Bahamas Bound!

We made our way to Stuart, FL and were watching the weather forecasts, awaiting for a good “weather window” to make our crossing to the Bahamas.  We originally thought that we would be departing from the Lake Worth or West Palm Beach, both of which are south of our initial Bahamas destination of West End on Grand Bahama island. For you non-ocean going boaters, the Gulf Stream is a massive current that flows northward between the east coast of Florida and the Bahama islands at an average rate of 3.3 mph, before going up the entire US east coast and then turning west to the British isles.  Hence the desirability of starting further south so you don’t have to fight the strong current.  As it turned out, the forecast was looking good to begin our crossing right from Stuart.  So we departed Stuart early morning on the last day of March. As things happen while cruising, the forecast was not quite accurate and the seas were a little bigger than anticipated.  However, our fair weather, flat water loving cats were not happy.

From 8.9 feet below the keel to . . .

1249 feet below the keel!

The water is such a dark blue when you enter the Gulf Stream

We were traveling alone and with no boats in sight.  The water was initially a lovely shade of medium blue and then suddenly it changed to deep blue almost black.  Next Dance had entered the Gulf Stream about 15 miles east of the Florida coast.  The Gulf Stream flows along a very deep, steeped wall ocean canyon.  The depth of water under Next Dance suddenly went from 60 feet to no bottom registering on our depth meter. You also can tell when you’re in the Gulf Stream by watching the water temperature gauge, the Gulf Stream is about 4-5 degrees warmer than the surrounding waters.

We made fair progress throughout the day but by late afternoon the current had pushed Next Dance about 20 miles north of our destination.  We would need to turn south, and motor into the oncoming seas in order to reach West End. As we  mentioned above, the waves were higher than forecasted, averaging about 4 to 5 feet. While this isn’t a problem for our boat, oncoming seas of this magnitude requires that we slowdown our speed somewhat to ease the boat’s motion. And, since darkness still comes early in late March, we realized that we wouldn’t make it to West End until just after sundown. Because we did not want to enter an unknown, to us, harbor in the dark, we decided to enter the Bahama Bank at a point 12 miles north of West End, about a hour south of where we were.

For those of you who haven’t been to the Bahamas, all of the islands are located on a very large, shallow sand bank which extends about 100 miles east to west and about 600 miles north to south. The extremely clear water over this bank averages 5 to 12 feet deep, with generally sandy bottom.  The spot where we entered the Bahamian bank is marked by a large rock, Memory Rock. From the entrance there is a natural channel of 10+ foot deep water that leads generally east for about 50 miles then turns south to the Abaco islands, our final destination. Since Next Dance draws 5 feet 6 feet when fully loaded with fuel and provisions, we need to stay in these channels to avoid scraping any paint off our keel.

In settled weather, it is possible to anchor anywhere on the bank, as long as you are sufficiently outside these channels, so as not to be rundown be a fast boat running at night. But the weather forecast for the next few days called for 25 to 30 mph winds and 2 to 3 ft waves on the banks. We decided to anchor for the night in the lee of an island (sorry, don’t have our log with and we can’t remember the name of the island) about two hours onto the bank. We reached the island, just as the sun was setting and the wind was picking up. There were two boats already anchored there and we tucked in beside them. It was a moonless night. And with no inhabited land within 20 miles of us, the lights visible were on the neighboring boats. It was really, really dark.

The next day, we were on the move again and the wind was blowing hard with close spaced, steep waves hitting us on our starboard beam throughout the morning as we motored east. The boat was constantly covered with salt spray. About noon the channel made a 90 degree turn to the right, and we motored into the windblown waves until we came under the lee of Little Abaco island, when the cats became happy for the first time that day. A couple of hours further on, we arrived at our anchorage, Crab Cay. This is a very large anchorage, well protected from wind and waves, except from the west. There is even a beautiful, sandy beach with palm trees on the south island. No signs of human habitation are visible. There were 5 or 6 boats already anchored there when we arrived, but because of it’s large size we anchored at least 200 feet from the nearest boat, in crystal clear, 10 feet deep water.

Since we were now in Bahamian waters, we needed to clear customs. This can be done at a number of islands in the Bahamas. Since we missed our opportunity to clear in at West End, Grand Bahama, we decided to clear in at Green Turtle Cay, one of the northern Abaco islands. The winds were still blowing strong the next morning, April 2nd,  and the following day was a Sunday and the custom offices were closed (Island time, Mon!), we decided to relax for a couple of days at Crab Cay and celebrate Mark’s birthday on Sunday. Since we had not cleared customs as yet, we were required by Bahamian law to remain on the boat and not go ashore. So we spent the time washing the salt spray off the boat, snorkeling, relaxing in the sun and running our newly installed water maker to replace the water we used cleaning the boat.

An aside, on water makers and the water in the Bahamas. When we built Next Dance we knew we wanted to spend some time in the islands. An given that fresh water is scarce in the Bahamas and therefore very expensive, up to 35 cents a gallon, AND, we wanted living aboard Next Dance to replicate living ashore, we had the boat plumbed for a water maker when we had her built. Then in the early spring of 2016, when we anticipated going to the Bahamas later that year, we had a water maker installed during our stay in Stuart, Florida. Water makers convert sea water to fresh water by a reverse osmosis process using high pressure pumps that forces the sea water through a exceedingly fine membrane straining out the salt. The resulting fresh water is exceedingly pure. But since these pumps use a lot of power, we only can operate the water maker while our 12 kilowatt generator is running. Since we didn’t want to run the generator beyond the time necessary to recharge our batteries while at anchor, we installed a relatively high capacity water maker so that we could have all the water we could use daily in about two hours. Oh what a luxury!

While in our anchorage, a young man kayaked over from a sailboat.  He came over to ask where we were going to clear customs and what his options were.  Mark provided him with some helpful information.  Turns out it was two young Russian men who were going to be cruising for the next few years, spending some time the Bahamas and then working their way down to the Caribbean.  He also told us that while they were in West Palm Beach, someone had stole their dinghy with engine.  Hence why he was in an inflatable kayak.  Hate to hear these things, but unfortunately they sometimes happen.  As a matter of fact, it is noted in cruising guides that while in the Bahamian water, it is prudent to lock your dinghy to your boat, or even better, to bring it onboard when not in use.

The next day we made way to Green Turtle Cay where we would clear customs and begin enjoying the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas.  We were beyond thrilled to finally be here on our own boat.  Many years earlier we had chartered several catamarans in the Bahamas.  So we were familiar with the waters and the sights we were going to see.

Can’t get enough of this turquoise water.

 

Getting into the Green Turtle Cay harbor is through a marked channel that can be shallow, so you have to pay attention.  We had reservations at the Green Turtle Club.  The dock hands there are absolutely the best in the Abacos, at least in our opinion.  They know exactly what they are doing.  They ask permission to come aboard and then they take care of all of the line handling the getting the boat secured.  We planned to spend the next few days there getting cleared and then exploring the island and having a few Tipsy Turtles (their signature drink there).  There are no cars on the island, other than the construction trucks that they bring over on a ferry.  So the mode of transportation is either bicycles or golf carts.  Mark rented a golf cart and took the short journey to the other end of the island to clear customs.  I stayed on the boat and got everything ship shape and got us checked in to the marina.  When Mark came back we went off to explore.  There are several beautiful beaches filled with finds of sea glass and shells.

Time for a Kalik!

Tipsy Turtle Time

This guy was hanging off of the dock.  No swimming!

