Monthly Archives: November 2016

“Good morning all stations, this is Chris Parker on Bel Ami”

Chris Parker’s daily call on our Single Side Band radio has been as routine and welcome as our morning cup of coffee.  Chris is the Chief Forecaster for the Marine Weather Station.  He began forecasting the weather when he was 8 years old and turned pro after years cruising the Caribbean in his sloop Bel Ami.  He came to our attention when we were in Zihuatanejo Mexico.  After hearing of our plans to go through the Panama Canal, our bar companion (a cruiser who had been in the Caribbean) praised Parker’s thorough and insightful reports.  We began picking up his reports while still coming down the Pacific Coast (anyone can tune in for free).  After listening to his reports and his tailored recommendations to his subscribers, we began our own subscription in the fall of 2015.  For the last year we have listened avidly to his reports and called in with specific questions to supplement our other weather sources.  Just recently, we renewed our subscription.  For more information about his services see the link below.


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“Every new friend is a new adventure” Patrick Lindsay

While old friends and relatives have added joy and perspective to our East Coast travels, new friends and their kindnesses  have contributed renewed energy to our journey.  Bill Rand in Gloucester shared the waterfront that he has loved since childhood and in so doing breathed fresh wind into Elizabeth Jean‘s sails.  Mason and Catharine Newick opened their York home and feted us with our first soft shell lobster and hot showers (not necessarily in that order).  Andy Williams and Courtney DiBlasio toasted our arrival in Stonington Connecticut after securing a mooring ball close to the dock as we waited and watched Hurricane Matthew churn its way north.  Scott and Kitty Tamure hailed us as we headed to anchor north of Hell Gate.  Their tales of their two circumnavigations replenished our psychic cruising kitty.  For future tales of newfound friends watch for the upcoming post “Paying it forward on the ICW.”


Vice Commodore Rand shared a morning with us in Gloucester.


Andy and Courtney squeezed in a round of cheer with us on our Stonington arrival.  Andy also picked the brains of his cruising community for Long Island Sound hurricane holes as we headed south at the same time hurricane Matthew was heading north.


Catharine Newick in her York, Maine Kitchen with her nephew and our Seattle friend, Dave Carlson.


Our first Maine lobster of the summer, particularly succulent because they are “soft shells.”


Tamure’s invitation for cocktails was the first time since Florida, months before, that a sailing vessel with which we were sharing an anchorage asked us to swap cruising stories.  Their hospitality reminded us that plenty of adventure still lies ahead.

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Albatross on Eagle

Elizabeth Jean albatross

The resurgent eagle has stoically observed Elizabeth Jean‘s journey up and down the East Coast.  Albatross makes an infrequent appearance to celebrate Eagle’s return to our shores and waterways.

When Eagle comes flying into your life:

It is time to reconnect with your spiritual path. It’s time to listen too and heed your spiritual directives as well as your heart and to allow them both to lead the way for you at this time. When you can find yourself in this state of flight then all the doors will open and the directions you need to follow will be made clear. Like a beacon – your heart will follow the light.

If Eagle is your Animal Totem:

When Eagle is a part of who you are you carry the symbol of air, but have strong legs to walk on the earth and often live near the water for food. Through these qualities you can be guided to balance in all dimensions and achieve inner-growth. As you soar to spiritual awareness, you will remain well grounded in reality and can purify yourself with cleansing waters.

If Eagle has soared into your dreams:

If the Eagle is perched and looking at you it brings a message of self-examination and introspection. Meditate and look within.

If Eagle takes to flight it may symbolize your ability to rise above your current problems or position.

If the Eagle soars above it can be a symbol of your higher consciousness, or higher powers communicating to you, listen carefully to your intuition.

To dream of two eagles mating means that you have attained the spiritual goal you have been striving for. Your hard work has paid off.

Lastly, if the Eagle is diving in, or consuming a kill, it may be a portent of danger or ruthlessness. Do not step on others to achieve your goals, and be warned that someone in your life may be willing to step on you to achieve theirs.


Happy Eagle by Ravenari

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“The World Turned Upside Down” Old Scottish Ballad

Yesterday, Elizabeth Jean scudded past Virginia’s York River under a reefed Genoa with 25-28 knots of north winds. The York was the scene of the British surrender to General George Washington, the end of the colonies’ revolution, and the United States’ entry onto the world stage. Legend has it that the British Band played “The World Turned Upside Down,” a traditional Scottish Ballad, as the vanquished Cornwallis paraded his troops past the victorious Continental Army.

Two days ago on November 9th, we awoke to our own upended world. As we prepare to head south through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, we have some appreciation of how the British troops must have felt as they moved past people who shared a common heritage, but who were on the other side of a deep and bitter divide.


With centuries of history providing perspective, we can reflect on how Great Britain and the United States found common ground. In time, the two nations together unified to defeat fascism during World War II and rebuild a free and democratic Europe during the Cold War.
We, however, live in the present and do not have centuries within which to enjoy the fruits of our shared roots. How then do we navigate our immediate uncertain times and the chasm that separates us from our fellows?  Elizabeth Jean and her crew have watch words that serve as our compass as we travel. We turn to them now.

We live in joy. Now, more than ever, we will find and create joy in our lives. We will do so in the everyday moments—a brisk sail to a quiet anchorage—and the major milestones—such as daughter Jean and Max’s June wedding.
We surrender to this moment. Surrender has many meanings. Here we commit to live in the present even when we cannot help but worry about the future that may unfold. We do not surrender to that future’s inevitability.
We share our lives. We are now on a different adventure than the one that might have been. With those of like mind, sharing this adventure will be easy and a comfort. With friends and family on the other side of the divide, such sharing is essential if difficult. We choose to believe there are common values on which we can build the community and world in which we want to live.

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“Zen and the art of [sailboat] maintenance” Robert M. Pirsig

Working well, and caring “is to become part of a process of achieving an inner peace of mind,” according to Robert Pirsig whose description of maintenance in his book on traveling by motorcycle with his son, elevated maintenance, (properly performed), to a life philosophy.   At Stingray Point, near Virginia’s Rappahannock River mouth, it  helped to think we were achieving inner peace, rather than sanding, stripping paint, rebuilding leaking plumping, and otherwise getting Elizabeth Jean ready for our trip south to Florida.  Fortunately, the first week of November offered flawless clear skies as we prepped and painted.


The Rappahanock River is known for its quality boat work at a reasonable price.  We had professional help on installing new seacocks and resealing some windows and hatches, but we did much of the work ourselves.  The River is also strategically positioned for cruisers heading south as it is a day’s travel from the Chesapeake Bay’s Mouth or Norfolk and the beginning of the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW).


Testing bottom paints for compatability.  No we are not changing colors.  Once we knew the brands were compatible we ordered red.


Our dinghy, Schooner, sporting her two tone look.  The green stripe is frog tape that will be removed leaving a very clean line.


She’s too sexy for her Tyvek suit.


The prop will be test driving some new fangled anti-foulant paint.


Seeing Elizabeth Jean gleaming in the late November sun, we think Pirsig had a point.  After “working well and with care” we proceed south with a sense of accomplishment and, dare we say, a touch more inner peace.

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