Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bye Bye Norfolk, ICW here we come.

Cold is definitively catching on us and we have to resume our trip south. The plan was originally to wait in Norfolk for after the first or second week of November but by this time we will look like two Mr. Freezes with our ear muffs. The hurricane season looks pretty calm this year but winter is just not waiting so we leave for the ICW and say goodbye to the Navy ships berthed all over Norfolk, which is one of the biggest port of the US Navy. The ICW means the Intra-Coastal Waterway and is a path through streams and canals that runs inland from Norfolk, Virginia down to the north of Florida. It is shallow, hard to navigate and so far pretty ugly path but, above all, it is sheltered from the raging gale force winds that presently prevail in the Atlantic Ocean and along the East coast. With temperatures plunging below 10 degrees Celsius during the night; sailing the ocean overnight is not a tempting proposition. So we started our trek on the brown water of the ICW and hopefully, weather permitting, we will be able, at one point, to step out on the ocean and sail down to Savannah Georgia, which is our next main goal.

Tonight we stay at the Midway Marina in Coinjock, North-Carolina where we are sheltered from the wind and have infinite electricity for the heathers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our cute little bird.

On our trip from Ocean City to Norfolk we had the visit of this cute little bird. It landed on the boat while we were about 2 miles off the coast. The poor little feathered beast was all tired fighting the cold and the strong wind and came on Chocobo to seek shelter and warmth. Danielle saw it first as it landed on the top deck and called me to see it. I rushed into the cabin, got a piece of bread and gave it some crumbs. But the poor little bird was too exhausted to even eat. Instead it wandered around the boat for a while until it finally made its way into the boat sheltered from the cold wind of the beginning night. It wasn’t really bothered by us for it was too tired and we just let the poor little one get some rest. It walked slowly its way down the steps inside the port hull and rolled itself in the corner of our bedroom door in front of the book shelf I just made before departure. We just didn’t bother it while we were busy with our overnight crossing. The night was cold and we were wondering what a surprise the little birdie would have when it wakes up and finds out that he is 100 miles from home. During the night Danielle went many times to check on it and make sure it was ok and was sleeping well and thought that we should wait in the morning and closer to the shore to show it its new a bit warmer home place.

All our motherly concerns were answered once we entered Chesapeake Bay. The entrance of the bay was very bumpy and the boat was shook pretty hard. One of the waves rolled the boat so much that a bag of heavy dominos fell down from the book shelf and . . . SMACK!!! Felt on the bird and killed it on the spot!
The body of our little bird friend was given with honor to the sea after the discovery of the body around 8:00am. It was officially our first casualty on Chocobo. Danielle is also thinking to start an organization of mothers against dominos on board, the M.A.D.O.B.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

26 hours at sea

We arrived in Ocean City, Maryland. We left New York yesterday morning at 7:00am with the plan to stop at the next sheltered anchorage. We were supposed to sail for 48 miles but once arrived, the wind was so strong and waves so nasty that we chickened out and didn't enter. We had no choice but to return to the sea. Once we found ourselves in the darkness it was out of question to try any of these little inlets. They are hard to proceed during daylight so it was a definitive no-no during the night. The next possible stop point turned out to be Ocean City, 148 miles further. We then found a marina that mostly berth fishing boats and, as you can imagine, the crab soup was indeed excellent.

Tomorrow we plan to reach Norfolk, VA, which is about 115 miles from here. We will have to go through another overnight though.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goodbye New York!

We are done with our shopping and visiting. Ouf! We don't look forward to post our costs for October, beurkkk! What a shame to spent that much money. Well, it was worth anyway!

Our next destination is Norfolk Virginia.
We are on a hurry since the cold temperature is catching on us. Brrrr.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chocobo in Manhattan part 2

The next 4 pictures have been taken from the Empire State Building. View of Manhattan from the 86th floor.

So impressive!