 Next Dance tucked into her slip

  Some of the scenery on Green Turtle Cay

                   

 

Heather, Ellie and Anna flew into Marsh Harbor and joined us for a week.  They were so excited to really get a taste of what cruising in the Bahamas was all about.  It was a whirlwind week of swimming, sight-seeing and just having a lot of fun together sharing this great experience of being on a boat in the Bahamas.  Life on a boat is good!  Here’s some photos of family fun in the sun.

 Celebrating Anna’s birthday onboard

      

Wow!  That was fun.

There’s more Bahamas fun and a Colorado wedding to look forward to.  So until next time . . .

 

Fair winds and following seas!

 

Pauline, Mark, Ming and Pema

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2017 Adventure Continued . . .

I wish we had a good excuse for not having updating this blog more frequently, but we don’t.  So, here we go . . . a lot has happened!  As I write this, April 2018, we are living in Denver, CO   We decided to take a little time away from the boat, and go back to Colorado to do some skiing, see family and friends.  So we have rented a “tiny” carriage house in the Denver area for the winter.

So here’s what we were doing in January 2017 . . .

We decided to spend a good part of the winter on the west coast of Florida, and settled on Longboat Key, which is across the bay from Sarasota. We spent three months there, along with a number of other Kadey Krogen’s, who spent anywhere from one month to four months there. We were lucky to be able to bring our car, which had been stored the previous summer and fall in a friend’s garage in Naples, north with us. This provided greatly enhanced mobility which allowed us to both, take full advantage of the nearby highlights and activities, as well as visiting nearby friends..

We left Fort Myers on News Year’s Day, along with Kadey Krogen 44 “Rachel”.  We spent the night anchored off of Euseppa Island.  We dropped our dinghy and had Cosmo’s aboard Rachel before running over to a funky, and only bar and restaurant on Cabbage Key for dinner.  Let me tell you, George Lipscomb shakes up the BEST Cosmo!  His secret – he uses gin and has the recipe down to a science.  A fun evening with friends.

 Next Dance Underway on the Gulf of Mexico

 

Rachel following us!

The BEST Cosmo!  And such a pretty color 🙂

We arrived at Longboat Key Club Marina and Resort the next day, January 2nd.  By marina standards,  this marina is pretty posh in many respects.  Although, the docks, which are over 20 years old, are definitely going to need some work soon, the staff and ambience are hard to beat.  As we mentioned these are fixed, not floating docks and there is a relatively large tidal swing here.  Getting on and off of the boat could be challenging at times, depending on the state of the tide.  When it was fully out, we could be 3 feet below the dock!  The finger (side) pier was a short one, so we had to go in stern first. The sterns on trawlers are much lower than the bows, so at times it was quite a drop to get onto the boat or steep climb to get off of the boat.  The marina is part of the Longboat Key Club Resort.  Therefore, no cash is exchanged.  You are issued a membership card and you use that for all of the club facilities.  These included five restaurants, a fitness club, several bars.  Only golf was not included in the temporary membership for marina guests – I think we were probably considered not quite up to snuff !  The grounds were beautiful and there was a lovely Italian restaurant on site as well as a swimming pool, tennis courts/pickleball and a bocce ball court.  If you wanted to use any of the other facilities, you had to drive, bike or take the shuttle about four miles to the main resort facilities and the Gulf beach. The resort provides a regular shuttle service to the main resort and to St. Armands Circle, if you had no transportation.  St. Armands Circle is full of shops and restaurants to explore.  The main resort has a very nice fitness center with many classes daily. We took advantage of several of the classes they held.

Bocce Ball – guys against the girls

Longboat Key Krogen Breakfast

During our three-month stay we were certainly not idle!  Two of our Kadey Krogen friends, Maria Rosa and her husband Roberto, became our unofficial social directors, and planned a number of events almost weekly.  Trust us, we needed a vacation after we left Longboat Key.  Once a month the resort held a lovely themed dinner which most of us would attend.  We were able to arrange tables for our group.  The dinners included dancing, great food and an open bar, all reasonably priced with an open bar.  These events were the ONLY thing at the resort that was reasonably priced.  If you didn’t want to end up with a huge tab at the end of the month, you had to be careful how often you pulled out your membership card for charges!

Our first group dinner was the “Snowflake Ball”.  The room was decorated with sparkly snowflakes and white flowers.  It was a fun evening and an opportunity to get dressed up and wear heels instead of flip flops!  There was a band and they also hired some dance instructors for the evening.  A fun time was had by all!  

Next dinner dance, “Valentine’s Day”.  Another opportunity to get dressed up.  The room was decorated in red and white, roses, hearts, etc.  Another great night of dancing, a steak and lobster dinner, good wine and of course, great Krogen friends to share the evening with.  Then March brought a great evening of “Jazz under the Stars”.  Tables were set up outside overlooking the marina.  A great night with good music, friends, and yes – wine 🙂  Sorry, for some reason I don’t have a photo of this evening.  It was really lovely, elegant and romantic.

The Longboat Key Resort organized dinner was “Jazz under the Stars”.  We had a table outside on the lawn, where we were serenaded by a great Jazz Combo.  A delicious buffet dinner was served, along with that open bar! We had great fun with our Krogen friends who still remained.

In between all of that, we managed to do a fun group outing to a polo match.  We all dressed in white shirts, jeans and red cowboy hats and bandanas!  No one can say we don’t have fun!  Mark and I had a number of Breckenridge friends come for a visit while they were in the area, including Don and Diana Dettmering, Ralph and Lila Stair, Norm and Renee Stoller, Inna Germanotta and Pat and Jane Dewayne.  We also drove the short distance to Sarasota and visited the Ringling Museum.  Now that the “circus” is no more, it was even more interesting to see all of the wagons used in the parades and the train cars that carried the circus animals.  They had a huge miniature circus grounds display showing all of the tents and housing areas for the animals and all of the people and what the behind scenes activity included.  We also toured the residence of John Ringling.  It wasn’t what we’d call a mansion in today’s standards, but it still was quite large and had to be a spectacular property in it’s day.  It was situated right on the water with beautiful views.  The inside of the house was very beautiful.   One can only imagine the entertaining that went on there.

Polo Match

Great friends Jane and Pat

Probably one of the most enjoyable events while we were in Longboat Key was a  “Murder Mystery Dinner” organized by a couple of our Krogen friends.  Every attendee had a role to play with a detailed script about what their involvement/activities at the time of the murder. The goal was to solve who committed the murder by asking questions of your fellow guests. It was held in a private club house and, of course, the murder took place on a “yacht”.  What a hoot this was!  The desert cake was one of the 13 Red Velvet cakes I baked during our stay there.  Each of the 13 was made from a slightly different recipe and served as taste test cakes for the wedding cake I was going to be making in May for Scott and Emily’s wedding in Colorado.

The Captain

MURDER!  This was one of my sample Red Velvet Cakes

We also went to a fabulous movie theater that has the best lounge seating AND they serve dinner and drinks!  This is the best way to watch a movie.  Mark also had a little “Moh’s” surgery done on his nose while in the Sarasota area.

