Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oriental to Beaufort, NC (B long O - fort)

Friday, Oct 29
Oriental, NC

It cooled off last night, which is a relief considering how warm and humid it was yesterday.  Tom and Bev Love met us about 945am and took us out to breakfast at Gantley's Restaurant in town.  We had such a good time with them and wished that we had more time to visit, but Bev had an appointment at 12 noon.  They were kind enough to take us to the Town & Country grocery store and then drop me off at Nelda Coats' house that was close by.  I met Nelda last night at the Potluck and she had offered me the use of her washer and dryer, which I took her up on.  Her house is very nice with a creek behind that they have their O'Day 25' sailboat tied up at a dock.  The deepest the creek gets is 4 feet, so you have to have a shallow draft boat there.  Nelda has a 9mo old miniature Australia Shepherd dog named Molly.  Molly is so cute and very rambunctious until she calms down after about a hour. :)  It was good to be around a dog again. Nelda also had an appointment so was able to get both loads washed and only one dried before she needed to take me back to the boat in her car.  Not a problem as I was able to hang them on the lifelines and they dried just fine.  I appreciated very much her use of her machines and her company.

Phil and I did things around the boat in the afternoon and we received a call from Bev inviting us over to their house for dinner.  We were glad about this as we wanted to spend more time with them.  They have a lovely log cabin house that Tom built 20 years ago when he retired and they moved down from Ohio.  They lived in a 28' trailer on the property while he built the house.  It's just the right size for 2 and is on the Brown Creek which can be reached from the Broad Creek where we anchored on our way down to Oriental.  We would have to go further up Broad Creek and then may be able to go down Brown creek a little ways, and then go the rest of the way in our dinghy.  We may try to do that in the spring on our way back home.  We had a great evening.  Bev and I have a lot in common as she quilts and crochets, and she also does stain glass.  Tom and Phil also have a lot in common so there was no lack of topics to talk about.

After Bev drove us home, there was a Halloween party going on at the Tiki Bar of Oriental Marine, but we were tired and after putting in ear plugs, the music being played didn't bother us a bit.

Saturday, October 30
Distance Traveled:  24.87 nm
Total distance:  1126.79 nm

When we woke it was cold - gentleman docked in front of us on S/V Louise M from Brooklyn, NY said it was 45F at 530am inside and outside his boat.  We had condensation on all the hatch and port windows.  At 730am it was 55F inside the boat.  Time for all the layers once again.  We we left about 8am, Changes wasn't on the bottom so we were able to back up without any problems and left the harbor at 815am.  The wind was N 10kts and Phil was at the helm.  Since the engine was running, I took advantage of the unlimited electricity and got on the computer to do some research about the Froli bed system and check email.  We continue to have problems with condensation and the mattress getting wet on Phil's side of the bed and though the new mattress is comfortable, it wouldn't hurt to have a little spring action.  It was on sale at the boat show and now that I have offered to split the cost of it, Phil's willing to go ahead for us to get it.  I'm going to try to see if I can get it at the Annapolis Boat Show sale price so have to wait until they are open on Monday.

We have heard about the town of St Mary, Georgia putting on a big Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner.  They provide the turkeys and any of the cruisers that come provide a dish to share.  Last year there were 200 boats that participated.  We are going to try to get to St. Mary, GA to participate this year.  There were 2 couples at the Potluck we went to that are also going to be attending, so will be good to see them again.  I also found that there is a SSCA Cruising Host in this town so could be another location that may accept mail for us.  Will have to contact them and see if that's possible.

Back to our trip today:  While I was at the helm, we reached Mile Marker 200 of the ICW at 11am and went throught the Beaufort and Morehead RR Bridge at 1142am.  Phil took the helm again as there were many fishing boats and we had to take the right channel to get to Beaufort, NC that veered off to the left.  We dropped anchor in Turner Creek Bight (indent in the river) in front of Beaufort, NC.  After we were settled, we took the dinghy into town and walked around.  In one of the stores, I found different "shoes" called Five Finger Shoes.  Check out their web site to see what I'm talking about.  They are shoes you wear without socks and they are designed to make the muscles in your feet work and get stronger, while providing protection. I understand that once your muscles get use to them, they are very comfortable and help with balance and coordination.   They have a sole that is good for on sailboats and can be worn in the water.  The company is having a hard time keeping them in stock.  I've been looking for new shoes to wear that would be comfortable for the long distances that we walk as my walking tennis shoes are getting old.  We walked down Front Street and saw some of the Historical homes of the area.  Phil looked through the Maritime Museum while I read a book.  In another part of the Museum in a boat shed/barn (huge building), they were decorating inside for a wedding reception. 

Before we came back to the boat, we filled up a gallon jug and a 2.5 gal jerrie jug of water that we could add to the Sun Shower.  We came back to the boat and had showers.  We should have done that before we went to town as by this time we got back the wind was cold and the water had cooled off.  Phil thinks I over exaggerate things at times, so when I told him that the water was cold, he didn't believe me ---  until he took his shower.  It felt good to have clean hair and body and we warmed up quickly.   I cooked supper of baked acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and biscuits with steak.  It had been cooling down, so all the baking helped to warm up the inside of Changes really well.  After supper we read and went to bed about 10pm.

I wanted to talk to you about the pronunciation of Beaufort.  You see there is Beaufort, NC and Beaufort, SC and they are NOT pronounced the same, as any local will correct you if you say it the wrong way.  The Beaufort in NC has the long O sound after the B and in SC it has the long U sound after the B.  I seem to have a hard time remembering and get it mixed up all the time.  sigh.  

Sunday, Oct 31
Beaufort, NC (long O)

We woke to the wind continuing from the West but sunny skies.  Phil made pancakes for breakfast and I washed the dishes.  You may notice that I was able to put our current location from the Spot GPS at the top of the blog.  I saw that Missing Link had it at the top of their blog, and they sent me a comment telling me how to do that.  It was a little tricky, but Phil was able to help me with the last piece and so now you won't have to go somewhere else to look.  I am going to leave the link on the side bar so that if you do want to go to the full-size page you can easily.  Let me know what you think and if it takes too long for the page to load with that information there as I could remove it if it's too cumbersome.

We are planning on continuing on the ICW tomorrow and trying to have longer days since we can go south of Morehead City starting tomorrow.  Longer days are 40 - 50 nm so we can make some progress getting south.  Phil said that the town has closed for Sunday, will have to see if the open up in the afternoon.  S/V Haven, the Krogen 38 we met in Elizabeth City is anchored here so may go over in the dinghy to chat with them later.   Hope all is well at home. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Broad Creek to Oriental, NC

Thursday, Oct 28
Distance Traveled:  11.45nm
Total Distance:  1101.92 nm
Broad Creek to Oriental NC

We woke at 640am to check the wind and decide if we were leaving this morning or not.  After 7am the wind was starting to build but the weather forecast said that the winds from the SSW were to decrease from 15-20knots to 10-15 knots so we decided to stay put until the winds were decreased.  I went back to bed.  It was a little warm last night but at least we had a breeze on an off throughout the night and it didn't rain so were able to keep the forehatch open.