<-----Bargain for milionnaire. Hm, really??
The bull is of course the symbol of the NY stock exchange, we had to post this one :-) ---------------->
New york stock exchange is so crowdy that we thought that something was happening an event or something so we asked people what was going on, are we missing a show or something? Well, it is apparently always crowdy like that. Just with tourists!

There are different ways you can use to travel around Manhattan, you can use a water taxi or the subway depending on your destination.

George Washington Bridge from our anchorage during the night. This bridge is a strong American symbol. It is a suspended bridge across the Hudson river between New York and New Jersey.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chocobo in Manhattan

We arrived in New-York City on the Island of Manhattan and took a mooring at the 79th street Boat Basin where we can stay for $30/night and be right in the center of Manhattan. We arrived at sunset and went ashore to stretch our legs before dinner. We were quite tired of the ride from Croton-On-Hudson and when we saw this pizza place on Broadway near the 78th street, Danielle looked at me and I said “A slice of Pizza?” she immediately turned toward the Pizza joint and say “Yep!”. That was settled, pizza it was. After a greasy pepperoni and cheese slice we went back to the boat for the night.


This short evening escape in Manhattan didn’t show us anything near of how beautiful the place is. The next day we left early and spent the day walking on Broadway and in Central Park. Manhattan is a world by itself. People look differently, buildings look differently and the general atmosphere is different than anywhere else. Fashion is of all kind and the people are of all possible cultural background where the color of their skin mixes with the tone of this Babel tower of second language English and of all the possible variants of New-York English enriched by generations of immigration.

After being stunned by the architecture of the buildings on North Broadway we entered Central park. If you think you’ve seen Central park in movies, well you haven’t. The place is just unreal. This Island of green in the middle of 19th century buildings is just a piece of heaven that takes you out for a relaxing ride through ponds, oak trees and stone bridges. Walking a few kilometers in this immense park we just had the impression of being on another planet. Hand to hand we walked the paths of Central park with runners passing us from time to time or crossing a women with two kids whom skin colors made it clear that she was the nanny. Actually it was pretty impressive how many nannies we met with someone else’s kid. Like I said, Manhattan is different world.

After a long walk through the park we came back to the West side of the park and realized that we hadn’t covered even half of it. We sat on one of the many benches that populate the paths of the park and relaxed while looking at the map of Manhattan we just bought at the book store on Broadway. We took the time looking at people walking their dogs and, in other cases, at dogs walking their master then we resumed our walk South on Central Park Avenue, the street running along the park of the same name.

After stopping at one of the Starbuck Coffee that you can literally find every 4 blocks we turned on 72nd street toward the Hudson River. We stopped at a sort of hardware store on 72nd because we needed a little electric heater. Our heating system on board that heats the rooms has a little problem and we want to spare it. Space is expensive in Manhattan and we entered the little shop that was about 8 feet wide, including the shelves full of all sorts of hardware parts, but a good 60 feet long. A tall and skinny guy was serving a customer at the cash while another one was just standing there. I asked him if they had electric heaters. The guy said sure and he pointed me at a bunch of boxes in front of him. We looked at them and sure enough they were three kinds of heaters. The guy helped us with the boxes and their characteristics and we chose one of them. While I was at the cash to pay, the guy who served us told the cashier who apparently was the owner “Ok, I’ll catch you later” and left. The guy wasn’t even working at the store at all! Next door was a barber shop and I needed a haircut. An old man greeted me and $19 later I had a good inch of hair gone with the clipper. With my new uncovered ears we walked back to the marina and to the boat. It was our first day in Manhattan but a very nice day. We plan to stay here at least a week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Here we come New York!

Finally we got all our parts and after pumping out the toilets and filling up the water tank we can leave to New-York. After a week here in Croton-On-Hudson it will be nice to change for the big Apple. We keep you posted with nice pictures.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Time for a pause.

