Monday, October 25, 2010

We are off! Oct.20-25 (Week 3, Day 16-21)

Wed. Oct. 20, 2010 (Week 3, Day 16): I guess this is really the beginning of our adventure!                                                                                                                     Destination: Deltaville to Norfolk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Mileage: 51.4 statute miles (SM)                                                                                                                                     Departure Time: 0725 hrs.                                     
Arrival Time: 1633 hrs.
A grey day with rain before daybreak but rain threatening; temp= 60F. Winds E to ENE at 13-15K & rolling waves out on Chesapeake Bay. Something from above suddenly dropped down & skipped off the dinghy into the water--- later we discovered it was the lens from our steaming light on the mast. I spotted a dolphin or shark as we were shortly into the Bay. It was a little rough but I have to admit & be honest that it got my stomach a bit queasy; that has not happened in a while. With the winds on our port quarter & the jenny out we were on a broad reach at 7-7.5K; engine was shut down, wind gen whirling +++. There were a few boats heading south. We saw a number of pelicans. By 1000 hrs. the winds decreased steadily until 1100 hrs. we were only travelling at 3-4K. We furled the jenny & & reverted to the iron jenny (engine) so we could make our destination before dark. We rounded Thumbell Shoal Lighthouse at 1400 hrs., made a 90 degree turn to starboard towards Norfolk; the N wind increased as well as the wave action on a beam reach--- we really should fly the jenny but we were close to making a turn away from Hampton towards Craney Island, US Army Corp of Engineers & Portsmouth on starboard & Naval Base Norfolk, Sewells Point Terminals, Norfolk International Terminals , Lafayette River, Lamberts Point Terminal & Norfolk on port. Only a few boats were anchored off of Hospital Point on starboard. We turned to port into Waterside Marina & checked in. It is so convenient to the historic, interesting, redeveloped downtown area. We had supper at Hooter’s (?why) then walked to MacArthur Center to purchase & send a Get Well card off to Richard. To the boat & crashed.
Thurs. Oct. 21, 2010 (Week 3, Day 17):       
Destination: to stay & enjoy Norfolk.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Weather: cloudy to begin with but improving skies to sun; temp from upper 50’s to upper 60’s & winds NW.                                                                                                                                                                 
After breakfast we filled all our boat’s watertanks (2 X 45 gal.) & jerry cans & washed the decks & windows down with fresh water. At 1000 hrs. we started our walk-about downtown Norfolk from Waterside Square Park, (now completed & a lovely park with grasses, shrubs, flowers, benches & a café) to Town Point Park, past Nauticus, Wisconsin , Taiwanese Pagoda & Friendship Park with lovely, expensive, I’m sure, condos all around. We walked to Freemason St. to the Epworth United Methodist Church, admiring the stain glass windows from outside--- doors locked, then up Monticello to Norfolk Arena & the Performing Arts Theatre, then down Granby St. to Granby St. Pizza for lunch; we split a stromboni--- excellent & plenty. We talked to Peter, the owner , who remembered us from 2 prior visits. Back to Freemason St. to the Police & Firefighter Museum & Reception Center, across the street to Freemason Baptist Church that was completely under scaffolding 2 years ago. A wealthy local construction owner donated millions of dollars to the church & the money went to the reconstruction. He had made his money in the community & was now upon death & in his will giving back what he had successfully earned. When we rang the doorbell the receptionist welcomed us & encouraged us to walk around & about the halls & lounges & the sanctuary (plain) with a choir deck that had an incredible pipe organ, a singing choir section, drums & a brass section complete with hand bells (very rare to have a complete brass band). She was very pleasant & informative. We then decided to go back to Epworth United Methodist Church, rang the doorbell & similarly the receptionist let us through her office to see the sanctuary--- plain but the stain glass windows on 3 sides beneath arches were lovely; the street side doors opened on Sunday did not have knobs but the extremely heavy wood doors were actually lifted straight up. Last church was down the way on St. Paul’s Blvd. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Then it was onto MacArthur Center for a bit of window shopping, then to MacArthur Memorial Square but it was too late to tour the buildings. When we got back to the boat it was already 1730 hrs.! We met a couple who were docked across from us that were from Ottawa--- Jim & Carole (White Lillie) & chatted till 1900 hrs. Supper at 1930= ham slice, potatoes & canned beans. Internet, worked on my journal/blog then to bed at 2300 hrs. Breeze increased now & again, skies clear & full moon.
Fri. Oct. 22, 2010 (Week 3, Day 18)                                                                                                                                                                     Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) to N.C. Welcome Center (Mile 28).  
Mileage: 28 SM                                                                      
Departure: 0820 hrs.                                    
Arrival: 1500 hrs.                    

