Thursday, June 23, 2011

May 31, 2011 (Week 35, Day 239)

Tues. May 31, 2011 (Week 35, Day 239) Our Final Day! Weather: sunny & hot--> warm
That’s right, this is the final day! The last day of the month, the start of the 35th week or 239 days since we left Ottawa, Oct. 5, 2010! Just a drive of about 9 hrs. + a 1-1/2 hrs. detour to Kingston at a good pace, reasonable traffic, good road conditions & good weather. We certainly brought the hot weather north with us. Out first stop in Ottawa was to embrace my Mom! Then Home Sweet Home! We certainly have a lot to be thankful for! And I wonder what 2 years from now will bring!

May 24-30, 2011 (Week 34, Day 232-238)

Tues. May 24, 2011 (Week 34, Day 232) Weather: extremely hot >90F, humid, mostly sunny; rain shower late pm then clear
After breakfast both of us got right into the list of jobs. With my bathing suit on I tackled cleaning & polishing all the exterior stainless steel. Graeme emptied the jerry cans of diesel into the boat tank, performed an oil change & got rid of waste diesel & oil + ?few other jobs. Later in the afternoon Ken had to move us from the fuel dock to another T-dock. Late in the day we made a trip to the grocery store for badly needed bread & milk for morning breakfast. Despite the intense heat cooked supper anyways & ate in the cockpit with of semblance of a breeze. Supper= pork tenderloin, peas & pickles. I wrote up the last 4 days of my journal as I had been negligent in doing each evening until it was too dark to see in the cockpit (2100 hrs.) & mosquitoes while Graeme read & slept & read & slept. When it felt slightly cooler I showered & hit the sack. Graeme went for his shower & I did not hear him return.
Wed. May 25, 2011 (Week 34, Day 233) Weather: beautiful & fabulous temp & sunshine early in the am; mid am it was already too hot but not as humid as yesterday; temp high= 88F Wind: S & very slight only
After breakfast we took the head sail off & folded it, followed by my more cleaning (shower walls & glass door, all the main cabin cushions) & finalizing my inventory list, even some internet & computer updates. Graeme’s work list included talking to & showing the service manager a possible placement of the ICOM VHF’s outside operating unit, retrieving the new/used dinghy motor (Yamaha 8) & fuel tank, removing the Tohatsu motor & packing it in the van & installing the Yamaha on the stern rail mount. After lunch we drove to town mainly to say hello to Jeannie at Nauti Nells + few other stops. Boy, it was hot & most of my work was in the shade today! Supper somewhat early (1900 hrs.)= butter chicken with rice--> very good from my perspective. We drove & walked about the north point of the entrance into Broad Creek then around to Regatta Point where we saw 2 young deer. It was very calm out on the Bay. A cool down shower before bed. A very calm, slightly cooler but still very warm night.
Thurs. May 26, 2011 (Week 34, Day 234) Weather: hot, 90+F, sunny & no clouds Winds: calm to 8K from SSW
We both slept well despite the heat, but woke up early. By 0700 hrs. Graeme had showered, I washed my hair, breakfast eaten & the day’s projects started. These projects included: -checking something in the engine compartment -washing & window panels of the surround part of the enclosure -hauling the dinghy on land to wash & scrap with a metal trowel all the millions of crustaceans -spraying a mixture of wood bleach/oxalic acid on the dinghy’s hull & interior floor & the tannic ICW water stain on the stern -scrubbing the 6 cockpit cushions -removing soft drinks from 2 floor compartments & cleaning thoroughly
It appears that we will be able to split our 13 hrs. drive home to Ottawa by visiting friends in Solomons on Sun. & other friends in the Annapolis area on Mon. A hot dog lunch for a change. Exhaustion, that feeling of no ambition & laziness & sleepiness set in about 1600 hrs. mainly because of the heat Graeme slept in the shade in the cockpit while I read till it cooled a bit. Supper late (1930 hrs.) in the cockpit= meatloaf, peas & the last of the dill pickles. I showered then tackled journal entry as it has been 5 days now without working on it. Still hot at bedtime.
Fri. May 27, 2011 (Week 34, Day 235) Weather: very warm, 88F & sunny with occasional cloud but less humidity in the afternoon Winds: S 5-10K here at Norton’s but a small craft warning out on the Chesapeake with 15-20K winds & 2-3 ft. seas
Happy Birthday Debbie! We woke at 0600 hrs., quickly had breakfast so as to tackle the exterior boat cleaning before the heat really hit. Mid morning it was already hot. Fortunately I was working with water & on the water removing the yellow “moustache” stain from the waterline of the bow & all the port side of the hull, the transom & only 1/3 of the starboard side as that was the side boat was tied up on; looked good & the task was made much easier by using wood bleach. After lunch I tackled scrubbing the head & shower floors & their respective mats, the deck & most of the cockpit & transom. Graeme met the lady from Bay Canvass who will give us a quote for firmer foam for the starboard cushions in the main cabin; he made some purchases in town, attempted unsuccessfully to remove the shore lock for the dinghy--> cut it off; he gave the service staff a case of beer. All but the last minute jobs have been completed. I showered early as we were invited to a farewell & thank you party for the staff at 1630 hrs. on the Jeanneau 49 that is leaving in the am for Norfolk then offshore to New York; I had prepared a few munchies to bring so there was lots of food, beer & even champagne. The party finally broke up at 2200 hrs. What a beautiful & comfortable evening!
Sat. May 28, 2011 (Week 34, Day 236) Weather: phenomenal! sunny with few dark clouds in the am; in fact a few drops of rain actually fell but by pm as predicted blue, blue skies & hot (90ishF) especially when out of the breeze Winds: S with good breeze & chop on the Bay according to local casual fisherman, but we were very protected here at Norton’s
Another early rise; since Graeme lay awake since 0500 hrs. he finally got up & had a shower while I prepared breakfast & worked away at catching up with my journal entry. The day was left for odds & sods & near last minute jobs, ie: -Graeme packed up his clothes -I washed the bimini & connector windows & Graeme took them into “The Ships Tailor” -we lifted the dinghy & moved it to it’s storage area on land; Graeme returned to Hurd’s Hardware for a tarp -a quick wipe to the stainless splashed with land’s hard water & the bird poop on the nice clean deck -Graeme back to town to buy a bottle of Goslings for the office staff
It is hard to express the business decisions & work attitude & ethics that are made here at Norton’s in such a caring, thoughtful & personable way. Many a time it has been said that we feel like family, but the entire staff makes us feel important like family as they do to us. How do you express that in meaningful words?
Once the heat of the day had subsided a bit, we repacked the van; man-o-man I don’t understand why some stuff I questioned can’t stay here! A nice cool shower for both of us then Graeme insisted going to Bellas for a pizza; it holds no match to Granby St. Pizza in Norfolk. I checked emails when we got back as I listened to the fireworks for Memorial Weekend here in the US. And now I am also caught up in my journal entries. This was our last sleep here in Deltaville, our last sleep on ‘Sweet Chariot Too’ as part of this trip! And a calm, beautiful night it was; a perfect ending!
Sun. May 29, 2011 (Week 34, Day 237) Weather: sunny & hot, hot, hot! Winds: calm
Another early morning. We got right to the last minute jobs before it got too hot: -turned off the power to the fridge & freezer -removed the linen from our bed; will take back to Ottawa to wash -moved items in the storage area to the V-berth or the main cabin to give Norton’s staff room to perform their work on our work list -washed & removed the dodger & stored in the main cabin -covered up the wheel; now with the new handrail around the nav console, unable to cover console up with the original cover--> will ask Ken it he has something that might work
Now with only the fridge & freezer to empty, clean & dry, I decided I had time to attend Zoar Baptist Beach Service at 0930 hrs. (1 hrs.) & so took a very quick shower & skaddadled to Stingray Point. On return we got right to work at emptying the fridge & freezer of it’s contents into the cooler then removed any existing ice from the freezer box & wiped dry the entire fridge/freezer compartments. Man it was hot! One realizes the protection the dodger & bimini provide when they are not in place. With the cooler packed into the van, we closed tightly all the curtains & blinds in the boat, locked her up, thanked her for keeping us safe for the last 7-3/4 months & said good bye till the Fall! By noon we were on our way to visit Jody & Joe Frost in Lusby, Maryland (Solomons)--- a 3 hr. drive. Soon out from the agricultural Deltaville area, the flat lands gave way to gentle rolling, very green, lush hills. It was a wonderful afternoon & evening of chatting, catching up on each other’s news & eating a delicious BBQ steak, sweet potatoes & asparagus with an assortment of fresh fruit & cream for dessert, outdoors on the patio surrounded by flowers, pots of herbs, under the shade of trees overlooking Mill Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River! And to add more icing to the cake, Carol & Richard (Kilissa) were present! Richard filled us in on the details of his accident in the Fall & his recovery phase; my he has come a long way! The Frosts kindly let us stay the night in their very nicely decorated house.
Mon. May 30, 2011 (Week 34, Day 238) Weather: sunny & hot
A shower then a quick departure by 0800 hrs. as the Frosts were expecting friends to arrive mid morning. We grabbed some breakfast on our way to Annapolis, just 1 hr. away. We had a good time walking about downtown Annapolis despite the intense heat. A big surprise--- we bumped unexpectedly into Dave (Firecrest) at Fawcetts & then Patric & Karin (Artful Dodger) at the Magazine Shop in Annapolis! Who would have guessed! The canals up north just opened due to flooding & there is a big back log of boats waiting to travel the canal systems. They decided to spend time in awesome Annapolis. After 1500 hrs. we met up with the Buckley Family; lots of conversation of each other’s happenings, an invite for a wonderful supper (pork roast, salad then ice cream) & an overnight stay! How fantastic has this has all been!

