Thursday, May 24, 2018

From Deltaville, VA To Tangier Island, VA - A Place Like No Other

The crew of Viridian docked at Dozier Marina on Stingray Point on the southern shore of the Rappahannock River Inlet on the western side of the Great Chesapeake Bay.  The Captain of Dash Away is the president of the Monk Owners association and this is where their rendezvous for 2018 was being  held.  The marina was full of trawlers, mostly Monks, and we got to meet a lot of interesting people over the three day stay.  During that period the Crew of Second Wave were able to get their fuel filters replaced and have their fuel "polished" to remove any remaining gunk that would starve their engine and leave them stranded in rough seas again.  A sea trial confirmed that all was back to normal.  One of the Monks, "Friar Tuck", was having a "fuel issue" when we arrived.  The prop shaft is a dripless type like the one we have on Viridian, however, the carrier bearing that is lubricated by the water from the transmission cooler seized up while underway in the tempest on Monday and started winding the coolant hose around the shaft.   If this wasn't bad enough, the coolant hose was zip tied to the return fuel line and it too was shached away and wound around the shaft hanking it away and ripping it apart.  Now water and fuel were running free into the bilge and being pumped overboard as Friar Tuck continued on its way to the marina.  We noticed an oil slick around our boat since we were docked next to her at Dozier.  All this got fixed during our stay thanks to the local boatyards and all the expert marine mechanics in the area.  We also weathered a thunderstorm that passed in the evening leaving us with a north wind for our cruise to Tangier Island the next morning.

One of my sisters lives in the Richmond area and drove over to visit us at the marina.  We went into the little town of Deltaville and had a great meal at The Table restaurant and were so caught up in conversation we didn't take time to make any pictures.  It was good to see family!

Friday morning Viridian was ready to sail alone northwest to the tiny island of Tangier, VA.  The wind was out of the north and we told the dock master at Dozier we would be back if the conditions were anything like they were on Monday.  Once we got into the Bay we had two foot waves about 10 seconds apart.  It was bumpy but nothing like what we saw coming from Hampton to Deltaville.  The island of Tangier soon rolled up on the eastern horizon revealing the town's water tank and a few towers.  Closer to the island we spotted the green day marker that guided us into the inlet past the jetties and into the canal that splits the island into.  A  small FBO airstrip ran north/south along the length of the island and Park's Marina appeared as soon as we rounded the turn in the canal.  Captain Parks, a life time resident of Tangier and retired crab fisherman, was on the wooden fixed pier riding his scooter and waving us in as we drifted in the swift current that ran perpendicular to where he wanted us to dock stern first.  My first two attempts were aborted as the current swept us away before getting close to the pilings that made our primitive docking pier.  We were ready to give up docking here and sail on by the island and dock in the town of Onancock on the eastern shore of the Bay.  Captain Parks got his handheld radio out and said he would talk me in and for me to position Viridian CLOSE to the outer pilings before backing in.  This was a new trick for me and I wish I had had this lesson earlier because it would have come in handy in the Everglades situation.  We followed his instructions and were able to dock stern-in with a running current and not get a scratch.  Captain Parks is 87 years old and knows boats.  It is all he did for 65 years in addition to raising a family and sending his children to college.  He is quiet the character and is full of all kinds of interesting stories. 

