Gladlee of Guernsey

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America 2012  Page 1 -  May to September

(with a bit of UK)

May 16th - June 7th, UK

We arrived back in the UK (from Oman) to 3C which was a bit of a shock to the system. The weather was generally nice though and we stayed in Wellingborough for some days and walked Summer Leys, Sywell and with Mum to Harold where we stopped off at The Bell at Odell for lunch. Our boxes from Oman arrived on the Monday no problem. Thursday 24th we went up to Wakefield for the weekend staying at The Cedar Court Hotel just off the M1. Thursday evening we went out to dinner with Robin and Alison to an Italian restaurant, Friday, after a walk around New Miller Dam we went to The Bull's Head for dinner with Yvonne and Dermot, Geoff and Jenn, and Lisa and Richard dropped by. On Saturday, after a visit to see Ron's Mum we met up with G&J again and went driving to Holme Moss with beautiful views but a bit too windy to enjoy. After we went to Holmfirth and the Steppinn Pub where they knew the landlord and we stayed for a pint and lunch. In the evening we went back to Yvonne's where she had cooked a delicious dinner and watched the England football game on TV. We went back down to W'boro' on Sunday by which time Mum (Molly) had gone off to Greece for a week. On Wednesday Julie was starting to panic in that her new passport hadn't turned up after 2 weeks so telephoned the passport office only to be told it would take another 2 weeks - we were travelling the following Wednesday and Monday and Tuesday were Bank Holidays so she managed to upgrade the application (for another 52!) and we went to Peterborough to pick it up on the Thursday. Lunchtime Phil was back from France so we managed a quick lunch at The Stag in Doddington with him.

On Friday 1st June we drove up to Hazelbech to have coffee with Mike and Janie Sheldon, friends from Oman. From there across to Kessingland to visit Helen and family. We stayed at a farmhouse called Laurel Farm just for a change and it was lovely but it rained most of the time so we couldn't enjoy it as much as we would have liked. We ate at Helen and Chris's that evening catching up with them and the kids (Melissa, Jack and Carmen). Saturday we drove to Thorpeness and went boating, or at least some of us did as the photos show. The girls versus the boys and guess who won! Mum came back on the Sunday night and we had one day with her before heading down to Kent to visit Iris, Philippa and Benjamin (and Iris's Mum, Barbel). Great to catch up though with her divorce from James it was not such a happy occasion. On Wednesday afternoon we drove across to Heathrow for the night in order to catch our early morning flight to Washington.

Jack and Chris rowing Carmen and GJ winning the race!

8th June - 25th June

Nice easy flight and we picked up a rental car as usual and drove a short way to the Super8 at Manassas. The following day we drove down to Deltaville and Stingray Point Boat Works and found Gladlee just across from where we had left her - the yard had moved her in order to put all the 'for sale' boats together but it seems it had more to do with a burst water pipe. Anyway, no problems, she was fine but decidedly grubby and definitely needing some TLC, which really, was the point of our visit and intention of spending a couple of months cruising to get her back seaworthy. We stayed at Dockside Inn for a couple of nights while we shopped for the essentials like bedding and kitchen stuff and then moved on to Gladlee on Sunday. Meanwhile we had swapped our Budget Rental car for an Enterprise one but unfortunately while in Richmond on the Saturday, Customs and Border Control were closed, so we couldn't get our Cruising Permit. We spent the following days cleaning, polishing, painting, shopping etc etc. and spending lots of money including buying a kayak for Julie, a must!

Terry from Hartfield Electronics turned up on the Tuesday to replace our 12 volt DC panel which was well past its sell by date. It took him a couple of very hot days and he did a great job though our masthead light and some of our instruments failed to work - (more later on this). We made friends with Tom and Chris on 'Polar Pacer', a catamaran just opposite us and had a few beers with them. One afternoon we had torrential rain and we thought that the boat had stayed completely dry until Julie found that on going to bed, her side was drenched, having opened the hatch above we must have broken a seal and the water had gushed in. One more job! Meanwhile we continued working on the boat and as the weather was not very good on the Thursday so we drove to Richmond to get our Cruising Permit which ended up only taking five minutes. Tari and Frank turned up later having parked their RV at Tari's son and daughter-in-law's (Greg and Helen) vacation house up on the Rappahannock and we went round there later. Mike (Helen's dad who has a house next door) came round and we all went out to dinner at Locklies Oyster Restaurant near Urbanna. A lovely evening though still quite windy and surprisingly cool.

