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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

Chip off the Old Block Island.  Sunday August 15, 2021

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

This is as far, a little above Latitude 41, I made it from Cape Charles, Latitude 37 plus. I set off from Greenport, Long Island, N.Y. on August 12th. I set my course for Newport R.I., the North American Sailing Capital. But the winds changed and I diverted to Block Island R.I. This is my third day on the island. I am anchored in the Salt Pond. A busy place, hundreds of yachts, most are on mooring buoys. Water taxis take me to and from shore for $4 and the same for the bike. There are similarities with Port Jefferson with day-trippers coming by ferries from the mainland. The countryside reminds me of the South of England and also the San Juan Islands; stone hedges mark the property lines, white shingle sidings. The only place for me to connect on the internet is the library in Shoreham, the nearest and main town on the island. None of the restaurants and bars provide wi-fi.

My apologies for the quality of the pictures. Since the drowning of my Nikon D-3200 and my cellphone, I am using the Go-Pro and a dated I-phone. I just got onto the internet and discovered that my previous blog is from Port Jefferson. I sailed from Port Jefferson on Tuesday to Greenport. A very fast sail with wind and current. Arthur Stroem let me use his mooring in the harbor while they are still out cruising further north. A delightful spot. The town has a very laid-back atmosphere. But the bumbling sailor had another mishap. While bringing my folding bike to shore, I lifted it from the dinghy onto the dock and lost my balance, both bike and I went overboard. I had my Nikon and cell phone in the backpack. Both are toast. I should have (familiar?) lifted it from the dock out of the dinghy. I was totally soaked. The couple on the closest boat, Chris and Judy, helped me onto the dock and had me put the phone in a bag of rice.

The replacement cell-phone is already waiting for me in Mystic Seaport and a used D-3300 will arrive the same day I shall be pulling in, on the 19th. The 3300 is the same model as the one I left on the Pierce Transit bus in 2017. Now I will be able to use the 70-300-zoom lens again, which was not compatible with the drowned -3200.

I will attend the 10 a.m. service in town. Later this afternoon, my friends from Greenport will join me here. We will either leave tomorrow or Tuesday and I’ll follow them back to Greenport from where I plan to sail on Thursday the 19th to Mystic Seaport. My presentation is on Friday morning at 10 a.m. I managed to find an exact used replacement for my Aqua Signal 40 Series Tri Color, from the well-known Sailors Exchange in Saint Augustine. It is also waiting for me at the Wooden Boat Show. I need to find a muscled helper to crank me to the mast head. The last time I had the help of my Gig Harbor friends, at anchor for the Heineken Regatta on Sint Maarten, in March last year.

Yesterday I heard from Lisa that the Scots are already arriving on August 24 and flying back to Glasgow on September 7th. Wish me luck with the weather conditions to get to Kinsale, off the Potomac, in better time than the way north.

I’m just reading a comment on my previous blog from my new friend Russ Grimm. He tells me that Block Island is named after the Dutch discoverer Adriaen Block. So, that makes me currently a “Chip off the Old Block”. I am in the gestation process of an article for “Zeilen” the Dutch sailing monthly that has published a few of my articles of the world voyage and I mentioned this to Russ that I like to reference the places I visit on this trip with the first Dutchmen who discovered these places. New York is, of course, a well-known. But I had never heard of Block Island connection. I was very fortunate to meet Russ and his wife Doreen in Hampton at the start of this trip. He is a, Military (by trade) and other by hobby, history expert and he has already coached me with great sources.

Here the few pictures :

Some Hotels grow their own produce and flowers.

 

The beach and Ferry dock

Another Garden view

The cat out of the bag/ de Aap uit de mouw. Sunday August 8th 2021

Sunday, August 8th, 2021

You all have failed the test to find the answer to my mishap underway yesterday. So, I am in good company to confess my fallibility.

Here is what happened: At maximum current, a good two knots, I approached the railroad lift bridge at 36th Street that connects Roosevelt Island to the eastern shore of the East River. From a distance it just did not look right. All the East River bridges are supposed to clear over a 100 ft. My mast height is 43 feet from the water surface. But I have under estimated the clearance before and passed with many feet to spare. And this had to be another Fata Morgana. But the closer I got the more I saw an accident in the making. And once I was 50 feet away, I threw the transmission in reverse but at full throttle I was not going to avoid a disaster. The current was too strong. A crushing sound at the top of the mast and the boat kept moving through the bridge.

