Saturday, October 31, 2009

Current Position

At 6:54 PM on 10/31/2009 Reboot (and I) were at 31°40.00'N 081°09.73'W heading 306T at 0.1

Friday, October 30, 2009

Current Position

At 6:53 AM on 10/30/2009 Reboot (and I) were at 32°33.59'N 080°24.11'W heading 190T at 0.2

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Current Position

At 5:17 PM on 10/27/2009 Reboot (and I) were at 33°31.39'N 078°31.95'W heading 228T at 6.5

Monday, October 26, 2009

October26th - Beaufort NC to Wrightsville

My care package arrived at noontime today.  I don’t usually wait as late in the day to depart but I had to move Reboot out of the marina or pay another hefty sum to spend the night.  Since I am on a very tight budget moving won out.

I had a so so weather window.  The good news was that the wind was from the NW at 20 to 25 with seas of 3 to 5 feet.  The bad news was that it was overcast with the possibility of rain.  Net net, as we used to say, it was a very fast sleigh ride down the coast to about 20 miles north of Cape Fear.  I tried to round Cape Fear and keep on going all night but the wave action was rolling Reboot quite a bit and I did not want to venture further offshore to get a stable boat when I could duck in at Masonboro Inlet, pick up the ICW to go around Cape Fear, and then go back outside to travel direct Charleston, NC.

On the way down I ran into two large and several small US Navy ships engaged in military exercises off Camp Lejeune.  I can remember the day when I used to be on one of those ships – either Saipan or Boulder.  I had a nice chat with them as in “do you hold the sailboat approximately 2 miles off your starboard bow?”  Then, after a minute, “Oh yes, we have you in sight.”  Nice, I wonder what the guys in the Combat Information Center (CIC) were doing.  Most likely so focused on their exercise they were not paying attention to me.

I arrived at Masonboro Inlet (Wrightsville, NC) at about 2300 local and almost ended the journey a few hundred yards offshore.  It seems that there is a new jetty that does not show on the charts.  And it sticks out past my GPS “safe” arrival point.  So there it was, dead ahead.  Of course to add drama there was fog.  The good news is that there were also some new entrance buoys that didn’t show on my chart either.  Fortunately I had not disconnected the radar as I had planned.  A combination of charts, radar and dead slow got me to a safe anchorage for the night.  In general it is not wise to arrive in a new location after dark.  I was not wise today.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oriental, NC

I ducked into Oriental, North Carolina to avoid a bad weather forecast.  I was glad that I did as my two day stay was great fun.  As I was coming in I became aware that there was a free town dock with a 48 hour limit of stay.  There are only two slips and fortunately one was empty so I slid on in.  Of course my depth sounder read 0.0 feet but it seemed like Reboot was still floating so I tied up,

I had stopped at the fuel dock to refuel. Since the fuel in the jerry cans was about 2 months old I refueled from the cans and then had the marina refill the cans.  That was when it became apparent that I could scoot over to the public dock.  Since it gets occupied very quickly the marina manager suggested I take the boat over and come back for the cans.  So I did.  On the way back to pick up the cans I discovered a tent being erected for a pig roast and talked to “Tennessee Bob.”  He told me that the roast was a benefit for “Girls on the Run.”  Tickets were only $10 so of course I purchased one.  Good decision, it turns out there were only 300 tickets and I purchased one of the last ones.

The pig roast was great, but the clear highlight of the trip was having dinner with Carol Baldwin (Cook) from North Shore High School ’64.  It never ceases to amaze me how small a world this really is.

I was disappointed by one thing.  I left on Sunday to be in Beaufort, NC to pick up a care package on Monday.  My disappointment?  The Marine Corps is attacking Oriental on Monday and Tuesday.  Apparently a close air support Marine group is in the final stages of training and they are going to sneak into Oriental and laze targets at which point the jets and helos are going to come in and attack.  No live fire of course, but it would have been fun to watch.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nautical Silks

A great gift idea from my friend Laura …

Nautical Silks               for more information Contact:
2976 N. Cambridge Ave.

