Layman's boat term dictionary

Port, starboard, bow, stern, anchorage, tides, bridge, salon...what the heck are they talking about?

The problem is that the words are all in English and have other meanings in different contexts. Hopefully this will help you to understand. I apologize in advance that they are not in alphabetical order but rather the random order that they came to me.

You hear: port
You think: wine to go with a cigar, a place where there are lots of boats
But it actually means: left as in the port side of the boat or turn to port

You hear: starboard
You think: look up? star chart at school? Starbursts?
But it actually means: right as in the starboard side of the boat or turn to starboard

You hear: bow
You think: what the actors do at the end of the musical
But it actually means: the front of the boat

You hear: stern
You think: the tone of my mother's voice when I have done something wrong
But it actually means: the back of the boat

You hear: head
You think: that thing on the top of my body that I think with
But it actually means: the bathroom....closer in connection to the other head

You hear: lines
You think: those things on a piece of paper or the sentences the teacher made you write
But it actually means: the ropes used on a boat

You hear: fender
You think: fender of a car
But it actually means:a balloon type thing that works like a fender on a car but on a boat to protect it from bumping things. This one actually makes sense.

You hear: buoy
You think: something that floats, or you mishear and think a small male child
But it actually means: a floating object that often indicates hazards

You hear: cleat
You think: Baseball or soccer shoes
But it actually means: the metal thing that you tie the lines to to hold the boat in position on a dock.

You hear:  swell
You think: cool, groovy
But it actually means: waves that just roll

You hear: wake
You think: wake up you lazy bum!
But it actually means: the waves produced by your boat that can then impact other boats

You hear: beam
You think: that thing you balance on for gymnastics or the things that hold up your house or barn, beam me up Scottie! Or a ray of sunshine
But it actually means: the width of the boat

You hear: draft
You think: it's cold out, pour me another one, writing another draft, or being conscripted
But it actually means: how deep the boat sits in the water

You hear: Anchorage
You think: Alaska?
But it actually means: a safe place to anchor the boat

 You hear: galley
You think: gallery? Kalle?
But it actually means: the very small kitchen in a boat

You hear: bridge/fly bridge
You think: the thing that spans an area of water between two land masses, you mean those things can fly?
But it actually means: the upper helm on a boat

You hear: poop deck
You think: ha ha she said poop! A deck to poop on?
But it actually means: the back deck of our boat between the salon and fly bridge. Apparently, it is where we go when we are pooped, although Lyric pooped there the other day. 

You hear: snubber
You think: they don't like me and snub me so they are a snubber
But it actually means: a line attached to the anchor line that relieves pressure on the windlass

You hear: windlass
You think: a young girl in the wind
But it actually means: the anchor winch, not wench. Lol

You hear: pulpit
You think: church
But it actually means: describes the shape of the area where the anchor comes out

You hear: davits
You think: you can't spell David, or Davies...and you were a teacher?
But it actually means: lifting device for the dinghy

You hear: dinghy
You think: dingy, dirty, and she can't spell, again
But it actually means: the small boat that we use to go to shore from an anchorage

You hear: tender
You think: how sweet, state of meat, request for a quote, form of payment, tinder?
But it actually means: a dinghy ...yikes! That means there are 5 meanings for that word!
After paying for tender steaks with legal tender at the restaurant they returned to their boat in the tender and shared a tender embrace to celebrate the acceptance of their tender on the job. Yikes!

You hear: bilge
You think: bulge? 
But it actually means: the space on the inside of the bottom of the boat. It normally collects water and any dripping fluids such as oil or fuel.

You hear: bilge pump                                                                           You think: aha! I know! A pump that is in the bilge (see above for description of a bilge)
It actually means: You are correct! The bilge pump removes fluids from the bilge so we don’t sink.

You hear: helm
You think: at the helm, it's a boat thing right?
But it actually means: the wheel, where you drive the boat from

You hear: fore
You think: duck! It’s a golf ball!
But it actually means: The front of the boat. The fore cabin would be at the front of the boat.

