we finally left Newburyport on September 19, we tried to
time our departure for a slack tide. there
was no wind so we got out of the marina with no problems.
Going through the bridge(s) outbound was easier because
we were better able to position ourselves around the
railroad bridge to pass cleanly under the drawbridge.
It was a relief to have that bridge behind us.
made a series of short hops from Newburyport to Scituate to OnsetBay to Block Island. Not far outside of the Newburyport inlet Neal spotted a whale -
the first one we've seen. There were not nearly as
many lobster trap buoys as when we arrived in August
but we did see something we'd not seen in August.
Just outside of Scituate there were schools of small
sharks swimming around several lobster buoys. We'd
see lots of little triangular dorsal fins zipping
around. I don't know what kind of sharks, but they
seemed to be no more than about 3 feet in length.
We saw several different groups of them at different
It was getting on to when we got to Scituate. The friendly guy at the fuel
dock stayed open after 5 to wait for us. Wind and current gave us a
problem grabbing a mooring pennant and a local boater gave us a hand.
Our timing the next
day was such that we went through the Cape Cod canal against the current and that
made for a pretty slow ride. We anchored for the night at OnsetBay near the marina where we'd
stayed in August.
Cape Cod Canal/Onset Bay, MA- September, 2007
on the 21st we were on a mooring at Block Island. There's a very nice mooring
field here. We stayed for a couple of days just
relaxing and getting ready for the passage to Cape May, NJ. We watched boats come and go
and just enjoyed being there. On the morning of the 24th
while waiting for space to open up on the fuel dock we were hailed by a
sailor aboard a boat named Shearwater. Turns out we'd last seen him in
June in Florida when we were anchored at the Lake Worth inlet before beginning our
Block Island, RI
Cape May, NJ - September, 2007
September, 2007 by Mary
later than we'd planned, we were underway headed for Cape May. It was a quiet and
uneventful passage until the wee hours of the morning. Then the radio
came alive - with morons. I can't imagine who they were, but they were
having a great time making animal noises at each other over the VHF
radio. Much laughter and stupid remarks. Then one did a parody of the
usual Coast Guard broadcast about channel 16 being for use only for hailing
and distress calls. Much as it scares me to think they were all drunk, it
also scares me to think that men that stupid while sober would be
on the 25th we were anchored off the Coast Guard station at Cape May. We hung around here for a
while because we'd ordered mail sent to us here. After a few days at
anchor we went in to South Jersey Marina for a couple of days to do some
sightseeing and get to the post office. It's a very nice marina with good
facilities. Each morning they brought us a newspaper and fresh fruit. Cape May is a nice town. Downtown has
a nice pedestrian mall for walking and people watching. We had a dinner
at an excellent Italian restaurant downtown. The second evening we had
dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Lobster House. The marina made
reservations for us, which meant that we were seated almost immediately
while dozens of people were waiting for tables. That doesn't happen very
the 30th we headed for Norfolk. This was the first time we were able to take
the whole morning to get ready to leave. The passage
from Cape May to Norfolk is only 155 miles which means
24 hours or less if we travel at more than 6 knots.
So in order to avoid entering our destination harbor
before dawn, we left later in the morning. Sure beats
getting up early and immediately heading out. Winds
were light during the day and we made the mistake
of leaving the big genoa up. As the winds rose after dark we realized that
we were not comfortable having that big sail up when
we cannot see the sea state. So we hauled it in and
felt much more in control. It is exhilarating to sail
in good wind in daylight - but stressful in the dark.
We were docked at Waterside
Marina in Norfolk by mid morning on October 1.
A mail snafu kept us in Norfolk longer than we'd expected. When
our mail arrived, a dock hand rejected the package
and told the mail person that we'd already left! It
had been sent regular priority mail so there was no
traceability. The post office told us that they immediately
return undeliverable mail, so we waited around until
we were certain that it had arrived back at the mail
forwarding service. There was important stuff in that
package so we spent a few anxious days. The lesson
learned is that we should always ask for important
mail to be sent via UPS or FedEX so that it's trackable.
