Killing the Last Fly

We left Cape Charles at 6:00 this morning, motoring tediously through the shallow places. We got out with out touching the bottom, sailed under the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel, and are now about 45 miles outside the Bridge Tunnel, and 20 miles off the coast of North Carolina (near Kitty Hawk), moving smartly at 5 to 6 knots. The most amazing thing that happened today is that we have had a T-Mobile signal nearly all day. Better than at home.
Today, we have found ourselves inundated by small biting flies the size of a small house fly. They have come onboard while we have been up to 20 miles offshore, and I believe they are still coming. We have run into these pests in New England, and once off the coast of New Jersey, while sailing with my friend Peter. Perhaps ours are from New Jersey as we have a North wind today. They aren’t too bad unless you are trying to sleep. We have made much sport hunting down perhaps 200 of these buggers, and the decks are littered with a multitude of tiny corpses. The are rather easy to target, and both Salli and I have a “batting average” of perhaps 350. The trick is to hold the swatter in the middle, like it has a short handle.
At some point we will kill the last fly, and we will be vermin free until we get to Bermuda. We also had some other insects. At the marina, there was a wasp that clearly had made a home in our barbrque. I decided to leave her alone, figuring that we would sail away from her, and she couldn’t get back to her nest. Last night, I opened the barbeque for its intended purpose, and found the nest inside with four nearly adult sized wasps. I knocked the nest into the water, but the wasps kept trying to get back to the barbeque. I killed two of them, cooked a batch of ribs, and closed it up. Today, 30 miles offshore, there was a wasp flying around trying to get back into the barbeque. Where did it stay last night? In the smoky barbeque? The wasps are now gone, soon too the flies. The same phenomenon happens to contageous diseases. After a couple days at sea, it is unlikely for crew to catch a new disease.
We leave the spiders alone. They are on our side.

Cape Charles

We anchored a quarter mile from this house for two nights.

Hours after writing our last post, we had a change of heart, and diverted to Cape Charles. We found a cozy anchorage in Cherrystone Inlet in not much water. After “feeling our way” in shallow water at low tide (read run aground three times), we made it to a lovely bucolic anchorage where we saw commercial crab and oyster fishermen, but no other sailboats. We spent Wed night, and Thursday all day here, taking the dinghy 2 miles into Cape Charles and back. Cape Charles used to be the Ferry terminus for the Ferry to Norfolk, a business that folded with the completion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Tomorrow, the plan is to get going early, with the next stop Bermuda.

Skipping Cape Charles

Instead of telling what we plan to do, we will be telling what we just did. After our morning weather briefing, we were encouraged to expedite a bit, so we have started our long sail this morning at 8:32. We have had lackluster wind until a half hour ago. Wind is now 11-12 on our Port bow. We are maintaining our desired course, but we have to make a slight left turn to go out the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel, so we are hoping the wind will shift as well. Morining should find us about halfway to Cape Hattaras.
Regarding the odd message that follows this post:: This message is being sent by email over an amateur radio net called Winlink. Winlink adds this message in the belief that this is going to a normal email recipient, instead of a blog, The message is for folks who respond to a Winlink email, which of course, you can’t. The message reflects the standard restrictions on Ham communication. No business and no bad words.
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Delayed Start

Well, we are still in our slip in Regent Point Marina. The weather the last days had been delightful. Unfortunately the weather between here and Bermuda has been less so. We have delayed our departure for three days, and it looks like we will untie the lines tomorrow morning, and start our trip. We plan to sail down the Chesapeake Bay to Cape Charles, and, if we have time, anchor there for our last full night’s sleep before starting out to Bermuda Thursday morning. We have made good use of these three days, making a number of optional repairs, and culling some of the many possessions we realized we could do without. The rule of thumb is 1000 pounds (food water and stuff) for each crew member, and 2000 pounds is a bit of a load for a 10,000 pound vessel. All winter, Olive Oyl sat with her bow lower than her stern, but now she is on an even keel.

