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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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Deltaville - a nice little town
05/25/2009, Deltaville

Monday, May 25, 2009

Had eggs, cheese, 1 salmon filet, and some bacon left in the refrigerator so I whipped up an omelet with some onion for breakfast. It actually tasted quite good! Then it was pretty much a work day. I must have packed away enough food for a couple of years. After thinking about it though between the stores for the boat, then emptying out the pantry and cupboards at home (so I didn't have exploding things from freezing), I probably did store that much food. After loading crates and bags, and emptying the refrigerator (except for pop and beer) the day was pretty much over. I looked up the directions to Hayes where Pensky Truck is - that's the place where we'll get the truck to haul everything back home. It's a little over half an hour from here but I don't know if we can use the courtesy car to go there or not since it's only for use to the grocery store or for places IN the town of Deltaville. I guess we'll find out...

Still had a taste for pizza so I called Bella's to see where they are located. After walking a couple miles yesterday I wanted to see if they were much further, or if they delivered. They were about ¾ of a mile further down according to the gentleman that answered and said that they were worth the walk. Sigh... After consulting with Wayne, we decided a 5.5 mile walk for pizza this late in the day wasn't worth it and decided to go back to Taylors for dinner (they were a pretty entertaining place last night). They were only a mile & a half or two down the road and are one of the places that will come pick you up and drop you back off if you'd like to eat at their restaurant. We decided to try out the bicycles tonight - what a kick that was. I can't remember the last time I was on a bicycle - it has to be a good 20-30 years or so. The bike I selected was similar to one I had as a kid - a "one" speed, with the brakes on the pedals. By the time we got to Taylors, my legs felt rubbery and didn't want to go back together LOL but man it felt like I was flying down the road the unpaved and paved ones.

The evening was much more sedate and the folks that worked there were happy that things were back to normal. Bob (the bartender from last night) was there but this time in a customer capacity. He stopped by our table to chat before taking off. He finally managed to get a day off today LOL. He plays music and tends bar at another place across the bay. We'll have to stop back in there when we return in the fall and say hi. Tonight Wayne got the clams again and I tried their special - a large pork chop (oh so tender) smothered in an onion marmalade sauce that was incredible served with Alabama sweet potatoes, slaw, hush puppies and corn bread that was light and fluffy! Wow, heavenly...

The ride back to the marina was before sunset and I really enjoyed it.

Boy the boat looks a mess on the inside. There's hardly any room to move with all the packing going on .

A toast...
05/24/2009, Fishing Bay (N37*32.418 W76*20.203) to Deltaville

Sunday, May 24, 2009

2:00am couldn't sleep. Wayne couldn't either and went up top. I laid there until 2:30 thinking about the day yesterday. Our last day out on any big water. Last night, this morning... will really be our last night at anchor for a while. I finally got out of bed and got the wine out of the refrigerator, grabbed a couple of wine glasses and a candle and went up top to join Wayne. I lit the candle so he could see to pop the cork in the champagne, and then blew out the candle. We toasted to a successful launch of our travels aboard Kolibrie and sat in the cockpit looking at the stars and drinking the wine in the dark. We talked about this last year and what lay ahead in the future. It's amazingly quiet here on Fishing Bay for a holiday weekend night. Not like at home at all. We can see a couple of headlights along the shoreline - probably people closing the bars and heading home, but considering the marina and all the houses surrounding this bay, it's very peaceful - a mature bay I guess. I can't believe that it's time to haul the boat out and start the journey home. It feels like it's been forever since we've been home, but at the same time, it hasn't been long enough. But, it is time to head home... Looking back it's been such a year. We can do this. We have done it. Baby steps. We've taken them...

When I got up for the second time this morning and started to go up top I noticed my wine glasses were still up top LOL. Long night/morning I guess. Watched Kwakatu and Mia Bella pull out around this morning between 6:30 &7:00 am. Then made pancakes for breakfast. Wayne called the marina to see if we could come in for a slip and schedule a haul out. Yes, just give me some time to find out where to put you, and then I'll call you back. We got ready to head over to the marina at 11:00am, I turned the key to start the engine, and... nothing... the starter wouldn't engage. Something about this bay just wants to keep us here. On our initial way down south - we were held fast by the large fisherman's anchor. Now on the way back up north - the starter refuses to start. Wayne had to take apart the stairs and engine compartment to get to the starter and after a few whacks to persuade it, the engine finally started. The solenoid seems to be sticking - one more project to add to our growing list.

Getting into Deltaville was interesting. The channel is very narrow and the markers leading you into the sheltered bay look like they're going to run you right into shore onto someone's front lawn. 4.9 miles traveled today. We pulled into our final berth of the season at 1:30pm. We're 12ft wide and it's 13 ft. Looking at it I'd have never thought we'd fit, but we made it into the slip just fine.

