Rock Hall Landing Marina, Rock Hall, MD to Delaware City Marina, Delaware City, DE — May 30, 2014

01-Leaving-Rock-Hall-Harbor

01-Leaving-Rock-Hall-Harbor

02-The-Angry-Sky-Of-Chesapeake-Bay

02-The-Angry-Sky-Of-Chesapeake-Bay

03-If-You-Look-Close-You-Can-See-The-Chesapeake-Bay-Bridge-In-The-Morning-Gloom

03-If-You-Look-Close-You-Can-See-The-Chesapeake-Bay-Bridge-In-The-Morning-Gloom

04-A-Work-Boat-Ship-On-The-Cheasapeake-Delaware-Canal

04-A-Work-Boat-Ship-On-The-Cheasapeake-Delaware-Canal

05-A-Work-Boat-Ship-On-The-Cheasapeake-Delaware-Canal

05-A-Work-Boat-Ship-On-The-Cheasapeake-Delaware-Canal

06-The-Bridge-At-Chesapeake-City-With-The-Marina-On-The-North-Side-Of-The-Chesapeake-Delaware-Canal

06-The-Bridge-At-Chesapeake-City-With-The-Marina-On-The-North-Side-Of-The-Chesapeake-Delaware-Canal

07-The-Bridge-At-Chesapeake-City-With-The-Marina-On-The-South-Side-Of-The-Chesapeake-Delaware-Canal

07-The-Bridge-At-Chesapeake-City-With-The-Marina-On-The-South-Side-Of-The-Chesapeake-Delaware-Canal

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08-Delaware-City-Marina-Note-The-Sun-Came-Out

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09-Homes-Of-Delaware-City

10-Homes-Of-Delaware-City

10-Homes-Of-Delaware-City

Well it rained most of the day yesterday and was quite cool.  They are predicting a cool, cloudy start to today.  We are on our way to meet Humbug, Carol Anne and Off Leash before we travel to Cape May and up to New York City.

The winds were pretty light to start the day as we left Rock Hall.  We needed to back track about 3 miles to avoid the shoals at the entrance. After we turned North there was a little more traffic.  We had almost 40 miles before we entered the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal (C-D Canal). The tide was coming in and it gave us a nice boost.  About the lowest we saw was 9.8 mph with the high being about 12 mph.  The tide cut more than an hour off the trip.

As we moved further north on the Chesapeake the wind started to pick up from the north.  This set up some chop on the Bay as the wind was against the current (incoming tide).  The Chop was getting worse but we finally got into the Elk River and behind Turkey Point, so there was no place for waves to build.

As we were moving up the Elk River I could see a sailboat and a large trawler in the binoculars.  They were quite a distance on front of us.

The C-D Canal was originally dug in the 1800’s and was expanded in size twice.  It presently is 450′ wide and 45′ deep in the center.  A freighter leaving Philadelphia will save 300 miles not having to go out to the Atlantic and back up the Chesapeake to get to Baltimore. Chesapeake City is located on the Canal and there is one other Marina a little further east, Summit.  Not a lot of other development along the Canal. The Canal is 16 miles long and 4 road bridges and 1 railroad bridge cross the waterway.

We did pass the sailboat I had seen near the end of the C-D Canal but we pulled into Delaware City Marina right behind the large Canadian Trawler. We visited Delaware City Marina last year and the marina personnel were great.  Very efficient in the docking procedures because there is lots of current in the canal that the marina is located on.

We took a walk into town and the market, and I am using that word loosely, was nothing to write home about. The market was a glorified convenience store.  It was just missing the gas pumps out front.

The Delaware Bay can be a very tricky body of water.  The marina holds a discussion session at 17:15 each day because the NOAA projections are updated at 5:00 and 17:00 each day. We reviewed their projection for wind, tide and current.  The results of our review was that while we would check again in the morning that the conditions would not be good on the Bay tomorrow and it would be prudent to wait. We have about 20 nautical miles on the Delaware River to travel and then approx. 28 nautical miles on the Delaware Bay to travel to get to the Cape May Canal.

We had a good time with docktails on the back of Champ III with Humbug, Carol Anne and Fruitcakes.  Off leash had gone ahead to Cape May this morning.  Fruitcakes are Loopers that started their Loop about 5 weeks ago from just north of Myrtle Beach. A good time was had by all.

