Provincetown Association of Concerned Citizens

The Adventures of Harbor Home III

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Welcome to the day to day adventures of Captain David & Annie Ditacchio
as they chronicle their daily experiences sailing from Provincetown harbor to
the Caribbean.
Captain Ditacchio is a former Provincetown Harbor Master and Policeman.
We trust you will appreciate Annie's delightful penchant for highly descriptive,
fun loving detail. She is a great writer.
Annie will post as often as convenient, so keep an eye out for her regular updates. 
David and Annie invite correspondence and look forward to hearing from
you with the latest news from Provincetown.
   
Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com

August 11,2013
We are Off Again!! 
Hello all,

I'm sure some of you may not know that Annie and David are setting out on another sea-faring adventure aboard our beloved 34' Catamaran "Harbor Home III". We left Provincetown yesterday, Sunday, August 11 to head south through the ICW to the Bahamas and beyond!

We had originally planned to depart Saturday in the morning to have a fair current through the Cape Cod Canal at about 1 PM. But Friday had been quite a stressful day. We started with final dental cleanings at Scott Allegretti's office in Provincetown. I was first and while David was having his visit after me, I went for a last trip to Stop and Shop and Yardarm. I picked up David and we went to our house where courtesy of our long time tenant Naomi, who is always there in August, we did a final laundry and took the last things we wanted from our freezer and storage. By that time conditions were getting worse...higher winds and the beginning of the expected rain. We loaded our mule of a dinghy with all the bags of groceries, cases of wine, filled dive air tanks, laundry and all the other last minute things that had accumulated. It was full to capacity! Made it to the boat and off loaded all that stuff while the dinghy was jumping and bucking just before the rain really began. I kept busy stowing all of that while David went ashore yet again to finalize the sale of my car, "Mermaid" and finally returned at the height of the rain and wind. We relaxed, dried out a bit and checked the weather for the next day.
 After all that, our next mission before departure was to wash the boat down and fill our water tanks at our friend, Vaughn Cabral's Cee-Jay float on Saturday, after his charter boat had left on its morning fishing trip. It was wonderful to have use of his hose to get the boat really clean and all the water tanks, including our solar tank shower all filled up. Once we returned the boat to the mooring, it seemed a little late to depart and we knew the seas would still be choppy Yet it was still a beautiful day in Provincetown, so we decided to wait another day to leave and went ashore to walk around one last time, seeing some friends, having a last wonderful lunch at Ross's overlooking our boat where we will spend the next year, and finally joining friends Clarence and Marcene for a bubbly send-off.

Yesterday, Sunday August 11 we dropped off our mooring at a little after 7AM and headed to the Cape Cod Canal to start this next voyage. All was perfect on calm seas with sunny skies overhead. Several of the local boats came by to wish us a safe and happy voyage. Our transit through the CC Canal was fine in sunny weather and light seas and we enjoyed some lunch out in the cock-pit. However, once we had left the protection of the canal, the wind and seas started to increase from the south and although we had hoped to make it to Fairhaven to join up with David's childhood friend Jimmy, with whom he makes a twice annual voyage on Jimmy's big trawler to FL and back, it was just getting too uncomfortable. When your kitty comes into the cockpit and yells that she is not having a good time is when you need to rethink your plans and that is what we did. We headed into the nearest harbor in Marion and took a mooring for the night, getting Xena's forgiveness as we sat in the tranquil harbor watching the sun go down on the first night of our new trip.

I hope that you all know the reason we write these little stories is to hear back from you and find out what is going on with you...we want it ALL! Please let us know if you would like to be removed from our list...if you don't you will be getting it all...the good, the bad...all you did and did not want to know about traveling about on a small sail boat. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Much love from Annie and David and Mate Xena aboard Harbor Home III
   
Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com   
   
August 17, 2013 
On Block Island 
Hello all,

We awoke in Marion Monday morning to much calmer conditions and had an uneventful trip for about 3 hours on to the New Bedford-Fairhaven Harbor where a slip awaited us at Fairhaven Shipyard courtesy of David's buddy Jimmy who keeps his boat there. We made maximum use of their facilities. I used their free wi-fi connection to sort out all my contacts in order to send these little messages on about our trip. David topped off fuel and water and was able to use one of Jimmy's cars to do some errands. Later we took long, hot showers before meeting Jimmy and his wife Lynne for dinner to thank them for the hospitality.

