22 September 2012 Reedy Island to Penns Landing Marina, Philadelphia
The forecast was for a cold front to cross over later in the afternoon, bringing 25 knots winds from the south. We decided to move because the anchorage would be very uncomfortable in the south wind especially when the tide is coming from the north. Unfortunately we had very few options. The Salem River was no good because the approach channel has very shallow spots, so our only option was to head forty miles up the river to Philadelphia - the tidal current was against us, but at least we had the wind behind us.
It was a fairly interesting run up the river. There are a lot of oil refineries and industrial areas on the shore. The Philadelphia River is one of the major oil refining areas in the USA. Many of the barges that we saw along the coast would appear to be coming from here. There’s also a major ship yard with huge aircraft carriers similar to the ones in Norfolk.
We arrived at Penn’s Landing Marina in the late afternoon and they had reserved a berth for us. The dock master, Richard and his wife Sandra were extremely friendly and invited onto their boat “Our Dream” for sun-downers.
23 September 2012 Penns Landing Marina, Philadelphia
We spent the day wandering around Philadelphia city centre. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were produced here, but the Liberty Visitor’s centre was very crowded, so we decided to do that tomorrow.
We drifted into China Town and found that there was protest rally taking place over the Senkaku Islands which is a group of uninhabited islands lying between China and Japan. Japan claims ownership, but their claim is disputed by China. Earlier this month, the Japanese government purchased three of the disputed islands from their private owner, prompting large-scale protests in China. However, the Philadelphia rally was very good natured with Chinese percussion bands and dancing dragons.
In the evening. we wandered down South Street, did a little pub crawl and ended up in a Thai restaurant, which turned out to be a “Bring Your Own Booze” place and all the liquor stores were shut – bummer. We had a lovely meal anyway.
24 September 2012 Penns Landing Marina, Philadelphia
We had another tourist day. Our first stop was to stare at the Liberty Bell, which has become an American symbol of independence and liberty. It was rung when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and has been used an icon for the abolition of slavery and the suffragettes.
We then called into Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debate and signed. We’re learning a lot about American history – this ties in nicely with the stuff that we learned in Boston. Paul Revere’s famous ride was from Boston to Philadelphia to warn of the approaching British.
As we wandered about, we came across a couple of memorials. The Vietnam memorial had the usual list of local people lost in the war, but had a very unusual mural made from granite. Most of the surface was rough, but the artist had polished the surface to draw stunning images almost like charcoal sketches with the polished areas being black.
There was also an interesting statue to remember the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1850 when over a million Irish were starved to death and a million more forced to emigrate. The huge statue is in bronze and depicts starving people as well as the immigrants arriving in the USA. The 1800’s were not Britain’s finest time...
We walked to Museum of Art and ran up the steps made famous by Rocky with hundreds of other tourists. It’s one of Philadelphia’s top tourist attractions. There’s a bronze statue of Rocky, which used to be on the steps, but the stuffy people at the Museum of Art didn’t want it in such a prominent position because it isn’t a true work of art, so it was relocated to a sports stadium. Following pressure from lobbyists, the statue was moved back to the Museum six year ago, but has been tucked away in a shaded glade at the side of the steps, which is a shame…
25 September 2012 Penns Landing Marina, Philadelphia
We had a chill-out day. Glenys went shopping for seven hours, while I indulged myself playing on the internet.
I’ve spent the last three months practising my guitar, doing exercises, scales and playing the odd tune. My technique is getting better, but I haven’t learned to play anything, so I spent most of the day investigating songs that I like and trying to choose one that I can learn that won’t be embarrassing if I have to play to friends – Jingle Bells just doesn’t cut it.
There’s loads of videos on YouTube of people playing and teaching various songs, which are very helpful. In addition, I found lots of information on the scales and fingering to play various songs. Unfortunately, much of the information is poor quality and people have published Tab formatted music that is plainly incorrect, so it took ages to sort out the good stuff from the rubbish. I’ve focussed on two Eric Clapton songs that I think I’ll be able to play with a lot of practise – only time will tell.
26 September 2012 Penns Landing Marina, Philadelphia
We spent the morning doing small jobs. I’ve started to order things from the internet, which I’m going to get delivered to Deltaville Boat Yard. We should be there in four weeks and it will be the last place where we can get things delivered.
Maury from “Smidge” picked us up and took us back to his and Bonnie’s house nearby. We had a typical American lunch of barbequed hot dogs and then they drove us around to do a few errands.
In the afternoon, they took us to the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New jersey. This is a well laid out park with hundreds of sculptures which have been collected by a philanthropic trust with the aim of making the art available to everyone. There’s a variety of a pieces ranging from extremely life like scenes by Seward Johnson to more abstract sculptures. The grounds are extremely well maintained and walking around was a joy.
We had dinner in a restaurant at the park which was very haute cuisine – a huge change from the places that we normally frequent. I even had to wear a shirt with a collar and long trousers for the occasion. We slept in a real bed for a change.
