Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lightning Strikes....

Tarwathie was hit by lightning (no human injuries; only electronic) during an intense storm this weekend. The blog updates will be limited for a while. Currently near Kittery, Maine and headed to Booth Bay.
Will check in again once we have an Internet connection!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Isle of Shoals

Gosport Harbor, Isle of Shoals, NH, N 42 58.742 W 70 36.808

Ah, yet another nice day in paradise. My sister Nancy and her daughter Lena met us in Marblehead this morning and the four of us sailed of the the harbor. We were a little reluctant to leave because that place was so nice, and the Marblehead Yacht Club people were so hospitable.

But before all that, the dockmaster really made my day. I was waiting around the dock around 8AM and he said, "I have to go fire the cannon." Every morning at 8AM and at sunset each of the yacht clubs in the harbor fires their cannons. They are really loud and the first time I heard them I was very startled. Anyhow, I said, "Cool. Let me come and watch." He replied, "Better than that, would you like to fire it?" Wow! I did fire it and it was enormous fun. My two sons who are both soldiers would appreciate the feeling.

As we sailed out of the harbor we encountered a nice but gentle breeze. We were also treated to the sight of a hundred or more single design sailing boats on a sailing race leaving the harbor beside us.

We offered Nancy a choice of destinations, and she said "How about an Island?" The Isle of Shoals is a group of four Islands near Portsmouth NH, and it made an ideal destination. The sail up here was delightful. Winds about 15 knots. The temperature about 75F (24C), the waves less than three feet. Tarwathie made between 4.5 and 6.5 knots of speed all the way up here. We passed Glouster Harbor (pronounced Glosta Haba) and waved to George Clooney as we went by.

Just now we are moored near Star Island. Nancy and Lena took the dinghy ashore to explore the island. I regret that I don't have a video of Lena attempting to row. Obviously she had never rowed a boat before nor seen anybody else doing it because she had no idea what to do. They just kept circling ineffectively with the tide carrying they away from the island and out to sea. Just when I was about to call for help on the radio to get someone to rescue them, Nancy took over from Lena. Nancy is hardly and expert rower but nevertheless in a few minutes she had them safely ashore.

From Guest Logger Lena,
The island was cool. There was a turning thing in the back that we went through (like one of those spinning doors, only outside, and it didn't go anywhere . . . ) There was a path through some bushes and when we followed those we came to some rocks with lots of seagulls. There were some brown birds which we assume were baby seagulls. They didn't seem like they could fly; they just hopped around or bobbed their heads up and down. Also there were blackberries growing along the path. We tried some. They were very sour. Not ripe. On our way back we were talking to an artist guy who was painting the rocks and water. And . . . that's about it . . . We got the dinghy and rowed back (Mom rowed this time . . . heheh . . . I am not too good at rowing ^_^;; ).

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Marblehead Yacht Clubhouse,

Today was special . We had a visit from Karin Nystrom. Karin is my sister's mother in law (what does that make her to me???). Anyhow, she's a very nice woman and we've always had fun with her around.

Karin loves Marblehead and she enjoyed the boat ride out and the leisurely lunch on the boat. I'll post pictures next opportunity.

After lunch I asked Karin for a favor. We needed to buy some things at Wall Mart so I asked her for a ride there. She said yes so off we went. It was a much longer trip than I expected through tough traffic. I feel bad for imposing on Karin's good will that much. She's a trooper (and a good looking one too.) Thank you Karin.

Tomorrow is more family. My sister Nancy and her daughter Lena area coming to sail with us. Nancy for one day and Lena for several days.

Coming up on the weekend is a reunion with several cousins and aunts in Portsmouth New Hampshire.

Monday, July 24, 2006

41 Years

Marblehead Public library,

Well today is our anniversary. We've been married for 41 years, and we get along so well that we're ready to sign up for another 41. I went out on a date with Libby when I was a senior in high school in 1961. That was only my second (and last) date ever. The rest is history.

I consider myself very lucky to have Libby and she would say the same about me. We also have three wonderful and happy children and a pile of wonderful grandkids. The support of a loving family is a tremendous advantage. Even with the strain of so much forced togetherness while living on the boat we still get along just fine. Most of the credit goes to Libby. She's really special.

We explored Marblehead on foot today. It really is charming. We love the old houses and the historic settings. They have the original painting of The Spirit of 76 hanging in the meeting room at the city hall. It's a splendidly beautiful day for walking around too.

I wanted to take Libby out to dinner tonight but she has plans to make Lasanga for me on the boat. It'll be a nice anniversary celebration.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Family Day

Buzzards Bay, Mass N 41 40.351 W 70 34.458

The tropical storm passed us by Friday morning. It did come ashore in Nantucket but where we were the wind was almost totally still. Even in Nantucket, it was milder than anticipated with maximum winds of 44 knots. As I said before, I wish that the weather report had given me less information.

