Sunday, October 27, 2013

Breaking Away

October 25, 2013.

Because of all the new equipment and systems on the boat I agreed with Christy to do the Chesapeake in a series of jumps rather than our usual overnighter. It's always easier to deal with issues in the daylight.

We left Annapolis at 0900 on Tuesday and headed out into a calm bay with very light winds.
I usually don't like motoring but the new engine only had 2 hours on it so it had to be broken in sooner or later. We ended up sailing for about half the day so we got to try out the new mainsail that I still had never raised. Either power or sail, the boats pretty fast. I'm happy. The only issues we had the first day was getting used to the sound of the new engine and some smells. At first we thought it was something burning but I guess it was just everything in the engine room getting cured by the first prolonged bout with heat. We anchored in the Mill Creek side in Solomons Island for our first night on the hook in a year and a half.

Wednesday morning we woke to heavy rain and debated heading out. Then we did. We had cold, we had rain, we had wind. It was dreary and miserable but we also had ample wind from a good direction and we blasted south. We had wind with the tidal flow at the mouth of the Potomac so it was flat and fast.
The rain did abate long enough to see some of the icebergs of the Chesapeake along our route.

On Thursday we had a nice day of sailing down to Mill Creek in Hampton Roads. With 3 days underway under our belts we decided to apply ourselves.

Transiting Norfolk can be a pain in the ass. And the pimple on that ass is the Gilmerton Bridge. The Gilmerton is closed from 0630 until 0930 every day for rush hour. We timed our leaving from Hampton Roads to allow us to make the 0930 opening.
We caught a train bridge, missed the Gilmerton, circled for an hour, caught another train bridge, seriously?

We got to the lock at the Dismal Swamp after it should have been closed and made it in by the skin of our teeth. It turned out that the reason the locking wasn't done yet was that the temporary lock keeper was slow a shit. We didn't get out of the 1100 lock until 1230.
The lock keeper assigned which boats would leave first so we were stuck behind 2 tiny boats that cruised the swamp at less than 5 knots. Fortunately they stopped at the welcome center and we roared the last 5 miles to the second lock. Which had started the locking process early. Damn. We thought we were condemned to spending the night in the swamp when the lock keepers conscience got the better of him. He drove back down, reopened the bridge, reopened the lock and let us and 2 other boats in. We all locked through quickly and while 2 of the boats opted to anchor at Goat Island we decided to try to cover the 19 miles to Elizabeth City in 2 and a half hours before dark.

You don't want to be doing this section of the ICW in the dark. Crab pots, cypress stumps and Boogeymen are around every corner. We were in the last few turns when sunset came, we had a corner to go when Nautical Twilight ended and we arrived at the bridge in the pitch damn dark. We were happy though, once through the bridge we were going to anchor in a familiar spot so we called and requested a bridge opening.

The bridge keeper answered immediately, stopped traffic, hit the big “UP” button and nothing. He called down and said he was having a problem with the bridge. What is it with bridges today? Damn. He opened the gates and traffic started across the bridge again. He let traffic clear and tried the whole process again. Success!

We drove a couple hundred yards and dropped the hook after a 12 and a half hour day happy to be in North Carolina


Sabrina and Tom said...

Breaking away at break away speed! YAY!

s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC

Latitude 43 said...

Wow. You guys kicked ass. Next stop Bahamas?

HemiD said...

Sorry, I'm late, I'm jealous. Waiting for our moment. (Or at least, waiting for next boat!)

Have a great time, I'm looking forward to hearing your new adventures.


Deb said...

Holy cow - all these projects done you would think your boat name was Kintala LOL

S/V Kintala