Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cruising the Chesapeake Week 3

After posting last week, we went back to the boat for a nap, fixed dinner, then went up to the marina shelter and had an icecream party with the Johnson's and Floyd's.

We then moved up tot he clubhouse and played 1-4-24  a really fun dice game.

Nathan won, by the way. 

Thursday was a rainy day.  Brian and I went over to say goodbye to the Floyd's.  In Urbanna, most stores are not open until the latter part of the week. Sally and I had been waiting all week to visit this one kitchen store. So Sally, Joni and I bundled into rain jackets and walked over. It was not open even thought the hours siad it should be. So we walked back to Encore and said a final good bye. Five minutes later Sally's phone rang. Joni was calling, the store was finally open. Her and Jim stopped in and waited for Sally and I to get back there.  After some looking and a couple purchaces, Jim and Joni left for real to drive back to Raleigh.

Sally and I stopped in at another store andthen walked back to the boat.  Then Andy and Brian walked with us back to Angelo's restaurant for lunch.  Brian had been wanting fish and chips for quite awhile. So that is what he and Andy ordered.  After getting our salads, the waitress came back saying they were our of the fish.  So we all got cheeseburger subs.  They were soo good. We didn't mind the fish being sold out.

Off and on during the morning we had been texting with Paige in Onancock trying to figure out exactly how to get there by boat. We called that evening and Scott talked with Andy and Brian.  Everyone was excited to get an early start the next day.

Friday dawned sunny and beautiful. Anchor came up at 8am.  It was a choppy crossing over the Bay. Luke and I were a bit queasy. But it was worth it to make it and put the anchor down by 3:30.

 Paige picked all of us up and drove us to thier house for a fabulous enchilada dinner and fun evening of fellowship.

The boys stayed over with the Whitley boys and had a great time visiting and playing games.

Saturday morning Paige brought the boys back to town and we went to the famous Corner Bakery.  Between 9 people we managed to polish off 2 dozen doughnuts.

 If you like Krispy Kream's, well, you need to get up to Onancock and and have a Corner Bakery doughnut!

After our sugar filled breakfast, we walked around town and poked in and out of shops.
Are these not the coolest ceramic cups with built in handles??

Back to the boat for lunch and a rest, then all of us except Nathan went back to the docks to load charts onto tablets.  We came back to the boat to find this.

And Momma Bear said, "Somebody's been sleeping in my bed."  After staying up until 1:30 the night before, it was no wonder.

That evening we had a picnic supper at the docks before Andy and Sally had to leave Sunday morning to start their journey back to NC.

Sunday morning, we walked over to the Onancock Baptist Church and had an enjoyable time of praise and worship and good message.

A barge came past the boat coming out of Onancock and heading toward the bay.

 After lunch and a nap Brian took me out for a dinghy driving lesson. We went and got water in the jugs and a walk. We made it back to the boat and picked up Luke and Nathan for Nathan to have a lesson.  He did fantastic!  Coming back he wanted me to drive. Not a good decision.  I got nervous and bumped the low bridge, kept over correcting and just did terrible.

Back at the boat, I fixed dinner in tears.  At least I can cook.  We decided to do laundry after dinner, so Luke, Nathan , Brian and I loaded back in the dinghy.  I was DONE. I did not drive us back.  I had brought our new and improved Chesapeake guide book to look at while waiting for the laundry.  It is fun to look at and try and figure out where we want to go next.  Laundry finally got finished around 10:30. Way past our usual bedtime.  Back at the dinghy dock Brian and Luke  were loading the laundry bags, I stepped back to give Luke more room and all of the sudden found myself under water. Brian and Luke quickly pulled me out. I had put the cell phone and tablets in a dry bag, which did it's job and kept everything protected, but I lost our new to us guide book.  Back to the showers I went to wring out my clothes and rinse off.  Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.  Not my best day.

Monday morning dawned bright and beautiful again. so true of God's mercies being new every morning!  Brian and the boys took all of the Whitley men sailing for the day. Paige took me to Wal Mart to grocery shop.  Back at her house we had a very relaxing afternoon just visiting and catching up.  The guys got back after 3.  They had anchored closer to their house and dingied everyone over to a little marina a block from their house.  We had dinner together and the boys stayed over again.  Scott had a 2013 copy of the guide book and generously gave it to us along with another book about a couple sailing the Pacific for seven years.

Tuesday, today, we came over and had lunch. All of the boys had gone swimming already in the back yard.

Right now, Brian is getting ready to start the grill and cook burgers and Brats for dinner.  We are in town a couple more days while he works on fixing our chart plotter.

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cruising The Chesapeake Week Two

Monday a huge cruise ship  came to the Norfolk docks. It was amazing to see the sheer size of it!

