30 September 2012

Day 79: Bodkin Creek, Pasadena – 30/09/12

It’s freezing when we wake up – not literally, but almost.  Mike checks the temperature inside the boat when we turn the generator on – 62 degrees.  Brrrrr!  The air conditioning comes on in heat mode which warms up the salon but does nothing for the temperature in the hulls as they are sitting in very cold water.

The boat is being hauled out tomorrow and as our fridge and freezer are water cooled, we will have to turn them off.  This is fine as the freezer especially needs a good defrost.  Kathy here in Bodkin Creek has offered me some freezer space so we turn ours off and pack all the stuff in the cool box and take it over to her.  Americans seem to have something most of us Brits don’t have – huge basements which house laundries and spare fridges and freezers – how blissful.  Anyway, we pack our stuff into hers and by the time we come upstairs Kim is waiting for us outside to take us for the octuplet crab steaming extravaganza at Michelle and Joe’s house on the bay.

We stop off at their house first for Craig to show Mike his huge array of power tools and sets some aside for him to use to try and get the screw out of the sail drive when we are hauled out tomorrow.

When we arrive at Michelle and Joe’s the crab steaming is well under way.  They have two tables set out by the water covered with discarded crab shells and pulverised, ripped off legs.  It looks like food carnage of mega portions but smells delicious.

I go into the shed to look at the crabs that are yet to make it to the pot and discover that they are the blue legged kind, one of which was hanging from our anchor chain a few days ago.  I knew I should have cooked him. 

P1120646 Photo:  What’s left of a bushel of crabs

Anyway, they all look very subdued in their pot so I decide I should lend a hand to the proceedings, pick the pot up and carry it out to the steamer.  Putting it gently on the floor (I don’t want to wake them) I quietly pick up the tongs and reaching over them a few suddenly sense their impending doom and reach out aggressively with their larger claw, waving them at me in defence.  Easily scared (and feeling a bit guilty) I hand the tongs to Sean and hide behind Kim just in case one launches itself at me, Alien-like in its attack.

Sean nonchalantly heaves them one by one into the pot, shaking them off when they cling to the tongs.  Unfortunately by the time they land in the pot they are all very much alive and as he fills it with more and more crabs, they are able to start scrabbling over the side.  Kim and I stand well back whimpering but Sean subdues them by throwing handfuls of crab seasoning over them which seems to stop them fighting back.  Maybe they think it’s sand.  More likely they are blinded!  Anyway, they are quiet enough for him to pop the lid on and start the steamer.  At this point I move away from earshot – I don’t want to risk hearing them banging on the side of the pot!

P1120648 Photo:  Fighting back – these blue legged crabs are aggressive little blighters

Sitting down, and after the lesson from Robbie and Joe on how to pull them apart, which is not, I have to add, for the fainthearted, I start to eat the batch that were steamed earlier and which are now cool enough to handle.  Delicious but fiddly.

P1120652 Photo:  Me and Mike devouring crabs

There are a lot of us eating crabs.  A bushel gives you about 80.  On top of the octuplets there is their 10 children, one set of parents and a couple of other friends/family in attendance.  That’s one hell of a lot of debris!  At the end of the meal it looks like we have left more than we’ve eaten.  On top of the crabs, salads, cakes and cookies are produced and we are still in the middle of eating when the clouds close over and the wind picks up.

P1120653 Photo:  Storm clouds gather as we eat our crabs

P1120658 Photo:  Michelle looking beautiful as she gets stuck into crustaceans

P1120659 Photo:  Lysol wipes, steamed crabs, peanut butter cake with chocolate sauce and chocolate ‘Burgers’ – mmm but not on the same plate!

We ignore the first spits of rain, and the steady patter but when it becomes a heavy downpour, we run for the cars, grabbing everything with us and head back to Kim and Craig’s.  Mike drives us in Michelle and Joe’s car which they have kindly lent us to get us around and up to see the Crazy Horse gang up in Middletown.

We continue to have a lovely evening with the gang, slowly beginning to work out and remember which of the 10 children/teens belong to which set of parents.  This, with my aging brain and memory, is not easy.

We are the last to leave Kim and Craig’s, Mike clutching tools which Craig has lent him to deal with the bloody screw that is causing the problem with the sail drive seal and drive back to Bodkin Creek and Kathy and Andy’s dock.

