|Is the storm over yet????|
Steph here. Wednesday… The morning after….felt like Mt. Ararat on day forty one. The sky was gray and all nature’s color was washed out by the rainfall. Residual wind and damp diminished the appeal of venturing out. Although we were dry, we were still a thousand miles north of where we wanted to be and much too cold. Cabin fever and a curiosity to see the aftermath drove us to debark and walkabout anyway. Looking over at Scott’s house, water still lay on the surface here and there. All the boats survived, including a sailboat left on a mooring in the river.
|The receding waters|
|Atop Mt. Ararat|
Scott, the owner/operator of Hancock Harbor Marina and Bait Box Restaurant, has collected lots of marine memorabilia and has the room to display it. The operation is well run, but unlike many marinas, it has the ambiance of a general store. As Don told us before we arrived, “it needs a coat of paint.” The most surprising artifact we saw when we first arrived was a beached UFO. Now we had a chance to visit it up close. Somebody’s fantasy beach house I imagine, crafted in fiberglass. Other fiberglass derelicts appear to be modular cabanas out of the fifties. Most of the other artifacts pertain to the waterman’s way of life on the river and the bay. Oyster rakes, wooden crab boats, fisherman’s floating cabins, old anchors, net floats, skiffs and crab pot buoys are scattered around making the walkabout an adventure in history and culture.
|Martin houses for resident insect hunters|
|Judy getting "grounded" with the large quartz crystal in the pile|
|Floating fishing cabin|
|Crab boat restoration|
As the day wore on, boaters came down to survey the results of the storm. Nick on an adjoining boat offered to take us shopping and on a local tour to boot, an offer we could not refuse. We drove through marshes and flat open farm fields, many studded with windrows and blocks of ornamental trees, both functional in place and available for market. It seems that Greenwich, New Jersey was one of the earliest settlements in the Garden State. The locals have called it Green-Witch ever since before the revolution. The Yacht Club’s burgee depicts a green silhouette of a witch on a broom stick. The town has a monument to its own Tea Party, held not long after the one in Boston we all learned about in school. They refused to use the British pronunciation of their town to this day. Besides the Tea Party monument, the village boasts some lovely old homes, Colonial, Victorian and assorted others. Nick tells us that despite being in the middle of nowhere, real estate in the village is pricey. Charm has its costs.
|Greenwich house 1|
|Greenwich houses 2|
|Greenwich house 3|
|Greenwich's Tea Party monument|
Next stop was Bridgeton, the Cumberland County Seat. It got its name from the fact that it could only be accessed by bridge from any direction, understandable in this low agricultural country. Nick took us to Wal-Mart where we found two small (less than 12 amp draw) electric heaters, then to Shop-Rite for a few more items. On the return trip, the tide was up and several of the roads back to the marina were under water.
|Road out- can't go that way!|
Back on the boat, we took out the two 200Watt “personal” heaters and plugged them in. They had the effect of a small fan blowing over a 150Watt bulb. You’d be surprised how welcoming that was. Earlier, Judy had asked me “At what temperature can you see your breath?” We were finding out in our real life science experiment.
Thursday… Lee on “Brisa” came by and brought us a 1500Watt electric heater and a heavy extension cord to use. We had been using a lighter extension cord strung up on poppets to keep it out of high water. Scott kindly kept the power to the electrical posts in the yard operating with a large generator. What blessings, unlike millions of other people we had power most of the time and the big heater really took the bite out of the otherwise chilly cabin. Yeah, we actually got to take off several layers of clothes and were comfortable!
The weather was a little less dreary and we continued to recommission Bentaña. We had returned odds and ends on deck on Wednesday, and today we bent the three sails back on and ready to sail. Judy went up the mizzen mast to untie the blades on the wind generator.
|Hobie looking for his Mama!|
Down at the dock, “Little Fin” the crabber was returning with baskets full of “Hurricane Crabs.” The Captain said the season was coming to a close and the storm provided an abundant catch. I asked if I could buy some, and wound up with half a bushel of mixed he-crabs and she-crabs, enough for two dinners for two. I brought them up to the boat to show Judy and Hobie. Judy was skeptical and Hobie was reticent. That evening we steamed half the crabs and enjoyed picking out the sweet meat along with leftover pea soup, hearty seafarer’s fare. I steamed the balance after dinner and chilled them for tomorrow’s pickin’.
|What ARE those things, Dad?|
|A hearty meal|
Judy here: Friday was our launch day. The guys came with a bucket loader to move the pilings out of the way that had floated over to Nick’s boat. Hobie was fascinated! Then they used the bucket loader to pull out the rebar stakes that had been installed for tying down during the hurricane. Hobie was vibrating with excitement until they put the power to the bucket and the noise ramped up. He skittered away to hide, then popped out again as soon as the noise receded.
|Bentaña just "hangin' around..."|
The travel lift came to pick up Bentaña and the three of us debarked (Hobie in his carrier) to join the parade to the launch site. It was cool and blustery. She was splashed with no problems and we headed for the main dock where we were going to spend the night tied up (and plugged in so we could use the big heater!) We took on fuel and got a lesson on cleaning crab NJ style. Apparently, in MD, the entire crab is cooked and you clean it out before you eat it. In NJ, the crab is cleaned prior to cooking and it is much easier to find the parts you are supposed to eat! Personally, eating crab from the shell when you are hungry is very unsatisfying because it takes so long to get a minute piece of crab out of the shell.
Lee from “Brisa” had told us to leave 30 minutes before low tide to head for the C & D Canal and Annapolis. So Friday night we tied everything down, stowed everything below and started a pot of oatmeal so it would be ready in the morning. Low tide was at 0745 on Saturday, so we planned to leave at 0715. We actually got off the dock at 0749 and started the next leg of our adventure!