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By this Author: greatgrandmaR

2001 ICW Leg 2 - Weathered In - in Kilmarnock

Doing Boat Chores


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Thursday 25 October 2001

We expected a front to come through Thursday with strong winds. It did. We had gusts up to 29 knots at the boat, and Indian Creek is very protected. We didn't have any waves there. We heard all kinds of people (on the VHF radio) having trouble out in the bay including a guy who was sawing through his anchor chain. There is an SSCA Island Packet with several cats anchored up past the grain silos and a trawler named JEMIMA which wanted to get to Deltaville, but came in here because they were getting beat up by the waves. They said the waves off the mouth of the Potomac were particularly bad. They are headed for Hilton Head.
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For dinner, we tried to get an Italian place to come for us, but the girl was new and had an attitude. So we went back to Jimmie’s Café and Bob had shrimp and I had swordfish.
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Friday 26 October 2001 - Fixing the depth sounder

We are still here. Our depth sounder wasn't working, and we consider that pretty important. It warns us when we are about to go aground. I thought it would be clear enough (sun and clear water) so I could freedive and see if it had barnacles. However, I thought it was too cold to go in without a wetsuit (water temp about 66 deg F) and I found I couldn't get down under the boat with the wetsuit on because I was too buoyant.

So Bob got out the scuba gear (putting it on was like a Keystone Cops routine - I did it in the dinghy and eventually I had to fall out sideways). Even with a weight belt, I still couldn't go directly under the boat, so I worked my way down the keel of the boat from the bow and found the transducer and scraped all but one stubborn barnacle off. Bob went up to check the depth sounder while I scraped off the prop. The depth sounder still wasn't working, so I went down the keel again, missed it and went almost all the way to the stern, came back and chipped the last barnacle off. I used 1000 lbs of air.

Bob discovered that the depth sounder had another problem - instead of the wires screwing into a socket they were just taped together. The marina store had the materials to fix it. While we were doing this, Max and Lucette biked into town. They discovered it was uphill all the way. There is a museum in town which is supposed to be interesting but they didn't go (they are not museum people). We heard many people in trouble on the radio, and the CG asked one of them if he had flares, so Bob looked at ours and found they were expiring next month. He was able to replace these too with ones that are good until 2004. Bob grilled salmon and we had salad, new potatoes and green beans for dinner.

Saturday 27 October 2001

Winds were supposed to abate today, and they didn’t. Max walked into town and got a Washington Post and milk. We sat around listening to the VHF
Our bunk - Bob asleep on the right

Our bunk - Bob asleep on the right


and watching the TV in the boater’s lounge. Max and Lucette went into town and got pizza for dinner. We are intending to maybe go to Yorktown tomorrow, or if the winds are favorable maybe we can get all the way to Salt Ponds.

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Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:03 Archived in USA Tagged virginia icw kilmarnock Comments (3)

ICW Trip 2001 Leg 3 Kilmarnock to Sarahs Creek 40nm

The York River opposite Yorktown


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

We finally decided to bite the bullet and go regardless of the weather. It looked like it wouldn't be so bad today.

I was at the helm. The GPS hooked to my computer wasn't acquiring satellites,
Computer box

Computer box


and while I was trying to fix it, I ran us suddenly hard aground (having temporarily forgotten that going out the creek red is on the left). The boat stood on its nose, which threw Lucette who was below onto the floor and gave her a big goose egg on the head. Max and I were in the cockpit, and it didn't affect us too much. I thought it was kind of interesting. Bob was on the stern, and he was mad.

In the bay, winds were 17-21 knots all day and gusting up to 29 and the waves were 4-6 feet, fortunately on the quarter so it wasn’t too bumpy a ride, but no one felt much like eating breakfast. On the radio, heard that someone lost their dink (like we lost the solar panel last spring coming north).

