Home again, home again, jiggity jig

We crossed our wake!

My favorite parts of this trip – places, people, and activities.

Canada, Canada Canada!  From the minute we started down the canal system, I fell in love with Canada.  The Trent Severn was full of little towns like the towns we grew up in and stirred many fond memories in us both.  The best was yet to come as the Georgian Bay was pristine and beautiful with its clear water, tiny bays, and forests.  The North Channel was awe inspiring – the rock formations were incredibly impressive especially when viewed from the air when we did the 1000 islands tour.  I loved kayaking when we were at anchor, and fishing off the boat and off rock outcroppings I reached with my kayak. Beautiful Baie Fine – we could stay there for weeks. We saw so much there and feel like we barely touched the surface.  Canada is on our list of places we must revisit.

Once we came down out of Canada, there was a lot to see and do.  Door County fish boils, Mackinac Island with the horse drawn carriages, Milwaukee (my favorite city), Chicago, and then the river system!  The first part of our river journey was difficult, but once we connected with some looper friends to travel together, it became a shared adventure with some hardships made easier because they were endured together.  It was a huge accomplishment to everyone in our little 7 boat flotilla to make it through the last lock just as the sun was setting, and tie up at the wonderful Green Turtle Bay resort.  We celebrated together, and then one by one, continued down the river system at our own pace or with one or two other boats.   The Kentucky lake and river system south of Green Turtle bay was beautiful, pristine, and a much easier trip than when we first moved down the river.

Another adventure with a Looper flotilla awaited us when we made the 24 hour crossing from Apalachicola to Dunedin Florida.  We were stuck in Apalachicola with a bunch of Loopers for several days before we got a weather window to cross, and it got pretty cold. The trip across the gulf was a bit scary since we would be motoring not only all day, but all night long into the next morning, however we made it with our little group with no issues, and celebrated with bloody mary’s when we arrived.  Once we made it to Dunedin, it was the warm and gorgeous west coast of Florida for the rest of the trip down to our winter dockage in the Florida Keys, at Tavernier.

This spring as we traveled up the ICW on our way home, we had some issues with our prop shaft, but the delay allowed us to spend some fun time in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Once the boat was fixed we had a crazy day travelling through Miami and Fort Lauderdale on one of the first nice weekends in boating season.  After leaving Florida, we enjoyed our time on the ICW all the way through to the marina where we first bought the Quo Vadimus in Virginia.  We took a side trip on the Potomac where we enjoyed visiting Old Alexandria, Washington DC, and several other pretty spots along the great river, and we are looking forward to spending a couple more days on the Chesapeake while we move toward our home port on the Bohemia river.

One of our favorite parts of the Loop were the side trips we were able to take along the way by renting a car.  We were able to visit many cities that we have wanted to see, either for the first time or as a return visit as tourists.  In Trent we visited the Prince Edward County wineries.  We also rented a car in Orillia to visit Toronto for a couple of days.  We toured Green Bay, St. Louis, and Nashville TN as day trips.  We spent 3 days in New Orleans – one of our favorites. We’ve seen tons of sights that we probably would not have seen otherwise, and sometimes the best part was returning to the comfort of our own beds on the Quo Vadimus at the end of a long day or days of touring.

A few of our favorite places are where we spent time with family and close friends.  One of my oldest friends joined us on the Hudson for an overnight and a fun tour of a huge motorcycle museum.  We spent a few days in Rochester with Foster’s sister and her family and had a blast.  I met another dear old friend and her husband in Sarasota, family friends in Sanibel.  Our sons Mike and Dave came to visit for a week in the Keys. Pam & Gun helped make Miami/Ft. Lauderdale a fun stop.  In Hilton Head and Beaufort SC we spent time with my sister and my mom, and enjoyed seeing some sights and visiting an old family friend.  There were also places where we made new friends along the loop.  Frieda, Nancy, and Terry are some Canadian friends we met and spent a little time with. Dennis and Carol are Looper friends that advised us on the best spots in Door County and showed us the highlights of Racine. We became close with several couples in Tavernier where we learned about the Keys disease at first hand for several glorious weeks.  Finally there are the many terrific looper couples we met on the water in the Great Lakes, along the river system and the ICW – so many I can’t list them because I’m sure to leave someone out.   All are people we loved spending time with and who made a big contribution to our Great Loop experience.  One of the most interesting things was meeting someone who we met earlier on the loop, and comparing notes.

Life on the loop was life as we live it every day, but with amazing places and people thrown in.  We didn’t always have fun.  Sometimes we argued, sometimes the weather was terrible, sometimes we were in trouble.  Sometimes it was like going to a job every day – a really COOL job, but a job nonetheless.  We had some losses during the year – Aunt Hazel, my Dad, and our resident cat on board Belle.  Belle enjoyed her life on the boat more than she enjoyed her life on the hard, and had a very peaceful ending.  Dad, who had Alzheimers, was very happy about us going on the trip.  He remembered and asked me about it every time we spoke.

It’s hard to explain how amazing this trip is to people who have not been on it or on part of it.  All I can say is if you are thinking of going, just go!


