|Ed and Carol celebrate in front of Vera Segunda with Champaign at Cove Haven Marina in Barrington, RI after completing their voyage of 6771 miles.|
|May 11, 2000
Brewer's Cove Haven Marina
Barrington, Rhode Island...... Home
In our last letter we had spent a day or so in Oxford, Maryland awaiting better weather. We finally did get the boat dried out and had a great pizza that evening after watching a movie (Sixth Sense, highly recommended) onboard. The following day I did some maintenance as we waited for the weather to improve. Our window was a small one. We left in the afternoon and anchored in Dun Cove on Harris Creek only about 12 miles from Oxford. We had a perfect sunset and stayed out late on the back deck watching the stars. What a great evening, and the morning was glorious. We motored down through the narrows at Tilghman Island. This area is just what you picture in your minds' eye when you think of the Chesapeake. By twelve thirty we had picked up a mooring in downtown Annapolis and since Vera Segunda had dried out from the rain, we began to re-caulk and tighten her up a bit. We hiked all over town and ended up having dinner at a great pub where they brew their own beer and are known as 'the' local place. Carol enjoyed a great tuna steak sandwich and I had a grilled chicken sandwich, both were excellent. We had also found ice cream earlier. The evening proved to be one of the most uncomfortable evenings we had experienced on this trip. We had wind and waves from exactly the wrong direction and rolled on beam ends all night long. By daybreak we were beat up and decided to bite the bullet and move into a dock to recover as the weather was really supposed to deteriorate further, with 50 knot winds predicted, again. I had called the harbormaster and informed him of our decision. As I walked into the office to pay the appropriate charges for dockage I over heard them talking about a friend back in Rhode Island. As it turns out one of the guys talking was Kenny, brother of our friend (and our marina operator, Michael), who I had been trying to contact. Kenny turned out to be our new best friend. We all went to lunch at a local place (Crab sandwiches and pub fries) and had a great time. Ken then loaned us his car so we could run errands and later I went for a ride with Ken on the Pilot boat he captains to pick up a Pilot from an inbound sugar ship. What a great day it turned out to be, and it was so good to meet up with Ken. The following morning the weather was still not too good so we decided to stay in Annapolis another day - maybe. We went off to explore the Naval Academy and had another great day learning new things. The crypt of the chapel houses the tomb of John Paul Jones and the Naval Academy's museum has a spectacular collection of admiralty models. By noon the weather began to break and we began to consider making a dash for Baltimore. We threw off the lines at 2:00 to make the 30-mile run to the inner harbor. As we approached Baltimore we passed the very spot where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner and Fort McHenry where our flag still waves. At six-thirty that evening we tied to the town dock and took off to explore. Baltimore is a beautiful city and we had a great time exploring all the shops and the history that surround the inner harbor. Easter morning we moved Vera Segunda to an anchorage in the harbor, dressed up a bit, and took the dinghy in to go to breakfast at 'Tugs" near St. Paul's where we went to Easter mass. St. Paul's is the oldest church in Baltimore, an Episcopal Church, established back in 1670-something. The mass was beautiful and inspiring, but very long. We made phone calls to family and friends and did another hiking tour of the town before going back to Vera Segunda where Carol cooked a spectacular ham dinner. Easter seems to be celebrated in Baltimore by renting paddle boats and circling around Vera Segunda. We had a good weather report and the next morning we were off to the C&D canal. Our plan was to tie at the famous Schaffers, take on fuel and have a great dinner. We have heard about this place for years for friends and fellow travelers. At 1330 we tied alongside their dock after trying to raise them on the radio and found that they were completely closed up. Even the store was empty. We scooted across the canal and tied alongside of the free town dock (a much better price) and met up with Clayton, aboard Algernon (a Gemini catamaran), whom we had met in January in Longboat Key, Florida. We also made the acquaintance Al and Mary aboard Nomad, a Marine Trader 34. For the next few day we all hung out in Chesapeake City at the free town dock awaiting better weather. The saving grace of the town is an ice cream stand right at the dock. Another boat pulled in, M/V Bear, a steel tug from Canada. M/V Bear is the smallest cruising boat we have ever seen, it must be only about 22 feet long. The couple aboard have been making the trip from Canada to Florida for several years. Delaware Bay is notorious for it's bad fetch and the reports from NOAA were not so good so we decided to stay put. Things like this add to your frustration level as we knew that we would be in New York by Friday night and now all those plans had been dashed. This spring has been one cold front after another, and it is always easy and prudent to wait for better weather. It wasn't until early Thursday morning that we pulled away from the dock and started our trek towards Cape May. The tide was against us in the canal and our speed was slowed to about 4.5 to 5 knots and as we passed the power plant in Delaware Bay the seas began to pick up and the wind was on our nose again. Pearl wasn't very happy and I was beginning to think that we may have made a mistake when everything began to lie down. By noon the water had flattened and we were comfortable again. We took on fuel at Utch's, a fuel stop 'renowned' for it's cheap fuel prices. We paid our highest price yet, $1.50 per gallon! We only took on 100 gallons and figure this would pretty well get us home, at least to Connecticut where it should be cheaper.
