Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Up to Albany, Troy and the Erie Canal

The few days that we spent at Half Moon Bay Marina at Haverstraw Bay were a bit of a disappointment for us. The marina was nice enough with a very nice dock space and pleasant surroundings but it had some things about it that just didn’t work. For instance the reports on and other resources touted a swimming pool, stores and restaurants within a short walking distance and a nice town to visit. Well, we boaters were not allowed to use the pool (only for the nearby condo owners), the nearby stores, especially the grocery store were very pricey, and the town of Croton-on-Hudson wasn’t all that great. I wanted to do the routine maintenance on the boat but there were no marine stores at all in the area and even a substitute like an auto parts store was nowhere to be found. The view of the beautiful river valley was even blocked by a sea wall. Another oddity of the marina was that even with the sea wall, which was more like a snow fence of alternating vertical lumber with spaces in between, it was surprising susceptible to wakes and waves from the bay. Oh well, you live and learn. But we left Croton-on-Hudson behind and headed up to Kingston NY.
A wall. See what I mean?
The cruise up to Kingston was interesting in a couple of respects. The river began to narrow quite noticeably from a thousand yards shore to shore at Croton-on-Hudson to become a fairly twisty stretch of water no more than one or two hundred yards apart. The other interesting thing was that the water up in this stretch was even deeper than down close to New York. There is one stretch of water called “End of the World” just north of the West Point Military Academy that was 170 feet deep. The Hudson River is basically a big gash in the Earth. Speaking of West Point we passed it on our port side and unlike the wide open spaces of the US Naval Academy, West Point looks like a fortress with massive building all crammed together on the steep slopes of the Hudson River bank. Impressive!

Narrower and narrower...

and even more narrow.

West Point. A fortress on the Hudson

West Point

We arrived at the Rondout River Inlet at Kingston fairly late in the afternoon. The channel was very easy to navigate and we made our way to the Rondout Yacht Basin marina to catch a very nice piece of floating facing dock for a couple of days. Our weather for the trip up there was fine but the next two days were suppose to have some rain, thunderstorms and high winds, all of which did happen.
It was a dark and stormy night.

Yep, sure was.
The marina was kind of a blue collar kind of thing which is fine with us. A little frayed around the edges but it was all good. And the price was right, too. The town of Kingston itself is on the opposite side of the river from the marina and as we had errands we had to do we had to rent a car for twenty four hours. Fortunately Enterprise does pick clients up. Our driver was a retired fellow who was very nice and knowledgeable about the area. He had some tips on where to do for some of the things we needed. Fortunately Kingston is a pretty good sized town and we were able to get to a Walmart, a Home Depot and a local grocery store. The only downside of Kingston is that the only marine store was very much for local recreational and fishing run-abouts. I needed to do a full oil and filter change on the generator and engine. I did have a complete set of filters for the job but I wanted to have another whole set on hand, so I was out of luck. They did have the oil I needed. We were planning on leaving on Wednesday but the forecast on up north towards Albany and Troy wasn’t too good. The skies were clear but the wind was horrendous: steady winds of 15 to 20 knots with gusts to 35 knots. No thanks. We spent one extra night there and pulled out on Thursday instead. One really great feature of the marina was that their wifi connection was totally awesome so we were able to entertain ourselves on Netflix all the time that we were there and we could do all kinds of stuff on the internet without it chewing up our T-Mobile hotspot bandwidth.

One totally awesome detail about Kingston. When we returned the rental car the same gentleman as before drove us back. We got along good so he took a few detours to show us a couple of interesting sights. Well, one of these sights was an old warehouse with some wooden boat hulls covered in plastic. It turned out, according to the driver, that these were PT boat hulls and there is a group of volunteers there that are in the process of restoring several PT boats. That is so cool! Actually I noticed the hulls as we were first coming in and made a mental note about them at the time but shrugged it off as if to say, “Nah. PT boats here? No way.” Well, Yes, way.
PT boat hulls

Thursday had ideal conditions. It was calm in the morning with beautiful blue skies. The breezes did stiffen up a tad in the afternoon but it was no big deal. The river was even narrower now and we were riding a flooding tide. And the tide was cruising in very fast. In fact, so much so that the markers had wakes going in the direction that would normally be upstream. And, to our astonishment we hit 10.5 knots! That is the fastest that we have ever gone in this boat. We had some cruising buddies on this leg, Jim, Gail and Kathy of Jim-O and they were getting the same result. We had planned to reach our destination about 5:00 pm but we made it to the dock by 3:30.
Troy Lock closing in on us.

