28 December 2011

Caribbean way of life

We LOVE the Caribbean and its way of life - the water is so clear you can see every detail till the bottom, each building is painted in bright colors, the ice-cream van tootles through the street, in the stores you buy what they have (maybe that's what you want), music is playing day and night and the people are laid-back. Sailing in paradise? So far so good. Let's see how we'll think about it in a couple of weeks...

There are two possibilities: firstly - we still love it, are as relaxt as the locals and take every day as it comes (that's what we hope for!) or secondly - we may refuse to go for a swim as you can see in detail what's actually swimming underneath (you name it: sharks, tarpons, jellyfish, stingrays, all kind of waste), we may get tired about all the colors (in particular about the eye hurting patterns on T-Shirt's, mostly worn by tourists), we hate ice cream as the constant blaring is really bugging us or we may freak out while heading from store to store to get what we really NEED....

But in this case we would just rush to the next island to check out the options there....life is great, isn't it?

In the meantime, with love from paradise

24 December 2011

Christmas in the Bahamas

Our Christmas present:
lifting the Bahamian courtesy flag

After a stressful time the past few weeks with the arrival in Bimini hopefully our "real" adventure started as of today! No major repairs, no more waiting for a special tool, no shitty harbors anymore - OK, let me dream a little ;-) But honestly, it's like a Christmas present: clear blue water, nice scenery, Caribbean feeling. We're really looking forward to explore the Bahamas and kick back a little!
Shortly to our Gulf Stream Crossing and my first night passage ever: actually it went quite smooth. Yes, the course we had to steer to get to our target wasn't too comfortable but hey, the arrival in paradise wipes away all misery! Sailing while it's pitch dark around you is a bit spooky... But there are so many helpful tools like radar or AIS and of course your own eyes - during the night your eyes adapt to the dark quite well. The weather forecast was very accurate too - we've subscribed to the service by the Marine Weather Center. But my biggest fear has always been: how would I feel when there is no more land in sight! And you know what? It turned out that it isn't a problem! Sure, it was only a few hours when we lost sight with Miami and before the Bimini islands appeared on the horizon. Still, I'm relieved! And, I fully trust Habibi to be save, strong and stable in any situation - as long we're treating her well. Like the wash down with sweet water after this salty crossing ;-)

Even in the harbor the water is crystal clear

Merry Christmas everyone!

23 December 2011

Crossing the Gulf Stream

For those among you who are not sailors, let me briefly explain why we are talking so much about the Gulf Stream: The sea between Florida and the Bahamas has a very strong current, which flows from South to North. See above the forecast chart as per today.

So first of all, you have to check the weather carefully. If for example the wind is blowing against the current (North wind) the sea starts to build up very high (several meters!) waves. You will try to avoid that under any circumstances even it means to wait for another few days or weeks before you cross..

Secondly, you have to consider the current while steering. If you sailed straight over, the current would shift you away from your target. In our case it could be up to 22 nautical miles (40km) that would be a big miss! So you try to consider the current: This could look somehow like this:

Line 1 = Straight course from Florida to the Bahamas (F to B)
Line 2 = How much the current will move you while under way – so you add this to your target and this gives you a theoretical course to steer which ends up in Line 3.

To make things a bit more interesting, the current is not everywhere the same (stronger in the middle of the gulf), so you try to use it as well to your advantage which may end in sailing an actual S-Curve which I painted red…That way I will avoid to angle into the current.  

Hope not added to much confusion and we wish you all a pleasant x-mas!

Addendum: Watermaker install, Cheers!

As already mentioned in a previous post I opted for a Echotec Watermaker with the installation carried out through the US distributor. To make an already long story short: It was a bit of a challenge, especially in the beginning!
Unfortunately the install was not that smooth as promised. We had a few obstacles all the way until it worked. Some highlights listed here:
  • As the delivery contained the wrong feed water pump (one size too big & wrong Voltage) they had to make an emergency shipping out of Trinidad - makes an additional day since it was weekend.
  • By accident I got four holes drilled in my fresh water input pipe. Fixing this took another few hours of course, including mounting a new pipe. As mentioned before, we could not test the unit under full pressure in the dirty harbor water – so we tested with fresh water and low pressure and all looked OK. As the devil seems to be in the detail we had some issues while running it in “production” mode. One small leak only, but then for some reason the tank got too much pressure. I spare you the technical details!