                                                                                              Milwaukee, WI  53211




For Immediate Release

Get wrapped up in a work of art. Nautical Silks is a new line of original, hand-painted silk scarves by Laura Livermore, featuring nautical artwork.  Each scarf is made to order.  The designs, painted with French dyes, are inspired by traditional nautical signal flags and can be customized with your boat name, club name or other personal message.

Laura, the designer, felt there was a need to have a stylish and feminine touch to women’s sailing attire.  Somehow the polo shirt and matching team hat just weren’t cutting it.

A Nautical Silks scarf is an elegant, easy-care fashion accessory that lets you step off the boat in style. A perfect gift for women who take their fashion as seriously as they take their boating. 

 (Pictures here, having trouble showing, please visit Laura site to see them)        

Luxurious 100% silk combines elegance, durability and easy care

  • Hand washable and color fast

  • Hand-rolled hem

  • 4 colors

  • 3 basic styles

  • Unlimited possibilities

Nautical Silks is a new division of Silk by Laura established in 2000. European trained silk artist Laura Livermore shows her work in art fairs and galleries throughout the United States


Friday, October 23, 2009

Peeps is Back

Peeps the autopilot is back!

Mile 159.7 Anchorage

October 2009

On west side, saw one sailboat at anchor

Mile 154.1 ICW - Anchorage

October 2009

Anchorage on the west side, approximately 8 – 10 feet of water.  I shared it with 6 other boats.

Underway Visit from the Coast Guard

Since the weather was fine but going to get worse at the end of the week I decided to leave Elizabeth City a day early.  So did everyone else.  By the time I got up almost every other southbound boat had already departed.  Elizabeth City is the home of the largest Coast Guard Air Base so it did not come as a great surprise to see USCG Helicopters and small boats driving around in the Elizabeth River.  I was also not surprised when I heard a Coast Guard small boat hailing several of the sailboats that had been at the dock on the previous night.  In fact, there was a certain level of relief when they boarded the sailboat that had left right before me.  I figured that they would be tied up with her and I would just ease on down the river.


I am sure you have anticipated the punch line. They were more than happy to zoom on down to where I was and invite themselves aboard.  The visit was short, friendly and professional.   It was also obvious that the Elizabeth River is a great training aid for the Coasties.  I would bet they are out every day.


I passed with “no violation.”  I also got a document commemorating the visit.  This is apparently useful as they do ask when you were last boarded underway and if you have the paperwork aboard.  I presume that if it was recent they will leave you alone and head on to the next vessel.

Happy Birthday Trevor!

Today (October 22, 2009) is Trevor’s birthday.  And in celebration a pod of dolphins greeted Reboot this morning in the Alligator River.  Cool!


Much of the ICW in Virginia and North Carolina passes thru swampland.  I expected to have the same experience that Jerry and I did on the Erie Canal passing thru the Montezuma Refuge – lots of aloe and Benadryl to deal with numerous bug bites.  In fact every residence I passed had a screen in porch.  Why am I telling you this now?  It seems I have made it far enough South that there has not been the cold nights or killing frost that suppressed the insect population.  Last night I was visited by mosquitoes for the first time since the Montezuma Refuge in upstate New York.


Then again, it is nice that it is getting warm at night time again.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mile 28 Dismal Swamp Route - ICW - Uncharted Hazard

October 2009

Mile 28

North Carolina Welcome Center

150 Foot dock on East Side

Water at North end of Dock, Faucet is hard to find, on face of dock about 8 feet south of the north end.  Not the faucet at the water fountain.  Rest rooms, no showers, pump out or electric

People in the welcome center are very friendly.  Free internet access on Welcome Center computer.  The welcome center staff will give you the boater’s packet of information when you walk in.  They are very friendly.

