Nassau

The Berries are everything beautiful about the Bahamas and Nassau, well it’s not the same. Our 38 mile ride from Little Harbor in the Berry Islands to Nassau on New Providence Island was uneventful. We were approaching Nassau Harbor from the West, the same entrance used by all the cruise ships. Nassau Harbor Control keeps tabs on all comings and goings and it is required to hail them to obtain permission to enter the harbor. The entrance cut is not big and Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney,  etc have the right of way. No ships were entering or leaving and permission was easily granted after supplying Harbor Control with our ship and destination information. It was noon on a Friday, one of the three busiest days each week.

Nassau Harbor entrance with Atlantis in background

Nassau Harbor entrance with Atlantis in background

Unlike main passenger ship harbors in the states Nassau Harbor lets everyone make there way. We saw no Bahamas Defence Force boats around the cruise ships and we were able to get as close as we dared.

Norwegian Getaway

Norwegian Getaway

Our destination was Nassau Harbor Club and Marina. Located on the east side of the harbor we had to pass under two high bridges. These bridges service Paradise Island and in particular Atlantis Resort. Atlantis officially opened in 1997 but was further developed and expanded over the ensuing ten years. During our week in Nassau we visited Atlantis twice. It is huge. “The Dig” is a series of aquariums located beneath the lobby of the Royal Towers and is the world’s largest open air marine habitat. It is fascinating as is the entire resort. Many parts are closed to the public unless you buy a day pass which we did not. However we found out The Dig is open to all at night so we got to visit it and the casino of course.

Atlantis Resort

Atlantis Resort

Our marina was perfectly situated across from the best supermarket in the Bahamas. While it was named “Fresh Market” it was not to our knowledge related to Fresh Markets found in the states. It did carry a large selection of food and we stocked up. Our departure from Nassau was delayed as we waited for a part for our watermaker to be flown in. We took full advantage of the delay and did quite a lot of wandering about both on foot and by local bus. The bus (jitney) rides were fun as the bus route layout is a large circle. Your route into town depended on which bus number you chose. We had three choices on the one way road (all heading away from town) outside the marina and all took about an hour to get to the main downtown where the cruise ships are tied. The bus drivers are all characters and play whatever station they want on the radio system. They also take shortcuts as they decide. To get off just shout “bus stop”.

Downtown Nassau is a typical cruise ship venue. Duty free shops abound and overweight tourists line the streets. Shops close up around 6 and the buses actually stop at 7PM. We had read about a foodie tour, Tru Bahamian Food Tours and signed up for a three hour walk and food tasting. It was a great time and we lucked out by having the owner, Alanna, do our tour. In her 20′s and full of energy she provided running commentary and history. She is a Bahamian native who went to college in the states and loves her country. 

Our guide "Alanna"

Our guide “Alanna”

Docked next to us was a sailboat named “Serenity” owned by Mike and Mary Jo. They graciously asked us to join them snorkeling off their boat on a reef outside the harbor. It was loaded with Bahamian reef fish and one shark. Lots of fun.

Cath and Mary Jo

Cath and Mary Jo

Nassau has a small zoo with gardens named Ardastra. We decided to walk there one afternoon and arrived in time to catch two late afternoon events. The first was Parrot feeding. After cleansing our hands we were let into a large Parrot cage and given sliced apples to feed to the birds. Hungry and tame they were.

IMG_0188The best event was the trained Flamingos. A zoo trainer paraded and marched them around a ring in near precision timing. He allowed a couple of guests to join and Cath jumped right in.

Cath and the Flamingos

Cath and the Flamingos

Of course Nassau has a lot more Bahamas culture to enjoy and Potters Cay is not to be missed. It is a huge, noisy and vibrant fish and vegetable market under the exiting Paradis Island bridge. You can buy meals to go or sit and eat at any of the stands. A constant parade of cars cruises thru to look and buy.  A great place to experience and eat wonderful food and drink the local beer, Kalik.

