We left Spanish Wells 08:30 May 16 and we arrived Norfolk 18:05 May 22 after 898 nM, the longest passage we have made with only the two of us.
Spanish Wells, was the most prosperous and well taken care of place we have been to since probably the Canary Island. The community toke really good care of the village and as an example the “big supermarket” and the water plant was managed and owned by the community no outsourcing or privatization as they have done in Sweden with many public services such as schools and hospitals etc. which results in declining results. I think Sweden could learn a lot from a small place as Spanish Wells, which is strange it should be the other way around.
The trip offered nice gentle sailing, boring motoring, exhilarating sailing with good wind and following current, but also very demanding conditions with head wind and the current with us so very short waves and uncomfortable conditions. From Cape Hatteras to Cape Henry ca 100 nM apart we had head wind of ca 25 knots (true wind) for most of the time and definitely the toughest conditions we have encounter so fare, short and high waves constantly washing over Kerpa. Many times the water just disappear under the hull and we was falling down, sometimes with a gentle and soft landing, but rather often it was a hard landing , that night we definitely wanted to pass quickly especially as it was our 5:th night aboard, not very much sleep at all that night. In those conditions you are glad to have a solid boat. I’m also glad that I tuned the rig of the mizzen mast as it used to shiver earlier on hard landings going up wind, but not now.
We were very unsure about the procedures for entering US territorial water, so before entering US waters we called the coast guard to inform them of our intention, but they were not interested. But a boat going the Intra Costal Water Way, named Reflection with Georege and Pat Hospodar, who happens to be the editor of The Chesapeake cursing guide heard our call. They ended up at the same Marina in Norfolk as us, we were invited for a drink on their boat, and Pat said I heard you call and thought I like to meet these people and hear how they coop with the harsh conditions out there, “it’s not fun out there with wind against current he said” we could only confirm.
Before arriving Norfolk we called US Border Control, we informed them of our ETA and that we were heading for The Waterfront Marina, OK we will send some officers to meet you, wow I thought?
But we had nice times as well, not often you make over 12 kn, having good condition both wind and current with us, we enjoyed the voyage very much at that time, but it came to a quick halt when we suddenly got a squall we thought, but it was not a short squall, just new condition that lasted the whole day and night, don’t thrust the weather man.
Soon conditions got worse
We arrived late afternoon to Norfolk, it’s a huge harbor area with the largest naval base in the world we were told.
On the way in we passed this area with 5 big aircraft carriers, but there are numerals places with military ships being hauled and repaired.
Finally we arrived to the
Waterfront Marina just beside Hilton Hotel and WTC. We got a little bit tricky place to moor at but everything went well. When tying up two men in uniform introduces themselves I said let me just finish tying up then you are welcome aboard. About 15 minutes later THEY have filled in all the papers, all I had to do was to sign, great service.
The weather was rather poor and cold not only the last days of the trip but also the whole stay in Norfolk. A lot of rain and really gloomy days, but we had nice time there. First we needed to fix a cruising permit, the office who arrange that was just across the street, again swift service and ca 5 minutes and 19 $ later it was fixed.
We were invited for dinner on a Belgium HR 43 named Pollux, a very nice couple who also just arrived Norfolk. Their strategy was to stay at marinas and not on anchorage, the reason for that is, it makes it easier to make contact with other cruisers. We must give them right in that conclusion, but it is a rather expensive strategy. About anchorage in US, they seems to anchor on the most strange places, in our guide Active Captain which so far seems to be excellent for this waters, indicated several anchorage in the harbor some very close to the naval bases, and they were rated as good or even excellent scenery.
An anchorage is indicated half way across this water, it was rated as good scenery, it was one behind the Aircraft carriers on the earlier picture that was rated excellent, I would never think of anchoring in a big harbor like this.
After three days we left Norfolk when we had sorted out all important issues, Internet, Cursing permit, and a potential place to leave Kerpa during a short trip to Stockholm to meet our family and especially our two daughters who graduates from University.
Our first sail in The Chesapeake Bay
Unfortunately not very much wind and very cloudy so we mostly motored, to Upper River a part of York River. The most surprising issue was all crab pots that was everywhere, we sig sag to avoid catching any of the floats. Then in the river we saw small sticks here and there, what is that? is it shallow? Or some fixed fishing equipment? Later we learned that it is oyster beds. We found a sheltered place with the help of Active Captain a web based cruising information that works very well together with Garmin Blue chart and IPad, not on Android unfortunately, so we had to invest in a new IPad in Norfolk.
As said earlier American seams to anchor at odd places, earlier when we have been traveling this area by car we have seen a lot of signs about “do not trespass”, “trespassers will be prosecuted” not so nice for a Swede who is use to the “all man’s right” i.e. you can walk almost anywhere and camp as long as you are not seen from a house or a garden.
But now in US one anchor right in front of people’s houses, I would not do that in Sweden for the privacy of the owner, not illegal, more impolite.
Our first anchorage (recommended by Active Captain) in Upper North River as you can see just in front of a private home, but as it was private homes all along the river there was no alternative.
The rating of Scenery was excellent that I can understand better than the Scenery rating in Norfolk harbor.
Next stop Yankee Point Marina
We had no time to stay long, we need to find a place to haul out Kerpa, and so we headed for Yankee Point Marina in Rappahannock River. One surprising thing is that mobile coverage is very poor in the rivers so we could no call the marina to discuss the details of when we could be hauled out, if we could stay on the boat when it was on the hard etc. We just had to assume it will work out well for us.
We arrived YPM after office hours so we anchored on this recommended anchoring spot just in front of the Marina
The marina is in a very beautiful spot
The next morning we took the dingy in to the marina, discussed if we could stay on the boat and work on it when on the hard, it was not any problem at all, they asked us if we would like to come up right away, yes we said, and the responsible person came and had a look at our boat and found it might be a problem. The solar panels are too high we will not pass them with the traverse crane, you need to dismantle the two forestays. UH not so easy the turnbuckles have probably not been turned for 17 years, they might size fast when turning, need to locate the electrical cables for the furling motors etc. But two hours later it was fixed so by high tide 12:30 we motoring to the dock, and half an hour later we were on the hard.
Had to empty one of the bow lockers, Kerstin asked me, do we need all those ropes? Well I said this not all ropes!!!!
Kerpa on the way, you can see the low bar on the crane that has to pass the solar panels if lifted the normal way with the stern towards the bar.
People are very friendly and helpful, it will probably be a joy not only to work on Kerpa in this Marina, but also cruising around, we really looking forward to this part of the journey.
It’s very beautiful here, reminds us of Sweden in spring, similar green color pine trees, a lot of bird song and cold & clear air.
And the marina looks as a marina should look like, only one drawback, and rather big for us, it’s in the middle of no-where, how do we get to the airport. It’s 4 hours’ drive. Nearest car rental is 20 miles away. Conclusion Transport Company so what we save on choosing a low cost marina in a remote location is eaten up with margin by the local transport costs. So we have to enjoy the scenery and the very friendly people not only the marina staff but also the other berth holders.
On Monday 29 of May we fly to Stockholm and stay until 15 of June, then we will return and work on the boat for a week or two before cruising again