May 17-23, 2011(Week 33, Day 225-231)

Tues. May 17, 2011 (Week 33, Day 225) Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) Weather: partly cloudy, partly sunny with a daytime high of 79F & low 62F, rain shower midday Winds: SE gusting 10-20K till evening
Sunrise at 0555 hrs. A sleep in morning then good shore showers before breakfast for the 2 of us. The trawler in front of us left. We spoke to the Morrows on the phone; they had dinner with Patric in Elizabeth City last night. Patric’s emails said they would be in Norfolk on Wed. if they could get off the docks in Elizabeth City in the morning. The antivirus scan finished on 1 computer & the same was started on the 2nd; updates downloaded. We started our walk around downtown not much before 1000 hrs. as that is usual opening time for businesses, still looking for “Winds from the Carolinas” in bookstores; visited the Visitor’s Center, Graeme withdrew money from a local bank ATM, visited the MacArthur Theatre & Museum (free, good & well done), briefly visited MacArthur Center & then to Granby St. Pizza for a stromboli we split for lunch; owner, Peter recognized us & chatted. Afterwards we took a NET bus (free in the downtown area) for one complete round. We checked out “Bibliophile”, a used &/or rare bookstore (unsuccessful) then walked towards Elizabeth River & Waterside Festival Marketplace to the boat via the Japanese garden, Nauticus, the Wisconsin & Town Point Park. More internet, emails & cleaning up the Inbox & made up a batch of spaghetti sauce. A sailboat tied up in front of us & had a similar exciting landing. A late, late supper= spaghetti. The SE winds calmed right down. To Hooters for dessert--> Graeme= caramel pecan cheesecake & I= chocolate mousse cake as the key lime pie was still a little frozen; we watched period 2 of the Tampa Bay vs Boston hockey game (semis). Back at the boat we listened to NOAA--> weather has improved for tomorrow, acceptable with lowering SE winds but seas still a little high & better Thurs. with the seas laying down. A comfortable cool evening, light winds, clear skies, official full moon & higher high tides & lower low tides.
Wed. May 18, 2011 (Week 33, Day 226) Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) Weather: calm, warm, partly cloudy, partly sunny, light rain shower in the am but heavy rains & lightning & thunderstorm about 1600 hrs. Winds: SE calm most of the day, 10K with the storm & about 8K after sunset
A relaxing morning, waking at the usual 0600 hrs. Many “Loopers” were moving out today & more tomorrow & the sailboat in front of us left. We took advantage of the opportunity to walk the boat forward for an easy exit early tomorrow am without help as the staff do not start till 0800 hrs. Another good shower; I’m spoiled now. By 1000 hrs. we were well on our way walking about, especially through MacArthur Center (huge shopping center close by) till 1300 hrs., hunting for a semi dressy pair of black shorts. Then it was lunch back at Granby St. Pizza for a more than substantial slice of a delicious pizza. In a round about way we made our way back to the boat with black+++, threatening+++ clouds looming to the north & east. We scrubbed the decks & cockpit with brush & cleaning solution & fresh water hose until the skies opened up & the skies light up with lightning with thunder. We then ran & hid in “Hooters”, looking out at the storm over a beer & a coke & a plate of onion rings for Graeme; I’m still stuffed from lunch. A few emails & reading till 2000 hrs. while Graeme slept. Supper= hot dog in a soft tortilla. Graeme fuelled the boat tank before it was pitch dark in preparation for an early morning departure then he went to “Hooters” to watch part of the Vancouver vs San Jose hockey game; I joined him a little later. Mostly clear skies with some clouds & pleasant cool temps.
Thurs. May 19, 2011 (Week 33, Day 227) Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) to Deltaville Departure: 0600 hrs. Arrival: 1405 hrs. Mileage: 66SM/57.47NM Weather: very calm & mostly sunny at dawn, moon still up, partly sunny & cloudy during the day with suspicious clouds building over land Winds: W 8-13K, 1-2 ft. seas
The alarm went off at 0500 hrs. We readied ourselves & the boat to shove off for our last sailing day! Finally by 0830 hrs. we were outside the Hampton Roads Channel & turned north at Thimble Shoal Lighthouse out into the vast Chesapeake, unfurling our jenny fully. We motorsailed along comfortably at 6-7.8K in 1-2 ft. seas toward ‘Sweet Chariot Too’s home port. It was hard to believe this day has come, after 7 months, 30 weeks & 212 days from departure date (Oct. 20 ’10- May 19’11)! Like I said in the past, a bittersweet feeling. I was taking it all in--- the smell of the sea, the water depths & tides, the channel markers, the crab pots, the fishing boats & other power or sailing boats, the VHF chatter, the sun, the sky, the cloud formations. This has been our life for many months. We tied ourselves up at the end dock at Norton’s Yacht Sales Inc., immediately noticing the many songs of the birds. We announced our return to the staff. Now the hardest part, the packing up & cleaning up & out. We informed Ian Pierce (service manager) of our plans. Tomorrow we will sit down with him re some electrical issues of concern. The van was parked at the sailing school building; the battery was dead but Ian & Graeme put the battery charger on it for approximately ½ hour then zoom; tires a little low so Graeme manually pumped them up. In the meantime I Skyped Mom & Lynn & Larry to let them know we were safe & sound back in Deltaville. I was putting off the commencement of the inevitable. Some packing & inventory taken; I knew I had purchased a bottle of salsa. Supper= pork chops & pork ‘n beans followed by chocolate pudding (easy & good). Suitcases in cockpit & we started filling them. Enough for one day; bedtime. Super calm, dark night with a few stars above.
Fri. May 20, 2011 (Week 33, Day 228) Weather: glorious, sunny & warm am; clouds moved in late pm & a brief rain shower about 1300 hrs. Winds: calm
We woke none too early to the birds singing. Shore showers X 2 then breakfast; I forgot to use my toaster again. Packing+++ & cleaning to a lesser degree, updating part of my inventory list. Four loads of laundry took up most of the day; I used my bike to go back & forth. We had our meeting with Ian at 1230 hrs. X 2 hrs. showing & discussing in length the battery charging system, new alternator & electric windlass, engine blower fan, tachometer, occasional & small salt water leak in 2 under floor compartments & a few other items. Even did some internet work. We prepared our clothes, food & comforter/blanket/curtain laundry to take to Edenton as we were visiting the Morrows X 2-1/2 days. About 1700 hrs. I received a call on my TracFone from Dave of ‘Firecrest’; surprise, he & ‘Artful’ were anchored in Jackson Creek close to Fishing Bay Yacht Club. We were trying to get together for our last hurrah; some difficulty finding the correct road & finally just met at Deltaville Marina. We drove them around showing them some of the destruction from the tornado Apr. 19th--> down trees, up rooted trees, roofs damaged, windows blown out but worst was the Zoar Baptist Church--> middle section of the red brick building was completely leveled. We showed them our boatyard & the Rappahannock River. Then it was dinner at “Cocomos Restaurant (new old management). Then it was good bye, farewell & safe voyage as they head north towards Toronto. A dark night, quiet & few stars. We are looking forward to our trip to Edenton tomorrow.
Sat. May 21, 2011 (Week 33, Day 229) Weather: warm & sunny
Breakfast & showers, we packed the van & on our way south to Edenton, N.C. by 0900 hrs. Along the way we passed through Gloucester & saw the school that was hit by the tornado. Later we learnt that the school buses parked at the school were tossed over a mile away all twisted up. We made a stop at Deep Creek Bridge & had the perspective from the approach by land; 3 boats were waiting for the 1100 hrs. opening & we saw the Mexican restaurant cruisers talk about. We even stopped in at the N.C. Welcome Center; no boats at the dock. Highway 17S bypasses Elizabeth City & passes through a very agricultural area. We arrived at Edenton & Lynn & Larry’s about noon as they were sitting on big rocking chairs on their huge front porch. First was a tour of the house; beautiful, open concept bungalow, beautifully & tastefully decorated in Early American d├ęcor. We sat around the kitchen counter chatting & munching on cream cheese & red pepper jelly while doing 2 loads of laundry; laundry room is right off the kitchen. Later in the afternoon we were given the grand tour of historic downtown Edenton, with thriving businesses all along main street (boulevard) with parking in front of the shops, restored Cupola House (1758), the gorgeous historic homes, waterfront on the Albemarle Sound with free docks for transients X 2 days, the mill factory & the supervisors’ residences with 2 doors for 2 families & the workers’ living quarters, now condos & expensive homes respectively, whose exteriors have been kept to near original but the interiors updated to the latest technology. Then the plantation home that has remained in the family & all it’s land & working fields which thus remain intact, as well as the workers & their small contrasting homes within the boundaries of the plantation. Umpteen acres of sage, miles of lilac or white flowered rows everywhere all at their prime ready to be harvested & manufactured into oil for perfume. In the Fall acres of cotton fields are mechanically picked & stored & dried in cotton buggies before taken to the cotton gin. And then it was dinner at the yacht club. Once home it wasn’t long before everyone retired to bed early. A most wonderful day!
Sun. May 22, 2011 (Week 33, Day 230) Weather: magnificent view of the sun rising from the guest bedroom windows; very warm & sunny day
A very relaxing start to the day, sitting around drinking coffee, checking emails or Facebook & chatting. Larry cooked up a very delicious omelet of eggs, cheese, portobello mushrooms, spinach & onions. Mid morning the four of us drove to Oriental to see 2 specific stores & lunch at the deli at the marina that makes wonderful sandwiches; all farming countryside with the unique tradition of family cemetaries. But all 3 places are not in existence any longer X 6-12 mons.: (1) Inland Waterway Provision Co., (2) kayak place, now a gallery, (3) grill at Oriental Marina. Surprising & disappointing after that long drive. Larry did purchase a new toilet for the boat at West Marina; we had good fun caboosting with Jim, the salesman. Onto Washington on the Tar River off Pamlico River (locally called Little Washington). It is an active & industrial town with tourism growing in importance, a redeveloped waterfront with complimentary dockage X 2 days (no utilities) + transient slips with water & power. A late lunch at Washington Waterfront. Once home we were relaxing & chatting on the front deck lazily swaying on rocking chairs. Finally Larry & I had our long talked about & longtime waiting drinks of gin & tonic together. Later we munched on cheese fondue with fresh bread while the last 2 loads of laundry finished. Supper= scrumptious marinated BBQ steak with grilled packets of potatoes & herbed butter & a salad chalk filled with yummies, followed by carrot cake for dessert! Another fabulous day with dear friends & fabulous sleep!
Mon. May 23, 2011 (Week 33, Day 231) Weather: hot & humid, partly sunny & cloudy.
Oh, how time flies! We must head back to Deltaville & continue with unpleasant task of packing & cleaning. We are all so used to rising somewhat early. Another very relaxing am trying different flavours of coffee to start the day. Larry, as always, spoiled us with homemade waffles, sausages & more coffee. Afterwards we drove through more farmland & sage fields very soon to be harvested, until we reached Nixon’s Hardware---everything from soup to nuts; this store gives the hardware store in Cocoa a run for it’s money. 1100’ish hrs., time to depart, a very sad moment saying our thanks for 7 most wonderful months + this weekend in Morrows’ gorgeous home & our goodbyes with hopes that they will visit us in Ottawa in August!!! A pleasant drive home via Virginia Beach; West Marine was holding some replacement lazarette locks which appear to be in short supply or perhaps a discontinued item. Hot, sunny & humid in Deltaville. We stopped at Nauti Nells to say hello to Jeannie but it was her day off. No lunch so we had a somewhat early supper by our standards lately at the Galley. Sheet lightning in the sky while I sitting outside the office doing emails. Very warm, humid & only an occasional gust of SW to W winds.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 10-16, 2011 (Week 32, Day 218-224)

