Thursday, August 2, 2018

Dual citizenship?

We spent half of July in Canada's Trent Severn Waterway and half of it in a car in America. That's probably not dual citizenship, but sure was fun.

The Harbor Hosts at Trentport Marina took this picture of Tanuki as we entered the canal system that brought us to Midland, ON where we rented a car to go to Cousins Camp 2.0 (a family reunion) in North Carolina.
We met so many great people and locked up and down through gorgeous scenery.  We experienced three different kinds of locks - the ordinary one where the gate closes and they raise or lower water in the chamber to get you to the next level, then open the gate on the other side.  Two lift locks - where you glide into a bathtub that raises or lowers you to the water level you want.  And the Big Chute Railway which takes you & your boat out of the water, drives over some tracks and deposits you and your boat on the other side.  

The best feature of all the locks were the young Canadians working at each lock.  They hire high school and college students to work during the summer and every one we met was outgoing, friendly and helpful.  

Docktails at Petersbourgh Marina with lots of other Loopers

In the Petersbourgh Lift Lock
After completing the Trent Severn, we docked Tanuki at a marina in Midland, ON, rented a car and headed out for the long-anticipated Cousins Camp 2.0.  We used to host Cousins Camp at our house in St. Augustine.  When the grandkids heard we were moving onto a boat, they cried, "but what about Cousin's Camp?"

We found a Lodge in a national forest in North Carolina and rented it for 4 days and nights.  All 9 grandchildren came and brought their 6 parents, and we joined them there.  Little did any of us know that there was no Internet or cell service there.  It was splendid!  

We took our time getting down and stopped at lots of places going in both directions.
The Distillery District of Toronto, ON where we saw "The Secret Chord, a tribute to Lenord Cohen" - incredible!

Had to stop on the Canadian side of Niagra Falls for a selfie.

Going through Cleveland?
Might as well stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and see the Sirius Classic Rock channel DJ.

The entire crew!  The weather was cool and comfortable.  The fishing was fine.  Canoeing was great.  Cradle of Forestry field trip was fun.  Food was awesome.  Everyone had a great time.
On our way back we visited with Ben, who interned on our farm, his wife Hannah and their almost 2-year old child Rosie (who we hadn't met before).  

We also got to re-connect with Brenda & Paul, some friends we made when we rented a cottage on Green Turtle Cay in The Bahamas, a few years back.  

It's good to be back home on Tanuki!

Remember:  Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is the day!
The Wandering Williams.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

And they've left the country

Sunset at Atlantic City anchorage
The best thing about New Jersey, was getting through it.  We left Lewes, DE and headed across the Delaware Bay taking care to avoid weekends in the NJ Intracoastal Waterway.  Even with this precaution, there were way too many sports fishermen anchored in the channel!  (One is way too many).  Happily we draw only 2'10", but to leave the NJICW is to court grounding.  Another NJ surprise was how incredibly narrow and harrowing some of the passages were.  The final one, at the poorly named Point Pleasant (not too pleasant) had to be traversed at the right tide to avoid running into the narrow bridge passage.  We made it!  And out into the Atlantic ocean for a quick 26-mile crossing into New York Harbor.

The new Freedom Tower, which replaced the World Trade Center, looms large over the south end of Manhattan
We chose Great Kills Yacht Club to take in the city that never sleeps.  It's on Staten Island and lots of other Loopers were there.  John, the American Great Loop Cruiser's Association Harbor Host greeted us.  He's this year's Harbor Host of the Year - and a grand stay it was!  The members of the Club are down-to-earth, real people who don't own dress whites or navy blazers and don't have the typical yacht club trappings.  What they do have is a great location!  

It was a five minute walk to the Express or Local bus stop.  For $6.50 the Express would take you all the way to Manhattan - anywhere in Manhattan.  For $2.75, the Local would take you to the free Staten Island Ferry that would take you past the Statue of Liberty on the way over to Manhattan and drop you near the World Trade Center Memorial. 

The Staten Island Ferry, a free 25 minute ride between Manhattan and Staten Island, NY
We went to Manhattan three days, and each day saw another amazing play (Hello Dolly with Bernadette Peters, Beautiful - the Carol King story, and The Play That Went Wrong).  We visited Times Square to get our half-priced, same day show tickets and got to skip the long line after our first day.  We simply came back with our ticket stub from the previous day's show and got to cut in front of everyone else.  

We ate amazing food, got a Metro Card and used the subway, buses, ferries and walked everywhere!  
Times Square.

