Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Yorktown, Hayas

Ken has the day off and takes us out for Haircuts, Propane refill and groceries. After lunch Ken brings his new to him 15 horse, 4 cycle out board down to the dock to test on our inflatable dinghy. Runs nice. Ken and Donna plan to take their boat down the east coast to the Bahamas next year show they have lots of questions for us while we are here. Linda and I spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning the boat and putting stuff away. Donna makes an excellent dinner for us and Ken makes baked strawberry dessert, gee we will never leave.

Sarah's Creek, Hayas, VA

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Yorktown, Hayes

Started raining at breakfast and the docks are flooded again. So we do not want to leave until the dock is out of the water. We are visiting our ex-Vermont friends, Ken & Donna, who moved to Hayes, VA a couple years ago and brought their sailboat. We visited them last fall going south.

Denise & Martin

By nine it stops raining and the dock is now exposed. I say our good byes to Martin and Denise. I had read some of their Blog which is in German via Google translate on Chrome. I mention to Martin the translation for their cockpit enclosure is “Cake stall” which I thought was a funny miss-translation. Martin tells me that is literally a correct translation from the German. They help us off the dock. They are staying one more day to visit the Naval Museum in Norfolk. I admonish the boat in front of us that a boat named Manana is the first boat to leave, usually we are the last. We have the full cockpit enclosure up and we stay dry through a number of showers. 



As we approach the York River the winds die and the water becomes quite calm. But ahead we see some pretty ugly clouds and the weather radar shows some heavy rains coming. As we get close to Sarah’s Creek we have a full blown squall, blowing 25-30 knots and visibility is near zero. I slow down which is good because not watching the compass I am starting to get way off course. By the time we head up Sarah’s Creek it starts to clear. As we approach their T-dock Donna comes down to greet us. We head up to their house for Happy Hour and we bring a load of laundry. We all head out to dinner, but our first choice again is closed. It must be us.

Monday, May 13, 2019


We had planned to leave today, but it is suppose to rain and it is quite rough out on the Chesapeake, so we decide to stay another day. All the other boats in the basin stay put too. After breakfast I head over the nearby Marriott for a WiFi session. We had hoped to get haircuts, but most shops are closed on Monday.

Just as we are making lunch Bob and Linda, out for their afternoon walk stop by. They had planned to leave today also, but the weather kept them at the marina. After lunch, Linda and I walk to their marina to visit with them on their boat for a couple hours. We decide to go to Thai Basil a recommended restaurant, but they are closed on Monday, so back to Legend Depot. We are now regulars. Another good dinner with a nice Porter.

Bob & Linda studying the menu

Our dock is underwater by a few inches, because of a high spring tide. We had hoped it would of gone down while we were at dinner, but no such luck. Linda and I take off our shoes and walk through the water to climb up on our boat which is now even higher from the dock. Bob and Linda get a laugh.


Flood tide

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Diver Linda

We sleep in and have pancakes for breakfast. We have a number of rain showers throughout the day. Early afternoon we go to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, right next to where our boat is tied up. The last two times here, the Museum as been closed. The Museum turns out to be free. I finally get a question answered I have had about the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. From the Portsmouth side of the Elizabeth River, where we are, all we can see are ships across the River in Norfolk being worked on. It turns out the actual Portsmouth Shipyard is further south on the River. Across the River from us is the General Dynamics Shipyards. 


At the Museum we get talking with another couple who recently moved here from New Hampshire, Art mentioned he was from Jaffery New Hampshire and we exchange cards. Later after they leave I notice his last name is Keating. Linda and I knew a Cathy Keating when we both lived in Keene NH, a long time ago. We leave the Museum and go see the Light Ship, that is dry docked near the Museum. After we leave the tour there, we catch up to Art and find out he is Cathy’s brother.

Portsmouth Boat Basin

Oyster Stew
Linda and I head over to a new Brew Pub on the other side of the basin, “Legends Depot” for a late lunch. We split fish tacos and order soup. Linda gets a cup of vegetarian chilly and I get a bowl of Oyster stew. The Oyster stew turns out to be a meal in itself and is fabulous. Martin and Denise stop in for drinks and sit down with us while Linda and I split desert.

I invite Martin and Denise to our boat for Happy Hour. Later I also invite a young couple Richard and Kate, who are sailing a beautiful classic wood boat, looks like it belongs in a museum. Just after they all arrive, friends from Vermont Bob & Linda who are finishing the Great Loop on their trawler walk by. They had spied our boat the day before and had sent me an email this morning. We had planned to walk to their marina after our Happy Hour guests left. So Bob and Linda join us all in our cockpit. It was fun catching up with them. They are going to buy a 44 foot power cat before they return to Vermont and sell their house and become full time boat people. Richard is from Delaware and is returning there with Kate who is from Russia. We all had a great get together.


