Archive for the ‘Sailing’ Category


Thursday, January 25th, 2018

1Aerial 300dpi2We are thrilled that our little coastal town of Cape Charles is in the “Top 10” on Coastal Living Magazine’s 2018 list of the “Happiest Seaside Towns” ! Every year for the past seven years, Coastal Living magazine has created a Top 10 list of the “Happiest Seaside Towns”. Original nominations come via social media. From there, Coastal Living evaluates the nominees for such qualities, outlined on its website, as we looked at their ranking the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of locals, geographic diversity, and our editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.”

Cape Charles is very much a happy little town, relaxed, low-key, with lots of lifestyle amenities and things to do. A beautiful soft sand beach, multipleDSC_2779 marinas and boat ramps, Palmer and Nicklaus1Aerial 300dpi2 Signature golf courses, cute little shops and galleries, an impressive art presence, a theatre, fine and casual dining, all these opportunities are the raw ingredients. Mix in the wonderful Cape Charles community spirit and there we see the possibilities for being voted the 2018 Happiest Seaside Town ! If you want to participate and vote for Cape Charles, click the link below. You can vote multiple times but voting ends at 5pm on February 6,2018. As of this writing, Cape Charles was fifth in the number of votes so we have a ways to go to hit #1 by February 6th. So let’s get voting !!


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Looking In The Rear View Mirror, It’s Goodbye Eastern Shore Summer 2017

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Golf carts sunset.brighter croppedDefinitely past time to bid farewell to that sweetest season of sun, sand and fun here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Summer. We clung tightly, reveling in the extra gift of many lovely days of Indian Summer we had this year. But now it’s time to just face it – – summer’s over ! The colorful vibrancy of Autumn is now upon us, with some chilly days in winter soon to follow. But not to worry, just close the eyes and memories of those lazy, hazy, glorious days of Summer 2017 shall ever sweetly spring to mind….  Goodbye Summer….





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Contemporary Home On Eastern Shore Virginia Waterfront Point

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

100_1363_0001Boaters, set your course for this impressive 3 bedroom, 3 and a half bath custom built contemporary home nestled into a 1.25 acre+/-partially wooded waterfront point near Cape Charles, VA  listed by Blue Heron Realty Co.  Priced at $799,000 and located in Franktown, VA, on the scenic Eastern Shore of Virginia, this single story home is on a quiet cul-de-sac in a tiny upscale waterfront hamlet. Sitting atop high banks, it offers gorgeous views of the clear blue waters of its colorful saltwater inlet from the Chesapeake Bay. The handsome dock with good boating water would provide the perfect home for your boat, with fast easy access out to the Bay for fishing or just a relaxed cruise.  Love kayaking ?   The pristine, calm inlet with its many prongs makes exploring by canoe or kayak a real pleasure.



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Exceptional construction, dramatic window package and an open floor plan with lots of natural light offer coastal living at its best. This unique home is truly a work of art starting with a bronze fountain featuring elegant blue herons which greets visitors at the front door created by famed Eastern Shore artist, William Turner. Lovely mosaic tiles by local artists throughout, including, in the foyer, an amazing marble mosaic reproduction of Vincent Van Gough’s “Starry Nights” by internationally known Eastern Shore tile company, New Ravenna.


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Interior details include elegant teak floors, custom cherry cabinets, granite kitchen and bathroom counters, amazing floor-to-ceiling custom windows, skylights, barrel ceiling and luxurious bathrooms. Everything from the custom details and the dramatic window package to the mature landscaping, trellises, many decks, hot tub and lovely in-ground swimming pool work carefully together to create a special synergy with the home itself, producing a truly inspiring waterfront haven. Only about 20 minutes to Palmer and Nicklaus signature golf and the sparkling sand beach in Cape Charles. This unique home definitely must be seen to truly appreciate.


