Monday, October 1st
Bright and early Roger dismantled the water system.
He gave me the remains of the hot water from the hot water tank in a bowl and I
took advantage of it by washing my hair.
Soon the cockpit was strewn with plumbing debris. Ah, the boating life. About this time Dave from Orion appeared in his dinghy to say hi. They are on a mooring beyond the bridge in Spa Creek. In order to get a mooring there your boat must be shorter than 35 feet. That size boat isn't quite as prevalent as it once was so they lucked out. He presented us with two
shower tokens to use at the Harbormasters Office. Sweet. In the afternoon we made a foray into town for parts. For the plumbing stuff a bus trip was required. For my canvas needs I simply took a walk across the bridge to Eastport. Roger didn't turn up at our appointed meeting place an hour later and I chalked it up to public transportation. I started making longer and longer trips away from our meeting spot. I eventually ran into Cathy from Orion and we sat and watched the people walk by for a while. Two and a half hours, a coffee and a new book later Roger returned. He didn't have anything good to say about the Annapolis bus system but he did have some of his parts and had ordered the rest. After dinner we watched the ever changing parade of sailboats go by from our cockpit.
Tuesday, October 2nd
It was another parts day. We went back to the Sailrite store in Eastport for a variety of things including stainless steel piping. The Sailrite fellow sent us to a rigging shop a block away which cut the pipe to order on the spot. What a nice change of pace. Since the plumbing job was on hold till the arrival of the parts tomorrow we moved on to our new project. Our wind generator which sits on top of a pipe on the stern was made taller this Spring. Now it was time to adjust the bracing system to account for this. Hence the pipes. We were well underway with the planning of this project when my cousin Kevin called to ask if he could bring his kids by to see the boat. Kevin is making a trip similar to ours but on a trawler. We've been missing each other in a variety of places and now they found themselves within striking distance. In a somewhat unusual arrangement Kevin's wife Myriam is following their boat by car. This allows the family to take economical land based trips and to easily do shopping, etc. Of course once they cross over to the Bahamas this becomes a bit less feasible. I'm not sure they have decided what to do then. At any rate Kevin and the kids arrived by car and I picked them up at the dinghy dock and gave them the grand tour. The kids are enjoying their trip and not minding their home schooling. They say they are ahead of their land based classes. We had a good visit and dropped them several hours later back at the dock. Sadly both our projects still await us.
Wednesday, October 3rd
Roger departed in the early a.m. to catch his bus to the parts place. I hung around the boat to work on the log. Roger returned with two identical parts. One fit, one didn't. Back on the bus went Roger. He wasn't significantly happier about the bus system this afternoon than he had been previously. This time the new part fit until it had tape on it...By this point I had a very frustrated plumber on my hands. We worked ceaselessly on the plumbing until the job was done at 8:00 p.m. Roger didn't like the look of one of the fittings and thought he might have to replace it tomorrow. Happily for all concerned the buses had stopped running for the evening.
Thursday, October 4th
Today it was my turn to try out the bus system. Milo, our cat, jumps into our v-berth every night for bed. This requires that he claw his way up the side of the mattress. Heaven forbid he use the stool at the foot of the bed. During the course of the last few months his claws have left our (custom fitted, gasp) sheets in tatters. So off I went to find some flat sheets to create replacements. Now I too can attest to the quirky nature of the local bus system. I did return with the sought after items however. In the evening we finally met up with our neighbor, Erv, from home. He has been helping his friend Curt deliver his boat from Massachusetts down to Beaufort, NC. We all ate way too much food at Buddy's buffet but managed to get caught up on their trip and they on ours. They told an especially interesting story about losing their engine while sailing down the East River. Roger has had visions of just such a thing. They did manage to work their way out of the jam but not for many hours.
Friday, October 5th
Well, it was finally boat show day. We were up
bright and early to run over to Back Creek to pick up a manual from Lady
Galadriel and to fill a few jerry jugs of water before heading in for the day's
festivities. The dinghy dock wasn't yet mobbed when we arrived.
