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Monday, June 24, 2013

Deltaville – Ward’s Dock

Sunday started off quite special when the lock tender stopped by and asked us to join him for coffee while he dealt with the southbound traffic.  He had donuts and OJ for Tyler, coffee and fruit for us, and lots and lots of stories.  His name is Robert, and his dog’s name is “U-Turn.”  He has tended that lock for 18 years and has the least tenure of all the tenders!  The story that had us laughing pretty hard was when he was trying to tell the skipper on a sailboat, who refused to use the radio, that he would take the stern line first due to the wind direction.  The guy kept saying “what?” so Robert yelled “stern line first.”  This happened so repeatedly that Robert shortened it to “stern first.”  Robert resumed chatting with other boaters until he saw many of them gawking at something, he turned to see the guy backing his sailboat into the lock…”stern first!!” 
There were five small sailboats and a trawler that had to proceed southbound through the lock before the northbound traffic could enter.  The five small sailboats were scout boats.  I am glad Tyler got to experience a lock with us before he saw the mess those guys made of it.  In summary, two of the boats hit each other before even making it to the lock, they lined up on the wrong side, did not have lines ready, and one engine kept dying so the boat could not enter the lock.  Robert was pretty patient, but at one point he did yell at the cluster of boats going in all directions,” if you are not coming into the lock, tie up outside and wait for the next one.”   They really put the lock behind schedule.  We knew we would not make the 9:30 am Gilmerton Bridge opening, but now making the 10:30 am opening was coming into question.   Once Robert got all those folks through, we readied Hold Fast to enter the lock northbound.  It was much more efficient and, better yet, Robert asked for some help.  Myron donned his life jacket, stepped off the boat and got instructions to go to the control booth and open the valves to release the water.  Myron was like a kid on Christmas – he got help operate the lock!  Robert said he needed Myron to do that while he did something else and it saved us 15 minutes on getting out of the lock.  We really needed that time and ultimately did make the 10:30 opening of the Gilmerton Bridge – plus Robert called to tell them we were coming!  What a fun start of the day.
We considered tying up to a wall in Portsmouth to do the Norfolk tourist thing.  Unfortunately, I was still too under the weather to handle much walking – therefore we pressed on and anchored at Old Point Comfort.  I think I slept for four hours before rising to make dinner.
Today the winds were light and we were probably only on sails alone for 20% of the time, the rest was motor assist.  What wind there was, was behind us, which can be a blessing.  Myron worked Hold Fast into the tight entrance at Jackson Creek – we saw 7 feet at high tide.  We are now tied up to the Ward’s dock.  We have already visited with them, had dinner, and hope to see Floyd Jean (Jr) tonight.  Please pray for him and his family as he continues the battle with cancer he was fighting when we visited two years ago. 
Love to all,

Dena

Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}37|32.959|N|076|19.987|W|Docked|{GEND}

{GMST}37|00.559|N|076|19.087|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chesapeake City – Virginia


Today we slid into Virginia on the Dismal Canal.  We only had a few hours travel, good thing too – I am still pretty weak.  We tied up to the bulkhead just before the bridge, did some very needed grocery shopping and then took in some Mexican food.  A far cry from the good food we enjoy in the southwest, but better than Florida’s.  After the 1:30 bridge opening, we tied off at the park dock just short of the lock.  This is where we will stay for the night.
A quick walk around the park revealed an amateur radio gathering.  One of the fellows was attempting to communicate with a satellite.  All three of us stayed for the first attempt, but it was a no go.  Apparently the satellite was too low on the horizon.  I went back to the boat to go to bed and Myron attended the second attempt about two hours later.  They could listen in but not talk to them.  In addition to the large rotating antenna (five element yagi) for satellite communication, they had di-pole antennas strung up all over the park and generators running all the equipment.  I asked how they got the antennas up in the 100 foot trees.  “With an air gun and a weighted tennis ball” was the answer.  Wish I had been there to see that!  What a great group of people.  They welcomed us right in and were happy to feed Myron dinner! 
The lock master promised to put coffee at 8:00 in the morning tomorrow, so not too early of a day.  Still, I am ready to hit the hay!
Oh, by the way, there was a cemetery in the middle of the park.  I am beginning to get used to such odd placement.
Love to all,

Dena

Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}36|44.738|N|076|20.478|W|Docked|{GEND}

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dismal Swamp Visitor Center

I love this place!!

We tied up behind 'Puff,' a sailboat we had heard on the radio in the Bahamas. Nice young couple, with fuel filter problems.  It's always something...

