21 September 2020 | Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina
20 September 2020 | Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina
13 September 2020 | Horn Harbor Marina
24 May 2020 | Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina
22 October 2019 | Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina
21 October 2019 | Crazy Crab Restaurant
20 October 2019 | Crazy Crab Restaurant
17 October 2019 | Boathouse Marina, Colonial Beach, VA
16 October 2019 | Boathouse Marina, Colonial Beach, VA
16 October 2019 | Capital Yacht Club
14 October 2019 | Capital Yacht Club
13 October 2019 | Alexandria City Marina
11 October 2019 | National Harbor
10 October 2019 | Smallwood State Park, Sweden, MD.
08 October 2019 | Boathouse Marina, Colonial Beach, VA
06 October 2019 | Boathouse Marina
06 October 2019 | Canoe Neck Creek
05 October 2019 | Boathouse Marina Colonial Beach
03 October 2019 | Boathouse Marina, Colonial Beach, VA
03 October 2019 | Coles Point Marina, VA
Saturday, May 21 Day 2 Ocracoke cruise to the OcraFolk Music Festival, Ocracoke, NC
22 May 2022 | Atlantic yacht Basin
MILLARD SMITH | HOT
Hampton to Chesapeake 26 miles
We backed out of the Hampton slip without Poseidon or Aeolus messing with us thanks to our U.K. boat crew holding Liquid Therapy until I backed out of the slip smartly and we were underway for the day
So, now we fall under the rule of Helios, the sun God. It’s gonna be hot today. And, I don’t do well in the heat. When it’s cold you just put on more clothes until you are comfortable. But when it’s hot you can take all you clothes off and still be HOT. I tried that. But it didn’t work and there were too many people looking at me anyway. I just yelled at them “WHAT?? I’m trying to get cool over here.” So, then there is air conditioning. Our boat has two very powerful ACs. One blows 49º air and the other 55º. But, our boat does not have a fancy generator to run the ACs while we are underway. Most of the time the breeze across the cool water is good enough to keep us comfortable underway.
From Hampton Roads we enter the Norfolk channel seeing first the aircraft carriers in port. There is much discussion have the US carriers been deployed to help Ukraine. I can’t tell you that only that we saw the #77 George H.W. Bush and #78 Gerald R.Ford carriers in port and the #5 USS Bataan, Helicopter carrier too. I don’t think I’m giving any secrets away here as it’s pretty hard to hide an aircraft carrier. There were lots of other Navy vessels at the Navy base. Later we would pass by two more carriers in the shipyards being worked on with their numbers not visible.
Norfolk is always busy with commercial ships, cruise ships, military ships, planes and helicopters, ferry boats, tugs, barges, dredges. If you can think of it on the water, it’s happening in Norfolk. Our main concern is getting past the 3 train bridges that are ancient and get stuck in the down position blocking all water traffic. We pass the coal piers and there is a ship being loaded with West Virginian coal to be burned in another part of the world. Nasty coal. Not ok to burn in the USA but we can sell it to other parts of the globe to burn. Hey it’s one planet no matter where you burn it. Maybe the ships are carrying the coal out to the power plant co-located with the wind farm off shore. Over the horizon, who cares what’s happening. Wait, I think I just got cynical.
Anyhow, the important thing to us is that we get past the train bridges before they go down and block us for a few hours. And, we see trains moving. We get by all of the bridges and the Elizabeth River gets less busy as we approach the Chesapeake , VA. We go under the i64 bridge and the noise is insane. Susan looks up and I warn here of tire rubber falling through the grids above.
The least expensive marine diesel fuel in Virginia is just ahead at Top Rack marina. Just as I get there another boat called the marina asking for diesel. He’s 53’ and the dock boy assists him and then we go in as well. They have two diesel pumps. I’ve calculated that I should take on 115 gallons for our 400 mile trip to Ocracoke and back. The price is $5.009/gallon. And, that is a very good price. I’m sure it will be more when we return this way. The fuel guy tells the other boat he can only get $1,000 of fuel at a time. He has to pay and start the pump at each $1,000.
The fueling timing has made it impossible to get to the Great Bridge lock before it closes to lock through on the hour. So, I set the throttle at 700RPMs and we idle down to the lock some 3 miles away. It’s hot. 91º !! I’m not drinking enough liquid I know because I’ve not been to the bathroom all day. That is not usually me. Susan is sending me ice water and our ice maker is struggling with our demands. But, still heat exhaustion is setting in on Susan and me.
