Monthly Archives: May 2021

Warm up at Wormley!

Wormley Creek Marina – Friday, 5/21 – Mark’s Birthday!

In the morning Denise went for a walk around the neighborhood surrounding the marina. The main road (Waterview Road) is a rural two-lane road with only a few streets off of it.  One forms a circle for about a half mile and there are houses on both sides. These houses range from older small homes and newer larger homes with nice landscaping. Also bordering this road are private drives that take you to houses on Wormley Creek, or north of the marina, on the south banks of the York River. 

After returning to the boat, having breakfast and getting showers, we arranged for our Enterprise rental car for the weekend.  They came to the marina to pick us up and 15 minutes later we were at their Newport News location getting our wheels.  We had decided to make this our “errand day”.   Having been in this area before, we knew what was available and roughly the location of each. With Google Maps at the ready, we headed out with a list of places to go, and a list of things for each destination.  First was Costco, followed up by Wal-Mart and then a few other stores. We even managed an early lunch at Chick-Fil-A; Mark’s request – after all it was his Birthday!

Lunch spot for MSG Bday

We returned back to the boat with our purchases and proceeded to find places to stow it all. Not surprising to us, it all fit somewhere. We then took care of a few business items in the afternoon, and talked with a couple of locals in the marina. Throughout the day we watched the marina move a fireboat that had been in the yard, into the big shed and begin taping it up. They were readying it for painting.  Naturally, Mark had to walk over to the worker and inquire on what was going on.  He learned they were simply repainting it and it would be back in the water for Memorial Weekend.

Mark talking to paint guy

Later that evening, we got back in the car and drove to Newport News to Schlesinger’s Steakhouse, a local’s favorite and recommended by Denise’s nieces. We had a delicious steak dinner to celebrate Mark’s big birthday.  The food was really great and the atmosphere we very nice. We just wished we could have had more people to celebrate the day with; maybe we can come back here in the fall with Denise’s brother (John) and sister in law (Cathy).

Wormley Creek Marina – Saturday, 5/22

Denise started the day with a run in the area around the marina. This time she started out heading north and running just up the bridge where the power plant has a cooling water basin which dumps into the York River. Along the way she spooked a few deer who took off running, then stopped, gathered a few others, then took off running again.

She turned back around, ran past the marina and further down the main road before turning back to the marina. In total she was able to get in over 5 miles, and saw more deer and rabbits than cars on the road.

Once back on the boat she joined Mark for breakfast and we planned out the day.  Our first stop was to the Yorktown Farmer’s market, right along the waterfront.  Even though we have been to this area, we forgot how many historic places there are here. In addition to the National Park, there are marked battlefields, cemeteries, buildings, the Victory Welcome Center, and the Yorktown Victory monument.

Yorktown Memorial

After walking through the Farmer’s Market, we walked out to the city marina (where we stayed in 2015).  Here we saw two Looper boats, and stopped to talk with them for a short time before walking back to our car.  We also encountered a gentleman on a Caliber Sailboat, which was similar to the one we used to own back in the 1990’s.  We could have stayed and talked longer, but we needed to get going as we had places to go.

We drove from Yorktown to Newport News to a softball game where we were able to see some of our family.  Shannon (Denise’s niece) is coach of her daughter’s (Harper) softball team, and on this day, her firefighter husband (Shawn) was assisting as he had the day off from his hero duties. Their other daughter, Macie was there too.  We got to watch Harper’s game and talk with Shawn’s parents (Robin & LF) who were also at the game.

During that time, we were in communication with Denise’s sister-in-law (Cathy), and made plans to meet up with her for a late lunch in downtown Yorktown.  We left the game and went back to the boat for showers, then met them at Water Street Grille.  Luckily Christen (Denise’s other niece) and her two boys were able to join us, and Cathy and her out-of-town friend (Mona) coordinated it all so we could be together for a short visit. This was great as we were not expecting them to be available to spend any time with us until Wednesday.

Mona (friend), Cathy & Denise

After our afternoon together, we drove to St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church for the Saturday afternoon mass. We have been to this church several times and we have always been impressed with the Pastor (Father Mike) who is blind and uses a braille version of the Missal for saying the mass.  Unfortunately, we were disappointed as Father James was the celebrant instead. We still felt very welcome in this diverse church, who practiced social distancing but where we did not have to wear face masks! We felt liberated!

Since we had a late lunch, we were not hungry for dinner, but did enjoy some cocktails once back on the boat and streamed a movie before falling asleep. It was a fun-filled terrific day!

Wormley Creek Marina – Sunday, 5/23

This morning we decided to use the marina facilities and get a few loads of laundry done, while doing a little bit of future planning.  Our check of the upcoming weather now had us putting in place contingencies as it did not look like Friday would be a good day to leave and head north. Since it is still early and forecasts can change, we didn’t spend too much time on it. But it is a bit discouraging when the weather dictates the agenda and holds us up from going places; something those who are traveling in RV’s or cars don’t usually have to deal with.

We also took advantage of still having the rental car and wanted to do a few more errands. Mark needed a haircut and Denise wanted a pedicure, so once our laundry was done, we went to get these personal services addressed.  Within 90 minutes we had accomplished these and headed back to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon we took advantage of quiet and downtime and simply relaxed, reading a book (Denise) and taking a nap (Mark). This is what Sunday’s should be about, but rarely do we ever get to take advantage of them.

At this marina we have encountered several locals, who are very nice and hospitable. Most live in the area and either take their boat on the weekends, work on their boats (in water or on the hard), or just come down to the marina. Because it was so warm today, some were also at the pool, which has now been opened and has nice warm water; but it is still a little too cool for us Floridians.  All of these people have volunteered to give us a ride somewhere, offered to take us on their boats, or had suggestions for places to go or things to see.  It is a very friendly place and we have enjoyed it.

We still had the rental car and thought it might be smart to go out to dinner one more night; we will be eating onboard the next few nights so it made sense.  But, we were not interested in a big meal and opted for a light dinner at Panera in Newport News.  During the week this would have taken us 30 minutes to get there, but tonight it only took 15 minutes.  While dining we thought it might be a good idea to go to the grocery store, in case we did not have the opportunity until later in the week.  We drove to the Kroger and picked up a handful of things, including FRESCA (which Mark likes) and is not always available everywhere. 

One of the other things we remembered was to purchase any other “bottled” or “canned” refreshments here in VA because as we get further north they get more expensive.  All the other states charge a $.05 or $.10 “refundable” deposit on all such containers, but their recycle centers are not always conducive to marinas. Therefore, each one is just a little more expensive for us and they add up over time.  So we stocked up and when we got back to the boat, we literally were trying to find places to put it all……but we did.

Wormley Creek Marina – Monday, 5/24

Today was a work day.  We both had been putting off some work tasks and we needed to address these important things.  Mark spent almost all day on the phone or in web conferences.  Denise had to respond to an Orlando prospect that could work out perfectly if they string out their decision making to the fall; how perfect it would be to come back to a project kickoff in late October.

