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Good start. Going South. Saturday November 20, 2021

Sunday, November 21st, 2021

I am at anchor at Mile 8 of the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway). No worries of a tug and barge passing by in the middle of the night. The Great Northern Railway bridge, next to the Gilberton highway bridge just north of me, will be down to a 6’10” clearance until this Tuesday 11 a.m. for maintenance. I just made it.

 

It is nice and cozy in the cabin, after cooking my usual stir-fry. I opened the companion way stair to let the heat from the engine warm up the cabin. There was a weak wind from the NE, but I had to drop the main after trying to motor-sail. I left at 09.00 and dropped the hook at 18.00 for the 38 plus nautical miles.

Last year, I took the ICW section that goes through Coinjock to Beaufort, N.C. from where I set off for Saint Martin on Rose Marie’s birthday, February 3rd. This time I’ll take the Dismal Swamp route through Elizabeth City to Beaufort. I is supposed to be real nasty on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I might have a window to make into the trade winds from Beaufort on Thursday.

This is my 4th south bound ICW trip. And this will be the 2nd through the Dismal Swamp. The first was in November 2008, in the same period, before Thanksgiving. And if all had gone according to the plan you would have never read “SoloMan”. That summer I met the perfect sailing companion, but that lasted until the Monday before Thanksgiving, in Beaufort.

My plan is to spend some time in Cuba. I was on the South Central and SW Coast of Cuba in 2017, mostly in Cienfuegos. I most likely try Santiago de Cuba. And on the return Havana.

If all goes as well as today’s start, I might finally take a run at Cartagena, Colombia.

 

Project

One of the projects I finished in the month I spent in the Cape Charles Marina, was to replace the heavy steel tiller arm with a three-ply laminated hardwood tiller with help from a three-some. Wayne Downey, the diesel mechanic who finally disentangled the rat’s nest of engine problems, I had last summer until January. Wayne cut the steel and he donated the wood which consisted of tropical hardwood fence pickets. Ralph Orzo and his friend Tom Bonadeo, sized the blank I had glued up. You might remember this two-some who made up my magnificent companion way door insert, two years ago, to replace the one that floated away in the 2017 shipwreck.

Ralph and Jeanette Orzo are the first permanent friends I made in Cape Charles. One of those happenstance encounters while I was getting on my bike after lunch at the Coach House restaurant, in 2017. The friendship was sealed when I ran into them, the following Sunday, at Saint Charles Church.

I was at their home, last night, for dinner. A treat. And met Ralph’s son Ralph, and his grandson Ralph and his mother, who recently moved here after Ralph II retired at age 55.

 

A few pictures of yesterday morning’s Lunar Eclipse. The Eagle pictures were taken on my way out of Cape Charles, the left turn at the concrete plant.

Eagle

Moon eclipse

moon set

QUESTION: What am I seeing on the Chesapeake that I don’t see in the summer. A white bird with black tipped wings the size and look of a Booby, with a similar beak, it takes off clumsily like a Cormorant, furiously clapping the wings but once airborne a decent flyer. Anyone? No pictures yet.

 

I promise I will post regularly on this blog while on this winter migration. And I’ll have my Garmin In Reach turned on for you to follow my progress. The link is in the right upper corner of this blog.

Haad no wi-fi or hot spot last night. It is 10 am at the fueldock I’ll be going through the first Dismal Swamp canal lock at 11 and will try make it to near Elizabet City.

A Vendre/For Sale October 30, 2021

Saturday, October 30th, 2021

I am looking for suggestions, from anyone et en particulier mes amis Francais, on selling “Patnic” a 26- foot sailboat, in Paris, inherited by a good friend of mine in Florida. I have advertised in “Annonces Bateau.com” and had a number of responses, but no sales, so far. I am looking for a buyer and any recommendations on other venues to advertise, or possibly donate. The boat is structurally in good shape but the interior needs some attention. The marina management in Paris has not been very cooperative and an old friend of the deceased owner, who gave us a hand, has now disappeared.

The owner has reduced the price. Similar models in good condition were advertised earlier in the year for € 7,000. She wishes to be relieved of the berthing fees and is offering it for US$ 3,000

This should be a decent investment for a young sailor. How about an inexpensive lodging while spending time near Paris? Or perfect to take up the French Canals and in to the Netherlands, Baltic. The mast is already down, to negotiate the bridges and locks.

Bonjour,

Je suis à la recherche d’idées de la part de mes amis Français. Une amie de Floride a hérité d’un voilier de 26 pieds qui lui a été légué par son père. J’essaye de l’aider a vendre le bateau « Patnic ». Elle ressent une certaine urgence et a fait appel à mes connaissances en matière de voile. Elle est pressée de se débarrasser du bateau et le port de Paris insiste à ce qu’il y ait un nouveau responsable. La structure du bateau est en bon état. L’intérieur a besoin d’être remis. J’ai placé une annonce sur « annoncesbateau.com » mais cela sans résultats. La capitainerie du port n’est pas trop serviable, et un ami de la famille qui essayait d’aider n’est plus disponible. Mon amie a réduit le prix de vente à €2.500  car elle veut arrêter les factures de la capitainerie. Ce bateau représente un bon achat pour une personne qui commence son périple de voile, ou bien s’intéresse à naviguer l’intérieur par canaux, peut-être même vers la mer Baltique, pourquoi pas. Le mât est déjà abaissé pour le transport ou la navigation par canal. Je vous remercie de m’indiquer des idées qui aideraient à vendre ce bateau.