Troy Lock

Lock E-2 and the Erie Canal
Albany was the largest city on the Hudson other than those of the New York area with a pretty impressive skyline and a very busy commercial harbor which I was kind of surprised about. After Albany we passed Troy, NY. And just a tad past that was our first lock since Great Bridge lock back in Virginia – The Troy Lock and Dam, commonly called the Federal Lock as it is operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. It was a thirteen foot climb up to what I guess would be the very bottom of the Champlain Canal. After a short distance we spied a big blue sign that basically says, “Erie Canal, turn left. Champlain Canal, go straight.” We made our turn left, ducked under a bridge and found a nice spot on the free floating dock at Waterford, NY, just 200 yards from the first real lock of the Erie Canal. We made it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

New York City…By Boat! YIKES!

Ok, I’ll get through the mundane stuff quickly. We left Manesquan. Conditions were great on the ocean. Weather was wonderful…blah, blah, blah.

Now, about New York City.

About 11:15 am we rounded Sandy Hook, NJ which meant that we were actually in Lower New York Harbor. So far so good. Plenty of water and great conditions particularly the seas which were near calm. We were surprised at all the fishing boats out there. There were lots of small craft as well as larger party boats. The skyline of New York was very visible off to our starboard and starboard bow. Keeping on course to head up to the Hudson River took us first under the Varrazano Narrows Bridge. From that point everything changed. All of sudden we were in commercial boating land. There were several large container ships entering and leaving and we had to bust some very big wakes to keep the dry side up and the wet side down.
NYC from the edge of the lower harbor

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge from the lower harbor. This bridge is the gateway to the upper harbor.
Lighthouse in the lower harbor
After the big boats cleared out we could easily now see Manhattan. Each mile it got larger and larger. Then off our port bow Lisa cried out that she spotted the Statue of Liberty. There it was, big as life. It was awe inspiring to know that this was the same view that so many of our ancestors had when they were entering New York. Just past that was Ellis Island. The sun was now shinning and Manhattan sparkled. Now that’s all the good part.
Trouble ahead.


Some big statue. ???

Uh oh.

Ellis Island

The bad part of all this is that Upper New York Harbor is the biggest piece of garbage you would ever lay your eyes on. There were dozens of excursion boats and ferries all over the stinking place. The rules of the road say that they, commercial vessels, are the stand on vessels all the time. That made us the give way vessel all the time. So I was bobbing and weaving all over the place trying like crazy to not get in anyone’s way. And the water was incredibly choppy. Actually saying it was choppy is not a strong enough term. It was sloppy! Holy cats!

But we did make it up into the Hudson away from all the garbage. Soon the river quieted down nicely. The modern mega towers of Manhattan gave way to taller older buildings. Then more moderate buildings. We passed under the George Washington Bridge and except for a small sailing boat we were the only boat around. It was pleasant. The only downer of the river up this far is that there was a pretty tough current going down to the ocean and even at 1900 rpm, which is up there for Why Knot, we could only manage to squeeze 6.5 or 6.6 knots. That’s pretty slow. 

