We're making a late summer trip up to Virginia and will be joined by the Johanson grand-daughters. Plan to drop the lines on Saturday, August 4 and be back on Monday September 4. On the way north we'll be making a couple of stops to see friends. Stay tuned!
It's Saturday, August 4th, everything on the boat has been serviced and we're ready to go. Except, we ordered new canvas that is a week late getting installed and a last minute mistake on the starboard rear panel is back at the shop getting fixed. Chuck's Custom Upholstery has worked into the evening last night to get us fixed so by 10:00 AM we should be ready to go. I suggested to Chuck that he could just add a wedge strip to that back corner and would get it fixed when we got back. But Chuck is proud of his work and doesn't want us leaving without things being right. He's just one of those guys that insists it be right, that's why he does all of our canvas work.
We plan to anchor out for the first three nights and get to Barefoot Resort Marina in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday afternoon and enjoy dinner with Jim and Pam aboard SILVER BOOTS, boaters we met the first time in Elk Rapids, Michigan in 2007, and see occasionally ever since. The next post will be when we get there and have access to Wi-Fi.
Four days and 200 miles under the keel, we are right on schedule in North Myrtle Beach. We finally dropped the lines on Saturday at 12:30 PM, traveled 51 miles and anchored in Tom Point Creek. On Sunday we passed through Charleston and 61 miles further up the Intracoastal Waterway and anchored east of the waterway in Awendaw Creek, just south of McClellanville.
On Monday as we approached Georgetown, we saw several long boom back hoes digging in some of the old rice farms out in the salt marsh. A pontoon bridge has also been added to allow vehicles to get out to the salt marshes east of the ICW, we have no idea what is being excavated. As we passed through Georgetown, we stayed to the west channel and went up the Pee Dee River to Jericho Creek which winds through the old rice field area with many old water gates still standing. These field are between the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers which fed fresh water to these fields during an outgoing tide. They would open the gates to flood the fields with fresh water. As the tide turned and salt water came back into creek of the area, the gates were closed to keep the salt water out. Now back on the ICW in the Waccamaw River, we started seeing more Cypress trees as we moved into the Cypress Marshes that are south of Myrtle Beach.
Along the way we detoured through Prince Creek, looping back into the ICW just south of Bucks Port. We anchored that nigh in "Old R" as this creek is referred to on the charts.
Tuesday's trip up to Barefoot Resort Marina in North Myrtle was only 24 miles, but was one of the worst days of cruising we've experienced. The ICW becomes a dredged narrow channel lined with docks, with many DNR "SLOW YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WAKE" signs posted along the way, something all responsible boaters generally do. Well, not the US Coast Guard, they came roaring by us only 10' off our port side at 3/4 throttle, unannounced, in one of their 30' patrol boats while we were running at slow speed, being responsible for our wake, no call for a pass, no warning at all. It was maybe the worst waking we have ever had. Our wet bar refrigerator door was not locked down, the door flew open, wine bottles-one broken, beer can, and pop cans, all over the sun deck floor. Two full cups of coffee on a rubber mat next to the control panel tipped over and then onto the sun deck floor where they broke. If they had been on an emergency call I might excuse this piloting, but they weren't. We cleaned up the mess best we could without a hose, and locked down the bar refrigerator. Good thing, about 30 minutes later a 50' Sea Ray bubble boat waked us passing us close on the starboard side, in the same narrow channel lined with docks, no call for a pass, no attempt to let us know he was coming. IDIOTS! Just as we were ready to dock the sky opened up and we got drenched coming into the marina. Soaking wet, I diverted some of the water on the deck to the sun deck floor and with a deck brush cleaned up the sticky mess on the floor.
We capped off the day with a delightful "indoor picnic" aboard
SILVER BOOTS. Claria didn't have too much fun!
Let me pause and apologize for the lateness of my updates. I expected to Wi-Fi at Kingsmill Resort Marina, but no such luck, I have to go up to the resort common areas to get Wi-Fi.
After leaving Wrightsville Beach we travel up to Moorhead City on Thursday where we spent the night at a free dock in front of Sanitary Seafood restaurant, where we enjoyed a relaxing dinner. Did I mention that it rained again, like it has everyday since we left home. The good news, we have a windshield with wipers so we can see pretty well and stay nice and dry under our hard top. Many boats have canvas at their upper drive stations and looking through isinglass in the rain leaves a lot to be desired, and driving from lower drive stations greatly reduces visibility when your dodging crab trap buoys.
