Monday, November 13, 2017

Riding the ICW

It was an all around good day. We started out having breakfast at Blackstone's with Bob's parents. That was a pleasant benefit of going to Beaufort instead of Savanah. I had not seen them for a good long while.,so it was nice to catch up with them. And Blackstone's is a long time Waffler favorite breakfast spot.

We pulled out of the marina at about 10:30 this morning, in time for the 11:00 opening of the Lady's Island Bridge. And Tom's Point Creek. We had the anchor down by 5:30 (motoring the whole way). We are just over halfway back to Charleston. Leaving here tomorrow by eight gets us back to Charleston with plenty of time to spare.

One notable item for the day, for the first time Bob did no time at the helm. A milestone for us!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Another Late Start (I am seeing a trend here)

I think we were more tired that we thought yesterday. We are slept in, but it felt great. And after a breakfast of French toast prepared by Bill, we felt like new men.

We raised anchor at 10:40, and headed back out to sea, for our new destination...Beaufort.

An interesting note is that we saw a sunken sailboat on they way out. All that was visible was the master, and a tiny corner of the jib peaking up of of the water. The operating theory is the their captain ran out of gin, and then mutinied. We encouraged Bob to take this as a cautionary tale, but he insisted that we will now and always be well stocked in that regard.

Once out on the ocean, the sailing was perfect, and everyone got in time on the helm. The autohelm seemed to be off kilter today, so we will have to solve that one. But we all did need the practice.

Once in St Helena Sound, the good sailing did not stop. We had a couple hours of perfect wind to move us along, and even put the spinnaker to good use when the wind died down.

Eventually, we did have to lower the sails, and go under power. The sun set while we were still in the ICW. Navigating at night in those channels is tricky, but we all know what needs to be done and we work together to do it.

We are tied up at the town dock a little before 8,and Beaufort brought hot showers and a good meal at Q on the Bay. I hadn't had BBQ in a while, and it was awesome.

Tomorrow is breakfast with Bob's parents, and then we start back for Charleston. Hopefully the trip back will be as good as the trip down.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Late Start

We got a late start today for a couple of reasons, the most compelling reason being that we had to visit two separate West Marine stores to replace a defective man overboard beacon.

However, one forty in the afternoon saw us heading out. Bob let me get some practice by taking the Black Dog out from the marina. It wasn't perfect, but there was no major incident.

Once we cleared Fort Sumter, rhe wind at the waves picked up. While this was expected, how cold it was came as bit of a surprise. I should mention here that there was a theft on the boat a couple of months back. We initially thought that only some canned goods were purloined, but we discovered today that Bill and I lost some foul weather gear as part of that deal. Not what you want to find out on a cold, windy sea.

Our original plan was to do an overnight to Savanah, however we opted to change our plans and had a very pleasant sail to an achorage off of Seabrook Island. As that afternoon wore on the wind settled down, and the seas were less choppy off shore.

Bill fixed us a good hot meal, and tomorrow we'll set out for Beaufort. The predictions for the sea looks very pleasant, and we should have a great sail.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oriental and then Home

This last post is coming a bit late, but Friday was a busy day, and then our homecoming caused us to get swept up in a few other things.

After a good nights sleep on Thursday night, having enjoyed the fresh provisions acquired in Ocracoke, we took the dinghy into town and enjoyed a nice little walking tour around town. The island has a nice little web app designed for the mobile phone ( that we used to check out some high points of the island while we walked around in search of breakfast. Unfortunately,  many of the businesses were still closed because of the flooding, however we wandered into the Ocracoke Coffee Co and got a good cup to fortify us until we found a gas station/convenience store with a grill in back were we enjoyed a nice breakfast.

I was bummed that Teach's Hole was closed. I had hoped to be able to peruse the Blackbeard exhibit, and maybe get a new jolly roger for the Black Dog. It was not to be though, and I will need to save that for another trip. After a late breakfast (probably more like lunch), it was back to the boat and anchors up and back out to Pamlico Sound. After our struggles with the channel the evening before we decided to do what we found that other sailors do. we sat back and watched what the ferry did, and then followed that course. The channel in does not seem to follow the fixed markers (we saw waves breaking on a shoal in the middle of the "marked" channel), so caution is always advised there, and one should keep an eye out for floating markers, which seemed to get moved and placed as appropriate.