The Hudson River Valley is beautiful with lush, thick forests on both sides. The river is very deep so the valley is more of a canyon. The western shore is steep and hilly with only a scant few signs of population. There are some bare rock cliffs where in several spots they have tumbled down into the river. The eastern shore is not as steep but there are several towns along the way where buildings are built up and staggered along the vertical geography. There probably isn’t a straight road anywhere. We passed towns like Riverdale, Yonkers, Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown and Ossining. If Ossining sounds familiar it’s because it is home to the Ossining State Prison, otherwise known as Sing Sing, right there built up from the water. It may be hard time but at least the prisoners have a nice view. Our marina is on the east side of the river in Haverstraw Bay near the town of Croton-On-Hudson. Like I said it is very beautiful up here.
Sing Sing
We shall take a few days off here as we have to catch up on some chores, namely routine maintenance on the boat including giving it a good cleaning, laundry and provisioning. It’s a short walk to the town but it is very hot right now with temperatures in the 90’s. We’ll see how we deal with that.

New Joisey (Er, I mean “Jersey”) – Going On Out To Get On Up.

Atlantic City, NJ

Tuesday was going to be good cruising day to make our first ocean transit from Cape May to Atlantic City, NJ. Winds were light from the south and, like so many of our cruises, the conditions in the first half would be different than the second half. Fortunately the only difference would be wave size. The lower half of the course would have one to three foot waves. The second half would show two to four foot waves. But they were not too challenging in that the wave periods, the time between waves, would be seven to nine seconds. So the effect would be that the waves were more of rolling swells without breakers on top. We weren’t crashed by waves. Well, the forecasts held up and it turned out to be somewhat of a non-event. The seas were very manageable and the cruise was AOK in every other respect.

Very shortly on the trip we were able to start seeing some of the high rise casinos of Atlantic City. To be able to see our objective in a cruise is somewhat relieving. Even if something catastrophic happened, namely the chart plotter fizzling out, we could at least see where we were suppose to end up and be able to go “that-a-way”. The paper charts would do the rest.
Ain't nothing out there but water.

Atlantic City NJ

We pulled into the first little bay after entering Absecon Inlet (That’s the name of the inlet in Atlantic City.) and quickly found our spot for the night: a tidy little marina attached to a tourist-y kind of area, and in particular an aquarium. They had a nice piece of facing dock waiting for us and we neatly pulled in and got tied up. We actually went to the aquarium to pay our docking bill. The area was nice and clean with a nice restaurant named “Scales” right next to our boat and marina. We had lunch at Scales and since Why Knot was right there in front of us our waiter recognized us and we started up a pleasant conversation about out adventures. We also did go to the aquarium as admission was free with a docking. It was an ok aquarium. They did have several cool pools where you could touch different fish including some tiny little sharks and some cownose rays. They also had a very large ocean turtle. Lisa wanted to bring that back to the boat as our boat pet but I firmly put my foot down to that.
A view of our table from the boat...

and a view of our boat from the table.

The little inlet as seen from the bow.

Atlantic City

The sun came out in a bright sunshine, which was a nice change as for the last several days there has been a grey cloudy shroud over the area. All in all it was a good first day out into the blue and good afternoon and evening in Atlantic City.


Ed. - Sorry. No pictures from Manesquan. Nothing worth taking a picture of.

The conditions for our next leg up the New Jersey coast were as close to ideal that you could get. Southerly winds at five to ten knots with seas of two feet or less. They were so good that we made a change to our float plan and decided to skip going into Barneget Bay completely and proceed on up the coast to Manesquan Bay.

How do I put this politely? Manesquan Bay and harbor was a mess. It was shallow and there were boats everywhere in the narrow channels. One thing we have noticed that unlike in southern locales where the boaters are polite, follow the rules of the road and are very cognizant of how each other can effect everyone else, the further north we go it seems that it’s more like, “Screw the rules. Every mariner for themselves.” While Manesquan Bay and harbor had the appropriate “no wake zone” signs they were largely ignored. It was choppy and a bit tough to get around.

Our marina was Clarks Landing Marina and while it was a nice enough marina it is obviously made for recreational and charter fishing boats. The piling slips were very narrow. The finger docks were nothing more than a couple of 2x10 boards nailed from the dock to the nearest piling. I had a devil of a time getting the boat into our slip. Fortunately, Sal, the dock master was on top the things and he helped me out a whole lot. Major props to Sal. But any port is a good port.

