Sunday, July 31, 2011


For the last hour we had been hearing loud booms from lighting that we couldn’t see. We just made it to the anchorage before it let loose. Our poor flag just about got tore loose from the 55 kt gusts hitting the boat. Glad we made it off from the ocean.

What a bridge

I do think that this is the most beautiful bridge that we have seen.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Early human

When we were in the Natural History Museum, we went through the early human exhibit. They had what looked like a camera booth set up but what it really did was take your picture and then transposed your eyes, mouth and a few facial features into a replica of what an early humanoid would have looked like. Then you could email it to yourself. I could have been a Neanderthal but instead I chose to be a heidelbergensis man, a direct ancestor of modern humans. Heidelbergensis lived between 700,000 and 200,000 years ago in what is now Europe and Africa and maybe in Asia as well. I was one of the first early human species to live in cold habitats and sail boats. (OK, I added that last one).
A rather dashing looking gentleman wouldn't you say?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The heat

The heat index was going to be about 115 deg today with an actual temp of 102 so we broke down and hopped on the ‘connector’ bus that runs from the marina up to the down town area to see the National Archives. It’s a great building and it holds the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and of course everything else that you could think of.

We spent many hours in there before wandering back out into the heat and over to the natural history museum.
The kids were awed by the dinosaurs, marine life, early humans, the Hope Diamond and so many other exhibits that my mind reels from it all. For their last day it was one filled with our great national treasures and great natural wonders. Just before bed time I asked them to grade their one month trip and got grades from, A- to A+++ so, I think they’ve had a good summer! It’s sad to see them go.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The heat

Everyone should come to Washington at least once in their lives to see the extravaganza of history that is on displayed everywhere about this town.
I would never recommend that anyone come here in July… in the middle of a heat wave.
Today it almost reached 100 deg with about 100% humidity and as the day progressed it became just miserable. We walked along seeking one shady spot after another and refilling our water bottles at every fountain that we came to, usually just to spill ½ of the bottle over our heads!
If the kids hadn’t brought a window A/C unit along with them (which I’ve rigged into place on the deck) then the boat would have been unbearable.
Washington is a great place it just needs to be a bit cooler... say, I know, why don't we shut off the A/C to the capital building, maybe if the Congress had to live in this heat they would get the deficit reduction done sooner!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Monument walk

The evening was a bit cooler so I took the kids for a walk around the monuments. Jefferson, Mason, Lincoln, Roosevelt and a night time view of the Washington and Jefferson memorials.


Sometimes you could glimpse a dawning of understanding as they realized just how important these people were to the founding of our nation and the critical role others played in shaping the fate of our country.
It was almost like being young again.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Walking around Washington-1

As we were walking around Washington, we came upon the old Post Office building.
It turns out that you can go up to the top of the tower for free and get a 360 degree view of Washington.
At the top, we had great views.

As a bonus, as we walked down the steps we came upon the official “bells of congress”.

These bells are rung every time there is a special occasion or national event. The bells were a gift from Brittan to the US and they are really impressive. It was a nice interlude after a hot day of wandering around the national mall.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The trip to Washington DC had a few glitches in it mainly in the plumbing area. Seeing as I’m the plumber it didn’t make me too happy. The pump on our gray water tank stopped working, that’s the water from our sinks and shower. Well, it turned out to be the float switch but, I had a replacement on hand. This is one of the nastiest, dirtiest, greasy jobs on board (of course) for all of the oil and grease from the kitchen sink collects inside of the tank… YUCK! But, even worse, the replacement switch that I installed failed and I had to get into the grease and do it all over again.
This was not the worst though, for the black water tank (IE: the poop tank), macerator pump, the pump that empties out the black water tank decided to take a dump too (if you will pardon the pun). Breaking into the holding tank is one of the last things that I like to do but, after a short but unpleasant bit of repairs we were back in running condition again. Removing the old mascerator.
New one in place.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Flying down the Dismal Swamp

While going through the Dismal Swamp I let each kid ride in the treetops. I set up the boson’s chair and hauled them to the top of the mast. It was like floating through the treetops as we slowly made our way down the canal. They loved it. Ray even managed to snatch leaves right off from the top of a tree that hung over the waterway. Afterwards, they got to ride on the side of the boat as we motored along.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On the way to the swamp

The river that we had to go up to reach the Dismal swamp slowly became narrower and narrower until it was hardly 100 feet wide in places and the surface became covered with small plants that made the surface totally green. It was as if we were motoring over a golf course of fine cut grass instead of a river. It was an eerie feeling not knowing what might be just below the green surface. What was even stranger is that the path we took through this green waterway simply closed back together again as if we were never there in the first place. The view ahead.
The view just after we had passed.
The view 10 minutes after we had gone by.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Change of plans II

One of the nice things about cruising is that you are able to change your plans so easily. We had planned to push through the Dismal Swamp and head right to Newport News, VA for the 4th of July celebrations but when we got to Elizabeth City it was such a nice place that we decided to stay here for their 4th of July celebration instead. Along the way here we passed an osprey nest with two chicks in it but as you can see they are almost full grown and should be ready for flight soon.
Elizabeth City is promoted as the friendliest city on the ICW and they prove it by giving free slips to the cruisers. With a park right in front of our boat and all of the downtown within walking distance it makes for a pleasant place to stop for a day or two.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Change of plans

The rain has delayed our departure from Ocracoke Island for another day or so. This morning when we went to pull anchor at 6 AM Anna asked if I’d seen the radar yet because if I hadn’t I should come and take a look. There was a large red thunderstorm forming just to the north east of Ocracoke, just the direction that we had planned to go. The Admiral made an executive decision and overrode the Captain. So, were here for another day. As you can see the rain had some large hail and high gusts too so it turned out to be a good decision.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life with grandkids

The Snow Goose has become considerable smaller over the course of a week. We have 3 grand kids on board who are 9, 11, & 13 years old… and they leave their stuff everywhere! It takes a constant gentle demand by me that stuff get put away and not left lying around wherever they happened to drop it. Other than that, the kids have been a lot of help and are shaping up to be good little sailors. We are leaving Ocracoke NC today headed north towards the Dismal Swamp!
Megan and Caity by the Ocracoke lighthouse.
Ray and I on the Atlantic beach.
We ran across this fellow on the way to the lighthouse. It's a Nutria, a native "rat/beaver" from South America that is now an invasive species in the USA.