OCTOBER: Deltaville,VA to Wrightsville Beach, NC

On October 2, the washing, waxing and bottom painting was done---time for DISCOVERY to go back into the water.  Carl and I along with friends, Kris and Craig on TILT, walked behind the boatyard lift as it carried DISCOVERY from the jackstands to the water. DISCOVERY looked so good when she was launched!  Friends, Pat and Dick on HANANIAH returned to Deltaville from their trip to Italy to get HANANIAH ready to launch. Also, Rose and Keith on CAMELOT stopped in Deltaville on their way back to Florida. So.....what do cruisers do when they get together? Happy Hour with appetizers and lots of  conversation.

The following pictures were taken when DISCOVERY was launched this October. The first picture is DISCOVERY on her way to the well. . The second picture is DISCOVERY being lowered into the well under the watchful eyes of Carl, Kris and Craig. The last picture is DISCOVERY finally with a wet bottom.



Since we were driving our car to the Annapolis Boat Show the following weekend, we rented dock space for a week so that DISCOVERY was secure during our absence.  Drove up to Annapolis on October 5---I drove our car while Carl drove a car that belongs to a cruiser friend, Rich on KELLIE RAE.  Rich sailed his boat from Deltaville up to Annapolis so he needed someone to drive his vehicle to Annapolis. Parked our car near Weems Creek and then drove to Eastport where we met Rich for lunch at Davis' Pub. Later in the afternoon we drove to the east side of the Severn River to where Jon and Jill on SIRIUS had their boat docked. We stayed onboard SIRIUS during our stay in Annapolis. Saturday we attended the Seven Seas Cruising Association GAM where we met up with cruisers we have met during the past 2 plus years--Cheryl and Brian on CECIL, Millie and Wayne on IRISH FEVER, Rick and  Linda on SOJOURNER, Nancy and Dean on PEGASUS. After the SSCA meeting, Latitudes and Attitudes (a sailing magazine) had a huge party with a good band (Eric Stone), free beer and free pizza. Had a good time catching up with everyone's' travels while enjoying the music. Finally made it to the Boat Show on Sunday where we made a few purchases for the boat. After the Boat Show we stopped at Pusser's to hear a guy, Michael Beans, sing (we have seen him play at the Shamrock on Beaver Island--Lake Michigan). Michael Beans seems to be one happy guys. Carl asked me if I thought Beans is actually having as much fun as it looks like he is (big smile and swaying to the music).

Sailed out of Deltaville on October 11 headed for Old Point Comfort (Hampton), VA. Had northwest winds at 20 knots--a great angle for sailing. Suggested to Carl that we put a reef in the mainsail. I turned DISCOVERY into the wind while Carl worked at putting a reef in for several minutes finally saying "That will have to do". I assumed this meant he had a reef in the mainsail but the reefing lines were not quite right. I called Kris on TILT using the VHF radio to tell her we were cruising along at 7 knots with a reefed main and a partially furled headsail to reduce sail area. The autopilot was having trouble holding a course so I turned it off and did the steering manually. About 2 hours out of Deltaville I said to Carl, "Boy am I glad we have a reef in the main because I am having a hard time holding the course". It was then that Carl told me we didn't have a reef in at all. I was too busy steering and watching the compass to maintain our course that I did not even look up at the sail to notice a full main.  Carl had tied the reefing lines incorrectly so he could not put the reef in at all! DISCOVERY kept trying to round up on me. One time I actually cried out to Carl who was down below that he needed to help me--we were so overpowered that the rudder stalled and  I could not steer. I did get things back under control before Carl made it to the cockpit. Overall, it was a great sail to Hampton where we anchored for the night.

Next day we entered the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) at Norfolk taking the Virginia Cut. Stayed at the free dock on the north side of Great Bridge. You should have seen Carl put a 43 foot sailboat in a 48 foot opening on the face dock. In 20 knot wind he did a maneuver just like Captain Ron in the movie. Pretty impressive--was it skill or luck? Only Carl knows for sure. Great Bridge has some interesting history. At the start of the Revolutionary War, the road through the town of Great Bridge was the only land route from the south to Norfolk. On  December 9, 1775  British troops trying to cross the swamps funneled down into a narrow line to cross Great Bridge. Here they were met by Virginian Militia snipers who forced the Brits back. After this battle,  the British were forced to evacuate Norfolk. The Battle of Great Bridge greatly demoralized many Southern Loyalists who converted to the Patriot cause.

At Great Bridge we met up with Beep and Ed on MID WATCH and Sam and Carolyn on MELAKA II. MID WATCH and MELAKA II were planning to leave the ICW when it intersects the Albemarle Sound to head out to the North Carolina Outer Banks. From the Outer Banks we'd sail the Pamlico Sound to the Neuse River where we'd be back in the ICW. We decided to join them on this alternate route.

DISCOVERY at the free dock at Great Bridge. Great Bridge closing after DISCOVERY's passage.