Junior's.  You have to go and get the cheesecake.  Here's carrot cheesecake and strawberry cheesecake. YUM!
Eventually we got our fill of the Big Apple and headed past Lady Liberty up the Hudson River.
One of the best pictures we took of the Statue of Liberty - and trust me, we took too many!
The hustle and bustle of New York City took a while to fade, as we had a completely different view of the city from the waterway.  Here are some of the more interesting and iconic buildings we saw.
VIA 57 West

This building looked like it was built with giant Legos

The Empire State Building is on the right.
On the Hudson, we stopped at Half Moon Bay Marina and rented a car to go to West Point Army Academy and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).  
West Point from the Hudson River.  Great tour and museum.

The chapel at West Point

From West Point and back to the Hudson.
After a dreamy cruise up the Hudson, we came to our first lock, a Federal Lock in Troy NY.  A quick turn to port (left) and we were into New York's Canal system - the Erie Canal for starters.  We locked up into mountains and stopped at small towns along the way.  Most nights we could tie up for free on a lock wall.  Some nights we chose to tie up on a municipally-run wall so we could get power.  It was super affordable and buying groceries, doing the laundry, and exploring new areas was extremely easy to do.  
Tanuki simply can't climb dams, like this one.

So they created locks.  The locks have gates that lock the higher water back, so Tanuki can cruise into the downside of the lock where the water is at the same height as the river she just came up.

In NY, mechanical gears open the forward lock gate AFTER the rear gate of the lower lock is closed and the lower chamber is filled with water that matches the height of the water above the lock.

When the lock gates are closed, you can walk to the other side of the canal on top of the gate.

On the topside of the lock, the water can be extremely still before it falls over the dam (to the right).  This is the kind of scenery we were treated to in the Erie and then the Oswego Canal systems.
When we got to Oswego, NY on the edge of Lake Ontario, my brother Doug and his wife Beth brought my niece and nephew to visit.  It was great to see them.
Jaden, Captain Jerry, me, Jamison (they're growing up beautifully!)
Before we leave NY, let me show you some of the unique and beautiful lighthouses we saw along the Hudson and on the edge of Lake Ontario.

We found the most perfect day to cross Lake Ontario straight into Kingston, ON.  The water got clearer and cooler all the way across our first Great Lake.
For the first time since we've owned her, Tanuki's getting fresh water through her systems since we got into the NY Canal system.  As Carolyn Ann, this boat completed the Great Loop three times.  We have some great tracks to follow, left by Joe and Punk, her previous owners.

A channel marker in Canada.  Here's its really important to stay in the channel, because there can be rocks just below the surface.  Crossing Lake Ontario, we saw depths of more than 550 feet.  We don't know how much more because our depth finders couldn't read any deeper!
In Kingston we enjoyed a three-hour cruise on the Island Queen (not the Minnow) to see the Thousand Islands.  We took trolley tours, walking tours, ate in great restaurants and started meeting Canadians.  What a welcoming, inclusive, well-spoken, engaging people!  Here we had real pea-meal bacon.  It's way tastier and better than the stuff labeled Canadian bacon in America.  
There's some in our freezer now, thanks to a Meat Shop in Trenton, ON
Finally, the end of the month was coming and the AGLCA briefing on the Trent Severn Waterway.  We moved to Trenton, ON and the most beautiful marina we've ever been to, Trent-Port.  Amazing facilities!  Free laundry!  Great ice cream!  A meeting space!  A town with 4 easy to walk to grocery stores!  A few good restaurants (not like Kingston).  We were here to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, before we headed up the Trent-Severn Waterway system. 
Great fireworks enjoyed from Tanuki's fly bridge.
The Trent-Port Harbor Host took this picture of Tanuki entering the waterway and emailed it to us!  AGLCA's Harbor Hosts are amazing.  As members of the AGLCA we have access to all the Harbor Hosts along the Great Loop route and we can call on them for help and advice as needed.  It's nice to know we have friends in every port.
That was the month of June.  Happy Fourth of July to everyone in the States!

Until next month, may you have fair winds and following seas all your days!

Sam & Jerry Williams aboard Tanuki

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Friend Sandra Pomroy Williams on Facebook if you want a more detailed travel log.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

It was a dark and stormy

Sunday, perfect for catching up on the blog. (and you thought this blog might be about a boat drink made with ginger beer & rum?)  It's raining and cool (58 degrees).  Plus the museum in Lewes, DE (the first town of the first state) doesn't open 'til after 1 PM today.  

We're here visiting Emily (one of Jerry's high school buds) and her husband Charlie.  They've taken us all around the area, including to their favorite park to climb a watchtower used during WW II to protect Philadelphia and inland factories.
The Atlantic Ocean from the Watchtower in Henlopen State Park, Lewes, DE
Yesterday we visited the Historic Lewes Farmers Market and found lamb, beef, pork, egg, dairy, flower, plant and produce vendors & bakers.  By far the best Market we've visited yet!
America's got good taste!  Great market - got oyster & shitake mushrooms, eggs, lamb bacon (not a typo), strawberries, mixed summer squash, asparagus, very impressive lettuce, pork chops, kale and met lots of great farmers!
Other highlights of the past month include Memorial Day Parade in Annapolis, MD - clearly the US Naval Academy musicians were the best anywhere in the country!
There were also lots of beauty contest winners & Boy Scouts, reminding us of the kids we know.