Phil woke me about 815am.  Turns out while I slept, it had rained and the winds had died afterwards. Quickly we got going and by 830am we raised the anchor and put the engine in gear.  Then we heard the funny noise heard before when the prop shaft had slipped out of place.  Phil lowered the anchor and fixed the prop shaft so that we were raising anchor again by 845am and leaving the anchorage.  It took 20 min for us to get to the Neuse River where the winds were SW @ 8 knots.  Thankfully, the waves were alot less than yesterday so we started motoring to Oriental.  During our trip today, the winds were most SSW 11-15 knots with a few minutes at 1015am of being 14-17 knots.  By 11am we were tied up at Oriental Town Dock behind Sail Away who was docked at Oriental Marine.  About 1210pm Sail Away joined us on the other side of the town docks.
We are resting on the bottom here, but don't think that we'll have any problems powering out.

Coffee Shop across from the end of the dock
Phil called his old friend Tom Love, and we'll be meeting him here at the boat tomorrow morning.  Phil also called D Wogaman who has a house in Oriental, but she and Don are on their boat Southern Cross sailing down the Chesapeake coming back from the Annapolis Power Boat Show.  She connected us with Anne Seddens who is coordinating a sailors potluck tonight at 6pm in her house.  So Jeanne and Ken Blythe from Sail Away and we are going to walk over.  They're expecting 20 people including us.  Better bring the boat cards.
Phil and I took a walk that starting in the rain to a Marine Consignment Store on Broad Street.  He bought some charts of Florida and I bought a Rocket Chef, which is a hand powered food processor/mixer.  Phil is not thrilled and asking what I'm going to get rid of and I'm thinking about what I can send back home.  Also Phil spoke Colin Mills who received the key to our storage unit in Fairport Harbor from Virginia.  He is kind enough to go there and get a few items and ship them to us c/o Rick Butler, a Seven Seas Cruising Station host, in Beaufort, SC.  If anyone wants to send us something by mail or USP, this would be the time to do it. We are so thankful that Rick will be able to receive any size packages at his place.  Rick and his wife, Carol, have been so kind in our interactions and we look forward to meeting them in November.

It is very humid here, but the breezed has picked up so that helps.  There are also mosquitoes here, so have to have the screens in most of the time.  Time for me to go so  can make Apple Crisp to share.  We are also going to bring the Mexichili bake to share.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Elizabeth City Albemarle Sound to Alligator River

Saturday Afternoon Oct 23
Elizabeth City, NC

Saturday we arrived in Elizabeth City, NC  about 1230pm along with Sail Away and Serenity.  We were able to find spots at the city dock, which are free for 48 hours.  They don't have any showers, electricity or water though.  After everyone was tied up and settled, I invited our sailing friends over for cheese and crackers, salsa, guacamole and chips for lunch.
Jeanne and Ken from S/V Sail Away

Mo from S/V Serenity and Phil

Polly and Mo of S/V Serenity
In the park close to the town dock, there was a big white tent for a farmer's market. I went over about 145pm and was able to pick up some nice tomatoes, yellow squash, butternut squash and apples to round out our supplies on board.  I also bought a smoked pork jowl for $3.  We are in the south after all.  It's good for seasoning bean dishes and I thought I'd give it a try.  S/V Nifty Nickers arrived about 430pm.  There was general discussion on the docks about what to do about supper. We had heard that the Shriners were having an all you can eat Shrimp dinner for $15/person, but then found out later that they were far away to walk to.  Chuck and Dianne told us that Cypress Creek Grill had good seafood and they were just down a little across the street.  I was going to fix supper but then got sidetracked when I saw a Krogen 38 sailboat docked a few boats down..  This is sailboat that I was interested in and had seen online.  They looked like a nice layout, but it's hard to tell what they really look like even with the photos.  They have this great aft cabin but I wasn't sure about the galley. The owners were loading provisions and I struck up a conversation.  Betsy and Ed Wright on S/V Haven invited me aboard to take a look and I took them up on it.
Ed on S/V Haven a Krogen 38
It's a very nice boat and Ed has done a lot of work on her keeping her up and updating her.  Phil came on board and we had a great conversation about places to go cruising and modifications he's made to the boat. Afterwards, Phil decided to take us out to dinner and we ended up at Cypress Creek Grill. (he didn't want to be washing dishes at 9pm) Shortly after we ordered, Chuck and Dianne from S/V Nifty Nickers entered and joined us for supper.  The foods was great and we ordered from their Petite menu so didn't have any leftovers.    At the last minute, we decided to not stay Sunday and instead follow the ICW across the Albemarle Sound and the Alligator River instead of going to Roanoke Island.  The wind would be ok for us to get there, but then the wind was to be from the South through Thursday and we were concerned that we wouldn't be able to leave with the wind on the nose sailing in unprotected waters of the Pamlico Sound instead of more protected waters of the ICW.

Sunday, Oct 24
Distance Traveled:  51.4nm
Total Distance: 1015.59
Albemarle Sound Alligator River
Sunrise leaving Elizabeth City, NC
Elizabeth City, NC

When we woke up about 630am it was 50F outside and 64F inside the boat.  By 7am we had started our engine left the city docks to make the trip through the Albemarle Sound and down the Alligator River. Two Beneteaus 393, Sail Away and Serenity were just ahead of us.  There was a beautiful red sunrise, the best we've seen so far on this trip.  The winds were SW 4 knots and it wasn't until 920am that Phil rolled out the head sail when the winds clocked to SW 8-11knots.  That lasted until 11am when the winds died to S 4-5 knots.

About 8am the Coast Guard had a Pan, Pan, Pan announcement that there was a vessel in distress at a unknown location with unknown condition asking for others to keep a sharp lookout and call in  any information they may have.  This announcement went throughout the day - finally heard that was off some point/tower in Virginia.  Never did hear any resolution to this call.

We did hit bottom today about 1130am as we were too close to a green mark and there was shoaling that wasn't on the GPS, but was lucky in that 2 trawlers were passing us and their wake lifted us up enough that Phil was able to back up and we continued on our way.  We passed through the Alligator Swing Bridge with 4 sailboats far behind us.  We did start motor sailing again at 1245pm with the head sail out as the winds were SW 8-9 knots.  By 320pm we dropped anchor in a Georgia Bay off the ICW and before the start of a long canal  and we didn't have any cell phone signal at all.
First time on trip to wear cami - Campbell Creek
  Not too much later Sail Away anchored and then  S/V Splash, a Sun Odyssey DS 44-45', anchored between us. I made supper of western style pork rib cooked with a mixture of half barley and half TJ's brown rice mix.  I tried a piece of the smoked jowl with fresh wax beans from the market.  Turned out really good!  Ken and Jeanne Blyth came to visit us and I served them gingerbread and canned cream that I put in the cooler and added some powder sugar.  There is a story about this gingerbread.  Gingerbread takes baking soda as the leavening agent and I searched through the whole boat, except in deep deep storage for some baking soda.  None - which is unusual for me.  I could have sworn that I had baking soda on the boat.   I called Sail Away - no luck.  I called a couple other boats in the anchorage - no response.  What I wanted to do was radio out on Channel 16 to ask if anyone had baking soda, but I restrained myself and used baking powder instead. Phil was thinking that I was crazy asking on the radio for baking soda.  It turned out ok - not like with baking soda, but it raised up and tasted good even though the texture was different. Ken and Jeanne rowed back to their boat at 830pm and we went to bed about an hour later as tomorrow was going to be a long day.

