All is well on board the good ship Why Knot. The potential repairs that we faced in North Myrtle Beach have been done and fortunately they turned out to be relatively minor, if you can consider dropping a couple of grand minor. The coolant in the oil situation turned out to be a, shall I call it, educational opportunity for me. Turns out that fresh Rotella oil can, under certain circumstances, actually look green. The technician came on board, replaced the thermostat, a couple of hoses, did a thorough examination and tweaking of the Onan generator, and pronounced it fit.
One last hassle to face in Myrtle Beach was a hail storm our last night there, which damaged the boat’s old, soon-to-be-replaced canvas. Oh, and by the way, we were there for both of the area's controversial motorcycle weeks. Yes, it was very loud all the time, even at the marina.
And so we started heading north to Hampton, Virginia. For the most part, weather conditions for the first several days were spotty. It wasn’t necessarily stormy, but there were several days of high winds. We had to linger in a couple of locations to let those wind-intense fronts pass on through. But the conditions on the water have been good. For example, the Neuss River was only a moderate chop when we crossed over to Whittaker Pointe Marina at Oriental, North Carolina.
The real delight was the last two days out on the route, Monday the 2nd of June and Tuesday the 3rd. The south and southwest winds were less than ten knots and the water was, for the most part, flat. Because of these conditions we planned two long days so that we could get up to Hampton, Virginia early.
On the 2nd we went from Dowry Creek Marina at Belhaven, NC all the way up to Coinjock Marina; a total of eighty-two statute miles. For you boaters with boats that can travel at ten or twelve mph, that may not sound like too big a route. But for us cruising along at 8.5 mph, that’s a pretty long haul. But like I said, the conditions were damn near perfect. So much so, crossing Albemarle Sound was close to being boring.
The night spent at Coinjock was typical for the place. When we pulled in about 4:00 pm there were still some big spaces open on their long facing dock. But by 6:00 pm it was packed with some late arriving yachts. Again, as being typical for the place, anchors of boats were hanging over the foredecks and transoms of each other as the able dockhands packed everyone in as tight as they could.
To get to Hampton we decided to make another long jump directly from Coinjock without a stop at Great Bridge. Again, the weather forecasts were just too good to pass up. As we have done in the past, we let almost all of the other boats at the dock in Coinjock do all of hassle of getting off the dock first, leaving us plenty of room to maneuver without the threat of bumping into someone. (In the back of my mind is always that thought that I would rather have them have to call their insurance company rather than us having to call ours if something went wrong.)
As we ran north on the ICW the conditions were not only good but improved the later it got. Our timing of the swing bridges along the way, including the Great Bridge bridge and lock was spot on. And once we entered the industrial area south of Norfolk the running was smooth and easy. We did, however, get yelled at be a security patrol boat for running with too much of a wake, which for Why Knot was a compliment.
When we made the turn out into the James River the winds were calm and the water was almost eerily un-disturbed. During the morning we could pick up a lot of U.S. Navy chatter on our radio, so I half expected the harbor to be busy. But by the time we started to run out towards the opening of the harbor and to Hampton, starting from ICW mile marker 0.0, there was, and I’m not exaggerating, zero boat traffic in Hampton Roads – commercial, Navy or recreational – nothing -- save for a couple of sailboats that were becalmed in the windless conditions. We had the whole damn harbor to ourselves. And what made the experience a bit more surreal was that there was, just like the physical boat traffic, zero radio traffic. So, we just perked along to the entrance of the channel into Hampton, pulled into the marina, tied up with the able assistance of Jake, the marina’s dockmaster, and our sixty-two mile cruise for the day was done. Eezie-Peezie!
As I’ve mentioned earlier, we are getting new canvas for the boat in Hampton and we have been working with Signature Canvas Makers to do the job. I have always been a believer that building a relationship with people that you do business with can be very advantageous most of the time. This was the case with the folks at Signature. We first contacted them back in October to get us scheduled in during this summer, knowing full well that this was their busy season. I made it a point to contact them monthly to make sure that all parties involved were committed to getting the work done within our two week time period that we would be in Hampton, so they would have no excuse to give us the bum’s rush or to blow off what our needs are. Well, so far so good. Within minutes of getting tied up in Hampton, just like Chandler, the owner and I planned, I called him and, just like they committed to do, they were on board within an hour examining our needs. It also turns out that their shop is only 1.3 miles from the marina. So, things are look good at getting our pretty boat made even more pretty with some wonderful, new, forest green canvas.
I’d like to close this post with some quotes about boating. Why? Well, why knot?
"Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters." - Howard Bloomfield
"Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit." - Brooks Atkinson
“There is NOTHING--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
- Kenneth Grahame
- Kenneth Grahame
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Give him a fishing lesson and he'll sit in a boat drinking beer every weekend.” - Alex Blackwell
And one more thing...today is Lisa's birthday. When she woke up this morning I told her I didn't have a birthday card for her. She said, "I have a living 3-D card right here." Happy Birthday, baby. I love you.