If you get a chance to go to Annapolis, be sure to tour the Naval Academy Museum, the crypt of John Paul Jones (I have yet begun to fight!), the State House (all free), and the William Paca House ($5).  We also took a 2.5 hour guided walking tour with a guide in a period-costume for $20.  It was fantastic.  The streets and houses haven't changed for centuries.

The Naval Academy museum is probably the only place that displays model ships made of bones.  At the Paca house (Mr. Paca was one of 4 signers of the Declaration of Independance from Maryland) we learned that back then, men didn't have beer bellies.  No, they called them purses and were proud of the proof their paunches provided of their wealth!

We took the Dismal Swamp Canal route on the ICW through Virginia, up to Portsmouth.  Lousy name for the canal.  It was beautiful.  We took advantage of a free dock to stretch our legs, visited a museum to learn more about it (George Washington was involved in surveying the Dismal) and got to know other boaters who had even less experience than we do!  

The Great Harbour Owners Association met in New Bern, NC in early May.
Other Great Harbour boats filled the face dock.  Tanuki had a slip inside (and we avoided many a rolly night because of it)
We had a great time meeting other owners, seeing what modifications they've made to their boats and hearing their stories.  Punk & Joe made their BMW available to all the GH owners.  We all enjoyed using the Punk-mobile to provision, get to the hardware store and I even got a haircut!

Inspired by the modifications other owners made, we added LED strip lighting to the engine room.
Before - shadows everywhere
After - you could shoot a Hollywood movie in here!  Bright!
We also got a magnetic strip (meant for tools) and hung it in the galley.  I love this!

Invisible improvements in May included another oil change and replacing a leaking raw water pump in the generator.  Jerry's also working on tapping into the engine's analog dashboard to make it digital and portable.  This will make driving from the fly bridge a lot more enjoyable.  

We used our folding, electric Glion scooters in Deltaville where the generator was fixed.  They were also great for going to the Historic Lewes Farmers Market.  Thanks to Richard on Semper Fi for taking the picture!
We also got to stop into Worton Creek and visit with friends John and Donna who contributed wire to Jerry's analog-to-digital project.  We made spinach ravioli with them.

Still raining, and it's a little after 1, so the museum is open.  If it lets up before 3 we'll walk over and explore it.  Charlie is picking us up for dinner at their house tonight.  Last night they had Tanuki's house specialty, home-made ravioli (this time lobster-oyster mushroom ravioli).  It included lobster from this killer dinner in Chesapeake City, MD.  Maryland crabs weren't in yet, but the Maine Lobster dinner for two sure looked good.  Turned out it was dinner for 6 when I added some oyster mushrooms from the market!

Tuesday we plan to cross the Delaware Bay to Cape May NJ.  We hope to cruise past the Statue of Liberty in June's single-digit days.  

The Wandering Williams, reminding you that all who wander are not lost!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Playing leapfrog

May 7, 2018 Experiences from the previous 3 weeks and 3 States on the Loop

We keep meeting the nicest people!  Leaving St. Augustine on April 16th, we cruised north and stayed at a few anchorages until we got to St. Simon’s Island, GA.  

These ran much better after we bought some air for the tires!
Here we took a slip to visit the island and used the Marina’s loaner bikes to visit the lighthouse.  We also used the Marina’s loaner car to get groceries.
Barbara Bush's demise was the reason for the half-mast flag at the St. Simons Lighthouse that day.
When we returned from our land-based running around we found fresh water in the engine room.  A fitting was leaking.  We replaced it with a shark bite fitting and we were ship-shape again.

Going north, we’re playing leapfrog with other cruisers.  We kept passing (or being passed by) trawlers and sailing ships with names like Chips Ahoy (dinghy Micro Chip), Au Contraire, Tender, Crows Nest, and others.  Sometimes they chose the same anchorage or marina we did.

A lot of us were tied up at the dock in Beaufort, SC because a big front was coming through. (4/22)  Au Contraire was tied up behind us, Chip Ahoy was on the next dock over, as well as other familiar names.  

We helped Au Contraire tie up and met Redina (“like Regina, with a 'd'", she calmly explained for the umpteen time in her life) and Mike.  We enjoyed their company and spent a lot of time strolling Beaufort’s antebellum streets, exploring the museums and graveyards, shops and restaurants.
Stately oaks and old homes make up Beaufort SC
Graveyard between two churches in Beaufort, SC

The current is especially swift at that marina.  Jerry and I had gone for a walk.  When we got back we learned from Mike that Chip Ahoy had run into their boat, as well as the boat behind them.  Chip had to tie back up and exchange paperwork and apologize.  Lesson – wait for the current to ease. 