Conch salad at Potters Cay

Conch salad at Potters Cay

Potters Cay

Potters Cay

Our watermaker part finally arrived and I got it installed. The watermaker now works but now there is a seal leak meaning we lose a gallon for every 15 gallons we make. A problem we can live with. March 29 had us clearing out of Nassau Harbor to the east and on to the Exumas.

Berry Islands

From Bimini our original route was to take us southeast across the Great Bahama Bank to Chub Cay but we decided to explore more of the Berries and head ENE to Great Harbor Cay before turning south. The run across the bank was an easy eleven hour ride with the autopilot handling most of the work. We caught only two fish and while reeling in fish number one suddenly the line went slack. It had been a good fight till a shark took its share.

Shark attack

Shark attack

We dropped the hook off the Great Harbor settlement by 6PM and watched a perfect sunset.

Settlement of Great Harbor Cay

Settlement of Great Harbor Cay

The very next morning we pulled into a fully protected marina, the only one on Great Harbor. We spent three nights at their dock and explored the island by foot and bicycle. Great Harbor has one of the longest and nicest beaches we have ever seen and at low tide the colors are incredible.

Grat Harbor Cay Beach

Great Harbor Cay Beach

DSCN2269-Edit DSCN2273-Edit

Leaving Great Harbor we headed north to round the top before running down the east side to Little Harbor Cay. The top of the Berries has a couple of islands owned by Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise lines. Two ships were anchored and ferrying hordes of vacationers. Fortunately these ships cannot get into most Bahama anchorages.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines

About half way down the Berry chain is Little Harbor Cay. There is a small house with a sometimes open bar/restaurant called Flo’s. Flo is now deceased and we met her daughter as we kayaked in to inquire about dinner. Unfortunately for us it was her birthday and she was “island hopping” so we did not get to taste Flo’s conch salad or chowder.

Flo's Conch Bar

Flo’s Conch Bar

The kayaking along Little Harbor was awesome with sharks, rays and starfish to admire.

Scott finds a starfish

Scott finds a starfish

DSCN2327-Edit

Cath finds the mother of all starfish

DSCN2332

DSCN2365About three miles up from where we anchored was a small beach on Hoffman cay. A five minute walk brought us to a “Blue Hole”. This vertical cave is about 600 feet deep where it connects to the ocean. It has been explored by Jacques Cousteau. 

Blue Hole on Hoffman Cay

Blue Hole on Hoffman Cay

DSCN2344

Hoffman Cay

Hoffman Cay

We thoroughly enjoyed the Berries and will return.

 

 

Florida to Bimini

A month of skiing in Vermont was wonderful. The conditions were near perfect and from what I have read more snow has arrived. However we have left the cold behind and are now in the Bahamas.

Our flight from Newark to West Palm was easy as usual and after several days of intense provisioning in Stuart we fueled up and headed out of the St Lucie inlet for a full day run down to Ft Lauderdale. Perfect FL weather had us anchored in Lauderdale by dinner time. The Lauderdale inlet was busy with three cruise ships departing within an hour of each other. We slipped in behind the second and just made it thru the turning basin when cruise ship number three headed out. We were politely moved along by a well armed Coast Guard tender.

Ft Lauderdale Inlet

Ft Lauderdale Inlet

Anchored in Lake Sylvia Ft Lauderdale

Anchored in Lake Sylvia Ft Lauderdale

A gorgeous early morning departure out the inlet started our two and a half month Bahamas cruise. We had been to the Bahamas the prior two springs but only to the Abacos and only for a couple of weeks each. Our first destination was Bimini. It is an easy 56 mile crossing when the weather is right. And this day was perfect. The Atlantic and more importantly the gulf stream was glass smooth. Numerous boats chose this day to cross as it was the only perfect day in over a week of testy weather. We were accompanied by loads of flying fish.

Leaving Ft Lauderdale inlet at sunrise

Leaving Ft Lauderdale inlet at sunrise

Bimini is one of the many ports of entry into the Bahamas. Our destination was Browns Marina and we made the crossing in 8 1/2 hours. After filling out customs, immigration, and vessel paperwork provided at Browns a quick trip to the customs office and a $300 dollar payment gave us permission to enter and stay for 90 days. Bimini is a popular fishing destination and hosts several large tournaments each year from the Bimini Big Game Club.