It’s still pouring when we get into the dinghy, and we are once again soaked by the time we get back.

A third blanket goes on the bed tonight.  It had better not get any colder – we haven’t got any more!


Position:  39 deg 10 min N, 76 deg 31 min W

Distance so far:  2677 miles

29 September 2012

Day 78: Bodkin Creek, Pasadena – 29/09/12

Today is another late start, for me anyway.  I am not long up when Mike tells me that Kathy and Andy are on their way over in a kayak and I race to clean my teeth, hoping that my nightie (which I never wear in bed anyway) looks vaguely like a sun dress.

They have come to say hello and have a look around Jeannius.  Although Kathy has had sailing holidays on motor boats and monohulls, she has never been on a catamaran before and looking around Jeannius makes her realise how much she now wants to go on one in the BVIs.

I do some work on the blog and my photos but the day spent in Washington is a long one with lots of pictures and I quickly get bogged down with it.  I know the blog will be a wonderful aide memoire when I am old and dribbling, but there are times when it is a real mill stone around my neck!

I finally get to talk to Rosemary of the Crazy Horse gang, fresh back from her cruise up to Nova Scotia, and we plan our get together.  She is on her way over to Maryland Yacht Club, just around the corner from us when I talk to her, but we do not have enough time to get together today so we arrange for us to go over to them after Jeannius is hauled out on Monday.  I can’t wait to see them all.

We head over to Kathy and Andy’s dock again and immediately we arrive I can see that someone has been cleaning the dock.  Gone is the duck pooh, for a couple of days at least.  We are meeting Kit and Nolan, our friends from Baltimore who moved to Pasadena a couple of weeks ago and when we emerge from the house, Nolan is waiting for us.

He drives us to their new house – looking remarkably straight given that they have been there for such a short space of time – and Kit plies us with food and drink (Nolan reads my blog so provides SB) – even though we are going out for dinner later.  As if I weren’t fat enough already!!

Their new house is right on the water, and we are able to look over the stretch of the Patapsco River that we motored up on our way to Baltimore.

We go into Baltimore for dinner, to an area of the docklands which are becoming very upmarket.  Locust Point has many lovely streets full of small terraced houses that are gradually being done up mainly by young professionals.  It reminds me of some areas of East London but with more trees.

They take us to Miguel’s, a Mexican restaurant which is in an interesting building which used to house grain silos, but has now been built around to incorporate offices, apartments and the restaurant.

As you walk into the building, a long, high-ceilinged passage painted with amazing frescos, lead you to the restaurant.  The inside’s paint job is as interesting as the outside’s.

P1120642 P1120640 P1120641 P1120643 Photos:  Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant, Locust Point

The menu is impressive and I have a margarita while I am choosing.  Unfortunately my first choice is unavailable but my second is very good.  Neither Mike nor I are usually fans of Mexican food probably because it is so often done badly, but Miguel’s is excellent and worth it for the decor alone!

P1120645 Photo:  Kit and Nolan

We have another great evening – I keep saying that but it’s true!  We have had three nights out on the trot, and all have involved volumes of really great food.  I must stop eating.  I will explode!


Position:  39 deg 10 min N, 76 deg 31 min W

Distance so far:  2677 miles

28 September 2012

Day 77: Bodkin Creek, Pasadena – 28/09/12

We spend the day doing a mixture of things although I have to admit to having a bit of a lazy day.  I am trying to finish a really good book and stay in bed until I do.

The rest of the day flashes past in a whirl of boat stuff, cleaning (although there’s not that much to do since my sister gave it a good going over) and computer jobs and it seems hardly any time since I got up before it is time to go over to Kathy and Andy’s for dinner armed with two bags of laundry that Kathy has told me to bring.

Immediately we arrive, I am offered some very good SB, in fact it’s one of the wines I drink at home – always a good start.  Kathy and Andy are terrific hosts and very good cooks.  The good thing about people who read my blog who then cook us dinner is that they know exactly what we like, so it is no surprise when Kathy puts down plates of crab cakes served with a medley of roast vegetables, shrimp, sausage and rice with a pineapple chilli sauce.  Yummy.  If that weren’t enough, out comes baklava, cheesecake (two types) and Smith Island cake (a heavy chocolate and vanilla layered cake).  By the end of a very enjoyable evening, I am fit to burst.  At least I have some exercise trundling up and down the stairs to the basement fiddling with the laundry until it is ready.

