Ocracoke, NC to Deltaville, VA – August 19 through September 3

Click on the above thumbnail for a map of points visited during this time period.

(Photos at bottom of page)


So.  Our logs indicate that we left Ocracoke at 8:20 am on Aug. 20.  All day trip up the Albemarle River to Manteo (MAN-tea-oh), NC.   The Albemarle River is wide here folks – one feels like one is out to sea – except that the seas are very calm.   Saw almost no vessels all day.   Had Armagedon occurred?   Where was everybody?   Beautiful day on the water, actually.   Manteo is on historic Roanoke Island, site of the first (and ill-fated) settlements of the English in what was to become USA.   Lost Colony, and all of that.  Remember, from high school history classes?   So what did we do on the historic island?   We skipped the museums and reconstructions of old sailing ships, and went to the micro-brewery/restaurant “Weeping Radish” recommended by our new friends Joe and Cathy.  Two nights in a row!   Yummy.   Great Bavarian food and beer.   We also accompanied our friends Jack and Jo on a paragliding expedition to Jockey Ridge – a humongous sand dune with an impressive onshore breeze sweeping up its slope that makes it ideal for teaching hang gliding (and for our friends to remove their rust on their paragliding skills.)   What’s the difference?   Hang gliders use a rigid frame with fabric attached so that their wings end up looking almost like a paper airplane.   If you have read or seen pictures of folks jumping off of cliffs in order to glide down, it was probably hang gliders.   Our friends thumb their noses at  gravity with another technology:  a paraglider.   I could say much more, but you will understand much better just by looking at the photos which can be found by clicking here

We left Manteo on 8/23 and cruised up to Coinjock, NC,  where we stopped at a marina right in the middle of a long long straight canal.   Barb and I split a 32 oz. prime rib dinner that night.   Oink!

The next day we cruised up to Great Bridge.   We tied up at the free dockage – no electricity or water – just below the Great Bridge Bridge.   Nope, that is not a misprint.  The community is “Great Bridge”, and the bridge there is called “Great Bridge Bridge”.  Jack and Jo were also tied up at the dock, as well as Norm and Barbara, on a sailboat, whom we had met back at Coinjock.   We invited them all over for evening cocktails, and convinced them all to stay for barbequed chicken, prepared in accordance with a secret family recipe on the rear deck.  Yummy!

The Great Bridge Bridge only opens on the hour, so we timed our departure the next morning (8/25) accordingly.   The bridge is just downstream from a lock that equalizes tidal differences between the canal running south and the Chesapeake Bay, so we had no sooner passed under the bridge and we entered the lock.   The name of the lock?   “Great Bridge Lock”, of course.   After passing through the locks the scenery became increasingly “industrialized”.   Lots of shipyards along the shore, etc.   And lots of bridges with very restrictive openings, so we made very very slow progress up the ICW. 

Nevertheless, we arrived in Norfolk, VA in the early afternoon.   Very crowded waterways here.   Lots of tugs.   Sailboats whizzing about.   Tour boats.   And yet, right on the edge of all of this madness is a well-known anchorage, just off the naval hospital in Norfolk.   We circled like a female dog preparing to settle into her favorite rug, and then dropped anchor.   Downtown Norfolk is impressive.   We visited the Nautica Museum which grants free admission to the Naval Museum and the Iowa class battleship “Wisconsin”   Quite a piece of machinery.   Was she ever worth her cost?   I suspect the answer to that question would depend in large part on who you voted for in the last two elections.  J

Departed Norfolk about 9:30 am on 8/27.   Passed ship yard after ship yard.   Some filled with commercial ships, but many filled with navy vessels.   Dozens and dozens of navy vessels.   And then out into the Chesapeake Bay!   Our ultimate destination for the summer.   It is huge.   We worked our way up the eastern shore for many hours, watching a bodacious storm ahead of us, and watching water spouts form and dissipate, form and dissipate, right in the mouth of the York River, our intended destination.   (Water spouts are essentially a form of tornado at sea.   They could capsize a vessel, even one as large as “Tusen Takk II”.)   Fortunately, the storm that was spawning all of the spouts moved on out into the Bay, and we entered the York River and subsequently the Sarah Creek without incident, where we spent three enjoyable days.   One touring Yorktown, site of an important victory by the American Revolutionaries (with major help from the French) against the British, one touring Williamsburg, and one just vegging on the boat while Jack and Jo went back for a second day of Williamsburg.   Enjoyed an extended tour/talk of the Yorktown siege site – given by a ranger with an irritating delivery but impressive knowledge/spiel.   And by far the most entertaining aspect of the Williamsburg experience was conversing with the re-enacting blacksmiths, saddle makers, wig makers, farmers, carpenters, silversmiths, etc.