Uncharted Hazard

North Carolina has constructed a bridge across the ICW just south of the welcome center.  The structure takes 3 ½ minutes to open from the closed position.  It connects the welcome center with a State Park on the opposite side.  The bridge tender on duty said that they watch the canal and open if they see a boat.  There was no telephone number or horn signal posted.  If closed I would suggest the normal long – short horn sequence to get their attention.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ICW October20th - Even a Stone Heart can Break

I woke this morning to 43 degrees F in Reboot.  Burrrrrrrr.  I set out at about dawn.  At 10 AM it was still cold.  The Dismal Swamp Canal is lined by trees on both sides so until the sun gets way up in the sky it really does not warm the canal.


I am used to being worried about hitting bascule bridges as I pass thru.  I was not prepared to have to pay attention to the tree branches that hang over the canal.  It is pretty easy to pay attention to the first 10 feet up, but my mast goes up 60 feet!  I learned the hard way when I trimmed a tree.  The branches were thank goodness small so I just got a shower of old dead branches with no harm done to Reboot.


It feels strange to see the depth gauge reading 1 to 3 feet all of the time.  Normally that would have me concerned but of course the canal only guarantees a 6 foot depth and I draw 5 feet.


Once clear of the South Mills Bridge and Lock the canal continues for a couple of miles.  It is a canal, narrow, shallow, tree lined on both sides.  One has to pay continuous attention not only to the sides of the canal but also the trees overhead.  And then it happens.  The canal section ends and puts you into the Pasquotank River.  The upper section winds around bend after bend.  Although wider than the canal it is still narrow but beautiful.  I felt like I was in a James Fennimore Cooper novel like Last of the Mohicans.  The connection to the primordial was amazing!  Not quite Heart of Darkness as there was no sense of brooding but cool none the less.


I have uploaded some pictures to Facebook (“RebootRacing”) of the sloop parade.  Since we all bunch up at the locks we end up going down the river single file.  I was last so I was able to drop back and pretend I was on the river alone to enjoy the solitude.


I arrived in Elizabeth City but of course I was too late for the free wine and cheese party. Perhaps tomorrow night as I came this way to explore.  Elizabeth City has quite a few museums and landmarks.  More tomorrow




Mile 11 Dismal Swamp Route ICW

October 2009

Tied up just south of the Deep Creek Bridge which is 500 yards south of the lock.  Approximately 55 foot dock on east side.  I tried a U-turn but failed as the canal is narrow with a strong current and I could not get the bow around.  If I had someone on the bow to tell me how much room I had left I might have accomplished it.  In the end backed into the dock.  Since I was set up for a starboard side tie for the lock everything had to go over to the port side.

Hardees across the street.

Mexican restaurant next to the dock

Rite-Aid pharmacy and 7-11 across the bridge – a short walk.

Nofolk to Deep Creek Bridge via the Dismal Swamp Route

I left Norfolk Naval Base mid-morning to head down the ICW.  Wind was out of the North and had been sustained enough for the waves to build.  As forecast the wind clocked around as I was heading down along the piers and the sun was a welcome sight after three days of wind, overcast, and rain.


Securite – Securete – Securete …

They do it differently down here!  It is followed (sometimes) by “This it the Coast Guard vessel “name” escorting a Navy Submarine.  Please maintain a 1000 yard security zone around the submarine.  The use of force, including deadly force is authorized.”  Then they call out ships (including the big container guys) and tell them what to do – stop, turn, go backwards.  It is a far cry from the tour boats in the Milwaukee River announcing their intentions.


I am headed south along the ICW using the Dismal Swamp Route.  Like the Erie Canal it is tedious.  The channel is narrow and shoals often so you have to pay attention.  Unlike the Erie Canal I have found myself with boats (“snowbirds”) ahead and behind me all the way.


I stopped around 4 pm in the little town of Deep Creek for the night.  I am tied up just below the Route 17 Bridge. It seems I can’t get away from Route 17.


A sundowner and a quiet night ahead.


