Our Kadey Krogen Trawler

Our Kadey Krogen Trawler

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Portsmouth VA to Solomons MD

Portsmouth VA to Solomons MD
From the Dismal we moved on through 2 centuries into the heart of industrial Norfolk/Portsmouth.

Our night on the Portsmouth North Landing FREE DOCK – was punctuated by some mildly inebriated youths singing sea chanties for this girlfriends, but otherwise we had perfect weather to stretch our shore legs with several walks through the old town. Of course we managed to wander in a few of the quaint shops along High Street as well.  We would have made it to the Hill House museum if we hadn’t had to wait for our spot on the wall to be vacated.  When we pulled in our first stop was the FREE pump out station and as we were finishing a small boat snagged the spot we had been planning to tie on the dock.  So while they had lunch in town, we enjoyed a nap and rest on Erben Renewal – still tied to the pump out dock!  In the end we moved into the overnight spot and all was good.  Only loss was the tour at the Hill House which closed about the time we finished tying up.  That makes just another reason to return to this wonderful port that is so welcoming to cruisers.

We hurriedly left with a favorable tide the next morning for an exposed anchorage off Mobjack Bay in Brown’s Bay – perfect spot to observe marsh life.  The exposure was designed to enjoy the breezes which were supposed to keep the temps under control rather than rock our house, and when the wind finally shifted to the expected south – we did have a fairly calm night.

The next night found us in Mill Creek – a scenic spot off Ingraham Bay.  This anchorage came highly recommended which was easy to understand.  It was an easy in and out off the Chesapeake and protected on all sides while being roomy enough for many boats in 10 feet of water.  The scenery was mostly natural with only a few homes peeking out at us.  Even though the breeze was still blowing on the big bay, we were calm and snug all night – pleasantly without nuisance bugs as well.
Memorable Light Houses on the Bay – we especially enjoyed passing Smiths Point since it provided some protection from the persistent southerly swells – Cats agreed!

off the Potomac - 

An early start and favorable tide got us into Calverts at Solomons MD early afternoon.  It was nice to park behind Morning Star – but we thought our luck was out again when Randy and Cindy did not appear to be home.  Thankfully they returned and we had a few minutes to catch up before they had to move their boat.  These fine folks are main players in the annual Krogen Rendezvous madness.  Randy is an expert dock master – lining up 30+ Krogens Boat Show style on the Calvert Docks.  Cindy is dear to my “feet” as she gifted me a pair of Keen sandals that I have worn almost constantly since last October.

We have been catching up on chores – that is laundry and provisioning for Julia and stabilizer diagnostics, belt changing and oil hauling for Steve – before heading up to the Delaware Bay and on to Cape May. Later…..

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Tale of the Twisted Chain and marching NORTH

The Tale of the Twisted Chain
An uneventful run up the Cape Fear River to the ICW, a mere 24 miles, brought us to the spacious anchorage off Wrightsville Beach.  Leaving Southport we spotted the last remaining river lighthouse – one of eight that used to dot the river.  This tiny structure remains a testament to the long history of navigation on this waterway.

We made excellent time as well since we left with a rising tide to ensure plenty of water and a helpful current through the infamous “snow” cut.  The tide timing made it an early start but the bonus was a leisurely afternoon on shore.  This was our fourth stop here but our first time to set foot on shore.  We took a quick run to the dinghy dock provided in the heart of the beach strip for lunch fixings from Robert’s Market. This is the historic grocery on the island – the only one still here although it is now more a deli and convenience store.  They did sell a few fresh items and steaks. 

We enjoyed the short walk up to Robert’s but  were overdressed compared to the foot traffic around us – mostly young girls barely covered with bikini scraps – at least those outfits were the ones that caught our attention (OK, Steve’s attention).  Later in the afternoon we returned for a walk of the circuit from beach across two bridges through the mainland and back.  This was a popular route packed with Sunday joggers and walkers.  We cut through the city property with sports fields, a tiny museum and admin buildings.  Sadly we will miss their farmer’s market but made a note for our next visit.  I suspect we will be more eager to get off the boat on our next stop here.

The twisted chain story comes at our departure.  After pulling our anchor at dawn – literally just barely light – a big dark shadow emerged after a mere 30 feet.  Since we had put out more than 90, it was a puzzle.  Lifting a little more showed our chain had wrapped itself around our own anchor.  Now this is better than bringing up garbage or another boat’s anchor, but then we seem to have spent the night with an effective anchor chain length of 30ish feet. It is somewhat miraculous that we did not drag during the night.   Steve stretched out on the pulpit and hoisted the anchor with a rope, so we managed to untangle the loops and twists.  It delayed our attempt at an early start but we still were out the inlet headed for Morehead City Yacht Basin before 6AM – grateful to have not had a bigger disaster.  How did that chain get twisted and looped around the anchor?  It was not just the anchor flukes but also the stem.  The reversing current here due to the in and out of 4+ feet of tide might have contributed, but why did the anchor appear to be set when we pulled on it but then lift up enough to get thoroughly tangled?   It is a mystery and a caution to never trust that anchor without the security of an anchor alarm….

The last long run of 80+ miles flew with favorable currents and winds that got us on the dock before 5PM – plenty of time to use the courtesy car for a run to Walmart, West Marine and Lowes (more brass fittings!) A quick stop but nice to have a walk after a long day underway.
The next morning we left again with the early tide to zip up to the Bay River – behind Pamlico Sound off the Neuse.  We arrived a few hours before the expected thunder storms that blew in and settled for almost four hours.  This was not the expected brief squall but a full-blown boom, flash and pour.  The shore disappeared while Steve scrambled to secure the portholes.  Several times we thought the excitement was over only to once again run around and close up the boat. 

Somehow the flies found a way to shelter in our salon – the cats were mightily entertained by attempting to catch them. This morning we have been invaded by “midges”.  They seem to be a non-biting flying insect that only look like mosquitoes but thankfully are more an annoyance – making a mess as they die on our decks.  No complaints here but just a reality check – even the most idyllic life is not perfect and we happily take the good with the yucky. 

Our next stop was a calm night in the Pungo River after an afternoon break in lovely Bellhaven.  Then we were on to another night dodging storms on the hook in the Little Alligator River, fortunately the most dramatic storms went north and south of us.  Finally, we crossed the Albemarle Sound with a lot more rock and roll than any of us appreciated – and arrived at the free docks in Elizabeth City, NC to enjoy a beautiful mild afternoon in this city that truly owns the name City of Hospitality. Our stop amazingly coincided with the regular Saturday Market and included a lunch at Sidney’s – a charming diner on Main St.  

Tonight finds us the only occupants on the wall at the North Carolina Visitor Center – in the Dismal Swamp.  Our last visit here was very different – about 15 boats were rafted up for a bustling evening of cruiser fun. We are enjoying the relative peace, free water and WIFI plus the restrooms!  The bump and thump of this historic heritage canal – beautiful but shallow – continues tomorrow as we head to Hampton Roads, VA. Greetings to all for a merry Memorial Day!