We left Manesquan on Thursday morning June, 21st. Again the conditions were ripe to make a bold move up the coast and instead of curling back around Sandy Hook at the mouth of New York Harbor and hooking up to a mooring field we decided to take the plunge and go ahead and head up the harbor past the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan on up to a local marina. In other words we are going to New York City…by boat!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Good Bye Annapolis, Hello Sassafras River? Then On To Delaware City.

Morning came up in Annapolis with the promise of a good cruising day to our destination for the night, a bend in the Sassafras River about thirty miles up the bay from Annapolis on the east side. It was still in Maryland but it is the first time that we were on the eastern shore. Norfolk – west side. Deltaville – west side. Potomac River – west side. Solomons – west side. Annapolis – west side. Oh there is plenty to see and do on the east side but we never made it over there. But this would be the day!

The Chesapeake Bay is very wide at its southern mouth and narrows as you go north. As we inched our way up towards the Sassafras it looked more like a river than a bay. And I do mean “inched”. The weather forecast was for seas of two feet or less but with five to ten knot winds from the north which slowed us down a bunch to where most of the time we were cruising at only about 6.3 knots per hour. Sometimes it was in the high fives. But we did reach it without too much hassle. The waves were disorganized to where things were more of a moderate chop rather than wavy and roll-y. Not too bad.

We drove into the Sassafras to find that it was a fairly busy recreational boating area. Not as heavy as Annapolis, which was uber busy with boats but there were some. It seems that while Annapolis had mostly sailboats in it’s waters the Sassafras attracts more powerboats, and of those most seem to be the real high horsepower, low profile boats built strictly to do one thing – go really fast in a straight line. As we approached the river we witnessed two different groups of speed boats in what could be called drag races. There were three in the first race and two in the second. They were both off to our starboard side. One nice thing about these boats is that when they are on plane they don’t make much of a wake so they were fun to watch and that was that. Our anchorage was in a bend back into the river a bit. Not a bad overall location but it was wakey.

In the morning we pulled up the anchor and headed on further north towards the C&D Canal which, for all intents and purposes, marks the end of the Chesapeake Bay up north. We entered the canal (C&D stands for Chesapeake and Delaware.) and since it was Sunday it was almost vacant except for a few fishing boats and two commercial ships up near its end in the Delaware River, which makes up the northern end of the bay. Exiting the canal we headed north for a short distance to another narrow canal, which was the actual old time C&D Canal, to Delaware City and its municipal marina. It’s a nice marina and we actually had planned to spend some time there because the most recent weather forecast that we had seen was for marginal conditions to make the run down Delaware Bay.
C&D Canal

C&D Canal

Lighthouse heading down Delaware Bay
There is a running gag amongst cruisers that the only reason to go to Delaware Bay is to go thru Delaware Bay, and there is truth to that. Delaware City seemed nice but as far as the rest of the bay goes there really isn’t much else going for it. There are not any rivers or inlets or towns to speak of its entire length until you get down to the bottom southeast end in Cape May, NJ. (The west side of the bay is Delaware and the east side is New Jersey.) And quite frankly compared to our wonderful experience in Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay was a let-down. But we settled in Why Knot at the marina in Delaware City waiting for conditions to arise to be able make a successful transit of the bay to Cape May. You see, besides being an anti-tourist-destination Delaware Bay also has a reputation of being a really crummy body of water to cruise on unless the conditions are perfect. And like I said, the forecast wasn’t looking too good.

Of course that all changed overnight. The new weather forecast for Monday was for fair southerly winds (not ideal) and relatively calm seas. What was going to be a day in Delaware City now became a cruising day down the Delaware. There was another couple, Jim and Gail of the boat Jim-Oh docked with us. Nice folks! They were going to make the transit too. We consulted with Tim, the dock master at the marina.

