Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Deltaville I (2 June - 18 June)

            We arrived in Deltaville, Virginia on Monday, May 31 and plan on staying until the 7th (or so) of July. I know, I know, I can hear you asking now, “Deltaville, Virginia? Isn’t that somewhere near the end of the earth?” And I am sure others are saying, “Deltaville? Who goes to Deltaville, did you lose some of your deltas? Hahahaha!” Okay, hold your horses. We are in Deltaville for three very good reasons.

I will admit that, at first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much in the area … except marinas. Within one mile of where I am sitting now, there are ten, count ‘em, ten marinas.  Where there are a lot of marinas there is a lot of competition; and a lot of competition means … you guessed it, reasonable rates.  Let me give you a couple of examples. In most basic marinas along the intracoastal (basic means clean heads, good water, decent power and at least some Verizon connectivity), we paid a minimum of $1.00 per foot – and we only found a few of those. Usually we paid nearer $1.50 per foot; and believe me, there are more expensive ones out there.  Nicer marinas, of course, cost more. At the Morehead City Yacht Center, we got a special deal because we were staying a full week. For seven days we paid $8.50 per foot plus metered electric. So, without the electricity, it cost us about $442 for seven days, or about $1.21 per foot per day. In Deltaville, we are staying at one of the nicer and more expensive marinas in the area. There is a swimming pool, two courtesy cars we can borrow to go into town, beautiful grounds, and coffee and pastries every morning – in addition to clean heads, good water, decent power and some Verizon connectivity.  The cost? For one month it is $624 (plus metered electric), or $12 per foot. If you do the math (and believe me, I have) it works out to 40 cents per foot per day. For waterfront property and all the amenities, that is not bad, eh?

The second reason we are here is because we need to make some improvements on the boat. I will go into great detail on these improvements in my next Blog entry, but for now, let me say that – for the most part these are not repairs – they are bona fide improvements so we can cruise longer and in greater comfort. Anyway, in part because there are so many marinas and in part because there doesn’t appear to be too many other ways to make a living, Deltaville and environs has more well known and respected boatyards than you can shake a stick at. The marina we chose is right next to Zimmerman’s Boatyard, which has probably one of the best reputations in the business.  Plus, because there is competition among boatyards and because in and around Deltaville the cost of living is just a tiny bit lower than it is in northern VA and most of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina the labor rates appear to be pretty reasonable. So, we have given Zimmerman’s about 10 projects to accomplish on the boat. We’ll see how things go.

The third reason we are in Deltaville is that … I know you won’t believe this … within an hour (or so) drive of our boat, there is actually quite a bit to do. Okay, Okay, it may not be Washington, DC, so let me put this in context. The first weekend we were here, our friends Dave and Joan Wolf brought us our car, so we have wheels! With wheels we can travel to Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, and West Marine. (Did I mention that, as small as it is, Deltaville has two West Marines – currently being consolidated into one West Marine Super Store?)  As you can see, having been cruising for six months in places where we would have killed for a chance to go to a grocery store or even a 7-11, we have lowered our expectations on places that offer “a lot to see and do.”

That said, as we learned our first weekend here, there is quite a bit of history around Deltaville; Jamestown (first permanent English settlement in North America), Williamsburg (of colonial Williamsburg’s “living history” fame) and Yorktown (the final major battle of the American Revolution) are all within an easy hour’s drive. There are also some lesser known destinations. Stingray Point, where John Smith was stung by a cow ray in 1608 is one, Urbanna, a quaint little town that was incorporated in 1680 is another. Moreover, in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula (as we Vahginians call the area – no, I didn’t misspell it, that is how it sounds here in this part of Vahginia) there are about 20 local museums. Anyway, there is quite a bit of colonial and pre-colonial history in the area. We have only been to a few places, but are looking forward to getting to more.