You hear: keel
You think: kale? Super food? Keeling over?
But it actually means: the centre board or lowest part of the boat running fore to aft. Keeling over is a sailing term where you are off the centre line.

You hear: hull
You think: to shuck, like to hull corn or peas
But it actually means: the shell of the boat, the bottom

You hear: aft
You think: daft, as in she really is crazy (and maybe she is….), or aft…ernoon
But it actually means: the back of the boat. The aft cabin would then be in the……



November 27th was a beautiful day. The water was calm, the current was with us and although the scenery was awesome, I stayed below working all day. I worked at my computer through skinny water, slow downs, no wake zones and even as we skimmed the bottom. I was proud of myself and my diligence. Danny was content at the helm so I didn’t even go up to drive. I made us a great leftovers lunch and went back to work.

When I needed a break about 3pm, and headed up to the bridge, I was greeted with the words “Tim and Karen have a fire on their boat.”

“Wait, what? A fire?” I was stunned. Everything had been going so smoothly.

“Yep, engine fire in port engine,” Danny replied.

“Ok, so what do we do to help?” was of course my response.

We turned around as they had been behind us, and waited, and watched. Tim and Karen’s boat has gas engines so the risks are higher when there is a fire. (Gas explodes faster than diesel.) Danny was on the radio communicating with Tim as well as a nearby yacht club.

The fire was small and Karen put it out quickly. Clearly the port engine was disabled at that time and while they shut down the starboard engine to go check on things, the props continue to move due to current etc. The fire was out but the boat was drifting. No real problem as the water was deep enough but of course to complicate things there were crab pots. It was at this point that the boat drifted right over a crab pot. We couldn’t see the buoy, nor could Karen, so Tim started the engine. He stopped it almost immediately. They had indeed caught the crab pot.

We moved in closer to go alongside and tie up. Lines were ready and fenders set so we could tow them in. The Savannah yacht club was prepared to receive us even though we were not members. (There is a safe harbour initiative and we were in distress; at least Tim and Karen were.) We had our hero capes on, connected with little difficulty and became Dragonfly Towing. (Imagine Superman or the Little Engine that Could? Lol) The 50 foot Dragonfly was towing the 52 foot Let it Ride. Tim sat at his helm. I think now that the fire was out, he was enjoying being towed.


At the dock, the dogs thought it was time to head to shore so once we were secured, I leashed them and headed up the ramp, passing a diver in full gear on my way. Hmmm, we would need one, but I was being pulled by the normally lazy boat dogs. The dogs took care of their business and I cleaned up and headed back to the boat where I found Karen talking to the diver. He was at the yacht club to clean a big boat but would dive and clear the line and crab pot from the starboard prop for us first. It was really wrapped up so it took him about a half hour but the good thing was that he first cut the line on the pot before going in to clear the rest. AHA, a crab pot! Danny pulled it up to find a lane snapper and 3 blue crabs! Not thinking, he at first cleared the bait trap and then dumped the crabs out and the fish in a bucket. We had to get the oven mitt to protect his hands from the claws but it was fun watching him “fight” with the one crab. Crabs were cleaned and then Danny decided he would try to catch more. We had the crab pot after all…but he had already tossed the bait. The lane snapper became the next bait.

Lines cleared and engines cooled a bit, Danny went below on Let it Ride and found that the alternator was blown and missing pieces but that that was the only real damage. A new alternator was ordered and the mess from the fire extinguisher cleaned up. We were safe and really had been very lucky. The fire was small and easily put out. The yacht club took us in. There was a diver already in a suit ready to go. The crab pot wasn’t full but had enough crab to entice us to get more. The damage was minimal and the repair part could be here the next day. We were not in the middle of Georgia marshland, but in Savannah, a beautiful river town with a great historic area, great food and great people. I told Karen and Tim they should get a lottery ticket.


Once again, flexibility is key. We are now on our way to Brunswick GA with the repairs complete. Had the fire not happened, we wouldn’t have seen Savannah and we most likely would not have seen the beautiful sunrise this morning.


