"Summer Skis" N43-12 - Jim and Marge Fuller
Date: May 23, 2008
Departing From: Essex, CT
Destination: Tiverton, RI
Distance: 69.7 Nm
Departure Time: 0855
Arrival Time: 1910
Time in Transit: 9 Hrs. 15 Min.
Weather: Clear, cool, Wind NW 15-25 in the AM. Following seas 4-6’ until the race.
Then less than 3’ until Pt. Judith wind in the PM 5-10. Seas built again as we rounded Point Judith. Very typical of this area, entrance to Newport very manageable.
For the last day of the trip the weather is very nice. Does not look like rain at all today. The windshield wipers need a rest. A beautiful early spring day, in fact it feels like early fall. North wind crystal clear day. Block Island is visible from 13+ miles. Quite unusual for this time of year; the green shore line of Rhode Island to port and Block Island to Starboard. We encountered an unfavorable current most of the way down Long Island Sound. We had slack water for about an hour and then caught the current as we were in
Fishers Island Sound. Good current all the way up Narraganset Bay.
We made a number of calls to the marina and friends as we approached Tiverton. The marina will be closed when we arrive. We have a slip assignment and friends will be there to meet us and bring us a car, we hope.
Bob & Peggy dropped off a car so we could drive home. Derek & Kathy welcomed us to their home with a wonderful dinner with friends Dieti & Mel. A delightful end to a great trip. It is good to come home to so many welcoming friends.
After looking back this was a trip of some significant firsts.
1. We did over 400 miles offshore not including the Jersey shore.
2. We by passed a majority of the most difficult portions of the ICW.
3. We had more lay days due to weather than ever.
4. We had rain every day since leaving Norfolk except today Friday May 23.
It is good to slow down a little and give both Summer Skis as well as our selves a little rest. A lot is on our plate now that we are near our northern friends and family. All of our primary doctors are in this area and Marge starts off with periodontal surgery next week. Then the inevitable dentist appointments check up with the GP and numerous other things that have been put off for the last 7 months.
Then of course we have to consider our mode of transport, Summer Skis. We have passed the 2,000 hour milestone on the main & generator so we need some serious check ups there. A number of “little” things that I can fix, I hope, such as a light in the engine room, filter on the head vent, change oil, change fuel filters, and the list goes on.
We will be taking a break from cruising for now and other than weekend or day trips Summer Skis will be tied to the dock at Brewers Sakonnet Marina in Portsmouth, RI.
We will be “off the air” for a few weeks but as soon as something comes up we will keep you informed.
The majour event of the summer will be the “first ever” Nordhavn Owners Rendezvous to be held in Bristol, RI July 16 – 20. As of this date there are over 20 boats participating and a number of people coming by land. It looks like a great event. The Nordhavn staff in Portsmouth with the support of Nordhavn Dana Point, CA are to be commended for putting this together. It has been a majour undertaking for all involved.
Thanks for putting up with these communications and we will start again as we embark on another adventure.
Please let me know if you want to be dropped from the list and I will take no offense.
Both Marge & I have enjoyed having you along on our adventures and we appreciate all the e-mails you have sent.<
So until we communicate again, as we say to our fellow cruisers:
We wish you fair winds and calm seas.
Jim & Marge
Total days for the trip: 34
Total days not moving: 10
Total weather day delays: 3
Total offshore miles: 538.8
Cape May to New York Harbor 131.7
Total Miles traveled: 1,396 Nautical Miles
Date: May 20, 2008
Departing From: Liberty Landing Marina, NJ
Destination: Port Washington, NY
Distance: 21.1 Nm
Departure Time: 1115
Arrival Time: 1510
Time in Transit: 3 Hrs. 55 Min.
Weather: Very cool, almost cold. Wind 25-30 gusting to 40, seas calm. Sun is out but now warm. Heat is on.
We left at a leisurely time today because we were in no hurry to get to Manhasset as daughter Betsy had school tonight as well as we were quite tired from our long run from Atlantic City. In addition the current was not in our favour on the East River. As a point of interest for those not familiar with this stretch of water, the current can make or break your passage. As a quick calculation will indicate our average speed for the entire trip was about 5 Knots. At times in the Hell Gate section of the river we were down to as low as 2.5 Knots. We were not overly concerned as we only had a short day and were not trying to make a lot of miles. When the current is in your favour you can achieve as much as 10-12 Knots of speed at times. So when transiting the East River really look at your tide & current tables to make your day as pleasant as possible. It was a pleasant day and we saw quite a bit of traffic and talked to a couple of them due to passing and crossing situations due to swift currents and there effect on the boat as well as the tugs and barges.
As we were exiting the East River into Long Island Sound we got a radio call from the Coast Guard. Not a common occurrence. We responded and they wanted to know if we had a cell phone and what the number was. We gave them the number and about 5 minuets later they called us. It turns that the Coast Guard unit that was calling was New York Harbor Control – better known as Homeland Security. Apparently they had been tracking us on AIS as we passed through the harbor and noticed that we had “dropped off there screen” for a number of hours and wanted to know why. We indicated that we had turned off our AIS at night while in the marina vs. changing our status to “anchored.” They also wanted to know our “last port of call”, destination, and they confirmed our documentation number name of the boat, masters name, Home Port and if we would be transiting New York Harbor again in the next 90 days. We said we might be coming back in the fall and they indicated that would be fine as long as we had the AIS on and they could track us. A very interesting situation. This must explain why we keep hearing the Coast Guard making “open” calls to various boats on the water. Apparently they are doing their best to keep track of “who is who” on the busy waters of this area.
