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Ocean City, Md.

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

According to my log, I left the marina in Portsmouth on the Elizabeth River at 9.30 on Friday July 26th. I motored most of the way against a Northerly. I was out in the Atlantic by late afternoon. This was the same route I took on June 22nd, 2017, which ended up in a shipwreck at 03.00 on June 23rd on Godwin Island in the Barrier Islands. The details of this shipwreck can be found in my blog for that period. This time I had left earlier and was able to put plenty of distance between the coast before dark. I motorsailed in a light Northerly. The excitement of being on the ocean again kept me awake most of the night. A large pod of porpoises kept me company for a while. The promised southerly never materialized, but the in last hours of Saturday afternoon the wind eased to the East and I had a great fast reach on still smooth seas.

I knew from the charts that the entrance to Ocean City was a challenge. The setting sun was making it difficult to recognize the channel markers’ color and shape. The channel is in a zigzag pattern in the entrance. The sport fishing boats, with their 1000 plus HP and speeds of 25 plus knots, have absolutely no concern for my 14 HP and 5 knots of speed and nearly swamp my boat with their wakes. Once inside, the harbor crawls with all sorts of water crafts. I try the one deep spot for anchorage but my knot-meter goes to zero. (I found out since that the transducer was all fouled by the wrong antifouling I had applied in June.) A helpful outboard boater offers to show me where I can anchor. I follow him and he leads me right over a shallow spot. I’m stuck and can’t back off. He keeps trying to pull me off but instead gets me even worse aground. He is determined but I worry he is going to quarter the boat. The marine police boat suggests to call Tow Boat US. He has me off in no time and $390. Because of the force on the keel, I checked for leaks and it looks like a small amount had entered through the forward keel bolts. Rob, the tow operator took me to the Sunset Marina and had me set up for a haul out the next day, Sunday. Once tied up for the night, $90, I checked for leaks again and found that the water had sloshed from the engine bilge, from the packing gland. I cancelled the haul out. At least I learned, the hard way, that the two years shipwreck repair had stood the destruction derby test. As a coincidence, Rob the towboat man, was part of the posse from Ocean City that hauled “Fleetwood” off Godwin Island in 2017. That had to be one of the easiest hauls for the crew. Greg, who passed away last year at 77, had learned from my liability insurance that I was insured for $19,450. Jake, who worked for Cape Charles Yacht Center, had attempted to bring the boat to the Yacht Center, on his weekend off, but gave up close to sundown on Sunday when he was running out of fuel for the pumps. He had managed to reduce the opening in the hull and had the boat floating. The next morning the Ocean City crew had an easy haul.   

I blamed my misfortune for leaving on a Friday. A maritime no-no. For those who have followed me over the years, you will know that many of my departures for a new destination started after Sunday morning service. I headed out of Ocean City shortly after I had attended 10 am service at Saint Mary of the Seas church.

Rev. John T. SoloMon

I filled the diesel tank, with plans to continue northward to New York City and beyond. The inner harbor of Ocean City was another spectacle of all sort of water crafts and between the jetties the same rough water from the speeding sport fishermen coming and going. The wind was seaward but the tide was coming in strong. I had to accelerate to make headway in the narrow harbor entrance against the current. All of a sudden, the engine stopped. It could not have happened in the worse moment and time. The cover was off the main sail but I would not have been able to raise the sail fast enough. The current pushed me back between the jetties and I was only 150 feet from the rocks. I called a mayday. I had to repeat my location several times because the coastie wanted a coordinate. How much clearer could I have been with being between the end of the jetties at Ocean City? Beach goers started to gather. There is an amusement park right at the North jetty. The boat hit the rocks and started bouncing. I figured that it would be a matter of minutes before the boat would start breaking up. I had to get off the boat. The crowd suggested I stay with the boat. The rocks were slippery. I found one ledge with a flat foothold with barnacles to keep me from slipping. A retired fireman got on his belly and helped me up. Now I am looking at the boat bouncing like a rodeo bronco. This time I was unable to grab anything off the boat, like laptop, camera, wallet. The coast guard came and attempted to pull the boat off the rocks. No luck. Then the same Tow Boat US showed up. He had me off within 5 minutes and the actual damage turned out to be much less than those violent 10 to 15 minutes could have inflicted. The same police officer who had assisted the day before, Corporal John Bunting of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, came to pick me up from the spot where I had watched from shore. He took me to the travel-lift at the Sunset Marina where the boat was towed. There I discovered what stopped the engine. The long tow rope, I had used to have the good Samaritan attempt to pull me off the shallow the day before, had become my bow line for the night and when I left the gas dock, I had brought it inside the life lines on deck. I should have taken it off the bow before reaching the harbor entrance. The traffic distracted me. If I had used a regular bowline it would have never reached the propeller, this tow line was a much longer genoa sheet. John Bunting, the police officer, came to check on me and offer any help, on Monday.

