Off to Bristol, First Step

Time was up in Hampton but the weather window looked terrible so we cancelled the direct to Block Island/Bristol plan (plan A) and opted for the “Let’s dash up to Cape May and see how it looks” plan (plan B). Of course doing that seems safer running up the Chesapeake instead of venturing out into blue water but it adds 100+ miles and the stress of many commercial ships in a small place (plan C). And since when are forecast severe thunderstorms and tornado watches actually safe (the morning forecast)? So Plan B won and outside we went. We set off on Thursday at 9:30, fully fueled, and had a great 2+ knot ebb current push us out of the Chesapeake as we headed NNE. Gotta love it. This is going to be a great trip.

Remind me never to think that. After getting out of the Chesapeake dodging freighters, carriers, and destroyers (stay 1,000 yards away or they get heavily on your case – poor fishermen had to scatter), we meandered up the Delaware coast expecting the grib/NOAA forecast wind to veer east and thus provide us with a reasonable close reasch sail up the coast. Alas, methinks in nautical terms, forecast = dream, similar to the 15 knot forecast really meaning 25 knots. Soon we were blissfully hammering our way into steep 3 foot short period chop with winds on the nose (NNE not east) and motors roaring. You see, we couldn’t really “sail” i.e. “go where the wind takes you” without risking spending a significant amount of time in forecast 20+ knot winds (remember the translation = 30+ knot winds). So we tore along at 5.5 knots (normally 7.5 knots in flat seas) towards our destination as the captain embraced the oil sheikhs feeding the motors in what should have been a green boat.

But the sunset (sorry no pictures) and just after sunset were amazing. Did you see Jupiter rising with Venus? Jupiter is spectacularly bright and Venus is very close. By June 30 they will appear as a double star (hope it is clear that night). As it was I was awed by the sight but had to wait until we got to internet range to know what I had just seen. Pictures from a bouncing boat were poor so no photos.

Luckily, this bashing and crashing in waves at right angles due to the partial wind shift lasted a mere 9 hours, but that was enough for Charlie to look quite forlorn, refuse to eat, and give you the evil eye that says “how do you expect me to poop in this bucking bronco?”. But fate gave us relief with the predicted wind shift finally showing up settling us in to a lovely beam reach with no engines – catamarans just love beam reaches. As if to say I am sorry for the last 9 hours beating your brains out, mother nature upped the ante and made up for the late wind shift by bringing in the higher winds earlier than forecast (such is sailing – forget the computer and all that fancy stuff and just sail in whatever you are in!). So now we were tearing along between 8 and 9 knots directly into waves that had not quite gotten the message that the wind had shifted. Yee Haw – now this is exciting! At least we were going the right direction with a 20-25 knot wind (which wasn’t supposed to show up for another 5-6 hours accompanied by 30+ knot gusts).

Red Sky in the morning = run for cover in Cape May
Red Sky in the morning = run for cover in Cape May

Well there is always a bright side. Right? Sure was in this case. With all that great speed and the bashing our brains out, our arrival time originally planned as 2 pm was improving dramatically dropping to 1 pm, noon, 10, then 9 am!. Wow, if you have to be plowing spray all over the boat, it is nice to know there is a benefit. Our arrival dropped dramatically from the initial planned 2 pm to an arrival at 8:30 am. Yah! We beat the big winds, in theory at least. Those big winds were to get all over us at 10 to 11 am but true to form, they arrived at 7:30 am leaving the captain with a “do I reef? I really should, but I’m going to take the sail down in half an hour, but…”. Number one rule of the sea, if you think it, do it. In this case, with all sheets well eased, we tore along at 9 knots to our drop sail point and did exactly that. Then we had a twisty-turny gallop through the breakwater as the following sea kept encouraging the boat, now a motor boat, to turn left or right and head directly for the breakwater (following big seas always want to turn you in a direction you don’t want to go – especially in a breakwater channel that is rapidly shoaling). But we got through with the tired captain called on the new autopilot for some help and it performed admirably keeping us heading more us less straight despite the violent yawing.

Cape May – sweet Cape May. Found an anchor spot but current was opposite of wind so anchoring was quite confusing but we settled ok on the first try. Then we settled back to 25-30 knot winds tearing at the sails as the captain packed them away to reduce windage. Then the rain hit, big time. How perfect can you get? Settled in snugly in a protected harbor with 30 knot winds licking at the boat, rain slashing by. The anchor didn’t budge an inch as we tucked in for the night. Lesson learned – sail what you are given, stay happy, always have a good harbor as an out.

We will head to Bristol tomorrow. Or may not. Let’s see what the forecasters say, then maybe we will poke our nose out into reality and check for ourselves. Meanwhile we are hunkered down with some big thunderstorms that have marched up the Chesapeake slipping by us with much rumbling but a couple looking like they are taking direct aim for us. Thanks mother nature for washing much of the salt off the boat. For now, we are happy not to have taken the Plan A or Plan C route. Love our life.

Wedding in Michigan

On June 17th we drove north from Hampton, Virginia to South Lyon, Michigan for our son’s wedding. About 13 hours later we arrived in time to enjoy some food and drink and meet several friends that had arrived to the farm to help get things set up for the wedding.

We didn’t stay long that night, but joined them again on the Thursday and Friday to help out. Both Paul and I were tasked with various jobs; painting various things, hanging lights, hanging swings, declogging the garbage disposal, connecting power to lights, moving picnic tables, etc. There were many more people doing their tasks also; cutting grass, weed wacking, cutting flowers, making flower arrangements for tables, hanging decorations, putting together solar lights, putting candles in candle holders, setting tables, setting up a sound system, power washing, etc.