Tues. May 10, 2011 (Week 32, Day 218) Destination: St. James, N.C. (Mile 315) to Wrightsville Beach (Mile 283.2) Departure: 1130 hrs. after fuel Arrival: 1600 hrs. Mileage: 31.8 SM/29.77 NM Weather: hot & humid, blue skies & sun, ? rain & thunderstorm clouds late pm Winds: E calm increasing to 7-13K
A leisurely am after a super calm night; I slept in till 0700 hrs. Each of us had a marina shower, after all, one has to check out all facilities especially when they are a new, never before experienced places. Breakfast at Tommy Thompson’s. A very nice gallery/boutique. After fuelling up at the fuel dock we departed in an easterly direction towards Southport, then the Cape Fear River. A late departure (1130 hrs.) was planned to take advantage of the tides in our favour ie a push up Cape Fear River & through Snows Cut. At 1230 hrs. we unfurled part of the jenny out on the Fear with the current as it ebbs & floods from Cape Fear Inlet; boat speed average = 8.3K, but furled the jenny at 1400 hrs. going through Snows Cut against the current as it ebbs & floods from Carolina Beach Inlet; sustained a speed of only 4.8K. We experienced good water depths along Myrtle Grove Sound & Masonboro Sound; unfurled the jenny to assist, then furled it as we turned around G129 into Shinn Creek. We anchored in 15 ft. with 100 ft. chain. A weather alert was out till 2300 hrs. especially for counties south of Wrightsville. Today we made progress in a NE direction. Graeme puttered while I rowed to the dinghy dock SE of the bridge as this was our 4th time at this anchorage & I had never been ashore. One block east was Wrightsville Beach. It is a grey sand beach with a wide section of many broken shells in the sand then soft “squeaky” sand just before the hard packed grey sand at the water’s edge. Shells+++ littered the shoreline, larger than the shells I saw & picked in the Bahamas. Strange changes in the sky; sometimes blue & clear, sometimes streaking white clouds & other times dark threatening clouds. Supper= pork chop, potatoes & peas. As dark descended a light cloud cover obscured the ½ moon, & lightning & occasional thunder was very apparent to the west & southwest.
Wed. May 11, 2011 (Week 32, Day 219) Destination: Wrightsville Beach (Mile 283.2) to Mile Hammock (Mile 244.5) Departure: 0830 hrs. Arrival: 1555 hrs. Mileage: 38.7 SM/41.23 NM Weather: cloudy & cool 66F at departure, blue skies, warm sun but cool wind at 1300 hrs. (H=73) Winds: E & cool at 7-18K
Happy Birthday Dave! I woke to howling NE to E winds at 0200 hrs.; I checked all boat positions & returned to bed till soon after 0600 hrs. Cloudy & cool--- 2 words I have not used often in a while. By leaving the anchorage at 0830 hrs. we cruised through Motts Channel without any problems, especially G19 & G25 even at low tide & easily made the 0900 hrs. opening of the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. ‘Artful’ & ‘Firecrest’ made the same opening from Carolina Beach anchorage. Five miles down the way we easily made the 1000 hrs. opening of the Figure Eight Island Bridge; in fact the opening was delayed for ‘Artful’, ‘Firecrest’ & a 3rd sailing vessel. We had good depths along the New River with it’s many very small inlets as we were in a flood tide. Unlike the other day, today we travelled against the current the whole day, as you can tell from the statutory miles done compared to the nautical miles + our travel direction was too close to the wind to set a sail. Despite all of this we travelled the 17.4 mile distance to Surf City Bridge with time to spare for the 1300 hrs. opening. No problems at maximum high tide through the caution zone where there is frequent shoaling at the New River Inlet, especially between R74 to R72. Few boats were in the anchorage at Mile Hammock, although several boats arrived late evening. We anchored in 15 ft. water with 80 ft. of chain. Travel direction today was NE. We had invited Lynn & Larry over for dinner tonight so I immediately got into the preparations. Supper= chicken marengo with mashed potatoes & raw carrots & celery. I’m surprised how cool the weather has been even this far north. Partly cloudy, good fresh 10K wind to keep the wind gen. working for part of the night only then calm, no visible stars or moon.
N.B. Northbound proceed from R76 to R74 to R72, ignoring R72C especially R72B & R72A.
Thurs. May 12, 2011 (Week 32, Day 220) Destination: Mile Hammock (Mile 244.5) to Town Creek, Beaufort, N.C. (Mile 202.3) Departure: 0610 hrs. Arrival: 1415 hrs. Mileage: 42.2 SM/45.37 NM Weather: light cloud cover, gorgeous sunrise; blue skies, warm sun but cool breeze mid am till mid pm, then dark clouds came & went Winds: NE to E, variably light
The alarm went off at 0615 hrs. It was very calm & cool enough at departure to wear long pants & long sleeve sweat top. And early enough that we saw a magnificent sunrise. Many boats from the anchorage were on the move early as there was good visibility now by 0545 hrs. We led the way for the Onslaw Bridge opening at 0700 hrs.--> N.B. change: opens on the hour & half hour from 0700 to 1900 hrs. + on request thereafter. On towards Swansboro & Bogue Sound on a falling tide till 0934 hrs.; we were pushing against the tidal current with <5k of wind on our nose so unable to use the sails, passing Browns Inlet, Bear Inlet & Bogue Inlet. Then we had a rising tide in Bogue Sound but no great apparent push observed; SOG (speed over ground) on the GPS was slightly less or similar to the paddle wheel speed at best. We were all quite indecisive as to our actual destination; we were keeping our options open. When the ‘Twomorrows’ arrived at Sanitiary Restaurant in Morehead City they discovered their dock for $10.00 per night to be no longer; replaced by a deck with patio tables & chairs. And Morehead City Municipal Docks = $1.50/ft. with electricity & water but not sure if any shower facilities. This was option #1. Option #2: Taylor Creek--> full! We moved on slowly as we now had to wait for the Beaufort Bridge opening at 1330 hrs. then picked up fuel at Town Creek Marina at 1350 hrs. Option #3: anchor here, north of Town Creek Marina off Gallant Cut Channel--> done at 1415 hrs. (11 ft. water with 80 ft. chain). Option #4: was to continue north & anchor in Adam Creek off Cedar Creek, but this was not necessary. Progress today was more easterly again. Two & a half hours later ‘Artful Dodger’, ‘Firecrest’ & their Canadian friends arrived. Dave picked me up in his dinghy & I buzzed his hair on his boat as this seemed to be the last of our time together. Dark clouds moved in, dispersed & returned, so sunset did not visibly happen. Supper= leftover chicken marengo & mashed potatoes. Night brought calm winds & water, clouds, no stars or moon.

Fri. May 13, 2011 (Week 32, Day 221) Destination: Town Creek, Beaufort (Mile 202.3) to Campbell Creek (Mile 154.5) Departure: 0745 hrs. Arrival: 1510 hrs. Mileage: 47.8 SM/47.17 NM Weather: cloudy though warm & 60% chance of rain & thunderstorms predicted; unfortunately the order of the day X next several days Winds: nonexistent at departure to light & variable from SE
It is always nice to stay longer in Beaufort, BUT… I have bittersweet emotions; it’s been a blast for the most part, time has pleasantly flown by, but home is home & Ottawa is home! We said our good byes to Dave last night & to Patric this am. We raised the anchor easily & left Beaufort via the Russell Slough Channel, Newport River into Core Creek & Adams Creek. Lots of powerboats passed us. We met a barge & tug as we exited Adams Creek. Then it was out into the Neuse River, west to 1AC marker then NE to R6. Local knowledge told us that you can go from R4 to R2 then directly to G1. The Neuse was favourable to us as far as sea conditions; the SE winds were far too light to set any sail. Tides now were not significant ie height but rather wind & it’s effect on tides were of importance. We exited the Neuse River to the Bay River into Goose Creek then into Campbell Creek after R14 before the Goose Creek enters Pamlico River. Crab pots +++ littered the entrance like you wouldn’t believe; much more this Spring than compared to the Fall. Once past the crab pot field we were greeted by a dolphin & anchored in 7 ft. of water with 80 ft. of chain. Now the sun appeared behind a thin, hazy cloud cover; warm. Dolphins +++ surrounded us. I buzzed Graeme’s hair at anchor. Eight other boats pulled in before sunset. A cloudy evening at sunset time. Supper= homemade pizza. By using the oven to bake the pizza, I suddenly remembered my toaster & not using it at marinas with electricity recently; how easily you fall into a pattern! Potentially we can be in Deltaville in 5 days! A cloudy night, but oh so very calm.

Sat. May 14, 2011 (Week 32, Day 222) Destination: Campbell Creek (Mile 154.5) to Alligator River (Mile 101.1) Departure: 0720 hrs. Arrival: 1500 hrs. Mileage: 53.4SM/47.17 NM Weather: very warm, hazy & sunny am & pm; weather alert from 1400 hrs. till 2000 hrs. Winds: mirror calm at dawn then gradual increase from E, SE & S during the day to 10-20K
Last night’s calm night led into morning with mirror flat calm water at sunrise; the landscape was breathtaking. A light dew was on the enclosure windows that required wiping. The anchor chain was laden with thick, black stinky mud that I sprayed off as the chain was coming up. We had a parade of boats all in a single file exiting the Goose Creek into the Pamlico River. Though we were fighting a current again we were able to set the jenny which proved to be helpful especially when we turned to port towards Belhaven & especially when we turned after Belhaven along the Pungo River. In these upper parts of the Pamlico & Pungo Rivers the water was hull staining, tannic, coffee coloured as well as through the 22 mile Alligator River-Pungo River Canal. We attempted to sail under jenny through the canal but the strength & direction of the wind was too variable. We had more success after the Fairfield Bridge--> E to SE 10-15K. Suddenly at about 1400 hrs. a weather alert until 2000 hrs. abruptly came over the VHF; heavy rains, winds lightning+++ & chance of hail in all the surrounding counties. As we exited the canal at R58, the winds increased from the E to S to 15-20K, whitecaps & we could see smoke from the fires on the Albemarle we had heard about the last 2 days on the radio. At G39 we turned to starboard & motored about ½ mi. from shore in 9’4” water, dropping 120 ft. chain due to possible storm conditions; another new anchorage added to our repertoire. Winds were howling but thus far the water was fairly calm with <1 ft. chop. Weather permitting, this might be the last anchorage for Lynn & Larry as they head home to Edenton, 44 mi. up the Albemarle tomorrow. IT’S BEEN A BLAST GUYS!!! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!! WE WILL MISS YOU DEARLY!!! Before we head back to Ottawa we plan to visit them in Edenton by car. In light of this, Larry dinghied over 2 jerry cans of diesel. We sat in the cockpit reading & watching the sky. Supper= sausage, pork ‘n beans & dill pickles; ate in the cockpit as it was so warm watching the weather. Darkness arrived; as of yet no weather, no stars but a moon no longer full.

