Sunday, July 31, 2011


Mobjack Bay Marina, Mathews, VA 37º25.586N | 76º24.072W

We've come to rest in our summer home in Mobjack Bay -- and a happy reunion with Max and Jen onboard Anastasia.

Cara Mia is getting a whole new outfit tailored here, new dodger and bimini, new sail cover and a screened-in porch.

In the meantime, we'll be scrubbing her down and making her shine. This boat has taken great care of us this first year, and now it's time to give back.

When I think back to a year ago when we were outfitting her for our first year of cruising, I felt sort of timid about it, like an interloper.

Now, having cruised south of the Tropic of Cancer and back, I feel a sense of ownership. I have earned the right to call this boat mine, and with it has come a sense of pride. I want to move in, take over.

She's my boat now!

And, boy, is there a long to do list we've made:

Tammy's List:
--Insulate fridge
--Refinish cockpit combings
--Add coats to toe rails
--Make pillow covers
--Clean or replace dorade horns
--Make a helm seat
--Mark anhor chain
--Adjust Dutchman flaking
--Move cabin fans from water pressure switch
--Make or buy wind scoops
--Install reading light in salon
--Replace head hoses
--Get another iPod
--Make holder for binoculars
--Divider for rope lockers
--Mark reefing lines
--Seat cushions for stern chairs in cockpit
--Organize lazarettes
--Make winch covers
--Get pactor modem working
--Move SSB
--Wax decks

Chip's List:
--Put reflective tape on mast
--Replace bulb in anchor light with LED
--Rig or buy preventer
--Inspect standing rigging
--Replace main halyard
--Switch anchors
--Service windlass and winches
--Rebuild head
--Install raw water pump in galley
--Fix or buy new stereo
--Service fridge
--Check packing gland
--Get depth and speed meters working
--Fix bow pulpit
--Replace life raft box
--Evaluate and replace lines as needed
--Check chainplates
--Mount solar panel  monitor

And this doesn't include the list, just as long, for the dinghy.

So, we're going on a road trip.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Portsmouth, VA 36º50.137N | 76º17.78W

Coinjock Marina.
We sailed into our home port four weeks ago, rested, relaxed and excited to see our kids and friends.

Three weeks later, we leave exhausted and stressed, anxious to get the boat north for an appointment with the tailor who will be outfitting Cara Mia in all new canvas.

We're headed, ultimately, for a hurricane hole up in Mobjack Bay on a tip from our friends Maxwell and Jen on Anastasia, whom we met in Long Island (Bahamas) last spring. With hurricane season approaching, we're anxious to hole up and get started on our extremely long to-do list -- and plan some trips to see our parents in New Mexico and Delaware.

Hurricane season may be creeping up, but summer is not. It's hot as frickin' hell -- and humid to boot.

After an overnight in Coinjock, we're tied up at the free docks in Portsmouth for a few nights to have a look around.

Those faithful readers who have been with us since the beginning might remember that sweet photo op on our first stop on our new boat, then called "Good Company." It has happened again. Cara Mia has been the setting for several more photo ops in downtown Portsmouth.

Cleades (right) wanted a picture of his wife Cheneek on our boat.
Her name shares the same meaning as Cara Mia: My Beloved.
Eastern Europe, represent!
On our return to the boat from the Apple Store in MacArthur Center, I discovered that my Mac is completely dead. :-|

Are all my beautiful Bahamas photos gone?

Unfortunately -- for all of us -- I won't know soon. We have to get the boat north, so we can then rent a car to meet our kids back here in Norfolk for a road trip to Delaware to see Chip's parents.

That will be the first of many trips we have planned during our "down time."

One of the beautiful railroad lift bridge still
operational between Great Bridge and Virginia Beach.
Background: Railroad bridge. Foreground: Threadbare canvas, soon to be replaced!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Manteo, NC 35º54.636N | 75º40.145W

The happiest of reunions with Wendy and Lily.
No matter how hard we tried, it was impossible to see everyone we love in the Outer Banks. After the first few days, we adopted a new policy of seeing only those we ran into naturally, a plan that slowed the pace and somehow made the reunions even richer.

The joyful reunions started with our kids, who are in the Outer Banks for the summer. We had last seen Dylan in Miami in January, Casey in the Exumas in February. Soon it will be harder to get us all in the same locale. We, of course, are constantly on the move. Dylan will go back to Raleigh and North Carolina State. Casey (we hope) will be going to Paris to start her master's degree in French.

Our circle complete: now our son Dylan drives us around.
Our home waters were graced with a visit from two of our cruising friends. Dale and Karen on Jessie Marie, and Christie and Matt on Kaleo followed us to Manteo where we became tour guides, doing the tourist things we would have never done otherwise -- and enjoying them.

Pre-theater cocktails with Dale and Karen, Matt and Christie.
One of those tourist attractions is the outdoor drama, The Lost Colony, about the first English settlement in North America in the late 1500s. As you might garner from the title, it does not have a happy ending. The English ships bringing supplies to the colonists were waylaid by the Anglo-Spanish War, and when they turned up three years later, the colonists were gone. Not dead, just gone. Missing -- a mystery still.

Cruisers found at the Lost Colony.
It is with much sadness and total exhaustion that we leave Manteo tomorrow, but we have an appointment with The Ship's Tailor in Deltaville, Virginia, to replace Cara Mia's canvas, the beginning of giving back to this boat that has given us so much in the last year.

Duane and June, blog readers and soon-to-be cruisers,
accosted us on the docks -- and bought us lunch!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Manteo, NC 35º54.636N | 75º40.145W
A serene Albemarle Sound welcomes us home.
"Manteo Waterfront Marina, Manteo Waterfront Marina, this is Cara Mia."

Even though we only traversed a well-worn path to the Bahamas and back, it feels like we're returning from a far-flung expedition, maybe even a circumnavigation.

"It looks small," Chip said, not in a gloating, I'm-so-big-now sort of way, but more from our habits of traveling 50+ miles per day. These shores, the Outer Banks and Roanoke Island, seem so close together now.

We pulled into the exact slip we left 8 months and 8 days ago, and into the arms of those waiting on shore.

So many people to see. So many stories to tell. Where do we start?