Heading to River Dunes

The weather is supposed to turn bad for a few days so we are heading to River Dunes Marina which is a new community built around a boat basin.  We departed Bellhaven in calm conditions and arrived in 20+ knots of wind on the nose.  The basin is extremely well protected with floating docks and a nice secure location.  Here are a couple of photos along the way.011


North Carolina waterway

007Shrimp boats in Hobuken


015 (2)Shrimp boat coming in with Onward coming out!

020 (2)

Bob on Comocean passing us by.




We got up around 8 today and made the short trip into Bellhaven and put in at the Bellhaven Town Docks since the Bellhaven Waterway Marina, with their world class restrooms, cannot handle boats with more than 6′ draft.  We had a nice lunch in town with Joe and Peggy at Fishhook Cafe  Really good lunch at an extremely reasonable price. Bellhaven is a quiet little town (a 2 light hick town as one of the retired shrimpers here described it) so we walked around and explored it a bit.  If you would like to buy a hotel and marina Riverforest Marina is for sale – still.  Catfish Dive Service dove on the boat to clean our prop and discovered that the zinc was nearly gone and loose on the prop so now we have a fresh zinc and a clean prop.  It sounds a little better.  Richard, Janet, Joe and Peggy joined us for wine and hors d’oevres on Merlin and then it was off to dinner at Spoon River Restaurant on Pamlico Street.  This is a new farm to table restaurant with a great menu, an attached wine shop where you can pick your dinner bottle and a fantastic chef. All of our dinner selections were excellent.  This restaurant could make it in any big city in the country and the prices were very reasonable.  We will be sure to eat there again.

Crossing the Albemarle Sound

The weather is really cooperating so far.  The temps have warmed up to the 60’s today and no rain in the forecast until Friday.  Unfortunately there is no wind for sailing today, but that makes crossing the sometimes choppy Albemarle sound a piece of cake.  We shoved off the dock this morning at 7AM hoping to get thru the Pungo Canal before dark.  The trip across the Albemarle Sound was very quiet and then it was thru the Alligator River swing bridge.  Last time we did this the winds were around 35 knots and they won’t open the bridge above 34 knots.  We managed to get thru between gusts.

Waiting for the Alligator River Swing Bridge to open

We did make it thru the Pungo Canal and anchored just outside the west end of the Canal.  No internet, but if we had just gone around the corner towards Bellhaven…..  We had a nice dinner of hamburgers on homemade rolls aboard Onward.  Tomorrow is just a short trip into Bellhaven to visit with old friends Richard and Janet, so we can sleep in.

An early departure

We raised anchor Monday morning at 0530 to get thru the bridges in Norfolk before they closed for rush hour. There are new restrictions in place because of construction. No problems navigating the area in the dark but it is certainly more difficult. Because of the early departure we made it to Coinjock early which gave us time to visit the Post Office to mail some letters. We had a wonderful prime rib dinner at the marina.

On to Norfolk

We left Cockerell Creek this morning just before sunrise. The bay is calm with light winds out of the west so we are motor sailing at about 7.5 knots and should arrive at mile 0 of the Intra Coastal Waterway before 5.

Wolf trap light in the background.

Day 3

After dinner with friends at Stoney’s Kingfisher in Solomons Island we had a cold, but quiet night at anchor just up past Zahnheisers. Stoney’s crab cakes were not what they used to be. with no lump crabmeat they were only good, not great. We left in calm conditions round 8 this morning. Winds rose to 18-25 out of the southwest. We sailed close hauled with full main, staysail and engine through nasty chop as we passed the mouth of the Potomac. We had planned on getting past the Rappahanock today, but the course change at the Potomac put us dead into chop that dropped our boatspeed to 2 knots at times, so Reedville looked good. We are anchored in 9 ft of water and seeing gusts to over 20 knots, a good test for the new D400 wind generator.  This was a day that made us thankful for a boat with comfortable motion and a full enclosure.  The spray was over the dodger! Tonight is a pizza party on Onward.


Before the seas built

And we’re off!

Merlin made it away from the dock this morning around 8:30 and we have had a great sail in West winds mainly around 12 knots with gusts to 20.  The sail has been around 6.5 knots with a max of 8.5 under full main and genoa.  We caught up with Onward (under jib alone) by the Choptank and should be in Solomons way before dark.  Not a bad way to start.

We are go for departure!

After a nice time at home with family and friends we are ready to head for the Bahamas for the first time in 5 years.  Merlin is sporting an upgraded autopilot hydraulic cylinder and feedback, an additional solar panel, and a new wind generator.  That plus all of the springtime upgrades/repairs and we are hoping for smooth sailing on this trip.  We have also upgraded our shipboard laptop which came with Windows 8 which, of course, is not compatible with our web editor so we are switching to WordPress.com.  The look is a bit different, but all of our old info will still be available.  It is actually quite a bit easier to use so maybe we can stay more up to date.  Let us know what you think.