Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Horror

 We started out this morning heading down the ICW against the tide until we got to the first inlet, Lockwoods Folly where there was shoaling and since we were at low tide we only had about one foot under our keel but we did make it. The next inlet was also close but not as bad as Lockwoods Folly. The trick of "trick or treat" day was doing The Rock Pile, a portion of the I.C.W. that is a narrow channel lined with large rocks just below the surface that claims many boats. Added to the horror was 20 to 25 knot winds on the nose and a nasty chop, anyway time to celebrate we have made it over 1400 miles already and are tied up at Barefoot Landing at Myrtle Beach,S.C. We celebrated our arrival with a meal at a nice fresh fish restaurant just outside the boat. We will stay an extra night to recuperate, last night tied to the fuel dock with huge winds meant poor sleep, besides this area has over 100 restaurants and stores right next to the boat.   Chris

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Parade of Sails

As we left Mile Hammock Bay this morning it was like a parade, 12 sailboats and 7 trawlers all leaving at one time and heading South on the Intercoastal Waterway. As we came to the three bridges that we had to wait for, everyone would bunch up and then spread out on the other side. The third bridge only opened on the hour and we could not go fast enough to catch the next opening so everyone slowed way down and coasted until we got there. We decided to go all the way to Southport tonight and just made it by nightfall. The last half of the trip was stressful as Snows Cut from Carolina Beach to The Cape Fear River is not well marked and a strong current was against us.  The only good thing about fighting the current down the cut was when we reached the Cape Fear River we had the current with us and by the time we reached Southport we were cruising at about 8 knots.

Friday, October 29, 2010

At anchor at Mile Hammock Bay

We are at anchor at Mile Hammock Bay which is a part of the Marine Corps base Camp LeJeune. It is a small bay just off of the ICW just before you get to the New River in NC. We saw a few VTOL craft and helicopters over the base and a few shot up Bradley vehicles in the ranges along the route. The anchorage has really filled up since we arrived around 4pm. I am glad we got here when we did so that we didn't have to anchor too close to the shore.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cruising !

We got 2 wonderful meals,4 wine tastings each of spanish wines plus a bottle of wine on the waterfront at Queen Ann's Revenge for 34 dollars total - I love cruising. We almost feel guilty about all the fun, and great people we are meeting, We miss everyone we left behind but we definitly would not want to miss all of the good times we are having.

The Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks, Beaufort NC

We took a boat over to the Shackelford banks this AM to see the beaches and Wild horses.  They are reported to have swam ashore from sinking ships before this area was populated.. They are the Outer Banks wild horses.  Chris did some shelling along the beach and found quite a few.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

staying put

We untied some lines and noticed huge current and wind gusts and saw the trouble some big engine boats had leaving the dock so we will stay and maybe try early in the am.I enjoyed walking before the rainstorm last night and found a creepy very old graveyard and many restored gorgeous houses but went too far out and saw Big Daddy`s Groc. And Bailbonds- I turned back there.I can see the shore where the wild ponies live but no sightings yet.This dock is pricey but free pump out,free cable tv and 3 courtesy cars help,other cruisers we have met are staying put so will have company but many empty docks here and are advertising monthly winter rate for the first time-also noted some closed storefronts here too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beaufort, North Carolina

We continued South today just 20 miles, and are now at Beaufort, NC town docks. It is a nice town with a lot of shops, restaurants, old homes, and an island across the harbor that is supposed to have wild ponies on it. It is raining hard now with thunder and lightning, but we are tied up at a protected dock.  We did use the courtesy car to go to Piggly Wiggly Grocery store and stock up on more food. Depending on the weather we plan on moving to Swansboro tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


We are docked in Oriental at the town dock and next to the tiki bar with a band playing-Hot Buttered Grits-but they are playing pretty cool rock.We walked the town and found West Marine,groceries and a hardware store-long walk but then we treated ourselves to dinner-mmm fresh shrimp for me.We did finally bump bottom-mistook a marker at 7 knots-no apparent damage and I guess I better get used to it.
Mike is lost at the tiki bar but we planned a 2 night stay so all is good-we keep docking with several of the same people headed south but most are in a big hurry now- not us-cold last night but shorts and tank top in the daytime. Beaufort on Monday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Belhaven Waterway Marina!

