We almost had a mutiny aboard the IT last night. When Jeff woke up this morning, he found Crush, our hermit crab, at the foot of the steps in the salon. It appears that he was heading for the back door. We had left him and Pete in the Pilot House asleep in their cage last night. We now have Crush securely locked in his cage with a piece of tape.
Today we pull away from the docks at 6:00 AM for a 60 mile run into Washington, DC. It is overcast with a few storms still showing up on the radar as the front continues to push through. It should be clear and sunny by the time we reach Washington.
Once out in the bay we enter an area called the “Middle Danger area”. The U.S. Army Weapons Test Facility at Dahlgren uses this are for testing the new barrels of large bore guns. When the range is active they are firing live ammo out into the Potomac River. They station warning boats around the area to keep boaters from traversing the impact site. The Potomac can be closed for several hours when this is occurring. We see no range boats today and they usually do not have live fire on the weekends. The marina gave us an information sheet put out by the Army which is helpful to us.
We see almost 100 dead Menhaden fish floating in the water just off of Colonial Beach. Jeff thinks that the warm water has created low oxygen levels in the tributaries. I can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with the Army testing. We did hear them firing live ammo yesterday. At 7:30 AM we pass Dahlgren. We see many more fish floating on the surface. This supports my theory of the live ammo killing off the fish. At 9:30 AM we enter the “Upper Danger Area” but see no range boats. The current has really picked up and we are fighting a 2 mph ebb flow as we swim upstream. This reduces our speed down to 8.3 mph. We still have overcast skies and hazy visibility.
At 10:30 AM we pass an area called Mallows Bay. A large fleet of wooden ships built during World War 1 were abandoned in this bay. These ships were never used by the U.S. and were sold for scrap. The salvage crews striped them of any metal and then burned them here in Mallows Bay. You can still see part of their hulls sticking up out of the water.
At 11:00 AM we can see Quantico ahead on our port side. Jeff recognizes several of the buildings from his training days with the FBI. We reach Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, at 1:00 PM. We toll our bell eight times in honor of George Washington.
Since Washington’s death on Dec. 14th 1799, it has been custom for passing mariners to toll their ships bell in honor of him. We decide on eight bells, one for each member of our crew. There is a dock for boats to tie up to at the estate while visiting. We continue on as we hope to return by bicycle while in Washington. We pass the Spirit of Mt. Vernon which is a tour boat bringing tourist from Washington, DC to Mt. Vernon.
We next see Ft. Washington perched on a cliff overlooking the Potomac on the Maryland side. This fort was abandoned in 1872 and turned over to the National Park Service.
On this upper section of river, the Potomac has many snake bends which go from the Maryland side to the Virginia side and back several times. The river is still fairly wide but is only three to four feet deep outside the channel. In the channel we have thirty foot depths.
Just after going under the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge, we reach the town of Alexandria.
What a zoo it is today. Being a Saturday, I guess it is to be expected. There are boats zigzagging all across the waterway. Many do not appear to have taken Coast Guard classes. We have to divert our course for several boats that don’t seem to have a clue that we are near them. We can see the Washington Monument and the dome to the Capital Building off in the distance. We reach the Regan International Airport on our port side. Jets are coming and going over our head. The President’s helicopter, Marine One, flies right over our boat.
Jeff waves. A hand came out of the window and waved back. At this point the Potomac River splits into three prongs. We take the middle fork into the Washington Channel. There are many small sailboats out enjoying the Saturday afternoon. One comes right across our bow. Jeff quickly puts IT in neutral and then into a hard reverse to avoid hitting it. They cross our bow with only feet to spare. What a relief it is to see the Capital Yacht Club ahead. This will be our home for the month of July. We radio the yacht club several times before someone finally answers. He gives us directions to our slip but we can barely understand anything he is saying. We have no idea where to go but finally see him on the dock waving and showing us directions to our slip. By 4:00 PM Idyll Time is securely backed into our new home.
We now see why we could not understand the radio conversation. The Pilipino dockhand welcomes us in broken English. We still have a hard time understanding Manny.
It has taken us almost 5 ½ months to get to Washington, DC from Chattanooga. We feel like we have reached the first of many cruising milestones. We made plans to spend the 4th of July in Washington way back in December of 2006. We can hardly believe we are finally here. The dogs are sporting their 4th of July bandanas in celebration of our arrival.
The Idyll Time will be docked here until August 1st at which time we will continue our explorations of the Chesapeake River. For the next month we will explore the sights of Washington, D.C. We will try to keep our readers informed weekly while here.
Total Miles Traveled Today: 65
Today we have decided to stay in Colonial Beach and let this cold front pass over. We get the bikes out and make a quick trip to the store this morning before any of the rain. It is about a five mile round trip bike ride to the Food Line. When grocery shopping, we have to be careful to only purchase what we can carry in the backpacks and rear bike box. If you think going to the grocery store is a chore, try doing it on a bicycle. Once back to the boat, the rain seems to be holding off so we decide to make a second bike trip back to the store to pick up several cases of water. While at the store we see a fellow boater who is docked next to us. She tells us that she has rented a car and would be glad to carry some stuff back for us. We gladly take her up on the offer as we were not looking forward to biking back to the boat with two cases of water.
The rain never materializes so we decide to bike into town this afternoon and explore Colonial Beach. The town sits on a Peninsula and has water on three sides.
It reminds us of a 50’s beach town. It is kind of a strange little town. Houses line the beach front road on the land side with docks on the water side. There is quite a mixture of homes ranging from 50’s houses to new modern homes to trailers all on the same road. Many of the locals are out taking advantage of the beaches. Downtown there is a boardwalk with several shops. There is also an off track betting facility where you can bet on the dog races.
The Parker’s “Noah’s Ark” had an addition of two new crew members today. While in The Beach Shop we spotted a collection of hermit crabs whose shells sport many brightly colored themes and artistic paintings. We joke about getting one for the boat. After walking around town, we decided to go back to The Beach Shop and take a second look at the crabs. Before it was all said and done, we walk out with two hermit crabs, a cage, a sponge for their moisture, hermit crab food, and two shells for the crabs to grow into.
While biking back to the boat we decided on two names for the crabs. We named them Peter Parker and Crush.
We collect some sand from the beach to line the bottom of their cage.
They are now resting comfortably up in the pilot house.
Total miles traveled by bike: 16
This morning we leave our anchorage on the Yeocomico and are back out in the Potomac by 8:30 AM. It is hot and sunny. We had originally planed on anchoring out until reaching Washington, DC. The weather forecast does not look favorable as a strong cold front will be approaching on Thursday night and Friday. They are also forecasting severe thunderstorms each afternoon. We decide it would be prudent to find a place to be securely tied to the docks each evening. Even though we like anchoring, we always feel much safer at a marina. Plus as hot as it is right now, being able to run the air conditioner will be very nice. We call Colonial Beach which is about 30 miles north of here and they have space for us tonight.
The cruise up the Potomac is relatively easy. We see only a handful of other boats.
The lower Potomac is very wide and you almost feel as if you are out in the ocean. At 11:00 AM we reach Nomini Bay and see the Nomini Cliffs rising from the shore. The Potomac starts to narrow in this section and we can now easily see both sides of the shore line.