P1120629 Photo:  Kathy and Andy

They walk us through the garden to the dock.  We have learned our lesson and have left the dinghy at the end of the dock in deeper water this time!  Unfortunately it has just started to drizzle so I stand at the end of the dock and remove my trousers, folding them up carefully and putting them in my bag in case I have to sit down on the dock to get in – the dock is covered in wild duck pooh and I have no wish to get that on my trousers.  I needn’t have bothered though.  Unbeknown to me, my flip flops are already covered in the gooey stuff and as I step down into the dinghy, the combination of wet dinghy and dock pooh covered flip flops cause me to slip and land on my backside on even more duck pooh.  Then to add insult to injury, I step back once in the dinghy and my flip flop catches Mike on the thigh, covering his trousers with the stuff.  On top of that, the ducks have been using the dinghy as a landing and take off platform and the dinghy floor is also covered!  How lovely.  At least it washes off!

Yet another lovely evening (apart from the duck pooh) with good food and excellent, entertaining company.  We are finding Pasadena very hospitable indeed!


Position:  39 deg 10 min N, 76 deg 31 min W

Distance so far:  2677 miles

27 September 2012

Day 76: Annapolis to Bodkin Creek – 27/09/12

For such a small place, there are a lot of people who know us in Pasadena.  Kit and Nolan, the friends we saw briefly in Baltimore now live there; eight people who are chartered with us on Jeannius for two holidays live there; the Crazy Horse gang keep their boat there; and now we have been contacted by someone on TTOL to drop by and say hello as they live there.  We have been invited to an evening of fun and revelry tonight Chez Klein tonight so we head off north again in the late morning, dodging the pots, the naval college midshipmen playing at being sailors in their pretend destroyers and idiot people going too fast in motor boats.  Before long we are at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge again.

P1120580 P1120587 P1120588 Photos:  The Chesapeake Bay Bridge

We arrive at Bodkin Creek in the early afternoon and as this is where Pleasure Cove Marina is (where we will be hauled out next week to get the screw out of the sail drive surround – grrrr) we go slowly in to have a look.  There’s not a lot of depth in here and we are careful to keep to the channel, me once again being relegated (or promoted, I’m not sure) to chief foghorn at the chart table.

Having found the marina and discovering that there’s not really any room to anchor outside there, we turn around and go back to a wider bit to do our free parking.

While I am drying my hair, Kathy and Andy (the TTOL couple) arrive in their motor launch to say hello – they live literally 1/4 mile away on the banks of a little inlet on the creek. 

Just as we are getting ready to leave the boat, Craig, one of the Pasadena octuplets calls us.  He has arrived at the Ventnor Marina to pick us and has discovered that the gates are locked and everyone else has gone home as it is past 5 pm.  We had been going to take the dinghy there and walk through to meet him.  I have a brainwave.  Kathy and Andy live between us and the marina and they have a dock!  I get Mike to call them and ask if we can use their dock and traipse through their garden to meet Craig and they are happy for us to do this.  We give Craig the address and dinghy over and for the first time I meet a couple that I don’t know, whose garden/house/dock I am making use of and who have invited us to dinner tomorrow.  What a friendly, helpful world we live in – sometimes!

After the introductions at their dock where Craig is waiting for us, we go over to Robbie and Cathy’s house which is situated in the middle of a links golf course.  I am constantly amazed at the difference in sheer size between British and American houses at comparable cost.  You get so much more for your money here, probably because there so much more room to build on.  It’s only in the big cities where that changes.

It’s lovely to see them all again.  This group of friends chartered with us back in 2009, then again in February this year, adding another couple to the original guest list. 

When I see the sheer amount of meat going onto the barbecue, I think I am being offered a ‘Chick and Ruth’s challenge’ – they like their meat here and it shows!

Robbie is in charge of the BBQ with a little help from Sean and Craig and I have to say they do a really good job.  After a delicious mix of beef, pork, ribs and sweet potato, Cathy shows me around their lovely house while the others descend to the games room in the basement of the house.