I had checked my charts, read up on the Pilot Chart for the East River and could not figure out what had just happened.

It turns out that it is mentioned in the pilot chart. I was supposed to have taken the West Side of the East River to clear Roosevelt Island. But I never saw the option from where I was following the starboard side of the river. This railroad bridge lifts from 40 feet over the water to 90 feet. But is seldom lifted any longer. The west side channel with the higher 36th Street bridge is invisible from the starboard side of the river.

So, just to prove again that I have that guardian angel perched on my shoulder, if the water level had been 3 to 6 inches higher, the bridge would have hit the mast and forestay and spun me around or pinned me against/under the bridge.  Now, it broke the lenses of the green/red navigation light and the white anchor light. I checked the lights after dark last night and the tri color (the top part) bulb is still working. The lower anchor light is gone. It is difficult to assess the repair from the deck. I believe that just replacing the lenses for $100 would do the job, but then I need  the sealing rim that does not come with the lenses. So, I ordered the entire tri color unit for $280.

I have it sent to Mystic Seaport where I expect to install when I am there for the Wooden Boat Show. I’ll be able to use the two-color lamp as an anchor light, for the time being and I am not planning to need the masthead navigation lights for night sailing until after I return to the Chesapeake, after August 24.

I had hoped to refill my 12 gallon tank, since my last fill in the Solomons, but the fuel-dock here was not pumping because of the rain. It finally stopped raining after a steady drizzle and occasional pour from 11 am. The fuel dock opens at 9 am.

I attended the 7.30 mass at the church of the Infant Jesus here in Port Jefferson. East Indian-American Reverend Francis Lasrado gave an inspiring sermon on our calling as Christians.

Mass at church of The Infant Jesus in Port Jefferson, N.Y.

Saturday Evening Post August 7, 2021

Saturday, August 7th, 2021

The wind finally filled in at 2.30 pm and it is a wonderful 5 plus knots reach from the East. I motored since I left my anchorage near the statute of Liberty, just before 6 am. This was a photographers wish come true. The sun was just rising over the Brooklynn Bridge and was reflecting in the Manhattan skyscrapers.

The Staten Island Ferry docking at Manhattan

The Brooklynn Bridge 

The current in the East River was as strong as I can remember, compared to places like Deception pass, trough Whidbey Island in the North West San Juan Islands. I had never experienced what was happening here. There was so little flow onto the rudder, that it felt like I had no control. Once outside into the Long Island Sound, the water was like a mill pond. No sailing. Once out of the Big City I had expected to see some individual homes again. Not so; just apartment buildings.

 

6.30 pm I am sitting behind a Corona draft on the pier in Port Jefferson on Long Island. A busy seaside town. A ferry brings day trippers from the main land. I needed to get a shower and I have to declare general average to s/v “Fleetwood”’s cargo. I did an auwee in the East River. I escaped by inches from major damage. I will give more details in the next blog. But just to check my readers’ attention to the details of my sometimes-questionable navigation skills, I am offering a prize to the first blog and Garmin in Reach tracker follower to come up with the cause of what caused the damage today. The prize a signed special edition of “SoloMan” or “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”.

One thing is for sure I am certain I am not the first sailor to have experienced this. It could have been a whole lot more damage but for that Angel sitting on my shoulder, like a couple more inches.

Here is another photo of a historical light house. No over the water potty, but there had to be a need for a mother in law lean to.

Another light house in the Long Island Sound

I am on a mooring ball moorage of the Port Jefferson YC, a launch comes to get me to shore. I plan attend mass here tomorrow morning and then will hope for some wind tomorrow to sail to Mystic Seaport, assess the repairs and order any parts, if necessary, and get them installed when I get back there for the wooden boat show on the 19th.

In the Big Apple

Friday, August 6th, 2021

 

It is Thursday morning.

I had a good night sleep at the anchorage and since the wind was not due to change from yesterday’s North-Easterly until noon, I rowed to shore to make a run to get my much-needed supplies. It was a good 4-mile upwind bike ride to the ACME super market. On the way back I had a (also much needed) haircut.