Needless to say that I was very disappointed. We'd spent already too many days in this shitty harbor just to get the delayed install done - and then when we finally tested under real conditions in Key Biscayne the unit was not working as it should!
After several encounters with craftsman I have to mention that I’m surprised by the overall work quality & organization in the US: I would expect much higher standards (Yup, I’m well known to be picky, but my family history is full of successful mechanics, carpenters and architects.. you may call it heritage but it enhances your own standards..)

Nevertheless I assume I've been also a bit unlucky with the install all in all. I’m pretty sure there have been some hidden Gremlins working against both of us! But hey, where work gets done mistakes can happen and as usual, the overall quality of a company is best measured if a problem pops up AFTER they've gotten your money. Based on my past experiences with some boating related companies, I was still furious and prepared myself for the worst…

That's the point when I got caught by surprise: After my mail on Sunday evening, I got a call back first thing Monday morning to assess the issue over the phone. The same afternoon the guy who installed the unit promised me to be on-site to fix the problem by Tuesday morning! I may have to add, that the company is in Clearwater, which is at least a five hour drive down to Key Biscayne! And the promise was kept - Tuesday morning I drove Rahel with the dinghy ashore to do some girls stuff (laundry ;-)) and picked up the guy. After a few changes in the system it works now flawless.

And that’s where credit is due to ECHOTEC USA: They've been on-site within 24h to fix the problem - even if it meant a 10 hours drive for both ways! Not necessarily common these days. Great to know I’m in the right hands!
Thanks Eric!

And now we can enjoy our own fresh water made out of saltwater- It's like magic!

15 December 2011

paint & zinc

Habibi got hauled out. And to be honest, we feared that moment! It could be revealed everything and nothing: while cruising the ICW we ran aground several times! Don't worry, we managed always to free ourselves without having to call Tow-Boat US (they come and "tow" you out of your predicament) BUT we really didn't know if there was any kind of damage. Most people we talked to assured us the ground was mostly sand and mud hence there shouldn't be too much harm. Phew, and they we're right! Only the antifouling paint below the keel was gone, literally "sanded" away!
Same with some of the zinc anodes but that wasn't because of the sand. This is pure galvanic corrosion as you maybe remember from your chemistry classes: when two different metalls have physical or electrical contact with each other and are immersed in an electrolyte, the more active metal (the anode) corrodes at an accelerated rate and the more noble metal (the cathode) corrodes at a retarted rate. In our example the electrolyte is the saltwater Habibi floats in and the zinc anodes have the only purpose to corrode before our propeller or other metall parts do.
We were all relieved, got the keel repainted, the anodes changed and back into water she went! Now we're anxiously waiting for a good time (means weather) to get out of this marina, down to Key Biscane and from there to the Bahamas!


14 December 2011

Watermaker finally installed!

The control panel

After several days the Watermaker is finally installed! What a relief to have the boat back in normal and not full of tools, hoses and wires lying around. The install looks OK, I guess. We could hide most parts behind lockers and under the floor. That makes the installation actually much more complicated but as space is a premium we had to bite in that lemon. We have a few bruises more, quite an amount of money less but we should be able to spend more time on the hook without carrying water canisters in the dinghy.

There will be later on a special entry about the install story itself, but lets share so far what we have done and why we went this way.

A Watermaker is actually a simple thing: Basically a few pre filters, a controller, two pumps and a membrane (like a filter) which separates the salt from the sea water. The problem is, that the membrane needs a LOT of pressure and sea water to be able to do that process - up to 950PSI or 65 Bar! Means you have to pump seawater with that pressure trough the boat, up to 50 liters to get one! liter of fresh water. This high pressure is one of the main reasons why watermaker (or the high pressure pump) are failing. The membrane itself is very sensitive against oil, chlorine or too much dirt (as fish poop). Any of you may ask yourself now: is it safe to drink that processed seawater? Yes, if the membrane is in good shape, it "filters" up to around 0.0005 micron: A virus is usually 0.01 - 0.04 micron big and bacterias have between 0.1 and 15 micron. So our water should be safer than water from most harbors in remote islands.

high pressure pump (20kg!!!)
and vessel mounted in a locker

After a very long decision process we opted for an Echotec 12 Volt Watermaker (http://www.echotecwatermakers.com). This models are not the best in terms of energy use, but virtually bullet proof engineered, built by a German Engineer/Sailor who lives in Trinidad. The system lacks any electronic for automated processes or a hype "power reverse energy saving system". I like that simplicity along with the use of high quality standard parts, there's not much to break. I talked/chatted to several cruisers on this, and as usual everybody opted for another system (of course the one they had on their own boat). As a contradiction, almost every Echotec user had a different brand of Watermaker before and was not happy so he changed towards Echotec. And what is better than learning from other peoples mistakes? The unit by the way comes with a three years warranty overall and a life time warranty for the high pressure pump. Great promise.

some filters in the bilge

The bad thing is we could not really test the system yet, as mentioned above, the membrane hates oil and there is always some in a harbor. Se we just let it run for a few minutes with fresh water (filtered with two charcoal filters to get rid of any chlorine). Looks great so far and not too noisy (OK, was not much pressure on it). We will try and check it in two days, before we're heading over to the Bahamas. Keep your fingers crossed that after that nerve wracking install everything will be OK!

