Saturday, 24 September 2011

Alca i, Hopedale Run, Labrador

Summer in Labrador 2011

Chance is a strange mistress. Last year, we planned to spend the summer in Labrador on Blackthorn with Hannah but ended up in St Anthony for 6 weeks for medical reasons. This summer was to be a land based one taking Pearl the bus to the Rockies.
Then in May we were introduced to Walter and Karen Adey by mutual sailing friends (see  and invited to join them as volunteer crew (i.e. unpaid) on their research vessel Alca i (Great Auk) which was to spend the summer in Labrador and the Quebec north shore diving for coralline algae and sea urchins. It seemed too good an opportunity to pass up; we would get back to Labrador without dragging Blackthorn back up the east coast.
So we agreed to join Alca i at her winter berth, ashore at Englee Newfoundland, and help prepare her before Walter and Karen arrived two weeks later at the end of June. We were collected at St Anthony by Wade Saunders, employed by the Adeys as engineer. The three of us spent the next ten days checking and fixing the complex systems on the boat as well as repairing a crack we found in the hull.
Englee is an isolated fishing community at the end of the road but the local store had all we needed – new water pump, hot water bottles, oilskins – to be ready by the time the Adeys arrived.
Alca i was launched successfully in spite of our concerns over the ropey launching Travelhoist so Walter and  Karen found her floating happily in the launching slip.
Alca i was not the only sailing vessel afloat there; Kuan Yin, a 32 foot Tahitiana steel ketch, had also overwintered there and had been launched shortly before us. Her skipper, Dennison Berwick, plied us with tea and became a good friend. He has an amazing story to tell – happily he is a writer as well as traveler, more at He was planning to head further north than us to Okak in Labrador if the spare parts he was awaiting turned up.
The two divers, Thew and David, both with Laval University in Quebec, arrived at the start of July so we headed to Quirpon (pronounced Carpoon) at the northern tip of Newfoundland to provision, as it is close to the metropolis of St Anthony with its choice of two supermarkets.
The divers tested their gear there. Thew was on the previous year’s trip so was not shocked by the water temperature. David was less experienced and became fond of the hot heat pack in his drysuit. Diving got even tougher further north as the water temperature at 60 feet could be as low as 34f (2c).
Wade and divers
On 5th July, we crossed the Belle Isle Strait to Labrador with sail set, making 10 knots in 20  plus knots of wind. First stop was Spear Harbour, a settlement of a few houses, where Wade pointed out the house he was hoping to buy (around C$4000 his top price). It became a running joke that Wade would know someone wherever we went, a cousin or shipmate or a boat that he and his brothers had built or owned as well as everything about the places. We were never disappointed and it was a reminder of what a tight knit community he is part of.

Wade's arctic char catch
Our next stop at Punchbowl gave as a lovely surprise when the Hannah came into view as we approached the dock. We were weather bound the following day so caught up with Mick and Bee and their summer so far – we had last seen them in South Carolina in February. Now they were heading north to the Torngat National Park at the far end of Labrador. We shared dreams of further cruises together.
Jackie with Mick and Bee, Punchbowl
Our time together was too short as we had to move on to avoid further slippage on our diving programme. We left Hannah with whales spouting alongside her but she was soon out of sight as we ploughed on at 9 knots. We had a long day’s run of around 130 miles to get north of Cape Harrison which brought home the advantage of a large well powered motorsailer – you get there quicker.  It set us thinking that we might need a different type of boat to get as far north as we want – early discussions!
Now the diving began, typically three dives per day. We settled into our routine, launch the dive boat, put the gear aboard, heat packs and hot water for the divers. We saw that we were on a working rather than pleasure cruise with occasional opportunities to get ashore on some of the many islands along the coast.
We got some fabulous views of bays with bergs aground, parts of the huge Pieterman ice island which had been breaking up along the Labrador coast. This island broke off in Greenland in 2010 and was originally 100 square miles. All summer, we saw flat bergs a mile or more across. The biggest remnant was east of Belle Isle when we returned south and even larger than it.

