by Betsie Betsie No Comments

Nantucket

NANTUCKET

We previously wrote about a visit to Nantucket (see blog in September 2012); and frankly our current visit is not much different than that!  We’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family who summer here.

We arrived from our stay in Martha’s Vineyard where we anchored for 5 days.  In total it had been about 10 days since we’d been in a marina, so it was delightful to be able to tie up to a dock and just hop off to walk the dogs, do a couple loads of laundry (yes, on board!), and refresh our pantry.  Our family greeted us at the dock and welcomed us in!  That was the best feeling in the world!

We are stern-to on a shopping walk-way, so there are lots of gawkers!  Afterall, the Krogen Express is a head-turning vessel!  Sometimes we feel like we are an exhibit at the zoo!  People stop and stare. They call on the radio. They watch as we dock or pull into an anchorage or mooring field.  It’s flattering, but it can also be a bit intimidating, especially when you’re trying to have a smooth docking or a perfect mooring pick-up.

Nantucket is a charming island and village, and in many ways very folksy.  One day during our visit the town had a big parade in honor of the high school graduates.  The fire department and police, along with an array of cars decorated with blue and white balloons, honked and blew sirens!  People stood along the side of the road clapping and cheering!

Today the island is distinguished by its unpainted cedar-shingled buildings, gorgeous flower boxes/pots, and cobblestone streets; but between 1690 and 1840 it was the foremost whaling port in America.  Today it has a year-round population of 17,200 residents.  In 1830 it was the third largest city in Massachusetts!

As I write this at 9 am on June 15th it is 56 degrees with a NE wind of 19 mph.  The “feelslike” temperature is 53.  I now know why the regulars here refer to June as “Juneuary”.  I will say, however, that this is the coolest we have experienced in almost a week.  Typically the average daytime temperature for this time of year in Nantucket is the mid-60s.  Fortunately that’s been the norm for us during our visit.  And, fortunately I brought the right clothes for Juneuary!

With the winds what they are, we are so thankful that we are tied up at the marina, and not being thrashed around in the mooring field.  Nantucket Harbor is very vulnerable to north winds. While it is enclosed, the land to the north is low-lying which provides only  minimal wind protection.  In addition the harbor is large.  Consequently there is a lot of fetch, and it can get very choppy.  There are whitecaps out there now.  A dinghy ride ashore would be miserable in these conditions.

We have a couple more days in Nantucket, after which we will head north into (for us) “uncharted territory”!  More boating adventures await us!

by Betsie Betsie No Comments

Martha’s Vineyard

Well, Martha’s Vineyard proved to be a great “port-in-the-storm,” or rather an “anchor during the wind!”   Lake Tashmoo is surrounded by big trees and banks, and it’s a very protected spot to drop the anchor.  In fact we loved it so much we stayed 5 days!  After moving up the coast fairly quickly, we enjoyed the opportunity to relax, do some boat projects, take walks, and read (something we never seem to have time to do).  John likes espionage and “whodunnit” books. I prefer biographies and fiction-based-on-fact books.  In fact, I read “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” by Bill Bryson.  It’s an autobiographical book about a guy who grows up in the 50s and 60s, the peculiarities of his family and his adventures, etc. etc.  I laughed out loud so many times; and when I would try to read a section of it to John I could hardly get the words out I was laughing so hard!

It’s about a 25-minute walk to the nearest town, Vineyard Haven. But when you have two dogs with you who like to sniff everything, it’s more like 40! Our walk there was pleasant but there wasn’t a lot to do as not much was fully open.  Another day we walked to John’s Fish Market for another clam-chowder taste test in our never ending quest to find the best!  Our opinion:  Lobster House in Cape May is still number 1.

We said “adieu, Lake Tashmoo”  this morning and had a delightful ride southeast to Edgartown.

According to “Mr. Wickylickypedia,” Edgartown was one of the primary ports for the whaling industry during the 1800s.  Ships from all over the world would dock in its sheltered bay and captains would build grand mansions for their families with ornate top floor rooms called widow’s walks, which overlooked the harbor. A myth developed that wives would watch for months from these tiny rooms, hoping to see the sails of ships that would bring their husbands home from the sea. There is little or no evidence that widow’s walks were intended or regularly used for this purpose. They were frequently built around the chimney of the residence, thus creating an easy access route to the structure, allowing the residents of the home to pour sand down burning chimneys in the event of a chimney fire in the hopes of preventing the house from burning down. As more economical alternatives became available the whaling industry began to decline. By the beginning of the 20th century, its influence on the tiny town which had made its fortunes through the industry, was ended. Today the town is more known for tourism, as well as the site of Chappaquiddick, where Ted Kennedy’s fatal automobile accident took place in 1969.”  The locals refer to Chappaquiddick as “Chappy”.

