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The Great Loop

06/30/08
Havre de Grace Biking Tour

Today we spent the day on the bikes and taking pictures. Havre de Grace is a lovely little waterfront town where the Sessquahanna meets the Chesapeake Bay. In fact this magnificent river probably created the Bay.
We had a condo here about 8 years ago and enjoyed living here very much. Only problem was that it is too far North to keep your boat in the water and use it year around, thus or move to NC.
The town is filled with nice restaurants, a maritime museum, A decoy museum, Concord Lighthouse, marinas and many nice little shops. There are some very lovely large old homes and B and B's. Like most towns of its era, it also has some lovely churches.
It is an active place in the summer as most weekends have some special activity and every Friday night they have a different band playing in the Tidings Park. Its waterfront has a very nice promanade for people to walk from the lighthouse to the marina. Each evening it has many walkers and lookers of all ages enjoying the views.
There is another treasure in Havre de Grace and that is the Bomboy's Candy Company. When we first moved here they only had a very small store to sell their homemade candy. The candy was such good quality that they have grown to a very large and attractive candy store and they took their old small store a couple of years ago and started to make homemade ice cream. It was also a great hit and they have remodeled and expanded that store also.
Jackie took pictures as we rode around and they are below. If you click on the picture, it will enlarge and a caption will explain the picture.
06/25/08
North East

We have been staying with our friends the Trainers, who we call our Maryland Family, and are enjoying seeing every one. We are only a half hour from our boat so if we need to do something down there or attend a dock party we can get there quickly.
We have had a busy week playing with the kids, attending a Sunday cookout, attending Rileys' birthday party, 3 years old. Watching the kids at the pool, shopping, etc.
We will be here a few more days as Terry, the Mom, recover from surgery and then we will be back on the boat but still plan to come up to visit for a 4th of July party and another birthday party.
Below are some pictures of various events. If you click on the pictures you will see captions explaning the picture.
06/23/08
Day Trip To Cape May, NJ    Chart
(Lat: 38º 57.045'N Lon: 74º 54.136'W )

It was overcast when we got up and rain was promised so we didn't want to take our boat out or work on it. Our friends suggested that we drive to Lewes, DE, and take the ferry to Cape May. We thought that would be a good way to spend the day so off went in our rental car.
We arrived in Lewes in time to catch the 11:15am ferry and took it over to Cape May. The ferry ride lasts about an hour and 20 minutes. You can see by the pictures that it was very overcast and rainy but we had enough visibility to see the various light houses, boats, etc, and seas were fairly calm.
Once we arrived at Cape May we drove to the Harbor area to explore and we had lunch at the Lobster House, eating on the Schooner ship attached to the restaurant. We had a very nice meal.
We drove all around the town, visited the Lighthouse and drove around some more, then we headed back to the ferry for our return trip. It was still overcast but much more clear for the trip back so we could see more boats anchored and the shore line quite well.
Once back on shore we drove back to North East, MD, stopping at a little Italian Restaurant we used to eat at in the Fox Run area. We arrived back at our friends in time to say good night to the little ones and then we went to bed, tired but having spent a good day.
06/19/08
Havre de Grace

Yesterday after we got the boat settled we picked up our rental car and then took our friend John to dinner at a great restaurant called Laurrapins. When we lived here, it was a very small ice cream and sandwich shop but it is now a very attractive restaurant with very good food and reasonable prices.
Today we got up and drove to a Bob Evans we used to visit when we lived here and then visited our friend Debbie, who has worked at the Tidewater Marina for many years. We had a nice chat with her on changes in the area and invited her to come see our boat as she is also a Sea Ray owner and loves boat.
Jackie did some laundry and we did a few odd jobs around the boat. The rest of day we are going to explore on our bikes and chill out.
On Thursday night the sailing club has races and many members participate. Following the races they have a party at Tidewater. A lot of people who live in condo's along the river have some drinks and snacks and watch the races. It is beautiful to see on a clear night. We watched the races from our dock with friends and then went to McGregors Restaurant where they have sailing specials at their outside bar. We had a nice evening.
Tomorrow we will leave our boat and drive to North East, MD. We have dear friends there, the Trainers, and we will stay with then a few days and explore that area. We affectionately call their family our MD family and visit with them as often as we can. Between the two boys in the family they have 6 children about the same age as our grand kids so we like to try to spend time and spoil them also.
Note: I may not post everyday while we are spending the month here as there may not be much to report. When we do day trips by car or boat I will post those days but not just hanging around days.
Today I am including some different views of the area from the great location our boat is berthed plus a couple of barge pictures, some friends watching the races and the sail boats racing.
06/18/08
Baltimore to Havre de Grace    Chart
(Lat: 39º 32.659'N Lon: 76º 5.039'W )

