Log of Calypso

09 July 2017 | Great Bridge, Va
07 July 2017 | Anchored in Blackwater Creek, Va
04 July 2017 | Anchored off North River
29 June 2017
31 May 2017 | Bunratty Castle, Ireland
27 May 2017 | Dingle Ireland
24 May 2017 | Foynes, Ireland
21 May 2017 | Limerick, Ireland
21 May 2017 | Aran Islands, Ireland
18 May 2017 | Aran Islands, Ireland
17 May 2017 | Doolin, Ireland
15 May 2017 | Doolin, Ireland
13 May 2017 | Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
12 May 2017
09 May 2017 | Strata Florida, Wales
07 May 2017 | Middle Wales
05 May 2017 | Aberystwyth, Wales
02 May 2017 | Haltwhistle, England
01 May 2017 | Haltwhistle, England
29 April 2017 | Mallaig, Scotland

Into the Chesapeake

09 July 2017 | Great Bridge, Va
After two days anchored at Blackwater Creek, we left Saturday morning. As our guide book by Mark & Diana Doyle pointed out, the route into and out of this creek, for Calypso's 5' draft, can be tricky. One wrong move here and we could spend some time working ourselves out of the mud! But 0742, we navigated back into the ICW, past the long spit that stretches into the entrance channel and which is marked only by the occasional crab trap float.

By 1133, after 15 miles and two swing bridges with restricted opening schedules, we made it to Great Bridge, VA . Here we pulled into our first marina of the trip, the Atlantic Yacht Basin. The weather the past few days has been a challenge with todays heat index hitting 112! Yup, it's summer!

At $1.25/foot, it was time for real showers, real laundry, and a "top up" on ice, diesel, & water. We really didn't need much food, but after a short walk across a long hot parking lot we enjoyed taking our time, strolling the isles, of a nearby well Air Conditioned, grocery....;)

From here we will head north, through the Great Bridge Locks, past Norfolk Naval Base, and into the Chesapeake.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff and Wendy

Mysteries of the Waterway

07 July 2017 | Anchored in Blackwater Creek, Va

Thursday morning, as we left our quiet anchorage we were surprised when we realized we had company. Not one but two tree toads. We haven't been pier-side for a week and they probability didn't swim. As long as they stay topside and eat mosquitos and spiders, they can stay, but were they came from will remain a mystery.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew became the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since 2007. This devastating hurricane caused widespread damage ($15 Billion) and loss of life (603 deaths) as it travelled through the Caribbean and eastern United States.

Damage from Matthew closed the alternative route of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) via the Dismal Swamp Canal. A favorite for us and many other boaters, debris, fallen trees, and damage to one of the locks closed the canal, indefinitely. Only a large public appeal saved this historic waterway, originally surveyed by George Washington. We look foreword to exploring it again, on our way south.

Until then, our ICW route north is through Currituck (Ker-a-tuck) Sound. This route, although shallow, is busy with commercial, military, and recreational boat traffic. There are several protected and secluded anchorages and even a few other mysteries, too!

On NOAA charts, this pile of brick at the waters edge is classified as "ruins". That's what it is now, but in 1879 it was part of Long Point Beacon Light (No. 8). One of 17 NC light stations along the coast in the late 1800's & early 1900's.

The station was retired in 1901 the only picture that remains is this of the Keeper's Home, taken by an unknown photographer June 19, 1893. Later, during World War II, the island later served as a refueling station for seaplanes for the Coast Guard.

In February 2015, two local historians worked to shed some light on these ruins located on this 56 acre island. These historians wanted to prove that operations on Long Point Island produced Pintsch gas.

Developed in 1851 by a German Tinsmith, Carl Pintsch, the gas is a compressed fuel with six times the illumination power of lamp oil. It's ability to burn brighter and longer than standard oil lamp was intended for lighting the lamps in locomotives.

The properties of Pintsch gas also made it a popular solution for illumination of bouy and unmanned lighthouses. This would allowed them to remain lit for months, without servicing. The down side was that this gas was highly explosive and after several railway disasters it's use was ended.

