05 – 13 November 2013: Annapolis to Deltaville – 37 32N 76 20W
We used this unplanned stopover in Annapolis to update some of Balvenies ageing systems. The refrigeration was a major - the compressor had recently started making banging noises, the copper piping which houses the gas was corroding; as with everything onboard Balvenie it was getting old (including us!).
Our friends on Cristata had recently installed a Dometic self contained unit that ran on 12, 24, 110 or 240volts and they were very happy with it so we looked at the options and decided we could make one fit into our existing area. We ordered it from West Marine and skipper started tearing the old system out – condenser, compressor, piping, wiring – out it all came, what mess! A week later our new unit arrived so we borrowed Mike & Marguerites pickup and collected it.
Weighing about 15kilos it was big and bulky and getting it from the pickup down to the dock, into the dinghy, out of the dinghy onto the boat and inside was no mean feat. Can you imagine our dismay when we plugged it in, turned it on and nothing happened!! It would run on the emergency power setting but not on the regular controls.
After several phone calls to Dometic and West Marine it was decided they would need to replace it. The new one came super fast express and arrived the following day so it was back via dinghy, dock and pickup, this time we were smart enough to unpack the new unit in store and plug it in to check it was working.
Our new fridge has been christened Frieda and she is taking up quite a lot of real estate on our saloon floor for now, but she will live there until we get to Trinidad later in the season when we will have the necessary cabinetry work done to fit her into the galley. So far we are very happy with her performance, however when the air temperature inside the boat is colder than the temperature she is set at she doesn’t have to work very hard!!!
Whirlwind Tour of Washington
Sunday was clear, crisp and sunny, a perfect day for sightseeing. Mike and Marguerite had offered the pickup (we were using it more than them!) and suggested we drove to the outskirts of Washington and catch the train downtown, an easy and quick way to access the city.
We have both been to Washington before, albeit over 20 years ago, so this was really just a refresher and we had a great day out. It was Veterans Memorial Weekend so all the War Memorials had reunions and commemorative services underway, it was an interesting time to visit.
We ticked off the hotspots: peered through the bars at the White House, walked along Constitution Avenue, joined the Mall and climbed the stairs to see Abraham Lincolns statue, walked back along Reflection Pool, past the World War II Memorial and the Washington Monument (currently shrouded in scaffolding following earthquake damage in 2011), detoured for coffee, lunch and museums then skirted Capitol Hill.
Washington is overflowing with museums and many of them are free. Of course there is only so much you can see in one day so we did a quick fly through past the Dinosaur exhibits at the National Museum of Natural History, then crossed the road to the National Air and Space Museum where we spent an informative and enjoyable couple of hours watching liftoffs and landings, stepping into space and going where no man has ever been before.
Mark gazing into space whilst dreaming of being an astronaut
We stopped at the highly recommended cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian for an excellent bowl of Buffalo Chilli before venturing upstairs to view several of the exhibits in this interesting museum. Then we headed for Capitol Hill late in the day, the sun was dipping and the cold wind was whipping up the fallen leaves, it was a very autumnal scene. Before darkness fell we headed for the Metro and wound our weary way home, it had been an excellent day out.
Back To Work
Mark continued upgrading some of the aging systems onboard Balvenie whilst I supervised. When floorboards are up and lockers are emptied to gain access it is virtually impossible to do anything else onboard but keep out of the way! Of course when its warm you can make yourself scarce outside but when cold, well you just make do.
During this time very good ex cruising friends Lynn and Larry Lewis were passing through Annapolis and came to visit us. Had I started this blog when we left New Zealand Lynn and Larry would have featured on many postings as we spent time with them in Fiji and Vanuatu and then cruised from Brisbane down to Tasmania and back with them during summer 2005.
We learnt so much from them regarding our systems onboard and the maintenance of them, it was invaluable. Lynn and Larry sold their yacht Zephyr in Brisbane and have lived back in Louisville, Kentucky since. We spent a great day with them, they hadn’t changed at all and it was super to catch up after so many years.
We collected our Injector Pump from J & G Parks, it looked brand new and came with a fully comprehensive list of what had been replaced and refurbished. They had done an extremely professional job and we were very hopeful we might now see an end to our engine woes.
We had booked Dick from Vosbury Marine to come and install it all. With 40 years experience working on Volvos he instilled confidence in us immediately. If anyone was going to get Olive back going again, he would – and he did. She sparked into life and sounded better than she had for a long time. It looked like we might just leave Saltworks Creek before it froze over after all!!
And Now We Wait For The Weather
So now it was time to fill the fridge to capacity and jam as many supplies as possible into the lockers, we might just get to the Caribbean this season after all. We had missed the departure of the Salty Dawgs Rally, which in hindsight was a very good thing as the boats that left on the scheduled date encountered atrocious conditions and many suffered damage. We were pleased to still be up our creek.
So we filled our final days doing last minute provisioning, well you just never know when you will see a supermarket, liquor store, chandlery, Dollar Store or Walmart again. Things had got so easy for us in Annapolis, Mike and Marguerite had been just wonderful hosts and their generosity in loaning us both their pickup and car had been outstanding. We knew our way around like locals, and zoomed around collecting all manner of items deemed necessary for the oncoming cruising season.
Heading South at Speed
With final farewells said and easing northerlies forecast we left our sheltered creek, headed down the Severn River and into Chesapeake Bay. When we reached the bay we had winds gusting 35kts and the temperature was –1c, this didn’t seem like such a good idea but we had to get south. Under staysail only we flew off down the bay averaging 7kts and anchored just on dark (now 5.15pm) at the mouth of the Potomac River.
Next morning the winds had increased (not in the forecast!!) and it was even colder. With 11 layers of clothes on I could hardly bend, skipper only had 7 layers on so was a little more mobile! Conditions eased throughout the day and we pulled into the sheltered anchorage at Fishing Harbour, Deltaville late afternoon. There was just one other hardy soul at anchor, and wouldn’t you know it – they were kiwis too! It was Victoria with Karin and Jim onboard who we had met very briefly in Newport, time to catch up again.
Autumn Has Been Magic but How Much Colder Can We Take??