#fishing&catching  #docktails  #bigorangeballsFTW  #LCBO  #canals  #lock_walls  #Bad_River  #Baie_Fine  #Hopewell_Bay  #Escanaba  #Door_County  #Milwaukee  #St_Louis_   #herons_vs_alligators  #kayaking  #quilting  #canadian_seafood=whitefish  #dolphinbabies  #Appalachicola_oysters  #shrimp_in_the_dinghy  #stone_crabs_vs_blue_crabs  #manatees  #biking  #a_good_internet_connection  #you_got_packages  #teamwork  #sunsets&sunrises  #marina_loaner_cars  #best_marina_loaner_corvette_ever  #maritime_museums_adinfinitum  #best_year_of_my_life


Chesapeake, VA

13-14 May 2014

So after the 90 degree yesterday in the Dismal Swamp, we woke to a 65 degree morning. I was happy it had cooled down and it made the mosquitoes die off. Flashback to the slaves that dug this by hand, not a happy time. We putzed around the boat and then at 8 AM pushed off into the channel.

It’s a 15 mile ride to the bridge and lock, and the Quo Vadimus idles at 6. So I took a tip from my friend Doug and just used the port engine for the three hours at just above idle and we were good.

So since you asked, we go slow since 1) the canal is about 40′ wide 2) there is a ton of material at the bottom and it sometimes surfaces you go past fast. There are two boats following us so I didn’t want stuff up in the water for them to hit. 3) There was rain / storm last night, so there is stuff for me to move around, but not lots of room to do it in. So it was slow, slow, watch the turtles and the snakes and the birds and life in the 1800′s drift by.

We got to the bridge right at 11AM in time for the opening. The bridge/lock master was really nice, the three of us passed through and got into the lock in short order. He had lots of good tips on places to go, anchor and eat. I noticed that he didn’t work for the Army Corps of Engineers, but for an outside service company. Wonder if they are outsourcing the lock work, but he said he had been there for 20 years.

We got out of the lock and did 8 miles to our next to last lock on this trip, Great Bridge. We locked through tied up about ½ down the lock. There is a nesting goose at the south end and boats make them cranky. This was the nicest lock on our trip with brand new rubber sides, we really didn’t need our fenders. We will pass through this lock on Friday and we are officially done with locks on the loop. Yay Us!.

Under the Great Bridge Draw Bridge and into Atlantic Yacht Basin. The Quo Vadimus was purchased here in 2011, so she has “crossed her wake”, but our official crossing won’t be until we get to the Bohemia River. We are stopping here for the great fuel prices at $2.40 a gallon. This is less than ½ price of what I paid in Rochester almost a year ago and $3 less a gallon than my top price in Canada.

Docking here is also cheap at $1 per foot, there have been few places along the trip this cheap.

I stopped in to see our broker, Bob, at Virginia Yacht Brokers. He said we could sell Quo Vadimus now and quickly, but said if we were still boating and having fun keep on going. He has sent a few future Loopers to us in the past to help with Looping questions.

We had a visit from a future Looper that has purchased a 4788 to start their loop next year. We passed along all of our Looper tips. (Go now, have fun, don’t listen to other Loopers on where to go make it your own adventure, but spend as much time in Canada as you can!) [irony]

While at the dock we watched a huge parade of boats from 20′ day cruisers to 70′ yachts. There were two RIB boats with marinnes and a support boat. After 6 the crew boats come out there have been two 8 man and one 4 man shell one the water. This is a really great place to watch boats come and go.

Susan made a great dinner that starred corn on the cob. It’s cool that local vegatables are coming into season, and yes this corn was from Florida, but as of 4 weeks ago that was “local”.

We are coming off the river system so stuff like winds and tides are making a difference again. The Thursday forecast is for winds from the north. That means that the wind starts at our home in the Upper Chesapeake and drags water down so by the time it reaches us waves are 3-4′ (or more). No trip north for Thursday.

Sleeping in was easy since it had cooled down again. We both got caught up on computer stuff (hey new title pictures!) and some other odds and ends. I happened to see a carpet cleaning company working on the mega yacht behind us and we asked how much to do our boat. Not much it turned out and we now have bright clean carpet. Yay us!!

Lunch was at a Japanese buffet that you order off the menu. Which would be more of a prix fixe, or table d’hôte, but those are more of a fixed menu. We had the run of the menu, but limits on some items. None the less we stuffed ourselves and waddled out an hour later. My big treat was Hershey’s Ice Cream in a small cup. We had the cups as kids and my children had them as kids, it’s really great ice cream.

Did naps in the afternoon and watched boats go by until baked chicken dinner. It’s amazing how good a simple baked chicken can taste.

After dinner I spoke to one boat, it’s a refit oyster buy boat, but now it’s a cruiser with the oyster spaces turned into nice cabins. I also saw the “Active Captain Boat”, so they made their goal of Norfolk.

Did a little engine work for the rest of the trip. I can’t get to the sensor without crawling into the engine, so that will wait for the weekend. The belts on the new alternator were loose so they got tightened up. Checked all the fluids and we are ready to roll.


Merry Christmas!

Cookie baking, present wrapping, visiting with friends and family.  So far our break at home has been fabulous.  Tomorrow is Christmas and we will spend the day at home with my youngest son Dave.  I’ll be making the Thanksgiving dinner favorites that we all missed this year.  The next day we’ll be going to our larger family celebration with Foster’s children, their SO’s and our beautiful grand daughter.

After we ring in the new year, we’ll be heading back down to our winter home, and taking Dave with us.  Foster’s son Mike will also join us for beach, fishing, and other assorted adventures.

