Our few weeks in Newport RI came to a close and I found myself a bit sad. Newport is a delightful little city with great places to walk, great biking, decent beaches, a superb thrift store and a lobster pound a short dinghy ride away. Not to mention the July/August temps were 60’s at night and 80’s in the day, quite different from our summer in Washington DC a couple years ago when the temps got into the 100’s. Tia Megan became famous in our camp during her weeks in Newport with us, and she still comes up in Marietta’s prayers at night, “Jesus protect me against all the bad things, but if an alligator comes, Tia Megan will kick it in the mouth for me”. You will have to visualize the demonstration that follows as I haven’t caught it on video. Go Tia Megan!
With our now family of 4 and only 2 bedrooms on our current boat, the need for a bit more space has been daily in the forefront of our minds. With a double stroller, double bike trailer, 2 bikes, 2 booster seats, 2 car seats, and 2 kids worth of toys and cloth diapers and just plain stuff, we find ourselves a bit on the cramped side. We had recently started talking about the possibility of a catamaran and Jack did a bit of research online and decided the “Fountaine Pajot Orana 44” looked like a great boat for us. That evening, when we were outside grilling dinner, that exact boat sailed into Newport Harbor and anchored right in front of us. A bit uncanny as there are only a handful in the US now. We zipped over in our dinghy and the owners, Jamie and Jill, gave us the grand tour. There were 2 families on the boat but with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms it didn’t seem cramped at all. Marietta loved the trampoline and the huge deck to run and play on. Hmmmm, now we are really thinking about it.
From Newport we did an overnight sail up Long Island Sound to New Rochelle, just outside of NYC, to meet up with Jamie and Jill again. We had a wonderful day sail on the Orana 44 with Captain Jamie, enjoyed some yummy sushi and then said goodbye and sailed on our boat the few remaining miles to New York City, very possibly my favorite city in the world.
After 1 night anchored by the Statue of Liberty, we entered the city limits and moored at the 79th Street Boat Basin, 3 blocks from Broadway and right in the middle of the action. We walked our legs off and took the subway home at the end of the day. Activities included but not limited to: Museum of Natural History (Marietta’s favorite), the MET, daily walks in Central Park, Carnagie Deli, Chinatown (wonderful lunch there), World Trade Center on 9-11-13, Zabars Grocery (incredible gourmet grocery) and last but not least Trader Joes, who delivered our 6 boxes of purchases to our boat for $14, score!
With our boat fully stocked once again, we did an overnight sail to Cape May NJ and continued on to the Chesapeake. We met up with a couple, Jon & Jennifer, who last year completed a 26,000 mile / 3 year circumnavigation in their Orana 44. We found their blog online and started email communication and ended up stopping to visit them at their house outside of Annapolis MD. Very neat couple with amazing stories that fueled our desire to get into the Pacific. One thing I’m looking forward to in the Pacific is pearl diving. Jack assures me that he can make some pretty spectacular jewelry with his Dremmel.
As I write this, we are sailing down the Alligator River in North Carolina. Yesterday evening as we were motoring into our anchorage, we noticed our speed had decreased to 4 knots when we would normally be doing 6 knots. It was obvious something was wrong. Thankfully we were able to anchor safely. Guess what the next step is? Somebody has to dive in the water to see what’s wrong. Since Jack usually gets all the fun jobs, I told him it was my turn. I donned my wetsuit and dive mask, SLOWLY entered the 64.3 degree water, took a deep gasping breath and dove down to try and figure out what was wrong. The water was so muddy that I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I ran my hands around the rudder and immediately found the problem, we had snagged a crab pot and had been dragging the pot and float behind the boat. I resurfaced and told Jack the problem. He retrieved a dive knife and dive flashlight and I went back under to see if I could cut it free. As I dove down and kicked toward the bottom of the huge rudder, I swam straight into it and have a nice knot on my head as the first of my injuries of the evening. After a few dives and checking to make sure the prop and shaft were not involved, I was able to cut us free but not before scraping my hands and foot up pretty good on the barnacles attached to our hull. Ouch! As I was working under the boat at sunset in the dirty water, I tried not to think of the documentary that initially gave Marietta the alligator nightmares, the one about a sailor in Australia who would put netting up around the entrances to his boat at night so the crocodiles wouldn’t climb in. I’m so glad I never saw the reason “Alligator River” was given its name.
We hope to arrive in Beaufort NC tomorrow where we will wait for good weather to sail to Charleston SC. Never a dull moment! As for the new boat … we’ll keep you posted.