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May  2008

Week One:

We left Graham creek bright and early and had another long day (67 miles) on the ICW, arriving late afternoon at Osprey marina in the Waccamaw River. We spent 4 nights there partly because of the price ($1 per ft) and also because we wanted to visit Brookgreen Sculpture Gardens. We rented a car with "Reflection" and we did the sights. Brookgreen was well worth the visit. Pat and I could have stayed several days, however the men were sculptured out! Pat and I went kayaking and ended up chasing an alligator into the swamp. The wildlife around these parts is WILD!! A snake tried to visit us but I promptly swiped him with an oar. Turtles were all over the place. Took a side trip to Hutchinson State Park and walked the beach.....more shells to add to the collection.

After a pleasant break we continued north up the ICW and into several areas known to be trouble spots, Lockwood's Folly, being one. Well, it was trouble for two other sailboats, but thanks to Ray (the spotter) on Reflection we scraped through without a bump. Aah, sigh, another difficult spot out of the way. Time for a drink!!! Next stop was St. James marina. Another good marina with the right price. We arrived late and left early so didn't have a chance to check out the area. Perhaps next time around. (Our thanks to Sunshine and Kallista for recommending these stopovers).

Goodbye South Carolina!

Next stop, Wrightsville Beach, NC.....for a chance to walk the beach, have an ice cream and enjoy the sights (the men enjoyed the NCCH sorority girls lapping up the sun). Of course Pat and I had our heads down searching for treasures.

Now it gets interesting. The weather forecast is not looking too good so we are hunkered down in Mile Hammock Bay, Camp LeJeune (did this on our way south in 20 knot winds and it was awful). Well, it's worse than that now. The bridge north (Onslow Beach bridge) has been closed all day due to 34 knot winds. We are swinging all over the place and it's been like this for nearly 24 hours. No sleep last night...what will happen tonight? Thankfully the tornadoes passed us by and so did the thunderstorms. More are expected in a day or two so we shall have to find a sheltered spot tomorrow, if they open the bridge. Meanwhile we are watching the military boys work on maneuvers.

Traffic on the ICW

Brookgreen Sculpture Gardens

"Look at this"

Brookgreen Sculpture Gardens

Andrew and Ray having a rest from the sculptures.

Looks well fed.

The "Pontoon Bridge" - The only Pontoon bridge on the ICW

Camp LeJeune

Week Two:

Well, interesting isn't quite the right word. Mile Hammock was rough. Spooner's Creek was horrendous. It's a small anchorage and there were too many boats in there to let out much rode/chain. Sigi VII and Reflection were with us plus two more vessels appeared. We were in the creek for three nights. During that time we had the most violent storms pass through. Tornadoes were reported on the ground close by and for a couple of short periods through the night (10 minutes - or a lifetime!) we had winds reported to be 60 Knots. Andrew was at the helm with the engine running and motoring into the anchor, whilst I was below on the computer and TV checking when the next cells would likely hit. Of course all the bad stuff happens at night - Murphy's law!  The rain (and hail) was torrential. Fortunately the dock lights of the surrounding houses helped us keep our bearings. It was not a good Mother's Day. These past few days have been very windy with 25 - 40 Knot winds. Our riding sail worked surprisingly well (perhaps we rigged it right this time), and the anchor held. It was tough trying to break it free when the time came to leave Spooner's Creek. Normally this anchorage is peaceful and pretty.  It's been really ugly this time around. Not at all comfortable to say the least!!! I wish I were living in the lovely houses that surrounded us. 

We left Spooner's after a quick repair job to replace the shower sump float switch, and traveled up Adam's Creek canal to anchor in Cedar Creek. Again it was blowing 20-25k. Later that night the winds died down and we had a good and cool night's sleep.

We are now traveling solo. Our friends are doing the sightseeing thing and we are making for home. After an early start (6:30am) the following day we crossed the Pamlico sound without much ado and managed to have a wonderful SAIL (no engine noise) up the Pamlico/Pungo rivers, where we anchored near the Alligator canal, readying ourselves for the jaunt up the Alligator river the following morning. This was a great day of sailing up the Alligator river and across the Albemarle sound and we arrived at Elizabeth City at 5 pm. (77 Miles - about 60 was under sail). We  are staying for the "Potato Festival" on Saturday and then plan to leave on Sunday for Norfolk.

