Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hello from across the Border!

Strange things to say on a boat..."watch out for that tree!"

After 188 days, six states and the Bahamas…we have crossed the border to state #7…The Commonwealth of Virginia!!  We have traveled over 3300 miles and still have so much more to see, do and experience.

Our time in Belhaven was short-lived but enjoyable and Friday 4/28/17 we docked at Alligator River Marina…on the cusp of the infamous AlbemarleSound in North Carolina!  Our final night in North Carolina!

JusMad, neighbors from Belhaven-look at this water! YUCK!
We threw off the dock lines E A R L Y Saturday morning at 6:40 – yes, waaaay before coffee:30!  But we wanted to get as far as possible since we have a low pressure heading our way (read: wind, waves, rain).  And the AlbemarleSound has a well-earned reputation of being “the most violent crossing of the loop” but it’s only 15 miles of being tossed around – how bad could it be??

Well, the good Lord really knows how to take care of us!!  The Lower Place along with Satori, Bajan Speed, GeLaMa, North Star and a sailboat without a name crossed together in about 3.5 hours without incident!  Yes, it was WINDY but the swells were 1-3’ from the south (that’s good)!!  The boat interior was secured for much worse conditions – nobody got sick and it was a beautiful day!  All glory to God!

I needed a dependable cup holder in high seas...another use for Duct Tape!!
We continued for another 60ish miles and found ourselves at a FREE city dock in Chesapeake VA.  All the neighboring marinas were full so we didn’t mind staying tied to a dock for FREE!!  Satori joined us and the others had reservations at various paid slips.  We got off the boat and walked a short distance to the nicest town & grabbed a light dinner.  When we stay for free somewhere we always like to support the local economy in some way – dinner seemed like a good idea!

We have been studying the upcoming weather outlook and it does look nasty.  Tomorrow’s plan includes leaving the dock by 7:00 AM – I know, this early morning stuff is beginning to feel like a schedule!!  We have a standing reservation in Deltaville VA for May 3-6 and  Deltaville is about 80 miles from our current location.  So we may slip up the James or York Rivers to wait out the storm Sunday & Monday nights.  Who knows what kind of unexpected adventure is waiting for us?

As our journey continues please remember our military troops AND their families.  The sound of fighter jets overhead for 30-45 minutes really brought reality back to us.

God Bless!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Belhaven, NC - what a secret!

Sunset in Belhaven NC on April 26, 2017

WOW!!  We have spent almost 2 days in the birthplace of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway, Belhaven NC and I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of this precious, not-yet-discovered gem of a town.

The warm & friendly folks on every street – home owners, pedestrians, shop owners – you name it, they spoke, offered a smile or a helping hand.  The chamber of commerce is in a full court press to shine a bright light on this community, starting with boaters!

We were welcomed with a very nice letter from the chamber, brochures for local restaurants and museums, very detailed maps of the stateparks, dismal swamp & town.  The marina offered golf carts for transportation, free laundry (new Kenmore x-large capacity w/d) – I was delighted!! 

Wednesday night we had a pot luck dinner at the marina with other loopers – Southern Cross, Satori, Winds of Change, Rollin Tide, and the road travelers Nick, Kathy & Dee Dee (family of Southern Cross).  It was so nice to see our Southern Cross friends again AND to meet new friends too.
This bench was outside one of the many unique shops
 Thursday was a busy day with laundry (of course), walking/exploring the streets of Belhaven and learning so much about this town – like, there’s a lot of homes for sale on the water!!!  You can feel the energy from the shop owners – this place is on the verge of being a “destination stop”.  I’m glad we were a small bump in their economy!

Thursday evening we had a group of 11 dining together at TheTavern at Jack’s Neck.  WOW!!  That place rose to the occasion on EVERY level!  Service, meal quality, atmosphere and the owner/partner was very attentive and hands on.  He expressed his heart-felt appreciation for our business multiple times.  After dinner he took us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the upcoming oyster bar & steakhouse!  If you LOVE wood working craftsmanship and can appreciate the art form it is…this is the place to see!!  They plan to be open by late fall (oyster season)…I plan to re-visit by car!  It will be worth the drive!

New neighbors moved in Thursday afternoon! WOW!
Friday we will be off and cruising again…next stop - Alligator River!! Then Saturday we will cross the Albemarle Sound – rumored to be the “most challenging crossing on the east coast”.  We will have 2 other buddy boats (possibly more) with us so I’ll keep you posted!

Until then – have a marvelous day and keep smiling!

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We'll try Beaufort again-Hobucken NC

A camper and helicopter - what more does a person need?

