Making our way to the Chesapeake Bay (May 24th – June 8th, 2017)

For the past couple of weeks we have been on the run! Until a couple of days ago pretty much every day has been a long travel day. Some days we have traveled as many as eleven hours! But now we are slowing down again, taking some time to relax and enjoy the scenery and the culture. We are finally “cruising” again.

We left our anchorage early on the 24th and traveled to Port Royal Landing Marina near Beaufort, SC. It was a terrible day as far as weather was concerned. When we arrived at the marina it was raining sideways and the wind was blowing so hard that it blew a huge sign off its post, breaking it into three sharp pieces, and nearly impaling John as we tied up. We had to leave the stabilizers on at the dock because the waves were bouncing us around so much. Finally the wind subsided and we had a comfortable night at least.

IMG_6651Enjoying what seemed to be an airshow just for us along the ICWIMG_6667IMG_6682IMG_8854The beautiful scenery along the waterway.

The next day we traveled along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to the lovely Church Street anchorage in South Carolina. As always, the ICW continues to be lovely and fascinating. On this day, we were entertained by some fighter jets, the F22 Raptors. They flew in large circles overhead as we traveled the otherwise uninhabited and gorgeous river of the waterway. We continued our long days on the 26th to another anchorage where we were the only boaters to be found, the Awendaw anchorage in South Carolina.

IMG_8868AfterMath docked next to the restaurant at Wacca Wache MarinaIMG_8869This gentleman was a great entertainer.IMG_8870IMG_8873Tiffany was a lot of fun!IMG_8874Our view from AfterMath of the restaurant.

Beginning to feel as though we lost the fun of experiencing new places due to our long, ten and eleven hour trips, we happened upon Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. There we found again the peace and relaxation that cruising is meant to bring. A tiny marina with a cute little restaurant right on the ICW, we were helped to dock by a friendly staff in a cedar lined inlet that was just what we needed. We went to the restaurant, right next to AfterMath, and were told we would have a 20 minute wait, but that we could go sit on our boat and they would call us when they were ready. A lovely lady named Tiffany, who was also a teacher in her past, served our dinner and we had so much fun bantering with her and enjoying the life we love so much.

IMG_8879Every day brings new and changing scenery.  It’s what makes the waterway so much fun.
IMG_8895IMG_8897The homes along the ICW vary from tiny to huge.IMG_8898IMG_8899IMG_8905IMG_8907The only pirates we have seen in the past two years have been aboard these friendly looking ships.IMG_8909It was Memorial Day weekend and everyone was out to enjoy the water.IMG_8912

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Recharged after our night at Wacca Wache Marina, we excitedly traveled through the busy waterway and on to Southport, North Carolina. Besides changing states, we especially looked forward to meeting up with our good friends, Vera and Rolf Redin and Jan Kirk. We had seen them all a couple of weeks earlier for Don Kirk’s memorial service in Bethel, CT, but now it was time to see them at their home. Vera and Rolf had us all at their house for a wonderful cookout for Monday, which was Memorial Day, and the next day the five of us gathered on AfterMath for some fresh caught shrimp before heading out to a fun dinner together at Fishy Fishy, a restaurant in Southport. As always, seeing friends along the way is a highlight of this vagabond life we lead, and seeing our friends of more than 40 years along the way was the best imaginable.

IMG_8916A tiny island with a flag, a fake palm tree, and a parking meter.  The crazy ICW!IMG_6691

IMG_6694The retired tanks turned target practice in Camp LejeuneIMG_6695IMG_6697

We had some work done on AfterMath in Southport, as we had a leaking impeller housing (don’t worry, I don’t know what that means either), and then set out for one of John’s favorite anchorages, which is near Camp Lejeune. In the past there have been a lot of helicopters flying around that anchorage, but we really didn’t see too many the day we arrived. There are, however, some pretty interesting tanks and military vehicles on the grounds of the camp, and we passed them the following day. I commented to John that they looked pretty disintegrated, but he thought they might have been used for target practice. With a further look at the pictures, I found he was right. They are so full of bullet holes that they look like lace!