Let me tell you about Tim. Omigod! This guy was totally freaking amazing! He is King Neptune of Delaware Bay. He looked at all the factors including the currents, tides, weather, our boats…everything. He laid out the exact plan that we had to follow including when our speeds would be slow because of currents going north, higher speeds that we would achieve when the currents turned around heading south, what kind of winds we would have and what kind of wave conditions we would have…and when in our cruise we could expect each of these occurrences. He even told us that we had to pass a nuclear energy plant by a certain time to be able to make it into Cape May without getting rocked. And darned if he wasn’t 99% correct. The only thing he missed that instead of three to four foot waves in the last fifteen miles of the cruise we ended up with two to three foot high waves. Of drat! So with Tim’s help we made it into Cape May AOK, found our marina and settled in for the night. Tuesday would be our first ocean cruising leg from Cape May up to Atlantic City, NJ. That’s the ATLANTIC OCEAN!

One more funny thing…I got a call from my son Bryan to wish me happy father’s day. He casually asked me where we were. I told him we were in Delaware. He said,”Oh.” Then there was a pause and said back, “DELWARE?” If you want to keep up with dad you have to read the blogs, Bryan. That goes for you too, Kevin.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Annapolis, MD - Way Cool! Part 2

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rain was the dominate feature of the weather picture. There were overnight thunderstorms with some hefty winds and it was pretty bouncy. It had gotten to the point where we wanted to get off of the boat and onto some solid ground for a change. We called the water taxi over to take us ashore and were surprised to see that there was some flooding on some streets down at the water’s edge.

First order of business was lunch. And in Annapolis that means going to Chick and Ruth’s Deli on Main Street. This is what I guess is a very typical New York style deli in a very narrow building with cramped booths and tables and it was crowded for good reason. The food was very good and the vibe was fun. There was a booth near ours that was roped off reserving it for the Governor – a perk of the job. Funny thing was there was no sign or anything on it saying so, but everyone just kind of knew it.

After a few stops in a few of the stores on Main Street (We both got great new hats.) we walked over to the visitors entrance to the United States Naval Academy. After going through a security check point we went to the visitors center which is right on the harbor where we could see Why Knot getting bumped around by the waves that were coming in.

The academy is a beautiful campus with an interesting mix of old, European style buildings – not so much of the Federal style architecture like we saw in Washington – and more modern buildings, all blending together very well. And of course the color blue was everywhere. The buildings were all a light shade of granite. After watching the twelve minute introductory film and going through the large gift store we signed up for a guided tour of the campus. Our tour guide was a friendly man named Gene and we got an exclusive tour as the rain kept others away. But we had our jackets and our new hats so we were game to go.
Dahlgren Hall, US Naval Academy
Dahlgren Hall, US Naval Academy

John Paul Jones Sarcophagus
We walked all around the campus and Gene filled us in on many of the important and fascinating history and facts of the Academy. We first visited Dahlgren Hall which used to be the armory but was now used as the general gathering place. It is big, tall and long structure and it kind of reminded me of a blimp or airship hanger. Dahlgren Hall is also the mess for the middies, and I think that it has been used for a lot of different things during its lifetime. You could even see where the boards for a hockey rink were impressed on the floor. One interesting feature of the hall was a very large (40 feet long maybe.) of a fully rigged sailing vessel. Gene told us that in the olden days this was on the main floor and it was used to teach all about how a tall mast sailing ship is rigged and controlled. We also went into the massive dormitory building that houses all of the 4000+ midshipmen at the academy as well as the Superintendent’s office and a hall commemorating graduates that fell in the line of duty. The architecture was staggeringly beautiful. From there we went to the Naval Academy Chapel with its high ceiling and rotunda - again a beautiful building. Then after leaving the chapel through a side door and going down into another side door we entered a large round very ornate room which contained the sarcophagus of John Paul Jones, America’s first naval hero. (Look him up in Wikipedia. Very interesting story.) We ended up at the Academy’s museum. The first floor was a history of the US Navy from it’s inception to today. It is very well put together and informative. The second floor is entirely devoted to the world’s largest collection of wooden ship models that, in the old days of sailing ships, were made in conjunction with the building of a vessel as sort of a press proof, duplicating the details down the their most minute level. But that will have to wait for tomorrow. It was getting late. Time to head back to the boat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The weather was much nicer Wednesday with clear sunny skies but still with some winds. It was a perfect day to continue our exploration of Annapolis.

