Log of Calypso

09 November 2017 | Bonaire
08 November 2017 | Harbor Village Bonaire
07 November 2017 | Kralendijk, Bonaire
29 July 2017 | Wilton Creek
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

Vitamin Sea

09 November 2017 | Bonaire
Vitamin C is an essential, water soluble, nutrient necessary for a healthy life.

We have been snorkeling at least once every day. The nearby swim area, with depths to 60’ well beyond our range, is full of life. On our first day here within 15 minutes of getting wet we saw eel, tropical fish, and a small dinner plate sized Green Sea Turtle. Don’t get any ideas by the comparison, they are highly protected & well watched.

We have also made two trips by boat to Klein Bonaire, a small island which is part of the Marine Park, only a half mile away.


These dives gave us a look at the wonderful underwater coral gardens surrounding the island.


It was time to explore more, our first stop, Lac Bay . Located on the east coast it’s shoreline takes a constant beating from the prevailing trade winds. The bay itself, is protected by a huge coral reef that surrounds the entrance. It’s common to see large waves send geysers of spray into the air as they crash only a few hundred meters away.

With it’s sand bottom and large sea grass beds we went looking for the marine life that makes this habitat, home. With any luck we expected to see both conch & turtles and although protected they would be great subjects for Jeff’s brother, David, to photograph.

We entered the water at a near deserted beach site to find a very strong incoming current, which gave us choppy conditions and poor visibility. We drifted over the grass beds into deeper water only to find that the bay made a perfect location for windsurfers. So, after about 30 minutes we decided to try another spot.


Driving south, David, stopped at the southern tip of the island by one of the five lighthouses that guard this islands rocky coast.


As we “ turned the corner” and headed north along the islands east coast we passed a giant system of ponds. Operated by the Global Corporation, Cargill, this is Bonaire Solar Salt Works.

Using the traditional Dutch, Dike & Windmill System, seawater is pumped into the ponds using windmills. In the hot sun, the water evaporates, concentrating the salinity of the water, until all moisture is removed. Finally, the salt is collected, washed, and stored in huge piles. Bonaire produces and ships 400,000 tons of industrial grade salt, yearly.

This pond system also serves as its own ecosystem. It provides a natural habitat for brine shrimp which feed other fish and birds including Pink Flamingos.

We were most interested in the pier complex where salt is loaded onto ships. Cargill allows diving & snorkeling around their loading pier, as long as a ship is not there, and we were in luck!

Immediately after entering the water we found ourselves surrounded by tropical fish of every size. The numbers grew as we swam closer to the steel pilings that make up the supports of the football field long pier.


Although we were warned about the dangers of stepping on spiney sea urchins, this was the first time we had seen them. This one, at 15” was one of many that dotted the bottom.


This was a great dive with calm clear water and plenty of marine life. The star of the show was a small Green Sea Turtle. Afraid of scaring the turtle off, David filmed, and the three of us circled from a safe distance. His interest was in eating the short grass growing from the hard bottom.


Leaving the water refreshed, invigorated, and renewed proved our dose of
Vitamin SEA “is” an essential, water soluble, nutrient necessary for a healthy life.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
J & W

A Special Place

08 November 2017 | Harbor Village Bonaire
Monday, the Trade Winds which are usually forecast at 15-18 knots were blowing hard. We looked at our options; a very bumpy boat ride to a snorkel site or a very cloudy shore entry, we opted for neither.

Setting out on foot we went for the road less travelled following the roads through a nearby neighborhood. Colorful homes, each personalized with colorful gardens, and accessories displaying the interest of the owners. It was not surprising to see this SCUBA Tank mail box in several styles & colors!


On this arid rocky island there aren’t any plush lawns. Water comes at a premium either made at the island desalinization plant or caught in above ground tanks during the morning rains that seem to come & go like clockwork.


Despite a lack of irrigation, gardening using the Caribbean’s native plants has become an art form unto itself.



One of our destination stops was The Bonaire Sea Turtle Conservation Center Not looking like much from the outside but after 15 minutes talking with Ki, a director, we soon found this to be the “nerve center” for the organization. Ki works with volunteers who track, and sometimes even protect, over 125 Sea Turtle nests on Bonaire. Some of these species are listed as Extremely Endangered and it’s impressive how the Bonaire Sea Turtle Conservation Center works with other organizations in other nations, including Cuba and the United States, to help protect these last of a kind majestic creatures.

Turtles aren’t the only species that make Bonaire their home. From Flamingoes,



to Parrots,


to Great Frigate Birds, with their distinguishing red chest feathers, Bonaire hosts a healthy bird population.



Cactus, too, is plentiful and seems to easily grow wild in the rocky limestone soil.


The enterprising Bonairian people found a use for excess cactus....;)



Later, at the waters edge, as the parrots sang the sun to sleep, the wind blew a tune through the coconut palms. We looked out over the horizon with the unspoken thoughts of, “this is a special place”.