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

video-icon Bad_River_Fish00005

Fish Tales Redux

We’re still wandering around the Georgian Bay, and today we came to a beautiful spot that was highly recommended to us called the Bad River.  As you know, I’ve been on a fishing quest, so as soon as we anchored I threw out a line.  I had a couple of fish on the line, one large one I got up to the boat before my line broke and it got away with my favorite lure.  We broke for lunch, and then I got right back to it with another lure.  As I was casting, a Canadian and his wife came by in their dink, and the man said I’ll make you a bet that you don’t catch any fish from that boat, there’s nothing around here.

Well pay up on your bet my man!  Here’s my 33” northern pike that I caught less than 20 minutes later… from the swim platform of our boat.


I even have a picture of me holding the fish with the guy’s sailboat in the background.


It was close going getting it into the boat – my tackle is really too light for such a heavy fish, and our nets are not big enough!  Foster tried using 2 nets, and they still weren’t big enough!  Fortunately the lure tangled in the net and we were finally able to get it into the cockpit.  After some mild hysteria and trophy photos, it went back in the water – too pretty to eat.


Fish Tales

When I was a little girl, my father taught me how to fish.  We didn’t go very often, but on at least one trip we caught a pile of sunfish, which I had to clean and scale.  My mother cooked them, bony as they were.  I loved to fish as a young woman in our local streams and ponds, where we caught trout, sunfish, perch, and occasionally a pickerel while ice fishing.  I also fished a little on the nearby Long Island Sound, where we caught flounder and bluefish. I enjoyed it but nobody could call me an expert.

I stopped fishing about 25 years ago, so I was very excited to take it up again on this trip.  I made sure to get us the correct outdoor card plus fishing license that Canada requires. Foster and I shopped for lures, texas worms, and doodads guaranteed to catch (something).  Since it had been so long, I also got some books to help me out on the finer points of jigs, rigs, spoons, crankbait, etc. as well as fish identification.  I wasn’t sure what we were fishing for, just that I wanted to fish again!

Once we hit Canada, we were in the canals for a while and we would both throw out a line at night.  I caught a few very small fish but nothing that anyone would keep for anything but a photo. I knew there were people around us that were catching bigger fish, but they eluded me.  Once we got through the locks into the Georgian Bay area, I started seeing bigger fish, even in the small stuff I was catching, but it was still small – even the little kids were catching bigger fish than I was!

Finally, on our travels, we arrived at a beautiful little bay that was quite deserted and rocky. Someone had set up an inunnguaq – a little rock man that is sometimes used to mark good fishing spots.


I decided to take the kayak out to one of the shores and do a little fishing.  Much to my surprise, I finally caught a decent size fish almost right away.  I was so used to failure I didn’t even have a stringer with me to save the fish, so I had to improvise by cutting a piece off the kayak rope.  I fished for a little while longer with no luck, but that night we were going to have fish for dinner!


I forgot the work that goes into cleaning the fish and found it is also more difficult to hold onto a big fish and chop its head and tail off than the small ones!  We’re anchoring out for a while with a somewhat limited water supply, so I was a bit annoyed at all the water I was using.  I rinsed the fish in several changes of clean water to get the slime off, then soaked it for a few minutes in salt water.  Once I was done with my side dishes (red potatoes and fresh peas), I dredged the fish in flour, salt and pepper, and set it to fry in some olive oil and butter.

I was cooking in the cockpit on my little propane ring because I didn’t want to get the fish cooking smell embedded in the interior of the boat. I had the burner turned up too high, and the fish started to burn a little.  Cooks know, once fried stuff starts to burn it is hard to get it back down in temp to cook it long enough.  As a result, the fish was not cooked all the way through when it came off the ring and I finished it in the microwave.  With that caveat, it turned out to be perfectly cooked once I had it on the table. As intended, the skin and scales came off with the flour crust, and I pulled meat off the bone and served it to us both.  There was enough for seconds, and more left over besides.

Next problem was identifying the fish.  When you’re not used to catching them, it’s pretty hard to tell what you’ve got.  I ruled out trout right away, but thought I had gotten a walleye through comparing the pictures to our pictures of my fish, and the recent memory of what it looked like as I cleaned it, and what was in its stomach (tiny mussel shell and a tiny crawfish claw).  Foster’s son Mike Schucker, who is a fishing maven, corrected me to say it was a small mouth bass.  Looking at the next fish, I agreed with him – because there was a next fish!

The day after our fish dinner, I took the kayak again to another part of the shore and did some more fishing.  I had a fish on the hook within a few minutes, but it jumped off, and numerous other nibbles and sightings in the clear water that morning.  I went back to the boat about 3 hours later and we decided to stay another night so I could continue my fishing spree.  After a little lunch break, I went back to another part of the shore in my kayak.


This time I hit a hot spot.  Within 10 minutes I had a fish on the line and landed it.




It was a bit bigger than the night before, but I thought fish dinner two nights in a row was too much, so I threw it back, after taking a very good picture of it laying in shallow water.  I continued to get more hits, and had three more fish on the line that managed to knock off the hook as they jumped in the air and backtracked into weeds.  It was a great fishing day, overcast and calm.  I spent a couple more hours in that spot, but the fish stopped biting once the sun came out.

I gathered my things and went back to the kayak, and took a little detour through a small channel.  The little detour turned into a two mile kayak ride which took me back out into the deep water of Georgian bay before I came back into our little cove.

All in all it was a great couple of days of fishing, kayaking, and taking some really pretty pictures of our cove.  Here’s a couple.

