Chesapeake Bay – All To Ourselves

Surely in the middle of summer (school is out, summer vacation) there would be boats everywhere in the bay. We were prepared for it, but knew we had no choice but to grin and bear it.

There is nobody here!

Since leaving Norfolk and heading into the Bay, we have anchored each night all by ourselves except last night when a trawler came in after dark and left just at daybreak.

Fine with us!

So we are slowly making our way north to Annapolis to drop Ryan off at BWI for a 2 week stay with his other family in Atlanta.

We took a different route this time after we left The Alligator River and crossed Albemarle Sound by veering East and up through the Albemarle Chesapeake Canal. It was cool but the Dismal Swamp is hard to beat!

Norfolk is always interesting. First we are coming into a city after being out in the proverbial wilderness since Beaufort or really Charleston.

And of course it is always a thrill to see the U.S. Navy fleet and all the commercial traffic.

But we passed right through this time to Hampton.

In Hampton we stayed at a dock for a night to visit cruising friends Dave and Cathy. We had stayed nearby at Fort Monroe last year so it was just a howyadoin and off the next morning for a 1/2 day trip to Yorktown on the York River.

There were 10 or 12 mooring balls and no one on a single mooring or tied at the marina. We anchored off and motored in two days to walk the old town and fortifications.
It is a cool place. Washington and the French numbered over 17,000 men when they accepted Cornwallis’ surrender. The British lost between 6 and 7000 men in the siege. The beginning of the end for the British.

We spent the next night anchored way out in the open in Mobjack Bay at Point Comfort sort of by an abandoned lighthouse about a half mile from the beach. The beach was cool but the black flies that are usually just annoying starting viscouslly attacking and we had to retreat to the boat. We even had to tape up all the screens to keep them out.

We heard a story that the old timers say the flies bite when a Northeaster is coming. Well, the next day we rode the front across the Bay 12 miles to Cape Charles for fuel and to explore, then headed back out when we couldn’t find an anchorage.

We sailed back across the Bay headed to Deltaville Va and got caught a bit in the back of that Nor’easter – enough for Shelly to say it was the worse we had been in since having Yume. Damn flies.

Deltaville was nice with super friendly people stopping to talk to us. We got the bikes out and gave Goose a nice 5 mile exercise run visiting some of the thousands of sailboats that are here. We were in a beautiful creek, and the weather just perfect. This is at daybreak, looking east out into the Chesapeake. This is the same place we came in last Thanksgiving on our way south to get out of the weather and drug our anchor at 2am… Sure is different this time.

You have to remember that our mornings and evenings revolve around the Goose walk. It mandates where we anchor, and usually we tie it to grocery runs etc…
We are getting some sailing in. Yume is doing very well, although we motor a lot mostly as we have charge batteries all the time. Ryan is doing more animations and his new computer just seats power like ca day. Our next major purchase will probably be a wind generator. We get tired of running the motor! ( But I sure am glad the motor and generator are running well!)

We pulled down the Mizzenmast sail and tried our hand at flattening the sail. It was a good interesting afternoon project. Although we weren’t successful we didn’t do any damage either and learned some!

Shelly loves her sewing machine. I do too as I am not always trying to fix it like the old one we had.

This morning we sailed out of the Bay and around to the north of Deltaville and up the Rappahannock River to Irvington Va. It is a very small, quaint village win a hotel called the The Tides Inn that looks like it has been here forever. Nobody is here. I guess they come on the weekend and pack the place. We took the dingy and poked into all the creeks watching the herons and Ospreys and looking at the old and new homes.

Goose does love to ride in the boat!

Tomorrow we plan to leave early, and head back out to the Bay and north to Tangier Island. This is a special place we are really looking forward to, known for friendliness, and crab cakes. And we certainly hope no one else is there!

Unless of course you care to join us!

