October 19, 2006 - Washington DC
Yesterday I experienced flashbacks to pre-cruising life when I had to get up to go to work in the morning. Steve and Gloria on Living Well hired me to help them strip and sand the rails on a sailboat at the yacht club, so I spent a few hours learning the art of using a heat gun and scraper. In the late afternoon Annie, Laura and I set off on foot for the headquarters of the Wilderness Society on M Street to meet Bill Meadows, the President of the Society. I worked with Bill twenty years ago in the Alumni Relations Office at Vanderbilt. We had a nice walk, passing the White House where a lone anti-war protester was packing up her signs. Across Pennsylvania Avenue was a anti-nuclear peace protest station, manned continuously since 1981. Unfortunately the woman on duty last night was loudly blaming Israel for all the problems of the world, and I found it somewhat odd that a peace protest should be used as a platform for hate speech. It wasn't until I looked at my photo that I spotted another protester in the scene--a man carrying a poster that read, "It's really still August! (Don't let the liberal media fool you.)"
Bill gave us a tour of the Wilderness Society headquarters, which were impressive in their expansive yet very low-key nature. Everything is very elegant yet efficient and bare-boned; think unfinished ceilings, bare concrete floors, yet warm colors and real walls so that everyone has an office instead of a paneled cube. We walked about a mile and a half from there to Bill's very cool condo in Georgetown where his wife Sally was waiting, then went to dinner with them. It was inspiring to hear Bill and Sally talk about their lives and all that they have accomplished.
Photos: (1) The anti-nuclear, anti-Bush, anti-Israel permanent peace protest. (1) Laura and Annie with Bill and Sally Meadows.
Today I did a couple of hours of sanding and then we walked over to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, which has seen some nice exhibit renovations since my last visit ten years ago. Unfortunately the Oceans exhibit area was closed (it will not reopen until 2008) but we saw most of the favorites--dinosaurs, Hope Diamond, the cafeteria--before being run out of the building at 5:30 PM when the museum was closing. I love the free admission to the Smithsonian, but I wish they stayed open a little longer.
It took me months to decide I never was going to reach a grand conclusion to the question, "What is reality?" but I have finally given up and completed a new essay, Sitting Still: Cruising with a Purpose?.
October 22, 2006 - Mattawoman Creek, Potomac River
Just an example: last night Gloria from Living Well went out with three other women. They drove a fifteen foot skiff up the Potomac to Georgetown. During their return trip, they took a very large wake broadside and flipped the boat. Nothing like being in the water at midnight in late October. Predictably, Gloria did well in keeping everyone on board the overturned vessel, then paddling it ashore to get help. Come to think of it, I did hear more sirens and helicopters last night than usual.
Before leaving DC to motor down to Mattawoman Creek, we spent one more day sightseeing. First we took the Metro to Union Station, which is quite a palace of a train station. Next door was the Postal Museum, which we toured. We walked back to the Mall via the U.S. Capital, then spent an hour at the Botanical Gardens nearby, which were very nice. We ended the day with another visit to the Air & Space Museum because that's where Laura wanted to go. Yesterday we did a couple of loads of laundry, then borrowed Steve's truck and went grocery shopping in Alexandria. In keeping with tradition, we got lost several times en route.
October 23, 2006 - Nomini Creek, Potomac River
October 25, 2006 - Dividing Creek, Chesapeake Bay
This morning we got a leisurely start and left the calm anchorage for the raging Potomac, where it was still blowing 20-25 knots over the stern. We easily made six to seven knots with just a reefed main and a bit of genoa out. I had thought we might go into Mill Creek, a few miles south of the junction with the Potomac, but by then we were away from the fetch of the river and the waves had calmed down, so we kept going a bit further to Dividing Creek. We'd spent a night out at the mouth of the creek back in mid-July on our trip north, but this time we motored up a couple of miles further to get to a protected spot. Laura seems to be feeling better, although she still has a cough. Tomorrow we're headed for Deltaville Boatyard, where we plan to have the boat hauled and surveyed on Friday. If all goes well we'll get the bottom painted as well.
October 26, 2006 - Deltaville, Virginia
October 30, 2006 - Deltaville, Virginia
We'd hired Don McCann to survey the boat so we could renew our insurance for another year, this time through BoatUS. Don was a pleasure to have aboard and helpful in pointing out things here or there that could be improved, yet kind enough not to comment on the mess that inevitably results when three people live on a boat for a year. The only surprise on the survey was that the seal at the keel/hull joint had been leaking. Don was sure that two of the bolts had been seeping water and sure enough, when I started removing the 5200 sealant from the keel (a horrible, thankless job), it had separated in several spots and had moisture inside.
In the meantime, Deltaville Marina has proven a nice place to spend a few days. Although we can't use the pool given the season, the facilities are very pleasant and include well-kept grounds, a truly huge swing, a courtesy car and bicycles. It's not particularly cheap; the fee for transients is $10/person per day (ouch!) or $35/person for a week. Godwin and Sylvia were kind enough to loan us their truck and we enjoyed a trip to Jamestown on a very windy Sunday. This time, instead of visiting the recreated fort and ships, we went to the original site which is operated by the National Park Service. The park is getting a new visitor's center and other improvements in preparation for the 400th anniversary of the settlement next year.
Today the weather was just about perfect, and after the hull was washed we spent the latter part of the afternoon polishing and waxing. As darkness fell today we had completed about a third of the hull. Tomorrow if all goes well we will attempt to tighten the keel bolts, recaulk the keel/hull joint, and get the first coat of new bottom paint applied. Another day for a second coat of paint and it's possible we could be back in the water on Thursday.
October 31, 2006 - Deltaville, Virginia