Ready to go! Mate Schmoker, Boatswain Keller, Storekeeper Schmoker and Captain Ashton ham it up for the Skipper in the commuter lot at 5:00am Sunday.
Daniel has a legendary habit of sleeping almost anywhere, in any position. See?
Scouts with our gear down by the dock at Skipper Yeckley's in Lusby, MD, about 6:45am. Our skipper called Skipper Yeckley at 6:55am and woke him up. Fortunately, he was planning to rise at 7:00, so there was no real harm done.
Launching the rowboat at o'dark thirty.
Heading to Amanda Grace with some of our provisions and gear.
Skipper Yeckley came down to greet us, help load gear, and offer tips for navigating the creek. Upon seeing the plow anchor set up that Cap. Ashton provided to replace the lost one, Skipper Yeckley, a seasoned sailor, said politely, "I've never seen a rig like that."
Skipper Yeckley asked our skipper, "Want a boat?" She said, "Thank you, but we have 6 already and maybe two more on the way, and that's enough for now."
Sunrise on Helen's Creek on a still morning.
Daniel brought the row boat back for more gear, provisions and Skipper Shay.
Skipper Yeckley reviews the chart and course with Mate/Captain-of-the-cruise Schmoker.
The sun is finally up, and we were ready to be on our way, but...
...Amanda Grace had caught her stern line betwixt hull and rudder, so Daniel--a certified snorkeler and competitive swimmer--lowered himself into the water, using his feet to dislodge the line...
...but that didn't work, so Skipper Yeckley suggested the scouts pull the line on the starboard side, but that didn't work, so...
...so Caitlin and Capt. Dan tried the winch, but that didn't work, so...
Daniel had to enter the chilly morning water and all but submerge himself in order to remove the snagged line.
A large flock of geese flew overhead, a honking cacophony.
Finally, Skipper Yeckley could prepare to take in his 50 lb. plow anchor--that should have been enough to hold a battleship, but wasn't quite enough to hold Amanda Grace.
Our scouts raise the ship's flag for the journey.
There she flies!
Captain Schmoker piloted us out of Helen's Creek after dirtying his shirt while preparing the boat for going under way.
Happy to be heading out to the Bay!
With a good breeze blowing the Scouts remove the sail cover to be prepared for raising the sail when we hit open water after two hours of motoring. The wind was favorable for about 1 hour, then we had to motor again--for the rest of the trip.
Daniel had galley duty for lunch--the first use of Amanda Grace's galley in about 6 years. On the menu: seafood salad wraps.
Salad in production.
Caitlin takes a turn at the wheel...
...while Daniel conserves energy for his watch.
The scouts took the sails down before the sun disappeared. As the warmth of the sun waned, we were gratefully relieved of the besieging horde of blood sucking flies.
Scouts hanging out on the bow as the sun goes down...
...and the moon rises.
The Amazing Captain Dan piloted Amanda Grace from moon up, to moon down, to sunrise--all through the night, with its cold breeze and confusing lights ashore. All that, without even coffee, since the leaking stove impeded preparation of hot water.
Skipper Shay took a stealth shot of her crew through the fore hatch.
Sunset was beautiful, and we had some wind--but the wind was against us, and added to the night's chill, contributing to the challenge of piloting all night.
Daniel helps Skipper and Caitlin to cook dinner as we learned more about the finer points of Amanda Grace's systems. Skipper Shay's bicycle pump pressurized the alcohol stove's fuel tank--hidden beneath the starboard berth--but the fill cap leaked, so we had take turns pumping to maintain operable pressure.
For dinner: Hamburger Helper stroganoff...flambe! Gotta' love those one-pot meals! (We learned a lot about how- and how *not* to use the stove.)
Now you know why they call it "grub." Commodore Alexander, eat your heart out. (We missed you!) Fortunately, the food tasted a lot better than it looked. No, really, it did! ("If you like warm, goopy salty stuff.."- Caitlin)
Caitlin took several pictures of the morning sky, like this...
...while Daniel snoozed like the Princess and the Pea.
At about 2:00am Capt. Dan woke Skipper Shay so she could help him stay awake and navigate in the wee hours. Once the sun was up, around 7:00am, he went below for an hour and a half nap, while Skipper Shay took the wheel and gave the morning report to COR Sanford.
Daniel carries the engineer gene, and rigged this ingenious contraption to keep the head door--the latch for which doesn't work--from slamming open and closed while under way. With aid of her Leatherman, Skipper executed other temporary repairs with twist ties (holding clevis pin on traveler) and electrical tape (substitute for door latch in galley).
Approaching Occoquan, we saw some suspiciously familiar-looking kayakers.
Yes, see the Boston Red Sox hat on the one in the blue kayak? That's Rebecca!
Look how happy our kayaking scouts were to be able to welcome home Amanda Grace in their own flotilla!
Approaching Prince William Marina, new home to Amanda Grace!
What can we say? He is a warrior!
Look at all those sleek and speedy Sea Rays! Amanda Grace is a highly unusual guest at this very popular marina. Thank you, Prince William Marine owner Carlton Phillips!
Our unexpectedly early arrival resulted in a small dockside turn out: COR Sanford, who cheerfully ventured out on a cool holiday morning to greet us.
Captain Dan had to maneuver Amanda Grace around while we waited for the pump-out station to become available. Here he noted, "She doesn't back well."
Approaching our new slip, Caitlin uses a boat hook to grab the aft dock line.
Daniel grabs the next line.
Skipper Shay made the first entry in Amanda Grace's new log book.
COR Sanford brough us hot coffee and fresh donuts. Also, a brand new bo's'n's pipe for Caitlin. Thank you, Stu!
Daniel, what are you doing?
"Spitting at fish, of course!"
Returning from the Occoquan-to-Mason Neck kayak trip, scouts Harrison and Rebecca visit Amanda Grace in her new slip. This is the first view for our newer scouts. She needs a cleaning, and plenty more work, and having her at a dock in our ship's home port will make it a great deal easier to work on her. (Photo by Ann Cameron Siegal)
The sign says it all. After thirteen months, twenty-two work days, several headaches, one near-heart attack, and a couple thousand dollars, "Welcome Home," Amanda Grace!