Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Start of the 2021-2022 Cruise

We have started our winter cruise but I have been lax in posting.

We arrived back in Clubfoot Creek the end of September.  The next weekend we moved across the river to Oriental to take in the Ol' Front Porch Music Festival with friends from the area.  Unfortunately part of the festival was rained out but otherwise it was a great time with good music and friends.  When in Oriental in the spring we had ordered a new mainsail telling them we would pick it up when we got back in the fall.  We called the sail loft to let them know we were back.  That afternoon they met us at the dock and bent on our new sail.  It is a vast improvement.  After the weekend we moved up to Broad Creek and tied up at Jerry and Donna's (from Blue Jacket) dock to work on some projects.  The new mainsail was too stiff to fit into the sailcover.  When Cori made the sailcover she allowed for a new sail being larger and it was a relatively easy modification.  While the sewing machine was out she went into production on the bags she makes and got many completed.  We were at the dock for over two weeks working on projects and provisioning for the season in the Bahamas.  Next we moved back to Clubfoot Creek and continued with preparations.  We spent another week getting ready and trying to stay warm.  A cold front had moved in and the winds were blowing hard from the north for several days with the temperatures staying in the 50's and the low 40's at night.  Doesn't sound like much but you must remember that we do not have a heater onboard.  It was cold and uncomfortable.

We had been monitoring the weather forecasts hoping for a straight shot offshore to the Bahamas but the opportunity never came.  It would take 4-5 days and there was never a long enough stretch of good weather coming to make the trip.  Finally the winds died and on Monday November 8th, Cori's birthday, we pulled anchor and headed down the waterway to Morehead City where we planned to spend the night and head out in the morning.  We arrived around 3:00 and as we looked for an anchorage there was another boat getting underway to Florida.  We called them and asked for a report of the conditions when they got out.  We anchored and they reported back that conditions were very comfortable.  We spent an hour finishing getting the boat ready for an offshore trip and pulled the anchor.  We planned on going to Fernandina Beach which is on the Florida/Georgia border since the weather forecast was saying that it would get uncomfortable after that.  We started out with light winds and when they came up later we were able to sail until they dropped again.  We did a combination of sailing, motoring and motor-sailing the rest of the trip.  On Wednesday we worked out that at our current speed we would arrive during the night.  We prefer not making a nighttime landfall so we decided to continue on to St Augustine, an additional fifty miles fighting a light headwind.  We arrived mid-day and dropped anchor by the old fort.  We traveled four hundred miles in seventy-two hours and were looking foreword to a long nap.  We spent two days in St Augustine and on Sunday morning we pulled anchor and headed out again.

We had decided to work our way down the coast to Lake Worth at Palm Beach to be ready for a jump off to the Bahamas when the opportunity arose.  Again, we did a combination of sailing and motoring overnight and into Monday.  We  then made a decision to stop at Ft Pierce since we were fighting a strong headwind.  We spent the next day on the boat while the wind blew and went ashore the next day to check out downtown Ft Pierce.  We also caught up with Unplugged who we had met in Fort Myers last winter.  Thursday morning we pulled anchor and moved to the marina to top off our fuel and water.  We elected to take the ICW down to Lake Worth and once topped off we headed out.  We stopped for the night and anchored just before the rain moved in.  It rained most of the night and the next morning.  We pulled anchor around noon and continued on.  The rain held off until we got to Jupiter and then it let loose.  We were moving south, the rain was blowing from the north and was blowing into the cockpit getting everything wet and uncomfortable.  The stretch between Ft Pierce and Lake Worth has seven bridges that you have to go through, some on a schedule and others on-demand, never any fun.  We continued to make our way south until we reached North Palm Beach.  Instead of continuing the last couple of miles to Lake Worth we turned off into one of the canals and tied up at a friends dock to wait for the chance to jump off for the Bahamas.

We will be staying here through Thanksgiving and are hoping that the forecast is favorable to make the move over the weekend.  First there are some things that need to be taken care of.  The Bahamas have changed requirements and procedures for admittance to their country and we can now take care of that over the Internet.  We also have to have a negative Covid test within five days of arrival.  Assuming a Sunday departure we have scheduled the tests for Saturday.

That's what we have been up to.  Hopefully the next report will be from somewhere in the Bahamas.

