Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our family adventure lives on in different forms.

As spring is turning to summer, we still talk wistfully about where we were a year ago. At this point last June, we were heading down the notorious Delaware Bay, to position ourselves for our last ocean run up the New Jersey coast. In a little over a month, our journey would be over, and we’d be starting to digest what this meant for our lives back in our regular routine. Would we still have a regular routine to go back to? What had we learned from this trip?
Now the school year is almost over. Christopher has enjoyed being back following a schedule that doesn’t change daily because of thunderstorms. People have remarked that he seems somewhat more independent since our return. (Well, if you were a teenager who lived in a small-enclosed space with your parents for a year, I think the motivation for independence when the opportunity arose would be pretty high don’t you?)
It turns out that our year on the water is playing a role in our lives back on land. Dave works helping organizations with their leadership and teambuilding concerns with the folks at InCourage. There are parallels between keeping a travelling boat safe and the crew happy, and effectively leading an organization. He has an article in the InCourage newsletter that illustrates this nicely. You’ll find it at this link:
In May, I had my turn to share some of the insights gained from our year away. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to fly to Regina to speak at the annual conference of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. My session was going to be called Life Lessons Underway and it highlighted the things we learned through the perspective gained by sharing this trip with Christopher. Upon arrival, I found the conference program had changed the session name to Endless PossAbilities, which was really appropriate considering this blog.
And Christopher himself, is constantly impressing others and us with information about people, places and things that we encountered as we travelled with Tiffany Rose.
It was only a year, and it has come and gone, but the memories and the impression it left on us will live forever.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What we missed last year!

As much as we enjoyed last year, with the sun, waves, palm trees, sand and everything else that goes with a year long adventure to the Keys, there were some things we didn't get to do. So this year we are appreciating the joys of winter again! Luckily we have had a very gentle winter this year but the snow has sustained itself well enough to be skiing and snowshoeing a lot. Our favourite thing is to grab our skis and walk across the road to our neighbours property, and hit the amazing trails they have. We are truly blessed to be able to do this. When we (Shirley and I) are working at home we try to get out for a lunch time ski when we can.

Below is a little compilation of Christopher having some fun on his skis last Saturday. He is getting better each time we go out.

If you can't view it here, see it on YouTube at

Sun, sun, it comes.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tiffany Rose under the tree

Tiffany Rose at Boca Chita by Sharon Lehnert

One day in January ’09, we left Tiffany Rose secured to a mooring ball at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne and took the bus into Miami. Sitting across from us on the bus was a couple and the lady asked us if we were boaters. This couple’s boat was anchored at No Name Harbour and in the comrade-like trading of information that happens when boaters run into each other on land, we found out that not only were they Canadian, but back home they didn’t live too far away. It was Sharon and Richard from sv Lucky, and while Sharon hailed from Chatham, Richard lived outside of Orangeville, very close to home for us.

Over the next few months we were fortunate to be able to spend time with these interesting folk whose sailing experience and stories had us looking to them for either advice or more breathtaking true tales. As we continued south we visited with them at Elliot Key and later on ran into them again during our extended stay in Marathon. On our way home we anchored near them at Sands Key, Dinner Key, in Hurricane Harbour and spent Easter together at Bakers Haulover. While visiting on their boat we saw some of Sharon’s artwork, another talent of this amazing lady.

Fast forward to this past Christmas. Back home in the frozen north we often reflect wistfully on our year away. Captain Dave had a surprise for me under the tree on Christmas morning. A Sharon Lehnert original – Tiffany Rose at Boca Chita!

What a beautiful work of art! We are constantly looking at it saying – “Oh, look at that, I can’t believe she got (this detail, or that detail) just the way it was.”

What a memory, what a keepsake, what a treasure! Thank you Sharon for capturing our home on the water, just the way it was! Fairwinds to you and Richard.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Our family adventure video Dec 23, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!

It has taken awhile to sift through the thousands of pictures Christopher took during our journey but we managed to put a bunch together to make up some fun video slideshows. Of course we will be the ones looking at it most often. Each day now we ask each other "where were we last year at this time?" Christopher usually has the right answer.

We are now feeling more adjusted to our life at home again and are getting in the groove of things. Tiffany Rose is on the hard for the winter and we have taken to skiing and snowshoeing.

Video 1 is part 1 of our trip, starting in Hamilton Harbour on Lake Ontario to Belhaven North Carolina.

Video 2 is part 2 from NC to the Florida Keys, and video 3 from Florida to home.

We miss all our sailing friends and hope the winds are treating you well!

Our journey on Tiffany Rose part 1, Lake Ontario to North Carolina

Part 2 of our journey from North Carolina to the Florida Keys

Part 3 of our journey from Florida back home

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Year Ago Today

We are sitting at home today in our nice little house in the hills of Mono, our minds filled with what we were thinking and doing a year ago today. The frenzied emotional time of preparing and then finally casting off the lines for our big journey, wondering what adventures lay ahead. Christopher, Shirley and I waving our last goodbyes to family on the dock. Wow.

Now it is memories, reflections, stories and living some of the lessons we learned along the way. Never does a day pass that Shirley or I don't bring something up about our trip. To our delight Christopher loves talking about our "family adventure" and beams with pride as he recalls many of the events along the way. The local newspapers saw our adventure as a worthy story and came out to interview us. You can see them at the links

These articles have really turned out to be fun because we have had strangers approach us at the store to say hi and ask about our trip. Not everyone we know knew we went away and so now some of Christopher's school mates have read the article and it has made for lively conversation when he sees these friends.
We were excited a little while ago to have Sharon and Richard from SV Lucky come over and visit. We met them by chance in Miami and found out that Richard's land home is only 15 minutes from our place. We continued to meet up numurous times along the way and have been friends ever since. That's what the cruising community is all about!
We have started to settle into routines here, especially since Christopher is back in school. He is enjoying that a lot and it is good for him to be with so many other people each day again - instead of just mom and dad everyday!
Waiting for the school bus. (Our house in background)

Shirley and I have started back at our work as well. I work with a great team of folks at InCourage helping organizations with leadership and teambuilding issues. You can check it out at

Shirley creates resources to make life easier for teachers of the core French curriculum. Her business is at

As good as it is to be back with friends and family and to have the opportunity to start right back at work, the feeling of wanting to be back on the water is a bit relentless. Who knows where these emotions will draw us??

