It’s been a very hectic couple of days. We got word Thursday that Jack’s license renewal and our absentee ballots arrived at my sister’s in New Jersey. Friday morning she and Dave drove to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Jack and I rented a car and met them at a PennDoT photo center.
A few minutes later Jack had a valid driver’s license in hand and we all piled into the Strifes’ car and went to the Lancaster Central Market.
Nancy and I checked out every stall while the men lined up at the meaty meat sandwich place.
We ate lunch on a bench outside and went back to make some purchases.
Nancy and Dave had an errand to run and a long drive ahead of them so we said a reluctant goodbye and a big thank you for bringing us our important mail and helping us to check a big To-Do off our very long list.
Jack and I went to Best Buy and replaced his twice-dunked iPod nano, then took advantage of having a car to stock up on bulky things that are hard to carry on a bike, like toilet paper, paper towels and the like.
We should have enjoyed the road trip more than we did, but hurricane Sandy looming in our future put a pall on the day. During the entire drive there and back we kept checking the storm track and read emails from various people offering suggestions and local knowledge. When we got back to Annapolis Alan met us on the dinghy dock to help unload the car and we all came to the same conclusion, that we were in a very protected place and all we needed to do was move from anchor to a mooring. The moorings here are Helix type, screwed deep into the bottom and will give us better holding than our anchors can in high winds. We believe the protection from the adjacent trees and buildings will shield us from the full brunt of the wind. Neither of us wants to be slamming against a fixed dock, which is all they have around here. Being on a mooring means the boat can swing around to face the wind and that’s better for the boat and rig.
We considered high-tailing it south but Sandy is so big that we wouldn’t really be able to get far enough in a few days to avoid the winds, and we’d have to choose a creek to anchor in without knowing beforehand if there are already boats there or if the holding is good. We had a lot of suggestions for possible anchorages but we chose the known over the unknown. Time will tell if we made the right decision.
All night neither Jack nor I slept much and we were pretty happy to see that by 5am the storm had been downgraded to tropical storm. We finally got up and took the rental car back. When we got back to the boat we saw that Alan had moved upstream and was already on a mooring. There were only three left so we borrowed Alan’s dinghy and tied it to the one we preferred — which you’re not supposed to do — then took Alan up on his offer of help, raised anchor and motored over to the fuel dock where we waited for nearly an hour while a big motor yacht sucked up enough fuel to keep the Middle East in palaces. We topped off the fuel tank, emptied the holding tanks, filled some jerry jugs with fresh water and filled our gas can for the outboard. When I went below to get my wallet I saw smoke coming out of the guest cabin. Jack!!!
It was our ailing starting battery which we had planned to replace this afternoon. Can’t wait now. Jack and Alan got the smoldering thing off the boat and the marina lent us their courtesy van to drive to Steven’s Battery Warehouse for a replacement.
Less than an hour later we fired up the engines, motored upstream and picked up our illegally reserved mooring. Alan helped us sort out the lines and left us to our storm preparations.
We’re one of four boats who have chosen the city moorings in Back Creek. There were five, but a large sloop just changed his mind and went to a marina. We’re rigging a different anchor and will have it ready to deploy if the mooring gear fails. We’ll spend today and tomorrow getting ready.