07 December 2011

Creatures of nature

You KNOW that a lot of things will happen to your fresh painted wood. The rigger may stand on it (yes, he did), dust from the nearby yard could blow on it (yes, it happened as well), not to mention the unforeseen rain.... But you do not expect that some fancy monsters tramp on it!! One of them was over a meter long and we just noticed it because it was jumping on the boat next to us. The third one jumped straight into the water just to climb up the pile our boat is moored to - feels a bit like being under Alien supervision...Funny stuff. Otherwise we are very busy with bringing the boat into ship shape for the ride to the Caribbean and since the internet was out of order the last four days - some updates will follow...

01 December 2011

Over 7 bridges you have to go...

... or in our case 22! Yes, that's the number of opening bridges we've passed only today from 7am till 6pm. Poor Habibi, we might have pushed her a little too hard - let's hope she'll forgive us. It was the price we had to pay as we couldn't take the shortcut over the Atlantic Ocean. Northern wind against Gulf Stream = no bueno. Even we've chosen to continue the ICW it was still choppy enough. I don't want to imagine how it was on the ocean... But we had to bite the bullet - on this last piece of our journey on the ICW Florida one bridge follows the other. And almost each one has it's own opening schedule. Either they open on the hour and half hour, or on the quarter and three quarter hour or on demand! So we calculated sharp from one bridge to the other, gave full throttle and tried to persuade the operators to wait two more minutes with the opening!
Along the way we passed exclusive residential areas such as Palm Beach - the waterfront villas are getting more luxurious and the boats bigger. The water already looks much more pleasing with its lighter color and the temperatures (water and air) are rising every mile now.
By tomorrow we should be arriving in Fort Lauderdale - we've only to pass around 10 bridges, a piece of cake!


29 November 2011

Manatees - ugly but soo cute!

I LOVE animals! Almost all kind of them (besides spiders eek!). Cruising the ICW thoroughly satisfies me as I get to see a lot of different creatures every day. Guess how many bird pictures I've already taken? Marco sometimes just shakes his head ;-)
Since we entered Florida we spotted signs saying "Manatee-Zone, no wake" (eh, not understandable for all as you could read in my last post) but we never got to see one - until yesterday. We just had secured the ropes after a challenging docking maneuver as a couple asked us: "do you want to see a manatee?" Hell, yes! I just had time to grab my camera and couldn't believe it - there were two manatees trying to slurp water dropping off a boat. Before we even saw them we could HEAR them! Amazing animals! At the first glance they looked kind of ugly but while watching them how they behaved and moved we just decided: they are CUTE!
Unfortunately they are a highly endangered species and therefore protected. They don't seem to have any natural enemies but there are many human-related fatalities as collisions with watercraft, ingestion of fishhooks or litter and loss of habitat. If you want to know more, I found this link of "Save the Manatee" Club quite informative.


27 November 2011

No-Wake Zone - they must be kiddin'!!

Just to be clear on that right in the beginning: I do not hate motor boats. I'm really, deeply starting to detest SOME motor boat captains! To cruise the Intracoastal Waterway with a sailing vessel means you're motoring with max 6 kts speed, you have to be careful to stay in the usually very narrow and shallow channel while paying attention to the depth finder and to the sometimes swift current. So there is a lot of concentration needed, all day, every minute. Then THEY come - if a motor boater has some education and integrity he 1) tries to overtake us very slowly and with some distance or 2) he asks us over the radio for permission to do what mentioned under 1). But according to my experience there are far more rude, reckless and unschooled so called captains out there than others!
I'm known to be patient, almost endlessly. That's why I'm usually doing most of the motoring, Marco just doesn't have the nerves for that, he is more the sailor. And I like doing it, no question. It gives me the possibility to get to know Habibi better and to navigate accordingly. But today it was too much! The first weekend boaters didn't bother me. The group of around ten motor vessels that passed by sequently, well was uncomfortable. I did not quite understand why they smiled and waved. Maybe they think their waves are entertaining for us? Ok, but then the bummer of the day: I was navigating in a narrow, shallow channel when a super fat motor boat did overtake us on the left and at the same time a medium size vessel passed by on the right, a so called wake-sandwich. Of course, without having taken into account neither 1) nor 2). And the best: the guy in the super yacht even waved as I was trying to keep the boat under control and not to hit a marker because of his waves. I was furious and in total rage! Only the fact that I'm well-behaved and educated prevent me from taking the radio (a blog about this topic only follows soon) to tell him off.


