2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #5 5/3/06 thru 05/14/06

Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #5  

Most all of you have already read through our email updates that covered the period 4/1 thru 5/02.  We have heard from some of you that you enjoyed hearing about our trip so far

Please send us your comments, thoughts, and ideas via email.  We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.

05/03/06  Wednesday  Georgetown, NC to Waccamaw River anchorage

The morning was beautiful again today.  Our plan for the day was to travel only a short distance so we headed over to Thomas Café again to enjoy another of the great breakfast meals that they prepare.  If you are ever in Georgetown, be sure to dine there.  The hours are 7am to 2pm only and Mon to Sat.  The lunches sound great too.

As we prepared to depart from Boat Shed Marina, we found the starboard (right) engine was not starting right up.  I went below and turned on the electric fuel pump directed to that engine.  Another attempt and she started right up nicely.  Gremlins, I guess…    By 9:35, the lines were aboard and we were cruising again.  The new GPS navigation system screen was clear and bright showing all the details of the waterway in color on the 10.5-inch screen.  Wow…. Real nice..   At 1:20pm, we turned off the ICW at a fork and continued along the Upper Waccamaw River.  This area is well known for its amazing beauty.  In North Carolina, it is called the Low Country.  Not many cruisers travel up this end of the river.  Some years earlier, we had traveled a short way up here and promised to return again.  Here we are….  

We decided to follow the river as far as we could.  We had no charts that covered this area but we forged on as if we were pioneers into the unknown.  The scenery is magnificent with cypress trees abound and lots of wildlife and waterfowl.  The river winds along as it narrows.  The GPS screen was a blank except for the track lines we leave in our wake.  It was absolutely wonderful and the weather was perfect.  We traveled for almost four hours before deciding to turn around and find an anchorage for the night.  We found the ideal spot and dropped the hook.  We attached a “trip line” to the anchor just in case it might get caught in some roots on the bottom.  A trip line is attached to the crown or forward end of the anchor when conditions could cause the anchor to get stuck in roots or other foreign matter.  The idea is that should it become fouled, the trip line could be used to raise the anchor from the front end instead of the back or shank end.  Fortunately, we didn’t have a problem.  We relaxed and enjoyed our dinner on the sundeck of AMARSE.  We slept soundly in these lovely surroundings.

Position  N33 40.945 W079 04.020

05/04/06  Thursday    Waccamaw River anchorage to Barefoot Landing, Myrtle Beach, SC

Anchor up and underway at 6:40am.  The anchor came up normally so we didn’t need the trip line.  The foam marker on the trip line had broken off during the night so we will have to engineer a replacement one soon.

Now for today’s lesson:  We are traveling the ICW.  Many people often misstate the real name for the abbreviation “ICW” (including myself).  You may often hear it called the “intercoastal waterway”.  This is incorrect.  Its correct full name is “Atlantic IntraCoastal Waterway”.  In the English language, the words “intra” and “inter” are often misused.  Hopefully, I will be more careful in the future to use the correct terminology.  Anyway, this section of the ICW is measured in statute miles from Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL.  We rejoined the ICW at mile 375 from Norfolk.  Our timing was good to get the hourly opening of the Socastee Swing Bridge, which only operates on the hour.  We glided past numerous mega homes, many of which are newly built on the proliferation of golf courses along this region.  Lots of new high bridges have been constructed to provide easy access to the mainland from these golf developments.  One course even put a cable gondola car to transport players across to the greens.  The numbers of condo complexes amazes me beyond belief.  The growth is phenomenal.  At 09:30 am, we had reached our destination for the day, Barefoot Landing at Myrtle Beach, SC.  For many years, this was a free dock owned and maintained by the US Army Corp of Engineers.  This year, the dock has been refurbished and water and electric power added.  The new private owners put in new ramps and now charge $1.25 per foot of boat length per night.  In previous years, the docks were full.  Now, there were a mere handful of boats.  The nice thing about this place is the location.  It is right at a nice little shopping area with many small shops and restaurants.  The bus is conveniently located here to make side trips to the grocery store, hardware, and marine supply stores.  We headed out to re-provision the food supplies.  With our chores completed, we relaxed and enjoyed a terrific chicken dinner on the sundeck of AMARSE.  We met some new friends and generally had another wonderful day.  The weather could not have been nicer.  Position  N33 48.077 W078 44.725.

