Our Longest Day

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Fishing boat just below Beaufort NC

This is our third day since Sharon and Paul left us in the wee hours of the morning in Chesapeake, VA, just below Norfolk.

I was up at 4:45 and we left at first light, which occurs around 5:45 now. This will be getting later each day because summer is ending and also because we’re going south. From Whitaker Point Marina we crossed the Neuse River and took the canal south down to Beaufort/Morehead City. There the ICW stays close to the coast for the 80 miles to Wrightsville Beach NC. In all we went from mile 181 to 283, by far our longest day trip on the ICW.

Some bridges made it longer. As we approached the Carolina Coastal RR bridge just above Morehead City I noticed it was stopped at only partway up. I thought I could make it under. It is normally open except for a rare train. Just as we got to it it lowered the rest of the way right in front of us. On the radio the bridge tender said they were doing maintenance which hopefully would take an hour and a half, but who knows?

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We raced to the bridge. By the time the other boats got through it was too late to close it for us.

We decided to backtrack 2 miles and take the alternate channel that goes to Beaufort. This is longer and has a bridge that opens only every half hour. We’ve been through this bridge before. If we hurried (which in our boat is 11.5 mph instead of 10) to that bridge we would be about 3 minutes late for the 8:30 opening. I called and explained, but the bridge tender just said if I wasn’t there when she opened I would just wait another half hour. We made it because the opening starts at the exact time and boats going the other way took up enough time for us to get there for our turn.

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Nothing like the trees along the ICW in North Carolina

After that there were two on the hour bridges about two hours and ten minutes apart. At least they were not having live fire as we passed by Camp Lejeune.

We got into Bridge Tender Marina just south of the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge right after its 7 PM opening.

 

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Whitaker Point

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We passed R E Mayo Fuel and Seafood on the way.

On 14, 15, 16 and 17 we planned long runs to go 340 miles in 4 days. No problems or particular delays so far in getting as far as Whitaker point, on now our third day of running. It’s been longer than our usual runs, but nice scenery most of the way, so yes, it’s still fun. Sue agrees with me on this. Still, it’s usually better not to rush.

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Just another day on the ICW. Sue never tires of looking at clouds.

It may get a bit boring further south in SC and in GA. Depending on the weather, we may try an open ocean run. We could do that out of Little River, Georgetown, or Charleston. Each of these is a day’s run from the other. We probably will stay on the ICW at least until Georgetown so we can test out the boat after the work to be done on it, but after that we’ll see. Well, maybe we won’t see. Sue probably won’t stand for missing Charleston or Savannah. It’s 17 miles to get through the inlet to the Atlantic from Savannah, but oh well.

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Whitaker Point Marina. We tied up at the dock just ahead. Should be easy.

Tonight we’re at Whitaker Point. We came in to a simple side tie which should have been no problem even though no one immediately was there help us. I thought it would be easy but we had a 20 mph wind off the dock, and it was all I could do with the front and rear thrusters to keep the boat from getting away while tying up. I’ll have to remember that when the wind reaches 20 to have someone on the dock to meet us, come it at an angle an have them tie up the nose first. Once that is done I can force the rear in with the main engines if the thrusters are not enough. The guy did come out (I really didn’t announce us soon enough to him), so If we had waited he would have helped us. I probably needed that experience, however. I should also get the thrusters fixed. Seems there’s a glitch in the controls that does not allow both of them to run at once.

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South to Alligator River

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Leaving Ingram Bay Marina. Narrow channel ahead to the right.

Since leaving Annapolis we had one night in Ingram Bay Marina and one night back at Hampton Public Pier where we spent so much time 2 months ago. Finally we arrived took a short trip across the channel and through the first 13 miles of the ICW to Atlantic Yacht Basin which is just beyond the hourly Great Bridge and its adjacent lock.

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Hampton Public Pier building ahead with light green roof. We park on dock to its right.

Sharon and Paul had to leave us at Norfolk even earlier than we usually start out, so they were gone by the time I got up before 5 AM at Atlantic Yacht Basin. It’s not in a basin, just a long dock we side tied to. Also we were the largest “Yacht” there, but they get creative with the names.

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Naval ships as we pass Norfolk.

We left at 5:45 and made it through the two remaining swing bridges. We hit the Centerville Turnpike swing bridge before it went on its half hourly schedule at 6:30. A few miles more and we waited very little for the half hourly North Landing Bridge. After that the only possible obstacle to our Alligator River Marina goal was Albemarle Sound, which can be very rough, but was smooth for us.

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North Landing swing bridge on ICW just below Norfolk

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Annapolis II

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Annapolis main street goes down to meet the head of Ego Alley.

There was more to see in Annapolis. This time we got into the statehouse, which is for some things is the oldest in the US, I forget which. It’s most famous being where George Washington resigning his commission and returning to civilian life after the revolutionary war. The room where he did that is restored to its appearance at the time and part of a museum area in the same building where both houses of the Maryland legislature still meets. Instead of ruling the nation as he could have at that time, Washington set a huge precedent, setting the stage for civilian rule by removing the military from the picture.

