June 1 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 June 2, 2007 - We left Beaufort, NC on Wednesday, May 30th. We had a good time there and probably should have looked around more on our bikes. Regardless, it was a working stop and again, I'm satisfied with the response from Interlux. (Details at the end of our May 15th log.) We pulled both of our anchors and it was a good thing we had them both down. We saw a trawler go aground while he was anchored because he only had one anchor down and the wind blew him over towards the shore as the tide went out. No harm done, but it was something you have to just be patient with and wait for the next high tide to float you off.

As we left, we stopped for fuel, water, and a pump out. It ends up that I was successful in cleaning my vent for the holding tank. Less odors and no funny noises from the head when they pump us out now. We made our way out first towards the ocean and then back through the bridge connecting Morehead City with Beaufort. the naval ship looks like an older aircraft carrier and it sits prominently here. I'm not sure if it is being used however but I'll bet it is.


As we made our way up the intercoastal, I saw some more dolphins. This time, these two were in the process of trying to make even more dolphins. They were splashing around and the one in the rear was chasing the one in the front.

We had gotten away at about 9:30 and were hoping to make a good 40 or so nautical miles. However, as we turned the corner out of Adam's Creek, we encountered a head wind with 2 foot waves. Since we are really on a schedule and it was already 1 pm, I decided I didn't want to get beat up for 2 1/2 hours. I turned around and we anchored early in Adam's Creek and had fun playing cards and listening to music. Then we grilled some great chicken dummies. We've used the grill every night since installing it. Thanks Garry and Shirlene!

We are now in a place where the waters open up and are known as sounds. In some of these sounds, the space is so large you can't see land on one of the sides. In addition, we are seeing larger traffic. Above you can see two naval ships that appear to be troop carriers out on exercise.

We have a regular routine on the boat. I get up in the morning and pull the anchor and Deb gets to sleep in. Once she is up, I start the Honda generator and she will vacuum the boat and do the inside cleaning. About 11 she will relieve me for a while from my steering duties. She does a great job and keeps a good lookout. Then we have lunch underway and try to find our next anchorage by about 4 pm so I can fix or do any maintenance necessary on the boat before dinner.

We don't always plan our next anchorage because sometimes it just doesn't matter. Other times, you don't have much to choose from or you are positioning for the next day's run. Such was the case last night when we anchored at the southern entrance to the Alligator River and Pungo River Canal. We were getting ready for the next day's run of 23 miles up the canal. It was also time to stop and of course we grilled, this time, fish.

We had a beautiful moon to light the anchorage that evening and other boats came and went until darkness.

We have been contacted by another Gemini owner who lives on an island by the Kitty Hawk monument. We always enjoy meeting new people so when he offered for us to stay a night, we agreed. Now we just have to get there when he is available.

The next morning we were off to pass through the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal. This is a 23 mile stretch that essentially is a straight run. It is also very pretty because we saw wildlife throughout the canal. Lower left you can see one of the swimming kind of wildlife. I didn't figure out what it was but it was fun seeing it.

The picture on the lower right reminds my of Gary's words about the "Rock Pile." NEVER GET OUT OF THE MIDDLE. I think that holds true here too! As a matter of fact, they even warn you about straying too close to the shore or cutting corners in this area. You can end up with propeller damage or worse so you probably should stay in the middle.

We continue to enjoy the trip, people, and the entire experience as we move north seeing places, things and meeting people. It reminds me of my Aunt Sandy's post card when she is on vacation - Having a great time, wish you were here.


The first of June came and we celebrated the start of hurricane season. The sooth sayers have forecast this season to be a more active season so it is a good thing we are north. Now we are just hoping none of them come up this way. It is something we have to keep aware of until the end of November.

After we anchored, I did a bunch of maintenance projects. My raw water wasn't coming out as soon as I thought it should for the engine and I found the cause. I also had oil and fuel filter changes I needed to do. If you want to see the maintenance log, click on the link and it will take you there. I finished at about 6 pm and we then had dinner, grilled of course. Saturday brings us to another Gemini owners dock and a new experience. We are looking forward to meeting them.