A typical Coast Guard “open call” would sound like this:
“Gray trawler approaching green 23 in the Narrows of New York Habor. This is Coast Guard 254135. Pease respond and switch to 22 Alpha.” At which point, if my radio is on, I would respond and switch to 22 Alpha on my radio and then they would conduct the conversation. This could lead to a simple “thanks for the information” to a full blown boarding and inspection which is a real inconvenience, especially when you are under way and trying to make some miles and it is choppy or rough. An inspection could take up to an hour.
Once tied up at Brewers Capri Marina East the wind really began to blow and we were happy to be tied up. We made contact with Betsy and we are set to visit them tomorrow.
One more day closer to home, at this rate we are planning to be in Tiverton on Friday afternoon.
Wednesday will be a relatively short day and then to Essex on Thursday to see Jen & family.
The trip continues.
Date: May 18, 2008
Departing From: Atlantic City, NJ
Departure Time: 0500
Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: As of 0900 - Calm, Clear, wind less than 10. Significant swell from the SE about 3-4’ 1400 – Wind 10-15 Gusting to 20 Seas building to 5-6 with wind chop of 1’
1500-Wind in the 20 Kn range and seas still 5-6. Now the rain comes in. Heavy at times but it appears to be short lived. Verrazano Bridge is in sight.
We left early in order to get a jump on any weather that might come in later today. Based on the forecast if we did not move today it would not be prudent to move until either Tuesday or Wednesday, as another series of fronts are moving into the area. Once we get inside Long Island Sound on Monday we are in relatively protected waters and there are lots of places to “hide” in the event of bad weather along the way. We will also be able to keep our date with daughter Betsy and family. We will also stop in Essex to see Jennifer and family as well. The weather has not developed as rapidly as predicted which is fine with us. At 1400 we are starting to see some rain on the coast that has not come offshore yet. We have 50 minuets to our next mark where we change course to head in to the Ambrose Channel to New York Harbor. If we have lousy weather it will only be for about two hours. Then only rain not too much wind as we will be in the Lower Bay of New York Harbor. This seems to be the weather pattern since leaving Norfolk. The day starts off fine and then goes down hill in the afternoon. It appears that we cannot get 48 hours of good weather. Hope this is not a harbinger of what to expect this summer.
As we approached NY Harbor the traffic really increased. We had multiple AIS targets and spoke to a couple as we would be within a ¼ mile of them. They get very nervous when little boats are playing in their street. One was the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn headed for Bermuda. Fortunately the rain stopped as we passed the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; we took the required pictures of both. The skyline of New York is always quite impressive especially from the entry via the Narrows. We got tied up exactly 13 hours after leaving Atlantic City. A day that was much better than expected.
We checked in with Betsy and will see her and family on Tuesday for the day and dinner.
Weather permitting, Essex Wednesday to Jen and family and friends, Tiverton on Thursday.
Stay tuned to see if it really happens.
Date: May 17, 2008
Departing From: Weather delay Atlantic City, NJ
Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: Clear cool and wind still in the 20-30 Kn range.
The front came through last night and it is now clear and cool but still very windy off shore. The wind has shifted to the south somewhat but it would not be a pleasant trip. This leg will be about 13 hours so we want things to quiet down tonight and we will leave at O”dark hundred tomorrow and make the run to NYC area. We will pick a marina once we get close. Our goal is to visit daughter Betsy, son in law Evans and grand son Dzikamayi(Z) who live on Long Island. Once we make the run tomorrow we are pretty much on the home stretch to Tiverton.
We will make a stop in Essex to see Jen, Jack, Sam & Max. Then on toTiverton.
Today’s activities will be a trip over to the Boardwalk area of Atlantic City with Clifford & Harlene Marks of Honey Girl.
This was quite an experience. We took the $2.00 PP jitney to the Boardwalk area; I guess this was the first good day in some time as the Boardwalk was teeming with people. The Steele Pier has been completely renovated and is a now an arcade of shops and some small restaurants; very nice. The casinos that front on the Boardwalk are very well done and there is no shortage of opportunities to contribute to the welfare of the casino operators. On the north end of the Boardwalk it gets a little “seedy” as I am sure this is what it looked like in the old days, fast food, T-shirt shops, $1.00 beer bars and the like.
Unfortunately my goal to finance the next two or three years of boat expenses was unsuccessful. The reason being I was thoroughly intimidated by the technology revolution that has taken over the slot machine industry. You do not use money, you do not pull the handle, you do not hear the sound of dropping coins, and there are no more plastic buckets to carry your winnings in. It is all done with vouchers and very little intervention by human beings unless you are playing table games and then the minimums are so large it takes the fun out of playing.
Our return to Atlantic City will certainly be tempered by the fact that the marina is not up to its standards of the past, the cost is out of sight in relation for the services and amenities that are provided. We have been told there is a very good anchorage here and we will most defiantly give that a try the next time we need to stop in Atlantic City.
To bed early as we will be up early to get a jump on a very long run tomorrow.
You will hear from us again from NYC.
Date: May 16, 2008
Departing From: Cape May, NJ
Destination: Atlantic City, NJ
Distance: 38.7 Nm
Departure Time: 0555
Arrival Time: 1135
Time in Transit: 5 Hrs. 30 Min.