Bimini Big Game Club

Bimini Big Game Club

Since the 1920′s many celebrities have ventured to Bimini for it’s world class fishing. Zane Grey and Ernest Hemmingway are two of them and apparently Ernest liked drinking and brawling along with the fishing.

Today there is a large casino and housing/condo development under construction by the Malaysian firm, Resorts World. Not all are on board with this change to the low key Bimini life style. We ended up staying four nights on Bimini due to a weather front that brought strong east winds and small craft advisories. We agreed four days was plenty on this island.

Browns Marina

Browns Marina

Tied up at Browns

Tied up at Browns

South Bimini

South Bimini

Vermont

Our month here in Weston ends this weekend and we make our way back to Big Smile. It has been cold and snowy but it is Vermont. The skiing has been superb. I complete my mandatory work days tomorrow and conditions should be great with temps in the 20′s. Cath is on her way back from visiting a cousin and aunt in Maine and we are both looking forward to the Bahamas.

Stratton is our main mountain. We are biased of course as we have season passes as a result of my volunteer work. It is, in my opinion, the best mountain in Vermont with the ability to work magic on the slopes with snow guns and groomers. The group of volunteers I work with, and there are over forty of us, ranges in age from forty something to about 80. Maybe older but you would never know it. More snow is coming Monday but leave we must . It was fun.

Riding the "gondy"

Riding the “gondy”

We did escape one day and took a long drive up to Sugarbush to ski. We had never been there and thoroughly enjoyed the new (to us) trails and vistas. It was a Wednesday before the Presidents week holiday and the place was empty. First time I can remember spending an entire day on a mountain and never sharing a chairlift. Nice.

Sugarbush

Sugarbush

Sugarbush summit looking west towards Lake Champlain

Sugarbush summit looking west towards Lake Champlain

Last weekend we had the pleasure of having Tara, Maia and Nina visit for two days of skiing. Conditions were perfect despite a brief Friday warm spell and some rain. Temps dropped, Stratton groomed and all was good for Saturday and Sunday. They got in two full days then back to New York and Philly.

Tara & Nina at Stratton

Tara & Nina at Stratton

Cath, Tara, Nina & Maia

Cath, Tara, Nina & Maia

 

Cath enjoying a "Powder" Day

Cath enjoying a “Powder” Day

Driving to work. Beats the Lincoln tunnel

Driving to work. Beats the Lincoln tunnel

 

I did take a quick drive over to Lake George to check on the house. Everything in order and the lake was ice choked. Even a fair amount of snow something the lake has been lacking in recent years.

Silver Bay, Lake George

Silver Bay, Lake George

Time to start closing up Vermont.

Sunset Bay Marina

We finished our month at Sunset Bay and are heading back north. In fact we currently sit in our room at the Best Western in Santee, SC waiting for the start of the Super Bowl. New Jersey is our next stop for a couple of days then on to Vermont for a month of skiing.

But it’s Stuart FL that this entry is about and it was a great, albeit quick month. It also was cooler than last year with temps in the 60′s many days and dipping into the high 30′s several nights. We also had plenty of rain including one deluge that dropped over 10 inches in less than a day. We did get the good weather often enough and thoroughly enjoyed the month.

Most people would not think of Florida as a hot bed of good and entertaining theater activity. Stuart has a renovated historic theater and just north of us is the Sunrise Theater in Fort Pierce. Early in the month we visited the Sunrise Theater and had the pleasure of seeing Garrison Keillor. We knew he was a great story-teller but had no idea what a live show would present. For over two hours he talked about life in Minnesota comparing it often (tongue in cheek)  to life in Florida. He talked non-stop, without any notes, and without ever taking a sip of water. A packed house had a very enjoyable evening.

