We spent a week anchored in the very sheltered waters of Spring Cove, Solomon Island, just a short dinghy hop from Claudia and Michael.
Michael used to be a baker, so he and Marcus worked their magic in the Galley,………
……….and by car to get freshly steamed crabs from the local fishmongers.
Needless to say the bar on IK came into its own in the evenings!
While we were so close to Washington, we decided to hire a car and do the tourist visits to the Smithsonian Museums and of course, the White House.
The Mall, that runs from Capitol Hill down to the Lincoln Memorial, is bordered by free museums. Mr Smith, whoever he was, must have left an enormous fortune invested for the upkeep and expansion of these fantastic ‘people’s’ museums. We couldn’t possibly ‘do’ them all, so we opted for the Space and Flight museum and the Native American People’s Museum on the first day and the newly opened African American Museum and a long walk down the Mall on the second day.
Our first stop was the Space and Flight Museum, as we were starving and it houses the biggest McDonald’s we’ve ever seen!!
Once refuelled we set off for the Wright brothers’ exhibit and then on through time to the Space gallery. We could have spent the whole day here!
Next stop was a short walk down the Mall.
The building of the Native American museum is a work of art in itself and houses artefacts from tribes who inhabited the entire country, from Alaska down to Peru and Chile. The treaties and deals that lead to the Indians being squeezed out of their homeland and onto reservations are evident, but the focus is not on blame, but on the culture, beliefs, philosophy and way of life of the ‘old people’ and of the relevance of their understanding of the balance of nature, which we so need today.
On our second day in Washington, we visited the Museum of America, hoping to find something about William Henry Seward, but to no avail. So the next stop was the African American. This is not only a record of the plight of slaves, but a fantastic celebration of their strength of will and the massive influence that African Americans have had on today’s America, from sport and entertainment to philosophy and politics.
Totally museumed out, we walked the Mall and arrived at the west end just before sunset.
From the war memorial hill, we looked down over the ‘pool’ and the Lincoln Memorial. We recognised it from the Forrest Gump film!
Just north of the hill is the White House…..much smaller than I had imagined it to be!
Once again it was time to move on. We left just after dawn to be able to make it to Porstmouth, at the south end of the Chesapeake, in day light.
After spending a night anchored at Hospital Point, where we know the holding is not good, we decided to move into the free town dock, as winds of 20 to 30 knots were predicted. The only worry we had with the town dock was our length, so we chalked an 0 over the faded 9 on the Taswell 49 that’s painted on the side of the hull!
We sat out the weather front here and apart from a load of leaves on the deck, it had no effect on us. Whilst here we took the ferry over to Norfolk and went to the cinema to get out of the rain. They only charge $6 for over 62s (£4.80), so it’s a great deal for us and we can relax in a comfy seat for and hour or two!!
Two more yachts pulled into the Town Dock and we met 4 new friends! Brian and Jackie on SOUL GYPSEY and Chris and Khara on DRAKKA. Both couples are just beginning their adventure of living aboard and had buddied up further up the coast. Chris and Khara have a great illustrated blog that Khara updates with beautiful paintings……if you’re interested in a good read, from a newbies boat’s point of view and a look at her other amazing artwork, go to www.kharaledonne
On Armistace day we were awoken by the sound check for the Veterans Day ceremony on the bandstand behind us and we went along later to hear the band and speeches.
With a three day weather window, we decided now was the time to venture out around Hatterass. It all went smoothly……..so smoothly in fact that we had to motor for all of the 34 hours it took us to get to Beaufort NC! With weather still set fair, we only stayed a night in Beaufort and headed off the following morning for Charleston SC.
We refuelled at the town Marina and then dropped anchor in the river. On our way into town, we dropped by our neighbour’s to say hello. SUSIE TOO was a British flagged boat and as we got chatting to Dave and Susie, Marcus realised that he had been on the same radio course with Dave back in 2013. What a small world!! Susie is organising the first Ocean Cruising Club rally to Cuba in February, so we will be meeting up again, as I think we are going to join the rally! After a quick bite to eat, we spent a very sociable evening aboard our third AT LAST, with Jackie and John, newly retired cruisers who are heading south on the ICW.
Charleston has a much more French feel about it. The houses are very grand and are set at right angles to the street. We spent our day walking her streets, finding the supermarket and socialising, before it was time to set ff again.
We were told to visit the Market if nothing else. This is a massive covered market that covers four blocks. It has a lot of artisan stalls and sea-grass basket weavers, weaving their wares at regular intervals along the way. When it was built, it was an agricultural market for animals and produce, but today, tourists are far more profitable!!
We are really getting south now and the water is much warmer. On our 36hr trip from South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, we were joined by a playful, plentiful pod of dolphins……..always a delight and wonder.
We arrived at the Jacksonville inlet right on the turn of the tide to take us up to Jacksonville, some 20 odd miles up river. All was going to plan until just after midday on Saturday November 19th when disaster struck!
…………to be continued!!