Pictures from our trip south – Catskill to Oriental

November 1, 2009

This was our first sunset anchored off Kingston, NYFirst Sunset of Trip South
A Manhatten Sunet as we sailed toward the last bridge.
Sunset on Manhatten
Our first night “at sea” rewarded us with this beautiful sunset off the coast of NJ.
Sunset off NJ Coast
After we anchored in the Sasafrass River (northern Chesapeake), this huge flock of geese landed about 1/4 mile from us and spent the night.
Geese Flying in at Sunset
Here is a great picture Laura took of the leaves in the water along the Dismal Swamp Canal
Lauras Leaves on the Water

Advertisements

Saturday, 10/31/09

November 1, 2009

The winds were light as we pulled up the anchor and sailed out onto the Neuse River. Today’s forecast was for 7-11 knot winds from the south which should be excellent for sailing west to Oriental.
We tacked down the Bay River into the Neuse River. When I was sure we were far enough down to tack and run the rest of the way to Oriental, we tacked to the west and set our sails on a close reach. Well…. Nothing is ever what it seems…. A half hour later we were tacking again, back to the south, as the winds had moved to the SW and were pushing us toward the northern shore. And, they had picked up to 15 – 20 knots and heeling us over to about 20 degrees. But… The waters were pretty calm still and it was a lively sail.
The rest of the morning was a tacking duel with the wind which increased to 25 knots about an hour later. Every time we tacked to the south and I thought we were good to Oriental, it would go a little more west and we’d have to tack again. Laura was a good sport about it as I was not going to let the wind beat us in this game. We eventually sailed into Oriental harbor at 6 knots with just ½ our jib out and everything else rolled in. The wind was howling at 25 knots and the windchop on the river was starting to build. I was glad we were in the harbor.
D and Don own a dock in Oriental Harbor Marina which they were letting us use for awhile (no time limit for now). We entered the marina and the very tight slip. The poles at the slip were supposed to be 15 feet apart but our 14 foot wide boat pushed them open a little as we entered. A few minutes later we were tied up and mostly safe from the wind and seas.
At the dock waiting for us were Bob and Carol from Place-For-Us. We had met them in Marathon last winter and had a fun reunion. A few minutes later D and Don showed up for more hugs.
We spent the next ½ hour or so configuring the boat for our marina (power cords, clean up, etc.) then we were off to D and Don’s house on our loaner bicycles. They showed us around and we chatted for quite a while with their friends and neighbors. Later in the afternoon we ate a great dinner of boiled shrimp, rice, baked bread and coleslaw (everybody brought a little something) along with a fresh apple pie which Laura had baked between tacks on our sail up the river. Dinner conversation was great as we all told stories about where we had been in the last couple years. After dinner we played a short Mexican Train domino game while being visited by about 40 trick-or-treaters. We biked back to the boat around 10:30 thoroughly exhausted. I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow….

Friday, 10/30/09

November 1, 2009

This morning was warm and sunny (again) as we pulled up our anchor and motored into the Alligator River Canal. We’re a slow boat (even for a sailboat) as I don’t push the motor and we get really good mileage at just 5 ½ knots. So, all day long we were passed by other sailboats and, of course, every power boat on the water.
No complaints as it was a pretty nice day on the water with light winds and warm temps. We were in shorts and t-shirts for the third day in a row.
Our sails were up for most of the day but the wind was never strong enough to turn off the engine. The sail across the Pamlico Sound was quiet and calm (for a change).
We anchored for the night in Bonner Bay – just south of Gale Creek before the Neuse River. It was an excellent day and we are only about 20 sea miles from Oriental.

Thursday, 10/29/09

November 1, 2009

What a beautiful sailing day! We raised our sails just off the anchor and didn’t turn on the engine for the next 8 hours. The winds were on the beam coming down the Pasquotank and slightly behind us as we crossed the Albemarle Sound. It was pretty nice with about 10 knots (apparent) winds and 1-2 foot seas. We sailed and read books all day with the autopilot running the boat nicely.
After navigating the entrance to the Alligator River and traversing the Alligator River bridge, we continued our great sailing day all the way down the Alligator River. Near the end of the river, the ICW turns east towards the Alligator River – Pungo River canal. This is a 23 mile waterway that is very narrow with no places to stop. We arrived at the northern end around 3:30 pm. Even with good winds to help us I figured it would be dark before we popped out the other end. So, we turned around and anchored in a new place for us, Tuckahoe Point. It’s a little rolly here but not bad. Laura cooked up a nice hot chicken soup for dinner as it was cloudy and a little chilly today.
This picture was a nice sunset from our anchorage on the Alligator River.Alligator River Sunset

