It seems like the weeks go by so quickly, doesn’t it? We had wondered if we would be bored or run out of things to do, but has been far from the case for us! It seems like each day goes by so quickly, and we really are quite busy during the day. Who knew?!
A week ago tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 21, we made the big 9.4 nautical move from Baltimore back to Tar Cove/Rock Creek, Maryland. We had originally intended to go to the east side of the Chesapeake Bay to St. Michael’s but in looking at the weather forecast for Sunday through Wednesday it looked like it would be windy and rainy. Our goal was to be in Annapolis by Tuesday or Wednesday, and with having to deal with 20 – 25+ knot winds on the days we would be traveling just did not seem appealing. St. Michaels is south of Annapolis and with the wind switching to be quite high from the north to north-east, which would be the direction we would be heading, we decided to just go back to Tar Cove. We had already spent three nights anchored there before going to Baltimore so we knew it would be a good place for one night, which it was. Dan and Tina on Bella Cay were also there so we did an enjoyable Happy Hour with them at Mike’s Crab House, a local restaurant.
The winds did pick up that night out of the north, as predicted, but since we would be heading south it would not be as much of an issue. We headed north out of the Rock Creek area, swung to the east and rolled out our headsail to take advantage of the wind. We were sailing! We did leave the motor going to maintain a decent speed, but the wind definitely helped as we could throttle the motor down significantly. At that point it was in the 12 – 16 knot wind speed range so it was great. In the Chesapeake Bay we had to turn more south to Annapolis so we had a great ride down under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and into Annapolis.
What we may not have totally thought through was the fact we would be entering Annapolis on a Saturday afternoon with good winds. What that meant is there were a ton of other sailboats out enjoying the day. There were also 3 – 4 different regattas going on so there were boats everywhere. But it was so cool to actually be approaching Annapolis, especially on our own boat! Neither of us had ever been to Annapolis so it made it a little more challenging in not knowing what to expect, but we did great.
The downtown area of Annapolis is located at the entrance to Spa Creek so as we approached we were a bit apprehensive of where to go and how to get up Spa Creek, through a drawbridge, all while looking for the fuel dock and dodging boats. But once we were in the harbor it was very clear where the fuel dock was and we were able to fill up with diesel and water with no problem.
Our plan was to anchor up in Spa Creek so we waited for the drawbridge to open, which was actually quite a narrow opening, and we headed up the creek. Our first attempt to anchor was met with a cautionary comment from one of the Harbormaster boats. We had not looked closely enough but we were about to put our anchor down in an underground cable area. Not good! We were about halfway up the creek, which is not that long, it’s only about 1.2 miles, and did not see any other good places to anchor nor any available mooring balls. The Harbormaster guy said anchoring in Spa Creek actually is not that good and earlier that day they had to rescue one boat that had dragged, and it happened the day before as well. Fortunately, further down the creek there was one mooring ball available yet which we quickly grabbed. Now we are so thankful we got it as we have yet to see another mooring ball free up. It seems everyone is coming early for the Boat Show.
For those of you who don’t know, the Annapolis Boat Show is one of the largest sailboat shows in the US and highlights everything sailing. The Boat Show is Oct. 4 – 8 and is supposed to be a huge thing. We are very excited to be here for it and to spend a few days seeing everything. We are joining a Sail to the Sun Rally, which is a group of 18 boats being led by Wally Moran who has been doing this Rally for the past 5 years. He will guide us from Hampton, VA, down the Intra Coastal Waterway, ICW, to Miami, FL. The Rally starts about a week after the Boat Show and ends in Miami on Dec. 12. Bella Cay and another boat we met earlier will also be a part of the Rally. We will all meet at the Boat Show and then reconvene in Hampton, VA, to head to Miami. It will be especially good to be with the Rally as Wally will take care of issues related to the hurricane. So nice to have someone taking care of that so we won’t have to worry about it!
