Author Archives: Dave

Seasons Greetings

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

29 Season

Summary of week:

To Jax

After spending a long weekend in Port Royal, the crew set out for their final push to Jacksonville.  They travelled four days and arrived in Jacksonville on Friday.

  1. On Tuesday the crew stopped in Herb Creek after a call from the crew of Monterey.
  2. Wednesday, the crew made a long day where they anchored in the Crescent River.
  3. Thursday, they made another long day and anchored off Cumberland Island.
  4. Jacksonville was an easy reach on Friday.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising south thru South Carolina, Georgia, and arriving in Florida. On the way she has dolphins swim in her bow wake.  Enjoy!

 

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 47 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

About the time the crew crossed the Savannah River and entered Georgia, the phone rang.  The skipper answered the call and found Rob on the other end of the line.  Rob and Glenda hail from Canada, and crew the Monterey.  Our crew last saw Rob and Glenda back in Jacksonville in May.  Turned out that Monterey was just south of Still Waters II.  The two crews agreed to pull into Herb Creek and anchor for the night.

Still Waters II arrived in the creek first and found a nice wide spot to drop the anchor.  The skipper noticed Monterey pull into the creek, so he radioed Rob and discussed rafting up.

Still Waters II and Monterey rafted in Herb Creek.

17.5

After the boats were rafted, the crews spent the evening talking and catching up on the last few months.

The skipper, Rob, and Glenda on the sundeck of Still Waters II

17.4

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monterey weighing anchor and pulling away.

17.3

Waving goodbye to Monterey

17.1 Leaving Herb Creek

After leaving the anchorage, the crew spent most of the day making way thru the endless Georgia salt marsh.

Hi tide in salt marsh

18 Hi Tide

At the end of the day the crew pulled into the Crescent River and dropped the anchor for the night.

Salt marsh glows golden at sunset

20 Anchor in Crescent Creek

View from anchorage in Crescent River

20.1

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The weather has started to warm and the winds have fallen off which has combined to cause some very nice cruising days.  However, seemed as though the crew travelled most of the day at low tide.

Glassy smooth water 

21 smooth

Travelling at low tide

22 Low Tide

The crew did witness some interesting things on the way south.  The pelicans dive bombing the fish entertained the crew for hours.

22 Pelican22.122.2

The crew cruised by this interesting solar sailor with an electric motor.

24 Solar Sailor

And when they anchored off Cumberland Island, this herd of wild horses came out to graze.

25 Cumberland Island Horses

Friday, December 1, 2017

After weighing anchor, the crew cruised down the end of Cumberland Island and saw a few more wild horses.  Then they crossed over into the state of Florida and cruised down Amelia Island..

Wild Horse on southern end of Cumberland Island

25.1

Overhead view of Amelia Island with Atlantic Ocean above the beach.

28 Amelia Island

After crossing the St Johns River, the crew made a few more miles and pulled into the Palm Cove Marina to end the 2017 cruising season.

Next Week –   

Still Waters II will stay at Palm Cove Marina for at least a month.  The crew will transform into CLOD’s (Cruisers Living On Dirt).  They will travel to Texas to visit family and friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hope to see you back on board as virtual crew members in 2018 when the crew will head for the Bahamas.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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The Duck Hunt

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!  We have two new virtual crew members who have joined the adventure.  Welcome aboard smartvegrecipe and buildingtheloveshack!!

2.1

Summary of week:

15 Port Royal

Cool weather has descended on the crew with the lows in the high 30’s most nights.  The crew has seriously started chasing the warmer weather that Florida promises and traveled 5 days:

  1. On Monday, they anchored off Butler Island with an overnight low of 37.
  2. They made their way to Isle of Palms Marina on Tuesday to run the heater as lows fell to the mid 30’s.
  3. On Wednesday, they made a short 12 mile jump to Charleston and had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
  4. They continued through the Carolina salt marsh on Friday and dropped the anchor in the South Edisto River.
  5. They completed the week in the Port Royal Landing Marina on Saturday.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II leave North Myrtle Beach and begin her cruise south thru the salt marsh where she encounters some duck hunters. She takes a look around Isle of Palms Marina, and concludes with a holiday fireworks display from Lighting the Landing. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 46 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Arriving or leaving North Myrtle Beach is always a slow go due to the number of water front homes with docks in the water.  In case you forget, there are many signs along the waterway here reminding the helmsman that you are responsible for your wake.  Consequently, the crew traveled south at idle speed (5 mph) for the first 20 miles.

After arriving in the Wildlife Refuge, the crew was greeted by some South Carolina fall color.  They also pulled into the Osprey Marina to take on fuel.  The marina has some of the less expensive fuel on the AICW, so the skipper always stops to top off the tanks when passing by.

The fall color:

3 Fall Calor in SC

3.1

Before they left the Wildlife Refuge they noticed a strange boat coming out of a side creek into the AICW.  The crew got a good laugh when they noticed that the boat was labeled as a school bus.  Must be a fun way to travel back and forth to school.

South Carolina School Bus:

4

A few hours later, the crew dropped the anchor off Butler Island for a cool night.  A sailboat joined the crew in the anchorage just as the sun disappeared for the evening.  The temperatures dropped rather quickly when the sun went down.

Sunset at Butler Island:

5 Butler Island Anchorage

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Unwittingly, birds became the theme of the day.  The crew woke to the sounds of shotgun blasts at day break.  Who knew that duck season opened over the weekend.  Then the crew spotted the first Bald Eagle of the day sitting on a pilling just after 0900.  Then at 0935, the skipper noticed that a local boat ramp and adjoining parking lot was full of trucks and empty boat trailers.

Bald Eagle enjoying the morning:

6

Then around ten, the duck hunters started coming out of the surrounding creeks and heading back to the boat ramp.  When a boat passed by and the skipper noticed the number of dead ducks onboard, he decided to try a little duck hunting himself.

The skipper attempted to wave down the next duck boat he saw approaching.  His first attempt was a miserable failure.  He adjusted his tactics with the second boat that approached.  He blew the boat horn to get the duck hunters attention, pulled back on the throttle to all stop, and opened the window to wave the duck hunters down.  The boat stopped but the hunters said they did not have any ducks.  Bummer, this kind of duck hunting has turned out to be harder than expected, 0 for 2.

By this time, the Admiral had come to the helm to question why the skipper stopped in the middle of the waterway.  He quickly explained the situation and had the Admiral take the helm as the third boat approached.  This time the skipper walked out on the bow.  As the boat got close, the Admiral sounded the horn and the skipper began waving his long lanky arms.  The boat slowed down, so the skipper yelled out, “Can I buy some ducks?”

7 Duck Hunters

At first, the duck hunters did not take the skipper seriously.  However, the duck hunters did turn around and pull up next to Still Waters II.  When they learned that the skipper really wanted some duck, one hunter grabbed a couple of ducks and tossed them over to the skipper.  The skipper tried to pay for the ducks but the guys just said, “Happy Thanksgiving” and turned back around to head home.

7.1

Not bad for not ever firing a shot.

7.2 ducks

Then around 1500, the skipper spotted two more Bald Eagles just standing on the shore as the crew passed by.  One flew off before the skipper could snap the picture.

8 Bald Eagle

After docking at the Isle of Palms Marina, the crew walked to the beach.  They were surprised how much it reminded them of Port Aransas, back in Texas.

Low tide at the Isle of Palms Beach

10 Isle of Palms Beach

The crew had planned to stay here through Thanksgiving, but the marina was full, so the crew could only spend one night.  The marina staff put the crew on the fuel dock for the evening.

Isle of Palms Marina:

11.1

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The skipper procured a spot at the City Marina in Charleston for two nights, so the crew made the 12 mile jump and arrived at the marina about noon.  After arrival, the crew walked around the historic district to gather the remaining items for the big meal tomorrow.

The Battery from the AICW:

12 Charleston

Horse and buggy tour in the historic district:

12.1 Buggy Ride

The Admiral managed to find her remaining items for Thanksgiving dinner in a neighborhood shop.  So the crew headed back to the boat.  Should be a great day tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Not much to report other than traditional parade watching, over eating, and another Tony Romo loss on Thanksgiving Day.  Oh wait, it just looked like Tony Romo.  Dak Prescott just looked that bad.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The crew left Charleston and continued south through the miles and miles of salt marsh.  Fortunately, the dolphins would break the boredom ever so often with an appearance.  There just is not much between Charleston and Beaufort.  No wonder they call this area the low country.

South Carolina Salt Marsh:

13 SC salt marsh

At the end of the day the crew pulled off the AICW and anchored in the South Edisto River.

Signs of life at the anchor spot:

14 Anchored in South Edisto Creek

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Must be the weekend because from the sounds of things, every human in these parts must be in the woods with a shotgun this morning.

The miles of salt marsh continue.

13.1

The day passed quickly until the crew reached the Ladies Island Swing Bridge.  After passing under the bridge the crew passed the Beaufort City Marina, mooring field, and waterfront homes.  This 6 mile stretch calls for No Wake and for our crew that means about 5 mph.  At the end of the No Wake Zone, the crew docked at the Port Royal Landing Marina.

Ladies Island Swing Bridge:

15 Ladies Island Swing Bridge

Beaufort Mooring Field:

16 Beaaufort Mooring Field

After getting settled the crew took off to walk the streets of Port Royal.  They learned that the best burger in town just happens to be cooked at the marina restaurant.   When they arrived at the Back Porch Restaurant, a crowd had already began to gather to watch the end of the ‘Bama’ Auburn game and prepare for the Clemson-S. Carolina game.  The skipper quickly sized the situation up and determined that most of the folks present were rooting for Alabama.  So when Auburn started to pull away, the skipper became a vocal Tiger supporter.

