Sunday, 28 October 2012

No 36 Portsmouth Virginia

Hi from Clare,                                                      Saturday 27th October 2012

After leaving Washington DC we made our way to Portsmouth Virginia where we will stay until Hurricane Sandy passes over or blows through you might say.

On our way here we stopped off at St Mary's which was the original Capital city of Maryland's founded in the early 1600's. The site is being developed by using original bricks to re establish the government buildings. Timber homes and business are being rebuilt on the original foundations and great care is being taken to replicate the layout and structure of the city. It is located in a very pretty bay surrounded by trees ablaze with autumn colours.


Old St Mary's buildings rebuilt on site

We then called in at Kilmarnock, Virginia to see an American couple John and Jeannie who we met on the beach at Conception Island in the Bahamas in May this year. At the time they gave us their card and suggested we call in to see them when coming back down the coast. Once again we were treated to wonderfully generous American hospitality with evening cocktails and dinner at their favorite Thai restaurant. As you can see in the photos their home is situated on a lovely peaceful river with a dock at the bottom of their garden. What a wonderful set up, if only this was available in Australia; it's like a dream come true. We had a wonderful evening catching up and it all ended too soon.

Kilmarnock dock views

So after out peaceful break in idyllic surroundings we are now sitting in Portsmouth Virginia in the rain. As you can by the photos, we have prepared for Hurricane Sandy we think.
We have additional lines going in all directions to hold the boat in place as the wind clocks from N/E to North and then West. Tidal surge is probably our biggest concern as the poles we are tired to will be under water when the expected seven foot surge occurs. We have brought the sails inside, removed all the canvas and this morning we took the solar panels below. We have our old blue dodger up for some protection from the rain. At present it is very grey and still. The wind will start building tomorrow Sunday with the worst of it around Tuesday. We don't really know what to expect but I guess we are about to find out. One good thing we are not out at anchor and we feel quite safe here.

Eye Candy's tieup - these poles will go underwater in the storm surge

Last time we were in July we experienced a heat wave with temperatures in excess of 40 degrees every day. We became quite friendly with Bob the owner of Mile Marker "O" Marine Supplies as we sought relief in his air conditioned shop. Bob has been most helpful again this trip as we have used his marine shop as our mailing address whilst in America. It was like Christmas when we arrived and his bench is still packed with parcels for the English boats we have been traveling with and will arrive shortly.

More insurance photos and chatting with the neighbours

One of our cruising friends John on ‘Moon Shadow’ is in a Marina just ten minutes walk away. He and Andrew have been running back and forwards between boats conferring on the weather and sharing a few rums to steady their nerves. We had dinner out the other night with a Swiss couple Gerry and Claudia and a single hander Bob who have now moved on to the shallow waters of the Dismal Swamp. I went shopping the other day to buy a new saucepan but got led astray by the sales and returned with some new clothes; a much better idea.

Well that’s anyone’s guess. At this stage we think we will be here until Friday and more importantly we hope we will be here on Friday and still floating.

Love Candy xx oo

At 10:14 PM27/10/2012 (utc) our position was 36°50.12'N 076°17.79'W

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

No 35 Washington DC

Hi from Clare,                                                               Friday 19th October 2012

The first two photos show drinks on 'Egret' and then all of us meeting Mike and Marguerite's neighbours at a function in their home on Sunday 7th October. We were very welcome in the neighbourhood and it was a little sad to move away from friends and continue on our adventure.

Drinks on 'Egret' and a party at Mike and Marguerite's

On Wednesday 10th we bid farewell and headed for Washington DC. It took four days to sail/motor along the Potomac River to "DC". We passed miles and miles of waterfront homes with boats moored to private jetties and we anchored each night in peaceful surroundings. When the sun was out it was terrific, but for most of the time we were rugged up in multiple layers of clothing and with boots, gloves and wooly hats. By the time we got to Washington Andrew had a cold and was feeling sick. Fortunately we have enjoyed weak sunshine for most of our sightseeing in Washington.

Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool
On day one we visited the Washington Monument, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Reflecting Pool, most War Memorials and the White House. Unfortunately we were too late to join in the garden tour but it's probably just as well as we starting to fade after walking for miles.
Korea and Vietnam War Memorials

The next day we started our adventure with the Smithsonian Institution and went to the National Air and Space Museum. We arrived at 10.30am and left when the doors closed at 5.30pm. It is the most wonderful museum and we joined a conducted tour for 2 hours which concentrated mainly on space travel. Our tour guide was very knowledge and totally wrapped up in the subject. I think he would have happily talked on all day. The museum covered every significant air and space happening from the Wright Brother's first flight through landing on the moon and up to the present Space exploration. We loved it so much we even went back the following day for another look.

The Whitehouse and the Smithsonian Castle

The Wright Bros "Kitty Hawke" and a Space Command Module

Over the next few days we went to the National Museum of American History, the highlight being Thomas Edison's light bulb, the National Museum of Natural History, the highlight was tracing man's history back for millions of years, the Postal Museum, the highlight was a movie showing modern high speed sorting machines and finally the National Museum of the American Indian, the highlight was leaving, as we were too tired to take it all in. The Smithsonian Museums are huge; we would need many months to see everything.