Monday, October 4, 2021

We Have Closed the Circle - Again

We have closed the circle once again.  We arrived back in Clubfoot Creek, off the Neuse River, where we started this seasons trip back in June.

After the second trip to South Dakota we spent another week at the dock in Barrett Creek off of the Wicomico River.  We had a few things to take care of once we were back and then waited for some weather to move out.  On Friday we slipped the lines again and started out motoring down the river to the Chesapeake Bay.  We tried sailing but with the winds light behind us we just sailed with the main slowly to Deltaville.  We were in no hurry and didn't want to burn the fuel.  We anchored for the night and started out early the next morning.  We started with all sails up but could not keep them from collapsing so we dropped them and hoisted the spinnaker.  We sailed at about four knots for several hours and then the wind dropped even lower, we were back to motoring.  We continued on until we reached Point Comfort at Hampton VA where we dropped anchor for the night.  In the morning we heard the noise of flogging sails and looked out to find were were near the starting line for a sailboat race.  They continued to maneuver around the anchored boats until the start signal was sounded and they were off.  Eventually we pulled anchor and started off, we were planning a short day only going to the free dock at The Great Bridge in Chesapeake City.  The Great Bridge is in reference to a battle during the Revolutionary War that forced the British to retreat from the Norfolk area.  It is popular with the cruisers because the city has built docks that we can tie up to for the night at no cost.  We caught up with our friends Jim and Laurie on Kismet.  We had talked to them many times on the SSB radio but had not seen them since Florida last winter.

The next morning we moved to the other side of the river to top off the fuel and water then headed out with several other boats for the long motor trip down the ICW to the Albemarle River.  A lot of boats stop at Coinjock for the night and take advantage of their restaurant which serves a very good prime rib but we continued on to the mouth of the North River to anchor for the night before crossing the Albemarle.  We stayed an extra day to give the winds a chance to shift since we didn't want to beat into a headwind.  The next day we were up before sunrise to get started.  The winds had shifted and had dropped so we were again motoring.  We crossed the river and continued up the Alligator River to the Aligator-Pungo Canal.  This is a twenty mile canal that has been dredged to connect the two rivers as part of the ICW.  Once in the Pungo River we chose a spot and anchored for the night in time to watch the sun set..  It was a long seventy mile day.  The next morning we were up early again and continued along the ICW until we reached the Neuse River and continued upriver reaching Clubfoot Creek mid afternoon.  We dropped anchor and the circle was completed.  We are back at our starting point.

How was the season?  It had it's up's and down's.  We did not go as far this year as we had planned.  The sudden death of Cori's Dad caused us to stop while in Connecticut and then the plans for a second trip to South Dakota meant we had to start our way back early.  We had planned to make it to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket this season.  We had planned to be back in North Carolina the beginning of October so we had to turn around before we had expected.

By boat we traveled 1507 nautical miles, or 1734 statute miles.  Nautical miles are just a little longer than land miles.  This is about the same distance as traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles, but we do it at about seven miles an hour.  Anyone on a good bicycle could beat us.

What's next?  We will be in the North Carolina area for a few weeks or a month getting ready.  We have a bit of business to take care of while we are here, we will talk about that later. We had ordered a new mainsail from a loft in Oriental before we started out and will be going there to pick it up.  After all these years of making do with our old sail it will be exciting to have a new one to play with.  The provisioning has already started.  We are hoping to spend the winter in the Bahamas again.  If the Covid restrictions are too severe we will spend it in Florida again.  If we are going to the Bahamas we need to have about six months of provisions onboard when we leave.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Long Island, South Dakota and back to the Chesapeake

We are back in the Chesapeake Bay after a run part way up Long Island Sound and a trip to South Dakota.