At 12:30 PM we reach the entrance to Monroe Bay and make a turn to port. We follow the channel markers which lead us into Monroe Bay.
These waters are very shallow so we slow to idle speed. I radio Colonial Beach Yacht Center for directions to our slip.
They don’t seem to have any of our information and ask for it all again. There is a long pause and we are afraid they are going to tell us there is no room. Finally the dock master comes back on the radio with directions and says he will meet us at the slip. We arrive at what we think is our berth for the night but no one is around. We see no one in sight so finally start to dock by ourselves. Just as I jump off the boat to secure the lines, someone shows up. By 1:00 PM we are secure and Jeff reluctantly turns on the A/C. He keeps saying “but it’s only 95 degrees”. The thunderstorms arrive shortly afterwards. We are both glad to be at the docks. The weather does not look good for tomorrow so we decide to stay here tomorrow. We are only 60 miles from Washington, DC and will make that entire run on Saturday AM.
This afternoon we walk with the dogs the two miles into the town of Colonial Beach.
It is very hot. Once we reach the town, Sebastian gives out on us and sits down in the grass not wanting to go any further.
Jeff takes him in the restroom and puts him in the sink to cool him off. That must have been quite a sight but it seemed to revive him and he is ready for the walk back. Thunderstorms are again looming in the distance so we hustle on back to the boat. We had walked further than we realized and are all very glad to be back at the boat. We must have walked five miles.
When I look out the back door this evening, I see two swans swimming out in the channel. I go outside and they immediately make their way over to the boat.
We give them all of the bread that we have onboard and they greedily scoop it up. They seem to be professional beggars working this area of the marina. They are very beautiful and we enjoy spending the evening watching them.
Total Miles Traveled: 30
Before leaving our anchorage here at Horseshoe Bend, we decide to experience the breakfast fare at St. Mary’s College. For $3.20 you get a full buffet breakfast. This is cheaper than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Again I am sure that they are loosing money on us. With our bellies full, we pull up the anchor at 10:00 AM for what should be an easy run across the Potomac to the southern shore into the Yeocomico River. It is another hot day with a slight breeze. We enter the Yeocomico River at 11:30 AM. This is a nice wide river with three prongs all with good anchorages and several marinas. We opt for the West Yeocomico which is the middle fork and ends at the town of Kinsale. The town of Kinsale is supposedly one of the oldest Potomac settlements and a sight of a battle in the War of 1812. We spot a nice anchorage near a sandy beach where we can take the dogs ashore. By 12:30 PM we are hooked to the bottom.
We put the dinghy overboard. We are anchored just past the Port Kinsale Marina. We have only about 1/3 tank of gas in Time Out so we decide to stop at the marina before exploring the river. The dogs are happy to get the chance to go ashore. We explore one of the other forks of the Yeocomico by dinghy. We see several nice places to anchor in this fork also.
This afternoon another sailboat anchored next to us. Once it cools down, we decide to go into Kinsale and see what is there. The town is just up the hill from the Kinsale Yacht Club. We are able to dinghy into this marina and walk into the town.
We see several old houses and a post office. There is a nice park just atop the hill.
Our guide book had mentioned that there was an ice cream shop but we can not find one. There are no stores in the town only the one street of older homes. Kinsale seems to be a ghost town.
This evening we have some severe thunderstorms headed our way. Jeff turns on the weather WxWorks satellite program which feeds live NOAA weather. We have a squall line which passes right over us. The winds at one point were gusting to 5o mph. There is also some lightning which freaks Daisy out. We lock her in the bedroom to make sure that she does not jump overboard. After about an hour, the storms pass and it is much cooler. This was the worst storm which we have encountered while being at anchor. After awhile Daisy calms down and everything is back to normal.
Total Miles Traveled: 12
Today we are anchored just off Historic St. Mary’s City at the anchorage know as Horseshoe Bend. St. Mary’s College has a very impressive water sports facility here. They allow boaters to tie up for the day at their docks but do not allow you to tie up overnight. Big boats can come into the docks to fill up the water tanks at no charge. We bring the dinghy ashore this morning loaded with our bicycles to explore the town.
St. Mary’s City is the site of Maryland’s first capital. English settlers established this colony in 1634. Two ships, The Dove and The Ark, carried the first settlers from England to this colony. There is a full size 65 foot replica of the Dove at the docks for people to tour.
There is also a recreation of the original settlement along with the 1676 State House. A recreated 1600’s working tobacco plantation is also here.
Unfortunately these exhibits are closed today as they are only open Wed. thru Sunday. However, we are able to walk around the grounds and read much of the history.
We also rode our bicycles through the college. This is a public liberal arts college and looks like a very nice college. There is hardly anyone here as school is out for the summer. We decided to have lunch at the College dinning hall. The public is welcome and for $6.00 we have a wonderful all you can eat buffet lunch. I think they lost money on Jeff.
It is very hot this afternoon so we decide to try the water and take a swim. We have seen lots of sea nettles in the waters but today don’t see any around the boat so decide a swim should be o.k. The water is nice and clear here. Jeff puts the mask on and checks out our hull while in the water. Everything seems o.k.
Since it is so hot today, we decide to put the birds in the shower and give them a bath.
At first they are not too sure but they settle down and actually seem to enjoy the water.
This evening Ed and Dot Sved, on the trawler Almada, come by in their dinghy to say hello. They have been cruising for many years and are still very energetic. We hope to be in as good of shape when we get to be their age.
This evening we take the dogs for a walk along the paths of Historic St. Mary’s. This area is on a high bluff overlooking the river and is very picturesque. It is not hard to understand why the first settlers picked this spot as their state capital.
Total miles by bike: 12
Today we will be leaving Reedville and should be on the Potomac for the first time by days end. We have enjoyed our stay here. The friendliness of the town’s people really make this place special. One of the local residents which Jeff met last evening even called us up this morning offering the use of his car. He also invited us to dinner tonight if we were still in town. Unfortunately we must leave today to begin our journey up the Potomac. Before leaving, a local fishing boat pulls in front of us with a load of fish heaped in the sole of the boat.
There is a fish processing plant just off our bow. They lower a large pipe arm into the boat and suck all the fish up. Daisy and Sebastian’s noses are getting a good workout once again. I think the dogs are going to miss this place as they seem to enjoy all the smells and the fish bones all over the driveway. Yesterday Sebastian wondered off the boat without our knowledge. Someone came knocking on our door asking if that wasn’t our dog. He was wandering around the restaurant smelling all the good smells.
We say goodbye to the Crazy Crab and at 10:00 AM and pull away from the docks.
The Chesapeake Breeze follows us through the harbor on their daily run to Tangier. We slow down and let them pass as they are much larger.
As we pass the Menhaden fish plants, we see that all of the fishing boats have left for their fishing run.
Out in the bay we have seas of 4-5 feet which makes for a lumpy ride. The Chesapeake Breeze radios us to see how our stabilizers are doing today. At 11:30 we pass the Smith Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse is the half way point between Annapolis and Norfolk. This huge lighthouse can be seen for miles. It is an automated lighthouse which is monitored by closed-circuit television some 30 miles away. At 12:00 PM we cross the state line and are now in Maryland waters for the first time. We make a slight turn to port and find ourselves in the Potomac River. We will travel this waterway upstream for 101 miles to Washington, DC. Once in the Potomac River, the seas calm down and we have a smooth uneventful cruise to St. Mary’s. We travel five miles up the St. Mary River and anchor in Horseshoe Bend with the college docks just ahead of us.
