CHAPTER 20              MAY 2009

Includes  Dismal Swamp, Chesapeake Bay & Long Island SOUND


The Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge (see picture) was one of many bridges we had to have open while cruising up the East Coast ICW in NC.
5/2/09 – we anchored in Mile Hammock Bay.
The following day we passed through Camp LeJeune (no military action today), and anchored in Adams Creek. 
Next stop was Belhaven.  The owners of “Belhaven Marina” took several of us boaters to the grocery store.  Later that night we had a huge thunderstorm with ½ inch hail and 88mph winds!
The following day we stopped at “Alligator River Marina” – Mother Nature held off the rain until just when we arrived and were trying to dock – not fun!
5/6/09 – Crossed the Albemarle Sound, crab boats (see picture) and crab pots everywhere, but thankfully the water was calm.  Arrived in Elizabeth City and stayed at the free town dock.  The local welcoming committee called the “Rose Buddies” provided a wine and cheese party (as they do nearly every night) for visiting boaters.  They also give the ladies a rose, cut from the many rose bushes lining the waterfront (see picture).  What a lovely town, and nice to see it looking healthy and prospering!  There’s plenty of shopping, restaurants, and the wonderful “Museum of the Albemarle”.
The following day we continued north passing through the South Mills Lock (see pictures), leading to the DISMAL SWAMP – which is anything but dismal!  The Dismal Swamp route is 22 miles long, 70 feet wide, and lined with tall trees.  The air was fresh and clear, and sweet with the scent of honeysuckle.  The canal is fed primarily by freshwater drainage from Lake Drummond.  Tannic acid from decaying vegetation makes the water the color of tea.  In 1973 the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge was created.  Cruising slowly through the swamp, we saw many birds, turtles, and swimming snakes.  We stopped for the night at the NC Welcome Center free dock, which is midway through the swamp.  The boaters toured the excellent wildlife museum, and then we enjoyed swapping stories at happy hour.
Next day, we arrived at the Deep Creek Lock for the 11am opening, completing the Dismal Swamp by noon.

5/8/09 – passed under several bridges (see picture) and cruised through Norfolk to Hampton VA in the lower Chesapeake Bay.  Anchored and took the dinghy to go grocery shopping, then later out to dinner at the “Taphouse”.
Next day was a beautiful 91°, but windy.  We moved on to Deltaville, and anchored in Jackson Creek where we had happy hour aboard another Krogen boat “Moonlight Run” with Mike and Dyan.  Heavy thunderstorms that night with lots of lightening, but cooler, more comfortable air came in.  We stayed another day in Deltaville because of high winds, but were able to take the dinghy to visit the “Deltaville Maritime Museum”, featuring excellent displays on boat building in the Chesapeake, especially the local type of boat called a “deadrise” (see picture), which is a vee bottom cross planked workboat often built with a nearly plumb bow and a round stern.  Friends Steve and Judy from the sailboat “Katy” came over for happy hour that night.
Next stop was Reedville VA at “Fairport Marina”.  We used their courtesy truck to visit the impressive “Reedville Fisherman’s Museum” where we learned a lot about menhaden (a small oily bait fish that are processed into fish oil and fish meal for livestock and pet food) fishing boats (see picture).  We also toured the museum workshops, and the historic William Walker house.  Later, we had delicious crab cakes at “Cockrells Creek Deli”.  Reedville is in a lovely, bucolic area of upper VA, with rolling green hills and very friendly people.  Dogs, goats, roosters, horses and cows along with beautiful spring blossoms complete the scene.  Lots of people retire to this area, and we can understand why! 
Next, we spent a few days in Solomons MD.  Lots of stores with excellent shopping here.  We hear the constant roar from navy aircraft coming and going from “Patuxent Naval Air Station”, the Navy’s testing ground for new military aircraft. 
5/13/09 – spent a couple of days at anchor in Galesville MD waiting out high winds.  Another Krogen Manatee “Second Star” was there with us, and we enjoyed visiting with Mike & Jana and their cat Radar.
As we approach the upper Chesapeake Bay, we often hear booms from the “Aberdeen Proving Grounds”, the Army’s testing area for newly developed weapons.  Explosions can be heard in a 30 mile area.
Today we passed by the beautiful Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse (see picture).
5/15/09 - spent a few days in Baltimore at the public docks.  What a wonderful city!  Evenings were especially beautiful with the cockpit of SUMMERTIME positioned to enjoy the city lights (see pictures)!  During our stay we visited Lexington Market, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, World Trade Center, and several wonderful restaurants.  We especially enjoyed superb crab cakes with imperial sauce at “Mo’s Crab & Pasta Factory” in Baltimore’s Little Italy.  On our last day in Baltimore, we had a great visit with my cousin Maria and her two children (see picture). 
As we left Baltimore harbor the following day, we spotted the red & white striped buoy with blue spangled top.  This marks the spot where Francis Scott Key wrote the words to our national anthem as he was held prisoner aboard a British barge during the War of 1812.
5/18/09 – cruised to Chesapeake City MD and anchored for the night.

5/19/09 – we cruised through the C&D Canal (450 feet wide, 35 feet deep & 12 miles long) to the Delaware Bay which was nice and calm today.  The current was with us, and we got up to 9.7 knots (from our usual 7 knots).  We stopped for the night in Cape May NJ at “Utsch’s Marina”.  Utsch’s gives boaters a goody bag that includes a bottle of wine and many other cool things!  That evening we had a very nice dinner at the famous “Lobster House”.
The following day we travelled outside the ICW on the Atlantic Ocean.  The ICW in NJ is very shallow, and as long as the weather is good, we prefer the ocean for this stretch.  Around 4pm, we came in from the ocean at the Absecon Inlet in Atlantic City and anchored.  We enjoyed the bright lights of the casinos that night (see picture)!
The next day we travelled out on the ocean again, and came in at Manasquan Inlet to anchor in the Metedeconk River that night.
5/22/09 – crossed over from NJ to NYC, passing by Coney Island, Statue of Liberty, under the Brooklyn Bridge, (see picture) through Manhattan, through Hell’s Gate (with the current we were going 8+ knots), past Riker’s Prison and stopped in City Island NY at the “North Minneford Yacht Club”.  While spending a couple of days here, we visited the fabulous “New York Botanical Gardens” (see picture).

LONG ISLAND SOUND (north shore) to CT
5/24/09 – stopped in Northport at town dock.  Had lunch at “Skipper’s Pub”, did some shopping, and Ray got a great haircut.
Next day we went on to Mattituck.  Did some shopping and had lunch at “A Touch of Venice”.
The following day arrived in Greenport.  Great town, all kinds of shopping!  Had a nice brunch at “Harbor Deli”.
The next night we anchored in Orient.
5/28/09 – crossed Long Island Sound and arrived back at “Ragged Rock Marina” in Old Saybrook CT.

We’ve traveled 9593 miles since 6/6/07, plus the previous 1000 miles when we brought SUMMERTIME up the Intracoastal Waterway from Charleston SC to Old Saybrook CT in 2005.  We’ve cruised more than 10,000 miles aboard SUMMERTIME!
We look forward to hearing from friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming!