Sunday, September 21, 2008

Playing on the Bay with Ed & Barb Daniel

There was fabulous weather during the Daniels' visit on "Island Hopper". Temperatures were in the mid to high 70s during the day with sunny skies. The winds were 10- 15 knots with the seas 2 to 3 feet.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Early Morning Fog
Debbie & Barb rode about 5 miles on bikes around Rock Hall in the morning. Kevin and Ed deflated the dinghy and winterized the dinghy motor. After eating lunch Barb & Ed took the shuttle service to Baltimore's airport for a 4:00 PM departure. We had a great time with Ed & Barb and are glad they joined us for 5 days in the Chesapeake Bay.
Saturday, September 20, 2008 The crew got up early this morning to ride bikes around St. Michaels, MD. Barb, Ed, and Debbie rode bikes to the Farmers' Market and the St. Michaels Maritime Museum, where Kevin met up with them on his bike.
Hooper's Lighthouse at the Maritime Museum
Then they rode to Perry's Cabin. Perry's Cabin is a beautiful estate like inn on the water. The grounds are exquisite and the inn facilities beautiful. After touring the inn they jumped on their bikes and rode back into the town. After stopping at the Blue Crab Coffee Shop and a few stores they rode back to the marina. "Island Hopper" departed the dock at Harbour Inn Marina in St. Michaels at 12:45 PM and arrived in Haven Harbour, Rock Hall, MD at 3:15 PM. After a quick tour of the marina they went to the Crab Fest sponsored by the Haven Harbour. Barb ate over a dozen crabs. She made up for Kevin, Ed and Debbie who ate hamburgers and nibbled on crab. After dinner they drove around Rock Hall and had drinks at the Harbor Shack. After cocktails they went to the drugstore for ice cream. Ed had a waffle cone that held about a pint of ice cream. After their evening snack they went back to "Island Hopper". Another great day on the water!!!!
Friday, September 19, 2008 Ed & Barb woke up early to walk around Annapolis and have a coffee at their favorite coffee shop in town. "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 11:00 AM heading to St. Michaels, MD. "Island Hopper" arrived at Harbour Inn Marina around 1:00 PM.
Pulling into the dock at St. Michaels
After lunch Kevin, Barb and Debbie took the dinghy across the harbor to the St. Michaels Maritime Museum. Kevin was the docent for the day. The museum has a wonderful displays and interactive exhibits about the life on the bay. The Hooper Island Lighthouse was a favorite exhibit.
Barb & Kevin at the top of the Hooper Island Lighthouse

The crew walked to the Town Dock restaurant for dinner. The seafood was great!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Barb & Debbie rode their bikes about 3 miles around the Inner Harbor waterfront in Baltimore before departing the dock at 10:40 AM.

"Island Hopper" leaving Inner Harbor
"Island Hopper" headed to Annapolis, arriving at 12:30 PM. After docking the boat the crew had a quick lunch and headed to the Naval Academy. Barb & Ed took Debbie & Kevin on a tour. It was a wonderful afternoon touring a few of the buildings on the campus.

Kevin, Barb & Ed at the Naval Academy

After visiting the Naval Academy, Debbie & Barb went shopping in Annnapolis. It was back to the boat for Happy Hour and then a walk to O'Leary's for dinner. O'Leary's is a favorite restaurant of Barb & Ed. We had another great meal with good friends.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 Barb & Ed Daniel arrived at the Inner Harbor Marina around 5:30 PM. After they unpacked, "Island Hopper's" crew had wine and appetizers in the cockpit. They later walked to J. Paul restaurant for dinner. Everyone is looking forward to cruising to Annapolis tomorrow.