We checked in with the ever courteous and helpful ladies at the Welcome Center and found out they now broadcast wifi.  Just sign in with the ladies and get the code.  We crossed the canal bridge to attend the nature exhibit with all sorts of information about the Great Dismal Swamp and canal.  The canal was proposed before the Revolutionary War.  Sixty years later George Washington participated in making it come about.  His lumber land in the swamp may have been a source of motivation!

It is always fun to talk to the folks who stop here by car (it is also a highway rest stop) and are so surprised to see a big sailboat at the park's edge.  Another cruiser and I talked to one man for quite some time.  His wife came up shaking her head.  She did not have the car keys or her cell phone and was baffled by his disappearance until she spied the sailboat masts across the park.  She figured she would find him there, talking stories.

I have managed to get some kind of horrible coughing illness.  Myron and Tyler put up with my heavy coughing and lack of desire to cook.  Hopefully today we will find that same Mexican Food restaurant open that we attended two years back, and they can fill up.

Love to all,
Dena


Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}36|30.392|N|076|21.348|W|Docked|{GEND}

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elizabeth City Update

Things have changed over the last 1.5 years since we have been here.  The ice cream shop is closed, that great deli closed, and the Fresh Market grocery no longer comes to the waterfront to pick people up for shopping.  That is the down side.  The upside: Still a free dock for 48 hours, the volunteer, Gus, is still around (Sam is not so mobile these days), you can still get water here, the visitor center gives you a code to the restroom, the museum is great, and Quality Seafood restaurant is still doing a good business!

It was a good stay.  Wednesday I did four loads of laundry and got some help from Myron folding and carting it back to the boat.  We attended the Wednesday night potluck at First Baptist Church and caught up with Pastor Chris and his wife, Jennel.  And we had a super plus with our stay here:  the cold front passage brought 60 degree weather.  What a blessed relief!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will begin our two day journey up the Dismal Swamp Canal.  It is one of our favorite passages.  Not sure about internet coverage in the next couple of stops, maybe cell coverage.  It is what it is!

Love to all,
Dena

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Elizbeth City


Posted via WiFi.
{GMST}36|17.921|N|076|13.099|W|Docked|{GEND}

Monday, June 17, 2013

South Lake - off Alligator River

Today was a long haul, but worth it because we are positioned to cross the Albemarle Sound tomorrow and go up to Elizabeth City. Assuming the weather holds. We got a thunderstorm shortly after anchoring. It cools off the temperature outside. Once it stops raining we can cool it off inside. We remember the Alligator River for its aggressive yellow biting flies. They are still here, but kept at bay by our screens.

This anchorage is void of any obvious residences, and likewise void of cell phone service. Our neighboring anchored boat is using Nexus and getting service. No joy with T-Mobile or Virgin Mobile. Myron dug out our old Verizon phone and it shows a bar! Maybe we will put a couple bucks on that service! Always a struggle in our travels to communicate. We thank God for our Ham radio!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}35|55.048|N|075|54.804|W|Anchored South Lake|{GEND}

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pungo Creek

So I am wondering...is there ever a day on the Pamlico Sound without a small craft advisory? At least we did not see 30 knots today, just 20. Soon enough we were off the sound and turning into Pungo River toward our protected anchorage here in Pungo Creek.

In Ocracoke, we managed to finally meet Liz and Devin on "Moosetracks," a 45' Island Packet. They are friends of Bruce and Gina's and Gina has been trying to introduce us since last December back in the Bahamas! Yesterday the five of us hiked trails and the Ocracoke lighthouse. We went our separate ways this morning. When they hailed us on channel 16, our friends on Motu overhead and joined in the radio conversation. Always nice to know you have friends out there, somewhere, lurking on the radio!

We are headed north, mostly, to Elizabeth City and hope to be there around Tuesday...just in case any of our crazy friends feel like driving a few hundred miles to meet up with us!

Once again, we have no cell coverage here and are dependent upon our Ham radio.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}35|30.575|N|076|38.911|W|Anchored Pungo Creek|{GEND}

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ocracoke

We set out early yesterday morning, knowing the winds would kick up later in the day. About an hour after we left the anchorage we heard a weather alert that at noon the winds would be up to 30 knots. That was five knots more and three hours earlier than had just been forecast. We planned to be through the shoal area and inside the harbor before the winds kicked up the seas too much. Oh well. As Myron says, "it is what it is." We had no idea so many vehicle ferrys came to this place. We had to do a quick turn around at the entrance while one came out. In 30 knots of wind, it was a bit stressful. There was no room at the park service dock, so we anchored out with a few other boats. There is not that much room for anchoring and I have seen better holding. We rode out three thunderstorms last night, the first one finished about 10 pm, the second about 1:30 am, and the last one around 4 am. Suffice to say, today we needed some rest. We saw an opening on the park service dock and took it this morning. It was supposed to be cheap. By cheap, we think about $20/day. It is, rather, $1.25/foot/day and $3.00/day for electric. Still, it allows us to take long walks and leave Hold Fast secure at dock.