Monday, Oct 25
Distance Traveled:  33.46 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  1049.05nm

Passage to Belhaven, NC

ICW - Canal
We raised anchor at 739am with the temp 63F outside and 70F inside and after Phil made his coffee.  We were the last one of the boats out of the anchorage, but not far behind the others.  Still no cell phone signal.  We entered a canal part of the ICW and by 920am it was 73F outside and the sky was blue.

ICW Canal
Phil steering - we're sailing!!!
Once we got to the Pungo River about 1145am we were able to put out the head sail and 5 min later we turned off the motor and sailed with winds S 11-18 knots and a speed of 6.2 - 7 knots.
Finally some time to not have the motor running.  Phil had put in the last of the diesel into the engine before we left this morning.  We overheard on the radio someone calling River Forest Marina asking if they or anyone else had diesel, and only Dowry Creek Marina had any at dock side.  We had first decided to dock at Dowry Creek Marina, but then changed our mind when Ken and Jeanne wanted to go to River Forest Marina in Belhaven to be closer to stores.  At this news, we turned the boat around to go back to Dowry Creek Marina as we had to get diesel.  After motor sailing for about 5 min, Phil radioed River Forest Marina and asked if there was a gas station close by - yes 1 mi away.  Did they have a courtsey car - no but they have golf carts and if we stayed overnight we could take one that far away to get diesel.  So we turned around and went to River Forest Marina.
Docked at River Forest Marina

Seagulls on the dock at River Forest Marina

It's the first marina past a wooden surge arrestor (see in the background of above photo) which is a wooden wall that has room between the slats that suppose to arrest hurricane surges. (this is what we call it, it's a kind of breakwall but not stones)  We docked with Axson, the owner, and another person's help.  By this time it was raining and Axson offered us to be driven by his manager to the gas station.  She was also kind enough to drive us to Food Lion for provisions and I was able to get my glasses aligned at the optometrist next door.  This Optomemtrist is only opened 2 days a week - M & W so it was my lucky day.  This marina has run into some hard luck. It use to be much nicer than it is now.  They have a world famous smorgasbord on Sundays, but it's not as nice now as it use to be.  The docks and the breakwall made of stones are covered with seagulls and the poop.   They do have showers and a laundry and the people there are very nice. Phil thinks they are the nicest that we've met along the way, bending over backwards to help us.   Sail Way decided to anchor in the basin in front of the town.  I was able to wash clothes before a heavy rain storm came.  While the clothes were drying, we were able to sit on River Forest Manor house back covered deck.  Axson came and spoke to us and offered us to be inside and watching TV, which we declined.  We also met a Chesapeake Bay Pilot, who works for Axson.  Phil and  the Pilot (didn't get his name) had lots to talk about.  After the clothes were folded, we had supper of flank steak, potatoes and green beans and a quiet evening reading.

Tuesday, Oct 26
Distance Traveled:  18.61 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  1067.66
River Forest Marina to Campbell Creek

We decided to go to Campbell Creek for the night as going all the way to Oriental, NC is 45 nm and the winds were to be high today.  We woke at 730am and it started to rain and storm shortly afterwards.  Phil went to take a shower when the rain had eased and then I took a shower after the rain stopped.  Phil also filled the water tanks and all the gallon water jugs.  We left the River Forest Marina at about 920am as we knew that we were going to have a short travel day.  Phil had been worried that the wind would blow us on the rock breakwall, but the winds were S 7-9 knots, so no problems.  Sail Away was waiting for a pump out and would meet us in Campbell Creek.  Once we got into Pungo River again, there were 7 boats ahead of us and 2 behind us.   By 1045am the winds had increased to 17-19 knots and the waves were 2 feet.  By 1245pm we were anchored in Campbell Creek, which is well protected from the S winds.  At 145pm we were joined by S/V Hairball, a cataraman and Sail Away arrived at 150pm.  We ate supper together, with us bringing leftovers and then we played Canasta.  Ken and I were partners and we were the winners for the evening.  It was hot - had been in the 80's today so the boat was warm.  We were so protected that there wasn't enough wind for me in the V-berth , so I moved to the port settee to catch a few breezes.  Needless to say, it wasn't a good sleeping night for me.  Glad that I have my books on my Ipod nano to listen to.  We also have been having more flies and tonight mosquitoes.  Ugh!  The winds are to be in the teens tomorrow still from the south, so Phil wants to go to Oriental, NC.  He's feeling like we're not getting south fast enough. I thought we were going to stay another day, but on we go.

Wed, Oct 27
Distance Traveled:  22.81 mi
Total Distance Traveled:  1090.47

We woke this morning at 700am.  It was 74F outside and 78F inside the boat.  We raised anchor at 720am and left the anchorage about 730am with Sail Away close behind.  We saw the sun rise under clouds and it's hazy.  One of the batteries wouldn't start the engine and Phil changed to the other battery. He didn't give the first one another try, and after motoring all the batteries are charged, so we think everything is ok. We started motoring in the canal part of the ICW and by 835am we were in the Bay River with the winds from the S 18-22 knost and gusts to 25 knots and the waves built to 3-4'.  We were heading SW, so we were able to sail upwind, keeping the engine on idle to charge the batteries.  We continued our current heading a couple miles past Maw point mark in the hopes that once we tacked  into the Neuse River to head to Oriental, we could continue to sail, but that didn't work out.  We were as close to the wind as we could be on Port tack and still needed to be 30-40 degrees up from where we were.  Phil rolled in the head sail then we started motoring S with the wind on the nose.  Up the waves we went, with the salt spray coming over the boat.  Our progress had slowed down to 2-3 knots.  I was at the helm and didn't get sea sick at all.  After we passed the Piney Point shoal mark, we decided to head into the Broad Creek to anchor.  We radioed Sail Away and they decided to continue on to Oriental, NC.  Turns out we should have stayed another day at Campbell Creek.  We dropped anchor at 1125am in very protected waters.  It was warm, but our thermometer was stepped on, so don't know how warm.  My guess is the upper 70's.  We ate warmed up spaghetti sauce that Jeanne had given us over previously cooked noodles for lunch.  The spaghetti sauce was great and it's all gone.  Thanks Jeanne!  I was tired so took a nap in the V-berth with lots of wind moving through the boat.  After I woke, the water had warmed up enough in the sun shower, that Phil and I both took showers in the head.  Boy did that feel good.  I fixed supper of Mexi Chili bake and am now working on the blog.

