Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

With all the shops and museums (rightfully) closed today, we basked in the sun and took to some of Baltimore's great outdoor areas.  But before we could even leave the boat, we had to repel boarders! With the tide low our deck was at dock level and tourists kept hopping on for photos!  I was a little shocked by this.  I guess that's part of being at a city dock though, and I guess there are some cultural differences to consider!  A sign and some chains we found around the pilings, likely for that very reason, seemed to do the trick.
Our attempt to repel boarders.

Once we were "secured," we headed out.  First up, Federal Hill!  The kids loved scrambling up this massive hill, and were pleasantly surprised to find a small playground at the top.  We even managed to find a geocache!
The view of our berth from Federal Hill (we're by the yellow boat to the left).
The kids help to defend Baltimore.
Swings!










After a stop by the boat for lunch, the kids and I headed out for a walk around town so the Captain could relax in peace.  Then they all played football in a grassy area by the pier while I got to work on the feast--game hens, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, corn, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, and a pecan pie pumpkin cheesecake (compliments of the Cheesecake Factory).  Dinner came together nicely and I have to say we had a great day overall!  I am very thankful to have a husband that does so much for our family and kids that have a sense of adventure.  Can't wait to check out the Maryland Science Center (chosen via coin toss) tomorrow!
Our very own pilgrim and Indian.
The feast!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A weekend of thanks...in Baltimore!

We took some time off work this weekend and after a short few days at the pier got underway Wednesday to head to Baltimore.  The whole week we'd been watching the weather, with a cold front forecast to come through Baltimore Wednesday night with a big pickup in winds.  Our plan was to get underway shortly after sunrise Wednesday morning and try to make it the whole 42nm in one day.  So, how did the plan work?  Well...so so.  We got underway early, but there was almost no wind so we found ourselves motoring up to the Bay Bridge.  After that, we started to see some wind so we shifted to sailing only to have the winds ramp up quickly to 30-35kts, and clock rapidly to the north.  This was around noon--the front was coming through early!  Frank did his best to hold on, and we were heeling at 30 degrees for a good little run.  That's probably nothing to a racer, but to a live-aboard?  Well...
A small sample of the havoc caused by our significant heel.  See those fishing rods?  They normally live in the cockpit!

We finally got a good opportunity to pull the sails in and motor again, but by then the seas had really built to the 4' range and the bow was slamming pretty hard.  As we pointed the bow up the Patapsco River, the pounding got worse, with the entire front half of the boat seeming to go airborne at times.  We pressed on since there was really nowhere to bail and because we knew with the wind coming straight down the river the waves would eventually diminish due to the reduced fetch.  It was not an easy ride, and Captain Frank bore the brunt of it, but we eventually made it!  Though the winds were still pretty strong, the lack of seas made for easy docking at the City Dock.  And once again, we were the only boat there!
Lehe Paine in the Inner Harbor
 We took advantage of the remaining hours of daylight to pay our dockage fee and check out our surroundings.  We learned that not much of anything was going to be open on Thanksgiving, but there was tons to do within walking distance.  Historic ships, museums, the aquarium, and parks were all right there!  We will likely rest and relax tomorrow, and tear up the town on Friday!
The 9-11 memorial outside the Baltimore World Trade Center

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back to Annapolis

This weekend had great winds forecast for another trip to Annapolis!  We were able to make the whole trip under sail, downwind with ~15kts at our backs.  Arriving in the mooring field, we had our pick of the balls and took #1, right off Ego Alley.  We headed into town and took a long walk around the Academy campus where we checked out their impressive fleet of boats.  Then, of course, it was time for ice cream! No matter how cold it is, the kids are always up for ice cream!

Downwind run into Annapolis

The lone boat in the mooring field!

Still loving that ice cream.  Brrrrr!

Saturday night was spent peacefully watching a movie.   Sunday morning we went on a long dinghy ride up Spa Creek and went ashore at Truxton Park.  It was soooo nice!  I love the crunch of leaves underfoot.  We even managed to find a geocache while we were there!

The boys enjoy a walk along the trail.

We left Annapolis around lunch, getting underway from the mooring under sail for the first time ever.  Figured an empty mooring field was a great place to try!  From there it was a day of total sail.  We didn't have to start the motor until just outside of the marina, and we made it to the dock just before sunset.  THAT was a great sailing weekend!
Our Captain enjoying steady breezes at the helm.