Back at Holiday Hill Marina

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Greetings, followers of our sailing adventures

The “Follow our track” starting on Friday Sept. 6 will not be tracks of our boat “Shadowfax” but a friend’s new Saga 43 sailboat. Peter asked/invited me (Bob), as well as 2 other experienced sailors, to assist in the delivery of his boat back to the Annapolis area from Brunswick, Ga. The plan is to drive down (one-way rental) to Brunswick, it will take a day or so to provision, etc., then leave. We will stay offshore (getting a push from the Gulf Stream) not stopping till we get back, of course carefully watching the weather.

Here is a summary of the trip back up the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) and our Chesapeake Bay Gunkholing:

June 20

Ashlyn Sunset Bay

Ashlyn Sunset Bay

Dinghy Ride Sunset Bay

Dinghy Ride Sunset Bay

The cruise back up the ICW to the Chesapeake Bay was quite a bit more relaxed then going down in the fall. After spending over 2 months in Stuart, FL our trip through Florida was fairly uneventful, some days it was pretty warm but never got to the unbearably hot point.

June 24 Waccawaw River Jerico Creek

At Jacksonville we departed the ICW and did an overnight sail to Beaufort, SC. On the way down, if you remember, it got so cold we went outside at Charleston and bypassed Beaufort and all of Georgia. This time we bypassed Georgia again but decided we wanted to see if Beaufort or the surrounding area (Hilton Head, Port Royal) might be where we someday might want to live. While motor sailing about 20 miles offshore, a thunderstorm on land was threatening us, then a water pump on the engine decided to start leaking filling the bilge with water. No real problem because the bilge pump could pump that water out, but the real concern was if the water pump, which cools the engine, stopped working we would have to rely on sailing only (novel idea for a sailboat, but we almost no wind) plus the storm onshore. So we slowly limped into Port Royal without any problems, got a slip, ordered parts and repaired the engine. We had 5 great days exploring the Lowcountry, loved the Spanish moss covering the trees there, the folks at the marina were extremely helpful even lending us a car (pickup truck) to sightsee. The whole downtown of Beaufort is on the historic register, we didn’t get to Hilton Head or Suncity; we’ll try for that next trip. Is this the place for us? Maybe…

July1 Charleston Carriage Ride

It was a 1 day trip to Charleston, SC from Beaufort. Once again the marina lent us a courtesy car so we could explore the area. We took a horse drawn carriage ride on a rainy day and really loved their historic downtown.

July 4 Baldhead Beach Baldhead Golf Carts

Being we didn’t have any kind of schedule, we decided to get off the ICW a bit and go to Baldhead Island for a few days. This island is located at the mouth of Cape Fear; the river that runs through Wilmington, NC, on the other side of Baldhead Island is the Atlantic Ocean. You can only get here by boat or plane and the only transportation on the island is golf carts, thousands of golf carts. They had lots of activities planned for the 4th but we got there later in the day and missed a lot of that. But we did love this island, wonderful beaches, friendly people, and good food; we will do it again.

July 10

We took the Dismal Swamp route going down through southern Virginia but took the Virginia Cut going up. It might have been a little quicker that way but the Swamp was more colorful. We ran aground pretty hard on the Alligator River, me bad. I read the warnings the night before of shoaling where the river meets Albemarle Sound, but… I called for a tow boat (Towboat US) to get us off but they were 2 hours away! The towboat operator said to try to get ourselves off! So it took over an hour with the dinghy and an anchor to winch ourselves off.

