Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cousin Reunion

The past 2 days we have been up the Connecticut River, on a mooring at the Essex Yacht Club.  Last evening, my cousin, Bruce Fletcher and his wife, Chris, drove down from New Britain, CT for dinner.  We haven't had regular contact with any of the Fletcher cousins since we were children, but have fond memories of  staying at MaryJane and Walt's house with their three children, Bruce, Craig, and Bonnie every year or so, when we were growing up.  It was good to see both of them, catching up on both our families.  We hope to see Bonnie and Craig as we continue cruising, as Bonnie is in Nantucket and Craig in Hingham, MA.

Essex has been a delightful town to explore, starting with the Connecticut River Museum, highlighting the history of the river from the 1600's through the present.  They have a replica of the first submarine(see picture), which was used in the Revolutionary War.  The river actually starts up at the Canadian border at 4 small lakes, winding it's way down, defining the border between New Hampshire and Vermont, and through the middle of MA and CT.  Of course, like many seaside towns, there are numerous shops, a few restaurants, a lovely inn, and gorgeous old homes from the 1800's.  We ate breakfast  at Marley's restaurant on an island that we had to take a ferry, 30 feet across from the mainland to the restaurant.

We are presently waiting until midday, before leaving with the tide to sail to Stonington, CT, where we will meet up with our old friends, Nick and Sue, and go to their house in Webster, MA for 2 nights.  The currents are strong enough in the eastern section of the Sound to wait until we have a 2 knot current pushing us along rather than back.  Since the boat only goes about 6 knots, 2 knots makes quite a difference.  The day is glorious with brilliant blue skies and low humidity, after rain came through two days ago.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On the Hook in Joshua Cove

After 2 lovely days in Black Rock, CT, we set sail,(yes, that is sailed) east toward the Connecticut River, stopping along the way for an overnight in Joshua Cove.  This is our first time anchoring since leaving the Chesapeake Bay area, with docks in NYC and mooring fields in Long Island Sound.  Actually, we started by motor with an east wind, which soon changed to the south so we were able to sail for 3 hours with no motor- peace and quiet!  So far the Sound has had gentle winds and one foot seas, very easy sailing.

This bay is surrounded by beautiful large New England older homes, but no towns, so after anchoring around 2pm, Joe read and napped and I fished and swam.  I am flunking out in fishing.  The other day I put out a line to troll with a new lure, guaranteed to catch a blue fish, and promptly lost the lure, because I didn't tie the knot sufficiently.  Today, not having any real bait, I tried dropping the hook while sitting at anchor, using fake shrimp.  I'm sure the fish wondered what that was as even live shrimp don't swim in these waters.  Then I tried marinated herring, which actually got some bites, before falling off the hook.  I also went on line to make sure I tied the knots correctly.  Next is filing for a fishing license on line.  I can file for a Massachusetts Saltwater license for free since I am over 60 and it is good for NH and CT.  Then I am off to buy another lure guaranteed to catch a fish, when we get to the next town, and maybe some frozen bait to keep aboard.

Tonight Joe is cooking dinner, since I am getting tired of always doing the cooking.  He just gave me a glass of wine and marinated herring with crackers, a better use of the herring than fishing.  How nice!  Usually, he is on the computer while I cook.  Tonight I get to do the dishes!

Tomorrow we sail another 20 miles to the CT River, where we have a mooring for 2 nights in Essex.  My cousin, Bruce Fletcher, and wife, Chris are joining us for dinner on Saturday night, which we are looking forward to.  Essex is about 4 miles up the river and has museums, shops, and restaurants.

Wed - July 27 Black Rock Yacht Club

Just a short note about our second day at Black Rock Yacht Club.  We spent the morning finding places to stop over the next two weeks. Joy was successful at finding us some anchorages and mooring places in Essex , CT, Mystic, CT area( where we are going to see the Buehlers), Block Island, and Nantucket.

After lunch we headed over to the pool and shot some photographs of us having a good time.  Back to the boat for dinner and Joy watched City Island on Netflix while I spent an hour on fraternity fund raising phone call. The wonders of cell phone and conference calling.

