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Month: May 2019

Stalking Loopers

Stalking Loopers

May 31, 2019 Friday  Annapolis Yacht Basin, Annapolis, MD  to Bohemia River confluence, MD   46.6 nautical miles.

39°29’02.8″N 75°53’37.2″W
39.484100, -75.893662
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 2 ft

Along the Way

Final morning stroll before heading out.

A final few beautiful Chesapeake Bay pictures before cross Chesapeake Bay mile 0 first thing tomorrow morning. It is slowly getting narrower.

Stalking Loopers

Most of Americas Great Loop Cruising Association (AGLCA) members use a free phone app called Nebo. It allows registered Nebo users to track their cruises and better yet, find each other. AGLCA users are identified with the AGLCA icon and their boat name. Non- AGLCA users are simply displayed as a dot with their boat name.

If there are several boats near each other they are displayed as a single blue dot with a boat count(left side). Zooming in provides info on the boats in the blue dot(right side).
Clicking on the boat icon will give you additional info on the boat. (e.g. owner, make, year, size, home port …..). You can also send a text via the Nebo app.


Bummer. We had hoped to meet the Legendary Foster on boat QUO VADIMUS. He is the AGLCA Upper Chesapeake and C&D Canal Harbor Host. He and his wife Susan did the loop a couple years ago. Both Dale and Mary have read his blog. Unfortunately Foster and Susan have commitments out of the marina tonight. ( QUO VADIMUS is in the rightside picture above)
There is always the next loop through….


The next time you think our government works too slowly, ponder this:  The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the vote, took 42 years for all the states to ratify (1878 – 1920).

Drolleries and Yuks

History lesson

History lesson

May 30, 2019 Thursday  Annapolis Yacht Basin, Annapolis, MD  0 nautical miles.

38°58’29.5″N 76°29’05.3″W
38.974848, -76.484801
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 2 ft

Breakfast at Chick and Ruth’s Delly. Pledge of Allegiance is said M-F at 8:30 and 9:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast was a half-pound jumbo blue crab cakes. They were the best we’ve ever eaten. I’m going to have to stop eating them now because nothing else will ever compare.
If you are EVER in Annapolis you must have one at Chick and Ruth’s Delly.

Along the Way

Off to the Naval Academy

Naval Academy Chapel

John Paul Jones crypt in the bottom level of the chapel. He is known as
the father of America’s Navy

John Paul Jones.
Imagine him standing behind a cannon yelling
“I have not yet begun to fight,” in response to a request for his surrender at the Battle of Flamborough Head during the American Revolutionary War.
A stone 600 pound cannon ball fired by the Turks from their great guns in the conquest of Constantinople, 1453

US Naval Academy Museum, Preble Hall

English shipwright-modelers built scale models of ships (dock models) from ~1600 to 1830’s . The second floor of the museum had fifty models on display, donated by a private collector. Each model was an incredible work of craftsmanship. It was as overwhelming as the Smithsonian Museums. Zoom in on the pictures to truly enjoy the details!!!!!

During the French Revolution and Empire Wars (1793-1815) thousands of French sailors and soldiers were captured and incarcerated in English prisons. Prisoners of war whittled away time carving bones from their meat rations and sticks, putting together models with what every they could find. The prisoners could sell the models at public open fairs in the prison or near by markets. Working singly or in teams they produced decorative boxes, game boards, spinning jennies, guillotines and vessels. With their profits they could by food or clothing from the town merchants.

The first floor had traditional Navy History.

Maryland State House (Capital) and about town

Benjamin Franklin designed the lightening rod at the top of the Maryland State House. It’s still in use.
Dale fixing George Washington’s collar before he delivers his resignation. Martha is watching in the upper gallery.
This is believed to be the exact spot where Washington stood when he resigned as General of the Continental Army, officially ending the American Revolutionary War.
Anne’s Parrish established 1602 in Church Circle
Reynolds Pub established in 1747, directly across the street from St Anne’s Church. George Washington and buddies had a pint here. We had iced tea and Smith Island Cake, 22 layers, the state dessert of Maryland
George Washington and buddies had a pint here. So did we.

We also stopped for a 12 pack on the way home.

This is why we are in the marina again tonight instead of on the hook.
Taking down the marina flag.


Annapolis is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. It once served as the capital of the fledgling United States in 1783 – 1784 where the Continental Congress would meet. It is also where the Treaty of Paris was signed.

Four of the 56 signatures found on the Declaration of Independence came from residents of Annapolis, Maryland: William Paca, Samuel Chase, Charles Carroll, and Thomas Stone.

John Paul added “Jones” in later life to hide from law enforcement for a killing a man that he claimed was in self-defense.

Nauti Words

Origin: An ornamental figure placed on the front of a ship, under the. Originally a religious and/or protective emblem. The custom continued but for purely decorative purposes. Hence the term figurehead – a leader with no real power or function except to ‘look good’ or appeal to a certain group.

Know the ropes
It’s a whole different perspective once you looked at the ship models. There are miles of roles in in the rigging. A sailor needed to know the principals for each type of sail. The only way of keeping track of the rope functions was to memorize where each of them went. It took an experienced sailor to “know the ropes”.

Drolleries and Yuks

Downtown restaurant sign.

Show a little leg Mary and turn out! A storm is coming!

Show a little leg Mary and turn out! A storm is coming!

May 29, 2019 Wednesday  Solomon Island, MD to Annapolis Yacht Basin, Annapolis, MD 46.2  nautical miles.

38°58’29.5″N 76°29’05.3″W
38.974848, -76.484801
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 2 ft

Show a little leg Mary and turn out! A storm is coming! Mariners warnings have been issued for the Annapolis area. Severe thunderstorms and possible tornados are predicted for 4PM and 6PM. We called to reserve a slip at the Annapolis Yacht Basin. They said get here by 3PM so there was time to tie-up before the storms hits.

Alright. Alright.  We were under way at 8AM…..