Rocky Shores



Flowers – water lily and wild roses



The bay





Surprise visitors

June 19

Last night we were tied up to the top of the lock wall at #39. 


It was very pretty, a closed off area with traffic limited to bikers and hikers.  Since there was no power, I cooked out on the picnic table again, and we had a perfect breeze keeping things cool. 


There were some fun surprises in wait last night. 

As I got off the boat with my cooking gear, I realized there was a large patch of wild strawberries right in front of the boat, with strawberries just ripening. 


I picked a few to show Foster and left the rest.


Around the picnic table where I was cooking were lots of tiny wild flowers.  I think we used to call them Indian Paintbrush, not sure what the correct name is. 


After our dinner, I was starting to clean up, and I noticed some small brown animals loping toward us along the lock wall.  As they got closer, we realized it was a mink mama, with a baby in her mouth, and 2 more babies following her. 


They didn’t seem at all phased by our presence, but I think the wind was blowing away from us, because they got very close, and then the mama started galloping away with the one baby in her mouth.  She went so fast that she left her other 2 babies behind, and they hunkered down in the grass very close to us. 


I was concerned that the mama might not come back because we were here, but Foster advised some patience, and before too long, the mama came back and grabbed another baby in her mouth and took off along the canal.  The last baby tried to follow, and fell right off the canal wall!  Of course I thought that was it for the little guy, but mama came back, disappeared down the bank, and then came right back up again with baby number three in her mouth. 


Pretty amazing sight, and more amazing that I was actually able to get a few photos that were sharp – here are a few:










Later that evening we fished a little.  I caught a couple of small fish, a bluegill and something else unnamed, and threw them back.

We had very few bug problems, and slept very well in the cool breeze, and then continued on our way today.  We were slowly passing through a very narrow canal just before noon, and I saw another mink!  This one had launched off the riverbank and was swimming right towards us until he realized his error and swam quickly away.  I managed to get a couple of blurry shots of him.





June 7

I left out the obligatory eh? Because this is more about how beautiful the country side is, every day it gets better! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, and you can see how enthralled I am with the clear air and water.




Little hidden byways



Sky bleeding into the water



Look at the amazing garden!



I can imagine myself sitting here with a glass of wine and a couple of friends, want to be my friend?



Someone needs to fix up this old house on an island, maybe me?


The water today is so clear that you can see the fish nibbling on the hook.  It can only get better!




Reflections on Campbellford

June 5

We stayed an extra day in Campbellford and went on a hike to go back and see the lock we had traversed the day before, which is in the latest video,


a suspension bridge over a gorge,



and some waterfalls. 


Campbellford is a great little city – the hike was just the right length, and there were more beautiful views and interesting neighborhoods as we walked back to the boat. 


We enjoyed stopping a second time at the Stinking Rose pub to relax before boarding the boat, and making dinner.  Close to sunset, the river through town got glassy and gave us some great reflective shots.




O’ Canada!

May 31, 2014

So here we are, made it at last!  The trip across Lake Ontario was really easy since the water was very flat.  It took quite a while so I had time for a nap!  Once we were close to the shore, we went through a sailboat race, which you can see in the video.  I didn’t see anyone shaking a fist at us, but it was not clear sailing for a little while, since we have to give the right of way to sail boats.

Once we got through that hazard we were into a little canal and through some swing bridges.  The swing bridges were pretty neat – they wait until you get right up on them to swing through, and then at the first bridge the bridge keeper came out with a little brass cup on the end of an extendable pole to collect the $5 fee for passing through.  There was little to no wind, but I wondered what would happen if a strong breeze blew my money out of the cup!

It wasn’t long after that we came to the town of Trenton, in Ontario, where we are docking for at least the night.  We were surrounded by loopers at this marina, and they’d all come from different starting points, so Foster had fun chatting for a while.

We lucked out at this marina with an excellent wifi connection, but our prior experience has been that we have wifi about 30% of the time at marinas.  Sometimes the marina offers wifi but we can’t connect because the signal is too weak.  That was no biggie in the states since we used Foster’s me-fi, but international data is ridiculously expensive so we either have to rely on the marina, find a temporary me-fi here in Canada, or go without.

We cleared customs with no issues and then set off on some errands and exploration.  Foster exchanged money, we stopped at the tourist bureau to see what our options are, the liquor store to try some Canadian beers and wine, an interesting sort of dollar store/food store, and finally a very  nice asian restaurant called Thai Sushi where we drank Tsing Tao and Tiger beer, and ate some very good sushi.

Have some more posts to add, but also wanted to draw your attention to the updated gallery section.  There is a page with all the videos linked so you don’t have to search through posts to get to the video.  There’s also a lot more new photo galleries added!


Over the top – Niagara Falls

May 29

We had decided to stay an extra day or two since we were having so much fun visiting the Cavalier family in Rochester, but Foster’s one caveat is that we plan something to do.  Visiting Niagara Falls has been on my list for a while, since I vaguely remember visiting as a small child.  My sister had to remind me that we went with our grandparents.  Since it was only about a 90 minute drive, we planned to go on Thursday.  The weather was a little cloudy to start out, but got beautiful not long after we arrived.


We crossed to the Canadian side and drove to the Skylon Tower to get the view from on high.  We had to get tickets first, and then went through one of those green screen photography areas.  Later we looked at our shots and the one where they photoshopped us into the barrel going over the falls was hilarious, but the price wasn’t funny at all!


