Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Evening stroll

Tonight brought me back to another reason why I love our marina--the eco trail.  After dinner we decided to go on a long walk to check out radar mounts on other sailboats and oogle at the Leopard 39 cat that's tied up here.  As we walked along the docks to the east side of the marina, Katreina kept stopping us to read the educational signs along the way.  That, the slightly cooler air, and the many crab, snakes, and birds we saw, really made the walk nice. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Since it is crazy hot here and we're not underway, I might as well catch up on a little boat news. First, we have a radar arch on order! We had been eyeing one for some time, or considering it or dinghy davits, but went for the arch! Now we have a home for our dinghy and for solar panels (a future purchase!). In related, unrelated news, we have a radar! Of course we aren't planning to put it on the arch, but we did get it with a rig to mount it on a backstay. We weren't really out to find one, but couldn't pass up a crazy deal on Craig's List. So to recap, that's a radar arch on order and a radar in the storage unit ready to be installed! Stay cool everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Ok, these may not have been our first visitors, but they were the first visitors that we've had since we moved to Maryland, and the first time I've had a girlfriend see the crazy life I've chosen with my family.  My friend from college, Ashly, and her husband and 2 daughters passed through MD last night on their way home to TX and I was thrilled they were able to stop by and stay with us.  We managed to head out for a little sail, but the winds were approaching 20kts and little Audrey wasn't a fan of the choppy seas so we headed back in.  After perhaps our roughest docking yet (we WILL remember to remove the flagpole from now on!) we realized it was too hot and humid to do anything but swim!  We all headed over to the pool for some competitive diving and to introduce our guests to the world famous Orange Crush.  Dinner at Mango's followed, and the kids somehow tricked us into buying them ice cream from the bar.  Back at the boat, all 4 kids tucked into Katreina's room to watch a movie.  I loved it.  They all got along so well and were so sweet together--I could totally see us doing this again.  When it was finally time to turn in, we dropped the salon table and made the 4th bed up.  It's kind of quirky having to break down your family room to create a bedroom, but I love that Ashly and Jason were so cool about it all.  The marine heads didn't even phase this family!  And sharing our tiny home with their family didn't feel crowded at all. 

My only regret is that I didn't take a single photo!  I was so busy enjoying the moment that I didn't stop to capture it!  Maybe next time...I really hope we can all hang out together next year!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fun in the sun

Another great weekend! 4 hours at the pool yesterday--Trent jumped from the diving board for the first time (not bad or a 3-year old!)--then we had a great dock party/potluck and movie night on the beach. Today started with a slipholder breakfast followed by a great day of sailing, and I took the wheel for over an hour!  Then the kids and Frank hunted minnows at the beach..the highlight: Trent eating one alive!! I think we may watch too many survival shows on Discovery Channel. Tonight we're tidying up for our first visitors since the move! I'm so excited as this will also be the first time any of my old friends have seen our life afloat. Anxious, excited, and ready to see the Darnell family!
Great sailing on the Chesapeake!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Wye River

Today was a great day of sailing with 12-15kt winds making for a quick upwind trip to the Wye River. I'll admit that we were healing a little much for my comfort at times, but it was kind of cool seeing us top out just above 7kts.

We anchored in Granary Creek (the only boat here!) and since it was blazing hot outside we all immediately got into swimsuits and started jumping off the boat. It was like swimming in bath water, but still managed to cool us off. Dinner and a long dinghy ride wrapped the night for the kids, but with temps in the boat still in the 80's we decided to stay on deck and enjoy the peaceful night. As the sun set I took a shower out on the transom, enjoying the warm, peaceful evening. Add this to my list of nice spots...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 235th USA!

This morning proved to be MUCH calmer than last night!  After a lazy morning we re-set our hook closer to town so the boys could run in and get some fuel for the dinghy.  Next stop--Cambridge, MD for night #3 of fireworks!  The wind wasn't all that favorable and our batteries needed a boost so we motored.  As we came into town we were shocked to find only one pontoon boat tied up to the free wall in town and headed in for a spot right behind it.  Our guides noted that the deepest water was in the middle of the wall (right where the pontoon boat was!) so we angled to get as close to that as possible.  I jumped off and gave the lines a mighty tug, but just as the boat was about 3 feet from the wall it stopped moving.  "It almost feels like we're in the mud," I shouted to my loving spouse who looked down at the fatho and concurred--we were definitely in the mud.  After using the dinghy to ferry myself back to the boat we checked the tides and sure enough, we had come in right at low tide.  Waiting it out we should be good to go.  The kids were asleep and it was over 90 degrees outside (and getting hotter by the minute inside the boat) so we did all that we could do--we waited!
Almost there!
After a few chats with locals and about an hour of patiently waiting (and powering and pulling!) we were free.  As luck would have it, the lunching pontooners were leaving, too!  We headed out in the basin and re-approached the wall, this time snugging up just fine.  We made it!  As soon as the kids were up I made some grapefruit juice slushies to help cool them down, and took a little walk.  On our way back we saw that Jan and Gary on "Tie a Knot," our neighbors in the anchorage last night, were tied up right behind us.  Small world!  Then we headed over to Snapper's to get some ice cream and froo-froo drinks--it was HOT and the a/c felt great!  After that treat we took to the dinghy to check out the town.  What it lacks in cute little shops it makes up for in quantity of berths and condos!  We also scoped out where to head for fireworks...

Without power we don't have a/c and I'm sorry, but it was just too hot for me to get excited about cooking dinner.  Back to Snapper's!  The food and service were great, and now we were ready for the night's festivities.  We started with sparklers and small fireworks by the boat, then headed over to Long Wharf Park and the marina for the "big show."  We followed all the locals and found some great seats on a pier.  WOW!  This might have been the best one!  The whole family loved it!  We had a nice walk back to the boat, which is still ridiculously hot.  Doesn't matter, though.  I had a great time with my family and wouldn't change a thing about this whole weekend!!!!  (Ok, maybe I'd take out the dragging anchor and soft grounding...)

Here's to Independence!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The start of our celebration weekend

Wow, our new home continues to impress! Saturday our marina hosted a carnival-like party, complete with bounce houses, tattoos, and food. We hit that up after spending the morning at the pool and that alone would have made for a great day, but that night there were fireworks! We walked about 3 minutes from the boat and sat on a grassy knoll to enjoy front row seats to a great show. The kids loved it!

Saturday we got underway and headed to Oxford.  The picture says it all...

After anchoring in Fatty Cove we decided to try out a first on Lehe Paine--swimming from the boat!!!  It was AWESOME!  It was so nice...the water helped cool us all off and once the kids got into it, they were jumping non-stop!  There were some jellyfish around, but we kept an eye out and no one got stung.  
 After dinner we made it into Oxford for a little ice cream, but a quick check of the radar told us it was time to get back to the boat.  Oh my!  Minutes after we got the kids on the boat, the wind kicked up something vicious and in no time we were dragging anchor!  Agh!  This had never happened before and I freaked out, almost losing my hand trying to hold onto the rode instead of letting it go when I should have.  After a few frantic minutes, letting out all our chain, and settling back in much closer to a few of our neighbors, we were set.  Once again, many lessons learned.  Much to our surprise the town still had fireworks, though Mother Nature almost stole the show.  During one big, brilliant firework a bolt of lightning shot through it and made for the most amazing mix of nature's and man's art.

It is so great to be back out on the water!