But when I got back to the boat, the seas had become nasty, the boat was doing a rodeo hobby horse ride and I did not see much of a chance to get my groceries and backpack back to the boat and mount this wild steed.

But, with my usual luck, rescue was at hand. A couple watched me fold the bike and started a conversation. They were on a bike ride from Ocean City, they are sailors Mark and Judy Slichter, they saw my predicament and offered to take me to an inexpensive motel in Somerspoint. They drove by the boat in the evening and reported, with a photograph, that “Fleetwood” was still hanging in there. So, I had a good night’s sleep.

They will come and get me at 9 am to bring me back to the boat.

Thursday 2 pm. This is sailing at its very best. About 10 knots of wind just between hard to the wind and a tight reach to the course I want to follow. Smooth seas, just the usual swell, speed just under 4 knots.

The classic FM station is playing. I had my liverwurst s/w lunch, with my favorite beverage. I am passing Atlantic City. “Happy Place” a catamaran just passed me going south at 8 k under power. He could be sailing downwind at at least that speed and save a few bucks on fuel. But that is just too much work to hoist sails. Most of the Chesapeake and inshore catamarans have sails that have cobwebs on them.

But getting back to 9 am this morning, Mark and his son in law came to fetch me at the motel; they helped me shove off in the dinghy, with my backpack, groceries and folding bike. That turned into a hairy exercise. The ebb was getting ever stronger, the closer I got to the boat; it felt like I was unable to row those last few strokes to grab the boat. But finally, I did. Thank God for Todd Dhabolt’s modification to the original design, he added the sugar scoop which is low enough to get my knee on it and twist through the windvane frame to get aboard over the transom.

Back to enjoying the ride, the gentle slapping of the waves on the half inch thick mahogany plywood hull try to rock me to sleep.

Thursday evening. The wind strengthened in the late afternoon. I was hitting sixes and an occasional seven knots. Reef early. I put a reef in the main and by morning I was down to two reefs and my hand towel size storm jib. I managed to lay down with the alarm set but never slept. I intend to make up for it tonight. I had planned to sail through the night to the north end of Long Island. But after checking the time and distance, I realized that I would end up there in the middle of Friday night. Instead, I chose to go through New York, East River and the West shore of Long Island. The wind evaporated, I motored the last 30 miles, from the left turn until my anchorage behind the Statute of Liberty. The Ferries, commercial and pleasure boat traffic had turned the surface of the bay into a witches’ brew. But now the traffic has gone home. I have a magnificent view of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Bronx and over my shoulder Hoboken and Staten Island.

Going through the Verrazano Bridge

The north flowing current in the East River starts at 03.47 tomorrow and I can ride it to the end before it turns there at 9 am.

 

 

New York is a true melting pot. I am listening to Latin and a Greek station. I only know small parts of NY. In January 2015 I had the privilege of having my friend Christine give me a private tour of the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she had worked for many years. New York was my very first foot on American soil in January 1957. In 1967 my wife and three-year-old Lisa sailed from Le Havre to NY on the trans-Atlantic cruise vessel lighthouse for the Statue of Liberty: “Look, dad, there is America!”. Five days later, we got to see the statue for the first time.

Manhattan Skyline

The back side of Liberty

The “other” Ocean City, August 3rd 2021

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

It is exactly 2 years ago that my second attempt, the first was interrupted in June 2017 with my stranding on the Barrier Islands, to sail to the Nantucket Sound, ended on the rocks of the jetty at Ocean City, Maryland. While I repaired the damage, the White Marlin Derby was taking place. This weekend one of the boats sank, according to the radio, another contestant picked the 6 men crew and their life raft and their beer from the Atlantic, everything else went down with the ship. If you go to my blog https://cometosea.us/?p=6835  for the August 2019 derby, you will see a sea of Trump for 2020 flags on the sport fishing boats.  I wonder if there were as many for 2024 this weekend.

This evening I anchored in a delightful spot in Ocean City, New Jersey. I can spit to shore and I intend to land my dinghy on the beach. I have not been ashore since I left Annapolis last Saturday.

The south end of Long Port

 

 

 

The sun is just setting and there are several photographers to make their famous albums for newlyweds.