Now the decision to try the 'inside' route, along New Jerseys ICW or to go 'outside' into the Atlantic and risk bad seas. We had first heard about how treacherous and shallow the New Jersey ICW was from our friends aboard La Ti Da, and then from others as well. We were told that if your boat draws over three feet to take the outside route. However, the folks aboard Nomad, the Marine Trader, had said they made the trip five times through the New Jersey ICW without incident. So we made up our minds to try the inside route. The following morning we left at 0600. Although the depth isn't what you would want it is enough. We seemed to hit all the extremely shallow spots at exactly low water and still had no problems. I draw just over four feet with the dinghy aboard and never touched, although the depth sounder told me I was in four feet of water a couple of times. It is enough to make you bit your nails at times but it is do-able. At 11:35 we went out the Ocean City Inlet and motored north along the Jersey coast to the Little Egg Harbor Inlet, saving almost 15 miles over the inside route. The reports of bad weather had never materialized, until we were safely tied at the Beach Haven Yacht Club dock. We wanted to catch up with our friend Dan who was to be home for a while from his cruise in the South Pacific. We had met Dan in the Azores a couple of years ago during our transatlantic crossing, and have maintained an email friendship since. Unfortunately we were a couple of days early or he was a couple of days late and we never got together. I did talk with Dan's brother and he will be home for a while so maybe we can drive down and visit after we get home. We were able to get some groceries and the search began for a New Jersey magnet to add to the collection. Pearl liked Beach Haven and spent some time exploring the dock. The following morning the weather reports still were not what we had hoped for so we opted to continue inside in the New Jersey ICW. Leaving at 0615 we headed out into a 15 knot breeze out of the north and managed to hit all the low spots at low tide once again - just to add to the challenge. But luck was with us once again and we never touched bottom. At noon we went out the Manasquan Inlet and motored toward Sandy Hook and New York City. We had figured that we would get there by 6:30 or 7:00 that evening but the current along the coast propelled us faster that we could have hoped and we finished our loop at 5:15, tying up at Liberty Landing Marina, the home of our friends Ann and Gordon.
Entering New York harbor from the sea is an exhilarating experience. As we passed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge we called family and friends to share this moment with them. Just seeing familiar sights is great but when the Statue of Liberty comes into view and you know you have accomplished what you have set out to do - words are not enough. This is the spot where we closed 'the loop'. It was from Liberty Landing Marina last June 5th that we set out to 'loop' the eastern half of the U.S. and it has seemed at times, that we would never get back here, but here we are, with Vera Segunda running well, and spirits high. Pearl is happy as is the rest of the crew and a since of accomplishment cannot be denied.