Residents here have beautifully restored old captain’s homes. Local shops and hydrangea boxes line the streets.  Diners gather at outdoor patio restaurants on the harbor.  It’s a charming village.

This patriotic sailboat sailed by our bow this evening!  I couldn’t resist taking a picture.  As you have probably figured out, I am a big fan of the American flag!

And this was the view from our stern.  Not a bad place for a spaghetti dinner, don’t you agree?

 

The next week or so we will be in Nantucket spending time with family and friends.  Stay tuned for more cruise-news from Daystar!

by Betsie Betsie No Comments

Mattituck to Martha’s Vineyard

Mattituck to Shelter……err, Block …….Island, and then Martha’s Vineyard!

Mattituck is a darling little village that we absolutely love to visit. (And it has the best homemade donut shop in the world!)  The anchorage is about 20 minutes down the inlet off the north shore of Long Island Sound (see picture of red building).  There’s room for about 4 boats there; but this time we were the only ones!  Nothing was open in town so we just hung around the boat, took short walks. We have friends from home who have a summer house near here, so they came to visit us, and we had a great time catching up as well as discussing all the ins and outs of world events.

The plan was to spend two nights there, then head to Shelter Island (which we’d never been to before) for a couple of days, then we’d head on to Block Island.  But after a double check of the weather we decided to implement Plan B…..go directly to Block Island.  When I say “check the weather” I don’t mean sun, rain, and temperature!  I mean wind, wave heights, currents.  Those factors, combined with open water, are something that we have to heed and respect.

Making itinerary adjustments is something that boaters have to do from time to time. My captain is very good about studying the conditions in order to provide a comfortable, safe ride.  But also the Krogen Express gives us options……extra power to get through messy inlets, extra speed to beat/get out of bad weather, or arrive at a bridge for it’s scheduled opening.  Sometimes 6 hours on the water is enough!  Get to your destination and enjoy yourself.  But if you want sip fuel you can run at a displacement speed; and she’s happy doing that.

We arrived at Block Island mid-afternoon. Typically at this time of year Great Salt Pond is host to over a hundred boats, anchored or on a mooring.  We counted 10!  Ashore, we did see a few people and cars; but everything was closed.   Nonetheless, the “Welcome, Boaters” sign made us smile, as if the sign was meant just for us!  At the dinghy dock, we looked back and got a clear shot of Daystar way off in the background.  Typically there would be so many boats, there would be no way to see her.

The sun rises earlier in the northeast than we’re used to in Florida.  On the boat we get up around 5:30.  (By 10 you feel like it’s time for lunch!!) We had dinghy’d to shore, walked the dogs, secured the dinghy, and pulled up the anchor by 6:45.  It was a couple of hours to Point Judith across Block Island Sound where we filled up the tanks at a commercial fuel dock, and we also purchased right-of-the-boat swordfish and a quart of lobster bisque.  (We’ll be eating right tonight, I’d say!)

Filled up and dogs walked, we made the trip to Martha’s Vineyard, arriving around 2.  It was a bit of a beamy ride, but we knew the winds were going to pick up even more and wanted to get settled in quiet Lake Tashmoo near Vineyard Haven.  It’s a lovely, peaceful setting; and the sun has finally come out at 5:30 pm.

by Betsie Betsie 1 Comment

Staten Island to Port Washington

PORT WASHINGTON – (USUALLY) A FAVORITE STOP

The marina in Staten Island provided a good port for a couple of nights.  It’s not fancy, but the local boat owners there are so darn nice!  And they’re very patriotic!  There were American flags flying everywhere.  It seems to me that Staten Island gets a bit of a bum rap.  It is the “forgotten borough” of New York, but it actually has a lot to offer; and this view off our stern might make you think you were in England or Ireland, not 10 miles from Manhattan!

We’ve made the trek through New York Harbor and the East River countless times (actually 36 for John) and it’s always fun and exciting, watching out for water taxis, ferries, and moving barges.  This year it was a little different, even eery.  We saw only a handful of traffic, and when we got up near LaGuardia airport, over a period of 30 minutes, not one single plane passed overhead.  Normally they’d be coming in/out every 30 seconds or so.

