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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jacksonville

Posted via Wifi.
{GMST}30|16.497|N|081|42.948|W|Slip|{GEND} 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fernandina - Mooring

We never went to shore yesterday at the island because of bad weather.  We moved to a mooring at Fernandina today.  By some miracle, we were able to launch the dinghy in these high winds.  We put on our foulies and headed in to pay our bill, unload two bags of trash and get our fill of burgers at T-Rays.  We are completely out of snacks, so we bought a few items at Fred's and some fudge at the sweet shop.  We got drenched on the way back and found out that, for some reason, the snacks did not make it into our bag at Fred's.  Very frustrating because we are not going back across that rough water.  We will have to live without snacks and simply drown our sorrows in some pecan fudge.

The dinghy engine is off and the the gear stowed, but the dinghy will remain in the water tonight as we will wait until the winds get under 25 knots before we try to hoist it up on deck.  I am growing weary of the rowdy mess made by this much wind against this much tidal current.

Hopefully the weather will get better in the next couple of days as we work our way towards Jacksonville.

Love to all (except this wind),
Dena

Posted via 3g.
{GMST}30|40.321|N|081|28.135|W|Mooring|{GEND} 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cumberland Island

Yay!  We love it when we get to this island, although the weather this time of year does not always conform to our plans.  Right after anchoring, we managed to launch the dinghy, mount the engine, etc., go pick up Stephen and Marja on Motu, and squeeze in a walk on the island before sunset.  The horses were right on the trail just before the beach on the Atlantic side.  It really is a pretty island.  But we are not alone.  There must be over 20 boats anchored in here with us.

It is also nice not to be dressed in multiple layers.   When we were in Broad Creek last Tuesday night, I told Myron it was not rain I was hearing hit the deck.  My curiosity was strong enough to get me out of bed and into the cockpit to investigate.  It was corn snow, something we are familiar with back in California.  Not hail, more of a tightly packed bunch of snow flakes.  It was THAT cold in North Carolina.  When we got up the next morning to move to Morehead City and stage for our trip south, it was still very cold.  I wear waterproof insulated gloves when taking up the anchor and hosing the mud off the deck, and it took quite some time to warm my hands up and relieve the pain of the cold.  Clearly I am thrilled to be 360 miles south, practically to Florida.  The low tonight will be 68, a civilized temperature.  We do have a cold front coming through tomorrow and the low will be down to 54.  It makes me laugh because we could only hope for 54 as a high last week.

I am not sure how long we will be here.  I must admit I am glad we do not have to pull up anchor and start moving at the crack of dawn tomorrow.  A couple days of rest may be in order.

Hopefully the isolated thunderstorms in the forecast just leave us alone tonight and tomorrow.

Love to all,
Dena



Posted via 3g.
{GMST}30|45.712|N|081|28.440|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Saturday, November 16, 2013

All tucked in at St Simons

Posted via 3g.
{GMST}31|10.905|N|081|25.012|W|Anchored|{GEND}

St Simons Inlet

Well we were shooting for St Marys Inlet but the winds had other plans. Lots of squalls last night and the wind went SSE which pushed us toward land no wind today just lumpy from last night so St Simons it is. We will move to Cumberland tomorrow for a couple of days.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}31|09.020|N|081|10.450|W|Underway|{GEND}

Friday, November 15, 2013

Position Report

All is fine, we are altering course a little for SE winds.
ETA St Mary's inlet tomorrow afternoon or evening.

Both Dena and I are well rested and having good trip.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}32|17.630|N|079|33.033|W|Underway|{GEND}

Position Report

All is well aboard Hold Fast, we had a very good night with following winds going east. it is a bit rolly.
ETA St Marys inlet is 32 Hrs or Saturday around noon.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}32|48.618|N|078|46.733|W|Underway|{GEND}

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Position Report

We left Fort Macon This morning at 6:15, all is going well. I had to replace the alternator but other than that we are having a good Trip.
Myron
Time at this position: 3:20pm
Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}33|57.163|N|077|23.370|W|Underway|{GEND}

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fort Macon

Broad Creek is a great place to ride out a blow if you don't mind not having cell coverage. We are full of diesel and water and ready to move south, our target is St Marys inlet, should be about 3 days. Will keep you updated with position reports.
Peace
Myron

Posted via 3G.
{GMST}34|42.113|N|076|41.176|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Monday, November 11, 2013

Broad Creek off Neuse River

What a pleasant stay last night. When the sun is shining and we zip up our enclosure, it acts like a solar heater. Hold Fast was toasty, until about 2 am. By then we are under covers. Getting out from under the covers takes a little motivation.

