"Carla is here!"
Carla is unpacking her gear right now in the forward cabin. Tom and I are breathing easier. Whew. It was a wonderful evening with Ursula and Robert Piazzaroli. What an awesome responsibility, "please take care of our first born". Of course we will, no chances will be taken regarding weather or safety, but it still gives us pause. We sat around the table, customs hassles, travelers checks, and good bread recipes were all touched upon. The whole time, Cammi could not unglue herself from Carla. s side. I am surprised she was able to actually go to sleep knowing that Carla was onboard.
These past few days of final planning and provisioning have been tense for me and Tommy. I am not really sure why, but we have been at each other. s throats for meaningless issues. I barked at Tom about our boat. s documentation papers and he attacked me for not cleaning a couple of dishes. Thankfully, we have gained a little emotional intelligence since moving onto Uliad in May. Sincere apologies were dished out easily and all was forgotten.
Cammi and Cole are definitely beasts come afternoon, especially without a nap. Cole managed to get his hands in the chips and salsa awaiting our dinner guests. Because Tom and I were engrossed in our own last minute projects, he decorated the setee, pillows and floor with the munchies food. Before Cammi could do any damage, she and her little brother were escorted off the boat to the lawn to blow off some steam. Mornings are their cooperative time for sure. I found a leaky hatch after a big rain dousing last night. Unable to hang everything up on deck because we had 4 people from our local boat yard working on final details, an indoor tent was made. For a forced solution, it was key. Cammi and Cole had a blast with the one I made in the pilothouse out of the paisley comforter. There was a 2nd sheet tent in the forward cabin. Two hours of entertainment.
Can you say . productive. ? I finished typing up the provisioning list and reorganized a number of lockers, not to mention cleaning the whole boat. Tomorrow will be a first& a whole day to concentrate on the never ending list of preparations. After reading Beth Leonard. s book, I will be counting cans, cleaning all the food storage areas and doing the first round of provisioning. I know I will flop onto the bed tomorrow, so I. ll treat myself to enjoying the late night evening of Olympic entertainment. As Cammi recites every school day on Uliad , "Red, white and blue, I love you."
Halfway up Delaware Bay
Leaving Newport on Monday, September 25th seems like a lifetime ago. Dave Hurd helped untie our lines and asked us to take his apartment key around the globe with us and give it back to him upon returning to US waters. Just that little comment got me emotional. The wind was honking out of the north. We powered out of the dock waved goodbye and I burst into tears. They were mixed, salty and sweet. Seems like all my goodbyes over the past few weeks have been like that. But this one was really like no other. I dropped all the docklines on our deck and ran back to Tommy, who was diligently trying to get out of our slip with the engine, and bear hugged him. He was laughing, barking and hugging me all at the same time.
I videotaped us departing Newport harbor for our last time in a long while. I was past the emotional part and basically just doing it for the documentation effort that I will continue for years to come. Leaving the Fort Adams daymarker to port and continuing on to Mystic Seaport was an experience we were all anticipating. God kept his word and made our first little leg delightful. Sails were full, sea was mellow and the sunshine was warm& .well, sort of. As I passed Westerly, I reminisced about my high school summers spent at Seashore Beach. I called my Auntie Carole and Uncle Fred to inform them I was sailing past their home and to give a wave. My aunt complied. I think of me in those bathing suits, nervous to run across a boy I knew on the beach, not knowing what to say to Mr. Crush, or having ice cream with my cousins. I never anticipated seeing that beach from the perspective I have today. A partner extrodinaire, 2 amazing children and an aluminum hull supporting us. It. s funny how we all stop and wonder how we got here.
Mystic was just beyond Watch Hill. The entrance was very Maine-esque. Rocks, grassy knolls, small cottages. It was very pretty. Once we arrived at Mystic Seaport we all stood awestruck at the time warp we had entered. Docked next to a couple of Tall Ships and amidst the old buildings of a whaling port, I snapped some photos. We met with the last of our Newport buddies, the Barkmans. They hand delivered some gear we had been waiting for. We let the kids enjoy their last few hours together, had some pizza and ice cream. I didn't think I would cry, but I was wrong& .again. I wish I could take a bunch of people with us on this adventure.
