Sunrise Sunset

Sunset, Alligator River, NC

Sunrise, Sunset…
Sunrise, Sunset…
Swiftly fly the years…
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.

From the Alligator River, Deep Point anchorage sunset to the sunrise this morning in Bonner Bay, we are being treated to some fantastic displays of nature. Add in the company of good friends Laurie and Jim on IP350 KISMET, and you begin to see the treasures of the cruising life.

Photos of the day. (I shot 95 today and one video)

Sunrise lights up the Pungo Canal

Sunrise over our port side lights the trees to starboard

A Bald Eagle in Pungo Canal
Canal debris pile in the morning light

R. E. Mayo Fishing Docks, mid day light

IP350 KISMET at anchor, Bonner Bay

IP35 Island Spirit and IP350 Kismet share dinner and a sunset on Bonner Bay

Sunset on Island Spirit at anchor

The last glimmer of the sun

Sunset Bonner Bay, NC as seen from anchor

Beautiful sky at sunset

Good Morning….the next day…this is the SUNRISE

Sunrise, Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset….Swiftly fly the years…..
Have a beautiful day!

Albemarle Sound

Sailing across Albemarle Sound

Crossing Albemarle Sound is one of those passages you hear so many dreaded sailing stories about and sailors worry deeply about making this 15 mile crossing! This concern is valid, due to the shallow depths and long fetch upwind. If the wind is blowing, then the Sound will have short steep waves and your two plus hour crossing can be nasty. Lucky for us, the winds were calm, 10-15 knots, and from the west. With a course of 180, south, and a west wind, we had a beam reach right across the Sound and into the Alligator River. What a fantastic sailing day! Under sail, Radeen decided to make a gourmet hot lunch of Mediterranean Chicken with black olives and capers. What a treat, and served in one bowl, it was easy to eat. Radeen is very good at cooking onboard and making great meals. Check out her site at and share your best boating recipes.

The 42 mile sailing day ended when we dropped anchor with Island Packet Buddies, 350 Kismet and 38 It’s About Time at Deep Point. The fresh west breeze was pleasant and the sunset was spectacular. Sally called it right by saying this was a BLESSING to behold. Fortunate we are to be out here cruising…

The best way to share today, is via my photos (I shot 102 photos and 6 videos today!)

Day begins…sunrise at Elizabeth City, NC

Bright sun reflects off the primary winch…beautiful day

IPs 350 Kismet and 38 It’s About Time at anchor
Radeen at sunset as we photograph the colors

Sunset over the Pungo Canal at Alligator River

Sunset beauty

Our Bow at sunset, Alligator River, NC
Another beautiful day on the water. One observation this year is how warm we are. It is one month earlier than we were here last year, and we were chilly. This year, the temps are nearly perfect. 
Annapolis Sailboat Show opened today, we sadly miss being there. This is the first time in 20 years we . The trade won’t be there. The trade off is worth it…a family wedding in Arizona that we are attending as soon as we get this boat to the Brunswick, GA 🙂

Pasquotank River Beauty

Close the LOCK DOORS…South Mills Lock

The Great Dismal Swamp ends at the South Mills Lock where you are lowered 8 feet to the Pasquotank River of North Carolina. Riding the lock down is far more calm than riding a lock up, as the water simply drains out of the lock and you are slowly lowered along the lock wall.

Once in the river, we encountered a river full of Duckweed (thank you Bonnie F. for identifying this). And thanks to our lead boat named Ascension, a path was plowed down river through the duck weed. The trip ends at the drawbridge into Elizabeth City where we take their free docks and enjoy their long standing tradition of a wine and cheese party hosted by the Rose Buddies. We were lucky enough to have met the creator, Fred Fearing, a long time ago when we did this loop on our IP27, Cinnamon. Today, the city continues his tradition and it is truly the City of Hospitality. Great Job, Elizabeth City, and thank you Fred!