Barb on the back of "Island Hopper" in Baltimore, MD

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preparing "Island Hopper" for the Daniels

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Kevin and Debbie did laundry, grocery shopping, and boat maintenance in preparation for the arrival of Barb and Ed Daniel. Debbie & Kevin will take "Island Hopper" to Baltimore, MD. Barb & Ed will meet them at the Inner Harbor Marina around 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 17th.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cruising With The Crockers

Thank You!! Thank You!!! to Barb and Roy Smith
for loaning Debbie & Kevin their Maryland Burgee to fly on "Island Hopper". Barb and Roy are friends from the Ohio River Launch Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, but are originally from Baltimore. They have cruised the waterways flying the Maryland Burgee on their boat "Aerosmith".
We have been having so much fun with Jenny and Dan Crocker that we didn't make time to keep up the Blog. But, that's a good thing!!!! Wednesday, September 10, 2008 The Crockers arrived at Haven Harbour, Rock Hall at 12:20 PM. We went to "The Shack" for lunch. Jenny was brave and had a soft crab sandwich. After lunch, Jenny and Debbie went shopping in Rock Hall. Lucky for the men, not too much damage can be done in the Rock Hall shopping district. Kevin and Dan happily went on their merry way to check out the local marinas and boats. After playing around Rock Hall they went to Osprey Point for dinner.( Osprey Point is a lovely inn and marina. Thursday, September 11, 2008
Heading under the Bridge
Fort McHenry on the Waterfront
The crew prepared "Island Hopper" for a 9:40 AM departure. After a 2 hour and 20 minute cruise "Island Hopper" arrived at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. It was a great day for cruising the waterways of Maryland. After lunch on the boat Jenny and Debbie set off to shop their way through Baltimore. Kevin and Dan walked to a local bar on the other side of the harbor and enjoyed some brews. The crew ate dinner in the restaurant at the marina called the Rusty Scupper. Wonderful seafood was had by all!!!!(

"Tide Point" - A Previous P & G Plant

A Sailboat cruising Inner Harbor

Just a few small yachts across the dock from "Island Hopper"

A view of downtown Baltimore from the boat dock

Dan Crocker sitting in the cockpit of "Island Hopper"

Friday, September 12, 2008 "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 8:30 AM, arriving in Annapolis, MD at 10:45 AM. It was another good day for cruising. Some mild rain started after we docked. Again, Jenny and Debbie went shopping, while Kevin and Dan did a walking tour of the Naval Academy. They ate dinner at the Annapolis Yacht Club. ( Annapolis is a beautiful and quaint town around the waterfront. Saturday, September 13, 2008 "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 10:00 AM and docked at St. Michaels Harbour Marina in Saint Michaels, MD. Jenny and Debbie took the shuttle and walked around the small town of Saint Michaels. It is filled with specialty stores and boutiques. Kevin and Dan rode bicycles to the Saint Michaels Museum. ( The crew met at 4:30 PM to do a wine tasting at Saint Michaels Winery. ( After tasting 8 - 10 wines they happily purchased wine for tomorrow night's happy hour. They had a fabulous meal at Bistro St. Michaels. (

Saint Michaels Harbor near Harbour Inn

Crab Claw Restaurant

Sunday, September 14,2008 Biking...Shopping...Lunching...Swimming...Cruising...Drinking...Dining This was a day that almost had enough action filled events to satisfy Kevin.

"Island Hopper's" Crew in the dinghy

The yacht "Diamond Lady"

Around 10:00 AM Jenny and Debbie hopped on the bikes and rode into town for some last minute shopping. After riding the bikes back to "Island Hopper", the crew jumped into the dinghy for a harbor cruise. After a short cruise they went to the Crab Claw for lunch. Jenny received a hands-on crab eating demonstration from the table behind us. After lunch it was back to marina for a refreshing swim. Captain Kevin said the water was too cold, so he needed more time than the rest of the crew to take a plunge into the water. "Island Hopper" arrived back to the home port, Haven Harbour in Rock Hall, MD. around 5:30 PM. The crew was ready for happy hour and then dinner at Waterman's Crab House. The Crockers leave tomorrow morning to head home to Cincinnati, Ohio. We had a great time playing in the Chesapeake!!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Arrival to Rock Hall, Haven Harbour Marina

