Running For Cover….

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.

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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

 

 

Hangin’ Out – Short Handed

It’s a very foggy day over pretty much all of Penobscot Bay with a heavy mist thrown in….but this kind of weather has been the exception more than the rule.  It’s a good day to sit warm and dry in the pilothouse and catch up on the writing I neglected on the gorgeous days we’d been enjoying while sampling only a few of the Bay’s many outer islands and “thoroughfares”.   Thoroughfares are the favored, buoyed channels among groupings of small islands.  As such they bear the brunt of the both commercial and recreational boat traffic .   The lobster boats use them to run at speed to their favorite lobster grounds.  Recreational boaters, often less familiar with the smaller channels between rock outcroppings and myriad islands, speed through them as well.  But these well marked and heavily traveled passages are a mixed blessing in the fog…where speed and proximity to others are left to each skipper’s judgment.  Not all cowboys drive pickup trucks.

Off the thoroughfares, the sheltered coves are quiet and unspoiled.  Some of these small islands are privately owned, some owned by the State of Maine, and some by The Nature Conservancy.  The great natural wonders of the American West were saved by Presidents Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and Congress.  But apart from Arcadia National Park, most of New England is truly in the debt of some far-sighted and generous private individuals who have understood the value of these island’s tranquility.  There are no fees or permits to drop our anchor in such a cove…just the expectation that we leave it as pristine as we found it.

Camp Island

Camp Island

There’s another type of beauty on display here, too.  On moorings, anchored in coves, or under sail or power there are more truly beautiful boats than anywhere I’ve been.  Not the working lobster boats, the migratory cruising sailboats, mega-yachts of the rich and famous, or long-range trawlers like Mosey On…each might be pretty in their context.  I won’t belabor the reader with my highly subjective definition of what I view as a “beautiful” boat, but submit the following as a small sample.

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Now the test…how many lobster buoys did you spot???

And about the title of this piece…..I’m here puttering around aboard Mosey On while my beloved crew is on ‘shore leave’ in Chicago to welcome our newest granddaughter to our family (I’ll get my turn later).   Mother and baby are both doing great.    I’m a sentimental sort (if you couldn’t tell from the photos)….and I’d say this has been a very good summer!

When my crew returns, we’ll Mosey On

Electricity, Groceries, and a Gale

Although not surprising, after cruising up the East Coast and then lingering for a few days in The Great Salt Pond on Block Island, the tendrils of shore-bound life caught up to us and bid Mosey On up to Massachusetts and family there.  A grandson’s lacrosse tournament, Father’s Day, our son’s family move across town, and my birthday – all conspired to pull us ashore and leave Mosey On tied to her mooring in Scituate, MA for most of last week.  It was all good and rewarding as family get-togethers can be.  My grandson’s team won their tournament. Father’s Day with my son’s family is a tradition. The move went well, and I’m a year older…

But it was difficult to leave Mosey On unattended on a mooring for even a few days.  There are a few technical issues to ensure that her batteries do not run-down left unattended.  Apart from her engines, Mosey On depends on electricity.  Lots of it, stored in large 12 volt batteries.  We can leave her for several hours, even a day or two if the batteries are fully charged…but more than that, not so much.  Of course, we simply turn off the electronics, lighting, and fresh water pumps.  We do not turn-off the bilge pumps.  But the largest draw on our batteries comes from our two refrigerator/freezers.  They are a joy when it comes to provisioning Mosey On for a cruise…lots of space for dairy products, vegetables, and frozen meat.  On a mooring, however, with no one to run the engine or the generator they would run the batteries dead.  The solution was to take all of our refrigerated provisions OFF the boat and turn off the refrigeration.  Sooo…We arrived at the kids’ new home with two small duffels of clothes….and bags of groceries in need of a freezer.