We left Port Washington and moved up Long Island to Port Jefferson.  We had a slow sail but we were in no hurry.  The net morning we pulled anchor again and moved up the Sound to Old Saybrook CT.  With light winds we were able to fly our spinnaker again.  We picked up a mooring at the North Cove Yacht Club.  They have visitors moorings and we are able to use one of the other moorings if the owner is gone.  We stayed for a couple of days relaxing and sightseeing in the small town.  Unfortunately the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Center was not open but we did find a bar for beers and burgers.  From Old Saybrook we moved to to Mason Island and anchored for several days.  Mason Island is the closest we were able to anchor Mystic CT home of the Mystic Seaport Museum.  Marinas in this area are out of our price range so we anchored and dinghied into town.  We skipped the museum since we had been there previously but checked out some shops including the marine consignment shop looking for good deals on things we don't need.  I did buy a new pair of sailing gloves.  We did pick up some pastries from a shop that is now famous for winning some cooking show, and yes they were delicious.  We also skipped eating at Mystic Pizza, the inspiration of the movie with the same name staring Julia Roberts.  The forecast was for rain the next couple of days so we hunkered down on the boat with one short excursion to shore to check out an old church and it's gardens.  A lot of work was put into building the stone church and buildings and maintaining the many flower gardens.  While waiting out the rain I took the opportunity to work on the watermaker.  It had stopped making water and several years ago I had damaged one of the poppets while I had it apart.  I had ordered replacements but never got around to replacing it.  Once I had it apart I found the small spring I had damaged and replaced in Granada had rusted away.  The original and the new replacements are stainless steel.  Once back together everything seems to be working.

On Friday, the 6th we were ready to pull anchor and head to Newport when Cori got a phone call.  Her Dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly that morning.  We needed to get back to South Dakota.  We started back down the Sound looking for solutions of how to get back and where to leave Hi Flite.  We checked many options and decided to check with the Yacht Club in Old Saybrook to use a mooring.  They didn't have an opening but suggested we call Old Lyme Marina a little further up the river.  We called and they had a mooring we could rent for a couple of weeks.  While motoring to the marina we made arrangements for a rental car to pick us up and sorted out what to bring with us and what to leave.  We packed everything up and when the rental car arrived we loaded up and started our drive.  Cori made arrangements with her brother who lives near Richmond that we would pick him up and the three of us drive nonstop to South Dakota.

I won't go into detail but we spent two weeks with her family dealing with everything.  This also gave us a chance to look at the property we had bought.  A couple of weeks prior we had bought, sight unseen, ten acres of undeveloped property in the Black Hills.  We had seen pictures and videos her sister had sent us but this was the first time seeing it in person.  It is everything we had hoped for.

At the end of the two weeks we had to get back to the boat.  There was a hurricane coming.  It had been decades since New England had taken a direct hit from a hurricane and Henri was on a course to give us a direct hit.  We moved to a different mooring to get better protection from the winds, took down the cockpit enclosure, took down the headsail and tied down the other sails.  Everything we had learned from previous hurricanes in North Carolina.  Now it was time to wait and see how bad it would get.  The storm was forecast to hit Sunday during the day which is better than hitting at night.  During the night Saturday the storm took a slight jog to the east and came in at Block Island and Newport instead.  We just had some winds in the 20's with gusts in the 30's and a lot of rain.  We had gotten very lucky.  The marina had been kind to us by checking on Hi Flite while we were gone, moving us to a stronger more protected mooring and not charging us for the extra days.  We cannot say enough about how great we were treated by Old Lyme Marina and staff.  We will defiantly be back.

Once the storm was over we had decided to work our way back and find a place to put Hi Flite up for a couple of weeks over Labor Day while we go back to South Dakota.  We were looking for a good weather window to get back to the Chesapeake.  We had a couple of days to wait so we sailed across the Sound to Sag Harbor on Long Island.  We spent a day sight seeing in Sag Harbor including the whaling museum.  At this point we decided that instead of waiting several days for a weather window we would move back down the Sound and go through New York City and jump off from there.  We moved out of Sag Harbor and spent the night at a small anchorage and the next day we made the long jump to Port Washington, a seventy mile day.  The next day we toped off the fuel and water and made our way down the East River through NYC to an anchorage near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  We spent the night and as the sun came up we started the trip to the  Chesapeake.  There had been some storms come through and the seas were a little rough but we had a good wind to sail with until it died in the afternoon.  From then on we motored through the night.  The next day, Monday, we continued motoring with the wind on the nose until in the afternoon the wind shifted and we were able to sail again.  All was going well but we were getting warnings on the radio for severe storms.  After dark we could see the clouds building and the lightning flashing.  We decided to drop the mainsail and roll up the headsail and continue motoring.  Soon we had lightning flashing all around us and the winds kicked up with gust in the 40's and sustained in the 30's with heavy rain.  Once the front had passed it calmed down but the seas were getting rougher.  As we were approaching the mouth of the Chesapeake the second wave hit us with sustained winds in the 30's on the nose and we were pounding into the waves with many of them breaking on deck.  We managed to work our way into the harbor and when we started our turn north it stated to calm down.  We were making a turn north instead  of going to Norfolk because we had made arrangements to leave Hi Flite with friends off of the Bay up the Great Wicomico River.  We continued the rest of the night and started up the river after sunrise.  We arrived after fifty-one hours of motoring and sailing 303 nautical miles.  We planned to anchor her out while we were gone but when we arrived our friends Tom and Sandy had us tie up to their dock while their boat is in the boatyard.

