Cruising the East Coast and the Abacos in our Camano Troll
Friday, October 30, 2009
Deltaville, VA to The Dismal Swamp
We left the comfort of St. Jeromes Creek in the face of poor forecasts in the coming few days which would make it uncomfortable getting across the wide mouth of the Potomoc River.
We went inside the Smith Point lighthouse and headed for Jackson Creek in Deltaville, Virginia where we had weathered a few storms and cold weather in previous years.
It was a good day to travel and we arrived in the creek while it was still very pleasant. For a minute, we thought we might have taken a wrong turn and were in front of Mount Vernon which we had passed on the way up the Potomoc a couple of years ago. It turned out that it was just some wannabee who wanted a pretentious house on Jackson Creek.
A closer look around revealed a bunch of beautiful Chesapeake work boats. We also noticed that some of the leaves had begun to turn.
A young guy came by a few times paddling a surf board with totally dry clothes. He moved it with great ease and speed. I am sure I would have drowned trying the same thing! He said his 67-year-old father goes out on it all the time in all kinds of weather.
It then commenced to blow pretty hard and rain quite steadily for 6 days and nights. Other boats came in to the marina or the anchorage, but very few left because of the lousy weather. We were glad to be on a boat because there was flooding over a wide area of the bay. The local yacht club dock was close to two feet under water.
On the seventh morning, we saw our first sunrise in many days and decided it was time to head toward Norfolk. We were part of a long parade of all the boats who had been gathering and hiding out for the last few days.
The sailboats had enough breeze to motorsail as we all headed toward the sun and the warmth of the south. We had some schedule constraints since we had just heard that our daughter and her family were moving from Florida to Dallas on the second week of November and we wanted to find a place to leave the boat so we could drive down for a visit before they left.
We passed a number of schooners who were heading north. Either they were returning from a rendezvous around Norfolk or were heading for one in the Chesapeake -- or both!
We passed through Norfolk, figuring that we could get to the Dismal Swamp and maybe even through the first lock and up to the North Carolina Visitors Center free dock.
A whole fleet of these guys rushed by us probably protecting us from the terrorists who were on their way in from the ocean. We went by the museum with its battleship and a number of active warships in drydock or under repair and refurbishment in the docks.
We successfully got through the bridges before one or them shut down for two hours at rush hour and hung a right into the Dismal Swamp Canal.
We made it to the last opening of the Deep Creek Lock with time to spare and found a bigger trawler waiting there. Once in the lock, we could see where we were in relation to the rest of the world (or the East Coast of the US anyway).
The doors behind us closed and water rushed in in front of us to raise us about 8 feet up before the doors in front of us opened and let us out of the box.
We followed the other trawler through the canal past the old Superintendent's house which has deteriorated a lot in the last two years since we saw it last.
As it began to get dark, we passed into North Carolina and pulled into the North Carolina Welcome Center at dusk to tie alongside another boat for the night.
The next day we planned to go through the other lock early in the morning in order to get to the free docks at Elizabeth City to run some errands, do some laundry, get a scheduled blood test for the skipper, and do some grocery shopping.
The information in this column does not change. New entries will appear to the left.
We started this blog in August 2006 when we were getting ready for our first winter heading south in our new powerboat, named "Sesame". The newest entries are first and the oldest are last. General information is in this column.
Most of the photographs are high definition. You can click on any one of them to see the photograph full size. If you want to steal one, click on it. When you get the full-size one, right click and "Save as" whatever you want. I would only ask that you give proper credit if you use them for anything other that your personal delight and delectation.
The Admiral and the Captain
Enjoying a Meal Ashore in Abaco
Powerboating on the East Coast
We are Judy and Allen Ames from Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Our boats have all been called "Sesame" (Ameses spelled inside out?). The dinghy, of course, is named "Open".
After 60+ years of sailing, the last 25 aboard a Nonsuch 26 and a Nonsuch 30, we went to the "dark side" and bought a slightly used 28 foot trawler, called variously, a Camano Troll, a Camano 28, or a Camano 31 (see below). This blog starts with our first motor boat trip down the East Coast from Connecticut to Key West and back during the winter of 2006-2007. (We had done a similar trip on our Nonsuch 30 a couple of years before. That trip is pretty well documented in our WebShots albums -- http://community.webshots.com/user/allen_ames) It then picks up with our third trip which took us across the Gulf Stream to Abaco on New Year's Eve 2007.
Like most blogs, the most recent entry is on top and you have to scroll down to get previous entries. You can also click on a specific date at the bottom of this column.
We welcome comments or questions. Just hit the word "Comments" at the end of any entry or email us at: Sesame130@comcast.net. You can send the blog to anyone else by clicking on the envelope with an arrow at the end of each entry.
Sesame, Camano Troll #130
Doing 13 knots
The Camano Troll is a "semi-displacement" trawler, 28 feet long on deck and 31 feet overall if you measure the swim platform and anchor roller. She has a 200 horse Volvo turbo-diesel which can push her up to about 13 knots when we're in a hurry and don't care that we're getting less than a mile per gallon. Normally, we cruise at 7-8 knots which is far more relaxing and gets us close to four nautical miles per gallon. We love the 360-degree view from the main cabin and inside steering station and it's even nicer on the flybridge in good weather.
We have most of the amenities: Hot and cold running water, refrigeration and freezer, 3 burner propane stove with oven, shower and enclosed head, and plenty of room for two people. We have replaced the large dining table (which made it possible to convert the dinette into a double bunk) with a smaller one, but have a 5' x 7' pop-up tent and blow-up queen size mattress that fits perfectly on the flybridge for occasional guests (our penthouse!). The bridge also has plenty of room for a couple of lounge chairs.
We have three AGM batteries on the "house" side of our 12-volt system. To keep the small chest freezer, refrigerator, and various toys going, we usually run the engine for a couple of hours a day when we are at anchor or moored in order to keep the batteries charged We also have a 110 volt belt-driven generator which runs off the main engine to power the microwave, airconditioner (and reverse-cycle heater), etc. Smaller 110 appliances, a TV, computers, and rechargers run off a small inverter. A 7.5 amp solar panel helps keep the house batteries up in sunny weather giving a little more TV and freezer time before we have to start up the engine. Of course, all of the 110 system works when the boat is plugged into dock power too.
We communicate by Verizon cell phone and get our internet through a Verizon air card or WiFi wherever and whenever service is available. (Verizon is not our favorite vendor, but it has the best coverage all the way down the East Coast.) We have external marine antennas for both the air card and WiFi. Where we don't have cell service (Bahamas, some of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Maine) but can get WiFi, we use Skype.
The boat was built in British Columbia but the factory has recently been sold and they say they will begin building in Washington state. See the links below for more pictures and specs of the boat.
Our title is a leftover from an old English teacher's fondness for alliteration rather than a true description of the contents. Actually, we plan very carefully to avoid having it become a saga, or even an adventure! We refuse to have a real schedule or dated itinerary for fear that we would be tempted to venture out in poor conditions. If we want to meet someone along the way, we give them the choice of when or where, not both. The only exceptions are when we are relatively certain that we can reach a destination easily and safely at least a week before a specific date. Even then, we make it clear that all "plans" are subject to change or cancellation.
Traditionally, there are two kinds of cruisers: those who are happy in slower boats (sailboats and slow trawlers) focus on the voyage, while those with fast boats are all about the destination. We definitely belong to the former group.
Our goal is to do virtually nothing, and do it well!
Or, to invoke the greatest all-time boating cliche, as Kenneth Graham's Rat says in The Wind in the Willows: Believe me, . . . . there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing . . . . about in boats -- or with boats. . . . . In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not.