31. Coinjock to Cheesecake, VA

After an enjoyable three days at Coinjock, my feet started getting itchy. A quick WebMD search told me it was likely wanderlust, and not athlete’s foot. All I had to do to make it right was go for a boat ride. No creams needed.

I’d been expecting to return to work soon, and had planned to leave Sylphide at Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake, Virginia while I was away.

So, on the morning of March 28th, in the 2,020th year of our lord, I fired up ol’ Perkins, and we were off the dock by eight. In short order, we found ourselves churning up the waters of Currituck Sound. It was a lovely morning, and the sound was calm. There were a few patches of fog early on, but nothing to spoil the fun. It was a very pleasant and relaxing crossing, and by 0930, we were back in the skinnies again.

This was another part of the trip that I enjoyed a lot more the second time around. On the trip south, back in mid-January, it had been cold and gray and windy and wet. Seeing the scenery through that lens didn’t do much for me. This time the sun was out, and the temperature was good. The doors, windows, hatches, slats, spats, louvers and vents were all open, and there was a delicious breeze. There were lots of other boats out, and activity on shore. There was quite a bit of wildlife around too, including a handful of forty pound wasps that wouldn’t leave me alone. It was a great day for a boat ride, and I was quite content.

It was only about thirty two miles from Coinjock to AYB, and even though I slowed down a little to make the opening at North Landing Bridge, we still crossed the finish line by about 1:30 that afternoon.

On the trip south, I’d stayed at the face dock at AYB. I assumed that I’d be there again this time too. When I finally got ahold of the dockmaster though, he told me that I’d be around back in the storage area. I’d never seen that part of the place before, but the parts I had seen had been nice enough. I didn’t give it a second thought. I rounded the corner and passed a long row of big, beautiful, expensive cruising yachts in their covered slips. There were enough Nordhavns, Selenes, Kadey Krogens, and Grand Banks to make me feel like I’d joined a real fancy club. When I saw what was to be my home for the next couple of months though, my heart sank.

I’d been relegated to the Railway Slip. The dock itself was barely above water, and even with my trusty little ladder, it was difficult to get on and off the boat. The top ends of the pilings were rotted and weak, and the electrical boxes were rusty. There was no water available at the slip, but the water there is smelly and hard, and really I didn’t want it in my tanks anyway. The slip was tucked between several big ugly storage buildings and workshops, and there was a lot of… stuff… around.

I don’t mean to criticise the place, really. The staff have treated me well, and the price was right. Realistically, this place is a working boatyard first, and a marina second. If you’re just stopping for fuel or a night at the face dock, It’s perfectly acceptable. If you’re looking to have work done, there really are few better places around. They can do just about anything you want to your boat, and I’ve heard only good things about their workmanship. If I was just going to be storing the boat and heading home, I would have had no issues whatsoever leaving Sylphide in their capable hands.

As a place to spend a week or two aboard the boat, It wasn’t ideal. It didn’t help that it soared up to 95 degrees that day, and being sheltered on all sides, there was absolutely no breeze at all. That’s a great quality to have in a hurricane hole, but that day it just made me cranky and miserable. I tried to cool off in the marina’s shower, but it didn’t drain, and the water made me smell like farts.

I made up my mind to find somewhere else to live.

Once it cooled down a little, I took a stroll around the grounds to ogle some of the other vessels in the neighborhood. There were lots of them that really tickled my fancy. This fine looking Monk 36 was a prime example of the model of boat that I was originally saving up for when I found Sylphide.

This impressive looking ship was tied up one dock over from me in the forgotten wastes of AYB’s back forty. At first glance, I only saw rust and abandonment, but after looking a few seconds longer, I saw there was actually a really nice looking boat under there. Turns out she’s called Strathbelle, and she has a long and really interesting history, which you can read about here: https://www.strathbelle.com/

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