Whew. Our first stop at the show was the Pacific Seacraft (the type
of boat we have) area to meet Steve Brodie, the new owner of the company.
We were both very impressed with his goals and sense of responsibility for
the future of the boat. We wished him well and continued on our way.
We looked at several boats before giving up. Some of the boats on the
market are so excessive in size, equipment and opulence it's mind boggling.
We finally fled to the merchandise tents.
We found a variety of parts we were interested in and talked to several equipment vendors and eventually called it a day. We met some friends at Pusser's for a Painkiller and from the roof deck watched while boat show attendees meandered their way through the forest of masts.
Saturday, October 6th
Corsica River, Maryland
Two years ago we received an email from a fellow named Chace. He had just finished reading the online logs from our 2001/2002 trip south and wanted to say that he enjoyed them and find out what we were up to now. He signed his name and, as many people do, listed his boat name and make. To our amazement he sailed a Pacific Seacraft 40. Roger wrote back to say that we had sold the Ericson 35' that we had taken on our trip and had since bought a Pacific Seacraft 40! Needless to say we have remained in touch. Although they live in Cleveland, Chace and his wife Josie keep their boat, Windaway, in Annapolis. This does require a bit of commuting on their part but they feel that the Chesapeake Bay sailing is worth the flying time.
Since we were going to be in Windaway's stomping grounds we planned to spend a weekend sailing together and this was it. After an early morning trip to the fuel dock to top up the diesel and water tanks we rendezvoused with Windaway outside Back Creek. We were headed back toward the Corsica River. Much to our surprise Chace and Josie own a piece of land on the Corsica River where we had recently enjoyed a quiet few days. We were more than happy to make a return trip. Unfortunately the wind didn't want to cooperate with the sailing part of the plan. It was basically nonexistent so we headed north under power. A good deal of boat appraisal went on during this trip. With the boats cruising side by side questions flew back and forth. "Why is your bow so low?" "How fast do you go at 2400 rpms?" "How do you have your reefing set up?" There was a great deal of mutual admiration going on. The guys were definitely in seventh heaven.
We arrived in the Corsica early enough for a walk before dinner. The four of us took a dinghy ashore and headed up the hill to see Chace and Josie's spot. The view across the river was wonderful. The setting, which was once part of a good sized estate, is beautifully rustic. We walked to the original home which is set on a bluff overlooking the river and surrounded by mature trees. All in all a great place to be.
Dinner was aboard Windaway. Despite the heat Josie managed to put together the most elegant meal we have had since we started our trip. Scallops, asparagus and salad. were accompanied by terrific wine from Chace's "wine cellar" (read: In the bilge to keep it cool.) We had a great time telling sea stories and generally getting to know one another.
Sunday, October 7th
Breakfast was a group event aboard Shango. Roger made his famous pancakes with blueberries donated by Windaway. After our anchorage was infiltrated by an extremely large and extremely dead carp we decided it was time to make our way back down the river and to Annapolis. Once again the wind gods weren't cooperating. We were able to sail for about an hour before we had to resort to the "iron topsail" once again. Other than a lack of wind the weather was spectacular with temps in the low 80's. We had very little to complain about.
Despite a 4 a.m. wake-up call on Monday morning it was decided that a farewell dinner was in order. We dinghied over to Back Creek, picked up the Windaways and headed for a local watering hole called Davis's. Coincidentally (?) there was a Yankees/Indians game underway. We were all cheering for the Indians. Shango, because we would rather play the Indians than the Yankees in the American League Championship and Windaway for obvious reasons. When we left the bar Cleveland was up by several runs. (Though much to our horror we discover on Monday morning that the Yankees had come back to win.) A great weekend was had by all. With any luck we'll be able to do it again soon. Thanks Chace & Josie!
Monday, October 8th
With our departure for Washington D.C. planned for Tuesday we finished up with some chores. Roger changed the oil and I headed off to the laundromat. It was another hot day and neither of us really wanted to be doing what we were doing. It was also the last day of the sailboat show. What transpires at the 5:00 p.m. closing gun is a sight to see. Within fifteen minutes there is an amazing parade of sailboats departing their designated show spots. Some under power, others with some sail up but all festooned with their manufacturer's flags. Leading the parade was the Virginia, a schooner from Norfolk which was in the show for educational purposes. This parade continued in earnest for over an hour till it appeared that the show had never existed. During this big boat exodus I was amazed to see the dinghy fleet of the Annapolis Yacht Club weaving their way through the anchored cruising boats. Led by their instructors in a Zodiac, fifteen tiny little sailboats each occupied by two tiny children tacked their way upwind in a perfect line toward the sunset. It was a great way to end our visit to Annapolis.
Tuesday, October 9th
Smith Creek, Maryland
We arose in the dark for the first time in a great while knowing we wanted to make some headway south. When we arrived at the Solomons, our tentative destination, it was only one o'clock so we continued on to the mouth of the Potomac with Smith Creek, six miles upriver, our new destination. After making our way through the somewhat narrow entrance we headed up the west fork and dropped the hook in a wonderful cove on the starboard side. We were so intent on watching the depth sounder during our entrance that we didn't notice the eagle eyeing us from his nest at the entrance until after we were anchored. He didn't seem to care one way or another about our presence but we sure enjoyed his. I did have to explain to Milo that he needed to keep an eye peeled while on deck in case our raptor friend mistook him for dinner. This anchorage was just what the doctor ordered after the heat and commotion of Annapolis. When you're cruising you become somewhat more open-minded about food. Bearing that in mind we thoroughly enjoyed our defrosted swordfish and well-traveled green beans. The temperature in the cove was perfect, the stars were out and we had the whole place to ourselves. All was right with the world.
Wednesday, October 10th
Port Tobacco River, Maryland
We arose somewhat later than yesterday knowing we had only about 40 miles to our destination, the Port Tobacco River. While going through his morning engine check Roger discovered a stray nut under the engine. Needless to say this was somewhat disconcerting. He poked around for several minutes looking for a lonely bolt with no success. We got underway in the first rain we had seen since our lightening storm off of Block Island. After about thirty minutes of motoring (no wind again) Roger decided he didn't like the sound of the alternator belt. "It needs to be tightened" he proclaimed. You can probably see where this is headed. Not only did the belt need to be tightened, it needed to have a missing nut replaced. There are two sentences you repeat constantly while cruising. "What's that noise?" and "What's that smell?" Today's incident was an example of when the former is implemented.
Thursday, October 11th
A front came through on Wednesday night and Thursday morning dawned bright and blustery with 20+ knots out of the NNW. Although the Potomac curves back and forth, the general direction one is heading to get to D.C. is NNW. Later in the day the River would become more narrow and less effected by wind but the beginning of our trip involved a long slog into the wind up what we now refer to as the "Quantico Broads". At the bottom of this ten mile stretch the seas had built up to a nasty chop. That, combined with the wind was enough to slow us down considerably and make the trip very wet. Happily we had deployed our plastic side curtains before departing the anchorage so the regular drenchings we received mostly effected our visibility. If we had been in our Ericson 35 we would have been stopped in our tracks. Just as we were feeling smug about our relatively comfortable progress we were passed by a 72' Nordhavn. That put us in our place.
There is a tradition that when you pass Mount Vernon, home of George Washington, you are supposed to ring your ship's bell. Unfortunately Roger had pitched our ship's bell in a fit of clutter removal and we were stuck. It was decided by the Captain that we would set all sails and have a parade of one to honor this founding father. There was a certain amount of trouble with this plan since it's a fairly hilly area and you are alternately without wind then getting hit by 22 knot gusts. At just the right time we were able to combine a good wind angle with good geography and our tribute parade was a success.