The following Wednesday we got together with our long time college friends Sandy and Rick and another couple for dinner and a show at the Lyric Theater in Stuart. This time it was an Irish band, Gaelic Storm, whose high-octane lead singer and accompanying musicians got the theater on its feet. Both theaters offer a varied menu of shows and the Lyric is just a five minute walk from our boat.

Gaelic Storm at the Lyric Theater

Gaelic Storm at the Lyric Theater

 

We met a couple down the dock who told us how good the Ft Pierce farmers market was. We were surprised to hear that as we have spent quite a lot of time in Ft Pierce tied up at Harbor Isle. We had never been to the Saturday market and drove up to see it. Well it was huge, crowded and full of vendors of all styles and qualities. As bread lovers we look for vendors selling fresh specialty breads. Importico’s filled that wish. Their Kalamata Olive and Rosemary, and Asiago Cheese Bread was superb. As good as the bakeries we know at the farmers market in Dorset VT and Dogwood Bread in Wadhams NY.

We also found a vendor who is a painter. Lisa P. Young is based in Stuart but exhibits every Saturday at the farmers market. We had been looking for some art to liven the walls of Big Smile and thought we found a piece or two. We asked if we could meet with her at her studio in Stuart, which we did, and ended up purchasing one from her studio. We also commissioned her to paint another which was actually a copy of one should had done but that was too big for our space. She agreed and two weeks later Lisa and her husband Bob delivered “Tropical Diva”. A perfect compliment to the one we purchased from her studio.

Tropical Diva

Tropical Diva

_DSC8308

Ft Pierce farmers market

Ft Pierce farmers market

 

We really like getting together with cousins and January didn’t disappoint. My cousin Deb and her husband Mark visited and spent a Saturday night with us. Coincidently Sandy and Rick and Ricks brother Rob came to Sunset Bay by boat and joined us for beer and wine on the bow. Later that evening we walked to town for dinner and ended up closing the bar at Sailors Retreat, the restaurant attached to our marina. It was fun to have Deb and Mark on board as we don’t get to see them very often.

On the bow at Sunset Bay

On the bow at Sunset Bay

Cath, me and Deb

Cath, me and Deb

 

 

Sunset Bay is named that for a reason. The beautiful sunsets attract mariners from all over and provide gorgeous views and lively crowds

College roomies on the bow

College roomies on the bow

 

The call it Sunset Bay for a reason

They call it Sunset Bay for a reason

 

January was a fun month and it was tough to leave. It’s halftime now and Seattle is leading 22-0. Peyton Manning is on his way to another super bowl loss. We don’t have a horse in this race but really enjoyed the National Anthem sung by Renee Fleming. She nailed it.

Time to upload this post. A few more views of our January home and Cath in her new immersion suit.

Sunset Bay Marina

Sunset Bay Marina

Early foggy morning

Early morning fog

Cath in her new immersion suit

Cath in her new immersion suit

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the cold and back

Well, after leaving Harbour Isle in Ft Pierce, we ventured north via plane to Washington DC where Andrew picked us up at the airport in our own car which we had stored at his office. Andrew was quickly deposited at his apartment and we continued on to NJ for several days.

Christmas Eve was spent in PA at my brother-in-laws. Lots of food and wine and of course a fun Yankee swap. From PA we drove to my brothers for Christmas Day dinner. It was a fun and tiring two days.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Yankee Swap

Yankee Swap

 

From NJ it was on to Vermont. Our expectations for snow had been high based on the mid December storm that dropped nearly 20 inches before Christmas. But fickle weather is now the norm and warm temps melted away much of the 20 inches. My first few work days this year as a volunteer mountain guide at Stratton were tough with little coverage due to two days of rain and warm weather. But just as fickle weather can ruin the snow it can also bring the good stuff and it did right before the holidays. Snow and cold returned and Stratton’s snow guns pumped away creating very good skiing.

Stratton Mountain; Chip, Mitch, Tara, Cath

Stratton Mountain; Chip, Mitch, Tara, Cath

Our friends Peter and Kathy along with their son Jason arrived for the annual New Years event as did our buddy Chip, and both of our kids with their respective significant others. The New Years Eve dinner at the Landgrove Inn has become a tradition and we all look forward to Carl and his long-boat of Aquavit. The Scandinavian songs he leads us in have been the same for the last eight years but we never tire of them. We also never remember them. This year was no different.