We have to look to the fall fairs for our thrills now!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tiffany Rose has Landed!! July 22

The alarm goes off at 4:30 and we start getting into motion. Could this really be the day that this journey comes to an end? The weather says Go. After the sun is up we carefully wind our way out of the creek at Wilson and head into the lake. The water is nice, the wind is fairly light to start and we can't see much at all. The fog is hovering along the shore. Out towards the lake the visibility seems to be a few miles, but less than a mile from shore and we lose sight of land. It doesn't seem dangerous so we throttle up to a blazing 6 knots and set the GPS for the Burlington bridge 41 nautical miles away. With the wind behind us our speed started to pickup and we were making very good progress with both sails in flight. A couple of hours in and we came up to that very significant landmark - the Canadian border. The three of us had our Canada shirts on, and as Christopher loves to do, we did a countdown and sang a great rendition of O Canada!..all the while keeping a sharp eye on the temperature gauge. Before noon we were getting close to the bridge, but still couldn't see it through the fog. It persisted the whole time. And then there it was! Woo-hoo! And it looked like we could get the sails down in time to make the 1 o'clock bridge opening.

Burlington bridge finally in site
Shortly after 1 we were making our final approach to Lasalle Park marina, 952 engine hours, 33 gigabytes of pictures, 309 days and 4, 240 miles after we left last September. What an odd feeling. This was it after all. In the next few minutes we will be into a totally different life again. I think we may need re-entry therapy. A deep breath and lets make the final approach. Christopher is a bit beside himself now, so excited to be arriving home! As we round the bend into the marina Grandma, my sister Carolyn and niece Jessica are on shore waving balloons and a "welcome home" banner! There are hugs and kisses all around and a loving warm feeling that made it feel great to come home to. Christopher was really hoping for a welcome back party and in the evening he was not disappointed, complete with a Toast to the adventurers! Here is a video Carolyn took of Tiffany Rose arriving.

A triumphant Christopher's first steps in Canada!

Greeting at the dock

...And so ends this chapter of adventure for the crew of Tiffany Rose. It has truly been amazing, and then some. The places and experiences have been very powerful. Christopher has risen to many challenges and has made us very proud every nautical mile along the way. As novice sailors we have learned an awful lot, have been scared to death at times and have giggled with glee at our accomplishments. What stands out most though is the connections we made with some tremendous people along the way. That shared sense of living on the water creates instant bonds that often seem to grow by the minute and we are extremely grateful to have been graced by so many. The email support has also been much appreciated from begining to end.We even met new people just through this blog - very cool! Thank you everyone for sharing this experience with us in your own way! As Shirley and I looked at each other after being on land she said "Hmm, now that we know what we are doing, wouldn't it be fun to do it again?"...

A long quick repair July 21

Tiffany Rose out of action, waiting for a diagnoses

Very keen to check into this loss of coolant problem, we got up before 7am thinking that, as with many marinas we have been at, they would be up and running around then. Not a soul around. 8am still quiet. 9am hmm - where is everybody? I asked some guy who was on another boat and he said "They usually open around 9 or 9:30...guess it depends how they feel." In the meantime, I have some things apart trying to figure it out. No hose seems to be leaking so that narrows it down - may very well be a leaking heat exchanger, but I've never taken one apart. Around 9:30 I found someone milling around the back work area. He came to have a look and said he'd have to send the other guy over, it is more his area of expertise. This was now starting to look like a long drawn out process. Around 10:30 the other guy arrives and not long after two of them show up to check it out. They discover the same thing that the leak is from the heat exchanger, but didn't know if they could fix it. Ooo, maybe an even longer process. As it turned out it was a small hole and they were able to repair and test it. YES! We are in business and will be able to move over to another sailing club where some other folks we met were going to be. Shirley and Christopher have been exploring around Wilson gathering the requisite pictures of the area and return to the good news.

In goes the repaired heat exchanger and off go the mechanics. I happily poor in a bunch of antifreeze eager to run and test. But I need not start it up to test it. Alas my keen visual analysis of the situation reveals all the antifreeze coming out from the back where the heat exchanger is. Arrrgh! Now to find those guys again. Moving on soon is not looking good now. In they come again and discover that the hardest to reach hose was not attached well. Fixed again. But now I am out of fresh antifreeze to test it out, and there is none in the marina. Luckily one of the guys was going to town and he picked some up.

Test again. Success! Start up the engine to test it under pressure. So far so good. Yikes - overheating!! Now it is afternoon and they are busy doing other things. My guess it is an airlock in the system, which is hard to get out because of the long run from the engine to the hot water heater. I work on it myself the rest of the day...and into the evening. At 4pm I go to the office to pay the bill and guess what - everybody is gone and the place is dark and locked. By 8:30 it finally gets worked out and the final, final test has the engine running just fine!

Looks like we can depart in the morning now, better check the forecast again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just because we're close to home, doesn't mean there isn't adventure July 18- 20

Planning the route west on Lake Ontario.

After we said goodbye to Kim we had a another look at the weather forecast. We would be heading into brisk winds right on our nose and the waves would be high. Tomorrow's forecast looked more promising, the winds and waves would be diminishing during the day. We decided to rest up in Sodus Bay and make Sunday a longer travel day. We walked over to the marina where we had first 'met' Tiffany Rose and generally had a walk down memory lane remembering what it was like when we thought that maybe just maybe we could do a trip like this.

Sunday morning we headed out bright and early thinking it might be a bit of a slog early on but expecting the wind and waves to subside as the forecast promised. It had not been unusual on this trip for us to put in the occasional day where we'd go between 50 and 60 miles, so that's what we had in mind with Oak Orchard being our destination. When a good portion of the morning had passed and we had still not reached Pultneyville, which is only 10 miles from Sodus, we began to revise our plan. Rochester at half the distance would be enough of a challenge. Not really making progress motoring into the wind, we shut off the engine and sailed back and forth through the wind. It didn't move us that much faster toward our destination but at least it felt fast! The waves kept getting bigger and bigger and we were feeling quite weather beaten by the time we saw the entrance to the Rochester harbour. We radioed the Rochester Yacht club and they said they had a slip for us. The slip we were directed into was too narrow for Tiffany Rose and we got stuck between the dock and the piling. Another slip was found and we wiggled out of the tight spot and settled in the wider slip. A few hours later, the boat Wing It arrived. (We had met them as we finished the canal. It is a new boat that they bought in NYC and they had their mast stepped the same day we did.) We went to help with their lines but the slip they were assigned was too tight for them, as was the next one. If at first you don't succeed, try try again. The third one fit.

Tow Boat US taking Tiffany Rose to Wilson, NY

Monday's forecast was a good one and we hoped that this time it was right. But we were conservative and just planned to go to Oak Orchard. It was a beautiful day. The lake was calm and the wind was light. As it was right on our nose we motored into it with the main sail up, where it could help any time we veered off the wind. After a while the wind shifted enough for us to unfurl the genoa. The wind was too light to make much progress by sail alone but it boosted the engine speed up nicely. The next thing you know is it's near noon and we're right by Oak Orchard. Why stop now? Such a nice day. On to Olcott.
Christopher enjoyed his turns at the helm. (video below)Most of the time there has always been one of us holding the wheel but today the wind was just right for him to go it alone with just a "Go a little to starboard" (or to port) suggestion from us every now then .

