Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 08:08:23 -0400
From: Carl Adler <Carl@Image-ination.com>
To: me <Carl@Image-ination.com>
This years trip to the Chesapeake got off to a big splash. Me! Temporarily
forgetting about Newton's Third Law (to every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction). I decided I could jump from the side of our inflatable
boat onto the side deck of our sailboat "Spindrift". After all, I said to myself,
I can grab the shroud and pull myself up and under the lifeline and, if any
thing did go wrong, I can drop back into the inflatable. Well... The dinghy
reacted by leaving the scene. I am no longer 13. Not all of me could fit under the
lifeline. The rest of the story is ugly, well at least wet and dirty. (Kay, however,
was impressed that I got my glasses off and threw them on the deck of a nearby
boat on the way down.) It would have been nice to have taken a hot shower to
clean off the slime from the dirty marina water on that cold day in June but, alas,
our water heater had opted for death with dignity the previous day.
We started out the next day, Sunday, in company with our friends, the
Honeycutts, on their Morgan 38, "Renascence". We were totally surprised and
pleased to encounter a Whistling Swan on Edenton Bay. In nearly 10 years of boating in
this area we had never seen one before and this one swam right up to the boat and accompanied us for a bit.
Although we love the boating in the Edenton area, one problem is that to go
anywhere you have to travel the length of Albemarle Sound. A very long trip
by sailboat. That day the winds were blowing at 20+ knots with gusts to 35 out
of the North (we were going East). Our Hunter 33.5 needs to be reefed at 12
knots so we put in a double reef, wishing we had a third, and literally screamed down
the sound on a beam reach. It may have been the best day sailing we have ever
had, although I think we would have appreciated it more 5 years ago.
To go to the Chesapeake from the Albemarle you have two choices, the Dismal
Swamp canal and the Virginia Cut. The former we had used on our four previous
trips and the latter is the normal route. Since having used the dismal swamp route
before and having run aground twice (in a total of 8 trips up and back) we decided
to avoid the possibility of a repeat performance by opting for the Virginia
Cut.Talk about a 'Bonfire of the Vanities', we ran aground twice, and had to be towed
off once on our first attempt at this route. Very embarrassing!
Well that was yesterday, Monday, and today we are at the Waterside Marina in
downtown Norfolk.Although we generally avoid population centers we have
always enjoyed Waterside for its view of the very active working waterfront and
interesting collection of stores, restaurants and activities. I see that
they have added a Hooters, since we were last here; hmm, I wonder if Kay would
like to go out to lunch today? Guess not!
Carl(Tue, Jun 9, 1998 ; Lat:N 36 50.629, Lon: W 76 17.566)
We are now at anchor (sort of-we seem to be twirling in circles and wrapping
the anchor rope around our keel) in the East River off Mobjack Bay. We had
planned to go further today but awoke to thunderstorms and left late.
Before we left Waterside three Mega-yachts (125'+) came in. The biggest was
"Showtime" with its name in the form of the cable TV logo. Guess the network
is doing fine. What was really impressive was a three masted tall ship from Uruguay (225'+)
with a crew of about 35-40 training cadets.The name of the ship was "Captain Miranda",
that's right 'Captain' not 'Carmen' When they got ready to leave they fueled
up by emptying two tanker trucks. They provisioned by using the contents of a
totally filled 18 wheeler and one entire large beer truck. My kind of
After leaving Waterside we went to Salt Ponds, which is our favorite marina,
anywhere, (Not the least of which, is because of their oyster shooters -
1/3 beer, 1/3 tabasco, and 1/3 live oyster). The trip out of Norfolk Harbor on
the way to Salt Ponds was more eventful then either of us wanted. When we got
ready to leave there was little wind at Waterside. The forecast called for 5-10
from the East (according to me), 15+ according to Kay. The entrance into the Cpeake
from Norfolk can get very uncomfortable at 15 from the East, but I was sure I was
right. When we got to the entrance things looked a bit 'messy' and Kay said
'I told you so' but in a nice way. I said 'surely not' and went below to check
the wind gauge and saw....23 25 28 24...27. So not being too dumb I went
back above,and said 'you were right honey' 15! I haven't stayed married for 35
years by being dumb.Needless to say as we smashed and crashed, Kay eyed be
suspiciously. Fortunately, I have an honest face.