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The First Annual Great Bay Run in Cape Charles, VA

Friday, June 7th, 2013
Great Bay Run Logo

The Great Bay Run

This summer  an exciting new event is coming to the Eastern Shore of Virginia !   On Saturday, June 15, 2013,  in conjunction with the Tall Ships at Cape Charles Festival, the town will be the site of the First Annual Great Bay Run.

Organized by race directors  Eric Hack, a teacher and coach at the Eastern Shore’s Broadwater Academy  and Eva Noonan, an agent at our own Blue Heron Realty Co., this is a first for both of them.  Eva also works with Eric as volunteer assistant cross country and track coach at Broadwater. This is expected to be a premier event, kicking off the debut of what they hope will be an exciting annual runner’s  challenge.

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5k Run will pass along Bay Cape Charles, VA

The Great Bay Run in Cape Charles will offer both a 5k race and a 1.25 mile fun run/walk.  Both events start at 8:30 AM on Saturday, June 15th, near the Blue Heron Realty office at 113 Mason Avenue. The route will take runners along Bay Avenue, with its grand dame’  Victorian- era homes overlooking beautiful views of the Chesapeake Bay and the sparkling sand dunes along  the Town’s soft sand beach, weave through the  Historic District, then out past the Coast Guard Station and finally into the Cape Charles Harbor of Refuge.   By concluding at the Cape Charles Harbor,  participants will be able to enjoy  all the events  at this state of the art  marina which will be be filled for the Festival with sailboats of all sizes and descriptions, including three Tall Sailing Ships and a US Navy patrol ship, all of which will be visiting for the entire week-end. The three  Tall Ships berthed there  will also be offering deck tours and 2 hour day sails all weekend long so  it’s a great opportunity to experience maritime history.  Additionally, the winners will be presented with their trophies down at the Harbor right after the race.


Eric and Eva look forward to putting on a competitive and fun race experience that the hundreds of athletes of all abilities already signed up will enjoy. Eva has recently started a local  women’s running group which has inspired many locals to join the June 15th  race as well.  And it’s really exciting that runners have signed up to participate from as far away as Ohio and Pennsylvania.  For additional information about the race, visit its Facebook site at: Anyone interested in registering for the race can still sign up, registration will be active until  7:30 am on the morning  of the race.

Online registration is available on at this link:  So, whether you’re interested in being a spectator or a participant, come on down, we think it’s going to be lots of fun.

The Great Bay Run would like to thank it’s sponsors: Blue Heron Realty Co., QS LLC, Eastern Shore Custom Carts, Eastern Shore Signs, Hook U Up Gourmet, Rayfield’s Pharmacy, and Kelly’s Gingernut Pub. The proceeds of the race will be split equally  and donated to benefit two causes:  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well as the Broadwater Academy cross country and track & field teams.

Celebrating Op Sail 2012 On The Eastern Shore of Virginia- Part I, The Parade of Sail

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Op Sail 2012 was a big shebang, very big, celebrated in the US in the ports of  New York, New Orleans,  Norfolk,  Baltimore, New London and Boston.   Organized around the Bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner,  the 2012 event is  6th  Operation Sail event.   Kicked off in 1964,  Op Sail was the culmination of worldwide efforts by the late maritime historian Frank Braynard and IBM executive  Nils Hansell to create an event designed to  foster international  goodwill by bringing together sailing ships from nations from all corners of the globe  to gather for  a fabulous parade of sail into New York harbor.  And so  in conjunction with the New York World’s Fair,  Op Sail was born, an instant huge success  which has been followed up by 5 additional Op Sail events, each tied to an  American historical event, each bigger and better than the last.  But Op Sail 2012  seems to have been the most spectacular of them all, especially in Virginia,  where the event was expanded for the first time to include not only the traditional port of Norfolk but also several small nearby ports including Cape Charles as part of the Tall Ships at Cape Charles Festival as well as the port of  Onancock on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Fortunately for those of us who live on the Eastern Shore, one of the main events of the entire festival is the “Parade of Sail“,  the magnificentfive mile long  flotilla  featuring of  scores of  international tall ships accompanied by military vessels from the US Navy and Coast Guard as well as literally  hundreds of local sail and power boats,  streaming across the water, escorting the international ships  to the tall ship’s main anchorages in downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth.  The ships overnighted in near Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach and at dawn  prepared to parade from the Lynnhavenanchorage,  through the mouthof  the Chesapeake Bay and up the Elizabeth River  into Norfolk, a  spectacular fleet  which, if all the ships were placed end to end, would be an amazing 7700 feet long !