On 8/31 we went back down the York River to the Chesapeake and on up into Mobjack Bay, where we anchored in Put In Creek.   Jo and I went exploring with kayaks, while Jack worked on a varnish project on his boat and Barb worked on a bodacious Mexican dinner on ours.   Mexican music on Sirius, mucho margaritas, salsa and chips, chicken enchiladas with rice, refried beans and salad.   Living on a boat is *so* hard!

The next morning we departed back down Mobjack Bay and on up the Chesapeake to the Rappahannock River, where we rounded the corner into Dozier’s Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville.  (Dozier is the publisher of the widely-used Waterway Guides for various areas of the east coast and Great Lakes.  They have a humongous boat sitting in the marina here.)   Spent all day 9/2 scrubbing on various external parts of the boat.   Will spend tomorrow morning doing more of the same, and then we’ll head out for another anchorage.   We’ll be back here on Tuesday, 9/6, in order to pick up a package.

Long story, that.

Suffice it to say that the satellite weather system that is integrated into the navigational computers on board – the weather system component has never worked properly.   After days (weeks) of phone conferences and trouble shooting, we were sent a new cable and a new receiver (which we picked up here on the day of our arrival).   Used alligator clips to try out the new cable, and it turns out the installed cable is indeed bad, and the system is much better, but we still are not getting all of the services we should be getting.   (We are getting current weather maps, but no textual advisories, no wave heights, no wind speed/directions, etc. etc.)   Turns out the installed receiver needed updating and didn’t get it when The Weather Channel was broadcasting it in June -- because we had a bad cable!  Also turns out that the i3 folks sent us a receiver that had ALSO NOT BEEN UPDATED.   Grrrr.  

So sometime between now and next Tuesday I will install the new cable and un-install the old receiver.   Neither task will be simple – there is an air conditioning tunnel running right behind the receiver.   Where will I put the screwdriver?   How will I reach the junction where I must join the new cable to the power source?   These are the kinds of problems retired computer scientists (on boats) trouble themselves with, as opposed to …  No, I won’t go there.   I was intending on listing some of the less positive aspects of being a department head and professor, but I would not wish to contribute to the demoralization of those poor souls who are fighting the brave battle to stamp out ignorance.  J

(And the brave souls can comfort themselves with the idea of a retired department head spending DAYS cleaning a boat.)

While I’m in a philosophical mood, I should comment on the names people give things.   Such as rivers and so forth.   This part of the world furnishes many fine examples.   Consider some of the rivers, creeks, and bays on the Chesapeake:  Piankatank, Rappahannock, Wicomico, Machodoc, Occoquan, Piscataway, Yeocomico, Nanjemoy, Mattawoman, Patuxent, Patapsco, Magothy, Susquehanna, Pocomoke.   Can you pronounce ANY of those?   Must be something in the water up here.   Down south we have much better names.   Ossabaw, Ogeechee, Canoechee, Ohoopee.   Sensible names.  Easy to pronounce right the first time they are read.   And with that observation I’ll take myself off to bed, where I will no doubt dream of the beautiful wild Ogeechee with her charming mix of alligators, mink, herons, egrets, pelicans, swallows, blackbirds, bald eagles, osprey, rail, kingfishers, fiddler crabs and wild boar.

Below are photos from this time period - click on them for a larger view..


Elizabeth - reconstruction of ship from time of Lost Colony of Roanoke

Sculling team and coach practicing near Great Bridge

The only lock we had to go through in northern North Carolina

Sign at lock

Lift bridge south of Norfolk with Bodacious passing under

Industrial Norfolk

Barb anchoring in Norfolk

Huge battleship coming out of dry dock near our anchorage

Chuck & Barb in front of USS Wisconsin

Look at the size of the chain links on the USS Wisconsin

Jo and Barb on signal deck

Tons of chain for the anchors

Mermaid in Norfolk

Yorktown information

Yorktown monument

Fife and drummers

Strange, but informative ranger

Chuck and blacksmith at Williamsburg

Williamsburg woodcutters


A bit of a tight fit for Jack

Having a cold one after a long day of being a tourist at Williamsburg