Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sunshine after Annapolis

On Memorial Day we rode a shuttle van from the marina into downtown Annapolis and took a trolley tour through the historic district and over the Severn River to a WWII Memorial Monument with a beautiful view of Annapolis back across the river. After the trolley ride we were ready for some ice cream. Then we visited the Annapolis Naval Academy. We especially wanted to visit the chapel which was supposed to be open. We walked to every door and were only able to look inside through the windows. The chapel seats 2500 midshipmen. It is a very impressive building.
After three days in Annapolis we finally got someone to service the refrigerator. It required only a cooling fan and it is back in operation. Everything seemed to come together for us on Wednesday. The new computer arrived, our mail from home arrived, a woman from the marina office took me to lunch with her so that I could purchase a new camera, and the refrigerator was back in operation. By 2:00 we were ready to be back on the water so we left the Chesapeake Harbor in Annapolis and went to Rock Hall, just across the Bay. This is a small quaint town with a grocery store within walking distance. We got a ride to the store and walked back with as much as we thought we could carry for a mile back.
The next day we enjoyed a very pleasant cruise up the Bay and up the Sasafrass River to Georgetown, MD. Muriel and I toured the Kitty Knight House which is two Revolutionary War era homes which are now joined into a beautiful restaurant and bed and breakfast. The marina did not have cable TV on the dock so we had to ferry across the river to another facility so Shelly could watch the last episode of Lost and walk back to the boat at 11:00pm.
On Friday morning we left Georgetown and cruised on up to Chesapeake City, arriving about 1:00. Dianne and the three of us walked through the old town district. The ladies were struck with the quaintness of the village and all the beautiful blooming flowers. Muriel and Dianne decided this is a perfect place to live and open a grocery store for cruisers. (Wonder how many villages will be "perfect places to live" before we finish this trip.) As we walked down one of the streets the entire view was suddenly filled by a large ship headed to Baltimore through the canal. Some of the locals said the ship was hauling 6900 automobiles. What a sight to see such a large ship in such a small canal.
Today is Saturday. We are sitting in the harbor at Chesapeake waiting for a storm front to pass before we transit the C&D canal and make our run down the Delaware Bay to Cape May, NJ. We just met a fellow on the dock who has lived nearby all his life. He said that 18 years ago you would not have wanted to set foot in the town because it was quite run down and not safe. The town was built as a construction village for the construction of the canal and afterwards was left to deteriorate. Mrs. RC DuPont, who also lived nearby, took an interest in the village and began buying properties and returning them to their original condition.
The rain has just started. It is expected to move through the area this evening and tomorrow looks good for our trip down Delaware Bay. We hope to learn how to get some pictures on the blog soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We're back!!! We have not updated for several days due to problems with our laptop. We hope these are now resolved.
We enjoyed three days at Portsmouth. Muriel found a car at the marina with a tag "Muriel H." Hoger was her maiden name.
We are learning to walk whereever we need to go.
On Monday, we left Portsmouth for Deltaville, about a 50 mile day. The wind had some ideas of its own. We had 20 to 25 knot winds from the west. Crossing the mouth of Mobjack Bay was quite a ride. Shelly was wanting to call the Coast Guard to come remove her from the boat. We had 4 to 6 foot seas and heavy spray over the flybridge. The boat handled it much better than the crew. We only broke a few things but spent a lot of time picking up the mess inside the boat. We made the trip with two other looper boats. Upon arrival at Deltaville we celebrated with a couple of shots of some very smooth peach shine. We spent two days at Dossier's Marina in Deltaville. This is a beautiful marina run by great people. We borrowed their courtesy car and the seven of us piled in, literally, and went to the Dollar General, West Marine, and grocery store before enjoying lunch in Deltaville.
On Wednesday we made a short hop up to Riedsville in beautiful weather. We anchored in the harbor there and dingyed ashore to see some of the town. Louis Wade found the ice cream shop. We all enjoyed ice cream. (Louis never misses an ice cream shop. He even has an ice cream maker on board.)
On Thursday we moved on to Solomans Island, Md. and stayed at the Spring Cove Marina. Another beautiful facility. We walked and the others rode their bikes into town for lunch on Friday. On the way back Muriel, Shelly, and I heard a singer performing on the back of a charter fishing boat at Bunky's Charter Boats. He sounded good so we joined the group and enjoyed listening. Soon we began to realize they all knew each other. Then we noticed a spray of flowers on two of the boats. When we left I asked one of group, John, what was happening. He explained that Bunky had died and seven boats had taken him out for a burial at sea and returned to celebrate his life.
It was upon arrival at Solomon's that Muriel realized that our refrigerator was not working. I spent quite a while Friday on the phone trying to locate someone to work on it. It has to be someone authorized to perform warranty work. I have finally located one shop which will try to work us in on Tuesday.
Today we ran on up to Annapolis because this is where we need to be to get the work done. It was a perfect day on the Chesapeake Bay. Upon arrival at Annapolis we toured through the harbor. This was quite an experience on Memorial Day weekend. More boats than you can imagine.
It has been great receiving responses from friends.
Bud, Muriel, and Shelly