Close to Norfolk… Coinjock NC

Yume is tied to the dock for the day in Coinjock NC. It was really hot, and we needed to get a bit of work done, so after crossing Albemarle Sound from the anchorage at Little Alligator River, we opted for an early day and a cheap dock. Air conditioning makes all the difference when you are in a swamp and it is 90 degrees out!

Yesterday we motored most of the day the 55 miles from Belhaven (where we watched the fireworks from the boat) to Little Alligator. There is nothing there at all.

In fact, for Goose’s afternoon necessary we had to dinghy one way 2 miles to find we could not get ashore, then dinghy back the two miles and an additional 2 miles to find a spot. After having to actually row the boat as it was too shallow to use the motor we found a very small beach. It was plenty big enough for Goose though.

In Belhaven, we had another of those summer storms come up. The winds were blowing 35 sustained, but our new 55# Vulcan anchor held just fine as we watched the neighboring boat go sliding by in the wind and rain. This pic was taken through the port just a few minutes into the storm.

The first day out of Beaufort we only went to Oriental NC (population 900) as we heard the 35th annual Croaker Festival (that would be a fish that croaks) was on the the 4th of July and the facts that they had free docks and that we had never been there made it an easy decision. It was a really cool old town but…

As always you get what you pay for. Our free dock was next to a really smelly shrimp boat that ran its very loud generator all night and left their 100 billion candlepower working floodlight on all night that was clearly aimed at the hatch above our bunk. Did you know that monster palmetto bugs (huge cockroaches) are attracted to either the smell or the light and can follow it through a hatch? Me neither until I was viciously attacked at 2am by a pair of them.

We left bright and early the next morning – deciding skipping the parade was worth the price.

It is great to be back out on the water again after a month working on the boat. This part of the country is beautiful – isolated and few people but plenty to see.

Tomorrow we will be back in the noise in Norfolk VA and headed up the Chesapeake. Not sure yet what we are going to do but it will all be made clear to us in good time I am sure!

Our next scheduled stop is Tantallon Marina in Port Washington DC at the end of August to be ready for the fall paws4vets Combined Federal Campaign.

Did you read that story yet?

Click here. 

Till then, stay cool, and stay in touch!

 

Beaufort NC at Bock’s Marina

It has been a hot, humid, busy month of June. We had a list of things to do – (no we are not done working on the boat yet!) – and we were looking for a dock to do them. We also needed a safe place to leave Yume while Ryan and I drove Shelly to her Mom’s in Asheville for visit.

The grand plan was to rent a car, take Shelly and Goose the 6 hours to Asheville, then turn around the next day and drive back to the boat leaving Shelly for a nice visit while the boys had some bonding time working on the boat.

Yea right.

First let’s catch up. In Wilmington (where we left you with the last blog post) we ended up anchoring over in Wrightsville Beach for a weekend right where all the weekenders love to run their boats at just the right speed for maximum wake. You can almost get seasick when these idiots do this all day. Plus they play this game of ‘how close can we come to the anchored sailboat without actually hitting it’. Not our favorite game. That is what they make flare guns for. Yes I own a gun people.

On Sunday afternoon after they all went home (and back to work on Monday hehe) we made a deal with a local restaurant to let us sit on their docks during the week.  The folks at paws4people were awesome to let us borrow a nice Tahoe to cruise around in all week. Shelly attended trainings for new clients and their dogs, while Ryan and I ran errands and got caught up some.

We had nice dinners with Terry and Kyria of p4p and Jim and Pat, all great people, and got out of town on Friday noontime heading north to Beaufort NC.

BTW, I suppose you do know that in NC they call it ‘Bowfort’ (long o) and in SC they call it ‘Bufort’ (long u). Just so you get it correct…

The first night, in Swansboro, we anchored off an island made from the dredging over the years to keep the inlet open, and spent some nice time at low tide playing on the beaches.

Just about dinner time, one of those massive summer thunderstorms came up out of nowhere. In no time it was raining and blowing about 50 mph and we could not see the shore through the rain, but I knew we were dragging anchor. By the time we got the motor started and the anchor under control we had dragged across some sand banks at least a half mile. We pulled up the rest of the anchor and chain and motored back to a marina to spend the night. Yuk. We need a better anchor!

