WE’LL KEEP THE LIGHT ON!

Last weekend I traded in my Admiral-awesomeness hat for that of a DeTour Reef Lighthouse Keeper!

A few months ago, our friends Doug and Sue asked if we wanted to join in on the fun. Ummmmm, experience life as a lightouse keeper on a 1931 offshore historic lighthouse?!?! Yes, of course we do!!

The 83-foot tall lighthouse is a strategic and historic landmark that marks a dangerous reef to help guide ship traffic from and to Lake Huron and Lake Superior via  St. Marys River. A restoration of the structure was completed in 2004, and in 2005 an overnight keeper program and public tours began.

The Light is located in northern Lake Huron at the far eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and sits one mile offshore. The views were spectacular!

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Such a beautiful lighthouse!

And since it cannot be reached by land, we were boated out to the lighthouse and climbed a 20 foot ladder to the base of the lighthouse. Yay for the harness! 

We resided at the lighthouse Friday through Sunday. Our duties were cleaning and light maintenance, greeting visitors, keeping a log, and assisting with the tours of the lighthouse.

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Lighthouse Keeper, Sue on duty

Our fancy digs for the weekend ~ the lighthouse keeper’s room, the assistant lighthouse keeper’s room, the study and the kitchen (complete with a 1931 GE Hotpoimt Range).

I think they failed to mention the incredible amount of  bird poop! We needed the *house* clean for our guests, so Doug and Rob immediately got to work.

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Hours of poop clean up and they’re still smiling!

Watching the freighters go to and from Lake Huron was such an experience. We saw some big boys! Like 1004 feet big!

Every time one went by we sounded the fog horn in hopes of a response – but these guys  were all business.

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In fact, one of my favorite things to do all weekend long was blow the horn! It was SO LOUD and made us laugh hysterically!

One of our *duties* was to serve cheese and crackers and bake fresh chocolate chip cookies when the guests arrived. So on Saturday when we saw the tour boat heading our way, the galley wenches got busy.

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Unfortunately, it was a false alarm! The seas and wind were so bad that all tours for the day were cancelled. We were so bummed. We were really looking forward to hoisting some folks up the Light and showing them around. On the plus side though, more chocolate chip cookies for us me!

By late afternoon we were a little stir crazy. Bug killing was a major highlight! We learned our lesson from the prior night, so Saturday night was spent by candlelight and iPhone flashlights.

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Bring it on Mr. Fish Fly

Even flew a kite (or attempted to fly a kite) from a lighthouse!

The Tower was way cool and super scary all the way up there!

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We’ll keep the light on!
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Stairway to heaven

We woke up early on Sunday to catch the sunrise. It was stunning! And the owl even enjoyed it!

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No, it is not real…lol

We were packed and ready to go on Sunday when surprise, surprise…here comes a tour! Yayyyyyy, visitors!! Time to make the cookies. It was super exciting, we had three kids and four adults to hoist and talk to about the lighthouse.

I wouldn’t have changed this experience for anything. There was lots of work involved, cleaning and cooking to do, bug killing, but the memories will last forever!

See you all from Lake Michigan. I hear there’s fudge on Mackinac Island!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

THE BLESSING OF BEING *STUCK*

Hi friends! Sorry about the long blog post, but it’s been a while and there’s so much to catch you up on!

Ever notice how the unexpected turns out to be a blessing in disguise? That’s exactly what happened last week.

After cruising the amazingly gorgeous Hudson River, we ended in Waterford, NY to begin our 160 mile trek thru the Erie Canal. Our route had us navigating 23 locks, which would then lead us to Lake Ontario and eventually into Canada. You guys, I am taking my own boat into ANOTHER COUNTRY. I thought cruising by Lady Liberty was a huge deal (which of course it was), but this just blows my mind!

One of us had the stupidest idea of walking across the Mid-Hudson Bridge. For me, it was 3,000 feet of sheer terror. Ok, maybe a small part of me liked the bridge music, but I was holding on to Rob for dear life! There are two listening stations on the bridge’s towers.  You push a button and hear the music of the bridge on the bridge.  The sounds were actually created by recording the sounds of the bridge’s surfaces (guard rails, girders, etc.) with various mallets. It was actually really cool.

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What was I thinking?!?!

We found a beautiful, secluded anchorage on the Hudson River.

