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I don't know why I have never taken Spartina up there for a day sail or an overnight trip. There is a very nice, free ramp right at the town wharf and plenty of free parking. I'll make sure Onancock Creek is high on my list for a three day weekend. It makes for great kayaking I'm told. The folks at Southeast Expeditions run trips, including a kayak winery tour in the area.

That sounds like fun. As for sailing, I could see launching in Onancock in the afternoon and sailing down the creek to overnight in the protection of Parkers Marsh Wildlife Refuge, seen below. There is a beautiful white sand beach and I could pick out a few well protected coves and creeks as we passed by on the ferry. From there it is a quick trip around Ware Point out on to Tangier Sound.

The crab houses have the shedding tanks where waterman watch for the blue crabs to shed their hard shells. Once they lose the hard shells the soft shell crabs are put on ice and shipped off to market. I like my soft shell crabs soaked in a little buttermilk for a while, rolled in corn meal and then fried lightly. Served with lime and a good salsa, they make for an excellent meal.

Today's trip reminded me that I really need to do more sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and, more specifically, Tangier Sound. It is a beautiful, isolated area. The water feels different from the Carolina Sounds, maybe because it is so deep. A lot of the water is 20 to 50 feet deep, and in some areas it is over feet deep vs.

So the waves, even when it is windy, tend to be farther apart. And the clear, blue water is beautiful on a bright sunny day. I really can't say - they are just different and I like them both. Sunday, June 21, chesapeake float. He and his sailing friends got together for their 15th annual Chesapeake Float. His report was short and to the point Sounds great. I really like the photo of the fleet. That looks like the Sea Pearl on the left and Slip Jig on the right. Have to guess at which is which in between - they all look like great boats. I've emailed with Kevin a few times over the last several months, have never met him in person.

I'm guessing that that is him on the left. He got a good look at Slip Jig last fall and says it is one beautiful boat. Sounds like Kevin knew what he was doing when he built the Navigator. I'm looking forward to meeting him this fall, getting my own look at Slip Jig. Saturday, June 20, father's day. I heard Dad coaching me as I backed the boat trailer down the ramp this morning. Dad passed away a few years ago.

But I can't launch the boat without hearing him. As I rounded to Town Point Reach a boat cut me off at the coal pier. Maybe they were sailing by the rules of the road, maybe their tactics were appropriate. But it would have been nice if they had left me a little room so I didn't find myself in irons with a pier just yards to my lee.

Their motive came clear as the boat passed by and the skipper shouted "Thanks for making sure we didn't finish in last place! I just didn't know it. I didn't have the heart to tell them I wasn't registered in the race. Last place was still firmly in their grip. Friday, June 19, anti-what??? Sailing, relaxing, cooking, reading, it doesn't matter. On a small boat we spend a lot of time sitting. The seats are hard, clothes are damp.

Things can get rough if you know what I mean. So on the next trip we'll be carrying some Anti Monkey Butt Powder. A day on the water saps my energy. It doesn't matter if it is a hard day of sailing or just the weather, we both found that by late afternoon our energy was sagging a bit. I've read that the Watertribe kayakers use something like this for a boost. We'll have a few packs on board to see if it helps get us through the late afternoon.

Labels: gear. It's just a little piece of string, but cut to match a scaled 20 nautical miles on my ADC Map of Chesapeake Bay it gave me a rough idea of what we could cover in a comfortable day of sailing. It confirmed the plan I had sketched out was practical. Some days we might do 15 nautical miles, others we might do over It just depends on wind and weather and what we feel like doing. There is a lot of give and take at this point. The Honga River, seen above, is a good example.

That could be our anchorage on the second night of the trip. It is 10 miles long with plenty of small coves, marshes and creeks on either side. So we've got lots of options and more than 10 miles of choices before dropping the anchor. That is pretty typical of the Bay's rivers.

As for food, we are talking about taking the same kinds of food with us that we had on the Skeeter Beater We'll just take a bit less of it we had plenty leftover after the last trip. Bruce promises a repeat on his great meals. The trail mix snacks, beef jerky, cups of fruit, tuna salad lunches and peanut butter crackers will all be on board. The soft-sided cooler with dry ice worked very well on the last trip so we'll do that again. I found a "12 pack" soft sided cooler that nests perfectly in to the larger cooler we used last time.