Here are some great photos of the day…(I shot 87 photos today and one video)

Lock Tender checking the overlap mitre joint of the lock doors

Top of lock, watch us drop 8 feet

Halfway down…more drop to go

8 feet down, the lock doors can now open

Welcome to the Pasquotank River, Good Bye Dismal Swamp

Welcome DUCKWEED as we move south towards Elizabeth City

Our lead boat, Ascension, cuts a path for all 5 boats to follow, thank you

Follow the path in the Duckweed

This does make for beautiful photos

Looking aft, the sun illuminates the colors

Pasquotank River and a sea of contrast

The Elizabeth City Lift Bridge ends this beautiful section of the waterway

Tonight, we will enjoy the town’s hosted wine and cheese party and visit with all the cruisers heading south. This is a wonderful life and we really enjoy the travels and beauty….

Portsmouth to Dismal Swamp

Radeen in the Deep Creek Lock
Lifting up to the level of the Great Dismal Swamp

One of the most diverse section of the Waterway ranges from naval aircraft carriers in drydock to the Deep Creek Lock to the solitude and peaceful beauty of the Great Dismal Swamp. This diversity is what sailors experience as they traverse this 27 miles of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Portsmouth VA to South Mills Lock NC.

Our stay in Portsmouth was wonderful as always. It was especially nice as an Island Packet Yachts minivous developed with IP38 It’s About Time (Sally and Conrad) and IP350 Kismet (Laurie and Jim) and visiting IP380 Tides Inn (Sue and Mark) joined us all in the South Ferry Basin. We enjoyed happy hour on Island Island Spirit and then strolled up High Street a few blocks to the Commodore Dinner Theater to see, the new movie “Trouble With the Curve.” Then we returned to IP38, after the movie, and sampled the Nassau Royale Rum to make sure it was still OK to consume…it was. There is something special about gathering on friends’ boats, sharing some stories and learning about the cruising life. Everyone has so much to share and we value and treasure these Island Packet gatherings.

Island Packet Yachts Minivous in the South Ferry Basin

Departing at 0745 we began our run for the Great Dismal Swamp after a quick fuel and service stop at Ocean Marine just south of the basin. From there, we made the 0930 Gilmerton Bridge opening and were easily anchored off the Deep Creek Lock in time for the 1045 opening and 1100 lock. This lock is run by ROBERT, the most upbeat and positive person you will meet on the the waterway. He kindly guides you into the lock, takes your lines and helps you secure your boat to the lock wall  to be lifted 6-8 feet. Once lifted, you are ready for the 22 miles of the Great Dismal Swamp.

The sign directing you to the Dismal Swamp Route…read that…

This is our fourth run on the Dismal Swamp, and we love it. We prefer this route over the Virginia Cut, because of the beauty and the reflections the canal presents. I shot 175 photos today and I never seem to capture the true beauty. This really is a boating run you have to make yourself in order to take in this wonderful canal and swamp.

We had planned to run out the lock and another 12 miles to Goat Island, but this time, we docked inside the South Mills lock and will rest here in a charming old town for the night.

Here are a few of the best photos from today ( I shot 175 photos and 6 videos today!)

Fleet Gathering on IP38 It’s About Time
Radeen, Mark, Sue, Sally, Laurie, Conrad and Jim
Island Spirit flying the IP Flag over High Street, Portsmouth VA

Radeen tending the bow line as we rise up and the lock fills

Distance sign in the Deep Creek Lock. We have sailed north to Eastport (Acadia, Maine)
We have run south to Key West, FL…..WOW…it is long way by boat

Radeen and Robert, the greatest Lock Tender in the World, a very positive person

Welcome to the Dismal Swamp’s beauty…it is endless

Here is a photo without the boat. This photo could be flipped upside down

Self portrait over the bow reflecting in the water
Great Dismal Swamp
It is FALL, the water is litered with leaves and pine needles

There you have it….our fourth passage through the Great Dismal Swamp. Tomorrow we will make Elizabeth City, NC, the City of Hospitality. We always look forward to stopping there.