The visitor center materials showed some museums, exhibits and possible food markets. We hit all of those, paying special attention to the Blackbeard Exhibit, and grabbed an ice cream on the way back. The winds are not favorable for leaving here in the next day or two. We have no cell service again, and the internet is off and on. We will do our best to communicate.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}35|06.927|N|075|59.167|W|Underway|{GEND}

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

South River Update

South River has proven to be a quiet anchorage. We have only seen two commercial boats come through in as many days. As I mentioned before, it is a new stop for us, chosen for its proximity to our route to Ocracoke and also to get out of the strong winds. Now there are other reasons to choose it! Yesterday we launched the dinghy, sped across this huge river to an old graveyard. It was interesting to read the old tombstones, some were confederate soldiers. People did not live very long. We thought there was a ghost town nearby and hiked all around, but could not find it. No signs either of sasquatch, just deer, raccoon and bear.

We need to wait one more day for the winds to calm before we attempt the channel into Ocracoke for the first time. Today will be another day of catching up on rest. Hopefully we can get in another walk, this time on the other side of the river. The only drawback to this anchorage is the lack of internet or phone service for both Tyler and our phones. We are updating our blog and communicating via our Ham radio.

This has been a big adjustment for Tyler, moving on to a boat. Limited space, a lack of privacy, and rules, rules, rules about things he would normally not have to think about. We see he is now relaxing more, and were happy to see him take an interest in the old graveyard. We look forward to taking him to new interesting sites. We just need to wait on weather. Yet another lesson in adaptation!

We have shrimped ourselves out, or at least I done for a while. Last night we had them BBQ'd on skewers wrapped in bacon. It was tasty! I cleaned and froze the remainder of the shrimp and will probably break out a roast for tonight, partly out of morbid curiosity to see how long it will last.

Love to all,
Dena

Monday, June 10, 2013

South River - North Carolina

This is our first time in this spot. We have strong winds from the south/southwest and expect them all through the night. It is nice of God to give us this natural air conditioning.

I am glad we are not still on the ocean. Riddle me this: How do you tame an eating machine? You take him to sea. Poor Tyler. Once Myron could see Tyler had a problem, it took a while for the patch to kick in. It is no fun being sick within the first four hours of a 48+ hour trip. The patch finally kicked in and Tyler slept for about 24 hours. But he could not sleep below. He could muster through if he stayed in the cockpit. He was so looking forward to going to sea…then he was so looking forward to getting back on land. Tyler did manage to fish and catch a small mahi mahi. It was too small to keep though. They are such a pretty fish. Once we made it into Beaufort inlet, Tyler did much better. I am surprised that I am eager to see his appetite return! I doubt Tyler will experience any further motion sickness short trips with have left. Some trips will be on sounds, others on rivers and canals.

We are all fine and looking forward to a shower, a good meal, a movie and getting some rest. That means I need to go and get dinner started.

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}34|57.034|N|076|34.405|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Position Update

Well it was a rough night but we are almost there should arrive Morehead city by noon.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}34|23.542|N|076|56.688|W|Underway|{GEND}

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Position Report

We had a good day of motor-sailing and are currently sailing in 15-20 knots of wind.
ETA Morehead City is 10am tomorrow.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}33|32.132|N|077|52.704|W|Underway|{GEND}

Position update

We had a good night not a lot of freighter traffic which is nice winds died around 1 am so still motoring.
ETA: Tomorrow morning.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}33|01.985|N|078|49.821|W|Underway|{GEND}

Saturday, June 8, 2013

All is well

We are moving right along boat and crew doing fine.
ETA the same.
Next update will be tomorrow morning.
Myron

Posted via Ham Radio.
{GMST}32|18.569|N|080|09.941|W|Underway|{GEND}

We are underway

Hold Fast and crew left Thunderbolt Marine at 9:15 this morning headed for Morehead City.
Eta the morning of the 10th
Myron

Posted via 3g.
{GMST}32|02.121|N|080|52.283|W|Underway|{GEND}

Friday, June 7, 2013

All is Well

We are just fine.  Andrea passed over us about 5 am, a little later than originally forecast.  She was pretty beat up from traveling over land...all a part of the plan.  We were bumpy here most of the night, with the worst about 3 am.  After Andrea went over, the winds came out of the west - calming things down in here nicely.  When we started stirring this morning, the rain had stopped and the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Fairy had visited Hold Fast.  That was the first time Tyler got up without any prodding!