Sun. May 15, 2011 (Week 32, Day 223) Destination: Alligator River (Mile 101.1) to Goat Island, Dismal Swamp (Mile 43) Departure: 0550 hrs. Arrival: 1400 hrs. Mileage: 58.1 SM/57.97 NM Weather: warm, mostly cloudy, few breaks in the clouds with blue skies & sun, few rain showers late pm Winds: S 10-17K Thankfully the ugly weather did not materialize; only scant rain shower at 0430 hrs. Sunrise was prior to 0600 hrs.; there was a peach coloured hue above the treetops & periodically the sun showed itself between the clouds. Lynn hailed us over the VHF with the news of waves of thunderstorms & winds to the south were predicted to head NE missing the Albemarle; let’s hope! At 0855 hrs. we sadly said our good byes & went our separate ways! The four of us had been together since Oct. 31, 2010! Six & a half months! We miss you already!!! We took the shortcut to 1PR into the Pasquotank River. With a 15+K south wind at our stern we were pushed down the Albemarle & in the Pasquotank we set our jenny for a beam reach sail. We were still in radio contact with the Morrows--> all was going well. We arrived at Elizabeth City at 1250 hrs.; too soon to stop. A few boats were tied up along the 2 (split) sections of the facedock with a couple of spaces still available + few slip spaces were free. The Elizabeth City Bridge (bascule) opened for us on request. Now we were in the beautiful Dismal Swamp! Brilliant vibrant hues of green only Spring can produce of the trees & shrubs. No saltmarsh grasses, no palms, only tannic coffee coloured water & abundant deciduous trees lining both sides of the swamp. We would not make the last locking at 1530 hrs. for northbound boats at South Mills Lock (Mile 32.5), 18.5 mi. away. And at this point there is not much choice for anchoring: (1) at Mile 47, a beautiful spot adjacent to lovely big homes on the eastern shore just before the RR Bridge; (2) at Mile 43, Goat Island; (3) at Mile 33.2, a channel just south of South Mills Lock just before it joins Turner Cut. We chose option #2--> a beautiful, peaceful, protected anchorage; anchored in 9 ft. water with 80 ft. chain just as short spurts of rain showers commenced. The skies were in constant changing flux as we sat in the cockpit reading--> sun, dark clouds in the west, rain showers, a rainbow in the east, wind gusts & flat calms. Supper= nachos. Dark clouds in the west & clear skies & near full moon elsewhere for possibly our last night in N.C.!

Mon. May 16, 2011 (Week 32, Day 224) Destination: Goat Island, Dismal Swamp, N.C. (Mile 43) to Norfolk, Virginia (Mile 0) Departure: 0600 hrs. Arrival: 1630 hrs. Mileage: 43 SM/41.94 NM Weather: cloudy, humid, damp, then partially cloudy & sunny & warm till late pm, then windy & dark threatening rain clouds but no precipitation Winds: not of any use today but SW at 9-17K
It was another early rising at 0500 hrs. & an early start from the anchorage because we wanted to be sure to make the 1st opening of the South Mills Lock at 0830 hrs. Graeme thought it might be a short day, only 15 miles to North Carolina Welcome Center (mile 28); I felt we should give it a shot to go all the way to Norfolk & if not at least to the Deep Creek free dock (Mile 11). It was unfortunate that it was so cloudy when we started out & the deeper we moved into the swamp the mistier it got. But it was so scenic! The sounds last night of singing frogs, ospreys protecting their nests, cardinals & other birds, cicadas & the sweet aroma & the different bird sounds this morning. Five sailing vessels & I trawler locked through South Mills Lock at 0830 hrs. followed by opening of the South Mills Bridge--> same person works lock & bridge duties. They were pressing on to Norfolk which convinced Graeme to continue to Norfolk as well. I phoned for a reservation at the Waterside Marina. At 0900 hrs. the grey skies were breaking up; blue skies & warm sun caused the temp to rise to the mid 70’s as we motored along the Dismal Swamp (total of 40.2 mi.) At 0950 hrs. we passed the N.C. Welcome Center; onward to Deep Creek Bridge opening for 1330 hrs. for southbound boats & about 1400 hrs. for northbound. We were way too early X 1-1/2 hrs. despite slowing to a crawl & ended rafting to 2 boats tied at the south dock before the bridge. There were no southbound traffic therefore the bridge tender/lockmaster opened the bridge then the lock for us 6 boats. We finished locking at 1420 hrs. & motored to Norfolk on the Elizabeth River. Again too early we waited 40 min. for the opening of the RR Bridge & the adjacent Gilmerton Bridge at 1530 hrs. (schedule= every hour on the half hour). The winds increased, the skies greyed as we all went our respective destinations somewhere in the Norfolk/Portsmouth area. The marina was jammed packed with trawlers attending a convention re The Great Loop. We were assigned a bulkhead tie up on port between 2 big, expensive trawlers. We entered the marina, big trawlers sticking out in almost every slip, the wind picked up & we had to make a U-turn in a very restricted area between the above mentioned pristine trawlers. Graeme had to keep some speed up as to maintain control as we headed up into the wind to tie up between these trawlers. Owners of the trawlers suddenly were wide-eyed & scrambling, the marina staff were scrambling, the other Loopers + tourists at harbourside were looking on & I was shouting “too fast, slow down”, “we’re too close” & threw the staff the mooring lines at the appropriate time. Low & behold he did it! Graeme did it! He slipped our boat into place like Cinderella & the glass slipper!!! All congratulated him & his response was, “Can I go & change my shorts now!” Instead of 1 night stay, he went & paid for 2! Supper= dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. A warm night, threatening & stormy clouds that seemed to pass then just a clouded night sky, no stars, no moon.

May 10-16, 2011 (Week 32, Day 218-224)

Tues. May 10, 2011 (Week 32, Day 218):                                                                                                                            Destination: St. James, N.C. (Mile 315) to Wrightsville Beach (Mile 283.2)                                    Departure: 1130 hrs. after fuel                   Arrival: 1600 hrs.                  Mileage: 31.8 SM/29.77 NM                     Weather: hot & humid, blue skies & sun, ? rain & thunderstorm clouds late pm Winds: E calm increasing to 7-13K
A leisurely am after a super calm night; I slept in till 0700 hrs. Each of us had a marina shower, after all, one has to check out all facilities especially when they are a new, never before experienced places. Breakfast at Tommy Thompson’s. A very nice gallery/boutique. After fuelling up at the fuel dock we departed in an easterly direction towards Southport, then the Cape Fear River. A late departure (1130 hrs.) was planned to take advantage of the tides in our favour ie a push up Cape Fear River & through Snows Cut. At 1230 hrs. we unfurled part of the jenny out on the Fear with the current as it ebbs & floods from Cape Fear Inlet; boat speed average = 8.3K, but furled the jenny at 1400 hrs. going through Snows Cut against the current as it ebbs & floods from Carolina Beach Inlet; sustained a speed of only 4.8K. We experienced good water depths along Myrtle Grove Sound & Masonboro Sound; unfurled the jenny to assist, then furled it as we turned around G129 into Shinn Creek. We anchored in 15 ft. with 100 ft. chain. A weather alert was out till 2300 hrs. especially for counties south of Wrightsville. Today we made progress in a NE direction. Graeme puttered while I rowed to the dinghy dock SE of the bridge as this was our 4th time at this anchorage & I had never been ashore. One block east was Wrightsville Beach. It is a grey sand beach with a wide section of many broken shells in the sand then soft “squeaky” sand just before the hard packed grey sand at the water’s edge. Shells+++ littered the shoreline, larger than the shells I saw & picked in the Bahamas. Strange changes in the sky; sometimes blue & clear, sometimes streaking white clouds & other times dark threatening clouds. Supper= pork chop, potatoes & peas. As dark descended a light cloud cover obscured the ½ moon, & lightning & occasional thunder was very apparent to the west & southwest.

Wed. May 11, 2011 (Week 32, Day 219): Happy Birthday Dave!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Destination: Wrightsville Beach (Mile 283.2) to Mile Hammock (Mile 244.5)                                                                                                                                                                                                                Departure: 0830 hrs.                                    Arrival: 1555 hrs.                        Mileage: 38.7 SM/41.23 NM             Weather: cloudy & cool 66F at departure, blue skies, warm sun but cool wind at 1300 hrs. (H=73) Winds: E & cool at 7-18K

 I woke to howling NE to E winds at 0200 hrs.; I checked all boat positions & returned to bed till soon after 0600 hrs. Cloudy & cool--- 2 words I have not used often in a while. By leaving the anchorage at 0830 hrs. we cruised through Motts Channel without any problems, especially G19 & G25 even at low tide & easily made the 0900 hrs. opening of the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. ‘Artful’ & ‘Firecrest’ made the same opening from Carolina Beach anchorage. Five miles down the way we easily made the 1000 hrs. opening of the Figure Eight Island Bridge; in fact the opening was delayed for ‘Artful’, ‘Firecrest’ & a 3rd sailing vessel. We had good depths along the New River with it’s many very small inlets as we were in a flood tide. Unlike the other day, today we travelled against the current the whole day, as you can tell from the statutory miles done compared to the nautical miles + our travel direction was too close to the wind to set a sail. Despite all of this we travelled the 17.4 mile distance to Surf City Bridge with time to spare for the 1300 hrs. opening. No problems at maximum high tide through the caution zone where there is frequent shoaling at the New River Inlet, especially between R74 to R72. Few boats were in the anchorage at Mile Hammock, although several boats arrived late evening. We anchored in 15 ft. water with 80 ft. of chain. Travel direction today was NE. We had invited Lynn & Larry over for dinner tonight so I immediately got into the preparations. Supper= chicken marengo with mashed potatoes & raw carrots & celery. I’m surprised how cool the weather has been even this far north. Partly cloudy, good fresh 10K wind to keep the wind gen. working for part of the night only then calm, no visible stars or moon.
N.B. Northbound proceed from R76 to R74 to R72, ignoring R72C especially R72B & R72A.

