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Sunday, October 15, 2006

01 OCT thru 15 OCT 06, Ocracoke Island, NC

GPS Position: 35°06’.867N: 75°59’.084W

Knowing we'd be pulling an all-nighter, we departed Norfolk at 1215 EST on 3 October 06 and made our way across the channel to the Portsmouth Boat Yard to take on fuel. We took on 20 gallons of fuel and were on our way by 1300 hours to the thundering roar of eight Navy helicoptors flying overhead.

The weather has been fair for most of the day, the wind has been good at 15 Kts and, once we turned north, we were able to furl out the sails. Our speed has averaged 8.6 Kts over ground, so were making great time up the Chesapeake Bay. The point of the wind has begun to shift around to the North, however, so we’ll soon have to strike the sails and go the rest of the way by engine alone. If we keep on at anywhere close to our current speed, we’ll better the 20 hours estimated transit time by quite a bit.

The Chesapeake is absoultely georgeous at night! The water is dead flat calm and there's not even a ripple except those caused by our own boat. From all we've heard about the Bay at this time of year, this must be a very rare weather occourance. But, we'll take it, not complain one bit and enjoy this beautiful night crossing.It was 0712 EST when we arrived off of Annapolis, MD. The 160-mile trip took us 18.2 hours and our average speed was 7.6 knots. We're actually a day early and we're both pretty tired after the run up here, so we dropped anchor just outside of Annapolis Harbor, off of the US Naval Academy, and went to sleep until 1230 hrs.

I called into the Yacht Basin Marina and found that they could take us a day early, so we motored into the harbor and prepared to dock in our slip.

This place is a madhouse. There are people trying to sail boats and drive powerboats EVERYWHERE! We were almost hit by a two masted yawl that didn’t see we were anchored until it was less than 20 yards from our boat on a collision course. We finally made it to our slip unscathed, however, and tied up without further incident.

We washed down the boat, secured all equipment and then went out for an early dinner in town. Then, after a short walk around town and a vist to the gates of the Naval Academy, we’ve retired early so we can get up tomorrow, tour the area and take in all that the town of Annapolis has to offer. We can hardly wait!

We spent Thursday walking all over Annapolis, visiting the State Capitol and taking a walking tour of the United States Naval Academy. The Naval Academy has to be the most awe inspiring place in America and it's great to know that there are still young men and women in this country of the calibre exhibited at the Academy.

Friday, the weather changed for the worse and cold, wind and rain moved into the area. The first N'oreaster of the year disrupted the boat show and made for a wet and soggy visit. Then, on Sunday, the tide was extra high and most of the display areas and temporary piers were underwater. In addition to the show proper, many of the surrounding businesses were flodded out by the high water. So, if you could find a dry, warm restaurant or bar serving Hot Toddies or Hot Buttered Rum, you could count on it being crowded and their being a long wait to get inside.

Even with all of the bad weather and flooding, the boat show turned out to be pretty cool. We puechased a wind generator for the boat and a lot of small convenience items to make life aboard somewhat easier.

We're supposed to have another weather window beginning the 9th, so we'll probably take advantage of it and head back down the east coast and points south

We pulled out of Annapolis at 1055 EST and circled around the perimeter of the show, so Kim could get some final pictures of the harbor and a couple of the boats that had come in for the show. Then it was back down the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, VA.

We arrived in Norfolk early on 10 Oct 06 and anchored off of Hospital Point at 0600 EST exactly. We'll wait here until morning and make all of the bridges and locks heading south.

From Norfolk, we made Coinjock, VA in a single day of sailing. From Coinjock it was one more day back to Manteo, NC and a visit with some of the people we met on our last visit here.

After checking with several sailors, we learned that the Outer banks Channel is open all the way to Ocracoke, NC. And at a depth of 12’ minimum. So, we decided to give it a whirl and visit Ocrakoke Island.

We struck out at 0800 EST on the 15th and headed south. As promised by our informants, the transit was smooth and the scenery beautiful. The inner banks are full of Porpoise and birds of all kinds; all feeding off of the fish that fill these waters.

After a peaceful trip down the inside of the Outer Banks, we finally made Ocracoke Island at 1830 EST. After waiting for an incoming ferry to dock and clear the harbor, we tied up at the dock, just in time to watch a SUPER sunset. Life is so good!

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