Archives for posts with tag: Paul Tunnicliffe

IMG_0336Turns out that we stayed an extra day at Oxford before moving onto Annapolis MD. Easy passage across the Bay to the western shore and to the mooring field off the US Naval Academy at the junction of Spa Creek into Severn River. 

IMG_0723We started off on mooring buoy “10”. Spent the afternoon and early evening there but there was a great deal of movement from the tourist boats going in and out so we decided to move across to the other side of the mooring field to buoy “34”. Hmm 🤔  Spent the night there but that too was very rocky as we were now next to the channel where all the privately owned boats left the harbor. So we moved again. Down a couple and into the middle to buoy “27”. Called the Harbormaster’s office and blamed Paul again for the move and promised that it would be our last one. And it was. Still very rocky over the weekend and afternoons/evenings but it was the best of the worst options.

D142DA84-BE36-4FA0-A8A4-12C1687FF988The weekend we were in Annapolis turned out to be the weekend when the new class of Plebes arrived for induction and reporting for duty so the place was heaving. And soooo hot. 🌞 and no ☁️ But found a Starbucks not too far from the dinghy dock which helped a little.

We spent a week ‘on the ball’ in Annapolis because ….. not because we wanted to but we needed a place to where we could have parcels shipped, mainly parts for the boat. And we thought it would be a good place for 4th July fireworks; which it was. 

IMG_0582We were able to swim off the boat; the water, I was assured, was clean enough. It was also a way to exercise the dogs without taking them ashore and burning their feet on the hot black top/concrete.

CE85780A-2188-46ED-B1C6-6F3B3DB79EEDWhen in a new town/city, I always try to find a reasonably sized dog with owner in tow and ask if there is an off-leash area where I may run the dogs. We got lucky because St John’s College has a field next to its boat club/ramp which they have just designated as an off-leash area. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time there – Bella hunting in the undergrowth, Ebba in the water hunting fish and me, running sprints between the goal posts. I thought about joining in with the local running group on Saturday morning but the fact that it was over 80F at 7:00am and I had the dogs, decided it was probably not a smart move. So we ran on our own and jumped in the water on several occasions as we found our way around.

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We tried to walk around the Naval Base but weren’t allowed to until after the weekend, if we took the dogs, which we always did. (Normally, you are allowed but because of all the extra people around, they were only allowing in service dogs.) We eventually did visit, on Tuesday at 7:00am and the temperature felt ‘like 100F’. Paul doesn’t do well when it’s that hot.

However, we survived all rocking, the heat, the fireworks and accompanying little boat armada on the night of the 4th and we lit out of there at first light on the 5th. Enough was enough. Re the dogs and fireworks. Bella just looked, cocked her head on one side, lay down again and went to sleep. Ebba bolted for the cabin. Hopefully it hasn’t scarred her for life. 

IMG_0735Had a beautiful cruise/sail up to Havre de Grace; a little gem tucked away at the mouth of the Susquehanna River. The first marina I called said there wasn’t enough water* so tried again and ended up at Havre de Grace marina at Log Pond. There is a very narrow entrance and right in what appears to be the middle of the channel is a big sign which says “Obstruction” so we avoided it and slide into the dock. We had hoped to be able to turn around but there just wasn’t enough room. We thought it was a rock or two. However, at today’s low tide, we see that the space is full of mud. Good for ducks; not so good for boats. 

IMG_0728Great trail for running the dogs, Joe K Trail at North Park and then the Lafayette blue line trail around town is a good one too. Concord Pt Coffee and Bella’s Tea Shop. Local honey and natural air spray for the side cabin/ex ‘the place where we put everything because we have nowhere else to put it’ cabin (because it smells musty) from Glyph’s. All places worth a visit. We experienced First Friday Party and there is also a Saturday Farmers’ Market but not allowed to take dogs in, so skipped that. 