The diving along Hopedale Run was very successful and produced the largest and so oldest specimen Walter had collected. We were always watching the weather as the best diving was on the outer islands and so more exposed to wind and swell. In between we spent  a few days in Nain and Hopedale, both Inuit communities with no road access and limited facilities.
Huskies and flies, Nain
We had a unique dining experience in Nain. We used the local ‘hotel’ for laundry and wifi and we also ate there. We ordered, waited for a while and eventually food started to arrive. As more plates arrived, they had less and less on them. Robin’s food did not arrive at all. When we asked why, it turned out the kitchen was running out of food but the waitress could not bring herself to tell us. All done in a friendly way though. We enjoyed Nain and Hopedale, where we walked around some more, talking to the stone carvers and buying the odd carving. On the way to Hopedale, we had met up with Hannah again in company with Andante. A happy evening spent with Mick and Bee was more like our usual cruising life and we talked of coming back to the north on a bigger boat with more speed.
We continued to get good specimens around Hopedale but it got tougher further south. We spent a few days at Battle Harbour, more touristy than anywhere else on the coast but attractive and instructive on the cod fishery that died at the end of the 1980s after hundreds of  years  fishing. Wade had told us that 20 million (yes, million) tons of cod were landed in the late eighties along the Labrador and Newfoundland coast. Fishermen were surprised when the fish disappeared and the fishing moratorium was introduced in 1992! We saw lots of evidence of how extensive the fishery had been and how summer camps were suddenly abandoned.
Smokey Tickle

We headed back to Quirpon to reprovision then carried on to the Quebec shore. The coast was interesting enough, especially Harrington Harbor with its boardwalk roads, the last English speaking community on the coast. We also enjoyed Ouapitagone run behind Cape Whittle which sheltered us for a few days. Ashore there were masses of bake apple berries (cloudberries or knotberries) which Wade picked for us and for his freezer.
Boardwalk road, Harrington Harbour

West of Cape Whittle, we were in French speaking Quebec. From Nashquan to the west, there was a coast road so we were back in tourist land. We visited Havre St Pierre (great restaurant), Anticosti island, devoted to deer hunting and forestry and no decent harbor and Riviere au Renard, an out and out fishing town.
Decision making,crew hike, Riviere au Renard

The divers were leaving the boat at the next harbor, Gaspe, and we left the boat with them. It all happened quickly as we had a difference of view with Walter. We agreed that it was best for us to leave so found ourselves ashore in Gaspe, several days short of the end of the trip. Overall we had seen and learnt a lot on Alca I and had generally had pretty good weather looking at the pictures. We concluded that we are better off on our own boat.
Three days later we were back on our bus in Pennsylvania by way of Montreal. It had been an interesting time and made us realise how much we value our time on Blackthorn - next post from Blackthorn when we rejoin her in November. For now we are taking Pearl the bus up to New England for a bit of hiking.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Charleston SC to St Marys GA

Charleston SC to St Marys GA  -   February 2011

We left Hannah in Wappoo Creek and headed back to Charleston. We had been told by Sue & Steve (on Kainui in Belfast) of a laid back marina on the Cooper River where they spent some time.  It turned out to be a good recommendation, close to the historic area and easy going so we spent the next two days walking the city.

It’s a fascinating place, many well preserved plantation era houses and atmospheric tree lined streets. The most surreal moment was encountering a man in plus fours, Viyella shirt, tie with a pheasant along its length and a tweed cap. He was off to shoot pheasants which were to be launched from a tower! His wife was struggling with a large Harrods bag.
It was a gloomy day when we set off from Charleston for Beaufort SC (pronounced Bewfort) and soon the rain came down in torrents. Currents were generally favourable so we knocked off 50 miles and were glad when we anchored, got the fire going and dried out.
We made it to Beaufort by midday the following day after a very bumpy ride up the Coosaw river with water over the deck.  To our amazement, we were called on the radio by Hannah, who were still in Beaufort so our parting turned out to be short. Our reunion was too as Hannah left that afternoon for sea and their date in Key West. We managed  a brief walk together around the historic area, a sort of mini Charleston with a very southern flavour.

We anchored off the town as we wanted to see more of it the next day. That night, Jac had an accident of the type we dread, severe scalding to her hand and wrist after a pan of boiling water spilt. She had to spend the night with her arm in a bucket of water to keep it cool. It would steam if she took it out.
Next morning we moved to the free dock and went looking for a pharmacy. As we were walking out of town – there are no real shops in these towns – we were offered a ride by a local sailor who recognized our status; carless people are generally off a boat and boat people have a certain look. Jim drove us to a pharmacy and generously took us on to the clinic the pharmacist insisted Jac attend. There the badly blistered wound was dressed and medication administered.
Jim has had an interesting life working in many countries as an engineer after service as a bomber pilot. Amazingly he has a friend whose father must have served in the same squadron as Robin’s father in World War Two. How small the world can seem sometimes. Thanks for your help, Jim. We are constantly reminded how generous people are  in this country.

