Black Hills and Beyond

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Bad Lands, SD

Bad Lands, SD

Our Bird top up

Our Bird top up

45 T'Birds

45 T’Birds

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse Monument

Old Faithful 1

Old Faithful before

Old Faithful 2

Old Faithful erupting

Bison Custer Park

Bison up close and personal

Grand Canon Yellowstone

Grand Canon of Yellowstone

Upper Falls Yellowstone

Upper Falls Yellowstone

2 Medicine Glacier NP

2 Medicine at Glacier NP

Glacier NP 2

Glacier NP

We had a wonderful time with new Thunderbird friends we meet in the Black Hills of South Dakota. If you never have gone there you will be surprised how amazing it is. We saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Mountain, personally we liked Crazy Horse better but both were spectacular. Then we did a day in Custer’s State Park, wow amazing scenery. The club rented jeep s for a safari ride through the park, we saw all kinds of wildlife but the most amazing was the Buffalo (actually Bison). At one point we were up close and personal (5 feet away) to a herd of a thousand of these huge animals; they seemed to ignore us but you never know… The most fun was a ride through an area called Needles Road with 45 Thunderbirds in tandem with tops down and twisting trough 90 degree switch back roads, narrow tunnels through sheer rock and incredible scenery all around. After leaving our friends we drove to Grand Teton NP clean across Wyoming, we did some hiking and saw amazing beauty especially Jenny Lake where we hiked up the side of a mountain called Inspiration Point. The next day we drove the figure 8 loop of Yellowstone stopping along the way to see wild animals (bison, deer, elk, and eagles) and of course geysers, waterfalls and beautiful mountains. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was our most memorable spot. The next day a seven hour drive to Glacier NP were we went to 2 Medicine Lake, a mountain lake named after an Indian Princess. A cool waterfall with tall rocky mountains all round and a high in the mountains lake that was unfortunately closed for the season for boating (55 degree days, 25 degree nights, burr) but open for wilderness camping and hiking. The Go-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier NP was breath-taking, although it was a cool 48 degrees we had to ride through with the top down. We just got to Banff, AB Canada, details to follow. Some of the most memorable parts of our journey has been the highway, most have been along 2 lane roads that twist and turn but the views all around were way different than Maryland or Florida.

For those that have followed our adventures sailing, thank you. But the boat is on the hard, I am keeping my fingers crossed that no hurricanes come ashore in Florida. We will be getting the boat ready for  a new adventure when we come back from this cross country trip. Not in a boat but a car! We purchased a retro 2003 Thunderbird, if you have never seen one they are similar to the old 1955-57 Birds but with air conditioning and all the features of a modern car except it’s a 2 seat convertible. So we left Saturday Sept 5, 2015 to meet up with about 45 other retro Birds that will come from all over USA and Canada in Mitchell, SD to spend a week exploring all the parks of South Dakota. After we bid good-bye to our new made friends we will continue on to Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks. Then we go to Canada to visit the Canadian Rocks around Banff, then a short visit in Vancouver. Finally we spend a week sailing in a chartered sailboat in the San Juan Islands close to Puget Sound. Then we will once again jump in our little car and go 3000 plus miles to Maryland.


In 2 days we have driven over 1200 miles through 7 states and are on old Rt 66 in a small town in Missouri named Carthage. We are spending the night at Boots Court, it is a restored 1948 motel that’s really cute. Tomorrow we start heading to Kansas City and actually stopping along the way to explore.



Penobscot Bay

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Sorry we don’t have the bandwidth to post photos; we have a bunch but will post them when we have better Internet.

On July 23 we sailed by Monhegan Island recommended by a lady we met in Harpswell. It is one of those places that only the mail boat makes regular stops there (well it used to be that way). We came into the harbor and the rock bluffs on both sides just went straight to heaven. There were kids playing at a little beach and a ferry boat offloading passengers, we so wanted to stop but… We could not reach anyone onshore on the radio, the guest moorings were occupied by lobster boats. So we finally decided that we could not stop here and went on to Tenant Harbor. Arriving 2 hours later at Tenant Harbor, the weather was overcast and rainy. We tried to get a spot at the town moorings, but it was full. A neat little town, but we didn’t really get a chance to see much as we anchored in Long Cove about 1 mile away. We were fairly well protected here but because of the huge tides we had to put out a lot of anchor line. At low tide it was 15 feet deep but 25 at high so with 5 to 1 scope that meant we needed 125 feet of anchor chain. We had a great meal aboard, once again the thunderstorms danced around us but we were secure for the night.

