BMT Day 568 – Another Holiday in the Trenches…

Thursday, November 23, 2018

  1. Pray Kathy will be cured from her Pneumonia

Kathy has a knack for having set backs on holiday weekends.  This Thanksgiving is no exception. We left her oncologist on Wednesday Nov 14ththinking she had a bad cold. Turned out it was the start of pneumonia. She spent Thursday through Sunday in bed too weak to get up. We took her to her doctor first thing Monday morning and after taking a chest x-ray told us and I quote “Kathy has pneumonia…she is a very sick girl”. Not words we wanted to hear.  He gave her the strongest antibiotic you can take orally and told us to go to the emergency room if over the next 2 to 3 days she stays the same or gets any worse. She is getting slightly better.  Her Temperature is almost normal and her coughing has subsided a bit. Still in bed all of the day.  She did get up for an hour last evening to watch a movie with me. Made it two-thirds through the movie then went back to sleep. Not sure if this will affect our planned cruise.  We will know more Monday after she has been on the antibiotic for seven days and we see Kathy’s doctor. Not exactly the “Good Wind” we were looking for! Hope everybody is having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Isaiah 43:1b-2 “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” “Love never fails” … Blessings, Phil & Kathy


Homeward Bound Again!

Monday, July 30, 2018: UW at 0400 from Portsmouth heading home. Weather was not as predicted (as usual). We were expecting winds from the southeast 5 to 10. Instead when we got to the Bay we had no wind, then it started to rain about the time we got to the York River entrance and the winds shifted to the Northeast. We had the worst possible combination in that we timed our leaving so that we would have a rising tide going north, so with the wind coming from the north we had the current and wind opposing each other. We had sharp breaking 4’ – 6’ waves. At 1 PM we decided to find a suitable Anchorage. We went into Dividing Creek anchorage number two which is just north of the Rappahannock River.

Tuesday, July 31 we got underway from Dividing Creek at 1:30am. Left early so the current would be going with us heading north. Winds were light and variable. Phil watched for crab pots as Kathy took us back to the Bay. As soon as we got to the bay she went down for some more sleep because she hadn’t slept well during the short night sleep we had. Current was great to begin with, but like all good things it came to an end. By 10am we were motor sailing going against the current.  Phil took catnaps at the helm with his watch waking him every 15 minutes. By noon it was hot and still, not great for sailing. We did some organizing/purging of some items on the boat we just don’t use. On the bright side we talked to Kevin at Engel about our freezer, he was very helpful and gave Phil some things to check out before having it repaired or replaced. Tomorrow marks two weeks from when Kathy got shingles, so far the pain is winning the battle, but we are anticipating when it starts to subside. Chef Phil’s been making amazing tasty meals, and the smells from the galley indicate one last tasty lunch…yep French fries. We got to Mill Creek and docked by 5 PM. We had a great time on our shakedown cruise and now we have to concentrate on our new to do list.

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Grilled Ham and Cheese for lunch!
Phil oganizing our spare Fuse and light drawer
Yes, It Rained
Think it might rain?
This is not 5 to 10 knots out of the SE
This isn’t 5 to 10 out of the SE Either!
Phil checking that everything is secure 
Phil takes a break
When it’s calm…French Fries for Lunch
All kinds of debris in the water left over from the flooding



Homeward Bound… Almost

Saturday, July 28, 2018 Homeward Bound Almost Got underway at 8:15. Sure enough the North Landing and the Centerville Bridges were opening for boaters. Got to Portsmouth at noon and checked the current in the bay and found we would be going against a 2-knot current if we headed straight to the Bay. Decided to stop in Portsmouth at the High Street Landing Dock to catch up on our blog. When we passed the Commodore Theater we noticed another movie was playing so decided to spend the night in Portsmouth and see “Mission Impossible Fallout”. Movie was good.  Our intent Saturday evening was to depart Portsmouth at 6:00 AM Sunday. But flexibility is the name of the game!

Sunday, July 29, 2018, Let’s go to church:Got up Sunday morning decided to look up a local church to worship with others.  Found First Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth. Very close to the boat dock. We both enjoyed the worship service, a very friendly church.  Several people talked with us and they had a nice fellowship after worship. We could have departed Sunday around 5:00 PM to catch the current but decided to wait till Monday morning because the wind was coming from the north and it is forecasted to shift to the SW Monday.   So, as we send this Sunday afternoon the plan is to depart around 7:00 AM Monday and if all goes well we will sail straight through to Mill Creek arriving sometime Tuesday morning…Unless some town on the way north calls our name or the wind doesn’t shift to the south.