Sometimes we get blog worthy things close together. Other times we do normal things for us and I get to be creative in the blog. In any case there is rarely a dull moment and I have yet to finish any of the 3 books I have started, let alone start the several on the boat. Tim says this is the first major issue in 1500 miles. I think we are good for a bit.


PS En route to Brunswick, Tim and Karen took the superhero capes and did a fuel run for us. Oh how we love the camaraderie of the boating community!

A tale of two....

A tale of two cities? No we have both been to too many for that to be right.

A tale of two climates? Well, Danny was in shorts one day when he wasn't running but it has been a chilly run down the east coast as well.

A tale of two children? Again, too many of those.

A tale of two voyages. That fits.

I left Dragonfly to head home to support my eldest daughter Kelsi for a week. It was an interesting trip to plan as we were not sure where we would be to leave from, nor when we might get there. I looked at car rental, flying, bus, and train. You name it, nothing was easy and of course the Thanksgiving holiday travel time came right into the mix. Eventually it was decided that I would fly to Cleveland to pick up our friend's (Tim and Karen) truck that they wanted south and drive that home, switch to my van for the week, then continue south in the truck.  I left from Charleston on November 13. But wait, the boat was in Belhaven at that point. Tim and Karen were heading to Charleston by car to a Looperpalooza event, (More about Loopers and looping later) so I jumped in the car with them and they took me to the airport. It worked for everyone.

We left Belhaven by car, and started following Google's instructions. We arrived at what appeared to be the end of the road at the water's edge, but it was a ferry stop. We continued across the Pamlico river by ferry then drove ourselves the rest of the way to Charleston. This was my first time inside a car on  a ferry. Later, it felt strange to be sitting in a Denny's in SC watching CFL playoffs. Kinda fun though!  I got to explain the differences between the CFL and the NFL.

Tim and Karen dropped me off at the airport and my voyage within a voyage continued. From Charleston to Philly, then on to Cleveland I flew, and was met at the airport by Joey (Tim and Karen's son) who handed over the truck. Three and a half uneventful hours later, I was back in Niagara and ready for bed. The next morning I drove to Toronto to be with my daughter. 

After a few terrific days with my daughter Kelsi in Toronto, we headed back to Niagara to visit my Mom, go to church, and generally settle in. Kelsi's cat, Karma is delightful but as I am allergic to her, I was happy to leave a very small space shared with a cat. She got to stay home.

The time together was great and busy but all too soon, it was time for me to take Kelsi back towards Toronto and head back to the boat. I love my life on the boat so I had missed it but I also miss the family members who don't live with me on the boat. Such is one of the drawbacks to a life of adventure, and yet a reassurance that my love for them is constant and continues while I am away.

I wasn't really looking forward to driving solo for two days but I found great radio stations that encouraged me to continue to be bold and go for it, and I made pit stops along the way so as not to fall asleep. My first pit stop was in Westfield, NY, to see my brother Tim and his family. I stopped in to the new dental office (after a call to Mom for the address) and had a quick visit with Tim, then went up to the house and ultimately found Mandy and Ayla at the library. Imagine their surprise to see me there! Max was at school so I missed him but gave hugs to be passed along. Ayla was thrilled to have me read a few books to her before I left, then I shared my hugs with both Ayla and Mandy.

Thank goodness for Google when one is driving solo! Although the voice can be annoying, my google copilot is polite and doesn't make me change the radio station. After some bathroom break stops and a quick chat with Danny at a rest stop, I pulled into Wytheville VA to spend the night. I was tired and hungry and the Kingston motel was in my budget so I pulled in. (They do say that Walmarts will let you park for free in their parking lots overnight but I wanted a bed and was willing to pay for it.  -the added safety is always a bonus too!) The attendant greeted me with a smile but was sad to say that there were no rooms available. Darn...until a young lady from behind the counter said..."what about...?"  The last room would be a few minutes to prepare so I was given directions to Applebees . I needed a walk after all of the sitting while driving so I walked through the parking lots to get to Applebees. The road had no sidewalks and although a small town, that road was busy!