With little historical information to go on the researchers are left with more questions than answers. For them, the final dead end came from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian saying, that "virtually no information exists regarding Long Point Light."

Was this the site for the beginning of automation for AIDS to Navigation? Why is there no record? Was there a mishap? Believing it would be hard for even Glen Beck to find a conspiracy theory here, but it will remain one of the many mysteries of the waterway.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

Independence Day

04 July 2017 | Anchored off North River
After nearly three months on the hard, we were back in the water at Hancock Marina. After two weeks there of preparation, waiting for favorable weather, and a party or two, Friday morning at 0755, we quietly slipped our lines. We will travel north with simply one destination in mind, The Chesapeake.

While teaching, Captain Dave had his students learn 10 Nautical Terms a week. For the next two months we have only one term, Shakedown Cruise. It isn't just a 1979 pop song by Jay Ferguson, it's a nautical term to define a test of a ships performance after extensive repair or overhaul. Yup, that's us!

As we motored in nearly no wind on the Neuse River, heading north near Oriental, the phone rang. It was quick call from Captain Chuck (a circumnavigator) wishing us a good trip, the call and good thoughts were appreciated. Several years ago he, in his boat Spellbinder, met us on the river with a bag of home grown tomatoes. The crop wasn't as good this year, but it was great to get our traditional farewell call...;)

A line of dark colored water on the horizon ahead could only mean one thing, a puff of wind. As the Main and Jib were hoisted for the first time in months, we launched several mud-dobber nests, thankfully empty, into the water.

Engine off and we slowly drifted at 1.9 knots, but we were sailing. As the summer heat baked the storm clouds moved in, carting Winds to 20 knots. Soon we were whizzing along, railed down, at 6.8 knots. That evening we anchored in Bonner Bay and were treated to a beautiful sunset.

After a few evening rain showers the sun was up early Saturday morning. In a brisk southernly breeze a 0900 we were underway. Heading north into a narrow canal we chose to leave the sails down, for now. No matter, the wind pushed us along as if we had the sails up.

Through the canal, we entered the Pungo River. And we motor-sailed along with just the small staysail up. The hot summer temperatures usually bring afternoon squalls, and today was no different. As we watched the first of several rain squalls March upon us from behind the strong wind which instantly dropped the temperatures pushed us along at over 5 knots. At 1734, we were safely anchored in a familiar marsh.

Our usual schedule for transiting keeps us anchored over weekends, especially holiday weekends. You only need to be navigating a narrow cut while being passed by water skiers, jet skies, and kids in rubber inner tubes to understand why!

But, boat traffic has been extremely light and with afternoon thunderstorms forecast Sunday afternoon, we were underway at 0809. The Alligator-Pungo River Canal, originally dug in the 1950's to improve drainage of farmland now links the two rivers as part of the Intercostal Waterway (ICW).

At 1630, we anchored on the Western shore of Alligator River just South of the Alligator River Bridge, only minutes before a huge thunderstorm hit. Calypso then pointed into the wind held firmly by a 20kg anchor and 70' of chain. The spectacular lightning accompanied by heavy rain, hail, and wind built a steep fetch the made us feel as if we were on a hobby horse.

It lasted until nearly sunset but treated us to this once in a lifetime rainbow on the water. Starting in infinity it stopped when it got to Calypso, how appropriate!

The lumpy river never seemed to calm overnight making for a less than restful sleep. So at 0749 we were underway once more. An uneventful crossing of the Albermarle Sound, at 1330, we settled into a favorite anchorage, well protected off the North River.

Today, July 4th, we will stay here. Partially to avoid the holiday boat traffic, partially to do a few small boat projects, but mostly, because we can. Happy Independence Day!

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Almost Underway

29 June 2017
On January 12, 2016, we headed north, departing from Rivers Edge Marina in St. Augustine. During the next two months, despite cold temperatures and frequent weather fronts we travelled nearly 700 miles to arrive at Cherry Point.

Since returning, over a year ago, Calypso has received the TLC a 45 year old sailboat deserves. Last summer, one of the hottest on record, we removed the bowsprit and much of the teak decking on the foredeck to repair the source of an annoying and potentially damaging leak.