05/05/06  Friday  Barefoot Landing, Myrtle Beach, SC to Carolina Beach State Park Marina, NC.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Mi Amigos.  Early in the morning, we heard the rumblings of the other boats preparing to get underway.  I quickly realized that they were all getting this early start to make the bridge schedules.  This prompted us to do the same as one of the bridges operates only on an hourly opening.  It was almost a parade from 6:30 am as this mini flotilla of boats headed north to the bridges.  The current was pushing us along quickly so we all arrived at the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge about 8:30am.  We jockeyed our vessels around in the area for another half hour until the scheduled opening at 9am.  This bridge has the distinction of being the last cable-operated pontoon bridge on the Atlantic coast route.  The mechanism is actually built on a barge like pontoon that is pulled away and back into place by tensioning and relaxing cables.  It is quite interesting to see it work.  Boaters must be careful not to proceed too soon as they would become entangled in the cables before they settled to the bottom.  As the bridge tender sounds the horn signal, the awaiting boats file on through the opening and continue their journey.  Some hours later, we come to “Lockwood’s Folly”.  This is located at an ocean inlet that has swift currents and is infamous for shoaling, shallow areas of shifting sand.  Many an unsuspecting boater has found himself quickly aground in a dangerous area.  The current will sweep a boat off course in seconds and often before the boater realizes what has happened.  Fortunately, we were expecting unusual circumstances and made the necessary course corrections to avoid any difficulty.  About 12:30pm, we joined the Cape Fear River at Southport, NC.  By 2:07, we were tied up to the dock at Carolina Beach State Park Marina.  We are near mile 297.1.  This is a lovely little place.  We first pulled up to a face dock and soon realized that we would not be able to get from the boat to the dock because of the piling placement.  We asked to relocate to Slip #40 to provide easier access to the floating dock.  The backing in maneuvers went smoothly and this was a safe, secure place to be. 

We gathered our bag of dirty laundry and headed for the washer/dryer room at the ranger station.  We would need to do three loads to get it all done.  The weather forecasters painted a picture of doom and gloom for the upcoming weekend.  Lots of rain and thunderstorms would make the going unpleasant.  A plan was formulated to rent a car and stay the entire weekend here in this safe place.  We could explore and sightsee in the car.  An online check got us reservations at the special weekend rate with Enterprise Rent Car.  They agreed to pick us up at the marina too.  As Judy finished up the laundry duty, I went for the car.  Our timing was good and we set out for a tour of the Carolina Beach, Fort Fisher areas on this late afternoon.  We found a nice place called the Sawmill Restaurant located at Monkey Junction.  The fish dinners were quite good.  As tired little puppies, we found it easy to sleep in the midst of our sweet dreams.

Position  N 34 03.030 W 077 55.129.

