Impulse Cruising Again

Vessel Name: Impulse
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 350
Hailing Port: Langhorne PA
Crew: Bill & Mary
28 May 2017 | Worton Creek, MD
26 May 2017 | Spring Cove Marina, Solomons, MD
25 May 2017 | Mill Creek, off of the Great Wicomico River
24 May 2017 | Willoughby Bay, Norfolk, VA
23 May 2017 | Coinjock, NC
23 May 2017 | Pungo-Alligator Rivers Canal
21 May 2017 | River Dunes Marina, Oriental, NC
20 May 2017 | River Dunes, Oriental, NC
19 May 2017 | Beaufort, NC
18 May 2017 | Beaufort, NC
17 May 2017 | Surf City, Topsail Island, NC
16 May 2017 | Surf City, Topsail Island, NC
15 May 2017 | Bald Head Island, NC
14 May 2017 | Bald Head Island, NC
13 May 2017 | Bolivia, NC
12 May 2017 | St. James Plantation, South Carolina
11 May 2017 | St. James Plantation, South Carolina
10 May 2017 | Little River Inlet, SC, or NC??
09 May 2017 | Georgetown, SC
08 May 2017 | Johns Island, SC
Recent Blog Posts
28 May 2017 | Worton Creek, MD

A Worton Creek Welcome

The day was bright, calm, and cool when we emerged from the cabin at 6:30 to leave the dock. The Patuxent River and the bay were like glass with just a few ripples from other early risers. As the day went on the skies became very gloomy and threatening, but fortunately the showers passed over the bay [...]

26 May 2017 | Spring Cove Marina, Solomons, MD

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind...

The anchor was up and we were on our way at 5:30, watching a beautiful sunrise as we motored along (see photo - I hate to resort to sky photos, but this was another one I couldn't pass up! But, out in the Bay, once again, the wind picked up to 25-30 knots with gusts higher. - Bill saw one over 45 knots! [...]

25 May 2017 | Mill Creek, off of the Great Wicomico River

Hello Chesapeake Bay!

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. An estuary is a body of water where the salt and fresh waters meet, so it is tidal. This bay is 200 miles long, so when one reaches the Chesapeake it is like making it to Florida from Pennsylvania – there is a lot more to go before you get to your destination! We pulled the anchor at 7:15 and left Norfolk, crossing the shipping channel when daylight allowed us to see the barges and freighters coming and going. We saw a submarine surface as it entered the channel and that was very cool! Who knows what is under the surface of the water? The water was very lumpy – rollers coming in from the ocean, wind from the south and wakes from these large vessels. Once we were north enough to have protection from both sides of the bay we put up the sails and motorsailed for awhile, riding the tide up the bay. It was all good! Except for masses of small black biting flies. Where do they come from? Out in the middle of this huge bay – we killed so many! The wind died a few times so sails were put away, and eventually the tide turned, but we made it to Mill Creek off of the Great Wicomico River which was further than we had planned. We anchored, and then a horrific storm arrived – winds well over 50 knots along with pounding rain. The anchor held (Yea!), and then the sun came out. A few more bouts of rain arrived, but nothing like the first. The photo shows the stormy sunset - lots of thunderheads and frontal clouds but pretty nonetheless! The temperature dropped dramatically, so it will be a nice sleeping night. Bill’s alarm is set for 5:00 am, so I know I’ll see the sun rise tomorrow!

24 May 2017 | Willoughby Bay, Norfolk, VA

Farewell, North Carolina!

We left the dock at Coinjock Marina at 7:30 after Bill filled the water tanks. Very gloomy, but no rain. By 9:30 we had crossed into Virginia – Yeah! We had to wait for four bridges today – and they really added time to our trip. All were timed openings, most on the hour, and we just can’t [...]

23 May 2017 | Coinjock, NC

whereinthehelliscoinjock?

As the sun came up so did our anchor, and it had stopped raining. We passed the mile 100 sign at 6:30 am, and then the rain started again. The wind picked up to 20-25 knots, on our nose, so the water was rough and we took water over the bow. Once we passed through the Alligator River bridge, we headed [...]

23 May 2017 | Pungo-Alligator Rivers Canal

Zincs Away!

We woke to a warm, gray day, and took our time with breakfast, etc. I packed up some laundry, along with the cleaning and waxing cloths from yesterday, and did wash while I showered. This place has a wonderful bath house! While I was away Darryl, the boat mechanic, showed up and cleaned out the heat [...]

A Worton Creek Welcome

28 May 2017 | Worton Creek, MD
Mid-60s, calm, dreary and damp
The day was bright, calm, and cool when we emerged from the cabin at 6:30 to leave the dock. The Patuxent River and the bay were like glass with just a few ripples from other early risers. As the day went on the skies became very gloomy and threatening, but fortunately the showers passed over the bay where we weren't - both north and south of our position. The wind was light but always on our bow, so no sailing for us today. And the tide was against us the entire way up the bay (until we got to our destination!) so our speed was not what we had experienced earlier on the trip. After lunch Bill had an idea and suggested that we dock the boat in Worton Creek instead of Rock Hall, because our friends who will give us a ride to Kim and Darren's in Philadelphia are working on their boat there. This is the marina where we used to keep the boat before Rock Hall. Other friends are there as well, so we could see them without begging rides. Many phone calls later that became the plan, so it added about 15 miles and several hours to the trip. The photo shows the bridge to the Eastern Shore just north of Annapolis - a landmark of sorts in this area. You can see the very gloomy skies. Of course, as we neared Worton Creek, the rain started and then the tide switched in our favor so we had a push for the last 30 minutes - finally! The rain stopped as we entered the creek and friends waved us in with an air horn fanfare! After tying up there were lots of hugs, a few drinks, and dinner. It is great to be back in familiar surroundings with wonderful friends! We plan to be in the Philadelphia area, maybe visit the boat for a day or two, and fly to Punta Gorda from Trenton on June 8th to pick up our car and then drive back. This isn't the end of the blog - we aren't in our final slip yet, so I will write more. But for now, the blogger will take a break for a few days...Thanks for your interest in our adventure!

74 miles, 12 hours

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind...

26 May 2017 | Spring Cove Marina, Solomons, MD
Mid 70s, mostly cloudy
The anchor was up and we were on our way at 5:30, watching a beautiful sunrise as we motored along (see photo - I hate to resort to sky photos, but this was another one I couldn't pass up! But, out in the Bay, once again, the wind picked up to 25-30 knots with gusts higher. - Bill saw one over 45 knots! This is not what was forecast! With a long fetch coming from the Potomac River and an outgoing tide, the chop whipped up (again), resulting in an uncomfortable ride. At one point I relieved Bill so he could visit the head and I watched the iPad screen image twisting back and forth every time a wave passed by. Near the the top of the screen was the label "Tippity Witchity." Kind of appropriate? (You can google that one to learn more about it.) Things got a little better, and then worse, so by lunchtime Bill had had enough. We were not making good progress and were beating ourselves, and the boat, up. So, we looked at charts to find a place to stop and ended up on the Western Shore in Solomons at Spring Cove Marina by 1:30. We've been here before several times and knew it is a great marina! After fueling up and registering, Bill collapsed. He was totally exhausted and really couldn't think straight. I showered and did laundry while he snoozed. At our slip you would never know that it is windy on the bay! Eventually, I made lots of noise doing dishes and Bill woke up for wine time, and then we walked to dinner at the Angler's Seafood and Grill Restaurant - about 0.25 miles from the slip. Bill had wings (of course!) and I had Crab Mac and Cheese. We were both happy with our meals, and beers!, and walked back to the boat. We are hoping to make it to Rock Hall tomorrow, but who knows what the sea gods will bring? I guess the answer is blowing in the wind...

52 miles, 8 hours

Hello Chesapeake Bay!

25 May 2017 | Mill Creek, off of the Great Wicomico River
60s, cloudy, thunderstorms
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. An estuary is a body of water where the salt and fresh waters meet, so it is tidal. This bay is 200 miles long, so when one reaches the Chesapeake it is like making it to Florida from Pennsylvania – there is a lot more to go before you get to your destination! We pulled the anchor at 7:15 and left Norfolk, crossing the shipping channel when daylight allowed us to see the barges and freighters coming and going. We saw a submarine surface as it entered the channel and that was very cool! Who knows what is under the surface of the water? The water was very lumpy – rollers coming in from the ocean, wind from the south and wakes from these large vessels. Once we were north enough to have protection from both sides of the bay we put up the sails and motorsailed for awhile, riding the tide up the bay. It was all good! Except for masses of small black biting flies. Where do they come from? Out in the middle of this huge bay – we killed so many! The wind died a few times so sails were put away, and eventually the tide turned, but we made it to Mill Creek off of the Great Wicomico River which was further than we had planned. We anchored, and then a horrific storm arrived – winds well over 50 knots along with pounding rain. The anchor held (Yea!), and then the sun came out. A few more bouts of rain arrived, but nothing like the first. The photo shows the stormy sunset - lots of thunderheads and frontal clouds but pretty nonetheless! The temperature dropped dramatically, so it will be a nice sleeping night. Bill’s alarm is set for 5:00 am, so I know I’ll see the sun rise tomorrow!

Farewell, North Carolina!