Neatest sailboat name seen on the bay..."Bay Window"
Most Honest..."Risky Business"
Most novel (on a new carbon fiber boat)..."Carbon Copy"
Second place..."Screamin Hacker"
Third Place..."Carpe Margarita"
Carl Fri, Jun 12, 1998 Lat N 37 25 Lon W 76 21
The trip from Mobjack Bay to Grog Island on Dymer Creek was uneventful with
a nice sailing wind. When we got there we were disappointed to see how much
the island had shrunk. There was now only a sand beach at low tide .
None-the-less we and our friends from "Renaissance" anchored and dinghyed up to the island.
Dennis (from Renaissance) rowed and I used our new electric motor on our dinghy.
What I learned is that our motor is considerably less than 1 "Dennis Power". We
were rewarded for our efforts, however, by being able to watch in the clear
shallow water around the island, a 'school' of rays doing whatever they were
designed to do. Everyone was entranced; I guess we are easily pleased.
(The next part of the story requires background. Years ago we were sailing
out of the Alligator River into Albemarle Sound. A tornado passed over us. A boat
from our marina two miles behind us said it was actually tearing up trees on the
one shore and throwing them over us onto the other shore. It was very dark and
we were spinning in circles. I was able to keep us under rough control and hold
us away from where I thought the bridge was located. The downside was that we
were surrounded by crab pots and I knew that if we snagged one and lost our motor
we would metaphorically (and maybe not so metaphorically) be "dead". We
survived and when we got back to our home marina I had the boat hauled and a rope cutter
installed on our prop. This is common on Coast Guard, Navy and Commercial
boats but almost nonexistent on recreational boats.)
Back to Grog Island. We heard thunder and headed back to our rafted boats. I
turned on the radar and was horrified to see what looked like several
'Godzillas" heading towards us. The storm hit and immediately we started to drag both
anchors. Both boats started to motor, hoping to hold us off shore and also
hoping not to snag and/or tangle our anchors. Things got really scary, the boats
kept slamming together and the hulls were flexing so badly I thought the
cabinetry would dislodge.We had no choice but to break the raft and the only way to
do that was to cut the lines. We madly went about cutting lines and trying to
drag them on board before they fouled our prop. I saw a line come alive and I
knew I was new late. And then...! CHOP CHOP CHOP, the rope cutter worked. For a
brief time both boats where out of control, they would surge away from each other
and then suddenly come plowing at each other with all crews waving (or perhaps
gesticulating would be a better word). Our anchor there upon set itself
without any intelligent action on our part. For us the night was over. "Renaissance"
was not so lucky.In backing down to set their anchor they fouler their dinghy
rope, Killing their motor and cutting their dingy loose. (Actually it pulled the
tow eyes right out of the dinghy.) Dennis (a professional SCUBA diver among
other things) jumped overboard in the middle of the storm to retrieve the dinghy
and then had to dive to free the prop. At the end none of us where dead so I
guess it was fun.
The next day the crew of "Spindrift" was pretty sore and the one of us who
eats vegetables had a mild case of food poisoning. We left to cross the Bay headed
for Crisfield MD. The winds where high, 20 to 25 mph, on our stern and since,
because of our swept back spreaders we can't run well, we motor sailed under jib. We
made Sommers Cove marina in Crisfield in about 6 hours and then the fun (again)
began. Sommers Cove is a beautiful but relatively open marina because of its size.
