May 312022
 

Disappointed that we did not get a well needed game of pickleball we are heading out first thing to the next quick stop on the C & G Canal which connects Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay. It will be only an overnight where Scott will change out the gear oil in the pods. We will catch up on the blog, clean the boat and do some laundry.

We did pick up some fuel at Schaffer’s and listened to the folks at the restaurant having dinner. They played some great music on the stereo while we worked doing chores. Scott needed a hand so I went into the engine compartment where I was in charge of collecting the spent oil. After filling up the 3 containers Scott gave me he was perplexed that it filled all three. It should have barely filled half of the 2nd container. Then the lightbulb went off and he jumped, literally, down the stairs to the engine room and shut off the engine valve. We were not only draining the pods but the port engine oil too. Ok, now what? The oil for the engines can be found but it may not be up here in this tiny town. I start looking and find that Walmart is 20 minutes away. Scott heads over to the dockmaster and he says he will drive Scott to Napa Auto Parts, even calls to be sure they have some and reserves it too. He asks if Scott can wait til he brings a boat in. Big Yes, and thank you. Turns out we drained about 2 gallons so upon returning with the oil Scott filled up the engine again. I completely recommend Shaffer’s Marina for a great stop on the C & G Canal. Service over and above.

May 302022
 

We are excited to be taking a break at a great marina in Kent Island. Bay Bridge Marina is directly at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It has a tight channel to get into but the depths are good even at low tide. The marina is a well protected marina with large cruising vessels throughout. There are a lot of boat larger than ours and all are well taken care of.

There is a pool and Scott found pickleball nearby that we can ride our bikes to. This is the reason we came here. We had reached out to the representative for pickleball but not heard back. So after we slipped in and caught our breath we headed out on our bikes to find the park. It was a nice ride for about a mile to the courts. The courts are under construction. There are no lines but a fresh coat of asphalt has been laid. There are 10 courts, at least, just waiting on lines. Oh dang. So we hit the ball a few times and jump back on our bikes to head back to the boat.

May 292022
 

The weather is cooperating, finally. There seems to be some stable air to keep the winds down as we travel the Chesapeake Bay. Heading on the west side of the Bay our nest stop will be at Solomons. It is a very popular stop for boaters with all amenities available.

The Chesapeake is so calm today and running 50 some miles at 8 knts is comforable. Solomon’s is up a river that feeds the Bay. It has a wide mouth leading into the many marinas available. We are staying at Calvert’s Marina where loopers pay $1.00/foot. That is a heck of a deal. The docks are in great shape. The transient docks are floating and the best in the marina. There are restrooms and showers that need a good scrub but they work. The property itself is a potential beauty. The overgrown gardens and foliage need a haircut. The pool is in great shape and very clean but it was way too cold to swim. We were in sweats with this cold north wind. The marina is well protected too.

There isn’t much to do other than head out for a walk however the other side of the river offers the cute town which we had seen already. For some reason we are really tired today. We know we have to push for the next few days with the weather window we now have. It looks like we may make it on all these open waters to New York City.

 Posted by at 7:24 PM
May 282022
 

The weather looks amazing for the next few days. We thought about going on the outside into the Atlantic and that route however we don’t trust that it will stay this way for the 3 days needed. We have not had 3 days of good winds since starting this journey. Mother Nature dictates our journey and she does rule the waters.

We head out onto the Chesapeake Bay with smooth waters and hardly any wind. We are going to Deltaville, a small boat building town from decades of builds. There is a museum and a small downtown. As we cruise the Bay the ships waiting for clearance, or something of that nature, are lined up in a row at the mouth to the Bay from the Atlantic. Literally dozens of tankers just anchored. It is a sight you don’t see often. As we are heading out so too are many loopers. We count over a dozen on our app and see many more moving along. The horizon is dotted with boats.

Our electronics are acting up regularly. Scott wants to buy new ones but they have said they will be months before any stock comes in. Even with him changing out the master and slave units it is becoming a problem. He usually shuts down the slave and double screens the master. It is definitely heat related. We are talking about a new dash that we will have to build with fans inside to move the air around behind the screens. At this point I have several blankets on the dash to keep the excess of the sun off the dash with 3 fans going to move the air. It’s helping but it isn’t solving the problem. One more solution for Scott to research.

Coming into Deltaville the channel is narrow and there is some skinny water of 6 feet at low tide. We are heading into Stingray Point Marina. A pool is available and bikes to travel into town. It is a very hot day of over 90 degrees. We get into our slip and grab a catnap. Then off on the bikes we go into town. The bikes are free from the marina and in decent shape too. It is a nice ride along the sidewalk. We found pickleball. We didn’t know about this one. Four courts and well maintained in the park. Lots of kids playing too but no one on the court. We head down o town a bit more and the museum is closed. There is an original baseball field from over 100 years ago complete with covered wooden stands, dug outs.