5ace3ff9-14a0-46ac-82a8-946e20db6766.jpgOnce again, we are waiting for the weather. TD4/potential TS is hovering off the NC coast at the moment. Going to be there a day or two before being kicked out up north. We postponed our departure this morning, Saturday, because the anchorage we are going to next was going to have winds in the teens and 20’s over tonight. The anchorage is behind an island but the forecasted wind direction is such that it would funnel down between the mainland and island. So going tomorrow. 

36802672_476166869511358_2845306153020162048_nSo next is from Havre de Grace, through the C&D Canal, out into the Delaware Bay down to Cape May. Then we will see what TD4 let’s us do.

Thanks for reading.

#boatingwithdogs

*right now, the wind has blown the water away and we think our keel is wallowing in the mud and silt on the bottom.

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IMG_0315Good job I didn’t commit to writing one of these weekly. I would have failed miserably. However, we are progressing slowly up Chesapeake Bay.

After York River YC, we called in at Fishing Bay Marina. Stayed there a couple of nights and then dropped the hook just off the marina for our first couple of nights at anchor in this boat. It was a pretty safe anchorage with easy access to the shore for the dogs as and when. And the water looked pretty clean and felt warm so we all went swimming. That was Fathers’ Day weekend.

IMG_0582Paul had been having trouble trying to sit on the throw cushion so, on the way to the coffee shop on the Saturday, I called in at the hardware store and bought his present – a blow-up floating seat. It was quite a workout climbing into it but comfy once there.

Moved on to Yankee Point Marina. “Oh yes, we can fit you in; no problem.” Haha. Yes, we fitted sort of. The dock was diagonal at the end of a T-dock and our front 15ft was hanging out there. The only place to get off the boat was over the stern and this presented quite a challenge getting the boat tied at such an angle as to be able to get the dogs on and off safely. But we managed. The poolside cafe there cooks really good sweet potato fries.

IMG_0320While we were eating our fries, another boat came storming in down the narrow channel. I’m not sure how much experience the guy behind the wheel had had but docking his boat is not his forté. After several failed attempts at trying to reverse in (full astern then full ahead with the engines), he turned around and tried again to go in forwards with the same result. Now this was going on about 20 feet from the bow of our boat, and when I heard him yell at the top of his voice, through his frustration because by now he had a huge audience, “How the fxxk do you park one of these things?” I got really worried. IMG_0290

Eventually one of the marina hands got on board and docked it for him.

Found a great coffee shop to which I could run with the dogs and walk back. There were several unplanted cornfields so I let the dogs loose and walked across the fields with my drink. Unfortunately, I was concentrating more on my coffee and the dogs rather than where I was putting my feet and before I realized, I had ploughed straight into some stagnant water pools right in the middle of the fields. Poof! Up rose a humungous cloud of mosquitoes.

IMG_0321I couldn’t run for two reasons: (1) I would have spilled my hard earned coffee; (2) the 6-8″ of dead corn stalks made walking difficult never mind running.

I got eaten alive.

After a shower, several Claritin and copious quantities of Benadryl cream, we pulled up the anchor and headed for St Mary’s College and Horseshoe Bay. OMG, I wish we had had longer there. It was beautiful.IMG_0615

And then there was Solomons Island. We tied up at Solomons Island Yacht Club and were greeted by a ‘Looper’ harbor host, Doug Smith. Doug and the club made us very welcome and we really enjoyed our stay until the wind changed direction and came in strong.

Before that happened, I had walked to the grocery store towing my little cart. On the way back, I realized that quite a lot of the route was uphill. A full body workout in 90F temps.

I think we must have had our heads up our asses because we totally misjudge this one. We spent the night, not asleep, tying and retying the fenders to best help fend off the boat from the dock. Before it was light, we cast off our lines and motored up the river and anchored to ride out the storm. The rain was relentless but would have been regardless of where we stayed.

