WITWIBB – 7/1-24/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – Erie Canal

BB and crew have had a wonderful upstate New York experience cruising on the Erie Canal. Once we passed Albany and Troy, New York we came to the intersection of the Champlaine and Erie Canals. At this point in upstate New York the cruising community from the USA and Canada spend their summers on the lakes and / or canals in New York – enjoying the free town docks and easy access to good food and shopping. There are so many great towns to visit, and so many routes available, that you can spend every cruising season here and never see it all.

This part of our trip is just over 100 miles long and can be done in three of four days if you’re in a hurry. We plan to take 10 to 14 days with some side trips included. Cruising on the Erie Canal means negotiating the many locks along the way. They are all the same width and length, but the height varies from as little as eight feet to as much as 30 feet. Handling the boat in the lock is done with hand ropes or cables attached to either side of the inside of the lock wall. And, there is never the issue of having to wait on commercial tows and barges that have the right-of-way as happens on the larger rivers in the USA mid-west. The locks slow your progress, but you don’t come here to be in a hurry. Three to five hours cruising is enough, and then you tie up to a lock wall or a free dock at one of the towns along the way. We bought a 10 day pass for $50 in Waterford to begin the trip, and a two day $20 pass at lock 21 to finish the trip.

The photos can’t do justice to the beauty and peaceful nature of cruising here, but until you have the opportunity we just want everyone to know that this part of our Great Loop journey has been a joy, and we will always look forward to returning – to see, feel, smell, and touch the beauty of up-state New York.

At Waterford, New York we came to the intersection of the Hudson River with the Erie Canal (going west) and the Champlain Canal (going north).At Waterford, New York we came to the intersection of the Hudson River with the Erie Canal (going west) and the Champlain Canal (going north).

BB's chartplotter showed us an overview of the Erie Canal from Waterford to Buffalo. Our plan is to go about half way to Buffalo and turn north on the Oswego Canal to Oswego, New York where we will cross a bit of Lake Ontario and enter Canada.An Erie Canal plaque in Waterford showed us an overview of the Erie Canal from Waterford to Buffalo. Our plan is to go about half way to Buffalo and turn north on the Oswego Canal to Oswego, New York where we will cross a bit of Lake Ontario and enter Canada.

Waterford offers the cruisers a free dock, and easy access to a few restaurants, a Laundromat, and a grocery within half a mile. Nothing fancy or exotic, but a good introduction to the erie Canal.Waterford offers the cruisers a free dock, and easy access to a few restaurants, a Laundromat, and a grocery within half a mile. Nothing fancy or exotic, but a good introduction to the Erie Canal.

BB is tied up along the free dock in Waterford.BB is tied up along the free dock in Waterford.

Along the way as we left Waterford Capt Mary invited Adam and his grandpa to join us as we went through the "Flight of Five". Five locks with a mile to the west of Waterford. They were watching us leave town, and was a hoot for all of us to see how the locks work. Adam sent us a note later in the day saying how much he enjoyed the short trip. Adam, it was our pleasure!Along the way, as we left Waterford, Capt Mary invited Adam and his grandpa to join us as we went through the “Flight of Five”. Five locks within a mile or so to the west of Waterford. This fine pair were watching us leave town, and it was a hoot for all of us to see how the locks work. Adam sent us a note later in the day saying how much he enjoyed the short trip. Adam, it was our pleasure!

We left Adam and grandpa as we entered lock 4 and looked ahead just a 1/4 mile to lock 5.We left Adam and grandpa as we entered lock 4 and looked ahead just a 1/4 mile to lock 5.

Cruising through up-state New York is really beautiful, and so much more relaxing and comfortable than in a car.Cruising through up-state New York is really beautiful, and so much more relaxing and comfortable than in a car.

Here BB is tied up to the free town dock in Amsterdam. The dock and nearby park were beautiful, but Amsterdam is a very sad, dead town. It was the home to Mohawk Carpets, but the business collapsed and more than 10,000 people lost their jobs when the factory closed. The town may be surviving, but it is not a cruising destination spot - simply a good spot to tie up overnight and be safe as the thunderstorms roll through the area.Here BB is tied up to the free town dock in Amsterdam. The dock and nearby park were beautiful, but Amsterdam is a very sad, dead town. It was the home to Mohawk Carpets, but the business collapsed and more than 10,000 people lost their jobs when the factory closed. The town may be surviving, but it is not a cruising destination spot – simply a good spot to tie up overnight and be safe as the thunderstorms roll through the area.

In this photo BB is tied up at another free town dock. This time the dock comes with free electricity and water. And, the town of Canajoharie is a special treat - a wonderful art museum and library, great restaurants, a first class meat market, and local bistro.In this photo BB is tied up at another free town dock at Canajoharie NY. This time the dock comes with free electricity and water. The town of Canajoharie is a special treat – with a wonderful art museum and library, good if not great restaurants, a first class meat market, and a local bistro.

Walking to downtown Canajoharie is two blocks from the dock.Walking to downtown Canajoharie is two blocks from the dock.

Did anyone know that Canajoharie means "belting pot" in the native American Indian Mohawk language?Did anyone know that Canajoharie means “belting pot” in the native American Indian Mohawk language?

As BB left Canajoharie and entered lock 14 we had a secondary fuel filter problem. This is a picture of a typical Erie Canal lock wall that is likely part of a park, and is free to use for up to two night's stay. We needed one night to put on a spare new secondary fuel filter on the port engine. As BB left Canajoharie and entered lock 14 we had a secondary fuel filter problem. This is a picture north wall west of lock 14. It is also a typical Erie Canal lock wall, next to a park with picnic tables and a BBQ grill, and is free to use for up to two night’s stay. We needed one night here to put on a spare new secondary fuel filter on the port engine.

Beautiful cruising on the Erie Canal through up-state New York.Beautiful cruising on the Erie Canal through up-state New York.

Yes, we did fit under the bridge and between the walls, and into lock 18 with no problem - going very slowly.Yes, we did fit under the bridge and between the walls, and into lock 18 with no problem – going very slowly.

Little Falls, New York offers only daytime free docking, but that's ok. Town is very close, and there are good shops and restaurants within minutes. We stayed for a Sunday afternoon, and spent the night along the next lock wall.Little Falls, New York offers only daytime free docking, but that’s ok. Town is very close, and there are good shops and restaurants within minutes. We stayed for a Sunday afternoon, and spent the night along the next lock wall.

Capt Mary and Engr Wally taking a selfie in downtown Little Falls.Capt Mary and Engr Wally taking a selfie in downtown Little Falls.

Another favorite town along the Erie Canal is Rome. The free town dock is in the city park, and is about a half mile to downtown. Downtown has many shops and restaurants, and Fort Stanwix. The fort was re-built by the city over the original site that was built pre-revolutionary war, and was of historical importance to keep the British occupied while General Washington got the troops organized to march down to Portsmouth, VA. We had two favorite stops in Rome - both food related. We found Folers Bakery and Gualtieri's Italian Market.Another favorite town along the Erie Canal is Rome. The free town dock is in the city park - about a half mile to downtown. Downtown has many shops and restaurants, and Fort Stanwix. The fort was re-built by the city over the original site that was built pre-revolutionary war, and was of historical importance to keep the British occupied while General Washington got the troops organized to march down to Portsmouth, VA. We had two favorite stops in Rome – both food related. We found Folers Bakery and Gualtieri’s Italian Market.

The Rome, NY town plaque.The Rome, NY town plaque.

Inside a real Italian market - yummy!Inside a real Italian market – yummy!

Three generations of Gualtieris. Grandpa Gualtieri came to America in 1901, and opened this market in 1902.Three generations of Gualtieris. Grandpa Gualtieri came to America in 1901, and opened this market in 1902.

Fort Stanwix in downtown Rome, NY.Fort Stanwix in downtown Rome, NY.

Winter Harbor Marina was a convenient stopover for BB and crew as we made a quick trip to Iowa to see a beautiful wedding for wonderful friends, a great one day sight-seeing trip to Cooperstown, NY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, great shopping at Williams-Sonoma where we re-outfitted BB's galley with new appliances, and unexpectedly we used the services of the "full service" marina to replace the steering system hydraulic pumps on both the flybridge and lower helm stations (it was an expensive two weeks at Winter Harbor Mrina).Winter Harbor Marina was a convenient stopover for BB and crew as we made a quick trip to Iowa to see a beautiful wedding for wonderful friends, a great one day sight-seeing trip to Cooperstown, NY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, great shopping at Williams-Sonoma where we re-outfitted BB’s galley with new appliances, and unexpectedly we used the services of the “full service” marina to replace the steering system hydraulic pumps on both the flybridge and lower helm stations (it was an expensive two weeks at Winter Harbor Marina).

This is a pic of a new steering system hydraulic pump. Hopefully this one lasts another 26 years.This is a pic of a new steering system hydraulic pump. Hopefully this one lasts another 26 years.