By the way, for those interested in expenses, we updated our budget again this month.

MISSED MESSAGE - We have been in very sporadic cell service for the last few days and I received a message on my cell phone that I couldn't understand. The people wanted to meet us in Elizabeth City and now we are planning on being there Sunday afternoon in advance of the strong west/northwest winds that are forecast for Sunday night and Monday. If you called, please call back. 

 Mexico - October 2007 - No not us but some friends of ours. Yes, Gary and Shirlene are going to Mexico after they attend Fantasy Fest in Key West this October. If you are interested in traveling with them, contact me and I will forward your information on to them. If you are interested in going later in the year, you might want to know where they are so you can learn from those who have already made the trip.

Below is Zipadedoda and to the right is Gary and Shirlene plus a friend on the far right.


 June 4 - We mentioned we had been invited to stay at a fellow Gemini Owners dock and we made it to Colington Island and stayed with Richard, Linda and Gretchen. (their daughter, who isn't pictured) We arrived about noon on Saturday and tied up to their dock. After greetings and tours of boats along with talking about the changes each had made to personalize them, we were off to lunch. Following a great lunch they were even kind enough to run us around to pick up a few things and then we were back to the boat. They have a wonderful home and Deb was able to take a shower (if you read this much you know that made her day) and also do a load of laundry. When they returned from an early evening commitment, Richard cooked soft shell crabs and steaks for everyone. It was a great dinner and like all get together's we have had, the time passed very quickly and before we knew it, it was midnight.

The two boats looked pretty cool together and Richard even mentioned he told someone they now had "his and hers" Gemini's.

We had a great time and look forward to seeing you next year on our return trip.


 We listened to the weather several times on Saturday and determined that we needed to cross Albemarle Sound on Sunday, otherwise it would probably be Tuesday before we could depart. As it ends up, that probably wouldn't have been a bad thing! To further explain, the winds were supposed to blow 15 to 20 knots out of the southeast on Sunday and build on Sunday night. Then they would clock around to the west and northwest Sunday night and Monday. Northwest was the direction we were going so that would mean motoring into 2-3 (or greater) foot seas for 8 hours and that just isn't my day of fun. So we decided that would check the weather on Sunday morning and then be off at about 9 am if it still looked good. We awoke Sunday morning and went into the house where we looked at the weather and found out that there had been a tropical storm named Barry which had formed and then had been dropped but we would be getting some of the left over's from that storm. Still, NOAA was forecasting about 20 knots of wind with some gusts of 30 knots. Since this would be pushing us in the direction we were going and we had sailed in conditions similar to this before, I thought it confirmed our decision to leave. Richard said he wished he would be sailing with us that day.

We motored out of the channel, set the main sail with one reef and turned to the west for our first waypoint before turning northwest towards our destination. The winds were about as predicted and we were going through two foot seas. I was thinking to myself that this would be a fun day. As we made it out to the waypoint and turned northwest, the wind had picked up. I guess we were in the lee of the island so we had previously been sheltered some. I was making 7-8 knots with only main going with the wind. It was about 30 minutes later and we were going 8+ knots and I had been monitoring the wind, many times the wind speed read about 30 knots. I decided it was time to put the second reef into the sail and we did so. The winds continued to build and at one time we saw over 9 knots of boat speed going with the wind and we had two reefs in the main. Also, I saw the wind speed was constantly between 30 and 35 knots for about an hour and at one time we read 41 knots. During this time, I was actively steering the boat because the autohelm wouldn't keep us on course properly. I never felt like we were in trouble even though the waves are fairly close together in the sound and at this point, seas were running about 4 feet. Sometimes it felt like we were in a washing machine if I didn't get the steering just right. Ultimately, the wind died to "only" 20 knots of wind. Deb liked going slower although I should have gone ahead and taken out the second reef but I guess I was a bit lazy. It was at that point when the waves seemed to add and one of the waves came over our back side of the boat. We had water in the cockpit, for the first time, and it drained away just as it was designed to do. I then went forward and took out that second reef and put the main back to a one reefed sail which picked our speed back up so we would be going fast enough where the waves wouldn't do that again. We continued to sail towards Elizabeth City.

