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November 30, 2002

November 30, 2002

Left anchorage at mile marker 233 at 8:30 with wind from the south at 15-20 and later up above 30 kn. Now in the Seapath Marina in Wrightsville, NC at mile marker 283 so we are making progress South. Without knowing it we stumbled into the annual Christmas parade of boats here. About 12-15 boats all decked out with Xmas lights sound, etc. Everything from Frosty the snow man to several religeous themes. Apparently a big deal locally and followed by a big fireworks display. We had front row seats!

Posted by Dick at 09:12 PM

November 29, 2002

November 29, 2002

November 25, 2002
Took one more careful look at all the oil hoses and found a loose connection at the hardest to reach place! When it was tightened up, the oil problem was solved. I had been pumping oil into the bilge at the rate of one quart an hour. Pumped it out and Sue and I backpacked it to a very friendly Texaco quick lube place a few blocks down the street and they were nice and let me dump it with their waste oil. Also did some provisioning and got an ice cream cone. It was a beautiful warm sunny day so I also did some teak finishing while the sun was out. Invites a fellow boater Craig Neus to join us for lamb stew dinner. He brought a bottle of wine to go with the meal. He is single handing his Hershoff cold molded cat/ketch south on a two-year sabbatical until his wife can retire and join him!
November 25, 2002
Off early for the next leg south with destination somewhere in the Alligator River. We were also with Craig on his boat Ann III and another boat with a couple plus a friend from Portland Maine going south to the Caribbean. Cold but a nice wind going in our direction so we were able to sail – again only with the jib but doing 7 kn. Anchored at the south end of the Alligator River just before the entrance to the canal. Greg rafted along side for several hours and came aboard to warm up. Sue had her charcoal fire going plus the stove to heat the main cabin.
November 26, 2002
Fog this morning so we waited for it to lift before starting down the canal. Were followed by a tug pushing a barge but at 7+ kn were able to stay ahead of him. Made it to Bellhaven, NC and topped up the diesel and water and then anchored out. Predicted coldest day of the year tomorrow.
November 27, 2002
Happy Thanksgiving from us to all of our family and friends. We do have a lot to be thankful for! The cold that was forecasted didn’t seem to materialize to the extent expected but it was still COLD! Under way by 8 AM to shoot for Oriental, SC tonight a total of almost 50 nm. Made very good time motoring and then sailing. Decided to press on further and log a few more miles south to Cedar Creek at the beginning of the next canal of the ICW. Cell phone not able to connect the Internet (due to lack of signal strength?) so we are temporarily out of contact. Warm sunshine this afternoon but the air temperature is still cold. Pork chops with sweet potatoes (with brtown sugar and marshmellows) and salad for Thanksgiving dinner.
November 29, 2002
Another relatively early start from Cedar Creek/Oriental to Beauford and Morehead City SC and beyond. We are now anchored at milepost 233 and the wind is howling at 25 kn but we are secure. Corned beef and cabbage is on the stove simmering for dinner. When will we hit some warm weather??? Today was sunny and OK until the wind kicked up about 1 PM. Promises to be another night to snuggle to keep warm. I guess the cold weather has some pluses to it!

Posted by Dick at 04:43 PM

November 24, 2002

November 24, 2002

November 23, 2002
Left Norfolk and mile marker zero for the Route 2 Dismal Swamp Canal route south! Cold but sunny. Made the sharp right into the route 2 entrance and ran into shallow water several times getting to the Deep Creek lock. Another boat was ahead of us and waiting for the lock opening so we joined the queue and waited too. Low oil pressure forced the addition of several quarts of oil! After waiting a while, we entered the lock and tied off. A very friendly and talkative lockkeeper told us the history of the Dismal Swamp Canal and gave us a nice brochure. It was first surveyed by George Washington before the revolutionary war and finally built early 1800’s by a private company with GW as one of the larger stockholders. He owned land in the swamp and needed the canal to haul timber to Norfolk to ship to other markets. Stopped at the Auto parts store across the road from the lock to get a case of 30-weight oil for my hungry engine. Must find and fix this problem soon. The canal from this lock to the North Carolina visitor’s center at mile marker 28 has a number of very shallow spots. The larger boat with us drew 6 ½ feet and had to turn back. Got to the visitors center about 3 PM and were the only boat there. Registered at the center and got additional literature from the attendant. A quiet night aboard. Saw a deer across the canal at night that was coming down to the edge to get a drink. Some interesting bird calls and other swamp noises!
November 24
Off again at 8:15 AM for Elizabeth City and a get together with daughter KAT and her partner Jackie at the Elizabeth City Mariner’s Warf. Got to the South Mills Lock about 9:30 and got no response on the VHF or with the horn signal. This is when we found out that the locks are on a fixed schedule and the next opening is 11 AM! Spent the waiting time buying 10 more quarts of oil and doing boat maintenance. A beautiful warm sunny day with almost no wind. The female lock keeper showed on schedule and was again very friendly and helpful as we went through. The section of the canal from here to Elizabeth City is mostly the natural river course – except for “Turner’s Cut” undoubtedly named for a distant relative! A beautiful stretch of water – and deeper in most places than the upper part. Got to Mariner’s Wharf about 1:45 and nosed into an empty slip with the help of other boaters there and several locals. Mr. "Rosebuddies” showed up to sign us in and give Sue a fresh rose bud and some North Carolina cotton so she is now a cotton pickin’ rosebud! KAT and Jackie showed up about 15 minutes after we finished the docking chores so I just had time to shave and clean us a little. Had a wonderful visit with them over a homecooked dinner of chicken and rice with spinach, creamed corn and fresh baked cornbread! They brought us an early Christmas basket with all kinds of edible goodies and a nice bottle of wine. We will enjoy their presents over the days and weeks ahead. It was sad to see them leave for home not knowing when we would see them again. Tomorrow is another diesel engine maintenance day to see if this oil consumption problem can be fixed without major $ and delays. Hope so. Got a voilc mail from Paul and Debbie Casey on "Imagine". They are in Southport on the Cape Fear River and hope to be in Charleston by Thanksgiving and were hoping we would be catching up to them soon. We hope so too!