I can definitely tell that we are in salt water.  I can feel the stickiness of the salt on everything outside and we have to be very careful not to get it tracked all over down below.  I don't like this feeling, but I guess that I'm going to have to get use to it.  Phil has noticed that even though the decks are covered with salt from the salt water, it's not as slippery as other boats that he's been on.  Make Changes a lot safer.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dismal Swamp Welcome Center

Friday, Oct 22
Distance Traveled:  40nm
Total Distance:  958.19

This morning we left the Hampton Public Piers at 735am with no wind, blue skies and 50F.  It was 60F inside the boat.  Once we got in the Elizabeth River, the winds picked up to 3-4 knots from the North.  We did use the electric heater as we were getting ready to leave and the temp inside increased to 64F.  One go my many layers.  Phil saw the first dolphin of the trip about 755am and he was able to let out the head sail at 825am as the winds picked up to NW @ 10-12 knots.
After we got to Hospital Point, the ICW officially begins.  Then we came to our first lift bridge, the Beltline RR bridge.  In the distance a sailboat was going through, but unfortunately, as we came close it closed and we had to wait 15 min for a train to go over the bridge until the bridge lifted again for us to pass.  The Jordan Bridge  at Mile Marker (MM) 2.8 as we had been told, is no more.  The Old Virginia RR bridge was open but as we came to the Gilmerton Bridge at MM 5.8, we just missed going through with  a group of sailboats!  I was at helm and we jilled around for about 10 min going through at almost 11am.  Just after going under the I64 Hwy bridge and a sharp right turn, the Dismal Swamp begins.
water in the Dismal Swamp - brown
As we were passing the marks for #1 and #2, I called the Deep Creek Lockmaster and it's a good thing I did as the lock was closed, but there were 3 sailboats that were coming in and had to be tied up so he said he'd hold the lock open for us. 

first 3 boats on left in rush to meet girlfriends
We arrived at about 1130am and it took about 1 hour for us to tie us and the water to go down.  All together there were 8 boats in the lock together.  A large Jeanneau and 2 Beneteau 361's were on the other side of the lock and were upset about it taking so long as they had girlfriends to meet in Elizabeth City, NC - usually a 1 1/2 day trip.  They were the first ones to leave the lock and I heard later that they were going at about 7 knots leaving a wake behind them (not very nice of them).  That is why I've been saying that we can't pick the time and place to meet people as then you can get into not safe situations, and it's not very safe transiting the dismal swamp after dark.  
Justin, Lockmaster
Entering NC on Dismal Swamp
I have to say that this part of the Dismal Swamp we hit either bottom or objects in the water about 30 times! (I counted)  We'd be going along and then BAM and the mast and table would shake.  I'm glad that Changes is over built.  It made me nervous I had to say but Phil seemed pretty calm.  I was at helm about 225pm when the depth sounder alarm went off and it showed 4.9 ft and we hit bottom.  Phil!!!! and he came up and took over the helm and got us off.  Many times the depth sounder showed 5.9-7 feet.
Welcome Center (rest stop) Sign

Changes at Dock in Dismal Swamp

Toasting being on the ICW
We ended up at the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center (a rest stop for Rt 17)  at 335pm with Sail Away, Talisman and Sweet Chariot too already there.  There is a 150' dock and there was just enough room for us to be at the far end.   After getting the boat settled, we visited the Welcome Center's brouchure area and signed the visitors book.  We are planning on going to Roanoke Island, part of the Outer Banks of NC after Elizabeth City, and they also had cruising guides, marina, and other information that will be helpful to us.  Of course, by this time it was cocktail hour so we joined the other boater for some wine and beer.  It was getting very cold, so I warmed up the spaghetti sauce and cooked some more noodles to add to it for supper.
We got out the champagne that Chet and Carole Slabinski had given us, and toasted to being on the ICW with other sailors there.  S/V Serenity joined us as they went through the 130pm opening and then later as it was almost dark, a cataraman Katiewalk (I think) came in to dock.  There was a total of 6 with the last 2 rafted off other boats.  Phil and I went to bed early at about 930pm.  It was cold so we had 2 quilts on the bed.

Saturday, Oct 23
Journey to Elizabeth City, NC

Rest of boats at dock as we leave Dismal Swamp Welcome Ctr
We woke to it being very cold in the boat and the 2 quilts were not enough by morning.  It was 52F inside the boat and 37F with a frost on the grass next to the canal.  On went the many layers.  Phil and I broke out our winter coats and I was wearing my watch hat inside the boat!  There was sea smoke on the canal which is always more beautiful to see in person than it looks in the photos.
Phil and I left @ 720am before the others as we wanted to be able to go about 4.5 knots so if we hit anything, it would jar the boat as much.  As we were motoring down, I cooked oatmeal for breakfast, as it was definitely a day for warm food.  It turned out the we hit something only 3 more times and it wasn't nearly as hard as yesterday as we came up to the closed South Lock Bridge.  We tied Changes up on the port side before the bridge to wait.  I called the lock master and left a message letting him know that we and 5 other boats were here to go south.  They have a schedule that any northbound boats go through the lock and then the bridge first at 830am and southbound traffic goes 30 min later.  We must be lucky as the bridge opened at 844am and  we asked the other boats to go through so we could be last.  The catamaran was first as the largest vessel and everyone went through without a problem.  By 855am we were entering the lock and soon after the gates were closing.  There was a lot of talking and Riley, a 1 1/2yo standard poodle was running at top speed on the grass alongside the lock.  The lockmaster has a miniature poodle that has free rein of the area, so the dogs were greeting each other.  Riley wanted to play, but it turns out the other poodle didn't and made that well know to Riley with a series of sharp barks.  Then the dogs were going over the lock bridge on top of the gates.  It didn't take very much to get Riley back on his side of the lock and then the water started going down.   The current as we were going down 12 feet was very strong pushing us against the wall.  Phil and I had to sit down and push Changes off the wall with our legs as the fenders were getting crushed and moved that I was worried they wouldn't work.  It wasn't too long and the current eased enough that we didn't have to push off.  After the lock, the water depth ranged from 11-13 feet, so we weren't hitting objects.  What a relief and then we joined a river and the depth ranged from 12 - 20 feet.

Motoring down the Dismal Swamp
Phil filled the diesel tanks with a couple of jugs from the diesel jerrie jugs and then tied one of the empty ones on the starboard side and then decided to try to use the fender board to tie 2 more on the port side.  Since we'll be mostly in protected waters, I think that we'll have most of them on the deck instead of in the cockpit.  Now Phil is at the helm while I a writing this post as we are underway.  I'm not sure what we'll do in Elizabeth City as Jim Koontz's wife died about a month ago and he's not here now.  Jim has our condolences for his loss.  It has warmed up to 66F on boat, so can put the winter coat away for now.
I thought I would provide a little history of the Dismal Swamp that goes back over 200 years.  Colonel William Byrd II of Virginia proposed the advantage of making a channel to transport good in 1728.  He was the person responsible fore adding Dismal to the name of the swamp.  Construction on the canal started in 1793 at both ends, at Deep Creek and Joye's Creek.  Slaves dug the canal by hand and became so familiar with the Dismal Swamp that it became a haven for runaways.   US 17 was opened in 1804 shortly before the full length of the canal opened in 1805.  Good were transported on flat boats and log rafts that were manually poled or towed though until the Civil War when war took a toll as ships were sunk in the canal to block transport of goods.  The late 1880-90's were bad times as the company almost went bankrupt and the canal deteriorates. In 1899 Major improvements were made and in 1913 the US Army Corps of Engineers take over.  In the 1920's to 30's improvements were made and the canal was dredged to 50' wide and 9' deep.   The canal has a problem, which remains today, in that canal doesn't have a good supply of water, even with a feeder ditch from Lake Drummond, so was dry in periods of low rainfall and drought.  When we were on the Erie Canal, we heard that they would open the locks only twice a day, instead of the normal 4 times a day because of low water supply, but was glad to see that it's 4 times a day on the days that we are here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To Leave for the Dismal Swamp and then Elizabeth City, NC

