Chesapeake Bay

The R/V David Folger left Tidewater Marina this morning and is traveling up the Chesapeake Bay. The northward movement is going faster than yesterday, and we are getting closer and closer to Vermont. Being so close to Norfolk, the crew got to see some pretty large ships and a submarine. After traveling 189 nm today they stopped at the Summit North Marina near Bear, Delaware.

Navy Submarine in the Chesapeake Bay

Aircraft carrier near Norfolk

Alligator River Marina and heading north

Tom, Chris, and Richard

The R/V David Folger left the Columbia, NC region this morning, and the SPOT GPS shows them moving past Kitty Hawk. Work continues to get all the equipment functioning and the software up and running for our Fall courses. The sights and the people the crew have met at the marinas they’ve visited have been great. In fact, they have met up with the same boaters a couple of times as they have moved north. The crew traveled 75 nm today and ended up at Portsmouth, VA at the Tidewater Yacht Marina for the evening. This section of the ICW has numerous bridges that need to be raised.They waited over 30 minutes for one bridge to be opened and then went through a lock that raised them 6″.

Beaufort, NC to Coumbia, NC

I saw the R/V David Folger off this morning from Beaufort, NC and then headed back to the airport in Raleigh Durham to fly back to VT.

R/V Folger leaving Beaufort, NC






We now have a new way to track the Folger — if the AIS doesn’t pick the vessel up, try the SPOT GPS. Go to:

The Folger traveled 110 nm (nautical miles) today and ended up near Columbia, NC at the Alligator River Marina. The SPOT GPS worked well for tracking the Folger.



North Myrtle Beach, SC to Beaufort, NC

Humor on the high seas!

I (Pat) was traveling to get to the R/V David Folger; thus, this blog is a day late.The Folger finally left Harbourgate Marina, SC and the seas were calm, so the Folger made good time and arrived at Beaufort Marina in Beaufort, NC around 5:30 pm.  I traveled with Laura Lee and Simon Manley-Meek to Beaufort to drop off supplies, meet up with the guys, and tour the Folger. This is the first time I have gotten on board the Folger, and I was really amazed at this vessel. Since I had only seen it at various stages of being built, it was great to finally get on board. Though there are still things to be done on it, I can’t wait to see it in Lake Champlain and teach my Marine Geology and First Year Seminar on it. Come back later to the blog after I get back to Vermont (on Sunday), when I can upload pictures.

In the water and underway

On the high sea

Yesterday around 3:30 the R/V David Folger was repaired and put back in the water. Click the video link below to catch the action.

She had to “soak” overnight, and the AIS showed her sitting at the dock this morning and after an hour of sea trials she headed on her journey once again ~ 11 o’clock. She has left Charleston Harbor area and appears to be out into the coastal ocean area. Neptune listened to our wishes and the crew had calm seas and made good time. This evening they are at Harbourgate Resort and Marina in North Myrtle Beach, SC.

Harbourgate Marina, North Myrtle Beach SC


Brunswick GA / Charleston City Boatyard – Day 2 revised

Tom met the owner of Dominey Propeller (Tyler) in Brunswick, Georgia at 8 AM. Measurements on the shaft and propeller showed them to be out of spec, but correctable. By 11:30, both the shaft and propeller were back in the van and on their way back to the Charleston City Boatyard. Tyler was extremely personable, and besides his business he does metal artwork. Check out the photo!

Starboard propeller and shaft in van

Tyler Dominey and his metal artwork


Charleston City Boatyard — revised

The R/V David Folgerwas hauled out this morning and when it was set on blocks, it was apparent that the intermediate bearing (closest to where the shaft comes through the hull) was damaged along with slight damage to the propeller. After consulting with Denis Dupas and Nate of All American Marine (where the boat was built), the crew determined that the standard cutlass bearing could be used instead of the bearing that had been in service, which is made of highly specialized Vesconite material that is manufactured only in South Africa and would take two to three weeks to obtain! The only place where both propeller and the shaft could be handled was at Dominey Propellers in Brunswick, Georgia. Therefore, while the propeller and shaft were being removed, Tom rented a cargo van, dropped Rich and Chris off at hotel, and set off to Dominey’s with shaft and propeller.

Charleston City Boatyard

It is always amazing, the kindness of people. Last night when the crew got in, there was only one place to get food, and it was technically closed. However, Maria, the owner of “Our Local Foods,” was still at the café when we called, and she let us come in for a quick dinner. The people at the Charleston City Boatyard have also gone to extra lengths to assist us and help the crew to get back on their journey.


Maria, owner of Our Local Foods café

Day seven – a delay!

We started out early from Charleston, and the AIS is tracking us fairly well. However, you can see that we stopped for a while along the ICW, and in fact we got stuck on a sand bar!  These shifting sand and mud bars often cause problems for vessels using the ICW.

We spent four hours waiting for assistance but finally got pulled off the sand bar and got underway again. After we had gotten started and as we were cleaning up the back deck, we noticed a vibration in the starboard propeller shaft area. We decided to turn around and stop at a small marina. Tom and Chris dove under the Folger for a visual inspection of the hull and propellers but could see nothing amiss. SO…. we need to head to a larger marina to have this looked at, since we can’t run on one engine. This is really discouraging, to say the least, and it could mean a large enough delay that I won’t be able to join them on the trip north! The Folger has arrived at the Charleston City Boatyard as of 6:30 PM. Stay tuned for further updates.

Click below for video of the Folger being towed.

R/V Folger on sand bar


Day six

The ICW in this section is very slow going, as it meanders using the local rivers

Krispy Kremes onboard!

and estuaries. Time spent during the day varies from being able to look at the scenery to intense time spent trying to get the equipment, software, and computers working and integrated. As always, meeting people along the way is a true pleasure. Thunderbolt Marine has a custom of giving each vessel a small box of “Krispy Kreme” doughnuts in the morning. They have been doing this since the 1940s. We hope to reach Charleston, South Carolina by tonight. Click on the link below to see a video as we passed Hilton Head.


Chris Goodrich taking in the sights

Day five

Travel continues northward today. Though traveling along the ICW is quite beautiful, there are shifting sand and mud bars to contend with. Yesterday while passing Jacksonville, Florida, we saw tugs trying to get a Navy ship off of one of these sand bars. Unfortunately, we encountered a sand bar ourselves and then got delayed as we cleaned out filters, etc. We made port at Thunderbolt Marina, near Savannah, Georgia.

Tugs trying to free the grounded Navy ship