Chessie, we hardly knew ya

The leaves were starting to fall and a tinge of cold was in the air and we knew summer was over and fall was coming.  We wanted to get south to warmer climates and soon. However, the stomach flu (will spare you the photos) and a series of lows marching out of the southeast were pinning us into Jersey City.  So once we were moderately better and got a decent weather window we made a mad dash out of NY harbor, down the Jersey coast, up the Delaware Bay, through the C&D Canal and into the Chesapeake Bay.

C&D Canal

C&D Canal

Whew, it was long trip but nice to be ensconced in the picturesque calm of this big bay and all its tributaries, creeks, byways and hi ways.  But just as we were about to start exploring, NOAA threw us a curveball by predicting that Hurricane Joaquin would run straight up the Chesapeake Bay and bring a 5 – 10’ tidal surge with it.

Rats, now instead of touring around, we were on the desperate search for a hurricane hole and a way to secure our home so Mother Nature would not take off with it.  We went into lovely Swan Creek near Rock Hall, Md (Swan Creek looks a bit like Hallocks Bay in Orient, only a little smaller, so we felt right at home).

The calm before the storm. Beautiful Swan Creek.

The calm before the storm. Beautiful Swan Creek.

We were the only boat that chose to remain on the hook in this bay but were comforted when John Clarke of Gratitude Marina rode by in his skiff and told us that if we tucked way up in the back bay, we would probably be OK if the storm hit.  He is a former cruiser and said that if the storm pushed Neko ashore, he would come and pull us off.  It was comforting to know that someone nearby knew we were out there.  We immediately went to work removing sails, setting our storm anchor and generally battening down the hatches.

Pete prepping 2nd anchor, yes was that cold.

Pete prepping 2nd anchor.  Yes it was that cold.

Of course, though, merely by doing all this back-breaking work, we assured ourselves that the hurricane would not come.   If we had not prepared, it surely would have hit us in the nose.

Yes I know not from NOAA but you get the idea of how many possible paths the storm could have taken.

Yes I know not from NOAA but you get the idea of how many possible paths the storm could have taken.

But it was still worth it because a big Nor’easter having nothing to do with Joaquin decided to come visit us anyway.  We had 3 days of big, cold winds and huddled inside and watched movies and thanked providence that we had installed air conditioning/heat when we were in Florida.

But finally the skies cleared and the waters receded and the dove came back with a green twig.  One of our Chesapeake Bay goals was to get to Annapolis for the annual sailboat show.  This is a big draw for sailors with just about every parts vendor and many boat manufacturers present.  We wanted to look at Outremer and Gunboat catamarans and check out any new and interesting products.  Annapolis is a cute little town that hosts the Naval Academy on its beautiful campus.

 The Academy is an interesting site to tour with a fantastic naval museum.  Don’t fail to go to “The Yard” to watch the midshipmen march off to lunch.  Every weekday they gather for noon formation complete with a brass band and march in formation into Preble Hall for lunch.  Such a grand procession merely to go to lunch, but tradition abounds in this place and it was quite a spectacle, not to mention it WAS taco Tuesday.

What a production, just for lunch ;-)

What a production, just for lunch 😉

Time was ticking so we made a quick trip over to the Eastern Shore to see the charming town of Oxford and then it was off to Chesapeake Boat Works in Deltaville, Va., where we had a few little jobs done and prepped the boat to be away from the US for an extended period of time again.

 Deltaville was the temporary base for our friends on R&R Kedger. So it was great to catch up with Rob and Rose.  Just when they thought they had gotten away from us, we pull them back in 😉

Relaxing with Rob and Rose

Relaxing with Rob and Rose

Deltaville is a tiny little town but full of marinas, boat support and the perfect place to prep for our big jump South.

Mike and Holly saying goodbye to "Izzy" who safely brought them across country.   Izzy as in "is he gonna make it"?

Mike and Holly saying goodbye to “Izzy” who safely brought them across country. Izzy as in “is he gonna make it”?

We finished our jobs,  and hooked up with Mike and Holly from S/V Wanasquewin.  They left their boat in Curacao to visit home and road trip across the country in a beater car they named “Izzy”.  It safely delivered them to us and we were glad they could join us on the trip to the Bahamas.  However, our Deltaville stay ended in a sad note for us and it was good to get underway again.