Thurs. May 12, 2011 (Week 32, Day 220):                                                                                                                                                                                      Destination: Mile Hammock (Mile 244.5) to Town Creek, Beaufort, N.C. (Mile 202.3)                   Departure: 0610 hrs.                                Arrival: 1415 hrs.                    Mileage: 42.2 SM/45.37 NM Weather: light cloud cover, gorgeous sunrise; blue skies, warm sun but cool breeze mid am till mid pm, then dark clouds came & went Winds: NE to E, variably light

The alarm went off at 0615 hrs. It was very calm & cool enough at departure to wear long pants & long sleeve sweat top. And early enough that we saw a magnificent sunrise. Many boats from the anchorage were on the move early as there was good visibility now by 0545 hrs. We led the way for the Onslaw Bridge opening at 0700 hrs.--> N.B. change: opens on the hour & half hour from 0700 to 1900 hrs. + on request thereafter. On towards Swansboro & Bogue Sound on a falling tide till 0934 hrs.; we were pushing against the tidal current with <5k of wind on our nose so unable to use the sails, passing Browns Inlet, Bear Inlet & Bogue Inlet. Then we had a rising tide in Bogue Sound but no great apparent push observed; SOG (speed over ground) on the GPS was slightly less or similar to the paddle wheel speed at best. We were all quite indecisive as to our actual destination; we were keeping our options open. When the ‘Twomorrows’ arrived at Sanitiary Restaurant in Morehead City they discovered their dock for $10.00 per night to be no longer; replaced by a deck with patio tables & chairs. And Morehead City Municipal Docks = $1.50/ft. with electricity & water but not sure if any shower facilities. This was option #1. Option #2: Taylor Creek--> full! We moved on slowly as we now had to wait for the Beaufort Bridge opening at 1330 hrs. then picked up fuel at Town Creek Marina at 1350 hrs. Option #3: anchor here, north of Town Creek Marina off Gallant Cut Channel--> done at 1415 hrs. (11 ft. water with 80 ft. chain). Option #4: was to continue north & anchor in Adam Creek off Cedar Creek, but this was not necessary. Progress today was more easterly again. Two & a half hours later ‘Artful Dodger’, ‘Firecrest’ & their Canadian friends arrived. Dave picked me up in his dinghy & I buzzed his hair on his boat as this seemed to be the last of our time together. Dark clouds moved in, dispersed & returned, so sunset did not visibly happen. Supper= leftover chicken marengo & mashed potatoes. Night brought calm winds & water, clouds, no stars or moon.

Fri. May 13, 2011 (Week 32, Day 221):                                                                                                      Destination: Town Creek, Beaufort (Mile 202.3) to Campbell Creek (Mile 154.5)                                                                              Departure: 0745 hrs.                                     Arrival: 1510 hrs.                   Mileage: 47.8 SM/47.17 NM                             Weather: cloudy though warm & 60% chance of rain & thunderstorms predicted; unfortunately the order of the day X next several days Winds: nonexistent at departure to light & variable from SE

It is always nice to stay longer in Beaufort, BUT… I have bittersweet emotions; it’s been a blast for the most part, time has pleasantly flown by, but home is home & Ottawa is home! We said our good byes to Dave last night & to Patric this am. We raised the anchor easily & left Beaufort via the Russell Slough Channel, Newport River into Core Creek & Adams Creek. Lots of powerboats passed us. We met a barge & tug as we exited Adams Creek. Then it was out into the Neuse River, west to 1AC marker then NE to R6. Local knowledge told us that you can go from R4 to R2 then directly to G1. The Neuse was favourable to us as far as sea conditions; the SE winds were far too light to set any sail. Tides now were not significant ie height but rather wind & it’s effect on tides were of importance. We exited the Neuse River to the Bay River into Goose Creek then into Campbell Creek after R14 before the Goose Creek enters Pamlico River. Crab pots +++ littered the entrance like you wouldn’t believe; much more this Spring than compared to the Fall. Once past the crab pot field we were greeted by a dolphin & anchored in 7 ft. of water with 80 ft. of chain. Now the sun appeared behind a thin, hazy cloud cover; warm. Dolphins +++ surrounded us. I buzzed Graeme’s hair at anchor. Eight other boats pulled in before sunset. A cloudy evening at sunset time. Supper= homemade pizza. By using the oven to bake the pizza, I suddenly remembered my toaster & not using it at marinas with electricity recently; how easily you fall into a pattern! Potentially we can be in Deltaville in 5 days! A cloudy night, but oh so very calm.

Sat. May 14, 2011 (Week 32, Day 222):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Destination: Campbell Creek (Mile 154.5) to Alligator River (Mile 101.1)                                        Departure: 0720 hrs.                                       Arrival: 1500 hrs.                          Mileage: 53.4SM/47.1NM                Weather: very warm, hazy & sunny am & pm; weather alert from 1400 hrs. till 2000 hrs. Winds: mirror calm at dawn then gradual increase from E, SE & S during the day to 10-20K

Last night’s calm night led into morning with mirror flat calm water at sunrise; the landscape was breathtaking. A light dew was on the enclosure windows that required wiping. The anchor chain was laden with thick, black stinky mud that I sprayed off as the chain was coming up. We had a parade of boats all in a single file exiting the Goose Creek into the Pamlico River. Though we were fighting a current again we were able to set the jenny which proved to be helpful especially when we turned to port towards Belhaven & especially when we turned after Belhaven along the Pungo River. In these upper parts of the Pamlico & Pungo Rivers the water was hull staining, tannic, coffee coloured as well as through the 22 mile Alligator River-Pungo River Canal. We attempted to sail under jenny through the canal but the strength & direction of the wind was too variable. We had more success after the Fairfield Bridge--> E to SE 10-15K. Suddenly at about 1400 hrs. a weather alert until 2000 hrs. abruptly came over the VHF; heavy rains, winds lightning+++ & chance of hail in all the surrounding counties. As we exited the canal at R58, the winds increased from the E to S to 15-20K, whitecaps & we could see smoke from the fires on the Albemarle we had heard about the last 2 days on the radio. At G39 we turned to starboard & motored about ½ mi. from shore in 9’4” water, dropping 120 ft. chain due to possible storm conditions; another new anchorage added to our repertoire. Winds were howling but thus far the water was fairly calm with <1 ft. chop. Weather permitting, this might be the last anchorage for Lynn & Larry as they head home to Edenton, 44 mi. up the Albemarle tomorrow. IT’S BEEN A BLAST GUYS!!! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!!! WE WILL MISS YOU DEARLY!!! Before we head back to Ottawa we plan to visit them in Edenton by car. In light of this, Larry dinghied over 2 jerry cans of diesel. We sat in the cockpit reading & watching the sky. Supper= sausage, pork ‘n beans & dill pickles; ate in the cockpit as it was so warm watching the weather. Darkness arrived; as of yet no weather, no stars but a moon no longer full.

Sun. May 15, 2011 (Week 32, Day 223):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Destination: Alligator River (Mile 101.1) to Goat Island, Dismal Swamp (Mile 43)                                                                                                                 Departure: 0550 hrs.                                        Arrival: 1400 hrs.               Mileage: 58.1 SM/57.97 NM                                                                                                                                                    Weather: warm, mostly cloudy, few breaks in the clouds with blue skies & sun, few rain showers late pm Winds: S 10-17K

Thankfully the ugly weather did not materialize; only scant rain shower at 0430 hrs. Sunrise was prior to 0600 hrs.; there was a peach coloured hue above the treetops & periodically the sun showed itself between the clouds. Lynn hailed us over the VHF with the news of waves of thunderstorms & winds to the south were predicted to head NE missing the Albemarle; let’s hope! At 0855 hrs. we sadly said our good byes & went our separate ways! The four of us had been together since Oct. 31, 2010! Six & a half months! We miss you already!!! We took the shortcut to 1PR into the Pasquotank River. With a 15+K south wind at our stern we were pushed down the Albemarle & in the Pasquotank we set our jenny for a beam reach sail. We were still in radio contact with the Morrows--> all was going well. We arrived at Elizabeth City at 1250 hrs.; too soon to stop. A few boats were tied up along the 2 (split) sections of the facedock with a couple of spaces still available + few slip spaces were free. The Elizabeth City Bridge (bascule) opened for us on request. Now we were in the beautiful Dismal Swamp! Brilliant vibrant hues of green only Spring can produce of the trees & shrubs. No saltmarsh grasses, no palms, only tannic coffee coloured water & abundant deciduous trees lining both sides of the swamp. We would not make the last locking at 1530 hrs. for northbound boats at South Mills Lock (Mile 32.5), 18.5 mi. away. And at this point there is not much choice for anchoring: (1) at Mile 47, a beautiful spot adjacent to lovely big homes on the eastern shore just before the RR Bridge; (2) at Mile 43, Goat Island; (3) at Mile 33.2, a channel just south of South Mills Lock just before it joins Turner Cut. We chose option #2--> a beautiful, peaceful, protected anchorage; anchored in 9 ft. water with 80 ft. chain just as short spurts of rain showers commenced. The skies were in constant changing flux as we sat in the cockpit reading--> sun, dark clouds in the west, rain showers, a rainbow in the east, wind gusts & flat calms. Supper= nachos. Dark clouds in the west & clear skies & near full moon elsewhere for possibly our last night in N.C.!

Mon. May 16, 2011 (Week 32, Day 224):                                                                                    Destination: Goat Island, Dismal Swamp, N.C. (Mile 43) to Norfolk, Virginia (Mile 0)                     Departure: 0600 hrs.                                      Arrival: 1630 hrs.                     Mileage: 43 SM/41.94 NM             Weather: cloudy, humid, damp, then partially cloudy & sunny & warm till late pm, then windy & dark threatening rain clouds but no precipitation                                                                                                                                        Winds: not of any use today but SW at 9-17K

It was another early rising at 0500 hrs. & an early start from the anchorage because we wanted to be sure to make the 1st opening of the South Mills Lock at 0830 hrs. Graeme thought it might be a short day, only 15 miles to North Carolina Welcome Center (mile 28); I felt we should give it a shot to go all the way to Norfolk & if not at least to the Deep Creek free dock (Mile 11). It was unfortunate that it was so cloudy when we started out & the deeper we moved into the swamp the mistier it got. But it was so scenic! The sounds last night of singing frogs, ospreys protecting their nests, cardinals & other birds, cicadas & the sweet aroma & the different bird sounds this morning. Five sailing vessels & I trawler locked through South Mills Lock at 0830 hrs. followed by opening of the South Mills Bridge--> same person works lock & bridge duties. They were pressing on to Norfolk which convinced Graeme to continue to Norfolk as well. I phoned for a reservation at the Waterside Marina. At 0900 hrs. the grey skies were breaking up; blue skies & warm sun caused the temp to rise to the mid 70’s as we motored along the Dismal Swamp (total of 40.2 mi.) At 0950 hrs. we passed the N.C. Welcome Center; onward to Deep Creek Bridge opening for 1330 hrs. for southbound boats & about 1400 hrs. for northbound. We were way too early X 1-1/2 hrs. despite slowing to a crawl & ended rafting to 2 boats tied at the south dock before the bridge. There were no southbound traffic therefore the bridge tender/lockmaster opened the bridge then the lock for us 6 boats. We finished locking at 1420 hrs. & motored to Norfolk on the Elizabeth River. Again too early we waited 40 min. for the opening of the RR Bridge & the adjacent Gilmerton Bridge at 1530 hrs. (schedule= every hour on the half hour). The winds increased, the skies greyed as we all went our respective destinations somewhere in the Norfolk/Portsmouth area. The marina was jammed packed with trawlers attending a convention re The Great Loop. We were assigned a bulkhead tie up on port between 2 big, expensive trawlers. We entered the marina, big trawlers sticking out in almost every slip, the wind picked up & we had to make a U-turn in a very restricted area between the above mentioned pristine trawlers. Graeme had to keep some speed up as to maintain control as we headed up into the wind to tie up between these trawlers. Owners of the trawlers suddenly were wide-eyed & scrambling, the marina staff were scrambling, the other Loopers + tourists at harbourside were looking on & I was shouting “too fast, slow down”, “we’re too close” & threw the staff the mooring lines at the appropriate time. Low & behold he did it! Graeme did it! He slipped our boat into place like Cinderella & the glass slipper!!! All congratulated him & his response was, “Can I go & change my shorts now!” Instead of 1 night stay, he went & paid for 2! Supper= dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. A warm night, threatening & stormy clouds that seemed to pass then just a clouded night sky, no stars, no moon.

