Thursday, December 12, 2013

“Christmas in the Caribbean…

..…got everything but snow.”


Snow or no snow, Plan A was to head south from VA in September, have work done on the boat in Green Cove Springs (near Jax, FL) in October, and be in Boot Key/Marathon, FL by Thanksgiving to enjoy winter in the Keys! Obviously, that didn’t happen, as we are still in GCS, and Plans B through W met with a similar fate…leaving us now with Plan X: sit high and dry in the boatyard until the work is completed and then decide how far south to go and for how long! That is, unless the railroad bridge, currently closed for repairs, is unable to open again (allowing us access to the ICW and the Atlantic) or the work takes until spring to complete, in which case Plan Y or Z will see us heading north after a long winter in the St. Johns River!

Meanwhile, we are getting our daily exercise climbing up and down the ladder to the boat and hiking the ¼ mile to the bathrooms and showers. But, it’s sunny and warm most days and it is a much easier drive from here to VA to be with the family for Christmas!

Christmas with family is about as good as it gets!
So, Merry Christmas to you wherever you are!
                             May you and yours have a season filled with peace and joy!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A few long days, some skinny water and a new anchorage...

I think we left you at River Dunes...not a bad spot to linger. But, we did move on.

Camp Lejeune live fire in ICW

Several days and a couple of nights, one at Town Creek in Beaufort, NC, and one at Mile Hammock Bay (both anchorages we've enjoyed before), and we found ourselves once again at Wrightsville Beach. Mile Hammock is good, but it is just south of the live fire range for Camp Lejeune. Glad the lights weren't flashing, it can hold you up for several hours!

We generally stay 2 nights at Wrightsville Beach and this trip was no exception. It's a great place to stretch our legs and do a little provisioning. There is a Publix and a West Marine a couple of miles from the anchorage, so the walk was refreshing and we were able to pick up everything we needed.

WB also offers a nice little beach town right there at the anchorage. We wandered down to the beach to watch the waves crashing ashore. Both days the lifeguards had the red flag flying. Needless to say the weather was not quite ready for us to venture outside. We've been out there in worse, but it's just not fun!

Wonders never cease! We actually caught the tide for our ride down the Cape Fear River! What a hoot...scooting along at 8.5kts. Of course, as soon as we turned into Southport, we made a dramatic drop to 4kts. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

We tried a new, for us, anchorage and really liked it. Little River is just off the ocean and is a popular local destination. There were a couple of other boats there for the night. We could easily have jumped outside from there, but decided to wait one more day for the weather. Man, were we second guessing that decision all day! All day ended up being 11 hours, fighting current for 6 of those.

Snug tug!

Ugh! It was a pretty stretch of the ICW, but nothing elephants or even alligators!  Another close tug and barge, and a bit of this and that. We did experience wildlife at our anchorage that night at Minim Creek. Mosquitoes were in no short supply! Ok, this one is coming off our list...we'll be picking a new spot to set the hook!

Don't go there!

There were some shallow and rocky areas along the ditch...

Cooter's has it all!

...and some funny ads!

I could go on to catch you up with our current location, but I think I'll pick it up again tomorrow, or maybe the day after...

Hope you'll stick with us a bit longer, we're not fast, but we are steady!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

By yiminny, 3 tugs in 30 minutes...

...but I'm getting ahead of myself!

It was a beautiful day, a bit overcast with threatening clouds out in front of us. We had a lovely uneventful day Saturday as we headed for our anchorage in the Alligator River. We like to go over to the southeast corner and drop the hook. We are generally alone there because there have been reports of cypress knees and stumps. Those reports are not exaggerated, but we have found if you go slow and keep an eye out it's not too bad.

Fuzzy tree!

It's a great spot with good protection and good holding, and this day was no exception. We had a good laugh tho' when we looked at the paper chart we've been using for several years...Tom had written "anchor near the fuzzy tree." Gotta' tell you, the whole coastline is cypress and pine trees! We also had the spot marked on our chart plotter, and guess what...we think we found the fuzzy tree!

Maggie at Alligator River

Maggie enjoyed this spot as well until the dark clouds caught up with us for a rainy night and rainy Sunday.

Ever wonder about those things that go bump in the night? We both bolted upright when we heard it, thinking maybe we were dragging anchor or something hit the boat. Tom ventured out in the rain, we checked everything inside and out, but found nothing. The only thing we could figure was that a big gust of wind caused the wind generator to brake, making a loud groan.

