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SEPTEMBER----Grand Rapids, MI to Oriental, NC in the morning then "off to sea"

Left Grand Rapids early in the morning of September 1. Drove to Front Royal, VA where we stopped for the night. It was a long drive but very scenic through the mountains in West Virginia. Had dinner in a neat, eclectic restaurant called Soul Mountain. The menu said "Not soul food but food for the soul." I had a great curry chicken wrap with some of the hottest sauce I have ever tasted. In the morning, had a good breakfast at the hotel then heading for Deltaville before the Labor Day traffic started to get too heavy. Arrived in Deltaville around noon. Drove the car to where DISCOVERY was last spring when we left for Michigan. My heart stopped, DISCOVERY was gone! Sometime during the summer the boatyard moved her to a better spot. It is a great relief to know that DISCOVERY did well over the summer.

When we left our cottage in Pentwater the last part of August, had my hand on the front door knob to make sure it was locked when my phone rang. It was Bev (SAVAGE SON) calling to tell us that a townhouse in their Vero Beach, FL neighborhood was back on the market if we wanted to call the realtor. I drove the car to Grand Rapids while Carl made phone calls. Got a hold of the realtor and made an offer. The seller made a counter-offer. Made a deal. Building inspection completed and action items agreed to. Closing scheduled for October 8. Lots of "dreaming" about our new place in Vero Beach this month.

Boat Projects:

Carl was anxious to get the steering pedestal installed. It was very hot and humid and the poor guy had to crawl into tight spaces to do most of the work. Initially things went really well until it was time to pull some of the cables through the stainless steel tubes. Eventually all cables and wires made it through the obstacles and the job was done. Or so we thought it was until Carl started installing the new VHF radio. The plug for the radio was too big to go through the tubes. Curses.....foiled again. Yes, it was a frustrating job that took a little longer than expected but it is done and functioning properly.

Installing the steering pedestal. Two days that it was at least 90 degrees with high humidity when Carl had to crawl into cramped airless spaces to work!


Installed a new starting battery. Battery-wise we are all set since we installed new house batteries last November.

So it may sound like Carl is doing all the work. Let me tell you---I am not sitting around sipping tropical drinks. I scrubbed the deck to remove all the dirt and grime. No special skills required just a lot of energy. Once the deck is clean, the next step is to wash the hull. The yard let me use their scaffolding which made the job a lot easier. As soon as the hull is dry, start the waxing. It takes me about a week to wax the hull. Then I start waxing the smooth surfaces in the cockpit and deck. DISCOVERY really looks good with all those shiny surfaces.

Discovered two neon green tree frogs when I scrubbed the deck. Helped one of them get down (gave him a ride on the boat hook down to a jackstand). Did not know where the second frog went. When I was waxing the deck a week or so later, found the second tree frog. The frog set up living quarters in the bottom drain hole for the dorade box. Currently don't know where the frog is but if it eats mosquitoes and no see-ums it is welcome to live onboard!


DISCOVERY looks great .......shiny smooth surfaces and a painted bottom.



Had the yard sandblast the burner caps for my oven and stove. Over time, the caps have rusted and started to deteriorate. After sandblasting, I spray painted them with high temperature paint. They look great.....one of the caps has indentations where it rusted but the other three look brand new.

Below are the burner caps hanging from craft wire. Photo on the left shows the caps after sandblasting but before painting. The burner cap on the far left has started to deteriorate. On the right you see the large burner cap after painting.

Social Activities:

Kris and Craig (TILT) arrived on September 6. Made plans to go out to dinner with them. In the afternoon, Kris called to tell us that "we" were invited to Marja's birthday party at the Deltaville Boatyard. Actually, Kris and Craig were invited. When Kris said they had dinner plans with us....Marja said we were invited too!! Marja's party was a huge success. I think everyone in the boatyard attended. Lots of good appetizers and drinks. Saw Kathy and Mike (SAPPHIRE) who we have not seen for over a year. Did not stay long ---dinner at the Galley.

Marja's birthday party. She is the red head in the first photo on the left.