WITWIBB – 6/23-28/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – Hudson River, NY

BB and crew are away from the lights and excitement of New York City, and back to anchoring out on a new waterway for us. We left the Newport Yacht Club in New Jersey at 12:00 noon and turned BB to port and headed north on the Hudson River. We passed the World Trade Center immediately after leaving the marina and then the rest of lower Manhattan, and then the northern boroughs as we passed under the George Washington (and Martha Washington) bridge. Cruising on the Hudson River needs to be a planned experience because of the severe tides and the resulting current. We were fortunate in having long Spring days to let us leave NYC at mid-day and still have over eight hours of cruising time. We left with a strong current slowing us down to near 5 mph as we passed by the palisade cliffs on the west side of the river, and then Yonkers and Sing Sing on the east side of the river. As we approached West Point Military Academy the tide changed over and we started gaining back on our lost speed to as much as 10 mph. We stopped along the way for our first night anchored out after NYC at a wide spot in the road called Cornwall-on-Hudson with two sailboats that are also headed north. The current and pull on the anchor was strong overnight, but our 88 lb. Rochna anchor held tight and we slept sound. The second day out was very similar as the first as we continued north on the Hudson River – we avoided the strong early morning ebb tide and waited until later with the plan to get some help with the flood tide. The country-side scenery in New York state away from NYC is very beautiful. As soon as we passed under the George Washington Bridge the Palisades started to get taller and more shear - at least 300′ high. The contrast to the overwhelming city-scape of NYC was amazing. And, as we continued north the river began a winding journey through the low mountains on the Adirondacks. The Hudson River is affected by the Atlantic Ocean tides for more than 100 miles, and it took us three and a half cruising days to reach the Federal Lock near Waterford where the tides were cancelled out by the lock system. On our third night we were met by a weather system that brought rain and then fog. We opted for a bay off the main river channel that took us very near the Metra train tracks, but totally away from the ocean going vessels, river barges, and many boaters using the Hudson as their highway to destinations north and south. Houghtaling Island Bay was a perfect, quiet layover spot as we recovered from the non-stop enjoyment of NYC with Brian and Crystal. We fished, and read books, and relaxed, and watched the trains pass by for 2 1/2 days. It was great!

On June 28th we raised BB’s anchor, turned back to re-enter the Hudson River channel, and then turned north again toward Troy and Albany and the Federal Lock at Waterford. Passing by Troy-Albany was a bit intimidating as there were a number of ocean going ships at the docks there and a fair amount of early weekend boaters. But, once you’ve been to Mobile, Alabama, and Fort Lauderdale, and NYC, then surely Troy, NY shouldn’t bother such veteran helms-people as Capt Mary and Engr Wally – should it? – and, it didn’t! Well the docks didn’t intimidate the crew, but then we came up on the empty Federal Lock just after Troy. Federal Lock No.1 at Troy was our first lock since November 2012, and it was nearly as intimidating as our first lock on the Mobile River when we started our first cruise north on the Tombigbee Waterway 20 months ago (my how time flies). We passed through with no bumps, no bruises, and thanked the lockmaster very much. As we left the lock and looked ahead we could see Waterford, NY and the beginning of our summer cruising on the Erie Canal and then onto Canada.

As we left NYC proper we still had 30 miles of northern boroughs to pass by. This is a pic of Younkers, and is the last of the large city boroughs that are close-by "suburbs" of NYC easily reachable by the trains that also use the Hudson River valley.As we left NYC proper we still had about 30 miles of northern boroughs to pass by. This is a pic of Younkers which is the last of the large city boroughs that are close-by “suburbs” of NYC – easily reachable by the trains that also use the Hudson River valley.

The Hudson River is indeed muddy, and it takes over 100 miles to get away from the strong tidal current that reverses itself every five to seven hours. If you're lucky, as we were with having long daylights hours to cruise with you can chose to sleep in and wait for the flood tide to push you along for anout six or seven hours. Just watch out and don't be surprised by the ebb tide that will slow you down by 3 mph if you have a slow boat like Beulah Belle, and think you have to make 50 miles in six hours against the current. It ain't gonna' happen on the Hudson River if you sleep in and the tide is going against you. BB's crew slept in knowing that later in the day the tide would reverse itself, and we would have smooth and swift cruising upstream, with the tide, and make our 50 miles in less than six hours.The Hudson River is indeed muddy, and it takes over 100 miles to get away from the strong tidal current that reverses itself every five to seven hours. If you’re lucky, as we were with having long daylight hours to cruise with, you can chose to sleep in and wait for the flood tide to come and push you along for about six or seven hours. Just watch out and don’t be surprised by the ebb tide that will slow you down by 3 mph if you have a slow boat like Beulah Belle. If you think you have to make 50 miles in six hours against the current, it ain’t gonna’ happen on the Hudson River if you sleep in and the tide is going against you. BB’s crew slept in knowing that later in the day the tide would reverse itself, and we would have smooth and swift cruising upstream, with the tide, and make our 50 miles in less than six hours.

The Palisades along the New Jersey shore reminded us of the upper Mississippi River in Wisconsin.The Palisades along the New Jersey shore reminded us of the upper Mississippi River in Wisconsin.

The lighthouses are useful landmarks, but don't serve as lighthouses on the Hudson River anymore.The lighthouses are useful landmarks, but don’t serve as lighthouses on the Hudson River anymore.

Another spectacular lighthouse on the Hudson River.Another spectacular lighthouse on the Hudson River.

This is the view of Houghtaling Island Bay - our three day respite anchorage. We enjoyed the Metra trains passing by every six to ten minutes, and having the anchorage to ourselves. There was still a 2'-3' tidal effect, but very little current. Most of all we enjoyed the greenery, the no schedule routine, and the quiet.This is the view of Houghtaling Island Bay – our three day respite anchorage. We enjoyed the Metra trains passing by every six to ten minutes, and having the anchorage to ourselves. There was still a 2′-3′ tidal effect, but very little current. Most of all we enjoyed the greenery, the no schedule routine, and the quiet.

After 100 miles of easy cruising we came upon the cities of Albany and Troy and discovered where all the ocean-going ships we going to and from. The docks on the west side of the river were busy loading ships with grain and chemicals headed for ports afar, including one that we saw registered in Singapore! Troy, New York to Singapore? Go figure!After 100 miles of easy cruising from NYC we came upon the cities of Albany and Troy, and discovered where all the ocean-going ships we going to and from. The docks on the west side of the river were busy loading ships with grain and chemicals headed for ports afar, including one that we saw registered in Singapore! Troy, New York to Singapore? Go figure!

Ah-oh! What's that? Yeah, we knew we had a lock to get through to reach the Erie Canal, but the sight of the monster was intimidating to be sure. The lock is only 28' wide and 24' tall, and Beulah Belle seemed to be an awfully big boat to fit inside this thing. Our experiences from doing 34 locks back in 2012 between Mobile, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee came back to us, and we heaved that well earned sigh of relief as we pulled away from Federal Lock No. 1.Ah-oh! What’s that? Yeah, we knew we had a lock to get through to reach the Erie Canal, but the sight of this monster was intimidating to be sure. The lock is only 34′ wide and 24′ tall, and Beulah Belle seemed to be an awfully big boat to fit inside this thing. Our experience from doing 34 locks back in 2012 between Mobile, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee came back to us, and we heaved a well earned sigh of relief as we pulled away from Federal Lock No. 1.

The top side of every lock is always less intimidating the low side. The Federal Lock No. 1 used to be the first of the Erie Canal locks, but some politics got involved and a few years ago this lock became part of the national highway transportation system. It's free for us to use, and we say thank you very much.The top side of every lock is always less intimidating than the low side. Federal Lock No. 1 used to be the first of the Erie Canal locks, but some politics got involved and a few years ago this lock became part of the national highway transportation system – no longer part of the State of New York Erie Canal. It’s free for us to use, and we said thank you very much.

Just a mile north of the Federal Lock No.1 we reach the intersection of the Erie Canal (to the left) and the Champlaine Canal (straight ahead). We opt to turn left this year and visit the Erie Canal on our way to Lake Ontario, Canada, and our completion of the Great Loop.Just a mile north of the Federal Lock No.1 we reach the intersection of the Erie Canal (to the left) at Waterford, NY and the Champlaine Canal (straight ahead). We opt to turn left this year and visit the Erie Canal on our way to Lake Ontario, Canada, and our completion of the Great Loop.

WITWIBB – 6/16-22/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – New York City

BB and crew made it to The Big Apple, NYC, New York City, New York! It took all day to get to and under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and into the Hudson River. At least it seemed so because we could see the buildings in Manhattan and the bridge from about 30 miles away, and we only go about 8 mph, so it seemed to take all day. The weather was unbelievable. Clear skies, little wind, and temps near 80F. Many boaters don’t have such a beautiful day to arrive at NYC. We feel blessed.

To get to the Verrazano bridge means getting to the main shipping channel and staying out of the way from the big boats. Can you believe there were no big boats this day? None, just Beulah Belle. Until we neared the Statue of Liberty - then the ferry boats were all over the water, going every which direction, and making the water feel like the old washing machine deal. But, we didn’t mind. We kept the radio working on channel 13, and never heard anyone call for us to “Watch Out”, “Get Outta the Way”, “What’s da Matter – Ya Lost?”, nutin honey. We were good!