Port Washington on the north shore of Long Island has always been one of our favorite stops.  If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know why…….there’s a huge grocery store AND a HomeGoods!  Seems like a shopper’s paradise if you’ve been out on the water for a few weeks.  Plus it provides a good opportunity to pick up things we may have forgotten or, of course, things we don’t even need!!  (If you’re a HomeGoods lover, you know what I mean! Wink wink!) But as you can probably guess, there was no visit to HomeGoods this trip.  Sigh.  And to make it worse, we discovered during a walk that there is now a TJMaxx!  Sigh.  It just about killed me to see these stores dark and shuttered, especially since retail was just opening up in my home state just prior to our departure.  Sigh.

Ok, so back to the boating part of this entry!  The wind was picking up as we entered the mooring field of Manhasset Bay at Port Washington.  John and I have a tried and true system for picking up a mooring ball pennant.  He is at the bridge and I am positioned in the stern at the lowest part of the boat.  I grab the line with my boat hook, walk it forward, pulling it up as I go, loop it on the forward cleat, and done……..all accomplished with no yelling!!  This time the First Mate wasn’t feeling up for that technique, so we decided to put our Yacht Controller to work.  This enabled the Captain to assist.  A Yacht Controller is a wireless, remote control to assist in operating the boat.  It allows the operator to move about anywhere on the boat enabling him/her to control the bow and stern thrusters as well as putting the engines in/out of gear (forward or reverse).  We accomplished our mission with a high five, and again, no yelling was necessary!

The following morning we spent time prepping the boat because we had visitors coming!  Bob Loudon (whom many of you have met), our General Manager, had been talking with a couple interested in purchasing a Krogen Express.  They drove over from Connecticut and we had a good time sharing the attributes of the boat.  I think people appreciate the fact that John and I do extensive cruising and are intimately knowledgeable about the boat and the crusing life.

After our visitors bid us adieu we set out to find some Asian takeout for lunch, discovered a great place, and then found a park bench nearby in which to enjoy it.  Even with plastic forks and styrofoam containers, it tasted really good!

The next day brought the real excitement……..a trip to the huge Stop and Shop grocery store.  (There’s even a very nice dinghy dock directly across the street from it (see picture) which makes it super easy for transporting the bags from the store.)  At home, going to the grocery is, for most, a dull and dreaded necessity.  On the boat, it is something you look forward to.  Even in the midst of a pandemic and the bother of having to wear masks and follow arrows in the aisles, filling up your boat pantry and fridge is a big deal.  When you’re done, you have such a sense of accomplishment, the feeling that all is well in your world, and it’s now safe to progress with the trip.

Dropping the line to the mooring ball, we said goodbye to Port Washington and continued east along the north shore of Long Island.

by Betsie Betsie No Comments

Oxford to NYC

Greetings Friends and Fans!

Some of you may be reading our blog for the first time.  Welcome!  Others may have read it previously.  If you’re in the latter category we 1) appreciate your loyalty, as it’s been too long since we made any entries; and 2) apologize now for any repeats in tales/stories about previously covered topics!

This year our cruising will be a little different than in the past.  In addition to doing the fall boat shows (Newport, Baltimore, Annapolis) we’ll be heading up to Maine for two months!  This will be brand new cruising territory for us and we are excited to share it with all of you as we go.

On May 20 we left the ideal climate of Florida, land of optional masks, for cloudy, cool, mask-required Maryland.  But “Daystar” awaited us which was great!  Our mini-van was absolutely packed to the gills with supplies. It took nine dock carts full to empty it!  Once settled in, we felt more relaxed to spend a couple of evenings with our good friends from Vero Beach who summer in Easton.

We departed from Oxford on Monday morning.  (At least I think it was Monday!  Some of you may already grasp the fact then when you’re boating, you hardly know what day it is much less the date!  So don’t take my reference to days or dates too seriously!)  Our first destination was Chesapeake City along the C&D Canal on the border of Delaware and Maryland.  (See the blog entry dated September 12, 2012 for information about and the history of the C&D Canal.)  A relatively quiet little town, it was party-central on Memorial Day!  It was a lovely day and folks were ready to escape from their lockdowns.  We anchored near the boat ramp (not by choice, for sure!) and spent a greater part of the evening totally entertained as day-boats were loaded on to trailers.