Next morning we were able to replace our electronic compass head in the calm conditions of the marina and then calibrate it once we left the marina for a mooring out in the harbor. While there we were approached by a fellow in a dinghy who introduced himself as Walt. He is a fellow owner of a Gemini (the kind of catamaran we have) and he gave us helpful information about a new web-site for Gem owners. There are well over 1000 of our kind of boat so it is a large fraternity. The day was gray and drizzly and it was nice to finally not be under any pressure to go anywhere or do anything.

We were able to enjoy another such day on Wed. as the forecast was for up to 25K winds from the west which would not be favorable for any of the next moves we might make and we were very comfortable on our mooring. Wednesday was beautiful and sunny and as the cockpit is always out of the wind, we enjoyed watching all the activity in the spacious protected harbor behind the huge hurricane barrier. A large fleet of brightly painted, steel hulled fishing vessels, much larger than those from Provincetown, came and went or decorated the edge of the harbor at their berths. Commercial vessels and pleasure craft moved about in the brisk wind and every so often we would see a "long boat" such as whaling vessels would use to chase the harpooned whales being rowed about. We guessed that this might be an activity offered by the New Bedford Whaling Museum to its visitors as they appeared quite regularly.

The morning wind on Thursday was light from the northwest...a good chance to go the15 miles over to Cuttyhunk, the last of the small Elizabeth Islands which mark the southern edge of Buzzard's Bay. We were glad to be able to sail for a while but before reaching our destination the wind died and we motored the last few miles to the protected mooring area there, passing a large herd of grazing cattle, including Longhorns, at liberty on neighboring Nashawena Island.

Cuttyhunk has optimized its mooring area, using a very precise grid pattern to get the most use out of a not too large, but completely protected area. You are free to pick up any open mooring and since we arrived before noon there were many. It was fun to watch them fill up as the afternoon wore on with all variety of pleasure craft. We had visited Cuttyhunk some years before on another trip and as we needed nothing and our outboard was stowed away in the forward lazarette, we opted to stay on board, but chatted with some of the passers-by in their dinghies on the way to shore or back. Later, an enterprising trio made the rounds in the Raw Bar Boat offering freshly shucked clams, oysters and shrimp. Finally the Harbormaster appeared to collect the rent. He said it takes him about 2 1/2 hours each afternoon to get through the whole mooring field.

Friday, although the wind was "on the nose" it was light enough that we felt we could move on to Block Island in relative comfort by motor-sailing but the current was also mostly against us so it made for a fairly long trip of more than 9 hours. A good chance for some reading and catching up on my own little journal.

In the middle of Block Island is the Great Salt Pond, a huge area enclosed by land and accessed by a man-made channel. The several marinas all have moorings as well as slips for rent, but there is also plenty of anchorage area and that is what we opted for. Not long after we settled in, we were approached by this island's version of the Raw Bar Boat although Johnny also offers pizza, desserts, calzones and other delicacies. He also makes his rounds in the morning with coffee, breakfast sandwiches, parties, etc. This place could be hard to leave!! So we have patronized him twice already (it is now Saturday morning) and after David finishes a scheduled oil change for the engine, we are headed ashore to do some exploring.

Don't forget to write!! Annie and David
   
Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com
  
   
August 22, 2013
There Goes the Budget

Spent a couple of relaxing days getting to know Block Island a bit. Shortly before our arrival at the entrance buoy there on Friday our GPS stopped working…why not? That’s boating. We made it in with no problem as the channel was well marked, but it presented us with a problem that we had somewhat anticipated. David had purchased a new GPS antenna because of an earlier and similar problem, but the guy that sold it to us was never able to visit us in Ptown to install it and since the system was working when we left, we were hoping for the best. So on Saturday, after morning visit from Johnny on Aldo’s Pastry Barge, we headed in to the marina side of the Great Salt Pond where we were anchored.

There are three marinas on the south side of the pond. We were hoping that we might find some technical help there, but as we made our way from one to another, it appeared that these marinas were basically “party central” for the HUNDREDS of boats tied up there. It is their busy season, of course. The boats were literally shoehorned in to their spaces, sometimes with only a fender to separate them. Music was blaring, guys were toting cases of beer, kids were squealing and running off to the nearby pool and playgrounds, there was even a boat already decorated as a Halloween Fun House with webs, ghouls and ghosts and it is only August!

Suffice it to say we found no help there. On the way back to our boat, David rescued three pre-teen “damsels in distress” who were adrift and unable to restart the engine on the inflatable they were tooling around on. Always good karma to come to the aid of other boaters!

