Saturday, October 29, 2011


We were up early full well knowing that the winds would be picking up on the Albemarle today. We wanted to get across before things got too choppy. It was our third southbound trip across the Albemarle. The crossing on the previous two trips had been quite memorable as both times we blew out the spinnaker sail. Not today. Today we stuck with the main and jib and safely made it across with no issues. It would be a big travel day for us covering over 65 miles. This was good as the strong southerly winds came in each of the next two days and brought us to a near standstill. Once the bad weather was past, we continued the journey reaching Beaufort, NC.

A look of the weather forecast told us northerly winds were expected for the next several days. Here, in Beaufort, we would take our journey into the Atlantic waters and make a beeline for the more distant south.

The Admiral

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Which Way to Go???

We awoke the next morning with a big decision....which route should we take? The options: (1) the very familiar Dismal Swamp route or (2) the faster but never tried (by us) Virginia Cut route. In the end weather and our taste buds would make us choose the Dismal Swamp route. The weather because we anticipated the swamp would offer us more protection from the southerly winds and our taste buds because we knew exactly where to find soft shell crab and blizzards in Elizabeth City.

So through the lock we went and off towards North Carolina. We had hopes of seeing Lockmaster Robert at the Deep Creek lock and we did. However he wasn't working the lock. Instead he was doing a dismal swamp tour in his pontoon boat. It was a great day for a swamp tour. The colors were in the early stage of their fall change - not yet brillant but certainly not green.

By early afternoon, we crossed the border into North Carolina and reached the South Mills lock at the end of the 22 mile swamp. From there we continued the trek finally reaching the Elizabeth City bridge. It was here that we would quickly realize that our grand visions of seafood and ice cream would not be realized. Unfortunately the city docks at Elizabeth City were all full - no room at the inn!

What to do?! While we would have loved to have stayed, the forecast called for the weather to worsen over the next several days and we decided it would not be prudent to remain in Elizabeth City at anchor. Instead we opted to begin the journey south on the Pasquotank river. We motorsailed a few more miles before a falling sun forced us to drop the hook near shore.

Tomorrow would be another day.

The Admiral

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Season!

Can it be that time of year again??? Where has the time flown? The summer was fun and busy, busy, busy - so much so it was a bit of a blur. Nonetheless, we are back and ready for season four aboard the 'Breezer.'

Every season has had its surprises. One evening over cocktails, before our departure, I remarked to friends Brian and Yvonne from Options III that we knew there would be surprises - we just didn't know what - hence the surprise. Well the first surprise would make itself known within 5 minutes of leaving the dock. No right steerage. We floated along, scratching our heads, brainstorming what the issue could be when the Captain headed down into the engine compartments to gather intelligence. The issue was quickly identified and resolved. A sewage vent hose had come unclamped from the engine room ceiling and was lying on the rudder mechanism. This limited the turning radius of the rudder. Once moved and put back in its place, the rudders turned freely. Thank heavens! But then two minutes later we discovered the VHF radio remote handset at the helm was not working and the handheld VHF radio was not working properly. So much for a smooth start...

So off we went. Down the Chesapeake and into, what is usually a very busy, Hampton Roads. Today, however, the place was virtually deserted. Sure there were some recreational boats mulling about, but no Navy ships were on the move nor a single freighter enroute. Very unusual. We continued passed the Navy pier and towards downtown Norfolk. Here we saw a first for us. The Carnival Glory was in port at its downtown pier and just behind it sat the battleship the USS Wisconsin, a part of the Norfolk Maritime Museum. From land, this probably didn't look unusual in the least, but from our seaside vantage point, the enormity of the cruise ship over the US warship was evident - and those old warships aren't exactly tiny in their own right. It was quite a sight.

Still onward we went serpentining the river until we passed under the Gillmerton Bridge. Once passed the bridge we opted to tie up to the free dock at the Chesapeake Boat Yard for the evening. Here we found another interesting site. A military post had been set up on the boat yard property. It looked like a small invasion was planned - 4-6 large tents, trucks and plenty of what I can only assume were ammunition boxes were visible. At the dock sat 4 camouflage speed boats with multiple machine guns and rocket launchers mounted on deck. It appeared the Dismal Swamp was well protected and any pirates didn't stand a chance! Aaargh!

The Admiral