Friday, October 29, 2021

Around Cape Hatteras - October 2021

It was a cool Fall morning of  Saturday, October 23.  We departed from the anchorage at Old Port Comfort, just in the bay off Hampton, VA.  After studying the various weather forecasts, it looked like we had a good 2-day window to get around Cape Hatteras to Beaufort, North  Carolina.  So we left the anchorage before sun up at 4am.

Sunrise, North Atlantic
With a combination of motoring and motor-sailing we had a comfortable and uneventful 2-day (one overnight) trip headed south and around Cape Hatteras.  We had all discussed this previously and decided that an uneventful motor-sail around this notorious Cape was far preferable to sporty weather.  And it was looking like a week of sporty weather if we missed this weather window.  As it happened a strong Nor-Easter was forming off the eat coast and we were watching it carefully.  Thankfully we were already south of the worst of it, but even so - not a time to be tempting fate with the weather Gods! 

As I said the trip was uneventful and pleasant.  As dark came, the moon rose - and Janet was happy.  She prefers what we have come to call "light night sailing" to "dark night sailing".  As it happened, many other boats had seen the window and decided to head south.  We were seeing about 20 boats within AIS range.  Some slower and some faster than us; but the pack was definitely headed south with many going to the same place as us.  

S/V Kaizen - Beaufort Docks

Arrival Beaufort, NC

As we made the turn around Cape Lookout to head in towards Beaufort, the wind picked up and we had a wonderful sail for the last 15 miles of so of this leg.  Once inside we called Beaufort Docks for a slip assignment.  It was easy to find when the directions are "come to the 160 ft. sailboat and await instructions".  And sure enough, there was a 160 ft sailboat, S/V Kaizen tied to the face dock.  Just look at the neighboring yacht mast heights in comparison - and these were typically 40 ft + boats!  Kaizen had a mast height of over 200 ft. and was a landmark that we could see well offshore.  As Larry said, "you know you have a big boat when your masthead light is an aircraft warning light!"

When we got ashore, I couldn't help but take a closer look at this monster.  Apparently owned by the owner of a local Lexus dealership - Johnson Lexus.  Now don't believe those salesmen when they tell you the price is just 5% over invoice!

Beaufort, NC is a great little town.  We stayed 4 nights while the wind blew in an unfavorable direction for us, but the location was great providing good protection for the boat, and the town had a great restaurants, a good wine bar, a small boat museum, free courtesy car from the marina to make the trip to the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store..........who could ask for more!  We were at the same dock, sharing the same hospitality as Kaizen...........and a bargain at the price! ($1.50/ft I think).

Boat Museum

Front Street

The town also had a nicely equipped laundry at the General Store.  So we were able to bet re-stocked, clean clothes and sheets ready for the next leg of the trip.  All was good!  A couple of highly recommended spots are: CRU  wine-bar; Beaufort Grocery (restaurant); and Aqua (restaurant).  Also, the staff at the docks bar are a hoot - and you get a free drink there just for docking.

Our next destination would be Wrightsville Beach, about a 65 mile leg.

Wrightsville Beach

We left fairly early on Wednesday October 27.  Winds were brisk......and well got brisker.  We thought wind would be behind the beam, but of course it was ahead of the beam popping up in the low 20s and since it had been blowing all night, seas were "disturbed".  So the morning was not a pleasant sail.  We were reefed and beating at times.  The wind strength and direction was quite variable making it a challenge to keep fair speed and a somewhat comfortable ride.  Thankfully, things improved as the day progressed, and just to keep us "hooked on sailing", the last couple of hours turned into a pleasant ride.

Anchorage - Wrightsville Beach

We pulled into the anchorage at Wrightsville just after sunset - which was Ok since Larry and Tracy had stayed here on their way north in July.  We had a delicious dinner on the boat of Chilli, fell asleep watching TV, then an early night.

The following morning, we went ashore to explore a little before then next round of weather hit us.  It a nice little seaside resort town; great anchorage that is well protected; with a nearby dinghy dock with good access to the main street.  After lunch and a drink,  we returned to the boat for the evening as the rain and wind set in.  Overnight it got quite windy - so sleep was on and off......but I am here, ready for another day - having my coffee and writing this blog update.
Beach - Wrightsville

It looks like we may be here for another day or more until this weather system passes - but that's OK, we have no immediate schedule!  Just as an aside - what's the most dangerous thing you can have on a boat?  Answer - a calendar/schedule!

Larry and Tracy - Our hosts and Owners of S/V TraSea

Monday, October 25, 2021

Through the Chesapeake and Around Hatteras!

Continuing South Through Chesapeake Bay

Our adventure continues on the beautiful SV TraSea.  Our trip through the Chesapeake Bay took us from Pasadena, MD with a short first hop to Galesville where we anchored on the Rhode River.  From there, we visited Solomons for a short overnight stay.  continuing on our way south, we transited the bay to the east side and spent the night at Tangier Island, staying at the Parks "Marina".  I say marina, but it is really a couple of old wooden docks.  While Active Captain says that the marina can accommodate several boat - its really about two.  