Higgins Yacht Yard, St Michaels, MD to Rock Hall Landing Marina, Rock Hall, MD — May 28, 2014

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01-St-Michaels-Harbor-Shore-Line

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02-St-Michaels-Harbor-Shore-Line

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03-St-Michaels-Harbor-Shore-Line

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04-St-Michaels-Harbor-Shore-Line

05-Osprey-Guarding-The-Nest

05-Osprey-Guarding-The-Nest

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06-Kent-Narrows-Shoreline

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07-Kent-Narrows-Restaurant

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08-Hitchhiker-From-St-Michaels-Released-In-Rock-Hall

08 Rock Hall

08 Rock Hall

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09-Docks-In-Rock-Hall-With-Watermans-Resaurant-On-Left

10-Champ-III-On-Dock-At-Rock-Hall

10-Champ-III-On-Dock-At-Rock-Hall

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11-Around-Town-In-Rock-Hall

12-Around-Town-In-Rock-Hall

12-Around-Town-In-Rock-Hall

Pretty nice morning today with the sun out and temps about 70.  Forecast for today is heavy thunderstorms and the different forecast pretty much say this afternoon.

Kind of hated to leave St Michaels after only a day and half to look around.  We did make a commitment to meet the other boats in Delaware City on Friday, the 30th.

We got an early start today to miss the rain while we are on the water. We left the dock at 7:00.  The water was pretty flat with extremely light winds.  They got a little stronger as we got further out into Eastern Bay but not a problem.  We were headed to Kent Narrows which was another recommendation form the Oxford Yacht Agency Owner. He said it would keep us from backtracking and save a lot of time.  We had about 13 miles to Kent Narrows and another 13 to Rock Hall on the other side of the Narrows.

Kent Narrows shows as a pretty shallow area on the charts but there certainly are a lot of boats at the marinas around the narrows and some f them looked large to me.  We did see about 5′ water depths as we went thru and we were on a falling tide.

The sky did get darker as we went and we did get a few drops on the windshield but nothing serious.  I kept an eye on the weather radar and saw that we had several hours before the serious rain arrived in the northern part of Chesapeake Bay.

Traffic was relatively light all the way.  We had a few boats that left St  Michaels after us and they got close to passing us until they had to stop for the bascule bridge in Kent Narrows.  They then crossed the Bay and it looked like they were going to Baltimore.

We arrived in Rock Hall about 10:30 and had lots of help to tie up.  After we were all settled in Candy and I went to the office to get checked in.  Well Candy likes this marina office.  She has not seen this quantity of treats since Plantation Yacht Harbor. It was hard to get her out of the building when we were done.

I walked about 3/4 mile into town to stop at the grocery.  It was a small store but had the required essentials we needed/wanted.  I did not spend a lot of time waling around town but did see some of the restored buildings and the ice cream shop.

It is supposed to be cold and rainy on Thursday and we leave tomorrow for Delaware City if the winds are favorable.  We have about 40 miles on Chesapeake Bay before we get into the C & D Canal (Chesapeake-Delaware Canal). The forecast right now is not bad for tomorrow.

Oxford Yacht Agency. Oxford, MD to Higgins Yacht Yard, St Michaels, MD — May 26, 2014

01-Leaving-Oxford-Yacht-Agency

01-Leaving-Oxford-Yacht-Agency

02-Leaving-Oxford

02-Leaving-Oxford

03-Homes-In-Oxford-MD

03-Homes-In-Oxford-MD

04-Residents-Of-Oxford-On-Red-Marker

04-Residents-Of-Oxford-On-Red-Marker

05-Homes-Of-Oxford

05-Homes-Of-Oxford

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06-Homes-Of-Oxford

07-One-Way-To-Combat-The-Boats-With-Wake

07-One-Way-To-Combat-The-Boats-With-Wake

08-Homes-Of-Oxford

08-Homes-Of-Oxford

09-Hiromi-On-Off-Leash-Waiting-To-Cast-Off

09-Hiromi-On-Off-Leash-Waiting-To-Cast-Off

10-Mike-On-Off-Leash-Making-Prep-To-Depart-St-Michaels

10-Mike-On-Off-Leash-Making-Prep-To-Depart-St-Michaels

11-Syd-Getting-Ready-To-Pilot-Off-Leash

11-Syd-Getting-Ready-To-Pilot-Off-Leash

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12-Off-Leash-Departing-St-Michaels

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13-Higgins-Yacht-Yard

14-Champ-III-At-The-Dock-In-St-Michaels

14-Champ-III-At-The-Dock-In-St-Michaels

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15-St-Michaels-Harbor-Shoreline

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16-Looking-North-On-Locust-Street

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17-Looking-Toward-Marina-On-Carpenter-Street

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20-Looking-North-On-Talbot-Street

We were on the water early today and were able to avoid most of the holiday traffic as we left Oxford.  The wind was out of the southwest and we were traveling west as we headed toward Knapps Narrow, one of the spots John had pointed us to to save miles instead of going all the way back to the Bay.