On Sunday, we wanted to take a stroll to the Old Harbor which is the main town of the island. We took our dinghy to the beach and walked about a mile to another busy area. There were several large, but beautiful, old turn of the century vintage hotels, many little shops, restaurants, bike and moped rentals and the very busy ferry dock with both high speed and slower car ferries coming and going. After watching a performance by the Ancient Mariner Fife and Drum Corp from CT on the lawn of a local church (they were dressed like pirates and obviously having a lot of fun) we enjoyed lunch on the front porch of one of the old hotels overlooking the Ferry Dock…lots of action to watch.

On Monday, after our farewell visit from Johnny on the pastry barge, who was now sporting one of David’s “Killer Squid” t-shirts, we headed out of the comfortable harbor with Stonington, CT as our next destination. Of course, the GPS was now back on the team, but we decided that for peace of mind, we needed to find a technician who could install that new antenna so we would have confidence that it would always be working. After finding a place in the spacious anchorage, we called the local Dodson’s Boatyard and were told to come to their office the next day to arrange for work to be done.

What a professional operation Dodson’s has! We met Dan Lockwood, the General Mgr. who within an hour had arranged for Josh, their electronics tech to come to our boat to assess what was needed to do the work. A part was needed and was immediately ordered from their supplier. When it wouldn’t be there for installation later that day, Josh called to let us know and he arrived this morning (Wednesday shortly after 8 AM) to install the new system.

However, while we were sitting in the cockpit Tuesday afternoon, feeling so glad to be where there was competent help to address our problem, I noticed another one. There was a crack in the stainless railing that partly supported our davits and also our dinghy when it was suspended in them. The damage probably occurred during our rough ride through Buzzard’s Bay on that first day, but was unnoticeable. This was even more critical to be repaired as it compromised not only the davits but the solar panels that ride on top of them. David immediately set to taking the whole system apart, and by the time Josh arrived this morning, the cracked piece of stainless was ready to go ashore on the launch Josh arrived on, to be sent to their local welder. We are in awe of the services available to even transient mariners in this beautiful and welcoming harbor. If only Provincetown might someday be like that to both local and visiting boaters!!!

Just a reminder, we look forward to hearing back from you. For anyone who does not wish to be besieged by our irregular posts, just let me know and I will remove you from the group.

Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com




August 26, 2013
On to NYC

Hello all and thanks so much to you who have written to us to keep us close. Here's the latest as of Monday, Aug. 26. Write soon!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We had been so impressed by the speed and competence of the Dodson Boatyard operation that we asked them to order and install a new speed wheel and distance log which had also been on the fritz. (Our boat is now 13 years old and had quite a few miles under her keel, so it was definitely time for an update.) Since it wouldn't arrive till afternoon, we went ashore to walk around the lovely little village of Stonington. Many well maintained antique homes, some with plaques indicating their age, lined the two one way streets that make up the heart of town. Lovely flowerboxes, apparently provided by the town as they were all alike, graced the sidewalks in front of the many little shops, antique stores and galleries. The private gardens surrounding the homes were beautiful and well maintained. It seemed like a lovely and serene place to call home.

Although there was no real market, there was a funny and eclectic little "general store"where we found milk, a birthday gift for our soon to be 2 year old granddaughter and even appropriate wrapping paper all in a space about 20'x30'.

Back to the boat to meet Josh for the installation of the replacement instrument that shows how far we travel each day and our speed underway. Right on time, our repaired railing arrived on the launch when it came by to pick him up. We reinstalled it and were now in tip-top shape to head off again in the morning!

The next two days, heading down Long Island Sound, we were finally able to do some real sailing. It is so much nicer than motoring in that it is peacefully quiet, and also FREE. We had chosen Branford, CT as our first destination. When the wind dropped off at mid-day we reluctantly started up the engine, but not before we were besieged by a swarm of little black flies...and they bite! We couldn't figure out how they found us so far from shore, but it didn't matter. David started swatting away at them but more and more seemed to keep coming. They were on the lines and rigging and all over the dinghy, those that were not on suicide missions to bite us. The cockpit was littered with little dead bodies as we continued to swat and swish them away. So we will blame it on the flies that we confused the entrance marker to the harbor before Branford for the one we wanted. Fortunately, we discovered the error before it caused any problems and we proceeded on to Branford without incident.

I was afraid once we anchored that the fly problem would become worse, but we put screens on all the hatches and took refuge with glasses of wine out on the foredeck in a light breeze and were left alone. Once we went in for dinner David proceeded to pick them off one by one.