I was hungry and tired, and not really into thinking much about dinner other than knowing I wanted some vegetables. My waitress Tiffany was beyond helpful. There were very few people in the restaurant..  She told me about the $1 margaritas and then when I was having difficulty deciding, proceeded to tell me about her personal creation that she eats at work: Broccoli, rice, shrimp and a cream sauce with Parmesan cheese! The Tiffany special was delightful and my entire bill was $8.05 including the margarita! With few other customers we struck up a conversation and my meal was far more enjoyable. Dinner over, I walked back to the motel and was asleep not long after I hit the pillow. I anticipated getting up at 6 to leave early so I could be on time to pick up the new starter. (See Danny's previous post for details on that silliness.)

The smoky mountains at dawn are a sight to behold. As I left Wythesville I drove through valleys filled with fog against a backdrop of the mountains, then rose higher to see the most glorious sunrise against the same mountains and valleys. Each corner I turned was equally beautiful. Ultimately I tried to take a photo but my google copilot was not helpful in capturing the full beauty of the event. This shot will have to do, as photography while driving is challenging.

Again I had great music and radio programming and once through the mountains the stations lasted longer than a song and a half. I arrived in Conway an hour early to pick up the starter for the boat that had been shipped. Except that Dear Google had goofed, or I hadn't looked at it properly and I stood at what I thought was the address and it was a barber shop?? Somehow I didn't think I would be finding a starter there any time soon. I re-looked at google, called Wilbur at Auto Electric Exchange in Conway and then drove a block further to meet him.  

Wilbur was delightful. He had ordered the part and told me that generally UPS arrives around 10 am, but when he needed something important in a hurry they were normally much later, despite what they may have written on their paperwork. UPS paperwork said 12 noon and I was early so I sat out in the sun in the truck and waited. And waited. And waited..... I smelled yummy things. People came and went. Some came back and left again. 12 o'clock came and went. So did 1 o'clock, then 2 o'clock. Wilbur and friends had had a potluck lunch and shared the leftovers with me when I came in to check on things. Wilbur called everywhere he could think of to get another part.  He called UPS who said that it had been in Myrtle Beach at 10:30 that morning. (At this point I thought I could have walked there faster.) Finally after 3, when the sun was no longer on the bed of the truck in the parking lot and I was cold, Wilbur said he would bring the part to me at the marina. YAY! I could go to the marina, see my husband and puppies and wait there for the part. I left the parking lot and headed to Osprey Marina following Google's directions.

I got about 2 blocks, when I spotted the UPS truck. Wilbur had been gracious enough to offer to bring the starter but there was really no need for him to go out of his way for a half hour, so I turned the truck around and headed back the the Auto Electric Exchange. I was getting to know at least that few blocks in Conway quite well. I arrived at the building expecting to see the UPS truck and when it wasn't there, I just assumed they had been faster than me and went inside to see what was happening. Wilbur was confused to see me again so soon until I told him that I had seen the truck and figured it was easier for me to come back. I didn't think it would be long so decided to wait in the truck again. It had been a block away. It couldn't take that long to get there, could it? It could. I waited another half hour and watched the truck go right past the building before it finally pulled in. It was the day before Thanksgiving and things had been held up and the route was not their normal one so the gentlemen in the truck were a tad grumpy. I wished them a happy Thanksgiving and paid for my part, heading on to Osprey and my boat family. If you need anything around Conway SC and have wheels to get you there, go see Wilbur at Auto Electric Exchange. He was terrific!

Starter in hand, I delivered kisses, hugs and a truck, and was received by husband, friends and a barking crazy couple of huskies once I made it to the boat. Another chapter in the adventure book was closed.