Photos on the Rebootracing pages of Facebook


Trivia item:  Today I passed the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) memorial.  I have been a resident of every state that had an Iowa class battleship named for it:  Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri, and Wisconsin.  I am glad World War II ended or I might have to move again1

Clear Channel

Back in the early days of broadcast radio the Federal Communications Commission issued “clear channel” AM broadcast licenses.  The idea was that local broadcast stations could share the airwaves with certain generally big city radio stations but at night the “clear channel” stations had no other competition.  Supposedly big city stations had better access to news and public opinion than the small local stations. At least that is what their lobbyists convinced the FCC over 3 martini lunches.  Several of the New York City Stations – WOR, NBC, ABC, CBS, and WINS were clear channel stations   Most of the clear channel stations had very high power output e.g. 50,000 watts so that they could cover large areas of the U.S.  Since I have an SSB radio on board and the antenna is a long wire (the backstay) it turns out I have a great rig for listening to the New York City broadcast stations.  Of course they don’t play rock and roll any more (“This is Murray the K on the swinging soirée”) But I get that sense of home.  This morning I was told that Obama is back to campaigning again (did he ever stop?) today in New Jersey for the Governor’s race.  I am not sure I needed this information.


Speaking of clear – I am going South to get warm and there was a frost alert in Virginia this morning (October 20th.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autopilot installed at last, waiting for a weather window

Of course, not only were the wires on the new autopilot control head different.  The mounting was different.  So I had to drill out part of the cockpit dashboard to get the new control head to fit.  The circle drill was under about five other boxes way in the back of the stern cabin.  And the soldering gun was in another box somewhere in the same area.  And the electrical tape … well you get the general idea.  Now I have to figure out how much of the “commissioning” is actually necessary.  Commissioning is the process of setting the operating parameters for the autopilot.  The computer is the same; it is just the display that is different so I am not exactly sure how much needs to be set up again.


If it works OK I will be on my way to Key West.  I figure it will take a couple of months of taking it easy each day and exploring along the way until I get there.  Now I go from waiting for parts to waiting for a weather window to depart.  I could actually leave today or tomorrow, the boat could handle the weather, but I am not really in the mood to spend two days in cold and rain when the sun is forecast to come out on Monday.  The next couple of days (Tuesday etc.) are forecast to be sunny and nice.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Am I crazy

Thanks to Dan – if you every wonder if I am crazy please enjoy the following:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Autopilot Control Head!

It arrived – of course in New Jersey.  But Ace and Bill were up for an aviation boondoggle so they flew it down to me in Norfolk.  Of course this was supposed to be a visit but as the weather continued to deteriorate I got a “Hi, we have to leave, here is your mail and the box” and off they went back to Norfolk Airport. I got back to Reboot and opened the box.  I had been warned by Raymarine that this was a slightly different model then the one I had sent in, and mine was not repairable so they were going to replace it instead.  Slightly different meant that the wire pigtails that were attached to my old unit were not attached to the new unit.  Raymarine had changed the interconnect cables!  So of course I could not hook this one up to see if it worked.


This morning I called Trident, the local Raymarine repair shop.  Joy of joys he had the parts I needed to hook up the new control head.  Of course it is raining cats and dogs here and the control head is out in the cockpit so I am deferring the test until the rain stops.


It is getting cooler here every day and I realized that if I headed up the Chesapeake Bay I would delay my departure South by at least two weeks.  Since installing the heater became a lower priority once I decided not to visit PEI and Nova Scotia this fall, and since the shore power heater is not working for lack of a circulating pump it can get a bit chilly on Reboot.  I expect to leave in the next few days and start my trek south toward Key West down the ICW.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Today is the Navy’s Birthday.  It celebrates the Act of Congress that gave General Washington, who was busy fighting the Revolutionary War – in particular in the area of Boston MA, the ability to commission ships to fight for the United States.  So raise your glass and toast the US Navy!  (West Marine carries a great book George Washington’s Navy.  I am sure Trevor could send you a copy.)


I received my West Marine “care package” today.  Thank you Dan for getting it shipped to me.  I was looking for a couple of boxes but Dan put all the little parts inside the big housing that I had ordered.

