Kentucky??? - Part 1

Side trip - Kentucky
While the boats (Bravo and Worknot) are secure in Port Washington, Karl and Gale rent a car and drive to Louisville, Kentucky to help a friend, Dennis Fox, inspect a boat he is considering buying. 

Kentucky is someplace Karl has never been, so as a side opportunity to the boat inspection, it's always fun to explore and learn about new areas. Just outside of Louisville there are a lot of well manicured horse farms that are for the training and breeding of race horses. Horses are a big thing out here, ...think Kentucky Derby!

Most of the fences on the horse farms are black. They were originally painted with creosote.

Interestingly, on horse farms, the fences have no hard corners, just curved.

Gale's daughter, Bernet, lives just outside of Louisville and just had a baby, so of course this will be a visit as well. We get to see baby Oaklee, and a couple of her siblings' soccer games as a bonus! Brings back memories.

Grandpa Gale with baby Oaklee, and the proud mom, Bernet.

Watched Bernet's husband, "Coach Aaron" coaching 2 soccer games. He's a great coach!
 Two of their other children, Ryanne and Brantlee were playing that day.

Another diversion - Whiskey!
Kentucky is also home to many fine distilleries… all great excuses to visit and see the sights. Imagine that?!

Went to the Woodford distillery, and it was like going back in time!

Quite a few buildings are utilized in the making of whiskey and bourbon. All very old!

Fermentation happens here. Huge old wooden vats each holding 7,500 gallons.

Copper "stills" used for the distillation of the spirits.

Barrels are charred on the inside, and are filled with liquor here. Then pushed outside.

Barrels exiting the building.

Then rolled down on the railway to the next building.

This is where the whiskey and bourbon is aged.

Ahh! Finally we come to the tasting!

Back to business - The amazing haul-out!
The boat that Dennis is considering is a steel hulled houseboat. Say what?!? Did I mention that Dennis has had numerous boats in the past, mostly trawlers, all very beautiful, all very seaworthy, including a multitude of Nordhavn's, Krogen's, with one of the more recent boats being a 76' Nordhavn. Just gorgeous! What is he thinking one might ask? ...Dunno, but here we go! 

Here she is! Steel hull, aluminum topsides, and vinyl siding to boot! Hmm? Really?

The boat is inspected in every nook and cranny, and it is actually in pretty decent shape (but it is a houseboat). We next go out for a sea trial (actually a river trial), and Dennis is encouraged to move forward to do a haul-out as part of the survey. I've had boats hauled out before, but never, ever, like this haul-out. It is quite the memorable experience!

As it turns out, there are no travel lifts in the area, so the haul out is accomplished by one of the few (very few) local marine service yards. The service yard is a few blocks from the nearest boat ramp which is at a town park. Did I mention this is a steel hull houseboat? Think kinda of on the heavy side. No problem we're told, not to worry. So waiting for us at the boat ramp is a very large, heavy duty, all-wheel drive, surplus Army truck coupled to a home-made trailer. And the boat ramp is fairly steep as boat ramps go!

People at the park definitely stopped what they were doing to watch!

Okay, now we're lined up onto the trailer, and we're asked to apply full power as the truck attempts to pull us up the ramp. After several attempts with no success, with the boat in forward, and all 6 tires of the truck spinning and smoking at times, the yard owner realizes this isn't going to work. He said he'll be right back, as he goes off for help??   

That's the boat yard owner giving directions.

Oh my gosh! He comes back with yet another all wheel drive Army truck! The two trucks are then chained together. They both pulled in unison as the boat was powered up, and this finally got us up the boat ramp. It was a little scary at times as the boat leaned this way and that, during the slow trip up.   

Not something you see everyday at your local boat ramp!

Once on level ground the two trucks were decoupled, and the boat was towed to the boat yard, just barely clearing the overhead electrical wires on the street by inches. I was on the boat until we finally got to the boat yard, and needless to say, I was much relieved to finally get off! 

On level ground, just outside the boat yard.

During this haulout, two tires on the trailer were totally blown off of their rims! I think we were lucky, as things could have easily gone worse if any of the other other tires gave out.

One of the tires that came off of the rim.

With the haul-out complete, the next day Gale and Karl drive back to Port Washington from Louisville. A few days later, we hear from Dennis that he's changed his mind about buying the houseboat. Yippee-Ki-Yah! And thank goodness, as this houseboat is really more of a river/lake boat, versus one to be used to cruise up and down the ICW/east coast where Dennis wants the boat.

But as it turns out we're not done with Kentucky yet. More about this in the next blog.

Port Washington and Boat Chores
We're back at Port Washington, and contrary to popular belief, this is not a permanent vacation. Boat chores need to be done. One of the chores is renting a rug shampooing machine and then cleaning the boat rugs. Karl cleans the large inside carpets while the small ones dry on the back deck.

These machines actually work pretty well.

After all of that hard work, a relaxing cocktail hour on the top deck is a welcome reward.

Gin & tonics, and some munchies!

