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Carlita's next big adventure


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Graham might have taken his upgrades a bit too far this time. What do you think? He's installed a big barn door rudder too and a giant boom.....



Ok maybe I had you going? We all know Graham is a tiller man. Someone who thinks he's funny plopped this in Carlita's cockpit. Graham looked pretty worried when he came in last week and we told him we had "done some work on his boat".

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I'll keep an eye out for him.  I'm working 0600-1500, but if he comes through my AO when I'm off work I'll try to get some pictures.  Of course if he needs gas/ice/food just let me know and I can meet him (anywhere from Elizabeth City to the Virginia portion of the Eastern shore is an easy drive for me).

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I'll be sure to let him know. He did not take a laptop on the trip so I don't know how much forum reading he will do. He called me today and I hope to get daily reports. 


Coped from the Log I've been keeping for him....


Day 2 - Pungo River to The Frying Pan (31nm)
Graham got underway from the Pungo RIver at about 8am and looks to be either motoring or sailing through the alligator river canal. At 2pm Graham reported that the winds were light and he’d been motoring along. He had a hard time starting the outboard until he remembered Chick’s trick to blow into the gas tank. He said she started on the second pull after performing this mouth watering trick.  He stopped to refuel just past the bend in the pungo canal. He hoped to make it across the Albermarle sound before the wind shifts to the north which shouldn’t be for another 36 hours at least. He pulled into The Frying Pan for the evening. Steve Early was just there recently and wrote about it in his blog. He’ll be looking to tuck in from the southerly winds. Tomorrow he should have a good push from behind to cross the Albemarle. First he’ll have to pass through the Alligator River Bridge with a height of just 14 feet he’ll have to call in for an opening. 



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RIght on. I spoke with him earlier today and he said it got pretty sporty running wing and wing toward the entrance to the North River and he let his halyards go a bit and just let the sails slide down to reduce sail as it was too lumpy to reef properly and he was so close to being in the more sheltered river. He's been making great progress today with 2 reefs in the main and 1 in the mizzen earlier through Coinjock and he's trying to make as much progress toward the Chesapeake canal before the wind goes north. Even though this is a pleasure cruise it always feels like we're racing something :)

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Day 4 - Coinjock to North Landing RIver (27.2NM) 

Graham’s trek up the ICW continued with southerly winds that pushed him through Coinjock and past the Currituck Sound. A couple lines of thunderstorms swept through the area and around 3:30 Graham threw out the pick. I suspect the north winds arrived and he called it a day. That combined with the thunderstorms. Graham sent in this picture with the caption “second thunderstorm”. Graham reported earlier in the day that he was running with 2 reefs in the main and 1 in the mizzen. When asked about how his power system was holding up he said everything was working perfectly. He has on board a ~120Ah LiFePo4 battery which he is recharging from a 50watt solar panel using a Victron smart solar charge controller. A shunt monitors the battery state of charge. Graham reported that he battery is typically reading about 90% in the morning indicating that he is using about 9-10 Ah overnight running his anchor light, charging phone and running cabin lights and fan. He shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping up with that with his 50 watt panel. 


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Day 5 - Arrived at Great Bridge Lock and met some friends (11.5NM) 

Graham made it to Great Bridge Lock today and was met up by Steve Early of Log of Spartina as well as our very own Amos Swogger, builder and owner of Core Sound 20 Mark 3 #11 ‘Larissa’ who both live near the area. Steve took some great (as usual) photos of Graham coming in.




(photo: Steve Early)



(photo: Steve Early)


Below, Graham motors under Battlefield Blvd bridge on the ICW (photo: Steve Early)-cEOTlutQQQBWsFB78stRciRZZVOM3rkttDoJEqyDAEWiX5m9_tkmxXu6n0KFtzcVUWZ5yY3p2k8K01aQTSR6-br10upn2PSneqp13Sm2x8yhbChqvd73_798jk3ARecjcEbLW2k



Graham headed West on the ICW in the Chesapeake Canal. Great Bridge Lock ahead. (photo: Steve Early)



(photo: Steve Early)



Amos and Graham Tie off Carlita just before Great Bridge Lock. (photo: Steve Early)

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I can't get enough of this thread/document/spot track. If you bring up google earth next to the spot track, you can click on images and get a feel for what Graham is going through. I'll bet it is a birders dream. I'm particularly interested in seeing what happens as he continues north. This shallow water seems perfect for Carlita. I'm not far away from retirement and could see doing this trip. I'm glad to have someone with Graham's experience lead the way.

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I missed a few days but here is more copied over for those that haven't seen the latest. 