Yesterday we took advantage of a day in the marina to wash a lot of things in fresh water. I also walked to town and bought parts for a project. Our project was to repair our washdown hose and to improve the installation. The problem was that the hose ran through the chain locker. It wound up on the floor under 90 kg of chain and got crushed. In one place it was crushed too badly to recover. To eliminate that problem we bought a piece of PVC pipe and routed the hose through that. The pipe served as a crush proof conduit. Then we cut out the spoiled pieces of hose and spliced the ends together. It works good now.

Today was special. My sister Nancy came with her family for a day sail. Nancy, her husband Karl and their daughters Lena and Alexandra came. It has been a long time, perhaps two years, since we saw them. The girls grew up a lot. Lena, now 15, is no longer a little girl but a young woman. The weather was problematical for a day sail. The morning was drizzly, and foggy.

We had to leave the dock by 1100 but we didn't want to sail out into the fog. Our compromise was to sail out only to the mouth of the cove and to anchor for a while. While waiting at anchor all of us except Libby had a nice swim. The water was a very nice temperature for swimming, and very clean and very very salty. It was fun. One of the girls lost a snorkel and mask, so her father Karl dove again and again and actually succeeded in finding it. Good work Karl.

Libby made a nice buffet lunch for us, and by the time lunch was done the fog had lifted and the wind started blowing 20 knots or more. Lena and Alex had been to sailing school so they weren't afraid. I raised all the sails and away we flew. We didn't get very far though before everyone noticed that Karl had turned white. He had a bad case of seasickness. We turned back and returned to the anchorage. Karl didn't feel much better there, so we reluctantly called an early end to the day and returned Nancy and her family to the dock. As it turned out, soon after we dropped them off it started to rain, so overall they didn't lose too much of a sailing day.

Weather aside, it was delightful to see Nancy and family again. Thank you for coming.

Early tomorrow morning we plan to traverse the Cape Cod Canal and to set sail for Salem Mass.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Too Much Information

Red Brook Harbor N 41 40.653 , W 70 36.864

I woke up this morning to the phrase "Tropical Storm Watch" on the radio. Before I could react, they said, "cancel tropical storm watch, start tropical storm warning." The weather forecast for Friday morning was bad (35 knots) but not tropical storm. Then they said, 39 knots sustained winds. Well, that's not so bad, we've sat at anchor with worse than that. Then, the national weather service had to give one more bit of information, more than I wanted to hear. They said, "Chance of 39 knots 78%, chance of 74 or more knots 2%." 74! That's hurricane strength! It's true that 2% is a low probability, but the concept of hurricanes gets my attention. It panicked me into seeking the nearest marina for refuge.

By 9 AM we were across the bay and in a slip at Kingman Yacht Haven. It is a very very sheltered spot, and we should be very secure, but it cost me $208 for two nights at this slip. That's the highest fee we've ever paid. To put frosting on the cake, the salty dockmaster with local knowledge said, "Bah. It's going to go well east of year. It won't be bad." Darn that weather report. If they had just given me a little bit less information.

Oh well, at least we can have nice warm showers, I can fill our water tanks, and wash the boat, and we'll sleep securely.

Last night, after posting my blog, we watched the Wareham Fire Department boats doing a drill. At least I think it was a drill. One boat put out three divers with SCUBA tanks, and dragged them at low speed back and forth across the harbor in a raster pattern. It was like they were searching for a body. The second boat tried (ineffectively) to keep other boat traffic away from the divers.

Too bad we didn't have any lakes in West Charlton. Water rescue and SCUBA certification would have added interesting variety to our drills and training.

The picture shows one of those beautiful Herreshoff S boats that we saw racing in Bristol, RI. The other S boats are in the background. These boats are about 25 feet long. They sail with a crew of three and they appear to be the perfect racing machines. It was amazing to see how fast they went in light winds. Upwind, their velocity seemed to match wind speed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Wareham MA, N 41 44.311 W 70.42.682

We had a nice day yesterday in New Bedford. While Libby did laundry I went in search of a WiFi hot spot. I tried several coffee shops without success. Then, in the heart of New Bedford downtown, I just sat down on the sidewalk, turned on my PC and zing! I had a super fast WiFi connection from who knows where. I posted a bunch of pictures to the blog.

In the afternoon we had dinner in a sports bar near the waterfront. Now we have laundry, food, charts of New England, and were all set on errands for a while.

Today we had a very pleasant sail up Buzzards Bay to Wareham. We have a sailing friend Andre who lives in Wareham and we went up the Wareham River in search of his boat. We wanted to invite Andre for supper. Alas, we couldn't find Andre nor his boat. We learned one thing though. The Nantucket light ship is tied up in the Wareham River. That light ship is a pretty famous artifact.

