Sunday, 6/15/08 Day 134
Today was pretty good. We sailed offshore all day. It was calm almost all day, but there was no wind for most of the day. We did catch a good sized King Mackerel on the Krocodile Spoon. Just as it was by the side, the fish gave a last struggle and ripped off the triple-hooked lure.
The only time we were able to sail was when a squall came around 2:30pm. It rained and blew 20kts. for two hours or so. The 20kt. winds let us sail at 7kts. and the rain rinsed the salt off everything, so it wasn't that bad. We were worried about lightning, but nothing came of it.
At 8:11pm, I spotted land. We came into the channel into Beaufort, NC after dark. I was in charge of looking for flashing green markers on the left (port) side. Mom was looking for the flashing red markers on the right (starboard) side. At 10:35pm, we had the anchor down past Fort Macon and the USCG station.
The clock struck midnight just as I got into bed to do this, and I'm tired. I will sleep now. J
Monday, 6/16/08 Day 135
Before I woke up, we were under way on the East Coast ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) from Beaufort, NC (mile 204). We were headed for Oriental, NC (mile 182) to a marina to tie up to in order to get some work done. The marina we wanted to go to, Oriental Marina, didn't have room for us when we got there, so we just kept going. Mom and I worked on the website for most of the time. The East Coast ICW is almost all pleasure craft traffic, where the Gulf Coast ICW is almost all commercial barge traffic. There are also a lot more bridges on the East Coast ICW than the Gulf Coast ICW.
We ended up stopping at Campbell Creek (mile 155) to anchor for the night. Just after we anchored in the soft, muddy bottom, s/v Iato and s/v Synchronicity pulled up. We had met Rick and Linda on s/v Iato in Charleston, but hadn't met Synchronicity, Iato's buddy boat, identical to their own. They invited us over for dinner/snacks/cocktails. Mr. Rick picked us up because, just earlier this morning, we noticed that the new solar panel outfit that Dad made in Titusville, FL, popped our dinghy on the passage.
On the huge and spacious s/v Synchonicity, a 44ft. Manta Catamaran, we ate some, watched some TV shows we brought on DVD (The Lucy Show & The Andy Griffith Show), and pet the cats and dogs. S/v Iato has a mini-Dauschund named Max that doesn't mind Piff and Marpie, s/v Synchronicity's cats. We had fun and should see them all down the road!
Tuesday, 6/17/08 Day 136
Pretty quickly after we got up, we moved the boat to the River Forest Manor Marina in Belhaven, NC (mile 135). Again, Mom and I worked on the website almost the whole time. The River Forest Manor Marina is next to a mansion that is now a restaurant and inn. The marina has a big T-dock and free wi-fi, golf carts to drive into town, a pool, a bathhouse, and a Laundromat. After checking into the marina, we took a golf cart into town. We had lunch at Andy's Cheeseburgers and cheesesteaks, and the burgers were good. We also stopped at the Food Lion, Dollar General, and the River Forest Manor Shipyard. The golf cart's brakes didn't work, so Dad had to find other ways to stop it. That was an experience!
We went to the pool when we got home. The pool was very murky, but all the workers said that it had the right chlorine and Ph amounts. Josh and I played an underwater spy game where we had to shoot each other with a torpedo, but actually couldn't see each other until we were 3ft. or so away. We had fun.
Later, s/v Iato joined us with s/v Synchronicity's crew as guests (s/v Iato tied up to the marina, but s/v Synchronicity anchored out). We played with Max, or at least tried to.
Afterwards, Josh and I played around the docks. Then, we found huge schools of baitfish around the docks. We cast-netted into them until 9:45pm. We caught Croaker, Pinfish, Finger Mullet, a shrimp, and even two small Summer Flounder. We caught about 16 fish. Bill and Patty on s/v Renaissance, who have been here for about 7 months, said you can crab in the marina, and we'll do that tomorrow. We may also fish for flounder. Today was great!
Wednesday, 6/18/08 Day 137
This morning, almost as soon as Josh was awake, we went out crabbing. We didn't have any bait, so we just scooped them off the pylons with our big net. We crabbed all morning, but only got 4 crabs - 1 big male, 2 smaller but legal males, and 1 female. Crabbing the way we did was hard. Here are pie charts that show how our crabbing time was spent:
Later, I caught two more crabs that we kept. I finally quit when a small crab that I needed to throw back pinched me, drawing blood in four places!
We had to stop crabbing to go into the town of Belhaven, NC via the marina's golf cart. We provisioned at Food Lion, filled our propane tanks at the gas station, and went to Dollar General. But, before all that, we went to an ice cream shop with free wi-fi. I got chocolate ice cream with brownie chunks and chocolate hearts in a waffle cone. The shop was called The Foxy Flamingo, and my ice cream was called Foxylicious. Funny names, huh?
Back at the marina, we helped with the groceries, and then went to do some real crabbing with some turkey necks we bought. Mr. Bill helped us get set up, and we were running 4 lines. Josh and I got into a fight and Josh quit. We caught no crabs at all.
Dad boiled the crabs with some shrimp we bought and potatoes. Mr. Bill and Ms. Patty taught us how to pick out the meat and stayed for a glass of two of wine. We talked for a long time.
It's late and Mom is threatening to kick us out of bed early so she can wash the sheets. That should be interesting. We're going to leave tomorrow as well. Today was pretty great.
Thursday, 6/19/08 Day 138
We left in the afternoon from River Forest Manor Marina. We spent the whole morning at the marina finishing up projects.
