Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's A Jungle Out There

Look close...Crescent Moon Setting
Sunset 9/29/11
Rush Hour
Up early...
Although we were up at dawn today & enjoyed a few hours of good sailing the wind soon asserted it's total control of the ocean & dictated we go another way. We did not make it to Deltaville, but anchored in a beautiful place just north of there. Sandy Point.  I thought I'd share some pics of how it really is out there....we are not out in the abyss of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a lot of traffic & fishing in these water highways. Traffic necessitates traffic lights. Just as there are Rules of the Road, there are Rules of the Sea. I could not seem to capture it in a photo but today I counted 8 boats on the horizon ahead of us & 6 boats behind us. The migration south is in full force. I am amazed at the number of people who are doing what we're doing. Enjoy the pics. Love you all. Im so happy to hear how many of our friends & family actually read our blog everyday!! We love hearing from you. Keep the comments coming!!
Italian night @ the Schapker's
Um...Who has the right of way?
Ahh...Home sweet home..for tonight
Love, Michelle & Scott

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Solomons Island, Maryland

Rain Rain, GO AWAY!!!
Scott has gotten very comfortable driving the dinghy
This is typical of entire eastern shore...mansions w/boat out front
We did leave @ dawn Tuesday dense fog & rainy conditions. It was a difficult day of sailing. Choppy water, RAIN. Luckily, shortly after we anchored in @ Solomons, the sun came out ! It was great. Thunderstorms started again by late evening but we had several warm sunny hours. We woke to horrible rain this morning & I was totally bummed that it would pour all day...but the sun came out again by 12pm!! We took a long dinghy ride all over the Solomons area. It was great to get off the boat for awile & tour around. The next 2 days will be long days of sailing. Tomorrow we will travel about 50 miles,(that will take us 10+ hrs) to Deltaville. The next day another 10hr day of sailing to Portsmith, Va.
Sailing is fun & beautiful but it is A LOT of work too. It's a physical & mental workout. You don't just get in the captain seat & drive. There are things like navigation, hoisting sails, cooking in a kitchen that is rolling back & forth, always listening for funny engine sounds when it's running, chart plotting, watching out for lobster pots, watching out for other boats, hanging on when powerboats speed by you creating a 5ft wake that sends you pitching up & down....we are exhausted at the end of those long days!! You do have to work....even when you're living the dream.
 Another interesting feature of the Solomons anchorage is that it is next door to a military airforce or navy air base & supersonic fighter jets are buzzing over head all afternoon. We have seen some cool airplanes...things I havent seen before.
Of coarse, all the above plans rely completely on weather. Love & miss you all !
Sunset @ Solomons Island. Note the last little patch of blue sky in the distance

This guy swam up for a look-see. he enjoyed what im sure was his 1st corn tortilla.
Love, michelle & scott

Monday, September 26, 2011

We've Got Crabs !!!

Yummy !!
Well, we're still in St. Michaels...our navigation chip still has not arrived.  Not a big deal when you accept that plans are etched in jello. We made the most of it & went crab fishing off the dock in Val & Dom's backyard. The way it's done is to tie chicken necks to a string & just lower in the water & wait for a nibble. I didnt have any chicken legs so we substituted with chicken legs. It was really fun! We caught about 20 crabs & had an awesome seafood buffet this afternoon. We had some striped bass that a neighbor gave us the other day. Today was the first time the sun was shining in 6 days!!! It was glorious. In Phoenix we cant wait for rain. We actually get excited about it & go outside on the deck to watch the rain. I am sick of rain. Everything on the boat feels damp on the boat whenever it matter what. It just does. We feel like mushrooms after a few days. We are greatful for the sun shiney day we had, the bountiful crab hunt, & to be living this dream. We are leaving at dawn in the morning. For real this time.
crab hunt on the dock
Let's eat!
Love, Michelle & Scott

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Etched In Jello

Dom, Val, Scott & Prince
Speaking of jello--Val's fall colored jello shots
"Our plans are etched in jello", a little saying you have to learn to live by as a sailor. We were planning on leaving St Michael's today but the weather will be better tomorrow. Also, we had a computer chip that helps us with navigation mailed to Dom & Val's & it hasn't arrived yet. Well, it probably has arrived but the post office closes at noon on Saturdays---something we figured out Saturday @ 12:20.  No biggie. Changing plans is something we have gotten used to. Just have to go with the flow of things. This is such a peaceful, beautiful anchorage, I dont mind staying. So, we leave tomorrow after a post office run. 1st stop is Solomon Island, Maryland where we will spend one night. The next day we sail to a place called Deltaville. Also just for one night. Then we're off to Portsmith, Viginia. I think we're staying a few days there. Maybe. Etched in jello as of now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saint Michael's, Maryland

Best Friends
Dominos in the rain
Rainy Day...Val & Dom's house in background
Dan works rain or prop of debris
    It's been a wonderful rest here in St. Michaels. We got some things done with the boat, made new friends... The rain has set in. It started in the middle the night & has been pretty steady since. New England is so beautiful & green & lush....which requires lots of rain...
Anyways, rainy days are good for organizing, doing home projects, reading...just like on land. Enjoy the pics. Some include our Jesse...indulge me.
Love you all. Thank you for your support.
Best Friends
Best Friends
Love, Michelle & Scott
kickin" it during the rain

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still Here !