Tomorrow we head through the Cape Cod Canal and head for Plymouth, Marblehead, Boston, and Salem, not necessarily in that order. We also hope to visit family while in the area.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

New Bedford

N 41 37.458 W 70.54.749

This morning I created a very blog worthy disaster. I was preparing to go ashore in the dinghy. I was taking trash and a couple of gallon jugs of waste motor oil, with me. I put all this stuff in the dinghy but the cap to one of the jugs was not screwed on tight. My attention was diverted for a while. When I looked back there was a puddle of black oil all over the seat and the inside of the dinghy. What a mess! More than two quarts had leaked and mixed with the gallon of loose seawater in the bottom of the dinghy.

I changed into my most grungy set of shorts and climbed into the dinghy to clean it out. It was awful. As I climbed in it rocked the dinghy and now twice as much of the inside was dirty as before. I had to stand in the oil, and sit in the oil and put my hands into the oil to clean it up. After that, anything I touched became oily. I picked up the trash bag, it was oily. Libby took it on deck, and now Tarwathie's deck and the side of her hull were oily.

You can picture the scene. The more we tried to control the situation the worse things got and the farther the oil spread. But we kept our heads. Step one was to get the suction pump and to pump the oil and oily water into jugs. When that was done we wrapped the oily jugs in plastic shopping bags. Step two was to wipe down the dinghy with oil-absorbent rags. I don't know who invented those rags or when they were invented but they are miraculous. With only two rags and ten minutes, almost all of the oil was off the dinghy, off Tarwathie, off me and off Libby. Step three was to wash all the above with dishwashing soap. Step four was to wash myself with pumice soap. It all worked pretty well. There are some stains on the seat of the dinghy, but otherwise the mess was cleaned up.

It could have been a catastrophe, but we limited it to only disaster proportions. If I had been alone and not had Libby to help it really would have become a catastrophe. Sorry, no pictures. If we had picked up the camera it too would have been oily.

We rented a mooring here. Only $20/night, much more reasonable than some recent stops. I went ashore, disposed of the trash and old oil and bicycled into the city in search of a West Marine store. It is very hot today, about 95F (35C), and it was hard to find things. (Ah yes, I just remembered about street layouts in Massachusetts) Eventually I found the place, and I bought charts and a new cruising guide for New England. Now we're prepared to go all the way up to the Canadian border.

I also bought some groceries and located a laundromat. We'll stay here tomorrow and do more errands.

The harbor is full of commercial fishing boats. We'll be entertained watching them come in and out. The harbor is also protected by a massive hurricane barrier. We entered through the gates this morning and we are moored right behind the barrier now. The barrier seems to be about 15 feet high. It makes me think of Katrina from last year, with 25 foot storm surges. It is very scary to visualize the sea coming in over the top of the barrier.

We are also close the the Vinyard Ferries terminal. My friend Pete Lemme was heading for Martha's Vinyard soon and I suspect that he may be boarding the ferry here.

Yesterday and today we had our first experiences sailing in thick fog. Both times we were in high traffic areas. We kept a sharp lookout, we tooted on the fog horn, and we watched on radar. In both cases, we were out of the fog within an hour, and we didn't have any near collisions. I think it scared Libby more than it did me. One bad thing is that no other vessels sounded their fog horns. That's not good. Anyhow, fog is part of life here in New England.

By the way, our cruising guide (by Duncan, Duncan, Fenn and Fenn) said that there is never fog in Buzzard's Bay. We had fog our first morning here. I bought a new cruising guide today.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fall River

Sachwest Cove, N 41 29.650 W 71 14.592

This morning as we were heading out for New Bedford, I noticed that we were passing by Fall River 5 miles to the north. Curious, I looked it up in our cruising guide. Surprise, the guide said that they had warships on display. It also said that one could pull into a cove near the warships and anchor. We changed our plans, did a 180 degree turn and headed for Fall River.

When we got there we found that the cove had been converted from an anchorage to a mooring field. We tried to raise the mooring field owner on the radio, but no joy. We picked up a mooring and I left to take care of errands first. When I returned, and before seeing the warships, there was a woman there saying that the moorings weren't free, that we would have to pay $10/hour or $35 for overnight to stay there. Wow! That was too pricey. We left right away without seeing the city's attractions. Fall River is on my list of inhospitable places.

I take great offense at municipalities or other parties that convert anchorages to mooring fields, then charge excessive fees. I understand crowding and that sometimes moorings are necessary. However, $10/day is a reasonable fee. Burlington VT charges $13, and Marathon Florida charges $7. $30/day, $45/day or $10/hour are excessive. Perhaps I should join one of those political activist groups that are trying to legally or politically block conversion of anchorages to moorings. Perhaps not, I've never heard of one of those groups winning any battles. (Tell me if I'm wrong.)

