Boats of all the cousins!

Shellerina (left), Top Dog (right) Richie (Shelly’s brother) and Lisa’s boat.

Another angle on Richie’s boat!

Just launched this morning!

Good N You was launched a few hours before this pic. (Cousin Donna and Tiger’s)

Good N You ‘s bow

My Shadow is “TJ’s boat, son of Donna and Tiger Lambert. TJ’s grandfather, Donald Charette, always owned a boat sporting this vessel name. TJ proudly continues the family tradition!

All these family members keep their boats at Palmers Cove YC. Four generations of Charettes!

PCYC burgee

Palmers Cove Yacht Club in 1961:

Salem MA

On the anniversary of starting our Loop May 25, we made it into Salem. Both Shelly and Ray’s earliest boating memories started in this port. Salem Willows Yacht Club and Coney Island (where there used to be a YMCA camp and building for decades) were the earliest of my memories. While Shelly’s were more centered out of Palmers Cove Yacht Club and Misery Island is where her family frequently anchored out and rafted up with all the cousins.

Salem Harbor as seen from the deck of Palmers Cove YC.

My grandfather ran the YMCA island camp for decades, and when I was all of 5 years old, he let me steer the Seahorse , the open runabout that we used to shuttle the boys out to Y camp on Coney Island in Salem Harbor. My father and my uncles all ‘graduated’ from that camp program years earlier, and much of their seamanship originated there, all to be passed on to MY generation, which came to include two Maritime Academy grads and at least FIVE USCG licensed Masters, (Russ, Scott, Richie, Lori, and Ray all have or got their captains licenses among this generation of the Charette and Sirois families). I need to check on Steve and Mike Charette (sons of Peter and Diane Charette). It is entirely possible that one or both of them are captains too. Steve is a Marine Surveyor, and Mike is a big boating enthusiast.

It is a little early in the season to try, but Shelly and I need to get a long string of mackerel jigs to see if we can re-live some of her childhood memories of bringup the line with a fish on every hook on every cast!

I do not ever remember getting THAT lucky as a kid, but I do remember one fishing trip anchored on the east side of this harbor where we caught SEVEN different species of fish in one day… all on drop lines! (Mackerel jigs and sand worms were our typical bait.) Flounder, mackerel, skate, pollack, and 3 others were the species. I cannot remember all the names, but I can remember what they looked like.

Decades later, I took my son, Nick and his friend Josh Knapp fishing in the Damariscotta River in East Boothbay, Maine and that’s when we got to experience the success that Shelly boasts about… multiple mackerel on each cast! So, I can attest: it IS possible.

Shelly’s mom, Nora Charette, is aboard this afternoon! It has been a couple years since these two have seen each other, though they talk on the phone every day. Nora knows her way to this marina as she and husband Dick filled up their car with five kids, food, and boating gear countless times over the decades.

Shelly and mom, Nora! “The Beverly Girls”
Catchin’ some rays.
Dinner at The Anchor… excellent food and service. Broiled Haddock, naked without breading! Smashed podadah!

Happy with her choice: Sea Scallops!
Right off the bridge – Beverly
The Anchor – Salem News: Best of 2022
Safely back at the club.

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After dinner pics…

After our great dinner I took the following pics… sculptures… INside the Pilot House and stuff outside seen on our walk back to the boat.

Nice, but no positive signs of buoyancy if this lifeboat capsizes!
This newly paved road along the south edge of the basin is called ED MOFFITT Drive. Ed Moffitt used to own this whole marina and “harbor of refuge.” It was Ed’s privately owned marina, but reportedly during bad storms vessels could tuck in here. I am not certain of the fee he charged back then exactly. But, I plan to research this some more. The USACE (Army Corps) took the place over in the late 1970’s if I heard the story correctly. Watch for updates to this post.
My first thought when I saw this was, “This must be a joke?!” Actually, I figured out, I bet this is a historic structure. This “marina office” resembles an outhouse, compared to the other office pictured in an earlier post today which is rather exquisite! This building must have been Ed Moffitt’s marina office! I’ll find out and
update this post accordingly! I promise.


This abandoned vessel was put up for auction in April 2021, and was supposed to be removed from the harbormaster’s property here near the launch ramp of the basin. It does not appear that they had a successful auction!

My brother Russ found this link about this PILOT boat:

https://www.capenews.net/sandwich/news/sandwich-harbormaster-to-auction-off-abandoned-pilot-boat/article_0584bff4-4a2e-59a6-ab7c-24d3dea3e77f.html

More details to follow!

Well, Tuesday I met the fellow who won that auction. He is a young merchant mariner out of FL who simply could not make this investment work. He was in town to complete the sale of the vessel to a local who had the resources, time, and skills to bring her back to seaworthy condition. He says the engine ran, but there were too many other things that made it impossible for him to get the boat to FL where he could work on it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch,

This launch ramp was VERY busy yesterday!!! It was a weekend day in May! (Not so busy today.)

Here is a closer look at the signs on either side of the ramp. I found them VERY innovative.