Wednesday, 10/28/09

November 1, 2009

We were underway at 8 am to make the 8:30 lock opening at Deep Creek. This is the northern end of the Dismal Swamp route. It’s very beautiful and not really dismal. When it was named, the word “dismal” had a little different meaning than today. It meant more like isolated rather than bad.
There were 7 boats in the lock and 4 boats at the other end waiting for us at the free dock above the lock. We all made a long line of sail and power boats down the 21 mile route. It is very narrow and you have to keep a close eye on keeping the boat in the middle. 4 hours later we arrived at South Mills and locked through with 10 boats – one stayed at the visitor’s center just a couple miles back.
A nice, leisurely, 2-hour ride down the Pasquotank River brought us to Elizabeth City just before the bridge opening at 5:30 pm. It was a very busy place with lots of cruisers at the docks. Even though there was a dock we could have taken, we decided to keep going a few miles and anchor on the larger part of the river that flows into the Albemarle Sound. It was a very nice night on anchor and I’m sure we saved a few dollars by not going into town.
Here is a picture of our early morning cruise down the Dismal Swamp Canal. It was very humid and foggy.Dismal Swamp Canal on Foggy Morning

Tuesday, 10/27/09

November 1, 2009

We were up early again and underway shortly after first light. Motoring out of the bay was easy as it was well marked. Once we were back on the Chesapeake, we turned south and rolled out our big sails. It was another great day of sailing with the wind and waves behind us. I think we set a record with Second Wind of 10 knots (no current) surfing down a wind-chop swell.
Around 3 pm we sailed past the naval fleet in Norfolk and shortly after entered the ICW at mile marker 0 – Hospital Point. We just about idled for the next 3 miles as the bridge wouldn’t open until 5:30 because of rush hour traffic. Once through the bridge we motored into the Dismal Swamp route and tied up at the free dock.
After we were tied up to the dock, Laura called up to me that she had heard the water pump running when she went downstairs. I checked it out and found that a fitting had come loose on our pressurized house water system and we had emptied about 140 gallons into our bilge. Our automatic bilge pumps had worked just fine and pumped it all overboard. Now we were out of water for washing!
Well…. Not really. We carry two 6 ½ gallon jugs for good drinking water and still had about 10 gallons there. No worries about dying of thirst. But, we both like taking showers every day and I was disappointed that we had no water for showers or washing.
This free dock was advertised as no power or water but I walked up to shore to see if I could fill up our jugs and carry them back to the boat for some water in our tank. I found that water was piped to the dock with a faucet only about 80 feet from our boat. NICE!
After quickly fixing the broken fitting, we filled up the tank with fresh water. ½ hour later we were back in the water business. What luck to have this happen somewhere where we could refill our 200 gallon tank! We do have a watermaker onboard but it wouldn’t have worked in this brackish water. Plus, it didn’t work the last time I tried it so was planning on getting it fixed when we got back to Florida. The manufacture has an office in Palm Beach.
It rained heavily that night and we listened to the water pounding the boat as we slept.

Monday, 10/26/09

November 1, 2009

After our rude wakeup with the wind and waves off the open bay, we were underway at first light. We had another good day of sailing the bay on a broad reach (winds aft of the beam) with following seas. This was probably one of our best sails on Chesapeake Bay around the Potomac River where it always seems to be rough.
Around 5 pm we sailed around Stingray Point and headed toward Deltaville. We had seen many, many pleasure boats on the bay so figured the small anchorage in Deltaville would be pretty crowded. Instead, we continued for a short way up the Piankatank River and anchored in Fishing Bay. It was a very sheltered anchorage and we spent a quiet evening anchored quite a ways from the other boats.
Seems funny that when people see a couple boats anchored in one spot, they assume that’s the “right” place to anchor. Instead we rely on our charts and experience and attempt to anchor away from the other people because most cruisers don’t anchor well enough to keep them from swinging or dragging into other boats. For example, there were probably 10 boats anchored all together in Fishing Bay. This bay is protected from just about every wind direction and you can anchor safely just about anywhere in a square mile. Why do you need to be near the other boats?
This was our Chesapeake sunrise as we were getting up this morning.Chesapeake Sunrise
This was the same sunrise 2 minutes later. It was pretty dynamic.Chesapeake Sunrise (2 min later)