Bob thought we could get all the way down to Hampton and maybe stay at the Old Pt. Comfort Marina again, but I couldn't get them on the phone. At first it was because they've changed the exchange to 788 (not the area code as I thought at first, just the exchange), and then when I finally contacted them, I was informed that because of 9-11 they are not taking transients at all, so we couldn't go there anyway.
Spider at the entrance to the river

Spider at the entrance to the river


I was still a bit uncomfortable with the weather, so we went into the York River,
Rt 17 York River Bridge

Rt 17 York River Bridge


and stayed across from Yorktown just down from the fixed Rt. 17 bridge at York River Yacht Haven in Sarah Creek (out of sight on the right of the photo above). The chart shows our track into the marina and the bridge is on the left side of the chart. We mostly sailed, and did 46 nm at an average speed of 6 knots.
Track to the marina

Track to the marina


York River Yacht Haven was $1.25 a foot plus electricity was $5.40. They had showers and laundry facilities and a pool. I never found the TV room and internet cafe place that they said they had. The store was mostly souvenir type stuff. We did get fuel there.
Marinas and anchorages in Sarah Creek

Marinas and anchorages in Sarah Creek

Sarah Creek (#25 on the map)

Sarah Creek (#25 on the map)


If you are feeling vigorous, you can walk about 2 miles to Yorktown. Or if not, the marina can arrange transportation for you.
Marina from farther up Sarah Creek

Marina from farther up Sarah Creek

We ate at the River's Inn Restaurant, which was a very fancy restaurant with prices to match. Bob had she-crab soup and an appetizer, and I had the Blue Plate special, and we drank iced tea, and the bill was over $41.00. They did give us wooden nickels for 50 cent draft beers which Max and Lucette used.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 23:36 Archived in USA Tagged york_river gloucester_point sarahs_creek Comments (2)

2001 ICW Leg 4-York River to Dismal Swamp 33 nm + MM 28

Including Norfolk and the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Monday 29 October 2001

Today we left the marina and had motored out into the York River by 8:40. We motored down to Norfolk and were passing Fort Monroe by 1300
Ft Monroe and Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

Ft Monroe and Old Point Comfort Lighthouse

Norfolk shoreline

Norfolk shoreline


There were all kinds of restrictions about being within 100 yards of any Navy ship (which Norfolk is full of)
Tug_going_past_Navy_docks

Tug_going_past_Navy_docks


but there was no particular problem with getting past the Norfolk Navy yards - heard people being chastised for their wakes - a lot of barge traffic and little boats patrolling around the navy ships. We went to Waterside again.

This is where the Mileage of the Intercoastal Waterway begins - MM 0 is at Hospital Point right across the River from us. The mileage is in statute miles and not nautical miles which are a little longer. From here on, the final mileage marker will be the distance we have gone from Norfolk Mile Marker Zero.

Bob forgot to pack more than one pair long pants, so when we went to dinner in Norfolk, instead of eating right at Waterside, we walked to the mall. He looked in Nordstroms but didn't think the pants there were good enough quality or cheap enough. We ate there at Max & Erma's which is a chain that our friends were familiar with. It is a dark wood /steakhouse/bar kind of place. Food was good, but I don't remember much else about it. They have burgers, steak and BBQ.
Max and Erma's sign

Max and Erma's sign


They had a 'gluten free' menu, and kids eat free on Tuesday.I think I might have had something like:ERMA'S MEATLOAFA thick slice of homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes smothered in our rich gravy. Served with buttered corn. $9.29 The total bill for the two of us was $30.22 including the tip.

We walked back past the McArthur Memorial which I remembered from when Bob was stationed in Norfolk in 1963 - I didn't realize that was so far downtown.

I downloaded email in the dockmaster's office and talked to folks on the dock. It was much quieter than the last time we were there. We found out from talking to folks that the Dismal Swamp Canal WAS still open, but only for the first and last locking of the day - 9 and 3:30. To get to the first lock by 9 and through all the bridges in Norfolk with restricted hours, we will have to be on our toes and leave early. Lucette made a bunch of phone calls, but everyone had gone home for the day.

Tuesday 30 October 2001

We cast off from Waterside at 6:49 - we wanted to get to the Jordan Lift Bridge as soon as the hours were unrestricted at 7:30.
Jordan Lift Bridge

Jordan Lift Bridge

Going under the Jordan Lift Bridge

Going under the Jordan Lift Bridge

Looking up at the bridge tender's cabin

Looking up at the bridge tender's cabin

Looking back

Looking back


By the time we got to the bridge there were 12 other monohull sailboats, a catamaran, 2 tugs and a number of power boats waiting. He opened the bridge at 7:25. We went on down and through the second lift bridge which was a railroad bridge. This bridge is open most of the time.
Railroad lift bridge

Railroad lift bridge

Boats waiting

Boats waiting


Then we went on down to the Gilmerton Bridge, which was restricted until 8:00. Oops - there's a train going across the railroad bridge just behind the Gilmerton Bridge so there is no point in his opening yet.
Gilmerton Railroad bridge