Along the Way

The run to Annapolis

Calm before the storm

Four anchoring near Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse outside of Annapolis. I wonder how they calculate anchor rode scope.

Annapolis Harbor, Spa Creek

Not to be caught in a storm again we slipped in our marina at 2:30PM. Whew.

Marina gift bags…. for that unexpected overnight guest?

With no storm in sight we bravely ventured out.

Mary in Maryland hat. The marina in the background is the one we are in.

The 4PM severe weather storm went to the north of Annapolis. The 6PM storm went to the south. Annapolis didn’t get a drop.


Annapolis, the capital of Maryland was originally called “Providence” when first settled by the Puritans. The owner of the proprietary colony later renamed the city after his wife, “Anne Arundel’s Towne.” Sir Francis Nicholson decided to rename the small seaport Annapolis, in honor of Princess Anne, heir to the throne. The Queen herself declared Annapolis a city in 1708.

Annapolis is the only capital city in America east of the Mississippi River without any rail transportation.

Nauti Words

Show a leg and turn out – wake up (show yourself) and get out of bed
Origin: Boatswain’s mate calling the crew up from their hammocks. A leg our of the hammock or sitting up was enough to show him they were awake.

I think we took the wind out of his sail when we passed in the windward side.

Take the wind out of his sails – diminish one’s enthusiasm, excitement, advantage or positive outlook (about something)
Origin: Sailing in a manner so as to steal or divert wind from another ship’s sails.

Ponder this

When we are on our boat and a tornado is close, where do we go? The engine room?

Some days there ain’t much happening II

Some days there ain’t much happening II

May 28, 2019 Tuesday Colonial Beach, VA to Solomon Island, MD 62.9 nautical miles.

38°19’43.5″N 76°27’05.3″W
38.328736, -76.451464
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 1.5 ft

Some days there ain’t much happening II. It wasn’t inspiring enough yesterday to get the blog post out so I waited until we were underway this morning.

Along the Way

Chicken pox on the Potomac River. Passing through Kettle Bottom Shoals.

We took it on the beam for the better part of the morning in snotty weather. It cleared up and turned hot once we left the Potomac and headed north on the Chesapeake.

Point No Point Lighthouse.

Getting fuel and a pump out was the highlight of the day. Dale has an ongoing challenge fueling the boat without spilling a single drop fuel. He solved the biggest part of the problem a while back when he put a check valve on the fuel lines. The remaining part of the challenge is that some of the fuel nozzles are not standard.

Testing out the new $50 ‘Clean Way Fuel Fill’ adapter. Didn’t work as advertised but the jury is out on whether or not it will work.

The fuel thing. I bet they used a urinal for the prototype.
The lip on nozzle tip prevented airflow when inserted into the fuel tank, resulting in a back splash. Dale had to hold the nozzle like this and slowly fill for the entire 135 gallons. 45 minutes later his hands were tired when the tanks were full. Great job. A no spill fill!

Working on yesterdays’ blog. Mary’s little helper landed on her laptop while she was editing the first picture of him.

Hot nights are hot nights. Although we have good insulation in the salon floor above the engine room heat still bleeds through. It takes a while for the engines to cool down after running all day. On really hot nights we run the generator and A/C for about 2 hours to dissipate the heat, then open the windows. This is the second night in a row we had to do this.


We had heard Solomon Island was a fun place to stay, Maybe so. We didn’t even drop the dingy. It’s a cute harbor but there isn’t much to do there except hit the restaurants and bars. Believe it or not the Tobins passed on that.


Nauti Words

Snotty weather – Drizzly and grey

Beam – The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point as measured at the ship’s nominal waterline.
On the Beam – projected at right-angles from the fore and aft line, outwards from the widest part of ship.

Jim Beam is not a Nauti Word. Sailors are rummys not bourbonites.

Somedays there ain’t much happening

Somedays there ain’t much happening

May 27, 2019 Monday The Wharf, Potomac River, Washington, DC   to Colonial Beach, VA    52.8 nautical miles.

38°14’23.6″N 76°57’46.7″W
38.239878, -76.962970
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 2 ft

We slung the hook and headed back towards the Chesapeake. Some days there ain’t much happening. We’ve already seen this section of the river. Nothing new there. Not going to rehash it.

Along the Way

Fair weather day
Sail Tug PEKING. Unusual style boat. Do you think the rectangular frame is a roll bar?


Colonial Beach is a golf cart kinda town. Nice to be away from the bustle and noise of The Wharf.

Going in for the kill


Alexander Graham Bell’s summer home was in Colonial Beach. Mary and Dale were too dang lazy to drop the dingy and go see it.

The Gunderson clan always had a family picnic Memorial Day when Mary was growing up. Someone ALWAYS brought Jello.

If all the world were Jell-O,
And whipped cream filled the sea,
Then the only spoon from here to the moon
Would have to belong to me
     ~Jell-O Gelatin Dessert advertising slogan

Nauti Words Sling your hook – to leave or clear off
Origin: Sailors pulling up the anchor before leaving.



May 26, 2019 Sunday Potomac River, Washington, DC   0  nautical miles.

38°52’49.2″N 77°01’42.9″W
38.880323, -77.028569
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 1 ft

Living large we cracked open the slush fund to stay another day.

Along the Way

Scooters to the National Mall. We took advantage of the streets closed in preparation for Rolling Thunder.

7th Street between Jefferson and Independence
Final year of the Rolling Thunder DC Memorial Week End ride.(maybe)
Rolling Thunder is a United States advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war and missing in action service members of all U.S. wars.

We hit 3 Smithsonian. So little time too much to look at. Each room in each gallery in each museum alone is completely overwhelming. Absolutely too much to take in in a single day, but we tried.

National Gallery of Art

Gone Gone – Thomas Charles Farrer
The picture is only 16×25 but the detail in it is amazing. You should see her finger nails.
Favorite of the Emir – Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant
Dale thinks Mary looks like this when we are traveling on the boat.