Back to our opening line...
As we headed back to the ICW, we watched a tug and barge go by, took our time to give him a good lead. As we approached the channel it appeared he turned around and was heading back toward us. We called him on the radio to ask if there was some obstruction in the canal. Turns out he was a different tug and barge heading north and had just passed the first one we saw. Low and behold that first tug did turn around after all and headed back toward us! Thus, 3 tug and barges in 30 minutes, and two of them were the same one! The Alligator/Pungo canal is only 90‘ wide, so we were happy to pass these guys before going into it!

Sunday was dreary and rainy, but not too bad. We were the only boat out there pretty much all day (not counting the tugs) except for one trawler who must have been in a great hurry as he threw a huge wake while blowing by us. Considerate boater? I don't think so!

The wind was a pretty steady 20 - 22 knots as we settled into our anchorage at Slade Creek. This is another favorite spot, and we always seem to be the only ones there.

River Dunes pool overlooking marina

For those of you who enjoy a nice snug marina, our next 2 nights were like nirvana! After a day of gusty winds, choppy following seas and rolling swells, we arrived to floating docks of Brazilian Cherry, swimming pool with cabanas, steam showers, bikes, golf carts, crew car, wifi, great protection, and a killer view! Bet you wish you were with us now!

Community Church

This is a beautiful development that got hit with the real estate crash, and is now starting to grow again. They have their own little community church, guest houses, lovely homes, and eventually shops and other retail.
Take a look at them at

Fuel dock, Harbor Club and pool in background
Guest cottages

Tomorrow we are on our way again. We should be anchored in Town Creek by early afternoon. Offshore is not looking promising for us this week, but we hope to get a day or two out there before too much longer.

In case you're really into this and noticed that our last 3 postings are out of order, I can't explain it. Obviously my technical genius does not apply to navigating and manipulating this blog...or perhaps it does and that's the problem.

In any case, thanks for bearing with us as we make our way along! 

Okay, okay, I know...I never finished the DC posts. Well, it was a short trip, just a couple of weeks. It was fun and interesting, saw some sights, anchored out through another derecho, thought we ran out of fuel (fortunately we were wrong), fought some strong currents and made it safely back to Regent Point! Yada, yada, yada, right?

So, now that that's done, we can start anew for the trek south.

This is just a 'set up for an easy exodus tomorrow' day. We fueled up and are anchored up in Carter's Creek.

Tom, preparing for the long journey

Tomorrow the long move south begins. We're hoping for a beautiful, boring trip! Sorry, we know that's not much fun to read about, but we'll try to make it colorful.

It's always tough to leave friends, family and our marina family, but we are looking forward to being back out there again. Alas, we'll be back!

Stay with us and enjoy the ride!

Back in Norfolk

Yes, not my favorite because of all the ship traffic and everything, but it really is pretty at night with the lights.

It was a beautiful day on the Chesapeake Bay! It was cool enough to be pleasant and sunny and warm enough to enjoy being on the water. We fought the tide most of the way, and there was not a breath of wind until, we got to Hampton, and then not much.

Wolf Trap Light

For those of you not accustomed to rapid transit via sailboat, our trip today from Carter's Creek to Hospital Point on the Portsmouth side of the river (59 nautical miles or 68 miles) took almost the exact amount of time it takes us to drive from Jacksonville, FL to Richmond, VA (650 miles)!

We sped past Wolf Trap Light at a lightening speed of 5.8 was tough to get a picture with it flashing by, but I tried. See that spec with the single beam of light hitting it?  Well, that's Wolf Trap. The photo almost looks like I caught it's beam, cool huh!

Let's see, today there were dolphins...always a treat, and a pretty rare sighting for us, a huge sea turtle! There was something off the starboard bow that we couldn't identify until it stretched it's neck, raised it's head and paddled into a dive. We've seen a few sea turtles over the years, but this one was  so big, and right by the boat...very exciting!

Full moon rising over Norfolk

Even though we struggled a little with coming into the channel amid the big ships, tugs and barges, etc., all in all it was a pretty good day, and a beautiful evening.

Sometimes it can just take your breath away!
Thanks for letting us share it with you!

Creature from the black lagoon...

