Today we cruised under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge heading south. We cruised north under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on August 17, almost 2 months ago! Our plans were to cruise the west side of the Chesapeake Bay stopping in Annapolis, then Baltimore, maybe Havre de Grace, then head to the east side and stop at Georgetown, St. Michaels and hopefully up the Potomac River to Washington D.C. This was actually Plan B. Plan A was to go to Maine sometime this summer. But plans change. It really doesn’t matter … actually. We all know the mariners saying that cruising plans are written in the sand at low tide. But life is what happens to us while we are making plans. And life is now!
I’ll share with you our adventures during the last two months. We eventually tied up at the Baltimore Inner Harbor Marina. Baltimore is a lively and entertaining port that seems very welcoming; known as “Charm City.” We skipped ahead into Baltimore because we needed to fly to Cleveland (Strongsville, OH) to participate in my Mom’s Celebration of Life. The BWI airport is easily accessible. And a celebration it was! Almost the entire family attended. Missing were three grandsons, two great grand kids, Julie’s husband Tony and Eileen’s beau Jon. But they “Zoomed” in with the help of my technical niece, Molly! And of course, the evening ended with the traditional family kickball game.
Driving distance between Cleveland and Baltimore is about 6 hours so we returned to the boat by car, thanks to my sister, Julie. My daughter, Eileen came with, then flew home to Olympia, WA. This was Eileen’s first visit on Orenda and she was a great tour guide! She read up on Baltimore and even introduced us to the “Baltimore Martini!”
We visited Fells Point, Ellicott City, Hampden, Federal Hill and Camden. These are gentrified Baltimore neighborhoods, each with a distinct personality. Picturesque stone streets, restaurants, breweries, shops and historic row houses. Highlights included a Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards, B&O Railroad Museum, (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, linking 13 great states with the Nation), Fort McHenry, (Civil War era fort which was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s The Star-Spangled Banner), The Horse you came in on Saloon, the city’s oldest bar (rumored to be Edgar Allan Poe’s last stop before his mysterious death), Cross Street Market (built in 1846), and Land of Beer or Max’s Taphouse (home to over 100 beers on tap). The Inner Harbor waterfront promenade is an animated area with buskers, weddings, and all varieties of 1, 2 and 3 wheeled people movers. Our favorite is the Link scooters.
Our visit was so fun. Sharing a micro-beer with three of my favorite people! It doesn’t get any better.
Although boating is fun, we also worked some projects in Baltimore. One project was the Steelhead Crane, mission critical equipment for us since we like to anchor and explore. The hydraulic cylinder appeared to be leaking. So, we removed the cylinder, carefully labeling the sheaves and hoses. We took an Uber to Baltimore Hydraulics for a re-build and then re-installed the cylinder. But, alas, it was the winch cylinder that was leaking. So, again, off we went to Baltimore Hydraulics for another re-build. Although services provided and the delivery of parts was timely, seems we are often waiting, waiting for things to arrive. Boat repairs are time consuming! But then again, we are in Baltimore, a beautiful city and when we are waiting, we explore. It doesn’t get any better.
We had also been experiencing an occasional low fuel pressure warning on our main engine. This warning started when going from cruising RPM to idle speeds for a short period of time before clearing. After many months and nautical miles, it changed to coming in at cruise RPM and clearing at idle. About the time we pulled into Baltimore Harbor we decided it was time to get to the root cause of the warning. We dialed up Dr. Senter and almost instantly, a high-pressure regulating valve was diagnosed as the likely culprit for 99% of the L1276 low fuel pressure errors. Well, not so much for Orenda. After many emails, much detailed diagnosis, a very cool gauged fuel bleeding tool, closed fuel return line valve we concluded the fuel transfer pump did not seem up to snuff even though the main continued to run normally. So, we replaced the fuel pump and pressures went from 20psig to 65psig at idle and no warning codes, SUCCESS!!! This caused me to think about maybe needing to carry a spare pump in case this happened again, (the main only has about 3450 hours on it.) More emails to Lugger Bob and turns out that this is the second fuel transfer pump problem Bob has seen in 22 years at Northern Lights. Since the main continued to run with the low fuel pressure and we continue to drive automobiles, among other risky behaviors, the need to carry a spare fuel pump was easily dismissed. So scratch the low pressure warning off the “figure it out” list.
We also gave Orenda some TLC. We removed rust from metal hinges and railings, cleaned carpets, polished the wood floors, gave Orenda a good scrub, waxed sections of the boat, replaced some and overhauled the outdoor speakers, installed an anchor alarm remote speaker and likely a few other projects I can’t remember. And did I mention I received an awesome birthday gift from my kids? An Oculus! I love playing Beat Saber on my new Oculus. Competing with Mayzee and Hadley, my grand kiddos, well, let’s say they are encouraging!
Early October we had a visit from Julie and her friend Leigh. They also visited us in Hilton Head, NC. We need to give Julie an honorary title since she has visited Orenda 6 times, maybe like most awesome guest?! We had so much fun! We visited Checkerspot Brewery, Crossbar Der Biergarten, played euchre, rode the scooters though Fells Point and Federal Hill and ate pizza at Diamondback Brewing. I wish they could have stayed longer than the weekend!
The last night in Baltimore we attended a Nordhavn gathering organized by Larry and Sue on Beverly S N46, folks we have crossed paths and lunched with a number of times since we moved onto Orenda in August 2020. We made new friends! Don and Karen on Latitude N55, Ed and Rosa on Mighty Aphrodite N55, Jerry on Grace of Tides N68 and Renee and Paul on Puffin Quest N68. They call these gathering a “Nordhavnnerds” event, or nerds for short!
We are anchored near Tilghman Point in Eastern Bay. No city lights to admire but we plan (ha ha) to explore St. Michaels tomorrow.