Monday, December 29, 2014

Preparations for a Crossing to the Bahamas

The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse festively
decorated for Christmas. Just one of
the sights along the way to Lake Worth, Florida.
     It's 6:30 AM. Joe is making coffee. The crackling sound of the SSB radio being tuned is filtering into the aft cabin where I'm attempting to waken and disentangle the previous night's cobwebs in order to decipher Chris Parker's Marine Weather Center live broadcast for our upcoming crossing to the Bahamas. Cold front approaching in Beaufort...trough off Florida, upcoming possible crossing opportunities and...a deep sleep ensues. Once again Chris's mesmerizing radio intonation, a sure knockout drug has taken hold. When I finally "woke up and smelled the coffee" the broadcast was over. By that time Joe had written notes from the broadcast and made plans for our day.


     







Canned goods and other provisions stacked
three deep in storage compartments.
     Bahama crossings aboard sailboats require considerable advanced planning for provisions, spare parts, weather and sea state conditions. While spending time in Vero Beach we were afforded free public transportation in the form of mini buses from our mooring at the city marina for provisioning. Public transportation in Vero is excellent with stops at the beach, West Marine, Publix Supermarket, Fresh Market, ABC Liquors and with only one transfer, a stop at Walmart! The moniker for Vero Beach is Velcro Beach...for obvious reasons. Cruisers tend to stay awhile and it's tough to break free.


 

      Bus transportation was well used by us and everyone else at the City Marina. While riding the bus topics of conversations centered on "When do you plan to cross? Along with "Where do you plan to cross from?" running a close second. It seemed while we were all busy with one project or another everyone was preparing. Repairs, provisioning, washing clothes, jobs were being accomplished with one goal in mind. Crossing over to the Bahamas.

     One problem with advanced planning is that the weather window doesn't always materialize on time. Boats end up spending days or weeks waiting for the best crossing using up precious provisioning! This tends to be an issue on boats such as ours in the 40 foot range. The boat has great storage, but not as much as larger boats that have even more storage capacity. So, when it's time to provision for the Bahamas it has to be done a day or two prior to departure.

     So, here we sit at anchor in Lake Worth, Florida. Before dawn at 5:00 AM this morning the anchor was raised and Simple Life headed out Lake Worth Inlet in darkness bound for West End, Grand Bahama Island. At seven miles out with 15-17 knot wind on the nose, the seas built to a steep chop. It was ugly. The boat was motoring against the wind, seas and Gulf Stream at 3.2 knots. After consulting with Chris Parker via SSB it was clear that we needed return to port. Conditions were not expected to improve.

     No one likes to backtrack. Although, sometimes it's the best decision. Today was one of those times. Simple Life is back at anchor in Lake Worth. The wind has been building all morning. In fact it's howling! I'm grateful we returned. As of now it's uncertain when we'll cross. Winds are forecast to subside tonight with light and variable winds tomorrow. We may cross or we may head south to Fort Lauderdale to stage for an upcoming crossing from Miami. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Liebster Award Nomination

Simple Life at anchor in the Exuma Islands 2014
   




The Liebster Award is presented to non commercial cruising & sailing websites and blogs, as recognition for quality content and interest











      Thank you so much to Kathi from www.bigdumboat.com who nominated my blog for the Liebster Award! This nomination was awarded to us a couple of months ago, but this is the first opportunity I've had to sit down and answer the ten questions that accompany the nomination regulations.
Thank you to Kathi from MV Dyad!

1) Introduce yourselves and the boat you are sailing.

     We are a couple from Narragansett Bay, RI who dreamed of living aboard a sailboat for most of our marriage (over 30 years). Our home (sailboat) is Simple Life (we keep hoping).

2) What is your boat's name and why is she called what she is?

     Our boat is named Simple Life. We bought our first cruising boat in 1991 and her name was Simple Life. We loved the name and when we found our new boat in 2001 we named her Simple Life. Living aboard certainly isn't a simple life, but we keep hoping and trying to live up to the name.

3) What kind of boat is that anyway?

     She is an Island Packet 37. She's actually 39.5 feet in length including the bowsprit.

4) What made you decide to live this lifestyle?

     The dream was constant. It seemed everything we did while living ashore was in preparation for making the lifestyle a reality.

5) What is the best thing about your lifestyle?