In mid-morning Mark took a break to return the rental car to Enterprise while Denise did a little advanced cooking and blog writing.  She posted the last update and began work on this post.

During the day we talked with Denise’s brother (John) who would be returning home on Tuesday from his out-of-town trip. We set some tentative plans in place for meeting up Wednesday afternoon, or definitely Thursday. Of course weather will dictate whether we leave on Friday, and therefore have a short visit, or stay through the weekend for longer time together.

Later in the afternoon we once again got an update on the weather and tried to formulate a plan. Right now it does not look like the upcoming Memorial weekend will be a good weekend to travel and we don’t want to go north only to get stuck somewhere for a handful of days when we could be here with family. We really have no plans; although we would love to go up the Hudson River in NY and be at the Shady Harbor Marina Pig Roast the weekend of 6/12. But, we know we could change our plans and not attend this event; we have too much big water to cross to be on a schedule.

Our evening was spent hanging around the marina and talking with a few of the locals.  We had a dinner of smoked pulled pork we brought from home (the last of it) from our freezer.  After dinner we went for a walk around the marina grounds and noticed the water level in the creek was quite high.  We are on a floating dock and don’t notice it as much when on the boat. But when we walked up to where the marina office and other buildings are, we could see the significant difference against the fixed docks.  The docks and water were almost one, and our gangplank which normally we have to walk up, we now had to walk down.  Come to find out Wednesday’s full moon is a “Supermoon” and we will have higher and lower high & low tides greater than normal.

Because of the high water, once back on the boat we were able to see over the embankment to our north which is the private property of a homeowner.  Here we could see the dock of the second house over from us, and discovered they have lighted decorative palm trees along their dock. We did not see them coming into the channel on Thursday, and only now got to see them illuminated.  It is clearly someone’s tropical paradise overlooking the York River.

Lighted Palm trees on dock

Wormley Creek Marina – Tuesday, 5/25

We woke up to cloudy skies and a temperature at 6:00 am of 64°; the warmest morning yet. Denise went for a run and actually wore a tank top for the first time since leaving on our trip.  On her return, she encountered a man and his two dogs in the marina parking lot.  After some small talk she discovered “Scott” lived two houses over from the marina, and it is his house that has the lighted decorative palm trees on his dock. She also learned he is an oral surgeon and moved here from Hampton three years ago, with his wife. He talked about the area and how much he loves his view of the York River and the bridge.  When she returned back to the boat, Mark was already up eating breakfast and ready to take on the day.

The intention today was for it to be a boat-chore day, and it was in a sense. We had a long list of inside and outside chores, but we also had to put more water on the boat, which required moving to the haul out area and again using two connected hoses to fill up the tanks.  We figured at the same time we could get a pump-out; even though the holding tank was not full, it would save us from having to do this in a few days.  All this activity had to be coordinated with the marina as they had several haul-outs planned for the day and we needed to make sure we were not going to be blocking the haul-out bay. 

Around 9:30 am we headed out of the slip and ventured to put the water on the boat.  This took us about a half an hour, then we moved to the dock for the self-service pump-out.  Once in place we started the equipment, but we were unable to get it working.  After several attempts we called the marina office and Doug (owner and husband of Pam), came down to help us out. After several more attempts, a discharge of the system and more attempts, we were unable to get it working. He was going to have to get their septic tank serviced and would let us know when it would be fixed. So back to our slip we went, burning nearly 2 hours and now getting back just in time to make lunch.  Our morning was shot and we had not accomplished much at all.

After lunch we both had client work to do, then we set about to do a few of the chores on the list. Denise also worked on this blog.  After the 3:00 updates were in, we looked at the upcoming weather.  Friday looks to be a good day to travel north, but Saturday and Sunday were awful and would force us to stay put wherever we are.  Unfortunately, Monday (Memorial Day) is also not looking great. This was disheartening as Denise really wants to spend more time with family but if the weather stays bad for a week we could be sacrificing our trip back up the Hudson River. But to cut our visit short after waiting since Norfolk to see family was also discouraging. We agreed not to make any decisions for now, and would see how the forecast holds in the next day or so.  Monday is a long way off for weather forecasts and anything can change.

One of the issues with staying put in this marina is the water situation. Normally if we had potable dockside water we would not care. But without it we are forced to use the water from the tanks, which require filling about every 3 – 4 days.  Plus, with it being in a rural area we are limited in where we can go unless we get another rental car.  We are looking forward to spending time at John & Cathy’s, and get off the boat for a few days. This will alleviate both of these concerns and allow us to also share some desired family time.

One of the interesting things we have not yet shared about this location, is its proximity to the US Coast Guard (USCG) Yorktown Training Center.  In addition to watching the USCG boats go out of the creek each day, we get treated to a few of their routines.  The first is at 7:55 am when they play a bugle tune over the campus that can be heard all around this area.  Then at 8:00 am they play Reveille.  In the evening near sunset, they play “Retreat”, then “Taps” at 10:00 pm; we figured out that one must be for “lights out” as it is officially used to signify “quiet hours”.  We have also heard them doing gun fire exercises or target practice.  All of this to keep us all safe, and to be there on the waterway when any of us need them. Some reviewers of this marina have made negative comments about these routines, but we consider these minor issues for a stay at this marina.  Besides, we love our Coasties and will support them in any way we can.

USCG leaving creek
Tonight’s sunset at WCM

Wormley Creek Marina – Wednesday, 5/26

We woke up to a nice breeze blowing this morning, but it was warm and we had the AC going.  After spending some time on emails and work items, we tackled some initial boat chores, including Mark changing out the engine and generator zincs, and Denise polishing some stainless steel and chrome. We also managed to go see the fireboat in the shed, now all nicely painted.

Fireboat all painted

After a few hours we noticed the wind had died down, so Mark suggested we use this opportunity to once again try for a pump out.  Doug (owner) let us know the equipment was back up and running and we were at a good transitioning point in our chores.  So, we untied from our slip, and moved the boat to the pump out dock to take care of business.  It worked much better this time, and within 30 minutes we were back in our slip.

Working the pump-out Equipment

We then did a check on the upcoming weather forecasts.  It did not look good for leaving on Monday, but Tuesday was shaping up to be (possibly) a good day to leave.  After a conversation with John, we decided that we would stay with him through the weekend and make plans to leave on Tuesday.  If things improved beforehand, we could leave earlier, but it was unlikely this would be the case.  We also confirmed with the marina we could stay on without issue.

Then it was back to our boat chores. We finished up around 2:30, then packed up some clothes, food and other items to take on our land adventure for the weekend.  At 3:00 John came to the marina to pick us up and 10 minutes later we were at his house in Seaford, VA. Clearly this was a good marina choice for being so close.

J&C’s home

We spent some time talking with John and Cathy (“J&C”) before John had to head out to help coach a softball game for Harper (granddaughter).  Cathy and Denise then left for Colton’s (grandson’s) baseball game, while Mark enjoyed some quiet personal time at the house.  It was hot and buggy and the girls ended up leaving the game a little early. On the way home, they picked up dinner (a pizza, salad and garlic knots) that Mark had ordered.  Once back at the house they ate dinner and sat around talking until John came home from his outing. 