Sunday, September 7, 2008 We arrived in Rock Hall around 7:15 PM. We were happy to find that "Island Hopper" was not affected by the stormy weather from Hannah. Tomorrow we will begin preparing for the arrival of Jenny and Dan Crocker.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Trip Summary by Captain Kevin

Sunday, June 8, 2008 TRIP SUMMARY Hello from Capt. Kevin, Haven't written much thus far, as I have been very busy with navigation and maintenance of Island Hopper. Luckily we had no mechanical issues or groundings. We saw more than our fair share of mariners who did not navigate as carefully as they were being towed off the"hard". Wanted to cover a few details about our recent voyage. We traveled 1205 miles from Stuart, FL to Rock Hall, MD. Rock Hall was fishing community until the past few years. Our summer home is Haven Harbour Marina on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay . Many of the boat owners at the marina are from PA (Philly area) and NJ, which are a short drive. 80% sailboats in this marina, but with fuel costs I don't blame them! In our recent journey we were en route 20 days with 18 travel days. We spent two nights in Charleston and Hilton Head, respectively, neither of which we have visited prior to this trip. Our diesels ran 94.5 hours and we burned 1486 gallons of fuel or 15.7 gallons per hour. That corresponds to .82 MPG which is respectable for a boat. We averaged 67 miles per day which was 4-5 hours underway. One day over 100 miles and several at 25 miles. We left the marinas between 7:30 and 10:00 depending upon tides and how many miles we had to travel. We used Marinalife to book our marinas and would highly recommend the service. For internet access we relied upon a Verizon USB connection and/or a marina wireless network. The marinas had marginal service. I bought an antennae for wireless internet which allowed me to pick up unsecured wireless at a great distance, which in most cases were faster than the Verizon devise and better than the marina coverage. We ate breakfast and lunch on our boat and most times dinner at a local establishment. From gourmet to a marina bistro. ( I am being kind) I checked cruising websites nightly as I planned our next day travels, mostly for cruising problems. Mostly shoaling of the channel as the US Government has chosen not to maintain the waterway for commerce. Luckily, our navigation equipment includes tide tables so we could navigate the problem areas at rising tides (in GA and SC the tides are 6-8 feet) or avoid the areas all together by going out in the Atlantic provided we had a good pass to the ocean and decent sea conditions. We don't like to go in the Atlantic with seas exceeding 4 feet and winds in excess of 20 knots (23 MPH). Just not comfortable, so why do it. I also spent time daily reviewing and handling client matters as I have chosen not to retire, so I can afford the diesel fuel, which climbs with each fill-up. The vessel carries 600 gallons. Overall a great adventure. Especially with my great First (Best!) Mate. It takes a great crew to handle a 52 foot vessel in winds and currents. The wind always seems to pick up at the time you want to dock! No collisions though once I did a waive off as the current was pushing me into a 120 foot vessel, in Beaufort, NC. The damage I could have done would have been catastrophic! Luckily, I dodged that bullet. Till the next adventure!

Exploring Rock Hall, Maryland

Sunday, June 8, 2008 Kevin & Debbie got up early to prepare for a busy day. Kevin left with a driver at 8:00 AM to drive to Baltimore and pick up a rental car. Debbie stayed aboard and washed down the boat and began getting ready to leave on Monday. Kevin returned about noon and the two went into the town to explore. ( After lunch on the boat we explored downtown Rock Hall. Our first stop was to the Visitor's Center. We then drove to marinas and checked out some of the stores and restaurants. Kevin found an old fashioned drug store and had a hand-dipped chocolate malt. Tonight's dinner was at a local restaurant on the bay called Waterman's. The food and view were great.