Gilmerton Railroad bridge


He finally opened the bridge at 8:05, and we were through by 8:11
Going through the Gilmerton bridge

Going through the Gilmerton bridge


Highway bridge (tall enough not to need to be lifted and if you do need a lift you have to give them 24 hours notice)

Highway bridge (tall enough not to need to be lifted and if you do need a lift you have to give them 24 hours notice)


We turned into Deep Creek at 8:26.
Following a boat to the lock

Following a boat to the lock


Most of the boats went on to the VA cut. It was very peaceful and still in the creek.
Deep_Creek

Deep_Creek


We arrived at the lock before 9, and there were 8 boats waiting. to lock through
Approaching Lock

Approaching Lock


We had a very chatty lock tender, not the lady we had before. We were the 6th boat, and the first one on the port side with a trawler named WHIPLASH and a little sailboat named FIREFLY behind us.
Deep_Creek_Lock_starboard_side

Deep_Creek_Lock_starboard_side


We locked through
Lock_tender and water coming into the lock

Lock_tender and water coming into the lock


and got down to the bridge at about 10:30. There was a sailboat and three trawlers at the free dock on the other side of the lock, and they went through the bridge first. There was a big floating island of debris in the middle of the bridge - grass growing on it which made people a little skittish.

We motored down the canal to the Visitor's Center. Lucette told me to re-enact Kate Winslet on the bow of the Titanic but I hadn't seen the movie (still haven't).
Re-enacting the Titanic on our boat

Re-enacting the Titanic on our boat


The canal was beautiful although there were a large number of logs (or maybe dead bodies - we couldn't see them), which raised up from the bottom to hit the hull. Many of the old cedar pilings have ferns, grass and other plants growing out of them.
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Stump

Portable bridge

Portable bridge

Looking down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Looking down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Fence stumps

Fence stumps

Side of the canal

Side of the canal

Looking down the canal

Looking down the canal


We got to the Visitor's Center by 1:30. There were two sailboats and two power boats there already - all but one sailboat had been with us at the Deep Creek Lock.

The one who wasn't with us was VAGABOND a Canadian boat and when he went to leave the dock this morning, he completely lost his transmission so he couldn't go anywhere.We rafted on a Gozzard 46 named TROUBADOUR. Ahead of us were two trawlers and JOLIE DAME. Later, FIREFLY came in and rafted on JOLIE DAME. When we started to raft up, Bob said to wait and not to try to jump to the Gozzard, but Max tried to jump anyway, and missed his footing and almost fell in. He landed very heavily on his rib cage and was very badly bruised- now both of our guests have been injured.
Rafted boats at the Visitor's Center

Rafted boats at the Visitor's Center


Some of the folks went down to the South Mills lock and went through at the 3:30 locking. Since Elizabeth City was 19 miles past the South Mills lock, we saw no point in pushing it because we didn't want to run the upper Pasquotank River after sunset at 5.

This is the only visitor's center that can be accessed both by road (US Rt. #17) and by boat (the Dismal Swamp Canal). The mileage is marked in statute miles (not nautical miles) from Hospital Point in Norfolk to Key West FL. The Visitor's Center is 28 miles from Norfolk by water. and 22 miles from the Deep Creek Lock

After dark, we saw a spotlight up the canal, and some folks that went through on the 3:30 locking had come down the canal in the dark. We heard someone call "Hey RosalieAnn from Leonardtown, can we raft on you? We're from Leonardtown too." It was a trawler named DUNFLYN. Bob offered to tow VAGABOND to the lock, since he couldn't seem to get anyone to come help him with his transmission. They are closing the canal completely on Friday.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:11 Archived in USA Tagged norfolk dismal_swamp Comments (3)

ICW Trip 2001 Leg 5 & 6 Dismal Swamp to Elizabeth City MM 51

Down the Pasquotank


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Wednesday 31 October 2001 South Mills Lock

Raft up at the Visitor's Center docks

Raft up at the Visitor's Center docks


The Canadian on VAGABOND decided not to be towed - he said they assured him that they wouldn't leave him there for the winter. DUNFLYN left early

We started the engine at 7:45 and pulled away at 7:59 because TROUBADOUR the Gozzard wanted to leave at 8. But just as we were getting ready to leave, she asked me about the current and tide indicators on The Capn, the computer charting program. I didn't have enough time to answer her. The trawler ahead of us pulled out before we did. At 8:49 we were all waiting for the South Mills bridge - there were 4 boats (DUNFLYN one of them) tied on the bridge fenders.

