Friday, April 29, 2011

Safe in Deltaville, VA

Thursday, April 28
Waterside Marina
Norfolk, VA
Distance Traveled: 21.58nm
Miles to get Home:  1325.91
Total Distance Traveled:  3993.54

We woke at 610am to warm temps but clouds flying by in the sky.  Salty Paw raised their anchor at 640m and we follow less than 10 min later to get to either to Norfolk or Hampton, VA.  The winds were 14 - 23kts from 240 degrees (SW) At least the wind varies between broad reaching and downwind most of the time depending on the direction the waterway is curving.  By 733am we get to the North Landing Bridge and the winds had temporarily decreased to 6-8 kts.  Shorty afterward, we enter the Abermarle and Chesapeake Canal  and the wind varies from 3 to 15 kts - sometimes the analog wind indicator is spinning around not know where the wind is coming from and then the wind gets every more gusty with gust to 19-21 kts.  Along the canal there are Cypress trees growing out of the water, but there are also pine trees (its the South) and maple trees with new smaller green leaves.  Phil has checked the radar on the computer and we are expecting some rain to come between 1030 and 1130am.  After the Canal, we go through our first lock in a long time - the Great Bridge lock.  We're through by 930am and then the Steel Bridge at 1002am.  The Steel Bridge is a bascule type bridge and the bridge did open, but they bridge sections got stuck halfway going up.  Phil was at the helm and he started going thru just as the bridge tender told us to hold on - but too late.  We got thru ok and then the bridge opened the rest of the way for Salty Paws.  Next bridge is the Gilmerton Road Bridge that we have been heard security radio messages from the Coast Guard for the past 2 days about a 160+ by 40ft+ barge that is sunk 27ft below the surface.  We have to jill around for a while while Phil see 30kt gusts of wind.  This was not pleasant as we turn and the wind pushes us over - turn again and pushed over the other way, but we pass through at 1036am and go thru the opened RR bridges without further problems.  With all the wind and the rain that now looks like will come thru at 1230pm, Phil decides that us staying at a marine in a good idea.  I call Waterside Marine and then have a dock for us and at $1.50/ft/day.  We are docked without any difficulty at 1125am next to the Norfolk Police Boats and in front of Hooters and Joe's Crab Shack.

We stayed on the boat for the afternoon - waiting - still waiting for the rain that is to come that finally did come about 430pm.  We didn't have any tornado warnings but there was some tornado watches back in Oriental and northern North Carolina, which is one reason that Phil wanted us to keep moving north - to avoid the bad weather.

I roasted a small whole chicken with sweet potatoes and had frozen spinach with mushrooms for supper.  Later while Phil washed the supper dishes, I had a shower and then he took a shower.  We spent the rest of the evening reading.

Our plan for tomorrow is to leave early - you never say that I'm sorry that we left so early - and go north into the Chesapeake.  We're not sure how far that we'll be able to go - depends on the weather.

Friday, April 29
Passage Norfolk to Deltaville, VA
Distance Traveled: 54.24nm
Miles to get Home:  1380.15nm
Total Distance Traveled:   4037.78nm

We woke at 530am today.  The wind has died and there is mostly blue sky - or there will be when the sun rises.  We cast off the dock at 622am and go into the Elizabeth River past all the Naval Ships and also the cranes to load and unload the container ships.  We see S/V Bella anchored off the channel but really not where you would expect to see a boat anchored close to marked R34.  The wind is 4.2kts, 53degree to Port wind angle coming from 275 degrees (almost West).  There is less than a foot chop in the wide river.  By 658am we let out the head sail as the wind angle now is 83degree and wind is 6 kts.  By 720am the wind is 9 kts and from 290 degrees.  S/V Branwyn I, a Beneteau 411 overtakes us and we are going GPS 6.2 kts to Boat 6.5 kts.  For a brief happy time, we're going GPS 7.1 kts.  Finally we get to the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel and enter into the Chesapeake Bay.  My watch starts at 830am and the wind is gusting to 14 kt with 11-12kts sustained. Phil and I put up the Main sail at 915am but the wind dies at 10am to 4-6 kts, so we start the engine.  We have another short period of sailing with the engine off between 1220 and 1252pm as we are sailing at a close reach as the wind has clocked to WNW on Phil's watch and continues that way.  About 1pm we try to decide where we are going to end up for the day.  We are almost sailing upwind - should we go to the Jackson river and Deltaville or continue to Reedville, VA like some power boaters are.  We head Lipari and China Doll talking to each other, so I hail Randy and they are going to go as far north as they can.  Diane is with Phil on China Doll as she flew down for the transport but Randy is alone while Janet is to fly back home from Norfolk tomorrow.  We wish them fair winds.  So we decide to go to Reedville, VA - but then the wind clocks to the N and the wind angle is 4degree to port.  So we change our mind - even though is was 10 min earlier that we had changed our mind and decide to go into Jackson River - 6+nm away instead of Reedville, VA 18nm away.  But as we turn, we are going upwind and pounding into the way.  We crack off the wind about 30degrees and motor sail with the main up.  Then when we are closer to land and the waves have decreased from 2-3 ft to 1-2ft, we change our course 30 degree to the rhumb line and don't have any more problems getting to the channel.  Phil was back on watch at 230pm and worried about hitting ground in the channel, which we does happen at the 2nd markers in.  But no problem, we power to the deeper water (this is our 2nd time thru the channel and maybe next time we won't hit at all - think so?) and make it all the way to our anchorage with no more groundings.  We are anchored in front of Deltaville Marina and Boatyard - close enough to the dinghy dock to paddle (not row as we don't have oars) to the dock tomorrow.  The wind is to be NW to N tomorrow so we are expecting that we'll be here all day tomorrow.

Phil calls April Majni-Holko and we're lucky that she has Monday off as we are planning to get to Solomons Island, MD on Sunday and hopefully anchor in front of the Holiday Inn.  She did receive the mail from Virginia on Thursday so hopefully something good besides bills will be waiting for us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the North Landing River in the middle of No Where in Virginia

Wednesday, April 27
ICW at mile 25
Distance Traveled:  60.83 nm
Miles to get Home:  1304.33nm
Total Distance Traveled:  397196

We woke at 545am this morning 45 min after the time I had set on the alarm.  I guess my ear plugs worked too well.  But we moved fast.  First filling the tank with 4" of water.  I had marked on the side of the tank starting 1" down from the top 6-7 lines so that I could tell more how much water we have use or put in.  We're at the top 1" down so that helps also to gauge when to tell Phil to take the hose out of the deck fitting.  The weather was pretty warm this morning and the winds for 8kts so we decided that it was a go for leaving today.  We started the engine @ 613am only 30 min after we had wanted to originally.  By 616am we pushed off the dock with winds 9.7 kts with 71 degree angle to SB from 230 degrees (SW).  By 631am we exited the channel that went into the Bay and by 646am we pasted R36 - the last marker for the channel east of Roanoke Island.  Soon after Phil let out the head sail, but reefed as the winds had already increased to the 15-17 kt range.  In front of us we see SV Salty Pawss.  by 8am (I'm on watch) I see gusts of 18 kts and by 819am gusts hit 19 kts and having to turn more upwind, the wind angle has changed from 175 degrees to 120 degrees.  Just enough that the wave are hitting us on the port side so we are have a bouncy ride rolling side to side.  I'm hoping that the 20-30 kts winds don't come soon!    It's been spitting rain on and off over the past hour or so and just increased to a light rain at 10 which last just long enough to put on the foul weather gear for me to then have to take it off.

930am is Phil's watch and we pass Green marker 173 which tells us we are now back in the ICW.  Even though it's not my watch, I stay above for awhile so that I don't get seasick.  Finally after the winds have decreased to 12-14kts and we jibed the headsail, I go down below to take a nap.  I wake at 1135am and quickly get ready to go above for my watch.  At 1140am the wind is now 20-26kts at 74 degree wind angle to port and 270degrees on the compass.  I'm glad that we are in semi protected waters and that we are running downwind as we turn a corner.  The 74 degree wind angle is the closest upwind that we had today.

When we left today, 3 of the diesel jerry can were empty - we forgot to get some at a gas station while we had the car - having too much fun being tourists I guess soat 1230pm we stopped at Coinjock Mariane and bought 22.8 gal of diesel - 7.8 going in the tank.  We have a quick lunch of sandwiches and fruit salad I made while Phil drove (on part of my watch) so I took over once we were on our way again.  1pm the wind is gusting to 27kts with sustained winds of 22-26 kts.  Our GPS speed is 6.3 kts and boat speed is 6.75 kts.  We are making 5 mi in between 40-45 min - really good for us.  By 127pm I see gusts to 30 kts still sustained 25-28 kts.  A couple sailboats pass us and Salty Paws is not too far ahead planning to anchor at Pongo Ferry like we might.  At 211pm I see gusts to 31.8 kts and the boat speed is 7.8 kts.  Phil's on watch so I don't have data for him but we are still going downwind and the dinghy doesn't like it at all.  I'm letting it in, then letting it our - the bow digs into the waves and spray comes up. Phil slows down a little and turns of the engine so that we sail. I let the dinghy out and it seems to like it better until we had a power boat pass  us - going at a low speed but we can't go any slower as we're sailing!  The dinghy REALLY doesn't like that but it hangs in there.