Wed, Oct 20 afternoon
Since I last posted for this day, we have had a problem with our batteries not charging even though we are plugged into the 30amp on the dock.  It was working yesterday when all of a sudden everything electrical turned off.  I'm glad Phil was on the boat when it happened as he got out his voltage meter and started trouble shooting if it was a loose wire or some other problem, but he thinks that the battery charger broke.
Phil Checking old battery charger
 The batteries do charge when we run the engine, which we have been doing as one of the new batteries was reading 9 volts.  For anyone that doesn't know about batteries 12 volts is a dead battery generally, so this was really bad.  Probably shortened the life of this battery Phil said.   This afternoon we went to West Marine with Chuck and Dianne on S/V Nifty Nickers (docked next to us) who were kind enough to offer us a ride on the car they rented for the day and bought a new battery charger.  I also got a book about fishing for cruisers as I want to know about this so hopefully we can be more successful catching fish off the boat.

After we were done shopping, we all went to LaBodega on Wine St for a Boater's Social.  We had a great time meeting other boaters docked or anchored here.
Chuck, Lorraine, Dianne & Phil from Nifty Nickers

Jean-Pierre & Josee (S/V J-PSA) and Lorraine

Lorraine, Dawn & Randy Ortiz of NirvanaNow

Each person was given a free drink.  While Phil was having a good time with friends from Sail Away (Ken and Jeanne) and and Nifty Nickers (Chuck & Dianne) I was getting to know new boaters.  After we got home, I cooked in the pressure cooker some stew meat adding some salsa and spices serving over Quinoa and Spinach.  This is the first time that I fixed Quinoa and it was a little crunchy, but not bad.  Phil of course, prefers potatoes. 

Thursday, Oct 21

Today is our last day in Hampton, VA.  This morning Phil started installing the battery charger even before I woke up.
Installing the new battery charger
It's working to charge the batteries, so what a relief.  This is a very nice charger in that you can charge one or all of the batteries.  It has a fan, which is noiser as it's on when charging, but then that's also good because you know it's working beside having a light on.  Phil was done about 9am when Bente Cooney of M/V Side by Side came by as arranged for me to teach her how to cast off.  She had taught her 8yo granddaughter to knit but it's been a long time since she done knitting.  Since the boat was still torn apart inside due to Phil's project, we went down to her boat. The nice thing about motor cats, is that there is a lot of space and you don't feel like you're camping.   Bente is Danish, so learned to knit the European way which is to hold the yarn in your left hand.  I'm glad I learned a new way to hold the yarn when knitting because it's much faster.  I taught her how to pearl and cast off.  It was so nice that we had something to teach each other.   Bente's husband is Tony, and they asked if we wanted to share the price of renting a car for 3 hours, which we did. Since we had a few hours until we left in the car, Phil and I visited the Hampton Historical Museum at $4 each.  This was a nice museum from Captain James time in the early 1600's to the 1950's.  There was a 2nd floor exhibit, which we decided not to visit.  I fixed sandwhichs for lunch and then it was time to leave. We went to Verizon Wireless and a grocery store that happened to be around the corner.  We also went to Walmart, Walgreens, and the Village Stitching Store for me to get a cable stitch needle as Walmart didn't have one. Once again, We went to West Marine to pick up a chart for Roanoke Island and a Q flag.  Phil also got the U-bolt to see if we can use it to clamp the fender board to the lifelines to get a couple cans out of the cockpit.  This is a work in progress.  It was a warm, windy day and we had a good time.  Most of the main streets here are 3-5 lanes wide in each direction.  The 4 & 5th lanes are often turning lanes.  After we got home, we filled the water tanks and started getting ready for leaving.  We each took advantage of the showers and I also used my FlowBee and cut my hair.  2nd time so far for this trip.

Tomorrow we plan to leave at 730am so we can time going through the bridges.  We are going through the Dismal Swamp and plan to spend the night at the Visitor's Center and then get to Elizabeth City, NC the next day.  We want to meet up with Tom Love, and old friend of Phil's who use to have his boat in the Mentor Lagoons in the early 1980's.

The Weather Channel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hampton, VA Public Piers

Sunday, Oct 18
Distance Traveled:  42.67 nm
Total Distance:  918.19 nm

We pulled up anchor and left about 8am to light winds and clear skies.  Phil was at the helm and we were entering the channel just around a curve and we hit bottom.  It took us about 10 min, but we made it off and continued on our way.  Mind you - we were in the channel.  Lucky for us it's soft mud.  The winds were light out of the E and so we were motoring.  About 9am Phil raised the head sail and we were motor sailing.  After we go into the Chesapeake Bay, the winds were 10-15 knots for a few hours.  In the early afternoon the winds pretty much died - 2-5 knots and the water was glassy for a couple hours. 
Lorraine likes the lighthouse in the background
Finally as we were getting closer to Hampton, VA and the winds picked up and we were able to still motor sail but at a faster speed.  There weren't as many boats out today as there were a couple days ago.  As we got into the channel to come into Hampton, VA we passed a navy ship.
Navy Ship

I was a little nervous if there would be enough room, but Phil wasn't and as we came closer to them, they veered off to their starboard, so we didn't get as close as I would have like for the photo op.  For some reason, we thought that the Hampton Public Piers were farther up river than they turned out to be, so we weren't prepared for docking.  I was rushing to get the fenders attached and get out the dock lines.  They have short docks here and the big posts, so it was a new experience docking this way.  I didn't know how to get the line around the foot diameter posts , to Phil helped and we had Kate the dockmaster and a helper also help us dock.  After maneuvering with the lines and readjusting the fenders, we were settled about 4 pm.   They charge $1.25/ft but have a special if you stay 2 days get the 3rd free, so that's what we decided to do.  This is also the place that provides a free night with the card that we got at the boat show, so we decided to save it for when we come back in the spring.  Phil asked me if that was S/V Sail Away anchored, but I couldn't tell and was too busy to look at the boats as we came into dock.  But as it turned out, Sail Away was anchored as I saw Jeanne coming out of the shower.  When they heard about the docking deal, they decided to come and dock next to us.  So Phil and I along with Kate helped them dock.  After they were settled, the 4 of us decided to go to the grocery store on the bikes that are available for free here.  They have one bike with a basket - 4 total so off we went to go to Food Line.   Phil was the "lucky one" to get a bike that the chain fell off - probably about 3-4 times on the way there, and also the crank arm that the pedal is attached to was also sliding off.  So we followed behind him to stop and provide assistance, and periodically he would be hitting the crank arm at the base with his foot to push it back on.  Ken and Jeanne were behind us.  We did make it to the Food Line and the Dollar Store next door and got the food we needed.  We shared the basket as Ken had bought a case of pop. He thought it would be better for him to be on the bike and I agreed.  It's really hard to steer a bike when you have a lot of weight on the front and Ken is twice as big as I am.  Phil had the same bike and I found that handlebars on Ken's bike were loose and I had to frequently lift it up.  When we got to the a corner, Phil's pedal almost fell off to the point that it wasn't working anymore.   Phil needed a hammer - but one wasn't available.  We got lucky that there was a very large rock (piece of concrete I think) that he was able to use to pound it back on again.  Phil started on his way, carrying this rock in his hand for future need.  Then we went a little way and he had to pound it on again - and then the chain fell off.  See photo.