May 242022
 

The Marina at Coinjock Marina was a nice reprieve from the winds we were having on the open sounds. The winds are a nice breeze as we pass through the Albemerle to the other side and then onto the Virginia Cut. We travel uneventfully and nothing to report as we get closer to mile 0 of the ICW in Norfolk, VA. The depths are great and there is virtually no tide the canal until after the lock. The lock is simply a leveling lock and can be 2-3 feet. We have no idea what the difference is right now but will find out when we get there.

The Virginia Cut has bridges on her that account for some time loss. The good thing is that they do open every half hour so waiting for the bridge isn’t too bad if you time it right. We had to wait 10 minutes for the North Landing Bridge but after that it was smooth sailing with timing our arrival at the next bridge that was within the next half hour.
When we finally approached Great Bridge Bridge and then the lock they are timed together. We were first in line but let a couple other boats through ahead of us. We think they may be Captains by the way they are in such a hurry. The lock goes down a few feet as we are tied to a bollard, wait until the doors closed on the south side and then the north opened.

We made our way to Tidewater Marina for a couple night’s stay. The river into Norfolk and Portsmouth is lined with navy ships, police and dry docks. This is a main hub for all things navy.

We stayed at Tidewater for a couple days while Scott changed the engine oil and we got in some pickleball. Scott also did some resourcing of needed products for replacing a lot of our used components and fluids to be delivered to a marina further north.

There are a lot of Loopers here. We meet up again with Online and are invited to dinner onboard. Dnny is fabulous chef. When we pop over for dinner we find that another couple had been invited too. We met them in Swansboro. They are onboard Destination and traveling the loop as well. It is funny how we leave each other and meet up again later on in the journey. We first met Online on the west coast of Florida where we traveled together and shared stories.

Tidewater is a very accommodating marina. Really suberb folks running the marina. Laundry, showers, restroom, restaurant and good quality docks. Ask for the floating ones. The marina is right on the ICW where cruise ships, tankers and navy ships all share the same space. Along with our recreational vessels this waterway is very busy and is a great spot to watch all the boats go by. The other side of the ICW is Norfolk and the night lights are beautiful to see. Loopers do go to Waterside but Portsmouth is less expensive and a ferry will take you across for $2.00/person. The nightlife and downtown has much more to do in Norfolk but the scenery is more beautiful from Portsmouth. You make the choice that fits your style.

May 212022
 

Happy to leave this marina as Scott was up most of the night with the winds and checking lines and fenders. As we travel on Palmico Sound we are finding a lot of Loopers and cruising boats. The weather is calm which we expected however the winds are to pick up this afternoon. It’s a hot one in the high 90’s today.

Palmico Sound is a large sound which behaves more like a lake. Winds affect the seiche more than the tide here. The tea coloured water makes for an interesting moustache on most boats. Finding our way through the channels which are well marked the depths are very favourable.

Heading into Dowry’s Marina the small channel is a good depth. We tie to starboard with the stern in and happy to find that the pool is open. It’s a hot one with humidity. We drive with no air conditioning and it does get warm even with the breezes from the open windows. We plug in and start up the AC and Scott takes a half hour to decompress after 5 hours of driving. Then off to the pool to find that it is 84 degrees. We do several laps and then hide under an umbrella. The sun is so intense. We find that they do have a tennis court with pickleball lines but I would hardly say it is useable. They are building a restaurant with water views, improving the pickleball courts. This is a family run marina and this family works hard. It is not near Belhaven but if you like the more quiet, scenic marinas this is the one to stay at. Once the restaurant starts up it will be a destination. Looking forward to coming back in the fall.

May 202022
 

There isn’t much to report today other than just clocking the miles toward Oriental, NC. As we approach The Neuse River we see several runabout boats enjoying the day. Lots of Loopers are moving north too. The river itself is choppy but not too bad. Tides are 2 feet so the winds play more a roll on this area than the tides. As we cross the river towards Oriental the winds pick up. Several sailboats are now on the open water with their sails at full attention in the winds. We have seen that the favourite marina outside the city is at Whittaker Pointe Marina. We have a reservation there.