The errand I ran was to go to a Radio Shack to buy a Sirius satellite radio. I brought it back to the boat, plugged it in, called the 800 number to activate it and it works. The technology is remarkable. The sound is flawless; completely static free, and there are lots of channels. It is very analogous to satellite TV. It should provide me with a reliable source for NPR news programs independent of where I am. The footprint of the signal is all of the 48 contiguous states, plus offshore areas, plus I expect the Caribbean and Central America. The cost for the radio is 2/3 of what an ordinary good quality AM/FM portable radio would cost. New technology is better and cheaper than old stuff. A modern twist though is that Sirius will charge me $12.95/month for service. They have me on the hook.

After leaving Fall River we continued south. It was too late to make New Bedford before dark, so we put in here at Sachwest Cove which is just 1/2 mile from the sea. Tomorrow morning we'll get an early start (unless it's foggy). I'm not sure if we are in Rhode Island or Massachusetts.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

A Day In Bristol

Bristol, Rhode Island, N 41 40.010 W 71 17.186

Yesterday's favorable impressions of Bristol were reinforced today when we went ashore.

We left our dinghy at the city dock just behind the harbor master's boat and walked down to the Herreshoff museum. The road along the way was lined with wonderful 19th century homes and the stripe down the middle of the road was red white and blue. Down at the museum the first thing we saw was an America's cup 12 meter boat on the front lawn. It was the America 3.

We spent the whole morning in the Herreshoff museum. It was delightful. The wooden boats, both power and sail, were wonderfully beautiful. The stories were interesting. The history was impressive. We were interested in everything we saw. Part of the museum was the America's Cup Hall of Fame. Needless to say, that was very interesting too.

After the museum we walked downtown for lunch, a visit to the library and to a botanical garden. When we were done and it was time to row back out to Tarwathie, there was a stiff breeze. It took me a half hour of strenuous rowing to get back aboard. We're not likely to go ashore again today because of that.

Horrors! While we were ashore, Tarwathie dragged her anchor 150 feet. I had 120 feet of chain out which should have been adequate for the 21 feet depth at high tide. We also had set the anchor well according to our S.O.P. Despite that she dragged anyhow. First time she dragged since Lake Champlain last summer. Now I have 200 feet of chain out and we haven't moved an inch since. Oh well. Tomorrow our goal is Buzzard's bay.

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Bristol Public Library

I got an email out of the blue from Dwight and Karen, former cruisers and owners of another
yacht called Tarwatie. They provided me with this link. A link to Tarwathie Scotland.

I'll write more on this later.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bristol Fashion

Bristol, Rhode Island, N 41 40.010 W 71 17.186

Now this is a really nice place. We're at anchor in the harbor at Bristol. Bristol is the home town of the
Herreshoff family; the yacht designers of fame. It's about 1945 in the evening and there are four one-design
Herreshoff boats maneuvering to start a race at 1900. One of the racing buoys is right near Tarwathie so we
should get some outstanding views. I'll post pictures when we can.

The Herreshoff boats are long and low, made out of wood, and beautiful to look at. They have very tall masts
also wood and bendy. They fly enormous mainsails, as if they were cat boats plus a very small jib forward.
The jibs are club footed.

On the far shore is the Herreshoff Museum. We'll go there tomorrow. It sounds interesting.

I'm really glad that we are finding Bristol so pleasant. I was beginning to get a little discouraged about
New England. Block Island was too touristy, had too many boats and was too expensive. The moorings on Block Island
cost $35 up, but we were able to anchor.

Last night we stayed in Dutch Island Harbor (N 41 29.893 W 71 23.314).
The weather forecast was for severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and we arrived there just minutes before
an approaching thunderstorm. I saw no boats anchored, so we took a mooring belonging to Dutch Harbor Shipyard.
When I went to pay I was shocked. It cost $45. The shipyard didn't even have showers or laundry or any
facilities. I felt stupid for spending money so foolishly.

Today, on the way here we stopped at Wickford RI to buy fuel. That is another place where there are only moorings
and no boats at anchor. I've heard that it is like that in Maine also with all the popular anchorages converted
to moorings to rent for a fee. If that too much true, then New England may not be affordable for cruisers like us.

Once again, I'm glad to find Bristol so nice and so affordable (so far) in contrast with the previous three places
we saw.