25 November 2011

Spot on!

We installed today a SPOT Tracker! This little cool thing is capable to give you all a live position of Habibi and even sends a short message to Facebook if desired with the details where we're cruising around. In order to follow our position you can either click on the link provided on this blog or go directly to: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0E3DfWnZ4VabdADtAQaKb0yZTcd08HIUL

Have fun!

Thanksgiving Swiss Made

Recently a fellow IP Boater asked once more what flag we are flying - and mentioned how nice Rahel's accent sounds over the radio: No, the red colour doesn't mean we're Russian or from another communistic oriented country...we are Swiss and therefore have to believe that money rules the world :-)

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a big thing in the US but not so familiar to us. The biggest impact for us was that all the major shopping malls and restaurants were closed. But today is Black Friday and if we wanted we could shop till we drop!

As you already know from a former post, we met Agnes and Thomas a few days ago who already did quite an extensive travel on their beautiful Ovni. They're keeping their boat now in Jacksonville Beach for the next couple of months. By chance we are in a marina close by for a few days, just a walk over the bridge. Can you imagine how happy we have been to get an invitation for a Thanksgiving dinner Swiss made? It was delicious, Thanks very much!

If you like to follow their blog, it's highly recommended: Thomas is a Journalist, worked all over the world for a major Swiss newspaper and his blog is amazing to read (yes, HE knows grammar, not like me) - Sorry, but for the time being just in German. http://thomasruest.blogspot.com/

Cheers Marco

23 November 2011

10 Reasons why cruising can be a bit more complicated than “just” a beach holiday

You see the beautiful pics and think we enjoy our holidays. Yes, we do! But even though we just started and we do love it over and over again – cruising is not always pure holiday. The ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) rewards each sailor with a wonderful, endless, always changing landscape but it's also very demanding. You need to have one eye on the channel while the other is watching the depth (sometimes the channels have around 5 – 6 feet and our Habibi needs at least 4’6’ water to float). For the last 600sm we did not have any Caribbean feeling so far, but it gave us an insight into a complete new lifestyle which is so far away from “normal” holidays.

As we reached now Florida, it's time to give you a bit of an insight of our daily routine and what bothers a cruiser from time to time. We still have another 3-400sm to go, but since the weather is now warmer and we are much more familiar with Habibi we're looking forward to take this on.

So here it is, our current Top 10 list what differs a cruise from a holiday:

1. Things can and will break down (or you think they will soon): So far we have issues with the Fresh Water Pump, the Tachometer, the Fridge/Freezer may need an upgrade and some work the yard did was really poorly done…the “to do list” is getting longer and longer and we just started
2. The Boat is always dirty – you have mud from anchoring last night, Salt from the sea spray and of course the mess you create yourself. Finally there is no maid or room service...you need to pick the hose and clean the mess behind yourself.
3. While sailing or motoring someone has to steer, and in the narrow ICW channels the autopilot is not that practical. Means someone is always busy on the wheel. So there is no relaxing romantic lunch during these days. One person is the cook and just one person can eat at one time
4. You are responsible for each mistake– you alone! If you misjudge the tide/depth at anchor for example and wake up while the boat is heeling over because you run aground during low tide, it's your fault (Yeah, we have to admit..high tide two hours later solved this adventure for us). No lazy jerk in the office or some poor system IT to blame. Just your own false judgment.
5. Continuous planning (or in terms of my employer “forecasting”): You cannot get out of your bed and enjoy the pool and the bar. You have to check on weather reports, tides, route planning, and make sure you have the right maps handy and so on. It’s a bit like planning a customer meeting back in the old office days…
6. My home is my castle: A boat is self-sufficient. Hah, almost: You need to top up the diesel, water and propane tanks timely, keep the “other” tank empty and make sure there is enough of everything: Starting with Electricity, Food and Drinks and last but not least - spares. If you need something you can be 100% sure there is no shop close by (particularly while on anchor in the middle of nowhere). Two nights ago a fellow boat was literally begging for some Engine Oil at a very remote anchorage…luckily for them we have been able to trade against Wine :-)
7. Space in general is a premium: By knowing this we've chosen a boat with a lot of room for storage. Still, you live on a few m2. The kitchen is tiny compared to all we knew before, clothing is packed tight and you're always searching for something.
8. Simple things are more complicated: Take washing cloths as an example: We do not have a Washer/Dryer on board (Most boats don’t have as it uses too much Space, Water and Electricity (See point 5 & 6). So you either choose to wash by hand or you use the Washer/Dryer in a Harbor. Which is either busy by some other fellow boaters or eats so many quarters you don’t have handy at the time you need them..
9. Critters: They are hidden everywhere: Either you battle Mosquitoes or you try to avoid getting roaches on board from any grocery store (Florida is a well known habitat of them).
10. Communication: Most of our friends and family live in a complete different time zone (Europe +6h, Middle East +8h). But that’s not the main issue. On Anchor you're not always getting Internet Access, and the US Internet services are surprisingly slow so far (and that’s a nice wording) – so Skype is not working all the time.

