More commonly applied to circumnavigation, but still a big event for us… we crossed the point where we left in the Chesapeake Bay at Galesville, MD seven months ago. We continued on to Annapolis and enjoyed a gray, but relaxing Memorial Day Weekend with friends, and continued further north, currently waiting out the remnants of Alberto and the associated wind and rain.
We last left off in Charleston. It was tough to leave, and I’m pretty sure Intermezzo did not want to leave either. We woke up at 5:30AM to start our offshore trip to Beaufort, NC and went to raise the anchor, but the windlass just didn’t want to do its job. We ended up having to pull up our 125’ of chain by hand and determine our next step. We decided that the anchor was not a critical piece of equipment offshore, Beaufort is as good a place as any to source parts, and we really did need to leave Charleston, or we might stay forever ; )
Our parting view of Charleston from the anchorage with the spires of the bridge in the background – we really did not want to leave.
Tali continued with her navigation up the coast, and safely navigated us outside of Frying Pan shoals and we arrived 3 hours early. Yeah ! ! ! Not so much… we had wind against tide (remember the rage in the Bahamas where we needed to make a u-turn?), so we turned around (into the wind and the waves) and went back and forth for an hour and a half waiting for the tide to switch to safely navigate the inlet… perhaps the captain could have slowed down just a bit throughout the 30 hour trip – but everyone knows Chris – gotta get there : )
Tali is very proud of her work… the highlighted section was from Charleston to Beaufort. (It’s great you can edit pictures on a blog… makes things much easier!)
Instead of anchoring in Beaufort, we knew we had work to do on the windlass, so we got a slip at at a condominium complex (with a pool to keep the kids occupied while Chris was crawling back into the darn anchor locker again) and tied up with enough time to catch an Uber and have a lovely Mother’s Day dinner in downtown Beaufort.
Mom and her girls… Even after 30 hours offshore, the girls behaved like princesses during dinner. So much so, that a gentleman at the next table bought them hats from the restaurant… like everything this year, not a Mother’s Day we’ll soon forget.
Chris started trouble shooting the windlass and quickly recognized a leaky gearbox as milky brown oil started leaking all over his hands – that was the likely culprit of the slow demise of the electric motor. So two of the three parts of the anchor windlass were fried. Full disclosure – Chris was not happy about more hours in the anchor locker again, so he found a local mechanic to do the install, while we had the chance to explore the outer banks.
Our time was divided between the eastern and western shore of the Pamlico Sound. We started on the western shore exploring Harkers Island and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum. Once again, we were blown away by the quality of the museum, but more importantly, the amount we all learned about the history of the fishing and hunting communities along the Core Sound in Eastern North Carolina.
A view of the sound towards the lighthouse from the top of the museum
The next day we took a trip out to Shackleford Banks… one of the many places where wild horses roam. These horses are unique in that they are direct descendants of the Spanish horses that were thrown overboard to avoid grounding a Spanish Vessel on the shoal hundreds of years ago. Very similar to the pigs on Staniel Cay, seeing animals in environments that you don’t expect them in is fascinating.
A little sunny for the girls…
This guy couldn’t help himself rolling in the sand. Best we could tell, before we arrived, they went for a swim. They then were standing in cardinal directions to the sun methodically drying each side of themselves. Then when they were dry enough, time to roll in the sand : ). We could have watched them for hours.
One of the highlights of our trip down the ICW in the fall, was our stop in Swansboro NC, which happened to be a short ride south of Beaufort. We couldn’t miss an opportunity to walk the streets again (without Christmas decorations and freezing weather), so we headed down there for lunch. We also had the chance to meet Becky’s Aunt and cousin who drove up from Wilmington, NC. We developed a fudge habit after bringing some back to the boat from the Candy Edventure store in Swansboro. We’ve been sampling all the way up the coast and haven’t found anything better… although Chris is still holding out for Jersey Shore fudge to win the title!
Because of the shoaling in the Pamlico Sound and bridges that are a little short for Intermezzo, exploring the Outer Banks by boat would have taken a long time and added miles to the trip, so we were resigned to having to come back by car some day… but with our extended stay in Beaufort – we took the opportunity and drove the rental car on the ferry to Ocracoke Island. It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us… Visiting a place where phone service was introduced in the 1950s and water (beyond cistern) was added in the 1970s, was bound to have an interesting history, and interesting it is. We spent hours in the local museum learning about the dialect, learning about how isolated the island was, and how, because of its isolation, it evolved differently than much of the state. While now, it is still a long trip and off the beaten path, it is focused mainly on tourism, but speaking with the O’cockers which now number less than 800 was a great experience.
British Cemetery on Ocracoke where British sailors are buried who were killed by German U-Boats during WWII. It was eye opening the number of ships that were lost right off the coast of the US during the war.
Need to keep the trend of a beach shot in each post. It was not the nicest of days, but the girls loved playing on the beach.
