Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Trip Along the Inter Coastal Waterway (I.C.W.)

By Mickey Doolittle

This is one of my last entries on this blog and we are coming home! So now I will tell the story of the Inner Coastal Waterway (I.C.W.). It is a long waterway on the East Coast made up of rivers, canals and creeks.

Leaving Florida I pictured the I.C.W. as a long, drudged waterway in open ocean. I was WAY off! Firstly, you do down brackish water. Second, sailing is impossible....I liked that part! Finally, we were going through rivers, lakes and creeks. I LOVED it!

We had to go under A LOT of bridges on the ICW. Some of them were drawbridges like this one.

There were lots of places to stop along the way.

Just another day motoring up the ICW

When we anchored in Yorktown, VA, mom was excited to see the historical triangle, Williamsburg, Yorktown  and Jamestown. My cousin, Gaby was visiting so she, Mom, J.P. and I set off. Dad had to work on the boat. Gaby, if you are out there, I'll bet you haven't been a part of a weirder group!

We took the shuttle to Williamsburg. When we got there we walked to the historic part. First, we saw the mayor's house which served as a hospital during the battle of Yorktown. Next, we went into an old-fashioned store. It had three pointed hats, old games, soap and much more. Finally, there was a rereading of the Declaration of Independence. After that mom called it a day and we went back to Yorktown.

The next day we went into Jamestown. We had to take the bus to Williamsburg then to Jamestown. This time dad went with us. Once we were there, we saw a short documentary on the first permanent settlement in the colonies. Then we had lunch and got a tour through an archeological dig. They dig stuff up every day! They uncover animal and human bones, old vases and arrowheads. We saw the fort, the rebuilt church and the water well. It got boring at the end, but we were going to miss our bus. We made it just in time and got back to Yorktown uneventfully. The historical triangle has fascinating history.

Jamestown and the old church

This is where they found a skeleton and evidence of cannibalism.
This is the archeologist that made discovered the Jamestown settlement while he was digging for artifacts.

This is where the archeologists dig for artifacts.


The East Coast
By J.P. Doolittle

Hello readers! Right now we are in Annapolis. If you've never heard of it, then it's a really big city. I know I haven't caught up in a while, which means I have much to report on. First, I'll tell you about the Inter Coastal Waterway (a.k.a. the I.C.W.). The I.C.W. is basically a giant waterway. It leads to Chesapeake Bay. Every once in a while, you might encounter a canal. There are other ones besides the Panama Canal! There was one lock and a barge next to us. It was not very dramatic and took about 20 minutes. You shouldn't sail down the I.C.W. Dad didn't like that at all!  We used the I.C.W. most of the way to get to the Chesapeake Bay.

We also stopped a the Historic Triangle. It is a series of three towns; Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.  Jamestown is the first colony that started the United States. Williamsburg was the capital of the country. Yorktown is where the British general Cornwallis surrendered and the United States of America was born!

First we arrived at Yorktown. We took the dinghy ashore and found there was a bus to Williamsburg for free!  We decided to take the bus to Williamsburg. Once we arrived we had two options: Pay $100 to have the deluxe tour or go for free and not be able to enter most of the exhibits. We decided to go for free!

We crossed a footbridge to a downhill path. Our group, Molly, Mickey, Gaby and I arrived at the town and it was amazing. Everything looked so old except for the Pepsi machines. There were wooden houses, people dressed in 18th century clothes, taverns and much more.  We walked down a dirt road to a tavern and decided to eat there. The food was amazing. The service was great! There was even candles on the tables instead of lights.

There were many old, historic buildings. This one had a soda vending machine in it!

This is where the govenor lived

The town square stockades.

Lunch at a historical tavern. It was cool!

The reading of the Declaration of Independence

This is our sailboat, Knee Deep, anchored out off of Yorktown.
It looks really small next to the big clipper ship!

When we left, we watched a reading of the Declaration of Independence and locked each other in the stockades which are outdoor jails. They are wooden sturctures that you lock your hands and feet into to punish citizens in the 18the century.  We explored a little more then we left. It was an interesting place and I knew that I might be one of our last boating adventures.

Sometimes we sailed offshore on the East Coast. We usually always see dolphins when we are out in the ocean. They are kinda like squirrels to us now.

This is the view from our boat while we were anchored off of Yorktown, VA.
This is us going back to the boat in our dinghy after having dinner ashore.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Land Aventure!

Current Location:  St. Augustine, FL (heading north on the Inter Coastal Waterway).

