Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zahniser's gets it...

Unfortunately, like so many waterfronts across America, there is no public access in Solomons, Maryland. We're anchored in the Solomons - 2 anchorage right near Zahniser's Yachting Center. Zahniser's is a full-service marina with slips and moorings. But we're going to be here for a week and we prefer to anchor. In environments like this, many marinas might not allow us free-loaders to use any of their facilities. Staying at a slip for the week would cost us about $700. One of the moorings for the week would cost about $280. Our total cost for the week will be $0. Yeah, we like anchoring a lot.

But we also like walking to the grocery store and throwing out garbage, and sometimes just getting off the boat and walking around. A quality facility like Zahniser's makes that possible for us even though they're giving up hundreds of dollars to do it.

When we go to a marina office, we print out their full ActiveCaptain listing. If they don't know how to update the data online, they can just write in the missing info and we'll enter it for them. When I walked into Zahniser's office and explained the sheets, the dockmaster and assistant manager jumped out from their offices.  "You're ActiveCaptain! Thank you for having us in your listing. We follow it and update our data all the time." This was a nice surprise - they actually know us.

Zahniser's currently has 9 reviews and has an average rating of 5 stars out of 5 in ActiveCaptain. There are only a handful of marinas across North America with such a perfect rating with more than 5 reviews. But then, it's really no surprise. They get it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our Girl

Dyna is short for Dynasty. Dyna produced the first litter at Birchwood Labrador Retrievers, a small hobby kennel in Maine, and went on to produce four more litters before she was retired. There are dozens of adorable Labs out there thanks to Dyna. JoDee Edes allowed us to adopt Dyna two years ago, the same summer we brought home her grandson Dylan.

Dyna turned 11 this year, but don't tell her that. When we decided to bring Dyna into our home Jeff made me promise we would only keep her if she could learn to do all her business on the boat - something we feel is a requirement for safe cruising with your dog (see our article, Canine Crew). Fortunately, he didn't check for crossed fingers behind my back. We worried if we could teach an old dog new tricks. We didn't need to worry.

Since leaving her comfortable home in Castine, Dyna has kept up with numerous dogs half her age, swam nonstop with Dylan and several groups of children, boldly climbed the pet ramp at every imaginable angle, calmly slept through rough seas, and even dove from the dinghy into the water for an unplanned swim. She now eats "senior" food and takes supplements for her joints, and sometimes gets up a bit more slowly after a hard swim but we have some medication for that.

Dyna brings joy and humor to us every day. We have satellite TV on the boat but haven't bothered to turn it on. We've been busy and besides last night I watched the two dogs tussle over a toy. What sitcom could be better than that?

Yesterday I met a women who's Black Lab lived to be 18 years old. Come on Dyna, we can beat that!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hurricane Gloria

There are no storm or hurricane projections active at this time. It's something that we check multiple times a day. Hurricane Gloria was an earlier storm with an interesting history. It was a Category 4 storm, almost at the top of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale when it formed. To this day, there has never been a more powerful hurricane that hit the east coast further north than Gloria. It first made landfall on the Outer Banks in North Carolina and then traveled along the coast until making a second landfall on Long Island and a third landfall on Connecticut. It caused almost a billion dollars of damage back when a billion dollars was real money.

The part of the storm where it moved along Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware happened on September 27,1985, exactly 24 years ago today. We were living in Maryland at the time and I remember the day pretty well. The power to many parts of the Washington, DC area went out and there were inches of rain that fell from the sky as the wind blew. At 4:30 pm, Karen and I were married. Outside.

There's an Italian saying, "Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata" which means that a wet bride is a lucky bride. Well if rain is considered to be lucky for the bride, I'm proof that the most powerful hurricane ever seen in an area is quite a lucky thing for the groom.

Happy anniversary, Karen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Gam

In olden times, friendly ships would pass at sea and come up against one another. The crews would lean over the sides of the boats and exchange news and stories from the lands they came from. This was known as a gam.

The Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) is a 10,000 member organization of experienced cruisers. You can't become a voting member until you've lived on your boat for a year and have met a variety of other experience requirements. There is an emphasis on cruising outside of the country and around the world. When they have a rendezvous of members, it's called a "gam". Tonight was the last night of the Annapolis SSCA 2009 Gam. The last couple of days have involved seminars, information exchange, and eating. There is always eating when cruisers get together.

The dinghy dock for this harbor is pretty full. Amazingly, no one complained. No one made a fuss. No one is calling for new rules to be put in place to limit access to the dinghy dock. After all, a busy dinghy dock is a good thing, isn't it? Of course, my own dinghy, lost in the maze above wouldn't be allowed to pull onto the Castine dinghy dock because the Castine dinghy dock is full of rules and nonsense. And they wonder why the dinghy dock there is never full. There's a lesson there.

We gave 4 different 45 minute sessions about ActiveCaptain and internet access on boats today. It was extremely well attended with scores of questions and follow on discussions over dinner with many people. My throat is sore from all of the talking. Isn't ice cream a cure for that?

After dinner we took a cold, wet ride back to the boat. The harbor is ablaze with some 90 boats all anchored. The anchor lights make a beautiful light show that isn't captured very well by video and really needs to be seen in person. Tomorrow the boats will start to pull anchor and head off in many varied directions. The news has been exchanged and it's time for each of us to continue on with our journey.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wye Dogs?

OK, this is my last play on words with Wye. It's driving Karen nuts ("Wye - we're here - get it Karen, get it?).

In the last 2 days, we've put out some 30,000+ emails between our new newsletter and the fuel update to marinas. Who says you can't do all of this from a boat? Even way out here on the Wye River, we have an outstanding internet connection. We haven't even enabled our DirecTV account yet because we've been able to watch our favorite programs on our laptops. The flip side is that we have no idea what is going on in the world except that there are no named storms from the National Hurricane Center.

Today we took down the dinghy and circumnavigated the entire Wye Island. It took a while - at first I thought it was a couple of miles. It turned into a 7 mile cruise around this incredibly pretty place.

Dyna is feeling all better and back on real food. Dylan still isn't fully well. We're taking it easy on the little guy and he'll be back to normal soon. He couldn't help but lean over the dinghy, watching all the wildlife, but we could tell his heart wasn't really in it. I think he needs one more day of rice before he'll be following Dyna's lead in trying to jump out of the dinghy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why the Wye?

I've been told that when God takes a vacation, he goes to the Wye River. I can fully appreciate this now.

It was a long day from Crisfield to the Drum Point anchorage on the Wye River. We've never been on the Wye or in Eastern Bay. We have a few days before SSCA to try it out. It is quite pretty and an excellent anchorage.

The dogs have been sick over the last couple of days. Gastrointestinal sick. It hasn't been fun. They are both on a diet of rice and are starting to look better. They either caught something from one of the many dogs they played with in Crisfield or they ate something on the dock.

So we'll explore the area by dinghy tomorrow if possible. It might just end up being a chicken soup kind of rainy day though.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pictures from our presentation...

Thanks to Celeste Yost (again!) for providing pictures from our MTOA presentation about ActiveCaptain.

A copy of the slides used during the presentation can be seen here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where Did Everyone Go?

The Marine Trawler Owner Association (MTOA) northern rendezvous ended last night with an awards ceremony and party. Karen and I each received a highly coveted ruby pin. By this morning, most of the boats had disappeared.

Our presentation on ActiveCaptain went really well yesterday afternoon. There were some excellent questions and the response was wonderful. It's times like this when we realize that we're onto something important and believe even more strongly that we're headed in the right direction.

Going even further in the "we believe" direction, released a feature article about ActiveCaptain on Wednesday called, "ActiveCaptain Could be the Wave of the Future." Quoting their first paragraph:
Telling you that ActiveCaptain “could” be the wave of the future is probably a little bit like saying the Internet will “probably be a big thing.”  The truth is, ActiveCaptain already is a fantastic resource for cruisers and passagemakers, but it might actually become something huge — a source of real-time, up-to-the-minute information that your navigation system can access while underway.  That’s saying something and the more ActiveCaptain develops, the less far-fetched it sounds.  But more on that later; let’s see why it’s already worth your time to “become” an ActiveCaptain.
The MTOA seminars that we attended were great. We met hundreds of people, ate exceptional food, exchanged sea stories, and made plans for future get togethers with new friends. All of this was exhausting! Today we lounged around, went grocery shopping, caught up on computer work, and arranged play times for Dyna and Dylan with other dogs.

