Early departure - really just a little after six AM.....beautiful calm morning at Pecan Grove Marina in Oriental!
Unfortunately, calm is not terribly good for sailing! So, we motored a good bit - pulling the foresail out when conditions/direction allowed...
The obligatory shot of the phosphate barge....seems like we run across one on every trip. This tug was actually pushing two barges. Never ceases to amaze me how much bulk on little tug can push/pull.
Motoring up the intercoastal waterway past Bellhaven. We had 76 miles to cover - so a very long day at 6 knots!
We anchored near Gum Neck....look it up on the map.....just like this photo looks - in the middle of nowhere. Very nice! More as I get an internet connection!
We started the day with coffee at anchor near Gum Neck....peaceful morning. Here's the coffee set up when we don't have "shore power" - the neat little coffee press. Just mix boiling water with coffee - then press a filter thru the mixture. Easy way to make a couple of cups of coffee, but some sediment gets thru. I kindof like my coffee that way!
Today, we wanted to travel to Elizabeth City "just 54 miles". First order of business was going thru the Alligator River Bridge. This one "pivots" to allow boaters to pass thru. (Most bridges "lift" sections.)
Cool roadway - this is how it looks actually going thru the channel. Of course, they immediately close the bridge back to allow the stopped cars to continue on their way!
About half-way there, a storm blew in. We donned raingear - but the storm mostly missed us. A good thing - never want a lightening storm to come your way when you're the tallest thing out there!!
A few hours later, the skies brightened up - this is the "blimp" factory near Elizabeth City. Very neat, huge, structure there.
We pulled into a "complimentary" slip at the Elizabeth City docks. Nice and basic - plus, the price was right!!
Several people helped us there. Two guys come over and handled our docklines - and this nice lady talked to us about the town. Her dog is a mix of Schipperke and something else, she wasn't sure!! We immediately recognised her dog because she resembles Sharon and Buddy's dog - which is a Schipperke.
Yes, I will agree that Elizabeth City is a very hospitable place!
Neat older - re-vitalized downtown section. Just 2 or 3 blocks from the marina.
On a side street we noticed the "Carolina Theatre". Reminded both of us of the old Carolina Theatre on Main Street in Hendersonville. It was about 4 pm....the sign on the door said Dinner at 5, Movie at 6...so we decided we needed to go there.
Unfortunately, they were showing "Terminator" - definitely not one of my favorite movie series!! What the heck - seemed like a good idea. We'd never been to one of these type movie places - served dinner and a show! Interesting - just pick up the phone on your table and a waitress brings you whatever you want while you watch the movie. It was a neat thing to do - unfortunately, the movie was not really our style. Back to the boat for a early start for the Dismal Swamp Traverse tomorrow!!
Due to a slightly complicated time-schedule of bridge/lock openings along our intended route, we had to push off at 5:30AM this morning! No problems - set the handy alarm on my cell phone. We were off the dock in minutes and headed towards the Great Dismal Swamp!
This is the first bridge - just yards from the dock at Elizabeth City. The bridge-master is probably used to the 5:30AM calls on the radio requesting opening due to the "up river" schedule.
Hard to see in this light, but we were not alone on our cruise up the Dismal Swamp - several large power boats were ahead of us. Somehow, I had expected this part of our journey to be more isolated.....
The swamp canal was quite beautiful, although, again, I thought it would be more rural - there was a roadway right beside the eastern "shoreline" of the canal. The canal was built in the late 1700's - and at the time - was heavily used for commercial traffic.
Seventeen miles up the canal is the first lock - we had to be raised 8' to be able to proceed on the next portion of the canal. This portion is the drainage for Lake Drummond in Virginia.
Here the boats are just "hovering" waiting for the 8:30AM scheduled opening.
While we were drifting waiting for the lock we spied a field thru the trees on the bank - and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be 2 ground-hogs. I'm sure some farmer is thrilled.....
Hard to see - click on the photo if you're interested. Here the lock gates are opening and allowing the boats to proceed into the lock.