The following are blog entries are about our time spent on a “holiday” from our boat Knee Deep. We decided to fly to Florida and stay with friends while Ben delivered the boat up to Key West. (see for details). Apparently they now appreciate the luxuries of land living since living aboard a sailboat!

Venice, Florida
By Mickey

Today I will be writing about, once again, skipping long passages.  Once Papa and Grandma left, we had a decision. A few of our friends now have a house in Venice, Florida. Mom, J.P. and I could stay with them while dad sails to Key West.  I hesitated, but decided it was time for a break.  And so our adventure began.

We left Shelter Bay Marina at around 9 o’clock in the morning. We said good-bye to dad and took the shuttle to a busy bus station in Colon, Panama. Next, we took a bus across Panama, which is only a two hour bus ride, to Panama City. At Allbrook Mall (the bus station) we stayed for three hours. After that, we took a taxi to the airport where we waited for six hours. Finally, the plane landed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  We took a rental car to Venice and after 19 hours of traveling, we had arrived at our destination.

Rick, Deena, Dick and Maureen were waiting for us. Rick had made a fantastic dinner, but the good cooking didn’t last long.  Deena and Rick left the next day to Boston, so it was Dick, Maureen and those crazy Doolittles left. That house was magical. The toilets had magic flushers. It was so big that I had my own bed.  The house outlets had unlimited power and there was a pool that was clean and cool. It had awesome internet, a beautiful view of the lake and the best of all….drum roll please….T.V.!!! I’ve been on the boat too long. It was extremely different being back in normal civilization.

Playing in the clean, cool pool!

We had fun with Maureen, Dick, Deena and Rick!!


By J.P.

Here we are again writer and reader. A while ago we decided to go to Florida. Dad was going to take the boat up to Key West, while me, Mickey and mom took an airplane. After we got packed up, we got ready to enter the shuttle. It was sad. We spent a while saying good bye, but finally we left.  We took a shuttle, a bus, and a cab to get to the airport. We had about a five hour wait, then we left at 2:00 a.m.  We arrived at about 5 then went to the car rental. After getting the car we went to Rick and Deena’s house.

It was different from the boat. They had those magic flushing toilets. We had our own beds, we had T.V. and we had air-conditioning, which we don’t have on the boat. A disadvantage; dad wasn’t there, but at least Rick, Deena, Maureen and Dick were there. It was fun to see them again.

A few weeks later, we were alone. Everyone had left, although it was easier to do school. I found out about a game called Yu-gi-oh and it’s a card game. It’s WAY too complicated to explain, so moving on.  I loved it! You can tell by how much I’m explaining it! Finally after a month, we got packed and returned to our boat in Key West.

I couldn’t tell if I was sad or happy. I was excited to see dad, but didn’t want to leave the house. We took an 8 hour drive, then finally met dad. But in the end, it was just another adventure!

Yes! Cable T.V.!!
Snoball was fun to take care of. We've never had a cat before!






Thursday, April 25, 2013

San Blas Photos

This is the first island we anchored off of called Chichame.  There was no doctor here, just Kuna Indians coming out to our boat in their ulus selling lobster, fruit (pineapples, mangoes), veggies (avacados) and molas.

Dad and us on the beach, playing football.

This is a Kuna hut that sold school supplies. This was the crowded island where the doctor was (Nargano).  There wasn't anything like this on the other quiet islands.

I was sick most of the time, but finally felt better one day and went kayaking.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

American Colonists and Cruisers; Similarities and Differences

Recently at Doolittle Boat School, a discussion took place regarding the American colonists and a surprising discovery was made.  There are quite a few similarities between our country's founders and cruisers!!   So Mrs. Doolittle digressed from the planned writing curriculumn and assigned an essay comparing and contrasting colonists and cruisers.  Here they are....

American Colonists and Cruisers; Similarities and Differences
By Mickey

The American colonists and cruisers had much in common. For example, we both had books on board and read them repeatedly.  Also, we sailors did not do school when underway. School was put aside until we landed on shore.  Another thing colonists and cruisers had in common is we had very limited space. Our boat was only 38 feet long and four people lived on board. Also we had to fit on everybody's clothes and belongings.  They lived on a 99 foot vessel with more than 100 people.  They could bring only one chest of supplies per family. Also, sailing for us was not for fun, but to travel. For instance, we went to Panama City, Panama where we have never been before.  When I saw Panama City my jaw dropped. After sixty-six days of sailing, they probably had a similar reaction.