So, those are our reasons for being here. All in all, those are some pretty good reasons, huh? Oh, and with our car we can get to the DC area, both to visit friends and to go to medical appointments – as we all have to do as we get … er … less young. Anyway, I thought I would write, first, about some of the things we have what we have done and where we have gone in the two weeks we have been here. Then in a separate entry, I will tell all you gearheads about the improvements we are making to Traveling Soul

 The first week we were at the marina, we borrowed the courtesy Mercedes to go the grocery store and to both of the West Marines in town. So you are thinking, “Courtesy Mercedes, huh? This must be one hotsy-totsy marina!” Well, you would be wrong.  The Mercedes is circa 1970 and I am sure became the owners’ tax deduction in about 2010. In fact, although we are pretty sure the car had shocks, we bounced enough going to and from that we are not going to swear to it. Anyway, the grocery store is one of the “Great Value” chain (yea, I hadn’t heard of it either), and was reasonably well stocked.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a Wegmans (or a Trader Joe’s, Fresh Fields, Publix, Safeway, Giant, Harris Teeter, Piggly Wiggly, or a Harris Teeter for that matter), but it had  most of what we needed. Then we went to both of the West Marines. In all of Washington DC and its suburbs there are two West Marines, one in Woodbridge and one in Alexandria. In Deltaville – with a population of 1,626 – there are also two West Marines (Actually, at this instant there are three. They are consolidating two into one – but there are three West Marine structures.) We bought just a few things; just enough to keep going.

I told you I was going to defer discussion of our improvements until the next blog entry and I am. However, I hope to whet your appetite, let me describe our first experience with Deltaville repair people.  Most of you have seen boats like ours and know about the clear plastic-like glass that usually surrounds the flybridge or the cockpit. It rolls up and down and should be clear enough to see through. The basic material is called “eisenglass,” the slightly higher class material – that is supposed to be somewhat clearer and should last somewhat longer – is called strataglass. Traveling Soul’s eisenglass has been an embarrassment since we bought the boat. It is very foggy and when steering the boat from the flybridge, I cannot see through it very well. In fact, the glass is so scratched and foggy that, when there are crab pots in the neighborhood, I have to lean to one side and then the other to see them – because I cannot see through the eisenglass. Anyway, one of the first things we decided to do was to have it replaced. So we asked around and found the best canvass (and eisenglass) people in the area (called Canvass Connection) and called them. They were at the boat the following day and we told them what we wanted. Two days later we had an estimate.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you that we have dealt with canvass people before. We had several things done on our former boat, Sans Souci, but invariably they told us the job would take a month or more, and, in reality, it took about least twice as long as they said. Even worse, it was not done to specifications and, even when we had them do it over, the quality wasn’t that good. With that as background, we were floored when the Deltaville people told us they thought they could be finished in a week to ten days.  Now I will say that the job wasn’t cheap, but they were finished in what we considered record time for canvass people. If this job is indicative of what we can expect from Deltaville people, then we are in the right place!

The first weekend we were in Deltaville, our friends Dave and Joan Wolf not only came to visit, but they brought down our car too … we have wheels!! While Dave and Joan were here we went to Walmart and Lowes in the morning, but we went to Jamestown in the afternoon. If you haven’t been you should go. They have done everything they can to explain what Jamestown was, why it was located where it was, what happened in the first several years and how the colonists lived. They have even done some forensic archeology, and have, based on their skulls, reconstructed the faces of many of the first settlers. In short, I think we all agree that it was very interesting, fun and informative. We have not yet been back to Williamsburg and Yorktown, but it is certainly on the agenda.

We also took part of a day and visited Urbanna, Virginia. In 1649, a man named Ralph Wormeley patented 3,200 acres on the Rappahannock, including the lands a native American tribe, the Nimcocks, had cleared for their settlement and crops. Initially, Wormley shipped his tobacco from the small port where Urbanna is now located, not worrying about sending the product through the official ports where it could be taxed. In 1680, an Act of Assembly at Jamestown put an end to that practice. It authorized the creation of 20, 50 acre port towns in Virginia for 10,000 pounds of tobacco each. Urbanna was one of them. So when you come to see the “City of Anne,” you're visiting one of the oldest towns in America. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Urbanna is only 42 years younger than Jamestown. Even more importantly, it is a cool little town with several restaurants, a coffee shop and other stores located within a five block area. I could go on, but I think you get the idea; we kind of like Urbanna.

We haven’t yet been too many other places around Deltaville, but are looking forward to doing so when we get back. Where are we now? We are in Tucson, AZ seeing our mothers. (No, we didn’t bring the boat. It is still at Zimmerman’s Boatyard in Deltaville.) On that note, I want to get this thing to Ann so she can write her notes and we can get in underway.

