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,

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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!),

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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,