Wednesday, May 27, 2009
After leaving Tidewater Marina in Portsmouth with 20 knot winds we motored to Old Point Comfort where Fort Munroe is located. We wanted to be closer to the bay so we would not have an extra long day the next day. After anchoring, we took the dinghy into the dinghy dock at the marina and were able to walk around. The fort was very interesting with a moat all around it and a town within it. There was also an excellent museum which gave all the history about the fort. We got some great views of the town within the walls and of how rough the bay was from the top of the fort. We were very glad we stopped.
The next day we were able to sail about three hours until the wind came around on our nose. We then motored into Jackson Creek on the Piankatank River. Old sailing association friends, Marge and Bill Goettle, were working on their boat at the Deltaville marina right off of where we anchored. Later we enjoyed sharing stories about past cruises and of course, cocktails and hors’doeurves on Blue Heaven. Present were Dave and Toni on Sequence and Bob and Chesley on Cygnet who also knew the Goettles from cruising the Bahamas.
The following day we were in the Solomons and spent the early evening with the Luke and Jeannie McLaughlin on Grianphort and the Mershons once again. Everyone seemed anxious to be getting home and even though we all were heading up the bay the next day, we each were headed for different locations at the end of the day.
It was an unexpected day of decent south wind of about 10-12 knots that sent Blue Heaven up the bay with an unexpected treat. The Blue Angels flew over a few times. Later we found out that the Naval Academy had their graduation and thus was the reason for the air display. We were able to sail all the way to Mill Creek off of Whitehall Bay. Our long time sailing group, Bay Region Mariners Sailing Association (BRMSA) was having a rendezvous there to start the Memorial Day cruise. We had five boats and it was just so nice to see former friends again. We spent the entire holiday weekend with our group of about fifteen different boats, sailing up the Severn River to Little Round Bay for Saturday and then to Rock Creek off the Patapsco River on Sunday. We shared Happy Hours, dinners and a breakfast, all planned by our cruise captains, Fritz and Bronnie Becker who did a wonderful job. What a great way to end our seven months on the water; with good friends and sharing our experiences of the last seven months with them. Our association motto, “Good winds, good food, good friends” sums up the weekend and the entire trip perfectly!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The next day we motored the entire 60 miles to Pungo River and met up with the Mershons in a pretty anchorage before entering the Alligator Pungo Canal. We shared a dinner and had a wonderful evening catching up on what we each did this winter and who we met that they had known from their other trips down the waterway and to the Bahamas.
We motored through the 20 mile canal but were able to sail up the Alligator River and across Albemarle Sound. We wanted to come up the Virginia Cut route, but the winds in Albemarle Sound were pretty close to being right on the nose so we cracked off a bit and sailed up the Pasquotank River to Elizabeth City, NC. where we stopped for 2 days. This town is where the "Rose Buddies" give all the visiting wives a rose and have a small wine & cheese party if there are more than 5 boats at the free city docks. We didn't see any roses or parties, but the town was nice and worth the stop. The docks are not really very good so we tied up to a nice bulkhead that was protected from the wind as directed by the local drawbridge tender. I told him the signage at the bulkhead said "NO DOCKING, FOR TRAILERED BOATS ONLY" since it was next to a launch ramp area. He said no problem. The next day a guy from Parks & Rec. came by and wanted to know if "I could read the signs". I told him why I was there and that I was leaving the next morning. He said enjoy Elizabeth City and that everything was fine. I think it was only fine because the weather & fishing was not that good so very few fishermen were using the launch ramps! We toured the new 15 million dollar museum which can be seen from the water about the area and its history. We left on a Friday and that Saturday was the Big Annual Potato Festival- "free French fries as long as they last"! Better pencil that one in on your must visit list for next year.
The Dismal Swamp was fine again with no water depth problems and the lock tender at Deep Creek was first rate and very friendly. We saw loads of turtles and a Canadian goose standing on an osprey nest in a tree. Arleen wished she had been closer to get a photo because it certainly looked odd!
Friends, Chick and Dorothy, whom we met in Stuart, FL. live here in Norfolk and we partied over at their house today with another couple from our sailing club who also stayed in Florida and are also traveling back to Annapolis.
