Motel Sixteen

Friday September 21, 2012

Even while we were sleeping this morning we could hear anchors dropping next to us. I thought maybe one or two more boats had come in while we were napping, but after going out on deck there were five new mast surrounding us. Was this the same armada that came in just after us that we thought were going another direction? None of them seemed too close to make us nervous and there was even still a sense of privacy while we took our cockpit showers to get ready to go into town. We had originally debated if it was even worth visiting land here, but our guide book said it was the oldest resort town in America and the streets were lined with old Victorian houses. It was after noon by this point but we still jumped in the dinghy thinking we could spend a few hours walking around. There was one specific marina that allowed dinghies to tie up for the day and after getting barely audible instructions from an employee of where we were actually supposed to tie up we were on the main road trying to find our way to the painted houses.

There was supposed to be one specific road that had the best houses in the area, but taking a walk down a completely different street to get there we’d stop every few minutes and say ‘Ohhh, look at that one‘.  By the time we got to the supposed highlight of the area according to our guide book the houses there were not nearly as nice and the only charm they seemed to hold was that they may have been the oldest and run down in the area.  We did happen to dead end into the water though and it was as picturesque and pretty as I considered an east cost resort town would be. We walked along a paved path just outside the fence and sand surrounding the water. There were still people out on towels tanning and kids playing in the sand. As we got a little further there was a stand at one of the entrances to the beach and on the front of it was a sign with pricing. $5 for the day, $20 for the week, $100 for the season. Really? They’re charging people to go to the beach? Is this their way of keeping this part of the Jersey Shore from getting clogged up with over-tan, iron-pumping youths, or is it just another way to make money in a resort town? We hadn’t planned on going to the beach anyway so it didn’t bother us, but I can’t imagine that kind of pricing going over well on Lake Michigan.

 Our two hour morning nap didn’t seem to have done much for us and after just a few hours of wandering around we were hot and tired and ready to go back. Taking the dinghy back to the Serendip we could see that a few more boats had anchored in the area while we were gone. The area was getting to be a little crowded, but luckily no one looked like they were getting too close to us. Passing by a aluminum oragimi boat in the anchorage the young couple on board waved to us, and while we waved back they motioned for us to come over. They noticed the MC decal on our dinghy (for Michigan, I can’t remember who stole MI from us) and said they were from Michigan also. They had also seen us at the 79th St Basin, they left a day after we came in. We talked for just a few minutes and they invited us to come over that night for drinks with another couple our age in the anchorage, just to have a ‘young’ cruisers get together. They told us to come back over around sunset and we went back to Serendip to do a little work on her.

With being in NYC for five days and then traveling for two she had gotten a little messy and needed some cleaning up. The 16 bottles of wine we had bought at Trader Joe’s were still sitting in their bag on the floor. I found a handy ‘wine cellar’ for them under one of the settees while generally cleaning up. Then another big project for me was to get the cushions clean so they could be Scotch Guarded. It’s crazy what kind of wear and tear we’re starting to do to them after just a month. But they’re original to the boat and still in great shape so we’re trying really hard to keep them that way. As we worked more and more boats kept coming into the tiny area to anchor. And they kept getting bigger. What had been mostly sailboats between 30-40 feet were now turning into 50 foot monohulls or 45 foot cats. While eating dinner in the cockpit I counted sixteen masts in the area, plus three power boats. I have a feeling it may be a restless night of sleep while just waiting to be swung into by another boat.

When the afternoon projects were completed and the sun had just set we hopped in the dinghy to go next door to s/v Anthyllide. The owners were Kim and Scott who we had talked to for a few minutes earlier that day. They were in their mid to late 30′s and had already been out cruising for 7 years. We thought that we were passing them on their way back home, but they’re not even close to being finished cruising. The other couple they had been telling us about were Brian and Stephanie from s/v Rode Trip. This couple is exactly our age and just left cruising a few weeks before we did from Portsmouth, NH. We were all on our way south and all planning to go through Delaware Bay the next day. While enjoying wine and beer we shared cruising stories, us with not a lot to offer since we’d just left and spent more than half that time in rivers. Rode Trip had some better stories since they had been on the ocean the whole time and had even gone up to Maine for a few weeks before making their way south again. Anthyllide of course had the most and more interesting stories since they had been gone for so long and had seen so many places. So far they’ve done a circumnavigation of the Caribbean and even spent a year living in Venezuela. Their hopes this round (they don’t make concrete plans) are to head back south and then jump across the Atlantic to the Med.

It was a great group of people that we had so much in common with yet all of the stories were new and different. Most of the people we’d met so far had taken the same path as us so we’d talk about our experiences getting through there, but each couple here had stories to offer on places that none of the others had been. When we had moved down below because it was getting chilly, Kim gave a tour and they explained that since oragimi boats are all homemade that none of the interiors are the same. Theirs was nice and spacious with a large galley and salon, but they said it looked completely different when they had bought it. Those boats are so easy to change around (as far as boats go) with no supporting bulkheads that when they bought it they had different plans on how they wanted it to look so they gutted it and started from scratch. They even took welding courses so they could do all the welding of the aluminum on their own. How cool is that? While the boys went outside to talk, Stephanie and I got a ton of helpful hints from Kim on what it’s like to check into other countries and what’s needed. She also said that in many parts of the Caribbean they were in it was easier for her to go while leaving Scott at the boat because the men working the offices there wanted nothing to do with women (they should be at home baking after all) and would get them in and out as soon as possible. Good to know, because with Matt’s incapability for learning another language I was getting a little worried about sending him off on his own.

The night went by incredibly fast and before we knew it we had downed about a liter of wine between three people and gone through countless beers. It had been so long since we’d met up with other cruisers (almost a week!) that it felt so good to relax and laugh and share stories. It was 12:30 when Matt kept pointing at his watch that we needed to leave, but I’m sure if none of us had plans for an early departure we could have talked until the sun came up.

Stocking our wine cabinet.

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3 thoughts on “Motel Sixteen

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