Robbie knows a thing or two about basements.  His has a full size bar, from which he pulls draft beer and mixes cocktails.  There are two huge TVs showing the Baltimore Ravens’ football game and there’s a third projection screen showing the same (this one’s about 10 by 8 feet).  Because he brews his own beer, he has a proper brewery in a separate room, dispensing it when ready for storage in a special refrigerator which in turn pipes it out to the bar.  Impressive!  Now if I could just talk him into making SB …!

P1120592 Photo:  Robbie pulling a pint at his bar

P1120593 Photo:  Stacie, Kim and Cathy

P1120594 Photo:  The brewery!

P1120595 Photo:  This shows how big the bar actually is!

P1120597Photo:  Stacie, Sean and Robbie

P1120599 Photo:  Stacie, Cathy, Kim, me and Michelle

P1120602 Photo:  Cathy, Robbie, Michelle, Joe, me, Kim, Mike, Robbie, Stacie and Sean

On screen, we can see the Baltimore Ravens playing in the pouring rain and it suddenly occurs to Mike that the rain is coming our way and we decide it is probably time for us to get back to the boat before it does.  Joe gives us a lift back but by the time we arrive at Kathy and Andy’s dock, the rain has started.  As Mike tries to pull the dinghy towards us he realises that it is stuck fast to the bottom – the tide has gone out leaving it in just 9 inches of water.  Poor Mike.  He has to go down the ladder and wade through the water to push it further out and into deeper stuff and I clamber in from the dock.  By the time we get back to Jeannius, we are soaked through and have to put the heating on to dry ourselves out but we have had a thoroughly enjoyable evening with a great crowd of people. 


Position:  39 deg 10 min N, 76 deg 31 min W

Distance so far:  2677 miles

26 September 2012

Day 75: Annapolis – 26/09/12

Ann and Terry get ready to leave – they are off this morning to Philadelphia then New York.  From there they will separate, Ann to go to visit friends in Vermont, and Terry to do some work in Chicago.  Rather than leaving in the dinghy with heavy luggage, they opt, more sensibly for the water taxi.

As for us, Mike has a generator to fix and I need to give tea and sympathy and to act as his ‘gofer’.  He reads the manual and our diesel engineering book, pulls the port stern cabin bed apart gets into his black hole.

He does the most obvious first, changing the primary fuel filter, spending ages cleaning up after he makes a mess with the fuel.  He tries to start it.  Nothing.  Next he changes the secondary fuel filter.  More mess.  More cleanup.  Nothing.

He then sits down and re-reads the manual.  What has he missed?    He takes the plate off the side of the fuel pump to see if the fuel solenoid is operating – this is unlikely to be the problem according to the manual but as there is nothing else left, it’s worth a go.  He finds out that this doesn’t appear to be moving but as he’s never seen one before he’s not 100 per cent sure.  He thinks it should be moving in and out when the generator turns over but can’t see anything happening.  Hoping that it’s an electrical connection problem, he spends time following the wires back from the generator to find a point where he can attach the meter to test the power supply.  When he tries to start it again he shoves the probe down onto the connector and the generator bursts into life.  What a wonderful noise!

Concluding that the connector might need cleaning, he does just that and from that point, every time he starts the generator up, it starts first time.  Clever boy!

Once he’s completely cleaned up again (using most of my kitchen paper and washing up liquid in the process) he has two well earned bottles of beer and some lobster bisque for lunch followed by a well earned nap.

I reward him again in the evening with crab linguine with chilli and garlic.  Tomorrow we head for Pasadena, everything working once more (and no more having to use the hair drier in 30 second bursts).

Position:  38 deg 58 min N, 76 deg 28 min W

Distance so far:  2643 miles

25 September 2012

Day 74: Washington – 25/09/12

We are up, showered, hair washed, made up and dressed ready to leave the boat at 9 am just as we decided then wait for Terry to come out of the loo.  Bless.

We find Jim’s car where he left it for us and head out on the interstate to the end of the metro line for Washington.  We have no idea what the traffic is like getting into the capital and to be honest, have no desire to find out.

The car park right by the metro is full but there is a public car park over the road which has plenty of spaces.  Obviously people don’t like crossing roads here and later, after waiting nearly 5 minutes for the lights to change to allow us to cross (jay walking is illegal here) I can understand why!