The grocery store in Crisfied is pretty small with few selections. I was, however, able to prevail in getting Breyers ice cream. Karen was seriously considering a type called Turkey Hill and another called PET. I now have veto power over ice cream selection and I draw the line far before ever purchasing something with an animal name or any play-on-words cute names. PET ice cream? That's just asking for trouble!

There are a bunch of DeFever trawlers still here so we're all getting together for a group dinner tonight. It'll be a group of a dozen or so people. Dyna and Dylan were specifically invited and will tag along for the fun. You know, our song was right - it isn't about the boat, the places, or the sunsets. Cruising is about the people you meet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mail Day!

Jeff went off to some diesel engine seminar or some equally geeky thing while I stayed onboard to catch up with email, ActiveCaptain, etc. I heard a knock on the side of the boat and someone called, "aCappella, mail call!" Somehow, the dockhand was able to penetrate our cracker jack canine security crew - he was good!

I went to the stern to collect our large package. Our first batch of mail since leaving home. I've spent months moving as many bills as possible to electronic delivery. On top of that our friend Susie has a knack for filtering out the junk. Two bills (one already paid and the other on auto-pay), a couple of notices, several magazine (mostly boating), one piece of junk mail, a hose part that missed us when we left, and a surprise from our good friends and neighbors Dick and Helle.

Dick and Helle, we thank you, will wear them with pride, and heed your warning!

The Coffee House...

MTOA has been a lot of fun. We're deep in the middle of it right now. We've met a lot of really nice people and have had fun at the different seminars. There are many trawlers here and it's been fun to look at them and get ideas about things we'd like to add. We know we need some type of ramp system to work with fixed docks in a better way. It has been difficult for both man and dog here to get off the boat.

Tuesday night was a pot luck dinner.  With hundreds of people, this was a massive pot luck rivaling any New England dinner we've ever been too. The food was outstanding. After dinner, the dining area was re-decorated as a coffee house with candles, coffee beans, and a warm dark atmosphere. Peter Colket performed for a couple of hours with just one break when he gave the stage to Karen and me. We performed a couple of songs. Thanks to Celeste Yost for taking the video of one of them so we could share it!

Our second song was a re-make of the Marshall Tucker Band's song Can't You See.  Here are the words and music:

Can't You See What That Trawler's Been Doing To Me
(sung to the tune of Can't You See)
Chords: D, C, G, D (repeat)

Verse (Jeff):
    Used to have a day job,
    Workin that 9-to-5,
    Life went by so fast,
    Got me a trawler now,
    Life in the slow lane,
    I know I can't go back.

    Can't you see, oh can't you see,
    What that trawler's, been doing to me
    Can't you see, oh can't you see,
    What that trawler's, been doing to me

Verse (Karen):
    Used to wish for diamonds,
    Wear the latest fashions,
    Silk and satin was for me,
    Now I dress in T-shirts,
    Rarely put my shoes on,
    And only wish for calm seas.


Verse (together):
    So we're out there cruising,
    Life on the water, now,
    A life that's hard to beat,
    It isn't just the places,
    It isn't just the sunsets,
    It's the people that we meet.

Chorus (twice)

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...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Helm Philosophy

As I sat for hours piloting aCappella through the Chesapeake Bay, I considered the following question: Is it better to have bad ice cream or no ice cream?

On one hand, having no ice cream means that you have the promise of having good ice cream eventually. On the other hand, having bad ice cream is better than just wanting it, isn't it?

To the manufacturers of "Shur Fine" ice cream, please, pick some other name. I realize that Shur is not sure or surely but still. Bearly Edible would be a better name (note the bear instead of bare).

