Friday, August 30, 2013

Home again

After Coinjock we traveled almost all the way home and anchored near Leachville, NC for the night.  After three  long days of travel we were really pretty worn out (remember we have been in cruising mode lately, trying hard to take our time).  But it seemed once we made the decision to head home it was like the proverbial horse smelling the barn.  Keep going as long as you can.

So we put the anchor down in this quiet little creek, thinking all would be quiet for the night.  Mistake numero uno.  I really didn't like the way everything felt when we were "set" but I was too tired to up anchor and start over.  Mistake numero dos.  Also, when the boat settled into position behind the anchor (the way the breeze was blowing it) we were directly in front of the other boat anchored there.  It was a very decent distance in front, but still not what Tom would like.  Mistake numero tres.  Nevertheless, we ignored those little annoyances and went to sleep.

Around 1am I awoke thinking something had changed.  I lay there for a while listening to boat sounds.  When you live on a boat for a while you get used to the way "normal" sounds.  Little creaks and groans, waves tapping at the hulls, etc. all tell you what is happening outside.  Finally I got up and went outside to see for myself.  The wind had picked up some and there was lightening off in the distance.  No cause for real worry but I stayed up anyway, dozing on the settee.  Around 2:45am everything revved up.  Rain started in earnest, the wind picked up considerably, and lightening and thunder were much closer.  So seemed the boat behind us!   I decided I needed a second opinion and woke Tom from a sound sleep.  While he was getting his bearings, our neighbor came up on his deck with a spotlight, apparently checking his position as well as ours.  We were definitely dragging slowly toward him.  Time for action. 

We started the engines and hauled up the anchor.  Fortunately we had left the chart plotter on for just such a scenario, so we could "see" where we were going on the chart even though it was dark outside except when lightening flashed.  We moved maybe a quarter mile further up the creek and reset the anchor, this time with much more confidence in the way it was holding.  By this time most of the storm had moved on and we just had a light ran to contend with.  But it was hard to get back to sleep after all that adrenaline rush.

The next morning we left around 8am and sailed the two hours to our home port at Old Mill Landing.  After tying up at the dock and turning on the AC, naps were in order.  It was great to see our friends later for dinner and to talk about our trip as well as all that had happened in their lives since we left for the Chesapeake in early July.  We are blessed with wonderful friends and are glad to be home.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Tangier Island Docks

We haven't had wifi since we got to Tangier Island.  No cell service either.  That's just the kind of place it is.  Tangier sits on the eastern side of the Chesapeake, an island unlike any other.  There is only one marina where transients can dock for the night and it is run by Milton Parks, an 82 year old retired crabber, the last of his generation on the eastern shore.  Milton could fill a whole book with his stories!  All the other docks that line the channel through the island are occupied by work boats and their accompanying sheds that we assumed held all manner of parts and/or equipment required by the watermen.  Town is a short walk from the docks and consists of a few restaurants, a health center, a school, a post office, and houses that date back to the time of early settlement.

The residents (about 500) ride around in golf carts and scooters or bicycles.  Some have cars that they leave in the mainland town of Crisfield.  We tried to hitch a ride with the mail boat to Crisfield but they couldn't find room for us.  Didn't really have time to sail there since we had to get back to the other side of the Bay to get our friends back to their car on Saturday.  We thought a "ferry" ride might be fun but it just didn't work out.
The garbage bins on Tangier are quite nice

After two days on Tangier Island we were ready to move on. There were two options as to where to go since we had two cars waiting for us in separate places. Our car was in Irvington and the Groening's was in Kinsale, an hour's drive away from ours. So either place would work.

Urbanna waterfront
Since we had a north-ish wind we decided on Irvington, the more southerly port. We had a wonderful sail across the Bay in 15-20k winds, no assist from the engines, and an incredibly beautiful day.  We made a last minute decision to pull into Urbanna for the night since it was a more interesting town and just across the river from where our car was parked in Irvington. There we spent a pleasant evening with a cool breeze keeping the bugs away and making for a very comfortable sleep.