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Our first 5 locks, called the Waterford Flight, would be within a span of 2 miles and each would lift us 34 feet! 😳 Tidbit: The Waterford Flight features five locks where vessels are lifted or lowered the greatest height in the shortest distance of any canal in the world. I definitely had some locking jitters. We’ve only locked a couple of times before and they weren’t even close to the size of the Erie Canal locks. Think of a lock as an elevator for boats…lifting and lowering them between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. Locks are what make the Loop possible.

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We’re hanging left here.
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Even the big boys  lock.

Our first day we travelled 35 miles and went through 10 locks. I wouldn’t say we are experts, but we definitely felt much more confident about our locking abilities.

We ended the day with news of a storm coming the next day. We met some really neat guys who were on a research boat. They had the inside scoop…leave first thing in the morning and continue moving West, or risk being stuck with lock closures. At 6:45am, off came the lines and by 7:00am we were in Lock 11 with the research boat. It was probably one of the most tiring and mentally and physically draining days we’ve had so far. It rained a ton, debris was floating down the Canal and we spent most of the day locking in the rain. The locks aren’t that big of a deal, but they really monopolize the day.

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Lovely!

Even the Amish get a kick out of the locks.

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Lock 14 – Canajoharie

Lock 17 lifted us 40 feet.

The research guys were spot on. The locks below us and two above us closed. We hung out in Little Falls, NY waiting for the water levels to recede and the upper locks to reopen.

Impossible to travel…

 

But I’m making new friends!

That gosling followed me for 2 miles!!! No…I am not your mother. Thank God it eventually found its family cause I don’t think I could’ve just left him there.

After 20 locks, we were at the highest level on the Erie Canal – 420 feet! What a cruel, cruel joke cause after all that work, Locks 21 and 22 were DROPPING us 25 feet each. Grrrrrr.

No sooner did the locks open and we were making forward progress, did they close again. The water level on the Erie Canal is extremely high right now and even the smallest amount of rain is troublesome.

For the next four days we made Brewerton, NY our home. What originally was a “we’re gonna be stuck where, for how long” moment, turned out to be the ahhhhhh moment. I definitely would say that the best part of being a Looper is the community. Everyone is in it together. Everyone shares a common interest. Everyone is looking out for one another. The friends we made in Brewerton are now lifelong friends.

Docktails all day, everyday.

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Summer Lynn, Sunshine Rose, Sand Dollar, Vitamin Sea, Crows Nest and The Blessing.

Dockside yoga. Waiting for locks to open is stressful…lol!

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Taking bets on when the locks will open.

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And a fantastic dinner hosted by Winter Harbor Marina!

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And the winner of $13 was…Nancy on Summer Lynn!

Thursday morning at exactly 6:45am we made our way out of Brewerton. Eight more locks ahead and we will soon be on our way to Canada! The only thing standing in our way is Lake Ontario!

See you soon, Canada 🇨🇦

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

 

DON’T WAKE ME IF I’M DREAMING

While there is a certain amount of disappointment when each section of the loop ends, there is excitement of what lies ahead. I was sad to say goodbye to the Chesapeake Bay…we had such an amazing time, but I was giddy with child-like enthusiasm as we were about to say hello to the Jersey Shore. Being a Jersey girl, I was home!

From Baltimore, we cruised to Chesapeake City which set us up to transit the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal, to the Delaware River then the Bay, eventually making our way into Cape May. We’ve heard some stories about that portion of the Loop being tricky. Another place where current and wind dictates the comfort of your ride. Fortunately for us, it was UNeventful. Our weather was perfect and we had a great push from the current behind us. The only traffic on the C&D Canal was floating debris and just a few freighters on the Bay.

Giving these guys the WHOLE channel…

This guy was wayyyyyy too lazy to flap his wings so he hitched a ride with Rob. He actually travelled with us for miles!!

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Laziest dragonfly ever!

Our original plan was to spend 2 nights in Cape May, but Mother Nature had different plans. It turned out to be 4 nights.

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The gorgeous sunsets never get old!

What does a Jersey girl do when stuck in Jersey?? Can you say helloooo boardwalk! Eek! Since moving to the West Coast and living in San Diego for 20 years, its been a long, long time since I’ve enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes…”going down the shore.”

We met two other Looper couples and shared a Lyft to Wildwood. It’s always fun watching others experience the boardwalk for the first time. Nothing will ever compare to your first…visit that is!