Gladlee at Stingray Point Boatworks House Finch

Monday 18th we went back in the water - a very pleasant change from being perched up in the air and having to climb ladders to get aboard. The work continued apace and eventually Gladlee feels like a "proper boat" again.

Red-headed Woodpecker Gladlee back in the water at last

Of course as can be seen from the attached photo's the Bird Watching has not been missed out. Of course neither has the football. We managed to find a nice Sports Bar here in Deltaville and therefore managed to see England win a couple of games eventually losing to Italy - of course on penalties.

Tari and Frank with 'Rex' Tari and Frank with Ron (and Chloe the cat)

We managed to spend quite a bit of time with Frank and Tari including another dinner out with them, and Mike and Mareka, at the Mathews Yacht Club.  Also an evening "at home" when Helen and the grandkids arrived - a very nice BBQ although eaten inside due to the plunging temperature outside.

So, the boat is again fully provisioned, fuelled, watered, laundry done, and "most" things are functional after some back breaking efforts. We had quite a few thunderstorms - one of them extremely severe on the Friday (which broke a piling and demolished half of our dock), after which we drove down to Hayes to have a BBQ dinner with Tony and Rachel and the kids, Tian, Silas and Tehva (friends from the hash in Oman) at Rachel's parents house. On Monday 25th we returned the hire car and put the sails back on. Tuesday 26th we had lots of wind but the temperatures were kinder so we tackled the inoperative instruments and found that the fuse holder in the back had completely sheered off so we 'bodged' it back together and redid loads of wires and got the wind instruments at least working. Wednesday was a day off'!

We finally left the dock on Thursday 28th and headed up to Mill Creek, just south of Reedville, in beautiful calm conditions and anchored quite close to shore in our usual place. Very pleased that the engine had run with no problems and the diesel fuel that had been in the tank for three years was still OK. Julie went off kayaking and we had a lovely peaceful night.

Baby Skunk seen from the Kayak Blue Swallowtail Butterfly

The next night though was a different matter entirely. Just before midnight we awoke to gale force winds, thunder and lightening and then horizontal rain - yet another severe thunderstorm. We were both up immediately but the anchor seemed to hold. Unfortunately we had left the dinghy in the water with the outboard engine on and lifejackets and oars in it and the wind had turned it over,  Ron fought to get it back the right way which he eventually did. There was nothing for it but to wait out the storm and then go back to bed. In the morning we managed to get the outboard going again but of course all the other stuff had washed away including the seat but Julie got in the kayak to go looking for it and managed to recover the lot from the beach.

Brown headed Pelican Sunset at Mill Creek

We had more thunderstorms in the afternoon and another big one at 04.00 on the Monday morning which saw us re-anchoring in the dark and deciding to wait another day before leaving. It was also quite hot but there were not too many nettles (jellyfish) about so we could swim to cool off.

Two Bald Eagles at Mill Creek Juvenile Bald Eagle

Tuesday 3rd July we upped anchor at about 06.00 to head up to Solomon's Island, another favourite place of ours. We slowed down a bit to avoid another thunderstorm and then motored the 40-odd miles up to another Mill Creek inside Solomon's where we usually anchor. Only one other boat there so plenty of space. We took the dinghy up Back Creek to the Holiday Inn dock and walked round the back to where the supermarket was only to find it had closed as well as the laundry. So, again on to Plan B, though we did go into the Holiday Inn to ask about busses and the nice lady said we could use the internet in the business centre so at least we achieved something in being able to check emails.

We stayed put on the Wednesday being July 4th and presuming everywhere would be closed anyway. Late in the afternoon lots of boats started coming down the creek and congregating outside in the river waiting for the firework display to start later in the evening. This started just after 9 o'clock for a good half hour and we watched from the cockpit of the boat. Afterwards there was a long procession of boats returning, there must have been at least 300 or so.

July 4th Fireworks Watched from the boat

On Thursday we went back ashore and managed to pick up a bus to Food Lion about half a mile up the road in very hot temperatures. We stopped for a coffee and orange juice and then shopped and walked back.