I had decided to take the GoPro along with us and shoot video of our trip. The video is a little long, but there are some very interesting shots (video not loaded yet).


Skylon Towers  was a great intro to the falls area since we could easily see both the American falls and the Horseshoe falls from the tower.  We talked about what we’d like to do and decided to walk down to the falls on the Canadian side, then go back to the car and take the American side boat tour called Maid of the Mist rather than the Canadian boat since the Maid of the Mist seemed to go farther into the pool in front of the Horseshoe Falls.


We stopped for a quick lunch in the nearby casino and both had poutine which had a perfect melty texture to the cheese.

The sidewalk and visitor area overlooking the Horseshoe Falls area provided a great view.  The water had a really cool green tinge to it as it approached the edge of the rocks



We managed to find our way back to the American side and got waved into a cheesy tourist parking spot, and as directed walked inside for our “free map” and free hard sell on the guided tour.  It wasn’t a hard decision to conduct our own tour, since the guided tour was more than four times the cost of the Maid of the Mist tickets, and everything else was free within the state park!

Once we got our tickets, we crossed to the tall elevator and rode down to the loading area.  I ran the GoPro, getting some great shots as we got onto the tour boat and went into the mist.  I really appreciated the free rain ponchos that they give out as part of the fare, since the mist from the falls was literally raining down onto us when we got all the way into the depths of of the falls.  It was a pretty spectacular ride.  The force of the water created a lot of mist and whirlpools at the base of the falls.




After the ride was over we walked to the viewing area on the American side and got some more good shots.  The day was so beautiful we continued to walk upriver until we came to a bridge that overlooked rapids that lead up to the American falls.





A great day!  Look in the Photo Gallery for more shots from Niagara.


Across the Erie Canal

Welcome to the Erie Canal!   May 14 – May 23

Here’s the latest theme song, courtesy of my sister Michele.

The Erie Canal has been very interesting because of the lock systems we have to go through every day.  This leg of the trip has been much more demanding because of the locks – as we come in to a lock, I have to catch a line using a boat hook, and then secure the line to a cleat so Foster can swing the back of the boat around and we can secure the back as well.  It’s not as simple as just tying off the boat, however, since the water will go up or down in the lock and we have to feed the line and keep the boat against the side of the lock.  Our first few locks were very easy, and then we had a couple of very difficult ones that kept us on our toes.  We now have a routine down, so we have a good idea of what we’re doing, it just takes some communication, coordination, and physical effort.  Here’s a video of our first day doing multiple locks.

The next day, we had a tough day of doing 8 locks (only missed filming one on the video) and thought we were going to be settled down for a while in St. Johnsville, NY due to heavy rains coming in and the locks being shut down to control the water flow.  First thing in the morning, however, the dockmaster let us know that the lock people wanted us to move up as far as we could – above lock #20 if possible – due to the way the weather system was behaving.   Given how fast our boat can run, and the availability of marinas along the way, we compromised by doing another 6 hour run.  This included 3 locks, one of which was in the pouring rain which you can literally see coming down at the end of the video.  Fortunately it wasn’t too cold, because we were completely soaked at the end of the day.  The windows in the boat were completely steamed up.


The happy result of moving at the last minute was that we got to spend nearly a week in Ilion, NY,  a very small town that conveniently had everything we needed within a mile or so of the marina.  We also had a great little hot dog and hamburger place called Voss’s BarBQ about 5 steps away from our pilot house.  They make their own ice cream, so we were set for the week!  I got another great shot of the dawn the day after the rain:


Once the locks reopened and we were happy with the way the wind and the current had settled down, we set off again and had a long 8 hour day of travel.  The locks went very well, and we had our first experience with down locks.  I like the down locks better so far, but don’t want to count on them always being so easy!  This video has the down locks, as well as beautiful views of the canal, like this:


In the video you can also see some of the tugs and barges we passed on the canal like this one:


We made it all the way across Lake Oneida and are settled in again for a few days in Brewerton, NY waiting for weather and some minor repairs to be completed. Once again, we have some beautiful views – here is last night’s sunset:


And here is my little duck buddy from this morning:



Up the Hudson River

Up the Hudson  May 8 – May 13

I love the Hudson River.  Having grown up in Northwestern Connecticut in a tiny town called Litchfield, we travelled all around the area and I had seen the Hudson many times.  As a small child, my parents went on a weekend trip with us on a houseboat up part of the Hudson.  As a result, I was really looking forward to this part of the river.  I wasn’t really thrilled when we left Croton-on-Hudson because it was so foggy.  For the first hour or so we didn’t see much of the scenery.  After that, the mist settled a bit and we were provided the perfect view, just as I remember it as a child and young adult.   The video came out pretty well.  The theme song Michele provided was very appropriate – by Over the Rhine. There are so many things we passed along the river that were really neat, like Sing Sing prison, the Culinary Institute of America, West Point, and lots of cool looking tiny little towns.

Bear Mountain Bridge


Sing Sing Prison


Waterfall along the Hudson


The first night we stopped in Newburgh, and one of my longtime friends, Deirdre, who I had not seen in more than 15 years joined us for an overnight.  We had a great time catching up, and then went to see OC Choppers show room.  The next day, we went to see a really cool museum called Motorcyclepedia which had over 450 exhibits.  Definitely a fun side trip.  In the morning we had beautiful weather, and I walked up the steep hill to the Newburgh Post Office.  Once we got back it was off to Kingston NY.  Here’s the video.