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Centerville Bridge


Beautiful and Peace Views
Kathy and Sydney (our auto helm) at the helm!



Entering Portsmouth
“B” Team at the helm
Almost Tied up
Good to go!!!


First Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth



Freezer No More :(

Friday July 27th start picking up anchor at 7:45 AM. We were able to start sailing by 8:45, once we had got out of the narrow channel. We had 10 knots of wind from the south.Called Centerville Bridge and the bridge was scheduled to open at 9:30 AM so we decided to come back the VA Cut route. We were able to sail a good portion of the day. But had to motor sail around some of the corners  and when the channels were narrow.  Phil went to get dinner out of our trusty Engel Freezer to thaw dinner…but guess what it was already thawed :(.  Checked out all the easy fixes… power, fuses etc., but none of these were the culprit. To Do…Call Engel on Monday.  Made it to North Landing anchorage around 6:30PM and made dinner.  Made around 60 miles for the day.  Experienced a beautiful moon rise!  Tomorrow we may decide to do another overnighter to Mill Creek.  We will see what the weather and our bodies say on the subject!

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Beautiful Moon Rise

A Day Off In Elizabeth City

Wednesday, July 25, 2018, A Day Off In Elizabeth City: We decided to take the day off Wednesday, Kathy caught up on some well-deserved sleep and Phil just messed around on the boat, did a couple of easy projects and made tuna fish salad for lunch. Depending on the weather we will depart Elizabeth City tomorrow morning for Manteo, NC and if the weather holds it looks like it won’t be raining Thursday evening so The Lost Colony outdoor drama should be playing and we will make another one of our cruise objectives. Kathy’s shingles are starting to get a bit better but the discomfort level remains about the same.  We keep saying “maybe tomorrow”.

Thursday, July 26, 2018 Manteo or Bust: Got Underway at 6 AM from Elizabeth City heading to Manteo after going through the Elizabeth City bridge opening at 6 AM. Headed south in the Pasquotank river, we were able to sail but only at 3.2 kts at least it was nice and relaxing. The wind died when we got to Albemarle sound and we had to motor sail. We were making approximally seven kts when we experienced some vibration and the boat slowed down dramatically. I thought we had snagged crab pot even though we were being very diligent looking for them. In any event, Phil donned his mask, fins and snorkel and checked out the prop. What he found was a big bundle of thick weeds caught between the prop and the rudder. It was easily fixed and Phil got out of the brown water and had a nice fresh water shower on the boat. We arrived at Manteo and decided to anchor out rather than use the free dock. Called and reserved tickets to the lost colony for the night.

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Phil taking up Anchor
Blimp Hanger and Blimp manufactoring Facility
Kathy getting some well deserved rest
Picked up Several hitch hikers!
Another beautiful sun rise!!
Flying…Flying way up in the air, I’d really like to try it, to see what’s way up there.  This one’s for you, Rachel
Lost Colony
Lost Colony
Lost Colony




Monday morning, July 23, 2018:  We woke up with the intention of heading further south to the Broad Creek anchorage.  We discussed Kathy’s condition and the condition of our batteries. Although Kathy was not feeling that well, she still wanted to make it to Manteo and the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony”, but probably not continue to Ocracoke.  We decided to stay in Great Bridge Monday to monitor Kathy’s condition and take advantage of the day to replace our house battery bank.  We were right across the river from Atlantic Yacht Basin who ordered batteries for us and had them by 1:00 PM. After installing the batteries, at 4:00 PM we decided to head a few miles south for the day, but when we called the Centerville bridge to confirm that their next opening would be 6:00 PM, we were informed the bridge would not open until the water level went down and that could be several days.  We made a U-turn and headed the 1.5 miles back to the Great Bridge dock…home sweet home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018…We’ve got to get out of this place! Well … another U-turn! We contacted Centerville Turnpike bridge operator this morning and they’re not opening the bridge because of high water levels.  We checked out the Dismal Swamp Route (DSR) and the DSR is open. We got the 9 o’clock opening at Great Bridge and headed for the Dismal Swamp. We made the 11 o’clock Deep Creek lock opening, and as an additional blessing we got to see Robert, our favorite Lock/Bridge tender. We had a nice time catching up with him, he’s doing good, he did get his pilot’s license, but gave up on the no smoking. Still loving his job. There are two locks in the DSR, the first one at Deep Creek (mile 10.6) and the second one at South Mills (mile 31) they only open four times a day…8:30, 11:00, 1:30 and 3:30. Since we were able to get the 11:00 AM opening at Deep Creek we were able to also make the 3:30 lock and bridge opening at South Mills and make our desired destination of Elizabeth City, NC. Didn’t have to concern ourselves with water depths in the DSR thanks to high-water levels. We made it to Elizabeth City at around 5:30 and docked at the Jennette Brother’s Dock.  Tough docking because trees have overgrown the dock and interfere with the boat’s rigging when you get close to the dock.