Single handling

As we made it out of the Chesapeake Bay, through Norfolk and into the ICW I was thinking to myself... a thousand miles behind us on this trip and a thousand miles to go to our destination of Boca Raton. The trip so far had highs and lows but it was all normal cruising. The boat was running great and besides our fuel leak issue and an oil change I didn't have to spent too much time on repairs. Beth and I took turns at the helm and had a great system going. We pulled into Top Rack marina November 6th to fuel up and rest for the night. Next stop was Alligator marina in Columbia NC. An early start got us there before dark the next day after a calm crossing of the Albemarle Sound.


The weather turned on us the next day, and we decided to stay another day until the winds died down. During my usual morning mechanical check I notice the port engine was low on oil and after some looking around I figured out that we had a blown oil seal on the port turbocharger and it needed to be replaced. Calls were made and we decided to push on to Belhaven NC and have the new turbo delivered there. 


Winds were blowing strong from the north the next morning and we were pinned to the dock. I decided at that point that we should let mother nature do her thing and wait another day. Another boat decided to leave and was damaged pulling off the dock so at that point I was confident I had made the right decision. Looking at the forecast and discussing it with Tim on our buddy boat, we figured out that if we stayed at Alligator River Marina that day we might get stuck there for several days due to a cold front and storm rolling towards us, so we decided to wait a few hours and let the wind die down a bit as predicted by several weather sources. It didn't happen! Winds kept up and a decision had to be made.


Another boat left and we helped them off the dock. After watching two boats leave I had gathered enough Intel to decide that we could manage it and we got ready to leave. With some help on the dock we got off with no issues and set course for Belhaven. It was a nice quiet run. We docked in Belhaven 6 hours later. 


The next day Beth was leaving me to head home to Niagara for 9-10 days. As she left the new turbo arrived and I was well into several boat projects for the next few days. Four days later the boat was ready and I left Belhaven single handling Dragonfly toward Oriental NC.


The weather was great. Our buddy boat (Let it Ride) at my stern, we ran fast with the current and together we decided to keep pushing to Beaufort NC that day. 


Let me explain what single handling means.... It means that I'm by myself. No bathroom breaks, no lunch break, no autopilot, no rest from the helm and no coffee! I can't leave the bridge. Beth is not there to toss lines to the dock when docking. I have to do it all by myself for 8 hours. I was prepared with lines on the bridge and managed to dock in Beaufort with the help of Tim and Karen from our buddy boat. They pulled into the marina ahead of me to catch me on the dock for that reason. First day of solo done. Time for a beer :-)


Day two of solo. "Let it Ride" had a leaky water pump so we replaced that in the morning.  I set up the coffee maker on the fly bridge. I brought peanut butter, bread and a snack to the bridge and we left Beaufort NC heading to Surf City NC. We pulled into Topsail Marina by 5pm then met with friend for dinner and had a good night. 


Day 3 and 4 of solo... We ran down the Cape Fear River to Southport NC and besides steady strong wind in my face all day, all went well.  We pulled into a free dock for a couple days because bad weather was coming with forecasted high winds. Tim, Karen and I went for dinner and I called it an early night. Well... good thing I went to bed early because the wind kicked up to 40 knot gusts and I woke up to noise from the boat hitting the dock around 4am. It was rough. I stood on the deck watching lines and made sure the boat was ready to start if the piling broke. It was a free dock but it wasn't in great shape and the pilings seemed to be falling apart. I would have been safer at anchor. By 9am the winds died down and we went on with the day. Tim and I found a bar with the football game on and we went for a few beers. To end the night, once I got back to the boat I had to take the dogs out... Lyric missed the boat jumping back in and in the water she went! Once I stopped laughing I got her back in the boat, rinsed the salt water off her and dried her off... to bed I went.


Day 5 of solo. We ran to Osprey Marina. Easy run. We made it there by 5, fuelled up and took it easy. Went to bed early for an early start the next day.


After breakfast I had to replace fuel filters on port (left) engine. Then the starter went and I was stuck at the fuel dock. Turns out this starter is only a year old and new starter is on the way under warranty, but because I was at the fuel dock the boat had to be moved. 


So now I sit in Myrtle Beach waiting for a starter. Beth will be back with us tomorrow... stay tuned :-)

PS. Beth arrived to pick up the new starter and waited patiently for 4 hours until the UPS guys showed up. Needless to say, we spent another night at Osprey.