     There are so many best things that it's difficult to choose only one. One thing I enjoy is self reliance. We primarily live off the grid. Our power source is a battery bank that is recharged by solar and wind power. We cook with propane and even have an on board fireplace for the occasional chilly morning.

6) What is the worst thing about your lifestyle?

     I would have to say that the worst thing about living aboard is the occasional need to remedy a clogged head...and I'm not referring to the human kind.

7) What has been the favorite place you've visited?

     We love the Bahamas especially the Out Islands.

8) What do you carry on board that is completely useless?

     Our boat isn't big enough to carry useless items. Everything must have a purpose. Each year I inventory items and if they were not used during the season they're removed.

9) Is there anything you really miss by living on a boat?

     I'd have to say a washing machine. Sometimes when traveling laundry can build up for three weeks!

10) What do you really use your binoculars for?

     I actually use them often. Joe is constantly pestering me for confirmation of navigational marks, boats heading toward us, etc. Of course they come in handy for finding friends in anchorages, too.

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Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving in Vero Beach

   
Thursday happy hour jam at Vero Beach with the Salty Paws
Jim Austin and Bentley Smith
Michele Boulay on Bodhran
      Each year I find myself appreciating the gifts of life more and more. Maybe I'm getting more sentimental or perhaps age and some semblance of wisdom have something to do with it. At any rate not to sound sappy I am thankful for good health, wonderful friends, a great boat that generates abundant adventures, and a husband who is my best friend and protector. Thanksgiving although not a religious holiday, is my time of year to take notice of the gifts my life has been afforded and to give thanks to God. The Pilgrims really had a great idea! Eat lots of food and celebrate with friends who matter. Enjoy and be thankful for the life we have. What a concept! It must have been a great idea because we still celebrate today especially at the annual Vero Beach Cruiser's Thanksgiving Dinner.  
A pre holiday get together with the crew from SV Island Spirit
Radeen and Hayden with Michele aboard Simple Life


Dave from MV Dyad 
Thanksgiving dinner in Vero Beach

 
 








   













     This year as always the CLODS former boaters (cruisers living on dirt) provided cooked turkeys and ham for the 150 or so cruisers who visited Vero Beach for the holiday. Each cruising boater brought a side dish and beverages. This year my contribution was a recipe from Traditional Irish Cooking called Champ (mashed potatoes with green onions). It was a hit. If you're curious...see the attached recipe from epicurious http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Champ-241776
Michele Boulay SV Simple Life and Jim Austin of SV Salty Paws

Dave Register of MV Dyad 
     The food and conversations are always good, but my favorite part of the day begins after dinner when a few musicians who live aboard get together for a jam session. This year did not disappoint as the crew from SV Salty Paws, Jim Austin and Bentley Smith sang a salty mix of tunes performed on guitar and banjo. Dave Register from MV Dyad sang and played guitar while Patrick Hentschell from SV Holiday did a great job jamming with his collection of harmonicas. I provided the rhythm section with the Bodhran (Irish drum). A few other cruisers also jammed on guitar, but some came and went and I didn't catch their names.

Dave and Kathy from MV Dyad and Pat Hentschell from SV Holiday

     After Thanksgiving the cruising vessels head south on separate schedules. Some plan to spend the winter in south Florida and the Keys. Others like us will cross over to the Bahamas. Next November most us will gather once again in Vero Beach for celebration, good food and even better friendships.
Jim Austin & Bentley Smith from SV Salty Paws


All photo credits by Joe Boulay
            SV Simple Life

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shore Leave in St. Augustine

   
Joe checking out the drawbridge into Castillo de San Marcos
     St. Augustine's harbor on Matanzas Bay has been a popular stop along the north south route for centuries. Today it still offers safe harbor as well as numerous amenities for cruising boats. Historical landmarks, restaurants and cafes, a modest but well stocked grocery on nearby Anastasia Island, a liquor store, marine consignment exchange and the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The municipal marina offers a mooring field for a modest price where boaters can stop for a few days, catch their breath, catch up on laundry duties and reunite with fellow cruisers while visiting this historic city.
One of four bastions overseeing Matanzas Bay


   
A young boy enjoying the joy of music 
      We always look forward to having quality shore leave in St. Augustine. Even though we've made this stop several times it seems we always make new discoveries. Each year the National Park Service offers free admission on Veteran's Day for tours of Castillo de San Marcos. We'd arrived a day before the holiday and were able to take the free tour. The fort was once the northernmost outpost of Spain's New World Empire. Construction which began in 1672 was completed in 1695. The tour of Castillo de San Marcos was self guided with a few guides dressed in period costume stationed in rooms throughout the fort who were well versed in lore of the time period.