I have switched to ch13 on the radio to listen to the bridge and lock requests as we put on toward the lock. One guy is angry because one of the railroad bridges we passed is now down and he can’t get though or get a response from bridge operator. I’m also hearing the Great Bridge Lock Master giving instructions to the North bound vessels. One guy will not move over for a tug to go ahead of him. The lock master is furious and threatens him with not being allow to enter the lock. The Great Bridge lift bridge works in concert with the lock opening on the hour and the bridge tender reports to the lock master that there is a sailboat being towed by a dinghy! The lock master tells the sailboat he cannot enter the lock without full control, which obviously he does not have. On the southbound side of the lock, freshwater flows from the Currituck Sound in North Carolina. On the other side, salty water flows from the end of the Elizabeth River. We wait a little longer as the lock gates open on our side and the boats come out of the lock like a herd of turtles trying to give each other space. The Lock Master calls us and tells us we can enter the lock. We are the only south bound vessel and have the entire wall to ourselves. We always have problems controlling Liquid therapy in a lock. There are swirling currents that you cannot see and we do a pretty good job of getting tied up.The lock only changes water level about 18” and don’t even notice until the lock doors start opening for us to exit the lock. It’s a short wait for the bridge to open and we are in sight of Atlantic Yacht Basin, our destination for the night.
It’s 93º when we docked and get the electricity plugged in. Ah, air conditioning! We are both drained. Showers to cool down. We have 8PM reservations at the nice Italian Restaurant, Vino. It was good as it always is.
Today’s picture is the Navy’s version of a floating Days Inn where sailors live while working on their ship in the yard.
May 20 Day 1of our Ocracoke cruise to the OcraFolk Music Festival, Ocracoke, NC
21 May 2022 | Hampton Docks, VA
Brooke Smith | hot but nice
Day 1 We had a nice 32 mile easy run from our home port of Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina to Hampton Docks.
Well, the cruise was easy but not the docking. Suz and I have been in all sorts of tight quarters docking and un-docking. The important thing is to not let anyone watching see you sweat. Keep those jitters inside. We had not been to these docks before in Hampton. And, they are the kind of docks I least like. Very short finger pier and nothing between you and the boat occupying the other half of this space. In other words YOU CAN HIT THE BOAT NEXT TO YOU. And of course the wind always picks up when docking. That is a requirement that Poseidon works out with Aeolus, God of the winds.
It goes like this Poseidon sends a text to Aeolus and says “ Liquid Therapy is about to dock and I think he knows what he’d doing. Could you make him sweat a bit, Not an insurance claim - but just make him sweat some”. Aeolus texts back to Poseidon “ Wait there’s those 3 dots indicating he’d typing back.. Then the 3 dots like the reply text is being erased, and Poseidon is getting upset. Then the text comes through from Aeolus “ Hey Poseidon, I see where Liquid Therapy intends to dock. There’s no current so I’ll whip up some wind to push him sideways into that boat next to him in the slip.” Aeolus continues “ Oh how easy for me ,, the slip has a short finger pier, They will never get in. Nothing to grab on. Aeolus says “Poseidon, I’ll send you a video of them attempting to dock. Oh, I’m sure I can get onlookers on the dock too. This is fun” OK, Liquid Therapy tried to dock stern in twice without an insurance claim. I’m sure Aeolus was videoing too. We gave up on that very tight slip and moved down two and went bow in. With assistance from the U.K. boat next to us that we could not possibly hit, the DockMaster that could not get past the end of the short finger pier and the Canadian boat on the side we could hit, we got docked -again with no insurance claim. Thank you to the U. N. Boaters that prevented an international incident.
After getting secured I had a beer.
We walked about 1/2 a mile to see our friends with the band www.thenglishchannel.com at the Vanguard Distillery play and have a nice meal. The English Channel band plays only 60-70s English cover tunes and they play them like the albums. Great music. Nice meal and distillery samples and an uneventful walk back to the boat in the dark. After all we were walking, alone, at 11:30PM , in Hampton, VA. What could possibly go wrong? We walked as fast back to the boat as anyone our age can go. And then fast asleep.
Today’s picture is The English Channel on stage at the Vanguard Distillery, Hampton, VA
Days 7, 8, 9 Fall Cruise - Tuesday thru Thursday, November 9,10 &11, 2021
12 November 2021 | Manteo Waterfront Marina
BROOKE SMITH | Raining
This part of our cruise starts with a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke to rejoin with Liquid Therapy. My brother , Eddie, Carter, and Susan and I all drove from Mechanicsville to the ferry. Eddie will be taking the car back home while Susan, Carter and I will be bringing Liquid Therapy home. I’ve never ridden that ferry before as we have always driven down the Outer Banks of NC and taken the Hatteras - Ocracoke ferry. Of course our favorite way to visit Ocracoke is via Liquid Therapy. Highway 12 along the OBX washed away on Sunday & Monday, 11-7 & 8 during a vicious storm. You can only get to Ocracoke by ferry or a boat. There are no bridges to Ocracoke and I hope there never are because it would change Ocracoke into another beach resort island.
