It is getting warmer and we are making steady progress. I am writing this in Beaufort NC during a rainy morning. We are taking a day off of travel and enjoying the little town of Beaufort North Carolina. It is a salty town and the bikes show it.
Annapolis was an interesting sailors treat which we enjoyed because the weather was warm, mostly sunny and lots to see. The pictures show why it is called the sailing capital of the USA. There are boats mostly sail everywhere crammed into 2 creeks called Back Creek where we anchored and Spa Creek where the Naval Academy is. John Merritt, does this look at all familiar?? We put our bikes on shore and rode all around the town.
They start kids early in Optimist Prams and grow them up into these racers. This guy sailed right up behind us going very fast under full sail. the pic is blurry because he kinda scared me as i did not know he was there until the last minute.
The Sailing Hall of Fame induction was occurring on Sunday for several notables like Runnie Collie of Barnegat Bay, Stewart Walker of Soling fame as well as seeing Gary Jobson in attendance. The Navy Band played and lots of blue blazers.
This is an example of a screwpile lighthouse that dot the Chesapeake Bay keeping you off the many shoals. I think it is the Thomas Point lighthouse but our lighthouses are all blending together.
We headed out south to Solomons Island 45 miles away. It was light wind and warm sun. We found our buddy boats from the Erie Canal and spent an evening in an anchorage with them. Here we heard that Jim of Chrome Heart from Houghton MI had given his boat away to a sailing program in Sandy Hook and returned home. What a guy he is! Best of luck to you Jim in your next adventure.
Entrance to Solomons Island just off the Patuxent River. It was quiet and peaceful and seemed to be a base for the Moran tugs. (added for you Will.)
And so the days pass with us up at first light! It is like a train of boats all going south and trying to beat the cold. Who said retirement is easy??
I do find ways to relax and enjoy the day too! Missing my book club buddies and their books but i hope i soon will be ready to join the discussions remotely. Don’t give up on me ladies.
John however is always ready to do hamburgers on the grill and Nina, we have enjoyed the M salt you gave us! We still tend to make all our meals on the boat. It is a habit we acquired with the years of living on Maraki with 4 little boys to feed and now it is just what we prefer to do.
Reaching the southern end of the Chesapeake on October 30 and going around Thimble Shoals in flat calm. However there is always lots of traffic as well as several knots of current to contend with. We had a submarine coming in and a big cruise ship going out as well as other ships and lots of little tugs running all around. A very fast commuter-style yacht from the early 1930s? And us little sailboats. A very busy shipping channel.
We wanted to reach Charlie by Halloween in order to be anchored in front of his sailing team practice area just outside of the naval shipyard on the Lafayette River. We love watching our now adult children mentoring and guiding the next generation and think Charlie does a great job. Here are some pics of him in action. Charlie’s team also participated in the Mid-Atlantic Team Racing Championships which their club hosted. There were a total of 10 schools that qualified from New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Pennsylvania and his team came in 4th!!
The Halloween practice was a “costume-only” and Bring a friend to sail practice as it was the last practice of the regular season. Even the coaches got into the action. Charlie and his friends had many hours into building this pirate ship costume. Yikes!
We were able to have Maraki at the NorfAolk Yacht and Country Club for 2 nights and for 2 nights we anchored out in front. It is a very dignified and fancy yacht club. They keep the young sailors (and Charlie) off to the side.
After giving Charlie a haircut and then sending him back ashore, we needed to move on again and this time Mile Zero of the Intracoastal Waterway was calling us
John did visit the maritime museum in Norfolk called Nauticus and said it was very good. He toured the Battleship Wisconsin which is now housed here. Norfolk is a big Navy town as well as ship-building place. We sailed along miles of waterfront involved in ship repair, aircraft carriers and other naval ships in huge drydocks along the river.
The Intracoastal Waterway(ICW) begins at Norfolk on the Elizabeth River and ends in Florida. With our 7 foot draft(how deep we are under the water) it will be a challenge to keep us going and not running aground. It has only one lock thankfully(which broke down and closed a few day AFTER we passed through it), numerous bridges which lift or swing open thousands of buoys to help mark the deeper channels.
It runs through rivers, canals, swampland, just inside ocean sandbars. We seen lots of bald eagles, pelicans, few deer and frequent dolphins alongside us.
The traveling is stressful because one of us always needs to be looking for the next markers of the channel and always keeping an eye on the depth sounder. The tide now needs to be factored in as well as related current effects. We have done some sailing on the wider rivers and sounds which is a pleasant relief from the engine noise. There are fun-sounding names like the Alligator River, Pungo canal and river and Dismal Swamp. The temperature is rising day by day and no more frost on our decks! Have not gone swimming yet but John cleaned the mud off the hull in his swimsuit today. The mud is unrelenting as each anchor pull brings up new specimens.
Our goal is still Miami for Christmas and the kids are buying their airplane tickets. Only another 500 miles to go but we may make some of those outside of the ICW so it will be manageable.
All is well with us tonight.