This morning, I couldn't get the throttle/shifter control box to work. I had to take it apart to grease the components.
I hate taking things apart that I haven't seen before because I fear not being able to put it back together. This time
I had a little luck. When it was almost all disassembled I heard a "sproing" and a spring and a ball bearing flew into
the air. Miraculously, they did not fly into the water. They stayed in the cockpit and I was able to retrieve them.
When the lubrication was done and I was nearly finished I broke off the threaded end to the throttle control cable. Oh no!
I don't have a spare for that. Fortunately, I was able to thread the stub of the broken piece to get it back together.
Eventually I'll have to get a new cable or else I'll have to make a threaded sleeve to splice together the broken pieces.

p.s. Now the sailboat race is over and my favorite won! It was exciting though because my favorite and Libby's favorite
exchanged the lead 4-5 times

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Block Island Day

Block Island, N 41 11.590 W 71 34.952

This morning I waited and waited for the boat that comes through the harbor to sell freshly baked pastries.
That sounds like a deliciously decadent treat for sailors. Finally, I gave up and decided he wasn't coming today.
We hopped in the dinghy and started rowing for shore. You guessed it, the pastry boat came by just then.

We had a nice morning walking around Block Island. It's pretty, but very touristy. Items in the grocery store
cost 2 to 4 times as much as on the mainland. We won't shop for much. Once exception, we bought a pretty good
fog horn in the marine store. When sailing in New England, one is sure to need it. But we'll get tired blowing on it.
It takes a pretty good force to make it toot. I just looked up the requirement for fog signals when sailing, it is on 5 second toot followed by two 1 second toots repeated every 2 minutes. That a lot of tooting. That also reminds me of my favorite Limerick which I love to recite at every opportunity.

A tutor who tooted his flute,
one taught two young tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor,
"Is it better to toot,
or to tutor two tooters to toot?"

That also reminds me. Ask your Swedish friend what "two young tooters" means.

Back to Block Island: I wanted to rent bicycles and ride around the island but Libby wasn't interested.

We took a lot of pictures of the flowers in people's gardens because they looked so pretty. We even saw big (3 meters high) rose bushes ripe with rose hips. That's the first time we saw bushes like that since our back yard in Sweden.

Tonight there are thunderstorms and 18 hours of rain heading in. Already the wind picked up and the fog closed in.
It had been my plan to leave here in the morning but if the weather is bad we'll hold back.

Crisis! My Grundig portable radio died. It has been sick for months but today it totally died. That is the only radio we have that gets NPR most of the time. I'm totally addicted to listening to NPR news and talk programs, not to mention Car Talk and Prairie Home Companion. I'll have to buy a replacement quickly. I think I'll get a Sirius satellite radio instead of a new AM/FM radio. The satellite radio is better; gives better reception; gives more channels; works onshore and offshore. It also costs half of what a replacement Grundig AM/FM radio would cost. It's amazing how quickly we get pushed into new technology even if that's not what we seek.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Murphy Strikes Back

Great Salt Pond, Block Island, RI N 41 11.588 W 71 34.950

We got here fine about an hour before dark. The guide book said that there could be as many as 1500 boats anchored here so were nervous about not finding a spot. However, there are perhaps only 300 boats here in reality, so there's lots of room. We did have to anchor in 37 feet of water, that's deeper than we're accustomed to. Oh well, no storms forecast.

My plan was to go ashore and tour the island today. But Murphy had his revenge. The wind picked up, to SW 15-20, it was the wind we wished we had to sail here from Cape may. Also, my plan was to tour the island today. It turned out that we were more tired than we thought. We ended up staying onboard, sleeping and reading books all day. Oh well, we have no deadlines, we'll stay here another day and tour the island tomorrow.

I spent half the morning splicing a nylon line that had frayed. Even though I followed the splicing instructions in the book very carefully, the result looks poor. I won't dare use that line for anything mission critical.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Block Island In Sight

At Sea, N 41 05 W 71 03

Sunday, July 9, 2006, 17:53

Well it looks like we're going to make it to the anchorage at Block Island tonight. We have only 9 miles to go and the island is in sight on the horizon.

In the interest of being candid on my blog, I confess to using the engine last night. We were totally becalmed and the noise of the sails flapping as we rocked in the waves drove me nuts. I ran at minimum speed (1000 RPM) with the foresail up. By morning we had a following wind and by midday it was brisk. Right now we're racing to get into the harbor before dark so I'm motor-sailing again. Horrors.

I read an article about the terrible amount of floating trash that sailors see at sea. Our experience seems to contradict that. Even in populated areas like NJ and Long Island we don't see much. Of the trash that we do see, helium balloons seem to be the worst offenders. When they deflate enough to sink, they float on the surface of the water, perhaps for years and years.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006


At Sea, N 39 51 W 72 41

Saturday, July 8 2006

Last night, for the first and only time, I wished that we didn't have a GPS. Libby had the watch and I was trying
to sleep. I didn't get much sleep the night before so I was really tired. We were on starboard tack and our
course was north.