Early last fall, we hauled to correct a misalignment of the rudder which was the result of the new pintails & gudgeons. This misalignment caused the rudder to bind and it was something that  was never going to fix itself by wearing in. While out of the water we had Calypso's hull painted. While Jeff worked on the rudder and installed new seacocks, Wendy spent days hand sanding, to prep the hull. With the yards labor rate of $80/hour, her hard work saved us $K's

While on the hard at Sailcraft we were treated to a visit from Hurricane Matthew. Even being tucked behind a large work shed and with six boat stands on each side we shook hard. Thankfully, there was no damage to us or other boats in the yard.

In the late fall, we decided not to head south as we waited for the arrival of our first grandchild. With time on our hands and being the party animals we are, we removed two of Calypso's three water tanks. We then used a high density fiberglass material called G-10, to "beef up" the base of the masts compression post. Thankfully the tanks were in great shape so once the bilges were scrubbed, sanded, primed, & painted, the tanks were re-installed.

In the Spring of 2017, we found ourselves on the U.K. adventure of a lifetime. Well documented in this blog, the best part of our 10 weeks was living "outside our comfort zone"!

Since returning to Cherry Point two weeks ago we have worked hard and long to get underway. We've rebuilt the water system, serviced the engine, installed the monitor self-steering, and scrubbed & pressure washed topsides. We even squeezed in a couple of grandbaby fixes!

This summers adventure is the Chesapeake. For the next two months, we have only one planned destination. Easton, MD to visit Karl & Donna.

We had planned to leave today, but instead decided to spend time finishing a few small projects, stow tools, and even took some time to enjoy hobbies....."is that allowed"? So, as we take a minute to enjoy being aboard, here's to our next adventure!

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages, Jeff & Wendy

Fairwell Banquet

31 May 2017 | Bunratty Castle, Ireland
Bunratty Castle sits on the site where a wooden fort built in 1250, by the Normans once stood. Today's it's one of Ireland's premiere Landmarks located in County Clair (Clear).

The current stone castle, built in 1425, is on the foundations of several previous forts & castles. That is because this location is of strategic importance protecting the tributaries of the River Shannon which lead into the Port of Limerick.

Bunratty Castle was once the seat of the powerful O'Brien Clan. In the early 1700's it was sold. Later it was re-sold, abandoned, and eventually fell into disrepair for nearly 200 years.

In 1956, the 7th Viscount Gort, a wealthy collector of fine art, antiques, and other valuable objects purchased the Castle. He and his wife travelled the world collecting 15th & 16th century furnishings,


And other fine decorations to restore the Castle to its 15th century grandeur.

In early 1960, the Castle was donated to "the public" and in 1963, the first medieval banquets began. They gained in popularity especially after the attendance of President Kennedy, in June 1967.

We toured the Castle early Monday morning taking in the Great Hall,

where later we would be entertained before dinner,

and Guard Quarters

where, during dinner, by candlelight,

we would drink soup from the bowl and eat meat with only our hands and a dagger, ok-it was a steak knife...;)

The views from the four towers were spectacular. On a clear day you could see
Limerick, 18 km away.

After 10 amazing weeks, this was our last big event! It was a lot of fun, with lots of laughing, & music.

Probably proportional to all the wine and Mead (wine made from honey) they were pouring for the 200 people in attendance.

This has been an absolutely fantastic trip, and a banquet fitting our grand finale'. Wednesday, we return to the US, excited to see and share our adventures with family & friends.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Full Circle

27 May 2017 | Dingle Ireland
Wednesday we headed to Dingle, for four days. Traveling, County Kerry is uniquely different from the areas around Limerick or Killarney. As our bus climbed the steep green coastal hills of the Dingle Peninsula, we could smell the sea again!

Dingle is more than just a small coastal village. It's protected harbor with a "hidden" entrance has been used by seaman and smugglers, for centuries. Today fisherman in both large and small boats use the commercial docks to unload their catch, make repairs, and provision before heading back out to sea.

