Sunday, July 7, 2013

Homeward Bound

Alas, all good things must end, as does this sailors' tale.
It has been a remarkable two years, and has left us with many fond memories of the wonderful people and places we have met along the way. We have traveled almost ten thousand miles as we made our way into and around twelve pan-American countries.  Mostly, we have learned a lot about ourselves and how to appreciate this little blue planet third from the sun. We would like to thank all those who helped us on our way and bid you all fair winds and following seas for the times to come. 'Til next time...
Chantey V at dry dock at Herrington Harbour

Happy Trails.....

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Washington DC

   After successfully cutting loose from Britain in the War of Independence, the newly-formed United States of America needed a capital city with all the trimmings that reflected a democratic republic. George Washington chose this site on the upper reaches of the Potomac River. Since then an extensive array of impressive museums, monuments, war memorials and attractions have sprouted up along the mile-long National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to Capitol Hill, quite something to behold
. We anchored in the scenic harbour, just outside the Washington Monument 
and were immediately welcomed by Scott, Vice Commodore of the Capital Yacht Club nearby.
This charming club housed the most hospitable and helpful group of sailors we have met anywhere on our travels. A potluck buffet was underway in which we were eagerly invited to indulge in. Sailor Rob offered to lend us his bikes and we planned our visit to the capital a few blocks away. Sister Mary from Vancouver Island arrived to join us on our excursions and we were off exploring next morning.

FDR Memorial with pet doggy
  A cycle path around the lake takes one through a string of breathtaking memorials commemorating the turbulent history of the nation. Starting with the immense domed pillars of the Jefferson
Memorial it winds along the lake to the poignant
Martin Luther King Memorial, the emotional Korean War Memorial of bronze soldiers wading through a jungle swamp, the World War One and Two Monuments, and the startling length of the Vietnam Wall, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt edifice, and finally the great man himself, Abraham Lincoln. The massive, imposing statue of the seated Lincoln reflects the integrity of this powerful leader during the Civil War and his enduring beliefs in liberty, equality and justice for all.
The Lincoln Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Freedom Box used by escaping slaves as cargo on ships and trains
At the Smithsonian we read how the founding fathers, along with George Washington, had shaped the Declaration of Independence and the ideals of a Democracy, and how over 160 years later the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. was still fighting for freedom and equal rights for all races and individuals. When the great orator wrote his "I Have a Dream' speech, he could not have imagined a day where people of all races and faiths could walk together and share the same pride in their nation. Martin Luther King Jr. is gone, sadly, but his quest continues. With our visit to the Holocaust Museum, and the tragedy of the Jewish people, it had been a very emotional few days and one not soon forgotten.
1960's African American 'Sit In' at the Woolworth counter    

Martin, Luther King Memorial wall


Naval Academy Cadets Annapolis
       We concluded out tour of the capital with the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Air and Space Museum (all free!), although we had barely scratched the surface of all that Washington D.C. has to offer. A quick stop at The Dubliner found us raising our glasses to its most famous patron, Obama himself. As we raised anchor for our trip back up the Chesapeake we saluted our man in the Whitehouse and bid our American neighbours future peace and prosperity!

Obama'a Local

Homeward bound we set sail down the Potomac River with stops at Alexandria, George Washingtons' Plantation at Mount Vernon and around to Solomons Island where we tucked in for a couple of days before moving north again up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis.

Weds night racing Annapolis

Friday, June 7, 2013

New York, New York

Times Square

New York, New York!

     The Big Apple in all its' splendor appeared on the horizon. The coach bus deposited us on the corner of 42nd St. near Union Square and we wandered out into the frenzied bustle of humanity. After 2 years of the serenity of Chantey V it was a minor culture shock to say the least. We descended into the dark bowels of the city and located the subway station, and the glazed-over stares of New Yorkers plodding to work. The ethnic diversity here is fascinating. A Jewish Rabi sits beside a burqua-draped Muslim. Hip Asian students jostle between swank society ladies and sari-clad Indians. Waves of Ellis Island immigrant descendants appear to live in relative harmony, all united in their pride of this great city. 

Central Park

  At Ground Zero, the site of the horrific events of 9-11, there are now two Memory Pools, marking the dimensions of the Twin Towers that collapsed on that fateful day. As the water flows over the names of over 3000 people who lost their lives here, one reflects on such a tragic loss of life and the need to discover that which connects rather than divides us. It was a solemn moment. 

The Freedom Tower

      Afterwards we visited The Tenement Museum in Little Italy, and followed the path of an Irish immigrant family who immigrated to New York in the 1850's. At that time twenty five percent of the city's population was Irish. Local shop signs at the time read…"Help Wanted, No Irish need apply!"
The next day began with a bike ride through Central Park with Kim's boyfriend Jay. As the sun glistened through the trees and row boats bobbed on the lake, we happened upon John Lennon's memorial….


9-11 Memorial
             'Imagine all the people, living life in peace?
              You may say I'm a dreamer,
              But I'm not the only one,
              Perhaps one day you'll join us,
              And the world will live as one."

The Happy Couple
    Our final day in New York was spent at the very fashionable wedding of Lindsey and Stefano. Daragh's daughter Kim was a very glamorous Maid of Honour in champagne satin and coifed chignon.The flower girls were adorable little puffy bundles of pink cherry blossoms. After a delectable dinner and dancing atop the Sheraton, with the lights of the Manhattan skyline before us, we prepared for the long bus trip home to Chantey V and to plan for our last major destination, Washington, DC. 

Jay, Kim and Jennifer