Weather: Calm departing, Wind building to 15 -20 around 0930, Seas increasing to 3-5, rain with an intermittent rain squall. Around 1000 we were watching the weather really turn bad. The winds picked up and the seas began to build from the NE. Checked the NOAA weather again and now they were talking small craft advisories for winds out of the NE @ 30-40 and seas to 6-8’. Not for another 7 hours if we could avoid it. Atlantic City here we come.
We decided to leave Cape May today just to put miles behind us. The weather is predicted to deteriorate as the day progresses. We were thinking of Manasquan Inlet but with the predictions for easterly winds in the 30 Kn range late this afternoon we did not think this was a wise decision. So we make the decision to go into Atlantic City later and wait until Sunday when things should be ok to proceed to NYC. That will be a 13 hour day. So we will rest up and get an early start on Sunday weather permitting.
In the meantime we will do our best not to be lured into the various dens of iniquity better known as the casinos. We will try to find a free bus to the boardwalk area. We are still traveling in company with Honey Girl and they will also be staying for at least one more day. They have an American Tug and don’t have stabilizers so they are a lot more uncomfortable than we are.
An interesting situation developed as we approached Atlantic City. We noticed an AIS target was on an intersecting course. We called and they responded that they were on mission to deploy a number of “Reef Balls” over the Ocean City Reef.
We also determined that this was a Tow Boat U.S. vessel. Not knowing what a “reef ball” was we asked what his “mission” was. The answer was; the “reef ball” contains the ashes of a dead person. We also noticed on the radar a target behind the Tow Boat U.S. boat and were told that the second boat was carrying the friends and relatives of the dearly departed. We asked if there was going to be any type of communication between the two boats and were told to monitor channel 11. We did and there was no ceremony that was broadcast; only information relating as to when to deploy the “balls.” After all the balls were deployed we talked to the Tow Boat U.S. captain and apparently they do this once or twice a year and there are usually 8+ balls on each “mission.” Each ball is lowered gently to the bottom and I did not inquire as to the weight of the ball but assume that the will stay where they are placed. In all our years of being “out here” we have never encountered this type of event.
The weather really went down the drain. We made the decision to come into Atlantic City and were very pleased to come in. It has been a number of years since we stayed here and the marina has really “gone down hill,” grass growing on the docks, cleats loose, power pedestals, loose and many other things. Marge won’t even go in the heads let alone take a shower here. We do know of a nice anchorage here and will try that if we have a need to stop here on a future trip.
We are tied up and the heat is on and we are very comfortable and will most likely be here until Sunday as we indicated previously.
Tonight’s dinner on board is fresh scallops that Marge bought last night at the Lobster House Restaurant. Looking forward to them.
Will let you know tomorrow if we hit it big
Date: May 15, 2008
Departing From: Chesapeake City, MD
Destination: Cape May, NJ
Distance: 64.0 Nm
Departure Time: 0725
Arrival Time: 1630
Time in Transit: 8 Hrs. 5 Min.
Weather: Hazy, sunny, warm, wind calm, seas calm, current with us.
We left somewhat early as we wanted to take full advantage of the current on Delaware Bay. A favorable current on the leg is the difference between a good day and a very bad day. Last night in the anchorage we had hoped to get a spot at the free town dock. As we entered the harbour we saw about a 40’ spot and thought of rafting with a Krogan trawler or asking him to move forward 10’ so we could tie. We did no thing it was wise to impose either as a rafting partner or ask them to move so we anchored. Not 5 minuets later a sailboat from the Netherlands came in and rafted. About 20 minuets after that we noticed that the Krogan was moving and the Dutch boat was going to occupy the space we wanted. In addition another boat left so we began to move into the new free space that was adequate for us. Only to be hailed on the radio by the Dutch boat to say that he had made arrangements to have his cruising friend occupy the space. An hour later a Norwegian boat shows up and ties up behind the Dutch boat. Next time we will be a little more aggressive as Chesapeake City is a very nice walking town and has done a good job of restorations. In addition there is a quite good restaurant, The Bay Yard House, there. As we left the anchorage this morning I was on the foredeck doing my thing with the anchor and Marge was at the wheel. She was doing very well and we were approaching the canal when the next thing I sense is the boat slowing and then going in reverse. Thinking it was shallow and Marge did not want to run aground I looked back and saw a very surprised look on her face. She pointed to the canal and lo & be hold was a huge car carrier approaching the harbour entrance. Marge was right on top of things as we did not want to tangle with that thing. When one encounters one of those in the canal you know how small you are in comparison. They have lifeboats bigger than us.
It is only noon and we are doing over 9 Kn over the bottom. We still have at least 3 hours of favorable current at which time we will be in the Cape May Canal or very close to it. Have been in contact with Honey Girl of Vero Beach & Camden ME. They are planning on stopping in Cape May as well and have offered to make reservations for us at the local restaurant, The
Lobster Pot, that South Jersey Marine has a connection with. This helps when making reservations. We have been seated in 10 minuets when people in front of us have been told there is a 2 hour wait.
Arrived as expected and tied up with Honey Girl. Showers and dinner are in order and early to bed and off to Atlantic City early to get a jump on what could be not so nice weather that is coming in. When we leave AC will depend on the forecast for Saturday.
Stay tuned for the next 2 legs of open ocean cruising. The first few open ocean legs were great at the start of the trip. Lets hope these two legs will be just as good. It will be a short day to Atlantic City with a 13 hour day to New York after that weather permitting.
We will report again tomorrow.
