Back in Canada for April and May!
Since April 6th we have been back in Canada visiting family and looking after medical, dental and financial matters! Next year we shall be much more organized and hopefully not have to return home at this time of year. The visit has been a nice break from the boat, although we do miss Pioneer. We will return to our home that "totally floats" before the end of May so that we can get some summer sailing in on the Chesapeake before we must return to Canada for the month of September.
We were able to get caught up on all the latest (and newest) grandchildren. We had never met seven month old Emmet and had only seen Sage as a newborn. She is now a walking eleven month old! We were able to gather as a 4-generation family at Great Grandma's on Salt Spring Island. The weather co-operated nicely. The kids and parents had a great time. It was a memorable and fun time for all.
To the Left is daughter Kelly and her son, Emmett
To the right is daughter-in-law Carol and her daughter, Sage
To the left is son Rob and daughter Kelly with Emmett and Sage
To the right are the oldest grandchildren: Jade - 5, and Elyse - 2
To the left, 4 generations of Henderson women take a walk on Salt Spring - Phyllis, Judy, Kelly and Elyse (Age spread 2 to 94!)
To the right, Ron and his mom, Evelyn, celebrate Mother's Day
On the way home from the coast, we stopped in Vernon to visit Ron's eldest son and his family. Both of Ron's grandson's are growing like weeds! The eldest, Jack, is so much like his grandfather that it is often the source of many a chuckle! The youngest, Conrad, looks more like his parents. Guess Jack must have lucked out with his grandfather's good looks!
Back in Lethbridge we visited with Ron's family and mingled with friends at the Penny Coffee House. Eileen, one of the proprietors of the Penny had returned from England, where she ran in the London Marathon, in time for us to get this picture. Congrats, Eileen on a great race! Time sure is flying and we are trying hard to get everything completed so that we can get on the road back to North Carolina and Pioneer.
To the left, Eileen and Evelyn enjoy a moment outside the Penny
To the right, we enjoy a break with friends, Cliff and Linda, inside the Penny
Before leaving Lethbridge we just had to visit the old homestead and enjoy a homemade lasagna meal with Dick, Phyllis (new owner), and Ron's son, Aaron.
Richard, Phyllis, Judy and Aaron enjoying lunch on the back deck
It was a great visit and we even got to see inside Dick's new home. He moved into his mom's home when she moved into ours! He is an avid collector of antiques and the eclectic, and it was a real treat for us to get the tour. Wow.....were we impressed! Check out the old and beautiful Crossley radios!
Dick's living room with its antiques
Judy even made a new friend here, Fuzzy Monkey! Dick has some of the best and biggest collections of memorabilia that we have seen and he is very resourceful in finding his "treasures"
Judy admires Dick's "fuzzy monkey"
Our visit home was very productive. We spent many good hours with family and friends. It felt a little strange visiting our old house, but Phyllis is taking excellent care of it and she loves it. That made us feel very good.
Our moms are doing very well, as are our children and grandchildren. It will make the transition back to the nomadic life on the boat easier knowing that all is well. Our plan is still to visit the Chesapeake Bay, although we also have many boat projects to do at the dock at Minnesott. We also have many new friends in the North Carolina area that we want to spend time with before we move on. We plan to drive back to the US and then return via car in mid-August. Then we will have to fly back to the boat to get prepared for the trip south.
Back Home on Pioneer: June, 2006
It was time once again to leave Canada and head back to Pioneer. This time we left at 9 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 29th. We drove all night and all the next day - took an overnight break - then drove all day and night again - arriving in New Bern in the early morning to do some shopping before the last 30 miles to Minnesott. We stepped back aboard Pioneer on Thursday, June 1st. She looked very ship-shape and ready for us to tackle some of our work projects.
Judy pumped up a sagging Scout and set her into the water prior to scrubbing the waterway moustache off of her.
Judy works on Scout and the brightwork before setting sail again
Ron's projects involved building shelves into two hanging lockers and doing some interior organization work. Judy elected to clean the deck, and repair and put more clear coats on the brightwork. By the end of our stay at Minnesott, all jobs had been completed!
While in the Oriental area, we took time to visit with Dee and Don on Southern Cross. We never realized that she was a "woodie", what a great boat! Lots of time was spent going out to dinner with friends, Rex and Carol. We even invited them to our boat one night for dinner - that was a first for us!