Day 6 (5/31) - Great Bridge Lock to Willoughby Bay (25 NM) 

Graham made good progress today into the Elizabeth River and past Norfolk finishing the day in the Hampton Roads area and anchoring in Willoughby bay. He has set himself up for crossing the Chesapeake Bay tomorrow to Cape Charles which is just over 24  NM straight across the bay. He has south east winds forecast switching to south west later in the day and should make good progress across with sunny weather and highs in the upper 60s. He reported his battery dipped to 79% with little sun the last couple of days. 

Day 7 (6/1)- Tues. June 1st - Made it to the Eastern Shore (24 NM) 

With an early start just before 7AM Graham set off north east and decided to head straight for Fisherman island which is the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula. Delmarva “,is a clipped compound of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia” quoting good old wikipedia and the term was not in general use until the 1920’s but nonetheless Graham is now officially on the eastern shore of Virginia. 


Graham sent this picture approaching the northern span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Vertical clearance directly ahead is 40 feet. 



He had talked about trying to gunkhole his way through a creek to get to the east side of the peninsula from Cape Charles but he made straight for the southern tip and through the Virginia inside passage toward Magothy bay. 


Just after 1pm he’d made it almost into Magothy bay and stopped perhaps to eat some lunch. Below, A view from the south looking north from Fisherman Island into Magothy bay. Blue arrow is where Graham was at 1pm in the Virginia inside passage.


Graham stopped at Skidmore Island but saw signs indicating he could not disturb the island to it being a wildlife sanctuary so he pressed on and anchored just south of the town of Oyster in about 4 feet of water on a hard bottom he reported. 

His battery was at 67.5% and he said it would be nice to have a separate solar panel which he could position in the cockpit while underway but he still has plenty of power for now. The area he is in has about 4 feet of tide. 


Graham also mentioned seeing a good friend Phil Garland who was moving a boat and tied up near Graham in the Great Bridge Lock. Phil is the owner of CS-17 ‘La Perla’ and has also raced in the Everglades Challenge. I will try to get some pictures from him. 

Day 8 (6/2)- Visiting the town of Oyster (6 NM) 

Graham made a short trip from his anchorage to the town of Oyster arriving just after noon and likely taking advantage of some down time to explore and recharge. 


Day 9 (6/3) - Oyster to Willis Wharf (21.5 NM)

This morning Graham reported in and said he was going to head north and try to make it through the inside route and navigate some skinny water that is unmarked. His goal is to stay on the inside the whole way up the eastern shore without going outside. With a 4’ tide he believes he can wait out any shallow patches. 


A couple of pictures from Graham...

Skidmore island



Below: “Strip planked flair bow slowly returning to nature. Something a fiberglass boat cannot do.”


Day 10 (6/4)- Hanging out at Willis Wharf (0 NM)

Graham reported this morning that he was going to hang out for the day at Willis Wharf since the weather was a bit yucky and head further north tomorrow. Yesterday was a bit tough with a long open fetch despite the shallow water making for some chop and difficulty navigation. This morning it was still raining a bit on Graham but he planned to head into the Wharf and see what was there. 


Day 11 (6/5)- On the move North (18 NM) 

Graham ended up spending most of yesterday on the hook. He poked into Willis Wharf but didn’t tie up due to it being pretty small and not looking like there was much there so he pressed on to Wachapreague and stopped early as he was pretty tired. 


Day 12 (6/6)- Wachapreague to Wallops Island (19 NM)

Heard from Graham around 1pm. He was hard aground at the time at the bottom of the tide but by the time we finished talking he was starting to ooch along in the shallow water. Further North Graham had to do some really narrow channels around Metompkin island as the main channel has been silted in. Below is a shot of the view in Navionics. The channel here is totally silted in. 



Fortunately in the satellite view of the same spot, there is another smaller channel that looks deep and that’s the way Graham ultimately was able to get through. 



So far there have been enough fishing channels through the inner part of the marsh to continue North unimpeded and Graham may now be through the trickiest parts. Mileage is not too accurate since I’m not measuring through every twist and turn that he’s actually sailing. Graham reported his battery power was up back in the 77% range for SOC which is good. His 50 watt solar panel seems to be enough for his light use (chart plotter, cabin lights, anchor light, phone charging and occasional nav light). 


Day 13 (6/7)- Wallops Island to.....

Graham checked in this morning. He had a great time sailing through the narrow channels yesterday. At one point he was escorted by a little fishing boat who directed him on which channel to take to make it through. He’s also had a few encounters with boaters who said, it’s too shallow or you’ll never make it. (very helpful). The one boater even came back to check on Graham last night convinced that he must be in trouble in some way but Graham assured him he was doing just fine. He enjoyed seeing some great flight displays from some Black Skimmers yesterday. Doing their thing in the shallow water. (photo from ourstate.com)


Today he will sail by Wallops island which is a Nasa launch facility. There might even be a rocket on the pad since they have a lunch scheduled for a week from tomorrow. Graham does not plan to stick around although he’ll probably still be able to see it from further north. Wallops Island launch facility

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