05/06/06   Saturday   Carolina Beach State Park Marina

With access to our rental car, we decided to maximize our sightseeing adventure.  We departed the park about 7am and set out to see the famous “Outer Banks” region of North Carolina.  Neither of us had ever visited them before so it was the perfect opportunity.  A fast food breakfast and lots of miles got us to the ferry docks at Cedar Island at 11am.  We were hoping to get the noon ferry departure.  We had been told that it would be possible to be on standby and that we would probably get on if we were near the front of the line.  We had reservations for the 3pm but wanted more time on the outer banks.  We were number 4 and made it on to the ferry.  All but about 5 of the 15 standby vehicles made it.  The weather was near perfect and the 2-½ hour trip was very pleasurable.  We met some nice motorcycle riders and enjoyed the chat.  The ferry landing at Okracoke Island was quite nice and we were able to visit the lovely lighthouse there without much crowd.  Lunch was at “Howard’s Bar and Grill”.  It sounded and looked real good but we were sadly disappointed with the food.  Both Judy and I ordered the Flounder Fish Sandwich and we agreed that it was probably the worst we had ever had.  Oh well, avoid that place if you visit.  We continued north along the narrow island till reaching the ferry to Cape Hatteras.  The 20-minute trip was pleasant and we got to visit with our motorcycle friends again.  You might know it, two of the guys are pilots.  Upon reaching the Cape, we headed for the most famous lighthouse of all.  What a beauty!  The structure is very large and the architecture is wonderful.  I took numerous pictures as we walked the grounds.  A bridge connects to Bodie Island to the north.  The lighthouse there is also wonderfully kept and another national treasure.  Onward, northward  we drove to Kill Devil Hills and the site of the Wright Brothers first flight.  We had reached the park area a little to late to visit the grounds and museum but enjoyed the area and neighboring Kitty Hawk.  As the afternoon turned to evening, we began the long trip back to the Wilmington, NC area.  We finally arrived back at the boat after midnight and after putting over 600 miles on the rent car.  Very tired we were, however, the journey had been well worth the effort.  Another great night to sleep here in this quiet little marina.

05/07/06   Sunday   Carolina Beach State Park Marina

We had planned to sleep late this Sunday morn but the habitual routine of early rising had us both awake by 7am.  We planned a leisurely day of shopping for boat and travel supplies and general relaxation.  A wonderful breakfast at the Sawmill Restaurant started the morning off perfectly.  We visited several marine stores as well as a re-stocking run to Sam’s Club.  We ran into some friends from the yacht “Betty B” while at West Marine.  We yakked for over an hour about boat stuff and got a nice demo of some of the latest goodies.  Fun.  We cruised around in the car to Wrightsville Beach and various other places.  Before we knew it, it was dinnertime.  Judy spotted a little seafood restaurant call “Something Fishy”.  It was very, very good and the flounder dinners were delicious.  Back to the boat and off to bed for these guys.

05/08/06   Monday    Carolina Beach State Park Marina to Mile Hammock Bay anchorage.

The weather forecast for the next few days was favorable, however, it would turn poor in just a couple of days.  Although we had the car rented till 5pm, we felt that it would be best to head out and make our way north earlier.  We did some laundry and another store run before returning the car.  By 11:30 am, we were departing the dock.  The wind was brisk and directly crossed to us.  To complicate matters even more, it was near dead low tide and so we stirred up the bottom as we maneuvered away from the marina.  Within a few minutes, we were back in the ICW and traversing Snow’s Cut that connects the Cape Fear River with the inland waterway.  Because the tide was low, we were able to clear the Wrightsville Beach Swing Bridge without an opening.  This saved us quite a bit of time.  We also had plenty of clearance at the Figure Eight Island Bridge.  At 3:40pm, we arrived at the Surf City Swing Bridge and had to wait until 4pm for their hourly opening.  We continued past the New River that leads to New Bern, NC and at mile 244.5, we entered the anchorage area at Mile Hammock Bay.  This is a US Marine facility that is frequently available for boaters to anchor in.  At times, it is chained off and troops from the Camp LeJeune Marine Base conduct all types of training exercises in the little bay.  Fortunately for us and the other 15 or so boats today, the channel was open.  We made four attempts at anchoring AMARSE.  Each time, the boat would end up too close to another boat in this crowded tiny area.  On the fourth and final attempt, we had found just the right spot to provide safe swinging room when the current and wind would rotate the boats around their anchor lines.  By 6:45pm, we felt secure enough to silence the engines and relax peacefully.  One sailboat in the anchorage was not quite so lucky and had run aground.  He had to call in TowBoat/US to help him get unstuck.  I’m sure that cost him a pretty penny since he had let his tow insurance lapse.  For us, it was a peaceful night for dinner and nitey-nite.

