Susan/Overcast, sun predicted!
11/19/2012, St. Simon's, GA
So sorry about the post from 11/14--I wrote a wonderful story, but somehow, it got lost. Those who know me well, understand-right?
I hesitate to reconstruct that post, so I'll begin at Beaufort, SC. Anchored off the city dock with LOTs of current--we could hear the water sloshing thru the anchor chain links! It is a beautiful small town with original pre-bellum homes and lots of art galleries. Crummy weather nixed a horse drawn tour, but we did lots of walking.
Pete and Stephanie from SSCA came over for a chat and we invited them back for cocktails. They have been out for 10 years and still love it. They are Commodores with the club and shared lots of good info. The "single side band" debate is on again! They really recommend it and offered a less costly approach.
Met with Cathy and Terry Connor, friends from Medfield,MA who retired here.
We suggested Gullah food for lunch and Cathy hesitated. When asked why, she said they keep strange hours; we opted to go anyway and when we got to Gullah Grub on St. Helenas Island, it was closed though it was supposed to be open. Local knowledge! Continued touring the low country islands and had lunch at a local shrimp shack. They also showed us their home which was lovely and just right.
After Beaufort our next bigstop was Savannah, GA. Opted to stay out of the city at Thunderbolt Marina. It was okay, but a small hassle getting in/out of town. Cabbed in to pick up mail and a prescription and went to the Savannah Museum to get the lay of the land. On Friday Jeff celebrated his 65th birthday! We took a trolley tour which was very good and had an elegant lunch at the Pink House (sat right next to the gas fireplace and warmed up). The riverfront was a disappointment--VERY touristy- but walking around the city "squares" was gorgeous.
A stalled front with northerly winds and big waves kept us inside the ICW again. Going thru the marshes, sounds and creeks of Georgia was quite pretty and not nearly as shallow as we dreaded. We lucked out having 2 high tides while traveling and the sole low tide was during the night. Gots lots of push in many sections. Actually had a warm, sunny trip on Sunday.
11/14/2012, Hilton Head Island
Having a little difficulty typing this morning as it is very cold. W
After the Storm
Susan/Beautiful, sunny 55
11/03/2012, Onslow Beach Bride, NC
First of all, a heartfelt wish to any friends or family who suffered from Hurrican Sandy. You New Jersey folks, God Bless! Here we were on a boat, near the predicted track, and all we got was moderate wind, moderate rain, and NO tidal surge.
We left Dowry Creek Marina on Wednesday, 10/31/12, and crossed the Pungo River into Pamlico Sound and arrived at River Dunes Club in the afternoon. this is a beautiful, very protected anchorage with top notch facilities. They had a promotion from the Boat Show, stay one night, second night free. Once again, Free, is good! Had cocktails and snacks with 4 couples on Tomfoolery. Next day we used the courtesy car to go to the hardware store in Oriental. Tom and Jeff were like kids at the penny candy counter! ( This WAS an awesome hardware store.) Jrff repaired our cold water hose, minus the water filter. Need to get to a Lowe's/Home Depot to buy a new one. The "O" ring was shot onour old one. See, I'm getting into all these "technical" boat terms!
Rode the complex's courtesy bikes for some much needed exercise.
Dinner with David and Alex from BANYAN and Peggie and Tom from TOMFOOLERY on MELTEMI. We had a gfreat evening and all planned on leaving the next morning.
As we were leaving the marina, I was tidying up the deck, bringing in lines and fenders, when I slipped entereing the cockpit. Took a serious fall and wound up with a bleeding head. Jeff spun around and we tied up to the fuel dock, commandeered the courtesy car and headed to the clinic. The attending was a PA who was also a sailor. He decided to instruct Jeff on Surgery 101 as he put me back together.So, I'm lying there listening to all the gory details.
We got back after a quick pharmacy stop and headed off about 2 hours late.
When we got the Morehead City, the wind kicked up to 25-30 knots and we opted for a dock, as the anchorages there were not recommended even in calm weather. Stayed at the Morehead City Yacht Basin, which is as old as me (but it's had a complete makeover and I haven't!) Had a nice Dinner at Floyd's, another area landmark.
My Flexoril worked well, and after a good night's reat we took off for Topsail Beach. Right now, 12:37, we are " milling about smartly" next to the Onslow Beach bridge whose opening we missed by 7 minutes or so! Better planning next time.
Looking forward to a good old anchorage tonight. The southern marinas are still confounding us. Even when they say, floating docks, you're still wedged between pilings. More practice, I guess.
Forgot to mention that we saw our first dolphins swimming alongside at Swanboro, NC. Just beautiful!
AND, at Swan Point, a few miles down the waterway, Susan ran aground. Despite Jeff's best efforts, we were stuck and called Boat US. It took quite a while for the towboat to blow out enough sand from under the keel to get us moving. A small consolation, he told us that he had grounded the towboat in the same spot last week!
