M/V ARGO CAPTAIN’S LOG
September 20, 2013
Baltimore: Our last newsletter ended with our possible departure on September 1 for the U.S. from Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The passage across the Gulf of Maine is potentially difficult both because of weather concerns, particularly at this time of year, and because it is 270 miles of open water that is exposed to the open ocean and its associated swells. The passage takes about 40 hours and we decided to make landfall at Beverly, MA., so that we could meet friends and watch the Michigan /Notre Dame game. Because of the risk of poor sea conditions, we engaged our trusted weather consultant, Ocean Bob. He forecasted lovely weather, so we left Shelburne early in the morning. The first 24 hours were wonderful; clear sky, warm temperatures and near flat seas. The second 24 hours were completely different: 30 knot winds, high seas and unpleasant conditions. We hardly made six miles an hour, so our landfall was delayed several hours and we were pretty tired when we got there.
After a nice two day visit and squaring up with U.S. customs, we headed out for Delaware Bay and eventually a marina near Baltimore. Our objective was to leave Argo in a hurricane safe place while we returned home for a brief visit. Once again I consulted our weather consultant who assured me that this trip would be wonderful: calm, smooth waters and very enjoyable. We left Beverly, Mass early in morning and headed for the Cape Cod Canal. By the time we passed offshore at Boston, the wind was blowing around 20 knots and it stayed that way until we reached Martha’s Vineyard. I called Ocean Bob, and he reassured me that things should be great, so we proceeded off ashore and across the gulf between New Jersey and Long Island, which is about 200 miles. The weather deteriorated. We listened to NOAA radio and heard their weather reports. They claimed calm seas and light wind conditions, but we experienced heavy sea in the 6 to 8 foot range and winds consistently between 20 and 30 knots. Unfortunately that lasted about 30 hours, and it wasn’t much fun! Needless to say, we have lost confidence in weather forecasters (but not Argo).
We passed through the Cape May Canal, which was constructed during the Second World War to help convoys avoid German U-Boats and save 30 miles of transit around shoals at south end of the bay. It is a fairly short canal and somewhat narrow, but it was a pleasant trip compared to what we had been through the previous two days. The Delaware Bay was very enjoyable. It is pretty shallow, but there is a channel running its entire 50 mile length. The weather was sunny and warm. Late in the afternoon we made the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, which is a wide and comfortable route with an interesting shore line of small towns and homes. It is about 20 miles long, and by the time we reached the end of it the sun was beginning to set and we were anxious to reach the marina at Pleasure Cove. By the time we reached the mouth of Main Creek, it was dark. Unfortunately the passage into the creek was very narrow, but using our night vision, spotlight, and with Rebecca on the bow looking for channel markers, we made it in safely. It was sort of like fun, but different!
Now Argo is tied up at Pleasure Cove waiting for us to return and take her south. Our first leg of the trip south will be up the Potomac River to Washington D.C. That should be fun. Then we will head south to Charleston and other wonderful spots before ending our cruise at Stuart, Florida in November.
I have posted a raft of pictures from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I hope you enjoy them.
Below is an article from my U.S. Navy (USS Currituck AV7) ship’s crew association paper that I recently received. I am sure you will enjoy it.
The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and me. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers).
However, let it be noted that according to her ship’s log, “On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum”.
Her mission: “To destroy and harass English shipping”.
Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.
Then she headed for the Azores, arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.
On 18 November, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.
By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.
The U.S.S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whiskey, and 38,600 gallons of water.
Wishing you and yours all the best.
Randy and Rebecca