Sept/Oct 2015

Time flies when you’re having fun.

We keep looking at each other and saying, where did the time go? How is it we are at the end of October already and I haven’t done a blog post since August?

Well, for starters, we’ve had some limited internet along our way, but mostly our blog page has been broken and I need the administrator to fix it (P please and thankyou) so I can post something. At this point I’ll just get the post out and worry about pictures later. That would just take too much time given that we are on the verge of departing for our offshore passage in a few days from now.

To keep it brief here’s what we’ve done since the last post:
August 18-September 5 – Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard (yes we liked it there and we were also waiting for some of our mail, so we stayed longer than originally planned).
September 5-9 – Block Island, Rhode Island (in the harbour with hundreds of other boats for the Labour Day weekend)
September 9 – New Haven, Connecticut (overnight anchorage only – no going ashore)
September 10 – 16 – Port Washington, New York (took the train to NYC, had guests on board from NYC)
September 16 – Sandy Hook, New Jersey (overnight anchorage only – no going ashore)
September 17-18 – on route to Cape May, New Jersey
September 18-20 – Cape May, New Jersey (attended an outdoor Beer Fest/farmer’s market)
September 20 – Anchored just west of C&D canal
September 21-25 – Silary Bay, Maryland (we had the place to ourselves, enjoyed the peacefulness)
September 25-30 – South River, Edgewater, Maryland
October 1 – 26 – Lake Ogleton, Annapolis, Maryland (We stayed on our friend Jackie and Dan’s private dock, P used Jackie’s workshop and installed a freezer and some shelves. They lent us their car and we got provisions restocked for going south. We got Charlie to the vet for his paperwork. Jackie and Dan pet sat Charlie for 8 days while we went to Canada for Keith & Taryl’s wedding. We are super appreciative of all that our friends from Chill did for u., Thanks so much J & D)
October 26 – 27 – transit to Hampton, Virginia (overnight pleasant sail)
October 27 – 31 – in Hampton, Virginia attending seminars with the Salty Dawg Rally and getting the boat ready to depart for the British Virgin Islands (target date November 2nd weather permitting).

Middle Ground Lighthouse

The fun with the Salty Dawg Rally doesn’t stop when the rally ends. Read on to find out what we did when we all got to port at Blue Water Marina in Hampton.

Our cruising friends, Jackie and Dan (sv Chill), are share owners in a lighthouse near Hampton, Virginia. When we arrived from BVI they asked us if we would like to come out and see their lighthouse. We’re definitely not going to say no to that, since we missed the opportunity last year arriving a day after they did the annual tour.

Middle Ground Lighthouse
Middle Ground Lighthouse

So the day after all the Dawgs arrived, Jackie took 6 of us in her brother-in-laws van to another marina/work dock, where Dan would pick us up in their transport boat. Meanwhile, Dan took another 8 of the Dawgs out to the lighthouse. We took Charlie along in his car carrier, knowing we’d need to put him on our back to climb the ladder up into the lighthouse.

Here’s the boats that joined in on the fun filled day: White Star, Charmed Life, Zipporah, Adagio along with us.

Having never been to a lighthouse and seeing this one was really special. Jackie and Dan and family and friends spent 4 years reviving this lighthouse to it’s current glory. Every space was so inviting and well put together. I just can’t imagine all the work that went into this. When they bought it through a US Government Auction it was run down and was a regular home to birds.

The coastguard still maintains the light, but the rest of the lighthouse is a delightful useable space for friends and family. Thanks Jackie and Dan, for the tour and the lovely lunch. It truly was a joy.

Later that same evening, Chill held a happy hour aboard their boat. White Star and Sapphire brought over some infused vodka. I was skeptical at first, but once I tried it, I was hooked. I’ll be making some of my own one day.

Sint Maarten

Sint Maarten

The wind is usually on the nose when going from BVI to St Maarten, so while we were waiting for a wind free night we sailed over to North Sound on Virgin Gorda and anchored off the beach of Prickly Pear island. Charlie enjoyed his usual romps on the beach and we enjoyed swimming off the boat. We joined friends Dan and Jackie onboard ‘Chill’ one evening to watch the movie 27 Dresses and made our usual visit to Saba Rock for happy hour. The perfect weather window was only a few days away.

We scheduled Charlie in to the vet for his export papers on January 19th. I took him in the taxi while Paul got the propane tank filled and picked up a few provisions. We all went over to clear customs and then we went for lunch at a restaurant to celebrate my birthday, since we’d be sailing overnight.

We headed out about 1430h to begin our motor to the Dutch side of the island of St Maarten. The seas were perfectly calm as we watched the islands of BVI slowly disappear behind us as night fell. It was a simple motor and no fussing with sails. What I found most fascinating about the trip was the traffic. Yes, traffic – boats going in both directions. We must have seen at least 30 other boats pass us through the night, not to mention the ones that filed in behind us upon arrival. We anchored on the Dutch side of the island by 0700h. Paul went ashore to clear us in. He mentioned the customs and immigration officers on this island to be the nicest he’s met so far.

Once we were cleared in we enjoyed mimosas to celebrate our arrival to a new island and my birthday. P gave me a nice surprise gift of the first 4 seasons of Downton Abbey (at the time of this writing we are starting Season 3).

In St Maarten we ran into fellow Salty Dawg boats: Kalani, Kalunamoo , Judith Arlene and Chasseur. After our first explore of the island and a walk for Charlie, we joined everyone at Lagoonies in the lagoon for happy hour. It was fun to reminisce and hear everyone’s adventures so far.

We recovered our sleep over the next few days, discovered a few good pastry places, and spent lots of money at the Budget Marine (the biggest in the Caribbean). Since we were anchored in Simpson bay, we had a good snorkel over to the reef (swimming distance) discovering only so-so coral and fish – but surprise, an old auto graveyard with pieces scattered about. Curious about what boat sunk there and when.

We also had a few more events at Lagoonies with our friends while we waited for a Fed Ex package to arrive. Oddly enough the package ended up being sent via UPS so the Fed Ex office wouldn’t accept it. Lucky for us we happened to be having a pastry at the café next to the Fed Ex office when the UPS guy called. So P went out to the street and was able to get the package directly from the UPS driver.

We were happy to finally get the package so we could plan to continue down island on the BVI export permit for Charlie before it expired. We left Sint Maarten on January 29th and sailed directly to Antigua.

A little rain over St Kitts on the way to Antigua
A little rain over St Kitts on the way to Antigua

Sun setting over St Kitts and Nevis on the way to Antigua
Sun setting over St Kitts and Nevis on the way to Antigua