July 24 we sailed to Rockland, we experience fog and light rain in the morning, then a beautiful day later on. Once behind the long breakwater that protects the harbor the waves and wind subsided and we went into town to explore. The town marina had everything a cruiser might need, but it was ala carte. The shower was 2 bucks, water 3, ice 2, but the dinghy dock was free. I must say the showers were very nice and clean. The next day we wanted to go to Rockport but it was only 2 miles away so we opted for Camden (8 miles away!) and maybe getting back to the much smaller less commercial Rockport at another time.

July 25 the short sail to Camden, Maine was a memorable one. This area starting in Rockland is the west side of Penobscot Bay, a famous and favorite cruising spot for many sailors (and stink potters). On both side of the bay are many ports of call, going north is Bangor and in the middle are many islands that make the cruise worth the effort. Camden is much more commercialized but we loved it, so much so we stayed 2 days. I’m sure if you are driving through this town you want to just get the hell out of there because pedestrians are crossing the street and traffic lights are not timed for the cars so it just creeps along. Everywhere you look it is beautiful; in the background are the mountains, every house has colorful plants and flowers and everywhere the harbor. The closest hill (810 ft) is Mt Battie, I decided that I had to climb it, only problem was we went to town I had on flip-flops and of course the trail up the side of the mountain required something more substantial. So I go almost to the top but the last 50 feet was sheer rock so I took my pictures from there. The view of the harbor from the library was amazing; the harbor has a large fleet sailing schooners that are quite impressive. The amphitheater behind the library was outlined in tall spruce with the center green terraced in stone and grass. We really like Camden, look forward to go back.

July 27 we went to the east side of Penobscot Bay to Castine, once again we had fog but it was fairly light and it burnt off by late morning. Not much here but a small downtown area with huge mostly restored turn of the century and older homes, the Maine Maritime Academy and lots of lobster-men. The marina had no facilities not even a restroom, but the dockmaster took our money with a smile. This town is actually older than Plymouth and was occupied by many different countries mainly French who built a fort later captured by the British.

July 28 this was our second time to experience heavy fog. We left Castine in the fog; initially we saw few lobster traps thinking they were smarter than us and stayed at home. As we went further south toward our destination of Burnt Coat Harbor on Swans Island, the lobster traps increased at times there were areas with so many we had to alter course and go around. We had our radar running and usually I could spot the lobster boats and change course and stay safe, but sometimes I did what I could and took evasive action when the lobster boat’s bow appeared out of the fog. We were blowing our manual fog horn whenever we saw other boats on radar, but the lobster-men are not interested in anything other than getting their pots aboard and head home. We finally made it after 6 hours of dodging pots and boats the harbor was mostly filled with lobster boats in the morning and maybe 3 or 4 cruising boats. No stores or restaurants ashore but some nice trails to hike or just walk the roads as we did.

July 29 we made the short run to Lunt Harbor on Long Island. I made a navigation error and ended up in some pretty heavy swells in the Atlantic, we could have avoided the drama, but what the hay! This is a very picturesque little harbor with a nice town museum and a famous restaurant, Lunt and Lunt. We had lunch there and then walked one of the trails through amazing hemlock and spruce trees to the other side. About 80 percent of this island is a preserve with many hiking trails to explore.

July 30 here we go again with the heavy fog. We waited till 9 thinking the sun would burn off the fog…wrong. This was another trip to stare at the radar screen while dodging lobster pots and looking out for the lobster boats. It was only 2 hours but it seems much further, partly because we picked up grass that wrapped around the propeller and slowed us down to a crawl, I thought we had snagged a lobster pot and keep checking for a telltale float coming out the stern but it was just heavy grass we got it off when we moored. We walked the town of Islesford on Little Cranberry Island bought some things at the shops and came back to prepare for the next few days exploring Arcadia Park/Mt. Desert.