Happily, this Parade involves  passing  directly over the  first tunnel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel which connects the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the city of Virginia Beach on the mainland !   Which meant that tickets to view from both the first and second Bridge Islands were available for this one-of-a-kind show and we were lucky enough to get  two tickets for the closest Island, One  Island at Thimble Shoal, rather than for Two  Island without  restaurant and restroom facilities.  So even though we are not normally crack-of-dawn people, by 5:30 am on the day, we were up and scurrying around,  grabbing hats, sun screen, a tiny cooler for water, binoculars, all the little comfort things, getting on the road before 6.  Seating was on a first-come basis and we were  hoping to get a front row seat on the bleachers, which, amazingly,  we were able to do  !

The day was simply beautiful- a sunrise of pinks and peach, cloudless sky, good breezes all morning long ( thank heavens, hard to sail without the wind gods behind you), water sparkling, everyone on the Island in sky-high spirits, thrilled to be there for this special, once in a decade or so, event.  The Parade was kicked off by the US Coast Guard ship, the USS Eagle. The 295 foot Eagle has an interesting history having been built in Germany, launched in 1939 as the SSS Horst Wessel,  but ending up in the possession of the United States after WWII as part of German war reparations.  A training ship for  Coast Guard cadets and a goodwill ambassador  for the US,  the aptly named Eagle gleamed in the morning sun, her 22,000 square feet of  white sails billowing,  proud as a mother swan with all her cygnets streaming along  behind her although probably those magnificent ships behind her might not like the comparison.

The announcer for the nearly 3 hour program was  Captain Sara Cole, commander of the Learning Barge. ( The Learning Barge was, of course, not in the Parade but it is a fascinating vessel in its own right. Winner of several national awards including one from the EPA,  this vessel was hand built over 3 years as a project between  the University of Virginia School of Architecture and the Elizabeth River Project, a local environmental group.  The Learning Barge is essentially a floating lab where students can sample water quality, identify pollution, learn about restoration of wetlands, grow algae, learn about sustainability, all hands-on. )  At any rate, Capt. Cole had amassed a great deal of information about each of the tall ships and military vessels participating in the Parade.

Thus I learned several new nautical terms including “dressing ship”  which she indicated means just what it sounds like- dressing  the ship to the nines, no diamonds or rubys  included there,  just every signal flag flying, weighted, an array of colors and symbols adorning these dramatic  ships, many like the Eaglefunctioning  as training ships and goodwill ambassadors for their countries.  Several Navy ships participated,  including  a helicopter escorted US submarine which was the concluding boat in the Parade.   From the US,  several well-known tall sailing ships including replias of the Bounty and Godspeed, the amazing Kalmar Nyckel from Delaware and the Pride of Baltimore as well as the 3 ships destined for Cape Charles, the Lynx, the Appledore and the Sultana.  In addition to  ships  from the US,  from Indonesia, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Spain, the Cook Islands, Bermuda, Germany, Canada, Denmark and the United Kingdom they sailed,  already having visited New York and New Orleans.  After the visit in Virginia, the longest visit of all, the fleet would be off to Baltimore, Boston and New London. And there they would no doubt wow their audiences,  just as all of us out on Thimble Shoal’s One Island that lovely summer morning  were thrilled by the 2012 Op Sail’s  Parade of Sail, serenely crossing  the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Cape Charles Hosts An Elizabethan Faire

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Lord Robert Dudley, High Chancellor of England, and his Court