BB got just inside the boundary marker at the Statue of Liberty to take our photos then headed for Ellis Island and some more photos, then past lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center for some more photos, then on up the Hudson to our marina at 79th St Boat Basin. wd and crew don’t want to dwell on a sore subject, but 79th St Boat Basin should be condemned. We left the next morning and put BB in a wonderful slip at the Newport Yacht Club. We were directly opposite the World Trade Center, one block from the New Jersey PATH trains to NYC, and two blocks from regular shopping.

Our visit to NYC was so awesome because Crystal and Brian came and spent a wonderful, long weekend with us. We went to see The Jersey Boys and The Lion King on Broadway, had great sight-seeing trips downtown, great food, and great family time. Capt Mary and Engr Wally went to Yankee Stadium and watched the Yankees beat up on the Toronto Blue Jays – the first of five consecutive night of catching the midnight train to Newport, NJ!

NYC was a blast, and we hope to return many more times onboard BB.

NYC Daily Log:

6/16/2014 – New York City – 70 miles – 4,182 miles remaining. Wow, and then kersplat! It was a great cruising day to Manhattan, out in the Atlantic from our anchorage, some 70 miles total for the day. We made it to the Hudson River by 1:00 PM, then under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, then past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the World Trade Center, and downtown / lower Manhattan. And then we got to the 79th St Boat Basin. THE New York City Park’s boat marina. Ouch! Do not go there! BAD docks! Not safe! We changed docks, twice, but the rough water from all the ferries made tieing up to the docks, and walking on the docks at this marina very unsafe. We did the best we could for the night and walked to the uptown neighborhood and had an awesome corned beef sanwich for dinner.
6/17/2014 – NYC. With help from a fellow boater (Club M) at the 79th Boat Basin we arranged to change marinas to the Newport Yacht Club in Newport, New Jersey. Beautiful and safe docks – a bit bouncy during the ferries rush hours, but so much better than the other marina in NYC! Figured how to use the trains and went to NYC and visited the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial.
6/18/2014 – NYC. Went to the NY Yankees baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Tickets were $85, but we could have gotten higher seats for $33. The Yankees won 7-3. Got back to BB after mid-night.
6/19/2014 – NYC. Most of the day was spent doing boat cleaning – getting ready for Crystal to arrive. But, at 5:00 PM Crystal called – she had been robbed of her wallet while on the train in Chicago going to O’Hare. She wasn’t hurt – it was a kinda pick-pocket deal – someone opened her bag and lifted her wallet out of the bag. So, we tried our best to help her from Times Square, and it worked out that we made it back to BB after mid-night, while Crystal made it back to her apartment in downtown Chicago.
6/20/2014 – NYC. Crystal called at 9:00 AM – we were still in bed – she was back at O’Hare, on standby, and she got on a flight to NYC and arrived about noon. Brian’s flight was scheduled to arrive in the afternoon so we waited at the airport for Brian to get in. With bags in hand we went to dinner in the theatre district, then headed off to their hotel to check in, and then we were off to see The Jersey Boys. We were all too tired to enjoy a wonderful show, but we were together in NYC!
6/21/2014 – NYC. A long day spent touring Central Park and lower Manhattan – a ferry ride out to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, then dinner in Little Italy. Little Italy and nearby China town are both great spots and lots of fun.
6/22/2014 – NYC. A late get-up, then brunch in the Hell’s Kitchen area. We all enjoyed a great show seeing The Lion King. Just a spetacular production! Then dinner on the boat, some good family chit-chat, and saying goodbye.

 

Our first photo op while approaching NYC - passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Our first photo op while approaching NYC – passing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
Capt Mary showing off on the bow - welcoming us to NYC.Capt Mary showing off on the bow – welcoming us to NYC.
This is the photo we most looked forward to - Beulah Belle in front of the Statue of Liberty!This is the photo we most looked forward to – Beulah Belle in front of the Statue of Liberty!
Passing by Ellis Island. Next time we'll stop and visit.Passing by Ellis Island. Next time we’ll stop and visit.
Our view of lower Manhattan - "Downtown".Our view of lower Manhattan – “Downtown”.
Beulah Belle in her slip at the Newport Yacht Club - a fantastic location.Beulah Belle in her slip at the Newport Yacht Club – a fantastic location.
Capt Mary and Engr Wally taking a selfie at the NYC (Newport Yacht Club).Capt Mary and Engr Wally taking a selfie at the NYC (Newport Yacht Club).
Our first of many visits to Times Square.Our first of many visits to Times Square.
We went to see The Lion King on Sunday June 21st - a fantastic / awesome show.We went to see The Lion King on Sunday June 21st – a fantastic / awesome show.
Our favorite deli - Arties on upper Broadway between 82nd and 83rd Sts.Our favorite deli – Arties on upper Broadway between 82nd and 83rd Sts.
The new escalators in the new subway station under the new World Trade Center.The new escalators in the new subway station under the new World Trade Center.
The World Trade Center Memorial is a "must see", and an emotional experience.The World Trade Center Memorial is a “must see”, and an emotional experience.
A walk in Central Park. You never know what you're gonna see there.A walk in Central Park. You never know what you’re gonna see there.
Could Wally become a Yankees fan? It was fun being in Yankee Stadium - the fans were into the game, and didn't need any prompting to make noise. Yeah, I can imagine being a Yankee fan, but I didn't buy a hat yet.Could Wally become a Yankees fan? It was fun being in Yankee Stadium – the fans were into the game, and didn’t need any prompting to make noise. Yeah, I can imagine being a Yankee fan, but I didn’t buy a hat yet.
Our great kids walking along Broadway after getting off the bus from LaGuardia. We had a wonderful time together!Our great kids walking along Broadway after getting off the bus from LaGuardia. We had a wonderful time together!
We all went to see The Jersey Boys the same night the kids arrived, June 20th. A good show, but our emotions were still recovering from Crystal's experience in getting here. We recommend the show, but it's not for 30 somethings.We all went to see The Jersey Boys the same night the kids arrived, June 20th. A good show, but our emotions were still recovering from Crystal’s experience in getting here. We recommend the show, but it’s not for 30-somethings.
Our selfie from the ferry at the Statue of Liberty.Our selfie from the ferry at the Statue of Liberty.
Our selfie from dinner in Hell's Kitchen.Our selfie from dinner in Hell’s Kitchen.
When you go to NYC don't miss China Town and Little Italy!When you go to NYC don’t miss China Town and Little Italy!

WITWIBB – 6/11-15/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – New Jersey

BB and crew made it down Delaware Bay with just a few issues along the way. Rough water was certainly predictable, boat traffic was predictable, but loosing our electronics was not predictable nor wanted in any way, shape, or form, especially in the rainy, foggy weather we had that made dead reckoning navigation very unwelcome.Over time (probably since we were in the Florida Keys in February 2013 and then our crossings to and from The Bahamas), the pounding from 4′-7′ waves caused a crack to grow and finally snap the internal portion of the main battery switch in our electrical control panel. When the switch broke we had no 12 volt system onboard which meant no radar (we were using because of the rain and fog), no depth sounder (we use non-stop), and no chartplotter (no navigation!). Delaware Bay is about 50 miles long by 5 to 10 miles wide, but it actually a canal insofar as navigating. We have to stay in or very near the main shipping channel. Outside the channel by as little as 500′ in several places the depth goes to 3′ or less depending on the tide. We needed our depth sounder and chartplotter!. We followed some boats to keep us away from the shallow area, but they all were faster than BB. I tried our backup system on our laptop computer, but the software said we had no charts for Delaware Bay! When we were about 15-20 miles from Cape May Capt Mary got our smartphone to load a navigation chart. Thank you Lord! We used the phone the rest of the way to the marina!

We still had at least five days before we hoped to be in NYC so we stayed a couple extra days in Cape May to rehearse being tourist before getting to NYC. We had planned to have three days to get up the Atlantic coast, but the weather turned very windy, and made going anywhere out of the question until the wind calmed down. Once the wind shifted to out of the west we decided to leave Utsch’s Marina, and were blessed with a calm Atlantic ocean for the two day, 140 miles, run to the big city.