Through the Big Apple and South
The next two legs of our trip from Port Washington include Hell’s Gate, down the East River, through NYC, and get past the New Jersey coastline. Planning includes a variety of factors; tides, currents, and offshore wind/weather/wave conditions. Beyond Sandy Hook, the east coast of New Jersey has no anchorages and only one port/marina that can accommodate our boats. That port is Atlantic City, NJ. Nothing there except the casinos so no desire to stop there.
Additionally, with fall upon us, daylight travel time is limited to less than 12 hours and we have to traverse the Cape May Canal in daylight. Taking all of these variables into consideration the tentative plan is:
Day 1- Cruise down the East River through NYC and anchor at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. This will be a short run day of about four hours.
Day 2 - Depart Sandy Hook in the dark, cruise down the New Jersey coast, through the Cape May Canal before dark, and up the Delaware River and anchor at Reedy Island around midnight. This will be a long run day of about 22 hours. 

We look out several days for the travel window that offers the best combination of travel conditions and select a mid-day departure. Then we realize that we have another situation that will significantly impact our travel plans. The UN General Assembly opens their annual session on Tuesday, and President Trump and just about every other president or premier will be there. More research and phone calls to the NYPD and US Coast Guard reveal that, because of the president being at the UN, the main channel of the East River will be closed to all boat traffic for several days and the alternate East River channel, behind Roosevelt Island, will only be open until 9:15am on Tuesday. Therefore, our plans are altered to incorporate this inflexible deadline into our travel equation.

A very dark, very early Tuesday morning departure is necessary to get through NYC before 9:15AM. Since all boats are impacted by the river closure, traffic is heavy and currents are stronger than usually desired. Coast Guard boats of all sizes and NYPD patrol boats are a formidable presence on the river.

Coast Guard with UN Building in the background.

And more Coast Guard boats. The security was really heavy.

NYC is still spectacular, but we have no time to linger and sight see on this trip.

New York is a very majestic and special city.

And passing Lady Liberty always deserves a snapshot.

We anchor by the Coast Guard Station in Sandy Hook. Military helicopters come and go. We hit the sack to get some rest and prepare for a 3:00AM departure.

There are two helicopters on the ground, and they cycle in & out all day to protect the UN.

Down the coast
3:00AM is a very dark departure time. With the FLIR night vision camera, we can see Worknot ahead of us as we round Sandy Hook and head south. As predicted, once the sun comes up, it is a beautiful day. Calm seas and clear blue skies.

For cruising at night, the Flir night vision is priceless!

As we cruise south off the coast of New Jersey, we see a plane swooping down directly in front of us, and he does really swoop down low upon us, and then he waves his wings as he passes directly overhead. Totally awesome! It was a USAF C-17 Globemaster transport, and our assumption is that it is flying out of McGuire AFB in south New Jersey... Karl's old stomping ground.

The pilot must be a Norhavn fan!  

Coming down low, and front and center.

Couldn't get much closer, and we waved to him.

And just as quickly, off he goes.

As scheduled, we transit the Cape May Canal around 5:00PM, pass the ferry terminal, turn to starboard and head north on the Delaware River. The sun sets and we continue north taking our time to avoid freighters/commercial traffic on this busy waterway. The FLIR camera also helps us anchor in crowded Reedy Harbor a little after midnight.

On to the Chesapeake
At first light we pull anchor, exit the harbor and head for the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal. It’s peaceful and calm in the canal. Commercial traffic surprises us as a large ship appears around the corner heading in our direction. We've only previously seen pleasure boats in this canal. To get a sense of the scale, compare Worknot, directly in front of us, to the tanker heading towards us… and this is just an average size commercial boat. Not even a big one!

This was a surprise, seeing this tanker round the corner.

Worknot and Bravo both scoot way over to the side. Size rules the road!

Saint Michaels, Maryland
We continue south, and our next destination is Saint Michaels. It is a quaint lovely town up a long quiet inlet. We anchor and head to shore for a dinner of blue crabs. 

Saint Michaels is really picturesque starting with the harbor which feels like a cove.

It's blue crab time, and I now know why they serve a dozen at a time. 

I've heard so much ranting and raving about blue crab, so I was really looking forward to this meal since I love crab and lobsters. It's now pretty obvious to me that all of the folks who rant and rave about blue crabs, are either the people who catch and sell the blue crabs, or are people who have never had dungeness crab. For starters, I felt like Tom Hanks in the movie "Big" in the scene where he is eating one of those tiny little baby corns, which are usually in salads or used in appetizers. Just like the baby corns, the blue crabs are tiny, with very little meat, and they smother the crabs with this red peppery stuff which is basically what you taste. And a whole lot of work for a teaspoon of crab meat! Yup, I'm a dungeness crab fan all the way!

The next morning we explore main street. Colorful tiny shops line the streets. A large tractor navigates a tight turn and stops traffic in all directions.

A lot of old historical houses here.

Every town needs a psychic, don't you think?

Tractor down Main Street.

By mid/late morning we dinghy back to the boats. We pull anchor and the journey south continues.


Popular posts from this blog

Summer in Maine

Here we go again!

Migration North