Home is Reached 2015

…Hayden sails to Rock Hall, MD…

And this is a WRAP. We closed the loop of Maryland to Florida to Abaco, Bahamas, to Maryland on Saturday, June 20, 2015 when we returned to our home dock in Rock Hall, Maryland. Our last blog post had us departing Portsmouth, VA and sailing for our home area of Annapolis and Rock Hall. Well, we always turn into Annapolis and take a mooring ball for a time of reflection and celebration, and this year the celebration coincided with a birthday party for Ken of  IP40 Tintean. His lovely wife, Sara, was hosting a party for Ken on Friday night in Annapolis at their condo/marina/pool resort!

Sara and Ken, our Bahamas buddies and good friends

So, after a quick stop and Thursday night / Friday morning in Annapolis, we motored over to Ken and Sara’s dock and had a fantastic time visiting our buddies and swimming in their beautiful pool. The birthday party was a blast with their interesting friends and neighbors. Our mutual friends of IP460 Cutter Loose, Eric and Patricia, stopped by as they had just driven into town to work on their yacht. What a fantastic place and facilities the Severn House complex is! We can see why Sara and Ken chose to live there and dock their boats there. Top notch facilities and beautifully landscaped grounds, walkways and pool, with lively neighbors, too. Thank you, Sara and Ken, for the dockage and the great party.

Hayden and Radeen sail under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The next day, we departed to make our final jump to our home dock in Rock Hall, where we reconnected with Madelyn, the marina owner and our friend of 24 years. There is something very special to us in returning to the exact slip where we built these sailing and cruising dreams. We first docked at Spring Cove Marina in 1992. In 2001, we built and commissioned Island Spirit here. Over the next ten years, we dreamt of going off cruising and someday sailing to the Bahamas. Now, all these years later, after accomplishing many goals, we sailed back to the same slip where we first formed our dreams. There is something magical about this and we really love it. This is our HOME dock and always will be. You know that there is no place like home.

Jeff and Sharon, our good friends

While docked for the weekend, we had a wonderful time with Jeff and Sharon, our great friends of many years and fellow IP owners, IP35 Lucille. Jeff and I have worked many hours on each of our boats, Jeff more on ours than us on his. We have cruised together and even shared BVI charter vacations together. Again, it was great to come home and spend time with these dear friends.

Mike and Betsey gave us a ride to PA

Speaking of close friends, Betsey and Mike, sailing buddies from our Lake Nockamixon days in the 1980s, also dock at Spring Cove. They offered to give us a ride home to PA to find our cars and our house. What a kind gesture that was! After all, Mike and Betsy, our most loyal Island Spirit Blog followers, took our car home to PA from MD when we sailed out in October. Thank you, Betsy and Mike, for all your wonderful help and support. We really appreciate this.

Hayden and Radeen in Saltbox 13 with “The Staircase”

Arriving home in PA, we found our cars at our local service center and drove them home, where we turned on the water, well pump, water heater, drained out the old water, flushed the pipes and checked out the property. WOW, it is great to be home. We built this place in 1984, a passive solar home, super insulated, and we are very proud of the project. Inside, we built all the millwork, cabinets, staircase, moldings and trim, flooring and furniture.

Saltbox 13, circa 1984 and still looking good

THIS is our home and always will be. We love it. We call it SALTBOX 13 because the design and architectural drawings (which I drafted) went through 13 revisions until we broke ground in April of 1984. We know this house so well and that is why we keep it.

We plan to off load the boat and put her away ASAP so we can take a break from boating, That way we will be ready to head south in October for year #5 with a fresh outlook. For now, we plan to be back and forth until we close up the boat and set ourselves up at home. Thanks for sailing along, it has been a great year!

Here are some photos….