After checking in I got a Yahoo and Wayne an ice cream cone, then Wayne went back to the boat to change the oil and I took a bag of books to the book exchange in the lounge. They have a huge selection of books there. The facilities here are really nice and the people very friendly. I guess there are less than 1000 residents that live in Deltaville and there are more than 3000 boats - that says something about the town!

Later we walked into town looking for pizza at a place called Bella's. We walked a couple of miles and didn't find it so turned around and came back to a place called Taylors. They looked busy and the sign said they closed at 8 but the guy seating us (Bob) told us ummm it's 5:00 somewhere isn't it? We sat at the bar to have a drink while waiting for a seat and ended up staying at the bar. I sat next to a fellow named Charlie (Capt'n Charlie actually) that was very friendly. He told us that they had one waitress, one cook and Bob actually didn't work here but was tending bar and helping out (he actually worked at another bar). I guess they figured it was going to be dead tonight (a holiday weekend?) and got caught with a group of 50 people and whoever else came in (like us). Anyhow, they were a bit overwhelmed and kept telling Bob to stop seating people because they were having a problem handling it and Bob kept seating people anyway - thanks Bob LOL. We chatted with Bob and Charlie and ordered clams - quite tasty but the tarter sauce container kept plugging up. It actually exploded on a lady at the table behind us (Bob had taken it and given it to her while I was chatting with Charlie so I didn't have a chance to warn him) that had been really giving him a hard time most of the evening. She ended up being a pretty good sport about it and the whole evening was quite entertaining. It was probably more entertaining because Bob made quite strong drinks, but I enjoyed the food and company. Capt'n Charlie gave us his phone number if we needed a ride or anything while here and he wasn't working (he captains a boat for SeaTow). But I think with it being a holiday weekend that people normally put their boats in the water - he'll be quite busy. He told us that he was amazed we made it into this harbor, being first timers, since the channel is quite narrow and shallow and people don't normally believe the markers go right up to shore (in front of that house) and end up running aground. I did feel quite lucky coming in since another boat was passing us going out and in that narrow channel. That was tight. It was quite dark out when we finally left Taylors so we walked back in the dark. My flashlight batteries were dead but I remembered I had more batteries in my camera bag. I managed to find and change them in the dark, so about half way back to the marina we had a light to shine on the path. What a day. Now the work to decommission the boat for the season begins for the next couple of days.

Hello Norfolk...
05/23/2009, Great Bridge VA (N36*43.285 W76*14.508) to Fishing Bay VA (N37*32.418 W76*20.203)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Not sure why I thought that the bridge and lock didn't start until 7am but at 6am I saw a mast go by so I flicked on the VHF in time to hear the boat ask what time the lock would operate. He was told to "come on in I'm timed with the bridge" which surprised me. Coffee on, Wayne up, and we were in place to go through the lock at his next opening. We were the first in the lock and had to move all the way up. One side was concrete; the other was rubber so we chose the port side of rubber, so we didn't need fenders. This lock raises and lowers vessels about a foot, to moderate the water level in the Dismal Swamp and keep the area "non-tidal". Kwakatu, Mia Bella, and 2 other boats were in the lock with us. Mia Bella is heading towards New York so is traveling with us to Deltaville/Fishing Bay for the day. Then they'll move onward.

When we got to Steel Bridge, there was a freighter there that was being pushed next to a coal loading area by two tugs. The wash they set up in the channel was amazing. A little sailboat in front of us went swirling out of the channel. After observing another boat shift, we were ready and Wayne managed to keep on track pretty well.

Two more bridges to open - Gilmerton and Jordan and we are then done with having to open bridges on this trip.

Going past the Naval Shipyard at Norfolk we saw numerous Naval vessels. Two types that stood out from my point of view were the aircraft carriers (2) and a submarine. The aircraft carriers each had one plane on deck. Wayne said that before they come in to port they fly all the planes off to a land base. The submarine looked like it was fenced in, including below the water so they all appeared well protected. The patrol boats were busy zipping back and forth making sure that none of us or the tourist boats, that were out fishing, came close to the Naval yard.

We were originally going to Deltaville, but decided to anchor in Fishing Bay for the night and then head to Deltaville tomorrow. It made no sense to pay for a berth this late in the day (6pm) when we knew that there's a nice anchorage the next bay over. So we anchored in the same spot were we had picked up the Neptune's anchor the last time in 16-17 ft of water - deep considering what we'd been anchoring in LOL. When we got there Kwakatu was already there, and Mia Bella pulled into the Bay right next to us.

Today was our last day traveling on big water. It would have been a beautiful day to just sail, but we had to keep our motor running in order to keep up our speed to get here at a decent time. This is also our last day (theoretically) at anchor since tomorrow we'll be heading in to the marina to begin the process of moving our life ashore once more.
By the time we got settled, it had been a long day (63 miles traveled today) so instead of visiting Mia Bella, we had chicken salad and shared a bottle of wine then decided after sundown to get some sleep.

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