Safely tied up at Essex Island Marina just after lunch, we sat back and enjoyed the rest of the day, in recovery mode from a busy show.
Newport Boat Show
We’re going to sign off for a few days. The Newport boat show – the first show of the season – starts tomorrow, and we’ll be busy meeting and greeting! We were told that there are 50% fewer boats here than 4 years ago. Wow. We are grateful that Krogen Express Yachts LLC is in excellent shape, selling boats and building more. And we are grateful for our wonderful family of owners.
While we’re tooting our own horn, let me just add here – on a personal note – that I continue to be awed by the work ethic and attention to detail of my two “boys”, John and Bob. John is hard at work on the boat here in Newport while Bob has been tending to things in Florida, getting a boat ready for it’s new owners.
This is the mooring field in Nantucket harbor with the church steeple in the background. And Brandt Point lighthouse on our left as we departed the harbor to return to Newport.
Dog Potty Becomes Dog Bed
Getting Ready, aka, Provisioning
As we approached Norfolk, Virginia, the seagrasses, undeveloped acreage, and serenity of northern North Carolina gave way to sirens, horns, generators, train whistles, tug boats, and the hussle bussle of a busy port.
Here are some pictures of a new high-rise bridge which opened this year, replacing a bridge which opened only on the hour! That restricted opening time made things very difficult, so everyone appreciates this new bridge (well, except maybe the tax payers!)
Norfolk is home to the largest Navy base in the world along with one of NATO’s two Strategic Command headquarters. It also has the corporate headquarters of Norfolk Southern Railroad. The region plays a vital role in defense contracting, with particular emphasis in the shipbuilding and ship repair businesses. Many of the largest international shipping companies also are headquartered in Norfolk.
“Security” boats (above) guard the numerous aircraft carriers and other Naval ships docked for repair, including the USS Harry S. Truman, which we saw in port.
Working our way past Norfolk, we entered Chesapeake Bay which, thankfully, welcomed us with calm waters. As this is a huge body of water (200 miles long, 30 miles wide), with the right elements, the Bay can be very rough.
Long range cruising is definitely not like driving a car! It’s not as simple as putting your car in “drive” and zooming down the highway, stopping for the night at one of numerous hotels when you’ve had enough. Long range cruising, such as we’re doing, is kind of like a puzzle where you have a number of variables to consider in determining the most timely and efficient way to safely reach your destination. Of course, evaluation of the weather is really job one; and that entails more than watching The Weather Channel! (What feels like a nice day on land can be entirely different on the water.)
John finds it an interesting challenge to examine our day’s cruise and, depending on where we are, look at those variables which impact our progress. These could be tidal currents or bridges and locks with restricted openings. Based on these variables, we determine the time we start our day (usually at 7 am, but occasionally at 8), and consequently can determine the approximate arrival time at our destination (usually 4-5 pm). Also, with regard to bridge openings, we make appropriate speed adjustments. This is a major reason that we really appreciate having the ability on the Krogen Express to vary our speed (running from 8 kts up to twice that, if we want to).
In order to most efficiently plan the day you have to have good information……currents and their strength and direction, locations of bridges and how often they open (some are “on demand”, some are on the half hour, others on the hour), We are able to find all this information on an app we use on our IPAD from Garmin. It incorporates information from the data base of a cruisers guide called Active Captain. (www.activecaptain.com) It provides info about bridges/schedules, marine facilities, fuel prices.
The Fun Begins!
Block Island behind us, and our first boat show of the season looming, we cruised into Newport awaiting directions from the dock master at the Newport Yachting Center. Once settled into our slip, we greeted our fellow boat company associates-turned-friends as they pulled in. We sort of equate the boat shows to being in the circus! We unpack our wares, work the show, pack up again, head to the next location, and do it all again!
The next day, Monday, the fun began! We had to turn our live aboard vessel into a boat show masterpiece. John began with polishing all the outside stainless steel (a big job), I scrubbed the dinghy, and then we washed every square inch of the outside. Tuesday a friend came down from Boston to visit and (lucky me!) I got the afternoon off! Newport is a very fun place to visit….lots of marine history, beautiful mansions, cute shops, and excellent restaurants. One note about our favorite restaurant Rhode Island Quahog Company, a place we love to visit every year for their excellent clam chowder (definitely the best I’ve ever had)…apparently out of business! We were devestated. But despite the demise of the Rhode Island Quahog Company, definitely put Newport on your “go to” list if you haven’t been there already.
Wednesday it was back to work…thoroughly cleaning the inside of the boat, and setting everything up. We were eagerly anticipating the kick-off of the fall boat show season, so we were charged up and the work was fun and invigorating. Thursday through Sunday we worked the show under sunny, blue skies. We have, in past years, experienced nor’easters where the rain was falling sideways, so we were particularly appreciative of the lovely fall weather. The attendance was bigger than we’d ever seen, altho that’s not necessarily indicative of boat buyers. But everybody was in a good mood and having a grand time. Best of all, one of our owners who resides in Newport, pointed us in the direction of a restaurant called “@ the Deck” where on Monday nights you can get a gigantic lobster roll + fries for only $6.95. It was such a great deal that even John walked out saying “I almost feel like I didn’t pay enough” !!! And if you know John, you’ll really appreciate that comment!
Monday we had planned to make the trek down Long Island Sound to our next gig in Norwalk, CT. But the winds and the waves were just too big, so most of us decided to hang out and make the trip on Tuesday. It was a good chance to relax and enjoy the town (AND allowed us to get that lobster roll. Sometimes being delayed isn’t so bad!) Tuesday brought calmer winds and waves, and we headed out.
Safely docked at Norwalk Cove Marina, the washing began once again, only this time in a more abbreviated fashion. I took time off on Wednesday to have lunch with some childhood girl friends who still live in the area, which was very fun. Thursday we were ready when the show opened at 10. Our dogs, M.E. and Macey, went to doggie day care (the only boat show that provides this service) and had a blast! We worked hard during the days and had fun at night reconnecting with more old friends.
Our big adventure
Flexibility is key when boating; and that is definitely the case for those of us with schedules. With the thought that we had to drive along the coast of New Jersey to get to our next destination (Annapolis), we closely monitored the sea conditions while we were still in Norwalk. The plan was to run along the Jersey coast on Tuesday following the show. Our daughter, Joy, was coming out from the city to meet up with us in Norwalk. We were going to head out on Monday morning and cruise down the East River in Manhattan ( a trip she hadn’t previously made), cruise around the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor, through the Verrazano Narrows bridge and then over to Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Joy would catch the fast ferry back to New York.
A pleasant stop on Block Island
It was nice to be in Block Island when there weren’t so many tourists, although there were enough for us! We pulled into Great Salt Pond (the large mooring field/anchorage) on Friday around 1, and with the help of our binoculars spotted our friend’s mooring ball. The wind was blowing like crazy which made it a more difficult procedure than usual. In fact, remember that couple I mentioned in a previous blog entry? We were the animated ones this time! Oh well, it happens. The wind also made going ashore a wet and salty experience because there were white caps in the mooring field! And over the weekend, the wind let up only occasionally. We took some nice long walks which felt very good after being exercise restricted the past two weeks.