Left side of ramp.
Not Photoshopped!
This is the sign on the right side of launch ramp. My guess is they 1) get paid more attention to, and 2) show up properly in one’s rear view mirrors.

Sandwich Marina

This marina, at the northern end of the Cape Cod Canal, is a nice place!

Nice facilities leased to the town of Sandwich by the Army Corps of Engineers. Clean showers, laundry, etc. They use Dockwa for reservations, but I still like the place anyway.
Shellerina at her birth on Dock “C”. I think that is the USCG Station in the background. (Or else it is someone imitating their most common color scheme!)

Two restaurants are right on the basin’s edge, and at least two others are a short walk; the village is 0.4 miles away.

If there is something on your boat that needs repair, just bring your boat up to this bike rack! They have tools you can use.
We actually made a play for Salem MA (50nm) this afternoon, as the forecast winds were showing things calming down out there as the afternoon progressed. However, the actual observed conditions outside the inlet at 2:00pm were still too spirited for us.

So it is two more nights here, and a very early start Wednesday.
Shellerina from another angle, as Shelly and I dine at Pilot House restaurant.

[BTW: finally found a NE Clam Chowder that rivals Shell’s!]
Our meals were outstanding! Shelly’s elusive soft shelled steamers were almost impossible to find on our Loop trip. But we are back in beloved New England. This staple is readily accessible!

This boat basin in an earlier day.

The basin today, and our position within it.

Transitioning to open water cruising [almost] full time.

No longer having the ICW (American Intracoastal Waterway) to shelter us, our Go – No Go Criteria gets a review, and all our “tools” need to be tried in real seas, out in open water, so we can find our new limits.

Our comfort levels in 3 ft swells (5 or 6 second periods) is coming back. However, we will admit our early start today (first light) to make it into central Buzzards Bay before the wind kicked up was a good strategy. We had the swells all morning with no wind, and now the white caps are starting, but the swells have abated! Our timing of the current thru Cape Cod Canal matches up with another perfect cruising day. The wind is on our back and it won’t be opposing the current as we head to Sandwich MA on the other end of the canal.

Our Dockwa reservation has been confirmed. So we’ll break our 3-night anchoring streak tonight. We’ll take on about 100 gallons of fuel at the cheapest place in Buzzards Bay, as the place is a quick detour for us before entering the canal.

We’ll then be a day from Salem MA where Richie’s Mooring # 8008 awaits us near Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club. (Rich is Shelly’s older brother.) It looks like our Memorial Day target in Salem is easily within-reach. (We skipped Mystic as my cousin Joyce has fallen ill.)

Mass Maritime Academy…

and the Cape Cod Canal RR Bridge are dead give-aways to our geographical location…
… and the lime green “infant” leaves popping from their buds on the deciduous trees here in New England will give you all the chronological tips you need to know what season of the year it is for this transit on the Cape Cod Canal! Now, can you imagine the picture if taken from this same location in mid to late October?!

Playing “chicken” with a passenger ship!

We were on a right angle collision course for a half hour early this morning. (She was the privileged vessel, for more than one reason!)

Even with my radar’s CPA calcs, (closest point of approach) it was not clear whether I should speed up or slow down.

I finally coordinated passing with the approaching PILOT. (The ship herself was unresponsive.) He said the ship would be turning left a bit (to NW) to take him on board. So I told him I would speed up therefore to leave them behind us. He agreed that made the most sense.

Earlier I had asked him (again, before he was aboard), “Should I speed up or slow down?!” His answer was, “Well you gotta do SOMETHIN!”

In reality there was no real danger, as we were still miles apart. But it was an interesting passing nonetheless. It did get the blood flowing at 7:00am! It also makes for good story-telling of course.

The PILOT we coordinated with boards the ship to direct her entrance into Newport’s anchorage from the ship’s bridge. She anchored west of Goat Island for the day and presumably had shuttles bring her passengers into Newport for the day.

In our experience, cruise ships typically put on their miles at night, and make interesting ports during daylight hours for their passengers to go ashore to buy the T-Shirts that they couldn’t find online.
It left a large image on my radar! (Here just under a mile away, after the excitement) The pilot boat can also be seen on the left exiting the area.

It is too bad all this happened in clear weather. It would have been much more exciting had it all happened in the fog!

Long run today on the outside – South Shore Long Island

Long, rolly 50 mile run today. Fire Island Inlet to Shinecock Inlet.
It was a borderline “no-go” day for the outside: 3 ft swells on the beam-fortunately the period was longer than predicted, 2:1 (seconds:height) which is desire-able. We only saw white caps for an hour or so. Things settled down for our entrance into Shinnecock.

We finished the day anchored in one of our favorite anchorages anywhere! West Neck Harbor – Shelter Island. Between the “forks” of eastern Long Island.

Below is a link to a blog post written in this anchorage with my morning coffee, 2017.

https://shellerina.com/2017/06/14/waking-up-on-the-hook/

No-Go Today

Just a bit too much 3.5ft on the beam today for 6 hours + 13-16mph wind. I’d say “Yes” in my earlier sailboat days!!!
So we visited one of our old favorite places for Sunday brunch: Toast Coffee House in Bayshore. It’s a happening place! 1+ hour wait.
But they TXT us when it’s our turn!
Good things come to those who wait!