Although we left Rock Hall late to wait for an extra foot of tide, the current and wind pushed us strongly south on the Chesapeake. We planned on anchoring near Annapolis but found ourselves there at around noon. So we kept going and anchored in Solomons. That effort means we can stay here tomorrow since Crisfield is only about 35 miles away. Karen wants to do laundry and the 10 knot winds forecast tomorrow will be perfect for drying the clothes outside (we put up closelines).

Dinner tonight was grilled hamburgers with onion and fresh tomato. I also made grilled asparagus on the side along with a fresh plum.

Oh yeah, there was ice cream too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Still In Rock Hall

We've just completed our fourth day tied to the Rock Hall town wall. Dyna and Dylan think the place is great! They can step off the boat and run to a grassy field. They even got to play with some new dog friends, Cassie and Godiva. We can walk to a grocery store and the Harbor Shack is right next door with a great happy hour. Internet connection speed is very, very fast. Why leave?

One reason we've stayed was to be interviewed on Capt'n Pauley's Radio Nor'easter show on WCTR. We could have "phoned it in" but we wanted to meet Paul Esterle (aka Capt'n Pauley) and see what it was like to do a live show at the station. Paul picked us up at the boat at 8:30 am this morning to whisk us to the station. We had a great time with Paul and the other folks at WCTR and we're pretty sure we didn't embarrass ourselves. Dyna and Dylan even got prominent mention during the show. If you missed the live stream that Jeff referenced in an earlier blog, we should have a recording on our web site shortly.

At Rock Hall we have been meeting several of our online ActiveCaptain friends. First, Ralph and Celeste (aboard "Say Good-Bye") provided us with detailed instructions for navigating the shallow entrance into Rock Hall and helped us tie up last Monday. Ralph has added this helpful information to the Rock Hall Harbor Inlet marker on ActiveCaptain. Ralph and Celeste wrote the article All Ashore featured on our web site offering an innovative solution to getting their dog Striper into their dinghy.

We then caught up with Stephanie and Bob ("September Song"), and Tami and Doug ("Gypsies in the Palace") who were waiting for a part at a nearby marina. Stephanie and Bob are Cassie and Godiva's parents and brought them along for a major romp with our kids. These two couples have the same type of boat as us - it's always nice to meet kindred spirits. They introduced us to the Harbor Shack's happy hour where all of us, including the four-legged crew members, shared a drink and cruising stories on the outside deck.

Today Charles and Charles (yes, Charles squared) pulled onto the wall while we were doing the radio show. They are bringing Charles' boat ("CC Rider") down from the Hudson. Charles and his wife Pat are completing a four year cruise covering 9,000 nautical miles. Of course, that called for another trip to the Harbor Shack for happy hour.

We may leave tomorrow or we may not. The weather isn't going to be great so we're thinking we'll stay until Saturday. We need to be in Crisfield for MTOA by Monday where we look forward to meeting even more of our cruising and ActiveCaptain friends.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One Emergency Solved, A Second One Looms

Provisioning on a boat is tricky business. One is always making tradeoffs - how much space to allow for the staples vs how much for the "good stuff." Well, about five days ago we ran out of ice cream. Now if that is not an emergency at sea, then I don't know what one is. This is not only a catastrophe for Jeff and I, but also for Dyna and Dylan as they get to lick out the top and bottom of the ice cream container when it is finished.

After several days we considered calling the Coast Guard but then saw in ActiveCaptain that there is a small grocery store about a half mile from our spot here on the Rock Hall Town Dock. So off we went this morning with our insulated bag in hand. Jeff wanted to buy 3 cartons but fortunately I prevailed as we only have room in the freezers for two. Jeff suggested throwing some of the frozen vegetables overboard but I pointed out that we could go back just before we leave on Thursday or Friday. Being a single mom is sometimes difficult.

No sooner had we solved that impending disaster when the next one loomed. A couple of summers ago our friend Pat looked at us one beautiful day on the Castine Town Dock and said, "You've never heard of Damages?" She then loaned us her DVD's for season one of the show Damages with Glenn Close and we were hooked.