We had been planning to proceed to Stamford, CT the next day but the wind was quite light, though still favorable for sailing, so we stopped a little early and found a lovely, quiet anchorage behind little Sheffield Island near Norfolk. It was uninhabited, apparently a recreation area, as a little ferry went back and forth to the mainland, bringing and picking up folks who were enjoying some quiet time walking about on the trails around the island.

So today, Sunday, the Manhattan skyline is beginning to loom through the haze as we are motoring in that direction (no wind at all). We had been hoping to take a mooring for a week at the 79th Street Boat Basin to visit with Jennifer and Luna and do some city things but we were amazed to learn, when David called the Dockmaster this morning, that they do not allow catamarans on their moorings. So Plan B is to proceed down the East River through New York Harbor and over to anchor at Atlantic Highlands on the New Jersey side. It is served by a multitude of ferries that go back and forth to the city, so hopefully, we will still be able to do most of the things we want to do.

The timing of this passage is actually working out well for us as there is a section of the East River called "Hell's Gate" where the current (from Long Island Sound meeting the incoming ocean tide through NY harbor) can be more than 4 knots. If it is against you it is difficult to make any headway, but if it is in your favor you can pick up speed considerably. And right now it looks like we will arrive there at just the right time. I'm heading back into the cockpit to watch the always interesting sights on the trip down the East River.

First we passed the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges, then the windowless 8-10 story slab of a vessel which is a prison ship that houses convicts that used to call nearby Riker's Island home. Next we passed under the incoming flight path to JFK where the planes pass you so low you fear they will hit the mast. As we approached Hell's Gate at around 3 pm our lovely new speed wheel said we were doing about 7 knots (fast for us) but it felt like we were just lumbering along into the chop kicked up by the strengthening southerly winds now opposing the outgoing tide. While we were inside for a moment or two to check the chart and decide whether or not to proceed on to Atlantic Highlands in the stronger wind, we returned to the cockpit to find a Coast Guard vessel right beside us. They wanted to board us to do a safety inspection, which we passed with no violations! By the time they had left us it looked like a long slog in opposing wind to Atlantic Highlands so we pulled in to a marina on the Jersey shore that we had visited once before to stay for the night, as, obviously, there are no anchoring grounds in the amazingly busy NY metropolitan area. We were disappointed to find that their supposed "Free Wi-Fi" was at about the speed of dial up, but at least the showers this morning were nice and hot.

Monday, Aug. 26, 2013

So after those nice showers and refilling fuel and water, we proceeded up the Hudson for about 5 miles to a slip at the 79th Street Boat Basin, rocking around in the many wakes of the busy river traffic, in order to do some things ashore. We marveled that this was the narrow landing zone that airline pilot Sully Sullenberger had been able to land his crippled aircraft a few years ago. Of course, the marina's advertised wi-fi and laundry facilities were not functioning, everybody around here seems to blame Hurricane Sandy for lack of services (I said to David, next time we approach a marina, I am going to grill them on the radio regarding their so-called amenities before deciding to pay for dockage!) The place seems kind of run-down but the guy in charge was nice and gave us information for groceries and such.

So we trecked out in unfamiliar territory and found some of our needs...the rest can wait until Atlantic Highlands, our destination for tomorrow. Always looking forward to news from all of you. It is what keeps me writing these little updates on our trip. Best to all from Annie and David

Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com

August 31, 2013

Change in Plans 

Hello all...here's the latest from Harbor Home III

The one sure thing in traveling on a boat is that you must be ready to change your plans, sometimes at a moment’s notice…but not always that fast. Originally we had hoped to spend some time exploring the Hudson River before heading further south, but as we read more in our guide book about it we were dismayed to learn that there are very few anchorages along the way which means you must pay most nights for a marina, which we had already learned are mighty expensive in these parts. And then, like going through Hell’s Gate, you must plan your travel around the current or it is very slow going. After our unexpected sojourn in Stonington for repairs, we decided we would rather devote some of our extra time from starting our trip early to enjoying new parts of the huge and beautiful Chesapeake Bay we have not had the chance to visit and be able to anchor and go exploring in our dinghy.

Before departing the city we did take two walks from the 79th St. Boat Basin where we were staying to do some reprovisioning. Both of the stores, the Westside Marketplace and Zabar’s, just a couple of blocks apart were extremely claustrophobia provoking. Although they had all kinds of wonderful gourmet goodies, many of the short, little aisles just dead ended with only room for one person in the tiny closet like space. Forget about moving your grocery cart around here. We opted for carry baskets. Both stores were FILLED with hurried shoppers, so even moving about was difficult. Made the old Stop and Shop in Provincetown seem so roomy and comfortable…even in August. And we couldn’t get over the high proportion of prepared food offerings at both these stores. Guess everyone is so busy“making it” there is no time to make their dinner.