Tuesday morning, May 12, we left the ferry dock at 7:55am

 and met the Johnson's on the water as they came out of their marina.  Great sailing day on the Bay.

 We made it to Gloucester Point in Sarah's Creek to anchor for a few days.  Once everyone was anchored and situated, we had Andy and Sally over for dinner.  I just put some potatoes and chicken thighs in the pressure cooker with some Italian dressing and water and let it do it's thing.  I had also started some no knead bread dough a few days before that need baked, so I lined a loaf pan with parchment and poured the dough in and baked it.  It didn't quite bake all the way through, but I was able to slice it and toast it on the griddle to serve with dinner.

Wednesday morning we loaded into our dinghy's and motored across the York River to Yorktown.  This is where Cornwallis surrendered to Washington bringing an end to the Revolutionary War.  We toured a museum, walked through town and eventually made it to the Battlefield.  Thanks to Andy's National Park pass we were able to join a guided tour.

After our tour and watching the short film, we sat outside and Sally called about getting a rental car. We would need one to see Jamestown and Williamsburg the next couple days.  A vehicle to seat 8 was way over our budgets. So we settled for a normal sedan.

Thursday morning the company brought the car to the marina, then Brian and Andy drove the person back to the office, then came back to take the first load to Williamsburg. Then back to the marina for the second group. By the time we were all together again it was early afternoon. We sat on benches and ate our picnic lunches. We decided to see Jamestown that afternoon and Williamsburg the next day. So Andy took the first group the ten miles to Jamestown and then came back for the rest of us.  Before he got back to Williamsburg, Luke called me and said that he had dropped them off 1/2 mile from where they really needed to be and for us to have him come to the other place. In the meantime they would walk the 1/2 mile and wait for us.  So Andy came back for Sally, Nathan and I and off we went.

We caught up with Brian, Luke, Jacob, and Caleb still walking. Being a 5 passenger car and 8 people, with just a little ways to the parking lot, Nathan and Caleb sat on laps and Brian volunteered to ride in the trunk.
We finally arrived at Jamestown a little before 3.  We joined a talk by a National Park Service person, then wandered around the site and toured a museum.

Rather than have Andy make three more trips back and forth, Brian hopped back in the trunk and the rest of us piled into the car, double buckling as necessary, and headed back to town for a provision stop and then back to the marina.

Friday morning we were getting ready to go to Williamsburg, when Sally called.  They were having bilge trouble.  Brian and Andy worked all day to fix it, going to another nearby town to get a part and drop off another part for repair. The boys and I hung out with Sally playing dice games and visiting.  The guys got everything repaired and put back in order and returned the rental car.

That night Andy generously treated all of us to dinner at the restaurant located at the marina. York River Oyster Company.  We waited a couple hours for a table, but it was worth the wait.

Saturday morning it was time to move on.  We had the anchor up by 6:45, but the fuel dock did not open until 9am. After filling both fuel and water tanks, we left and headed back to the Bay and on to Deltaville.
We passed the Wolf Trap Light on the way.
 We got the anchor down at 4pm.

Sunday we slept in and had a late breakfast. Brian and I kayaked and stopped by the Johnson's boat and visited. We decided our next stop would be Urbanna instead of The Solomans.  After lunch we kayaked to shore and tried to walk to town, not realizing how far it really was.  The three older boys went about 2-3 miles and then came back. Brian, Nathan and I were just getting ready to head after them an hour later when they were coming back. Nathan decided to stay with them, so Brian and I headed out.
I just had to take a picture of this old farmhouse we passed on our walk.

 We ended up walking to a local museum and nature park. the museum was about to close, so we went down and looked at a replica of a shallop Captain John Smith used to chart the Chesapeake back in the 1600's.
Monday morning, May 18, we left Deltaville to sail up the Rappahannock River to Urbanna.  Our friends, Joni and Jim were driving up to meet us there on Tuesday and spend a few days.

We put down our anchor at 2:10 that afternoon.

 We got settled and then dinghy'd to the town dock and explored the town.

  Back at the dinghy dock, we met our anchor neighbor. We visited a bit, then he said he had some books for us. He brought back two large bags loaded down. He said to choose what we wanted and he would take back the rest to pass along to someone else down the line.  We were able to update several of our chart books. From 2003 to 2012 versions!  To thank him, we invited him to the boat for dinner. He gladly accepted. He has been cruising for 4 years and had quite the stories to tell.  He was attacked by a huge man of war jelly fish in the Dry Tortuga's down in FL last year, and has since lived a life of gratitude, being joyful and serving others when he can.

The Floyd's arrived late Tuesday morning.  We went over to visit them on Encore, the Johnson's boat. They had generously brought us gifts of fruit, precooked bacon and cookies!  We all walked to a local pizza place and had lunch.

