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July 31, 2012

July 2012

Ok, so it has been a very long time since I updated the Ships Log. I know it and have been procrastinating for some reason I can’t explain. Anyway, here we go with a much needed update!
Our winter stay at the Anchorage Marina worked out very well for us. The weather was mild and we have many sunny beautiful days. Our boat heating equipment kept us warm and cozy and the electric bill turned out to be reasonable. We extended our stay an additional month to the end of April since we had travel plans off of the boat and it made economic sense even at the higher “in season” rate.
Over the winter I took the Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Safety and Seamanship course that was being offered at the Anchorage Marina and passed the final exam and got my certificate. It was a refresher for me since it had been many years since I took the Power Squadron course and I had no idea where that certificate is located. I am now documented to be competent to operate Courage in those states (like NJ) that require this type of certificate.
At the beginning of March, our boating friends Deb and Terry Temperly stopped to visit us on Courage and we did some sightseeing around the Baltimore area. The highlight of this was a visit to the Fort McHenry National Park. The visitor’s center has a very well done wide screen movie that covers the battle and the creation of the Star Spangled Banner. At the end of the movie, the screen rolls up and you are looking through a plate glass window at the flag flying over the fort. It gave us Goosebumps and a big surge of patriotism and pride! Did you know that at that time, there was one star and one stripe for each state? So the flag that flew over the Fort (and still is flown today today) has 15 stars and 15 stripes. Looking at it through the window we knew there was something about it that didn’t look right and it took a moment or two to figure out that it was the “extra” stripes.
We took a road trip to visit my cousin Pete and his wife Judy at their beautiful log home in Buena Vista Virginia. Their house has a picture postcard 180 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains that is fantastic. Spring was not quite there but it was still incredible. From there we went on to Durham to visit with Kat and grandson Jaidan for his birthday. We got to see him practice with his little league team and he is developing good coordination and has a good eye for batting. One of the present we brought for him was a model trebuchet which I helped him build. It seemed to be a big hit.
One of my health maintenance activities this winter was to go to Johns Hopkins and have my hearing tested by the audiologist. To no surprise, I had reached the point of hearing loss where hearing aids were recommended. I ended up with Widex “mid price” units (about $4500!!) and they have made a big difference understanding speech – particularly in environments with a log of background noise. I also spent time with my eye doctor and made some progress with my eyesight but still have some double vision and blurriness in both eyes. Ah, yes, the joys of aging!
At the end of April, we did a weekend trip to Salisbury Maryland to visit the Ward Museum of wildfowl carving and then to the Ocean City Maryland Convention Center for the annual wildfowl carving show and competition. The number and quality of birds and decoy ducks on display is amazing. This has become a real serious art form. I have concluded that calling it wood carving is not a complete description because the finishing and painting of these pieces seems to be more work that the actual carving.
Courage left the Anchorage marina April 30th and we have been “on the hook” since then other that those times when we leave the boat on a mooring at Swan Creek for various road trips. Our winter experience demonstrated that fewer things break or wear out and need fixing on the boat if it isn’t being used, and fuel consumption is really low – like zero! Duh! With marine diesel price in the $4 per gallon range, the decision to winter over in Baltimore was a good economic choice.
Our big event in May was my 50th college reunion at U of Pennsylvania. The weather was perfect and there was a nice turn out of my Theta Xi fraternity brothers. Seeing them again was the most fun although the reunion itself was also good. The U of P campus has certainly changed (for the better) since 1962 with many new large buildings and campus beautification with streets turned into pedestrian walks, landscaping, etc. I am not a big fan of our system of higher education and believe that it needs major structural overhaul. These universities (private and public) have so much overhead and inefficiency in delivering the product (i.e. an education) that I cannot in good conscious donate money to help perpetuate the current system.
In June, we joined Liz and drove to Brecksville Ohio for granddaughter Lauren’s HS graduation celebration. She finished HS in a very impressive burst of good happenings and is deservedly feeling very good about herself. She starts at Flagler College in St Augustine FL at the end of August. The celebration was also a mini family reunion for both the Turner and Harris clans and we all had a good time with lots of reminiscing about the past.
We took Courage back to Baltimore for the OP Sail 2012 celebration and Tall Ships visit. Rich and Deb drove from Ohio to join us and again the weather cooperated and was perfect. In addition to seeing the Tall Ships, the Navy Blue Angels did an air show which is always spectacular.
We attended a Krogen luncheon at the Annapolis Yacht club which is always nice and had a mini rendezvous with sailing friends at the West River Sailing Club in Galesville. We also went up the Severn river to visit with sailing friends Tom and Elinor Adensam whose house and dock are right on the river with a great view. Most recently we visited with sailing friend Fred Chance (Wild Oats) and got to use a neighbor’s dock for several days. It was so hot we elected to eat out several times to take advantage of air conditioning. There had been a bad storm that knocked out power around the area for several days so finding places with A/C was a bit difficult. The heat continued so we threw in the towel and abandoned ship to drive to Liz’s house and enjoy her air conditioning and hospitality. We are leaving the boat today for a week of Fresh Creek board meeting and a road trip visit up the Hudson River the Copake Falls for a birthday visit with sister Milbrey and her husband Walt.
Looking ahead to fall and winter, the “no plan” plan is to wander south down the ICW to St Augustine in time for a Thanksgiving get together with the Deb’s family and then probably on the Ft Myers for the Christmas holidays. We also want to try to get back to the Exumas, Bahamas again and are shooting for a crossing sometime in January subject to weather.

Posted by Dick at July 31, 2012 10:35 AM