In the meantime, we had good weather and enjoyed our time in Norfolk.
were able to meet up with Keith Reynolds while in
Norfolk. Keith is a former Saga (our boat manufacturer)
dealer and an expert on all things Saga. He's known
for being extremely generous with his knowledge and
his time whenever a Saga owner has questions or problems.
We spent a very nice evening with Keith and Grace
and look forward to seeing them again when we get
October 7, 2007 there was a children's festival
in the park by the marina, so we rented a car and
drove down the Outer Banks to CapeHatteras
to avoid the crowd. The drive is like most any other
drive we've done along the ocean. The road is separated
from the water by either berms
or homes - neither of which allow
you to see the beach, surf or sea. In the towns what
you see is shops aimed at tourists: beach wear, t-shirts,
souvenirs, ice cream and mediocre sea food. But every
area has it highlights.
We stopped at the
Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, NC. The museum was well worth
the visit. There's a full size replica of their first powered
"flyer" as well as one of their gliders. A park ranger gives an
excellent talk about that first flight. I didn't realize how
scientifically they'd approached the problem of powered and controlled
flight. They understood which variables had to come together and
experimented constantly to get it right. Their efforts to interest the
U.S. Army in their invention were stonewalled for years while the army
continued its doomed experiments with unmanned powered flight. And some
of the aviation portraits on the walls were of military men who'd, over
the years, tried unsuccessfully to get the government to accept new ideas
regarding the future of aviation - Gen. Billy Mitchell most notably, and
Gen. "Hap" Arnold. There must be a special
place in hell for bureaucrats.
We stopped and walked
to the beach. There were plenty of beach goers taking advantage of a hot
October day. It was great to hear the sound of the surf. Many stretches
of beach permit vehicle access so the surf fishermen drive right to the
water's edge. Outer banks fishermen have a unique way to transport their
big surf-casting rods. They install rod holders on either the front or
back bumper of their trucks. Some of them look like candelabra with
graduated height holders - tall ones in the middle - going down to the
shortest ones on either end. I counted 8 rods mounted on the front of one
truck. There are some stretches of the road where the dunes are on both
sides. A parked bulldozer sits waiting for the next blow that will wash
sand over the pavement. These dunes have some interesting shapes sculpted
by the wind. I wouldn't want to be there in a gale.
The CapeHatteras light station was as far
south as we went. We didn't climb to the top of the lighthouse. There's a
visitor's center and a small but interesting museum. The museum attendant
told us that there are more than 3,000 wrecks and parts of wrecks
identified off the coast of the Cape. Scary for sailors. When we finally do sail outside
around Hatteras, we'll make sure we're very far
out at sea.
on the 7th, a huge and beautiful tall ship from Argentina docked at Waterside: Fragate A.R.A Libertad from
the Argentine naval academy. It was open to the public
each afternoon so we went aboard. She's a square rigger
with three masts; 5 sails on each. It would be great
to see her under full sail. I'm trying to convince
Neal that the least we can do is sail down to Argentina to pay them a reciprocal visit.
Finally on October 11
we left Norfolk. In order to avoid CapeHatteras, we traveled the ICW for the
200 mile stretch to Morehead City, NC. We don't travel the ICW at
night so getting from point A to point B takes much longer. This was a 4
day trip. Getting through Norfolk means going through a series
of bridges and finally a lock at GreatBridge. We were one of many boats
headed south that day so we all bunched up at the bridges. Some bridges
open only on regular schedules and the ones that open on demand will
often want to get us all collected so that as many as possible can get
through a single opening event. So we all accumulate and go around in
circles while waiting. It's quite a water dance. At the lock, almost
everyone was waiting patiently for the line of boats to get arranged on
the lock walls. But, of course, there seems to always be one who thinks
he should cut into the line. At least there was only one and he
eventually went back to his appropriate place in line. We stopped again
at Coinjock Marina for fuel and to spend the night.
evening of the 13th saw us
anchored at Deep Point again. Our next anchorage was
new to us and about a half-hour ride off the ICW.
We went to Long Creek in BonnerBay which is off the Bay River which
feeds into the NeuseRiver for our final anchorage of this
trip. We were completely alone here - very peaceful.
thought of stopping at Beaufort, NC (pronounced bo-fort)
this time, but took the simpler option of stopping
again at Portside Marina in MoreheadCity because it has much easier access.
