Thursday, June 14, 2012

They Say It's Your Birthday.....

June 14, 2012

Well, it's my birthday too!!!!
Happy Birthday to me!!!!
The day after we arrived in Mystic, Lynda's mom and brother Dave, came to Mystic to pick us up and bring us back to our house in Middletown to get Bob's car.  On Monday, we had Bob's car serviced and discovered that the air conditioner needed to be replaced.  Since we were driving to Florida in another week and a half, that was a must to fix!  Of course, first things first.  On Tuesday, Bob went off to play golf and Lynda did some yard work at our house.  Justin and Megan did a great job taking care of the house, however, the bushes needed trimming and some weeds needed weeding!  Then on Wednesday, back to the Middletown area again.  Bob had his car fixed and also had a doctor's appointment with the orthopedist for his elbow.  The doctor drained his elbow again, checked it out and said it was no longer infected and he was good to go, yeah!!  Today, Thursday, is Lynda's birthday, so we went to dinner at the Ancient Mariner in Mystic. 
Veal and Shrimp Marsala with shrimp and asparagus ravioli, YUM!
Back to the boat (which is where we are staying for the summer) and a sunset to enjoy 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Great Loop Adventure COMPLETED!!

Date            June 8, 2012                            
Day             346
Departure    Brewers Bruce and Johnson's, Branford, CT  7:30am
Arrival         Brewers Yacht Yard At Mystic - HOME -  1:20 pm
Miles                49.8            
Cumulative   5779.6

Another beautiful travel day, light winds, clear skies and smooth seas.  We are getting close.  Here are some pictures of familiar sights as we travel up the Mystic River!

Morgan Point Lighthouse, now a private residence
Famous Abbott's Lobster
Ford's Lobsters
There it is, our home port - Brewer's Yacht Yard at Mystic - as we proudly fly the new Gold Looper burgee!
Our home port
See that empty slip to the right of the sailboat?  We are HOME!!
Our immediate plans are to hang out and relax for a bit.  In another week or so, we will drive to Cape Coral, FL to switch cars, leave Bob's car there and return with the car we had purchased in Florida.  We will then get caught up with doctor's appointments and  maybe try and catch up with some Looper friends in the area.

We won't be posting to the blog on a daily basis, but check back periodically, as we will try to keep everyone somewhat updated as to our continuing travels.  It's been quite a ride and we have enjoyed the previous year immensely.  Sadly, we will miss the daily contact and camaraderie of other Loopers on the journey.  

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Almost Home!

Date            June 7, 2012                            
Day             345
Departure    Brewers Glen Cove Marina, Glen Cove, NY  7:45am
Arrival         Brewers Bruce and Johnson's, Branford, CT  2:00 pm
Miles                54.4            
Cumulative   5729.8

We slept a bit later this morning and left just before 8 am.  We had a travel perfect day. Long Island Sound was close to flat and smooth with next to no wind.  The boat traffic on the sound was non-existent, quite a change from yesterday traveling through New York City!
The greatest natural resource of Branford where the marina is located, is granite, it's biggest cruising hazard.
Those Loopers that have already cruised Canada's North Channel will be familiar with the sights in the pictures below.  Those of you that haven't been there yet, get ready for some rocks!!

Tomorrow our loop adventure will come to a close as we return to our homeport, Mystic, CT

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

We Did It - Loop Completed!!

Date            June 6, 2012                            
Day             344
Departure    Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor,
                   Atlantic Highlands, NJ 7 am
Arrival         Brewers Glen Cove Marina, Glen Cove, NY 12:10 pm
Miles                46.0            
Cumulative   5675.4

What a beautiful, clear morning!  Only 19 miles to go to cross our wake and fly the gold, AGLCA Looper flag.  We arrived at the Statue of Liberty at 9:20 am and officially marked the crossing of our wake.  We tried to get a picture of the two of us in front of the Statue of Liberty.  Unfortunately, there was no one to steer the boat and the boat would not cooperate, so we will have to be happy with a sliver of the Manhattan skyline in the background!!
The gold flag indicates that we have completed the Loop!
Lady Liberty
The new Freedom Tower (tall building on the left) being built where the Twin Towers stood
New York up close
New York skyline
Brooklyn Bridge and the new Freedom Tower
After we left the hustle and bustle of the downtown New York waterways, we went down to the bow of the boat and replaced the white Looper flag with the new gold Looper flag.
As we traveled along the East River towards Hells Gate, we enjoyed a 4.6 mph push by the strong current
 As we continue into Long Island Sound, the New York skyline fades into the distance.
Tonight we are staying in Glen Cove, NY.  Tomorrow we will head to Branford, CT then on Friday we will continue onto our homeport of Mystic, CT.  If you ever get the chance to visit Mystic, CT please be sure to look us up at Brewers Yacht Yard!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Still in Atlantic Highlands