May 3-9, 2011 (Week 31, Day 211-217)

Tues. May 3, 2011 (Week 31, Day 211) Destination: Port Royal, Beaufort, S.C. (Mile 537) to Church Creek (Mile 288.2) Departure: 0740 hrs. Arrival: 1610 hrs. Mileage: 48.8 SM/35.87 NM Weather: magnificent blue skies & warm sun in the Low Country Winds: S calm at sunrise then built to gusty 11-20K mid am to throughout the afternoon, a calm after sunset then increased again to gusting 10-15K
Pleasant south winds + flood tides created a whopping sound of the water against the dinghy & against the stern at about 0430 hrs.; now I was wide awake so made my way in the dark to take a good shower onshore. When walking back down the long pier to the boat dawn was approaching & the view was amazing, breathtaking, beautiful & peaceful; I was awestruck! Wind & current conditions were such that when we left the face dock we simply drifted off so effortlessly. We made our way north in very slow forward & often in idle as the current was pushing us by 2-3K towards the Lady Island Bridge (swing)--> scheduled opening at 0900 hrs. We met a young Canadian couple from Brockville after the bridge who were travelling in a Rob Roy, only 22 ft.! Also in the Brickyard Creek we had barely passed a catamaran therefore little separation between us (200 ft.) when this huge powerboat ‘Minute Man’ without hailing barged between us & the catamaran; what a ____ prick! Then into the wide Coosaw River where the south wind picked up to 10-13K, we unfurled the jenny & motorsailed along on a beam reach for the most part at an average of 7.4K. O.K. depths through the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut #2, Rock Creek, A-C Cut #1, & Ashepoo River; we furled the jenny & motored only through these caution zones as there were lots of narrow & tight twists & turns. Ditto for Fenwick Cut especially the caution area of R162A & R162 into the South Edisto River. We avoided the vertical log stuck in the mud just south of R138 (warnings X several days by the Coast Guard). We were now 2-->1-1/2 hrs. from maximum low tide when we crept through the shallow water exiting North Creek before the fixed bridge (R132—only 5’5” depth) & the infamous Dawho River between R116 to R110; several green cans added to aid but still saw only 5 foot depths + the Wadmalaw River at R82-G81 (6 ft.). Just prior to Tom Point Creek we decided it was too early to stop for the day so we continued & anchored at maximum low tide in 12-15 ft. mud in Church Creek with 100 ft. chain out. Now we were poised to do Elliott Cut towards Charleston at high slack tide tomorrow am--> high tide= 1014 hrs. Once anchored the feeling of exhaustion overcame us for some unknown reason. Since Savannah there has been no advantage to going offshore as the distance is in fact greater & the winds have been slightly high but more importantly the seas have been high & for the coming few days with an approaching cold front. I sat down & planned a tentative schedule from now till arriving back in Deltaville--> a possible leisurely 16 days! An obscured sunset & slightly red sky. A late supper in the cockpit= leftovers again of ham for Graeme & coq au vin for me with potatoes, celery & a dill pickle. Entertainment were the 5-6 dolphins splashing all about. Stars high above in a clear sky & the south winds increased again & gusty in nature.
Wed. May 4, 2011 (Week 31, Day 212) Destination: Church Creek (Mile 488.2) to Charleston (Mile 464.1) Departure: 0925 hrs. Arrival: 1300 hrs. Mileage: 24.1 SM/16.38 NM Weather: clouds at sunrise then partly cloudy & sunny & blue skies, but much cooler temps (75F) Winds: W variable & gusting & howling at times 10-20K, N at night at 5-10K
Dark rain clouds & winds shifted from south to west & increased in intensity by morning. A leisurely am as a later start planned to catch the tides. We were well dug into mud but up anchored with ease. In short time the sun broke through, only a sprinkling of rain & more promising fluffy clouds. The tide was rising thus pushing us along the Wadmalaw then the Stono Rivers. At 1134 hrs. we entered Elliott Cut with our engine in near idle & at a speed of 6K at the start but 8K midway & to the end of the cut as it was flooding into the Wappoo Creek; total time= 2-1/2 mins.! We waited for the noon opening of the Wappoo Creek Bridge then were still being pushed from the Wappoo Creek to the Ashley River. And there sat romantic Charleston to the east! Once past the Battery we turned to port (north), past Shutes Folly Island on the Cooper River now on a falling tide (against current) to Charleston Maritime Center. Good driving & docking Graeme! ‘Artful’, ‘Firecrest’ + ‘Sea Mist’ & ‘White Lillie’were all in the marina! A quick lunch then a shower in the newly renovated marina shower. Graeme did the admin. stuff while I took my bike to inquire about South Carolina Sea Aquarium practically next door to the marina & to Rite Aid. Then Graeme walked & I biked slowly along side him to City Market & shops on South Market St. Graeme continued to shop around while I explored the location of Charleston Historic Society Shop, St. Michael’s Church, Scots First Presbyterian Church, their architecture & wrought ironworks as well as that of gates & homes in the Meeting & Broad & Church St. area. A gathering of the clan took place at Tommy Condon at 1800 hrs. for supper & to all celebrate belatedly Karin’s birthday; supper= shepherds pie for Graeme & shrimp & grits for me--> good + stuffed! We missed sunset but there was a real coolness now in the air & a cool breeze. We had a lovely walk home along Anson & Hassell, historic homes, immaculate gardens, jessamine & magnolias in bloom. Clear night skies & stars.
Thurs. May 5, 2011 (Week 31, Day 213) Destination: Charleston (Mile 464.1) Weather: fresh, cool am (54F) with an expected high of 73F & a warming trend progressively each day, brilliant sun Winds: cool, brisk NE 10-15K + gusts, decreasing during the afternoon & shifting by early evening to S
We woke to a fresh beginning of the day; in fact it was necessary to pull the quilt out last night (not used since late Nov., 5 months ago!). Bright & early Graeme took a marina shower. We each planned our morning excursions & decided to meet up at City Market at 1330 hrs. Before departing we met with Lynn & Larry & planned our route till the end of the trip. We hope to be in Deltaville May 20th. I postponed my visit to the South Carolina Sea Aquarium till tomorrow 0900 hrs. sharp as there were too many school kids & a very long line up. I biked starting from north to south with a lunch stop by myself a little after noon at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church’s annual Tea Room (May 2-6, 2011--1130-1400 hrs. daily). Highlights of my bike excursion included historical houses (mansions), College of Charleston, shops along King St., N & S Market St. & City Market again, US Customs House, City Hall, Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, Rainbow Row, The Battery & the White Point Gardens. Graeme & Lynn & Larry, Bette & Dave lunched at “Mellow Mushroom” on King & George--> excellent pizza. All trolleys are free! Happy Hour at 1630 hrs. at A.W. Shucks by all the clan. Lynn & Larry took the pedicab home, I biked & everyone else walked. Both Graeme & I made up for the lack of exercise X several months today. Thank goodness for my bike, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done! Supper= hodge podge; Graeme had fries at Shucks + ice cream walking home & I not feeling very hungry had a few leftover meatballs later at home. A mostly quiet night, only the slapping of water against the hull of the boat & stars in the clear sky.
Fri. May 6, 2011 (Week 31, Day 214) Destination: Charleston (Mile 464.1) Weather: warmer today but cloudy & increasing dark clouds near noon followed by rain, sometimes heavy & more on than off all afternoon, some clearing & increased humidity early evening Winds: S about 10K, decreasing to calm by evening & shift to N
Another early marina shower for Graeme; I had mine after breakfast. I decided that since laundry was free that I would make a load, a mish mash that I started at 0815 hrs. We said our good byes to ‘Firecrest’ & ‘Artful Dodger’ then helped ‘Artful’ out of the slip at 0845 hrs.; Larry helped ‘Firecrest’. Graeme looked after the laundry when I left for the Sea Aquarium for their 0900 hrs. opening ($19.95 - $1.00 discount coupon)--> impressive & enjoyable 2 hrs. self guided tour. There were many school kids + adult tour groups afterwards. When I returned to the boat the laundry was done & folded, a first! We had to relocate our boat a few slips away for a huge powerboat that came in later. We were both about to leave when the heavy rains began. When they subsided some we went our separate ways, Graeme by foot & I on the bike. I took back streets to Meeting & King St. with the intention of browsing in & out of the shops, but being a Sat. traffic was heavy & it was raining a lot at times. I decided then to cycle & tour around Waterfront Park & old, historic streets in that vicinity & happened to run into Graeme. We were meeting up with Lynn & Larry about 1600 hrs. at “The Southend Brewery” (161 E. Bay St.). I had to duck into one of the many art galleries on E. Bay to dodge another downpour. With time to spare I cycled to Harris Teeter & purchased eggs, butter & bread, dropped them off at the boat then out to “The Southend Brewery”. Our foursome increased to eight; ‘Sea Mist’ & ‘Orion’ (David & Cathy) joined us. This became our supper= appetizer of brie, chutney & pita for Graeme & crab cake for moi. The clouds now were breaking up. Once back at the boat I cleaned off, dried, & packed my bike in it’s bag & into the garage. With ? internet I decided to address an apparent problem with my antivirus subscription (done), but then no internet access. A very calm night, zippo wind, but majestic palmetto palms, sliver of moon & stars in the night sky—so fitting on our last night in romantic Charleston. The palmetto palm & sliver moon are symbols on the South Carolina State Flag!
