This Blog is long overdue! We are going to begin bringing it up to date by wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and our best wishes for a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year for 2017!
This finds us currently in Fort Myers, FL at Legacy Harbour Marina. This is our third stay here, although this year it is for a short 5 weeks. While we have been here, we have been catching up with some needed boat chores and had the boat waxed and polished. She looks lovely! Pauline has been enjoying lots of girl time with one of her best friends, Susan Kaul, who lives in nearby Naples.
We arrived on 11/23/16 and will be here until 1/1/17 and then we will take a short trip up to Longboat Key, FL (near Sarasota) where we will spend the next three months. There will be a number of our Kadey Krogen friends also spending the balance of the winter there. Longboat Key Marina and Resort is a lovely development offering many amenities – pool, numerous restaurants, beach, spa and workout facility. Mark is a little afraid of what the monthly bill will be as it’s just like a yacht club…just sign your name to your account and pay the bill later! We will enjoy seeing many friends over the next few months. We will also take advantage of the many cultural opportunities that Sarasota offers as well as visiting some of the lovely anchorages in the area. It is sure to be a busy time.
We competed in the annual Legacy Harbour Holiday Boat Decorating contest and won first prize! We received a $100 gift card to The Veranda restaurant here in Fort Myers. A few days ago, we along with our good friends, Kirby Shoaf and Susan Kaul had a wonderful meal there. Highly, recommend it. Before we leave Fort Myers, we are also going to try to connect with other Milwaukee friends, Jean Woods and Scott Hickey, and Linda Thompson and Allen May. Time is ticking and we’re trying to pack a lot in before we leave. Our fellow Krogen friends on Tapestry and Gratitude will be arriving for New Year’s Eve. Tapestry will be hosting the group, enjoying a feast of Seafood Paella and Champagne to bring in the New Year!
We promise not to procrastinate getting out the next blog issue. After that issue, we’ll update you on our time at Longboat Key and our journey south in April.
Backing up, however, here is what our summer on Next Dance was like. We are sure that we have forgotten to include a number of things, but you will be falling asleep as it is by the time you get to the end! Next issue will talk about our remaining time on the Chesapeake, hurricane, Kadey Krogen Rendezvous, Kadey Krogen Open House, our trip south, and two 24+ hour offshore passages on the Atlantic Ocean. Whew! Stay tuned for more adventure.
THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
The Chesapeake Bay is a world-renowned cruising ground and you will see many different in all shapes and sizes. There are many beautiful sailboats from sleek and modern to the very beautiful and historic gaff-rigged schooners. The Bay stretches some 200 miles, north to south abounding with history and many beautiful, colonial towns to visit. The Chesapeake is an estuary – a body of water in which fresh river water mixes with salty ocean water. The term for this is “brackish”. It is the largest estuary in the United States, and in fact one of the largest in the world. The Chesapeake is surrounded by over 150 rivers, creeks and streams which provide the fresh water. It has been fun to be able to drop an anchor in some of these pristine spots and enjoy the lovely sunrise and sunsets. Many of the rivers have colonial era villages on the banks which we loved exploring. There are also the relatively large cities of Norfolk, Annapolis and Baltimore to visit.
One of the aquatic life species in the Chesapeake Bay that relies on this brackish water is the Blue Crab. And this summer has been a very good season for blue crab and we have enjoyed many opportunities to indulge ourselves – steamed crabs, soft shell crabs and of course, fabulous crab cakes. Not all crab cakes are created equal…more on that later. Another aquatic life species here, one which is not so welcome to swimmers, is the sea nettles (aka jelly fish). They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all have stingers. They are definitely more prevalent in the southern part of the Bay. We were lucky to find a couple of places further north where they weren’t found and were able to get in the water for a dip to cool off.
