1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So much for plans....

The plan today was to head out for Great Bridge, about twenty-five miles from here, an easy day but for the bridges that you have to wait on for an opening. That departure didn't happen, a combination of a late night putting a writing assignment together and a dreary, not as predicted morning, and...

...A conversation yesterday with one of my editors resulted in my picking up an extra article. It only (only!) needed to be edited from 2800 to 2000 words. Since most of my readers don't write for a living, let me describe this as a mixed blessing. While it's nice to get the work, that kind of editing is actually more difficult than the original writing, at least I find it so.
Then, again yesterday, a new magazine client picked up one of my submissions. There was an update and a few changes required. Again, all good, and money in the bank but this assignment accounted for the late night.
Finally, today, an article submitted long ago that I thought was history was commissioned, but required extensive updating and the editing of about 250 words to bring it down to a word count of 1000. Again, all good, and it only happened because I was on the internet to take the assignment in a timely manner because of yesterday's blessings.
So, no boat work today, but nonetheless, a good day. Tomorrow will be sunny and warmer - and if I get this last assignment done tonight, and the photos chosen and sent in, I'll be off tomorrow.
And you guys thought it was all rum, palm trees and paradise out here! 

My favourite anchorage in the world...does anyone recognize where this is?

By the way, if you have questions about this trip, or sailing in general, post it and I'll answer it for you. This is your blog as well, so feel free to take part in it!

Doin' the Dismal...

Will asked me about the two options heading south - the Virginia Cut and the Dismal Swamp. Great question. 
Friends doin' the Dismal
I prefer the Dismal Swamp - it's wonderfully scenic, as you can see. Good protection from wind, and the stop at Deep Creek Lock to visit Rob, the lockmaster, is always a treat. Leaving the Dismal, you stop by Elizabeth City for a free night's dockage and the cruisers' welcome party each evening for a drink, and a rose for the ladies, a tradition started by two locals and now kept up by the city's Chamber of Commerce. 
The only drawback is that the Dismal takes longer to run, and isn't really feasible for boats drawing over six feet.
The Virginia Cut brings you to Virginia City and the Great Bridge Lock, a marvel to see in and of itself, plus lots of fascinating tugboat and commercial traffic. 
I usually do one route on the trip down, and the other on the return, just to enjoy the best of both worlds. The one other proviso is if the exit from the route will permit me to sail on the Albermarle. There is enough distance between them to make a difference in how you trim your sails.

It's getting colder...

Not that I have to tell anyone living up north...eh Terri? Weather here has gone from sunny and high 60s to miserable, wet, rainy and chilly. Nice to be tied to a dock tonight here in Hampton. Used the opportunity to catch up on some business, sold an article to a new publication and was asked to do several more by one of my current editors, so a very good day.
Tomorrow, I head out across Hampton Roads to Norfolk, then onto the ICW and through to Virginia City - won't do the Dismal Swamp this time, might save that for the springtime. There's a good dock at VC, and that will be my last dock for almost a week, until I stop in Washington NC to visit with some friends there. It'll be anchoring out until then.
Looking forward to it, just hope the weather warms up a bit.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

LiveBloggin' Now Has a Cruiser's Chatroom!

That's right - as technologically challenged as I am, I figured out how to install a chatroom on LiveBloggin'. Now, you can join your friends and chat live, right here - discuss those songs on the Greatest Boating Songs Contest, discuss the weather (once I find a weather widget for the blog!) and get to know one another. Have fun!!!

Down the Chesapeake...