Cormorant GT 26 (This is a picture of the shipbuilder, same production model as “Patnic”

 

 

Le voilier Cormorant GT 26 est un monocoque habitable de croisière, construit par le chantier Cormorant en France. Ce voilier Quille fixe, gréé en Sloop en tête, réalisé par l’architecte naval André Mauric. La production a démarré en 1977 et s’est terminée en 1980.

 

 

 

Caractéristiques :

Longueur de coque 7.80 m

Longueur à la flottaison 6.35 m

Largeur – Bau 2.50 m

Déplacement lège 1 300 kg

Masse du lest 580 kg

Nombre de couchettes 5 

Surface de voilure au près 23.50 m2

Moteur hors-bord Tohatsu 6 CV 

Prix avec voiles complets € 2.500,00

Adresse :  Port de plaisance – 2 quai Gabriel PERI – 94340 Joinville-le-Pont
http://joinvillelepont.fr

 

Specifications :

Length overall : 25’6 “

Waterline         :  21’

Beam                 : 8’ 3”

Displacement   : 2900 lbs

Ballast keel       :  1200 lbs

Berths               :  5

Sail area     :  253 sq. ft.

Outboard motor : Tohatsu 6 HP

Price, complete sail set : $ 3,000

Location near Paris: see above

Pictures of “Patnic”:

Cruising with Captain John Smith on his 1608 discoveries in the Chesapeake. October 15, 2021

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

I am writing this while crossing the Chesapeake from Tangier Island to the mouth of the Rappahannock River, on the Virginia mainland. The weather forecast for tomorrow and Sunday changed my plans to stay on the island until Monday morning. And after arriving from Crisfield, Maryland, on the island in the early afternoon, I did not have much more to explore there. The weather was superb for these pictures.

I had wanted to attend the United Methodist church service on Sunday. But that will have to wait for another occasion. I found many similarities on both Smith Island and Tangier Island that remind me of the stories our mother told us about her visits to the island of Urk in the Zuiderzee. Our grandfather, Jan Siebold de Vries, found his bride on the island of Urk. He sold the fishermen the spars and rigging for their sailing fleet. The same tight communities that made their living harvesting the crops of the salt water estuaries and the deep sea. Both have a very close connection to their faith. Urk is still known world- wide for their men church choirs, I have been told that the fishermen on Tangier are also good singers.

 

Tangier looking East

Tangier from the North

 

 

 

 

Tangier and the War of 1812

 

 

 

 

 

I quote from the blog I wrote when I visited the island of Urk with my youngest daughter and granddaughter, on “Fleetwood” in 2010:

“It was another fast sail with a 20 plus knot breeze to Urk, right across the IJselmeer. Jeannine and I were just checking out the town and heard singing from the Bethel Christian Reformed Church. It turned out that the weekly communal church singing summer program had just started. The Urkers are known for their love of choir singing. They have several large men’s choirs who perform in Urker traditional costume all over the world. My mother has written about her recollections as a young girl on the island of Urk when the fishermen sang at a special occasion of a royal visit to the island. My grandfather met his wife on the island of Urk and was married here in 1900. The Bethel church was where my great grandfather, van Anken, was the Christian Reformed minister at that time. The church was full and Gabrielle could hear us 10 blocks away on the boat in the harbor. I joined with gusto as I was taught by my upbringing in the forties/fifties. There was a men’s choir from Elspeet who sang some beautiful religious works and a couple American songs like Amazing Grace and The Rose.”     

Milton Parks.    Milton, the owner of the only marina, is the very first Tangierian the boaters meet, for the last 50 plus year. He is 90 year old and still very alive and full of stories. He had a golf car crash two weeks ago and broke a couple of his ribs and bruised up. Parks, Crockett, Pruitt and Williams are the most common family names on Tangier. This Spring, a crab-boat from Tangier was moored next to me in the marina in Cape Charles. The season for crab harvesting opens earliest on the southern section of the Chesapeake Bay. One thing that struck me was that these men do not need profanities in their conversations. A rare delight in this country where a good part of fifty-year-old boys need this to prove their masculinity. In the first week of September, just after I came back into the Chesapeake through the C&D Canal, a crab-boat came alongside and exchanged greetings and that they had met me in Cape Charles. I wrote down the name of the boat as “Stephanie III”. I just assumed that they were my new friends from Tangier Island and one of the first things I inquired among the Tangierians was where I could find the crew of “Stephanie III”. I struck out, no such boat on this island. But, Halleluiah, the mystery was solved early this morning when Allen Parks and his crewmember Tyler stopped by at my moorage spot in their skiff. The “Stephanie III” turned out to be another waterman from the Baltimore, Md. Area, who was the next boat over from me and Allen Parks in Cape Charles. Allen’s boat is the “Elizabeth Marie”. Parks, Crockett and Pruitt are the most prolific settlers on Tangier Island.