Several weeks ago we were on the town dock again with Pat and she said, "You've never seen Mad Men?" A couple days later she shows up with DVD's for season one of Mad Men. We started watching an episode each evening while we were in Northport. Well, last night we watched the last episode! Now we have to find season two. I'm not sure what sort of sick pusher our friend Pat is but next time I see her coming, I'm heading in the other direction.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Phase 1 complete...

The first phase of our cruising is complete. We've gotten from Maine to the Chesapeake Bay. We're on the town wall in Rock Hall, MD on the eastern shore. Bonus points if you can see Dylan's eyes looking at me while I took the picture.

We'd like to stay here for a couple of days if possible. Karen and I are being interviewed on the Radio Nor'easter show on Thursday (WCTR radio). If we can stay here until then, we can talk live in the studio instead of by phone. They'll be streaming the show live from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at:

Rock Hall is a real fishing village. It is dominated by a handful of marinas with many boats of all sizes. Entering the harbor was a bit tricky - we had to get used to 7 and 8 feet of water again, something that's always uncomfortable for our 6 foot draft vessel.

After two weeks of cruising, this is the first night that we're tied up to a dock. We've only been on the anchor since we left. It was nice to turn off all of the electronics and sleep without wondering if there would be a problem with shifting currents or wind.

We've been carefully watching our water use since we left. Obtaining water in the lower Bahamas and Cuba will be difficult. It was the reason behind the 2 week project of putting in the salt water washdown into the bow of the boat for cleaning the anchor and chain. Our results have been spectacular. As of this morning we still have between 1/2 and 3/4 of our tank filled with water. This means we can probably go about a month without finding a water source. Water in the Bahamas costs about $0.40/gallon and we have no idea if water is even available in Cuba. What this really means is that we don't need a watermaker for now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sometimes the Stars Align

Since our fateful overnight, we have fared most nicely. Luck has been with us, each day working out as it should. Even the five days we were "stuck" in Northport were pleasant. There was a nice little town and the beach for the dogs. They loved that - they also love their supper which they had to get while underway because of the long day today.

It turned out that by taking that overnight hop from Castine to Cuttyhunk, we easily dodged any possible problems from Hurricane Bill, ran through Hell Gate on the East River with favorable current, and today were able to position ourselves behind Reedy Island which is near the C&D Canal allowing us to get to the Chesapeake Bay tomorrow. By moving today we escaped days of rough seas, beginning tonight, that would probably have stranded us in Atlantic City for some time.

So I'm wondering, were the 10 hours of feeling seasick that night worth the "luck" we're experiencing now? It's easy to downplay that experience when the sun is shining and the seas are calm. It's also the sort of lapse of memory that can lead us to poor decisions. For now, I'll enjoy our luck and remind Dylan, the Celtic god of the waves, that we did name our puppy after him. Oh, and I'll keep my seasick medicine close.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Lights...

Atlantic City is about lights. And sirens. And the sound of coins dropping. Even from the anchorage, you can see and hear it all. There's almost a full moon tonight - but it's just one of many lights here.

The passage today was pretty good. The waves were bigger than normal but they were spread far apart causing us to drift up and down thousands of times as the fluid passed underneath us. Our stabilizers kept the boat perfectly level making the whole thing quite nice.

We traveled in the company of two other trawlers - Cloverleaf and Steadfast. It's nice to see trawlers as we approach the Chesapeake.

The weather for tomorrow is falling apart towards the afternoon. We have a 30 mile offshore jump to Cape May to transit the Cape May Canal to the Delaware Bay. We'd like to then head north up the bay and anchor just before the C&D Canal. The trip is 6 miles further than today's but we'll have some unfavorable current in the canal and on the bay. It will surely be a long day and we'll be leaving early again to beat the bad offshore weather (we think).

Our hope would be to pass through the C&D Canal on Monday ending up in the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay.

But that's next week. Tonight is all about the lights...

Friday, September 4, 2009

The reason we're at the beach...