Cori's brother will be coming to pick us up and we will make the trip back to South Dakota and spend some more time with her family.  When we return we will continue back to North Carolina where we will pick up the new mainsail we had ordered earlier.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Worked Our Way to Long Island Sound

 We have worked our way up to Long Island Sound with a combination of sailing and motoring. We spent the Fourth of July in Annapolis taking in the parade and later the fireworks.  We had one mishap, we had a storm come through and the signal flags got caught in the wind generator.  Once everything had calmed down I got the bosuns chair out and Cori hoisted me up the mizzen mast to unwrap it.  No damage done, luckily.  We pulled anchor on the 6th and continued our trip.

We headed up the Chesapeake with a light wind behind which gave us a nice ride flying the spinnaker.  We stopped for the night and the next day with no wind we motored to the Sassafras River.  There was a tropical storm working it's way up the cost and we were forecast to be on the edge of it.  Using local knowledge from our friends on SV Minx we anchored in a nice scenic and protected spot.  We were next to Mt Harmon Plantation which is a historical site built in 1788.  We took the opportunity to tour the site and also get a better cell signal to make some calls.  The storm didn't amount to much since we were on the outer edge.  After several days we pulled anchor and moved up to the Bohamia River Where SV Minx is moored.  First thing on our agenda was a trip to the marina for ice cream.  It is HOT!  Ice cream doesn't keep in our freezer so it is always a treat on a hot day.  The next day after a quick visit with Jay on Minx, some maintenance on the engine and watermaker we decided to pull anchor and continue.  By waiting we were able to catch a favorable current through the Chesapeake/Delaware Canal.  Once in the Delaware River we started our way down river until evening when we anchored for the night.  The next morning we continued on to Cape May where we were going to anchored for several days waiting for favorable winds to continue.

The next morning the forecasts were showing that we wouldn't get a favorable wind until the end of the week and since the winds were calm we decided to head out and motor to Atlantic City and spend the night. We always say that we do not buddy boat well.  Buddy boating is when you join up with another or several other boats and travel together.  As long as everyone agrees.  Our problem is that we will change plans at any time.  We decided that it was too early to stop for the day and we wouldn't have wind the next day so we decided to continue on overnight to Atlantic Highlands.  The trip continued without a problem until the fog moved in.  We were already using our radar to monitor boat traffic around us during the night and once we approached the harbor entrance we were able to use it to monitor the boats and the buoys leading us in.  As we approached the anchorage we decided to drop anchor early and wait for the fog to lift before moving into the anchorage.  After lunch the fog cleared enough to move and we dropped anchor next to the mooring field.  The next morning it was dead calm and the boats at anchor were drifting aimlessly on their anchors.  We heard a strange noise and found that we and the boat next to us had drifted close enough that their dinghy was bumping us.  We fended them off and decided to re-anchor a little further away.  Once the anchor was up we decided to move to the fuel dock and take on fuel and water rather then wait for later.  Once anchored again we launched the dinghy and went to shore to make a grocery run.  Friday morning is when they have their farmers market.  About five years ago when we were here we hit the market and bought some pickles from one of the venders.  Once we left and I tried the pickles I was disappointed that I didn't buy more.  The pickle vendor was here and after sampling several we left with five quarts and I still wanted to buy more.  Saturday was the annual Craft Fair and we made it to that also.  We were getting some quick rain showers each day and Sunday we took the opportunity to do a little more maintenance.  Cori got in the water and worked her way around the boat cleaning the waterline and I changed the oil and filter.  I try to change it every 150 hours and it was overdue with all of the motoring we were doing.  The next day we pulled anchor and moved across the Lower Bay and into New York Harbor.  We motored up the Hudson River past the Statue of Liberty and dropped anchor next to Ellis Island for the night with a view of lower Manhattan.  The anchorage had a bit of a roll with the wind and currents changing and the wakes from the many ferry's and other boats going by.  In the evening it calmed down a lot for a quiet night.  In the morning the city was blanketed with smoke from the Canadian forest fires.