The winds stayed about 20 knots the rest of the day and the waves died down to about 2 foot as we got behind a land mass. Of course we still had an adventure in front of us. The first adventure was another rainstorm was coming our way. Since we were so close to Elizabeth City, I decided to lower the sail and simply hold position off the Coast Guard station by motoring into the wind. I really didn't want to dock to the northwest with a southeast wind blowing 20 knots in a rainstorm! The rain passed quickly and we were off to our stop in Elizabeth City. When we arrived I was debating pulling into the dock since it was so rough but even though I didn't call ahead, they had people there to help us. I guess if you are crazy enough to be the only one out sailing in a gale force wind people will be happy to help you so you don't crash into a wall. We made it in to the dock although it wasn't or best, or worst, docking. Perhaps you have to put it into perspective, as Deb says, no small children died so it was pretty good in the conditions. We tied off the boat with 7 different lines and finally felt secure. We made it to Elizabeth City after sailing through a gale which was left over from tropical storm Barry. What a day.

 Meet Fred Fearing. Fred along with Joe Kramer started a tradition in Elizabeth City back in 1983. It was one afternoon that they decided to host an impromptu wine and cheese party for visiting boaters. They assembled the necessary wine and cheese along with roses, Joe raised in his yard, for the women on board for the party. With this simple gesture, they started a tradition and in the process earned Elizabeth City the title - The Harbor of Hospitality. They have been visited by Willard Scott, NBC Weatherman, who also provided a golf cart for their use. Since then a golf cart company has provided another golf cart which has been used for a wonderful cause. They have also been visited by other notables such as Walter Cronkite. Of course, on this day, we were among the cruisers who were the recipients of the hospitality of a wine and cheese reception. Fred is now 93 and has many others helping in this tradition as noted previously when several were on hand to help us with our docking. Together, they are all known as the Rose Buddies and there are now roses growing at the city park where the free dockage is located.

Below you can see some pictures of Fred and Deb along with a wooden bowl he acquired a number of years ago. Deb is "stirring the pot" and providing Fred some good laughs. He had many antiques that he and his wife acquired over the years along with many more stories. Fred's wife passed away a number of years ago but he talks of her lovingly and takes flowers to her grave every Sunday.

 Since there weren't as many cruisers in Elizabeth City, we were hosted at Fred's house along with the other two boats who were already there waiting on the weather to pass. To the left you can see Dave and Laurie from s/v R. J. Greenstone, Karen and Al from s/v Friendship, Fred, Deb and of course me.

We had a great visit and also enjoyed the tour of Fred's home which he made from a 3 car garage. He spoke again of his wife and how visionary she was when they were given the garage and property. She came up with the plan and he implemented her vision of what the property could become.

It is always fun to meet a legend and I also know he enjoys the interaction with the cruisers. It is also tough to follow in the footsteps of a legend and we appreciated all of the help from the new Rose Buddies too.

 When we left Elizabeth City the next morning, we went through a bridge at 7:30 to make the first lock on time at 11 am. We were now officially in the Great Dismal Swamp. No not just a swamp, a dismal swamp but a GREAT dismal swamp. The picture to the right is to show you how different the color of the water is in this area. I think it is from the tannic acid of the trees although I do think it looks allot like tea. It stains the hull so I have cleaning to do at some point.

Below you can see some of the pictures of the canal through the great dismal swamp. At this point, we are in a river and it winds it's way around the area until it meets the first lock and straightens out.