Kingston is a great little town that has several nice restaurants and shops, as well as a couple of museums.  We visited the Hudson River Maritime Museum which had lots of pretty fascinating exhibits.  Next we hopped on a trolley and rode to the Trolley museum, which had many antique trolleys in various stages of restoration, and an interesting exhibit hall.  We had dinner at an irish pub in town, and I enjoyed my fish and chips.

Kingston, NY


Leaving Kingston the next morning, we again had great weather and traveled to New Baltimore NY to a marina called Shady Harbor.  This marina was super organized and had a great little restaurant on site that could provide either fine dining or great pizza. The next day, Foster promised me a day off, and the marina kindly allowed us to borrow a car to do some grocery shopping.   We got a quick look at the surrounding area which was nice, not very developed at all. Sadly, the video suffered from a user error and we didn’t get the last half, which is sad because we missed Bannerman’s Castle!

Bannerman’s Castle


Sunrise at Shady Harbor


Our trip the next day was again great weather, and brought us to our first lock experience at the Troy NY lock.  We managed to capture the whole trip this time on video.  We docked at Waterford NY where the Erie canal starts, and wandered off to check out the next lock from a pedestrian’s point of view.  Later, we took a quick picture at the Angry Penguin, and then I had really fabulous Shepherd’s Pie for dinner at McGrievey’s.  Before we started off the next day, we made sure to have breakfast at a highly recommended coffee shop called Don and Paul’s before continuing on our way across the Erie Canal.

Waterford, NY


Waterford Marina



So Far Behind!

A whole week has gone by since my last update because we’ve been so busy!  It seems like we were traveling almost every day, and when we arrived at our daily destination we were immediately doing some site seeing, taking care of necessary maintenance & chores (try scooping a kitty box when the boat is rolling through a wake) or having visitors aboard, etc.

I’ll try and get caught up over the next couple of days.  There are lots of pictures, and at some point Foster would like to add a gallery option.  We’re trying to load blog entries on the actual date we do something, so look back through entries if you feel like you’ve missed something.

I’ll be honest with you all – this is a lot of work!  Yeah, I know, cry me a river.  There are sometimes over a hundred pictures in a day.  Many of them are blurry (hard to take a good shot on a rocking boat) and others just need work like adjusting lighting or contrast, cropping, identifying what the shot is of, and researching if you don’t know immediately, adding a caption, resizing for optimum page loads, etc.  Just choosing which shots to add this morning has been about 45 minutes and I’m not done yet.  Maybe as we move along there will be less picture-worthy landscape going by but I doubt it.

Then there are the videos.  Every day we move, we shoot time lapse video for the length of the trip that day.  If I have properly charged the batteries, changed them at appropriate intervals, and not screwed up starting or restarting the time lapse, that results in 3-4 clips and about an hour or 90 minutes of editing time.  Once the video is edited and an mp4 file created, it takes around an hour to upload to YouTube, provided we have a good internet connection.  If my laptop gets closed or times out, the upload stops.

With that said, if you don’t see something from me every day, don’t panic!  I’ve more than likely got behind on my processing and will catch up as soon as possible.  If I get too far behind I get cranky because it interferes with other things that I want to do, like taking a nap.

Here’s a link to our YouTube channel;  it may make it easier for those of you who enjoy the videos since you won’t need to wait for me to post a blog entry.

QV Marine YouTube Channel


Liberty Landing to Croton-on-Hudson NY

NYC Harbor to the Hudson River May 7

Today was an eventful day on the water.  We got up early – ok *I* got up early and managed to capture another great dawn shot of our Marina. 


We spent time doing laundry at the marina and then set out to navigate through the Harbor and up the Hudson.  My sister kindly provided some background music for the city in the comments – especially appropriate for its nautical theme!

We saw lots of interesting sights, which you can look at in our new Gallery.  Some of the highlights – a shark chased us! Chased_by_Shark_NYC_Harbor_050714

Turned out to be a tour boat. 

Yesterday’s ferry adventure was on a little yellow ferry that just serves Liberty Landing and Liberty Harbor in NJ, across the harbor from Manhattan.  Here’s a NY Waterway ferry that serves a larger area – NJ Waterways is much more active than I realized, it would work for me to live in a pretty NJ town and commute 15 minutes to Manhattan on the ferry!


New Yorkers can still go to the driving range, they just have to do it over the water at Chelsea Pier.


Some smart person figured out they could build condos on abandoned shipping piers.


We passed the Sloop Clearwater which is the embodiment of an environmental advocacy group established by Pete Seeger in the ’60s.  Pretty cool organization that I had not heard of before.


I’ve driven over the George Washington bridge many times, but had no idea that there was a lighthouse at its base!



Manasquan NJ to NYC – May 6

This day started out beautifully, with a great sunrise picture of 2 sailboats we were traveling alongside for a while – Whisper and Happy Hours II.  I happened to see them motor by us at 6 am and noticed the sunrise to think what a great picture it would make.


For the rest of the day we had a bit of a breeze, but so many great sights to see!  We could see the skyline of New York from quite far out.  The buildings in Manhattan are very distinctive from a distance.


As we passed the Staten Island Ferry, I thought about visiting our friends there – Arthur! – but we were busy navigating toward our marina.


As you can see we had some great views of Lady Liberty as we approached the entrance to the harbor.



