The Amazing Grace

Let Your Dreams Set Sail

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Charleston to Virginia

Charleston, SC to Norfolk, VA

        On the water again….  As we were leaving Scott said, “Boy was I starting to go stir crazy, it is time to leave.” Just how do you think I felt after sitting here for 26 days.  So, yes we were ready to head on.  This leg has two parts:  offshore and inshore.      

     The first three days were offshore.  The first two days were marvelous.  Awesome time spent sailing without waves, it is so peaceful when the motor is off.  Time spent reading books, watching dolphins, and sitting on watch.  Finally on the second day I made Scott feel bad about not fishing.  A lady outside the Piggly Wiggly was just astonished that we were not catching fish all the time we are out.   So he put his new reel from the guys at Aztec in the water.  First fish, a mahi mahi, made it to the back quarter of the boat before it worked free of the line.  The second fish, he never got the hook set.  But the third fish, right at 6:30 at night, just in time for dinner.  Scott brought in a good sized (he guesses 15 pounds) mahi, mahi . 

Cindy holding the bow line while we drop 2' in a lock
The first Mahi-Mahi that we got to the boat.  Dinner!

Oh glorious day! , my hunter husband provided dinner, mahi and vegetables.  During the second night the waves started building; we call them rolley polleys.  You are riding up and down with turns and jerks and movement all the time.  So on Friday after passing Cape Fear, the weather started calling for north winds for Sat. night, so in we went at Beaufort, NC.  We had just completed 208 miles offshore. 

        We first tried anchoring off of the quaint little city port of Beaufort.  This little harbor was listed as one of the free anchorages.  When we pulled in it was pretty full from local fulltime boats on mooring balls.  We tried squeezing in and dropped anchor.  Later as the wind built up, we just didn’t feel comfortable.  So we pulled up anchor and went back out into the inlet and set anchor all by ourselves.  When we woke up there were two other boats with us.  You could tell that they had beaten it into a safe harbor during the night.  So off we went inshore.  The first day we went 25 miles to Oriental. We luckily finished filling up with diesel and got tied up on the outside wall of the marina right when a pretty good thunderstorm hit.  We had been getting marine warnings all day on the radio.  .  We saw most of this cute, little village as we walked to the grocery store.

We splurged with a Saturday night dinner out and a Sunday Brunch, both tasted wonderful.  This marina had complimentary laundry.  As Scott said, it was the most we have ever paid to do a load of laundry.  When inshore motoring up the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW), it is kind of like driving a RV on the highway.  You have to watch for boats, barges, and keep in the ditch.  We were inside Cape Hatteras or the Outer Banks.   There have been over 2000 shipwrecks here since 1526.  We decided we were glad that we had come in and not risk being another one in this weather.

The biggest addition to this trip has been flies.  I have gotten bit numerous times. 

Next, we had to cross a good sized sound and we were glad we weren’t off shore.  We then had to decide to go up the old Dismal Swamp Cut or the Virginia Cut

this fly is huge!

We had two really restful nights sleep at peaceful anchorages, with the screens keeping out most of the bugs.  One was just west of Kitty Hawk.  Scott sure did want to be over there, since this is one of the best sites for kite surfing

There was an auto parts store and hardware store very close so Scott tinkered on a few more things.

Then Scott rode off on his bicycle and soon returned with a Pizza strapped to the back of the bike.  Several people on the pier offered to take it as he rode by.  Yummy, pizza!

 We started off Thursday and went through the Great Bridge, site of a famous Revolutionary War standoff.  Then we went into a lock and went down two feet.  Next we waited to hit the time schedules of a couple more railroad bridges.  With our luck, the second one wouldn’t open.  It had broken down.  They made the comment on the radio that they must not have fixed it yesterday.  They called in an electrician.  Scott and I were ready to volunteer as long as they pay our day rate.  We were jockeying around with 11 other boats (sail, trawlers, barges, and yachts) for position.  This is really hard and very stressful.  While waiting we saw a ship start on fire.

Watere eagles make thier nests on the waterway marker poles.

Note the eagle and babies.  Since the Virginia Cut is deeper, it won and off we motored.  After 12 hours of motoring 65 miles, we were tied up at a marina near the Great Bridge, just south of Norfolk. We had motored 181 miles in four days inshore.  We sat at the bridge for one day due to weather.  We sat at the bridge for one day due to weather. 

At one point we were stuck in a hard place with a barge going by us and the only place we could go to get out of his way was too close to naval ships and a guard boat, with blue lights flashing, was heading toward us to ward us off.  It was impressive going by all the naval ships in port with Scott telling me stories. 

this ship is "ON FIRE"!

We think that they were salvaging it and accidently cut through something that was flammable.  Finally the bridge lifted and we were off again.  We were traveling through Norfolk’s industrial section with boatyards, including the naval boatyard.

At one point we were stuck in a hard place with a barge going by us and the only place we could go to get out of his way was too close to naval ships and a guard boat, with blue lights flashing, was heading toward us to ward us off.  It was impressive going by all the naval ships in port with Scott telling me stories. 

the ship of the future!

Finally we were at anchor.  That was the longest 25 miles that took 7 hours. We were entertained by the Thursday night races here in the harbor with over 30 boats racing around the channel markers. 

We relaxed to watching Slumdog Millionaire. Dinner, leftover pizza and a Movie! During the night we had storms all around us.  Finally at 11 they hit with lots of lightning, wind, waterspouts, and rain.  Once that was out of its system we slept on peaceful water.  Now we are planning to head off shore.  It is calling for really strange winds, north during the day and south at night.  We will be motoring our way to NY. 

Racers racing in front of Norfolk Naval base.
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