The citizens of  the Eastern Shore of Virginia woke up the week-end of June 4-5, 2011  with not only the tall masts of Kalmar Nyckel dominating the skyline of  the Cape Charles harbor but also with the tents of an authentic Elizabethan Faire set up in the Town’s  beautiful and spacious Central Park.  What a perfect setting for a historic reenactment camp right out of the sixteenth century!  To celebrate  and compliment  the visit of  Delaware’s official tall ship ambassador, Kalmar Nyckel, the historic coastal Town of Cape Charles hosted the visit of   “Historic Interpretations”  from Raleigh, North Carolina. They are a group of actors, historians, craftsmen, and educators who demonstrate in incredible detail what life was like 500 years ago in an Elizabethan village.





Sir Brandon being knighted by the Lord High Chancellor of England

The day dawned bright and sunny with tangy, refreshing breezes blowing off the Chesapeake Bay.  And as the day progressed, visitors from far and near made their way to  the  Faire and quickly found themselves involved in playing games, dancing, trying on armour, hefting weapons, and admiring the great detail of reproduction of the time period of 1585, or thereabouts, the height of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in England. I brought to the Faire my grown children and grandsons. When I visited the tent of Lord Robert Dudley, the High Chancellor of England, he was so impressed with my son and grandsons that he knighted them all! Now, I have to call them Sir John, Sir Brandon, Sir Charlie, and Sir Ryan, and do their bidding whenever it pleases them – big mistake!

My “Sir” Knights then lead me by the collar around the Park’s field to another tent that sheltered the Armoury. There, to my huge surprise, were racks of weapons from the 16th century – long bows and arrows, 10′ long pikes, and other implements you cannot imagine, all of which could do serious damage to an opponent on the battlefield or the jousting.

Sir Brandon ready for battle!

arena! Suited up for battle there stood a soldier straight out of antiquity! Helmet, breastplate, chain mail … I tapped on his chest and rapped on his head much to the detriment of my poor knuckles!  That armour sure is good stuff! My little knight needed some shining armour, so I asked the good soldier in attendance to fix him up. And with Sir Brandon being now officially knighted and all, the soldier had no choice but do his bidding.

Then on to the Tavern tent, stocked with good victuals and brew, and furnished with collapsible wooden tables and chairs from the Elizabethan period. Gathered around the tables were the prettiest Ladies- in- Waiting, beckoning me to play a game of chess or checkers.  It didn’t take long at all for Sir John, Sir Charlie, and Sir Brandon to get into the spirit of things and we all broke out in rollicking songs, timeless sea chanteys and Irish tavern tunes.  Next thing I knew, the ladies had pulled us out of the Tavern and we were dancing on the Green,  stepping lively around in a circle with our hands on our hips, twirling and swinging our partners here and there and everywhere!

Catching my breath finally, I broke free and followed my knights further around the Green for some refreshment and relaxation. What a wonderful opportunity to learn about the habits and dress and language of the Elizabethans at the time that Sir Walter Raleigh sent his ships across the Atlantic to establish the first English settlements in America, including the historic settlements on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  home to the oldest continuous court records in the US.   I heard talk that this troupe loves Cape Charles so much that next year they plan on bringing Queen Elizabeth and her whole court !   Really looking forward to that !





A Waterfront Gem– This Like-New Virginia Waterfront Home For Sale Is A Very Special Retreat

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Beautiful Water Views From Back Deck

View Of Inlet Out To Chesapeake Bay

Nestled along the shoreline of a Northampton County, VA deep water inlet is this gem of a Chesapeake Bay waterfront home,  tucked in gracefully among the tall oaks and hickories, awaiting  a  new owner.   Being listed  for sale  by the estate,  this gracious traditional style home was built in 2008 and is like brand spanking new inside and out.   Located in a tiny intimate Eastern Shore waterfront neighborhood of upscale homes,  privacy is assured by its mature landscaping and spacious 4 acre parcel size.   A  very special retreat, relaxing, inspiring,   the floor plan and spacious rooms in this home offer a perfect balance between possibilities for activity and  entertaining or  relaxation and a quiet place to just unwind,  catch one’s breath.