We entered the Chesapeake Bay in early July and have been cruising, exploring and lying low for several months now. We had originally planned to cruise all the way up to New England and back this summer, but after thinking about it, we realized that because our delay in the Keys, we would have to move quickly to cover that distance, and limit the time we would have at any one location. What we decided to do instead was to spend the entire summer in the Chesapeake. I
Cool off? Yes, it has been an incredibly hot summer here. We are not sure if this is typical or not, but it seems from the many locals we talked to that the weather seemed to be hotter and more humid than usual. In August we had heat indexes of 110 degrees. If we were lucky enough to be in a slip, which provided electrical power to our boat, we could run our air conditioning (non-stop). However, if we were at anchor, we could only run our air conditioning when the generator was operating. Usually we ran it for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. Pauline definitely relished those times of the day. By mid-September, it began to cool off some. What a difference an 80 degree day feels compared to one in the high 90’s. The evenings by September were in the low 60’s to 50’s, making sleeping at anchor pleasant.
So, where have we been? We departed Norfolk, VA about July 6 and began our journey in the Chesapeake Bay heading north. Our first night was at anchor in Fishing Bay, which is near Deltaville, VA on Pianatank River. It was a beautiful, protected spot after a somewhat rough ride up the Bay. It was filled with giant Jellyfish. No swimming here. We saw a few lovely sailboats having a nice sail for the evening.
The next day we went back out on the Bay and motored up to the Solomons Islands on the Paxtuant River. About noon Mark went down into his regular engine room check. When he opened the hatch he saw water dripping off of the ceiling of the engine room all over the engine. At first he was confused because there is no plumbing above the engine. Then he noticed a very fine jet of water coming out of the top of the engine and bouncing off of the ceiling. Oh oh! It turned out to be a pinhole opening in a pipe plug-in the raw water cooling system. He managed to put a clamp on it to stop the jet and we continued on without issue to Zahnisters Marina. We had Drumpoint Marine come out the next day and replace the mild steel plug with a bronze plug, which is the type of metal it should have been. John Deere was notified of the problem. It was the two different types of metal that caused the leak – steel plug / bronze engine. It took five minutes to replace the part and two hours to clean the salt water that was sprayed all over the engine room. Solomon’s is a major boating center on the Chesapeake Bay. We spent four days there exploring the cute little town and also waiting out some windy weather. We purchased a small crab pot to try our luck at crabbing while at anchor.
We then moved up the Bay to Annapolis, MD where we had made arrangements to meet our granddaughters who were joining us on the Chesapeake for seven days. On the first engine check on that segment of the run, Mark did his engine check underway and found the second plug in the engine system was leaking. Duh! There are two plugs! But at least this time there were only a few drops. Don’t ask why we didn’t replace both plugs at the same time while in Solomon’s. Sometimes you just don’t think!
While in Annapolis at the Port Annapolis Marina, Kadey Krogen did some warranty work on the boat. Upon arrival, we were relegated to a slip that was very difficult to get into because the fairway was narrower than our boat is long. The slip itself was only about 8″ wider than our boat. Can you say “sardine can”? But what really allowed us to maneuver into the slip without any scrapes was when building Next Dance, we installed a stern thruster (really that was Pauline’s idea). This allows us to move the stern left and right with great precision. The other thing that helps is the headphones we use to communicate with each other. Money well spent.
The next day Larry Polster, one of the principles of Kadey Krogen, whose office is located at Port Annapolis Marina used his influence to allow us to move into a wider slip on the outside of the marina. This allowed more breezes and a much better view from our aft deck.