Finally at at 322pm Phil starts the engine and we go through a fixed bridge and we turn left into a little oxbow that shows 9-12ft depth on the chart.  Well we went aground - then got off and hailed the other boats that we're aground.  Not what - where to go.  So we start down and Salty Paws says be careful tieing up the the closed marina - we continue on.  Let out the head sail to go fast - then roll it in as we think Salty Paws is anchoring.  They aren't so we let it out thinking to go to Great Bridge to tie up at the dock by the lock.  We really don't like that as the chart says they open the bridge on the hour up to 7pm - we have 2 other bridges to go through.  We've been on the road a while.  We go through the start of another oxbow and Salty Paws starts to anchor there.  It's has a 6ft lip and then deepens.  Can we get through??  NO - aground again so we get off and Phil anchors on their left - still off the channel at 423pm.  All around us is marsh - but we're safe and great holding.  The anchor set before I had 40' out.  I let out chain until 60'.  Dark clouds are on the horizon, but Phil checked the radar and they will go by.  As I right this the sky is clear.  Yeah!  No rain.

It's 630pm and time for me to fix supper.  We have to fighter planes flying around here making noise and it's still 15-20 kts winds still from the SW.

Our plan is to go on tomorrow even though the winds are going to be the same.  Still downwind until we get to Hampton, VA.  Will anchor across from the marina we stayed in last fall.  The wind is to be W about 10kts Friday and cooler.  Saturday NW 5 - 13 depending on where you are so we don't know if we'll wait for the winds to change to the South again or not.  Saturday is too far away to tell.

We got an email from NY State Canal System and because of the rain and weather, the Erie Canal won't open May 1.  Once we are in Cape May, we figure it will take 3 days with good weather to get to Waterford so we aren't in a hurry now to move fast.  We are planning on meeting April and Kevin Majni-Holko on the Chesapeake to get mail.  Email me if you need the address.  Buckeye Chocolate is welcome!!  We're on our last piece.  Only kidding - not I'm not. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Outer Banks Day 2

Tuesday, April 26
Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC

Today we rented a car and decided to be tourists.  We rented from a local Ford dealer and were picked up at 830am.  By 9am all the papers were signed and we were on out way to explore the Outer Banks.  First we drove to Kitty Hawk and saw the Wright Brothers National Memorial.  Phil found this to be most interesting as there is a full-scale reproduction of the Wright Flyer, we listened to a talk by the volunteer Ranger and was able to visit the field where the actual flight took place.  Then we stopped at a knitting store and I bought a couple skeins of yarn to make 2 pair of socks.  We had lunch at Pigman's BBQ - which had excellent BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.  We drove down to Cape Hatteras Island and visited Bodie (pronounced Body) Island Lighthouse, which is not open for climbing and currently undergoing renovation.  Then we went back to the boat as the skies were looking like it was going to rain soon.  The boat tied down with a couple more lines, I went to a yarn shop (again!) and Phil went to the Roanoke Island maritime Museum.  He met me at the yarn shop and then we walked around town and we both visited the Museum. 

the town here is very quaint.  Time to use the car one last time and go to the local Piggly Wiggly Grocery store.  Once back at the boat we fussed online.  Then as we had use of a propane gas grill on the hard, we thawed the Bahamian crawfish tails we bought in Marsh Harbor and I cooked them on the grill while Phil fixed a pasta rice dish and can corn.  The tail were great and we have enough for another meal with it mixed with something else.

We have looked at the weather and have decided that if the winds are low enough tomorrow morning (<10kts) that we are going to leave and get to the ICW before the winds increase.  There is a cold front that is coming, but as we only have 3-4 hours before we get out of Albarmarle Sound, we think that we'll be ok and have 2 places in mind that we can anchor and be protected.  One is much closer than the other, but we will be running (going downwind) with the stronger winds which is much better than going upwind.

We have been going slowly this past week or so and now will have to be picking up the pace while staying safe.  As always, I'll send out the Ok message when we are anchored.  If the winds are <10kts, we'll be staying here to leave Friday.

Glad to see some warmer weather back home.  Sure hope that it warms up by the time that we get up there.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Manteo Waterfront Marina, Roanoke Island, NC

Monday, April 25
Roanoke Island, NC
Distance Traveled:  61.39 nm
Miles to get Home:1243.50nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3911.13nm

This is a continuation of my post from this morning:

Phil was concerned after looking at the charts again that we would not be able to get to Roanoke Island thru Old House Channel and Roanoke Sound channel.  He hailed Tow Boats US and the Coast Guard from Oregon Inlet answered him and let him know that there was plenty of water for us.  What a relief to know for sure as if there hadn't been, we would have had to go 10 mi north of Oriental to pick up the ICW.  As the afternoon progressed, the wind picked up as we expected.  By 105pm the wind was 15-16 kts at 175degrees to SB.  GPS speed 6.3, Boat speed 6.51kts and we were motorsailing with white caps and 1-2 ft waves.  As my watch continued, we were surfing down waves and I saw a max of 7.2 knts on GPS before we entered the Old House Channel at 155pm - 10 more miles to go to get to the harbor.    By 213pm we started seeing 20kts wind that built to 25kts as we entered the bay to get to the anchorage - upwind.  We made an instant decision to stay in a marina.  I called while Phil was entering the channel and reached Manteo Waterfront Marina, which happens to be the town marina.    We had to dock to starboard instead of our normal port so that the bow was pointing into the waves so Phil turned around so that I had time to move the dock lines and he moved the fenders to the starboard side.  Carl, the dock master and another gentlemen both were there to great us and catch the dock lines, which was very much appreciated and needed with the stiff winds.  By 444pm the engine was off and by 5pm we at the dock master office to pay for our 2 nights.  I also called RD Sawyer Ford and reserved a rental car and a pickup time of 830am tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow we are really going to be tourists.

Tonight I'm warming up leftovers while I have a load of clothes in the washer.  Then we'll take showers as the clothes finish us.  Doesn't even feel like we had showers yesterday we're so sticky so real showers will be very much appreciated.

Hope the weather is improving for our target date to be home May 20.

Outer Banks North Carolina

Wednesday evening, April 20
Oriental, NC

After I posted on the Blog, we had lunch with Phil's old friends Tom and Beverly Love at the Silos. They had good food and also have a small area selling groceries, so I bought some wheat germ to add to bread I make.  Beverly was kind enough to drive us home and then we rode our bikes to West Marine Express and exchanged my broken rigging knife for a new one.   Home again, we took D up on her offer and washed clothes and then hung the first load on the line.  Then we all (with D) rode our bikes to downtown Oriental and visited the Provisoning Company to see what they had in their getting ride of inventory sale.  Last Fall they were closed and now they are open long enough to get ride of the inventory.  Across the street was Beans, so we stopped there for something to drink and got a bonus of being able to eat the little bit of Black Walnut ice cream left in the tub.  Very Good!  Then went to the Marine Consignment and I bought a cook book.  We rode home and did another load of clothes.

Found out that Donna and Jerry Luh on S/V Blue Jacket was having people over for supper and we were invited along with Don and D.  D made a key lime pie and on Phil's request, I made a fruit salad.  We were glad to go and Patty and Gary on S/V Last Tango would be there.  While Don and D went to a wine tasting, Phil and I had showers, took the clothes off the line and folded them and I made the fruit salad.  We were ready to go just in time and left about 715pm for the dinner.  A different Jerry made sausage rolls and Donna Luh made a lettuce salad.  It was great to meet new people and we also met Jim Austin and Bentley Smith from S/V Salty Paws, which is the cat we passed on the way from St. Augustine to Port Royal Sound and were anchored with at Wappoo Creek.  Jim is a professional photographer and gave me some recommendations for storage of my 20 GB of photos that I have taken on this trip.  Will wait until I have a great internet signal with unlimited use of data (think Lakeland Comm College) to upload to a "cloud" site.  We had a great time and all too soon it was time to go back home.