Posted by Dick at 07:36 PM

November 23, 2002

November 23, 2002

November 20, 2002
They got the oil hoses removed but with great difficulty – hard to reach place. This part of the repairs will stretch into tomorrow. The electronics technician came and verified that the SSB radio is working OK but I have a short in one of the cables I made up when installing it. I was able to rework the cable and fix the problem so I now have a working SSB with great reception! He also diagnosed the depth sounder problem as a bad transducer and had his shop order another one from Datamarine for express delivery tomorrow. Installing this requires hauling the boat and another day delay but I was planning to haul on this trip south anyway.
November 21, 2002
Another day at the dock. The new transducer arrives as promised and we will haul and install it tomorrow. New hoses finally installed after several false starts (new hoses made wrong, installed wrong, etc.) but they are now in and the engine is running again with normal oil pressure. What a relief! IN the mean time we have done all the wash and a number of other little projects and walked to the nearby Food Lion for provisioning. We were treated to dinner at the Surfrider restaurant (very good food and good service) at the marine by Mike and Ann Denny. He works for one of the moving companies that Sue contracted with at Prime for corporate relocations and had offered to treat when we came through town. Very nice folks and they may be interested in joining us further south – like in the Bahamas.
November 22, 2002
Hauled and pressure washed by 9:30 AM. Bottom looks good other than a few spots. Both drive shaft zincs were gone and the 2 on the rudder were almost gone. Installed new zincs and wear bearings on the Spurs line cutter. Touched up the bottom paint. The old transducer came out quickly and the new one went in easily. This model is designed so the transducer can be removed for cleaning without hauling the boat so was worth the trouble and money. Back in the water and underway by 4 PM - $1300 lighter in the wallet. Motored through Hampton Rhodes past the US Navy base – two aircraft carriers, numerous other ships and a nuclear sub coming in to dock. A very impressive sight. Again cold and windy. Followed the channel markers (Sue doing the navigation and me at the helm) and anchored off of the Navy hospital at ICW mile marker Zero an hour after sunset at 6 PM. A long day finished off with chicken Françoise, string beans with mushrooms, mashed potatoes and a nice Blue Nun Rhine wine! Local FM station plays nice classical music. Sue made a fire in the cabin heater and we were warm and snug in spite of the cold wind.

Posted by Dick at 08:48 AM

November 20, 2002

November 19, 2002

Left Mobjack Bay at 8:45 AM for Norfolk. Again a very clear but cold day with S winds 20+ kn so we were motoring. Bumped over the sandbars leaving Mobjack (didn't study the chart carefully enough but powered off out into deeper water. Whew! Another close one. Must remember to be more carefull with the daily chart review!!
The approach to Hampton Rhodes is impressive with all the Navy activity and commercial shipping as well as pleasure boats. Got about 1/2 mile from the entrance (Ft Wool and Ft Monroe) and lost engine oil perssure! Looked below and found oil squirting out one of the oil hoses. Shut down immediately and anchored. Called Seatow and were towed into Blue Water Marina in Hampton for $150. Very good service from Seatow. Cost is covered by my insurance but the $95 per year membership for Seatow is probably a good investment for boats going down the ICW! Blue Water Marina is now going to replace all the oil hoses tomorrow and also check the Datamarine depth sounder and the SSB radio. Hope we are done in one day so we can start south on Thursday.