We stopped in Knapp’s Narrows to fuel.  The only place we have found so far that you use your credit card at the pump.  A self serve fuel station.

After Knapp’s Narrow we did not have all that for to go but we were staying far enough off shore to avoid the shallower bottom.  The boats on the bay were incredible.  We were on The Eastern Bay and St. Michaels was emptying after the holiday weekend.  There must have been 150 boats in this armada headed west.  About 60% of them were sailboats and about 1/2 of them had their sails up even though there was minimal wind.  The wake was incredible and a lot like Lake St Clair on a Sunday afternoon.

On the way into St Michaels we were catching up to a sailing catamaran (no sails up). As we got close we realized it was Off Leash.  We had met them on the Trent Severn last year and kept in touch but have not met up since Pentwater in Lake Michigan.  We talked on the radio and they came into Higgins Yacht Yard for the night.

It was really good to see Mike and Hiromi again along with Syd.  We had time to talk and we went to the Carpenter Street Tavern (Irish Pub) for dinner.

Off Leash travels slower than us so they are leaving tomorrow and we should see them in Delaware City on Friday.  That maybe in doubt because there are 60% chance of thunderstorms today and tomorrow. We will need to keep our eye on the sky and be prepared. Some storms are forecasted to be heavy.

St. Michaels is a lot like Oxford except it appears to be larger.  Geographically they are probably only about 10 miles apart by car but a little over 30 by water. The harbor gets a little rocky on a holiday afternoon.

The marina is close to the shopping area with an easy walk to the market.  The residential area streets are a little over 1 lane wide with the houses right next to each other and very small. It is an interesting community that dates back I believe to the early 1600’s.

Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield, MD to Oxford Yacht Agency. Oxford, MD — May 25, 2014

01-The-Crew-Catching-Some-Shut-Eye-Before-We-Depart-Crisfield

01-The-Crew-Catching-Some-Shut-Eye-Before-We-Depart-Crisfield

02-Smith-Island-Ferry-From-Crisfield

02-Smith-Island-Ferry-From-Crisfield

03-High-Cotton-Trawler-Docked-In-Crisfield

03-High-Cotton-Trawler-Docked-In-Crisfield

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04-Coast-Guard-Docks-In-Crisfield

05-Tow-Boat-In-Crisfield

05-Tow-Boat-In-Crisfield

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06-Leaving-Crisfield

07-Oxford-Historical-Marker

07-Oxford-Historical-Marker

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08-Oxford-Harbor-Looking-North

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09-South-End-Of-Oxford-Harbor

10-Looking-Toward-Entrance-Of-Oxford-Harbor

10-Looking-Toward-Entrance-Of-Oxford-Harbor

11-Oxford-Yacht-Agency-Marina

11-Oxford-Yacht-Agency-Marina

We stayed in Crisfield for a couple of extra days because of the wind.  It was out of the north and that is the direction we are traveling in.  There would have been no protection and going directly into 4′ waves would not be fun.

One of the boats in Crisfield was a trawlers, High Cotton.  We met them in the Dismal Swamp at the north lock.  We rafted off them while waiting for the lock.  They are traveling up and down the East Coast and enjoying themselves.  They have a young Yorkshire Terrier that is a little afraid of Candy. I think the size is intimidating.

We have been emailing with Humbug and Off Leash about meeting in Delaware City and traveling from there to New York City.  There is a 3rd boat Carol Anne.  They are Loopers but we have not traveled with them.  We have seen them at several ports. Anyway, all 3 boats will be crossing their wake and completing the Loop in NYC. It will be neat to celebrate with them on this special occasion.

The traffic on the water today was not as bad as I had anticipated.  Being the holiday weekend there was a lot of traffic but there was more than enough water and space for everyone.

Todays route went thru several pages of the chart kit book so I really had not done a good job of estimating the distance to Oxford.  Once we were underway I checked it more carefully and it is about 80 miles so this is a pretty long day.  After a couple of hours we went on plane to cut the time.

I called the marina on the phone and left a message.  In their message there was a cell number but the message was also from March 10th. When we did not get and answer back and we were about 15 miles from the marina I called the cell number. John, the owner, answered the phone and said he had room for us and would meet us at the dock.

