Val and I have just booked our tickets for a mid November break. I have meetings with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Toronto the week of the 26th and she is going to visit Kait and the kids in Sask. I have found a place to keep the boat in Charleston for the week that I am away and the rest of the time I will Anchor in a couple of places and do boat projects.
Yesterday we arrived in Myrtle Beach and got a marina slip. There was a bit of a mix up first thing as the marina that I had originally booked, had never heard of the booking service that I used. We were trying to make an 11:00 service at a nearby church that sounded really great. Check out Barefoot Church in North Myrtle Beach SC.
We are within striking distance of Charleston and still have about 10 days before we need to be there for Val’s flight. There are a good number of anchorages along the Wackama river that we will make use of and only go 10-15 miles each day.
Yesterday we enjoye walking on the Beach. I was talking to a local guy today that said there are 60 miles of beach! The sand was like white powder and it squeezed under Val’s bare feet!
Two days ago I had to change the Alternator back to the old one. Remember Cruising is really just boat repairs in exotic locations! The new one that I had bought this summer and installed in Maryland, failed. I spent some time with the guys at Autotec on Duke street on the phone to arange to ship it back to them when I get to Toronto. When I get to Charleston I will look for a replacement.
For the first time we are feeling that we can slow down and enjoy the “South”. Yesterday was reasonably warm and today it looks like it will be warmer still. Seeing Palm trees and Pelicans is now a regular thing, so we must be headed in the right direction.
After we left Beaufort and the Homer Smith Marina and Fish processing plant, we continued South on the ICW to “Mile Hammock” Anchorage. This is owned by the US Military and is a favorite for people traveling between Beaufort and Wrightsville. Just about exactly half way. I think by sunset there were 19 boats anchored. We were lulled to sleep by the sound of light Artilery fire and other military operational sounds. This part of the ICW is also used for live fire exercises and is sometimes closed for obvious reasons. We saw several of the “Targets” scattered along the shore as we went along.
We also passed by a Navy base where they were practicing vertical take off and landing with their Jets. Reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger “Your fired!” Those Jets. Very loud.
As there were several bridges that operated on a scheduled we have learned the art of keeping in a neat row without moving but very carefully using FWD and REV and a tiny bit of rudder to maintain our position in line abidst the wind and current. A couple of small z drives attached to a geo stationary controller would work well here!
Off the coast of Beaufort Blackbeard the renowned pirate was grounded. There are all kinds of displays of the Queen Anne’s Revenge booty that underwater archeology has discovered. Chris Phinney it scuba diving and underwater archeology is big here. Anyway our understanding of Blackbeard was of a ruthless pirate like most other pirates not known for their social work. Here in Beaufort he is seen as the Robinhood of these parts. The story goes that Blackbeard (Captain Thatch) loyal to Queen Anne also robbed from some of the rich trading ships coming to some of the major cities but never stopped into North Carolina with molasses and other important basics. He would take the ships cargo to his hideout up the river to New Bern. From there he would sell ‘at a very reasonable price 😉’ to the people of North Carolina. The representative in Virginia got tired of being stolen from so he came into North Carolina, arrested Blackbeard brought him back to Virginia. He was tried and hanged for piracy by the local authorities there. He still today seems to be admired in Beaufort and much information and stories are given to him in the museum. Interesting!!!!
It has been a few days since we checked in. In some ways it has been a bit uneventful yet I guess there is always a bit of a story wherever we go. We left Elizabeth City and headed to the Alligator River and became wireless for a few days. Eric gets a bit better reception than me but still sketchy. The sailing has been quiet and we have anchored in a few places and docked up in others. The first community that we docked to was Belhaven NC. A tiny, once thriving community that is so welcoming and warm. I’m not sure what community I could even compare it to in NB. We walked the streets, had a coffee went to their museum and were amused by a few experiences. The museum was more of a collection of old and antique things that everyone in town has donated. There was a bit of organization to it but little. The gal there was hilarious telling us about the beginnings of the museum, which was a button collection and how it took off from there.
