Is it a cruise or is it a delivery?

At least once a week we ask ourselves, “Is it a cruise or is it a delivery?”  We want to take our time going down the ICW, but if we stop and see everything we’re interested in, winter will overtake us before we get to Florida.  As it is, weather delays have resulted in our being much farther north at this point than we had originally planned.  Heck, we thought that we would be in St. Augustine, FL by the time we needed to return to Connecticut for Jeff’s doctor appointments.  Where were we in reality?  Hampton, VA.  That’s a long way from St. Augustine!

As we left Oriental we decided we needed to start making some tracks south and switch from cruising mode to delivery mode. 

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It was a tight squeeze at times!

We started off well, sharing an anchorage for the night by Morehead City with our friends from S/V Lone Star and S/V Duchess.  The next morning we sadly waved goodbye to Lone Star as we headed off in different directions.  They were going to wait for a weather window to make the seven day passage straight to the Bahamas, while we were continuing to take the slow route down the ICW.  We are very much looking forward to seeing our good friends somewhere in the Bahamas!

After waving goodbye to Lone Star, we saw our first dolphins!

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They were really close to Pegu Club!  You can see our halyard in the bottom left corner.

Continue reading “Is it a cruise or is it a delivery?”

November by the numbers.

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Below are the numbers for November, including what we spent.  This month we finally entered the ICW upon leaving Hampton, VA and made our way south to Graham Creek, SC.

The cash outflow was slightly better than last month, but it skewed high due to the need to return to Connecticut for scheduled doctors appointments for Jeff.  This meant that we left Pegu Club in a marina while we were away, rented a car, etc.  Fortunately the appointments went well and he doesn’t need to return for six months, assuming nothing changes.

We also decided to bite the bullet this month and buy a new iPad (we were using a second generation which is now our backup) and upgrade my iPhone which was on its last legs (it was an iPhone 5 that I bought used several years ago).  If it’s not obvious from the age of our old electronics, we rarely upgrade so unless they fall into the ocean we won’t be needing to buy new ones for several years.

We’re hoping that December’s numbers will better reflect what we’d prefer to spend in a typical month.  In the meantime, here we go: Continue reading “November by the numbers.”

A stop in Oriental, NC.

A weather window finally opened up so it was time to say goodbye to Belhaven until the next time. And there WILL be a next time.  After doing one final load of laundry and taking our last unlimited hot showers for awhile, we set off on a nice, sunny morning to get as far as we could towards our next destination – Oriental.  We were side tied and had to back out of the fairway which was entertaining, but Jeff ably fended us off from the power boat behind us that had a raised outboard partially blocking our way. 

We had been looking forward to visiting Oriental for literally years.  Several years ago I read about the town on one of the internet sailing forums and we had done a bit of research into it to see if we might want to retire there someday.  Calling itself the “Sailing Capitol of North Carolina”, Oriental has a population of approximately 900 people and over 2,000 sailboats.  An entertaining and informative website, www.towndock.net, gives a glimpse of the local flavor, so after all of this time we were primed to finally check it out.

Continue reading “A stop in Oriental, NC.”

Belhaven, NC – a love letter.

In order to continue down the ICW from Elizabeth City, you must first cross the Albemarle Sound.  With a depth of about 15 feet, this can be a nasty bit of water if the wind is over 15 knots because of the chop that builds up, and people have been known to wait for quite some time to get the right weather window.

It had been pretty windy in Elizabeth City on Saturday but the winds were supposed to die down and be 10-15 knots on Sunday.  Monday was supposed to be even lighter, but a weather system was going to move in later on Monday with strong winds for several days.  Given that, we decided to head out on Sunday and hope for the best.  The wind direction was going to be mainly behind us, so we hoped that would help.

Continue reading “Belhaven, NC – a love letter.”

The Dismal Swamp and Elizabeth City, NC.