ANN’S NOTES:   First let me apologize for the lack of pictures in this section of the blog…I thought I had brought any cord I needed on this trip to Arizona. Just a few examples…

·         Cell phone recharger cord….check
·         Bluetooth recharger cord….check
·         Nook  recharger cord….check
·         I-pod recharger cord…check
·         Make sure Michael has all the same above cords because our phones and such are NOT the same.
 Ok…OK…I forgot the cord that links my camera to the computer…Sorry…next addition will have pictures.
Deltaville is an interesting place and there is a lot of history. We have taken the time to do some exploring, and having our own little car is great. I have mostly seen the inside of West Marine and the local hardware store.  I have also seen the inside of our little car. In order to keep our medical appointments we have to drive three hours to keep them. It makes for a very long day. I stay overnight with Tim, Carrie and family. Not only do I keep my appointments, BUT as an added bonus I get to see my grandchildren!!
The boat improvements are going well…a little on the slow side but that is normal in the boating industry.  Traveling Soul is going to be even more wonderful to live on once all the boat units have been spent and we have recovered from the price shock.
That is all for now…

Traveling Soul…


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Morehead City, the Great Dismal Swamp and the ICW to Mile Marker Zero (25 May - 1 June)

In Morehead City we stayed at the Morehead City Yacht Basin. We chose Morehead City because it was a little closer to Lisa’s house than the alternatives, and since Lisa was going to have to pick us up just about every day, it was important that we be closer rather than farther away. The Yacht Basin was a nice marina with good staff and clean facilities. Moreover, it was about a mile from a good marine store and about a half-mile from several pretty good restaurants. Management also gave us a better weekly rate than any of the other marinas in the neighborhood.

For those of you who don’t know, Dave, Lisa’s husband, is being reassigned to Twenty-nine Palms, California so Lisa is in the process of moving the entire household from here to there over the next month. Ann kept Lisa busy by going to various stores in the area. Ann got a lot of errands done including going to the commissary to re-provision, going to Target, the Class VI store, Lowes, and some Nail Salon to get her nails done. In addition, Ann and Lisa had several lunches together.  I’ll let Ann pick up this story in her Notes Section.
You may remember that Dave and Lisa have decided that they want to buy a Nordhaven and cross the Atlantic. I wanted to give Dave some training for the day when he owned his own boat, so I let him do some projects on Traveling Soul. I know, I know you are all thinking how kind it was of me to let him work on the boat. Well, of course it was, but you all know me; that is just the type of guy that I am. Anyway, the first project Dave got to work on was fixing our 12-volt DC panel. Over time, the previous owner had made a number of additions and deletions to the electrical systems on the boat, so there was neither rhyme nor reason to manner in which the panel was set up. I wanted to be able to look at the panel and tell at a glance that all of the navigational instruments were on and that we were ready to go. I know it doesn’t sound too important, but when you have forgotten to turn on the radar or the horn or the searchlight because they are in odd places in the box, you realize that it is more important than it sounds. Anyway, Dave rearranged the switches so they now make sense.

Dave working on the TV antenna.
The second project on which I graciously allowed Dave to improve his boat repair skills was making the television work. As many of you know, we don’t watch current television on the boat; for the most part, we watch classic television shows on DVD. We, for example, have watched the first season of Cheers, of Northern Exposure, of Big Bang Theory, of MacGyver, and we are now in the process of watching the first two seasons of West Wing. When we need a fix and are staying at a marina, we can generally go to the captain’s lounge. Once in a while, however, we would like to watch a little news or some new television show on our own TV. Now the previous owner had a system for watching TV – actually, as it turns out, he had at least three different systems over the years.  We know that because we would find a coaxial cable and would think we had the one that led from the new television antenna to the TV only to find it dead-ended somewhere in the middle of the boat, or at a switching system he had set up to change from antenna to cable. Eventually we (actually, in this instance “we” means Dave) found all the cables and connections required to make the system work.  So, we now have cable TV when we are at a marina and we have antenna-TV when we are at anchor. The antenna system usually gets us about 20 channels including most of the major networks and a surprising number of public TV channels.