Rex and Carol, D and Don with Judy after a great dinner in Oriental
The Stanley Cup could not be denied and so we stayed around until the series finished. It was very exciting and fun to watch it with Rex, Carol, David, Zeb and Barbara.
The Oilers had some fans in North Carolina after all!
David is a scuba diver by hobby so we took Pioneer and his boat out into the Neuse River one quiet day, anchored and rafted up - then it was David over the side in his scuba gear. He scrubbed the bottom of both boats, cleaned off the props and put new zincs on Pioneer. It was sunny and hot out there - well into the 90's and very humid. We had to cool off so we did so with water and beer. It was a fun day - thanks, David!
David scrubs away on the boat hulls in the Neuse River
Zeb was also very kind to us, giving us cantelope and honey dew melon and lots of different peppers - which Ron is almost finished taste- testing for him, then will send a written report.
We also met two more liveaboards, Peter and Phyllis. They have a Valiant 40 in New Bern. They told us about some good anchorages on the way up to, and into, The Chesapeake. Thanks to them as well - we have used their advice for every stop so far. While at Minnesott we checked in with friends Dick and Judy Giddings. We wish we could have seen more of them but we were getting squeezed for time with our projects.
On July 11th we left Minnesott and our car (safely stored at the marina). This is our seventh day out - six full days of travel each day. We knew when we were going to leave because we put our stern flag up and raised our U.S. courtesy flag. Our first day out on the week-long trip to Middle River at Baltimore, was a 63-statute mile day with an overnight in a quiet spot, No-Name Creek, with lots of crab traps. The next day we pushed even harder and made 77 miles - staying the night at Coinjock, NC at the Midway Marina. They had a great seafood restaurant there called Crabbies, also a swimming pool, fuel, electricity, etc. We treated ourselves to a swim in the pool then dinner at the restaurant. Since we were plugged in, we were able to use the air conditioner - what a treat!
Chasing a barge through the bridges made great time!
On our third day out we left the marina early and managed to get behind a barge which was going to Norfolk. Lucky for us because the bridges opened for the barge so we never had to wait for an opening. There were at least eight bridges to contend with, plus one lock to go through on that day.
The locks at Great Bridge
Because we were on the barge's tail all day, we made Hospital Point anchorage in Norfolk by early afternoon. It was a good thing that we did because an hour after we set the anchor some terrific thunderstorms came through with a whole lot of rain.
The next day it was off bright and early again, with destination Deltaville on The Chesapeake. We anchored overnight in Jackson Creek and it was beautiful and very pleasant there. Our trip that day had some good winds so we were able to ramp up our speed by raising our genny. On Saturday morning we left Deltaville bright and early on our way to Solomons Island for another overnight anchorage. No wind, just some fog and a short rainstorm. After we dropped anchor a heavy rain shower, with accompanying thunder and wind, set upon us. At least it cooled things off.
Dead ship in Norfolk , VA
Other boats in the great Bridge locks
Warship passing our anchorage at Hospital Point in Norfolk.
Passing freighters as we leave Norfolk
Submarine with escorts near Norfolk Naval Base
Local wildlife - Judy (love that auto pilot!)
More local wildlife - ospreys
We have managed to break two of our rules so far on this trip. #1 - We went into West Marine - and bought two items - one unplanned, an impulse purchase!!! We had been very proud of our ability to get things elsewhere, cheaper; however, this time it just didn't work out. #2 - We also now have two cell phones. We were forced into this because we have no way for people to contact us easily by phone. So, now we have one to use in Canada and one for the U.S. The U.S. one is a great phone and we can talk on it just about anywhere. Unfortunately we are such greenhorns at cell phones that we missed our first call! Judy just couldn't figure out what was playing the music and by the time she answered the call, Sally and Conrad had left a message. At least we learned how to receive the messages!!!
Conrad works on the hull of Its About Time at Long Beach Marina
We are now at the Long Beach Marina on Middle River close to Baltimore. It is very HOT! here - once again, we are glad that we have our air conditioner. Hopefully it will not break down while the weather is so very uncomfortable outside. We never thought that we would enjoy a rain shower/thunderstorm as much as we are. Since the swimming here is limited to a pool, when we are out on the water the only way to cool off is to stand out on the deck in a rainstorm! Sally and Conrad were out on the dock at the marina, ready to greet us and help us into their slip for the night. Their boat is still on the hard, but should be splashed today. Then we will move into another slip for the rest of the week. After that we may be off to visit other boating friends around the Chesapeake.