In the morning we hauled in the anchor chain and were surprised to have some difficulty dislodging the anchor from the bottom, usually not a problem for us. We finally managed to get the anchor up to the surface of the water and found it attached to a very odd assortment of “something.” It took three of us to deal with what turned out to be a medusa-like tangle of old rope and rubber tubing, all entwined with a small anchor and line. We wound up cutting the line attached to the anchor so we could untangle it from our anchor and haul the whole thing up onto our bow. It was a muddy, smelly mess. Apparently a smaller boat had tangled their anchor up in this rubber stuff and been unable to haul it up, ultimately cutting loose their anchor to free themselves. It's anyone's guess as to where the rubber originated. We then pulled over to the town dock to pump out the heads and get rid of this detritus. It took what seemed like gallons of water to clean up ourselves and the trampoline of our boat, which required some additional scrubbing to eliminate the grime left behind. Unfortunately, we were too overwhelmed to take a picture. It would have been a good one.

Tom with one of the dogs at Dog and Oyster that keep
 other critters (like deer) from eating the vines

So off to Irvington we went to off load our guests' things into our car and head off to the Dog and Oyster for some wine tasting (it was Sunday after all and we just could not pass that up). After that we had lunch and drove them to their car and headed back to our boat for a calm night at anchor.

Grapes almost ready for harvest
Sunset in Carter Creek, Irvington, VA

Tom had tried to line up crew for another week or two of sailing (Pat had to be home by August 30) but could not work out the details, so after some debate we decided to take the boat home ourselves and come back for our car after getting Kentris to Jordan Creek. A bit inconvenient but better than having Tom left to single hand the boat later. So we are making our way down the ICW, heading home. We are docked for the night at Coinjock about 80 miles from Jordan Creek.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Solomon's Island and beyond

Thursday we moved from Solomon's Island to St. Leonard Creek, a distance of about 9 miles. We had heard about a marina up this creek that was opened by a Hollywood starlet and was a must see party place. Vera's Beach Bar sits on a high point of land overlooking the creek. The restaurant is festooned with different colored lights and has a colorful beach area with tables and chairs lapped by the water. There are actual palm trees (as well as fake ones) along the beach. We anchored across the creek from Vera's and took the dinghy over for a late lunch. The food was very good. Too bad Vera is no longer around. She must certainly have been an interesting character. Apparently, the weekends are when the place comes alive because things were fairly quiet on a Wednesday. Just as well for us since we had started the day with several mimosas, added a few beers as the day progressed, and then finished up with pina coladas and margaritas at Vera's. By evening we were ready for bed.

That was not to be however. We watched lightening and clouds move in for about an hour after dark as we sat out on the trampoline enjoying a light breeze. Around 11 PM the rain started and got heavier with lightening and thunder all around. Very little wind though so we sat snugly on the hook watching the light show and hoping the lightening would find some other target.

This morning we hauled up the anchor around 8 AM and headed out to the Bay. It was overcast and calm. The starboard engine would not start which Tom and Dave eventually decided was the fault of the starter motor. It had been difficult to start for several days but today it was a no go. Fortunately we had a replacement on board which was fairly painlessly installed and the engine cranked right up.

During the starter ordeal, the chartplotter screen went blank and the remote mouse we use at the helm stopped working. Back to doing things the old fashioned way for a brief period. A new battery in the mouse took care of that problem. The chartplotter came back up once they plugged the battery back into the starboard engine.

So crossing the Bay in light winds was just fine in light of all the activity we had to contend with. We headed to Tangier Island with both sails up and, I'm sorry to say, both engines assisting. Batteries needed charging and the wind was too light to get us there before dark.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Solomon's Island

 We made it to Solomon's Island yesterday but since there was practically no wind, we motored most of the way with a little jib assist.  Lots and lots of boats here but surprising few onshore shops or things of interest.  We walked around a bit, found a bar for a happy hour cocktail, and then headed back to the boat to be entertained by a couple trying to anchor just outside the mooring field.  It seemed they really didn't know what they were doing, but after about six attempts, they did get their anchor to hold.  As long as there is no wind they should be OK.

One nice thing here is that you don't see many derelict boats laying around as you do in many other places.