Not long afterwards, a horrendous thunderstorm came through with violent winds and rain. It was short-lived, but was strong enough to knock out the power.  It was just one day too soon; J&C had already installed a whole-house generator, but it was not yet hooked up and the technician was coming in the morning to complete the process.  So there we sat with battery-operated lanterns illuminating the place while we continued our conversations.  Finally, we all went to bed hoping the power would come back on before the house got too hot.  The temperature had reached 94° today.

We will be spending the weekend with family in Seaford, VA, and will not post another entry until we have returned to the boat.

Working our way to Wormley Creek!

Mobjack Bay to WCM

Wormley Creek Marina – Thursday, 5/20

With the sunrise now before 6:00 am it is hard to stay awake must past 5:30 am when the sky starts to get light. Naturally, Denise was wide awake and got the generator going for coffee and to turn on the heat.  It also may be the last morning for a while that we will need to do this as the forecast is for warmer weather in the coming days.  But it was so beautiful a morning that it was hard to disturb the peace, even for a little while.

East River Anchorage in morning

After Mark got up and we had breakfast, we called WCM and they were able to allow us to come in a day early. They gave us the go ahead, which made us quite happy. Plus, because we were intending to stay a week and now adding an extra day, we got the 8th night free.

We left our wonderful anchorage and headed out the east river, passing the Williams Wharf Landing, a privately owned waterfront park with approximately ¼ mile of shoreline on 5 acres of land. We passed by the big structure that we had seen two years ago and we are still questioning if it is still under construction or completed.  There has been an organization that has been formed for the preservation of this area, and they have more information on their website, here.

Matthews Wharf – still under construction?

We entered the wide expanse of Mobjack bay and then turned briefly up the York River. 

Leaving East River out to Mobjack Bay

We didn’t have far to go before we turned up the Perrin River and headed to Crown Point Marina for some fuel.  We did not want to fill up out tanks here, but need enough to get us to Wormley Creek Marina (WCM), and then 70+ miles up the Chesapeake when we leave WCM.  The creek was very shallow and the tide was still going out, so we did not want to spend a lot of time here.  We added the fuel as fast as possible, and when Mark returned he realized that the BoatUS discount they offered was 10% off the total bill, not $.10 per gallon as he originally thought. He was contemplating adding more fuel as this made it very inexpensive, especially compared to all the other marinas around. However, filling the boat and sinking it down into the water further on an outgoing tide in shallow water was not a good thing, so he changed his mind and immediately got us moving. The depth gauge showed 4’6” and as he pulled away from the dock we saw a bit of mud kicked up in the water.

We exited the channel to the marina back into Perrin River and out onto the York River where we only had 2+ miles to go across it and enter the channel at Wormley Creek.  To the left of the creek is power plant, preceded by a large fuel pipeline. On the right is the US Coast Guard Training Center (TRACENT), Yorktown.  It was good to see our “Coasties” out patrolling the waters as we approached the creek. Once inside the creek breakwater, we made a sharp left turn past the docks for the private homes and into the creek’s narrow channel that runs right in front of the marina.

Our first order of business at WCM was to get a pump-out.  This was easy to do and Pam (marina owner) was down with her newest employee (Madison) to lend a hand and share information. Here we learned the water at the slips was well water and she did not recommend us drinking it.  Therefore we needed to add water on the boat in order to have some for showers, cooking, etc. while here.  To do this we needed to move the boat around the pump-out dock to the haul-out area and hook up a hose to the spigot that is provided by the city (i.e. is potable).  To get the hose to the boat, Mark had to connect 2 of our hoses (one 50’ and one 150’) to reach the boat for filling our water tanks.  It took about 45 minutes for all this activity, meanwhile the temperature was rising and it was getting hot!

Finally, after filling the boat with fuel, pumping out our waste, and adding water, we were able to move to our slip where our Island Office will sit for the next 8 days.  It was nearly noon and the Captain was hungry for lunch and thirsty for his daily Diet Coke.  But before he could enjoy this indulgence, we had to go check into the marina office before they closed for lunch (at noon).  Here we re-encountered Pam who was so informative and as nice as she could be.  She explained the issues she is having getting staff and thus the marina is not quite where she would like it to be: the gardens need weeding and the pool was still not open as it requires cleaning of the tables and umbrellas, etc. She was willing to go the extra mile to make us feel welcome in this family-owned marina.  We chatted further with her as we checked out the restroom and laundry facilities (pay for on the honor system) and how hard it is for her to get away from work; her and her husband live on the property in the house that overlooks the marina.

Finally, we got back to our boat, ate some lunch and turned on the air conditioner as it was 85° and hot.  Mark did some work as Denise got caught up on emails, and published the last blog.  Mark also rinsed off the boat with the dock water, and made arrangements for our rental car pickup for the weekend.  Meanwhile, Denise was in contact with the nieces (Christen & Shannon) and made arrangements for Mark’s Birthday dinner on Friday evening.

We had leftovers for dinner aboard the boat, and streamed a few shows on the TV before calling it a day.

IO at WCM

Moving Around Mobjack Bay!

Carters Creek to Mobjack Bay Anchorage

Mobjack Bay – Wednesday, 5/19

One of the places we wanted to revisit from prior years cruising on the Chesapeake was Mobjack Bay.  We were here in 2019 and saw how large this area was, with numerous coves and anchorages and wanted to return.  As we are waiting to connect with Denise’s family, we decided now was the time to go explore more parts of it.

Shortly after 9:00 am we left the anchorage at Carter’s Cove and headed towards the “Rapp”.  Out on the Rapp, we were once again greeted with a spectacular day on the water; oh please can these continue for a few more weeks!  We went under the Norris Bridge and in no time at all we were back on the Chesapeake Bay. We turned south (yes, south) to go to Mobjack Bay, near the York River. 

We passed a few sailboats heading north and a few fishing boats, but it truly was an uneventful passage.  Our only excitement was the school of small dolphins that played off the starboard side of the boat as we passed by.

Dolphins playing

By 11:00 we were turning into Mobjack Bay and navigating to one of the anchorages (Bryant Bay off the Severn River) we had picked out; the one with a reported very strong cell signal.  Once we arrived to the destination, we noticed a large number of crab pots in the cove, but they were spaced out sufficiently to allow room for anchoring.  There were no other boats here to contend with so we could choose a spot, and had the anchor down by 11:30.  We then made lunch and with a good cell signal we thought it would be a good place for the night.

Immediately we were infested with those darn midges again, and we hoped the wind would pick up a bit to keep them away.  Mark was getting frustrated, so we broke out our makeshift screen and put it up hoping to keep from having to turn on the generator and run the AC. After all, one of the reasons for anchoring is for the pristine landscapes and the absolute peace and quiet.  Surprisingly, the screen worked and most of the bugs were kept away.