After what was seeming like a very long day we had one last hurdle to face. A few miles outside of the Capital you are faced with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge which transports cars which are on the Beltway (read: major highway), over the Potomac River. In years past this was a big problem because it was a low bridge and you had to plan well in advance for an opening which would inevitably occur sometime in the middle of the night. In the recent past a high bridge has been built and the low bridge has been dismantled. As it turns out, the bridge crew is still working on either the building or the dismantling or perhaps both. At any rate we were confronted with a multitude of barges blocking one deep pass and a dredge blocking another. There was no answer on the usual bridge tending channels of the VHF so we were in a bit of a pickle. The guys on the barges pointed toward the span with the dredge and so we pointed ourselves in that direction. The trick was going to be getting through the span without getting hit by the jaws of the dredge which were plunging and emerging from the River on a regular basis. We had a brief disagreement about whether we should floor it or proceed with caution. We ended up proceeding with caution until we decided it was time to floor it.
We dropped the hook in front of the Capital Yacht Club with a half dozen other cruisers. The sunset was reflecting off of the Washington Monument as large noisy helicopters emblazoned with "United States of America" flew unnervingly low past our masthead. Welcome to Washington D.C.
Friday, October 12th
Despite the tantalizingly close proximity of a large variety of great museums Roger decided he was going to fix our plumbing problem once and for all. The water heater was coming out completely to facilitate the tightening of several connections. Since there was room for only one in the cockpit locker I decided to remove myself from the scene. We had caught up to Merlin so Donna and I planned to do some sight seeing together. The first stop was the Hirshhorn Museum. They have a Calder collection there which was pretty nice. From there we walked our way through two sculpture gardens and ate lunch. Then it was time for a pilgrimage to the Library of Congress. It's a great building but our docent spent too much time talking about the murals and not enough about the business of the Library. There should be a tour especially for Librarians. By this time it was time to go in search of dinner. The Capital Yacht Club is conveniently located right next door to an open-air, floating fish market. You could pick up almost anything you might like there. Conch, octopus, orange roughy (from New Zealand), and the list goes on. What most people come for is the crabs and the shrimp. We were planning a crab feast with our Baltimore/Silver Spring friends Barbara & Rod on Sunday so I skipped the crabs and instead picked up some fish and we headed for home.
Saturday, October 13th
Today was a big day for company. Three of Roger's high school classmates who live in D.C. came to have lunch aboard. Two of the three, Lew and Ben, Roger hadn't seen in ten years. Larry, the third member of the group, he hadn't seen in forty years. Governor Dummer, the school they attended, was a boarding school so they had formed fairly close friendships during their years there. It didn't seem like they had been apart for as long as they had. The conversation was easy and they were able to catch up quickly. Lew, who seemed to be the ringleader was also the bearer of lunch. Bless him. Only Larry had any sailing experience which wasn't a problem since we weren't planning on lifting the hook. Ben spends his leisure time running. As of 2007 he has the second highest number of consecutive Boston Marathons. Not a bad claim to fame. Lew is allergic to leisure time. He is never happier than when he is busy. His current focus is executive coaching. If you feel the need to be coached Lew is the man for you. We enjoyed surfing his website, rumfordcoaching.com. After lunch Ben and Larry headed off and Lew gave us a driving tour of D.C. He took us from Anacostia to Georgetown and most things in between. It was a terrific afternoon. Especially the moment when Ben pulled the 1967 GDA yearbook out of his backpack and showed me Roger's photos.
Sunday, October 14th
Sunday was a day of eating and football. We met Barbara at the fish market where she had been instructed by the day's chef to buy a pile of live jimmies. We took the squirming bag back to the car and headed for Silver Spring. We were met at the door with the overwhelming smell of Old Bay Seasoning. After the crabs themselves Old Bay is the key ingredient in any crab fest. It's on the steamed corn, the boiled new potato and onion side dish and the shrimp, which is provided for those who don't have the patience for crab picking. All of this is transported to the back yard picnic table which has been buried in newspaper. The cooked crabs are dumped on a large platter and the feast begins. It's an amazing event that can go on for hours. It's a very social activity and thanks to the limited amount of meat in a crab it could almost be considered low cal. That is if beer weren't served. Needless to say a Sunday afternoon in fall can't slip by without, you guessed it, a football game. It just so happens that the Patriots were on at four. A sated crew left the backyard bearing several bags of corpses and headed for the TV. With only one nervous quarter the Patriots beat the Cowboys. We returned to the boat to dream seafood dreams.