05/09/06   Tuesday    Mile Hammock Bay anchorage to Campbell Creek anchorage.

We were up just prior to 6am this morning.  We had a long way to go and we needed to depart in proper time to make a scheduled bridge opening.  We were the first ones out of the anchorage at 6:15am.  Several others followed shortly thereafter.  The ICW cuts right through the firing range at Camp LeJeune.  On occasion, the ICW will be shut down for up to an hour as the firing commences.  We made it through the stretch without interruption.  The banks were lined with trucks, tanks, armored personnel carriers, and various other military vehicles and numerous soldiers awaiting the early morning exercises.  We had hoped for an earlier bridge opening at the Onslow Swing Bridge.  This bridge has the distinction of being the only one owned and operated by the US Marine Corp.  Usually, the bridges fall under the jurisdiction of the US Army Corps of Engineers.  The tender said we would have to wait for the hourly opening as he expected some tank traffic.  None showed up, however, and so we passed through at the hourly opening along with several others. 

Shortly before noon, we passed Morehead City, NC and Beaufort, NC.  If you paid attention to the previous lesson concerning Beaufort, you would remember that this city is pronounces as “BO- FORT”.  Remember BO is NO(North).

A little before 2pm, we entered the Neuse River and headed into Oriental, NC harbor.  We had hoped to find a place at the city-operated dock.  Unfortunately, the docks were full and we opted to continue on northbound.  A pretty trawler cruiser soon passed us and we recognized it as “La Garza Verde”.  We had briefly met these fellow loopers at St. Augustine.  We chatted a little on the VHF radio and enjoyed the memories of our previous port of call.  We selected a anchoring spot on the charts lying just north of the Hobucken Cut.  We turned into Campbell Creek amidst a minefield of crab pot buoys.  Proceeding westerly, we found the ideal spot about a mile or so upstream.  A delightfully peaceful location to be shared with only one other boat, a Willard 40 trawler named “Mystic” that hails from Coos Bay, Oregon.  We had met these folks while anchored next to them at St. Augustine, FL.  They have traveled from Alaska on south, through the Panama Canal, and are presently touring the great loop as we are.  The have been traveling for several years on their voyage of a lifetime.  I certainly admire their hardy adventure.

As the late afternoon sun turned to evening, we enjoyed our grilled dinner on the sundeck table aboard AMARSE.  Another great day to build our memories…

Position N35 16.746  W076 38.397.  This place is remote enough that there is no cell phone or internet connection service.  Peaceful indeed…..

05/10/06    Wednesday    Campbell Creek anchorage to Elizabeth City, NC

Happy Birthday to my brother Doug in California.

We awoke early for a sunrise departure from this absolutely lovely anchorage.  The other boat, “Mystic”, was just getting underway as we began to set up the equipment for the day’s travel.  Despite repeated attempts, the new GPS navigation system would not initiate and the screen was dark except for a single, thin line.  As I did my troubleshooting, I could see that the unit had failed and that nothing could be done here to change that.  We reorganized our thinking to return to the more primitive method of chart reading.  Setting out with only paper charts quickly reminded us of how much more enjoyable the travel is when you have nice electronic equipment.  Oh well, we have certainly successfully navigated with paper charts for many years.  At 7:22am, we were easing out of the anchorage to join the Pamlico River, then the Pungo River.  At 9:40am, we entered the long, narrow stretch of waterway known as the “Alligator-Pungo Canal”.  It is mostly carved out of a cypress swamp to connect the two rivers.  The many stumps along the sides remind the helmsman to mind his course lest the vessel meet with certain damage from the underwater hazards lurking just a few feet to our sides.  After about 30 miles, the canal opens into the widening Alligator River.  Judy had the helm for most of the canal while I worked to exchange the new GPS with the older unit that I had taken out less than two weeks earlier.  Discouraging work but at least we would have a GPS chart plotter to help ease the navigating workload.  Having the GPS has enabled us to avoid problems on several occasions so far.  It really helps a lot when working your way into an anchorage area.  The screen will indicate depths and hazards while we pick the best spots.  The track markings left on the screen will be very helpful when the boat moves outbound in the mornings.