We did manage a tour of the town and came across this cemetery with many confederate flags. Wars are quick to start and slow to mend.
Next stop from Beaufort was Savannah. We negotiated the narrow and twisting cuts between rivers on this part of the waterway only to see the superstructure of a giant containership apparently passing above the reed bed ahead of us. We were closer to the Savannah River and its busy container port than we thought.
 Our plan was to meet up with Joe and Pam, friends who live near Savannah on Skidaway Island and who we had not seen in a very long time. Pam had contacted us recently after reading this blog and we arranged to dock at their local marina on Skidaway. The tide was running hard across the narrow entrance to the marina so we came in at a 45 degree angle to the pierhead, gunning the new engine hard.
Joe collected us and we were introduced to their 16 year old twin , Jake and Josh, who live with Pam and Joe. They have taken on responsibility for two teenage boys and we are full of admiration at their commitment and dedication at a time in their life when many of us are free to pursue our own selfish dreams.
Pam lent us her bright red Ford Mustang so that we could visit Savannah the following day, which was also Robin’s 65th birthday. We celebrated the pension payrise with a modest glass of wine over lunch and took a bus ride around the leafy squares and waterfront of old Savannah. It’s a very picturesque city, clearly vying with Charleston for historic status. They are both beautiful and equally charming to our eyes. Savannah might just edge ahead as they have a statue of Johnny Mercer (later we were to cross Moon River, although it was certainly not wider than a mile).

That night, Pam surprised Robin with a birthday cake. We enjoyed meeting up with them after so many years and finding that we slipped right back into that friendship. If we had planned it, as we had tried to do two years before, it would never have happened.
From Skidaway, we moved into the unspoilt and wide sounds and rivers of Georgia. The pilot book claimed that this was the most challenging section of waterway because of the tidal range and shoaling of a number of channels. Our first stop was Kilkenny, a sleepy backwater quite unlike the stylish and more groomed Skidaway. Here was true rural Georgia with endless reed beds and big skies.    
From here, we had to plan our stops carefully to get a favourable tide. We anchored in Darien River and waited out a blow the next day. From the masthead, the view was of reed beds to the horizon, with occasional wooded clumps.  We were sharing this with hawks, teal and widgeon, all welcome unlike the cowbirds who invaded early in the morning and treated the deck with contempt.

At first light, we set off for the ‘notorious’ Little Mud River which we survived without grounding. Next challenge was Jekyll Island which we approached at low water. Slowly we crept down this five mile channel, at worst with about a foot of water under the keel. Agaain we survived.
Next challenge was the ‘notorious’ St Andrews Sound, which luckily for us was in a good mood. We passed along the shore of Cumberland Island and were delighted to see some of the island’s wild horses on a beach. By now we had decided to press on to our final stop at St Marys so no stopping as we were only about 15 miles away.
 Except the channel markers ahead look strange and the chartplotter is putting us on their wrong side. A quick decision is called for, sadly the wrong one so  we are hard on the mud. 700 miles of floating and we are aground with ten miles to go. We called Towboat US as it was getting late but floated off before they showed up.
Our delay meant we had to negotiate the complex buoyage around Kings Bay submarine base at twilight and come into St Marys  in the dark. We tied up after a twelve hour trip, surprised to have passed a good number of boats at anchor. Later we learned that they are on the Florida side of the river where liveaboards are tolerated unlike in Georgia where they are allowed thirty days a year of living on board.
Next stop was the nearby North River, to be negotiated only at high tide, and our haul out at St Marys Boat Services. It’s always hard to leave Blackthorn and the week of preparing her for her summer ordeal ashore is a busy one. But we had a happy interlude as friends from England are staying nearby in Ponte Vedra. Malcolm and Jenny had flown over to meet up with Pam and Joe, who they had originally introduced us to. Again, we could never have organized this meeting, it was pure serendipity, as the general rule of cruising is that we will meet somewhere or some time but  don’t try to combine this to one place and time.
We drove to Ponte Vedra and walked the endless beach with Malcolm and Jenny just long enough to justify lunch. They came over to St Marys the following day to sample its simple charms and we planned to meet on our imminent visit to England.
Flying back to Texas from Jacksonville was as painless as we have ever experienced. Flights were on time, our bags were right in front of us as we walked up to the carousel in San Antonio and the car rental shuttle was waiting for us. Even the cheap hotel worked and now we are back in Bandera far from the sea and resurrecting Pearl our motorhome. So now it’s Pearl’s time to blog. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Special Relationship

