Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BOOK TWO ::: On the Chesapeake after the Loop June 1 to July 12, 2008

On the way in the Norfolk Harbor Reach SONATA passes the USS IWO JIMA . . . the last Navy vessel Charlie was aboard during his Naval Career.

A night in Deltaville at Doziers Yacht Center . . . then off for Ocean Marine and homeport.

A night on Weems Creek then to Patuxent River Naval Air Station for the evening and a beautiful July 7th sunrise.

Following the rush of the 4th GREAT ESCAPE and SONATA moored together on Weems Creek just northwest of Annapolis.

Annapolis from the bridge of SONATA while turning in "ego-alley."

In Annapolis SONATA stayed with some large yachts at the Yacht Basin Company. We spent the days before and after the 4th of July with Don and Theresa aboard GREAT ESCAPE. Upon our departure we just had to cruise "ego-alley" and in doing so waited for GREAT ESCAPE to complete its turn at the end of the alley.

Also on the way to Annapolis we again pass the much photographed historic Thomas Point Light; see: www.thomaspointlighthouse.org

A stop in Crisfield with the Fairchilds after Onancock then across the Bay on our way to Annapolis . . . we pass the UBC SACRAMENTO.

Dinner and a great evening with Charlie and Karen was delightful.

On the way from Cape Charles to Onancock we stopped and fished . . . Charlie F. caught flounder and croaker . . . then prepared it for our dinner.

Following a rock-and-roll night at anchor SONATA was off to Cape Charles and Bay Creek Marina where we joined Charlie and Captain Karen Fairchilds (Karen had been a member of our Coast Guard class back in the spring of 2007).

The Grady White group had gotten together for the afternoon . . . hoping for Sunset Beach, but, the water was too rough. We all anchored between the concrete ships and shore.

Bonnie, Leslie, and Rhonda aboard Rhonda's GRADY LADY.

The 28th of June found SONATA off for over a week to cruise some of the Eastern Shore and points North. We started by crossing the Bay to the Concrete Ships and met up with Rhonda and Leslie, and, the Grady-White group.

Off to Blue Water Yacht in Hampton for dinner at the Surf Rider, we cruised the afternoon and evening with Dick and Betty Gray.

Tony and Monica Craig.

Sharing the traffic joys on the water we were joined by Aaron and Shaun Childers, and;

Traffic on the Norfolk Reach waters remains busy as we pass the ATLANTIC CONCERT.

The Lafayette River was the site of our trip with grandsons Charlie and James . . . and their parents, Scott and Pat. We anchored, played in the water, changed zincs on the starboard shaft and had a great time on a hot day.

Judy and Ted Land along with Johnny and Ann Bristow joined us for the afternoon and evening; short cruise, dinner before the fireworks and a late night tie-up at Ocean Marine to conclude the evening.

June 7th SONATA is again underway for the Harborfest Fireworks. This time we anchored in the entrance to Scott's Creek, just north of Hospital Point.

After the cruise we anchored off Hospital Point and enjoyed a delightful evening with our friends David and DeeDee McDonald and Vern and Connie Clark. Vern and Connie relaxing on the Bridge.

Following a cruise, 5/30-6/1, to Old Point Comfort, Fort Monroe, to see Don Miller and Theresa Barrett and the pirates of Hampton, we joined in the Norfolk Harborfest Parade of Sail on June 6th. As we have in past years . . . we got to the front as the leader, then paused south of Townpoint to let everyone "pass-in-review."

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 24, 2008 . . . SONATA arrives at Ocean Marine, Portsmouth, VA; the beginning

Approaching Ocean Marine the cheering section lined the seawall to greet SONATA; what a beautiful sight!

SONATA passes Ocean Marine and turns to "pass-in-review" in front of the crowd on the seawall; the pendant (made by SONATA's daughter-in-law, Pat) is flying from the mast whisker pole as are the signal flags arranged as prescribed.

The SONATA fans, Pat in the forefront, salute SONATA as she passes the seawall on the way to Ocean Marine's entrance.

Bonnie maneuvers SONATA down the fairway, on its final approach, to dock in front of the "Welcome Committee".

SONATA alongside at Ocean Marine in Portsmouth, Virginia, the loop completed, SONATA's wake has been crossed, and Bonnie and Charlie are greeted by so many friends, relatives, and fellow boaters. A wonderful and joyous day!

Food, drinks, and greetings exchanged on the dock; a great reception.

Friends on the dock.

The torn and tattered white looper burgee has been taken off the bow, the loop completed. The GOLD American Great Loop Cruisers Association burgee which signifies completion of the loop is now flying from the mast spreader. This location means we have completed the loop but are no longer "on-the-loop." This summer SONATA will be exploring the Chesapeake Bay; 2009 the Down East Loop is planned. This entry marks the end of Book 1, a book of many chapters. Book 2 will continue on this blog.

May 9-23, 2008 . . . Washington, North Carolina . . to almost home

"Little" Washington, North Carolina. Carolina Wind Yacht Center for ten days so that SONATA may prepare for arrival at Ocean Marine. A small marina on the Tar River where Route 17 crosses. West Marine just a block away . . . and in between the marina and West Marine is the best ice cream store there can be.

Bonnie's parents, Leighton and Joyce Croom, who live in Robersonville, near Little Washington, are now aboard SONATA for the final run. We proceed down the Tar River toward Belhaven, North Carolina.