I was embarrassed and did not have the courage to fess up until now. Between Saturday’s tow and this repair, tow, haul out car rentals I spent a little over $ 2,000. Ouch!!

The pictures show the damage and repair

Keel damage   

Hull damage    

Rudder  

Rudder repair   

Done

 

 

 

Again, this was an even more severe test on the integrity of the 2017 shipwreck repair. The main damage was to the rudder. Worse than the 2017 shipwreck. The shaft was twisted fore and aft and to one side. Lou Negretti, who straightened the shaft in 2017, managed to get it straightened again. The test will come tomorrow back in the water. It took two trips, first on Monday a week ago and a second one last Wednesday. I rented a car to drive to Exmore, about 80 miles to the south from here. I was counting on getting professional help to repair the torn bottom of the rudder. John Bunting recommended a fiberglass expert. But all the marine pros were spoken for by the crowd that showed up for the annual White Marlin Open sport fishing event. I have little or no experience with fiberglass. I called Todd Dhabolt who put this boat together and custom built the rudder with foam steel frame and fiberglass cover. He walked me through the process. He had used hard foam, I decided to use a spray can as used in insulating and gap filling. By trial and error, I used left-over Formica from my galley and bunk leeboard make over, to shape the foam and then covered it with epoxied fiberglass cloth. There was some deep damage above the waterline on port. Luckily it struck the rocks where there is the companion way bulkhead and the galley counter. It took many layers of epoxy putty. Fortunately, I carry a supply of epoxy, anti-fouling, brushes, rollers, barrier coat, hull paint and all the tools.  The keel took quite a bit of gouges and scratches, as the pictures show. As I write, on Tuesday evening, I am hanging in the travellift slings to dry the anti-fouling paint on the bottom of the keel, where it was blocked off on. I shall be off in the morning. I have decided to make a right turn towards Cape Charles. The wind and distance though the Chesapeake-Delaware canal and south on the Chesapeake does not look for the southerly winds this weekend. I should be in Cape Charles by late Thursday unless I anchor that night south of CC. Hopefully, I’ll have some decent sailing. Winds look mild to weak for the next days. Watch for a good full moon rise picture and possibly a moon set in the Chesapeake.

A disappointment and an expensive outing. I had wanted to get up to NYC, Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and possibly up to Newport, Nantucket, etc. I need to get some of my administration in order for the books, appointments for the Europe visit, etc.  

Ocean City was an experience, very nice and helpful people at the marina, yard and store. But it is not typical Americana. Apparently black Americans avoid the place. In the three services I attended at the large Ocean City Saint Mary of the Seas church, there was not even a token African American in attendance. The sport fishermen here are a special breed. Note the Trump flags, horse power in their boats and pick up trucks. My new folding bike came in well, for grocery, hardware and the main town across the long bridge.   

