Ingram Bay Marina to Poquoson, VA (Saturday, 10/14)
The wind had definitely calmed down since yesterday, and as the morning wore on it was supposed to be even calmer. Around 7:00 am we saw that Ed and Donna (“Dee Gee V”) had pulled out of their slip and were heading out of the marina to Mobjack Bay near the Rappahannock River. Denise waved and wished them well, then was finally able to get the latest updates posted to the blog.
Several small-boat fisherman showed up early too, and put their boats in the water to get a jump on the weekend catch. They obviously were knowledgeable about the local weather and if their small boats could take it, we knew we could too.
About 2 hours after they left, “Dee Gee V” called to give us a report of the sea state and wind conditions, and we were grateful to have their report. We had decided to wait even a little later to leave so that we could have the calmest seas around the areas where the Rappahannock and York Rivers dump into the Bay. Since we only had 50 miles to go, we knew we could still make it to Poquoson with plenty of daylight to spare. At this time we also noticed that the guys on “Bluebird” (the Sabre 38) had left and we were the only transients left in the marina.
Finally at 10:45 we pulled out of the slip and headed into the inlet, but not before contributing to the information on the ActiveCaptain® review for this customer-oriented family run marina. We will remember this place and possibly come back here again sometime.
Once out on the Chesapeake Bay we found 1 – 2 foot swells, and the wind was from behind us. So it was a fairly smooth ride, but still overcast and no sun was to be found. Another good thing was that the current was in our favor so we got a 1 -2 knot push along, helping to improve our diesel mileage.
There were lots of sailboats and several power boats on the water, most of whom were headed south, but we did encounter several going north. (Why?). Periodically we looked to see if any of them were our new friends on “Dee Gee V”, but did not see them. We figured they were probably at their destination by now and since we had hugged the coast we missed passing them.
We crossed the Rappahannock without issue which was a relief for Denise. As we approached the southern shore of the river we received a radio call from “Dee Gee V”. They had run a little further offshore from us and had just turned into Mobjack Bay (just off the river). We had crossed about ½ mile off their bow and they recognized our boat.
We entered the Poquoson River and followed the instructions that Craig (the dockmaster) had emailed to us. We had been assigned the outside side-tie on the T-Head and that was fine with us. It is easy in and out, and the view towards the bay is very pretty. We confirmed that this was not a temporary location and that we would be in this location for the duration of our 3-day stay.
After we got the boat settled and showers, we were able to connect with Denise’s niece who lives in Poquoson. Shannon came and picked us up at the marina, then we did a quick grocery run, picked up her two girls (Harper & Macie) from a birthday party, and went back to the boat to deposit the food. From there we went to their home for dinner and an evening of fun. Shawn (Shannon’s husband) cooked up some great hamburgers, and the girls treated us to a “tea party”.
We enjoyed hanging out with them and learning about what is going on in their lives. We joked about the rainy windy weather, and how it was this same way when we were here in May. Even though we had just seen them at the family reunion in July, we loved getting together with them again. Eventually Shannon took us back to the boat and we made plans to connect with them (and Shannon’s sister, Christen and her family) tomorrow.
Poquoson, VA (Sunday, 10/15)
It was another overcast day, but the forecast was for it to burn off and be a beautiful afternoon. The longer range weather did not look good, with Monday looking to be windy, rainy and turning cooler. Of course planning for our departure would have to wait until we could get information about the dinghy repair, but we most likely would not leave before Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.
Not wanting to abuse the kindness of others, we found St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church in Yorktown and took an Uber cab to get there, arriving just in time for the start of 8:30 am mass. For those that don’t know, St Kateri Tekakwitha was the first Native American to be canonized a saint by the Catholic Church (in 2012). You can learn more about her and her life here.
We then took Uber back to the boat and made plans to connect with our Looper friends Gail & Jeff Dunham (“YOLO”). They picked us up and we went to lunch at The Deadrise, a restaurant located at Old Fort Comfort near Fort Monroe. The restaurant gets its name from a nautical term that means the amount of V-shape on the bottom of a boat’s hull. It sits above a marina, located near the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and Mill Creek, and the food and service were pretty good.
