Well we had all went to bed early for the departure in the morning. And a wonderful morning it was. Were we taking our “Dream” home, it was ours, and “living the dream had begun”.
Diane, on one of the long trips to Annapolis, had named the boat. Originally we had decided on "D&D's Dream" but had figured that, that name would be a VHF nightmare. So she came up with “JusDreaming”. It was while we were asking ourselves, one late night trip, if we were just dreaming or would we ever find our boat.
It is a little cool but clear with a 5-10 knts. out of the southeast. The lines are untied and off we go. We needed to try to make 60 miles per day to stay on schedule, (that word again). I had figured the first few days would be under that, but we should make it up when we learned the feel of the boat. So our first destination is Parker Creek, I figured the northwestern side of the bay would give us some shelter.
As all our sailing had all been in tropical waters, the crab pots were amazing. Not amazing as in kewl, but they are so fricking many of them. It reminded me of doing a slalom course.
We motor sailed all day and decided to drop the hook around 1800. It was a nice spot with a little cove and a creek running into it. As we were unwinding and sitting on the trampoline and watching the sunset, a deer came walking down the beach. Life is good
We are up and moving early, coffee for Diane and I, and coffee and crabs for Fred. He REALLY likes crabs. The wind had clocked a little more from the north and the bay was beginning to build a bit. A nice broad reach with following seas. We made 11 knts surfing from time to time. That afternoon the wind shifted to dead on the stern. So the engines are running and we are still making good time. A few miles from the Wicomico River we lose the starboard engine. Fred is to the rescue; he begins to tinker while I continue at the helm. After a while he determines that the “racor” was full of trash. He switched the filters bled the system and we had both engines again. But it was a
momentary relapse. Luckily we were close enough to the Wicomico, to pull in for the night. Unfortunately Diane was at the helm, I tell her to take the buoy to port. She ask if I was sure, naturally I said “yes”, WRONG! We had just grounded her for the first time. I was really glad she was at the helm and not me J. A little working at it, and we were free and anchored in a beautiful little anchorage with two other boats. The mechanical problems would wait till tomorrow. Diane makes a great supper, Fred has crabs. And to bed we go.
We rise to another beautiful day. The wind is a little more northerly and still at 10-15. We motor over to Reedville, and cruise the harbor and look for a marina. I get on the VHF and ask for info. A kind sailor comes on and gives me direction to “Tiffany Yachts” up the river a few miles.
An hour later and we are tied up to their dock. Really Really nice folks! Diane goes up to the parts counter and buys every racor filter they can find. We had to wait for the mechanic to finish a couple of other jobs then, he could fit us in. The owner tossed us the keys to their pick up and tells us to go to town and get some lunch. Like I said really nice folks.
We find a great little seafood restaurant with a fish market. A great lunch, some fresh fish and naturally Fred bought some more crabs.
Back at the boat the mechanic determines no one has changed or even cleaned the filters, so much for the mechanic in Annapolis. But he bleeds the system the engines crank and off we go. I figure the same anchorage should work. So we drop the hook without grounding and settle in. Side note is the mechanic nick named us "Captain Fatback, Pinky, and Reptile.
We have our morning rituals and off we go. I totally misjudged the conditions, so as soon as we clear the mouth of the river, I realize we have WAY too much sail up!!
A quick about face and back to protected waters and I throw a reef in and away we go.Today I know we need to make it to Norfolk. So we motor sail all the way with steep short waves on the nose.
We make the turn for Norfolk and get in line with all the ships coming in. We pass all the Naval ships and manage not to get run over. But by the time we get up the Lafayette River, to the yacht basin, it is dark, and Fred guides me, by shining the markers with the spotlight. It has been a long day but we are in Norfolk safe and sound!!
Well a little wind and the COLD front has moved thru. It is clear, cool, and calm. Morning rituals and off we go.