Our motivation today was to get to Broad Creek and find a spot to ride out the coming blow. It will arrive on Tuesday after lunch and leave us sometime Wednesday night. We made it before 1 pm. We are dug in just west of Motu. We have never anchored here before. It is a beautiful spot, especially with the fall colors. A protected spot too. But we cannot have it all. There is no cell coverage or open internet. We will continue to use the HAM radio to get weather. Maybe a new location on Thursday will yield a connection.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}35|05.456|N|076|37.160|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pungo Creek

We are done visiting our friends and sight-seeing in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. We are not, however, done with North Carolina as we need to wait out a blow before we jump down to Wrightsville Beach and points south. We are uncertain whether we will take advantage of the free docks in Belhaven (for 72 hours) or move to a protected anchorage further south.
We currently have no phone and no internet, therefore it would be good to have one or the other before we park somewhere for a while. Will let you know after it happens.
Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}35|30.708|N|076|38.791|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Southbound

We left Manteo at first light and headed northwest to the Alligator river after a good visit with the guys in there home town.
We are waiting for a blow on Wednesday so just taking our time to get to Morehead.

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}35|40.465|N|076|03.436|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Columbia to Manteo

Columbia was a great stay.  We would go back and do that again.  Especially now that we know the channel.  The folks were very friendly and glad they lived in a small town.  We had to get internet at the library.  I paid a $10 fee for an out-of-state library card, then we got all the internet and movie checkouts we wanted.  I put some pictures up on Picasa, see the photo gallery link to the right.  We were docked at the end of Main Street in Columbia.  Here is a view of Main Street from Hold Fast:

We could have stayed in Columbia another night but we were supposed to have west winds today to sail out to Manteo.  If the winds were west, they were the same velocity that we motored.  It rained the entire trip, a drizzle along with low visibility.  I have never seen the Albemarle so flat.  We expect winds to get near the twenties tonight, but we will be protected in this spot.

We took the 24 hour free city dock near the pump out station.  It is showing around six foot depth and hopefully it keeps several inches of water between Hold Fast and the bottom all night long.   The wind will still be cranking tomorrow, therefore we will anchor out, stay here another night and tackle that long channel to the south on a calmer day.

We just spoke with Bryan (Huli Makai, Baba 35) and are meeting him and Billy at the restaurant '1587' for a big sushi event.  Hopefully Chris will come as well. Wes comes in on a late flight tonight, maybe we will see him tomorrow.

We have not investigated the town yet.  Need to get cleaned up for dinner.  Will let you know what we find!

Love to all,
Dena


Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}35|54.529|N|075|40.103|W|Moored|{GEND} 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Edenton to Columbia – Albemarle Sound