For the past two weeks we’ve been traveling through the New-York state at a very fast pace, at least as sailboats are considered. We moved almost every day or if we stayed an additional night in a town it was for finding a supermarket or a Laundromat. In this race through the canals toward New-York City we may have forgot the very purpose of this trip, which is to take our time to see the world. Well, if you click on our picture tab you will see some of the pictures we took along the way and some of the places are quite pretty. If you liked the lighthouse picture in our previous post, you will like the other ones we crossed along the Hudson River.

Upstate New-York is simply a beautiful place where nature and man seems to be in peace with each other. The wildlife we encountered so far was mainly composed of birds of all kinds meaning their own business or getting upset when the boat is getting too close to them. Canadian geese are pretty notorious about yapping when you disturb them. We also got a new species of spider on board. I must tell you that spiders just love boats. If you leave the boat alone for a few weeks you will find the place taken by probably a hundred spiders scattered all over the place. Obviously since we started to live on the boat full time we initiated a formal arachno-genocide in order to impose our supremacy on the premises. So far we’ve been quite successful but total alienation is a futile goal and new ones are getting in regularly but at a very tolerable rate. The new spiders we saw for the past few days are what we call the ant-spiders because they walk and look like black ants. They differ with the other kind of spiders in the fact that they wander in front of us in bright day light. In arachno-genocide time it is not a really good evolution attribute!

So we thought that before rushing further we should maybe take a few days “off” and relax a bit. We stopped in a little town called Croton-On-Hudson where we can find a pretty good anchorage spot and where there is marina called Half Moon Bay Marina that we can use as a mail drop for ordering parts. We actually took one night at the marina in question to resupply in water and have access to the internet. The place is nice but the wireless connection really needs to be improved. The reception where the boat was moored is very poor and we had to take our laptop with us on the dock and sat just beside the antenna. There we had a very good connection but the only drawback was that after a while we realized that what we were leaning on was actually the garbage bins where people would come and drop a bag every other five minutes. Let’s say that this was quite an incentive to get our part orders through as fast as we could and return to the boat. A last note about Half Moon Bay Marina is we would like to thank Steve the Marina Manager who really helped us with our needs and who even managed to get us a cell phone from Radio Shack that we can use simply by buying the minutes. The phone itself cost only $20!We ordered many boat parts and we will just go at anchor in the bay for a few days waiting for the delivery. But the main parts we need are two battens for the main sail. A batten is a fiberglass strip that we slide inside the main sail to stiffen it. Without them the sail would be unstable and would flap all the time. On our way to Croton-On-Hudson we actually sailed most of the way until we realized that one of the batten was half way out of its sleeve. The only way to lower the main sail is to turn the boat straight into the wind and so we did. Not 5 seconds after we started lowering the sail we heard a “bing, blong and plouffe”. Well, fiberglass doesn’t float and the Hudson River now has a new inhabitant. While looking at the newly missing batten we noticed that another one was also missing. You can maybe sail with one missing batten but not two. So we motored the rest of the way to the village and at about 5 miles from our destination we heard a sort of police siren just behind us. Well guess what, it was exactly the sheriff’s boat. It was a good thing we just had dropped our drug cargo in the morning! Just kidding. They stopped us pretty much because we were Canadian and they needed to conduct some inspections on boats to ensure they comply with all safety requirements. Danielle took care of the officer while I was chatting travel with the other one who had to stay in their boat. Everything went well except the fact that our flares were expired for a month (they are good for four years so it is not a big deal) and the fact that Danielle knew more about sailing permits in the USA than the officer himself! In this case it is understandable since the officer is a policemen and not a border officer. However, the fact is that Danielle now knows more about boat permits and registration than most border officers who actually deliver them. But this would be too long a story to tell for now.
Just one last note. Internet connections are sometime quite difficult to get so we may be off line for the next few days. You can see here Danielle in a park getting Internet in Oswego from a café nearby. Finally, thanks to everyone who follow us regularly. We see our website counter increasing quite fast and this is a real encouragement to us.