Screen door

Mark spent the entire afternoon on conference calls and in a web training session; thus the need for a strong cell signal today. During this time Denise worked on this blog, and on checking on other work-related items.  She also noticed the wind had picked up and that the chop in the anchorage was getting worse.  Between Mark’s calls we debated if we should move the boat to another anchorage where we would be better protected from the wind, or should we wait for morning. This particular bay was wide open and the low lying areas offered little protection. We definitely need to move it for Thursday night, based on the forecasted wind direction out of the east.

By the time Mark got off his last call, the slap of the water on the hull in the bow was all that was needed to convince us to move.  It would have been too loud for a good night’s rest. So, we pulled up the anchor and headed to a spot that looked to offer more protection on the southwest branch of the Severn River.  However, once we found the spot and attempted to lay anchor amongst the crab pots, we did not like how exposed we still were to the coming winds.  So, we made the call to move again, only this time on the other side of Mobjack Bay.  While pulling up the anchor, we snagged a coiled line which we thought was a crab pot. Expertly, Mark was able to get it untangled, as it appears it was from an old pot and nothing was attached at each end of it.  Luckily, we averted disaster and were able to get out of the cove without hitting a crab pot.

We cruised all the way across Mobjack Bay and up the East River to a spot where it curves to the west and offered protection from the winds out of the south and southwest.  It is also just past “Put in Creek” where we spent time in 2019.  We became adventurous and found a cove across the river from the charted anchorage areas suggested in the Waterway Guide & Active Captain, and chose it for the night. We were far enough from any of the numerous crab pots, and stayed in water no less than 6’ deep.  Plus, there were houses and trees around us blocking any wind that would come our way.  It was a great spot and we were very glad we moved.

Island Office at East River anchorage

Feeling a sense of accomplishment, and liking our new surroundings we celebrated with happy hour, then proceeded to make a “grilled” pizza with ready-made dough we had in the freezer.  We have never attempted this before and must say we were delighted with our success, although we have some notes for how to make it better “next time”.

Grilled pizza

In evening, we looked again at the weather forecast, which seems to be holding for now.  We had originally planned to stay at anchor one more night. However, with coming winds and a desire for some time on terra firma, we decided to consider going to our week-long planned marina a day early, if they can take us.  Since it was past operating hours, we would have to call them in the morning before we could finalize this change in our plans. Until then we got to enjoy the beauty of this spot, including a half moonlit sky, and a great sunset through the trees.

When sitting at anchor in such great places, one of our preoccupations is to watch the wildlife, specifically the osprey. These large birds are considered fish-hawks, and can be found in nearly any body of water: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs. They are known for building nests on poles, including channel marks in the ICW. So many places have man-made perches for these amazing birds to build their stick nests, and it is fun to watch their behavior while in the nest.  Today we were enthralled with this particular one near the anchorage as it had 2 adults and a juvenile calling it home.  You can learn more about these magnificent birds at the Audubon Society here.

Osprey and nest at East River Anchorage

Spectacular Surroundings!

Carters Creek Anchorage – near Irvington, VA – Tuesday, 5/18

Sunrise over IO – Bridge Marinas

Before heading out of Urbanna, Denise went for a run through town, trying to capture some sights that we missed yesterday. Unfortunately, during the run she tripped on the very rough sidewalk and took a slight spill, scraping a knee, elbow and hand.  These old town sidewalks are uneven and very unforgiving, but fortunately nothing was broken.  She shook it off and continued exploring the Waterman’s Park and the neighborhood around the town.

Recognizing her hand and elbow were bleeding, and running out of places to run in town, she headed back to the boat.  Once bandaged up, she got some coffee and breakfast and all was ok with the world.

We were not in a hurry to leave today as we were only going 7 miles across the Rapp to the area by the Tides Resort, near Irvington, VA. We would love to stay here, but once investigating the cost of it all ($200/night dockage + $15 electric, + resort fee) it just wasn’t worth it to us.  Our plan instead was to just go over to the area and locate a place to anchor out. So with good internet and cell service at the marina, we did some work, answered emails, and worked on the blog before leaving.

Finally, we decided we should head out of the marina, so just before lunch we left Urbanna.  On our way out of the marina, Mark noticed a “buy boat” in front of the condominiums on the harbor. Some of you may know that we are fans of two types of classic boats, the Chesapeake Buy Boat and Trumpy Yachts. This was a cool find for us.

Buy Boat “55th VA”

After all the dock lines and fenders were stowed, we headed out of the harbor and onto the Rapp. It was another spectacular day and there was not even a ripple on the water. We pray we will have 2 days like this in 2 weeks when we need to go down the Delaware River, and up the New Jersey coast.

In no time at all we had made our way across the Rapp and entered the waterway towards the Tides. Here there are several finger creeks and coves that all branch off the entrance, each one providing some kind of protection from weather (depending on wind direction) and each one lined with amazing homes. Some old, some new, some small, but most are a good size.  Here is a sample of some of them:

We slowly made our way past the Tides resort and further into the creek north of it.  We were monitoring our cell phones to see where we could find the strongest signal, and the further up the creek away from the resort, the weaker it got. So we turned around and for the next 30 minutes we cruised through the creeks and area southeast of the resort.  Here up the eastern branch of Carter’s Creek near Jack Cove we found our strongest signal, and an area with plenty of protection and space to anchor.  It was spectacularly beautiful with lots of osprey, herons and other birds flying about.  Our only danger was the crab pots, but they were spread out enough that we could anchor successfully without encountering any of them.

After settling the boat we ate a late lunch and then did a little bit of work. We talked about taking the dinghy out and go exploring, but Denise wanted to get the last blog published, and Mark wanted to take a nap. So we agreed to do these things and then later we would go out on the dinghy.

One of the things we were not sure about was where we could land the dinghy in this area as it was mostly residential.  However, Mark contacted Custom Yacht Services (CYS) – a small boat yard near the anchorage to see if they would allow us to tie to their docks.  We wanted to check out the small town of Irvington, which is right up the road from them anyway.  Another place that we considered exploring was the Dog and Oyster Vineyard; a local winery that also has an inn and was just shy of a mile away.  It took a few back & forth calls and voicemails with CYS before we got confirmation that they would allow us to tie to their docks, and actually use their internet connection if needed.  However, by this time we had learned that the winery only has tastings on Thursday through Sunday, and Irvington was so small it was hardly worth the effort.  Meanwhile we were enjoying the relaxation and the views so we decided not to launch the dinghy after all.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening a handful of boats cruised by, either on their way to/from somewhere (dinner?) or just out enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery. One local stopped by and talked to Denise about the boat. He has been trying to find a Back Cove 34’ to purchase, but there are just not any on the market right now, like with the 37s. He currently has a trawler, but wants a different boat (e.g. go faster) and loves the Back Cove, as we do. They talked a little while longer and she watched him motor off in his skiff to one of the houses up the cove but out of sight from us.