From Little Washington to Belhaven, Dowry Creek Marina, http://www.dowrycreekmarina.com/) SONATA proceeded in a generally Northerly direction which was good due to strong winds out of the South and Southwest, some 20-25 knots. A nice swift ride to the marina before the thunderstorms arrived.

After clearing the Pamlico River / Alligator River canal SONATA approaches the Alligator River bridge which opened upon SONATA's request.

Out the Alligator River and into the Albemarle and Roanoke Sounds to Roanoke Island and Manteo. SONATA moored on a "T" head across from the ELIZABETH II, a 69' barque built by hand and moored at theh Fort Raleigh Historic Site.

Out of Manteo in the early AM SONATA is on its way to Coinjock. Coinjock is one long pier where they slide as many boats in as possible. A good marina and a very good place to stop and eat.

SONATA proceeding North toward the Currituck Sound is followed by HENRY'S JOURNEY, whose captain, Fred Pflaum, a retired attorney from Florida, is off the complete the Down East Loop Trip (begin at New York City, up the Hudson to Canada, the St. Lawrence out to the Atlantic, down the East Coast of Nova Scotia/Maine/New England, Long Island Sound to New York City) which we plan for 2009.

North on the North River toward the North Landing Swing Bridge, Centerville Turnpike Swing Bridge and the Great Bridge Bridge and Lock. The water is so very calm; a beautiful day.

HENRY'S JOURNEY, still behind us, caught this picture as Leighton navigated SONATA toward Great Bridge. Charlie and Bonnie on the last leg toward completing the Great American Loop.

SONATA's last lock. Having been through nearly 120 locks in the past twelve months, some as big as 1200' long, 110' wide, and a lift or drop of over 95', the Great Bridge Lock will move SONATA some 1 to 2 feet so that it may proceed into the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.

An afternoon, evening, and morning in the "Pool" which is off the Dismal Swamp SONATA is now dressed, decorated, and ready to proceed to Ocean Marine.

Back in home waters we are back with the familiar tug traffic just past the Jordan Bridge.

Just past the Jordan Bridge, to Port, is one of our aircraft carriers in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. We are back with the Navy and minutes away from Ocean Marine.

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 1 - 9, 2008 . . . Charleston Tour & on to Washington, North Carolina

Arriving in Charleston we tied up inside the Mega-Dock, the long face dock that runs from the center of the picture to the top righthand corner. We were located about where that boat is shown coming from top right to bottom left . . . it was a long bike ride just to get off the dock.

We then rode our bikes down to Market Street and signed up for the Carriage Tour. Cannot recommend the Carriage Tour to anyone. You pay for the Tour, then after you are seated, captive in the carriage, the "City of Charleston" using a bingo ball machine that has only nine balls, selects the tour that your carriage will present. You may want the historic waterfront and receive the college tour . . . as we did. You could ride every day and never get the tour you wanted, it was a gamble and we lost. We later took an auto tour as a part of our Plantation Tour . . . and we rode our bikes everywhere!

The Market Street area sells all sorts of items for Charleston including the sweetgrass baskets that are woven by the Gullah, the low country africian-americans.

Fort Sumter can be seen from the Battery in Historic Charleston. The Fort was built by the United States after the War of 1812 and was still unfinished when Major Robert Anderson moved his 85-man garrison from Fort Moultrie, which Anderson felt was indefensible, to Fort Sumter the day after Christmas, 1860. April 11, 1861, Brig.Gen Pierre G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Confederate Troops at Charleston, demanded that his former West Point artillery instructor, Anderson, surrender the fort. Anderson refused. On the 12th Beauregard opened fire and by that afternoon Anderson surrendered. No one on either side had been killed during the engagement. On the 14th Major Anderson and his garrison departed the fort and boarded a ship for transport to New York.

For the next adventure we were off to Middleton Place, a Charleston Plantation.

On our way to Middleton we passed through Magnolia Plantation which also had beautiful grounds.

The grounds at Middleton Place were magnificant. This is the Reflection Pool which was positioned behind the gardens.

The front guarden and lawn rolling down to the Ashley River.

The rice mill pond on the south side of the lawn and residence.

Plantation peacock showing his grand feathers.

Some kind sailors passing through Charleston were unable to take full advantage of the tour tickets they purchased and gave them to us. We then the next day toured the Heyward-Washington House - 1772 and the gardens.

Bonnie was able to relax in the garden for a few minutes while we waited for the house tour to commence.

After church services at the Citadel Square Baptist Church and lunch at Justine's Kitchen; Charlie prepares notes and reviews the weather in preparation for Monday's underway time.

Sunrise over Charleston as we go with the tide, outbound the Ashley River.

An overnight at the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club where SONATA got a drink (some 319 gallons of diesel) and we rested, we were then off to North Carolina waters.

A long day, but one in which you could look from the ICW out through a sound into the Atlantic. We had nice winds from the South and a calm day for in excess of 100 miles of travel.

There is sharing in the "driving" and some can complete their tasks with just a little easy "foot-work".

We cruised past Camp Lejeune without incident.

We anchored at Swansboro and the next day we were off for Beaufort, North Carolina.

Swansboro to Beaufort, an overnight, met more loopers starting the loop; then we were off early the next day, the 9th, for "Little" Washington, North Carolina. Only a few hundred miles from completion of our loop trip and Chapter One in the cruising experience.