Getting wet

Newly weds

 

 

 

 

 

The last blog I posted was from New Jersey shore under the nuclear power plant, Sunday evening. It was a wonderful spot to anchor until at around 10.30 pm when I could hear this wind storm approaching from a mill pond it turned into mayhem. I believe this was about the strongest wind I was in other than the storm near Mallorca just before my (first) shipwreck. It was close to 50 knots. Black sky but no lightning. I got into the Mayday mode with my Heavenly best friend. But thank God for the friends who urged me to replace my anchor with a spade anchor, last May in Deltaville. God listened, as usual, it blew away in 90 minutes., but then the chop came down the river and made for a bumpy berth.

 

The conditions for the ride from the Sunday anchorage to Cape May were ideal. I had the current with me for most of the ride. A good 20 knots dead down wind, mostly wing on wing. Anchorage spots are few on the shallow waters of Cape May. I joined a number of transiting sailboats in front of the Coast Guard station. I needed to get ashore for supplies but it was windy and the Coast Guard station takes up nearly 3 miles of the shore and a long row to land the dinghy. My plan was to leave early this morning and to make the 100 plus miles to Sandy Hook an overnighter. The forecast was for a weak N.E. wind and to lift in the late afternoon to an Easterly. As you will see from the Garmin Tracker it became a very slow tacking duel dead against the wind. I covered 42 miles that covered 26 miles, as the crow flies. My boat is to light to motor in the swells and the waves just stop me dead. The bigger heavier boats with larger engines can plow through it. And the racket of my two cylinder drives me insane, for an extended period. The tiller pilot jaws a zigzag course in those swells. I had hoped to get that promised Easterly, you will see from the last part of the Garmin track that a lift happened but not enough to keep going for the night. Other than that, “Fleetwood” likes to sail close to the wind and I can never get enough of it.

I had hoped to be in the N.Y. harbor by Wednesday morning. The forecast for later in the day is for a strong northerly. I will double check the forecast in the morning and may need to plan to duck in tomorrow night. I need to inflate/deflate the dinghy in the morning and find groceries. So might be a late start.

There was a beautiful sunset here.

Sunset from anchorage

Breakfast in Maryland, lunch in Delaware and dinner in New Jersey- Sunday August 1st.

Sunday, August 1st, 2021

I untied the mooring ball in Annapolis yesterday in the early morning. I had hoped to make it into Chesapeake City in the C&D Canal, but the current was going the wrong way by 4 p.m. and I anchored off the traffic lane for the night. Then I had to wait until 11.30 a.m. this morning to catch the favorable tide and exited into the Delaware Bay by 2 p.m. with the incoming tide. There are few places to anchor for the night on the Delaware Bay on either the New Jersey or Maryland side.  But I found just one spot on the Jersey side at Alloway Creek, right under the steam cloud of the Nuclear-power plant. But it is a nice quiet spot.

Last night, after the weekend-warriors had stabled their hot rod rocket ships, it was a blissful night at anchor. There ought to be a boating license requirement for these ignorant, selfish power boaters, to pass a test on a sailboat while I overtake in their power boat at full bore within spitting distance of any sailboat. In a canal I get to hobby horse not once on their wake but it bounces back from the banks for another session.

I was ready to get on the VHF to compliment a power boater who slowed down when he was ready to pass me, just before Chesapeake City, in the canal, but then he did not pass me at all, but when I looked back there was a police boat behind me and a whole flock of obedient power boaters. But when the water cop turned into the little harbor of Chesapeake City, they broke loose again. The “No Wake” signs are, apparently, just for sail boats.

I expect to male it into the Cape May Canal, a short cut to the Atlantic through the south eastern tip of New Jersey, by tomorrow evening, it is 41 knot-ical miles. The ebb starts at 8 a.m. from where I am now but does not last long and most will be against the flood. The wind is forecasted to be very favorable, downwind. This trip accounts already for nearly half the hours on this engine, since I installed it in 2018.

I am listening to the public radio Sunday program “Pipe Dreams”. Siebold de Jong is playing a Bach Cantate on the organ of the Martini Church in Groningen (the second tallest basilica in the Netherlands).  The church is mentioned by our mother in my book “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. Her father was also a Siebold (de Vries) and her brother plus a string of cousins and nephews. My twin spells his as Siebolt.

