Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh my, the dreaded socks!

After the Alligator River, we had a good sail to Coinjock Marina.  We had a good meal at their restaurant shared with other sail boaters, one of which was Simple Pleasure whom we met at River Dunes.  The next day there were thunderstorms predicted between 11am –noon.  We left before 7am to try to be through the wide part of Curratuck Sound when they hit.  We were glad we did, because they came an hour earlier and we were in the Northlanding River which was much narrower when the 39 knot winds came through and the temperature dropped at least fifteen degrees.  Long pants and socks were donned for the cold temperatures which were the first time since the cold spell in Miami in December that the socks were used.  Luckily we had pulled in our sails before the winds hit, but Simple Pleasure did not and the sun protective covering on their jib was shredded.
We were lucky that there were two spots left on the bulk head at Great Bridge which  is where we spent the night after sharing a meal on Blue Heaven.

Norfolk waterfront

We caught the 8am lock opening and headed to Norfolk.  The winds were strong out of the northwest which would have been miserable out in the bay to head north, so we decided to take a slip at Waterside Marina. 
Chrysler Museum of Art
After lunch Al and I walked across town to the Chrysler Museum of Art.  It was a beautiful building with two great special exhibits that were there.  One was an artist named James Tissot who had done over 350 paintings of Christ’s life.  They were so detailed and none were over a foot in size.  The other exhibit I found interesting was the Tiffany glass exhibit.  It consisted mostly of the various lamps that had been made.  They were just exquisite!
The waterfront at Norfolk is a delight to walk around.  They were havjng a Cinco de Mayo party at the waterfront, but we chose to eat dinner at the Ganby Bistro which was an excellent deli with Bill and Sharon on Simple Pleasure.

Wine and Cheese Reception
Buy Boat
We had great southwest winds to leave Norfolk and come up the bay to Deltaville.  This was where our friends on Discovery and Tilt leave their boat for the summer while they head back to Michigan.  Simple Pleasure was doing the same thing so we decided to stop here for two days to visit with them.  We anchored off Deltaville Marina in Jackson Creek.  We lucked out because that night they were having a wine and cheese reception for the people in the marina and for those who worked on the buy boat that was restored at the Deltaville Maritime Museum.  Bill and Sharon asked if they could bring friends and they said yes, so we had a nice time learning about the F. D. Crockett as well as connecting with friends.  I never knew what a buy boat was and learned it would go out to the skip jacks doing the oyster harvesting and bring the oysters to the various markets.  So in other words, it was the middleman for oysters.

Since our friends were busy working on their boats preparing for storage on land, Al and I entertained ourselves by walking to the Deltaville Maritime Museum which we had been to in the fall.  I thoroughly enjoyed their sculpture garden in the woods so we went back to experience it again as well as to get some exercise.  We then took the dinghy to the next creek over and found some tornado damaged trees and houses.  This tornado had gone through about 3 weeks ago.  It was only a half a mile from the marina.  The homes and marinas nearby were so lucky.  It did quite a bit of damage in Deltaville but luckily no one died.
Home near marina demolished by tornado.
Friends, Marilyn, Chris, myself and Sharon
 That evening we had dinner with Carl, Marilyn, Craig, Chris, Bill and Sharon.  We each brought something for a delicious spaghetti dinner in the screened in porch at the marina.  We said our goodbyes saying we see them in two years, but they said on no, we got to come next winter.  We said that we’ll see once we get home whether or not that is a possibility.  We truly have enjoyed our experience but only time will tell.
Friends, Craig and Carl with Al
     We left the next day to head to Mill Creek in the Reedville area but the bay was so calm we thought we would take advantage and go all the way to the Solomons.  It was the calmest we ever saw the mouth of the Potomac which can get quite nasty.  We are in our home stomping grounds now and plan to end our 8 month cruise meeting up with our sailing association friends next weekend in Jubb Cove.   It has been a wonderful time and we plan to do it again, whether is is next winter or the following, I don't know, but we will be doing it again!               
A calm Chesapeake Bay!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Lucky Week