St. Michaels, Maryland to Rock Hall, MAryland

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Island Hopper" left the dock at St. Michaels at 11:40 AM. We were in no rush to leave, since it will only be a little over 2 hour run today. The skies started out overcast, but turned hot and sunny quickly. The wind were SW 0 -5 and the seas were basically flat. It was an easy run, but the heat was building. We arrived at "Island Hopper's" summer port, Haven Harbour Marina, Rock Hall, Maryland at 2:00 PM.

The Water Tower Welcoming Us to Rock Hall

"Island Hopper's" Summer Berth, Haven Harbour Marina

Haven Harbour's Reception and Grill in the Background

After getting the boat settled we we explored Haven Harbour Marina.( We were pleased with the facilities. With the heat and the lack of a car, we ate aboard. We are looking forward to getting a car tomorrow and exploring Rock Hall.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Solomons Island, Maryland to St. Michaels, Maryland

Friday, June 6, 2008
High Profile Spotting - Tonight Kevin & Debbie were having dinner at Bistro St. Michaels and recognized one of the guests coming from the upstairs dining room. It was Vice-President Dick Chaney. He was having dinner with his wife and possibly friends upstairs. Numerous people followed him down, most probably secret service. The server said that the restaurant was filled with secret service. In the kitchen, out front and out back. Vice-President Chaney and his wife own a home in St.Michaels. Locals are used to the procedures and say he frequents the restaurant. The couple at the table next to us said he lives two doors down from their home and they see him helicopter in on Fridays. No one batted an eye to his presence, except for the Hoppers. The food was fabulous!!!
We left Solomons Island at 8:40 AM and will be traveling a shorter distance of 55 miles to St. Michaels. The temperature is in the 70s, but expected to reach mid 80s later today. Skies are overcast with dense clouds, which will make for nice running temperatures. The sun is predicted to break through later today making temperatures warmer. Winds are Easterly 5 with Seas 2-3, but calming to 1-2.
St. Michaels - A Little Background History
St. Michaels is one of those unforgettable cruising spots of the Chesapeake Bay. Although the town was officially chartered in 1804, early accounts of trading here date back to 1631, and the late 1600s parish church was built where the Christ Episcopal Church now stands. As St. Michaels grew it became an important ship building center especially noted for its "Baltimore Clippers," the fastest sailing vessels of their time. Today the town is better known as a popular yachting center.

A Waterfront Home On St. Michaels

Shore Things in St. Michaels
In St. Michaels, everyone can be as busy, or idyllically idle, as they like. There are interesting museums, diverse shops, fabulous restaurants, tour boats, golf course and numerous festivals to entertain everyone. There are luxurious inns, manicured parks, and coves to discover by dingy. (
Things To See and Do
Of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's nine buildings, the cottage-style Hooper Strait Lighthouse is the most recognizable. Decommissioned and moved to its present after standing watch for 75 years, it has been restored and furnished to reveal the lightkeeper's world. Other exhibits in this exemplary museum examine such local maritime heritage as waterfowl hunting, boatbuilding and oystering.

A Bascule Bridge at the Maritime Museum

Buildings in the Maritime Museum

Hooper Strait Lighthouse
Shopping - Yes! Debbie is Exited For Some Awesome Shopping!!!! Shops specializing in unusual gifts, clothing, art and antiques line Talbot Street, which runs the length of the town. Browsers will find a range of merchandise: pottery, sportswear, jewelry, home furnishings, books, Christmas ornaments and gifts for people and their pets. All the things that Kevin says" We do not need." On Saturday morning ( May through October) the farmer's market in Muskrat Park is open for shopping to buy garden produce and homemade treats or to attend a guest chef's demonstration. (