With the anchor windlass installed, tested and ready to go, it was time for us to move on. We had one last stop to go to before we returned the rental car, and that was El’s Drive-in… It was a good old fashioned Drive-in, which we can both still say was before our time (although listening to the oldies stations with 80’s music on is getting disconcerting). You parked the car, flashed the lights, and out came a waitress to take your order. The girls couldn’t believe it!!!
The timing of this visit wasn’t the best… we pulled into the parking lot and the skies opened. We all felt bad for the waitresses who were coming out in the pouring rain, but it all evened out – Chris got soaked when he opened the window to pass the food and pay the bill : ). What a great time!!!
Our trip north on the ICW was going over familiar ground, although with 14 hours of daylight vs the 8-9 hours we had on the way down, some of the stops were different. The first one was Coinjock, a long dock along the ICW which is a bit of a right of passage for ICW travelers. The best comparison is stopping at South of the Border when you drive south on I-95. We enjoyed a nice dinner with their famous prime rib (which we continued to enjoy for lunch the next day), had a nice night sleep and headed off early the next day.
Departing Coinjock… of course a t-shirt has been added to Chris’ collection.
The next day is one of those Karma events… the captain may have miscalculated the departure time (yes, there were some cocktails with the prime rib the night before), but once we got going, we realized that there was a stretch of water between two drawbridges that opened on the hour that we could not go fast enough to make. Not a big deal usually, you just slow down and take your time and get the next bridge, but on this day, the last bridge entering Norfolk Harbor would not open after 3:30PM (something about rush hour traffic and not wanting to cause a traffic jam – not sure we quite understand, must be forgetting about that part of life ashore : )… If we didn’t make the scheduled bridge at the beginning of the day, we wouldn’t make the 3:30 at Norfolk, which would have had us wait until 6:30 and then limited anchorage spots – long story, I know… but along comes the Coast Guard (see picture below). We moved over, and slowed down for them to pass. Being the Coast Guard, they don’t have to wait for the scheduled opening of bridges, so the upcoming bridge was opening 15 minutes early, and (music to our ears), when they called for the opening, they asked the bridge tender to stay open for the sailboat they just passed :). That was the 15 minutes we needed to keep on schedule… It might have been making that sacred cruiser stop at Conjoick?
I know, enough with the Karma stuff already, but seriously, we have spent hundreds of hours on the ICW and never seen a Coast Guard cutter – a beautiful ship. BTW – did you notice the name? Flying Fish… that’s the second time Chris has been personally visited by Flying Fish ; )
Besides the gift from the Coast Guard, we had an uneventful trip through Norfolk Harbor to our anchorage for the night. Up early the next day, we headed to Mill Creek in VA – extremely picturesque and a great night after the thunderstorms rolled through. We were up early the next day and headed to Solomon’s Island.
Girls are old pros at tending the lines for the lock we needed to go through…
What a well tuned foredeck crew!!! That was our routine every time we anchored. Tali is even good solo with dropping mooring balls at this point.
We stopped at Solomon’s on the way down, but literally picked up a mooring, ate dinner, went to sleep and left before sunrise the next day… we wanted to see more of this quaint town in Maryland. We found another great Maritime Museum with some of the best geological history of the East Coast we had found. Walking through how the different ice ages were documented in the cliffs of the Chesapeake made it click…
One of the exhibits at the museum was an old lighthouse that was moved from is original spot, to the museum grounds. Seeing the history of all the lighthouse keepers that lived there, the layout of how the lighthouse would have been furnished, and getting an insight into the lighthouse keepers’ life were great, but the best was Tali’s comment, “We could live here, I think it’s big enough.” SUCCESS – all this time on a 43 ft sailboat has paid off, no need for private bedrooms, individual bathrooms, just a good view of the water. Music to our ears!!!!
Our next stop was Annapolis, after crossing our wake. We planned on staying here for Memorial Day Weekend to catch up with our dear friends, the Mullaney’s and do some boat projects and enjoy the city. The girls had a wonderful time reuniting, as did the parents! We ate delicious food and shared awesome wine while regaling each other with missed adventures and funny stories. We also toured The Naval Academy and explored Annapolis.
A reunion of friends 7 months in the making!!!
Imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Or should Chris be taking a different message from Mike’s wig???
In addition, our friends from Liberator III were in town! We hadn’t seen them since we left Great Exuma – what a great chance to catch up (and of course plan our next meeting).
…what a great surprise visit!
From Annapolis, we’re heading up to the top of the Chesapeake, through the Delaware-Chesapeake Canal, down the Delaware River (yes, the compass will need to read south for 60 or so miles) and then up the coast. Alberto (while not Alberto any more), did affect some of the upper atmosphere causing a couple of fronts to pass through. We’ll wait those out and then continue north, either offshore to Block Island, or weather depending, inside up the East River, and then explore the Long Island Sound, on our way to Nantucket.
The reality that this adventure is ending is really starting to take hold. While we are very much looking forward to seeing everyone at home, we are also looking forward to this last month living aboard Intermezzo and moving with the wind, tides, and weather. It is indescribable how fast this has gone.
See y’all soon!!!