There are already three power boats and two sailboats at anchor here. The anchorage is very big with plenty of room for many more boats. I am sure Daisy and Sebastian will approve as there is a nice beach where we can dinghy ashore. At this rate they will never remember what the sod is for.
Total Miles Traveled: 46
Today is another non travel day while we visit Reedville and the surrounding areas. Reedville was established by Elijah Reed who was a fisherman from Maine. The town is known as the world capital for Menhaden fishing. While traveling through this area, Reed noticed schools of these fish out in the Chesapeake. These fish were commercially fished in New England but had been ignored in this area. Reed realized the opportunity and established a fish processing factory here. By 1912 there were 15 large factories in Reedville. Reedville had become the center of the menhaden industry and was considered one of the wealthiest towns in the United States. You can still see some evidence of this wealth by the Victorian homes lining the one main street.
This part of Main Street was known as Millionaire’s Row. Today there is still one fish processing plant in Reedville which is owned by Omega Protein. We passed this plant on our way into town yesterday and the fishing fleet was docked. They do not fish on Saturday or Sunday. On the other days of the week, theses ships will go out into the Chesapeake and the Atlantic with a spotter plane who will locate the menhaden. Once the schools of fish are located, the mother ship will deploy two smaller boats that will catch the fish with nets. Today the wind shifted and you can definitely smell the odor. The dogs think it smells great and their noses are constantly in the air. Jeff says it is the smell of money.
We decide to visit Tangier Island and instead of taking IT we decide to let someone else do the driving.
The tour boat Chesapeake Breeze makes daily trips to the island which is 18 miles across the bay. This morning we ride our bikes the five miles to Buzzard Marine and catch this ferry for the 1 ½ hour boat ride over to Tangier. It is one of the last authentic fishing villages left on the Chesapeake Bay.
The island is very small being only three miles long by one mile wide. The Tangier watermen still earn their living by catching the blue crab. We see these floating crab shacks lining the entrance channel as we approach the island.
There are no cars on the island and everyone gets around by golf cart or bicycles. There are taxi golf carts to take tourist around who do not want to walk. The streets are all narrow gravel roads.
The people of Tangiers are very close knit with only 600 residents. Many proudly trace their lineage back to Old England and have retained a distinct Elizabethan accent. The island still bases its income from fishing. Most of the resident’s families have lived here for generations. The one school houses kindergarten thru 12th grade. Eight students graduated from high school last year.
While riding our bikes around the island, we see a billboard with all these paper filled zip lock bags hanging from it.
Upon closer examination, we see that these are local favorite recipes and for $1.00 left in the bucket using the honor system you can take a copy with you. We next find another billboard using the same system with a town map and local history. Today is Sunday and all the locals are in church. The golf carts are lining both sides of the road.
There are two churches on the island and most residents attend each Sunday. We pass a shed like building which is the local library.
We meet a very nice couple from Delaware who also have a home on the island. They are both practicing medical doctors who also give much of their time back to the community. They have started this library with donations from people around the world. Many locals are now taking advantage of this free service. The library is always unlocked and available for anyone. If you would like to donate books to this great endeavor please contact them at email@example.com. They would welcome any additions to the library.
There are several restaurants on the island serving fresh local seafood. We have a wonderful meal of crab cakes and shrimp stuffed with crab at the Fisherman’s Corner. Also on the island are several Bed and Breakfast places to stay. We would love to spend more time here but our boat is leaving at 2:00 PM. The island is a fascinating treasure of history of a rapidly disappearing era of watermen.
This evening we have dinner at the Crazy Crab Restaurant which is 10 feet from our boat. It is a very popular restaurant with the locals and we enjoy talking to many of them. We have a nice chat with the chef who studied at the Culinary Institute of America and also in Paris. The captain of the Chesapeake Breeze was here also for dinner. We give him and his wife a tour of our boat. We make sure to save room for Ice Cream and head to Chitterchatts after dinner. It is very popular with the locals and we can see why. Their homemade ice cream is to die for. We will put Reedville on our must stop list if nothing else for the ice cream.
Total Miles Traveled by Bike: 15
Today the IT is headed for Reedville, VA which is about 40 miles from our anchorage here in Carter Creek. We must travel back down the Rappahannock into the Chesapeake Bay and then north along the area called the Northern Neck. It is another beautiful day with light winds and a cloudless sky. We have an easy time making our way out of Carter Creek. This creek is very wide and deep with three different prongs all with good anchorage holding. Being a Saturday, we see many boats out on the water today.
At 8:30 AM we are back in the Rappahannock and pass under the Whitestone Bridge. We soon see Deltaville on our port. We then enter the Chesapeake Bay and the water gets a little sloppy. We have an uneventful cruise up the bay. At 11:00 AM we pass a huge container ship and have some five foot swells from his wake. We make a turn to port and enter the Great Wicomico River. There is a huge spider type nav aid marking the shoal at the entrance. We see these wooden stakes lining both sides of our entrance channel. The stake line extends about 300 yards. From far away these stakes look like a picket fence out in the water. These are fish traps and you definatly don’t want to get tangled in them.
We are now in an area called Ingrams Bay. Just inside this bay we make a turn to starboard and enter Cockrell Creek. We see a beautiful skipjack out for a Saturday cruise. Reedville should be just a few miles up this creek. We see the smoke stack for the Menhaden fish processing plant ahead.
They pace back and forth for about five minutes sniffing from door to door with their noses straight up in the air. It is quite a funny sight watching them.
We see the Crazy Crab Restaurant and Marina on the point just ahead. This is our dockage for the next two nights. We have an easy dockage on a long face dock with no other boats around. The restaurant overlooks the pier and all the customers are watching as we dock. Jeff does a good job. We are securely tied to shore at 12:30 PM.
Just a few minutes after docking, we see a small wooden shallop rowing towards us.
It turns out to be the replica of the John Smith’s 1608 boat. On May 12, 2007 a crew of 12 boarded this replica and are retracing John Smith’s historic voyage of the Chesapeake. We had read of this voyage and have been trying to see if we could cross their path at some point. We are traveling much of their route but are missing them by several days in each port. We had no idea they would be here. What a treat to see this voyage as they row within 50 feet of our boat.
In 2006 Congress established the first all-water National Historic Trail which follows the routes of John Smith’s 17th century voyage. This trail is called the Chesapeake National Historic Trail. For more information on this trail you can visit their web site www.friendsofthejohnsmithtrail.org. It was great watching them row by and hopefully we will see them again during our travels.
We take the dogs for a walk down the one street of Reedville. The entire town consists of two restaurants and an ice cream store. Of course we have to test the ice cream.
It is all homemade and very very good. They even make the waffle cones here. Back on the boat, we see another Krogen 48 headed our way. It is Sam and Anne Pratt owners of Linda G and they dock right in front of us. We had met them in Stuart earlier this year as they were commissioning their boat. They also have two dogs aboard.
