Friday, May 19, 2023

Back to boating!

Welp, long time, no see. Our last boat was a very nicely set up Newport 30 Mk2 which we donated to the local college about two and a half years ago. It was a gift from a friend so we felt better donating it rather than selling it on the market. We had painted it and replaced the sails and canvas so somoene is enjoying that boat in good health. Hopefully. Anyway, it was very nice to not have any boating expenses Per Month; Dockage ($250), Insurance (150) upkeep (All Of IT!) and so forth. But I was missing our trips on te water. I didn't want to redo our Trawler experience, those types of boats cruise at 8-10 knots per hour and you really have to be patient. For example, a trip to Jax from Palatka is five or six hours. I studied various boat types over the last four years and decided I wanted a boat that would be sea-capable, have longish range and be able to sprint above 15 knots for when we are in need of speed. Albin 32+2 or Albin 35 Command Bridge seemed to be an answer. The problem was not too many were really available and the prices were pretty high. I made an offer in Florida for a nicely set up 32+2, it had 1600 hours on the Cummins 370 diesel and the interior and control station had new upholstry. When we did the survey and test run I wound up paying $1300 plus a couple hundred on travel and lodging to find out the boat had some insurmountable issues. Darn. Got my deposit back and went to Virginia to look at this:
There were some intitial issues which still need to be worked out but the boat had 830 hours on a Yanmar 440 diesel, it had been neglected for the past few years due to an aging owner. Best part was the boat was seven years newer than all the other vessels on the market. We made the deal and began planning for the journey back to Florida. Other than the Bilge pump being inoperative, and some other minor (Don't install the new depthfinder gauge by my KNEES. JERKS) stuff we were able to get underway. Here is the fast Narrative; Departed Urbanna, Va at 1430, Thursday heading towards Deltaville and Portsmouth via the Chesapeake. Turns out the bilge pumps were completely inop, good thing I bought a portable bilge pump with hose and alligator clips. Boat handled the Chesapeake very nicely at 14 knots with quartering wind and seas. We made Portsmouth and stopped at a local marina at 1930. The marina was closed so we tied up to the fuel dock awaiting the morning. We were under way at 0930 heading for the Dismal Swamp. After waiting 40 minutes we cleared a railway bridge and proceeded to the North Lock arriving at about 1115. We then moseyed down a thoroughly enjoyable canal at 6 knots arriving at the South lock at 1515. Winds were picking up and we heard that the Alligator river bridge across the Albemarle Sound would probably be unable to open for us so we ducked into Lamb's Marina in Camden, NC. Buck a foot for the night and good pricing on diesel, we stayed two nights. Larry is a complete boating Gentleman! We departed Sunday and crossed a very sporty Albemarle Sound with fifteen knot winds from the Northwest. Passed the Alligator River bridge we rapidly made our way towards Oriental. It was a beautiful passage, we only ran aground once, for a brief minute or two. Oriental has the greatest Marina/Resort and we had a grand evening. The resort even provided towels for the showers... Anyway, underway for Beaufort at 0830, we arrived about an hour or two later and missed a turn on the river for Morehead City! We were now offshore and heading for Carolina Inlet going a brisk 16 knots. We arrived later in the afternoon and made our way to what used to be Southpoint Marina. It's now corporate owned so be prepared for three dollars a foot and pricey fuel. We had a good meal and prepared for another off shore trek from Cape Fear... Not. We got out past the mouth of the river and the Southwest winds were VERY bumpy so we came back inside the ICW. So we followed the ICW and the many No-Wake zones to Isle of Palms Marina where we paid big bucks to refuel and stay the night. No food and water for the evening, we had military MRE's for dinner. We were up and refueled by 0900 and headed offshore for Amelia Island, Florida. It was about ten hours offshore and we stayed the night. The fuel dock opened at 0900 and we proceeded to Palatka arriving at 1530. 550 gallons of fuel and approximately 60 hours underway. We still need a bilge pump. Good trip, good fun for over 750 miles Some photos;
First view of the Deltaville Bridge on the Rappahannock River. Looking at the chart plotter and the crew relaxing in the back. We had no idea how the boat would perform but we were knee deep in the project!
I'll be back after lunch. Okay, I'm back. The fella with binocs is a retired Surface Warfare 05, on his left is a retired Johnson Controls engineer. I was set for technicians and navigators for this particular journey! First stop was made on the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, VA. We got there just after sunset and it was a fine marina, just no one there to give us codes for the Heads or any other assistance. We tied up at the Fuel pumps. We took on about 60 gallons of diesel (Capacity is 260), dockage was $2.00 a foot. Underway about 0930, we were delayed a bit by a railroad bridge but soon were heading for the Dismal Swamp. George Washington was a big part of creating the canal, so we had that going for us, which was nice. Here is the northern lock. P.S. There is a speed limit, 6 Knots. we were the only boat on the Canal so they knew if we were messing up. There are a couple places for free dockage on the canal if you are interested in hiking or enjoying a few days in the park.
The last couple images are the South Lock. Here are some videos;
After clearing the canal it was another hour or so to Camden, NC. We arrived at Lamb's Marina and stayed in a secure weather proof shelter from the forty to fifty knot winds forcast for the next day. Buck a foot for first night, half buck a foot for second night. Cool!
We'll load some more tomorrow. New Name for vessel!; Cypress Moon-- Out.