The evening brought out a few other boaters and we watched the local residents retire to their decks or lawn chairs to enjoy the warm and beautiful evening.  Mark cooked cheeseburgers on the grill and truly we felt like we were in paradise.  This was reinforced when we were treated to a spectacular sunset over the pristine cove that we had all to ourselves.

Cooking burgers
Sunset at anchorage

Understated Urbanna!

Norfolk to Urbanna, VA

Bridge Marinas – Urbana, VA – Monday, 5/17

For whatever reason, we both had a restless night’s sleep and woke up later than planned. Denise cancelled her planned run in order for us to leave by 8:00 am as we had a fairly long way to go.  Once breakfast was done and everything properly stowed, we left Waterside in Norfolk and headed out on the Elizabeth River towards the Chesapeake Bay.  At 8:15 we said good bye to the ICW (mile marker 0) until October when we are on our way home.

Leaving Waterside Marina

We passed the numerous ships in the Navy Shipyard, and saw many containers stacked up waiting for transport in the Norfolk Port. These days there is a shortage of storage space for containers coming into ports with all the consumer demand for imported goods; the supply chains cannot keep up. This is also resulting in container ships being held at anchor or in queue along shipping channels.

As we headed out onto the Chesapeake Bay it was like I-4 traffic, negotiating our way around tugs, pleasure boats, sailboats and barges, all the while staying in or close to the channel.  It was actually less congested than we have seen it in the past as there were no Navy ships moving around today.

Passing tug and then barge

Once through the congestion we passed by Fort Monroe (now a national park) and the Old Comfort Lighthouse.  It was a beautiful day on the “Chessy” and we were happy to not have high winds and chop.  This is the way we like to cruise as it makes it so much more fun.

We ran for a good 2.5 hours before we made a left turn up the Rappahannock River.  There are several places off this river we have wanted to explore and so we are taking the time this week to enjoy.  The weather is really nice now with cool nights in the high 40’s and warming to the low 80’s in the daytime.  As long as this holds we can make great progress and get to enjoy some of the sights.  The “Rapp” was also calm and we could the beauty of both shores.

Soon we went under the Rappahannock Bridge (aka the Norris Bridge), entered the channel to the Urbanna Harbor and pulled into the Bridge Marinas.  This family-owned marina is a little further up the creek than the Urbanna Town Marina, offering more protection and less surge from the River. 

As Urbanna is small, this marina is still just a short walk to downtown.  It is also meticulous maintained and has all the amenities that a cruiser would want, including cruiser’s lounge, laundry facilities, a full-service kitchen, outdoor and covered picnic tables, great internet, and great hospitality. We would highly recommend this place to other cruisers.

After settling the boat and checking in with the marina, we ate some lunch and did a few work tasks.  We then headed out for a walk around town.  As it was a Monday, several places were closed (including the Visitors Center and museum) and we learned that because it is before Memorial Day, other places have limited hours (only open Thursday through Sunday).  This town is rich with US history and there is a walking historical tour to take you to all the historical sights. It is called “The Museum in the Streets”; similar to the one in Belfast, Maine.  We stopped at a few of these to learn about the site (estate house, old Cocoa-Cola Bottling Plant, etc.) and the importance of this town on the early days of our country’s founding and during the Civil War.

We then walked to the Urbanna Town Marina and saw it full of mostly sailboats; there were a group of Tartan (type of sailboat) owners who were traveling together.  The high fixed docks and exposure to swells from the “Rapp” made us happy we were not staying in this marina, no matter how inexpensive it was. We stopped and talked to a few locals then took some pictures, and then headed back to the boat.

Denise in Waterman’s boots

We found the weather to be perfect and not too buggy, and the peacefulness of our marina (unlike Waterside in Norfolk) had us wondering if we should stay here another day.  But, we have other places to go and must be mindful that Thursday’s planned journey will require good weather and we would rather press on back towards the Chessy in case things change, allowing for a shorter travel day then.

Since we will be at an anchorage the next few nights, we opted for dinner out.  There are several good restaurants to choose from; we chose the one closest to the marina called Portside Grill.  The restaurant has a water view over the harbor with outdoor seating, and a nice modern interior that is warm and welcoming. Due to the cooler temperatures we ate inside. The food was good and reasonably priced, and the waitress was very friendly. 

Mark at Portside Grill

Afterwards we walked back to the boat for a short evening of movie watching (“They Want Me Dead “) before we retired for the night.

Urbanna is a cute town and we were glad we came here. Clearly the town is more active in the summer and fall with numerous festivals and celebrations.  Their “Oyster Festival” in November is huge and you have to book marinas and hotels months in advance.  We would highly recommend this town for a stopover by Loopers, or anyone else.

Norfolk – Not the same anymore!

Waterside Marina – Norfolk, VA – Saturday, 5/15

The day began with a run for Denise, happy to have some place that allowed her to get in 5 miles without running out of town.  She made it part of her mission to locate the Church of the Sacred Heart for mass; a possible alternative to the Basilica that we learned yesterday was not open for non-parishioners (thanks to limited seating because of Covid restrictions). She embarked on the streets of Norfolk not sure what she would find. Her adventures took her through the quaint downtown and into the Ghent neighborhood, designated as a National Historic District.  She found Sacred Heart Church, found out the information she was looking for, and then headed back to the boat.  Along the way back she rerouted to visit the Japanese Garden she has run past before near Freemason Harbor, and past the Nauticus (maritime museum). She returned to the marina under beautiful skies and perfect weather on the Elizabeth River.

Selfie after run – overlooking Hospital Point

After eating breakfast we then spent some time on the phone talking with family members and getting some information about areas of interest to us.  From that we began planning our next two weeks itinerary. We juggled some venues because they are not good to visit on Mondays (like Cape Charles) and shuffled our schedule so we could see Denise’s family once her brother John returns from an out-of-town fishing trip.  We also wanted to be someplace where we could celebrate Mark’s upcoming birthday (5/21). We made reservations at marinas further north, knowing some may have to be altered should we encounter any bad weather.  Right now the next week looks pretty good and we are hoping to be able to capitalize on it.  This literally took up our whole morning and we know it will have to be redone in about 3 days; we have learned that you can’t really plan that far out when travel is dependent on the weather and we are on a large body of water like the Chesapeake Bay.

After lunch we hung out around the boat. Mark tackled a few boat chores like oil and engine checks, and cleaning out the shower sump pump. Denise published the last blog update and did some other chores.  We also socialized with a few of the other Loopers in the marina, and spent some time talking with the Angela and Mike; a couple we met yesterday on a 65’ Endurance Yacht (“Viscaya”) who are from Clearwater, FL and are also on their way to Maine.

During the day a boat called “Life with E’s” arrived in the slip next to ours. It was a “Regal” brand and was carrying a family of 5 kids full of energy and fun.  We spent some time talking to them and learned they lived locally and make outings as a family on the boat. They took off to enjoy some of the area around Waterside and we went back to our boat chores and hanging out. 