New Jersey Daily Log:

6/11/2014 – Cape May, NJ – 50 miles – 4,322 miles remaining. Whew, what a day! The weather cooperated as best it could; aka as predicted, so we pulled up the anchor at 8:30 AM and headed south into an incoming tide on the Delaware River going 6.5 mph at 1600 rpm. The tide didn’t turn around and head out in our favor until after 11:00 AM, and by then the wind had decided to kick up to 20 mph from the east. The result was quickly building seas to 3′-5′ by noon, and our speed never got above 9.5 mph. So, we knew it was going to be a long afternoon, and then kablooey! – no electronics – no auto-pilot, no chart plotter, no radio, no DEPTH SOUNDER!!!!!! After some frantic searching in the engine room, and general wiring troubleshooting the engineer figured out that the main power switch for the batteries in the circuit breaker control panel was broken. We limped along without any electronics for a couple of hours, missing two shallow water shoals along the main channel with some help from passing boats, and using the binoculars to spot the channel markers spaced about every two to three miles. Keep in mind it was a dull overcast day, spitting rain, and pouring out worries about staying on course. About 15 miles from Cape May Capt Mary downloaded a local navigation chart onto our Samsung smart phone and we were set for getting into Cape May so long as we trusted the chart on the phone – we still didn’t have a depth sounder, and had to enter the tricky Cape May canal west entrance. No issues there, and a little misunderstanding of directions getting into the marina, but Beulah Belle was a good boat. The diagnosis on the battery power switch was that it was probably forced into the control panel face board, and caused a crack which grew and grew as we cruised in heavy seas. We ordered a new switch from Tony’s Marine Hardware, and enjoyed a great meal at The Lobster House, and had a great night’s rest, falling asleep to a Columbo movie!
6/12/2014 – Cape May, NJ. A general boatkeeping day – dull weather. Our weather searching says we can leave Cape May on Sunday and arrive NYC late Monday. We hope the weather forecast holds. Today might have been ok to leave Cape May, the wind is down, but the wave forecast for the Atlantic was 3′-6′ through Saturday. We’re hoping that Sunday and Monday will give us waves under 4′. We can’t use the ICW – the channel is messed up from hurricane Sandy, and our 5′ draft won’t work. The fish market inside The Lobster House is fantastic. We grilled a piece of “tile” fish and put it on top of a bed of basil / pesto sauce spaghetti – yummy!
6/13/2014 – Cape May, NJ. Today was an ugly weather day – lots of wind and rain. So, wd spent the day catching up the Beulah Belle blog for The Bahamas.
6/14/2014 – Cape May, NJ. A beautiful weather day except for winds of 20-30 mph. We walked to Cape May to see the sights, especially the Victorian homes. It’s a neat town to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It was a nice two mile walk back to the marina, and it was good to walk off a big lunch. Once we got back to BB we spent alot of time pondering the weather forecast. The decision was to wake up in the morning, and if the wind is less than 15 mph we’ll leave.
6/15/2014- Barnegat Bay, NJ – 70 miles – 4,252 miles remaining. Wow, what an easy day of cruising. We came out of the Cape May inlet into the Atlantic ocean, and there were no waves! The wind was down to less than 10 mph, and we had a super easy 10 hours of cruising to Barnegat Bay, and anchor next to the fishing fleet. Gotta work on the twisted anchor chain!

As we leave Delaware Bay and enter the Cape May Canal, west entrance, we're greeted by the "Welcome To New Jersey" sign board.
As we leave Delaware Bay and enter the Cape May Canal, west entrance, we’re greeted by the “Welcome To New Jersey” sign board.
Beulah Belle in her slip at Utsch's Marina, Cape May, New Jersey.
Beulah Belle in her slip at Utsch’s Marina, Cape May, New Jersey.
The welcome sign to Utsch's Marina, Cape May, New Jersey.
The welcome sign to Utsch’s Marina, Cape May, New Jersey.
The welcome sign to The Lobster House restaurant, Cape May, New Jersey. The food is great, and their fresh fish market is even better!
The welcome sign to The Lobster House restaurant, Cape May, New Jersey. The food is great, and their fresh fish market and bakery is even better!
Visitin Cape May, NJ.
Visiting Cape May, NJ.
This is the pedestrian mall, downtown Cape May.
This is the pedestrian mall, downtown Cape May.
Cape May has a beautiful stretch of beaches along the Atlantic ocean.
Cape May has a beautiful stretch of beaches along the Atlantic ocean.
This is the historic Inn of Cape May.
This is the historic Inn of Cape May.The only museum we found was this old fire house and engine from 1928. Talking to the fireman / caretaker was a treat. He enjoyed his passion for keeping the fire engine in pristine condition.

The only museum we found was this old fire house and engine from 1928. Talking to the fireman / caretaker was a treat. He enjoyed his passion for keeping the fire engine in pristine condition.

Cape May has more Revolutionary War period Victorian homes than any other city in the USA.

Cape May has more Revolutionary War period Victorian homes than any other city in the USA.

How about this idea for an entrepreneur in your city?

How about this idea for an entrepreneur in your city?

Leaving Utsch's Marina and headed for the Atlantic.

Leaving Utsch’s Marina and headed for the Atlantic.

Passing by Atlantic City. Maybe next year the weather will cooperate and we can stop here?

Passing by Atlantic City. Maybe next year the weather will cooperate and we can stop here?

Entering Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Entering Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Leaving our overnight anchorage next to the fishing fleet in Barnegat Bay, NJ.Leaving our overnight anchorage next to the fishing fleet in Barnegat Bay, NJ.

WITWIBB – 6/10/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – Delaware

BB and crew are in Delaware for one day doing the C&D Canal and getting staged to do Delaware Bay tomorrow. We’ve taken classes about this stretch of the Great Loop, and the water can get nasty without hardly trying. So, we’ve done our homework on the tides and the weather forecast and these two days are our best shot for relative calm conditions to get from Chesapeake Bay to Cape May, New Jersey. The C&D Canal is only about 14 miles long, but it can be an issue if the big boats are passing through in either direction. We contacted the canal traffic dispatcher for permission to enter the canal, and were advised that there was no traffic expected in either direction for our afternoon commute. Thank you very much!

Delaware daily log:

6/10/2014 – Reedy Island, DE – 28 miles – 4,372 miles remaining. We slept in at our anchorage on the Sassafras River, and got underway just before noon to get through the C&D Canal and down the Delaware River a couple of miles to anchor for the night. We only cruised for 4 1/2 hours, but it means we should only have 50 miles to go to Cape May tomorrow. We’ll leave before high tide on Wednesday, and then have about five hours of out-going tide to boost us along, down Delaware Bay to Cape May. The big issue will be the wind, and whether or not it stays below 15 mph. We hope so! Our anchorage behind Reedy Island is ok, we’re pretty exposed but the wind from the north (?) is just enough to keep the bugs away. That’s a blessing. The flies have been horrible the past few days with temps in the mid 80′s and no wind. We enjoyed our rest days on the Sassafras River – some boat cleaning, and blog update work, but no long hours of navigating and engine room checks. We heard from Crystal today (yeah) – a tough day at work for her, and a long night coming up to finish a paper for her last class this quarter on her way to getting her masters degree in August. She needed a friendly / understanding voice to talk to. We needed to hear from our family – we miss not being close so we could visit more often. Which explains why we’re so excited about going to NYC and having both Brian and Crystal come to join us there.
We hope the fog lifts before we get to the C&D canal!
We hope the fog lifts before we get to the C&D Canal!
After calling the C&D Canal dispatcher we entered the canal and headed for Delaware Bay. There shouldn't be any big ships with us in the canal.
After calling the C&D Canal dispatcher we entered the canal and headed for Delaware Bay. There shouldn’t be any big ships with us in the canal.
The only get out of the way spot along the canal is this small marina. We waved as we passed by.The only get out of the way spot along the canal is this small marina. We waved as we passed by.
As soon as we made it through the canal this big container ship passed us on his way from Philadelphia to the Atlantic ocean.As soon as we made it through the canal this big container ship passed us on his way from Philadelphia to the Atlantic ocean.
Delaware 004_Delaware Bay_Reedy Isl Anchorage_140610What a blessing the navigation given by the chartplotter is for us! The paper charts are ok, but to find the opening in the dikes to get to our anchorage would not be easy without the chartplotter.
This is the "entrance" to our anchorage for the night. We have to go through the dikes opening with a strong 4 mph current pushing to our starboard side. We made it through ok, dropped the hook, and slept well.This is the “entrance” to our anchorage for the night. We have to go through the dikes opening to our left (port) with a strong 4 mph current pushing us to our right (starboard) side. We made it through ok, dropped the hook, and slept well.

WITWIBB – 6/6-9/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – Maryland

BB and crew are in the upper Chesapeake Bay, continuing our quick cruise through a wonderful cruising destination. Last year we were in Annapolis, and Baltimore, and Chester, and did not want to leave. This year we’re just passing by, anchoring out, headed for the C&D Canal, Delaware Bay, then up the Atlantic coast to NYC. So, you can tell we’re not into slowing down and seeing the sights on this part of our Great Loop adventure. It’s ok, we’re headed for a week in NYC, and most loopers hardly slow down while passing the Statue of Liberty.