The lock-master helped everyone tie up loosely to pilings on the sides of the lock. Then he closed the gate behind us. Note the water level on the lock sides. This will rise over the next few minutes.
Here you see the water slowly bubbling up under the gates and raising us up. We tightened our lines as we went up to keep us snug to the lock walls.
All the way up! Now we're at the same level as the canal in front of us - 8' higher than we started.
Here, he has opened the gate and allowed us thru.
I wanted to comment about the water - it's really dark, coffee colored. Not polluted - it's said to be due to the acidic nature of the surrounding bogs.
Yaay! We're in Virginia!
I spent a good bit of time trying to get a photo of a turtle - they were cool looking- had a yellow band around their neck...here on is on a log - never did get a good photo though....didn't really see a lot of wildlife, although we could hear birds calling even over the engine noise, never saw a single one!
The sign says Superintendent's House.....hope that's part of a historical site and not really where they house the Superintendent!!
This was our view much of the way....pretty and peaceful - but always of the boats in front of us. I would have enjoyed it more if we were alone out there! Picky, picky.....
Finally going thru the last bridge before going into the last lock - I won't post photos - but it was the same drill - enter lock - this time being lowered the same 8'.
Full steam ahead to Norfolk! Started at 5:30AM - arrived Norfolk at about 4PM....pretty long day and not a single bit of sailing!
Lot's and lot's of marine commerce going on around Norfolk!! Even passed a Police boat on the channel.
We decided to treat ourselves to a slip at the Waterside Marina. It's right on the waterfront (hence the name) near the USS Wisconsin. I want to tour that tomorrow.
Next to us was "Bird on a Wire". I had read their blog earlier in my surfing of "sailing blogs"....cool to have met them - http://birdonawireboat.blogspot.com/
View from our boat - actually turned out to be a little irritating....the lights from the building were very bright after dark and we're used to it being pretty dark both at home and on the boat. Makes it a little difficult to sleep!!
And there we are - Glory Days all snug in the slip for the night! Tour Norfolk a bit tomorrow!
OK, so this is not much of a sailing story today. We stayed put in Norfolk to do a little sight-seeing. First up was the USS Wisconsin battleship. It is berthed just a few minutes from our marina. It is certainly huge! This is the view of the bow.
I didn't realize how newly "decommissioned" this boat was - it served in Desert Shield until 1991.
Yours truly, the tourist - guidebook in hand, sunscreen on face...walking shoes on instead of my boat shoes!
To tell you the truth, I was a little disappointed in the Wisconsin tour - you only got to walk around the outside. No inside tour at all - I was really more interested in the berths, the galley, the heads, the "war room" etc. Oh well.....can't beat the price (free!)
We also toured the Naval Museum - and among all the stuff on the walls Duane spotted the following display - it mentions the USS Phillippine Sea - which was the aircraft carrier that my dad was assigned to in the late 1950's. Cool!
They were mentioned because the ship was based out of Norfolk.
Leaving the museum, I spied this display. I had walked a step or two past it when I handed the camera to Duane....he rolled his eyes and said "dang, I thought you hadn't seen that!". I, of course, took the camera back after my shot and tried (in vain) to coax him into a photo! As you can probably tell, this was actually for little kids....but I was one for a few minutes there.....
We walked around Norfolk - a beautiful city if there is such a thing! Neat as a pin and so beautifully landscaped.
Even the side streets have trees and bushes in the medians.
An amazing amount of what appears to be prime real estate is devoted to greenery.
Just another boat shot from the second floor of the building overlooking the marina.
Also visited the MacArthur Museum - notice a pattern? Very nicely done also. I'm assuming it is in Norfolk because his mother's family was a prominent Norfolk family.
Since we are being absolutely worthless today, we decided to take advantage of our city location an catch another movie. Wow - two movies in three days. Best I can remember, the last movie we saw in a theater before these was "The Bucket List" - I looked it up - we saw that movie when it was fairly new - and that was over a year and a half ago! Hey, don't look at me like that! We're usually just not interested enough to drive the half hour to see a movie.....but we enjoyed this one - Angels and Demons. We've both read the book so it made the movie very easy to follow. It was well done.