We couldn't recommend Belhaven Waterway Marina more, they are a great marina and a very helpful staff. When we entered the Marina area they were standing by with line handlers and fenders already on the docks. Chris compared the bathrooms and showers to what you would find in a nice Bed and Breakfast. The location is right in the middle of the town with restaurants, Hospital, hardware store, banks and a drug store within a few blocks of the docks. We had a the lunch buffet at Fishooks Cafe, and it was great. The Grocery store is a way off but the owner's wife offered to give us a ride there if we wanted to go. Chris also found a QVC outlet store within walking distance, although a long walk. It is a nice town but like so many small towns we have seen it is slowly dying off with a lot of closed storefronts, too bad. There is a nice gazebo right along the docks for the boaters to meet in with nice furniture, tables, and screened in. I also added more pictures to the slide show at the top of the blog page.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Belhaven, NC ICW Mile 135

We left this AM at around 7 AM and passed through the Alligator River Swing bridge and into the Alligator Pungo Canal for the next 21 Miles. One of the boats ahead of us called back to report a log in the middle of the Chanel, so as I was watching for it and edging out of the center of the canal I did manage to bump the bottom. The canal is a lot wider than the Dismal Swamp with a lot of snags and stumps along the whole length. We did see 6 deer swim across the canal about halfway through it, and also saw a Buck chasing a doe in the reeds along the bank. There was a lot more current against us than we expected, so  that slowed us down about a knot and then as we exited the canal the wind was right on the nose so we didn't raise the main to get a boost in speed. We didn't arrive at belhaven until 5 PM so we had a long 10 hours on the water today. We are now docked at Belhaven Waterway Marina, and will be here tonight and tomorrow as I have a few boat jobs that need done. It's time for a oil change,  diesel filters, Check stuffing box, and all around rig inspection. Also we just need a day of not traveling before we head on for the next stop, Oriental, NC. another 50 mile day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Alligator Bridge

I really loved the solitude and scenery of the Dismal Swamp and yesterday was an uplifting day at Elizabeth City,N.C. We were met by the volunteer retirees who helped us to dock at the free city dock then off to a great home cooking style restaurant-Colonial restaurant,after lunch and shopping at the book and candy and quilt stores we called the grocery store and they picked us up free and waited while we shopped, a wonderful full service store and it was so nice to have so much produce to choose from too. A store employee Maggie was our driver and such southern charm and hospitality. After this it was time for the Rose Buddies welcome at the dock where volunteers gave us female cruisers a rose and we all had beer,wine,cheese and snacks and advice on all the town has to offer. After this we were treated to the high school band giving a concert at the docks-what a nice finish to the day. We also got more advice from seasoned cruisers and decided with bad weather tomorrow to head out after breakfast today. I have been worried about this crossing, shallow water that kicks up fast but we had a calm crossing although another bigger boat that left with us ran aground, we have been lucky so far,I must thank Katie K. for the rosary so far so good. We are tied up just outside the Alligator Bridge at Alligator Bridge Marina where we plan to stay until the weather clears..    Chris

Monday, October 18, 2010

I hear banjo music ! "The Great Dismal Swamp !"

We left Hampton, crossed Norfolk Harbor and started down the ICW. We took the Dismal Swamp route and the only boats we saw the whole 31 miles were three boats at the Welcome Center/Rest stop that took up, the whole dock space there. The lock at the beginning of the canal was much more turbulent than any we had on the Erie Canal. We continued on and are now tied up outside the lift bridge and lock that opens tomorrow at 8:30 AM. After we lock through we will head for Elizabeth City, NC and spend the night there at one of the Free docks if available. We saw our first dolphins of the trip at Hospital Point on the Elizabeth River where the ICW starts with mile "0". We also saw "Zero to Cruising" anchored there and circled them to say hi before we continued on. We have been following them since we saw their mast supports at Hop-O-Nose Marina on the Hudson River.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hampton, VA City Docks

Had a good sail 2/3 of the way to Hampton and then the winds shifted to right on the nose but we still got to the City Docks on the Hampton River around 4:30. This is the marina that the "Caribbean 1500" leaves from. There is a small Anchorage right across the river from us and right now it is not too crowded. There is a coffee shop right out front of the Marina and many restaurants about a block away. Since we had the coupon for the free dock we treated ourselves to Dinner at "The Taphouse" , we had a great meal, desert, wine and hard cider. On the way back to the boat Chris saw a Quilt shop, but they were closed and will not be open on Monday either so she missed out on some shopping. Tomorrow we will officially be on the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway, which starts at mile "0" in Norfolk. I will reset my trip odometer and set it for statute miles as that is how they measure the mileposts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Doziers Regatta Point

We are at Doziers Regatta Point Marina (Publishers of the Waterway Guide series of books) waiting for the winds to drop some as we don't really want to head out onto the bay with 30 knot winds forcasted. It is a nice marina, but if the wind is out of the north the winds and waves come right in the entrance channel and really rock the boats. We used the courtesy car today to go to West Marine, True Value Hardware, and the Grocery store. I did a couple of boat projects today, replaced the old 3 strand anchor line backing my chain rode with the new anchor brait that doesn't take up as much room in the anchor locker, and put depth markers on the chain and rode. We will see what the winds are tomorrow AM and hopefully we will head out for Hampton Virgina as we have a coupon for a Free night of dockage at the city Docks. After Hampton we will head for the Dismal Swamp Canal and on to Elizabeth City.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Deltaville VA.