After we had everything stowed back on the boat, we had dinner “the New York way” at the Café overlooking our boat at the marina. It is usually a little hard to have dinner ashore if we have to return to the boat in the dinghy after dark, so we decided to take advantage of this nice little restaurant, just a few steps from our home. Plus there was wonderful entertainment watching the hundreds of passing runners, joggers, bikers, moms with strollers, lovers ambling, people exercising their dogs, all along a paved path that separated the café, slightly above, from the wide expanse of the Hudson River.

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Next morning we had an early start on a cool, gray morning, out through New York Harbor, past the always awe inspiring Statue of Liberty, though I am afraid my photo attempts were marred by the choppy conditions caused by the wind and many other vessels passing us. I did snap a few shots of the almost completed replacement for the World Trade Towers and David and I reminisced about the trip we made through the harbor just two weeks after that horrible day in September 12 years ago. The rubble was still smoldering with the most awful smell and Police, Coast Guard and Military patrol boats were everywhere, with helicopters flying overhead watching over everything as the harbor had just been reopened after the attack for passage of non-emergency vessels. We even saw the Hospital Ship Hope departing the harbor, unable to help as there were no injured who survived. It was one of the saddest sights we have ever seen.

This day, as on that one, we made our way south under the huge Verrazano Narrows bridge for about 15 miles to the well protected harbor at Atlantic Highlands where we dropped anchor. We were very fortunate to have some boating friends that we met on our “long” trip to Grenada in 2003-2005, who live here. Kathie offered to meet us and drive us wherever we needed to go for various errands. Laundry, of course, was first on the list as even here in Atlantic Highlands, the Laundromat was still not functioning as a result of damage from Hurricane Sandy the year before. On our way, she showed us the beach front areas that were hardest hit. The homes of folks with money, who didn’t need to wait for insurance to rebuild, looked like nothing had happened, surrounded by green lawns and colorful flower beds. But many, many homes and businesses were still boarded up looking devastated.

Thanks to her kindness, we were also able to refill two propane tanks and visit a huge and roomy grocery store to pick up a few more things including several jugs of spring water which were too heavy to carry back from the grocery stores in Manhattan. So now we were fully stocked up and ready to move on. On Thursday afternoon, we went a few miles over to anchor just at the edge of Sandy Hook where we would be able to hop right out into the ocean for the oh-so-long passage down to either Atlantic City (65 miles) or if we were lucky, all the way to Cape May at the end of the Jersey shore. But the weather forecast had only been somewhat encouraging and in the morning, it sounded even less good with strengthening winds from the southwest later in the day. That, of course, was the very direction we wanted to go.

At about 6AM we hopefully headed out around the end of Sandy Hook, but were already greeted by large swells from the east making for slow going as we had to ride up and over them. At best, if we could maintain 5 knots, it would take us 13 hours to Atlantic City and the thought of the winds increasing against us and possible arrival after dark was not a pretty picture. David could read my expression, and since he had promised that this, our last long trip on the boat, would be pleasant and fun with no pressure to hurry, due to our early departure from home, he asked if I wanted to turn back and wait for better weather. Though I hated to wimp out, the thought of hours pounding into the waves, when on another day, we could enjoy the serenity of sailing, made me gratefully answer YES! So around we turned and went back to anchor again at Atlantic Highlands. Another small change in plans.

This has given us the chance to do a number of other little, more cosmetic boat projects and for me to write this latest update which we hope to send out from the local library when we go ashore soon for a little walk around. So how is your Labor Day Weekend going? Look forward to hearing from you. Annie and David

As we are enjoying the hospitality, I am going to try to attach a few pictures from the trip so far. 0917- Johnny from the wonderful Aldo's Pastry Barge on Block Island sporting his new Killer Squid T-shirt, 0917-Old Victorian Hotel on Block Island, 0925-Two old Block Island homes surrounding Wedding Tent which entertained us with music that night, 0946- Lord of the Flies with some of his MANY victims, 0958-The new, almost completed World Trade Center, 0965-Lady Liberty

Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com

Setember 6, 2013

Cape May at Last!

Hello all and here is the latest

Friday, August 30, 2013

We knew when we turned back from our abortive attempt on Friday to make the Jersey Coast passage that we would probably have to stay there in Atlantic Highlands for a few days, but with our wonderful new travel philosophy, based on traveling when the wind was favorable, which we could now do because of our early start, the delay was just fine.