We were about 8 miles from Olcott when we heard and felt a thud, thud, thud. Even though we were in deep water, it appeared we had hit a log. Usually this is a bad thing. It turned out to be one of those"what a good thing that happened then" things. Dave went below to check that everything was ok around where the propeller shaft enters the boat. (A bad hit could lead to taking on water or other perils.) Turned out everything was fine in that regard, but totally unrelated, all of the engine coolant was in the engine bilge. The engine hadn't started to overheat yet, but if that thud hadn't had him look below then we may not have realized that we had no coolant until it was too late. So, we turned off the engine and sailed along while Dave started looking for the leak. Still a beautiful day, but the wind was quite light and we were only going about 2 1/2 knots. Now, Olcott seemed far away.
Dave couldn't find the leak and it seemed too risky to turn the engine on. We knew we could keep sailing to Olcott, but with the wind this light out on the lake we knew there would be none in the sheltered harbour. We have the Tow Boat US insurance, so we thought we'd call them. Down south there was one in every port it seemed. We were surprised to find out it would have to come out from Rochester. So we kept sailing, waiting for them to call us back. Dave started researching repair places and found one in Wilson which is 5 miles past Olcott. He called them and found out where we could dock if we ever got there. Finally we got a call back from Tow Boat US, they would be there in 2-3 hours. So, we did what we could do, kept sailing along at 2 1/2 knots. We were in good company. There is a big race on right now called the Lake Ontario 300 where boats race around the whole lake without stopping. A few were near by us and they weren't moving quickly either.
After we ate supper we noticed that very faintly in the distance we could see the CN tower. It was very exciting! By the time the Tow Boat got to us we had actually sailed past Olcott. It was an interesting experience for us to be towed to a dock. An interesting one for the Tow Boat man and his family as well. They had never been to Wilson. Between us we found the marina and the spot we were to dock in, we think. (By this time the marina was closed).

So here we are only 41 nautical miles from the Burlington Bridge. So close! We'll have to see tomorrow what needs to be done and when we can move on. We'll be home soon......just not sure how soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Looking across to Canada! and Sailor Kim! July 17

Christopher enjoying the company of another fine lady friend, Kim!

We can hardly believe that as we poke our bow out of Oswego harbour we are looking across the Lake to Canada. If the end of this journey didn't seem close before, it sure does now! We organized our morning and got Kim's bike all settled in for the start of our travels west along the U.S. side of Lake Ontario. With a good wind in the forecast we had to make sure the bike wouldn't be flying around the boat. Soon after we set out we realized the wind was indeed good, however it was right on the nose. After a couple of tacks we decided to make a little more progress and let the engine take over our propulsion into the wind for a while. But we didn't want Kim's on the water experience to be just motoring. Luckily the wind shifted and we were able to fly full sails and cut the engine...that beautiful sound of silence. Then it was Kim's turn to take the helm and, as her first time ever, she performed like a pro. She would occasionaly lose track of where we were going but out in the lake there is nothing to run into! (see the video clip below)

In control at the helm!

A Full Circle for Tiffany Rose...
By mid afternoon we sailed into our destination - the Sodus Bay Yacht Club in Sodus Bay. For Tiffany Rose this must have felt very familiar because this was her place since she was bought new in 1991. It created a bit of interest in many of the club members as they all knew this boat. One of these members was Eric on the boat Otis from Sodus. We met Eric down in Georgia at Jerkyll Island, so it was great to see him here. When he learned that Kim was planning to bike back to Oswego he went home and dug out some maps of local back roads that would make for a nicer bike ride. Another cruising friend comes through with a generous act of kindness!
Eric on Board showing Kim some better bike routes (note the magnifier Kim needs to use...)

We went for a walk around Sodus Point, which is bustling this weekend with a big fishing event. After a boat BBQ chicken supper we relaxed in the cockpit, kept out of the occasional rain shower and showed Kim a typical cruising evening - drinking and chatting with the water lapping against the side of the boat. Her visit, much like Dan's in Chesapeake Bay, was one of those "in the moment" events. She contacted us a few days earlier and asked where we would be in a few days, and then said "I'll be there". And next thing we knew, there she was. Tomorrow morning she will peddle off into the sunrise and we will decide what our next move will be.

The final 'step' July 16

Christopher winching up the jib halyard.

The lock starts at 7am and the marina starts stepping masts at 8, so we were up and through the lock as shortly after 7 as we could be. (The water intake made it through this time in fine form. Yay!) We docked in front of the gin pole (crane) at the Oswego Marina and started untying the million and one ropes we had securing the mast to the cradle so that we would be ready when Bernie from the marina was ready. Bernie does a lot of these mast stepping and unsteppings for canal travellers so we were happy to let him run the show and did as we were told when we were told. Before we knew it, that part of the job was done and the rest of the rigging was up to us. We took a deep breath because in the fall down in Catskill it had taken us a full day and a half to feel that everything was ready for us to sail away. After walking Tiffany Rose ahead to the fuel dock to fuel up and pumpout, we powered up our semi sailboat (mast but no boom or sails yet) and went to a slip in the marina. By supper time we were feeling ahead of the game with the boom and both sails up and the cradle dismantled. The night before we had met a couple from Etobicoke who were bringing home a new 42 foot Catalina from New York City. Previously they had owned a 34 ft Catalina about the same vintage as Tiffany Rose. While they were having their mast stepped we took advantage of their expertise by asking their advice frequently.
After supper as the sun was setting we tried to fine tune the furler for the jib. After a few attempts we realized our only option was to take the jib right down and start over. So, not as far ahead of our fall time line but still ahead. We took stock of what still needed to be done in the morning, and the jobs were small so it looks like we could leave tomorrow.
Our friend Kim Fournier arrived. She lives in Gatineau and had wanted to do a leg with us on the lake. We couldn't tell her for sure where that first leg would end so didn't know how she could get back to her car in Oswego. "Is there room for my bike on the boat?" What a good idea, we'll make room. When we only travel about 6 m.p.h. I guess she could be pretty confident that we wouldn't get too far away in one day.
Before we could let her park her car for the night though you can guess what we asked. The grocery store that is too far to walk to is open 24 hours, we need some fresh stuff, and juice and...... would you mind? No problem. So a late night trip to Price Chopper was underway in no time then off to bed to see what tomorrow brings.