The Dismal Swamp route is closed due to Isabel so no options at this point. So we are headed down the ditch for the first time! I had read the guides and believed them about the RR Bridge, very seldom closing. I looked up and noticed the pulleys beginning to turn. A quick about, and a tight butt, but all is well. A large group of vessels bunched up and circled. This group will be together all day.
The locks are new to us, but uneventful. We get some pictures and away we go. We are headed below Coinjock, NC, to a nice cove just off the icw. Nice calm night and finally get the follow-me-TV working. Fred eats some more crabs J and we hit the racks.
What can I say, but more ditch. It is starting to get boring. Yes we have seen lots of wildlife and cypress trees but this is what I grew up around. Our next real destination is Ocracoke Island. We will overnight somewhere, then cross the Albemarle, then to Ocracoke.
As we are heading in the channel for the harbor at Ocracoke we lose one engine again. This is getting old; obviously we have trash in the tanks.
We limp in and get tied up with no problems.I am really getting use to two engines and liking it. Fred really wants to see the museums, so we wander around a bit, and witness how hard the Outer Banks got the shit kicked out of them. At this time no one is allowed on the island in cars, due to the roads being closed and bridges being wiped out over the inlets. Fred offers to treat for dinner so we are eating out tonight.
We get a late start out, after changing the Racors, so we just ease across the Sound and find a good night anchorage tucked up in the river. It is very quiet, calm, and NO people. Nice day and night.
So tonight we plan to anchor behind “Shackleford Bank”. So we up anchor and I immediately ground us, (or “sand us” as Diane calls it). We have to drop the dink and pull ourselves off the bar and away we go. We make it to Shackleford and drop the hook. we decide to dink in to the beach. We are getting ready to go, when we look up and see a mare and foal walking down the beach. REALLY a cool site after so many miles on a ditch.
We make it to the Surf City Bridge today uneventfully. We catch the bridge so we decide to go in the little marina and go out to eat again.
Fred has to leave tomorrow and has arranged for a flight from Wilmington so we will drop him off at Wrightsville Beach. After a rain soaked walk to West Marine, where Fred buys us some presents for the boat and ourselves.
He grabs a cab and we are alone on our boat for the first time. He really saved our butts and was a great help. We will miss him, but I don’t care if I ever see another crab for awhile. But again he was a great help. And I appreciate all I learned from him, again.
After dropping him off it is raining really hard and it is cold. So we decide Myrtle Sound is home for the night!
Cape Fear to Bohicket
After a windy night and a few of the boats, including us, dragging, we are up and out early. We get to where the ditch cuts off south at Cape Fear. I look at Diane and she knows what I am thinking. I ask her if she is as tired of the ditch as I am. She confirms and agrees, and we decide it is time for our first overnighter on OUR boat. I raise the sails and we head out of the inlet.
We are both excited to be headed for blue water and no more ditching it. We are after all; we are on a sound, and solid boat. The engines are off and we are again a sailboat.
We make it out of the inlet with no problems other than dodging some shrimp boats that were working the area. It was good conditions with 5-10 knts winds and clear, but it was still a little cool.
The conditions hold and we witness our first sunset at sea. This is our first overnighter on our own boat. So we are a little apprehensive, but we will be fine. Right after sunset I see a couple of other boats. “Margaret E” is close enough to talk to and it is assuring to know that we are not out here by ourselves. We sail with them all the way, and they congratulate us for losing our virginity, really nice folks!!
The course is laid in so Diane takes over as we are off “Cape Romaine”. The next thing I see is a huge ship passing behind us as we cross the Charleston Harbor entrance. Startled I ask her what was going on, her reply was the captain told her it was safe for her to cross his bow. So I guess she is doing fine so I go down make a little coffee and get ready for the last leg.
I turn the boat in to the N. Edisto inlet and head for Bohicket. As we get close I call on the VHF and Josh, at the marina, says he will meet us at the dock. He helps tie us off and our first trip is over.
We have logged our first trip of many to come. The trip consisted of 118 hours, and 760 miles.