The annual group photo

The annual group photo

Carl and his Aquavit

Carl and his Aquavit

 

Tara and Mitch

Tara and Mitch

 

Nicole and Andrew

Nicole and Andrew

Chip and Cath

Chip and Cath

Later that night with fireworks

Later that night with fireworks

Almost New Years

Almost New Years

 

It was, as usual, a wonderful gathering. The skiing was good and the weather cooperated providing a beautiful Vermont landscape.

Digging out

Digging out

 

We accomplished the long, 1400 mile drive from VT back to Ft Pierce in 3 days. One night on board in Ft Pierce and it was on to Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart. We will spend the month of January here and drive back for a month of skiing in February. Temp right now is about 42 degrees. The heat on Big Smile works great but we are looking forward to warm sunshine.

We love Stuart and the historic district adjacent to the marina. It is also a perfect location for boat maintenance, be it do it yourself or contracted, as every type of boat business imaginable is located in town or just up the road. Big Smile is settled in on C dock, same as last year. Lots of trawlers at Sunset Bay with many returnees. Cath’s roommate from college and her husband are down for the month at their condo and had us over for dinner. They also joined the same gym, Planet Fitness, for $10 for the month. This weekend we are having dinner with another college friend and spouse down on Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach. Atlantic is a crazy avenue for eating and people watching.

Early morning calm

Early morning calm

Moonlit dock

Moonlit dock

 

 

 

 

Fort Pierce, FL

We are now securely tied up at Harbor Isle Marina in Fort Pierce after a beautiful, twenty-eight hour run down the coast from Fernandina Beach. The weather was perfect, with north winds and three foot rollers on the stern. This combined to get us here three hours earlier than anticipated. It also got a lot warmer and by the time we motored into the Ft Pierce channel it was shorts and T-shirt weather. The entire trip took exactly two weeks with nearly 500 miles of it offshore.

Sunset over Cape Canaveral

Sunset over Cape Canaveral

Moonrise over the Atlantic

Moonrise over the Atlantic

Cath keeping watch?

Cath keeping watch?

A beautiful night

A beautiful night

 

Sunrise

Sunrise

 

We fly back tomorrow for a couple of weeks in the snow. While we had some cold weather coming down we did not see a single snowflake. Our place in Vermont however received about 20″ this week so it will be a white Christmas.

Back in the water

Eight weeks after leaving Big Smile at Washburns Boatyard in Solomons, MD we are back on board and heading south to Florida. We are spending two nights at Fernandina Harbor Marina in Fernandina Beach FL. Tomorrow we push off for our last overnite and will arrive Fort Pierce on Tuesday.

Our experience with Washburns Boatyard could not have been better. The main item of work we contracted to have done was performing an electronics install for the other half of the system replaced (by others) last year. We opted to install a Garmin suite to complement the Furuno suite. This provides a redundancy in both gps and radar as both can operate independently. It does require the operator ie Cath and I, to learn two systems but the extra work is worth the effort and we are comforted by the added peace of mind. Several other items got attended to including soda blasting the bottom to bare fiberglass. The bottom was not too rough but did require some fairing prior to the epoxy barrier coats and bottom paint. Stabilizer work included complete removal, tear down and cylinder replacement. According to their mechanic they were in rough shape and needed this overhaul. Numerous smaller items were found and taken care of while Big Smile was on the hard. A quick sea trail on Monday with Eric Skow (owner) and mechanic Ricky showed all in good order. On Tuesday December 3rd we pushed off.

Big Smile ready for launching

Big Smile ready for launching

The trip down from Solomons MD started off very cold with temps dipping into the 30′s a few nights. Our route included the intracoastal through Virginia and North Carolina with various stops along the way. Unlike our trip north we are avoiding the Dismal Swamp canal and instead making a left turn near Norfolk to take the Albemarle and Chesapeake canal. Our schedule had several float days in case of bad weather and it also requires three offshore, overnite passages.