Our next move was to go up the East River to Long Island Sound.  There is a narrow area where the Harlem River joins the East River called Hell Gate that is a problem.  The current can run over four knots and if you are in a sailboat going five knots it is a slow and very rough ride.  It is important to time your transit so that the current is with you.  We hung out for the morning and after lunch we made our move going up the East River.  The trip starts by going past the Battery and the Financial District, under the Brooklyn Bridge, going past the UN Building and the watching the city skyline.  We caught about a three knot current at Hell Gate and were swiftly moved up the river to Long Island Sound.  Our destination was Port Washington.  Port Washington is what we call a "cruiser friendly town".  They have most of the services we need, offer free moorings for your first night, a water taxi to take you to shore, and several docks to tie up to when you bring your dinghy in.  We have stayed here before.  One of our plans was to take the train from here into the city for some sightseeing.  The more we talked about it we decided to forgo the trip until later, either on the return trip or next season.  We have made several trip into town for groceries, the farmers market, hardware store and to take care of some banking.

We plan to stay for a couple more days then start visiting locations along the Sound.  We have modified our plans to not go farther than Martha's Vineyard and possibly Nantucket before turning around and working our way back.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Annapolis for the Fourth of July

We are in Annapolis MD waiting for the fireworks on the Fourth of July. How did we get here you may be asking?

We left Clubfoot Creek with plans to motor/sail to Belhaven NC for the night.  We moved along rapidly and we chose to motor through the Alligator-Pungo Canal and anchor at the other end by sundown.  The next day we continued on in the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway) passing through Coinjock and picking a deep spot off the Waterway to anchor for the night.  At first light the next morning we pulled anchor and continued motoring to Norfolk.  By starting early and continuing late we were able to cut a day off the trip.  We arrived in Norfolk and anchored at Hospital Pont.  We were very surprised to find that our friends on Heavy Metal were in Hampton and were coming down to Norfolk.  We had last seen them in St Lucia three years ago.  It was really good to get together with them again.  We stayed in Norfolk for a few days and then moved up to Hampton to get ready to start up the Chesapeake Bay.  The next morning we started up the Bay stopping for the night in a little bay with a beach.  In the morning we dinghied ashore to check out the beach since it was part of a nature preserve.  Not finding much for shells, etc. we moved on up to Reedville.  Reedville is a small community that was the center for menhaden fishing.  Menhaden are a fish that are processed for its oil and the remaining product is used for fertilizer and feed.  If you are using fish oil for anything it is a good chance that it is menhaden oil.  At it's heyday there were eighteen processing plans but are now down to one.  We toured a very good museum explaining the history of area and the fishing.  From there we moved up the Great Wicomico River to visit with Tom and Sandy on Ananya.  They have a house here and a dock that will hold both of our boats.  We have a single-sideband radio and report in on several nets.  Tom and Sandy also check in regularly and invited us up when we got to the area.  We had a nice visit and look foreword to running into them as we both continue our travels.  From here we moved up to the Solomon's, and anchored up one of the creeks away from the marinas.  On the way up we were having a great spinnaker run and overtook Heavy Metal who were also going to the Solomon's.  We were surprised to get a call from our old friend Francie from Release and then Both Sides Now, letting us know she was in the area.  We have not seen her since before our last trip to the Bahamas. We were able to get together for breakfast and a visit while she was in town.  

From the Solomon's we jumped across the Bay and motored up the Choptank River to St Michaels.  We had toured the east side of the Bay one other time but did not come up as far as St Michaels.  We anchored in a small creek on the backside of town avoiding the congestion of the main harbor.  Upon our arrival we were greeted by Ron and Dee from Ursa Minor, another boat we are familiar with on the ssb radio nets.  We spent several days here where I toured the extensive museum, Cori checked out the shops and farmers market and we found many places for lunch and beverages, not to mention ice cream.  Cori wanted to stop at Tilghman Island since someone she follows on Instagram is there and would be at the farmers market Sunday morning.  Saturday morning we moved to the island anchored in a cove a couple of miles away and dinghied in Sunday morning.  Cori was able to visit, buy some fresh vegetables and then we walked over to a very nice restaurant for lunch.  On the way back we stopped at the harbor so see some of the last skipjacks (a sailboat used to harvest oysters) that are still  actively harvesting oysters in the Bay.  The local museum was open so we stopped and got a guided tour learning about the area.

