Sunday, June 8, 2008

Trip Summary by Captain Kevin

Sunday, June 8, 2008 TRIP SUMMARY Hello from Capt. Kevin, Haven't written much thus far, as I have been very busy with navigation and maintenance of Island Hopper. Luckily we had no mechanical issues or groundings. We saw more than our fair share of mariners who did not navigate as carefully as they were being towed off the"hard". Wanted to cover a few details about our recent voyage. We traveled 1205 miles from Stuart, FL to Rock Hall, MD. Rock Hall was fishing community until the past few years. Our summer home is Haven Harbour Marina on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay . Many of the boat owners at the marina are from PA (Philly area) and NJ, which are a short drive. 80% sailboats in this marina, but with fuel costs I don't blame them! In our recent journey we were en route 20 days with 18 travel days. We spent two nights in Charleston and Hilton Head, respectively, neither of which we have visited prior to this trip. Our diesels ran 94.5 hours and we burned 1486 gallons of fuel or 15.7 gallons per hour. That corresponds to .82 MPG which is respectable for a boat. We averaged 67 miles per day which was 4-5 hours underway. One day over 100 miles and several at 25 miles. We left the marinas between 7:30 and 10:00 depending upon tides and how many miles we had to travel. We used Marinalife to book our marinas and would highly recommend the service. For internet access we relied upon a Verizon USB connection and/or a marina wireless network. The marinas had marginal service. I bought an antennae for wireless internet which allowed me to pick up unsecured wireless at a great distance, which in most cases were faster than the Verizon devise and better than the marina coverage. We ate breakfast and lunch on our boat and most times dinner at a local establishment. From gourmet to a marina bistro. ( I am being kind) I checked cruising websites nightly as I planned our next day travels, mostly for cruising problems. Mostly shoaling of the channel as the US Government has chosen not to maintain the waterway for commerce. Luckily, our navigation equipment includes tide tables so we could navigate the problem areas at rising tides (in GA and SC the tides are 6-8 feet) or avoid the areas all together by going out in the Atlantic provided we had a good pass to the ocean and decent sea conditions. We don't like to go in the Atlantic with seas exceeding 4 feet and winds in excess of 20 knots (23 MPH). Just not comfortable, so why do it. I also spent time daily reviewing and handling client matters as I have chosen not to retire, so I can afford the diesel fuel, which climbs with each fill-up. The vessel carries 600 gallons. Overall a great adventure. Especially with my great First (Best!) Mate. It takes a great crew to handle a 52 foot vessel in winds and currents. The wind always seems to pick up at the time you want to dock! No collisions though once I did a waive off as the current was pushing me into a 120 foot vessel, in Beaufort, NC. The damage I could have done would have been catastrophic! Luckily, I dodged that bullet. Till the next adventure!

Exploring Rock Hall, Maryland

Sunday, June 8, 2008 Kevin & Debbie got up early to prepare for a busy day. Kevin left with a driver at 8:00 AM to drive to Baltimore and pick up a rental car. Debbie stayed aboard and washed down the boat and began getting ready to leave on Monday. Kevin returned about noon and the two went into the town to explore. ( After lunch on the boat we explored downtown Rock Hall. Our first stop was to the Visitor's Center. We then drove to marinas and checked out some of the stores and restaurants. Kevin found an old fashioned drug store and had a hand-dipped chocolate malt. Tonight's dinner was at a local restaurant on the bay called Waterman's. The food and view were great.

St. Michaels, Maryland to Rock Hall, MAryland

Saturday, June 7, 2008
"Island Hopper" left the dock at St. Michaels at 11:40 AM. We were in no rush to leave, since it will only be a little over 2 hour run today. The skies started out overcast, but turned hot and sunny quickly. The wind were SW 0 -5 and the seas were basically flat. It was an easy run, but the heat was building. We arrived at "Island Hopper's" summer port, Haven Harbour Marina, Rock Hall, Maryland at 2:00 PM.

