Friday, June 9, 2017

2017 East Coast Cruise 

This year's East Coast cruising adventure was planned to be different. Instead of our decade-long tradition of cruising the Chesapeake Bay, we were headed 700 miles into the Atlantic to the island of Bermuda.

As usual, Wes was waiting for me at the Baltimore airport when I arrived. He drove up in his BMW roadster and we were soon on our way to Havre de Grace, where Aero was moored and ready to go.

It didn't take us long to get under way. We motored through the channel into the Chesapeake Bay and then into the Elk River, which led to the Delaware canal. We cruised passed the familiar town of Chesapeake City and then into the Delaware Bay.

At 7pm we decided to anchor in about fifteen feet of water for the night. We were far from land, but the water and the wind were calm. We had a glass of wine and then dinner and went to bed relatively early, knowing that we had a long day ahead of us in the morning.

In the morning, after our morning espressos and a bowl of oatmeal, we weighed anchor and headed out the channel. The outward going tide was with us giving us a boost that at times had us doing 8.5 knots.

We were soon in the Atlantic Ocean and encountered a little different swell condition with moderate seas and fifteen knots off the bow. We were sailing nicel At times, the bowsprit of Aero would partly bury itself in the oncoming seas. It also began to rain lightly.

This routine went on for several hours. Wes and I took turns taking naps, knowing we'd be up at night. It was about 6pm, while Wes was waking up from a nap and I was sitting in the companion way looking forward, when suddenly I saw an odd movement in the mast. It was quickly followed by a crashing thud, as the mast hit the deck and began to topple aft towards the starboard side.

I ducked but it wasn't necessary since the top part of the mast fell to port and hung suspended over the water. Wes, still below, was starting to make his way towards the companion way. I yelled down to him "We lost the mast!" Up to this point he had just heard some loud noises down below. But as he came on deck, he became aware of the damage that had just occurred.

After sizing up the situation, we came to the decision that the first thing to do was to cut the main mast loose. Wes got the grinder out, started the generator and began to cut the headstay and the shrouds, while I worked on cutting the lines.

Fortunately, we still had some daylight and the seas weren't very rough. Soon, however, we noticed the mizzen mast being stressed due to the triadic wire from the top of the main mast to the top of the mizzen mast was tugging at it from abeam. 

The mizzen quickly gave way and fell overboard to starboard. That began yet another round of cutting wires and lines.

After sizing up the situation, we came to the decision that the the first thing to do was to cut the main mast loose. Wes got his grinder out, started the generator and began to cut the head stay and the shrouds, while I worked on cutting the lines.

It wasn't easy cutting loose all the wires and lines while trying to stay clear of the dangerous ends of the masts. When a swell past, would jerk inwards towards the boat and then would ebb back outwards to the water. In spite of that, we got everything cut and the masts began to float away to the starboard side, along with sails, rigging and roller furling. It was 7:30pm. We started the motor and pointed the boat back towards Delaware Bay.

It took us until 3a.m. to get to the entrance of the bay. We ducked inside and found a safe place to anchor for the night.
It wasn't easy cutting loose all the wires and lines while trying to stay clear of the dangerous ends of t


In the morning, we motored in to the narrow channel leading to the town of Lewes but there was no dock space to be found. We went back out to the bay and anchored for the evening.

The next day we continued our journey back and anchored by Chesapeake City, a quaint and historical town built in the days when they were constructing the Delaware canal.
he Delaware canal.

View of Chesapeake City from the anchorage.

One of the older, classic homes in Chesapeake City.

A large commercial ship navigating the Delaware canal.

Having a beer in Chesapeake City.

The last night on the boat was spent anchored in the Bohemia River. We took it easy in the morning and weighed anchor for Havre de Grace at about 11:00am. It took less than two hours to be tied to the mooring in front of Wes' marina.  

The following day we anchored in the Bohemia River.

Sunset at Port Deposit waterfront.

After we left the boat, we drove to Wes' house in Port Deposit. We spent the night there before heading to Linda's house, in Baltimore, the following day. There we took walks in her beautiful neighborhood, went to swim laps at the Meadowbrook Swim Club, attended a blue grass festival and went to the Broody Winery. 
It was the end of another Chesapeake cruise. We didn't mean for it to end so soon. But sometimes life has other plans. As John Lennon said "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Wes cooking at Linda's.

Wine tasting at Boordy's Winery. 

A dulcimer player at the blue grass festival.

The following videos are part of the blue grass festival. The musicians all had come together ad-hoc and played off each other, with the experience that each has some knowledge of the melodies or the chording. The last video is of a guy playing a dulcimer. It sounded ethereal and out-of-this-world. Quite mesmerizing. 




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Additional Photos of Our Trip to Ecuador

More Photos of Our Trip

I bought an inexpensive Akaso action camera before leaving on the trip mostly to be able to take a few underwater shots in the Galapagos. In addition, I took a few photos in the Amazon area to get used to the camera. Overall, I'm pleased with the results and how simple it is to operate.

The Amazon Photos

One of the lakes near our lodge that we visited by boat.

At sunset a number of boats congregated at this part of the lake. Here we got a chance to swim.

The Galapagos Photos

Star fish - somewhat looks like crown of thorns, but I don't believe it is.

Galapagos leatherback sea turtle.

Sting Ray

A small reef shark.

A lobster hiding in a crevice.
An eagle ray swimming along.

Sea lions lounging on the beach.

Probably my favorite shot, a curious sea lion who came to check on us while snorkeling on the island of Santa Cruz.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quito and Baños


Quito is an enormous city with over 2.6 million inhabitants. In spite of all the warnings about security and taxi drivers, we found people to be very friendly. And as in most large cities, if you take normal precautions, it's as safe as any other huge metropolitan area.

                                      The central square of the old part of Quito.





                          Quito's main cathedral was started in the mid-1500's.

                                                Tom and I hiked up to the top.

                        Atop El Panecillo hill is the statue of the winged Virgin. 

                                          Baked bananas are very popular.

               For lunch we found a small and friendly place to enjoy local food. Tasty and cheap.





Baños is a small resort town south of Quito known for its many waterfalls and hot springs. We took a 3 1/2 hour bus ride from Quito to get there.

We went to one of the local hot springs and for a $3 entrance fee plus the mandatory purchase of a hair cap, we enjoyed the basic yet warm springs of water heated by volcanic activity. The water was a bit rusty looking but felt clean and hot. Other pools were kept at a lower temperature.

                                       The town's main square, Plaza Flores, is quite serene and verdant.

On a local tour, we encountered a suspension bridge and an opportunity to zip line, neither of which we chose to do.


                                                         One of the many waterfalls.

                                                   The best waterfall is Pailon deal Diablo.



Baños has lots of sugar cane products including taffy. It seems like every vendor sells the taffy and sugar cane juice.

                        Barbecued cuy is a delicacy - Guinea pig. We didn't partake.

             The local market is a bustling place with vendors selling fruits, vegetables and meat.

              We ate at one of the restaurant vendors and had a delicious tripe soup and a beer.


                                                              Our bus back to Quito.