Vicki says that we made it far enough north that the trees are changing colors and that’s TOO far north – and I completely agree. Before we got here, the idea of cooler temps and crisp fall air sounded exciting and exotic. That was before my toes and fingers went numb, my nose turned bright red, and my lips chapped. We woke up several mornings to temps in the 30s with stiff breezes blowing over the dodger. We wore almost every piece of warm clothing we have on board, but let’s just say that we have definitely added long underwear to our Hampton shopping list.
Aside from this strange chilly business, the rest of our trip north was great. Oriental, NC was the highlight. The anchorage was super close to the dinghy dock where there were loaner bikes for cruisers to borrow to get around town. We pedaled down to a marine consignment store where we snagged a super deal on a stern rail mounted Magma grill. (We managed to break our Kuuma grill somehow…) The anchorage was full of sailors headed south and amongst all the other boats we saw three other Tartans! We even hopped onboard Tyler J to explore a newer 46 foot Tartan and swap sailing stories with four cool Canadian dudes. Oriental is indeed a happening town.
Winding up the ICW was scenic and peaceful for the most part. I guess I will share this bit of “embarrassing” news. Stella Blue finally ran around. Not in the shallow/reefy Bahamas, but in the infamous Albemarle Sound. The channel gets really narrow with super shallow shoaling on either side. We were cruising upwind when the depth alarm went off at 9′, 7′, 6′, BAM! Bump bump bump. We throttled down and luckily had our headsail out which blew us back into deeper waters. Everyone says it has to happen eventually and now it has happened to us – hopefully just the once.
We are at a dock again here in Hampton, VA but this time we aren’t doing any sightseeing. We are working, meet and greeting, working, shopping, working, going to seminars, working, and constantly monitoring the weather. It’s busy. Today is Wednesday and we are tentatively set to cast off our dock lines next Monday. It’s almost time for us to earn the right to call ourselves Salty Dawgs.