Date: May 14, 2008
Departing From: Baltimore, MD
Destination: Chesapeake City, MD
Distance: 46.6 Nm
Departure Time: 0915
Arrival Time: 1350
Time in Transit: 4 Hrs. 35 Min.
Weather: The day started sunny and cool. It progressed to overcast but warming up. Wind calm, seas flat. Current turned in our favour around 1300.
This will end a mjour portion of the trip. Once we put the Delaware Bay behind us tomorrow we are close to the home stretch. We passed the 1,000 Nautical mile point on this trip at 1220. Had we stayed inside for the entire trip we think we would have added another 200 miles to the trip. Going outside between Florida & Beaufort takes a lot of the twists & turns out of the trip. We will be watching the weather carefully as we have the run from either Cape May to NYC or Atlantic City to NYC to contend with. Both runs can be very long and it is all open ocean. No place to hide if the weather turns bad.
Anchor down in the anchorage of Chesapeake City MD. And the day is still overcast.
Had made radio contact with Honey Girl of Vero Beach & Camden ME about an hour ago. She will be anchoring also. We will be traveling together tomorrow to Cape May. As we approached the C & D Canal the commercial traffic got quite heavy. A big barge & Tug and now a car carrier. When these guys come at us we feel VERY small. Needless to say we get out of there way without even thinking about it. We call them and they tell us where to go.
Well, all is good on Summer Skis and the ice maker is still doing it’s thing. We will report in again tomorrow or Friday depending on wifi availability. I have 3 free sights here in the anchorage. Quite nice. My last was transmitted while underway from the Elk River.
Will be sending again soon.
May 12 & 13, 2008
Departing From: Weather Delay & Fridge fix – Baltimore, MD
Departure Time: Arrival Time:
Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: Very unpleasant; cold, rain, wind. Not a day to be on the water in any kind of craft.
This really is a miserable day. We are very glad to have heat on board. It is in the hi 40’s with rain and wind. The order of the day is stay warm, dry and inside.
As was reported earlier we have been having some trouble with our fridge/freezer/ice maker; the ice maker being the most important component. In Norfolk we called the company Sub-Zero and they indicated that is was most likely a failed evaporator. Not having time to address this there we called a Sub-Zero distributor today and they will send a person out tomorrow to replace the faulty part. Fortunately this is still under warrantee.
Marge is doing laundry, I am doing some boat projects, changing light bulbs, cleaning engine room and then going to catch up on some reading. Have made arrangements to meet Joe & Charlee this evening on Joe’s boat and then most off to a local spot for dinner.
Since our last visit here there has been a lot of development and the area is really looking good. This is not our preferred stop in Baltimore because it is still some distance from the real “inner harbor” area and action. We can get to the inner harbor by water taxi which Baltimore does have a very good water taxi system. We both prefer to be at the Inner Harbor Marina as it is within walking distance of a unique grocery on Federal Hill. Also close to the Aquarium, Museum of Science and a number of shops and restaurants. There is a huge ESPN sports bar there that I would like to see.
The day remained cold, wet, and miserable. Went to Joe’s boat for drinks before dinner and met one of his friends who also joined us for dinner. Tried to go to Lommy’s but they were closed. Went to another place whose name escapes me. Had the pork rigatoni special and was very good. Marge got her crab cake fix and was very pleased. There are a number of restaurants in the Canton area which is within walking distance of the marina.
A good time was had by all and we said good by to Charlee and we all returned to our warm and comfortable boats.
May 13, 2008
The weather has now turned and the sun is out and starting to feel warm again. Marge took a walk with Joe and his dog. She discovered the Joe is the unofficial mayor of the waterfront. He not only knows all the two legged inhabitants but all the four legged as well. He has treats for all the dogs and they come running when Joe shows up. Did some basic grocery shopping to get us home at the Safeway which is a short walk.
The fridge man showed up and was not happy to be working on a boat. He said his company had given up working on boats years ago due to the difficulty of accessing the appliances. I worked with him and he determined that we had two problems. One the fan motor was not working and two the evaporator is not working and needs to be relaced. He replaced the fan motor and recharged the evaporator and we now have a functioning fridge/freezer/ice maker. For how long is unknown. There apparently is a leak in the evaporator and we will get it replaced in Rhode Island.
Once that was fixed all is good on the Good Ship Summer Skis now that we have ice cubes again and the small freezer working. Forgot to mention, cold beer and soda again.
Joe came for dinner and Marge did a grand job in the galley as usual.
Good time was had by all and we said our good bys to Joe and we will be off again tomorrow for the upper part of the bay and Chesapeake City tomorrow night.
As allways a great time in the Baltimore area.
Date: May 11, 2008
Departing From: Mill Creek, VA
Destination: Baltimore, MD
Distance: 101 Nm
Departure Time: 0635
Arrival Time: 2100
Time in Transit: 15 Hrs. 25 Min.
Weather: Early AM very calm and no wind. As predicted the wind and seas are building. Fortunately they are behind us today. Overcast and quite cool. I will spend considerable time on this subject here as today NOAA was right. As the day progressed the wind increased for the SE topping out around 1600 between 30 & 40. Following seas also building to 6’ with an occasional larger one, the wind backed into the east at the 30 – 40 range. The seas became more of a beam sea. As darkness approached and we passed under the Bay Bridge the wind went NE with no abatement. Waves also moved into the NE and we began to really throw a lot of spray and it began to get uncomfortable. The only relief was in the fact we had only about 8 miles to go before Baltimore Harbor. As we turned west into the harbor things improved dramatically.