Today we are heading to Joshua Cove, halfway to Essex , CT where we plan on having diner with Bruce and Chris Fletcher, Joy's cousins on her grandfather's maternal side of the family.

Bye for now


PS  Picture of Joy reading at pool side,  High Spirits on the left hand side of the photo of the light house, and a picture of the pool and club house at Black Rock Yacht Club.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Black Rock Yacht Club- Bridgeport,CT

Well today we are in Bridgeport,CT at Black Rock Yacht Club on one of their moorings which cost $55/night.  There is a launch service that takes you into shore and back.  We had dinner with Mike Wexler, former Jefferson Wells person, who moved to CT a few years back from Hudson, Ohio. Shortly after I started working at Shaker Hts.  Sweta, his wife, had an IBM business dinner tonight so she could not make it.  Hopefully we will see both of them in New London this winter or in a couple of weeks at some other stop along the way to Maine.

We left City Island this morning at 9 am, and got here at 3 pm. Short day, beautiful weather and flat water. Then tonight it poured like crazy about 6 pm, and at 8 pm when we were coming back to the boat after dinner with Mike.

Staying here tomorrow for a day at the pool.  Today the pool was the site of a kids swim meet, ages 6-17. They only have 2 home meets a year and today was one of them. We sat in the grandparents section, read our books, had chips and dip and watched the kids in the meet. Some of them were just a little older than Erin.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Cool Rain in City Island

This afternoon finds us at City Island. We came here to get our jib sail fixed, material was wearing thin on the sun shade area.  Found Paul of Doyle Sails here in City Island. He recommended we get a guest mooring at the Harlem Yacht Club, founded in 1883.

So on Sunday morning, Jill joined us at the 79St Boat Basin for a couple of hours motor ride around Manhattan, through Hell's Gate and stopped at City Island.  Hell's Gate was no problem,as we went through at the proper tide time. 

At City Island we found a fairly new French restaurant, Bistrosk.  Web site

the owner is Stephane Kane, he is from the northeast part of France and as worked in many NYC restaurants. This is his first restaurant that he has owned. He was extremely helpful as he printed out Jill's Spanish homework so she could work on it on the bus/subway ride back to Brooklyn.  I had a very nice piece of salmon with basil flavored mashed potatoes. Joy and Jill like the black olive mashed potatoes better.

So today we walked around, Joy rode her bike, ate lunch at the City Dinner where all the locals go, had ice cream/sorbet, went grocery shopping, got the repaired sail and ordered a new one for the Fall, and took the club tender back to High Spirits.

Now it is raining, we are on the boat and just relaxing and Joy is figuring out the next couple of stops along the way east.


Pictures of Fredie Lando singing at the Cafe we went to on Sunday after lunch  He bills himself as the "Golde Voice of the Bronx".  Actually he is very good and did a three hour show at the Cafe.

 Snow of Doyle Sails working on our repair job.  She finished the repair job in 2 hours and cost us$75.

Friday, July 22, 2011


It is extremely hot here in NYC, so hot that we leave the boat all day, and come when it is cooler. However last night, the temperature did not get below 85 degrees in the boat. Fortunately, the fans are working okay.  We are on the dock so we have the benefit of two larger fans that run on 110 volt AC.

So here is a picture of cousin Karen, Raphael, and Joy.

Yesterday, Thursday, we had a very enjoyable day featuring lunch with Jill at the Chelsea Market,a kind of open air market inside an old terminal building.  Joy and Jill had lobster for lunch, I had a salmon sandwich.  After spending the afternoon at the market we walked over to Karen Stone's office for drinks with her and Raphael( see picture)

Karen is a cousin of Joe's on his mother side. Karen's father was my mother's brother.  She works for Knoll, Inc as a Director of Design. Raphael works in the computer industry, not sure exactly what he does.

After drinks with Karen and Raphael, we headed over to Brooklyn and had pizza with Jill and Matt. Got back about 10:30 pm to a warm boat. The wind scoop worked well in the back cabin so we had the wind scoop, and two fans going all night.