When the S. Carolina fans asked him who he would root for in the next game, he replied “Clemson, of course.”  The burger lived up to its reputation, but it was time to leave before too many more Gamecock fans arrived.

Boat Name of the Week

Stress Knot

Next Week –

The crew has decided to stop the dilly-dally pace south and get to Florida.  They should make Jacksonville easily before the end of the week where they will conclude the 2017 boating adventure.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Rescue 911

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

This short video shows the crew trying to help a sailboat who ran aground.  After pulling the bow around they were able to pull her into deeper wat

Summary of week:

Another strange week unfolded for the crew.  They were stalled in their journey south by two different waterway closures due to bridge issues.  They also were delayed as they stopped and rendered aid to two sailboats that had run aground.  Needless to say, they did not make much progress during the week, only traveling four days:

  1. On Monday, the crew had to stop short when the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge was reported broken and unable to open.  The crew stopped in Swansboro and had strawberry fritters at Yana’s.
  2. The bridge was repaired late on Monday, so the crew made way to Carolina Beach to visit some local friends, John and Ann Marie.
  3. The crew only made 12 miles on Wednesday so the skipper could stop and buy a auto pilot control head from a local consignment store.
  4. On Thursday, the crew entered South Carolina and stopped at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach where they will remain through the weekend.  A new construction bridge had the waterway shutdown on Friday.  Then the winds are unfavorable for travel over the weekend.

N Myrtle Beach

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising south through North Carolina.  Two of the three clips are the skipper running his mouth, while the third clip is a short piece just cruising along.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 45 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

 Monday, November 13, 2017

You just never know what you might see out on the water.  When the crew passed by Morehead City, they saw a ship loaded with wind turbine blades.  There must have been about 70 blades on the ship from Panama.  The skipper was wondering if they were coming or going?

12.1

The crew has also learned that boating plans are cast in Jello.  Today would reinforce the idea that you should never have a schedule on board, and that your plans should remain flexible.  The plan was to cruise to Swansboro, stop to have lunch, and then continue down the AICW to an anchorage at Camp Lejeune, in Mile Hammock Bay.

About an hour into the days cruise, the Cost Guard came over the radio and announced that the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge was reported to have a mechanical failure and could not open.  Since the Bridge clearance is only 12 feet, Still Waters II would not be going past Swansboro until the Bridge was repaired.

The crew made the short run to Swansboro and walked up to Yana’s for some peach fritters.  Unfortunately, the crew ran into more bad news.  Peach fritters are out of season and will not return till next spring.  The skipper had to settle for strawberry fritters instead.  This day is just not working out as planned.

strawberry fritters

After lunch, the crew returned to the boat and later learned that the Swing Bridge had been repaired.  The maintenance crew had to replace a hydraulic cylinder

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Before shoving off the dock, the skipper called the Camp Lejeune Range Director to ensure there was no live fire training going on today.  Once the Range Director gave the skipper the green light, the crew shoved off and headed toward Camp Lejeune.

14.1

The skipper had plans today to make the 0830 opening of the Onslow Swing Bridge.  However, these plans turned into Jello about an hour into the run.  With the Bridge in sight and only 10 minutes to the Bridge, a sailboat hailed the skipper and asked him to slow down.  The sailboat was clearly in the marked channel, notice the green marker,  but had still gone aground.  The sailboat was from Canada, so the skipper, with some minor nudging from the Admiral,  decided to give them some American hospitality.

15 Aground

Active Captain has a warning that there is shoaling on the channel side of the green marker.  These folks obviously found the shoaling.  The skipper went by the sailboat to sound the depths and determine how close he could get without grounding himself.  The depth was about 4.5 feet at the bow of the sailboat.

The wind and current were causing problems for the skipper, so it took three passes for the crew to get a line over to the sailboat.  Once the line was secure , the skipper began dragging the sailboat to deeper water.  Notice the water spray coming off the line at the bow of the sailboat.

15.1

After a few minutes, the boat was free of the ground and a new problem emerged.  How to get the 50 foot line off the sailboat and back on Still Waters II without crashing into each other.  Luckily the captain of the sailboat was able to keep clear and all ended well.

15.2

Well, except the crew missed the 0830 bridge opening.  The skipper guided the boat to the Bridge and waited for the 0900 opening.  After two days of trying, the crew finally got south of the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge.

16 Onslow Beach Bridge

The next obstacle to overcome was the Surf City Swing Bridge which only opens on the hour.  The skipper adjusted speed so that they could arrive in time for the noon opening.

At about 1130, the skipper was keeping an eye on a sailboat that was about a half mile in front, and was trying to determine if he should overtake them or slow down.  He was calculating time to the bridge if he slowed when he noticed the sailboat heeled over about 45 degrees and came to an abrupt halt.

The skipper hailed the sailboat and confirmed that they were indeed aground.  The sailboat reported that they were in five feet of water.  The skipper agreed to try and help get them off.  The captain of the sailboat launched his dinghy and brought a line over to Still Waters II.  The skipper used the line to pull the bow of the sailboat until she was pointed back towards the channel.

15.5

Then the sailboat captain took a stern line from Still Waters II and tied it to the bow line from the sail boat.   The skipper then pulled the sailboat back into the channel and deeper water.

15.4 Sailboat Rescue

Once free, the sailboat captain untied the lines and both crews were off towards the Surf City Swing Bridge.

16 Aground

The skipper likes to arrive 15 minutes early to most events because 15 minutes early is actually on time.  On time is late.  And if you are late, you just might get left behind.  This life philosophy worked well today, because once the crew got the line back from the sailboat, the skipper put the throttle down and arrived just in time to pass through the noon opening of the Surf City Swing Bridge.

The skipper did spot a couple of deer feeding in the yard of a home owner along the waterway.

17 Deer

The crew had two more timed bridges to make before they would arrive at Carolina Beach.  Between the Bridges and the sailboat rescues, the crew managed to arrive at the marina just at sunset.

19 Snows Cut at Sunset

The Joyner Marina is the homeport of John and Ann Marie.  The two couples first met at a one day Looper Seminar before either had a boat.  Then met again at the 2015 and 2016 Spring Rendezvous held in Norfolk.  This year, John and Ann Marie were south bound while our crew was northbound and met in the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal.

John and Ann Marie

After a few sea stories on the sundeck of Still Waters II, the four set off for Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn.  One of the truly fun and remarkable things about this Looper Lifestyle is the incredible people you meet and the unique experiences you get to have.

Tonight’s dinner would be one of those unique experiences because it is Churkeychanga Time of year, November 1-22.  And just what is a Churkeychanga you ask?  That would be a roasted turkey breast, garlic mashed red potatoes, and cornbread stuffing rolled into a flour tortilla and then deep fried ’till crispy.  Then they smother it with jalapeno cream gravy and serve it up with a side of cranberry salsa.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

After a wonderful evening yesterday, the crew took a short 16 mile run down the Cape Fear River and pulled into the South Harbor Village Marina.  Today is the culmination of about a months work of effort to try and determine if the auto pilot works aboard Still Waters II.  Yes the skipper has manually steered the boat for just over 15,000 miles over the last few years.

He has determined that the auto pilot computer is still wired to the fluxgate compass, the rudder feedback mechanism, and the chart plotter.  The only thing needed to make the system work is an auto pilot control head.  The company who made the autopilot has been out of business for over ten years, so finding the control head has been a daunting task.

The skipper has chased a control head down at a local consignment store here in Southport.  After arrival, Rusty, the store owner came and picked the skipper up.  The control head turns out to be the right model number and looks to be in decent shape so the skipper purchased the part.  Rusty then returned the skipper back to the marina.

consignment

The skipper spent the rest of the day reading the User Manual and installation instructions.  After the head was wired into the computer, the skipper was able to adjust the boat settings in the pilot control head.  Once all settings were entered, the skipper performed dock side trials and the auto pilot passed all the tests.

The ‘new’ auto pilot control head mounted at the helm.

IMG_0073

Tomorrow the skipper will perform sea trials and hopefully commission the auto pilot for use.

Oh, and did I mention that the skipper celebrated today’s success by eating a hamburger at the Dead End Salon.  It was just to good of a deal to pass up half price burger Wednesday.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

To the surprise of our crew as they left the marina, they saw Avocet cruise by this morning.  The two crews last saw each other back in 2016 on the inland rivers.

21 Avocet

The skipper also spotted a buck that was hard at it chasing down a doe in the marsh.

22.1

22.3

The crew made him a bit nervous, so he pulled up and walked deeper into the salt marsh.  While he was thinking about his next move, the doe scampered off about two hundred yards ahead.

22.4

After the excitement of watching the deer, the skipper finally got busy and put the autopilot to the test.  The skipper tested the ‘compass mode’ of the autopilot.  Basically you give the computer a compass heading and the autopilot steers the boat along the heading.  The skipper used the autopilot for most of the day.

However, when the crew arrived in the ‘Rock Pile’ just north of Myrtle Beach at low tide, the skipper decided it best to manually steer until he gains more confidence in the system.

The skipper likes to go through here at low tide so you can actually see the rocks.  He says you do not have to wonder where they are if you can see them.

24 Rock Pile

And besides, you also get to see the turtles sunning on the rocks at low tide.

25 Turtles

Then it was just a few more miles and the crew pulled into the marina at Barefoot Landing. 

