The Potomac River, Again – October 22-23, 2012

We wanted to exit the Potomac as quickly as possible to avoid any PTSD resulting from our less then pleasant entry trip. We also wanted to catch up with Serendipity who left on Saturday. We debated traveling overnight but Serendipity’s warning of floating logs, having “dodged them all day,” was the deciding factor that overnight was not necessary. So we set out from Mount Vernon at sunrise on Monday morning (day 1) and told ourselves if we have to motor, we have to motor.
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The fog lifted as we rounded the first bend in the river, motoring. The wind and water were calm. Brian very sneakily was driving and blogging to get this action shot of me making breakfast. Calm and motoring is great for doing anything in the cabin while underway because nothing moves! The boat stays level. But it is very loud and that is NOT fun.
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For 10-hours we motored. The weather never even presented doubt that maybe we should set sail, there was no wind and the river was smooth as an ice rink.

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We anchored for the night in Lower Machodoc Creek, just off the Potomac. We didn’t venture into the creek because the weather was forecast to remain still through the night. So we just dropped the hook outside of the entrance channel.

Another sunrise start on Tuesday morning (day 2) and we were off! Motoring. We made the most of our day by researching our route to the Bahamas and making a list of necessary supplies. Then we took turns steering and reading. Oh motoring. Though it does seem to get you where you need to go. When we entered the Chesapeake Bay we were welcomed by that uncomfortable bay chop that we’d nearly forgotten during our Potomac River days. The wind strengthened, but out of the south which was less than ideal. And so more motoring to avoid tacking back and forth and keep our mileage as short and direct as possible.

We made our destination, Jackson Creek in Deltaville, VA however getting ourselves anchored was not as easy as usual. For starters we had to weave through a narrow channel to get into the creek. Later that evening we saw a sailboat run aground three times in that channel.

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Once successfully through the channel we noticed Serendipity anchored near the mouth of the creek. We wanted to get in for a closer look so we continued farther into the creek. And while Brian was steering, very slowly…BA BUMP! Run aground again! I checked the bilge while a very kind soul happened by on his dinghy. He had watched the whole thing and shared,”I found that same shoal yesterday on my way in and I draw 3-feet.” This fellow cruiser and his wife were aboard a tri-maran. He gave the front of our boat a push and it was just enough to back us off the shoal. The verdict is still out whether that counts as a tow but I think we’ve gotten running aground out of our systems for a while!

We found the perfect place to anchor among the sailboats mid-creek. Brian went forward to drop the hook and the chain jammed. He motioned me to make a circle, which involved turning and then backing to avoid coming to close to the tri-maran that had had just graciously un-grounded us. Turned around and chain free we were about to drop the hook when a dinghy approached. There were three cruisers aboard, they had cheered “New Hampshire!” when we rounded their boat earlier. Now while Brian had the anchor in hand they were asking whether we had ever been here, pointing out the dinghy dock, and rattling off the marina facilities. Talk about velcro boaters! We hadn’t even stopped moving yet! We shouted a thanks and I redirected Brian to get the anchor down. What a hubbub! (The friendly New Hampshireites proceeded to swing back around as soon as our engine was shut off to introduce and encourage us to join them in the ICW.)

That evening we scooted over to Serendipity and caught up over a bottle of wine and a few beers. We were keeping our drinking without supper habit going strong, and for goodness sake we hadn’t seen one another three whole days! We made plans for tomorrow’s big day in Deltaville and finally parted so that we could feed ourselves.

Hurricane Sandy Preparations – October 26-27, 2012

We interrupt the previously scheduled blog for this important update.
Rode Trip entered the Piankatank River yesterday (Friday 10/26) and tucked into Wilton Creek, our hurricane hole for the next four days. Prior to leaving Jackson Creek we filled our fuel and took showers at the marina. Might as well be clean while we hunker down! We had a smooth trip here, just motored for approximately 1-hour along with our friends, Serendipity.

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Slowly, we motored far into Wilton Creek. Fortunately it was not crowded and we had our choice of anchor spots. Here are our surroundings in the position we are currently pointing:
Starboard Side

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Port Side

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Forward

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Aft

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We checked the weather and called family. We consulted with Serendipity about anchoring strategies. More weather updates. We emptied the aft hatch and relocated several items into new homes in order to stow our jerry cans permanently in the aft hatch. I found lots of extra spaces inside to move spare wood, dinghy security cable, oil, and rope.

Today (Saturday 10/27), Brian and I prepared for Sandy. We cleared the deck of anything that might blow away. Both kayaks are down on the walkways and secured. I continued to find storage space inside for the trolling motor and sails and relocated our paper towels and toilet paper from the bunk to underneath the v-berth. We pulled out hard to reach safety items; flares, seacock plugs, cable cutters, life jackets, and harnesses. We took down and stowed the genoa, stay sail, and main sail. We thought this a great opportunity to rig our storm main, just in case we need steerage should something happen to the engine. We took down the stay sail boom and stowed it on deck secured under a kayak.