We had thought of staying at the marina mid-way up the Alligator River, but as we approached the swing bridge, the weather was quite nice and we calculated that we could make the most of the rest of the day by continuing on.  We transited the “wiggles”, an area of intense shoaling, and entered the large body of water known as the Albemarle Sound. It is here that the Intracoastal Waterway offers the northbound boater the choice of routes.  The most common route is the “Virginia Cut” route.  It generally provides a faster, deeper, and easier route north.  The Virginia Cut lacks the history and secluded beauty of the alternate route.  We plotted our course to take us into the Pasquotank River.  This river leads to Elizabeth City, NC and the “Dismal Swamp” route.  More about this unusually named route later.  Our plan to reach Elizabeth City by sundown came together nicely and we entered the dockage area in generally peaceful conditions.  Fortunately, there was one open space against the dock wall of the city-operated facility.  It was tight quarters but the generous help of some onlookers helped us squeeze in between a piling and a large catamaran sailboat.  Tied securely to the wall, we were greeted by numerous local townsfolk that come by to extend their welcome to the boaters.  This is a wonderfully friendly town.  Elizabeth City has somehow managed to preserve the attitude of southern hospitality and the residents exude the spirit of warmth and caring that often seems lost in our society today.  I think this is the way we were meant to regard each other and wish we would see more of this personal caring and interest as we travel.  Several locals recommended good dinner spots and we chose “Thumpers”.  The clam chowder was quite good as were the burgers.  Those icy cold beers really hit the high note too.

The weather forecast was for the “nasty” side for the next day or so, thus we decided to stay over and rest for the next day too.  For now, to bed…to rest….

05/11/06    Thursday    Elizabeth City, NC

We thought we could sleep in this morning, but the routine of early rising put that thought aside.  The “weather-guessers” continued to talk of the high probability of storms and high winds.  The winds were indeed getting stronger and coming in from the south.  At these docks, the water becomes quite rough and uncomfortable when the winds freshen from the south.  All of the boats were pitching and rolling quite sharply.  One couple was so uncomfortable that they decided to move to another dock.  In the process, they lost control of their boat in the wind and got trapped by the pilings.  They were able to get off with the generous help of one of the local chaps that pulled them with his pontoon boat.  The whole thing was a fiasco and even resulted in the gal breaking two fingers in all the commotion.  As other boaters arrived, we helped the best we could to assist them with their docking maneuvers.  It made me quite happy that we had chosen to come the night before.

Elizabeth City has some wonderful traditions both old and new.  The town has elected to increase its business margins by welcoming boaters with incentives to visit and purchase goods and supplies here.  They offer complimentary dockage for your vessel for up to 48 hours.  One gentleman, Fred Fearing, started the tradition of giving each visiting woman a lovely rose from the local bushes.  He, and other volunteers called “Rose Buddies”, host a cheese and wine party every evening at 5pm so that everyone can become acquainted and have a nice relaxing get-together.  This is so nice.

Today was our dine out day.  We went to breakfast with several other boaters, two Bills and Al.  Lunch was at Quality Seafood Restaurant.  The reasonably priced seafood platter was quite good and very plentiful with its assortment of flounder, shrimp, oysters, and scallops.

