12/14/2008, 36 43.243N 76 14.247W
When I went to bed (early) I had visions of going only as far as Deltaville (about 3 hours from Urbana) due to the lack of good anchorages between there and Norfolk, and it didn't seem like I could make it all the way to Norfolk. But then I had to pee - at midnight. And as I was lying in bed afterward, I started laughing at myself, for I had a moment of clarity that I could not get my head out of my butt earlier in the day and consider all of the options. What I realized was there was a near full moon, weather was calm, the Rappahannock River is wide and very navigable, as is the Chesapeake Bay itself, and there was no reason I could not travel all of that in the dark and save daylight for the ICW further south (which you really can't - or shouldn't - try to negotiate it in the dark). So I figured why not? I couldn't sleep anyway, so I got up and made preparations to leave early and hoisted the anchor at 0230.
The day was very uneventful, and I even managed to hit all but one of the bridges at the right times south of Norfolk and therefore pulled in here, my planned destination, only 30 minutes later than I expected at 1700. And the funny thing is after traveling all day and not talking to anyone on the radio (there was no one else goofy enough to be out here - it was pretty cold most of the way) I saw some folks tied up right by Great Bridge in a 40' Passport sailboat (Pelican) and they are from Willsborough, NY, just on the other side of Lake Champlain from Burlington, VT. Chris and his son Casey came over to meet me (I hollered something smart as I went past them like, "You should be sailing that in the Caribbean by now") and they all laughed. Anyway, they have a story similar to mine in that they are out for a two year adventure they just started; only they have two teenagers with them whom they are going to home school on the boat. OK, so they must be certifiably nuts. There is a fair amount of that out here. They invited me over for cocktails, but I am too tired and just want a shower and something to eat and then go to bed so took a rain check. More of that "small world" stuff...
Today was a real bonus in that I traveled 73 nm in 14 1/2 hours, and with the short days, that's not easy to do in the ICW. Tomorrow is supposed to warm to around 70, and with an early start I hope to put a fair dent in the miles to be traveled category. However, the next bridge south of here (only 3 miles, so I can't start as early as I would like) does not open until 0830, so if I can do 40 - 50 nm, that will probably be an accomplishment. I am shooting for somewhere in the North River which flows into the Albemarle Sound, near Buck Island or Broad Creek. South winds are forecasted, so we'll see. All I know it feels GREAT to be on the move again, especially knowing I am headed to a warmer climate!
12/13/2008, 37 38.232N 76 34.112W
Back to the regular updates and notes in the log now that I am moving again.
Things did not go well today for the launching of Sea Note. There really was no more water today than yesterday, and the operator of B.E.S.T. Marina could not start the boat they were to use to help tow Sea Note out of the shallow water. So as it stands now, I am going to press on alone down the ICW and Joe and Deb are going to try to figure out how they are going to get back into navigable waters. I hated to leave them behind, but if they can't get launched within the next day or so, they may be looking at having their boat hauled by truck to another marina (expensive) with deeper water, or I don't know what ... Bad things like this should not happen to good people like Joe and Deb. They are a resourceful lot and I am sure they won't give up without trying everything possible. I told them that if they happen to get lucky and get underway in the next day or so that I will wait for them at Beaufort, NC. But at this point, nothing is certain about that and I need to move on. Good luck Joe and Deb!
As a note to myself, Henry and Brigitte of B.E.S.T. Marina are really nice people, but until they solve the shallow water problem, this is not a place to go and haul out if you want to be certain of being able to relaunch with any certainty if your draft is greater than 4 feet. So please take note, all of you fellow cruisers on this distribution list.
It was too late to move on to Deltaville when we realized that the launch was not going to be successful, so I am anchored in Urbana Creek for one more night. At a minimum, I will travel to Deltaville tomorrow, but hope to do more, if possible. Don and Maryann of Straight from the Heart called to check in today and Maryann suggested moving as far as Mobjack Bay. That would put me closer to Norfolk, VA, so I am considering that, but need to do some homework and planning for tomorrow, so I will sign off for now.
12/12/2008, 37 38.232N 76 34.112W
After nearly two months on the hard in Saluda, VA, Kristinly is back in the water and all ready to head south. Today and tomorrow have the highest tides for the month, so we launched Kristinly with the hopes of launching Sea Note (Joe and Deb) tomorrow. Today was not without its drama and excitement. Kristinly draws 4'8" with the center board up and when Henry of B.E.S.T. Marina lowered her from the slings of the lift into the water, there were winds out of the NNW which created 1' - 2' waves that pressed the boat against the pier. This also had the effect of bouncing the keel on the bottom in the trough of the wave, which meant there was probably only a couple of inches to spare. Before I could pull out, I had to reattach the fore stay and inner stay which had to be removed to accommodate the lift. This did not take terribly long, but it seems like it when you can feel your boat bottom out with every wave. It is a sandy bottom and the thuds weren't real loud or damaging, but unnerving, none the less. Anyway, as I was attempting to reverse, the keel drug the bottom and at one point, there was no movement. Then slowly moving in reverse and with the wind and waves pushing the hull against the pier, the fenders rode up on the side and let's just say that I have some black scuff marks to remove when I get the chance. I was finally able to back away from the pier and turn around and head out to deeper water. I had not expected the water to be as rough as it was out in the river and by the time I reached Urbana Creek which is where I am anchored for the night (Less than 1/2 mile away from Saluda); I had the laptop, coffee pot, books, etc. lying on the sole of the salon. No real damage done - just another mess to clean up.