After enjoying a peaceful night with the dock to ourselves, we were able to sleep in a bit before untying the lines and continuing our journey down the Dismal Swamp Canal.  All of the people we had entered the first lock with on the previous day had traveled farther than we did, allowing them to make the 8:30 a.m. exiting lock.  With 14 statute miles to go there was no way we could be there in time, so we puttered down the waterway enjoying the feeling of having it all to ourselves.

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The tannic acid from the bark of the trees in the Dismal Swamp Canal give the water a distinctive coffee color. 

 

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Pegu Club enters another state!

We arrived at South Mills Lock around 10:30 a.m. so we tied up to the wall just before the bridge and relaxed for a bit.  This also gave us a chance to leave our mark, which is apparently a cruiser tradition. Continue reading “The Dismal Swamp and Elizabeth City, NC.”

Two months later, we’ve passed mile zero.

I forgot to mention in the last post that on our way from Deltaville to Hampton, a yellow warbler came and joined us for a little while.  The winds were in the high teens and all of a sudden this cute little bird landed on our coaming next to where I was sitting.  We figured he was looking for a break from the wind.  He hopped off the coaming and onto my leg, and then onto my arm.  I don’t think he realized that I wasn’t a piece of furniture, and I stayed stock still.  

He flew inside the cabin, much to our dismay, but then a few minutes later he flew out and tried to land on the engine shift lever.  That didn’t give him enough grip, so he headed for the other coaming when – WHOOSH! – he got a bit too close to the wind and he blew away.  Poor little thing.  I wish I had my camera.  He was really quite cute.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  

We had a good trip to Connecticut, albeit a long drive.  Jeff received a six month reprieve from the cardiologist assuming nothing changes, and we had a great time visiting my aunt in Charlottesville and several friends in Connecticut.  I was a little concerned that after sleeping in a queen size bed, enjoying daily unlimited hot showers, and hanging out in something larger than our Pegu Club we might be reluctant to go back.  That didn’t happen though.  We missed her and the lifestyle that we are rapidly adjusting to, and were quite excited to be heading back on Tuesday.  After spending one additional day in the marina, we were off bright and early on Thursday to officially begin our journey down the ICW.   Continue reading “Two months later, we’ve passed mile zero.”

Solomons and south.

There wasn’t as much VHF chatter on our way from Annapolis to Solomons as there had been on our previous leg.  At one point on our way to Annapolis someone (presumably a fishing boat) was calling for a radio check and when no one responded he asked, “Am I all alone out here?”  “I can hear you.  You’re not alone” came a response.  After a few beats someone else came on and said in a solemn voice, “We’re all alone.”  That cracked us up. 

Anyway, after motor sailing for 45 nm from Annapolis, we were happy to drop the anchor in Solomons, MD.  Solomons is an extremely popular destination for Chesapeake boaters, but being late in October we didn’t get a real feel for it.  It’s kind of like being on Block Island after Labor Day compared to the height of summer.  A lot of places were closed for the season, but it was o.k. because we knew we would definitely be coming here again.  

One place that wasn’t closed was the Calvert Marine Museum.  The museum had several great exhibits, including many fossils, an outdoor habitat for river otters (so cute!), the Drum Point Light (which had been relocated from its original location), and indoor aquarium exhibits.   Continue reading “Solomons and south.”

October by the numbers.

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Below are the numbers for October, including what we spent.  This month we continued what may be the slowest cruise ever, going from Oyster Bay, NY to Hampton, VA.  The cash outflow was better than last month, but would have been less had it not been for the repairs necessitated by the unfortunate underwater dike incident in Delaware Bay.

Days under way: 11

Nautical miles covered: 455.26 nm

Gallons of diesel used: 35

Number of states: 5 (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia).

Nights at anchor: 20

Nights on a mooring: 7

Nights at a slip: 2

Nights in a camper (at Delaware City Marina): 2

Expenses:

Groceries: $415.65

Diesel/Gasoline: $151.79.  This includes a can of TruFuel (non-ethanol gas) for the dinghy which is $20 a can.  Moving into states that sell non-ethanol gasoline at the pumps will help a lot with this.

