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Dreamboat 2011-12 Cruise
Nowhere to Somewhere
05/03/2012, Hampton, VA

Our route today took us on a journey from back in time countryside to major industrial city, from "where in the hell is Coinjock, NC" to "where in the hell should I turn to avoid that freighter/tug/warship/ferry?" We went from no cell towers and no signals on our phone (really!) to every conceivable 21st century invention. We passed by seagrass waving in the breeze on a meandering river and then by traffic and noise and cargo shipping companies on a manic channel. We lounged our way to our first drawbridge 30 miles from Coinjock only to find we had to race with the throttle at top speed (10 mph) to make the next drawbridge or sit in current circling for 29 minutes waiting for the next opening. We did it! That led to the next drawbridge linked to a lock, both of which opened on the hour. We were through both of those easily and just in time to wait 29 minutes for the next drawbridge, while all around us cranes loaded, barges moved, pleasure boats zipped in and out, the VHF radio blared, and more boats piled up. The final drawbridge of the day, Gilmerton, was about to open on schedule, every hour on the half hour, when a funeral procession started over it. She held for the funeral and then the railroad bridge next to it announced it would close for a train to go by. She hurried us on through before that happened and we entered the full fledged shipping and naval port of Norfolk. Now talk about busy! Naval patrol boats guarded their entrances while ferries and freighters proceeded down the channel and tugs waited to guide their warships in. Add crab pots floating in the channel, and to me it was a frantic mix. The Captain loved it all. We are now docked at the Downtown Hampton Public Piers where we took a stroll through the historic section and arranged to rent a car tomorrow to see Virginia Beach, where I went to high school for a couple of years many, many moons ago. What a day on the water! The Admiral

Coinjock Marina
05/02/2012, Coinjock, NC

We covered 83 miles today from Oriental to Coinjock. We motored all day through mostly undeveloped Cyprus swamps and marshes along miles of manmade canals connecting wide flat shallow rivers with a trench cut down the middle for the ICW. Over the last two days we also crossed the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, both of which have reputations for being absolutely awful in bad weather. Fortunately we had pretty nice conditions, and except for moderate swells on both sounds that had the boat rolling a little, we had no problems. This afternoon as we got into the Alligator River and the Albemarle Sound we were able to motor-sail with all sails up. The sails help to reduce the rolling, and today with 10 to 15 mph winds on our beam (90 degrees from the front of the boat) the sails boosted our speed by about 1 mile per hour. Tomorrow we will travel up the canal and rivers from Coinjock to the Lock at Great Bridge Virginia. The lock lowers us down from the canal into the Elizabeth River that flows through Norfolk and into the Chesapeake Bay. We hope to dock at the Willoughby Bay Marina in Norfolk.

Dowry Creek Marina - Again
05/02/2012, Bellhaven, NC

We stopped here on the way down on October 31st and stayed 2 nights. We had such a nice time we had to stop again on the way north. As before, there was cocktail hour in the clubhouse which lasted almost 2 hours, where we got to chat with about 15 other boating couples about where they had been and where they were going. My favorite was the couple on a boat that looks like a cross between a trawler and a tug boat (called a Florida Bay Coaster). They live on their boat, and spend the summers anchored in the Great Salt Pond at Block Island, RI where he runs a Boat US Towboat, and the winters in the Abaco Islands. The Captain

Peaceful Day on the Neuse
04/30/2012, Oriental, NC

Gary left for the bus station on the hotel shuttle at 7am, and Bruce left at 7:30 to deliver his camera and sun glasses to him before his 8am bus departed. Made it with 15 minutes to spare. At 8:30 we went through the drawbridge next to this marina and motored south down the Neuse River to the town of Oriental. Seas were calm and the winds were light to moderate. The Cormorants pictured above were watching as we passed by. We are docked at the beautiful and peaceful Whittaker Point Marina in Oriental, NC. We enjoyed this place so much last November on the way down that we just had to stop again. Tomorrow we head for Dowrey Creek Marina in Bellhaven, NC. The Captain

