Here is the link - below - you are invited to visit that will show you where we are. You should see us in Morehead City, NC today, and at some point in the next 24-48 hours you should see us underway heading south east for awhile, and then south towards the Virgin Islands. Come along for the ride and don’t worry if the track disappears sometimes......we have a short list of people who are on standby when that happens.
Check out our instagram @bolsters_underway for more frequent updates. Once we leave Morehead City, the email we will check most often when we are ashore is firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not be checking this address for the next 10 days when we are at sea.
Today was notable for two reasons. First, it was a year ago today that CHANTICLEER arrived from Florida in Kittery, ME on a flat-bed trailer, which was right after she traveled on a yacht transport ship from St. Thomas, USVI to Florida. A year later and you would never know the extent of the damage caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Second is that the temperature was in the low 60’s today, and it was the first time in 28 days hat we did not wear any of the clothes in this picture!
We put up our Danish Christmas tree mobile today, and you can see our advent calendar in the background.
We spent today doing errands and getting ready to head offshore in a couple of days if the weather forecast looks good.
One of the best traditions at most marinas is the bin full of books with the “take one - leave one” message. This is how we keep our library full as we have limited shelf space. Here’s the latest find - a gently worn copy that looks like it went there and back! It is out of print and we searched everywhere to buy one, so we feel grateful to those who have gone before us. We like to think that whoever picks up our donation - The Witch Elm by Tanna French - will enjoy it as much as we did thanks to Clare. The rain has stopped and the wind has calmed down so we are heading to Pungo Creek today.
Today marks the 7th anniversary of the launching of PISCATAQUA. You can re-live the moment by viewing the YouTube video at Gundalow launch- YouTube. It was a great day and the culmination of years of hard work by many many people, serious commitment from all to the vision, and faith we all shared that it was the right thing to do! Here’s to all who helped make a dream come true and here’s to the current team who is keeping the mission going. This photo was taken on November 17, 2018 from CHANTICLEER, as we were leaving. We loved the three cannon shots and the HUZZAH you gave us as we turned the corner. So many good memories and good friends. Thanks and love, Molly
It has taken us three weeks to reach Norfolk, VA and the start of the Intra Coastal Waterway, a.k.a. The ICW and “the ditch.” This partially man-made canal goes from Norfolk to Florida and lets people like us avoid sailing “outside” the banks, where the weather is nasty this time of year. Some of it is very narrow and shallow, criss-crossed by bridges and rail road tracks, while other parts of it are very urban/industrial, and other parts are national wildlife refuges with migrating birds and swampy marshes. All the fixed bridges are made to let boats with masts up to 65’ pass under, and some of the bridges are swing or bascule bridges that open at set times. There is some commercial traffic, mostly tugs and barges, along with a smattering of fishing boats. This is the 4th time we have done this together, and we always enjoy the passage even though at times it feels like driving down the highway. Pleasure boats are only allowed to move in the daylight, which is fine because there are often tree stumps and logs in the narrow parts that you would not want to hit. Most of it is shallow, around 12 feet, but sometimes less. The key is to leave each morning at first light and go as fast as possible all day in order to reach a suitable place to spend the night. For most people, including us, the first stop after Norfolk is Coinjock, where we arrived last night to find five other boats.
one of ten bridges we passed under on the first day.
we joined one other sailboat and a small tug boat to go through this lock. The water only dropped one foot.
for many miles the scenery looks like this.
The channel is marked by a series of numbered red and green markers, the red ones mark the right side of the channel and the green ones mark the left side. Most of them have osprey nests built on them but the ospreys have all flown to Cuba and the Caribbean for the winter.
If only we had some LEGOs onboard, this would be fun to build!
Here are some of the gifts from friends and family - we have you with us,
Here’s another collage of gifts......there are a few more that have been stowed in such a way that we won’t see them for weeks....and there are some missing because we already ate the cornbread from Ellen that Beth made, and we had the Chardonnay from Bobbie while in Mystic. Thanks for being with us!
Our cabin is really cozy with our advent calendar.....in a few days we will put up our tree!
We are expecting some nasty weather tomorrow, December 9th. Winds from the NE, 25-35 knots and rain. Sounds like a good day to stay put at the Alligator River Marina and read, knit, make bread, tidy up, and make rice pudding. If we are lucky, we will take a walk.....we saw a sign tonight that said “red wolf crossing next ten miles”.
i am finding Instagram to be easier than the blog for quick updates. Check it out @bolsters_underway
we arrived in Norfolk/Portsmouth VA today and are feeling exuberant! Partly because this is the start of the Intracoastal Waterway and partly because the days are noticeably longer (daylight until 5:15 PM and light at 6:15 AM.) the temperature has gone up a bit too although we had ice on the deck this morning.
Getting to Norfolk was a huge psychological goal for us, even though we have done this stretch three times already. We had a rocketing sail from NY to Chesapeake City - took us 33 hours to sail down the Jersey coast, up the Delaware River and through most of the C&D canal until we stopped to sleep. The wind was howling 25 knots most of the time with gusts as much as 38 knots, until we turned the corner to go up the Delaware River when the wind died and we had to motor. Once we entered the canal we counted 10 bald eagles in less than 24 hours, including 2 pairs that were sitting side by side on contiguous trees. Chesapeake City is a quiet little town with old houses and crab estaurants along the docks - there was a large neon sign in the shape of a crab on the town dock where we tied up for the night. A sure sign that we aren’t in NH/ME anymore!
We left early the next morning and got to Baltimore by 1:00. We had a lovely visit with Pete, Julie, and Maisie and their adorable kittens. Walked in the neighborhood we used to live in 28 years ago and saw that our old house is for sale! Thanks to Pete and his Living Classrooms crew for helping us with some logistics including the replacement of our old AGM batteries.
The trip down the Chesapeake bay was easy with a fresh NW breeze so we skipped Annapolis (even though I was really tempted to stop there to see Boo!) and carried on to Solomon’s island where we anchored at dusk and left before dawn the next day. We encountered the usual traffic, a few tankers, car carriers, containers, tugs and barges.......but no other sailboats like us. Why, I keep asking, if this is so much fun, are there no other people out here doing what we are doing?
We had a grey day without much wind but anchored for the night in a cove on the Poquoson River, home of the MILDRED BELLE, but now just a few duck blinds and new houses along the shore. When we woke this morning, it was still and misty, with a pink sunrise. It turned into a beautiful day with enough wind to sail but not so much to make it feel cold. We were still all bundled up in about 9 layers of clothing and hats and gloves etc, but the sunshine really helped. We expected the approach to Norfolk/Newport News to be busy with traffic but there was nothing this time. We are at a marina for the night and will get going at first light tomorrow - we found out that one of the bridges in the ICW is getting repaired and will be open for boats tomorrow but then closed for several days after that.
so you will notice the lack of photos..
i have have several good ones but the internet connection is so weak that I can’t get them to upload.