I left JEB Little Creek Fort Story at about 1:30 this afternoon and headed for Navy Operating Base Norfolk.  I had been in Little Creek for almost two weeks and other transients were in need of the pier head where I had been docked.   Rain is forecast for the next couple of days, it was a gorgeous afternoon of light winds and calm seas, so I headed over to Norfolk Naval Base, a trip of about 7 nautical miles.  It is in the Elizabeth River which is at the lower left hand corner of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Elizabeth River is also the start of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) aka “The Ditch.”


Why do I love the Navy?

  1. When I arrived three gentlemen were waiting on the dock to help me tie up.
  2. When I checked in I was offered a free bicycle and helmet to get around the base
  3. I was also offered rides to the Commissary and Post Exchange (PX) or anywhere else on base I needed to go.
  4. When I returned from checking in one of my dock makes struck up the typical where are you coming from, where are you going to, is there anything I can do to help conversation.  I mentioned that I did need to get to the Commissary sometime in the next couple of days to purchase food.  He pulled out the keys to his truck, said “why don’t you borrow my truck”, then walked me out and showed me on the base map how to get there and back.
  5. Since the Commissary is off base I had to go out and then back in one of the base gates.  I needed a shower, my hair was long and greasy, and I was dressed in torn shorts and a West Marine (there it is again) T-Shirt.  The very squared away sailor at the gate took one look at my ID Card, snapped a salute, and said in the most sincere voice “Have a great rest of the day Captain.”
  6. As I was putting the covers on Reboot the gentleman in the slip next to mine returned from a days sailing.  I of course stopped what I was doing and did the line handling thing for him.  And of course once we got him tied up and both boats bedded down he asked: “Is there anything you need?  Can I give you a ride anywhere?”


Now it is true that cruising sailors are a very helpful, warm and friendly group.  I am sure as I continue my travels I will have many similar experiences with non-Navy people.  But my 30 years in the Navy are about the only constant in my life, many jobs, many cities, and many ….  Well, some of you know what I mean by the last comment.  So I have a very warm part of my heart reserved for Sailors and Marines.  It appears they have a warm spot for us old retired salts too!

For the hardware types: This is the biggest Navy base on the East Coast.  We have every kind of military ship that is not in the amphibious fleet (except the LHA’s are here too.  They are too big to dock at Little Creek.)  There are two aircraft carriers not ½ mile from my dock and a very active Marine Helicopter base right across the way.  I have posted some pictures on the Reboot Racing pages of Facebook.

I am hoping to hear from Ace that the autopilot control head has arrived so that I can reinstall it and head up the Chesapeake Bay when the weather clears but as the pilots say “no joy.”


A toast to the Navy’s Birthday

Getting Ready To Move Again

After a very pleasant week plus here in JEB Little Creek it is time to cycle up to move again.  The weather has turned cold reminding me that if I want to go up the Chesapeake Bay I better get off my butt and get it done.  So today is devoted to getting Reboot seaworthy again.  This is the process of getting everything that is lying around strapped back down or put away so that it does not go flying around the boat when Reboot goes bounding thru the waves.

I am hoping that my care package from Trevor (full of my purchases from West Marine) will arrive as scheduled today.  I was hoping for my autopilot control head, but Ace has not called so I presume he has not seen it yet in Ridgewood.  I can hand steer for short stints up the Bay so perhaps I will have it catch up with me at Annapolis or Pawtuxet River.

It’s also time to start doing some in depth reading about using the Intercostal Waterway (ICW.)  Since I single hand the boat I have to be prepared more than if I had crew on board.  For example, I have to leave the engine controls and helm to anchor the boat.  So the amount that Reboot might drift while I am getting the anchor down is important.  The ICW is known for shoaling and narrow channels.  I don’t want to drift onto a grounding situation while trying to tie up for the night.  I also need to figure out if I need to anchor bow and stern so that the boat can not swing in the current.