Trump country  

1600 Horses  

You don’t dare show up in a puny sedan or older model p.u. truck

Tuesday July 23rd. “Fleetwood” likes the new routine.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Two years after the June 23rd, 2017 shipwreck, she has been making new tracks on the Chesapeake Bay. You can see them at: https://share.garmin.com/JackvanOmmen (The link is permanently displayed in the right upper corner). If you just click on any of the tracks it will give you the dates. I just got a panic call on the track that ended with the shipwreck on June 23rd, 2017, off Myrtle Island in the Atlantic. The caller skipped over the year…. The maiden voyage was the week of the Independence Day holiday, to Deltaville. I sailed down to Portsmouth on the Elizabeth River, last Saturday. Which is just a stiff bike ride away from my daughter’s home. We went for a sail on Sunday with my two great-granddaughters, Madison 10 and Lily 8.

 

 

 

 

Last night the over a week long heatwave ended with temperatures dropping from over 100 F to the mid seventies. My daughter’s home in Chesapeake, Va. with A.C. and a real bed is a very welcome respite from the boat. I had a shopping list for items that are hard to purchase in the Cape Charles area, and purchased all of it here today. My plan is to sail north to New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island on the Atlantic and return through the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal into the Chesapeake Bay into Cape Charles by late August. The wind is not expected to ease up from its dead North direction until Friday. I need a few days anyway to acquire cruising guides and update my charts, 

My Europe trip: I have booked my flight to Amsterdam to arrive on September 4th. My first date is the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of concentration camp Vught, which will be commemorated on Sunday, September 8th. I am looking forward to visit family and friends in Holland, Belgium and Germany in September. If I am still in good standing, I hope to attend the centennial celebration of Watersport Vereniging “De Schinkel” on October 5th and return to the United States shortly after. Winter Plans: Inshallah, I hope to be able to sail south to warmer weather and see more of the Windward Caribbean and possibly make that long aspired road trip from Cartagena to Southern Chile.

Just like the 2013 shipwreck in the Mediterranean, and the stranding for engine replacement on the Romanian Danube in 2010/2011, the aftermath brought another string of blessings, totally unexpected new adventures, challenges and most all great new friends. My first impression of the prospect of being stuck in Cape Charles turned out to be a total contradiction. And the two years have turned out into an unforgettable experience and friendships made for ever. 

Time heals the pain of losing my sweet daughter Rose Marie. Tomorrow is her daughter Olivia’s 23rd birthday, a very difficult day for her. Pray for her. Her brother turned 25 the day before Rose Marie passed away on June 2nd. I intend to place part Rose Marie’s ashes in her homeland, Belgium, in September.

Wednesday June 26. 2019. My daughter Rose Marie’s Celebration of Life on June 14

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

This turned out to be a true celebration of the memories she left us. Tears mixed with joy.

I knew Rose Marie was special but a parent should not have to learn the significance of their child by her premature departure. But I totally treasure the legacy until I meet with her in the promised land. 

There was standing room only at the Tacoma Yacht Club, an estimated three hundred friends, colleagues and friends. I posted a 3 minute video/slide show on You tube at:

And professional pictures by Lorie Limson Cook can be seen at: Rose Marie If you attended you’ll see your picture in this link.

All four of her siblings were present, besides her son Elliott and daughter Olivia, a number of her nephews and nieces. Her widower, Donovan Barton, did the bulk of the organisation with the help of her oldest sister, Lisa and Donovan’s family members and friends. Tyler Meyers, my youngest grandson, created the continuous slide show of which I show a small number in the 3 minute You Tube video. 

Delta Airlines gifted the round trip fares for me and #3 daughter Jeannine and her husband Sean and my granddaughter Gabrielle, from Norfolk, Va. Rose Marie worked for SoDexo  who look after the hospitality service in a number of the Delta Air Lines Sky Clubs. Besides her responsibilities for the SeaTac clubs, she supervised a number of the West Coast Sky Clubs. She left an indelible impression with the crews she worked with, many of them came out to show their love and pay their respects.  (See Lorie’s pictures).

The four us flew back on Tuesday the 18th and I have been back in Cape Charles since the 19th. The boat is back in the water after fixing the barnacle invasion and recoating the iron keel with a better primer. I expect to go for a test sail in the next couple of days. The Surveyor discovered some deficiencies that I need to fix and waiting for the parts.

