We have been very busy for the past month getting Delphinus ready for our offshore travels. We’ll be sailing in the ARC Bahamas rally organized by the World Cruising Club – destination Marsh Harbor, on Abacos in the Bahamas. This week is packed with seminars and social events, preparing for the fast approaching departure. So far, we’ve met some great people all getting ready to throw off their lines.
In the past week we’ve had the standing rigging replaced and are hoping the canvas work will be finished this week.
I’ve been busy planning meals and provisioning the boat, not just for the journey there, but stocking up on staples that we’ll have handy once we get there. I’ve learned on past trips to islands that you can’t always count on a nearby grocery store with everything you need. We have two crew members, Phil and Ron, and I want to make sure they are well fed
Our preparations over the past month have included several shake-down sails, seminars, provisioning and outfitting. A trip to Annapolis was the longest time we’ve spent on the boat so far (12 days) and included just about every type of weather except snow! A real learning experience.
Our cruise to Annapolis was to attend an Offshore Safety Seminar presented by JWorld Annapolis. Our trip there took us up the Eastern Shore with stops in Cape Charles, Onancock, the Choptank River, St. Michael’s, and then on to Annapolis.
Leaving our marina, we discovered the early morning meeting place of East Beach’s Seagulls. I don’t think there was any unoccupied space on that dock. We’re fortunate that cameras don’t capture smells, because the stench was awful!
The trip to Cape Charles was uneventful and as has been the pattern, we were directly into the wind, waves and tide. We had a nice evening, including dinner at The Shack and chatting with some nice folks docked nearby. We even got a look at a local novelty, a flying dinghy. It appears to be an ordinary inflatable dinghy rigged with hang-gliding type wings. He gets speed up on the water and then takes flight. It’s quite a site! The next morning we were underway early enough to catch the sunrise (not something I usually see).
We arrived in Onancock in time for lunch, followed by a walk around town. Following the recommendation of our waitress in Cape Charles we stopped at the Corner Bakery for afternoon donuts and cookies for later. Well worth the stop!
The next day was a long one, motoring through high winds and rain, to the Choptank River. After anchoring, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.
The next morning we left for St. Michael’s. It was another cold, damp day. Once we arrived, even Pete was willing to walk through the shops in town with me in search of long sleeve shirts. We did not plan for the cooler temps on this trip. We were able to catch up with friends, Jim and Mary, for dinner.
On to Annapolis the next day in more cold rain and winds gusting to over 30 knots. I reached a point where I couldn’t even see through my glasses because of the rain drops, all the while trying to avoid crab pots – needed windshield wipers for my glasses. The starboard engine shut down unexpectedly and Pete had to get into the engine compartment, diagnose and fix the problem while we were being tossed around. With both engines running, we made it into Spa Creek in Annapolis and picked up a mooring ball as the rain stopped.
We had a great time during our stay in Annapolis, including a visit from my brother Mike, his wife Rita, son Brian and his wife Cairen. The water taxi system there is fantastic and provided us with mobility around town. We were lucky enough to see a wedding on a nearby boat in the mooring field!
The two day Offshore Safety Seminar was full of great information and hands on practice. Pete even jumped into the water with his inflatable PFD and climbed into a life raft. He found this is not an easy task. The bulk of the PFD interferes with the ability to climb through the opening of the life raft. Mario Vittone was a featured speaker and provided great insight based on his experiences as a Coast Guard Search & Rescue Swimmer.
On the way out of Annapolis Pete wanted me to practice docking (something I have not done before), so we head to the seawall at the city docks. With Pete giving me step by step direction, I was able to smoothly pull the boat to the seawall. With that small success, Pete wanted me to take Delphinus to a fuel dock and tie up there. He forgot that I still needed the second by second direction and I came in too fast, hitting the fuel dock with the port bow. Caused quite a stir with the staff, except for a woman sitting on a bench reading, looked up from her book briefly and went right back to her reading. No serious harm done to the dock or Delphinus; although I think the staff was glad to see us go.
Made it home, safe and sound, a few days later. We did make a stop at Zahniser’s Marina in Solomon’s Island to have the port engine fixed. It is a great facility with friendly, helpful staff.
Our next post will likely be from Marsh Harbor, talking about our passage. Keep us in your thoughts for fair winds and following seas.