19 October, 2009

Catching Up With Friends

Location: Broad Creek, near Oriental, NC
Position: N 35 05.446 W 076 37.960

Okay, we’re finally getting sick of being over a month behind in our Khronicles (“It’s about time!” you say). Therefore, we’re going to subject you to yet another round of playing “catch up” as we flounder our way back to the present.

Carter our tourguideWe last left you in Port Jefferson, NY, following our hair-raising escape from “no show” hurricane Danny. After spending a couple of days in Port Jefferson it was time to head down through New York City. You may recall that on our way north in the spring we wished our friend Carter, who lives in New York City, could have been with us. We called and were happy to learn that she was available. She caught the train to Port Jefferson, spent the night on Rachel, and gave us a personal guided tour as we traversed the East and Hudson Rivers through the city the next day. She left us at Atlantic Highlands, NJ where she caught the high speed ferry back home. Thanks, Carter, it was a great day!

We spent a couple of days in Atlantic Highlands wandering round the back streets and old neighborhoods. Stocking up on groceries and diminishing the laundry pile were high priorities, both of which we managed to accomplish.
Statue of Liberty
The weather forecasters said it was time to leave so we sailed and motor-sailed overnight down the New Jersey coast in light winds and caught the tide all the way up the Delaware Bay and through the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal into the Chesapeake Bay. We travelled a total of 200 miles in 32 hours, another great trip. We anchored in the Sassafras River in the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay for the night, then headed further down the Chesapeake.

We stopped to see friends who were near Baltimore repowering their boat (putting in a new engine for you landlubbers). We ended up staying there for 2 weeks thanks to the generosity of their friend who let us use a slip. Our time was spent busily sanding, epoxying, replacing the genoa tracks, painting and varnishing the shower, and generally improving our Rachel. Thanks, Ken!

During the third weekend in September we attended another SSCA gam, this one in the Rhode River near Annapolis. Following that we cruised a little with friends then visited our old stomping grounds in Deltaville, Virginia. As always, we were looking forward to seeing friends there in our old “home port”. We also picked up our mail and managed to get invited to a lovely dinner. Thanks, Jon and Anne! A submarine passing us in the Chesapeake

Now it was getting colder - time to start heading south in earnest! We headed south via the Dismal Swamp, one of our favorite parts of our trip north in the spring. The only problem with traversing the Dismal Swamp is that sometimes it is not deep enough for our 6 foot draft. Some friends on another boat told us they’d seen depths of “nothing less than 7.5 feet” a week or so before, so we decided to give it a go. After several bumps and a bit of plowing, we made it through and headed down the Pasquotank River to Elizabeth City. We really liked this town on our way north and certainly enjoyed it again this trip. We got to see the local high school’s homecoming parade and attend the free “Rose Buddies” wine and cheese social our first night there. Thanks, Elizabeth City!
Dinghy railway to lift the boat up to the level of Lake Drummond, Great Dismal Swamp
We left Elizabeth City and, in company with two other boats, had one of our best sails of the year (though it was a bit chilly and overcast) to the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island. We’d hoped to spend a couple of days there, but the weather forecasters gave us one good day followed by several lousy ones. We decided that passing through the shallow channels around Roanoke Island and Roanoke Inlet in fair weather was far preferable to doing it boisterous conditions, so we left at dawn the next morning. Sixty miles later we anchored in Silver Lake at Ocracoke Island in North Carolina’s beautiful Outer Banks.

We’d been hearing about how wonderful Ocracoke is for years, but this was our first chance to see and experience it in person. It’s a beautiful island that is mostly national seashore. The small town of Ocracoke on Silver Lake consists of many small lanes with a generous sprinkling of cottages and small shops. We spent many hours wandering around in town and on the beach, nature watching, window shopping, and generally enjoying ourselves in spite of the blustery, rainy weather. Though we’d only planned to spend a couple of days there, our stay was extended to four days by 20-25 knot winds – not that we minded! Thanks, Ocracoke!

Finally catching us up to the present (“And it’s about time!” you say), last Friday we sailed from Ocracoke in 15-20 knots. With the wind on the nose we fought our way out through the short steep waves in the entrance channel at Ocracoke, occasionally taking green water over the bow. After our turn to the west, however, we had a glorious reach across the Pamlico Sound and up the Neuse River toward Oriental (“Aha! I know what a “reach” is!” you say).

Beautiful Broad CreekThanks to the generosity of more new friends, we’re staying at a slip here while we wait for the cold weather and yet more strong northerly winds to pass. Even though there’s a frost warning tonight, we’re as snug as can be while our little electric space heater pumps out the BTUs. Thanks, Jerry and Donna!

And now we’re caught back up. We should let you know that we still retain the right to backtrack, tell a few tall tales, and fill in a few details in later Khronicles, but at least we can continue moving the Khronicles forward with clear consciences.

Last, but not least, we wanted to thank you for reading this. Your comments, observations, suggestions, corrections, etc., mean a lot to us. We appreciate you letting us occasionally interrupt your day with our natterings.

Thanks, friends!