The next morning we motored down to go through the bridge at Knapp Narrows to eliminate having to go out around the island.  We use two sets of electronic charts when navigating and it was good that we do since my chartplotter showed a very different bottom then what we found once we got back into the Bay.  From there we had another good spinnaker run up to Annapolis.  We came into the harbor and passed through the drawbridge and anchored up Spa Creek.  Our neighbor, Stanley, stopped by to make sure we were familiar with the rules and where things are.  We are next too a park and checked out the hiking trail.  We dinghied down to see if Charlie and Anina from Prism were home, we had seen them last year when we were here and visited for a bit.  From there we decided to dinghy down to the main harbor and stop in for an ice cream.  They have a part of the waterfront called "Ego Alley" where people motor down and back showing their boats off to the people in the harbor area and the people dining and drinking at the outdoor bars.  I decided to use the dinghy dock at the end of ego alley since it was close to the ice cream shop and of course I wanted to show off my fancy dinghy.  All was going well until I ran out of gas in front of the biggest bar.  We got applause from the patrons.  I quickly refueled and went on to the ice cream shop.  We returned to the boat with no further incidents.  

Since we will be sitting here through the fourth Cori got out our signal flags and we "dressed ship" stringing the flags from bow to the top of the mast and then to the stern.  We have received many compliments from the people that paddle, row and motor by.

This morning Cori made a grocery run and I worked on the generator so we could give the batteries a good charging.  After the fourth we will continue up the Bay to the Chesapeake-Delaware canal continuing sown the river to Cape May.  From there we will continue on depending what the weather allows us to do.

Monday, May 31, 2021

We Are Ready to Travel

We are ready to begin our next season of travel.  We had a list of projects and things that needed to be done before we continued.  We have worked through most of the list and are ready to move on.

We were able to get a temporary slip in our old marina which made working on the boat much easier then being out on anchor.  Our good friend Vic also gave us use of his car for the many trips to town and the storage unit.  Thanks Vic!  The top of the list was to repair the floor in Hi Flite.  We had two areas that had water damage.  The floor in the v-berth had gotten wet and damaged from the water maker and an area in the salon had been damaged from a leak in one of the water tanks.  The floor is made up with two layers of plywood, the top having a teak and holly veneer.  Water had gotten into the plywood and caused it to separate.  I had hoped that I could remove the top layer and replace it.  I had planned to use marine plywood and to cover that with another surface rather then use the more expensive teak and holly.  There are a lot of new material being used in boats these days.  The first problem came when I found that whoever replaced the flooring in the salon had glued it down along with screwing it down.  I finally decided that I would cut out both layers in the affected area of the salon and only replace that area.  In the v-berth the damage wasn't as bad and I was able to remove the top layer and replace with a piece of marine grade plywood.  All of the plywood was given a coat of epoxy to prevent water damage in the future.  We were still having problems choosing what to use for the finish layer and decided that we could make that decision later.  On another trip to the home store we found a suitable carpet remnant that covered the area leaving enough to redo it if it got damaged.  The floor project is complete for now. 

Our dinghy is eventually our car and is our means to get back and forth from shore and to go exploring.  One day while putting the outboard motor on it I noticed where some cracks in the aluminum transom.  After that we used the 3.3 horse motor exclusively.  Once back in North Carolina we brought it to the dealer we had bought it from to see what could be done.  They submitted a warranty claim and made arrangements for a welder to come to us to make the repairs.  Pretty good customer service for a five year old dinghy.  It will feel good getting back to using the 15 horse motor to get around.

Cori had a number of sewing project and she was able to set up at our friends Wayne and Louise's house just up the creek to work on those.  We now have a cover for the kayak that will help protect it from the harsh uv-rays but now pictures of Hi Flite will not have a bright orange kayak on deck.  The fenders have new covers and she was able to help Wayne with one of his boat projects.