We had a pretty easy ride to Havre de Grace from Balitimore Inner Harbor. We left early as the winds were supposed to kick up and there were small craft warnings. Since winds were fron the South they were on our stern so wasn't too bad. Most of way 1-2' and then kicked up in middle of Bay to 2-4'. As we got up past Poole's Island it calmed again as the land cut down the wind.
Jackie took some pictures leaving Baltimore and then again as we started into Havre de Grace. We used to live in HDG and are in fact staying the marina where our old condo was.
Our friend and webmaster, John Cole, met us at our slip and helped us tie up.
I took some pictures of the views around our boat. and we will probably take some more at sunrise and sunset times.
We are going to stay in this area a month and have rented a car. We will be staying with friends in North East, visiting NYC by train, doing day boat trips to Chesapeak City, Georgetown, etc. We are looking forward to our time here.
06/17/08
Baltimore Inner Harbor, part 2

We did some paperwork and paid some bills this morning and then started to explore the original Inner Harbor area. It is a very nice area with a lot of activity. There were a lot of kids that looked like they were on field trips and then the normal summer tourists, like us.
We love the Nobles Book store. What a great place and great building. It is in the old powerplant. Very nicely done and we found seveal books we were looking for.
After that we climbed around the 7' Shoal Lighthouse and saw how the old light keepers lived.
After that we had lunch at McCormacks and Schmicks, right on the harbor waterfront. Nice place to have lunch. We then walked all the shops in the Inner Harbor area including the Gallery Shops across the street. When we ran out of shops and things to see, we headed back to the boat to chill out. Tomorrow we are off to Havre de Grace.
06/16/08
Baltimore Inner Harbor

Today we unloaded the bikes and pedaled all monring and early afternoon checking out the places east of our marina. They have extended the waterfront park area all the way past Canton. We enjoyed ride and the views. There is a great deal of restoration of the area that has been completed and a lot still going on reclaiming the area for condos, apartments, shops and restaurants. You see people walking the waterfront and around noon the restaurants start to fill with tourists and office workers.

There are many marinas along this route so we saw many boats.
We rode through Fells Point, which is very difficult on a bikes as the roads are all a stone base which makes for a rough ride. (Note: The stones used for paving Fell's Point were brought over on ships from Europe, and were used as ballast on the way over, and then left on the quayside. Many of these stones had originally been paving for the streets of Ansterdam, Rotterdam and Antworp, so they were already cut and sized for the purpose.)

We then proceeded out to the end of the waterfront park which actually extends beyond Canton. We rode by the MarineMax dealership and visited the West Marine store and then had lunch at Nacho Mama in Canton.

Since the Open playoff was just starting, we pedaled back to the boat and watched a very exciting match.

Late afternoon a very strong series of thunderstorms moved through the area so we stayed unboard and Jackie fixed a nice dinner. Once the storm cleared out we walked and explored the area right around the boat and she got a Starbucks and I got a rasberry sherbert.

On the walk, we noticed a very impressive monument and wondered what it was. We walked up and read the inscription and it was a rememberance of the Kayt'n Masacre. I was unaware of this incident that took place in Poland where 20,000 Polish army officers were killed and buried for standing up to Stalin. This was just one of several similar incidents in several other areas of Poland. This was covered up at the start of WW2 because we were allied with Stalin to stop the Germans. The Germans discovered and revealed these atrocities while they occupied Poland but it was dismissed by the Allies for political reasons. An interesting and tragic example of Stalin's reign and the state of the world at that time.

