Big Water

So, now what? Leaving land heading into The Big Water. Offshore. Out of sight of land. Usually longer days. What do we do? Do we just stare at the water? I mean seriously – once we get offshore what is there to do? Play Scrabble? We could. . .but being new we don’t – yet. Think about it; a 5-10 hour day rumbling along in the deep blue.

Each boat crew has their own regimen. Ours is pretty straightforward. First, since we love being offshore we are constantly on the lookout for wildlife. Things like dolphins and sea turtles. Flying fish and jelly fish. We’ve even seen otters well offshore. One time coming up from Georgia to Hilton Head Jan jumped back from the railing up on the bridge and exclaimed “SHARK!! HUGE SHARK!!” Indeed, swimming right up against our port side was a massive shark with a red tinted dorsal fin. He didn’t stay long but he sure left an impression.

The Loop IV

Behind in our blogs. Hope to catch up soon.

Finally we break out!!  After spending the night in Tonawanda, NY we leave the cut from Black Rock locks.   11 days humping it through the Erie Canal we’ve finally made it to the Great Lakes.  Just before making the bend around to the lake the air turned cool and crisp.  We could smell the big water.  We both had tears in our eyes as we made that final turn to Lake Erie.

Now we can hustle it up a bit and get offshore and let Shangri-La put on some speed (ok fine, it’s 8-9 knots) and stretch her props.  The Lake Erie run was unlike anything we expected.  First Buffalo.  Where we met other Loopers and Harbor Hosts who went out of their way to assist us.  Including grocery runs and a ride to the bus station where one day we hopped a bus to Niagra Falls.  Once again, the incredible community of boaters was there for us.

The Loop III

Journey around America’s Great Loop

Dawn breaks – geeze did I really write that?  Anyway, an early start today, we’re going outside!  The next leg of the trip is to head out into the Atlantic Ocean and make our way up the New Jersey coast to New York.  It’s a long  trip for us so we have two choices – run into the night, making the turn into the Hudson to our chosen anchorage at Sandy Hook, or stop at Atlantic City.  Duh, we all know how that turned out.  Across from the casinos is a quiet bay where we can anchor.  The channel into the anchorage is so narrow, the fishermen pull their lines so we can pass.  Once again we are treated to a serene evening, the lights of Atlantic City, about a mile away and us, hovering over the hook enjoying another tranquil evening.

Day 2 OUTSIDE.  It didn’t get rough and it didn’t get ugly.  We had a beautiful run up the coast.  It was easy to understand the term ‘down to the shore’ when we’ve heard it from folks in NY City.  Beautiful sand beaches the entire way up the New Jersey coastline.  Making the turn into Sandy Hook, we dropped our hook in a lovely bay – the only boat in sight.

During dinner, I caught something out of the corner of my eye passing in front of our windscreen.  A massive tug and barge used for dredging was literally running over our anchor line.  Leaping up, I got on the radio and asked if the captain was lost.  “Nope, just looking for a place to spend the night.”  He anchored out several hundred yards away – but that first look as he passed so close pretty much finished off the few hairs I had that were lacking grey. Continue reading “The Loop III”

The Loop II

And we did.  It’s been a wild ride for sure.  Leaving Beaufort, NC on March 1 we began the trip north.  So much to this adventure and so many wonderful people along the way.  Our first days on the water included a tranquil trip up the Alligator River, anchoring out for a fantastic evening in a calm bay.

Campbell Creek
Campbell Creek Friends

Next, traveling up the Pamlico River, we visited with new friends Beth and Rip who let us stay at their dock on Campbell Creek and invited us into their beautiful home for an evening of boat talk, snacks and a cold beer.  The next morning, we’re off again.

 

 

Campbell Creek NC
Campbell Creek II

 The weather, being Springtime, was as expected – changing every day.  Our trip across our old friend Albemarle Sound was in 30 degree sleet with a driving wind.  For only the third time aboard Shangri-La we chose to move inside and enjoy the warmth of our cabin while the sleet pummeled the bridge above us.  The first time we did this was bringing the boat down from Chesapeake, VA when the winds were head on and the seas were breaking over the windscreen.  Albemarle – gotta love it!

bridge
Alligator River Bridge

Coinjock is our next stop.  Back at the dock where we spent that first night on the water what seems like so very long ago.  Next stop is Atlantic Yacht Basin where we took possession of Shangri-La back in May of 2016.  Good friends Chuck and Kelsey Grice greeted us along with dock hands that remembered our first days there getting our home ready and moving in.  They put us in a covered shed which gave us some breathing room to do some outdoor maintenance.  Good thing too, on day 3 when we woke to 3″ of snow on the outer docks.  Did we leave too early??  We’d learn we had as we traveled north.

bottom paint
New Bottom Paint

Since we’d now been two years since buying Shangri-La, she was due for a bottom job.  Power wash and paint with new bottom paint.  While we had her out we had the trim tabs removed and the stern patched and sealed where they had been bolted on.  They didn’t work and we really don’t need them.  The folks at Atlantic Yacht Basin are wonderful tradesmen and did a great job getting our home ready for another season. Continue reading “The Loop II”