Friday, November 19, 2010

Warnings & Welcomes

Today’s trip was one of contrasts. Early in the day the navy told us in no uncertain terms “KEEP OUT” but later on North Carolina said “COME ON IN!” 

We listened to both. We left the anchorage at Hospital Point early and started for the Dismal Swamp, which the woman at the visitor’s center assured was not the least bit dismal. We passed more industrial and navy waterfront; huge ships being built and countless cranes on standby for loading/unloading. 

A bored/friendly sailor waved from a container ship from some unknown country (we couldn’t identify the flag) and a Bahamian sailor was tending the flag on another vessel.

It’s hard to judge the size of this crane until you look at the zigzag of vertigo inducing steps going up to the tippy top. Yikes.

We turned the corner from the Elizabeth River into the Dismal Swamp around 8:30 and to the dismay of the drivers trying to get to work on time the bridge tender held up traffic a few extra minutes for us to get through. 

We locked through the Deep Creek Lock in mid-morning. It’s easier to see the water level difference looking at the boat behind us…. it was about 10 feet from the lower level to the upper level. Lock tender Rob, assisted by his trusty hound U-turn, got us through the lock, then jumped in his car and dashed to the draw bridge about half a mile further along and opened the bridge for us. He wished us all God speed and on we went.

Saralane leading the way out of the lock

The 28 mile stretch we did today was scenic as expected and we even had a few wildlife sightings…. a blue heron and a turtle! Ok… not all that exciting…. but how many of you saw a blue heron and a turtle today? And…we saw a BEAR. Really! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s the heron and the turtle.

I decided to forgo the usual ‘pretty autumn tree’ photos and instead am including this montage of ‘pretty autumn tree reflections in the water’ photos. The ripples were from the wake we created as we moved through the water.

Here’s North Carolina welcoming us! (On the other side of this sign it said “Welcome to Virginia”… we wondered if the two states argued about who had to take care of the sign.) 

It was a long lazy ride through the swamp and Renaissance man Skip took a break from the scenery to bake  bread from a dough he started yesterday.

We tied up along with the two boats we went through the lock with earlier in the day. Saralane is the boat on the far right of the photo. Skip got all fancy and turned us around to pull alongside. Whatever breeze there was had been coming from the north, so this will make our night more comfy if the wind picks up. (And we were too lazy to change the fenders from the starboard side to the port side… plus we’ll need them on the starboard side again tomorrow to go through another lock.)

So… the BEAR. We decided to go for a walk on the trails before it got dark… and we saw a BEAR. OK… it was dead… but it was still a bear. A few park rangers were clustered around the end of the bridge that took us over to the trails and we stopped to chat with them and see what all the activity was about. They were trying to figure out the best way to get this poor dead bear up out of the water and find out what had happened to it. The rangers were waiting for the local wildlife biologist to show up and tell them 1) what might have happened to the bear 2) how old the bear was 3) how the heck to get a big bear out of a ravine and dispose of it. 

They were still waiting when we crossed back over from our walk and when we asked what news there was about the bear… they said they’d been pondering a more important question. What were the words to Pattycake, Pattycake?! They’d gotten “Pattycake, pattycake baker’s man… bake me a cake as fast as you can” and it went downhill from there. So if anyone knows the rest of it… please let us know. We told the ranger we’d check in with her in the morning for an update.

One sort of scenic photo to end with. We saw these cool berries on our walk and have no idea what they are. They were really bright bold pinky purple-ish. Pretty! Looking at the wildflowers kept our minds off bears.... the live kind that might walk out of the woods and want to eat us.


Leslie said...

There are fenders on a boat? Who knew? But why don't you just have fenders on both sides of the boat? Why do you have to switch them from side to side? Just curious. And where did you take the photo from of saralane docked for the night? Did you take the dingy out just to take a photo? Now that's devotion to one's craft.

BTW - Lyrics as requested:

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Pat it and prick it and mark it with B,
Put it in the oven for baby and me.[1]
Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can;
Roll it up, roll it up;
And throw it in a pan!
Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man

Wikipedia advises that the song is often accompanied by hand clapping between two people - and the site includes pictures and a video to demonstrate.

What would we do without the www?


Cindy Barnard said...

Ohhhhhh, Leslie got here ahead of me. I was ready w/ Patty cake lyrics.
I love the montage of fall colors on the water...absolutely gorgeous.
You could sell that. No kidding.
Matthew has a site he was given that will take your photos, frame them and then make them available to you to sell.......but you probably already know this.
That was fine looking bread Mr. R-M.
We had French Toast this morning with Whole Wheat Honey Bread a la Maddie.
I hope you are seeing the same full moon that is hanging over our house right now. I also hope it is a whole lot warmer there than it is here.
Windy, 40 F.

Madeline said...

Thanks to Leslie and Cindy (and to those who emailed) for coming through with the lyrics! As it turned out we left before the ranger came in to work this morning so she'll have come up with the lyrics without our assistance.

As for the fenders (and as with many things on a boat)... less is more. Since you have to stow them - the fewer the better as space is at a premium. Laziness aside, it's simple to move them around plus you don't want them hanging of the boat, bumping around and getting beat up while you're sailing - it's bad form! Other sailors will be aghast and avoid you at gatherings. Check out the tug boats in the previous post.... those tires all around are their fenders and they need them all the time.

I took the photo of Saralane and friends at the dock not by going out on the dinghy (which is um... IN THE PHOTO) but by walking across the pontoon bridge that the rangers and Skip are standing on in the photo at the end. They're on the fixed end of the bridge. The main part of the bridge is hinged on the side of the shore and gets moved in and out of place as needed. So much for being devoted to my craft....

Cin: It IS warmer here! You know how much I love the cold right? I've put away my long johns.... but haven't broken out the shorts and tank tops yet. Hope springs eternal though.

Miles said...

American Beautyberry
Callicarpa bodinieri
And no, you notherners cannot grow this plant at home. Gotta be in southern MD or lower...

Miles said...

Callicarpa americana, not bodinieri. Duh...

Madeline said...

Thanks Miles! I'd have believed the bodinieri part even if you hadn't corrected it. Hi to Lex and Dory!

Penelope said...

My dad always used to say that a boat with the fenders left out was like a woman with her slip showing ;-)

Miles said...

BTW. Image reflections in the water? You may have just created a new form of fine art photography.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm really having a hard time with this one way conversation thing going on here!

I want to know 2 things......
1) Did you say "welcome to North Carolina" to Skip when you passed the sign, like we always said when we traveled on vacations? btw - I regrettably have picked up the same habit. It will give Carly something to complain about later in life.
2) Which one of you got the 25cents for spotting the bear first?

Last but not's taken me this long to figure out how to post a comment but I can only post it if I sign under Anonymous......whatever?!?!?

Cindy Barnard said...

M- Those photos...what are we calling them?....swirly water pics? I absolutely love them. I feel a photo show coming on.
Except for the mosquito issue, I am pretty sure that I want to be YOU.
Do you have to pinch yourself at all to KNOW that you are actually doing this, that you're not dreaming about taking off in your boat for a year, that you are actually DOING IT!? Just very cool.
And Ruth doesn't need to change her anonymous status since it's obvious who she is. I kinda like it.