Longtime Boat Buddies, Eric and Patricia of IP460 Cutter Loose
Radeen reflects on the Bay Bridge, we are home

Island Spirit knows how to sail under the Bay Bridge

HOME, Spring Cove Marina, the best of Rock Hall, MD

Radeen and Sharon on the porch at Spring Cove

THIS is OUR place, THE HARBOR SHACK, The BEST restaurant in Rock Hall, MD
Thank you, JIMMY, and all the great staff
Radeen’s favorite flower, Day Lilies, so we have many planted at home
Radeen, my favorite photo subject
A Mammatus Cloud Formation after a big storm 
Day Lilies frame our back deck
Radeen working the landscaping beds and the Day Lilies

Year #4 is a wrap and we feel so blessed and so lucky to be living this long planned dream. We are happy to share the adventures and photos with you and we appreciate you sailing along with us. Your comments are sent to us via email. We see every comment and enjoy your feedback.

Portsmouth to Maryland

The continuing push for our home dock was made as we departed the South Ferry Basin of Portsmouth, VA for a 155 nm run to Annapolis, MD.  Due to the high heat and threat of thunderstorms, we took slips at Deltaville Yachting Center in Deltaville, VA, and Calvert Marine in Solomons, MD. We can never pass by Annapolis without going to our favorite spot, Spa Creek, and taking a nice, calm, secure mooring ball just under the bridge. We took mooring ball #50, popped a bottle of Champagne and enjoyed reflecting on our 2,817 nautical mile journey. We departed Annapolis, on Oct 13, 2014, and now 8 months later, we returned “Home.” What a great trip year #4 has been! This was a review tour, returning to our favorite places like, Charleston, Biscayne Bay and The Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Harbour Cay Club and the great people there, Abaco, Bahamas with our home base at The Jib Room and the wonderful owners, and of course, Greg and Kate’s in Beaufort, NC. These are the special places we have fallen in love with over the past 4 years of cruising and we really enjoyed our times at each of them.

Now, back on our home waters of the Chesapeake Bay and only one day from our home dock in Rock Hall, it seems so surreal. The best part of being home will be seeing the friends and family we have missed! We will soon be back at our dock, and then we will be driving cars 65 mph down I-95, and running around in the crazy, busy pace of the Northeast. All the while, we will be planning and thinking about how soon we will return to these beautiful places south on the ICW and into the Bahamas only 4 months from now! The cruising life is a dream and we are so lucky to be living this dream. Thanks for sailing along with us.

Here are some photos of the last leg.

The best theater in USA, The Commodore in Portsmouth VA
Always a required show in Norfolk

The USS George H W Bush aircraft carrier off our bow!

A security boat kept us clear of the aircraft carrier

Look at this sailboat next to a container ship. This is WHY they scare us at night doing 20 knots!

15 containers wide

Radeen off watch and doing what librarians love to do


Cove Point Light House

Cove Point LPG ship terminal

Calm clear day, winds were to be 20 knots off our stern….nope

Thomas Point Lighthouse and Woodwind II off our port beam

Thomas Point Lighthouse, a screwpile piling lighthouse

Welcome to Annapolis Yacht Basin with a few large boats

There it is OUR Spa Creek Bridge, our favorite

Pop the champagne, we are home

Our Log with 2,817 nautical miles traveled since leaving here Oct 2014

Breakfast at Chick and Ruth’s is required and the Pledge to the flag is at 0830 on weekdays

Annapolis, MD State House Dome

Too beautiful

Radeen, my favorite model, strikes a pose

Hayden and Radeen, walking downtown Annapolis

Tall ship replica of LYNX a Baltimore Clipper Ship built in 1812
Baltimore Clipper complicated rigging

So, it is almost awrap, year #4 Maryland to Florida to Bahamas to Maryland. We feel blessed and very fortunate to be in this cruising life. Our next challenge will be getting home, starting our cars and setting up our home. Thank you for sailing along with us this year once again.

Here is a link and a picture of our 8 months on a map. Interactive MAP link here

Alligator Dismal Swamp Portsmouth VA

…Departing Beaufort, Adams Creek Sunrise….

We are pushing hard to get north! Once you start running for the barn, it seems like you just hit it and go for it like a Captain Blaine Parks Delivery! Now that man can really get it done!

Here are the legs we ran from Beaufort.

#1. Beaufort, to Dowry Creek Marina, 54 nm fuel, water, pump out, dock for AC and storms.
#2. Dowry Creek to Elizabeth City, 71 nm! Dock, no AC, no power, dine out.