"On the Hard"
Two days ago, while checking in on the Cruiseheimer's net on our SSB we were able to link up with Carl and Debbie on Diva. We haven't seen/heard them since leaving the Bahamas in March, 2006. They are up in New York, enjoying the sights in the Big Apple, but should now be working their way south again and back to their home state of Florida. The SSB communication was a good thing because it allowed us to refresh our memory about how to switch frequencies - how quickly we forget when we haven't used something for a few months. Getting back to electronics is not like riding a bicycle - their are intricate little things that go out of mind very quickly with lack of use!
Heat Waves and Heading Back to NC
Our stay at Long Beach Marina was terrific fun! We met many new people and got a chance to spend some quality time with our friends, Conrad and Sally, on "It's About Time". Unfortunately, our plans to do some sailing out to various anchorages in the area were stymied by the weather - MAJOR HEAT WAVE!
The only relief from the heat!
We have never experienced temperatures and humidity so high. The best day was in the mid 90's (Fahrenheit) with a heat index of 103 deg. F. The worst day was 100 deg F. with a heat index of 113 deg. F. It was a struggle to work on the boat in the early morning (sometimes into the afternoon) in the unbearable heat! Our daily routine became work in the morning then watch movies on "It's About Time" (IAT) in the afternoon or head to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Geresbecks (groceries) or West Marine - love that air conditioning!!!
Vern throws blocks of ice into the pool as a treat for us "wilting" boaters
When we returned to the marina it was usually into the pool for about an hour, cold shower, then get together for a barbeque on "IAT". Life is tough......... On the absolute hottest day we were trying to cool off in the pool (which must have been 88 deg F) with several other boaters, when the marina manager, Vern, showed up with a cart full of ice blocks. Into the pool they went! What a treat! Thanks Vern!
Judy cools Conrad down with a fast melting ice block
We treasured the awnings that came with Pioneer when we bought her - they kept our deck from heating up and thus kept the temperature inside bearable. Murphy's Law applied, of course, and in the middle of the heat wave, our air conditioning failed. The electrical lines had a faulty connection and fried with the constant use. West Marine to the rescue! Between Conrad and Ron the air conditioning was on again before the end of the day.
The deck awnings were a "life saver"
We got a lot of work done with Conrad's help while we were at Long Beach. We took one of our spreader's down and had a damaged section welded and then put it back up, we replaced our Lazy Jack system and a burnt-out spreader light and we replaced our bilge blower that died of old age. On top of that we replaced the impeller in the engine cooling system, and did several other maintenance tasks on the engine.
"IAT" is back in the water!
Conrad up Pioneer's mast to replace spreader light
Sally gets a hair cut!
Ron lays out the anchor chain and changes it end to end
We decided to hang around Long Beach instead of heading further North, as we would have had to purchase charts which we didn't have and time was at a premium. The heat wave definitely made marina life more attractive as without the plug-in capability we had no a/c. As soon as the heat wave broke, Friday, August 4th, we headed back to NC and our home base, Wayfarers Cove at Minnesott Beach. To the left, Sally and Conrad sound a mournful farewell on the conch horn at 0630 hrs as we head out of Frog Mortar Creek into the Middle River and The Chesapeake.
Sally and Conrad bid us "farewell" as we head back to Minnesott
The trip to the Baltimore area had taken 6 days and we thought that we would head back at a more leisurely pace. Not so when we got going! The temperatures in the morning were great and the sailing on Chesapeake Bay was enjoyable and speedy in 15 to 20 knots wind. There were few other boaters out on the Friday but we did see this interesting schooner that was heading from Baltimore to Annapolis. There seemed to be lots of people on board so it may have been a charter or a sailing school vessel. Unfortunately it was not under sail at the time.
Colourful schooner near Annapolis
The only frustration with this leg of the trip was the biting flies! Hundreds of them!!! We swatted and sprayed and finally sailed with our bug screens surrounding the cockpit - not very nautical! Our sticky fly strips were loaded with bodies and the deck and cockpit littered with swatted bugs.
