From E City to the URB
18 May 2019
It was 50 degrees when we left the dock at Pelican marina at 7:15 a.m., but I still had my flip flops on. The Elizabeth City Bridge is on restriction weekdays. We went through on the 7:30 opening. Our new friends on (another) SeaQuel were there for the opening too. It was clear without a cloud in sight. We were first through and SeaQuel follows us into the Dismal swamp. We didn't see another boat until we got to the South Mills lock. There was a sailboat anchored and waiting for the 11:00 opening. We only needed to wait about 5 minutes and the locks opened. After all three boats were inside the lock closed and the water rushed in. We rose 8+ feet and the lock opened at the other end and we were on our way. The guy in front of us was by himself and he was really struggling to keep his boat from hitting the side. It's definitely better to have two line handlers. We followed him through the bridge and to the North Carolina Visitors Center. The Dismal is so beautiful. The birds were singing, dragonflies and butterflies buzzed around us and turtles were sunbathing on the logs. The sweet smell of honeysuckle scented the air. There was no duck weed and we didn't bump anything on the bottom! S/V Liberte kept going and we, along with Sea Quel, stopped at the dock to tie up for the night. We had lunch, caught up with some communications and took a walk to the State Park across the bridge. We could hear Stan playing his guitar as we walked past SeaQuel. Several people stretching their legs at the Welcome Center along Hwy. 17, stopped by the boat to chat about where we'd been and where we were going. One couple we talked to had taught sailing in Deltaville for 25 years and traveled to the Bahamas on their Island Packet. We later enjoyed drinks on the bow of Sea Quel with Stan, Kathy and their cute little mini dachshund, Jasmine. It was a beautiful evening.
61 inside and out this morning. Clear and sunny as we left the dock at 7:50 a.m. We crossed the state line into Virginia at 8:25 a.m. Carl spotted a white tailed deer and we saw a few snakes slithering across our path. At 10:55 we reached the Deep Creek Bridge. There were two boats waiting. South bound traffic held us up. We finally went through at 11:30 for the 11:00 opening. After opening the bridge, the tender hoped into his car and drove to the Lock to let us in. There were four boats this time. Our favorite Lock Master, Robert , who always serenades us with his conch shell, was on vacation for a few days. Once the water level was lowered, the lock opened and we left one by one. We had to wait for an hour at the railroad bridge #7 while they did some maintenance. Then we waited 20 minutes for railroad bridge #5 to open. We said our goodbyes to S/V SeaQuel on the radio since they were stopping at a marina on the Portsmouth side. As we passed by the Portsmouth city docks we saw our friends boat, Wayward Sun. We arrived at Waterside marina in Norfolk at 2p.m. We had a late lunch on the boat and then took the ferry across the Elizabeth River to Portsmouth. The River was busy with tugs, barges, police boats and some small sailboats. We waited for Tim and Michele on the patio at Legends Brewery overlooking the harbor. Stan and Kathy walked by and stopped to join us. We all had a few brews and talked about our winters. Wayward Sun wintered in the Exumas, Bahamas. SeaQuel is going to Annapolis and Wayward Sun is going home to Baltimore. After Carl and I returned to Waterside, we had dinner at the Smokehouse. The ferry horn blew loudly every 20 minutes until 11:00p.m.. After that, except for the music coming from Waterside, it was a fairly quiet evening.
We decided to get an early start. There's a chance of thunderstorms later in the day. We were underway before 7a.m. There was a cruise ship at the dock at Nautilus and another one coming in the channel. Tugs were busy with tankers, barges and dredges. The skies were clear and the temps were around 60. The security boats watched us closely as we passed by the warships at Hampton Roads. We left the Elizabeth River into the James and surfed over the Hampton Roads tunnel to the Chesapeake Bay. The waves were rolling from behind. We were riding the tide at 7.5-8 knots. We passed a Menhaden fleet with pelicans and seagulls all around. We put the head sail out to stabilize the boat. There was less than 10 knots of wind. The winds increased to around 15 and were still out of the east even though predicted to be out of the south west. We continued to motor sail until we turned up the Rappahanock River. We furled the head sail and started dodging crab pots. Once the Norris bridge is in sight, we know that we are almost home. As we pass the town dock some of our friends are waving to us to welcome us home. We waved and Carl blew the air horn. We arrived at our dock in Urbanna Creek at 4 p.m. where some other friends are waiting to catch our lines. We have great friends! We are happy to be back!