Oh, and how can I forget the time Pema decided to jump four feet from the caprail of our boat to the finger pier well above us, and failed . . .  She was smart enough to cling to the concrete piling.  I got our net that we keep for just this reason and tried to scoop her into it.  It came apart and the net portion sunk!  Luckily Pema was not in it or she would have drowned.  So I did what any pet parent would do – I jumped in to save her.  By this point she was swimming away from the boat (yes, cats can indeed swim, although I would say most do not like water).  So, I swam to her.  She was swimming away from our boat.  I grabbed her and put her under my one arm and swam back towards our boat.  She was so distraught, screamed and turned and latched onto my head!  I managed to get her claws out of my head and get both of us back to the swim platform where Mark picked Pema up and I got myself out of the water . . . covered in blood from the scratches.  I won’t show you the photos of my bloody head, but here’s what she did to my arm.  After that incident, Mark made a “cat catcher” that we hang from the side of the boat in the water.  Should one of the cats ever fall off again while we are at a dock or at anchor, they at least have something to latch onto.  They still wouldn’t be able to get back on the boat without assistance.

Wet cat!

Ouch!

Ingenious

For us, at the end of March we were making ready to head to the Abacos.  We were so looking forward to getting to the beautiful clear blue water there.  We made our way down the coast to Fort Myers and then up the Caloosahatchee river to Lake Okachobee. We were lucky with our timing. We were one of the last boats to cross the lake and get through the lock system to the east coast due to drought driven very low water. They actually closed the locks the next day.  When our friends, who remained in Long Boat Key until the end of April, finally headed south, they were not able to cross the state via the  canals/lake and had to work their way down and around the Florida Keys before starting their journey north.  Not the worst thing to have happen.  It just added two or three additional days t to their schedules.

We’re going to close this segment here.  Next, we will be Bahamas bound . . . at last!

Until then, fair winds and following seas.

Mark & Pauline Masuhr (Ming & Pema, most excellent boat cats)

Yes, I am the Captain!

Chilling out on the flybridge

Ming checking out the fishes

Pema and Ming cuddling up for a change!

 

 

 

A Year and More of Catching Up!

Wow!  It has been a very long time since this blog was updated.  Somehow we have managed to not find the time – more like the incentive to update this very overdue blog.  We did last post on our trip getting down to Florida from the Chesapeake Bay, but left out the Kadey Krogen Rendezvous.  Oops!  Well, here’s a snippet of what happened.

We left off in Chrisfield, where Pauline had an opportunity to do some crabbing. From there, we headed across the Chesapeake Bay and back north to Solomons, MD for the Kadey Krogen Rendezvous. This is an annual 6 day get-together for owners and their Kadey Krogen boats. Wouldn’t you know it, a hurricane (Matthew) decided to make it’s way toward us and it was looking like the Rendezvous might be cancelled. There were already about 24 boats who had arrived and were docked – including us. We (along with almost everyone else there) made plans to have the boat hauled out and be put on the hard. We rented a car and a pet-friendly hotel to wait it out. And, then a day before it was all to happen, the hurricane decided to veer off and out to sea. We were all happy to see that happen! Never a dull moment in the boating world. So it was full steam ahead, let the partying begin! Watching all of these boats dock is an amazing feat.  The guys in charge of positioning the boats certainly knew what they were doing.

A great time was had by all over the next few days. Lots of laughter, learning, eating and drinking. It was fun to do the Krogen Dock Walk and get to see all Krogen’s of shapes and sizes. It’s very true when they say “When you’ve seen one Kadey Krogen, you’ve seen one Kadey Krogen”. Even though the hull shapes are very similar, what each and every person does inside of the boat is amazing. It’s always great to share ideas and comments about what one has done to their boat to make it more livable for them. Kadey Krogen is outstanding at listening to their owners on thoughts about how to improve on the newer boats.

The last night was a fabulous New England dinner provided by Kadey Krogen Yachts, with lobster of course!  Included were Dark and Stormy’s and the famous Krogen Punch.  After dinner, it was dancing, a bit of it done in the muddy grass under the tent.  If you can’t handle a little muck, you shouldn’t be a boater! (Note to our Breckenridge friends, you may recognize Susan Weeks and Al Halverstadt, at the dinner table. They have a KK42, TwoCan.

And then it was time to start heading south for the winter.  It was so interesting to watch each boat pull away and make way for the next boat to exit.  Almost like unravelling a knitted chain braid.  The Kadey Krogen Rendezvous is such a fun event, seeing old KK friends, along with some new, and we also met some nice future KK owners.  If you’re thinking of buying a Kadey Krogen, you should definitely attend one of these events if you have the opportunity.

We, instead of turning south, turned north and returned to Annapolis further up the Chesapeake. We spent 4 days, showing our boat in the Annapolis KK open house. KK used our boat for test drives for serious prospects. It was the last commitment we had them with them to show our boat as part of our build contract.  They also had a professional photographer photograph our boat. The pictures are in the new KK48 sales brochure. Pauline even gave a brief interview, which is on the Kadey Krogen website.

Then we turned south and had 14 days to travel 1100 miles to get our boat down to Stuart, Florida by November 1st, when we had a reservation at Sunset Bay Marina, last years winter layover spot. While in Stuart, we decided  to have sun shades made for our aft cockpit (also serves as a cat “Cage”.) More boat dollars $$$$$.  But it has turned out to be one of the best investments we’ve made on the boat.  It provides coverage from the sun, but also gives us privacy in our aft cockpit when in marinas.  It really does feel like we have another room back there.  And, of course, it’s very beneficial in allowing the cats to go outside without having to be watched.  We close all of the shades except the center back piece, where they are able to look out.  They have never wanted to jump from there to the swim platform.  We keep the companionway door closed so they can’t wander.  They love being out back there watching all of the activity going on around us.

We got lucky with the weather for a change. Only having two weather hold days on the entire run south. Since we had come up the coast the prior June, we were much more familiar with the ICW and knew where the good anchorages, marina’s and shallow spots were located. We did have some issues due to the damage caused by hurricane Matthew in October once we reached the Carolinas.  A couple of the draw bridges south of the Cape Fear River were still out of commission, so passage down the ICW was impossible if a boat’s air draft exceeded 15 feet, as ours does. We were forced to go out into to Atlantic Ocean, and run outside down the coast. We had been planning to do so anyway, because ocean “jumps” as they are called, are much quicker and far less stressful; deep water,  able to run on autopilot for hours at a time, instead of hand steering down twisting waterways. Our first jump was from Bald Head Island, NC to Charleston, SC a run of 16 hours.  Weather and waves were OK, not great. Charleston is a major seaport with much commercial ocean freighters going in and out 24 hours a day. We timed our departure so that we would arrive at the outer channel buoy at daybreak, after a moonless night passage. What we didn’t take into consideration was a south setting current which got us there one hour before daybreak. When we got within 3 miles of our turn into the 5 mile long entrance channel, there were 13 blips on our radar! Three or four were stationary, anchored awaiting a dock assignment, the rest were all either converging on the channel or departing. Did we mention it was a moonless, pitch black night. So all we could see were a lot of red, green and white lights when looking out of the pilot house window. However, with the help of radar and AIS (a new radio based positioning/identification system, all commercial boats carry), we could avoid any close calls. Once we got to the channel entrance, because of our 5 foot draft vs a freighters 35ft draft, we were able to run just outside the navigation buoys and not get run over. The sun rose just as we entered Charleston’s inner harbor.

We had originally planned to anchor and get a couple hours of sleep in clam waters, and then head south on the ICW. However, when we woke up at noon, we had a decent weather forecast for the next 24 -36 hours so we decided to go into a marina, stay the night, then depart early the next morning for a 24 hour run down to the St. Mary’s river inlet on the Florida/Georgia border. It’s an wide, deep water, well lit, all-weather inlet because there is a submarine base just inside.