While there, we replaced our fresh water pump which was giving us an intermittent flow and addressed a minor wiring issue. We did necessary provisioning, our first real chance since Fort Myers in March. We also stopped for breakfast at the famous Chix and Ruth’s Deli, where traditionally every morning they recite the Pledge of Allegiance over a microphone and everyone in the restaurant stands up and joins in. Pauline had tears in her eyes. While Pauline and the cats stayed on board, Mark flew back to Colorado to empty a storage locker we had in Breckenridge, CO . . . for 16 years! Pauline has wanted to take a match to it for some time. We had no idea what was even in it anymore. Mark stayed with his son, Scott and finance’, Emily and met their new pup, Cali. Mark and Scott were able to empty the locker relatively quickly and dispose of a big chunk of it. There were some finds that we want to keep, so Mark took them down to our ONLY remaining storage locker in Denver, which is filled with things that we want to keep until we are finished boating. Mark then flew from Denver to Milwaukee and met Heather and the girls. He had dinner with them, and then at 5:30 a.m. the next morning he flew to Baltimore with Ellie and Anna. Pauline was there to meet them with big hugs and lots of kisses.
Our week with the girls began a day exploring Annapolis, including touring the Naval Academy. The following day we crossed over to St. Michael’s which is on the eastern side of the Bay. St. Michael’s is one of those charming historic crabbing towns that remains untouched by recent development and therefore has become a major tourist destination. It was on of the extremely hot summer days on the Chesapeake. So we decided to get a slip in the local marina and enjoy the pool they had instead of anchoring. Unfortunately, the pool was the size of an extended hot tub, and was filled with a lot of old people (kinda like us). The girls still had fun cooling off as much as they could. We all took showers and then went into town. Surprise! A very strange thing – we arrived on a Tuesday and every shop was closed, every restaurant was closed (except for two). Why would you close up during peak season?? Sadly, there was to be no shopping in St. Michaels. We went to dinner that night at a restaurant next door to the marina where the girls got their first taste of Maryland blue crabs. We ordered a dozen jumbo steamed crabs, while the girls ordered more familiar items on the menu. They both tried the crab, but weren’t brave enough to actually order them. They both liked the taste. And Anna loved to pick the crabs, which was certainly OK with us! It’s a messy job, but worth the work in the end. The next day we visited the wonderful Maritime Museum there. The girls tolerated Papa’s love of museums for a few hours. They actually found it to be quite interesting, especially being able to walk around in one of the historic lighthouses they have on display there. Anna also had begun to count the jellyfish. There were thousands of them throughout their visit, and she finally gave up trying to count them. Unfortunately, because of all the jellyfish, they were not able to do any swimming or jumping off of the boat. Another time.
The following day, after the girls took another quick dip in the pool, we cruised just a few miles to a wonderful anchorage in Dividing Creek just off of the Wye River. The anchorage is located within a Maryland State Park and is completely surrounded by woods. We dropped(launched) the dinghy and taught the girls how to drive it and explored the surrounding area. We also dropped the kayak and the girls took turns taking it for a spin. Again, the jellies made it impossible to swim. The only negative about this was that it was still VERY hot. The girls relished it when we turned on the generator for a few hours and have A/C which allowed us to cool down the boat before turning in for the night. They loved being at anchor and enjoying the peace and quiet.
The next morning we decided we needed to go into a marina and hook up to shore power where we could run the A/C 24 hours a day! So we went back out on the Bay and headed north to Baltimore MD. Along the way, the girls decided to write some notes and put them into bottles and throw them overboard. They included an email address so that if found, the person could let them know. Unbelievably, about a week later, Ellie got an email from a couple who found her bottle while crabbing! Ellie was so thrilled. The people wrote her a nice note and sent some photos too.
We arrived in Baltimore harbor and got a slip at the Inner Harbor Marina. The marina is right downtown Baltimore and is surrounded by many tourist attractions and a lot of chain restaurants. Getting around is fairly easy by either walking or taking the water taxi to different locations. While there, we enjoyed our visit to the National Aquarium, the largest in the United States (I think). We took the water taxi to Fells Point, Inner Harbor East, and also Fort McHenry. We walked up to Federal Hill to check out one of the oldest markets. I’m not sure that it was exactly what the girls were expecting, but it was fun! Fort McHenry is a National Park and is definitely worth going to. They have a fabulous exhibit there.