As we got closer the holiday weekend was in full swing with lots of boaters on the water. Oxford is a popular area and where we were staying was all the way at the end of the river. I felt this would limit the amount of boat wake we would feel.

Once we were tied up John said to bring my charts and he would go over the best routes for the remainder of our trip on the Chesapeake.  He said he could limit the time we spent back tracking by going thru some of the narrows between the islands. We spent about an hour and he made copies of the chart areas and gave me detailed navigation data that will help.  Boy local knowledge is really great.

Candy and I did our local walking and we were pretty well located at the south end of Oxford and walked past some of the stores and other marinas. The Town was originally settled in the 1600’s and the homes are well kept.  Lots of brick pavers used on the sidewalks although the roads are black top.  Very nice area and from the flyers in the window at the real estate office the price are quite substantial for nice property.

We went to the Oxford Inn for dinner.  It is an Inn with Room upstairs from the restaurant.  The menu was limited with maybe 6 or 7 entrees but it was really great. The building is an old, old structure with sagging floors and an old wood bar. It was named Popes Tavern and out front Mr. Pope had an old English Taxi parked complete with right hand drive.

Tomorrow on to St Michaels.

Parks Marina, Tangier, VA to Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield, MD — May 21, 2014

01-Leaving-Tangiers-Looking-At-The-Western-Channel

01-Leaving-Tangiers-Looking-At-The-Western-Channel

02-One-of-the-Tangiers-Residents

02-One-of-the-Tangiers-Residents

03-Typical-Crabber-Shack-On-The-Channel

03-Typical-Crabber-Shack-On-The-Channel

04-A-Series-Of-Crabber-Shacks-On-THe-Eastern-Channel

04-A-Series-Of-Crabber-Shacks-On-THe-Eastern-Channel

05-Looking-Southwest-At-The-Populated-Part-Of-Tangiers

05-Looking-Southwest-At-The-Populated-Part-Of-Tangiers

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06-Obviously-Not-Used-Anymore

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07-Good-View-Of-The-Tangiers-Shoreline

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08-Somers-Cove-Marina-In-Crisfield-MD

09-Tour-Boats-In-Somers-Cove-Marina

09-Tour-Boats-In-Somers-Cove-Marina

10-Looking-Down-The-Docks-Toward-The-Office-At-Somers-Cove-Marina

10-Looking-Down-The-Docks-Toward-The-Office-At-Somers-Cove-Marina

11-Coast-Guard-Station-In-Somers-Cove-marina

11-Coast-Guard-Station-In-Somers-Cove-marina

It was a little gray in the sky today and it had rained a little overnight.  The winds were still out of the west about 10 to 15 mph.

Candy and I had a good walk this morning with Candy acting as stimulation for some of the local dogs.  We also saw a lot of cats.  Candy actually was sniffing under a bench and at first I did not notice that there was a cat on the bench seat. Candy never noticed. On the way back to the boat we saw 7 cats on Mr. Parks back porch area and Candy wanted to meet them but I said no.

We did not have far to go so we did not get underway until after 9:00.  Crisfield Maryland is only north about 10 miles and it is on the eastern shore. We did see a lot of fishing boats during the cruise to Crisfield.  From what we heard this has been a very, very good year so far for the Watermen (fishermen) in the area. They are bringing in bushels and bushels of crab where that last several years were pretty lean.

We had no cell service so we waited until we were half way there before we called the marina. Somers Cove Marina had a slip for us.  I got the impression that Memorial Day is the start of their season.  I know the weather around here has not been great until the last 2 weeks or so. Their floating dock is all reserved for the weekend so we are staying at a fixed dock but it has a full finger pier so that is great. Their swimming pool is almost ready to go, but the Department of Health will be out tomorrow to test and approve.

The day brightened up and the sun came out.  I walked to the local Food Lion grocery Store to pick up some of the essentials were low on. I had decided not to go to the grocery at Tangiers because we were not desperate for anything and in all likelihood the food would be less expensive in a mainland grocery.

Crisfield is on the end of a peninsula on the eastern shore. The Main Street is divided and mostly has houses on it but there are some businesses down near the end and about another 1/2 mile out. The walk to the grocery was probably 1 1/2 miles or so. Candy did not get to go for the walk.