We're off tomorrow for Smithfield up the James River. It just a short 20 miles and the winds should be favorable for a lively sail. I doubt we'll have internet so stay tuned in a couple of days!!
We left Norfolk this morning after a leisurely shower, water tank fillup, trash disposal, etc...neat to see all the activity on the Elizabeth River thru Norfolk. Lots of tugs, commercial traffic.
Huge numbers of Navy ships at dock....many apparently under renovation.
Cool shipping activity - reminds me of Hong Kong without all the nasty pollution in the air. From this distance in Hong Kong, you would have barely been able to see the ships due to the ridiculously polluted air!!
We passed this Navy ship being towed into the channel. He warned several boats (not us) to stay clear!!
More Naval shipyards....
We left Norfolk headed up the James River - this is the James River tunnel - click on the photo and you can see that the highway just ends.....we sailed right over the tunnel!
Next up was the James River lift bridge. Duane's kindof tired of bridges....and this is one of the last ones we'll have to cross under on this trip....you have to call them on the radio and request that they open for you. Then you have to wait for them to signal all the traffic to stop....so it's not as simple as sailing along in a channel.
This one lifts to 145 ft!!! We're only 65' tall....so the bridge-master didn't have to lift all the way. We actually feel sorry for all the folks that have to wait on us to cross under on the highway...but we really don't have a choice.
Our destination today was Smithfield, Va - yes - home of the Smithfield Ham....you know I'm not having any of that....but reported to be a wonderful historic town.
I couldn't help but include this - we were zig-zagging into the channel from the James River over to Smithfield and I spied two birds - appears to be a white and black swan.....I'll have to investigate this....neat anyway.
This area is definitely "high-class" - beautiful homes lining the James River....
We anchored at the end of the Pagan River (or rather - near the bridge that was too low for us to go any further).
We took the (new!) dinghy into town (maybe 1/2 mile)....Smithfield has a nice little historic downtown....pretty landscapes....old houses. Good for a one time visit. Mark it off the "bucket list". Friendly people, for sure.
Ha - captured my Captain for once!!
Back to the boat....pretty sunset tonight. Back to Hampton tomorrow - looking forward to Sharon and Buddy meeting up with us in a couple of days!
Short post today! We had to wait at the Smithfield anchorage for the tide to come in. One area would be too shallow for us on the route out at low tide. While waiting, we did some boat chores - and I spied this little duck family. So cute going from here to there....
Destination today is Hampton, Virginia - home of the Cousteau Society and the Virginia Air and Space Museum. On the way, a warship kept calling warning boats to stay away. We must have looked harmless because he didn't bother us. Cool to see up close. There were actually men at the guns.....
Very nice anchorage at the Hampton Public docks. Right across from the Air & Space museum (we'll do that tour tomorrow).
OK, this is definitely vacation material - we had a little oops while doing some of those boat chores. A port window was left in the open position whilst someone washed off the deck. This is easy to do because the screens make it difficult to see whether the window is open or not.....so, some soapy river water got splashed onto our berth immediately below the window.... needless to say, the sheets needed to be washed. I asked at the dock and was told that there was a laundry "about a 1/4 mile" from the marina. So, we stuffed the sheets and some other laundry into a bag and set out on foot armed with directions (just two turns, sounded simple enough).
Well, I have now google-mapped the location and it is 1.4 miles from the marina!! We walked thru what appeared to be the Hampton, Va housing project - then thru a strip of junky auto repair/tire places. Even stopped to ask a mechanic if we were going in the correct direction. He said, yes, just beyond the next red-light. About 6 city blocks later we found: Spin Queen!!
Actually one of the nicest laundrymats I've ever been in. Haven't actually been in one in years. Most marinas have a washer and dryer. The Hampton Public docks apparently do not... so, laundry was accomplished in a speedy fashion. Back to the boat - it was almost dark and threatening to rain. Wouldn't that have been ironic if we'd gotten our clean laundry wet carrying it "home"??