Front View Of Home

The approach is down a  winding  private road, through groves of tall oaks and pines,  glimpses of the water flashing between the trees,  past horse barns and lovely homes.   Lined with  evergreens  and crepe myrtle trees,  the driveway curves through the wide,  velvety green lawn  and down a gentle slope towards the house.   In the background, a wide ribbon of  bright blue  catches the eye.   A  low murmur of a boat,  passing by on its way out to the Chesapeake Bay for a day of fun and fishing,  competes  with the noisy krank, krank of  a blue heron,  already fishing,  with breakfast on its mind.   A  serene coastal scene, part of daily waterfront life here in this fine waterfront home.

Relax On The Front Porch

One of my favorite aspects of this home is its wide, welcoming  front porch, graced on the south end by a gazebo, a wonderful place to sit in the shade, relaxing with a book,  some iced tea, surrounded by flowers and songbirds flitting between the branches of the crepe myrtle trees,  enjoying the kind of  relaxing stillness for which the Eastern Shore of Virginia is famous.  Once inside one is charmed by the open floor plan.  The high cathedral ceiling in the great room features two skylights which make the room come alive,  sunlight pouring in,  illuminating  everything with a golden cast,  the corner fireplace ready to strike a cheery fire on a cool winter’s day.   The openness of the floor plan continues  into the breakfast room and the spacious kitchen,  both with very pleasant water views.  Kitchen counters are granite, with custom  cabinets, appliances are top of the line GE Profile, all in all a very pleasant yet practical workspace,  ready for the challenges a  fine cook may place upon it.   This home also features a large first floor master bedroom with tons and tons of closet space and scrumptious master bath with handmade tile decoration.   Best of all, it’s move-right-in ready for you to begin to enjoy sweet Eastern Shore waterfront lifestyle.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)

Sailing On A 17th Century Tall Ship- A Video Of The Kalmar Nyckel Day Sail From The Cape Charles Harbor

Monday, June 20th, 2011

The Kalmar Nyckel is a reproduction of  a 17th century  Dutch tall ship with three very tall masts and eight miles of rigging which make her a most  impressive sight  as she cuts through the water.   Kalmar Nyckel’s  total sail area is over 7000  sq.ft. — to get an idea of  what really means,  consider that the average US house is about 2200 sq.ft  so  she  sports three houses worth of sails !   Wow !    At any rate,  as an element  of her visit to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and her 6 day stay in Cape Charles’  new marina, sponsored in part  by Blue Heron Realty Co. ,   my husband and I as well as several other family members took a day sail from the Cape Charles harbour well out into the Chesapeake Bay,  a real experience indeed and memorialized in this video.  Passengers had an opportunity to see the crew climbing high up into the rigging and to experience for themselves the crew numbers and physical strength and effort it takes to operate such a ship as they participated in hoisting the sails,  pulling to the rhythm of the seaman’s chantey,  “Bully In The Alley” .   An impromptu “Man Overboard” drill was ordered  by  Captain Lauren Morgens when a crew member’s  big straw hat was blown overboard.  So a  “Hat Overboard”  rescue was attempted with the aid of a little motorized Zodiak but it was clear to everyone that in the 1600’s when someone went overboard,  rescue was pretty much hopeless because a ship under sail would be so far away from the critical area  before a lifeboat could be manned and rowed to the spot.  Our crew was great and everyone had time to answer questions.   I think I peppered Helmswoman Ellen Carter with a million queries about daily life aboard such a ship for the crew of about 20, mostly volunteers,  with a paid crew of 4.  From cast-off to tie-up,  everyone had a great  time,  learned a lot about  trans-ocean travel 17th  century style and stored some  good memories.