After everything was settled with Chip Ahoy and the current was slack, Tanuki and Au Countaire left for a mutually agreeable anchorage.  On the way, we passed Chip Ahoy trying to set anchor in an open, unprotected area that’s not a recommended anchorage.  Poor guy!  Still learning lessons.

Because Au Contraire is a 30-foot catamaran, Redina and Mike travel slower than we do.  We invited them to have dinner with us. The next night at a different achorage, we went to their place for dinner.  Same as at home, except you don’t take a car, you take the dinghy over (as well as a salad).

Some pretty scenery from South Carolina
We all needed fuel, so we all got a night at the Osprey Marina and met Crows Nest and Tender. We let them know we were going to Bald Head Island, NC to see Jerry’s cousin Tony and his family and we told them about the monthly Howl at the Moon party on Sunday.  We invited them to come along.  

All of us were anchored just off Southport for the short hop across the aptly named Cape Fear River to Bald Head Island Marina.  We researched and found a restaurant nearby who could accommodate all 8 of us and took 2 dinghys over to enjoy a great meal together and get to know each other better.

Mike & Radina on Au Contraire, Kara & John on Crow's Nest, Joselyn and D on Tender, me and Jerry on Tanuki
Tender continued on and the rest of us went into Bald Head Island Marina.  On Sunday, Tony, Juliette and their daughter Katherine, invited us all over for beer-can chicken at their vacation place on the island. We all brought sides and had a great time. Tony was able to score an additional golf cart so we could all travel in comfort to the Howl at the Moon party.  Cars aren't allowed on the island.  All travel is done by foot, bicycle, golf cart, or in our case on our electric kick scooters.
John & Kara, Mike & Redina, me, Juliette, Jerry, Tony and Katherine with Abby the dog in the front, howling at the moon 4/29/2018
This man played bagpipes as the sun set and the full moon rose.
After the beach party, Crows Nest and Au Contraire continued north. We stayed until May 3.  
Old Baldy, the lighthouse on Bald Head Island.  
360 from top of Old Baldy.  Golf carts, bikes and pedestrians populate the streets.  
After Au Contraire and Crow's Nest left, Insandity and Semper Fi arrived at Bald Head Island Marina.  They are the exact same model boat as Tanuki.  Mirage, in Gainesville, FL, made only 22 of the Great Harbour N37s.

Chuck on Insandity invited us to join them, Semper Fi and another N37 JADIP (Just Another Day In Paradise) to buddy boat on an overnight passage.  So almost 20% of the existing N37s in the world (OK, 4 of us) would be running a nighttime rhumb line together!  Hard to pass up that opportunity!
Leaving Bald Head Island, Insanity is in the lead, JADIP, Tanuki and Semper Fi bringing up the rear.  
At 1:45 pm on May 3rd, we were underway and met JADIP in the Cape Fear River to make the 12-hour journey.  In order to reach our destination in daylight, we had to slow our roll and turned it into a 16-hour journey.  "Who'd have thought we'd be trying to go slow?" Chuck joked over the VHF.  Next time I’ll check the charts and times myself.  It would have been so much easier if we all just stayed one more night and left at the crack of dawn to get there at dusk, at full throttle.  Oh well, live and learn.

We got up to the other Beaufort (in NC) and at the Beaufort Yacht Basin, whom did we run into but Au Contraire!  They tell us that Crows Nest just left the slip we were occupying.  
Streets still named for when the area was a British Colony.
We went to the Saturday Farmers Market together and the Wooden Boat festival.  We went to the pre-party/fundraiser and enjoyed appetizers with a couple of guys who brought a wooden boat down for the show. Folly Girl was tied up at the Downtown Beaufort docks and we were invited to watch the homemade rowboat races from her bow.  

Today we’re sauntering up to New Bern for the Great Harbour Owners Association meeting. JADIP, Semper Fi and Insandity are already there, as well as some of the other models made by Mirage.  

Beverly S hailed us on the VHF.  They remembered us from the time we shared in New Bern last October.  “It’s important to keep the boat clean,” Larry said to us during the call, “you just never know who you’re gonna run into.”   So true!  And the way we ran into them didn’t require any paperwork, unlike Chip Ahoy’s run in.  

And now... grandkid pictiures!  Pop got to take Joy's oldest 3 and Jay's oldest one on dinghy rides during our month in St. Augustine.

Gigi, thrilled with her ride on Lil T
Johnathan, Madelyn & Zachary set for adventure with Pop on Lil T

Remember, all who wander are not lost.  

Until we write again, may we all have fair winds and following seas!  

The Wandering Williams, Jerry & Sam on Tanuki