Actually I also completed a project – with just little help from Dave. On a boat, when you take a shower, you have to have a way to pump your used water overboard, hence the need for a shower sump and sump pump. One of our shower sump pumps broke and required replacement. I replaced both the pump and the water-level switch it needs. Although we needed to do both of those things, when the pump broke it also blew a fuse. It took me a while to figure that out, and when I did, I needed Dave’s help. Remember the day before when he had spent most of his time behind the DC electrical box? Well, he remembered having seen some fuses – one of which, luckily, had a replacement fuse taped to it. And it was the sump pump fuse!! Ta da! Problem solved. 

Trent's Certificate for having participated
in two soprts -- soccer and wrestling
We also saw the kids, of course. Maddy and Nik are both 16 and have just started driving. Nik seems to really like driving while Maddy, I think, would prefer to be chauffeured most places.  Trent is doing well in school when he can stay out of trouble. On the last night we were in Morehead City we went to see Trent’s Middle School Athletic Awards ceremony, where he was recognized for participating in both soccer and wrestling AND we went to see the spring concert for Maddy’s choral group.

At the marina we met Shay and Elizabeth aboard Escape who are full time cruisers aboard their 49-foot Defever CPMY – one of my favorite boats of all time. Anyway, Shay had been a professional electrician before he retired and has installed a number of new gizmos on his boat, the most significant of which was four solar panels. He gave me a bunch of ideas – and even a few additional skills – to use on our boat. The last night we were at the marina we also ran into (figuratively, not literally) Miller Time. We had met Teri and Scott in the Bahamas and again at Fernandina Beach. Remember the Shrimp Parade? It seemed we couldn’t get away from one another! They were leaving the next day so we only saw them for a few minutes, but it goes to show that we live in a very small world.
The next day we, too, were off – or so we thought. I had cranked up the boat to get over to the fuel dock were we needed to get some diesel. After refueling, Ann was supposed to start the engines while I went to pay for the fuel. She started the port engine without a hitch, then she started … then she started … then she tried to start the starboard engine. Oops! The starboard engine wouldn’t start. I putzed around with it a little but could not get anything to work. The dockmaster came on board and seemed even less knowledgeable than me. So, I asked Ann to go get Shay. Shay brought his voltmeter, used it to test the circuits and knew right away that the switch the transmission uses to tell the engine that it is in neutral – so it is okay to go ahead and start – wasn’t working. We spent 20 minutes or so looking for the switch before we found it. When we did, Shay made the darn thing work! (I am hoping you know that means Shay spent 20 minutes looking and eventually finding the switch, because I had no idea what he was talking about or what he was looking for.) Anyway, Shay saved our touches and we were underway. (That’s supposed to be read like “toosh,” as in butts, not “tutch” as in … well … clutch.)

We had thought about going outside, but Tropical Storm Alberto was creating significant waves and winds in the ocean – seven to thirteen feet 20 miles out. We wouldn’t go out that far, but we decided it would be better to put up with what the marine forecasters call “moderate chop” on the ICW than with waves that would be several feet high. Needless to say we chose the ICW. We found it kind of interesting that the North Carolina portion of the ICW is very different from Georgia’s especially. North Carolina has the Pamlico and Ablemarle Sounds which are 20-30 feet deep bodies of water that are wide open – tens of miles wide in some instances. Therefore, it wasn’t necessary for me to adopt the “ICW hunch,” where I am leaning over the depth meter and the chart plotter while keeping my remaining eye on the day markers. It was nothing like that. In fact, if you are not careful, you can get really bored on these wide open sounds, so I played with the radar and the autopilot to keep myself awake. Much better to be bored, however, than concerned with grounding!

We kind of liked the routine we had developed of anchoring one night and going to a marina the next, so the first night we anchored at Slade Creek, just off the Pungo River. (I know, the Pungo sounds like it is in deepest, darkest Africa. Nope, it was just deep, dark North Carolina.) There was another boat farther up the creek, and we thought about going to join them, but instead we decided to stay near the mouth of the creek where we had a lot of swing room. In the reviews I had read, some people said they couldn’t get into the anchorage because of all the crab pots. Well, there were a few, but it wasn’t bad at all. Moreover, out here in the middle of nowhere I turned on the TV and voila! It worked! We watched a little local news and then put on the next episode of West Wing.