On a slow boat to China

Friday, July 30th, 2021

Now that I learned from the bartender in the Solomons to use my hot spot I get to do my internet on the boat instead of blowing up the dinghy and finding an internet connection. So, on Wednesday morning I did not get going until 11 am after searching for an open diesel station. I sailed most of the way. It got rough in the late afternoon. I stayed on the Eastern Shore but it does not have a lot of options to spend the night. I picked Poplar Island. Not sure of the status. Must have been a bird sanctuary. They are building long jetties and it is either a secret dark government project or a retreat for the billionaires. I found a sheltered spot from the strong southerly and had a good night sleep. But in the early morning the wind was whistling through the rigging form the west, totally exposed to the bay, and it did not take long for the waves to build. I was only a 100-feet from the lee shore. It was a real challenge to hand haul the anchor chain while the boat is bucking the waves. But when you have no alternatives, you find some underused muscles. I had intended to make it into the C&D Canal. I could see the Bay Bridge. But dead against the wind and the steep waves, I was not making enough headway under motor. I knew I had very few options on the Eastern Shore to hide. The forecast is for strong northerlies tonight. So, I bore off to the mainland shore and ended up in Annapolis. The 11 miles took me over 4 hours. I am moored right in the heart of town on a $35 a day mooring ball. A $4 water taxi picks me up from the boat and drops me on the main waterfront. The Harbormaster office is right there and they have free showers. I needed one badly to remove the layers of insect repellent, that for the most part seem to be useless on the flesh-eating green flies. I had been to the Boat show here in 2008 and picked up a used genoa sail here in 2009, before taking off for Europe; but I had never explored the town. I hiked up to the state capitol building. The oldest continuous functioning state capitol. Back “home” the North Hampton County seat, where Cape Charles pays their dues, claims this for U.S. County seats.

State Capitol

 

 

 

 

 

I had a Stella Artois and steamed mussels at the Middleton Tavern which was established in 1750.

 

Middleton Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

 

This picture shows the crowd at the “Pusser”. Looks like a good pick-up bar for your daughters to catch a potential Admiral from these awkward looking Navy cadets.

The Pusser P.U.bar

 

The harbor is a display of all sorts of water activities. Little tourist tour boats, large luxury yachts. The “Endless Summer” is here, I showed a picture of her on Face Book at full moon last June at the Cape Charles Yacht Center. There was an evening sail regatta and all the participants are filing back in. It reminds me of the harbor of Victoria B.C. on the Memorial Day.

My plan is to leave here early and try make it into Chesapeake City on the C&D Canal before the current turns at noon and then again have a favorable current on Sunday morning.

SoloMan in the SoloMons

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

I got a late start on Monday from Mill Creek near Fort Monroe. I had to row to shore to get the latest weather forecasts from a wi-fi connection. It turned out that Tuesday and Wednesday showed little wind. I do not like to motor in the Atlantic swells. I decided to take the chicken run up the Chesapeake and the C&D Canal. It ended up a strong wind fast down wind sail to Deltaville. I discovered in Mill Creek that my bow lights were burnt out. It took me a couple trips to West Marine and the hardware store to get the right replacements. I decided to stay the Tuesday night and left early in the morning. The wind blew over 20 knots just off the nose. This made it possible to motor-sail with the main sail giving some power. But the waves were nasty and a very uncomfortable ride. A catamaran “Follow Me” heading the same direction decided to bear off towards Tangier Island, I was tempted, but I declined the invitation. Once I crossed the mouth of the Potomac, the wind decreased and the current turned around in my favor. So, I made it in before sundown 121/4 hours and 56.1 nautical miles. I anchored in the same anchorage where the below picture was taken in 2008, when the original “Fleetwood” was still clear finished. I rowed in to the same restaurant but they did not have the upstairs deck open, the excuse: unable to find help to serve that section.

in the Solomons. August 2008.

 

But here is wat then happened and will be included in my next book: “My Small World”. While I am talking to the receptionist, two customers are on their way out. The tallest of the two ladies turns around and says: “We met on July 4th at the Firehouse Coffee shop at Fort Madison; I recognized your accent.” Her name is Loren and she lives here in St. Marys. She was at the Coffee house with her husband. I have been trying so hard to lose my Dutch accent. But it can be an asset, as this story proves. But can you imagine the mathematical odds for this to happen? Frankly, I hope that the next occasion the lady will admit that she recognized me for my good looks….