After some time, the wind died entirely and we were becalmed. However, there was a southerly current so Tarwathie
drifted south with the current. I was awoken by the sound of the engine starting. I went on deck and asked Libby why.
She said, "I don't know how, but I was heading north but we got turned around south." I went back to sleep. Soon, the
engine started again and I woke up. Then again and again. Finally, Libby said, "I can't make her head north." Then
I really awoke and looked at the instruments, then I understood the confusion.

When we are becalmed, we have no motion through the water. Therefore the rudder becomes useless. One moves the
rudder this way and that, yet the compass indication becomes uncorrelated. However, because of current drift, we still have motion relative to the earth and that is what the GPS faithfully indicates. It also orients the little boat-shaped symbol on the screen to point southward. Libby would see that and incorrectly assume that the bow was actually pointed south. She would start the engine to turn us around (because the rudder wouldn't work without motion). We would turn in a circle and the GPS would respond to indicate our absolute motion. But as soon as the engine was stopped, the southerly drift would resume. It was very disorienting out there in the middle of the ocean, at night with cloud cover and no visual cues.

It occurs to me that in this special case we would be better off with no GPS. On the other hand, I doubt that I'll shut the GPS off; it's addictive.

One more anecdote. The engine started again one final time and it stayed running longer than the other times. I went up on deck to see what was happening and I saw the stern of a ship going away from us. Libby was holding the radio and she said that she had a nice conversation with the captain of that ship. Somewhat mysteriously, she didn't explain what they were talking about.

Sigh, my original pessimistic prediction of 4-5 days to get to Block Island seem accurate. It is now 51 hours since we left Cape May and we progressed 105 miles made good of the 200 mile passage. It sure would be welcome if we could get some more favorable wind. If we could get SW 10-15 knots we could be there in another 24 hours.

p.s. Libby's seasickness is better today.

p.p.s. I lost the instructions for how to send updates to our position reports for the bread crumb trail linked on our blog. I promise to resume when I get the info.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Dueling with Murphy

At Sea, N 39 22 W 73 27

Murphy's law says that the time for the wind to come up would be as soon as we set anchor and went to sleep. Well it happened, that way but we got the best of the deal. We went to sleep at 2200 and got four solid hours of sleep before the wind started at 0200. Further, the wind blew at 13 knots. Ideal. So we got the best of Murphy that time.

I retrieved the anchor, set the sails, sent Libby back to bed and away we went. If only the fresh wind hadn't been from the NE. That's exactly our course. So we had to beat upwind the whole time. The breeze lasted about 10 hours. Then it dropped off.

This really is going to be a slow passage. After 36 hours on port tack, we had only made 60 miles good toward Block Island. Now we're on starboard tack and headed toward NYC. But we're only making 2 knots, so it would take us two more days to get there unless the wind changes again. If we get close to land before arriving at Block Island, I'm guessing that we'll succumb to the temptation to put in and anchor for a day.

The forecast is for more days of light winds. In fact, headwinds. It really will take days to get there.

Libby has had a slight touch of seasickness both days. It's a mild case, but nevertheless it makes one very uneasy. I hope it passes.

We've only seen two or three ships pass by. No whales or other sea creatures. So there's not much exciting news to report.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Enroute To Block Island

At Sea, N 38 58 W 074 34

The severe thunderstorm never appeared yesterday. However, it rained all night.

In celebration of having unlimited shore power, we ran the fans, and turned on the lights,
and I backed up the hard disk We are accustomed to conserving energy. However, when I woke up this
morning the batteries were low. Oh no! The shore power cord was jostled and we had no shore power
the whole night. Oh well, no harm done.

We waited until about noon to leave because it was still raining.

While traversing Cape May harbor we enjoyed the spectacle of a 40 foot power boat who got confused over red
and green. He cruised to the wrong side of the red then abruptly slowed to a crawl because the water was shallow.
But instead of correcting his mistake, he continued on the wrong side of the red, ignoring a half dozen other
boats who passed him at regular speed on the other side of the buoy. Finally he got past the red, and since
the channel made a 90 degree turn there, he was back in the middle of the channel. However he crossed the
channel at right angles and headed for the wrong side of the next green marker. Finally, a Tow Boat US boat
had mercy on him and called him on the radio to explain which side of the buoys he was supposed to use.

Leaving Cape May Inlet between the jetties, we were rocked and rolled by excessive wakes from almost
every power boat that came by. Not a single one slowed to reduce his wake. The same thing happened to us
in Cape May Inlet last year. The New Jersey captains are the rudest bunch we've seen anywhere.

We have nearly 200 nautical miles to go to reach Block Island. There is very little wind out here and the
forecast calls for a week of 5-10 knot winds. It may take us 4 or 5 days to get there at this rate. Oh
well, it should be a relaxing time, and it would be worse to wait in Cape May harbor for better weather.
We could wait there for a whole week with no guarantee of better weather after that.