We really did not want to leave this idyllic anchorage. It was very cool this morning and the mist was rising off the water as the sun was rising. Not a ripple on the water. Turned on the heat to take off the chill. A definite place to return to. The other boats were also leaving to destinations unknown. We made contact with First Light and wished them well on their trip to the Solomons. We will no doubt see them at the rendezvous.
We again checked in with First Light as we passed Solomons as they were still 9 miles behind us. Our wakes will no doubt cross again soon.
Over all the day was as NOAA predicted and the only hiccup was that we did not anticipate a sustained wind and tide against us. We knew the tide was foul for a good part of the trip but the wind went east & north sooner than predicted. These two factors reduced our forward progress to 6.5 knots. Our normal speed is closer to 7.1 but with tide figured in we usually do our planning at 6.6-6.8. We had originally planned to arrive in Baltimore around 2015 which was right at sunset. But as you can see we arrived in the dark. This was not difficult because Baltimore has two very good ranges and once inside the harbor the ambient light really helps. As we rounded Ft. McHenry the rain came back with vengeance so we got prepared to get wet for our docking. What else in new after a long and tiring day. In addition once entering the “Inner Harbor” there are no marks that can be confused with background light. The only distraction we had was the dock person who was telling us where are slip was kept telling us to head for the “large blue awning”. My answer was. It’s dark out here and I can’t see any “dark blue awning.” We got in without incident other than getting soaked from the knees down.
Dinner had been planned as left overs so Marge did a quick meal for us and then we turned in. Very tired, damp and glad that we made the decision to press on. The weather is predicted to be very bad for the next two days. We will take this time to meet with Charlee Poindexter and good friend and able Bermuda crewmember from 06 as well as Joe Hanay an old friend from Annapolis who has been living on and sailing his boat for many years by himself to far flung ports to numerous to name. We are looking forward to seeing Joe and meeting up with Charlee again.
The boat continues perform well and yesterdays trip would not have been possible without, our auto pilots and stabilizers. The AIS helped us sort out all the traffic as we entered Baltimore Harbor.
We are here most likely until Wednesday when the weather will again improve and we can move on to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, Delaware Bay, the Jersey shore, and New York City area to see daughter Betsy and family.
Date: May 10, 2008
Departing From: Norfolk, VA
Destination: Mill Creek, VA
Distance: 65.1 Nm
Departure Time: 0840
Arrival Time: 1750
Time in Transit: 9 Hrs. 5 Min.
Weather: Rotten, NOAA really blew it today. We left expecting North to Northeast @ 5-10. Seas less than 2’. In actuality it started out as predicted but went down hill starting around 1100. The wind increased steadily all day to between 25-30. Rain squalls were frequent in the morning, seas built to 6’ with an occasional 8’ one thrown in for good measure. To compound the problem the tide was against the wind. Once the tide turned the seas settled down to a manageable 3-4’.
Today was one of the roughest that Marge has experienced. She came through like a trooper. Stood her watches and did not flinch when the water was cascading off the windows from waves breaking over the bow. These are the type of day we avoid when possible. Fortunately the boat performed well and there were no concerns at all.
As was last reported we were looking at a couple of stops based on how we were holding up. Another factor in our decision was the fact that the weather is supposed to really get bad late Sunday through Wednesday. We did not want to get stuck in an undesirable place or someplace that had limited facilities. We decided to press on until we got tired or the weather was so bad we could not continue. As it turned out the weather moderated quite a bit so we picked Mill Creek off the Great Wicomico River near Reedville, VA. What a find. A picture perfect Chesapeake Bay anchorage. Easy to get into, well protected, large and only 3 other boats there. A definite “return to spot.” By stopping here we also could make Baltimore on Sunday providing we left really early. Baltimore would be a good spot to be “weathered in” for a few days and we know some people who live on there boats at the Anchorage Marina. Annapolis was an alternative but without a car we would have been pretty much restricted to the boat. We made some phone calls and will be at the Anchorage Marina until the weather moderates in mid week.
After dropping anchor in Mill Creek we both remarked that after a long day of head seas and high wind we deserved this wonderful anchorage in front of some beautiful homes surrounded by farm fields and manicured lawns. A great end to a bad day.
The weather for tomorrow is for wind and seas from the south which will be the exact opposite of today. Wind & seas will again build as the day goes along but we hope to be in Baltimore before it gets too bad. If necessary we can stop short of there and hide from the weather.
Date: May 9, 2008
Departing From: Lay Day Norfolk, VA
Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: This lay day was the result of severe weather in the Southern Chesapeake Bay area. We have been under a tornado watch until 1000 this morning and another weather front is due to pass through the area early afternoon. Winds could be as high a 50Mph. with thunderstorms and heavy rain.
Last night we had cocktails on board Uno Mas a Nordhaven 40 that was a participant in the 2004 NAR. John & Sue are great hosts and we were joined by Ted & Linda from First Light a Nordhavn 46 that is 14 years old Ted & Linda are the original owners. Both boats will be attending the Nordhavn Bristol Rendezvous in July.
We continue to do odd jobs around the boat and one of the priorities for today is to correct a serious situation that threatens the continuation of the trip. Fix the ice maker!!!!!
The Admiral needs an ice cube or two in her wine. Have made a number of phone calls and it appears that we must make the ultimate sacrifice and buy ice cubes for the balance of the trip. The soonest we can get a technician to look at the ice maker is about a week from now. We should be close to home by then.
