Log of the Rantum Scoot

This is a work in progress!  I will be filling in some details later on but this will serve as a rough idea of how we're progressing!

Tuesday, October 13th 2002

Washington D.C.......I don't know where to begin. We spent almost four weeks in "the District" as the locals call it. We saw soooo many things and still we felt as though we had only scratched the surface. I think the easiest way to tell you about what we did is to just list everything without worrying about chronological order. The Capital Yacht Club was about a quarter to a half mile from the National Mall, so we started there. 

    The "Mall" sites that we saw included;

    The National Museum of Natural History, where we saw the Hope Diamond and lots of cool dinosaur bones.


    The Air and Space Museum

    The Museum of American History, there is a new 9/11 exhibit here with stories of victims and survivors, along with artifacts from ground zero. Emily fell and tore up her knee on the front steps of the museum so we got to see the employee health center in the basement.

    The Hirchsorn art museum, they had a cool sculpture exhibit. One of the sculptures was of a man about twice life size sitting in a corner with a scowl on his face. It was so life like that if you looked at it long enough it looked like he was scowling at you and was going to jump up and grab you. The sculptures were made of some kind of resin something or other and were more realistic than wax sculptures. Very creepy.

    The National Museum of African Art

    The Sackler Gallery of Asian Art

    The National Gallery of Art, we saw the last day of an Egypt exhibit there. Pete loves Egyptology and he got to see alot of cool artifacts. Many of the artifacts are displayed in the open so we could get right up close and didn't have to look through any glass.

    The Smithsonian Castle, basically an information center.

    Beyond the "Mall"


Washington DC Pictures


Sunday, Oct 20th, 2002    22:30 Washington DC

We finally left Washington.  We left at about 2230 so that we could ease down to the Woodrow Wilson bridge for the midnight opening. As we said before it is the I-95 bridge and only opens at midnight for small vessels.  We passed trough with our friend Marcel upon S/V Boreas.  We said our farewells to Marcel and pushed the power up for our motor down the Potomac. 


Monday, Oct 21st, 2002    underway Potomac River  

We passed Mount Vernon in darkness... a pity indeed as it is quite a site from the water.  We made for Monroe creek MD and arrived there at about 0900.  We took a while to sleep and got under way again at 1430.  We went until 1930 when we ducked into the Yeocomico (yo-kahm-meeko) River at last light.   Found a nice spot to anchor up past Allen point and the Kinsale marina.  Pan seared tuna, rice and fresh asparagus in a light cheese sauce was on the menu tonight!!!  It was great, especially after a long day of travel.


Tuesday, Oct 22nd, 2002    Yeocomic River  VA.

We got a little extra sleep this morning.  Will and Scott went to get dinghy gas around the point at Kinsale Marina.  They were all but shut down for the season.  We wanted to get propane as well but they were done with that for the season. We settled for dinghy gas and some information about the cultured oyster crops there in the river.  It seems big business there.  The State of Virginia had put an artificial reef in just off the marina to facilitate oyster growth.  They also handed out mesh bags with baby oysters in them.  Residents attached these bags to pvc pipe and let it hang in the water and we were told that they had fresh oysters for feasting a few months later.

We got underway at about 1230 today.  A late start but that was OK.  We made it to the Indian River this night and found a nice spot to anchor in a small cove off of Pittman's cove which was also small.  There were several other cruising boats in the cove that night.  In fact one was from Sanbornton NH.  We were a ways from them so we didn't feel guilty about running the generator for a little heat and to charge the batteries.


Wednesday, Oct 23rd, 2002    Hampton Roads VA.  

We slipped the lines at about 0930 this morning and made for Hampton Roads.  We slipped into Mill Creek there at about 1715. We found the anchorage to much larger than it looked on the chart and the holding quite good in clay. We had hoped to go over to Fort Monroe as they have some exhibits relating to the battle of the the Merrimac and the Monitor two of the first iron clad war ships.  The battle took place off of Hampton Roads, VA.  We decided not to go as we were a bit worn out and would have been a wet dinghy ride over.  The wind was blowing 15 gusting to 18 or 20 knots. A little bit after we got settled several of the boats from the anchorage last night showed up including the boat from NH.  We're seeing a lot of folks flying the Maple Leaf flag we jokingly call groups of them the Canadian Navy.  More about that later as we meet some of them. Temperatures in the 60's during the day 40's at night.


Thursday, Oct 24th, 2002    Deep Creek VA, Dismal Swamp Canal.  

