No Turning Back Now

The long awaited day has finally come. After many months of hard work, and a short drive from the boat shed to the launch ramp, Thalia is now back in her watery home where she belongs.

She launched today, thanks to the able hands at Great Bay Marine. It’s been 12 months since she saw water, and back then it was for just a short few days as we moved her from her previous winter home to Great Bay. I have been doing work steadily on the boat over the last year, especially since leaving my job last October. There were many weeks in the dead of winter that I’d pull into the yard and trudge through the snow and ice with my various projects lists, tools and boat parts to climb the ladder to a cold Thalia.

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Count-Down to Launch

Our last post was in February of this year (2017) and it shared our plans to return to our adventures at sea. However, we have not been idle, so this post will share what we have been up to!

I completed my last couple months of full time employment at the end of April – at least for the short term! I loved my job and my co-workers so this was a hard decision and my last week was certainly bitter-sweet. Here are a couple shots of going away gifts and team dinners! Continue reading “Count-Down to Launch”

Back to Sea

This August 2017, it will be 10 years since we returned from the 14-month sailing adventure we took with our two young sons. Our oldest son will graduate from college this spring and our younger will enter – time passes too quickly! My husband said a final good-bye to his remaining parent last year and these life events have us evaluating the finite time we each spend on this earth. Certainly, Tom and I are still young by several measures but the exploration we long to do requires a physical strength and vitality that will not always be as readily available to us as it is today. So, we’re headed back to sea, at least part-time … for now!

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To New York, ICW Style!

After nearly a week docked in Hampton, VA, and with the thrill of Busch Garden’s many rides still tingling our spines, we cast off the lines on Sunday. Our destination was a short hop away, across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to Fisherman’s Island. I felt a combination of excitement and trepidation – we were truly underway again, no comfort and safety of docklines and no protected ICW; we had to use our sailing wit once again to get us through. Perhaps, too, it was the small craft advisory being issued and the 170 mile haul we had offshore to get to the next reasonable anchorage at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. I could have easily accepted another night at the docks, but we had miles to cover and Mattapoisett, MA still seemed a long distance away. Still, it was pleasant to have some wind to work with, and we brushed off our sailing skills and made Thalia prove to us that she was more then just a little 50 hp powerboat. At Fisherman’s Island, we were within earshot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, crossing between the tip of Maryland – Cape Charles – and the outskirts of Norfolk at Cape Henry. This 15 mile long bridge is an impressive engineering creation. Owing to the shallow depths of the Chesapeake Bay, they were able to build the bridge low to the water and then drop the roadway into a tunnel under the bay in two locations to accommodate the ship channels. This is the biggest of three such bridge/tunnels in the Norfolk area. I guess the engineers felt like they had a good thing going so that made a couple copies!

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Men, Get Your Testosterone Here!

With our new crewmember, Grampa Wells, aboard, we cast off the lines from the public dock at Elizabeth City, saying goodbye to the gracious hospitality of the ‘Rose Buddies’ and their quaint, small town. With little wind, we motored about 35 miles back out into the Ablemarle Sound, then up the North River to rejoin the ICW at the beginning of the ‘Virginia Cut’. The ICW here splits into two routes to nearby Norfolk – the Virginia Cut and the Great Dismal Swamp. While the later sounds unappealing, it is considered to be the more scenic of the two routes. Opened in 1805, it was not just scenic but much safer compared to the ravages of the North Carolina coast for transporting cargo north and south. Flatboats were the name of the game back then, and they carried lumber and other critical supplies in and out of Norfolk, as that city became a major supplier to troops in the Revolutionary War. But, as the flatboats gave way to steamships, the Great Dismal Swamp met its demise due to its shallow depths. The deeper Virginia Cut came into being in 1859, and although traveled now by larger boats and commercial craft, it is no less stunning in its beauty. We dropped anchor at the small uninhabited Buck Island. According to the chart, we could expect depths of 7-8′, and thankful there is virtual no tide fluctuation here, as you can see that we had a measly 0.3′ under the keel!

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Being a Little Normal

This past week, the residents of Thalia participated in several activities and events which fell neatly into the “normal” range — something new for us! Although, with just over one month left of our adventure we are anticipating an abrupt return to lives filled with “normalcy”, day in and day out! I don’t think we are able to articulate — from our current perspectives — what this next major shift will mean to each of us. I, for one, have such a mixed set of feelings about our life back on land that I am truly perplexed with how I will respond. Time will have to tell this one.

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