Sat. May 7. 2011 (Week 31, Day 215) Destination: Charleston (Mile 464.1) to Minim Creek (Mile 415.4) Departure: 0840 hrs. Arrival: 1700 hrs. Mileage: 48.7 SM/51.4 NM Weather: fog most of the night & am, damp & thus cool; blue skies & sun early pm Winds: flat calm till 1530 hrs., then E 8-13Kefore 0500 hrs.
We were woken by the fishing boat docked beside us that was preparing to leave; chatter & big engine noise. Instead of fuming, I got up & took a marina shower. We were unable to leave at the planned scheduled time as the fog was thick that visibility was only ¼ - ½ mile & NOAA recommendation was to delay departures if possible. There was some improvement by 0800 hrs. although there was no sun to completely burn off the fog. Off the dock with ease & we motored Charleston Harbour intentionally slowly against the current to make the Ben Sawyer Bridge (bascule) opening at 1000 hrs. Clouds persisted till early afternoon then blue skies & warm sun but at this latitude the wind & air had a cooling element; we still were able to wear T-shirts & shorts comfortably but bathing suits were questionable. We managed to maintain a good boat speed > than 6K till McCellanville, then we were fighting the current. Dolphins were pleasantly abundant. The Shrimp Festival was this weekend in McCellanville. As we were approaching G35A the Auxiliary Coast Guard had us slow up as the fleet of shrimp boats all decorated up with streamers & abundance of people aboard had just been blessed & were crossing the ICW into Five Fathom Creek. Carrying on, the ICW winds through Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge & the South Santee & North Santee Rivers intersect the ICW through the connector called Four Mile Creek. It was through here that we kept our eyes open for alligators; success—we spotted at least 4-5 alligators; looked like slim floating logs at the water’s edge. Despite our late start, favourable speed & good fortune of longer light hours in the Spring, we reached our planned destination, Minim Creek, in good time, anchoring in 10 ft. (low tide) close to a dock with 60 ft. chain. Supper= beef & vegetable stir fry with rice; no leftovers tonight. Sunset was at 2006 hrs. And night brought calm wind & water, clear skies & stars & that bright South Carolina ¼ moon. Best of all was the feeling of peacefulness & tranquility that words cannot describe but must be experienced, in an anchorage once again away from a big center! Travelling offshore has it’s lure & excitement, but it cannot be compared to anchorages away from everything, utter bliss are some of the anchorages of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina & even the Chesapeake! There is a feeling that you don’t want to leave! You want to be here forever & ever!
Sun. May 8, 2011 (Week 31, Day 216) Destination: Minim Creek (Mile 425.4) to Osprey Marina (Mile 373.3) just south of Myrtle Beach Departure: 0750 hrs. Arrival: 1425 hrs. Mileage: 42.1 SM/41.66 NM Weather: warm, blue sky & sun at dawn, hot sun & few clouds even a rain shower in the late afternoon Winds: W < 5K, periodic gusts of 10-15K mid am & pm Happy Mother’s Day! And 3D birthday celebrations tonight at my brother’s--> Dean (May 8), Dave (May 11) & Darren (May 18). A large school of dolphins met us this am exiting Minim Creek; no better way to start the day! Both shorelines were alive with vibrant, bright green new growth of saltmarsh grasses as were as the trees just beyond. In no time we were through the Estherville Minim Creek Canal & into the Western Channel of the Winyah Bay where the winds were light but enough to carry the jenny. The current pushed us into Georgetown at about 1000 hrs. Surprisingly we discovered ‘Artful’ & ‘Firecrest’ here. But the anchorage was too full or at least too tight for comfort especially if winds picked up &/or change direction as anticipated. I phoned Osprey Marina where we had reservations for tomorrow night & asked if they had availability for night instead--> yes. We pressed on for the additional 30 mi. via the deep Waccamaw River & with the current (boat speed= 6.6 -7.1K); bonus! Brilliant sunshine & hot (90ishF)--> bathing suit weather. As soon as we entered the Waccamaw the colour of the water was like dark chocolate milk, the scenery was stunning with moss draped cypress trees, the vibrant greens of other shrubs & trees with a brilliant blue sky backdrop, osprey nests built on most channel markers with mother& babes in the nests, fish leaping out of the water & turtles. We unfurled the jenny until the river became increasing tortuous & the jenny ineffective. We arrived at Osprey Marina 2 hrs. ahead of our ETA. To the fuel dock first then we were assisted at tying up at the end of ‘B’ dock stern to stern to another Canadian boat, Gordon & Suzanne (Camelot II--Tanzer 35). This is a first class marina at only $1.00 per ft.! One female, one male shower, 2 washers ($1.50) & 2 dryers ($1.50) & good WiFi at office. Drinks & snacks on ‘Twomorrows’. I phoned my family at 1815 hrs. expressing Happy Mother’s Day & Happy Birthday Wishes while we were having a heavy rainfall lasting 15 mins. Supper = BBQ steak, potatoes & peas. Gordon, Suzanne & Graeme & I were feeding the turtles in harbour. Sunset & a pink sky followed. We each took marina showers--> the best showers on the east coast! And internet in laundry area. Extremely calm, clear night sky, stars & South Carolina ¼ moon!
Mon. May 9, 2011 (Week 31, Day 217) Destination: Osprey Marina, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Mile 373.3) to St. James Marina, N.C. (Mile 315) Departure: 0800 hrs. Arrival: 1645 hrs. Mileage: 58.3 SM/50.77 NM Weather: pleasant temps, blue sky, warm sun, cool wind Winds: cool ESE to ENE 10-15K then E at 10-15K
There was a little rain during the night otherwise calm, no thunderstorms. A gorgeous South Carolina May morning with lots of moisture on the enclosure windows. I got another marina shower in after breakfast. What might have been a tricky exit off the dock ended up being a cinch with Miles’ assistance on turning the boat around by pulling from the bow for both ‘Twomorrows’ & ourselves; 4 boats departed at the same time. We had good winds but they were right on our nose, but the current was falling & running NE towards Little River Inlet thus pushing us. Also are bridge openings were pretty good. We reached our planned destination, Calabash at 1255 hrs., too early to quit for the day so carried on; this in fact will set us up better to do the Cape Fear River tomorrow than on Wed. Lynn called St. James Marina (8 mi. south of Southport on the Cape Fear River) & they had transient availability. The wind had shifted enough that we were able to motorsail with the jenny all afternoon from Calabash, where we left the state of South Carolina & entered North Carolina at R116, under the newly built Sunset Beach Fixed Bridge (Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge totally removed), to the Saucepan Creek & Shallotte Inlet, to Lockwoods Folly Inlet Crossing. Our boat speed varied from 4.8 to 7.4K depending on our position in relation to an inlet. I happily drove most of the day. We arrived before the marina office’s closing time (0800-1700 hrs.), tying up on ‘C’ dock, slip 23. St. James dockage fee =$1.05/ft. + $5.00 for electricity for another topnotch facility. One female & one male shower, one washer ($1.00) & 1 dryer ($1.00). Already there was a coolness in the air; changed into capris & a sweater. Supper was at the marina restaurant, Tommy’s Thompson Grill = burger & homemade chips for Graeme & mixed seafood grill of salmon, shrimp & tuna with rice pilaf for me. St. James Plantation is a beautiful huge gated community with 4 golf courses, private beach club, tennis, swimming & fitness facilities + walking trails & parks; the marina is an important part of the community. After sunset the winds died & darkness showed clear skies & a bright near ½ moon.
N.B. If one looks at a map of South & North Carolina coastlines, you will notice how heavily the southern portions hook to the east, travelling south to north of course. This can be disconcerting when you are wanting to be home which is north!