Boat Name of the Week

The crews oldest granddaughter loves all things Panda, so this one is for you Emma.

13 Bogue Sound

Next Week –

There is a bridge that is under construction about ten miles south of Barefoot Landing.  They have the waterway closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.  The winds pick back up over the weekend, so the crew will not move again until Monday.  They hope to make it to Charleston by the end of next week.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Waiting and Wind

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Antebellum home in Belhaven, dressed up for 4th of July and posting now for Veterans Day.Belhaven

 

Summary of week:

This would turn out to be one of the strangest weeks on the water yet.

  1. The crew left Norfolk on Monday and made a measly 12 miles to the Great Bridge Bridge.
  2. On Tuesday, they crossed the dreaded Albemarle Sound and pulled into the Alligator River Marina to wait out the weather.
  3. On Thursday, the wind dropped into the high teens, so the crew decided to make a go of it and made way to Belhaven.  Once again, they had to wait out the weather before getting underway for points further south.
  4. Saturday, the winds had dropped into the high teens again with forecast that the wind speed would continue to fall.  The crew made it to Beaufort, N.C. but had to dock in a 20 mph cross wind.

Beaufort, NC

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II headed down the Alligator River with some Gulls feeding in the boat wake.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The day started with the Admiral piloting the boat out of the Waterside Marina and back onto the AICW.  The skipper then took over the helm and guided Still Waters II through the many Norfolk boat yards and container ship transfer points at idle speed.

When they finally arrived at the Gilmerton Bridge, they noticed three other boats hovering in the area.  As the skipper moved forward, he noticed the normally open #7 RR Bridge was closed.  Turned out the RR Bridge had closed to allow a train to pass over, but was now stuck in the down position and halting all boat traffic.

1 RR Bridge Stuck Shut

The crew arrived at 1055 to begin the wait for the RR Bridge to open.  At 1128, it appeared that a maintenance crew arrived to start work on the RR Bridge.  By this time, there were now nine boats hovering around in the channel.

At 1210, the maintenance workers left and hopes were high that the RR Bridge would open.  The skipper called the RR Bridge Tender and learned that the crew observed had only come to pick up some equipment.  The folks that were dispatched to fix the RR Bridge had yet to arrive.  There were now 15 boats hovering in the channel, so the skipper decided to move out of the way and drop the anchor and wait.

Just after the crew set the anchor at 1214, the RR Bridge Tender came over the radio at 1216 and said the Bridge was fixed and would be opening momentarily.  At 1217, the RR Bridge was open.  The crew weighed anchor at 1221, but had to wait for the other boats in the pack to pass by before they could join the parade and go through the RR Bridge.  They passed through the RR Bridge at 1229.

The plan was to go a few miles further down river and pull into the Top Rack Marina to take on fuel and eat lunch.  When the crew arrived at the Fuel Island there was no room to dock.  Looks like our crew was not the only ones wishing to take advantage of the low fuel prices at Top Rack.

The crew arrived at 1255, had to hover out in the channel for about 30 minutes while others fueled.  After Leap of Faith left the Fuel Dock the skipper backed in and fueled up.  When they finished lunch, they noticed some boaters that they had met on the inland rivers last fall.  After talking with the crew of Let It Ride, our crew finally got back underway at 1425.

At 1450, they arrived at the Great Bridge Lock for the scheduled 1500 opening.

2 Great Bridge Lock

However, the Lock master did not open the gates until 1520, so once again the crew hovered in the channel.  Once the gates did open, then they had to wait for another boat to arrive.  They finally cleared the lock at 1548, almost an hour after arrival.

2.1

Since it was getting dark here at 1700, the crew was glad to see space along the Great Bridge Bridge wall that they could tie up to and bring this day to a close.

While docking, they did notice the sailboat in front of them had a hailing port of Kamah, Texas.  The crew is Wayne and Linda C.  They have been full time cruisers since 2004.

The skipper also noticed another Texas favorite nearby, a Dairy Queen was less than a half mile down the road.  There were Blizzards in the crews future.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The winds were predicted to be less than 10 mph all day, but were forecasted to build over 20 mph overnight.  Armed with that information, the crew decided to make a long day of it and try to make the Alligator River Marina on the south side of the Albemarle Sound.

This is Isla sliding under a 65 foot bridge with a 64 foot mast.

3 65 ft HWY Bridge

The crew made the 0900 hourly opening of the Great Bridge Bridge, then negotiated two more bridge openings.  They managed to clear all three bridges by 1030, but had only travelled 8 miles.  With 64 miles to the Marina, it became apparent that the crew would probably be docking in the dark.

The crew of ISLA, Wayne and Linda.

3.1

Sure enough the sun set at 1702, the crew arrived at the Marina at 1730 just as dark was setting in for the evening.  The  crew did find Let it Ride and Dragonfly on the docks.  The three crews had an enjoyable dinner aboard Let It Ride.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

As predicted the winds picked up and howled Tuesday night, all day Wednesday, and are still going strong Thursday morning.  By 0900, the winds had dropped to 15 mph out of the south, so the crew decided to make a run for it to Belhaven.  The hardest part of the day would be getting off the dock.

Still Waters II was facing east, with the wind directly out of the north.  The wind had her pinned to the dock fairly securely.  With the aid of two folks on the dock, the skipper’s first two attempts to free her were unsuccessful.  On the third attempt, he finally got the bow pointed out and gunned the engines to get away from the pier.  Unfortunately,  the last two inches of rub rail kissed a pilling.  The smack caused about a foot of the rubber rub rail to break.  The good news was that the rub rail did its job and protected the boat from any fiberglass damage.

After the excitement of shoving off the dock, the next mile and a half was the roughest part of the day.  The Marina is on the north side of a highway.  The crew had to travel with three foot beam seas out to the bridge to go under the highway.  Once the boat turned south the crew had a more enjoyable ride.

Sailboat enjoying the ‘freshened’ winds

5 Alligastor River

With the wind on the stern and following seas, the crew made good time down the Alligator River.  After cruising through the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal for 20 miles, they arrived at the Pungo River in the rain.

Birds feeding in the wake.

6 Gulls

Luckily, by the time the crew arrived at the River Forest Marina the rain had stopped.  Leap of Faith, Let It Ride, and Dragonfly also arrived later in the day.  A mini Looper Rendezvous on the docks as the crews all swapped their latest sea stories.

Dock hands waiting for the next arrival at River Forest Marina.

IMG_0018

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The theme of the week, waiting and wind, would continue.  The winds were in the mid 20’s with gusts to the mid 30’s much of Thursday night through Saturday morning.  The winds dropped down into the mid-teens on Saturday morning with forecast to continue to drop during the day.

This next section of water has some wide open and exposed areas so before leaving the dock, the skipper found three bailout locations along the route just in case things did not go as planned.

The crew shoved off the dock in 17 mph winds.  This time the wind blew them away from the dock and it was much easier to get underway.  Amazingly, the waves were only 1-2 footers and following which made for an easy ride on the Pungo River.

Seas as the crew crossed the Pamlico River.

IMG_0024

When they arrived to cross the Pamlico River, the wind had picked up to 19 mph and whipped up the waves to 3-5 feet.  The angle of the waves were off the back starboard quarter which caused the boat to fishtail back and forth.  The crew got across this nastiness in 30 minutes and entered a narrow canal where things were much nicer.

Another sailboat enjoying the wind.

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The crew of Leap of Faith were about an hour ahead of our crew and were texting back sea conditions in the Bay River and Neuse River.  Lets just say the weather forecasters were wrong again.  The winds continued to stay strong all day.  The crew passed their first bailout point and decided to press on to see for themselves the waves in the Bay River.

The waves in the Bay River turned out to be about 3 footers.  But with the direction of travel the ride was comfortable.  The skipper took an angle out of the channel over marked deep water that also helped to make for a calm ride.  They passed their second bailout location and continued south on the Neuse River

When they passed Oriental, the third bailout location, all seemed to be going smoothly.  With all the big water behind them, it would now only be another 15 miles in narrow creeks out of the wind.  Well of course, except for docking.

A small reprieve from the wind.

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When they came out of the narrow creeks, they discovered that the winds had picked up again.  The wind was now blowing in the low 20’s.  To make matters worse, the wind would be blowing directly across the boat while trying to dock.  It took three tries before the skipper was finally able to get the right strategy to back the boat in the slip.  He started backing the boat towards the slip, two boat slips north of his designated slip.  The wind blew him south and as he arrived in front of his slip he was able to get between the dock and the boat just south of him.  Good thing that big 60 foot boat was blocking the wind after he got in the slip.

After getting all secure, the skipper went up to the office to check in.  To his surprise, the dock master gave him a large bag of fresh shrimp.  This has been a strange week, but at least it will end on a good note with a shrimp boil tonight.

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Boat Name of the Week

Waiting at the North Landing River Bridge

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Next Week –

The forecast continues to show wind to be a challenge to safe navigation.  So depending on how the weather actually plays out will certainly have an impact on how far south the crew makes it this next week.  They hope to get somewhere between North Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Hole Foods and Inconvenient Truths

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

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Moonrise over Norfolk waterfront

Summary of week:

Chesapeake

 

 

 

The crew left the safe haven of the Georgetown Yacht Basin and headed south down the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

 

The first stop was at Kent Narrows on Tuesday.

 

 

The cruise south was long on Wednesday as the crew skipped their first anchor choice and continued down Bay due to calm seas.

 

 

On Thursday the crew made way to Onancock for some good hole foods.