IMG_8928Our beautiful, calm anchorage for the night.IMG_6701

On June 3rd we once again arrived at an anchorage where we were the only boat around. It was a long and winding path to get in, but it was absolutely gorgeous. In the morning, the water looked like glass, with perfect reflections and we hated to pull anchor. Outside the anchorage there stood a sailboat in the mist. From our perspective it seemed that the boat was floating in air. There was no distinction between water and sky. I wished I had stopped and asked him for his email address so I could have sent him his picture; sail boaters love pictures of their boats.

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The next day brought us down the Pungo – Alligator River Canal, a wonderful stretch of the waterway through beautiful forests and flatlands. In the evening we arrived at the Alligator River Marina, a marina we had stopped at several years ago with Jeff’s boat. We spent the night there before crossing the Albemarle Sound. Years ago this sound was a big deal to me. I would put a patch on and hope for calm seas and light winds. This time we both said to each other, “It’s not the Mona Passage!” It’s funny how your perspective changes.

IMG_8937Coinjock MarinaIMG_8939

Monday night was spent in Coinjock, NC. Coinjock is a eclectic place that is loved by cruisers. It is an extremely helpful marina, very dog friendly, and has a cute little store and a nice restaurant that is famous for its prime rib. We decided to try out the roast beef that night and we were not disappointed. You can get the 16 ounce or 32 ounce cuts; we both chose the 16-ounce and brought leftovers home for the next day. The beef was great, but equally wonderful were the homemade potato chips and ranch dressing they serve while you are waiting for your dinner. I probably could have made a meal out of them!

IMG_8944IMG_8949Enjoying the park at the Atlantic Yacht BasinIMG_8983IMG_8994-2

You never know what you may find along the way.  Here, right next to our boat at the park,  we found a Hump Day Food Truck Day in Chesapeake, VA.

IMG_8998-2IMG_9005-2The fireboat bringing Chessie, a mascot bear, to the food fest.IMG_9010-2IMG_9014-2

On June 6th, we made our way to our first stop in Virginia. We arrived at the Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina where we bought diesel fuel to last us through our summer cruise on the Chesapeake Bay. Interestingly, there we found a couple of brokers who knew our boat before it was AfterMath. They had listed it for the previous owners and recognized it immediately. It was fun to talk to the men and tell them about our great adventures so far.   We stayed at the marina that night, but the next day, as the weather looked dreary, we moved across the river to the free dock at the lovely park there. I was so happy to get off and check out the park and then to take Kirby for a nice long walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. I kept thinking how the trees have changed throughout our voyage. We have been from Connecticut, to Canada, to Grenada and now up the ICW. We’ve moved from deciduous trees to pine forests, to palm trees and back to pine trees. Anyway, it was a lovely to walk in the perfectly maintained park along the water where magnolia trees grew and bloomed wildly and fragrantly, and the pine trees grew tall and green.

IMG_9018This is a sign at the one lock we needed to pass through after leaving Coinjock.  It raises you only four feet but it was the slowest lock we have ever experienced.  We were sure that the 60 foot ones in Canada took far less time.IMG_6715Norfolk, VA is always a fascinating place to travel through.  Boats of every kind are there.  This year we went through as they were preparing for a Harbor Fest.IMG_6718IMG_6724IMG_6734IMG_6743

IMG_6750IMG_6752Of course, we always love the many kinds of aircraft we see as well.IMG_6760The Coast Guard Eagle – a treat to see.IMG_9027We found ourselves anchored right in the middle of a sailboat race!

Today, June 8th, we continued up the ICW through Norfolk, VA. Norfolk is always fun and interesting to see. Lots of ships, busy air traffic, and the city make the trip fun. It is so amazing how much of America you can see just on this waterway along the coast. The scenery is always changing. Tonight we find ourselves in an anchorage that is frequented by helicopters, airplanes, and a sailboat race. Today we passed by Navy ships and tall ships as they prepare for the Norfolk Harbor Fest. Tomorrow we enter the Chesapeake Bay, our goal for the summer. We left Grenada on October 30th and have traveled 2974 nautical miles, or 3422 statute miles, since that time. Our days are filled with beauty and variety, and that is wonderful. We do miss some important things, like our granddaughter’s very first dance recital, which is breaking my heart (break a leg, Madison, we love you so much). Life is a trade off though and, all in all, I will never regret taking this trip of a lifetime.

Here is where we are today:

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3 thoughts on “Making our way to the Chesapeake Bay (May 24th – June 8th, 2017)

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