Today we set off at about 1100.  Crossing the James River to Norfolk/ Portsmouth VA.  There was a US navy war ship entering the harbor as we sailed across.  They were broadcasting their threat to use deadly force on any vessel coming near them, over and over on channel 16. It's a bit depressing that our world is so discombobulated that it's necessary for this type of broadcast from what are some of the most impressive ships in the world.  We slipped down the row of battleships on the Elisabeth river under full sail.  Quite a juxtaposition of technologies don't you think?  We slid down to the end of the rows of ships and were waiting with some other boats to go through a railroad bridge. We orbited for about 30 minutes right off of the bow of the USS Enterprise CVN-65 aircraft carrier!  It was an awesome sight!  There was a sniper on the roof of a nearby building to make sure we didn't get too close. After sometime one of the other boats called the bridge office which is remotely located form the bridge.  They were surprised to learn it was down.  It came up promptly and we all hurried through.  This stretch of river was home to some of the rudest bridge tenders we have ever encountered.  In particular the Gilmerton bridge operator was particularly hostile to sailboats.  He seemed to lack the basic understanding that sailboats are slower and a lot less maneuverable than our power boat friends.  We managed to avoid being yelled at though he did slam the bridge shut as we approached.  He had it up for about a minute to let to power boats through and made us wait a while then raised it again. We cleared one more bridge and made our hard right turn not the entrance of the Dismal Swamp canal.

We didn't know what to expect but were looking forward to it.  In addition to the history of the place It had 2 locks that we needed to pass through another first for us.  We made it to the Deep Creek lock in time for the 1500 locking.  There was a huge number of boats and our hopes of making it in were slim.  If we didn't we would layover there in front of the lock.  By some miracle the lock operator jammed all 18 of us in there!  It was fun and he was a lively fellow.  He told us he ran the lock, a dam and the draw bridge down the road.  After he locked us all through he hopped in his truck and drove down the road to the bridge about a 1/2 mile away.  He opened it and most of us went through like a big boat parade.  Some boats remained just outside the lock tied off to some free docks there. 

We opted to clear the bridge and figure it out after that. As it turned out some free docks just after the bridge were also taken as we were the last ones out of the lock just about.  We decided to back up and tie off to the wooded bridge bulkhead like the boat behind us did. Scott hopped off and went across the street to have one of our propane tanks filled.  This turned out to be a very handy stop as there was a mini shopping mall just across the street with a big Food Lion in it.  There was also a hardware store there where the propane was filled.  The kids spotted a Hardees complete with playground so we dined there!


Friday, Oct 25th, 2002    South Mills NC

We got up early thinking the bridge would open at 0800.  We were underway at first light so that we wouldn't be in the way of the boats going north.  Turned out that there was no early opening and no northbound traffic... Oh Well....  We could catch the 1100 lock this way.  We got to the drawbridge just before the lock and there were gas stations on either side.  Again we moored to the bulkhead and hopped off to fill our jerry cans with diesel.  We hadn't stopped for fuel in a long time and had used up our spare fuel save one 5 gallon jug.  This was opportune!  Well the time for the bridge came and went.  Melissa called the visitors center we had passed on the way.  They informed us there was only to lockings today 0900 and 1500 and it's now 1130....  Some of the Canadians showed up at the bridge along with the Lady Jane a boat whose crew we had met in DC.  Suddenly the bridge bell rang and it began to open.  We looked at each other threw the lines off and motored through. We were the only boat to get through,  We glided into the lock and the kids hopped out with the frisbee. After a while the bridge went up again and the other boats came down except for Lady Jane, who laid up against the bulkhead for the night.  

We motored on for a while and anchored in the lee of Goat Island. We rigged a trip line just in case the old delta fouled on something there in the swamp.  Melissa, Emily and Pete went off for an explore in the dinghy.  Will and Scott stayed behind and studied for Will's diving class. He's doing a good job of studying and we expect a good score on the writen test!  Just before sunset a couple more boats showed up.  One was Miss Behave we locked through with them at deep creek.  We slept well on the hook there, in about 10-15 knots of wind.


Saturday, Oct 26th, 2002     Elizabeth City NC

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We got up and had a nice pancake breakfast, after that we headed for Elizabeth city only about 8 miles away.  We were up for checking out the town and doing some laundry.  There's room for about 20 boats on free dock space right downtown.  We got in at about 1030 and a bunch of other boats began to show up later that day owing to the lock schedule.  One particularly colorful character named Russ came along in a 25 or so foot sailboat.  It was an older vessel but looked quite well kept.  Russ was a man whose age would be hard to guess.  He looked like an old salt though complete with the grey white beard, worn down teeth and eyes that were enclosed in folds of skin that only time and squinting across the bow of his craft could be responsible for.  When you met Russ he gave you a hearty handshake and a rascally grin with those worn down choppers. He was an original, the real macoy.  His slight Massachusetts accent gave away the fact that he and his little boat had made a long trip and when questioned he tells you he's going south "maybe Florida."  He and his chocolate lab Cocoa were a source of entertainment for all.  We met Russ along with others fleeing the cold weather in search of the endless summer there on the docks of Elizabeth city.  Pete & Scott walked about 2 miles to a Walmart to buy some hair clippers. Pete was looking pretty shaggy!  We fixed that the following morning.