Shrimp Boat heading to work

#3. Elizabeth City to Dismal Swamp to Portsmouth VA 46 nm, 2 locks, dock, no AC, no power, go to Commodore Theater for dinner and Jurassic World to cool off.

This section of the ICW, the Alligator River Pungo River Canal, Albemarle Sound, Elizabeth City, Pasquotank River, South Mills Lock, Dismal Swamp, Deep Creek Lock, and Portsmouth are by FAR the most interesting section. I never get tired of running this part of the waterway. I capture the most interesting photos and reflections here. So, please allow me to share the best 30 photos of the hundreds that I shot. You, too, will see the beauty of this portion of the ICW.

Radeen at the helm

Alligator River Pungo Canal Fly

My favorite Bridge Tender is at Alligator River Swing Bridge
This man is so kind and friendly and does a great job!

Crossing the mighty Albemarle Sound

The placid Pasquotank River, leading up to the South Mills Lock

Radeen enjoying the reflections

Too beautiful to not take lots of photos

Morning reflections

My Favorite reflection

Baldcypress Trees

Anchored at South Mills Lock waiting for the opening

Radeen is a great line handler in the lock as the water rushes into the lock

We are being lifted up 8 feet to the Dismal Swamp level

Ahhhh…now for some Dismal Swamp reflections

LOOK AT THIS, 22 statute miles of canal

The canal was completed in 1805 and is on the
National Register of Historic Places

The heat index is degrees and we are running with the sunshade up

It is JUNE and the biting flies almost killed us. This fly swatter is a gift
 from the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome to Virginia, the VA-NC State Line in the swamp

The Deep Creek Bridge prior to entering the lock

Entering the Deep Creek Lock, our favorite,

Radeen under the shade and tending her bos line

We have run EVERY MILE on this sign, except the last 50 to Eastport, Maine

Line handler, Radeen

Radeen lets the line out as the boat drops 8 feet

Welcome to Portsmouth, bridges, tugs, barges, ships, crazy boat traffic

WE DID IT, we made it to the Commodore Theater for the movies!
A 9 hour day of only 46 nautical miles, with time spent waiting for locks and bridges.

The South Ferry Basin, Portsmouth VA, a must stop town
This is the route from Elizabeth City into the Swamp and up to Portsmouth VA. Click to make larger.

There you have it, 30 photos of our last few days of running north. Today, we enter our HOME waters of the Chesapeake Bay with a 105 degree heat index and zero winds. We will head out and power on north. Thank you for sailing along, it is great to share this wonderful adventure.

Greg and Kate’s Home is Home

There are a few places we travel along the ICW that really feel like home, and Greg and Kate’s home is one of these places. They make us feel so welcome. Kate always spoils us with the best home cooked Italian meal and Greg always spoils us with the wine cellar. Then, to top it off, we have a Doodle Love Fest with “the kids” Lucy and Gracie. Home this is to us. We snack, drink, eat, laugh, catch up on our last year of travels, lounge on the sofas, and simply enjoy our time together. After being on the boat for so long, it is great to go to a house and stretch out and relax and play with the doodles. Greg and Kate are former Island Packet 350 owners who now have switched over to land yachting in a 40 foot “Party Bus!”

First, we up anchored out at Cape Lookout Bight after our ocean run of 2.5 days and came through the Beaufort Inlet and then up the ICW to their home.

Entering their private development and marina is very interesting. The dredged channel runs right across the low tide land and into a manmade marina where the homes encircle the yacht club. Check out these screen shots of the entrance, with the image of our boat as we moved across the chart.

First order of business was to party on the “PARTY BUS” so we popped a bottle of Moet and Chandon to celebrate. Kate made an antipasta and Greg uncorked a bottle of fine red wine.

It was party on the DA BUS and the Doodles jumped right into the game. This Tiffin Phaeton motorhome is really amazing with slide out sides and leather sofas and two bathrooms and a laundry, as well as 4 TVs. It is beautiful and we can see how land yachting is just as much fun as ocean yachting. Here are some photos taken on the bus.

After that, it was time to return to the house and to enjoy one of Kate’s fabulous meals. We had pasta with home made sauce and sausage meatballs, a wonderful salad, and ice cream sundaes with special coffees.