Magical Mystery Tour
Written by the Guest Crewmember:
04/29/2012, New Bern, NC

This is my last night on what has been a very peaceful and relaxing vacation on Dreamboat for the last 5 days. I feel very lucky to be able to do this cruise and very thankful the Captain and the Admiral welcomed me aboard.
We have motored up a good stretch of the ICW and I have seen many interesting sights and beautiful scenery. I never realized North Carolina had so much undeveloped coastline which we paralleled on our trip for many miles. Often you could see the breakers in the ocean as we passed inlets and narrow stretches, and you realized you were really traveling on the edge of the land as close to the sea as you can travel without entering the ocean. The wildlife was abundant, dolphins popping up in groups of 3 sometimes, and pelicans, ducks, and shorebirds diving for fish. Those poor fish!
Along the way I enjoyed looking at all the really great houses, and docks on steroids. Many are built with decks from the ground to the roof (even the docks have two levels!). The towns we visited along the way have great views of the nature that surrounds them and much history to share, just a short walk around a town and you find out many interesting things about the area.
My highlight was our stop in Beaufort NC, a great town dock area put us close to restaurants and shops and it is where we saw a terrific Maritime Museum that houses, among many items, some artifacts that are suspected to be from Blackbeard's Pirate ship - the Queen Anne's Revenge, from 1718, that was found in 1996, just outside of Beaufort inlet in 25 feet of water! To look at a few cannon and many other items recovered from the wreck site, that were used almost 300 years ago by the notorious pirate, just really seemed to be mind boggling.
Another history tour in New Bern NC today included a 300 year old colonial governor's mansion in New Bern NC and the actual pharmacy where Pepsi-Cola was invented. More cool stuff and old buildings that are different from my surrounds in south jersey.

Lazy days on a boat is just what the doctor ordered for me, and all good things must come to an end.....unless you are retired like Bruce and Jill and you can just sail on until you feel like stopping..... anywhere you want..... day by day. (Must be nice!).
It was also very enlightening to see just what they have been doing since last October! The ICW is actually a real chore as far as navigation, and they basically report to work now as they cast off until you anchor at the end the leg for the day. Buoys, and channel markers and shoals, and crab traps, fishing boats, and even freighters and barges make for a lot of paying attention required! Not to mention the bridges!...But it is usually in great surrounds so it is not so bad, just much more than you can realize unless you experience it .

Tomorrow I head home in a backwards kind of way via Myrtle Beach, and I thank the Skipper and Maryann for letting Gilligan tag along!

I suggest everyone get out and do some kind of an adventure like this as often as you can in your life.

04/30/2012 | Faye
Glad you enjoyed yourself Gary
Another nice day on ICW
34 42.977'N:076 39.933'W
04/28/2012, Beaufort, NC (Bow-fort as opposed to the same spelling for Bew-fort in SC)

We awoke this morning in the anchorage at Mile Hammock to discover that 3 of the 4 other boats had already departed, and the 4th was leaving. The 4th called us to let us know that the Marines were closing down the next 5 mile stretch of the ICW from starting at 8am for live artillery fire practice. We got the anchor up and were underway in time to make the 8 am opening of the bridge just north of our anchorage. After we got through, we came to a military patrol boat with a red flag and a sign that indicated that the ICW was closed. We hailed them on the radio and they advised that the ICW was still open for passage at that time. We thanked them and proceeded through to the other end of the restricted area where we passed another patrol boat which was stopping boats coming in from that end. We waved to them and went happily on our way. Later we did hear military warships on the radio so we were glad to be out of the target practice area. The rest of the day was spent traveling through the back side of the North Carolina barrier islands. The west side of the ICW was pretty much developed with a wide variety of house styles from new mansions to very modest houses. The majority of the houses that had boats at their docks had small to medium outboard motorboats including a number of Carolina Skiff brand and similar shallow water fishing boats. We arrived at and went under a bridge just before Morehead City and had to pool the collective brain power of The Admiral, The Captain, and the guest Crewmember, Gary, to sort out which channel to take of two very similarly marked channels that went in different directions on the other side of the bridge. The one we collectively picked did turn out to be the correct choice, and we motored through the Morehead City big ship terminal area and out the channel towards the ocean until we arrived at the turn that led us into Beaufort City harbor and the Beaufort Town Docks Marina. The picture above is our view of this nice little city from Dreamboat. Tomorrow we plan to head up Adams Creek into the Neuse River and up to the city of New Bern, NC. The Captain

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