Alligator Pungo Pamlico Neuse

Order your Blimp here…
Close reaching out of Elizabeth City

We had a great run south out of Elizabeth City, NC, sailing across Albemarle Sound and down into the Alligator River where we dropped the hook. That was an 0830 to 1730 day, but it was a beautiful sailing day. The next morning, we upped anchor at 0700 and entered the Alligator Pungo River Canal with NW winds. The forecast was for 20-25, but it turned out to be mostly 25-30 with several gusts to 34 knots. The bow wave was coming over the starboard bow and the spray was flying into and over the dodger windshield. Saltwater was running horizontally across the windshield due to the 30 knot winds. Our buddy boat, IP 380 PRIORITY, with Reuben at the helm is amazing, as he is single handing his boat along with us! He is one tough sailor and he is doing a great job. SP Cruiser Catspaw Carey would be very proud of him!

With the winds now on our stern quarter, we rounded into Pungo River and turned south.  rolled out jibs and motor sailed at max speed as we were trying to make a 70 nm day today!

Our 68.9 nm day, 0700 to 1700

With 30 knots on the stern and 1500-2000 on the engine, we were doing 7+ knots all day long. We actually made 68.9 nm in 10 hours, so our average was 6.89 knots of speed! The prize at the end of this long day was the beautiful marina called RIVER DUNES. This is a must stop on your way south as the facilities are spectacular. They provide WiFi, fire pits, clubhouse with coffee and TVs and sofas, pool, showers, pool tables and a laundry. All the essentials for a cruiser, and all for $1.50/foot and two for one days! While here, we all need to clean up our boats, fix various items and enjoy some down time. Job #1 & #2  for Team Island Spirit: Laundry & Windlass repair.

Here are some photos to share the adventure.

The Alligator River Swing Bridge
Crossing Albemarle Sound

IP38 MOONDANCE and IP380 PRIORITY sail Albemarle Sound

IP38 MOONDANCE looking good

Single Handing Reuben IP380 PRIORITY

Tug boats are so coloful

Overhead surveillance by Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City 
Mile Marker 100 from Norfolk, VA

Nina and Bob enjoying the sunset, Alligator River, Deep Point

Our sunset, Alligator River

Alligator River Sunset

Conch Blowing time, oh yea

Another view of the Blimp Factory at Elizabeth City, NC

Sunrise over the Pungo Canal

Looking south on the Alligator Pungo canal

Sharing the canal with a tug and barge!

The winds picked up out of the canal, 30+ knots NW
The spray going horizontal 
Our view through the spray

River Dunes, NC. What a great place to take a break….

Elizabeth City Sunrise

This sunrise was taken (75 total photos) out the galley porthole of our sailboat using my old Canon Digital EOS 30D and a 18-55,, lense. NOTE: Click the image for a larger 1024 x 768 full screen image. Have a beautiful day!

The roses of Fred Fearing, the Rose Buddies of Elizabeth City

Our Island Packet fleet of 3, and where I shot the sunrise from,

Pressing on today and departing Elizabeth Cith, NC for the Alligator River, where we will have to anchor before the Pung Pungo canal of 22 miles. We can’t anchor in the canal, and we can’t make it from here to the other end in daylight, so we anchor just before the canal.

Dismal Swamp Photo Essay

Radeen, master of the lock….
and Reuben IP380 Priority work the lock lines…

A photo essay of today, Oct 19, 2014. Deep Creek Lock to Elizabeth City, NC.

This is a beautiful section of the AICW.

I hope my photos show the true beauty.

Looking down the Dismal Swamp Canal

Looking back at our wake

The VA/NC state line in the Dismal Swamp

Buddy Boat Priority rounds a corner

Buddy Boat IP38 MOONDANCE rounds a bend

IP380 PRIORITY, Reuebn in the lock

The Dismal Swamp Canal, a must do on the AICW trip. It is simply too interesting and to beautiful. Now for a lay day in Elizabeth City….ahhhhhhh