Tomorrow we explore the area west of our marina all the way to the original Inner Harbor waterfront.
06/15/08
Annapolis to Baltimore Inner Harbor    Chart
(Lat: 39º 16.901'N Lon: 76º 36.163'W )

We left our slip and filled with fuel and pumped out the holding tank before leaving the Yacht Basin. We enjoyed the marina very much as it has great people and a great location.
We weaved our way around the full harbor and sailing boats and their were seveal big freighters anchored out waiting for clearance to head into Baltimore.
Jackie took pictures of the freighters, Bay Bridge, Tug with Tow, Sparrows Point, Francis Scott Key Bridge, abandoned Fort Carol, Ft. McHenry, etc.
It was an easy trip and we are docked in Inner Harbor East with a great view of the Inner Harbor.
Once we sprayed the boat down we walked to Camden Yard and were able to get tickets to the Orioles 1:35 pm game. It was fun to be back there, get a sandwich at Booge's BBQ, Booge was there signing autographs and watching the inter league game with the Orioles and Pitt Pirates. Pirates won in 10 innings.
After the game we stopped by ESPN Zone on our way back to the boat and had a beer while watching the start of the Open coverage. We then continued on to the boat and turn the Open on and both of us took a little snooze. We had a light dinner on the boat while watching the golf and are enjoying the views of the harbor tonight. The last several pictures are all evening views from our boat.
Tomorrow we explore on bikes.
06/14/08
Annapolis

We had a nice day today with my brother and his wife Lesa. They drove up from Northern Va. and arrived around 9:30am. We showed them the boat and caught up on things and then walked the short distance to the shops and restaurants and looked around. Had lunch at Phillips overlooking the harbor and had some gellato from the Italian place next to Phillips. On the way back we walked the Ego Alley area and looked at the boats and all the people. There was a little remote control plastic boat right in the middle of Ego Alley dodging all the boats cruising around. It was pretty funny.
We spent some more time chatting on the boat and then it looked like storms were moving in so they headed back to home.
After they left we called JoAnne and she was just across the bridge on her son, John's boat helping him pulling new speaker wires. We got to see his boat and talked a little bit and then we headed back to the boat before the rain hit.
We watched the Open the rest of the evening and it was very fun to watch and then hit the sack as we were heading to Baltimore in the morning.
06/13/08
Annapolis

Friday the 13th. We spent the first part of the morning doing emails and Jackie baked her Italian Creme Cake in her counter top Kitchenaide oven. Oven worked great but she could only bake 1 layer of the 3 layer cake at a time so that took several hours.
She and I walked the few blocks to the shopping and restaurant area and walked around. We had lunch in a really unusual and fun NY style deli called Chick and Ruth's. It is jammed with people, very active, large menu, everyone talking to everyone else. Really a bee hive of activity. We enjoyed the lunch and then walked some more.
We went back to the boat to watch some of the US Open, and JoAnne's son, John, who we know and love stopped by to see our boat and talk. He had to get back to work and we got ready for the party at JoAnne's yacht club. She picked us and the cake up at about 6:15pm and we had a glass of wine on her boat while we waited for the party to start.
It was a fun party and we have always been impressed by how friendly and welcoming the people at her marina are. Jackie's cake got rave reviews and a special acknowledgement from the party host. Needless to say, we didn't have any to take back to the boat with us.
It was a fun day and evening. Tomorrow, my brother Bert and his wife Lesa are driving over from the DC area to spend the day with us.
06/12/08
Annapolis

Today we biked over to Mears Marina where JoAnne's boat is and borrowed JoAnne's car to go shopping for groceries, etc. We dropped the purchases at our boat and returned her car. We went with her to lunch at a little Pub in Eastport that locals go to called Davis's. It had great food and prices and a really fun group of people (and this was only lunch. I imagine it is even more fun in the evening).
We rode our bikes back to the boat and I watched US Open golf on TV while JoAnne picked up Jackie and they went shopping.
Since we had such a large lunch JoAnne just came over around 6 pm and we had wine and snacks. Lovely end to a relaxing and nice day.
Friday, there is an Italian Party at JoAnne's marina and she invited us to go. Jackie is baking her famous Italian Creme cake for the party. It will be interesting to see how she bakes such a big cake in a little oven.
No pictures today but if the cake turns out I will take a picture for tomorrow.
06/11/08
Annapolis