Besides the church graveyards, many families buried their dead in the front yard. The only other place I have witnessed this was on American Samoa.

Burial in front yard Tangier

 

 

 

 

 

 

The history of Smith Island

The Smith Island Methodists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving right along, in reverse, to my earlier stop on Smith Island, just to the north of Tangier, also discovered in the same voyage of Captain John Smith. Captain Smith was commissioned by the British government to find a shorter way than by way of Cape Horn by water to the Pacific Ocean. He ran into dead ends on the many tributaries to the Chesapeake. The first settlers on Smith Island were a British farmer and carpenter, Tyler and Evans, who arrived in 1686. These last names are still prominent on the island. Both Tangier and Smith islands are dry (alcohol free) islands.

I left Kinsale on Monday morning the 11th. It was a rough fast sail down to the mouth of the Potomac and over to Smith Island. Wind was a strong tight reach. I had two reefs in the main and my tiny orange storm jib. I got to near the island in the late afternoon and did not dare to go up the narrow channel. I found a good protected anchorage and trekked into the town of Ewell in the early morning. Good thing I did not attempt this the late afternoon prior. I got hard stuck on some shallows in the channel. There was just one restaurant open. In the season this is a busy destination on the cruise boats from the mainland. The museum was a worthwhile stop and the only place where I could get wi-fi.

Just like other outposts, as an example Quebec, South Africa, their language has not evolved and local colloquial expressions developed. But I was not really able to distinguish it other than another southern version, unlike Afrikaans or Quebecois, or the way I speak a 1950 antique version of my native tongue.

Both Islands have lost land due to erosion, this was a week of extreme high tides and I had to go trade my soaked boat shoes for my rubber boat boots, many of the streets were flooded.

Great Egret in his temporary expanded territory on Smith Island

Oystermen lowering their tongs off Smith Island

I visited the museums on both islands. I am planning to write an article for a Dutch magazine about the Chesapeake and the Dutch foot prints from the colonial period.

In between the two islands, I visited Crisfield, Md. on October 13th. I heard on the radio that they were having their annual Crab and Clam Bake. It was staged on a large field right next to the marina. It was lunch time and my taste buds were already in high gear. But when I came to the gate and found out the entry fee was $60, I gagged and went on. I came back by the event with a few things I picked up at the Dollar Store. A gentleman was waving in cars to his parking lot. The event happened from noon until 4 pm. It was now about 2 o’clock and the man was waving a ticket for the event at me. Seriously, he gave me a free $60 ticket…..

I ran into Fred and Mary Beth from Ocean City, N.J., I knew they were around because I parked right next to them in the Crisfield marina. They were also right in front of me at the public dock on Smith Island. Another valuable new friendship. Turned out we have a lot of our important values in common. They are committed Christians. Fred sings in a choir and also cantors at his parish. I hope we will see one another again.

Mary Beth and Fred at the Crisfield Crab and Oyster Bake

 

Moving right along back to where I left off in Kinsale on my last blog.

The presentation of my sailing adventure was well received by the attendees of the event organized by the Great Neck Sailing Association at the The Slips marina in Kinsale, Va. It was also a worthwhile opportunity to fill the cruising kitty with $400 of book sales. And I made more good new friends, I plan to be back to Kinsale.

The Oct. 9 party in Kinsale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Kinsale, Virginia October 6, 2020

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

This has been a whirlwind tour from the Northwest down to Nevada via Oregon, by bicycle, local transit busses, Metro, Amtrak, rental car and LYFT.

There was 45-minute departure delay on the return flight from Seattle to Baltimore , apparently caused by the lack of personnel at the airport. I would not be surprised if the airlines will resort to offer free flights for volunteers to load baggage, clean toilets and do chores for the laid-off unvaccinated flight attendants. The Alaska Air flight from Las Vegas was also one hour later than scheduled, I missed an eye exam appointment.

I missed my train connection from Baltimore to Fredericksburg for which I would have had ample time. A mad rush from the airport to the station, I missed it by 5 minutes. Fortunately, I was able to catch the next train into D.C. and transfer and arrive only 10 minutes later than planned. Wil, another crew member on “The Twin Brothers”, collected me and brought me back to Kinsale.

On Tuesday the 28th of September, I took the Amtrak from Tacoma to Eugene, where I was the guest of Judy and Evert Slijper. You might remember them from my February blog when Evert took me on a memory lane trip to the Oregon Coast, through the territory I used to travel to purchase wood products, in the seventies and eighties.

