Sunday, October 2, 2011

Photos from the Sailing Trip

Here is a selection of photos with captions from the September sailing trip that give an idea of our route and what we experienced along the way. Click the photos to see full-size versions.

The morning of Saturday, September 10. Whispering Jesse is finally ready to go after a week of preparation. My crewmembers, Mike and Kurt, and I departed from Spring Cove Marina at about 11:00, bound for Savannah, Georgia by way of Chesapeake Bay, the Intracoastal Waterway and open ocean.

Sunset on Chesapeake Bay, Saturday, September 10. We sailed overnight to Norfolk, Virginia to make up for starting two days later than planned. Note the almost complete lack of wind. The mainsail was up but we motored through the night.

Mike and Kurt in the cockpit at sunset on Chesapeake Bay. The autopilot was not working for the first two days of the trip, so we needed to steer manually and follow a compass heading.

Sunday, September 11, the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Sailing into Norfolk Harbor, we passed the USS Cole, which was attacked by terrorists on October 12, 2000 while it was in the Yemeni port of Aden. There were many military people and civilians on hand for a ceremony in the harbor to commemorate the attack, with flyovers, and gun and shell salutes.

Whispering Jesse at the Waterside Marina in downtown Norfolk, located at Mile Marker 0 on the Intracoastal Waterway. My old Aspen friend Keith, who lives in Virginia Beach now, met us for breakfast at a local cafe. It was good to see him and catch up after more than twenty years.

After breakfast with Keith, we departed Norfolk Harbor and entered the Intracoastal Waterway. Here we are temporarily tied up to the wall of the  Great Bridge Lock. After the lock filled to the waterline visible in the photo, the gate at the far end opened and we were on our way.

Just a half-mile from the Great Bridge Lock, we passed beneath the Great Bridge Bascule Bridge, which is timed to open in conjunction with the lock. Both the bridge and the lock were damaged by Hurricane Irene in late August, so we were happy to see them both working again.

We spent the night about three miles farther on, at the Centerville Marina, not wanting to negotiate the ICW in the dark, even with a nearly full moon. The next morning, Monday, September 12, when this photo was taken, we were past the Centerville Turnpike Swing Bridge before its rush hour closing at 6:30. The ICW at this point is a narrow canal through swampy wasteland.

One of Mike's photos, taken later in the day as we were motoring in Albemarle Sound. We might have been able to sail if there had been any wind, but the water was extremely shallow. Note the tannin brown color of the water.

Approaching the Alligator River Swing Bridge at dawn on Tuesday, September 13. We spent the previous night at the Alligator River Marina. The little cafe there had the best crab cakes of the entire trip. It rained hard after dark, and there was still significant water on deck the next day. Note the truck headlights on the causeway.

Later in the morning, between East Lake and Belhaven, we encountered a bear swimming across the canal. Mike was at the helm and steered around what he at first thought was a "tree trunk iceberg." The bear was spooked by the boat, turned around and swam back the way he had come. See his nose and ears?

One of Kurt's photos and one of the few of me, probably from earlier in the trip, that shows the boat's new bimini and sunshade as seen from the companionway.

Another of Kurt's photos, an artistic self-portrait reflected off one of the dorade cowls.

We left the ICW behind at Morehead City, North Carolina and entered the open ocean on Wednesday, September 14. After five straight days of motoring through calm water, there was finally some wind. It was a joy to hoist the sails and turn off the engine. We celebrated with a Captain's Hour at sunset.

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