Norfolk has bridges, one after another, so, since we are heading south and there are restrictions on the Gilmerton Bridge, we based our departure on those. Gilmerton is about an hour away and doesn't open until 9:30 in the morning, so we planned on an 8:15 departure. What we didn't plan on was the creature from the black lagoon!

After a leisurely breakfast, we started the engine and Tom proceeded to weigh anchor. Well, something grabbed hold of it and just wouldn't let go! We edged forward and back gaining inches  at a time. Finally he got enough chain up to see that we had snagged a 3" cable, and it was pulling hard on the anchor. He couldn't get it to shake loose and couldn't get a trip line attached to the anchor. After struggling for half an hour, he was able to get a line around the cable, tie it off and shake the anchor down enough to let go. We felt step would have involved a swim!

Okay, we can still make it for the 9:30 opening...just rev her up a little. Hah! One of the railroad bridges (almost always open, we've rarely seen them closed) was down, stayed down, the train (3 cars) came and went, we sat, for 30 minutes we sat. Missed the 9:30 Gilmerton one, 10:30. A bit of good luck...a tug was coming through Gilmerton at 10:00 and they held for us to get through too! Yay! What we weren't thinking was that the bridges are pretty much synchronized, so we didn't have to wait for Gilmerton, but then had to wait 45 minutes for the next one, ugh!

Too close for comfort!

Thru the bridges, thru the lock, now we're on our way! Down the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal...very pretty...cypress knees, stumps and logs along either side, but room for two boats to pass, almost. When one of those boats is a tug with a huge barge, that canal can be very narrow! We had to turn around because there was not enough room for both of us, then snugged right up to the stumps and hoped for the best! Pictures can't really show how close and how big this guy was. But, he waved when he went by, and we didn't hit anything. We didn't make that bridge opening either, putting us a bit further behind.

But friendly!

Plan was to bypass Coinjock and anchor a little south. Ah well, the best laid plans...  So, a nice peaceful night at Midway Marina in Coinjock and a good meal at Crabby's, not all bad. Maybe next time we'll check out one of those anchorages.

Hey, if we have an easy uneventful day tomorrow, I may not have anything to write about. Let's hope you don't hear from us for a few days!

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, June 14, 2013

On the way to DC...

Tuesday was a beautiful day, sunny and breezy. We followed a tug that was heading for Quantico most of the day. Chatted with Navy Patrol Boat #4 to get our instructions through the live ammo training exercise in progress. Finally when we were just about out of the exercise perimeter, we heard some shots and saw water splashing. With all the precaution, we had hoped for something more exciting!

As we made our way into the Port Tobacco River, we had to navigate through a sea of crab pots. After zigging and zagging, we enjoyed a lovely evening in a great little anchorage. We were even serenaded by church bells every half hour.

Wednesday...on to DC!

Very calm day, 3-5 knot winds on the nose, and an all day ebbing tide. We finally caught up with the turning tide maybe an hour before arriving at the Washington Channel. But along the way...

...we noticed tiny things struggling in the water. There were hundreds of cicadas drowning all around us! A couple of hitchhikers joined us for awhile before making the suicide dive into the Potomac. Poor creatures, seventeen years waiting to be free, then wasting that brief freedom trying (and failing) to learn to swim.

Mount Vernon comes along just around the corner from DC. It's a pretty sight from the river. Huge tour boats go in and out of there all day dropping folks off for the tour. We didn't head that way, but enjoyed it in passing. The osprey did not enjoy our passing!

Ah, arriving at last. This was totally new to us and a wee bit intimidating. You anchor in the middle of the channel with a stone wall on one side and a marina on the other...not to mention a half dozen really large day, evening and dinner cruise boats backing in and out of their slips all hours. So, we provided the early evening entertainment. The first couple of attempts were aborted because we couldn't get the anchor to set. It is a very soft mud bottom and we were not holding. Okay, no problem...we tried a different spot. Well, this time we were feeling a little close to one of the other boats, and, as if it's not bad enough that you're noticing this yourself, it's really special when they come out and verify it for you! One more time, okay two more times. Our next attempt in moving a little further out the channel put us in the path of one of the monster tour boats. Finally, finally, we got a spot, got a good hold and settled in to enjoy our time in DC! There were almost tears during that fiasco!

What a great place to visit. Check back with us and we'll give you the highlights. 
Thanks for visiting!