Had a radio call from Walter & Mary Smithe on Down Time, they are anchored out here in Norfolk and will be joining us for cocktails on First Light tonight at 1730.
The second weather front is about to pass through and hopefully we will begin to see a break in the weather.
If all works out we will leave here for Fishing Bay or The Tides then to Solomons and Baltimore. After Baltimore our next stop will be Cape May if we can get a good current down the Delaware Bay.
Well folks stay tuned to see if we leave tomorrow the 10th.
Date: May 8, 2008
Departing From: Lay Day Norfolk, VA
Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: Overcast, rain, bleak!!!!!
Good decision to stay. Awoke to pouring rain and some not too nice winds. Picked up the mail and began to go through that and pay a couple of bills and catch up on some 800 # phone calls that have been accumulating.
For those of you who are curious.
We do not subscribe to a mail forwarding service. We are fortunate to have some VERY good friends who accumulate our mail and make the decision as to what is junk and not. We then check in periodically and tell them where we will be and they send the mail off to us. We have given them, we hope, enough money for postage and we use the priority mail service of the U.S. Postal service. This has worked well for the last 3 years and we thank Peggy & Bob profusely for this help. We even have pre-stamped foreign Priority envelopes as well.
We will be going over to Uno Mas this evening and Marge is contributing a hot appetizers to the event. Uno Mas will be at the Nordhavn Rendezvous in Bristol.
Tomorrow looks like an ok day to travel. Not excellent but better than today. We have not decided on a destination yet as that is one nice thing about the Bay. There are so many places to stop if you do notwant to continue if conditions dictate.
Stay tuned for tomorrows destination.
Date: May 7, 2008
Departing From: Elizabeth City, NC
Destination: Norfolk, VA
Distance: 43.9 Nm
Departure Time: 0730
Arrival Time: 1830
Time in Transit: 10 Hrs. 00 Min.
Weather: Clear and warm
The Dismal Swamp is a very interesting and historical piece of American history.
We left Elizabeth City early in order to make the entire trip in one day. There are two locks that must be transited. The first being at South Mills and the Second at Deep Creek. No-it was not deep. The trip to the South Mills Lock was spectacular. We were on the Pasquotank River, an 18 mile journey through cypress swamps and some very attractive homes. Truly worth the trip.
Upon entering the South Mills Lock we entered the Dismal Swamp in all it’s splendor and primal condition. Prior to embarking on this leg of the trip we were concerned about the depth of the canal and were assured it was at least 6’. This was confirmed at the Rose Buddies party as well. Except for one spot near the Lake Drummond Feeder Ditch, which “might” be a little less than 6’.
Upon entering the canal we did discover that there is still a lot of debris in the canal. This debris takes the form of logs and stumps that lie in wait for unsuspecting boats to come along. The first couple of “hits” scared us half to death. After awhile it became quite common place and we adjusted our speed from 6 knots to about 4. Now you begin to see why it took us 10 hours. Our only concern was that we not take a significant “prop hit” as this would really ruin our day. As we approached the North Carolina Welcome Center we opted to forgo a stop here as we wanted to end this ordeal in one day. As we approached the Lake Drummond Feeder Ditch we asked the boat in front of us how deep it was. He said fine “we only draw 4’”. Needless to say we slowed down and the guys in Elizabeth City were right. It was a “little less than 5”. Fortunately it was soft and we made it through with just a little bump. As we proceeded up the canal we came upon a Corps of Engineers barge & work boat. We told them about the Lake Drummond spot and there answer was “come back next week and it will be gone.” I don’t think so. They also indicated that now that the Swamp is a National Historic Landmark more funds will be available for it’s maintenance and clean up of the stumps and debris. Maybe in a year or two it will be available to boats of 5’+ draft. Right now it would not be on our “must see list.” The experience on the Pasquotank River and Elizabeth City are worth repeating. All in all it was a day of high anxiety and slow going. Worth doing but would not do it on this boat again unless there is significant improvements done. It will be interesting to see what my stabilizer fins and prop look like. There is no vibration in the prop so I think that came through unscathed.
We exited at Deep Creek which as I said was not deep. In fact we were following a sailboat that we had met in Elizabeth City and were about 75 yards behind him when we noticed is stern rise up and come to a very abrupt stop. He had wandered out of the channel by about 20’ and was in less that 3’ of water. He had to call Tow Boat U.S. and be pulled off.
Upon entering the waterway again just south of Norfolk we were in deep water plus the added obstacles of scheduled bridges. The Gilmerton Bridge was on a restricted schedule and was closed to marine traffic for another one and a half hours. We anchored and caught up on some e-mails and Marge started to prepare another fantastic meal.
Upon arrival in Norfolk we both took showers and had a glass of wine with Marge’s dinner and toasted a very long, anxious and interesting day. While enjoying dinner John & Sue Spencer of Uno Mas stopped over and invited us for “Happy Hour” tomorrow if we were to stay over. We turned in early very tired.
It looks like a Lay Day tomorrow as there is mail waiting for us and it looks like a not too nice day as far as weather is concerned.
Date: May 6, 2008
Departing From: Alligator River Marina
Destination: Elizabeth City NC.
Distance: 32.6 Nm
Departure Time: 0925
Arrival Time: 1400
Time in Transit: 4 Hrs. 35 Min.
Weather: Cool, Clear very pleasant. Very nice day.
This was a first for us. Marge had never been to Elizabeth City and I had never done it from this direction. As you can see we arrived quite early which gave us an opportunity to see the town.