Now for today’s history lesson.  The Elizabeth City area was first visited by the English in 1585 and was settled in 1793.  Its six National Historic Register districts stir memories of a time when the infamous Blackbeard sailed these waters, trains were still a way of life, and Orville and Wilbur Wright stopped for provisions on their way to Kitty Hawk.  Most folks are quite familiar with the Kitty Hawk side of the Wright Brothers’ story, but how many of you knew that they traveled to the outer banks by hired sailing ship that picked up supplies and provisions right here in Elizabeth City.

The daytime hours passed without anything more that a sprinkle of rain, however, the forecast for late evening storms brought forth their promise of heavy rain, thunder and lightning.  Here, we escaped the worst as most of the heaviest stuff occurred a little further north.  As the storms passed, the winds calmed and we slept well.

05/12/06  Friday   Elizabeth City, NC to Hampton, VA

The alarm blasted at 5:30 to awaken us to a cool, calm, and clear dawn.  Quickly we readied the boat and motored out at 5:50am.  The lift bridge opened immediately upon our request.  Like so many other low bridges, they operate on restrictions during rush hours so you have to wait.  We were early enough to avert that problem.  Our route continued up the Pasquotank River as the sun gently rose.  Perfectly calm waters reflected all the trees and shoreline.  Both Judy and I marveled at the sight of Canadian geese flying at water level.  Their loud honking and awesome reflection in the still waters was unlike anything we had ever seen.  How cool is that?

For most of the early morning, we were alone with nature.  Our passage through the “Dismal Swamp” would require us to encounter two locks.  These operate only four times a day.  We wanted the earliest time at 8:30 for the first lock at South Mills.  We would lock with only three others.  The narrow canals are shallow and require that boaters travel slowly and carefully avoid snags and logs that frequently appear.  Always take care not to follow too closely to the boat ahead lest he stir up some debris from the bottom to foul your propellers.  We did feel a couple of “thud” sounds but believe that we escaped any damage.  We took additional caution by increasing the spacing behind other boats. 

Now for your history lesson about the “Dismal Swamp”.  The canal’s construction began in 1793, taking 12 years to complete with slave labor.  George Washington was said to have been one of the engineers of the project.  During the Civil War, the canal was heavily damaged and it was not until the late 1800’s when the project was rehabilitated and vessels could once again move lumber, shingles, farm products and passengers between Norfolk and inland Virginia and North Carolina.  Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers operates the canal as they have since the 1920’s.

As we continue on to the Deep Creek locks, we moved slowly and viewed the scenery and wildlife.  The next scheduled opening occurred at 1:30pm and dropped two powerboats and three sailboats.  Upon exiting the lock, channel markers change sides again to put Red’s to port when northbound.  The sailboat in front of us didn’t recognize the change and attempted to pass on the wrong side of the marker.  They immediately went hard aground.  Judy and I turned around and came to their aid.  Judy rigged a 50-foot line to the bow of AMARSE as I maneuvered the bow up to the sailboats beam side.  Judy made a great toss of the line and we were able to back away pulling the sailboat off grounding.  I’m glad we were able to assist. (and also very glad that we did not make the same mistake.)

Shortly after exiting the lock, we rejoined the common section of the ICW at a point only a few miles south of Norfolk, VA.  At 3:45, we had reached mile 0.0 of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  We now travel up through one of the busiest harbors in the world and home to one of the US Navy’s biggest installations and its huge fleet of ships.  These vessels are absolutely immense.  They dwarf everything else around.  Transiting mariners need to be careful to stay in the authorized channel as much of the area is restricted military.  No need to get into that kind of security jam.

As we crossed Hampton Roads, we turned to join the Hampton River and proceeded into Hampton harbor.  We located a nice anchorage just upstream of the bridge and rested very nicely.  Cocktails, dinner on the grill, and new memories made during this great day on the “Loop” cruise.

05/13/06   Saturday   Hampton, VA to Mobjack Bay

No need to rush out of the anchorage this morning since we wanted to refuel after 8am.  For those of you coming this way, the marina at Sunset Boating Center sells diesel fuel at about the lowest price that I know of.  They are located all the way to the end of Sunset Creek off the Hampton River.  Don’t forget to ask for the Boat/US discount. 