National Museum of Natural History

Line for the National Museum of Natural History. There were 3 lines all this long. I suspect there are better days to see the Smithsonian Museums than on Memorial Weekend.

We had to hit the ‘Oh WOW’ rooms first – National Gem Collection and the Minerals and Gems Rooms. Then charged on to the other rooms!

Smallest frog skeleton from the 15 or so on display. About 1.5 inches long.

We also got to see an Egyptian mummified snake. Mummified snake? It was right there with the mummified dog and the mummified ox.

National Museum of American History

A chunk of Plymouth Rock.

Rolling Thunder 4 hours later….. still rolling.

Over 4,000 motorcycles turned out for the ride. It really hoses up traffic for a long time.

Woo Woo! We were able to catch up with friends’ daughter Kelly H.

Off to the Main Street Fish Market at the end of the dock. Mary stood in the steaming line while Dale and Kelly went off to buy shrimp and crab. About 45 minutes we finally were at the front of the line only to discover we were in the wrong steaming line. The steaming line for the our seafood wendor was just around the corner to the left!. Ugh. Back to the of a different line. Fortunately this line was short.
(Dale is looking down a tube of brown paper table cloth he purchased. Zoom in and you can see his eyeball.)
The Feast – Dozen blue crab and 2 pounds of shrimp and bag salad.
The Aftermath. All gone.
Clean-up was simple. Re-roll the brown paper table cloth and trash it.

We are so glad you stopped by Kelly H!


The Capitol building was not designed by an American. William Thornton was a British doctor. Similarly, the White House was designed by an Irish architect, James Hoban.

The Smithsonian is named for an Englishman, James Smithson, who never set foot on American soil.

No one can figure out what the Tyrannosaurs Rex’s arms were used for. They are too short to reach it’s mouth.

Nauti Words

Slush fund – an unregulated reserve of money often used for illicit purposes
Origin: A slushy slurry of fat was obtained by boiling or scraping the empty salted meat storage barrels. This stuff called “slush” was often sold ashore by the ship’s cook for the benefit of himself or the crew. The money so derived became known as a slush fund.

Overwhelm – strong emotional feeling that takes over, feeling defeated, being overcome or to describe a situation that’s ‘too much.
Origin: Old English for capsize or founder. Middle English for ‘capsizing’ or ‘overturning a boat’

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

May 25, 2019 Saturday The Wharf on the Potomac River, Washington, DC   0  nautical miles

38°52’49.2″N 77°01’42.9″W
38.880323, -77.028569
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 1 ft

Catching up on the blog

Along the Way

First item on the agenda was to hit up a marina store for line and parts to make a new anchor bridle to replace the one that broke in the storm last Thursday.

The guys were great at the Washington Marina Company. They helped us find everything we needed and what they didn’t have told us where to find.

We also got advice on good anchorages and stops, and where to not purchase fuel.

HA the ugliest vodka I ever seen. Actually, it is fuel with water in it from a local marina. The guys at the Washington Marina Store recommended NOT to get fuel there.

The Main Avenue Fish Market is just outside our dock. All kinds of fresh seafood is available in any size and any quantity. Shrimp, crabs, oysters, clams, lobsters, octopus and many, many different kinds of fish.

People buy their shrimp/crab then take it over to get steamed. The seafood is placed in wooden half-bushel baskets in steamers. When done they are pulled and packaged.

Planes, trains and automobiles. Helicopters, buses, motorcycles, bicycles and scooters. It’s all here at the Wharf. Lots of them! And loud!

We needed to try the scooters. There are about 5 different scooter companies here in DC. You simply download the app and go find a rental scooter.
Wilson Memorial pedestrian arch – Dale is in right corner on his scooter.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Lunar module. Pop riveted sheets of metal, tin foil and tape.
Left: SpaceShipOne was the first non-government jet to fly into space. Piloted by Mike Melvill it blasted just past the Earth’s atmosphere into space June 21, 2004.
Right: The Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis, piloted by Chuck Yeager, was the first plane to break the sound barrier in level flight on October 14, 1947, flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. With a clocked speed of some 100 miles per hour faster than its closest competition, along with a personal account of the jet traveling upwards of Mach 3.5, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the fastest jet on the planet — and it’s not even a close race. The speed so fast it wears the paint off it.
More people on the mall today than for Trump’s inauguration
Bumper Badger for competitive parallel parking



The oldest fish market in the United States is in Washington, D.C. The Maine Avenue Fish Market opened its doors in 1805.

Potomac Distilling Company Thrasher’s Rum is a James Beard Award finalist.

Quite the city

Quite the city

May 24, 2019 Friday Potomac River, Rison, MD to
The Wharf on the Potomac River, Washington, DC   26.6  nautical miles.

38°52’49.2″N 77°01’42.9″W
38.880323, -77.028569
Elevation: 0 ft    Tides: 1 ft

It was a beautiful, calm overnight. Not even a ripple across the great river. The alarm clock for the windy went off at 7:30 am. Wave quickly built. Time to pull anchor and get under way.

Along the Way

Ground Pounders (Army) with a boat – 6 outboards

In the hood (George Washington’s Neighborhood)

Class trip day at Mount Vernon. Look at all the colored shirts

If George Washington really through a silver dollar across the Potomac he either had a really strong arm or it wasn’t here.  The Potomac is a just under a mile wide here. It is 8 miles wide where it enters the Chesapeake. Furthermore, why didn’t he just throw a rock?

White Battery at Fort Washington day mark green 79. It’s easy to understand why it was built here. Although the Potomac is quite wide the only water is deep enough for a vessel to pass in right in front of the White Battery…. cannon range

As we rounded the bend in the river we got first glimpse of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Alexandria, VA and the Washington Monument in DC.

Two crazies and a young child ….. no life jacket on any of them.
Iconic Masonic Temple in Arlington, VA. Think Dan Brown ‘The Lost Symbol’

National Harbor and Aeronautical Smithsonian

Old Town Alexandria, VA

US Naval Research Labratory

The boys out moving around.