Cedar Creek - early morning.

Always something to be done.

Just a great day across the Pamlico Sound.

Early morning going through the Alligator Canal.

Out sailing across the Albemarle Sound.

Feet up - Autohelm working - "Darling, can you get me a beer?"

 

Week Three:

Elizabeth City is a super stopover for cruisers. The locals are so friendly. The mayor guided us in to our dock and seemed to pop up  wherever we went. He introduced us to half the town. The festival was fun, potato peeling contests, free fries and music all day. The place was buzzing, not only with the festival, but there was also prom night at the museum and a wedding in the harbor. Action all around. We took a self guided walking trip (guide available at visitors centre) to the historic district, and happened upon a police patrol car. The officer inside wound down the window and said that we should get out of dodge post haste, didn't we know there were drugs, gangs and shootings here!!!! Nope...we were following the guide. Needless to say we got out of there quickly. Later that night I think the boat took a air gun pellet on the port side. Can't figure out how else we got a circular ding in the fiberglass!!

We left EC early Sunday morning and had a wonderful trip through the Dismal Swamp, not dismal at all. The winds were up again 20-25k but it was sheltered most of the way through. At the Norfolk end of the swamp we decided to stop in "the Hole in the Wall", a manmade basin. A really nice anchorage with protection all around. We had the place to ourselves after the Sunday speed boats sped off for dinner.

Monday was a long, tough day. We had to negotiate our way out of Norfolk with all the Naval fleet departing too, and the winds were really gusting (so what's new!). On top of that, as we came out of the Norfolk/Hampton area...we heard several people talking over the VHF who decided to turn round and go back to Norfolk because the water was so rough. We decided to tough it out and had backup plans in case it got too bad. Haylp, haylp!!!! Well, it was really rough through Mobjack Bay, but with both sails reefed and a west wind we made it to Deltaville, worn out but happy to be safe. Thank heavens for the bubble yet again. We were taking lots of water over the bow, the beam....OK the whole bloody boat - but what did we care, we were dry!

Two nights were spent in Deltaville (Jackson Creek) because, guess what? Yep, tornados, severe storms etc. etc. were forecast. What a weird start to summer. This is crazy weather! Fortunately for us the bad stuff hit Norfolk and parts south. Next stop was Solomon's Island where we saw "Freddy Freddy" - last time we saw this boat was in Miami.

From Solomon's we headed for the Wye River - however the weather took control again and we had to duck in early due to 20 knot winds gusting to 30 and the waves must have been 4 - 6 ft and being so close together we were getting a real rough ride. And it's only about 70 during the day so the bubble is great.

Elizabeth City - Potato Festival - Start of the 5K run.

Tally Ho tied up in Elizabeth City.

Elizabeth City - Potato Festival -Peeling the spuds.

Elizabeth City - Potato Festival -Downtown stalls.

Elizabeth City - Potato Festival - Deliver the newspaper competition.

No swimming today.

Vanessa with the Mayor.

Elizabeth City - Potato Festival - Elizabeth I came to visit.

Dismal Swamp route with some hazzard.

Dismal Swamp Canal - about 22 Miles like this.

Locks are at each end of the Canal.

Rough weather crossing Mobjack Bay

Rough weather crossing Mobjack Bay

More peacefull for some.

"Freddy Freddy" - a most unusual boat that we last saw in Miami.

 

Week Four:

What's up with all the wind!  Of course we need some, but this is ridiculous. Now we've resorted to hiding out in well protected creeks. One of which was San Domingo creek on the back side of St. Michael's. Of course we went into town, where it was warmer and less breezy. 

The following day we headed for Shaw Bay where we met up with our "Hunter" sailing association friends for cocktails and a couple of fun evenings. We left there on Memorial Day with great winds, making a fast passage and pushing us into Harness Creek where we stayed for two nights preparing to take the boat over to our old marina where it was hauled on Friday and will remain on land until early July. At the marina we met up with more friends and of course had cocktails etc. etc..........OK, this has to stop! Got on the scale at home and - yes, you guessed it! Too much of a good thing.

 

Minnie, the HSA photographer. Now you're on camera!

The raft up. Hosted by Dick on Romper.

Whoops! Nearly in the drink, not the dink!

Trouble comes in threes. Mike, Andrew and Bill.

The bakery

Back at the dock, waiting to be hauled.

There she goes!