We then headed further south and docked in Beaufort NC. A quaint small city with a museum and her history was very much a fishing community and today more of a research area. All the museums that we have been to have been free. There is a high value placed upon keeping the story and history of each place. We have learned much that never was printed in our history books and obviously couldn’t because of the volume of information and different events that took place over the last 400 years.
Hurricane Florence’s touch is still being felt in Beaufort. For them it wasn’t so much the rising waters, they were prepared for that but the rain and wind that caused the most significant damage. The wind lifting the shingles and the rain coming through the roofs causing damage from top to bottom. One such building was One Harbour Church where they are having to strip down to the walls, deal with mould, insulation and all remodeling needs. As we walked the streets we saw all kinds of house junk on the sidewalks ready to be taken away. The are tenacious and ever positive about what life has to offer. It’s life!
May I just finish by saying we went to One Harbour Church yesterday and wow it was a great time of worship, teaching and fellowship. It was just what I needed and as we walked back to our boat both of us were saying how it sort of felt a little bit like our home church St James the Less and how good it was.
So at the end of the Dismal Swamp we have spent 2 & ½ days here at the free dock in Elizabeth City. NC. We got to visit the Albermarle Museum yesterday and have got our steps in, in the last two days.
The nights have been cold and am glad that I brought winter leggings, warm socks and a fleece blanket that Nathanael made Eric several years ago as a Christmas gift. Each one of those items have become beloved gear in my bed.
The wind has been up so we did not sail out today.
This city is one that was smack in the middle of the Civil War. Families were split with some supporting the confederates and some the unionists. Today I saw churches of the same denomination with the black congregation in a smaller building on one side of the street and the white congregation in a much larger building across the street.
During our visit I came to meet two wonderful people, Miss Alice & Valerie. Miss Alice, on the first afternoon we were here asked if I was comfortable and did I get what I needed. So I asked her where the grocery store and laundromat was and she gave me the directions. She came back the next evening to make sure I got everything I needed. I hadn’t got the groceries yet so she offered to drive me. It was a couple of miles and we had a lovely time. So we hit two grocery stores and a post office. She was patient and always told me to ,’take ‘yo time, I’m not is a hurry.’ She felt the Lord had given her a car and she was to use it.
Now Valerie on the other hand is homeless, her mama had died in the spring and she became homeless not long after. A sad story. Valerie called me Miss Val and offered to do some cleaning for a little money. Now we are living on a boat, my square footage is at its minimum compared to Rothesay Road. So I asked Miss Alice what might I do and she thought about it. Between stores she said, ‘Miss Val I’s been thinking that a Bojangle Gift card will be the perfect thing for Valerie. She got two pieces of chicken, biscuits and a drink. That’ll fill her belly.’ I love Alice! A woman generous, thoughtful and such a warm woman full of joy. Again speaking of thankfulness she is a woman obviously living on very limited means yet wanted only to bless others. …. so that’s a little story from Elizabeth City.
I was just finishing a novel called ‘Glory Over Everything ‘ by Kathleen Grissom as we entered the swamp and there were references to the Dismal Swamp. What a coincidence,hey? The book is about the south, post Civil War with the slaves being captured in the north and taken to the south as slaves. This story is a bit about how the Underground Railroad functioned using the swamp to get free. We are in the seat of where slavery was prolific and where a lot of the Civil War took place. Norfolk was considered a safe city for the run away slaves. Usually it was not the end of the long trek to freedom but a safe spot to then head further north. As I have read about the swamp it was not just a place for runaways to just pass through but for many people’s it was a place to live free, Indians, blacks created small obscure villages on island in the midst of the swamp. It was a hard life but one free from the European invasion. I could NOT imagine living among the muck, mire and mosquitoes of the swamp, the animals, poisonous snakes and extreme conditions of this place. I guess I have never had the horrid life of a slave and if this was the price of freedom I guess I might have to consider it.
The next city we will anchor in will be Elizabeth City. Elizabeth City waffled back and forth between the Unionists and the Confederates. At one point the local secessionists decided to burn the city down rather than have the unionists have it (Feb, 1862)They were ⅔ successful! Much of the city was burned but the Unionists were able to put the fire out. There was much violence during those years.