Alligator Pie/ Alligator River

Alligator pie                        November 9/17

The plan was to leave Alligator River Marina to head 50 miles to Belhaven NC today but the winds were nasty this morning and after helping another boater off the dock only to have him bump his boat against the dock due to the wind, we decided to wait a bit. By 10:30 the wind had settled and knowing that tomorrow’s weather is predicted to be nastier, we gathered the troops and helped a second boat off then followed suit. It wasn’t as bad as we had feared once out of the marina.

We left Alligator River Marina and headed into, you guessed it, Alligator River. I spent most of the day at the helm and when the radio stopped working, my old teacher brain kicked in. (Either that or my primary young at heart brain. Hmmm let’s go with the latter.) Anyway, I grew up in Canada with Alligator Pie so it made sense to recite Alligator pie as I was driving. (The weather was blech, with grey skies and drizzle, so very little to look at, and other than watching for crab pots I had to entertain myself and the dogs somehow). And so it began… (feel free to recite it with me)

Alligator Pie, Alligator Pie                                                                                                                      If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna die                                                                                          Take away the green grass, take away the sky                                                                                    But don’t take away my alligator pie

Alligator stew, Alligator stew                                                                                                                If I don't get some I don’t know what I’ll do.                                                                               Give away my hockey stick, give away my shoe                                                                         But don’t give away my alligator stew.

Of course in my new Southern  drawl, I must respond…

Alligator Pie Alligator pie,                                                                                                                    You said if you don’t get some, you think you gonna die                                                        Well I got me some corn grits, and got me pecan pie                                                               But I ain’t got no alligator pie.

Alligator stew, alligator stew                                                                                                                 If y’all don’t get some you don’t know what to do                                                                  (Well neither do I)                                                                                                                                     I never had a hockey stick, n don’t need no more shoes                                                                 And I never did have no alligator stew.

And then, I got to thinking about where I was so…

Alligator River, Alligator River                                                                                                Dragonfly is in the Alligator River                                                                                                          Sun’s not out, cool, but no shiver                                                                                                    This be our third trip down the Alligator River.

It was fun. I did add a few more verses but to stimulate the creative juices in y’all, let’s see what you can come up with in the comments. After I get 5 I will add another of my verses. They had Alligator bites on the menu at Alligator River Marina, and of course there are all sorts of things made from alligator. Have fun! Challenge yourself (or your students if you have them)!

And bonus points if you can tell me the author of the original Alligator Pie. (Hint: He is Canadian)

Once I finished, Sir Rusty kept me entertained for a while singing. See video on my Facebook page. I  haven't gotten the hang of uploading to you tube yet..

We have arrived safely in Belhaven NC. Now to find some internet to send this…

Trick or treat...

With it just being Danny and I on the boat I didn't buy candy and we didn't dress up for Halloween. As far as I was concerned it was just another day. It was fun to see our nephew Max and niece Ayla's costumes but other than that all was to be normal. Normal is a setting on the dryer. I have said it enough times that by now it should have stuck in my brain but apparently we all seek some sort of normalcy.

I expected a calm run through a short canal leaving Cape May followed by some initially rocky water going out into the Delaware, then settling down for a 5-6 hour ride into the C and D canal ending up at Schaefer's in Chesapeake City. I got some of that. Danny got us off the dock with no problem and we watched as our friend Tim played with his new autopilot and turned in funny directions before heading through the canal. All was calm. We passed the ferry boats and gathered quite the fan club of seagulls as we entered Delaware Bay. I kept an eye out for the pod of dolphins but they were hiding. No dolphins and no whales showed their faces. It was indeed quite rough as we entered the bay as indicated by Lyric vomiting early on. I took the helm and followed Tim, making sure to stay out of shallow water. My skills at the helm are vastly improved from last year when the instructions were simply keep it on the line.