The marina at Whittaker Pointe has a beautiful clubhouse, restrooms, shower facility. The laundry is available. The docks are superior to most marinas as well. The drawback is that transients are put on the outside docks where the full winds of the Neuse River are upon you. I didn’t see that it was any different at the City docks either. They need a breakwall or to dredge the inside basin for the calmest waters and to be off that large river. We haven’t figured out why this is such a great spot. Our guess is that it is due to the fact that this area is just before or just after a cross on The Neuse. It’s about Convenience. We’ve had better anchorages.

The good thing about this marina is also that they have a courtesy car. So we jumped in and drove to the grocery store. Walmart, hardware, West Marine and restaurants are not far with the car. We drove through the town of Oriental and walked through the little shops, maybe 3 of them. We did see the dragon on the pond to which we aren’t sure what the story is there.

Would we come back to Whittaker or Oriental? The answer is a simple no. There is an anchorage available before the open water or just travel across the sound and find an anchorage on the other side. You can always continue to Belhaven if a long day isn’t a problem.

May 182022
 

Big surprise….weather is changing. Expected 30 knt winds in the next couple days. We are booked at a marina in Swansboro already so we add a day. As we begin our day we notice that the grasslands have all but disappeared. We are now seeing more homes, civilization, tall trees, even some evergreens that are hardy to the heat here. Dolphins still come around but not to play. They are very shy around boats. It is still such a sight to see when one surfaces. Where there is 1, there are usually more.

There are still a lot of small boats today. We pass and watch pass us many loopers and travelers to bring their boats north for the summer. This waterway is so well used at this time of the year and again in the fall to head to the warmth of the sun.

Heading along the ICW we pass by Camp LeJeuene a navy military base. Along the ICW they are doing live ammunition practices using old tanks, bombs and artillery. We can hear the bombs going off very regularly. As we pass along we are watched by the navy police and towers to be sure the ICW remains clear during the exercises.

We stop into Caspers Marina. Although we rock a bit more than most marinas we are okay with it. With the winds coming the wakes from boats will die down and we will only have to deal with wind chop. We again have every rope out with redundancy for ties. It is a fixed dock so that makes it more of a challenge with a 3 foot tide and winds. The Church St docks, also known as the City Dock, has a floating dock and would suggest that over Caspers on for that reason. Swansboro is a really nice stop. The town has so much old town flavour with family restaurants and friendly folks. We met a lady who has a community library box on her front lawn. Take a book and leave a book. I wondered over and traded a James Patterson for another.

May 172022
 

Running a short run today of about 17 miles. We want to check out Harborside Village Marina as a possible December spot for next year. The trip down was uneventful with grassland yet again. Excitement of the day was when our friends from the navy boats, way back in Charleston, were coming by in full gear towards the navy base at Camp LeJeune. Camp LeJeune is one of the largest naval operating bases on the east coast. They are running live ammo drills this week so I guess our boys in blue are involved with their new toys.

There are a few timed bridges along this stretch. Some will only lift on the hour and some on the half hour. Most are swing bridges with car traffic and each bridge is timed for a quick run between each bridge. If you are a slow moving vessel you may miss the timing of your second bridge. We had to step it up at least once between bridges because we would have missed the opening which would mean an hour wait for the next lift.

The marina seems very new. Beautiful new composite docks. Fuel is available. Power and water……pickleball about 1 mile away. Afer we settle we head on over to the pickleball where we play a couple rounds. Both of us have hurt our backs from the weekend warrior of sitting on the boat driving for so many days and then playing hard. We now both have to heal our small, but insistent, injuries. It is very hard for us both to not go and be our best when we play but we feel we have to move. We walk to pickleball and back and play with our new friends.

Scott catches up on business and I write this blog and clean up the exterior of the boat. In this salt you must do a rinse of your boat every few runs or the boat feels like a well salted marguerita.

May 162022
 

We reluctantly left Osprey Marina and headed north to a restaurant along the ICW. Running through the fresh water to the salt again as we pass a few inlets to the Atlantic Ocean. There are so many boats out in the last couple days. As we arrive just about lunchtime at Dockside we do see the many boats coming in for lunch. The dock is free to anyone just stopping in for a meal.

We were hoping for a free dock as long as you had a meal. This was not to be the case as it is $3.00 per foot. There is power and water but no discount for eating in. The winds begin to pick up and we begin to see the current step up throughout the afternoon. We found a grocery store and hardware store about 1/2 mile away and pick up a few items.

Heading back to the boat we get an alert of an upcoming storm. Checking in on the weather we are expected to get more winds, rain and lightning thunderstorms. We put out more lines to secure the mothership. Having a fabulous homecooked salmon dinner we watch the dinner crowd and then the evening crowd clearing out as the thunderstorms move closer. The lighning show was beautiful. We did get blasts of rain but there was significant winds north of us. We were able to watch the show in the distance.