10/15/2010, ELIZABETH CITY, NC
We left the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center this morning at 10:00 along with two other boats. Ended up having to wait 40 minutes for the South Mill Bridge and Lock to open which is not an easy task at all. The dismal swamp is only about 50 feet wide and we are a 37 foot boat - which means we had to turn around in circles for 40 minutes waiting. We did manage to give a couple of trees hanging over the canal a manicure with our mast and standing rigging. Not fun.
We arrived at the Mariners' Wharf in Elizabeth City at around 3:00. It is a city wharf with free 48-hour docking, no restrooms or electricity but it is right in town. Back in 1986 a man named Fred Fearing started a tradition that continues today of hosting a get together with free wine and cheese and a rose for each lady for all the boaters here at the wharf any time there are 4 or more boats here. It is hosted by volunteers and it is their way of showing that the town welcomes boaters. You can actually see a live webcam of us here at the wharf by going to http://www.ecncweather.com/harborcam.php.
Weather is supposed to be sunny tomorrow but 25 knot winds so we will stay put here until at least Sunday.
10/14/2010, Dismal Swamp, NC
Taking a day of rest today. Based on the weather forecast on the Albemarle Sound (impossible word to say) we decided to stay put at the Visitors Center for a few days. About half the boats left and others stayed here. Sounds like the boats are really stacking up in Elizabeth City waiting for the weather to clear on Saturday or Sunday. We did have a thunderstorm go through here today. Chris and Dean of Rubiayat are in Atlantic City waiting out the weather, I must admit I would much rather be stuck in Atlantic City as well. It is very nice here with very friendly Visitor Center folks. One gentleman took 4 of us ladies to the closest convenience store to purchase up a few necessities (beer, chips, etc.). This area is also a highway rest stop so lots of people stopping here to use the restrooms, etc. This is a very nice location with a center for the history of the dismal swamp.
Last night Jeff, Richard and Richard (AKA Jeff and his two Dicks) aboard Rum Runner invited us over for Chili. Great Chili Jeff! I think the Richard's were happy to have someone else come eat the never ending pot of chili. We met up with them at the marina in Norfolk, great guys. Jeff just retired from the Army National Guard after 32 years. One Richard is also in the Guard and the other Richard is his cousin (with the same first and last name).
10/13/2010, Dismal Swamp, North Carolina
We, along with 13 other boats are tied up to the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center. It is rather crowded with room for only 4 at the dock so all others are rafted to the next boat, 3 and 4 deep. All sailboats except for 2 motorboats one that has had the generator running for hours now, very annoying.
We plan on heading to Elizabeth City tomorrow which is only about 20 miles away. We may be there for a few days due to weather forecast of gale force winds off the coast of the Albemarle Sound.
10/10/2010, Ocean City, Maryland
Thursday - Atlantic Highlands, Sandy Hook Bay, New Jersey, on a mooring ball. I won't go into a lot of details so I will just say our first time trying to get hooked into a mooring ball was not fun in a 20 mile per hour wind.
Stayed one night then left the next morning to start down the east coast. Haven't decided yet if we will make it an all night passage or stop in one of the inlets.
Saturday & Sunday - Sunset Marina, Ocean City, Maryland. We did the overnight passage leaving Sandy Hook at 7:30 am and arrived here at 3:00 pm on Saturday. Long, long night with wind at our bow. Some time during the night we lost Captain Jack O'Lantern. Sad to see him go! Actually did sail for several hours on Friday but about sunset the wind changed and we had to motor until morning. The highlights were first seeing dolphins. Bill at first thought it was jumping fish then we got closer and saw 3 dolphins. A couple of hours later I saw a water spout and a large black shape come out of the water. Looked again and saw another water spout. I'm pretty sure it was humpback whales. I looked on the internet and sure enough the same day several people reported seeing humpback whales in the same area. That was definitely a thrill!!