The next day we pulled into the town anchorage in Beaufort after a morning of strong SW winds that helped get us there quick, but made for some choppy water.

One night was enough and we left the next morning up through Core Creek Sound to Bock’s Marine. Kenny and Nancy Bock built this marina and yard over the last 32 years or so and are well known for their hospitality and service. We like this place and these people!

This coming Friday will make almost a month here but we have managed to do a lot.

One of the things we did in Wilmington was bite the bullet and buy a bigger, beefier alternator, and the shop was kind enough to modify for me. Unfortunately the damn thing burnt up the first day heading north!

So – Ryan and I detoured three hours out of the way on the return trip from Asheville to take the alternator back to Wilmington so they could look at it. They were super nice (Alternator Specialists) and completely rebuilt it with new diodes and a rectifier.  All seems well now! The nice folks at Enterprise were amazed at how many miles we put on their car in 28 hours.

Besides the alternator, the other disappointment was fuel leaking – for the third time – from the port tank. So the first task after dropping Shelly off was pulling the floors up, removing the hatches I made, finding a 55 gallon barrel and pumping out all the fuel. Then I cleaned the tank, sanded it, added more glass and resin. Let the tank set for two days then put the fuel back in, let that set for two days testing for leaks and closing it back up. I am getting really good at this. Maybe someday I will even stop the leaks!

Our bread machine finally died and we found a replacement in a Salvation Army store for $10!

A list of all we have done would include:

Finally ripping out the evaporator and fixing it correctly. I am very happy to report the new evaporator looks very nice, and the refrigerator seems to be working flawlessly. Pray that it continues.

Making new cockpit cushions. Isn’t Shelly talented?

 

Replacing the blower motor for cooling the alternator.

Replacing the anchor with a brand new 55# Vulcan. This anchor is supposed to bury in its own length. They warn you not to back down on the boat to set it or you might break something. Plus I bought the next size bigger than they recommend. Lord help me if I have to pull this thing in without the windlass!

Adding varnish to toerails, steering column trim, cockpit table and the companionway stairs (which look awesome!)

Replacing the generator salt water cooling pump (allowing me to put the air conditioning on during the week of 100+ degree days)

Pulling the davits and adding big backing plates for better support.

Removing the nonskid paint in the cockpit (put on by the previous owner and it was badly peeling)

Replacing two more side ports (only three small ones to go!)

Of course in the middle of this, Ryan and I rented another car and drove back to Asheville to pick Shelly and Goose up and bring her home. We had missed her and were hungry to see her. Well, we were hungry period. That bonding thing did not include a lot of eating as we had no refrigeration and it was awfully hot!

Since that all took about three weeks, and if you pay for three weeks you have paid for a month, and since we had just a couple more things to do – we are staying a day or two more.

We have to borrow a car and go see the new Jurassic Park movie, go to the grocery store one more time, and do laundry one more time.

Then we will head up into the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers up through Oriental, Bellhaven and up into the Alligator River to Pamlico Sound. There we have to decide which way to go to Norfolk. Either we go up to Elizabeth City and up through the Dismal Swamp Canal and locks (which we really like) or change up and go through the busier Albemarle Chesapeake Canal and pass through Coinjock and Pungo Ferry into Virginia.

Decisions decisions.

Either way we are not far from the Chesapeake Bay. We have a couple of months before we have to be in DC, and it will be interesting to see what we can find to do.

Really, don’t worry about us. We’ll manage.

Come see us!

 

Beaufort SC to Wrightsville Beach NC

I started this post Sunday morning, Memorial Day weekend (thank you and we remember!) and finally finished it May 31 so it might be a little disjointed!

It feels great to be moving, although I am always a bit nervous when we get underway after sitting for a while.Especially when I do any work on the engine. Yesterday was oil and fuel filters, and an oil change. I had noticed the alternator seemed to chewing on its belt so I decided to swap it out for the spare. Surprise! There was no spare. Gulp. If I lost the belt we are engineless as it also drives the fresh water pump.