Friday 6th we left early for Oxford and anchored in Town Creek just opposite Schooners where we had a beer (or two) and dinner in the evening, inside of course because it was so hot. Saturday we did a bit of shopping and the laundry. Sunday, we went over to the bar when it opened at 11.30 to watch the Wimbledon's men's singles final and stayed for lunch as it was still very hot. More thunderstorms forecast and some severe ones but fortunately they missed us this time though we had lots of rain. On the Monday we walked through Oxford to another marina just to stretch the legs.

Young Ospreys at Solomons Sunset over Schooner's, Oxford

Tuesday 10th saw us leaving Oxford and heading up to the Wye River. This is one of our favourite spots for the peace and calm of it. Only one other boat at anchor in Shaw Bay and that was quite a long way off. A few nettles about but not too many that we couldn't cool off in the water - with a wary eye being kept by the one not in the water of course!! Julie did her usual thing - got in the kayak and went off to discover the local wildlife and bird community. As usual for this beautiful spot there were Bald Eagles, Osprey, Herons of various types and Least Terns (Little Terns elsewhere). We stayed in Shaw Bay for a couple of nights and then on Thursday headed further up river to another favourite spot - Skipton Creek. On the Friday we had rain on and off some of which was fairly torrential. In the evening we were sat in the cockpit having a suitable "refreshment" when Ron saw something in the creek which he couldn't make out. Julie took up the challenge and eventually worked out that it was two deer swimming across the widest part of the creek. All that could be seen was the tops of their heads and their antlers - looked like two water ski's moving across the creek. Saturday saw us move back to Shaw Bay with a plan to move to Annapolis on the Sunday but the forecast of thunderstorms during the day on Sunday give us the excuse to stay another day. More kayaking ensued of course.

Gladlee anchored in Shaw Bay, Wye River Young Green Heron

Monday 16th saw us heading across the Bay and to Spa Creek in Annapolis. It was very quiet here with only a few boats taking up the mooring balls. One of the major benefits here is that we have access to the shower and laundry facilities provided by the city harbour-master. Following a very long and welcome shower we headed to the Federal House bar and grill for a couple of beers and dinner. Tuesday saw us doing our tourist bit as we went back to the Naval Academy and redid the tour of the place. It really is very interesting to visit and to see this years new recruits (the Plebes) learning the ropes - so to speak. Did lunch at the Federal House and then in the afternoon put the laundry in and had a bit of a walk while it was doing. Wednesday we walked to the supermarket in what was 100 deg F temperatures. Had to find it first of course but managed that (after finding a Bagel House for soft drinks to re-hydrate) In the afternoon we stayed on the boat - guess what - thunderstorms again and lots of torrential rain.

The Naval Academy, Annapolis Severe thunderstorm hits us at Annapolis

Thursday 19th we left Annapolis and headed for the next river north - the Magothy River. Right down at the end of the river was Dividing Creek which was to be our destination. While still in Oman Julie and a couple of friends went to India for an Indian friends daughters wedding. While there Julie got talking to one of the other guests - an American lady - Sue - who has a house and dock on the Chesapeake - in Dividing Creek. How could we pass up on her invite to use the dock for Gladlee. And what a wonderful time we have had here. Friends of Sue's have been round every night (different ones every night) and all have been great company. Sue made a car available to us so that we could do all our required shopping. We stayed in the house in air conditioned luxury. And guess what - thunderstorms and torrential rain followed by a day of non stop rain. Very pleased we were in the house. Of course one of the major benefits of this for Julie was the Osprey nest about 10 feet from the boat. Three youngsters in there about a couple of weeks from being able to fly. Sue is also very "into" animals especially as she is a Vet and has two scopes focused on the nest from the house which allow you to look right into the nest from high above. All the guests spend their time at the scopes. While here we have also put our outboard engine in for repair after the dunking it took in Mill Creek. Of course that means we have to come back in about 7-10 days to pick it up. What a great excuse for coming back here.

Gladlee on Sue's dock with her house in the background and the Osprey's nest to the left The Osprey's nest

Monday 23rd - Sunday 29th July - Sassafras River

We left Sue's dock and headed back up Dividing Creek into the Magothy River and then into the Chesapeake Bay and headed north up to the Sassafras River. The main reason for going there was that the water is fresh so the jellyfish do not come here and you can swim to cool off. We anchored quite shallow behind Ordinary Point and ended up just sitting there for six days as there seemed no point in moving. It was great for Julie to get out in the kayak and paddle amongst the lillies, even getting quite close to a Nutria. We enjoyed watching the Bald Eagle chasing an Osprey trying to get it to drop it's fish but this time it was unsuccessful.