The first first stop in the Outer Banks stop was Manteo on Roanoke Island. The town of Manteo has several free docks for visitors. Two other cruising couples, Roger and Bonnie on KOKOMO and Dave and Mary on MON AMIE were also in Manteo. I planned to rent a bike to ride out to the Fort Raleigh Historic Site with Roger and Bonnie. Roanoke Island is the site of the first English settlement in North America. Queen Elizabeth gave Sir Walter Raleigh land. Raleigh led three expeditions to colonize the new land. The third expedition included woman and children. Roanoke Island was selected because of the friendly Native Americans and the shallow water would make the colony inaccessible to Spanish ships. Here, Virginia Dare--the first Caucasian child was born in America. A war between Spain and England prevented supply ships from returning to the colony on Roanoke Island. When the supply ship finally arrived, the crew found the site entirely deserted---"The Lost Colony.". The only clue was the word CROTAN carved on a tree. Well....the business that once rented bikes has dropped them in favor of kayaks and wind surf boards. Roger and Bonnie rode their own bikes to the site but I had to make alternate plans. On to visit the Roanoke Island Festival Park.  On my way to the Festival Park I saw a catamaran, EXIT STRATEGY (Doris and Tom) who we met at the Dismal Swamp in October 2005.  Visited with them for a few minutes before continuing on my way. The big summer event on the island is a play "The Lost Colony". Andy Griffith and his wife Barbara were regular summer actors before Andy made it big!

Below is a picture of the Queen Elizabeth II returning to Manteo. The Queen Elizabeth II is a replica of the 68 foot barque sailing vessel used to carry colonist from England to the New World. The beam on the boat is 17 feet. Seems too small for its purpose.

The following picture was taken at the Manteo Gazebo where we had a Cruiser's Cocktail Party. DISCOVERY is in the background.

From Manteo we traveled to Ocracoke Island. When we passed the Oregon Inlet we saw a huge pod of playful dolphins. There was about 20 of them and some of them jumped out of the water doing a back flop. Ocracoke is a thin ribbon of sand at the southern most tip of the Outer Banks. It is accessible only by private plane, private boat or the state run ferries. At one time, the residents made their living only from the land and sea. Today,  it is a resort town with a few residents making a living from the sea! Orcacoke was once home to the Pirate Blackbeard. Blackbeard who terrorized the Carolina coast in the early 1700s. His last battle was fought just off the island at Teach's Hole where he lost his life and his head! Ocracoke also claims the oldest working lighthouse in North Carolina where is has stood guiding ships since 1823. The British Cemetery holds the bodies of four British soldiers who lost their life when the HMC BEDFORDSHIRE was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ocracoke in 1942.  While in Manteo, the crews from DISCOVERY, MID WATCH, MELAKA II and EXIT STRATEGY met at the Pelican Bar and Restaurant for 5 cent steamed shrimp. Very yummy but very messy to eat.

The following two pictures are from the British Cemetery. The cemetery was given to Britain so that the soldiers are buried in "English soil". There is a plaque at the cemetery with a quote from Rupert Brooks "If I should die, think only of this that there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.

Left Ocracoke on October 18th headed for the South River. When we lifted anchor in Ocracoke harbor, Carl noticed that the windlass wasn't working properly. It would lift the chain up (a really good thing) but it would not lower the chain (not a huge problem because we can let the chain free fall). So, while I managed the sails for the ride up the Pamlico Sound, Carl did some research and a number of tests to diagnose the windlass problem. After motoring across the Outer Bank, I was enjoying a great sailing day. Meantime, Carl was having success with isolating the problem. The winds continued to build as a wet front approached from the ocean. We flew along. Anchored in Big Creek not far from Jim and Bentley on SALTY PAWS. Shortly after dropping anchor, Carl connected with internet, looked through West Marine's catalog and made phone calls to order a part that we could pick up in Oriental, NC. Stayed two nights in Big Creek. Invited over to SALTY PAWS for muffins and coffee one morning and stopped over for drinks with MON AMI one night.

Headed for Oriental on October 20--less than a 2 hour run from Big Creek. We thought Oriental would be crowded with boats coming south after the Annapolis Boat Show and boats heading to New Bern for the Southbound Cruisers GAM. However, the part we needed was going to be shipped to Oriental for pick up on Monday. I had my binoculars out searching for the free town dock and it looked like one side was open. We motored past the anchorage and up the channel for the town dock--lo and behold one side was available. What great luck. After getting settled, I headed for the washer and dryer at Oriental Marina--it was open. Listened to a horrible band while I did my laundry. The band, The Glitzy Chicks, had 2 male and 4 female members. You would think that with 6 people in a band that one of them could carry a tune but "no can do." It really was quite pathetic. Joined Dave and Mary from MOM AMI for lunch. Later that evening, we went to the Deli Deck to listen to another band.  This band was very good. Stayed in Oriental until Monday when the part for the windlass arrived. Oriental is such a boat-friendly town. The hardware store has bikes with baskets that you can use for free to run errands. Carl needed a ride to an urgent care facility that was about 20 miles away so he could complete a physical for renewing his commercial captain's license. A lady at the coffee shop offered to take him and waited until the physical was done to drive him back to the town dock.