Just as she said she would do, Mom relocated Josh to her bed and me to his bed in order to take our sheets off to do laundry. I went back to sleep and slept until Josh slapped me 4 times as hard as he could to wake me up to tell me something. My first words were, "You're such a jerk Josh!!!" When he came back to the boat with Dad, my second words were, "I should beat the crud out of you right now Josh!!!" All Dad did was make him apologize for what he did.
I ate some chocolate donuts and rugalas we bought yesterday and went to help Dad like Josh woke me up in that rude manner to do. I scrubbed the bottom of the dinghy, but was still mad at Josh and tried to quit twice when he purposely sprayed me with water. We finally finished, but kept helping to get ready to leave.
We finally took some nice marina showers and left around 3:00pm. We traveled into Pungo-Alligator Canal from there. It was scenic, but boring. It was dark by the time our anchor was down. Today was okay.
Friday, 6/20/08 Day 139
This morning was cold. Just like when we left Avery Island, LA (see 2/14/08), Mom told me to stay in bed where it was warmest. I stayed downstairs most of the morning, playing with Josh. We made a huge disaster out of our beds. It was fun while it lasted.
When I finally came upstairs, we were in Albemarle Sound, NC. It is a big expanse of water, and you can only see land on 2 sides. The sound was full of crab pots that we had to dodge. All in all, the sound was pretty boring.
From Albemarle Sound, we passed Elizabeth City, NC and into the beautiful, peaceful Pasquotank River. The river is the color of tea because of the tannic acid from the trees. Logs and stumps are all over the river. We had to navigate around logs sticking out just enough above the water for us to see, but still large enough to mess up our boat if we ran into them. The water was dead calm and gave a clear as crystal mirror image of the forest. There was a good amount of wildlife as well. We saw a bunch of turtles (2 different types), some herons, and a beaver. I don't know if this counts, but there were 4 different types of biting horseflies too. They filled both the top of the bimini where they landed, and the cockpit floor where they fell when we swatted them.
When we reached the end of the river and had to stop for the night, we pulled off into an old, abandoned barge loading canal. There is an old abandoned, rusting and overgrown bulkhead that used to be where the barges tied up. We tied up. Josh and I went exploring down a dirt road and found a big facility by a water tower. It was surrounded by barbed wire. Next to it was also a big field that was tilled and had some crop growing in the rows. It was all cool. While we were returning to the boat, we saw a bunch of red, white and blue signs facing away from the bulkhead that said, "U.S. Government Property; No Trespassing." We are staying at the dock overnight anyway. Today was great!
Saturday, 6/21/08 Day 140
Today was okay. We left the bulkhead and went to a lock right outside the Dismal Swamp. We locked up 8ft. with s/v Gravia Immer into the Great Dismal Swamp at 8:30am. The swamp has a history going back to George Washington and the early 1800's, but anybody reading this can read that themselves. Just google Dismal Swamp, NC. We enjoyed the scenery, but it was not as peaceful as the Pasquotank River because of its popularity as a tourist attraction and a highway running just beyond the trees. We stopped at the Visitor's Center (they had a dock for us to tie up to). You were supposed to see bears, deer, tons of birds, etc., but all we saw were flied galore, butterflies, a squirrel, and turtles. It got boring before all 22 miles were through. Just past ICW mile marker 25 is the North Carolina - Virginia border. We crossed it at around 11:00am.
We caught the 2:00 lock at the north side of the Dismal Swamp. We locked down 9ft. with s/v Passion and s/v Gavia Immer. Before we hit the locks, we tied up right outside them with s/v Gavia Immer. We talked and found out that John (from Gavia Immer) also has his Ham radio license. He was thrilled that I, at age 11, have my General Class Ham radio license. Most Hams are.
The lockmaster at the locks was kind of obsessed with conch horns. He asked all of the three boats locking down if they might have a conch horn to give him, then bragged about how good he was. He blew 4 horns and made all these cool sounds. He bragged an awful lot, but he was pretty good at it.
After the locks, as we rounded a bend, a small powerboat was calling for help. They were out of gas. While we didn't have the right kind of gas to give them, we offered them a tow and they accepted. It wasn't hard.
As we dropped the boat off at a boat ramp, a water skiing show was going on. There were a bunch of ski boats with slaloms all over and water skiers doing jumps. There was one guy doing a bunch of 180's, a 360, and two 720's! It was really cool!
After that, we went under a bridge and to the big port of Norfolk, VA. There were a lot of big cargo ships, cranes to load cargo on, barges, and Navy ships. Norfolk is a big Navy port. We saw Navy transport ships, and even a battleship and aircraft carrier. It was cool.
We had made a reservation at Ocean Marine Yacht Center and we pulled in and took on fuel. Rick Owen, a friend of Dad's from work, was flying in to sail with us, so we needed to be at the dock for that. We borrowed the marina's courtesy car and went to the grocery store, West Marine, and the airport. After we picked up Mr. Rick, we went to dinner. While we were looking for a place to eat, I saw a firefly and caught it. I carried it around and ended up releasing it by a restaurant down the street called Roger Brown's Sports Bar. We ate there and it was good.
It was 10:30pm by the time we got back to the boat and took showers. The shower I took was awesome! The showerhead had four different modes, could be taken off the wall, and was about 5 inches in diameter! Unfortunately, nobody cared in the slightest about the cool showerhead. That made me slightly grumpy, I have to admit.
Today was pretty good, and tomorrow should be great. We are leaving tomorrow for New York, New York with Mr. Rick as Xtra-Crew. We will leave from the Chesapeake Bay and I hope we catch some Striped Bass or Bluefish. It will be great.