The Water Tower Welcoming Us to Rock Hall

"Island Hopper's" Summer Berth, Haven Harbour Marina

Haven Harbour's Reception and Grill in the Background

After getting the boat settled we we explored Haven Harbour Marina.( We were pleased with the facilities. With the heat and the lack of a car, we ate aboard. We are looking forward to getting a car tomorrow and exploring Rock Hall.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Solomons Island, Maryland to St. Michaels, Maryland

Friday, June 6, 2008
High Profile Spotting - Tonight Kevin & Debbie were having dinner at Bistro St. Michaels and recognized one of the guests coming from the upstairs dining room. It was Vice-President Dick Chaney. He was having dinner with his wife and possibly friends upstairs. Numerous people followed him down, most probably secret service. The server said that the restaurant was filled with secret service. In the kitchen, out front and out back. Vice-President Chaney and his wife own a home in St.Michaels. Locals are used to the procedures and say he frequents the restaurant. The couple at the table next to us said he lives two doors down from their home and they see him helicopter in on Fridays. No one batted an eye to his presence, except for the Hoppers. The food was fabulous!!!
We left Solomons Island at 8:40 AM and will be traveling a shorter distance of 55 miles to St. Michaels. The temperature is in the 70s, but expected to reach mid 80s later today. Skies are overcast with dense clouds, which will make for nice running temperatures. The sun is predicted to break through later today making temperatures warmer. Winds are Easterly 5 with Seas 2-3, but calming to 1-2.
St. Michaels - A Little Background History
St. Michaels is one of those unforgettable cruising spots of the Chesapeake Bay. Although the town was officially chartered in 1804, early accounts of trading here date back to 1631, and the late 1600s parish church was built where the Christ Episcopal Church now stands. As St. Michaels grew it became an important ship building center especially noted for its "Baltimore Clippers," the fastest sailing vessels of their time. Today the town is better known as a popular yachting center.

A Waterfront Home On St. Michaels

Shore Things in St. Michaels
In St. Michaels, everyone can be as busy, or idyllically idle, as they like. There are interesting museums, diverse shops, fabulous restaurants, tour boats, golf course and numerous festivals to entertain everyone. There are luxurious inns, manicured parks, and coves to discover by dingy. (
Things To See and Do
Of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's nine buildings, the cottage-style Hooper Strait Lighthouse is the most recognizable. Decommissioned and moved to its present after standing watch for 75 years, it has been restored and furnished to reveal the lightkeeper's world. Other exhibits in this exemplary museum examine such local maritime heritage as waterfowl hunting, boatbuilding and oystering.

A Bascule Bridge at the Maritime Museum

Buildings in the Maritime Museum

Hooper Strait Lighthouse
Shopping - Yes! Debbie is Exited For Some Awesome Shopping!!!! Shops specializing in unusual gifts, clothing, art and antiques line Talbot Street, which runs the length of the town. Browsers will find a range of merchandise: pottery, sportswear, jewelry, home furnishings, books, Christmas ornaments and gifts for people and their pets. All the things that Kevin says" We do not need." On Saturday morning ( May through October) the farmer's market in Muskrat Park is open for shopping to buy garden produce and homemade treats or to attend a guest chef's demonstration. (

A Pet Store in Town
Restaurants here enjoy widespread acclaim. With many fabulous restaurants to choose from, we selected Bistro St. Michaels, a french bistro in the heart of downtown. (
St. Michaels Harbour Inn Marina & Spa
Kevin and I have found that if an "U" is added to HARBOR the price is increased. We guess it makes it fancier. We will be staying one night at Bob Pascal's St. Michaels Harbour Inn and Spa. It is a resort marina with waterfront suites, a luxurious spa located at Harbour Inn, and features restaurants offering contemporary and and casual dining. The marina features all the amenities of an upscale resort and conference center. Marina facilities include complimentary cable, showers, laundry, courteous and helpful dock attendants and pump-out. Resort amenities available to Marina guests include an outdoor pool and spa, bikes, shuttle service into town, exercise room, wireless internet and spa. (

Island Hopper Docked at Harbour Inn Marina

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Portsmouth, Virginia to Solomons Island, Maryland