In the end, I was lucky to get out today and am hopeful Sea Note makes it tomorrow. Their keel draws 12" deeper than Kristinly and it is going to be touch and go. I will go back over tomorrow in the dinghy to help if they need it. The hope is they make it out at 1200 (high tide) and we head east to the mouth of the river and ultimately Deltaville to anchor for the night, and then on to Norfolk, VA Sunday. If all goes well and the weather cooperates, we will take the ICW to Beaufort, NC, and then go outside and make a beeline for either Savannah or Jacksonville. If Joe and Deb can't launch, then I may have to push on alone. I hope not as they have become great friends I would truly miss their company. We'll see ... For now, I am just happy to be back in the water and able to head south to warmer weather. It will be chilly for the next couple of weeks, but it will be worth it. I don't expect it to be as cold as it was in January when I left the Neuse River.
12/05/2008, 37 37.498N 76° 33.172W
I know some of you are expecting that I will be back in the water and heading south this weekend, so here is a very short note to let you know that I am STILL here, and probably won't be able to launch Kristinly until Tuesday, December 9 at the earliest, and maybe not until the following Wednesday. High tide is at a very low level and winds out of the NNW are pushing water out of the river (to the tune of as much as a foot). All of that basically means the boat won't float in less than 4 1/2 feet of water. We are short about 12 inches. So here I sit. I will write again once I am underway. Hope all is well for everyone.
11/17/2008, 37 37.498N 76 33.172W
Check it out ... the healthiest city in the US
I am still in Saluda, VA working on the boat as planned; or at least the revised plan of a couple weeks ago. Leaving here Saturday to head back to VT for Thanksgiving. I woke up so early (0330) because there is no electricity around here for some reason and it is 31 degrees F both outside and inside. So with cold nose and ears and unable to sleep, I finally shagged my ass out of bed and started up the generator. It is warming up now and the coffee is on, but I am also up for the day, so I thought I would drop a line and let you know I am still alive.
The big project I have been working on for the last 3 days is rebuilding the refrigerator/ice box. Installed the new cooling unit and have been reworking the box to insulate it and increase the freezer size. Now I will be able to have ICE CREAM on the boat! I have a half dozen other projects underway as well. It is hard to work on anything fairly involved and finish it right away since I am 20 miles from sources of supplies and when I run out of something or realize I am missing something, I stop one project and move on to another and wait until I can make a run to pick up all of the things I need at once. The worst part of all this is living in the mess. I don't do that well with that, but have no choice. It is making me nuts! Every nook and cranny on a boat has something stored in it, and when I need to dig into something like rebuilding the fridge or install a new wash down pump, things need to come out and there is really no place to put anything other than on settees, beds, the cockpit, on the deck. This place looks like a gypsy wagon with crap all over the place. I will actually get a lot of this put back together today and hopefully return to some sense of normalcy around here. I took a few pictures for posterity's sake so thought I would share ... What a mess!
The cold front that came through 2 days ago was preceded by some very nasty weather, spawning a tornado that killed a couple of people in Wilson, NC, which is 190 miles SW of here, so no problem for me, just some high winds and rain. My friends on Autumn Borne were in Pamlico Sound, NC and Straight from the Heart in Wrightsville Beach, NC at the time were closer, and their boats are in the water. I checked in with them to see how they are and they reported that they rode out the storms alright, but it sounds like the weather was more severe there. Heading farther south when I return to the boat in December could be a bit of a challenge as far as dealing with the cold, but hopefully it won't be as bad as last January when Brent and I departed New Bern, NC. It was 16 degrees then and we had to chop ice for 3 hours to get out of the marina.
Enough of this. I think I will get an early jump on today's projects.
11/10/2008, 37 37.498N 76 33.172W
Today must have been the day when the magic alarm clock went off and people decided to check in and see where the hell I am since I haven't written in over 3 weeks. Well, I am back in Saluda, VA where Kristinly is still on dry land (on the hard) after a 3 week trip to Vermont (to see Nikki, Jenni, Kristin, and friends, and enjoy one hell of a Halloween party - not to mention Nikki's birthday!), Kentucky (to see brother John and his wife Karen and kids Carson, Allysa and Amanda), South Dakota (to hunt pheasants with Dad, John, Uncle Larry and assorted cousins, nephews, and brother in-law, as well see Meredith, Aunts Joan and Rita, and other cousins, and also reunite with my friend Keith, whom I have known since we were 6 years old and his wife Diane), and Illinois (to see my sister Susan who just moved there to teach at Millikin College). It was a great trip.
I am now back at the boat and preparing to get back on the project list. You might recall my original plan was to quickly paint the hull upon my return and then get the hell out of here, as it is getting cold even this far south. But upon further review, I have a new plan that will allow me to return to VT for Thanksgiving and spend a lot less money doing so. Sooooo, I will stay here to work on the boat through 22 November, fly to VT on the 23rd, and return to the boat here at Saluda 2 December. Then take a couple of days to do the final bottom paint and off I go to warmer weather down south.
There - hopefully I haven't left anything out. Don't expect to hear from me much, if at all, until I get back underway around 5 December.