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We decided to stick with one anchor the Bruce. Brian let out more chain and we backed down on it at 3,000 rpm’s to make certain we were set. Brian rigged a spare anchor on our extra rope rode the Danforth. Poor Rode Trip was looking very naked. But we are ready!

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Thanks Serendipity for their great internet signal for helping us to provide this update. We’re going to stretch our legs ashore before the wind and rain come. Then we’re looking forward to dinner with Serendipity…and we’re keeping the real necessities handy!

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Wasylyks Tour Washington DC – October 20-21, 2012

At our current location in Washington Harbor we are just close enough to Pennsylvania that my parents, Steve and Sally, could drive for a visit. That’s just what they did! My Aunt Mari and Uncle Bob came along too. We were thrilled to see family as it may be quite a long time before seeing one another again, at least in person. Thanks to modern technology we do stay in close touch via email, Facebook, and can use Skype for an interactive phone call.

The Wasylyks arrived late on Friday evening. Since we were wining and dining with Glenn, we planned to meet them on Saturday morning. What a day! We awoke before the sun and had breakfast with Glenn. He then drove us back to Washington DC; provided a nice tour along the way pointing out the Washington Nationals Stadium and his office building. We made a stop at the Capital Yacht Club for a mail check, Serendipity was awaiting a package, then delivered the package on our way to the boat for a quick change of clothes. Glenn navigated around a road race that was blocking what seemed like the entire city. Hugs to Glenn! We set off into the Capital Hilton to greet my family who was astonished we’d arrived by 9:00am.

Fortunately we were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day that was just a tad on the chilly side. We had lots of walking to do to see our intended sights. On our way outside, Sally stopped by the car and gave us a brief rundown of our care packages: jerry cans, baby wipes, mail, new clothes, homemade soup and brownies, and Rickard’s fresh apple cider. We should get together more often! Everything was safely stowed in the car for the day, which by the way had not yet been parked for the $38/day fee. Steve had some words with the attendant, not pleased that he was paying for the car to be sitting alongside the curb. “We’ll take care of it…” and we were off to see the sights.

Starbucks was essential, and there were several along our walk to the National Mall.

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We circled the WWII Monument. Aunt Mari successfully located the Pennsylvania pillar.

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At the Reflecting Pool (which wasn’t doing much reflecting with it’s brown, murky water) we paused for a photo shoot.

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Then we moved on to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

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We were nearly famished after a long morning of walking. We stopped at the Old Post Office to get some lunch. Next was to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. We could have spent the entire day in Air and Space, there was so much to learn! The exhibits were wonderful and all the planes and spacecraft displayed was daunting.

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Steve and Uncle Bob checked out the flight simulator. With Steve piloting and Bob firing, they got five kills earning the rank of “Ace.” We walked through several exhibits. Sally’s pick was the Discovery; still in progress. Uncle Bob gave us a lesson in morse code which he remembered from his Navy days. Brian’s pick was the Wright Brothers. We were surprised the plane on display was the actual Wright Brothers’ plane, only the fabric had been replaced since the original (also on display) had deteriorated so badly.

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I found this hot air balloon that successfully circumnavigated the globe in 2002. Sheesh! If someone can live in that little balloon I surely shouldn’t have any problems on our 32′ yacht!

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On our walk back toward the Capital Hilton, Uncle Bob spotted the International Union of Bricklayers and thought it to be a very appropriate photo opportunity.

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Later that evening my family took us out for a delicious meal. Good thing all those museums and monuments are free because dining in DC sure isn’t!

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Just kidding! We did have a really great dinner, paired with sangria, at a tapas resturant that we found on our walk back toward the hotel. We tucked in the family and headed back to the boat to get some much needed shut-eye.

On Sunday morning my family met us at the Capital Yacht Club. Sally and Aunt Mari helped me in the kitchen to prepare breakfast for everyone while the guys schmoozed with fellow cruisers. Wow, cooking on a full size stove…a microwave…a sink with running, hot water! Making breakfast was a breeze! We ate in the club’s lounge and were joined by my cousin, Colleen. After our meal we headed to Rode Trip for boat tours. Thank goodness everyone survived the dinghy ride! All of our care package necessities also made it safely aboard.

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We enjoyed the day sitting on deck in the sunshine. The guys made a trip to a nearby gas station to fill our jerry cans with diesel since the only nearby stop was not open on Sunday. We sampled the the brownies from our care package; all that goodness of chocolate chip cookie, Oreo, and gooey brownie sure was tasty! (They didn’t make it out of the Potomac.)

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The Wasylyks had a long drive ahead, Colleen was headed home to study, and we planned to jump 10-miles down the river to Mount Vernon before sunset. Brian dinghied everyone back to shore. Oh, and that $38/day valet parking fee, thanks to Steve’s persistence about the car not actually being parked (it sat on that curb in front of the hotel all weekend) they were only charged for one day. It was so good to see everyone!
“Happy sails to you…until…we meet…again!”

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