Shellerina’s Gold Family Celebration – Captain’s Lounge, Surfside 3 Marina, Lindenhurst, Great South Bay, Long Island NY.

Tina, Colleen, Steve, Kirt, with our blog up on the big screen!

Shelly and Tina Romano.

Shelly, Nancy, and daughter Desire (Nick’s GF!)

Nick with Arlene
Arlene and Shellerina!

Nick ‘n’ Dez
Kirt- Grill Master!
Chelsea and mom, Alice. Sharks! (After lessons by Kirt!)
Nick! Chowing down after working his afternoon shift as a pharmacy technician.

Here are pics of two special persons that I want to include in today’s blog post.

Harry Verby is someone we “met” on July 19, 2020 as we were crossing Block Island Sound. Dear friend, Steve Romano, crewed for us to help bring our new boat across Block Island Sound. He knew his friend, Harry was heading out to Block Is. https://shellerina.com/2020/07/19/successful-trip-across-block-island-sound-to-greenport-ny-north-fork-of-long-island/

Steve coordinated the at-sea rendezvous for pics to be taken.

Harry is the guy who took these first pics of our boat underway out at sea. July 19, 2020.

Harry joined us today, and he has been following our blog constantly for almost our whole trip. It was GREAT to meet him and fill in some blanks and answer some questions! Too bad I did not put my photo-chronicler hat in time to catch you on-site!

Jane Jantz, seen here with Shelly swimming off the stern of Shellerina. Jane has been the #1 respondent to our blog posts. Jane, we missed you today. We are so sorry that your sudden back injury prevented you from joining us. I am so glad you got to hang out with Shelly and all the YMCA pool friends this past week! Get well soon!!

East Coast Loopers all hunkered down!

We are feeling SOOOooo fortunate, as we are secured in our old, original slip. It is very protected, and we are right where planned to stay for 8-10 days, having arrived before the big blow. We are seeing pics and video of the places where we were last week, and we go outta there just in time!

Family celebration!

Our son, Nick and GF Desire joined us last evening aboard Shellerina for a reunion, then tonight we had a great dinner at the Seagull Restaurant at nearby Bergin Point!

(L-R). Shelly, Kurt, Nancy, Nick, Chelsey and mom Alice, Ray, Dez with neice October Rose, and Jenn. Three generations of Fawlkes at the table!

Everyone helped us celebrate our Wake Crossing and return to Lindenhurst. The meal was great and the service was too. These people have become close family for Nick in our absence; we love you all! Thanks to Wally, Laila, Carol Ann, our hosts at the Seagull.

Shellerina crosses her wake!

5548 sm (4827nm)

722 engine hours (delta)

May 25, 2021 – May 5, 2022 // 248 travel days underway (as defined by NEBO “boat movements” which is not necessarily travel days.

More stats to follow!

We anchored in this great protected harbor in Lawrence NY, almost immediately inside East Rockaway Inlet. The municipal Lawrence Yacht Club is were we spent our FIRST night of our Loop about a year ago. It is now a new favorite spot!

Manasquan River NJ to East Rockaway Inlet, Long Is, NY.

Our starting point was Clarks Landing Marina right off the canal hitting the Manasquan River from the NJ Intracoastal Waterway.
Clarks Landing. A wedding reception venue AND marina. Bathrooms and showers were clean and at ground level. Decent ships store. Instacart.com worked well for us here to get restocked. We appreciated this marina’s reasonable fee, as Hoffmans was now asking $5/ft per night.
Looking west: New docks, fixed docks, difficult to get on and off. They put transients on the far left (north) as you approach from the Manasquan River’s channel. We approached at peak ebb on the river, but honestly, current was not a big issue once we got in close here. They were NOT great at giving directions on VHF as we approached. 

We don’t like to be negative, but… Our slip did not have ladders like those shown above. Not really sure why they seemed to put us in their worst slip ?!?!

Once we exit Manasquan Inlet NJ, it is a straight shot across the shipping lane of Ambrose Channel to get to East Rockaway Inlet NY. The waypoint with the Finish Line Flag shows where we cross our wake. Pretty cool!

It all happens tomorrow afternoon!!!

NJ Coast Strategies

Inside? Outside? Hybrid?

Lets start with the Cape May Canal in 30 seconds time lapse into Utsch’s Marina. (see our post on Utsche’s … including how to get in.)

We had two beautiful cruising days, Saturday and Sunday to make Cape May from Del City, and then did Atlantic City on the outside. However, conditions like that would not last. 2-3 foot waves (but oddly, no wind) was forecast for the next hop.

Weeks ago, my first look at the “inside” route (NJ Intracoastal Waterway) was short-lived. Spots with only 3 feet of water meant we’d have to time it all with the tide… which is changing as you progress your day on the inside. We assumed we’d go “outside all the way”.