 The views are dramatically different from the marshes in Georgia and South Carolina. Now we are in tree lined canals where the trees come all the way to the waterline. It is also different because once we were in the canal, we had to keep a lookout for more that just are we on course. There are logs and limbs floating and some are difficult to see. We hit a few things with our hull but they glanced off, fortunately, causing no damage. We were going 5 knots trying to keep any damage to a minimum.

In addition to floating objects and staying on course, we also had to keep an eye out for trees growing over the waterway. You can see to the left there were times when we had to move off of the centerline to avoid the limbs growing over the canal. It made watch keeping a three dimensional event.

 For those who followed us down the Tenn Tom waterway, you know that Deb just "loves" locks. I have to say that she did a great job again and this time she even said it wasn't that bad. There are two locks on the great dismal swamp route. The first one lifts you 8 feet and the second one lowers you back down.

Below you can meet our first lockmaster. His name was Allen and he had to be one of if not the nicest lockmaster's we have met on our trip. Allen was a great sport and cooperated with the picture on the lower left pretending to give Deb a bad time in her locking. The reality was he was a friendly as can be and his personality made the experience wonderful. Thanks from all of us who are cruising, we appreciate your help and the work you do.

 After we locked through, it was back to the canal. I liked this picture because it shows how straight the canal is and actually shows the concept known as a vanishing point.

Deb and I switched off on driving responsibilities heading towards the next lock. We quickly figured out however, that we weren't going to make the lock at 2 pm and the next opening was at 3:30. since that would mean we would have a later day than we wanted and we wouldn't make it in time for the bridges at Norfolk, we decided to stop before the second lock if we could get the free dockage before the bridge.

When we arrived at the bridge, we found another catamaran tied to the wall. We pulled up and asked if they were staying for the night or if they were going through. They invited us to tie alongside which is called "rafting" and we were able to get this picture. Looks like their cat had a baby cat.

John and Mary, aboard s/v Kittywake, decided to go through the bridge so we were able to tie along the wall for the evening. This provided us a great place to walk across the street to a food store and stock up before we hit the Chesapeake.

The day before, I received a call from Charles and Mary Ann Lenau. They were up at Richmond, VA and wondered if we might get together. Wow, what a cool thing. After we got secured to the wall, I gave them a call and they decided they would drive down to see us. I couldn't believe it because it was 2 hours out of their way. As background, Charles and I both worked at Ranken together in the electrical division for over 20 years. Charles retired several years ago and now here we are getting together to have dinner at a Mexican Restaurant next to our boat in Virginia.

We had a great dinner and conversation catching up along with some spanish lessons from Jose, our waiter, pictured to the lower left.

Below you can see Charles and Mary Ann are doing well and enjoying their retirement.

The next morning we went through the bridge and were in line with a number of other boats to pass through the next lock. We all just fit into the lock and then we were off to Norfolk, VA.

When we arrived, you can see that we weren't in "Kansas" anymore. We are motoring through one of the busiest harbors on the east coast. What makes this so impressive is the number of naval vessels in the area. If you look close at the picture at the lower left you can see two naval security vessels with guns on the front. They wanted to ensure we didn't get too close to the large naval vessels along with the sub which was being worked on. We passed many armed security vessels as we went though Norfolk. I gave them all the thumbs up and waved.

Also, you can see some large cargo ships in the area too. I took the picture on the lower right because of the interesting way they mounted the life boat on the stern. I thought it was out of the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth.

We saw a number of aircraft carriers, gunships along with many, many other naval vessels. It was a pretty cool experience.

Bottom right is a picture of how they work on the bottom of a very large ship. They actually have a boat that sinks, you put the boat that needs work in the center, then you remove the water so the vessel is out of the water. I need a bottom job on my boat but I'm sure glad I don't have to pay for this one.

I promised more pictures in the last update but I may have gone too far.... I was simply impressed with all of the vessels.

To the lower right you can see one of the ships that was coming in from the Atlantic which we met as we were heading east. They have a tug along with it in case they get into a tight space and need to be turned.