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Kathy at Deep Creek Lock
Entering North Carolina
Lock Gates at South Mills
Boxed in the Lock at South Mills
IMG_3463 2
Kathy tending the lines at South Mills!  Kathy has also been doing all the docking…I’m so proud of her!

Short and Sweet!

Sunday July 22, 2018: Departed Portsmouth after seeing Kathy’s ER doctor who gave her an additional antibiotic and some Bacitracin with Zinc to put on the shingles.  After going through the Great Bridge lock we decided to have a short day and stop in Great Bridge where we refueled and tied up to the Great Bridge municipal dock.  Unfortunately, our short day didn’t materialize because Phil decided to check the batteries and found they had almost no water in them. We had topped them off less than a month ago…so not a good sign of their condition.  We hopped on our bikes and rode two miles to a Food Lion to get four gallons of distilled water. After giving our batteries all the water, they wanted we rode to a KFC to get a cold soft drink and relax in their nice cold Air Conditioning.

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Gilmerton Bridge with train on the rails just beyond…Yes, double trouble…

July 19-21, 2018 Portsmouth, VA…OH NO…SHINGLES…and we ain’t talkin’ about roof shingles

Thursday evenings Portsmouth has a concert series called Sunset Thursdays right at the High Street Dock where we docked our boat so we got to listen to the three-hour concert from Unicorn. Friday turned out to be another eventful day.  We got up put some oil on our teak thinking we could now have a relaxing day. NOT SO FAST): Kathy had noticed a rash on her left leg. Didn’t think too much about it until the rash started getting little blisters that we noticed late Friday morning.  Decided to go to the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth emergency room… just in case. After examining Kathy, listening to her history and taking blood for labs, they determined that Kathy had shingles. They prescribed the same antiviral that Kathy had taken every day for a year after her bone marrow transplant. We were very pleased with the Dr. we saw at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.  He offered to allow us to walk in to the ER Sunday morning to look at Kathy’s leg again to determine if the Valtrex was having the desired effect.  We thought we would head further south on Saturday, so didn’t initially think we would take advantage of the offer, but as it turned out it rained all day Saturday so we decided to spend Saturday in Portsmouth and have a relaxing day.  Friday evening, we went to the Historic Commodore Movie Theater and saw “Sky Scraper”. The Commodore Theater was built around 1945 and seated 1,000. It went out of business in the 1975. Then it was purchased by a Norfolk businessman in the 1987 and converted into a high-end dinner movie theater that seats 190. It is still a dinner movie theater, but you have the option of having dinner and the movie or just the movie.  We choose just the movie since we had spent most of the day in the ER and Kathy wanted to get some rest before the movie. Had a relaxing day Saturday using WIFI at McDonalds and buying a broom at the Dollar Store. When we got to the boat we found out why they call it High Street…the water was a foot over the dock. We will plan on departing Portsmouth Sunday morning after we see our ER Dr. at 6:00 AM.  Not sure if we will opt for a short trip to Great Bridge or a 60-mile trip to Broad Creek anchorage.  More to follow…

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

Thursday Evening Concerts, Portsmouth, VA
Concert Portsmouth Waterfront
Dinner on Unicorn Enjoying the Concert
Concert Well Attended
Enjoyed Skyscraper


High Street Landing…No Kidding
Bike Fridays go swimming
If Bike Fridays can do it so can I!!!