Kevin preparing "Island Hopper" for departure
Thursday, June 5, 2008 We left the marina at 8:00 AM. We have 113 mile to go today. It should take us about 6 1/2 hours to get to Solomons Island. ( ) The skies are sunny and temperatures are already in the 80s with high humidity. The winds are N 5 - 10 with the seas 1 -2 ft. on the Chesapeake Bay.
Sailors standing at attention waiting to come ashore
A Light in the Chesapeake Bay
The air feels much cooler with the winds over the water. It was a pleasant run today. We arrived at Hospitality Harbor Marina at 2:30 PM. (
"Island Hopper" Approaching the Marina
Solomons Island Solomons Island, just inside the mouth of the Patuxent River, has developed since the 1970s into one of Chesapeake's top destinations for cruising boaters. Discovered by the boating crowd, it has turned into a modern yachting center filled with marinas offering a myriad of amenities. Retirement retreats and weekend residences edge a shoreline now cleared of derelict boats, crab shacks and rickety piers. Isaac Solomon established the first oyster-canning plant in 1867 and, since that time, Solomons has been a major boat building and waterfront community. The first bugeye (oyster- dredging sailing vessel) was built in Solomons in 1879, and during the 1930s, the yard of M.M. Davis and Son produced many famous racing yachts. Most everything in Solomons is available by foot, but bicycles can be rented for faster travel. The town is less than 1 1/2 miles long and has a single two lane road traveling its entire distance. Museums, shops and restaurants are scattered throughout the town. Seafood is featured prominently at many of the restaurants. Many of the town's small cottages have been converted into unique gift and clothing stores. This should be a quaint town to visit.

Debbie's Favorite House on Solomons Island

We walked into the town, which turned out to be a round trip walk of about 4 miles. The town is quaint and small with a couple dozen restaurants and bars and a few shops filled with tourist items. We stopped at the grocery store on the way back and bought fresh shrimps, salmon, asparagus and curry couscous for dinner back on the boat. It was a quiet and relaxing evening.

Coinjock, NC to Portsmouth, Virginia

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 We departed Coinjock Marina at 7:40 AM. The winds were SW 10 - 15 with gusts to 25. The morning started off very hazy and smoky due to the wildfires in North Carolina. It was a warm morning and the temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-90's. This is above normal for June. Today was the day for bridges. We went under eight bridges, with five of those bridges only opening on the hour or half hour, and two on demand.
Just one of the eight bridges
We alo had one lock, the Great Bridge Lock that seperates the watersheds of the Albemarle Sound and the Chesapeake Bay. We went up about a foot.
Great Bridge Lock
This was a hot and slow day for travel. Captain Kevin had to time our speed to the openings of the bridges. We arrived at Tidewater Yacht Marina at 1:00 PM. The marina is on Mile Marker "0" on the "ICW". (
"Island Hopper" docked at Tidewater Yacht Marina
A Mallard swimming in the Marina
While leaving for dinner, Kevin mentioned that Jim Thompson, an attorney from Cincinnatiand his fromer office mate, who now lives in Terre Verde, FL with his wife Roni, was keeping their boat in the marina. We looked over the dock and saw "La Bateau" tied bow to stern with "Island Hopper". We didn't notice this earlier, since we couldn't see "Le Bateau's" stern from the dock. They are literally on the same dock. Of course, we called Jim immediately and told him that "Le Beteau" was looking good.
"Le Bateau" docked across from "Island Hopper" in Portsmouth
The marina's location was great to walk ino the town for dinner. We walked at least 1 1/2 miles along the waterfront and into the town. On High Street we found a charming restaurant, Cafe Europa,and had a great meal. Then it was back to "Island Hopper" for the evening. It was still in the mid 80's at 10:00 PM. Portsmouth's History Portsmouth's evolution has been tied to the sea. The Naval Shipyard, founded in 1767, now services nuclear-powered vessels, and this portion of the Elizabeth River remains as busy as ever. Ocean-going container ships load and unload at Portsmouth Marine Terminal and Coast Guard vessels ply the waters near their home base of Portsmouth. Olde Town has museums, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The Elizabeth River Ferry shuttles visitor to and from Norfolk into downton Portmouth. This is a great way to tour both towns.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Belhaven, North Carolina to Coinjock, North Carolina

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 7:40 AM and went to Dowry Creek Marina for fuel. We are headed to Coinjock, North Carolina. The temperature started out this morning in the high 60s, but will be in the mid 80s by the afternoon. It is a pleasant day with mild winds and low humidity. Skies are blue and sunny, with winds SE 5-10 morning changing to SE 10 - 15 in the afternoon. We traveled through the Albemarle Sound. Captain Kevin had to be careful because of dead heads and very shallow areas. One boat went too close to the red buoy and had to be towed by Sea Tow. Due to Kevin's reading and fine homework our voyage was uneventful - in a good way!! Today we will travel 85 mile. We arrived at Coinjock Marina at 2:00 PM. We have a few hours of R & R.
Coinjock Marina, Coinjock, NC
The Crew Hard At Work
Intracoastal Waterway Traffic - A Barge
Just Having Local Fun On the Water
A Few Facts About Coinjock - Just a few... Coinjock is a native American name, meaning "land of the mulberry bush." That is the tale that is told - even though no one has seen a mulberry bush in Coinjock. Coinjock is not a destination per se, but a traditional stop on the ICW, or going north or south on a major thoroughfare to a waterway town. There is not much to do in Coinjock, but take a walk, fill the tanks and check charts for the next leg of the journey. We will be staying at Coinjock Marina.

