Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bad Day (Leg 4)

     Our day started off just like any other day on this trip, well rested and glad to be out cruising. We wanted to get an early start so we could make about 50 miles to our next stop the, Great Bridge Locks. Up the anchor came and off we went.....after a good breakfast prepared by the boat's First Mate. There were would be no sailing today as we were well inside the ICW and sailing in these sections just was not feasible. By the way, I have nothing but great things to say about our little Atomic 4, a gas hog surely, but runs smooth and is very quiet and livable during long periods of extended motoring. So north we headed. Not long into our trip this day we recieved a phone call from our friend and petsitter, Krystle. Our oldest baby Max was very ill and she had taken him to the emergency room. Being the knowledgeable person she is she told us it wasn't good and we needed to get home ASAP! This was a bit of an issue as we were deep in the heart of the ICW around the Currituck, NC area. We wouldn't be in the Va Beach area until that afternoon. We had no choice but to motor on. We were both pretty upset; luckily I was a bit preoccupied with navigating us home so it wasn't as bad for me. For Crystal, it was tough. I could see her heavy heart, as she wore it all over her actions and face; I knew it was going to be a long ride. We motored on. When we hit Currituck Sound (very shallow) we were hit square in the face by 20-25 knot winds and 3-4 steep chop. With no dogder on our boat......well I got soaked, repeatedly for the hour to hour and a half it took us to cross the sound. Once out of the sound and into the narrower sections of the trip we scooted right along toward getting to our Max. You see, once we reached the Great Bridge Locks we were actually only about 20 minutes from home (by car, anyway). We had made a few calls during the day and had arranged for our good friend Mike who worked close by to pick us up there. So with everything all set and some good news from Krystle that Max was stable we actually began to enjoy the ride. We had found ourselves in some of the most beautiful and remote areas of North Carolina and Virginia, areas that we knew well by road in vehicle, but were completely new to us from the decks of Sal. We had fun trying to pinpoint what neighborhoods we were seeing. We came up to the first bridge that would require us to hail and request an opening. As we approached the bridge we did just that: "North Landing Bridge, this is Salacia; request time for next scheduled opening". I was so nervous that I wasn't sure what I supposed to say. It must have been what they wanted to hear because we got a reply: it would be about 15 mins. As we approached the bridge we circled in front of it waiting for it to open. After a few circles the wife looked back and there was a large barge being pushed by a tug! Holy SHIT!!!!! What to do? A the barge got closer and closer I decided to try and contact the tug operator to find out what he wanted me to do. He asked me how fast I could do through the water. I told him about 6 kts. He said fine just stay in front of me. Ok, I will do that! We had this big barge and tug behind us until we reached our destination. The FREE docks on the south side of the bridge at Battlefield Blvd. We tied up, met up with Mike and headed to see our Max. By this time, he was stablized but not diagnosed, so we took him home. He would go into work with Crystal the next day see what it was that had caused him to become so ill so fast. Many months later we would discover that our poor Max had cancer, and that original scare was a hemangiosarcoma rupturing on his spleen, causing him to need an emergency splenectomy. Cancer sucks; however, between Krystle's early recognition of his symptoms and subsequent quick intervention, and the tireless attentions of the medical team at Pet Care Veterinary Hospital, we were able to enjoy Max's company for another 9 months before he lost his battle to it. I am sorry to have to write about this awful harbinger of a day but this is how leg 4 of the trip went for us. It wasn't all bad but surely wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been.

 A sad day motoring north on the ICW

Holy Wind! I was freezing! It was March and the wind was blowing out of the NE at about 20kts!!! The umbrella was the closest thing to a dodger we had onboard at the time...First Mate took this shot from a cozy dry spot in the companionway  : /

Some relief and beauty! Quite beautiful section of ICW

Yep. Had this guy behind us for some time.

Trusty Atomic 4 don't fail us now!

 Not sure what this was, but it definitely looked sunken.

    Here is our Max two days before he ultimately had to be euthanized 9 months later. We took him to a nice spot and fed him chicken nuggets for lunch. Toward the end we allowed to him to have anything he wanted to eat. We sure do miss him!

Monday, June 25, 2012

G153 (Leg3)

   Day 6:  After a great day in Manteo, NC and restful night's sleep we woke up early and got on our way. We threw off the lines and headed north. We motored around to the north side of Manteo and headed for the Ablemarle Sound. As we reached the tip of the island the wind was blowing in the perfect direction for us to throw up the sails and head straight for the "Virginia Cut" entrance to the ICW, the North River. Once we reached the entrance to the river we dropped sails and headed for G153 (a green fixed channel marker, #153 in the ICW). This was where it was recommended we stay according to Captain Bob's Anchorages ( a must-have book for traveling the ICW). After about an hour of motoring we reached our anchorage, set anchor and enjoyed our evening. It was a great evening, other than a few passing tugs and barges it was very very peaceful. Another great day!

 Sails full as we head across the Ablemarle

 Winds a little light, wish we had a spinnaker or had put on a larger headsail...which we found later in the cockpit lockers!

First Mate enjoying some of the yummy lunch she cooked up for us, what a great day for a sail.

 Here we are at our anchorage

 Sun setting on us, it was a bit chilly, great for snuggling!

G153! A Great Anchorage. Passing tugs and barges coming through in the pitch black night seemingly navigated these waters with their eyes closed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On to Manteo, NC (leg 2)

I am sorry for the long delay in posts, sometime other things take priority. I am back and will get back on track.

     So, to return to Sal's maiden voyage (with us, anyway).  Day 5, now that we were all rested from a long rough first leg, we decided that we were going to take it easy and have a nice stress free cruise from Englehard, NC to Manteo, NC. This was about a 35 mile journey. It was a gorgeous day. We sailed quite a bit of the way under jib alone. Once we got to the channel that would take us to Manteo we motored another 10miles or so into the Manteo Town Marina. We tied up and went into town. It was a great relaxing day just as we had planned. Weather was perfect, wind was perfect and the company was perfect!

 Leaving Englehard on our way to Manteo. Who packed the main sail?

 Cruising to Manteo, under jib alone. No rush, just a nice easy day heading northeast on the Pamlico Sound

 It was still a bit chilly, First mate has the tiller!

Who's this guy?????

 Fisherman hard at work while being heckled by pelicans!

 My shoes still drying from the day before!

 Here we are heading under the bridge, Manteo is just on the other side.

    A beautiful sunset to cap off a truly great day

  We were able to freshen up with the great restroom facilities at the marina, and went off to in search of food. Found a quaint fabric store along the beautiful waterfront business section of the town; we also found a nice Tex-Mex restaurant with great food (that I really wish we could remember the name of!) We wandered in during the lull between lunch and dinner and the friendly staff took advantage of the quiet dining room to chat with us. Turns out they're quite accustomed to weary sailors and not only told us where the nearest grocery store was to replenish our supplies, but they actually gave us a ride there! We also found a small boat-building mueseum in the marine park that was interesting. And we were docked a stone's throw from a life-sized mock-up pirate ship that I believe is part of some display commemorating Manteo's founding. I would recommend Manteo to anyone traveling the ICW. It is a bit out of the way, but what a nice place with super-friendly people. Lots to see and do and a great marina that met all our needs. We'll definitely be back!