After exploring downtown Southport we had a beautiful off-shore day cruise to one of our favorite anchorages… Cape Lookout. Our first morning there were were entertained for hours by dozens of dolphins feeding. These very active mammals were much smaller than the bottlenose dolphins that we usually see. Not only did they come up for air more frequently they also did multiple deep dives showing their small flukes. A great deal of breaches landed with a thud which was so loud I first thought something was hitting our hull. After researching these entertaining dolphindae I realized they were the Atlantic White-Sided dolphins. According to NOAA Fisheries these, “Fast swimming animals are usually found in social groups that can range from five to 50 animals but have been occasionally seen in larger groups of up to several hundred or thousand animals. These gregarious dolphins often engage in acrobatic activity, breaching and jumping at the surface.”
We took a sunset stroll along the beach of the Cape Lookout National Seashore that surrounded us. The following day we re-visited the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and walked across the barrier island to the Atlantic side where the waters were actually beautiful blue, not the dark drab gray that we usually see on US coasts. Beaches, blue water, marine animals, beautiful weather; this was such a happy day for us and what boating is all about!
After a 70+ nm cruise to Belhaven we arrived just in time for a storm. The following day we made a 70+ nm cruise to Coinjock where we arrived to a storm of mosquitos! OMG, my lower legs were covered with clusters of bites.
Waterside Marina in downtown Norfolk was our stop for 3 nights where my fellow “triplet +1” mom, Kelly, came for a visit. Kelly had her first dinghy ride, her first electric scooter ride, her first time visiting Portsmouth, and all of our first time attending a Pride Festival. Scott and I spent an afternoon exploring the Nauticus Museum and the battleship Wisconsin. Scott even paid extra to have a guided tour of the engine room…right up his alley! It was a fabulous weekend, topped off with dinner with our friends Aime and Marty. Yippee!
Traveling up the Chesapeake Bay the following day Scott managed to steer us around a storm, missing the big winds, and guided us into the St. Mary’s River where we had a sweet anchorage next to St. Mary’s college. We had previously taken walks among the historic outdoor living history museum of St. Mary’s City where we learned so much about Maryland’s first capital and its first European settlement. This time we expanded our walk throughout the lovely colonial campus of St. Mary’s College. We always enjoy dinghy rides on this beautiful river and this time we traveled to dinner on St. George Island. This was a wild and crazy ride with me airborne in the bow and Scott sopping wet in the stern; probably our roughest ride yet!
Unforgettable made a smooth ride to what seems to be our go-to northern town of Solomon’s Island, MD. We’ll have a few upgrades done then we’ll escape the steamy, muggy Chesapeake Bay and continue northward. All-in-all we feel that this was our best, aka easiest, trip up the ICW so far.