 

 

Friday, the crew decided to make 80 miles to Norfolk while the Bay was still calm.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

 

 

 

 

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising down the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  The clip starts with some smooth sailing in calm waters.  The clip then transitions to some choppy water, and ends when a cargo ship and car carrier converge near the south end of the Bay.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 43 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The crew took advantage of the calm conditions to make it south to the Kent Narrows.  They arrived about 1600.  They were the only boat at the marina.  After they landed, they went to the Jetty Restaurant to enjoy another dock and dine experience.  While dining, the Admiral asked if they could stay on the dock for the night.  The Manager agreed to allow them to remain on the dock for the night.

the jetty

From The Jetty website.  Still Waters II was docked where the big boat is at, top left.

Wednesday, November 1, 201

The run today started out well.  In fact, about noon, things were going so good the crew decided to skip the anchor spot in the Choptank River and continue south to the Honga River where they had planned to anchor tomorrow.  The winds were out of the east at about 8 mph which resulted in fairly flat seas.  This looked to be a good decision until 1330.  Then suddenly, as is prone to happen on the Bay, the wind changed direction out of the south and the winds picked up to 12 mph.  This made the last three hours rocky as the crew cruised in 2-3 foot waves with occasional 4-5 footers.  A little boat spray from the pounding waves:

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After the crew dropped anchor in the Honga River, the winds died down and the crew had a calm night on the hook.  Watching the sun set while at anchor.

13 Sunset Honga River

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The crew awoke to very calm conditions this morning.  The winds were light and stayed less than 5 mph out of the south all day.  with these flat calm sea conditions, the crew once again decided to skip a scheduled stop and push further south.  There are strong winds predicted for the weekend and the crew has set a goal to get off the Bay while it is still calm.

At some point on the way south, they counted 17 fishing boats working the same general area.  They watched intently as every once in a while a boat would pull up a basket and dump the contents.  However, they were not ever close enough to tell what the fisherman were keeping.

14 Fisging Boats

The skipper guessed that they must have been working an oyster bed.  The next day, the skipper’s guess was confirmed when an oysterman came to the dock with his ‘catch.’

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As the crew passed Tangier Island, the skipper decided to run a controlled experiment on the claims that the water level of the Bay is rising significantly.  You may recall that Al Gore often makes this claim as he peddles his brand of global warming.  His claim is that warming is causing the water level to rise and will eventually overtake the Island.

 

15 Tangier Island

Tangier Island

 

So the skipper decided to apply the scientific method to Al Gore’s claim:

Step 1: Ask a question. – Can we measure a difference in water level of the Bay to prove Al Gore right?

Step 2: State a hypothesis. – If water level is rising,  then we should be able to measure higher water levels from past Bay water level measurements.

Step 3: Test hypothesis. – Water levels were measured (sounded) back in the 1800’s.  Todays charts are based off of these 1800 measurements.  The charts used for the measurements were the NOAA charts, latest survey data updated in 1987.  These charts show Mean Low Water Level.  While passing by Tangier Island, the skipper will take three soundings of specific areas where he has agreement in the charts as to past water levels.  The soundings will need to be compensated for the tidal change at the time of the soundings.

Step 4: Analyze Data. –

Time 1850’s Chart Depth 1987 Chart Depth Tide Change Expected Value

1987 data + tide change =

Measured Value

Oct 26, 2017

Result
1230 59 58.7 + 1.6 60.3 59.9 Lower
1247 58 57.7 + 1.51 59.21 57.8 Lower
1300 43 43 + 1.43 44.43 43.9 Lower

First observation is that the water level was either the same or lower from the 1850’s charts to the more accurate measuring systems of 1987.

By adding the expected tide change to the 1987 chart data we arrived at an expected depth value.  Since the chart depths are ‘Mean’ water levels, we would expect some small variations in actual measurements.

The water was calm, as can be seen in the above photo,  so waves did not effect the measurements.

Second observation is that all three measured values were lower than expected value.  These differences were less than six inches and can be accounted for by the ‘Mean’ explained above.

Step 5: Draw Conclusion. – The water level as measured is basically unchanged.  Because the water level is unchanged our hypothesis that water level is rising is wrong.  Therefore, Al Gore is wrong.  Go figure!

Step 6: Communicate Results. – See above.

The skipper loves science!

OK, back to cruising ……….The main reason for pulling into Onancock was to try the healthy hole foods (donuts) and sticky buns from the Corner Bakery.  Some friends have told the crew that the sticky buns are the best in the world.

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The donuts were very good, but they were sold out of sticky buns by the time the crew arrived.  In fact, the Admiral says the donuts might be the best donuts ever.  This was probably a good sign.   Another good sign was when they found this guy working the counter.  How can you go wrong when this guy is your counter help?

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The skipper will get up and go get some sticky buns in the morning before they shove off the dock.

Sunset at Onancock Wharf:

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Friday, November 3, 2017

The Corner Bakery opened at 0730 and the skipper arrived about 0800.  He got a dozen donuts, but would have to wait until 0900 to get the coveted sticky buns.  While he was waiting, the Bakery began to fill with 5-6 older men sitting around a table drinking coffee.  When the first guy entered the Bakery, the man gave the skipper a strange look.  When a second guy entered and gave the skipper ‘the eye’, he finally figured out he must be sitting at the local ole guy fettle fart club table.

The guys were entertaining to listen to.  One of them was a 91 year old WWII Navy Veteran.  Once the group learned that the skipper was also a Navy Veteran, they forgave him for sitting at their table.

The WWII Veteran told an interesting story about how his ship was sunk by a couple of Kamikaze pilots near the end of the war as the Navy was closing in on Japan.  The survivors of the sunk ship were all given 30 days ‘Survivor Leave’ and sent back to the States.  He was actually still home on Leave when Japan surrendered.  The Navy processed him out of the service while he was on Leave, and he never had to go back.

After the sticky buns were procured, the skipper said good by to the locals and commented that he would be back in the spring.  The Romeo’s (retired old men eating out) said they would be there waiting to talk again upon his return.

I bet they are there everyday, so yes, they will be there in the spring  also.

The skipper delivered the goods to the boat and the crew shoved off for Norfolk. And yes, the sticky buns were as good as advertised.

The crew did not see any other cruisers until they got close to Norfolk.  As they left the Chesapeake Bay and entered the Elizabeth River, they had several boats following them.

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When they neared the Waterside Marina, they passed by mile zero of the Atlantic Intercostal Waterway (AICW) marked by this red buoy.

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The crew then passed by this building welcoming them back to Norfolk.

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The marina and waterfront have been under renovation since the crew last stopped here.  The new marina look.

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Boat Name of the Week

Norfolk

Next Week –   

The crew will continue south on Monday and hope to make Beaufort, North Carolina by next weekend.  They do have two large bodies of water to cross and will wait for the proper weather conditions before putting in those areas.  So we will have to wait and see how far they actually go.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Knot for the Faint of Heart

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Yes, you saw that right.  That guy just climbed 60 feet up that catamaran mast to do some work with no fall protection.  Even carried his tool bag up with him.  Hope he has the right size wrench.

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Summary of week:

It was a short week with only two days of cruising.  The crew left Cape May on Sunday and anchored in the Salem River at the northeast end of the Delaware Bay.  On Monday, they crossed the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal into the upper Chesapeake Bay.  They ended the cruise up the Sassafras River where they will wait out some weather.

Sassafras River

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes: weather report of the day, sea conditions, log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruise thru some light fog in the Cape May Canal, overtakes two sailboats in the fog, stops in the C&D Canal to watch a large wooded sailboat cruise by, and then pulls into the Chesapeake Inn for lunchEnjoy!

Cape May to Georgetown Yacht Basin from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

To see past videos, click on the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 42 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The weather is predicted to turn bad with high winds and rain late Monday.  It is only two travel days to the Georgetown Yacht Basin up the Sassafras River and out of the wind.  To arrive safely on Monday, the crew left in the fog on Sunday.  There seems to be a little irony in that.

Cape May Canal

After five hours of fog with varying degrees of visibility, the fog finally lifted.  The cruise to the Salem River then became routine.  This was actually the smoothest cruise on the Delaware Bay to date.  Sure beats the three foot waves the crew normally encounters here.

After arriving at the designated anchor spot, the skipper noticed these two raccoons eating berries in the top of the tree.

1 Three Racoons

However, when they finally were done eating, the skipper counted three raccoons climb down out of the tree.  Two of the three are on the way down in this pic.

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When the skipper was looking at the first pic, he noticed the third raccoon staring back at him in the top right corner.1.4

After being entertained by the raccoons, the crew enjoyed a peaceful sunset.

2 Sunset Salem River

Monday, October 23, 2017

The next morning, the skipper enjoyed the sunrise on the Salem River.  Hard to believe the wind will be up over 20 mph later today, when it is this flat calm in the morning.

3 Sunrise Salem River

While making way out of the anchorage to the Delaware River, this Bald Eagle took off from the green navigational aid and flew right across the bow of the boat.

4 Bald Eagle Salem River

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The fall color was great along the C&D Canal, and the skipper noticed a Bald Eagle admiring the beauty.

5 C&D Canal

 7 Bald Eagle C&D Canal

The skipper also noticed a large sailboat was sneaking up on them from behind.  In the distance, it appeared to be a pirate ship.  The skipper slowed to allow the pirate ship to close in, then suddenly, the skipper made a U-turn in the middle of the canal and faced the pirates down.  The pirate crew gave a friendly wave as they passed by.  With the pirate threat resolved, the skipper pulled into the Chesapeake Inn for lunch.

