Friday, June 18, 2010

Rafting Up with Friends

We woke up in the morning in Portsmouth, VA (across the water from Norfolk) to thunder and lightning storms.  We had to wait for them to pass before we could fuel up.  We got that chore done and went in to pay the dock master.  We asked him if the marina had a courtesy car as we needed a few things from the grocery store.  He said no but said that we could use his car!!  We have found that boaters and those who service the boating community are just great.  He asked us to promise we wouldn’t wreck it, and we assured him we would do our best.

Leaving Portsmouth, we passed a tour boat, several container ships and the Naval Shipyard.

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Click here to see where we were in Mobjack Bay.

We pushed off from Portsmouth at 11:00 and made our way up to beautiful Mobjack Bay in Virginia off of the south west shore of the Chesapeake where our friends, Todd and Brenda, were anchored in a creek called Put In Creek (the locals call it Pudding Creek).  We rafted up to their boat, Life’s2Short, for 2 nights.  Todd and Brenda have been living on their boat for about 5 years and have been cruising anywhere from the inland rivers to the Exumas, where we met them. 

Rafting up to another boat is so cool.  We both throw fenders out and throw each other lines and, voila, we are tied up.  We didn’t need to put out our anchor and we could just walk from boat to boat.  Another cool thing is that only one boat, Life’s2Short in this case, had the chore to take in their anchor, full of mud, and wash it off as it came into the boat.  Thanks Life’s2Short!!  We all like muddy bottoms because the holding is so good but, boy, washing the chain is work.

I realize that it is HOT, HOT, HOT everywhere these days, and it certainly was where we were.  The other thing that happens when you anchor is that you typically only use your air conditioners for a couple of hours max each day.  We had invited Todd and Brenda over for dinner on Wednesday night but it was just too hot to fire up the grill.  So, we enjoyed Brenda’s appetizers and had, of course, some adult beverages until we all crashed.

On Thursday Todd and Brenda took down their dingy and we all jumped into it and went up to the end  of Put In Creek hoping to find a dingy dock so that we could walk into the small town of Matthews, VA.   We weren’t sure where the dingy dock was so we saw a guy working on his lawn in his backyard and dingied over to ask him directions.  Tom told us that this was probably as far as we could go and said just to tie up to his dock.  He was renting an amazing house which was probably built in the late 1800’s.  He said that we just needed to walk down his driveway to the highway and then about 1/2 mile into town.  Here is the house and the driveway.  Reminded us of a plantation house! DSC03277 DSC03269a

Matthew’s is a teeny-tiny town full of really friendly people.  He suggested that we eat lunch at the White Dog B&B.  Rick and I had the Tarragon Chicken Salad sandwich, in case you care. 


The chandelier in the restaurant was of a sailing ship with a green light on one end and white steaming light on the other.  There was also a Captain Hook doll in the crow’s nest on the top!  We asked the waiter to take our picture outside on the front porch.  Lunch was wonderful and afterwards we walked around the town until we started to melt, then walked back to the dingy.

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Here are some pictures that we took as we came back to our rafted boats.  Don’t they look happy??

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We left Mobjack Bay this morning (Friday).  Life’s2Short hasn’t been to this part of the country in their boat and wanted to check out a few of the bays and creeks.  We knew we wanted to go back to the town of Urbanna which is off of the Rappahannock River.  We visited here 4 years ago when we first brought Rickshaw up the Chesapeake.  We may see them again on Sunday if they get up this way. 

It was a beautiful day as we made our way north to Urbanna.  Here is a boat enjoying it all.  We will take more pictures of Urbanna tomorrow as we wander about the town. 


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coinjock, NC to Portsmouth, VA

Click here for our current location.

Today was a great day.  We had the kind of weather that cruisers love; good cloud cover, (so we don’t fry) nice winds and calm seas.  We left Coinjock at  8:00 because we had 5 or 6 bridges and one lock that we had to time.  We were with 3 sailboats and 2 other power boats going through all the bridges.  It was fun.  We saw lots of osprey and their babies on their nests on the aids to navigations.   


We also saw our first bald eagle on this trip.


This is a photo of the software navigation that we use.  We just wanted to show you the man- made ‘ditch’ that we traveled today.  As you can see, it is just a straight shot north!