Found out when we woke up that we have some small damage to our rub rail from hitting the fixed dock that we are docked at. Moving this morning to a floating dock when the current slows down.  The Hudson River current can range from 0 to 3 knots, it is quite strong.

Today we are headed out to Brooklyn to help Jennifer,  Erin and Adam arrive at Jill's apartment. Buying food for dinner there.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

79th Street Boat Basin

Today we arrived at the 79th Street Boat Basin hoping to pick up a mooring ball.Joy  called yesterday and was told, "NO PROBLEM".  Well there was a problem as when we got here today, all 8 balls had people on them. In fact according to the dock crew there is a line of people trying to get on a mooring.  It will be interesting to see how long we last here as the rolling motion is severe.

There is a strong current, up to 4 knots, plus wake from numerous ferry boats passing by the marina.

However, not as bad as the Butchers, Debbie and Butch. We spent a great day with them in Hoboken.  Started off with lunch at a very nice Cuban restaurant, joined by Stephanie and her new baby. Steph is Debbie's daughter.  Butch and I went to see Horrible Bosses while the ladies went shopping.

We joined up for half price drinks.  Debbie and Butch have been in Hoboken for a couple of weeks and have scouted out all the specials that the bars and restaurants run during the week.

We walked over to see their boat at Shipyard Landing. They had told us about the movement of their boat because of 4 foot seas rolling through their docks.  Man, it was something to watch. We could hardly stand up on the docks when the large seas rolled through. Their sailboat was pitching all over the place. I can not see how they can stand to be on it.  They say that it calms down after 11 pm, but starts again at 6 am.

So after getting to 79th Street Boat Basin, Joy took off to go to Jill's office and go with her to her tutoring class.  I walked over to the Hayden Planetarium, my favorite museum in NYC. Then I ate dinner at the Boat Basin Cafe., turkey burger with a side of grilled mushrooms(my favorite vegtable).

Here is a picture taken this evening at the 79th Street Boat Basin.


Ps Here are some pictures we took on our way up to NYC

Monday, July 18, 2011

Here in New Jersey

We arrived in Jersey City this morning after a short motor/sail from Rockaway, NY.  Travel time was about 3 hours.  Not much ferry traffic but a lot of sight seeing boats going over to the Statue of Liberty.

We were going to have Roberto work on our torn sail here at Liberty Harbor but we got the name of the Doyle sail people over in City Island and have called them.  Most likely we will stop at City Island next weekend and hopefully they can fix our sail on Monday, July 25.  Then it is on to Conn to visit the Wexles and the Buehlers plus assorted cousins (James Huggins side of the family).  These are relatives of Skip, Ted Bush. Joy 's grandfather on her mother's side.

It is super hot today, hit 95 and very humid. I walked over to the library to print out an email form I need and found out today was one of the two days per month that the library is closed because of state of NJ budget problems. The library system is closed 22 days per yea above normal holidays.
Workers stay home and do not get paid.

Tomorrow we are taking the light rail train up to Hoboken to visit with Debbie and Burt Butcher.  They are visiting their new grandchild and book a month in Hoboken. Then they are heading back south.


ps  will have pictures of Hoboken for tomorrow's blog.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Up the NJ Coast to NYC

Well, I am alive and well on High Spirits, but haven't contributed to the blog for, I think, weeks.  Thought I better write occassionally so you don't think I jumped ship.  Of course, I am still in pictures, so I guess I just have writer's block.

We had a much better sail up the NJ coast than we did last August, when we were bashed by cold, wet waves and wind on the nose, making for a very unpleasant sail.  This time we had smooth seas with some wind to both sail and motor sail down the Delaware River to Cape May, then Atlantic City, followed by a 13 hour sail to Sandy Hook, NJ, within sight of NYC.  The Delaware River was infested with biting flies.  We estimate killing at least 300 of them, most of which we swept up the next day underneath our cockpit grating!  Ugh!