Richard & Kate

Linda & Bob


Later after everyone leaves Linda and I go back to Legend before they close at 10:00 and share a bowl of Oyster Stew, which they split and deliver in two bowls, which are still bigger that most bowls. We quiz the wait staff on the ingredients so we can try to make it when we get home.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


We leave the dock at 7:00. Even though we are packed in tight on the long face dock the current on our stern helps kick out our back end, off the dock with the bow line still tied to the dock. Once the back end clears the boat behind us we back out and Linda pulls the bow line free. We motor-sail for the first 15 miles of open water before we enter the narrow ICW channel. We have 4 opening bridges to deal with today. The first one, the North Landing bridge has two swing spans that are so low to the water I don’t think a canoe could get under. A few weeks ago a barge clobbered on of the span and they can only open one side every 30 minutes. The other side has to be manually opened twice a day to commercial traffic that will not fit through the single span. We arrive with a bunch of power boats for the 11:00 AM opening. The next bridge which opens every ½ hour is too far for us to make in just ½ hour. Sometimes the opening gets delayed so we maintain full speed. We don’t make it, but the bridge operator kindly opens the bridge 15 minutes later after traffic clears for three boats. 

Leaving Coinjock

The next bridge “Great Bridge”, although only two miles further, only opens on the hour, so we will have nearly an hour to wait. There is a free dock by the bridge, but only room for one more boat, so we tie up. A Swiss couple (Martin and Denise) who we met at Coinjock is behind us and I wave them over to tied up off of us. They sailed across the ocean and have been in the Caribbean and are now working their way north to Boston and then Nova Scotia. They will haul their boat (Skua) there and come back next year and sail back to Europe. Very interesting couple. We next go through the tidal lock shortly after Great Bridge. I think we drop, maybe 4 inches. This is the first time Martin and Denise have been in a lock. This is an easy lock, they have rubber wall bumpers, don’t need fenders. No current with the gentle drop.

My Happy Hooker

Denise and Martin on  "Skua"

We told Martin and Denise about the free wall on a basin in Portsmouth, which is a favorite stop for us. When we arrive around 3:00 PM there are two spaces left. After we quickly dock, I wave them over to the space behind us and we help them tie up. I get back to our boat and I can not pull it forward on the dock, when I realize I have left it in the reverse. I shut down the engine and now it is much easier to pull the boat forward.

General Dynamics

Cute little boat we have passed a few times.

Boats in the Basin

Martin and Denise invite us over for Happy Hour on their boat at 5:00. First Linda and I quickly walk up to “The Commodore Theater” an old restored art-deco movie theater that has tables and very comfortable stuffed chairs on casters. They serve food and drinks. We make a reservation for tonight.

Dinner & Movie

After Happy Hour we head to the theater about an hour before the movie starts for dinner. There are thunderstorm warnings, but we get to the theater before we see any rain. Just before the movie starts everyones phone around us starts playing a weather alert for possible torrnados, even though people phones are set on “Airplane Mode”. 

When we walk back to boat hours later, it is obvious we had a lot of rain. The bucket in the dinghy has 4 inches of water in it.

Friday, May 10, 2019


We leave by 7:00 am and head north up the Alligator River. Going north there are two ICW routes to take, The Dismal Swamp to the west via Elizabeth City or the Virginia Cut. The Virginia Cut is more popular and all commercial traffic goes that route. We always take the Dismal Swamp going south and the Virginia Cut going north. The Virginia Cut should be called the “Prime Rib Cut”, because the Restaurant at Coinjock is noted for their Prime rib.

The wind picks up behind us and we motor-sail at a good pace north. We reach the Alligator River swing bridge about 2-1/2 hours later. The wind continues out of the southeast and we keep up a good pace across the Albermarle Sound. We have always been lucky here. If the wind blows from the east or west this shallow body of water can get very rough with short steep waves making too rough, to cross. Because its depths are under 20 feet, there can be crab pots anywhere, requiring constantly paying attention. Today for some reason we did not have a lot floats to deal with.

Just before we get off the Albermarle on to North River, 4 Army landing craft, transporting equipment, catch up and pass us. Strange watching them approach us from the south. 

Here comes the Army

We get to Coinjock an hour earlier than I thought we would with the boost from the wind. Arriving at Coinjock we find the 4 landing craft tided up to the dock taking on fuel. They take around 1000 gallons each. We are gone ten months and don’t use more than 800 gallons for the whole trip. 


Fueling up at Coinjock

I spend the rest of the afternoon washing the boat, taking on fuel, pumping out the waste tank and filling our water tanks.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Alligator River

I open the companionway cover and look out at the cockpit and Bimini and they are covered with bugs. I think they are midges. The little bastards, aside from being all over the boat, they have pooped all over the back end of the boat. Little green spots all over. The only way to get rid of most of them is to move and create a breeze. Unfortunately, the poop presents stay and Linda does a lot of the cleaning after we get underway. The topsides are a mess and we will clean the rest of the boat at Coinjock marina tomorrow. 
 I think I killed the State Bird (horse fly)

We cross the Pamlico River and head up the Pungo River to the Alligator River Pango River Canal. The Canal is about 23 miles long and straight except for one bend in the middle. We hope to anchor at one of my favorite anchorages, Bear Point, in a very remote section of the Alligator River, no cell service, no light pollution. Coming south we could not stay there because of the wind direction and again it is blowing out of the same direction, Southeast, so we go another couple miles to another anchorage. 

The start of theAlligator River Pango River Canal