Goodbye Annapolis!!!! Off to the Bahamas for the winter. We had such a good time in 2016/17 and we decided that before our joints get too creaky, we should do it one more time. This has been a very busy year and we unfortunately haven’t used the boat much on the bay. With a lovely visit from Dave and Kat just before boat show, and then Garth working the boat show with AYS (can’t keep him away!) we found ourselves only one day beyond our projected departure date of October 17th. We said a sad goodbye to Kate, Will and Penny and left Annapolis around midday on the 18th. It has taken us this week to find our sea legs again – remembering where and how we stored things for our last trip, how freezer and fridge temperatures are critical, how SMALL the galley is – it all comes back.
We had an easy ride down to Solomons Island, passing the LNG (liquid natural gas) dock along the way.
We woke to “water smoke” and I took a great picture of Second Sojourn, our friends Mel and Gary Tisdale’s boat. We are very happy to be travelling in tandem them again as we can bounce decisions about weather, water depth, anchorages etc. off one another, as well as enjoy a glass of wine together at the end of a long day!
From there to Deltaville, a familiar route. The four of us had dinner with Anne Hutchings (Jonathan was flattened by the flu) and Pete and Louise Hoggins, who are also making their way to the Bahamas this year. We went to a new restaurant called The Table – tell the world!! – fine dining has finally arrived in Deltaville!! Not white tablecloth, but delicious, well prepared food with great ingredients and a funny, sharp server. We had a great evening!
Next stop was a marina in Hampton for two nights to wait out a front that was passing through. Had a great brunch with John and Denise McLinn and their group of friends on boats from Herrington Harbour. We left Hampton early on Monday as we had a long day ahead of us. May as well have slept in – we were held up for at least an hour and a half by two railway bridges that are normally open. Many boats had holed up in the Hampton/Norfolk area and we were all caught – there was a group of about 15 boats all jockeying to be ahead when we reached the next obstacle, the lock at Great Bridge. Fortunately we made the first cut – the boats behind had to wait another hour for the next intake. The trip through the Norfolk shipyards is always interesting with all the war ships berthed there.
We wanted to stop at Coinjock Marina just a little further on (they sell a bumper sticker there that says “where in the world is Coinjock?”) as they have an excellent restaurant that specializes in prime rib. Because of the bottleneck caused by the bad weather, the docks were full but we were able to raft up to another boat and spend the night. Next morning we were completely engulfed in fog, but it is a long, straight canal and so we set off at first light. It started lifting as the sun came up and the sky and sunrise were spectacular.
From Coinjock to Belhaven, one of our favorite spots, where we enjoyed a superb sunset as the harvest moon rose behind us. Sadly the town had suffered badly in Hurricane Florence and was still mopping up.
From Belhaven we headed to an anchorage at Cedar Creek where we again rendezvoused with the Herrington Harbour group and had a great evening in the cockpit of Dave and Sue’s Leopard catamaran. Those cockpits are huge!! Next stop was Mile Hammock Bay in the Camp LeJeune military area. Kept my eyes peeled for another bobcat swimming by, but not this time. Watched an Osprey helicopter practicing landing and taking off – fortunately it didn’t go on all night.
The travelling on this trip has not been as exciting as last. For one, it has been freezing – Garth has been in four or five layers every day. I huddle under the dodger and bring hot tea, coffee and food as required! It has been wet. It has been gray. It has been windy. And sadly we are seeing the damage wrought by Hurricane Florence – not as bad so far as what Matthew did last trip, but I don’t think we have reached the worst part yet. There seem to be hundreds of houses with blue tarps on their roofs and also lots of damage to docks.
We are anchored at Caroliina Beach for the night (in pouring rain – we had hoped to get ashore for a long walk) and have slips reserved at the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club marina tomorrow. We will get some laundry done and eat in their great restaurant. We are hoping to get to Charleston SC by Monday evening and will stay there for three days or so. Garth has an engine seal to replace which is a huge job but not so daunting when you are in a town that has a big boating community. We are looking forward to seeing our good friends Ben and Sallie there too and Charleston is just so charming!