When we awoke at 5:30 the next morning for our 15-mile trek up the canal, we were greeted by the thickest fog we’d ever experienced.  Fortunately no one else was out, plus we had our trusty Mr. Radar to guide us. We made it through just fine.  The fog had dispersed a bit for the trip across the Delaware Bay and the waters were calm there.  We reached Cape May by early afternoon.

John and I consider ourselves clam chowder aficionados!  We absolutely love the clam chowder at The Lobster House in Cape May.  It’s a 2-minute walk from the marina where we were docked, so we treated ourselves to two quarts of chowder plus some swordfish for dinner.  Yum!

Next up:  the Jersey coast.  For those of you who have followed this blog, you may remember that we label the Jersey coast “the bane of Betsie’s existence” because it’s a long (12+ hours) and boring trip.  In the past, we did it all at once, sometimes during the day, sometimes in the night.  In recent years, we broke up the 12-hour trip and stopped at Atlantic City or Barnegat Bay.  But this time, we decided to once again just go for it and get it done.  And ya know, it wasn’t that bad!  Still long, still boring, but not bad.  We ran at 9-9.5 most of the day, 15+ for two hours.  The fog followed us the entire day. We couldn’t see land (even tho we were running less than a mile from the shore) and didn’t see but one boat the entire day.  All eyes were on the radar, once again.

 

 

As we approached Lower New York Bay, this is “the view” we had!  This is what it looks like on a clear day!

 

We arrived at the marina on Staten Island, sprayed off the boat, walked the girls, heated up the chowder, and then had a really good night’s sleep!

by John John

Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard

The minute we get off the boat at Block Island, our dog M.E., makes a beeline for the cows. She absolutely loves them!  She practically drags me down the gravel road to the stone wall, behind which they abide. Then in her Jack Russell fashions, leaps up so she can say hello.

Each morning during the summer months on Block, Aldo’s bakery boat drives around the mooring field selling hot coffee and pastries. He yells “Andiamo…..andiamooooo”!  It’s always very tempting, but we manage to abstain.   (See below.)
Block Island behind us, we headed northeast to Cuttyhunk Island. Tucked between the southern Massachusetts coast and Martha’s Vineyard, it is a popular destination for boaters, but by no means populated.  The island is about a mile and a half long, and three quarters of a mile wide.  It is part of the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts and home to 52 of the town’s 86 year-round residents.  As for the topography, if you didn’t know better you might think you were on an island off the coast of Scotland! The dense scrub, along with the rock and stones, are a testament to Cuttyhunk’s glacial origins.

We enjoyed anchoring out there for one night, with a trip into the village for an after-dinner walk up to Lookout Hill for an incredible view of the harbor.

Thursday morning prior to Labor Day weekend, we took the one hour trip across Vineyard Sound to a wonderful anchorage, Lake Tashmoo, on Martha’s Vineyard.  It’s one of our favorite anchorages due to it’s excellent wind protection and good holding (with the right anchor).  Since we’ve been there many times, we knew we had to get there early, before all the weekend boaters arrived.  We were glad we did because, by Saturday morning the place was packed!  While it was a little cozy, we enjoyed getting acquainted with some of our neighbors, especially those with dogs.  There are always dog-boating tales to tell!

By the way, we were the best looking boat there.  When you decide to purchase your Krogen Express, be forewarned.  People stare.  They walk by on the dock and stare.  They stare from their boats.  They circle us in their dinghy.  On occasion  they even stop and engage us in conversation. “Wow, that’s a good lookin’ boat”, they’ll say.  Or, “what is that?”  Or “I just read about this boat in the September issue of PassageMaker magazine”. Sometimes we feel like we’re on display at the zoo! Going into the heavily populated mooring field at Great Salt Pond on Block Island, a couple were relaxing on their aft deck when suddenly they both sat up and stared as we passed by. Children not familiar with boats, especially, are fascinated that “there’s a boat on a boat!!”. They’re talking about the tender, of course.

When we arrived at the Vineyard it was hot, probably 84 or so, but we decided to walk into town with the dogs anyway.  It’s about a 20-25 minute walk into Vineyard Haven, one of the 3 towns on the Island.  We made a stop at the grocery store, and then headed back.  The dogs were exhausted by the time we got back to the boat.  But they’d had a good walk!