Date            June 5, 2012                            
Day             343
Departure    No Travel Today
Arrival         Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Miles                 0.0            
Cumulative   5629.4

Thankfully, a day of rest-no boat travel today.  We took a walk into the town of Atlantic Highlands.  Everything you might need is on the main street; from laundry to bagels, school and police station, restaurants to a grocery store and a place to work out! 
It's a dog's life!!
Remember in yesterday's post I mentioned the docking situation.  Well, here is how it looks at high tide and then at low tide.
High tide -  only one step on the ladder and almost even with the dock

                                                                Low tide - six slimy steps,
                                                                plus we had to duck                                                                          UNDER the dingy to                                                                 get onto the dock!!   

The Verazano Bridge and Manhattan skyline at night from our fly bridge.  Tomorrow we will get an up close view before we continue on up the East River.

Monday, June 04, 2012

So Very Close in Atlantic Highlands

Date            June 4, 2012                            
Day             342
Departure    Howell's Marina, Manasquan, NJ 7:10 am
Arrival         Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 11:15 am
Miles                39.3            
Cumulative   5629.4

Not the best day to travel, but we wanted to make headway since we knew the next few days were forecasted to be unsettled.  Today's travel started with partly cloudy skies and fairly smooth seas.  Before too long, the skies had darkened and the seas became lumpy with a swel1 of  2 to 3 feet.  We knew we didn't have far to go so we forged on and then the rain came!  We arrived at Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor as the rain was pouring down.  The dockmaster assigned our slip over the VHF radio and said he would try to have the watchman come to the slip to help with the lines.  Right, it was RAINING!  No luck on having any help with the dock lines here!!  The docking was rather interesting.  The slip arrangement is a fixed dock and pilings.  There is no side dock, so we had to back into the slip as far as we could to enable us to reach the ladder.  We then had to clamber off the swim platform and climb up to the fixed dock in order to get ashore.  The tidal range here is approximate six feet, so getting off and then back onto the boat is quite challenging!  Due to the rain, the only pictures I took were as we approached Sandy Hook, NJ.  New York is sooo close and only 19 miles to go to cross our wake!!!  Unfortunately, due to unsettled weather, we have to wait until Wednesday to be able to fly the gold looper flag.

New York Skyline-so close, yet so far away!
Verazano Narrows Bridge

By-Passing Atlantic City

Date            June 3, 2012                            
Day             341
Departure    Canyon Club Resort, Cape May, NJ 6:00 am
Arrival         Howell's Marina, Manasquan, NJ 4:00 pm
Miles                97.0            
Cumulative   5590.1

We awoke early and cast off our lines by 6 am.  The sunrise looked promising of good things to come.  We lead the flotilla of Looper boats Kismet, Jim's Joy, Marc's Ark, Native Son and two other boats that were also heading north.  The destination was to be Atlantic City.  The travel conditions were great.  Bright clear skies, light winds and seas with a rolling swell of about two feet. 
As we approached Atlantic City, three hours later, Bob decided that he wanted to make the most of the conditions (as the next few days were forecasted to be unsettled) and we said our good-bye's to the Loopers we were traveling with by way of the VHF radio.  Our plan was to continue to either Manasquan, NJ or Sandy Hook, NJ depending on how far we wanted to travel.
Atlantic City, NJ as we continued north
Along the way, we spotted this platform of some sort.  Any ideas on what it was??
About seven miles from Manasquan, the decision where to go was made for us.  The skies had darkened, the wind picked up to about 25 mph with stronger gusts and the rain pelted down.  The wind was blowing so hard that the rain was causing a mist on the water and along with the rocking and rolling from the waves, we couldn't see in front of us!  We had never been caught in a squall like this before.  Had we made the wrong decision to by-pass Atlantic City?  Fortunately, the squall lasted only about 10 to 15 minutes and then the sun came back out.  We safely made our way into Manasquan and docked at Hoffmans Marina.  We were tied to the inside of the fuel dock, and this being a big fishing area, were treated to a couple of boats coming into the fuel dock with their catch of the day. 
A 125 pound Mako shark!!
 Shortly before sundown, the rain came again.  After it ended and the sun came out, a beautiful double, double ended rainbow appeared.  I couldn't get the full arc in one picture, so here it is in two halves.