We departed as the sun rose and set a straight course to the inlet. Our course took us 60 miles offshore, because of how the coast of Georgia curves. Well, the weather forecast was somewhat optimistic. After midnight, instead of 2 to 4 foot waves on our beam (side) and 15 knot winds, Mother Nature decided to treat us to 4 to 6 foot (occasional 8 ft) seas on our beam and the wind was 20-23 knots. Since it was pitch black, we couldn’t see them, but we sure could feel them! The boat handles such conditions just fine, but our cats didn’t, we drugged them with anti-motion pills as much as we could, but they literally didn’t move for 12 hours.  We reached the St. Mary’s inlet just at sunrise and since we had the wind and tide with us,  it was an easy entry.

After just a couple of river miles, the ICW crosses so we turned south at Fernandina Beach, FL. On the way north we stayed a the nice municipal marina there, but hurricane Matthew had completely wiped out the marina leaving just a few pilings, no restaurants, bath house, marina office or fuel dock.

We hadn’t planned to stop there so it wasn’t an issue for us.  But what was an issue was the extremely shallow water. The stretch of the ICW from Fernandina Beach to the St. John’s river is notoriously shallow, but the hurricane rearranged the sand bars and made them even more shallow. Fortunately, we weren’t the first boat through last fall. The first boats felt their way thru and posted the winding course on Active Captain for all subsequent boats.  Active Captain is a crowd sourced web-based, free service that warns boaters of hazards, and provides marina and anchorage descriptions and ratings. They have virtually put paper based cruising guides out of business.

So after crawling along at 3 knots with 12 inches of water below the keel in spots, we finally reached the St. John’s river.  We had planned to find a marina in the area, but were feeling surprisingly good after our long night on the ocean, we kept going and anchored a couple of miles above St. Augustine, FL.  We slept well at anchor that night in a beautiful spot.

.

The next few days were a rush to get to Stuart down the ICW, the weather outside was too rough to run down the coast.  We met up with Alexandra and Christopher on Sweet Ride, a KK 44AE and Gail and Chris Wilkinson on Tortuga, a KK42 in a marina the next night in Daytona Beach. We gathered for cocktails, appetizers and shared stories aboard Next Dance.  It was great fun to catch up with them.  We left the next morning and travelled with Sweet Ride,  the rest of the way.  Tortuga was less in a hurry, so they smelled the roses on the way down. We anchored one more night and made Stuart at 4:00 p.m. the final day.  All the way down the Florida ICW we saw many beached and sunk boats and damaged . But we were happy to see that Sunset Bay Marina, in Stuart, located 12 miles inland on the St. Lucie river, had no damage. We were greeted by many KK friends that we last saw at the Rendezvous.

We’re going to close it here for now.  The next issue, will take us from Stuart, FL to Longboat Key, where we spent the winter season from January to the end of March 2017.

Until then, fair winds and follow seas.

Pauline & Mark Masuhr (and boat cats, Ming and Pema)

 

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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!

Rudolph - having Ming in the background was a bonus!

Rudolph – having Ming in the background was a bonus!

img_9210

Pema cuddling up with Santa

Pema cuddling up with Santa

Why do cats always love boxes??

Why do cats always love boxes??

My little helper!

My little helper!

One of our many Fort Myers sunsets.

One of our many Fort Myers sunsets.

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

Our track to the Chesapeake Bay, summer 2016

Our track to the Chesapeake Bay, summer 2016

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.

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.
img_6906

No swimming in the Chesapeake Bay! These were some big jellyfish.

No swimming in the Chesapeake Bay! These were some big jellyfish.

Our first anchorage on the Chesapeake

Our first anchorage on the Chesapeake

img_6910

img_6911

img_8336img_3936

img_6912

img_6914
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.  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 (under warranty) 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.

Papa, Ellie and Anna on their way to Annapolis

Papa, Ellie and Anna on their way to Annapolis

Ellie's bunk!

Ellie’s bunk!

Anna's happy with her accommodations!

Anna’s happy with her accommodations!

Anna's not sure why she ate the whole thing!

Anna’s not sure why she ate the whole thing!

Dinghy driving lessons!

Dinghy driving lessons!

img_7074

img_3494

img_3490

img_7073

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Their first martini (just kidding)

Their first martini (just kidding)

Alexander Hamilton touched this doorknob and now so have I!!

Alexander Hamilton touched this doorknob and now so have I!!

A little time out for reading

A little time out for reading

My favorite book! Alexander Hamilton (Anna is obsessed with him)

My favorite book! Alexander Hamilton (Anna is obsessed with him)

img_7170

Blue crabs!! Ellie and Anna tried them, liked them, but wouldn't order them (lucky for us!!) Anna LOVED picking them (lucky for us!!)

Blue crabs!! Ellie and Anna tried them, liked them, but wouldn’t order them (lucky for us!!) Anna LOVED picking them (lucky for us!!)

While on the Chesapeake Bay with Anna and Ellie

While on the Chesapeake Bay with Anna and Ellie

It's hot outside and very hot in the engine room!

It’s hot outside and very hot in the engine room!

img_7487

img_7486

Crazy grandgirls with Ming

Crazy grandgirls with Ming

Reflections

Reflections

Gathering of minds

Gathering of minds

Message in a bottle

Message in a bottle

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!

Family Night at Lambeau Field in Green Bay

Family Night at Lambeau Field in Green Bay

img_7884

img_7882

img_7881img_8071
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).

Fabulous crab cakes!

Fabulous crab cakes!

Orioles game

Orioles game

img_8226
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!

Friends Kirby and Susan

Friends Kirby and Susan

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.
img_8604

Picking up a crab

Picking up a crab

img_8601

There's a storm coming in - get off the water fast!

There’s a storm coming in – get off the water fast!

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.

Ming and Pema chilling

Ming and Pema chilling out on the aft deck

Until next time, fair winds and following seas . . .

Mark and Pauline Masuhr (along with Ming and Pema)
aboard Next Dance, Kadey Krogen 48AE/057

1,250+ Miles Later . . .

We have slowly cruised up the east coast, now over 1,250+ miles since leaving Marathon on May 23. We have taken our time and stopped to see sights and wait for bad weather to pass us by. We arrived in Chesapeake, VA on Friday, July 1 and will stay until Tuesday, 7/5. Then we will be entering the Chesapeake Bay, where we have decided to spend our summer cruising and exploring. We had originally planned to go all the way up to New England, but as boating goes, all plans are changeable! We have been on the Chesapeake before with our sailboat back in 2002/2003, but really haven’t truly explored it. There are people who have lived there for over 25 years and haven’t seen all of the possible gunkholes to anchor and explore. We know that it will get very hot this summer, so we will definitely be spending a lot of time in marinas, but also plan to anchor out as well. We will be also eating a lot of blue crabs! Yum!

So much has happened since we left Marathon Here’s a picture our track. Marathon is located at the southernmost point of our track. The one little area where it doesn’t connect is where we forgot to turn it on that morning when we left! Oops!

Our track to the Chesapeake Bay

Our track to the Chesapeake Bay

We left Marathon May 23.  It’s roughly 200 miles from Marathon Key to Fort Lauderdale. We covered that in two days, anchoring for the night off of Rodriguez Key. It was a lovely, quiet anchorage. We bypassed the city of Miami and stayed out in the Atlantic Ocean because one-half of all of the bridges on the total 1090 mile ICW are located between Key Biscayne and Palm Beach. Since the majority of these bridges have restricted opening schedules, usually on the hour or half hour, it makes for a very long and slow day.