The Marina Across The Water

Monday, June 2, 2008

Beaufort, North Carolina to Belhaven, NC

Monday, June 2, 2008 We departed the marina at 7:40 AM. The skies were cloudy with a few intermittent rain sprinkles, but quickly cleared by mid-morning for a beautiful and sunny day. We traveled on the inside with winds NW 10 - 15 with gusts up to 20. Temperatures were in the mid 80s. We arrived at Belhaven Waterway Marina at 12:30 PM. It is a small marina that is beautifully maintained. After lunch on the boat we walked into the small town. There were a few businesses and about four stores. We then walked along the waterfront to see the homes, bed & breakfasts, and the River Forest Manor. ( Not much to do in Belhaven. Only a few restaurants were open, so we grilled and had a relaxing diner on the boat.

Debbie in front of the local shoe store

The crab artwork created by local artists and businesses

displayed throughout the town

A Beautiful Harbor It's pretty obvious how Belhaven got its name: the translation is "beautiful harbor." Rich with old forests and clear streams, it was originally called Jack's Neck in the late 19th century when it was a farming and fishing village. The first house in the area was built in 1868 on the site where the River Forest Manor now stands. The structure was used chiefly as a hunting and fishing camp, which is why so many people have come to Belhaven over the years. In 1899, lumber and railroad baron John A. Wilkinson constructed a Victorian mansion here, home now to the River Forest Manor, which still draws visiting yachtsmen. The hurricanes of the late 1990s brought flooding to the town, so many Belhaven houses had their foundation walls raised in hopes of avoiding another disaster.

A newly constructed home

A Beautiful Sunset in Belhaven

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wrightsville Beach Yacht Club, Wrightsville Beach NC to Beaufort, NC

Sunday, June 1, 2008

We departed the dock at 6:50 AM so we could get to the Surf City Bridge for the 9:00 AM opening. This bridge only opens on the hour. The trip on the inside is ruled by the tides and bridges. Skies are clear and sunny with temperatures in the mid 80's. Winds are SW 10-15. We will be traveling the entire trip (80 miles) to Beaufort, NC on the inside due to a small craft advisory in the Atlantic.

A Giraffe in a Backyard on the ICW

A Wooden Kayak = Justin Flamm would like this one!!!

A Wooden Boatbuilder in Beaufort


Little has changed since the days of the late 19th century when Beaufort was a resort town. It remains a protected stop for the transient boater and a perfect jumping off point for other Atlantic destinations. Beaufort ( pronounced Bo-Fert) is North Carolina's third-oldest town. Named for Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort, this port has been a fishing village since the 1600s. By the early1700s so much shipping traffic used the harbor that it was designed a seaport, and a customs office was erected. Although Beaufort did not escape the hardships of the Civil War, it avoided much of the physical damage. On April 25, 1862, Union troops seized Fort Macon, while the residents of Beaufort watched from the waterfront and their porches. The town grew accustomed to the northern visitors to the extent that many Beaufort women married Federal soldiers. Visitors are still welcomed with open arms these days.

A Beautiful Home in Historic Beaufort Waterfront

Things To See and Do

Shops and restaurants run along Front Street, just a few feet from the town docks. The streets are the way they were originally laid out in 1713. The boater-friendly layout of Beaufort's waterfront requires minimal walking to find a meal. We arrived at theat Beaufort Docks at 1:55 PM and received our directions for docking. Beaufort Docks has 98 berths are open for transients. It is a full service marina located directly on the waterfront in town. After getting the boat docked in the wind and stong current we walked to the Boardwalk Cafe and had awesome Black & Blue Burgers. We then used the marina car and went to the local Piggly Wiggly for groceries. We may ship this car home and sell the Mercedes and BMWs. The only thing missing was having Tate the "Bird Dog" sitting between us in the front seat.

We later walked through the town. It is a cute small town with shops, restaurants and a few businesses. Many of the shops were closed because it is Sunday. Tonight we went into the town for a lite dinner at the Beaufort Grocery Co. Today was another great day on the water.