Locking down to Oswego July 15

Christopher fending off the stern in the lock.
Laurean, Christopher and Mom beside the canal between Lock 7 and 8.
We headed into Lock 1 of the Oswego Canal at the same time as Y Knot. We had noticed the evening before that the downstream side of the lock had a lot of debris. Knowing our problem with our water intake, Y Knot offered to exit ahead of us to plow through the clump first. Shortly aftering exiting however we knew our intake was blocked again. There didn't seem to be a docking option in sight so we were contemplating dropping the anchor when Cam from Y Knot offered over the radio to circle back and we tie up to them. So that's what we did. That let us shut the engine off so Dave could perform his magic on the thru hull. Success! Started up the engine, cast off from Y Knot and off we went. Locks 2 and 3 were great! There is no Lock 4. Shortly after Lock 5, Dave started exhibiting the same body language that told me we were blocked again. (Worried glances at the heat guage, constantly craning his neck over the stern to see no water flowing, looking around for a docking location.) Back came Y Knot. "We'll have to stop meeting this way." After we were clear again, we all headed off for Lock 6. Locks 6, 7 and 8 are very close together but there is a nice wall to tie to overnight between Locks 7 and 8 and that was our plan. After Lock 6 I stayed up at my locking position at the bow because lock 7 was right there. I was suspicious however by the sound of the engine being put into neutral, then back into gear that we had probably taken in gluck again. (I decided not to look back for the body language clues, hoping that the 'no news is good news' or 'ignorance is bliss' theories might play out.) Right away we were into Lock 7 then out and heading to the wall for the night. When we were secure there and the engine was off, Dave confirmed my suspicions. Oh well, the day's travels are over, there's time to clear the block now and there is only 1 more lock to go.
Later we took a walk past Lock 8 and down to the marina to check on the arrangements for having the mast stepped (put back up) in the morning.
After supper, Laurean (Y Knot) stopped by to have Christopher join her for her evening walk. I don't know who picked the route but I do know that upon their return, Laureen knew exactly where the marina is that Tiffany Rose is going to tomorrow.
After we leave Oswego we will part ways with Y Knot. They bought their boat in Florida and this trip is their 'taking the boat home' trip. They will be crossing the lake to the Trent Severn to head to Sault St. Marie for arrangements to transport the boat to Vancouver. All former sailors, we have valued their advice, friendship and helpfulness.
This trip has been an amazing experience in that regard. The friendships made along the way we will keep in our hearts forever.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A nice visit and more lock ‘fun’. July 12 –14

Uncle George came for a visit in Utica

Cam and Laurean on Y Knot - and Christopher with a new hat from Vancouver!

Sunday morning we set out to wrestle with a few more locks and hopefully meet up after that with my brother George. After stopping at the St. Johnsville Marina for fuel, pump out and water we called George at home in Brockville to let him know that we were aiming for the dock in Utica.
When you are going up in a lock the force and flow of the water as it is filling sometimes makes it a good workout just holding the boat in place. There’s a constant ‘push me, pull you” motion going on where one minute you are pushing off the wall trying to keep the mast from scraping the side, then the next minute the current is pushing the bow out and I’m afraid I might lose it and let the boat swing right around. Some locks are more vigorous than others and by the time we were at lock 19 I was ready for a peaceful one. Oops!….the boat hook (an essential lock tool) is floating away………let go of the rope, mad scramble, retrieve boat hook, grab ropes again before the water current starts.‘Phew’! Or……. not ‘phew’, apparently a pump in the lock was broken and the ride up was rougher than usual. I rate the lock as difficult if I hear myself swearing under my breath. I’m afraid that time I heard the words right out loud.
Leaving the lock we were really hoping the dock in Utica would have a free space. Just then, George called, he had made it to Utica, and had found the dock and thought there was space. The Canadian trawler ‘Y Knot’ from Vancouver was ahead of us, and they pulled in first and radioed that they would pull ahead to make room for us. So we pulled in with Cam, Stan and Laurean from Y Knot and George there to grab our dock lines. A nice end to the day’s travel.
Christopher was excited to see Uncle George. Once we organized ourselves for leaving the boat, we piled into George’s car to do Christopher’s favourite thing….watch trains. The Utica train station is quite nice. We ate dinner there and we had a chance to catch up with George, and Christopher got to get what we think will be his last viewing of trains on this trip. After supper George dropped us back at the dock and headed back to Brockville. It sure was nice of him to drive down all that way for the day to visit.
Monday, we set out to do our last lock going up. After that we started down. After we left the 2nd lock down Dave realized that we must have got something in the water intake as we left the lock. That needs attention fairly promptly so we radioed back to the lockmaster who told us where we could dock. After a quite a bit of trying most of the tricks Dave knew to clear it the water started to flow again so we cautiously headed off. When we got to Sylvan Beach at the east end of Lake Oneida the wind was howling and the waves were high. The trip on Lake Oneida is 20 miles long and a sailboat with the mast down can’t go in those conditions. So we looked for a place to tie up on the wall provided by the town. There were our guardian angels from Y Knot, waving us in to a spot.
Sylvan Beach is a nice resort town and the three of us enjoyed a game of mini golf. We had a nice visit on Y Knot in the evening.
We were up Tuesday at 4 am hoping we could get across the lake before the wind picked up. It was actually after 5 when we left. By halfway across you could feel the wind building and we were glad we hadn’t left any later. We travelled past Brewerton and down Lock 23, only to have to circle back to a wall to deal with the blocked water intake again. As Stan on Y Knot says… “There seems to be a pattern here.” Our water intake seems to have a thing with the down locks. Only 7 to go!
We turned off the Erie Canal and headed north into the Oswego Canal. The dock in Phoenix is nice and there is free electricity and water here, so we stopped to leave the rest of the locks for another day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Up, up up we go! And a musical visit July 9-11

Docked at Lock 8

Jamming by the Erie Canal -we even sang the Erie canal song

July 9th is Grandma's birthday - Happy Birthday Grandma!!

On the morning of the 9th, we left the dock in Waterford and lined up for the Waterford flight with 3 other boats. What an awesome set of locks! It is like taking an elevator up a waterfall in 5 rides. By the fifth one you are up pretty high and get a good look over the valley. And so our series of locks through the Erie canal has started. It didn't take long to get the hang of it again although we did remember quickly that it is a lot easier to be going down than up, and the first couple of days of this is all up.