All topped off, we returned to enter the Chesapeake Bay and plotted our course for Mobjack Bay.  That bay lies on the western shore and is quite large at the mouth.  Once inside the bay, four rivers branch off.  We explored the Ware River, the East River, and, finally, the North River.  Since it is not remarkably beautiful, we opted not to explore the Severn River. We traveled up each of these rivers to a point where they became too shallow to safely navigate.  The scenery is spectacular and provides a magnificent setting for the cruiser.   We enjoyed a lovely anchorage in a section dotted with wonderful residential examples of tidal area architecture.  One large home near us looked much like the famous “Monticello” of Thomas Jefferson fame.  Chicken roasting on the grill as the sunset glowed in the western sky.  How nice is this 

05/14/06      Sunday   Mobjack Bay to Deltaville, VA

Feliz Dia de las Madres   or Happy Mother’s Day.

The waters of the North River were almost perfectly still as the anchor rose to the pulpit.  A relatively slow and peaceful pace brought us back into Mobjack Bay, out past the New Point Comfort lighthouse and back into the wide Chesapeake Bay.  Wolf Trap light marks the shoals nearby as does the Spider Point light and marker.  The weather prognosticators warned of heavy afternoon and evening thunderstorms and windy conditions.  We made arrangements to dock at Walden’s Marina in Broad Creek of Deltaville, VA.  This was a change from our original plan to anchor out.  We bypassed by the Piankatank River, as well as one of my personal favorite anchorages, and turned into the Rappahannock River to Broad Creek.  The marina manager directed us to an outside end dock and assisted us in docking and securing AMARSE.  We put out extra fenders and attached extra lines to provide additional security in the forecast storms.  The skies were mostly blue now, however, the slowly darkening sky nearby hinted strongly that this was the calm before the storm.  Lunch was overdue and the little waterfront restaurant called “Cocomo’s” was right next-door.  As you may have guessed, it was quite crowded with folks celebrating Mother’s Day with that special woman that probably had the largest, single influence on their life.  It was very nice to see so much respect and caring.  I heartily recommend the “Shrimp and Crab Bisque.”  WOW!  As we enjoyed our lunch, the skies broke loose with the powerful combination of thunder, lightning, and torrential rains.  The downpour lasted almost 30 minutes and we were very glad to be in this safe and secure location.  The skies brightened and the rest of the afternoon turned pleasant.  The marina manager took us to West Marine to pick up some boat supplies.  Fortunately, the local branch had exactly the right electronic chart pack for the Chesapeake Bay.  We still have not resolved the new GPS situation, so our backup chart plotter needed to have additional “blueChart chips” to navigate further north.  This chip will cover the area to Delaware.  We also replaced our wind-worn US flag.  The sun and constant winds were starting to tatter the stars and stripes mounted on AMARSE’s stern.  The new ensign will serve us well.

Judy cleaned the boat and I worked on these log updates.  The skies were readying themselves for another round of storms.  As dusk arrived, so did the thunderstorms.  Again, we enjoyed the security of this marina dock.

A lighter meal of Roasted Pepper and Tomato soup warmed us on this chilly, stormy evening.  Tonight we will just relax aboard and decide later “what, when, and where” will come next.

Our friends, Milt and wife Jimmie, are in Stuart, FL and Paddy and Elaine are in Ft. Myers soon to be enroute to Ft. Lauderdale.  David, LeAnn, and JD are in Marathon, FL.  Nice to know that all are progressing safely and nicely.  We have very poor cell phone coverage and the only internet connection is being provided by the competition marina next door.  I hope the storms aren’t too loud tonight as I’m tired and hope to sleep soundly.  Stay tuned for more updates….


"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email.  We have had the pleasure of hearing from many of you.  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law