In the afternoon Dave (“Painkillers”) came over to talk to us about Maine. We had spoken with him earlier in the day and he and his wife want to also go there and wanted to pick our brain. We spent quite a bit of time sharing information and before we knew it time was up and he had to leave; we had barely scratched the surface of where to go and what to see.

Sharing Maine info with Dave “Painkillers”

We also got to witness one more wedding party; a popular thing around the water in May.  This one was quite a bit different as the entire party came to the waterfront and did a big dance routine while the photographer, videographer, and us recorded it all.

The Wedding Dance

Just before dinner, the family on “Life with E’s” returned to their boat and we had a chance to talk with them some more. The reason for their boat name is that all of the children have names that begin with “E” (Erich, Ethan, Eli, Ella and Eva) and we learned they range in age from 12 years to 4 months old.  Alex and Sarah (mom & dad) shared a little about their family and how the kids were home-schooled. We talked for a while getting to know each other, then we went back to our mutual boats for cooking dinner on board. 

Joungeblood Family

Mark cooked fajitas for us and they turned out delicious.  We cleaned up the galley and shortly thereafter ended up in conversation once again with our new friends on “Life with E’s”, including the oldest two boys.  We learned Erich has his own YouTube channel (“Epikkids”) and that they both are very skilled about boat handling already.  During this time they asked to see our boat and Denise gave them a tour. Then they wanted to show off their boat to us, so over we went. We ended talking with the whole family for the rest of the evening, and Mark even helped Alex out with some things on his VHF.  It was a wonderful evening and we delighted in getting to know this really special family.

Waterside Marina – Norfolk, VA – Sunday, 5/16

Today was Sunday which meant going to church first thing. This time we took an Uber to Church of the Sacred Heart in the lovely Ghent neighborhood. After mass we walked one block north to the Harris Teeters to buy some groceries for the week. We then used Uber to take us the 2 miles back to the marina and put everything away.

The “Life with E’s” family was preparing for an outing and we stopped to chat for a while. We said good bye as we were going on a walk and not sure they would be there when we returned; they were leaving before lunch. 

Then we went on a walk along the waterfront and around the park near the Nauticus. We wanted to check out a marina on the grounds of Nauticus, and near the (currently non-working) cruise terminal.  However, once we saw it we decided it would not be anything we would stay at. It was very small with a narrow entry and few slips. Plus, it had no amenities.  So we continued walking all around the area and the park, then through some of the downtown. 

At park near Nauticus

There is a place a few blocks from the Nauticus that is called the Selden Market and is a retail location housing numerous small up-and-coming entrepreneurial businesses. There were only a few of the places open including a coffee shops and small to go eatery.  In under 5 minutes we walked the entire length of the place, exiting at the next block right near the library. Here the architecture was most interesting as the original part of the library is an old building but its expansion is in a very modern building that opened in 2015.

From there we continued walking back towards the marina through downtown and arrived back at the boat in time for lunch.  Sadly, our “Life with E’s” family had left and other boaters started arriving into the marina.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the boat. The sky turned from overcast to partly cloudy, then back to overcast.  More new boats came into the marina and Mark talked to one couple on a Marlow (yacht) from Vero Beach.  But most of the time we spent reading and catching up on home-front things.

For dinner we ordered salads and sandwiches from one of the bar-restaurants at Waterside called the Tap Room.  We feel sorry for these establishments as they all have been seriously hurt and especially in this somewhat touristy area, they are struggling. In fact two of the restaurants have shut down and are not coming back. We have also noticed that the number of people at Waterside is significantly reduced and the clientele is not the same as it was two years ago. Even with the perfect weather of the last few days, there have been few people at the adult “playground” that is part of the Tap Room.  It is sad to see an area that had been revitalized and doing so well, take such a down turn.  We probably will not come back here on the return trip.

Empty “adult” play area of Tap Room

Tomorrow we are leaving Norfolk and heading up the Chesapeake Bay. We are headed up the western side to the town of Urbana on the Rappahannock River and will (hopefully) have good cruising conditions.

Waterside Once Again!

GBB to Norfolk

Waterside Marina – Norfolk, VA – Friday, 5/14

Although we thought yesterday was cold, we had no idea how could it could get. At the GBB free dock, we had no electrical connection, which meant no heat.  At 2:00 in the morning Mark got up and turned on the generator so he could put on some heat as he was freezing.  When Denise got up at 4:30 in the morning she was grateful for the warmth, although she had been toasty all night under the 2 blankets and a bedspread.

Although cool, it was a beautiful and peaceful morning.  Denise went for a quick walk around the GBB Museum Park and grounds, and then came back to the pristine ICW for a cup of coffee.

Morning on the ICW

Just before 7:00 am we watched the boat in front of us (“Cracker Jack”) leave the free dock and queue for the first hour opening of the Great Bridge Bridge.

In Queue for the GB Bridge

We finished our breakfast and getting the boat ready, then left the dock just before the 8:00 opening. We made our way through to the GB Lock with 2 other power boats and a sailboat. In years past we have gone through the lock when it was so crowded we wondered if we would all fit. But, Mark reminded Denise that usually we are coming through in the afternoon (after a stopover in Coinjock) and this year we were arriving so early in the day.

In 20 minutes we were through the lock and on our way to Norfolk. In a very short distance we watched the ICW fade from residential to industrial and with only one small area of natural topography left.

We passed by the area where southbound boaters turn off for the Dismal Swamp (northbound cruisers merge with the Virginia Cut cruisers like us.

Dismal Swamp turnoff on ICW

From here there are a lot of slow (no-wake) zones, and the handful of bridges (mostly railroads) that will need to be opened for us to pass successfully.  Because of this, the time it will take to cover the 10 miles is somewhat unpredictable, and we have waited as much as an hour for a single one of these bridges in the past. But today, was our (mostly) lucky day.  As we approached the Norfolk-Southern #7 Bridge (known for being closed for long periods of time), we noticed “Cracker Jack” was in queue, along with another sailboat.  He had been in a hold position for 45 minutes waiting on the numerous railcars to clear the tracks.  It was within 10 minutes of our arrival that the bridge opened allowing us and 3 other boats to make it through before it shut down again.  The other two railroad bridges were open when we approached and we were able to get through them without issue.

As we approached the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, we encountered a tug pushing a barge. He was running up the middle of the channel and was going just fast enough that we could not pass him in the no-wake zone.  Finally, Captain Mark was able to negotiate his way around him and cruise us safely the rest of the way into Norfolk.

We entered the Waterside Marina where we had reservations until Sunday, and docked successfully with the assistance of the marina’s dockhand “Danny”. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed our short time on the water, but were happy to be in a full service marina with good cell and Wi-Fi signal.

 We went and checked into the marina, then for a short walk around Waterside but since it was early nothing was opened. We had a chance to meet a few Loopers who were in the marina when we arrived and started the conversation about having docktails on our boat in the late afternoon.

Once back on the boat Mark got to work rinsing off the cockpit while Denise vacuumed and cleaned up the galley. We ate some lunch and then both of us got to work on some business-related work and calls.  During that time, we watched several boats come into the marina, including a few Looper Boats and invited them to join us for docktails as well.