Monday, May 2, 2011

April 26- May 2, 2011 (Week 30, Day 204-210)

Tues. Apr. 26, 2011 (Week 30, Day 204) Destination: Back River (Mile 651.3) to Big Tom Creek (Mile 612.8) Departure: 0740 hrs. Arrival: 1350 hrs. Mileage: 38.5 SM/30. 91 NM Weather: hot & humid weather continues, lots of grey clouds upon rising but soon sun made an appearance; early afternoon thunder, black clouds & again after sunset Winds: nil at start but by 0900 hrs. E to SE 8-20K & S & variable at night
The gusty winds of last night calmed & it was a very restful night. It was calm at beginning of day & the tide pushed us for a short distance until we passed Dolboy Sound, then falling tide & opposing tide for a bit. Old Teakettle Creek brought us into the serpentine route of Creighton Narrows & despite low tide we saw good depths. Then it was on to Front River to Sapelo Sound. We had just set our jenny when suddenly & surprisingly the water depth dropped & we went aground almost at the R150 channel marker; we were in the channel watching the exposed strip of sandbar to starboard. Graeme managed to turn the rudder from side to side & with increasing the engine’s RPM’s he got us off in about 10 min. A good motorsail out Sapelo Sound then the South Newport River & Johnson Creek around St. Catherines Island with the current, then against the current through North Newport River out towards St. Catherines Sound. As we turned to port into the Bear River with the current again, the skies to the W & NW were extremely black, thunder & real threatening thunderstorm weather reports with lightning & high winds as predicted for this evening & especially tomorrow. Despite the early hour & a little shy of our planned destination, we thought it best to seek protection & turned into Big Tom Creek; the current pushed us deep into the creek where there was more protection from the opposing SE wind. There was a line of trees to the east in the distance & saltmarsh grasses surrounding us in all directions. The weather did pass us but will that be the case tonight? Sunny & hot & gusty winds. Like yesterday as we moved nearer land the horseflies descended upon us. Also similar to yesterday was the bright green new growth of the saltmarsh grasses & new foliage on the trees--> very picturesque. Graeme refilled the boat’s fuel tank & did an oil change. Supper= sausage, ½ small potato, carrots & celery. There was a peek of the setting sun below the grey clouds & above the saltmarsh grasses as we headed to low tide (near 7 ft.). The Morrows phoned & they had left St. Augustine & anchored in Kingsley Creek near Fernandina. At bedtime, it was very dark, the skies were clouded, no stars & only mastlights from the 2 boats in the anchorage.
Wed. Apr. 27, 2011 (Week 30, Day 205) Destination: Big Tom Creek (Mile 612.8) to Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Departure: 0810 hrs. Arrival: 1400 hrs. Mileage: 27.3 SM/24.7 NM Winds: S at 15K with generous 1 to 1-1/2 ft. chop on the ICW where it was opened to a south fetch, S 15-20K throughout the pm & evening with frequent gusts to 27K
The wind generator had no rest last night; even in the am there was 20K gusts & ugly weather warnings & predictions. Despite the weather there was pleasant chirping of birds & mesmerizing gentle swaying of the saltmarsh grasses. We planned on a late start this am because high tide= 0528 hrs. & low= 1148 hrs. We were about 1 hr. & 2 hrs. away from 2 caution zones + against the current; it would be preferable to do these spots as the tide was beginning to rise at the very least. Well that was the plan… BUT (1) we were tired of waiting after breakfast with the dishes done by 0800 hrs., (2) 19K south winds & 3 ft. waves against us but going with the current as we travelled south on the Ogeechee River towards South Channel Ossabaw Sound to Hells Gate, (3) reached Hells Gate at 1010 hrs., 1-1/2 hrs. before low tide & saw depths of 7-9 ft. except 5’5” between red nun #90 & R88, (4) a powerboat was coming through Hells Gate from North Channel of Ossabaw Sound. We made it through! Now we were dealing with 2-3 ft. waves & an opposing current on the Vernon River until we followed the ICW into the Burnside River. At 1130 hrs. we arrived at the Skidway Narrows Bridge, hailed the bridge tender on VHF 09 & his reply stated that he was having opening problems & asked us to standby probably for an hour. We did slow circles for about 45 min. when the bridge tender came back & said to bring it on; then a south bound sailing vessel 10 mins. away + 2 northbound boats about 5 min. away called for the same opening. We were very close to the bridge with a current pushing us & no more room to do circles. And to make matters worse, as we were trying to stall as the bridge was just opening a northbound trawler was coming with speed from behind & barged past us, then gave us shit for not monitoring VHF 16! I was steaming! The trawler called back & underhandedly apologized. We had opposing currents along the Skidway River, crossed the Wilmington River into Turner Creek & anchored in a rising tide in 12 ft. & only 80 ft. chain possible. Now it was mostly sunny, hot & dark ugly clouds to the north & northeast & very gusty . Dave (Firecrest) then Patric & Karin (Artful Dodger) came over for a few hours of socializing. Happy Birthday Karin! Their outside passage from Fernandina to Ossabaw Sound Mon. pm till Tues. dawn went well. They met up with friends at Isle of Hope Marina last night then relocated here this afternoon. Dave was still experiencing ongoing prop shaft problems & was hoping to haul the boat tomorrow at Sail Harbor Marina & Boatyard if the parts arrive--> $12.00 per foot in & out. Suddenly I noticed that Dave’s boat was in a different location; he was dragging! Suddenly Happy Hour was over. Supper= chicken marsala but with turkey strips--> good. We missed sunset. Tonight we had typical Georgia strong currents, strong howling south winds of 15-27K but no chop with all around protection, partly cloudy skies & stars in the clear patches.
Thurs. April 28, 2011 (Week 30, Day 206) Destination: Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Weather: cloudy for the most part, sunny breaks, warm & humid, tornado warnings all day, periods of rain mid pm & evening, lightning & thunder Winds: S 15K in am, gusty am & early pm, calm with a shift to the W
A grey, gloomy am & humidity persisted; slept in till 0700 hrs. NOAA weather & local Savannah radio weather announced warnings of high winds & tornados in several counties including Chatham County where we were situated & several states as far as NY. Greater than 200 deaths in Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina & Virginia with the tornado last Sat. & huge destruction in Alabama yesterday. I spent a couple of hours in the am doing housekeeping duties & making & precooking meatballs waiting to see what the weather might do. At 1100 hrs. we decided that Graeme would take me & my bike to shore to go to the library for a few hours (can’t walk far these days) & he would stay with the boat. Few hours at the library dragged till near 1600 hrs. But I looked at emails, located emails in Windows Mail I thought I lost a few days ago, & even with tech support had some difficulty but successfully downloaded my McAfee anti everything renewal program on 2 of my computers. I biked back to Hogan’s Marina in the rain & radioed Graeme for a pick up. The rains continued on & off for the rest of the afternoon & evening, sometimes heavy & no-see-ums made their annoying presence. It was very eerie with the calm conditions, black threatening clouds & ugly skies & periods of lightning & thunder; unsettling & anxious feeling thinking this might be the calm before the storm. Patric dropped in with news that Dave’s boat parts arrived & his boat was hauled & together they will install the new prop shaft & replace the stuffing box tomorrow; Patric has been a guardian angel to many people especially Dave! Karin will come with us by bus into Savannah. The Morrows called X 2; experienced some wicked weather after they were anchored in the Wahoo River, but still scheduled to meet up tomorrow. Supper= meatballs in garlic marinade/sauce with rice. The tornado watch was rescinded at 1900 hrs. Between the rain showers we dinghied to shore & walked to the Publix very close by; not many groceries needed but cost added up quickly. Calm winds, heavily clouded night sky & rainy periods & high humidity.
Fri. Apr. 29, 2011 (Week 30, Day 207) Destination: Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Weather: cooler fresher air, no humidity, sunny about 80F Winds: NW 15-->10--> 5K
A little after midnight the calm was replaced by 8-10K winds enough to get the wind generator working. Less humid, fresh air & lower temperature was noticeable on waking. A boat shower for me, breakfast, dressed & ready for a day of touring by 0715 hrs. To shore where we met Karin then walked to #24 bus stop for the 0807 hrs. bus & arrived about 45 min. later downtown Savannah at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. & Broughton St. (senior[65]= $0.75, regular= $1.50). We walked to City Market, Ellis Square then north on Whitaker St. to River St. & Rousakis Riverfront Plaza. Many stores were not open till 1000 hrs. We spent the am in & out of stores & viewing the sites along River St.; I took many photos. We lunched at “Rocks” on River St. (Bohemian Hotel)--> good. After lunch we walked Factor Row which is home of a few antique shops, restaurants & commercial businesses. Then we walked along E. Bay St. then several streets & numerous squares to the south. We faltered & dropped into Leopolds on E. Broughton St. for ice cream (famous tutti fruiti flavor). A drink at “Corleone” then the same bus stop for 1555 hrs. for our return trip; bus was late. We picked up a fresh French stick bread for supper then home at 1730 hrs. Quickly supper was prepared for the whole crew--> ‘Twomorrows’, ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’. A few no-see-ums but not so bad. A few snacks till supper was ready= meatloaf, potatoes, coleslaw (thank you Karin), bread & butter, then key lime pie (thank you Larry). Lots of stories & lots of laughs! A beautiful day followed by a beautiful calm night, brilliant stars in a totally clear night sky.
Sat. Apr. 30, 2011 (Week 30, Day 208) Destination: Turner Creek, Savannah (Mile 585.5) Weather: comfortably cool at dawn to no humidity, warm brilliantly sunny day Winds: S5-8K
A peaceful night & good sleep. We picked up Lynn, Larry then Dave in the dinghy & tied up at Hogan’s Marina as we had already paid for a dinghy tie up for a 24 hrs. period. We walked to #24 bus stop for the 0952 hrs. bus with plenty of time to spare, & got off at M.L.K. Jr. & Broughton St. At the Visitor Center we took the Olgethrope Trolley Bus Tour ($15.00 per person), while Graeme toured the maritime museum ($6.00 per senior) + some browsing. Our tour bus broke down & another trolley shortly picked us up & continued, finishing at 1330 hrs. at City Market. From a higher vantage point I was struck by the abundance of magnolia trees that were currently in bloom. We met Graeme while walking City Market. A late lunch took place at Molly MacPherson. Now 1500 hrs. Dave did the maritime museum while the rest of us browsed Broughton St., stopping at La Berry for frozen yogurt for some & people watching. Gradually we made our way to the bus stop in a round about way for me, visiting “Book Lady” (Bull & Liberty) Chippewa Square (wedding in progress), past Foley House, Barnard St., Telfair Square to State Street. There is no bus service on Sunday from the marina & a taxi = $9.50 per person per way & so Lynn & Larry felt it best to cancel our rendezvous with Larry’s brother & wife & daughter tomorrow, but instead push on to Port Royal Landing, Beaufort, S.C. The dinghy was readied & the boat’s fuel tank was topped. Larry called Port Royal Landing Marina--> closed but left a message for reservations for the 2 of us for tomorrow night. Supper= leftovers of meatloaf & potato for Graeme & curried peanut chicken for me & splitting the last piece of key lime pie for dessert. A most beautiful evening to finish a perfect day; incredible red sky, calm waters & calm winds, only pesky no-see-ums, then dark night with clear skies & stars.
Sun. May 1, 2011 (Week 30, Day 209) Destination: Savannah, Georgia (Mile 585.5) to Port Royal, Beaufort, S.C. (Mile 537) Departure: 0705 hrs. Arrival: 1500 hrs. Mileage: 48.5 SM/39.29 NM Weather: flat calm, peaceful Sun. am, sun. perfect temp, then light cloud cover after the Savannah River Winds: N light & increasing as the morning progressed to 13- 17K
Singing birds at the break of dawn. Dolphins, fish & the sweet smell of jasmine as we raised the anchor & many more dolphins heading to Thunderbolt & the Savannah River. Fields Cut--> no water depth problems at ¾ high falling tide. Daufuskie Landing & Island, Ramshorn Creek & Hilton Head--> no problems. We flew our jenny whenever possible throughout the day especially when fighting a current. Once again it was a day of seesawing, sometimes with the current sometimes against, depending on our position to the many sounds & whether we were approaching at high or low tide. All in all we fared well. Since crossing back to the mainland from the Bahamas it was quite apparent of the coolness & chill of the wind despite the hot sun. Larry recalled Port Royal Landing Marina for 1-2 nights--> no problems + called Charleston Maritime Center but no availability till Wed.--> reservations made for Wed. Thurs & ? Fri. As the day progressed the sky out to sea remained sunny whereas over land was somewhat cloudy. It was slack tide as we approached the marina, first the fuel dock then we relocated on the north end of the dock. Laundry was the big task of the day--> 3 washes X $1.00 + 2 dryers X $1.00 + remainder of Lynn’s dryer, therefore total= $5.00. ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’ passed the marina at about 1700 hrs. Lady Island Bridge (bascule) closed from 1600 to 1800 hrs.; I wonder if they did anchor just north of the bridge in Factory Creek. Supper= tacos & refried beans at the Morrows. Together we did some trip planning. Suddenly we were all very tired. I needed a shower then went right to bed. Pleasantly cool after sunset, clear skies & stars+++
Mon. May 2, 2011 (Week 30 Day 210) Destination: Port Royal, Beaufort, S.C. (Mile 537) Weather: beautiful, sunny & warm with a few dark clouds (insignificant) Winds: S 8-12K
A great sleep as usual. We woke to the news of Osaman Bin Laden’s death. Today also was the federal election in Canada. It is only 2 short days to Charleston with an imperative set up for Elliot Cut passage with the current + with reservations not until Wed. we decided to stay put & do some major cleaning ie deck & cockpit by Graeme & interior floor, carpets, extensive scrubbing of shower & head & semi reorganization of the garage by me. Then a long marina shower before we obtained the courtesy car at 1130 hrs. We had the use of the vehicle as long as we wanted; first stop= West Marine, then downtown beautiful Beaufort for lunch at Luthers, outside overlooking the well designed & landscaped boardwalk at river’s edge. O.K. we also took in a few shops across the road on Bay St. We drove to Wal Mart & returned to the marina at about 1515 hrs. A Happy Hour drink when the onsite restaurant opened at 1600 hrs. & some internet. Back at the boats we watched the news coverage of the US Seals operation of attaching Bin Laden’s fortified place in Pakistan on the Morrows’ T.V. We were curious as to the outcome of the Canadian Elections. A nice cool evening after sunset which was at 2006 hrs. Supper= leftover garlic meatballs & potatoes for Graeme & leftover turkey marsala for me. Another gorgeous night & partly cloudy skies.