Off Like A Herd of Turtles…Annapolis, MD to Ocracoke, NC

Summary: Kathy was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) in 2011. We knew that she would need treatment (Chemo Therapy followed by a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) in the future).  Sure, enough in November 2016 just a week before we were about to depart for the Bahamas, Kathy’s Oncologist informed us it was time for treatment.  From November 2016 to May 2017 Kathy was prepared for a BMT with our oldest son John being the donor.   Chemo and radiation was used to get her blood and bone marrow ready for the BMT. On May 4, 2017 she was infused with new stem cells, a new immune system and if things worked out right a new lease on life. We were blessed and Kathy recovered from CLL and the BMT.  There were several setbacks but Kathy persisted through a year of medications, doctor’s visits and a daily walking regime. May 4, 2018 was her one-year BMT anniversary. To celebrate she rode a century (100 mile) bike ride on May 5, 2018. We also wanted to see how she would fare on an extended bike ride so we planned a ride from Harper’s Ferry, WV to McKeesport, PA and back.  550 miles over 13 days.  Our next activity to undertake is a three-week cruise on our sailboat, Unicorn from Annapolis to Ocracoke and Back…Let’s get going!  

Leg one Annapolis to Portsmouth…

Thursday, July 12, 2018, Off Like a Herd of Turtles: Our first real cruise after Kathy’s bone marrow transplant.  Got underway approximately 1015 after going by the Carr Creek Marina office to let them know we would be out of our transient slip for approximately three weeks. Headed south to Saint Michaels with the intention of anchoring in San Domingo Creek about 6 PM. About 9 miles into our cruise we got a telephone call on Kathy’s cell phone from the Carr Creek marina office asking if we had left a cell phone at the marina office. We asked if it was a blue phone, unfortunately the answer was yes… Phil had left his cell phone at the marina office. The only way to recover the phone prior to the Marina office closing was to turn around put our dinghy in the water and Phil dinghy back 8 miles to Carr Creek while Kathy headed to Carr Creek with our sailboat. Phil picked up his cell phone and met Kathy at Tolley Point and we once again headed toward Saint Michaels. Kathy did a great job single handling our sailboat.  Great day for sailing we had about 10 kn of wind and were on a broad reach so we were able to sail wing on wing part of the way. Wound up getting to San Domingo Creek at 9:15 PM and anchored.

Friday, July 13, 2018.Where are Phil’s meds: Friday the 13th started off like Friday the 13th! Phil discovered that he had left a bottle of his medications at home. After thinking what the best course of action would be, we decided to email Phil’s doctor and have her put in a prescription for the meds and have Phil pick them up at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth when we passed by there in a few days. Fortunately, Phil’s doctor had no problem sending a new prescription so another bullet dodged!
We enjoyed a relaxing day on the boat doing some low priority but relaxing projects on the boat.  We headed over to St. Michaels later in the afternoon, had a nice walk and went to the library to finish Kathy’s chronic lymphocytic leukemia blog. The air conditioning in the library was wonderful.

Saturday, July 14, 2018Hold Anchor Hold! Had a leisurely breakfast, did our community bible reading, completed a couple projects and got underway to Oxford. Had light winds from the northwest that shifted to the southwest. We were able to sail most of the way at 2 to 4 kts, so it was a very relaxing sail. Arrived at Oxford about 12:30 PM and for the very first time we had a very difficult time getting the anchor to hold.  Finally put out 125 feet of chain in 12 feet of water and got the Anchor to hold. But it was an hour and a half to two hour iteration. No wonder they say anchoring is a spectator sport!   We dinghied over to Oxford and walked around for an hour or so, not much in Oxford, but we did find a church that we will visit tomorrow.

Sunday, July 15, 2018: Lay day in Oxford.  Worshiped with BEP via live streaming on Facebook.  Then hopped in our dinghy and headed to a church in Oxford.  Both services were a blessing. Did a couple more low priority projects.  Anchor held in the 20 kts of wind .