Daily Maryland log:

6/6/2014 – Bodkin Creek, MD – 90 miles – 4,645 miles remaining. We had an early get-up for Capt Mary and Engr Wally – 5:30 AM and anchors aweigh at 6:00 AM. We learned yesterday that with any wind on Chesapeake Bay while attempting to cross the Potomac River means MEAN sea conditions. The plan today was to leave early, catch the last two hours of in-coming tide (going our direction which should help), and hopefully have the wind down below 10 mph. Everything worked except the wind – it started out ok, but by the time we reached the Potomac River it was blowing 15-20 mph again, and we had 2′-4′ seas for about an hour. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday, and we didn’t slow down, so we got across George Washington’s river by 8:30 AM and kept on motoring. The wind calmed down to 10 MPH and the waves were down to about a foot plus. Because of having a schedule to be in NYC on June 16th, and the fact that we saw alot of this part of Chesapeake Bay last year, we decided to keep on motoring until we got past Annapolis. We found an anchorage in Bodkin Bay, on the west coast of the Chesapeake between Annapolis and Baltimore that made for a long day. But, we caught up on our miles lost because of our layover day on Thursday. Bodkin Bay was surrounded by homes and marinas / yacht clubs, and was very busy until dark. It was a convenient place to stop, but won’t be marked as “don’t miss this spot”.
6/7/2014 – Havre de Grace, MD – 35 miles – 4,430 miles remaining. We don’t know how to pronounce Havre de Grace, but this is a nice town – nice shops and good restaurants. The drawbacks are that the marinas aren’t setup to take in boats as big as BB, and it is about eight miles out of the way. We found a neat clothing store and a nice bakery on Washington St, and had dinner at The Tidewater Grill while watching the Belmont Stakes (no California Chrome didn’t win the triple crown) and chatting with a swell couple from Baltimore (we got invited to go to Bermuda and visit the gentleman’s dad). The Tidewater Marina was an adventure – I don’t know how we got into the slip! The fairway between the slips was much less than 40′ wide and I had to back into the slip while pivoting around a piling, and not hitting a boat on either side. The dock only came about 20′ from shore which meant there was over 20′ of exposed neighboring boats on both sides to not touch. We’ll not return to Tidewater Marina! But we would enjoy a return visit to Havre de Grace. and the Sesquehanna River area.
6/8/2014 – Sassafras river, MD - 30 miles – 4,400 miles remaining. Sunday was a busy boating day on Chesapeake Bay. We decided to stop before entering the C&D canal, rest up, and wait for a good weather window to go down Delaware Bay. Capt Mary and the engineer cleaned and put the blue cover back on the aft portion of our bimini that was taken down to put up the solar panels. It was a struggle getting all the snaps and zippers to go back together, but the deed is done, and the top of the boat shouldn’t have to be touched for awhile except to clean whenever we have spare water at a marina. Sunday afternoon and evening were spent relaxing – end of story.
6/9/2014 – Sassafras River, MD - 0 miles – 4,400 miles remaining. Monday was another layover / rest / chores day on the Sassafras River because the predicted weather on Delaware Bay won’t be good enough to venture down the C&D canal for at least another day. Capt Mary put on her pursor / deck hand hat and cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned doing her best to get rid of the Bock Boatyard dirt. Engr Wally put on his Senior Reporter hat, and finished the last four entries on The Bahamas cruise blog. We caught four nice Chesapeake Bay catfish, and grilled two of them with a pepper sauce for a tasty supper complimented with a piece of custard pie from the bakery in Havre de Grace. 
Another one of those unexpected, but learn to expect the unexpected moments while on the water. The telephoto lens was mis-leading in this case, and the little sailboat emerged from the other end unscathed.
Another one of those unexpected, but learn to expect the unexpected moments while on the water. The telephoto lens was mis-leading in this case, and the little sailboat emerged from the other end unscathed.
Capt Mary doing her thing on Chesapeake Bay.
Capt Mary doing her thing on Chesapeake Bay.
We wondered where did they all come from. We led the way to Havre de Grace - and little did they know that we had never been here before.We wondered – “where did they all come from”?. We led the way to Havre de Grace – and little did they know that we had never been here before.
Were on approach to Tidewater Marina, and Capt Mary is readying the lines and fenders.
We’re on approach to Tidewater Marina, in Havre de Grace, and Capt Mary is readying the lines and fenders.

WITWIBB – 6/3-5/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – Virginia

BB and crew are leaving North Carolina, entering Virginia, and getting ready to zoom up Chesapeake Bay and on toward New York City. In 2013 Chesapeake Bay was our major summer destination, and we spent two quality months there. This year we need to put miles behind our wake as we pass through Virginia, and get to NYC before June 19th when Brian and Crystal will be coming in to meet us.Looking back on the time spent in The Chesapeake this year and last we enjoy the southern half more. If you include visiting Washington DC, and exploring the other rivers to Yorktown and Chester, then we have a good idea where we want to slow down and enjoy the roses the next time we are in Virginia and Chesapeake Bay.

Virginia Daily Log:

6/3/2014 – Portsmouth, VA – 30 miles – 4,624 miles remaining. We made our way to Atlantic Yacht Basin (AYB) to fill up the fuel tanks (211 gal @ $3.50/gal) and top off the water tanks. AYB will certainly be a regular stop as we pass by in the future. The folks are friendly, the fuel is lower cost than anywhere, and access to re-provisioning is two blocks away! We met new boater friends, Dick and Elle Lassman aboard Wind Journey (not a sailboat), and they have already helped us with detail info on where to go on our way to NYC. They knew about us because of their friends Tom and Nancy aboard Aloha Friday who we helped introduce to the Australian couple Bruce and Mandy while we were in The Bahamas. Bruce and Mandy are the couple who are interested in buying Tom and Nancy’s boat.

The last 30 miles cruise up the ICW to Norfolk / Portsmouth is very slow because of the bridges and the one lock. They are timed together which means you can only go about 4-5 mph average for about 20 miles.  After tieing up to the last spot available at the town dock in Portsmouth we walked to town and had dinner and watched the movie “A Million Ways To Die In The West” at the downtown theatre. Not a great flick, but it is a beautiful, old-time theatre with a unique setup of being able to have a light dinner at your own table in comfortable seating while you watch the movie. ICW MM “0″!

6/4/2014 – Prentice Creek, VA – 64 miles – 4,560 miles remaining. We left a bit late from the Portsmouth town dock and turned left to leave the Atlantic ICW. Norfolk harbor and the Naval Shipyard were very busy, and kept Capt Mary on her toes as she piloted BB through town and into Chesapeake Bay. Once in the Chesapeake the cruising conditions were absolutely perfect. No clouds in the sky a slight breeze from the S-W and flat seas. We cruised at 8.3 mph for 8 hours until we anchored at a new spot in Prentice Creek – a beautiful rural / residential area with manicured yards along the waterway and American flags flying in every yard.
6/5/2014 – Mill Creek, VA – 5 miles – 4,555 miles remaining. Oops! We made a bad decision leaving a safe anchorage and venturing out into the Chesapeake and trying to cross the Potomac River with the tide going out (against us) and the wind coming from our port side. We were “cruising” at 5 mph max into 3′-5′ seas, and taking water over the bow. The weather forecast was for winds of 15-20 mph, but we should have known better about crossing the Potomac. The wind gusted to 36 mph on BB’s weather station, but the real problem was the Potomac. We turned around and anchored about five miles north of where we were last night. So, we cruised for four hours, went five miles net, and learned another lesson about piloting and navigating open waters. Our new anchorage is wonderful – totally protected from the wind (5 mph at anchor vs. 20+ mph out on the open water!) – and beautiful, a few small homes, and lots of trees all around – all the way to the shore-line.

Approaching AYB - Atlantic Yacht Basin - This spot is strictly for cruisers needing fuel and provisions by good, friendly folks, at good prices! We'll be back!

Approaching AYB – Atlantic Yacht Basin – This spot is strictly for cruisers needing fuel and provisions by good, friendly folks, at good prices! We’ll be back!

The ICW at Great Bridge Lock, VA

The ICW at Great Bridge Lock, VA.

Entering Great Bridge Lock headed north. We're only 10 miles from Norfolk / Portsmouth, VA.

Entering Great Bridge Lock headed north. We’re only 10 miles from Norfolk / Portsmouth, VA.

Great Bridge Lock may only raise or lower you 3' depending on tide, wind, rain, etc. But, the folks there are super friendly, and kind to novice boaters.

Great Bridge Lock may only raise or lower you 3′ depending on tide, wind, rain, etc. But, the folks there are super friendly, and kind to novice boaters.

Approaching the Norfolk ship yards - it can be intimidating!

Approaching the Norfolk ship yards – it can be intimidating! Nope, it IS intimidating!

We made it through the ship yards, and now can tie up at the Portsmouth town dock for an evening in town.

We made it through the ship yards, and now can tie up at the Portsmouth town dock for an evening in town.

Like most days on the water, you never know what to expect next. This ship was magnificent!

Like most days on the water, you never know what to expect next. This ship was magnificent!

One of many distinctive lighthouses on Chesapeake Bay - Wolf Trap Lighthouse.One of many distinctive lighthouses on Chesapeake Bay – passing by Wolf Trap Lighthouse.