When we awoke, the seas were calm and all was right with the world. Again, we were off. The previous night we had looked in our guidebooks and tried to find a marina a day’s travel – about 60 miles – north of Slade Creek; there was nothing. The next marina the books listed was in Elizabeth City, about 90 miles up the Waterway. We could do it, but it would be a very long day.  As soon as we got underway, however, we got internet access through our Verizon Aircard and we checked on Active Captain. We found the Alligator River Marina about 65 miles north. For those of you boaters who don’t know about Active Captain, you need to join it. It is free and as far as I am concerned, it is the best boating resource on the web. I was a bit skeptical about its claims at first, primarily because you have to be connected (by smartphone, by WiFi or by aircard) to use it – and not everyplace we visit has that kind of connection (like Slade Creek).  But if you can connect, you can learn about marinas, anchorages, hazards and other things. In short, it is a great resource.
On the way to the marina, I decided to crank the Detroit Diesels up and let them run just a little bit – no, that doesn’t mean full speed, I doubt I will ever crank them up top full speed. But it does mean like 1600 RPM, which is about 14 MPH. When I did so the engines really smoked. Smoking diesels can sometimes be bad, but this time I figured it was good as the engines were burning up some of the junk that built up in them from going so slow for so long. I ran them like that for about 20 minutes until they stopped smoking, then I slowed them down and putted along.

Anyway, after we passed under the Alligator River Bridge we turned hard to port and saw what we figured was the marina. Now you have to imagine this. There is a regular old fashioned Shell Station with a restaurant/small gift shop attached. Behind the filling station, though, about twenty feet from the restaurant, is a long pier (200’?) for both docking and refueling.  Opposite the long pier there are, maybe, twenty slips. And just so you know, as you are coming into the marina from the Alligator River, it looks like you are heading straight for the Shell Station to fill up the boat with the pumps up front. The day we were there, there were two boats in the slips and we were the only one on the long pier (because we were too big for the slips). It was certainly an … er … uh … interesting marina. And one to which we would return in a heartbeat.

When we read the reviews in Active Captain, they not only praised the marina for being clean (it was), having a good location (it does), and having a friendly staff (it did), it also said that Wanda made great hamburgers. PLUS there was a highway sign saying the burgers were “world acclaimed.” Now everyone knows that if a highway sign claims that something is “world acclaimed,” it must be so! Ann and I decided that we just had to eat one of those burgers. So, we cleaned up and off we went. My fried chicken was excellent and Ann’s Salisbury steak was very good. We didn’t have burgers because … they have long since taken it off the menu. I was absolutely devastated. I wanted a burger; I needed a burger. And it wasn’t there. I’m just sayin’ …

The next day we had a decision to make. Just north of the Alligator River the ICW splits in two. Route 1 goes up through Coinjock and is a pretty easy journey. But Route 2 goes through (are you ready for it?) the Great Dismal Swamp. I know, I know, you are asking how in Heaven’s name could we not go through a place with a name like the Great Dismal Swamp. Well, you’re right; we couldn’t in all conscience miss it. So, we went. Actually, it is kind of a fun and interesting place. Here is your short history lesson about the Great Dismal Swamp and the Great Dismal Swamp Canal:

There is archaeological evidence that 13,000 years ago, people lived in the swamp. In 1650, there were Native Americans in the Great Dismal Swamp, but white immigrants showed little interest. In 1665, William Drummond, the first governor of North Carolina, discovered the lake, which was subsequently named for him. In 1728, William Bird III, while leading a land survey to establish a boundary between the Virginia and North Carolina colonies, made many observations of the swamp, none of them favorable. In fact, he is credited with naming it the Dismal Swamp. In 1763, George Washington visited the area, and he and others founded the Dismal Swamp Company, a venture to drain the swamp and clear it for settlement. Later the company turned to the more profitable goal of timber harvesting.

The Dismal Swamp Canal was authorized by Virginia in 1787 and by North Carolina in 1790. Construction began in 1793 and was completed in 1805. The canal, and a railroad constructed through part of the swamp in 1830, permitted timber to be harvested. The canal deteriorated after the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal was completed in 1858, but in 1929 the U. S. Government bought the Dismal Swamp Canal and began to improve it. It is now the oldest operating artificial waterway in the country. Like the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, it is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

At one point the Great Dismal Swamp was home to a settlement of escaped slaves. Its role in the history of slavery in the United States is reflected in Harriet Beecher Stowe's second novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp.  