After our experiences waiting nearly a week for a good weather window to transit Chesapeake Bay, and nearly another week before we could take this video into Cape May, we needed to re-evaluate! We didn’t want to wait another week in Atlantic City, nice as Atlantic City is. (I mean it has great dining (which we already have on-board), but watching seniors pour their money into noisy slot machines is not OUR idea of “entertainment”!)

Shelly suggested we take another look at the inside route. The passage from Little Egg Inlet to Manisquan River actually looked doable. It was the section from Atlantic City to Little Egg that I did not like.

My work schedule was clear on Monday, save for one call I could simply sit in on from the bridge. There were no winds above 10 mph in the forecast, but waves were predicted to be 1-2 feet off the starboard quarter most of the way.

Tides were irrelevant on the outside, but they coincidentally worked to our favor on the inside passage.

We decided on a float plant to start off outside knowing we could pull into Little Egg Inlet if we didn’t like what we saw. That’s exactly what took place. We did not like it on the outside so we went in at Little Egg Inlet, (which was not fun in these conditions… even with no wind.)

The odd forecast of very little wind but waves after two picture perfect calm cruising days, unfortunately turned out to be correct. Except the waves were more like 2-3 feet with an occasional 4 footer. Not good.

Side note: after two beautifully calm cruising days, how can a third day, still have no wind, but call for waves?!?! Where do the waves come from!!! Trying that logic out… trying to out-smart the forecasts… just didn’t work! LOL

This 1-minute video “kinda” shows you what we endured for an hour before pulling into Little Egg Inlet.

We successfully got into Little Egg and finished our passage to Manisquan River all on the inside with tides in our favor the whole way.

While it was flat dead calm the whole way, I cannot write you to say I was “relaxed” at all! The unknowns of a long trip with only inches beneath our unprotected running gear at times with several hours like that still to come made it a nerve-wracking day… only to be finished by a roller coaster ride through the canal at the end with 1.5 knots of current pushing us along!

Once secured for the day in a rolly Manasquam River (Clarks Landing) we picked up all the stuff that got thrown around the cabin earlier in the day, then Shelly made a killer fish chowder, and then, needless to say, we slept very well!

I was disappointed to hear that Hoffman’s is now getting $5/foot for the night. The anchorage options aren’t great. Perhaps finding an anchor spot before hitting the canal would have worked? Clarks would do for now.

Post evaluation: If sea state conditions were any worse than we had today, making Little Egg Inlet would not be advisable IMO. So, my advice, “Do NOT consider Inlets like these to be a reliable storm ‘escape plan’ if confronted with a bad day on the outside.”

Looking forward:

We have only 25 nm left before we cross our wake! For the finish, we plan on waiting patiently for a VERY nice day in deep, open water, to cross, thank you very much.

After all, I don’t want Shelly to fall over board in the middle of Ambrose Channel (the Atlantic’s approach to NYC) when she is up on the bow changing the old white burgee to a new GOLD one.

USCG Cape May NJ

Doppler VHF-Marine Radio Direction Finder (RDF) over 150 ft tall tower. This “network” of RDF antenna stations up and down the coast can triangulate a VHF transmitter’s location many miles away.
You are looking at multiple vertical dipoles arranged in a circle; they virtually “spin” around in a circle (electronically) using solid state switching. Using the Doppler Effect they can then get a line of position to the mariner’s transmitter. A second station like this one (e.g. Fire Island NY) does the same to pin point the mariner’s position by triangulation.

Open Ocean!

A school of bait fish goes by under our boat. Stereo transducers make the 3D view possible. Click on video above.

Fishermen love this stuff.

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We more often use this equipment to record bottom contours in shallow places.

e.g. Last evening coming into our slip at Utsch’s Marina.

Here is what the bottom contours look like out here off the south NJ coast.

Notice the width! A 200 foot swath is captured at this depth.

Less than 10 mph wind on our starboard beam, as seen below.

Nice re-introduction to open ocean for us today!

We’ve seen some dolphins. Now we are watching for WHALES!

Lunch at the helm!

Taco Salad.

Utsch’s Marina, Cape May NJ

Make R-16 from either direction. Then follow their headwall within 35 feet. Turn right just before their lighthouse.

Blue Circle = Lighthouse

We left this morning soon after dead low tide. No problem with 8 ft, so long as you hug their wall! Fuel Docks, office, bait shop is straight in where yellow arrow points. Bow-in slips down that fairway on left is where they put us.

Free cup of hot coffee every a.m. at the [well stocked] Bait Shop. Block ice! The Ship’s Store is also very respectable off the marina office. 2 restaurants very close by.
Famous for a gift bag with surprises inside. Ernie and Wayne make it a friendly place. They will catch your lines during business hours (VHF 16>9).
Shellerina in her birth at Utsche’s.

In the stern, Shelly is prepping for our “push off”. Here’s a good look at our fender boards.

Utsch’s Lighthouse this morning on our way OUT.

So, did it work?!