A Pet Store in Town
Restaurants here enjoy widespread acclaim. With many fabulous restaurants to choose from, we selected Bistro St. Michaels, a french bistro in the heart of downtown. (
St. Michaels Harbour Inn Marina & Spa
Kevin and I have found that if an "U" is added to HARBOR the price is increased. We guess it makes it fancier. We will be staying one night at Bob Pascal's St. Michaels Harbour Inn and Spa. It is a resort marina with waterfront suites, a luxurious spa located at Harbour Inn, and features restaurants offering contemporary and and casual dining. The marina features all the amenities of an upscale resort and conference center. Marina facilities include complimentary cable, showers, laundry, courteous and helpful dock attendants and pump-out. Resort amenities available to Marina guests include an outdoor pool and spa, bikes, shuttle service into town, exercise room, wireless internet and spa. (

Island Hopper Docked at Harbour Inn Marina

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Portsmouth, Virginia to Solomons Island, Maryland

Kevin preparing "Island Hopper" for departure
Thursday, June 5, 2008 We left the marina at 8:00 AM. We have 113 mile to go today. It should take us about 6 1/2 hours to get to Solomons Island. ( ) The skies are sunny and temperatures are already in the 80s with high humidity. The winds are N 5 - 10 with the seas 1 -2 ft. on the Chesapeake Bay.
Sailors standing at attention waiting to come ashore
A Light in the Chesapeake Bay
The air feels much cooler with the winds over the water. It was a pleasant run today. We arrived at Hospitality Harbor Marina at 2:30 PM. (
"Island Hopper" Approaching the Marina
Solomons Island Solomons Island, just inside the mouth of the Patuxent River, has developed since the 1970s into one of Chesapeake's top destinations for cruising boaters. Discovered by the boating crowd, it has turned into a modern yachting center filled with marinas offering a myriad of amenities. Retirement retreats and weekend residences edge a shoreline now cleared of derelict boats, crab shacks and rickety piers. Isaac Solomon established the first oyster-canning plant in 1867 and, since that time, Solomons has been a major boat building and waterfront community. The first bugeye (oyster- dredging sailing vessel) was built in Solomons in 1879, and during the 1930s, the yard of M.M. Davis and Son produced many famous racing yachts. Most everything in Solomons is available by foot, but bicycles can be rented for faster travel. The town is less than 1 1/2 miles long and has a single two lane road traveling its entire distance. Museums, shops and restaurants are scattered throughout the town. Seafood is featured prominently at many of the restaurants. Many of the town's small cottages have been converted into unique gift and clothing stores. This should be a quaint town to visit.

Debbie's Favorite House on Solomons Island

We walked into the town, which turned out to be a round trip walk of about 4 miles. The town is quaint and small with a couple dozen restaurants and bars and a few shops filled with tourist items. We stopped at the grocery store on the way back and bought fresh shrimps, salmon, asparagus and curry couscous for dinner back on the boat. It was a quiet and relaxing evening.

Coinjock, NC to Portsmouth, Virginia

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 We departed Coinjock Marina at 7:40 AM. The winds were SW 10 - 15 with gusts to 25. The morning started off very hazy and smoky due to the wildfires in North Carolina. It was a warm morning and the temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-90's. This is above normal for June. Today was the day for bridges. We went under eight bridges, with five of those bridges only opening on the hour or half hour, and two on demand.
Just one of the eight bridges
We alo had one lock, the Great Bridge Lock that seperates the watersheds of the Albemarle Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. We went up about a foot.
Great Bridge Lock
This was a hot and slow day for travel. Captain Kevin had to time our speed to the openings of the bridges. We arrived at Tidewater Yacht Marina at 1:00 PM. The marina is on Mile Marker "0" on the "ICW". (
"Island Hopper" docked at Tidewater Yacht Marina
A Mallard swimming in the Marina
While leaving for dinner, Kevin mentioned that Jim Thompson, an attorney from Cincinnatiand his fromer office mate, who now lives in Terre Verde, FL with his wife Roni, was keeping their boat in the marina. We looked over the dock and saw "La Bateau" tied bow to stern with "Island Hopper". We didn't notice this earlier, since we couldn't see "Le Bateau's" stern from the dock. They are literally on the same dock. Of course, we called Jim immediately and told him that "Le Beteau" was looking good.
"Le Bateau" docked across from "Island Hopper" in Portsmouth
The marina's location was great to walk ino the town for dinner. We walked at least 1 1/2 miles along the waterfront and into the town. On High Street we found a charming restaurant, Cafe Europa,and had a great meal. Then it was back to "Island Hopper" for the evening. It was still in the mid 80's at 10:00 PM. Portsmouth's History Portsmouth's evolution has been tied to the sea. The Naval Shipyard, founded in 1767, now services nuclear-powered vessels, and this portion of the Elizabeth River remains as busy as ever. Ocean-going container ships load and unload at Portsmouth Marine Terminal and Coast Guard vessels ply the waters near their home base of Portsmouth. Olde Town has museums, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The Elizabeth River Ferry shuttles visitor to and from Norfolk into downton Portmouth. This is a great way to tour both towns.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Belhaven, North Carolina to Coinjock, North Carolina