As we approached the dock, (which Ann and Gordon treated us to) we were greeted by flying Champaign corks and friends old and new. It was a great reunion and a great finish to the loop. But the day wasn't over, oh no, Ann and Gordon had plans for us... they took us on.. a boat ride! Yes, a harbor tour sponsored by the local Power Squadron. What a fun evening. We met so many wonderful people, and after the cruise, around 10:30 p.m., we all went out to dinner. Those silly New Yorkers, don't they understand the cruising day ends just after dark! The weekend with Gordon and Ann will be remembered for a long time to come. We had a wonderful time filled with museums, shopping and eating and great friendship. Monday morning we headed out before seven and enjoyed a fair tide and the sights of New York City as it was coming to life in the early morning sunshine. Long Island Sound was a mirror and by noon we eating lunch at a local spot with our friend Joan in Stamford, CT. We had tied at the Brewers Stamford Marina where we were met by Joan and a great bouquet of spring flowers and we spent the day catching up on all that had gone on since we had last seen them. We were joined by Joan's husband Howard and were treated to a special evening at their favorite Japanese restaurant. Mmmmmmmmmmmm! What good fun it is to get reacquainted and to swap so many stories and experiences. The following day was a long day of motoring to Westbrook and the Brewers Pilot's Point marina. This is the very spot where we first saw Vera Segunda. When we bought her she was called Paniam, and was very much in need of care. Since that time four years ago, we have restored her to her place as a proper small yacht and have traveled thousands of miles. We spent a quiet even on the dock until Miss Pearl decided to take shore leave and not return. We had an early morning departure time set and Pearl needed to be aboard. So with flashlight in hand we set out to find her. Crawling around in a boat yard looking for your cat is not very high on my list of favorite things to do but it did get done and Pearl was recovered from under a building where she had all but taken up residence.
The next morning we motored the seven or so miles to Old Saybrook where we walked the three miles to the train station to meet our son Jason, who would be traveling home with us aboard Vera Segunda. Jason's train was on time and Carol and I were only a few minutes late but it worked out well. We had a breakfast at a local spot and did a bit of stocking up on some groceries before the three mile walk back to the dock. We then traveled on up the Connecticut River to dock in Essex at the Brewer's Dauntless yard. It was so good to visit with Jason and to have him aboard. The trip up the river was beautiful and Essex is always a great town to visit. We also got to say hello to our friend and Grand Banks dealer Leslie. We had planned to stay longer and to spend a night at Mystic but the weather began to fall apart again so the decision was made to push on to Newport. We left early and had a spectacular hazy - foggy morning ride down the river and out into Long Island Sound. The water was a glassy misty sea and our course took us into the sunrise. It was beautiful and great to be traveling along with our son aboard. I had wanted to take on more fuel and as we checked prices in Connecticut, they were the highest yet, at $1.79.9 -ouch! So we waited and of course I worried about running low, after all we were down to less than 100 gallons in the tank. Oh well, I found a spot in the fishing village of Jerusalem where we were able to purchase diesel for $1.10, the cheapest we had seen for a while. We tied in Newport by four in the afternoon and just as the seas began to build again. Our daughter Megan came down for a visit that evening and we all went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants/pubs in Newport, the Brick Alley Pub. We all chatted until late before Meg drove home and it was a good reunion. Since we told everyone that we would be home on Saturday, we had an extra day to play in Newport. Jason and I hiked all over town and I showed him all my old haunts from the days when I lived there. Later, Carol and Jason went off to explore while I tended to boat chores. That evening we were picked up by our friend Karen Lanterman and had a great home cooked dinner and reunion with her and her husband, John, in Jamestown. The following morning Megan surprised us by coming aboard and all the Huffs started the final 20 mile leg to home. The weather was beautiful and the day was perfect. At 12:15 we motored into Brewers Cove Haven Marina, our homeport, and were greeted by friends, Champaign and cheers. We had a small welcoming committee come and greet us by dinghy, our friends Steve, Sue and Art. Once on the dock the realization of home was almost overwhelming. It had been almost a year since Vera Segunda was heading out in the other direction and now she was safe and snug back in her old slip and home. So this concludes our journey and our travels for a while. Carol and I want to thank everyone, family and friends, who has made this journey possible and pleasant. A special thanks to all those we met along the way who helped or offered friendship and compassion. And thanks to those who wrote kind and encouraging words and kept our spirits high and kept us motivated. And a special thanks to those who helped with charts and parts and local knowledge. A special thanks to our daughter who took care of our bills and kept us in touch with reality. (And who is having our first grandchild this fall) And to our son who has always been supportive, and to my parents who give us cheer and encouragement whenever we talk. Another very special treat was all those people we met along the way who have become friends. We know that many of these friendships will last a lifetime and are the most treasured gifts of the trip. It is the people that have defined the trip and restored our faith in our great country.
So long for now, and we are hoping you have fair winds and clean fuel in all your travels.
Stay in touch, as we will. We would love to hear from you.