Monday, July 16, 2018 Water Emergency… Nice sunny Monday morning with a cool breeze but hot sun. Pulled the anchor up at 0740 and made the short trip from Oxford to Cambridge. Winds were light, motor-sailed most of the way to Cambridge. On the way to Cambridge, Phil did some repairs to the salt water wash-down. Our water had been tasting a little funny, so we checked the water tank late Monday afternoon, and noticed that the water was cloudy. We were on a municipal dock at Cambridge that did not have water. Fortunately, one of the watermen showed us a slip that we could use that had a hose spigot. We literally SQUEEZED into the slip, so we didn’t even need dock lines! It turned out to be a long process of filling, cleaning and emptying our water tank. By the time we finished cleaning the tank, checked out the operation of the fresh water pump, it was 2:30am and we returned to the municipal bulkhead with our water tank half full with a shock treatment of chlorine. We will return tomorrow, empty and refill the tank. Then in the mist of this, one of our polybutylene lines slipped out of a fitting…when it rains…it pours! Not sure what got in our tank, but it also clogged our water filter. We couldn’t find a replacement filter so we replaced the whole assembly with a one we had on board. This is turning out to be a real “shake down” cruise, which after all was the main purpose of this cruise in preparation for a Bahama trip this winter!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 We Been Boarded! We rode our bikes into town, had a propane bottle refilled (yes Phil carried it in his trusty Bike Friday pannier!) Just before heading to town a second time in the afternoon, a coast guard auxiliary representative asked if he could do a courtesy inspection. We of course said yes, even though we had wanted to get into town and back before dinner. The good news is, the forecasted thunderstorms came two hours early and five minutes after the inspection started. He saved us from getting soaked on our bicycles for which we were very thankful. The inspection went well and now we have our new coast guard inspection safety sticker on our mast!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 Overnighter to Portsmouth: We have been reviewing the weather forecast for several days and north winds were forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, just what we needed going south. We decided to skip our stops at Solomon’s and Deltaville, we may pick them up on the way back. Got underway at 7:40 am, we were able to sail wing on wing for a while, sailing 7.5 kts in NNW winds at 15kts. Just when we thought we would sail all the way to Norfolk at 7 kts the winds died and the current turned against us, so we reluctantly cranked up the “iron jenny”. I guess sailing at 1.2 kts doesn’t really count as sailing anyway. We made the 110 kts in 23 hours instead of 4 days.  If you want some white knuckles, head through Hampton Roads in the dark at 4:00 AM. Three large ships heading out and one overtaking us, tugs crossing the channel and security boats running all over the place…I now have hand marks in our wheel! Got to the free docks at High Street at 5:45 AM just as it was getting light. Sharing the docks with two other sailboats.  By the way the North Landing free docks are now closed for repairs. After fixing our dock lines, Kathy had Phil modify her blue folding boat chair. We then headed to the Portsmouth Naval Hospital to pick up Phil’s meds…picked them up without any issues so we are all go for the ICW, Manteo/Roanoke Island to see the Lost Colony and then to one of our favorite places, Ocracoke, NC!

Psalm 107:23
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep

Blessings, Phil and Kathy

Remember…Love Never Fails!

It’s about time you took me sailing again!
Laced with zinc oxide… Unicorn is ready to sail!
Phil returning with his iPhone7
Wing on Wing heading to St. Michael
On the streets of St. Michael’s
Sunset on the way to St Michaels
Welcome to Oxford
Approaching Cambridge
Cambridge Waterfront
Cambridge Waterfront
Another view of Cambridge
Preparing for overnighter to Portsmouth
Getting our propane tank refilled in Cambridge
Docked in Cambridge
Kathy on her Bike Friday in Cambridge
Sunset in the way to Portsmouth
Custom fitting Kathy’s boat chair!





Unicorn 2016-2017 cruising change of plans

We will miss our fellow Bahama cruisers this year, however we’ll be enjoying the Bahamas through your blogs! As you know with sailing, you can make a schedule, but they are never hard and fast, and you definitely need to be flexible. This year we planned to head south from Annapolis the day after Thanksgiving, the weather would have been perfect for sailing down the Chesapeake Bay. However a week before Thanksgiving, Kathy had her “final” appointment with her oncologist, and we were told that it was time to start treatment for Kathy’s leukemia. Chemotherapy was scheduled for the Monday of Thanksgiving week, so the remainder of the week was spent unpacking 6 months worth of food and provisions, winterizing and putting Unicorn on the hard for the winter. We’ve already found that cancer treatment is a lot like sailing, you can’t hold fast to a schedule! If all goes well, we hope to get back to the Bahamas in January 2019. Fair winds and following seas, Blessings, Phil & Kathy
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Great job provisioning Kathy, now we don’t have to go the store all winter!!

Unicorn departing Mill Creek on her way to be hauled at Naval Station, Annapolis.

Unicorn getting “pulled” out of the water..she’d rather be heading south…we all would!

Winterizing?…Phil says he’s not winterizing, but preparing Unicorn for Chemotherapy

Kathy has wonderful doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners administering her chemotherapy treatments. Manny did a wonderful job of preparing and guiding Kathy through her first round of chemo!