Lafayette’s Hermione

On Sunday we went to Yorktown to see Lafayette’s Hermionethe replica of the ship on which the Marquis de Lafayette traveled from France to New York in 1780, with the message for George Washington that France would be sending troops to aid the colonies in their struggle for independence. This assistance of course became instrumental in Washington’s eventual victory at Yorktown.

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The replica was built in Rouchfort, France. Construction began in 1997, and she was finally launched in 2012. Yorktown was her first stop in America, but it will continue up the East Coast, with several stops on her goodwill tour, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, among others. She is definitely worth the look if you have the opportunity.

We were very disappointed to find that we missed getting tickets for deck tours. From what we heard, you pretty much had to be in line at dawn to get a ticket. She was still super impressive to see. The schooners Alliance and Serenity were also at the city dock, as well as the replica of the Godspeed, which was visiting from Jamestown Settlement. L’Hermione dwarfed them all.

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While we were there, we visited the Thomas Nelson house again, where we were greeted by a fantastic interpreter who represented a soldier in the Rhode Island Regiment, the only fully integrated regiment in the U.S. Army until the Korean War.

We had a nice picnic lunch at the Victory Monument and were lucky to see The Fifes and Drums of York Town perform twice.

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The historic waterfront area of Yorktown is always fun; it is just a fantastic little town where history truly comes alive all around you. This really was a special trip, though, with L’Hermione in port. She left Sunday evening to continue her tour up the coast.

One thing that really sparked my curiosity was the particular revolutionary flag that L’Hermione is flying.

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Of course the flag of the United States had not yet been standardized, but this is a version I have not seen anywhere else. The thirteen stars are in rows of 4, 5, and 4, and the stripes are red, white, and blue. I’m sure there must be a reason this particular flag was chosen, but I haven’t been able to find it. I’ve sent an email to the contract address on the voyage website, but until I hear back, I’m interested on any thoughts you might have.

Spring update

Spring update

Last year, we bought a new boat, and barely used it. The boat was so far away from our home in Pennsylvania, and it was such a busy summer, filled with all the busyness of selling a home and moving. It felt that we hardly got to stretch her legs.

We moved in the fall, and got to experience a taste of what we anticipated life to be this summer. With the boat now a short drive away, we could pack some snacks and blankets and be there quickly for a weekend sail. There are so many great anchorages within a day’s sail. We envisioned a summer of exploring all around our nook of the southern Chesapeake. Even an afternoon’s sail after church on Sunday was suddenly realistic.

We were settled in our new home and we had a boat with more room for everyone, so we got a puppy over the winter. Come spring, the plan was to bring her along and teach her how to be a good cruising pup.

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We had, of course, some maintenance planned while she was on the hard for the winter. We knew there were some issues with oil leaking in the bilge, so Alan wanted to address that – go over the motor, and clean up and paint the bilge. As he got into the project though, he discovered some other serious issues that needed to be addressed while the motor was pulled out. There were a couple rotten bulkheads that need to be replaced, and it sounds as though that project is going to be a huge pain in the tuchus.

The upshot is, sadly, Tipsy Lady is out for the season. She is truly the boat we hope to have for many, many years so we want to take good care of her and really properly address the issues we’ve found.

We did get out a couple weekends ago on Green Eyes. She has been for sale, but really was located in a terrible place to try to sell a sailboat. She finally made it back to Deltaville (still her home port since we never did change her lettering after buying her), and hopefully will sell this season now that she’s in a good sailing area. In the meantime, at least we can get out and sail with her.

The five of us – the kids all a bit bigger than the last time we were on her- plus the puppy… suffice it to say, it’s definitely a smaller boat. We only went out overnight, but I don’t think we could survive a 3 week trip on her anymore. At least not after the taste of the comparative luxury of Tipsy Lady.

Ah, but it was a beautiful little sail. We weren’t sure if we were going to go out at all. Savannah had a 3:00 softball game, so we figured by the time they finished and we got packed, it would just be too late. But there was a nice breeze and it just felt right, so we rushed home, threw some bottled water and granola bars in a bag, picked up a takeout pizza, and headed for the marina. We were out by 7:30, sailing toward the sunset at a brisk 5-6 knots.

