Mosey On and crew are safe, dry, and still afloat. We ran for cover on Friday and spent the Labor Day Weekend thoroughly lashed to pilings in St. Michael’s, MD on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake. We made the choice of St. Michael’s because we wouldn’t have to cross the Bay as Hermine bore down on the Mid-Atlantic and we would be relatively far north up the Bay to avoid much of the storm’s associated surge. We also chose St. Michael’s because we would have the option to get off the boat safely with somewhere to stay. The wind certainly blew and the Miles River that leads to the town grew rough, but nothing to suggest the hurricane working its way up from Norfolk along the Jersey shore. I think we were lucky. We came in out of the natural protection of the narrow creeks and coves of the Wye River to take our chances in Town. It worked-out. The wobbly track of Hermine might have found us there with nowhere else (at Mosey On speed) to go. It is a truly sobering experience to make your best call and still realize that you might lose the boat to the storm. We were not alone in this, it’s just a part of living aboard.
We left St. Michael’s this morning. Blue skies, dry air, and a fresh breeze beckoned us back to our favorite haunts up the Wye River. We’re well-stocked with provisions and grog, so we plan to stay through the weekend.
Dividing Creek on the Wye
On Saturday evening there’s an on-the-water benefit concert for the River Keepers featuring a band called the Eastport Oyster Boys. Apparently you arrive by dinghy with nosh to share with the floating crowd. It’s an annual event here, and not to be missed! After the hoopla of the weekend dies down, we plan to turn Mosey On to a southerly course down the Chesapeake and revisit some favorites spots along our route.
They say that “Winter Is Coming”
….’bout ready to Mosey On
In many ways, cruising on Mosey On is liberating, spontaneous, and an awful lot of fun…but it also makes it harder to do those ‘side trips’ that are always lurking out there on the calendar. When you commit to them, waaayyy out there on the calendar, they don’t seem like much…but the devil (in the logistical details) exacts his unavoidable toll. I committed to help out at my 50th High School Class Reunion to be held in Denver the beginning of August. I did so last fall when I had no idea where Mosey On might be, or what else might come up. I figured we’d just stay loose and work-around the dates much as we approach cruising, generally. Then in early Summer we learned that there was a narrow window of opportunity to have three of our older grandchildren join the crew here on the Chesapeake in August for a short cruise. This to begin a few days after our return from Denver and moving back aboard Mosey On after her stint in the Boatyard (see ‘Nicks & Drips’). But that was ‘way off’ in August. We’d make it work. I should note here that the Admiral loves jigsaw puzzles…actually thrives on them….So you might not be surprised that she saw an excellent opening to fly out-west to check-in with family and friends as soon as the grand kids disembarked. (No one could argue with her timing getting off the Chesapeake in August!)
Since I’m not generally given to travelogues, what’s this about? When Mosey On is tied-up in her home port in North Carolina and one of life’s side trips comes along, it’s little different than leaving your house: We ensure she’s secured to the dock, everything’s turned-off (except the bilge pump), give the Dock Master (neighbor) the key and ask him to keep an eye on things. Then off we go.
But off cruising, far from her home port, leaving Mosey On for a ‘side trip’ of more than just a few hours can add layers of complexity. Where do we have to go to find a dock that has access to some sort of transportation (like a car rental)? Are these docks relatively protected and secure in the event of truly foul weather? Will someone check our dock lines in such an event? Do we empty the frig & freezer and turn everything off or do we gamble that the power provided is stable, reliable, and can keep Mosey’s batteries charged? Finally, does anyone pay attention to strangers who might be overly curious? Of course the number of right answers to these questions is closely related to what you will pay…on the order of rack rate at a Marriott Courtyard every night you’re away. The idea of leaving her unattended on her anchor or a rented mooring ball exceeds our risk tolerance on too many counts.
There is a way to circumvent some of this, however. We were able to leave Mosey On in the excellent care of the boatyard where we had scheduled the work on her to coincide with our Denver trip. They kept the power on and transferred the perishables from the old frig and freezer as the new ones were installed. As a general rule, boatyards don’t charge dockage while your boat is being worked-on. It’s not a ‘free’ stay, but it eases the pain of the cost of being away. But we’ve already played that card this summer. Long time readers of this blog may remember that we took a ‘vacation’ from our cruise two years ago to go bareboat chartering in the Virgin Islands [hull bottom painted]. Looking at Colleen’s anticipated two-week trip out West, the best choice was for me to stay with Mosey on a Chesapeake backwater of my choosing. On the hook (anchor) with a healthy generator for electrical power, I am quite comfortable taking the time to do the maintenance I can and should do myself…and catch-up on my correspondence.