Often I have thought how pandered I am. Whether it be in Africa or here my life has been pretty sweet. Yes there has been challenges, heart ache and disappointment but I need to step back and give thanks for the good and bad. So 2C is nothing to the hardships of these people’s. So our adventure continues and we continue to learn of what is and has been out there.
We are in the south now. Virginia that is. Let me recount the Journey from the time we left Easton (accross from DC) to our entering the Canal known as the Dismal Swamp.
Spending a few days in Easton was a good battery recharge (Literaly as I needed to purchase some batteries for our electrical needs). It was now time to move on and press south to find some of that elusive warm weather that has been teasing us. We make a series of hops down the Chesapeake Bay and are now “in the Ditch” as they say. No more waiting out bad weather warning (we hope).
The first day was delayed a bit as there was a small boat advisory that kept us in Easton until about noon. That did calm down and we cruised down the Trend Avon River and out into the Bay. Having only a half day we only went about 20 miles to a place called Solomons Island. We were able to anchor in a harbor and get fuel that next morning and head out again.
From Solomons we went to a place called Reedville where we went up a creek and anchored in a nice protected basin as yet another cold front was moving through and we would need to stay put until about 10 or so. As we were coming in we noticed that there seemed to be the remenents of some kind of industry there. There were also some very large fishing vessels there with small tenders that looked like they were in some kind of seining operation. As val researched the community we found out that it was and still is a huge fishing community with a significant ocean going fleet. There were two Smoke stacks there. One had been demolished and the other (still standing) had a plaque on it. This may have had something to do with the fish processing industry.
From Reedville we sailed most of the way to Fishing Bay, another beautiful anchorage that we did some ziging and zagging to get into.
After leaving early we put in a full day and arrive at the Hampton Public Piers where we take a Slip, have a drink in a Brew Pub on the Dock, visit a museum and watch “First Man” on an iMax screen.
There is talk of some more snottty weather coming our way and some of our neighbors are talking about staying on in Hampton for two more days to wait it out. I see that there is going to be a bit of a break the next day before it returns to Gale force so we decide to make a break for it and head out accross Hampton Roads, through Norfolk harbour and onto the Elezebeth river and then to the Dismal Swamp Canal. It sounds long but it was only 20 miles. The first ten were against 20+ knots on the nose with a 5 mile fetch. Slowing going and keeping a sharp watch as we are in the home of the Atlantic Fleet for the US Navy. We have never seen so many Navy Ships. Some in use, some mothballed, some getting built and some getting rebuilt.
After the Elizabeth river was Deep Creek which leads to the lock that lifted us up about 9 feet to the level of the Dismal Swamp. We locked through and are tied to a free dock for the night. Tomorrow we head down a very long hand dug cut. Google Dismal Swamp, there is loads of info on it and its connections with the Civil war.
Early Tuesday morning (October 16) we pushed off from the Carroll’s, waved goodbye to Melinda and started heading toward our destination. When we arrived in Easton it was so hot and sticky, humid and high 20’s or maybe low 30’s, we thought maybe we had arrived! Well hurricane Michael changed that from hot and humid to dry and down right chilly.
When we got back on the water we noticed a significant increase in boats all doing the same thing as us. Boats of all shapes and sizes. As we were heading to our next anchorage we heard a local on the radio say it looked like Dunkirk going by! 😂 In each anchorage since we left Easton we have noticed a huge increase in sailing vessels and a few Canadian ones at that!
We have 2 days into our further trek south and we have been listening to CBC Saint John and hear of frost warnings and snow falling! We have not seen snow but it has been as cold as 9C here as we enter into the borders of Virginia. So on one hand I am thankful that we don’t have snow but I was expecting warmer temperatures in Virginia, so we will press on!!!! Today I wore a wool undershirt, a hoody, a fleece jacket and a raincoat windbreaker. Add to that a scarf and gloves to the attire and know northerly winds can impact as far south as here!!!
