Lake Ontario, Erie Canal and Intracoastal Waterway | Distant Shores Sailing Newsletters

Lake Ontario, Erie Canal and Intracoastal Waterway

Beaufort Docks
Beaufort, North Carolina
Latitude:  N 34 42.883
Longtitude: W 076 39.733

Hi Everyone,

Paul and I arrived in Beaufort, North Carolina, on Thursday November 13th and are moored at Beaufort Docks, the municipal marina on the lovely waterfront here. We've had pouring rain and strong winds for the last couple of days as we've been traveling south from the Chesapeake Bay down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) with a side trip to the Outer Banks, but the temperature is getting warmer each day. It was about 65F/18C today. The ICW is an inland waterway that runs for 1,095 miles along the Atlantic coast from Norfolk, Virginia, to Miami, Florida, and is composed of natural rivers, creeks and sounds connected by many land cuts. It's a great way to see this coast - the picturesque villages and historic cities, and the people are some of the friendliest you'll ever meet. We'll be in Beaufort for a couple of days until we get a break in the weather so that we can sail offshore down the coast and make some miles further south. The rain's not a problem but we've got headwinds too.

Lake Ontario and Erie Canal
Just to update you, this voyage began when we left Toronto on September 20th after a summer at home in Canada. We sailed overnight across Lake Ontario arriving in Oswego, New York, where we cleared into the USA on September 21st, Sheryl's birthday. This was significant to us since it was on Sheryl's birthday in 1989 that we set sail for Oswego on our very first international cruise. Since then we have sailed nearly 60,000 miles. Gosh! At Oswego we entered the New York Canal System and, with Distant Shores' 57-foot mast down and strapped on the deck to get under the bridges, we transited numerous locks in the Oswego and Erie Canals to reach the Hudson River.

To our delight, at almost every stop we met sailors on their first trip south who had a copy of our book "Sail Away!" on board and/or the Distant Shores DVDs, or had been watching Distant Shores on TV to help them prepare for their voyage. It's always exciting for us to see that the resources we create are helping other people to live their dreams.

New York
At Hop-o-nose Marina in Catskill NY on the Hudson River we raised our mast again on September 27th. They have a big mast crane there and a good crew. They raise and lower about 200 masts per season so know what they're doing. From Catskill we did a 2-day trip down-river to New York City where we picked up a mooring ball at 79th Street Boat Basin on September 30th. For $30 a night we were right in Manhattan close to Central Park with access to the subway and all the fascinating sights and sounds of this famous city.

Annapolis Boat Show
After a few days of filming there, we left Manhattan, sailing past the Statue of Liberty, and anchored that night off Sandy Hook. As part of "Distant Shores on Tour", our boat was scheduled to be featured in the  in the United States Sailboat Show, the largest in-water boat show in the US, held every October in Annapolis MD on the Chesapeake Bay. With the move-in deadline for the show approaching, we set sail down the New Jersey coast the next morning, October 4th, and to make time sailed overnight past Atlantic City arriving at the mouth of the Delaware Bay at sunrise. We caught the flood tide and soared up the Delaware Bay to Chesapeake City, where we transited the C&D Canal (Chesapeake and Delaware) and entered the Chesapeake Bay just as the tide turned again, then travelled with it down the Chesapeake to anchor on the Bohemia River at dusk.

The next day we arrived at Oyster Harbour, just a few miles south of Annapolis, where we tied stern-to the dock in front of Ian MacKinnon's waterfront home. Ian is a fellow Southerly owner. He owns a Southerly 110 (35-feet long). The swing keel allows him to get into his shallow harbour to the dock in front of his beautiful waterfront home. His boat was to be in the boat show as well (he's selling it so he can move up to the Southerly 38) so he invited us to stay with him as we all worked to get the boats gleaming for the boat show.

Wednesday October 8th was move-in day which was quite exciting. It is a huge organizational event with boats scheduled for placement at precise times so that docks can be built around them before the next ones are moved in. The boat show ran from October 9 -13th and the weather was beautiful. Not that we're biased, but we thought Distant Shores stood out from the crowd at the show :-)  In fact, the boat was nominated for Boat of the Year and Best Boat by Cruising World and Sail magazines. Winners will be announced in January.