Thursday, April 21
Oriental, NC
Wogaman's dock

Today was warm and sunny which we wait for the wind to change so that the water can rise up and we can leave.  By late morning, the wind changes and we see the water start to rise.  By 1pm we decide there is enough water and we start the engine at 112pm and pull away at 114pm Phil driving in reverse until we get to the "Y" in the channel and can turn around to go forward.  The winds are 24kts and upwind for us to go to Broad Creek.  We try to go up wind, but after we tacked we couldn't get north enough.   We have the head sail out as we learned on earlier trips that we can sail upwind faster than we can motor, but it doesn't help enough.We are heeled over with the toe rail in the water - not fun - so we decided to turn around at 2pm and go to Oriental Harbor to anchor.  By 2225pm we drop anchor with 3' water under the keel, but Phil doesn't like this spot as if the wind clocks to the S we are exposed.  So we raise anchor and go into the harbor more and drop anchor with 0.9' under the keel at 244pm.    45 minutes later S/V The Edge and Bentana motor into the harbor and go to a marina.  We met Judy and Stephen in the Bahamas and after they are settled, chatted on the radio.  They are looking to leave tomorrow as they want to be back home in Nyack, NY on the Hudson River before May 7.  Hopefully we'll see them further down then line.

I fixed steak with sliced potatoes and peas for supper.  Then Phil and I read for the evening before we went to bed. 

Friday, April 22
Oriental Harbor, NC

We listened to weather radio and the wind is to be from the E 15-20kts with waves 5-8 and isolated showers.  It's to clock to SE 10-15 later, so we hope that we'll be able to leave this afternoon but will wait to see what the weather brings us.    About 9am S/V's The Edge and Bentana left and went north to get to the ICW but have about 10nm to slog upwind.  We listened to the radio and I asked Judy to hail us when she got out there more, and it's doesn't sound good.  They has winds about 23kts and are going upper 3kts with the engine.  I'm sure that we wouldn't be going that fast with the old prop on Changes, so we're going to stay here for now.  A little later, but The Edge and Bentana talked about turning around, but with adding the sails and a few adjustments, they started making more headway and continued on.  Taking advantage of the time, I took up the morning throughly cleaning the head - even going thru the lockers and clearing out a few things that we haven't been using, then vaccummed and washed the sole.  That done, we had sandwiches for lunch.

  We wanted to go to the grocery store so Phil called D to see if she could pick us up in their van - busy, but she suggested that we call Anne Sidden, which we did and she was kind enough to meet us at the dinghy dock about 115pm.  Of course we had only 3 items on the list but then came out with 4 bags full of groceries.  Anyone else have that problem???  Then we asked to see her boat Drakus, a Monk 45' sailboat that Doug, her husband, and she have been working on for a few years.    Anne gave us the full tour and they have done a lot to fix up the boat for cruising and still have a lot to do.  We found out they bought the boat in 2004 in Florida, limped back home with the hurting engine and since then Doug has done a lot with the engine and the systems in the engine room.  Anne has also done a lot with painting and other items along with building a dinghy.  I admire what she has done as the woodworking is something that I'm not sure I would tackle by myself like she has done.  It will fulfill their needs well when they are done with the renovations. 

Back at the boat, we have made the final decision not to leave today.  The weather hasn't improved and we don't see any sense in going upwind in this weather.  I made porkchop with sauerkraut, sweet and white potatoes for supper as befitting a good dreary day.

I got a free e-book from Barnes & Noble How to be a Dividend Millionaire, so after I finished reading, Phil read most of the book too for us to discuss.  Good thing that we have our finances under control and we will take some of his information under consideration.  As I'm going to try to save a good amount of money for our cruising kitty, it doesn't hurt to try to invest it wisely.  He talks about his site so I'll have to check it out to see what he has to say.

At 715pm Phil jumped up and went into the cockpit - we are aground.  He started the engine and then after raising the anchor, we were able to move to deeper water and anchor close to where we were the very first time on Thursday.  Phil had noticed that the rocking motion of the boat had stopped.  Good thing, because if he had waited longer I think we would have needed a tow.  The wind had clocked to 125degrees - SE @ 13-14 kts, which is making the water come out of the harbor.  If the wind clocks more, we won't have protection but maybe the winds will die like predicted and we'll be ok.

Once we were settled, Phil read and I undated my log book.  Then I started finishing the heel flap on the 2nd of Phil's sock and started working on the legs.  I'm on the home stretch and all the hard part is finished.

Saturday, April 23
Passage Oriental to Ocracoke Island Outer Banks, NC
Distance Traveled:  41.68 nm
Miles to get Home:  1182.11nm
Total Distance Traveled:  38489.74 nm

We woke at 618am to CT of 72F and AT of 69F.  A warm night that reminds us of the Bahamas.  I think it actually got warmer as the night progressed.  As Phil though might happened, the winds did clock to the South, but the wind also decreased and it was calm.  Phil started the engine at 641am but I heard squealing as he started raising the anchor so stopped all and tightened the belt.  Restarting the engine at 648am we were able to lift anchor at 649pm and were in the middle of the channel going out before 7am.  Winds are 5.7 kts with 63degree wind angle to starboard (SB).  By 737am we let the head sail out as the winds were 7kt at 115degrees to SB.  Once they increase to 12 kts - we put up the mainsail and turned off the engine at 910am - We are sailing!!!  By 1020am 2 M/V had passed up and the winds were 13-15kts at 120degree SB wind angle and we are sailing GPS 5.7-6.2 kts to boat 5.7 kts.  By 1pm we took the head sail down as we were entering the Nine foot Shoal Channel (which is a misnomer as we say 7.5 feet of water at it's shallowest point) and anchored in Silver Lake at 154pm.  Phil thinks this was the best sail of the trip!  We have 5ft under the keel so feel good about that.  I fixed lunch of roast beef sandwiches and a pear half, then time to put the 8hp engine on the dinghy and go into shore.  There are lots of dock sticking out into the lake but only 2 dinghy docks available and one of them blocked by lines to the pilings by a house boat.  We went down to the state park and used their dinghy dock. 

First on the agenda was going to the State Park Visitors Center.  We were given maps and information that at the Community Center at the edge of town there was a concert to raise funds for a music festival scheduled early June.  They play good music, so Phil and I decided to go.  But first we visited the Ocracoke Preservation Museum in a restored 100 year old house.  It was very interesting and we stayed until it closed at 4pm.  then we walked through town going in a few stores.  There is the Kitty Hawk Kites store and Phil bought some kite string on a yo-yo to take with him to California when visiting Vic and her family.  He wants to make a kite with the boys and then fly it at the beach.  Back to the dinghy, we visited a nice looking green sailboat.  Met Tim and Jen and found out they bought their boat for $10,000 a DownEaster 32' and renovated it.  They have found that it's big enough inside to provide enough space for them that they don't feel crowded even though they've have boats in the upper 40's in lenghth.  So now I'm willing to look for a boat smaller than 40' if it has more volume.  But to find one that doesn't have a full keel is going to be the trick - after being able to sell Changes for a reasonable price.  Phil as a specific broker in mind that he'll talk to when we get home. 

Back at the boat I talked to my Mom and my sister, Robin for Easter.  Then I talked briefly to Katie who was getting ready to go to my parents after visiting her Uncle Jeff's Mom and Step Dad.  I warmed up leftovers for supper - Phil had the sauerkraut and port and I had the left over shephard's pie.

645pm we left to walk to the Community Center and we really enjoyed the concert provided by Molasses Creek.  There were also a couple other men that told stories.  It was bluegrass/folk music with many string instruments providing the music.  The concert over at 930pm we started walking and then was given a ride on a pedibike. 

Sunday, April 24
Happy Easter!
Ocacroke, NC

We slept in this morning and listened to the weather radio.  It's to be a nice day today and they are predicting the since to be from the S 10-15 kts thru Tuesday Night.  We will leave tomorrow very early - Sunrise is at 620am now - and take the long trip to Roanoke Island.  We'll stay 2 nights and then leave Wednesday morning early while the winds are still S 15-20 kts before they climb Thursday to 20-25 knots.