WITWIBB – 5/7- 6/2/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – North Carolina

BB and crew enjoyed their stay in Charleston, SC, and headed into North Carolina knowing that we would have a long layover in Beaufort, NC at Bock Marine. We had routine bottom paint to be done, new props to be installed, a few other miscellaneous jobs for the boat yard, and a big job for us to install a solar panel system. We had a ton of help before ordering the supplies from Vic Copelan while we were in The Bahamas and specing out his solar panels. And, we had at least two tons of help from Shay Glass in Morehead City who lives on his DeFever 49 with his wife Elizabeth. We are indebted to both, and more important we have great friends that we look forward to spending cruising time with once we finish our Great Loop cruise. The stay at Bock Marine to get the boat work done was not our favorite experience. As with most boat yards this one was very dirty. What made this one more difficult was how out-of-the-way it was from anything and everything. We had no phone or internet service unless we went to the office and used their courtesy phone. We don’t think a return visit to Bock Marine will happen next year! Aside from our new friends Shay and Elizabeth Glass, we met up with George and Lynn Stateham again for lunch in New Bern. And, a very special friend found us within a couple of days of arriving at Bock Marine. Dave Lewis fron our working days for UTC / Hamilton Sundstrand came up and said “Hi Wally” as if we had been around each other daily, not the 10 years or so that it had actually been when I was in Wndsor Locks, Conneticut working with Dave on secret / black hole projects for UTC. North Carolina is great cruising country, but we don’t think we’ll choose any boat yard there again. Instead we’ll come back to enjoy time with friends, the great towns and anchorages. The countryside gets more woodsy, much less marshy, and is great cruising country for our kind of boat. The anchorages are plentiful, and the towns not too hard to get to if you need one.

North Carolina Daily Log:

5/7/14 – Mile Hammock – 102 miles – 4,862 miles remaining. A very long day on the ICW. We cruised 102 miles in 11.5 hours thanks to favorable tides and currents that pushed BB to over 9 mph for long stretches. This part of the ICW in North Carolina is not very scenic, and can be monotonous. Today the weather was wonderful again with a cloudless sky and light winds. We spoke to an occasional fellow cruiser as we passed a few boats along the way including looper boat “Spontaneous” with Capt Jim Sprow from Michigan. The highlight of the day was our anchoring location inside camp Lejune military base with lots of Osprey (the tilt rotor aircraft version) traffic overhead until well after midnight – no problem – the sound of freedom to the crew on BB.
5/8/14 – Mile Hammock - 0 miles – 4,862 miles remaining. Onslow bridge was broken until 2:30 PM so we stayed at Mile Hammock another day and watched movies.
5/9/14 – Bock Marine, Beaufort, NC – 40 miles – 4,822 miles remaining. Arrived Bock Marine about 4:00 PM, had a little trouble with current in the ICW and approaching the dock; kinda strong, and swirlling near dock. Lots of trouble tieing up lines to be secure and put BB within reach of dock, but not let the bow hit the forward dock, and give us access to the side deck – it was a difficult tie-up! ICW MM 196
5/10/14 – Bock Marine. Cleaned BB and tried to rent a car from Enterprise – no cars, maybe Monday.
5/11/14 – Bock Marine. Wanted to go to church, but no car so we worked on cleaning BB some more and watched a good Robert Duvall movie.
5/12/14 – Bock Marine. Hauled out BB and put her on stands to get her bottom painted and new props put on. Enterprise came to the marina and took us to Havelock where we rented a yellow Easter egg car (Chevy Spark). Went on to New Bern and ordered new glasses for Capt Mary. Went shopping to start the re-stocking process. Living onboard BB “on the hard” while up in the air, on stands, in a boat yard is not so fun – we have to climb stairs and the swim ladder to get onboard, and its dirty. Not just this yard – all boat yards. Oh well, you gotta do it once or twice a year to work on the hull of the boat, and it’s too much money and even more inconvenient to stay at a hotel (18 miles away from Bock Marine). The other issue here for us is our T-Mobile phone doesn’t work, and the WiFi at the marina only works after most folks have gone to bed.
5/13/14 – Bock Marine. Started bottom paint job – first coat done. Randy and Daniel doing a great job. Took top off sea chest and cleaned out through hulls.
5/14/14 – Bock Marine. Randy and Daniel put on second coat of bottom paint and put on our new props with VIVID green paint. Also put on first coat of paint inside the sea chest – used same VIVID green paint.
5/15/14 – Bock Marine. Had lunch with Shay and Elizabeth Glass. Shay has been helping us with the solar panels, and is a lot of fun. Went to John and Kathy’s boat at the Yacht Club for cocktails; their boat is a 1983 DeFever 44.
5/16/14 – Bock Marine. Went to Lowe’s to buy some tools for the solar panel project. Had lunch with Shay and Elizabeth, and John and Kathy at Cox’s Family Restaurant. Took the yellow Easter egg car back ($313 for five days! Ouch). Borrowed Vic Copeland’s car (Salty Turtle); got the keys from Galen another live-aboard boater.
5/17/14 – Bock Marine. Started drilling holes for the solar panel wires. Shay and Elizabeth came by and Shay helped with how to route the wiring through the galley. Went to Shay’s boat (The Great ESCAPE) to borrow more tools to help with the drilling project. Watched Assassination Tango – good Robert Duval movie.
5/18/14 – Bock Marine. Went to Oak Grove Christian Church with Pastor Bill. Had lunch along the waterfront in downtown Beaufort. Worked on drilling holes for the wiring cables for the solar panels.
5/19/14 – Bock Marine. Finished drilling holes for solar panels cables – yeah! Took down anchor light and prepped wiring to move light after installing solar panels. Capt. Mary did laundry and re-potted plants.
5/20/14 – Bock Marine. Shopping day! Walmart, Lowes, West Marine, Williams True Value Hardware, and Morehead City Marine Ace Hardware. The credit card was smoking at the end of the day! Reprovisioning to head north when we don’t have easy access to shopping or a car, and supplies for the solar panel project.
5/21/14 – Bock Marine. A great afternoon when Don Fulcher arrived with the solar panel frame and we lifted it up over the bimini supports and onto the radar arch. John and Kathy Curtice were here looking at BB and willing to help hold and lift the frame in place. We did it! Shay Glass came by as we finished the job and we started planning on how to route the wiring cables from the panels to the engine room. Wow, so many people here to help us – Don, John and Kathy, and Shay! What a blessing and answer to our prayers. Shay is amazing, so helpful, and we are blessed to have found another friend! Thanks go to Vic and Gigi for this connection. And, we found out that John and Kathy went to Italy last year on a canal boat trip! We wanna go!
5/22/14 – Bock Marine. Don Fulcher came by early to finish the solar panel frame installation, but had to leave within a half hour to take his six year old daughter home from school. Engr Wally cut slots in the underside of the frame tubes to take the cut ends of the extension wires to the engine room. Capt Mary and Engr Wally got the first half of running the wiring done – down thru the radar arch to the port side deck.
5/23/14 – Bock Marine. Capt Mary and Engr Wally finished fishing the solar panel extension wires thru the galley cabinets and into the engine room. Capt Mary talked to both Brian and Crystal while we were at Cox’s restaurant in Morehead City with John and Kathy Cordice (DeFever 44 “Sea Grace”) and Shay and Elizabeth Glass. We found out that both Brian and Crystal are joining us in NYC! Wow, that’s awesome! That will likely be the highlight of our entire Great Loop trip. We’re so happy they want to come visit – wish Alan could come too, but his new job in Longbeach, CA will keep him too busy to come. Went shopping at West Marine and Bed Bath & Beyond. Shay Glass came by and helped put the wiring together in the engine room at the charge controller. Dave Lewis came by BB late and he took us into Beaufort and treated us to dinner at The Ribeye. Dave found us earlier here at Bock Marine – Dave and I were friends at different plant-sites when we both worked for UTC – Dave at Hamilton in Windsor Locks, CT, Engr Wally at Sundstrand in Rockford, IL. Wally was with Dave on 9/11/01 and Dave took Todd Johnson, Paul Sawyer and Wally out on his sailboat the weekend after 9/11. That may have been the beginning of seriously looking to live on a boat after retiring.