So the bottom line is my boat engine is broken, the partying is pretty good here in Norfolk, we are having fun with friends along the way, and Chick is loaning me his truck to chase down boat parts. And I already told you I broke down in front of a marina and anchorage.
It just doesn't get any better than that! Maybe that's why this rainbow came out after the rains Sunday over Norfolk.
Arleen”s Note: Engine’s One, a diesel company, bent over backwards to find something that would work for us so that we would get moving again. We were able to get the boat fixed by using parts from an old engine because the store did not have the new part that we needed in stock. Al put it all together and it still weeped fuel just a little. He could not figure out why, and so we called in a mechanic from Full Throttle who told him he over tightened the bolt. With new copper washers put in and tightened by a mechanic, it WORKS and we are underway again! We are moving out to Old Point Comfort which is at the mouth of the James River. The winds are too much to go into the Chesapeake today, so we will head out tomorrow with probably hundreds of other boats.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
From mosquitoes to no-see-ums to flies that is what we dealt with in Thoroughfare Creek, NC. The creek was lovely, although not as lovely as in the fall, when the weekend boaters were not there and neither were the flies. It was so bad that these black flies drove us below at 4 o’clock just so we could read instead of swatting them. A local saw us swatting them and said they would be gone in two weeks. Well, we were not staying around to find out!
Basically we have been motoring or motor-sailing when possible as we head home. We stayed in Calabash Creek, Bald Head Island Marina (which is where the sunset picture was taken) and
We had a rather nice sail up to Mile Hammock anchorage which is where the military base,
The next day we went into Morehead City Marina because I needed to get a prescription filled.
Since it was Mother’s Day Al took me out to dinner. The dockhand recommended Floyd’s 1821 which could be seen from our dock. It was a very nice place with linen table cloths, delicious food, and excellent service and not overly priced. With phone calls from our two sons my Mother’s Day was complete.
The next day rain and high winds were predicted. We motored twenty miles to Cedar Creek off of Adams Creek and got in just as the rain came down hard and the winds picked up. It felt like the temperature dropped a good fifteen degrees as we donned long pants and socks for the first time since January! It was a lazy day reading, scrapbooking and a little TV. You have to expect these kinds of days every once in a while. I am sure they will be more frequent the further north we get. We are still in North Carolina but plan to be in Virgina by the end of the week if all goes as planned.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Coming up the ICW through
We spent another night in no-see-um territory in
The next morning it was extremely foggy, so we took our time and had a good breakfast. You can see how foggy it is in the picture. By about 9am we were able to get motoring. We made the first bridge south of
The next day we got in very early to the Isle of Palm Marina, because they had no one in the slip. Our engine still did not seem quite right so Al worked on it some more while I cleaned up the boat for our friends, Patty and Harold Smith, to come and see us. We eventually went to their lovely home and biked
We were on our own the next day with the use of one of the Smith’s cars. We got our groceries purchased and returned to the boat. Afterwards we drove to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Unfortunately, we were about two weeks late for the blooming azaleas that abound on the property and too early for the magnolias to be blooming. Nonetheless, it was beautiful with other flowers in the gardens, the Audubon swamp garden, marsh and pastures where horses grazed. We got to see 10 inch baby alligators and larger ones, as well as wild turkeys walking across our path.
The next day we left the marina and motored the entire day. We saw several alligators along the way, always just floating in the water with their beady eyes just out of the water. We arrived in the middle of no where and anchored in Minim Creek. As usual sipping wine and watching another sunset ended our day.
The next day we were able to sail almost the entire way to
Al and I walked around to see some of the lovely old homes and came across this huge lovely old oak tree which is said to be over 550 years old with a circumference of 23 feet. There were some small museums, shops and various restaurants along the harbor like most small sea side towns. But one of the pluses is a wonderful seafood store down at the docks where the seafood is brought in. It could not get any fresher! I am certainly getting my fill of shrimp on this trip which is my favorite. Instead of a great sunset with dinner, we had a great rainbow which came out after a brief shower.