We had a very nice first full day in Annapolis. The heat wave has broken and it is a beautiful day. We jumped on our bikes and road all over the place. Not sure exactly where we were at times but we fournd our way back to the water. Annapolis is different from most ports in that it has hills so we really got to use the gears on our bikes.
Jackie took pictures of some of the sights we saw. Including State Gov't building area, Naval Academy Football Stadium, the Naval Academy grounds and some of the always interesting things going on at the waterfront.
Later we met our friend JoAnne and walked to Carol Creek Pub for half price appetizers and watched the Wed night sailing races from the bridge.
After we got back to boat we saw that a very large boat, Sunshine, had pulled up to the fuel dock for the night and the boat was bigger than the dock house. I took a picture which hopefully you can see both ends of the boat sticking out on each side of dock house.
06/10/08
Solomon's Island to Annapolis    Chart
(Lat: 38º 58.478'N Lon: 76º 29.093'W )

It was very hot again and that translates to very hazy on the Bay. Winds were still and Bay was very calm. While the haze lessened our visibility and view of the beauty of the Bay, it didn't hamper our boating. We made it to Annapolis in 2.5 hrs and it was a very pleasant and easy run.
We always enjoy coming into Annapolis as it is such a pretty port. On our way in we saw another Looper flag on a trawler named Sonota and we waved vigorously at each other.
We were fortunate to get a slip for 5 nights at the Yacht Basin Company, right next to the Marriott. It is a great location as we are close to everything and has good facilities, security, etc.
Jackie took several pictures through the haze of our journey including the Bloody Point and Thomas Point lighthouses, gravel barge, etc. Pictures give you a good sense of our visibility.
We had lunch at Pussers, went back to boat AC to get out of extreme heat and then had dinner on the boat. After it cooled down we walked over to a little Italian Rest near Phillips which has great gellato. We ate our gellato and walked the waterfront and then back to boat for the night.
06/09/08
Solomon's Island

We were very lucky that we were able to get a Cummins engine technician first thing this morning and that the problem was a clamp had losened up. In fact the clamp was not properly put on at the factory and it was obvious when the technician, Katie, took off the hose. They assemble the engines, hoses and all and then paint the engine. It showed that on one part of the hose, it was only in the clamp a sixteenth of a inch. I took several pictures and I am going to send them to Cummins and request they reimburse me for the service call since it was a manufacturing failure, not a wear or maintenance issue. I will show the pictures below.
Because we were delayed by a day we, decided to skip St. Michaels for now and go straight to Annapolis a day earlier and spend an extra day there.
We have been really lucky this trip that when we had a problem as we were able to get prompt service and very talented technicians at very fair prices. Also the problems in each case were the best case scenario for fixing it. Still not inexpensive but it could have been a whole lot more.
Today's company was Drum Point Marine and the Technician was Katie. She quickly found the problem and her work was great. She had to take off the hose, check it, drain the antifreeze in buckets for disposal, reconnect the hose, pressure test it with water to make sure it was fixed, drain the water, fill the engine with new antifreeze, check the other engine, clean up the entire bilge area, check all the belts, fluid levels, etc. We were obviously very pleased with the work and the outcome and will add the company to a list of good service companies we keep for boat service.We keep it for when we move boats or friends need service.
Since we are staying an extra day, Jackie is doing some laundry and sitting by the pool and I am doing email in the cool AC of the boat. She just found out that tonight is taco and margarita night at the marina bar so we will go meet marina people and have a fun evening.
Tomorrow we are off to Annapolis and are staying for 5 days at the Yacht Basin which is right next to the Marriott in the heart of the waterfront. It is a little more expensive but really a prime location. Our friend JoAnne Norton, got us the space and she will be on her boat at Mears Marina. We are looking forward to spending time with her and hearing of her sailing adventures as she sailed the Caribean all last winter.
06/08/08
Solomons Island