This post only makes sense after seeing this one: https:/shellerina.com/2022/04/30/dbofs/

Did my course down the east side of the Delaware River succeed in avoiding the strong 2+ knot northbound current?

Judging from my GPS speed over ground, and by looking at this buoy off the Salem / Hope Creek nuclear power plants. Hardly a ripple. So, YES! The current on this side of the river was much tamer than the 2 knot currents in the west side.
The other nice thing about today as a cruising day is no wind! See the condensate off the cooling tower going straight up!
Nun buoy off Ship John Shoal…
Click on the video above.
A couple hours after passing the nuclear power plants, as the “River” opens up into the “Bay”, we are in the main shipping channel, and you can see the 2+ knot strong current pushing us along, just as predicted by DBOFS models!
Ship John Shoal Light
I’m not certain, but I think the chart labels on some of these once well-maintained lighthouses are indicative of them being relagated by new technology: AIS, GPS, etc. Instead of “Ship John Shoal Light” it is simply labeled as “Land Area”. There have been several examples of this in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. The chart indicates this light is ‘apparently’ still doing its thing at night, but it makes me wonder, “For how much longer?”
At 1800 RPM, we go 8.0 knots. But today we can see a 2 knot boost in our “speed over ground” or SOG.
The green line is our actual course today. The red sections of that line are where went 10 knots or more due to current helping by 2 knots or more. Around 3:00pm I reduced RPMs of the engine to 1400 RPM to conserve fuel and because it was clear, we’d easily be secured before 6:00pm.

DBOFS

Delaware Bay Operational Forecast System

This 12 year old sticky note hangs on the chart on the wall above Tim Konkus’s desk.

If you have heard about the informative “Briefings” that are part of staying at this strategically located marina to set up for transiting Delaware Bay, you are not alone. This place is known for them!

I think yesterday we were part of the first “briefing” this season!

Tim Konkus, owner, Delaware City Marina

Tim gives the briefings here. He teaches us how to use the DBOFS to safely and efficiently get to Cape May or alternative ports like Lewes, Atlantic City, Hancock Marina, etc.

Google DBOFS and CBOFS and get familiar with these tools.

Example, a case study: Shellerina’s passage tomorrow. First, you need a good WIND weather window. We’ve been tied up here for five nights waiting for ours. Tomorrow is a good (hard to find) weather window to leave here and head south to Cape May on our overall northbound Loop trip. I could elaborate more on wind and sea state, but I’m not going to get into that for THIS post. I’m going to focus on currents and TIMING our departure time from this wonderful port, as well as strategically altering our route a bit to avoid current.

Cape May is about 50nm from here. That’s 6 or 7 hours for us in our trawler. (( Mental note: 1/3rd of the way down is a security blanket on the east side: Cohansey River and Hancock Marina. Be ready for strong currents in that river if you need that lifeline. ))

OK… so lets see what is happening tomorrow for currents on Delaware Bay!

Legend: the arrow colors represent the speed of the current.
DBOFS show that tomorrow at 7:00am the lower “Bay” has northbound [flood] current, and up north in the “River” by us there is still some southbound [ebb] current, but it has started to become disorganized.

8:00am In the upper Delaware River area currents are starting to organize into Flood, northbound flow.

By 9:00am in the north “River” part of the Delaware, the Flood-Northbound current is well organized… especially on the west side of the river, where the big ship channel is. It is substantially weaker on the east side of the Delaware River. There is some evidence of a counter current “eddy-ing” south there.

By 10:00 am we see PEAK flow northbound Flood in the upper Delaware “River” section of where we want to go. Again, most of that 2- knot current is on the west bank of the Delaware River.

By 11:00am, the lower “Bay” is getting disorganized and preparing to EBB. However, to the north, northbound current continues to be strong! … especially on the west side of the Delaware River. Note that the east side of the river has less northbound current!
By NOON, things in the upper “River” section start to slow down a bit. The east side of the river is “tame”. The lower Delaware BAY section actually starts to get organized into an EBB action.
By 1:00pm the currents in the upper “River” are totally disorganized and the lower part of Delaware River and Bay is ready to fully cooperate on our journey south to Cape May.

Without getting into too much detail, we want to be at the entrance to Cape May’s canal by 5:00pm. The currents start to work against us down there by 6:00pm, plus we’ll start loosing daylight!

So given this scenario, what is Shellerina’s Float Plan?!?!

#1 We will exit the Delaware City Channel at 11:00am.

#2 We have plotted a course along the east side of the Delaware River (East & outside of the big ship channel). We are using +/- 20 feet of water depth as our guide. The currents against us are much milder on that side.

Some of our dock mates plan on leaving way before dawn in order to take advantage of southbound currents way BEFORE the 7:00am scenarios shown here. But, they’ll be navigating in the dark with that plan! Daring and adventurous.

Again, wind and weather come FIRST in selecting when to GO or NO GO. This post has been more focused on CURRENT which comes next (secondary) in your timing decision of when to push off. All are fun (and critical) to study for safe passages. Now that we have a weather window, timing the current becomes front of mind.

