Saturday, April 16, 2016

More Abacos photos

back to the Abacos

We have finally arrived in the Abacos, but this time by convenient air travel, and are once again staying on the bit of Paradise, Parrot Cay in the South Cottage. The past 4 days have been filled with snorkeling on Sandy Cay and Fowl Cay underwater preserves in the sunny warm weather

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Portland, Bar Harbor and Acadia

We truly enjoyed the town of Portland as it reminded us quite a bit of a the culturally, culinary eccentric blue collar place we experienced in St. Paul Minnesota many years ago. Probably the most photographed lighthouse is the Portland Head.

Just amazing! On our way we stopped in quintessentially nautically scenic Camden and Cindy enjoyed the best lobster roll yet at Cappy's.

 Our second day "DownEastCoast" was spent at Acadia National Park and lunch in Bar Harbor at the "Thirsty Whale" where our server Sarah, no kidding, grew up in Traverse City!

 Instead of commentary this spectacular area is best described by photos.

Monday, November 9, 2015

More Coastal Sights

After an all day fog on Friday, as can only be experienced in New England (so time was spent at the Woods Hole aquarium), we journeyed under partly sunny skies to Martha's Vineyard for the day by ferry from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven. The harbor there was filled with so many classic sailing yachts that we would swear there wasn't a stone of fiberglass to be found anywhere.

      One of the most scenic locations on the island was the Aquinnah Cliffs. Indian legend tells of giant Moshup who slayed and rendered whales with the blood being the red in the cliffs and the black the ashes of the fire on which he cooked the fat.

Witness the windy selfie for the days weather.

We also went through Mememsha where scenes from the movie "Jaws' were filmed, and particularly enjoyed Edgartown which is so much like the quintessential whaling village it was in the past.

Finishing in Vineyard Haven with what else, ice cream for Jay.

 Then our travels led north to Maine, via one of our favorites Gloucester. As we did the last trip into this area we have been on a quest for the best clam chowder, and while Norwalk has it pretty good the best truly is still at the Gloucester House.

 So many places use canned clams rather than chopped fresh ones and the difference is noticeable. The one at the Gloucester House, where we visited 20 plus years ago and Cindy first ate almost 50 years ago just does it all well, but she just wishes she had enough appetite for what looks to be the world's best lobster roll as well.

 And of course the obligatory visit to the Gloucester Memorial to more than 5,000 fishermen of the area lost at sea.

 We spent today touring Portland, which is definitely a foodie haven with streets of the port area filled with restaurants, yet another chowder at J's Oyster, and one of the most unique Calamari presentations we've ever had at DiMillo's.  The lightly breaded calamari was served with a balsamic vineyard reduction sauce drizzled over it along with a tomato caper bruschetta scattered over the top. Amazing!
 But the most beautiful sight of the day belonged to the Portland Head Lighthouse!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On a New (England) Road again

Departing Maryland through New Jersey, where all gas stations are full service by mandate, and New York we arrived in Connecticut. After successfully but blindly finding a Norwalk riverside place we'd had a New England Chowder over 20 years ago that we'd since labeled the best ever, at the SoNo

Seafood restaurant we journeyed forth to our days destination of Mystic Seaport.

After checking in to the local pet friendly La Quinta (and yes Pounce is still enjoying his hotel rooms, especially when they have a window sill he can sit upon) we journeyed at dusk as always to anything on the water, in this case the Bridge restaurant (actually in Pawcatuck) for an amazingly tender and buttermilk crusted fish and chips after another chowder.

Today (just to keep track, Wednesday Nov. 4) we arrived at the entrance of this amazing historic village just minutes after opening and stayed until closing time. It was almost a mecca like pilgrimage to see the Charles W. Morgan (especially meaningful since we'd met one of the principal players in the ship's reclamation, Matthew Stackpole, and his wife Martha when they stayed at our bed and breakfast 2 years ago when doing a presentation to the Maritime Heritage Alliance Association in Traverse City).

We enjoyed so many of the whaling exhibits as well the re-enactors and their stories. Quite an amazing place
and we bumped into one of the crew on the Denis Sullivan at last year's Schooner Festival in TC, Kathryn, who was a was on another boat in Mystic waiting for a second crew to arrive; so small sailing world it is.