Cheers, Marco

17 November 2011

Shrimps, Pelicans and Cats

On our way down South we encounter many fishing and shrimp boats (as the one above, usually very rusty and used up looking). And where they are the pelicans or gulls are not far either. It's kind of a symbiotic relationship they have. But we were told that the fishermen are complaining: there are basically no shrimp at the moment and nobody knows why. Sad to hear as so many make a living with fishing in this region. Along the ICW we saw one impressive waterfront villa after the other and almost just as much "For Sale" signs up - but selling property here seems to be almost as difficult as fishing shrimps...
Quite unscheduled we're in Charleston for three days already. But it was our major goal before we started our journey that we would stop whenever the forecast predicted some bad weather. And it did for the last two days. But there are worse places to wait for a low to pass than this pretty city in South Carolina. What really stands out in this place is the love for animals. In so many stores we encountered cats sleeping or begging for affection, dogs waiting in cars or on a stroll and horse carriages. We love the historic city center with its cobblestone pavement and fronts of neat houses, some of them built so close together that you could shake hands from building to building if there were windows...


14 November 2011

Welcome to South Carolina

We just have passed the border to South Carolina yesterday and our next destination Georgetown requested an early start this morning. As we were cruising further South on the ICW the beautiful scenery captivated us once again. For hours we passed by dense forests taking turns with exclusive waterfront villas that somehow reminded us of the tuscany... It is funny, even though we're motoring for hours we never feel bored! By arrival we quickly explored the historical town and on the picture below you see either the paper or the steel mill together with a typical water tower in the sunset.
Two days ago we met a lovely Swiss couple in a marina and after chatting along we generously got invited for dinner on board their sailing boat "Miranda II", an Ovni 35 - a big Thank you to you Agnes and Thomas! And who did we meet again in Georgetown? The world is really small - especially along the ICW. We then once again had a nice dinner together but this time we decided to eat out.


10 November 2011

dolphins on the way

To be honest, we've been a bit nervous this morning. But we managed the first day cruising together alone without any incident! It was like a good sign that just after a few miles we've got company - some dolphins showed up beside us and this time Marco could even take a picture ;-) We saw them all the way and sometimes we've been startled by their sudden appereance close to Habibi.


09 November 2011

It's just the two of us

Yesterday we arrived in Morehead City / Beaufort NC and while we've been busy looking for the entry to the marina I suddenly noticed some dorsal fins moving on the surface of the water - they belonged to three dolphins! Our first encounter with them on this trip and for sure not the last one.
It was aswell the last evening with Kris as he jumped off the boat today to head towards Philadelphia. We wish him a save trip and want to thank him for his support on our first leg! Now it's only the two of us... will we manage to handle the boat? We are confident!
We were able to stock up on some fresh food and provisions. You never know when there will be the next possiblity! And while I was sitting on the floor, labeling cans before to store them I heard a strange crackling sound that seemed to be coming from underwater on our boat's hull. I then remembered having read about this in an ICW handbook. That must have been the tiny shrimplike creatures called "krill" feeding on the growth on the hull. Nothing to worry about! Here is an article about it, under "South Carolina, Snap-Crackle-Pop":