And rain it did!! Getting ready to dinghy back to the marina.
This is cool - "it's a small world" - we needed 80' of a particular line to replace one of the lines on the boat. I had called the local West Marine store in Hampton and sure enough, they had the line we needed. I inquired how far away the store was - and the fellow said that it was several miles away - but that he would be glad to drop the line by after work at the marina for us! How cool is that? Plus, it turns out - he's from Siler City!!! Bill Northington - if I caught his name correctly. What a country!
After a dinner of Grilled Mahi Mahi fish tacos with Chipolte sauce (double yum, by the way) we went over to the Air and Space museum for an IMAX showing of the new Star Trek movie. Nice movie - and really neat on that huge screen. OK- when I started writing this, I didn't think we'd done much to write about. Tour Air and Space and Cousteau tomorrow - then on to Yorktown to pick up Sharon and Buddy!!!!
We spent the morning in Hampton touring the Va. Air and Space Museum....nicely done museum - geared for school groups.
I know, silly person!
We had met several folks last night that were in town for the Regatta...they take this stuff serious!!
Beautiful sail up to Yorktown....all the commercial traffic vanished.
The entrance to Sarah Creek - where we'll meet up with Sharon and Buddy.
Today was a nice long sail up to Deltaville, Va - home of a huge boating population. Apparently, there are 4 boats here for every person that actually lives in the small town.
Very pretty and rural.
Capt. Buddy at the helm!
Not alot going on here - we were a couple of miles from the town itself - so we called a local restaurant to come pick us up....here's Vinny - our favorite bus-boy of the evening. Very friendly to transient boaters in this town. We had a nice seafood meal and in for a early evening.
We're back online for now! I nabbed Sharon's camera - and I have her permission to use these photos!
Buddy relaxing in the evening....
We're relaxing too! Notice you may see a few more photos of me for a little while now that someone else besides me is taking some of the photos!
Discussing something about the sails, no doubt.
Isn't this a great photo of Sharon and Buddy?
On to Urbanna - there was a really tall bridge spanning the Rappahanock River - 110' clearance...since our mast height is only 65', we clear this one easily. So, we were having a nice sail and we decided that we could sail thru it instead of dropping the sails. Never have been able to do that before!
I know this is a strange photo - it's me lying on the deck, looking straight up as we sailed underneath the bridge. A very neat angle!
We had been sailing for hours - and we noticed this butterfly following us. We were sailing along at about 6 or 7 knots - and this little fellow flew all around us for several minutes. I had no idea they could fly that fast for so long. OK, we're easily amused!
We arrived to the very nice town of Urbanna - we knew where we were, but they were kind enough to label the entrance channel for us.
Some nice folks that were on the dock helped us settle into a slip for the evening.
We had a really yummy dinner at the marina restaurant - I shared soft-shell crabs with Sharon - the best I've ever had (no surprise, this is supposed to be the crab-capital!)
Just thought this was a pretty shot of the kayak-er's shot from the back of our boat.
Walked into town for a quick provisioning trip. Pretty, old houses. Everyone we met has been really friendly. (And this time, the lady gave us directions - said it was about a 1/2 mile - and she was correct, thank goodness!)
Just wandering around at the Town dock....
From Urbanna, we spied a neat anchorage across the Rappahannock - in a little creek.
After a VERY lively sail - tacking back and forth across the wide river to eventually get to the other side. The wind was strong and we only had our foresail out - still going about as fast as the boat is able. Nice, but you have to pay attention.
We anchored out in a little bay - all to ourselves.
There were several crab-pot floats in our little bay. Before long, the owner (we assume) of the pots came for a harvest. Neat to watch - he pulls the pot up - and throws another in it's place.
Then he drives to the next pot - all-the-while busy emptying and baiting the pot that he just plucked.
And he had two watch dogs on board if you look closely!
I wanted to dinghy over to the marina - it looked close on the chart.