Tomorrow, presuming the package arrives today I will either head over to NOB Norfolk or up the Bay.  The weather is going to be rainy later in the week, it makes me think I may just go over to NOB and wait it out.  That way I might also get my autopilot control head back before I head up the Bay

Trevor has pointed out that I put the wrong telephone number for his store in my previous post (since corrected.)  The correct phone number is 847-831-0100.  Give them a call and they will find what you need.  Remember, they will also price match.

(In accordance with the new FTC guidelines I receive no compensation for advertising Trevor’s West Marine store.)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Raymarine Autopilot

Yea!  I heard from Raymarine!  The part that I sent them is broken.  Why am I happy?  There are several different components and if this part worked then I would have to start all over again.  So they are going to send me the replacement part (I hope today) and I may get my autopilot back!  Wouldn’t that be great!  Stay tuned..

The little things

Off to the clinic today to get a flu shot – no joy, they were out of vaccine.  Then on to the PX.  Joy of joys I purchased new pillows and pillow covers.  For those who have been on Reboot in the past few weeks you can imagine how pleased I was to deep six the old ones.  I also got a small saucepan so I can now heat soup and pasta sauce in something less then a 5 quart pot.

I got the sails bent back on this afternoon in preparation for relocation this weekend.  I think I will be going over to Naval Operating Base Norfolk but I am not sure.  Raymarine still (after a month) has not started work on repairing my autopilot, it appears you need to call and ask them on a frequent basis when it will be ready or it can get pushed down in the queue by those who are calling and complaining.  I am not pleased with their level of customer service.  It is very difficult to single hand without the autopilot, possible of course but more difficult.  I am running out of transient time in Little Creek and without a firm date to receive the repaired autopilot I don’t feel comfortable pleading my case to stay a few more days.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back in the hard life again!

Its 80 degrees, the sun is shining, the harbor is calm, there is a gentle breeze wafting across Reboot.  Some days are just tough!


Little Creek Amphibious Base

Bill, my dock neighbor, took me to the commissary and for a quick tour of Little Creek.  He told me that in the last couple of days the Little Creek base and Fort Story, and Army base about 15 miles from here had been combined into a single base.  Little Creek has a new name; we just don’t know what it is.


I was struck by two things during the tour. 


First, almost all of my Navy time was (fortunately) between conflicts.  My experience in military bases was significant and obvious decline and decay.  There was not enough funding to keep the bases going at a maintenance level, much less any funding to make them actually livable.  That has all changed, at least here at Little Creek.  There are still remnants of prior decay, for example the beach area is shut down and the buildings falling down.  But the core housing and services buildings have been renovated and many new buildings constructed.


Second, the shift from my “Old” Navy to the “New” Navy is quite obvious.  When I was assigned to the J6 at the Pentagon we didn’t have a broadly accepted name for information systems warfare.  The section of the base near the marina is littered with both information assurance (the white hats, they keep us from getting cyber attacked) and information operations (the black hats, they are the cyber war fighters) commands.  A good percentage of the buildings are construction trailers that have been hooked together to form larger spaces.  It makes me wish I was 20 years younger so I could get involved again.  I am sure that much has changed and techniques advanced since my day.  In addition, SEAL team and Riverine Warfare units and commands are much in evidence.  The shift of emphasis from “big ships blue water” to littoral warfare is well underway here at Little Creek.


Bill promised me a longer tour tomorrow.  I will let you know how it goes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sea Gods 4; Roger 0, Zip, Nada, etc.

I thought I would mention in passing my contributions so far to the sea gods:

  1. Two ball caps
  2. One glove (actually a pair as the other has no match!)
  3. One Phillips head screwdriver


I have to add some rum to the mix to make them happy.




Friday, October 2, 2009

Wear and Tear

It is amazing the wear and tear a couple of months can have on a sailboat.  McKinley Marina in Milwaukee was a very calm and protected harbor.  In all the years of Reboot’s residence we never had to replace dock lines much less worry about damage to the hull.  All that has changed.

Today has been warm and clear in Little Creek and I have had the opportunity to check out Reboot for wear and damage.  It didn’t take long to find some.  So far, to give it some prospective:

  1. The luff and the foot of the jib have come completely unstitched.   The luff of the main is starting to come apart too.