Posted by Dick at 09:24 AM

November 18, 2002

Left Reedville for Mobjack Bay in cold but clear weather with N wind that was 15-25. Ended up with 2 reefs in the maoin and about 1/3 reef in the jib and were screaming along at 7.5 kn on a beam reach and surfing down the waves. Arrived well ahead of estimate due to the higher speed. Mobjack bay is fantastic. An undiscovered part of the Chesapeake. We were tucked up into the Severn River in the SW corner of Mobjack Bay out of the wind and chop. Depth sounder not working reliably. All kinds of readings - some of which seem correct but never when we really need it! Will have it looked at next stop where there are repair services.

Posted by Dick at 09:14 AM

November 17, 2002

November 17, 2002

November 17, 2002
Made the trip from Herrington Harbour to Solomons Island MD yesterday in East 10-25 kn winds. In spite of the range of wind speed it was actually quite steady but dropped as the day went on. A beam reach – first with full main and 1/3 reefed job and then full jib as the wind dropped. 6.5 to 7 kn over the ground and comfortable in the cockpit as long as we were behind the windshield and out of the wind. Rain most of the time! Encountered several large oceangoing freighters going up to Baltimore and down the bay but we were well outside of the channel and they are very constrained to the channel by water depth. I admire the Chesapeake Bay pilots and the job they do – especially with all the pleasure craft around. Went ashore to fill the propane tank (all the heating using the oven ran out the first tank!) and do some provisioning. Spaghetti and meatballs with salad and red wine (for me) for dinner. It will be nice to get some sunshine someday but I don’t think today will be the day.

Posted by Dick at 07:30 AM

November 15, 2002

November 15, 2002

Monday November 11, 2002
Weather is not pleasant! Cold and rainy so we are sitting tight here in Annapolis until tomorrow when the forecast promises some improvement. Spent the morning doing clean up chores including reorganizing the scrap wood supply in the forward cabin. Sue laughs at me and makes fun but these bits and pieces have come in handy over the last three years for various projects so I am keeping the best of the lot. Took the trash ashore and found out that “Good Morning America” is being televised live from the Annapolis waterfront tomorrow. The dinghy dock was closed off because it is right in front of the area the show will use and the crew (would you believe 35 people?) was setting up. We decided to get up early and go ashore to watch the event!

Tuesday November 12, 2002
Up at 6 AM and off in the dinghy to the dock and Good Morning America. What a crowd of people hoping to be on TV. Many in weird/funny costumes with signs (hi mom, we love you, etc.) and all in a good mood and having fun. The stars (Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson) were very friendly to the crowd and talked and mixed with people in between live takes. Unfortunately the weather continued to be uncooperative and the overcast sky turned to drizzle and then more serious rain so we split about the time the show was winding up to get back to the boat. The rest of the day was also spent on housekeeping chores and computer/internet stuff. The batteries are not holding a charge well and could be trouble. Talked with Tom Schuyler (old friend from Erie PA GE days in the 60’s) who now lives in this area and keeps his boat at Herrington Harbour South Marina – our next stop. Told him we would be there after lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday November 13, 2002
Ah yes, the batteries have packed it in so the engine won’t start. Called Tom to say we were now on Plan B – a one-day delay while we go to the local West Marine and replace all six batteries. Rigging these brutes out of the box and into the dinghy was a real chore! Used the main halyard and a winch plus the bosun’s chair as a sling to make it easier but still hard work. Once at the dinghy dock we had to get the dead batteries into the trunk of the cab for the $10 ride to West Marine. I had called ahead to be sure they had replacements in stock of the right size, which they did. While there I bought a new barometer, a teak handhold for the cockpit, and 2 electrical outlet plugs but the batteries were the big-ticket item at $1,250. These are gel cells and have combined capacity of over 900 ampere-hours – a lot for a boat. I knew this was coming so it was in the “budget”. The old ones were 1990 vintage and had served long and faithfully. RIP. Back by taxi to the dinghy and then the chore of getting the new batteries on board and into the battery box! We were done by 4 PM but what a day. At least it didn’t rain but it was cold and windy and the low is forecasted to be in the mid 30’s.

