Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Had to update the blog today because some crazy things happened! First off, we saw dolphins for the first time. And not once, but on several occasions coming down Adams Creek near Oriental and again near Beauford, NC. The first one just kind of hung out swimming right next to our cockpit, looking up at us. The second was a whole pod and they played around in our wake and swam close right off our starboard bow. That, in addition to 70 degree, sunny weather, made today an awesome day!

And filed under the category "small world," Dana and I ran into a sailing vessel with which we are quite familiar. While at a slip in River Dunes Marina in the middle of nowhere North Carolina, I was finishing a run and checking my pulse on the dock next to our boat, when a boat two down caught my eye. This 46 foot Beneteau reminded me of something, so I took a closer look.

Turns out this is the same exact sailboat Dana and I chartered for the week of our honeymoon in the US and British Virgin Islands back in 2008. How it ended up in North Carolina, and what happened to her Captain and his wife, I have no idea. But here's what it looked like the last time we ran into her.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Big blue watery road

We’re several days into the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), which officially stretches from Norfolk, VA to Northern Florida (and unofficially from Maine to Key West). It’s a collection of rivers, creeks, bays, canals and sounds that keep boats inland so they don’t have to go out into the rough Atlantic Ocean. Supposedly, it’s shorter and faster than going out into the ocean as well. The downside is that all boats have to motor pretty much the whole way, power boats and sailboats alike. Our diesel fuel bill is starting to add up. Luckily, since we’re so slow, our fuel mileage is pretty good :-) Another positive about the ICW is that it's quite beautiful at times. Currently, we are midway through North Carolina.

This is a whole new experience for Dana and me. Aside from contending with big commercial ships and having to be very familiar with “the rules of the road” on the waterway, we also have to monitor various channels on the VHF to listen for bridge openings, if boats intend to pass us, coast guard notifications, etc. We’ve had the excitement of having swing bridges, lift bridges, and draw bridges open for us. We even went through a lock with several other cruising sailboats heading south. It was like a mini panama canal!



We're definitely within a flock of boats with the same thing on their minds: the tropics. We met a couple from Canada on a sailboat with two young kids on their way to Granada. When I asked how long they’ll be gone, the dad replied “a year, two, five, I don’t know. It depends how much we like it.” Some adventurous souls. At the end of each day, we all end up either anchored near each other or at a marina. There isn’t much chatting at the anchorages yet because it’s pretty cold at night and everyone is tucked down below in their boats where it’s warm. I’m sure there will be more socializing once the nights get warmer and cruisers start motoring around in their dinghies.

We saw this sign a while back announcing that Miami was 1084 miles away. Boca Raton is not that far north of Miami. Since entering the ICW, we’ve been making 50-65 miles per day. We have less than three weeks until the wedding November 15 weekend, so it looks like we’ll make it in time but it’s going to be close. Not much time for sight seeing along the way. We’ll have to do that on the way back north.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Freezing cold but made it to the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay!

I thought heading south was supposed to lead to warmer temperatures?!? A cold snap over the last couple days has left us bundled up with virtually all the clothes we brought on board. We’ve even resorted to wearing wool socks as mittens.

However, the sailing was great due to favorable wind direction and we sailed for almost 8 hours straight yesterday, and 5 today! 

When we left both mornings there was a small craft advisory, so we prepared accordingly. Yesterday, as we turned into the wind to head to shore for the night, we were pounding into waves and they were spraying over the bow. We made it to Gloucester Point, VA last night and enjoyed the comforts of a marina. Good thing too, because we were almost out of water!

We anchored for the day near Reedville, VA the day before yesterday. The weather was really poor and we decided to take the day to work on boat chores (e.g., installing new grill on rail and a mount for our ipad by the steering wheel, changing the oil in the engine, and varnishing some of the teak. Everything in the small hamlet of Reedville was closed and it was like a ghost town. Even the local fish market and restaurant was closed! We saw a guy fishing off the dock catching fish after fish. Dana asked him if he knew of any nearby restaurants that were open and he informed her they were all closed, he immediately offered to give us some of his catch because it was more than he could eat. We dinghyed over to his house after he was done fishing and he filleted a bunch of Rockfish for us right on his dock. His name is Rodney, and we thanked him with a bottle of wine. He was extremely friendly, wished us the best, and Dana and I had the freshest grilled fish possible for dinner that night. A little taste of things to come, but in the future, I'll be catching the fish :-)

Today we sailed to Norfolk, arriving at sunset. Our heading was 180 degrees due south, which I like to see. Norfolk is full of huge, intimidating boat traffic and we hugged to the edge of the channel going through because we value our lives.

Tomorrow we'll be at mile 0 of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). After 623 nautical miles (717 real miles), we’ll be in northern Florida. So far we’ve travelled 303 miles in a week. We’re going to have to book it once we get into the ICW to make it to Boca Raton by November 15!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A ton of firsts!

A lot has transpired over the last couple days. Dana and I are settling into a routine of living on a boat. We are currently at a quiet and serene anchorage in Cockrell Creek, VA just south of the Potomac River. We went out for a row in our dinghy at sunset to take in the scenery. Launching the dinghy to explore a new anchorage over the past few nights was a first.

Since Baltimore, we've anchored every night. No dock, shore power, wifi, nothing! These were the first times we anchored for the night on Eventyr. Each night was totally calm, not at all like that night back in Fairlee Creek where we were hugging the Jack pillow for support!  We spent a night in a creek just north of Annapolis after getting a late start from Baltimore and motoring much of the day due to wind direction, then to Solomons Island, MD last night.

Today we made a relatively long push despite leaving late, as usual. Although we got up before sunrise, I went to shore for a run and Dana rode our new bike for exercise and to explore Solomons. 

Another first, we met other sailors anchored near us who are on their way to the Intracoastal Waterway to Florida and eventually the Bahamas. Both couples we met had already made it down from Canada! I think there will end up being a whole community of folks heading south on their boats, and we'll run into each other at various points. They all seem to be quite a bit older than us. :-)

On our way south over the past couple days, we passed some picturesque sights and got boat chores done.

In a couple days, we'll be in the ICW heading south to Florida. Not sure what to expect, but we have guidebooks to give us a hand.