Yes, it’s true. We finally had a window and we could hop outside, bypassing Georgia entirely. We had debated stopping at Cumberland Island but decided we wanted to get to Vero sooner rather than later. It wasn’t a long window so we weren’t going to be able to come inside further south than the St. Johns inlet (which leads to Jacksonville), but that was good enough for us.
The night before we left was going to be our coldest of the trip at 42 degrees. Since we planned to leave at dawn and anticipated a travel night with temperatures in the mid-50’s, we dug out our cold weather clothes for the first time in a year. We don’t use them much any more, but we sure are glad we have them! Continue reading “Shaking off the cobwebs.”→
In October we made our way from Oriental, NC to Beaufort, SC. We had a ten day stop in New Bern, NC where we left Pegu Club to take one more drive up north, so there were added expenses for the marina, rental car, tolls, and gas. The costs for the trip represent 1/3 of this month’s expenses, so setting that aside it was a pretty good month.
We needed to make another trip up north so we decided to leave the boat in New Bern, NC. The marina was reasonably priced and it was a town we hadn’t seen before (but we had heard good things about). Win-win.
So after our two days at the Oriental free docks we cast off the lines and headed up the Neuse River to New Bern. We had great conditions for sailing and thoroughly enjoyed traveling without the engine as we made our way 22 nautical miles up river. I can see why so many sailors settle in the area. Continue reading “Scooting down the East Coast.”→
I haven’t been posting weekly like I try to do, but all is well. I’ve just been a bit unmotivated. Cruising during Covid is not nearly as fun. We keep to ourselves and we limit our outings. We don’t eat out in restaurants, we don’t poke around in shops, and we don’t go to museums. Basically we aren’t any different than people living on land who take this virus seriously, with the exception of the fact that we are sitting on a 30 foot boat instead of in a larger dwelling.
Frankly, during our trip to Connecticut in mid-September for medical appointments we came thisclose to bringing the boat north, putting it on the hard, and just living in a rental for the winter. The Bahamas weren’t looking like a viable option and we couldn’t get excited about spending the winter in Florida. Continue reading “Yes, we’re still alive.”→
In September we finally left the marina and started working our way south, heading towards our third warm winter.
This month we had to haul out to put on more bottom paint, and we also had to travel to Connecticut for medical appointments. Those two things alone constituted 70% of our expenses this month. Knowing that we were going to be spending a lot on maintenance and travel, we made a point of trying to be conservative with everything else for the rest of the month.
After a short haulout at Cobb’s Marina in Norfolk where we gave Pegu Club two fresh coats of bottom paint (please let this paint last for two years!), we shoved off on a windless day. After the shitshow that was our trip from Mobjack Bay to Norfolk, that was more than fine with us. Dolphins entertained us as we motored towards mile marker zero on the ICW, and we cheered as we passed it for our third trip south.
It might be because we have finally gained the experience to pick our weather windows, but the trip so far has been our smoothest and best one yet. The Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds were calm, and we’ve seen tons of wildlife – bald eagles, turtles sunning on logs, a huge snake swimming through the water (I thought it was a large branch at first until I saw it undulating), and a small Kermit-green frog even hitched a ride until Jeff discovered him on the side deck as we were leaving the anchorage and used a winch to poke him back into the water.
This will sound like sacrilege to some, but I’ve decided that New England is far superior for sailing compared to the Chesapeake. And that’s saying something given that we have only sailed in southern New England. We haven’t even gotten to Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Buzzards Bay, or Maine which is renowned for incredible cruising grounds.
But the Chesapeake? Meh. Yes, there are plenty of anchorages. But they are generally up rivers so it can be a pretty fair distance off of the Bay. You don’t have to go five or ten miles up a river to get to great anchorages in New England.
You can’t swim in the summer in the Chesapeake because of the plethora of jellyfish unless you head up to the far northern part of the Bay where the water is more fresh than salt, and the visibility in the water is lousy. The water in southern New England is too chilly for swimming until late June/early July but the clarity is significantly better, and while there can be jellyfish, there are about a tenth as many as we saw this summer. Continue reading “The Chesapeake Giveth, and the Chesapeake Taketh Away.”→
August had us tied to the dock with the exception of an escape to a well protected anchorage for Tropical Storm Isaias. We have a few larger annual expenses due each August: boat insurance, Chris Parker subscription, and mailbox rental. Those three items alone were over 1/3 of our expenses this month. Additionally, we’ve been taking advantage of the convenience of the dock to focus on small boat projects and maintenance, so a fair amount of money was spent on boat stuff.
In September we’ll toss off the dock lines and start heading south again with a one-week break when we drive to Connecticut for medical appointments. The appointments were supposed to happen in August but again, Isaias.
September 3rd marked exactly two years since we cast off the dock lines in Groton, Connecticut and headed out on this adventure. It’s been amazing, sometimes boring, and occasionally scary, but not once have we regretted doing it. In fact, with Covid currently turning cruising plans upside down for so many people, we are glad we left when we did. Although I feel confident that eventually things will return to normal, if we decide to swallow the anchor before it does then at least we will know we had a heck of a year and a half before it all went haywire.
Anniversaries being what they are, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past two years and how much easier the second year was compared to the first.
The first three months of cruising was hard. Books, blogs and videos can’t adequately convey the mental stress of each day being a new experience on the boat. For the first few months our brains felt like they were on hyper alert every waking hour.Every mile under the keel was an area we hadn’t seen before – a new route, a new anchorage, a new town.Not that we weren’t having fun.But there was certainly an underlying level of stress that was constantly percolating in the background.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here for six weeks already. It’s even harder to believe that in another week we’ll start slowly moving south. Our travel plans have been a bit topsy-turvey since Isaias messed up our timing, but we think we have a rough outline now.
Originally we were going to drive up to Connecticut for medical appointments while we were docked in Cambridge, but we had to reschedule everything when it was clear that Isaias was going to show up while we were away. With appointments moved to mid-September, the next plan was to leave the marina a few days early and park the boat on a mooring ball in Annapolis while we were gone. Then we had the bottom of the boat cleaned last week and based on the report from the diver, our hopes of getting another year out of our existing bottom paint were squashed.