Please note:
If you click on the photos in the blog, they enlarge to a full screen size at 1024 x 768. I make my blog images this size so they can be used for screen backgrounds. I hope you enjoy the photography; I have taken 350+ photos since leaving 5 days ago!

Chesapeake Bay Run

The best Chesapeake Bay Sailing. Sunrise as we head south.

We have sailed the Chesapeake Bay since 1986 and we never tire of the beauty and diversity the Bay presents to sailors trying to cover the 150+ miles in a few days. Lucky for us, this was one of the best runs down the bay in many years. In past years, we have had waves crashing over the bow with spray going into the windshields and you just pray for it to end. This time, it was so lovely, so calm, so flat, with beautiful sunsets, spectacular sunrises, full moonsets and interesting commercial ship traffic.

When in transit mode, we try to run about 50 miles a day. This would be 3 days down the bay to Norfolk from Rock Hall, MD just above Annapolis. This time we actually took 4 days to run the bay. We had some sailing, lots of motoring, but calm seas, so we will take it.

4 Days down the Chesapeake Bay (165 nm)

  1. Rock Hall, MD to Annapolis, MD 16 nm (visit our boat buddies, Eric and Patricia)
  2. Annapolis, MD to Solomon’s Island, MD 42 nm (anchor off Calvert Maritime Museum)
  3. Solomons, MD to Jackson Creek, VA 53 nm (anchor and enjoy a beautiful sunset)
  4. Jackson Creek, VA to Portsmouth, VA 54 nm (dock in the South Ferry basin, explore the city)

Hayden sailing wing on wing heading south on the Chesapeke Bay
Winds were from the NORTH….the course was SOUTH….so we sailed downwind wing on wing as much as we could. BUT…when the SOG (Speed Over Ground) drops below 3 knots, we motor sail or motor. We use 3 knots as our point of decision. We love to sail, and we will always sail if we can, but if our speed is 3 knots or less and we have 50 nm to cover, we will motor.
Norfolk, VA Naval Base and Shipyards

Completing the southbound run of the Chesapeake Bay sends you into the Elizabeth River, home to one of USA’s largest Naval Bases and shipyards. Passing aircraft carriers and observing our military makes you pause and reflect. We are so thankful for our military and the freedom we all enjoy because of their service. You cannot sail past here and not think of them. Thank you…

Portsmouth, VA South Ferry Basin
NOTE: Coffee Kiosk right there (blue peaked roof)

Completing the trip, we always dock at the Portsmouth Ferry Basins and enjoy walking the town. We enjoy the Commodore Dinner Theater, Bier Garden, Artisan Bakery, the friendly Mile Marker Zero Marine Store and most of all, the Starboard Coffee Kiosk right at the docks! Portsmouth is a must stop location and we always enjoy a full day or two here.

Here are the best photos from the trip ( I shot 87 photos today)

Interesting Italian Ship passes close by. Note the bow wave well in front…
that is the underwater bow bulb projecting well forward of the bow.
This ship is doing 15 knots!

IP350 KISMET sailing their spinnaker southbound
Nice job, Jim and Laurie!

Sunset at anchor during our dinner…beautiful Jackson Creek,
Deltaville, VA

WOLF TRAP LIGHTHOUSE, now you know you are moving south

Tugboat SARAH DANN pushing two barges up to Baltimore
Beautiful paint colors

Thank you….our miltary practicing landings on an Aircraft Carrier!

Shipping containers, those are tractor trailer boxes of imported goods being off loaded

OH NO….this Navy ship was listing…..just kidding 🙂

Chesapeake Bay….CHECK….done….onto the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway mile marker ZERO is right here. Now the trip to Florida and the Bahamas takes on a new challenge. Bridges, hundreds of them to navigate, locks, narrow rivers, swamps, and more. FUN.