Our first impression of Elizabeth City was very encouraging. There are only a limited number of slips available and even fewer that would accommodate a boat of our size. An older gentleman told us to take a particular slip and it was necessary to back in so as to be able to get off the boat. One of the line handlers was very friendly and could not have been more informative about the town. We spent quite a bit of time talking to him and he told us of his sailing experiences etc. He encouraged us to come to the free wine, beer & cheese party at 1630. He said he might see us there.
After walking around town and Marge getting some homemade bread and a neat necklace we returned to the boat to go to the cruisers party. It was a fun event and we met the new “Rose Buddies” and learned about the town as well as various attractions. Our “docking friend” appeared and again was very talkative. After spending a few minuets with us another gentleman (Joe) who happens to be one of the bridge tenders came up to us and indicated we were in fact have a conversation with the Mayor of Elisabeth City. At it turned out he was the mayor and was a truly nice guy. He had to cut his conversation short as another boat was coming in and he had to help tie it up. As we were leaving the party he was walking down the dock and we invited him (Mayor Stephen S. Atkinson) aboard for a quick tour. He was very interested in the boat and we spent quite a bit of time discussing not only the boat but what he did for a “day job” before retiring to Elizabeth City. It turns out he was the purchasing manager for 13 Ford Motor Company plants in this country.
If he can make all the things happen to Elizabeth City that he wants it will be a significant cruising destination.
All in All Elizabeth City is worth the trip.
Tomorrow on to Norfolk and the Dismal Swamp.
Date: May 5, 2008
Departing From: Dowry Creek Marina
Destination:_Alligator River Marina
Distance: 42.6 Nm
Departure Time: 0930
Arrival Time: 1555
Time in Transit: 6 Hrs. 25 Min.
Weather: Severe thunder storms with lots of lighting, wind and rain. Improving to sunny and cool. Marge is in long pants. I am still holding out by wearing shorts.
Delayed departure until the storms passed. Had planned on a 0800 departure but opted to delay due to weather. We try to avoid lighting at all costs as boats and lighting do not get along well. We have known too many friends that have been struck to temp this type of exposure unnecessarily.
We are off to Alligator River Marina at the top of the Alligator River. This will give us an easy day tomorrow as we approach the Dismal Swamp Canal and Elizabeth City, NC. We want to arrive there early so as to enjoy a waterway tradition that was started by some women a number of years ago.
The tradition has been passed on to the husbands of the women and now that they (the founders) have passed on, other older members of the Elizabeth City, NC community have carried on this tradition. The tradition is: A group of gentlemen and their wives come down to the boats in the evening and put on a free wine and cheese party for the boaters that are tied up to the town dock. Each lady on the boats is given a rose from the garden of one of the original “Rose Buddies” as they have been called over the years. We will tell you more as we experience this event.
Today’s run is a long and boring trip as there is absolutely nothing to see. We are in a 22 mile land cut known as the Alligator Pungo Canal. This empties into the Alligator River. It is nothing more than a Cypress swamp. No houses, cars, only trees and more trees. Not even an alligator. At the end of this river is the Albemarle Sound. The last piece of open water before the Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk. The Albemarle Sound can be a very rough piece of water if the wind is from the North East. That is for tomorrow.
Got tied up and checked in at the Shell gas station. A very clean and neat marina but short on amenities. The heads & showers are clean but a country mile walk from the boat. Fuel prices are good but unless you are talking to the owner no one knows the prices. The stock answere to all questions regarding any pricing is “the computer figures that out.” We wanted to compare fuel prices as I know the price at Tidewater in Norfolk. When asked for the price of 200+ gallons of fuel the answer was “the computer figures that out.” We know there is a discount but you have to buy before you know the discount because “the computer figures that out.” Needless to say we will top off the fuel in Norfolk where fuel is $3.77 per gal. for 200 – 500 gal. We will buy at least the 200 gal. minimum. This will top us off and carry us through the summer until we get back to this area where fuel is much more competitive. We have seen fuel prices as high a $4.80 at some marinas.
Well off to Elizabeth City, NC the Dismal Swamp tomorrow.
Will be reporting in from there.
Date: May 3, 2008
Departing From: Lay Day Beaufort, NC
Departure Time: Arrival Time: Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: Clear cool and very pleasant.
This is old information to anyone who has stayed at the Beaufort Docks.
Marge & I are trying to figure out why we have never stayed here in the past. Other than we were rushing and the timing was not right. This will change. This is a great spot. Everything is within walking distance and if you can’t walk to it they have two sources for courtesy cars. This is most defiantly a return to destination, especially now that we know there are a number of doable daylight runs if we want to run outside. In the fall they would be stretches but now that we know the channel I would not feel uncomfortable leaving in the dark.
I finally got a chance to give the boat a good washing and spent time getting to know the town. Marge found the grocery store while I was washing and she as well went to the General Store to do some laundry that she prefers to do on shore vs. on the boat. She also did a couple of loads on the boat as well.
There is constant activity on the waterfront here. Today there was a skiff building contest, rowing races, and various water craft plying the harbour. A number of waterholes along the waterfront have varying degrees of entertainment going most of the day & night. Marge found a couple of shops with some good prices and I am the owner of a new pair of shoes at a very reasonable price. Marge also found some things for her self.