Finally, we completed the work day on our Island Office, finishing just in time for our 5:00 pm “docktails”. Unfortunately, only two of the couples could make it and we spent most of the time talking about Maine as that is where one of them is headed.  The other boat is trying to find a way to salvage their Loop because it doesn’t look like Canada is going to open this summer. We had a chance to meet some new people, and as we have learned, our paths may cross again someday.

For dinner we wanted to eat a nice meal at a restaurant and had been looking for a place within walking distance of the marina. Although Waterside (the waterfront area at the marina) usually has a plethora to choose from, two of the places are shuttered, including Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse where we ate in 2019. The others did not appeal to us and so early in the day we asked the marina staff for a recommendation.  He suggested “Todd Jurich’s Bistro”, located near the Nautilus. 

Todd Jurich’s Bistro

So we walked there for our 6:30 reservation, expecting to find the place crowded. This is in a popular part of town and it was a highly-rated restaurant. The bar areas (inside and outside) were packed with people, but the restaurant was empty. We were seated in a booth that sunk Denise so far down she almost asked for a kids’ booster chair to be able to eat.  Their service was great and the meal was delicious, but the ambience of the place was a huge disappointment.  The music was awful (can you say hip/hop) and was not conducive to having a nice meal with good conversation.  Knowing what we now know, we should have ordered the meal “to go”; the new normal for even high-end restaurants during this post-Covid time.

Once back at the marina, we stopped to talk to a few of the boaters near us. We learned they were leaving tomorrow morning and taking the ocean route to Chincoteague, before heading to Cape May, NJ.  One day maybe we will take that route. But for now we still have lots more to explore on the Chesapeake and have family we hope to see while making our way north.

Adiós Albemarle Plantation!

Route from AP to GBB

Great Bridge Bridge Free Dock – Chesapeake, VA – Thursday, 5/13

It was cold when we woke up this morning…..way too cold for a mid-May day in the South. 

Morning temperature

We were up early and off the docks by 6:30 am. We had checked the weather update when we got up to confirm what we saw last night: the wind would be at its best for us until about 9:00, then it would shift, making for chop. We wanted to be ahead of this and knew we could run close to shore if it stayed out of the north and became stronger.

Once we left the docks and secured all the lines and fenders, we headed out the narrow channel into the Albemarle Sound which was easier to do than it was coming in on Sunday.

Narrow channel to AP from behind

Initially we had the generator going to keep our heat on, but as the sun came up and warmed the boat we turned it off; it ended up being a nice day on the water.  Once leaving the AP channel, we headed southeast in order to get around the restricted zone of Harvey Point. This is a Department of Defense Military testing and training area, and we learned while at AP that it was where they rehearsed the actions for the takedown of Osama Bin Laden. 

Once around these marks we headed in a northeastern direction and although we could have run closer to the coast to block the winds, the waves were not bad so we made a direct course for the entrance to the North River.  At 8:05 we rejoined the ICW and turned due north. For the next 5 miles we were in somewhat protected waters with low lying bushes and trees, and lots of shallow open water.  Soon we entered the narrow canal that took us past Veterans Memorial Park, the Coinjock Marina (where we have stayed before), and the old Midway Marina (now owned by Coinjock Marina but no improvements made).

As we entered the area of Coinjock, we noticed another Back Cove ahead of us and wondered if we would catch up to it, as it was going slower than we were.  Shortly after leaving the Coinjock area and as we were entering the Currituck Sound we noticed it had come to a stop.  Then we heard out his call on the vhf radio to the Coast Guard that he had run aground and was piloting the boat without crew. It was clear he was out of the channel, and here it gets very shallow.  Having heard the way he conversed with the CG, we knew he was an inexperienced boater and clearly needed to take a safe boating class.  We passed by him slowly and would have offered assistance if needed, but the CG gets paid to deal with such individuals and we do not.

We moved on and entered the very shallow and narrow channel of the Currituck Sound. The north wind that had brought the cold front also pushed the water to the south end of the Sound, thereby making the channel a little shallower (10 feet) than normal (12’ – 14’).  There were almost no other boats on the water here and we were making great time, so we were relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful day it had become. 

And at 9:30 we entered the state of Virginia and (finally) left the state of North Carolina behind us….at least until October. Then we once again were in the narrow waters of the North Landing River and now had to deal with the timing of the bridges.  Each one opens only on the hour and half hour, and are spaced just far enough apart that boaters sometimes miss the opening of the subsequent bridges.  For this reason we like to be in the lead since we go faster than most of the trawlers and all the sailboats.  But today we got lucky and were able to pass the slower boats right after the North Landing (first) Bridge, and easily make the opening for the Centerville (second) Bridge.

Normally, we would be then pushing to make the opening of the Great Bridge Bridge that opens only on the hour to coincide with the opening of the Great Bridge Lock to its north.  However, today we were not going any further. We were going to stop at the free dock near the Great Bridge Bridge (GBB). There are actually 2 free docks here; one on the south side of the GBB, and one between the GBB and the Great Bridge Lock.  We chose the one on the south side near the Great Bridge Battlefield Museum and tied up to the south end of the dock. There was one other boat already there (a sailboat) and we wanted to leave space for at least 2 – 3 more boats.  It was 11:30 and we had already covered 70 miles today.  We could have continued on and easily made Norfolk, Hampton or other parts of the Chesapeake Bay.  But, we are not in a hurry and it is still too cold for us Floridians.

After we settled the boat we ate our lunch, and then decided on an outing.  We had read the reviews about the area and knew there was a Kroger grocery store on the other side of the bridge, about a mile away. We garnered the backpack and headed out to go get a few things.  This required us to walk through the Memorial Park near the museum and across the GBB.  Here are some pictures we took along the way:

Battle of the Great Bridge Signage

On our way to Kroger we noticed that the three gas stations were out of gasoline. We are grateful our boat takes diesel and hopeful this issue is resolved in the next week before we need more fuel.  We also saw that there are many other stores (Dollar Tree, Hallmark Cards), restaurants (Chili’s, Panera Bread, Chinese, etc.), and a laundromat in the shopping plaza near Kroger.  This is a great stopover spot for any cruiser coming up the ICW and needing supplies as well as dining out options.

We returned to the boat to get some work done for our clients.  It ended up being a busier than expected afternoon with phone calls. As a result we missed our opportunity of visiting the museum as they closed at 4:00 pm.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening we were entertained by the boats that came up and queued for the GBB opening at the top of every hour, including the Back Cove we had seen run a ground just outside of Coinjock. We also got to see all kinds of other activities including rowers in the ICW, boats docking at Atlantic Yacht Basin (across from us), numerous Canada Geese and their chicks, and the people hanging out at the GBB Museum Park.  Also two other boats came into the free dock, filling up the open spaces.  We were glad we got here early.

As the sun went down the weather started to get colder and we decided not to venture back out for dinner. We had considered going to one of the restaurants we had walked passed earlier in the day, but changed our minds and ate dinner on board. We spent the rest of the evening talking on the phone with family and friends, and doing some reading. 