Sittin’, Waitin’…..to Mosey On
It’s something we all know. That the more time we have spent with someone, some group, some thing the more likely we are to notice their inherent flaws, imperfections, even shortcomings. The closer our emotional attachment, the more likely we are to accommodate them gracefully. I can attest that the Crew is very, very gracious to this Captain! In these “Dog Days of Summer” on the Chesapeake (under the ‘Heat Dome’)…Mosey On has come under such scrutiny and found needing some work…
Our beautiful stainless steel drawer refrigerator/freezers (2), once the pride of our small ship’s galley – a source of great utility and convenience, have become erratic, finicky, ultimately unreliable. The summer heat dictates, and our tolerance now gone, they must be replaced!
Fresh water (presumably from rain or a boat wash-down) is finding its way into the core decking of our boat-deck. The telltale drips (See associated blog) are colored with the tannin from the soggy wood. There’s a wound that must be cauterized and the cancer cut out. Mosey On is such a pretty boat, who knew?
Then, while we’re considering what else may be imperfect….there are the inevitable nicks in the fiberglass. Some the Captain fairly owns…some entirely mysterious. And other things… but we shouldn’t (can’t afford to) be too picky! Though Mosey’s crew endeavors to be somewhat self-reliant in her maintenance, the skills to set these things right is beyond our abilities.
Not so glamorous…
So Mosey On is in the boatyard to be fitted-out with new reefers, and to fix the Drips and nicks. It will be well worth the investment in a long and happy relationship!
Fixin’ Up To Mosey On…
For several days, Mosey On and Crew have been exploring the rivers, creeks, and coves of Maryland’s Choptank River and environs. This is the riverine setting for James Michener’s Chesapeake. As I write this, Mosey On is swinging on her hook in “Baby Owl” cove, a drop dead beautiful anchorage off Leadenham Creek. The shore is lined with mature trees, only a couple houses set back under them, no boat traffic (and their attendant wakes), the waters quiet….and absolutely infested with sea nettles (jelly fish). Almost paradise…but with a catch.
The temperatures here range from the mid-70s to highs in the upper 80s to 90s. The lower temps realized after a brief thunderstorm passes through with its attendant spike in humidity. We are not surprised by this Chesapeake weather….it’s why most cruisers pass it by and head up to Maine…But for other commitments, we would have too! But it’s the choice we made. The thing is, if ever there were a great place to anchor in oppressive heat & humidity, and a place to plunge-in to cool off, this is it! Except for the aforementioned sea nettles….
Mosey On and crew have never exhibited a particular interest in truly “roughing it”, so we’ve done the obvious and gone ‘inside’ and turned-on the air conditioning. As I write this, I do feel conflicted. We’re here, in a beautiful place we’ve taken some effort to get to and I’m sitting inside, on a boat….while nature beckons! On the other hand, the sweat has stopped rolling down my face and fingers so I feel safe using this electric appliance. And other than the scoffs and ridicule I may have to endure from more stalwart (and sweaty) sailors, I know there is likely another (nasty) price to pay. Remember our friends the sea nettles? Although I don’t attribute intent, they have an unfortunate way of wafting too near the cooling water intakes for our generator and three air-conditioning units. So….too often they get sucked-in and end their lives clogging strainers designed to keep them out of the pumps. Which is good for the pumps, but the inevitable strangulation of the cooling flow from their remains will render our air conditioning inoperative! Yes, we can dive into the bowels of the boat and clean the strainers (again). It should be noted that the little critters can sting (even well-dead)! You pay a price when you mess with the natural order of things…air conditioning on a boat?
A tweak from our Son-In-Law
Moseyin’ On …in a Chesapeake Summer!
Aboard Mosey On, we attempt to maintain a status of wet outside, dry within. The source of fluid without is obvious, but Mosey carries stores of fluid within like fuel, potable water, oil, and effluent awaiting pump out. This fact tends to focus my mind on the lowly DRIP.
Some random thoughts on DRIPS:
- Drips can be corrosive (depending on their content) like little lies are to trust.
- Small drips unattended can become torrents. (see above…).
- We tolerate small drips but are moved to act on ‘noisy’ ones.
- Drips are the ‘mothers’ of ice cycles.
- Can anyone accurately quantify a drip?
- Drips of life-saving serum are good.
- Drips of blood can indicate foul play.
- Drips from your car’s oil pan are annoying.
- Drips from a fuel line are dangerous.
- Drips of cooling water through a boats packing gland are necessary.
- Drips can make your nose raw.