24 May 2017 | Willoughby Bay, Norfolk, VA
61, windy, cloudy
We left the dock at Coinjock Marina at 7:30 after Bill filled the water tanks. Very gloomy, but no rain. By 9:30 we had crossed into Virginia – Yeah! We had to wait for four bridges today – and they really added time to our trip. All were timed openings, most on the hour, and we just can’t go fast enough to get from one to the next in time. Great Bridge bridge is followed immediately by the one lock on this route. We pulled in, took our spot on the wall, and then were dropped by over 2 feet as the water poured out of the lock. We left from there and got to the last bridge which lies just past a RR bridge that is “always open.” Well, Bill called the bridge to request an opening and the tender said “As soon as you get here I will open.” But, as we neared the RR bridge, which is just in front of the bridge, the light turned red and the RR bridge closed halfway. (Check photo, you can see the railroad bridge in front of Gilmerton lift bridge.) Turns out they were doing maintenance, but we had to wait for it to reopen. The rub was that it was 3:15 and the Gilmerton bridge doesn’t open from 3:30 until 5:30. We were a little anxious, but the RR bridge did open and we got through by 3:30. Bill does have a “black cloud” that follows him! A ferry pulled out of Portsmouth and would have run into us except that Bill avoided it, then a freighter coming toward us called on the radio and told us he was going to turn around and back in to a slip on our side of the channel. Freighters take a half mile to start a turn, and they move faster than us so Bill scurried out of the way. We also passed the end of the Atlantic ICW - mile marker 0 - as we headed past the Naval Yard. The wind picked up to 25 knots, again, and we found Willoughby Bay and an anchoring spot. We are still rocking and rolling, but hopefully things will calm down tonight and we can head up the Chesapeake Bay tomorrow. Weather Channel is calling for a wild front to pass through tonight, so we are keeping our fingers crossed…

62 miles, 10.5 hours

whereinthehelliscoinjock?

23 May 2017 | Coinjock, NC
Low 70s, cloudy rain
As the sun came up so did our anchor, and it had stopped raining. We passed the mile 100 sign at 6:30 am, and then the rain started again. The wind picked up to 20-25 knots, on our nose, so the water was rough and we took water over the bow. Once we passed through the Alligator River bridge, we headed into Albemarle Sound. We had no cell service last night or most of the day, so we couldn't check our normal weather services (or post my blog entry!). The NOAA weather forecast was for winds 10-15 mph from the south. We saw up to 30 mph from the NE pretty much all day, with rain heavy at times. Bill asked if NOAA's office is in a basement somewhere with no windows... When wind blows across water for a distance (called the "fetch"), it gets very choppy, especially in a shallow body of water like the Albemarle Sound. The long fetch today brought the seas to about 4-5 feet, so lots of splashing and pounding went on. The photo shows Bill's view through the dodger window as water crashed over the starboard side of the boat. Once we crossed the Sound, the land shortened the fetch and the chop decreased quite a bit. Rain continued, so we hunkered down with soup for lunch. Around 2:00 we arrived at Coinjock Marina, which is in the middle of nowhere, but is the only game in town. We talked about continuing, but decided to stop overnight and not push our luck since we have to cross Coinjock Bay next. We fueled up and were told they could make room for us, but we would have to move up and down the long dock as boats arrived. And they did! Huge yachts and other big boats that I would have thought would keep going rather than stop here. There was a small cruise ship at the north end of the dock and when that left we moved there for the night. Meanwhile we moved around to get out of everyone's way - including across the canal at a closed marina for awhile! There is a small store here and they sell Tshirts (among other things) that say "whereinthehelliscoinjock?" and that makes sense once you are here and realize there is nothing else nearby. We had some wine on the boat and then went to dinner at the restaurant here. The food was actually good - I had crab bisque and Bill had Hatteras-style clam chowder (like New England but with no cream) and buffalo chicken wings - of course! It was all good. Back to the boat by dark, and it is still raining! Hopefully on our way to Norfolk tomorrow.

53 miles, 8 hours

Zincs Away!

23 May 2017 | Pungo-Alligator Rivers Canal
Mid-70s, gray, rainy
We woke to a warm, gray day, and took our time with breakfast, etc. I packed up some laundry, along with the cleaning and waxing cloths from yesterday, and did wash while I showered. This place has a wonderful bath house! While I was away Darryl, the boat mechanic, showed up and cleaned out the heat exchanger. Salt water causes metal to corrode quickly so in order to protect the metal parts of the heat exchanger that come in contact with it, a piece of zinc is installed in the raw water line. Zinc reacts more easily than other metals, so it gets “eaten away” and the heat exchanger doesn’t! The zinc is in the shape of a rod and so is called a “pencil zinc.” Turns out there were lots of little pieces from past pencil zincs inside the heat exchanger. I guess you are supposed to clean out these pieces every so often… The photo shows a new pencil zinc at the top, the one Bill installed in April, and then a bunch of pieces Darryl pulled out. A simple job, and one Bill watched carefully so he can do it next time! Once everything was put back together, we threw the lines and cast off, heading for Scranton Creek on the Pungo River. The wind picked up so we motorsailed almost all day, pushing our average speed over 8 mph! It is lower usually. As we approached Scranton Creek it was about 5:00, so we decided to continue through the Pungo - Alligator Rivers Canal – all 23 miles of it, with no place to stop. In the first few miles thunder and lightning started, and then pouring rain. I put up the storm enclosures (first time on this trip!) and Bill just kept driving with rain running down his back. I fixed dinner – burgers and baked beans. We ate as we motored along and the rain finally stopped after we saw a few rainbows. Then, a horde of yellow head flies attacked, and Bill and I must have killed over 100. (My father would be proud! He was the king of fly swatters!) Finally, as the sun set, we reached the end of the canal and anchored in the Alligator River. The flies left, wind slowed down, and we had a glass of wine. But the rain started again, more gentle this time, so hatches were closed and we called it a night.

74 miles, 9 hours
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