We walked the boardwalk end to end.

Indulged in all the amazing crappy boardwalk food.

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Cheesesteak and sausage sandwich for the win!

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Grab A Wiener…only in New Jersey!

And walked the beach.

The day was absolute perfection!

There was definitely plenty to do while on weather watch. Cape May is super charming. It is America’s oldest seaside resort at the southern tip of the State. It’s known for its grand Victorian houses, shops and restaurants and some really spectacular views.

Saw this gem while strolling the streets of Cape May.

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Who doesn’t need a unicorn bike!

We finally got our weather window, and high tailed it 38 miles to Atlantic City.

Even better than the Jersey Shore was seeing the bestie! Angel and I have been sisters for over 40 years! She lives in New Jersey and the timing couldn’t be better.  Her and her husband, Ray were down the shore. Had some drinks onboard and then hit the Golden Nugget Casino for dinner and gambling. No big winners among us, but we had a blast!

Love these guys to death!

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Killed it in the casino!

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I want my money back!

Fortunately, the weather held and 112 miles later we were in New York! The Big Apple! Seeing the Statute of Liberty from my own boat was incredibly emotional! Who in a million years would’ve thought that I’d be cruising by Lady Liberty IN MY OWN BOAT! I sang New York, New York the whole time!

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We must have circled around the Bay for 20 minutes, just staring at her presence, her beauty, her symbolism. I cried. I’m grateful for my amazing life and grateful to be an American.

The *new* New York skyline. The One World Tower is the tallest building in the United States and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. It is huge, 1776 feet tall, and it is beautiful!

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We immediately went to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. It was something we both were eager to visit. I took only one picture at the memorial and spent the next 2.5 hours immersed in the museum tour and the surrounding area.

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Memorial North Pool.

It is impossible for me to put into words the feelings I had while walking through the exhibits. I was flooded with flashbacks of that day. The experience was somber but beautiful. Enormous but intimate. And showed that love is always stronger than hate! It was very humbling to see the exhibits with personal belongings and stories of survival and memories. It was a beautiful tribute to the men, women and children who lost their lives on 9/11.

So hard to believe, but Rob has never been to New York City. This man has been to China, Poland, Jerusalem and everywhere in between, but never to the concrete jungle! We had two days to fit it all in.

After 43,800 steps and 20 miles we…

Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Magets??? I opted for the $2 Magnet…lol!

Ate deli at Katz’s Delicatessen and Pastrami Queen.

Drank at McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest Irish tavern in New York City.

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You still with me?!?! Good, cause Times Square here we come!

The city that never, ever, ever sleeps! What a blast we had. Rob was definitely overwhelmed. Me? I was soaking in the smell, the sights, the sounds and the energy! I needed this! After some of the sleepy, sleepy towns we’ve visited, I felt alive again!

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Oh New York City, you’ve outdone yourself now! Buddy, the Cake Boss is here?!?! Buddy, you had me at chocolate!

By the way, that was just day one!! We arrived back at the boat at 2:00am completely exhausted. That night Rob couldn’t stop talking about how crowded the City is.  I dreamt I was a Rockette!

Day two in the Big Apple we took a bit more leisurely.

We checked out Trump Tower. The security and crowds were INSANE.

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And strolled Central Park.

We stumbled upon the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen. The Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer.

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Goodbye New York City. I’m totally in love with your attitude. Rob says “no way are we moving here.” He’s probably right, but we will definitely be back – soon!

The Erie Canal is right around the corner and a whole new portion of the Loop starts. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

 

FAMILY…THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!

This past week has been one of the best times in my life. Watching my parents step into my new boating life, has filled my heart beyond words. My folks are my biggest fans and always jump in feet first to partake in things that bring me joy…this week was no exception. They cruised 120 miles in the Chesapeake Bay, anchored out twice, sat through a huge storm that included a water spout, and docked in places with fixed docks that made it nearly impossible to get on and off the boat. They handled it all like a 3-Star General and Rear Admiral would! They are honey badgers…bad asses!

We started our whirlwind tour of the Chesapeake in Annapolis. We docked smack dab in the middle of downtown in an area known as “Ego Alley.” Big boats, big egos…lol! I like big boats and I cannot lie!