Mr. Parks, the marina owner is a real character.  He's 90 years old and still going strong! Tangier Island is an interesting stop.  Being just above sea level, the locals say its sinking.  It may very well be, or is it rising sea levels or both?  I am not sure - but still an interesting visit while it is still there.

Tangier Island
The community on Tangier Island consists of a small village with a couple of restaurants and shops.  Most were closed when we visited, but we did get a good meal at Lorraine's restaurant close to Parks Marina.

The town is dry, and you can't take your own alcohol into the restaurants......but other than that, it was a cool spot to visit.  The local industry is of course crabbing  and we had a delicious crab soup at Lorraine's

Bridge at Tangier Island

From Tangier Island, we continued south crossing back to the west side and stayed a night in a marina at Deltaville called Dozier's Regatta Point.  This was a nice marina located at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.  The marina is quite a hike from the town of Deltaville, but luckily the marina does have a couple of courtesy cars.  We took advantage of this and made a trip in to town to replenish some provisions.  Deltaville is a boat oriented spot and apparently has three times as many boats as residents!

Old Point Comfort Marina

From Deltaville it was south again, getting close to the mouth of the Chesapeake and our exit point to the Atlantic.  After a day-sail, we anchored at Old Port Comfort, near Hampton, VA.  We dinghied in to town and also to a local brewery called Oozlefinch - apparently named after a mystical bird.....or was it named by a drunk customer?  Either way, it had some interesting beers, and a food truck that made excellent fresh pizza!  In town, we found a quaint little wine bar - of course!

Oozlefinch Brewery

The next day, we motored across to Norfolk.  We saw some cool things along the way, especially as we passed by the Naval facility.  After all, its not every day that you get passed by a submarine!  

It was a very cool sight!  And there was quite a collection of naval ships in port.  Norfolk is a busy shipping port with both Naval and commercial ships passing by frequently.  

We visited the town of Norfolk, staying right downtown at the Waterside Marina.   We really enjoyed the day and overnight stay here and its certainly a stop I would recommend.

Norfolk - Maritime Museum

Tourist Day-sail

It was great to see some of the old sailing ships under sail.  These boats are now used for tourist day-sail trips from downtown Norfolk

Naval Ships - Norfolk
After an overnight stay in Norfolk,  we went back to the anchorage at Old Port Comfort ready to leave early the following morning.  Our next leg was to take us out into the Atlantic headed south around Cape Hatteras down to Beaufort, NC.  We had to go "outside" for this leg rather than using the easier route of the ICW due to S/V TraSea's mast height.  At 67 ft. she is too tall for the 65 ft. ICW bridges.  So the next leg of the journey would take us outside the Outer Banks, down past Cape Hatteras - known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic".  So we had been watching carefully for a good weather window, and believe we had one the following day. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Annapolis Boat Show 2021 and Headed South

Headed South with Larry and Tracy

We are fortunate to be on the water again - but this time not on our own boat.  We are helping friends Larry and Tracy bring their boat (S/V TraSea) south from Annapolis to Brunswick, GA.   We had a great few days in the Annapolis area staying on TraSea in Fairview Marina, Pasadena, MD.  We were able to spend 2 days at the Sailboat Show, before commencing the journey south.  We had not been to he show in couple of years due to Covid and other commitments, but this year it was packed!

S/V TraSea - docked in Pasadena, MD

I am not sure if people were buying boats, but there was certainly plenty of traffic and at least the vendors that I spoke to seemed to be having a busy show.  This year, we were not really looking for any big-ticket items, but we did pick up a few things including two-way headsets that I am looking forward to try out. I also got some ideas on boarding ladders for the boat and some contacts for a couple of piling fenders that I will likely add to our home dock.
Annapolis Boat Show - 2021

We also met several other boating friends at the show and stopped by the SSCA booth -  its always just a great place to hang out and share the latest boating stories!

Friends and Family

While we were in the area, we also got a chance to catch up with my cousin Elaine and her family.  I had not seen her in several years and it was great to hang out with them for an afternoon on TraSea.......and also have the opportunity to have dinner with her daughter Hayley and family.

Larry, Tracy, Janet, Neil, Elaine and Richard

Cold Front in the Bay

Yesterday (Saturday), we left the dock and started the trip south down the Chesapeake Bay.  We took an easy start as we had boat chores/preparations in the morning and a cold front was passing through in the afternoon with a small craft advisory in effect.  Winds picked up to around 30kts as the front passed through making the bay a little choppy - but no issues as the wind was  behind us.  We did make it a few hours south finding a nice anchorage in the Rhode River inlet.  
Cold Front Passes Through
Chesapeake Bay

Today we plan to make about 30 miles or so to Solomon Island.  With the passing of the cold front, temperatures have dropped from mid to high 70s into the low 60s! - giving us encouragement to head south to warmer climates!

More updates to follow as we make progress on the trip.