Here at Ocracoke they have a community radio station - 90.1FM WOVV that I listened to this morning while making breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.  As it's been 3 days since our last shower at Don and D's house, we heat up water and add to the Sun Shower for a nice warm shower.  Then by 1130am after I packed a lunch for us to eat later, we took the dinghy to town and rode our bikes for about 2 1/2 hours.  We rode to the Beach access # 70, walked on the beach and collect just a few shells.  Here at Ocracoke the Village is privately owned but the rest of the island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park.  There is a 12 mile long beach that at places you can drive on with your 4-WD truck.  When we got to the beach, there were several trucks there.  Many of them were fishing for Bluefish from the beach.  Others were swimming in the 60+F water.  Exactly how cold it was I don't know and frankly don't want to find out.   Phil ate his lunch while I combed the beach for shells and talked to the fishermen to see what they were trying to catch - Bluefish.  They have poles 15-20' long - cast out the line close to the surf and then put the poles into holders they have pounded into the sand.  After we had our fill of the beach, we started riding back to town, stopped for some ice cream at Sweet Tooth and continued riding back.  We stopped at Pirates Chest and I bought a couple sundresses made out of swimsuit material at a pretty good price.  We visited the British Cemetery and looked over the fence in the Howard-Wahab Cemetery.  We learned from Sundae Horn, one of the singers last night, that there are 90 private family cemeteries on the island dotted her and there.  We saw a few in our travels.  We rode to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse, which unfortunately we can't climb to the top.  Too difficult and dangerous the Park Ranger told us.   The lighthouse keepers house is now privately owned.  There are many guest homes in the village divided between about 3 realty companies.  800 residents live here year round and we also sound the one school that houses all grades from kindergarden to high school.  Made us think about the Fairport Harbor school systems, though we don't know how many children attend school here.  Ocracoke is pretty isolated as it's possible to get here only by private boat, ferries or by private planes.  I'm sure you can get more information by visiting their web site:

By 330pm we were ready to get back on the boat, then put the engine on the boat and put the dinghy away.  Phil talked to Vicki and we had talked to Kathleen shortly after getting on shore earlier today for Easter Wishes.  We didn't do anything special for Easter, but I fixed pan braised chicken and added couscous for a one pot meal.  It was good but as usual, Phil thinks it would have been better if I had used potatoes instead of couscous.  That's an Irishman for you. :)  

I started reading my Nook, put it down after it had started charging and then it wouldn't work - wouldn't turn on, turn off - charge.  I removed the battery and that didn't help either. We talked to Barb and Ted Zimmerman and it's good to hear that they and they kids are doing good.   I turned on my computer and read some from the Adobe digital editions until time for bed.  We are going to get up at 6am tomorrow and leave as soon as we can, even if that means making coffee while we on our way.

Monday, April 25
Passage from Ocracoke to Roanoke Island.
Mileage details to follow.

We did wake at 6am and were able to raise anchor at 626am with the wind 6-8 kts and flat seas.  The wind is from the SW not as predicted so we'll be sailing downwind and hope for the wind to clock to the South as predicted.  We were out of the Channel by 710am and I started the computer to get this blog updated while I had a lot of electricity.  When my watch started at 830am the wind was 6 kts at 220 degrees - still dead downwind at GPS speed 5.3 kts Boat speed 5.7 kts. But it wasn't too long that the wind starting picking up and by 916am we put the head sail out as the winds were close to 10 kts.  It's been hard to keep the head sail filled even with the winds 10-12 kts as it hasn't clocked enough.  It's sunny and very warm in the sun so Phil put up the beach umbrella to provide some shade.  By lunchtime, I expect that the bimini will provide more shade but the sun isn't high enough yet for that.

Will try to download some photos after lunch and add to the blog later today with the next update.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stuck in North Carolina

Thursday, April 14
Bucksport SC to Southport, NC
Distance Traveled:  57.6 nm
Miles to get Home:  1009.62nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3677.25nm

Our morning started with calm winds and a glassy anchorage.  We had a long day ahead of us so raised anchor at 652am with sea smoke in the anchorage.  The Cabin temp was 62F and the air temp was 53 cool degrees.  We bundled up and Phil took the first watch as usual. By 9am at the beginning of my watch the wind was 8kts on the nose from the East.  The GPS speed was 5.8 kt and boat speed was 5.49 knots and I was glad for the slight favorable current.    Phil added 5 gals of diesel to that tank as we are now and have been in the stretch of our trip of motor ALL day.  It's great for the batteries but not always great to listen to the engine that much.  Near the end of my watch we came up to a C&C 30 named Red Jello at one bridge and at Little Rivers Swing bridge while waiting for it to open, we had a chance to talk to them as fellow C&C'ers do.  With all the inlets that we pass - it's the game of do we have positive current coming up to the inlet and then negative current passing the current.  We play the yo-yo of this game all day always hoping that we have more positive current (with the tides) so that we can be going 5.8 - 7.0kts versus 3.8 - 5 kts.  It really makes a difference to have far we can get in a day.  An example is we were going GPS 4.2 vs Boat 5.66kts coming up to Shallotte Inlet - After passing the inlet we were going 6.8 kts for about 15 min and then was down to GPS 5.5 kts vs Boat 5.23 kts.  Another 25 min later we slowed down to GPS 5.1 kts vs Boat 5.44 kts.  Overall we did good and were going to the Southport anchorage for the night, until Phil read that only 3 boats can fit there and as many boat had passed us in the day.  We decided on the spur moment to do a U-turn when we saw a sign saying $1.35/ft Boat US discount passing S. Harbour Village Marina.  There was a long fuel dock and a couple sailboats already tied up and we tied up too and got diesel fuel.  By this time it was 515pm and I had started getting supper ready to cook while we were traveling.  By 7pm we had chicken and rice/barley, acorn squash and cornbread for supper.  Then time to take advantage of the showers.  Tired from traveling, we read and went to bed at 930pm.

Friday, April 15
Southport, NC to Carolina Beach State Park Marina
Distance Traveled:  13.4 nm
Miles to get Home:  1023.02nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3690.65nm

We woke this morning to a CT of 63F and Air temp of 57F, heavy dew and glassy water.  We are planning on getting to Wrightsville Beach today to tuck in for a storm that is suppose to come tomorrow with 20-30kts winds from the SW.  We left the dock at 705am an narrowly avoided  running into it again.  Phil was distracted by the GPS and we almost plowed in but luckily we saw what was happening and just brushed off the dock where the fenders were still in place.  Had the heart beating pretty fast on this one.  Today we are going up the Cape Fear River and we hope we have left early enough to not get hit too badly by the current of the outgoing tide.  But we have not left early enough afterall as our GPS speed is only 3.8 kts.  We keep plugging away hoping as we go along that the negative current will ease once we turn into the ICW.  Just after turning the corner S/V Red Jello hails us and tells us about the marina they are in that we just passed.  Hey!  on $30 per night and free electricity.  We had a long way to go and may not even get there at this speed so it was a no brainer to turn around on come in to the Carolina Beach State Park Marina.  We hit a couple times coming in the channel (need to stay close to the Green markers) but we're in and dock on the next finger next to Red Jello.  The marina is almost empty and it's really protected.  By 104am am we are docked and then sign in and we introduce ourselves to George and Mary Lou on Red Jello.  This is a great place!  They have nice showers, a washer and dryer only $1each, trails to walk on.  We decided that we're going to stay tonight and tomorrow to wait out the bad weather.  I'm thrilled to have someone else besides Phil to talk to - wow a woman to talk to! 

After lunch, we took the folding bikes out and rode them to Carolina Beach.  The tide is out, the young people are on the beach in bikinis and swim shorts while we walk the beach looking for some shells as it's low tide.  We also stop at the local grocery store - The Sea Merchant - and get some essentials.  We had also ridden to the post office for Phil to mail a letter.  As the weather is predicted to be bad tomorrow, we put the bikes away. 

We also spend time on Red Jello talking.  George and Mary Lou have cruised to the Bahamas years ago - in the 1970's when all there was to navigate was Loran C - which you had to manually program.  There was not GPS, no Chris Parker, no SSB, so the read the water and when the winds turned SE to S - went to an anchorage protected from the west winds they figured would be coming.  We think they went there 7 times total.  As you can imagine they are savvy sailors.  They are on their way up to Baltimore to pick up a C&C 38' Landfall that they just bought, to take back to Indian Town for the summer.  Their nephew has bought their boat so once the Landfall is in Florida, they will go back to Baltimore and bring Red Jello back to their home in Kincardin on Lake Huron for their nephew.

After supper, I took advantage of the washer and dryer and washed the ultrasuede that I've used to cover the cushions in the cabin which I read magazines in the lounge.

Saturday, April 16
Carolina Beach State Park Marina

I think that many people don't know about Carolina Beach State Park marina.  I see that it's is in the Skipper Bob Books, but it's been closed that past 2 years while they have completely renovated the marina.  There is new bulkheads and new floating docks which are quite nice.  It's close quarters so you might be able to fit a boat 40' overall in there but nothing more than that (including bow sprint and dinghies hanging off the back).  They have a lounge area that has round tables and chairs with glass windows so there is a unobstructed view on the scenery around you.

We had scrambled eggs and whole grain muffins for breakfast.  We decided to talk a walk on the trails and try to get back for the Range guided trail walk at 10am - best laid plans it turned out.  We started walking to the Sand dunes and it turned out that it took much longer for the walk than we though.  I enjoyed smelling the dead leaves in the forest - here the live oaks drop their leaves in the spring.  There are many pine trees here and the pine cones are huge!  Small pine tree has 8" long pine cones.  I restrain myself and don't pick any up for craft projects though.  Along the Cape Fear river there is a lot of sand on the trails and at times there is only sand to walk on, making it slow going.  We took a different trail not marked on the map and came to another couple who we chatted with.  Then we came to a rode - talked to Rangers in a SUV and was directed back to the parking lot where we started.  We arrived back at 1015am, too late for the guided trail walk.  We saw George and Mary Lou walking down the street to walk into town and Phil with his loud voice called them.  They waited for me to join them and Phil stayed behind.  His left heel has been bothering him when he walks too much so he stayed behind.   George, Mary Lou and I walked to town and stopped at a boutique that had great clothing and Food Lion.  Of course I got a few items which I carried back in the cooler backpack. 