DC landscape

Heading into our marina

Dale took the bikes off the boat, oiled them up filled the tires and we were on a bike/walk. We hit all the monuments!

The area was filled with students on class trips. Some of the Mom’s shepherding them looked a little harried.

Special Exhibit near Lincoln Memorial

On to the White House

Top of the W Hotel looking at the top of the White House (Thanks Kelly H. Excellent suggestion.)

Back to the boat through the National Mall

The movie Forrest Gump was playing on the mall later tonight. Looper Midnight is 9:00 pm so we went back to the boat. And then walked the Warf till true midnight


Fire sculpture on the end of a pier


The sculptor behind the statue in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was Chinese artist Master Lei Yixin. He sculpted 80 percent of the artwork in China, had it transported to the U.S., and then finished the rest on site in D.C. It is made out of 59 pieces of Chinese granite. The memorial is one of four monuments on the National Mall dedicated to a non-president.

The familiar home of all presidents in Washington D.C. was known as the “Presidential Palace” until President Theodore Roosevelt started referring to it as the “White House” on presidential stationery in 1901.

There are 35 bathrooms in the White House. If you are counting there are also 132 rooms, 6 levels, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.

Bombs Away

Bombs Away

May 23, 2019 Thursday Lake Conoy, Scotland, MD (NW corner of Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay junction) to Potomac River, Rison, MD 69.7 nautical miles.

38°31’47.4″N 77°14’32.8″W
38.529823, -77.242436
Elevation: 0 ft   Tides: 1.5 feet

We parted ways with THE BLESSING early this morning. They are on to Annapolis and we decided last night to go to DC.

Along the Way

The earlier explorers and merchant seamen on the Chesapeake Bay must have been true adventurers (or fricking crazy). Water was snotty leaving the anchor.

Bird-fishing poles
Ragged Point Lighthouse

Bombs away! We went through a Navy active firing range. Instructions were to stay well to the starboard of the yellow buoys as there was a tight range today. We edged forward as instructed.

Could we get our money back? Only one boom and we didn’t see it because it was further up the river around a bend. 🙁

The Potomac River looks a lot like the Mississippi River in Minnesota with the trees and all.

Sécuritésécuritésécurité – all stations, all stations, all stations. There is a mariner weather warning for the Potomac River.

Yup. They were right. The quick moving storm came earlier than projected, before we could get to the protected anchorage we were heading for. Instead we pulled into shore and tossed anchor to wait it out. Half way into the storm our anchor bridle broke releasing 200 feet of anchor rode. Dale tossed on life jacket and raced to the bow. He caught and stopped the free flow of anchor rode just in time before it got to the bitter end. By this time the waves were 4 feet and growing. Mary held the helm steady as she goes so we didn’t get pushed into shore by the punishing waves. It was raining so hard Mary could barely see Dale on the bow of the boat.

Put the camera down!!!!

Stuff got tossed around

After the storm

Quatico, VA
(home of the FBI)
Our anchorage
Dale bought a 7 day Maryland fishing license. It is good for the entire Chesapeake Bay (and the Potomac River)


Legend has it that Captain John Smith named the Potomac River from an Indian word meaning “where tribute is brought”.

Usually rivers between states are owned equally by both states. Not true with the Potomac. Maryland owns the Potomac River up to DC. Virginia’s ownership begins at the high tide line. DC owns the river above the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Nauti Words
Edge Forward
Origin: Inch-by-inch progress, First used in the 17th century, referring to slow advance by means of repeated small tacking movements.

Steady as she goes
Origin: Instruction from the captain to the helmsman of a ship, to keep the ship heading steadily on the same course regardless of gusts of wind or cross-currents.

Bitter end
Origin: A bitt is a post fastened in the deck of a ship, for fastening cables and ropes. When a rope is played out to the bitter end, it means there is no more rope to be used.



May 22, 2019 Wednesday Hampton River Cedar Point, Hampton, VA   to Lake Conoy, Scotland, MD (NW corner of Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay junction)   71.3 nautical miles.

383’09.6″N 76°19’44.4″W
38.052670, -76.329005
Elevation: 0 ft   Tides: 2.0 feet

This explains why it took 6 attempts to set the anchor last night. It felt like we were dropping it on concrete. I must have been an oyster bed. Once we got into the mud we had a solid set.

Along the Way

Another BIG water day.

Battle grounds of the Monitor and the Merrimack. Is battle ground the correct term for a battle on the water? Battle field didn’t seem correct either.
THE BLESSING takes a wave.

It’s definitely a better day coming out into the Chesapeake today than yesterday. But it was still seriously lumpy. It calmed down 6 miles out once we were away from the James River and Chesapeake Bay junction.

Fort Monroe – Check it out on Google Maps. It has a moat around it.
37°00’14.4″N 76°18’22.9″W
37.003991, -76.306360
Fly bys

Advanced Piloting

Preparing noon meal (fish)
Smith Point Lighthouse (as in Captain John Smith and Pocahontas) – White flashing light, period of 10 seconds, range 15 miles.
Fort Lincoln at Point Lookout – north west intersection of Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay
THE BLESSING scouting out depths in the Lake Conoy anchorage before we enter. Don’t want two boats in a tight spot.


In 2005 Smith Point Light went up for auction under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, and was purchased for $170,000 by David McNally, a builder from Winona, Minnesota. The light remains in service as an active aid to navigation.

Ponder this

How much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn’t grow in it?

Semper fortis

Semper fortis

May 21, 2019 Tuesday Great Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills, NC to Hampton River Cedar Point, Hampton, VA   42.9 nautical miles.

37°01’07.8″N 76°20’25.3″W
37.018826, -76.340350
Elevation: 0 ft

Mary went through her 3rd set of clothing by 8:30 am, 4th if you counted her nightie. First change ready for the day, second change needed warmer clothing, third change COFFEE SPILL.