The lock tender/bridge tender opened the bridge, but the boats on the bridge fenders were slow getting underway, and the boats in back of us were laggardly and the lock tender had to chastise them.

South Mills Lock Gates Open

South Mills Lock Gates Open


We came into the lock - much less chatty tender - hardly talked at all.
South Mills lock tender (and our solar panel)

South Mills lock tender (and our solar panel)


We were on the starboard side behind PERSEPHONE (a sailboat), DUNFLYN, and another trawler.
South Mills Lock gates behind us

South Mills Lock gates behind us

When you lock through these locks, you put out fenders to protect the side of the boat from the side of the lock, and you also loop lines over the bollards at the top of the lock walls
Max, Lucette and Bob handling the lock lines

Max, Lucette and Bob handling the lock lines


These lines help keep the boat from being pushed around or into each other in the lock from the current generated by water coming into the lock or going out of the lock. On the port side were TROUBADOUR, SEASON TICKET, JOLIE DAME and FIREFLY.

We exited the lock at 9:43, and Bob turned the wheel over to Lucette. She learned how to steer while we were in Turner's Cut.
Starting down Turner's Cut

Starting down Turner's Cut


DUNFLYN and the other trawlers went ahead and were soon out of sight. JOLIE DAME hung back after the lock, so FIREFLY with its little Atomic 4 engine was the lead sailboat, and then us, and then the Gozzard TROUBADOUR.

Eventually, FIREFLY pulled over for lunch, and then we could only see the Gozzard behind us as the Pasquotank RIver twisted around.
Troubadour behind us on the Pasquotank

Troubadour behind us on the Pasquotank


We went through a very smokey area. There are fires because there's been a drought.
650797-Bald_Cypress_Dismal_Swamp_State_Park.jpgPasquotank River with bald cypress

Pasquotank River with bald cypress


We started to see mistletoe in the trees. We passed the A. W. Jones Lumber Company again with the "Plastic and Smoke Free" sign. It said "No plastic and no cigarettes allowed on this property. Our jobs depend on it."
Wood chip plant on the shore

Wood chip plant on the shore


We also passed fishermen.
Fishermen on the Pasquotank

Fishermen on the Pasquotank


We came down to the RR bridge before Elizabeth City. It has a very narrow opening at right angles to the river, but Lucette did fine.
Approaching the RR bridge

Approaching the RR bridge


We went through the Elizabeth City bridge
Elizabeth City bridge opening

Elizabeth City bridge opening


ahead and I took a picture of TROUBADOUR (the Gozzard), which I later gave her.
Troubadour coming through the bridge

Troubadour coming through the bridge


We were tied up at the Elizabeth City free docks (MM 51 - that is fifty one miles from Hospital Point in Norfolk) by about 12:30. We were right next to a CSY 33 named BEAU. They were having transmission problems, so they had to wait for a repair person to get to them the same as the guy we left at the Visitor's Center.
87890799650860-Docking_at_El..abeth_City.jpgTying up at the free docks - Lucette, Max, Linda, and Rob

Tying up at the free docks - Lucette, Max, Linda, and Rob


Elizabeth City has 2 nights (48 hour) free dockage at the public docks - primarily for boats going north or south on the ICW through the Dismal Swamp Canal. If the weather is bad, no one will kick you out though. We've never stayed more than 2 days. Fifteen boats can be accommodated. The number on the slip shows the width of the slip so you can pick one that you will fit in. Catamarans go over on the Waterworks side, or in some cases on the restaurant dock. Depths are about 12 feet which is plenty for anyone who's been through the Dismal Swamp. There are water connections (check the drinking fountain), but there is no power available. Bathrooms (but no showers) are available in Waterworks when it is open.

The finger piers are quite short and low, so at high tide, I have to have a milk crate or stool on the finger pier in order to get off. Some folks just climb over the bow directly onto the seawall.

S/V RosalieAnn at the Elizabeth City docks

S/V RosalieAnn at the Elizabeth City docks

We went over to Stocks (Comstock's Confectionery) where we both had milkshakes (the old fashioned kind with real ice cream) with lunch.