- Stopping a drip often results in ‘busted knuckles’.
- Drips seldom get a date.
This listing is, doubtless, incomplete. Please feel free to amend as you see fit.
Chillin’ and nursing my busted knuckles…
It’s the end of June and Mosey On and crew have had a languid, lazy month. Perhaps I should use the less pejorative ‘lacking in ambition’ rather than lazy…We have not, however, been totally idle. We welcomed our five-year-old granddaughter from D.C. aboard as additional crew for a week. You have experience with small characters of 5 years? Ya’ gotta love ‘em!
Now fully crewed-up, we pointed Mosey across the Chesapeake to Cape Charles, an appropriately small adventure in light of the new hand’s experience level. After some wind, some waves and plenty of sunshine we tied-up in the inner harbor across from a cement plant on a hot and dusty afternoon in a town that could have been the setting for “The Last Picture Show”. The crew abandoned ship in search of ice cream. After two days we had pretty much exhausted the adventure opportunities remaining in this once-bustling railroad and ferry terminus. Both are long gone and only a hopeful set of boutiques and pubs line the main street.
Our new crew expressed a yearning for reunification with her mother in the not-too-distant future, so we cast-off to return to the western shore and an anchorage closer to her home ashore should that yearning persist. Mosey On dropped anchor in one of our favorite coves (from previous cruises) and lowered the dink to go exploring. High-diving pelicans, ghostly jelly-fish, high-speed runs in the dink and a French fries w/chicken nuggets lunch did much to restore the mate’s confidence! Card games, fishing, picking-up-after-ourselves pretty much filled our hours. The ‘greenhorn’ stayed her full cruise of five days and was cheerfully reunited with her mom. Mosey’s captain & mate relapsed into our well-deserved “lacking in ambition” mode!
There’s a light rain falling this morning and our cove is tranquility itself.
Moseyin’ On in a day or two….or not.
Mosey On and crew have begun our 2016 northbound cruise, leaving our home port at River Dunes, NC on June 1st in tandem with good friends aboard their trawler, the Mari Me. We would ‘buddy-boat’ the well-traveled route up the Neuse River to Pamlico Sound, the Pamlico River to the Pungo River, to join with the Alligator River north to Albemarle Sound. We crossed just ahead of the weather system offshore named Tropical Storm Bonnie. The shallow waters and stiff, wind-blown chop of the Sound littered with crab pots (traps) in our path all lived up to their reputation for a challenging crossing. Once across, we were back within the protected waters of the North River, Coinjock Bay, Currituck Sound, the North Landing River, and finally the man-made Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal into Norfolk. For those who have not seen the American Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW), aka “The Ditch”, our four day passage from near Oriental, NC to Norfolk (approx. 175 statute miles) was typical of the waterway all the way down to its southern end in Biscayne Bay, FL. Always shallow, sometimes a ditch, more often a river or a series of markers to follow across tidal flats and marshes, navigating the ICW is a fact of life for cruisers along the mid-Atlantic coast. From our home port, we would otherwise have had to travel a day south to Beaufort, NC (toward the northbound Tropical Storm Bonnie) to reach a passage to the ocean. Only then could we have turned the boats northward and around Cape Hatteras to safe harbor in Norfolk.
Aboard Mosey On this summer, “The Plan” [very broadly constructed] is to cruise Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and backwaters with an emphasis on the Bay’s Eastern Shore. We want to check out the old waterman towns like Cape Charles, Onancock, Crisfield, Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Michaels. We’ll explore the Choptank River (site of Michener’s book “Chesapeake”), the Wye River (a favorite of ours), and the Chester River, meandering up (not surprisingly) to Chestertown, MD. To do all this, Mosey On and crew will be dealing with lots of shallow water. Last summer’s cruise to Maine was almost entirely in deep waters with wide tidal swings. In the rock strewn harbors and passages there, we were extra cautious to keep sufficient water beneath Mosey’s keel to avoid any granite surprises. But to explore the Chesapeake, we will have to use the high tides to get over the shallow spots en route to a deeper anchorage or marina. Once there, we may find Mosey On comfortably planted in the soft mud on the bottom. To leave, we will just have to await the next high. It’s a mental adjustment for me, but that’s how it’s been done for hundreds of years! Mosey On is tied-up in just such a shallow cove up the North River off Mobjack Bay. It’s a very hot weekend and we’re in no rush. A blue heron is stalking the shore for lunch and we’ve seen crabs swimming past the stern. In a few days we’ll slip over the shallows on a high tide and head north to Solomons Island and a visit with family. I think it’s a GOOD PLAN so far….
Too Hot to Mosey On….