Yesterday, I decided I'd had enough of living on the dock, so I headed out to the anchorage on the opposite side of the peninsula - and was rewarded with the most magnificent sunset...and then, this morning I got up at o'dark 30 and was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise - but didn't have a camera handy for that. Hey, I've almost never in my life done a sunrise sunset thing unless I stayed up all night, whadda ya expect?
So today, left for Hampton VA at the south end of the Chesapeake. The original plan was to wait for a northwesterly breeze, and sail down, but the weather pattern shifted from Monday to late Wednesday, with stiff southerlys predicted, so I decided the heck with it, I'll motor - and motor we did. A nice day, warm...and am now docked in Hampton at the Public Pier. 
Ran into a friend, Bill, and his wife Leslie, from a couple of years back, sailed his boat from Alaska - the boat's name? Bye Polar. Don't you just love that?
There are actually quite a few boats out there heading south, even this late. I saw five other sailboats, plus a trawler today. I expect I'll see still more once on the actual ICW and start making more new friends, like Stan and Elizabeth, out of Vermont on Dream Walker, or AJ, in a 35 Endeavour. It just keeps getting better and better...
I'll be hanging out here tomorrow, then heading out again on Tuesday for the mile zero of the ICW.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ah, the typical life of a cruiser...

I'll bet you're thinking I spend my days lolling about in a hammock strung between the forestay and mast, glass of rum in my hands, perusing a good book while some bikini clad lovely runs hors d'oeuvres to and fro. Or perhaps I'll go skindiving, wrestling with sharks for fun (NOT), while chasing down a supper of fresh lobster.
Well, other than the bikini clad lovely, some brief parts of very occasional days are like that - but it's more often that I'm doing some sort of boat repair - they do break, and often too! - walking the dog, doing laundry like I was today, or working at a writing assignment.
The reality is that cruising is just another job, albeit with constantly changing scenery, and no paycheque at the end of the week. But I wouldn't change it, as along with most cruisers, we feel it's a great life.
Route from Deltaville, on the Rappahannock River, to Hampton Roads
One more day here in Deltaville VA and then off to Hampton - unless Sunday's winds are too strong out of the south, in which case, I'll head out Monday when the winds go back to the north. This will be the last opportunity for a good sail for a while, as I'll be on the ICW, so I want to make the most of it. Here's a chart showing the sail...
The preferred way to do this is with a north, west or easterly wind. A south wind means either a lot of tacking, or a motor trip. A northwest breeze is usually the very best, as other than getting out of Deltaville into the Chesapeake, you've got the wind over your shoulder - sailors say it's on the quarter - for most of the trip. That means the waves push you along, not smack you in the face, and it's much more pleasant.
In Hampton, I'll be docked at the Hampton Public Piers, a lovely spot, with some of the best showers on the entire trip. Trust me, when you sail like this, you learn where the best showers are! This is the area the Caribbean 1500 left from just about ten days ago - some of them stayed here at this marina in fact. From Hampton, I'll cross the river and head into the ICW...more on that later.
Time to go and post some more YouTube links for the songs from the contest.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's some exciting Thanksgiving day news - Jimmy Buffet on the tube at 5, plus a dose of Hawaii 5-0. Talk about a flashback to the 70s - or was that show in the 80s? Hmmmm...
Watch Jimmy Buffett on Hawaii Five-0 Tonight! » Jimmy Buffett World
Be sure to tune in tonight, or set your DVR, for Hawaii Five-0 on CBS at 10/9c as Jimmy Buffett guest stars as Frank Bama, a helicopter pilot and friend of Joe White’s who helps the Five-0 in North Korea.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More Fun Stuff!

Ok, I need to ask a favour, and it doesn't involve money or anything else but a few minutes of your time! Can you recommend this site to five of your friends, preferably boating friends, and give it a nod on your Facebook account? The numbers are starting to grow, but at this early stage it needs a steady shove.
My hope is to get the blog large enough that it gets attention from major manufacturers of boating 'stuff', whom I plan to hit up regularly for contest prizes and goodies. But we need the numbers and for that, I need you.
And for those lurking anonymously (I know you're there!), go ahead, be brave, sign up, show the world you enjoy having a great time online - with your clothes on even!
Thanks everyone!! And btw, should be a couple more prizes being announced shortly. For one thing, I'm looking at some free night's dockage from a marina, just have to confirm it!