We met some new folks on the dock, always something to look forward to when we have to come in.  John and Trish on 'Mariah,' a 42' Morgan, do not eat doughnuts.  It was a bumper day for Tyler.  John and Trish rented a car today.  Trish and I were going to make a provisioning run, until John proceeded to hand Trish the car keys and they sprang out of his pocket, flew through the air and dove right through a hole in the dock at the piling.  He could not have accomplished that if he tried.  As a result, me, Tyler and Myron caught a bus and did some shopping.  While waiting for our return bus, we saw their rental car go by on a flatbed truck.  It had to go to the dealer for a new key and fob.  They should have a car by the close of business today.  Myron thought only stuff like that happened to us.

I am doing a few loads of laundry while I can, and have asked Myron and Tyler to get a couple more pounds of shrimp.  Trish spied a shrimper coming in this morning.

Lord willing, we will get fuel tomorrow and head out the Savannah River to the ocean.  It will take approximately two days at sea to get to Beaufort, NC.  If the weather allows (thunderstorms inhibit our ability to broadcast on the Ham radio), we will post position reports so you can track our progress.

Love to all,
Dena

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thunderbolt Marina - Georgia



We had a nice sleep last night, no big winds or rain showers like the night before.  Not that it bothers Tyler, he has proven that he can sleep through it all.  I say, in the words of Martha Stuart…”it’s a good thing.”

We got an early start and just after 11 am we were tied up on an outside dock at Thunderbolt Marina.  Knowing that the rain will continue to increase in intensity, we set out to get some eats.  On our way back we bought some freshly caught shrimp at $8/pound.  We bought all he had left, just under four pounds.  We will be back for more if the shrimpers keep working during this time of foul weather.

The center of tropical storm Andrea should pass us by about 1 am Friday.  It will not be as intense as what we went through with hurricane Irene back in 2011.  The rain is expected to be around all day and increase, dampening our desire to walk around the marina or town.  We may stay here two days while we wait for the weather to dry out, then we hope to head out to sea.  You can keep current on the storm’s track through NOAA’s website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.  Just click on “Atlantic,” then click on “Andrea,” and then click on the “Interactive Map” to see the track as forecast.  The interactive track allows you to zoom in for a little more detail.  We are in Thunderbolt, which is east and a little south of Savannah, both cities of which are in Chatham County.

If you are worried, please pray.  God will give you the same peace of mind He has given us!

On a side note for Noah, Tyler’s brother:  The “ICW” is the Intercoastal Waterway.  It is a system of rivers, sounds (like big bays) and canals that allow vessels to transit up and down the Atlantic coast without going out to sea.  The Pacific coast does not have one.  Good question Noah, some other folks may have been wondering the same thing.

I am going to get some rest, then I think it is curried shrimp for dinner.  Already time to feed the eating machine again!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via WiFi 
{GMST}32|01.490|N|081|02.812|W|Slip|{GEND}

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cane Patch Creek off Pine Island

We got an early start this morning to make sure we would transit Mud River at or near high tide. We are glad we did. The tide swing was about 7 feet and we saw depths as low as 10 and 11 feet. We would have been high and dry at low tide. From what Myron has read, we just finished the worst part of the ICW, but we have nearly accomplished our short-term goal of securing ourselves somewhere for the passage of a low, which now stands a 100% chance of becoming a tropical storm.

I grit my teeth and find the ICW tedious, but I must admit - or rather proclaim - that the anchorages we have selected, last night and tonight, have been quite spectacular. Pine Island to the south and west of us has a close wooded area and one further away with huge pine trees, at least 80 feet tall. The lush green banks take over in where the woods end. We cannot hear any noise of civilization. Last night we were anchored all alone. Tonight there is a trawler on another fork of the Bear Creek River. We can see them, but they are not close at all. Just now, when I was reading a book about a storm (probably not a good idea right now), I heard loud splashing behind the boat. I turned around and saw a huge turtle surface swimming to Hold Fast. I called out to the guys but no one else got to see it. I was wondering if it planned to board us!