The ICW winds through Camp Lejuene and a favorite anchorage is Mile Hammock Bay where Marines practice amphibious landings and other tactics. It is a large, safe anchorage and the kayaking is superb. Two nights were spent here as pea soup fog enveloped us the morning we were to leave. We actually attempted to leave but less than a 1/4 mile from the anchorage we ran aground. It was fortuitous however as the fog didn’t lift till about 2PM. We did float free after three hours of waiting for the tide to rise and inched our way back to the anchorage.

Stuck in the mud on the ICW

Stuck in the mud on the ICW

 

Kayaking Mile Hammock Bay

Kayaking Mile Hammock Bay

At anchorage

At anchorage

 

Our first overnite of this trip had us leaving Carolina Beach NC and running down the Cape Fear River to the Atlantic and on to Charleston. It was 36 degrees and brilliant sunshine when we woke. Cath is in charge of the anchoring no matter what the weather and had to dress as if it were Vermont on this morning.

Leaving Carolina Beach, 36 degrees at sunrise.

Leaving Carolina Beach, 36 degrees at sunrise.

 

We had a easy offshore run and pulled into Charleston Harbor at 4AM. We dropped the hook and slept till 8 before returning to our favorite Charleston marina for one night. The marina trolley took us into Charleston for dinner. The city was hopping and the restaurant was superb.

Charleston Harbor Marina

Charleston Harbor Marina

 

Our next offshore run brought us to where we are at the moment. Leaving Charleston Harbor at 10 AM would put us at the entrance to St Marys River, the southernmost point in the state of Georgia at about sunrise. From there its a quick trip to Fernandina Harbor Marina. The offshore trip down however was tough as the wind and sea turned to the east at about sunset creating a beam sea that rolled us all night. In addition while Cath was cooking dinner we realized that smoke was coming up from the lower cabin. We checked the engine room immediately but no smoke there. It appeared to be coming from the third stateroom vent. I immediately shut off the HVAC system which had been running to heat the boat and the smoke slowly stopped. We opened hatches and vented the boat for quite some time as the smell of burning wiring was not pleasant. What happened was water somehow hit a five gang terminal block that provided power to the HVAC unit in that state room. It shorted and started to melt the block and wiring. It was a bit unnerving to have smoke billow up from below when you are 8 miles offshore. I replaced the block yesterday and all is well.

We just got back from a bike ride to the beach. The town of Fernandina Beach is historic and very interesting. Lots of restaurants, shops, and restored homes. We made it to the Saturday farmers market and had a field day buying from the various vendors. We will return and spend more time, maybe this spring.

Farmers market

Farmers market

Fernandina Harbor Marina

Fernandina Harbor Marina

 

1920's Trumpy pulling into Fernandina

1926, 103′ Trumpy “Freedom” pulling into Fernandina

We will leave tomorrow at sunrise for a 31 hour offshore run to Ft Pierce. Big Smile will stay there while we fly back for the holidays next Friday. We return via car to FL after New Years and will spend the month of January in Stuart. Time for a glass of wine before dinner.

Below is a typical night view on board.

Offshore at midnight

Offshore at midnight

Autumn on the Chesapeake

We left Big Smile at Washburns Boat Yard this week and headed north to NJ. I had driven her down from Herrington Harbor while Cath brought the car down. It was a chilly day to motor with 15+ north winds and temps in the 50′s. Made it in less than five hours however and was greeted by the Washburn staff. She will remain at Washburns for 3-4 weeks while maintenance work is done and new Garmin electronics are installed.

Our last two weeks at Herrington Harbor were busy. The weather all summer was great and these two weeks were no exception with warm days and no rain. We managed to fit in two boat shows and a Navy-Air Force football game with guests in between. We spent a full day at the Trawlerfest show in Baltimore where we saw the boat about which a book was written that led to the naming of Big Smile. The show was fun but there were not many land exhibitors.