On Wednesday I rented a car to drive down to Roseburg where my youngest son Seth and his fiancée bought their first home this year. A beautiful rural location as the pictures show. Seth has lots of big toys and hobbies and enjoys the large work shop that comes with the property.

The Umpqua River, close to my son’s home.

Seth’s home and the Noble Fir tree farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, the 30th, I flew to Las Vegas to celebrate my oldest son, John’s, 50th birthday. He moved recently to Henderson, Nevada from San Diego. My daughter in law treated us to a fabulous feast at the  José Andrés restaurant.

with my oldest son, John

Part of the feast      (pictures by Jennifer van Ommen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If, at His second coming, Jesus decides to go for a 40 day desert hike again, in the Nevada Desert, the Devil better not come tempting with a gift card from José Andrés.

2nd roof where the van Ommens live and part of the “Strip” in background

 

There are no direct flights from Las Vegas to the Washington D.C. area and I was able to lay over in Seattle, spend my last night with my daughter Lisa and collected the rest of my luggage.

It will take some getting used again of sleeping on a narrow bunk after being spoiled to the many comfortable beds and hospitality.

On September the 16th., I attended the funeral mass of Father Gary Weisenberger. He was our pastor from 1991 until 2004 at St. Nicholas Church in Gig Harbor, Wa. Our second oldest daughter Rose Marie was married in 1991 and my last marriage in 1993 was performed by father Gary. He became a dear friend. We had dinner together last at Christmas time 2019. I really think he scheduled his funeral for my short stay on the West Coast. It was a beautiful service. Coincidentally, he and I both have Frisian mothers. His mother’s root are in a Roman Catholic enclave in this Protestant Dutch province, in the town of Sint Nicolaasga, only 15 miles from where our mother was raised in de Lemmer.

This Saturday I give a presentation of my sailing adventure at “The Slips”. There is a change on the plans I have for the next three weeks, from my previous blog. My first VA doctor’s appointment in Cape Charles has been moved down from November 2nd to October 22nd. I’ll skip that in between trip from Onancock to Cape Charles prior to October 18 and instead cruise from here to Smith and Tangier Island before my October 20 event with my OCC members at the Mathews YC and sail from there on the 21st to Cape Charles where I will most likely stay for a month before my planned winter sail to the Caribbean.

 

 

Tucked “Fleetwood” away in Kinsale, Va. Wednesday, September 15th. 2021

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

It took me three hours to untangle the boat from the mooring ball in Annapolis, on Thursday. The harbormaster recommended to add extra lines to the one I usually use to a mooring, when I was preparing to leave on the 1st of September, the day that the “Ida” leftover storm was to hit Annapolis. The lines got wound around and stuck in he ball’s chain. It was a great afternoon sail. I anchored for the night on the south shore of Coaches Island on the Maryland Eastern Shore. That night the wind came in strong from the North West 20-25 knots, howling through the rigging but I was reasonably protected on the lee side from the waves. But once back on the Chesapeake Bay, on Friday, it became a wild ride, doing 5 to 6 knots on just the tiny storm jib. I pulled into the SoloMons again, where I stopped north bound, mid afternoon, because there is no place to anchor from there onward to my destination up the Potomac. I left Annapolis with a bare pantry, the stores are far from the moorage. Now I had time to row the folding bike to shore and re-provision. Saturday the wind had turned from North to South-West, I mostly motor sailed but once on the Potomac I was able to ease the sheets.

The sail into the winding Yeocomico River looked challenging, but there was Chris Johnson on his “The Twin Brothers” sailing next to me and leading the way to his dock on Long Cove. We met in Cape Charles in the Spring. He and his wife Therese, live in this beautiful cove, where he docks his two boats, “The Twin Brothers”, which he converted to electric power, and a Catalina 30 without a working engine that he and his nephew Matt sailed from Hampton, into the winding river to his dock.

At the Johnson dock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both he and his wife and nephew, I sense, are permanent friendships. We went to mass together on Sunday, in the afternoon, I brought the boat to “The Slips” a small private marina, owned and run by Annie the, at least 6th Arnest generation.

“The Slips” “Fleetwood” left background

Annie Arnest and Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinsale is a small town where the time seems to have taken a long break. Nestled on the banks of the Yeocomico River surrounded by large fields of corn, soybeans and wheat. Right next to the marina are the silos of the granery being filled right now with the corn crop and loaded into large barges destined as feed for the poultry and cattle farms. It once was a thriving maritime-agricultural center, with a vegetable cannery, and watermen fleet.

A quote from the Kinsale historical foundation (www.KinsaleFoundation.org) “Kinsale is the oldest customs port on the south side of the Potomac. Taxes were collected here in colonial times and from the 1850’s to 1933 steamboats visited every day to ferry freight and passengers from this deepwater port that served a 125-sq. mile area. Farming, forestry and fishing all sent away their harvest chiefly by boat until the bridges were built in the 30’s and Perdue Granary still gathers the harvest of myriad area fields of beans and small grains to ship away by barge. War also came by water. The town was attacked from the river both during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.”