So long Mystic Seaport. It was a very welcoming place for mariners and kids. We're off to Oyster Bay, Long Island. Another glorious sail. Went 90 miles and landed at a very ritzy harbor. We didn't know anything about Oyster Bay. Their homes make the Newport cribs look like pool houses. Anchored in a huge bay that is supposed to be a terrific hurricane hole. In the morning we waved to our friends that we met earlier in the summer in Nags Head, NY. Kirsten and Gary sailed around the South Pacific for a few years and are saving money while crewing on a 75' Ted Hood designed sloop. Next vista for Uliad will be NYC.
Manhattan went by so quickly. It was a great couple of hours. We went through Hell Gate near Roosevelt Island around 10:30am and were already at the Statue of Liberty off of Battery Park by 12:30p. I can't even explain the view. It wasn't like being on a big harbor tour boat. It was much more intimate. The weirdest thing was traveling past a tunnel where we were higher than the cars that were visible from the East River. There was definitely a sense of patriotism on the boat. We went right next to Lady Liberty, weaving in and out of the largest tankers we have ever seen. We passed under the Verrazano Bridge and heading out the Ambrose Channel toward Sandy Hook, NJ.
That evening was uneventful and we all went to bed at the same time, 7:30p. Tommy and I didn't sleep well and prepared the boat for departure at 1:00am. I was at the helm. We pulled up the anchor amongst a congested harbor in pitch cold black. The channel out to the Atlantic was the smaller of the many channels to NYC. We certainly didn't expect to play chicken with a huge tanker and barge. After I got shot with his spotlight while Tommy was down below navigating me through the endless buoys, I called for a second set of eyes. It was quite surprising to Tom to see such a scene, especially when he was listening below on the radio for chatter and heard none. We were flying with a following sea and current, going about 10 knots, leaving Manhattan in the dust.
After watching the sun come up, I retired for a couple of hours. It was useless. No rest was had due to seasickness that was creeping up on me. The rest of the crew did no better, except for the skipper. But everyone rebounded back very nicely a few hours later. It was blue water conditions with the wind almost directly aft with large rollers. We were very happy to finally arrive in Cape May. We were now becoming accustomed to making 90 to 120 mile days. Funny how just a month ago, we considered going to the Vineyard, only 35 miles away, a hike. Cape May, supposedly a beautiful little town resembling Nantucket, did not leave a lasting impression on the crew of Uliad. We were anchored and almost eating a nice hot dinner, when we were booted out of our slot by the Coast Guard. They had a 200-foot cutter coming in shortly and needed all the room they could get. In the dark we, along with 10 other boats, tried to rehook, but to no avail. Due to our excessive 6.5 feet that we draw, we opted to call a marina. We got the last slip in town and crashed out (literally, the current crashed us right into the dock& no damages though). Tom, Carla and I discussed the option of staying a day or two to visit the quaint town. But after a short debate, we all agreed that the wonderful weather window was crucial and risking the visit could turn the lovely village into our personal jail. Onward was the unified decision.
The Chesapeake-Delaware Canal was filled with our music as we raced through under hot sunny skies. We celebrated the warm weather and peeled off the layers that were certainly stinky by now. I had a great time toying with a 48.5' Oyster and passing them in the Canal. They were probably heading to the Annapolis Boat Show because their 3 crew members, after a valiant effort, could not move their boat any quicker than the female-driven Kanter. Love it! As we finally departed the canal and entered the Chesapeake it was a perfect pastoral scene. I was surprised at the vistas, somehow I just didn't expect it to look this way. Don't ask me why. We planned to power hard and get into Annapolis early, a Saturday arrival. But it was getting late and we needed to smell the roses. We stopped at a deserted little anchorage and made water with our watermaker, all took showers, and relaxed the next morning prior to our departure. Carla and I even got a double shot of cappuccino.
Coming into Annapolis only one word comes to mind, bustling. There all sized sailing vessels going in every which direction. We toured the mooring field but ended up anchoring right off the Naval Academy. It was close to town and we could even get a free view of the lacrosse game. Tomorrow will be laundry. I better get a good night's sleep.