OCTOBER---Deltaville, VA back to Pentwater, MI back to Deltaville and on to Southport, NC

The first of October--- in Deltaville, VA getting the boat ready to cruise to the Bahamas. Kris and Craig arrived early evening from Hudson, MI to Deltaville in one straight shot. Met them at the Galley for dinner. Both of them were excited to be in Deltaville and start getting the boat ready to cruise. Kris talked about starting to wax the boat first thing in the morning. Enjoyed a good dinner and lively discussion catching up with the past summer's events and the upcoming season's cruising plans. After dinner, when Kris and Craig arrived on their boat, they found a bad situation. The yard crew who were working on their boat a port open. The main stateroom had mildew everywhere--the clothes and bedding were damp. They managed to find something to wrap up in to keep them warm until morning. A bad way to end an exciting day.

Had our anchor and chain re-galvanized.over in Richmond. When taking all the chain out of the anchor locker, Carl decided to service the windlass. Good thing. When cruising, the windlass is used almost every day so it is important that it works. It needed a new bearing and the plate was worn. So glad I have a mechanically talented husband. The windlass is now in great working order and with the re-galvanized chain, there is no rust running down the deck after the anchor is pulled.

Attended the Holly Point Art and Seafood Festival with Kris and Craig. Carl and I went on the COOPER HLL for a ride. Carl and Craig enjoyed looking at the antique cars while Kris and I strolled through the art booths. Had lunch at the festival.

The following pictures were taken at the Holly Point Art and Seafood Festival in Deltaville. The car in the bottom row is a Gullwing Mercedes.


Made a quick trip back to Michigan for Carl's appointment with Dr. Raphaelian (retina specialist). It was a pretty drive. The farther north we drove---the more vibrant the color in the trees. The drive through the mountains in northern Virginia and West Virginia is so scenic. The first day I drove for 13 hours---stayed in Howell, Michigan for the night. Boy, did I sleep well after all those hours at the wheel. Stopped in Grand Rapids the following day on our way to Pentwater to visit Al and Laurie Forte. Laurie invited us to stay for lunch out on the deck. This past summer, Al and Laurie purchased a condo in "downtown St. James" on Beaver Island. Fun to hear about the updating/remodeling they are doing and the challenge of monitoring a project from a distance. Laurie is the the go-between for the contractor and the supplier. So far, she seems to be handling it well.

Carl's appointment went well .....given the clear to cruise. There has been a significant reduction in the number of floaters in his eye and the number of flashes has diminished. However, his vision is about the same. Three months since the problem started---all indications are that it has stabilized. Both of us were happy to receive this news. Stopped in Pentwater Tuesday afternoon at the Artisan Center to visit with the jewelry ladies while Carl worked on the plate for the windlass. Met Ron and Jackie Baden for dinner in Muskegon. The following day, closed the cottage for the winter and headed back to Deltaville.Stayed in St. Clairsville, OH about 10 miles west of Wheeling, WV.the first night on the return trip. Once again, enjoyed the beautiful scenic drive through WV and northern Virginia during the return to Deltaville.

When we were back in Michigan, Carl tried to keep up with the leaves without success. As you can see in the photo, still a lot of leaves in the tress. He would blow them into the empty lot and the next day new leaves arrived or the wind changed directions to blow them all back into our yard. I did not have time for jewelry making this month. Did make one wrap around cuff bracelet. Used the suggested gauge wire---it is too light and flimsy. Will do this bracelet again with heavier wire. I guess this first one just another experiment.


When we arrived at the Deltaville Boatyard, I did not even have the car in park before Carl jumped out. He was on a mission! Found a ladder, plugged the boat in, took inventory of painting supplies and headed to the hardware store. Meanwhile, I made the bed and started to unpack. As soon as he returned, he was taping the boat as part of the preparation to paint the bottom. He managed to get a full day's work in. Kris made dinner for us the night of our return. Oh, its nice to have a welcoming committee! Black-tip shark on the grill with baked potatoes and asparagus. Sat around and talked for a long time. Often,when we are working on the boats, Kris and I watch TV in the boater's lounge while the guys return to the boats to go to bed but not this night. . I was tired-.-slept like a grizzly bear in hibernation.

Within a couple days, the bottom was painted, the mainsail was on and provisions purchased and stowed. Arranged to have the boat launched on Friday. Once we were launched, we anchored in Jackson Creek in front of the marina. It was a fairly calm day so we put the two jennies on the roller furling. By 2:00 PM, the boat was ready to cruise. Made plans to leave at first light the next day. Put the car in storage. Had dinner with Kris and Craig at Chef Todd's in Mathews Friday night and said our farewells until we meet again.