We'll see how we do on sleep deprivation. The bad part is that we'll be crossing the sea lanes for the
entrance/exit to New York City so I expect lots of ship traffic to watch out for.

Update. Now, an hour later, it is almost sunset and the wind died entirely. We are drifting backwards
in the current. If this continues until morning, we'll be back in Cape May. I found a spot on the chart
3.5 NM away where it is only 23 feet deep. We'll motor over there and anchor for the night. I don't like
anchoring at sea, but this seems like the best alternative. At least we won't be drifting backward.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Cohansey River, NJ N 39 21.236 W 72 21.621

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Monday night, just after I posted my blog, the fireworks started. We were treated to multiple simultaneous fireworks shows, two major ones and three or more smaller shows. Spicing up the action was a thunderstorm somewhere down near Baltimore. The lightning from the storm complemented the fireworks. Libby said she never had stereophonic fireworks before.

We were anchored way out from shore because the Bohemia river is shallow. That meant that we had lots of power boat traffic going past us. Fourth of July is especially hazardous because of all the alcohol. Twice I had to use my searchlight to warn off boats that were in danger of colliding with us.

Tuesday morning we got a good start and reached the C&D canal just in time for the current to assist us. The heat was oppressive in the canal, but as soon as we emerged on the Delaware side we were greeted with a nice breeze. We raised the sails and by 1500 we were across the canal and halfway down the Delaware toward Cape May. We put into the Cohansey River because of warnings on the radio about severe thunderstorms on the way.

The river is hard to anchor in. It was up to 77 feet deep within 75 feet of shore. In addition, there is a 5 foot tide. Anyplace we could find shallow enough to anchor in, left us in danger of swinging onto the river bank and being high and dry when the tide went out. Our guide book said that the horseflies in this place were overwhelming. It was right. By the time I had the anchor set, I was tormented by the flies. They bit and it hurt. Every fly that I killed had a full load of blood in it. Libby went below while I hastily did my chores on deck.

Soon the storms arrived and boy were they intense. There were two storms about an hour apart. The peak gust we measured was 54 knots (60 mph, 100 Km/h) Tarwathie was tossed to and from but the anchor held fine. A few things flopped around on deck because I didn't secure them properly (my job securing stuff was done hastily because of the flies.) The bimini cover blew back and it lifted the boom right off the gallows. Fortunately, nothing was damaged. I'll have to make it standard practice to remove the canvas from the bimini when preparing for heavy winds.

After the last storm, the wind blew us onto the river bank. We hastened to put out a stern anchor to hold us away from the river bank.

Now, as a write this, the winds continue to bluster because of nearby thunderstorms. I won't get much sleep. If Sara had returned with us to go sailing, she would not have enjoyed this night.

Tomorrow, we head for Cape May. The weather forecast calls for evening thunderstorms, hail and more.

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Cape May

Miss Chris Marina, Cape May NJ

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

There are severe thunderstorms forecast for today. Therefore, we got up early and got underway sailing for Cape May Harbor. There was a nice breeze and by 1300 we were in the harbor. The anchorage here is a poor one and there were lots of boats already there, so I elected to stay in a marina.

Miss Chris was the lowest price marina listed in the book. At $48/night it is not cheap, but the other marinas here want $64 up to $96 per night for Tarwathie. There's a reason for the low price though -- no showers and no laundry. Oh well.

I rode my bike to downtown Cape May in search of a WiFi signal. Negative on the WiFi, but I did learn that there's a major tourist center here. It looked like Saint Augustine Florida. I saw one thing that I've never seen before. Acme, the only supermarket in town, charges $4/hour for customers to park in their parking lot. They do allow the first 30 minutes free. Still, I never heard of such a thing.

Our bike is getting creaky and hard to ride because of corrosion. I'm disappointed that a bike called the Dahon Mariner has so many iron parts vulnerable to rust. If we were stationary in one place for a while, I'd take it to a bike shop for an overhaul.

I talked to my sister Nancy by phone today. She drove from Boston to Albany yesterday to visit our sister Marilyn. Thank you Nancy, that was nice. Nancy is going on a trip to Russia next week, she won't be back until late July. It's yet to be seen where we'll be by then.

If the weather holds, we'll head offshore tomorrow on a passage to Block Island, RI.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Sailors Are So Nice

The Bohemia River, N 39 28.807 W 075.56.044

Monday July 3

This morning I drove the rental car to Chestertown, about 15 miles away. My mission was to return the car to Enterprise Car Rental. When I got there, I was shocked to find the office closed. They had promised me that they would be open on Monday. I called the Enterprise 800 number and they assured me that all rental offices were supposed to be open today. As I sat in the parking lot contemplating what to do, a second car pulled in. The driver, Jim, was also trying to return a car.