Winds are UP!

A bit breezy today, and from the south, so I'll hang out here on the dock today and work on the World's Greatest Boating Songs contest - looking at getting some more prizes, with luck, everyone can win!
May have to move the boat to another slip later when the winds start to clock around - it will get a bit lumpy where I am. 
Keep on sending in those songs - I've added a new page with live YouTube links for those who gave them - and btw, corrected a couple of 404 links. Should all be good now, but if you find a broken link, perhaps you can search out the correct one and let me know so I can correct it?
Thanks, have a great day everyone and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WOW! Great news...

Just got an email from a friend in the boating magazine biz - she's interested in using Scott Perkin's music as background for videos they produce. Who knows, Scott's may be the winner here if we can make him famous! Go Scott!

More Prizes!!!

I'm just sitting here onboard, listening to Scott Perkin's tune Boatyard Blues - this guy is good and he's a fellow cruiser. Check him out. Anyway, I'm inspired to offer some additional prizes in this contest. I'm going to toss in five copies - your choice - of my downloadable videos for your enjoyment. You can choose from Sailing South - First Timers' Guide to the ICW, or Forbidding, Forbidden Cuba. You can see the trailers for these videos at my friend and producer Tory Salvia's site, http://thesailingchannel.tv/icw or http://thesailingchannel.tv/cuba
Next, I'm going to try to convince Scott to toss in a couple of downloads of his album - great stuff. Now listening to Check Out When You're Through - great calypso beat to it....oh man, I wanna dance.....maybe just boogie around the salon!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Boating Songs Contest (Contest!)

It's a lay day for me and I can't post about cruising while I'm at the dock - so I decided we need a contest! Many years ago while Maggie was still with us and running it, the Yahoo Single Sailors Group asked members to put up their favourite boat songs. We had a list of hundreds of songs, some quite rare - it was just fascinating - and made for some great compilations too!
So I'm going to do this again, but make a contest out of it. Send in your favourite boat song(s) as a comment on the  Greatest Boat Songs Page, where you can also read the rules and see what you can win for participating. Have fun... 
p.s. if you have a link to a youtube of your song, include it so we can all enjoy it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Heading out, the first day...

Looking good and ready to head south in a new coat of bright red paint!

Headed out from Urbanna VA - a pretty little town on the Rappahanock - where I repainted the boat in Schroeders Yacht Systems yard - you can see that story at You Can Paint Your Boat -  
Leaving Urbanna - that's Doc's schooner in the background...
Winds were out of the northwest at about 10 knots - that's about 12 mph for you landlubbers  and about 18 kph for we Canadians. The boat just flew, topping out at 7.5 knots, which is fairly fast for a 34 foot boat, and we made it to Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville in just over two hours. Ran into a friend here, Jason, who hadn't seen Gypsy Wind since before she was painted and he was just stunned at how great she looks. A nice reward for a lot of hard work - and special thanks to Doc Hogan of Urbanna, who put in a lot of that work, and cast off my lines today. The photo above is his.
So I'm sitting here, sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon - what vintage you ask? Probably last Tuesdays - like a lot of boaters I drink boxed wines to keep glass bottles out of the boat. Besides, it's cheap!
Tomorrow is a lay day, I've got a meeting at the Waterway Guide office to go over my editorial for next year's edition. After that, we're heading for Hampton VA. See you there!

Welcome to Live Blogging the ICW

Hi, welcome aboard. It's gonna be a great trip, if maybe a wee bit chilly since it's getting late in the year. This is my 18th trip down the ICW and I've been asked what it's like many, many times. So, rather than tell you, I'd like to show you, through the magic of live blogging.
We'll be starting this trip in Urbanna VA, on the Rappahannock River, where I've just finished painting Gypsy Wind. So, Gypsy Wind is ready, I'm ready, Aduana the Wonder Puppy is ready - now, we're just waiting for you! Sling that kit bag on board, throw off those docklines and let's get going!