We had a great stop again in Suffolk, VA. After slogging all Friday night against headwind and foul tide, we anchored at 0715 in the Nansemond River. After the deck was stowed and breakfast, too, the teachers, students, and 1/2 the crew were taken ashore via Jimmy Smith's ("Dad's") Chesapeake Bay Deadrise, "Miss Pat"- 2 trips, due to rough weather.
The Chuckatuck Creek provided a lee, and the second trip in were escorted part way by dolphins. By the way, we're way ahead on the dolphin sightings. The dolphins were followed up by rainbows (you can't make this stuff up), and then the resident Bald Eagle made a guest appearance.
Karla Smith ("Mom", I call her...) greeted students with science gear, and a task of measuring, cleaning, and examining (and tasting) oysters raised as part of a Chesapeake Bay Foundation restoration project. Also, got in a little history of the area (40 year teacher, can't break the habit). The students had lunch, then piled back into Miss Pat to visit Robbie & Ben Johnson, waterman and owners of Johnson and Son's seafood. They checked out oyster drudges and tongs, a soft shell crabbing operation, crabpots and boats. They asked great questions and taunted the soft shell crabs. Robbie and Ben donated a 1/2 bushel of hardshell crabs to that nights feast. Thanks gentlemen.
Several other neighbors and friends turned out the usual feast, which the students (despite their best efforts) were unable to devour in a single sitting. Lots of leftovers went back to the ship. Matt & Ryan picked the leftover crabs and Angela turned them into crab cakes at lunch.
Sunday was "sailors make and mend day"- as crew caught up on deck projects with student help, and there was lots of airing out and homework catch-up, plus the stowing of a whole lot of tasty provisions. The evening was capped off by an on deck screening of "Captain's Courageous", attended by some friends and neighbors.
After fueling and watering this morning, the deck was stowed, anchor hauled back, and sails set. We are now under way, under sail, East bound in Thimble Shoals auxiliary channel and bound for sea. We have a fair forecast to round Hatteras, and hope to be there by the 7th or 8th. No hurry, though, so we'll keep you posted.
Fair winds and following seas!
Captain Caroline Smith