Saturday, October 23---excited to finally be underway. It was hard to leave Kris and Craig back in Deltaville but they thought it would be at least a week or longer before they 'd be ready to go. So we were off. It was a great day out on the Chesapeake Bay even if we had to use the motor the entire time. No seas, favorable current and dolphins everywhere. We take the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from Norfolk, VA to Beaufort, NC.( From Beaufort we either go out to the Atlantic or continue on in the ICW depending on the weather, seas and wind conditions).

Underway sheltered by our new wind curtains. These curtains help keep the cockpit so much warmer in cold windy conditions. Love them. Also had a simple sunbrella flap to cover the companionway which helps keep it warmer below.


Just a little about the ICW for anyone who isn't familiar with it. The waterway runs 1243 statue miles from Norfolk, VA to the Florida Keys. Some lengths of the waterway consist of natural inlets, salt water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals. It provides a navigable option to travel on the open sea. As you leave Norfolk and arrive at mile 6.0, it is time to make a choice--1) follow the Virginia Cut through Coinjock to the Albemarle Sound or 2) follow the Dismal Swamp route to Elizabeth City and then the Albemarle Sound. The Dismal Swamp route is much more scenic but it is a little longer. Decided to take the Dismal Swamp Route.

Just a little about the Dismal Swamp: In 1763, George Washington suggested draining the swamp and digging a north-south canal through it to connect the waters of Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. Washington formed two syndicates known as the Dismal Swamp Land Company and the Adventurers for Draining the Great Dismal Swamp. This last group hoped to drain the Swamp, harvest the trees, and use the land for farming. Washington directed the surveying and digging of the 5-mile long ditch from the western edge of the Swamp to Lake Drummond, known today as Washington Ditch. Slave labor was used for the digging. In the late 1700's, Riddick Ditch was completed. Together these ditches provided a way to transport logs out of the Swamp and drain it as well. The Adventurers soon realized, however, that the task of draining the Swamp was enormous and gave up that part of their plan to concentrate on lumbering. They cut much of the cypress trees for use in shipbuilding and the cedars for shingles and other products. By the 1950's the last 20,000 acres of virgin timber were removed. In 1973, the Department of Interior creating the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge consists of 107,000 acres of forested wetlands surrounding Lake Drummond, a 3,100 acre natural lake located in the heart of the swamp. One of the unique features of the Dismal Swamp is the coffee colored water. This water is preserved by tannic acids from the bark of the juniper, gum and cypress trees, prohibiting growth of bacteria. Before the days of refrigeration, water from the Swamp was a highly prized commodity on sailing ships. It was put in kegs and would stay fresh a long time. People spoke of the magical qualities of the Swamp's tea-colored water and how, if it were regularly drunk, it prevented illness and promoted long life. Well, I would never drink that stuff---it looks awful.

Missed the last opening of the day at the Deep Creek Lock so we anchored directly in front of the lock along with about 8 other boats to wait for the first opening the next morning. The lock opened at 8:30 AM---it was a full house. Going through the canal all the way to Elizabeth City (skipping the free dock at the NC Visitor Center). When transiting the canal from Deep Creek Lock to South Mills Lock, it is important to proceed at the right speed so that you make the South Mills Lock which is about 22 miles away very close to 3:30 PM. You don't want to be too early because there isn't room to maneuver without running into trees or running aground. And you don't want to be late because then you are stuck behind the bridge until the following day. When we came out of the Deep Creek Lock in the morning ....surprised to see SAVAGE SON and SAPPHIRE underway. They had stayed at the dock on the south side of the lock while we were anchored on the north side of the lock. Carl's strategy was to pass everyone so we didn't have boats in front of us stirring up the logs laying on the bottom. Once we passed everyone, slowed down to almost idle speed.

Arrived at South Mills a little too early so we dropped our anchor and fought to stay in deep water. Glad to see the bridge open which allows us to proceed into the lock. It was an easy run to Elizabeth City. We assumed the free docks in Elizabeth City would all be occupied so searched for a place to anchor for the night in our guidebooks. Pleasant surprise----our "usual" spot on the park wall was wide open. Tied up and then helped SAPPHIRE and SAVAGE SON tie up. Made dinner and off to bed.