Dinner on the flybridge in Rodriguez Key

Dinner on the flybridge in Rodriguez Key

Sunset in Rodriquez Key

Sunset in Rodriquez Key

We ducked into Fort Lauderdale for the night, however the weather forecast was such that we decided to extend our stay to four nights and do some sightseeing. On our way in we passed a number of mega yachts which dwarfed us! It also brought back memories of when our boat was in the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last November 2015.

A Bentley is only one of the very expensive autos we saw!

A Bentley is only one of the very expensive autos we saw!

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

IMG_5997

IMG_5996

IMG_5995

IMG_5994

IMG_5993

Mega homes!

Mega homes!

Kinda reminds ya of "Edith Ann" from Laugh-In!!

Kinda reminds ya of “Edith Ann” from Laugh-In!!

Upon leaving Fort Lauderdale, we went outside again and cruised up to Palm Beach, reentering the ICW at the Lake Worth Inlet. We entered about 2:00 p.m. on Memorial Day and we were surrounded by literally hundreds of jet skis, small boats and pontoon boats mostly driven by intoxicated teenage boys. One had to pay attention! We came through unscathed, but this was probably the most dangerous section of our entire adventure to date.
IMG_6025

IMG_6024

IMG_6023

IMG_6022

IMG_6021

IMG_6020

IMG_6019
For the next few days we proceeded up the ICW, anchoring out until we reached Vero Beach, FL. We had heard many good things about Vero Beach over the winter and we decided to spend three nights and do some sightseeing and relax. Vero Beach is a very nice area, primarily a retirement community. It’s nickname is “Velcro Beach” because when people come there they don’t want to leave. Once again, the weather took a turn for the worse and we extended our visit to six nights. During our stay, we ran into Chris and Gail Wilkinson, friends from our winter stay at Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers. They arrived on their 42ft. Kadey Krogen, “Tortuga”, just days after his retirement! Their adventures are just beginning.

We then continued up the ICW stopping in Titusville and Daytona Beach before reaching St. Augustine. We spent three nights in St. Augustine because we had never visited this city and there are many historic sites to see. St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. We stayed at the City Marina which was within walking distance of all of the historical sites and the downtown area. This city is definitely someplace to visit if you have not done so.

Someone on the dock . . . folks, this is not a good look on anyone!

Someone on the dock . . . folks, this is not a good look on anyone!

Fort at St. Augustine

Fort at St. Augustine

IMG_6114

IMG_6115

Sunset in St. Augustine

Sunset in St. Augustine

After departing St. Augustine our next stop was Fernandina Beach, FL, which is located on the Florida/Georgia border. This was the first stretch of the ICW where we really had to watch out for shallow water. The ICW by design is supposed to be 12 feet or more for it’s entire length. Because of the many inlets and tidal activity, maintaining that 12 feet+ depth requires continual dredging in many locations in it’s entire length. However, the Corps of Engineers who are responsible for maintaining the ICW has suffered significant cuts in its funding over the past 15 years. As a result, the ICW has in many places become much shallower to the point where at times our boat, which draws 5’4″ only had one or two feet of water below its keel when coming through. Therefore, we often needed to time our travel north of St. Augustine to coincide with higher and rising tides. The State of Georgia and South Carolina are particularly troublesome. To avoid this entirely, we decided to do an overnight passage from Fernandina Beach to Charleston, South Carolina. This passage took 25 hours, 194 nautical miles, but saved us about five days of slowly winding through Georgia and the southern half of South Carolina.

Dolphins!

Dolphins!

Black Bean Quesadillas for lunch during our crossing.

Black Bean Quesadillas for lunch during our crossing.

There's a storm brewing!

There’s a storm brewing!

Stormy night ahead!

Stormy night ahead!

Our sunset on the Atlantic Ocean this night.

Our sunset on the Atlantic Ocean this night.

Water, water everywhere.

Water, water everywhere.

Is it ever going to end?

Is it ever going to end?

The weather forecast for the overnight trip looked good with winds relatively light and generally behind us. The wave height predictions were for 2-3 feet or less. However, about one third of the way through we discovered the wave height prediction was relatively accurate, however they were coming from BOTH the E and the SW, which made for a very bumpy ride. On top of that, we were caught in a couple thunderstorms that worked their way through about midnight. The boat handled it fine and for us it wasn’t much of an issue, but both cats were seasick almost the entire way. About two in the morning our radar gave us a warning that we were on a collision course with another boat. It turned out to be a 944 foot container ship making his way to Savanah GA. Mark was able to reach the ship on VHF radio and they confirmed that we would collide and we both agreed to alter course. That explains the jog you see in our Delorme track.

We arrived at Charleston about noon the following day and went into a very nice resort marina across the Cooper River from the historic district of Charleston. We had reservations for four nights so we could thoroughly enjoy this beautiful, historic old city. The resort had a free hourly shuttle bus to the downtown area, which we took advantage of each day. We did a lot of sightseeing, a carriage tour and enjoyed some wonderful southern food. On what was to be our last day, another tropical low (Colin) came through and required us to extend our stay for two more days. We were in downtown Charleston at the old market when the front moved through. Within a few minutes winds picked up to 40 miles per hour, with occasional gusts to 60, torrential rain and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees. The temperature drop was welcome as the heat index that day was 110 degrees F. It blew and rained all that night and most of the next day, but we used the time to visit a US Navy museum which was adjacent to our marina. It had three WWII vintage vessels, a aircraft carrier (Yorktown), a destroyer and a submarine. We spent hours touring these fascinating ships. Since it was Father’s Day, Mark got in free!!

Carriage ride through historic downtown Charleston

Carriage ride through historic downtown Charleston

IMG_6444

IMG_6443IMG_6436

IMG_6435IMG_6453

IMG_6454

IMG_6452

IMG_6451

Fried Chicken Livers - a heart stopper, but delicious!

Fried Chicken Livers – a heart stopper, but delicious!

We left Charleston on Monday, 6/23 to continue our journey north. We had a number of short days due to having to wait for high tides to pass the shallow spots. At night we primarily anchored out in some beautiful, scenic anchorages. In almost every case, we were the only boat there. That’s one of the advantages to our late start in that the majority of the snowbirds going back north on their boats are long gone.

About a week later we stopped in Morehead City,NC for two nights, so that we could meet up with our friend Andy Horn. Andy was not far away, visiting his daughter, Captain Sarah Horn, who is a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps recently returned from the Middle East deployment. We had a great visit with Andy, although too short.

We then continued north to our current location, which required us to cross two large “sounds”, Pamlico and Albemarle. These are two large bodies of water between the mainland and the out islands of North Carolina. One passage was roughly 3-1/2 hours, the other was 4-1/2 hours. These two sounds are some of the most difficult water to be encountered on the ICW. While they are 40-50 miles in breadth, they are only 12 feet deep. As a result, any winds above 10-15 MPH raises very 4-6 foot waves which are very close together. Depending upon the direction of the wind, it can make for a very miserable passage. We got lucky crossing both with light winds and 1-2 foot waves on our beam, which was very tolerable.

