Friday, May 25, 2012

Stats Year One

3,514 nautical miles !

As we complete nearly one year of cruising and living aboard our sailboat, I wanted to reflect on some summary statistics. We take a lot of digital photos as we travel and this year we set a record in photos and in nautical miles.

Here is the summary:

How Far did we SAIL?

May 2011....Crew on Larking About, an Island Packet 40: Bermuda to Maryland.................700 nm
June-Sept 2011....Sail Island Spirit: Maryland to Maine back to Maryland........................1,563 nm
Oct 2011 - May 2012...Sail Island Spirit: Maryland to Florida to Abacos to Maryland.....3,514 nm

Total Miles traveled in this first year of cruising .............................................5,777 nautical miles!
Note: You can see our Google Map of the ICW to Bahamas trip here.

How many Photos did we take?

Summer Maryland to Maine............4,405 photos
ICW south to Florida.......................4,915 photos
Bahamas..........................................3,171 photos
ICW north back to Maryland...........1,333 photos

TOTAL PHOTOS TAKEN............13,824 photos!
  • Of these 13,824 photos, we blogged 2,146 photos here on this blog.
  • Of these 2,146 photos, we selected 318 best photos and created our VIDEO PHOTO ESSAY HERE.
    • NOTE: I have a typo in this video of 2,514 nm, it was 3,514 nautical miles.
What Cameras do we have?
  1. Canon EOS D30 with 300 mm lens and a 28-75 mm lens.
  2. Canon PowerShot SX130 which is a 12.1 megapixel camera
How do we process photos?
  • We use Google's Picasa photo application and we store all photos locally on our own laptops and portable USB drives.
  • We process each blog photo down to 1024 x 768 image size.
  • We upload these images into the blog and have them presented at medium size
  • Blog pictures can be clicked on and then they are presented full screen size.
What is next?
  • We have enjoyed this first year's planned adventure so much that we both have decided to do it AGAIN next fall.  After the ICW and Florida, we will explore the Exumas and lower Bahamas and then come back north into the Abacos. 
  • We both agree....there is no better life than cruising aboard our boat!
Hayden and Radeen sail north under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, returning HOME from the Bahamas, year #1 completed

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Video Reflection 1yr

Here is an 11 minute video reflection of the year just completed aboard our cruising sailboat. This captures the year from Maine to Key West to Abaco Bahamas and back to Maryland. These images were selected from the 2,500 best blog images.  Grab a coffee, or tea, set back and enjoy our photo essay with a little Kenny G, In the Moment...
Thank you for following our adventures!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chesapeake Bay to Rock Hall MD

Island Spirit's bow reaches the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
in our HOME waters!
We set a new record running north as we ran 87 nautical miles from Portsmouth VA up the Elizabeth River to the Chesapeake Bay and north to the Honga River, where we dropped the hook after 13 hours of motor sailing.

We are running with our team leader, SP Catspaw as we make our way home to Rock Hall, MD. Day two, we ran 67 nautical miles from the Honga River to Rock Hall, MD departing at 0601 and arriving RHMD at 1800.
Photo from SP Catspaw as we reach the bridge
Thank you Carey

Passing under the center span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge returns us to our "HOME" waters, a place where we have sailed since 1984. We recall when leaving the sight of the Rock Hall Water Towers seemed like a long way "out" on the water and we would quickly turn around if we lost sight of them. Now, with 2,500+ nautical miles under our keel since October, 22, 2011, the Bay seems a bit smaller.

Radeen...on the bow at the Bay Bridge, 2012.....we did it...

Hayden, happy and proud to accomplish our first year aboard
It is funny how your perspective keeps changing as you sail more, travel greater distances, and discover new horizons. We now think that running to Miami is simply a bunch of 50 mile days or a few offshore legs. We still enjoy the Bay, and we feel very much at home here, and we especially feel at home in Rock Hall, MD. We know the people, we have good friends here, and we have the support of the Island Packet Yacht Dealer, Gratitude Yachting who hooked us on sailing Island Packets back in 1988. Thank you, Ed Kurowski, we are still enjoying the ride.