When we were in Yorktown, we met Mike and Anda Ostergard who were on the sailboat next to us. After talking for a few minutes, Jeff learned that Mike’s older brother, Jim, used to be Jeff’s neighbor when Jeff was a child. What a small world. They have a cabin a few miles from Reedville and invited us to dinner tonight. They have built a lovely house on the Coan River. We have a wonderful meal with great company. It was a real treat to be able to get off the boat for a home cooked meal. Thanks again Mike and Anda!
Total Miles Traveled: 43
The dogs are up early this morning waiting on their dinghy trip to shore. Jeff shows Sebastian his patch of sod but Sebastian just goes and stands by the dive platform waiting to be put in the dinghy. He knows there is a much better option than the ship- board sod. Once ashore Daisy introduces herself to a fellow cruising sheltie named Kattie. Kattie is a black and white sheltie who just arrived last night. She lives on a 47 ft. Nordhavn with her master who is a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer from Philadelphia. Daisy enjoys sharing some boat stories with Kattie. Ralphie, the beagle, was also ashore and came over to share in the conversation. Sebastian is not much on socializing and doesn’t give either the time of day.
Before leaving this morning we decide to have breakfast at the local drugstore’s old fashioned soda fountain. We had heard that this is the local morning meeting and gossip spot. We were warned that the locals have their specific stools at the counter and they might get upset if someone takes their spot. We approach the counter with great respect for protocol and spy two open stools at the end.
Within minutes we are engaged in conversation with several elderly couples and are filled in on all the local gossip. They are also very interested in our travels and they make us feel like part of the Urbanna community. They describe the Oyster Festival to us. During this festival they block off all the streets and no traffic is allowed in or out of town. With over 80,000 people in town for these three days, it is quite a sight. Most of the local service organizations make all of their revenues for the entire year during these three days. By the time we finish breakfast, the entire counter is full of locals. As they continue to come in, we keep hoping that we are not in anyone’s stool. No one says anything so I guess we are O.K.
We say goodbye to Urbanna at 9:30 AM. We only have 10 miles to travel today. Once out in the Rappahannock, the winds have picked up and we have a light chop on the river. Our stabilizers kick in and we have a very comfortable ride to our next anchorage. We spot the barge from the fish market out in the river. They are dumping the oyster shells which they were loading on the barge yesterday back into the bay to provide structure for new oyster beds.
We turn into Carter Creek at 10:30 AM. It is a well marked channel with plenty of depth. We find a nice anchor spot just below the Tides Inn Resort and drop the hook. The Tides Inn is a luxury resort with a spa and golf course. We passed the Rappahannock River Yacht Club when we entered Carter Creek and saw that they had a dinghy dock.
We called and asked if we could land our dinghy there on a reciprocal with the Chattanooga Yacht Club. They dock master said no problem and this made Daisy and Sebastian very happy. We dinghy ashore with the two dogs in tow.
The town of Irvington is several miles away so we bring the bikes ashore after walking the dogs. The village of Irvington began in 1891 and was a busy port for steamboats on the Norfolk-Baltimore route. This area is referred to as the Northern Neck as it sits on a peninsula between the Potomac and the Rappahannock River. During the early 1900’s Irvington was know as the “Venice of the Northern Neck”. The Great Fire of Irvington in 1917 destroyed many of the buildings. The town never recovered from the fire. Today there are several tourist shops and one restaurant on the main road. As we rode our bikes outside of town, we happened upon White Fences Winery.
We stopped in and had a small tour of the facility along with a sampling of their wines. We loaded two bottles in Jeff’s bike box. We next headed out of town to Historic Christ Church which was built in 1735 by Robert “King” Carter.
Carter was one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens in colonial America. This church was built entirely with private funds from Carter. He and his two wives are buried on site. The church has been named a National Historic Landmark. It features an original “triple-decker’ pulpit and pews with four foot high walls.
After being left to decay in the 1800’s the church has now been restored to its original condition.
We bike through the Tides Resort on our way back to the boat. The resort looks very nice but we are much happier being at anchor once again.
This evening the winds die down and the waters inside Carter Creek become peaceful once again. We take a sunset dinghy ride through the creek. There are some very impressive homes perched up on the hills overlooking Carter Creek.
Total Miles Traveled by boat: 10
Total Miles Traveled by bike: 12
Today was spent exploring the town of Urbanna. We are really happy that the marina was full when we came in yesterday. Otherwise we would probably not have anchored out. The anchorage is very nice and the holding seems good. We prefer anchoring to being tied to a dock as long as it is not too hot and there is plenty of swing room and good holding in the anchorage. The dinghy dock is just across from us so it is easy to get to shore. We have a nice breeze and it is not too hot without the A/C. Last night we forgot to pull our fishing line in before going to bed. When we checked it this morning, we found something had snapped our line taking both the bait and the hook. I guess the fish got tired of waiting.
We loaded the bikes in the dinghy and went ashore to explore the town in the early morning. . Urbanna was settled in 1680 and established as a tobacco port. We visited the tobacco warehouse at the top of the hill from the town docks.
It was built in 1766 and now houses the visitor center. Urbanna was designated as an English customs port by the Colonial government in Jamestown. It became an inspection center to check tobacco before it was sent to England. In the 19th century, oysters replaced tobacco as the primary export. Each November the town has an oyster festival which draws a crowd of over 80,000 people. I can not even imagine that many people being in this small town with a population of 600. The town is very nice with several shops and restaurants. They still have a drugstore with a real old fashioned soda fountain.
The shop owners are very friendly and we end up spending much time in each one as all the shop owners want to talk and find out about our travels.
When they see we are on bikes, several ask if that is our trawler out in the bay. It seems the whole town saw me riding the stationary bike last night on the top deck and was quite amazed. I thought no one noticed since we were out in the anchorage.
We learn of a seafood market several miles outside of town so we decide to go by bicycle.
It turns out to be a great little local family owned seafood market with their own boats and shipping facility right on one of the little creeks.
The lady inside has just made several fresh crab dips and deviled crabs which have just come out of the oven.
We purchase some of each along with some crab meat. There is a very large aquaculture operation here at their facility. They have big tanks at the docks that act as nurseries for the young oysters called spats. When these oysters are large enough, they are transported to protected areas in the bay and allowed to grow for several years before harvesting. They ship oysters from this facility all over the United States including several restaurants in New York City. We see a huge conveyor belt which is transporting oyster shells to a barge that will be dumped out in the bay to create new oyster beds.
There is a mountain of freshly shucked oyster shells on the other side of the market which they are loading with a front end loader to the conveyor belt.
After taking our purchases back to the boat, we decide to ride our bikes to the town of Saluda which is about 5 miles away. One of the shop owners gave us directions to her second shop in Saluda so we decide to see what is there. The furnishing store that we visited was wonderful as was the one she owned in Urbanna. If we ever need any house furnishings we would come back here. Other than that one store there is not much that we saw in Saluda. Maybe we just aren’t seeing the whole town.
We take an alternate route back to Urbanna along a small country road which traversed the peninsula going over several steep hills and eventually came out near the seafood market. Since we are so near, we decide to stop back at the seafood market and see if there are any crab cakes available. She was making them when we were there earlier this morning. There are plenty and we purchase ten for the freezer. They also have fresh shucked oysters which Jeff cannot resist. We pack them in ice and put them in our rear bike carrier. While in town this morning, the shop owners had told us about a nice country store with homemade ice cream a few miles past the sea food market.
