Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sailing South

Thursday, October 17th, brought light south winds and predictions of one foot seas, so we opted to drop the mooring and go even though better sailing wind was predicted for tomorrow.  We passed through the 9:30 bridge on Spa Creek, stopped for fuel and  water, and were off and motoring before ten.  We passed the famous Thomas Point Shoal Light.

Our new belt on the autopilot worked well, and for the first time since Lake Erie standing watch was carefree.

Our plan was to motor to Soloman's Island, but the wind forecast proved inaccurate and the seas built to three feet.  Passage  doesn't do well motoring into seas this large, so 18 miles from our destination we turned around and sailed downwind for ten miles to Knapp's Narrows.  We really hate ever giving up distance made.  We discovered the current was very strong in the narrows, but docked just east of the bridge and spent an uncomfortable night in strong northwest winds.

Friday the 18th brought strong northwest winds, so we cast off at 7:45 and enjoyed an excellent sail down the Chesapeake Bay.

We enjoyedseeing the Cove Point Lighthouse as we neared Soloman's Island.

 We docked at Calvert Marina and soon enjoyed happy hour with the crews of three other cruising boats. A front arrived, and we sat out a rain day at the marina.

Sunday we motor sailed to Deltaville, where we took a dock at Regatta Point Marina.  The weather has gotten much colder at night, and we wimps are electing to plug in so that we can enjoy heat.

Deltaville to Norfolk turned out to be a low wind and flat sea motor boat ride.  On the way we passed Wolf Trap Light and then a naval worship working its way up into Mobjack Bay.

This was only a prelude of the many warships we would see as we motored the ten miles up the harbor to Waterside Marina in Norfolk.

We love Waterside because of the many restaurant choices.  This trip we chose to eat at Joe's Crab Shack. 

Tuesday, October 22nd , we couldn't leave early because the Gilmerton Lift Bridge didn't open until 9:30.  What a pain!  Boats backed up to wait for the opening, and then we were off!

After one more lift bridge, four power boats and seven sailing vessels arrived at the Great Bridge Lock.  We all crowded in, then after leaving the lock had to jockey to maintain position for 12 minutes to wait for the first of three more lift bridges.

We motored on, once being passed by a flotilla of power boats who caught the last bridge 30 minutes after us.

After motoring down Currituck Sound, we arrived at Midway Marina in Coinjock.  The wind report sounded negative for crossing Albemarle Sound on Wednesday, so we assumed we would be sitting here for a day.  Coinjock is not exactly an exciting place,  so we weren't looking forward to a lay day here.

We awoke on Wednesday the 23rd to a revised weather forecast which gave us time to cross the sound before the winds built.  We left the dock in light air at 7:40.  Two hours later we approached the sound to discover strong winds right on the nose with building seas!  Since Passage is extremely uncomfortable and struggles to maintain momentum in these conditions, we soon gave up and went to plan B.  We turned southeast and headed for Roanoke Island and the lovely village of Manteo on the Outer Banks.  Our ride was comfortable and fast, so we were tied to the dock in Mateo by 1:30.

Because of predictions of strong westerly winds, Thursday became a lay day.  We will do boat maintenance, laundry, grocery shopping, and a haircut for Jack.  We will also enjoy this lovely little town before departing for the mainland and Big Trout Marina in Engelhard, North Carolina, the halfway point between here and Oriental, where we will rejoin the ICW.  Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy two days of sailing.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Boat Show Bonanza

While we were preparing for the sailboat show in Annapolis, we spent a day at the power boat show with good friends Del and Becky Gladrow.  The weather was beautiful, and we had a great time at the show and then dining at the Rams Head Tavern.  

Just before the show Randy and Ede Bartell called to say they were passing through.  We enjoyed lunch with them at the Annapolis Yacht Club, and visited for a while before they headed for their home in Florida.

After three weeks of beautiful weather in Annapolis, the boat show arrived at the same time as the remnants of tropical storm Karen, which decided to stall over us for the first four days of the show.  Strong southerly winds and high tide flooded part of the show the day before it opened.

Rainy days didn't deter the sailors, who showed up in droves.  We worked for friends Bradd and Maeve Wilson at their Cruising Solutions booth.

Maeve, Lori Fields, Jeff Fields and Bradd joined me for this shot inside the booth.

Sue became very proficient at demonstrating the docking stick, one of the many cruiser friendly products on sale at the Cruising Solutions booth.


We had a great time working at the show, even if the cold and rain did force me to wear my foul weather jacket for most of the first four days.

Of course, the boat show week wasn't all work.  After the first night the crew attended a reception Lowes Hotel.  Free drinks and good food was a welcome reward after the set up and first day of manning the booth.  Our hosts Maeve and Bradd certainly enjoyed themselves.

We even enjoyed a short presentation by Australian Jimmy Spithill, who skippered Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup.  The US boat successfully defended the cup 9 races to 8.  Jimmy talked mostly about encouraging young people to take up sailing.

Bradd and Maeve also hosted a dinner on Sunday night of the show at Buddy's Crab and Ribs.  We had a great dinner and enjoyed the camaraderie of the entire Cruising Solutions crew. I know that Phil, John and Craig had a fun time.

So did Bradd, Jeff and Lori.

Bradd also turned the occasion into a celebration of Sue's 72nd birthday. 

Once the show ended, we spent two days preparing to depart Annapolis.  Clean clothes, full refrigerator and a refilled propane tank topped the list.  Thanks so much to Susan Nahmias, who worked with us at the show, for providing transportation and fellowship during the completion of these tasks.  Check back soon for details of our voyage south.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Since arriving in Annapolis, we have settled in to the routine of living on a mooring ball in a crowded harbor. Here are a few views of Spa Creek from our mooring ball.

Our activities are varied.  Each day we motor in to the marina office to shower and pick up any mail or packages which might arrive.

We have enjoyed happy hour with new friends like Rock and Diane on their Hunter 36 "Simple Pleasures."

We have eaten dinner with Bradd and Maeve on "Sampatecho" and "Passage", and enjoyed meals at two Irish Restaurants in town.  We have also enjoyed happy hour at places like O'Briens.

We enjoy our daily walks through the town, and find the residential neighborhoods of Annapolis interesting.  Many dwellings are connected, yet use different colors to paint their homes.

Brick sidewalks run almost everywhere in the old town, as well as narrow streets that date back to well before cars.

Of course downtown has many fine eating and drinking establishments near the water.

We fill our water tanks by taking jerry cans to a water source in the dingy and filling them, then dragging them on deck to fill our tanks.  We have walked to West Marine, almost two miles each way, and Sue walks 1.6 miles to a grocery store once every four or five days.  I don't go with her because apparently I slow her down and make her tired!  So we are getting plenty of exercise in addition to enjoying the good life.  The harbor is being transformed for the power boat show, so downtown will now become extra crowded and a little crazy.  We wouldn't have it any other way.