As we continued up to Norfolk we continued to have rain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday night we anchored near Belhaven, NC, at the start of the Alligator-Pungo River Canal. Normally we have two options goin up to Norfolk, the Dismal Swamp Canal route of the Virginia Cut route. Dismal Swamp is still closed from storm damage from Matthew with many trees in the canal, so we are forced to take the Virginia Cut - we prefer the Dismal Swamp. On Saturday we anchored near the NC, VA border at the beginning of the Virginia Cut Canal. As we traveled through the Canal on Sunday we had draw bridges and one lock to deal with which tend to slow you way down. They have the bridge openings and lock opening timed for travel through the canal at 6 MPH.
Rebel Marina is one of the neatest and best run marinas we have visited, by far the best marina so far on this trip. They have a courtesy car, so we could run some errands and re provision the boat, and pick up our granddaughters at the Norfolk Airport later in the afternoon. Oh, and did I mention it rained again! We joined my sister and husband at their residence on the shore of Chesapeake Bay for dinner, this would be the only chance for them to see the kids.
Elisabeth, Anya, Sister Mary, Jack, Me. Claria is taking the picture.
On Tuesday we cast off at 7:05 to head up the James River to Williamsburg. The tidal current was going to be against us so allowed an extra half hour to go 32 miles. There is much naval presence and commercial container service in the harbor.
And the kids got a chance to catch up on sleep from a busy day getting here. We arrived at Kingsmill Resort Marina at 11:45, and were on a bus to Colonial Williamsburg at 1:00. Elisabeth had set up a 2:30 tour of William and Mary University which we all enjoyed. We had dinner in town and caught the last bus back to the resort.
Kingsmill Resort Marina is one of the worst marinas we have visited. The marinas primary function is to rent water toys to the resort guests, jet skies, paddle boards, kayaks, pontoon boats, and fishing gear. Transient boating guests are a low priority. The docks are in poor condition, Wi-Fi does not work anyplace in the marina, there is one small unisex rest room with small shower, There is no boaters lounge or laundry facilities. As you can see from the pictures we are the only transient, the boat across from us is a permanent marina customer. But, the resort itself is first class and the resort staff very cordial.
On Friday, August 18th we headed back down the James River, fueled up and pumped out in Hampton, and headed north in Chesapeake Bay for the Potomac River. As we entered the bay we had a light wind from the south on our stern with an outgoing tide pushing against us. It was apparent we would not make our planned anchorage if we didn't step up the speed of the boat, so we put the old gal up on plane. About 10 miles from Ingram Bay we slowed back down to hull speed. By now the wind had increased to about 20 MPH and the waves had built up to 2-3', still from the south on our stern. The coast guard came on the radio to warn mariners of an approaching line of thunder storms, at which point I went to one of the weather stations to learn more of the pending weather. We were still a little over an hour from our planned anchorage, so I again put the boat up on plane to shorten the time to get off the bay. Once inside of Ingram Bay we worked up into Mill Creek and found a well protected spot to anchor. We put down two anchores, one for the south wind we were in and one for the expected west wind when the storm front came through. At about 9:00 the storm front did arrive, the wind blew hard from the west, but other than the wind blowing, no waves could build up where we were. We had a peaceful night.
Saturday morning we woke up to beautiful, relatively cool dry day. The wind shifted to the west during the night and we had a light breeze. We came out into the Bay 7 miles south of the Smith Point Light and the entrance into the Potomac River.
Wednesday we all went up to American University an the NW corner of the metro area so Elisabeth could visit the campus. Following the visit we went down to George Town to see the Old Stone House and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which is undergoing a major reconstruction, and then back to the boat. We also found a specialty cup cake shop and managed to spend $40.00 for four really special cupcakes. Time to pack up and get the girls back on an airplane on Thursday morning.
Up early Thursday, all packed, off to the airport in a
METRO subway system. As a senior my fare was
supposed to be $1.20. BUT, the only way to access
the subway is with a SmartTrip card. The minimum
you can put on a SmartTrip card is $2.00 and then you
need to pay $2.00 for the card, so now my trip cost
$4.00. Anybody need a SmartTrip card with a balance
value of $.80? I did make it back to the boat!
Once the kids were safely on their way home, we got the boat ready to travel again. Our boating plan was to go south about 24 miles on the Potomac River to the Occcoquan River and then turn NW up the river to Occoquan, VA 8 miles up the river to meet Jim and Becky for dinner at Madigans. All went to plan and we had a delightful evening with our friends.
Somehow the post I did last night didn't get published, so I'll try again and add todays excitement!