Another beautiful sunset at anchor

Another beautiful sunset at anchor

This is a picture of what we looked like swinging at anchor

This is a picture of what we looked like swinging at anchor

And, another sunset at anchor along the way

And, another sunset at anchor along the way

We arrived at Atlantic Yacht Basin, which is in Chesapeake, VA – at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay, in the early afternoon of Friday, 7/1. We pulled in to take on some fuel and pump out our holding tank before going into our slip. Just as we tied up to the fuel dock, a series of thunderstorms moved through. We managed to get tied up in our slip before it really started to pour. It then rained for the next 10 hours at a rate of 1-2 inches an hour. There was much local flooding, and the river we are on rose almost 12 inches in a short period of time. Our plan is to depart AYB on Tuesday, 7/5 and enter the Chesapeake Bay where we will spend the summer cruising and exploring. It turned out to be a social whirlwind while we where at AYB. First, we saw a boat, Lady M, which had aboard good friends from this past winter in Stuart, FL. Then we ran into the owners of a Kadey Krogen 39, The Edge, to whom we introduced ourselves and then invited over for cocktails on our boat one evening. We had a lovely time visiting with them. The next afternoon, Mark was in the aft cockpit reading when someone called out “Hello Mark!” from a boat passing by. It turned out to be a Kadey Krogen Whaleback with Susan and Jeff Goode onboard, along with a captain helping them to take, their new to them, boat to Annapolis. We had met Susan and Jeff at one of the boat shows we participated in. The captain was none other than Sharvan from Stuart – who was one of the captains who offloaded our Next Dance from the container ship from Taiwan and also the who so skillfully taught Pauline how to dock Next Dance!! What a small world. Of course we joined them for cocktails aboard their boat and shared stories. Where we have been taking our time moving north, they made the trip from Stuart to AYB in six days, going offshore often and doing 12 to 14 hour days. Whew! That could not have been a relaxing journey, but they are on a mission to get the boat to Annapolis and get Sharvan back home to Stuart.

Chilling out on the aft deck!

Chilling out on the aft deck!

Sharavan - my Jedi Master!

Sharvan – my Jedi Master!

The Goode's onboard their Goodescape, Kadey Krogen Whaleback

The Goode’s onboard their Goodescape, Kadey Krogen Whaleback

Our 22nd Anniversary lunch!

Our 22nd Anniversary lunch!

While here at AYB, we also managed to forget our wedding anniversary! Oh well…that’s the problem when the days just run into each other and we don’t pay attention to the date on the calendar. We celebrated with lunch at Woody’s, where we watched many Packer games in the fall of 2013 when we had purchased our 44ft Kadey Krogen, the first Next Dance.

On July 5 we officially entered the Chesapeake Bay! This area of big water has many, many beautiful places to visit and of course, blue crabs! We can’t wait to eat our fill of them this summer. But along with all of those wonderful crabs are the many thousands of crab pots that we will have to avoid while cruising. Always an adventure in boating. There are a lot of Kadey Krogen’s cruising here and we are sure to run into some from time to time. We have also met some other boaters who keep their boats on the Chesapeake Bay and we look forward to reconnecting with them. Our granddaughters, Ellie (15-1/2) and Anna (14) will be joining us (sans mother) for a week the end of July. We are really looking forward to having them onboard, sharing our current lifestyle and exploring the beautiful areas on the Chesapeake Bay. We sent them a picture of a jellyfish which are very prevalent in the water here. This will not make for much swimming, unfortunately. Hopefully, when we go up some of the little fresh water rivers we won’t find them and will be able to jump in the water from time to time. If nothing else, we can take the kayak or dinghy out. It’s the first time since they were just little peanuts that we’ve had them all to ourselves. Should be a blast!

Here are photos of our journey through Norfolk with all of the commercial traffic and of the beginning trip on the Chesapeake Bay.
IMG_6889

IMG_6888

IMG_6887

Naval aircraft ship at the Naval Shipyard

Naval aircraft ship at the Naval Shipyard

IMG_6877

IMG_6876

Boats we saw along the way

Boats we saw along the way

Commercial traffic

Commercial traffic

Sailboats

Sailboats

Crab fisherman

Crab fisherman

Jellyfish on steroids! The tentacles are almost 3 feet long!

Jellyfish on steroids! The tentacles are almost 3 feet long!

Well, that brings us up to date. We will be on the Chesapeake until mid-October, when we will attend annual Kadey Krogen rendezvous in Solomons, MD. This will be the first time that we will be attending with our boat! It is quite a sight to see. Last year they had 150 Kadey Krogen’s there, from 39 foot to the 58 foot. After the rendezvous we will begin our journey south for the winter. We have not decided where we are going to stay yet, but still have a little time to make that decision. We are on wait lists for spots at several marinas.

We know that we definitely want to get to the Abacos in April 2017 and spend the month there. We then need to leave the boat somewhere north of the Florida/Georgia state line (insurance hurricane season requirement) by mid-May to fly back to Colorado. Scott and Emily are getting married over Memorial Day weekend 2017 in Grandby, Colorado. So we will be off of the boat for at least a week, maybe two.

If your vacation plans bring you the Chesapeake Bay this summer, please be sure to get in touch with us. We’d love to connect if we can!

Until next time, fair winds and following seas . . .

Pauline and Mark Masuhr

CAT TALES

Well furriends, we’ve been cruising now for quite awhile. Most of the time, it’s purrfectly fine, nice and calm. But sometimes it definitely has not been fun for us. Yep, we’ve been seasick! It doesn’t seem to take much. Our mom sometimes tries to give us some motion sickness medicine (which we absolutely hate), and it helps for awhile.  The worst was when we were out on the Atlantic Ocean for 25 hours. We didn’t eat for a day and a half and didn’t want to!! We didn’t think it was ever going to end. Not that it was really rough, we’re just “fragile”.  Meow.

It has been fun to see lots of different places and people along the way. We really enjoy the different smells too! Ming is a wonderful fly catcher and she loves to gobble them up! We love it when we are at anchor. Mom and dad let us walk around all over the boat. We have no interest in jumping in for a swim – we just love to sit outside watching what’s going on around us. Especially if there are birds flying around us.

Meow. We’re in trouble. Even that angel, “Ming”. We both jumped off of the boat at Atlantic Yacht Basin. Mom walked up the dock to talk to some people and Ming decided to jump off and follow her. Well why not?? Oops! She got caught right away by dad (surprise) and he yelled at her. She hopped right back on. Me, I snuck right past him when he had is nose in a book and didn’t bother to look as I jumped off, walked quite a ways up the dock and into a lovely grassy area. Well, all of a sudden there was a golf cart driving up so I decided I had better high tail it back to the boat. Wouldn’t you know it? There was mom walking back and caught me! Well, I think dad actually got in more trouble than I did because he wasn’t being a good “cat watcher”. To say the least, we were chastised and put inside the boat. It sure was fun while it lasted! We had just heard them telling people that we were really good and didn’t jump off of the boa. Ha ha! Meow.

We’ve been told that we are now somewhere called the Chesapeake Bay and will be cruising here for the summer. We also hear that it’s going to be hot! The Chesapeake Bay is a large body of water and has many beautiful places to visit. Should be fun!

Chilling out on the aft deck!

Chilling out on the aft deck!

Got in trouble again this morning. Meow. I (Pema) decided to sneak out of the pilot house door this morning just as we pulled away from the dock. Dad, as usual, was not keeping a keen eye on us. Mom started looking for me and was getting pretty worried. Little did she know that I had climbed up to the flybridge and was laying under the dinghy! I guess I was pretty lucky that it wasn’t rough and get accidentally chucked off!! We are not allowed outside when the boat is underway. Meow. Well she scooped me up and took me back inside where I am again safe and sound, and she has relaxed.

Here are some pics of us that mom has taken over the past month. She likes the one where we are sleeping together. We don’t do that very often anymore. I often try snuggling with Ming, but she doesn’t always like it.

Pema and Ming cuddling up for a change!

