Back at AYB

We are back at Atlantic Yacht Basin (AYB) for some rest, clean-up, and provisioning before we start the next leg of the trip south though the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  It is the Autumn boat migration season and the AYB moorage, maintenance yard, and fueling dock are very busy.  Boats come and go every day.  Every hour the bridge opens and a new collection of boats streams through.

Boats on parade
One of the most entertaining aspects of being docked at AYB is the non-stop parade of boats of all sizes, shapes, and purposes.  This time of year, the activity is especially high.  The Annapolis Boat Show just ended and apparently everyone is headed south.  Great Bridge opens every hour and the boats come through our “front yard”.  Along with the recreational boats, the canal carries a large amount of commercial traffic.

Barges carry everything under the sun… some of the loads are so large we cannot imagine how they will fit through the bridge, make the tight turn, and squeeze into the locks.  The tug captains are masters of their trade!

These two tugs had really long sections of pipe that they somehow floated between them.

Two camouflaged serious-looking Navy patrol boats show up one afternoon.  No surprise that the bridge tender did not make them wait for the next regular opening.  The boats sat silently for a few minutes drifting past our docks, machine guns ready, and then passed through the bridge, opening especially for them.

Around AYB
We take some time to enjoy the ambiance and cooler weather.
Mist rises from the warm water in the cold morning air.

Turtles sun themselves on our dock (we named the little guy Dan).

Small trees are sprouting out of the dock poles.

We hoist the Lake Whatcom Motorboat Club burgee.

We do some food shopping to prepare for our trip south.  The local blue crabs looked very interesting, but we decide to pass on them for more “easy to prepare” meals.

Our friend Gale prepares to battle the spiders on his boat "Worknot".  Worknot is a 57' Nordhavn.

Karl finally gets a chance to practice flying his new drone and gets a picture of Bravo at the AYB dock.

The drone also shows the marshland just on the other side of the canal at AYB.

"Sailor" is 1 of 2 canine mascots aboard Clark & Michelle's 47' Nordhavn "Roam".  Clark helped with the setup of Karl's drone while at AYB.

Field Trips!
Northwest River Park
We found an app that provides information about trails in the Chesapeake area. We decided to explore Northwest River Park because it offered several hiking options. The paths followed several lazy creeks and some people were canoeing through still green water. One of the bridges over the creek is decorated with carved Tiki heads. We are not sure of the significance since we are sure tikis are not native to this part of the world.

As it turns out, the staff at the park were also preparing for their annual Halloween Hayride scheduled to take place that evening. As we followed the trail, the woods were filled with ghosts, goblins, zombies, giant spiders, an alligator, and all sorts of scary creatures. It was creepy seeing these displays in daylight, it must be really freaky in the dark!!

Great Dismal Swamp
We found another hike/bike path in the app that was close by.  This hike is part of an eight-mile section of the Dismal Swamp Canal tow path, that was made into a highway, and was now converted into a walking/bike trail.  We pack up the folding bikes into the rental car and check it out.  The trail is a paved road following the canal.  Signs along the way explain the history of the construction of the canal by slaves.  The project was done with the most rudimentary tools and under severe conditions.  It took twenty-three years to complete.

Kitty Hawk
A one hour drive south is the Outer Banks and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  We make a day trip to the National Monument commemorating the first powered flight by the Wright brothers.  We wander the grounds, peek into the replica buildings and wonder at the unbelievable amount of determination and grit that was necessary to accomplish this feat with the rudimentary tools and information available.  Two men, without a high school education, working mostly on their own to master powered flight.  Surely one of the inventions that changed the world.
We wondered how the Wright brothers choose Kitty Hawk, and some of the displays explain the unique qualities of the local geography and weather.  Apparently, Kitty Hawk is home to the tallest sand dunes on the east coast, and almost continual winds.

Jockey Ridge
We drive a little further south, to Jockey Ridge State Park, and hike out onto the dunes to see for ourselves.  This is what the landscape looked like when the Wright brothers made their flight.  Today, tourists can try out a hang glider to soar over these dunes that are the birthplace of flight.  Since it is a grey day, we do not see any gliders in action.  Instead, they are slowly being swallowed by the shifting sand dunes.

Well, the nights are getting colder.  It is time to move on to the ICW and head south.


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