Sailing along, we tend to have some invited guests and sometimes uninvited guests. There has been George the gecko, that lived in the mast. Then, a squid, who got blown into the cockpit, inked, and made a mess (which brings to mind some posthumous name ideas), countless flying fish which have landed on deck (we’d save them when we could), a 40 lb. mahi that was welcome indeed (very delicious in lemon and butter), dolphins swimming alongside us… often turning sideways to glance up and make eye contact, and even whales surfacing across the bow. While moored in New York, our home town, we had plenty more visitors, mostly of the human persuasion and luckily had the opportunity to make some visits:
Mind you we somehow didn’t get pics of the Chou Family, where we spent multiple game nights, no pics of Savannah’s parents, Andrea and Patrick, no pics of Verna & Julia, nor did we get pics of Brendan’s visit. Next time around! They were certainly all very special meet-ups all around.
And then… there were the the unwanted visitors. On this particular occasion, sailing out of Jersey, it was the INVASION of the flies… the bloody Jersey Flies!
Perhaps it was fly season in Jersey, not sure, but they followed us all the way down from Cape May to the Delaware River and through the Chesapeake-Delaware River Canal (C&D Canal). This was our second passing through Cape May… the first time with no fly issues. Those little bastards have a wicked bite and somehow brought out our inner ninja warrior instincts to terminate anything at fly-swatting distance. I can’t imagine what onlookers may have thought, watching us swatting-maniacs from afar with our Amazon Texas fly swatter.
Overall, we’re very pleased that our friends and fellow Amelians on s/v Wanderer, Peg and Dwayne, recommended we sail through the C&D Canal even though we endured the unwelcomed little buggers for hours. Views on the C&D were dreamy and certainly unique, in this narrow channel. This also happened to be our first canal trip ever, which made it extra special.
Gratefully, our Jersey (and eventually Maryland) guest-list improved dramatically after the fly carnage. First, was my dear friend Evelyn and her daughter Elisha. They drove for over an hour from Cherry Hill to spend the day, and it was glorious catching up and reminiscing over the old days. We’ve been friends since 1983! (It was thanks to Evie, I had my first sailboat ride ever).
Our next destination after South Jersey Marina was St. Michael’s, MD on the Chesapeake Bay, for an Amel gathering (“Amel” is our make of boat). We thought we’d go to the boat show in Annapolis, but part 2 of the plan was a no-go. We were tired of bopping around and wanted to stay put and take it all in. St. Michael’s is a sweet, quaint, little town which made it all that much more inviting. First we went to the 2018 Amel Gathering and explored some of this quintessential Chesapeake town, full of history and natural, brackish beauty. Here we met up with some old Amelians and met plenty of new ones.
The sailing community is made up of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and calling family. They are by far the most empathetic and giving people I have ever met. I don’t say this lightly. They also happen to be some pretty badass people with amazing stories of living at sea… but that’s only part of the package. During about a year of this lifestyle, I’ve witnessed first-hand people risking personal injury, if not their lives, to save others in challenging situations. I’m sure it has been partly because it’s what they’d hope others would do for them if they found themselves in the same situation but… Amelians, well, they are a unique brand of sailor. They have the components of a regular sailor and then some. Primarily, they’re very proud of their vessels, as the engineering of this blue-water cruiser is quite extraordinary, as is the engineer who built it. Amelians do so much to support each other in figuring out the boat’s complicated systems, the best way to fix it, sail it, live on it, and cruise it around the world. They organize gatherings around the world to maintain camaraderie and have multiple online forums. These folks are the most dynamic, crazy-talented, genius, cult members I’ve ever met. Paul and I both feel honored to call ourselves Amelians. In pop culture many people know of the Amel because of a very successful blog done by s/v Delos. And often people who are familiar with the blog, when they see Rita Kathryn, ask us, “Is that the “Delos” boat?” We can’t help but giggle when we say “yes same boat, but different year.”
St. Michael’s, MD, we determined after the Gathering, was also the perfect spot for Bryan and Meghan to come and visit. They were the last set of children that hadn’t spent time on the RK and it was way overdue. The last time we sailed together was on a boat we chartered several years ago, in New England. Now that they’re living in MD, this was a decent spot for them to drive to and hop on. They got to visit us in St. Michael’s while Hurricane Michael howled through. Memorable. Only the very outer bands of the storm’s wind got through to us, which always makes it that much more inconceivable to imagine the type of winds and storm surges those poor folks in Mexico Beach, FL experienced in the eye the storm. No one slept that night, but overall we had some hearty laughs and a fun visit; it went WAY TOO FAST. There’s even talk of a sequel in the Bahamas this winter!
We also had a visit from Sarah and her daughter Naomi, together exploring the Halloween décor, Maritime Museum, restaurants, and shopping around town. It was a special day and again, a long drive for these ladies.
So currently we find ourselves in Hampton, VA, where it’s getting colder than we’d hoped, faster than we imagined we’d have to endure. While here, we’re doing chores, visiting museums and the other day, rented a car and drove up to Arlington, VA where we had the special opportunity to meet with a cousin of Paul’s he hasn’t seen since he was about 9 years old.
Between this heart-warming visit and our drive out to see Rachel, Jason, Zach, Noah, and Grandma Tulley in D.C.… we managed to fly through Arlington National Cemetery and see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a quick glimpse of the Iwa Jima Memorial.
Now, we’re prepping for our big passage around Cape Hatteras, NC, a potentially 3+ day sail, all depending on weather. We’re studying transit strategies and making sure the RK has what she needs and is in tip-top shape. Anyone interested in knowing what we’re in for sailing around Cape Hatteras…?