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Paul getting his sailing fix -in a Sunfish

Just after we dropped the anchor and made sure we were staying in place, Paul got a text. “I can see you from my dock.” Turns out that Doug’s house was about 1/4mile up the creek and he said that we could land there to take the dogs for a walk. He also ran Paul to the hardware store for some items Paul needed. And then in the evening, a guy from the house just off our transom yelled across the water that we were very welcome to land on his dock if we so wished. All round, great people.

And that brings us to Oxford MD which is where we are still. We had planned on leaving today but the small craft advisory that was issued last night was extended through today so we stayed put. We didn’t feel like tackling 3-5ft waves and 30+kt gusts. Tomorrow is looking better. 🤞

Thanks for reading.

#boatingwithdogs

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Waiting at the Gilmerton Hwy Bridge on the ICW

It’s been a few days, ok, a couple of weeks, since my last post but who’s counting. 

We finally made it out the top end of the ICW – mile marker 0 and made it into the Chesapeake Bay. We also passed our 1,000nm mark since we took ownership of the boat. 

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Approaching Norfolk

We visited: Coinjock Marina, it rained; Atlantic Yacht Basin, I went to watch Team T2 at the CrossFit Regionals in Florida while Paul stayed on the boat and looked after the dogs (great place for the dogs but lots of ticks), and did other stuff too like play with Toria; Downtown Hampton Docks, almost went up the wrong approach channel for this one and they only have 18ft finger docks so we stuck out rather a long way; Cape Charles Town Harbor, great beach for the dogs (before 9am) and for swimming (Paul and I) and a fabulous coffee (and cake) house; and now we are at York River Yacht Haven, storm-bound. We were supposed to be leaving this morning but the winds came in strong from the north and north-east which created a nasty swell in the Bay. I can’t say I am really disappointed; I am quite happy to wait until things calm down a little.

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Minion Tug

At one point in the ICW, there is a 90degree turn under a lifting road bridge and a rail bridge. And of course, we arrived just as a tug/barge combo was trying to negotiate the turn. It was interesting to watch as there was an additional tug on the bow, pushing and pulling as necessary.

As we came out of the ICW into the Elizabeth River at Portsmouth and up passed Norfolk, there was a lot of boat traffic; personal and naval crafts. Norfolk was having its Parade of Sail for its Maritime Festival so boats were practicing and congregating. Paul reckoned that it was a good introduction for when passing through New York Harbor. 

IMG_0516We waved to Mitch Brindley even though he couldn’t see us, as we cruised passed Old Dominion University sailing area.

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Navigational Hazard

Paul had bought and fitted an auto pilot for the boat and between him and technician, they did all the dockside set up. He was very hopeful that once we got into open water and did the sea trial, we would have easy steering after that. But, par for the course with everything Garmin (that we have fitted this time), it didn’t work. We tried to do the set up procedures and were swinging wildly in an arc of 180degrees. Can’t imagine what the Navy and Coastguard watchers were thinking. Especially as on Saturday we were doing this in front of a huge aircraft carrier coming down the channel with full naval escort.

On our way from Hampton across to Cape Charles, we passed through the Chesapeake Bay ships’ anchorage. I counted 21 vessels. Not sure if they were just waiting for their turn up in Baltimore or more likely, there was no business for them.

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Cape Charles was a rail terminus, we think, where rail cars were loaded onto barges and shipped across to the other side of the Bay. 

It was very hot yesterday here in York River so in the afternoon, we launched the dinghy and took the dogs for a ride up river. (We did finally manage to get the auto pilot to work after extensive conversations with Garmin and commissioned it yesterday morning.) As you may know, our dogs love to swim. Yesterday they both launched themselves off the dinghy to fetch their toys; no assistance needed this time.

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Marina WOD

It’s cold and wet and windy today so no dinghy ride but I did take the dogs to a small beach and boat ramp where they could go in the water and try to catch fish, crabs or anything that moved. On the way back to the boat, I let them run through the boat yard. I had a very urgent call of nature so found a secluded spot in the bushes and answered it and in the process got bit on the b*m by a mosquito. Ouch!

