Thursday, May 19, 2022

Stingray Boat Works - waiting for a haulout

 

Well we did find a facedock for the night. There are two boats ahead of us tomorrow.

Rather than come over to the haulout dock in the morning, we decided to move over after their closing time so we would be sure to be first in line. We were due to be first anyway so we motored over but discovered that there were two boats ahead of us than they had not yet hauled as of 4:30. We were surprised to find no room but there was a dock just to the north of the haulout that was free and we took that for the night. 

This is NOT Fleetwing. This boat is sitting i the slings for the night, ahead of us.

So now we are in a line for Friday morning. We can’t leave until Fleetwing is settled in for the summer. I need to ensure the boat is plugged into power for the dehumidifier - which is the only thing that has ever worked to keep mildew at bay. 

We are both exhausted from unloading Fleetwing and loading the car. The other major work items as taking down the Bimini and enclosure, big projects. As we sit here at 6:45, Fleetwing is finally ready. The only thing that remains to be done is emptying the freezer and refrigerator. The yard will put Fleetwing up on blocks and store the dinghy under the boat. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come down in the summer and work on Fleetwing to prepare it for the fall season. 

So another season comes to a close. It’s been great fun meeting all the people that use my tracks. We’ve seen visitors at every marina we’ve been at on the way north, great fun. Here’s hoping tomorrow goes as expected!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Dozier’s - at a dock

What a great front porch!

 We are taking three days to get ready for a haulout by Stingray. Today was my chore to do an oil and oil filter change along with two fuel filter changes and a transmission oil change. That took most of the morning but it’s part of getting the boat ready for summer storage and a quick departure in the fall. 

The docks are floating, very nice, well maintained

On Thursday, it’s boat cleaning day and packing for the trip. We have to fit everything into our Nissan Rogue which is normally not a problem except we’re taking our bimini and enclosure along too, both are in need of repairs. It’s almost impossible getting canvass repairs done on the ICW so we’ll return to our original canvass guy and have him do it. 

They even have a small swimming pool. The laundromat is next door.

The marina here is pretty nice. They have a great front porch and floating docks, both pluses. The people are nice and everything’s in good shape. We plan on returning in the fall to launch Fleetwing and then move over to Dozier’s for a day or so to do final prep on Fleetwing for the trip south. I think we are returning to Key West again if everything holds up as expected. Friday is still our departure date for New York.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Regatta Point Yatching Center (formerly Dozier’s) - at a dock

 

I’ve never seen so many aircraft carriers in for maintenance, about 6 I think I counted

After a week of high winds at Dowry Creek Marina, the weather has been great. How can you complain about winds less than 10 kts along with a flood tide to push you north on the Chesapeake? We had the tide all the way to our marina. 

We led a parade northward out of Norfolk

Along the way, we saw huge cargo ships anchored in the Chesapeake, about a dozen, waiting, I guess, for a spot to dock? We passed two cargo ships on our way from Norfolk. They were doing 15 kts and we had to time our passage across their bow so as to not interrupt their travel. Regardless of that, we did see several small boats that I though were way too close to the big ships but that’s up to the captain. 

Our home for the next three days, nice floating docks!

With the good winds and fair tide, we made it to Dozier’s by 2:30 (leaving Norfolk YC at 8:15). We are now in the last stages of our season, somewhat sad. We need to clean the boat tomorrow and I have to change the oil and filters along with the associated fuel filters to get Fleetwing ready to go in the fall. 

We are putting Fleetwing on the hard at Stingray Point Boat Works which is a DIY yard so I’m allow to work on Fleetwing myself. Some yards do not allow the owner to do his own work but Stingray does. So Wednesday is a work day and Thursday is a packing day. Then it’s over to Stingray to pull the boat, after which, we’ll head north. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Norfolk Yacht Club - at a dock

 

Waiting at Great Bridge for an opening

We took a casual approach to leaving this morning, not until 9:00 am, we only had 21 NM to go. When at the bridge, I noticed a drone hovering nearby. Who could that be? I later found out that it was from the couple we met last night. They were still at the free dock waiting for parts and flew the drone to capture footage of us going through the bridge and up to the lock. See the link for the video. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ejjKls01PBAnbcA9A8IwURBgcrei2Z8f/view?usp=drivesdk

Many aircraft carriers in for refitting 

We made all the bridges and railroad bridges without any delays (what’s all the fuss… ? Ha..) We counted ourselves lucky and motored on to the Norfolk YC for a dock. We made it about an hour before the storms came roaring through with winds to 40 kts! We saw it coming and I tied everything down but 40 kts is still pretty strong no matter how well things are secured.

The Norfolk YC is just fabulous. Here’s a typical room but there’s several restaurants, many other
Meeting rooms, presentation halls, etc. Immaculately done.