This morning I was reading in my daily readings that I need to rejoice in the creation that God has created. The sun, the seas, life itself! So I am working at being thankful for the opportunity for this adventure and the ability to do this. I am thankful for a family to encourage me, excited for what lies ahead and rejoice in all that God has done in our lives thus far. So I humbly am thankful for all that He has done, for what I see in the variety of birds for the wonderful people we have met and for Eric who does everything ‘sail’ wise. I continue to be the Galley Wench and have not taken on any other boat careers! Eric plots out our next voyage, decides on whether we moor, tie up or anchor. He sails the boat and I clean and cook and have read a few great books. His one cooking responsibility is to make the first coffee of the day and heat up the boat if it’s 9C in the morning!!!! Sending you love in the pursuit of heat. ❤️⛵️
My sister emailed me this morning to say we have been a bit quiet on the social media front! We agree! I will try to give you a quick update. Thursday we beat Hurricane Michael to Easton Maryland by hours. Thanks to Melinda Finlay who found us not just any place to anchor our boat but at a private home! We arrived in Easton and was welcomed to the home of Paul and Faith Carroll’s and they allowed us to moor our boat there for 4 days while we had a rest from boating, or may I say while I had a rest from boating. Poor Eric worked on the boat 2 of the 4 days we were in Easton.
The days were definitely filled, Friday and Monday we went into Washington DC and spent some time in two of the Smithsonian Museums. One was the National Air and Space Museum and the other was the American History Museum. We really only got to see about ⅓ of the Museum after a full day. There was so many displays and so much information we left with our brains suffering from information overload. 😬We also walked up to the Lincoln Memorial and around the National Mall getting the classic pictures in front of the Washington Monument. That took 2 days and obviously we could have spent a week and not put a dent in the many things to see.
Saturday we did errands or necessary jobs that needed to be done. I got my hair cut (I told you Eric would NOT be cutting my hair) and glasses fixed and then got to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed there. None of this would have been possible but the Finlays lent us their van so we were able to get to places further than we could have been able to if we were walking.
Sunday we went to the First Wesleyan Church in Easton Maryland. We were given the warmest welcome, worshipped and received a great message to fuel us up spiritually for the week. Our hearts are overflowing with thanks, for 4 days we had no worries about the boat and for us we just relaxed and felt like a healthy reset happened for both of us.
Eric and I both felt that wherever we went on our 4 day hiatus the kindness and how quick everyone was to help us out was humbling and so heart warming. We want to thank Paul and Faith for allowing us to moor at their house, leaving Tevah there took all the stress off knowing she was safe and looked after. To Dave, Melinda, Juliana, Ty and Ethan a big thank you for your hospitality and making us feel right at home. Maybe we’ll see you on our way back!
From Staten Island down there has been a significant change in temperature, thank goodness. We have put in long days trying to get more south and to spend a few days with the Finlays ( our son in laws brother Dave and his family). I will say the days have been long but warmer. Even with that the Jersey shore just about did me in, so I’ve decided to raffle my ticket on the Tevah off in 1 week increments if you’d like, to travel back to NB from about New York – north. I’ll keep you posted. 😬
The interesting things that I have observed is the water had changed to a greenish colour off the New Jersey coast, then back to a greyish colour again and is much warmer than our dear North Atlantic at its warmest. We also picked up a hitchhiker on the second day sailing in Jersey, a cute little swallow. He was pretty tired when he arrived and stayed with us until we were coming into Cape May. It’s interesting that we all need to take free rides when we are tired it’s just most of the time we don’t recognize that we are exhausted early enough and we push on. I have to say that the Psalmist seemed to understand his state of mind so much better than we do. Ps 40: 1-3. He hears my calling out, tiredness, answers and walks with us. Thank God!!!!
All is well on the ‘small craft’. The Galley Wench and the Captain I think have lost a little weight since when we are to shore we need to walk everywhere which is a nice change from when we are on the boat. It hasn’t been every day but very frequently we get our steps in! Life is good and ‘til the next entry, blessings.