Edenton is a charming, clean and historic town.  We certainly left the herd and were the ONLY cruisers there.  We were helped with the lines when we arrived, given a bag of goodies and information about the town, and given access to the city truck loaned out to marina guests.  We paid our $6 for two days of electricity and were off in the loaner truck to consume some east coast Mexican food, which our friendly waiter told us was cooked by a couple of Guatemalans.  No it was not the good stuff we get in New Mexico, but met the basic need.  The internet was great and I continued my efforts to get my computer back to pre-virus shape.  Picasa is back up and running, but I am still a bit of work away from sharing pictures.
Edenton’s 1925 ‘Taylor Twin Theater’ was playing Captain Phillips and another movie for $7 each, but the show only opens on Friday so we were out of luck.  We could not find a good, affordable seafood restaurant like Quality Seafood in Elizabeth City, so we settled for ‘309 Bistro’ and had lunch.  I must say that any town is at a disadvantage when following an Elizabeth City act.  It was a joy to meet the owner of a Christian bookstore that knows Dan and Kathy back in Elizabeth City.  We had two very peaceful nights at Edenton.
The winds were not entirely favorable for our trip today, but not too bad.  We had to motor sail once we were east of the overhead cables until we turned right to go up the Scuppernong River.  We dropped the sails before we entered the narrow channel off the Albemarle Sound.  Narrow it was as we literally felt our way around until we figured out our Garmin chart needed updating to show the channel a little to the west.  Poor Hold Fast had to plow mud today.  That does not bode well for our new bottom paint.
We are now at Columbia’s town dock, which is free for three days.  We checked in with the Town Manager and got some of the local restaurant scoop.  This is a much smaller town and less ‘touristy’ than Edenton, and also no internet.  The restaurant known for its seafood is not open until tomorrow so today we took in the lunch specials at ‘Mike’s Restaurant.’  It was good food at very affordable prices.  We walked around this tiny town, then hit the library to get a library card, use the internet and check out a movie.   This town has an old theater as well.  Rather than cinema, it has been dedicated to showing nature and environmental movies.
Our last stop was at the Visitor’s Center for a town map and to get the latest information on the man overboard from last Sunday.  We knew Sunday that his dog was still on the boat, which was found adrift.  While in Edenton, we found out he was 40 years old, has three young children, that his wife had asked for prayer on Facebook, and that the search had been called off Sunday night.  Usually these things end better, but I am sorry to share with you that divers recovered his body Monday.  At least his wife has a resolution.  The water is about 64-65 degrees.  Sunday was a rough day, as noted we had been triple reefed.  We try to stress to others the importance of wearing a life vest in such open waters.  Please pray for that man’s family.
Love to all,
Dena

Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}35|55.043|N|076|15.265|W|Moored|{GEND} 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Elizabeth City to Edenton, Albemarle Sound

I want to add a couple of things about Elizabeth City before I go on about our trip today.  Last night we had dinner with Dan and Kathy at the Bible University.  They were gracious hosts and they really blessed us.  They bless other cruisers too by offering free showers on the weekends, courtesy of the university and the geothermal heated water.  Look them up if you are in Elizabeth City.  They keep their boat, 'Paloma,' at the university docks and they love to talk to cruisers.  The other thing is that the Visitor's Center at E City now loans out bicycles during business hours.  They also hope to have new bathrooms and shower facilities adjacent to the docks next year, but in the meantime, the weekends are covered at the university!  Dan and Kathy were added to the list of our favorite things about E City.

As Arizona residents who never have to reset clocks, Myron and I find the time change to be quite a nuisance.  We did not 'gain' and hour because we leave at first light.  That just happened to be at 6:15 this morning instead of 7:15.  It was quiet when we slipped out, but, as forecast, the winds picked up within an hour and had us really romping by the time we turned onto the Albemarle Sound.  We double reefed the main when we made that right turn.  We headed for the western shore, dodging crab pots, restricted areas, threading the Highway 32 bridge as well as the main channel for the overhead cables.  All the while the wind was whistling in our rigging from 15 knots to well over 20 knots on our beam.  We finally had to triple reef the main to keep Hold Fast under 7 knots. 

It was a great day tarnished by a Coast Guard call that there was a man in the water on our route.  They called a tug/barge in front of us and asked them to engage in the search.  We changed our heading toward what we thought was the search area - typical for first incoming information - then found out they were searching the southwest side of the Highway 32 bridge (not southeast).  By the time we went under the bridge, the tug/barge and several small and much more maneuverable power boats were engaged in the search so we continued on our regular route.  Shortly thereafter the Coast Guard helicopter was on the scene.  We have no idea of the resolution, but hope to find out while we are in Edenton.

The City Wharf employees were very welcoming and so seems the town.  We were loaned a car to go eat or whatever we need.  We hope to walk around town and get a feel for the place and report back to you later!  Along with the loaner car, two free days in the slip, a $6 charge to cover power for those days, we were given a welcome bag to celebrate Edenton's 300th year anniversary of its founding.  So far so good!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}36|03.351|N|076|36.609|W|Moored|{GEND}

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Elizabeth City Wharf


It was easy to take the first lock of the day, we simply untied from the wall and moved into the lock when we saw the green light.  There were at least three dead heads (large logs adrift, not rock band fans) and one downed tree on our route to Elizabeth City.  All navigatable. The fall colors were on grand display, we could not have asked for a better scene.  The wind was 15 to 20 knots.  As a result, I do not believe the colorful leaves will be left on the trees much longer.  