Look close, you can just see the 2nd arc above the 1st one

Tomorrow, Monday, is a full moon.  Full moons cause unusually high and low tides.  It looks like we are already seeing the effects of the full moon on the tides today.  This dock and the two steps is along side our boat and is how we would get from the boat to the main dock.  As you can see, the water is about 2 to 3 inches OVER the dock.  The current through here was at least 2.5 knots, so we weren't about to get off the boat and risk being swept away!!!  We decided dinner on board would be the best choice.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Chesapeake City to Cape May, NJ

Date             May 31-June 2, 2012                            
Day              338-340
Departure     Chesapeake City Free Dock, Chesapeake City, MD 6:00 am
Arrival          Canyon Club Resort, Cape May, NJ 1:25 pm
Miles                70.3            
Cumulative   5493.1

Rise and shine at 5:00 am!!  We have a long travel day, but the bonus to getting up so early can be seen below!
Early morning sunrise
Today we go through the remainder of the C and D Canal and then down the Delaware River.  Because the Delaware is somewhat shallow, traveling it can be difficult if the wind, tide and currents don't cooperate.  We got lucky and had a great ride.  The wind was from the north, northwest at about 5 mph and the waves were about 1 foot.  Below are the sights along the way.

Tall Ship Gazella Primeiro heading to Baltimore for a Tall Ship celebration
A large cargo ship, traveling at 19 mph
The bow wake was very noticeable!
We heard the cargo ship hail a boat that was a few miles ahead of us, advising them that they (the cargo ship) was throwing a large stern wake, about a four foot wake!   We took precautions and made sure we were well away from him as he passed us.  Good thing, look at the wake that was coming toward us!!  Yikes!!!
We turned into the wake and with a large KERPLAT the boat nearly came to a stop.  No  problem, we were ready!
On the left is Kismet (Dean and Beth) and the right is Brown Eyed Girl (Craig and Ginny) entering the Cape May Canal
Back at Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky, we met loopers Carol and Rich on Salt N Sand.  They are currently in South Carolina and generously offered us their slip in Cape May, NJ since they were away.  This is the pool and condos at the marina where they keep their boat.  Thanks Rich and Carol, we enjoyed our time here. 
June 1st- Last night,  a storm front came through.  The wind gusted to around 25 mph and the rain came down in sheets.  In the picture below you can tell the wind was really blowing; everything in the picture is clear except the flag, it was really waving back and forth!
June 2nd - Today was a grocery provisioning day.
A small lighthouse kiosk on the bridge that spans a small river that feeds into the end of the C and D Canal
We walked about 1 3/4 miles to the grocery store and while shopping bumped into Laura and Ross from "The Zone".  After we both finished shopping we all decided that we would take a taxi ride back to the boat with the groceries!  Around docktail time, we were invited to docktails and a potluck dinner across the river at Utsch's Marina, hosted by loopers  Marc's Ark, Jim's Joy, Native Son and Kismet that were staying there.  Also attending was Sea Smoke; they call themselves "interloopers" as they are not doing the loop but only travel the east coast every year from Westerly, Rhode Island to Florida.  Interestingly enough, I believe we have seen them in our home cruising grounds as they are only about 20 miles from us back home.  We contacted the water taxi...

and they picked us up along with Ross and Laura (The Zone) and we arrived at Utsch's in about 5 minutes, rather than the 20-30 minutes it would have taken walking across the bridge.  We had a great docktail get together and an even better pot luck dinner!

One half of the party,


                    and here is the other half!

When the party was over, we called the water taxi and they whisked us away to the other side of the river, back to our boats.  Tomorrow looks like it may be a good day to head out to Atlantic City or even Sandy Hook.  Wish us luck.  If we don't go tomorrow, we may be here until mid next week!!