We are hot, tired, and hungry so decide it would make a nice stop before heading back to town. What a find it was. Not only do they have homemade ice cream, they smoke their own meats, run a coffee bar, and have a great sandwich menu all made with homemade bread. One sandwich is called the Virginian which we learn is the state sandwich. It is a mixture of chopped smoked turkey and smoked ham. We are given a sample and it is delicious. After satisfying our immediate hunger with homemade ice cream, we purchase two sandwiches, a slab of pork smoked ribs, a tub of pulled barbeque, and some homemade locally churned butter for our ship stores. With our heavy load we cycle back to the boat. We see two dogs looking out the window as we pull up in the dinghy. Daisy and Sebastian now know the sound of our dinghy and are happily awaiting our arrival. We have a great dinner sampling our purchases of the day. Jeff says the local oysters are even better than those from Appalachicola.
Total miles by bike: 28
We wake up to a dreary rainy day here in Deltaville. It looks like the rain should be out of here around noon. We make an early morning run to the bakery to pick up a fresh loaf of bread. We also have a nice breakfast here at the bakery/deli. I think it is the only place in Deltaville for breakfast. They are certainly doing quite business for breakfast.
When we arrive back at the docks, another Krogen has pulled in front of us. It is a 1987 42’ Krogen named Courage. We chat with the owners a few minutes. The weather is improving so we decide to make our way on up to Urbanna. Dozier’s Marina also owns a marina in Urbanna and the office calls for us to see if we can get a slip there for the night. They are full as are the town docks. There should be some slips available tomorrow and there is an anchorage so we decide to shove off. Low tide was at 9:30 AM so there should be enough depth going out the channel.
We pull away from the docks at 12:30 PM. Even with a rising tide, we see 7.5 feet on our depth sounder in several places going through the channel. I would not want to come in or out at low tide. We are soon back out in the Rappahannock River. It is still misting rain but we see clear skies ahead. The rain has at least cooled things off a little as it has been very hot here in Virginia. It was nice being at a marina during the hot weather. At anchor, we try not to run the A/C because you have to turn on the generator. At shore we can connect to shore power.
We have an uneventful trip up river and arrive at Urbanna around 3:00 PM. We see an anchorage as soon as we enter the harbor across from the town docks. We take a trip through the harbor to check out other anchorage possibilities. We decide to return to the original anchorage spot and drop hook.
There are 5-6 other sail boats at anchor. Our guide book warns that this area is soupy mud with not good holding. Jeff feels pretty confident that our anchor has a good hold. I am not as confident and will probably worry about it all night. I guess I have to have something to worry about. We see two boats over at the town docks with looper flags.
One is Sea Fox, a green hulled Krogen Express. We met the owners, Milt and Fran, at the Krogen Rendezvous last October at Joe Wheeler. We were not docked at Joe Wheeler more than a few minutes when he came knocking on our door. He introduced himself and said he was here to see our boat. O.K. we said and gave him a tour. I guess since he had a Krogen Express, he wanted to see what our krogen looked like.
We enjoy a nice evening aboard the boat. We try our luck once again at fishing but as usual have no luck. Tomorrow we will explore the town.
Total Miles Traveled: 16
We are spending the day in Deltaville exploring the area. We are up early this morning giving the boat a good wash down. The marina is on well water so we are careful not to waste too much of their water.
After washing IT, we put the kayaks in the water and explore Broad Creek. The creek is packed full of boats. There are probably eight different marinas just on this small creek. The marinas are no frill work yard marinas. For many years Deltaville’s main industry was boat building. Today it is still abuzz with boat yards. It was very pleasant kayaking amongst the old rickety docks and boat houses. There are boats of every size and type some of which don’t appear to have moved in many years.
We next decided to explore Deltaville by bicycle. There is a maze of small country lanes which branch off from the main route 33. Most of the roads lead to the water with nice modest old country farm houses overlooking the bay. We ride through fields of winter rye and nice green corn fields which go as far as the eye can see. There is almost no traffic on these back country roads and it is very picturesque riding through the countryside.
We stop and visit the Deltaville Maritime Museum at the Holly Point Nature Park.
It is a strange little museum but seems to have a very active membership. They are keeping alive the art of wooden boat building here. Families can come and build an authentic Chesapeake Bay skiff with the help of skilled boat builders who volunteer their time.
There is also a nice sculpture garden which winds itself along the creek’s shoreline.
The garden opens up to a beautiful field of wildflowers within which they have mowed a mosaic of a fish that is apparent only when vied from the air.
After about 20 miles on the bike, we started getting hungry. We headed back to the J & W Fish Market for some of their homemade crab cakes. We also purchase some mango crab salsa to have tonight. We stop at the bakery for a fresh loaf of bread to go with our crab cake dinner only to find that they closed 30 minutes before.
Back at the boat, the dogs are holding down the fort. They are happy to see us. They are getting used to us being around all day and don’t like to be left alone. We take them for a nice walk and they are happy again.
Total Miles by Bike: 25
We hate to leave our nice peaceful anchorage today but we have reservations for the next two nights in Deltaville.
We also need to pick up our mail there and fill our water tanks. We pull anchor at 9:00 AM and head back down the Piankatank River into the Chesapeake Bay. Even though Deltaville is only 6 miles away, we have to go around Stingray Point and into Broad Creek which makes for about 25 miles of travel. We have another good day for cruising with a slight breeze but the bay should be calm.
We round our way around Stingray Point. There is a big spider type buoy marking the shoals. Stingray Point got its name from the misadventure of Captain John Smith. Capt Smith was one of the early explorers of the Chesapeake, making several trips from Yorktown. On July 17, 1608 while spear fishing, he speared a stingray at this point. The stingray struck him in the wrist with its barb and he almost died.
At 11:30 AM we make a turn to port and enter the Rappahannock River. This is one of the major rivers in Virginia and is navigable for 95 miles to Fredericksburg, VA. We soon see the channel markers into Deltaville. When I called to make reservations, the marina said to stay 40 feet off the red markers and we should have 6-7 feet of depth. That is what we did and we saw 6 feet in several places. The channel is very narrow and shallow with not much room for error. We soon see Dozier’s Marina and someone is standing on the dock to help us with our lines.
The owner of this marina also writes the Waterway Guides which are the cruising books we refer to frequently while traveling the waterways. These guides are our cruising bibles giving us valuable navigational, marina, and local information.
This afternoon we pulled down the bikes for a ride into town. When I said something about going “downtown”, the marina attendant said that “downtown” was a used loosely in Deltaville. We rode the two miles out the one and only two lane road into town. There are three restaurants, one grocery store, a fish market, a bakery, along with several other shops two of which are West Marine. On this small road there are two West Marines within a block of each other. One used to be a Boaters World and they were bought out by West Marine. That is about all there is to the town. It is definately a boating area, we saw marinas everywhere. We stopped in the J & W Fish Market for some fresh crab, flounder, and shrimp salad. We also spotted a local bakery where we picked up some homemade sourdough bread to go with our fish dinner tonight.
Back at the boat, Jeff makes a really good flounder dish with stuffed crab from our purchases at the fish market. With a nice salad and homemade bread we have a great dinner aboard.
Total Miles Traveled by Boat: 26
Total Miles Traveled by Bike: 10
Today is a down day. We are staying put at our anchorage here off Berkley Island. The early morning was very peaceful. The water was dead still and not a soul was in sight. Just us and the woods. Jeff took the dogs over to the island for an early morning walk. Sebastian wandered off and got himself lost. He could hear Jeff calling but did not know which direction the voice was coming from. He went all the way around the island trying to find Jeff. He was a little shaken when he returned to the boat. We spent the morning doing routine maintenance things on the boat. After transferring some fuel, Jeff soaked all of our lines in fabric softener to make them more pliable and softer. We then put them on the front deck to dry.
While Jeff was working on the lines, I did some polishing on the stainless steel rails. It is a never ending job.
This afternoon our nice peaceful anchorage was transformed into a playground for skiers, wake boarders, and jet skiers. The nice sunny Sunday afternoon brought all the boaters out to play. They zoomed up and down the water past IT all day long giving her a rocking each time. Jeff gave them the evil eye but I cautioned him not to say any bad words to them. We both had a good workout on the stationary bike. With the skiers going by while we were on the bike, it felt like we were riding a bucking bronco. Daisy and Sebastian seemed content to be staying at anchor. Between their walks ashore they both took long naps and seem very happy just being around us.
This evening all the boaters went home and our nice peaceful anchorage returned.
Total Miles Traveled: 0
We checked our crab trap first thing this morning and had two small crabs. They were both small so we let them go. Something again ate several holes in our trap. We think it was an eel. Our trap is collapsible and is made of cotton fishing net. We purchased this one because it folds up and we can store it easily. The commercial crab traps are plastic coated wire. I think we would have more luck with one of these. Jeff isn’t ready to give up on our trap yet and he once again tries to mend the holes in our trap.
We see many fishing boats being launched at the ramp this morning. It is Saturday so everyone is going fishing. We pull up our anchor at 9:00 AM and start making our way north once again. At 10:00 AM we are back out in the Chesapeake Bay. The seas are calm and it should be a nice day for cruising. At noon we pass the Wolf Trap Lighthouse. There are probably 50 fishing boats around the lighthouse fishing on the Wolf Trap Shoals. Soon after we pass a barge carrying a load of gravel.
There are many boats out enjoying this nice weekend day. There is not much to report today as it is just an easy day of cruising. The bay is glass smooth like a lake.
At 2:00 PM we make a turn to port and follow the channel markers into the Piankatank River. How do you like that for a name? The mouth is very wide but we are careful to follow the dog leg channel all the way in as just outside the channel it is very shallow. There are many boats out in the channel which dodge as we work our way up into the river. We check out the anchorage in Fishing Bay before proceeding up river. There are several boats at anchor here and you can also dinghy ashore for the ½ mile walk to Deltaville. We decide to keep on going another 7 miles to Berkley Island.
We arrive at Berkley Island at 3:30 PM and drop hook.
There is one other boat at anchor here. The island is owned by the Virginia Southern Baptist Mission Board and is used as a summer camp for boys. There is a small dock on the island and they do allow boaters to visit the island. We see no signs of life on the island.
Total Miles Traveled Today: 66
Our water tanks are full and our batteries are recharged as we head back out Sarah Creek into the York River. The skies ahead look dark and ominous
this morning although the weather forecast calls for a nice day. We can see the Yorktown monument off in the distance.
Oh no! Just as we are starting to settle down for a relaxing cruise we hear a strange noise coming from the engine room. It sounds like an air leak to Jeff. He immediately puts the boat in neutral and races to the engine room. It turns out that the hose from the turbo to the engine has come loose. We have to shut off the engine in order to put the hose back in its bracket. While Jeff is down in the engine room, we are adrift in the middle of the busy York River. A Navy landing craft pulls away for its birth directly abeam of us and is heading our way.
I am hoping that Jeff fixes the problem quickly. The Navy ship is steaming towards us. Within a few minutes Jeff has the problem fixed and we are underway again. Who said boating was relaxing?
The skies stay overcast all morning but the bay is calm and we have a nice cruise. We reach the MB channel marker for Mobjack Bay at 11:30 AM and make a port turn into Mobjack Bay. Four rivers, the East, North, Ware, and Severn River, flow from this bay. These rivers make for a popular gunkholing area. It is a remote and rural area with very few marinas and much wildlife. Our destination for today is up the East River. We spot the New Point Comfort lighthouse at the entrance to Mobjack Bay. The East River is the first major tributary past this marker. We spot the entrance to East River at noon and make our turn to starboard. There are strings of crab pots everywhere which we have to maneuver around. As a backup if we do hit a crab pot, we have line cutters on our prop shaft that will slice through the line. They are stainless steel blades that rotate on the shaft and are very sharp. Even though we have these line cutters it is still best to avoid the traps altogether. So far we have not snagged any. With all the traps around we feel it is just a matter of time before that happens.
Just inside the mouth of the East River, we spot what was once the bustling town of Mobjack. The only thing left today is beautiful white church sitting on the river banks. The shores of the East River are lined with nice old farm houses. A few miles upstream we come to the Poplar Grove manor which was the birthplace of Civil War heroine Sally Tompkins. She was the only woman commissioned as an officer in the Confederate army and she started a hospital that saved many lives. This house was also once owned by John Lennon and Yoko Ono prior to John Lennon’s death.
Just past green marker 13 is Zimmerman Marine.
In a way, we feel like we are bringing Idyll Time home. She was first commissioned here at Zimmermans. The first time we ever saw her she was sitting in a shed here with here nose peaking out the shed doors.
That seems like so long ago. Who would ever dream we are back on her here once again.
We next pass Williams Wharf landing which was a major steamboat stop many years ago. Just below us on the river bottom is the wreck of the Munnatawket, the last steamboat into the East River. She burned in 1935.
At 1:00 PM we reach Put In Creek know as “Puddin Creek” by locals which will be our home for the night. There are two sailboats already at anchor. The dogs will be pleased as there is a dinghy dock just ashore for their use. Sebastian starts jumping up and down in anticipation of going ashore. They know the routine.
This afternoon we put Time Out in the water and explore the creek. It ends at the town of Mathews.
We do not go ashore as there is no place to tie up the dinghy. Back on the boat we put out our crab trap in hopes of crabs once again. Our bait is really smelly so maybe we will have some luck this time. We then put out the fishing rod and catch a small croaker on a piece of shrimp. You can hear him croak as we real him in. We throw him back in as he is small. We ended up catching four croakers. They make the strangest sounds. It sounds something like a bull frog.
We did not keep any because at the dinghy dock there was a sign that warned not to eat fish more than twice a week from this area due to PCB contamination. Dinner tonight is a mixture of “Around the Loop” cuisine. We have golden russet potatoes from the Washington farmers market, grilled sausage from Bucksport, SC, and a salad with homemade Greek dressing from the Williamsburg farmers market. For dessert we have Virginia chocolate covered peanut brittle which we purchased in Williamsburg.
Jeff took the dogs to shore for one last trip just before going to bed. Two wildlife resource officers were at the boat ramp. They inspected the dinghy and everything was o.k.
Total Miles Traveled Today: 28
On Monday we moved the boat from our anchorage over to the York River Yacht Haven Marina which is just feet from our anchorage. We would really prefer to stay at anchor however we need to fill our water tanks. We also plan on touring Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Jamestown from here by bicycle and feel much more comfortable leaving the boat all day knowing that she is secure at the docks.
Monday afternoon we rode our bikes the four miles into Yorktown. We have to cross over the huge York River Bridge.
They do not allow you to walk across this bride because someone jumped from it. However they do allow you to bike across. So that is what we do.
Yorktown was founded in 1691.
It became a major port for the tobacco trade. It is best know however for the Battle of Yorktown and the eventual surrender of British and Major Cornwallis to George Washington in 1781.
This marked the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. We rode our bikes along the auto tour route and visited redoubt 9 and 10 which when captured, convinced Cornwallis to surrender. We also visited Surrender Field where the British laid their arms down.
Yorktown never regained its prominence as a shipping port after the war.
On our way back to the boat Jeff did his good dead for the day and helped an older couple that was struggling to change a flat tire.
We ended up traveling 15 miles on our bicycles. Back on the boat we gave her a much needed washing to get all of the salt off.
Tuesday morning we once again mounted our bikes for a ride to Jamestown. The Colonial Parkway makes for a very picturesque bike ride. This parkway was completed in 1957 by the National Park Service. This is a three lane pea gravel parkway which spans 23 miles from its beginning in Yorktown at the York River to the terminus in Jamestown along the James River. It connects Virginia’s historic triangle: Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown.
We enjoyed the bike ride and the scenery along the way. We pass a Naval Weapons Station which was established in 1918 as a mine depot and has been used in both World Wars and the Korean War. We saw a Naval Ship there today being restocked.
The parkway winds its way along the York River. The York River was known to Indians as The Pamunkey River. The settlers first named it Charles and latter changed it to York, both in honor of the Duke of York. The York is 26 miles long and is the deepest natural channel of any of the Chesapeake Bay tributaries. After 28 miles, we arrived in Jamestown and made sure to obey the speed limit.
Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the New World. It became a colony in 1607 and is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. Here we toured the Jamestown Settlement which has three full-size replicas of the tall ships that carried the settlers to this area.
This passage was over 6000 miles at sea and they only lost one passenger. They arrived off the coast of Virginia on May 13th, 1907. There is also a 1610-1614 fort and a Powhatan Indian village.
There are numerous archeological excavations ongoing. We watched today as some university students were conducting a dig.
After touring Jamestown, we rode our bikes the twelve miles back to Williamsburg. We spent a few hours here to scope out the area for our return visit. We had another nice but tiring ride on the parkway back to Yorktown. Our legs were happy to see the boat as it was a 60 mile ride today. We both arrived tired but happy to have made the trip. Touring on the parkway by bicycle was fantastic. The scenery along the York and James Rivers was equally impressive.
We rewarded ourselves with some of Bill’s hotdogs from Washington that were in the freezer for dinner along with a huge bowl of pasta. It was early to bed.
Wednesday morning we borrowed the marina courtesy car and did our shopping for the boat. We were having some problems with our air conditioning in the pilot house so the repair man came by also. Our system is still under warranty and the system was back up and running within a couple of hours at no charge.
In the afternoon we rode our bikes back over the bridge into Yorktown. One of the Tall Ships, Gazela, is docked there for the next two days.
Today they were offering free tours so we took advantage of the opportunity. This three masted square-rigger ship was built in Portugal and is over 100 years old. She was originally used as a fishing vessel on the Grand Banks for cod fishing. In 1969 she was purchased by the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild and now represents the city of Philadelphia on her eastern seaboard sails.
On Thursday, we once again rode our bikes over the dreaded York River Bridge. We then hopped on the Colonial Parkway for a 14 mile ride to historic Williamsburg. Williamsburg was originally known as Middle Plantation. In 1699 the colonial capital was moved from Jamestown to Middle Plantation and the town was renamed Williamsburg in honor of King William III. Today it is the largest restored 18th century town in America. We toured many of the public buildings and homes.
There are many live demonstrations of period craftsmen such as blacksmiths, saddle makers, silversmiths, and gunsmiths.
We also toured the local jail. Here thirteen of Blackbeard’s crew were placed after their capture. Two were eventually acquitted and the rest were hung. It seems we have followed Blackbeard all the way up the east coast. We saw ox drawn carts and horse drawn carriages making their way around town.
There is a very large museum which houses early American art, English furniture, and other antiques. We were able to find a great bakery for lunch. We enjoyed typical 18th century baked goods such as gingerbread cakes, cornbread, rolls, Glouster cheese, and ham biscuits while sitting a bench in the downtown historical district watching the action on the street.
After lunch we visited the Virginia Peanut shop. There we were able to taste peanuts fixed every imaginable way. They even had curry peanut butter.
Against a cold northern headwind we rode the 14 mile parkway back to Yorktown and again crossed the York River on the dreaded York River Bridge at rush hour.
There was lots of traffic zooming by at 50 mph on this four lane massive suspension bridge. We arrived back at the boat cold and tired. We had traveled another 35 miles on our bikes today.
Total miles traveled by bike: 6/11/2007: 15
Nates Notes Chapter 3
Mom’s jealous. Ever since Dad started letting Homer and me spend a lot more time together on our T-stand, she doesn’t get to pet me as much as she used to.
I’ve also apparently picked up some of Homer’s bad habits (i.e. biting) because Dad said I’ve tried to bite him once or twice. It was no more than a peck on his finger. Mom said she will be able to “reform” me with lots of individual attention. We’ll see. Either way I win! Who said animals are dumb. The dogs may be only one step above bacteria as far as brain power goes, but parrots have got it all -brains, looks, personality and talent. Like I always say, “I can talk, can you fly?” No one else can claim that combo.
Speaking of talent, my job as engineer aboard Idyll Time has not been needed much these days. Dad had to change the oil and filters on the main engine and the generator the other day. I offered to help him since my ability to undo things is unmatched and Dad apparently had a tough time getting the oil filter off the engine during the last service. He politely declined my offer but I know it’s because he didn’t want to be shown up. I really didn’t want to get oil on my beak but if I had to, I would. That’s what engineering is all about.
Food aboard IT has been a little on the skimpy side. My portions seem to be getting smaller and Dad keeps calling me “Fat Boy”. I guess you could say he’s put me on an “involuntary “diet. I don’t think I need to. But then again, what do I know. I’m just a “dumb” bird. See paragraph one.
Some of you have asked what our days are like aboard IT. I’ll be glad to tell you. When Dad gets up (5:30 to 6:00 AM), Homer and I will start our morning “calls”. Dad says we’re just making a racket, but this really is the best way t start your day, clear and loud. We are both ready to relax afterwards and will then get a bite to eat. The last of the morning and most of the afternoon is spent sleeping or preening our feathers. At 6:00 PM Dad brings Homer and me out for our T-stand time in the main salon. He will then give us fresh food and water as well as clean up our cages. Around 9:00 PM we retire to our cages and inspect what Dad has prepared for us and then it’s lights out for the night. When ever she can, Mom brings me out for some of that “individual attention” I spoke about earlier. We usually go up in the pilot house for this which is great because you can see everything from up there.
Well that’s about it for now. It’s getting late and its time for my nap.