We spent 2 nights in Atlantic City due to windy conditions one day, giving us the opportunity to swim in a pool, and gamble at the Golden Nugget, formally Trump Marina and Casino.  Joe won $60 on the Craps table in about 20 minutes!  We also found a blackjack table with $1 bets, so enjoyed a little time there.  Both evenings they had good bands with dancing under the stars.  We hooked up with fellow sailors, Micky and Ron, who are traveling to Maine for about a month, from their home port in the Chesapeake.  It is a small world with Micky having worked at Prince George Community College, where one of her projects was working on a grant to bring teachers from South Africa to learn teaching methods.  Our daughter, Jennifer, who works at PGCC, was in the Peace Corp in 1997-99 in South Africa, working to improve teaching methods in several schools there.

After finally arriving at Sandy Hook, a peninsula at the northern tip of NJ, we found a delightful little harbor with moorings(picture below).  Atlantic Highlands was developed in the late 1800's as a vacation area for the wealthy from NYC, arriving by ferry during the summer.  There are many elegant old victorian homes, and a downtown with numerous restaurants.  Jill and Matt took the fast ferry from Manhattan and spent Saturday/Sunday with us on the boat.  The town had a street fair, followed by a One Minute film festival in the park after dark.  We must have seen 30-40 one minute films.  The top prize was a film- Change the Word, Change the World, which you can google and watch on line.  During the afternoon, Jill, Matt, and I took a dinghy trip, running aground on our way to the beach, and finally arriving at a beach that was accessible by boat.  That is motorboat, as there had to be 50 motorboats rafted together just off the beach. 

This morning we sailed with them to Rockaway Point Yacht Club, where we had stayed for a couple of nights on the way south last August.  Jill had plans to meet a friend at Rockaway Beach, so we joined her at the Rockaway Taco Bar for delicious fish tacos, and beach for the afternoon.  We are used to deserted beaches in the Bahamas, but NYC beaches are the opposite with multi-colored beach umbrellas and bodies everywhere.  After returning to the yacht club, we enjoyed a fish dinner, with members cooking the dinner.  They enjoy a communal dinner every Wed and Sun evening together and are the most hospitable yacht club that we have encountered!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back on the Water - Cape May, NJ

Well, it has been a while since I last posted our adventures.  Joy is talking about writing something, she adds more details than I usually do, so that is good.

We had a great time in Hyattsville visiting Jen, Mark, Erin and Adam. Erin and Adam are really growing up quickly.  Several photos are included.

The major project at their house is scrapping the living room walls so they can repaint it properly. The current paint job has bubbles in it, so they want to fix it this summer. It is a hard to do project, they have to wait until the kids are asleep, move all he furniture, scrap, clean up and move all the furniture back into its proper position.  Fortunately they have vacation coming up soon so they can have some time to finish the job and get some greatly needed time off from work.

So basically at Hyattsville and Baltimore, we saw Jen, Mark, Erin and Adam and visits with Josh and Rachel.  On Sunday, July 10 we had a pizza party at Josh/Rachel's house. That was great.  It was low key but fun. Josh had the night shift at Hopkins starting at 7 pm so we all left about that time. Jen and Mark drove us back to the boat at Inner Harbor East.  Baltimore. Everyone had a good time.

We left Inner Harbor East on Monday morning and motored/sailed to Chesapeake City on the C&D Canal(canal connects Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River),  Went to the Tap Room, had a nice dinner with leftovers for lunch today.  Joy had crab cakes, grilled ham and cheese for me.

Pushed off today at 8 am to ride the tide to Reedy Point, the eastern end of the canal.  Turned south and working our way down the Delaware River to Cape May, N.J.

Fly alert - the flies in the Delaware River are terrible.We got attacked about half way down to Cape May.  I had to put on socks to keep my feet safe.  Joy actually put on long pants.

Weather permitting we will travel to Atlantic City tomorrow ( Wed) but have to hang there for 2 days due to bad wind direction until the weekend.  Need to find a cheap marina/mooring/anchorage place in Atlantic City.  The big marina there is $4/ft per night.  If we end up there, no eating out at restaurants while we are there. It is the Trump Tower marina. We stayed there in the fall, it is actually a very nice place.

