Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mattawoman Creek, Potomac

Long day up the Potomac River. The Potomac is 6-7 miles wide at the mouth and is still about 4-5 miles wide, 40 miles up, so it feels more like being on a bay for the first half of the day. Very calm and sunny most of the day, but we have current against us much of the time. We have a long day and don't reach our anchorage until 6:00 PM on Mattawomen Creek, nearly 70 miles up the river.

Very calm day up the Potomac

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lewisetta, VA, The Glebe, Potomac, Day 1

It did not rain most of the night, but the rain starts back up in the morning and the forecast for the afternoon is more rain. We decide to stay put and get some work done. If we leave very early tomorrow we maybe able to ride the high tide up the Potomac. Linda bakes banana bread and works on bills, I work on the blog and other projects.

Rainy morning at anchor

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lewisetta, VA, The Glebe, Potomac

We leave FBYC around 9:00AM . Before we leave Deltaville we stop by the Deltaville Marina for fuel and a pumpout. As we approach the docks we see “Mar-a-Lago”. 

Jane, Linda and Brian

 I knew Brian and Jane were leaving their boat here for the summer and coming back in the Fall for one last trip south. I had thought they would of headed home to Toronto, by now. Getting the boat ready for storage has taken quite a bit of time. They found a climate controlled storage facility and are storing cushions and many other boat items for the summer.

We now have an even later start from Deltaville. It is a very calm, motoring day, but the leading edge of tropical depression Bonnie is slowing coming north and we have rain showers on and off most of the afternoon. 

Rain clouds catching up to us
By mid-afternoon we start heading up the Potomac River and head into the Glebe River in Lewisetta, VA. We are heading for a very protected anchorage through shallow waters littered with crab pots and oyster beds. Twice I have to swerve because I am off course and we are on the verge of hitting the bottom. Once we drop the anchor we have the place all to ourselves.

A local home owner is teaching one of his kids to wake board. At one point he swings by and tells us he will be shooting off a cannon at sunset, not that we will actually see one tonight. Soon after it starts raining. After supper I doze off watching TV on the settee. Suddenly BAM ! The remote control goes flying and I reactively jump up and run to the cockpit to start the engine. But before I get there, I notice Linda is laughing hysterically (at me) and then it dawns on me, oh yeh, cannon, sunset. Well, at least I am wide a wake, now.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Deltaville, Fishing Bay Yacht Club (FBYC)

We leave the dock around 8:15AM. “Carolyn Ann” had just left the dock in front of us, so we have a clear exit and we head out after her. Nice warm sunny Saturday, no wind, lots of weekend boaters out, but almost no commercial traffic. 
Fishing Bay Yacht Club
We get into FBYC around 4:15 PM and get a spot on the guest T-Dock. FBYC gives members of other Yacht Clubs a free night as their guest. This is our 4th time here and this has to be one of the nicest boat clubs on the east coast. We were originally invited by George Burke a former Commodore who we met on our first trip south. At the time he and his wife, Lyons had a Catalina 36. His wife was quite interested in a drawer that I had added to our Catalina 36 in the galley. I had sent the plans I had written for the Catalina 36 Website to his wife. I asked her last fall if George had made the drawer for her. He solved the problem, by selling their Catalina 36 and buying a larger sailboat.

As usual we have a good time meeting and talking with club members.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Portsmouth, VA, Day 1

I spend the morning working on our blog. I have not had time to work on it lately since we have been constantly moving or busy fixing something for the last month.
South Basin, Portsmouth, VA

Hey Lady ! aren't you already married to a prince ?

We go for a long walk and later in the afternoon stop by the Commodore theater a reserve a table for tonight since a new movie run is starting, “Alice through the Looking Glass”. Hmm, our now favorite table has been reserved. We assume it was by our dock mates since almost everyone in the South Basin is coming tonight. We walk up to the theater with most of the other boat owners in the south Basin. And sure enough, Joe and Kathy, “Carolyn Ann“ scooped us this time for their favorite table.

