Monday, September 14, 2009

Vagabonds no more

At 5:30 am now, it's dark. Very dark. We know because that's what time we got up and started getting ready to leave Solomons. We'd done 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the hull water line, and taken the dogs for a romp in a field. It was time to leave.

The anchor started coming up around 6:15. We slowly pulled out past the other dark boats - everyone still asleep inside. Outside the harbor we turned to the east and watched a beautiful sunrise over the Chesapeake. Waking up early has some advantages.

While we only traveled 40 miles over water to Crisfield, it was a much longer journey in other ways. For three full weeks we've lived the life of vagabonds. Life on the hook. Spending the night wherever our anchor dropped - sometimes for almost a week at a time. The journey today would bring us to a marina. Don't get me wrong. Marinas are wonderful. We have all the power and water we want (long hot showers!). But there are rules, and neighbors, and the sunrises are hidden.

Pulling into Somers Cove Marina gave us an opportunity to purchase fuel.  We didn't really need it yet but their price was pretty good and they were hosting the MTOA rendezvous so it seems like a good thing to get out of the way.

We took 476.1 gallons. A little less than half of our 1,000 gallon capacity. We have enough fuel now to get to the Bahamas although we'll certainly get more in Georgia where it is very inexpensive. With 100.5 hours of engine time since leaving Castine and 56.1 hours of generator use, this puts our engine burn at 4.5 gallons per hour. This is very good for a large boat with twin engines. I'm very happy with the performance.

We pulled into our slip at the marina and got everything connected. We washed about 1/2 of the boat but then had to leave for an MTOA reception. There are more than 80 trawlers here and a couple of hundred people. We saw some friends that we've known for many years and some that we only met in the last year. We talked about Cuba, anchorages, Coast Guard boardings, and traded sea stories.

Because this part of the Chesapeake Bay has only 2 foot tides, the marinas here have fixed docks. This creates a challenge in getting the dogs on and off the boat. Dyna and Dylan met our "PetStep" for the first time. It took a lot of treats but we finally got them to walk up the ramp and onto the dock. Fearless Dyna didn't think twice about it. She just walked the plank. Dylan was another matter...but he finally got it and got off the boat.

So we're back in civilized life for a little while. The sounds of people are everywhere. Air conditioners are running on about half the boats. We have air conditioning on our boat too but I wouldn't think of running it with 70 degree outside temperatures. The seminars start tomorrow. We're playing and singing at the coffee house tomorrow night - we wrote a special "trawler" song when we were in Northport. We're speaking on Thursday - it should be a lot of fun.

And we'll be vagabonds again in another week...

3 comments:

Rob said...

Speaking of twin engines, I would be curious what you would think about your DeFever with a single engine. I've asked dealers and they say it can be ordered that way. It seems like the extra space and money saved might be advantageous. Perhaps rig a get-home off the generator?

Mike T. said...

That’s a nice sunrise photo. Thanks for posting it.

On your last trip south you were using a tracking device - if I remember correctly - that gave speed and heading. Do I have that right? What happened to that service?

I take it that the Spot track is point to point. Can you control the update frequency?

It would be nice to see accurate tracks on actual NOAA charts in the ACM database - yes I know, that’s a few years down the road, if it’s even possible. Still, that would be a killer application for net based over paper guides.

I know both the Wye and Rhode rivers well. I’ll be posting to the database.

I want that hat!

Plus I owe you for the DVD.

Mike T.
Merritt Island, FL.

TakingPaws said...

Rob - we originally wanted a single engine trawler. We loved everything about our boat and decided that we'd "put up" with the twins. Now that we've had it for 6+ years, I have to admit that I'm hooked. This is the first twin engine boat I have ever piloted. Control and maneuvering is a dream - easier than my 13' Whaler. I also like the backup of a second real engine. That said, I would look at other single engine boats again in the future. The fuel burn for twins really isn't more than a single - I've been quite happy with the performance.

Mike - good memory. Yes, we were using iBoatTrack in 2006/7. They still exist but are more specialized. SPOT is inexpensive and made for general use. They have a very nice 911 feature if you get into bad trouble too. We also have an EPIRB but if we ever need real help, I'd like as many systems looking for us as possible! I have some interesting plans for SPOT and captain positions for ActiveCaptain. I think we can add some value if you have a SPOT system or would just like others to know where you are - we'll have a manual way to update position too. SPOT will send a position update when you press a button or automatically at 10 minute intervals - that's the only options for it now. We're going for a little Wye River exploration after leaving here on Monday. I'm sure we'll post about it. Everyone we're meeting from the Chesapeake is telling us that we must go there.