Lynn and Peter (FIRST EDITION) invited us for dinner and an overnight. Mike and Kathy were also invited. Love Peter and Lynn's home on Mill Creek.......the house is beautifully decorated and the view is "to die for". Peter grilled salmon. Great food and conversation followed by a comfortable bed for a good night's sleep. It was one of those hot humid days so the air conditioning was wonderful.

Had dinner in the screen porch at Deltaville Marina with Kris and Craig several times. A couple nights the porch was hopping.....TILT,. SAPPHIRE, SERANADE and RED RANGER. Because my burner caps were "out for sandblasting", I could not cook anything. Dinner was something to grill and salad. Can't complain about that.

Kris, Craig and Carl---our last dinner in the screened porch. No fancy appetizers that night (microwave popcorn).


Bob and Bev stopped at Lynn and Peter's on their return trip from Maine to Vero Beach. Once again, we were invited for dinner and an overnight along with SAPPHIRE..Dinner---oysters on the grill. Lots of wine and other alcoholic beverages were consumed. When we went to bed, Carl said to me, "I think everyone but me (Carl) will have a headache tomorrow." Bev is helping us out with our townhouse.She will participate in the final inspection along with the realtor prior to closing. Before dinner, Carl went over the inspection items that the seller was responsible for with Bev.

Forgot to bring my camera the first time out to Peter and Lynn's place. The following photos were taken when SAVAGE SON (Bob and Bev) stopped on their drive from Maine to Florida. Looks like blue was the color for the women to wear (photo left is Lynn and Bev: photo right is Kathy, Lynn and Bev).

Bottom left are are guys-Carl, Mike, Bob and Peter (standing). Bottom right is Lynn showing off the basket Bev made for her.


Oysters on the grill with cole slaw and fresh corn.



Launch day .....September 23 in the early afternoon at high tide so we can "float" in the well. The lift arrived on time. The boat was lifted just enough for Carl to paint the bottom of the keel. I drove the car down to dock while Carl walked with DISCOVERY to the well. No problems. Tied to the dock with about an hour before we needed to leave for Peter and Lynn's for dinner. Stayed overnight and left early in the morning so we could get the sails up before the breeze started to fill in. Left the dock for our first anchorage early afternoon. Decided to go around the neck (peninsula) and anchor outside of Jackson Creek for the night so we could leave early in the morning for Norfolk.

The launch! Lift arrived on time. Packing blankets used to protect the freshly waxed hull. Photo bottom left shows the guys starting to remove the jackstands.


Last minute painting---the bottom of the keel.


Time to head to the well. I take these same photos every fall when we launch. A significant difference this year......Carl is the only cruiser escorting DISCOVERY to the well. In past years, Craig and Carl have escorted her (sometimes Kris too).



Motored from Broad Creek (where Stingray Point Boatworks is located) around the corner---6.8 nautical miles (nm). Two dolphins greeted us coming out of Broad Creek channel. I suggested we anchor outside Jackson Creek rather than going inside (would save us at least 1/2 hour in the morning). Carl asked if I had ever seen anyone anchor there. The answer was "no but then I never looked ". When we got around the point, I noticed one trawler anchored there so I chimed in "Looks like people anchor there!" By the time the sunset, there were six boats anchored outside Jackson Creek. Can't remember how Carl discovered it but before dinner he noticed the spinnaker halyard was twisted around the jib's roller furling. How to fix? Drop the jib OR go up the mast. Decided it was easier to drop the small jib sail then go up the mast. The jib came down, the halyard unwrapped and the jib went back up. Carl then took the binoculars to look at the spinnaker halyard again---crap, it was also wrapped around the big jenny. So.....up the mast. Finally the spinnaker halyard was untangled with a bonus discovery--- the topping lift was twisted around the main halyard. It is a good thing he went up the mast after all. Had a nice dinner and enjoyed our first night "floating" in the water.

Finally underway Tuesday afternoon. Photo taken looking back from the cockpit toward Stingray Point Boatworks which has been a good yard for us.