In the Evening the "Rose Buddies" host a wine and cheese party right there on the pier under a tent.  They have wine and Cheese, beer and snacks as well as some great local folk lore.  The main Rose Buddy named Fred started hosting these parties after the death of his wife some 20 years ago.  It keeps him busy though not off of the streets.  He terrorizes downtown Elizabeth city in his red "rose buddy" golf cart reportedly a gift of Willard Scott (though not confirmed).  He runs it around to bring supplies for the parties.  He even drafted Melissa to help.  After they left one of the other Rose Buddies told Scott "he always grabs the best looking one!" In all the Elizabeth city town docks are not to be missed unless the wind is form the SE in which case the Albermarle Sound pounds the boats on the dock.

We were berthed next to a trawler from Marion Mass. and next to them arrived Dave and Pat Sullivan from Salem Mass. in there sailboat.  You see you never really leave New England.  There was even a boat that had a hailing port of Portsmouth NH.  Turned out they were not from there but it reminded us of home.

Sunday, Oct 27th, 2002    Manteo NC

We left at about 0830 we stopped at Pelican Marina to get fuel and water.  Melissa picked up an NC cruising guide.  We were out of there by 0900 underway for Manteo under full sail moving quite nicely.  Will had a fishing line out and all was well.  Then the fishing rod reel started singing loudly, I thought wow a huge fish!  But alas not so fast it was that the lure had hooked a crab pot (just like a lobster pot)....  We quickly let the sails luff though since we were more or less downwind ("running" for you sailors) the boat continued along at a startling pace.  Emily and Scott hopped in the dinghy and with the rod headed off to the crab pot in the swells.  It was quite a way off but Scott cranked in the line as Emily expertly piloted the dinghy back to the snag. It was barely hooked.  As Scott and Emily looked back they thought the big boat was just about to disappear over the horizon.  Just at that moment Melissa brought the boat about still under full sail and tacked back for the fishing pole party.  When the big boat was just about back Melissa again brought it about to show the dinghy crew the stern for regrouping.  Emily brought the dinghy right up to the stern of Rantum Scoot and the painter was thrown and made fast.  A successful mission!  We continued on'as though nothing had happened.  We made it into Manteo just in time to see the dock master going out on a sunset cruise aboard his steel hulled "DownEast Rover." Via radio he told us what slip to take and we passed starboard to starboard in the narrow channel.

We managed to get Rantum Scoot into an inside slip right next to a large motor yacht named Odelia.  Actually Odelia's owner/captain Rick helped us get the lines set. We came to know he and his Tsipy over the next few days enjoying several meals with them and learning about all sorts of things.  They were also cruising with plans for the Bahamas. Check them out at their site.


Thursday, Oct 31st, 2002    Ocracoke NC

We had a great sail from Manteo to Ocracoke!  First we had to ply a bit of Pemlico sound through a narrow channel for about 7 miles.  After that it was a running romp downwind to Okracoke.  We saw 35 knots on the anemometer and the boat went like crazy over 9 knots at times!  We got to Okracoke mid afternoon and there was a fairly big swell running us into the narrow channel there.  We waited for a ferry to exit the channel so as not to pass at the narrow point.  He gave us some local knowledge and in we went.  The swell ran for a bout 2 miles and settled down as we got into protected waters.  It is a very interesting harbor to enter and has some shallow spots.  We took a slip at the Anchorage Marina as recommended by our friends Randy and Diana on Strider. 

First order of business was to locate local knowledge on trick or treating!  Melissa ran out and found out the scoop.  It seems that we were close to a target rich neighborhood but with one caveat, be in before dark as that's when the teenagers come out and egg unsuspecting trick or treaters.  The kids dressed up as... well what else PIRATES! ARRRGG Matey.....  We hit quite a few houses and each filled a pillow case 1/3 .  We then went off and had a nice dinner at a local restaurant.  It was tasty and we were all tired.  We returned to the Rantum Scoot for a much needed rest!  We were wary of eggers but saw none on our route back.

That's it for October...

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