It occurred to me that this new schedule for flying to Amsterdam the last week of August and returning in early October should give me a chance to try and spend some time on the boat here in the Chesapeake with my great granddaughters. They are 7 and  8 and a perfect time to enjoy the water. I am waiting to hear from their grandmother when this would fit in their schedules. I still expect to also sail North for a few weeks.

 

 

Monday morning June 24 ’19 A well prepared Solo Sailor

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

A Gringo Argentino Gaucho, John Freeman, sets off from Cape Charles Yacht Center for an Atlantic Crossing. John Freeman left this morning from Cape Charles Yacht Center. I am totally in awe for the boat and the man. Both are are about the best I would ever aspire for this adventure. This is a 30ft Morris Annie. 

Just look at the size and construction, cutter rig, a sensible hard dinghy, a Monitor Windvane, etc. John is heading for Portugal, with a stop in the Azores. He and his Argentine wife raise cattle in southern Argentina.  

Wednesday June 12. The Lord gives and he takes away.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Early Sunday morning, June 2nd, I received a telephone call from Lisa, my oldest daughter, that her younger sister, Rose Marie, had suddenly passed away.  Totally unexpected. It turned out to be a a blood clot in her lungs, Pulmonary Embolism. It took a while to accept that this was not a night mare. I and all her loved ones are still in that first stage of adjustment to this new reality. 

My comfort and consolation comes from knowing that this is a temporary separation. She left a forwarding address where I hope to see her again. Earlier this year, in a telephone conversation with Rose Marie, she had some exciting news to tell me: “Dad, I have started to say my daily prayers again, when I start the morning”. I told her: “Rose Marie, that is the best gift you could ever give me.” When her mother and I separated in 1972, it was decided, that Rose Marie, then four years old, and Lisa, eight years old, would become my guardians. Jeannine, then three, and her one year old brother, John, moved back to California with their mom.  We had a unique relationship in our threesome “ménage”. Whenever I needed council, these two came up with the perfect answers. There are so many good memories to treasure.

I am off, tomorrow with Jeannine and her husband Sean and my granddaughter Gabrielle, to fly to the Northwest, for the Celebration of Life at the Tacoma Yacht Club this Friday evening. Delta Airlines has given us complimentary round trip tickets. Rose Marie’s employer, Sodexo, runs the food service of a number of the Delta Airlines Sky Clubs. She was in charge of the Seattle clubs and trained and supervised the staff of many of the Western States Delta clubs. I will return to Cape Charles on June 19th. The Cape Charles Yacht center is still having a party on the 14th. But I will be missing.

I have dropped the Atlantic Crossing plans. My excitement for it is just not there any longer. I plan to cruise up to Maine with a number of stops and return to Cape Charles in time to fly to the Netherlands by the end of August and return in mid October. Then I hope to set sail for the Caribbean and try to check off the long planned bus/road trip from Cartagena Colombia to the South of Chile. 

L.R. Lisa, me, Rose Marie and Seth. On April 6th. 2019

 

May 31. Just two weeks to go.

Friday, May 31st, 2019
 https://come https://cometosea.us/?p=5741 tosea.us/?p=5741

