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Dreamboat 2011-12 Cruise
2700 Miles!
05/07/2012, Chester, Md.

We're back! It was a wonderful trip, and it's good to be home again, too. Today, we left our beautiful anchorage and had an uneventful crossing of the Chesapeake to the Eastern Bay. At one point, the wind gusts topped 25 knots and it looked like a thunderstorm was on the horizon, but the weather calmed and other than some crab pots, it was an easy motor/sail up to the Kent Narrows Drawbridge and into our home slip at Queen's Landing. It's been an amazing 7 months. There was so much to see and do and the time disappeared. It seems like we only got started and it was time to make our way north again. We met so many interesting people who all had a story to tell and welcome advice to give to us as first-timers on the waterway. Everyone was charming and hospitable. They all have a place in our hearts and we wish them all safe voyages home, wherever that may be. We saw wildlife ranging from unusual jellyfish to manatees and miniature Key Deer. We discovered hamlets crafted from time long ago and thriving cities forging well ahead into the 21st century. We rode every historic trolley we could find and never missed an opportunity to rent/borrow bicycles and see the scenery. And what amazing scenery there was! Cumberland Island, Key West, and Bahia Honda were eye-popping. New Tea Kettle Creek was the most secluded anchorage ever. You cannot believe how awe inspiring it is to be in the middle of sea grass with millions of stars overhead and not a sound. In all, we travelled 2700 miles since October, most on the ICW but there were 3 days out in the ocean. The whole time , Dreamboat was basically a trawler going about 8 mph. We only put the sails up a handful of times because of the narrowness of the waterway. Since wind power wasn't an option, we used 500 gallons of diesel. Over the course of the trip, we stayed in 42 marinas, picked up 4 mooring balls, and anchored in 10 wonderful coves. In our 60 actual travel days underway, we went through 70 drawbridges and 3 locks. I can't even count how many good meals we ate out and how many 5 o'clock happy hours we had with new friends. Dreamboat performed like a champ! There were no problems with the boat, except for an actual grounding and 3 "bumps" on the bottom. We were rocked to sleep each night in a comfortable bed and looked forward each evening to another happy day on the ICW or in our slip. It was truly the voyage of a lifetime. The Admiral

05/08/2012 | Faye
Good story. Welcome Home!!!
05/09/2012 | Chris
So glad you had such a wonderful time, it was a great trip. I almost felt like I was traveling with you. Thanks for taking us along! Welcome home!
05/09/2012 | Bob
What a trip! Dee and I need to go to Key West (about as far as you can get from Seattle)! Glad you got to see "millions of stars", so much of the beauty of the night is forever hidden to city dwellers.
"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night"
Lumpy Water, Peaceful Anchorage
05/06/2012, Mill Creek, Solomons, Md

We left Fishing Bay and came out into a bay of 15mph winds and 3 to 4 foot seas. We decided to forge ahead in hopes that what we were seeing would inprove to what the weatherman had forecast. About 4 hours of rocking and rolling and rising and falling, we decided to duck in to Mill Creek, Va to have lunch and see if things would calm down. When we came back out into the bay after lunch we had winds below 8 and normal 1 to 2 foot seas from there to Solomons, Md. Even crossing the Potomac was relatively calm despite its nasty reputation. We are now anchored in the beautiful and peaceful Mill Creek, Md, just off the river into Solomons. Today's picture is of a hitchhiking butterfly who actually flew in behind the dodger (to get out of the nasty winds?). The weather forecast is decent for tomorrow but getting worse each day after so we hope to make our home port in Queens Landing tomorrow. The Captain

Back on the Chesapeake
05/05/2012, Fishing Bay, Deltaville, VA

We left Hampton and motored north on the Chesapeake toady in light winds and low clouds. We ran the radar most of the trip in order to be sure we stayed out of the way of the freighters and tug/barges traveling the bay with us. As we got closer to our destination for the day light breezes came up and we started encountering sailboats under sail. What a refreshing thing after over 2600 miles on the ICW seeing almost everyone motoring. We are anchored in Fishing Bay, just south of Deltaville, VA. The picture is of the typical shoreline view from our boat. Tomorrow we plan to motor north into the light winds in our face that are forecasted, cross the border back into Maryland, and anchor in Mill Creek at Solomons Island, MD. The Captain

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

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