What happened to the storm?  We were wondering that all day too as it was sunny, breezy and warm most of the day with some periods of clouds that blew through.  It turned out to be a much nicer day than we thought it was going to be, but the storms did come through early evening.  Even though there were tornado watches north and south of us, we didn't have any and the storms were bad at all for us.  The locals say that the mountains break up the storms so they weren't surprised.  What did happen was that the wind clocked so that the waves were coming into the channel causing a swell in the marina.  As things go, it wasn't bad and we added some extra line just to be sure.   

Before the storm came, George and Mary Lou came for happy hour and we enjoyed chatting some more.  It's so great to have company!!!.  I fixed ham slice and instant mashed potatoes with fresh broccoli.  Lorraine eating instant potatoes - oh my.  Well YES.  I have potato buds and I can say that with cooking them with milk and doctoring with instant minced onions and garlic - I will eat these instant potatoes. 

After supper I took advantage of the free electricity and checked out and downloaded from the library ebooks and audiobooks that I transferred to my Nook and Ipod Nano.

Sunday, April 17
Happy Birthday Rachel!!
Carolina Beach to Mile Hammock Bay
Distance Traveled:  53.35 nm
Miles to get Home:  1076.37nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3744.00nm

Even though we loved our interlude at Carolina Beach, we need to keep traveling north.  Our goal for the day is Mile Hammock Bay so we left the dock at 654am.  We go by many inlets today so another day of playing the current game and we wonder if we'll have more of the day with a favorable current or not.  We also have a few bridge openings and we get to the Wrightsville Beach Bridge 10 min late for the on the hour opening, so we jill around for 50 minutes.  We see S/V Short Walk and I hail Ann to chat for a little.  They are going to Mile Hammock Bay also today.  I also spoke to Steve Wesburd on S/V Traveler.  He's a Master Captain transporting the Hunter 31 back north.  He give me a recommendation for a boat broker in Baltimore.  By 1134am the wind has picked up  and Phil puts out the head sail but it turned out only for 30 min.  By 230pm the winds have picked up the mid teens with gusts to 22 kts. We make it to Mile Hammock Bay by Camp Lejune by 430pm.  The was the anchorage that people were dragging in last fall and this time though there aren't many anchored here, we have trouble anchoring.  We dropped anchor the first time and dragged.  I started with 60' and continued letting out more chain as we dragged until 80+ feet were out and we were too close to a M/V.  Up comes the anchor and we try again.  This time we set still with 80ft out in 10ft of water.

Tonight for supper I use the canned beef and gravy and make a shephard's pie using instant mashed potatoes on top.  I started turning the heel on the socks I'm making for Phil and he read until we went to bed at 10pm.

Monday, April 18
Mile Hammock Bay to Beaufort, NC
Distance Traveled:  39.42 nm
Miles to get Home:  1115.79 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3783.42 nm

We woke at 630am and lifted the anchor at 647am as Phil saw S/V Red Jello leave so we jumped to leave too so that we can make the bridges when they do.  I was at the helm and Phil was down below making coffee.  The wind was dead downwind at 3 kts.  GPS was 5.2 kts Boat was 5.6 kts.  By Bogue Inlet we get the positive current of GPS 7.1 and keep the positive current for most of the morning.  The conversation of the day is whether we go to Beaufort on try to get to Oriental.  We decided, as you can see, to go to Beaufort so that Phil could get a chart of Pamlico and Abamarle Sounds and why kill ourselves every day?  We set anchor at 120pm and got the 8hp engine on the dinghy.  This is the first time since leaving the Bahamas.  We walk around town, get the charts, have some ice cream and then come back to the boat at low tide.  I had hoped that I could meet with Sonda and John, whom we met in Georgetown, but they aren't to be back from their cruising until beginning of May.  Too bad.

The big entertainment of the afternoon after we returned were 5 teen age thin girls in bikinis cruising up and down the Taylor river on a small power boat.  They were singing to the music - off key - with a couple on the bow dancing. They went up and down the river and Phil just had to get out the binoculars to check them out.  There were also teen age boys cruising up and down the river checking out these girls.  Oh to be young with nice figures and that kind of self esteem!  It was fun to watch them and we had a good laugh.

I continued knitting Phil's socks while enjoying the sun in the cockpit.  For supper we had left over chicken and rice and fresh broccoli.

Both Phil and I read the evening away.

Tuesday, April 19
Beaufort, NC to Oriental, NC
Distance Traveled:  24.64 nm
Miles to get Home:  1140.43
Total Distance Traveled:  3808.06

We woke at 6am today wanting to get an early start to catch the favorable current.  By 636am the anchor is raised and we are on our way with a pink sky and full moon on the horizon.  It's really beautiful this morning.  The wind is 5 kts and out GPS speed quickly goes from 3.6 as we are approaching Beaufort Inlet to 7.0 as we pass the inlet.  We make good time up Adams Creek and are at our waypoint to enter Tarpon Creek to Don and D Wogamon's dock at 1030am.  We know it's going to be close us getting to their dock but didn't realize that we would get stuck 10 min up the channel just past a couple marinas and become  the morning entertainment for the local residents.  We hit bottom and though Phil goes in reverse and we rock the boat back and forth we are stuck good.  We call Tow Boat US and they come within 10 minutes.  The captain is nice and offers tows us all the way to their dock which is a good thing.  It takes 15 min to get off where we are stuck the first time and then we get stuck 2 more times, the last being at the junction of a fork in the creek.  But the tow boat prevails and we are tied up at 1140am - but on the ground.  It turns out that there isn't a tide here in the creek, but the water goes up and down by as much as 40 inches according to the direction the wind is blowing.  With a SW wind - which we have now - the water goes out into Pamlico Sound.  With the NE wind the water comes up in the creek - kind of like the west end of Lake Erie.  We are here until the wind changes - maybe Friday.  But we like being here - have a dock, free electricity, great hosts.  D is in New Bern for errands and appointments.  Don is here working on S/V Southern Cross a Dickerson 41 (the last woody) to get it ready for cruising again.  His current project is caulking the teak decks. 

It's very warm here - I actually am wearing shorts - so we quickly put up the Farouck and relax in the cockpit for a while.  Then we walk to the local grocery store and get a ride back from a gentleman that saw us aground.    It's close to time for showers and D arrives for us to meet.  We quickly arrange to do dinner together.  Phil and I get in Sun Showers that has warm water by my definition and I fix the zucchini carrot strands as my contribution.  We have a great supper of rotisserie chicken, brown rice and my vegetable dish with chocolate cake for dessert.  Ann and Doug Sedden join us (they rent Don and D's apartment) and we taste wine and talk about cruising and boating until the wee hours.  Ann then D leaves us and the guys and I talk until almost midnight.  It's was a wonderful evening and I particularly enjoy the company.

Wednesday, April 20
Oriental, NC

Today I'm going to update the blog, then we have lunch with Tom and Beverly Love.  D offers to let us use her laundry machine, so Phil starts and load and I find out that there is a dinner planned by S/V Blue Jacket tonight at 7pm that we are invited to.  Last Tango is docked in Broad Creek and there will be 14 people all together so of course we are going.  After checking weather, it looks like the NE winds will be tomorrow then clock to E on Friday.  So we hope in the afternoon that we can get out of Tarpon Creek and will dock at Oriental to wait out the East winds.  Then we plan to sail to Ocracoke Island on Saturday, Sail to Roanoke Island on Sunday, go to the Virginia cut on Monday to get to Norfolk on Tuesday.  Of course you know how plans can change.