An invitation for my friends to attend the send-off. This generous gesture comes from the new operators, of Eyre Baldwin’s marine yard in Cape Charles, Nicole Jacques and JB Turner. This will also be an opportunity for the new principals to introduce themselves to the community here in Cape Charles since their March 1st take-over.
“Fleetwood” will be moored at the foot of the ramp at the west end of the Cape Charles Yacht Center. June 14 is “Flag Day” and she will be decked out accordingly. Father Michael Breslin and Deacon Don Donovan plan to attend to perform the blessing. I expect that there will be live music and singing from my musician friends. And on this subject, please, no trinkets to bring me, just songs to sing me… (as in “Truly, truly fair”). I am sailing dry and except for a card or a garter belt there is little room on my 30 foot boat. You can do me and yourself a favor purchasing “SoloMan” and/or “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. I will have these available for signing.
It will be a bitter sweet farewell. Another “Wrecks to Riches” experience. Not unlike the previous wreck in 2013 and similar serious mishaps that turned out to be rich blessings. Like, for instant, replacing the boat engine in 2010. In the worst place I could have chosen, a small village on the Romanian Danube, far from any civilization or repair facilities, an unknown language, etc. It took nearly a year of hard work. Yet, it turned out to be one of the most satisfying experiences. My first impression of Caper Charles, once the wreck was towed in, was that I needed to close the hole in the hull quick as possible and take it to Portsmouth on the mainland for the repairs. But I quickly became wise to the best kept secret of this dead-end railroad ghost town. I will miss the magnificent sunsets, the Carolina Wrens, Mocking birds singing in the early morning when I was on the hard in the meadow. The smell of the Loblolly Pines, the Honey Suckle, the tidal sloughs. But especially the friendships I made here. Seldom have I been anywhere for a longer period where I felt so welcome and where so many share my faith and aspirations. I will miss the community at the Saint Charles R.C. church here and singing with the Episcopalians in the Hungars Church choir. I will miss the many great artistic and musical programs at the Lemon Tree Gallery with the appropriate slogan: “Small Town, Big Art”.
I will be back to visit. My youngest daughter and her family live in Chesapeake, Va.
My Plans: Weather permitting and Inshalla, I shall leave Cape Charles on Saturday June 15th morning. Heading north on the Atlantic with stops along the way to St. John’s, New Foundland as my departure for the crossing to Ireland. I’d like to sail up to Edinburgh where my oldest granddaughter and her Scottish husband live. Her mother, my oldest daughter Lisa, will be visiting there in July. From there I’d take the canal through Scotland to the North Sea and cross over to the Netherlands. There are two main events there on September 8 is the 75th commemoration of the evacuation of the SS concentration camp Vught. Our mother was one of the 600 women prisoners in that transport, ahead of the imminent approach of the allied forces. You can read more about it at:  https://cometosea.us/?p=5741          The other date is October 4, when the YC “de Schinkel” has its centennial celebration. This is the club where I learned to sail from my uncle in the early fifties and where I was a guest and later a member when “Fleetwood” was in Holland between 2009 and 2013. October is pushing the threshold to sail to the Canary Islands through the Atlantic for a December/January return crossing of the Atlantic. I may move the boat to Portugal earlier and fly back to Amsterdam. Or take the inland route through France and into the Mediterranean, like I did in October 2013. My longer term plans still include a sail to Carthagena, Colombia for a bus ride, with frequent stops, along the South American Pacific coast to southern Chile and Bolivia. None of my plans are etched in stone. I may end up making a left turn up the St. Lawrence.
You can follow me: See details in the right upper corner of this blog. The Garmin In Search updates my location every 10 minutes. I will from time to time send a short post to Facebook from the In Search.
I have uploaded all my slide shows and videos about the circumnavigation on You Tube and categorized them in separate playlists, please, take a look at: https://www.youtube.com/view_all_playlists?o=U&ar=2  Since I posted in 2016 to You tube I have had close to 25,000 views. If you subscribe to my you tube videos, you will receive notifications of any new uploads. So far, I have not found any need to monetize these with advertisements. I am sure that I could have walked away from the wreck and purchased a good used polyester sailboat for the money I have spent on the repairs. But I still have some savings and love this unique boat. And the new supplement of friends are a free gift.
Until now, I started videos in 2016, it has been a hodge-podge. I will continue sorting the rest soon. Quite a few taken here in cape Charles. I have removed the slide shows/videos I had on this web site. They had to be uploaded in order to see them and that takes time and memory. I will update the links in the books that have a number of them to show the new You Tube links. The Word and PDF files will remain linked to this web site.
For those who can’t make it to the June 14 party, I say, farewell. Keep me in your prayers. I am just as curious and excited to find out where the next post will be posted.




