Archive for January, 2012
We are now in Hampton, Va, having arrived in a gale about seven yesterday evening. On the way we got smacked around by some muscular waves in the five to six foot range, and got hit with lots of hail and rain so being in the cockpit was not pleasant. Since a rigger inspected our rigging in Pasadena, Maryland and said some of it was coming apart, we didn’t put up any sail. Without sail up to stabilize the boat things were a little rocky. Well, maybe more than just a little. The Chesapeake is shallow so there’s lots of wave action in a gale. I think the rigger was not quite honest, he seemed a little shady, but I didn’t want to take the chance. Anyway, most everything in the boat got rearranged during the voyage. And we found a few leaks.
We left Yorktown where we’d spent two night on a mooring ball because the guy who rented us the mooring ball for $25 a night was not quite sure if we’d be safe there in the gale that was coming, so we left. Hubris, right? Thinking we can take it, the boat can take it, and heck it was only about 50 miles. It was not an easy time. We had a little trouble finding the narrow channels, and sometimes we found less than 9 feet under the keel, but we never touched mud. Liza, it turns out, is a born navigator. It was only as we got toward Norfolk and Hampton that she seemed to get a little frustrated, there are so many channels and markers and so many big ships, it’s like you’re caught in a video game. We found this great little marina here in Hampton on the internet that charges a $62 a night but if you stay for two nights you get another night free, which makes it a bargain. And the folks here are really kind and helpful, they even offered to loan us a car to go to the store. But we took a bus.
-When we got in we discovered that we had no 12 volt. Gads, I couldn’t figure out why. So I called an electrician and for only $65 he looked over our system and pointed out that the four new deep cycle batteries the previous owner had installed were not hooked up to the $650 West Marine battery charger he had installed, nor was it hooked up to the alternator on the engine, so for a month we’ve been using up the charge that must have come from the store. It did seem odd that putting on the charger didn’t seem to do much.
Yorktown was a great place, being the site of the last Revolutionary War Battle The Brits took a beating at sea from the French, and that’s what won it. One problem with Yorktown as a cruising destination. No groceries for sale anywhere. Liza has to have fresh fruit every day or she gets grumpy. But in Yorktown, if you want to eat something, you have to bring it with you or go to a restaurant. The Seven-Eleven is seven miles away. We went to town in our inflatable dingy and got plenty wet in the chop on the way back. Two things we’ve found out so far, we need a bigger dinghy and Liza needs foul weather gear.
More to follow. Next, we head south through the Dismal Swamp with canals and locks and lots of snakes.
All the best,
New Year’s day and the temperature still felt like late summer, everyone wearing shorts and T shirts. The air just cool enough so that sweat would not roll off our bodies on a hike. So Kitty and I headed to Wakodahatchee to stroll around the wetlands on the raised wooden boardwalk.
I expected to see only a few people observing the wildlife. Surprise, surprise. The crowds had discovered this area of beauty. Everyone had cameras, a few with honkin’ long lenses. I had thought about taking my 800mm lens, but decided against it to photograph animals close to the walkway. A long lens is nice for the shy birds out in the distance, but so many egrets, herons, and ducks like to stay close to the viewing area that a 200mm lens will usually suffice.
Even though many people chose to visit this site today, the noise level was almost on mute. No running, shouting, or tossing items at the creatures occurred. Different photographers compared notes with one another, describing where to set-up for an excellent photo op. And from time to time, the out-of-towner wanting to know “are there any alligators around?” So, yes, I would lead them to a place for them to see their first gator.
Wakodahatchee is a Seminole Indian word roughly meaning “created waters”. And that is what this place is all about. This is a working example of waste water being cleaned by natural vegetation. Fifty acres of wetlands are home to 140 species of turtles, frogs, alligators, and birds. Truly a birder’s paradise.
The boardwalk is less than a mile in length, but can easily take an hour or two to complete the loop. Just so much to see. At times, Kitty and I like to stop and listen to the sounds of the moor hens, mottled ducks, limpkins, and the sounds coming from the rookeries.