   
Crowds enjoying the beautiful day
   


      It was an interesting day albeit crowded with families along with us enjoying the fee waiver. Later that afternoon we met with fellow Island Packet cruisers at the Legion Post. This is a local "best deal in town" favorite of ours where drinks are always happy hour prices with the best ever shrimp basket for only $9.00! Great friends and good food. It's an extraordinary and occasionally a simple life.
A spontaneous rendezvous of Island Packet owners at the
St. Augustine Legion Post.
from left Kismet (Jim & Laurie) Salt Shaker (Gwen & Walter)
Simple Life (Michele) Slo Flight (Steve) Passages (Mo & George)
photo by Joe Boulsy

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cumberland Island

Skeletal remains between marshland and beach
     Cumberland Island's spectacular beauty is best illustrated in photos. Words cannot capture the sights and whispering sounds of this wild island's palmetto palms rustling in the breeze or the swaying, Spanish moss hanging from Maritime Oak branches where each seemingly reach out in search of someone who'll climb.



Marshland along the island's southern end






Dungeness where the forest ends
 










     

     The forest abruptly terminates at the island's southern end where it morphs into lush green marshes and miles of pristine beach. It's here where the forest startlingly unveils the ruins of the Carnegie mansion Dungeness where during the Gilded Age the 1% enjoyed "conspicuous privacy" by throwing elaborate house parties for wealthy guests. The island encompasses 36,415 acres of wilderness area and 16,850 acres of marsh, mudflats and tidal creeks where a few Carnegie mansions dot the maritime forest.

Cumberland Island's beach
Simple Life anchored near Plum Orchard
Three hunters, Brandon, Blake & Bradley
     During our recent visit Simple Life was anchored near the northern end of the island in the Wilderness area where the woodland seemed ripe for exploration. That was until we met a few hunters along a trail who warned us not to venture farther. The annual three day controlled hunt for deer and wild boar was well underway. They advised us not to wander beyond the grounds of the former Carnegie mansion Plum Orchard. Shortly thereafter a park ranger spotted us and verified the hunters' warnings. As consolation she offered a private tour of the interior of the mansion. What luck! Under normal circumstances the mansion is not open to the public.
Pauline the park ranger during a private tour of Plum Orchard
Plum Orchard Mansion

   













Local shrimper with a cast net at our anchorage


   


       The following day the tides were in our favor allowing us to travel over a shoaled area from the southern entrance of the Brickhill River at the Cumberland Divides to where it rejoins the ICW. Within an hour and a half our anchor was set at a popular anchorage near the Sea Camp on Cumberland Island where feral descendants of the Carnegie horses roam freely on the island. This area was deemed safe for hiking and exploration since hunting was not allowed near the camp. This was our second excursion to Cumberland Island and certainly will not be our last.
Feral mare and her filly near Dungeness

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Day in Savannah

Does this church steeple look familiar?
Think floating feather, Forrest Gump
     
      Last week, while waiting for the local bus in Thunderbolt, Georgia near historic Savannah, I answered a
call from my cousin Mike. We chatted for a brief time because the bus we'd been waiting for finally arrived and I had to go. I later received a text from Mike. It read, "it just occurred to me that you were in Savannah waiting for a bus. Did you happen to sit next to Forrest Gump while waiting?" Mike always had a good sense of humor.

       Stopping in Savannah had always been on our southern itinerary, but somehow it never happened. Usually, we're waiting for a good opportunity for an offshore overnight passage from Beaufort, SC to Florida bypassing Georgia. This year we decided to stop in Thunderbolt where we could catch a local bus to Savannah.
   
     We arrived at the bus stop outside the campus of Savannah University one block from Thunderbolt Marina ahead of schedule. A few students were preparing for classes...smoking weed. It was 9:00 AM. Hmmm...so much for impaired concentration abilities during classes. As you can imagine the bus route traveled through some marginal areas. At one stop a man boarded the bus on crutches. I wanted to ask why he was on crutches, but Joe warned me earlier that morning, "Don't talk to strangers and don't stare." Joe is a veteran bus commuter. He rode the bus to and from Providence to his job for over 20 years. It wasn't long before the guy began spilling his guts about his injury. Apparently, he was involved in a robbery and held up at gun point. He slipped and the rest was history. Another bus patron also on crutches informed the masses that he was on a "free, get out of jail pass." We didn't find out why he was on crutches.
   
