Posted by: tflana | November 2, 2014

November 1st – a true day of firsts

Yesterday was November 1st and we experienced so many firsts our head is still spinning.  It was day 1 of the ICW Snowbird Rally, 19 boats leaving the dock and parading through Hampton Harbor was quite a sight.  We were one of the last boats leaving and yes, Scout is still slow under motor.  We ended up in the back of the pack for most of the day.

As we proceeded into the ICW, the group leaders decided to make it a long day because of the on coming stormy weather.  This makes sense but the problem is that Scout does not have a complete enclosure like the other boats in the rally, so a rainy day is the same as cold, wet and miserable for this crew.  It also meant motoring for 10 hours, not a favorite past time for Brian at all!  But Scout did great through it all.

Our next first was waiting to go under a railroad bridge.  It was fun because we were with 5 other boats from the rally and we are able to talk back and forth on channel 69 for advise and help.  Good fun, we only had to wait about 30 minutes for the bridge to go up and off we went.  Next stop the Dismal Swamp Ditch.  Long, shallow and straight for many hours.

Railroad bridge #1

Railroad bridge #1

RR3 RR2

The next experience was the Deep Creek Lock.  We ended up missing the 11 am opening, so again we needed to wait for the 1pm opening.  The area we needed to hang in was narrow, shallow and not very well defined.  And did I mention there were 7 other boats in the same space with similar drafts and very varied boat handling experience.  Brian dropped our 45 lb Mantus anchor with a short chain.  We offered one of the other boats to raft up with us, another new experience for us, but went fairly well.  The down fall was letting the 3rd boat join the raft up, it seemed great until our anchor started to drag and we had 2 boats tied to us.  No problem, we handled it well with minimal mistakes and not damage.  Little did we know that the lesson on rafting up was going to be needed again at the end of our day.

3 boat raft up awaiting the 1pm opening of the lock

3 boat raft up awaiting the 1pm opening of the lock

1pm arrived, and the lockmaster gave us instructions over the radio on how to enter the lock.  We were one of the 5 boats to enter and tie up on the starboard side, and yes, we were the last on on that side.  Our rally had varying success on the locks, some without the lines ready, some had a terrible accuracy in throwing the line, and my problem was that I did not realize my right hand in the south is different than my right hand in the north.  Brian and I did great getting in and out of the lock.  It was a great experience for us, we needed a success.  The lockmaster joked commenting to us that it seemed like it was our first lock experience – well yes it was!.

Loading the lock

Loading the lock

Lock4

Waiting for the lock to close

Waiting for the lock to close

Lock2 Lock1

Wally Moran's boat Gypsy Wind coming into the lock

Wally Moran’s boat Gypsy Wind coming into the lock

Leaving the lock on the way to the forgotten bridge

Leaving the lock on the way to the forgotten bridge

Leaving the lock

Leaving the lock

We have reached top height in the lock

We have reached top height in the lock

So all boats got out of the lock, and through all of the excitement of completing the lock, we forgot that in less than a half mile, there was a bridge that we needed to wait for.  Oh, by the way, the lockmaster who just finished with us was also the person opening the bridge.  It turns out, once he finishes the lock, he gets into his pick up truck and drives to the bridge.  Once again, here we were in a narrow space with a bunch of boats.  Deja vu all over again!

Bridge 2 Bridge 3

The bridge after the lock

The bridge after the lock

Bridge done and off we go.  The group of ralliers that were ahead of us sent word back that there was a tie up at the North Carolina Dismal Swamp Visitors center, another 18 miles ahead of us.  This was another 4 hours of motoring in the cold rain.  The group had no other choice but to move to that area because there are not other areas in the ditch to anchor or tie up.  So the parade continued.  Again, a lot of chatter on channel 69 – mainly talking about the slow fat bottom girls some of the boats are!  We may have our new theme song.

As we are about 2 miles from the Visitors Center, Wally Moran (our leader) gets on the radio and explains to us that there are only 3 tie up spaces which means we will need to raft up on the dock 4 deep.  Big boats in first and small ones on the outer side.  Okay, here is a major first for all of us.  Get our boats ready with fenders on each side, lines on all parts of the boat for tie ups, and of course, we are travelling with all of the dog boats, strategic placement of dog boats so mortal canine enemies were not next to each other.

Raft at Dismal3 Raft at Dismal2 Raft at Dismal1

This is the 11 boat raft up at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center

This is the 11 boat raft up at the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center

After all was said and done, there are 11 boats tied up in the 3 spots.  Everyone helped everyone to get here safely and securely.  We were cold and wet (kind of the norm for the Flanagan trip south).  As soon as all was done, dogs were walked and everyone closed themselves off in their boats.  The only negative for us was we could not use our diesel heater because of the fumes and soot the other boats would be exposed to.  The oven was a good back up heater for the evening.

The wind did howl last night, and down pours continued.  It was announced we would stay here today, and move on to Elizabeth City, NC on Monday.  Brian and I woke up this morning to celebrate our 1 month of cruising, and we are still as happy about it as when we left Bridgeport.  We are both here in the cabin with a cup of tea, dogs are sleep after a 4 mile walk this morning, and we are waiting for a 1pm lecture from the lockmaster about the history of the Dismal Swamp.  And of course, what does this rally do best – cocktails at 3pm!

Pickles with her ears standing up straight waiting for breakfast

Pickles with her ears standing up straight waiting for breakfast

Happy November everyone!

Tara, Brian, Phin & Pickles


Responses

  1. Tara, we only recently found your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed going back and reading every post. We just bought Pearson Invicta #10 yesterday, so we’re looking forward to lots of fun, family times on Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf coast. Safe travels!

    • Karen,
      Thanks for finding us! I would love to get a picture or 2 of your Invicta! We are always tracking down other hulls. It was funny when we were sailing out of Elizabeth City under full sail, we were hailed by a boat asking us about our Invicta and how much they have loved the boat for years. It will never fail to amaze us when we are on the boat how often someone comes up and talks to us about the boat and how much they have admired the Invicta’s. Get ready to know about your boat because most people who stop by know more about the boat than us! I refer back to The Encyclopedia of Sailing where Burgoo is mentioned with pictures so I can stay on top of the history!
      Happy sailing! If you want send some pictures to tarawhite2012@gmail.com
      Tara Flanagan

  2. Sepre Fortis


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