Tomorrow looks like a good day to make some more miles north. I had kind of hoped that it would not be a good day. I’d like to go to mass at the local St. Mary Queen of the Seas. That would qualify me for sainthood, two consecutive Sundays. at churches of the same name. And I have friends I met last summer in Cape Charles who go to this church regularly where they keep their sailboat.

A picture of the Point no Point light, with a no-flush privy, in the Chesapeake, just north of the Potomac.

Point no Point- L

And entering the Solomons on the Patuxent River.

The Patuxent River near the Solomons Islands

A busy weekend in Hampton Roads.

Sunday, July 25th, 2021

The propane tank ran empty this morning while brewing my espresso. But Russ Grimm came to the rescue. We met here at Saint Mary Queen of the Seas on July 4th, as reported in my previous blog. He drove me, after 9.30 mass, to fill my 1.4 gallon-tank, $4.90, this will be good for another three months.

Russ also has made me the best informed Dutch-American on the early American history of the area, Chesapeake and Hampton Roads. The cradle of the United States of America. Did you know that the first Thanksgiving took place here with the Indians before what you have been told by the Plymouth Rock imposters?

Wednesday evening Susan Kovacs, with our mutual Cape Charles friends gave me a (another…) send off. I discovered, here in Hampton, that I had left my Nikon camera in Kay’s car. She and Laila brought the camera to Norfolk and Russ and his wife Doreen offered to drive me to Norfolk and we ended up joining them at a superb Middle Eastern restaurant for lunch. The best I have had since my first introduction in Damascus in 1975.

Wednesday’s Send-Off

 

Saturday lunch with Russ, Doreen and Laila

 

 

 

 

 

 

I brought up that I had heard that Hampton had a good Maritime Museum. But when I was here the last time, my Google search did not turn up any mention of it. I was told that it is in Newport News and my friends took me there. This is probably one of the best maritime museums I have ever visited. And Holland is known for them. A must see, worth a transatlantic sail or flight, for the $1.00 entrance fee. The discoverers, fabulous model displays, ancient navigation instruments, the maritime part of the wars of independence, revolution, the 1812 war, Hispano-American, the world wars and Vietnam. A big section on competitive sport sailing, including the Oracle American Cup display. I could have spent a week there. Relics and full-scale models of famous battle ships, like Iron Side.

The Amsterdam flag flying from the forward mast in the Maritime Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the museum visit, my friends gave me a tour of the backwaters of the James River. Ever heard of the settlement called Rescue? I had a glimpse of it on the banks of the Pagan River the tributary to the James River, I sailed up to Smithfield in July of last year. A community of watermen in isolation and only accessible by water until recent times.

Nearby is the, smaller than the one room school building, St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Carrollton.

The mini St.Augustine Church in Carrollton

 

 

 

My main mission for coming to the Mill Creek at Fort Monroe, was to have my first visit, on Friday, to the VA (Veteran Administration) Medical Facility. Turned out to be a very worthwhile asset that I had not been aware off. I met my assigned primary doctor and received a pneumonia and tetanus shot. I was very impressed with the facility and the service. Next, I plan to get set up with private practitioners, medical, dental, vision, etc. nearer to where I happen to be floating. I found the best bicycle repair shop in Buckroe Beach. The young man replaced my brake and derailleur cables, while I had lunch across the street. A recent storm dumped the folding bike in the salt water next to the boat. The bike shop charged me a whopping $20.00.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the museum of Fort Monroe. The Fort’s construction was started  in 1819 and completed in 1834, in the aftermath of the War of 1812 during which the British Navy sailed up the Chesapeake and burnt down the city of Hampton on June 25, 1813, and proceeded up the Chesapeake for more targets, the White House one of the most humiliating and the raid on Baltimore. The fort was also a Union stronghold close to the battle lines with the Confederates in the Civil War.  It also became the very first asylum for slaves that escaped from their Southern slave owners.

I plan to set off tomorrow morning into the Atlantic. The forecast is for very weak wind on late Tuesday and Wednesday and I might have to duck into an anchorage to sit this out.

I will try to be post these blogs more regularly, now that I am on the move again. You know how you can follow my progress, on the right upper corner Garmin In Reach link