Fair Winds and Quiet anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

Knife

07 November 2017 | Kralendijk, Bonaire
For several years Jeff’s brother and his wife have travelled to Bonaire with a group of friends, to enjoy diving the waters of this warm Caribbean Island. Although it meant a delay leaving the Chesapeake to head off on our first southern migration in years, we decided to go for it!

Flying in Saturday, we wasted little time, “getting our bearings”. Setting up camp at the Harbor Village Resort, only feet away from the water, we spent the remainder of the afternoon snorkeling the shallows.

Within minutes, of walking through coconut palms, alive with green parrots, we were at the waters edge ready to splash into the crystal clear water. It seemed like we were swimming in an aquarium. Teaming with life everywhere from the usual reef fish, we also spotted eels, Tarpon, and even a small sea turtle.

The waters around Bonaire are a marine sanctuary. Set up in the 1960’s by the legendary Captain Don, the focus is to preserve and protect this pristine environment for everyone. Anchoring is prohibited however, moorings dot the coast bringing divers and snorkelers from around the world.

Our first excursion away from shore was to a place known as “Knife”. There is a story that goes with most nicknames and that story has probably changed over the years. Our dive master, guaranteed his story to be truthful....;) he told us this place is named after an inexperienced SCUBA Diver who got nitrogen narcosis and pulled his knife on the Guide. Not a good plan! But, all ended well for both and the name Knife remained.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Deltaville

29 July 2017 | Wilton Creek
Several years ago, a wise sailor, M & M, well into her 90's told us, "if you don't work on a project everyday, there will be two waiting for you tomorrow"!

We left the Atlantic Yacht Basin heading north. The Bridge, at Great Bridge Virginia, lifted quickly on it's 1000 opening. We neither heard or saw any signs from damage a lightning strike caused to the the bridge which required it to be operated manually, for several weeks. A wave to the bridge-tender, followed by a short step down, in the Great Bridge Lock and we were off.

It's been too many years since Calypso has worked her way north towards the Chesapeake. As we headed towards Norfolk it was hard not to miss how this stretch of the ICW has changed, a lot!


Steel Bridge at mile 8.8 is now twin 90' high rise bridge. Same with the Jordan Bridge at mile 2.8.

The Norfolk Naval Shipyard, founded in 1767, has undergone a facelift. The rows of rusting mothballed ships and vacant warehouse size buildings are gone.


Beyond the security boats and floating barriers they have been replaced by ships from Aircraft Carriers


to Submarines, all undergoing overhaul.

Next, we passed Nauticus on the Norfolk Waterfront. Known as the Maritime Science Center and Museum, it's home to the WWII Battleship, USS Wisconsin, an aquarium, and has hands-on exhibits, theaters, and educational programs.


The facility is also a big tourist draw as the come in by bus and cruise ship.


Directly across, and sandwiched between the Marriott Renaissance and the Naval Hospital, is the Lightship Portsmouth. Built in 1915, she served for 48 years as an aid to navigation off Virginia, Delaware, and Massachusetts. She continues her mission as an Aid to Navigation, marking Mile 0, of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway.

Close by is the Hospital Point Anchorage, appropriately named with Portsmouth Naval Hospital in the background. In the past we've seen 50 or more boats anchored in this deep, fair-weather anchorage. On this day, there was only one unoccupied boat probably because the forecasted NE winds tonight would give anyone here an uncomfortable stay.


Staying well out of the channel to avoid dredging and a parade of outbound container ships we headed towards Old Point Comfort. After a good day with the outgoing tide, we anchored in the lee of Fort Monroe & the historic Chamberlain Hotel.


After several days motoring we were anxious to get a sail up. The next morning we headed to Mobjack Bay, we scooted along at 4-5 knots under Jib alone. It was also our first real test, since the rudder repair, of our Monitor Self-Steering Windvane. We enjoyed a wonderful "hands free" sail up to our anchorage on the North River.


The following day as we sailed to Deltaville we passed Wolf Trap Light. Named for the 350 ton British Guard Ship "Wolf", that ran aground here in 1690. The current light, constructed in 1894, out of brick stands 52'.


As we passed, the sound of a large fan seemed to be getting close. It was an LCAC, one of the Navy's Amphibious Landing Hovercraft. They slid rounded Wolf Trap Light like a car on ice, undoubtedly on a "training" mission.

For the last two weeks we have enjoyed Deltaville. Most days, temperatures are in the 90's, so we have temporarily moved from the anchorage to a dock. The benefits of shore power, an air conditioned clubhouse, and a refreshing happy hour dip in the pool are well worth it. It's also given us time to reacquaint with cruising friends and explore the surrounding area.

We have worked on several projects. An oil change, a whipped line, a little varnish or a dab of caulk. The advice of years ago, remains true today, one today or two tomorrow!

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

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
Stowaway!

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