 Then men then drove back to Deltaville to pick up some glassed Andy and left. While they were gone, Sally, Joni, the boys and I walked all around town, stopping in the various shops to browse. We picked up a few groceries at the IGA and then went back to the boats.

Today, Wednesday, we woke to a very windy start to the day. It has since settled down. After breakfast and straightening up the boat, we came to town, and settled  in at the library to write this post. 

Until next time...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Traveling to The Chesapeake

On Saturday, May 2 we motored the boat back down the Neuse River to our home port of Blackbeard Sailing Club.  That evening we had dinner with friends and The Floyd's generously shared a bottle of champagne and sparkling cider for the boys as a Bon Voyage for us and the The Johnson's, our traveling buddies.

Sunday morning dawned beautiful as we did last minute preparations before leaving.

Brian had a last cup of coffee with Buddies Terry and Charlie.

For breakfast, Charlie and I shared pancake duty for everyone in the clubhouse.

The day before, Brian decided to change out the aft head from electric to composting.

Several friends came down to send us off.

We met up with the Johnson's as they came our of Northwest Creek.

The first day we went down the Neuse, past Oriental and into Broad Creek.  As the boys were dropping the anchor, a few dolphins were splashing and playing nearby.  The next morning, Nathan got this great shot of the sunrise.

That days travel (Monday)  took us to Dowry Creek, near the town of Bel Haven.

We ended up staying here two days because the next morning, Andy and Sally realized they were having bilge trouble. Brian and Andy got the problem diagnosed and fixed by that afternoon. Later, the four adults checked out the marina's courtesy car and drove the 6 miles to check out Bel Haven.  The car was a Durango that was on it's last legs. Windows would not roll down, ac would not work.  It was like driving in a sauna. The boys stayed at the marina playing tennis.

The next morning Brian, Jacob, and Caleb worked at pulling up the anchor.

Sometimes it comes up clean. But on this day, parts were pretty gross with bottom sludge. So they had to use a bucket and pour water to wash off as much as they could while starting and stopping the windlass, bringing up the chain and anchor.

Wednesday morning we left to head to the Alligator River Marina. Andy and Sally stayed there, while we went up just a bit and anchored among a sea of crab pots. We always have to have a look out so as not to hit one. It can get pretty dicey dodging them.

Thursday morning we moved on towards Coinjock, NC. We left Andy and Sally at the Coinjock marina and thought we could anchor nearby.  TWO hours later, we finally found deep enough water to "drop the hook".

The next morning, (Friday) I was sitting in the cockpit having coffee and watching the sunrise, when Brian say to me," K you need to move, I have to take care of something."  That something turned out to be this.

He used the boat hook and put it back into the water. But our hitchhiker wanted a free ride, a bit later the boys saw it trying to climb back onboard from the sugar scoop! Brian bopped it on the head and it went back into the water. I'm told it was a lethal bop.

Gay and Olwen, friends back in New Bern sent the picture to a NC Wildlife expert who identified it as a NC brown banded water snake, completely harmless.  Still, I now check for visitors each morning before sitting down.

On Friday, we finally made it to the Chesapeake!

We got to go through our first lock near Big Bridge. A lock is sort of like a boat elevator. You pull in and tie off to a wall. Then the gates shut in front and behind, and they lower or raise the water level.  Here, we went up about two feet.

 Motoring along the ICW through the Naval Shipyard was amazing. The size of the ships, the security guarding them both on and off the water, barges, tugs...  Nathan got several great photos.

We wanted to anchor in Willoby Bay, but decided to come back  and anchor in a great spot in the Elizabeth River.  One one side is Norfolk and on the other is Portsmouth. Either one is just a dinghy ride away.

Saturday morning we rode over to Norfolk and parked the dinghy's near the Battleship Wisconsin. We spent some time going through the Hampton Roads Naval Museum located in the Nauticus building.  Then we had lunch at Schlotzky's and following our map, found the Mac Author Memorial Museum.

After the museums, it was back to the boats.

Yesterday, Sunday, we dinghied over to the ferry dock and then walked a couple miles to Food Lion and bought groceries. Dividing everything up among our 6 back packs, we toted it back to the boat.  That afternoon, Andy and Sally moved their boat to the nearby marina. We went over to visit and walked with them around Olde Town Portsmouth.

Back at their boat, I started to not feel well.  Sally was a sweetheart and gave me some crackers, juice, and ginger candy.  We decided to take another day before leaving, so I could get extra rest and the weather called for mostly rain.

Today, Monday, we moved the boat over to the Ferry docks, where it is free to tie up for 36 hours. Brian walked to the library to take care of some business, while the boys and I stayed on the boat to do some school.  After lunch the boys and I took our turn at the library, so I could get this mile long post written and keep the blog caught up.

If you have read this all the way through, Thank You!  Hope you enjoyed it.

More to come as we continue on our journey.