Kalmar Nyckel– Part 2, The Day Sail. She Sails The Ocean Blue, This Saucy Ship Of Beauty.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Kalmar Nyckel

Waiting To Board Kalmar Nyckel

As part of  her 5  day stay in the Cape Charles harbor,  the tall ship Kalmar Nyckel offered several opportunites for the public to board the ship for deck tours as well as four different day sail trips for up to 49 passengers per trip out into the Chesapeake Bay.  We had selected  the Sunday  10:30 am  time slot for our sail but Sunday dawned dark andovercast, skies threatening a serious downpour at any time.  The Eastern Shore  definitely needs some rain so I didn’t feel but so bad but  hoped it would clear up in time for the trip which included  my husband, daughter, son-in-law and youngest granddaughter as well as myself.  But when we arrived at the dock the crew informed everyone in line on the pier  that the Captain was still monitoring the weather to decide if it would be a go or no-go.   Fortunately it began to clear and  the crew allowed us to board, everyone excited to sail on a ship which is a faithful reproduction of  an early 1600’s Dutch pinnace.  Boasting  about 8 miles of rigging,  three enormous masts and nearly 7,000 sq.ft. of  sail, the Kalmar Nyckel is a most impressive ambassador of goodwill for the state of Delaware.  It is near what is now Wilmington that her namesake first landed, on behalf of the Swedish Crown naming  the area “New Sweden”,  the first of four round trips she would make from Sweden to “New Sweden”  before she was refitted as a warship in 1638.

Heave, Ho ! Hoisting The Top Sails

It didn’t take long to get underway.  Her big diesel engines fired up, ( no, they didn’t have engines in the 1600’s  but hey, some things are too important to do without,  even in a faithful reproduction),  many orders issued from the bridge to the crew,  mooring lines were cast off and away we went for our 2 1/2 hour adventure. As we left the Cape Charles harbor, 5 or 6  yachts leaving the Bay Creek Marina waved as  they passed, surprised I’m sure to see this ornate beauty in their home waters.  As the ship got further out into the Bay the winds started picking up and the crew made ready to hoist the sails,  enlisting the help of  passenger volunteers to do so.  First came the instructions, terms like  “avast”, “ease” and “haul” were demonstrated and practiced.  Then it was time to hoist  the topsails, the main top and the fore top, and this was done just as in the days of yore,  pulling to the rhythm of an old sea chantey, in this case a tune called “Bully On The Deck”  which has a rather captivating beat. ( I found out later that the term “bully” in sailor parlance means inebriated. )   The winds were with us and the sails filled nicely,  speeding us along.

Man overboard drill

Impromptu “Man Overboard” Drill

It was the wind, blowing pretty well by then,  which initiated an inpromptu little training drill much to the surprise of both the crew andpassengers.  I was on the upper deck,  standing just behind the Captain,  taking some photos when a gust  swept  a wide-brimmed straw hat right off a crew member’s head and sailed it smack into the water.  When the Captain saw that she decided right then and there to conduct an unscheduled  “man overboard”  drill.  In a matter of seconds alarms sounded,  crew moved into various positions,  on the upper deck  “spotters'”  grabbed binoculars and trained them on the hat,  job one being to keep the “man”   in sight at all times, especially difficult to do as the ship begins its  turn back towards the overboard area.  On the lower deck,  crew threw out life preservers which in the event of a real problem are an effort to send  a number of  flotation devices out towards the victim in hopes that one will be grabbed.  All passengers on the lower deck were  asked to move towards the bow.  The rubber Zodiak , which is secured to the stern,  was lowered into the water, engine started and the 2nd mate and another crew member set out for the  rescue.  Meantime,  designated crew members were busy counting passengers, counting crew and talleying numbers to make sure everyone was accounted for,  that only one  “man”  had gone overboard.   All of this was done  quickly and efficiently,  the Captain issuing rapid orders, crew quickly carrying them out.   Unfortunately,  the hat drowned.  But the drill came off very well,  the Captain being quite pleased with the opportunity to carry off a surprise drill  and the passengers excited to participate and see how well it all worked.  The Zodiak was resecured at  the stern and  the journey continued on.