Here are  some of the examples of this we have seen in the last few days.

Anybody for a free boat?  This one doesn't look as bad as some we've seen.

I guess some people just lose interest in their boat or get to the point where they can't take care of it anymore.  Someone needs to figure out a way to recycle some of them into useful items.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

St. Mary's River

August 18, 2013

We were able to sail across the Potomac yesterday, about a 3 hour trip, to an anchorage at St. Mary's City. The term “city” is used rather loosely here as there is not much there except a replica of the site of the first settlement in Maryland. After anchoring off the coast from St. Mary's College, we took the dinghy in and walked around the small, very pretty campus and then over to the site of the first state house and other buildings associated with the settlement.

The Dove as seen from the water
As we walked out to peer over the high bank overlooking our anchorage, a fellow walking his dog came up and introduced himself. We talked for a while about the area and he offered to take us on a tour of the Dove, a replica of one of the two ships that sailed into this river in 1634 bringing the first settlers to what later became the state of Maryland. What a treat that was. It is a beautiful wooden ship built in the 1970's by Jim Richardson and maintained by a group of volunteers.

It began to rain later that day and continued all through the night and most of the day today. We needed to have the holding tanks pumped out, so when the rain ended we headed back down the river to Smith Creek where we plan to stay for the night before heading to Solomon's Island tomorrow if the weather will allow.

Now anchored in Jutland Creek in a beautiful little cove with herons and ospreys as neighbors.  New joker valves installed in the heads after the pump out, making their function so much better.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Kinsale, VA

This is the first time we have had wifi since we left Irvington.  We are at the dock at Port Kinsale Marina waiting for friends to arrive to sail with us this week.  Having showered ourselves and the boat, hauled the garbage we accumulated over the week to the dumpster, and taken a bike ride, we are now ready for cocktails.

Last night we spent an evening at anchor just around the point from here in a quiet little cove.  Watched ospreys and an eagle soar around us as we tried to catch a fish. They were jumping all around the boat, but none wanted what Tom was offering them.  We had sailed from an anchorage on Indian Creek near the town of Kilmarnock where we had stayed two days waiting for the cold front-associated-weather to settle before heading out.  The Bay was a bit chopped up still but we had light wind just enough off our nose to be able to sail most of the way to the Potomac.  Once there, the wind pretty much died so we motored into the Yeocomico River and our anchorage for the night.  It was a beautiful day with clear skies and cool temps.  So nice after all the heat we have had on the Chesapeake.

The trip took about 7 hours which we have decided is longer than we really want to do anymore.  We used to think that was a regular day of travel on the boat but not any more.  "Cruising" is more to our liking now that we don't have any schedules to worry about (as in work).  Maybe that is a function of age but I like to think it is more related to wisdom. We have been happy to poke around some of the beautiful creeks and rivers that feed into the Bay, not going any further then a few hours at a time.  Of course, if we absolutely had to get somewhere, we 
would if we had to,or  if there was nothing to explore along the way.  It is fun to sail a while if the conditions are right but that is often not the case.  The wind is too much or too little or in the wrong direction, or the water is rough, or it's raining.  When you live on a sailboat for a time, you find the perfect sailing day is a rarity. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

We found the boat just as we left it with no apparent issues having taken place while we were gone.  I don't know why there is always so much "stuff" to schlep back and forth from boat to home, but it never ceases to amaze me.  We thought we were leaving most of the stuff on the boat this time and there would be little to bring back.  Wrong.  This time the item taking up the most space was our new genoa sail, all tucked away in it's tidy bag.  That's the last time it will ever be that contained!  And we'll never get the old sail folded up that small when we switch them out.  Don't know how they did it at the factory.

We finally got everything on board and put away and turned the air conditioner on (hurray for shore power!).  While that was cooling down the boat, we headed to the grocery store for last minute produce, etc., then found places to put all that.  Cocktails were in order after all that work, followed by a slow dinghy ride up the creek.  Tomorrow we'll head a few miles up the Rappahanock to the Corrotoman River for the night.  There's not much there so probably no internet.