Up for a shower at 0600 hrs. & by then a fantastic sun was rising. Wall to wall blue skies. Onshore power cables were detached & dock lines were set for departure. We arrived at the Gilmerton Bridge at 0910 hrs. & requested & received an opening immediately. At 0930 hrs. we were entering the Dismal Swamp Canal (DSC) & it’s coffee coloured, tannin water that will soon leave a yellow moustache on the bow at water level. We were very early for Deep Creek Lock scheduled opening of 1100 hrs. There were 6 boats, then we waited for the late arrival of one more sailboat. Because of this & the fact that this is a very slow lock to begin with (we are raised 8 ft.) we now knew that it was almost impossible to make it to Elizabeth City today; we unlocked at 1250 hrs. The brilliant sun & fantastic blue sky contrasted the beautiful colours as we travelled in a single file through the DSC. The depth was generally 6-9 ft. but we did see sub 5 ft. depths by the feeder from Lake Drummond. At 1500 hrs. we arrived at Mile 28, the N.C. Welcome Center & it was not feasible to carry on for another 4 hrs. There was one one boat at the Center when we tied up; by evening the total = 6, 2 Canadians & 4 Americans. We registered at the office on arrival, used their computer to connect to the internet & then there was much social chatting & exchanging of boat cards. Finally, supper at 2000 hrs. = pork chops. I worked on my journal/blog till 2130 hrs.; I am almost caught up! A chilly but comfortable enough night, clear skies & a brilliant full moon. A first--- Graeme went to bed before I. 

