.
By Annapolis City Statue, all streets that end at the water are declared free dinghy docks. And one exists on Weems Creek, just a hundred yards from the nearest free mooring.
It was a short trip with no breeze, so Kelly IV motored the entire trip as we passed the main campus of the U.S. Naval Academy and one of their sail training vessels, a “Navy 44.” I went slowly by one of the USNA moorings and read that it was the “Property of the USNA, No Trespassing.” Even so, several local sailors had told me the same info, independently, that these moorings were free with the understanding that they must be vacated if required by a USNA vessel, usually only for a hurricane. A few hours later, the Annapolis Harbormaster motored by. Since Kelly IV is already registered with Annapolis, I assume she confirmed my information then moved on. I take that as confirmation of the local knowledge.
For an early weekend, Kelly IV sailed Friday morning to Harness Creek, off the South River, just upstream from our anchorage in Duvall Creek. The sail began with a fun wing-and-wing (Click for Video), using Kelly IV's whisker pole to keep the genoa full. The breeze began to dwindle until we were motoring for the final leg of the trip. Although there were a handful of other boats getting an early start on the weekend, we had the evening to ourselves as the sun set and a cool, calm evening settled over the anchorage. It is a beautiful place with a few waterfront homes on the western shore and Quiet Waters Park on the entire eastern shore. The park has numerous hiking trails with lots of wildlife. I saw a snake and some deer while exploring.
On Saturday I joined a few friends, after a short walk through the park, at a local restaurant to celebrate Chuck's birthday. Chuck has been installing and repairing boat systems, including refrigeration and air conditioning for some decades. He was one of my first friends at Annapolis Landing Marina two years ago when he taught me how to repair Kelly IV's A/C (instead of doing it himself and charging me). Truly a great guy.
The return trip to Annapolis was without wind and we dropped anchor in Back Creek for the night. Next day I sailed a return trip to the Wye River to try out a different anchorage in my quest to take Kelly IV to gunkholes we've never visited. It proved to be a great little spot tucked behind a small peninsula with fish jumping all around Kelly IV (Click for Video). As Wye Island is a park, it is entirely rural, the closest homes are almost 1/2 mile away on the other side of the river making the anchorage feel extremely private and secluded.
Given the protection and security of the USNA moorings, Kelly IV and I returned to Weems Creek on the 9th. The forecast was for 10-15 knots (gusts to 20k) from the south with 3 foot waves, so I had high hopes for a blustery sail, especially as we'd be running and reaching to the north on the Miles River and the open Chesapeake Bay. The reality was barely 10 knots from the South which petered out to about 5 knots, still from the south. This meant a calm sail (Click for Video) north up the Miles River but then we had to motor the entire length of Eastern Bay and Chesapeake Bay.
A couple dolphins played nearby Kelly IV, as we motored up the Severn River toward Weems Creek. Although the breeze began to build a bit, it wasn't worth raising sail for the last minutes into Weems Creek. Of course, as I went to pick up my USNA mooring the wind became blustery and I had to drop my boat hook into the creek as I didn't have enough way on to hold the mooring and slip my line through it. Kelly IV and I came back for a second try after retrieving the first boat hook using my other boat hook. This time all looked good until Kelly IV kept pushing past the mooring until I finally had to drop the second boat hook into the drink. It turns out I forgot to place the transmission in neutral so she kept motoring past the mooring. I soon recovered the second boat hook and made a last effort to pick up the mooring. This time I had enough way to reach the mooring and also left the tranny in neutral so the boat stopped once I got the line strung through the mooring.
Kelly IV and I have now visited 6 new anchorages this past month and are currently settled into Weems Creek. Enough sun peeks between the raindrops so the batteries remain full, I've been doing small projects aboard, watching some DVDs, reading “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,” by Mark Twain, and all is well.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 June 2014 17:30 )