The winds where blowing 20-25 in the marina,not great for docking but in the
past the staff made up of mainly college students seemed to know what they were
doing. This time however they elected to put us in a slip with the wind directly on
our stern and send a 95 pound coed down to help.(Despite all the slips on the
opposite side being empty.) The situation called for us to make a right
angle turn at speed (to maintain steerage in the cross wind) into the slip. I saw
the potential for disaster but reasoned that I could lasso the rear piling and
cleat it off in case our 16 HP engine could not stop the boat in time with the
high stern wind pushing us into the slip. Well... I am not a cowboy. They were
able to repair the dock within an hour.
Today we have had nothing but bad weather most of the day it was blowing
25-30 out of the North (gusts to 43). Makes getting off the boat a challenge. As I
write we are again being battered by thunderstorms. So far they don't seem
too bad but the weather station is giving warnings of up to 60-80 knots and 2
Nice boat name: "High Interest" YECH: "Whacky Woman"
Last year our best overheard radio call was: "Naughty Lady, Naughty Lady,
Mother Superior Calling" This year "Cool Water, Cool Water, Have a Whiskey Calling"
Carl (Mon, Jun 15, 1998, Lat N 37 58.65 Lon W 075 51.50)
This story is too good to wait.
Preamble: We crossed over yesterday from Crisfield Md to The Solomons (more
about that later). At about mid bay we monitored a distress call and resulting
conversation with the responding coast guard station. Part of which went
Coast Guard Eastern Shore: "Vessel calling mayday what is your Latitude and
The calling vessel responded with the Lat and Lon values which told us where
Coast Guard Eastern Shore: Sir do you by chance know what river you are on
or do you see a buoy number near by?
Kay and I looked at each other a both a ,bit puzzled but thought no more
about it. å
Story: (Overheard later in the day)
Milk and Honey:"Vessel Milk and Honey calling the Coast Guard"
Coast Guard Eastern Shore: "Milk and Honey what can we do for you"
Milk and Honey: "My latitude is 38 00 xx and longitude is 76 25 xx. I am
headed for Ocean City Maryland and I haven't the slightest idea where I am. Can you
please tell me my location?"
VERY LONG PAUSE
Coast Guard Eastern Shore: "Sir your longitude puts you in The Chesapeake
Milk and Honey:"THE CHESAPEAKE BAY !! My God! How did I get there? I am
supposed to be in the ocean."
Milk and Honey:"I am low on gas, where am I?"
(much conversation ensues back and forth to the mutual confusion of both
Coast Guard Baltimore: "Coast Guard Eastern Shore the latitude and longitude
that Milk and Honey gives is for near the Coan River on the Potomac"
(We thought that ended it but evidently Milk and Honey had not heard Coast
Guard Baltimore. About an hour later there is a series of pleading calls from the
Milk and Honey saying that they were running out of gas and had no idea of where
they were located. The calls received no response for a while , eventually
Baltimore responded but Milk and Honey could not understand them.) Finally again:
Charter Boat:"Milk and Honey I am about 40 minutes from your location, throw
down your hook and when I get there I will lead you into a gas dock."
Milk and Honey:"Where am I. Somebody told me I was in the Chesapeake. I am
supposed to be in the ocean. I have no idea of where I am."
Charter Boat: "You are 4 miles up the Potomac."
Milk and Honey: "I am 4 miles from the Potomac?"
Charter Boat: "No Sir, you are 4 miles up the Potomac heading for Washington
SILENCE! Much Later we heard Milk and Honey calling a Gas Dock.
_______ Evidently on leaving Norfolk, Milk and Honey mistook the Hampton
Roads Bridge Tunnel for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. I can understand that
but it was a very clear day and generally you could see land on both sides of your
boat. Given that he thought he was in the ocean didn't he think that Europe (or
would that be Africa) was kind of close?
We left Crisfield yesterday, headed up Tangier Sound and crossed through
Kedges Straight for the main part of the Bay. For us it was an uneventful trip. The
only thing of note occurred about half way across when our beloved Bombard dinghy
which has followed us for hundreds of miles decided to partially deflate.