 

Hampton Public Piers, Hampton, VA to Parks Marina, Tangier, VA — May 20, 2014

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05-Trying-To-Keep-The-Crew-Satisified

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07-Eastern-Channel-Into-Tangiers-VA

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08-Mr-Parks-Crabber-Boat

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09-Looking-Toward-Town-On-Tangiers-Island

10-Tangiers-Island-Main-Street-With-2-Restaurants-and-Grocery-Store

10-Tangiers-Island-Main-Street-With-2-Restaurants-and-Grocery-Store

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11-Still-On-THe-Main-Street-Near-The-Historical-Museum-And-Church

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13-Spankys-Makes-Good-Shakes-And-Candy-Was-Invited-In

14-Historical-Marker-About-The-Early-Years-Of-Tangiers

14-Historical-Marker-About-The-Early-Years-Of-Tangiers

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15-Main-Street-With-Cemetery-On-Right-Special-Watertight-Covers-Over-Graves

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15-Tangiers-Fire-Station

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16-The-Sign-Says-It-All

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18-Parks-Marina-In-Tangiers-Set-Among-The-Crabber-Shacks

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18-Early-Evening-On-The-Western-Channel-Into-Tangiers

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19-Sunset-Over-The-Chesapeake-Bay-At-Tangiers

The wind forecast was good with the winds having switched to the southwest overnight.  Well once we exited the river onto the Chesapeake Bay the winds were really out of the west and we were rolling with the 2’ to 3’ waves.  We picked up the speed some and that helped but it was not the most comfortable ride. The sky was clear and the sun was out even though they were predicting a chance of rain.

There was a lot of chatter on the radio regarding Navy Ship exercises and maintaining a clear zone around the ship. Also had one broadcast where they were doing “demolition exercises”, and wanted a 2 mile clear zone.  The demolition exercise (whatever that was) was out on the Atlantic at least 15 miles south of us.

We saw several Ships/freighters anchored out in the Chesapeake Bay on the East Side. They all looked like they were empty and we never got within a couple of miles of them. They were probably “salties” waiting for a cargo at one of the ports.

I called Parks Marina on the mobile phone and got an answering machine so I left a message for Mr. Parks and figured he would call back. As we approached Tangiers Island it is a low lying Island that is probably no more than 6’ above high tide.  We could see a lot of buildings and a water tower. The main channel into the island area cuts right thru the center from east to west.  We came in the east side because I thought the Island would give us some protection from the wind but thankfully the wind had subsided to almost nothing as we approached. The channel was well marked and about 6’ to 7’ deep at the shallowest points and we were coming in about an hour after low tide.

It is quite an experience to see Tangiers.  All the shoreline along the channel is lined with docks and fishing boats.  The men go out fishing for crabs and they are called Watermen. We saw lots of boats out on the Bay and several followed us into the harbor.

I tried raising the Marina on 16/72 but with no success.  Another boat came on and said that Mr Parks goes not answer the phone or the radio. We proceeded in and found the marina.  We pulled alongside one of the larger docks and tied up. The impression you get is an old, old fishing village. The marina had a few boats in the slips.

We talked with a couple who were on a boat at the marina and they indicated that Mr. Parks was in the hospital.  He had had a pacemaker installed a while back and an infection had developed. The people who were there the previous night had left checks with them and they were leaving in the morning. I gave them a check for our dockage, $35.00 and one other boat that had come in also gave them a check. Later in the afternoon a woman came by saying she was related to Mr. Parks and I told her the one of the other couples had the dockage fees. She thanked us and went over to see them.

Candy and I walked thru the town.  It has its own Post Office, Historical Museum, Fire Station, grocery store and probably 5 restaurants. The main road is probably one lane wide and all the houses are wood framed and not very large.  I took some pictures to try and give you a flavor of Tangiers. The main mode of transportation is electric golf cart although I did see 3 pickups and 1 car. You can rent a golf cart or bicycle. The island is absolutely flat.  If there is a big blow the place must be underwater.

2 Ferries come over each day with tourists, from Reedville and Crisfield.  The ferries leave at 5:00 and everything closes up for the night.  Some of the gift shops are only open Friday and Saturdays. One of the reviews I saw said there were more dead people here that living ones and the settlement dates back to the early 1800’s. There are graves all over the place and maybe the comment is true.

I thought it was a nice place with a lot of character. Certainly different than some of the “big city” marinas we have visited.  I would come back here again.