   
One of Savannah's architectural gems
     After one bus transfer historic Savannah suddenly morphed from dereliction where poverty and crime appeared to be the norm to a picturesque southern jewel. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss lined streets, antebellum homes featuring elements of Gothic, Greek and Romanesque Revival, Italianate, Regency and Second French Empire examples of architecture. Savannah's 20 plus emerald squares exuded feelings of peace and tranquility amid its urban landscape. The city exemplified historic preservation at its finest.

   




Chippewa Square the site of Forrest Gump's
narration scenes on the bench
     Since we had only one day to tour the city we opted for a local historic trolley tour of the city with an informative tour guide. It was entertaining with actors portraying Forrest Gump to Civil War veterans hopping onto the bus at designated stops along the tour. The tour was enlightening allowing us the opportunity to see all of the city and squares in just over 90 minutes.
   
     At lunch time Paula Deen's Lady and Sons restaurant sounded like a good option. After stepping inside with one sniff and a glance around the place I deemed it the equivalent of an oink joint. In other words a trough with a buffet where we were being herded into a third floor elevator toward another buffet. By the way there was no sign of Paula Deen cooking any of her heart attack on a plate specialties behind the counter. For some reason I at least expected a "Hi ya'll!" We walked out without eating in search of a more authentic Savannah dining experience. We later enjoyed a nice meal at Huey's in The Cotton Exchange along the historic riverfront. (I actually make a few of Paula Deen's recipes, but I was disappointed with the lack of ambience in her restaurant.)
The Waving Girl Statue on the riverfront
by Newport, RI sculptor Felix De Weldon

     Our one day in town was not long enough to cover everything we'd hoped to see and experience in Savannah. We needed to catch a bus back to the Simple Life before sunset for obvious reasons. It did offer us a taste of the city which we look forward to visiting again during one of our future migrations.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Becharmed in Charleston

   
Joe checking the iPad for a
second opinion
With all the effort required getting from one anchorage to another aboard a sailboat having a few days of shore leave comes as a welcomed diversion. For a change, instead of being concerned with weather, currents and tides we're able to focus our attention toward what's happening musically, and gastronomically in our new port of call.

   
A typical anchorage in a South Carolina marsh
near Charleston, SC





An eagle eyes us as we travel the marsh
     











Waiting for a table at Hominy Grille, Charleston, SC
   
   
     Charleston is one of our favorite stops and it is one of the east coast's most beautiful and historic ports. Offshore cruising vessels use its wide inlet seeking respite from long offshore passages and southbound cruisers traveling the ICW route often enjoy a stop here, too.

   






Another favorite restaurant is Pearlz
(photo at the bar by Joe Boulay)
     Now that we've entered shrimp country I've changed my food of choice from crab to this local delicacy. Charleston's southern cuisine is one of several reasons we stop here each year. This town has overwhelmingly succeeded in putting shrimp and grits on the mainstream map. I've managed to sample this dish in almost every well known restaurant in the city. My favorite culinary preparation of this low country favorite is featured at Amen Street. I ordered the shrimp and grits at Hominy Grille during our recent visit and it was good, but it didn't have the savory spiciness of Amen Street's version.

   


   
Young artist discussing his work
at the farmer's market 



Jazz musicians having a blast at the farmer's market!

Choosing the best veggies is hard work
    There's always a multitude of events happening on any given day in Charleston. The farmers market held each Saturday in Marion Square is a delight for the eyes, ears and appetite. I look forward to buying veggies that are local and in season. It's fun to have a chat with the growers too. Local vendors offer food samples of their unique products which range from organic pickles and cheeses to pecans and pastries. Last Saturday a fantastic, young jazz ensemble performed from 8:00-2:00 PM. It was nice to sit and enjoy a few tunes after all that shopping.










   
     Even though it has been unusually warm this season cooler weather is certainly on its way. Because of this we try to keep on the move south taking a couple of days off after five or six days of travel. It's a slow progression but one that gives us the opportunity to visit interesting port cities like Charleston year after year. It sometimes seems we're getting so familiar with them that they're beginning to feel more and more like home!
Sunrise 








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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Friends Along the Way

    Since the "flooding incident" aboard Simple Life I've wanted to work a blog into the lineup that had been a rough draft format before "The Shite Hits the Fan" blog was posted.
     I've said it before and I'll say it once again, our cruising community always restores my faith in humanity! At one time, Joe and I had real jobs. We did the nine to five rat race and barely got the chance to know our land based neighbors. Life was hectic and everyone was busy. Things have changed since we've chosen to lead a new life, albeit a simple life. We still have best friends back in New England who remain close to our hearts. Nothing replaces time honoured friendships.