On Thursday night we tied up at lock 8. It is a good wall to tie up to and we had the pleasant company of another Canadian boat. On Friday we continued the climb through to lock number 15 at Fort Plain. At Fort Plain we planned to stay an extra day to have some company. Chris and Divya from the sailboat Maggie M came to visit from Amherst, Massachusets. We had met them in Marathon and started jamming together and have continued the friendship. They left their boat in Chesapeake Bay and are home for the summer. Chris brought his guitar and Divya her angelic voice and we had a wonderful time playing and singing. Then we all went out to dinner with some other friends of theirs who live in the area. It was amazing that we were able to coordinate this rendezvous and it was sure worth it!

The mast is down, on to Waterford July 7 and 8, 2009

Big stick coming down!

In Waterford, ready for the canal.

The next morning we were up early to try to have everything ready for when it was our turn. The other boat waiting there was having their mast put back up, ready to head south. They were from France. Dave was busy making sure the cradle was in the right spot and secure enough to handle the load and Christopher and I were doing the support jobs, like removing the not too essential pieces of rigging. When it was our turn, Christopher moved into his photographer position and Dave and I did as we were told to help as the crane pulled the mast out and placed it on the cradle. Thankfully there were two marina folks there and the man from France as well, as at one point it seemed the mast came precariously close to the water.
The rest of the day was spent securing the mast to the cradle, cleaning, deflating and packing away SeaJay 2 our faithful dinghy, generally trying to find a place for everything and making sure we could still move around as needed on the boat around the somewhat awkward structure.
We had noticed on our trip up the Hudson that motorboats were not as likely to give you a gentle pass as they had been on the intracoastal waterway and that some of the wakes had been pretty scary. Feeling somewhat vulnerable carrying the mast down, we left at 5 am hoping to avoid most motorboat traffic. This meant going against the current but we thought that the solitude on the river was worth it. We were about 15 minutes out when the fog surrounded us. The computer man on the weather radio said it would lift around 7am. Darn. What to do? Go back to the dock? We could see the markers behind us but not in front. So we slowly headed back to one and circled around discussing our options. Then the route ahead of us became more visible and we decided to forge ahead, having only been delayed by 10 to 15 minutes. We saw 1 motorboat around 7:30 and then not again until mid morning. Two of them were approaching at what looked like a dangerous speed for us, so we radioed them to see if they could slow down. One was very nice and passed us as with as little wake as possible. The other guy seemed to speed up and giggle with glee as he sped by. Tiffany Rose bucked and rocked back and forth and we held our breath hoping our cradle would hold. We survived.
When we arrived at Waterford, which is the start of the Erie Canal, we were lucky to be able to dock at the free floating dock that has electricity and water.

North up the Hudson to Catskill July 5 and 6, 2009

Leaving the city behind.

Y Knot (trawler from Vancouver) and another boat at anchor at Polopel Island.

Train view from anchorage.

We let go of the mooring ball before 6:30 Sunday morning so we could catch the tidal current going north on the Hudson River. We kept turning around to see the skyline of NYC getting smaller and smaller. The mountain scenery on both sides of the river was spectacular. In the fall we had noticed that it was pretty but it had been overcast the days we were travelling. Sunday the weather was beautiful and with the recent rains everything was very green. While in the city Christopher had been disappointed that the trains all ran underground. Not far north though they emerged into daylight and he was treated to a steady stream of commuter and Amtrak trains on the east side of the river and the occasional freight on the west. As we got near West Point Christopher reminded us that our first anchoring spot on the trip was coming up soon, and that he expected we would anchor there again. It is a spot at Polepel Island where there are ruins of the Bannerman castle, but the real attraction for him is the prime train viewing location. As we inched our way into the spot we were feeling very reflective and nostalgic. This spot had been our first anchor spot on the trip (and our first time anchoring overnight on Tiffany Rose) and now after too-many-to-count nights spent at anchor it very well could be our last on this trip. (Our upcoming route through the canal and the south shore of Lake Ontario do not offer very many anchoring possibilities.) We sat in the cockpit as the day wound down and savoured the moment (and of course, the frequent train traffic).
Next morning we were pulling the anchor up just a little later than Sunday to again ride the tidal current north to Catskill. We pulled into Riverview Marina early afternoon, and once secured at the dock we anxiously went to search out the pile of lumber where we had left our wood for the cradle to carry the mast through the canal. Last fall the instructions had been to label it, put date of return on it, and no guarantees but they would try to keep it. We found our bundle of wood, every piece still there! If it had not been there it would have meant a lot of work measuring, cutting and constructing, not to mention about the problem of obtaining the wood. Mike, the marina owner told us others weren’t so lucky and there had been quite a scene when one boat owner arrived to find his wood being used on another boat.
Jeannette and Bill from the boat Myosotis, who we had rafted with at Vero Beach in January, live on their boat just a few minutes up the creek. Late afternoon they dropped by for a quick visit. By then we had stuff everywhere in preparation for unstepping the mast the next day. “Where will we store the sails? How about the floorboards for the dinghy? How did we do this last fall? My, this seems like a lot of work.” Later that evening Jeannette returned with their truck to take me grocery shopping. A real luxury and a generous gift. So of course I bought all the heavy things that we would like to have but avoid when we have to carry the groceries ourselves!
That night Dave and I shared the v-berth with the mainsail and genoa (big jib), hoping that by tomorrow our amnesia about where they had been stored last fall would clear up.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Steve and Syl in New York July 4th

It was just like the song, " the'd think it was the 4th of July..." And to make it more fun Steve and Syl were coming to NYC to celebrate their 30th anniversary! Once again we were on the subway downtown to meet them at their hotel. While there we took them up on their offer of a shower in luxury, which we haven't seen in a while.
A hot shower and relaxing in Uncle Steve and Auntie Syl's hotel.

Time Square tourists

Having only this one day together before we set sail again we packed in a few more things. A tour around times square and then on the subway to Central park. This time we went to see the Dakota - John Lennon's appartment where he was shot - another day the music died. Across the street from the Dakota we wandered through the section of Central Park renamed Strawberry Fields. After this nice stroll on a beautiful sunny afternoon we headed down 79th street to the marina and stopped at the Boat Basin Cafe for supper. The police presence in the area was pretty encompassing. They were out in full force working crowd control for the big fireworks show.

Catching up on Tiffany Rose before the fireworks.

After supper we hopped into the dinghy and ferried out to Tiffany Rose to take our ring side seats. It was fun to have Steve and Syl back on the boat after spending a week together in the Florida Keys in March. Much different environment hanging out on the Hudson River in NYC!
After dark the show started. At first we were dissapointed as it seemed like it was very far down the river and hard to see, and then KAPOW, as Christopher says, the big show started. Five barges just down from us started sending off what was advertised as "the biggest in the country". It was pretty spectacular and being so close the sound added to the wow. Boats were all over the place and we were treated to one sail boat of minstrals cruising around the mooring field playing and singing, and a wee bit of drinking as well. There are lots of youtube videos of the fireworks at

Then it was back in the dinghy for a night ride to shore and a big goodbye - see you soon! They will be here for another few days while we head up to Catskill to take the mast down in preparation to venture into the Erie Canal.