Pema and Ming cuddling up for a change!

IMG_6855

IMG_6854IMG_6624
IMG_5970

IMG_5969

IMG_6096IMG_6015

IMG_6014

Respectfully submitted,

Pema (and Ming), Boat Cats Extradinaire!

Next Dance is Ready to Dance Again!

News Flash!!! Hear all about it . . .

NOTE:  WE WOULD LIKE TO ADD AN UPDATE TO THIS BLOG WHERE WE DESCRIBE IN DETAIL WHAT TOOK PLACE WHEN WE DEVELOPED A “SHORT” IN A WIRE BETWEEN THE ZF CONTROLLER AND THE JOHN DEER ENGINE.  FIRST AND FOREMOST, THERE WAS NEVER A PROBLEM WITH THE JOHN DEERE ENGINE OR THE ZF CONTROLLER.  IT TURNED OUT TO BE NOTHING MORE THAN A SHORT/BROKEN  WIRE, WHICH WAS REPAIRED WITHIN 5 MINUTES ONCE THEY FOUND THE PROBLEM.  WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS WHEN WE WOULD LEAVE THE SLIP AND BE ABOUT 20 MINUTES OUT (OR ABOUT TWO MILES), THE SHORT IN THE GROUND WIRE WOULD “OPEN” AND CAUSE THE PROBLEM OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE ZF CONTROLLER AND THE JOHN DEERE ENGINE. ONCE THE SHORT IN THE WIRE WAS REPAIRED WE HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED A PROBLEM AGAIN WITH THE BOAT.  WAS IT A FRUSTRATING EXPERIENCE TO GO THROUGH BECAUSE OF BEING STUCK IN MARATHON, AND CHANGE OUR CRUISING PLANS? – YES.  HOWEVER, WE KNEW WHEN WE BUILT OUR BOAT THAT THERE WOULD BE ISSUES THAT WOULD COME UP – JUST AS THERE ARE ISSUES IN BUILDING A NEW HOUSE.  THIS TURNED OUT TO BE A VERY MINOR PROBLEM THAT SIMPLY TOOK A LONG TIME TO DIAGNOSE.  ONCE DIAGNOSED, IT WAS REPAIRED BY REPLACING THE BROKEN GROUND WIRE AND WE WERE ON OUR WAY AND ENJOYING THE DANCE ONCE AGAIN.  THERE WAS NEVER A PROBLEM WITH THE JOHN DEERE ENGINE OR THE ZF CONTROLLER.   (IF ANYONE HAS FURTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT TOOK PLACE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DROP US A NOTE.)

Good news! After a two week stay turned into six weeks, we think we have resolved our throttle problem. It took six sea trials, six visits from the John Deere tech and three visits from the ZF tech, but at last they got it. As often is the case in these type of problems, it was a combination of events that triggered it. But today we took her out for our final sea trial for an extended period of time and everything worked normally, and feel confident in her that we can continue our cruising. We have to admit if you have to be stuck some place for an extra four weeks, Marathon Marina in the Florida Keys is not a bad spot. But we are ready to move north. Weather permitting, we will throw off our lines on Tuesday and slowly work our way up to New England, and hopefully Maine. Hopefully our future blogs will cover the wonderful places we visit and people we meet along the way.

Many thanks to all of your support, the expertise and patience of the John Deere and ZF technicians, and to Kadey Krogen for standing by us.

Tomorrow we will head to Burdine’s for lunch to have a beer and our last order of fries! For those who have been there, you will understand. Then back to the boat where we will bring aboard our tender and get things ready to go.

On to the next dance, Cha Cha Cha!

IMG_2996
So long Marathon Marina . . . see you again some day!

Fair winds and following seas,

Pauline and Mark

If It Weren’t For Bad Luck . . .

. . . we’d have no luck at all.

NOTE:  WE WOULD LIKE TO ADD AN UPDATE TO THIS BLOG WHERE WE DESCRIBE IN DETAIL WHAT TOOK PLACE WHEN WE DEVELOPED A “SHORT” IN A WIRE BETWEEN THE ZF CONTROLLER AND THE JOHN DEER ENGINE.  FIRST AND FOREMOST, THERE WAS NEVER A PROBLEM WITH THE JOHN DEERE ENGINE OR THE ZF CONTROLLER.  IT TURNED OUT TO BE NOTHING MORE THAN A SHORT/BROKEN  WIRE, WHICH WAS REPAIRED WITHIN 5 MINUTES ONCE THEY FOUND THE PROBLEM.  WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS WHEN WE WOULD LEAVE THE SLIP AND BE ABOUT 20 MINUTES OUT (OR ABOUT TWO MILES), THE SHORT IN THE GROUND WIRE WOULD “OPEN” AND CAUSE THE PROBLEM OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE ZF CONTROLLER AND THE JOHN DEERE ENGINE. ONCE THE SHORT IN THE WIRE WAS REPAIRED WE HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED A PROBLEM AGAIN WITH THE BOAT.  WAS IT A FRUSTRATING EXPERIENCE TO GO THROUGH BECAUSE OF BEING STUCK IN MARATHON, AND CHANGE OUR CRUISING PLANS? – YES.  HOWEVER, WE KNEW WHEN WE BUILT OUR BOAT THAT THERE WOULD BE ISSUES THAT WOULD COME UP – JUST AS THERE ARE ISSUES IN BUILDING A NEW HOUSE.  THIS TURNED OUT TO BE A VERY MINOR PROBLEM THAT SIMPLY TOOK A LONG TIME TO DIAGNOSE.  ONCE DIAGNOSED, IT WAS REPAIRED BY REPLACING THE BROKEN GROUND WIRE AND WE WERE ON OUR WAY AND ENJOYING THE DANCE ONCE AGAIN.  THERE WAS NEVER A PROBLEM WITH THE JOHN DEERE ENGINE OR THE ZF CONTROLLER.   (IF ANYONE HAS FURTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT TOOK PLACE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DROP US A NOTE.)

On April 23 we attempted our departure out of Marathon to the Bahamas. As you read in our previous blog, we developed a problem and had to be towed back into the slip. It is now May 17 and we are still in Marathon trying to resolve our problem. To say the least, the situation is extremely frustrating and emotionally taxing. We try to remain positive that an answer will be found, but there are certainly times (mostly for Pauline) we feel hopeless to the situation. We do try to make lemonade out of the lemons, but we are getting pretty tired of the lemonade.

Next Dance leaving the dock!

Next Dance leaving the dock!

If it were a mechanical issue that could be diagnosed and repaired quickly that would be one thing. However, we are experiencing an electronic problem. While not touching the ZF throttle control lever, the John Deere engine RPMs fluctuates up and down erratically. Trying to diagnose the cause and repair that is no easy task. Initially the ZF technician thought that the problem had to do with the electronic throttle controller.. a mini computer. He scheduled an appointment to come back and swapped it out with a new controller.

Then both the technicians from ZF and John Deere came out to do a sea trial to see if we could duplicate the problem. We had tried to duplicate the problem several times in the slip, but it never reoccurred. We left the slip and reached almost the exact location where the problem originally occurred and it happened again! Instead of being disappointed, we were thrilled because now both technicians could see what was happening. Additionally, this time we were able to limp back to the dock and into our slip at idle speed without needing a towboat.

Based on diagnostic readings the technicians made, they had to look at the possibility that the problem was with the John Deere electronic control module, not the ZF processor.

