As some of you may know, last Thursday, Mark and I started our adventure of bringing our new boat M & M, (a Catalina 350) down from Deltaville VA, to Oriental NC. Along for the ride and crew were Jeff Matthiae and Rich Kamens. Our friend Shelley & Gabby drove us up to Deltaville.
About an hour from our destination, I asked Mark if he had the key for the boat. We looked around and could not find nor remember taking any of the 3 sets we had. We started to laugh it up. We were going to have to break into our own boat. In Deltaville, we stopped at a hardware store to get a crowbar. We were able to pop the lock into the cabin but then we needed a key to start the engine. We decided it would be better to change the switch and put on a new key. Mark went to West Marine while Jeff opened up the electronics on the helm . We got the new key in and it worked. We then sent Gabby and Shelley back to NC. We got everything stowed away and I put up some pot roast to cook. After dinner, we looked at the charts to plan the route.
We were up at 7am and had waffles for breakfast, took some Dramamine, got all the lines and electric disconnected and set sail for Norfolk. This was a 50 mile leg of our journey. The water coming out of the inlet was skinny and we had to be careful. When we got to the Chesapeake, we had about 2-3 foot seas hitting us a bit on the broad side. The Dramamine made me very sleepy. Mark Rich and Jeff took turns at the helm. We tried to pull out some headsail but could not get it out. We then pulled out about 1/3 of the main. This was a good learning experience to work the chart plotter and radar and working the autohelm. With the wind off the water, it was extremely cold. We all had on several layers of clothes. ( I had on 4 layers). We had lunch about noon time.
We pulled into Norfolk’s Waterside Marina at about 5 PM. There was a little mall there and we went to Joe’s Crab shack for dinner. About 150 high school band members came in shortly after. They were up line dancing. We had to hold Rich back cause he wanted to join them. After dinner, several of us took showers and then planned the next day’s leg. We were going down to Coinjock. This was also about a 50 mile leg.
We left early after sunrise. We had several bridges to go under and a Locke to go down. I was expecting more of a drop in the Locke. It was only about a 2 foot drop. Most of Saturday was in the ditch. We got to Coinjock at about 4 PM. This was a nice stop. We just beat a rain band in. I went for a shower. We filled the fuel tank and pumped the waste tank. Dinner was grilled chicken marinated in hoisin-garlic sauce with grilled veggies all served over rice. After dinner, we talked over Sunday’s leg. We either could do 30 miles or we would have to do 85 miles to the next marina.
We decided to get up early at 5 AM and go for the 85 miles. This day we would have to cross the Albemarle Sound. A tug had passed us at 6 AM, at 11 AM we saw it anchored near the Alligator River Swing Bridge. As we were going to the bridge, we bumped the bottom. Jeff got us off the bar. We called the bridge operator and he said that an electrician was working on it and he did not know when it would open. We saw about 20 boats anchored on the other side. We headed towards shore and anchored. I heated up some Matzah ball soup and as we were about to sit down for an early lunch, the bridge operator hailed everyone and said they were going to try to open the bridge, get over there. We dropped everything and pulled anchor. It opened, we got through, we think that those heading north were stuck there overnight because they did not open on Sat. due to the wind. After everyone passed the bridge closed and did not open again. They needed parts.
We made it down to Bellhaven and pulled into the Bellhaven Marina at 6:30 PM. I had a lasagna in the oven and made a salad. We had heard the weather for Monday. It did not sound great for the wind. We had a choice either to go and chance it or we would be stuck in Bellhaven till Wed. cause Tuesday’s forecast was worse.
The last leg was about 45-50 miles. We decided that if we could leave early, we might make it before the winds built up. We all took Dramamine before we left at 6:35 AM. Going down the ditch was not a problem. The winds were stiff. Once we hit the Neuse River, things were a different story. Jeff was manning the helm. The wind was blowing a steady 30 from the SW, right on our nose. Our speed went from 7 knots to 3.1 knots. The seas built to 4-6 feet. The waves were breaking over the bow and crashing over the dodger. We got wet several times. The boat handled the beating pretty good. We were doing this for about 3.5-4 hours. We were getting pretty tired of the ride. Jeff was definitely getting his exercise. He was doing this all on manual, no autohelm. We kept the main out 1/3 to help steady us.
About 4 miles from Oriental, Mark spotted a pod of Dolphin. We all enjoyed watching them. Finally we got closer to Whitaker’s Creek, we had to go down past it and then come back to get in. Paul Wells told us to hug the red buoys on the way in. What we did not know was when there is a SW gale, the water is pushed out of the creek. Needless to say, we got stuck coming into the creek and had to get towed. The slip that we had to get into was also too shallow. The tow boat used it’s engine to blow the mud/sand out of the way and we helped winch the boat into the slip. We were standing on our keel. What a ride! Thanks a million to Jeff and Rich. We could not (would not) have done it without you guys.
Mark and I will not be up this weekend. They are pulling the boat on Saturday and we want to be there and discuss the things we want done before M & M comes to the lake. Doug Miller will stand in for me. Instead of the Commodore Challenge, we will have a group sail on Saturday. Captain’s meeting at 10:30 on C-Dock. Doug will set the destination based on the winds Saturday.
We will return to the dock by 5 PM so we can get ready for the Fit & Trim Pot Luck (prepare an appetizer, entrée or dessert that is healthy, low calorie and yummy). We need some volunteers to get a table from the shed up at the top of C-Dock, get the paper goods and plasticware from the shed and we will need a crew to clean up and return everything. We also need 3 volunteers to judge the food. (3 non-cooks). Speak Up. Also, a reminder of your dues. Doug will be there Saturday so you can bring your dues directly to him. Have a great time! I will need a volunteer to write up what happens this weekend.