Laetare “Rejoice” Sunday. March 31st. Visiting the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, April 1st, 2019

Better Laet (pun..)  than never. Last day of the month and embarrassed to see the date of the previous blog.

February 28 was my twin brother’s 82nd birthday. My Cape Charles friends treated me to one of the best birthday parties I can remember. It was held at Thelma’s home with the help of friends. Here is a short you tube video clip of it.

with the b’day cake

“Fleetwood” Progress: It has been a cold winter, with an occasional Spring teaser, in Cape Charles.  Friends provided warm shelter from before Christmas until moving back aboard on March 1st. The boat is more like home now, with the formica and trim done, foam mattresses on the cabin settees, my new two burner gimballed stove, etc. Last Wednesday I ordered the second biggest expense of the renovation, the electronic navigation system, at Fisheries in Seattle . I stuck with the same Vesper XB-8000 Wi-Fi, I installed in 2016.  There is still much work to be done before my planned departure for the Atlantic crossing in June.

Northwest Visit: I flew Norfolk/Baltimore/Los Angeles to Seattle on March 19th and return to Norfolk on April 10th. When I missed the opportunity to spend the winter in the Caribbean, I figured that I had all sorts of extra time, until Spring, to afford to take time off to make a family/friends visit to home port. Not so sure now. But it is wonderful to be with family and revisit friends. The weather has been outstanding here. I left in 30 degree weather on the 19th and arrived here on a record breaking high of 78 degrees in Seattle. And it has been close to it since. Here are a few pictures I took of the Oregon/Washington Cascade range. I had a perfect seat on the starboard side of the plane and it is seldom that the landing pattern allows a view of the Seattle skyline from the West.

Mt. Hood east of Portland, Or.

 

Mt. St. Helens, lost its top on May 18, 1980.

Mt. Rainier

Seattle, Lk. Washington floating bridge in background

Looking west across Vashon Island at the Olympic range

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I visited friends in Bellingham and British Columbia. This is a sunset from the Nesbit home on the Lummi Reservation looking towards Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands, and Mt. Baker on the way to the Canadian border.

Mt. Baker, from the Lummi Indian reservation near Canadian border.

sunset from Lummi Rez shore towards Vancouver Island

 

 

 

I will be cat/house sitting on Wollochet Bay from tomorrow through the 9th of April. My oldest daughter, Lisa, has moved into Federal Way from Fife/Tacoma. The house from where I posted many great views of Mt. Rainier is up for sale, but the move has brought blessings to our family and her friends. There will be a family gathering at Lisa’s on Saturday the 6th. My oldest granddaughter is flying in with Euan, her husband, from Edinburgh.

My Books: Amazon keeps squeezing the royalties. I have added the option on the web site of www.Soloman.nl to purchase the E-book for € 8,50 in PDF formaat from Boekenbestellen.nl where I get a much more reasonable return, go to:  Bestellen blauw

I expect to have further announcement on options with other publishers for North America as well for SoloMan and The Mastmakers’ Daughters and De Mastmakersdochters.

Reynaerdt the Fox: This is a fable from the Middle Ages about a sly fox. Little is known about the exploits of this crafty manipulative sly fox in North America. But much of the story is playing out right now in our daily lives and dysfunctional political system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynard_the_Fox. I had often heard of the story but never had a chance to learn the many nuances of it. Until I was contacted by Jan de Putter, a Dutch scholar of early Dutch literature. He came across the references to this story in my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. My cousin, Gerard Arendt, the younger son of Rennie de Vries-Arendt, the NAZI part of the Mastmakers’ Daughters, wrote his doctoral thesis on this medieval story. Jan de Putter published his view on the influence of the war period, that probably dominated Gerard’s thesis, this week in: https://www.neerlandistiek.nl/2019/03/reynaert-door-de-ogen-van-een-oorlogskind-een-portret-van-g-h-arendt/#more-33368 .

L.R. Gerard, Rennie, Georg on Mother’s Day 1941. Rennie wears her Swastika insignia. Georg in Jugendsturm uniform.