06 November 2011

Belhaven, a heaven for mosquitoes

After a smooth cruise (and even some sailing!) we stopped for the night in River Forest Marina in Belhaven. Not the nicest so far but the most amusing. The highly recommended restaurant in our guide doesn't exist anymore, while trying to start running the pump-out machine at a nearby boat the hose was blast off (thank god it was during the rinsing process with water and not the actual pump out of poop...) and as Kris asked if it was more busy during summer the answer was: "there is nothing than mosquitoes"! We then tried to find a restaurant - but as it is Sunday the few places in walking distance were all closed. At a mexican shop we asked for further advice. And to our surprise the shopkeeper Ben closed his store and gave us a ride to the next open place! We had some really nice burgers in "Andy's" diner and the waitress thought our accent was "awesome"... After having finished our meal we gave Ben a call, he picked us up again and when we wanted to give him a tip he almost refused to take it! Amazing people here in NC!

05 November 2011

How do you know you're in North Carolina?

The wind was still blowing with up to 30 kts today. Therefore we decided to stay another day docked in the Alligator River Marina. It's in the middle of nowhere, nearby there is only a gas station with a simple grill-diner. And you know what? They really serve some alligator tails! The guys of course had to try it. They found it tasted a bit like chicken... We then rented a car to do some shopping in the next town Manteo and to have a glimpse of the famous Outer Banks - also known as OBX, a 320km long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. And besides to go to the beach (but that's only in summer) I think people here don't have a big choice of freetime activity - so they hunt, fish or battle against snakes, alligators or bears! At least that was our impression in the stores. Or have you ever seen snake repellent, buck lure with the scent of a doe-in-rut or a fishing rod for girls designed by Hannah Montana being sold??


04 November 2011

First two days on ICW

We had a stunning first day and night on the ICW. Picture postcard like views all the way! As we motored with around 6 kts there was enough time to enjoy the different landscapes around us. The first day we passed approximately 12 bridges! At some we had to wait for the opening, at others we could simply pass through. We even experienced our first lock. Over all a very interesting passage. For the night we anchored at a calm place - only us and the nature. It was totally quiet and there were no lights around us in sight except the illuminated buoys in the water - something we didn't undergo since a long time (Dubai never sleeps). For dinner we tested our BBQ for the first time and grilled some sausages - together with a fresh salad and some baked potatoes it was a delicious meal in a stunning environment!
Today we lifted the anchor very early and cruised into a beautiful sunrise. But then the weather changed rapidly and we had some nasty waves due to a strong wind - at some points blowing with up to 40 kts!! It was a day of concentrated steering and navigating. We've been so happy to finally dock our Habibi savely in a harbour this evening!! Its name by the way is "Alligator River Marina"...
Pictures: There are always a lot more pictures on our facebook page - same name "habibisails.blogspot.com"

Love, Rahel

02 November 2011

reaching Norfolk

The plan of today was to reach Norfolk by early evening. To be on the save side we left Ingram Harbour at the first glimpse of sunlight - that's when the picture was taken, beautiful!
Just as beautiful as the weather the whole day. We could even lie on deck and catch some sun. After 10 hours we reached Norfolk that is bordered by the Elizabeth River and the Chesapeake Bay. And what we immediately noticed are the huge amount of military and transportation vessels right and left of the canal. Quite impressive. As we learned the world's biggest Naval Base and military alliance are located in Norfolk. But we didn't pass by that city out of military interest - here is the beginning of the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway) which means the start of our journey for the next couple of weeks! We don't really know what to expect, so we'll see.

01 November 2011

freezing morning, sunny day

Some frost on the pier made the way to the showers a slippery one this morning. But the atmosphere was almost mystical with ascending mist over the water... Our second day down the Chesapeake Bay was very calm and sunny again. Unfortuntely the few wind was blowing right from the front that we had to motor all day. We docked in Solomons Island late afternoon in the Spring Cove Marina. All marinas so far have been good equiped with amenities as clean showers/restrooms, laundry facilities, with a shop or restaurant nearby. And as it is off-season we usually are the only ones to use them! The guys even had time to test (play with) the dinghy and cruised around the harbour. Can you see the sparkle in their eyes?

30 October 2011

maiden voyage

This morning we got up and it was as someone has turned over a switch. After non-stop rain and stormy wind it was still chilly but the sun was shining, the sky was clear and the wind calmed down - perfect conditions for our maiden voyage! We busy got everything ready in order to leave Rock Hall behind to head South, finally!! After months of preparation we actually sailed Habibi and it was great, too cold though! We arrived in Herrington Harbour MD late afternoon and docked savely, without any scratch and shouting thanks to a good team work. Wow, what a feeling!