Unlike what we heard about the weather back on the Cape, here is was warm, often muggy but mostly sunny. Despite setting up David’s ingenious rain catching system which served us so well on our Caribbean trip where you actually have to PAY for water, (just like Provincetown, but nowhere else we have ever traveled in these United States) we had no rain. Actually none since we left the Cape back on August 11. We filled our time doing the endless, not always important little boat projects that fill that never ending to-do list. David respliced a thimble in our anchor system to make it stronger, for the many nights in the future that we will be relying on it, I defrosted our wonderful brand new refrigerator for the first time and repainted the “Survived Ivan in Grenada 9-7-04” lettering that has been on our boat since that fateful day. How lucky we were then when so many boats sank on the very dock our boat was tied to, with many more lost out in Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada where we were staying that summer to supposedly be out of the hurricane zone.

On Saturday, we went ashore again in Atlantic Highlands, first to their welcoming Public Library where I was able to send out my last group e-mail without using time on our ATT Hotspot device, which I discovered after the last mass mailing, uses up a lot of our time. Then we enjoyed tremendously the new movie “The Butler” which our friend Kathie had highly recommended. A must see for any of you fellow “Baby Boomers” as it not only chronicles the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the last 50 years but basically the times of our lives over that whole period! We both were very moved by it! Before returning to the boat we picked up Chinese food at the restaurant next door. Amazed by the amount we took back to the boat for such a small price compared to Outer Cape Restaurant fare.

Finally, by Monday (Sept 2) the forecast was giving favorable winds from the west to northwest for our trip south along the New Jersey shore. There are only three possible inlets in that whole almost 100 mile trip and at only 5 – 8k tops it takes a long time to get from one to the next. If the weather should change or turn against you there is no quick refuge to be had out there in the ocean so it is always good to be sure you have the right wind for such a long passage. So on Monday afternoon we headed north a few miles to the edge of Sandy Hook to be ready at first light to head out on our first leg to Barnegat Bay, or beyond, depending on conditions in the morning.

Thankfully, once we rounded that curve we found much more pleasant conditions than the last time a few days ago and were happy to push onward. There wasn’t really a helpful sailing breeze as wind was really too light but there was no pounding into oncoming waves, so I had no complaints. By around 3 PM we came into Barnegat and anchored peacefully for the night.

On Wednesday, as we left the anchorage around 7AM, we found perfect sailing conditions with a brisk north wind that made it noticeably cooler. Once we were out of the entrance channel we raised both sails, turned off the engine and enjoyed the peacefulness of the boat progressing smoothly on her own. By mid-day though, the wind died off and with Atlantic City looming ahead but still 13 miles away, we started up the engine and went forward to enjoy the sun on the foredeck while our auto-helm took care of the steering. As much as we prefer sailing, when the speed drops to 2 knots or less, you are looking at 6 hours or so to cover those last 12 miles when with the engine, we could be anchored up in a little more than 2 hours. But not before we had to thread our way up a very narrow channel into the only anchorage in Atlantic City at dead low tide. Thank heavens we have a little catamaran which only draws 3 feet! The depth alarm was sounding constantly and David saw 3’6” on the gauge at one point…I couldn’t look. Although there are two nice marinas in AC they both have NYC prices so it just seems crazy to spend $140.00 to sleep for a few hours.

Coming out of that tiny channel the next morning was so different at almost high tide when we had 8-10 feet under us. Had to motor sail the last 30+ miles to Cape May but we didn’t mind as this was the destination we had been looking forward to that would allow us to really go on“island time” as David likes to refer to the casual pace of just going with the wind. Kitty Xena celebrated too, dining on filets of some small fish David caught along the way.

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So why are we doing this, those of you who are not boaters may be asking? Partly I guess, because we can. David has been sailing all his life and has a 100 ton Captain’s License with Sailing endorsement. We went sailing on our very first date but it wasn’t until I accompanied him on a sailboat delivery from Wellfleet down to Oxford, MD (Lenore, are you out there?...e-mail me) that I was so taken by the beauty and freedom of traveling on the water, stopping when and where you want, seeing new places all from the comfort of your floating home. To quote Elliot Merrick from his wonderful book of sailing adventures on the east coast almost 50 years ago, “Sailing, At Last” (Thanks, Napi…we will return it)

“A boat is not just a boat, you know, It is a winged Pegasus,

Or a Magic Carpet, taking you to new places, new friends,

And new thoughts.”

So we will continue to take you along on our travels and really do look forward so much to hearing back from you. Thanks Diane B for your new address and the great story about your Cape Cod party with the cut out cardboard seagulls.