This is mostly meant for my Dutch followers. Putter points out, for one, the Anti Semitic interpretation used to brainwash Dutch children as described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynard_the_Fox 

You can read more about the parallel of Gerard and the Sly Fox in the book www.TheMastMakersDaughters.us and www.DeMastmakersDochters.nl

Rennie’s husband, August Arendt, left her and Georg before Gerard was born. She told her sons that their father had been killed in a KLM plane crash in Berlin. Georg told me that his younger brother was most likely conceived after his father left. At the end of the war Georg found out that his father was alive in Berlin. Georg shared with me a number of letters form his mother complaining of the mean treatment she received from Gerard. Georg discovered that the antiques his mother had inherited from her father were stolen out of a storage locker in Cologne by Gerard and taken to his mansion in Berlin. But Jan de Putter has now contributed at least something positive on the black sheep/ sly fox of the family.

Saturday evening post. January 19. Progress and Plans.

Monday, January 21st, 2019

Advent and Christmas were a special time for me here among my Cape Charles friends. One of the highlights was being able to be part of the Messiah performance. Here is a link to the second performance in the historical Hungars church.

Progress on the boat repair slowed down during the holidays. I took some pictures to day. The orange formica has been replaced. I cannibalized the heavy mahogany lee-board rails for trim and a hatch that floated away and replaced the lee boards with plywood. Instead of replacing the formica on the chart table top, I refinished it. And the door to the head is now also clear varnished after removing the white paint. Compare the before and after pictures.

right after the shipwreck     

Cabin

galley

chart table

 

Next project is replacing the settee cushions, galley stove, making new cockpit floor grates and a new companion way hatch, which all floated away from the wreck. The wiring is nearly complete. I need to go up the mast again to replace the Tri-Color light. The forecast for early Monday morning is that the temperature will drop  far below freezing. Fortunately, I have been able to stay with friends here since before Christmas.

This week I found out the date for the centennial celebration of the “De Schinkel”, the yacht club and marina in Amsterdam, where I had my initiation in to sailing when I was 12 years old and where I spent time aboard “Fleetwood” from 2009 until 2013. The date is October 5th. On the 6th of September it will be 75 years since our mother in a group of 650 women political prisoners were pressed into 8 cattle cars in the Nazi concentration camp Vught, in Holland, on their way to the hell of Ravensbrück, in Germany. I plan to attend the commemoration. If I can replace the life raft, install new electronic navigation equipment and single side band radio, I may just travel to Europe on a third Atlantic crossing. Stay tuned.

Tuesday November 20. Giving Thanks

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

After Easter, Thanksgiving is my most favorite holi(y)day, though I did not grow up with it. The Pilgrims sailed here from Holland on the “Mayflower”, I flew in on a prop driven Lockheed Constellation in January 1957, also from Holland.

I have much to be thankful for again on this special holiday. Once more in the aftermath of an apparent setback, this time last year’s shipwreck. I wrote in my previous blogs of the friendships I found here and the activities I enjoy here in this best kept secret hide away. Many of the new friendships were made in the church I attend here, Saint Charles, but the others are also mostly Christians from a variety of denominations. And it is an added dimension to be among, just like the Pilgrims, others who know where we can send our thank-you cards.

Last Thursday I met the cruising family Sefan and Keri Topjian of the “Aghavni”. https://www.sailblogs.com/member/aghavni/382528/

 

 

 

 

Van, the son is the oldest, at ten. We soon discovered a common thread, the importance of our faith. They grew up in Armenia and are Eastern Orthodox Christians.  Keri is home schooling the children and I noticed the same observation I made in my blog last year when I wrote about the Cruising Brats at the Shelter Bay Marina in Colon, Panama.  https://cometosea.us/?p=6224 They can talk with adults. They are going to have a fabulous experience. Be sure to check their blog regularly. This picture was taken on Friday on their departure for the Caribbean, Panama Canal, the South Pacific and beyond. On parting, Sefan prayed a blessing. What a heartwarming experience holding hands with this family. Another lasting long distance friendship.