Monday, October 15th
It was finally Roger's turn to get some sightseeing in. His first target was the Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. We had wanted to see it this Summer when it was at the MFA but it didn't happen. We were getting a second chance. Roger enjoyed the exhibit and found the audio tour helpful. He did admit at the end of tour that he had probably seen enough Hopper to hold him for quite some time. Our next stop was the United States Supreme Court. The Court wasn't hearing oral arguments for the next several weeks so instead we attended a lecture given by a docent in the Courtroom. The docent was very well informed and gave a great talk. A kid in the audience asked him where he sat when the court was in session. He laughed and had to explain what a docent was. After our Supreme Court tour Roger headed back to the National Gallery and I went to the Renwick to see a "Going West" quilt exhibit.
Tuesday, October 16th
Tuesday was the Holocaust Museum. It's really an amazing place. It reminded me how long it took us as a country to recognize the sheer magnitude of what was happening in Europe. Reading about the ocean liner St. Louis sailing back and forth off of Miami and being turned away only to return its Jewish immigrant passengers back to Europe was sobering.
Dinner at Pizza Paradiso in DuPont Circle with Barbara & Rod.
Saturday, October 20th
Port Tobacco River, MD
After several more fun filled days in our nation's capitol we were on our way again. David & Donna on Merlin had departed on Wednesday so were well ahead of us by this point. We were solo once again. Saturday night found us back in the Port Tobacco River for the night. It was a much more gentle trip down the River than up last week. We seem to be on the same schedule as the trawler Doxie. We encountered them in this anchorage last week then at the Capitol Yacht Club and here they are again tonight in the Port Tobacco anchorage. They are headed north to Solomons so I think this will be it for chance encounters.
Sunday, October 21st
Coan River, VA
We headed out of Port Tobacco aiming for the mouth of the Potomac. It was mostly a motor till mid-afternoon when the wind picked up. We knew we weren't going to make it back into the Bay proper by the end of the day so we decided to just "go for a sail" before we anchored for the night. The wind was perfect and the broad mouth of the River was full of happy sailors tacking back and forth. If you can't get to where you want to go you might as well have some fun where you are, how's Mick's song go......if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with... After several hours of aimless sailing we made for the Coan River, on the south side of the Potomac, 13 miles from the mouth. We stopped at a somewhat dicey looking dock covered in bird doo to get fuel and water. In the breezy conditions I made a somewhat inelegant departure from the dock. It's nothing that can't be fixed with a little varnish. We anchored about a half mile up the River in a very pretty spot. Roger was able to find an am radio station to pick up the positive results of the Patriots/Miami game. A very happy captain.
Wednesday, October 24th
Jackson Creek, VA (off the Piankatank River)
On Monday morning we finally beat our way out of the Potomac River and around Windmill Point to the mouth of the Piankatank River in the company of two other sailboats. We had been seeing these two sailboats for days. They are never without their sails up. Calm. Sails. Gale. Sails. As we made our way toward the entrance to Jackson Creek we saw a fairly large sailboat aground in an area he had no business being. It turns out the boat was from Charlotte, VT. Dad, do you know any cruisers from your neighborhood? He was able to get off at some point since we saw him in the anchorage the next day. A very lovely Alberg 30 offered to lead us through the somewhat tricky entrance. With charts in hand and an eye on the Alberg we made our way safely into Jackson Creek. We had plenty of company seeking shelter from the contrary winds. We anchored in the south branch of the Creek with one other American boat, and eight Canadians. Also joining us were the two "always sailing" boats who turned out to be from Saint Nazaire, France. We wound up spending two days in Jackson Creek waiting for a) thunderstorms to end and b) wind out of some direction other than south. During our wait we were able to accomplish several projects. I made covers for the water jugs and a cockpit bag while Roger re-rigged the reefing lines based on suggestions from Chace on Windaway. We made a date (the first of several we had to cancel) to meet my cousin Jill in Norfolk. We also took a dinghy tour of Jackson Creek during which we were able to meet our Alberg 30 captain and thank him for the escort. They have a son in Cambridge and they bring the boat back and forth to New England fairly frequently.