I fell in love with Annapolis.  The beautiful historic buildings, a walkable downtown, and a city full of history and tradition, had me saying – again – “I wanna move here.” Not to mention, the food is the bomb!

First up was the United States Naval Academy.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It was definitely a Loop highlight. Our tour guide was so informative. The stories and history we learned on our tour made the experience so much more meaningful.

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The Academy grounds were gorgeous! Over 300 acres of lushness and exquisite buildings. You can’t help but get caught up in the sense of pride and awe as you step on the grounds. To know that on these grounds are some of our country’s future leaders, gave me goosebumps!

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Billy the Goat

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The day we toured was graduation day. Halfway through our tour, the Midshipmen returned to the Yard, dressed in their formal whites. The graduates had a week off before reporting to their new assignment and the Midshipmen had a week off before starting summer training. It was a scurry of activity and the energy was palpable.

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Their football case has the game-winning ball from each time that Navy beat Army.

The top floor of the Academy Museum was filled with a spectacular display of bone ship models.

For the first time ever, the Naval Academy band and the US Coast Guard band played together. They set up at the City Dock right where we were docked. Nautilus was the backdrop and will definitely be in everyone’s pictures.

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From Annapolis, we traveled to the Eastern Shore and gave my parents the experience of anchoring in the Wye River. We anchored in the Wye with my bother the week before and loved it so much that we took my parents there. We played endless games of Yahtzee and tried to distract them from the fact that we were anchored, in a storm…in the middle of nowhere! I may have put an extra shot or two in their drinks…wink, wink!

Of course I had to take the “kids” to St. Michaels. After all, it is on my “I’m gonna move here list.” They loved it and it reaffirmed my love for this quaint and quiet Colonial village.

The British attacked St. Michaels in an attempt to destroy their shipyards. Legend has it that the residents hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the trees, tricking the Brits and causing cannons to overshoot the town. Who knows, maybe “The Town That Fooled the British” will be my new home! We strolled the adorable village, ate ice cream, visited St. Michaels Parish and ate an insane amount of crabs!

I seriously wanna live in one of these historic homes!

We spent most of the next day exploring the 18 acre waterfront campus of the Chesapeake Maritime Museum. Such a fun day discovering how people live, work and play on the Bay!

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View of the ship building facility.
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1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse.

Never a dull moment with these two!

On our way back to the marina, we found a wayward turtle. My new friend Tank, as we called him, was wandering the streets. We scooped him up, brought him to the waters edge and watched him safely return home. Yay for us…and for him! He was the cutest thing ever and I so badly wanted to keep him! My Captain told me that boats and turtles don’t go together…grrrr such a party pooper!

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Tank the Turtle.

After St. Michaels, we cruised to Swan Creek, just outside of Rock Hall, and took a mooring ball. My parents did it all…docked, anchored and now moored! Against our advice, my mom was determined to go for a dinghy ride. Given her bad ankle and having to navigate her way into the dinghy, we were nervous. No need to worry, remember she’s  a honey badger. A bad-ass.

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The next day we moved into the marina in Rock Hall. We weren’t that impressed with Rock Hall so it turned into a lazy, restful, ice cream eating, kinda day.

I really loved the hometown recognition of our country’s heros!

We were obviously enjoying the calm before the storm when all of a sudden this crazy, crazy storm came through. First rain, then wind, then a WATER SPOUT! White caps In. The. Marina! It was insane! The dock and boat were pitching up and down in opposite directions.

Unfortunately, we ended up with some damage…$900 worth to be exact, but hey it’s a Boat…Bring Out Another Thousand!

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My poor baby!

Sadly, our chasing the Chesapeake was coming to an end – time to head to Baltimore. My parents have been to Baltimore numerous time, but Rob and I have never been. We were again excited to say goodbye to the small *villages* and head to the big city!

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The beautiful Inner Harbor.

Baltimore did not disappoint. Our marina in the Inner Harbor was a prime location to take in the sights – day and night!

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That’s us!

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My brother lives in Arlington, so once we were settled in, he came up and we had the most amazing family day! Everyone together…that doesn’t happen very often!

We got tickets to an Orioles game. Camden Yards was super cool!

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Crew reporting for duty!

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Ugggggghhhhh, the day I dreaded! My folks were leaving. I love my parents to death, but was surprised by my own reaction when they were leaving. I cried like a baby! We had such an amazing time together and saying goodbye was hard. Really hard! Having them on board brought a sense of normalcy to my life.

