Spot Map

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reflection of the Cruise

            We have travelled over 3000 miles with great sailing friends from the crews of Brunelle, Pekabu and Sevilla.  We have many memories, too many to list, and they will always be a part of us.

            So if you ask, what is the recipe for a great six month adventure?


·         One part great friends

·         One part exciting places

·         One part great food and wine

·         One part great weather

·         One part great adventure

Shake well and put it all on a sailboat and enjoy.

“Often imitated but never equaled”

                                         "Often Imitated but Never Equaled"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 3, 2011 Fleet Bay, VA to Almshouse Creek, South River, MD – Home

                                                 Lighthouse on the Chesapeake

            Anchors were raised at 7am and we headed out from our anchorage experiencing a beautiful sunrise.  We were expecting 15-20 knot southerly winds to help give us a push up the bay.  We were sailing along and making great time at a steady 7-8 knots.  We arrived at Solomon’s Island around 1:30, which had been our intended stay for the evening, but Dan asked if we all wanted to try making it home that day. We were all up for the challenge.  A cold front was coming through and the wind would not be in our favor for another two days so we decided to keep moving at the pace we were traveling and we were hoping to make it home by sunset.  We arrived home in our slip at 7pm to a warm welcome from Paul, our son.  He helped us with our lines, put food in our refrigerator, and had beautiful flowers waiting for us.

                                           Andiamo arriving back in Almshouse Creek

            We had kept a bottle of champagne on board during the entire time to celebrate our dream journey.  We had that bottle in our home that evening toasting our 35th wedding anniversary trip.

May 2, 2011 Norfolk to Fleets Bay (56stm)

            We left at 8:30am after Brunelle fueled up and John finished washing the boat - one more time.  We went by Hospital Point which is 0 on the mile marker for the Intercoastal Waterway.  We were then officially in the Chesapeake Bay.  Going down the Elizabeth River is a cool thing to do with all the naval action along the way.  We did notice some extra security in the harbor with small guns boats every half mile or so in front of all the naval vessels.   There were several busy channels all around as we navigated through that body of water.  We saw a naval warship heading out to sea and an aircraft carrier coming in.  There was a helicopter flying overhead along with a pair of F16s which added to all the visual activity.

            Once leaving the Elizabeth River we headed up the bay with light winds and fair seas.  We had our jib out for a while but we mostly motor sailed up to Fleets Bay, which was just north of the Rappahannock River.  We had experienced good protection from the southerly winds.       Betty felt like cooking that day as the southern part of the bay was not very picturesque once you pass all the Norfolk activity so Andiamo invited everyone for dinner with Brunelle and Pekabu contributing what they had left in their refrigerators.  Dan was the travel taxi as he lowered his dinghy and bought everyone to Andiamo.  We enjoyed a wonderful meal talking and clinking our glasses in a toast as that had been a great day coming out of Norfolk to begin our trip back up the Chesapeake.

                                          Brunelle and Pekabu in the sunrise at Fleets Bay

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 1, 2011 Elizabeth City, NC to Norfolk, VA

                        Lifting the anchor at 7:45am gave us time to arrive at the first of two locks on the Dismal Swamp.  Traveling along at our normal speed we came across a line of other boaters beginning their trip along the swamp.  As we started to pass them they were not very happy with us, so we settled down and traveled about two knots for approximately 12 miles to the first lock.  The locks had certain times for north bound openings so you had to pace yourself.  It did work out and we arrived in time. We entered the lock and there were about nine boats with us.  One of the trawlers bumped Pekabu as he was moving to the other side of the lock.  That trawler had been one of the boats that would not let us pass.  We were raised eight feet to the Dismal Swamp.   We had to put a bow and a stern line around a cleat on land and then hold the rope and keep adjusting as the water levels would change.  Upon exiting the lock again we were in the slow line of boats.  The chatter on the VHF by a trawler and some of the other boats was that we slower sailboats were going to have a hard time making the second lock and the final time slot was for 3:30.  So, a few of them opted to stay overnight at the free dock of the Welcome Center which was in the middle of the swamp.  In talking among ourselves on our private radios, we chose to keep going and try our luck in making the last opening of the lock.  After all, we thought, it was possible because we would be losing some of the boats which were even slower than the sailboats in our group. 

                                                   Betty holding the bow line prior to being raised 8 feet

                                                 Lock doors closed behind us

                                    Notice how high our boats are along the wall.  We are still coming up.

            As we were travelling down the second half of the swamp which was almost eight feet the entire way, we enjoyed looking at the beautiful surroundings of the swamp.  You could see from the pictures the narrowness of the swamp with the trees, the cascading honeysuckle bushes, lily pads, and so many other plants too numerous to mention.  We saw many turtles sunning themselves on the dead trees that had fallen.  We did bump a few times on the dead heads underneath the water.   The dead heads were tree stumps that were not quite cut far enough down but that was just part of the entire ambiance of the Dismal Swamp. The swamp had trees hanging over the waterway and the spreaders of Andiamo hit an overhanging tree branch and our boat was graced with small branches, leaves, and bark.   We arrived at the second lock with about 10 minutes to spare and had to wait for one other sailboat which had come along after us.  A trawler, which had refused to allow us to pass her, was there waiting. It had probably figured that it had seen the last of us as we were exiting the previous lock.  My thought was that they were surprised to see us!   We exited the lock which lowered us the eight feet to the level of the Chesapeake Bay and we were looking forward to our marina in Norfolk just 10 miles away.