Top Rack Marina, Chesapeake, VA to Hampton Public Piers, Hampton, VA — May 18, 2014

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01-Top-Rack-Marina-Offices-Deli-Amber-Lantern-Restaurant

02-Looking-South-On-The-ICW-Toward-Norfolk-8-Miles-Away

02-Looking-South-On-The-ICW-Toward-Norfolk-8-Miles-Away

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03-Looking-Up-The-ICW-Toward-Coinjock

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04-The-New-Bridge-To-Replace-The-Bascule-Bridge-Was-Under-Construction-Last-Year

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05-Top-Rack-Is-Primarily-A-Rack-Storage-Operation-With-Power-At-8-Slips

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06-Approaching-The-Port-Of-Norfolk

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09-Aircraft-Carrier-In-Dry-Dock

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10-Downtown-Norfolk-With-Naval-Museum-Where-We-Stayed-Last-Year-Just-Right-Of-The-Burgee

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11-Downtown-Norfolk-With-Waterside-Marina-In-Foreground

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12-Naval-Museum-Nauticus-Downtown-Norfolk

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13-Hampton-VA-Public-Piers

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14-Hampton-VA-Public-Piers

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15-Hampton-Virginia-Air-Space-Center-With-Curved-Roof

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16-You-Need-To-Know-Where-The-Boat-Will-Swing-And-The-Depth-Before-Low-Tide

17-Old-Hampton-Shopping-District-Early-Morning-Walk

17-Old-Hampton-Shopping-District-Early-Morning-Walk

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18-Old-Hampton-Shopping-District-Early-Morning-Walk

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19-Old-Hampton-Shopping-District-Early-Morning-Walk

We planned on cruising from Top Rack to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore today.  They had a problem at Top Rack with the fuel dock when we arrived.  The computer had crashed and they could not pump fuel.  We were at the dock this morning at 8:00 when they opened.  We departed at 8:20, great service.

The sky was about half clouds and the temps were in the 60’s but as the sun came up it warmed some.  The wind was light at Top Rack and they were calling for 10 to 15 mph out of the north on the Chesapeake Bay.

Early Sunday the traffic was light and the tide did not bother us.  We passed the Port of Norfolk on the South side of town.  There were also a number of dry dock areas where Navy Ships were being retrofitted.  Some of the ship was covered with tarps and I assumed that they were cleaning and painting those areas.

The Downtown Norfolk area looked nice from the water.  Not much activity in the morning.  We did see a couple of large tugs but they were not moving any barges.  The only low bridges were 4 or 5 railroad bridges and those are normally up unless there is a scheduled train.

South of Norfolk is a large are on the Eastern shore that houses a large number of Naval Ships that are also being retrofitted.  These did not appear to be in dry dock. This section of the River is fairly straight and heads due north and runs right up to the Chesapeake Bay. It is probably 8 to 10 miles long.  The water was getting pretty rough and the wind seemed stronger than 15 mph so we decided to go to Hampton VA in lieu of Cape Charles.  We had not been to Hampton Last Summer.

Active Captain is great because I was able to call up the app on my IPhone and decide that we would stay at the Hampton Public Piers.  I called and made a reservation and that is all it took. This was actually the plan B I had in mind in case the wind was to much.

The Hampton Public Piers are all the way in on the river and that would cut down on traffic  on the river and the wake we would see on the boat.  The marina does have a Ferry Boat that takes passengers on tours of the Norfolk area and it also has a large fishing boat where they can take out dozens and dozens of fishermen at one time.

The marina is right in the downtown area and associated with the adjacent Crown Plaza Hotel.  If we had wanted to we could have used their pool or sauna.  The Virginia Air and Space Center  was just a short walk away and they also had Imax movies.  The Downtown district was pretty neat and had lots of shops, bars and restaurants.

The only bad thing was that on our first walk, Candy and I were attacked by a bird.  It wasn’t a barn swallow but it did some dive bombing at me and did touch the back of my shirt a couple of times.  This also happened the second time we went out even though we put a variation into the route.  We stayed away from that park area the rest of the stay.  On the morning we left we were coming back from our downtown walk and had another bird problem.  This was about 6 blocks from where the first problem was so I am assuming it was a different bird. Oh Well!!

This was a good stop that we enjoyed.

