We departed Stuart, Florida on June 19th and had an uneventful two night sail up to Charleston. Just as in Florida it was extremely hot here, unseasonably so we were told. We did go down to the waterfront and had a slow walk around but the heat got the better of me so it was back to the air conditioned boat for the rest of the afternoon ( we were plugged in at a marina again).
|A pleasant way to see the beautiful old homes of Charleston|
We had come to Charleston mainly to have our UK main sail looked at, it is to be swapped out with a new one when we pass thru again this Fall. With this now accomplished we prepared to get " on the road again" and were off the dock bright and early, 5.30am!, the next morning for the next leg of the journey. There was good wind behind us and also the Gulf stream current helping push us North. For interest/entertainment we heard frequent calls over the VHF radio from US Navy Warships warning boaters of live fire practice and advising that we keep 10NM from any Warship. Will do!! Later in the day we passed relatively close ( probably within 5NM) to these two Navy vessels which didn't seem to bother them as we were not hailed and asked to change our course.
It was a very dark night passage that night, clouds covered any stars and the moon. There was lightening all around for a good part of the night too, fortunately not directly over us. When out on the ocean on a sail boat with a tall pointy stick ( the mast), lightening is about the last thing any sailor wants to see! Anyway, we made it through ok and I was happy to realize that we had completed our last overnight passage for the season. The weather was not looking at all good for an outside run around Cape Hatteras and so we had decided to complete our trip north by going up the ICW which would involve day trips only.
Our port of call for the next few nights was the lovely little town of Beaufort, North Carolina.
|Zooropa at the dock in Beaufort|
|Walking on Town Marsh Island, across from Beaufort|
We spent six days motoring up the ICW from Beaufort, NC to Portsmouth, VA. We travelled up rivers and canals, across sounds and thru a lock.
|Scenery along the way|
This was the view from our overnight anchorage south of Elizabeth City on the Pasquotank River. Built during WW11, this Naval Blimp Airdock housed blimps that were used to patrol the coastline in search of German U-boats. The facility is now used by a private manufacturer of blimps and airships. It is HUGE!!
|"Down on the Bayou"|
There are two routes between Albemarle Sound and the Chesapeake Bay, we decided to take the route along the Dismal Swamp Canal. The 22 mile canal was hand dug by slave labour in the early 1790's. The canal became part of the ICW in 1929 and is now maintained by the U.S Army Corp of Engineers.
|We spent the night tied up to the Welcome centre dock. Free WiFi!!|
|The Dismal Swamp Canal|
This is one of two locks we traversed. We were the only boat in both locks, everything went very smoothly.
Shortly after passing thru the last lock on the canal there was an obvious change in scenery! Welcome to Portsmouth, VA.
A full day of motoring from Portsmouth brought us to Deltaville, the end of the road for us this season. Since arriving in Florida we have been prepping the boat in anticipation of leaving her on the hard for several months. All clothing/towels/bedding was washed and stored in large ziploc bags. All cupboards and draws in the galley were wiped clean. All food was removed from cupboards and storage areas. The fridge and freezer were emptied and cleaned. Both heads were completely scrubbed down. All wood work was dusted and polished. The list goes on and on and these were only my inside jobs. Ian had an equally long list of outside work. It has been a lot of work, HOT work once she was hauled out and we no longer had the luxury of air conditioning. Hopefully we did a good job and we won't come back to any nasty surprises.
And so our first year of cruising has come to an end. We lived on the boat for close to eleven months and travelled roughly 6,000 NM in that time. The countries we visited on the way include Argentina, Brasil, Tobago, Grenada, Grenadine Islands( Union Is.,Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Mustique, Bequia), St.Lucia, Martinique, Les Saintes, Antigua, Barbuda, St.Barths, St.Martin, Anguilla, Culebra, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas ( Mayaguana, Plana Cay, Acklins, Exumas, Nassau, Berry Is.), USA. There are still A LOT of places that we haven't seen, enough to keep us going for many years yet.
|Currencies used during our travels|
We are home now and it has been wonderful reconnecting with family and friends. I am enjoying all the space in our condo, having unlimited running water, taking long showers, not HAVING to check the weather every day, shopping at large well stocked grocery stores, sleeping on a non moving platform, not having to get up for night shifts!! We have a beautiful, comfortable boat but life on board is a little like glorified camping, it feels good to be having this break. Still, we are both very eager to return to Zooropa and continue the adventure.