Yuch!! Flies that bite!
Although the pictures don't do justice to the numbers of flies, there were hundreds in the pile that was swept up in the cockpit and an equal number on the two fly strips that we hung in the cabin. Unfortunately, Ron received most of the bites - Judy must not taste very good because the bugs just don't seem to cause her too much grief. Thank goodness that the bugs disappeared at dusk!
Our cockpit bug pile!
We stopped off at Solomon's Island and Deltaville and then made the free dock at Great Bridge on night three. Passing through Norfolk (pronounced NAW-fuck) we got a glimpse of the impressive U.S. Navy warships that were stationed there.
Warship at dock in Norfolk
Canada sure has no idea of what it is like to have a navy! Once on the waterway, we had barge traffic and scheduled bridge openings with which to contend, along with pleasure boaters that were water skiing or pulling inflatable rafts loaded with kids. We decided to go for Great Bridge on day 3 because the lift and swing bridges, for the most part, opened on request on Sundays and so we would have few delays while we headed south. On our way north, we had been one of several boats and a barge in the Great Bridge Lock. Heading south we were the only boat in the locks! A sign on the side of the locks was helpful in telling us the statute miles to various destinations.
Road signs on the waterway!
On the south side of Great Bridge Bridge there was a free dock that we shared with another sailboat for the evening. We covered between 64 and 68 nautical miles (NM) each day on The Chesapeake. Once on the actual waterway, it was cooler underway than at anchor so we trudged on doing 77 and 78 NM. each day. On this leg of the trip we met up with various barges being pushed by tugs.
Barges are a common sight on the waterway
Pioneer snugged up to a public dock near Great Bridge
One particular tug, the Phyllis Moran, we passed once on the waterway and then again after she scooted past us when we were fuelling up at Coinjock. There is nothing more harrowing than trying to pass a VERY LARGE AND LONG barge that is almost going the same speed that you are in a very narrow canal! There were other interesting sights along the waterway which included partially submerged boats and even an old PT boat converted into a pleasure craft - however, keeping the mounted guns on the deck for effect!
The Phyllis Moran gave us a run for our money
We stopped off at Deep Point on the Alligator River and then arrived at Wayfarers Cove 5 days after leaving Long Beach. It felt good to be back to our temporary home and to be able to turn on the air conditioner once again. Arriving at a fly free port also gave Ron the opportunity to dump the sticky fly strips in the garbage. Judy was very glad to see them go because in her midnight checks at anchor she was constantly running into them and getting completely unnerved by sticking to the dead fly bodies that had been trapped over the past several days!
Ron manhandles the "heavy with flies" fly strips
On our last day with the main up on Chesapeake Bay, our outhaul line broke and so one of our first tasks once we arrived back home was to fix that problem. We used some stiff lifeline to thread down the boom and attached the outhaul line to it. The job turned out to be very easy. Judy headed up the mast in the bosun's chair to free up a broken flag halyard and remove an old spreader light. That was enough work for our first full day back at Minnesott. We headed off for the pool at the local country club to meet up with Rex and Carol. They are such great friends and so generous with their time. Our second night back they invited us over for dinner and to get caught up on news. The next day we went swimming with them at the country club pool and then back to their lovely home for supper once again.
Romping with Rex and Carol in the pool at the Country Club
While at the pool we met some of their friends, Tommy and Sally, Brad and Lucille - all Minnesott residents and fun people.
On August 11th, Ron will be cleaning out the a/c water strainer and checking some exhaust hose connections - provided that the rain lets up. Tonight we may head off to the Tiki Bar in Oriental to meet up with friends, Perry and Susan. Tomorrow, if the weather permits, it is out on the water in Rex and Carol's runabout "Spike" for a trip to Oriental and back. Rex has solved all Spike's engine and exhaust problems so the trip should go without incident!
Our future plans involve heading back to Lethbridge in the truck on about Aug. 19th. That will give Judy some time to get realigned by the chiropractor before she flies off to Salt Spring Island on the 26th to help her mum move into Meadowbrook. Then it will be back to Lethbridge on about Sept 11th for a week or so before heading back to NC. In early October we will attend the Annapolis Sail Boat Show and at the end of October we will take part in the Southbound Cruiser's Rendezvous in New Bern, NC before heading south for the winter. This winter it will either be the Bahamas again and Cuba, or Trinidad in the Caribbean. Tough decision!