It was very hot today, close to 100 d. We road our bikes to West Marine to get a few items, stopped by grocery store and brought everything back to boat. We then changed clothes and went to brunch at the Dry Dock Rest at Zahnisers's Marina. We thought it was brunch buffett but it was a special menu brunch. The food was good but the selection was limited. We hear it is a great place to go to dinner.
After brunch we rode our bikes around the waterfront and out to the point to see the very lovely water scape, which we couldn't see when we came in due to fog. While we were walking on the Pier Jackie spotted a female duck hidden in a flower pot nesting. She started to breath really quickly as Jackie got closer to look and so Jackie backed up and took a picture. It was really hot by the time we finished our ride so we chilled out on the boat in our AC for the afternoon. In the evening we rode our bikes again to DiGiovanni's Italian Rest. Food was good and it also had a water view. Temp in the restaurant was pretty high because of the outside temp, kitchen heat and all the window glass. Back on our bikes and after a quick stop at the soft ice cream shack, we were back on the boat for the night.
In the afternoon we took the time to do our pre flight engine room check and we were dismayed to see a lot of green antifreeze under our port engine. We have scheduled a mechanic to look at it on Monday first thing and hopefully it will be a hose type problem vs. something more serious. Keep your fingers crossed for us and stay tuned.
06/07/08
Crisfield to Solomons    Chart
(Lat: 38º 19.378'N Lon: 76º 27.367'W )

Fog, fog and more fog. We made the entire 49 mile passage from the Eastern Shore to Western Shore. Before we left the harbor we were in fog and we kept thinking it would burn off but it didn't. Normally the trip would take us 2.5 hours but today it took 5.5 hrs. Much of the time we couldn't see more than 500' and in several critical areas we couldn't see 100'. We bascially drove the boat totally by instruments and rarely saw a channel marker but we knew they were close and made sure we passed them on the correct side. It was very tiring and nerve racking but we made it without incident. As we entered the Patuxent River it was filled with boats who were trying to leave to go to the Bay but totally caught up in the fog and very still air. Most were just sitting there. We had an idea where they were through our radar but it is still startling when the apprear suddenly only about 100' away. Two times I had to not just manuver to avoid them but I had to hit reverse to totally stop our forward movement and then move around them. They appeared as if they were ghost ships and then just a suddenly dissappeared again. Pretty hairy stuff.
We obviously didn't take many pictures becausse we couldn't see anything to take a picture of. We did get into very deep water and Jackie took a picture of the depth guage.
We were very happy to reach the Solomons and about a mile from the harbor it cleared so we could see the last 2 markers and then the harbor ahead.
One of Jackie's picture was of a red bell that we could barely see just above Smith Island (Kedges Strait), and that was the last one we could see until we got near the harbor.
It is very pretty here but very hot, high 90's, we road our bikes to a bike store to get them serviced and then went to lunch about 3pm at Stoney's Kingfisher Seafood House. It has good food and is on the water. We sat at an inside window table since it was soo hot outside.
Tomorrow we will explore Solomons and hopefully just chill out.
Latter when it cooled down to only 80, we jumped on the marina bikes and road the area that goes to the point of the island between the harbor and the Patuxent River. They have a very nice river walk and pier plus a number of little shops and restaurants. Jackie took a picture of the sunset and one of the pier facing out toward the Bay. This was the first time we saw that area as we were in fog when we entered earlier in the day.
06/06/08
Crisfield To Tangier Island and Back