Steering the Kalmar Nyckel

Helmswoman Ellen Carter At The Whipstaff

On the homeward leg I had the opportunity to talk a bit to Ellen Carter who is in her fourth season of volunteering on the Kalmar Nyckel.   She was at the helm,  steering a course back to the Cape Charles harbor, keeping one eye on the whipstaff, another on the modern electronic depthfinder and course charter,  ears perked  for the Captain to issue orders but still able to tell me a bit about the ship and life on-board.   The helm on the Kalmar Nyckelis not the  big round wheel that one traditionally thinks of– rather, it is a 6-7 ft. long pole, about  4-5 inches in diameter,  called a “whipstaff”.  Connecting through a yoke into the tiller, which in turn moves the ship’s rudder, it’s  called a whipstaff because a sudden, unexpected movement of the rudder will cause it to whip to one side or the other with great momentum– definitely don’t want to daydream on  helms watch !  Ellen told me that the rudder weighes about 3200 pounds but that even though a lot of force may be needed to push the whipstaff in one direction or another, because of its length,  the helmsperson has about  40 to 1 mechanical leverage.  Otherwise it would take Godzilla to steer the ship !   And to think that they had all of that all figured out in the early 1600’s !

Captain and Mate speak

Aye, Aye Captain

I was interested in the day-to-day aspects of life on board. Ellen indicated that topside Kalmar Nyckel  is a faithful reproduction of her namesake but that below decks the crew has pretty comfortable modern quarters.  The Captain, 1st and 2nd Mates and Steward are paid crew, on board for about 8 months of the year and have their own quarters.  10 bunks off the galley and 10 more off the saloon  provide spaces for the rest of the approximately 12-20 person crew ( depending on the venue) which is all- volunteer. According to Ellen the food is very good and the cook tries to cater to special diets-i.e., vegan, Kosher, etc., plus  there is plenty of good strong coffee  and  even bundt cake for dessert sometimes.   The days of hard tack with  a dram of rum are apparently long gone !   Too, too  soon we were dousing the sails and heading into the channel,  the journey was about over but the memories will linger on.


(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)


Kalmar Nyckel- She Sails The Ocean Blue, This Saucy Ship Of Beauty- Part 1, The Reception

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011
Tall ship Kalmar Nyckel arrives in Cape Charles

Kalmar Nyckel Arrives In Cape Charles

Anyone who loves Gilbert and Sullivan and sees this beautiful tall sailing ship will immediately think of the song  “She Sails The Ocean Blue”  from “H.M.S. Pinafore”  because  this saucy ship’s definitely a beauty and as a reproduction  of  a grand Dutch pinnace  which made four round trips from Sweden to “New Sweden”  (Delaware) in the mid-1600’s,  she sails the oceans blue.   Sponsored in part by Blue Heron Realty Co.  and as part of  the  Tall Ships Initiative of  Cape Charles and Northampton County  (which was  the brainchild of  David Kabler,  broker for  Blue Heron’s  Cape Charles office )  the  Kalmar Nyckel arrived in the deep water Cape Charles harbor on June  2nd and settled right in for a 5 day celebration of  her eagerly awaited trip to  the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  including a Friday evening  on-board reception to be given by Blue Heron Realty Co.  (Click to enlarge the small photos.)


Even the weather co-operated beautifully-  early in the week it had been quite warm,  high temps about 90 but thankfully the wee hours of  Friday morning brought  a cold front  and the day dawned in the low 60’s with refreshing breezes all day long.  I was so relieved because in my role as Chief Cook & Bottle Washer  for Blue Heron’s on-board reception from 6:30 to 8:30 that  evening ,  my biggest worry all along  had been how to keep cold hors d’oeuvres  cold on a warm evening, on deck ,  with no real refrigeration and precious little shade.  We were, of course,  already prepared with lots of  big coolers and special serving trays with ice reservoirs underneath but still, I was really delighted that the high would be only in the  mid-70’s !