Dismal Not

Norfolk Docks….very commercial….
Norfolk to Elizabeth City via the Dismal Swamp

The Dismal Swamp is not dismal, at least for us to travel by boat. I imagine it was very dismal to dig this canal by hand, but today, it is one of our favorite passages on the east coast. The Chesapeake Bay Great Schooner Race took over both Portsmouth Ferry Basins, so we fueled up and pressed on to the Deep Creek Lock and into the Dismal Swamp Canal. Once in the canal, we decided to take Robert’s dock, just out of the lock in the swamp. This dock allowed all three of us, IP380 PRIORITY and IP38 MOONDANCE to tie up and enjoy the later afternoon and evening together, complete with dinner and great conversation aboard MOONDANCE. Tomorrow, we will run the 22 mile canal and exit at the South Mills lock and continue for 19 miles of the Pasquotank River to Elizabeth City, NC. If all goes well, we should arrive Elizabeth City by 5 pm. Otherwise we will simply drop an anchor and spend a night on the river. The weather is perfect, we are so lucky to have mild weather and no storms.

Here are some photos of the Norfolk area;

Sunrise on the Lower Chesapeake Bay

IP38 Moondance under full sail

IP38 MOONDANCE sailing the Lower Bay

Imports, each box is a tractor trailer – 5 high, 20 across, many rows

I always find this crane so interesting

A large ship and tugs passing IP45 SANDERLING at anchor

The Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race

Decision time: Left to VA Cut and Prime Rib, right to Dismal and Elizabeth City

IP380 PRIORITY passing the marsh grasses

IP380 PRIORITY rounds a corner in the river before the Dismal Swamp

Radeen in the Deep Creek Lock

Buddy Boat IP38 MOONDANCE in the lock

7 feet up, we are in the Dismal Canal, thank you ROBERT

The Deep Creek Lock

So, tonight, we will stay here in the Swamp and tomorrow we will run to Elizabeth City. This is a new schedule for us as we were thrown off by the schooners taking the ferry basins. So, no movie theater but we have great friends and a peaceful place to spend the night.

Down the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay 1 2 3…

You can run the Chesapeake Bay in 24 hours or less, nonstop overnight, or you can anchor each night and then it may take three or four days. Then again, you can spend a lifetime sailing and exploring the Chesapeake Bay. We have sailed this bay since 1986. Now it is a large body of water we must transit to make our way south to Florida and the Bahamas. This bay is comfortable, familiar and we love it. When we return, we always feel at home. Going south, it feels large and it is a real task to break free and to reach Mile Marker Zero of the AICW, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Norfolk, VA. This year we have a great friend traveling along with us on his IP380 PRIORITY and we also have reconnected with our Bahamsa buddy boat, IP38 MOONDANCE. With Reuben and Bob and Nina along, this trip is even more fun. Cruising is always about the people you meet. This is what makes is so much fun.

IP380 PRIORITY powering south

After the fun of the Annapolis Boat Show, we blasted out of town at 9 a.m. and pointed our bow towards Solomons Island, MD as the weather was going to turn against us. We stayed there for two days as we waited out the frontal passage. This delay was made MUCH more fun because Ron and Mary Ann of IP380 CAVU live there now. Even though they were busy with their own boat, they picked us up for lunch at the Pier, took us for provisions and brought delicious treats to a cruisers’ get together on the porch at Zahniser’s with Reuben of IP380 PRIORITY, Mark and Margie of IP38 TATTOO II and the crews of several other boats including Solevig and Dragonfly. Sorry we have no photos of all the fun. Thank you, Ron and M.A., for everything!

Now, we are fortunate to have 10 days of dream weather ahead of us to make our way south.

Our Chesapeake run to NC is looking like this:

Annapolis to Solomons
Solomons to Little Bay off Fleets Bay
Little Bay to Fort Monroe
Ft. Monroe to Portsmouth
Portsmouth to Dismal Swamp
Swamp to Elizabeth City
Elizabeth City to Alligator River
River Dunes or Oriental
Beaufort NC, Greg and Kate’s….OUR BUDDIES!
after that…we will see.

Beautiful clouds over the sand beach at Little Bay, VA

Our goal is Charleston, SC, by about Nov 3 where we will dock. For now, we will enjoy the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.

Here are some photos of our travels.

Fishing boat as we depart Solomons Island, MD

We call this SUN GLARE and RUSH HOUR on the boat.