Tim Konkus’s “Briefings” here at Delaware City Marina will help you understand the very unique characteristics of the Delaware River and the Delaware Bay. It is very much part of the Americas Great Loop adventure to engage in this seamanship!

The southbound “route” labelled above as “Eddie Shortcut” I have entered into our chart plotter shows the path (east of the main shipping channel) which we plan to take tomorrow to find much milder currents against us.

It is also important to note that the upper “River” part of this waterway is more significant to consider CURRENT compared to the lower “Bay” part of this segment of The Loop.

Every other week, this segment of the Delaware gives Loopers tidal advantages in the morning when winds are typically lighter.

You might try to time your arrival/departure from in Delaware City to be one of those weeks when morning currents in the Delaware RIVER align with lighter morning winds. We didn’t!

I think that our “innovation” not read before in cruising guides or forums, is that favoring the east side of the Delaware River is a good strategy of minimizing the effect of current here when you need to be in this waterway in less than ideal currents… at least for this passage tomorrow.

On Delaware City

Economically this refinery appears to be a big part of this community.

Agriculture / Farming also takes up a significant amount of the land use.

Nearby Bear DE has a major shopping center. It’s about a $25 Lyft / Uber ride.

There are several options for eating out, all walking distance.

Shellerina at her berth in Delaware City.

How many of us live in a municipality where a marina’s TraveLift yacht handling equipment is allowed to occupy a city street for hours, without complaint or hassle? This marina is SO important to this community and REGION, it gets lots of special consideration, and RESPECT.

“Branch Channel” – Delaware City DE

Thanks to my Looper Friend “Gene of Galene”He took my call today when I needed clarity.

Sometimes all the compass needles do not point in the same direction. We all like to poke fun at Navionics’ Auto Route. Here is my latest example of how it must be double checked..,. Triple checked even.

To give credit, there are cautionary symbols, which have no explanation. But this channel is un-navigable. Navionics’ “Dock-to-Dock auto-route algorithm should never have proposed this route.

There is a 6 foot vertical clearance bridge that does not open for boat traffic!

Here is the bridge (Rte 9) that Navionics describes as a bascule bridge (which means it opens for boat traffic). My admiral, Shelly, expressed concern several times today that the Waterway Guide gave no schedule or instructions for coordinating an opening with the bridge tender.
“No matter how long you wait or how many times you call on VHF this Rte 9 ‘bascule bridge’ ain’t gonna open for ya!” LOL
In addition to the low bridge / fixed span issue there is also a label that specifically advises against using this “Branch Channel” route.

Unaware of these issues, once we got there, I didn’t think this west entrance to the Branch Canal looked very inviting. As seen from the C&D Canal (below.). So, I called my very experienced Looper Friend Gene Rutkowski of Galene. He and Patty have become new lifelong Looper Friends of ours, having met up in multiple Looper ports all year.

“You gotta go around! There’s a bridge down there that won’t open,” Gene explained.

The US Army Corps of Engineers would never have put these pilings in the middle of a navigable waterway.
So, we had to keep going east (straight) then we took a sharp turn to the NW to get into “Branch Channel” from the other end!

There are some reports of shallow water at the entrance. To address that for everyone coming behind us, we recorded these bottom contours on our way in. See the explanation below.

This clearly shows a measured depth of 6 ft at the [navigable] east entrance to Delaware City’s Branch Channel. This was at 5:00pm EDT with 2-3 feet of water above mean low low water (MLLW). However my transducers are 24” below my waterline, So, coincidentally, those nearly offset each other. Therefore, at low tide we say you can expect about 5 feet of water at the entrance; it gets deeper once you are inside. Like stocks and bonds, “Past performance is no guaranty of future performance!” <wink>

5:00pm = 2-3 feet above MLLW this day as we entered.

As for the west end of this Branch Canal, it’s probably OK for an ambitious kayaker with strong arms to beat the current! … or one who knows how to time the tide’s ebb and flood.

April is early in the season, so they had plenty of room for us. We simply showed up unannounced on Monday night. But they do fill up later on in the season. The office is “closed” on Sundays and Mondays, so it may be tough to get a reservation. The river is too narrow to allow rafting. The transient docks are “further in” on the bridge side past the office and service area. (The furthest in we go, the less traffic and wake!).

Reservations are preferred. They clearly believe in a well-ordered universe. During the busy season, they would like to go 7 days per week. But, help has been hard to find.

The modest current in here will be “fun” for some to compensate for with their docking. It may not be for others.

The bridge end, past the office and service area.
The on-site marine parts and gift shop may have what you need in stock. There is also a West Marine on the local bus route, or take Uber.
They even had some OEM CAT expendables in the shelf, including one of ours.
Now open for the season. Kathy’s Crab House and many provisions are walking distance from the marina. Major grocers require an Uber or bus ride. Shelly’s fave: InstaCart works here!

Bowleys – Middle River MD

We’ll certainly be back here this fall!