At 10:00 AM we pull up anchor and head back out Hampton River to the Chesapeake Bay. We hear lots of radio traffic on the VHF from Navy ships and commercial barge traffic. We are soon out in the bay and immediately see a huge container ship crossing in front of us.
We once again pass Fort Wool. The flag that was raised over the fort for the Tall Ships has been removed. We wonder why the flag was raised for the first time in sixty years for the parade and now is removed. Once out in the bay, the seas are very confused. The winds and tides are opposite each other right now and we have waves coming at us from all directions. Nate and Homer are downstairs in their cages holding on to their bars. I think they are a little frightened as they have never experienced anything like this before. The dogs are sound asleep in the pilot house under our feet and don’t seem to have a care. Our stabilizers are working hard today and we have a comfortable ride. We have two five foot wings which come out from each side of the hull of the boat. These are hydraulic stabilizers which rotate like the allerons on an airplane wing to keep the boat level. A computer system automatically senses how much to turn each wing according to the sea state.
At 10:45 AM we pass the red Thimble Shoal navigation aide which is a warning navigational aide to all deep draft vessels of the shallow Thimble Shoals.
This marker is visible for miles. At noon we see the channel markers for the York River and we make a turn to port to follow this channel into the York River. These channel markers also have bells which ring so that you can locate them in the fog or darkness.
From the first channel marker in the center of the bay to the mouth of the York River is a distance of fourteen miles. You must follow this channel instead of cutting across the flats to avoid any shallow areas. After following the York River Channel we enter the York River. We can see the town of Yorktown in the distance. We soon pass a refinery and Coast Guard Training Center. Our guide book says this was the site where the last major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought.
We soon see the entrance to Sarah Creek which will be our home for the next several days. We follow the channel markers into the creek. These markers lead us around a sand bar and at times it looks as if we are heading straight for land. Once through this narrow section, the river opens up and we spot a place to anchor. We drop anchor just off of the York River Yacht Haven Marina. There is already one sailboat anchored here.
Tomorrow we will move the boat over to the marina for several days. We can look out from our anchorage and see Yorktown off in the distance. We plan on exploring the town tomorrow.
We load the dogs in the dinghy and take them ashore at the marina docks. Daisy and Sebastian have become seasoned boat dogs. They know the routine very well. They are waiting at the back of the boat when they hear us getting the dinghy ready to deploy. They eagerly jump in the dinghy for the ride to shore. We are also able to pick up our mail drop at the marina. It is always a good sight to see that our mail has arrived where and when it should. So far the Post Office has done an excellent job. Our mail arrives like clock work to the designated place. Back on the boat, Jeff does another section of varnish. Each time he gets a little better at varnishing. It seems we constantly have chores which need doing on the boat. There are a lot of things that need much attention.
Total Miles Traveled: 46
Today was spent exploring Hampton, VA. Founded in 1610, Hampton is the oldest English-speaking city in America. The infamous Blackbeard’s head was brought here after he was killed in 1718. Allegedly, British navy lieutenant Robert Maynard arrived in Hampton with Edward Teach’s severed head hanging under the bowsprit of the captured pirate ship Adventurer. Lieutenant Maynard captured and killed Blackbeard in the battle of Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The head was a trophy to be presented to the Colony of Virginia. It was supposedly displayed along the Hampton River at a point know today as Blackbeard’s Point as a warning to other pirates who might enter the area. Hampton is now Virginia’s main seafood-packing center. We are anchored just across from a large fishing fleet.
The town docks are just across the channel from our anchorage.
We are able to take the dinghy into shore there. At the town docks The Cousteau Society has several exhibits and artifacts of deep-sea exploration. There is also an antique carousel along the waterfront. Housed in its own pavilion, is a restored 1920’s Philadelphia Toboggan Company antique carousel.
This carousel was originally located in Hampton’s Buckroe Beach Amusement Park from 1921 to 1985. In 1991 it was restored by the City of Hampton and placed here on the waterfront. It is one of only 200 antique carousels still in the United States.
A sister carousel to this one is located in our home town of Chattanooga, TN. Just a block from the downtown waterfront is the Virginia Air and Space Center which we also visited.
This museum displays airplanes and spacecraft from the Langley Air Force Base.
There is also an Imax Theater housed here. We watched Spiderman 3 and it was very good.
On our way back to the boat, we spotted another boat with a looper flag. It turned out to be Adventure with Bruce and Jeanne Melchert. We first met them at the looper rendezvous last October at Joe Wheeler State Park. They were also at the Charleston rendezvous this spring. We enjoyed seeing them again and catching up on their travels. That is the wonderful thing about being a looper. You always have a friend when you see the looper flag. This afternoon we spotted a Nordhaven 40 ft. coming into the docks. It was Uno Mas. This was one of the boats the completed the Trans-Atlantic crossing several years ago. Jeff wanted to talk to them about the crossing but we never had a chance to get up with them. Jeff was also able to practice his skills at varnishing this afternoon. He has progressed rapidly and our cap rail is starting to look pretty good.
Each Saturday evening the city of Hampton has a downtown festival with live music. We took the dogs into shore to check it out. Daisy enjoyed meeting all of the local dogs.
At 9:00 PM Norfolk was having a fireworks display as a part of their festival. We decided to take Time Out, our dinghy, to the entrance of the Hampton River and see if we could see the fireworks from there. We were about six miles away and they were still spectacular. While we were out in the bay, a sailboat sailed to the entrance of the Hampton River. They were on their way over to Norfolk to view the fireworks when their engine quit. We did our good dead for the day and towed them back into the harbor and to their slip. They were very appreciative.
Total Miles Traveled: 0
We had an enjoyable evening at anchor last night just a few miles north of Norfolk. From our anchorage, we can look out into the bay. The ship traffic is incredible. Everything from Navy battleships to huge container ships to submarines cross the mouth of our anchorage. Jeff did a quick calculation of one of the container ships and he concluded there were over 1650 containers onboard.
While making their morning rounds to shore, Daisy and Sebastian helped Jeff retrieve the crab trap.
We again had one large crab. This crab was a female with eggs so we let her go.
I can’t even imagine what the downtown area must be like.
Just before the ships arrive, the Navy pulls a gigantic aircraft carrier out into the Hampton Road Anchorage. One by one the tall ships come into the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic.
It is quite an interesting mixture of sailing vessels. The ships range from small galleons to four masted schooners.
While the tall ships are filing in one by one, a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine left its birth in Norfolk and came down through the middle of the parade. I guess the Navy has schedules to keep and they don’t let parades hold them up. On top of this an ocean going tug towing a huge barge came in from the Atlantic bound for the Port of Norfolk and was in the middle of the parade. We overheard the captain on the VHF and he was very apologetic to the parade marshal.
The parade was quite spectacular. As the first few tall ships passed by Fort Wool, the American Flag was raised.
It was all very impressive and we had a front row seat. Two Navy Warships brought up the rear of the parade.
Seeing this event was the highlight of our trip to date.
Once the parade is over we maneuver our way into the Hampton River just a mile downstream. We soon reach the town of Hampton. We spot the anchorage area. There are two other sailboats anchored just on the other side of river from the town docks. It is a very small anchorage but we are able to find room for IT. The town looks very interesting and we will enjoy exploring the area tomorrow.
Total Miles Traveled: 3