Waves and salt spray over the bow onto the windshields
The MD VA State Line, on the water…cool
Buddy Boat IP380 PRIORITY 
Buddy Boat IP38 MOONDANCE crew hits the beach

Little Bay VA sunset

IP380 PRIORITY at sunset

IP38 MOONDANCE at Sunset

We call her YANNIE-NEW and she is running very well.
She had her 25 hour oil change tonite.

Love to see this on the compass….SOUTHBOUND after the boat show

Some have asked us, is it still that much fun? We can’t believe it, but it IS FUN, it is WONDERFUL, it is adventurous, and we really feel fortunate to be able to live this dream! Florida here we come, Bahamas here we come…..

Boat Show Gatherings 2014

Our Boat Show Dock….

We moved onto the boat Monday, provisioned and prepared Mon/Tue, then departed Wed AM for the Annapolis Boat Show. We arrived at 2pm, picked up our good friends Craig and Liana from the fuel dock and turned around for an afternoon of sailing out on the Severn River. We were lazy and just used a jib to run downwind and then we sailed close hauled back upwind. It was a nice afternoon of sailing, one of our first sails of the entire summer. Wednesday afternoon around 5 pm, we docked at the Annapolis Yacht Basin, our home during the boat show from Thursday to Monday.

Boat Buddies IP38 MOONDANCE and IP38 TATOO II

Each day of the boat show, the Island Packet Fleet of owners gather on the roof of the Navy Fleet Reserve at noon. There the Island Packet Owners find each other via our IPY stickers and gear, then we all enjoy the great Pit Beef Sandwiches together. What a well connected fleet we have. Thursday we had 15 people attend, Friday 19 people attended and Saturday 28 people attended, along with the VP of Island Packet, Bill Bolin. Sunday, 7 people gathered and Monday we plan to sail on. Thanks go out to our IPY dealer, WHITEAKER YACHT SALES for hosting the Saturday Pit Beef day. Ed and Debbie Whiteaker sponsored our gathering and bought Pit Beef sandwiches for the first 30 people to register. WOW, that was very generous. Thank you, Ed and Debbie! We really appreciate this support.

Dave and Joyce, IP44 Knee Deep, with IPY VP Bill

So, our boat show time was filled with meeting and connecting with Island Packet Yacht Owners every day from noon til 2 p.m. Then we would tour the show, attend parties, and board new yachts. Radeen and I represented Whiteaker Yacht Sales as their broker at the Island Packet Dealer meeting and enjoyed the presentation of the IPY Dealer of the year: Island Yachting in the Virgin Islands, congrats to Skip and Andrea. The Blue Jacket Dealer of the year was Springline Yacht Sales, congrats to Rick and Kimberly. What a fun night to attend this Island Packet Yachts event on the docks after the show closed on Thursday. Thank you Bill Bolin for including us.

The Island Packet Yachts Display

Now, it is time to review the weather, and plan our run Monday from Annapolis to Solomons, MD. This is a 44+ mile run, which will take 7+ hours. The winds are expected to build Tue and Wed and be near Gale Force, so we plan to stay on anchor in Solomons Island until that dies down. We may not be able to move on until Thur. Solomons is not a bad place to be stuck, plus we have great friends there, IP380 CAVU, Ron and MA. So we may be able to see them again.

Here are some of the best photos of the times here….

Radeen and Michele, our good friend and yacht broker

Hayden with Michele of S & J Yachts, what a dear friend!

The IPY Blue Jacket and the IP 370

IPY Dealer of the year, Island Yachting, USVI

Blue Jacket Dealer of the Year, Springline Yacht Sales

The IPY Team, Bob, Karsten and Bill

Buddy Boat IP460 Cutter Loose, Patricia with Radeen

A Breakfast Gathering on Island Spirit
Craig IP440 Charmed, Eric and Pat IP460 Cutter Loose, Radeen and Liana

IP350 Reverie Jim with  IP380 & 420 Amehaya Linda and Maris 

Hayden with Terry, IP35 Maribelle

IP 380 CAVU, Mary Ann and Ron

IP460 Cutter Loose, Patricia and Eric

Radeen with the room set for the Whiteaker Yacht Sales Pit Beef Day

30 seats, 30 IP owners

Radeen and good friend Sharon, IP35 LUCILE

The colorful dinghy dock at the boat show

Let the tun to Miami, Florida begin! It takes 25 days of 8+ hours per day to make daylight legs to Florida. If we go offshore, we can cut down on that time. Our Goal: Get the boat to Florida to store it, so we can fly to family in AZ for Thanksgiving week.