A big place…. Fuel Dock tip: it there is any wind or wake at all, Ed and TJ will corral you to the inside so you boat (and their docks) don’t take a beating. It is a fairly exposed fuel dock. Staff here is great. Showers and bathrooms are very clean / new. They live up to all the gr8 reviews.

Their fuel was the lowest for miles around.

Swimming pool and BBQ!

Only six travel-days to Great Loop finish!

The final six routes are entered into the chart plotter and are shown below (not in order).

Total 242 nm, average of 40 nm/day. The next two legs will get us to Delaware City on the Delaware River. We will time both of those to get significant help from tidal current. Good weather windows will be important, as most of this is open water. April is also our end-of-quarter at work, which usually equates to more deal closing! The combination of work and weather makes it difficult to predict when those six travel days will take place.

Annapolis

Pride of Baltimore is in port this week.
The helm of the Pride of Baltimore with a sailboat running with her spinnaker up, and the twin spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge can also be made out in the distance.
You can rent a slip at the town docks, right in the thick of it all!
Sea Scouts were also in port tonight.
We figured we have eaten enough crab meat so far this week. So we tried this BBQ place. Excellent brisket!
This place had my favorite: Blue Point Toasted Lager on tap. I haven’t seen that since we left Long Island.
This is a monument to memorialize Alex Haley and his ancestor Kunta Kinte. Haley studied his family’s history and heritage all the way back to Africa. His book Roots was made into a famous mini-series. This is the port that Kunta Kinte was brought to by slave ships.

This type of “interactive touch” monument invites youngsters and adults alike to touch and interact with the objects in the exhibit. Not pictured here was a group of kids who we saw hugging and climbing on these statues. One young girl was even kissing one of the statues of kids her age!

The fundamental message here is “pass it on” … study and pass on your heritage to future generations as the figure of Alex Haley is doing here!

Feeling accomplished! Getting off and on this fixed dock at different tides was a feat for Shelly.

Lots of ships coming up ahead…

I just took the helm after Shelly’s shift/watch. There are a whole bunch of ships showing up 5-10 miles ahead of us on the horizon.

Above, this is what they look like on the chart plotter with AIS. If I click on one of them, I can get their speed over ground (SOG), vessel name, and other info.

0.1 knots for this vessel named Oregon Harmony means they are probably at anchor.

There is a total of six large cargo vessels all anchored in the area just outside of Annapolis, which is our destination for this afternoon.

It is most likely that they are all waiting their turn to go up into Baltimore to unload their cargo OR to make their way into the C&D Canal. That canal cuts across from the northern Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. We might be passing through that canal on Sunday!

Here are a couple of the ships to our right.

Cargo ships waiting their turn to go into Baltimore.

Here is Freedom, a gold Looper from Ann Arbor MI. Looks like she’s having another go at it!

We took this and a few other pics of Freedom a Selene 53, underway and emailed them to Capt Mark Murray.

Below is Thomas Point Shoal Light which was close to all this activity.

Here is a larger than average tow that we passed earlier on our way into Solomons MD.

Once in Annapolis Harbor, Shelly prepares to throw Steve a line at the fuel dock. We pumped out got some ice, and squared up for one night right in close to town at The Yacht Basin Company.

Doppler Radar

After securing last eve in Solomons MD, I started playing with my Raymarine’s RADAR. Doppler is not a setting that I usually use underway. I usually have it on chart plotter overlay. So the echos show up on top of the chart with ATONs and the land around us.

Here is a pic of what I saw in Doppler radar mode when I first turned it on.

The red dot means there is something moving towards me. The white echos are all objects or land that are static, neither moving closer nor further away.

Sure enough on my starboard quarter, there was a boat approaching us, going by us while we were tied up at the T-head dock.

After this boat got passed us, the radar echos from this boat turned green on our starboard bow. Green because he is a moving object but moving away from us.

You can imagine how helpful this would be if we were underway on a moonless night or in thick fog.

You might ask, “What is the stationary (white) object on the other side of the channel, just forward of your starboard beam?”

That is an ATON (aid to navigation) marking the right side of the channel for boats like the one that just went by.

In chart overlay mode this is what that ATON looks like up close… here doppler is off, and all echos are yellow or orange.

((Ignore the sailboat icon… clicking on it just gives me the nearby marina name on that side of the channel. It has nothing to do with the ATON or radar. ))
Here, not so up close, you can see the land, buildings, and docks drawn along with their radar echos.

Slow down the wind turbine!

This morning I finally figured it out!

We have been stuck here in Crisfield MD for 6 days and five nights because it has been too windy and rough to cross the Chesapeake Bay and get to Solomons MD.

So I found out who the person is who is in-charge of the wind turbine and called him up on the phone. I simply asked him to slow down the wind turbine for a few hours so it wouldn’t be so windy. Problem solved!

Click to see video above of slowed down wind turbine. Finally we can move on to the next port!

Addendum… later in the day:

That worked; we are now out in the middle of Chesapeake Bay, and there is no wind! I’ll have call the guy to thank him!

Solomons MD here we come.

Secured 6:00pm Solomons MD

The team at Somers Cove Marina make it a special place!