Thanks for reading.

#boatingwithdogs

IMG_0243Thursday in Manteo Waterfront Marina – because we were on the T-dock and our little gang plank was to the water, we decided to rig up our new recovery-from-the-water doggie ladder. After 2 unfortunate breakdowns with the dogs in the water, we modified it sufficiently to cope with Ebba and Bella pounding up and down. Of course, this turned out to be the best thing ever since sliced bread. How to tire out your dog – 101.

 

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Friday, supposed to be virtually calm, no wind, turned out to blow quite hard and whip up a good 1ft swell in the harbor. In spite of this, we launched the paddle boards. Because of logistics, I ended up with two dogs on my board as I tried to paddle across the river. Not easy with one dog sitting in front of me and pushing backwards into me, butt first, the other standing behind me standing on my legs and feet (I was kneeling) and the waves coming at us side-on. None of us were happy campers when we got to the other side especially after I couldn’t save the board from tipping that last time. IMG_0245Fortunately on the way back to the boat, Paul had caught up and was able to take one dog on his board.

We had to leave Manteo on Saturday morning as the marina was fully booked so we weaved our way through the crab pots again (this time the sun was on our backs so we could mostly see them) and ended up in Albermarle Plantation Marina.

IMG_0246I was a little skeptical about the place when we arrived. It is an 18 hole golf course and gated community. Dogs Must Be On A Leash At All Times. Hmmm. There is a little and I mean little, open area just on the shore by the dock on which I was told the dogs could go ‘potty’, which they did. And then I let them off leash (tsk, tsk) and they went in the water. Right behind this open area is a tee for one of the holes. My big concern was that one of the dogs would chase a golf ball. Hasn’t happened yet.

IMG_0247Today, early, I took them for a walk mostly on the leash, at least to begin with. Once we got away from the golf club house and on the approach road, I let them go. We continued around the development to some land marked as ‘future development’. It didn’t indicate whether or not it had been drained/was still swampy marsh but to our (mine and the dogs’) delight, it was an open field of grass. Actually there were several of them. The dogs ran and ran and ran. Tired dogs. May just take a ride in the dinghy this afternoon for some mental stimulation but right now they are both crashed out on the floor, zzz’ing.

IMG_0252I also finished making a cover for the dinghy. Protects it from the sun and the dogs’ claws.

Thanks for reading.

#boatingwithdogs

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Look closely just above the middle of the pic, there is a crab pot buoy. Just missed.

We left Alligator River Marina (which was a great place to stay – the internet at the dock was fantastic) in 15kt of wind building to 20kt+ Set course for Manteo on Roanoke Island.

The initial couple of legs were fine; had the sail up and were charging along. Then …. OMG crab pots. Not just one or two or even one or two lines of. No, they were everywhere. Lines and lines of them. Bearing in mind, we had a 2-3ft swell, brilliant sunshine (going into) so lots of glare and the fact that the crab pot buoys/markers are about the size of a kid’s football, they are not the easiest of things to see at the best of times. And also, some of them were part-time submerged because the line wasn’t long enough, it got quite fraught on the boat.

As I took a video of a couple of close calls yelling, “Go left, right. Oh Shit, that was close”,  Paul was also yelling “Stakes, stakes”. Imagine my confusion until I looked up and saw ‘sticks’ sticking up out of the water. The stakes are holding fish nets but they were in places not marked on the charts and not the type of thing you really want to tangle with.

We weaved in and out for a couple of hours before reaching the restricted channel approach to Manteo, in which, fortunately, there were no pots.

Tied up our 54ft boat on 90ft of dock, rubbing sterns with a 40ft catamaran. Paul finally rigged up the new doggie recovery ladder from our little gangplank so we managed to tire out the dogs with swimming off the back of the boat.