Once we got secured we decided to walk into town and find the Chesapeake House Family Style Restaurant and have a nice meal.  Tangier is unlike any place we have ever seen in the USA.  There is even a strange accent carried by the locals that has been preserved since the 1700s.  The restaurant was in an old house on the main path through town.  I say path because the roads were all 8 feet wide and only the paths through town were paved.  The locals here all drove golf carts, scooters, side-by-sides and bicycles.  Very few vehicles here.  There is no cell phone service and 90% of the income comes from the crab fishing business.  There is a school building that has 1-12 grades, a couple of old churches, lots of cemeteries (we found several graves in the front yards of homes).  The general store was full of mostly empty shelves and the whole atmosphere and way of life here was foreign to us.  Our bicycles took us down every path on this side of the island.  There was no bridge over to the other side across the canal so we didn't get over there.  There is a mail boat that goes to the mainland.  People can hop on this boat and get groceries from the eastern shore and bring them back to Tangier.  We mingled with the odd traffic of scooters and golf carts on the narrow paths and exchanged friendly nods with locals as they went about their lives.  Not too many tourists visit Tangier and they don't make any attempt to cater to us which makes this place even more special.  What you see is what you get here.  We were glad to be able to experience this place preserved in time.  Although there are 21 century technologies all around, there is still a hint of times long ago as we caught snippets of conversations in a tongue that has survived the ages on an isolated dot of land on the Chesapeake Bay.

When we returned to our slip several Looper boats had arrived and Captain Parks was out there directing them in.  It was very entertaining watching this activity since it is probably the most difficult docking anyone will ever do.  Captain Parks sat on his scooter on the pier and talked every boat in.  They all made several attempts but soon came to rest between the pilings.  One boat docking next to Viridian got away from the captain and carried away our looper burgie flag and mast on the bowsprit.  This happened when we were away exploring and we found the flag and pole on our deck with a note of apology taped to it.  These poles are easy to find and the Captain and crew promised to replace it.     

That's the news and here's some views:

 We are here

Today's Passage form Deltaville, VA to Tangier Island, VA

Tangier Island, VA

The approaching storm at Deltaville, VA

Viridian docked at Dozier Marina in Deltaville, VA

Sailing Northeast for Tangier Island on the Chesapeake Bay

Docked at Park's Marina, Tangier Island, VA

We knew we would like this place! Spanky closes everyday to go home for supper and opens back up at 5:00pm.  We got there about 4:45 and waited with a drove of children that wanted ice cream, too.  

Local Crab Fishing Industry

Typical Main St. in Downtown Tangier

Tangier Post Office

The Owner Closes for Dinner and Supper but comes back to reopen

More cats that people on the Island.  Mr. Parks, the marina owner, and his wife had 32 cats.  She died 6 years ago and Mr. Parks found homes for all the cats but he still had 4 or 5 hanging around his house.  

It's all about the Crab

I thought this was sweet idea.  If you can see the top card on this revolving card holder you see it says recipes for sale for .25 each.  Proceeds go to missions.  All the local recipes were hand written on inexpensive index cards.  In today's world of pick your nice paper, pick your pretty font and hit the print button in the computer age we live in, this was a step back in the past.  More importantly, this was something that God put on some woman's heart to do to carry on His work.  

Tangier Lawn Mower.  He says he's going to get around to it :-)
The Chesapeake House Restaurant

They were expecting a ferry of seniors from the mainland

Family Style Setup. We had this table and all we could eat to ourselves.  This was another step back in the past.  I remember when we used to eat like this every day with all the food put into nice serving pieces on the table.  There was certainly nothing fancy about the food or the decor but everything was done from the heart.  After George and I finished our lunch, two other men came in and sat at the other end of our table and the waitress just moved the bowls we served ourselves from to their end of the table.  Just like we were all family!

These crab cakes and clam fritters are the only local seafood available on the island.  They were better than any we have tried.

Main St. Tangier Island

Tiny finger pier makes stern in docking necessary otherwise you won't be able to get off your boat

Main St. Tangier Island

A visit to the beach

Typical transportation for most locals

Unusual graves with the large stone coverings

Cats everywhere!