Well, it was a llloooonnnng dinghy ride - thru some choppy water. But, our new dinghy kept us high and dry (well, almost)...
The marina was set back in a pretty cove (lot's of those around here!) We all had to swing, of course....
Pretty marina photo.
I stole this shot from Sharon's camera - very pretty.
Das boot - approaching from our long dinghy ride back from the marina.
Ahhh a pretty sunset - Sharon's camera has a nice sunset "setting".
Today's trip was to head north to Reedville, Va. It was a pleasant sail...interesting marine markers as we approached the channel.
The town was once the home of a large Menhaden fishing industry, including a processing plant.
There is still a active fishing fleet.
Here we are safely at the dock. One word about this little town....it's SMELLY! We had actually been warned by some folks at Urbanna....I'm sure the residents love their beautiful city....but when the wind is blowing just right from the fish processing plant....well, let's just say it's not the most pleasant fragrance!!
Luckily, the Crazy Crab restaurant was adjacent to the dock....very nice to just walk off your boat into the restaurant!
Took a nice stroll down Main Street. Beautiful old homes - and every single one of them was nicely kept.
Fun dinner at the Crazy Crab!
Had an early night (after the game of rummy, of course!). Glad we were at the dock instead of anchored out - a huge group of thunderstorms blew thru around midnight. I went outside and saw 38 knots on the anemometer (over 40 mph). We were safe and sound in our sailing ship!
Our original "plan" included a trip across the Chesapeake Bay to the Eastern Shore. Weather, unfortunately, has turned a little less than spectacular. It's going to be a couple of rainy/stormy days - so we decided to take the safer route and just head one more day north - to the tip of Maryland. We had a nice sail, then motored most of the way because the wind was too light.
Here is the Smith Point lighthouse - it's in the middle of the bay just south of the Virginia / Maryland state line. Rather pretty in a solitary, lonely sort of way!
Not much going on in the town of Ridge, Maryland! The marina was nice enough - kept us safe and sound during the storms that blew in throughout the night. They have a very nice restaurant right on the marina - just the kind we like - just walk off the boat for dinner.
The marina dog.....
We've had great weather so far....today was overcast and threatening rain....
Leaving Point Lookout - lovely homes bordering the Potomac River....
Marina at Point Lookout
We had 6 hours to our next stop. First time we've had to dress for wind and cooler temps.
Cooler temps begged for chili! I had the following ingredients on board - so that's the recipe:
Can black beans
Can blackeye peas
1 onion, chopped
handful of red/green/yellow peppers leftover from burritos
Can diced tomatos
TVP (textured veg. protein)
Served with optional sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips. Hit the spot!
Arrived in Deltaville, this time off the Rappahannock River (last time we were near Deltaville, it was off the other side of the city on the Piankatank River.)
Pretty duck and her duckies.
Turns out she was trolling for crackers....I obliged.
We went out to eat at one of the local establishments.....it poured rain while we were there. Sharon stole Buddy's dreaded CAROLINA jacket.....really, Sharon, you could do better!!!
Back to the boat at the marina....a little soggy - and 100 percent chance of sogginess tomorrow....we may just stay put and enjoy the break.
OK, so today is not really a sailing trip report....it's been constantly raining - so we decided to stay put on the dock at Deltaville. A very nice marina (Dozier's).
Last night for dinner, we called a local restaurant to come pick us up - they sent a bus-boy that only had room for us in the back seat of a Jeep Cherokee.....this was quite comical - Duane is buried back there somewhere....
This morning we borrowed the marina courtesy car to go into town (about 3 miles away). The white Mercedes is the courtesy car! I guess my courtesy cars at the airport need a little upgrade (one is a 1990 Taurus wagon and the other is our old 1991 Chevy Blazer!!)
Later in the day we decided we were all in the mood for pizza - I ordered a veggie pizza, of course - isn't this yummy?
Back Home Now
Boo, hoo - all good vacations must come to an end!!
We're back at home now....easing back into work.
I think this "last dinner" photo is one of the best!