Annie shared with me this picture of her great grandfather and grandfather at the marina store in 1970 and her grandmother who is still living nearby in her late nineties.

1970

Grandma Arnest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt, Chris’ nephew, is a delivery skipper and is my next-door neighbor in the marina; he helped me to the top of the mast to re-install the tri-color light.

Chris drove me to Fredericksburg this morning to catch the Amtrak to the Baltimore Airport. I am writing this from the Alaska flight to Seattle. I will spend the rest of the interrupted September visit to the North-West with Lisa and then on to Las Vegas for my son John’s 50th birthday on the 30th. I should be back on the boat by the 6th of October. And the plan is to sail south with a stop on Tangier Island and on to Onancock where Susan Kovacs, one of my Cape Charles friends will come to take me to spend a few days with our CC friends. Then to Matthews YC for the October 20 Ocean Cruising Club meeting.

Back on the East Coast. September 8, 2021

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

I landed shortly after 5 a.m., local time, at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. on the “Red Eye”. As usual I went standby on a buddy pass. I had the very end seat, the three-seat row all for my self and I must have slept some because it took me a bit by surprise when the captain announced to prepare the cabin for landing. I took the bus to downtown and then tried to find my connection to Annapolis. Somehow, I did not realize that some of the stops were in the NE section, whereas I was searching in the NW section. Fortunately, I had picked 3rd and 4th street, instead of the higher numbers. But it took me a while to realize my error and did a lot of extra walking with backpack and small suitcase. It is in the nineties now.

There are only two commuter busses per day, back to Annapolis, from this corner at 6.55 and 12.43. I hope I find someone to bring me aboard “Fleetwood” before dark. Meanwhile, I made it back on the boat before dark. Fortunately, the water taxis are running again. I had contemplated having to hide my clothes and baggage in the bushes and swim to it. Blow up the dinghy and row back to collect my belongings. When I was convinced that I had found the correct stop for the bus to Annapolis, I had a Punjabi lamb/lentils lunch right on the corner for the bus. Scheduled for 12.43 pm, I allowed for 45 minutes delay and finally dragged my self and gear up the hill to Union Station. I took the Metro to the end of the line at South Carlton and was prepared to try out my Lyft app, that Lis helped me install. But in the end I ended back up at the Baltimore airport, via Amtrak and then I retraced my inbound track, to two transfers on the commuter train from the airport to the busstop in Cromwell. This driver, an African American lady, had the same lead feet as the young man on Wednesday last week. But the near sleepless red eye flight and uncomfortable attempt to sleep, the long walks to find the p.u. points for the bus from D.C. to Annapolis, still ended up in arriving after 6 p.m. in Annapolis. I could have taken today’s morning flight to Baltimore, gotten a full night’s sleep and no dragging my self and baggage through D.C. and Metro stations. At one point the whole metro train was evacuated because of a “Medical” issue.

My last blog left off on last Thursday. On Friday evening, Lisa and a couple friend of hers and I went to the opening night of the Washington State Fair. A very typical traditional American diversion. Rides, shooting gallery, typical fair food and deserts like hot scones, Carmel apples, 4 H farm animal contests and the customary snake oil salespersons.

Lisa, Darren and Roberta in line for their hot scones

My granddaughter Corrine, her Husband Euan and my brand-new great grandson Spencer came back on Sunday from visiting her family in Centralia and friends in Portland, Oregon. He is a wonderful, happy little guy. To morrow he’ll be 2 months old.

What a delight and blessing to be able to meet him and hold him. The three Scots left yesterday morning to return to Glasgow.

4 generations

Spencer’s clan den

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wind direction and strength promise a good sail south tomorrow and Friday.

I have a few maintenance items to look after and estimate that I will return to continue the September visit to the NW and the 50th birthday party in Las Vegas on the 30th for my oldest son, John.

Back at Home Port. Wednesday September 1st, 2021

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

I am writing this on an Alaska Air flight from Baltimore to Seattle. There was a quick change of plans, caused by today’s storm from the remnants of “Ida”. My chance to see my brand-new great-grandson, Spencer, before he and his parents return to Scotland on the 7th, was starting to look a bit dicey. With the Labor Day weekend my chances to fly on my standby buddy passes was a consideration. Until last night it was still the original plan to park the boat at Kinsale, on the Virginia bank of the Potomac River and take the train to the Baltimore airport on Thursday or Friday.

But with today’s weather there was no alternative but to find a hiding place. I made it yesterday from the C&D Canal to an anchor spot just north of the Memorial Bay Bridge from near Annapolis to the Eastern Maryland Shore.

As an aside: shortly after entering the Chesapeake Bay from the C&D Canal, I was hailed by the crew of “Stephanie II” who were crabbing here. Watermen from Tangier Island who were my dock neighbors in Cape Charles when they were crabbing there in the early Spring.