There is room in the 12 pack for dry ice, a few frozen bottles of water and at least four one-pound packs of frozen meats. Put the 12 pack inside of the larger cooler and I suspect it will keep the meats frozen or at least cold for five or six days. Bruce wants to improve on Spartina's cook kit. My kit is made up of odd pots and pans that I found around the house or at the dollar store.

He says he's found the perfect nesting, light weight camp cook kit at REI and will bring it back for the fall trip.

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Fine by me. Planning for this trip seems pretty straighforward to me now. We've got a good boat, the right gear and a little bit of experience. Just need to resupply our food, get new batteries and spend some evenings looking at the charts. That should leave plenty of time for day sailing this summer like tomorrow maybe! Sunday, June 14, daily logs. Some folks have mentioned that it takes some work to read the daily logs in post form as they are shown in reverse order. I've made a daily log list of links off to the right, below the ChesBay map, starting with the first day and ending with the final day.

I hope that is easier to follow. Saturday, June 13, back on the river. First daysail after the Skeeter Beater today. Summer is here, hot and humid with wind out of the south. Left the ramp about and looked forward to seeing all those snow bird boats anchored out in Crawford Bay on the Portsmouth side of the river.

I kept seeing these little "wakes" here and there across the river. They seemed out of place until I saw the grey fins breaking the surface. About 20 dolphins were moving in two or three pods. I hadn't seen that many dolphin on the river in a long time. It reminded me that we did not see any dolphin at all on the Skeeter Beater. I've seen them every other trip on the Sounds.

I talked with the folks aboard this John Alden Bristol design, they were from Oriental, one of my favorite towns in North Carolina. I told them we had been there a couple of weeks ago and tied up at the public dock. They laughed and said "public dock, that's free!! I asked if I could take a picture because she looked so relaxed and peaceful. She said she was about to ask me the same thing. Wind was lighter than forecast, but that was fine with me.

We stand alternating one hour watches at the helm to allow time for correspondence and relaxation during the off watch. As our southerly progress takes us past Eastern Bay, the Choptank River and the Little Choptank River, we are reminded of a time when these tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay were destinations unto themselves for a summer cruise. One could spend an entire season gunkholing these waters without putting a dent in all that the Chesapeake has to offer.

Sadly for us, they have become memories recalled while transiting the Bay en route to warm winter destinations. Someday, we must take the time to re-explore these treasures. The temperature climbs to 70 degrees in mid-afternoon as we leave the Bay and steer west into the Patuxent River en route to our overnight anchorage in Solomons, MD. With 59 miles under her keel for the day, Cutter Loose is anchored in Back Creek.

The sounds and vibrations of military aircraft practicing takeoffs and landings at nearby Patuxent River Naval Air Station reverberate throughout the anchorage. At dusk, we are treated to a crimson sunset. It is good to be back on the water. We are closely monitoring the movement of Tropical Storm Sandy, currently located near Jamaica and expected to move north towards Cuba and the Bahamas in the next 24 hours.

Looking ahead, this storm could bring high winds to the east coast of the U. Even though the start date for the Caribbean is still 12 days away, the possibility of a late season storm is the most frightening aspect of an offshore voyage in the North Atlantic. We will be keeping a close watch on the weather map during the days leading up to our departure.

For wanderers, the seeds of the next adventure are often planted during a travel experience. During our return to the Chesapeake Bay in the spring of , discussion frequently focused on where we will position Cutter Loose during the winter of Should we return to the Bahamas to further our exploration of this enchanted archipelago? Or should we select a different warm weather destination? Cutter Loose was designed and built to carry its crew comfortably across oceans to distant destinations.

The boat is not a limiting factor. But, what about the crew? Because we both continue to be blessed with good health and a desire to see what is beyond the next bend, the time seems right to select a new destination that will challenge our skills and reward us with memories. In May, , we reached the decision to participate in the Caribbean sailing rally sponsored by the World Cruising Club headquartered in the UK. As the saying goes, there is safety in numbers. Although the boats will be scattered across the North Atlantic and out of sight of one another during this 11 day offshore passage, we will participate in daily rally communications using the high frequency single sideband receiver on Cutter Loose.

Registering for the Caribbean was the easy part. The summer of has been dominated by voyage planning and preparation. The number of boat tasks aimed at preparing Cutter Loose for ocean sailing and for cruising in the Caribbean is seemingly endless. Along with routine maintenance requirements, we decided to purchase a wind generator in order to take advantage of the constant trade winds in the Caribbean as an additional means to keep our battery bank charged.

