Friday, May 29, 2009

Ally's Back!!

Ally (second from left) & Oldfields group

Ally's home again, having spent the last 10 days in Paris! It was her May Program trip, Paris being an annual destination for various Oldfields School students and faculty. They had an intense itinerary, and covered a lot of ground, from the standard sights of visiting Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower to visiting 17th century châteaux outside Paris to attending a match on the first day of the French Open at Roland Garros. They stayed in a lovely little hotel in the 4th arrondissement in the heart of Paris, a perfect taste of the City of Lights. From street-stand crepes with Nutelle to fine dining and sampling escargot, Ally loved it all!

Trained hunting hounds of Château Cheverny
(Don't they look vicious?)

In Monet's garden

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On the hard!

It's hard, in all respects of the word, to be out of the water. From the delicate handling of the boat in the Travelift in the haul-out slip to blocking and securing her on land, to our needing to be back at the house for a few days while the work is completed, it's all difficult. Thankfully, the guys at Spring Cove have done this a time or two before with other KK58s, and were very meticulous throughout the whole process. Equinox topped out the scales at 100,000 lbs Gregg pointed out, that means we have 9 tons of stuff aboard above the bare weight of the ship. OUCH!! Made poor Equinox look fat and heavy!! Perhaps we have gone a bit overboard (ahem) with the spare equipment we have stored under our bed and Ally's bed...and here I thought that living aboard was about doing more with .... less? Hmmmm, will have to rethink that, apparently!
Equinox being eased out of the water

Getting a bath before blocking

Ready to be blocked

Sitting pretty, ready for work

Planned maintenance...

...never goes as planned with a boat, because Mother Nature always has her way first! We were scheduled to haul-out at Spring Cove Marina today, but with an ugly stiff wind blowing 20+ knots, we decided against it on the advice of Don Reimers at Spring Cove, and will wait until tomorrow to get hauled out. On the bright side, it gave us the opportunity to have a nice visit with Gregg Gandy!! Gregg is Kadey-Krogen's service coordinator extraordinaire who works with the KK owners to coordinate repair and service items with various boatyards around the country from Solomons to Seattle, whereever a Krogen vessel might be. As always, his cheerful expertise and explanations regarding the workings and maintenance of different systems were welcome and informative. It was reassuring to have him with us as we worked to troubleshoot some issues about which we were confused. (What IS that whining noise coming from the 24v battery charger, anyway?? Oh, a bad bearing on the fan...let's get it checked out!) It's nice to be validated that we weren't just imagining it!

Gregg and Ron chatting in the engine room

Gregg checking the punch list

After walking though the boat to check the list of requested maintenance items, from the trivial (can we get spares of the screen hatch clips?) to the more important (what size stove fiddle sea rail do we need?), we adjourned to relax and have a great dinner at CD Cafe in Solomons. We caught up on news of the girls, what's new in the main FL office, plans for the summer, plus stories abounded about passages made, places to go and things to do. A lovely evening!

Post-dinner at CD Cafe

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Caribbean Feast night!

After another great day on the Bay watching the Blue Angels roar overhead yet again (more practice for the fly boys!) we dinghied back to Equinox and enjoyed a Caribbean feast night with Paul & Muriel. It's our standard menu: Bahamian Conch chowder to start, followed by surf & turf: Caribbean spiny lobster and filet mignon/ petite sirloins, accompanied by spicy hot Cuban black beans & rice, and chilled mango & avocado salad. YUM!! Karyn did the side dishes, while Ron did the chowder, lobster and beef to perfection, as always. It was delicious, and made even better by treating ourselves to an amazing St. Emillion Grand Cru. Good food, great wine and fabulous company = a lovely evening!

Unfortunately, that's the last of our Bahamian conch, so we will have to go without until the boat returns south next winter. Darn!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blue Angels!!