Rodgers & Hammerstein, The Two Ronnies , Peter Brough & Archie, Rod Hull & Emu, Ant & Dec …. take your pick. What persuades people (or dummies) to work together? Whatever it is, it has been working hard on us for the past three years as we have travelled with Mick & Bee & Toots and Hannah.
In that time, we have been as far north together as Labrador, Canada and as far south as Charleston, South Carolina. We have spent lots of time together in Maine and Canada, been introduced to many of their friends, so much better than Facebook friending, and stood up to good and not so good times together.
 We have dreamed of distant voyages, of living the communal life in Maine (or was it Nova Scotia? – the dribble farm is beckoning) and keeping our sanity. Throughout, we have seen distant sights through each others eyes. The pursers/crew/catering staff  have constantly squabbled over giving stuff to each other – who is keeping the ledger? – while the two skippers, now figurative blood brothers united by hernia scars ( The Hernia Boys, or as bee has it, the Hisnia Boys), try and fail to keep order. How will we keep control of our budget without Bee’s amazing recall of prices and specials?
Now our paths have to part with no set time to rejoin. We will miss our joint travels a lot but may be giving at least some livers a rest. Late night Willie (Roger that) Nelson will be lonelier but no less tuneless as we persuade ourselves that we can sing or (even worse) play the harmonica. It is in the nature of our life that we move on but this prolonged cruising together makes the parting harder. In fact, it turned out to be a three Kleenex event highlighted by the crew bailing the dinghy after rain on the day of our parting and filling it up with her tears as fast as she bailed.
This has been an unforgettable time and the parting has only been sweetened by our plan to reunite in South America in 2013 – the Hernia Boys on tour supported by their carers. We’ll miss you in the meantime.  

PS Taylors cookers suck, especially if that what you do to them. There is therapy, apparently.

Norfolk VA to Charleston SC Jan - Feb2011

Blackthorn stayed in Portsmouth through December into the New Year as we kept Hannah company, drove Mick to his various medical appointments and sorted some problems of our own. As ever we were so well looked after by Cary and Linda. Also by Shirley and Sandy, particularly for lending us their truck.
The abnormally cold winter continued and we were snowed on over Christmas.
White Christmas
When we finally set off in early January heading down the Intracoastal Waterway, passing mile marker Zero at Norfolk, it was very chilly. 
Seeing us off the premises
The first stretch of 12 miles has 4 bridges that have to open so it takes time and cooperation as they only open at certain times. We made it with only one bridge altercation and spent the first night on a free dock at the head of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. That night, there was a hard frost and the waterway had a solid sheet of ice over it. We had to wait for a tug to break it up before we could get moving. There was ice  for the next three days although less thick.

We had a calm crossing of Albemarle Sound and kept moving as fast as we could, around 40-50 miles a day. We anchored off the waterway and in one creek anchored next to Night Cloud (Patrick& Megan), who had just set off from Annapolis on a long but delayed cruise south. Both boats set off for Oriental and sailed across Pamlico Sound on a sparkling day. We were too slow to get to Oriental in one day and came in next morning (mile 180) as the snow started to fall. We put on glasses so we could at least see ahead and entered the very shallow Whittaker Creek next to Oriental with snow on the deck.

We had planned this stop so that the Betamarine importer, Stan, could check the oil pressure of our engine. This proved to be normal, a relief. Stan then told of us of a new more powerful engine that would fit our engine beds with only the minimum of modifications. He offered us a good deal so, a week or so later, we had a brand new engine with 25% more power, just what we needed given the motoring ahead. 

In Oriental we were able to spend time with Patrick Megan as well as meeting Bill and Lara on Sunrise. Sunrise was in the same yard as Blackthorn having repairs to her hull following a grounding in Oregon Sound, a hairy story (    
Another reason to come out of the water was to check the propeller and shaft which had become very noisy. The shaft turned out to be bent and the folding propeller possibly twisted. We fitted the original prop, had the shaft straightened and relaunched to commission the engine with the help of the yard’s expert Darryl. He encouraged us to run the engine as hard as we could and we were amazed when we got over 7 knots motoring, just what we needed with so much motoring ahead of us.
Next stop was Beaufort then off again with snow forecast for later in the day. By eleven it was snowing hard so we stopped at Swansboro. By the next morning, there was six inches on deck. Three lots of snow so far this winter, three too many.