Rachel anchored at Sandy Point, Great Wicomico River, VA
Photo by Joe Boulay
     Friendships we've forged in the cruising community due to similar affinities have been rewarding. While transiting Chesapeake Bay this fall friends Mark and Julie aboard SV Rachel whom we met last season in the Exumas phoned us hoping to reconnect as we traveled south. We were heading to the Great Wicomico River to catch up with friends Bob and Pat from Chanticleer. Mark and Rachel were sailing north toward the Great Wicomico!
     The chosen anchorage for the evening was Sandy Point in the Great Wicomico River where Mark and Julie joined us for dinner aboard. Sadly, they will not be joining the migration heading south this winter. Shoreside responsibilities require attention and they've planned a new tack; exploring the States in an RV for awhile! They're veteran cruisers who have been living aboard and sailing full time for seven years. Their travels have taken them to the Bahamas, the western Caribbean, down to Panama and back to the States.
 
Pat and neighbor Julie from SV Quest preparing pizza
Photo by Joe Boulay
       Early the next morning we left Sandy Point bound for Tiper's Creek where we looked forward to visiting with friends Bob and Pat whom we met during hurricane Sandy while holed up in Dowry Creek, NC. That shared experience cemented our friendship for life. Since then we have visited them at their lovely home in Virginia and they have visited us in New England. This summer while cruising to Maine they sailed their boat Chanticleer to Narragansett Bay where we rendezvoused at Dutch Harbor in Jamestown. We sailed along with Chanticleer to Cuttyhunk Island where we spent a few days exploring the island and getting together. Chanticleer continued north to Maine for the remainder of the summer returning home to Virginia in the fall.
Bob applying the finishing touches
Photo by Joe Boulay


     In September as Simple Life sailed south on Chesapeake Bay, Bob and Pat invited us to spend a couple of days at their dock. Stopping at their home has always been a highlight of our trips up and down the Bay. Pat is a superb cook. She has a well appointed chef's kitchen and knows how to use it. Whenever we visit they often invite neighbors to join us and share her wonderful meals. What a treat! Good friends and good food! Life is good.
Pat and Michele
Photo by Robert Sikora




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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When the Shite Hits the Fan

       We have a saying in the boating world and that is "Don't ask if something will go wrong while you're out cruising, ask when it will go wrong." Well...that something happened to us this morning as we upped anchor in Slade Creek, North Carolina. With a considerable amount of mud on the chain and anchor Joe was having a good ole time with his new wash down pump squirting all the gooey mud away as each link dropped into the anchor locker. Within a few moments he realized it was time to check in on SSB Cruiseheimer's Net. He went below with most of the chain already in the locker to call into the short time and underway segment from Slade Creek to Broad Creek, Oriental, NC. When he returned to the bow and attempted to resume squirting...nothing. Not even a dribble. Assuming he blown a fuse he once again went below to check. The bilge pump light was on indicating it was running. Hmm...Joe thought, "Why is the bilge pump running?" Then he stepped in a puddle on the floor! Lockers were flung opened. Hoses checked, seacocks closed. "Where the hell did all this water come from?" He opened the anchor locker. I heard a yell. "SHIT!" Actually, his response was another four letter word. Use your imagination. The hose clamp on the wash down pump in the anchor locker had disconnected. The wash down pump was running, pumping seawater into the boat! Where was I during the event? Stationed at the helm where I usually am when we're lifting the anchor with the engine running. That's why neither of us were able to hear the wash down pump nor the bilge pump running. After settling down I went below to help out and survey the damage.

Joe checking for leaks at the
wash down pump connection.
     The cushions in the V berth were soaked! Not a good sign. Fortunately, my guitar, Bodhran (Irish drum) and computer appeared dry. When I lifted the cushions where under normal circumstances "water tight" lockers lie underneath I discovered about two feet of water sloshing about where clothing and blankets were stored. This was our Sunday morning "entertainment" so to speak. Needless to say, there would be no sausage, eggs and bagels served this morning. At this point we both could have benefitted from a snifter of rum!