Jeannine, daughter #3, will come tomorrow with my, visiting from Texas, oldest grandson Mark Leon and his wife and their two sons, to pick me up and spend the holiday with them in Chesapeake, Va.

To all my family and friends: “Happy Thanksgiving!”  

For the local friends, a reminder: I will sing in concert, choir and orchestra, the first part of the Messiah and the Hallelujah chorus.  Sat. Dec. 8 –  at Cokesbury- 2pm, Sun. Dec. 9 – at Hungars church— 4pm.

November 2 Dia de Los Muertos. And another Cape Charles Art-in-Fact.

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018
In my previous blog I extolled the virtues of Cape Charles as a “Small town big art”. This is about one of the locals who support the artists and enjoy decorating their lives with it. Robert, a good friend of Susan Kovacs, who I introduced in my August 18 blog, served a birthday dinner for Susan this week. Robert has been collecting paintings and prints from contemporary abstract and impressionists masters and artifacts from the countries he has lived and visited. This picture shows the birthday girl right front and a sample of three well known early 20th century artists. The birthday party and L.R.: Joan Miro, Kazimir Malevich and Alex Calder.

The birthday party and L.R.: Joan Miro, Kazimir Malevich and Alex Calder.

      One of Robert’s artist friends, for fun, “paint-shopped” him into a well known Edgar Degas frame.

Robert with the “shopped” Degas

The impersonator

the real Degas

                          My friends Clint and Patty returned from their three week visit to the Northwest last Saturday. I took advantage of the use of their vehicle to visit the Barrier Island Center  http://www.barrierislandscenter.org/read-me/    on Friday. This had been on my list since I first heard of it. “Fleetwood” left her marks on the beach of Godwin island right next to Mink island with my fateful shipwreck on June 23rd, last year. The center holds a treasure of  the rich history of these remote islands before they started being abandoned by their inhabitants after steady erosion. The initiator of this museum is my dear friend Thelma Jarvis Peterson, who I also described among the artists of my previous blog.

BIC

    I have joined a small choir directed by Lou Negretti. Lou is the machine shop operator who managed to straighten the wreck damaged rudder shaft and has done several other metal repairs for me. He is an outstanding director and accomplished musician and singer. We practice every Thursday evening and I sing occasionally at the Sunday service of this gorgeous old Hungars Episcopalian church. Last Sunday we sang at Hungars first and then, later in the morning, at the Christ Church in Eastville. The pastor,  Daniel Lee Crockett, is also an outstanding musician and singer. He is the base player in the video taken at our get together at Susan Kovacs’ home last August. Here is a link to the first time I sang in the Hungars Church. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYoUdyHndHU I will also sing in concert, choir and orchestra, the first part of the Messiah and the Halleluiah chorus. For my local friends this is the schedule: Sat. Dec. 8 –  at Cokesbury- 2pm, Sun. Dec. 9 – at Hungars church— 4pm. This evening we celebrated with the Latin American parishioners and their musicians the mass of Dia de Los Muertos (All souls), with a potluck dinner afterwards. So, with all these activities here in what, at first in a bird’s eye view, looked like a desolate wind swept coastal stretch, is happening to my sailing plans? June came and went, this week hundreds of sailors are heading out of the Chesapeake Bay to the tropical waters after waiting for their insurance coverage to allow them after the November 1st official end of the hurricane season. I waved good bye to a number of sailor friends. I hate to even make any more time predictions. It will be after Thanksgiving and Christmas. The wiring puzzle has really slowed me down. It is a very slow learning process. I ended up making a climb up the mast, last week, in vain because of the main battery switch malfunctioning during the effort.

Fleetwood’s Penthouse

If a professional carpenter would have made my cockpit hatch cover replacement with the time I put into it, it would have cost me a thousand dollars. Ahead of me is still the formica work, upholstery, cabinet trim, a new cockpit grate and companion way door, etc. God must have a plan for me, unless this is a conspiracy to keep me here. I take every day as a blessing and leaving here will be “partir c’est mourir un peu”.