I don't have time this morning to post photos - so will try to fit it in later.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back on the ICW

Saturday, April 9
Passage Beaufort, SC to Wappoo Creek
Charleston, SC
Distance Traveled:  51.43 nm
Miles to get Home:  865.90
Total Distance Traveled:  3558.43

We were sorry to say goodbye to the Butler's, but woke early so we had plenty of time to make our destination of Charleston, SC.  Rick sent us off blowing his conch horn - how wonderful - at 733am.  There winds were from 295 degrees (WNW) @ 13 kts and we had about a 1 kt adverse current.  By 1145am we were at mile marker 505 and the water was brown and brackish and we had lots of no-see-ums.  Yuk!  Good thing that I had bought the netting jackets and hood as we both used the hood and I had on long sleeve and pants to protect us from them.
using the hood to protect from no-see-ums
As we got closer to Charleston, the winds picked up to the low 20's and gusts in the upper 20's on the nose and we had 2-3ft waves in the river by 345pm.  Of course it was my watch, and I called Phil up to say that we needed to find a place to anchor.  The closest was Wappoo Creek just past Elliott Cut.  Last time we went through the cut there was terrific current and waves - this time we had the current with us thankfully so we flew through at 7.2kts, but not the waves so we made it through easily.  We were able to anchor just past it in an area that has a small island but then this wasn't easy either.  At this time we had the winds - about 15 kts in the protection and the strong tide in opposite directions.  There were 2 boats already anchored - one of the S/V Salty Paws (a cat) whom we passed when we went outside.  We tried to anchor between them, but the anchor dragged before it set.  Too close to the Cat which moves around a lot with the wind/tide.  So we raised the anchor and had better luck the 2nd try.  We were at N3245.897' W79 58.845'  The least amount of water under the keel was 2.9ft but we were ok and not too close to the other 2 boats.
Wappoo Creek anchorage
Once we were settled, Phil called John Gag to let them know we didn't quite make it to Charleston but would tomorrow and could we get together.  So we'll give them a call tomorrow once we are anchored.  Tonight I made steak, instant mashed potatoes, fresh broccoli and carrots.  Now this is the first time on the trip that I've tried instance mashed potatoes which I'm usually not fond of.  I used the potato buds and using milk to reconstitute them I have to say that they were better than I expected.  I also added cheese and garlic powder.  Good enough I have to say that I'll bring more on our next cruising trip.

The evenings entertainment was Phil reading and I knitting Phil's socks.  At least we didn't get the rain and thunderstorms that were predicted.  We heard on the weather radio of Tornado watches, but they must have gone south of us.

Sunday, April 10
Wappoo Creek to Charleston Maritime Center
Distance Traveled:  5.55nm
Miles to get home:  871.45nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3563.98nm

Phil decided last night to splurge and get a spot at a dock instead of us anchoring.  We needed to do laundry so we decided to try the Charleston Maritime Center on the Cooper River, which is closer to downtown and the ICW when we continue our trip northward.  There is the wake from the ships and traffic from the harbor, but they have heavy concrete/wood floating docks and that helps to keep the bounding to a minimum.  We were dock opposite of the Harbor Tour Boat M/V Carolina Belle.

We raised anchor at 846am with the wind from the NE @ 3 kts.  We also left at almost slack water which turned out to be 1 hour after low tide - something to remember for the next trip down.  We went through the Wappoo Creek bridge at the first 9am opening of the day and were at the red #4 marker into the harbor by 909am.  When we reserved the dock, Skip the dockmaster said that there was heavy fog in the harbor so I was glad to see that it had raised up enough that we had easy visibility.  The top of the Cooper River suspension bridge still was in fog but not at the water level which eased my mind.  By 10am as predicted, we were tied up at the dock.  My first order of business was to take a shower as Phil paid for the dock for 2 days.  I was done at 1045am and it's a good thing as the Gag's came to pick us up at 1110am for lunch at the Fleet Landing.  
Fleet Landing in front of Customs Building 
We had brunch there and then walked to the shopping area on King Street via Market and Meeting Streets.  I'm on the look for a baking stone that will fit in my oven, about 9 x 12 or 10" round.  No luck in Williams Sonomo or Charleston Cook stores.  By 230pm we had enough walking and John and Karen drove us back to the Marina.  We had a very enjoyable time with them. 
Lorraine, Karen Gag, Phil and John Gag
The rest of the afternoon we spent on the computer and I made Brats with sauerkraut, fresh broccoli and carrots for supper.  I am missing our cruising friends.  On our way back north, we haven't been traveling with anyone.  We are moving to fast for most people or going outside when they're on the ICW.  After many days of this, I'm not as happy as when I'm getting more social interaction.  We spent the evening reading.

Monday, April 11
Charleston Maritime Center

Changes at Charleston Maritime Center
We woke to heavy fog and clouds.  Today is the day for getting chores done.  Phil took advantage of free and readily available fresh water to wash Change's deck.  This hasn't been done since sometime in the Fall when we can't remember.  I took advantage of the free washer and dryer and did 5 loads of clothes.  Good thing that we got there at 8am as there was another woman who was right behind me with clothes to wash.  By late morning, we both were done and decided to go to the nearby Harris Teeter store which reminds me of Whole Foods stores at home.

At 1230pm s/V Clear Day pulled into the dock next to us.  The boat name sounded familar to me and then when I saw them, they looked even more familiar to me - but couldn't place them.  Lucky I had their boat card and we had met in St. Marys at the SMYC BBQ on the yacht club boat.  Small world.  They are going to stay one week on their way back home.

By 1pm we were back at Changes and the provisions were put away.  I started working  at making the mat from the line I bought at the nautical flea market on Treasure Cay.  I started making the ocean plait but couldn't quite remember the way to get it started.  Phil wanted to ride bikes so I took it apart in hopes to find a book on making knots at Waldenbooks.  We got there on King St., but no luck.  We continue riding bikes on less busy streets until we got to Battery Park.  By this time it was sunny, warm and the fog had lifted completely so that we could see Fort Sumter in the distance.  It is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War starting on April 12 & 13.  Click on the Fort Sumter for more information.  We continue riding bikes through back street and alleys between buildings.  They are only a side walk width and then some opened up to streets that went to the houses garages.  One had rectangles of slate laid out in 2 lines for car tires and then cobblestones in between which made it a little difficult for riding bikes.  (insert photo)  We continue riding up the northeast side of the peninsula to Waterfront Park and then rode home.  Waterfront park is very nice and has a couple water fountains that people wade in to cool off.  Even though it wasn't real hot today, there were still people in the fountains.  Her is a photo from the water.  Click on it so that you can see one of the fountains.
Waterfront Park Charleston, SC

We once again stopped for a few items at Harris Teeters and saw Scott and Lisa from S/V Messenger.  I didn't get a chance to talk long as Phil was rushing to have a cold beer once we got back to the boat.  Once at the boat I went to the office to try to use the internet and met John for M/V Fresh Ayre (pronounced air).  We had a nice conversation and then I went  back and worked some more on the Ocean Plait mat after I was able to find directions on the internet on how to do.  Isn't the internet wonderful?!  This time it worked out good and I was able to get to the point that I had to tighten everything up.  John and Charlotte on S/V Abbotsville II stopped by to admire and we started a nice conversation which I continued after supper on my way back from taking a shower.  It turns out that Charlotte and I have a lot in common in relation to challenges living on a boat.  Nice to know that I'm not the only one. :)  I was invited on their boat and it was nice to see what a Pearson 365 looks like inside.  Very nice but not big enough for our next boat.  Soon after getting back to the boat we went to bed as we're leaving in the morning to try to get to Georgetown, SC - a long day.

Tuesday, April 12
Passage to Georgetown, SC
Distance Traveled:  55.67 nm
Miles to get Home:  927.12
Total Distance Traveled:  3619.65nm

We woke and cast off from the dock at 804am.  The Ben Sawyer Bridge's first opening is at 9am so need to get up early.  We were lucky in the there wasn't any fog in the Harbor - what a relief!!  It was a little harry getting off the dock in that the current pushed the bow towards the dock, but Phil being the good helmsman that he is, got us off without any problems.  It helped that there wasn't anyone docked next to us and we had a lot of room to back out of the marina.  The wind was from 226degrees (SW) @ 12 knots and we had a favorable current going down the harbor so we were able to make the bridge opening with time to spare.  In fact we were lucky to have a favorable current for a while after going through the bridge.  S/V Convergence, Wetted bliss and M/V (power cat) Zep Tepi went through behind us and it wasn't too long before they passed us and then disappeared ahead of us. We had clouds on and off and then it starting to rain about 1035am which continued on and off thru the day.  It was pretty chilly and Phil was kind enough to take watch until 1230pm after I fixed lunch for us.  By 2pm we started having a favorable current again with a GPS speed of 6.6kts +/- and boat speed of 5.5 kts +/-.  By 340pm we had reached the first anchorage location and with Georgetown less than 15 SM away, we decided to continue on.  It's nice having a later sunset!!  I started getting supper ready to cook at 430pm - starting corn bread to go with a Pasta and Black Bean in Saffron-Tomato Sauce dish (an experiment).  By 530pm we had entered Georgetown and searched for a place to anchor as all the mooring balls were taken this time.  Close to the steel factor we found the other boats that passed us and were able to be anchored by 547pm at N 33 22.025' and W 79 17.025'.  Supper was good and Phil did fine with no meat after adding Parmesan cheese to the dish.  He said ok to repeat it.  That's good as we have enough for leftovers. The no-see-ums were out so it wasn't too long that we were inside the cabin with the screens in place. I continued knitting on Phil's socks.  Phil talked to his sister, Ginny.  I still miss the cruising friends that we met on our way down.