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There was some real sadness as we had to let go of the summer we envisioned, but things never are quite as you envision them. Now we look forward to some sails on Green Eyes until we find a buyer for her, some sails on our little G-cat, and really making the most of all that this area has to offer.

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Changes to the Blog

I have this blog that I generally neglect. I’m not even sure why I started it. It’s always a nerve-racking experience for me, to send my thoughts and carefully chosen words out into the internet, of all places. What an unkind place for them to be. I wonder each time I post, why bother? Even if I’m not attracting the attention of trolls, who cares what I say here besides my mother, anyway? And yet, through my infrequent postings, a handful of people – other than my mother – have encouraged me in this endeavor, asking me to post more often, and reassuring me that what I’ve done here is in fact worth doing.

Much of that encouragement has come from Alan. He was truly the source of motivation and guidance that inspired the newly designed blog. In fact, he is now my partner here. The Projects tab will be his domain, where he will post about our boat repair projects. My normal posts will appear under the Blog tab, hopefully with much greater regularity.

Please, click around a bit, and let me know if you find things that need to be fixed. Some pages are still in progress, but we will be updating soon. Thank you, truly, for looking!

Home from Yorktown

Home from Yorktown

After leaving Yorktown, we needed to choose an anchorage with good provisioning possibilities. Although it was a great place to stay for things to do, there was no place on the Yorktown side of the bridge to get ice and ours didn’t last that long. Luckily I had planned on depending primarily on non-perishable foods anyway, but we did need to replace some of the things we lost. I chose an anchorage in Jackson Creek, near Deltaville, VA. The reviews of the spot were wonderful: great for provisioning, very protected – from all but SE winds. Anyone wanna guess which direction the wind was coming from when we got there? It was pretty rough that first evening. Our first dinghy ride in to walk to the gas station for cold beer left us all soaked to our skivvies. Alan was super nervous about the anchor holding, but hold it did, and the wind changed direction around midnight.

Deltaville was a fabulous stop. Just like at Yorktown, we again stayed longer than we had first planned (hooray for a flexible schedule) and are definitely planning to return. I can’t say enough good things about the Deltaville Marina. Their facilities were very nice and the rate for transients to use them was very reasonable. We were able to borrow their courtesy car to run to the market and replace our lost provisions. The kids loved their huge swingest and the pool. Savannah even swapped a book out at their book exchange area.We borrowed one of their grills for a picnic lunch our first full day there.

IMG_5277One of our absolute favorite things was a scene repeated many times on our trip: quiet moments after after dinner when we all cozied up on the bow to enjoy the twilight together. Alan and I would enjoy a glass of wine, we’d bring out a blanket or two, and the kids would snug themselves around us. Those were the moments I wanted to hold onto the most, the ones I made a conscious effort of committing to memory, detail by detail. There are so few similar moments at home. At home, there is always something to be done. The laundry needs washing, the grass needs cutting, everything needs dusting, clutter needs to be cleared away, a hundred things, all the time. On the boat, life is simpler. After clearing up dinner, I can usually feel pretty satisfied that my to-do list is done, and I can just soak up the time with my family.

It was in one of those perfect evenings that we unexpectedly had a bit of fearful excitement. One of our neighbors at anchor was an older gentleman who lives aboard his boat. I must have been paying attention to other things, but Alan was watching him as he came up to his boat. He stood in his dinghy for quite a while, then suddenly Alan couldn’t see him anymore. The night was getting close to totally dark, so he thought perhaps he just hadn’t seen him get onto his boat, but after a few minutes no lights had come on inside. Alan was quite worried about him, so he and Savannah went out in our dinghy to check it out. It was quite a good thing that they did because it turned out the man had fallen in. He has one “good leg,” which he had injured earlier that day, making it difficult for him to get onto his boat from his dinghy. They were able to help him get back aboard.

We also stopped by the Deltaville Maritime Museum while we were in town. The museum had just reopened in the spring and is still rebuilding after a devastating fire last summer. We’ll definitely have to go back again when they finish their new building. I especially liked their reproduction of the boat John Smith used to explore the Chesapeake. His was an unnamed boat that he referred to as his “discovery barge.” They named their reproduction Explorer.