We are getting close to the end of our winter ICW trip. Our last day will be on Tuesday when we move along to Deltaville for three days of packing before hauling Fleetwing at Stingray Point Boat Works and leaving for New York in our car which we stored there over the winter. It was a good season even though the winds were much worse than our experience in previous years. We are already looking ahead to next year, a return to Key West.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Free dock before Great Bridge - tied up

 

The couple on the boat ahead of us on the dock had a Great Dane!

All the water levels are back to normal after the strong north winds finally stopped. It was a calm day to for the ride to the free dock just south of Great Bridge. A couple that tied up before us helped us to the dock. We exchanged boat cards and didn’t think anything of it but then he came back a little later and said, “Oh, you’re that Bob”, meaning Bob423, the one with all the tracks they’ve been following (we get that a lot). We had a long talk after than on boating. 

A town councilman visited too - he said they were going to add WiFi and electricity to the docks

Then we had a visitor from the local town council who was planning to buy a boat for the first time so we had a lot to talk about. It’s fun meeting people along the ICW. All boaters are nothing if not enthusiastic.

Such a pretty area for a hike

One of the reasons we like stopping here (other than the free dock) is the nearby park with hiking trails. I always take a hike and explore the area. It’s mostly level and the trails are well maintained in a woodland setting. I didn’t see any insects, just a nice walk. 

The bright sunshine through the leaves gave a magical quality to the scene. 

We have a short day on Monday, only 21 NM to the Norfolk YC where we will stage for our last leg to Deltaville on Tuesday. We have reservations at Dozier’s for three days before haulout on Friday at Stingray Point Boat Works. Then it’s home to Lagrangeville, NY.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Coinjock - at a facedock, packed as usual but with a prime rib dinner!

 

Packed in, as usual in Coinjock

The forecast said rain all day but it cleared in the morning with heavy rain expected later in the day. The winds were light across Albemarle so we ventured out anyway. There were storms all around us but they all missed for the most part. Once again, the forecast was foreboding but the promise of bad weather was not fulfilled. That’s all right with us! It turned out to be one of the smoothest rides across the Albemarle we’ve ever had. 

We had a great dinner of prime rib

We were one of the first to arrive at Coinjock so we got an inside dock. They were busier than at any time in the past that I remember. Every second boat had another boat tied on the outside, including us. Rafting was the rule, not the exception. This was in addition to the tightest packing of anywhere on the ICW. The anchor of one boat will typically overhand the dinghy of the one in front. 

We met the restaurant manager who described the cooking process.
The prime rib roast is slow cooked for 8 hours to rare in special juices prepared just for Coinjock.
The the cooking process is then finished to the customer’s order (rare, medium, well done, etc.)

We took advantage of the Coinjock restaurant, ordering the prime rib for dinner with an appetizer and a bottle of wine. It was a nice evening. We met many boaters who knew of Bob423 and one that even asked for Ann’s signature on one of my Guide books - she’s known as the artist in the family. 

It will be interesting to see how we escape in the morning. The boat in front of us has a rafted boat as we do so it’s not straightforward to just swing out, the rafted boat adds another 15 feet to what you have to clear. We’re in no hurry anyway, we only have 31 NM to go tomorrow to the free dock just  before Great Bridge. We are still on schedule to reach Deltaville on Tuesday, so far. Then it’s home by Friday, we hope. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Alligator River Marina - at a facedock

 

Is this an omen of good cruising the rest of the way north?

The morning did not start out well. It was rain, rain, rain until 11:00 am. We had decided in advanced that 11:00 am was the drop dead time. Anything beyond that would result in a day’s delay. As luck would have it, it finally stopped raining right at 11:00 am so we got a late start north. 

We requested and received a facedock which is much easier for Ann

Our stop was to be Alligator River Marina, 41 NM distant. With some trepidation, we head out - there were more storms predicted for the afternoon but we didn’t see them. In fact, the afternoon was great with sunshine and light winds. The Alligator River was flat, no  problem there. On the way in, I saw a blip at 4.9 MLLW but just one spot and very quick. It could not have been more than a few feet long. On both sides of that blip, it was 8 MLLW.

Wilkerson Bridge at 63.5 ft which matches 
The gauge at Dowry Creek Marina
Tomorrow’s forecast does not look good. They are predicting rain essentially all day long - although not much rain, about 0.03 inches per hour. We will take a look at the radar and decide when to go. In confirming our reservation with Coinjock, we were asked if they could pony up a boat to us and we said, “Fine”. Then when in the Alligator River Marina, we met the couple from the boat that’s scheduled to raft up with us in Coinjock! We’ll see who gets there first. We certainly want a prime rib dinner that night, wouldn’t want to miss that. It’s good to be moving again.