The John Deere technician came back again with a new electronic control (ECU) module. He installed the new (ECU) but was unable to download the software to program it for our specific engine. He then gets on the phone with John Deere factory techs. They take control of his computer and attempt to download the software. After several unsuccessful hours of this, they determined that the new ECU is defective.

So the Deere factory pre-programs another new ECU (in Waterloo, Iowa) and overnighted it to the Key West based technician (of course this is a Friday and it did not arrive until Monday). The technician arrives on Monday afternoon with the second, new ECU. He successfully gets it plugged in. It had been programmed correctly, the engine runs properly and off we go for another sea trial. Guess what? After the same amount of time and almost in the same location, the problem happens AGAIN! The technician is at a loss as to why it is still occurring. He has some theories and needs to consult more with Deere factory experts. Once again we limp back into the slip.

Everyone involved in trying to resolve the issue are totally perplexed as to what is going on. But there is clearly a problem and it must be fixed. We are unable to move the boat until we are able to get the situation resolved. It is increasingly frustrating to read posts on Facebook from our Krogen friends about their travels up north up the east coast of Florida. That’s what we are supposed to be doing now.

As for the lemonade, part of that included having Scott (Mark’s son) and Emily, Scott’s girlfriend, join us in Marathon. We had planned a super fun vacation cruise with them in the Abacos in the Bahamas. The sad part of this was that they were not able to experience just what our life of cruising is all about. But we still really enjoyed their visit. We kept them busy with a day in Key West, a dinghy ride to Sombrero Beach, a fishing trip where our group caught 60 Yellowtail Snapper (yummy), and a snorkeling trip to Sombrero Reef. And of course, cocktails on the flybridge each night, watching the sunset. Plus many visits to local tiki bars, including Burdines for the Key’s best french fries and Keys Fisheries for stone crab claws. On one stormy, windy night, we celebrated Emily’s birthday. Scott handed her a card and small gift box. She opened the card first, which read “Happy Birthday! I only have one question…?” He then got down on his knee and proposed to Emily. She said yes! The engagement ring, of course, was in the box. After all the mandatory phone calls spreading the good news to other family and friends, it was too late to go out for dinner, so Pauline ended up grilling steaks in the rain. What a special and fun evening that was! We couldn’t be more thrilled that they will be getting married. We love Emily and welcome her to our family.
IMG_5670IMG_5673

IMG_5672

IMG_5752

Lovebirds enjoying a sunset

Lovebirds enjoying a sunset

IMG_5727

IMG_5726

Six-toed Hemingway Cat

Six-toed Hemingway Cat

IMG_2892

IMG_5782

Key West Visit

Key West Visit

The engagement - recreated with a sunset

The engagement – recreated with a sunset

We booked them in a small art deco hotel in South Beach the night before they flew back to Colorado. Not sure that South Beach was quite their style, but they can check that off of the list of places to see. We drove them up to Miami and joined them for a final brunch at News Cafe, before heading back to Marathon. All in all, their vacation with us was a very enjoyable one.

A few days after they departed, our friend Louise Crowley from Wisconsin joined us for five days. Again, she was supposed to be joining us in the Bahamas. Her day started out with a mechanical problem on the plane departing Chicago. That delay then caused her to miss her connection in Orlando. She was delayed nine hours and finally arrived in Key West at 11:00 p.m. We got back to the boat at nearly 1:00 a.m. but still managed to stay up for one glass of wine! Louise, always the trooper, was just happy to be in warm weather and had a great time just chilling with us, eating, drinking, dinghy riding and she did get to experience a ride on the water with our last sea trial. We had a great day of snorkeling off of Sombrero Reef and the first thing she sees after jumping in the water is a shark! Freaked her out a bit but she stayed in the water. We took the dinghy over to Sombrero Beach one day to watch the Dragon Races. That was pretty fun. She even helped Pauline swab the boat one day. We capped off her visit with a quick tour in Key West, with a stop at Sloppy Joe’s, before she flew out.

Dragon Boat Races

Dragon Boat Races

Sunset!

Sunset!

Beautiful Dinghy Wench!

Beautiful Dinghy Wench!

Yummy Stone Crab Claws

Yummy Stone Crab Claws

Waiter! Our glasses are empty . . . refill please.

Waiter! Our glasses are empty . . . refill please.

Sunset with friends are the best!

Sunset with friends are the best!

Can you tell who is from Wisconsin?

Can you tell who is from Wisconsin?

I dress my crew well for swabbing down the boat!

I dress my crew well for swabbing down the boat!

So that brings us up to date. Now we wait to see what the next steps are in determining how to resolve our inoperable boat problem. Kadey Krogen has been there for us throughout this ordeal and are equally frustrated. There has been no other KK boat, comparably equipped, which has experienced the type of problem we are having. A conundrum to say the least.

Please send your good thoughts our way and wishes for our luck to turn. We need it.

Until the next time,

Fair winds and following seas (we can’t wait to get moving on the water again) . . .

Pauline and Mark

P.S. If you would like to see our cruising track, you can go to http://share.delorme.com/NextDance. You can see where we had to turn back. We have not had the Delorme on since 4/23 when we attempted our trip to the Bahamas. If we did you would have seen a few more circles back to the slip. Sometime soon we hope to turn our Delorme back on and you can see that track moving north!

 

 

CAT TALES

Pema and I have mostly been enjoying lounging inside and outside the boat. We love hanging out on our cat tree and watching boats going by, seeing big fish jump in the water and birds flying just a little to close to our boat. Almost every night we go on the top deck with mom and dad and watch the sunset. It’s really pretty how the sky turns pink and orange. One of Pema’s favorite things to do is to watch fish videos on the iPad! She gets so excited! One day dad played his Eukelele for us. We enjoyed it very much 🙂

Ming just chilling!

Ming just chilling!

Pema just chilling!

Pema just chilling!

Pema getting a good view of the sunset

Pema getting a good view of the sunset

Dad strumming some tunes for us!

Dad strumming some tunes for us!

Love laying in this chair!

Love laying in this chair!

Pema watching some fish TV on the IPad

Pema watching some fish TV on the IPad

There have been strangers coming on board and making a lot of noise down by something called John Deere. We are sick of it.  Sometimes the boat has been moving and all of a sudden John Deere makes some strange noises. We get distraught with all of the noise and activity.  We sure hope they get the thing fixed soon and we can get our tails out of here! Lots of people say “well, if you have to be stuck somewhere, this is a good place to be stuck!”.  Meow.

Scott came for a visit!! It has been a long time since we last saw him in Breckenridge, CO. He brought his girlfriend, Emily with us. They even got engaged on their trip! We used to scare Emily, but decided that now that she is going to be part of the family, we are going to be nice to her. We let her pet us and talk to us whenever she wanted. I wonder if they’ll let us be part of the wedding?? Meow. Scott played “pushy pushy” with me. I flop on the floor, stretch out and he puts his hands on my back legs and I push myself on the floor!! It is so much fun and it makes everyone laugh.

Then another lady joined us for a few days. I think she was afraid of us. Meow. Pema snuck in her room one night and was looking at her with her paws on the bed near her head. She woke up and was quite startled. Ha ha! It was purrty funny 🙂 She has now left and our family is now back to being “just us”. We love that.

It has started to get really hot here. We don’t mind it so much, but mom doesn’t like it. She says it’s like a sauna out there – whatever that means. Thank goodness we have air conditioning inside!

That’s it for now. Pema and I hope that the next time we write that it will be of us traveling on the Atlantic Ocean heading north to new sights and sounds. That would be purrfection!

Respectfully submitted,

Ming (and Pema), Boat Cats