Anyhow, our friend and long time boater, Carter, has joined us to help bring Liquid Therapy back to her home port marina, Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina in Port Haywood, VA. We were aboard Liquid Therapy about 7:30 and started making preparations of getting underway early Wednesday for Manteo, north 60 miles up the Pamlico and Roanoke sounds. I removed the washing machine as it was just going to be in the way of Carter’s forward cabin and bathroom. We left a little before sunrise and trip and weather were beautiful.
After docking at Manteo Waterfront Marina we spoke with another couple on a boat that had been traveling south and had been delayed at the Great Bridge Lock for 5 hours!. It was a bunch of boats trying to get through that had been delayed 3 days due to a bridge repair in Norfolk. I tried to make reservations with Coinjock marina for Thursday and they were slammed and could only put us on a waiting list. We could anchor out near Coinjock if nothing opened up at the marina. The weather was going to be bad Thursday night with rain squalls and possible thunder storms. So, we stayed at Manteo another day and have “probable” reservations at Coinjock Marina Friday. And, if they are full it will be a nice night to anchor out at least.
The rest of Wednesday we had fun showing Carter around Manteo. The Outer Banks Distillery provided us a nice rum drink and much fun talking with the owner and bar tender. We ate at Poor Richards Restaurant. It was trivia night and the place was packed. Our scores were not good. And, get this you could not use your phone to look up the questions. You had to retrieve the answer from you brain. What a dumb game..
Thursday I repaired the broken hot water line in the forward bathroom and surprised I had bought the correct hose at Lowes back home. Most of the time it’s 2-3 trips to a local hardware store to get adapters when doing anything that resembles plumbing on the boat.
Funny thing happened that a couple that Carter knows had come to their OBX home and met us for dinner. But, even more happenstance was another boating couple was celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary on the OBX and they joined us for another visit to the rum distillery and all of us for dinner. We all enjoyed talking and eating of course.
Today’s picture is the moon and Venus and my brother Eddie on our ferry ride.
Hey everyone, It’s not all bikinis and martinis.
26 October 2021 | Anchorage Marina, Ocracoke, NC
BROOKE SMITH | WINDY
Days 4, 5, 6 Fall Cruise - Saturday thru Monday, October 23 thru 25, 2021
Todays forecast “A mix of clouds and sun with gusty winds. High around 70F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.”
The wind is whistling outside as I type this before dawn, Tuesday. The boat is bouncing around in the slip at the Anchorage Marina, Ocracoke.
Saturday was an easy day of 41 miles from Coinjock to Manteo. We lucked into a T-Dock for the night which is much easier than the close quarter maneuvering of Manteo Waterfront Marina. We met up with Steve and Cindy Ann that were anchored on their boat, Red Ranger, in Manteo Harbor. We had not seen each other in years. Steve and Cindy Ann had bought their boat about the same time we bought Liquid Therapy. All of us worked on the boats at Deltaville marina. We had missed seeing them as we saw so much of each other every weekend in those days in 2010 while we fixed things on our boats and exchanged boat stories. We hugged until it got awkward, which is a Covid thing with me. As I’ve said before, I loved hugging on Susan for a whole Covid year without hugging anyone else. But, human contact was a missing thing with Covid. So now I hug until it gets awkward. We all talked and gave them a tour of Manteo had a nice dinner and talked and talked. Sunday was going to be a long day for us so we shut down early with our friends and went to bed.
Sunday - It’s a 60 mile run from Manteo to Ocracoke. If things went well we’d make it in about 9 hours. We got underway just before sunrise We had a wonderful ride down the Pamlico Sound, about 48 miles of the passage. There is only 1 slight course change in the Pamlico to bring us to the entrance of Big Foot Slough channel, that brings us into Ocracoke’s Silver Lake. We got underway just before sunrise. We had a good tidal push most of the way and docked about 4:50 PM at Anchorage Marina. The marina assigned us a slip next to the two charter boats. Stern in was quite a feat for me as I had to back and turn the stern of the boat to line it up with the most inner slip. We had a quite an audience at Smacnally’s bar and restaurant watching the docking. I wished I had a video as all of my adjustments in docking worked perfectly. I got a few compliments. YEA for that docking. It doesn’t always work out so well.
We had a nice dinner at Smacnally. We sat at the bar chatting with a few people. Cobia was on the menu. All the Ocracoke Restaurants have really cool catches of the day on their menu. On the way back to the boat we went down a couple steps to the stern of Liquid Therapy and then realized we needed to go back up to dock level. Susan tried to step all the way up to the dock without the stairs. And, she didn’t make it - falling backwards and catching herself with her right arm breaking her wrist. No ER on Ocracoke.
So, Monday morning we went to the clinic. The clinic does not have an X-ray machine and the nice doctor put a splint on Susan and told her she needs to see an orthopedic doctor and suggested we go back to Richmond for proper treatment. The doctor suggested we do this before Friday as the wrist will start healing on its own and may not be aligned properly.