Add caption
Actually the photo was the last time that Phil had to pound the pedal on and was able to make it back to the boat without the chain falling off either.  After we got home (back to the boat) we decided to have supper together, so Ken warmed up on his grill the crab cakes we had bought, Jeanne made a salad and I made rice medley in the pressure cooker and yellow squash/carrot mixture.  We ate on Sail Away and then enjoyed tasting the different liquor that Ken keeps on his boat - so we tried Grand Marnier, Baileys Irish Cream, and Sailor Jerry's rum.  All the food was good and GONE by then end of the evening.  We had a good time by all.
Lorraine, Phil, Jeanne, and Ken

Tuesday, Oct 19
Lay day in Hampton, VA

The weather was nice and we decided that with ready access to water, it was time to clean the boat both inside and out.  Phil did the outside and I cleaned inside.  It was nice to have everything clean and being able to use enough water to do so.  I had also wanted to go to the laundromat to clean clothes.  Phil went on Google Maps and couldn't find one close by, so we did nothing.

After cleaning, I decided to get out my Sailrite sewing machine to finish putting it together and get out my laptop to watch the DVD they included to learn how to do sp.  I did get it together, but then late afternoon, 3-4 more boats came into the dock  and I got side tracked helping them to dock.  One sailboat on the other side of us - Chuck and Dianne on S/V Nifty Nickers a Crealock 37 needed our help, and motorsailor a Naudycat 33 is next to them, and a motorcat farther up the dock closer to the bridge came in.  I learned that Kate had offered the use of her truck - to Bente and Tony on M/V Side by Side so following her suggestion,  I talk to them about hitching a ride.  Bente was very agreeable to me tagging along with her. We went to a laundromat that required you to put money in a machine and load up a card that you slide in and out like a credit card.   There are parameters like the least amount you can put on is $5 and you can only add $1 at a time.  You can use a credit card, but I didn't bring mine. We each had brought quarters and $20 bills so trying to figure out if $20 was too much was a chore - too much math to figure out. We ended up getting one card to share to start.  :(  It turned out that I used the largest size washer for $3.49  and a smaller at $2.49. - Then they charge $.44 per 10 min to dry -  After we started the wash, Bente went to the Wallgreens across the street.   I did some thinking and decided to go to to buy some milk to break my $20 so that I would have change to get a card for drying my clothes. In the end it worked out, but I was $.04 short of being able to do another 10 min on a dryer so lost that money.

After we returned Tony asked if we wanted to join them for Chinese - so we agreed even though Phil had started cooking rutabaga and had peeled potatoes for supper for us.  We'll eat them tomorrow.  Tony and Bente have been cruising for 11 years and living on their boat for 17years.  They had eaten at a local chinese restaurant here before but forgot where it was.  Kate, the dockmaster, directed us to a different place - a Japanese/Korean restaurant a few blocks away. We were talking and distracted passed up the restaurant.  As we stopped and looked back, a asian woman came out like a barker in a carnival, encouraged us to come in.  She said that she could tell that we were boaters.  We sat down and after looking at the prices decided that we couldn't eat there after all.  We both are on a cruising budget.  After much apologies, we starting walking again.  We still didn't know where the chinese restaurant was so Bente took out her Droid and used an app to help us get to the Chinese/Mexican restaurant which turned out to be just on the other side of the Virginia Air and Space Museum a block away from the boat.  We had walked about 1 mi to get there.  Oh well, good exercise.  We ate and the food was good and now we know of a good place to eat close by.  After we got home about 915pm we read a little and decided to go to bed.  We were tired after our exertions.

Wednesday, Oct 20
Hampton, VA

The day is cooler today.  It was 66F in the boat and I wanted to put on the heater and Phil didn't so I held off for a while, but then I said - we have electricity - this is crazy and turned it on.  It's a gray day and it's suppose to rain sometime after noon.  Chuck and Dianne have rented a car to do laundry this morning and have offered us a ride to West Marine later today, which we will accept.  This is a lazier day.  We have gotten mail today, Thanks Virginia, for sending.  It worked out better this time. 

We have free wifi here so have been working on this post and spending time on the computer.  I also want to get out the Viking sewing machine and work on Calvin's quilt.

Phil has decided that he would go try to find the fitting for the propane tank because there was a local big Johnson Evenrude company this morning.  He got out the folding bike and off he went. to Currently, he is using line to hold the tank.  He went to a Johnson motor dealer, but they didn't have anything.  Then he went to Patricks hardware store to get this fitting, brought something home and they are 3/4" so works on one pipe and not the other since it's 1".    He came back with information on the boat about a Boaters Social today at 430pm at LaBodega that we'll be attending.  We have decided to have a big meal at dinner, so Phil is fixing the rutabaga, potatoes and will have ribeye steaks.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Deltaville, VA

Sunday, Oct 17
Distance Traveled:  71nm
Total Distance:  875.52 nm

Last night after visiting with Gary and Patty Root of S/V Last Tango (their boat is beautiful down below), we put the dinghy to bed and went to sleep about 7pm.  Unfortunately, I woke at 9pm went back to sleep, and then woke at 10pm wide awake.  I don't seem to do well going to sleep early.  I ordered Katie's plane ticket and email the information to the appropriate people and then got into bed to listen to my Ipod nano hoping that I could fall asleep again.  Then we both woke at 3am and left about 345am Solomons Island, MD.  The bouys have the green and red lights flashing, so we didn't have any problem leaving ZYC and getting out into the bay.  The stars were out in full - one of the advantages of leaving in the dark without many lights around.   At 430am I went down below as Phil took the first watch.  I think I got some sleep and the sun was just starting to rise when I came up again at 630am for my watch. Phil had just let the head sail out at the just before I came up. It was cold and I was glad for all my layers.  The winds were from the west initially about 8-12knots and there was a just enough waves that I was getting seasick, so took some Marezine and drove until 9am when I went below again.  About 10am he shut off the engines and we sailed with just the head sail for about 4 hours. First time we've sailed this long on this trip.  The wind had clocked to SSW (it was suppose to be west all day!) so we were sailing upwind from 5.5 to 6.7 knots as the winds varied from 9-15 knots and at time 15-19 knots.  About 1pm, the wind had died enough that we had to start motor sailing.  During Phil's last watch we were coming close to the our end point.  He did a few tacks to motor sail as long as possible and get us in position for the entrance to Jackson Creek, then he rolled up the head sail and we motored to get to the channel.  We arrived about 330pm and we were anchored about 345pm.  There are many boats anchored here and many more arrived and had to anchor in the other arm of the creek.  There is a couple from Sweden on a Aphrodite 137 anchored next to us named Unicorn.  Phil also saw an old wooden boat launch that he likes to look at.  The couple came close to us as they were cruising around.  The man said he liked our dinghy and on another pass said that we were the best looking boat anchored here.  Food today was pretty sketchy while we were sailing.  I had PB on crackers for breakfast, Phil had cereal.   I had not prepared sandwiches before we were heeled over, so Phil brought the left over 7-layer dip and Fritos Scoops for lunch.  I made spaghetti and carrots for supper and Phil finished the last of the apple crisp (I had mine as a late night snack yesterday).