Thursday, October 25th
Mill Creek, Hampton, VA
We were finally able to make our exit from Jackson Creek along with a whole flotilla of French and Canadian sailors. There was 25-30 knots of North wind and we were all able to rumble our way down the Bay toward Hampton Roads. Shango was in her element. We had a reefed main and the staysail up. We eventually gave up on the staysail and still made great time. As we approached Thimble Shoals light, about 3 miles from our Mill Creek destination I saw what I thought was a giant balloon in the water but it disappeared below the surface immediately. I think I must have said "What was that?" Roger popped his head up the companionway just in time to hear me scream. I'm sure he thought we were about to hit something but no, I had just seen our first dolphin of the trip. Moments after the "balloon" disappeared it surfaced as a dolphin right next to the port quarter of the boat scaring me silly. Right about this time the fog began to drop. It wasn't a pea soup fog, just a "is that a battleship?" kind of fog. We happily made our way into Mill Creek. This anchorage is adjacent to the entrance to the tunnel which goes under the Bay to Norfolk. It isn't the most scenic anchorage you've ever been to but it's roomy and easily accessed. We encountered several other boats here including a boat we would see down the road called Tropical Impulse. It was good to be within striking distance of the Intracoastal Waterway, the next leg of our journey.
Friday, October 26th
Norfolk, VA (mile 0 of the ICW)
We made it the last twelve miles into Norfolk this morning, passing battleship row and being passed by several giant commercial ships. We were glad we didn't do this yesterday afternoon in the fog. After anchoring at Hospital Point which is in the heart of downtown, we met cousin Jill and her son Dylan at Waterside for a bite to eat. On the way back to our dinghy we walked past the Wisconsin, the largest battleship ever built by the Navy. It is at the Nauticus museum where we docked the dinghy and is definitely on Roger's list of things to do and see next time we are here. After finding our dinghy right where we left it, we were off to the boat to plan our first day on the ICW.
Saturday, October 27th
Great Bridge, VA (mile 12)
The first twelve miles of the ICW can be somewhat trying if all is not going your way. Our first twelve miles weren't horrible but they sure could have been better. First, the weather wasn't great. It was pretty much a downpour actually. The next obstacle is the bridges. You have to pass under several of them. Some are high bridges which you can simply go under. Some are bridges which are usually open unless a train is going through. Not a problem. Some bridges will open on demand. Not so bad. But some bridges open on a restricted schedule and these are the ones which can make life a pain in the neck. The last unique obstacle on day one is the lock. It's not a bad thing but you do have to pay attention. We did our share of waiting during our first twelve miles which isn't such a bad thing till it is magnified by crowds. When ten of you are doing donuts waiting for a bridge to open it begins to feel a bit like a rat race. At any rate, after the Great Bridge Lock and its companion bridge we called it a day and tied up at the free dock opposite the Atlantic Yacht Basin in Great Bridge, VA. A short while later we were joined by Tropical Impulse from New Jersey. They are also headed for the Bahamas. We chatted with first mate Eileen and look forward to seeing them again. Roger went over to Atlantic Yacht Basin and looked in on Jay & Debra's boat Jadera which is stored there till they arrive in November. All appears fine. Cousin Jill drove out and met us for a dinner of shish kabobs onboard. A pleasant end to an otherwise iffy day.