Today we had breakfast with Phil and Alice and then went back to the boat to work on a few things including checking our course for tomorrow when we head to the Solomons.
At noon we met at the cruise ship to a afternoon journey and tour back in time to Tangier Island.
The weather was sunny and hot and the Bay was very calm. We had a nice boat ride over and back and we were on Tangier for about 3 hours. It is a very different place back it time. It is only accessible by boat and has 600 residents.
It basically has one street, Main St, that cirlces the island. Most people ride golf carts, bikes or motor scooters. They have one policeman and there are quite a few commercial fishermen there. There used to be more but regulations on fishing have really changed that industry. Most of the young men who used to go into fishing now go to work on tugs.
There are two churches on the island and people seem to be quite religous. There is no alcohol sold on the island. It has a school for K - 12th grade and most classes range between 5 and 10 kids. There are several fish house restaurants, a couple of small gift stores, an oldies ice cream store, a grocery store, a small post office and medical clinic. Several women on 6 passanger golf carts greet the cruise boats and offer to take people on a 15 minute drive around the island tour for $5. We took the tour and enjoyed it. The island looks very impressive from the water as you approach but as you tour it, you see that it has a pretty low standard of living. It almost had the Appalachin feel.
It was fun to visit and see.
On the way back I made friends with another boating couples golden doodle dog, Skipper. He really looks like the shaggy dog in the movies but he is not that breed. His fur is really poodle fur so he doesn't shed. He is larger than most golden doodles. Great dog.
After we arrived back at our boats we had a drink on Wonderland and then walked to a very nice restaurant, Waterman's Inn. This was our last evening with Phil and Alice and we really enjoyed our time with them. While we were finishing our dinner, the owner/pastry chef brought out a wedding cake that she had made and decorated it while we watched. She was making the cake for a wedding the next day.
06/05/08
Portsmouth to Crisfield    Chart
(Lat: 37º 58.674'N Lon: 75º 51.478'W )

We got up this morning early as we wanted to get back on the water and head North to Crisfield, MD, on the Eastern Shore. The marina office at Tidewater doesn't open until 7 am and we needed a pumpout so we left our slip a couple of minutes before 7 and went to the dock. They were there and so we pumped out the hold and were on our way by 7:15am.
It was a hot and sunny morning and the water was very calm. They say Norfolk is the largest natural harbor in the world and it is really quite an amazing and busy place. We went out the harbor slowly so we could see all the ships. The Navy hospital is really an amazing facility and we took pictures from the both sides which shows the size of the place. I am thankful for our sailors and marines that there is a place like that for them.
We went pass Navy ship after Navy ship and then just before leaving the harbor we passed two air craft carriers. Jackie spent most of the time we were leaving the harbor taking pictures. It really is awesome.
Then we headed across a very calm Bay going NE. It was a nice ride as we went up the Bay and very pretty. We went around the back of Tangiers Island and into Crisfield. Crisfield is the crab capital of the Bay and we plan to explore it on our bikes and then tomorrow take the cruise boat to Tangiers. It is a very small island and town only available by boat. We have read about it and thought of stopping there on our boat but people say it is better to stay in Crisfield and take the ferry over.
It was nice to be on the water again, especially on such a nice day.
We will share more with you after we explore a little on our bikes.
06/05/08
Rainy Day HDG Exploration

We were planning to boat today but the weather would not cooperate so we decided to car tour the area. We really had a nice day and captured some pictures of several interesting places.
We started by driving back the the Beggs' farm so we could get pictures for the July 4 blog entry. We thought that since we were in the area we should try to find the "Extreme Makeover House" in Port Deposit. We asked several friends where it was and those instructions got us close to it but as we were driving by the Post Office we decided where better to get directions. The man at the Post Office drew a little map and we quickly found the property. We didn't want to intrude on their privacy so we only drove up the driveway part way to get the pictures of the house and barn. The family works with disabled or ill people by having them ride horses. It gives them more than just a great experience, it also seems to help improve their sense of balance. The father died of cancer and there was a risk that the horse theapy program would end. Extreme Make Over built a brand new, very impressive house for the family and significantly upgraded the barn area. I must admit, we were surprised by how large the new house was. While we were driving by we saw them walking several patients on horseback. It was fun to see a make over site first hand.
While we were driving our rental car the low tire pressure warning came on for a second time since we had the car. The first time we just added air but this time we knew we had a slow leak so we called Enterprise and arranged to exchange the car. On the way to their store in Aberdeen we saw the Cal Ripken Stadium on the west side of 95. After we exchanged the car and had lunch we went back to the Ripken Stadium and explored it. It is a minor league baseball stadium and it also has the Cal Ripken Sr. complex for baseball training programs. The complex has a number of baseball fields of all sizes and all the equipment needed to run a world class baseball camp. It is very well attendend and there is even a Marriott Courtyard and Marriott Residence Inn on the site for players and parents to stay. Jackie took some pictures but the whole complex is much more impressive in person.
We then drove to Bulle Rock. It was a famour old horse race track but is now a world class golf course and residential area. The residential area is really quite large and still growing. It has a variety of construction from single homes to patio homes to condos to townhouses. We would rather live on the Bay but it is a nice complex.
We made the most of the day and had a great time.
06/04/08
Road Trip To Cape Charles and Onancock

