We've spent three years cruising to the Bahamas on Pegu Club, our Bristol 29.9. Time to switch it up a bit and head to Southern California for the winter, tent camping our way across the United States.
So how has it been to be boaters again rather than cruisers? In a word, great! We are so glad that we decided to come back to Shenny and Connecticut for a home base. We’ve been having a wonderful time hanging out with friends, re-visiting favorite places, going for daysails and the occasional weekend getaway, and we’ve been thoroughly enjoying the freedom of hopping into a car whenever we need groceries or want to go somewhere.
Yep, one of our first orders of business when we got back was to buy a used car. It took three days and a few near-misses, but we ended up with a FANTASTIC car – a 2014 VW Passat with only 36,000 miles on it, two owners, and zero accidents. It’s the fanciest car we’ve ever owned – it even has a sunroof! – and it’s going to be SO comfortable to drive across country next month.
But before we turn our sights to our trip west, first we had a long-planned two week vacation with fellow friends from Shenny. I’ll readily admit that up until the week before our departure we weren’t super-enthused about heading out for two weeks. We were still feeling a bit burned out and were searching for our mojo, but as the departure date drew closer we found ourselves getting more and more excited about it, and by the time vacation arrived we were raring to go! Continue reading “Two weeks, two vacations.”→
We had been at the marina in Belhaven for a week and had a one-day window to get up the Alligator River and across the Albemarle. If the weather was accurate, we’d be in Elizabeth City by the end of the day. If not, we’d be at the Alligator River Marina for at least three nights – if not longer.
Albemarle Sound is 50 miles wide (from east to west) and anywhere from 5-14 miles long (north to south). It’s deepest water is only 25 feet, but the route cruisers follow to get to Elizabeth City or Coinjock is generally about 10 -15 feet deep and 10 miles across. Because it’s so long and so shallow, any wind over 15 knots creates a nasty chop and tends to be a no-go for most boaters. On our first trip south we had 15-18 knots from behind and we surfed our way across, making a note never to cross it in winds over 15 knots (although we’d be willing to bump it up a tad once again if the wind was on our stern). Our forecast was for 15 knots from the northeast and dropping throughout the day, so with a reservation in hand at the Alligator River Marina in case it proved necessary, we set off with all of our fingers crossed. Continue reading “And just like that, the weather turned.”→
When I last left off we were debating whether we were going to head north for awhile or spend some time in Long Island before moving south.Ultimately we decided to take the slow route though Long Island, but Mother Nature (also known as our desire not to motor everywhere) dictated that we first spend another 12 days in Fishers Island Sound.
Criss-crossing the Sound, we spent some time in West Harbor before moving to Mystic.Mystic personifies the growth in our confidence over the past year.Before we went cruising we had talked about taking Pegu Club up the river into Mystic, but several things made us hesitate: the long motor up the river, having to time the openings for two bridges (the first of which doesn’t keep an opening schedule because it’s a busy Amtrak railroad bridge), and the fact that the charts indicated that the water above the Seaport was extremely shallow even though we had heard it had been dredged.
As we talked to various cruisers about our plans for heading north, everyone assured us that it would take much less time than the trip south.The weather would be better, and with the additional daylight we could make more progress each day. Well, they were absolutely right.Going north is MUCH faster.
Granted, we’ve done a few passages in order to get some miles under the keel, but there’s no question that this has been a quicker trip for us.There have been very few weather delays, and the warmer temperatures leave us less fatigued so we can put in longer days.
Readers of this blog know that typically we move along very slowly.We like to take our time and poke along.So why the big hurry?Well, we would like to spend some time this summer cruising in southern New England again.But before we can do that, we have a few projects that we want to do on Pegu Club, we have some medical appointments to take care of in Connecticut, and we want to visit family in Rochester and the west coast.We also want to leave to start heading south much earlier this time – ideally by mid-August.Between all of those things, if we want to have ANY time to cruise our home waters we need to put the pedal to the metal and get north.If we went at our usual slow pace, we’d have to turn around and leave as soon as we arrive!
Honestly though, this pace is working out just fine for us.We wouldn’t want to do it both ways, but we do think that we’ll stick with this strategy in the future – take our time going south while moving quickly north.