Portland to Booth Bay

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The Cuckolds BoothBay Lobstermen Centerboard YC Portland Portland Lobster Morse Crib Grill Orr's I Cribstone Bridge

We spent an extra day in Newport because the weather was rainy and we were just lazy. From Newport, RI on Thursday we went to Cuttyhunk, MA. We wanted to go to the top of Buzzards Bay to a port called Onset Bay but because of a late start it would take 2 days for that. Cuttyhunk is a small island just above Martha’s Vineyard, it has a small well protected harbor and mooring was about the only option unless you anchored outside then used the dingy to get to town. There was a small store, the marina, and 2 restaurants; you could also buy fresh seafood and bakery goods from a boat that went around the mooring field. We walked to the highest hill in town and the view was incredible. Most folks use golf carts to get around, the roads are pretty primitive and narrow. It is an amazing jewel of a place, very friendly people and beautiful views every direction you look.

We decided to make an overnight passage to Maine, so we went to bed early and left Cuttyhunk early. Buzzards Bay is really a great place to sail, lots of wind and it seems we saw far more sailboats than powerboats. We made it to the Cape Cod Canal 2 hours after flood tide started which means that the narrow canal had to handle the huge tide difference between the 2 sides. We were really flying through there; at times it reminded me of rapids with swirling water and standing waves, I was turning the wheel constantly to keep her straight. The ride was pretty short and we were now in the Atlantic Ocean heading north. During the trip we had seen lobster floats in Rhode Island and some in Buzzards Bay, but now they are much more prevalent. We were pretty far offshore, 7 miles or more and we would still have to dodge the lobster floats. If you run over them they can wrap around the propeller shaft and stop the boat, then someone has to dive down in that cold New England water and remove said rope. So all through the night we pushed on, then about 10:15 PM it was pitch black, the moon had not made his appearance yet and bam we ran over a lobster trap. No damage but just scared the heck out of us. Other than that it was pretty uneventful passage. The following morning around 9:30 we pulled into Portland, Maine got a mooring at Centerboard Yacht Club and get some sleep. This is a large city for Maine with many shops, restaurants, lobster houses, cobblestone streets, restored old brick buildings, just a neat place.

After 2 days in Portland we left for Harpswell Sound, we got a mooring at Orrs-Bailey yacht club and scoped out where to go for a Maine lobster dinner. We had to cross the Orrs Island to Baileys Island Bridge to see the 2 major lobster serving places, the bridge is really unique. They made it out of granite, huge cut pieces stacked to support the roadbed. The problem was the current that flows under the bridge is very strong, conventional building material of the time (1920) would wash out, but stone doesn’t rust, the current flows through it. So anyway we crossed the Crib Stone Bridge and decided on Morse’s vs. Cooks Lobster House. The lobster and steamers (steamed clams) were delicious.  From there we sailed to Boothbay Harbor on the trip we sailed past Seguin Island and oh yes we dodged lobster traps the whole way. The anchorage to stop here was full so we continued on. At Booth Bay we walked the town took real showers, bought some souvenirs, and had lunch and ice cream. This town is really a hopping place a lot of Bed and Breakfasts, several small Inns and hotels. Plenty to do here if that’s your thing. Tomorrow we are heading to Tennant Harbor with a possible side trip to Monhegan Island.


Newport, RI

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Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk Beach

Cliff Walk Beach

Block Island Hotel

Block Island Hotel

Dinghy Dock

Dinghy Dock



















This is going on our 3rd day in Newport; the plan was to leave this morning. The weather has been wet, foggy, and cool… welcome to New England. Tomorrow the weather should clear and we will head over to Buzzards Bay, stopping either at Cuttyhunk, Hadley Harbor, or Onset. Then we will time ourselves for the current going through the Cape Cod Canal for Friday morning and head toward Maine.