Always a project to do. Scott doing more work to the fridge
Sunset on the Chesapeake
scrubbing floors
  It's been awhile since my last entry..just needed some time. Thank you everyone for your loving messages regarding Jesse. We really appreciate your thoughts & support through that horrible time.  We've been sailing down the coast of Maryland since Sept 12th. We went down the Chesapeake-Delaware canal to Chesapeake City, then to Annapolis for a couple days. I really liked Annapolis. It's so pretty & "New England". AND, it's all about boating there. We could dinghy right into the middle of the town square. We left Annapolis & have been staying in St. Michael's, Maryland for the past several days. Dan & Cheri come here to visit their friends Dom & Val who live here. Dom & Val have been very gracious hosts to us. They have a gorgeous home on Chesapeake Bay. We've been doing projects on the boat, since as I've mentioned befor, there all always projects. It's been nice to rest here for awhile. We were planning on leaving tomorrow but the best weather is Sunday. Thanks again everyone for caring about us & sending messages. We love reading your comments. Love & miss you
Under the bridge to Annapolis
Val's beautiful gardens
Love, Michelle & Scott

Saturday, September 17, 2011


We lost Jesse Monday night, Sept 12th. He died at home, in Scott's arms. We buried him at sea the next morning. That was a very hard thing to do. What can I say?  We miss Jesse so much. It's always been the 3 of us. We're heartbroken.We miss everything about him. We feel lucky to have been his people, his family. You were our best friend Jesse & we will never forget you. We will miss you forever.
Love Scott & Michelle

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dan & Cheri Save Scott & Michelle #457

Sunrise on the Atlantic

So, there we were. 12midnight Saturday morning, ready & eager for our 1st night time sail, & 1st time in the Atlantic. 12:20am--hard aground on a sandbar. Luckily for us, it was low tide. We tried to get the boat off ourselves but ultimatley had to wait for the tide to come back in. And when I say by ourselves, I mean of coarse with total help from Dan & Cheri. Dan had to lower his dinghy in the dark, row over & help us. At 2:20am we were free & headed out for our long day. And it was long. 15hrs with the wind in our face. So not able to sail. The waves started getting big & choppy as we were finally pulling into very busy, fast current channel in Atlantic City when disaster struck. Our engine died. We were just floating with a huge seawall of rocks waiting to turn our boat into toothpicks on the shore. Scott & I have never been so scared. I screamed on the radio to Dan & Cheri. Then we screamed on the radio for "Boat U.S." to come get us immediately. Dan was turning his boat around & Cheri was giving us instructions--all over radio. It was horrifying. We almost called a may-day to the coast guard. Dan & Cheri got their boat to us & actually towed us in that busy channel into the anchorage. By then, everyone had heard our cries on the radio & we actually had a police escort. It is impossible for me to describe with words the level of fear we had. Dan & Cheri too. Once again, thanks to their experience, they knew exactly what to do in that emergency. Cheri admitted to me this morning that losing the engine in that scenario has always been one of her biggest fears. We all were a nervous wreck when it was over. Never a dull moment on a boat!

Friday, September 9, 2011

"CRUISING" Is Fixing Your Boat In Exotic Places

That's a little saying our friend Dan likes to say. And it's so true. There is ALWAYS, EVERYDAY, a project to be done on the boat. It's like a living creature that needs care & attention everyday to function properly. So while we're waiting for seas to quiet down out in the Atlantic today--we work on the boat. It's been sunny all day so we've had a chance to dry out which is soooo nice. We start to feel like mushrooms after 2 days of non-stop rain. Today we were doing little projects & something didnt go right--Im not sure what--but next thing ya know, Dan is climbing up the mast to fix it. He climbed while Cheri & Scott used a wench we use for the sails to hoist him up. It's very anxiety provoking because the person climbing could fall to their death if something goes wrong. Everything went great cuz Dan & Cheri know what their doing.
So, tonight we leave @ midnight headed to Atlantic City. Best conditions at that time so that's when we have to go. Long day tomorrow, probably 10-12hrs on the water.
Scott & Cheri hoisting Dan up the mast
Love you all!!  Love, Michelle, Scott & Jesse
Dan going up the mast