Solomons Tiki Bar

We have our good friends Paul and Muriel McDonnell aboard for the weekend, visiting from New Jersey. It's a tradition of sorts to be together for Memorial Day, which started over 20 years ago when Paul would drive down from NYC to join us at the Herd skydiving boogie way back in the day!! So, we are just continuing the tradition, although now its even better with Muriel along. We shared a fabulous crab cake dinner Friday night (along with a fair bit of a wine -ouch!) and had a great time catching up. It was odd to be without the girls; Ally is off on an Oldfields May Program trip and their girls are off with friends, so it was just us adults for a change! Today Paul, Ron and I had a beautiful 18-mile bike ride north of Solomons, then hit the Tiki Bar for lunch by dinghy before heading out across the Patuxent to watch the Blue Angels practice their amazing air show from the Patuxent Naval Air Station. We had prime seats, anchored right off the runway along with dozens of other boats, to watch and listen as the planes ripped open the sky with their grace and power. It was unbelievable and SO much fun!!

Blue Angels roaring overhead

Friday, May 22, 2009

Early start to Memorial Day Weekend!

Ron and Karyn left Baltimore early Thursday afternoon, getting a jump on the holiday boat traffic and an early start south. We cruised to Annapolis, but didn't stay on the wall --no room anywhere, since the Naval graduation and the Blue Angels air show during the ceremonies were on Wednesday and Thursday resulting in a full house for Naptown! Instead, we dropped the hook in the anchorage in front of the Naval Academy. It was a glorious sunny afternoon, with light south winds, so it was perfect for a quick night's anchoring. After a delicious dinner at O'Leary's, we took the water taxi back to the boat and enjoyed a quiet evening on the back deck. I admit, we did not sleep all that well, since once on anchor, both of the Furunos keep locking up on us and thus lost our anchor alarm each time. We knew it would lock up in the night... SO...strange dreams of dragging anchor intruded on fitful sleep at best!

Dawn breaking near the mouth of the Severn as we prepare to weigh anchor and head south to Solomons

Despite the lack of sleep, we were up early with the sun, and headed out of the anchorage by 6:15 am. A lovely cruise south was only marred by the Furunos continuing their periodic freeze-ups, and the few degrees of temperature difference of the port engine. We carefully charted cruising temps, fuel burn, engine load, rpms, and oil pressure every 15-30 minutes, to aid in diagnosing the issue. Ron very carefully kept the temps in check.

We arrived about 11:15, and easily tied up at Solomons Yachting Center on the C dock T-head. Lovely view of the water from here!! As we've posted previously, the reason we're here in Solomons Island is to get a haul-out for some maintenance work along with inspection of various systems in preparation for our summer cruise to Bermuda. Since we were down here, Ron called Drum Point Marine, the John Deere specialists, to come aboard this afternoon to chart the port engine temps. They performed and certified our original sea trial, so they know the magic! We'll sea trial again with Gary G. aboard and see what his diagnostic numbers tell us!

Passing Thomas Point Lighthouse south of Annapolis

Once the sea trial is completed, we'll be back in the slip awaiting the arrival of Paul & Muriel McDonnell, who will be joining us for the holiday weekend!! Let the fun begin!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Visit with the Sellittos and Olshefskys

Charlie, Trish & Joe Olshefsky

Debby & Joe Sellitto and Karyn

Ron, Trish & Charlie Medico

Our boat neighbors aboard Medici, Charlie and Trish Medico, had their good friends Joe and Debby Sellitto, and Joe and Trish Olshefsky down for a visit this weekend, so we almost had the entire old boat neighborhood of the Pennsylvania contingent together again! (Missing the Baldonis, though!) Both the Joes have gotten out of boating and sold their boats a couple of years ago since the 6-hour+ round-trip drive every weekend was becoming too much. (Both couples also wanted to spend more time with their grandkids.) Since it's been a while since they've been down, having them back for the weekend was a wonderful time! Friday night we all went out to dinner at the Capital Grille (amidst the Preakness parade hoopla) --of course sitting at a round table per Joe S's preference -- and on Saturday afternooon, it was "hanging with da boys "while Trish, Trish and Debby went shopping. We hung out on the back cockpit of Medici, teasing Joe S about how badly Charlie has treated Joe's old slip in his absence. The neighborhood has gone downhill without Joe making sure all is right with the pier and the slips!!