Their week went by quickly. Pauline flew back to Wisconsin with them to spend a few days in De Pere and see their new home. Pauline enjoyed spending time with her grand-dog, Coco – a sweet, pretty chocolate lab. Coco slept with her every night (she loves it when Pauline visits because she gets lots of long walks and is spoiled). The girl’s dad was able to secure some tickets to the “Family Night” preseason game at Lambeau Field. What fun! Pauline is a huge Packer fan and any chance to go to Lambeau is a treat. Family Night is pretty special. It gives people who could normally never afford to be able to attend a Packer game an opportunity to experience Lambeau Field and see the Packers play. The fireworks after the game were extraordinary!
Pauline flew back to Baltimore to get back on Next Dance and the cats. While she was in Wisconsin, Mark found out for another $300 we could extend our week stay at the marina to a month. We decided to go ahead and do that and use the marina as our northern Chesapeake base. Scott and Emily had a trip planned to visit Emily’s parents, who happen to live outside of Annapolis. We arranged an evening to have them all come over drinks and then out to dinner. We had hoped to take the boat out for a ride and cocktails, but it was pretty choppy with a storm brewing and decided not to do that. Scott is quite sure that our boat actually is unable to move (they spent a week with us in Marathon when we had our throttle problem and couldn’t move the boat …). We did, however, take a short dinghy ride to a Cuban restaurant despite thunder and lightening all around us. Emily’s dad wasn’t to sure about a dinghy ride and would have preferred to take the car, but we convinced him it would be fun. Within 5 minutes of getting inside the restaurant there was a very heavy rainstorm. It was great to be able to see the kids and get to know Emily’s parents better.
There were lots of things we did while in Baltimore. We had some great food, explored the historic parts of town, visited a few museums, took the dinghy here and there, walked a lot, attended a Orioles game, saw a couple of movies, and of course did some boat chores. We had the hull waxed and polished there. Got that ugly brown mustache off of here (the result of all the tannin in the water on the ICW).
Our good friends, Kirby and Susan, from Naples (originally from Milwaukee) joined us for a few days. It was such fun for Pauline to have some quality time with one of her best friends. Lots of laughs were shared and we gave them a quick tour of downtown Baltimore. We were able to celebrate Pauline’s birthday with them at a wonderful restaurant – Fleet Street Grill. The next night Pauline and Kirby cooked on board the boat. A quick, fun visit. So glad they could join us!
Then it was time to get going and do some more exploring of the Chesapeake Bay and all that it has to offer. Of course, we had to try our hand at crabbing again. By the end of the summer, all we did was feed the crabs well – never caught a one! Well, actually, Pauline did catch a number of them on pilings in marinas, but they were either females, which you can’t keep or they were too small. Oh well! It was fun trying nonetheless. One day Pauline was offered the experience of going out with the manager of a marina and go crabbing using a “trot line”. A trot line is a line about 100 yards long with a float on each end. Along the long line are short hanging lines spaced about 6′ apart, 3′ long with bait attached at the end – AKA, chicken necks. One float is dropped in the water and then the line is fed out and then the other float is dropped in. Then you go back to the first float, grab a net and the line is pulled up and over a revolving wheel-like device on the boat. As the line goes over, and if you’re lucky, there are crabs hanging on to the chicken necks and you scoop up the crabs. Pauline had a blast! She says that it was the most fun she had all summer on the Bay.
Well, folks, we are going to take a break here and at least get this portion out. Much more occurred during our time in the Chesapeake Bay and our journey back south for the winter. We will be leaving Fort Myers on 1/1/17, heading to Longboat Key for the next three months. After we get to Longboat Key we will finish updating you on the Chesapeake Bay portion of our trip and bring you up to date. Ming and Pema are also anxious to give you their story . . . but that, too, will have to wait until next time.
Until next time, fair winds and following seas . . .
Mark and Pauline Masuhr (along with Ming and Pema)
aboard Next Dance, Kadey Krogen 48AE/057