Phun in Philly

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Christopher Columbus here reporting on the run to the City of Brotherly Love.  The crew weighed anchor on Tuesday, October 6th and transited the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D Canal).  The crew crossed the Delaware River and found a spot up the Salem River to drop anchor for the night.

View on Salem River
View on Salem River

On Wednesday morning, the crew took the Delaware River north to Philly, where they stayed at Penn’s Landing Marina for three nights.

C&D Canal and Salem River, Tuesday, October 6th

The run through the canal was smooth sailing with the exception of trying to decide to enter the canal or not.  The cruising guide said a dispatcher would be at Chesapeake City controlling ship traffic through the canal using a red or green flashing light at Town Point.  Small Boats are permitted to enter on red with an OK from the dispatcher.  The crew did not see a green nor a red light at Town Point and opted to enter the canal.  They saw no large ship traffic in their 13 mile passage and only a few small vessels such as themselves.

Fort Delaware near the C&D Canal
Fort Delaware near the C&D Canal

Prior to cruising each morning the skipper references the Coast Guards Local Notices to Mariners for the area that they will be cruising.  There was a general notice for a gas line inspection that read: “Mariners are advised that inspections will be conducted on the natural gas pipeline over the C&D Canal, East of summit Bridge. The vertical clearance will be reduced by 2 feet during inspections of the center most part of the pipeline, directly over the waterway. Bridge clearance will be reduced to 139 ft. At no time will the waterway be impeded or blocked. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting this area.”

How about a job cleaning gas line 139 feet in the air?
How about a job cleaning gas line 139 feet in the air?

Since Still Waters II’s air clearance is 17 ft 6 in, they did not expect any issues transiting the 139 foot bridge clearance.  However, when they saw two guys hanging on the pipeline the skipper decided to scoot over some and not take a chance on a dropped object accelerating and putting a hole in the boat.

Passage through C&D Canal
Passage through C&D Canal

Upon exiting the canal, the crew crossed the Delaware River and went up into the Salem River to anchor for the rest of the day.

Philadelphia, Wednesday – Friday, October 7 – 9

The run to Philly was 47 miles.  With the wind out of the north and opposing the current, the conditions made for some choppy waters.  Then with the commercial ship traffic making some pretty awesome wakes, it was a bit of a rough ride.  The scenery was mostly both sides of the river lined with industrial plants of all makes and models.

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The wind and current were still strong when the crew made it to the marina, which made the docking a bit more challenging.  After docking, the crew headed to the Independence Visitor Center to make plans for the next day’s activities.  On the way to the Visitor Center, they passed a memorial to yours truly, yes, that would be me, Cristopher Columbus.  I have already decided I like this town.

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After taking in a few sites at the Independence National Historic Park, the crew set off on foot to Geno’s Steaks.  They walked through a Vietnamese neighborhood to get to Geno’s.  While walking the crew started hearing chickens and then finally passed a store with the door open.  Inside where shelves lined with cages of live chickens.  The store front window advertised ‘Fresh Chickens.’  Yes, chickens on the hoof would be fresh indeed.  Reminded me of when I crossed the Atlantic the first time with a few chickens.  The skipper said it reminded him of when they raised chickens in the backyard.

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Geno’s has been in business since the 1930’s and has a huge following in Philly.  There is a whole subculture on ordering your cheese steak and paying.  If it is rush hour and a long line, and you do not order correctly, you are sent back to the end of the line rather than hold up the serving line.

So for example, if you want a sandwich with cheese whiz and onions, then you say “whiz with” and then hand over the cash.  If you want a sandwich with American cheese and no onions, then you say “American without” and handover the cash.  No credit extended at the window, all cash transactions.

Elfreth's Alley - oldest residential street in America - 32 homes built between 1728 and 1836, still occupied
Elfreth’s Alley – oldest continuous occupied residential street in America – 32 homes built between 1728 and 1836.

Lucky for the crew there was only a short line when they arrived and the clerk at the window cut them some slack.  They got their sandwiches and drinks, sat down to eat, and as advertised the sandwich had just the right drip factor.  The meat is thinly sliced ribeye, how could you go wrong with that.

Henry Knox, George Washington's Secretary of War, dispensing knowledge at Visitor Center
Henry Knox, George Washington’s Secretary of War, dispensing knowledge at Visitor Center

On Thursday the crew headed back to Independence Park to visit the old State House, the Visitor Center and Liberty Bell.  The crew also walked around old Philadelphia to view many of the historic buildings, squares, and memorials.  Since Philly was the center of the North and South Colonies, it was generally the meeting place for the pre-revolutionary activities such as the Declaration of Independence.  Post war it was where the Constitution was written and approved.  Then for 10 years it was the new nation’s Capital.  So much to see, so much to do.

The actual chair George Washington sat in while chairing the Constitutional Convention
The actual chair George Washington sat in while chairing the Constitutional Convention

Friday was a day of rest and provisioning for the next leg of the journey to Cape May.  There was a Walmart about a mile and half from Penn’s Landing that made for an easy bike and grab for groceries.  Best of all, the rain decided to hold off until the groceries, bikes, and crew were all safely back on the boat.

Court Room in Independence Hall - notice the cage, defendant used to actually have to stand in the cage during the trial - hence the term 'stand trial'
Court Room in Independence Hall – notice the cage, defendant used to actually have to stand in the cage during the trial – hence the term ‘stand trial’
William Penn - Founder of Philly
William Penn – Founder of Philly

Philly Phun PHact

Q:  Who built the buildings of Historic Philadelphia?

A:  Carpenters’ Company, the oldest extant craft guild

The Company has  had 800 members over its 300 year history and is still going strong.

Enjoy the gallery of pics about the Company.

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