Our ICW passage was uneventful but we were very glad
to have it behind us. On the 15th we were again able
to have a leisurely start to our next leg. We went
out for breakfast and took our time getting ready
to cast off to head for Southport, NC. This leg is only 122 miles
so we sailed even when winds were very light - often
our speed was less than 5 knots (that's less than
6 mph). It was just after when we docked at Southport. Here we arranged to finally
get the mail we'd missed in Norfolk.
October, 2007 by Mary
Southport Marina has
been completely rebuilt and is now a great facility. And it is easy
walking distance from downtown. It's a lovely town. Old homes whose
history is documented have plaques that show the original use/owner and
the year built. Dates run from the late 1700's to the early 1900's. The
historic homes range from small fishermen's cottages to the large houses
of the most prosperous local citizens. They all have charming front
porches with inviting rocking chairs. The visitor's center is one of the
best I've seen: well staffed and full of good information. The local
maritime museum is interesting and there's a surprisingly interesting old
jail that's a museum. We've learned that the small local maritime museums
are great places to learn the specifics of the area's relationship with
the sea. Some were habitats for specific species that were in demand up
and down the coast and supported large fishing fleets. Others developed
themselves as shipping centers. And yet others were havens for pirates.
These museums are small and generally not very elegant but they sure are
There's a park along
the waterfront with swings along the waterfront walk and a very popular
fishing pier. When we were there, one couple was cast-netting from the
pier and providing bait fish to the fishermen. We'd both like to try
cast-netting, but we'd just be putting our catch right back into the
water. Across the street from the fishing pier is a historic building
with a huge lawn where there was a one-day craft fair that can only be
described as "high end". The vendors included a local winery,
very talented woodworkers, and local food vendors. On the building's
veranda an excellent bluegrass band provided entertainment. We tasted the
wine and would have bought a few bottles but they were just outside of
Our departure on the
22nd was another leisurely one. This was a trip of only 107 miles - too
long to do in one daylight passage but short enough that we had to time
ourselves to arrive late enough for marina personnel to be at our
choice this time was CharlestonMaritimeCenter on the CooperRiver. It's a city run facility within
walking distance of downtown Charleston. It is much more affordable
than where we'd stayed before and in a much more interesting
location. Not only do we have easy access to the city,
but we enjoy watching the shipping traffic
come and go. Next to the marina is a shipping and
cruise ship terminal. This particular shipping terminal
serves the local BMW plant. Vehicles are brought by
train from the plant to be loaded on to Ro-Ro (Roll
On - Roll Off) ships. Arriving ships bring Volvo products
which includes huge construction equipment. These
are interesting ships (more info here
and the loading/unloading process is interesting.
There's a huge ramp that lowers from the stern of
the ship and vehicles are driven off or on. They use
big old 9 passenger station wagons to ferry the drivers
back and forth from the car lot to the ship. Ships
may be here for a few days while the on/off transfers
take place. We rented a car one weekend to meet our
friends the Bagleys for dinner in Beaufort, SC (pronounced byew-fort).
They were on their boat in Savannah so Beaufort was a reasonable
place to meet. Then on Sunday we took a sightseeing
drive. It is a beautiful area. As I write this, I'm
in Chicago spending time with my mother
as she recovers from hip replacement surgery. Neal
is back on Sea Fox. We'll stay in Charleston until November 24 and later
there will certainly be more to say about this visit
to the city and more photos to come.
died today. Lefty and her littermate, Patty, have
been our furry companions for the past 12 years. Taking
a drive through the foothills near Boulder in Summer,
1995, we passed a house with a sign saying "free
kittens" and went home with these two little
furballs. Lefty got her name because they were born
on Left Hand Canyon Road near Ward, CO. Lefty was
the "smart" one; ever curious and able to
figure things out - "“miss personality".
We'll both miss her but she was Neal's special buddy
- spending much time helping him read newspapers.
Pets certainly become regular family members over
time. Patty, sweet but less adventurous, remains to
keep us company.