Bull Creek

Cypress Swamps
This was not a very exciting week but a lucky one.  We continued north from Georgetown, SC for a night in the wilderness at Bull Creek in the cypress swamp.   When we got to the anchorage we saw our first alligator in the wild. Unfortunately I did not get a picture because we were in the midst of anchoring.  It was a beautiful spot but there were some very strange noises that night as we fell asleep.  We then headed to Pipeline Canal, Wrightsville Beach and then to Mile Hammock.  We had a lay over day in Mile Hammock because of severe storms predicted.  We lucked out because they were all around us.  The scariest part was for all the tornadoes predicted.  I kept thinking where do you go on a boat during a tornado?  We got some rain but no wind higher than 26 knots.  As I said we really were lucky.

We were also lucky the day we came out of Wrightsville Beach.  We got through a 10 am opening at the Figure Eight Bridge and after that it was closed until further notice for unexpected repairs.  If we had not gotten through we would had to return to Wrightsville Beach where the winds were 40-45 knots during the storms and blowing right into the anchorage.

In Mile Hammock we met up with Bob and Gail on Star whom we met down in Georgetown.  We had a delicious meal and a good time catching up on what they had been doing since we last saw them. 

We had a long day the following day to get to Broad Creek to anchor outside of River Dunes.  We stayed at River Dunes in the fall and thoroughly enjoyed the amenities.  The pool, hot tub, shower rooms, bikes, exercise room and the $1 a load laundry were a delight.  So the next morning we went into the marina early.  We fueled up and got into our slip by 9am.  We used their courtesy car to go to Oriental for the farmer’s market, get propane and then off to the grocery store for supplies. 
Blue Heaven with white calcium

Calcium deposit on hull
Al worked on cleaning the boat.  We had gotten a large white stain above the waterline on one side of our blue hull.  We thought it was a result of using a harsh cleaner to try to get the black scum off our white boot strip that we had gotten in Nassau harbor in December.  However, our friends on Star, another blue hulled boat, said it was probably calcium deposit and to use vinegar.  Al did, and to our relief it came off.  We were seeing an upcoming expensive imron job needed but not now.  We “lucked” out again!  (That brown next to the blue hull was the water in SC.  Yuck!)

Large home in River Dunes
That evening we had dinner with five other sailors who were in the marina.  They had a large affair in their main dining room of the marina’s restaurant, which left only so much room for other patrons for dinner, so they put us together.  We had a wonderful time getting to know the other people and the meal was delicious.  I wanted to stay another day, but Al said we had to keep moving.  For all you land lubbers, you can visit River Dunes by land as well.  They have some very cute cottages you can rent.  It is also a whole community, so if you want to buy property I am sure they would love to talk to you! Check out their website.   This was one of the larger homes in the community.

 Our days are filled with motoring, sailing or a combination of both heading up the inter-coastal waterway.  Our scenery has changed quite a bit as we head north, seeing tugs and barges and other commercial happenings.   

Big Beaver Dam?
We passed by Bellhaven and anchored at the south end of the Alligator Pungo Canal.  I got a lot of rug hooking done while going through this rather boring and least favorite area.  Being spring it is a beautiful shade of green along the banks.  We came across this Beaver Dam in the canal.  You should see the size of the beavers!  Only kidding, of course!  The Corp of Engineers clean the canal every once in awhile and pile it there.

We decided to make it a short day and after a three hour trip through the canal, so we anchored in the south end of the Alligator River.  We thought we would have a quiet afternoon but soon found out that one of our armed forces practices flying jets in this remote area.  I was glad when five o’clock rolled around so we could have some quiet.  However, it was the day Bin Laden was killed so maybe there was a reason to be practicing!  We had no ATT cell phone service since being in NC and had no internet service for two days.  But we could get TV and Dancing with the Stars!  Go figure!
Misty Morn on the Alligator River

We left early while the mist was on the water to head up to the Virginia Cut and hope to get cell phone and internet back so I can post this blog.