The Plan Winter 2014-15

The Plan, The Map….

Our Winter Cruising Plan is on the LAUNCH PAD. We are loading up and we will be moving to the the Annapolis MD Boat Show on Wed/Thur. Then Team Island Spirit will be starting our 4th year of cruising. After the boat show we will head south with the flock of boats, and several IPs. Our Buddy boats will be IP38 MOONDANCE with owners Bob and Nina and IP380 PRIORITY with owner Reuben onboard. We will take the AICW, The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway South to Florida.

We will spend time (lay days) in:
Portsmouth VA, South Ferry Basin
Elizabeth City, NC, city dock
Oriental, NC, anchor in town
Beaufort NC, Greg & Kate ? done!
Wrightsville Beach, NC, anchor
Charleston, SC, Maritime Center
Vero Beach, FL, Mooring balls
Biscayne Bay, FL, Coconut Grove/Dinner Key
Florida Keys, HCC? Explore Keys?

Once in Florida, we plan to re-explore Biscayne Bay and the keys as well as the west coast of Florida where we hope to reconnect with Buddy boat IP420 FLATLANDER, Alan and Kathy, and others. After some time on the west coast returning to Palmetto, Sarasota, Fort Meyers Beach, Marco Island, and maybe the Dry Tortugas. Then we will prep for the Bahamas as we move back around to the east coast again.

on the Launch Pad, our home dock

This year, we may just simply return to the ABACOS via West End, Great Sale Cay, Green Turtle Club and the WHALE to Marsh Harbor and the JIB ROOM. Once there we will sail to Hope Town and climb that beautiful lighthouse and enjoy the peace and calm of the ABACOS. Life is easy there.

After spending springtime, mid March and April in the Abacos, we will look for a weather window to make the run for the Chesapeake Bay, our home waters by the third week of May 2015. (We need to make a family vacation end of May)

Our IP Community Web Site, 5,300+ Photos

This is our over all plan for this year. A review of many of our favorite places we have found, and a return to re-discover the beauty and fun of these area. We also want to reconnect with many IP owners. So many places, so many IP owners to connect with along this cruise.

We look forward to connecting, and sharing some harbors with you. We also invite you to sail along any part you can. We could get a fleet together and all head to the Abacos for a month. It is easy, it is close, it is beautiful in the springtime. If you go to the Bahamas in the winter, Dec-Feb, then you need to go SOUTH at least to Georgetown to get below the winter cold fronts. If going to the Abacos, then it is best to wait until spring and go in March and April and May. But then again, May is the best time to head up the East Coast, so you need to plan your Abacos exit back to the coast.

Short Haul 2014

Always exciting to see our yacht in the slings….

So what is a “Short Haul?” A short haul (out) means hiring a marina to lift your boat up and out of the water and then place it on the land with jack stands for a short period of time in order for you or the marina to service the yacht. Common needed yacht services are: 1. The bottom cleaned and re-painted to slow down the accumulation of barnacles and marine growth. 2. Clean and wax the top sides, the part above the water to the deck, the hull. 3. Service the propeller and the propeller shaft. 4. Clean and wax or paint the boot stripe. These are the primary services needed to be completed on a yacht once a year or every other year. For us, it has been three years since we last painted the bottom. We use a very expensive paint ($250 per gallon!) called Petit Trinidad  which has 60.5% copper mixed into the paint. The copper prevents marine life from attaching to the bottom. This is a hard paint which does not wear away into the water. We prefer this kind of paint because we do not like the idea of applying a gallon or two of paint to the bottom and then having it deliberately wear away into the water. This seems to us to be a bad idea. We like to keep our paint on the bottom!

This is the bottom with some marine growth.