If you remember that is where my bike fell into the water, and we had to get a diver to pull it out.l

then on to Sandy Hook NJ, NYC and points east with a short break to drive by car to New London while Jen and family are there.It will be great to be there with the grand kids and take them to Colby Point for swimming.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

going to DC

We are off to DC, after Hyattsville, this afternoon on the MARC train. the MARC train is a commuter train that only runs in the morning and in the afternoon rush hours.  It is cheap, only $6/person.  $3 if I was a little older and qualified for a senior citizen discount.  It is interest, there are many different senior citizen age points, some are as low as 60.  We also look, a buck saved is a buck we can spend on something else, like a mojito or mango rum drink.

Had a great fourth of July fireworks show just outside our marina. Tried to take some pictures, attached.
We had spent time with Doug and Marnie, also included in pictures. We went to a Naval Academy Bank, the Electric Brigade.  Marnie and Joy were expecting some Academy students playing patriotic music, what we got was 5 40 year old Navy musicians playing rap, current top 40 stuff. Doug,Marnie, and Joy left the concert early. I liked and stayed.

So yesterday, July 5, Marnie, Joy and I went to see Midnight in Paris, latest Woody Allen movie. Very good film. Marnie is going to live in Paris for about 5 months starting in Oct. Something she always wanted to do, I guess, 

Doug joined us for Hawaiian Fusion food at a restaurant near our marina, and then we helped them carry their food via the Water Taxi back to their boat on the other side of  the Harbor.

that is i for now


Monday, July 4, 2011


Today is July 4 here in Baltimore Inner Harbor. Fireworks at 9:30 pm outside of our marina.

We have had a busy last 3 days starting with dinner with Doug and Vergie on Friday night; Josh and Rachel for dinner on Saturday night, and Doug and Marnie for dinner on Sunday night.

Saturday featured Josh and Rachel out for a sail and then for dinner.  Josh had a day off. He just started his second year of residency in he Emergency Department at Johns Hopkins.  As a second year, he will help train the first year people who have arrived for orientation, but will not be on the floors until the middle of July. So this month he has 22 shifts when the normal load is 17 shifts.  Shifts can be anywhere between 8 hours and 30 hours.

Went to a very nice Italian restaurant and then to Vaccaro's for desert.  Vacaro's is a pasry restaurant, featuring great deserts.

Sunday featured a picnic with everybody at the marina starting about 11 am. Josh and Rachel left about 1 pm as Josh had a shift to do at 2 pm. The rest of us piled into High Spirits for an afternoon sail.  Wind was not great. Head on going out, and died on the way back. Had to run the engine the whole time.

Heading south we got a call on the radio from Close to Home. Turns out we were passing each other when Marnie called us on channel 16.  That was an ESP moment, because I was thinking of hailing them at the same time.

We met them for dinner at another Italian restaurant, third one in three days.  Took them to Vaccaro's for desert. Doug got a free desert as he is over 80.  They are staying at a different marina on the other side of the Harbor. 

Going to met them for dinner, a Navy band concert at 7:30 pm and watch fireworks from their boat.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 1 in Baltimore

Arrived in Baltimore Friday afternoon after a short motor/sail from Annapolis.  Said goodbye to the Shaake's on Thursday night after a wonderful concert of jazz music at the Annapolis Maritime Museum in the Eastport part of Annapolis.  Also known as the Maritime Republic of Eastport.

We are in a great slip, I 13.  Last night Vergie and Doug drove up from Deale, MD and had dinner with us in Little Italy. Went to a very nice restaurant, Amocci's of Little Italy.  Also outside across the street were hundreds of people waiting for the Friday film for the Little Italy Summer Film Festival. They were showing Moonstruck(staring Cher).  We walked around and then came back to High Spirits.  Vergie and Doug left about 10:30 pm. I was so tired I was falling asleep talking to them.

Lazy morning today, Sat. July 2.Waiting for Josh and Rachel to get here about 3 pm. Going out for a sail if the wind holds up. Having dinner with them tonight. Tomorrow they are coming back and Jen and family are coming for a family lunch. Josh as to work starting at 1 pm.

More later with pictures