While I was wokking my dinner, a Coast Guard weather warning came on; a strong NE was to set in at midnight and then get to gale strength from the South later today. Where I was anchored, I’d have some protection from the East but none from the North and South. I’d be a sitting duck. I have developed some apprehension for moving in the dark. But pulled the anchor and headed for Annapolis to hide on a mooring. Fortunately, I could retrace my late July outbound track on my electronic charts. When I started the engine there was a grinding noise and a hard clank. Scared the heck out of me. What to do here, re-anchoring and trying to fix the problem while at the mercy of the forecasted perils. I realized that the transmission control cable needs adjustment, by using the clutch I was able to get it in forward gear. I tied up to a mooring ball in the Annapolis harbor at midnight and reheated the wok.

The moorings cost $55 per day in the main harbor but the city has several more mooring fields. I am now tied to a mooring in the Saint Mary’s field where the daily rate is $25 and weekly $150. It is much better protected from the winds than the main mooring field. But the problem was how to get off the boat since the water taxis have packed up for the season. The harbor Master patrol boat hooked me up with the only other boat that joined me in the lower rent district. Bob and his lady on the power boat “Rebecca” hailing from Beaufort, N.C., he took me to shore in his dinghy. I needed a good shower and did this at the Harbor Master’s office.

Next was the challenge to get to the Baltimore airport. I found a service called Young Transport that offered rides to the commuter rail into the airport. But they are apparently also gone for the whatever reason. The driver in the local free shuttle suggested I take the #70 bus to the commuter train near Baltimore, the bus was ninety cents and the commuter day pass for a senior is $2.20 The predicted heavy rain was coming down hard on the bus ride.  I made it to the gate when boarding had started. And I was rewarded with a Premium seat.

Thursday morning the 2nd: I am at my daughter Lisa’s home. A beautiful late summer day. A break from the heat, humidity and ankle biting flies and a good night’s sleep in a real bed.

My new great-grandson and his parents are visiting friends in Portland and family in Centralia and back here on Sunday. They are returning to Glasgow on Tuesday.

I am in the process of “making a new plan, Van”. This sudden diversion, from the storm to Annapolis instead of completing the sail to Kinsale, means that I probably will fly back again on the 7th to complete the sail to Kinsale and then fly back once more to the N.W. and then celebrate my oldest son’s 50th birthday with his brother and sisters in Las Vegas on September 30th.

“Fleetwood” ‘s early playground. Vashon Island in foreground, on landing

Good Bye Jan-Kees and 120 birthday of my mother. August 30th., 2021.

Monday, August 30th, 2021

Yesterday, at this time, the skies were black, the seas were wild and frequent heavy rain showers were pelting on “Fleetwood”. Right now, it is nearly 10.30 after leaving my anchorage in Cape May at 08.00.

A light breeze from the WSW and sunny skies. The sizzling 90-100 degrees heat made place for pleasant 70 plus. Since the wind is on the nose, the iron horse is being steered by the tiller pilot and I have a long stretch ahead here on the Delaware Bay to write this blog.

Since my previous blog, in the shade of the Statue of Liberty, where I reported the lightning storm on Friday evening, I made two attempts to get on my way for that short North Wind window to get south.

The first attempt, around noon, made me run back for the protection in the lee of the Liberated Lady.

I had one heck of a work out to hand-snap the anchor loose, because that Friday night storm had dug in my anchor down to our antipodes. Just an aside to my contemporaries: you might be surprised what those dormant muscles can do when you are desperate….worth a try to boost your sense of virility.  I exited the Verrazano bridge in the company of at least three container ships. I had my full main sail up and the tiny storm jib. But once outside, I had to put two reefs in the main and further down, I dropped the main. Just on that tiny orange colored storm jib, reaching in the N-Easterly. By nightfall I was following the lights on the New Jersey Atlantic Coast. Predict Wind had shown the wind strength at 24 knots. It had to be at least 30-35. I was showing steady speed of around 6 knots and at times, running down the wave, sevens and even eights. No way to sleep following the coast line. The Monitor was in charge of the boat to stay on the right wind angle. I was down below, mostly with the companion way shuttered in the rain storms. Noisy, with all the storage lockers banging and sliding their contents and the wind howling through the rigging. The thick dark clouds hid the moon but an occasional peek showed the white crests of the rolling waves.

The wind calmed down some on Sunday morning but the skies were still black. So, the solar panel was not charging the batteries and the laptop had to stay charged for my navigation and AIS. I kept the starter battery isolated. And when I checked if that #2 battery would start the engine, close to the entry into Cape May, it was not able to start. Fortunately, the sun had come out by then and it managed to recharge for the start while continuing under sail to the Cape May entrance.