Of course, setting sail to a new destination requires the purchase of new charts and cruising guides. Securing boat insurance for multi-year coverage in the Caribbean is a major task unto itself. After considerable research and screening, we narrowed our search to two gentlemen that are veterans of the Caribbean Once underway, the crew needs to be nourished while at sea under conditions that will not be conducive to preparing meals from scratch. This means planning, preparing and freezing home-cooked meals for a crew of four for 11 days.

Last but not least, there are the normal preparatory measures involved in being away from home for six months. One major category of responsibility involves cramming 12 months of preventive health care measures into a 5 month period, including dental checkups, dermatological body scans, colonoscopies, eye exams and our annual physical exams. Anyone who has navigated the health care landscape can appreciate the commitment of time devoted to scheduling and following up on appointments and the invariable need to interpret the language and complexities of the health care insurance industry.

Fortunately, the summer involved some play as well as work. We enjoyed spending time in Duck, NC with family. Back in Pittsburgh, it was fun to catch up with friends and former colleagues, revisiting many of our favorite restaurants in the process. There was also time for tennis, bicycling, enjoying the company of guests and appreciating the comforts and conveniences of living at home with access to a vehicle.

Just being able to wash and dry clothes without trekking to a laundromat is a convenience that we will never again take for granted. Just a few days ago, we fulfilled our final landside responsibility by casting absentee ballots in the Presidential election. Pittsburgh friends Chuck and Jeanne Berrington delivered us to Rock Hall with our final load of provisions to be stored aboard Cutter Loose.

We are grateful for their willingness to return our vehicle to our garage for the winter. We are officially liveaboards once again. These last few days have been devoted to stowage of gear and provisions. Our final pre-departure checklists are vastly diminished in scope and content. Soon we will be casting off our lines here at Osprey Point Marina to begin our winter cruise. There is a certain amount of apprehension that is a normal part of commencing a six month voyage of this magnitude.

Have we equipped Cutter Loose adequately? Is the boat provisioned with everything that we will need? Are we prepared for the rigors of this cruise? From experience, we know that every voyage is completed one day at a time. And that is precisely how this cruise will be accomplished. In a few days, Cutter Loose will be headed south in the Chesapeake Bay. Our interim destination is Hampton, VA where we will spend a week staging for the Caribbean rally. We invite you to follow along with us this winter as we travel to and through the islands of the Caribbean.

Each year in October, boaters queue up at the Annapolis Boat Show to begin their journey south for the winter. For over two decades, we have witnessed this migration of friends and fellow boaters with interest and wishful thinking. Looking back, this journey has been one of the highlights of our lives. In the ensuing days and weeks, we visited the Kennedy Space Center, St. Augustine and cruiser-friendly Vero Beach. Further south, we enjoyed a stop in Palm Beach and a layover in Fort Lauderdale where the generosity of friends made us feel particularly welcome.

Is this winter? Were we dreaming? Without a doubt, our visit to the Bahamas was the pinnacle of our winter cruise. Our Bahamas Epilogue posted on April 19, summarizes this unforgettable experience. We re-entered U. In Beaufort, NC, we took a few extra days to enjoy an overnight anchorage in the bight at Cape Lookout.

On May 21st, we departed Hampton Roads and entered our home waters of the Chesapeake Bay, only to be plagued with a diesel engine problem that forced us to sail north in the Bay to our home port of Rock Hall, MD. Subsequent diagnosis of our engine problem revealed a malfunctioning turbocharger, which has since been repaired.

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Our winter cruise covered 3, nautical miles and spanned days. An early morning departure from the Portsmouth ferry basin places Cutter Loose northbound in the Elizabeth River just as the large boat traffic is beginning to build. The inbound Carnival cruise ship Glory shares the channel with the outbound naval warship Both vessels are entitled to a yard security zone, sending Cutter Loose scurrying to the shallower water just outside of the red side of the channel where we can avoid the big ships.

Our diesel engine is behaving strangely this morning, struggling to power Cutter Loose at her normal cruising speed. We first became aware of this symptom on our approach to Portsmouth a few days earlier. We held out hope that replacement of the primary fuel filter would correct the problem. But today, we must rely on a favorable tidal current along with east winds to help us motorsail past the York River, Mobjack Bay, Wolf Trap Light and Deltaville on the Piankatank River.