This was a surprise because it has stayed inflated for 5 years without divine or
other intervention of any kind. The only difficulty this presented was that the
now flexing dinghy popped the oars loose and I had to leap into the dinghy to
rescue the oars.This, I accomplished with the grace of a pancake.
Our goal was in the area of the Solomons, in particular, Vera's White Sand
Resort on St Leonard Creek off the Patuxent River where we would rejoin Renaissance
who had left Chrisfield a day earlier. Vera's is almost indescribable as is Vera,
herself. For a start she is an ex would be movie star who dresses the part
in the extreme. The resort is an imitation of a South Sea Island, complete with
palm trees , grass huts, Tiki Bar, Easter Island statues and a very pink
restaurant. We on both boats were sort of put off and decided to stay only one day. That
is until we ate a wonderful meal in a incredible restaurant, enjoyed the peace
and serenity, met Vera, and discovered that they delivered donuts and the
Washington Post to your boat in the morning. We have signed on for another day.
Last night a Mute Swan swam behind our boat. We started the trip with a
Whistler Swan in Edenton Bay and here at the Northern apex we encounter its
brethren. A good sign for us?
Carl(Thu, Jun 18, 1998 Lat 38 25.226 Lon 76 29.162)
We left Vera's with great regret, it was certainly the high point of our trip
so far. The live entertainment on Thurs-Sun night beggars my vocabulary.
Sufficient to say, if you love Jazz and/or Stevie Wonder type music, don't miss this
place! We moved about 6 miles to Spring Cove Marina in the Solomons. Two reasons:
a)Fuel (They have Diesel at Vera's, but I was not at all convinced of its
b)Grocery Store (and Liquor Store)
It is amazing how often our cruising decisions are decided by how close a
supermarket is to a marina. This is especially true at Sommers Cove
(Crisfield) and Spring Cove (Solomons). Both have nearby grocery stores. (It is a well
know Law of Physics that the mass of a 6 pack of beer increases in direct
proportion to the distance it has to be carried.) Spring Cove is a great marina maybe
the best all around marina we have ever visited. It certainly has the best
bathrooms and picnic areas I have ever seen. We have heard from several people that
Spring Cove was near a great grocery store. We nodded politely because we have
been there several times and the store was at best OK. When we went there, to our
surprise, we found that the store had been transmogrified into a gourmet
grocery store. Like nothing we have in Greenville.
The difference between Spring Cove and Vera's is that as Karen (from
Renaissance) said " Vera's is on 'Island Time'". The most difficult task each day was to
find someone to give the modest docking fee to. The motto there is "it is a nice
day, might as will be happy".
While we were in Crisfield I went to the grocery store while Kay did the
laundry. When I came back we loaded Kay's laundry into the cart with the groceries
and took it to the boat. The problem was the wind was blowing 30+ Knots (MAX 43)
away from the finger pier. The state of the tide was such that our deck was 4
feet above the pier. The combination made boarding daunting! Anyway, while I was
trying to help Kay board, suddenly the cart, laundry and food took off at 4 mph
down the dock unaccompanied by any guidance. I hate to ruin a good story but I did reach it before it went off the end.
(Although it did leave Kay at, so to speak, ropes end.) Much fun.
Kay's recent favorite boat name: "Sloop de jour"
Overheard: "Free Spirit, Free Spirit, Beach Bum calling"
Sailboats that win the truth in labeling award: "Balancing Act"
"Miles to Go"
Surely you are joking: "Contented Turtle"
We left the Solomons today. Time to head home to our dog and house before
the kennel owns them both. Covered 56 miles in 9 hours, motor sailing in light
easterly winds. We originally planed to stop at the Great Wicomico River at
Mills Creek. We met a couple at Vera's who recommended it. They where from
Richmond where he had a recording studio. The interesting part is that 15-20 years
ago he had a band (The Robin Thomas Band) that used to play at "The Attic" in
Greenville. Anyway we made great time and reached that destination too early
to stop. So on we went to Georges Cove near the Rappahannock. The start of the
trip was the only "fun" part since there was a reasonably heavy fog. Again as
last year the radar was a great help! We do love the radar even though we
initially regarded it has a frivolous purchase. NOT! My only regret is not getting a
32 mile radar. The radars most useful function is tracking thunderstorms and if
they are not part of a squall line you can actually use radar to avoid them much
as you would a large ship. The problem is that with a 16 mile range you only
have 1/2 hour warning. Oh well.