  At the end of the day we stopped in to CP Oyster Co. in Mystic for some local oysters for Cindy and Jay continued his clam chowder comparisons.

 All three selections, SoNo - Bridge - and CP have been good with only minor flavor differences - Bridge a bit hotter with pepper (which Jay preferred), CP more clammy broth with smaller pieces of clam. Cindy's take on the oysters, in the photo foreground with the Mystic River past the bar's windows - a selection of a Danbury, MA and two Rhode Island - a Ninigret Nectar from Ninigret Pond , and Conway Pearl RI all were small and salty with very minimal differences due to the closeness and similarities of their waters and all delicious.

 Tomorrow on to the Cape and Martha's Vineyard.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

End of the Adventure, for now

   After brainstorming the electrical issues on the boat Wed/Thurs. it was determined that all 3 batteries had completely drained, so new ones (and yes they are expensive) were purchased on Friday. We traveled north to the dealer Tri-State to pick them up and Jay installed them on Saturday along with fixing the bilge float ( a possible culprit in the battery drain but not solely responsible). With the delayed departure date we explored our options again and made the decision Monday to ship the boat back to Traverse City by truck. So the rest of our time was spent taking sails off and removing as much of the rigging attachments as we could before the mast is stepped next week.
  Many factors such as the logistics of sailing home in the spring and early summer, as we have as yet to secure innkeepers for enough dates, and the flow of waters against our travel at that time of year; but mostly because of the disappearance of our cockpit canvas which makes travel in marginal weather so much more comfortable (and we are getting too old to suffer), and the accumulation of aggravation from last winter's problem led to this decision.  A sad day for sure but we believe the best decision right now.
 In between all the decision making and working on the boat we did get to spend Sunday at the Downrigging Tallship Festival in Chestertown put on by the Sultana Education Foundation.
The highlight of the show was the Dutch Barque  "Kalmar Nyckel" from Willimington DE.

Historic Chestertown was charming of course as well.

Friday, October 30, 2015

On the Road Again or Bridge Over Continuing Troubled Waters

After surviving the Storm of Aug 2, which devastated so much of the beautiful foliage in our area (40 trees down on our property), and enjoying some late but terrific fall colors in Northern Michigan,
we departed on Monday October 26th to get back into the proverbial saddle by sailing the Balia back south for the winter. The intent was to take a few weeks to enjoy the Chesapeake, since our trip home last spring was so rushed, and get to Southport, North Carolina by Thanksgiving; then return to Traverse City for the holidays and back to the boat in February for a few points south then begin the journey back up the east coast and take the alternate route back to the Great Lakes through the Champlain Canal and Montreal.
 As we began our travels our cat Pounce quickly adjusted to hotel life by finding new places for relaxing.
 But alas the sailing god curse was upon the Ruzaks again as two days before we left the charter operator in Maryland reported that the batteries were not holding a charge. So upon arrival Tuesday we have spent the first 3 days here testing the batteries to determine if one or all had a problem and today we purchased 3 new ones.   If all goes well and this is the fix, versus something else draining the batteries; we have decided that we are going to miss our original timeframe for leaving. So instead we will either winter the boat "on the hard" here in Maryland then return next spring to pick up the trip north; or if after Jay installs the batteries tomorrow we discover more problems then we would still leave the boat here to have the yard try to determine what else is going on. Or if all well at just the batteries we may call it quits and ship the boat back to Michigan by truck.
 We vacillate daily between the options but by the early part of next week we will make the final decision, then leaving the inn in competent hands we are going to take the opportunity to travel north to Massachusetts and Maine by car before returning home for the holidays. And what an odd coincidence that the day after we arrive a blimp from the Aberdeen Proving Ground just south of where we are breaks loose and roams for 200 miles west into Pennsylvania wiping out power lines along the way. Is this some electrical anomaly or a balancing of nature forces. Who knows but we are definitely frustrated and apparently our canvas cockpit enclosure has gone walkabout and no one knows where it could be!
 In the meantime we are enjoying the area with a great, albeit expensive, crab soup at the Tidewater Grill while Jay enjoys the north end of the bay scenery on the Susquehanna River.