           The view in front of us. Pekabu in the lead, with Brunelle directly in front of us.
                                                  And the view in back of us!
                                              Many, many Lilly Pads along the way
                                                 A Welcome to Virginia sign!
                                               A turtle sunning himself on the fallen tree

            We arrived at the last bridge and missed the opening by a mere six minutes.  It used to open by demand but they had changed their policy in December.  Brunelle dropped her anchor and we rafted up to her to wait out the hour.  We commented that was our first raft up on the whole trip.  Once we went through the bridge and got in the mix of the Norfolk channels, our engine overheated.    We got the warning when the alarm went off!  Our fan belt had broken.  We were able to get out of the busy channel and we dropped our anchor in 40 feet of water.  Brunelle came next to us and Dan jumped on our boat.  John got out one of our spares and Dan quickly changed it.

            On our way once again to Tidewater Marina we saw a missile aircraft carrier.    We arrived at the marina around 7:15pm.  Once we all got settled in our slips, we had dinner at the marina restaurant since we were all too tired to look elsewhere.  We toasted a good day because it could have gone the other way so many times.  Brunelle showed us at dinner that we had not won the lottery with the tickets he had purchased a few days prior but I felt we did win by being on that wonderful trip with such good CCYC friends.

      This was our welcome to the Norfolk area. Pekabu looks like a peanut next to the large red vessel.
                                            Need to show our Naval ships if you are in Norfolk

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011 Belhaven, NC to Elizabeth City, NC

            We woke up feeling refreshed but realized there was a swarm of mayflies all over the boat.  There must have been a million of them.  We tried putting out a citronella candle but it did not seem to work.  We bundled up (had to put long pants on!), sprayed bug spray on us, and braved the mayflies to go pull up the anchor.  We were thrilled to learn from Martha that the insects were mayflies and not mosquitoes.  We lived with those bugs for a few hours and they were not leaving. While we were travelling in the “ditch”, John washed the cockpit with the hose.  It eliminated 80% of them; however, they stayed on the underneath part of the dodger.  They were still there that evening.

                                             Going under a bridge along the "Ditch"

            We travelled 75 nautical miles that and we are at mile marker 50 on the ICW.  We had only 50 more miles until Norfolk and then 150 miles up the bay.  We crossed the Albemarle Sound with a SE winds and one foot waves.  It was not bad for that body of water but it still seemed to take forever to cross.  We pushed to get up to Elizabeth City and pass the bridge to be ready to enter the Dismal Swamp the following day.  We were anchored just past the bridge in a cove with three other boats.  We were looking forward to the Swamp the next day and the adventure it would surely bring.

                                         Pekabu crossing the Albemarle Sound

  It is always exciting to have bridges open for you.  Above Brunelle and Pekabu are travelling through in front of us.

                                       Brunelle in our anchorage just outside of Elizabeth City

April 29, 2011 Morehead City, NC to Belhaven NC

            Our day began at 8 to start our travels to Belhaven.  Since the fuel dock did not open until 8:30, we stopped for fuel five miles up the waterway at another fuel dock.  The challenge of getting on the fuel dock was due to the strong current which kept pushing the boats away from the dock.  Fortunately, Dan and Martha were able to get on first and helped the rest of us by pulling on the lines.  All went well and it would be the last time we fueled up before we arrived home. 

            We were able to sail some of the way and as we were leaving the Neuse River we noticed a Coast Guard boat chasing down a large powerboat in front of us.  We heard them hailing on the radio and they were asked to stop at a nearby CG station.  As we were passing by the CG station they waved to us from the pier to stop.  They were letting the power boat go.  They were doing random checks to see if boats were in law compliance.  They checked our life jackets, fire extinguisher, Y value closure, and a variety of other things.  We did get a citation for having a hole in the material of our Type 4 seat cushion!  The hole could not be any larger than your fingertip. The CG was telling us that it was not in good and serviceable condition. We actually use the seat cushion to hold our dinghy tight to the boat; so after having used it for five years we knew we could use a new one.  We needed to purchase one by the end of the weekend and send the receipt via email to the coast guard officer.  The good thing was we knew we were now safety ready for the upcoming sailing season in the Chesapeake.

            Our staff meeting was on the radio and we decided to leave at 7am.   We all toasted to a good day. After an early morning rise to watch the royal wedding we crashed early to bed.  We were currently at mile marker 135 on the ICW.

April 28, 2011 Morehead City, NC

            We all took the courtesy van, except Pete who was working, to our favorite Harris Teeter to get a few perishable items to carry us through until our arrival home.  With a stop at the West Marine we managed to fill up the van.  Once back at the marina John had put a second line on our bow in case the wind got strong but the radar was once again showing the storms passing us by.
              John began making a pot of chili to prepare for a stormy evening. The boat smelled good all day.  Andiamo was happy to host since we did not want to go out in the weather. Everyone came at 5:30 and as we continued to watch the radar it still looked like the storm was coming our way.  We ate, cheered to another great day, and then everyone went home to wait for the storms.  We did get a passing rain shower within the hour and everything cleared out.  Dan went up to a nearby convenience store and bought a lottery ticket.   Luck has been with us every day.