Thursday November 14, 2002
A bright clear COLD morning with the promise of a beautiful day for the trip to Herrington Harbour South. Underway by 10 AM and after clearing the Annapolis harbor area, we set sail and were doing a nice 5-6 kn with a 10-15 (variable) SW breeze. A few other boats on the Bay as well including a Chesapeake Bay skipjack that takes people out on the bay for daytrips. We had told Tom we would be at the Marina about 3 PM so when 2 o’clock rolled around and the wind was on the nose, we dropped sail and motored the rest of the way. Very difficult to see the entrance channel markers with the sun right in our eyes and the glare off the water. It is always a little unnerving to enter a new harbor the first time – especially where there are no easy to identify landmarks and the channel is very narrow and shallow. Actually was no big deal (in retrospect) but we did have to dodge two fish traps – a line of poles stuck in the bottom with fish nets in between – not a good thing to get tangled up in! Tom called by cell phone to say he was on the way and was actually standing on the breakwater to greet us as we entered the channel. The marina assigned us a place on a pier near the entrance for easy in and out. This is a nice marina and very friendly. Took Tom to dinner (he drove) at the “Calypso” and we all ordered the roast beef special after saying we were looking for seafood or Maryland crab cakes. It was a good choice and a nice meal. It was fun to get caught up with Tom after almost 40 years and a lot of friends from the days in Erie came back to mind. A nice warm shower here at the marina and it is almost bedtime - i.e. 9 PM!

Posted by Dick at 10:21 AM

November 15, 2002

Posted by Dick at 10:18 AM

November 10, 2002

Sunday November 10, 2002

Saturday November 9, 2002
Sue’s son Ethan drove us from Haddonfield, NJ to Baltimore to board the boat “permanently”. All of our possessions are in storage and Sue’s car was sold. We have definitely cut our ties to a land-based lifestyle and are now resident on Omega as our home. Saying goodbye to my father who is now 93 (going on 94) and is not in good health was particularly difficult.
The weather was beautiful for the occasion clear and cool with light wind. We motored over to the next pier to top up the diesel tanks and then took a tour around the Baltimore inner harbor. As Ethan said, it looks different from the water. What struck me is how confined the inner harbor really is and it was obvious why they have such a hard time with the floatables and trash collecting here in front of all the tourists. Installation of Fresh Creek Technologies Netting TrashTrap® systems will make a big difference!
Ethan headed for home and we did our provisioning at the Safeway across from the marina and then decided to head out to move another notch south. Given the time of day and season (early sunsets) we decided on the Magothy River and in about 3 hours we were safely anchored on the west side of Gibson Island by 4:15 PM. We settled in and watched another beautiful sunset. This is a very sheltered, quiet place and we recommend it to all cruisers.

Sunday November 10, 2002
After a nice breakfast of OJ, French toast, bacon and tea for me and coco for Sue, we weighed anchor and headed for Annapolis. Overnight the wind from the south picked up to 20-25 with the occasional gust approaching 30. We sailed with just the genoa and it and it was reefed about 1/3 but Omega was well balanced and we were doing about 6 kn close-hauled. After three tacks we were still just north of the Annapolis Bay Bridge so we motored under the bridge and then were able to lay a course for Annapolis. As we approached the Naval Academy I was so busy trying to get oriented that I didn’t realize we had strayed west of the channel into shallow water until we bumped the bottom! A hard right and a lot of power got us turned and back into the channel. Nothing like showing off your navigating skills right in front of the Naval Academy! Son Richard, you will particularly appreciate the fact that I was wearing your USMA 10th reunion cap at the time!!
We took a tour of the Market Slip (very tight for our 42’) and then anchored by the breakwater South of the Academy athletic field. We pumped up and launched the dinghy and went into to town to get an ice cream cone and a new 300 watt inverter. My old 60 watt inverter was having trouble powering my PC. The new one does fine as long as the 12V house battery has a good charge. I also connected to the Internet through my cell phone to check and send emails. This works OK but is really slow compared to any landline connection but is very convenient.
Dinner was a lamb stew with carrots, red and green peppers, onions and potatoes. Another thrown together meal that turned out OK. The freezer is working well – the lamb was frozen hard as a rock when I took it out. We even froze water in the refrigerator section and will have to watch out not to freeze the vegetables, etc!

Posted by Dick at 08:56 PM

November 06, 2002

Omega is at the Anchorage Marina in Baltimore waiting for us to move on board permanently. This event should take place this coming weekend after Sue finishes work on the 7th and we make the trip down from New Jersey!
The last two 2weekends we drove down and continued to move “stuff” onboard. Each time there was the anguished cry of “it won’t all fit” or “there is no place for this” but in the end everything got stowed and she looked shipshape when we left her.
It was bitter cold last Saturday night with the temperature falling to the low 30’s! We fired up the Coleman stove with charcoal and took the chill off the main cabin but it doesn’t do anything for the aft cabin so we slept under 2 blankets and two quilts and were actually comfortable in spite of the cold.
We are both looking forward to getting further south and into warmer weather. The tentative plan (remember that the plan is that there is no plan) is to move south down the Chesapeake with probable stops in Rosehaven and Mobjack Cove and then to Norfolk and the start of the ICW.

Posted by Dick at 05:13 PM