Commodore Theater, Portsmouth, VA

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Portsmouth, VA

With the boats packed in one behind each other on the face dock it is hard to leave, until the boat behind departs. The boat behinds us leaves early so we take off right after him and have breakfast on the way. Most of the morning we are in open shallow bays in narrow dredged ICW channels. Again we have good wind to increase our speed and are able to time the afternoon swing bridges better. Another beautiful day on the ICW. 
Life is too short for an Ugly boat !
Virginia Cut section of the ICW

Great Bridge, Virginia

The lock after Great Bridge
Waiting for the Rail Road Bridge, maintenance workers busy
Gilmerton Highway Lift Bridge

I have been emailing our Canadian friends Gary and Heather who are taking advantage of this long spell of good weather and have been sailing the coast from St. Augustine for the last 4 days to Virginia Beach, VA. They are trying to get home to Nova Scotia in June. They ran into an underwater pile in the Abacos and nearly sunk. They were able to get to Man-o-War Cay and lost a week or two getting the boat repaired.

Aircraft Carrier getting ready to deploy
Ocean Marine Yacht Center, customer

We get into the South Basin in Portsmouth, a very nice free dock. We were lucky there was only a couple boats in there when we arrive. By dark it is full with mostly trawlers who are staying for a couple days. The last boat to come in is “Sunshine”, Dom and Lois who we met in Nassau at the Harbor Yacht Club. We have run into mutual friends in the Bahamas and heard that Lois was having some medical problems, so it was good to see them here.

In the evening Linda and I go to the Commodore Theater, something we missed last time here. I pick up tickets and reserve our table an hour before they are opened for seating. The Commodore Theater is a restored art deco movie theater that now has tables and you can order dinner before the movie starts. Very cool place. The ticket and food prices are very reasonable.
Customers place their orders via telephones on each table, before the movie starts. Most people order and eat dinner before the movie starts. The movie tonight is the Marvel Comics, Civil War Captain America. A couple from the Trawler in front of Manana, “Carolyn Ann” a Great Harbor, kid us about taking their favorite table. They are regulars.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Coinjock Marina

Early morning crabber.
We leave at 7:30 and pass other boats still anchored, rather unusual for us. As we head north up the Alligator River to the Albemarle Sound we are inundated with horse flies. Can't swat the buggers fast enough, unfortunately we only have one fly swatter. After, we go through the Alligator River Swing Bridge with two other sail boats, that we realize we met in Bimini back in January, the flies get worse. Daniel on “Water Music” hails us on the radio and ask how are the flies on our boat. Of course I reply “What flies ?”, liar - liar. We have good wind across the Albemarle Sound and the waves are not too bad. 
Sailing on the Albemarle Sound
This Sound is only about 20 feet deep so the waves can build up pretty fast. And because of the shallow depths you can find crab pots almost anywhere. We pull into Coinjock dock wall along the ICW channel behind “Water Music” and “Wisp in the Wind”. For years our friends John and Genie have been telling us how good the prime rib is here at the restaurant, so we make a reservation. 
Coinjock Marina
John is right it is quite good. Most of the other cruising boats on the dock are at the restaurant for dinner. After dinner I get talking with Ivan who has a Catalina 34 about some cooling problems they had in Nassau. They were there for two weeks just before we got there with our rudder problem. We have the same engine so he “pops the hood” on the engine to show me the modifications that were done to their cooling system.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Alligator River, Bear Point

Leaving River Dunes

We didn't leave particularly early, 8:30AM, but had favorable west winds so we were able to cover a good distance.

 I was hoping to make it to the most remote anchorage on the ICW, Bear Point, Alligator river, just east of the Pungo-Alligator canal. Sunny and warm day, just about perfect, lots of open waters for motor-sailing. This area is so remote there is no cell coverage for 20 miles in either direction. No man-made lights to be seen. 
Dinner on the Alligator River, Bear Point
We do have to put up with military aircraft flying around in this remote area for a few hours. There are a few other boats anchored about 1 mile away, but my favorite spot, Bear Point, is all ours.