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We ❤ NY

Just like Grandpa & Grandma Malloy and Grandpa Perica many years before, Lady Liberty greeted us as we sailed into New York Harbor.

Lady Liberty welcoming Neko.

Lady Liberty welcoming Neko.

Granted we were probably a lot more comfortable than they were and we knew what to expect when we arrived, but it was still exhilarating and made us excited to be back home. We were traveling with our pals on Pegasus, which made for great photo opportunities as we sailed down the East River.

 I ❤ NY

I ❤ NY

What immediately grabbed our attention was the almost unrecognizable skyline. Since 9/11 we’ve had to get used to the jarring absence of the twin towers but with The Freedom Tower and numerous new skyscraper shifting the city’s silhouette, it all seemed sadly unfamiliar.

Lucy back on the streets of NYC

Lucy back on the streets of NYC

This was perhaps the most dangerous trip to date for Pete, not for navigational reasons but because he knows how much I love NYC and once there, I may not have wanted to leave. We were thrilled to see old friends and family, ride subways, mix it up with the throngs of tourists, eat at some of our favorite haunts and just be a part of the machine that is the big apple.  Although we had a fabulous time I agreed to keep on our adventure and head back south to embark on season three of this crazy life at sea.

Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower

Thankfully the good old Empire State and Chrysler Buildings still stood proudly representing the old guard and we knew we were in the right place.

To see photos of City Island in the Bronx click here.

Lawbsta Pots and Chowdah

Dare we say “we summered in Nantucket, darling”.   Haha, well sort of.

Mary's new pal

Mary’s new pal

We spent the last few months cruising around New England and remembering why we love East Coast sailing so much – lacking the dramatic natural beauty of sailing on the west coast of North America, it makes up for it with innumerable places to explore, charming scenery and, importantly, safe ways to go ashore and leave your dinghy.  If you are a long time reader you may remember how we went ashore in most places on the west coast – put down the wheels on the dinghy, wait for a break in the waves, run it into the beach and hop out and pull it up as fast as you can.  Walking around dry after that was a fantasy.

Always room for one more at the dinghy dock

Always room for one more at the dinghy dock

So, bays with docks where you just tie up and step off seem like the utmost in civility to us. Oh, it’s the little things, isn’t it?

No BikesWe were hoping to get all the way to Maine but we ran out of time and will save it for another visit.   I believe Mother Nature took pity on us after our hellishly hot, wet summer in Panama last year and gave us phenomenally mild sunny days and cool evenings with very little rain for the entire time we spent up north.

Lucy taking a dip in the waters of Block Island

Lucy taking a dip in the waters of Block Island

Sophie giving Pete a surfing lesson . Block Island

Sophie giving Pete a surfing lesson . Block Island

And he is up

And he is up

Summer months are busy in this neck of the woods, especially weekends. Its nice to see the prevalence of sailing over motor boating in these waters, even if catamarans still seem like a UFO to locals (unidentified floating object).

Hyannis race

Hyannis race

They are traditional sailors.

Beautiful sailboat

Beautiful sailboat

Harbors tend to get crowded with weekend and holiday cruisers. However, very few of them anchor, preferring slips or moorings.   We felt our cruising time had trained us well and we happily saved the money and dropped the hook in some familiar harbors like Nantucket, several stops on Long Island and Block Island.

Gay Head Light House Martha's Vineyard

Gay Head Light House
Martha’s Vineyard

We also finally made it to other places we had long wanted to visit, such as Martha’s Vineyard, Cuttyhunk and parts of The Cape.

Perfect way to enjoy sunset with oysters shucked and delivered right to our boat.

Perfect way to enjoy sunset with oysters shucked and delivered right to our boat in Cuttyhunk, MA

We dodged lobster pots and ate clam chowder, met up with old friends and truly had a summer to remember.  Click on each place above highlighted in red for more photos or videos.

Visit from our NYC pals. Gus, Dave, Eileen and Sophie.

Visit from our NYC pals. Gus, Dave, Eileen and Sophie.

Hardworking Lobstermen

Hardworking Lobstermen

Martha's Vineyard fun

Martha’s Vineyard fun

Beautiful Nantucket sunset

Beautiful Nantucket sunset