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New York City

Statue of Liberty as viewed from Malaika cockpit

We did it! Drove our boat through NYC !! The dreaded "Hells Gate" was stressful but not as bad as we imagined. The current was VERY strong...our motor was at idle & the that current was pushing our 20,000pound boat 9 knots down the channel. Thanks to great understanding of currents, tides, & slack by Dan & Cheri I think we timed it perfect and hauled ass right on through!  I really enjoyed the ride through NYC. It was quite stressful for Scott. There is a lot of traffic...ENORMOUS barges & ships, ferries, changing currents, lots of navigation aides to look for so you dont drive your boat into things under water you cant see... We started our journey today in pouring rain & it was cold, so by the time we got to the city we were soaking wet & freezing. Even with all that, we left NYC feeling like, "Cool, we just sailed through New York City!" 11 months after sailing we are. :)
We are now anchored in Horseshoe Cove, New Jersey. The sun came out when we got here which was glorious. It's grey & about to rain again but we had a great afternoon at the beach in the sun with Jesse.
Next stop...Atlantic City. We leave Sat am for that long trek. Will be our longest yet, 80 miles. Also our 1st time in the great big blue...The Atlantic.
In Hells gate. That churning water is pushing our 20,000# boat

Approaching the Brooklyn Bridge
1st sight of Lady Liberty in the distance

Approaching NYC & Hells Gate

Capt. Scott navigating NYC

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MALAIKA Headed To The Big Apple

Captain Scott
Today was a better day. Still raining (with a short break this afternoon)..more thunderstorms expected tonight.  However, we have been anchored all day doing little projects so it's not horrible. Jesse is having better day too. We took him to shore this morning & he played with a huge horseshoe crab for 30minutes. It was so good to see him have some fun. He has taught himself to dive under water to get things. He puts his whole face under & holds his breath for quite awhile looking around for crabs.
  Tomorrow we go through NYC & the dreaded "Hells Gate".  Should be a good story to tell!
  It occured to me that I havent ever written about the name of our boat! We were going to name the boat Trabajabamos ( trah-bah- haba-mos) which means "we worked" or "we used to work" in spanish. Plus, it's a fun word to say. Well, now that we're on the boat & using radios to call bridges, other boats, etc., Trabajabamos may be too much of a mouthful. Also, unless you speak spanish---the pronunciation will be wrong. the previous owners of our boat named her "Malaika" ( Muh-like-a) which is swahili (sp?) for angel. It's growing on us & now I think we may just keep it. We'll see. Tomorrow, it will by our angel "Malaika" driving us out of Hells Gate!  :)
Love, Michelle, Scott & Jesse
"Malaika" in Manhasset Bay with our friends "Curieuse"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Manhasset Bay, New York

Today has not been a good day. Cold, wet, mechanical problems...
It has been raining non-stop for like 18hrs. It's cold. Driving the boat today was stressful. The waves were bigger than we've handled befor, winds as high as 28knots, pouring rain, Jesse had bad day today, & then as we're pulling in to anchor, our engine alarm goes off. The alternator belt broke. Thank goodness we were in the bay. Thank goodness we have Dan & Cheri too...they help us so much & the moral support is so reassuring. So, we're safe & everything. It's just grey, pouring down rain, cold, wet, overall crappy. Scott says he expected nothing less from NYC. You all know how he loves big cities.
 Tomorrow we will fix the alternator belt & get things ready for Thursday when we go up the east river, through Hells Gate, & to Sandy Hook...just outside of Atlantic City. A challenging body of water. Currents, tides, traffic.... Woo Hoo!! Maybe the sun will shine.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oyster Bay, New York

Oyster Bay
On our way to town
Jesse enjoying a swim
Scott enjoying a swim

Horseshoe crabs
We've had a nice time here in Oyster Bay. Tomorrow am we're headed out towards Flushing Bay where we will anchor for the night & then to Hell's Gate in NYC on Wednesday. Will post as often as I can.
 Love, Michelle, Scott & Jesse

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy Labor Day Weekend !!

sunset view from our cockpit in Jefferson Port, New York
Captain Scott leaving New London, Ct
Heinz & Roberta on Mimosa Morning
Celebrating Cheri's Bday in Connecticut
Well, we're writing today from Oyster Bay, New York. Our 1st day cruising across Long Island Sound went great. We didn't sail at all (no wind) but the water was nice & calm, the weather perfect. We thought a great way to begin our journey. Our 1st stop after 10hrs of motoring was Jefferson Port, New York. (10hrs for 53miles) Sailboats dont go too fast without wind. Which is fine with us. We have developed a new feeling re: powerboats. They are maddening!!! They cause such huge waves that send us bouncing. Anyways, we had a lovely evening in Jefferson Point & and an amazing sunset. The sun was red. Early morning departure on Sat. We were headed Mashasset Bay, NY but had to detour because of wind. Yes, wind. Not great for sailboats when your headed directly into wind. Makes for super slow we diverted & we are in Oyster Bay, NY. It is beautiful here! The mansions on the waterfront are shocking. Mansion doesnt seem to really describe it. American castles I guess. HUGE. I really like it here which is good because we have to stay here until Tuesday due to weather that's coming in.
Tuesday we're headed for NYC. Sounds very stressful navigating through there. We have to go through a passage of water called Hells Gate. Always a new adventure on the horizon !
Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We love & miss you.--Michelle, Scott, & Jesse--

Scott, Dan & Heinz putting solar panels on