And lots of laughter.

They might be back in California but the memories will last a lifetime! Love you mom and dad – you’ll always be my honey badgers!

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Next up, Nautilus takes on the Jersey Shore and the Big Apple! Lady Liberty, we’re coming for you!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

 

GOT CRABS?!

I think we’re finally getting a handle on this looping thing. My jitters are subsiding and the Captain and I seem to be settling into our roles. Our pace is probably a bit faster than we would like it to be, but we’re still learning how not to be Type A’s. Eventually we will just stop and smell the roses. Our dear friend Al called us this week and told us to slowwwwww down! Rob and I are both anxious to get north and enjoy the beauty of the Trent Severn Waterway, the Thirty Thousand Islands of Georgian Bay, and Lake Michigan. But Al is right, we need to put this thing in idle! 

Portsmouth was our first stop since saying adios to the ICW. By day, we walked the cute historic district and shopped at a farmers market. We stumbled upon the Commodore Theatre and saw the line outside. After inquiring, we found out that the Commodore is a restored 1945 motion picture theatre that now shows first run movies. So, we hopped in line and saw The Avengers. So glad we did…the Theatre was adorable. 

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The Commodore is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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View from the seats. Each table had a phone that you would use to order your drinks and food.

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After the movie, we saw the storm brewing and ran to the dinghy. Had to stop for L.O.V.E. though!fullsizeoutput_1fee

By night we were under a tornado warning. Honestly, I couldn’t make this up if I tried! There we were, anchored in the Elizabeth River, flanked by Portsmouth and Norfolk, with town sirens blaring, our weather apps dinging and the TV telling us to take cover. Take cover?? On a boat?? At anchor?? The weather channel said Portsmouth would be hit at 7:27pm and Norfolk at 7:29pm. So at 7:20pm, we donned our life jackets and waited. It was a spectacular lightning show with the loudest thunder! FORTUNATELY, the tornado never touched down where we were anchored!

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“Move to substantial structure”…that’s funny!IMG_7594

Hoping for the best…IMG_7590

After surviving the “almost” tornado, we began zigging and zagging our way through Chesapeake Bay and around the thousands of crap pots. They. Are. Everywhere! One thing I didn’t realize was the sheer size of the Bay. She is huge, beautiful and sometimes angry! The wind direction and wind speed, combined with waves is the difference between a calm and pleasant trip or a downright frightful one! We’ve had both! 

Mother’s Day was spent on the lower Eastern Shore in Cape Charles, Virginia. We found the local cidery, Busky Cider, and enjoyed a flight and some Battleship. I missed my mom and my girl so much, but the cider eased the pain!

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You sunk my battleship!

When in Chesapeake…

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Chicken leg, chicken neck and some squid oughta do the trick!

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From Cape Charles, we headed to Deltaville, Virginia on the lower Western Shore. Deltaville was packed with loopers which made for a fun time. The marina had bikes and a courtesy car. We love it when marinas have amenities that make visiting easy. We biked to the Maritime Museum and used the courtesy car for provisioning. I knew this town wasn’t for me when Nancy from the marina office told me that even the Target was about an hour away!fullsizeoutput_1fcffullsizeoutput_1fe6

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Replica of the Watermen shoes.

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We have made it to ANOTHER state! Make that 6 states so far! Helloooooo Maryland! My brother, Mitch came onboard in Solomons Island, Maryland and cruised with us for 5 days. Solomons is a cute little seaside town with tons of marinas and good restaurants.

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Gettin’ a new Salty Crew!
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St. Peter’s Episcopal Church from 1889.

Loved the park-like setting at Spring Cove Marinafullsizeoutput_1fc3fullsizeoutput_1fc2

One of my favorite indulgences!

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Custard and water ice combined = heaven!

Mitch’s friends, Joanna and Terry, dropped him off at the marina. We had dinner and drinks and a lotta good laughs. Rumor had it that Mitch was a bit nervous about boating so liquid courage was needed for his boarding…lol!

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Terry, Joanna, Rob, Jill and Mitch.

 

We took a short trip up the Paxutent River, dropped anchor and dinghied to Sotterley’s Plantation. James Bowles built the original plantation home in 1703. During the 18th Century, the grounds grew to 7,000 acres. Using largely slave labor, it produced tobacco, wheat, corn, and cotton. The grounds were gorgeous and the history was fascinating. 