Propane/Denatured Alcohol: $24.81.  Two propane canisters for heat and the grill, and one gallon of denatured alcohol for the stove.

Health Care: $84.47

Cell phone and internet (2 phones, one iPad data plan, iCloud storage, and a
Garmin inReach subscription): $165.61

Mail Service: $10.60.  The UPS Store charges $5.00 to have mail delivered and held.

Laundry: $31.75

Ice: $9.00

Showers: $2.00

Netflix: $11.10

Shenny annual dues: $550.  We decided to maintain our membership for another year to keep our options open for returning to our slip in Groton next summer.

Boat stuff: $2,445.09.  The repairs and a power wash to Pegu Club’s bottom cost $2,188.36.  The rest is for a ditch bag, zincs, extra cotter pins, spare bolts for the windlass, a 5 gallon diesel jerry jug, disposable gloves, 2 hanging dehumidifier bags, and some hose to make oil changes easier.

Restaurants/Entertainment: $181.84

Uber/Bus: $16.00

New York Times subscription: $40.40 (gets billed every four weeks)

Marinas: $301.  This is for one night on a mooring in Port Washington, two nights at a slip in Delaware City, and four nights on a mooring in Annapolis.

Life Insurance: $220.75.

Random: $153.88 – this amount includes new v-berth sheets (the cotton ones always felt damp), a Kindle book and a real life book, a write on/wipe off board, a collapsible push cart for groceries, two Mega Millions tickets, AAA batteries, anti-skid for the galley cupboard, two DVD’s, and tips for marina staff.

Total: $4,815.74

September/October average: $5,452.41

Our first real taste of the Chesapeake.

Saying good riddance to Chesapeake City, we finished motoring down the canal and finally entered Chesapeake Bay.  We knew the next day was going to have howling winds so we wanted to stay someplace where we might have something to go see rather than being boat bound.  Initially we decided to go to Dark Head Creek up the Middle River where the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum is located, but we changed course en route to save ourselves a long trip up the river (and back).  

Looking through our Waterway Guide and our Skipper Bob anchorage book while Jeff was at the helm, I found a promising looking spot with great protection in all directions up Worton Creek.  Keeping with our new, post-hitting-an-underwater-dike routine, I closely inspected the chart, reviewed the Notice to Mariners online, and looked through Active Captain.  In an abundance of caution I also called one of the three local marinas to make sure that I understood the entrance (the guy I spoke to couldn’t have been nicer).  O.k.  It was a go. 

Continue reading “Our first real taste of the Chesapeake.”

Chesapeake City. Will the “firsts” ever end?

The current and tide dictated an afternoon departure from Delaware City on Sunday so we decided to make it a short day and stop on the other end of the canal in Chesapeake City.  Applying our lessons learned from running into the dike, we carefully reviewed the chart for our intended route and also looked at Active Captain and the Coast Guard’s Local Notice to Mariners.  Anything we weren’t sure of we looked up on Chart Number One, and we wrote reminders on a write on/wipe off board that we had purchased at Staples in Delaware City.  Although I was nervous leaving, all of the preparation made for an overall much less stressful trip.  It looks like we have a new evening routine from this point forward!

While the C&D is reportedly the third busiest canal in the world, we didn’t see any freighters as we motored along.  Not that we were disappointed about that given that they take up their half and the middle too. 

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Looks like a freshly painted bridge on the canal – nice shade of blue!

It was an uneventful afternoon and soon we found ourselves setting the anchor in Chesapeake City.  It was a pretty tiny anchorage with stone walls a bit too close for comfort on three sides of it, but we were quickly snuggled in.  I wanted to check out the C&D Canal Museum the next day, so we had decided to stay for two nights and leave on Tuesday.

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Continue reading “Chesapeake City. Will the “firsts” ever end?”