Onward’s Cruise Journal 2011
Cruise from Rhode Island to Bahamas

Updated: 29 Oct 11

October 2011

1 Oct 11; Saturday;

  • I went to Union Memorial Hospital today to have a Calcium CT scan done of my heart to evaluate coronary artery health. It only took about 10 minutes to get the scan done.
  • We took a walk down to the Fells Point Festival in spite of the cold and the overcast day. We had time for a couple of beers and then it was time to return so Laura and Kurlen could prepare to attend their friends' wedding.
  • Elena wasn't happy to see Mom & Dad getting ready to leave but I managed to get her focused on something else and followed up by putting on more opera music which she loves and enjoys just sitting on my lap to listen to. Neat.
  • When she got tired she took me in to climb on the bed with her and eventually fell asleep holding Grandpa's hand.

2 Oct 11; Sunday;

3 Oct 11; Monday;

  • Oh joy, today was colonoscopy day for me at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Laura has been on my case to get this done and her visit to Baltimore allowed her to escort me there and home. The good news is that all was great!
  • Laura and Kurlen took today as a day off to recover from their frenetic social schedule.

4 Oct 11; Tuesday;

5 Oct 11; Wednesday;
  • Deb Jones called this morning regarding my Calcium CT scan. The news was not good. I had an extraordinarily high score and need to see a cardiologist immediately. This took a lot of wind out of my sails. It was nice to have Laura, Kurlen and Elena there to buoy my spirits.

6 Oct 11; Thursday;
  • Today I saw cardiologist Dr. Tom Guanerie about my Calcium CT scan. After chatting about the violin creator, no relation, we got around to me. I'm asymptomatic for any problem but given the CT scan I need to get checked by coronary catheterization / angiography as soon as possible. Thus my hopes for a diagnosis of "computer error" went down the drain!
  • Laura and Kurlen invited their friends to the wine store/bar across from the marina. It was good to see many of her friends from teenage years who are now moms and dads. Elena provided continuous entertainment for all as she loves to work crowds.

7 Oct 11; Friday;
  • My sister-in-law Sara had us over for a family gathering at her home in Eldersburg. Wow! What a spread! Elena, of course, was the star of the show. It was great basking in the sunshine of my Maryland family!

8 Oct 11; Saturday;
  • Elena gathered up her mom and dad and headed off to BWI for the flight home to LA. The emptiness was almost crushing but it was ameliorated by the necessity for me to get Onward's Steward on the stick to clean up in preparation for Bill and Kiran Kimbell to visit today.
  • Bill and Kiran showed up just before noon to a fairly well organized Onward - the Steward did Good!
  • After getting them settled aboard, we headed S to Annapolis. Along the way I took them to G&M seafood where Kiran got to sample their fantastic Crab Cake.
  • We then headed off to Eastport and Bob Johes's home where he was hosting the annual C470 Owners cocktail party. We had a grand time visiting with good friends and enjoying the food and wine.

9 Oct 11; Sunday;
  • Kiran, Bill and I headed back to Annapolis to spend the day at the Sailboat Show. I got to meet his buddy Steve and to see the new Hanse 49 that Bill was going to help deliver back to New England after the show.
  • I spent a nice day wandering all the vendor booths and meeting old friends.

10 Oct 11; Monday;
  • It was back to Annapolis again where I had my new crown installed by my dentist. Kiran, Bill and I then did a bit of touring starting with the newly updated US Naval Academy Museum. After meeting friends for lunch, it was time to deliver Bill to the show to prep for the delivery trip N. I then took Kiran to BWI for her flight back to RI