     In order to get underway lockers needed to be pumped out, wet clothes needed to be packed into plastic trash bags, musical instruments needed to be moved and secured along with other miscellaneous items stored in the V berth. We both reasoned that these things happen to people who live in houses, too! Plumbing disasters happen all the time. That made us feel a bit better about our situation and we realized that it could have been worse. There's a reason Joe closes all the seacocks and drains whenever we leave the boat. It's because they are holes in the boat that allow sea water in. I'd never realized how quickly sea water could infiltrate until this little lesson.

     Even with our dilemma we managed to make some headway south today. This evening we're anchored in Broad Creek, Oriental, NC. Our wet stuff has been placed on deck to dry. Tomorrow we plan to reward ourselves with a marina stay at River Dunes in Oriental. This is a long overdue treat since we haven't stayed at a marina since leaving Rhode Island. As always, things could be worse. At least no one was hurt and nothing was broken! We are still learning...


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Monday, October 6, 2014

The other Spa...aah Creek

Morning in Spa…aah Creek with Elle & I 
     Whenever the possibility arises that allows spending any length of time in one location we're happy to stop and enjoy the opportunity. This season has been relatively mild with only one weather front that kept Simple Life in Atlantic Highlands, NJ for over a week. As a result this enabled us to spend 10 days in Spa..."aah" Creek, Annapolis.

   

Evening visitors in Spa Creek's anchorage




      Historic homes, taverns and of course the Naval Academy draw us back year after year. It's especially pleasant during early Fall when the leaves are just beginning to change color and temperatures are still in the mid seventies. During the week Spa Creek is peaceful actually, beyond peaceful. Kayakers and SUP's (stand up paddle boarders) along with numerous south bound cruisers are the most popular water sport enthusiasts enjoying the creek.

 




Elaine with Marin (photo from May 2014) 
     Spa Creek is a great place to catch up with other like minded friends who also happen to be traveling the same route. While anchored there we caught up with friends Elaine and Lawrence from Elle and I whom we met during our first year of cruising. Both are enthusiastic sailors who have been living aboard for three years. Lawrence has been making quite a name for himself among the cruising fleet as a master mixologist of Irish Coffees. He actually coats the rims with sugar, flamb├ęs, and tops with freshly whipped cream made by his "lovely wife" Elaine. The anticipation is almost as enjoyable as the drink! Especially when the weather is cool and damp.
Lawrence making Irish Coffee

   
Joe on the Washington Mall
      This season Joe and I planned a side trip to Washington, DC. We'd taken a similar trip two years ago and visited the entire Washington Mall. This year we planned to visit the Holocaust Museum and the Air and Space Museum. Both were relatively easy to negotiate from Annapolis by hopping on a shuttle from Annapolis to the Metro at Carrolton Station and getting off at the Smithsonian stop at the Mall. Round trip fares for two cost a reasonable $50.00. Since the museums were free it was a fairly inexpensive and thought provoking excursion.

   
The Spirit of St. Louis


   
Early Space Capsule
 






      The Air and Space Museum was spectacular. Both Joe and I grew up during the early space launch era. Black and white and early color TV's couldn't capture the true size perspective of these tiny space capsules. Seeing the cramped space and the capsule's smallness up close was a fascinating experience. Upon further inspection, probably not a suitable career choice for a person like me prone to claustrophobia. I also enjoyed examining the structural component of the capsule design. It seemed to be borrowed from a bee hive! Sort of a metal scaled down chicken wire pattern embedded with an ablative material designed to shed upon atmospheric entry.

 
One of the Saturn 5 Rockets



Noon formation is very formal


     No trip to Annapolis is complete without a visit to the US Naval Academy. Each weekday the Brigade of Midshipmen gather for noon formation in front of Bancroft Hall. For Midshipmen it's an everyday occurrence. For us, a visual treat!
Navy midshipmen not so formal!

 







      As lovely as Spa Creek was, early mornings were beginning to have a nip in the air. Autumn was on her way. Our last day in Annapolis was bittersweet. Once again a feeling of leaving home and a tinge of wistfulness. It was time to move on. Joe suggested the need to mark our time spent here, sort of putting the period at the end of the sentence. The solution? Dinghying to Davis Pub on the Eastport side of Spa Creek for what else? Lunch and Chesapeake Bay's delectable crab cakes! A perfect ending to an enjoyable stay.




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