Anyway, traversing the Canal represented several “firsts” for us. It was going to be the first time we had been through a swamp, the first time we had been in such a narrow waterway, and, most importantly, it was going to be the first time we had ever been in a lock – and going through the Great Dismal Swamp Canal would require us to go through two. I was really nervous about locking; we have done just about everything else in boating, but we had never locked through. The night before I had tried to find instructions on the web or a description on someone’s Blog, but I couldn’t find much. We arrived at the South Mills Lock about 15 minutes early and were the only boat there. That was good because we got a lot of one-on-one instruction from the lock tender who was a great guy. It turns out that locking is easy. (Of course, I knew how easy it was all the time. My pretense at fear earlier in the paragraph was just a literary device. But I am sure you all knew that.) They put us in the lock and tied the lines to the side. Ann would keep hold of the bow line and I would keep hold of the stern line. When they opened the gates and sent one million gallons into the lock, raising our boat by about 8 feet, our task was to keep the lines tight and the boat near the side.  Almost as soon as it began, it was over and we were off into the depths of the Great Dismal Swamp. (I’m sorry for saying it so often, but don’t you just love the name?)
The Canal is not known for being particularly deep and in the first two miles we “bumped” a couple of times. It is fairly well recognized that when you do so, you are not necessarily bumping the bottom, but you are more likely bumping logs that are lying on the bottom. Still, we had about 2.5 - 3.5 feet of water under our keel most of the time. About 4:30 we arrived at the Great Dismal Swamp Visitor Center. From the highway that parallels parts of the canal, the Visitor Center looks like the typical Rest Stop and Visitor Center that you see many places along the highways and byways of the country. But from the Canal itself, you can see a dock about 150 feet long. Boaters are invited to tie up to the dock and spend the night – for free! Since the dock will only hold three or four boats, late comers tie up to the boats that arrived early – it is called “rafting.” When we arrived, there were only two other boats, and there was just enough room for us to tie up at the end of the dock. We didn’t have to raft and no other boats came by the Center until the next morning – so no one had to raft while we were there.

The Visitor’s Center is very boater-friendly. Although it closed at 5PM, the folks there have a single hose that we were invited to use for water, a boater’s library that we were invited to use (at a boater’s library, you leave any books with which you are finished and take any book another boater has left behind), and restrooms that were opened all night. In fact, this is one of the few places Ann and I have both bought T-Shirts. They read, “I survived the Great Dismal Swamp.”

A very big snap of the Great Dismal Swamp Canal. We made it big because we are not going to go back there - ever. And we just wanted you all to get you fill of it like we did!
The following morning we started toward the Deep Creek Bridge and Deep Creek Lock at the other end of the canal. It was about 18 miles or so. Cruising down the Canal was at the same time kind of neat and kind of eerie. It is only about 50 feet wide and just deep enough for recreational boats. Tree branches overhang the waterway, giving you shade, but constantly threatening to tear off one of your antennae – or your mast if you are a sail boater –  so you have to stay pretty much in the middle. We didn’t see much wildlife – a couple of long snakes swimming in the water and some turtles sitting on a log.