A mad crazy rush to make it thru 2 bridges followed. We missed one and had to wait a half hour. The Surf City bridge operator was very nice and held the opening for us ( there was little, actually no other traffic needing an opening)
and we avoided a 1 hour wait. PHEW. Got into Sloop Creek anchorage just at sunset. Hoping November 4 treats us better!
Susan/ Tropical Storm
10/29/2012, Dowry Creek, Belhaven, NC
We left the safe and snug Hampton City Marina on 10/22 and took a quick jaunt thru the busy Norfolk/Portsmouth shipping lanes to Hospital Point anchorage. We had a close up view of a Carnival Cruise Lines ship anchored at Norfolk; what was really interesting was watching the captain make a 3-point turn in a narrow channel to take the ship out to sea. Turned on a dime!! Left early the next morning to make the bridge opening (one of 100's? to come on the ICW). Meltemi decided to go the "Dismal Swamp" route. This land cut was actually an idea of George Washington's to expedite shipping of lumber, tobacco and other crops in pre-Revolutionary days. It has a reputation for being shallow and full of debris, but we got thru fine. It was interesting going thru 2 locks--one raised us 9 feet and further down the canal, we were lowered 8 feet. Spent the night at the North Carolina Visitors Center where about 20 boats were tied up. Had a chance to take a nice 3 mile walk along the canal and wake up all the joints and muscles!
We noticed that once we entered North Carolina, the weather improved. We took down the platic enclosure over our cokpit and changed into shorts and tee shirts. It really was beautiful, especially the further south we went. Completely pristine waterway with lovely forests alongside and lots of bends and curves in the waterway. Arrived in Elizabeth City, NC where the key word was FREE. The city loves boaters and offers free dockage, free bicycles, a free welcome cocktail party and we were lucky enough to see a free dress rehearsal of the Sound of Music at their cultural center.
After picking up a package at the post office, we got a later start than our fellow cruisers. But the weather was perfect, so we continued for 51 miles to Deep Creek. For non- sailors, this trip took 7 hours!! Now we were starting to hears rumors about a tropical storm. This doesn't happen late in October, we all thought.
Well, by now you guys are probably all preparing for Sandy's visit to New England and points north and west. We got to this marina on Friday afternoon and have been holed up waiting for a safe time to leave. The winds and rain were about as predicted, but we have been safe. The marina has a great rec room and about 20 boats have turned into an adult camp. We have had yoga every morning, followed by a ICW briefing. After lunch someone gives talk about something technical and at 5:30 we have cocktails.
All in all, a pretty pleasant way to pass this enforced stop. Everyone has gone shopping, done laundry and completed small boat projects. Today, Monday, 10/29, we are starting to get antsy, as the weather has slacked off. The forecast for today is for the water to flush out of the Pamlico River and we may be aground before that is finished. The winds will still be gusting to 40 mph on Tuesday, so it looks like we won't have good window to leave until at least Wednesday--Trick or Treat?
We'll let you know soon. Stay safe at home and Happy Halloween!!
The Last 4 Weeks
Susan/ Beautiful, sunny, 65
10/22/2012, Hampton, VA
We arrived back at Meltemi on the Magothy River on 9/27/12.
Had a great dinner at Ferry Point Marina with the Dixons (Mike and Helena) and Bob and Gabriella. Mike took us on his SeaRay and we had a fun ride over. Next day Helena and I went grocery shopping and loaded the boat.
We left at noon and headed south to the Rhode River and our first Seven Seas Crusing Association (SSCA)"GAM". There were 70 boats and 300 sailors!
We spent the next 2 days meeting cruisers new and old and attending great seminars on pertinent topics. Brain overload by Sunday afternoon!
Arrived in Annapolis Sunday night and anchored in Back Creek. Seemed like 10s of 1,000s of sailboats and more arrived every day. Did some basic sightseeing and lots of waking about. The Harbormasters office has nice showers. We also bit the bullet and ordered a Honda generator, topic of much heming/hawing. Found a great use for it right away, when the cabin was only 45 degrees in the am, we cranked on our ceramic heater!
Went to the Boat Show on Friday on a gorgeous summer like day. Spent time catching up with Bob and Jodie Bitchin, then shopped around for toys. Learned about some items we may want before heading to the Caribbean, but otherwise kept a pretty good rein on the wallet. Enjoyed some Painkillers at Pussers and meeting up with new friends from SSCA. Also attended a lot of seminars on Saturday and Sunday (more brain cramps!).
On Monday, 10/8, we traveled to Oxford. The weather had turned cold and drizzly and stayed that way for about 4 days. Brother Gary joined us and we wound up shopping and doing laundry as the weather was not favorable. Had a really nice visit and after he left, we just anchored on Jutland Creek off the Little Choptank River.