The next day we serviced the boat, filled the water tanks, washed off the salt and caught up on emails and communications from the last few days of travel offshore. Kate helped with laundry and transportation to the drugstore, post office, bank, grocery store and thrift shop donation drop-off. Greg and Kate own this slip at their home and, since they sold their IP 350, it was available for us to dock. We appreciated it so much!

NOTE TO ALL: If you are looking for a beautiful home in perfect condition with a waterfront lot and a dock for a 35-40 foot boat in a deep water, protected harbor, with a yacht club and pool, then THIS IS THE PROPERTY to buy. Greg and Kate are selling their home and plan to move to the southwest. This gorgeous waterfront home, with a dock in a private yacht club marina in Beaufort, North Carolina, could be yours. See this sign and call.

That night after our laundry and boat chores were finished, we all went out to a dinner in town on the Beaufort waterfront. Of course we celebrated first at home and played with the Doodles some more and then enjoyed a great night out.

Sadly, the third day we departed at 0545 and headed 54 nautical miles, 10 hours, up the ICW towards home. Greg and Kate are near mile marker 200 on the ICW, so that means we have 200 statute miles to the Chesapeake Bay, then we have 140 nautical miles up the Bay to Rock Hall, MD. Here was the sun rise on the ICW as we departed.

54 nautical miles looks like this on a Google Map. This is where the ICW goes from Beaufort NC.

Thank you so much Greg and Kate for another wonderful break and fun visit at “Home” We really enjoyed the time once again. Hug the Kids and tell then we miss them…..see you again soon….

Video: FL-NC ocean sailing

We had a safe and wonderful ocean passage from Florida to Cape Lookout North Carolina. This was a 330 nm leg and we finished this in 58 hours. We sailed half of it but needed to motor sail half due to winds under 10 knots from dead astern. The sailing was great with the winds 20-25. Here is a 3 minute video of the passage, plus some photos.

Here are some photoclick images for larger full screen images

Departing St. Mary’s Inlet, Florida

YAHOO, our loaner radar antenna is working

Librarian Radeen working the log book

Beam reaching to start in 8-10 knots

Our course is 055, 330 nm to the Cape

Sunset and lighting up the red nav lights

The helm view at dusk

Wing on Wing in 20 knots

Fantastic sailing. We really enjoy wing on wing

Boat speed is not bad in 20+ knots

Hayden at the helm

Dawn is always exciting

Our SPOT map points at 0600, 1200, 1800, 2400

ICW Vero to Fernandina Beach

…Good friends Jeanne, Bob, Radeen and Hayden…

Returning from the BVIs and meeting good friends Bob W. IP-380 JUDITH III and his crew, Jeanne, for a fine dinner at the Chart House in Melbourne was a great way to come back to the boat. Thank you, Bob, for being such a great friend. It was a very fun evening. The next day, we did laundry, provisioned, fueled up and prepared to depart. Once we left, we  spent that next 5 days running the ICW from Vero Beach, FL, to Fernandina Beach FL because of NE winds on the ocean.

Home from BVIs time for a quick turnaround

The course we planned to run was offshore and was 040 magnetic which is NE. This would have been directly into the wind, plus the NE wind would have been opposing the Gulf Stream. creating steep waves. Both not a good situation. So, we ran the ICW inside and we did this 8-10 hours each day. Our runs were: Day 1: Vero to Titusville. Day 2: Titusville to Daytona. Day 3: Daytona to St. Augustine. Day 4: St. Augustine to Fort George (ran aground!) Day 5: Fort George to Fernandina Beach. (only 3 hours)

Buy a few provisions, we are good to go

While in St. Augustine, we met Mike and Kathy of IP-350 SHRUG for the first time. After wine onboard with lively conversation, we went out for a great dinner at A1A downtown. Sorry, no photos of the fun we had!

Now, we have reached the Florida Georgia Border. We plan to head to sea Monday June 8 at 0600 and run a course of 050 for 330 nm to Cape Lookout, North Carolina. This will take us about 60 hours, so we plan to be anchored in Cape Lookout Bight Wednesday night. Then we will stop in Beaufort at our favorite “HOME away from HOME” with our good friends, Greg and Kate. We will visit with these great travelers and enjoy catching up and simply relaxing & spending time with such wonderful friends.