After tying up to our mooring ball the Harbormaster came around to collect the fee for the ball from us. If you stay for 7 nights you only have to pay for 6, so it’s a better deal. The mooring ball is $30 a night and includes access to showers and a laundromat. Nice! We will be staying on the mooring ball now through Oct. 9 when we will leave to head to Hampton, so it will be about two and a half weeks on the ball. Later that afternoon we headed into Annapolis on our dingy and walked around town. It was so cool to actually be here! It only took us 1,565 miles and just over 12 weeks to get here! We used 213.6 gallons of diesel which cost us $933.67. It was a higher cost as diesel is much more expensive in Canada than in the US and we fueled up many times in Canada.
The rest of Saturday was dry, but on Sunday the rains started. And did it rain! It rained all day Sunday and Monday, and then for about half the day on Tuesday. But where our mooring ball is, almost at the end of Spa Creek, there is a launch ramp and dinghy dock where we can easily take Max ashore and use the restrooms (always a good thing!). Wednesday was sunny during the day, but just after we went ashore about 6:30 pm to use the showers in “downtown” Annapolis a huge crazy storm came through. We ended up waiting under an overhang for an hour while the storm passed so we could make the mile trip back to the boat. We still got rather wet, but at least the lightning was passed.
Today, Thursday, Sept. 27, we walked the mile and a half to West Marine, as the rain was supposed to stop during the day, to pick up a wagon to haul provisions and to do laundry. It was a great walk and were joined by Luc and Karinna of Ungava on the way back.
During the days this week we have been checking things off our to-do lists of projects such as cleaning, reorganizing, and sewing for Sharon as she is working on the sun-shades for the cockpit. It is amazing at how we are just on the boat on the mooring ball but there has been we have been doing!
To end this post I have to add some technical stuff, so for those of you who aren’t interested in it, you can stop reading. But for those of you who are, here goes. In my last post I wrote about our Victron Battery Monitor and how it is probably reading only one battery. This means what I have to do is just double the number of amps in and out to get a semi-accurate reading of our electricity usage. Well, for those of you who know me, it was still bugging me. One of the nights we attended Happy Hour on Bellay we, meaning the 4 guys, ended up talking about monitor. We decided the thing to do would be to correct it and make it even more accurate. Which meant Luc and I went to Fawcett’s Marine store on Wednesday morning and I got a big ol’ negative bus bar and some 1/0 lugs. We came back to the boat and we removed all the negative connections to our existing main negative stud and moved them to the bus bar. We then made up a new 1/0 cable, which is really, really thick cable – which I had onboard from when my son-in-law, Ryan, and I installed our electric windlass almost two years ago (always good to hang on to stuff!) – and we ran that to the battery side of the 500 amp shunt of the battery monitor which Ryan and I (well, I watched!) installed early this spring. The top stud of the shunt then is connected to the main negative stud of the boat. We had attached House Battery 1 to it this past spring, which is the battery the monitor had been reading, so with moving all the other negative connections to the shunt and then to the battery side of the shunt meant it was reading House Battery 2 also, and therefore all current going through the boat. Ryan and I had wondered how to get House Battery 2 through the shunt but just didn’t know how to do it then, so did the best we could. (How are you supposed to know how to wire battery monitors on a boat?!)
Because our Starting Battery (battery #3) is only used for starting the motor we don’t have that going through the monitor. I do have an analog meter reading that one so am set.
The result is now all current is going through the shunt and battery monitor so I have a much more accurate picture of the flow of current and the state of our batteries. It still drives me crazy in continually monitoring the flow of amps, but that’s just my personality and despite my efforts to change my personality, I have not been successful.
I have to thank Luc, and Ryan this past spring, for all their work in getting this set! Luc pretty much did all the wiring work while being a contortionist in the engine compartment. He said it probably would have been easier had I not started the motor earlier in the morning to recharge the batteries before we worked on it as the motor was still quite warm while he was trying to climb all up in there. Sorry Luc!
Lastly, I have contacted an electrical marine service dealer here in Annapolis to possibly add solar panels while we’re here. They are backlogged so I don’t know if they’ll be able to get to our boat, but it would be nice if we could get it set here. I will let you know. I also seem to have an issue with our fresh water plumbing system as the accumulator tank seems to have stopped working. This means every time we turn a faucet on the pump starts immediately. It is not necessarily so bad, but the accumulator tank sort of buffers that and is easier on the pump, and uses less electricity. I am working on how to fix that, but that may be for another time.