First stop was the Maryland State House just a few blocks from the waterfront. It was built back in 1772 and is the oldest continuously used state house in the US. The legislature was not in session so we were able to sneak a peak in the Senate and House chambers. But the real point of interest was the old Senate chambers which was where George Washington announced his retirement from the Continental Army to the Continental Congress in session, which as a quirk of history, gives this building the distinction of actually being the capital of our new country for about 10 months. This was also the location where the Treaty of Paris was signed. The Treaty of Paris was the actual document signed between the US and Great Britain that formally ended hostilities, told King George to stop bugging us, and to allow us to talk without that silly accent. As it turns out the British kept on giving us a load of trouble leading to the War of 1812, and women style swoon at any foreign chap that says, “Cheerio!” with the slightest inflection. But we did get Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Top Gear and Doctor Who. So, let the babes swoon. Fair swap.

After lunch we went back to the Naval Academy Museum to visit the second floor containing all of the ship models mentioned earlier. Now, I do not generally give myself too easily to hyperbole and exaggeration (The only times that I do are when I am talking or writing.) but the ship model museum was incredible. There were several dozen of these things all displayed in the context of the development of shipbuilding technology of the Royal Navy. (With only few exceptions the models were British.) Some of these models dated back to the 17th century. And the level of detail was astounding. There was a video of an arthroscope being used to rummage around inside one of these models and to see the level of craftsmanship and detail was a wonder to behold. This exhibit is not to be missed.

As I said the weather was nice and sunny but very comfortable. We had a waterside late lunch / early dinner and enjoyed the view of the harbor.

Earlier in the day a full size sailing ship came into the harbor named “Bounty”. It was the ship used to film the movie back in 1961. On our way back to the water taxi we walked up along the boat and checked it out. Awesome!

Back on our boat we got a real treat. Every Wednesday evening there is a sailboat race out of the harbor, out into the bay going around a distant lighthouse and back into the harbor to a finish line at a bridge, which by the way is not tall enough for a sailboat to pass under. We sat on our sundeck as the one hundred or so boats all sailed out to the starting area just outside the harbor in the Severn River. The cannon blasted from the director’s boat and off they went out of sight into Chesapeake Bay to the light house. After about 45 minutes we started seeing the sails of all the boats coming back in. And they were moving fast! The wind was blowing directly into the harbor from the north so almost all of them deployed their spinnaker sails as they turned to come into the harbor. We were up on our fly bridge by now taking in the scene. Now, the channel of the harbor is a bit too narrow for so many boats to pass all together so many of them came racing in through our mooring field weaving in and out of all the tied up boats there, including us. It was funny and nerve racking all at the same time. There seemed to be so little room and so great a number of boats. We didn’t see any collisions but there were a lot of close calls. Oh, sailors! What a bunch of nuts.

Thursday, 6/14/2012

This was to be our getaway day to head up north. But alas the winds were again not in our favor. The seas aren’t too bad but the winds were in the 10 to 15 knot range with some gusts higher, coming directly from the north and northeast. These would be headwinds and would really slow us down and could chop things up out in the bay. Checking the long range forecast we could see that on Saturday the 16th the winds are to drop significantly which would be to our advantage. So unless something changes in the meantime we will stay a longer.

We did head back onto shore and into town for a short while and headed uptown, so to speak, onto West Street to see what was there was to see. We found a wonderful used book store and we started poking around. Lisa found me a great book on boat maneuvering, herself a book on the civil war strategies and a sort of civil war almanac, and I found a biography of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the US. (Remember him?).

