Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Clink, Clank. Mile Marker 173

This is it! We are into the Intercoastal Waterway. Our stay at Coinjock was uneventful, easy landing, easy departure. So far winds have been just right, a little to fill the sails, not enough to challenge docking. Snd yes, we are traveling with snapping shrimp though we hardly notice them now.

We knew Sunday would be a stressor, it was our day to run the Wilkerson Bridge. We cleared the Alligator Swing Bridge by eleven or so, but not until the operator had trouble opening and closing the bridge. It should be high on NC list of bridges to replace. Signs on the Alligator River made us hopeful this 64 foot bridge was of little concern- but our confidence got ahead of us. We "clinked" the antenna on the Fairfield Bridge about six miles before the Wilkerson Bridge. A boat ahead of us radioed back that he read 63.5' on the Wilkerson bridge boards and we could see that our binoculars. So . . . The admiral went below, drained the starboard water tank, moved anything moveable like electric cords and the bow sprit to the port bow area, and the captain swung the boom to port and lashed the dingy to the port rails. We hiked out on the deck as far as possible, cut the engine, and drifted under the Wilkerson with a "clank" on each girder. All instruments made it in tact, better than our nerves. It was time for a quiet night at Dowry Creek Marina. The bonus for our day on the Alligator River Pungo River Canal was our first sighting of a bald eagle. 

Sunday we made an easy run to River Dunes The consistent winds from the north have piled water up under bridges and in towns that may not otherwise be tidal. I'm not sure how that leaves us but for now we will move cautiously and hope for the best. Otherwise the weather is fabulous, we highly recommend skipping the boat show and enjoying this trip ahead do the pack.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cockpit Inclosure? Priceless!

Point Comfort Light

Sometimes, it doesn't help to over plan and have grand expectations, especially if weather is part of the equation. We spent two over cast days in Oxford, sailed over to Solomon's Island, then beat into wind and waves to visit Tangier Island.

Classic Fish Trap on the Bay

Nostalgia drew us back to Tangier, but reality replaced our romantic memories of this small island on the Eastern Shore. The population is down to less than 450 people and the crabbing has shut down early this season. In just an hour we had walked most of town and had dinner in the small Fisherman's Corner Restaurant. The desolation is at once charming and sad, an idyllic way of life that may disappear with the island as the Bay reclaims it. In just the six years since we first found the island, she has visibly sunk and shrank. No new watermen commit to this life style anymore, there is no one to carry on the legacy and the fight to save the island.

The trip from Tangier to the Tides on the Eastern Shore was bumpy and breezy, and after  two days at the Tides, we elected to make a run down the Eastern Shore in a strong NE wind at our back. Less than an hour down the Rappahannock River with gusts to 25 knots, we remembered we had an enclosure to put up! the ten minute pause in our travel and we were warm and dry. The cost of an enclosure, priceless on a run like this. You guessed it, we had growlers and six foot waves, steady winds of 15 degrees, gusts to 25  all day. It was a really grey, nasty day. We tried to get ahead of the rain and high winds predicted for Wednesday, and we were successful. After days of limited phone and internet service, enough weather to deserve a reward, we decided to stay here in Norfolk for three nights until winds settled down.

Sadly, we have also elected to scrap our plans for the Dismal Swamp. Talk of submerged logs and a large outbreak of duckweed to clog your filters says Virginia cut to us. Friday morning we depart. The weather looks good though we are worried these northerly winds pushing too much wind into the Wilkerson Bridge, our first challenge of the trip!  


The waitress at dinner invited us to
church services in the morning but
we had planned to cast off before
it began. The church is open at all times.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Bike Tour of Oxford, MD and Picket Fences 2014






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On a Clear Day

On a clear day you can see half way down the Bay, or so it seems. We left Osprey Point about 9:30 am and to our disappointment we had little wind to fill our sails. It was our grand scheme to sail the full length of he Bay, no motoring this trip. Well, greater plans than this have failed many a sailor before us so with gratitude for a nice day, we motored over to Oxford. The waters were full of really large ships today, perhaps because yesterday was really windy, or maybe its because ships have been unable to get into Baltimore for a week due to the Star Spangled Celebration this past week. This traffic made Bay south of the Annapolis Bay Bridge really roly-poly! We could see a lone tall ship under full sail in the direction of Baltimore but most of the ships left Baltimore yesterday, limiting our chances of seeing another. There was little else to tell about the day except that it went smoothly and about seven hours later we were docked at Campbell's Boatyard for the night. We cooked aboard and will enjoy the solitude here on Oxford Town Creek off the Tred Avon River tonight.

Initially we were disappointed that the Osprey had fledged and migrated south off Swan creek, our home port, but they are still on the nests on Town Creek. In the morning we will borrow bikes and ride to town for some photographs. With luck, the first thing we'll capture are those Osprey.
The Annapolis Bay Bridge
One of our traveling companions.

Sharps Island Light
The Leaning Tower of the Chesapeake

Bloody Point Light

The Oxford-St. Michaels Ferry

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'Something 'bout a boat . . .

Five years ago we made a pact, to live our dream instead if dreaming our life. To that end, we retired, divested ourselves of our house and all that makes a home. No longer in need of professional wardrobes, we burned our socks and donated the rest of our clothes, moved aboard Promise, and set sail for Jimmy Buffet adventures. 

During the next few years we sailed in storm and splendor, and met many fine people in very port and anchorage. We rarely missed the comforts of home, but always missed our family. We committed ourselves to finding the perfect place to live that would give us closer visits with our sons and grandchildren, but perfect meant it couldn't be too hot or cold, needed to be near water, and it had to be a viable town. Luck brought us to Lewes, Delaware, and it is there we built a home and reconnected with family and friends over the last year. Cape Henlopen protects us from severe weather swings (OK, not so much this winter) and the beaches feel familiar, like our Jersey Shore memories. The last twelve months have been wonderful, except, we missed the boat. 
There's something 'bout a boat, gives a man hope (Jimmy Buffet.) Promise spent six months on the hard. By the time we launched in mid-summer, winds were stagnant as they are in July and August and the temperature on the Bay soared, and given the choice of having the kids and their kids or friends to Lewes and going to the boat, family and friends always won out. We could feel our days numbered in their busy lives so we took advantage. of every each day we had with people we love. 
And so Promise waited, and the wait was worth it. Rick sailed the Maryland Governors Cup Race on August 1 & 2, from Annapolis to St. Mary's up the Potomac. The overnight race was a once in a lifetime adventure for Rick and four friends who battled strong winds and six foot waves. They flew through the storm and finished around 5:30 AM. Satisfied they had finished, tired and wet from the adventure, the crew sailed on to Solomon's for rest. It was mid-afternoon when they learned that Promise had won her class and won with corrected time! Check that one off the bucket list- captain and crew should be very proud, indeed. 
But now it is time to do some serious cruising, short sails and a big race behind us. We have buttoned up the house, hitched a rental ride to Rock Hall and loaded the boat with supplies for a trip south. The day was full of checklists, filling tanks, stowing gear and getting the dingy on board. We depart in the morning for Oxford, Maryland, a forty mile run down the Chesapeake Bay. A North, then East wind and crisp September weather will make for a pleasant sail. This time around, we have mixed feeling as we are detaching from a new life in Lewes and our family and friends . . . but there's something about a boat. 

Rick at the helm at the start of the race

The Pride of Baltimore at the Annapolis start