Unlike many boaters we don’t have a hauling cart on the boat.  Because we are displaying her at boat shows, we don’t like to fill up our storage spaces with alot of things we really don’t need.  Only occasionally does this make grocery shopping a little problematic.  Martha’s Vineyard is one of those places.  I wanted to take advantage of the local Stop and Shop, but I had to really pace my shopping, based on how much things weighed!  I know it sounds funny, but when you have to walk almost a mile and a half with your purchase, you think – long and hard – “do I really need this?” and “can I carry it for 25 minutes?”  As a result, we made a trip to the grocery store 3 days out of our 5 day visit. Unfortunately, purchasing ice cream was definitely out of the question!

By Monday morning, almost everyone had left.  We were the last to depart on Tuesday morning. But, after 7 days away from a marina (either anchored or moored) we were looking forward to washing the boat, washing the dogs, washing our clothes!  It was upward and onward to the Falmouth (MA) Marina.

Below is a picture of the dinghy dock at Lake Tashmoo.  The tenders are 2-3 deep, which can make getting off quite a challenge.

by John John

New York City and Connecticut

We last left you in Cape May, and for us that seems like ages!  The main reason we don’t update more is the internet; and quite frankly, I just get lazy!! What a blessing and a curse the internet is! We love it and depend on it; yet while cruising we don’t often have it, or it’s variable and spotty.  And when we do have it, it’s often at a location where we’ve had a long day on the water, get settled in for the night (either anchoring, at a mooring, or a dock), eat dinner, watch a little tv or read, and go to bed!  So writing up an entry for the blog gets put on the back burner. But today I feel that we owe our readers an updated entry.  So here it goes………..

The Jersey coast proved to be a fine cruise.  The water was great….from a light chop to almost smooth.  Now that’s the kind of day I like to have while cruising in the Atlantic Ocean!  And was it ever a clear day!  We could see the skyline of New York City from the farthest distance we’d ever experienced…….over 10 miles south of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  It was incredible!  Even though we have cruised through New York more than two dozen times, it is still an amazing experience.

After a long day we settled for the night at one of our regular stops, a marina just northeast of the City near LaGuardia Airport.  The marinas in the NYC are few and far between, so we appreciate having this one which is convenient to the airport, Citi Field (where the Mets play), the Tennis Center for the US Open, and the subway for going into NYC.  In fact, it was our hideaway during hurricane/tropical storm Irene during 2011.

The next day we moved on to Port Washington on Long Island. This is one of our favorite spots to hang out.  The town provides complimentary moorings to visitors, AND there is a huge grocery store there.   So, stock up we
did! Our daughter, Joy, came out from the City for the weekend, and we had a delightful time.

On a mooring or while at anchor, we are dependent upon our tender (or dinghy) for transportation to land.  And that is critical when you have two dogs on board!  But they do quite well with it. M.E. is an experienced dinghy rider.  Zoey is getting better.  At first she didn’t know quite what to make of it. It takes us about 5 minutes (literally) to put it in the water, and off we go.  Our weekend in Port Washington was unusually hot for this time of year, so John and I enjoyed a swim off the boat on Sunday afternoon.  Joy headed back in to the City that evening.

Long Island Sound’s surface water area is 1300 square miles.  It is 21 miles wide at it’s widest point, and 113 miles long.  Depths vary greatly in the Sound, averaging 63 feet deep with a maximum depth of 320 feet at the Race (see below about the Race).  The past several years we have cruised along the north shore of Long Island.  There are some great anchorages there, but this year we took a detour and headed northeast to Black Rock, Connecticut.  There we met up with long time friends for dinner.  It’s always so good to see familiar faces along the way.

From there we were Block Island bound.  This is another one of our favorite spots to stop.  And again, we were able to reconnect with some marine industry friends that we have known for years.  Along the way, we passed the Little Gull Lighthouse off of Fisher’s Island, New York.  The fog horn was blowing.  (I wish you could hear it!  I just love that sound!)

Then we passed through a part of the Sound referred to as “the Race”.  The Race is located between Fisher’s Island and Little Gull Island.  It’s about 3-1/2 miles wide and serves as the main entrance into Long Island Sound from the Atlantic on the eastern end of Long Island. Depths in the Race range from 320 feet to less than 50 feet.  These dramatic changes, along with the massive water exchange in and out of the Sound create a large rip line.  And, in turn, this significantly affects cruising speed, either negatively or positively depending on tides.  But we timed it perfectly, naturally, because that’s the way this captain planned it.  He did his homework.  We left at just the right time from Black Rock, and we got a huge boost going through the Race.  We increased our speed by almost 50%.

