Tales from a small creek on the Eastern Shore

Leaking Exhaust Elbow on your Marine Generator? – No Problem

First Mate:   “Does this boat have a Carbon Monoxide detector?”
Bilge Rat  “Yes of course, I bought one especially for this trip”
First Mate “Where is it?”
Bilge Rat  “Well it is in the bin under the V- berth, I did not get around to installing it yet”

Don’t let the presence of diesel exhaust fumes, soot and high levels of Carbon Monoxide in the cabin distress you.  A cracked exhaust elbow on your diesel generator is easily fixed with common household items.

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August 25, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Aliens in the Garden.

I was poking around the property yesterday and listing all the jobs to be done, trim this, cut that wash this, oil that.  All the result of long absence and hired lawn care, when I came upon two giants in the side yard. Image

Trees, or at least large bushes, about five feet tall and five or six across.  They were definitely not there when I left.

Strange things, prickly seed pods among the leavesImage

and quite a nice delicate blue flower opening late in the dayImage

Much searching turned up the following:

Jimson Weed originally Jamestown Weed (Datura Stramonium), toxic to livestock and humans alike.

Datura intoxication typically produces delirium (as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. The onset of symptoms generally occurs approximately 30 minutes to an hour after smoking the herb. These symptoms generally last from 24 to 48 hours, but have been reported in some cases to last as long as 2 weeks.

More interesting to me was the following gem:

The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call’d) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.
In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves — though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements, if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705

After that introduction  I was not even tempted to sniff the flowers, quickly donned my thickest gloves and dug both up by the roots, chopped them up with the shears and packed them in a bin for the next trip to the dump.

Other common names for D. stramonium include devil’s trumpet, thorn apple, tolguacha, stinkweed, burundanga, borrachera, locoweed, pricklyburr, devil’s cucumber, devil’s weed, Hell’s Bells, moonflower and, in South Africa, malpitte and mad seeds.

You have been warned.

August 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cape May to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and Home –August 18 (day 73)

Planned to start from our anchor at low tide (9:30 am) and let the incoming flood wash us swiftly up Delaware Bay.   When I checked the depth at 7:30 we had 3.6 feet of water (just enough to float)  rather than wait for LOW tide we decided to get going while we could.

 Out of the harbor, through the Cape May Canal (about four miles, no locks), past the ferry terminal, always wise to be cautious here, the ferries are big, and when they back out you get one sharp blast of the horn and they are moving, this one was still pushing in against the ramp..


Sharp right into Delaware Bay where the tide was still running out, and it did so for the next six hours.
But the weather was fine, sunny and warm but not hot and little wind.

We crawled past Ship John Shoal, it was in sight for about five hours.2

Late in the day we crawled into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (20 miles, no locks) and met these two coming out3

On the left a busy mother pulling a reluctant child along by his ear, the little guy looked a bit beaten up, had caught the wrong end of a fight somewhere.

 Last of Delaware’s bridges5

First of Maryland’s7

into Chesapeake Bay (tide going out here)  and home.  At the dock at 7:30 – 11 slow hours and 86 slow miles today, greeted by the neighbours with a glass of wine and BBQ.  No pics. Too busy.

Trip?  1,533 nautical miles, 95 locks, 73 elapsed days (48 travel day.s).  Averages  – 6 engine hours  per travel day or  33 n.m., almost 2 locks per travel day.

At first glance the trip cost little more than living at home, dockage, food and wine, eating out and fuel  included (running one boat rather than three road vehicles etc.).

August 18, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barnegat Inlet to Cape May Harbor – August 15, 2013

Good forecast (for a change ) so away early 7:45 in the hope of making Cape May.

 Crossing Barnegat Bay towards the inlet about 8:00 am we ran hard aground.