The following pictures were taken in Oriental. The first picture is some of the shrimp boats that were in harbor. You may notice the boat on the right has quite a list to starboard--it is having the starboard outrigger worked on! The second picture is of the Oriental Dragon in the town creek. Oriental's mascot is the Dragon. I was told by one of the local guys that "All dogs and sailboats are welcome in Oriental". There is NOT a lease law so the dogs walk around like they own the place. One of the head huncho dogs is named Taco. Cars stop on the paved roads to let the dogs leisurely stroll out of the way!

Left Oriental at noon on October 22 headed for New Bern. As we left the harbor, I noticed we were not getting the speed that we should be getting at 1800 rpms. Carl went down below.....something was causing the engine, mast, and steering pedestal to vibrate. Put the engine in reverse and revved it up. We have cutters on the prop shaft so if we caught a line it would be cut off. Right after reversing the engine in reverse at high rpms---the vibration stopped and our speed was consistent with rpms. On our way once again to New Bern. Arrived at the anchorage around 4:30 to find lots of familiar boats that we have cruised with in the past (ANANIA, TILT,  WIND-BORNE, BEES KNEES, SALTY PAWS, KELLIE RAE and EXIT STRATEGY).

Attended the Southbound Cruisers GAM from October 24-27. Several interesting speakers. Several of the speakers we had heard before but it never hurts to hear the message again. I signed up for a hands on photography session called GPS--Grin, Point and Shoot. Last year the weather at the Southbound Cruisers was windy and freezing cold. This year, it was quite warm and very rainy. Celebrated my 55th birthday at the GAM. While in New Bern we attended the Chili Feast at one of the churches which served three different kinds of chili (Traditional, White Chicken and Vegetarian) along with crackers, soft drinks and cookies--all you could eat for $7.00! Sunday afternoon, a bunch of Cruisers gathered on the deck of the Sheraton Hotel to play guitars, fiddles and sing. It was a blast.

The following pictures were taken during my photography session. The first one was taken in the church yard where there was a Pumpkin Patch. Notice all the pumpkins lined up on grave markers. The second picture the picture I selected from my shoot to share with the other participants in the photography session. The instructor, Jim's, comment was to get closer yet. The third picture is of Jim!

Below are pictures taken during the Cruiser's Jam Session.

Left New Bern on October 29. Had a great sail down the Neuse River (about 3 hours) before we had to turn the motor on. Entered the ICW at Adams Creek catching the outgoing current for a fast ride to Beaufort. Anchored near the US Coast Guard Station at the Beaufort Inlet. The next day we motor sailed down the ICW to Mile Hammock Bay. Traveled with Hettie and Ludo on SWEET WATER, Dan and Maureen on TRINITY and Dave and Judy on SWEET LIBERTY. Mile Hammock is part of Camp LeJeune. As you approach Camp LeJeune you see a watch tower and a big sign that indicates the status of the firing range. You can anchor at Mile Hammock but can't go ashore. During World War II marines practiced amphibious landings in this bay. A full-size mock-up of a troop transport ship was built for trainees to practice climbing up and down the netting with full pack and rifle. This was our second stay at Mile Hammock and I have hoped to observe Marines during their amphibious trainings. Did not see any Marines on our way to Mile Hammock. Around 11:00 PM about a dozen helicopters arrived completing some exercise that we could not see because of the dark and trees blocked our view. Sure could hear the noise. The next morning, we pulled anchor and headed out the channel to be met by a dozen fast open boats filled with Marines and their gear. A photographic opportunity but the camera was below and all was over before I could get it.

The two pictures below probably do not show what I wanted to capture---I need more zoom from my camera. Anyway, the first picture is one of several watch towers along the ICW near Mile Hammcok. The second picture is the sign that basically says if the lights are flashing so not proceed because the marines are using live fire!

Continued from Mile Hammock to Wrightsville Beach. The most difficult part of this trip is dealing with bridges. Two bridges open only on the hour and one bridge opens on the hour and half hour. We passed through the first two bridges with good timing (minimal circling at the bridge) but the last bridge was a challenge. It was only 5 miles away and it wasn't going to open for 90 minutes. We put out a little of the headsail (no bigger than a king size pillow case)---with the current and wind we were moving 4.5 to 5 knots.At 4.5 knots it would take us 59  minutes to get to the bridge so we had to go slower. Took in what little sail we had and used the windage on the boat to sail to the bridge. Carl had to complete big wide S turns to slow us down more. We arrived at the bridge 2 minutes early.

Anchored in Wrightsville Beach Halloween night. Celebrated with chocolate brownies.

As I write this log, we are sitting out the passage of  Hurricane Noel. According to the latest weather, Noel is losing its tropical nature--less rain and the wind field are spreading out to form a strong nor' ester. About 20  boats are hunkered down at anchor with us. It was gusting to 30-32 knots earlier. We think the average wind is decreasing. It may be a rough night but we know it will be better tomorrow!

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
November 4, 2007