It’s a 4 day trip by our boat with all perfect days. The weather is going to be so bad that the ferry may not run the next few days. So, using Liquid Therapy to go anywhere is not an option. There are no rental cars on Ocracoke if the ferry does run. If the ferries run highway 12 may close due coastal flooding. We are kind of stuck. Kind of a bad movie.
My brother is going to try to drive down Wednesday and get us. I certainly hope highway 12 stays open and the Hatteras ferry can get him here and us off Ocracoke.
Today’s picture is sunrise at Manteo.
Liquid Therapy Fall Cruise - Day 1, 2 &3
22 October 2021 | Coinjock Marina
Brooke Smith | Sun - Rain - Thunderstorms
Day 1, 2 &3 Fall Cruise - Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, October 20-22, 2021, Passage from Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina to Atlantic Yacht Basin, Great Bridge, VA 53 miles and another 37 miles to Coinjock, NC.
We are off on a 6 week cruise. Our main focus is cruising to Ocracoke Island, NC, to the Pirate Jamboree https://www.visitocracokevillage.com/plan-your-trip/events-2/ .There is so much going on in Norfolk at the beginning of this trip, with the Navy, commercial traffic, planes, helicopters, other cruisers and of course having to make the dreaded Great Bridge Lock on time. Whew, we made it through all of that and toasted after taking on fuel and getting tied up for the night. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at https://www.vinoitalianbistro.com, which was just the short walk we needed after a day on the boat. Today, Friday, we have made it from Great Bridge to Coinjock Marina, which can boast many beautiful spider webs on old fence rungs along the dock. Pretty easy cruise down the North Landing River to Coinjock.
Saturday looks very good to get to Manteo, NC and Sunday looks good for the Pamlico Sound down to Ocracoke. Of course all of that could change. We got caught up on some cleaning, water filter maintenance, storage and organization of items. There is always too much stuff.
Presently, we are having an electrical storm and feel pretty safe with a sailboat in front and behind us on the dock. Nice lightning rods!
Having a hard time getting into the swing of writing the blog. It’s tough after you’ve had a day on the water. Lots of physical work and looking at nature. Susan saw a PAIR of bald eagles today. I had tunnel vision on the waterway and didn’t see them. Oh well, I’ll look for them on the way back up!
Susan took today’s picture titled - Moonrise At Atlantic Yacht Basin.
Day 25 Monday, June 14, 2021
15 June 2021 | Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina
BROOKE SMITH | BEAUTIFUL
Passage - Old Point Comfort Marina - Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina, Port Haywood, VA
Last day of this cruise. We are heading back to our home marina, Hudgins Horn Harbor Marina.
Beautiful day with very calm conditions are forecasted for today and tomorrow doesn’t look so good. We’d like to stay one more day at Fort Monroe. But, we elect to head back to home port.
We get underway about 9:40AM and I set the throttle for a leisurely 5.6 knots of speed. As we round Fort Monroe we feel ocean swells lifting Liquid Therapy. These swells are very gentle and are different from the normal Chesapeake Bay chop which is non existent today. We will feel the ocean swells until we get in the shelter of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, somewhere near the York River.
Up ahead I see a destroyer headed north and will be turning west crossing our bow to head up the York River to Cheatham Annex Naval Weapons Supply. I remember going there on the destroyer I served on to pick up and unload 5” shells and powder. The crew would pass each 70 lb shell from one person to the next, up and down stairs on the ship over to a weapons barge. That was grueling work and we would get tired. And, every once in a while someone would drop a shell - Close your eyes and hold your breath until the shell stopped bouncing around. I’m here to tell you that the dropped shell didn’t explode. Yep, it didn’t.
We did that every time the ship was deployed from our home port of Norfolk. An unloaded ship at the dock cannot explode destroying other ships tied next to it. Pearl Harbor may have been some of the thinking of having the ship unloaded in port. Of course when we were deployed for 6 months we would have to go load the ship with ammunition. I ponder is the destroyer I am watching going to Yorktown to load to deploy, or, unload and returning to Norfolk.
While Liquid Therapy is on one long course and the autopilot is steering Susan and I straightened up and put away extra lines and things that would no longer needed at our home slip. Tomorrow we will be cleaning Liquid Therapy and packing up stuff to go home.
After docking we visited some friends that had been on their boat cruising in several of the same ports we were visiting. However, our ports and theirs never coincided the entire trip. The four of us rode into Mathews to eat at Richardson’s Restaurant.
We have lots of maintenance and repairs to do. Mostly around leaks from rain and some air-conditioning issues. There are always things to do on a boat.
Today’s picture is The Chamberlin Hotel, now apartments for the over 55 crowd.