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Outside of a slave quarter.
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Inside of a slave quarter.
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Startling to read this.

We spent the night on the hook in St. Leonard’s Creek. It was *opening* day at the beach at Vera’s so of course we partook in drinking, eating and playing giant Jenga.

We cruised from the middle of the Western Shore to the middle of the Eastern Shore to our next port of Cambridge. What a sleepy little town. Charming but sleepy. Blink and you’ll miss it. 

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Had some delish Italian at Carmela’s Cucina. Love getting local knowledge that steers us away from the tourist traps!

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We did our own Ghost Tour!! I screamed like a little girl and ran out. Captain wouldn’t even step foot in the graveyard…hahahaha!

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From Cambridge, we headed to the Wye River.

Mitch on crew duty.

 

 

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Mitch NOT on crew duty…lol

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Captain’s night aboard Nautilus on the Wye River.

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One-on-one time with Captain Rob…lol!

 

It was a spectacular anchorage that provided a beautiful backdrop for sunset.

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Grateful for another amazing day!

Our last stop with my bro was St. Michael’s, Maryland. Fi-na-llyyyyyy I found a place I could call home! I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful and charming town and said over and over “I wanna live here”!

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Pulling into the St. Michael’s Marina.
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St. Michael’s Church
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If we’re being honest, there are days I feel like this!

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They say all good things must come to an end. Well this week with my brother was the trip that kept on giving. We were bringing my brother to Annapolis for *disembarkation” and had front row (literally) seats to the Blue Angels. Turns out the US Naval Academy was celebrating Commissioning Week. It is chock-full of activities all week long, culminating with graduation day on Friday.

We had such a fantastic time with my brother. It was sad to see him go. He’s already planning his next trip with us! He’s now experienced crew – he knows two new knots, how to work the windlass and how to attach the bridle.

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We have a one-day turnaround on the boat before my parents board. We’ll start cruising with them from Annapolis after a full tour of the city and then see where the Bay takes us. Stay tuned…

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

WE’VE DITCHED THE DITCH…

Hi from Mile Marker ZERO!! We are anchored on the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, VA. After 1123 statute miles, 37 days and 5 states, it’s bye-bye to the Ditch!! I have a love-hate relationship with the Intercoastal. While I absolutely love the diversity that each state offered (beautiful waterfront homes, the ospreys, cypress trees, the low country); the shoaling, slow zones and the wake from not-so considerate boaters, left me disenchanted. Time for us to now navigate the Chesapeake Bay. We are sooooooo looking forward to this part of the trip! My brother is coming aboard on Friday and a week later my parents will be onboard. Yay for family!!!

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Always some interesting sights on the ICW.

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I mentioned in my last post that in Southport we attended an ICW briefing. 50+ pages of navigational aids and hazardous areas to keep an eye out for.

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So much red!

Really, a marker on land?!?!

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Give the green a WIDE berth!

Skinny water after the Cape Fear River had us temporarily sitting on the bottom. Fortunately, we had a buddy boat behind us and their wake pushed us off. Phew!

It was so much fun to have boat buddies for a few days. Having some girl time is crucial for my sanity.

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Gary and Nancy on Summer Lynn and Steve and Kathy on United 771

We stayed at Homer Smith’s in Beaufort, North Carolina. We scored free laundry, a free loaner car and red snapper right from the fishing boats! What these small coastal towns lack in big tourism, they make up for in charm and southern hospitality.

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Rob found his new hangout! LOL…

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I’ve also been trying my hand at crabbing. So far the crabs are winning.

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Remember the skinny water and shoaling?!?! Well, we were pulling into the channel at Homer Smith’s, got distracted, and ended up out of the channel. Nothing good EVER happens when you stray out of the channel. We hit pretty hard and came to a complete stop! Tow Boat US was there in about 15 minutes. Captain Andy assessed the situation and said our starboard side was in 8 feet of water, but the port side was in 3.5 feet. No damage was done to the props, and we were easily pulled off! Another lesson learned.

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Captain Andy to the rescue!

One of our favorite stops so far was Cape Lookout Bight. We left the inlet at Beaufort, NC and headed south-east to the Southern Outer Banks. There are no marinas, restaurants or boat traffic. Just peace and quiet, beautiful beaches and wild horses. We dinghied around, walked the beaches and gave clamming a shot.