We were well inside the marked channel but only had 2 feet of water, tide was running out fast and wind was not helping.  I could not shake the boat loose so I called Sea Tow (well worth the membership money, unlimited towing anywhere in the USA for about $100 per year).   The local Sea Tow man was there in five minutes, tossed us a sturdy line and pulled us loose in five more, he told us that Green Buoy 36 was in the wrong place, and towed us into where the channel should be, that’s where I ran hard aground again (under tow), I told the Sea Tow man our situation via VHF, he replied that he was hard aground too.  Boy could he cuss, I thought I could string them together but he had me beat hands down.  Finally wiggled his way free and me with him.  Told me that was the worst spot in the crossing and I should be OK on out.  After making sure I had no damage and could motor, he said he had to go, had three more groundings before breakfast.  (sorry no pictures)

Out into the Atlantic and South past Long Beach, and long it is, I would guess this is twenty miles of it and that’s a about half the total.1

 Approaching Atlantic City (from the ocean side this time).7

 Not one of my chosen destinations,  and we give it a pass today and press on to Cape May( about thirty miles on)

 On the way we are entertained by the dolphins, probably hundreds in all, large groups traveling together generally towards the North.

Hellish difficult to get a picture, they are either gone down, or swimming right at you.4 3 2

 Finally closing in on Cape May and some recreational activities.8

 After nine hours, into the harbor and anchored just next to the Coast Guard Station.9

 Just in time for a “Working Sunset”  Dredger in the dusk.11

 That’s our way out tomorrow, under the bridge on the right and through the canal to Delaware Bay.

84 miles, 9 hours including time aground.  Home tomorrow?

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forked River Marina – Tuesday August 13, 2013

Full of sports fishing boats and us1

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August 14, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sandy Hook to Barnegat Inlet – Monday August 12, 2013

Off the hook at 7 am the work boats went at 6.
Round Sandy Hook and off to the South, had a sharp rainstorm at 8 then largely clear.
We run to the South about three miles off the beach around 70 feet of water, had a shock at about ten the engine suddenly overheated.  A quick look showed a broken V-belt which powers the primary cooling water pump.  Spare was located, in one of the many bins.


and twenty minutes in the steamy bilge had it fixed, (had to take the top hose off to get the belt on) Grrrrr.

Not much happening up top while that was going on.

Soon back plowing our lonely furrow.

Not much to see to the West, that’s the beach about three miles off.

and off to the East beyond that tug and barge is        Portugal

First sight of destination, Old Barney (The Barnegat Inlet Lighthouse)    it is there

just to the right of the middle, about one pixel wide, seven miles away.

Into Barnegat Bay and moored in a marina for the night, about 65 miles altogether.

Atlantic City tomorrow, another early start.

Tuesday 13 atrocious forecast 4-6 inches of rain, flood and tornado warnings all around.

Made the call by 7 am.         We will stay in our marina slip until tomorrow.

August 12, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Haverstraw to Sandy Hook – August 11, 2013

Tide challenge today, need to arrive at The Battery New York on something other than a rising tide, slow boats like us make miserable progress against strong currents.

Too many variables to calculate so we leave at the usual time, 8:00 am off the dock.

Cool and calm to start across the Tappan Zee1

Much work in process on the bridge2

Seem to be reinforcing the piers and adding ice breakers.

Past the palisades with a very distant view of the city3

Not that much like palisades in my view (the word not much used in GB if memory serves)4

The George Washington bridge next, city getting closer….5

To the right of the picture on the only unobstructed bit of horizon is a tiny spike, it is this..7

Which we pass just after Ellis Island6

Both just beyond lower Manhattan6a

Sunday, so lots of activity around the landmarks, hard to pick ones way amongst the tour boats10

Finally across the lower harbor, under the Narrows bridge and anchored for the night inside Sandy Hook.9

Ready for the Atlantic tomorrow.

August 11, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sauguties to Haverstraw Marina – August 10

Rained hard all day on the 9th so we stayed put in our little creek.

On the trail at 7 this morning in order to get the most of the falling tide, always difficult going downriver.

