Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ventnor City, NJ to Solomons, MD

We left our anchorage at Ventnor City around 9am anticipating a relatively short day's trip to Cape May, about 40 miles away. For some reason we thought that the inside route from Atlantic City to Cape May was not as bad as the inside route north of Atlantic City. WRONG! It was narrow, shallow with twists and turns and no wake zones everywhere. When I say shallow, I mean that if we had barnacles on the bottom, they'd have been scraped off. Narrow - we go between the green marker and the shore here.
Because Joe was the one with the white knuckles, I was able to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. Much of the trip was through marshes. It felt like we were back in Georgia - the white birds on the salt marsh. Of course the constant worry of going aground was part of the Georgia scene too!

When we weren't surrounded by marsh, we had houses on one side (the back side of the barrier islands) and marsh on the other. As usual I took too many pictures of houses (see picasa if you're interested). I'll just show you the two extremes here.  
Of course there was everything in between.

Once we arrived in Cape May we were greeted by sailing teenagers!
Friday we decided to go be tourists in Cape May. That is the number one industry there, so we fell right into the trap!
We walked to the Washington St. Mall, about a mile from the marina where we tied up our dinghy - a pretty good walk for Joe's poor foot! In order to avoid the shops and rest Joe's foot, we took a trolley tour of the historic district which highlights the Victorian houses. As usual we took way to many pictures. We were both just gaping at the incredible variety of colors and gingerbread designs. I'll put them all on picasa and include a few here that have stories.

This was a Methodist Church, but has now been converted into four condo units. We picked up a flyer for one unit that is for sale - 2400 sqft, 4 bdrms, 2 1/2 baths, 3 stories - only $1,195,000! Of course there's also the $334/mo condo fee and taxes of $8984/yr. A real bargain. Hopefully part of that tax money will go to a fund to put the power lines under ground. They really ruin the pictures!
Many of the houses are seasonal rentals; the larger ones are often B & B's; and some are private residences. Our tour guide pointed out that the true Victorian colors are earth tones, as shown in the two houses farthest to the right.
However, there are many owners that have branched out into non-traditional colors, which our guide referred to as "boutique Cape May." Joe, always seeing maintenance nightmares, kept wondering who keeps up with all the painting. If things don't work out for John and Meredith in San Francisco they could find real job security here! There's even a house with John's name on it - it must be a sign.

Our trolley stopped to allow us a tour of the interior of the Emlen Physick Estate, a Stick Style mansion attributed to Frank Furness, built in 1879. It's always interesting to see the Victorian interiors. One ceiling had seven different wallpaper patterns on it! Unfortunately, no photos allowed of the interior.

One house had an unkempt yard, and wasn't anything much to look at, but it did have unusual yard art. We didn't think the rusty toaster was picture worthy, but I liked the dragonfly sculptures made from ceiling fan blades!

Unfortunately, Rocky wasn't with us when we passed this doggie rest stop.

Sunday we made the big trek again so Joe could go to church. The Catholic church is actually one of the newer buildings in the historic section. It was built in the early 1900's. Joe was especially impressed with the intricate carvings in the altar area.

From Cape May we had an uneventful trip up the Delaware, through the canal and into the Chesapeake. The really memorable part was our 6:30am departure to take advantage of favorable tides!

We anchored in the Sassafras River near Georgetown and Galena on the eastern shore. Back in the old days Joe used to hunt in that area and he was flooded with memories. It is a beautiful setting so with small craft warnings posted for the bay we decided to spend two nights. The sunsets and full moon were incredible!

What a blur the last couple of weeks have been. After leaving the Sassafras River we moved to Annapolis to our friend’s dock in Lake Ogleton. We stayed two of our planned three nights before we decided to leave early to beat some weather and make it to another friend's dock up in the Patuxent River in Helen Creek. While there we bid John and Meredith (our son and his wife) “bon voyage” on their 3 month backpacking trip through China. The day consisted of attending the home Redskins game against the Cardinals - they had been given club seats and a parking pass -and a dinner afterwards at Mama Stella’s (a favorite of ours in Clinton). The Skins won to Punk’s delight.
Then we were off to represent our boat builder, Mirage, in the Solomons Trawlerfest as their big boat couldn’t make it in time. As we arrived at the show, the wind was – as Joe puts it – FRISKY. Luckily, the Mirage salesman, Eric, was on hand to take over docking the boat.
Sue (GH37 owner), Punk, Rocky, Joe, Eric the sales guy
Docking may not be the right term here. The boats are tied stern to the long pier. As each boat moves into position it is tied to the side of the one before it and so it goes down the long pier. There is another pier parallel with the same thing happening so that you could almost walk from one bow to the other. For the four days of the show it was a whirlwind of folks walking thru the boat asking hundreds of questions, visits with other owners and some great meals – gratis! – thanks to Mirage and a couple others. The weather was terrible - 40 mph winds and rain. In spite of the weather many attended. All in all a great time.
We left Calvert Marina Monday morning and moved to the other side of Solomons to tie up at Zahniser’s Marina to have a transmission replaced. We are hopeful that Yanmar will honor the warranty, however they are dragging their corporate feet so far. They will make a determination of coverage and course of action after they examine the transmission - which could take up to 2 weeks as everything is shipped ground to them. Paul, our mechanic, says it’s a bad transmission and should be replaced under warranty. Hopefully, he is correct . Instead of waiting for the determination, Joe asked for a new transmission to be sent while they make up their mind so we can get underway and join the group cruise up the Potomac. Best case scenario is they credit us for the new transmission. Worst case, deny it and we buy it. In between could be they decide to rebuild ours under warranty - then we end up with the new one(at $3000) and a spare. As Joe threatened our son, we will boat until broke, then move in with him! (We did mention that he just quit his job and is leaving for China, right?) If you'd like to see more pictures, follow the link to our picasa albums: (it's not always updated at the same time as this one, but I catch up eventually!)

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