As we made our way to Little Creek, home of Cobb's Marina, we encountered the Tall Ship Virginia. You might remember we toured this boat in Charleston and have a picture of it as it was arriving in our previous logs. It ended up they are having a tall ship festival here too and we saw several of the tall ships as they were arriving.

We met Peggy Cobb at Cobb's marina and have worked out the details of our bottom job. What a wonderful lady. Cobb's marina is a family operation and they have a great reputation according to the people I talked with. In addition, they are only 5 minutes from the airport which will facilitate our trip back to Omaha and St Louis later in the summer. We talked about the prices and found they are very competitive based on the other quotes I had received so we agreed to bring our boat back for the work. On top of all of this, as we were talking to Peggy about finding a good exotic bird shop to "baby sit" our bird, Jimmy Buffett, we found out that she is a bird breeder and after meeting Jimmy, she has agreed to keep him for us. This made Deb's day, along with mine, because now we know the bird will be cared for while we are gone.

Today, Wednesday, we left the marina planning on making it 30 miles or so north. The forecast said it was 10-15 knots out of the north and waves were 2 foot or less. We figured we would motor into it until the afternoon, find an anchorage and call it a day. The forecast was wrong! Instead, we had 20 knots and waves at about 3-4 feet. I diverted quickly to a protected anchorage and it still took almost 3 hours to make 9 miles. We were in another washing machine today. Tomorrow the winds are supposed to go to the south so it should be a great trip moving up the Chesapeake

 June 11 - I left at 6:40 am on Thursday and we anchored off of Sandy Point in the Great Wacomico River. We motor sailed most of the day and made over 50 miles. On the way north, we encountered another tall ship moving to Norfolk. I have heard there were to be 50 or so of these ships for their festival. Fortunately, we knew about the festival so I didn't panic thinking this is the Black Swan that happened to get out of the Caribbean and made it up to the Chesapeake.  
As we were heading into our anchorage, we saw several places with all of these stakes sticking out of the water. As I thought about it, I thought this must be a fishing trap. You can just make out the trap on the left side and I think the rest of the stakes are just an obstacle the fish must swim around. All they have to do is turn left and go into the trap. The next morning we saw a boat next to one of the traps and I guess he was pulling out the fish.
 There are times when I am moving along with nobody else around and I try to just reflect on what we are actually doing - Living The Dream. I tried to capture this particular morning. -  Log Entry - June 8, 2007 - 7:30 a.m. - As I sit my morning watch, Deb sleeps in peace. I pulled anchor about a half hour ago and this morning, we are moving north on the Chesapeake. During my routine scan of the horizon searching for other boats, I can see land to the west while in all other directions all I see is water. I know Tangier Island should be to my east but this morning it is only an ink spot on my charts and remains hidden because of the distance and haze. As the waves roll by, we move downwind in a peaceful one foot swell. The motion reminds us that our home is on the constantly moving and changing water. It is still cool outside although that will quickly change as the sun glistens off the chop of the water to the east and begins its daily climb. We are currently making 6.4 knots enroute to the Solomon's Island area to meet up with our friends Bill and Christy, aboard s/v Veranda, and there are no other boats in sight. All Is Good.  
 We arrived at the Solomon's Island area and enjoyed the late afternoon ashore. The next day, we took care of our shopping and then came back to the boat for a lesson in Crabbing. Christy and Bill have all the "tools" for catching crabs so we were going to give it a try. This takes lots of skill.....right. You hook some chicken on some pins and throw them off the side of the boat. Next is the difficult part - you have to sit and wait. Sounds like happy hour to me! Ultimately you check the lines by pulling them up very slowly. If you have a crab on, the line will feel heavier than it did with just the chicken on. In addition, it will sometimes move around. You have to pull it up very slowly and when it gets almost to the top, you have to net the crab before it lets go. You can see that we actually caught one blue crab on this crabbing expedition. The problem was this was a filthy bottom so it wasn't a good place for crabs. Oh well, maybe next time.