Since we had to move at or near “idle speed” we knew we wouldn’t make the 10:30 AM lock opening, so we aimed at the 1:30 PM one. My Lord, we went slowly. We were traveling at somewhere around 4 – 5 MPH and still we got to the far end about 45 minutes early! Indeed, most of the way we followed a sailboat that has passed the Visitor Center just before we left. I kind of like following sailboats, especially ones with deep keels. If they are in the lead and their draft is deeper than mine and one of us is going to run aground, it ain’t gonna be me! Anyway, he was trying to make the same lock opening as we were and was going at the same speed as Traveling Soul.
We waited, trying to be motionless in the middle of the channel. Eventually the bridge opened and we all locked through, this time by moving down 8 feet. When we left the lock we were in Virginia and only about 10 miles from Norfolk and from ICW Mile Marker “0.” As luck would have it, there was one more bridge for which we had to wait, and it was about a 50 minute wait. Then, without much ado, we passed Mile Marker Zero and headed to the place where we planned on anchoring – some of you might know the anchorage, it is right next to Fort Monroe and the Old Point Comfort Marina. We celebrated our completion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway with steak, lobster and Maker’s Mark (actually, I think Ann had a Dark and Stormy); it was great to have finished the third leg of our boating adventure.
An aircraft carrier being repaired at Newport News.
I sure wouldn't want the bill for those repairs!!
When we initially pulled into the anchorage the wind was blowing out of the east at about 15 knots. We set our anchor accordingly, steering clear of the three other boats which had arrived before us. East was a good direction as far as the anchored boats were concerned, since we all had pretty good protection from Fort Monroe. About 2:30 AM, however, I heard waves thumping against the bow of the boat and decided I should see what was going on. Sometime during the night, apparently, the wind changed direction and picked up a little speed. We were now facing southwest – a direction from which there was very little protection – and the winds were about 20-25 knots. I decided I should stay in the pilothouse for the rest of the night to make sure we didn’t drag. We didn’t, but I sure was tired the next day.
We left Old Point Comfort about 7:30 bound for Deltaville, which would be Traveling Soul’s home for the next month. The boat needed a great deal of work (much of it deferred from when we first bought her) and Deltaville has become a cruisers destination both because of the quality of the work and the reasonable prices. Anyhow we hope that is the case.
ANN'S NOTES: This is the rainbow we saw in the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. We had been following a weather front off our stern ...it seemed to be following us but never did catch up to us. I watched in amazement it how this rainbow changed before my eyes. I saw it add colored stripes and then fade away and then come back with two more. I could see where it started and ended from one point on land streching the beautiful ark across the water to the side of land. I must have watched the rainbow for a good half hour. Hey... if I can't have dolpins then I need some other type of magic to keep me busy.When I start talking about unicorns than you know I need some help :)

Our trip in the Dismal Swamp was interesting  and..S...L...O...W... I am glad we have done it and bought the t-shirt but I have no plans on doing it again. The canal in a strange way was beautiful..very green,lots of swamp sounds just like in the movies. Going into the locks was fun,to think that was a major improvement back in the day to move goods across the country, to me it was like a little time warp and a look back into our history. I was not that nervous about going in and out of the locks...I guess I did not know I was supposed to be nervous. As a line handler I  hand or toss lines to anyone that will take them and looks like they know what they are doing. Pretty simple...as the water comes into the lock, you take up the slack on the line; as water goes out of the lock, you let slack go to the line.

The visit with Lisa, Dave, Nik, Trent and Maddy was wonderful. I enjoy my family so very much. Having two 16 year old teenagers, it is great watching them turn into young adults. Trent is 12 and he spent the night with us on the boat. The time will come when he is driving and has a girlfriend and staying with Grandpa and Grandma will come in second place. I understand the older ones and, like them, I would want to spend some time with my friends before moving to California. Lisa drove me all over creation with a smile on her face, well not so much when we had to go into Wal-Mart. She HATES that place...actually it was Michael and Dave that needed a cable for the tv that made us go into THAT PLACE. We had dinner together every night and we have not done that in a long time. It was wonderful to have them around me and just do normal family stuff. The packers will be at her house on Tuesday, and the movers will be there on Wednesday. The kids last half day of school is on the 7th and, after that, they will be a few hundred miles away from Cherry Point NC.

So to end this trip on the ICW we did celebrate with lobster tail that we bought in Marsh Harbour...and I am now rationing... and steak. It is just a small part of the dream that we talked about when we were still living in a HOUSE on LAND. I am learning that dreams do come true but you also have to let other things go in order for that dream to happen. Not a sermon...just a thought.

This is my last wildlife count for awhile...

26 May 2012   1 Canadian goose and two babies....FYI ...that is the only Canadian we saw since leaving the Bahamas :)
1 Turtle             3 turtles on a log           4 turtles on a log...I think turtles are social sun bathers

27 May 2012         1 snake in the water...looking for that on lone turtle for lunch

28 May 2012   and yes.....drum roll ....please.... 1 Dolphin in the Chesapeake

Blessings to all of you,

Traveling Soul....OUT