Joe enjoyed his time aboard Medici despite
all his protests to the contrary

Saturday morning Baltimore Marine Center had their first boaters flea market, so Ron and Karyn decided to join in, to lighten the load of all the boating paraphernalia that has acculumated over the years of boating. We had SO much stuff in the garage, in the shed, and in the basement from all our other boats, that it was the right time to get rid of it. We actually did quite well, much to our surprise!! We still have a long way to go, but as we're now actively working on clearing out the house to get ready to set sail, this was a great step forward!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fort Lauderdale interlude

Karyn took a quick holiday for herself Monday and popped down to FLL to visit with her friend Dede Miles, at their rental house. It was a great couple of days; it was fabulous to see Dede again and we simply chillaxed by the pool (or in the pool!), played with Barclay, their 5-month-old field spaniel, talked, drank wine....all lovely. And, most delightfully, the weather was perfect. Even though they need the rain in FL, Karyn didn't mind a big dose of sunshine for a change!

Dede and Barclay in the pool

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day in Annapolis...

Cousin Marina and Ally

...with the family! Ron and Karyn cruised south very early Friday morning after Ally headed to school, and were docked on the wall in Ego Alley (yet again!) by 1015 -- we'd planned on getting there early, to drop off the dinghy and get the annual engine maintenance done that morning by the dealer. While we could have done it ourselves, we wanted the stereo connection checked as well, and happily, the dinghy was serviced and returned that afternoon!

We basically ate our way through the weekend in Annapolis...Friday afternoon, it was oyster shooters at Middleton Tavern (yum!!) and later that night we had absolutely awesome sushi at Tsunami with Jim and Lisa Dean. A very fun evening! Saturday morning while we were enjoying a glorious 20-mile bike ride, Ally drove down and met us back at the boat. Sunshine, dinghy rides, and a great lunch at Pussers followed. All lovely!! That night, we had dinner at Jerry's Seafood, which was, well, interesting....not to quibble here, but the name really should be Jerry's Crabhouse! Literally, the choices of appetizers were all variations of the same theme: crab, crab, crab, crab, shrimp, shrimp and crab. (I counted.) The entrees followed suit, with the same litany of crab. Any other seafood was almost non-existent, to the point of being almost unbelievable....even the special of the day, a filet mignon, had crab on top. While we love crab, it definitely wasn't what we were expecting, to be honest...was rather looking forward to a nice mahi-mahi fillet or fresh grouper, but that will be for another time, clearly. The crab cakes were good though!!

Mother's Day Sunday we walked up to the new Westin for a family get-together with Ron's sister Laura, husband Jeff, and Ally's cousins Marina and Jordan. The brunch buffett was utterly delicious!! It was so big that we actually missed the dessert tables, but by then, we had already eaten until we thought we would burst. Just as well! We then headed back to the boat to relax in the windy sunshine and enjoy the boats and people cruising by, before a late afternoon departure back to Baltimore. A lovely day, and thoroughly enjoyed by this mom!

Uncle Jeff and Ally

Laura & Jeff relaxing

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rain rain rain rain rain....

Well, it's been a while since our last post, but Karyn was recuperating over the past weekend from an out-patient bit of surgery May 1st (all okay, all benign) and since it's been raining pretty much non-stop for the last 10 days, there's not a lot to report. We didn't take the boat out over the weekend as Ally had SATs on Saturday, May 2nd, and the weather didn't exactly motivate us on Sunday. We did accomplish a few small boat projects though: re-checking the inventory of oil change supplies (fuel filters, oil filters, final water separators, etc.) stored under our bed and going over different lists in preparation for the planned Bermuda cruise coming this summer. Lots to inspect, maintain, and prep for the journey!!

By the way, yesterday it was announced that Maryland is officially out of drought status. After the driest January-March on record, Maryland was indeed in a drought. All it took was 3+" of rain in April to pull us out of it, and of course, it's been raining every day since April ended. According to the Baltimore Sun, now "the concern now is for potential flash flooding as the surface soil becomes saturated". Good thing we live on an, boat!