Chesapeake Bay to Beaufort, South Carolina 

21st September - 3rd  November 2005

Back in Valentine Creek, up the Severn River from Annapolis, we felt like we'd arrived at our home-from-home again.   The welcome from the old friends we'd made last summer was warm and friendly.  Once we'd securely anchored fore and aft in almost the same spot we'd inhabited for three months last year, we eagerly to made our way to Woody and Janine's house, just up the road, to see the alterations they'd made since our last visit.    

On arrival we were greeted with a surreal sight, the new porch had been added to the front of the house yet the front door still remained in its old position, several feet away and one of our witty hosts had added the slogan "the carpenter was drunk" adjacent to the bizarrely offset door and porch!     


On finally tracking down Woody and Janine in their greatly enlarged house, we found Janine hard at work varnishing the new kitchen floor and Woody hard at work supervising!

It was a relief (no pun intended) when they invited us to stay in their new guest room, as on the way to Valentine Creek the heads (or toilet) aboard Anju had ceased to function.   We found ourselves living in the luxury of an air conditioned bedroom with king sized bed and en-suite facilities and although we initially intended to stay ashore only while we effected repairs to our heads, the comfort proved too great a temptation and we lived in luxury for the entire duration of our three week stay.


Finally the workers have arrived - grab a brush!

Anju's new library and tool cabinets

Unfortunately our arrival was too late to assist Janine and Stephanie with their Ellicott City Historical Society decorator show house project, as we had the previous year, but we still managed to keep ourselves occupied helping out with furniture moving and painting jobs around their house.   Phil was even volunteered to tile the kitchen when he admitted to having tiling experience!

Woody kindly offered the use of his extensive woodworking tools and surplus wood, with which we were able to carry out some home improvements of our own.   New bookshelves, a bathroom cabinet and two tool cabinets were added aboard Anju, to increase our storage space, jobs which proved much easier with access to the right tools. 



Of course we managed to fit in some fun during our visit, including helping Woody to celebrate his birthday, dinner at Stephanie's house and a night out at the Ocean Cruising Club gathering in Annapolis.

Christine went on a girls-day-out with Janine and Stephanie, a shopping trip to IKEA while Phil and Woody's boys-day-out was a visit to the Annapolis boat show.


In return for our assurances that we'd make sure we planned our next visit to arrive in time to help with next year's show house project, we were given a tour of the nursery they had somehow managed to complete in time this year, without the assistance of their labourers.

We had to tear ourselves away from our friends in Valentine Creek after only three weeks to reach Deltaville, further south in the Chesapeake, in time for an Ocean Cruising Club Rally.   Besides, by mid October it was getting decidedly chilly!

On our way we made an overnight stop at Solomons Island before heading for Deltaville the next morning.   As we left the security of Solomons, we raised the full main and genoa but on leaving the shelter of the nearby headland, we found ourselves over-canvassed and needing to reef quickly with the wind about ten knots stronger than forecast.   

Stephanie and Janine at the Show House



Anju snuggled up off Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Deltaville.

As usual with sailing, we found that things only seem to go wrong when you're in difficult situations  and then always in sequences of three!  First the first reefing line on the main for some reason came undone and began flapping wildly in the wind.   While Phil struggled to get a hold on the loose line and deploy the second reef instead, the shackle on the kicking strap, which holds the boom down to prevent it from bouncing around, suddenly broke.   As he battled to bring everything back under control, Phil wondered to himself what our third disaster was to be.   Sure enough, a flogging rope whacked him firmly in the eye, bursting a blood vessel and leaving him with a bloodshot eye.   Ship's Medical Officer, Christine, immediately sent him below to lie down for a while, partly for his own well-being and also to prevent her from fainting due to her squeamishness about eye injuries!   Phil rested below most of the trip while Christine headed quickly towards Deltaville in the strong wind.
We had a warm welcome to Deltaville from OCC friends Julie and George.  The following day the OCC gathering began with a happy hour and as we were preparing to set forth in the dinghy to the event, we were delighted to see Kyle and Maryann, who we'd met in Norfolk the previous year, heading into the anchorage in their boat.   We went over to catch up with them and eventually persuaded them to come along to the happy hour as well, giving us more time to chat.   As in the previous year, the OCC rally was ably coordinated by John Koedel, who not only organised the following day's dinner but also arranged transport to the supermarket for any cruisers requiring supplies.   We certainly enjoyed the hospitality of the Fishing Bay Yacht Club and particularly the hot showers!