There were a number of smaller maintenance issues we took care of.  We sorted through most of the "stuff" we have on board and moved some of it to the storage unit.  We have a storage unit in the closest town to the marina.  Some of it will come back aboard since there are things we will need next winter when we go south again.

With most of the list completed we decided we are ready to continue.  We had been in the marina for two weeks and we need to move on.  Today, Monday the 31st, we untied the lines again and moved out of the marina.  We still need to stay in the area for another week so we decided to move up the river to New Bern.  We had a great sail with winds varying from 10-19 knots and set anchor in the Trent river.  We will be finalizing provisioning and preparing to move on.

Where are we going this season?  We have decided to work our way north to Chesapeake Bay and spend some time there.  From there we will head up to New York and work our way up Long Island Sound to Cape Cod with plans to visit Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.  We are still debating if we go through the Cape Cod Canal to Boston but feel that will be as far as we go this year.  Time and weather will make those decisions for us.  As usual we are keeping in mind that "plans are written in sand at low tide" and will be changed many times.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Closed the Circle

 We have closed the circle.  We are back in Clubfoot Creek where we started this traveling season in November.

Last update we were anchored off of No Name Harbor in Biscayne Bay.  The first morning we were rocked awake by fishing boats heading out stirring up some huge wakes.  We pulled anchor and moved into the inner harbor.  There was less room but no wakes to bounce us around.  We went ashore and did the walk around to the lighthouse and the beach.  We stopped for a beer at the cafĂ© but only one since they were charging $9.00 each.  In the morning I made the run to drop off the garbage and stopped to help a boat that was removing their headsail roller for repair.  They had tied up to the seawall and could use more hands.  Later we went back to help them put it all back together.  After that it was time to celebrate so we joined them, Dan and Nawal on Break A Weigh, Rob and Yvonne from As You Wish and Robbie from ? for drinks.  During the day we found that we were too close to the boats on the seawall and as others left we moved over to their spot to re-anchor.  We spent several days here, one which was taken up by a trip to the grocery store.  Rob had told us of a service called "Ride Freebee" that is a free taxi service using electric golf cart type vehicles.  We walked to the store, bought our groceries, had lunch then called them to pick us up.  Back at the harbor we tipped the driver well since she dropped us off as close to our dinghy as she could while ignoring the signed stating not to.  On Friday and Saturday the weekend crowds were reappearing and the harbor was filling up again.  Most disconcerting was the BIG yacht that anchored near us and every time the winds shifted they had to move to be clear of the boats around them.  It was too big of a boat to be in this small harbor.  There were similar boats anchored outside the harbor that were not causing any problems.  Several times they swung very close to us and each time Cori went out to negotiate with the captain.  We was proposing that in exchange for a bottle of rum we would pull our anchor and move.  They evidently didn't think that was a fair exchange so we sat and just gave them dirty looks when they swung close.  Eventually it was time to pull anchor and start the next leg.

Saturday afternoon, we, along with Break A Weigh pulled anchor and started off.  We were headed to Beaufort NC and they were going to Jacksonville FL.  It was just a couple of miles until we got into the gulf stream and we were off,  We hoisted all sails with the extra push from the Stream we were going nine knots.   This continued into the next day when we lost the wind and had to motor but still going nine knots.  This gave us our all time best travel going 200 nautical miles the first day and 196 the next.  During the second night we altered course to the Cape Fear River.  We checked with our weather guy and it didn't look like we could make it to Beaufort before the weather changed for the worse.  That night we got hit with a sudden squall with winds topping over thirty knots and then a torrential downpour.  Fortunately at this point we had already dropped the mainsail so we only had to get the headsail and mizzen under control.  We rolled up part of the headsail to make it smaller and continued on.  By morning the skies had cleared but with little wind we motored.  We made much better time then we had expected and instead of anchoring in the Cape Fear River we were able to continue on to Carolina Beach and were in the ICW's protected waters.  We took a break the next day and went ashore to walk the beach collecting shells.  With what we were hearing about the weather we planned to continue following the ICW to Beaufort.  The next morning we pulled anchor to move up to Wrightsville Beach to take on fuel and water and the next morning we would continue.  After we pulled the anchor we took a good look at the skies and they were black.  We shortly got hit with winds on the 20's gusting into the 30's , rain so heavy we could not see through it and hail up to the size of nickels.  After about a half hour the skies began clearing and the sun was shinning when we stopped for fuel and water.  We moved to the anchorage and made plans to catch the 7:00 am bridge opening.  While sitting in the cockpit we overheard two other boats talking on the radio about their plans to go out the inlet and sail to Beaufort and Cape Lookout.  We contacted our weather guy and asked for his forecast.  It didn't sound bad so we decided to leave at first light and make the trip offshore.  At 6:00 am we pulled anchor and followed several other boats out the inlet.

