Friday, June 24, 2011

Beaufort, NC - Solomons, MD

Solomons, MD
38 19.93 N 076 27.42 W
(click on each photo to enlarge)

Anchored on Slade Creek
We know it’s been awhile since our last posting as we have been reminded by friends, family that we're overdue. Since our last posting in Beaufort, NC we have put on some miles – both on water and on land. We left Beaufort on Thursday morning 5/26 and motored through Gallant Cut and up Adam’s Creek before raising the sails to take advantage of decent winds and the wide open waters of the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers.

We anchored for the night in picturesque Slade Creek with one other trawler. The crab pots at the mouth of the Creek were as densly spread as any lobster pots up in Maine. Barnacle and Sinbad were happy to be away from the docks and able to roam the decks.

Along the Pungo-Alligator
River Canal
 Friday was a beautiful morning with clear blue skies and puffy clouds as we left the anchorage bound for the Pungo-Alligator River Canal. We sailed all morning up the Pungo River but dropped sails as we entered the 20 mile long manmade canal that links the Pungo and Alligator Rivers. This scenic and remote canal is one of Kathy’s favorite stretches on the ICW.

Traveling up the Alligator River
in the company of tug
 pulling a dredge and barge. 
We came out onto the Alligator River and traveled the 15 miles up to the Alligator River Swing Bridge in 20 kt winds and 3' chop from our stern. The bridge had been having mechanical problems and had been "stuck closed " for several days the previous week so we kept our fingers crossed that the bridge was operational upon our arrival. Although openings were limited we made it through with no issues. At this point you must decide whether to call it a day or continue on across Albemarle Sound – a notoriously nasty stretch of shallow water that builds to short choppy waves in any winds over 15 knots.

Fish are rising all around us during
the evening / sunset. Kathy fishing
off the stern as Barnacle supervises.
 We decided to save Albemarle for the next day and made our way about 5 miles east, off the ICW, to anchor in total solitude in South Lake.  We wondered why all the other boats we passed or passed us today ducked into Alligator River Marina just north of the bridge. The next morning we found out why.

Fuzzy Bills galore !
Sunbaking into the deck.
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! We woke Saturday to find every inch of the exterior (sails included) and cockpit to be covered with small, winged insects that looked like mosquitoes. We couldn’t risk opening the salon door twice so Mark started engines and raised the anchor solo in a swarm of bugs. They were so thick he was inhaling them and squishing them under foot into the deck anti-skid. The nasty things left a sun-baked greenish residue on the decks and sails that required multiple washings to remove entirely.

View through our window
ports of the Fuzzy Bills that
hitched a ride across
Albemarle Sound 
When we pulled into Coinjock Marina the dock hand took one look and said, “Oh – I see you have some Fuzzy Bills on board.” He said they get boats all the time that have anchored out in one of the North Carolina swamps along the Alligator River. That was the reason all the other boats ducked into the bug free Alligator River Marina. He assured us the little pests were confined to the areas south of Albemarle Sound but we have since found out otherwise. We have had these little visitors almost daily since but never in as many numbers. They are also known as May Flies and Blind Mosquitoes – thank goodness they don’t bite. It took us most of Saturday afternoon to wash the boat and vacuum up thousands of them.

Docked at Waterside Marina in
Norfolk. The Schooner American
Rover (background) out for
 their nightly sunset cruise.
We left Coinjock early Sunday morning for our last day on the ICW this season. We made it through the last seven bridges and the Great Bridge Lock before arriving at Mile 0 and once again docking at Waterside Marina in downtown Norfolk. We were in need of a Sushi fix -our 1st since last December with Ted in Hollywood Beach, FL. It was a short walk from the marina to Domo's. We departed Waterside Marina the following morning, on Memorial Day, 5/30 and left Norfolk in our wake to enter the Chesapeake Bay – our “home waters” for this summer.

At anchor in Mill Creek
 After a very long day of motoring we dropped anchor in very peaceful and serene Mill Creek, located off Ingram Bay, just below the mouth of the Potomac River. It was very hot and humid with no breeze at all. We swam off the boat several times to cool off but even the water was warm. We prefer not to run the generator all night long just to power the air conditioner so it was a rather uncomfortable night with just the fans moving air– we hope this is not a taste of things to come this summer.

Carina docked at Calvert Marina
 We decided that Solomon’s Island would be a good place to “park” the boat for awhile while we drove north to visit family and friends and take care of overdue doctor and dentist appointments. We made reservations at Calvert Marina and decided to take the monthly rate – 30 days for the price of 10! It was great to be able to plug in and turn on the AC again since temps have been in the upper 90’s for the most part.

The marina pool is becoming
an every afternoon visit. As you
can see - we have it all to ourselves
 Friday morning 6/3 we loaded the cats and us into the rental car and headed up to Wilmington, DE for Veronica and Jay’s (Kathy’s son and daughter in law) baby shower on Sunday. On Saturday we decided to surprise Mark’s family by driving up to his sister’s house in Carmel, NY for his niece’s graduation party. After a lovely baby shower at Longwood Gardens on Sunday afternoon and nice visit with family we drove back to Solomon’s Island on Monday 6/6. We turned in to rental car on Tuesday and settled into “marina life” until our next road trip. The marina pool has become an every-afternoon event for a refreshing dip.

The new dinghy! At 125 lbs
the aluminum hull is still light
enough to not add excessive
weight. It rides so nice !
 On Friday 6/10 we rented a pickup truck for the purpose of finally picking up our new dinghy in Annapolis. We had lunch with friends and fellow Manta owners, Scott and Tina Ligon and their grandson before heading over to Maritime Solutions and loading the 10.5’ AB aluminum hull RIB into the back of the truck.

View of Solomons, MD from the
Patuxent River Bridge.
We traded in the truck for another car on Saturday morning and set out for Connecticut with a quick lunch/pit stop at Jay and Veronica’s in Wilmington. We arrived in Windsor, CT (Mark’s parent’s house) late afternoon to begin a hectic but enjoyable ten days making the rounds visiting family, friends and taking care of annual medical and dental needs. The cats really enjoyed their stay at “grandma and grandpa’s” as they had the run of the house and two more people to spoil them.

Carina docked at Calvert's
amongst many Kroegan Trawlers.
The Patuxent River Bridge is
in left background 
 We drove back home to Carina at Calvert Marina on Monday 6/20. We are car-less again as of Tuesday morning but we plan to stay here through the end of the month to take full advantage of the monthly rate and enjoy the marina amenities, especially the pool and air conditioning as long as possible. Mark has taken advantage of our month-long marina stay by working on his "to do" list. He's been mail-ordering up dozens of replacement parts and supplies for Carina to either repair or replace things that broke or wore out since last year.

It has now been over a year since we moved aboard Carina May 1st and have enjoyed our 1st year of retirement immensely. Since we departed Farm River in CT last June we have logged 3783 nautical miles.... north to Maine, then south to the Bahamas and back north to the Chesapeake.