New York action June30-July 3

Spending a full week in New York was a good idea, and even then we are just hitting a few hot spots for us. After sailing by the Statue of Liberty twice we had to take the ferry over and land on the island. It was fun to do especially since Christopher had just done some boating school exams which included questions about the statue. Being up close was good but seeing her from the water as we sailed by was more exciting. The trip over also included stopping at Ellis Island. This is the place where all immigrants were processed a hundred years ago. The displays there are really informative on what the conditions were like and what the people had to go through to live in "the land of the free". And we thought we were on a big adventure. Can't imagine being on the adventure these people undertook.
Then we were off to one of Christopher's key spots - Grand Central Station. The big Daddy of train stations. It is a beautiful large station but there are no good train viewing spots we found out. Everything on rails downtown is underground and doesn't show up for miles down the line. Security doesn't like non ticket holders to go down to the platforms but we just had to sneak in and get some good looks at trains arriving and departing.
Supper at grand Central Station

Next it was to the Bronx Zoo. A train conductor told us that Wednesdays were free days at the Zoo. So not being people who will pass up a deal like that we boarded the subway again and zipped over to the Bronx. It is quite a large and impressive zoo with all the regular zoo inhabitants. A highlight for Christopher was at the tigers. They are viewed through a glass wall and he worked his way to the front. Of course the tigers were behind a log lying down barely in sight. But then one got up, strolled across the area for a drink and then went back to lie down - but this time he lay down right up against the glass in front of Christopher. Click-Click goes the camera!

It was a big line up on free day at the zoo.

Another tip we received was that the museum of Natural History was also free, and it was an easy walk from the marina. We spent half a day there and could have spent a week at least. Some of the displays are the original ones from the early 1900's which was interesting because the displays can be museum pieces themselves. The whole place was intriguing and we spent most of the time with the dinosaurs, the ocean and Asia.

Ground Zero was another place we wanted to get to. Not much to see there - which is the striking thing about it. The gap in the city that was once filled with two massive buildings and the people in them is striking in its emptiness and what that emptiness means. Right now there is a big rebuild going on so construction is consuming the ground level. There is a small display beside the local firehall and there is a guided tour you can take. But really it is just looking at nothing that has the most impact.

The gap in the soul of the city at ground zero.

Visiting all these areas has meant a tremendous amount of walking. Christopher has been at the forefront of it all and by Friday it was time for him to get new shoes. His others, which were new in March, had worn right through. Maybe we have walked as far as we have travelled by boat! Should have brought a pedometer. Now it is time to get ready for visitors!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New York City - Larger than Life, June 28- June 30

Dodging an overloaded Ferry in NY Harbour

The Castle in Central Park from the Great Lawn

By one of the small Central Park Lakes

Larger than life. That’s what New York City has been like. We left the anchorage on Staten Island on Sunday morning and thought that the wind and the tide would help us along up the Hudson River. Wrong on both accounts. The wind was on our nose and the current was wanting to push us back out into the ocean. Good thing we didn’t have too far to go. As we approached the grand Verrazano Bridge that connects Staten Island to Brooklyn, Lady Liberty came into view. This is the view that new immigrants or soldiers returning from war in years past would see as they approached the promised land or were finally returning back home. Even though we came by here in the fall it was still quite stunning. We sailed as close as we could, dodging the many tour boats as well as the fast Staten Island ferries going back and forth. To our right the skyline of Manhatten dominated our view and we slowly bounced our way past and up to the 79th Street boat basin to a take a mooring. In October we only had one night here before we blasted off heading south. This time we plan to spend a week taking in the action of the Big Apple.

Our first visit stop was to walk a few blocks up the road from the marina to Central Park. Shirley and I had both learned about Central Park back in university and how it was a model of park planning. Walking around the sections we had time for we both felt that it is even better than we had thought. We were there on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and so it was crawling with people, but we never felt crowded out. The park is so large and laid out so beautifully that it always felt relaxing. Apparently it was in disrepair in the 70s and 80s but now it is in fabulous shape. Everywhere we looked there were people walking, cycling, playing all kinds of games, rowing row boats, sailing toy boats, riding horse and buggies and just lying in the sun. And no one seemed to be in anyone elses way.
New York has done a good job of creating peaceful places in this busy city. Further downtown we came across Bryant Park in the business area. It is a nicely treed park almost full of little tables and chairs with people reading and talking everywhere. And then there is Time Square. Out on the pavement there are many lawn chairs scattered around, just there for people to sit on and gawk at the sites. The rest of Time Square looks just like it does in movies or commercials - surrounded by huge gawdy ads! But it is fun. Such a contrast to the peaceful and serene areas we have been used to. The other contrast is our experience of being on the mooring ball here. In the thick of the Hudson River with no protection we get bounced around in a wild fashion. It is hard to be on the boat in the day time when there is traffic on the river because we are constantly thrown around. It even makes getting in the dinghy an adventure in itself!

More NYC to come... (our internet connection here is very intermittent)

Relaxing in Time Square

The bustle and the lights of Time Square

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Moving around the Lower Bay June 25 – 27

Great Kills National Park beach

Great Kills Harbor anchorage - with the storm passing.