There were only two of us in the lock and both of us headed for Elizabeth City’s wharf.  The other boat passed us at the very end and was first at the bridge.  The bridge acknowledged that there were two boats.  After the first boat went through, they thanked the bridge tender and told him they were clear.  We were less than 30 yards from the bridge when we heard the alarm go off and the bridge began to close.  That is some serious adrenaline.  Poor Hold Fast was slammed in reverse, all 80 horses brought to bear, and Myron got her stopped, albeit sideways.  We thank God the wind was against us.  The bridge tender immediately apologized, held the bridge partially opened and told us to come on through.  Myron asked him if he was sure.  Our usual “slip” was available at the wharf.  It was not a pretty landing in that wind, but who cares…I was still shaking from the bridge!  I handed the bow line to a man that I knew I knew.  I asked him to give me time to come up with his name.  He just pointed to his boat and I immediately realized it was Fred on the Nordic Tug ‘North Star.’  Gus (or Guster as I call him), the local greeter that helps boats in to the slips, also took our lines.  Nothing like reuniting with friends to help shake off a spooky experience.  We did excuse ourselves to go change our shorts.

I have added a new delicacy to my food likes.  Brad, you would be proud of me, Sabrina would be proud that I have not gotten sick.  It all started in Deltaville at Jacob’s (Floyd’s grandson) 30th birthday party.  Jacob’s sister, Helen Elizabeth, is a very popular caterer and naturally took charge of the party eats.  She made oyster stew and I gave it a try.  Oh my!!  Of course, her oyster stew, I was told, was exceptional.  I love clams and am used to their texture.  I had no idea the oysters were so tender.  It was a great introduction to a bad habit.  Yesterday at Quality Seafood in Elizabeth City, Myron’s seafood sampler had fried oysters.   Yummy!  Now I have regrets that we did not accept the Ward’s invitation to stay another week for the Oysterfest in Urbanna.  The gal at Quality Seafood said they would continue their special on oyster stew and fried oysters until the season ends.  We will have our own little oysterfest for the two days we are here!  I still have no desire for oysters on the half shell, I will leave that to Brad.

We do not normally share our plans, but…we are really hoping to get to Edenington for their 300th year township anniversary.  We made reservations for the, get this, free slip (other than $3/day for 30 amp electricity).  It is off the beaten path, going west on the Albemarle.  Hopefully the weather will be favorable and our next communication will be from that town.

Love to all,
Dena



Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}36|17.925|N|076|13.098|W|Moored|{GEND}

Thursday, October 31, 2013

South Mills Lock – North Carolina



Before daybreak yesterday, we were entertained by the arrival of ‘Carnival Glory’ to the terminal across from our anchorage.  That vessel was seriously huge.  Then, just as we pulled up anchor, we entered the channel right behind a barge pushed by the tug ‘Nikki Jo C,’ another tug owned by the Ward’s and captained by Kenny, one of Floyd’s sons.  It takes a long time to leave the Ward’s because you keep seeing them for days up and down Virginia and Maryland!

Once through Deep Creek Lock we tied up to the free docks, after some folks made some room for us.  By the end of the day, we had nine boats docked or rafted up.  We all met up at the lock cottage for a very nice breakfast/coffee the next morning with Robert, the lock/bridge tender.

Today we motored down the Dismal Swamp Canal with plenty of company.  We officially entered North Carolina, motored by the visitor center and tied up at the free dock between the South Mills bridge and lock.  It is our first time here, I will let you know how it goes.  We have a blow coming from the south and do not want to get into Elizabeth City until that has passed.  

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via 3g.
{GMST}36|26.657|N|076|19.595|W|Moored|{GEND}

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Norfolk – Hospital Point


Hospital Point is a popular anchorage across from the USS Missouri, a destroyer turned museum.  For those of you that know me, no we are NOT here for the hospital! 