From the restaurant, Jeff gave us a fabulous tour around Fort Monroe, formerly an Army base but now a mostly public park. Since he is retired Army and was stationed at Fort Eustis, he frequently had to do duty on Fort Monroe and he knows the area very well. He drove us around the area and was able to share his vast knowledge of the history of the place. The fort itself is still a national monument and managed by the National Park Service, but the surrounding area is owned by the state of Virginia and is open to the public. You can learn more about this amazing park here.
We had a chance to go by what used to be the officer’s club where Shannon & Shawn were married, and went through one of three gates that are used to enter into the moat-surrounding fort. Here we drove around to view the old barracks and officer’s homes (now rental properties) and even Robert E. Lee’s Quarters.
We stopped at the flag post of the casemate that overlooks the Hampton Roads area with a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay and Norfolk. The clouds had burned off and it turned out to be a calm and beautiful day. Here we could see many boats heading south down the ICW; we too will be joining them, but not before the dinghy is repaired and the weather is favorable for us to move the boat.
After lunch and our tour, we were returned to the marina and said goodbye to Jeff & Gail. They have offered to assist us tomorrow if we need to get the dinghy to the repair shop, and we agreed to let them know when we know something.
Shortly thereafter, Christen met us with three of the four kids (Harper, Colton and Cooper) as Shannon took Macie to a birthday party. They hung out on the boat with the kids enjoying our “tiny house on the water” and playing tic-tac-toe on the bow.
Earlier in the day we had seen two big boats with Looper burgee (“Overdraft” and “Red Eagle”- whom we had met on our Loop trip) leave our marina. We wondered if they were headed south for the winter, but later learned from Gail and Jeff that they are kept here in the marina and probably just out for the day. Sure enough, while Denise was spending time with Christen and the kids, “Overdraft” came back in and Mark went over to help them tie up. He had a chance to talk with the owner who has been a member of the AGLCA (“Loopers”) and wants to do the Loop in a few years.
The day turned out to be nice and there were “workboat races” in Poquoson in a neighboring creek. Many of the boats in our marina had left full of people who were going to watch the races. In the late afternoon they started to return, full of people who had imbibed a bit. Included was the crew of the “Linda Carol” who had taken it out to watch the races. This is a wooden boat that was originally built in 1931, and was rebuilt from its original keel several years ago. It is well maintained and a beautiful ship. The crew was willing to give us a tour, but requested it be another time as they were a bit tipsy. Amazingly, none of these boaters crashed their boats into others in the marina, or into the docks.
Eventually, Shannon, Shawn and Macie joined us and we all went to dinner at the Surf Rider Restaurant which is located at the marina. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed our together time so much we forgot to get a picture of the whole group!
Eventually, we all had to say goodbye and the kids had to get their kids home as they have school and work tomorrow. We loved our time together and hope to see them again real soon.
We went back to the boat where our view towards Bennett Creek (and eventually the Chesapeake Bay) had no hint that tomorrow would be so messy.
Poquoson, VA (Monday, 10/16)
As forecasted, we woke up to a drizzling rain and gusty winds. How did it deteriorate so fast overnight? Our one goal today was to get resolution on our dinghy. If we could repair it in a few days here, we would stick around the area and take care of it. However, if we could not get it turned around then we would head south and attempt its repair in Morehead City, NC or Charleston, SC.
Early in the morning Mark was able to get ahold of Fairlead Boatworks (recommended repair facility) and confirm their ability to do the repair and turn it around for us in two days. But, we had to get the dinghy to their Newport News facility. However, their location is not conducive to taking Island Office there, so we had to transport it via trailer or pickup truck. Fortunately, our friend Jeff had a plan and was able to get a U-Haul pickup truck for this purpose. But, first we had to remove everything off/out of the dinghy including the oars, seat cover, gas tank and fuel line, and of course the 90lb motor. All of it ended up in the cockpit of Island Office and will stay there until we get the dinghy back.
Once we got the dinghy out of the water and onto the U-Haul truck, we took it to the repair place. They quickly saw the issue and determined where the leak was and said they would send us an estimate in the afternoon. There was nothing they saw that would keep them from getting it back to us in 48 hours, including the cure time.
We left the dinghy and then drove to return the U-Haul truck, where Gail was waiting with their car to take us back to the marina. But first we treated them to lunch at Smokey Bones since they had been so helpful to us.
The weather continued to be rainy and windy until mid-afternoon, when finally the rain stopped and eventually blue skies tried to poke through the clouds. We ate leftovers for dinner and our desert was an awesome sunset to the west and a pink-colored sky to our east.