At the Saturday night dinner, we were surprised to run into Anne from the South African boat Jacana, who we'd last seen in Venezuela.   As her husband Jon was working at the boat show and not at the rally, she kindly invited us to dinner at their new house in Deltaville on his return the following day.   Our visit to Deltaville was extended again with another invitation from Don and Suzanne of Abino, who we'd met at the Bahamas rally earlier in the year.   After we realised that the trip aboard Anju up the Rappahanock and Corrotoman Rivers to their home would take an entire day, whereas by road it would take about an hour, Don generously offered to pick us up from the yacht club by car and gave us a tour of the areas on the way before driving us to their beautiful home for dinner with their friends.  

As we were psyching ourselves up to pick our way back out through the narrow, shallow channel and continue our journey south, we spotted a local catamaran hard aground, which was unable to get free even on the high tide.   On our last visit to Deltaville last year, another vessel with a three and a half foot draft was high and dry, which made us wonder if perhaps skippers of shallow draft boats pay much less attention to their depth gauges and charted depths than those of vessels with deep draft.


We exited the channel without any problems and finding the wind in the wrong direction to set a course for Norfolk, Virginia, we headed to a charted anchorage at the south of the Chesapeake in Kiptopeke.   This was an unusual anchorage as the only protection from the swell came not from the land but from a long row of old concrete ships which had been sunk there.   We were glad to have a flat calm night on which to enjoy the surreal anchorage.

With a spot of bad weather forecast, we were delighted to accept the hospitality of Norfolk's OCC Port Captains, Greta and Gary, and make use of the dock at the apartments where they live.   We enjoyed several dinners together and helped celebrate Greta's birthday.   Our visit gave us a chance to add to our collection of OCC accessories, as Greta and Gary produce the US regalia on their impressive embroidering machine.  Leaving their dock proved tricky with a strong beam wind but we escaped unscathed to continue our trip down the Intracoastal Waterway.


Surreal Anchorage at Kiptopeke

On our way south we stopped at anchorages at Buck Island, just south of Coinjock and on the Pungo River.   Leaving the Pungo River early the next morning, we found ourselves freezing in the cockpit end enduring continuous drizzle, so after a distance of about five miles, we decided to re-anchor in Belhaven and go back to bed!   Luckily the next day dawned clear and bright and we headed to the remote anchorage at Cedar Creek, where we were astounded to pick up a wi-fi connection to the internet, although there wasn't a house in sight!

We'd hoped to reach Beaufort, North Carolina, in time for the OCC rally but were unfortunately a day late, so we by-passed Beaufort entirely and headed to Point Lookout, about five miles along the coast towards Cape Hatteras, to enjoy a spot of beach-combing instead.    On our way we were delighted to hear Seaquel on the radio and even more so to discover that the boats from the OCC rally were also heading to Point Lookout for a get together that day, so we didn't miss out entirely.


Phil with his catch

With an early start the next morning we headed along the coast and reach Wrightsville Beach before dusk.   A benefit of the early hour was excellent fishing and our freezer was filled with two large king mackerel.  Another OCC boat, Lanikai, also had the same plan and despite being slowed up by the US Coastguard boarding them for a safety inspection as they approached the inlet, Harry and Malinda were still in good enough humour to invite us aboard for cocktails.

From Wrightsville we used the same plan as last year, heading inside down the ICW as far as Cape Fear to avoid heading far out to sea to avoid shoals just north of the inlet.    There was a slight delay when we felt something was amiss with the prop and anchored up briefly while Phil dived over the side to check it out.   Nothing appeared to be wrong so once he'd thawed out, we made our way down the Cape Fear River and out to sea, heading overnight towards Charleston.   

The night passage was calm but very dark.   During one watch, every now and again Christine noticed a very strong smell of fish which seemed to recur every few minutes accompanied by a spurting noise.   It seemed we had whales for company, which made us nervous, as it was too dark to see them if they were at the surface and we were afraid of a collision.  Luckily they kept out of our way, particularly as we later learned from a Coastguard VHF announcement that they were probably endangered Right Whales.

Early next morning we arrived at Charleston, headed through the ICW bridge to the south and after a couple of hour's pause for a nap and to await the turn of tide, pressed on through the day, keen to reach Beaufort, South Carolina as quickly as possible to catch up with our friends Chris and Vivian.

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