Sunday, 10/25/09

November 1, 2009

We had a great brunch at Buddy’s with Chad and Wendy. The food was as good as I remembered. I ate several “small” meals – one breakfast, one lunch, one fruit, etc., etc…. Chad and Wendy had picked us up in their big dinghy and brought us back to the boat right after breakfast. They knew we wanted to get underway right away.
The next ½ hour or so was spent getting the boat ready and we were off the mooring around 10:30 am. We motored out of the harbor and turned into the wind to raise the main before sailing past Diadam (the boat Chad and Wendy were crewing). As we sailed into Chesapeake Bay, we tried the repaired autopilot. Oh oh. It only wanted to turn the wheel in one direction. After some research and troubleshooting, I realized the motor and chain I had repaired wanted to be in a specific place to turn the rudder correctly. We spent the next 3 hours sailing around near Annapolis trying to find the right adjustment for the chain and gears. The reason it took so long was I had to take the whole thing apart between adjustments, move the wheel a little, then put it all back together and check it out. After 5 times doing this, we were good to go.
The rest of the day we sailed south on Chesapeake Bay and tucked into an open anchorage near Cover Point (just north of The Solomon Islands). It was a protected anchorage while the winds were out of the north but it was open to the east. The forecast called for north winds overnight with east winds the next day. I went to sleep wondering when they would change. Turns out it was about 5 am and started bouncing us around pretty good. We had a good night’s sleep until then.
As we were leaving the harbor, quite a few boats were participating in a race. This is a picture of my favorite spinaker.My Favorite Spinaker

Saturday, 10/24/09

October 24, 2009

I had a restless night’s sleep as the boat was bouncing around with a little swell coming in from the bay. After sleeping in, Laura woke me up to say friends of hers were coming down to visit around 11 am.
Chris and Bob were friends of Laura’s when she was at Griffiss AFB. We took the dinghy into town and picked them up for a rolly ride out to Second Wind. The boat was still bobbing around and Chris looked a little green while Laura showed her around the cabin. After a couple hours on the boat, we went back to shore for lunch at our favorite deli – Chick and Ruth’s on Main St. Lunch was great (as usual) and we said our goodbyes to my new friends.
Back to the boat where we picked up our banking paperwork then a walk up the hill to complete a few transactions we couldn’t finish before we left.
The weather has been warm but rainy and windy since last night. It is supposed to be nice tomorrow with north winds to blow us down the bay. We’ll be leaving shortly after our breakfast buffet at Buddy’s (the real reason we stop in Annapolis…).

Friday, 10/23/09

October 24, 2009

Today was a really weird day. We got a fairly late start as I don’t think either Laura or I have recovered yet from our sleepless night at sea from NY. It wasn’t until after 9 am that we were up and getting the boat ready. The anchor chain was really muddy and it took us probably 15 minutes to bring in the 100 feet of chain and clean it off on the way in.
The day started out very calm with a light breeze from the east. We motored slowly for an hour while we recharged our refrigeration then picked up the RPMs to our normal 5.5 knot cruise. The winds gradually picked up from astern so we rolled out the mainsail off to port with the sheet all the way out. As we motor-sailed down the northern Chesapeake the winds fell off to port and we rolled out the jib and turned off the engine. We were sailing along nicely with a 12-15 knot breeze off the beam (side of the boat) – our first real sailing in the last 5 days.
The winds increased over the next few hours to almost 25 knots which overpowered Second Wind with her big sails up. The autopilot was working hard on the gusts which tried to head us up into the wind. On one big gust, the autopilot quit altogether. This has happened in the past when the autopilot has moved the rudder as far as it can and the boat is still not on course. So… I reset everything and tried to turn on the autopilot. It wouldn’t work! Laura steered while I went below to check things out. Eventually, I looked under the aft bed to check out the autopilot motor and steering quadrant (top of the rudder post). I didn’t see the autopilot connection to the rudder. It had broken off and was laying in the bottom of the boat. Bummer.
Laura steered for awhile while I took it all apart to see what was broken and needed to be fixed. I found two broken wields on an aluminum bracket that was used by the autopilot to control the rudder. This was something I couldn’t fix easily on the boat. I got out our cruising guide for Annapolis and started calling marinas and repair shops. On the 5th try, I found a place that would wield the bracket today. YEA! We hustled our way into Annapolis harbor and set a record of 5 minutes for tying up to the mooring, dropping the dinghy, putting the outboard on the dingy and getting together all of our dinghy stuff (registration, lights, life jackets, etc…).
The repair shop said it would take about an hour to wield the bracket so we went for a walk in town – our first on-shore in 5 days. When we came back, the bracket was better than new – the mechanic had wielded both sides to prevent it from coming apart again. Back to the boat and I went to work on installing everything.
While I was deep in grease and cables, I heard a knock on the boat. I figured it was the city marina boat coming by for payment on the mooring. I heard someone say to Laura, “Hey! You are on our mooring!”. Oh boy. Now we’ve got to move the boat to another mooring. Turns out it was just a joke and our friends Chad and Wendy (that we last saw in Trinidad 3,000 miles away from here) saw our boat and dinghy’d over for a visit. We invited them onboard while I finished up my installation and cleaned up.
We had an awesome evening catching up on last 2+ years of our lives. They stayed until about 10 pm when it started raining and they decided to go. We already made plans for tomorrow at their boat then Sunday brunch at Buddy’s Crab House. Just looking at them brought back all these great memories of Trinidad and Grenada. Nice!