In the morning, we motorsailed to Great Bridge--- 53 nm. About an hour out in the bay, asked Carl to take the wheel so I could use the head. Take the wheel??? No, he turned on the autopilot which did not work. I guess this is a shake down cruise. I returned to the wheel, while I steered, he read the manual and then called a Raymarine dealer. The dealer who also does installations made a couple of suggestions based on the error message we were getting. No problem man......it was a loose wire. Lots of dolphins in the Bay. I believe it will be an especially fine day when dolphins greet us. Easy going through Norfolk. Sometimes the traffic in and around Norfolk can get hairy.........Navy warships, aircraft carriers, submarines, tugs, cargo ships and pleasure craft all moving about. Went through the Great Bridge lock with 5 other boats. Found a place at the free dock. The next day we caught the 8:00 AM Great Bridge opening to start our way down the Virginia Cut. Had to time the bridges right so we did not have to circle around prior to the opening. Anchored south of Buck Island for the night traveling 40 nm without any problems.

Met these life boats from a Naval ship. Would I want to be in those things when its time to abandon ship? I guess yes and no. Yes to save my life. No because those things have got to roll in high seas.

Had a great sail across the Abemarle Sound and down the Alligator River. The wind was blowing northeast at 20 knots with gusts. On a broad reach most of the time. The waves in the Sound were tightly packed and probably 3-4 feet high so the boat wallowed all the way. Waves were smaller in the Alligator making it more comfortable. Had to turn our engine on when we entered the Alligator-Pungo Canal which is a 21 mile narrow cut surrounded by trees so what wind you get just swirls around. Waiting for us at the southwest end of the Alligator-Pungo Canal is the Wilkerson Bridge (A.K.A. The Bridge of Doom). To quote one of my guidebooks "The Wilkerson clearance is frequently as much as two feet less than the authorized height of 65 feet." As a result, we approach this bridge with caution closely checking the stage markers. This time, our VHF antenna ticked across the bottom of the bridge. Finally, 10 hours after leaving Buck Island we dropped our anchor at the Pungo River Anchorage. Made a pot roast for dinner. Took showers while the roast was in the oven. It was a great day even though no dolphins greeted us. No problems falling asleep that night,

The wind is still blowing pretty good from the north so it was a good sail to Oriental---50 nm. Sailed all of it except the cut between Goose Creek and the Bay River where the wind was blocked by the trees. The town free dock was open so we pulled in for two nights. Saw Steve and Kim (FINE LION) at the Tiki Bar so we went over to join them for a drink. Steve and Kim introduced us to their friends and invited us to join them for dinner at the Silo. Had a good time with them and a great veggie pizza. The next day, Bill and Sandy Donaldson, delivered a letter that had been forwarded to me in care of Bill. Later Sunday we met Bill and Sandy for drinks at the Tiki Bar followed by dinner at the Toucan.

Local residents in Oriental meet at the Tiki Bar for Happy Hour. The dragon is painted on the Tiki Bar roof.


Met Bill and Sandy at The Bean the next morning for coffee. Jerry and Donna (BLUEJACKET) stopped by for coffee so we ware able to visit with them for a few minutes. Returned to the boat. Carl made a few phone calls. I checked the weather. Two to four days of northeast winds in the forecast so I suggested we get going. The winds were light but it is better to head down the US East Coast with light winds pushing you than winds from the south on the nose. Headed for Fernandina, FL or Charleston, SC as a bailout if the wind clocks to the south. It is going to be a fantastic trip because about 2 miles out of Beaufort, NC about 50 dolphins were swimming around the boat.

Bill and Sandy Donaldson at The Bean in Oriental on the left. Bill and Sandy used to own a Saga 43 named LUCILLE. They are now owners of a beautiful DeFever Trawler. On the right and bottom is DISCOVERY at the free town dock.



Sorry this month's activity log is late. Why? We were at sea so I did not work on it! The question for you to ponder is....Did we go to Charleston or Fernandina? Stay tuned next month for the outcome!!



Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
October 05, 2013