We were both amazed to see a large sailboat dodging ferries and Circle Line while smack dab in NY Harbor.



We finally settled in our marina, on the New Jersey side, and got ourselves set up for a little tourism.  Here’s a link to the video of this leg of the trip.

We walked over to the Liberty State Park where we could catch a ferry for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  I was most interested in Ellis Island – sadly a lot of their exhibits were not available because the power plant was still not functioning after Hurricane Sandy, and they weren’t able to provide the proper environment to preserve the exhibits on site.


There was a huge line to get on the ferry back to New York, but not for the ferry back to New Jersey.  We hopped on the NJ side and rode over to the Statue of Liberty, and then switched ferries to get on the New York ferry.


Once we got to NY we found our way to Chinatown to eat some delicious Xiao Long BaoChinese soup dumplings that I read about on Serious Eats.  We were really glad they gave us a how to on eating the dumplings so we didn’t end up with a bite of scalding hot soup splurting everywhere!  The dumplings were delicious as promised.

After Chinatown we made our way home to our Marina at Liberty Landing, via ferry, which is an experience itself!


An ocean that looked like glass outside of Atlantic City NJ, near 7am 5/3/14

Atlantic City to Manasquan NJ

We left very early, right at 7am, in order to take advantage of the calm.  It was perfectly calm as you can see in the video and in the title picture of the water looking like glass. 

 Fishing boat just outside of Atlantic City, NJ 5/3/14

Fishing boat just outside of Atlantic City, NJ 5/3/14

The trip was uneventful until we arrived at Hoffman’s Marina when the wind picked up a bit.  We stopped at the fuel dock for a pump out and then docked in our space right next to the train bridge.  I hardly notice it anymore, but the bridge sounds a siren every time it needs to close for a train.  Which is often.

Open train drawbridge, Manasquan NJ 5/4/14

Open train drawbridge, Manasquan NJ 5/4/14

Closed train drawbridge, Manasquan NJ 5/4/14

Closed train drawbridge, Manasquan NJ 5/4/14

Quo Vadimus at Utsch's Marina, Cape May, NJ 5/1/14

Cape May to Atlantic City

We really enjoyed Utsch’s Marina and our few days at Cape May, even though several of them were rainy.  We needed a little break from the bustle of getting ready.  We had a chance to see the antique dredger pictured on Foster’s post at work Thursday evening, and I also got a nice sunset picture.

Sunset at Utsch's Marina, 5/1/14

Sunset at Utsch’s Marina, 5/1/14

On Friday morning, per our plan, we got ready to leave for Atlantic City by pulling up to the fuel dock and refueling before heading out.  The waves were a little rocky and I made the mistake of starting out in the salon, which gave me my first case of seasickness on the QV!  After sitting up on the bridge for a while, I felt better.  You can see some of the rocking in the video, which is a very quick one since battery number2 on the GoPro was insufficiently charged and only lasted for 15 minutes.

We pulled in to Kammerman’s Marina in Atlantic City relatively early around 12:45.  Had time to take a picture of Wee Kilted Pig before I got bit by some nasty big unknown bug.

Wee Kilted Pig upon arrival in Atlantic City, NJ

Wee Kilted Pig upon arrival in Atlantic City, NJ

Straightened up just a little for a visit from a local friend, Lisa, who kindly dropped us off at the Atlantic City Marina for our sight seeing tour. 

After the aquarium we sat for drinks at a nearby place and tried to decide where to celebrate my 51st birthday.  We ended up at Dock’s Oyster House, which was extremely good.  Service was also excellent.  Got a pretty sunset picture before we turned in early and I was up early as usual, to get some nice pre-dawn and dawn shots.

Sunset in Atlantic City, NJ 5/2/14

Sunset in Atlantic City, NJ 5/2/14

View of Atlantic City from Kammerman's Marina just before dawn 5/3/14

View of Atlantic City from Kammerman’s Marina just before dawn 5/3/14

View of Atlantic City from Kammerman's Marina at dawn 5/3/14

View of Atlantic City from Kammerman’s Marina at dawn 5/3/14

Dawn in Atlantic City, NJ Kammerman's Marina 5/3/14

Dawn in Atlantic City, NJ Kammerman’s Marina 5/3/14


Food at Cape May

After we arrived we had snacks courtesy of our friends Dolly & Kiran Taunk and Claudia & Kevin Dunleavy.  Foster’s favorite – Yancy Horseradish Cheddar with Roasted Garlic Onion Jam.  My favorite – Danish Blue with Roasted Garlic Onion Jam.  Excuse the plastic wrap, we’re not fancy ;-)

Cheese Platter

We had three rainy days to recuperate from our whirlwind packing week, and used them to good advantage.  Foster spent quite a bit of time organizing his bits and pieces.  The first night in Cape May we had dinner out – not that great, except for the wonderful steamed clams.

The next night was dinner in – steak, mashed potatoes, and asparagus with lemon butter.


Steak dinner at Cape May NJ

Steak dinner at Cape May NJ

The broiler wasn’t working properly which led Foster to experiment with the oven that I believed was not working because the bottom element wouldn’t heat at all the last time I used it.  While the broiler may not be ideal, the bottom element of the oven seems to be working again, but the thermostat is off.  I’m just happy to have an oven and am willing to work around its eccentricities.

