The personal experience of living aboard a 25ft. Sailboat on the Intracoastal Waterway.
I was living in Staten Island, New York in 2001, watching the vessels that would go by the Kill Van Kull with admiration and wonder. From the same windows I had watched with terror the second plane that had hit the World Trade Center, stealing the wonderful towers from all of us forever.
Living in Staten Island not only had stopped being fun afterthat horrific morning, but transportation – wise difficult, troublesome. Because after all one lives there to be in Manhattan. All the time.
A usual eBay browser, it seemed to good to be true when I won the auction for a dry docked racing sailboat called ” The Waltzing Mathilda “. I met the bearded weather – worn owner in Tom’s River, N.J., two hours from the Port Authority bus terminal, and by my first look at the streamlined hulll I realized my old dream of living aboard a sailboat was not only becoming real, but it was something that had already started to change me. And it did change me.
Living aboard marina – side wasn’t that difficult, but there were still daily challenges to overcome. A year and a half later, after acquiring outboard, GPS, hand – held marine radio, depth finder, Intracoastal Waterway charts and guidebooks, I anchored one night at Barnegat Bay South with a great view to the Seaside Heights bridge, and after freeing my anchor rode from my propeller by going overboard tied by rope to my vessel, my home, over pitch black waters, I finally had the time to contemplate the journey I was about to venture into.
The next day I started my 8 horse power 2 cycle engine and called my mother.
‘Mom, I am on my way to Savannah!’
‘My son, be very careful, watch out for bad people in this Waterway,
I’m praying for You, keep in touch as often as possible.’
‘I will. I love You very much.’
‘I love You too.’
Down the Intracoastal Waterway I went, anchored by Atlantic City for the night, had a little party with instant coffee and rock music, the next morning I woke up with the sailboat on its side at Low tide.
A powerboat race was happening very close by, so when the tide came in I re – anchored and watched the beautiful flying katamarans.
On I went by Cape May, up Delaware Bay, past the Salem Nuclear power plant through the Chesapeake – Delaware canal stopping at Chesapeake city, down Chesapeake bay, stopped at Annapolis where I did some tourism in that beautiful historical city ( in a friendly musical store I tried a double – neck guitar with lipstick – tube pick – ups, not only a personal pleasure but a glimpse at my future ), crossing Chesapeake bay to reach the mighty bridge & tunnel complex and finally anchor for the night at Virginia beach, schools of dolphins everywhere at dawn, military vessels with all hands on deck returning home to Norfolk A week – end at the Norfolk city dock, ( hot shower & laundry ), library & shopping center close by ( Internet & movies ), beautiful girls everywhere, down the Great Dismal swamp canal ( a trip into itself, at each end of the canal locks that lower & elevate the boats ), a stop in Elizabethville, crossed Albermale Sound and into constant ditch’ cruising, got hit by a reckless fisherman’s boat stocked full of crab traps, a stop to refuel & spend the night at a great little anchorage at Wrightsville beach, straight through Beaufort into… that scary inlet that separates North from South Carolina called Cape Fear.
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