Bob went into town and found some appropriate long pans. He also went to the hardware store and shopped. I went onto the Gozzard to show her the Tides and Currents on her program - had to climb through the bowsprit which was pretty difficult for me.

If there are more than 4 new boats at the docks, the Rose Buddies will hold a wine and cheese party on the river side of Waterworks in a tent. Fred, a former USPS employee and a friend now deceased started the Rose Buddys in Elizabeth City. Fred instigated the free docks, and the custom of a wine and cheese party. In the afternoon, Fred comes by in his golf cart and takes note of how many cruisers there are and invites them to the party. In the summer and early fall, each lady from the boats gets a rose (thus the Rose Buddy name). The Rose Buddies have rose bushes at the dock, and also have some at the Welcome Center on the Dismal Swamp Canal.

Location for Rose Buddy party (taken 2002)

Location for Rose Buddy party (taken 2002)

The idea is to get people off their boats and talking to each other and sharing experiences. Because otherwise, we tend to be a bit isolated, especially those who are saving money by anchoring out instead of coming into marinas. Willard Scott when he heard about the pair, gave Fred a Rose Buddy golf cart. Fred gives a speech at the party, and asks the cruisers to sign a book. Unfortunately, sometimes the cruiser's book disappears, so he no longer brings the book to the party. He doesn't like you to be late, so pay attention to the time. (He was annoyed because we were late for the party.)

We ate dinner at the Colonial Restaurant that night. This is a low key place, with a lot of local patrons - some of them very senior citizens. Very much a local place, and not fancy - no tablecloths, just paper placemats. But very nice people, good service and the food was good. There is a smoking section and our friends didn't appreciate the smoke from the smoking section in the non-smoking section.There is a big mural on the wall of a stern wheeler and the words to the song "Way Down Yonder on the Pasquotank". I don't know the tune, but it obviously isn't "Swanee River" Our bill for the two of us was $17.42 including tip.

Thursday 1 November 2001

It was VERY foggy this morning. I woke up at 6 and could see across the river. But by 7, you couldn't even see the last marker. They told us it was smoke from the forest or peat fires, - one of the guys at Stocks (where we were having breakfast) said at one point he couldn't see past the hood of his car. {Stocks has been closed} Locals used to gather here at Stocks in the morning for breakfast. You could read the paper if you put it back. Food was cooked the old fashioned way - individually on a grille. I had a country ham and egg biscuit for $2.20. We decided to stay another day so Max and Lucette would have time with Rob and Linda of BEAU.
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Max and Lucette and Rob and Linda went to the Colonial for breakfast, and then walked to the athletic club for showers. Bob went and bought bread at the bakery. I walked around town some. The new Albemarle Museum is almost finished. The Chamber of Commerce will let you bring in your laptop to do email, but crossing the street is an adventure in itself, and if you can wait until you get to the Alligator Marina, it is easier there. We considered going down to Edenton, but when I did the routing, it was 57 miles, and would be a long day down and a long day back.

Most of the boats at the docks are Canadian. The Canadian boats are TOURNE BRISE, ELVIRE, PANAMA JACK, JAZZZ I, IGUAZU, SHEENA II (a trawler with a sick dog), and HUMA (who was with us in Norfolk). TOBIN JAMES, the trawler next to us was from the US, and earned Bob's disapprobation by running their genset most of the night. VENUS has a home post of Anguilla, plus there was a bright yellow catamaran from Sydney Australia named MARA. They've already gone halfway around the world - they went through the Suez and through the Med, down to the Caribbean, up to Maine, and are heading for Panama. We met them at the second Rose Buddy party. It was too late for roses, so we got cotton boles to become a "cotton pickin' Carolinian"

We ate at the Cypress Creek Grill (Recommended by Claiborne Young) for dinner. Very good and very popular. I had barbecue.

Friday 2 November 2001

We were going to wait to leave until late if it was foggy, but it wasn't. The sky WAS red in the morning, and I was afraid that there would be waves in Albemarle Sound (2 feet were predicted), so we left the slip at 6:40, and motored down toward the sound.
Leaving Elizabeth CIty

Leaving Elizabeth CIty


We saw the big CG station (there was a C130 buzzing us) and the blimp manufacturing building with a blimp moored next to it.
Blimp manufacturing building

Blimp manufacturing building


There was very little wind, and the river was flat calm.

Next Alligator River

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:53 Archived in USA Comments (4)

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