We woke up to rock and roll. Not music, but the motion of Tiffany Rose. The night before we had been too tired to travel any further so we had dropped the hook in front of the Coast Guard station as soon as we rounded Sandy Hook. Not a bad place to spend the night, but as soon as daylight came and all the fishing boats and ferries were active the wakes were a bit much. Trying to keep breakfast dishes from flying around was a challenge so it was time to move on. We were in the middle of bringing the anchor up when the Coast Guard stopped by for a visit. “Where are you going, where are you from, where did you clear customs, have a nice trip, hope we didn’t interupt you bringing up the anchor” then off to greet the others anchored nearby. We headed south to Atlantic Highlands, where you can anchor behind the breakwater. We got fuel and water first and kept the engine running for the first bit after we anchored so we could each get in a quick shower. (The objective is to use as little water as possible, so shower in the sense of “Ahh, that feels nice” might not be the appropriate word, but you do get clean and that feels good.) We then headed off to do a reconaissance of what the town has to offer. There was a trawler from Vancouver anchored next to us wondering where the laundry was so we promised to come back with a report. Found the dinghy dock, found the laundromat, got permission to dock the dinghy at a spot closer to the laundromat and passed on the news to our neighbours. Dave and Christopher spent the afternoon exploring Atlantic Highlands while our clothes did the transition from stinky to “Mountain fresh”.
On Friday we woke up to a forecast of impending severe thunderstorms. We had intended to head up to the 79th st. moorings in Manhattan, but that is a rolly place on weekends and add a thunderstorm to that and it might not be too pleasant. Many people had told us about Great Kills Harbour on Staten Island, as a protected spot. The sky didn’t look too great already so we hurried to eat breakfast and leave hoping we could get there before the storm came. In about an hour and a half we were entering this horseshoe shaped harbour, marinas down both sides and the rest of the harbour completely filled with sailboats on mooring balls. We thought we were in Boot Key Harbour in Marathon again for a moment! The guidebooks said that there would be room at the north end past the moorings to anchor and when we got there we found we had plenty of room. Not sure about the weather we stayed on the boat for the rest of the morning trying to finish up some things in the boat schooling folder. Christopher reminded me that school at home is done now. When we are travelling on flat water it is good for doing school work, but on ocean days and days like Delaware Bay it doesn’t even get looked at. So, we’ll try to finish up before Canada Day.
In the afternoon we dinghied to shore at Great Kills National Park, then walked to town to seek out the Staten Island Railroad for our train fan. It was a hot walk and you could feel the impending storm must be coming even though the sun was shining.
When we got back to the boat and turned on the weather radio, Mr. Computer voice was issueing all sorts of dire warnings, and the sky was looking like he was right. When the storm hit, we went into what has become our usual thunderstorm routine. Invariably, we try to get supper done before the storm hits but we never make it. I’m sure we must look like a comedy routine. Look at the family sitting down to supper in the cockpit. Oops, it’s pouring rain, they are passing things down below and scrambling around like mad. Oh, there they are sitting at the table. Crack! Oops, lightening! Don’t want to be so close to the mast, everyone to their stations! Christopher and Dad huddle in Christopher’s room at the back of the boat with their meals, and Mom climbs into the v-berth at the bow with hers. Oh, the wind is howling too! Look at them take turns popping up to make sure they are still where they are supposed to be. Ok, things are quieting down now, as you were, carry on.

Saturday we spent exploring the Great Kills park. from the beach you could see most of the Lower Bay, with Sandy Hook and Atlantic Highlands in view.

Our Final Day on the Ocean - June 24

Sunrise as we head into the ocean from Atlantic City

Working the winch to keep the jib tight.

A Sandy Hook Beer at the end of a long day!

After watching the weather carefully the last few days today looked like a decent day to head off shore again. Up we got at 4 am and headed off with the first glimmer of sunrise. The winds were quite calm and we noticed a number of other boats ambling out the inlet at the same time. We could feel the rollers coming in but these were not nearly the same magnitude as the other day. Once we were out far enough and turned north it actually felt very comfortable. The light wind, generally on our nose, meant that we motored along with only the mainsail up to help with stabiltiy and to grab any favourable gusts that may come along. Our plan was to try to make it all the way to Sandy Hook, about 80 nautical miles. This would be our longest day yet. It was looking pretty good as we set out doing around six knots. Then we noticed our speed dropping. Hmm. I didn’t know of any opposing currents along the coast here. But down it went to about 4.8 knots and stayed there. Bummer. This was now putting our plan in jeopardy. To continue at this speed would mean arriving after dark which isn’t what we wanted to do. There were two more inlets coming up that were possible exits but neither of them were very appealing for their anchoragability (if that’s a word). As the last one crept up we had to make a decision. Just before this however, our speed started to creep back up, we also had a bit of wind and had unfurled the jib. Now we were back up to 6 knots and the decision to continue was easy. The seas had settled even more and Christopher was able to while away the hours playing on the computer. He also took a turn at assisting on the helm for over two hours. Getting the sails out is also a very active time for him as he helps pull on the jib sheet, uses the winch to harden the jib as well as the main sail when we need it. It is fun to watch him be a keen sailor!
A magical part of the day was the dolphin greeting we received. Along the way we came across about 5 different pods of dolphins some with about 30 dolphins. Most were just swimming along but some were more frisky and did a few full body leaps out of the water. We are really glad they came to say goodbye!
By 6:30 we reached the offshore buoy marking the Sandy Hook channel and by 7:30 we had the anchor down and felt totally relieved. As we came in we saw Rich on his boat Nessie anchoerd as well. Just when you thought you’d never cross paths with someone again, there they are! Great day!!

More High Rollers! June 21 - 23

Atlantic City Boardwalk

The Gamblers!

With some less than ideal weather out on the ocean we took the opportunity to take in the sights around Atlanctic City. The boardwalk is a little more than a mile from the marina and that is where many of the hot spots are. Being Father’s Day it seemed appropriate that I try my luck in one of the casinos. So into the Taj Mahal we went. After stumbling around a bit inside trying to figure out how things worked we finally settled on a couple of slot machines with nautical themes for good luck. Now the high rolling could really start! A bit of up and a bit of down – just like out in the ocean! Gambling is a bit of a hard concept for Christopher to understand but the action of the machines was pretty cool. But when you win all you get is a coupon, which isn’t a very impressive prize to him. When all was done I was a total of 37cents in the red!
Then off we went to continue along the boardwalk with its amusement park, gorby shops and more and more casinos. There was also an interesting historical museum about the area. Monopoly was invented here and we walked by many of those street properties you could buy. We also walked along the beach for a while but it wasn’t a swimming day. Before we ended this 10 mile walk a bird deposited its load right on Shirley. Try as I might to convince her that was good luck and she should pop into a casino she was somehow more interested in getting back to get more fully cleaned up.
After losing that 37 cents we decided it would be best to leave the dock and its costs and head over to a nearby anchorage. It turned out to be a really nice spot that was well protected. We went to shore to do some shopping, which was a challenge because there was no decent dinghy landing. We found a spot that we had to slog the dinghy through by pulling it over marsh grass in knee deep water and then drag it over land to a stable spot where we could lock it up. We do a lot more locking in these urban areas. Later we had a much easier time dinghying over to a beach and taking doing some fun exploring there. Tons of little crabs to watch. Cars with special permits are allowed to drive along here and so many were there with families hanging out or guys and all their fishing stuff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rolling on the Ocean June 19

Shirley and the ocean - together again!

We have been out of site of the ocean now since we left Beaufort NC. Now we are sitting on its edge again anticipating our sail up the east coast of New Jersey. To do this we will need a couple of good weather days. Friday morning we saw ‘Alice” leaving the harbour so we radioed them for their impressions of the conditions. Large rolling swells, not the pounding waves we’d had on Tuesday. Time to go! We had to wait for a fuel dock to open so we could fuel up before heading out.