Monday, May 23, 2016

River Dunes

We get up at 6:00AM and take the car back to Enterprise after a quick stop at McDonalds for breakfast. We are back on the boat and leave by 10:30AM. Sprinkled on and off most of the day, but now the wind has shifted to the west and we have it on our back heading back down the Neuse River. We motor-sail most of the day. We get into River Dunes by 4:30PM. Not all the activity they had last Fall when we were hiding out with all the other cruisers for a couple days from lousy weather. Only a couple cruising boats there, now. We have a good dinner at the restaurant. Very unique menu, hard to decide what to order.

River Dunes is still one of our favorite Marinas, but we still didn't have time to use the pool or one of the hot tubs.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New Bern, Blackbeard Sailing Club, Day 2

Linda starts going through our mail and we do not find any of the many checks that BoatUS was suppose to have sent us. We call Rose and the next day she opens what she thought was nagging BoatUS magazine subscriptions and finds all our checks. They can wait until we get home in mid-June.
Morning at Blackbeard
I also start setting up our new TV antenna. I am very surprised that we pull in 42 channels, New Bern is not that big. Of course many are duplicate PBS or Home Shopping network channels, but enough to channel surf like we are home on cable TV.

Mark and Karen invited us to their home for lunch, they also live in Fairfield Harbor, where most of New Bern sailors we know live. Their house is on a creek and their boat “Sea vu Play” is docked out in their backyard. Now that is cool. Must be nice to work on and load the boat from your house, not too mention having an extra guest room when you need it. Very nice house and location, almost has me thinking of giving up on Vermont and skiing and moving to North Carolina. I'm sure I would feel different in the summer.

We have a very nice lunch and play cards out on Mark & Karen's enclosed windowed porch. Linda has been getting her card game playing fix here in New Bern. Mark and I geek out on installing video server software so they can watch movies on TV via WIFI directly from the hard drive of their computers without running around with USB sticks. Mark and I also play around with a boat WIFI radio and router system that his son put together for him. I was quite impressed with the documentation and hardware, his son who works in IT, put together for him. Linda and Karen headed back to Blackbeard while Mark and I played with computer stuff.

Sunday Potluck dinner at Blackbeard Sailing Club
Mark and I head over to Blackbeard when we are done for a potluck cookout with other members of Blackbeard, including Bill and Sandy. Everyone brings a side to share and whatever they want to cook. Unfortunately we did not have the time to catch up with Lisa & Craig “Second Spree”, who we snorkeled with in the Exumas and Dave & Polly “Illusions”, who rescued our run away dinghy at Black Point.

Bill and Sandy a rather tired after having a string of guests so they head home. We are hoping to see them in Vermont this summer.

Mark and Karen come back to the boat and we play Hand & Foot.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

New Bern, Blackbeard Sailing Club, Day 1

We reserve another Enterprise car, but they are short on pick up drivers on Saturday so Mark and Karen offer to pick us up for breakfast in New Bern and take us to Enterprise. They pick us up at 8:00 AM and we head to “Baker's Kitchen Resturant & Bakery” in the middle of town, on Middle Street of course. Very popular breakfast spot. Mark and Karen's timing was excellent. We find parking near the restaurant and get seated right away. By the time we leave there is a line to get into the restaurant out on the sidewalk. We pick up our car and stop at a few stores for a couple items, before returning to Blackbeard. 
The deck at Blackbeard
New Keen - Old Keen
We are having dinner at our good friends Bill and Sandy who we met on our first trip to the Bahamas and skied with us last year in Utah. They call and ask us to come over early in the afternoon to visit and play games. I have to change the oil and a couple other maintenance items so Linda goes over without me, so I have the boat to myself to work. When I get done Bill and Linda pick me up. Bill and Sandy are latest mail drop. I ordered a new pair of Keen's, I have worn out the pair I started with. Rose our house sitter has also sent us a box of what she thinks is our more important mail. 