My nephew and his family live just outside of Elizabeth City in Hertford. We docked at Elizabeth City Docks and spent the day with Maury and Dawn and the kids. My heart was full…it was so great to hang with family and they took such good care of us!

Was hoping for a rose from the Rose Buddies…hmmmm, legend or myth?!?!

Couldn’t get enough of the kids!

Our last stop on the ICW was Coinjock Marina. Coinjock has a 1200 foot long dock. We counted 21 boats while we were there. You pull up to the wall and dock in front of the boat already there. Boats are docked stern to bow with literally no room in between. Fortunately, leaving in the morning isn’t a problem because everyone is leaving around the same time –  you just wait for the boat in front of you to pull out. In the span of 50 miles from Coinjock to Portsmouth, there were thirteen bridges and one lock to navigate, some opening only on the hour, so timing was everything!

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Stern to bow
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The dock lined with boats

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Our first lock on the Loop. Only 140 more to go!IMG_7487-1

The Chesapeake awaits! We’ve got some really fun stops ahead. Will fill you all in soon on this beautiful bay and how the crabbing is going!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

THE DITCH

Hi everyone! Sorry to keep you guys all hanging! I bet some of you were wondering if we actually turned Nautilus around and went home. Not a chance! Stuff happens when you own a boat…just like owning a car or a land based home. We knew going into this adventure that flexibility and resilience were key. Despite some obstacles and rookie mistakes, we are having a fantastic time.

After 14 days…14 enjoyable, but somewhat frustrating days, Charleston is in our rear view mirror and we are back to cruising the Ditch (ICW) again. The boatyard in Charleston was amazing and actually pulled the boat a third time in hopes of narrowing in on our vibration problem. No luck. At this point, we knew Nautilus was safe to cruise so we made the decision to continue north and deal with the vibration later. 

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Nautilus cruising the Stono River behind John and Brandy’s house. Bye-bye Charleston!

From Charleston, we cruised to Georgetown, South Carolina and docked at Harborwalk Marina. Georgetown is a small, but charming waterfront town. We arrived late in the afternoon so most shops and historical landmarks were closed. We did make it to Independent Seafood Market and scored some fresh shrimp and flounder. I also made a new friend! 

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Waiting for fish handouts!

My favorite stretch so far was cruising the Waccamaw River from Georgetown to North Myrtle Beach. The River was refreshingly beautiful and was just what I needed to give me back that ewwww, ahhhhh feeling. The Waccamaw was wide and deep and lined with cypress trees and endless osprey nets.

Even the infamous Rock Pile was relatively easy. The Rock Pile is a 3-mile narrow stretch of the ICW with submerged rocks and a rock shelf. When the ICW was being built, a solid ledge was discovered in this area. To stick to budget and time, the Army Corp of Engineers merely made the area narrower.

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Just stay in the channel and don’t hit the rocks! Mission accomplished! 

Today was bridge day. After9 fixed bridges and 3 swing bridges, we arrived in North Myrtle Beach! 

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After docking in Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, we noticed all the Looper Burgees in the Marina. We walked the docks and met four other looper boats and attended our first docktails. You guys, the Looper family is amazing. I left with my stomach and heart full (and lots of boat cards). 

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Advertising on the ICW.

The most exciting thing about today is crossing the *state line*. GPS told me that at 11:05am we crossed into North Carolina. Yipppeee…I think!

The ICW never ceases to amaze me. How does this shoaling happen? Why are the sunken boats still here? Why areeeeee there sunken boats? 

We ran into someone who told us a little story about cruising the ICW. He said “there are three types of boaters. Those that have run aground. Those that will run aground. And the liars”. We laughed and nodded. You guys, the ICW is a two person job. It’s usually Rob driving and me on alert with every guide book we own, the binoculars and watching waterway alerts on my phone. 

The dredge operator is on the radio telling us “move closer to the dredge. If you’re not right next to us, you’re gonna hit bottom”. What on earth? The funniest thing to me is the grill…lol! 

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Pass the burger.

We safely arrived in Southport and attended a seminar at the marina about traversing the ICW. It will prove to be invaluable. 

Stay tuned…

Over and out!

xo, Admiral

p.s. Catch up with Rob in Captains Corner