November 17, 2014, Broad Creek, NC, Amy,
Two weeks after coming down from the high of the premiere of Red Dot on the Ocean in New York City, we set sail for points south. Initially we thought we were headed for the Bahamas, but now we’re contemplating sailing from Key West to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala…. Time will tell.
At this writing, we’re anchored up a creek in North Carolina near the town of Oriental. There’s a tornado watch on until 6 p.m.. At least it’s warm! For the first time in a week we’re able to remove our long underwear and multiple layers. At breakfast in the cockpit I was rather scantily clad. (No photo available). Sadly, this warm spell will not last. Tomorrow’s forecast is for a high in the 40s and lows in the 20s!
This trip has been a very social one thus far. On November 3, we departed West River Yacht Harbor in Galesville, MD, and sailed across the Chesapeake Bay to see our dear friends, Phil and Sarah, in Claiborne on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As usual, they ferried us from our boat to their cozy home and treated us to a lovely dinner and copious amounts of wine next to their blazing fire. An added benefit was a visit with Kenny’s old buddy, John. Phil and Sarah are not sailing south this winter so they can do some boat repairs and spend time with their new grandchild.
Our next stop was Solomons Island, MD, where we met up with Jay and Elaine who own a Morgan 38 sailboat like ours. Kenny met them through the Morgan owners online forum. Though we barely know them, they invited us up to their condo near the water and prepared a hearty soup for us. They plan to move aboard their boat next summer and start cruising north.
The following day we arrived in Reedville, VA, chez Dave and Carol, who always treat us like long-lost friends. About the only time we ever see them is when we’re sailing past on our way south or heading back north. They always give us the royal treatment and let us use the master bedroom’s shower, which is about the size of our boat and requires and owner’s manual to operate. Carol was absent this time, but neighbors, Rick and Debbie, brought over dinner and we feasted on surf and turf. We always comment on the generosity and community spirit, to which they all say, “That’s Reedville.”
From Reedville we motored south into strong wind and rain and anchored up the oddly named, Antipoison River…no socializing there.
The next day we had a glorious north wind and sailed all the way to Hampton, VA, at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay. There we checked into a marina and had dinner with fellow boat dwellers, Paul and Jane. We met them a year and a half ago in Elizabeth City and became instant friends. Because we arrived on a Friday, they threw a Pirate Friday party in our honor with delicious chili and an excellent lemonade-ginger-vodka beverage. Three other couples were in attendance, but only one dressed as a pirate. Unfortunately, Kenny could not attend as he was suffering from rumblings in the tumbling, and thought he’d better lay low.
Kenny’s daughter Kai-lee and family, live in Virginia Beach, a stone’s throw from Hampton so we spent almost a week with them. Kai and husband were both out of town when we arrived, so their friend Jan, who was looking after Abraham, picked us up. Both Kai-lee and Rory travel a lot for their jobs, so we were able to help out babysitting our hilarious, brilliant and in all ways perfect grandchildren – Abraham (8) and Annalei (4). Abraham and I played several games of chess all of which ended in a draw. Our other favorite pastime is pretending we are doctors with Russian accents, and we discuss various cures for deadly ailments like “the crazies.”
Annalei and I spent a lot of time on the trampoline, in the bathtub, on the floor building things and drawing. She likes to be watched when she does things. “Grandpa Kenny, watch this.” To which he would respond, “I’m watching. I’m watching.” It eventually got shortened to: “I watch.” This tickled Annalei and she would imitate Kenny repeatedly saying, “I watch.” I don’t know why, but this struck me as so funny at the time, that I could not contain my tears of laughter.
Departing the Norfolk area we entered the Intracoastal waterway (ICW) and chose the Great Dismal Swamp route. It is neither dismal nor swamp but a very beautiful and less traveled route than the Virginia cut route. It is particularly striking when dressed in fall colors. Both waterways empty into the Albemarle Sound. The first lock on the Dismal Swamp is operated by Robert, who loves to chat and knows all the history of the Swamp, because he also runs a tour business. If you ask any questions he warns that he doesn’t give short answers. A generous and gregarious soul, Robert invites those who spend the night on the free dock next to his lock to come for pastries and coffee in the morning. In front of his “lock shack,” he has a collection of conch shells given to him by cruisers coming from the Bahamas.
So now we’re all alone, just settin’ here up a crik in North Carolina, waitin’ to be crushed by a tornado…If we survive, we’ll push on to Oriental tomorrow where we have more friends! Cruisers Steve and Kim, who we met in the Bahamas on our first trip there in 2007-2008. There’s a free dock in Oriental and we’ll pull up there to do some work on the engine. Actually Kenny will do the work and I’ll hand him things. After a long run of no troubles, the bloody engine is revving up every five minutes of its own accord. It probably means dirty fuel, so we’re just going to change some fuel filters and hope that does the trick.
A big thank you to everyone who has hosted us along the way so far. We’d also like to thank live-aboards, Wayne and Joanne at West River Yacht Harbor in Galesville, MD. Wayne let us use his workshop and helped us out with some boat projects before our departure. Joanne made us dinner and gave us an entire apple cake to take with us when we left. We finished it ages ago, Joanne. Could you please send another one? And as always, a special thanks to Tim, Viki, and Annie for hosting Snow Bunny (our car) and handling all forms of shore-side life for us. It takes a village…
For those who are interested: Red Dot on the Ocean DVDs are now available for purchase on the Quad Cinema website at: Quaddvdgems.com/documentaries. DVDs and downloads will also soon be made available at TheSailingChannel.tv along with my two Cruising on the Mary T documentaries. Buy 100 and get 1 free!
UPDATE: we are now in a slip at a marina in Oriental. After changing two fuel filters and adding 20 gallons of clean fuel, we think the motor issue may be resolved and expect to head to Beaufort, NC, tomorrow. We had a fun dinner with Steve and Kim (Fine Lion) along with Mike and Kathy (Sapphire). Tonight’s low is supposed to go down to 25 degrees so, we are happy to be plugged in to shore power to run our small heater.