The evening kicked off about 6pm with an official  Welcoming Ceremony which included the Northampton County High School Band, presentation of the colors by the Coast Guard,  remarks by Cape Charles Mayor Dora Sullivan  and presentation of  a huge gift basket for Captain Lauren Morgan and her crew.  Then it was  on-board for Blue Heron’s  reception which proved to be a merry time indeed.  The invitations had gone out with Colonial or pirate attire as an optional dress code,  just to spice things up a bit.  Period attire was another of Dave’s ideas ( well, truth be told, Dave had hoped for mandatory but settled for optional )  and it added a lot of  entertainment to the evening.  The Kalmar Nyckel crew also wore their Colonial garb adding to the over-all ambience but I must say that the top prize for guys for the evening  ( had there been one ) would have gone  to local Eastville attorney Bert Turner,  usually seen in a sharp suit and crisp dress shirt,  whose flowing wig,  rakish hat and fancy garb  transformed him so completely into a  fashionable Colonial  pirate  it seemed as if  he had truly just stepped out of  a time machine.  A number of the the ladies had really wonderful costumes as well,  including Irene Henderson,  Sandy Mayer,  Susan Kovacs,  Dianne Appell,  Ann Walker  and  Carol Russ.  Even Cape Charles Town Council members  Bruce Evans and Joan Natali as well as  County Supervisor Spenser Murray got into the Colonial garb spirit,  wearing  period vests,  blouses and breeches.


And if I do say so myself,  the food turned out quite well too.  Planned and executed by Blue Heron’s  “Reception Committee”   headed up by Gerry Forbes and rounded out by Lisa Anderson and Kay Lewis,  these ladies planned and put together an attractive and tasty  array of cold appetizers  including a beautiful centerpiece fruit tray of 3 different types of melons, 3 different types of grapes,  some lusciously ripe Hawaiian pineapple and picture-perfect strawberries, then garnished with kiwi,  cherries and blackberries.   Flanking the fruit tray on either side were trays of assorted cheeses plus bread bowls filled with a most tasty humus as well as chopped spiced tomatoes for bruchetta complimented by  a large relish tray of mixed olives with marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts.  But the most popular item seemed  to be the mini sweet potato biscuits stuffed with country ham,  the contrast of the sweetness of the biscuits and the saltiness of the ham was absolutely perfect and a great accompaniment to the fruit and cheeses.  Early on in the planning stages we did an office wine tasting lunch to decide on the wines, ( yup, everyone  somehow  managed to  just  “happen”  to be at the office at lunchtime that day !  )   A unanimous vote chose a  fruity rose’  sparking wine as the  favorite,  with a dry white sparking wine a close second.  These were served along with Samuel Adams light summer ale on draft which proved quite popular as well.


Entertainment was provided  by the very, very  talented duo of  Carol Russ  on  accordian and Malcolm Russ  on  violin,  whose wide ranging repertoire included many  popular songs like  Red Sails In The Sunset   to  about 15 robust choruses  of What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor   vocalized by  Dave Kabler together with the Kalmar Nyckel’s  Captains  Lauren Morgan and  Sharon Litcofsky.  I personally think that the right music can help make or break an evening and the  Russ’  performance was great,  it added so much to the over-all ambience.  A pleasant summer’s eve,  a light breeze blowing,  laughter here and there,  pleasant conversation all around,  good food and wine,  all on-board such a unique venue, a beautiful tall sailing ship.  But because the Kalmar Nyckel  has no real lights on deck,  by previous agreement,  the Captain needed  guests to depart before 9pm,  so too soon it was over.   Malcolm and Carol  played that very beautiful song made famous by Sarah Brightman some years back,  Time To Say Goodbye  and with that  we  all said our good night’s and goodbye’s but those of us at Blue Heron won’t soon forget this special evening.

(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134  Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)