Bye for now. We are going ashore in Cape May for the ever present errands, some photos, a chance to send this off, and a nice lunch. Annie and David

PS – I am at the nice local marina Utsch’s where we bought fuel this AM and they allowed us to tie our dinghy for a walk down to the Historic District for pics and some lunch. Will attach photos including D catching dinner for Xena and some of the beautiful old homes here, with some whimsy.

Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com

Setember 13, 2013 

Baltimore

Hello all,

Here's the latest before we unplug our shoreside Wi-fi and move on.

We left Cape May early on Saturday morning to catch the favorable current up the long Delaware River to where it meets the C & D Canal, a man made cut which allows passage over to the vast waters of Chesapeake Bay. The winds were calm, of course, and the weather was sunny and hot. We had to motor but with the help of the current which can run up to two knots and the calm conditions, we made pretty good time and after passing the ominous looking Nuclear Power Plant situated right on the edge of the river, we entered the canal at about 4 in the afternoon. There is a small basin off the canal about halfway through the passage of almost 20 miles and that was where we planned to spend the night.

It was kind of culture shock to pull in there Saturday afternoon, after a long, quiet day on the water and find that the joint was jumping. Happy Hour at the adjacent restaurant was in full swing with a live band rocking out, cigarette boats and motorcycles revving their engines for attention, and a little makeshift launch ferrying folks from the nearby boats over to where the action was.

We didn’t really need to get much closer to have the experience, so we took our wine to the foredeck to watch the goings-on. Things did quiet down after the band finished and dinner began at the restaurant.

Sunday morning was another beautiful day, and since the current wouldn’t favor us until around noon, we went ashore to have breakfast and walk around the small but historic town of Chesapeake City. The Bohemia Café served not only a wonderful brunch, but we selected a few pastries to take along and enjoy later. Had a lovely walk along the quiet streets of this very pretty little town. The homes were more modest than in Cape May, many with tin roofs, but they were all immaculately painted and the older ones sported metal plaques with detailed information about when, how and by whom the house was built and then how it had been used over the years. Extremely interesting…lots of photo ops.

Later in the day we went about 15 miles to anchor in the peaceful Sassafras River, one of the northernmost of the many tributaries that feed into the Chesapeake. We chose a spot in front of a large home set up on a hill with a massive green lawn mowed all the way down to the edge of the river where a huge congregation of ducks were quacking noisily getting ready to settle in for the night. The serenity of that spot was only surpassed by our anchorage the next night at a place called Rock Hall (so named, according to our guide book, for the mountains of oyster shells piled up by the watermen who lived there adjacent to the town’s main building many years ago). The wind was calm and there was not a single sound except the chirping of the five or six resident ospreys, each observing the water from their own perch, high in a tree (they seemed to like the dead ones best, as I guess there were no leaves in the way) hoping to spy a fish for dinner. Although there was a marina not far from us, there was not a single sound of people, cars or anything else. Very contemplative.

All that is behind us now as we arrived at the Inner Harbor Marina in Baltimore on Wednesday morning. What a beautiful downtown area! The city has five separate Marine Facilities in different locations about the waterfront. We chose the one furthest in, within easy walk of many attractions in the completely renovated inner city. The marina is immaculate, both the floating docks and the shoreside facilities. The people were friendly, helpful and very professional and the showers were HOT!!!

Conveniently, there was a wonderful restaurant, The Rusty Scupper, perched right above the marina office, with a panoramic view of the entire downtown waterfront and that is where we met our friends Guy and Marilyn for dinner. We first met them when they came to Provincetown a few years ago on their Gemini (the same kind of boat we have) and they have a summer house in Truro, so we have continued to see them there from time to time. It was nice to have a local connection to learn more about Baltimore, a place we have been very impressed by. It is nicknamed “The Charm City” with good reason. We hope to visit again on our return trip and be able to do more, but we satisfied ourselves yesterday with a long walk around the inviting downtown area and a relaxing lunch on the second floor deck of a Tapas restaurant people watching while a spectacular thunder and lightning storm went on about us.

So now we are ready to move a few miles on down the bay to visit with some other old friends who live on the shore of the next river to the south. We will be looking forward to hearing back from you soon. Annie and David and Xena, too.

