The last time I sat down to write for the blog, we were headed south on the Virginia side of the lower Chesapeake Bay, anchored just north of Deltaville in Little Bay. Our plan was to get to Hampton, VA on Saturday evening for one night, in order to escape the incredible business of going through Norfolk on a Saturday. Opting for the calmer waters of an early Sunday morning. That’s just what we did however; the conditions became very difficult.
We left Little Bay just before sunrise, to benefit from the tide. Unfortunately, the wind picked up out of the east and kicked our beam all the way to the inlet at Norfolk/Hampton. It was a long six hours of rocking, side to side. My giant mug of coffee may have been the make or break factor in whether or not I cried. I drank it all and I did not end up crying, but I did whine, a lot. David’s strategy for this is to pretend he is losing his hearing. Occasionally, however, he can be funny. For example, when I was whining I tried distracting myself by analyzing why there are exactly zero other boats headed to South Carolina or Florida alongside us, suffering too. This led to me draft thinking and talking about animals (not humans) that migrate south: monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, Snow Geese, Canadian Geese, and Humpback Whales. David simply responded by saying we are “Snow Whales”. I thought that was hilarious and I also loved this because whales are one of my spirit animals.
We got by the difficulties and as usual, we were better for accepting the moments just as they came to us. Anyway, I don’t really want to take sides with one kind of natural phenomena or weather over another. It is not in anyone’s best interest to wish for only sun or only rain. I suppose we are at our human best when we acknowledge all the sides of everything. Perhaps this is the root of being whole; of being one. Who wants to love with half a heart anyway? Certainly not this Snow Whale.
Sunday morning from Hampton through Norfolk was very calm. Only a few cargo ships, Coast Guard boats, Navy ships, and one barge. We left long before the locals would be out celebrating the weekend. It is a long cruise through the city at wake speed. Many miles later, a few railroad bridges and one lock to contend with, and we made our way down the river to Chesapeake, Virginia. This river basin is a magical spot and is the last of Virginia on the North River, before Coinjock, North Carolina.
North Carolina waters welcome you with the vast expanses of shallowness. Vaster and shallower than you have ever imagined. Sometimes, you also see past the dunes and marshes, all the way out to the breakers. It can be very beautiful and also challenging (which seems to be a theme in this world right now)… Because there are so many inlets, the effects of the tides are obvious with the Intracoastal Water Way in NC. Traveling this route becomes a series of steering and setting the wheel by subtle turns of the autopilot to follow the deepest tracks over the shoals, and hand steering when the current is strong. I personally find navigating shoals and shallow water fairly stressful. IRENE draws 4 feet so when I consistently see less than 6 feet I know it is time to consciously begin all my strategies to UPlift my self. If you hear me apologizing before I begin anything else, that means I chose not to whine. You’re welcome.
It has been many days of travel through North Carolina. It went like this: Hampton,VA, Downtown Municipal Docks to Chesapeake, VA. Chesapeake, VA to Coinjock, NC. Across Albemaro Sound to the Alligator River. Alligator River to the Pungo River’s Slade Creek. Slade Creek to Belhaven, NC. Belhaven across the Pamlico River to Oriental, NC. From Oriental, across the Neuse River, past Beaufort to Camp Lejeune’s Mile Hammock Bay. Mile Hammock Bay to Carolina Beach, NC. Carolina Beach to Cape Fear to Holden Beach, NC. Our next trip will lead us into South Carolina. These long trips are somewhat unavoidable as the distances between protected anchorages and affordable marinas can be quite far and we travel at less than 10 miles an hour (average 7.5 -8 Knots PH). Here are a few images from along the way-
Back in Belhaven, NC, we lost our parallel electric battery switch and consequently, our house batteries do not recharge when we are underway and we need to plug in to shore power more often then we prefer to. We had hoped to have the folks at Zimmerman Marine here in Holden Beach take a look and replace the switch asap. We returned their intake paperwork on Friday, August 26th, but they can’t see us until today, September 1st. It seems that shipyards and marinas are overwhelmed by the amount of work versus their capacity to complete it all. Stay tuned on how this fix goes for us and feel free to send positive thoughts and prayers. Better yet, encourage all the mechanically inclined people you know who are looking for a great career to find a boat technician to mentor them and join a worthy and important field. Then, send me their number. 🙏🏽
PS: writing this on my phone in the middle of a very hot and humid night…apologies for typos, spacing and lack of succinctness 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊
PSS: have an awesome day!