Next we are headed to Cuttyhunk Island. We’ll be back to you soon!

by John John

New Jersey

We have arrived in Cape May, on the southern tip of New Jersey!  This will be our jumping off point for the commencement of our trip along the Jersey coast starting tomorrow.  The New Jersey ICW has continuous shoaling challenges with depths of only 3′ in some areas making it prohibitive for many boats to use it.  So a boat with any keel at all must cruise on “the outside”, that is, in the Atlantic Ocean.

When cruising in economy mode, this 120 +/- mile trip is one l-o-n-g (10-11 hours) day.  A few times we’ve done it at night.  But the last couple of years we’ve broken up into two days, stopping in Atlantic City.  It makes it so much more enjoyable, especially with two dogs on board.

Prior to reaching Cape May, we took a few days “off the water”, and had some work done on the boat at one of our favorite yards, Washburns in Solomons, Maryland.  Those of us who have been there numerous times don’t really give it much thought, but the site of the yard was the nation’s first naval amphibious training base, training some 68,000 sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen and soldiers between 1942 and 1945. Seventy years later the buildings remain and are still actively used by the yard personnel.

Heading north through the northern Chesapeake Bay we then entered the mouth of the C&D Canal, docking at Chesapeake City.  (See my entry dated September 12, 2012 for information about and history of the C&D Canal.)

No sooner were we were tied up at a dock positioned right on the Canal, a  RORO vessel rolled past!  A RORO (“roll on, roll off”) is designed to transport wheeled cargo, such as automobiles, trucks, and railroad cars that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle.  If you have ever seen one of these ships in open water, you know how big they are.  But when one is in a narrow Canal and right in front of you, they are positively massive.


And then, we witnessed the pilot exchange!   I provided the pictures, but I give Wikipedia the credit for explaining how it works:

“Today’s canal is a modern sea-level, electronically controlled commercial waterway, carrying 40 percent of all ship traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore.

Since 1933 the Corps’ Philadelphia District has managed canal and highway bridge operations from a two-story white frame building on the canal’s southern bank at Chesapeake City, Maryland. Cargo ships of all sizes, tankers, container-carrying vessels, barges accompanied by tugboats, and countless recreational boats create a steady flow of traffic. Through state-of-the-art fiber optic and microwave links, dispatchers use closed-circuit television and radio systems to monitor and safely move commercial traffic through the waterway.

Navigating oceangoing vessels requires extensive maritime skills, with strong currents or bad weather conditions adding to the risks. A United States Coast Guard certified pilot is required for vessels engaged in foreign trade transiting the canal, the Delaware River and Bay, and Chesapeake Bay. Many shipping firms use pilots from the Delaware River and Bay or Maryland pilots’ associations.

Typically a Delaware River and Bay pilot boards a ship as it passes Lewes, Delaware, entering the Delaware Bay, and guides the vessel up the bay and into the canal to Chesapeake City. A Maryland pilot then takes over and continues the ship’s transit into the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore or Annapolis, Maryland. The procedure is reversed for eastbound ships. At Chesapeake City a “changing of the pilots” takes place, while the pilot launch maneuvers alongside a vessel as it continues its journey without stopping. The pilots use the ship’s gangwayJacob’s ladder, or port entrance to climb aboard or leave the vessel.”

I apologize for the fuzzy photo.  It’s hard to photograph a moving object!   But it was thrilling to witness.
We’re on to NYC next!
by John John

North Carolina

As we’ve progressed north, cooler temps and lower humidity have welcomed us.  What an awesome greeting! We are most appreciative!

As we’ve passed – and stayed the night in – these little North Carolina towns along the ICW, I’m reminded of one of the major benefits of cruising.  We see things that you just can’t see traveling in a car…. acres and acres of green sea grasses, miles of undeveloped forest and marshes.  There are also many small, sleepy towns and villages that depend upon boating visitors.  Last night we were in Belhaven, North Carolina.  Tonight it’s Coinjock.  In fact, the ship’s store at the marina has tshirts for sale that say “JustwherethehellisCoinjock?” !!

Have you ever heard of Belhaven or Coinjock?  In fact, I challenge you to find them on a map in less than 2 minutes!  But be sure you have a detailed map because they are tiny. However, cruisers are very familiar with them, and visit them often on their boat trips up and down the ICW.   In our years of boating, we have stayed in both of these spots numerous times.