Friday, May 16, 2008

On Thursday we traveled from Belhaven up the pungo/alligator canal, which is a long straight ditch with trees lining both sides, to the Alligator River. The Alligator River becomes very wide and open. It flows into the Albemarble Sound. The Albemarble is dreaded by many loopers because it is a very open and very shallow body of water which becomes very rough when a little wind blows. We were very fortunate to cross on a day when the wind was moderate. The waves were about two feet. Some who crossed a couple of hours ahead of us swore the waves were three to four feet. Shelly sat in her first mate's seat and held on for dear life. Muriel handled it very well. We were barely able to see land for see land for several hours. Finally the trees began to take shape and Shelly's white knuckles began to take on some color again. We motored into Elizabeth City and tied up to their free municipal docks. The mayor helped us tie up to the docks. The city prides itself as being a boater friendly community. They treat visiting boaters to free wine and cheese each evening. Naturally Muriel accepted graciously. They did have a beer for the likes of me.

Today we got up early again in order to make the scheduled opening of the bridge at Elizabeth City to continue up the Paxatank River and into the Dismal Swamp canal. It rained early in the day but the swamp was so beautiful that the rain could not distract from it. Muriel says the rain added to the beauty. As the day went on the sun finally broke out as we continued the 22 mile run up the canal. We got our first experience with transiting a lock. Shelly and Muriel handled the lines very well. In the middle of the swamp is a brand new visitor center. We were held up there for a while because a trawler further up the canal had gotten hung-up on a submerged vehicle. The waterway was closed while divers searched the area and got the vehicle removed. We rafted up with 12 other cruising boats at the visitor center and expected we might be stuck there for the night. It was a fun experience visiting with all the other boaters. They got the vehicle removed and reopened the waterway so the twelve boats continued in caravan on up the waterway. We ran our second lock and continued on to Norfolk. We are in the Tidewater Marina in Portsmouth, Va, across the water from Norfolk. We have a magnificent view of the Norfolk skyline tonight.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We joined up with Louis and Dianne Wade in Moorehead City on Monday. They are a couple we met at the Great Loop Cruiser's Association meeting in Charleston last month. They are very pleasant people who are heading out to do the "Loop" also. They have a beautiful 40 foot Cape Dory Trawler and are traveling with their ten year old black lab, Buddy. After a one day layover in Moorehead City for a very windy day, we left Moorehead City at 7:00 am. We took on fuel and got away about 7:30. We had a beautiful, sunny day with very light winds to cross the Nuese River and the Pamlico River and continue up to Bellhaven, NC. A trip of about 75 miles, (remember, we travel at about 8 mph). We were constantly surprised by the number of boats headed in the same direction as us. We had a nice wine and cheese hour with other cruisers at the marina and then Muriel fixed an excellent dinner. We plan to leave again in the morning and run up the Alligator River and across the Ablemarle Sound to Elizabeth City, NC.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 12, Sunshine's trip finally began at 7:10am. We were a little later than expected due to weather forecasts which included gale force winds and 20 foot seas off the coast of North Carolina. After consulting with Ron we decided the conditions would not be too bad inside the ICW. So we left Wilmington with three oranges which Connie said we must take to avoid returning with scurvy. We got along quite well. We made 95 miles from Wilmington Marine Center to Coral Bay Marina in Moorehead City where we met up with the Wades. We laid over here today due to continuing high winds. We plan to leave in the morning to go to Bellhaven, NC.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Not Gone Yet

May 3, 2008 Sunshine is still at Wilmington Marine Center. We are working on the boat and cleaning things up after all the repairs of the past weeks. We will go back to Mooresville on Tuesday so that we can vote. We will then return to Wilmington to depart. We have met several boats here at the marina who have done the loop or are in the process now.
The alligators are back out. There is one in the marina which is much larger than any we saw last year. People are guessing his size to be 10 to 12 feet. Muriel does not allow Carlie to even walk on the dock on the leash. She has to be carried to the grass before she gets down.
Today is the christening of the nuclear sub North Carolina. The Coast Gaurd boats with mounted machine guns fore and aft have been in and out of the marina all weekend. The river is closed today to all traffic north of the marina.
Muriel has made new curtains for the salon. They look very nice and add a homey touch to the interior.