Arriving into Charleston allowed us to catch up on some of the projects we have been putting off.  Doing laundry on all those odds and ends not just the required clothes and towels, Kris ended up doing 14 loads.  We were at a marina that had free washing machines, two of them and they were kept busy.  The boat received a good scrubbing with soap and fresh water, salt water is ok but having unlimited fresh allowed everything to get scrubbed down.  Going through all the boat lockers looking for water, mold or getting rid of those things you thought we could not do with out but we did.

We also have a list -- imagine that -- of some 120 items that we want to fix/improve/repair prior to leaving again.  Some items are simple "buy a new cutting board that fits into the cutting board area"; while others are more complicated "fix the boom vang, because it broke".  So with the ability of the internet for research and finding the best prices we are making a list and ordering for items to be shipped to a staging area.  We looked at who we might rope into this task and picked/asked John M for his address and space.

There are a lot of smaller items we will pick up along the way north and some projects like sewing projects are  what we will do as we have "open" time.  Derek has completed  6th grade, except for a research paper that we are making him do, that was not part of the normal curriculum,  and then he will have a few weeks off.  We plan on starting up 7th grade this summer and getting a good start prior to the normal school year.

We were waiting in Charleston for our friends Bob and Anne on Baloo who were coming up from the Bahamas, they arrived with out any issues.  Anne needed to make a trip to Washington for family reasons and their friend and ours  Dale J. flew out to help Bob move the boat up north.  We had meet Dale and his family when we were cruising in 1994 so we wanted to catch up on old and new stories.

While we were waiting in Charleston we met another kid boat, "Day Dreamer" who has 3 girls Emma, Anna and Sarah.  Derek got along with them great and we spent many hours with them while in Charleston.    There are many Live Oak trees  in Charleston and they made great climbing trees for the kids, but their favorite was a large magnolia tree in the park.  Day Dreamer is planning on spending the summer up north in Maine so we probably will see them again.

From Charleston we did an overnight trip up to Beaufort, N.C.,  and then took the ICW up to Norfolk.  Along the way we stopped at our old haunt, the Alligator River Marina.  The marina is along the highway and probably services more cars than boats but it has a small grill and the best hamburgers around.  We treated Bob and Dale to a fine dinner and even had alligator bites for hours devours (this is breaded alligator meat bites).   "What If"  has stopped there on every trip and probably will continue in the future.  As we motored away the next day it appeared as though we had an extra passenger.  Looking on Baloo's head sail we spotted a coiled snake who was hanging on for the free ride.  Bob managed to get the 6 foot snake off the boat with out incident.  Not sure how the snake got there but both boats did a thoroughly snake check to make sure we did not have any additional passengers.

We finally arrived in Norfolk on June 25th and dropped the anchor at Hospital Point.  Shortly after the hook was down we experienced the highest winds and hardest down pour we have ever seen.  Dale who was on Baloo and who has single handled a sailboat from Australia and down to Easter Island said it was the worst one he has seen as well.  The highest wind recorded during the storm was 66 knots. We had rain and even some hail, and lots of lightning.  Visibility dropped to about 300 feet during the storm.  We weathered the storm O.K.,  but Baloo was close to a lightning strike and lost their refrigerator and several instruments like the depth sounder; so now Bob is in the process of repairing the boat prior to being able to leave the area.

The history around Norfolk is amazing, it seems like the area has been involved in just about every war, either the fighting occurred in the area or they have built ships to support the war effort.  As you leave the area by water you go down "Battleship Row", dock after dock of Navy ships being worked on and then as you are sailing out of the harbor you usually have to dodge either a Navy war ship or one of the many commercial ships.  We did catch a picture of the new Navy "stealth" boat, if was very quite and went fast through the water and the paint job was sure different.





Update: 06/29/12 Charleston and then North

This tree made a great perch to bounce on

When you run out of trees, climb a monument

Dale J. and Bob off Baloo

alligator marina picture

Battleship row in Norfolk

Lots of container ships in Norfolk

The "stealth" boat.  The wake was not stealthy at all

Anchors aweigh!