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The capital dome at the end of a typical Annapolis street.

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Washington stood right here in this room and resigned his commission.

The high point was probably attending lunch formation at the academy. Just before noon every day all the midshipmen form up all over the plaza in front of Bancroft Hall, the largest dormitory in the world. Nice that there are places I like to see our tax money being spent.

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The academy chapel. John Paul Jones is buried under the altar.

Tomorrow we run south. We have plenty of time to get to Atlantic Yacht Basin just south of Norfolk. Sharon and Paul fly out of Norfolk airport early in the morning on the 14th. That same morning we will leave and go south at a smart pace to get the boat to Little River SC where we’ll have some more work done, while we fly Aug 20 to Austin to move out of our condo which closes on the 25th.

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The high point of our trip, and they do this every day before lunch!

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Ego Alley

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Naval academy to our right just before turning in. Dome is the chapel.

This year is big city year with Hampton-Norfolk, Annapolis, Philadelphia, two stays at NYC, Baltimore and now a 2nd stay at Annapolis. We traveled the 15 miles from the inner harbor back to the main bay and then down another 13 to get outside of Annapolis.

The Chesapeake can get really rough, just like the great lakes. Because it is shallow the waves tend toward shorter periods which makes them that much more dangerous. Somehow last year as well as this year we have just not run into any rough weather here. We have not had to sit in port anywhere waiting for good days. They have all been pretty good and the water plenty smooth.

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Just entering Ego Alley. We’ll park on the right near the far end.

We went in about 3 miles to the Annapolis harbor area. This time we took a right just before our former marina and went up into Ego Alley. We picked a spot toward the end and pulled alongside. Our anchor just started to overhang the smaller boat in front when Paul said our back was even with the boat behind, so we slowly pulled in.

They probably expect that kind of crowding here. We are here only Monday through Wednesday nights, so we won’t see the crush on the weekends, but still there is no lack of people just outside our boat. It’s hot so we are using our canvas window sunshades, but they give us privacy in the salon at night also. We already got acclimated to this in Baltimore.

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Star Gazer in Ego Alley

With Paul and Sharon instead of the boys we will see some different parts of Annapolis this time.

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Baltimore

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Star Gazer is partially hidden by the red crane toward the lower left.

On the 3rd we traveled across the bay and south to Baltimore. Like Philadelphia but unlike most other downtown marinas in big cities we had no problem reserving space at the city dock. Now we’re the only boat here. The price is right as well. We discussed it the night before we came here and all thought it would be fun.

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Ladies in the back on the way to Baltimore

Awhile back while the Freddy Gray stuff was happening I plunked myself down in several randomly picked areas of Baltimore via Google Maps street view to get a feel for the city. Maybe I picked the worst places, but everything I saw looked abandoned and dilapidated. Not a bit of green anywhere. From what we’ve heard lately, downtown is be very different.

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We’ve just entered the Baltimore inner harbor. We docked at the far end.

We went 12 miles west from the main Chesapeake Bay to get to a smaller channel and then 3 miles up that to the far west end of the “Inner Harbor”. The Inner Harbor is roughly square and small, about 1300 feet on a side. It holds several historic ships and a WWII submarine on the north side and a moderate sized marina on the south. On the west end is the city dock and places for a couple of tourist boats to park.

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Maybe the largest railroad museum we’ve seen is a moderate walk to the west.

The fallout from the riots and related problems must be keeping people away. There are good reasons to stay away from a lot of this city, but this harbor is so small and is tucked right in the center of downtown and close to some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city. It seems very secure with plenty of police presence. Everything is clean, neat, and in the commercial part mostly new. Some of the row houses nearby look old but are well tended.

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The entire crew at the Baltimore City Dock in the evening.

There is a large aquarium, lots of shopping for the women and a big Barnes and Noble built into a giant old steam plant just across the plaza. It’s going to take awhile to see all this, and it appears we can stay as long as we want.

 

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Back to Chesapeake

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Back to Canyon Club Marina, a big center for sport fish boats.

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Evening at the Cape May walking street.

We left Atlantic City on the 31st at the more reasonable hour of 8:30 for a short open ocean trip and arrived by noon at Canyon Club Marina. We stayed there 2 nights and so had had the rest of the day as well as all of the next day (Monday August 1) to spend in Cape May. Most activity there centers around the main walking only street that goes several blocks through town. Sue and Sharon visited several shops and we ate in a couple of the restaurants. Certainly very touristy, but fun in the right doses.

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Leaving Cape May. White ferry boats show far off at right near where canal meets Delaware Bay.

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Marty and Carol, Paul’s brother & sister in law, joined us at Bohemia Bay.

On the 2nd we rose early and went up Delaware Bay with no rough stuff this time, through the C & D canal and down the Chesapeake a short ways to the very small Bohemia Bay Marina on the east side of the bay. They had room for several boats to side tie along a single dock. Marty and Carol came on board for a few days. They are from Michigan and last joined us for a few hops between marinas in that state last year as well as some other travels in the Flint & Detroit areas.

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Entering Bohemia Bay Marina. We docked just to the left in front of that small boat.

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