Past some scars from quarrying operations, interesting contrast in colours.1

Then past what seems to be an abandoned ironworks, almost merging with the scenery and slowly being absorbed by it.2

Small towns half hidden in off-channel inlets (is that a tug on display?)3

This could be Merthyr Tydfil (but it isn’t)5

Lots of lighthouses, I like them all, something reassuring about their endurance.4 6

 This, I am reliably informed is either:
The culinary Institute of America (the other CIA)
The Hudson State Hospital (the kind of place Hannibal Lector might end up in)


Pretty forbidding whatever it is.

This is Newburg we were going to stop here but we were doing so well we didn’t.8

I’m not sure about this, a folly, built as a hotel and never used now fallen to ruin, it is close to Bear Mountain Gap (where the Hudson pierces the Adirondack Mountains)9

Bordered on one side by this rocky promontory  “Storm King”  –  love the name.10

Around the next bend West Point (again) still impressive.11

Finally into Haverstraw Marina,  58 miles and 9 hours later.12

Through New York City and out to Sandy Hook tomorrow, weather permitting.

August 11, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Troy Dock to Sauguties August 8, 2013

Busted a start at 8:00 am to try to ride some falling tide down the Hudson.

 Past Albany, state capital an’ all1

 and a major port (only 150 miles from the sea) lots of maritime commerce.


This one is still here but I never did discover what or why.


A fireboat and “Spirit of Albany” (inflammable spirit perhaps?) 4

The towing company that predates MacAllister see above (Moran got the “Big M” logo) based in Delaware. 5

Probably something flammable given the colour,  Aghullas – South African sea current, also Spanish for eel, right. 6

Liked the overlap of these two bridges, nothing more. 7

Always willing to take a picture of a ship, even if it is carrying parts for rotating bird killers. 8

Got a wave not a citation, it’s a buoy tender and probably busy after the Spring devastation. 9

Army Corps. of Engineers this time, on tree removal duty. 14

This looks just the same as it did when we passed it coming upriver. 16

They are everywhere.17

If you are going to have cement barges paint them cement colour, that way the spillage doesn’t show. 19

The oldest house on the Hudson (Clairmont) 7 generations of Livingstones have lived here, Robert crafted the Louisiana purchase, probably bought it with his legal fees, damn attorneys. 20

Finally ducked into Esophus Creek (Sauguties) we anchored here on the way up.   50 odd miles, a good day.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | Journeys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday at Canajoharie, and Canajahorie to Lock 7 (Schenectady) – Tuesday August 6, 2013

The prime mover needed an oil change so we made a trip to NAPA in Canajahorie Monday morning for oil and filters.

Decided to bag the rest of the day and make it up tomorrow.  Cooked a chicken vindaloo for dinner.

Tuesday, brilliant day, still and bright, got started at 8:30


Not a breath of wind but a chill in the air (temp about 60F)

Headed Eastwards towards the distant mountains (Catskills?)


Another mini tug in Canal System livery , much of this equipment seems very old but is all in excellent physical order, good organization somewhere.


This one was moored at the town of Fonda, NY from whence the Fonda clan originate.  Henry was the best by far IMHO, the others not much, and as for Jane (best not to ask).

Soon into lock 13, which took a major hit from Irene in 2011 and still under repair, a cofferdam across half of the river as the flood control system is completely rebuilt from the base up.

Irene was a non-event storm for us at home, just some rain, but Vermont and Northern New York had significant damage.


This is looking back, I don’t see this work being completed this year.


Lock 12, in much better shape, this is the river side.

Lock 12

Lock 11 – the lock keepers house originally predating the canal (1786), almost destroyed by Irene but a great job of restoration going on.

Lock 11

Then past Amsterdam, not quite what I expected either


Skipping a few, to lock 8, in good shape.

Lock 8

Past that center of knowledge, GE Research at Schenectady.


We are tied up just before lock  7 on a free wall, no services.

Lock 7

8 hours 48 miles and 6 locks – enough for today.

Locks 7 through 1 and down to Troy tomorrow, that’s the plan.

August 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment