Wed. Oct. 10, 2012-- Day 8:
The day started almost warm & cloudy, with a high level looking form of fog that just felt it would burn off. Soon blue patches were visible, then sunny periods, until there was wall-to-wall blue sky & full sunshine. Wind was WNW to W & light to moderate gusts. All in all a most pleasant day. Activities of the day included a 40 min. power walk, shower & in working shorts & sleeveless T-shirt attire, I cleaned the deck & teak rail & started the cockpit; hopefully I will finish all tomorrow. Sid showed Graeme how to tighten the loose port & starboard small hatches. Graeme discovered a problem with a increasing very stiff dump valve for the head; sure enough a new part had to be ordered & departure date is set for Sat.(stay tuned). He also obtained more bits & pieces in town, shock cord from Ullman Sails for the new winch covers I had made back in Ottawa & picking up the plastic side curtains from Ships Tailor (straps shortened). With the improved sunny days & warmer temps we seemed to have an invasion of fruit flies & plain houseflies, not those ankle biting variety, despite relocating the apples & onions outdoors. We got the fly swatters out & fly tape set up-- gotcha! Such calm water & what fabulous lighting in Broad Creek at sunset.
Thurs. Oct. 11, 2012--Day 9:
Before first light the sky was absolutely filled with brightly shining stars. The same was true at bedtime. Daylight brought a brilliant blue sky & wall-to-wall sunshine, although the temps were cool & the winds gusting 10-15K from the north; too cool to hose down the cockpit & transom (H low 60's). Fortunately they diminished after noontime. So in the morning I did 3 small loads of laundry, assembled my bike & pumped the tires & took a spin to the point to see the whitecaps on the Rappahannock River & internet. After lunch I tackled the unfinished cleaning of the cockpit & transom. I had cold feet from being in the shade, in water & the cool temps. Graeme once again managed to get out of "scrubbing the decks" by tootling around town etc. He was unhappy with the small leaky hand pump on the head so replaced it & had to purchase a spare replacement. The fruit fly & housefly population did not worsen as the fly tape was doing it's job, otherwise I was ready to try Jeannie's recommendation of a dish of vinegar & Dawn dishwashing soap. A second night of absolute calm & magnificent sunset colouring to the creek. We were told of the late arrival of 'Sybaris', a Jeanneau 45DS near sunset & helped with their arrival. I phoned my sister in Ottawa & all is set-- she, my brother-in-law & Mom are leaving early afternoon tomorrow & driving part of the way to Williamsburg, where they have arranged a time share accommodation for a week starting Sat. Oct. 13th. We will all meet on Sunday in Norfolk. None of my family have seen this boat or fully understand what Graeme & I are doing. Nice clean linen on the bed (cozy flannel bottom sheet) & the heater plugged in as the night temps were once again in the upper 40'sF.
Fri. Oct. 12, 2012-- Day 10:
Another glorious morning sky at sunrise, coolish temps (40's) but sunshine & clear blue skies. North winds picked up mid afternoon & 20-25K N winds unfortunately predicted for tomorrow am but to subside by afternoon. Graeme took the BBQ tank to Revere Gas to be topped up as well as one of two house propane tanks while I washed windows inside & out. The dumping valve part arrived after noon & work began with the boat slightly lifted out of the water by the travel lift. We skipped into town to say our goodbyes to Jeannie (maybe laid off for the winter) & other last minute errands. Murphy's Law-- of course the job was not simple. On our return, 'Sweet Chariot Too' was completely hoisted out of the water & sitting in slings on the travel lift on land, but the job was near completion. Now remember, this is Friday & it is now after 1700 hrs. & we planned to set off early in the morning for Norfolk, as we have made arrangements for my family to meet on Sunday. I am now disappointed, anxious & angry but I don't know who to be angry with. I know I am upset because my spotless cockpit & head floors are now dirty, Graeme is walking around with yet another alcoholic beverage in his hand & talking. My bike has not been moved to the garage yet & the cockpit is littered with ropes & bungee cords & cleaning supplies. Sid preferred that after the application of 5200 to the through hull we remain on land in the slings overnight. O.K. but now the wind is howling & gusting 20-30K. After supper we went over to Jimmie & Larry's boat 'Sybaris' with our drinks-- gorgeous & roomy! This was the coldest night yet; in the dark we established an electric hookup & turned our AC heater on. The night sky was filled with stars & an 1/8th moon. My alarm was set for 0530 hrs. wake up.
Sat. Oct. 13, 2012-- Day 11:
Destination: Deltatville (Mile 159.6) to Norfolk (Mile 0) Waterside Marina ($1.50/ft.)
Departure: 0820 hrs. Arrival: 1720 hrs. Distance: 59.6 SM
Winds: N 15-20K, small craft warning till 0900 hrs. à NE 10-15K with 1-3 ft. waves & whitecaps à3-6K
Weather: cold but beautiful clear & sunny morning; sliver of moon visible at first light; H low 60’s & L low 50’s
A sliver of moon was visible at first light. Ken, Sid & Cliff arrived & at 0700 hrs. as promised we were dropped back into the water. A test pumping of the head was done for any signs of water leak but all was good. All was stored away for a possible bouncy ride on the Bay. We checked the wind & water conditions by observing ‘Sybaris’ from the point; some pitching. We delayed departure by an hour then pushed off the dock at 0820 hrs., poking our nose into the Rappahannock; not too bad . Hurray, we are on our way! When possible we unfurled the jenny & within an hour the wind & waves decreased. We unfurled the main & the winds & waves continued to decrease to 3-6K & the boat speed was only 3-5K. We furled all the sails & turned the engine back on so we could make Norfolk today, before dark. There was reasonable cargo ship, tugboat & sailboat traffic as we turned off the Chesapeake onto the Elizabeth River. We made reservations early in the morning for Waterside Marina for 3 nights as we felt this was the best arrangement to meet with my family tomorrow & in a couple of days with Jack Verheyden. Graeme insisted on having supper at Hooters, located right at dockside; I wonder why? A clear starry night.