We arrived at Herring Bay Sunday afternoon and anchored out side the harbor. After making sure the anchors were set, we were off to Rick and Linda's boat, Bedazzle. You might remember that we met them in Beaufort, SC when we were at a dock waiting for sub tropical storm Andrea. One of the wonderful parts of living our dream has been meeting new people with shared visions. At this point in our trip, we are also having fun getting back together with people we have met to share stories, talk about boats, and learn of new places to visit. It seems everyone has a great story and a place you have to visit on the return trip.

Below you can see our rag tag gathering of cruisers. From left to right - Deb, Christy holding Molly, Phil, Bill holding Tucker, Linda, Rick holding Kirby, and me - Jim. We had a great dinner, conversation and enjoyed the entire evening. Thanks Rick and Linda for hosting the gathering on your boat s/v Bedazzle.

 June 13 - As we moved north from Herring Bay, we passed this light house which gave new meaning to a light - house. We were motoring because the winds were so light and of course they were out of the north which was the direction we were moving. We were heading for Annapolis and I had a great deal of anticipation for seeing the town. It is thought of as the sailing capital and I was hoping they were right.

We did well avoiding all of the shallow water we were warned about although I really don't have to worry too much with our Gemini 105. The people we are traveling with do have to worry since they draw 5.5 feet.


 We had called to check on services we could receive if we picked up a mooring ball and found they don't take reservations. Rather it is first come, first served. There are places to anchor and we could have anchored. However, we found the mooring balls to be a good compromise to a marina. We have access to showers and laundry not to mention we are in downtown Annapolis next to the Naval Academy. To the left you can see the harbormaster stopping by to check us in. After filling in the appropriate paperwork we paid for six nights and got the seventh one free which I thought was pretty good. We are both a bit tired of traveling every day so this is our week to catch up on some chores on the boat and to lay back a bit.

Below you can see we are just off the main canal called Ego Alley. This is where people come and tie up for a few hours to get lunch. In addition, we saw the rowing instruction which was being provided by the Naval Academy. We must have seen 10 rowing hulls powered by the ladies of the academy and each one had a power boat behind it with an instructor talking to them with a megaphone.


 The day after we arrived, we decided we just had to go to West Marine. Of course as a cruiser, West Marine is just like Wal-Mart to us cruisers and you end up walking every aisle to ensure there isn't something you just have to have on the boat. For us, it is normally just cleaning supplies. We are hoping all of the deeper maintenance is taken care of now and it is only cleaning and oil changes. To get there, we all took the brown bus out to the mall where West Marine is located. We did our shopping, found a Trader Joes and spent a bit of money there too.

Below you can see Bill and Christy's boat Veranda in the center of the left picture and our boat Freedom in the center of the right picture. You can also get an idea of how close boats are in a mooring field.

Last night, Bill and Christy came over to our boat. They were having a good time getting Jimmy Buffett to step-up on them and holding him. In the picture to the left you can see Jimmy Buffett has his right talon picked up or to the rest of us, his right foot, trying to get picked up again. We were giving him lots of positive feedback and hoping he is getting adjusted to other people picking him up in preparation for our trip back to the midwest.

This morning, left to right, Christy, Tucker, Molly, and Bill left for the Toms River in New Jersey. They will be spending their summer there and doing work on their boat in preparation for next year. It ends up they will be going to the Bahamas next year so we will probably see them sometime late next fall.

We then went in to take care of that exciting project of washing clothes and then exploring another part of Annapolis. Tonight we are staying on our boat to watch the Wednesday sailboat races that end the race right next to us. Last week we heard someone hit another boat at the end of the race and it did 30,000 worth of damage. This week, people will probably be pretty careful. Tomorrow there is supposed to be a 152 foot tall ship arriving at 9 am so we will get pictures. Then there is an outdoor concert at noon and of course Deb is ready for some blue tip mussels tomorrow night. Sounds like a full day. Life is pretty "tough" cruising don't you think?

Keep those "cards and letters" or otherwise known as emails coming. We appreciate the feedback.


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