I am sure we will go to bed at a decent time tonight as we want to be at the Thunderbolt Marina on the edge of Savannah just after noon. We will tie up to the dock for the low to pass. If all goes according to plan, we will head out Friday morning to go north on the ocean with a planned destination of Beaufort, NC. Those are plans, plans change because of weather. If 'Andrea,' the name they would give the storm if it indeed develops, could change those plans.

I will let Myron post this now as I want to get back out to the cockpit and enjoy the view. Some of our friends would understand this phrase: "it is a very squatchy area!"

Love to all,
Dena

Posted via WiFi
{GMST}31|49.004|N|081|08.173|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Broughton Island

We managed to have an early breakfast at T-Rays.  It is always nice not to have to cook a meal and clean up.  Myron had been up early reviewing weather forecasts.  What kept him awake was a low south of us that had a 30% chance of turning into a tropical storm.  This put a monkey wrench in our plans to sail outside, therefore, after prayer and discussion, we set out around 9 am to head north and somewhat inland.  While our goal is North Carolina, it is the journey we should cherish.  We make plans and trust that God has a reason for re-arranging them.   

We strongly considered anchoring early at the north end of Cumberland Island, but we were chased by thunderstorms all day.  I am always amazed how God seems to part them for us.  

We dropped anchor in this wide stream after 6 pm.  We have eaten dinner, showered and are ready to hit the hay since we will have a very early start to traverse the shallow Mud River at high tide.  Tyler is now sitting in the cockpit, which is closed up due to rain, and watching the lightening storm, calling out distance and direction.  I used to love thunderstorms when I lived in Phoenix.  Living on a boat is a different story!
 
No Jen (Tyler's mom), we are not letting Tyler hold a graphite fishing pole while he watches the lightening!

Love to all,
 Dena

Posted by 3G 
{GMST}31|18.687|N|081|24.492|W|Anchored|{GEND}

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fernandina Beach

We set off from the Sister's Creek dock early and were on a mooring at Fernandina Beach before noon.  Our plan was to get a hamburger at T-Ray's, a former gas station/burger joint.  They only sell propane now but it still allows them to advertise their slogan "Eat here, get gas!"  The menu was varied.  We all had some form of a burger.  We were so full we decided the only solution was a nap.  Tyler likes naps, he will fit right in.

Tyler likes Fernandina.  As I have mentioned before, we do too.  We had hoped to dinghy back in for an ice cream later.  What we got later was a pretty impressive line of thunderstorms.  Tyler's first T-storm on a boat.  It is near impossible to take pictures in the midst of all that, so he will just have to tell others about it in his own words.  
 
I am thankful that the life jackets did not fly out of the dinghy during the storm.  We will have to pump the water out of it before we use it again in the morning. Such is boating life!

Love to all,
Dena

Posted by 3G 
{GMST}30|40.243|N|081|28.148|W|Moored|{GEND}

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sister’s Creek Dock

We were at the OYCM dock just short of three weeks.  It was enough to do some visiting, get a few projects and some administrative stuff done, and to collect Tyler.  Tyler is a 15 year old who belongs to David and Jen.  They are dear friends we met in ministry service in Phoenix 10+ years ago and we have stayed in touch ever since.

Tyler has been deep sea fishing, but this is his first time on a sailboat.  He seems to be adapting well.  Myron already taught him some of our most commonly used knots, a pre-start engine/transmission check, and what we do on rounds.  He is learning that everyone has jobs to do, that we have to work around each other, and that there probably is no such thing as personal space on a boat.  He is also learning how hot and humid it is here.  We are glad to have him and hope he has the time of his life.

We missed our weather window for sailing north on the outside.  As a result, we will take our time and find things to do around Fernandina Beach and Cumberland Island.  Hopefully a window will open up as we are not big fans of that many miles on the ICW.

Today was a short day, just from OYCM to Sister’s Creek dock.  Paul met up with us in Gretel and rode along for the last hour or so, then helped us by catching lines at the dock.  He walked around the park with us, and then set back for OYCM in Gretel.  It will take him a couple hours to get back and I imagine he will get rained upon.  Just after Paul left we were boarded by FWC.  They were only interested in our waste water system and put tablets in our toilets.  I thought they might ask for vessel documentation, but the only other question was about weapons.  It was over in a matter of minutes.  One of the guys wanted to come to the Chesapeake with us, or at least he indicated that his wife would like him to get on a boat and leave.

The guys are out BBQ'ing chicken now.  We are all a bit tired and probably ready to shower and hit the sheets after dinner.

Love to all,

Dena

Posted by 3G 
{GMST}30|23.887|N|081|27.475|W|Docked|{GEND}