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 7:40 AM and went to Dowry Creek Marina for fuel. We are headed to Coinjock, North Carolina. The temperature started out this morning in the high 60s, but will be in the mid 80s by the afternoon. It is a pleasant day with mild winds and low humidity. Skies are blue and sunny, with winds SE 5-10 morning changing to SE 10 - 15 in the afternoon. We traveled through the Albemarle Sound. Captain Kevin had to be careful because of dead heads and very shallow areas. One boat went too close to the red buoy and had to be towed by Sea Tow. Due to Kevin's reading and fine homework our voyage was uneventful - in a good way!! Today we will travel 85 mile. We arrived at Coinjock Marina at 2:00 PM. We have a few hours of R & R.
Coinjock Marina, Coinjock, NC
The Crew Hard At Work
Intracoastal Waterway Traffic - A Barge
Just Having Local Fun On the Water
A Few Facts About Coinjock - Just a few... Coinjock is a native American name, meaning "land of the mulberry bush." That is the tale that is told - even though no one has seen a mulberry bush in Coinjock. Coinjock is not a destination per se, but a traditional stop on the ICW, or going north or south on a major thoroughfare to a waterway town. There is not much to do in Coinjock, but take a walk, fill the tanks and check charts for the next leg of the journey. We will be staying at Coinjock Marina.

The Marina Across The Water

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beaufort, North Carolina to Belhaven, NC

Monday, June 2, 2008 We departed the marina at 7:40 AM. The skies were cloudy with a few intermittent rain sprinkles, but quickly cleared by mid-morning for a beautiful and sunny day. We traveled on the inside with winds NW 10 - 15 with gusts up to 20. Temperatures were in the mid 80s. We arrived at Belhaven Waterway Marina at 12:30 PM. It is a small marina that is beautifully maintained. After lunch on the boat we walked into the small town. There were a few businesses and about four stores. We then walked along the waterfront to see the homes, bed & breakfasts, and the River Forest Manor. ( Not much to do in Belhaven. Only a few restaurants were open, so we grilled and had a relaxing diner on the boat.

Debbie in front of the local shoe store

The crab artwork created by local artists and businesses

displayed throughout the town

A Beautiful Harbor It's pretty obvious how Belhaven got its name: the translation is "beautiful harbor." Rich with old forests and clear streams, it was originally called Jack's Neck in the late 19th century when it was a farming and fishing village. The first house in the area was built in 1868 on the site where the River Forest Manor now stands. The structure was used chiefly as a hunting and fishing camp, which is why so many people have come to Belhaven over the years. In 1899, lumber and railroad baron John A. Wilkinson constructed a Victorian mansion here, home now to the River Forest Manor, which still draws visiting yachtsmen. The hurricanes of the late 1990s brought flooding to the town, so many Belhaven houses had their foundation walls raised in hopes of avoiding another disaster.

A newly constructed home

A Beautiful Sunset in Belhaven