6 Sailboat

After lunch, it was another three hours to the Georgetown Yacht Basin where the crew will sit and relax for a week.

The skipper did ask the dock master about the tides in the marina.  The dock master said that they had two foot tides and they were presently at low tide.  The water level was about four feet below the boards on the dock.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The crew woke to some unusual surroundings.   The rain poured most of the night, and the wind howled all night.  The wind was out of the south east and blew up the Sassafras River.  The wind actually blew water out of the Chesapeake Bay and up the Sassafras River.  Along with the rain and water runoff, the river reached flood level.  The dock office at the end of the pier was in about 8 inches of water.  Remember, yesterday the water was four feet below these docks.

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The water continued to rise until the crew’s dock was several inches under water.  This pic was taken about an hour before high tide, and the water rose another few inches after the pic.  It took the rest of the day for the waters to recede.

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Boat Name of the Week

The Wall Street Journal published a list of  boat names this week, from the Coast Guard database, with a financial theme.  Some favorites:

Broke But Tan,

Broke For Shore,

Float’n-a-Lone,

Fueli$h Money,

Floating Interest,

A Loan @ C,

Knot Cheap,

Debtors Delight.

Next Week – 

The winds are predicted to be less than 10 mph on Tuesday, so the crew plans to shove off and head south down the east side of Chesapeake Bay.  Hope to make Cape Charles by the end of the week.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Whale Watching Adventure

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

17.1

Monastery high above the Hudson River across from Hyde Park

 

Summary of week:

weekly pic

 

 

 

 

 

The adventure continued nearly 250 miles south this week.  From Hyde Park on the Hudson River all the way to Cape May, New Jersey.

First stop on Monday was at a marina 25 miles north of New York City to get some heat due to a forecasted cold night.

Then a night on the anchor next to the Statue of Liberty and a great view of Lower Manhattan.

Then another night on the hook near mile zero on the New Jersey ICW.

The crew spent a third night at anchor next to Atlantic City before landing in Cape May on Friday.

 

This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions:

  1. Who are the only civilians buried at the West Point Cemetery?
  2. What was the name of Henry Hudson’s last ship?
  3. What ever happened to Henry Hudson?

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II and crew taking a break to eat at the Culinary Institute of America, at anchor beside the Statue of Liberty, and some whale watching in the Atlantic Ocean.  Enjoy!

To Cape May from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

Link to this week’s video to Cape May.

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 41 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Prior to leaving the dock, the skipper noticed a strange contraption mounted to the side of the dock master office.  The dock master came out and gave the skipper lessons on how to use the device.  He was not sure if it still took coins, but did say it had a dial tone and you could dial 9-1-1.

phone

The crew decided to do a dock-and-dine at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for lunch today.  The skipper worked out the logistics of stopping at the Hyde Park Marina, even though they were already closed for the season.  While the Admiral made the reservations at an Italian Restaurant.

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Upon arrival, the crew docked and then walked the mile to the CIA.  The crew tried an assortment of three pastas and some quail.  The skipper also ordered a side of fries, just in case the food portions were skimpy, as can happen at these high end joints.  As expected, the food was excellent.  The hike back to the marina helped walk off the chocolate pudding, bread pudding, peanut butter cookie, and chocolate chip cookie.

When the crew passed West Point, they saw these guys out rowing their skulls.

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The skipper was pretty sure he heard the cadets singing the following ditty to help keep the cadence:

Row, Row, Row your boat

Gently out to sea

Sure wish I had joined

The Na Veee!

Remembering this early childhood nursery rhyme also got the skipper thinking of another popular children’s song and its connection to the only civilians buried in the West Point Cemetery.

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The crew would be cutting it close to get down river to their anchor spot before dark.  As they continued south, the weather unexpectedly changed.  Instead of sunny skies, clouds moved in and the wind picked up out of the north.  The crew could feel the temperature dropping.

The skipper checked the overnight weather forecast.  The updated forecast called for 9 mph winds out of the north, with temperatures falling into the mid-thirties.

The crew decided to skip the anchor and continue a few miles further down river to take a marina at Half Moon Bay for the night.  The crew arrived just after sunset, but before dark set in.

20 Sunset at Half Moon Bay

With the wind direction hitting the marina docks at a bad angle, it will be a bumpy night.  On the bright side though, it will be warm with the heater on.

Half Moon Bay is named after Henry Hudson’s second and third ships.  The following is a replica of the ship which can be seen at the Maritime Museum in Kingston.

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This was Henry’s third and final ship.  While searching for the elusive Northwest Passage in 1611, his crew mutinied and placed him, his son, and seven others in a small boat and set them a drift.  The nine drifters were never seen again.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our crew decided to drift further down stream and headed towards NYC this morning and left the beautiful Hudson River valley in the rear-view mirror.  The last of the fall color for a while:

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With the mountains behind them, they had this view of Manhattan from a few miles above the George Washington Bridge.

24 Manhattan thru George Washington Bridge

The crew decided to anchor directly behind the Statue of Liberty so they would have a good view of Lower Manhattan at night.  The area is not well protected from the numerous NY Water taxi’s and Staten Island Ferry, so it was a little rocky until the ferries stopped running around 2200.  However, the view was worth the wakes.

 

26 Lower Manhatten

Ellis Island

 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Who would have known, those New Yorkers get up early to get to work?  The ferries started running at 0600 and the boat started rocking due to the wakes.  The crew ‘suffered’ thru the wakes until 0930 when they weighed anchor so they could ride the current to Sandy Hook.

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The Admiral spotted a whale while the crew was in the Lower Hudson Bay, but it was too far to get any good pictures.

After rounding Sandy Hook, the crew saw two more whales.  The whales were less than a mile to shore which was a big surprise.

The skipper brought the boat to idle so they could better watch the whales.  The whales remained several hundred yards away for most of the time.  Then the whales disappeared for a while, so the skipper was about to resume travel when the whales surfaced very close to Still Waters II.  Pretty exciting, yes it was.

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The crew continued on to Manasquan and found the two Canadian boats that they had travelled with on the Champlain Canal anchored where the skipper had planned to drop anchor.  Rather than crowd the Canadians, the skipper went a few miles further to his Plan B stop.  The crew did wave at the Canadian’s as they passed by though.

 Anchored in Applegate Cove.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

The crew weighed anchor and continued south today towards Atlantic City.  They ran inside on the New Jersey ICW.  The experience was much different from what they encountered on the way North when they travelled with every boater in New Jersey on a Saturday.  Today, they were pretty much the only boat on the water for much of the journey.

They arrived near Atlantic City about an hour before low tide.  There is some shallow skinny water that if they had been any later, they would have had to wait for the tide to come in to pass over.

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For much of this last hour the low-level alarm was buzzing in the background.  The alarm sounds when there is less than five feet of water below the keel.  The boat needs 3 feet 9 inches to stay afloat and off the ground.

At one juncture the boat drifted over a 3.9-foot spot, which equates to 3 feet 11 inches under the keel.  Sometimes every inch matters, and in this case, it was a difference in passing safely over the area or bumping the ground and having to wait several hours for more water.

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 The skipper was mentally tired from navigating all that skinny shallow water and was delighted when the anchor was down and the day was over.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The crew has run the inside ICW between Atlantic City and Cape May before and have first hand experience at bumping the bottom at least four times.  Since the outside wind and weather would be favorable to an Atlantic Ocean run, they opted to run outside in the big pond.

The cruise started off rougher than expected, but things settled down fairly quickly.  The swells were mostly 2-3 feet every 9 seconds moving south east to northwest.  However, the wind was blowing out of the west and was causing 1-foot waves on top of the swells moving west to east.  The skipper kept moving closer and closer to land until the wind-blown waves had no effect on the sea conditions and the crew enjoyed the ride to Cape May.

The view for much of the day:

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The crew did overtake this one interesting little sailboat, notice she is even closer to shore than our crew.

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While docking, the skipper noticed a White Burgee, Looper in Progress flag, flying on a boat.  The boat was an Albin Gulf Harbor 45 named Rhapsody.  Her crew is just getting started on their Great Loop Adventure.  They have four days experience so far on the Loop and were extremely excited to meet their first Gold Loopers, the crew of Still Waters II.

 

Rhapsady

Wishing Larry and Sue a great, Great Loop Adventure

Parked in the slip next to Still Waters II is a 42-foot Jefferson named Misty.  The crew of the Jefferson came on board and talked about the Loop.  They are on day two of their Loop adventure.  Our crew got to share many ideas with Rob and Nancy.  One recommendation was to buy a White Burgee and start flying the flag off the bow.

Rob and Nancy

Rob and Nancy, Best of Luck on Your Loop!

It was fun to share experiences with them and reflect on how much our own crew’s skills have improved over the last few years.  They have grown and learned much in the last few years.  A Friday Flashback pic of our crew back when they were newbies and just getting started on the Loop.

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Geof the Training Captain, Claudia, and Dave, third day on the Loop

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rob and Nancy have spent many a day at Cape May.  They recommended a bike ride out to the Cape May Lighthouse, so the crew took the suggestion and spent the afternoon exploring the area.  The skipper said it was good to get ten miles in on the bike.  Nancy also reported that they ordered their White Burgee.

Cape May Lighthouse

Boat Name of the Week

Saw this boat at Norrie State Park:

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Next Week –

Weather once again will become the overriding factor in the days ahead.  Tuesday shows wind speeds in the mid-twenties with gust in the forties.  This dictates that the crew get somewhere well protected and out of the wind.  They have chosen a marina on the Sassafras River off the Chesapeake Bay.