Mother Nature kept us from touring Beaufort NC.  We docked late Sunday afternoon, walked the town, grabbed a soup & salad dinner, then back to the boat. On Monday I did not leave the boat!! Not kidding!!  It was raining, high winds & all around miserable…there was no reason to challenge the elements of nature.  So I stayed in my ‘jammies and used the day to do research, planning and cleaning – so not a wasted day.

R E Mayo Seafood - FRESH off the boat!
When we woke Tuesday, (4/24/2017) the sun was trying to shine, the wind & water was calm & no rain!  So instead of trying to see the town we decided to throw off the lines and continue our travels.   At 2:30pm we docked at R E Mayo Marina.  Hobucken NC has a hidden gem right here!  It’s not a “marina” in the typical sense but rather a fresh seafood pit stop with reasonable prices!  We have docked for the night at .40/foot, purchased fresh shrimp, mahi mahi, flounder & a t shirt for $49!!  Bargain!!
The "facilities" - cute but I think I like my boat!

Tomorrow we will journey to Belhaven NC and meet our original Looper buddy boat Southern Cross!  It will be so good to see them.  I’m not sure how long we will stay…we have a standing reservation in Deltaville VA for May 3 and that location is 309 miles away.  We will use our time wisely.

This house?  The
concept has me confused?

Is this the "edge of the world"?

Have a super Wednesday!

God Bless!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

6 months and counting...

Our cast off selfie...taken 10/23/2016
Today is day 182 or 6 months however you want to look at it.  And today is also the FIRST day we’ve traveled in the rain!  Yes, we’ve had rainy days and nights but we’ve been anchored or docked during the precipitation.  But today…  We woke to a slow steady rain, pulled up anchor by 8:15 and 6 ½ hours later we docked in at Homer Smith’s Marina, Beaufort NC under a light mist and strong wind conditions.

Once we got settled and headed to the office to register, a local shrimper spoke with us about the weather. Yes, a low front is coming and he talked about wind direction from this way then that way AND the 8” of expected rainfall over the next couple days.  So we are docked until at least Wednesday with the option to stay longer if necessary. 

We took advantage of a short weather window and walked around town – so far, I’m impressed!  The comparison of the 2 Beauforts ( SC & NC) isn’t fair…totally different vibe!  Not good vs bad just different.  Hopefully I can find a good weather period for a much needed walk/run over the next couple days and maybe snap a few pictures!

On that note:  I tried to get a few pictures today but with the wind and rain NOTHING focused!  So in the interest of safe boating, I put the camera away and focused on the channel markers, raging current, other boats and low bridges!

Who knows what adventures the next 6 months will bring…stay tuned!

God Bless!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Headed to Beaufort NC

We met this guy just after departing the marina! HUGE!

After three fun-filled, very busy days in Wilmington NC we threw off the bow lines this morning (4/22/17) and headed north!  We left our friends Jeff & Brenda aboard Santori since they were waiting for a repair to be completed.
The USS NORTH CAROLINA as seen from our fly bridge
Other than touring the USS NORTH CAROLINA we didn’t explore Wilmington.  The Cape Fear Marina was a fabulous stop but not walking distance to anything. We used Uber for the grocery store trip – LOVE Harris Teeter!! – and stayed at the marina. Peter Jensen Kurki – Commodore of Business Development – with Bennett Brothers Yachts could not have been a better host!  He was more than hospitable, full of local knowledge and eager to know “what else can I do?”  We have a t shirt to prove it! LOL!!

I think George Jetsen lives here!!
It was a windy, sunny and current filled 70.7 miles completed in exactly 9 hours…WHEW!!  We are safely anchored in Mile Hammock Bay – between Wrightsville Beach and Moorhead City NC.  This particular bay is frequently used for “military maneuvers” with Camp LeJeune.  They requested we use our anchor light at night “due to military activity”.  Well, we certainly will!!  The shoreline is restricted military property – so no church in the morning!

Our backyard for the night
It was an uneventful trip we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Wrightsville Beach.  You can certainly feel the spring fever in the air!  The recreational & fishing boat traffic is on the increase – that may cause us to rethink our weekend cruising – and the race season is fully underway!

Paddle Boards & Kayaks as far as the eye could see - yep, we traveled at 'no wake' speed!
While we are expecting rain showers this evening, nothing severe; our plan is to head out Sunday morning and dock in Beaufort (remember it’s BOW’fort) NC.  The Sunday evening forecast shows a little stronger possibility of “disagreeable weather”- better safe than scary!  We hope to spend a little time in Beaufort NC if for no other reason than to compare it to Beaufort SC!  Crazy, I know - it's part of the adventure!

God Bless!
Can you find the giraffe??  It's there!!