We have previously arranged to visit my cousin Darla and her husband Turner on Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, we arrange a house call from a local diesel mechanic to replace the secondary fuel filter on Cutter Loose. Our planned destination for today is Annapolis. Our course takes us past the mouth of the Potomac River and into the State of Maryland.

The news is not good. There will be no quick fix today. In fact, the repair may take weeks. Rather than remaining in Solomons to resolve the problem with the engine, we decide instead to take advantage of 15 knot southeast winds and sail Cutter Loose back to her home port of Rock Hall, about 46 miles to the north.

We are underway from Solomons at PM with an assortment of military aircraft overhead practicing takeoffs and landings at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. It is a delightful afternoon for a sail north on the Chesapeake Bay. Dusk turns into darkness near Thomas Point Light. But an inverted vee-shaped light pattern near the Bay Bridge is confusing to us. The radar echo is minimal and there is no AIS imprint on the chartplotter.

As we sail closer, we make out the silhouette of a sleek naval warship at anchor. With this mystery solved, Cutter Loose passes under the Bay Bridge, alongside the northern tip of Kent Island and into the familiar waters approaching Rock Hall. After our short trip across the Potomac in July, we've been kept in port by all the hurricanes coming up the coast, and also by my dental appointments. We started off for our first longer boat trip of the summer - a long weekend at the beginning of August.

We will begin by going down to Reedville on the Great Wicomico in Virginia. It was about 10 before we got the boat dried off, and got her ready to leave. The wind tried to blow us sideways into the slip, but it worked out OK. We were going to get fuel, but Bob figured we'd never get off the fuel dock afterwards, and we don't really need it as we've got 50 gallons or more in the tanks. Bob did his usual trick of putting the sails up right away as we motored out the channel of Smith Creek.

I had a hard time holding the bow into the wind which was knots. Finally he turned away from the wind and got the rest of the sail up just main and staysail and turned the engine off, and we sailed toward the mouth of the Potomac.

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Pound nets in Smith Creek. In the Boat Building Shop, facilities are in place to construct traditional small boats and other craft. Boat building classes are held, and special "Family Boat Building Weekends" are offered throughout the year. Beautiful house and garden near Fisherman's Museum. Menhaden fishing has declined until there is only the one Omega Protein plant remaining on Cockrell Creek. But Reedville is also a significant charter fishing center for Chesapeake Bay bluefish and rockfish with more than 50 boats operating out of the area. Charter dock and sign. I have not walked to the block to take a photo of number one on the tour.

I started with the church which is 2 on the walking tour because I knew I had to walk back to the marina later. Bethany Methodist Church. William Walker house. Second Oldest House. Reed Monument. The walking tour pamphlet did not say why the street was locally called Tom Cat Alley.

To make up for it, I have two photos of Stop 9 Morris House. Now we are down at the end of the street by the marina Virginia Seafood Products plant. The Gables 14 was built in The Gables. Stop 16 Bailey Cockrell House. On this lot Stop 19 Tommy's. Stop 20 Reedville Marina Railway. Original Texaco building. Stop 21 at Main Street Main Street. Stop 25 The Masonic Hall A. Masonic Hall on Reed Street. As we walked back to the boat, we passed the Steamboat Wharf.

They put a big power boat named Fair Dinkum in front of us on the face dock. Fair Dinkum on the dock in front of us. There is a rhyme about the timing of hurricanes in the hurricane season. November- The Ender the last month. As I said at the beginning of this section, hurricanes had kept us in port up to the beginning of August. Saturday, we wait for Fair Dinkum to leave - he needs a fan belt and no one here has any idea when or where one can be purchased. The gas dock is right in front of Fair Dinkum, and someone is there getting gas, so he has a hard time getting out.

And his being there makes it hard for other people to get in to get fuel, although we did see a single hander in a crab pot boat make a very nice job of it. We push off about and Bob puts up the main and jib, and turns off the engine when we get out of the river. We are following another sailboat. On the Fleeton side, at the end of the peninsula is this building which looks like it might be a lighthouse, but smaller Lighthouse model. After we get out of the Wicomico River, Bob puts up the main and jib, and turns off the engine. Wicomico spider. Tangier Island was visited in by Captain John Smith, who gave it the name.