No longer just a working town, Dingle has an active tourist industry. With great old, Traditional Irish Music, and some of Ireland's friendliest people, tourists flock here by the bus load. Literally, on any given day we've counted 20+ busses.

As we've seen before this huge influx of, mainly American, tourists crowd the streets, shops, and pubs. This area is still several weeks from the "busy" season. Our AirBnB host commented that if you don't have a parking spot in the city center by 1100, you won't get one. Thankfully we are staying in a small residential area, within easy walking distance to everything.

Word of mouth is not the only way tourists are drawn to this beautiful location. Several movies have been filmed here, going back as far back as the 1930's. More recent films include Ryan's Daughter, Excalibur, Far & Away, and scheduled for release shortly, the latest Star Wars episode.

The ocean is still the biggest attraction here with activities such as surfing, kayaking, and diving, being very popular. Bring you wetsuit....;) Local sailing and rowing clubs are very active and there are several regattas scheduled for this summer.

Dingle's most popular resident is Fungie. His name, adapted from A Fun Guy, he is a 14 foot dolphin who left his pod years ago. Why? No one knows, but this 41 year old dolphin is a familiar sight for boats in the harbor and he seems to get some pleasure from the the ooo's and aaaa's of tourist paying €10 for a boat ride to see him.

The hour long boat ride is more than a dolphin watch trip as we popped out of the harbor to look at the dramatic Red Sandstone and Quartz cliffs,


and caves.

On one end of town is the Dingle Distillery. Starting only a few years ago it produces Gin, Vodka, and a small amount of Irish Whiskey. Although we went on Distillery tours in Dublin, we wanted to see the operation of this "Craft Distillery".

During the hour long tour, our guide Joe, walked us through the history of distillation and some Dingle history as well. The building housing the distillery was once a bakery.

It and several other buildings were owned by Lord Ventry, a wealthy landowner in the mid & late 1840's. During the time of the Great Potato Famine, Ireland lost over a million people and the area around Dingle was one of the hardest hit regions.

Lord Ventry "created" projects", like this tower known as Hussey's Folly

and Eask Tower, on top of this cliff, across the harbor, as an entrance marker.

These projects provided jobs for unemployed and starving farmers. He built a workhouse and bakery to house and feed the workers. Today, that bakery is the Dingle Distillery.

Weeks ago, while in Scotland we stayed in Dundee. One of the many wonderful things about the city was the Royal Research Ship Discovery. We learned the stories of the men who crewed her during several heroic expeditions to Antarctica.

One man in particular, an Irishman, Tom Crean stands out today. Distinguishing himself on the Discovery he was hand picked to crew on the 1914 expedition on the Endurance.

In 1915, the Endurance became trapped in the Antarctic ice and later sank. With the crew stranded on Antarctica's Elephant Island, Crean and three others set off on a rescue mission.

In an open Boat, the four headed to a Whaling station at South Georgia, 1500 km away and more than twice the distance from Dingle to Dundee, 788 km. No GPS!

Called, "one of the most extraordinary feats of seamanship and navigation in recorded history", the men sailed through gales and snow squalls. They reached the whaling station after 18 days at sea Crean then walked alone 48km on an overland track across a 10,000 foot mountain range. He succeeded and 22 survivors on Elephant Island were rescued.

Tom Crean retired and opened a pub near Dingle called the South Pole Inn. Unfortunately, in 1938, he died as a result of a ruptured appendix, but his memory lives on.

The Dingle Brewing Company has honored this local hero by naming their very successful locally made Lager after him.

As we sit in a quiet pub drinking a Crean's we find ourselves fortunate to be in this beautiful small Irish town at the edge of the Atlantic. We did not set out to follow Tom Crean's life or his sailing adventures. But, unintentionally, as we've followed his life "full circle" we are glad we had the opportunity to spend time with the hearty, resilient, friendly people of Dingle.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy
Vessel Name: Calypso
Vessel Make/Model: Westsail 32
Hailing Port: Clearwater, Fla
Calypso's Photos - Main
Repair to Calypso's foredeck, mast step, rudder, & Seacock replacement
7 Photos
Created 3 November 2016