We spent the last night on the hook off the Calvert Marine Museum last night, it was a nice and protected Anchorage. We left at first light and had a fast run with 10 to 15 MPH North winds behind us all the way down to Deltaville VA. I did manage to scramble the cabin as I turned to the East preparing to enter Deltaville, and the seas were 3 to 5ft on the beam. The entrance was only 10' but we had no problem following it, I would not want to do it in the dark. We had a wonderful meal of Pasta, Green beans, and Harpersfield Wine to complete a wonderful day on the water. As the weather is supposed to deteriorate over the next few days we took a slip at Doziers Regatta Point Marina for the next two days. Nice new marina with courtesy cars, laundry, Captains Lounge, and new showers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On the move again!

We left Annapolis this AM as soon as the Liftbridge opened at 9 AM, fueled up and started South again. We passed by Thomas Point Lighthouse just South of Annapolis and took a few pictures. There are a lot more boats heading South now compared to last month. We arrived in Solomons MD. around 7PM just at dark, and we plan on leaving at daybreak tommorow morning and travel to Deltaville. We are hoping to avoid some forcasted rain that is supposed to get here on Thursday before we get to Hampton VA.

Friday, October 8, 2010

boat show fun

It`s been a fun 2 days,our friend Glenn came from W.Va. yesterday then John and Pat from Hanoverton,we had a great lunch-crabcakes-at Cantlers on the water.Today we caught an early cruising seminar then boat show shopping, some women get jewelry as gifts-I got a Froli sleep system,a sort of boat innerspring system.We squeezed into an afternoon talk by Bob Bitchen of Latitudes and Attitudes magazines,the talk was funny and was all about sailing ordeals that afterwards are not horrific but great stories to be told over drinks-a positive attitude seminar really and great tales.We had lunch at the Fleet Club with Curtiss,Cula,Louie,Ray and Debbie an caught up on our marina news and of their families.Tonight we ran into friends Betty,Chuck,Sandy and Bill who are from our old marina-so much fun trading tales over food at Buddys.I also got a seat to elevate me while I steer-won`t have to tiptoe to see when driving now.Tummy full,legs tired,wallet slimmer-off to bed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

boat show week

I went to the laundry early today and couldn`t believe how crazy busy the waterfront is already-boat show starts in the am -vip day.I managed to get the laundry done without the pervert who talks about panties that was there the last two times. I also am tired of the bus this week-seems the mayor laid off all but one bus mechanic so few buses to serve the city-it was like the videos from third world countries with people crammed in every inch and some fat lady gets on and plops onto me leaving me pinched until my stop- it is really time for me to move on.On a lighter note we had a meeting for the ssca cruising group and met some great cruising people and came back  via the electric car that services restaurants and hotels free.We polished off some peach crisp I made today and are crashing early hoping to meet up with Ohio friends tommorrow.   chris

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting ready

Yesterday we went to the local medical clinic and they helped us set up a cruising first aid kit with all of the supplies and medications we might need for cruising emergencies. We learned about this service from the safety at sea seminar that we attended at West Marine last weekend. The town is starting to get ready for the show, some tents are starting to be erected, and we are seeing and meeting more cruisers arriving in town. A couple of cruisers that are also heading to the Bahamas just arrived here at the boatyard and we hope to talk to them in the next couple of days. We found out from another couple of cruisers that the boat show hires some cruisers to help setup and work the entrances and they get in to the show free, so we will have to look into that next year.  I will try and get some pictures as the docks and boats start getting set up for the show. Chris cooked a great pasta meal tonight and we had some great Washington State wine from the Icle Ridge Winery in Leavenworth tonight and things couldn't be better.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere!

Over 6" of rain yesterday with a south wind pushing the water up the bay. By midnight last night we had about a foot of water over the dock. So far we have had a Hurricane, Stink Bugs, and now a flood. Another cruiser (Zero to Cruising) suggested everyone start loading animals 2 by 2 to get ready. This AM the docks were back above the water, so everything is back to normal.