So I loaded the bike in the dinghy, and set off for shore and the 3 mile trip to the nearest Carquest. Of course, they did not have the correct width belt so we are running an oversize belt until I find the correct one.

Another thing on my mind is that the alternator overheats. We are using an auto alternator not really made for continuous duty. I added a blower fan and ducted the air right to the alternator to see if that would help.

We are in that stage of waiting for several different payments and having to use temporary affordable fixes until things settle down. Thankful I know how!

We really enjoyed ourselves in Beaufort. There are some amazing houses here.

The concept of a paws4vets golf fundraiser at ParrIs Island Marine Base is now in the planning stages. We met some truly amazing people who have offered lots of support. Lots of help will still be needed so if you know anyone in this area, or want to help please let us know.

While we were in conversations about this, somehow we managed to also set up a Dog Scavenger Hunt for Sat morning in downtown Beaufort. The plan is to start and end the event here in the plaza of the old armory.

It will be a busy spring!

I loved this sign welcoming us to Beaufort. It is stategically placed so you see it when you launch your boat at the ramp, or you are going back to your dinghy!

The first night out we anchored in a creek about 20 miles south of Charleston. Our issue always is trying to find a place for Goose. In the Lowcountry most of the shore is deep black mud and not easily accessed by water. This time we were lucky to find one lonely spot at high tide where he could get off on a patch of sea grass that looked like it had been grazed by horses! He was happy.

Before we could leave we had to send someone to the top of the mast as the Genoa halyard (pulls up the sail) had somehow gotten jammed. Shelly and Ryan used the anchor windlass to haul me up where I found the halyard wire had wrapped around the furling foil very tightly. It was fixed and a nervous captain was lowered back to the deck. And we were underway again…

We reached Charleston at lunchtime, but with a steady breeze blowing east into the harbor and the hundreds of boats out for Memorial Day it did not look like a comfortable place to anchor. We just kept going right across Charleston Bay for five miles and back into the waterway to the north.

After waiting for the Ben Sawyer swing bridge, we found a nice, quiet deep creek three miles further and down went the hook.

First thing next morning, after I had shut down the refrigeration and put on the vacuum pump, I got out the hookah and went over the side to try and clean the growth on the bottom. Visibility was awful. I had to get about 3 inches from the hull to see anything. When you scrape the 3/4 inch layer of weed and the occasional barnacle with a plastic scraper, all the critters that make that stuff their home come swimming out and many thousands of them attach themselves to the nearest safe place. That would be me. In my nose, ears, navel … yea there too.

After half the boat was done the feeling of those little guys in my ears drove me out of the water. I looked like I was wearing a coat of little tiny sea creatures. Yuk. It is going to take some self motivation to get back in there and finish the job…

Then back out and mess with the fridge. Again.

Tuesday we made it to McClellanvile, a very old, very cool, very small town north of Charleston with a lot of history and great houses. Mayberry for sure.

The horse flies seem to out early and in numbers. Ah paradise!

The good news is that we are not hurrying, traveling half the day many days instead of sunup to sundown as in the past.  And visiting more.

We passed by Georgetown SC on Winyah Bay about lunch, and headed on up the Waccamaw River towards Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. It was an amazingly beautiful day.

After an overnight stop at Bucksport Landing for cheap fuel and a lot of running for Goose on the grass, we were out again the next morning headed for Myrtle Beach, and on to Southport.

 

We stayed a the free dock in Southport for two nights (we really like it here) and Shelly got together with Cece from paw4people for some training at the local fire station.

Then it was out and up the Cape Fear River to Wrightsville Beach where we will sit for a few days while Shelly gets to know some of the paws4people and paws4vets clients she helps manage.

Here is a video of coming up the river.

Happy June 1! Can you believe it?

The Yume Odyssey – a Different Approach to Life!