Carl(Mon, Jun 22, 1998 Lat N 37 39.9 Lon W 76 21.05)
Continuing south and covered 50+ miles to Salt Ponds in Hampton. (I know I
have finally "gotten in the grove" because I have only 1 chance in 7 of telling
what day of the week it was. ) It was one of those days, 95 degrees and
absolutely no wind. The only thing to do was to set the GPS and autohealm to the next
lighthouse and get under the dodger with a Heinekens and a book. The only
problem with this is that Kay and I will never forget an account we heard
20+ years ago when we first got into sailing ( a Catalina 22). We were in a
boatyards working on our new huge (to us) boat and saw another older couple working on
a boat with a stoved in bow. We asked what had happened and both got this most
excruciating disgusted look on their face and told the sad story. It seems
that their son had taken his girl friend and a male friend out sailing. After
awhile their son and girl friend went down to the V-berth to play cards or
something. The last thing his son said to his male friend as he departed for the card
"Head straight for that light" ...................................
(When ever I need a laugh I try to imagine the expression on the son's/girl
friend's face.) You have to be careful in dealing with a literalist.
Because of this both Kay and I continually looked up and made sure that all
was safe ahead. After awhile we noticed that things were cooler; we were in the
shade! The cooling shade was generated by a large naval ship which had
overtaken us from behind and was passing two rods off our port. We changed course!
Then commenced a quiet, well reasoned, intellectual discussion as to who was
responsible for looking abaft. After awhile their was a vote and it was
decided that I was at fault.
During this period their was a couple of Coast Guard messages/exchanges
that disturbed us. (Years ago I was on a 26 foot sailboat with two others that
sailed to Bermuda from Morehead City ( going East). As we left port we reported our
intentions to the Coast Guard and their response was 'Are you taking the
intercoastal water way' (goes North-South). Ever since we wondered.)
One was a frequent report over several hours from the Hampton Roads Coast
Guard that they had a report of "A boating accident either near buoy 12 on the
James River or on the Nansemond River near the City of Suffolk." DUH! (Sadly we
later found out that a power boat hit a marker and there was a death.)
The Second was from the power vessel "Lucy B". The dialog went something
Lucy B: This is the power vessel Lucy B I am at Thimble Shoals (a very
prominent area near the mouth of the bay marked by a light house) and have lost my
Flying Bridge controls. I can go back to Tidewater Yachts (Norfolk) do you have any
Coast Guard Hampton Roads: Sailing Vessel Lucy B...
Then commenced an exchange wherein the Lucy B tried to convince the Coast
Guard that it was not a sailing vessel.
This was followed by the usual questions about registration, the health of
the crew, etc, obviously a script.
At one point the Coast Guard asked how many crew?
Lucy B: Their are two of us we are anchored and all is well.
Coast Guard: Are you anchored?
Now despite the fact that no one can miss Thimble Shoals Light the Coast
Guard next asked for their Latitude and Longitude. After a pause Lucy B replied. I
am sure that Lucy B was confused by this but they were next asked:
Coast Guard: "Can you see any land marks?"
Lucy B: We are next to the Thimble Shoals Light House! Your Helicopter is
circling over us!!
At that point the Helicopter tried to contact Hampton Roads but alas for a
long time they received no reply.
We are not sure how it ended.
Several years ago we heard an exchange between the Coast Guard and a sinking
on The VHF radio in which the Coast Guard asked:
"Do you have a VHF radio?"
As you can imagine there was a long silence.