11 Oct 11; Tuesday;
  • I got a call from Dr. Resar's office at Johns Hopkins Hospital scheduling the coronary catheterization procedure for Friday.
  • I spent most of the day researching my medical issues.
  • [See a summary of the Medical Saga.]
  • I was a bit staggered when I found some statistics that related potential for mortality to my Calcium CT Score.
  • Bill and Linda Daley pulled into the Anchorage Marina today. My good friends Chris and Bob Kozak had made sure that I met them at East Greenwich Yacht Club while I was in RI this summer. Bill has just retired from his medical practice and are embarking on their long-held dream of cruising their IP 40, Celie. Our schedules precluded our spending much time together in RI, but I had been able to give them some pointers by email and phone as they headed S from RI. So, today it was a real boost to my spirits to have them arrive and be able to spend more time talking. We started this process by waling over to O Donnell Square where we strolled about looking at all the restaurants before selecting one for dinner. Great fun, great company!
  • My sister called and when Bill and Linda heard me telling of my impeding visit to Johns Hopkins Hospital, they very kindly agreed to supervise my release after the procedure. A great relief to have that worked out.

12 Oct 11; Wednesday;
  • I spent most of the day researching my medical issues.
  • Somehow I couldn't get myself focused on any cruising-related issues or boat tasks.
  • Bill and Linda Daley invited me aboard Celie for dinner. Linda made a wonderful saurbratten and veggies. Delish!

13 Oct 11; Thursday;
  • I spent another day researching my medical issues. I also prepared a living will.
  • We added Bill to my rental car contract so he could schlep me around and then went to Whole Foods to do some shopping for healthier foods. I was amazed with how interested I now am in selecting healthier foods - I wasn't that bad before but suddenly I'm REALLLY focused on it.
  • Armand and his fiance Gianna, good friends I met here through Laura and Kurlen, came over for dinner. I cooked a nice healthy fresh marinara sauce based on the recipe my sister taught me this summer in RI and combined it with the quinoa / whole wheat pasta I found at whole foods. Delish. Having good friends around helped me stay calm and peaceful.
  • I was very surprised with how calm I felt about all that was going on and the very high threat to my life. I found myself very peaceful and positive as I looked back over my life. Interesting. Good but interesting....

14 Oct 11; Friday;
  • Today I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital for Dr. Jon Rezar to do a coronary catheterization and angiography. The procedure went smoothly and the JHH staff are gems. It was good to be alive and alert with all my faculties in the recovery room after. See a summary of my Medical Saga.

15 Oct 11; Saturday;
  • Well, I woke up again today! Great!
  • Bill Daley came and fetched me in mid afternoon to return to home aboard Onward. Along the way we stopped to pick up some new meds and do more heathy food shopping at Whole Foods.
  • It was great to get back and start thinking about the future. We went out to dinner at another O Donnell Square restaurant where I ate a heart-healthy meal.
  • Now I just need to find a recently retired cardiology nurse whose dream is to cruise the Bahamas ;)

16 Oct 11; Sunday;
  • This morning I decided to inform family and friends of my experiences of the last week. After emailing them I decided to incorporate my note into this website - hence the Medical Saga.
  • Some humor: This morning as I was cleaning myself up, I happened to look in the mirror and immediately burst into laughter. Words came back from my "conscious sedation" from the nurse saying things like "shaving just a bit", "manscaping", and "Mohawk". Then I recalled that while Dr. Resar preferred to do the procedure through the right wrist artery, they prepped for a possible catheterization site in the groin. Hence, my laughter at the "curious" result! ;)

