Thursday, August 22, 2013

Home Sweet Home

We cruised to Rock Hall in June to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We traveled to St. Michaels in July to celebrate another anniversary. This past weekend, the anniversary cruising crew hit up Baltimore and it is time to sing the praises of Harborview Marina. Our visiting friends liked the marina so much that one of them is considering spending the winter here. It's not hard to see why this place is so great.

People often ask how I like living on a boat in Baltimore. I tell them that I feel like I live at a resort: there are always people around, the views are fantastic, and I have easy access to Federal Hill and the rest of Baltimore. The marina staff is wonderful; I hope they don't mind that I keep bringing them homemade treats to thank them for being so kind and helpful.

I've already posted pictures of the view from our urban marina. Here are scenes from everything else.

Harborview Marina is basically a double-gated community. The front gate is open when the marina office or the Tiki Bar are open, otherwise you need a marina pass to open it. You also need a marina pass to get onto any of the docks. The view from the front gate:
The main promenade is stationary. The docks on either side are floating.
We have access to two pools:
This quiet pool is nestled between some of the townhouses in the community.
The pool in the floating barge at the end of the marina is a little more active with a bar and grill.
There are three bars/restaurants on site (with one more on the way):
The Tiki Barge Bar is attached to the pool and has some of the best views of Baltimore.
Sorso Café serves up coffee, sandwiches, gelato, and sells beer and wine. They have frequent nights with live music and a weekend omelet bar.
Sorso's menu board.
I can vouch for the Avocado filled with Crab Meat at Tabrizi's.
Many brides choose to have their ceremony on Tabrizi's outdoor patio.
The Raw Barge is already here and scheduled to open sometime in 2014.
There are many social/sitting areas along the promenade. Our group spent many hours at one of these tables Saturday evening.
The marina is very bike friendly:
We have access to a gym in the base of Harborview Tower:
There is a crew currently working on the Tower so please forgive the scaffolding in the picture. This area is normally much more bright and airy.
The view from the gym without the construction equipment.
While this isn't exactly glamorous, it's nice to have multiple, "camouflaged" areas for trash and recycling:
The marina is along a waterside promenade that leads to the Inner Harbor:
I've spent many hours running along this walkway that is a favorite for those training for their next race.
We are directly across the water from Pier 6 and can frequently hear entire concerts:
I recently listened to ZZ Top and the Steve Miller Band from the boat.
The Urban Pirates provide entertainment as they go by:
So, that's my backyard. What marinas do you love and why?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Plastic Bag and Barnacle Attack

The title of this post sounds as scary as an attack by killer tomatoes or, perhaps, a land shark candy gram, but plastic bags and barnacles can be quite a nemesis for boaters. On Wednesday last week, our air conditioning started giving error codes and then quit altogether. The codes indicated that we were not getting enough water into the system to run it so we pulled apart the strainer and cleared it of barnacles (sorry, no pictures, I was busy scraping barnacles with a plastic knife). Problem solved? Unfortunately, no. So, we scheduled another haul out for the weekend and were lucky enough to get just enough water through the system to run the AC in our stateroom for a couple of days.

The culprit was evident as soon as the boat was out of the water:
Not the best picture of our stowaway plastic bag. The workers pulled it off before I could grab another shot.

The water intake for our air conditioning with barnacles as an unwanted accessory.
If you've never seen a barnacle, here is a super close photo. The outside area is hard like a shell and it grows with the organism inside. The photo is slightly misleading, the barnacles on our boat were no bigger than the tips of your fingers.
The bag was removed and everything was power washed and scraped.
Staff at our marina have heard that this is the worst year for barnacles in twelve years. Staff at the haul out facility said they have seen boats with brand new bottom paint come in covered in barnacles. (FYI - boats in the Bay are typically painted with a bottom paint that deters growth. Depending on the paint, how much the boat is used, and other various factors, this process is repeated every couple of years.)

So, how often do you have to remove living organisms from your house so everything will work properly?

On a positive note, I captained the boat out of the slip for the first time. I was more comfortable than I expected to feel and will continue to learn. The next step is docking and will require many deep breaths on that day.

Along that note, so many people have shared stories with us about the arguments and yelling between spouses while docking, leaving the slip, anchoring, etc. (some even say that divorces are caused because of it -- aren't boats supposed to be fun?). Communication while the boat is moving can be difficult. In a car, you can simply apply the brakes, pull over, and discuss how to drive the car. There are no brakes on a boat. If it isn't tied to a dock or successfully anchored, there is very little to keep it from moving. Decisions that must be made quickly and differences of opinion or understanding are not a good mix. Doug and I have been boating together for 13 1/2 years and had to learn how to communicate on a boat. While we aren't experts, our mutual understanding makes us good partners. We often discuss how we think the boat will react to the wind and current before pulling out of or into a slip or new situation and will debrief after both good and bad events. Is there an aspect of life with your partner that has taken years of communication trial and error?

Friday, August 2, 2013

July Neighbors

Here is the roundup of our visiting neighbors in July. Which one is your favorite?
"Mia Ragazza"
"Miss Liberty"
"2 Nauti Newfies" - Formula 45 - If you pay attention, you can start to recognize boats on the Bay. This one was directly behind us on the docks in Rock Hall. FYI - This couple does have Newfoundlands but the dogs don't come on the boat with them.
"Cynfully Ours"
"Drifting Profits II" - Regal 4460
"Sweet Pea" - Chris Craft 392 Commander
"We're gellin now" - Meridian 391
"Sea Dancer"
"Aisling" - Gulf Star
"Buoy Scout" - Tiara
"Captain's Choice" - Carver
"Tanquerbay" - SeaRay
"Lots of Life" - Vista Yachts - We joked with this group about the similarity of our boat names and whose was "better."
"Vagabond" - Beneteau 49
"ShipMate" - Tiara
"The Bucket List" - Monteray 322
"Liquid Limo" - Carver 500
"Liquid Limo" (above) are new liveaboards and they have a furry crew member. Unfortunately, they were only in town for one evening so we didn't get to chat with them about their cat's adjustment to boat life.