But first we have to pay for the parking.  You park first, remember your space number then go to the machines and put your credit card in to pay.  Remembering Mike’s adventures with a credit card in a vending machine in New York, and still being one credit card down, I encourage Terry to use his.  At the end of the procedure, there is no indication whether the machine has registered the transaction or not.  He tries again.  No result.  Mike phones the company but gets no answer.  The only people with experience of the machines come armed with coins – 16 quarters for the day – none of us can scrape that number together.  Mike gingerly puts his credit card in and hey presto it seems to work.  If Jim’s car is still there at the end of the day we will definitely know it worked!

After waiting the aforementioned 5 minutes to cross the road we get to New Carrollton metro station and are faced with a row of unintelligible ticket machines.  When we ask the uniformed official for a quick explanation of getting to the right fare, he just tells us to read the machines and do what it says.  Given that I used to write technical manuals, I know when something is badly explained and what I am reading is BAD.

The official eventually relents, and presuming that as we are foreign and therefore thick, comes over to help.  Net result 4 tickets.

The journey only takes about 20 minutes and most of this is over ground.  Just before we enter the tunnel I can see the Washington Monument and the US Capitol Building in the distance.  The stuff of films.

All the stations on the orange line on our way to Federal Triangle are the same.  Slightly space age with curved, patterned, concrete ceilings.  They are quite dimly lit too which at first we think is a result of the tinted windows but when we get off we can see they really are a bit gloomy.

We emerge into bright sunshine at Federal Triangle, at the Ronald Regan Building and the Old Post Office Pavilion.  The buildings are beautiful and very reminiscent of Westminster.  Everything is clean and spruce and the bright, clear blue sky enhances this feeling.

P1120462 Photo:  Beautiful rose sculpture outside the Ronald Regan Building

We stop at Starbucks (one on every corner it seems) to have a drink and use the loo then we make our way to The White House, going past the Treasury Buildings first.

P1120471  Photo:  Treasury Buildings

P1120466 Photo:  Some of the buildings make me feel like I’m in Westminster

At first it doesn’t seem like we are going to be able to get near The White House.  I know we can’t get in it – you have to apply months in advance.  There are concrete road blocks and steel railings in front of all the road entrances but then suddenly, a little further down ‘The Ellipse’, the park area down to the National Mall, we can walk through, and there, through the railings, is the White House and its beautifully tended lawn.  There are a handful of tourists but to be honest, nowhere near as many as I would have expected.

P1120473P1120474 P1120476 Photos:  Not quite tea on the White House lawn but as close as we are going to get!

P1120482 P1120484 Photos:  The Old Executive Office Building and the World War I Memorial

As we cross the road, police put roadblocks behind us to stop anyone entering the area surrounding the White House.  Is Mr Obama coming home?  Apparently not, although some sort of cavalcade arrives a bit later – lots of sirens and police presence but we never get to find out who it is.

From here we walk down to the National Mall and the World War II Memorial where there is a gathering of veterans, many in wheelchairs, and all wearing the same.  Given the age of some of them and the number of them that are attached to oxygen tanks, this will probably be their last visit.

P1120492 Photo:  World War II veterans at the memorial to their fallen comrades

The memorial’s many fountains look beautiful in the bright sunshine.  There are two main memorials – one for the war in the Pacific, and another for the Atlantic – and smaller ones for all the states and overseas territories.

P1120490 P1120497



Photos:  The World War II Memorial

From the memorial we walk up to the Lincoln Memorial going past the reflecting pool on our way.  It is a lovely sight but could be even more beautiful if it was kept clean.  The pool, which stretches all the way between these two memorials, is only about 9 inches deep but it is full of green algae and slime.  It still reflects on a wind-less day like today, but could look glorious if it were cleaned of the green stuff.  The grass could do with a bit of tending too but given that there are acres of it and there are big demands on public spending at the moment, I suppose that’s to be expected.

As we walk, planes roar overhead, the whole area being under the flight and landing path for the airport airport, presumably just across the Potomac River.  Actually, the first time we see one come over, it is flying so low over the Lincoln Memorial that for a moment I think it is going to crash into it, but they follow each other every 5 or 10 minutes, and by the time we reach the memorial, I am used to the noise.