With the weather being nearly perfect, we decided to haul out now and accomplish these tasks over three days. Day one, we washed and waxed the hull. The boat was thoroughly compounded and waxed by the Island Packet Yachts factory team in November, so we decided to only wax the hull this time. This took us about 5-6 hours. The yard wanted $650 to wax the boat. The next day, we painted the bottom with two gallons of Pettit Trinidad Blue paint. This is a rather quick and easy job, as long as your arms and shoulders hold up. Using a broom handle and a paint roller, you stand back and reach under the yacht to paint the keel and under belly. But, remember, the paint is 60% copper and copper is HEAVY, so your paint roller takes on the weight of about a bag of sugar. After an hour of levering this 5 lb roller up and down, spreading the paint onto the hull, you never want to see a paint roller again!

The prop with PropSpeed applied

After painting the bottom, we decided to apply a sealant to the propeller. We sanded and cleaned the blades of the propeller and then applied a two part sealant from New Zealand known as PropSpeed. Once the etching compound is coated, then you quickly apply the top clear coat to seal the surface. This product then makes the propeller so smooth and non porous that marine growth cannot attach to the surface. A clean prop saves fuel and makes the boat moyor faster. We have used this product before and it lasts easily over a year, maybe two. It is not cheap, but then again, nothing in boating is cheap.

The $5.99 boot stripe paint, it works!

The final job we completed was to sand and re-paint the boot stripe. We have had bids on doing this job for $1,000, so we have been doing it ourselves using a $5.99 can of spray paint called KRYLON FUSION. It is for plastics. Guess what, our boat is plastic, fiberglass, so it WORKS!  This will last about 3-4 years and it is so easy to do. We simply sand the boot stripe with 320 grit (400-600 would be good also) then we tape it off and wipe with denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner to clean off any wax or dirt. Dry it, dust it and then spray it. This takes about 30-45 minutes for the entire yacht. Easy, easy job.

Our final work will be the second coat of bottom paint around the waterline. The marina also has to move the jack stands which will allow us to paint the area under the pads. Then we plan to touch up some varnish and be re-launched back in the water. At this point the boat is ready to HEAD SOUTH for cruising year #4. YAHOOOOOOO!!

The marine travel lift at Haven Harbour, they do a great job
Job #1, power washing the bottom to clean off the growth
This takes one marina employee about an hour
Drive the yacht across the yard to a parking place. Total remote control
Time to get to work….Radeen jumps right in and begins the clean up
Standing on scaffolding, we use buffers to wax the hull, 

Look how shiny this 20 year old boat is now…WOW

Perspective: Our car parked under the bow of the boat.

Time to wax the other side, this side is in the sun….HOT

The prop: 17″ dia x 14″ pitch, Michigan Wheel, Dyna Jet….works great.
No folding prop for us. Been there, removed that…

Radeen working on painting the bottom of the keel, hard working girl.
PropSpeed product, two parts, one etches into the prop, the other seals it
A completed prop with PropSpeed and Radeen cleaning up
Thanks to Ed L.. KRYLON FUSION paint for the boot stripe
Works well and it only costs $5.99

Sand, wipe, tape, spray it….FINISHED in about an hour!

Easy to spray, easy to do

Our work space, with  thework ladder and shelf
All I can say here is….KA-CHING $$$$$

There it is, now you know all you need to know about yacht services on the hard. Haul it out, wash it, wax it, paint it, seal it, varnish it, relaunch it, …. and set sail. DONE. We were hauled out on Wed at 9am, we will be relaunching on Friday at 2-3 PM. Thank you for sailing along with us!

Fort McHenry, Blue Angels, Fireworks

Fort McHenry, Oh Say Can you See?

The City of Baltimore went over the top with an outstanding production of their Star Spangled 200 celebration event. Friday, we watched the Blue Angels prepare and practice for their Sat and Sun air show and walked around the many tall ships tied to the harbor seawalls. Navy Ships, NOAA ships, Tall Ships, and USCG ships from everywhere sailed into the harbor to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Radeen and Nina enjoy Saturday’s air show from the bow

Saturday, we worked most of the day cleaning the boat and stowing tools and spare parts. We watched the Blue Angels from our boat and then went to Canton for dinner with our good friends Bob and Nina of IP38 Moondance. Sunday, we water taxied together to Fort McHenry for a new perspective on the air show, with an interesting narration. We boated, walked the waterfront and took in some beautiful skyline harbor views. Our adventures were topped off with a wonderful visit and waterfront crab cake dinner with long time friends Reuben and Molly, owners of IP380 Priority. We look forward to traveling south together!