Local girls waiting for Spanky's Ice Cream to reopen

Life is Good

Pathway to Parks Marina

Arrival of the Mail Boat

Our Looper Burgie snapped off by boat docking next to us

Captain Parks on his scooter patrolling his pier

Monday, May 21, 2018

There Will Be Days Like This

Today four trawlers, a Grand Banks, two Monk 36s and one Mainship 40, departed the Downtown Hampton public pier at slack low tide hoping to catch the flood tide north and ride it 47 miles to Deltaville, VA.  "Viridian", "Mary Lisa", "Dash Away" and "Second Wave" cast off lines at 0830 with a favorable weather forecast and looked forward to a "no drama" passage to our destination in Deltaville, VA.  The sky was overcast, the air was humid and warm and the water was calm.  The winds were predicted to be less than 10 kts all day swinging from the south to the north east around mid morning.  Seas forecast less that two feet.  We captains of each boat had discussed the tide, current, wind and temperature since 2 days ago and all agreed that today would be a perfect day to be on the Chesapeake Bay.  As we swung around Ft. Monroe and entered the Chesapeake, the temperature dropped and a cool northeast wind was blowing and waves were beginning to show signs of whitecapping which indicated 14kt, twice what was predicted.  Off in the distance to the north was a small thunderstorm moving fast in a west to east direction and the weather map showed a cold front moving south over our area.  Before too much longer we had waves breaking over the bow spraying water through the open windows on the flybridge and soaking the crew of Viridian.  We buried our anchor, (it's 6 feet off the water on the bowsprit), and one of our starboard fenders was knocked out of its stainless steel cage and at about that time we felt the rudder jam making it difficult to steer.  This went on until we rolled over another 6ft wave and lost whatever was hanging the rudder and then it was back to normal.  At about 30 miles the captain of "Mary Lisa" called in and said he had something rolling around in his engine room. Being single handed he could not go below to check on it so he decided to make a run for the western shore to the Winter Haven Harbor and anchor for the night and try another run tomorrow.  Viridian, Dashaway and Second Wave continued to push northward until Second Wave called in to say he was loosing power to his single Yanmar diesel and it felt like he would be dead in the water,  and soon he was.  The captain went down into the engine room and switch the Racor filter selector handle to drink from a new filter and bypass the old clogged filter.  Second Wave sprung back to life but it was short lived for in 5 minutes she was dead again.  Viridian and Dashaway idled in a circles around Second Wave while the captain changed both the primary and secondary filters on the Yanmar and attempted to start the engine again.  By now both crew of Second Wave were sea sick and worn out.  I called Second Wave and asked if he was calling TowBoatUS and he said he was.  The put him on hold for 10 minutes and finally told him that they were contacting the Coast Guard to see if they could come out and tow him in.  Another long period of time and Second Wave said that TowBoatUS could come but they were at least 45 minutes away.  The winds were expected to increase as the afternoon wore on and the crew of Viridian were beginning to feel a little green too so I offered to tow him 12 miles to our marina area where he could anchor till a proper tow could take him on into the marina.  I rigged our 100ft kevlar tow rope with a loop on one end to fasten around the Sampson head on Second Wave.  I tied it off to the starboard stern cleat after passing it through the scuttle.  Once we got connected Viridian started towing Second Wave towards our marina on the back side of Stingray Point on the western bank of the Chesapeake.  It wasn't 5 minutes before we saw the TowBoatUS boat coming toward us at full speed from the shore and we were casting off our lines so he could hook up and finish the tow to safety.  It turns out that the marina we were staying in monitors CH 72 which is the channel we use to chat between boats on so they heard us all afternoon as the drama unfolded.

The three remaining boats got safely into the Dozier Marina where more drama happened with the electrical connection to shore power on Viridian, but that's another story for another time like the bullet shot through the front window of Second Wave one night at the Downtown Hampton City Pier marina.

Well that's the news and here's a few views:

We are here

Today's Route from Hampton, VA to Deltaville, VA

Fort Wool

Second Wave in tow behind Viridian

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hampton VA

The crew of Viridian has enjoyed the stay at Hampton, VA.  So much to see here it would really take weeks to visit all the places nearby.  Now it is time to sail north to Deltaville, VA and work our way up the Great Chesapeake Bay.

Here are some views of our day around Hampton.

Planning the route that will get us to Baltimore, MD

Lunch at the Marker 20

One of a few of the carousels like this left that still works

Downtown Hampton City Piers 

Hampton University Clock Tower