Preparing to un-raft
On our way. Following THE BLESSING

Along the Way

A road runs along parts of the swamp. There is a RV camp ground in the distance on the left.

Opportunity presented it self at the Deep Creek Bridge and Lock. We rafted to the town dock and made a grocery run (well, walk).

Just like the South Mills Lock on the south side the swamp there is a lift bridge and then a lock. The lock master first opened the bridge then drove down to manage the lock. Great Lock Master! He collects conch shells from boaters passing through to line the walkway of the lock station. I wish I had an extra to give him.

Back to civilization

Semper fortis (Latin: Always strong) is the unofficial motto of the United States Navy.

Refurbished ship shake down cruise. Zoom out the picture to see the civilians on board
Welcome to Norfolk! This building is at Mile 0 of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway.
AWAC (airborne warning and control system) Air Force command plane

Mini air craft carriers and the hospital ship

The entry to Chesapeake Bay is guarded by two forts

We didn’t get too far into the Chesapeake Bay before we decide the waves were a little more than we wanted. Heading into them wasn’t too bad but we’d be taking it on the beam for the next 2 hours. We turned around and found a sheltered anchorage in Hampton and dingyed in with THE BLESSING to see the town of Hampton.

Dang it was a cool evening. Both the Canadians and the Minnesotans had their sweatshirts and jackets on.


We are anchored along Hampton University.

Hampton University. The clock tower chimes every hour.


The Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack is also called the Battle of Hampton Roads. It was fought over two days, March 8–9, 1862, in Hampton Roads, a roadstead in Virginia where the Elizabeth and Nansemond rivers meet the James River just before it enters Chesapeake Bay.
The first meeting in combat of ironclad warships happened less than a mile from our anchorage.

Nauti Words


Origin: The weather side of a ship is the side from which the wind is blowing. The lee side is the side of the ship sheltered from the wind. A lee shore is a shore that is downwind of a ship. If a ship does not have enough “leeway” it is in danger of being driven onto the shore.


One hulk of a ship. A large and unwieldy ship of simple construction and dubious seaworthiness. On shore, it means big and clumsy.

Keel over

The middle section of the building at mile 0 of the Atlantic Intercoastal waterway resembles a keeled over boat.
Keel over: to fall over, also a sailor’s term for dying
Origin: When the boat’s keel comes out of the water it is very likely to capsize.

Ponder this

Where did the name Department of Interior come from when they are in charge of everything outdoors?



May 20, 2019 Monday Elizabeth City, NC to Great Dismal Swamp State Park, South Mills, NC    21.6 nautical miles.

36°30’24.5″N 76°21’21.4″W
36.506807, -76.355956
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

We heard lots of birds but didn’t see many

Lots of dead heads. The water was too stout beer colored to determine their size. I think they were all pretty big. Put a hole in your boat big.
Lots of dead heads (logs), some with turtle. The water was too stained to determine their size. You could only see a depth of 4-5 inches. I think they were all pretty big. Put a hole in your boat big.

Bringing home breakfast

do you see the eaglet head above the branches?

Entering into the 21 mile long Washington Canal through the Great Dismal Swamp.

Waiting for South Mills Lock to open

Stout beer colored water.

One the lock was re-opened the lock master quickly drove down to the lift bridge and opened it.

Reflections in the water

Great Dismal Swamp Visitor Center

Crossing bridge to visitor center. Jay Barbara Dale Mary
Our boats are rafted furthest back. THE BLESSING on the portside and YES DEAR on the starboard. (you can see The Mooch (grey dingy) on top of YES DEAR.

Visitor center displays


Cooling off in the shade. Nancy and Bill on FALKOR, Shelia and ED on FLOATING DEBT, Jay and Barb on THE BLESSING
Good night to the THE BLESSING rafted along side us.


The Great Dismal was called “great,” possibly because of its size and “dismal” because that was a common term at the time for a swamp or morass.

Drain the Swamp! Not a new idea…. In 1793 George Washington proposed draining the swamp and harvesting the timber (cypress for ship building and cedar for shingles) then farming the land. He and other prominent business man bought 40,000 acres of swamp land and began to drain the swamp. Washington first supervised the digging from the swamp to Drummond Lake (primarily slave labor). The canal through the Great Dismal was completed in 1805 and is known as the Washington cut.

Do you think George Washing rode his white horse down here?

Nauti Words

Shiver me timbers
Origin: One meaning of shiver, which is now largely forgotten, is ‘to break into pieces’.
So, the sailor’s oath shiver my timbers, is synonymous with let my boat breaks into pieces. The question is whether any real sailor used the term or whether it was just a literary invention.

**Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island, 1883: “Well, he [Old Pew] is dead now and under hatches; but for two year before that, shiver my timbers, the man was starving!”
**Frederick Marryat’s Jacob Faithful, 1834:”I won’t thrash you Tom. Shiver my timbers if I do.”
**James Froude’s Caesar; a sketch, 1879:”As he crossed the hall, his statue fell, and shivered on the stones.”

We boarded the Coasties!

We boarded the Coasties!

May 18, 2019 Sunday Alligator River, NC to Elizabeth City, NC 44.0  nautical miles.

36°17’53.7″N 76°13’06.7″W
36.298252, -76.218521
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

Sunrise over the crab traps
Into the fog bank. Safety Jill (Mary) made sure the navigation lights and radar were on.

The Albemarle Sound was 11 miles wide where we crossed it.

For a brief time in the middle of the Albemarle Sound we were all at sea. Just us, the sea gulls and the crab traps. Oh yea, the bugs too. The fog and haze obscured all visibility of shore.

Dragon flies and damsel files.

Elizabeth City thru a party for us right in the middle of town.