A part of the island was patented by Ambrose White in It was settled in by John Crockett and his son's families. In , it was the headquarters of a British Fleet ravaging the Chesapeake Bay. From here the fleet sailed to attack Fort McHenry. Tangier Island has been mostly isolated from the mainland for many years and the men have made their living from the water. Now, most of their business is crabbing, particularly soft crabs. There is a mail boat that comes each day from Crisfield, and there are now tourists that come on ferries from Crisfield, Reedville and Onancock in the summer and hunters that come in the fall and winter.

In the summer people come on their own boats, and some come in their own planes. The island women do a considerable business housing and feeding the tourists. There's a boat up at the other end of the marina which is across the ends of the slips up there. We find out later that this is a common practice. Parks Marina with boat across the end of slips. When the British Fleet headquartered themselves here during the war of occupying themselves in ravaging the Chesapeake Bay , Brother Thomas, as Joshua was now known, conferred with the British Admiral on several occasions.

Brother Thomas influenced the Admiral to spare the trees around the Methodist camp ground and to use a vacant house as a headquarters rather than seizing a neighbor's home. At the appointed hour, some twelve thousand men were lined up in columns to hear Joshua Thomas preach. He warned them of the danger and told them God told him they could not take Baltimore and would not succeed in their battle.

I don't know how much of the defeat of the British at Ft. McHenry was due to this 'pep talk' that the Rev. Thomas gave them, but I understand some of them came back to Tangier and asked for his absolution. Parsonage for the Methodist Church. They tied up to the pilings across the ends of the slips the 3 pm boat leaves so that he won't be blocked in Tigger tied to the ends of the slips waiting.

I've decided to eat dinner at Crocketts family style which is up past the church. Parks tells us that she doesn't seat anyone after , so we start at and hike up there as fast as I can. Bob walking along the street. In they enlarged the building to 22 by In the house was again enlarged to accommodate the ever-increasing congregation. According to the sign on the church foundation wall, this church was renamed the Swain Memorial M.

Church in the year after the above was written. I presume he had died before the church was named after him, but I can't find any information out about that. The marble memorial was erected in his memory by the citizens of Tangier. Swain memorial. Tigger and RosalieAnn at Parks Marina. We tied up in Crisfield after a trip of There are many empty slips in the marina, but I suppose it is Sunday and everyone has to be back at work on Monday.

Somer's Marina. Crisfield calls itself the crab capitol.

The street signs in Crisfield all have an outline of a crab on them. This one was on the corner next to The Cove Restaurant. I don't know the significance of Charles Adams Corner. Street signs. It looks like the predicted winds are from the SW and will be good for getting back home today and there are possible thunderstorms again tomorrow. So we cast off relatively uneventfully about The Crab Place Truck. As the saying goes - don't take your boat "where the standing bird has a dry butt. For the rest of August, although I had another visit to the dentist, we spent some time eating hard crabs locally at a local crab house - the Drift Inn Drift Inn.

Our first trip in September was to the funeral of Bob's Aunt Eleanor. A sad occasion, but we could connect with family. We took another trip up to Baltimore in September to the dentist, and then we went to another local crab house - Seabreeze next to another crab house on the Patuxent, Sandgates Seabreeze placemat - instructions on eating hard crabs.

October Boat trip to the Southern Bay after which we hauled the boat. Bob wanted to put the boat up in the yard before the Oyster Festival the third weekend in October. But on the 1st of October I had the last dental appointment periodontal for this fall, and it looked like we'd have a bit of good weather to go out before we put the boat up for the winter and head south by car. We moved onto the boat and started to get ready to leave, but the winds knots had the boat heeling in the slip, and it made me very nervous. I convinced Bob to wait until tomorrow to go. We ate lunch at Courtneys since Schiebles is closed M-W in the off season.

Bob had a hamburger and cole slaw from the salad bar. They don't take credit cards. There was a group of 4 women and 2 men that came in after us and wanted to sit together. But a group of 3 had taken the table for 8 you seat yourself , so they had to make do with a smaller table with not quite as much room. Started the engine and cast off a little after 8. Bob started to back out before I had really undone the last line to the pier, and consequently, when I went to throw it on the pier, I missed and it went into the water which meant that when we got back, it was wet.