On the way north, I anchored off the most common anchorage here in Cape May, in front of the enormous Coast Guard station. I could not get to shore from there. No dinghies were allowed to land there. This time I anchored further in just off the channel in front of the Cape May YC. I had enough time, from 16.30, to row to shore with my folding bike and get groceries and the ingredients for the concoction that helps me hang on. From the first visit, from the water, I had no idea of the beauty this town holds. First of all, the typical military base housing adjacent to the Coat Guard station made me realize how big this station is. Obviously, a training facility, until late in the evening I listened to their recruits’ macho cadence chants. And this morning the reveille and the playing of Stars and Stripes at 08.00, just when I raised the hook. But the old part of the residential section is one of the finest American examples. Beautiful architecture from the 19th and early 20th century. Some impressive mansions. Thick tree shaded sidewalks, well kept green lawns in the upper class and middle-class sections. Truly worth a stop when you are near Cape May. Back in 1965, when Joan, Lisa and I were living in West Chester, near Philadelphia, we took a road trip through Baltimore and up to the Hampton Roads, crossed the brand-new Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the ferry from the Maryland Eastern Shores to Cape May. But do not recall seeing the town.

It is 11.30 in the meantime, my boat speed has jumped a knot since entering the Delaware Bay, the main is now up because the wind has gone further south and the flood is starting to push me up the river. Perfect timing because with a little luck I might be able to ride this flood to the Chesapeake Bay, through the canal. Half hour later, the wind died.

 

20.00 hour- I just put the hook in the bottom of the bay in Chesapeake City, at the S.W. end (or beginning) of the C&D (Chesapeake-Delaware) Canal. So, from 8 am to 8 pm a 12-hour ride with the current pushing me. About 60 nautical knots. Not bad averaging 5 knautical miles. Not enough wind to sail, but did some motor sailing. So, I am back in Maryland with my South Eastern friends.

The bridge from Maryland to Delaware at Chesapeake City, Md

I plan to continue further North toward Kilsale, current is good from 06.00.

 

I loved being for the month or more with the North Eastern Jan-Kees (Yan-kees). Not sure how many realize that Yankees is an aberration of the Dutch popular first names Jan and Kees.

Jan, is my twin brother’s first name and also of my Swedish American friend Jan Arthur Stroem. This picture is a selfie taken last week at the wild life refuge on Block Island at the Hotel 66 with Jan Arthur and his partner Valerie.

with Jan Arthur Stroem and Valerie on Bllock Island

 

MY MOTHER’S 120TH BIRTHDAY.

 

Rinsje (Rennie) de Vries was born on August 30, 1901 in Heeg, Friesland. Besides my father, she has had the strongest influence on my life. Her faith, defense of hers’ and others’ rights, compassion, inquisitee, lack of fear, and generosity is what I was blessed with and inspired by. She joined the women’s suffrage movement at age 18 and saw emancipation in the Netherlands come true in 1922, when she earned the right to vote at age 21.

Cover of www.TheMastmakersDaughters.us

Here is the chapter of the book, The Mastmakers’ Daughters, I wrote based on her memoires:

8     Born in Heeg

 

My parents moved into the house with the mastmaker shop in Heeg right after their marriage. I was born there on August 30, 1901, a Friday evening. My maternal grandmother Gezina van Anken was with us to help her daughter and she had quietly hoped that I would be named after her. But on Monday evening, when Pa (father) returned from De Lemmer, Moe (mother) was told that I had been registered in Sneek as Rinsje, on the specific directions of Pa’s mother.

Pa’s older sister had named her second daughter Rinsje a year earlier and the first born of Pa’s brother obediently followed the strong-willed grandmother’s directions. My three aunts did not have daughters. None of her grandchildren named their daughters after Rinsje but there are lots of Siebolds and Jans, named after my father, among my siblings’ son and grandsons.

That same Monday after I was born my parents received a notice from the Reformed Church in Heeg demanding an explanation why I had not been baptized the Sunday before. Pa explained that he had promised his wife that she’d be present at the christening, whereupon he was told that Moe (mother) was not allowed to respond to the question as to the responsibilities of the parents.

My parents reluctantly went along with this. But shortly afterwards their doctor, de Wit, forced the issue before the church commission when his wife was due to have her baby. As a result, they relented this local abuse.

At the same time, when I was being baptized, there was a baby whose father was committed to a mental institution and in order to prevent the mother opening her mouth, when she might feel prompted, they rephrased the question for the parents: “And what is the answer from the one who is holding the child for baptism?” In any event, Moe has never neglected her obligations to raise us as Christians. Her way of teaching us religion was in singing her repertoire of hymns and psalms.

We did not stay in Heeg for more than a couple years. The three of us moved back to de Lemmer in 1902.

Liberated once again August 27, 2021

Saturday, August 28th, 2021

I am once again anchored behind the statue of liberty, on the way “home”. Retracing to my previous blog: I managed to solve the impeller problem. When all else fails you need go back to “A”. It turned out to be the last action I had done on Blok Island when I cleaned the intake raw water filter to the cooling pump. The lid on the top had not been properly seated and needed a new gasket. I had checked this a couple of times. This time it worked and a good flow of water spit out from the exhaust.