Despite people's worry about the economy, it was a jam-packed boat show for the whole 5 days. We had a lot of fun working with Ian; Dave Bagaus, the Southerly USA rep; and Mark Williams (pictured with Paul above) the sales rep from Southerly in England. Paul and I met a lot of Distant Shores fans in person who came to visit us at the show, as well as other Southerly owners who came to see our 42, and we enjoyed introducing other sailors to the benefits of the Southerly's variable draft. The Annapolis Boat Show always falls on Paul and my wedding anniversary and this year we celebrated 23 years of good times together. Gaye Meyer, my matron of honour at our wedding, and her husband, Lionel, came to visit us at the boat show and later helped us celebrate.

In the evenings, Ian introduced us to great restaurants. Our night at Cantler's Crab House was really fun. Steamed blue crabs are a popular Chesapeake Bay dish. They turn bright red when cooked and are seasoned with Bay Spice before being brought hot to the table on a big platter. The table is covered with paper and you bang at the crabs with a wooden mallet to crack them open. It's a bit of an art to pick them but instruction is provided. But boy is it messy. Don't dress up for this meal!

Solomon's Island
Following the boat show we sailed from Annapolis south down the Chesapeake Bay to Solomon's Island. Ian joined us for the day's sail to try out the 42. We had perfect winds from behind so we put out the pole and sailed wing and wing the whole way. A friend of Ian's in Solomon's drove him home and a few days later Ian came back and stayed overnight with us for more partying. It's great having the space for guests on the new boat!

At Solomon's Island, we hauled the boat out for a week at Spring Cove Marina to freshen up the bottom paint and do a few projects before we headed south for another winter in the Caribbean. We had kept our old boat, Two-Step, in the yard at Spring Cove Marina one winter before doing our 3rd transatlantic crossing in 1997 so know the owners and had a nice reunion with them as well as cruising friends from home, Vince and Linda Weeks, whose boat, 'Fortnight", is a Classic 37 like Two-Step.

Norfolk VA
After hauling out we spent a couple of days cruising down the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk VA, home of the world's largest naval base, where we were in town for the US election, on November 4th. It was an historic event. People were out dancing in the streets celebrating Obama's win for the whole night. At Norfolk we entered the Intracoastal Waterway on November 6th staying at Atlantic Yacht Basin at Great Bridge the first night, then took a side trip off the ICW the next day, sailing down the Albemarle Sound to Kitty Hawk, where we had been invited for the weekend by other Southerly owners, Jan and Peter Collins, who like Ian had space for us at the dock in front of their lovely home.

The Collins own a Southerly 115 (37-feet) which they've taken down the waterway to Florida where it was featured in the Miami Boat Show. Their community of Kitty Hawk Landing is similar to ours in Lagoon City where all the homes are built on canals. We felt right at home.

From Kitty Hawk we continued south along the Outer Banks past Roanoke Island and into the Pamlico Sound where we had a couple of days of great downwind sailing to Ocracoke Island, a former favourite haunt of Black Beard the Pirate, who finally met his end here. It is a quiet remote island that you can only reach by boat and we rented bicycles and enjoyed a day of filming here. We rejoined the ICW at Oriental on the Neuse River and, after anchoring off Adams Creek for a night, arrived in Beaufort yesterday.

We'll be in Beaufort for a couple of days waiting for good weather for our offshore jump, probably to Charleston SC. We'll we're here we'll be re-provisioning for the next leg down the coast and doing some final admin work on the new DVD we're releasing on November 21st about our latest adventures with the new boat. The new DVD, "Distant Shores Season 5: The Med to the Caribbean and Bahamas", will be available through our website as well as many retail outlets in time for Christmas.

Well that's our news for now. We'll keep in touch and look forward to hearing from you too.

Warm regards,

Sheryl and Paul Shard
SV Distant Shores
Beaufort NC
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