View the T-head guest dock, long dock
We have a nice afternoon with Bill and Sandy. We watch the Kentucky Derby, had a very good dinner and played cards. Did not get back to the boat until 11:00PM. Blackbeard has a gate and I was wondering if it even worked. Well it was closed at 11:00PM and you needed a key card to get in. We call Sandy and she knows exactly why we are calling before we speak. She sends Bill over to let us in.

Friday, May 20, 2016

New Bern, Blackbeard Sailing Club

Another overcast, cool day. Thunderstorms predicted for tomorrow so I decide to pass up on going out to Cape Look Out. We head to New Bern to visit some of the many sailing friends we have met on our two trips to the Bahamas. Once we get on the Neuse river leading to New Bern, a 20 mile run, we pick up 20 knots of wind on our rear from the northeast. We have a fast sail up with waves breaking on our stern for the first half. A couple of the breaking waves climb up our walk off stern getting my feet wet behind the wheel. We get into Blackbeard at 6:00 PM. Since we have been here before we know where the guest dock is, and do not need any assistance. After dinner Mark and Karen stop by.

Manana on the guest dock

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spooner Bay

Another hard day on the ICW
We get up at 7:00 AM and I notice we are the only boat left. We leave at 8:00 to catch the next bridge opening going north. Nice sunny day, a little cool and as with the last couple days, the current is against us most of the time. For about 5 minutes past Swansboro we are zipping along at 8 knots, but that quickly ends as we head up another leg of the ICW. Some times you can catch the tide change and inlet changes at the right tide change and have favorable currents all day long on the ICW. Sometimes you have just the opposite. We are now paying back for all the past good luck with favorable currents.

Waterfront still for sale at Swansboro
We had hoped to go outside at Wrightsville beach and sail directly to Cape Lookout just east of Beaufort NC, but the northeast winds would have been on the nose, so we stayed in the ICW. 

We get to Spooner Bay around 2:00PM, another favorite anchorage of ours. There is a marina there, but also room to anchor in a very protected little cove. We fuel up and decide to stay at the marina this time. The other thing we like about this place is we can walk to a whole bunch of stores, West Marine, Walmart, Lowes, Staples, Best Buy, etc. I buy a new boat TV antenna. Our old one, on the top of our mast, has not been working as well as it once had. We also stop at Lowes so I can replace some of the many solar garden lights that have managed to go over board in the Bahamas. I think I have lost three of them. We have dinner back on the boat, because I'm too tired from shopping to make another stop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mile Hammock

Rainy morning at Wrightsville Beach, it is suppose to stop around noon-time, so we stay put for the morning. We leave just before noon to catch the bridge opening. 

Rainy afternoon on the ICW

Osprey nests on many of the ICW channel poles

 We have been passing this boat for the last couple days, but never quite this fast.  He strayed a little to far off the channel. The rising tide should free him.

Very appropriately named boat

We are the last boat into Mile Hammock, a very protected cove at Camp Lejeune, US Marine Base, frequented almost exclusively by cruisers. We are the last boat in at 7:15PM. There are about 8 other boats there.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wrightsville Beach

"Navigator", Island Gypsy
After breakfast Linda checks out a trawler that I say is the same type that our friends John and Genie have. Linda does not think so. As I head back to our boat, Linda walks down the other dock to the trawler to check it out. After a while she does not show up back at our boat so I go looking for her. Naturally, she has been invited on to the trawler (36 Island Gypsy, MKII) for a tour. By the way it is the same boat as John and Genie's. The interior was different, though. Had some interesting enhancements. Of course I get the same tour from Peter and Laurie of their boat “Navigator”. 
Leaving St. James Marina

 Right after we leave the Marina "Hot Shot" comes up behind us and asks to do a slow pass. Which we chuckle about since "Navigator" was just complaining about being waked by them. We had heard a number of VHF radio transmissions yelling at "Hot Shot" for his wakes.  I guess the guy is learning.