We decided to stop at Wrightsville to wait for Hannah who were by now hurrying south to meet friends in Florida. They turned up after some serious adventures ( and both boats continued on to Southport, NC, a very neat anchorage. We were rafting up to Hannah, selfishly cutting down our anchoring.
A good forecast allowed us to cover 140 miles offshore to Charleston, a reasonable passage but a bit bumpy towards the end with a strong adverse current coming in to Charleston Harbour. Blackthorn and Hannah anchored in Wappoo Creek on the waterway while all hands tried to fix Hannah’s Taylors kerosene cooker. This had been playing up for a while as they always do and finally after several transplants, coffee was brewing again.
Taylors addicts find no relief

The time had come for a parting of the ways. We had decided to go to a yard in Georgia to leave Blackthorn for the summer and visit Charleston and Savannah on the way down. Hannah were still pressing on south so with heavy hearts, not knowing when we see each other again, we left them in Wappoo Creek. We have had an amazing three years cruising together.
Missing you

Monday, 3 January 2011

Blackthorn 2010

Blackthorn spent winter 2009/2010 under cover at Cape Breton Boatyard in Baddeck, Nova Scotia  in the tender care of Henry Fuller. 

We rejoined her in May still recovering from our motorcycle accident in Texas. We rented a cottage in Baddeck and spent a few weeks painting and fixing, trying to be ready to go when Hannah ( Mick & Bee& Toots) caught up with us. Our plan was to cruise Newfoundland and Labrador in company with them.
Bethunes Boat House, Baddeck

True to our reputation, we were still trying to finish when Hannah left Baddeck heading for Dingwall, the northern tip of Nova Scotia. We caught up the next day and crossed to the west coast of Newfoundland together after a few days enjoying Hamilton  Carter’s hospitality in Dingwall. A lively crossing with the anticipated ‘35-40 knots in the Wreckhouse area’ and a breezy beat into the Bay  of Islands.
Two days later, we set out from Bonne Bay on an overnight passage north for the Quebec shore. As we approached the coast, we were treated to a great display of whales spouting around us and off to the horizon across the sparkle of the afternoon sun. What we came for. We anchored that night in the beautiful Anse du Portage in Baie Jacques Cartier with the few summer camping families for company.
Fishing camp - Baie Jacques Cartier
We were treated to salmon, mussels and whelks by a local fisherman.  (See Hannah’s blog … a detailed description).
After riding out a gale, we moved east up the coast for Labrador and got as far as Red Bay.  Now Robin realized that, in trying to free the anchor in Anse du Portage, he had developed a hernia. A trip to the local medical centre confirmed that he needed treatment, the nearest hospital being at St Anthony, Newfoundland.
Red Bay
July & August
So we spent five weeks in St. Anthony while Robin was operated on and then recuperating. Very disappointing to have our cruise curtailed but an opportunity to get to know a special part of Newfoundland and the Grenfell medical legacy as well as a wonderfully generous bunch of fishermen. Grenfell brought much needed medical care to the Labrador coast more than 100 years ago ( Our thanks to the medical staff at Charles S Curtis Memorial Hospital, especially Dr Fitzgerald (thanks Fitz, this old gaffer may get winches yet) and Agnes who made it seem so easy. It was a memorable time which reminded us of another world when people were more important than processes.

We also met a lot of hardened northern latitude cruisers passing through St Anthony. Don Barr helping Peter sail from Florida. Northabout, an aluminium expedition boat that has been through both North West and North East passages, circumnavigating Newfoundland. Steve and Sandy on Hillary. Aussies Jonno and Mike who have cruised Patagonia.  Then Hannah sailed in unexpectedly.
Gaffers gaffing - St Anthony
As Robin was not able to lift or pull, Ham Carter joined as  muscle to help us get Blackthorn south. We stayed in company with Hannah for two days, then they headed back to Quebec while we continued to Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. 
Ham and storm jib

Ham left us for a week then rejoined us for a blissful sail to Liscomb where we headed up river for a sheltered spot to ride out Hurricane Earl.
Liscomb turned out to be less sheltered than we might have wished. The dock we were tied to was insubstantial and side on to the wind. The other  boat tied  to the dock, Dutch boat Pjotter (Seb, Rhiannon and the young 'monkeys') found that dock breaking up so we spent the duration of the ’hurricane’ (luckily daylight and no more than 55 knot gusts) putting out more lines, lashing the dock and staying busy.  
We stopped for a few days in Halifax then headed for Shelburne to meet up with Hannah and their friends Forbes and Yola. They make the most amazing flutes influenced by Forbes’ experience as an aeronautical engineer.  Sadly for us they were off to England and Scotland the day after we arrived but we had a great time hanging out with Jill their daughter for the rest of our stay. Also special to get to know Paul, Bess and Nettie.  Shelburne was idyllic so we did our now habitual Real Estate search.