It will take two travel days to get to the marina, so they will leave Cape May on Sunday and travel north on the Delaware Bay.  The Bay has been a nemesis for them in the past, so they are hoping to catch a break and get a good day on this passage.

They plan to spend a week in the marina to regroup, rest, and re-provision before heading down the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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Strange Remains

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Waterforf dock

Still Waters II on the dock at Waterford, New York

 

Summary of week:

NorrieSPThe remnants of hurricane Nate kept the crew in Ft Edwards through Monday.

On Tuesday, the crew made a short run to Mechanicville.

On Wednesday, the crew made it out of the Champlain Canal and docked in Waterford.

Friday, the crew continued south down the Hudson River and anchored next to Houghtailing Island.

Saturday, the crew ran down to Norrie State Park, in Hyde Park, to enjoy the weekend.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, captain’s log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions:

  1. Who is Jane McCrae?
  2. What do historians consider the ‘turning point’ of the American Revolution, and what is the connection to Jane McCrae?
  3. Where is the hometown of Uncle Sam?

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising the Champlain Canal, Locking down C-4, and cruising under a 17 foot bridge.  Enjoy!

Return on Champlain Canal from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

Cruising the Champlain Canal

To see past videos, click on the link to Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 40 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The remnants of hurricane Nate rained down all day so the crew decided to stay put rather than make four locks in the downpour.  The skipper did manage time to find a break in the rain and go buy two half gallons of ice cream though.  This Stewarts ice cream is good, but does not hold a candle to Blue Bell or Braums from back home in Texas.  

While walking to the store, he passed an historical marker sign that read: ‘Home of Jane McCrae.’  He wondered who she was, but really did not think much more about her.

 

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Jane never lived in the house in the background

 

Later in the day, the Admiral found a window in the rain and decided to go take a walk.  While she was out walking she came across an historical marker near a cemetery that read: ‘Second burial location of Jane McCrae.’  When she got back to the boat she googled up Jane to see what the deal was and found a very interesting story.

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Seems Jane was killed in 1777 under less than honorable conditions.  She was a Loyalist to the Crown of England.  Jane was also engaged to a British Officer.  Jane heard that her fiancée was marching south from Montreal towards Fort Ticonderoga, so she moved towards Ft Edwards where she stayed with another woman named Sara McNeil.  Most of the Patriots evacuated the area when rumors spread that the British were on the move south.

Once the British arrived at Fort Ticonderoga, they sent a group of British soldiers and some native Indians down to Ft Edwards to escort the two women back up to Ft Ticonderoga. 

The Indian scouts were leading the way south and killed a few settlers along the journey.  By the time the Indians, the British, and the women got back to Fort Ticonderoga, Jane McCrae was dead.

From here the stories diverge drastically depending on who you listen to.

The two women got separated on their return to Fort Ticonderoga.  Sara arrived first.  When the Indians arrived, they had a scalp that Sara believed to be that of Jane.  Sara reported this to some British officers who started an investigation.  Most of the Indians claimed that they came across some militia and the rebels shot her.  However, they could not explain why they scalped her. 

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One Indian claimed that they began arguing on who was going to get credit for saving Jane and get some kind of reward from the British for bringing her safely to her fiancée.  When one Indian figured out he would get no reward, he killed her and scalped her for a trophy so the others could not collect the reward.

There are several other variations of these two tales but we do not have time to cover all the different forks in the road.  One interesting side note though is that some report that Jane was in her wedding dress and that when she arrived at Fort Ticonderoga she would marry her fiancée.

The Americans latched onto the latter story and began putting additional spin on the tale.  Many in New York were Loyalists, and the Americans were trying hard to convince them that the British could not protect them; therefore, they needed to come over to the Patriot side and help defeat the British.  The result of Jane’s death did cause many who were sitting on the fence to side with the American’s.

Interestingly enough, the story does not end here though.  Jane may have faced a horrible death at the age of 17 with a tomahawk to the skull, but her body has not rested in peace since her death, either.

She was originally buried in Ft Edwards in 1777.  In 1822, she, with many others, were moved to allow expansion of the Champlain Canal.  She was placed in the same plot, but above Sara McNeil.

MemorialmarkerUnionCemetery

In 1852, she was moved again.  This time to the Union Cemetery in Ft Edwards.

In 2003, a team of forensic scientists exhumed Jane’s body to see if they could determine her cause of death.  When they dug up the grave they found one coffin with two full sets of skeletons, well minus one skull.  They took DNA samples of the bones and reburied them in the one coffin.

In 2005, the forensic team exhumed the casket once more.  Based on DNA, they were able to separate the skeletal remains into two mostly complete skeletons and determine that the missing skull was Jane McCrae’s.  The other skeleton was determined to be Sara McNeil.  The remains were put in separate caskets and reburied.

McCrea_Tombstone_large

Oh, the forensic team could not determine cause of death of Jane.  The few ribs that remained however, did not show any gunshot damage.  The mystery continues. 

And how about the turning point of the Revolution you may be asking yourself.  Well because of the news spin by the Americans, many joined forces with the Patriots.  These new recruits were part of the forces that defeated the British in the Battles of Saratoga in September and October of 1777.  The French decided to join the fight against the British based on the American wins in Saratoga.  The Battle of Saratoga is also considered one of the top fifteen most significant battles in world history.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The crew woke to a beautiful sunshiny morning.  When they shoved off the town wall they headed south seven miles to Lock C-6.  When they arrived at the Lock, there were two boats already set in the Lock.  The Lockmaster said: “come on in but do a port side tie.”

The Admiral scrambled to move the fenders from starboard to port as they entered the lock.  In the rush, the Admiral forgot to grab her gloves.  Once she had her line attached to the boat she walked back to the sundeck and grabbed her gloves. 

In the 3-5 seconds that she was gone, the lockmaster had started draining the lock.  The bitter end of the line caught on itself and tightened around the cleat as the boat began to lower with the water level.  She tried to break the line free but was unsuccessful.  The skipper noticed that the line was not sliding thru the cleat, so he went forward and tried to break the line free and also was unsuccessful. 

By this time the line was beginning to stretch and get under tension due to holding the bow of the boat up.  The skipper grabbed his pocket knife and barely touched the line and the strands of the line immediately cut thru.  The boat fell about a foot back into the water once the line was cut. 

25 The Rope that hung up

All turned out well.  No one got hurt, and there was no damage to the boat.

After this harrowing experience, the crew did just fine as they cleared three more locks.  The Admiral also decided to deploy fenders on both sides of the boat so there would be no more last-minute surprises.  They are now ready to lock thru on either side of the lock.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One of the Canadian boat captain’s that went thru the locks with Still Waters II yesterday came down to help our crew shove off the town wall.  He also commented on the near lock disaster yesterday.  He said that he heard the line stretching and making strange noises.  He also said that when the skipper cut the line, the end above the cut shot up above the boat.  He also commented that he had gone and placed a knife on the deck in case he ever needs to cut a line. Well if nothing else, the crew helped train some Canadian boaters. 

26 Lock C-2 Dam

The crew only needed to make a 10 mile run and clear two locks before docking on the town wall in Waterford.  With the locks closing for the season today, the crew was glad to find room on the wall for Still Waters II.

Waterforf dock

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017 

The crew decided to take a day off and explore the town of Waterford.  The Admiral wandered over to Troy and found this interesting sign that required a little research.

Troy

Turns out that two brothers started a meat packing business in Troy.  One of the brothers name was Samuel Wilson and he had a local nickname of Uncle Sam. 

 

Samuel_wilson_portrait

Samuel Wilson

 

During the War of 1812, the brothers got a contract with the government to supply meat to the soldiers.  The meat was packed in wooden barrels and shipped to the troops.  Some soldiers familiar with Sam and his meat packing business began referring to the U.S. stamped on the barrels as Uncle Sam.  By wars end, the troops were referring to all gear with a U.S. stamp on it as supplied by Uncle  Sam, which lead to the acceptance as the nickname of the U.S. government. 

In the 1860’s, a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast began using an image that eventually became what we now consider the image of Uncle Sam.  Nast is also credited with developing the Donkey image for the Democrats, and the Elephant for the Republicans. 

In September 1961, Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as ‘the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam.  Can you see the resemblance?

727072-uncle_sam

Friday, October 13, 2017 

The run from Waterford to Houghtailing Island was uneventful.  Well except for another near miss in the Federal Lock.  The skipper was manning the aft line when it got tangled in the swim ladder on the swim platform. 

As he was feeding the line thru the cleat as the boat lowered, he noticed the bitter end was hung up on something.  He tried to shake it free but that did not work.  He had about three feet of slack line still, so he jumped down on the swim platform and found the end jammed in the swim ladder.  He was able to pull the line free and climbed back up on the sundeck. 

The Admiral noticed him coming back onboard and asked what he was doing.  He explained about the jam and commented that he sure was glad this would be the last lock to deal with for a while.  You must be ever diligent with these locks because bad things can happen in the blink of an eye. 

After safely exiting the Federal Lock, the crew passed thru Troy and Albany.  This interesting building is part of the NY University system in Albany. 

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The crew then saw these trees standing along the shore as they pulled into their anchor spot to bring the day to an end.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017 

The crew weighed anchor and headed back to the main channel in the Hudson River.  They were greeted by this big ship as they reached the Hudson. 

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After the ship got past, the skipper noticed a couple of Bald Eagles near a nest.  One of the Eagles was perched directly above the nest.  Can you see it? 