Our HOME docks

Gratitude Yachting Logo
So, as we cross the sand bar off town and round G"5" near the familiar Rock Hall tower, we motor into Swan Creek, waving at the Gratitude Yachting Center staff and thanking them for the many happy years and dreams their boats have given us.

Beyond Gratitude, we pull into Spring Cove Marina, where we have docked our boats since 1991. Madelyn Reni, the owner, is such a good friend and she always makes us feel welcome and at home. She also provided a slip for our Team Leader, buddy boat and good friend, Carey, on SP Catspaw. Thank you, Madelyn, for welcoming us back... It is great to be HOME.....

see our GOOGLE MAP OF 2,500+ nautical miles....what a year

Note: Full summary and reflection post to follow....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Portsmouth VA

Portsmouth VA docked near Olde Town...great place
Buddy Boat Cutter Loose, Island Spirit, and Team Leader Catspaw
Arriving Portsmouth VA, from Great Bridge and the ICW, we have reached ICW mile marker 001. That means that we have now completed the Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to Florida into the Keys and up the west coast of Florida to Punda Gorda. We are feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride as we complete this first year of full-time cruising, living aboard our Island Packet 35.

Here in Portsmouth, VA, we always take a few days and enjoy the Olde Towne with great restaurants, pubs, bakeries and movie theater. We rode the paddle wheel ferry over to the Norfolk side of the Elizabeth River at Watersides and walked to the mall where we were overwhelmed by the USA marketing machine. We bought nothing....because we need nothing...yet it was still fun to act like you were shopping for something that you really didn't need. Cruising does change your perspective on what is really needed, and this trip into an upscale mega mall reminded us of just how much we have been changed by this year afloat.

The final run NORTH up the Chesapeake Bay
The weather turned on us as a low pressure built off the coast of Carolina and kicked up N and NE winds of 20+ knots. The course up the Chesapeake Bay is due North. So, with a North or Northeast wind of 20-25 knots, the seas come up and we really did not want to bash into that for 150 miles.

With that situation, we simply remained at dock for 4 days in Portsmouth, waiting for the winds to move to the East which they will do tomorrow, Monday. So we will depart for our final push up the Bay which we plan in 2 long 75 mile days or 3 50 mile days. Either way, we will be back "HOME" in Rock Hall, MD by mid week. The journey's end is in sight.....and what a truly wonderful trip it has been....

Photos of Portsmouth

Radeen at Great Bridge Lock

Overview of a loaded barge at dock with a crane off loading gravel
Check out the scale of this photo...then look at next picture close up!

'HEY BOSS.....This is going to take a while!"
I wonder how long it takes to off load a barge of gravel one scoop at a time?!

Railroad Bridge and Gilmerton Lift Bridge arriving Norfolk VA

The harbor is large, commercial and so busy, very interesting section

Our Portsmouth VA docking location along the city wall with Cutter Loose & Catspaw

Patrica on Cutter Loose prepared a beautiful french toast breakfast.

Coconut Bread from Hope Town, Bahamas, saved for this day...
Thank you Patricia and Eric, you guys are the fleet's best chefs!
Thank you Portsmouth VA for your wonderful hospitality and great Olde Town historic section. We sincerely appreciate this city....

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Sunrise entering the Pungo River Canal 
Traveling north from Beaufort NC and up to Oriental, NC then on through the Pungo River Canal and into the Albemarle Sound was another very interesting and winding section of the waterway. Cypress swamps of the Pungo River Canal and open water sailing on, the Neuse River and Albemarle Sound make this one of the most enjoyable sections. We ran 65 miles from Alligator River to Great Bridge Lock, on the Virginia Cut side.