Late September and we finally left Canada with Hannah, next stop our familiar stamping ground Belfast, Maine. We collected our first lobster pot line motoring in thick fog at night off Isle A Haut. Bad moment but luckily we were able to reverse slowly and free the line trapped by one of the feathering propeller blades (it’s a Maxprop).
Coming to Belfast is a bit like coming home, big hug from Cathy Messier the incomparable Harbour Master whose exceptional qualities we first heard of in Bermuda in 1997. Then meeting all our friends, special thanks to Malcolm and Carol for the use of Brad the truck and great liquid moments. So many other great friends that we repeated our Real Estate quest. Belfast is unique, we keep coming back.
Frosty mornings told us it was time to go. Hannah and Blackthorn set out on an overnighter for Provincetown, Mass.  A bit rough and windy as we left Penobscot Bay but we made P’town the next afternoon. No time to experience the exotic and flamboyant Gay atmosphere ashore as we did on our last visit. The next day we were through the Cape Cod Canal and met the full force of the south west wind on the other side. We struggled 8 miles to Marion for the night.
We were heading for Martha’s Vineyard across Buzzards Bay to meet friends of Hannah. Only 8 miles to Wood’s Hole passage which we had to pass to get to the Vineyard but 35 knots of wind and steep building seas made it challenging. We were glad to pull in to Hadley Harbour for the night.
The next day we sluiced through Woods Hole at speed and fetched the Vineyard soon after. Hannah and Blackthorn picked up a mooring which turned out to be free as it was so late in the season. We stayed for  a week enjoying the hospitality provided by Dennis and Julie who drove us round the island as well as providing great food and showers.

Mick & Julie

We hoped to make Vineyard to Chesapeake Bay in one go, a 3-4 day trip. Weather delayed us until we thought  we had enough of a window to make it before a nasty looking system hit us.  But the wind died on the first day so we headed for Block Island. Group think had both boats beating into a rising wind and a lumpy sea making diddly squat knots. Finally we were close to the poorly lit entrance to the Great Salt Pond in the dark  facing a narrow downwind entrance , entranced by the thought of a warm fire and a strong drink. Suddenly we saw sense (or was it white water), bore away into the night and headed for  New York along the Long Island south shore. NOTE TO SELF- Gaffers sail downwind
We had a great overnight sail but as usual the wind died and we motored into Sheepshead Bay  inside Coney Island. We stayed for two days as the wind blew so we took the subway into Manhattan. A free anchorage, 40 minutes from Fifth Avenue, how strange. Mick suspected he too had developed a hernia so consternation.
Manhattan skyline from Coney Island

Off again in heavy thermals aiming for Chesapeake but happy to get to Cape May early  the following morning after a boisterous sail made more interesting by a barely lit sailboat crossing in front of Hannah and Blackthorn ( he was motoring) in the rough seas of the night.  The entrance to Cape May has the tide running across it with turbulent cross currents to keep you alert but both boats managed it.
Our stay at Cape May protected us from strong winds outside but was spoilt by the Border Protection Agency giving both boats a ‘violation’ for failing to report our arrival in New Jersey waters. Unfortunately the supersized Homeland Security beast has trouble with its own rules so it is easy to break them. Try to report your arrival in New York City and you get bawled out. No consistency but now we have to be more diligent in reporting our whereabouts with or without hernia.  
We left Cape May in trepidation- not much good news in the forecast – fully expecting a beating across the mouth of the Delaware but had it easy. A good sail to Cape Charles where we came on the wind and just  managed to lay the Chesapeake Bridge entrance. Usual mass of Navy ships approaching Norfolk which we managed to avoid. Wind died as we came to Hampton Roads and we motored to our familiar slip in Scotts Creek, Cary and Joe waiting to take our lines.  We’re in our southern home and Cary had booked a doctor’s appointment for Mick.