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July 19, 2003

A stowaway on Omega!

The trip back to New Jersey for Sue’s doctor’s appointment was uneventful. She had a nice dinner with her former work associates at Prime and got together with the Haddonfield “bridge group”. Ethan drove us back to the boat and stayed on board for several days. The engine repairs were successfully completed and Omega now runs with a lot less vibration and noise – in fact you could say she purrs like a cat!
We left Oxford ands sailed back to San Domingo Creek on the south side of St. Michaels. It was perfect sailing weather – a pleasant 75 degrees with a nice 10-12 knot west wind. We took the dinghy to town and had a nice ice cream treat and found out that there was a free concert in the park that night. We went back to the boat to pack a picnic dinner and returned to the park to enjoy the music.
When we returned to the boat, I went on the Internet to check emails etc., and was sitting at the chart table when I heard a cat meow! Sue and Ethan were in the cockpit and I asked them if they heard it too? Ethan thought it was some kids on the shore nearby but then he came below and heard it too – very loud. We decided that we did have a cat on board and after searching the engine room; I lifted the floorboards and out jumped an orange tabby cat!
It had apparently come aboard while we were at the marina dock and hid below as a stowaway! The cat had a flea collar on and was obviously domesticated and very friendly but very nervous! The cat explored the deck of the boat for ways to get off and once it realized that this was not possible, it then settled down and purred when we petted it.
Ethan agreed to take care of the cat that night but it was bothering him so he put it on deck and put the hatch boards in place so he could sleep. The cat prowled the deck and meowed through the open hatches for a while and then quieted down.
When we got us this morning there was no sign of the cat so we thought it had jumped overboard sometime in the night and drowned! Ethan was frantic thinking he was responsible for the cat’s death! But Sue found it curled up asleep in the storage compartment in the cockpit. I called the Oxford Boat yard to see if there were any reports of a lost cat and the answer was yes – an employee had mentioned a lost cat! The cat was returned to its very grateful owner in Oxford this afternoon.
We then anchored the boat in a secure part of the Oxford harbor since there were reports of s potentially severe storm coming through later in the afternoon. We proceeded to fix a nice pizza for an early dinner so Ethan could get started home before it was too late. The storm arrived as predicted with lots of lightning and thunder and the winds quickly built to 50+ knots with torrential rains! WOW. As usual we started the engine and jogged in place into the wind to take the strain off the anchor. That worked OK but the extreme wind flipped the dinghy upside down and our life jackets and the dinghy seat floated away. The locking cable and tiller extension sank. The wind later flipped it upright again! The storm passed through quickly and the sun came out! We then drained the water out of the dinghy and set off rowing after the seat and life jackets. We got the seat and 2 of the 3 lifejackets but the outboard won’t run now even though I pulled the spark plugs and drained the water inside the cylinders. It may require “dealer” servicing but I hope not.
All in all, this has been another interesting several days! Tomorrow we are off early to Annapolis to meet friends Lou and Faye Font for a late lunch.

Posted by Dick at 06:28 AM

July 12, 2003

July 4th and then to St. Michaels

Ethan drove down from Haddonfield on the 2nd and spent the night with on board. There was no wind so there was no point in going anywhere so we stayed anchored in the Oxford harbor. It was overcast and raining on Thursday morning so we decided to leave early for the trip back to Haddonfield. We stopped for lunch and at a farm market for corn on the cob and were there by mid afternoon. He and Carolyn held a “pre 4th of July cookout that evening with a lot of their friends from the skydiving “drop zone” and local Haddonfield friends. Josh and Lu came down from “North Jersey” so Sue got to visit with both of her sons. The Haddonfield fireworks were that evening and the weather cooperated.
The Haddonfield parade is somewhat unusual for a small town – a big deal. It has the usual kids with their bikes decorated, etc. but also features several “mummers” bands, local neighborhood groups that do topical themes, antique and classic cars, politicians, and “Underdog Woman”. She shows up every year from somewhere in Pennsylvania all decked out with her cape and ballet shoes and does “interpretive” dancing to send the message of Underdog Woman. Nobody quite knows what this message is but she is very serious about it. She has been interviewed by Howard Stern several times and is something of a local celebrity as well as being a kook!
We stayed at Ruth’s and Liz came over Saturday for a nice dinner lunch and visit. Ruth is now getting very Internet oriented (at age 87) and does puzzles and sends email. She also now knows how to access the Omegasailing web site so will probably see this mention of her new skills! I was able to get squeezed into David Zelley’s dental schedule Monday afternoon for a routine cleaning and check up so we didn’t return to the boat until Tuesday. We and found the dinghy filled with water – they had a lot of rain while we were gone. Omega had survived being anchored again and were both glad to be back aboard.
We linked up with boating friends from “Sea Duction” and went to the Tuckahoe Gas and Steam Club annual show north of Oxford. It was quite an event with a lot of lot steam and gas farm tractors and similar stuff – photos are in the latest album.
We left Oxford on the 11th and sailed to cove off of San Domingo Creek the next day. This is the “back door” to St. Michaels since a short dinghy ride to the head of the creek and a walk of several blocks puts you in downtown St. Michaels. We went to town last night after dinner for ice cream and a walk about and will do a more complete tour later today. This is another quiet, secluded, protected anchorage with gorgeous megabuck homes lining the waterfront. House values in St. Michaels start at $2-300k and go into the millions!
We will return to Oxford tomorrow so the new engine mounts can be installed next week at Oxford Boatyard while we go back to NJ for Sue’s routine doctor appointment and to return Ethan’s car. We hope he can drive us back and spend a few days on the boat with us.

Posted by Dick at 09:49 AM