The marina is very calm. By , the wind had picked up to knots in the Potomac - we were past Point Lookout and are doing about 6 knots. We have decided to go to Jackson Creek off the Piankatank.

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We've never been there. So I called and made a reservation at the Deltaville Marina. Bob had the sails up.

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We motor sailed around Smith Point at doing 7 knots. Smith Point behind us with our wind generator. At 5 pm, the dock master took us up into town, and we walked around a bit Philippi Christian Church. The public library in Middlesex County, Virginia traces its beginning to when fifteen ladies formed a book club for the purpose of exchanging and enjoying the pleasures of reading together. The books were signed on the fly leaf when borrowed and returned, and some of these original books are still on the shelves of the Middlesex County Public Library today.

The formal establishment of the Library took place in It was housed in the Middlesex County Bank building in the town of Urbanna. A library funded by the U. The Deltaville Library was reorganized by volunteers in the 's and was incorporated in MCPL and is one of eleven independent public libraries in Virginia. Sno Shack. Going to Mobjack Bay Bob was impatient to take off this morning. He tried to use the men's bathrooms and the combination wouldn't open it, but the dockmaster told him that the door sticks - it wasn't someone with it locked from the inside.

All the lines on the pilings had to be untied as there were no cleats on the dock, so Bob got off the boat and untied them while I held onto one of the pilings so he'd be able to get back on. That was pretty easy as there was no wind or current. We cast off about I stood on the deck and took photos of the entrance channel. We followed another sailboat out. By we'd been 6 nm.

Sailboat leaving ahead of us. The new side curtains that Bob made are really nice and clear the old ones had gotten cracked and moldy and scratched. When it stops, we can see the big fans on the back Bob in the cockpit. When we pass Wolf Trap Light [which was an active lighthouse in ], I get a good photo of it. Wolf Trap is also the name of a concert venue near D. We have last night's dinner crab cake and fried chicken for lunch. It's still mostly a north wind, so we are still going south. I don't have the narrative for this section of the trip. Mobjack Bay has four rivers that feed into it.

There are not many marinas in this section. Shores of the Severn River. Mobjack Bay in the morning. We eat lunch. I try to take a picture of a sailboat going south, but miss it, and just get this picture of Bob in the cockpit. Bob in the cockpit. Because we'd gone the safe way on the way down, today when I plotted the route, I cut some corners, so we were at Broad Creek more quickly that I had estimated that we would be. When we enter Broad Creek, I call on the radio, and the marina doesn't answer so I call on the phone.

She said she'd gone to the bank and she'd be there by the time we were to help us tie up. She didn't realize that when I said we were entering Broad Creek we actually WERE entering Broad Creek she says people usually call from farther out and say they are entering the creek when really they are still out in the river. She said she saw our mast coming in from her car and she had to run down the dock to get there before we did.

She could have relaxed a little because I suggested that Bob turn around and tie up facing out so it will be quicker to get out tomorrow and that takes a couple of minutes. RosalieAnn in the marina. After I check in, I log on with the computer, and then find that they have a wireless network which I can access from the boat. We call and the Boathouse Cafe comes and picks us up for dinner. Boathouse Cafe. Sometime during the night a big catamaran came in and tied up in front of us.

RosalieAnn at the dock. Because we want to get all the way home today and Bob thinks it will be calm enough to take the sails off which we have to do before we haul the boat on Wednesday and it won't be calm enough any other day, we want to leave early. So we pushed off about with no problem and motored out of Broad Creek into the Rappahanock Crabbing in Rappahannock.

There is a lot of dew and condensation on the bimini, and again lots of fishermen out around the points like Windmill Point and Smith Point. Bob decides that we can take down the bimini while we are motoring, and then that will be done so we do that. We are motoring a bit faster higher rpms than we normally do. To take the bimini off, we have to untied it from the boom crutch, and then unzip the pockets for the frame. To collapse the frame, the boom first has to be moved all the way to one side. Then the boom is brought back to the center, and the bows of the bimini frame are lashed together so they lie flat on the cabin top forward of the cockpit.

Bob at the wheel without the bimini. We do take the sails off the boat and stow them, but then I am too tired to unload the boat I have to go down Tuesday and do that. Bob suggests going to the newly opened Spinnakers for dinner, but I'm too tired for that too. We hauled the boat for the winter. Welcome to the Festival. Most of the family converges on Leonardtown for the Oyster Festival which is the third weekend in October.