When we got up and heard the weather reports there were severe storms in the early morning and small craft warnings on the Bay until 4pm. So we toyed with the idea of going up the west coast of the Bay where it might be more calm and go to a resort marina above Detltaville. We talked to Phil and Alice and they said they were going to stay put and he and I compared our various weather sources and the message kept coming back the same, rough water.
Since we were staying put they suggested we go to breakfast and we went to a place they had discovered and heard about from a friend, Bob's BBQ. When we saw the place we were pretty concerned as it didn't look like much. The food and service was good and enjoyed talking and eating.
We decided to just catch up on paperwork, read, etc, and then Phil had a thought about taking a road trip to Cape Charles and Onacock. They are on the Eastern shore accross the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel and are small villages on the water. We had thought about going to Cape Charles by boat in our original plans and then decided not to. So we got in their vehicle and took off on the field trip. It was definitely a fun day and probably the best way to see those 2 places. We were happy to see them and also happy that we didn't take the time and fuel expense to see them by boat.
Cape Charles is the larger of the two and there is a great marina and home site on Bay Creek which is not directly in town. It is called Bay Creek Marina and it was truly a first class place with all the amenities, a really nice shop, restaurant, beautiful homes and a golf course. The developer is deveopling a carosel for the property and all the figures are hand carved and are very beautiful. They had some displayed in the art shop along with a painting of each. They sell the paintings.
The town was nice, bascially one street of shops and the people we friendly. We met a realtor and she told us that some invertors are going to do several project there so things are looking up for them. The whole town is considered a historical area and they are really trying to grow the town while preserving its heritage and beauty. We had a beer at Kelly Pub which was a really nice pub and then he hoped back in the vehicle and drove to Onancock.
Onancock is quite small and is on a creek several miles back from the Bay. It is a sleepy little town but has several good restaurants and a really nice kitchen specialty store.
We had dinner in and Irish Pub , The Blarney Stone, and the food was very good. After dinner we stopped by an ice cream shop as Phil really loves ice cream. While we claimed we stopped for him, we all ordered some for our selves.
Then it was back to Portsmouth and we got home around 8:30pm having completed a great day. We really enjoyed our time with Phil and Alice.
Then it was time to settle in and get some rest before leaving for Crisfield.
06/03/08
Portsmouth/Norfolk

Today we took several hours in the morning to clean the boat and wax a couple small areas. Then in the afternoon we went to the Gen. McCarther Shopping Mall in downtown Norfolk. We rode our bikes to the ferry and then from the ferry to the mall. Mall only about 6 blocks from waterfront. It was a nice mall and we mainly just window shopped but we did see a few things we liked.
As we were leaving our marina to go to the mall, there were 6 navy patrol boats with a Navy helmsman and I believe 4 marines per boat. The boats were on a training run in preparation for deployment, probably to the Iraq area. The boats were being fueled and the men were getting sandwiches for lunch. We talked to them and they were very nice and excited about what they do. They told me the boats are used in water that has at least a 10' depth and they patrol, harbours, oil rigs, so ship escorts, etc. The boats have 4 50 caliber machine guns. We told them how much we appreciate their service on our behalf. God Bless Them.
Then it was back to the ferry and Portsmouth. We couldn't decide what we wanted for dinner so we road our bikes and checked out places. Finally we went back to the Bier Garden and enjoyed some more German food.
Once back on our boat we checked out charts to go to Crisfield and also checked out the weather. The weather reports were not good and so we are not sure that we will be able to travel tomorrow.
We talked some more with Phil and Alice about travel plans for tomorrow and the weather and agreed we would just have to wait and see.
We watched some TV and got things ready to go if the weather is ok.
06/02/08
Portsmouth/Norfolk