It was a good day for sailing in the sound, and we had a nice one on our way to Oriental for three or four hours. Eventually the wind shifted though, and we had to motor on to Sea Harbor Marina, where we were to leave the boat for the time being. Lisa, the dock master, was very nice, and she helped us out a lot, from advice on a vent problem to a ride into town later on. The facilities in the marina are also very nice, and I has able to enjoy a nice, hot, "Hollywood" shower before we went into town for dinner. After dinner, we had a brief walk around Oriental, and then Lisa was kind enough to pick us up and drive us back to the marina.

We were up early on Saturday, and did a three hour field day on the boat, both topside and below decks. Additionally, the fuel was topped off, along with the water, so things will be ready to go when Bob and Ronda go back up to move her a little farther down south.

It was another great trip, and a learning one for me as well. I got practice docking, as well as anchoring. As always, I am looking forward to the next adventure on the finest Island Packet to terrorize the Carolina Coast.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

On to Blackbeard's Last Stand

Today was a very quiet day of motoring. We were anchors up at 6:40 AM and had 12 hours of motoring until we arrived at Ocracoke Island, the site of Blackbeard's last stand.

It is no wonder that Blackbeard favored this island, as it is a tricky channel to navigate. It is easy to imagine him sailing away laughing as the Royal Navy ran aground.

We haven't gotten to see much of the island, since we got here so late, and the power was out when I came ashore. Apparently they are experiencing the worst flooding since 1944,and the island is under evacuation for visitors. The locals were a bit surprised to see us. Bob dropped me dockside before heading to anchor so that I could get provisions. Fortunately the grocery store and ABC store were running off a generator and open. It was about a half a mile walk there, and on the walk back the power came back for the island. We had a nice dinner on the boat consisting of some locally acquired steaks, and are looking forward to exploring tomorrow before departing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Repairs Complete!

The team at the Atlantic Yacht Basin were awesome! Bob and I showed up at 7:30 AM with spare prop in hand, and these guys got us out of the water, prop replaced, and back in the water by 10:30. So the voyage is able to continue.

While repairs were going on, Bill Eisman and I picked breakfast to go at the Lockside Inn right near the Great Bridge Lock. The breakfast was good and the service was quite friendly. We brought it back to the Basin, and by the time we got finished eating it was time to put the boat back in the water.

We departed the boatyard and tied up directly across the channel. There are is a historic park there marking the battlefield for the Bridge. We walked around the park for a bit, before saying goodbye to Bill. He departed us today to return home.

Bob and I restarted our trek back south around one o'clock. We made good time. Bob went ashore in the dinghy in Coinjock to get ice, and we continued on to our anchorage point just south of mile marker 50.

It has been a great trip so far. We are well provisioned for the most part, the exception being adult beverages,  shall we say. Our intention is to make Ocracoke tomorrow night. Being a pirate friendly town, we hope to have that situation resolved. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Waiting in the Atlantic Yacht Basin

It has been an interesting few days, and now I am finally getting to update the blog. We are sitting in the Atlantic Yacht Basin with a busted prop, but more on that later.

I arrived in Deale on Saturday evening, and made it to the Annapolis Sailboat Show. There was a lot to see, but my favorite was meeting Andy Schell and his wife Mia, of 59 North Sailing ( and seeing their beautiful Swan 48 named Isbjorn. They are very nice people and were very patient with me as I gushed about my favorite podcast episodes. A great experience for me. And I encourage all to check out the On The Wind podcast.

Picked up Bill E. at the airport and then we waited for Bob at first the airport Marriott, and then at the Brewers Art in Baltimore. The coffee porter was awesome, and they serve a good bratwurst as well. After multiple delays, Bob finally arrived in Baltimore,

We had a few items to deal with before we left Deale (get it?) so we didn't get underway until around two. Bob had me dock for him at the fuel dock which was good practice for me. I am happy to report that there were no crashes followed by firery explosion.

We sailed through the night, and it was a good night for it. The moon was bright and there were stars forever. We shared the Bay with a great deal of other vessels, but thanks to AIS and proper watch standing, we all got along just fine. Around 3 AM, the winds died down, and it was time to fire up the diesel.

Morning saw is by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and for me it was a bit of a homecoming as we passed by Naval Station Norfolk, as I had not been there on the water since my final Navy cruise in 1989.

We enjoyed viewing all the Naval ships and other sites on the intracoastal waterway. On this section, there are quite a few bridges that require waiting for the bridge to open to allow passage. Disaster struck when we were waiting for the Great Bridge Lock to open to let us through. The Autoprop H5 threw a blade, and we limped in to the Atlantic Yacht Basin with with two blades. Special thanks to Captain Ed from Sea Tow for helping us find a berth in a very packed marina. We have a spare prop on board, and we are hoping to get this resolved tomorrow and be able to continue on.