At one point I noticed Danny playing with the smoker barbecue. He was wanting to smoke a corned beef brisket for dinner and had discovered that the pellets had gotten wet and needed to be removed before he could proceed. Out came the shop vac to do the job. Apparently the shop vac had had enough work and decided to smoke itself. The motor was done and smoking. Danny moved on to the next vacuum and managed to suck up some hot embers (from the shop vac or bbq I am not exactly sure) which now had the filter of the stick vacuum on fire. Bye bye filter in flames. I had the "normal" job of navigating the boat so I missed all the excitement and heard it all second hand when Danny asked if we had more filters for the stick vacuum. Nope.

Eventually with the fires out Danny got the bbq going and the corned beef on. All was well. He then played with the cameras and I was fine at the helm. The water had smoothed out and the dogs were content on their cushions. We passed big ships and lighthouses and looked at the nuclear plant for what seemed like forever.

After 4 or 5 hours at the helm, I gave it back to Danny and went below. He came down at one point to say that it appeared that we may have a fuel leak as it didn't seem like there was enough fuel now to get us to Schaefer's. I took the helm while he verified and tightened the spot where we were leaking. We had serious leak and filled our bilge with fuel that Danny will now be tasked with cleaning up.  Part of the morning check is to see how much fuel we have and if we need to transfer from another tank or fuel up. The estimate that morning was that we had 70 gallons of fuel; more than enough to get us to Schaefer's in Chesapeake City where the fuel was cheaper than in Cape May. 40 gallons more than enough.

There wasn't really much I could do about the fuel leak or lack of fuel so I stayed below working on emails and such until one engine sputtered and then the second not far behind it. Danny had slowed down the boat for better fuel economy and found a marina that he felt was within range with the fuel we still had aboard but we didn't make it. We ran out less that 500 yards from the fuel dock! We were in the C and D canal which is a shipping channel but close to a marina and off to the side. There was a current of about 2  knots going against us. We dropped anchor in 50 feet of water and were discussing options when we realized that we had let all the chain out and were now looking at rode which would not hold in the windlass. We went down to the anchor pulpit and both pulled on the rope in order to get it around the other side of the windlass and secure it. (The rope, otherwise known as rode to sailors, at the end of the anchor is secured inside the boat so we wouldn't have lost it, but it would have let all of our rope out and with the current it would have been more challenging to retrieve it.) Danny had already tried once to hail the marina with no luck. He tried a second time to no avail. A sailboat passed us going into the marina and their hail was answered! I called the marina (now why didn't I think of that before?) and they answered but said that they had no launch and that their fuel pumps shut off at 6. (It was 5:50 pm) We would be free to tie up there if we could get there, but they were essentially no help. Our friends Tim and Karen had already arrived ahead of us at Schaefer's but were in contact with us. 

A plan was hatched. We would drop the dinghy and I would leave Danny with the big boat to travel the 4.5 miles in the dinghy with 3-4 Jerry cans (Why do they call them Jerry cans?) to Schaefer's where they would fill them, then return to the boat to fill the engines. It sounded good. Bringing down the dinghy isn't as simple as just dropping it though. The davits must be used to raise it off the roof of the poop/sun deck, then to swing it alongside the boat before lowering. Then the engine must be remounted as it sits in the cockpit deck when the dinghy is on board. This takes time and teamwork and by now it was getting dark. Thank goodness for 12 volt lighting as without the engines we didn't have power from the inverter. 

We got the dinghy down into the water and Danny was finishing connecting the motor when a sailboat went by asking if we needed help. (I LOVE the boating community!) They had 10 gallons of diesel fuel on board in Jerry cans so Danny met them in the dinghy, traded full cans for our empty ones, and paid them for the fuel. Now began plan b as one can of the fuel was put in the boat and Danny began priming the engines with the other. I have NO CLUE as to how to do any of these things so I rely on my dear husband, captain, mechanic to handle the mechanical workings of the boat. I am learning and turned the key repeatedly as he filled filters and then we bled the air so the motors would start again.  