So, now the only other item was to re-install the replacement of the Tri-Color. I found a good strong young man, a sailor, working at the Mystic Seaport. But when I got to the top of the mast it turned out that the replacement is a newer model that does not fit. I took the remnants of the old Tri-Color down and managed to combine the the two to a working unit. But on Wednesday morning I could not get the help to assist the second time. I decided to take off, since I want to try and catch that Northwind window on Saturday until Sunday morning. It has been southwinds for the last two weeks and coming back on Sunday. I went as far as the daylight allowed and dropped the hook on the Long Island West Coast near the Oregon Hills on Wednesday night. Then yesterday I had one of my longest day sail, near 60 knotical miles (5 miles average) to the Manhasset Bay, near Port Washington on Long Island. If I had been able to be there an hour earlier, I would have ben able to catch the current in the East River and be on my way in the Atlantic at this time. I had to wait until the midday current turned. I had not been able to access the internet since Wednesday morning. My new cell phone would not work to use as a hotspot for my laptop. I went from the anchorage to the fuel dock and used their wi-fi to resolve this and check the weather forecast.

While coming up the East River, the storm clouds stacked up. I had hoped to try and get further south. But it looked(van)ommennous, so, I went for the anchorage behind the statue of Liberty.

Saturday Morning: could not get this out last night. Had a good night at anchor in the shade of the statue. The wind direction is perfect but the weather is miserable, heavy rain and winds over 25 at times. I am sitting it out for the time being, still looks like I’ll be able to get to Cape May by Monday/Tuesday.

Pineapple. The sign that wife swapping is solicited

Horizontal rain. “henry” in Mystic Seaport Aug 22

 

 

 

Mystic Seaport, Ct., August 19th, 2021

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Mystic, Ct., August 19th, 2021

 

It is 8 o’clock in the morning. I am anchored at the entrance to the channel into Mystic Seaport. The remnants of tropical storm “Freddie” are playing out here today in 25 knot winds, showers and some thunder activity. I had planned to make the 23-mile voyage today from Block Island but to avoid today’s conditions opted to leave yesterday. Once outside the Block Island entrance, I noticed steam from the exhaust. I raised the sails and figured it was due to me cleaning out the cooling water intake filter, a couple days ago. Sometimes the filter does not drop in the right spot. That was not the problem. Next a check on the pump impellor. Looked fine. But by hand cranking the engine while loosening the pump output tube, it did not show much output. Checked the impellor again it had one partially torn blade. So, tried to replace it with the spare that I had purchased at the recommendation of the Chinese pump maker.  It did not fit. It was a slow sail and fortunately I had the current with me on the last part close to the entrance to the Mystic channel. I got a hold of the Tow Boat US station here, yesterday evening, the operator is supposed to come between 9 and 10 to take me to my reserved berth at the Mystic Seaport Museum marina.

This adds one more chore to the program, finding the right impellor, re-installing the tri-color, Windex and checking the VHF antenna, I seem to have very poor reception from my VHF, though the incoming calls appear fine. I am told that I am breaking up on relatively close distance. My handheld works better. It might be the microphone.

Thursday evening 18.30. Moored at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

The wind came up strong in the early morning. The US Boat tow came alongside at 10. 45 Great job. He took me alongside, went through three bridges and chatted about our live experiences up the Mystic River.

This place is absolutely awesome. I had always hoped to be able to visit here. A true wooden boat Mecca.

To my Mechanically Gifted friends for Help on the water pump:

See also above.

I managed to find an impellor at West Marine that fits the ½” shaft and is the right dimension but the spline that goes in the slit on the pump shaft was too large. I recovered the one from the original impellor and it seems to work on the new replacement. Full of positive expectations. But no water from the pump. I hand cranked the engine, with the plate off the water pump, no water. I can suck the inbound hose to the pump and easily suck water. And when I take the outbound hose off the pump, with the engine running, it feels like it is puffing air out instead of sucking it from the pump. What is going on? I tightened the drive belt last week.

I have my presentation tomorrow at 10 am. I received my cellphone replacement and that will be next importing the contacts, etc. And I have my new old model Aqua Signal Tricolor-Anchor lite; wish me luck finding an abled body to crank me up the mast. The weather forecast is not too favorable, with the remnants of the tropical storm still to blast through here.

I love my new D3300 Nikon it is in great shape, practically new. But, alas, the smaller 18-55 lens does not like the D3300. But it does give great shots with my old 70-300 zoom lens and the 55-200 lens which was gifted to me by my granddaughter’s friend, Jess Seebo, a couple years ago. So, if I manage to sell a load of books here, I’ll compliment the Nikon options.

The weather looks good on Saturday with a Northerly but from Sunday onward all southerlies. It may take me while to get back to the Chesapeake.

Picture with the new Nikon D-3300:

At the Wooden Boat Show in Mystic Seaport, Ct