We made it! The morning of May 17th we left St John, U.S. Virgin Islands and in the afternoon of May 29th we dropped our anchor in Mobjack Bay on Chesapeake Bay. After 7 years of being away we had Jammin' in the continental states at last--with credit cards and the check book out ready to start refitting the old girl (Jammin' not Helen). The boat will rest in Deltaville and hit the water again the first of September.
What a great time it has been. Thanks to Bill and Linda on Sapphire, who organized this event, we met the other participants at numerous gatherings which fostered friendship and the exchange of information. Being from the Northwest we are newbies entering the waters of the North Atlantic. Over the past 7 years our boat/home has traveled from Oregon, up to Alaska, down the West Coast, passed through the Panama Canal, stopped in the Western Caribbean, summered in Panama, crossed the waters to Jamaica and the Eastern Caribbean islands, and summered in Trinidad twice. Even though we are seasoned travelers, we felt new and uneducated about the Gulf Stream and the Atlantic East Coast ports and anchorages. Our reason for joining this rally was to get first hand accounts of the Gulf Stream and information on where a deep draft boat can anchor safely. The ICW is famous for its skinny waters and we are what you would call a beefy bottom boat at 7 1/2 feet.
We can HIGHLY recommend the Salty Dawg rally to anyone heading north (in May) from the Virgins, or south (in November) from the East Coast. With the help of Linda from Sapphire, Steve on Celebration, relays from Matt on Troupadore, and Dick from the DoDah net we were able to check in 3 times daily via SSB radio and hear the progress being made by all the boats participating in the Salty Dawg Rally. It surprised us that during the 13 days we never saw another boat after the first day, each of us took a slightly different course towards the U.S. The daily radio contact helped us feel we were not alone at sea despite the fact no one was ever in our sight. We owe Chris Parker a big thank you for giving us the data we needed to make informed decisions on our course as the weather conditions contorted into 3 different weather systems and us sailing at the edge of it all. And we owe a special thank you to the person(s) who posted our blogs--our son, daughter, relatives and friends followed our progress on the spot and read the daily logs we and others posted. It calmed their worries to hear our words, it entertained them to hear what was happening to us and others, and it brought back memories of time on our boat as a family.
This fall, when we plan our return to the Caribbean, we hope to join the rally for the Fall migration to the Virgin Islands. Safe travels and full sails until our paths cross again, Helen and Dave on Jammin'
P.S. We will be checking out the Salty Dawg Rally website and reading about the Spring 2013 Hotdawg Rally. Now that we finally have internet we can read what others wrote and how their trip went. Our kids tell us it was great hearing all the joyful experiences others were having, and they could commiserate with the dreadful conditions some of the participants overcame. Boating is rarely dull,but the good times are sooooo good that one quickly forget the hard times. My husband is already talking about crossing the Atlantic and how it would only be 6 days longer than the trip we just completed...a man of the seas can never be far away from planning the next adventure.
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