Unfortunately this year, one of my daughters had a minor operation the night before the festival, so her family couldn't come, and daughter 3 couldn't drive in from TX in the time available. So only one of my children on the extreme right in the expanded picture with the crab earrings and two of her children her two sons and her husband could attend the Oyster Festival with us.

The guy on the left with the beard and baseball hat is my oldest grandson. My granddaughter my daughter's daughter is in college in upstate NY. Daughter 3's in-laws came and ate with us even though she wasn't there her MIL is on the left, and her FIL is shaking hands with my grandson. They also brought with them their third son my daughters BIL and his new wife not pictured.

The middle person in the picture is a friend of my grandson, and the guy in back in the white jacket is my daughter's husband my SIL. Grandson and daughter in expanded picture. The first thing I usually get though is not beer, but is seafood chowder. Then we walk through behind the bandstand which had the St.

Mary's College Jazz Band playing on Saturday morning and secure a couple of picnic tables for our group. At various times, you could also hear the blues, and bluegrass music. I loved our local stuffed ham, and I normally get at least two stuffed ham sandwiches because this is about the only time that I get to have stuffed ham because my husband doesn't like ham at the best of times. Stuffed ham sandwich. This year you could get them on white pictured , wheat or potato rolls. I ate the white bread one, and took the potato roll one home for dinner. My husband got a bbq sandwich from the Jolly Gents booth for his dinner.

They have beef, pork and chicken sandwiches and also half chickens and the like. Pit beef booth. Grandson eating oyster stew. I think I've found a new favorite though - my daughter got carmel apple, which wasn't the usual candy apple type thing. Instead it was slices of apple in a cup with carmel drizzled over them making them a crisp sweet-tart finger food that is easy to eat. There is an oyster cookoff each year. There are awards for 4 different categories, and then a grand prize is awarded. He is the man in the hat with the brim whose head is behind King Oyster's oyster shell encrusted septre.

The cooking used to be across the street in the home ec. But it's gotten too big for that now. While the contest is going on, you can go and sample the dishes and vote on which one you like best. In addition to awards in the 4 categories, there is also a People's Choice award.

Shirley has been competing off and on since the first contest 25 years ago. Cookoff Awards. After each heat, the oysters are inspected for cleanliness and to see whether the oyster has been cut and time penalties are assessed for faults. Then the shucker takes his oysters and goes up to the fence around the ring and hands them out to the crowd for free.

The prime place to be during the oyster shucking is the bottom row in the grandstands so you can get to the fence to get your oysters. Plate of raw oysters. Sometimes it's really too hot to wear this robe, but not today. The extra warmth is welcome. The top shucker this year was Scott Styles, the owner of a direct mail business in San Antonio. His corrected time for opening 24 oysters was 2 minutes 48 seconds.

He beat Cathy Miliken, a NC nurse, who was the women's champion in a 'shuck-off'. This was Scott's fourth national title, and for winning he gets a trip to Galway Ireland for the international championship. He placed third the last time he went to the Irish contest, and hopes to do better this time. I understand that the oysters that are shucked in Ireland are a bit smaller and require a different technique than ours.

Someone with a sailboat like ours is repowering, while docked at Atlantic Yacht Basin in Great Bridge. They were selling some of their used engine parts. Bob wanted to buy the heat exchanger, but he did not trust a shipper to get it to him undamaged plus it would be expensive because it is heavy , so he said we'd come down and get it. I plotted the route and figured it would take about 4 hours each way - it is a little less than miles. I did the route two ways - one the quickest way which I thought would be down and then I to I, and the other via US Because we had a total of about miles to go, we had to leave early.

As we went over the bridge, I looked down at the Aqualand Marina on the north side for the first time. I didn't take any pictures though. The first part of the trip in Virginia was quite straightforward. Since I wanted to go by different routes even though it was rainy and overcast, and hard to take photos while underway in the car , we continued on US The highway at this point is a dual divided highway but is not limited access. Still, there wasn't too much cross traffic while we were going through the base.

Around Bowling Green, there is a bypass. Again you have to make the decision whether to continue on US or to cut across on VA to I We don't like I, which Bob says is an excuse for Virginia drivers to go 70 mph. OTOH, from this point is narrower and goes through some small towns. But I thought that it would be more relaxing and shorter to go on even if we had to go a bit slower , so that's what we did. There we saw a sign which seemed to point to a road on the right and said "". So Bob turned on it. The road got narrower and narrower, and crossed railroad tracks. We hadn't seen a sign or any sign for some time and we were proceeding slowly behind a garbage truck.