July 11Tangier Tangier Workboats

On the Bay, our first stop was Hampton, VA. We walked the town, did some sightseeing and from there started our journey north. Next stop was Cape Charles, VA a small town at the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, its claim to fame; the railroads. In the early 1900’s there was not much south of Salisbury, MD on the Eastern Shore (Delmarva) no need for a railroad. But they designed a steamer ship that could transport train cars; Cape Charles to Norfolk was the “shortcut” for folks traveling down the eastern seaboard. The town is like a time-warp but had a nice restaurant called the Shanty and several other shops, the ice cream parlor having a waiting line every time we looked. The next town on the eastern shore was Onancock, VA. We had been here before by car some years ago in our buying-a-Bed-and-Breakfast kick. It probably is the most progressive town south of Salisbury, with 5 or more B&B’s, several really fine restaurants, art studios and a playhouse. From Onancock we stopped at Tangier Island. There are only 2 inhabited islands in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, Smith and Tangier. We wanted to go to Smith now famous for the multi-layer Smith Island Cakes and crab, but it is too shallow getting in the harbor. Tangier is a waterman’s town of less than 300 people, golf carts are the normal mode of transportation. It took all of 15 minutes to cruise around the island in a golf cart, then we had dinner at Lorraine’s and we should have ordered their specialty, soft shell crab sandwich but we got crab cakes which were disappointing.

July 16

shadowfax Spinnaker Wednesday AYC Thursday J Race

Crossing over the bay and into Maryland we spent 2 nights in Solomon’s Island to replenish our food (and beer) supply. Then back to the Maryland Eastern Shore to the Choptank River, the weather was pretty hot by now and we were looking to cool off. I did say we have no air conditioning! So we spend a lovely hot night at Baby Owl Cove then headed to Oxford to a marina with a pool. We made it to the ice cream shop but other than that our time was spent in the pool with adult beverage in hand. We crossed the bay again and spent 2 days at a marina/resort called Herrington Harbor South. This is a party place, the pool was a place to socialize, everybody knew everybody, and I have a feeling that most of these folks never take their boat out of the slip. Now we are real close to where we started this adventure last year Holiday Hill Marina, but we are not ready yet to stop exploring the bay. Next we went to Annapolis and had a great time with our daughter Laura and John, then on Wednesday evenings the big sailboat races are a must see. We had front row seats from where Shadowfax was on a mooring to watch the boats scrambling for position to finish in front of the Annapolis Yacht Club. I got to see a few of my racing buddies and we had dinner with some of them on Thursday.

July 26Relaxing Greys Inn

As much as we like this boat, at times it can be rather small. A slightly larger and newer boat (40 ft.) caught my eye, so along with our friends Dan and Melissa (on Slow Dancing) we went pretty far north to Worton Creek to check out this boat. The boat turned out to not be to our liking but the restaurant was fabulous. On the return down the bay we stopped at Swan Creek and Grey’s Inn on the Chester River.

July 30

We decided not to sail up to Maine or Connecticut, but Virginia’s sister’s birthday was coming up and we decided to drive there so we needed a place to keep to boat. So we got a short term deal on a slip at Holiday Hills for 2-3 months. This would give us a place to do some work on the boat and not have to worry if we go somewhere.

August 9

We rented a car and drove to Guilford, Ct for the birthday party. It was really a family reunion our 3 daughters, their families plus Virginia’s brother and other sister came with their families. It was really a fun time for us.

August 15Hudson_Creek Hudson_Creek_Sunset Shields Ducks Greg & Debby Sunset

We are still living on the boat at the marina; this summer has been so cool we are really lucky because without AC on the boat it can be miserable. We went to the annual Tartan Sailing Club Crab Feast held at Greg and Debby’s fabulous waterfront home across the Patuxent River from Solomon’s Island. After spending 3 days with our Tartan friends we did a slow return back to Holiday Hills.

August 31Shadowfax_FreeSpirit Blue_Moon_Skipton_Creek

The Holiday Hills Hookers (mind out of gutter now, anchors are sometimes called hooks) organized a 3 day Labor Day get together on the Wye River, at one of our favorite spots on the bay called Skipton Creek where we usually see bald eagles and lots of other birds, this time we even had a humming bird visit with us. We had 4 boats rafted together; we shared great meals together and solved all the problems of the world then came back to HHM on Monday.

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