The forecast was for light winds increasing during the day but staying behind us and the seas growing from a light chop to 4-6 foot by evening.  We motored and motor/sailed until about mid-day and then just sailed under the headsail and mizzen, not wanting to deal with the main when the winds came up.  The winds and seas grew as the day progressed and by the time we were approaching Beaufort Inlet it was in the high 20's and the seas were about six foot and pushing our stern side to side as they broke under us.  When we made the turn to follow the channel we were still going eight knots and passed a catamaran that had stopped sailing and was motoring.  Usually we drop sail and start the motor before going through the inlet but this time we started the motor in case it was needed and we sailed in.  Once pass the inlet we followed the channel until it put the winds on our nose and we rolled up the headsail and motored to and up the channel to the Beaufort anchorage.  With the speeds we were able to go we were in much earlier than we expected.  We dropped anchor and celebrated with rum like proper sailors.  We lived for about twelve years in the area but had never come to Beaufort by boat.  It was always easier by car, the anchorage had filled up with private moorings making anchoring difficult and there was a strong current making going into and out of the marina complicated.  It has changed.  The city has removed all of the private mooring opening it up once again for visiting boats to anchor.  The next morning we went ashore to check out the shops and to meet a fellow cruiser for lunch.  In one of the shops I ran into one of the teachers I knew from working at the schools and got caught up with them.  We met up for lunch with Ann from Bees Knees who we knew from the radio nets but had never met and then spent the afternoon visiting at the micro-brewery.

The next morning it was forecasted to continue blowing and made an early decision to pull anchor and continue up the ICW to Oriental.  Anchor was up at 8:00 am, who says I can't get up early, and we were off.  We caught the current going up the waterway and before we knew it we were back in the Neuse River and set the sails for Oriental.  We were able to get a spot on one of the free docks and were tied up with the help on the crew of Red Tail who was also on the dock.  The only complications were that I went aground while maneuvering in the harbor and because of low water we were aground when we got tied to the dock.  They say there are two kinds of sailors: those who have gone aground and those who lie about it.  I obviously am with the first group.  That evening we went to M&M's for dinner and then a quiet night on the boat.  The next morning we met up with Donna and Jerry from Blue Jacket for breakfast.  They live in the area and are back from their season in the Bahamas.  We visited for a bit with Van and Lauren from Gratitude who we had followed out of Wrightsville Beach to Beaufort.  Ann from Bees Knees caught up with us and we joined her and her friend Don for pizza night at the Silos.  We also had the sailmakers from Inner Banks Sail Loft come down to measure for a new mainsail.  We also wanted to meet with the dealer that we bought the dinghy from to discuss solutions to a problem we are having.  The next day it was cold and rainy so we spent the day on the boat.  By now Red Tail had left and Dragonfly had taken their place.  Greg was throwing out an old rope and asked if we wanted it.  Of course we did!  I spent the afternoon weaving it into a rug and then gave it back to them.  They are from Chicago and are doing the Great Loop.  Thursday we got together with Donna and Jerry, Ann and Dick and Judy for lunch at M&M's.  Dick is the net operator for the Doo Dah net on the SSB that we all check into in the evenings and it was great for everyone to get a face to match the voices we were familiar with.

On Friday we closed the circle.  We backed away from the dock and headed upriver to Clubfoot Creek where we used to live on the boat and where this seasons journey had started in November.

We traveled 2447 nautical miles, or 2816 statute miles, or about the distance from New York City to Los Angeles with about a hundred miles added on.  All at the speed of a jogger.

This year we had decided not to go to the Bahamas due to Covid restrictions and explored the east and west coasts of Florida.  I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would and met a lot of nice people along the way.  Including a pair of Florida Marine Patrol Officers.

Now that we are back we have some projects that need to be taken care of and we will be planning our next adventure, obviously heading somewhere north.  Where is yet to be determined.