Throughout there was Noah, a good friend of Katie’s, cooking meal after meal for all the helpers. He fed us so well with food from the garden, which others helped gather. I personally savoured every morsel. Everyone was kept busy and ended each day exhausted.

Noah - cook extraordinaire
Noah – cook extraordinaire

One June 20th, the day of the wedding, all the efforts were noticed as people arrived and couldn’t believe how the place had been transformed.

We sat on bails of straw covered with blankets to watch the service and later a talent show. We sat at picnic tables under the tent or in the open to eat from the pot luck dinner. A pig had been slow roasted in the ground, chickens had been smoked on the smoker, several kegs were available for sipping along with various wines brought with the food by the guests.

We danced, we played games, we laughed, we cried happy tears, we hugged and we had a really, really good time. We left the late night bonfire for those younger than us and headed home to Katie’s mom’s place, where we stayed while in Michigan, before midnight. Susie, you were the perfect hostess, thank you so much – we hope to return the gesture one day when you visit us on Blue Sky.

Some of the shenanigans that went on.

On the Sunday we visited and watched the bride and groom open their gifts. Said our goodbyes to a few more of their tenting guests (there were several) and left the tired couple early so they could get some much needed rest.

Monday the 22nd we said our goodbyes later than planned, but it’s just so hard to leave. We arrived back to the boat after midnight. We will be reflecting on this wedding forever. It was magical and done just the way Katie and Lindsay are, with lots of love, an air of casual comfort and full of fun. Well done Lindsay and Katie. Congratulations. We look forward to see your farm grow and change with the two of you for many years to come.


I started to feel frustrated with store bought crackers. They always seem to have too much fat or bad stuff in them and if they are ‘gluten free’, they are expensive. I did some research on line and found this recipe on the blog. I was busy making granola and had the oven hot, so mixed up a batch of these to pop in the oven when the granola was done. They were super easy to and delish with a little olive tapenade. I had to stop myself from eating the whole batch.

½ cup brown rice flour
¾ cup almond flour
2 TBSP nutritional yeast
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp kosher salt (I only had sea salt, so used that)
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary
Scant ¼ tsp baking soda
2 TBSP sesame seeds
¼ cup water
½ tsp olive oil

-Preheat oven to 350 and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking sheet)
-Mix together dried ingredients in a medium sized bowl
-Add water and olive oil and kneed/press together with hands until it forms a ball
-Place ball on parchment or mat and roll with a rolling pin until 1/8” thick. Sprinkle with salt if desired (I put some Himalayan salt on top and slightly pressed it into the dough so it wouldn’t fall off)
-Bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden and crisp (mine got crisp more than golden)
-Let cool 10 minutes and store in an air tight container (or serve them at your next sundowner get together)

Charlie & Zoe

About a year and a half ago Charlie met Zoe, a feisty little Jack Russell, while we were in the BVI. She’s been his girlfriend ever since. She lives full-time on sv Sapphire and travels between the US and BVI yearly.

While here in Hampton Zoe was also here at Blue Water Marina so daily walks and plays were in order. Eventually Charlie asked if Zoe could come over to his boat for a doggy play date. They had a blast playing with the ball and Charlie’s green squeaker bone.



In fact, Zoe liked visiting so much, we had her over several more times while her parents, Linda and Bill, ran errands, went to Salty Dawg Rally meetings, and treated themselves to a few meals out.

One day, we decided to treat ourselves to a meal out, and Charlie spent a few hours on Zoe’s boat. Well, let’s just say he prefers Zoe on his boat and not the other way around. He did no playing at all, just waited patiently for us to return. Oh well.

Turtle Rescue

We booked ourselves into Blue Water Marina in Hampton for a month. This would give us time to visit Paul’s mom, do some clean up on the boat while we have running water, and go to our son’s wedding in Michigan, before heading off to Bristol, Rhode Island for the 4th of July.

We spent 5 days with Paul’s mom almost immediately after we arrived. She’s doing well in a memory care facility at Twin Lakes in Burlington, North Carolina. It takes her a bit of regular visiting for her to remember everyone, but she remembered Charlie right off. The days went by quickly and we said our goodbyes.

For the next 15 days we spent time in Hampton washing the boat and working on maintenance. While Paul was moving the battery and cables for the generator, he spotted a turtle behind the boat in the water. I came out to see, expecting it to be gone before I got there, but it didn’t seem to be able to swim down. It just stayed at the surface sort of listing to one side and lifting its head for air now and then.

This didn’t seem right and Michael on the boat next to us agreed. He hopped in his dinghy and went out to pick it up. The turtle didn’t seem bothered by him bringing it ashore. He washed it down with fresh water, while his wife, Charmaine, made calls to see what should be done.

Keeping turtle wet
Keeping turtle wet

One person told her to put it back in the water saying we’d be in trouble if it died while we had it. So we did, but again the turtle just struggled to swim down in the water. A decision was made to rescue it again and we would fill our dinghy with water to keep it wet and out of the sun.

Charmaine eventually got through to the Virginia Aquarium who said they’d come right out and take the turtle. It took them about an hour to get here, but they were pleased and said that we’d done the right thing. They took the turtle they named Hemmingway (although it was young and sex could not be determined) back to the aquarium and examined it with X-ray. They discovered it had pneumonia in one lung (hence the listing to one side).

After several days we heard the turtle was recovered enough to begin swimming again. The goal is to have it fully recover and then it would be released back to its natural habitat, the ocean.