The weather improved and we set SAIL for St. Mary's. Yes, even on the Chesapeake you often can't sail where you want to go! This was a gorgeous sail. St. Mary's has a college and an historic site. We went to the art museum which was just right and that night went to a film. Picture Jeff and I with 20 college age nerds watching a Russian sci-fi film from the '60s. It was a hoot and the film was great too! Next morning I took my 3 mile walk on the grounds of the restored historic site. It was fascinating to see the buildings they've uncovered.
We headed south again and spent 5 days exploring the "lower" Chesapeake. Lower also means less water and we found 3 especially low places!! Oh, well, it was all soft and easy enough to get off. This area is really quite rural and the little towns are quaint, but don't offer much for touring/shopping. Also, they're closed on Sundays and Mondays. Our stops were Reedville, Kilmarnock and Indian Creek. While in this area, we sprung for a new anchor. We were both impressed with the Manson Supreme at the Show and decided to get one. One big reason we did, was seeing so many Canadians with the Racna on this trip. It's supposed to be good for hard bottoms. We'll really test on the coral bottoms.
On 10/18, we arrived in Hampton, VA. They had a big promo at the Boat Show , so we decided to check it out. What a deal!! Spent 3 nights for under $75.00!! The Virginia Air and Space Museum alone was well worth the stop. Also, SSCA has a port captain there and she arranged a wine tasting at LaBodega. Great opportunity to meet our dockmates in one nice, cozy spot. Had a great time and also got to speak privately with the Active
Captain guy. It's looking like an I-Pad might be in our future. The stuff you can do today, compared to 8 years ago, is beyond my non-techie little brain!
10/14/2012, Indian Creek VA
Hello all and welcome to the first entry in the log of S/V Meltemi. We are a little late in getting started with this so will try to give a quick summary of events to date.
On September 6 (one day late waiting for better weather) we departed Allen Harbor with a destination of Cape May, NJ. Helping us on this leg of the trip are college friends Bob Krapfel and Gabriella Belli and Bob Stanich a long time sailing friend. The weather was pretty benign so we wound up traveling most of the 40 hours and 237 miles under power. I think we had only one 1-1/2 hour period under sail. Fortunately the rest of this trip the wind shifted and we were actually able to become a sail boat. Food along the way provided by Edie Stanich and Susan's premade stews. We sure didn't lack for good eats.
Arrived Cape May at Midnight the next day and a weary crew entered the harbor to anchor off the USCG training facility. Awoke the next morning to the soothing tune of reveille and prepared to depart for the Chesapeake via Delaware Bay. The sail that day was one of the best we ever had. The tide was heading North and the winds were 15 - 20 Kts out of the Southwest. Pretty much averaged 8 Kts for the less than 8 hour trip to Delaware City at the beginning of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and the marina operator couldn't believe it when we arrived so far ahead of plan. Seems most people hit the bay with either an opposing wind or current and never have anything good to say about their trip. For those of you who may ever take a trip like this don't miss Delaware City Marina. The facilities are first rate and the personnel could not have been nicer or more helpful.
We all voted to take a lay day here to get a hot shower, try out a local restaurant, explore the town and get a real night's rest. Fortunately Ryan and his then fiancé Chrissy were returning home to RI from a short vacation on the outer banks so they and Susan's brother Gary came to visit for the day and enjoy a good seafood dinner and Dark and Stormys in the cockpit.
First thing on Monday AM it was off through the canal and on down the Chesapeake. This was another good dayto be a sailboat with winds now from the Northwest all the way to our next destination, Fairlee Creek. This time it was 42 miles in less than 7 hours, not bad at all. After another restful night and a long walk to stretch our legs we left with a destination of Bob and Gabriella's haunts, the Magothy River just north of Annapolis. Many thanks to Helena and Mike Dixon, friends of ours from my old wire and cable days, for letting Meltemi rest at their dock while we returned home for Ryan's and Chrissy's wedding. Wish you could all see what a great place the Dixon's have. Waterfront home on the Magothy, wonderful hospitality, deep water dock with all the amenities and a view to match any we have ever seen.
This initial leg of the trip was great to have spent with good friends and fortunately good weather. We left RI with 5 people and arrived with 5 all in good shape. Many thanks to Bob, Gabriella and Bob. Your help and company was really appreciated and very much enjoyed.
So on 9/12 Bob Stanich and we rented a car and drove back to RI. What took 50 on the water hours was covered in only 7 hours by car. Still have to stay we liked the boat trip more than the car.
Needless to say Ryan and Chrissy threw one great party. Everyone had a super time enjoying each other's company, dancing to a live band and feasting on excellent food. Susan and I are now instant Grandparents and enjoying every bit of it. We are certainly going to miss them a lot but with Skype and cell phones we will be able to keep in touch.
After the wedding Susan and I rented another car and headed back to Maryland to continue the journey.
We'll pick up from there on the next installment.