P1120504 P1120507 P1120513 P1120514 P1120522 Photos:  At the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background

P1120524 P1120525 Photos:  The Washington Monument

Entry into the Washington Monument used to be possible, but since it was damaged by an earthquake a few years back, it has not been allowed. 

P1120545 Photo:  The Thomas Jefferson Memorial

We have lunch at the Smithsonian Castle, one of the many museums along the National Mall.  It’s expensive for what we have, although quite good, apart from the strawberry tarts which both Mike and Terry pronounce to be quite disgusting although they do finish them.  I don’t know what the gloop is that covers the tarts but it smells strongly of bubble gum – I think someone was a bit over zealous with the artificial flavouring in the factory!

We stop outside the Hirshhorn Museum to look at the display of Chinese zodiac symbols, The Circle of Animals by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who is currently incarcerated in China for not being polite about the authorities.  It’s all a bit too much culture for Mike who sits down and has a rest.

P1120552 Photo:  10-foot high sculptures by Ai Weiwei

P1120553 Photo:  Mike mistakes this sculpture for a bench

Next stop is the Air and Space Museum, where we see some of the actual command shuttles that were used by US astronauts to re-enter earth’s atmosphere after their journeys through space.  You can still see all the scorch marks on them and how cramped the conditions were.

Most of the exhibits are a bit on the boring side for me though and by the time we get to the Wright Brothers bit, I’m ready to sleep.  Mike, however, finds this bit the most interesting and reads every bit of information.  Zzzzzz.

P1120555 P1120556 Photos:  At the Air and Space Museum – beam me up, Scotty!

P1120560b Photo:  Ann and I measure up (or not) to the 60s air hostess

After what seems like hours, we are on our way to the last stop, the US Capitol Building, just a bit further on down the mall, and it’s another beautiful piece of architecture when you see it in the flesh, or at least you can see it once the rather large gathering of Japanese tourists have moved along.

P1120565 Photo:  In front of the US Capitol

Photos taken, we decide we’ve had enough but we have to ask two policemen the way to the nearest metro station as the first one has no idea.  We are travelling in rush hour but there is room to sit down as long as you are brave enough to ask politely for people to budge up and not sit on two seats (some of them are spread over them but I still don’t think that’s fair).  Eventually Ann and I sit together and rest our weary legs and feet and Terry finds another photo opportunity.

P1120566 Photo:  Dozing on the metro

As we walk back to the car we notice a ‘kiss and ride’ area.  Kiss and Ride?  What the hell is that?  Then we realise that it’s a drop off area for those being dropped off to catch the train.  I wonder if you’ve had a row whether you go to the ‘piss off and make your own way’ one!

P1120567 Photo:  How … sweet?

We jay-walk across the bloody road this time – life’s to short to wait for this crossing twice in one day – and thankfully Jim’s car is still where we left it which means that our we won our argument with the machine from this morning.  The drive back to Annapolis is uneventful although it takes us a long time to find a garage to fill up with petrol.  We leave Jim’s car, take the dinghy back to the boat, put some warmer clothes on and head back to town to go to Chick and Ruth’s again.

When we get there we find that there are two challenges going on.  A party of Maryland Park Ranger recruits are eating out tonight – one recruit goes for the milkshake challenge (a 1lb burger and a 6 lb milkshake) and another goes for the sandwich one (a normal drink and a 3 lb meat sandwich).  When their dishes arrive, their faces say it all.  They both have a valiant go but are defeated.  I’m very glad that they give up before the vomiting stage!

P1120569 P1120572 P1120573 Photos:  The challenges

P1120576 P1120577 Photos:  The leftovers

They leave, one confirmed vegetarian and one who never wants to smell or taste vanilla again!

Thankfully, our dinners are of normal proportions and the crab cakes are excellent once more.  Although we refuse a pudding, Terry and I manage to force down a small ice cream on the way back to the boat.

Another great day.  I’m so pleased we have seen Washington, the most famous bits anyway.  I can now watch films smugly – I have even more opportunity to sit and say “I’ve been there”!


Position:  38 deg 58 min N, 76 deg 28 min W

Distance so far:  2643 miles