Here for another day before moving across the other side of Albermarle Sound.

Thanks for reading.

We are on the move again. 

IMG_0210After spending since the beginning of the year at New Bern NC, with a trip home for tax season, Paul had managed to get almost all of the projects he wanted to complete before setting sail again. We picked a date but the weather forecasters were predicting a possible, out of season/early sub-tropical depression forming near the Bahamas and moving up the coast during the week we had planned on setting off. (‘Best laid plans of mice and men’ and never tell the weather where and when you are going.)

We delayed a week and now the weather forecast was calling for thunderstorms etc but we decided to go anyway. 

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Passed the sail; to be passed by the motor boat

We have had longish days, with today being the longest so far of 50 miles. The dogs are just sleeping, stubbornly refusing to pee on their mats or anywhere for that matter. 

We rejoined our wake as we passed Oriental on the Neuse River and continued north and east up to River Dunes Marina. Nice facility but soooo buggy. And big buggers too. Unfortunately they really seemed to like Bella. 

Story: the marina has poop scoop bag dispensers and as I was pulling out a couple of bags, as the top edge of the bags came out of the dispenser, out popped a frog. A little, surprised frog. 🐸 

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Duck hunting hide

Yesterday and today we hoisted, well unfurled, the main sail and Paul had fun tweaking the trim to see if he could squeeze out another 0.05kt. 

Both last night and the night before, we were without cell phone signal. Had to rely on the marina wifi. Oh, and nothing at all whilst underway. Quite liberating.

We made our way up the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal into the Alligator River to the swing bridge. The canal information says to watch out for the deer on the shore, black bears swimming across the channel all the while avoiding the dead heads in the water. 

As we approached the swing bridge, I called the bridge master to make sure they were able to open on demand and I was told, ‘Yes, no problems”.

IMG_0223We were traveling pretty fast for us – 8.5mph+  with the sail up and a following wind. It was beautiful conditions. Closing in on the bridge, we could see a couple of sail boats on the other side waiting for the bridge to open. There was a sail boat in front of us making his way to the bridge, then us then another big motor boat behind us. We were listening on the radio to the chatter between the bridge master and the two yachts on the north side of the bridge. We were about 10 minutes away when the bridge opened for these two boats. Then we heard the bridge master say that the bridge was closing and that he couldn’t open the bridge again for at least another 30 minutes because the bridge is under construction. 

At this point we were about 5 minutes away, the boat behind 6-7 minutes and the one in front 3-4 minutes away and there isn’t much maneuvering room due to shallow water. After much back and forth on the radio, the bridge master relented and kept the bridge open for us all. Not sure the traffic waiting on the bridge was too happy though. Heard a few car horns sounding as we went through. 

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The lighthouse is not on our boat; it is on the land behind 😊

The marina in which we are staying tonight is literally, ‘go through the bridge and turn left, NOW’. Called them on the radio and was told to pull in behind the sailboat. Confusing because there was no sailboat. Fortunately it is just a long wall and so we tied up with plenty of room fore and aft for said sailboat which eventually came in and tied up in front of us.

IMG_0216The dogs couldn’t wait to get ashore until Ebba got stung by a bee. 🐝 

Tomorrow we are going to Roanoke Island, Manteo town, for a couple of days and then into Albemarle Sound.

Happy Boating.  Thanks for reading.