We returned home to Mosey On Wednesday evening with our cold provisions and a granddaughter in tow.  She is the adventurous sort, so we sat down to plan a mini-cruise just for her.  Our plan took us from Scituate to the islands of Boston’s outer harbor with spectacular views of the city skyline as the sun set.

Boston from Peddock's Island

Boston from Peddock’s Island

The following day we would take a short hop across the Bay to Gloucester where we literally dropped in on their annual Feast of St. Peter – patron saint of fishermen.  That city was in full-on festival mode – the fishing boats dressed-up in pennants, banners in the street, a midway, and crews practicing for Saturday’s classic gig (boat) races.  We would like to have stayed, but the forecast called for a gale to sweep across Massachusetts Bay waters late Saturday night.  However intrepid the boat and crew, we don’t do gales…..so we motored back to Salem and snug shelter near the heart of the old town.

Moseyin’ On is all about taking some time to see or do new things.  So the whole crew took shore leave to spend the afternoon at Salem’s Peabody-Essex Museum.  Although we had visited many times while we lived in New England, we had never seen their prized exhibit of a complete Chinese family home: disassembled, brought here and reassembled brick by brick.  It is an extraordinary exhibit.  With no crowds and a curious granddaughter, we took the time to fully enjoy it.

Back on the boat after dinner ashore, a cutthroat game of “hearts” (beloved by the youngest crewmember), and one more check of Mosey On’s dock lines, we settled-in to await the storm.  It blew across our harbor at 3:30 AM [I know the exact time, your honor, because I looked at my watch!]  Lots of wind, buckets of rain……and only slightly diminished 12 hours later as I write this.  The storm may not blow out until later tomorrow….

So we’ll sit a spell……Moseyin’ On another day!

Time Out… to Keep Connected

For some boaters, ‘Gone Cruizin’ means forwarding the mail and pointing the bow towards the horizon, with no calendar and no firm plans…an escape from everything ashore, plain and simple. For some, it can be a real-life antidote to the stresses of modern living. On Mosey On, we’re comfortably retired and most assuredly not stressed-out. The crew can hardly claim the need to flee…in fact quite the opposite! We strive to maintain our many connections, old and new, even as we set out to visit further north and south.  This blog is but one tool to this end.   But it is also part of our ‘Cruising Plan’ to keep connected face-to-face with family and friends as those opportunities occur – like these next few weeks.

We’ve brought Mosey On back to her home port in River Dunes, NC for a ‘time out’ to attend to some very important connections…the wedding celebration of good friends, a quick trip by Colleen to visit an old friend, and a visit by both of us to daughter Shannon and her husband, who are expecting their first child later this summer.  It’s also a good time to allow the temps further north to moderate some…and do some maintenance best done before summer’s heat and humidity kick in!

Once we do get underway again (probably late May) we’ll be trying to coordinate with the schedules of some very busy grandchildren to get them aboard for some shared adventure.   Critical connections for ‘gad about’ grandparents like us!

I know we’re not alone in this, but as we cruise we keep a ‘scrapbook’ of sorts: Not pictures of places we been or noteworthy things seen (and photographed) along the way, but rather of the boats and their crews we’ve met and visited with.  We exchange ‘boat cards’ (think business cards) and stories: Wisdom, wit and warnings….New friends are made and connections to be renewed as those opportunities arise.  But we also yearn to connect with old friends and exchange our stories with theirs.  We’re invested in our shared history and look forward to the next installment…

Moseyin’ On …and we’ll be looking for you!

Slowin’ the pace

For most all of last year’s cruise, Mosey On’s crew was anxious to take a kind of ‘grand overview’ of cruising as much of the East Coast as we could reasonably accomplish between March and October.  We did what we set out to do, putting 617 hours on the engine from Palm Beach, FL to Portsmouth, NH and then wandering back to North Carolina as the Fall cruising weather closed down.  But one of the very important things we’ve learned is that we need to set aside some real time to savor the special places we’ve found (and will continue to find) along our way!  Despite our natural inclinations, we have to learn that our cruise (or even segments of it) is not a project with a start, finish and then ‘checked-off’ some list.  This does not come easily to either one of us!