Eventually, Jim and I both decided to drop the keys in the mail slot and to leave the cars there. More important, Jim said that his wife was driving down to pick him up and that they could give me a ride back to Georgetown. What a nice guy. Jim's wife Diane soon arrived and we set off. Along the way I found out that they were sailors too. They also owned a house on the Sassafras river. We also had things in common in that Jim was a nuclear engineer who at one time worked at G.E. in Schenectady. What a coincidence.

Jim and Diane drove me to their house, and then we took their runabout boat and they drove me up the river right up to Tarwathie. Along the way they explained some of the local lore. There was a big house along the river that we had admired with David and Bobby last week. It seemingly had tens of acres of green lawn. Jim said that the house belonged to the Black & Decker estate.

Needless to say, Libby was totally surprised and confused when a strange boat pulled alongside with me in it. That was a very nice deed you did Jim and Diane. Thank you.

Being 4th of July weekend, it seemed like every boat in the Chesapeake was out on the water today. Traffic on the Sassafras river was heavier than we had seen in Miami near the government cut. Nevertheless, we putted along at 4 knots and by 1700 we arrived here at our anchorage.

Tomorrow we'll traverse the C&D canal to the Delaware River Bay. The tidal currents will be favorable in the morning. Most likely, we'll anchor halfway down the bay. The weather is oppressive. Very hot, very humid and almost no wind. The way to survive this weather is to start jumping in the water by mid afternoon.

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Pleasant End To A Long Chapter

Georgetown MD Harbor, Sunday July 2

It's Sunday night and we just returned to Tarwathie from Vermont and Newark Airport. Thus marks the end of a very long chapter. For more than a year we have planned around a reunion with David before he left for Iraq. That was the original intent behind our aborted plan to sail to Alaska. I'll backtrack a little and tell the story.

Last Wednesday we decided to sail only a half day and then to drive to Rome, NY to my son John's house. We parked Tarwathie on the mooring and left the marina about noon. When passing through Valley Forge PA, guess what we saw from the highway -- an Ikea store! We couldn't resist that, so we took a break for an hour or so to walk through Ikea and to buy some Swedish coffee and other food treats.

The persistent rainstorms had stopped and the sky was blue. However, wherever we went the main news on the radio was about the flooding disasters everywhere caused by the rain. It was almost surreal. As we drove through Wilkes-Bare Pennsylvania, they were evacuating 200,000 people. As we drove through Binghamton, we could see helicopters picking people up from their houses. Yet here we drove through on high ground, nice weather and our progress completely unimpeded.

Thursday we did a swap. Dave's boy Bobby stayed behind with his cousin Nick while we took the little girls Katelyn (7) and Victoria (5) with us to Vermont. It was yet another nice drive through northern new york. We passed just south of Potsdam. At the end of the trip we rode the ferry across Lake Champlain to get to Vermont.

On Friday, there were lots of activities. Visiting friends, picking berries, surfing the net, a visit to the Burlington Maritime Museum plus more. In the evening, John and the rest of the family arrived.

On Saturday, we went to Essex Junction in the morning. We saw our old house, and Dave tried to get a haircut at his old barber's place, but it was closed. Saturday afternoon, until midnight that night, Jenny and Christian hosted a BBQ and a party for the family plus close friends from Vermont. We had, John, Jenny, David, Nick, Sara, Katelyn, Victoria, Bobby, Cheryl, Christian there for family and Mat, Tim and Ivy there, all close friends of David. It was a lot of fun. Good food, frisbee throwing, bubble blowing, and story swapping. Late in the evening, Bobby showed us a slide show on his laptop from his recent school field trip to Italy and Greece.

Today, Sunday, we left Jenny's house around 9 in the morning heading south. Dave's plane was to leave EWR at 1800. We drove down over the Champlain Bridge, and past Brant Lake and Horicon. It was a very pretty drive. We ate lunch at the Chinese buffet on Wolf Road in Albany, right next to my old office at NYISO.

Anyhow, it all set the stage for the meloncholy moment at the curb at the airport when we had to say so long to David and Bobby. Dave leaves July 11 for training in Mississippi and then his unit goes from there to Kuwait and then Iraq. We're very proud of David for volunteering to serve his country this way. Of course we're also very nervous about sending our son off to war. It's a very emotionally tearing event. It is entirely fitting that we preceded it with a week's worth of fun, laughter, family and friends. Much thanks goes to Dave's wife, Cathy, for letting us borrow her two men just before Dave leaves.

The next time I get a WiFi connection, I'll post pictures from the event.

Next on Tarwathie's agenda, is to head for Cape May, NJ and then Block Island, RI. I'm not sure if we'll go directly or take it slow so as to see the July 4 fireworks show in Havre de Grace.

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