As I figured, it was painful to leave our dear friends in Deltaville.  We were certainly not alone in heading south today.  I quit counting the other boats once I hit 20.  We had plenty of company.  The winds were favorable, but extremely light.  There was no apparent wind (wind speed after taking into account boat speed) since Hold Fast now wants to motor along above six knots.  Sailors love a clean bottom.  All the sailboats tried to make a go of sailing, but in the end we all had to motor in to Norfolk.  We could hear on the radio that Hampton Roads had no anchoring space and was packed in with boats due to the pending rally from there to somewhere in the Caribbean.  Not our usual gig so we have no idea of the details.

We met the tug boat ‘Captain Johnny’ going north out of Norfolk.  That is one of John Melvin’s tugs (Floyd’s nephew).  John Melvin’s son Jay is the captain but we did not bother him on the radio to say ‘hey we know your daddy, uncle, great uncle, cousins, etc…’  Let him work in peace.

This is our first time in this anchorage.  It is significantly populated with the herd heading south.  We are anchored right next to Bob and Ann on ‘Baloo,’ a Valiant 40.  Bob rowed over to visit us, bearing homemade chocolate chip cookies and some types of tea I have never tried (white leaf and vanilla caramel).  They are super nice folks that have sailed many of the same waters as us on the west coast.

We have folks anchored on the other side of us that are really close.  The winds should be light tonight so we did not get too excited and just put out fenders on that side of Hold Fast.  Kind of says it all.

I hate to be so selfish, but I sure hope all these boats anchored around us are taking the Virginia Cut route and not the Dismal Canal!  We will see what tomorrow brings.

Love to all (even our anchored neighbors!),
Dena

Posted via 3g.
{GMST}36|50.763|N|076|18.002|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Monday, October 28, 2013

Deltaville - Ward's Dock



We splashed Hold Fast last Monday – yay!  She slides right along now that she is clean.  As we moved over to the Ward’s dock, Myron had to keep the motor at idle to stay below four knots!  We hope the bottom paint works and that she can stay this clean.  We are looking forward to improved performance on our journey south. 

The Deltaville boatyard was not bad for a boatyard experience.  I was disappointed in the lack of internet.  I did like the absence of cockroaches attempting to board every night, which is a challenge in Florida.  There were critters living on the huge boat next to us, but at least they did not include the white skunk we saw milling around the marina.  The marina set out a trap.  It seemed like a bad idea to me and that it would not end well for the skunk or the trapper.  Fortunately, the only animals the marina staff managed to capture thus far were neighborhood cats.  Clever skunk.

We were glad to be back in the water, but the work did not stop.  We re-caulked where the chain plates enter the deck after discovering a leak in one of the lockers.  I spent several days cleaning lockers and drying salvageable contents, some soaked through books were tossed.  Myron modified Windy (our wind vane), worked out some bugs on the refrigerator, and finished up a project involving alignment of the engine and transmission shaft.  In addition, we had the typical post-boat yard tasks such as putting the sails back on and days of clean up.  Couple all that with the irresistible invitations to visit with the Ward family, and we extended our stay here a little.  The Ward’s invited us to extend our stay further for the oyster fest.  Tempting, to be sure.  We love this place and the people.  I will probably have splinters in my fingernails after Myron tears me away from the Ward’s dock.

I promise to share pictures when we have better internet.  My computer suffered a fatal virus to the operating system and it has taken quite an effort by Myron to get me back up in communications, pictures and…GASP…accounting.  The data was recovered via Linux.  Once I am fully up and running, I might give a cost comparison of the boat yards.

We are done with projects – for now - and believe we will soon have favorable but light winds to sail to Norfolk.  There is a strong motivation to move south to get to warmer weather.  It is uncomfortable wearing sandals to church in 40 degree weather.  The wood/coal stove has been exercised the last couple of days, a good sign that we are at the end of hurricane season.  We thank God that the Farmer’s Almanac was correct about a lack of hurricanes in this area for 2013.  The Almanac has several hurricane threats for this area next year.  I know, do not borrow trouble.  It does make Central America more attractive for 2014!

Love to all,
Dena