We had a great time in Block Island, we walked but I would suggest renting bicycles and seeing the whole island. If food is your passion the choices are many; we ate at Yellow Kittens for an inexpensive Mexican dinner. Walking to the eastern side of the island, called Old Harbor, we found several huge Victorian era hotels loaded with tourists as well as tons of shops, bars and more restaurants. Coming back to the boat we had a little incident with a smaller power boat, whose anchor was dragging and almost hit us. With a few choice words from me they decided to move. Our friends anchored next to us on White Bird got a big kick out of my animation to the poor powerboater. Monday morning we left in light fog for Newport, looking forward to a nice sail, wrong. The sailing started off great, but as we turned further to the east toward Narragansett Bay, the winds were directly behind us and we were not making much speed. Then the fog set in, so we started the engine as a safety factor as high-speed ferries run to Block all the time and in that soup we relied on our radar and AIS to keep us out of harm’s way. Coming into Newport the visibility was down to about a hundred feet, we were concentrating on dodging lobster floats and oncoming traffic. Staying to the far right of the channel out of the fog appears this huge rock, although maintaining the course I was on we would not hit Castle Hill, it still scared the you-know-what out of me. We picked up a mooring close to Goat Island, and then later went into the very nice Newport Maritime Center. We took showers, did laundry and read old Yachting magazines.

Yesterday we went into Newport and walked the main drag called Thames Street. Our friends were doing the Cliff Walk on the other side of town, so we decided to walk the shoreline. Even in the fog this was a very impressive walk but several miles of mostly paved walkways along the cliffs with amazing mansions on one side and Eastern Bay/Atlantic Ocean on the other. We met up with Cathy, Peter, Susan, and Chuck for a late lunch and later ice cream. Despite the rain and fog we had a pretty nice day. Today, Wednesday we are under a flash flood warning with hard rain all day so we are hunkered down on the boat being lazy.





Block Island, RI

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IMG_0775 IMG_0771


We caught the current through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D) and this is important because it can rip through there either slowing a sailboat down to crawling speed or push you to much faster speeds. At the top of the Delaware River we had bad current (-2 knots) for the first hour but the tide changed and we had good for the next 5 and made it to Cape May at 3:30 instead of the predicted sundown. We called Virginia’s niece Catherine who lives nearby to get together but they were out of town. We anchored right off the Coast Guard station and listened to the in-training Coastie recruits marching and chanting. Next morning on Wednesday we got fuel and departed for Block Island.

The passage to Block started out pleasant enough following seas a light chop on the water but also light winds. We motor sailed most of the day and actually sailed for several hours but when the boat speed got down to 4 we started the old iron ginny (engine). At night we reefed the main sail and furled in the Genoa, good thing because later on we had a big old thunderstorm. It was a huge storm, but fortunately for us it mostly passed us by; we could see the squalls to the north on radar and the lightening lighting up the sky but it was done. The residual winds were strong enough to push the boat at top speed with just the reefed main sail up for the next several hours. Thursday morning the winds had shifted to North right on the nose, at first we tried to sail but it became apparent this winds were not helping. Finally we pasted Montauk Point and into Block as a beautiful sunset was happening. We rafted with friends Peter and Cathy on their “new” Saga 43 WhiteBird. The passage took 35 hours so we were exhausted and did not make very good company so we turned in to catch up on our sleep.

The pictures were taken during the walk to town. Tomorrow is the farmers market and some shopping (my most unfavorite things). Next stop is Newport, RI, then places along Buzzards Bay, the the Cape Cod canal and places north.



Going to Maine

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IMG_20140604_185715_914 IMG_20140705_171625_510

I know it’s been a long time since our last post, many things have happened. Here is a quick update:

November 2013 after Jacksonville we continued on the ICW to Stuart, Florida with stops in Titusville and Vero Beach. Once again we got a mooring at Sunset Bay Marina; this is like home to us. So many friends we have met there and the staff and facilities are incredibly nice. At some point in time we decided that this was the ideal place for us to buy a house, not to stop sailing, but it was time. So after many open houses and probably driving the realtor nuts we picked a small duplex/townhouse in a family oriented neighborhood. It is just 3 miles to Sunset Bay and an hour away from 2 daughters and family.