Dinner last night was light fare at a restaurant called Clawson’s. Lots of good atmosphere and history. The entrée menu looked quite good but we did not partake of it. We ran into some other cruisers that we have seen at other ports along the way. In particular Clifford & Harlene Marks of Vero Beach & Camden Maine on Honey Girl. We saw them come into Beaufort today and spoke to them and we teamed up for dinner at the Beaufort Grocery Company. A great stop and well worth a second visit. Can’t believe that we have eaten out for two nights in a row. Highly unusual.
It has been a relaxing day with some bursts of activity and enjoyable meetings with other cruisers who we have seen along the way as well as some we will see again.
That is what it is all about.
Tomorrow we are off to hopefully Dowery Creek Marina in Bellhaven, NC
Off early tomorrow morning.
Date: May 1-2, 2008
Departing From: Charleston, SC
Destination: Beaufort, NC
Departure Time: 0750
Time in Transit: Hrs. Min.
Weather: Clear cool and light winds.
As we reported yesterday it was planned to head to Georgetown, SC a very nice town and as we discovered on our way down a worth while stop as well as the start of the one of the most beautiful parts of the waterway. The Waccamaw River. After listening to the weather forecast and remembering our difficulties with the depth of the waterway between Charleston & Georgetown we opted to run outside to Georgetown. Around noon we again listened to the forecast and decided to make a mjour decision and push on to Beaufort, NC. This will mean that we will run through the night again and our total mileage will be around 211 nautical miles. In doing this we will by pass one of the prettiest parts of the waterway but we will also avoid some of the shallowest parts of the waterway. Making decisions on the “fly” like this is one reason we have a Nordhavn. First & foremost we have the boat that is capable of making this type of passage and we do not need to agonize over such things as fuel, water, and the boats ability to “press on” when you want to. The only limitations are weather and crew. We know the weather is on our side and with Marge’s support we know that we are both capable of this type of run.
Another reason for pushing and putting over 200 miles behind us it gives us the opportunity of do some “lay days” if we want to.
Tomorrow will see us in Beaufort, NC a port we have been by many times but never stopped at. We will rest up tomorrow once we get in and will spend Saturday there as well. We have been reading about the town and it really looks interesting. According to other cruisers it is a must stop.
Once we leave Beaufort, NC we will be “inside” for the balance of the trip as I will NOT go outside of Cape Hatteras unless it is on someone else’s boat and I am not asked for an opinion.
1530 01 May, 2008
We have just made the turn off of Georgetown, SC for a mark off of Cape Fear, NC this leg of the trip is 70 nautical miles and we will reach our next turning point at 0040(40 minuets before 0100) on May 2, 2008. At which time we will again change course to approach Beaufort, NC. That leg will be 78 nautical miles long. All of our night time systems are functioning and we are in our offshore mode of operations. Get sleep when we can and set up a watch schedule after dinner. It looks like pizza tonight.
2000 01 May, 2008
Oops, no pizza. Pigs in a blanket and stuffed peppers, tomatoes, & Zucchini.
Marge did a great job in the galley tonight and as I was eating dinner she spotted an AIS target the Motor Vessel Tofton departing the Cape Fear River bound of the Savannah River. It was determined that she was on a collision course and she was the “burdened” vessel. We made radio contact and the Captain and Marge agreed that he would pass one mile astern. The Tofton changed course to starboard and passed one mile astern and then resumed his course to Savannah.
We can’t say enough about AIS. I sure makes cruising the open seas a lot safer.
Marge is lying down and I am on watch until 2100 when I turn in until 2300. We make a course change at 0100 to make our approach to Beaufort. That leg will be 78 nautical miles. Which will give us an arrival time at the outside sea buoy about 1100. Once we get there we will have a more accurate ETA.
0300 02 May, 2008
We turned the corner to our final course at 0100. The final leg of this portion of the trip is 76.7 nautical miles. The computer gives us an ETA of 1058 at the sea buoy off of Beaufort. While on watch we encountered one sailboat bound for the Cape Fear River. He apparently was coming in from the Islands as he was at right angles to our course. The other was the tug Jay Michael bound for Jacksonville, FL. This was an AIS contact and we spoke on the radio to affect a safe pass.
Well the good ship Summer Skis is in the capable hands of Marge so off to bed for a few hours.
0600 02 May, 2008
Came back on watch to find that Marge had been seeing a lot of traffic and managed to miss them all. We are starting to see a lot of sailboats heading for Beaufort. This is the last stop before Cape Hatteras and it is preferred to come inside to the Waterway for the balance of the trip to Norfolk. So everyone comes in here if they are not on the Waterway. Even those using the Waterway make Beaufort a stop as it is a convenient stop with a lot to offer. It is beginning to get light so the trip will be a lot less stressful as we can see well and also radio traffic will pick up now that it is light.
0900 02 May, 2008
I am officially off watch and will try to catch a quick nap as we only have about 14 miles to the sea buoy at the entrance of the channel.
1119 02 May, 2008
We have arrived at the sea buoy and this leg of the trip will be behind us for this year.
After transiting the entrance and approach to Beaufort Docks marina we shut the engine off at 1250 and the distance measured to the dock from the dock in Charleston, SC is 217 nautical miles. This marina has a good reputation and it is right in the center of town with numerous stores, restaurants and marine services.
Marge has earned a dinner out and a day of rest so tomorrow we stay in Beaufort and sleep in and look around and pick a restaurant for either lunch or dinner.
Marge has prepared a grilled cheese & tomato sandwiches for lunch and now it is time for a shower and wind down from a very easy but long 29 hour trip.
Stay tuned for the report on Beaufort, NC.