_______________________ NEWS FLASH: My daughter just called via cell phone
to tell me that it was the "Robin Thompson Band" not the "Robin Thomas Band",
as earlier reported, and they were great! Candy Apple Red was her favorite song
from them. Small world. ________________________
We have moved now to Waterside in Norfolk Harbor. The end of the Chesapeake
part of the trip. It was a very hot but short trip from Salt Ponds to Waterside.
We hope to stay tomorrow but because of a festival starting then we might not
be able to find a space. I thought that the tall ship seen here last time was
large but this time the 4 masted barkentine 'Juan Sebastion deEclano', which is
here now is 370 feet long! It is the training ship for the Spanish Navy. BIG!
On a (VERY) large power boat at Waterside: "Aspen Alternative"
Next to the "Carpe Margarita" at Salt Ponds: "High Times"
Cute: "Happy Ours"
Risky: "Between Storms"
Appropro: "Academic Leave" and "Leave of Absence"
Clever Sail Boat name: "See Saw"
Best story heard (in parts between laughs from the crew of Renaissance): The
Captain went forward to take down their light air spinnaker in heavy air and
the spinnaker decided instead to take him up!
Carl (Thu, Jun 25, 1998 Lat 36 50.645 Lon 76 13.51)
We made it back to Edenton yesterday. The trip from Norfolk was comparatively
uneventful for us. The first day we covered 50 miles to Coinjock following
closely behind Renaissance all the way and thus avoiding a repeat of our all
two memorable groundings on the way up. This time we stayed at the Midway Marina
in Coinjock wherein we defied fate by purchasing Tee Shirts with the logo on
the back "We Survived the Albemarle" (the length of which we would run on the
morrow) and bought the book "The Perfect Storm". Foolish us! The next morning NOAA
weather was predicting winds of 20 knots from the West which, maybe not by
coincidence, was the direction we were to go for 45 miles. I knew those
purchases were a bad idea. We left Coinjock at 7:00 AM and motored down the North
river for 15 miles. The only untimely event was when a motorboat cut behind us and
swamped the dinghy. Into the dinghy again, this time made tricky because we were in
a cross wind in a narrow channel and could not stop "Spindrift" for the event.
All went well and we continued to the Albemarle and encountered a smash bang
head sea. But unlike all our other trips, as we went West, the winds and seas
died until we were left with an almost perfectly calm trip for the last 25
miles. I knew those purchases were a good idea. We will leave tomorrow for
Greenville, our home, three foot high grass, and our Golden Retriever with the very
imaginative name of "Rusty".
Things we learned on the trip:
The guy on the powerboat "Two Honeys" may have been bragging; the man at the
helm of the sailboat "Trophy Girl" probably was.
The Jordan Highway bridge operators are the best and the friendliest.
Currituck Sound (on the Virginia Cut) is for the birds... and fish; the
water is too skinny for sailors like Kay and Carl.
Vera does not like to be hugged by strange men.
The percentage of time you spend in a marina is directly proportional to the
of you air conditioning multiplied by the outdoor temperature in Rankine.
Power Yachts with a woman on board will come off a plane when they reach you
so that their wake does not destroy you. All male crews could care less. (This
is Kay's observation; I would not dream of making such a sexist comment, even
if it is true.)
Kay's Corollary: Woman are a civilizing influence!
Carls Addendum: Kay is always right.
At a popular marina make reservations on a weekend.
Maryland is the only state were you can find Heineken's in cans.
The Washington Post is great; it has four pages of comics.
When choosing friends to travel with make sure they draw more water than you
then follow them.
Generously tip the dock hands at a Marina. A check with your name on
it is best.
Gatorade and Vodka makes a great drink. (Kay descents.)
When leaving a dock in bad conditions look forlorn and helpless, any man
will be glad to help you to demonstrate their prowess and any woman will help you
because they want to help. (Kay's influence again)
If you see a strange buoy don't motor over to look at it for it will surely
It was fun!
Carl (Sun, Jun 28, 1998 Lat N 36 03.493 Lon W 76 37.384)