The Coast Guard had brought a ship into the harbor for the festival and were giving tours. We boarded the Coasties!
The tour on the Bluefin so interesting they had to practically had to kick us off the boat. (love the emblem)
The raft is driven into a chute in the back of the boat. We also got to see a 55 caliber gun, the helm and the galley/mess hall. Surprisingly there is no captain’s wheel in the helm. The boat is completely piloted using the auto knob. The lunch cooking in the galley made my stomach growl. Smelled good. Crew of 12. Impressive.
LOL Recruiting young. Festival Coast Guard helicopter ride across from the Coast Guard boat.
It was hot so naturally Dale needed to find the Ghost Harbor brewery. Melissa, Jaron, Ryley, Doug and Ben stopped in after their shift on the Bluefin. We had a lot of fun and played Jenga (not easy to play that on a boat)
Upon goodbyes we were privileged to have been gifted a beautiful Bluefin coin designed by the wildlife artist Guy Harvey. Thank you ever so much. I am so glad we were able to spend time and visit with you.

Needing exercise we took the long way home and walked around the town.

Good Night

Party’s over. Time to put the ice cream cone away. I’d like to see this driving down the street.


Oscar Mayer has 6 hot dog vehicles. They hire first year out college graduates for a period of one year to drive the weeny wagons. So far Ketchup Kyle has driven to 42 states!

Nauti Words

All at sea:  In a state of confusion and disorder.
Origin: It dates from the days of sail when accurate navigational aids weren’t available. Any ship that was out of sight of land was in an uncertain position and in danger of becoming lost.

Big water and canals

Big water and canals

May 18, 2019 Saturday Oriental Marina, Oriental, NC   to  Alligator River, NC 73.6 nautical miles.

35°39’01.4″N 76°02’21.0″W
35.650376, -76.039173
Elevation: 0 ft

Geography check. Today’s route.

Along the Way

USCG Station Hobucken. Nice duty if you can get it!
Evil on the left. Good on the right. The water in the canal was really squirrely when the bottom looks like this. Confused current.

Relegated to taking pictures of seagulls…..

The 21 mile Alligator River-Pungo River Canal was completed in 1928. It was the last remaining link of the 1,090 Atlantic ICW. Nice to have autopilot


Whoa! They have a different kind of horsefly here. Bigger. About the size of the tip of Mary’s thumb. They followed us to the lower helm hot chase.

Good Night


Whoa! The 1 and 3/16 mile Preakness Race, second leg of the Triple Crown, length of track was run today. It is 3/16 longer than the Kentucky Derby. War of Will took top honors.

From the Horse’s Mouth – getting information directly from the most reliable source
Origin:  From the 1900s, when buyers determined a horse’s age by examining its teeth. It’s also why you shouldn’t “look a gift horse in the mouth,” as inspecting a gift is considered bad etiquette.

Nauti Words

Hot Chase – Chasing or pursuing someone or something very closely or with great energy or zeal. 
Origin: A principle of naval warfare, though without basis in law, that allowed a fleeing enemy to be followed into neutral waters and captured there if the chase had begun in international waters. The term hot pursuit or hot chase derives from this ‘principle’.

Broke the Bank

Broke the Bank

May 17, 2019 Friday Topsail Sound, Surf City, NC   to Oriental Marina, Oriental, NC   79.9 nautical miles.

35°01’29.0″N 76°41’43.2″
W35.024715, -76.695324
Elevation: 0 ft     Tide: n/a but I wonder

I did it! No houses. No docks. No boats. Now if I only had this much self-control over my diet…..

Along the Way

Atlantic ICW follows closely along the Atlantic coast in this section.

We could hear the baby sea hawks whistling as we went by. Earlier today we saw a sea hawk carrying a large squirming rat from his talons drop to the water in attempt to drown it. I suppose you don’t want to bring a live one home and let it go in your nest.

First base

The Marine Corps mans the 7-foot clearance swing bridge at Army base. It opens every half hour to let boat traffic through. You must be there exactly at the appointed time as the bridge will not wait or hold for you. We waited exactly 13 minutes.

Targets and target practice.

Campy ICW dirt marinas along the Atlantic coast and ICW.

Just pretty

We broke the bank today! We entered the Outer Banks waterways.

Majuro??? Where do you think this is? (Marshal Islands)

The above picture is a ship. Mary took the picture. Dale took the below boat pictures.

Mary’s Rant of the Day since she can’t write about houses, boats and docks. 

Georgia and the Carolinas have a bad reputation for having an insufficient number of ATONs (Aids to Navigation). I disagree with that sentiment.  If Georgia and the Carolinas put of all the necessary ATONs it would be like having a picket fence on both sides the waterway.

Read your charts!!!! A good pilot should always follow the charted channels, magenta lines while monitoring ATONs, water depth and seaman’s eye. ATONs are one tool in the tool kit. The thing about Georgia and the Carolinas is that you need to actively use the whole tool kit. If you are following charted channels and magenta lines you will quickly learn to pass close to the ATON and not wander more than 20 feet away. Other areas of the ICW do not twist and turn with varied depth the like this area does so fewer ATONs are needed to fully mark the waterway.  Don’t blame Georgia and the Carolinas for you being an inattentive pilot


Coming into this marina took a great deal of sphincter control. The slip we are in is 10 inches wider than our boat. The slip is 15 feet and our beam is 14.2. We couldn’t make the first slip due to the heavy current and wind. The depth finder had the little 0 depth lines displayed on it. Skinny muddy water …. We are lucky we are in here without and incident. The boat to our left came in with only a single engine. The harbor master warned us and we put defensive fenders on the port side of our boat. Good thing. La Buono Vita used every one of them. No damage to Yes Dear.

Neighbors. The marina should have never put a boat our size in this slip location as both the slip and alley were too tight. Especially under a heavy cross wind. What you don’t see in this picture is the cement sea wall just to the left of our boat that added bounce back waves into this mix.

Oriental is supposed to have oriental dragons around town. We didn’t find much. Maybe we should have taken a longer walk.

There was a Game of Thrones Dothraki in the restaurant.

Commercial boats were just up wind to our slip. Ahhh the faint smell of dead shrimp was in the air.