I had and I hope it is temporary lost the connector to attach the laptop to the car battery, so I was not using the GPS tracking system. It seemed easier at this point just to cut over onto I, and it wasn't too long after that before we were on the Richmond Bypass I and then I We made pretty good time except for that unexpected detour.

By then we'd been on the road 2 hours and had traveled miles. After I put the computer away and wrote the mileages down, and he had been to the restroom, and gotten back to the car, I went in. The leaves were turning, but the skies were dark and it was rainy and misty the whole day.

Also I and I are concrete roads and riding over the joints was very jarring. As we got into the Hampton Roads area "Hampton Roads" is the historic name for the five-mile wide, and ten miles long part of the James River before it empties into Chesapeake Bay, plus the Elizabeth River and the Nansemond River where they empty into the James River.

The Peninsula cities of Newport News and Hampton are linked to the South Hampton Roads cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Virginia Beach by two separate four-lane Interstate highway bridge-tunnels , we saw signs which indicated that there were construction delays on the I bridge tunnel crossing into Norfolk. We had already entered a construction zone. So instead of going around Norfolk on the east via I as we had intended, we took I This is a Then we rejoined I I and I together are designated and signed as the Hampton Roads Beltway and went down VA Route like I had planned except for coming from the other direction.

Doing it this way meant we crossed the big high draw bridge which requires 24 hours advance request to open across the Elizabeth River which is just before the turnoff to the Dismal Swamp Canal. We could see the first marina on Deep Creek from the bridge. We saw some boats going down to the Virginia Cut, but none doing the alternate Dismal Swamp route.

On the banks of the Elizabeth River at this point are numerous coal yards which I have previously photographed from the river. We got to Great bridge after miles at which meant that it took us 3. We told our friends we'd be there by , so we had time to eat lunch before we tried to find their boat in the yard. Traffic was frenetic in Great Bridge, and I had a hard time seeing where the restaurants were in time to decide to get into the correct lane to turn into one so we went back to El Toro Loco Restaurante Mexicano and Cantina which we had liked when we ate there in the spring.

They seated us immediately and the waitress had the chips and two kinds of salsa dip on the table before we were even seated. Bob took off immediately for the bathroom so I ordered iced tea for both of us. When I looked up, I noticed that I could see our reflection in the glass overhead. It was backed with something red, which I initially thought was glass that was cracked, and then thought might be fabric with cracked glass underneath.

But I eventually decided it was film overlay which had cracked on glass. I took a photo. What do you think? We were finished our lunch by and then went down and talked to our friends and picked up the heat exchanger. We left the marina at about 2 pm. As we came out onto the road, Bob commented that it was about time for the bridge to go up, and sure enough - there went the warning horns. We stopped behind a police car and watched a southbound sailboat and several power boats go through the bridge. No one was coming north. After the bridge went back down, we retraced our route back across the Elizabeth River photo below.

Rainy days can be good for pictures, but not while someone else is driving you in the car as fast as possible over bumps and with wipers that don't wipe well on the passenger's side. On the way back it was even more nasty. We turned off onto Rt 17 from I, but apparently the bridge over the York River at Yorktown was stuck open. At least after we'd been sitting there for half an hour from to pm and listening to the recorded message on AM channel which kept repeating that the bridge was going to open at 2 and to expect about a 20 minute delay that was my conclusion.

So we went up the shoulder to a cross street, and went back to I We turned into Rte 33 at about 4 pm. I did get some reasonably good pictures of the paper mill in West Point from the car At about 5 pm, we got fuel diesel south of Tappahannock Bob says as we go north it gets more expensive. We also used the rest room. We also stopped for dinner at Riverbank Cafe and Seafood. Oysters in the shell were 25 cents a piece. We walked in at and were finished dinner which the lady cooked fresh to order by They closed at 6 and so we ate fast and I got the bread pudding to go We got home at pm after a trip from Great Bridge of 5.

That includes waiting for the Great Bridge bridge, a half an hour stuck in traffic near Yorktown, a 10 minute gas and rest stop, and a 20 minute dinner stop. It was too dark for me to see the mileage.