After more than 10,000 nautical miles and just shy of three years, we are back in Portsmouth, VA across the river from Norfolk.
This last trip up the east coast was nearly perfect. We sat out just a couple of days waiting for weather and had no problems crossing the big sounds of Georgia or the rivers of North Carolina. Plus, we go to visit with lots of our friends! We had only one small engine problem as we exited the last lock on the last day but we made it to the slip OK, where I will have more time to diagnose the problem.
We will continue to live on the boat here in Portsmouth for a few more weeks while we shop for a house or condo. Fortunately, there are lots of options available in our price range. So, we should be able to find a new home quickly.
This will be my last blog post. But, the tracker will stay active for a little while. After that, if you want to get updates on our snowbird lifestyle, right me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
24 February 2022
After more than two years living full time aboard our boats, we are heading home; a new home. We are heading to Norfolk, Virginia where we will buy a dirt home.
We'll be leaving the keys in a couple of days and making our way up north over the next couple of months. We'll spend a summer in the lower Chesapeake, enjoying the weather and boating and shopping for a new apartment or condo.
We still plan on returning to Florida. In fact, we made reservations at a marina in Key West already for next year. But, we won't be full-time liveaboards. Rather, we'll come down to FL in the winter and spend the summer in the lower Chesapeake.
But, it is too soon to worry about swallowing the hook (moving back to land) quite yet. We have a great trip back up the east coast to enjoy!
Made it to Florida!
12 January 2022
After a nearly perfect run from Hampton, VA, we have made it to Florida!
We've already enjoyed Elliot Key, Islamorada (Upper Matecumbe Key) and Marathon (Vaca Key). The water is super clear. You can see the sea grass and coral 10 feet below!
We found a really well priced slip in Marathon and the weather has been pretty rough. So, we're going to spend a few more weeks here before hopefully, hoping over the Bahamas.
Heading South (again)
20 October 2021 | Moving South
As the temperatures turn cold our thoughts, and boat, turn south. LAMANTIN is heading towards the Bahamas!
We had a wonderful summer in Lankford Bay getting some boat work done and enjoying the upper Chesapeake. There are so many nice places to anchor out and enjoy a tranquil sunset. There are also great small towns with interesting history to explore.
On the way down south we spent time in St Michaels, a historical, coastal town on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake in Maryland. There is a great maritime museum there where we got to watch them building a replica of an old shipping schooner. St Michaels also has nice places to eat and shops to enjoy. Continuing south on the Chesapeake, we stopped in the Little Choptank River for a quiet overnight stay on a small tributary creek.
Weather seems to dictate nearly everything in our lives these days. Expecting some heavy weather, we decided to make a long, fast run down nearly the entire Chesapeake from The Little Choptank to Hampton. Unfortunately, we blew out our distributor cap on the starboard engine when it overheated. We think a loose belt caused the overheat that caused the coolant to spray out of the overflow bottle onto the distributor cap causing it to short. Luckily, we were able to find a mechanic who could (more or less) quickly fix the problem and confirm that the overheat did not cause any other problems.
From Hampton, we were able to enter the Dismal Swamp Canal. This canal is the oldest continuously operating canal in the US with a pedigree dating back to George Washington. It is remarkable peaceful with glassy water reflecting the long straight stretches of ditch dug 100’s of years ago.
The canal played an important role in the civil war as the Union thought the south would use the canal to move boats like the ironclads. In fact, the canal has always been too shallow and narrow for that type of boat. (And, nearly too shallow for our type of boat. We ended up hitting several underwater objects. We never saw them since the water is caramel colored owing to the pine tannins.) The Dismal Swamp runs between two locks, South Mills and Deep Creek. The current locks date from the 1940’s but at Deep Creek you can still see the original lock from the 1800’s. Commercial boats were so narrow then that you can nearly jump across the old lock.
If you want to see what the modern locks look like, check out our YouTube channel with time lapse photos of us going through the locks at Deep Creek, South Mills and Great Bridge (the larger lock on a parallel canal).
Great Bridge Lock and Bridge:
Deep Creek Lock and Bridge
South Mills Lock and Bridge:
The dismal swamp canal ends in North Carolina, where we’ll be spending the next couple of weeks visiting with friends before continuing our journey south towards our ultimate destination for 2021: Bimini in the Bahamas.
23 September 2021
We’ve been lucky to have the entire summer to explore the northern Chesapeake Bay. It is really a boater’s world here. There are so many coves and small cities to explore.
On the east cost of the bay, where we are located, there are small towns from the inlet to the bay up to the C&D canal near us. We’ve visited Chestertown, Odessa, Tilghman’s Island, Rock Hall and Harmon Plantation. Each town has its own charm and things to do or see. We enjoyed the Saturday farmer’s market in Chestertown with fresh mushrooms and quail eggs for sale. Tilghman’s Island is remote and a bit shallow to get into but we had a wonderful meal with friends on the water. Odessa and Harmon’s Plantation were founded during colonial times and have enjoyed recent renovations, thanks to the DuPont family.
Rock Hall is the nearest small town to our marina. I can get there on my electric scooter or we can use a car (when we have it). While not a metropolis, Rock Hall has lots of boats and a few shops, including a grocery store and a hardware store.
The hardware store has helped us complete 98 projects on the boat this summer from pretty minor (trimming some loose carpet bits) to huge (replacing the port fuel tank). Thanks to all that work, there are just a few more items left to fix from the original inspection (survey).
We also had plenty of time for fishing and sailing. Unfortunately, neither were very successful. We did catch some nice size fish but they were not the kinds we could eat. And, Bob’s wing foiling got better but still not up on the foils (at least for very long).
Now, the summer is nearly finished and we are making plans to head south. Our daughter will visit next weekend, then we will make our way to the Bahamas!
The Summer of Tanks
02 August 2021
We've been running on one fuel tank nearly since we purchased LAMANTIN. The port tank was disintegrating and the particles it was shedding caused the fuel filter to clog, triggering a fuel pump overcurrent, shutting down one engine. After this left us stranded, towed and frustrated, we ran on only one gas tank for the trip from the west coast of Florida to the upper Chesapeake. Running on one tank solved that problem but after running out of gas for the second or third time, Alexi and I decided it was time to stop and get the port fuel tank replaced.
We were half way up the Chesapeake Bay when we made the decision. So, we continued for that day and stopped near Rock Hall, Maryland, in the upper Chesapeake. I started calling marinas in the area to see who might do the repair. Every marina I called was fully booked. I was told over and over again "We can probably get to you this winter." The idea of waiting until it was too uncomfortable to boat to start boating just didn't make sense to us.
Luckily, a friend recommended calling someone who knew the area well. He was a rigger but he might just know of a marina with some capacity. That was truly serendipity. I called the rigger on the day he was buying a boat yard - Lankford Bay Marina. He purchased the yard on Wednesday and we moved in on Thursday. Because the yard had been neglected, there were very few boats here. It was a perfect coincidence: he needed the work and we needed someone to do it.
While the work is getting done, we've been able to take advantage of the area. Lankford Bay Marina is on a quiet cove off the eastern shore of the Chesapeake, on a point overlooking a bucolic Chesapeake waterway. The cove is well protected and the weather is great (most of the time). There is a nice small town nearby and it is easy to order boat parts so that we can catch up on all the repairs.
We expect to spend the rest of the summer here while both old tanks are being removed, new custom tanks are being made and installed. We are also getting some other boat work done at the yard. Meanwhile we are fishing, sailing, kayaking, visiting friends, making new friends and enjoying the small towns around us. Check out the photo gallery for pictures of the tank work!