Today was a good day. As we figured, the forecast was too rough for us to transit down the New Jersey coast. It's looking pretty good for tomorrow so we're planning to pull up the anchor at 6:00 am and start heading toward Atlantic City. Taking some advice from people who grew up along the NJ coast, we'll stay a little closer to the shoreline than usual. The new NW winds developing today will keep the seas down there and it should be a pleasant 80 mile ride.

We have exceptional internet and phone connectivity here at Sandy Hook. Karen and I are using a Verizon MiFi which is giving us high speed access to both laptops at the same time. It's just like we're connected to a real DSL line.  Absolutely incredible.

So the weather is wonderful. It's 80 degrees and the sea temperature is in the low 70's. I was interviewed by phone for an upcoming article in PassageMaker magazine about mobile phones on boats, internet connectivity, and ActiveCaptain. All I did was talk about the things that we're actually using on our own boat. It was a fun interview.

Karen was just asked by Nor'easter Magazine to write a monthly column about coastal cruising from a woman's perspective. She wrote most of the first article - an introduction to our boat, crew, and about being lucky...

Sandy Hook is a 7 mile stretch of beach coming off the ocean side of New Jersey. It is kept pretty wild on the Atlantic side and is dominated by a Coast Guard station on the protected, western side. Tomorrow we hope to get to Atlantic City. Sunday looks possible to go through the Cape May canal and continue up the Delaware Bay to anchor behind Reedy Island. That would put us one short hop across the C&D Canal before entering the Chesapeake Bay.

By the afternoon, the beach was calling to us. Well, more the dogs than us but it was calling. As soon as we finished lunch, both dogs looked like they expected to play. Who were we to deny this? Down came the dinghy to a couple of fiercely wagging tails.

There are a bunch of other boats anchoring in the immediate area tonight. As the sun is getting lower, more and more boats are here for the night. Everyone who's been waiting to head south along New Jersey knows that tomorrow is the day we've been waiting for.

I think Karen is right.  We are pretty lucky.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


First, a word about our Live Tracking. Thank you to those who have written to us asking why we haven't moved from our initial anchorage in Northport last Friday. We are OK. We've gotten a good 25 emails asking about our condition. Everything is fine - it's just that the weather off the New Jersey coast has been terrible and we didn't see the need to move away from a nice harbor with many services and a great dog swimming beach. I now issue an "OK" message on the tracking device every afternoon that we don't move to show that we're fine. If we needed something, you can bet that we'd be making a blog entry about it. It's nice to know that there are so many people watching our movements. Really though, it's been very, very nice here.

That brings me to our need for fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables don't last longer than a week. Sure, we've got some frozen and canned items, but those are last resort types of things. We've been on the boat longer than a week already so needless to say, our fresh supplies are running quite low.

Finding a real grocery store within walking distance from a harbor is rare. As you can imagine, property close to the waterfront is expensive - usually not the place where a large store would be built. We asked some locals and everyone told us that a grocery store was miles away from the harbor. But then I checked AroundMe...

AroundMe is a free iPhone app. It looks at your current location (from the built-in GPS) and gives you a list of items to select from like Hospitals, Hotels, Movie Theaters, Restaurants, and, you guessed it, Supermarkets. Here's what it looks like when you start it:

It thinks I'm in Asharoken which is the closest beach to where we're anchored. Touching the Supermarkets item displays the following:

That's a list of supermarkets in order of approximate distance from where I am (I'm not sure why Thebarn is in the middle). We looked at this list and decided that 2 miles was too far to walk so it looked like nothing fresh was in our immediate future.

But wait a minute. That's 2 miles from our current location - out on the boat in the anchorage. It's a 1.5 mile dinghy ride to get into town. So here's the cool thing - touch on a supermarket in the list and it'll show you where it is on a map. It turns out that King Kullen is only a half mile away. The blue dot is our boat. The town landing and dinghy dock is all the way in the inner harbor on the east (right) side. The red pin is King Kullen:

So off to town we went. We had some ActiveCaptain hats to mail at the Post Office and some items to buy at the hardware store. A few side streets and some traffic lights to cross and voila, a huge King Kullen grocery store:

AroundMe hit a home run on aCappella today. I'm thinking of it as technology you can taste!