17 Oct 11; Monday;
  • I felt great. It was time to get on with all the boat projects that needed to be done before Onward could depart at the end of the week.
  • The first priority was relocation of the davits. I wanted to move the more outboard to the sides as well as slightly aft. The wider span between davits would better accommodate my 10' RIB; the movement slightly aft would allow the RIB to clear both the struts for the two stern seats as well as eliminate interference with the swim platform when it was raised and lowered. To accomplish this, I needed to move the support feet to the swim platform and the rail brackets to the inner side of the stern seats. I needed to extend the leg of the davit to reach down to the bracket on the swim platform. I couldn't find a local supplier for the 1.24" SS tubing needed for the extension but I was able to order it from MacMaster Carr and it arrived in 3 days! I also bought a 3' length of solid SS bar to fit inside the tubing to both join it to the davit as well as strengthen both.
  • Today I took the SS bar to Howard Carter who has a machine shop near BWI to see if he could turn it down a few thousandths to fit inside the 1.25" SS tubing of the davit and extension leg. He had a rush job going but he called a friend, Jules C, who happened to be driving nearby. Jules came over and looked at the job and said he could have it ready the next morning. Neat.
  • The second major project was to relocate the solar panels on a stronger bracket that was not connected to the bimini frame as the present one was. I bought 2 6' lengths of heavy wall SS tubing from Defender and mounted them to the stern rail using similar mounting brackets to those of the davits and also using the food brackets of the davits that were still in place.

18 Oct 11; Tuesday;
  • I drove to Juels' machine shop located in a neat building behind his lovely home near BWI. He told me it sits on a lot of land that the developers are after - but he won't sell. He had my parts ready and then he drilled some holes in the solid bar for me - quick work with his milling machine.
  • After running errands, I took my new SS parts back to Onward and began putting the new davit assembly in place. i got it all done but for fastening the feet to the swim platform. That will require me climbing inside the seat locker - a job for another day.
  • I also got the new bracket for the solar panels installed. Now all I need is a calm day and another pair of hands to make the transfer.
  • By the time i got all this done, it was rainy again and colder. However I got to go to my niece Kristen's home for dinner! There she mad a delicious dinner enjoyed over red wine. I had been trying to get Kristen and friends aboard Onward earlier in my stay but their complex schedules prevented this from happening. So Kristen fixed it by inviting me!

19 Oct 11; Wednesday;
  • I prepared the installation of the new davit mounts and the solar panel mounts.
  • In the afternoon, I visited my cardiologist who filled me in a bit more on the catheterization procedure and outcome. His summary: I'm an anomaly (no news to many of my friends there). In spite of my extremely high Ca CT score, I was fortunate to have stenosis (narrowing) only at 2 locations which were "fixed". My relatively healthy lifestyle had kept me asymptomatic if on the edge. Somehow my genes predispose me to metabolize LDL a bit differently than most. So I'm on my way to being the new "Svelte Joe".

20 Oct 11; Thursday;
  • I went to a follow-up office visit with Debbie Jones, my primary care provider where I gave her a big hug of thanks for getting me to do the Ca CT Scan "just to be sure" all was OK with me. Further instructions on adapting my lifestyle to fight the LDL issue ensued.
  • I then stopped by Johns Hopkins Hospital where Dr. Jon Resar, the professor of cardiology who did the procedure on me, wanted to check my right wrist which had been a bit tender. I was in luck and got to see him instead of a Fellow on service. After checking my wrist and pronouncing it fine, he took me into his computer room where we "watched my videos". I spent a fascinating half hour while he took me frame by frame through the evaluation of my problem and then the implantation of the the stents. We had a grand time as he obviously enjoyed being able to talk about his work with me. I found out he visits Linekin Bay in Maine every August so I plan to look him up next year when I plan to return to Maine.

21 Oct 11; Friday;
  • I managed to get the new davit mounts installed and the solar panels moved to their new mounts. Somehow I've not been able to devise a 6' arm extension that allows me to hold a screwdriver on the head of the screw on the swim platform while I use my other hand to use the ratchet wrench to tighten the nut bellow in the stern locker. Dockmate Sean came by to provide the extra pair of hands needed to make all this happen.
  • I had planned to depart on tomorrow morning but by mid-afternoon, it became clear this wasn't going to happen as there were still too many projects undone. So, I quit early and took a shower and a nap to rest up to have dinner with friends.
  • At 1900 John Miller and Vicki Collier picked me up and drove to Ocean Aire where we met Ed Brown and Nancy Yanofsky for dinner. It was somehow a special day for Joe as I was showers with gifts: Vicki and John gave me a neat metal sculpture of the Ancient Mariner that doubles as a wine bottle holder. I will have to show them Laura's video from grad school where I got to play the Ancient Mariner in her realization of a poem written by her cousin Arianna Georgi. Then Nancy and Ed gave me a neat wooden sign "Onward" that the found on Nantucket - and some nice chocolate to boot! Wow! This dinner is going to be hard to top. The food was great but was topped by the camaraderie. It was a spectacular way to say farewell to Baltimore as I start the trek S.