There were several restaurants within walking distance of our marina, so we had lunch one day at the C-View Inn.  The food was good and it reminded both Foster and I of some of the small older taverns we have eaten at many times in the past.  We also had dinner at the Lobster House on the last night before we leave.  Dinner was excellent and there was a lot of food.  The view was great, and we agreed to come back next year and sit out on the old wood ship they use for a bar in the summer.

Ship John Light closeup, Delaware Bay

Delaware Bay

We arrived in Cape May on Monday afternoon after about 6 hours on the water.  I played with the time lapse video a little more this time, and we were able to capture the docking and undocking.  Time on the video is still under 5 minutes.  We plan on doing this for each leg of the trip and since sometimes the scenery going by in a video can get boring (want to see slides of our trip???) I will try and point out any highlights in advance so you can skip ahead if needed.

Some pretty sights from the bay:

Ship John Light closeup, Delaware Bay

Ship John Light closeup, Delaware Bay

Survey Ship, Delaware Bay

Survey Ship, Delaware Bay

Ship John Light, Delaware Bay

Ship John Light, Delaware Bay

Brandywine Shoal Light, Delaware Bay

Brandywine Shoal Light, Delaware Bay

Working fishing boat, Delaware Bay

Working fishing boat, Delaware Bay

Miah Maull Shoal Light, Delaware Bay

Miah Maull Shoal Light, Delaware Bay

Cape May Ferry Cape May Ferry terminal





Setting Sail

April 27 2014

We left our dock at 8:00 to make a quick stop at the fuel dock to top off the tanks and where Ken was kind enough to take a picture of us. 

50 gallons in each tank took a little while, so in the meantime I worked on setting up the GoPro.  Background – folks at my work were very excited for us and gifted us with a great action camera along with some accessories at my going away party (thanks ACSI!).  After the tanks were topped off we set sail, and shortly thereafter I was able to get the camera going.  While we didn’t catch any undocking or docking action, we learned about our battery limits and camera placement.  There are a few items of interest in the video here and the time lapse video is under 4 minutes.

It was a beautiful day and an uneventful trip of around 3 hours.  I spent a good part of that time bringing some organization to our chaos – the result of the past week’s numerous trips from home to boat. We arrived at Delaware City Marina accompanied by a little breeze and a strong current, but docked safely with the able help of marina owner Tim and his assistant.

Foster was pleased, they have floating docks so that makes it easy to step on and off the boat via the swim platform. The marina also gives a discount to people that belong to the America Great Loop Cruiser Association. The owner had seen our flag when we docked. Marina has a great store with gifts and boat parts and is a 5 minute walk from the center of Delaware City. If all the marinas on our trip are like this we will have a wonderful time.

We put a few final touches on the cleanup and were ready to welcome our first guests at 3:00 for our open house.  Several friends stopped by, and we enjoyed showing off the boat and chatting for the next couple of hours.  The rest of the evening was spent sorting out video editing software and connectivity challenges.   

Family Dinner

Family Bon Voyage Party

The Schucker clan gathered to help see us off, and we had a nice dinner at Crabby Dick’s in Delaware City. The rain only spitted on us a little bit.  Since we missed our launch date we drove up from our home marina.  Dave wasn’t able to join us due to work, and he was missed!  Elizabeth Jane wore a cute sailor outfit (complete with pirate shoes) in honor of the occasion.



Weather Delay

We were so looking forward to tomorrow’s departure that it’s a shame the weather is not cooperating.  The rain is not the worst problem, it’s the wind.  As a result we are going to delay our departure from our home dock until Sunday, which delays our open house (open boat?) for a day.



We’re a little concerned about our kitty, Belle.  She is about 15, a shelter kitty, so we’re not sure of her exact age.  She’s been with us for 13 years and was estimated to be 2 years old when I got her. 

The vet moved her to a senior diet last year for kidney support, and redid her blood work this year which is a little worse. She’s lost a pound (10% of her weight) and her creatine level is up, although still below the danger point.  The vet gave us meds to stimulate her appetite and a sample pack of prescription food which supports renal function.  We won’t transition her to the new food until we have been on the boat a little while because it would probably be too stressful for her, and she may not need it yet.  It’s a wait and see situation.  One thing I feel sure of is that she would be more stressed at not being with us if we left her at home, and she probably would not receive the care we can give her since we are with her 24/7.

At any rate we need to be aware that we may need vet services on the way, or we may need to restock this special prescription food on the way. 


Departure approaching rapidly!

We’ve spent the last 18 months planning for this trip and now there is less than a week to go.  We’ve spent the last couple of days running errands – organizer bins, socks for FS, getting my prescriptions in order, picking up vet supplies, and non perishable grocery items.  It’s a good thing we both have project management experience, otherwise we might be panicking.

I hit a good sale day at the grocery to stock up on canned goods, dry mixes, and toilet paper.  95% of what I bought was on sale, so I am happy about that.  I am waiting to buy meat for a couple of days and will stock up our freezer.  I’m planning on freezing it at home and transferring the already frozen meat to the boat freezer so it doesn’t take too long to freeze.  We have a good selection to choose from when we are cooking in, which should be most nights.  Since we will always be close to shore, we will pick up perishables along the way and hope to be able to find local veggies & seafood relatively easily.

Today we’ll be running down to the boat to bring more of the stuff we’ve accumulated for the trip – and clear out the guest room for Dave who will be house sitting for us while we’re gone.  Foster will be meeting the Coast Guard Auxiliary for a safety inspection and I will be organizing my kitchen and other areas.

If we’re lucky we’ll have time for a nap!