We spent a week anchored in the very sheltered waters of Spring Cove, Solomon Island, just a short dinghy hop from Claudia and Michael.

Our anchorage in Spring Cove, Solomons.

Our anchorage in Spring Cove, Solomons.

Michael used to be a baker, so he and Marcus worked their magic in the Galley,………

Cooking dinner aboard Kassiopia.

Cooking dinner aboard Kassiopia.

……….and by car to get freshly steamed crabs from the local fishmongers.

Steamed blue leg crabs for lunch.

Steamed blue leg crabs for lunch.

Needless to say the bar on IK came into its own in the evenings!

Claudia and I catching up with friends on the internet.....

Claudia and I catching up with friends on the internet…..

 

Marcus and Michl catching up with a bottle of Jameson's.

Marcus and Michl catching up with the bottom of a bottle of Jameson’s.

 

Good friends, who we will meet again.

Good friends, who we will meet again.

 

While we were so close to Washington, we decided to hire a car and do the tourist visits to the Smithsonian Museums and of course, the White House.

The Mall, that runs from Capitol Hill down to the Lincoln Memorial, is bordered by free museums. Mr Smith, whoever he was, must have left an enormous fortune invested for the upkeep and expansion of these fantastic ‘people’s’ museums. We couldn’t possibly ‘do’ them all, so we opted for the Space and Flight museum and the Native American People’s Museum on the first day and the newly opened African American Museum and a long walk down the Mall on the second day.

Our first stop was the Space and Flight Museum, as we were starving and it houses the biggest McDonald’s we’ve ever seen!!

Mac Donalds in a very big way!

Mac Donalds in a very big way!

Once refuelled we set off for the Wright brothers’ exhibit and then on through time to the Space gallery. We could have spent the whole day here!

The Wilbur and Orville's Wright's first success.

The Wilbur and Orville’s Wright’s first success.

 

Progress in flight......the scary thing is we have seen all these types of planes in our life time!!!

Progress in flight……the scary thing is we have seen all these types of planes in our life time!!!

 

 

Next stop was a short walk down the Mall.

The Native American museum.

The Native American museum.

The building of the Native American museum is a work of art in itself and houses artefacts from tribes who inhabited the entire country, from Alaska down to Peru and Chile. The treaties and deals that lead to the Indians being squeezed out of their homeland and onto reservations are evident, but the focus is not on blame, but on the culture, beliefs, philosophy and way of life of the ‘old people’ and of the relevance of their understanding of the balance of nature, which we so need today.

The canoe entrance hall to the Native American Museum.

The canoe entrance hall to the Native American Museum.

On our second day in Washington, we visited the Museum of America, hoping to find something about William Henry Seward, but to no avail. So the next stop was the African American. This is not only a record of the plight of slaves, but a fantastic celebration of their strength of will and the massive influence that African Americans have had on today’s America, from sport and entertainment to philosophy and politics.

The newlt opened African American museum.

The newly opened African American museum. Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman, an Australian,who suggested they share the pair of gloves that came to symbolise so much.

 

Mr Hendrix immortalised.

Mr Hendrix immortalised.

 

Totally museumed out, we walked the Mall and arrived at the west end just before sunset.

Capitol Hill from the War Memorial hill......quite a walk.

Capitol Hill from the War Memorial hill……quite a walk.

From the war memorial hill, we looked down over the ‘pool’ and the Lincoln Memorial. We recognised it from the Forrest Gump film!

The Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial.

Just north of the hill is the White House…..much smaller than I had imagined it to be!

The White House.

The White House.

 

Once again it was time to move on. We left just after dawn to be able to make it to Porstmouth, at the south end of the Chesapeake, in day light.

Farewell commitee.

Farewell committee.

After spending a night anchored at Hospital Point, where we know the holding is not good, we decided to move into the free town dock, as winds of 20 to 30 knots were predicted. The only worry we had with the town dock was our length, so we chalked an 0 over the faded 9 on the Taswell 49 that’s painted on the side of the hull!

Moored in the 40' max town dock in Portsmouth.we reckon no one knows what 40' looks like!

Moored in the 40′ max town dock in Portsmouth. We reckon no one knows what 40′ looks like!

We sat out the weather front here and apart from a load of leaves on the deck, it had no effect on us. Whilst here we took the ferry over to Norfolk and went to the cinema to get out of the rain. They only charge $6 for over 62s (£4.80), so it’s a great deal for us and we can relax in a comfy seat for and hour or two!!

Two more yachts pulled into the Town Dock and we met 4 new friends! Brian and Jackie on SOUL GYPSEY and Chris and Khara on DRAKKA. Both couples are just beginning their adventure of living aboard and had buddied up further up the coast. Chris and Khara have a great illustrated blog that Khara updates with beautiful paintings……if you’re interested in a good read, from a newbies boat’s point of view and a look at her other amazing artwork, go to www.kharaledonne

On Armistace day we were awoken by the sound check for the Veterans Day ceremony on the bandstand behind us and we went along later to hear the band and speeches.

Veterans day on the 11th of the 11th at 11.

Veterans day on the 11th of the 11th at 11.

With a three day weather window, we decided now was the time to venture out around Hatterass. It all went smoothly……..so smoothly in fact that we had to motor for all of the 34 hours it took us to get to Beaufort NC! With weather still set fair, we only stayed a night in Beaufort and headed off the following morning for Charleston SC.

Beautiful Beaufort for B&B.

Beautiful Beaufort for B&B.

 

Company at sea.

Company out on the briney sea.

We refuelled at the town Marina and then dropped anchor in the river. On our way into town, we dropped by our neighbour’s to say hello. SUSIE TOO was a British flagged boat and as we got chatting to Dave and Susie, Marcus realised that he had been on the same radio course with Dave back in 2013. What a small world!! Susie is organising the first Ocean Cruising Club rally to Cuba in February, so we will be meeting up again, as I think we are going to join the rally! After a quick bite to eat, we spent a very sociable evening aboard our third AT LAST, with Jackie and John, newly retired cruisers who are heading south on the ICW.

Charleston has a much more French feel about it. The houses are very grand and are set at right angles to the street. We spent our day walking her streets, finding the supermarket and socialising, before it was time to set ff again.

Charleston 'side on' houses.

Charleston ‘side on’ houses.

We were told to visit the Market if nothing else. This is a massive covered market that covers four blocks. It has a lot of artisan stalls and sea-grass basket weavers, weaving their wares at regular intervals along the way. When it was built, it was an agricultural market for animals and produce, but today, tourists are far more profitable!!

The Market that is Market Street.

The Market that is Market Street.

 

We are really getting south now and the water is much warmer. On our 36hr trip from South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, we were joined by a playful, plentiful pod of dolphins……..always a delight and wonder.

More company at sea!

More company out on the briney sea!

 

We arrived at the Jacksonville inlet right on the turn of the tide to take us up to Jacksonville, some 20 odd miles up river. All was going to plan until just after midday on Saturday November 19th when disaster struck!

…………to be continued!!

Once again the wifi is proving tricky and I can’t get photos uploaded at the moment, so rather than wait for the wifi fairy to deliver, I am posting this wordy wordy episode sans visual cues!

We made our first overnight trip for months, down to Cape May. One nighters are always tiring, as we don’t sleep properly,

Sleeping Beauty!

Sleeping Beauty!

……..so we were happy to pull into Cape May at seven in the morning and take a nap. By mid day we had upped anchor and moved around the headland into the mouth of the Delaware where we would be able to catch the early morning tide up towards the Chesapeake and Delaware canal. After a very rolly night we were relieved to set off at sunrise.

Dawn at our Cape May anchorage

Dawn at our Cape May anchorage

Having made such good speed up the Delaware we changed our plans and caught the current going west bound through the canal. 20 miles later we dropped anchor in the Bohemia River for a peaceful night and a lie in!

Monday 18th October, we set off for Havre De Grace; our first stop in Maryland. Jan and Norman, our friends onboard ‘Bandersnatch’, have sailed our route south from Gloucester to Jacksonville FL for the past 20 years, so they gave us some good anchorage tips. This one included tying up to a ladder in the corner of a boatyard that locks its gates after dark! Luckily, once again, the natives were very friendly and within minutes of our first foray ashore, we had the code for the gate and directions for the best bars in town!!

Havre De Grace is at the very top of the Chesapeake and the water here is only slightly brackish, so is a favourite migratory stop for geese, swans and various species of ducks. For years it was a centre for leisure and commercial hunters and boasts its own Decoy museum…….we now know far more than we knew there was to know about the use of decoy ducks, their making and deployment!! Like all over exploited resources, however, the duck hunting diminished numbers to such an extent that there was a moratorium on hunting and Havre De Grace lost its main attraction! Today the town is a low key tourist destination and a dormitory town for Philadelphia and Baltimore.

We decided to hire a car for a couple of days and drive into Philadelphia to do some sight seeing. Just by chance, we managed to park around the corner from the main heritage centre where the declaration of independence was signed, the Liberty Bell is housed and where Benjamin Franklin lived.

Selfie at the Liberty Bell.

Selfie at the Liberty Bell.

Down by the dock we strolled through a park and came upon an Irish memorial series of plaques and sculpture commemorating the suffering of the Irish at the time of the potato blight and their desperate voyages aboard the famine ships.

One of the most moving pieces of sculpture i have seen. it depicts the Irish potato famine and a famin ship arriving in Philidelphia

One of the most moving pieces of sculpture i have seen. it depicts the Irish potato famine and a famine ship arriving in Philadelphia.

 

Despair

Despair.

Suffering.

Suffering.

Hope.

Hope.

 

Returning after our second day in Philly and an educational visit to the State Penitentiary, we found that a Steely Dan tribute band were playing the other side of the fence from where we left the dinghy. The boatyard employees and ‘live aboards’ had set out picnic tables and a barbecue our side of the fence and needless to say, we were invited to join them….. and Marcus was plied with beers!

The following day we were picked up by beer provider Tim, the bosun at the yard, and his wife, Anita, and driven to the supermarket. Such random acts of kindness from people we meet are what make this life so great.
After sitting tight on the boat, sitting out a gale all Friday night and all day Saturday, we were glad to get going again on Sunday.

The next stop was Baltimore, once again an anchorage suggested by Jan and Norman, right in the middle of Baltimore’s old port. We had a great time here and did a lot of sight seeing on foot. Marcus spent a whole afternoon in Starbucks trying to update the laptop and I took a walk to a post office and managed to get them to receive a package for us to pick up. Said package was a replacement screen for Marcus’ tablet, which didn’t bounce when it was dropped on the floor in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

The weather is definitely getting colder and we have been using the heater at night. Unfortunately, whoever thought it was a good idea to install the water outlet through the gas locker, knew nothing about the consequences of a blocked outlet!! Although we were running it in short bursts, the locker was filling and overflowing into the middle bilge…….the one that we have to pump out manually! Thanks to a dose or two of muriatic acid and a good rifling with the trusted, rusted coat hanger, we now have the luxury of heat. It doesn’t take long to get the main cabin cosy.

Baltimore proved to be a great stop. We strolled around the gentrified Harbour area and took a self guided tour of the city. Closer to the anchorage is the old town of Fell’s Point. The buildings here are of red brick and the streets are cobbled. Mr Fell, who gave his name to the place, was a shipping magnate of the day and loaded his ships with tobacco and other cargo and they returned with ballast of bricks and stone from England.

A red brick street in Baltimore

A red brick street in Baltimore

No wonder the town felt friendly and familiar. A great many Brits and Irish emigrated to Baltimore and despite the prohibition years, there is still a pub or bar on most street corners! We found a treasure….the 1919….. The owners, Sally and John, made us very welcome and it turned out that John is originally from Bristol and knows St Warburghs and has admired my ‘brother in law’, Martins house!!
The 1919 has an eclectic mix of artefacts covering every available surface so, it being Halloween, it was no surprise to find two locals, Jeff, sitting at the bar carving a pumpkin and his wife, Jane, sifting through the pumpkin pulp to harvest the seeds. We had a great evening in a real local pub.

Armed with the hand held radio and the trolley, Marcus dropped me ashore with a full bag of laundry for the trek to the launderette to catch up with the washing. With me out of the way, Marcus got down to one of his least favourite jobs……..changing the impellers on both the main engine and the generator. The following day we left Baltimore for a short hop round to Annapolis.

Farewell to our anchorage in Baltimore

Farewell to our anchorage in Baltimore

The winds were from the north pushing down the Chesapeake…….had we listened to the local weather we may not have set off, as there was a ‘small craft warning’ in place. As it was we sailed on the full Genoa and the engine, on just over tick over, controlling the tail end, as we hand steered at 8 knots. We arrived at the anchorage only to find that the entire Annapolis dinghy racing fleet was out on the water! We managed to pick our way through the multiple races and ended up taking a buoy for two nights. Annapolis had a distinct feel of Lymington; the shop lined hill of the Main Street; the grandeur of the 18th century brick town houses and the columned porticos of the government buildings.

A bridge we didn't hit on the way to Annapolis

A bridge we didn’t hit on the way to Annapolis

The Capitol building in Annapolis. It was the seat of government during the transition after the civil war.

The Capitol building in Annapolis. It was the seat of government during the transition after the civil war.

Halloween paddle board parade in Annapolis.

Halloween paddle board parade in Annapolis.

Halloween costume adjustment by a professional.

Halloween costume adjustment by a professional.

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With the ever chillier weather, we didn’t tarry long and decided to make the next hop down to Solomon’s Island, where we had a warm welcome from Bandersnatch. We spent the evening we arrived at a restaurant with Norman and Jan and two Canadian cruisers, Gary and Diane.

The following morning, we upped anchor and moved up the river to near Spring Cove Marina to meet up with Michael and Claudia on ‘Kassiopia’. It was wonderful to catch up with them. The last time we saw them was when we were in Jacaré, Brazil, two and a half years ago. Cruising friend ships are made swiftly and run deep!