Also colonists and cruisers are extremely different in several ways.  Colonists owned animals on board so when they arrived in North America, they could eat.  On Knee Deep, there was dead animals in the freezer like chicken and ham.  Colonists wrote with quills and we wrote with pens is another difference. Their ships were large and held more people.  Knee Deep is 38 feet and can hold only four.

I would rather be a cruiser than a colonist because cruisers are not in life or death situations.  For example, the colonists died of disease and hunger while our Top Ramen and pancakes never run out! The life style would also be easier as a cruiser.  As a colonist I would not like to go out to the farm every day and check crops and animals.  Cruisers and colonists are alike and different in many ways. Even though I would not want to be a colonist, I think they were generous, brave and willing to sacrifice themselves for religious freedom.

Cruisers and Colonists
By J.P.

The Doolittles are quite similar to American colonists.  For example, we both live in small spaces.  They squeezed into small houses and Knee Deep (our boat) has tiny cabins.  Another example is after being crammed on a boat at sea for two nights, when Mickey and my feet touch dry land, we want to run.  The colonist's children were similar after long voyages on a boat.  Another similarity is if the colonists were sailing on a boat, they don't do school.  It is the same as us. For a last example, Knee Deep carries many books, similar to the Mayflower and other colonists's ships.

Although the colonists and the crew on Knee Deep are similar, we are even more different.  While they built things that helped their survival, we buy them.  Also, they had gigantic boats that could carry tons of passengers while our vessel can only carry four.  For school, the colonists used supplies like quills and hornbooks.  The difference is we have books and pens.

If I could choose between being a colonist or being me now, I would choose my present form.  I would because they punish children like me horribly, such as getting whipped by belts.  And they didn't have modern day technology like Ipods and computers.  I would also be scared of the dangers, like starvation and enemy Natve Americans.  Colonists are quite different and similar to people who are 400 years older.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Joaquin Chen

By J.P. Doolittle

A couple of weeks ago, when we were in the San Blas Islands, Mickey and I had to visit the doctor.
The view of the island from the boat was amazing. It was a clutter of dirt roads with no cars, and bark huts as big as about two cars (tiny, tiny). We called one of the pangas over to our boat and asked him for directions to the doctor. He agreed to help us and we went into land.

I was at a level of shock I can't put into words. It was so different from what I normally see.  We were probably on the main street because it was the longest and most crowded. The insides of the huts were very colorful with Molas hanging all over the walls.  A mola is a type of cloth design that Kunas wear and it is extremely colorful.

Once we arrived at the doctor, we had a long wait.  Finally we were called into the doctor's office. Our doctor was Joaquin Chen.  He went to many places and spoke many languages.  He checked out our lungs, then gave us a certificate for the medicine counter.  We got the medicine and then went to get something to eat.

I realized there weren't as many men as women. I knew it would be hard for me to live there, because I have lived with air conditioning, multiple stories in houses and those types of luxuries.  But I didn't have to worry about that, I was now safe and sound on my bed back at the boat.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Miraflores Locks Museum

Current location:  Panama City, Panama

Miraflores Locks
By J.P. Doolittle

Our adventure all started when Serendipity invited me and Mickey to the Miraflores Locks Museum.  We were informed that Sundancer (our friends on another boat) and Annie’s cousin would be coming too. A day later, me and Mickey packed.  Dad gave each of us $15. We met up (I can’t remember where) and took a taxi to the locks.  When we arrived, Ann paid for the tickets to the museum and we went to the locks.
The thing was; Sundancer wasn’t there.  We waited for another while, but then the rest of the group came in without Sundancer.  Once we met up and got through the crowd, we went to see boats transit the locks.

The boats were huge! It was amazing how they got through the locks.  I was surprised how long it took.  Once we watched two more go through, Ann bought us hot dogs. 
After that we went to the history section. We saw a model of the first boat to go through the Canal in 1914, the Ancon.  Once we left the history section, we went to the souvenir shop.  I looked around and decided to not by anything.  And then we left, and that was my Miraflores Locks experience.
Here is the website that has live webcams at the Panama Canal.  You can watch us when we go through the Canal on our boat (in a couple of weeks).

Here is the website for the visitor center at the Miraflores Locks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Isla Mogo Mogo, Panama

We are enjoying our time here in the Las Perlas Islands, Panama. The boys were assigned a descriptive paragraph writing assignment by their cranky, old teacher for school recently and here are the results! 