Elephant and the development of the Edison light

A few days ago I tripped on an uneven footpath and fell face first on to the concrete scraping my forehead, my cheek and blackening my right eye. I punched the footpath with the knuckles on my right hand causing them to swell and bloodied both my knees. So now I am limping and Andrew is still coughing and feeling poorly with his cold. We are a fine pair!

Capitol Building and inside the Visitors Centre

Old Judiciary and the Statuary Hall

We went to the Pentagon, not expecting to get in but I hoped we could see some of the outside and take some photos. We were out of luck; we saw two of the five sides which looked very boring and drab. There were police everywhere, some carrying automatic weapons and there is definitely no photos allowed.
So our next adventure was to visit The United States Capitol and Congress. We weren't expecting to get in here either but in fact admission is free along with a terrific guided tour. We saw the Old Judiciary, the Crypt, the Dome and the National Statuary Hall.

Some of the grand buildings of Washington

On Thursday we met up with an American lady (Joan) who we first meet in Italy in June 2011. At the time we were anchored in Le Grazie and had Chris (Andrew's brother) and his wife Heather on board. It was good to catch up again and share what has been happening since we last met.

We will leave in the morning and start traveling south to rejoin Chesapeake Bay. The good thing about travelling south is the expectation of warmer weather.

Love Candy xx

At 1:42 AM16/10/2012 (utc) our position was 38°52.62'N 077°01.55'W

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

No 34 Annapolis Boat Show

Hi from Clare,                                                                 Saturday 6th October 2012

After the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam we sailed fifteen miles to St Michael's which is a pristine, picturesque, up market village quietly nestled on the water's edge of a large bay. It is a well sort after location for successful business men and politicians to have a summer home. It is centrally positioned with a short drive to New York, Washington DC and Annapolis. We were told that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have holiday homes there and have been seen racing each other around the bay in their one man sailing boats. Obvious question, did we get invited to their homes for a drink. Well, No, mainly (I'm sure) because we didn't find their homes - no doubt they are tucked away from the public eye.
Waterfront scenes at St Michaels

We spent two nights in the bay along with Prue and Bert on 'Exuberant' exploring St Michael's township. We also enjoyed getting some exercise by walking around the waterfront and along the well maintained nature trails surrounding the town. We then said farewell to Prue and Bert and made our way back to Annapolis and our mooring outside Mike and Marguerite's home.
St Michaels housing with Haloween decorations

We invited Mike and Marguerite for dinner on Eye Candy the next evening. I mentioned in my last newsletter that Mike and Marguerite have just finished a fourteen year circumnavigation. Mike is a retired Navy captain, and was a fighter pilot and test pilot as well as a commanding officer of a Naval Air Station. He flew two hundred and three combat missions in the Vietnam War.
During their cruising life they were in Malaysia during the 2004 tsunami and they joined with other "yachties" to organize relief to the small destroyed towns. They transported food, clothes, baby products and more down the small waterways that relief workers weren't yet able to reach. They stayed for six months.
Mike and Marguerite are not at all boastful and we only found out the above information by reading the local Annapolis press. So after fourteen years of cruising, traversing the major oceans of the world and visiting forty five countries Mike's statement to the press was "I have determined to my own satisfaction that the world is round" and when asked which is his favorite place … " it's here" he said "because it's home".

Andrew and I visited the Naval College. It is a huge place with magnificent grounds and beautiful buildings. We were surprised at how freely we could walk around visiting the Visitor's Centre, Chapel and Crypt, Gymnasium and the sport fields. There are also guided tours which included some of the barracks but as we had Marguerite's car parked in a two hour zone we didn't have time for the tour.

Naval College grounds and Chapel

Mike drove all of us into the boat show on Friday. We were fortunate to have parking nearby at his son's business address as the streets were packed. The boat show is huge and although we spent a full day there on Friday we haven't seen everything yet. Andrew and I attended a talk in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel by Jimmy Cornell, author of World Cruising Routes and many more cruising books. We then made our way to the tents and saw many exhibits and chatted with the experts. We have a two day ticket so we have decided to avoid the weekend crowds and attend again on Monday.
At the Boat Show with Marguerite and Mike

By that stage Amanda and Patrick on "Egret" had arrived and taken up one of the moorings outside Mike and Marguerite's home.
Carol and Steve on "Innamorata" arrived today to take up another mooring outside Mike and Marguerite's. Amanda has invited us all for dinner on "Egret" tonight. The weather is looking a little threatening so let's hope our luck holds out.

Tomorrow Mike and Marguerite have organized a BBQ for their neighbours to meet all of us. By then "Yindee Plus" will arrive with Sue, Chris and sons Wilf and Syd. It will be quite a gathering of cruisers.
Yesterday Marguerite said "Oh we want our neighbours to meet our interesting friends"
At this point I'm not sure just what I'm going to do to make myself interesting by tomorrow. Oh, I'll think of something.

At 1:00 AM2/10/2012 (utc) our position was 38°47.28'N 076°12.73'W

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