We leave around 10AM. Overcast day, but nice temperature. Current is against us most of the day. We head up the Cape Fear river with an ebb tide against us but with the continuing east winds, we pop out the head sail which almost gets us back to cruising speed now we are heading north up the Cape Fear River. This is our fourth transit of the Cape Fear River and we have been previously lucky on having the currents in our favor. Last time going north we almost hit 10 knots.
Cape Fear Lighthouse
We reach Wrightsville beach around 4:15PM in a light rain. Hardly any cruising boats in the anchorage. We stay on the boat and pass up one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, a short walk from the dinghy dock. To compensate I try making fajitas on the boat. They weren't too bad.


Monday, May 16, 2016

St. James Plantation, SC

Osprey Marina full with transients, the gas dock is full overnight

Up early, had breakfast and I return the Enterprise car and Linda cleans the boat. We left the Marina at 10:00 AM. Not one of my better exits from a dock. Fortunately there were other transients there, who are motivated to protect their boats, who came to our assistance. 

Barefoot Landing Swing Bridge

Golf Course Trams, no longer working, have not moved since we passed here in the Fall

Linda driving
The temperatures were rather cool most of the day. No matter where we were on the ICW the current was against us most of the day and the wind was on our nose the whole day. 

The Rockpile
 The Rockpile is a narrow section of the ICW that required a lot of blasting to dig.  So to save money they left it narrower. This is not the section of the ICW you want to meet a barge coming at you.

One of my favorite stocks
We did not get into St. James Plantation until 7:15 PM. We had stopped here two years ago going south to hide out from two days of freezing temperatures, so it was really nice to be here in comfortable temperatures out of the wind. We had dinner outside at the restaurant at the marina.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Myrtle Beach, Osprey Marina, Day 2

In the morning Linda does laundry and I work on a couple boat projects. At noontime we meet up with Larry and Charla and go out to a Sushi Resturant that is a favorite of Charla's. We normally aren't big sushi people, but this was very good. After we visit with Larry for a couple hours we head out for a couple more stops.

One stop at West Marine to get our failing West Marine binoculars replaced. This time we are armed with our Visa bill from last year showing the purchase. The young woman working there, does not really care to see the bill, nor does she look up our purchase history, she says these are obviously West Marine binoculars, “Says West Marine right on them”. She gets us another pair and we are good to go. Quite a difference from the jerk at West Marine in St. Augustine, who only gave us crap and helped to re-enforced the tag line “Worst Marine”.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Myrtle Beach, Osprey Marina

Luara Ellen, Burlington VT, passes us by on the ICW

We leave at 7:00 AM and arrive at Osprey Marina by 11:30AM. It is surprising to find so many transient boats, power and sail. By evening the marina will be full, including the gas docks. Two years ago, about the same time, we were the only transient boat here when we stopped. We have arranged a weekend Enterprise rental car which is such a good deal. They pick us up around 12:30 and we have a car for 2 days for $23 dollars. The main purpose of this stop is to visit Linda's brother in-law, Larry and her niece, Charla. We also hit Costco and a few other stores. This is the first real food shopping we have done since we got back from the Bahamas. After we take stuff back to the boat we pick up Larry, We all go out to dinner to a Crepe Restaurant that was a favorite of Linda's sister, Claudia.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Butler Island

Sunrise off Charleston, SC

Late in the afternoon as we approach Winyah Bay to Georgetown a line of thunderstorms comes towards us. We turn around and head back out on the ocean to dodge the storm. 
 Approaching Thunderstorms as we come off the ocean to enter the ICW  and the Waccamaw River 

We lose about an hour by the time we head back in, only to have another thunderstorm come by, but we just have rain to deal with. We anchor for the night behind Butler Island on the Waccamaw River which will take us to Myrtle Beach. A beautiful quite anchorage that we have to ourselves.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Overnight sail to South Carolina

We leave at 7:30 AM for an overnight sail to Georgetown, South Carolina. We have a nice sunny day with good wind. Have to dodge a couple Shrimp boats as we head north.  Over night the wind continues and it is fairly warm, so we both get some sleep. 

Pulp mill in Fernandina

Shrimp boat, working
Sunset off Georgia