Today John spent some time polishing stainless.  While this is not exactly his favorite task, we do strive to keep the boat in tip top shape.  But most of the time he is the eagle-eye captain at the helm, sometimes with a 4-legged crew member in his lap!


We also did some sit-ups on the bow. “How does that work?” you ask.  Well, we tied a line to each of the forward cleats to secure our ankles and put a towel under the line so we wouldn’t get rope burn. Looks and sounds wierd, but it works!  And on the boat, you have to get creative about exercise.  In fact, I recall once cruising along the East River through New York City and seeing a woman on a sailboat using a stationary bike!
Zoey and M.E. enjoy the sites from the side deck
by John John

We’re Back!!

After a long absence, we are back to blogging! Welcome readers!
Since our last entry we have logged many hours up and down the east coast of the States and exhibited a boat in 17 boat shows; and in March 2014, we hosted a Krogen Express owner’s rendezvous at Ocean Reef Resort in Key Largo, Florida. It was a fun three day event spent at a lovely spot with great folks!
We hope that all the Krogen Express fans, owners, and wanna-be owners will enjoy our entries this fall as we cruise north bound for Newport, Rhode Island, and then work our way south for shows in Maryland and Florida. We pride ourselves in identifying the Krogen Express owners as members of the Krogen Express “family”, and we hope that you will feel that way too through this blog.
If you would like to read earlier blogs, check out the blog “archive”. You can also find some postings on Facebook, if you would like to check that out.
Traveling with me and John are our two dogs, M.E., who is a 10 year veteran on the boat, and Zoey who is brand new to boating. (I can already see some good dog blog material in our future with these two!!)
And they’re off………
We departed from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina this morning, August 10. As it was home for us for about 11 years (and was the home of Betsie’s parents for many years), we really enjoyed having a few days there. We went out the Port Royal Sound inlet into the Atlantic, and turned left, bound for Isle of Palms, just north of Charleston. Although a little choppy, it was a following sea, so it gave us a nice boost, allowing us to arrive ahead of schedule. In fact, we were able to meet up with some ol’ college friends who were vacationing in the area! It’s always fun to have surprise get-togethers like that!
Zoey enjoyed her first full day of boating, and fared very well. But, even more, she enjoyed the grass under her feet when we arrived at the marina!
Myrtle Beach Bound
The sun had just risen when we left Isle of Palms. That’s such a nice time of day to be on the water when things are quiet; and that particular stretch of the Waterway is undeveloped and natural. The dolphin were riding our bow wave, the sun was peaking up over the green sea grasses, and I had my cup of coffee!! All was well with the world!! A few hours later the green-head flies arrived (ugh!) and the sun got hot! But the scenery along the Waccamaw River (see pic lower right) made up for it. Gorgeous! We arrived without incident at Barefoot Marina in Myrtle Beach about 5, plugged in the power cord, and cranked up the air conditioning. Ahhh.
The next morning, we cautiously proceeded through the “Rock Pile”. In the boating world, Myrtle Beach is known for the infamous “Rock Pile”, a man-made canal-like section of the ICW. It spans a distance of about 5 miles. The canal is narrow and lined with submerged rocks and a rock shelf, just a foot or two below the water’s surface. When the Army Corps of Engineers was building this portion of the ICW in the 1930’s they encountered a sold shelf of granite. The Corps simply blasted through this obstruction, but, over the years, the soft silt above and below this rocky outcropping has washed away, making the canal now appear wider than it really is. It can be very dangerous and costly to the inattentive captain.
This picture to the left shows us passing a single file parade of boats traversing the Rock Pile.  You can’t see the rocks, but they’re there!
North Carolina
Every time we make this tripalong the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), we find more and more shallow (or “skinny”, as John calls them) areas. Chronic shoaling along the 1,100-mile section from Norfolk to Miami plagues everything from private yachts to tugs with barges, charter fishing boats and passenger vessels. This part of the ICW is made up of naturally deep estuaries, rivers and sounds connected by manmade “cuts” through land areas and shallows which has earned it the nickname “The Ditch.” It is these cuts and dredged channels, as well as secondary channels running inland and connecting channels to ocean inlets, that require periodic dredging to keep traffic flowing.  Unfortunately, the Federal government – and many State governments – keep cutting dredging budgets.  This is why we appreciate the 4′ draft on the Krogen Express. It would be pretty dicey if it were any more than that!