The sun is starting to set and we are both on the computers.  We are planning on leaving tomorrow morning once the sun is up as we can't leave this anchorage in the dark.  Too dangerous.  We are planning on sailing to Hampton, VA which is about 35+nm away.  Not sure what will come after that.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Need advice - fishing off Changes

As we've been in the Chesapeake Bay, I've been wondering if anyone has fished off their boat in the Bay or in the ICW and if they have, what they've used.  We have a Cuban Reel with 80# line and the lures to catch Tuna and Mahi Mahi, but don't know what is needed - or if there are fish to catch while we are motoring or sailing in more protected waters.   I would appreciate any information that someone could provide either to my email or as a comment on the blog.  BTW we don't have any other fishing equipment on the boat besides mentioned above.  Thanks!

Stay at Solomons Islands Area

Thursday, Oct 14
At Zahnisher's Yachting Center
Phil in front of Main Office at Zahniser's Yachting Center

It was a rainy, windy day so Phil and I stayed on the boat and had lazy day. Phil lit the kerosene lantern in the saloon and over the day, it warmed up the cabin.  Phil went back to sleep in the morning while I read.  Then we had lunch, did some more reading and talking on the phone with my sister, Cheryl.   I'm glad to hear that most of life is going well for her family.  I fixed steak and a mushroom rice mix with a can of corn thrown in a for supper and apple and plum crisp for dessert.  I called Gary and Patty Root on S/V Last Tango, whom we had met on the water taxi in Annapolis over for to share this dessert, which they accepted.  Gary is an Electrical Engineer on leave from his job for a year, so he and Phil spoke the same language.  Patty has a X-ray tech, CT-tech, marketing background and we had a lot in common.  We enjoyed the evening thoroughly.  It was good to have part of the day of alone and part with people. 

Friday, Oct 15

It was cool when the sun came up to a party cloudy sky.  It was predicted that the temps would get in the mid 60's and a chance of rain.   First thing in the morning (930am), we gathered together the dirty clothes and brought our shower items and went to the laundry/bath house at Yachting Center where we are moored. We were lucky to be the first one in the laundry room, so was able to get our 4 loads of clothes washed and dried.  We also got showers there, which are even nicer than the ones we saw the first day, like a bathroom at home.  Of course they felt good, even though it had been 2 days since the last sun shower.  I met an older gentleman who has lived on his sailboat at this marina for 7 years.  He said this is the best marina in the area with all the facilities and boat repair that they offer and are reasonably priced.  Last year they had 2 feet of snow and so he looked to see if there was somewhere south for him to move, but the prices are much more expensive so he decided to stay here.  It is nice here and it's close to a lot of stores.  They have a bus that will pick you up about 1/2 mile away to take you across the bridge to a mall.   After lunch, we took the dinghy exploring up the "creek" and found that S/V Sail Away was anchored close to the Holiday Inn dinghy dock.  We past them in our dinghys, came together for a chat and was invited to their boat for cocktails at 5-530pm.  Sounded great to us.  Ken has started a blog on Blogger and wanted some of my assistance to see what else he could do to improve it.  But first we wanted to stop at West Marine to get the rearm kit for my new lift jacket, which I was lucky enough to get one (they called the Hampton, Va store and are holding a kit there for me and something for Phil).  I've been quite worried that I wouldn't be able to find something that worked and then our deal on the price of the life jacket wouldn't be such a deal.  Then we wanted to go to the Calvert Marine Museum and Drum Point Lighthouse which had been at the entrance to the Patuxent River off Chesapeake Bay.   The Calvert Museum was very interesting and I would recommend a visit if you are in this area.  There is a lot more to it than just boat information, though there is some of that also.  As we left the museum for home, there was a brief rain shower and we saw a double rainbow.  This style lighthouse is typical for this area as we have passed a couple in this style.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.
Drum Point Lighthouse and Calvert Marine Museum from Dinghy

Inside Outhouse

Outhouse so waste goes in the water

Stairs to Lantern

Kitchen in Lighthouse

Rainbow on way back to Changes

Changes mooring ball at Zahniser's Yachting Center
 Lucky for us the shower didn't last long.  We had a snack on Changes and then took the dinghy to S/V Sail Away for our visit with Ken and Jeanne.  Both Phil and I thought that down below on Sail Away was much improved in appearance since Ken's wife, Jeanne has arrived, but I'm not surprised as Ken was baching it at Sylvan Beach with Graham.
Sail Away docked at Sylvan Beach

Graham and Ken visiting on Changes at Sylvan Beach
We had a great time, and since I had brought my laptop, Ken and I reviewed what I've been able to do on Blogspot.  Please see my list of blogs if you're interesting in seeing what they are doing.  We had lots to chat about which also included the weather and when we were thinking of leaving for our next location.  The wind started to rise, the power boat's anchor next to Sail Away was dragging, so we thought that we better get back before we had a hard time getting home.  We made it just fine and I warmed up some left over rice/corn and added a can of beef to it for a quick meal.  Phil went to bed early, I finished a book on my nook and by the time I went to bed it was 62F on the boat.  Burrr.  Time to snuggle next to Phil to get warmed up as he took advantage of the situation. 

Saturday, October 16

We woke to wind, sun and cool temperatures.  It was 60F on Changes!  So on went the many layers minus the long underwear bottoms.  I'm so glad that I made the other V-berth quilt, because we have been using 2 quilts at night and I'm just right and Phil is a little warm.  Phil wanted to get some things done on Changes, so we took the dinghy to the Holiday Inn dinghy dock to go to our favorite place - West Marine.  You pay $2 per day to use their dock and you can also drop off trash in their dumpster. First we went to Roy Rogers for breakfast.  It was nice to have a good breakfast and be in a warm place.  Then we went to West Marine (this is our 3rd trip so far), saw Gary Root from S/V Last Tango there again (also his 3rd trip), and bought an Accumulator Tank and other necessities.  Phil wants to install the accumulator tank into our pressure water system to repair the problem we have of turning on the faucet having a long waiting period until water comes out, STRONGLY.  It's had to control the amount of water we are using, quite the water waster.  After this is installed, the water will come on immediate and in a much thinner stream.  Just so you know, the West Marine staff didn't say goodbye - they said see you later.  Do they know something we don't????