The following pictures were taken in the Dismal Swamp. First row--top left is a photo of the boats anchored behind us outside Deep Creek Lock. Top right DISCOVERY is making way into the lock. Second row--left is Carl waiting for the lock to start filling; on the right you can see some progress as we move up the wall. Third row left shows more progress up the wall; on the right you see some turbulence in the lock. Fourth row--on the left finally at the top; on the right--on our way out of the lock. Row five-left is a photo of the Dismal Swamp Canal once we were at the head of the line; and on the right leaving Elizabeth City headed for our next anchorage.


Carl took the following picture when we passed under the Wilkerson Bridge AKA "The Bridge of Doom". This bridge is reported to be as much as 2 feet below the authorized clearance due to the wind tides. Carl took a picture of the stage markers as we passed through having plenty of clearance.


A great sail down the Pungo River, across the Pamlico River and into Goose Creek. Turned the motor on to transit the canal by Hobucken but sailed like crazy once we reached the Bay River and Neuse River. Arrived in Oriental.....the free dock was occupied so we dropped the hook in the harbor. The following morning (which was my birthday), met Bill and Sandy Donaldson at The Bean for coffee. Sandy offered to give me a ride to the grocery store. She needed to go to Harris Teeters in New Bern so I was welcome to join her later in the morning. As we left The Bean, one of the free docks opened so hurried out to the boat to snatch it up. In the afternoon, washed our traveling clothes (it is cold so we are wearing several layers including thermal underwear) and the bed sheets. Later that evening, Bill and Sandy met us for drinks at the Tiki Bar and then dinner at M & M's. A mighty fine birthday it was. You can stay at Oriental's Town Dock for 48 hours every 30 days. We extended our stay by another 24 hours (many people do this) so that we could see Dick and Pat Peebles. Dick and Pat used to own a Saga 43 but sold it and built a home in New Bern. They were busy until Friday night so we stayed one more day to have dinner with them. Dick and Pat are enjoying their life on land and they are looking so relaxed and happy.

Hurricane Irene's storm surge is estimated to have been 9-1/2 feet . The photo on the left is The Bean where the water level was 7 inches above the floor (which by the way is up all those stairs you see in the picture). Oriental has made a lot of progress cleaning up after Irene. Many local businesses were just opening a few weeks before our visit. The photo on the right is one of the tables where I had a fantastic cup of coffee the morning of my birthday. Bottom left is a photo of my birthday dinner--a pound of peel and eat shrimp plus a salad and dessert. Bottom right is Carl's dinner which was a full slab of ribs (brought half of it home).


Left Oriental on Saturday. The winds were supposed to build to 30 knots but by afternoon the winds were only around 15 knots so we decided to anchor by the US Coast Guard Station at the Beaufort Inlet. was a rough night. Carl put out two anchors to help reduce the sailing our boat does at anchor is high winds. So glad he did it. The winds blew 35 knots almost all night from the northwest clocking to the north. Glad to see morning arrive to get underway.

Decided to head down the ICW .....destination Mile Hammock which is located in Camp Lejeune. Camp Lejeune consists of 156,000 acres, 11 miles of beach capable of supporting amphibious operations, 32 gun positions, 48 tactical landing zones, three state-of-the-art training facilities for Military Operations in Urban Terrain and 80 live fire ranges to include the Greater Sandy Run Training Area. When you enter Cap Lejeune on the ICW at mile marker 235 there is a sign that indicates the status of the firing range. If the firing range is active, a military vessel will block the ICW to stop all traffic. The lights have never been flashing when we have transited through Camp Lejeune but have heard of other cruisers that had to stop for an hour or so. The marines do practice at Mile Hammock but this year it was pretty quiet. Did see a few Osprey helicopters flying around.

Sunset at Mile Hammock anchorage which is when the Osprey helicopters started flying around.


From Mile Hammock we continued down the ICW past Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, through Snows Cut, into the Cape Fear River where we rode a favorable 2.5 to 3 knot current, past Southport into the anchorage at Pipeline Creek. Entering and exiting Pipeline Creek is tricky for boats with drafts over 5-1/2 feet. Carl took the wheel and inched us into the creek. Anchored in 10 feet of water at low tide.

The photo below was taken to show how the boats pile up at opening bridges. This is especially so between Mile Hammock and Wrightsville where there are three opening bridges. Only a fast motor vessel can make it through without waiting. Bridge number opens once every hour. Bridge number two opens every half hour and bridge number three opens on the hour.

So ends the month ....DISCOVERY is anchored in Pipeline Creek wondering if we will find deep enough water to get out in the morning at low tide. Stay tuned!

Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
November 04, 2011