Info on attached photos...0995 a large passing ship in the C & D Canal, 1001 and 1007 some of the lovely homes in little Chesapeake City, 1020 HH III in her slip in the big city, 1019 nearby Rusty Scupper Restaurant, 1029 Barnes & Noble where I finally found a journal for my daily travel log, 1031 we had lunch under orange awning overlooking the majestic ship "Constellation"

Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com
September 20, 2013 
Annapolis
Not too much to report since our departure (on Friday the 13th…we are brave and not too superstitious) from our lovely visit to Baltimore. Had a wonderful sail for about 10 miles down the Patapsco River where it joins the Chesapeake Bay and even a few miles more until we turned NW into the Magothy River and into a strong NW wind. After a bit less than 20 miles overall we were tied up at the dock that belongs to the complex where our old friends Jeff and Mary live. It was wonderful to visit with them and their handsome young son Colin for a couple of days. We also met Bean, their new young kitty, whose playfulness and affection totally stole David’s heart. He publically made the announcement that we will be looking for a new member of the family once we return home from this trip. It is very lonely without Cleopatra and even Xena, who did not always get along with her, I think misses her a great deal.

It is always so wonderful to have land based friends along the way as Mary kindly drove us to resupply food, wine and propane on Saturday. On top of all that she cooked us a wonderful dinner where we had the opportunity to meet Colin’s very lovely young girlfriend. A fun evening!

Sunday morning we were off a little after 7AM when we were happy to find more than the 3’6” water under us when we tied up on Friday. That strong wind pushes the water right out of these waterways and the high tide doesn’t always bring it back until the wind abates. We motored about 10 miles down to Annapolis where we took a city mooring for the next few days. The moorings provide close access to the dinghy dock in the heart of town and also those unlimited, long HOT showers. (An aside…we have plenty of water and it can be nice and hot if we run the engine for a bit first, but every gallon we use on the boat not only has to be replaced, but you have to run a pump to drain the sump under the shower after you are done, so those shore side showers are welcome as you can be a little more extravagant with the water).

First morning off the boat we made a bee-line to Chick and Ruth’s Deli just a couple of blocks up from the harbor. This place is an institution in Annapolis! Real home cooking and since it is only a couple of blocks from the State House at the top of the hill, they have a table roped off, covered with several morning papers, for the Governor. One side says Democrat, the other Republican, so obviously they have carried on this tradition, as they say, for four generations. We were well fed until dinner, and ready to see if we could figure out the city transport system and get to a couple of places we wanted to go.

The system is very economical for us “seniors” (still can’t get used to that but it is a money saver). $2.00 each for a day pass that lets you get on and off as often as you want. Which we did as fortunately the route we were on took us to the 2 separate places we needed to go and then back down to the waterfront.

Next day we took off on foot, (logged over 3 miles on my pedometer but we needed it) in search of some back up fuel filters and such. Couldn’t find the place that had been there years ago, so once back on the boat we got modern and googled it…so much easier. On Wednesday we went over to Back Creek, next little creek south from the one we were staying in and found the dealer that had the needed parts. This was the creek our boat was built in but we learned that the company was recently bought and now the boats are built somewhere in Florida. The whole area seemed much more built up than 13 years ago and we passed literally thousands of boat in slips, on moorings and at anchor and numerous marine related businesses taking up every inch of the shore.

We had planned to move on Thursday, but the wind was not favorable so in our new relaxed mode, we stayed on another day. Went ashore and walked around the Naval Academy, a beautiful and impressive campus. What a stable of different sized boats they have to make sure all the “Middies” know how to sail. On our way back to the boat, David noticed we had a new neighbor on a nearby mooring hailing from Cape Cod, so after I hopped off on our boat to start dinner, he went over to say hi to these folks. What a lucky break as besides being very nice folks, they showed David a free web-site they had been using which is loaded with up to date information on any area you might be cruising in. Info on marinas, places to tie up your dinghy, fuel and prices, and reviews of all these places by fellow users of the site. Already it has proved extremely interesting and we plan to make much more use of it as we go along.

Yesterday we departed Annapolis and went southeast across the Chesapeake to make our way over to St. Michael's…a boating mecca in these parts. I am at the moment at their public library, ready to send this off, then we will do some exploring of the town.

So write soon, and to all my old Classmates at CCHS…have a wonderful reunion…wish I could be there with you, but very much looking forward to reports from you to fill me in. Best from Annie and David

PS Notes on photos 1038-passing under Chesapeake Bay Bridge, 1043-beautiful local schooner "Adventurer" off on a day sail, 1047-Annie and Xena relaxing aboard, 1049-two old goats, David and the Navy mascot, 1054-one of the many majestic buildings on the Academy campus, 1058-just some of the perfectly maintained sailing craft used in training the cadets.

Annie Ditacchio harborhome3@gmail.com

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