Boat Work then Back to Canada
The month of August gave us an opportunity to work on Pioneer and get her ready for a hurricane, should one hit the NC coast when we were back home in Canada visiting friends and family. There wasn't much time for pictures or web updates during this time. It was busy and hectic but we did manage to catch a few pics of our efforts.
Judy up the mast replacing spreader lights on a 99 deg F. day! Notice the legs clutched around the mast - "holding on for dear life".
The last voyage of Hat Lady
A very special sight to behold was one of the last outings for "Hat Lady", a Pearson 26. Rex and Carol, her skipper and first mate, were showing her off to friends and potential buyers on this beautiful day. And so it happened...."Hat Lady" was sold. Now Rex and Carol just have their runabout/fishing boat, "Spike". But, they still have a lot of fun.....golf and fishing are now their passions!
Then it was time to leave and head back to Canada. We did the trip in 48 hours driving time - no stops of any worth - just a few hours of sleep by the side of the road when the deer became too numerous! A few days after arriving in Lethbridge, Judy headed off to see her mother in BC.
Ron blows arbutus leaves off the roof of our second home on SaltSpring
It was also a chance to meet up with friends Deb and Gary who were visiting from Ontario. A great and fun time was had by all! Judy was helping her mum get ready for a move into a senior's residence. Ron arrived about a week later to help prepare the house for the winter and clean things up.
Judy cleans ups after Ron on the deck!
Then it was back to Lethbridge and off to NC once again, hopefully, not to return to Canada until the late Spring of 2007.
Boat Shows, Boat Work, Boat People!
We arrived back on Pioneer with a few days to spare before we headed to the Annapolis Sailboat Show. We attended the show every day, staying with friends Conrad and Sally on "It's About Time". We spent some money and learned many things that money just can't buy. It was great to run into cruisers there that we had last seen it the Bahamas.
D and Don, "Southern Cross", working at the show
Ed and Connie from "Surprise" join us for lunch
Conrad, Sally "It's About Time", Judy and friends at the show. Yes, this was the day it just poured rain!
Judy checks out the CR47 Pilothouse - wow!
Ron enjoys the steel band music and Red Stripe Beer at the Sunsail party after the show closes one night
Then it was time to get back to the boat and start on those projects that needed to be done before we could head south. To name a few: repair exhaust pipe, remount repaired inverter, re-bed 5 portholes and replace glass in a few, re-bed hatch hinges, clean up portlights and brass dome light fixtures, replace gooseneck on staysail boom, get our headsail repaired and re-cut to a more manageable size, touch up some of the exterior and interior teak and fix the head! We are well on our way to completing these tasks and a good thing it is because we only have a few more weeks before we head south.
Judy replaces glass in the portlights and rebeds them
Here at the marina we get daily deliveries from UPS with all the goodies that we ordered at the Boat Show. It is like an early Christmas. One of the deliveries was a butane soldering iron and hot knife that is Judy's favourite. Along with her new set of fids for splicing rope, she has lots to do in her spare time. Some women knit, but Judy "fids"! We had to take a bit of a break in our work schedule so that we could attend the Southbound Cruisers Rendezvous in New Bern. We drove into New Bern each day for the workshops and the fellowship.
Judy and her butane line cutter!
Judy cleaning up a re-bedded portlight
Southbound Cruiser's Rendezvous - Oct 24-27/06
The Rendezvous was a great success thanks to all the hard work of Dick and Judy Giddings. As usual, we learned a lot, met some new cruisers and reacquainted ourselves with friends that we had met in Bahamas.
Carl and Debbie (s/v Diva)
There were several cruisers heading for the Caribbean this winter and we hope to be able to join some of them at various points in our journey south. Many of them have left for the warmer climates over the last few days; they will travel south with the rush of cruisers.
