More fruits de mer.
We spent three days in the Virginia creeks waiting out rain and then
north wind. Late afternoon of the third day the wind started to die
down, and we powered up to the Little Wicomico, a creek that empties
into Smith Point, the southern tip where the Potomac meets the
Chesapeake. The entrance is exposed and a bit tricky, and we had
never tried it before. But the entrance was recently dredged so we
decided to explore. It is an interesting place, and very convenient
for starting a rather long run north, across the Potomac,
with few anchorage opportunities.
After finding a space clear of crab pots, we set the anchor.
Unfortunately the space wasn't as clear as the Captain thought,
and he wrapped a crab pot line around the prop. So the Captain
went diving and cut the line off with some effort. We looked for
the crabber the next morning to return his float and offer to
pay for the lost trap, but we didn't see him and so left with a
Helped by a nice west wind the first part of the day, we then
made over 65 nautical miles to Rhode River, where we
began our sailing career more than 40 years ago. We anchored in
our favorite cove, and left early next morning for the relatively short run
home to Middle River. Despite paying careful attention, the
Captain managed to tangle another crab pot on the prop, leading
to another diving episode and another float. While
the first wrap was clearly the Captains's
fault, he insists that the second float must have been submerged, probably
having been dragged out to the open channel by another boat.
For his first 30+ years of sailing, the Captain never caught a
crab pot. Five years ago, he did hook one on the rudder of the
then-new arrow, though this was very easy to release. To wrap
crab pot lines on the prop twice in 3 days seems to be some sort
of omen... at least the Captain will make sure to carry his wet suit on
board for the future. The Admiral, of course, was quite pleased to
capture evidence on film.
So we arrived at our home port on May 13, Mother's Day, after 3.5
months aboard - almost 5 months counting the voyage down last fall.
After a day of R & R, we left Norfolk's Waterside Marina at sunrise this morning. (Waterside is across the river from the Portsmouth hospital where Uncle Skip landed oh so many years ago.) Things were pretty quiet in the huge harbor for a while, but then the tugs and container ships started moving around.
A south wind slowly built, and we motor sailed about 50 nm to anchor in a favorite cove in Dymer, just off the Rappahannock River, VA.
Rain and storms are expected tomorrow, and then northerly winds, so travel might be limited for a few days.
Why fly when you can ride? (file photo)
Our days of excellent traveling weather have continued, with winds mostly light, and when not, favorable for motor-sailing or even for sailing.
We knew we are getting close to home when we had an attack of flies and mosquitos last night in the Alligator River and this morning crossing Albemarle Sound. Later we were boarded by the Coast Guard for a safety/sanitation/registration inspection. No violations.
This afternoon, just as the South Mills lock raised us 8 feet to the level of the Dismal Swamp Canal, it started to rain. We tied up for the night on the bulkhead just past the lock, and it has rained hard for a couple of hours. Happy to have the dead insects washed off the deck.
Tomorrow we will reach Norfolk, VA, and we will stay there at least one night to get set up for the 150 mile run up the Chesapeake to home. If our weather luck holds, it won't take long.
Shrimp season has started in NC.
We have had good traveling weather for the past two days, and it looks like this will continue for a while. These two days have been a weekend, so small boat traffic has been heavier than usual, and we have left early (this morning before sunrise) and stopped early.
We are at a mooring in Carolina Beach - so new that they haven't started charging for them yet. We are 296 miles from Mile "0" in Norfolk, so we have been moving along.
We plan to leave early tomorrow as well, and have a long day to get set up for getting through Camp Lejeune the next day before they close the ICW to practice firing their guns. If we can negotiate a couple of once-per-hour drawbridges efficiently, we will anchor tonight in Mile Hammock Bay on the south edge of Lejeune... the scene of our late-night circus on the way south last fall.
Waccamaw River scenery
We arrived at Georgetown harbor late afternoon Wednesday and dropped anchor for the night. Thursday morning we moved to a marina. The Captain filled water and fuel, the Admiral cleaned inside, the Captain cleaned outside, and then the Admiral did laundry and walked a mile to get groceries. They provided a ride back.
Georgetown is probably the most interesting little town we have visited. Interesting shops and restaurants. In particular we had a wonderful dinner at Limpin' Jane's, supposedly Hoppin' John's sister, owned and operated by former-swabbie David's former roomate and his spouse.
Had breakfast ashore this morning, Friday, and then a lovely trip up the Waccamaw through cypress swamp. We planned to anchor out, but there is a marina here, Osprey, that has an interesting location, is inexpensive ($1 per foot), and gets rave reviews on the Web. So we decided to stay. But we will be eating on the boat as we are stuffed from 3 meals ashore in Georgetown. We have been reading on their porch, and we also completed boat chores for the moment by defrosting the fridge.
Weather is definitely back to warm. Yesterday in Georgetown it was windy, but today has been calmer, and partly sunny, with rain likely tonight. The next few days look similar.
Sunset over Berkeley County, SC, ancestral home of
the Winter family.
Leaving Thunderbolt, two days ago, we made almost 50 miles
to anchor in tiny Factory Creek near Beaufort, SC. When we pulled
in the creek, there at anchor were the other two boats of the Jekyll
Creek convoy. The cloudy weather continued, and we had two
brief downpours as we approached Beaufort.
The front passed during the night, and yesterday began with temperatures
in the mid-40's. The Admiral was not pleased. Out came the winter
clothing. It was quite windy, but we made almost 40 miles to anchor
in a creek about 15 miles south of Charleston. Expanses of marsh in
Today was cold again, but it warmed up a bit, in part because the wind
was down through early afternoon. After the Wapoo Creek bridge, we
had a nice sail down Charleston harbor, Fort Sumpter in view, and up
the ICW behind Isle of Palms. The Captain is forced to admit that all this
was after he smacked arrow into a mud
bank at cruising speed. The mud
should not have been there, lurking, 3 feet under the surface.
We are anchored in, what else, a creek in the marshes. But the wind has
come up and is gusting to something like 35 mph. (Memo to those planning
and ICW trip: make sure of your anchoring equipment and technique.)
Our anchor is holding fine, and we hope it quiets down tonight.
Tomorrow should be a nice day - warmer and less windy. We plan to spend
tomorrow night in the marshes again, but Thursday will be a relatively
short run to a marina in Georgetown, SC. There we will pick up mail, and
restock the boat.
After Georgetown we will, for a while, be in the swampland rather than
the marshland. A change of scenery will be good.