Friday, October 9, 2009

Sick of Bouncing, or The Sea Wall That Wasn't

Vicki writes...
We're at the marina at Kingsmill Resort on the James River near Williamsburg. Norm developed a nasty cold, so we're chilling out here for a bit to rest. This is one of my favorite places --I did a Pilate's class in the fitness center this morning and Norm and I watched a tennis tournament at the Tennis Center this afternoon. We're doing the seafood buffet this evening.

The boat is bouncing like crazy. The 15-20 kt. wind is bouncing us against the dock. We were up at 4 a.m. last night rearranging fenders. Today we borrowed a couple more from the dock master. I'm getting seasick as I sit here writing, so gotta get off the boat for awhile. Sea sickness pill tonight before bedtime. Don't want two sickies on board.

Norm writes....
Actually, we discovered that the sea wall isn't really a sea wall, it's a sea comb. Pylons with spaces between them for the wave surge to come through. So, we were hit by the wind and the surge. The extra fenders loaned to us by David, the Dockmaster, were a life-saver or in this case, a hull-saver.
It's Saturday morning now. The winds have laid down for the time being and they have clocked around to the NW, so we are now being blown off the dock. Much nicer!! But, we'll leave all the fenders in place till we leave in case the winds decide to throw another unforecasted gale our way. Then, it's off to the marine store for those huge collapsible (easy to store) blowup fenders we've been talking about for a while.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Navy's "Ghost Fleet" et al.

Vicki told Norm that if they did not catch any fish, we're not eating. Well, if you read our last entry, you know that we got skunked on the Piankatank. Needless to say, Norm's famished.

We left Hampton River today and cruised up the James River. Our destination is the Chickahominy River for some relaxing anchoring in the forcasted rain. But, our plans also included a stop in Kingsmill Resort a little over half way up.

Before we left this morning, we had to fuel up Tide Hiker before we ran dry. She was real thirsty and took 578 gallons of diesel this morning. For our boating buddies reading this, we found a good price of $2.08 at the Bluewater Yachting Center on Sunset Creek, just off the Hampton River.

We passed the Newport News Ship Building Mecca in Hampton Roads. You can see a couple of older and smaller aircraft carriers being refurbished and some other boats.
We also passed the Navy "Ghost Fleet". The ghost fleet are mothballed navy ships anchored in the James River waiting to be scrapped or to be used again, if needed. The Ghost Fleet is much smaller than it was a few years ago when we cruised up here in Muskrat Island. My guess is that the scrap business is good!

Kingsmill is an Anheuser Busch property. We learned today that it is for sale and that the Busch Gardens Amusement Park has already found a buyer for $2.x billion. The marina is small but protected with a sea wall. It is run by very friendly folks that actually could see us approaching a couple of miles away and called us on the VHF radio to give us instructions on getting in. They are very attentive. This is a first in our history of cruising.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fishathon (Revised with Photos)

Spent the last two nights anchored behind Berkeley Island on the Piankatank River. Beautiful, peaceful.

Yesterday was our first fishing trip in the dinghy. The locals said we could catch Spot and Croaker on the bottom - both good eating fish. So, we thawed out the squid, loaded up the dinghy and off we went to drift over the oyster beds as was recommended by the locals. Vicki landed the first hungry diner within 10 minutes- a little croaker - 8-10 inches, not big enough for dinner, so it was released. Norm followed soon after, catching what might have been the same little croaker. Vicki caught one more - yes, probably the same determined fish. We tried three other locations - no more fish, but Norm did pull up two little crabs munching on his squid. We were out for about three hours on a lovely fall day with the leaves just starting to turn color.

It's going to be really windy tomorrow with higher wave heights for the rest of the week, so we decided to skip Mobjack Bay - we didn't want to get pinned down there for long. We're headed for the Hampton Town Piers. Then on to the Chickahominy River up the James.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Virginia's Lil Ole Opry

What a fantastic day. We cruised about 4 hours from Urbanna to Stutts Creek, up the Piankatank River behind Gwynn's Island. We stayed at Mathews Yacht Club for $1/foot which is the MTOA yacht club reciprocity rate. Saw no less than 8 feet up to the yacht club. A wonderful small yacht club - pool, restaurant, bar, and a very accomodating club manager - Suzanne. We went there because we wanted to go to Donk's Theatre which we had read about in a cruising guide. Every other Saturday the Donk's Theater puts on Virginia's Li'l Ole Opry. We called, got $12 tickets a pick-up from one of the owners, a tour of the place, and 3 hours of fantastic country music. This is said by one who is not a country music fan - there was only one song that was 'twangy' and that made a difference. Best song of the night - 'Memphis Women and Fried Chicken' - you can't make this up, folks. Vicki will be searching for it to download to her IPod. She also liked the song "Tolerate" - great lyrics to both songs.