Sun. Oct. 14, 2012—Day 12:
Destination: stay in Norfolk at Waterside Marina (Mile 0)
Winds: light NWà increasing to 10K early afternoonàback to light
Weather: sunny, clear blue skies, warm with H mid 70’s
We both took lovely long showers in the marina & tidied the boat for the arrival of our guests. Shortly after 1000 hrs. we met with Mom, Donna & Tom in front of the marina. Note Jim Watson & Ottawa Counselors: free parking on Sundays! It was perfect conditions to take my non-sailing family for a tour of the Elizabeth River waterfront. For 3 to 3-1/2 hrs. we motored past Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval installation in the world & homeport of aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, nuclear subs & admiral barges. The world’s merchant fleet loads & unloads cargo at Hampton Roads & the Elizabeth River piers. We then planned a very late lunch at Granby St. Pizza but were very disappointed to find that it was closed on Sundays. Instead we ate next door at Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub. Next was a car tour past St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, St. Mary’s Basilica, Chrysler Hall, Norfolk Scope (home of the pro hockey team, Admirals), to Freemason St. (historic houses, cobblestone road), a walk around the paths & Oriental gardens of the Taiwanese Friendship Pavilion & over to Freemason Harbor to view the USS Wiscousin; earlier we drove by MacArthur Memorial, MacArthur Center & the banking & financial highrise institutions. Then it was time to say goodbye. Graeme & I watched the Carnival Glory (huge cruise ship) leave & spin around as it leaves for a week in the Bahamas. We flushed out the stern tank of the boat with a heavy amount of chlorox via the shower & transom hoses, then filled all tanks & jerry cans with fresh, clean water. It clouded over at sunset & the evening & night were warm; no heater required.
Mon. Oct. 15, 2012—Day 13:
Destination: stay in Norfolk
Winds: gusting S to SW, 10-20K & small craft warning
Weather: cloudy with sunny periods & warm; H 76F L about 55F, rain & thunderstorms in the evening
A great sleep right through the night. We got our exercise today—powerwalk after breakfast, then both of us walked the morning & afternoon away. The marina’s gratis taxi drove us to the gorgeous new 2 storey Harris Teeter (corner of Princess Anne & Colonial) for a few basic groceries; even equipped with an elevator to accommodate shopping carts. From there we walked through Historic Ghent (gorgeous well maintained homes & gardens, but not very historic looking), The Hague (Mowbray Arch & Botetourt St.—more historic houses), Chrysler Museum of Art (under construction & open Wed. to Sun.), into Freemason Historic District (checked out Shady Grove small market; just basic foods; now the only & closest market to the marina). We learnt more information about the ground transportation ie senior rates for light rail, bus &/or ferry= $0.75 per ride or one day all day= $1.75 (something else the Ottawa councelors should note. A prescription glass store was the only place able to clean my Maui Jim sunglasses from annoying & tenacious smudges & streaks—wow, what a difference. To the Post Office for US & Canadian stamps, then to Granby St. Pizza for a late lunch—the long awaited & best stromboli. We split one & ordered another to take home for a future supper. We walked through MacArthur Center as we made our way to the boat, then the decks got hosed down with fresh water as the skies grew darker & darker. Finally at about 1700 hrs. the winds increased, the skies opened up. The rain was accompanied with lightning & thunder till 2000 hrs. as we both worked away at our last chance at emails. The strong southerly winds persisted all night till after sunrise the next morning.
Laura, you must remember to remove the cockpit mat when it rains!
Tues. Oct. 16, 2012—Day 14:
Destination: Norfolk (Mile 0) to Goat Island, Dismal Swamp Canal (Mile 43)
Departure: 0810 hrs. Arrival: 1800 hrs. Distance: 43 SM
Wind: N & NW about 20-25K before dawn, 8-10K after sunrise & motoring south down Elizabeth River
Weather: sunny, few scattered clouds & blue sky; H= 60’s & L= 50’s
Alarm off at 0600 hrs., shower, breakfast & off the dock at 0810 hrs. Jack Verheydan returned late last night from Nova Scotia & in our company for several days to come. Several boats were similarly on the move; 12 boats & 1 tug as were passed under the Gilmerton Bridge at it’s 0930 hrs. opening. Word was from two days ago that the Corps of Engineers had removed trouble-some deadheads in the Dismal Swamp Canal (DSC). Nine boats proceeded to DSC Deep Creek Lock. We were locked through early rising approx. 9-12 ft. then through the Deep Creek Bridge less than a mile away by 1144 hrs. by the same lockmaster & bridge tender, Robert & a trainee. The word dismal actually means “swampy land”. The DSC or Ditch is set out in two arrow straight tracks for 21.9miles from lock to lock. One has a magnificent view of swampy terrain comprising of tall cypress tress with garlands of vines intertwined in their branches against dark chocolate brown tannin water from tangled roots in the forests along the shores. Four other boats & ourselves easily made the last opening of the South Mills Bridge & Lock at 1530 hrs. by another very pleasant bridge tender/lockmaster. We were dropped 9-12 ft. into the Pasquotank River whose surface was covered in lime green tree pollen or algae which abruptly stopped at the old RR bridge. At G13 we turned into Goat Island & sounded our way in. Rafted to ‘Kathrian’ we had a celebratory drink followed by more drinks & dinner on ‘Sweet Chariot Too’. The water was absolutely calm, mirror like & the skies were clear filled with bright stars.