We are so impressed with the changes made to the Baltimore waterfront. We have not been here for 6+ years, and our memories of the waterfront were not that fond as there were many run down areas. Today, that is not the case, Baltimore is a MUST STOP harbor on the northern Chesapeake Bay. From Canton all the way into the Inner Harbor, there are fantastic marinas, wonderful towns, exciting shops and diverse restaurants. We simply came over here to see the weekend event, but now we feel as if we need to stay the week and rediscover this outstanding town. The Chesapeake has so much to offer, and in the fall, it turns into a dream cruising ground. Outstanding job, Baltimore, we plan to return and stay much longer!

The best and largest fireworks display we have ever seen

6 Barges in the river all synchronized to fire at the same time!

Our home at anchor off Canton Waterfront, Baltimore

We were at Fort McHenry National Park for the Air Show Sunday, these are our Park Stamps
The Fort McHenry 15 Star Flag and Pole in the exact position as in the war of 1812

The USCG demonstrates a dramatic water rescue off the fort
Great friends Reuben and Molly with Radeen and Hayden….
Thank you, Nina, for the photo

A beautiful view of the Inner Harbor of Baltimore

Island Spirit is back into the cruising plan and this was such a great way to kick it off. Our next adventure is to return to Rock Hall where we need to reassemble and ship back our old engine. Next, we need to haul out, paint the bottom, and wax the hull. Stay tuned!

Star Spangled 200

USCG EAGLE training ship…

With the engine installed and up and running, it was time to break it in and motor sail across the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. So, we departed Rock Hall, MD at 7 am and made it past Fort McHenry, through the restricted zone, and into the harbor before the practice flights of the Blue Angels began. WOW, they are loud. They flew directly over the harbor and our mast where we are anchored in the spectator area A. The Blue Angels performances are scheduled for Sat and Sun from 2 to 4 pm. Then there will be a massive fireworks display at 9:30pm.  If it is raining, then the fireworks will be Sun night.  We are also here with our buddy boat, IP38 Moondance, Nina and Bob, who just returned from their first trip to Long Island Sound and NYC. They loved it. Other IPs we hope to see this weekend include IP32 Betelgeuse, IP420 Oro Negro, IP380 Tamarack and IP380 Priority.

Our sunrise as we depart Rock Hall. MD

Being on anchor again, with a running engine and a fully equipped cruising sailboat, is a peaceful and joyful activity and we both love it more than ever. We can really appreciate this even more now that all the engine work is finished. We baked homemade bread, shared a sunset with Nina and Bob aboard Moondance, slept in, and enjoyed breakfast around 10:30! WOW, what a peaceful life. It is great to be getting back into the cruising life, even if only for a short while before we haul, paint, wax, close up the house, and load up! For now, we will enjoy this special weekend.

Here are some photos, I love to share….

So much for a simple motor test, unforecast 20-25 knots of wind, spray over the bow

Boat motoring at 1,500 RPMs to break it in, sail full, speed 6.4 knots

The Francis Scott Key Bridge, the entrance to Baltimore harbor

A dinghy tour around the tall ships, a great way to see these beautiful old vessels

1932 USCG EAGLE training ship, 295 feet long, this is the figurehead

Look at the finish on this wood ob “Le Galeon”! OMG

Nina and Radeen share a smile and a sunset, great to reconnect with the team

What is a sailboat without fresh baked bread?

The Pride of Baltimore II sails off our stern

Touring the tall ships via dinghy

Radeen, in the sunrise, WE DID IT, Island Spirit is back on the water!
Our SUNSET off Baltimore, beautiful

If you want to see the events planned for this weekend, they are published at We saw the Navy Jazz Band “The Commodores” perform and enjoyed an IMAX movie depicting the battles against the British leading up to the famous night of September 14, 1814, at Fort McHenry. What a fantastic celebration!