IMG_5295We also made a couple trips to Nauti Nell’s: part marine consignment store, part gift shop. I’m sure it will be one of the necessary stops when we return to Deltaville.

After Deltaville, one of our favorite stops was a bit of a surprise. We have stayed in Solomons so many times. We always thought about checking out the Calvert Marine Museum, but just hadn’t made it there yet. This time, we went there right after setting the anchor, which just a couple hours until closing. We figured that would be enough time for the kids to make their way through. We were so wrong. We were instead left with the realization that we need to come back when we can spend the better part of a day there. We went to the Drum Point lighthouse first because we never tire of lighthouses.

IMG_5402And then we tried to see as much as we could see of the museum before they closed. It was so much bigger than we realized. The kids most enjoyed digging for fossils. They all came away with shark teeth for souvenirs. Felicity won the prize for best tooth finder.

IMG_5407The touch tank and all the other fish and invertebrates were a close second favorite. Felicity ran from tank to tank in wonder, declaring it the “best museum ever!” when she found the seahorses. It was a very nice way to wrap up our trip, and yet again we found a place to which we hope to return. IMG_5323

What I’ve Not Been Up To

I have no exciting knitting to share. I’ve been very busy not-knitting, actually. I seem to have gotten into a bit of a knitting funk. I just have no motivation to pick up my needles. Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater is very close to completion and I just have not done it. I’m not sure what to blame this on. The pattern is very not exciting, for starters. It’s all stockinette. Once I finished the not-really-intarsia letter H there was nothing to keep it interesting. Is my attention span so short? Yes, apparently it is. And somehow, while I’ve been busy not-knitting it, it got to be May! At this point, I’m thinking there’s already no way possible that all my big projects will be completed for Christmas. And I’m thinking that’s okay. I’ll have to decide, once I’m feeling knitty again, which projects take precedence. I also think, however, that I kind of burned myself out with the number of projects I ended up making for last Christmas. Moderation: it’s good for all things. Anyone have any tips for getting out of my knitting funk? I really would like to start knitting again, but night after night, I just don’t. Hm.

While I’ve been not-knitting, we’ve also been not-sailing, which is a bit of a bummer. We spend Mother’s Day down at the boat trying to finish up the maintenance necessary before putting it back in the water. It’s very close now and it’s scheduled to go back in Memorial Day weekend. Of course, this would be easier if Alan – who is not a runner – hadn’t signed up for a 50k race on June 1. Why would he do such a thing? So… getting the boat ready and finishing up training will both be packed into the next two weeks. This should get interesting.

So what have I been doing whilst busy not-knitting and not-sailing? There have been softball practices and games and church activities. There was a First Holy Communion and a party. And there has been reading, which is a plus. It is hard to find the time for both knitting and reading (and I found out the hard way not to try to mix the two). I was inspired by the release of the movie (which I haven’t seen) to re-read The Hobbit, which I just finished. I intend to go on and read The Lord of the Rings books and The Silmarillion, but we’ll see.

So what have you not been doing that you should be or would like to be doing?

Tanks for the slippers

Tanks for the slippers

One of those things that happen once you start to knit is people asking you for certain knit items. I’m pretty happy to oblige. I love making something for someone that I actually know for sure they’ll like. Actually, I really love getting any gift for someone that I’m certain they’ll like.

Of course, one of the other things that happens is you get requests for something in a craft you don’t actually know because people can’t tell whether something is knit or crochet. I got one such request for Christmas for these awesome PANZER SLIPPERS. Normally I just shrug off the request for crochet items because, while I’d like to learn how to do that as well, I have too long a list of knit projects to put the time into that right now. This just happened to be a request from my brother-in-law who was about to leave for a deployment. The situation called for some extra effort, but I was pretty sure it would take years for me to develop enough skill to attempt this pattern. I had to call in an expert.

My awesome cousin Rachel, crocheter extraordinaire, graciously agreed to make the slippers. Really, how awesome are these? I had a major geek out when I opened the package they came in.

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IMG_4629Here’s a little action scene I set up with one of them:

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With the possibility of projects like this, I really must learn to crochet one day.