Bald Eagle chasing an Osprey for it's fish Giving up

The first night the thunderstorms went either north or south of us but we got hit by one a couple of night later. On Saturday everybody was out on the water so we had lots of wakes from the passing boats and then early evening another thunderstorm developed. The radio said that there could be 60mph winds and hail and we were almost in its path, but again it crept by just north of us but it was a bit frightening all the same for a couple of hours.

Beautiful sunset at Ordinary Point, Sassafras A thunderstorm that just missed us

Sunday we went back down to Sue's and had a great trip as we managed to get the current with us all the way and were doing 7 knots over the ground at one point.

Lilies in the Sassafras Nutria eating the Lillies

Monday 30th we recovered our outboard only to find that it was still leaking fuel so it had to go back to the repair shop, oh well, an excuse to stay an extra day and it was forecast for heavy rain anyway. While at Sue's more of the neighbours came round and we continued having a very pleasant social time.

One of the young Ospreys Sue, Julie, Ann (Sue's cousin), Dick and Ron

Thursday 2nd August - we went back to the Wye River, and having worked out the current, we made very good time. Anchored in our usual spot in Shaw Bay for the night and then moved to Dividing Creek for Friday night. The weather was due to be wet and windy on Saturday so we went back to Shaw Bay where we had more room to swing at anchor. We stayed until Tuesday when we returned to Oxford. The weather was a bit iffy but we stayed mainly dry.

Storm at Shaw Bay that just about missed us! Is this what I signed up for?

Wednesday 8th we stayed put in Oxford, did some chores and walked to the marina for a drink later. Next day we went round to Trippe Creek for a couple of days though the weather was not great.

Saturday 11th we went back round to Oxford and found that it was the day of their Regatta so we watched some dinghy and traditional sailing canoes racing, and then set out early for Solomon's on Sunday. We stayed a couple of nights to do some shopping etc. When dinghying up Back Creek we spotted another Westerly yacht and found it was "Five Flip Flops" (Emma and Dave) who we met briefly three years ago in North Carolina. There were only two boats at anchor and it turned out that we knew the couple off the other boat, Walter and Gwen, as well, though they had changed boats from a trawler, "Idle Time",  to a sailing boat, an Island Packet 40' called "Salt Shaker"

Tuesday 14th we motored round to St Leonard's Creek and anchored in the corner just inside. The next night we decided to go into the small marina attached to Vera's Restaurant so that we could charge the batteries, do some washing and basically have a break from anchoring. We had a nice walk and then met up with Emma and Dave and had dinner at Vera's. We went back out and anchored again on the Thursday and in the evening went over to "Five Flip Flops" for a shared dinner - really nice evening exchanging sailing stories etc. Next day we moved across the creek to get better shelter from the wind and then went back to Solomon's on Saturday. This time we went up Back Creek and anchored just opposite the Holiday Inn for a change which worked out great as we were much nearer the shops etc. Went over to "Salt Shaker" who was now on a dock and went with them for a sundowner dock drinks party and then back to their boat for a chat.

Sunday 19th we left early for our passage down to Mill Creek, just south of Reedville, for our final few days out cruising. The weather as usual didn't oblige and it rained most of Monday and Tuesday. We did manage to get ashore for a walk and Julie went out kayaking as usual.

Cormorants and Pelicans on a Fish Trap Sunset at Mill Creek

Wednesday 22nd we motored out of the creek and saw our first dolphins of the year, and then did the 20-odd mile hop down to Jackson Creek at Deltaville and anchored for the night before going into the marina early on Thursday morning. We started work on the boat in readiness for putting her back into storage and managed to get a lot done that day and the Friday. It rained most of Saturday and there were lots of showers on Sunday. Monday was slightly better but still some showers but very humid so difficult to get much done.

We stayed until Thursday 30th and then went round to Stingray Point Boat Works where we hauled out and then headed over to Los Angeles on the 5th September to meet up with Linda and Seamus and take back the RV.



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