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I’m not sure how the skipper spots this stuff, but he does have eye for the wildlife.

Eagle Nest

For example, he spotted this Bald Eagle in a tree while docked at Waterford.  The Eagle was a little over a mile away.

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The color along the banks was breath taking today.   

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There were many boaters out enjoying the day and good weather.  While taking in the sights these fast speed boats all zoomed by and gave the crew a little wake action. 

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This is why many Loopers do not cruise on the weekend. 

After some more good scenery, the crew finally pulled into the Norrie State Park marina where they will sit for the remainder of the weekend.

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 Boat Name of the Week

      

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Replica of 1800’s canal boat

 

Next Week –   

The crew will continue south down the Hudson River towards NYC.  It is only two travel days to NYC, but they will keep an eye on the wind and waves between NYC and Cape May. 

They need three good weather days in a row to run out in the Atlantic Ocean to Cape May.  So movement further south will depend on how the weather is predicted to be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leap Frog

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

33.1

Champlain Memorial Light

 

Summary of week:

Untitled

On Monday, the crew anchored in Bulwagga Bay on Lake Champlain.

Tuesday, the crew moved on to Burlington, VT.

Thursday, the crew turned south and anchored below Ft. Ticonderoga.

Friday, the crew returned to Whitehall.

 

Saturday, they ended the week with a stop in Ft. Edwards Yacht Basin.

 

 

This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions:

  1. Where is the Birthplace of the US Navy?
  2. Where was the initial sighting of Champ, the Lake Champlain water dragon?
  3. Who was the wealthiest women in the world at the time of her death in 1916?

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II  completing the Champlain Canal, entry into Lake Champlain, and the view at anchor at Fort Ticonderoga.  Enjoy!

To Lake Champlain from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 39 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The town of Whitehall was first settled in 1759 as the colonial town of Skenesborough by a British Army Captain named Phillip Skene.  The town was located at a strategic location where goods and supplies were moved from Canada to the markets in Albany and New York City.

As the area grew in importance, Phillip Skene grew a plan to make Skenesborough the county seat.  When that goal was achieved in 1773, he set about growing his influence over the area known today as Vermont and the Adirondacks.

He went to England in early 1775 to petition for the area to become its own Crown Colony.  While he was away, the American Revolution got its start in April 1775 at Lexington and Concord.

On May 9, 1775, American Patriots secured the town and held Mr. Skene’s family as hostages.  The militia also commandeered Mr. Skene’s schooner, Katherine, outfitted her with cannon, and put her under the command of Benedict Arnold.

On May 18th, Colonel Benedict Arnold used his new ship to capture a British ship that was later renamed the Enterprise.

During the summer of 1776, Colonel Arnold oversaw the construction of 13 ships in Skenesborough to protect the Colonies from a British invasion from the North.  The new fleet of ships meet the British War ships in October 1776 near Valcour Island on Lake Champlain. While most of the new ships were lost during the battle, the fleet did enough damage to the British War ships that the British Navy turned around and did not venture further south into the colonies in 1776.

 

18 Whitehall Museum

Whitehall in summer of 1776

Based on these actions, the town now claims that they are the ‘Birthplace of the US Navy.’

Of course, Philadelphia, PA; Providence, RI; Marblehead Mass; and Beverly, Mass. All dispute this claim.  But that is a story for another day and time.

But one thing to ponder.  If Colonel Arnold was serving in the Continental Army, the ships he built were Army vessels, were they not?

Monday, October 2, 2017

After waiting for the fog to clear, the crew cleared Lock C-12 and entered the headwaters of Lake Champlain.  At this point the Lake is more of a narrow shallow river as seen in the two photos below.

20 Headwaters of Lake Champlain

20.1

Because the temperatures have been warm until just recently, the fall color tour is off to a slow start.  However, the night time temperatures are starting to drop into the 40’s, so maybe the color change will begin in earnest.  The trees are mostly light greens and yellow at this point.

21

The skipper did spot another Bald Eagle perched in a dead tree keeping an eye on the river as they cruised by.

24

By early afternoon the crew cruised by Fort Ticonderoga.  Ethan Allen is credited for taking the Fort from the British in 1775 without firing a shot.  Ehtan has an interesting history before and after his heroics at the Fort.

29.1

Prior to the Fort incident, he and his Green Mountain Boys were busy keeping New Yorkers out of the disputed land now known as Vermont.  Two different groups laid claim to the land and both were selling land grants to the same area.

When Allen’s side lost in court in 1770, they took to vigilante tactics to keep the winning New Yorkers out of the area.  By 1775, the Green Mountain Boys had created a large reputation for their tactics.  Hence, they were asked to help in the siege of Fort Ticonderoga.

After the Fort incident, Allen decided to march on Montreal.  This did not work out so well for him as he was captured on September 24, 1775 in his failed attempt.  He remained a Prisoner of War until May 3, 1778 when a prisoner swap was negotiated with the British.

A few interesting things about Ethan Allen:

  1. There is no portrait, drawing, or likeness of him known to exist
  2. His final resting spot in the cemetery where he was buried is also unknown
  3. 1n 1858, a 42-foot foot tall monument was erected in the cemetery with this inscription……’Vermont to Ethan Allen……..and buried near the site of this monument’

The farms continue to line both sides of the lake.  A Vermont farm:

30 Vermont Farm

A New York Farm:

31 New York Farm

The day came to an end after passing underneath this bridge, turning left into the Bulwagga Bay, and dropping the anchor.

32

Champlain Memorial Bridge

Bulwagga Bay is the place credited as the home of Champ, the Lake Champlain dragon.  Supposedly, Samuel de Champlain saw a 20-foot serpent here in the 1600’s.

The earliest genuine report of Champ was also made in the Bay in 1819.  A Captain Crum saw a 187-foot long black monster with a flat head that raised some 15 feet out of the water.

In 1873, more Champ sightings began to take place which lead to P.T. Barnum offering a $50,000 reward for Champ, dead or alive.

The skipper kept a lookout for Champ most of the night but had no sighting to report.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The anchor retrieval took a bit longer than usual this morning.  Well, maybe 30 minutes longer.  The anchor chain was covered in grass and weeds.  It was a slow tedious process to clean the chain while bringing the anchor back on board.  No wonder Champ lives in this Bay, obviously there is plenty to eat.

After leaving the Bay, the crew headed north into Lake Champlain.  The Lake finally opened as can be seen in this look ten miles up the lake.  The depth of the lake also changed dramatically.  The deepest depth noticed on the chart plotter was 392 feet.

34 10 mile fetch on Lake Champlain

The crew had wanted to cruise up Otter Creek to visit Vergennes.  However the lake is about 4 feet below normal pool level and when the skipper tried to enter the creek he was met with some shallow 4-foot water.  Rather than risk a prop strike, the skipper backed out and headed on to Burlington.

On the north run to Burlington, the crew past by a rock formation jetting out of the water named Rock Dunder.

37 Rock Dunder

According to local legend, the rock got the name during the Revolutionary War.  During the Battle of Lake Champlain, the British mistook the rock for an American vessel.  The British fired on the rock all night long.  When the morning light showed that they were wasting ammunition firing at a rock, the Hessian officer declared: “It’s a rock by dunder.”

After safely passing the rock, the crew headed towards Burlington.  Four miles out from Burlington:

36 Burlington 4 miles from shore

After docking, the crew went exploring in town.  When they returned to the boat, they were greeted with this sunset over the Adirondack Mountains in New York.

42

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

From the waterfront, it is a short walk up hill to Church Street which is the main drag in town.  Church Street is a pedestrian street with no cars allowed.  Many businesses, eateries, and pubs line the street.  There was a corvette car show the day the crew walked around.  You can see the cars with the church in the background.

41 Church Street

Also along Church Street was a mural that was a Who’s Who of Vermont history.  The Parade of people along the wall was fascinating.  Of course, the wall started in 1609 with Samuel de Champlain credited with the first to map Lake Champlain.
40 Mural

Ethan Allen was represented in his green jacket giving a nod to his Green Mountain Boys.

40.2 Ethan Allen

A real surprise was Hetty Green.  When she died in 1916 she was reported to be the wealthiest women in the world.  Worth somewhere between 100-200 million dollars.  She made the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest Miser.”  Hetty is the lady with flowers in her hat.

40.4 Hetty Green

It is reported that in her later years she developed a hernia.  However, she refused to have a doctor repair the hernia because the cost was $150.

Strangely enough, she bequeathed her fortune equally between her two children.  The son died a few years later and left his money to his sister.  When she died in 1951 she gave the 200-million-dollar fortune to charities.

Champ made the wall as well.  You can see him above the John Deere tractor which was also started in Vermont.

40.5 Champ

Lastly was a Robert Fuller.  He is on the far left of the photo below.  He is a co-owner of Leunigs Bistro.  He also was a co-sponsor for the mural.  The skipper found it interesting that Robert has the same life motto as he:  Live Well, Laugh Often, and Love Much.

40.3 Robert Fuller

The crew would like to stay here longer and explore more, but they must turn around if they are to get out of the Champlain Lock system before October 11th.  They have decided that they will return by this route in 2018 to go to Montreal and Old Quebec City.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The return south took the same path as the north bound run.  A major land mark is the Split Point Light.

2 Split Rock Point Light

The point gets its name because of the island that is split off from the main land.  Notice the ‘tunnel’ between the land masses.

3 Split Rock Point

The trees have started to turn more color, but it is still off to a slow start this fall.  Maybe the Farmers Almanac’s prediction of a mild winter in the northeast will turnout to be true.