The Beginning of a New Venture

It is another year, and we are about to embark on a new voyage from the Rappahannock River in Virginia to the UK, yes— England. Our planned route is Virginia to Bermuda (1 week, more or less), Bermuda to the Azores (3 weeks), and Azores to Falmouth (2 weeks). We plan to spend time visiting Bermuda and the Azores while we are there.
Today we are packing our boat, and making last minute repairs, checking supplies, finding a spot to put everything in our little boat, checking software, and making sure our blog still works. Yesterday, we finished installing our new dodger, and mounted 4 small solar cells on top.
Our long term goal is to sail the British Isles until it gets too cold to be fun, and find a place to leave Olive Oyl while we return to Virginia for the Winter. Next year we expect to continue our sail to other parts of Europe.
Note: we are using expressions like “plan” and “goal”. None of this is “cast in stone”.
We plan to start out tomorrow (Sunday) morning.
The picture shows the inside of our Sprinter van packed halfway to the top.

Back home!

Monday, June 11, 10:30, we sailed into our marina, Regent Point Marina in Topping, Virginia.  Sunday afternoon, we sailed through the South tunnel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and then to just outside Little Creek, where we talked a power boat into giving Peter a ride into shore, so he was able to catch a flight home for a meeting Monday morning.  Around sunset, we started our sail up the Chesapeake Bay to home, a mere 50 nautical miles.  Within a couple hours we were in the midst of a bad thunderstorm which thrashed us around a bit and lasted a bit less than an hour.  After that, we had good South winds to drive us up the bay, and when we neared the Rappahannock River, the wind shifted East to drive us up the River and into the marina.

We will post more detail here after we have a few days to decompress.  Overall, this has been a good trip.

//WL2K Days five, six, and seven: Halfway!

Monday, Brisk 16 knot wind moving us along at hull speed. We should make good time tomorrow too with wind decreasing a bit during the day Tuesday. We did 105 miles yesterday and 48 Saturday. Saturday, the wind died for a while, so we went swimming in 80 degree water 17,000 feet deep.
Found a 2 inch long flying fish on deck; too small for breakfast. There have been four Tropic Birds following our boat for a couple days. They are seagull size, white with black highlights, and have a long thin tail feather. They have a call that sounds like a pulley that needs grease.
Sunday night at 8:00, we were equidistant from Puerto Rico, and our home marina. Halfway!

//WL2K Third and fourth days on the ocean blue

We made 135 miles yesterday and 117 today (noon to noon). Wind is way down, so we will do much less tomorrow. Wind is around 5 knots, and we are drifting along at around 2 knots. The sea is so flat, it is hard to measure the wave height. Sailing is so smooth, we have been reading, doing maintenance, and some navigation exercises. We saw two commercial ships yesterday, and one last night. During the dawn watch, a small sparrow sized bird with yellow highlights, landed on deck for a rest.. 20 minutes later he took off. Good luck to him, we are well over a hundred miles from the nearest land.
It is a beutiful day with a blue sky, deep blue water. We have a full horizon all the way around with absolutely nothing there but us, and puffy clouds in the distance. I dropped my flip phone in the water this morning. We are in 18,000 feet of water. If the phone falls through the water at 1 foot per second, I figure that it will take 5 hours to reach the bottom, or about 2:00 this afternoon.

//WL2K Second day of offshore trip home

From noon to noon (24 hrs). we sailed 125 miles, a bit slower than yesterday. The wind is a bit less, and the waves are too. Trade winds are forecast to moderate more in the next two days, so we should be slowing down more, giving us a chance to try out our big drifter sail. Beautiful weather! Full moon at night. Lots of flying fish.. W are starting to feel like ourselves again.

//WL2K First Day Out Heading for Home

We left our marina at 5:00 today: My high school friend,Peter Mueser, Salli and I. We are planning to do 3 hours on and 6 hours off, a nice change from 3 and 3. To noon today, we made 115 GPS miles. Much better than I expected. Seas are a bit rough. No one is sick, but no one is eating much today. Beautiful sunny sky and cobalt blue sea with occasional flying fish flying from wave to wave. Since leaving PR, we have seen 2 commercial ships and no pleasure craft.