Chris and Barbara, Moonsail - soon to leave for Trinidad
We don't mind waiting another week so that we can avoid the bottleneck, but hopefully we will buddy with another boat to make the 32 hour trip to Charleston, or, we can do the waterway for a few weeks. Check out our pictures of the rendezvous festivities! A great time was had by all! Carl and Debbie (Diva) were great fun. After the Rendezvous we brought them to Minnesott to see our little "hidey hole". We got a chance to mingle with so many great people. That is what cruising is all about!
Our crowd of friends, new and old at the Rendezvous
New friends such as Chris and Barbara on MoonSail, Harry and Melinda on Sea Schell, Nan and John on Pacific Rose, Dick and Jane on Cheetah II, Harrison on Stella Maris (a Cabo Rico like Pioneer), Bill and Margaret on Margareta, and old friends such as Shirley and Charlie on La Coquette, Dick and Debbie on Rusty Rudder III, Bev and Arnie on Scandia, Carl and Debbie on Diva, Bette and David on Tar Heel, John and Jennifer on Shamrock (another Cabo Rico), Judy and Dick Giddings (St. Jude), David and Mary on Mon Ami, Bill and Sue on Nice 'n' Easy, Mike and Suzanne on Carolina, Jim and Bentley on Salty Paws, D and Don on Southern Cross, Ed and Connie on Surprise - all of these people made the Rendezvous an unforgettable experience.
Judy Giddings receives the RWC Award
Judy perfecting her knots in knot class
Sue and Bill (Nice 'n' Easy) and Deb (Rusty Rudder III)
Ron, Bette and David (Tar Heel) and Harrison (Stella Maris)
Dick (Rusty Rudder III) and Shirley (La Coquette)
Mike and Suzanne (Carolina)
David and Mary (Mon Ami)
Jim (Salty Paws) and Judy (St. Jude)
Dick (St. Jude) and Mary (Mon Ami) - door prize time!
Eileen Quinn (Little Gidding) has us doing the anchoring dance!
Carl and Debbie (Diva) and Judy at Minnesott Beach after the Rendezvous
November 2006 - December in Cuba??
November was on us before we had a chance to realize that we were missing out on the fun that comes with warmer climates! Our friends knew when not to pass up a good thing. With the exception of Don and D on Southern Cross, we hugged and said our goodbyes to many friends as they set out down the waterway (or "outside") for Florida and the crossing to the Bahamas and other points south.
Pioneer in her slip straining at the lines to get out and cruise!
We kept working on the boat, getting our old genoa cut down to a yankee at Inner Banks in Oriental, installing a new water filtration system, doing some engine maintenance and exhaust repair (with the help of Deatons), replacing the gooseneck on the staysail boom, and trying to catch all the potential leaks in the newly rebedded portlights.
Ron just completing the work on the staysail boom
Scout got a cleaning and conditioning treatment then got all rolled up and secured firmly to the foredeck for the voyage south.
As we waited for the right weather window to go "outside", we explored the area around Wayfarers Cove and Ron managed to have some fun in the boatyard. Check out the boat Ron has his eye on as he plays on the travel lift (just kidding, it wasn't on!).
Ron tries to get the travel lift under his favourite boat in the yard
We were invited for dinner at the home of Perry and Susan, in Arapahoe, where our SUV would be spending the winter. They have a wonderful and large piece of property just outside of Arapahoe, on a creek. Susan in an artist and Perry is flirting with retirement from the media business. Their house is aptly shaped, it is round! Perry cooked chickens on the barbecue with beer cans stuffed inside (yes, they had beer in them). Neighbours who were also heading to the Bahamas, Ricardo and Kathy, were invited as well. It was a very enjoyable way to have a send-off.
Susan, Perry, Kathryn, Enrique and Judy enjoy dinner
Unfortunately, our friends, Rex and Carole had to deal with the death of Rex's mom on Thanksgiving Day. It was a blessing, but still difficult for them. We think of them often and will miss them this winter.
As the weather got colder and the trees turned colour we got more and more anxious. Then a mighty cold front went through, the one that brought snow to many parts of the US and Canada. The result for us was a lot of flooding and chilly temperatures - but no snow!! On returning to our boat after a final provisioning trip to New Bern, we even found ourselves at odds with trying to re-board Pioneer. The finger docks were covered with water so we had to board her from the bow and the main dock, struggling up and over the pulpit. That night we had no power because of the height of the water so it was a very chilly night! .
Judy is dressed for the weather and amazed at the high water level
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