22 Oct 11; Saturday;
  • This morning's chore was to install the new Jabsco Lite Flush all-electric head that had been so highly recommended to me by Ron Draper who has one aboard Allegro. I had bought it as soon as I got to Baltimore but hadn't gotten the installation done first because I needed to get Onward prepared for Elena's arrival and then because I couldn't decided which head I was going to replace first - the forward or the rear. West Marine had only had one in stock so I figured I would do one to evaluate the installation and operation before doing the second. I finally decided on doing the stern first. To my surprise the removal of the old head and cleanup took less than 45 min. But due to the complex shape of the base it had to mount on, finding the best location and making hose connections was a challenge and took a couple of hours. The new head has a built-in electric flush pump and a built-in electric macerator pump. It needs very little water to flush so I decided to experiment with fresh water flush. To do this, a separate fresh water tank that is not connected to potable water is needed for obvious reasons. I bought a collapsable 13-gal tank to mount in the shower seat. I plan to use the fresh water I "waste" each time I wait for the warm water to show up at the shower head to fill this tank. As an experiment, I decided to just feed the pump from a 1-gal plastic bottle to evaluate the amount of water it uses. The new head works neat!!! One of the best features is a nice simple smooth exterior that will be easy to keep clean -- so unlike the one it replaced which had so many nooks and crannies it could never be kept clean.
  • At 1830 I cleaned myself up and set out to get a few food items at Safeway. That turned into 6 bags of things I didn't know I needed. Schlepping them across Boston St. was a challenge only to find out I'd again left my gate key card aboard Onward. I had planned to stop by the marina's Halloween party but after shopping I was beat so it was an early dinner then reading a book in bed.

23 Oct 11; Sunday; Baltimore to Herring Bay
  • Between 0600 and 0900, I managed to do the last critical task of straightening and reinstalling the chain stripper on the windlass. I got most things stowed to the point it was safe to move Onward.
  • At 0915 I departed the Anchorage Marina and headed over to the Baltimore Marine Center where I took on fuel and pumped out the holding tank.
  • By 1000 I was headed S! The start of circuit 5 to the Bahamas and back. For a while last week, I didn't think this was going to happen. But, God was good.
  • I made arrangements with Ceili to meet at Herring Bay. Bill and Linda had spent the last few days at St. Michaels and were ready for a new venue. I then contacted Ron Draper and made plans with him to meet after we were anchored.
  • It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny if a bit cool. Being back in the cruising mode again and underway had a great calming effect on me. I still love this!
  • Onward and Ceili anchored in Herring Bay at ~ 1630. After a quick shower I launched Venture, picked up Bill and Linda and headed in to Allegro where Ron and Linda awaited us. We then went off to dinner and had a great time. I am still finding making menu choices a bit of a challenge but I'm getting the hang of it. Bill couldn't even really tempt me by waving his nice french fry in front of me!
  • I had alerted Ron to Tony Bennet's new album of duets and he had bought it and just had to let me listen to it. So, we stopped by his home to get the CD which we listened to in the car on the way back to the marina.