We were feeling pretty good about going into the small lock as we had a fair amount of practice going through the much larger locks in Okeechobee in Florida.  However, we are still re-learning our skills.  Lynnie’s lassoing skills need work!

                     Locking up                                                    Following our buddy boats up to Norfolk


Captain Rick                                                          Entering from the south into Norfolk


The Norfolk/Southern Railroad lift bridge which is usually in the up position  


Coming into Norfolk was as awesome as always.  The ship traffic is a bit daunting but didn’t cause us any troubles.  The Naval Ship Yard had some really interesting boats undergoing maintenance.  The first one, below, is a Destroyer.  My dad is retired Navy and left from Norfolk to to go to sea many times. He has told us some amazing stories.   He was on several different kinds of ships but one of them was a Destroyer like the one below.


We have no idea what this ship below is but it sure does look like Darth Vador.  It appears to be about 200+’ long and a trimaran which probably goes very fast.  We in the recreational boating community have come to measure expense in terms of “boat units.”  Since the very word “boat” means “bring on another thousand” I wonder what a “naval ship unit is?”  I would suspect that the anchor alone on the destroyer above is somewhere in the multiple hundred thousand dollar range … yikes …!  I wonder how much Darth Vador’s engines cost? 


A rather old looking aircraft carrier getting a face lift


It took us about 7 1/2 hours to get to Portsmouth.  Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampton are  cities that are right next to each other.  We are now on the face dock of a marina that has great prices for both dockage and fuel.  We figure that the price of fuel will only get higher as we move north so we are going to fuel up in the morning.  After a run like we made today, the engine room is usually around 100+ degrees so we will fuel up in the morning as we need to use the fuel sight gages located in the engine room to know when to stop putting fuel into the boat.  Phew!!            


Tomorrow we will leave for a beautiful bay named Mobjack on the southern Chesapeake that we stopped in on our last trip.  We will meet up with our friends Todd and Brenda on Lifes2short.  We met them in the Bahamas last year and are looking forward to catching up with their travels.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Manteo and Coinjock, North Carolina

We arrived in Manteo on Saturday from Ocracoke.  Manteo is on Roanoke Island.  From mainland NC, it is the way that most folks  get to their vacation spots on the Outer Banks. 

When we went to the National Park Docks in Ocracoke they didn’t have anyone to help with the lines.  That was the morning that Lynnie hurt her back and as the wind was forcing the boat off the dock she was trying her best to get the lines on the cleats and a couple, Mike and Jane, who once owned a 44 DeFever like ours just happened by and asked if they could help with the lines.  Yes indeed, please!  They were just great and turns out they live in Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks so we made plans to see them in Manteo.

You may remember from your school history that Manteo is the home of the Lost Colony.  We called Mike and Jane and asked if they had time to get together for dinner and they did.  We had a great dinner across the street from the marina.  Mike had on a tee shirt that said ‘If you are lost, don’t ask the locals…they already lost one colony’.  Funny.  We enjoyed meeting new friends and look forward to seeing them on the return trip.

Manteo is a cool little NC town that, unfortunately, we didn’t take any pictures of.  That’s because it was so hot and humid that we didn’t go out much.  Lynnie did walk down to the Food-O-Rama (yes, that’s right) at 8:00 on Sunday morning and probably lost 3 lbs getting there and back.

We will try to do a better job with pictures on future blogs.  Here is one of Rick cooking our first hamburgers on the grill, which we love, on Rickshaw (yum) and of the pirate ship across the way from our marina. 



Coinjock is a marina on the ‘ditch’, a man-made access from the Albemarle Sound to Norfolk, that provides quick access without having to go ‘outside’ into the Atlantic.  The Albemarle is much like the Pamlico Sound that we traversed to get to Ocracoke.  It is a very wide body of water but relatively shallow.  So, we needed to get up very early (OK, OK, for retired guys) to get across it before the sun became hot enough to kick up the waves and make for a very uncomfortable ride.  When got to Coinjock the thing we needed to do was get a pack of cold beer!  Coinjock Marina also has a restaurant that is famous to cruisers for a place that provides a $20 32-oz prime rib!

DSC03218aTomorrow we leave for Norfolk.  More later.