We usually run up to Elizabeth City and the Dismal Swamp, but the draw of the wonderful Mexican restaurant, El TORO LOCO, at Great Bridge was too much to pass up so we came north on the Virginia Cut. Carey, on SP CATSPAW, our team leader led us to the FREE dock just north of the Great Bridge lift bridge. We were docked just after the 1700 bridge opening and off to the Mexican restaurant by 1800 hrs!

We will press on a short day today, making Portsmouth and hopefully the High Street Ferry Basin as we need to wait out the 15-20 knots of NE winds that will have the Chesapeake Bay kicked up with 3-4 foot waves! Looks like it will be a few days in Portsmouth and Norfolk, VA....not a bad place to wait out some weather!

Photos from this section of the ICW-NC
Salt Spray on Neuse River after washing and hand drying the boat! 

Fishing docks and fuel docks

Tannin stained waters of the Pungo Canal

Cypress Swamp of the Pungo River Canal

"Mosey," a handmade welded yacht passes us on Alligator River

Tugboat named ANGER MANAGEMENT pushing a crane to Norfolk at 4 knots.
Pushing at only 4 knots?  I, too, would need Anger Management!

Cernterville swing bridge, Virginia Cut

Free DOCK at Great Bridge on the north side
NOTE: Mosey, the yacht that passed us is here also....she is hand built!
OK....time to relax after long days and enjoy Portsmouth, VA!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Beaufort-Cape Lookout

Patricia and Kate with the Doodles
Arriving Beaufort, NC we reconnected with some of the greatest people we have ever met, fellow Island Packet Owners, Greg and Kate, whom we count as family. We have been targeting this date all the way from Vero Beach, Fl and we MADE IT...and we had a great visit with a wonderful meal on the waterfront. Greg and Kate own IP350 Ei'Lean and they are also avid "Road Warriors" as they hit the road with their 37' fifth wheel and diesel truck. It was great to catch up with them before they depart on this year's Arizona out west trip. You can follow their adventure blog here...

Cape Lookout Lighthouse and Lighthouse Keeper's Home

The weather was perfect for making a side trip 12 miles southeast to Cape Lookout where we anchored out with buddy boat IP460 Cutter Loose. We enjoyed exploring the lighthouse keeper's home, the ocean beaches and the beautiful Cape Lookout Bight. It was beautiful and surprisingly un-crowded for a lovely Saturday.

IP460 Cutter Loose arriving River Dunes, NC

After one day at Cape Lookout, which was not enough, we pressed on north to arrive at River Dunes, a most beautiful resort marina. Here we re-connected with our Team Leader, Carey on SP Cruiser Catspaw. It was great to get back together again as we have shared New England to Abacos together and now we will run to the Chesapeake.

The interesting aspect to running the ICW is the fact that you keep running into people you have met along the way. You get ahead of someone and then take a few days off, then they pass you and you meet up again in another harbor. It is that way with the 40' Beneteau GOOSE BUMPS, with Mike and Barb from Stuart FL. We first met them in Man-O-War Abacos, then on a cocktail dinghy drift in Marsh Harbor and here they are in River Dunes, running for the Chesapeake, too.

Docked at River Dunes

River Dunes Clubhouse and floating docks...beautiful

Hot tub and pool overlooks our dock 
Patricia, Kate and Radeen enjoying Champagne
Crowded day at Cape Lookout, NC beach

Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Black Diamonds point North/South, White Diamonds point East/West
The paintings are called the DAY MARK to identify each lighthouse during the day from sea!

 It is a small world out here, with everyone looking out for each other, so helpful and friendly. Cruising is a wonderful life....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

ICW SC-NC Photos

Lift Bridges, Swing Bridges, Shrimp Boats, Tidal Rivers, Cypress Swamps, Tug Boats, Bulk Carriers, Steel Mills, Sunrises, Pink Houses and more...a photo essay of the ICW South Carolina to North Carolina...