The wind seemed to pick up on our way back from the store.  I turned on the wind instruments and it's in the mid teens with gusts up to 28knots.  I started working on the downloading photos from my camera, the blog, and email while Phil rebuilt the Head and also installed the Accumulator Tank.  I guess he was just kidding when he said I was going to rebuild it.  Also have to say that there wasn't any smell, so that was good too.  Thanks Phil!

We received an email from Victoria notifying us that she has passed her Oral Exams and is now a Licensed Architect in the State of California.  We are very proud of her and this is quite an achievement as California has the most rigorous testing to be a licensed architect!!  Most people do not pass their Oral exams the first time and this was the very last time that they will give the Oral exams.  Congratulations Victoria!!

It's 130pm and Phil just got a call from West Marine.  Turns out the 10# propane tank we ordered was there when we were there earlier today, so he has left to make another trip to get it.  We are very glad as we are planning on leaving early (4am) tomorrow morning to go as far as we can during daylight hours.  We hope to get to Jackson Creek close to Deltaville, VA tomorrow and to Hampton, VA by Monday before the winds turn SW on the nose.  We stopped by Sail Away this morning as Phil forgot his hat there last night and turns out they are going to be leaving tomorrow also, but not as early as us.  I'm sure that we'll see them again along the way.

Good news!  I was able to get in contact with my Social Worker friend, Liz Lemieux, from HWR yesterday and she's still glad to have Katie come to her new house in St. Augustine, FL around Thanksgiving so that we can pick her up to join us on Changes during December. If she arrives on the weekend, then Liz will be able to drive to pick her up at the airport and bring her to her house. Isn't she wonderful?!  Liz recently moved to St. Augustine, FL and will be starting soon with Community Hospice.  Now time to make the airplane reservations to get Katie there.  I want to say thanks to my parents, Dan and Kathy Smith, for agreeing to be backup if it didn't work out with Liz as our first plan for Katie to visit her Dad in West Palm Beach at Thanksgiving didn't work out.

This afternoon we received an invitation for cocktails at S/V Last Tango which we have accepted.  I think that I'll make a 6 or 7 layer dip to take along. Better finish so I have time for cooking.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Solomons Island - Zahniser Marina

Wednesday, Oct 13
Distance Traveled:  30nm
Total Distance:  804.52nm

This morning we raised anchor at 847am to winds from the N 8-9 knots with blue skies.  Phil took the first watch, as usual, while I stayed warm down below.  He steered us to the Chesapeake Bay where the winds picked up to the mid teens.  About 915am Phil let out the head sail and we motor sailed South most of the way.  It was pretty rolly polly for me down below, so I took a Merezine and made sure everything that was making noise was secured.

As a side note, while shopping with Victoria in Annapolis, I bought a Thermos brand 1.25 qt thermos that is to keep liquids cold or hot 24 hours.  Well it worked as the water Phil put in yesterday morning was still hot enough for me to make tea for me this morning.  It will be nice to have hot water for any future passages we make at night to make hot chocolate or tea. 

About 1245pm Phil made PB&J sandwiches.  It wasn't a rolly as the wind angle was about 150-160degrees.  We passed Drum Point about 145pm and the winds were still from the N 9-10 knots.  At one point I counted 14 sailboats and 3-4 motor boats behind us.  We decided to get a mooring ball at Zahniser Marina as there is going to be increased wind over the next few days and Phil heard that the mud doesn't make for good holding in the Chesapake Bay.  We did hit bottom as Phil passed the mooring ball and was trying to turn around to make another pass.  Not to worry as he put the engine in reverse and we backed off without a problem.  So we were moored at 227pm.  We got the dinghy put together, which entails putting the fuel tank and hose in the boat,  taking the outboard motor off it's rack on the stern rail and me handing it the Phil who puts it on the boat, and handing down the beach chair and 2 life jackets.  We then went to the dinghy dock which is very close by and on the way to the marina office, we checked out the restrooms and showers (look good).  They are very friendly at the marina office and have bicycles that are available for free. Some have baskets, so while Phil went back to the boat to get the backpacks, I checked out 2 of the bikes (one has a basket on the handle bars).  Not too far away is a seafood market open from 11a - 7pm and a gourmet food market and a West Marine.  We visited the West Marine first.  We were able to exchange my LED head lamp for a new one, get a solar powered LED lantern for the cockpit and order a 10# propane tank. The great thing about this LED lantern is that it can be charged one of 3 ways: an included 12volt cigarette lighter charger, wall outlet charger and it can also be solar charged.  The propane tank should arrive Friday if we're lucky.  They are shipping it in from the New Bern store, which is the only one that has one.  Most places have them back ordered.  Worse case it will come in on Monday.   I also looked at the rearm kits for my new life jacket.  I didn't think to bring the life jacket with me to compare the current CO2 cartridge, so we will do that tomorrow.  It's close enough that we can take the dinghy and tie up behind.  Just need to see if they have the right kind to fit my life jacket.

After West Marine we checked out the Gourmet Grocery store. After realized how much more expensive it is, we put everything back except the Kashi cereal and decided to ride the bikes down to Food Lion.  We are now stocked up and don't have to go out again for food this weekend.  It is slightly uphill going to the Food Lion store.  The bikes we borrowed are only one speed, so  by the time we got to the store my leg were tired out.  Reminds me of the bike I use to ride as a kid with the brakes initiated by back pedaling.  It was quite the juggling act putting the groceries in the backpacks and in the baskets.  We took anything in a box out of the box and disposed of the boxes in the store's trash can.  We each had 2 bags hanging from the handlebars in addition to having full backpacks and my bike basket full.  Glad that it was mostly downhill going back to the boat as we were heavily laden what with getting some meat, fruit and vegetables and milk, which are heavy items to carry.  Also learned that if we do get baskets on our bikes, would be better to have them over the rear tire so they don't affect steering.  While we were at the grocery store getting the MVP card, a woman in line behind me to do the same thing asked if we were boaters.  Yes - must of been pretty obvious.  Lesley and her husband, Mitch live on a 42' custom built trawler "Absolutely" which is at Calverts Marina since there wasn't enough room to anchor where we are. It's also their first year going south.  Maybe we'll hook up again with them in the future.

Tonight I made one pot meal of chicken thighs, carrots, onion, snow peas and sliced potatoes (used the ones cooked last night).  Was a good meal and have enough to warm up another day.  We are expecting some windy, rainy weather.  I've been feeling like making Gingerbread so will see what tomorrow brings.  It would be a good item to bring with us visiting others in their boat.  Last Tango is also moored here a few boats down.  We met  Gary and Patty Root on the Water Taxi on the way to and back from the Tartan/C&C Yachts celebration.  Hopefully we get a chance to talk to them again.

Wanted to let everyone know that I haven't been sending out the email via the distribution list as I've been posting every 1-3 days.  If it gets to a time that it's less frequently than that, I'll send out an email giving you a heads up to check.  Otherwise, I figure you can check yourselves.