5/24/14 – Bock Marine. Engr Wally got the solar panels bolted onto the frame built by Don Fulcher, and the anchor light re-installed – the solar panel frame had to sit where the anchor light was in the center; moved it to the starboard side, and installed the new access ports needed to fish the solar panel wires to the engine room, and installed two new flybridge LED lights under the radar arch. It was another long 12 hour work day. Dave Lewis came by for lunch – a burger and beer on the sundeck. Capt Mary got the galley put back together – pots and pans back in the lower cabinet and the spices and stuff back in the upper cabinet. We had Mahi-Mahi with curry sauce for dinner. A late, and not so great movie – Robert Duvall in “The Betsy”.
5/25/14 – Bock Marine. Went to church again at Oak Grove Christian Church. A small country church that is having a new building built by volunteers the second week in June. After service the congregation talked about meal planning for the volunteers that will be working on the new church – it was very similar planning that we did for our groups that went to Juarez, Mexico to build homes with Casas por Cristo.
5/26/14 – Bock Marine. Work day – polished SS, varnished lower teak rub rails, and started waxing the hull.
5/27/14 – Bock Marine. Another work day – polished SS, varished teak rails, and waxing the hull. Rented a car from Enterprise so we could go to dinner with Shay and Elizabeth – we took them to The Ribeye in Beaufort. Shay came by BB one more time to help turn on the charge controller for the solar panels – they work great.
5/28/14 – Bock Marine. Went to New Bern and picked up Capt Mary’s new glasses – they’re snazzy and work great (photo grey progressive lenses for $1,100). Had lunch with Singapore friends Lynn and George Stateham – they’re great, and it’s fun to talk about The Bahamas and boating in general with them. Stopped by the Morehead City Yacht Club and said hi to Vic and Gigi onboard Salty Turtle – they just got back from The Bahamas. Got back to BB with enough time to varnish the lower rub rail one more time (three coats done – three more to go) and put another coat of wax at the bow to help BB from getting a mustache while on her way to Chesapeake Bay.
5/29/14 – Bock Marine. Went shopping to finish our provisioning to get us through Canada – Williams Hardware, West Marine (had to buy an AGM Cl 31 battery to replace one of the four that Steve Koch installed in 2012), Post Office (mailed Brian’s birthday package), and of course Walmart. Enterprise took us back to Bock Marine. Once we got back to BB we ordered Broadway show tickets to see The Jersey Boys and Lion King for our stay in NYC while Brian and Crystal are visiting. Watched a good flick – John Travolta and Robert Duvall in “Phenomenon”.
5/30/14 – Eastham Creek, NC - 43 miles – 4,779 miles remaining. Whew, we’re out of the boat yard! It’s wonderful to be back on the water again and moving! BB has two coats of bottom paint (four gal of Interlux NT at $100/gal) , her sea chest is clean, her generator has new motor mounts and a new exhaust elbow, all done by the good folks at Bock Marine. Capt Mary and Engr Wally were ready for a good rest day motoring on the ICW. Our work included installing the solar panels, polishing the plastic windows on the fly bridge, polishing all the stainless steel, starting the varnishing of the rub and hand rails, and waxing BB’s hull. We were reminded many times over the past three weeks at Bock Marine that we are not used to real work! There’s much still to be done – varnish and polishing – but we’re headed north, doing the loop and looking forward to NYC! We had to turn off the solar panels while we were underway. Even with no sun they were making enough electricity that the starboard engine alternator didn’t need to have any output so we had no starboard engine tachometer at the helm – amazing! ICW MM – 153
5/31/14 – Alligator River, NC – 50 miles – 4,729 miles remaining. It feels good to be cruising again – on the water, little to no boat traffic, and on our way headed north. About 11:00 AM while in engine room doing a regular check Engr Wally found that the starboard engine transmission cooler had a pin-hole leak that was spraying sea water over the engine. Had to shut down the engine for a couple of hours and put on a patch using JB Weld epoxy. The patch worked ok, and we still made 50 miles – anchoring in an off-the-ICW spot about two miles west of where the ICW Pungo River Canal opens up to the open water of the Alligator River. The suggested anchorage was a couple of miles to the east at Deep Point. There were six boats there already, and sure to be more, and it wasn’t the best spot for protection from the strong N-E winds that were expected over-night. So, we decided to go exploring, turning west instead of east, and went a couple of miles to where the charts stopped marking the water depths on the Alligator River. The day turned windy with gusts over 30 mph so we needed a protected anchorage. None of the cruising guides suggested this spot near Cherry Ridge Lodge – we’ll keep it our secret. It’s a scenic, quiet spot with wind protection from all directions! Had a great dinner of BBQ chicken, mac & cheese, and a nice tomato, sliced onion and feta cheese salad. Watched an ok, but not great movie “MacArthur” with Gregory Peck. Near ICW MM105.
6/1/14 – Alligator River, NC – 0 miles – 4,729 miles remaining. A day of rest and work, and not venturing onto the IWC with north-east winds over 20 mph. Capt Mary and Engr Wally slept in, and we were slow to get into our work mode. Capt Mary was able to clean all of the forward rail stainless steel stanchions. And, Engr Wally was able to put on the spare transmission cooler on the starboard engine, and put on the rebuilt exhaust elbow on the generator. Good work on a beautiful Sunday, and we gave the Lord thanks.
6/2/14 – Blackwater Creek, NC – 75 miles – 4,654 miles remaining. A pleasant day of cruising along the ICW. No issues, no traffic, just an easy day and a pretty, albeit narrow anchorage at Blackwater Creek.
Beulah Belle is being hauled out at Bock MArine to have her bottom painted.
Beulah Belle is being hauled out at Bock Marine to have her bottom painted.
This is Randy at Bock Marine finishing up our new bottom paint - Interlux NT - four gallons at $100/gal.
This is Randy at Bock Marine finishing up our new bottom paint – Interlux NT – four gallons at $100/gal.
We put on new props that we had ordered last Fall from Big Rock Props in Morehead City. The props came from Taiwan and cost $3,500. We painted them with a new paint - VIVID that's supposed to be the best for metals under water.
We put on new props that we had ordered last Fall from Big Rock Props in Morehead City. The props came from Taiwan and cost $3,500. We painted them with a new paint – VIVID – it’s supposed to be the best for metals under water.
This is a top view of the frame that we had built by Don Fulcher. It took a day to get it up on the boat, and bolted down. It cost $2,200 for the frame.
This is a top view of the frame that we had built by Don Fulcher. It took a day to get it up on the boat, and bolted down. It cost $2,200 for the frame.
This is a top view of the four solar panels that we put on the new frame. Along with the four panels is special wiring, a charge / controller, and a few other fuses and breakers that tie into our inverter system, and house battery bank. The total cost for the 1000 watts system is about $4,800 - under budget!
This is a top view of the four solar panels that we put on the new frame. Along with the four panels is special wiring, a charge / controller, and a few other fuses and breakers that tie into our inverter system, and house battery bank. The total cost for the 1000 watts system is about $4,800 – but $200 under budget!
We made more friends in Morehead City. We were welcomed onboard The Great Escape a 49' DeFever, and hosted by Shay and Elizabeth Glass. Great friends and lots of fun. We surely will miss them when we leave NC.We made more friends in Morehead City. We were welcomed onboard The Great Escape a 49′ DeFever, and hosted by Shay and Elizabeth Glass. Great friends and lots of fun. We surely will miss them when we leave NC.
Meet Kenny Bock as we leave Bock Marine.
Meet Kenny Bock as we leave Bock Marine.
Today's sunset at our new-found anchorage about four miles off the ICW on the Alligator River. A beautiful, quiet spot that is a great example of our favorite day cruising.Today’s sunset at our new-found anchorage about four miles off the ICW on the Alligator River. A beautiful, quiet spot that is a great example of our favorite day cruising.
After today's sunset we had an amazing view of the moon and Venus.
After today’s sunset we had an amazing view of the moon and Venus.
This is a view of the marshes in North Carolina along the Alligator River. There are some marsh grasses and wild rice, but more often the  banks are lined with mangroves and oak trees.This is a view of the marshes in North Carolina along the Alligator River. There are some marsh grasses and wild rice, but more often the banks are lined with mangroves and oak trees.
Along the way on the ICW - you never know what you might see next - elephants, 1800's style corvettes, dufus Carvers .........
Along the way on the ICW – you never know what you might see next – elephants, 1800′s style corvettes, dufus Carvers ……… Any day on the water beats you know what……………..!

