Thursday, September 21, 2006

Visiting the Harolds

Still four days before Sam and I sail east, so we drove to Steubenville for a short visit with daughter, Rachel, son-in-law, Phil, and grandchildren, Edy and Max. These are extremely bright and charming children (as you can probably judge from the above photo (photography by Sam Durbin).
At the park this afternoon Edy decided to instruct me on the topic "plants".
"Which plants don't you know about?"
"I don't know which plants I don't know about," I answered.
"O.K., poison ivy . Wear long pants and sleeves and don't scratch when it itches."
" I see; how many leaves does it have?"
"Twenty", she stated confidently.
I suspect she'll be a science teacher or a poker player.

Plans for the Cruise

At this writing, Sam and I will leave early on 9/23 from Bolles Harbor, Michigan enroute to Buffalo, New York. We can’t afford to dally so one week is planned for this trip. The Erie Canal (New York Barge Canal) runs about 340 miles to the Hudson river at Troy, NY. Due to the height of fixed bridges, we will lower the mast in Buffalo and motor most of the way across New York state. We’ll raise the mast and become a sail boat again on the Hudson. (the above photo shows Mike(left), Annie, Sarah, Mary Ann, and Sam) Then we’ll sail three days down the Hudson to New York City where we’ll take a break, see the sights, and visit Yonah and Kim.
After leaving N.Y.C., we must sail the Atlantic 119 miles down the New Jersey coast. This will be our first extended ocean sailing, but we hope to accomplish it in a 24-hour period to Cape May. Then we traverse the Cape May canal to the Delaware Bay for a day sail to the C&D canal and on to the Chesapeake Bay.
We hope to visit cousin Jamal in Baltimore and make a stop in Annapolis during this segment as well as enjoy tranquil autumn anchorages. A week should bring us to Norfolk , Virginia, and the start of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) which will carry us through the Carolinas, Georgia, and into Florida. I’ve read that the draw bridges cause long delays, so once south of Cape Hatteras we hope to make some coastal passages in the Atlantic to save time and discover any tendencies toward motion sickness.
We can’ t accurately estimate when we’ll arrive in Florida, but hope to sail across the Gulf Stream from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island in late November, well after the last hurricane. Then the itinerary is dependent upon weather and inclination. We’ll probably spend December in the Abacos and make our way south in short sails to Nassau, Eleuthra, and the Exumas. Sam will return to his studies at the University of Toledo after Christmas and we hope Sarah will join us soon after and sail back north by early June. We’re looking forward to an 18-month boating season this year.

Preparation for Departure

Honestly, preparations for departure started eight or nine months ago when we began a serious for the boat which would carry us on an extended cruise. The ‘87 Cal 33 cost us less than a moderate SUV, was very well-maintained by the previous owner, but still required substantial work and expense to prepare. We also purchased an eight-foot dingy and a 2 1/2 hp Mercury outboard. Top speed for the dingy is about 5 1/2 knots (which for sailors doesn’t seem especially slow).
The Cal, named Peregrine, is beamy for its length with surprising space below decks. The draft is only 4’ 8”, which should serve well in he shallow waters of The Bahamas banks. Mary Ann and I will share the forward cabin; Annie has taken the aft berth (with privacy curtain), and Sam has the main salon with pullout double berth. The head is equipped with a hand-held shower, but we carry only 50 gal. of fresh water. Conditions below will require great consideration for, and patience with, the other crew members.
Eight months away from home has required substantial planning. We plan to eat most of our meals on board, so Mary Ann and I have been shopping bargains and stocking up. We’ve already stored several hundred pounds of: canned goods, pasta, rice, juice, cereal, and Diet Pepsi on board. Since we expect to be near stores most of the time, we can restock as we go along, but prices in The Bahamas are reputed to be much higher (perhaps 50% more) than in the States.
Except for various charters in Alaska, Florida, and the Chesapeake, all of our sailing has been in Lake Erie, so this trip represents a radical departure from our comfort zone. I think I now own the cruising guides and chart books we need, but we are sure to encounter new challenges every day. A disquieting fact, but how many chances for adventure do we get.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This is Land Lubber

Hey, Peregrine! I'll be watching for updates on your cruise. Good luck!