27 September 2012 Penns Landing Marina, Philadelphia
After a pleasant breakfast, Glenys went off with Bonnie to a supermarket, while Maury described some of the anchorages that we could go to in the Chesapeake.
Yesterday, I’d spotted some horse chestnuts and picked up half a dozen. I put strings through them and showed Maury and Bonnie the ancient English game of Conkers. It’s amazing that they’d never heard of the game, which was extremely popular in the UK when I was a young boy.
We drove back to Philadelphia and went to “Pat's - King of Steaks” to have a genuine Philadelphia Cheese Steak. The shop was founded by Pat Olivieri in 1930, after he invented the dish, which consists of chopped up beef steak, onion and cheese on long Italian roll. It’s very greasy, but tasty street food – much better than a hotdog in my humble opinion.
Bonnie and Maury took us to the Barnes Foundation, which is an incredible art gallery created by Albert Barnes. He made his fortune by inventing some eye drops to prevent infant blindness and in 1922 started to collect paintings by the Impressionists such as Renoir and Cézannes. Barnes was well known for disliking pompous art critics and wanted to bring art to the common man. There are hilarious refusal letters sent by Barnes to numerous pretentious rich and well-placed people who had demanded to see his collection. The extent of the collection is amazing with 181 painting by Renoir, 69 by Cézannes, 59 by Matisse, 46 by Picasso, etc.
Our friends dropped us off at the boat with all of our shopping and we collapsed with a nice cold beer at six o'clock. Philadelphia has been one of our favourite cities to visit only topped by Boston so far, it's a pity that more cruisers don't bother to make the 40 mile trip up the river.
28 September 2012 Penns Landing to Ordinary Point, Chesapeake
We were up at very early and left at six o'clock in the dark to catch as much of the ebbing tide as we could.
It was a pretty boring trip motoring down the river. The only little bit of excitement was when a fuel tanker was leaving one of the many oil refineries and we were approached and escorted by a US coast guard RIB around the security zone surrounding the fully loaded tanker. They were serious about the security with a crew member standing at the machine gun on the bow, watching us like a hawk.
We motored through the C&D canal which is an eight mile waterway connecting the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays – very boring with not much to see. Once through to the Chesapeake, we motored down a dredged channel to the Sassafras River and anchored off Ordinary Point which was nice enough, but a bit ordinary…
29 September 2012 Ordinary Point, Chesapeake
We had a chill-out day. I spent ages surfing the internet and ordering more stuff to be delivered to Deltaville. Projector screen, some tools, some more rechargeable batteries, a spare charger for the iPad, 110 volt transformer, etc. I’m in the frame of mind that we won’t get another chance like this to order stuff over the internet, so I’m making the most of it.
Glenys continued to try to improve her time for Sudoku and did a few jobs. I received an email saying that our cruising chute will be delivered to Deltaville on the 1st October. Unfortunately we won’t be there for another two to three weeks…
30 September 2012 Ordinary Point to Weems Creek, Annapolis
We dragged ourselves out of bed at seven o’clock. It’s getting bloody cold at night now and it’s very, very hard to climb out of the warm duvet. We motored out of the anchorage and headed south towards Annapolis, where we’ll chill out for a few days before visiting the huge boat show.
We picked up some wind after an hour or so and sailed most of the way, having to motor occasionally in the fluky winds. As we approached Annapolis, the number of sailing yachts increased to the point where we could see hundreds of sails and there were boats coming at us from all directions. It’s a major sailing area and everyone seemed to be out enjoying the good weather.
The wind headed us as we approached the huge bridge just outside Annapolis, so we motored until we entered the river mouth which goes past Annapolis. I (unilaterally) thought that the wind was good enough to sail and unfurled the genoa, which heeled us over in the strong winds. Unfortunately, we hadn’t stowed stuff away and there was lots of crashing as the contents of the boat rearranged themselves - cases of beer and other items skittered across the saloon floor, Glenys just caught our camera and binoculars from catapulting down the companion way and there was horrible sounds coming from the galley. Glenys had a sense of humour failure. After a few minutes, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and rolled the jib away before Glenys killed me.
We went into Weems Creek, which is a lovely little bay a couple of miles up the Severn River. There are good moorings that the US Navy has installed to be used as hurricane moorings for some of their boats. Most of the time, these are not being used and anyone is allowed to pick them up for free. Unfortunately, it’s getting busy as the boat show approaches and they were all taken.
We tried to anchor in the middle of the creek, but our CQR anchor was slowly ploughing through the soft mud. We let it settle for twenty minutes and tried to dig it in, but it continued to slowly drag. We tried again without success and moved to a spot closer to the shore to try to get better holding. The anchor dragged a little bit, but this time we decided to let it settle again hope that we’d be okay.
I was pretty nervous when we went to bed because we were close to the shore, too close to a couple of other boats and we hadn’t dug the anchor in very well.
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