WITWIBB – 5/1-6/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – So Carolina

BB and crew continue to enjoy good cruising weather, and little traffic along the Atlantic ICW. We had two destination spots along the ICW that we missed last year. The first was to visit the Kennedy Space Center which we did back in Cocoa Village, FL. The second was to stop and visit Charleston, SC. Charleston was a great visit, but Capt Mary was a bit under the weather which got passed on to the engineer about a week later. We are going north, leaving the warm weather of Florida behind us, and Capt Mary doesn’t like having to put on long pants and sweaters! We are actually behind the schedule chosen by most cruisers doing the Great Loop, but we already don’t like the temperatures in the 50′s.Charleston was great to just walk around and enjoy the Victorian homes and history there. We especially enjoyed the walking tour with a professional guide. We tried a couple of live shows and going to the Patriot Center, but the food and sight-seeing were the best fun for us. Leaving Charleston after a three day stay took us into some developed miles along the ICW. First we came to the rescue of some young folks in a small cruiser that ran out of gas, and then we were amazed when we got a radio message telling us to look out for the elephant in the ICW! Yep, it was a hoot!South Carolina Daily Log:

5/1/2014 – Bennett’s Point – 72 miles – 5,144 miles remaining. Another long, but not hard day. Passed by Beaufort, SC and wished we had time to stop. First bald eagle in a long time. Beautiful cruising through the marshes of Georgia and SC; no highways! Lots of dolphins w good pics next to BB. Had to call T-Mobile to fix the i-Phone. MM 513.5 + one mile west.
5/2/2014 – Charleston, SC – 54 miles – 5,090 miles remaining. An easy day of cruising until the ICW traffic picked up the last 20 miles before Charleston. Tied up at Harborage at Ashley Marina – $100/nt. Took marina van to town – great dinner at Pearlz Oyster bar, and not so good live theater at “Footlight” – “20th Century”. Nice, LONG walk back to marina (too far – bad idea). MM566
5/3/2014 – Charleston, SC – 0 miles. Took the marina van to town, sat through a travel club sales pitch for an hour – got free tickets for walking tour of Charleston (great 2.5 hrs tour), ferry ride to Patriots Pt for Sunday, and $75 check. Big lunch at Eli Hyman’s Seafood Restaurant (good fish and chips!). The beautiful, old homes and gardens around SOB are spectacular, and the history of the area from pre-1776 thru 1800′s is good stuff. The walking tours of the towns along the east coast are the best tourist attaction. Went to another live show at “The Black Fedora” – a good whodunit with audience participation. Took a taxi back to marina at 9:00 PM.
5/4/2014 – Charleston, SC – 0 miles. It is a beautiful spring day; hoping Capt Mary feels better (cold / flu / allergies?). Visited the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown CV10, and House / Museum where George Washington visited in 1791. Found the same taxi driver Anthony to take us back to the marina.
5/5/2014 – Jerico Creek, SC – 74 miles – 5,016 miles remaining. It is another beautiful day on the ICW. Talked to “Priorities” along the way (Randy and Sherri Chester from Port Sheldon, MI), hope to meet them along the AGLCA route and at their home port in Michigan. Took side trip onto Jericho Creek to anchor instead of ICW; found a beautiful anchor site. MM394
5/6/2014 – Calabash Creek, SC – 52 miles – 4,964 miles remaining. It was a slow, but beautiful day on the ICW. The outgoing tide slowed us to 6.2 mph for more than four hours, and we never caught the reverse tide to make the day’s average up our normal cruising speed of 8.2 mph. There were three highlights today; two of them things we’ve never seen nor done before. There was an ELEPHANT in the ICW! with a family and three dogs – having a grand time, bathing, sliding down its trunk (in both directions!), and enjoying life, everyone all around! The other newbie was to to give a cruiser in distress with three guys, two damsels, and two dogs aboard (not necessarily in that order) a tow. We blasted them with our horn as they came to a stop in front of us, exactly under a bridge. They had run out of gas. Being the awesome boaters that we are, we asked if they needed help, and they accepted a tow to the nearest marina about two miles away. The third neat deal of the day is our anchor spot – Calabash Creek. We anchored here last year while tropical storm Andrea passed over. It’s a great spot, and one we look forward to each time we pass by (at the South / North Carolina State line). MM342
Our selfie taken along South Battery Road, Charleston, SC.
Our selfie taken along South Battery Road, Charleston, SC.
Capt Mary enjoying one of the rainbow houses near downtown. The houses and gardens are remarkable in Charleston!
Capt Mary enjoying one of the rainbow houses near downtown. The houses and gardens are remarkable in Charleston!
We've found that taking a professional guided walking tour is our favorite tourist thing to do. This 3 hour tour went by in minutes eventhough Capt Mary was a bit under the weather with a flu bug.We’ve found that taking a professional guided walking tour is our favorite tourist thing to do. This 3 hour tour went by in minutes eventhough Capt Mary was a bit under the weather with a flu bug.
This is a view of downtown Charleston looking at Saint Philips Episcopal Church.This is a view of downtown Charleston looking at Saint Philips Episcopal Church.
Kinda' cool isn't it?Kinda’ cool isn’t?
We don't miss the work that goes along with a nice yard, but it might be nice to come home to this driveway wouldn't it? So long as someone else did the work!We don’t miss the work that goes along with a nice yard, but it might be nice to come home to this driveway wouldn’t it? So long as someone else did the work!
This old building has a wicked history that can be missed when you see it called the Customs House. If only the dungeon in the basement could talk?This old building has a wicked history that can be missed when you see it called the Customs House. If only the dungeon in the basement could talk?
Another pic of downtown Charleston. There are lots of watering holes on both sides of the street, so we don't push Capt Mary too far between stops.Another pic of downtown Charleston. There are lots of watering holes on both sides of the street, so we don’t push Capt Mary too far between stops.
One of hundreds of history plaques in Charleston to help with your own walking tour.

One of hundreds of history plaques in Charleston to help with your own walking tour.Another of the hundreds of history plaques around Charleston.

Another of the hundreds of history plaques around Charleston.

Our next anchorage after leaving Charleston was not on the ICW. We took an alternate route up Jericho Creek, and found this beautiful spot to spend the evening, overnight, and breakfast in the morning!Our next anchorage after leaving Charleston was not on the ICW. We took an alternate route up Jericho Creek, and found this beautiful spot to spend the evening, overnight, and breakfast in the morning!

Can you figure out what kind, and how many critters are in this picture?Can you figure out what kind, and how many critters are in this picture?

Wow! An elephant, three dogs, a guy and a girl taking a swim in the ICW. Who'd a thunk it?Wow! An elephant, three dogs, a guy and a girl taking a swim in the ICW. Who’d a thunk it?

Today's sunset. This is one of our favorite anchorages - Calabash Creek, about 10 miles north of Myrtle Beach, SC. In June of 2013 we sat through tropical storm Andrea here to test our new Rochna anchor. Today was just so very peaceful, and beautiful!Today’s sunset. This is one of our favorite anchorages – Calabash Creek, about 10 miles north of Myrtle Beach, SC., and three miles south of North Carolina. In June, 2013 we sat through tropical storm Andrea here to test our new Rochna anchor. Today was just so very peaceful, and beautiful! No anchor testing required.

WITWIBB – 4/28-30/2014 – Great Loop Cruise – Georgia

 

BB and crew had a wonderful evening with David and Marian Patrick in Saint Augustine, and now head for the marshes of Georgia. As we approach Fernandina Beach, FL we come up on a sail boat that has run aground. A shoal has drifted into the channel and the couple onboard ask our help to pass by as close as possible, and maybe our wake would shake them loose. We cruised around to check out how close we could get without going aground ourselves then revved up the Ford Lehmans and gave them our best bow wave and wake. We think their own seamanship did the trick, but they got off and followed us to Fernandina Beach. We gave them our dinner recommendation from our visit there last Fall, and said our cruiser’s goodbyes. As soon as we get by the inlet to the Atlantic and turn back onto the north-bound ICW at Cumberland Island, we are in the marsh-land, leaving the busyness of Florida behind us. The weather continued to be cloudy and rainy at times, but nothing to keep us from cruising each day. So, we crossed Georgia in three days, putting about 200 miles in our wake.Georgia Daily Log:

April 28, 2014 – Cumberland Island, GA – 67 miles – 5,342 miles remaining. David Patrick did his USCG safety inspection of BB in the morning while we were tied up to the St Augustine marina dock getting fresh water. The dock master had to be told that David was USCG and we were having an inspection done. We left Saint Augustine by 9:00 AM and had an easy day of cruising. Talked to Shay Glass and ordered the solar panels from Northern Arizona Sun and Wind. MM710.
April 29 2014 – Fort Frederica, GA – 45miles – 5,297miles remaining. Slept in and had a wonderful breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast and hash browns. An easy day of cruising. Tried to stay at Jekyl Isl Marina, but they were full. We found a beautiful anchor site between the old fort and the dinghy dock at the National Historic Site. MM665.
April 30, 2014 – Herb River, GA – 81 miles – 5,216 miles remaining. A long day, cloudy and windy. Near record most miles in one day without doing an overnight. MM584
Beulah Mae was a welcome visitor to our flybridge - helping with keeping the map pages in order when the wind kicked up.
Beulah Mae was a welcome visitor to our flybridge – helping with keeping the map pages in order when the wind kicked up.
As we leave the busy ICW waters in Florida, the Georgia marshland and ICW waters invite fishing boats and shrimpers. Giving them room is a no-brainer, and having them anchor near us overnight is quite a light show.
As we leave the busy ICW waters in Florida, the Georgia marshland and ICW waters invite fishing boats and shrimpers. Giving them plenty of room is a no-brainer, and having them anchor near us overnight is a welcome light show.
Hell Gate is one of many shallow water areas along the Georgia ICW. We got a little sideways as we entered Hell Gate, stopped, backed up, and made it through at low tide in no more than 5.5' of water.
Hell Gate is one of many shallow water areas along the Georgia ICW. We got a little sideways as we entered Hell Gate, stopped, backed up, and made it through at low tide in no more than 5.5′ of water.
All of Georgia is fun to cruise through - so long as you stay off the shoals. Dolphins abound, as do perigrin falcons, pelicans, and  many more that we missed when we were in The Bahamas.
All of Georgia is fun to cruise through – so long as you stay off the shoals. Dolphins abound, as do perigrin falcons, pelicans, and many more that we missed when we were in The Bahamas.
I wish it was a sunny day to take this photo. The marshes go for miles and miles, and are beautiful, and so very peaceful. The tricky part about cruising in Georgia is being sure you know your water depth - there is 8' to 10' of tide change here.
I wish it was a sunny day to take this photo. The marshes go for miles and miles, and are beautiful, and so very peaceful. The tricky part about cruising in Georgia is being sure you know your water depth – there is 8′ to 10′ of tide change here.