Tomorrow we will leave and go the 20 miles to Norfolk were we will spend the weekend.

Groundhog Day at AP!

Albemarle Plantation – Hertford, NC – Wednesday, 5/12

There was no sun to be seen this morning as we woke up; it was cold and very cloudy. There was some light rain forecasted in the morning and the high temperature for the day was as expected at 58°.  We can honestly say the weatherman got it 100% right today. And so here it is we stay at the AP one more day.

Right after breakfast, Mark headed to the Yacht Club to do work.  Denise chose to stay on the boat for some personal time and to finish up the last blog. Once that was published, there were some business calls to make including returning a call to a past Orlando-based client who has a new project; this always seems to happen when we leave town on our Island Office.

At lunchtime Mark came back to the boat for his usual turkey sandwich and reported that he had company in the Yacht Club in the morning. There were several people who were participating in NOAA research regarding the quality of the water in the sound and creek. More specifically they were taking water samples and checking for nitrogen content in the water, to assess the threat of algae bloom.  They were all volunteers, but one was a former NOAA research scientist. After they had taken samples (yes out in the rain), they came back to the Yacht Club and put the samples under their microscopes and recorded all things scientific, before submitting them to NOAA. Fortunately, all was good with no sign of the algae.

While Mark was doing this, Denise finished a few boat chores, processed many low-important emails out of her “in-basket”, and even did some reading.  She also made reservations at the Clubhouse for dinner, and confirmed their casual dress code requirement.

All day long there was constant activity down our dock, as it leads to the fuel dock.  With the shortage of gasoline right now, everyone was taking their 5-gallon cans in their golf carts down to the fuel dock to get them filled up. It appears that many people need the gas just to get out of the Plantation and get them to the closest gas station that may have fuel.  JE (Dockmaster) said he got a better workout than the gym because he had to lift so many containers; he sold at least 200 gallons of gasoline, in 5-gallon increments.

Mark arrived back at the boat around 4:00 pm when most of the rain had subsided. There was still a slight drizzle, but it was intermittent and looked like it was finally going to clear up.  By the time we headed to dinner (at 6:15) it had pretty much stopped. It was a good thing as the golf cart has no side curtains.

We arrived at the Clubhouse for dinner and found it lightly filled, but not empty.  During our delicious meal of crab cakes (Denise) and Shrimp (Mark), another two couples also came in.  But clearly there was room for more. Mimi (see yesterday’s post) had told us that the big night was on Thursday’s when they have Taco Thursdays. Hopefully for the financial benefit of the club this is true as there is no way they could make money with the light turnout we saw.

After dinner we immediately drove back to the boat, freezing to death the whole way, and barely making it back to capture our last sunset in AP.

Last sunset over creek at AP

Tomorrow we intend to leave AP, but only if the weather forecast holds. We will confirm when we get up early as we are looking for a 6:30 am departure. We have about 90 minutes on the Albemarle Sound before turning north (yes finally again) up the North River towards Virginia, and that should give us time before the changing wind direction creates an uncomfortable chop on the AS.

Another Day on the Plantation!

Albemarle Plantation – Hertford, NC – Tuesday, 5/11

This morning was very calm and there was almost no wind, which was refreshing.  Throughout most of the night it rained intermittently, getting everything outside was wet, including our golf cart.  And with the dampness came another attack of midges on the cockpit of our boat.

Midge mess in cockpit

As predicted, the temperature dropped into the low 50’s making it a perfect morning for Denise to get in a run.  With all the residential streets, it was easy to find a safe place to run without going on any of the golf paths as they are off limits to runners and walkers after 7:30 am.

Cart path rules

She did see more of the beautiful homes and landscaping in this area, including one house that looked exactly like her sister’s old Killearn house in Tallahassee.

After Denise’s run, our showers and breakfast, we went up to the Dockside café and threw in another load of laundry. Mark also wanted to check out the Yacht Club building to see if it would again be available today.  But there was a Yacht Club Board meeting scheduled, so that would not be an option for at least this morning.  Off we went back to the boat to take care of a few work emails and other business-related affairs.

Denise went back to pick up the clothes from the dryer and met one of the yacht club members who informed her that on Tuesdays they have sailboat races in the early afternoon and if interested he could find someone who would take us on their boat if we wanted.  Once back on the boat she told Mark about the races, but he said he was not interested and he had work to do.  It also didn’t help that it was very cloudy, overcast and looked like it was going to rain.

Still frustrated with the slow internet in the marina, we decided to go exploring and see if the library they have at the pool might have better access. The pool is about a half a mile from the marina and overlooks the Albemarle Sound, so we took the golf cart over there to see what we could find.  Once there we were surprised to see a very well stocked library; not the typical book exchange found in many marinas.  Unfortunately, we also discovered there was no internet service (and poor cell service) at the pool area as well.

Library at pool at AP

Across the hall from the library is a game room, and it was there that we met “Mimi”.  She and several other women usually have a prayer group there every Tuesday, but for some reason today she was the only one who showed up.  We ended up talking to her for quite a while and discovered she and her prayer group all attend St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Edenton.  We mentioned about the two women we had met at the Dockside Café on Sunday night, and wondered if they were her prayer group members, but we could not remember their names. We went on to talk with her and learn about her life, coming to AP from New York, and how her husband would be on the race committee boat for today’s races. She was very gracious offering a ride to the store, and invited us to stop by her house if we needed anything.

We returned from our outing resigned that it would be a day of working on the boat, and we were ok with that.  Around lunch time we noticed a lot of people heading down to the marina (in golf carts of course) and getting on their boats. For the most part they were all sailors, but the owner (Charlie) of the power boat next to ours was getting ready to go out as well. Come to find out he was the race committee boat and soon filled with a handful of people to assist in the race duties. Just before noon they left, trailing the other boats that had left much earlier.

We sat down and ate our lunch, then decided to go on an outing in the golf cart. We headed to the golf pro shop as we would like to buy something with the AP logo on it.  The shirts for sale in the Dockside Café were just basic generic t-shirts and we were looking for something a little nicer.  We did find some at the pro shop, but they all either had the golf logo on them or no logo at all.  Slightly disappointed, we left the pro shop and cruised around the Clubhouse property; here there is a beautiful view that overlooks the AS.

We headed back to the boat and Denise started working on the blog for the day. Eventually the sailors and race committee boat came back. We inquired which of the occupants was Mimi’s husband and it was exactly who we guessed it might be. Funny!  We exchanged pleasantries and small talk and then they all left to go participate in the usual post-race celebrations at the Yacht Club/Dockside Café.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening on the boat.  Denise made chicken enchiladas for dinner and Mark did a few minor repairs, hopefully fixing the small leak in the front windshield wiper.  The skies cleared in the evening for the first time in days and we were able to capture this wonderful sunset.

Sunset over creek

Here are some other pictures taken from our adventures around the Albemarle Plantation:

Complementary herbs for transients
Covered bridge in AP