Friday, October 12, 2012

Pointing the Bow South

Just another Tequila Sunrise

(Note:  We have been without reliable internet connection and/or energy to update the blog all week, so here is a long-winded update.................)

It was cold and clear just after 7am Monday morning when I threw the bow line to our friend Ted aboard Nellie Crockett and we were off!

Last week was a blur of activity as we hunted, gathered, planned and provisioned for Freedom's 2011-2012 trip south.  On Thursday afternoon Monica delivered us to the Sassafras with a carload of supplies and anticipation. Jeff arrived just after we did to complete our navigation system upgrades, and Andy and Christine were not far behind with a CheeseSteak send-off dinner in tow. It was going to be hard to leave such good friends (and children).

 In demonstration of my frenzy known as "leaving for the winter":
After getting up at 6AM, running about all day to: Nordstrom, Wegman's, Costco, CVS, TDBank, and who knows where else, once at the boat I kicked off my flip flops and realized I had been wearing one lilac and one khaki sandal all day. (Yes, I love this style so much I have two pairs. I have worn one or the other every day for the past year. Made by SOLE, get some)

We shared the weekend with the Cruising Club of America's Chesapeake Station Fall Cruise, rafting alongside Nellie Crockett and Blue Moon in Shaw Bay, and on Saturday going ashore on Trippe Creek for a pig roast (yum!). By chatting up the pig-pullers we were rewarded with samples straight off the bone. Sunday found us at the Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford for the Station's annual meeting. This was a highlight for us as the Cap'n was presented with the Commodore's Trophy in recognition of his service as Membership Committee Chair.

Crab Bushels, Knapps Narrows, MD

And then it was time to go... Monday we bounced down the Chesapeake Bay in the rain, anchoring overnight at Deltaville, VA. It was a cold, raw night and although there were plenty of boats in the creek, not a creature was stirring.  Tuesday brought similar weather as we battled our way to Norfolk/Portsmouth. Our intent had been to press on past Hampton Roads, but the 4' Gilmerton Lift Bridge was closed to openings (if that makes sense) that day, just one of only two days this month that it is to be closed for this phase of a bridge replacement project.  Although disappointed, it actually worked to our advantage. I was a bit under the weather from the rough seas, the Cap'n had done more than his share of steering over the past few days, and we both needed the break a short day provided.

On Wednesday it was on to Coinjock, but not before we had a long line of bridge openings and one lock to traverse. In light of the previous day's bridge closing, there was quite a back up of boats along that stretch of the ICW. Compounding this,  the first bridge beyond Norfolk is closed every day from 7:30 AM until 9AM. We were among the 20 or so vessels, including one very long barge, milling about for over 45 minutes awaiting the first post rush hour opening. Then the race was on to the Great Bridge Lock near Chesapeake, VA.

The first time we negotiated this lock 18 months we were one of two boats  in the lock--  this time, we were one of 17 boats!  It was cozy, but we made it. We saw the majority of these boats at the dock in Coinjock, NC later that afternoon.

-------------CELEBRITY BOAT SIGHTING-------------

One of the boats in the lock, and then at the Coinjock dock was named "Indiscretion". In fact there were two boats by that name, a 120' motoryacht and a sleek 45' speedboat. At first we thought it was a coincidence, but then I noticed the speedboat driver directing the crew on the motoryacht. "Nice set-up" we thought, "that owner has all the toys."  And just who is that owner?  According to the Google: Howard Stern.  
Please note this was a celebrity boat sight, not a celebrity sighting.

Okay, back to our week.  Fortunately the weather cleared as the days went by and we had calm passages across the Albemarle Sound, Pamlico and Neuse Rivers -- a rarity. We saw our first dolphins today as we glided along Goose Creek off the Pamlico River, a sure sign that we are south.

Right now we are docked in one of our favorite stops along the ICW: Beaufort, NC. In the next slip? A boat named Freedom. Down the dock? Honey Girl,  a red hulled Nordic Tug who has been anchored or docked near us every night this week. And further down the dock? Indiscretion. The snow bird parade continues.....

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