BTW. Sorry I said those things while we were docking 😉


Have you seen those black and white oval bumper stickers that say “OBX?” They’re referring to the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is a 200-mile-long string of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.
The Wright brothers’ first flight in a controlled, powered, heavier-than-air vehicle took place on the Outer Banks on December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills near the seafront town of Kitty Hawk on Bodie Island.

Nauti Words

Shape up or ship out
Origin: This expression originated in the 1940s, during World War II, as a threat that if one didn’t behave in an appropriate military manner one would be sent overseas to a combat zone.



May 16, 2019 Thursday Little River Inlet, NC (barely)  to Topsail Sound, Surf City, NC   73.1 nautical miles.

34°23’38.6″N 77°35’49.7″W
34.394062, -77.597124
Elevation: 0 ft     Tide: 2.5 ft

Along the Way

Myrtle Beach – from our anchorage

Cape Fear (Go watch the movie. It was a good one.)

There is a reason they call this Cape Fear and Cape Fear River. The Atlantic ICW enters into the Cape Fear River at the inlet across from Bald Head Island. The water was really treacherous.
This was on a calm day.

Entering the Cape Fear River from the ICW we suddenly spun 90 degrees and dropped speed to 0 kts. Mary, at the helm, was taken aback in all the current and churn. She pushed the engines to 2000 rpm bringing speed to a whopping 4.2 kts (which typically is 10 kts). We ducked behind a boat entering through the Cape Fear inlet. The boat appeared familiar with the water so we followed him all the way through.

Beaches and Inlets



Widows Walks and Sun Spots



From 1784 to 1796, there was a colonial state called Franklin added to the original 13.  It was the western portion of North Carolina, ceded to the government to pay off the state’s Revolutionary War debt.  Franklin eventually became the state of Tennessee.

Nauti Words

Taken aback  – surprised or shocked by it and you cannot respond at once
Origin:  Dangerous situation where the wind is on the wrong side of the sails pressing them back against the mast and forcing the ship astern. Most often this was caused by an inattentive helmsman who had allowed the ship to head up into the wind.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

May 15, 2019 Wednesday Harbor Marina, Georgetown, SC to Little River Inlet, NC (barely)   59.4 nautical miles.

33°51’18.3″N 78°32’35.2″W
33.855090, -78.543108
Elevation: 0 ft     Tide: 5 ft

Along the Way

The landscape was different today than the past couple and no horse flies. We started the day heading upstream on the Waccamaw River (freshwater, no salt marshes). The Atlantic ICW then took us through brackish transitional water into canals and natural salt marsh waterway.

Waccamaw River

Backside of The Grand Strand . The Grand Strand consists of more than 60 miles along an essentially around the Little River, SC and Winyah Bay (Georgetown), SC. Myrtle Beach is one of gems in the Grand Strand.

Houses along the way (I keep telling myself NO MORE)

I always knew there were poor people in the world. Really poor people and lots of them. I never knew there were so many rich people in the world, really rich people.

Local Establishments


We took our chances on the anchorage. It is just off the Little River Inlet, NC. Wind off the Atlantic is coming straight at us at 8 kts. If it picks up overnight we’re pooped. The anchorage is wide open to the elements, but pretty.


‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ is the #1 Best Seller in the New York Times. It takes place in Barkley Cove, a fictional town in North Carolina. Barkley Cove is located near a large saltwater marshland.
Tobin Review: The book has the markings of a #1 best seller but isn’t quite there yet.
Crawdads can’t sing but they can produce sound in and out of the water. They produce sounds through their scaphognathite, a thin appendage that draws water through the gill cavity.

Nauti Words

Origin: In naval architecture, a poop deck is the rearmost, highest deck of a sailing ship. The name originates from the French word for stern, la poupe, from Latin puppis.
If a ship were unlucky enough to be overtaken by a massive, breaking sea which drenched her from astern, she was said to have been “pooped.”

The sea and shore uses of the word aren’t that different: in both cases, you’re washed out.

Charleston Chews

Charleston Chews

May 14, 2019 Tuesday Wadmalaw Island, SC to Harbor Marina, Georgetown, SC    71.3 nautical miles.

33°21’51.9″N 79°16’56.1″W
33.364414, -79.282244
Elevation: 0 ft     Tide: 7.4 ft

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me when I’m 63? Another successful trip around the sun for Mary.

Along the Way

We are still pushing our way through vast salt swamps with occasional signs of human life and towns. Once again we had to retreat to the lower helm to pilot because of the horse flies. I’m a little surprised at all the dolphins and crab traps we see along the entire Atlantic ICW.

Coasties fixing ATONs (Aids to Navigation). There are 6 people in this boat. How many Coasties does it take to …..
Canal – our speed bumped up 4 kts ( 8->12 kts) through this short passage. Love the palm trees on the left.
Attack of the seagulls. They were fighting for the small fish churned up by our props. One barely missed coming through our open upper helm window. Stupid birds.

Charleston – Home of the Charleston Chew. It’s definitely different seeing Charleston by sea. Last time we saw it, we saw it land.

Fort Sumpter – notable for two Civil War battles. Attack was either buy sea or across the open sand spit to the fort.

Dredging – We went through several sections of waterway today that badly needed dredging. We bottomed out and plowed mud a couple of times even at mid to high tide.
The sailboat in the below picture is glued to the bottom with a draft of 4.3. We made it through at 3.6.


If there were gold medals for Olympic dock building these two would be gold medal contenders.

Surveillance – dilapidated observation towers

Look at me. Look at me. LOOK AT ME! How can you NOT see me? I am 45 feet long, 17 feet high, 14 feet wide and 40 feet off your bow!!!!!  We had our third near miss today from an inattentive skipper.


We tried anchoring in Georgetown harbor three times before we gave up and went into a marina. There are a lot of derelict boats anchored in this snug little harbor. We could get the anchor to stick no problem but with the scope required and the current swing we were only in 1 fathom of water at high tide. If we stayed on the hooked we’d have bottomed out at low tide due to the 4 foot tide.