4 Fall Color

5

The harvest moon came up over the Vermont Green Mountains.

9 Harvest moon

Friday, October 6, 2017

The crew weighed anchor and headed back into the headwaters of Lake Champlain.  The cruise was uneventful, but there was some good scenery to view along the shore.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

The crew woke to a rainy day.  After the rain stopped the crew shoved off the wall at Whitehall and headed towards Ft Edwards.  There would be four locks to negotiate along the way.  Some scenery along the way:

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 17

 19

The crew spent 2.5 hours waiting for the locks today.  The main reason was a tow that was ahead of the crew.  The tow was just far enough ahead to cause delays in two of the four locks.

20

One of the more interesting aspects of the boating lifestyle is all the fascinating people along the waterways.  The crew met a couple in Burlington that have been on their boat since May 2017.

Our crew left Burlington a day ahead of these new boaters.  Our crew ended up catching their lines though in Whitehead.  The two crews spoke for about 30 minutes before going their separate ways.  The new boaters are from Michigan.  One graduated from Michigan State, the other from Michigan.  They plan on going all the way to Mechanicville on Saturday so they can watch the rivalry game at a sports bar.

Our crew will stop earlier in Ft Edwards, but hopes to leap frog them again on the southbound journey.

41.3

After clearing Lock C-7, the crew turned up a side creek to dock for the weekend at Ft Edwards.

Boat Name of the Week

      No good candidates this week.

Next Week

The crew will continue South on the Champlain Canal.  The Canal closes October 11th, so the crew will then continue back south on the Hudson River towards New York City.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Fall Leaf Tour

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

 

IMG_0015

Skene Manor overlooking Champlain Canal in Whitehall, NY

 

 

Summary of week:

Whitehall

When it was time to leave Poughkeepsie on Tuesday, Jose had disappeared, but Hurricane Maria had taken his place.  The winds were not favorable for turning south and running down to Cape May, NJ.  So the crew continued their northbound journey on the Hudson River with a new goal of reaching Burlington, Vermont before turning south.  They have dubbed this new goal the ‘Fall Leaf Tour.’

Tuesday found them in Kingston.  Wednesday, they made a long run to Waterford to make preps for the Champlain Canal.  Thursday, they entered the Champlain Canal and stayed in Mechanicville overnight.  Friday, they moved to Ft Edwards, and Saturday they stopped in Whitehall.

This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions

1. Where do the tidal waters end on the Hudson River?

2. Why is there no Lock number one on the Erie Canal?

3. Why did the Erie Canal get moved to the NY Transportation Division in 2017?

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II in Champlain Locks C-1 and C-2, where she is lifted 14 feet and 18 feet respectively.  Enjoy!

Champlain Locks C-1 & C-2 from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 38 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Tuesday, Sept 26, 2017

The run to Kingston was uneventful except for the Man-Over-Board (MOB) drill.  This was only a drill.  The Admiral spotted something in the river that turned out to be a lifejacket.  The skipper used the lifejacket to practice their MOB skills.  I am happy to report that the lifejacket was saved without incident.  And it is a good lifejacket to boot.

The MOB drill took place just off Esopus Island near the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse.

44 Esopus Meadows Lighthouse

When the crew reached the Rondout Lighthouse, they turned up the creek and docked at the Maritime Museum.

45 Rondout Crrek Lighthouse

Since last visiting the Museum, a Wooden Boat School has been added.  The workers were busy building one boat that they plan to power with solar panels and an electric motor.  Another project was in process where the crew watched the workers bend a piece of plywood around a structure.

46 Kingston Maritime Museum

47 Kingston Wooden Boat Works

Wednesday, Sept 27, 2017

The “Fall Leaf Tour’ is off to a slow start because the temperatures have not cooled off yet.

48 Fall Color

The crew had planned to cruise about half-way to Waterford, 40 miles, and anchor out for the night.  When they arrived at the designated anchor spot at 1400, it was 90 degrees out with no breeze.  The crew decided to push on to Waterford in hopes of getting a spot on the town dock wall with electricity.

On the way, they passed two lighthouses and a Bald Eagle perched on a navigational aid.

Saugerties Lighthouse

49 Saugerties Lighthouse

Hudson City Lighthouse

50.1

51 Bald Eagle

The native Indians named the Hudson River, ‘The River That Flows Two Ways.’  The tidal water and current effect the Hudson River for 154 miles north of the Battery at the tip of Manhattan.  The tidal water ends once the river reaches the Federal Lock in Troy.

54.1

After clearing the Federal Lock, it was only three miles until the crew reached the junction of the Erie and Champlain Canal Systems.

1 Which Way to Go

Though the crew plans to take the Champlain Canal to Vermont, the crew turned left to dock at the Waterford Welcome Center at the first lock on the Erie Canal, Lock E-2.

There is no lock E-1 on the Erie Canal, which begs the question, ‘What happened to Lock E-1?  Well, in the early 1900’s New York decided to upgrade the canal system.  Part of the plan was to build E-1 at the location where the Federal Lock now sits.

After the blue prints were completed and construction was started in 1903 on other portions of the Erie Canal, it was discovered that the location for E-1 was on land and water owned by the Federal Government.  Negotiations were entered to allow New York to build and operate a lock on the Federal land.

Ultimately, it was determined that the Federal Government would build and operate the new lock.  By then it was to late to change all the blueprints and names for the other Erie Canal Locks.  The Canal System just scrubbed Lock E-1 and continued with their original plans. And that my friends is why the first lock on the NY Erie Canal was numbered E-2.

Thursday, Sept 28, 2017

While in the first lock on the Champlain Canal, C-1, the skipper struck up a conversation with the Lockmaster.  The skipper was inquiring why the locks were closing early this year.

The lockmaster commented that the Canal System had been moved to the NY Transportation Department in 2017.  As part of the change, the Canal System could now charge more money for the commercial usage of the canal.  As part of the compromise for more money, the Canal System agreed to open the recreational system later and close earlier. Yes, follow the money trail, it usually leads to the answer.  In 2017, the recreational season opened a month later than usual and is closing three weeks earlier than the past so commercial traffic can have sole use of the canals.

2 Champlain Canal

The main goal today was to move ten miles to Mechanicville and contact the Lockmaster at Lock C-3.  There is a bridge just past Lock C-3 that is only 15.5 feet of vertical clearance.  The skipper called the Lockmaster and learned that the current pool level created a vertical clearance of 17 feet 2 inches.  Unfortunately, this is not good enough.  Still Waters II requires 17 feet 6 inches of clearance.

5 Mechanicville Free Dock

The skipper got busy and took the anchor light and TV antennae down.  This resulted in lowering the vertical clearance to 15 feet 6 inches which should be good enough to squeeze under the bridge.

6 Drop Heigth

Friday, Sept 29, 2017

After clearing Lock three, it was less than a mile to the lowest bridge on the Champlain Canal.  Before leaving the lock, the skipper did ask the Lockmaster about the bridge clearance one more time.  The Lockmaster assured the skipper he had 17 feet of clearance.

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When they approached the bridge, the water level board read 17 feet, so the skipper slowly approached and then squeezed under the bridge.  As you can see below, there was plenty of room to spare.

7 Worried

There was some great scenery on the route to Lock C-5.  After exiting the lock, the crew approached a confusing bridge.  The Navionics, Blue Chart Garmin, and NY Canal Handbook charts all listed the bridge clearance at different heights.  The visual clearance did not look good.

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Once again, the skipper eased the boat up to the bridge while the Admiral climbed out on the roof of the sundeck to ensure they had enough clearance to make it under the bridge.  Just before reaching the bridge some local yelled out, ‘You have plenty of room.’  Well turns out he was right.

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The crew continued on to Ft Edwards Yacht Basin without any more nail bitter bridges.

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Saturday, Sept 30, 2017

The crew awoke to rain and cold temps.  It was only 47 degrees when the skipper woke up.  They decided to wait for the rain to stop before leaving the dock.  The skipper says he does not mind being cold, and he does not mind being wet, but he hates to be cold and wet.

After lunch the crew set out for Whitehall.  As the crew pulled into Lock C-7 the rain started back up.  Luckily it was only a light mist.  By the time they cleared the lock, the sun broke out for a while.

Lock C-8 was cleared in sunshine.  Just after exiting the lock, the skipper got a radio call from a tug Captain.  He requested the skipper to hold his position while the tug made it through a narrow shallow portion of the canal.  The tow Captain said he gets stuck in the area about half the time.  After about ten minutes, the Captain called back and said he was dragging bottom but thought he would make it through the shallow area.  He told the skipper to come on by and throw a little bit of wake.

After the tow, the skipper spotted a Bald Eagle perched in the top of a dead tree.

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The crew passed many farms along the canal today along with many boaters headed south.

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When the crew arrived at the Whitehall town dock there were already three boats tied along the wall.  There was barely any room to shoe horn a fourth boat in.  The owner of a sailboat hopped off his boat and ‘walked’ it closer to another sailboat on the wall.  This provided about 30 foot of wall space for Still Waters II to land on the wall with 15 feet of boat hanging out in the open.

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Since the temps are scheduled to drop in the low 30’s tonight, the Admiral was happy to be getting electricity for the heaters for the weekend.

 Boat Name of the Week

      Eggs-to-Sea

Next Week – 

The crew will continue on to Burlington, Vermont where they will turnaround and head back south.  They will need to be out of the Champlain Canal before the closure on October 11th.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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