From there, we will either sail out and around Cape Hatteras or run the ICW north to the Chesapeake Bay and home to Rock Hall, Maryland. So, we will be off the grid for the next three days. Our SPOT map will be updating as we press the SPOT transmitter, so you can see our latest position on our home page.

Here are some photos of the past 5 days.

Good bye Vero, what a great town!

Heading north on the ICW, easy

Radeen dealing with the AM sun rise on her face

NE winds and thermals create cloud banks over the land

Island Spirit St Augustine Moorings

International Speedway Bridge, Daytona Beach, FL

Bridge, Bridge, Bridge

Daytona Beach dondos in the morning sun reflect beautifully

Island Spirit ATV up on land. Follow the markers, not the charts!

Tall Ship “El Galeon” in St. Augustine

A walk over the Bridge of Lions

The Bridge of Lions

Old School ICW home

The New School ICW, this is the nearby neighbor to the last photo

Crossing the St. Johns River, Radeen off duty

Sunrise at low tide at Ft. George Island, near the remains of the ‘Kingsley
Plantation, once the largest sugar cane plantation in the country

Sunrise near Fort George, FL

Birds fishing the low tide

Channel marker at the low tide slope

Amelia Research Vessel in Fernandina Beach, so interesting

Sharon’s beautiful car returned to storage. She loaned itto us while in Vero. We really miss this!!

Here is our plan
Follow our SPOT map here

Florida to Maryland 2015

..The plan…the actual…

We stayed in the Bahamas longer this year, and then we stayed in Florida while we enjoyed a family vacation to the British Virgin Islands last week. Now, it is June and we are trying to push the boat home to Maryland ASAP. We have come very close to storing the boat here in Florida and simply driving home. That would be far easier and take a lot less time and effort, but we want the boat at home for some work, so here we are pushing north 10+ hours a day.

Our plan was originally to go offshore directly from Fort Pierce, FL to Cape Lookout, NC, a 500 nm run. As we prepared for two days, the forecast was perfect for this with South and Southwest winds. Then on Wednesday, departure day, our weather router, Chris Parker, suggested we not go offshore unless we like pushing into a 15-20 knot head winds with seas of 4-6 feet. Our other weather tools were saying calm seas and light S SW winds. We were confused. But we took his advice and stayed inside the ICW. We found the winds really were 15-20 N NE, just like he said! With our ocean passage course of 040 degrees, we would have been sailing directly into it. These N NE winds have been here for 4 days!

We will reach Fernandina tomorrow, Sunday, and will wait there until the winds go S or SW, which is supposed to happen Monday or Tuesday. If so, we will make a 330 nm run for Cape Lookout. If you click the picture, you will see our original plan and now our actual plan. The NO leg we could not do because of head winds blowing against the Gulf Stream. The 1, 2, 3 plan shows our day hops up the ICW to the FL/GA line. We can wait there for S or SW or W winds to make the direct run to the Outer Banks. Thanks for sailing along.

BVIs 2015 Family Vacation

Two years in the planning, we enjoyed our boating vacation with our family from Arizona. Planning this for when Tanner graduated from 8th grade and before Taelor entered her Junior year was the ideal time for this trip. We booked a Moorings 474 Power Catamaran with a captain and a chef in the British Virgin Islands out of Road Town. The boat had 4 cabins and 4 bathrooms, two engines, a generator and air conditioning. It was three stories tall and ran at 15+ knots, so nothing was much more than an hour trip. This speed allowed us to visit many places in one day and see all the territory. We swam, snorkeled, walked beaches and salt flats, climbed trails with overlooks and observed many tropical fish. I shot three cameras, taking 1,900 photos. Of these, I selected 100 of the best and built this 4 minute slideshow with a soundtrack by Bob Marley. The photos show the fun and joy we shared together. This was our 7th trip to the BVIs and our family’s first. It was wonderful to re-explore these islands for the first time since 2005, they are so beautiful.

BVIs 2015 Family Slide Show

Here is a Map of our trip, and the route we ran. This is unusual but we ran clockwise due to 300 MIT boats that book this week and we ran the opposite of them.