  2. Two of the four fender whips (the ropes that hold up the fenders) have one of the three strands broken.

  3. Two of the dock lines are worn from the continuous wave action at Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club.

  4. I have found one major and several minor sections of damage to the gel coat from impacting the quay walls and locks in the Erie Canal.

  5. On a lesser note, the hose on the inflation pump of my inflatable has a hole in it.

Fortunately the local sail makers have come to my rescue and Jim of the local Doyle loft is going to stitch everything back together.  Of course Trevor will sell me whatever else I need.  (He will sell it to you too – just call the Highland Park West Marine store and ask for Roger’s son!  Tell them that his proud father sent you!  Did I mention the phone number is 847-831-0100?  Operators are standing by now.)

Sept 29 - Oct 1 Transit to Hampton Roads

There are two ways to sail – upwind and downwind.  We had both on this trip.

Peter joined me Monday night and Tuesday morning we set sail from Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club bound for Hampton Roads.  Like all transits this one started miserably; wind 25 knots gusting to 35 directly in our face.  Even so it was cool passing Ellis Island and the Status of Liberty.  We passed under the Verrazano Bridge and Reboot was in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

For the first day our progress was excellent even though conditions were miserable.  Here is an experiment you might try to share our experience.  Find a friend with a pickup truck.  Have he/she four wheel it over the roughest terrain available for 24 hours at 35 miles per hour.  Stand in the bed of the pickup truck. Every few minutes have another friend throw a bucket of ice water at you.  You get to try to sleep for 1 hour and then you steer for 1 hour.  Does this sound like fun?  Any sailor will tell you it isn’t, and I am no exception.  The good news of course is that we were clocking thru the water like crazy.

We stopped early in the AM at Ocean City, MD.  I think Diane, Trevor and Spencer’s mom, used to vacation here as a child.  We went down a very developed coast of beachfront high rise buildings until at the entrance to the channel we finally reached what I dubbed “old Ocean City.”  A beach, a small amusement park and some bungalows on the beach took me back to my college days on the Jersey shore.

As we left Ocean City we had a favorable wind shift to a broad reach.  What a difference.  Reboot settled down, no longer driving into the wind and waves.  The sun came out and warmed us and dried us out.  Although we were still on the one hour on one hour off steering watches we were able to get some rest.

We arrived at Hampton Roads early in the AM and made our way through the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel.  We were happy to have our chart plotter working to confirm our position.  Between the many channel marker buoys and the shore lights it can get pretty confusing, particularly when you are tired.  Of course finding the passage thru the bridge-tunnel is no problem, it’s just the dark spot between the causeways.  The trick is to not get run over by some 1000 ft long freighter that is churning and burning its way down the channel.

We got sorted out early in the morning and then called for clearance into the US Navy Amphibious Base at Little Creek VA.  The last time I steered this channel was in a Landing Ship Tank – the USS Boulder (LST-1190) and they didn’t ask me to show my ID card.  Of course after 9/11 the base security was changed and we were had to present our IDs to the security force before proceeding to the marina.  And yes, they had guns.  In fact, there are quite a few security boats, not to mention US Coast Guard, Seal Teams and Riverine Warfare Units that are training and patrolling the basin too.  And they all have guns!  Of course, they are really nice guys; in fact some Coasties gave me a ride from Reboot over to the USO for lunch.  I found it interesting that their RIB does not have seats but rather saddles that you straddle as if you were riding a horse.  There is a grab ring (or a control panel with radio, radar, etc.) in front of you so you can hang on when they turn up the volume.  I am now angling to get a ride on the outside (in the Roads) as I bet it would be a trip!

 We are now tied up across from the control tower for the base.  Norfolk Airport’s runway 29 (I think that is the one according to Ace) takes the commercial airliners right over my head.  At least there are not many flights late at night when I am trying to sleep.

More on the base, the marina, and the local USO in my next post.