It's been a long cold winter in New Bern. At one point we had 12" of snow on poor Carolyn Ann's deck! Thank goodness we had installed the new diesel heating system the winter before. We stayed snug and warm as we mopped up the condensation inside the boat. I swear it was actually raining in one cabinet. In an attempt to cut down on condensation and add some insulation, Joe covered the windows and doors with bubble wrap. Actually, it worked pretty well and didn't block the sunlight!
Winter wasn't all bad, of course. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Cary, NC with our son, his wife and our two wonderful grandsons.
Luckily, as we cruised down the Neuse River to the ICW, our last trip down the river remained a distant memory. That trip had been one of the worst beatings we could remember, but on this day the river was calm and we enjoyed a long cruising day before reaching our anchorage in the Pungo River. After another long day we reached Coinjock, VA. At first we were going to stay in Coinjock an extra night because of weather coming through, but the timetable had changed and we decided the earlier we got moving the better it would be. Along this route there are several bridges that need to open for us to pass, but they only open on restricted schedules. We were moving at a fairly slow pace - even for us - so we wouldn't arrive too early at a bridge that only opened on the hour. A large sport fishing boat radioed from behind us that he'd like to pass - he was hurrying to make the opening an hour earlier than we were. We slowed down for him and he gave us a nice slow pass. This might not seem like much, but even at a fairly slow speed, those boats can produce an uncomfortable wake - we were almost smashed into the rocks by one once. At any rate, this guy was a pro and passed us nicely and continued on his way.
So we got Carolyn Ann all nested in; Jean came and drove us to New Bern to pick up our Explorer - and then the fun began! We drove to Raleigh on March 31. Settlement day for our son and daughter-in-law. We met up with them at their rental house and packed up what we could in the Explorer and drove to the "new" house. Then a friend, Emilie, was kind enough to drive us to the airport for our flight to Pensacola. Our friend John had offered his hospitality and picked us up. After a great dinner with Joe's brother Mike and his wife Bev - who did all the work! - we went to John's house and crashed.
After getting things reasonably settled in the house, we rented a car and returned to Carolyn Ann in Chesapeake, VA.
Jerry and Janet (GH37 at last) arrived to spend some time at Atlantic Yacht Basin between some planned road trips. We managed a dinner together before we took off to head north again.
The bridge opened and we locked through - going up about a foot. Not one of our more dramatic lockings. In less than three hours we were tied up at the south ferry dock in Portsmouth, VA. This is our traditional stop to go see a movie at the Commodore Theatre. We thought we'd be seeing Noah, but the day before we arrived they had switched to Johnny Depp's Transcendence. Not a fantastic movie, but not bad and we always enjoy the experience.
The weather was not looking great, so we moved about two hours north to Hampton, VA to cut some time off our run up the Chesapeake Bay. The next day we got an early start and stopped in Kilmarnock, VA before the predicted storms hit. We didn't have much of a storm, but the bay didn't look good for the next few days.
We had been trying to get to Judi's house as quickly as we could. About a month earlier, her husband Jim had passed away suddenly. We visited with Judi for a few days, tried to do anything we could for her, and raised a glass in farewell to our good friend who always considered the Patuxent River his home. Rest in peace, Jim.