24 Oct 11; Monday; Herring Bay to Solomons
  • At 0730 Onward and Celi were underway S to Solomons. Another nice if calm day. The uneventful transit brought us into Solomons where we anchored at 1330 off Zanheiser's. After lunch, Linda came over in the dink and we headed into the pier at the Maritime Museum. It was so quiet there we thought it was closed. We headed up the road to the new Food Lion that is now a mile away - no more short walk. We got good exercise and picked up a few needed items. After the obligatory stop at West Marine on the way, we were back aboard to stow groceries.
  • I was invited aboard Ceili where Linda cooked a "heart healthy" lasagna dinner. Delish! Great people, great food, great wine - you can't beat it!

25 Oct 11; Tuesday; Solomons to Fishing Bay
  • It was another 0730 start on a beautiful clear day. The promised NW winds were there and built to ~ 10kts. For a while we had the ebb current with us and were surfing along at > 8 kts motorsailing with genoas.
  • Before weighing anchor, I removed the stud on the windlass that had held the rotation lock which got knocked off by a twisted section of chain earlier in the year. I noticed that this stud occasionally caused a jam when two twisted links of chain got caught between it and the gypsy. We'll see how this works. I've used this windlass so much, I'll have to be sure it's in still in great shape before heading to the Bahamas as I really depend on it to be able to singlehand Onward.
  • The Potomac let us know it was there as we crossed its mouth - sending rolling swells hit on the starboard stern quarter periodically shaking everything up.
  • I decided to make dough for calzones and pepper biscotti. It was a bad idea to do this while in the Potomac washing machine. I had all i could do to keep the mixing bowl on the counter.

26 Oct 11; Wednesday; Fishing Bay to Norfolk
  • The wind shifted from the NW to the SW during the night so wind on the nose to Norfolk would be the rule. Onward weighed anchor at 0730 and as it moved through calm waters, I baked two spinach calzones It was a bit sad to have to forgo the provolone and prosciutto as part of my new lifestyle. Ah well, the best will be left. When they ware done, I started a batch of pepper biscotti. I managed to get the first hour of baking in before the SW wind picked up to ~ 20+ kts apparent and the swells built as we approached Wolftrap Light.
  • The adverse winds and seas continued until we crossed the mouth of the York River and closer to land so the fetch dropped and waves abated. The journey from there to the anchorage at Hospital Point was easy. We ware pleasantly surprised to find relatively few boats in the anchorage.
  • I discussed the ICW bridge ballet with Bill and Linda and we set 0730 to weigh anchor and make the 0830 opening of the Gilmerton Bridge.
  • I was beat and after a cocktail and a quick dinner, I read for a bit but quickly dozed off.

27 Oct 11; Thursday; Norfolk to Coinjock
  • It was a quiet night after all that wind during the day. About 0300 I awoke to a USCG VHF announcement about a bridge closure. So I got up and listened to it and found that the Gilmerton Bridge would have its channel closed by a barge from 0630 to 0930. So my planned departure would have to be put back an hour.
  • After arising and having my breakfast, I decided to use the "extra" hour before departure to bake some almond biscotti. I further adapted the recipe to be more heart healthy by using half whole wheat flour, olive oil vs butter, Splenda vs sugar. I got these going in the oven before it was time to weigh anchor at 0815.
  • Onward and Ceili cruised at slow speed so as not to have to keep station in front of the bridge with a bunch of other boats. This worked great and we were the last two boats through right after the waiting gaggle had cleared.
  • I was chagrined to learn that the opening schedule of the Steel Bridge has been changed to on the hour vs half-hour. We had been traveling slowly to make the 1030 opening only to find the opening was at 1000 so we lost a bit more time.
  • At the Great Bridge Lock, I took the starboard wall with the rubber bumpers. One of the lock tenders came over to help get my lines. He grabbed my bow line and i was too busy to remember to tell him not to tie it tight. Well he did and then the cross wind caught my stern. And then he missed my stern line when I threw it to him. Onward was soon almost cross-canal. It was a bit ugly but I got him to loosen the bow line and I was able to get it fixed. This again is a reminder that I have to prevent shore helpers from grabbing any other line but the mid-ship line.
  • When we entered Currituck Sound, we were created with a freshened cross wind that made this passage another joy. The good news was there was insufficient scope for the wind to build up the waves.
  • We put into Coinjock and Celi got a slot on the face dock and Onward in the small basin. This landing went smoothly inspire of the cross wind. Given the condition, I had decided that one attempt was all it was going to get. We enjoyed a nice leisurely dinner at the restaurant.