We got back to the boat and called for the mobile pump out boat to pay us a visit which it did a bit later. Otherwise we just hung out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

We called for the water taxi and hopped on board. But this time instead of going straight to the city center water front we went to the east side of the harbor known as Eastport. It is much more residential but style charming. Our goal was to visit a company really just to be able to say we did. Weems and Plath, Inc. is probably the world’s largest producers of high quality navigation tools and gadgets for not only marine navigation but also air and even space navigation, but mostly marine. Lt. Cdr. Philip Van Horn Weems, USN, and a Naval Academy graduate was probably the world’s leading expert in and innovator of marine navigation. He invented many of tools that navigators have used for decades and he was an absolute nut about the subject. He literally wrote the modern text on the subject that is still used throughout the world about how to get from point A to point B on a boat. When he exhausted his grey matter on that he turned his attention to modernizing air navigation. Charles Lindbergh was one of his pupils and used an especially designed instrument by Weems on his flight across the Atlantic. Then, if that wasn’t enough, when the space age started coming into existence he turned his mega-mind to figuring out how to practically navigate through space. His history is very interesting. The “Plath” in Weems and Plath is the name of a German company that made high quality sextants for marine navigation. The combined companies have a lovely but modest facility in Eastport. We paid them a visit and looked at their showroom of tools and Lisa’s eyes got really large. She loves this kind of stuff. I found my way to a display case with some of the personal navigation gear that Weems used himself as well as some mementos from his brilliant career. One of these was an original handwritten note from Charles Lindbergh thanking Weem’s for his teachings and personal assistance in his historic flight. The visit to Weems and Plath headquarters was a small but very interesting stop.

There are many loopers out there; all of whom have their own agendas and timetables and I get that and I understand that. To each their own. But there is one thing I kind of don’t get and that is the loopers whose entire goal is to get around the Great Loop in the shortest amount of time. I know that there may be work or financial considerations but there are those who do the whole thing in as little as eighteen weeks. There is a promotional cruise of the Great Loop at this time by the folks of the Beniteau boatworks called “The Greatest Loop”. They just started their cruise shortly before Memorial Day and they are going to finish in September. WHY SO FAST? Here are some of the reasons why I think this is kind of wrong thinking. 1) They've got to go very fast which is a waste of fuel. (I read an article about them today (June 16) and they were jumping for joy that they had a fuel consumption rate of “only 16 gallons per hour”. Huh?) 2) Weather conditions must really be disregarded. (In this same article on their first day they got clobbered in the Chesapeake Bay from Norfolk to Annapolis.) and 3) It misses the point of why this is such a beautiful experience in the first place. And that is to see beautiful things and to be stimulated by the awesomeness of every detail, big and small. Things like the fun of exploring places like we have here in Annapolis, taking side trips like to Washington DC and exploring the Potomac River, stopping by Weems and Plath, enjoying the ever changing scenery, and most important spending time with new friends along the way. I know why Beniteau is doing what they are doing, namely using the Great Loop as a display of their engineering and products. But it is, in my opinion, not “the greatest loop”.  It totally contradicts the entire idea behind doing the Loop.

That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. 

We walked back to the town center to the bookstore mentioned above. Lisa had seen a book about the naval engagements of the war of 1812 that she wanted to go back and get, but alas we were not able to find it this time. Strolling back towards the waterfront we walked back to the Naval Academy again. I wanted to speak to one of the tour guides with some questions that I had conjured up. And at this our time on shore in Annapolis, Maryland was now over and we returned to our boat for a nap and to think about our departure tomorrow on up to the Sassasfras River and then to Delaware City.

We truly loved our time here in Annapolis. For a boater it has it all. Good facilities, convenience, beauty, charm, history and a really cool vibe that just plain can’t be beat. On one of our water taxi trips we were talking to the boat’s skipper and chatting-up doing the Great Loop. He asked us of all the places where we have been so far where would we like to go back to. Both Lisa and I both pointed down indicating that that would be right here, in Annapolis. Furthermore we both have found the entire Chesapeake Bay to be fascinating. You could very easily spend an entire summer here. There are plenty of things to see and do. For a boater it is a wonderful place. Too bad the crew of the Beniteau boat missed it all.

Doing the Great Loop is not a race. It is an adventure. 

One last thing…I am the Quacker God!