Heading out and heading in. Those are the times when your senses are on full alert when travelling on the ocean. The combination of tides, currents, winds and narrow channels make inlets places that grab your attention. As we started out the inlet it didn’t look bad but you could see the “bumps” on the water toward the horizon. Sure enough as we continued along the swells started to well up underneath Tiffany Rose’s bow. With the outgoing tide we were zipping along at about 7.5 knots and we started to bounce into the waves. But it wasn’t long until we were out of the channel and pointing our way to the north east to follow the coast toward Atlantic City, our next stop along the way. The breeze was good and we had all sails flying. Feels good!

The swells were quite large so it was like being on a slow roller coaster. First you are on top of a wave, then there’s that sinking feeling as you descend into the trough, then up, then down. At times in the trough we would lose all site of land and then at the top we would have a splendid view. So we knew these were sizable swells, mainly left over from the stormy weather earlier. Even though we have been travelling by boat for ten months being on the ocean is still thrilling. The expanse, the smells, and the power all create a sense of awe as we bob along in our tiny craft. This time Shirley did ok with the movement but for the first time it seemed that Christopher wasn’t so keen on the wave action. As we approached Atlantic City, again we are on full alert as we see waves crashing along side the jetty of the inlet. Coming in now we have the waves pushing us along which is nice except it can confuse your steering. Fortunately the tide was also going in which meant the waves were not popping up and bouncing us around. Our entry was pretty smooth.

Christopher was glad when we pulled into Atlantic City and be out of the swells. We docked at the Historic Gardner Basin, as we did in the fall. Here, the marina doesn’t really have facilities for you but your dock fee allows you to visit the Atlantic City aquarium. Good deal!

Cape May and waiting for weather June 17-18

Audubon Society Nature Centre

We stayed anchored there in front of the Coast Guard station until Friday, wating for the right weather to head north. Wednesday we were able to dinghy to town and explored around Cape May. There was a nature centre there with a tower that offered a good view of the harbour.
Thursday it was stormy and we stayed on board most of the day. At least Christopher and I did. Dave was doing some maintenance chores and would zoom off to “Alice” who was also anchored there to borrow tools, ask advice or see what they thought of tomorrow’s weather for travelling. Meanwhile Christopher had announced that by the date on the calendar it was time for exams. That hadn’t been part of the original boat schooling plan but hey, we aim to please, so exams can be arranged. That made the day go by quickly! The stormy weather also made the day more exciting as other boats started dragging and everyone was out in their cockpits on watch or out at the bow adjusting their anchoring system. This has been one of the more rock-and-rolly anchorages we’ve been in.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beating Down the Delaware (or..the Delaware beating down us) June 16

Delaware Bay has a reputation. And any place that has a reputation we pay special attention. At Chesapeake City, we spent some time with Charles and Laurel and their boys from the sailboat Alice, talking about the upcoming weather and our thoughts on getting down the Bay. It would be 73 miles from start to finish – our longest run. The combination of a fairly shallow but very large body of water, strong ocean tidal currents and winds makes for a potentially rough ride. The weather for Tuesday was looking the best for the next 5 days –10 knots from the east. After some deliberation “Alice” decided to leave at 4:30am and we decided to follow about a half hour later.

With our running lights on and the sun still hidden beyond the horizon we nosed out into the second half of the C&D Canal, with the knowlrdge that the forecast wasn’t as favourable – the winds were going to be stronger than we thought. The current was against us now so the 13 canal miles were a bit slow. When we hit the Delaware river the current had turned in our favour and we accelerated to over 7 knots. Both sails were raised and we upped our speed to over 8 knots. YES!! A couple of hours later the Delaware river poured us into Delaware Bay and the real fun started. Actually not that fun – but awfully exhilerating.The wind current combination turned our rapid ride into a wet and wild show. The east wind was now on our nose and we had to angle off to keep wind in the sails. The waves quickly built up and were steep with a short space between them. Our smooth sailing Tiffany Rose was now bucking up and down in the waves. As they built up more her bow started to pop into the air and then dive down into the next one sending a gushing spray over the deck.

Christopher was down below working on something on the computer as it started. When he came up to the cockpit he was looking a bit off and so we stuck him in his favourite corner to try to nap. This short sleep did the trick and he came back to life. What this looked like then was laughing enthusiastically as a wave would run over the bow and spray over the dodger and hit me or Shirley in the face. Great fun!! You'll notice the distinct lack of pictures for this post, partly because of the wet and part becasue our hands were busy doiong what we had to do.
Shirley and I were trading off at the helm – it was tough work keeping the course, trying to keep wind in the sails and control the wild throws of the waves. But then she had to go below to attend to something. That pretty much did her in. The wild rocking and working in close quarters turned her stomach upside down and I watched in anticipation as she clung to the lifelines ready to give the Bay a taste of her breakfast. “That’ll teach it!” But she was able to bring things under control and kept her much needed honey nut flake nutrition. Usually it is best to take the helm when you get seasick. But today it was so wild at the helm as the stern would plunge down and then fire back up into the air, it wasn’t having the desired calming effect. So I kept my place there and rode us on down the Bay. The wind had turned too much on our nose and we furled up the jib, but left the main flying. Of course the engine had been running all along as well. More than close hauled now we were still able to squeeze 5.5 knots, except when the GPS would read 2kts when we slammed another wave. After about 7 hours of this pounding we could see the land forming Cape May. We thought for sure as we got closer things would subside, but it kept blowing. Sure felt a lot stronger than the 15 knots they were forecasting. It wasn’t until we reached the Cape May canal that everything suddenly went flat and my white knuckle grip on the wheel relaxed. We breathed easy over to the anchorage next to the Coast Guard Station and joined a number of other boats. Now to wait for the next "good weather day" to head into the ocean and start up the coast.

On to Chesapeake City June 14 &15

Perryville Train Museum

We still had the rented car for part of Sunday so we took advantage of it to get some chores done such as groceries and getting to and from the laundromat. Dave and Christopher took advantage of the laundry time by driving over the bridge crossing the Susquehanna River to see the train station and museum at Perryville. It had a nice model train layout.
Monday morning we headed out again to wave goodbye to the Chesapeake Bay as we started into the C and D canal that connects it to Delaware Bay. It wasn’t long before we reached Chesapeake City. There is a free dock there, but in the fall when we had stopped there it had been full and we had anchored in the basin. This time though, there was just one other boat there (besides the resident ferry) so we decided to enjoy the free stay. We realized as we were pulling in that the other boat was Alice, a family with two boys from Maine that we had met in the fall. It was fun to exchange the “So how did your winter turn out?” stories.
Tiffany Rose at her free dock in Chesapeake City