On Friday we headed further south down the Potomac River and went into Coan River to anchor for the night. The weather forecast was for ENE winds blowing 10-12 kts. through the night and into tomorrow. As we left the anchorage Saturday morning it appeared the wind was more like 15-18 kts. and the waves were 2-3'. To smooth out the ride we put the boat up on plane. As we rounded Smith Light and entered Chesapeake Bay, the tidal current was behind us giving us a push and the waves were somewhat less, so we slowed the boat down to hull speed to conserve fuel. After running for an hour or so, the wind picked up and so did the waves, so we went back up on plane. Another hour and the wind died to almost calm, the waves subsided, so we slowed down to hull speed again. As mid afternoon approached, the wind again came back up, and now we at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic so the waves built to 3-4'. We were headed for Lynnhaven Inlet in behind Atlantic Beach which is to the east of the bridge-tunnel. As we approached the center tunnel to cross to the east side, the Coast Guard approached our port stern corner and announced they wanted to board and conduct a courtesy inspection. We acknowledged and Claria went over to the port rail to discuss where they would board. We were unable to open the canvas without a screw driver so she suggested they board over the hand rail at about mid ship. Keep in mind the waves are 3-4' on our side, so the boarding party of three would have to step up about 4' to our deck and then over the hand rail as the two boats bounced around in the waves. One of the boarding party was a woman, and she was not excited about the leap from their boat to ours, so they decided not to board. Good job Claria of discouraging them! We continued into Lynnhaven Inlet as the wind and waves continued to build. We had dinner with my sister Mary and her husband Jack.
On Sunday we took a boat ride up into Broad and Linkhorn Bays behind Cape Henry with Mary and Jack and two other couples on board. We were also celebrating Mary and Jack's 54th wedding anniversary.
For those watching the weather, realize that the development of low pressure system 10 into a tropical storm is very probable and will come right into our southbound path. Tuesday will be the worst day, and by Wednesday things will get somewhat back to normal. If we stay put in Lynnhaven we loose two days, or we could venture out early Monday and get into the ICW where we would be somewhat protected, and if we could get to Coinjock would only loose one day. We opted for some rough going on Monday leaving Lynnhaven Inlet, and it was as expected, 4-5' waves on our rear starboard corner, but once in Norfolk and the ICW, was very manageable.
BUT, progress down the canal was SLOW. Our first holdup was a RR draw bridge, which was down when we arrived. After about 20 minutes we heard a train whistle so assumed we would see a train shortly. Another 10 minutes and a 3 car train crossed, a locomotive, a flat car with a load of lumber, and a caboose. Another 10 minutes and the bridge began to raise. By now we had a tug boat waiting with us, a he was in a big hurry to get under the bridge, proceeding before the bridge was up and locked in place. I guess I know too much about cable hoists, if they are going fail it's when they are in motion.
Our next hold up was at the Great Bridge lock and draw bridge. The bridge is about 1/2 mile down the canal from the lock and they work together, with the bridge opening on the hour. We called the lock that we were coming at 11:15 and advised them we would be there at 11:30. The lock master said we would lock through at 12:00, which meant we would miss the 12:00 bridge opening. When we arrived at 11:30 there was a south bound sailing catamaran in the lock just starting down. I would assume the lock door was closed at about 11:25. The catamaran exited the lock about 11:45 and passed through the 12:00 bridge opening. The lock master left the lock open at the north end, I assume waiting to see if there was a north bound boat at the bridge he was not aware of before he recycled the lock for a south bound lock through. We got into the lock about 12:20 and out at about 12:35, and through the bridge opening at 1:00. We arrived at Coinjoke Marina about 6:40.
With the forecast for low depression 10 to maybe become a tropical storm as he went through on Tuesday, we elected to lay low for the day to wait out the storm. Tuesday was a nice day until about 5:30 PM, then we finally got some wind and a shower, we could have traveled today. We are expecting things to calm down through the night, as forecast, so plan to leave in the morning, and be in Moorhead City Thursday evening.
We did leave Wednesday morning. There had been a North wind blowing all night and when we entered Albermarle Sound there were substantial waves on the side and an unpleasant ride. We made the decision to turn south towards Ocracoke so the waves were now on our stern. We turned into the Ocracoke harbor at &:15 and were tied up to the National Park Dock by 7:30.
On Thursday morning we spent some time walking around tow and found a good coffee shop and a couple of cups. We cast off at about 11:00 and had a very pleasant day finishing the day in Oriental where we found room on the free town dock. We met boating friends Paul and Laurie for dinner.
From here until we get home, we will be in delivery mode, anchoring every night and going until we are tired. We'll be home late Monday evening, September 4 or Tuesday afternoon, September 5.
We grabbed a cup of coffee at The Bean just across the street from the town dock, and were on our way early. It is 365 miles to our dock from here.
On Monday afternoon, September 4 at about 4:40 PM we tied up to our dock, 44 hours of traveling down the ICW at 9 MPH, 1350RPM, getting 1.83 MPG, pretty good for a heavy 43' boat.