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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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A return to Great Bridge VA
05/22/2009, Buck Island, NC (N36*16.034 W75*57.520) to Great BridgeVA (N36*43.285 W76*14.508)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Well another holiday weekend. Today is graduation day at JHS. Hope my cherubs made it . Onward to Virginia today.

The Cat/Schooner and Ketch pulled out at sunrise. I watched them leave and run aground as they overshot the channel at the turn, and got some beautiful shots of them pulling out into the morning mist. There was another heavy morning dew that I splashed through, going up top, swiping the droplets and moisture off the hatches and dodger panes. The dew was sparkling like diamonds on the dodger "windows" but no matter how many pictures I took, I just couldn't capture the beauty of what my eyes saw. Many times I find that to be the case, kind of like the water in the Bahamas. The camera just can't capture what the eye actually sees. I sat up top drinking my coffee and snapping pictures in the chilly damp air. I spotted another eagle today - perched in a tree checking out it's surroundings.

Our plan was another short day today, then a longer run tomorrow to Deltaville. But it turned out to be a longer day today. The two places we were thinking about anchoring turned out to be shallower than expected and other than bump, bump, bumping to try to get to the anchorages, we just couldn't manage it so ended up going on to Great Bridge, VA (which we were going to bypass this time). This is a great stopping place. They have free tie up on the wall on both sides of the bridge, and there are numerous stores and restaurants all in walking distance from the bridge. We were going to tie up on the south side of the lift bridge this time, but, as we pulled up into an empty spot, a guy came up - this spot was actually part of a marina. The free spot was on the other side of the river. Since the bridge was opening, we just decided to go through and tie up where we did last fall. As we approached the open bridge, I spotted a pretty blonde waving at us from the free tie up on the south side. It was Mia Bella from Quebec that we'd met on the beach at Warderick Wells, Exumas Park.

Once on the North side of Great Bridge we tied up, at 4:30pm in 10 ft of water, in almost the exact spot, as we were when we were heading south. We actually tied up behind Kwakatu from Rhode Island. We'd met them in Charleston and I'd traded books with her there near the laundry. They were walking into Great Bridge to go to a Mexican Restaurant that they'd heard about when we spotted them. On their return, they said the restaurant turned out to be pretty good with good prices too. I'd already been in the process of making dinner aboard - the meat and gravy dish over mashed potatoes that Wayne has christened hamburger mash. It's about 60 miles to Deltaville from here, so we'll have to leave early tomorrow. Calling it a night.

A new place to anchor finally...
05/21/2009, The Alligator River Bridge, NC (N35*53.847 W76*02.024) to Buck Island, NC (N36*16.034 W75*57.520)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well the anchor was very well set in something akin to cement so we didn't snag anything. It was just a very tenacious holding substrate! It had me worried as we brought the anchor chain in. The bow would keep dipping down as the chain tightened each time, but the anchor came up! The Alligator Bridge was starting to feel too much like home. Side note here before I forget to mention it - this is the bridge that took out the Cats Cradle's mast last fall by closing on it. New operator (the old one quit right after that), same bridge. I'm just glad the makeshift anchorage turned out to be a good one and gave us solid holding ground. I made some tuna salad sandwiches for lunch and was listening to the engine while in the galley. It sounds nice and strong, so the air & fuel filter change seems to have helped. The only problem we had was at start-up but Wayne figured it was just an air bubble left in the fuel line. It feels good to be on the move again.

The Albemarle Sound crossing was pretty smooth. I'm glad we waited to cross after giving it a day to calm down. Waves are 1-2 feet and winds light. Took more pictures of the osprey nests built in the ICW markers along our path. The birds are much busier this time through, tending their nests and hatchlings. They keep a wary eye on us as we pass. One started screeching at us as we came to close to the marker and I wondered if I was going to have to duck - but he/she stayed with the nest.

It was a short travel day today, 25.7 miles, and we dropped anchor at 2pm off Buck Island between green markers 153 and 151. An osprey kept an eye on us while we anchored in 6-7 ft of water. We're anchored pretty close to the channel on the ICW where it turns so you'd think that the boats passing by would have to slow down to make the turn. Not so... A large fishing/mega yacht came roaring around the turn and sent things below, flying... I hate hate hate when that happens. Jerk...

A Cat/Schooner pulled in, and around us close to 4:30pm and then a large Ketch (Vagrant Gipsy) from New Orleans came in shortly after that. The ketch was a beauty and Wayne yelled across at them "Wanna trade?" Hope it didn't hurt Brie's feelings LOL. It really was pretty though. It was an older boat with wood masts and a dolphin bowsprit that was beautifully maintained.

It was a nice quiet evening and no other boats came along. I made pork tenderloin and apple sauce for dinner. Then polished off another book - "One false move" by Harlan Coben. This one had me going to the end - I can usually figure out the endings but not this time. I may have found a new author. I can't believe the number of books we've gone through on this trip. So much trash pulp - it's amazing. I've gone from reading nothing but educational stuff to recreational stuff. I'm liking it - light reading for enjoyment and entertainment...

The Gale is over :)
05/20/2009, Alligator River Bridge, NC

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Well the winds died down last night and we were able to get some sleep. As the sun came up the winds started again but they didn't feel as strong. I think they're about 20 knots now and the bridge will again be able to open for boat traffic. It's nice to see all the boats moving through the bridge. We could have left today to cross the Sound but Wayne wants to wait until tomorrow when the waves are a bit more calmed. I definitely won't argue about that. I don't much like confused waves and I don't really care at this point, if we leave a day later, since there's no way I'll be home for graduation. I can polish off my Micheal Crichton book after I make breakfast (ham, scrambled eggs and potatoes).

It's kind of funny to think about, but I was thinking of graduation and how nobody ever got back to me from school about it. After being a teacher there 14 years it felt like home/family to me but I realize that I don't belong there anymore. Even though I told a couple of the kids that I'd be there for them at graduation, I hadn't heard from either of them for several months - which doesn't bode well since these had been cherubs I'd been trying to help It just always felt like quite a few of the kids were mine.

Amy, Matt, and Chris - if any of you are still reading this, I hope you graduate. Three days laying about gives one time to think... I guess it's time to quit worrying about everyone else's kids.

Since the skies cleared I went up top to plot a route into the chart plotter to get us to Virginia (where we'll let Kolibrie rest for the summer). It takes me a while to put in the waypoints but I really enjoy working with the chart plotter. Wayne worked below changing the fuel filters and air filter. When he pulled them out - they were quite dirty. Hopefully this will do the trick and we'll no longer feel the engine bogging down!

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