28 Oct 11; Friday; North R (5 nm S of Coinjock)
  • A cold overcast day. Weather reports indicate today and tomorrow will be tough for crossing the Albemarle Sound with wind gusts to > 30 kts expected at various times.
  • Bill came over and we had coffee and discussed the next move. Due to the weather, Ceili will stay at the marina until at least Sunday morning. I decided to depart the marina before midday and move to the head of the North River where it is just deep enough to anchor but still relatively protected.
  • Before Bill left I loaded him up with goodies to share with Linda: calzone, pepper biscotti, almond biscotti.
  • I spent a couple of hours adding a stabilizing brace to the new solar panel mount.
  • At 1145 in a pause in the wind gusts, I backed out of the small basin only to have a 2+ kts current grab Onward's stern and causing the hull to brush the side of the pier - just some green algae to clean up.
  • At 1300 I anchored and then set about making a nice salad for lunch. It was so cold, all I wanted to do was wrap myself up in my blanket and read - so I did until going to sleep.

29 Oct 11; Saturday; North River
  • I slept warmly using the trick I learned while living aboard through a couple of winters in Annapolis: put a wool felt blanket over the flannel sheets and it keeps me toasty!
  • I spent the day catching up on financial and navigation records while the wind howled outside.

30 Oct 11; Sunday; North River to Alligator River
  • A nice morning without high winds! Albemarle Sound was well behaved and we cleared Long Point Shoal at the entrance to the Alligator River without incident. Maybe someday they will change the chart to actually reflect where the channel is. We got through the bridge after only a short wait. It was too late in the day to make it through the Alligator River - Pujgo River Canal in daylight -- and I'm too much of a whip to try it in poor or no light.
  • We anchored just before the canal entrance and enjoyed a quite night. We had caught up with Spring Moon and they anchored a bit closer to the entrance.

31 Oct 11; Monday; Alligator River to River Dunes
  • We had a pleasant and uneventful transit of the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal. As usual, the Hobucken Bridge bent Onward's VHF antenna - a clearance of about 64.5 feet. I whipped up a batch of pizza dough when we got through the canal.
  • Why is it I never transit the final stretch down to Oriental / River Dunes going S without the wind being cold and from the NE??? Onward got its annual rolling around when we turned W to go up the Neuse R. We put into River Dunes to find that Spring Moon had already berthed. I'd talk to them during the day and invited them over to for pizza.
  • After getting cleaned up a bit, I made Onward pizzas and Dick Tudan, Corky Rittenbaugh, Tim McKenna (sp?), and Laurie Sampson came over for pizza. Laurie is a friend of Tim and happened to be working aboard a 80"+ motor yacht berthed at River Dunes.
  • We had a grand time and ate lots of pizza. I experimented on them and made a whole-wheat / regular flour dough that turned out to be great - now a part of my new "heart-healthy" diet. For the first time I made one pizza without pepperoni and cheese! It was great!
  • As we sat around talking after dinner, Dick told me of his plan to depart from Beaufort directly for the Abacos. He was going to use the calm day ahead of a predicted Low to get across the Gulf Stream and then exploit the northerly winds on the Low's E side to book on down to the Abacos. We then discussed weather and I let them read the latest forecast for the crossing that I'd received from Chris Parker. I told him I subscribed to the weather service because my years of participating in technical reviews of ARL's weather programs taught me that all the important things happened in the subtleties that it took a meteorologist to decipher.