We moved into the new house in January and after getting settled in to our new neighborhood, our youngest daughter announced her wedding plans for July 5. So we left Florida and sailed/motored back to Maryland for the big event. We got a slip at Hartges in Galesville, what a great little town; however it is 8 miles to the nearest store. This was not a good choice since we were carless (except weekend Enterprise rentals).The wedding was perfect, an outdoor barn wedding the weather was a cool but sunny day. It all went off without any issues…a good time was had by all.

So Monday we left Hartges Marina early and sailed to the top of the bay where we got a slip at Chesapeake Inn and Marina in Chesapeake City, MD. I was not expecting such a great sailing day we had great wind most of the way. Tomorrow we will leave here around 6 AM to catch the current through the C&D canal, and a little bit of help in the Delaware River.  Hopefully we will make Cape May before sundown. After Cape May we go for about 40 hours sailing to Block Island, RI. Our final destination this trip is Maine.

We left Hilton Head after a good day of sightseeing and exploring, we were having a great time there but we needed to be moving on. After a grueling day of narrow passages and shallow water we stopped for the night on Kilkenny Creek not far from the town of .. wait for it yes Kilkenny. We anchored on a low tide among 3 other cruising sailboats, we had plans to go to the bar/restaurant called Marker 107 for dinner. A big  cold front made a change in our plans that evening, the temperature dropped rapidly and the winds were blowing. I had plenty of anchor chain out for the low tide, but add 7 feet to that and it was not enough. So all night long I got up every few minutes to check to be sure we weren’t being blown away. The anchor held, no problems, but no sleep. The big north winds continued the next day so we stayed put. Thursday we tried to anchor behind Lanier Island which is next to St Simons Island, which is close to Brunswick, Georgia, but our anchoring guide was wrong about the depth, it was too deep. So we got a slip at a nearby marina and had a marvelous meal at Coastal Kitchen. This morning we left and went outside the ICW to Jacksonville, we got here early, could have gone further but I was really exhausted from hand steering (autopilot broke again). So its an overcast drizzly rainy day, but its warm FLORIDA rain!



A Little Excitement

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Sorry I did not update you about the failed attempt in the Caribbean 1500 and going to the BVI. I posted several videos and pictures on Facebook /cpubob I have tried to post them here but that is beyond this old computer geek to copy from Facebook. To recap: Dan and Melissa invited us after their paid captain bailed on them to get Slow Dancing back in the rally to Tortola, BVI. In a moment’s notice we flew to Norfolk and left the next morning. We had a nice sail from the bridge-tunnel out into the Atlantic. As darkness fell we reefed the main down, put out the staysail and watched the wind build, the predicted wind was 20-25. It was more like 30-35 we changed course to get the wind and waves off the bow. The seas were now confused coming from different directions but big. Water was pouring into the cabin from leaking hatches and a propane locker. This locker on the starboard side is right next to the navigation station and all the electronics, now this is a problem. It took out the radio and our ability to get weather reports, also most of the extra fuel stored in Jerry cans and triple lashed to the deck washed overboard. We decided to turn around. Initially going north with the wind from the south was much smoother but it shifted to north and even stronger and more confused waves. Down in the cabin it was very wet; eating or sleeping was next to impossible. We finally made it back to the Chesapeake Bay then heard the reports of other boats that faced worse problems than we did. The Coast Guard was busy, they towed two boats in, another one was demasted, and one couple lost their boat but got rescued and saved their lives.

We are back on Shadowfax down in a warmer environment in Hilton Head, SC. Tomorrow we will start again on the ICW through Georgia and Florida to be with our family in Boynton Beach for Thanksgiving.


Change of Plans

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In the previous post I explained that Dan and Melissa had to return to Portsmouth, VA. It turns out their captain decided to call it quits so we have been invited to do the rally with them. So we are leaving our boat here in Hilton Head and we are flying to Norfolk tomorrow to meet Slow Dancing for a Wednesday departure to Tortola, British Virgin Islands! Our Spot will not be used but you can follow us on their Spot https://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0LtcZOlmHqtdicYBVT8cYE5zgvjvjKKgZ   or go to the Caribbean 1500 website and use the Fleet Viewer. Slow Dancing is the boat  https://www.worldcruising.com/carib1500/eventfleetviewer.aspx