While we were working other sailboat friends passed by checking on us as they went into the closer marina, and I kept an eye out for ships in the channel. Thankfully the only traffic was the sailboats. The big ships create crazy wake and it would not have been pretty. (I will try to find a photo of one that we saw last year in the canal.)

Finally, with both engines running again we pulled anchor and set off for Schaefer's and Chesapeake City. By now it was dark but the canal is lit so we could navigate well. At some point as it started to get dark, Danny realized that his glasses were not on the boat. He had left them on Tim and Karen's boat earlier in the morning before we left. Silly boy! The lack of glasses did make it challenging to dock at Schaefer's once we arrived though as Danny's perception was a bit off. After a couple of attempts, we were safely caught and tied to the dock. The dogs were happy to jump off to do their business, and we were happy to be in the right place. We would fill up in the morning with fuel as it was now after 8 and the fuel dock was closed.

Our treat for the evening was not a sack of candy, but yummy Reuben sandwiches made with the corned beef/pastrami that had been smoking all day. It was tender and yummy! The fact that the meat had cooled down made it easier to cut and we had all the fixings ready in no time. An exhausting but accomplished day was at its end. We were safe and our bellies were full. One more thing to cross off that list of things that will happen eventually.


Ferries waiting at the mouth of the Cape May Canal

Ferries waiting at the mouth of the Cape May Canal

Seagull friends

Seagull friends

Lighthouse in the Delaware. Wrong angle to get the Nuclear plant too.

Lighthouse in the Delaware. Wrong angle to get the Nuclear plant too.

Magestic boy not impressed that we are stopped and he can't get off the boat. This was while Danny was lowering the anchor. No further pics were taken as we were a bit busy.

Magestic boy not impressed that we are stopped and he can't get off the boat. This was while Danny was lowering the anchor. No further pics were taken as we were a bit busy.

Anchoring pros and cons on Dragonfly

With the closing of Travelpod, I have decided to create my own site to chronicle our journey. I will be adding back the content from last year's journey as I have time but thought I better get started on this year before we get too far down the water.

Today our travel time was about 20 minutes as we left the 360 degree protection of Haverstraw cove for the other side of the Hudson, Croton on the Hudson. We are now safely anchored and Danny has gone off to scope things out. Haverstraw is awesome but there have been changes that made getting to shore difficult. The dogs are ok on the boat when we are at anchor but our friends are at Half Moon Bay marina on this side and so is the train to NYC. 

Last night was our first night at anchor since late May. I had forgotten some of the benefits of being at anchor:

  • an ever changing view as the boat swings on the anchor.
  • a wonderful breeze, that last night kept us cool. (ok the night got a little chilly with the window open but...)
  • It is quiet at anchor. Depending on where you are there can be beautiful views both around and up in the sky. Very often there is little ambient light so the stars are our in full force. Of course the skies need to be clear for that too. 
  • no dock to bash into
  • neighbours are close enough to visit by dinghy but far enough that we don't hear them and they can't see inside the boat
  • going to shore means a dinghy ride!
  • if it is rainy we stay on the boat and find things to do.
  • the soft rolling of the boat puts me to sleep

Of course there are disadvantages to everything so here are the disadvantages to anchoring:

  • if it is rainy and you have to go to shore, you get wet
  • going to shore means a dinghy ride
  • power and water management are key
  • no a/c and no heat
  • water traffic means some rocking and rolling without a dock to hold us steady

Clearly, I prefer to anchor based on my lists above, and really the no heat, no a/c is generally not an issue as if we need a breeze we open the window and if we want heat we keep the heat in that was generated by the engines running. Last resort, we start the generator. Dinghy rides are fun, unless it is rainy and blowing but then, why go out? Rocking and rolling is part of the experience. Sometimes challenging but most often easily dealt with. This leaves power and water management. I love a challenge and essentially this is off grid living; a disadvantage if you want long hot showers and a blow dryer but not so much otherwise. It is fun to see what we really and truly need and what we can do without and still be happy. Power for navigational items is essential. Hair dries on its own as do clothes.

Challenge: What do you take for granted and what can you live without?