(Bug: lots of them; Back: on our trip; Beyond: where we have been before)

unnamedLast Friday, people at the marina were adding extra mooring lines to their boats and with good reason. It was a little like the preparations made as Hurricane Irma approached last year. It felt rather deja vu’ish. Winter Storm Riley was working itself into a frenzy off the east coast.

unnamed-1Although we didn’t get rain, we did get winds gusting in the 50+mph range and instead of a tidal surge, we had a tidal suck. The water level must have dropped a good 6ft. So much water left the area that the boats closest to shore and the first finger docks on all three main docks were high and dry. To our advantage this time, we are docked on the inside side of the dock so we don’t get the full brunt of the wind and the waves. There were no free-drifting boats either which made the whole experience a lot less stressful.

unnamed-2During conditions like this – sustained winds 25kt+ the swing- and drawbridges close and remain so until conditions improve to a safe level which meant that there was no ‘tall’ traffic in or out of Trent River for 2 days.

unnamed-4The nor’easter storm that caused our gale force winds, moved up the east coast of the country leaving in its wake, floods, heavy wet snow and many downed power lines. Fortunately here, we had none of that. I understand that the UK has had similarly strong wind conditions and consequent damage. Thinking of you.

What we do have are cold temperatures. OK, I know it’s not as cold as it is back home in Pittsburgh but even so! As I am typing this, I have on two pairs of trousers, two shirts and a sweatshirt. I just took off my beanie but am still wearing my thick socks and slippers. I’m not really complaining; well, yes I am but as with most things on the scale of life, it’s survivable.

IMG_7387Still exploring the National Forest down the road from us. The dogs found a tortoise on the trail the other day though it didn’t want to say ‘hi’ to them.

I took them on Sunday when the winds were still high. Now, they love the beach but on Sunday, neither of them wanted to walk on it, at least not into the wind which was the way we needed to go. The sand was being blasted horizontally at us. So we took the scenic route through the trees.

The dogs are doing quite well on the boat with regards to toilet arrangements. Bella will pee during the night and sometimes during the day if encouraged. Ebba, with whom we thought we would have no problem, is proving to be a little more stubborn. Only once has she peed but I think, if she would perform if it was really necessary – such as if we were at anchor.

unnamed-5Yesterday, Paul spent most of the day just hanging around … up the mizzen mast. He was mounting and wiring up the new radar and also adding our wifi booster arial so that when a marina says it has wifi, we will be able to pick it up on the boat rather than having to go ashore to the ‘club house’ to use it.

unnamed-6Now it’s raining.

Am rather excited for this coming Saturday. David, Bekah and Toria are coming to visit for the whole day. Hopefully the weather will be somewhat warmer and drier and not windy. Would like to take them on a little cruise but obviously it is all weather-dependent.

And now, last but not least – 18.2 and 18.2a 2018 Reebok CrossFit Opens

Yes, we burned a mega hole in our cellular data allowance on Thursday evening as we watched the live announcement from R.A.W. Training. And it was another workout that both Paul and I looked forwarded to. Even the clean after the workout didn’t sound too bad. Neither of us lift heavy so we rather thought we would quickly reach our max and then just sit and watch the others complete the rest of their max lifts.

Once again, we signed up for Friday Night Lights at CrossFit Burn. We got our warm ups done and our required equipment laid out. Our judges were primed (Paul’s to keep him on track with me apparently) and 3…2…1…Go!  we were off, DB squatting and burpee’ing over the bar. Because we are doing scaled in the old farts’ division, we had an empty barbell and were allowed to step over it rather than having to jump.

We raced along and out of the corner of my eye I could see Paul always pulled ahead of me on the squats and I caught up on the burpees. We really were both neck and neck so in round 8, I decided that I needed to step up the rate of squats which I did. I kept pace with him then and then  pulled ahead. I beat him by 2 seconds. He says that if he hadn’t done the extra burpee in round ?, victory would have been his again. Haha. Not.

We finished in just over 6 minutes so had a good 5 minutes left for lifting. We both hit more than we had anticipated. I had put out plates to take me to 100# not really anticipating using the last 5#. Last time I had done heavy (for me) cleans, 100# eluded me every time. However, in the heat of competition, I got that bar up and stood tall. Was quite proud of myself. I had time for one attempt at 105#; failed. The clock ticked over the 12 min and we were done.

Paul 1 : 1 Joanna. Bring on 18.3

Thank you for reading.