Sat. Oct. 23, 2010 (Week 3, Day 19): Happy Birthday Marcie!                                                                                                                                                       Destination : N.C. Welcome Center (Mile 28) to Alligator River Marina (Mile 84.1)                                                                                        Mileage: 56.1SM/49.6 NM                      
Departure: 0735 hrs.                                   
Arrival: 1730 hrs.
When daylight was approaching near 0700 hrs. the mist hanging over the water was so beautiful! I think there was a hint of frost on the grass. When the sun was up, the lighting, the colours & just the view was very picturesque. We arrived at the South Mills Bascule Bridge at 0820hrs., plenty of time for the 0830hrs. opening, but then had to wait for a boat that had slept in; we finally passed at 0845hrs., & into the South Mills Lock at 0908hrs. & out at 0930hrs. We pressed on leaving the DSC to Turners Cut & into the Pasquotank River at a motoring speed of about 6K; it is wider, deeper & winding. We reached Elizabeth City at 1145hrs. but it was too early to stop on such a beautiful sunny, cloudless day with a slight coolness in the air. And the Albemarle Sound was quiet today. We had our sails out from the Lower Pasquotank into the Albemarle dogging the crab pots now & again. Winds WSW at about 6-8K & very slight chop. Whoops, winds shifted to the south, right on our nose; sails furled. Then there was no wind & flat calm on the Albemarle! To AR1 mark then with difficulty we picked up the other marks closer to the Alligator River Swing Bridge due to the lowering sun dead in our eyes. We turned at G1 towards the Alligator River Marina because it was getting too late to continue. Not a smooth landing at the fuel dock but the dock hand was not helpful either. On leaving the fuel dock a dock line wedged snuggly between the dock & the pile suddenly came loose, flying in the air directly onto my head where my sunglasses where positioned, knocking them off into the water --- gone were my Maui Jim’s! We motored into slip 3 & tied up (fees increased to $1.50/ft. + $4.00 for electricity). I did a javex load of laundry (washers $1.25 & dryers $0.75 still but a little rough looking). In fact, we found the marina in general to be a little rundown in comparison to 2 yrs. ago & in need of a good cleaning. Supper= tacos. Internet secured & worked well. A warm evening & night & a bright full moon.
Sun. Oct. 24, 2010 (Week 3, Day 20):                                                                                                                                                               Destination: Alligator River (Mile 84.1) to Campbell Creek off Goose Creek (Mile 154.5)
Mileage: 60.3 SM            
Weather: sunny, warm , blue skies with streaks of cloud. 
Wind: SW at 5K on the nose & calm seas.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Departure: 0740 hrs.                                 
Arrival : 1730 hrs.
We were at the Alligator River Swing Bridge at 0800 hrs. with 2 other power & 4 sailboats. 1009 hrs.--> Mile 100 at G37 Alligator River. 1043 hrs.--> Mile 105 at R54 entering the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal (22 mi). 1330 hrs.--> Mile 126 out into the Pungo River; tried to sail but 8K W wind clocked to S, the direction we were headed. 1605 hrs.--> Mile 145 into the Pamlico River; nice 8-12K SW wind again right on our nose crossing the Pamlico. 1638 hrs.--> Mile 150 at G1 entering the Goose Creek; met a barge & tug at entrance. When the sun is down low on the water & directly in our line of vision, it is easy to mistake sea birds bobbing up & down in the water or the crests of white caps for crab pots. We turned at R14 into Campbell Creek & continued on in past all the crab pots & anchored in 6-1/2 ft. Marshes on one side & woods & marsh on the opposite. We discovered on this our first anchorage, that some minor adjustments had to be made near the anchor well cover so as to open the well door completely, ie rotate the block for the drifter sheets, move the dinghy more aft on the deck so the dinghy bumper is no potential hazard to the windlass & at times the shackle for the drifter positioned on the bow roller hampered the rotation of the chain on the bow roller. There were a lot of mosquitoes now sunsetàcockpit hatch screen. A fantastic sunset & spectacular red evening sky in a glorious location. Warm & flat calm & clear night sky + stars + bright moon. After supper while Graeme tried to read but fell asleep, I worked on my journal/blog, then to bed at 2145 hrs.
Mon. Oct. 25, 2010 (Week 3, Day 21):                                                                                                                                                                                    Destination: Campbell Creek (Mile 154.5) to Beaufort, N.C. (Mile 205)
Weather: beautiful red hue on horizon at sunrise, threatening skies in N & warm + mosquitoes. Winds: calm to nil although predicted to build in the afternoon with possible thunderstorms.                                                                                                                                    Mileage: 50.6 SM                               
Departure: 0730 hrs.                                
Arrival: 1445 hrs.                                                                                    
An interesting factor: change of weather heading south in late Oct. or early Nov. as the Gulf Stream begins its trek toward Europe off Cape Hatteras, just south of the Neuse River; this has a warming influence on weather south of Hatteras. We have gone from sweats to shorts! From the Goose Creek we passed Hobucken Cut (Coast Guard Station) into the Bay River (a large body of water) into the Neuse River (another fearsome river of North Carolina). The skies were becoming more cloudy & grey & threatening as we took the shortcut from G1 to R2 (good water depths); motor sailed with ½ jenny at speeds of 6-8K. We passed the communities of Whitaker Creek & Oriental on starboard. When approaching the markers into Adams Creek the S wind increased with gusts up to 21K even in Adams Creek. Nearing the end of Adams Creek Canal the weather deteriorated quickly so we had decreased visibility to almost whiteout conditions; we could barely make out the channel markers indicating Russell Slough Channel. Torrents of rain came in waves; the only thing missing was the thunder & lightning & that came later, once we had tied up at dock at Town Creek Marina; that was not a stellar landing either; the rain had stopped & it was warm & humid. We washed the boat down with fresh water & rearranged some fenders, especially our step fender so as to get off onto the short dock. Another cruiser who had recently arrived invited us to join them with the courtesy car to get a few groceries ie bread, milk, more beer & some fresh fruit & salad fixings at the Food Lion--- don’t forget those discount cards the cashier swipes. We got the supplies to the boat when more rain+++ & lightning & thunder hit + gusting S winds. The decision to stay at a marina was made because the weather for several days is not looking good. Onshore power hooked up & started my antivirus scans on the computers while we have this power. After supper we took advantage of WiFi & connected to the internet.

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