We spent the day exploring a little on the Norfolk side. We took the ferry boat over and went to the waterfront area that has the Nauticus Bldg. It houses the history of the Norfolk Habor area, the history of the Navy, Life at Sea Exhibits, NOAH educational center, a tough the sharks pool and gives you access to the deck area of the Virginia Battleship. The ship is still a commissioned Navy Battleship so you can only go on the deck but it is very impressive. We were amazed by how narrow the bow was on the ship which you can see in one of the pictures we took. The city has mermaids statues all over the downtown and each is decorated a different way. Pretty neat. The one in front of the Nauticus Center is the Azalea Mermaid. From the back of the Viriginia we took pictures of the harbor leading out to the Bay, our marina and the Nave Hospital.
We had a nice morning and then had lunch and took the ferry back to Portsmouth.
In Portsmouth we rode our bikes around Old Town area and took some pictures of statues, churches, etc. Both Portsmouth and Norflok have some beautiful old churches. The historic home area is made up of primarily smaller homes that are nice and many are in the process of being improved.
We had an issue with our bow thruster which was not working right and also we lost vacuum in our Master VacuFlush head. There is a boat maintenance business called Full Throttle on the marina property. They came to the boat about 3 pm and did a great job. On the bow thruster we have had issues for some time and no one found the cause. They found it in 10 minutes and it was a simple bad fuse near the charger which was not fully charging the batteries that powered the thruster. It now works like a charm. The head was also a relatively easy fix as he had to replace the duckbill valve as it was deformed. Everything was done in about 1.5 hours. I talked to other people on the dock and they highly recommended them and we see why.
We spend more time with Alice and Phil of Wonderlad and Phil loaned me some charts we will need for Lake Michigan and the Illinois Waterway. We went out to dinner with them at restaurant called the Freemason Abbey. It may have been an old church. It was moderately priced and the food was good. We had a great time learning about each other and hearing some of their experiences on the Loop. We were the last customers to leave at about 9:45pm. Our last picture today is a picture of their boat Wonderland.
06/01/08
Coinjock To Portsmouth/Norfolk    Chart
(Lat: 36º 50.495'N Lon: 76º 17.931'W )

Todays run was very interesting and took longer in time than the miles would predict because of a number of swing bridges, a lock, and significant no wake zone near Norfolk.
The weather was clear and hot and there was still quite a breeze but neither created any issues.
The water leaving Coinjock was surprising shallow when we left so you had to stay right in the middle of the channel, even getting close to the channel edges could put you aground.
As we approached the second swing bridge there was a rather large 125' length and 40' beam with 8' draft, inside route cruise ship, The Grande Caribe. We had seen it in Belhaven and now we were in a caravan with it and a number of other boats all the way to Norfolk. Since it is a commercial vessel the bridges open for it on demand so we had no waiting at the bridges. The Lock however only opens on the hour, even for commercial vessels so we had about a 45 minute wait. It was our first locking experience with just the two of us on board. We didn't have any issues and now have that experience behind us.
There were many picture opportunities on this trip and Jackie was busy snapping pictures, while still reading charts and spotting channel markers.
One pictures shows an abandoned marina still posting fuel prices which we all remember and would love to go back to. She also shows the lock, Navy ship yard, etc. They are captioned below if you click on the picture.
Last night we got our bikes out and road around Portsmouth and took them on the ferry system which runs back and forth between Norfolk and Portsmouth for a $1 each one way. It is a nice area to visit and we will explore quite a bit more and have a report and pictures in the next few entries. The marina is very nice and there are at least two other Looper boats here. We have met one, Alice and Phil on the Wonderland. They have a Gold Flag as they have completed the Loop. We will meet the others today on Joy@Sea.
Our last picture is of the Carnival Cruise Ship Victory leaving Norfolk and turning in the harbor. I basically filled the whole Elizabeth River. Its bow was very close to shore on the Norfolk side and its stern was not very far from our marina sea wall. Amazing.