Wednesday, April 13
Passage to Bucksport, SC
Distance Traveled:  24.9 nm
Miles to get Home:  952.02
Total Distance Traveled:  3644.55nm

Our plan is to try to get to the anchorage past the Rock Pile to mile 342 on the ICW and our fall back is to get to Bucksport Marina and anchor close by if we can't tie up.  We didn't start real early which as it turned out was a mistake.  It was cool but sunny with a variable breeze.  There was condensation on the inside of the windows this morning as the Cabin temp was 66F and the Air temp was 58F.  I put on 4-5 layers and Phil had his sweat shirt under his foul weather jacket with the hood up.  We raised anchor at 755am and let out the head sail at 815am.  The water is calm.  By 830am we had passed under the Lafayette Fixed Bridge and there were a couple boat behind us.  The wind was from 310 degrees (NW) at 10-12 kts.  The GPS speed was 4.8kts and boat speed was 6.4 kts.  Not good and as the day progressed the adverse current coming into low tide got worse.  During my watch we ranged from 3.8 to 5 kts GPS and the boat speedo stopped working. 
Lorraine bundled up and wearing gloves to stay warm.
About 11am S/V Tourne Brise from Montreal passed us and then not too much later, John from s/V Bambonshay hailed us saying that he had lost his GPS chartplotter and wondered if we could pick up speed so that he could follow us and get to MM342 anchorage.  We couldn't pick up speed and so he passed up and after a few hails the Montreal boat answered.  They couldn't pick up speed (he wanted to average 5.5 kts GPS speed) and John passed them too.  I wondered if he found a boat to follow thru the rock pile and how far those boats got today.  Us - we continued at a slow speed - with a low of 3.6 kts at green 63.  The wind didn't help us much either alternating between 0.5 kts and then gusting to 8-10 kts but not in a direction that helped.  Finally just before noon we rolled in the head sail and Phil started his watch.  We got to Bucksport Marina at 130pm and that it would take us 8 hours at our current speed, we decided to stop here for the day.  We went to the anchorage just past the marina and behind an island and dropped the anchor at 140pm.  It's 30feet under the keel here but we think that the anchor is set with all the chain out and some of the line rode out too.  We're at N33 39.25' W 79 05.743' and plan to get an early start in the morning.
Anchorage at Bucksport behind island

We had lunch of sandwiches with fresh fruit salad on the way, so I decided to take advantage of some free time and post on the blog.  I think that it's a little cool for the no-see-ums as they aren't around today.  It wasn't too long that Phil put up the Farouck and I opened the fore hatch. 

Phil got hungry around 330pm so maybe I'll warm up leftovers instead of cooking something.  We have the left over corn bread to eat too.

One thing nice about all this motoring - I don't have to worry about using the batteries with the computer.  They are charged to the max.

We checked the weather and it turns out that we could have gone outside to get to Southport.  Too bad we didn't as now it will take us another 2 days to get there instead of one overnight trip.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beaufort, SC

Thursday, April 8 to Friday April 9
Passage from St. Augustine, FL to
Port Royal Sound and  Beaufort, SC
Distance Traveled:  164.92 nm
Miles to get Home:  814.47nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3507.00 nm

We woke at 625am and listened to weather.  It's still to be from  SE clocking to SW at the most 13 kts so we decided to go with our plans and go out St. Augustine Inlet to Port Royal Sound and up river to Beaufort, SC and maybe beyond.  We dropped the mooring ball at 734am in sunny blue skies and flat water as  the wind direction was 235 degrees at 1.4 kts.  By 815am we were out of the Channel in the ocean and by 9am the wind had clocked to 50 degrees (NE) at almost 3 knots.  The water was still flat but had 2ft swells from the East causing Changes to rock back and forth so I started to get seasick.  I took a Marezine, had a 30min nap and was ok again for the rest of the trip.  I tried something new in that I made a chart to keep track of our speed, the wind, course direction and any notes during our long passage to more easily to be able to see trends.    The highest wind we encountered was 16 kts during my watch (figures) and the lowest was when we released the mooring ball.  The wind was mostly from starboard until it clocked to the and port between 3-6am on Phil's watch.   The ocean was at the a little choppy with at the most 2-3 foot swells and flat with 1ft swells as the night progressed.  The night did not get too cold but we had a heavy dew so both of us wore our light rain pants and foul weather jackets.  I had out my fingerless gloves for part of the night (I know I'm a lightweight :P )  We entered the Port Royal Sound Channel  at 704am on my watch and I brought Changes all the way into the ICW.  I had a good sleep from 3-6am so let Phil sleep until he woke at 9am.

Our big excitement for the evening was when a little yellow bird landed in the boat about 630pm.  Poor thing was so far out to sea and kept landing and then taking off again.  It landed on Phil and then me.  Finally it went down below in the Cabin.  Phil thinks that he felt it land on his head when he was sleeping at 2am but I couldn't find it when I went below.  This morning when putting things away, I found it dead on the port settee.  Poor thing!!  I think it just used up all it's energy and didn't have anything to eat to keep it alive.
On steering wheel

Phil's finger

Yellow Bird on my shirt under glass
bird on Phi'l collar

We passed  S/V Saltydogs a Cat while it was still daylight and  then pass S/V Mon Ami when it was dark.  There were a couple freighters and a Naval vessel but nothing that we had to worry about changing our course for.

Shortly after Phil woke at 9am, we decided to see if we could stay with Rick and Carol Butler on their dock in Lady Island, SC and he said yes - would be great to see you again - tie up and plug in electricity when you get here, which we did at 1204pm after 28 hrs from the start of our passage.  Surprisingly, we are doing well energy wise and didn't take a nap.  Instead, Rick let us borrow his truck so we went to downtown Beaufort and checked out a knitting store, walked around downtown and got a muffin/coffee & tea and ate them outside on a patio.  Then we continued to walk around town.  Phil really loves this area and I like how it looks too.  After his early working years going to paper mills, he's wanted to move to SC.  Well see when we're done cruising.  On our way back, we stopped at Food Lion and got some groceries.

We took sun showers and then went up to the house for happy hour which Al and Cathy, next store also came to.  We had a great time talking about our travels and everyone also talked about when they were cruising.  We are so glad that we saw them again!!
Butler's pier to dock at low tide
Changes at Butler's dock 

Now as I'm writing in the blog, we are fighting the little sand gnats.  We had the screens in, but they came in droves when we took down the Farouck and they got in the cabin.  We have killed many - they are about the size of large sand and sure due bite.  I put on my long sleeve spf shirt to help and they have taken to liking any light colored surface, which the ultrasuede is one of.  At least they are easy to killl there but it has made it a little difficult to post as I'm slapping various parts of my body and crushing them on the ultrasuede.

Tomorrow we are going to Charleston, SC and get together with John and Karen Gag.  We'll stay there a day or two at the most and then continue our way north.  They are predicting winds 15-25 knots on Monday, so we'll be sure to be somewhere safe for that.

Feel free to call us as we like to catch up after being gone so long.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Repair Completed

Tuesday, April 6
Oasis Boat Yard,
St. Augustine, FL

The morning started cloudy but warm - and that didn't last long.  I took a real shower with really strong water - a first in I can't tell you how long.  Mostly the showers in on this trip have a weak stream - they do the job but not like this shower and lots of hot water.  When I came out - it was POURING - the rain was coming down horizontally and it also got colder.  After it slowed down I ran to the boat and was told would be an all morning rain.

We were planned to get the boat out at 830am but waited until 9am - even though it continued to rain - for the tide to come up.  Phil and I cast off and were on the boat as it was lifted by the straps - then we got off the bow with some assistance from John.  I brought with me the laptop and by bag as didn't know how long the fix would take.  Turns out that the prop had worn out and wobbled on the shaft.  The boat yard replaced the cutlass bearing without having to take off the prop shaft and then put on the original prop that came with Changes.  Job was completed  and we were back in the water by 1030am.  Now the only vibration is the original one from the engine.  Though this prop does not have as much power as the Max Prop - so hope we don't get aground as this prop will have a hard time getting us off.
Pressure washing the bottom

removing the old prop

In the sling ready to go back in

old larger prop one removed

Gold Cutlass Bearing being installed

Original Prop back on prop shaft

We spent the morning on the boat - had lunch and then took advantage of our dock neighbors offer to use his truck.  Phil went to West Marine to get the propane gas gauge to get our grill up and running and a temporary anchor light as the one at the top of the mast isn't working while I went next store to the Winn-Dixie grocery store and finished up about the same time.  Next on the agenda was going to Sailor Exchange.  Turns out Greer, Aaron's wife, works there so we met her again.  Phil got what he wanted but they didn't have the material I wanted to make screens to hang from the Bimini and Farouck.  I did find 1 1/4" seam binding in Sunbrella Toast so bought a small reel for $10.  After we got home it looks like we have 20+ yards so was a good deal.