A book about this boat provided the basis for the name of "Big Smile"

A book about this boat provided the basis for the name of “Big Smile”

Andrew and Nicole visited for a quick weekend and on Sunday we took the opportunity to try out the best brunch stop in Annapolis. Miss Shirley’s, which we found on Tripadvisor, was packed. After a 15 minute wait the four of us sat and ate the most superb and creative brunch imaginable. Even their version of a Bloody Mary, called the “Spicy Shirley”, was edible and delicious. Afterwards we walked downtown Annapolis.

Cath and Nicole on Main St

Cath and Nicole on Main St

Mid week we were joined by our friends Kobus and Susie. We left Herrington and motored to St Michaels arriving at 5:30 just as the Wednesday evening races were starting. An eclectic group of boats for the open category provided great viewing.

Getting ready to race on the Miles River.

Getting ready to race on the Miles River.

Bagpiper at start of race.

Bagpiper at start of race.

Perfect sunset.

Perfect sunset.

After cocktails topside we lowered the dink and headed in for dinner. St Michaels caters to boaters and has a large dinghy dock and many restaurants.

Lowering the dink

Lowering the dink

Awoke to another perfect Chesapeake day and after coffee it was back into town for a stroll on the main street. Weighed anchor mid afternoon and 3.5 hours later we pulled back into Herrington Harbor.

Morning coffee in a perfect setting

Morning coffee in a perfect setting

Entering Herrington Harbor

Entering Herrington Harbor

10148073304_5c43030a61_o-Edit

Friday had the four of us in Annapolis for the powerboat show. Cath and I spent the entire day walking the show while our friends had to leave for NJ.

Saturday it was back to Annapolis for the Navy/Air Force football game. Whether the game would be played was up in the air until two days before game day. As ludicrous as it sounds the government shutdown had forced Air Force to scramble to find a way to fly the team to Annapolis. They made it and the largest crowd to fill Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium sweated in 93 degree sunshine and watched Navy dominate. It was a lot of fun.

Dad was in the Marines and we live on a boat: Go Navy

Dad was in the Marines and we live on a boat: Go Navy

Inspiring pre-game arrival

Inspiring pre-game arrival

Our last night on board at Washburns provided a gorgeous sunset.

Sunset at Washburns Boatyard

Sunset at Washburns Boatyard

Silver Bay, Lake George

We are back on the Chesapeake after sixteen beautiful days at Lake George. Silver Bay is our hailing port but Big Smile will never see the thirty-two miles of clean, fresh Lake George water. Someday we might get it as close as Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain but even that would be problematic due to the height restrictions on the canal system linking the Hudson River to Champlain. Something to ponder.

I have been coming to Lake George for 56 years and know very well the vagaries of the Adirondack weather. This is especially so in the fall. However this year we lucked out and for most of our 16 days we had sunshine and no rain. On top of this we had the pleasure of having our new Vermont friends over for a weekend. And they brought their sailboat which not coincidently is moored on our bay. John and Marion took us out on their Capri 22 for a perfect sail. We had not sailed anything other than a sunfish in quite a while so it was a treat.

Marion

Marion

John flying the kite

John flying the kite

A great sail

A great sail

Although John and Marion had to leave after the weekend they graciously left their boat behind for Cath and I to enjoy. Thanks to both of you.

DSCN1397-Edit

DSCN1389

The Adirondacks are known for their “high” peaks and although we are not experienced hikers we did climb Black Mountain on a perfect, clear day. It is a three-hour hike up but once at the top the views of the lake are magnificent. There is an old fire tower at the top but it was shut down in the mid 70′s and can no longer be climbed.

Top of Black Mountain

Top of Black Mountain

View to the North

View to the North

The following weekend my cousin Nance and husband Rob joined us. John also drove over from Vermont and the five of us got in another good sail.

It was a good night

It was a good night

John's at the helm

John’s at the helm

Our lake trip ended with the ritual of boat hauling and storage. I elected to tow the jet skis to the launch area on a 40 degree morning. But that’s the Adirondacks.

20130917_091626-Edit