Isla Mogo Mogo 
By J.P. Doolittle

Isla Mogo Mogo was a beautiful place. I saw an anchored boat with shining white fiberglass and lovely polished wood. I heard small gentle waves at a soft tone.  A cool, relaxing blanket of mist washed over me.  The steamy, flavorful, homemade hot dogs that were being cooked in the kitchen made me drool.  A strange leaf and stick structure settled in the distance on the beach. Isla Mogo Mogo was an awesome place.

Isla Mogo Mogo
By Mickey Doolittle

Isla Mogo Mogo is extremely beautiful.  There are hundreds of trees and the leaves look like moss growing on land.  When I shut my eyes,  I hear water breaking on the beach and children playing.  I turn my attention to the taste of chocolate milk which I swish around my mouth to make it cool.  After jumping overboard, the water hits me and a blast of harsh, cool water flows around my skin.  When I inhale through my nose, it smells like chocolate milk, salt water and wood.  The anchorage Isla Mogo Mogo is a key desitnation for cruisers and is an exciting and pretty place.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Golfito, Costa Rica

Current location: Panama City, Panama

By Mickey Doolittle

Hello again blog readers!! Our time in Golfito was awesome. When we entered it was POURING rain like God was mad!! And I mean REALLY mad, but there was no lightening.  We were planning to hook up to a mooring ball (watch video below). It took three tries to get on it. Normally, it takes one or two attempts.  Finally, when we finished, I spotted two other friend’s boats, Macha and Contento.

This is a power boat, not a sailboat, but it should give you an idea of what it is.

At last we went into “Land and Sea”. It is a cruiser’s place about 20 feet from the mooring balls. When we got there we said hi to the crew of Macha: Tony, Caroline and their daughter Malia.  After we visited, we went to dinner. On the walk back to the boat, we heard light saber frogs. Well, they made sounds like a light saber. After three nights of underway passage, I got a good night’s sleep.

When I woke up I started making pancakes. They were awesome!! After eating, we walked into town and we got cash from the bank and groceries. Finally, my family and I walked the two miles home. We got there and loaded up the dinghy, took one trip out and came back in.  When we returned to the dock, dad decided to go to a different restaurant that night.  So we walked down the road and came across “Fish Hook”.  I devoured a delicious burger. When we were done, we returned to the boat and curled up and went to sleep.

The rest of the time in Golfito was wonderful.  We are dinner with Katie, the owner of Land and Sea. She invited her friend’s nieces and we talked via Google Translator, because they only spoke Spanish.  Also, mom and I crossed the border of Costa Rica and Panama to purchase cheaper groceries.  That is a long story! We finally got a generator, but it was VERY complicated. On the final night we ate a delicious dinner.




Christmas in Panama

Current location:  Panama City, Panama

By J.P. Doolittle

Merry Christmas!  Christmas Eve was exciting. The first thing we did was put on Santa hats. I was excited to open presents the next day. We sat around for a while and then our friends, Aaron and Nicole came over.
We hung out for a long time then I decided to ask dad if I could ride in the dinghy alone. I got my lifejacket on and took off. That’s when I realized my first problem.  All the weight in the dinghy, which was me, was tipped to one side. So I decided I would pick up more weight, Aaron.
I started taking tight turns. Aaron decided to start calling them “High G Turns”.   Then Aaron said he needed a drink. We agreed that I would go by the boat, without stopping and he would grab a beer. Success!! Then Mickey wanted to come so we picked him up. After that we did other boring stuff when we got back to the boat, like talking.

That night more friends came over for dessert. Then our friends from Gundermine gave me and Mickey a foot long plastic candy cane full of Hershey Kisses. After talking for ten minutes, Mickey and I went to bed. We just got settled into our beds when Mickey remembered to put cookies and milk out for Santa. We did ,and again went to bed.

That night I woke up at midnight. When I checked for presents, there were none. Then I went back to sleep and woke up at my normal time. I looked out and there were presents!!! I wanted to wake up mom and dad, but we made a rule that we can’t wake them up before 8:00. I stared at the clock for three hours and then woke them up. I got awesome presents like: Legos, a skateboard and I also got a stuffed animal that came with a star! Yeah, a real star! I even received some poker chips.

Christmas night we went to pizza. I tried my skateboard and the tires were sticking. Oh well! We had to lubricate the tires, that’s all.  Anyway, they had REALLY good pizza. After we ate, I got even more presents. Finally, Kara offered to me to play Minecraft, an exciting video game. Then we went home. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year!
Kara from Taking Flight and I playing Minecraft!!
Some of the presents I got for Christmas!!