Sunday, October 28th
Buck Island, N.C. (mile 58)
We left Great Bridge at 7:30 a.m. and made our way through several bridges. The weather was much better if a bit blowy. We zoomed our way down the North Landing River and across Currituck Sound, through the North Carolina Cut and out the other end. It was a bit early to call it a day but at two p.m. we dropped the hook behind Buck Island. If we had continued on it would have meant anchoring in the dark after tackling the very windy Albemarle River. We decided to take the time and wrestle the dinghy up on deck in preparation for the next several days of sound crossings. We were especially happy with our decision early that evening when we heard a somewhat frazzled captain hailing the Coast Guard after he had gone aground when, as darkness fell, he missed a new marker at the beginning of the Alligator River. Argh. We chatted with a boat named Dulcinea which had anchored nearby. They are from California and are headed to the Bahamas. Roger called a variety of friends and family to check on the status of the Patriots game. We can't recall the exact score but we know the Redskins were soundly beaten. We also received an update on Niece Zoe's Halloween outfit. She's going to be dressed as a high-heeled shoe. This isn't a surprise despite the fact that she's only three.
Monday, October 29th
Pungo River, N.C. (mile 127.5)
We left Buck Island at 7:00 a.m. headed for the Pungo River. Our first challenge of the day was to cross the Albemarle Sound. It was blowing 20-25 out of the north (still) with some nifty but do-able seas. Several times during the morning we hailed passing powerboats to try to get news of the World Series. Perhaps they thought we were calling to chastise them for going fast or perhaps they weren't monitoring the VHF but, in any case we didn't find out that the Sox had won the World Series till that evening. Better late than never. We successfully careened around the new markers at the bottom of the Sound and whisked our way down the Alligator River. We finally slowed down in the protection of the Alligator River/Pungo River Canal. After making our way out of the south end of the Canal we called it a day in the headwaters of the Pungo River. Roger wanted to check the fuel filter on the engine. This turned out to be more of an ordeal than anticipated. After several calls to Jay and one eureka moment, what might have cost us several days in repair time, turned out to be just one very long evening. Whew. During our fuel filter dance I noticed the arrival of two Pacific Seacrafts at the other end of the anchorage. Sea Bonds was a 40' and Northern Light was a 44'. Sea Bonds was headed to Washington, N.C. the following day to meet the new owner of Pacific Seacraft. All the PS owners we have met this fall are very eager to see how this ownership transition is going to go. Anyone who has met Steve Brodie, including us, seems very hopeful.
Tuesday, October 30th
Cedar Creek, N.C. (mile 187.5)
Today entailed crossing the Pamlico River, Goose Creek, Hobucken Cut and the Neuse River. We had the usual north wind, though somewhat lighter than previous days. We made good time in these mostly broad bodies of water. The Cedar Creek anchorage where we ended the day is very comfortable despite the mast of a sunken sailboat which sticks up in the midst of it. The last time we anchored here we thought we could hear peacocks. Not so this time. What we were privileged to hear instead, as the sun set, was a beautiful bagpipe solo from the bow of a neighboring sailboat .
Wednesday, October 31st
Mile Hammock Bay, N.C. (mile 244.5)
We left Cedar Creek this morning knowing we weren't going to have time to get to the Beaufort Inlet and go outside to the Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach before dark. We made our peace with the fact that we were going to have to do two more days on the ICW with a cast of thousands. If we had thought about it we might have considered going outside all the way to Charleston before the predicted arrival of tropical storm Noel. We didn't so we didn't. On the way into Beaufort/Morehead City I managed to take a wrong turn amongst the myriad buoys and land us in some very skinny water. Despite the depth sounder reading of 4'8" we were able to do a u-turn and continue on our way unscathed. The stretch of the ICW from Beaufort N.C. south toward Wrightsville Beach seems over-endowed with bridges. We were back into rush hour traffic, complete with aggressive drivers and road rage. Add to that the fact that you can't really do much sailing because you'll leave the dotted line on the chart and go aground. With the specter of (now hurricane) Noel bearing down on the coast of North Carolina there was a small army of cruisers looking for a place to hunker down. One of the few anchorages in this neck of the woods is Mile Hammock Bay in the heart of the Camp LeJeune Marine Base. After an interesting afternoon of passing Marines on maneuver we entered the anchorage. The holding is reputedly poor and only half the basin is even dredged. No one seemed to care. By the time the sun set there were thirty boats crammed into a relatively small space, with everyone hoping that their anchor as well as their neighbors was firmly set.