Nice toys.
150 horse jetski engine put into a dingy ($35k new, used $15k)
Docktails with newbie Loopers Suchen and Gerry (SWAN SONG), old friends Loopers Sandy and Kevin(KOASTAL KARMA). This was Suchen and Gerry’s first docktail. We had traveled with KOASTAL KARMA down the rivers last fall and hung out with them during our stay at Dog River, AL.


Georgia peach? South Carolina produces more peaches than Georgia does.

Actually the Charleston Chew was named for the Charleston dance. The Charleston is a dance named for the harbor city of Charleston, SC.

Nauti Words

Fathom/Fathom that – to figure something out, fathom it or get to the bottom of it.
Origin: A nautical measure equal to six feet, used to measure the depth of water at sea. The word was also as a verb to measure, “to fathom” something.

Holy Mackerel!

Holy Mackerel!

May 13, 2019 Monday Blackbeard Creek, Fancy Hall, GA to Wadmalaw Island, SC   107.7nautical miles.

32°42’28.3″N 80°10’40.1″W
32.707873, -80.177804
Elevation: 0 ft     Tide: 7.4 ft

Muggy weather. When we awoke dew was over all the hard surfaces inside the salon and galley.

Along the Way

Anchors aweigh at 7:00 am we timed our departure to get to Hell Gate at exactly high slack tide. At about 8:30 am the horse flies started buzzing through the upper helm like storm troopers. Dale defended the aft helm and Mary the fore. I wonder how many calories were expended per hour swatting flies. At 9:00am we relinquished the upper helm and retreated to the lower helm.  A half hour later needed to return to the upper helm to for better visibility crossing through Hell Gate. We quickly came to terms with the 50+ horse flies clinging to the bimini top. As long as they weren’t hungry they could stay.

Hell Gate was Hell Gate. As we entered our seaman’s eye told us something wasn’t right and getting worse. REVERSE COURSE! The tide chart we were using was exactly backwards (we rechecked). Instead of being at high slack tide it was low slack tide. We needed quickly to change course and head into the Atlantic to avoid becoming hard and fast.

Hell Gate. Look at the vegetation. You can clearly see it is low tide.

As long as we had to change course into the Atlantic, after re-checking weather, waves and winds, we set our course through the Atlantic to Edisto River inlet about 50 miles north. The horse flies evacuated.

We traveled outside the 3 mile nautical demarcation line so Dale could legally fish. The catch with the demarcation line is that you can fish without a license but you can’t bring a fish into port without a license.  Catch and release was just fine with Dale.

Adding Spanish Mackerel to the list of fish Dale has caught.

Running in the Atlantic vs ICW shaved ~20 miles off our trip. The greeting committee was in place when we crossed back into the Atlantic ICW. We were immediately re-boarded by horse flies.


We’ve left the vast saltwater marshes in Georgia, trading it for smaller saltwater marshes and small islands in South Carolina. A different kind of pretty. More intimate.

*** No bugs ***
After supper we sat outside in the evening air listening to the wildlife. There was one super crazy bird and the calming ‘oophst’ of dophins surfacing to breathe.


Holy Mackerel – used to say that one is very surprised, pleased
Origin: Recorded from 1803 with uncertain origin, but possibly a euphemism for Holy Mary, with Mackerel being a nickname for Catholics because they ate the fish on Fridays. Another suggested explanation is the practice of selling mackerel on Sundays in the seventeenth century (because its quality deteriorates rapidly), so it was known as a holy fish.

Nauti Words

Hard and Fast – rigidly adhered to, without doubt or debate
Origin: A ship that was “hard and fast” was beached firmly on land. Land was known as “The hard” slang for Buckler’s Hard, a ship building facility in England.

In Georgia somewhere

In Georgia somewhere

May 12, 2019 Sunday Brunswick Landing Marina, Fancy Bluff Creek, Brunswick to Blackbeard Creek, Fancy Hall, GA    57.3 nautical miles.

31°39’35.4″N 81°12’21.9″W
31.659836, -81.206079
Elevation: 0 ft Tide: 8 ft

A mother is only as happy as their least happy child. Mary is a very happy mother today.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mothers!

Along the Way

We escaped from the velcro marina. It felt like ripping off a band aid.

We were each given a good bye gift (back scratcher)
We new we’d escaped once we passed the Brunswick Bridge.

Horse flies and salt marshes. We are in Georgia low country somewhere. I’m pretty amazed we have internet out here as it is so remote.

The intercoastal waterway meanders through a vast area of salt swamp, little creeks, rivers and sounds (big inlets from the ocean).  I had no idea the Georgia coast line looked like this. The horse flies were so bad in the upper helm we were eventually driven to the lower helm to pilot the boat. We saw about 8 houses total, three of which are pictured below. 

Don’t know how they get here. Must be boat as they are in the middle of nowhere.

The only village we saw today.

A fierce squall come through just a we were approaching a sound.

Waves were building to 3 feet and higher. Quickly. We retreated back into the intercoastal waterway canal to get a break from the waves. Quickly.
Tossed and anchor and waited it out.

When it was over we continued on for another hour or so. Dale fixed Mary a lovely Mothers Day meat of bratwurst and beans, cooked inside because the bugs outside were so bad.


Absolutely none …. unless you count the horse flies and no-see-ums.

Nauti Words

Sound – a sound is a large sea or ocean inlet larger than a bay and wider than a fjord; or a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land.  The Anglo-Saxon word of ‘sund’ which translates to swimming is the origin of the word ‘Sound.’

Son of a Gun (in honor of Mother’s Day)
The phrase “son of a gun” originated on ships in the early 18th century, when women were allowed to accompany their husbands or new boyfriends on long sea voyages. During such voyages, mothers gave birth to their children behind a canvas curtain near the midship gun. If the paternity of the newborn was in doubt — and often it was, as many of the women were prostitutes — the child was facetiously registered in the log as the “son of a gun.”