Bonnie, Caroline, Emily, and Sean are part of the team that makes this place an excellent choice for those traversing the Chesapeake. As you make your approach they prioritize the extremely helpful VHF (16>9) talking you in and send a couple dock hands to your slip to catch your lines.

The golf carts ($25 /4 hours) are a bonus, as is the swimming pool (which will be opening in a few weeks.)

Playing it safe…

The wind has shifted early today; our “ground tackle” held well. This is a nice protected basin. However, the National Weather Services has issued a Wind Advisory for this area.

So, I called the marina, and we will go back in and take a slip for tonight. I know our anchor would hold, and I could even put out a second anchor if we had to. But it will simply be more comfortable secured to a new floating cement dock system (with shore power) rather than bouncing about all night out here in the basin!

This is “pleasure boating” after all! It is OK to opt for comfort.

11:45am Addendum

We are now secured at dock for the big blow!

My anchor alarm app was making a racket down in the salon, while Shelly worked the bow and I was up on the bridge.

We are safe. Bring it on!

Chesapeake Crab Boat

Tall bow for bad weather, name of boat on bow for commercial boats is required to facilitate VHF calls. Forward pilot house to give more work space on-deck, shallow draft and protected running gear for safely getting into and out of skinny eater. This one has a second helm to operate from the business end of the boat. Dry exhaust simplifies things. Bucket over top keeps rainwater out of manifold and cylinders when not underway. In Maine, lobster boats “keel pipes” were common for antifreeze and fresh water cooling. I forgot to note what this boat had for cooling. Note the transom has no “holes” for wet exhaust and cooling water to exit.

Happy Holidays

The sun sets this hour to our stern. While a full moon prepares to come up on the horizon off our bow!

The timing of the first full moon after the spring equinox drives the annually variable dates for Passover and Easter each year.

Happy Holidays everyone. “This is a very special night.” … in many traditions.

Traveling to the freedom of The Promised Land both by day and by night under the full moon is at the root of this holy tradition.

My thoughts turn to our friends in Ukrane, some of whom I have personally done business with… one of whom studies with my nephew Adam in college in Maine. The quest for freedom is centuries old, and it is something to hold dear and protect for everyone everywhere.

The moon goes full for everyone everywhere on the planet. The tides respect this even on a cloudy night.

Time lapse moon rise video above – click to watch it.

Crisfield tour by golf cart – Part 2

The local grocery, Food Lion, is accessible by golf cart or Uber.
Here our provisions are literally “tied” to the cart for travel, as there is no other way to secure the load.
More public infrastructure with the local symbol of pride.
Even the wind turbine carries the local trademark. (Ray is a big renewable energy fan.)
Reportedly, some ethic groups and cultures prefer female crabs, but male crab meat seems to be the market driver for most palates.
Lintons is not a restaurant, per se, but they do have plenty of picnic tables on which to sit and devour your catch. It is a bit more than a mile from the marina basin… Safely accessible by golf cart if you use the trail we found along side of the highway. The crab cakes sandwich was still warm when we got back to the boat!

Being mid-April, it is very early in the crab season. So, the cost per pound is higher than it will likely be in the summer. We were glad to find plenty of good crab in any case, as this is our boat’s first trip into Maryland and Chesapeake Bay waters. It’s what we came here for afterall!

Click above to see the video. The Crab Place is the local vendor whom you can call and order the local catch to be shipped most anywhere.
If Male v. Female crabs are such a big deal, how can you tell the difference?!

More about the Maryland Blue Crab: https://difference.guru/difference-between-male-and-female-blue-crabs/

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/blue-crab

https://www.bluecrabtrading.com/seafood-blog/maryland-blue-crabs-101.html

This “gauge” tool is used to ensure one’s shellfish harvest is of legal size.

Different lengths apply to different species and even gender.

Maryland!

We just crossed into Maryland? “Shelly, how many states is that?”
When approaching the port of Crisfield MD from the Bay, the wind turbine and large condos are what you’ll probably see first, then these fishing boats.
But to the right side, east of the large condo building, is the entrance to the Basin. Both the basin and it’s opening is quite a bit larger than we expected.

The two videos below give good perspective of what you’ll find in here.

We are on G-Dock to the right (east) of their fuel dock. New cement floating docks. Very nice!
The Blue dot is us on G-Dock. The shorter Fuel Dock is next to us. We passed it on our port side coming in. The staff was great on talking us in (VHF-16>9) and having dock hands waiting for us at the slip.
Lower left of cross hairs is the
anchorage… a lot more room than I thought. With the winds forecast for Easter Sunday, we’ll probably anchor in this basin for night-three.
Click to see video above.
Crab Capital of the World!
We had a little help with a flood tide for the second half of the passage; we were secured before the winds picked up at 1:00pm.

The Maryland Crab Cakes and Oysters were good at the Fisherman’s Grille tonight. We’ll try Linton’s tomorrow at lunch to compare. (The marina rents out a couple golf carts to get around town. It’s early in the season so we think our chances are pretty good.). Uber is the backup plan.