05 April 2018 | Jekyll Harbor Marina
04 April 2018 | Fernandina Harbor Marina
26 March 2018 | Palm Cove Marina
25 March 2018 | Palm Cove Marina
24 March 2018 | Marineland
21 March 2018 | Cocoa Village Anchorage
18 March 2018 | Pelican Harbor Yacht Club, Ft. Pierce, FL
16 March 2018 | Sandy Cay Banks
16 March 2018 | Rosie's Marina, Grand Cays, BS
14 March 2018 | Allans-Pensacola Anchorage
12 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club
11 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club
10 March 2018 | Green Turtle Club & Marina
09 March 2018 | Treasure Cay Marina
07 March 2018 | Treasure Cay Marina
05 March 2018 | Orchid Bay Marina
05 March 2018 | Orchid Bay Marina, Great Guana Cay, Abaco, BS
01 March 2018 | Man-O-War Marina
01 March 2018 | Hope Town Marina
25 February 2018 | Hope Town Marina
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.
Day 24 Sunday, June 13, 2021
15 June 2021 | Old Point Comfort Marina, Fort Monroe, VA
BROOKE SMITH | NICE today
Passage - Atlantic Yacht Basin to Old Point Comfort Marina, Fort Monroe, VA
Today is not many miles but a sensory overload day. We decide to take the 9AM opening of the Great Bridge bridge into the Great Bridge Lock. Susan asks will it be many boats in there. My guess is it might just be us as most boats coming this way are starting in Coinjock and that would not be possible by 9AM.
Wrong, on my guess. The lock is filled so much that we cannot get along the rubber wall and have to quickly rig for the starboard side of the boat with fenders to protect us from the steel and concrete side of the lock. I have a following current which makes the boat not handle at all unless I go faster than the current which is also too dangerous speed. We do get help from the lock master who takes Susan’s stern line and wraps it around a lock bollard. Letting Susan’s line tighten up stops Liquid Therapy’s forward motion and I move to the bow to get that line tied to the lock wall and all is well with our ride up in the lock.
It is Sunday and weekend boaters abound in the Elizabeth River that runs through Portsmouth and Norfolk. Commercial, Coast Guard, military ships and patrol boats are also moving as well as tugs pushing barges. I have the VHF radio scanning the important channels to listen for anything that will get in our way and more importantly anything we will need to get out of the way for.
We are over a mile from the Southern Railroad bridge and it is an odd position, not up and not down and over about 45º. I switch to the bridge frequency to listen for a possible closing to let a train across the river. There is much chatter as this frequency is used by the lock and other bridges. But I hear nothing about the railroad bridge. The bridge is unusual in that it is remotely controlled with no bridge tender to talk to actually on the bridge. A large yacht ahead on me goes under the bridge and everything looks ok for him. With an uneasy feeling we pass by the partially closed bridge and all is good. Never found out if the bridge was broken again or what. But I’ve never seen a bridge stuck in that position ever. Our last trip in October the railroad bridge was broken in the down position for five days. No commercial or migrating boats headed south down the ICW could move.
Way ahead I see a large container ship. Is it coming towards me or leaving for sea? It is hard to tell with binoculars. I glance at the AIS ( Automatic Identification system ) and see that ship ahead of me is going faster and getting farther from me. Still I hug the side of the shipping channel in case something else pops up. I also notice a tug pushing a barge behind me. That tug/barge is going to overtake me in 45 minutes or so by the AIS calculations. I’ve got time on that barge and it may turn off anyway. The tug/barge keep on course and speed overtaking me and I alter course to move out of their way.
One last scary thing was a loaded cargo ship coming in from sea as I exit the Elizabeth River and cross over the bow of this large ship still miles away but intimidating. I know the ship is going to turn to head up the Elizabeth River and there will be nothing to worry about. But it certainly is daunting. There are lots more things happening I will just sum up that you have to be on your toes going through Portsmouth and Norfolk.
We dock at Old Point Comfort Marina on Fort Monroe without assistance from the dock master who doesn’t work on Sunday. A fellow boater helps us with our stern lines from the dock and we get tied up.
We take a walk around Fort Monroe. It’s a wonderful temperature and I’m still trying to get the kinks out of my back. We both sit down on a curb for a few minutes for my back pain to ease. OK this next part is funny. Neither one of us can get up! Susan has a bad knee and she can’t get up and my back isn’t letting me get up either. We start laughing like this is a movie or something. Susan starts crawling into the grass towards a big tree to get up and I am still trying to figure out if I need to roll over or something to push my way up. Tears of pain, laughter and joy as we finally get upright again. This getting old stuff isn’t much fun.
We had a nice dinner of fresh flounder at the Dockside marina restaurant. It was very busy, good and lots of leftovers for another time.
Today’s picture is a Gray Herron hunting for his dinner.