Back to the boat I realized that I had left my bag there but got lucky in that Greer brought it home by 2pm.  We have to check bags there and I forgot it.

One of the aftereffects of the rain is that the hatch in the V-berth was open for the initial deluge while Phil was getting the dinghy taken care of and we have a leak with the fore hatch..  Taking advantage of the dryer - we dried all the towels and then another load for the bedding.  As it's to get down to 49F tonight, will be good to have dry bedding.  We're spending an extra night on the dock so that we can have the heater run tomorrow morning.

So the afternoon was spent drying clothes, making the bed and getting ready for my friend Liz and her friend Dan to come for supper.  We had to change plans back and forth not knowing if they could have dinner on the boat or not, so I'm glad that we ending up having dinner on the boat.  They arrive on time at 6pm and we had a wonderful time.  They brought us a treat of --- Ice cream - really a treat as you can't keep it frozen.  9pm came too soon as they have to work in the morning.  I'm glad to hear that Liz is happy here in St. Augustine and she likes the 90degree temps.

Tomorrow we are planning on getting a mooring ball in the morning staying one more day for the weather to get better.  Then as it's to be SE winds <5 to max 10 kts for the next 3 days - we plan to go outside on the Atlantic Ocean to get to Cumberland Island, GA.  That's about 50nm which is doable for a day sail.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Boat problems - St. Augustine, FL

Saturday, April 2
Vero Beach to NASA Causeway Bridge
Distance Traveled:  54.6 nm
Miles to get home:  563.33 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3256.06 nm

Last night it really cooled off - was 59F outside when we woke and 68F cabin temperature.  Phil woke cold last night and I had to get the V-berth quilt to cover us.  But it was sunny and it warms up fast here.

We released the mooring ball with sea smoke on the water at 715am.  While Phil was on watch first, I started a batch of Artisan Bran enriched wheat bread and set it out to rise at 835am.  This is a type of bread that is not kneaded.  Just mix, rise until collapses and put in the refrigerator in a ziploc bag not sealed completely and is good for 14 days.   We talked briefly with Sue Brannon and they are a couple days south of us.  I know that I started on today's post and will finish it up now.  We did get to sail for a couple hours, which is no mean feat on the ICW, but by 4pm the winds died to 7-8 knots and going downwind, not strong enough to keep the head sail filled.  We had wanted to make Titusville, FL today, but we've had a worsening vibration problem with the engine/prop shaft/cutlass bearing so can only go 5 knots wit the engine.  We stopped just on the other side of the Addison Bridge which is the bridge for the NASA Causeway out to the launch pad.  We can see the buildings in the distance.

I fix rice sauce mix and added dehydrated carrots, canned green beans and a pack of tuna for a quick one pot meal.  I also made a loaf of the bread that started this morning and have the rest of the dough in the refrigerator.  Was very good.

We talked to our friend Ken on S/V Sail Away and got some good tip to avoid hitting ground which worked like a charm.  Thanks Ken!. He's a day ahead of us and going to St. John River.  Depending on what happens with the boat, we'll meet up with him if we can.

I started making a pair of socks for Phil - starting with the toes.  I had some sock yarn that he liked.  Want to keep him happy.   Phil read for the evening.

Sunday, April 3
Addision Bridge to Daytona Beach
Distance Traveled:  44.46
Miles to get home:  607.79 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3300.52 nm

We woke a little late this morning as about 4am the boat really started rocking from the wind shifting to the north.  Not great when you're in the V-berth.  It's cold and I take the single quilt and lay on the port settee while Phil is on the Apple Computer.  Eventually I warm up and go back to sleep and Phil goes to bed in the V-berth after the rocking calms down.

It's is sunny CT (cabin Temp) 72F, AT (Air Temp) 68F with blue skies and a light dew.  Phil was still sleeping when I woke, so I started the coffee water and then woke him before 730am.  We started the engine at 745am  and raised anchor at 750am to N 6 knots of wind..  The Max Brewer swing bridge is no more - there is a 65' high bridge to replace it and they are still in the process of removing the swing bridge, though they have made a lot of progress.  By 1030am we made it through the Haulover Canal Bridge - the wind is from the North so we have been motoring the until after getting through this last bridge when the wind angle clocked to 90degree to SB and 11 knots of wind. We continue motor sailing until 145pm when the mail said is taking down as we are coming up to the Coronado Beach Bridge.  By 415pm we are in Daytona Beach trying to anchor before the marinas and the Memorial Bridge.  WE have problems.  The GPS says there is 14' of water - then why did we get stuck three times??  On - work hard in reverse to get off taking many minutes - try to go to deeper water and get stuck again 2 more times.  Finally we get to deeper water closer to the ICW and ar anchored at 515pm. 

We can tell it's Sunday as the motor boats and recreational vessels are out in force.  Many times there are power boats passing us in both directions - zipping by if their smaller and going slower (if we're lucky) when they're bigger.  Phil says the Buzz Bombs (as he calls these boats) should be stopping soon when the sun goes down and the frequent rocking from the wakes will stop. 

For supper I make the mushroom rice mix and add mushrooms (that I cut up yesterday and forgot to add) the left over cooked beef and fresh cooked spinach on the side.  We eat up the rest of the loaf of bread that I make yesterday.  After supper we take Sun Showers in the head as it doesn't get dark until close to 8pm now that the sun sets about 730pm.  I finish knitting the toes of Phil's socks and Phil reads.

Monday, April 4
Daytona Beach to St. Augustine, FL
Distance Traveled:  41.75 nm
Miles to get Home:  649.55 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  3342.28 nm

The CT was 73F today - better than the last couple days and AT is 68F but the weather radio report said it was 59F. Today we get an early start to make the Memorial Bridge before they close for rush hour traffic  We raise anchor at 703am and make it through the bridge with S/V Warm Rain about 715am.  The next bridge is about 1 mile away and we make it through before 730am.  Phil has the first watch and I take over at 9am with the wind from 205degrees (almost S) 9 kts.  Phil starts making calls to boat yards in St. Augustine to see which would be the best place for us to have the boat hauled and have the prop shaft and cutlass bearing looked at.  We hope that is the only problem.  After a few return calls Phil has all the information he needs to think about and make his decision later in the day.  He is considering Oasis Boat Yard and St. Augustine Marine Center.  As the day progresses the wind picks up first to the lower teens mid morning.  The wind angle clocks enough that we put out the head sail.  The wind dies after a bridge - so we roll in the head sail but 10 min later it's out again.  We are going downwind so we work to keep the sail filled and eventually during Phil's watch he rolls it in and that's it for the day.  We are down to 2 slices of store bought bread, and given that we'll be in a boat yard tomorrow, I start making some sandwich bread.  I start with a white bread recipe and add 1/4 c. wheat bran, 1 T flax seed and replace 2 c. of white flour with whole wheat flour.  I like it but Phil always likes the fluffy stuff.  As we are getting closer to St. Augustine, the tide is going out and we go in the upper 6 to 7.3 kts due to a favorable current.  In no time we are at the Crescent Beach Bridge and turn left immediately after to turn into a creek and get to Oasis Boat Yard.  The wind is blowing 20kts and pushing us onto the dock.  Let's say that this docking wasn't pretty - the bow is being pushing to the dock - we're scrambling to get the boat pulled up so the entire boat is at the dock.  I'm throwing things out of the sail locker to get the 3rd fender to put protect the bow.  After lots of yelling - we get the boat secured.  What fun!!!  So we are docked and settled by 317pm.  We walk up and find John in the boat yard and after they put in the big motor boat, he'll come talk to us.  I take a 30 min nap and after 430pm we walk up to find the showers and see what's going on.

Phil talks to John and they will be pulling Changes tomorrow at 830am before a 60' Hatteras comes for to have the props changed.  After they are done with the hatteras, they'll look at Changes and we'll see what they think is wrong to cause the vibration problem.  Best case scenario - it's just the cutlass bearing - replaced and we go in Wednesday am (they need to dredge under the travel lift so we need to go in and out at high tide).  We won't think about the worse case scenario.

I haven't fixed supper as we had a couple slices of the bread fas a snack - but Phil is taking a real shower and I'll fix something for us.

There is a cold front coming through so we're expecting winds in the upper 20's to 30's and showers with Thunderstorms tonight.  We have electricity for the night so I'll work on downloading the photos and try to get some photos up for you to see soon.  I promise.

Tomorrow evening we're going to meet with my HWR friend Liz for supper.  She's kind enough to pick us up.  We also plan to bike to the West Marine after the boat has been pulled and before they start to work on her to get the propane regulator so we can use the grill.  Hey!