In the evening I was not feeling well at all, not sure if I was seasick, feeling the effects of smelling diesel fumes for so many hours or some bug or a combination. Bill ended up staying up most of the night, finally getting a couple of hours sleep from around 5 to 7 am.
We decided to stay here another day to rest up and for me to feel better since it looks like we may have another overnight passage coming up on Monday with our destination being Norfolk Virginia and the start of the Intracoastal Water Way (ICW). We hope to be able to stop in Chincoteague Inlet and Wachaprague Inlet but will need to call and see if we can get in without grounding. According to the charts we should be okay with our 4.5 foot draft but want to try and call the harbormasters to verify. If not, then it is the all night passage (about 120 miles).
Did some provisioning today and did a good scrub of the boat. Since we are now in salt water it will be important to try and rinse off the boat as often as possible with fresh water to stop things from corroding, something we didn't need to worry about on Lake Superior. Come to think of it, we didn't have salt to wash off before but we had something just as bad, black dust from the taconite (iron ore) plant next to our marina.
Beautiful weather here and looks like we will have another couple of days of sunshine.
10/06/2010, New York
We stayed 2 nights at the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club which is actually about 8-9 miles north of the city of Poughkeepsie. Dean, Christ, Bill and I took a taxi to Poughkeepsie then the train into Manhattan. We had a good time walking around and seeing the sights.
Stayed one night at the Haverstraw Marina. Left early the next morning to continue down the Hudson River.
We are currently at the Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club in Hoboken, NJ, right across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Great night view of the city, including the Empire State Building. Most expensive marina so far - $118 for one night. Made really good time today from Haverstraw during high tide, we actually topped out at almost 10 knots, our normal top speed is around 6.5 knots. We walked around Hoboken and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Hoboken is actually quite nice, with lots of little restaurants, shops and nicely renovated buildings. Must be the place for all the young families to live as we saw lots of children in strollers being pushed around.
Will decide in the morning (weather permitting) if we will go to Atlantic Highland in Sandy Hook Bay, NJ to wait for a weather window to go offshore down the east coast. Hopefully we will be able to go since we can't afford too many nights at this price.
10/01/2010, Catskill River New York
Before leaving Minnesota we thought of several possible scenarios of what might go wrong and what we would do if it happened. This is one we didn't think about - being tied to the dock at a marina then all hell breaks loose after 12 inches of rain and the docks start breaking up - the docks with boats attached to them. We are at Hop-O-Nose Marina which is on the Catskill River, a mile or so off the Hudson River in New York. We arrived here on Wednesday to have the mast re-stepped. All went well and we are now a sailing vessel again.
It started raining yesterday morning, rained all day and night then at about 8:00 this morning Bill wakes me up (an extremely rare occasion for me to sleep in past 6:00) and tells me to get dressed immediately, grab a couple of important items and get off the boat. The river was flooding and it was only going to get worse when high tide hit at 9:15. Whole trees were being pushed past us in the river going at a tremendous speed. The end docks started breaking up and the first 4 boats broke loose and raced by us. By about 10:00 the docks looked like an accordion and we thought we we might loose Walk A-Bout. Two more boats with the dock in between them were the next to break loose and come speeding by. We really lucked out and so far not a scratch on her. We are currently wedged between two docks in kind of a v position tied to both the crane on the concrete and a large tree, we think the worst is over and should be safe back on the boat. The rains stopped at about 5:00 this evening, the water level has gone down significantly and the remaining docks appear to be staying put so we are going to attempt to stay the night on the boat. Many people cannot even get on their boats because of the damage to the docks. Several of the boats are jammed up together but it appears to be only minor damage to their boats.
When we first met Dean and Chris on Rubaiyat Dean came on Walk A-Bout and smudged the boat for us - a Native American custom to bring good luck to the boat. Thank you Dean!
We did take lots of pics so take a look in the picture gallery under Hop-O-Nose.