So….to help us re-calibrate our cruising style, we’ve returned to one of our favorite places, Beaufort S.C.

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On the Beaufort River

We arrived Friday evening after a five day run down the  ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) from our home port near Oriental, N.C.  We know it won’t last, but the weather for  the last two days has been Sunshine, 70 degrees and light winds.  Last night we dined at a marvelous small bistro that  came highly recommended by old friends.  Today we took the dinghy back into town and walked several miles through some of Beaufort’s older neighborhoods.  Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss shade the streets. Back aboard, we met  some folks in their own boat out admiring Mosey and we  accepted their invitation to their riverside home for  cocktails tomorrow.  They’re leaving soon to cruise in Fiji!  There are many art galleries in town, and I know we’ll  probably visit a few tomorrow.  We have friends from Oriental visiting Tuesday and another friend arriving the following week.

So therein is the outline of our plan: return to (or discover) places we love, take the time to see what all they have to offer and, when possible share them with friends old and new.  Achieving that….then we’ll Mosey On.

“In 1814 we took a little trip…”

I should preface all of this by noting that Mosey On is back in the water with her full crew complement.  No hazardous weather noted during our brief foray into the Caribbean…and just a wee nick in their rum stocks. We’ve re-provisioned with somewhat more than “a little bacon and a little beans” and begun our Fall Cruise down the Chesapeake…toward Baltimore….where we heard over the radio that the Coast Guard had closed off the Inner Harbor for The Big Celebration (tall ships, fireworks, giant flag, and Blue Angels)!  I admit to some serious puzzlement…No mention of any of this in the bars on Virgin Gorda!

Which brings me back to Johnny Horton’s ballad that some might remember …and rather forget (here’s a helpful link to the full lyrics:  http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/johnny_horton/battle_of_new_orleans.html ).  So there it was, the key to the puzzle…..Baltimore is celebrating the bicentennial of its pivotal (?) role in the War of 1812…the British failed to reduce Ft. McHenry on Sept. 24th, 1814 and we got the Star Spangled Banner as a result.  On the same day, a separate British force did reduce the White House to ashes in a fit of spitefulness…This, too, was deemed worth briefly celebrating… http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/266948/speedreads-british-embassy-tweets-200th-anniversary-of-the-burning-of-washington-in-war-of-1812 .  So the history we (and apparently the Brits) remember from The War of 1812 all happened in 1814….and the net result was a draw.

We might do as well to ‘celebrate’ our 200 years of cooperation with that other one-time world power.

I’d raise a pint to that!

Somewhere South of Norfolk

Yesterday we did our last bit of exploring Manteo with my sister Pat and her husband Terry.  We had a great dinner in the “Tranquil Inn” and then hooked a cab out to Manteo’s version of a passion play…appropriately called The Lost Colony.  I thought of it as similar to a ‘passion play’ because we all knew the story; it was about the acting, the set, the special effects and the music.  All of those elements were very well done!  A cool evening breeze precluded the expected onslaught of mosquitos.  All in all a delightful evening…we even slept with the AC off.

This morning, our boat guests departed before sunup and Mosey On and her crew cast off at high tide (at 8 AM) to safely clear the extensive shallows in and out of Shallowbag Bay. We had fair winds and smooth water to cross Albemarle Sound…not to be taken for granted! A mama Osprey feeding her young while perched atop this waterway marker gave us a vocal scolding we could hear over the rumble of our big John Deere!

Osprey Nest atop Waterway Marker

Osprey Nest atop Waterway Marker

We’ve dropped the hook for the evening in Blackwater Creek, still thirty some miles south of Norfolk. We’ll stop there tomorrow and evaluate our choices in light of a low pressure system trying to get itself organized for a possible run up the Coast.  Note: Mosey On does not outrun anything…it would be unseemly.