Lamb’s Marina, Elizabeth City, NC to Top Rack Marina, Chesapeake, VA — May 15, 2014

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01-Leaving-Lambs-Marina

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02-Leaving-Lambs-Marina

03-Pasquotank-River-With-Railroad-Bridge

03-Pasquotank-River-With-Railroad-Bridge

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04-Pasquotank-River-Starts-to-Narrow-as-We-Move-Further-North

05-Cypress-Swamp-Along-Pasquotank-River

05-Cypress-Swamp-Along-Pasquotank-River

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06-Pasquotank-River-Narrows

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07-Pasquotank-River-Banks

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08-Dismal-Swamp-Canal-is-Pretty-Narrow

09-Hard-to-Pass-Another-Boat-But-We-Did-Squeeze-By-A-Southbound-Trawler-Today

09-Hard-to-Pass-Another-Boat-But-We-Did-Squeeze-By-A-Southbound-Trawler-Today

10-Moving-North-Along-Dismal-Swamp-Canal

10-Moving-North-Along-Dismal-Swamp-Canal

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11-Dismal-Swamp-Canal-Banks

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14-The-Dismal-Swamp-Canal-Banks-Can-Be-Pretty-Thick-With-Growth

Another nice sunny day but the rain is sitting in the western part of North Carolina and moving slowly east.  Our plan was to go to the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center free dock for the next 2 nights. According to the weather reports it is going to rain all day tomorrow.  We decided to pass thru the canal and move on to Top Rack the marina we fueled at last year.

The day stayed sunny for most of the morning and then the clouds started to move in. We did stop at the Visitor Center to walk Candy but we got back on the canal in about 20 minutes.  You enter and leave the canal by lock with a lift/or drop of about 8′. The locks only operate at 8:30, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30. We entered at the 11:00 lock and left at the 3:30 lock.

After we left the Visitor Center we had about a 5 minute shower.  It was heavy enough to obscure the boat about 1/2 mile ahead of us.  It did cool off the temps a little and that was welcome.

The canal is a swamp on the west side and a highway/road runs along the east side.  Some homes along the east side but probably not more than about 20 for the 21 mile length.  Originally George Washington had about 15.000 acres of land and was the president of the Dismal Swamp Owners Association.  The Plan was to harvest the cypress trees and use the canal to move the timber to market. Before this got underway an easier harvest area was opened along one of the readily accessible sounds in North Carolina but the canal had already been built.

Much has been written about the Dismal Swamp Depth and the Army Corp tries to maintain a minimum of 6′.  We did not see anything less than 6′ but we did hit some dead heads that were essentially submerged.  I did not see them until we heard the clunk and them saw it surface behind the boat.  We have no low speed vibration so I am hoping there is no damage.

The rain tomorrow may help us because we are staying at Top Rack Marina.  They had a slip for us with power tonight, but all the slips with power were already reserved for tomorrow night.  If it rains enough the reservations may not be used.

We are going to need to watch the weather closely because from here we will start up the Chesapeake Bay.  Last year we did the western side of the Chesapeake Bay and this year we will do the eastern side. I am still planning the stops but it looks like our first stop will be Cape Charles which is just North of the Atlantic Ocean Entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

Dowry Creek Marina, Belhaven, NC to Lamb’s Marina, Elizabeth City, NC — May 14, 2014

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01-Dowry-Creek-Marina

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02-Leaving-Dowry-Creek

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03-Leaving-Dowry-Creek

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05-Shoreline-Along-Pungo-RIver-Alligator-River-Canal

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06-You-Know-It-Is-Hot-When-The-Crew-Hangs-Out-At-The-Water-Bowl

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07-The-Pasquotank-River

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08-The-Pasquotank-River

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09-Lambs-Marina

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11-Lambs-Marina

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12-Lambs-Marina-Entrance-From-Pasquotank-River

Light breeze this morning out of the south with clear and sunny skies.  We plan on going to the Alligator River Marina today unless conditions are good for crossing the Albemarle Sound. Last year we had very windy conditions with winds from the Northeast.  This year we arrived at the Alligator River Bridge just in time for an opening and the water had a hint if a southerly breeze.  We did not hesitate and we crossed the Sound and headed to Elizabeth City.

The cruise from Dowry Creek goes thru the Pungo River/Alligator River Canal that is about 25 miles long.  Most of the shore for the length of the canal is cypress swamps with quite a few dead trees.  Lenore did spot a eagle in a tree along the south shore of the canal.

There was not a lot of traffic.  A trawler that was at Dowry Creek last night left just after us and was about 2 miles behind us.  They passed us in the canal and were about 1 1/2 miles ahead of us when we got onto the Albemarle Sound. They went the Virginia Cut route while we headed for Elizabeth City.

As we were crossing the Albemarle Sound the wind at one time actually died to nothing and the water was relatively smooth.  When you couple this with the 90 degree temps it was pretty warm in the cockpit. We noticed that the bascule bridge in Elizabeth City only opened on the 1//2 hour between 4:00 and 6:00 so we decided to pick up the pace some so we would arrive at the bridge well before 4:00.  That got us a good breeze in the cockpit to cool things off.

We considered staying at the Elizabeth City Town Docks.  They are free and the locals will hold a happy hour if there are 5 boats. There was a cautionary note that the docks were exposed to a South wind so we decided to stay at Lamb’s Marina.  It was another 3 miles past the town docks and it is quite the place.  The Active Captain comments were right on with their description and they had given it 4 stars.  The marina is essentially a trailer park with a boat basin.  We are really pushing the upper limits of the size of boat they can take. They have a grocery store, really more like a convenience store and a courtesy car. Pretty good price on diesel at $3.90/gal. and it is a flat rate of $35 per night.

The folks are friendly and the local boaters are very helpful.  We are next to a catamaran that has a women and 3 cats aboard and 2 boats away from an English Bulldog, Lilly. None of the boats could be even loosely considered pristine.  There are a couple of boats that are going to be sold by auction.  Interesting place.

There is rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for tomorrow.  It looks like it will arrive in the evening so we will go to the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center in the morning.  Not a long day as it is only 22 miles but most will be at no wake speed.

River Dunes Marina, Oriental, NC to Dowry Creek Marina, Belhaven, NC — May 12, 2014

01-River-Dunes-Marina-In-The-Fog

01-River-Dunes-Marina-In-The-Fog

02-Leaving-River-Dunes-Marina

02-Leaving-River-Dunes-Marina

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03-River-Dunes-Entrance-Canal

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04-Phoenix-After-Being-Towed-Off-The-Bottom

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05-Phoenix-Following-Champ-III-The-Broad-Creek

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06-Leaving-Broad-Creek

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07-Pelican-Floating-On-The-Neuse-River

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08-Commercial-Fishing-On-Canal-Between-Bay-River-And-Goose-Creek

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09-Shrimp-Boat-We-Saw-On-ICW-North-Of-Wrightsville-Beach

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10-Pamlico-River-Looking-West

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11-Pamlico-River-Looking-South

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12-Pamlico-River-Looking-East

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13-Water-Foams-The-Color-Of-Root-Beer

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14-Dowry-Creek-Marina

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15-Looking-Southwest-Over-Pungo-River

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16-Looking-Up-Dowry-Creek

Day started a little cloudy but the fog moved in within an hour.  The Sedan Bridge boat was gone when Candy and I came out for our walk at 6:10.  As we were finishing our walk I noticed that Phoenix was leaving the marina.  He is headed to Dowry Creek Marina for the evening. He is looking for some crew to go from Norfolk to New York City, with no stops, on the outside.

We sat around till about 8:30 when it appeared the fog was lifting.  The marina got in touch with me because Phoenix was aground in the marina channel.  I talked to him on the VHF and he said he was soft aground but unable to move himself.  I told him I would give it a try.

We approached him and he was actually out of the channel but he said he had 5′-0″ of water where he was.  I backed up to him and he had rigged a bridle to his rear cleats.  I attached the line to my rear starboard cleat and slowly floated forward and when the line came taught I put it in gear and he put his engine in reverse and his boat moved and came back into the channel.  Mission accomplished.

We moved out into Broad Creak and as we turned toward the Neuse River the fog appeared to get a little thicker.  We had the radar on and I could see a reasonable number of targets that were staying relative to us.  We traveled up the Neuse River to the Bay River and about 4 miles onto the Bay River the fog did lift.

It had actually been comfortable when it was foggy but with the sun out it warmed considerably.  I think the temps got into the low 90’s for the day.  There was not much wind and it was at our back so as we moved north we could not feel any wind.

There were quite a few boats out and we passed several sailboats and a couple of trawlers.  It turned out that a lot of them were headed to Dowry Creek also. There was a large group of Sail boaters from Oriental that were on a 10 day trip.

We had a happy hour at the marina and most of the transients attended.  It was a good time and a way to meet some of the other boaters.  Talk about small worlds.  The gentleman on Phoenix arrived late in the afternoon and he met an old friend on the dock that he knew from Vermont. This friend and his wife are living on the boat in the Dowry Creek Marina. Neither one knew the other would be there.

We are staying over 1 day to do laundry and rest a little before making the next push north.  The next section is the Alligator River and the Albemarle Sound which were somewhat of a problem last year. The winds for the rest of this week are predicted out of the south and light to medium so that would be good if true.