Unexpected Winners and Losers

Ryan Davidson, PassageMaker; Mary and Rick, M/V Exhale; and
Trevor Brice, President, North Pacific Yachts

2021 People’s Choice Award – Winner, Winner!

North Pacific Yachts won the Passagemaker Ocean Navigator Trophy!  The attendees at the show vote over the course of 4 days, then the winner is announced at the end of the show. Surprised and honored, it was a great way to wrap up the festival.  North Pacific Yachts also won the award back in 2018 with the original Exhale. Thanks to the wonderful team at PassageMaker! Congrats to Exhale and Congrats to Trevor Brice!

Ocean Navigator Trophy:
TrawlerFest 2021 and TrawlerFest 2018

Leaving Baltimore, we slowed as we traversed under the Francis Scott Key bridge. A Star Spangled Banner moment.

Francis Scott Key Bridge, Baltimore, MD.

Solomon’s Island, MD

It was a short visit, back to Spring Cove Marina, departing at sunrise.

Back Creek, 7:25 am

Deltaville, VA – Regatta Point / Doziers

Another short stop in Deltaville, then we were on the road again, early. 

Deltaville, 7:32 am

The journey back to Florida is now the main focus as we begin a series of long days on the water. Thank goodness we have a Sea Keeper.


The early morning rise meant we encountered a Warship. We also saw a submarine, but did not get a blog-worthy photo.

A Winning Plan

As reported earlier, we prefer the Dismal Swamp route, but the Corp of Engineers had reported numerous massive logs floating down the canal. For the first time, we navigated towards Coinjock Marina – enticed by many well respected reports of award winning prime rib. Capt Rick loves prime rib, preferably an end cut – so we pressed on for 11 hours on the water, salivating at the thought of a delicious meal.

Coinjock Marina, VA – Loser, Loser!

A good plan, gone VERY wrong.  Did you know they have Overflow Parking at Coinjock? There is the east side dock, next to the restaurant, and the west side dock, across the waterway!

There is no polite way to describe how upset we were when the dockmaster directed us to tie up on the west side, AND, there was no staff available to run the boat launch to shuttle us to the infamous restaurant on the east wall.  WHAT???

As we approached the marina we could see long stretches of open space – it seemed there was plenty of room for more boats on the east wall. 

Coinjock Marina East Dock

Perplexed, we radioed back and asked, again, to be placed on the east wall, emphasizing we wanted to dine at the restaurant. Nope, said the Dockmaster, there were more boats on the way, and Exhale was going west.  So much for first come, first served.

It turned out, restaurant access would soon be the least of our complaints, since the entire westside dock should have been condemned, long ago.  Seriously.  NOONE should be allowed, never mind directed, to dock there.

You be the judge for yourself – here are a series of photos to document our stop.

Dangerous Docks on the westside.

There was a swimming pool, adjacent to our tie-up. With Halloween approaching I wondered if this location was ever used in a horror film.

Pool Entry Way
No Glass. No Bottles – Where is the “UNSAFE – NO ENTRY” sign?!

It was shocking that there were no signs warning you to stay off the docks, or stay away from the pool. The dock lights were broken. And there was no water –  on the dock or in the pool. There were LOTS of mosquitoes. We are talking the equivalent of Everglades mosquitoes – all you SFYC members, you know what I mean!

A swimming pool for mosquitoes

A winning moment

To be fair, there was an unexpected “winning” moment. Introducing Lance, the owner of a travel trailer on the westside – adjacent to the dock wall. One of the kitchen staff, it was his day off.

The kindness of strangers.

Lance TRIED to help us secure the lines to the pilings, apologizing that he had zero experience with this dock wall. As he said, “I have NEVER seen a boat here before.” Read that back slowly, NEVER – SEEN – A -BOAT – HERE – BEFORE … He has been living here all summer …


When Lance heard we wanted prime rib, he generously offered to go across the waterway to the restaurant in his tiny skiff, to retrieve dinner for us. Thanks, Lance.

CoinJock – look at that lovely dock wall!

Eager to continue our journey, we passed by the Restaurant at 6:48 am, frowning. That’s right, the marina is a BIG LOSER in our books.

Belhaven, NC

After 10 hours on the water, we returned to River Forest Marina in Belhaven, where Henry greeted us warmly.  Unfortunately, he also reminded us of our north bound incident – when Jim Merritt (Gypsy) dove into the water to free up a 35-foot stern line that got sucked into the thrusters. Just scroll back in our blog if you want to read the embarrassing story. 

BIG Winner, Winner! 2021 BEST Restaurant

We have been to Belhaven multiple times before, and never managed to dine at Spoon River. Let me just go on record now, this restaurant wins, hands down, the BEST Restaurant on this trip!

Spoon River Decoy Duck

Introducing the Owners, Mark and Teresa.  Mark is a farmer, and he knows fresh ingredients. Teresa is just beautiful, inside and out.

Eclectic mix of wine and bubbly
Decor for Mija. The “wine list” is open for perusal.
The view from our table, a Full House!

The service was impeccable and the food scrumptious. My tuna was exceptional. Rick’s yummy beef tips were fork-a-licious. We highly recommend the stop. Reservations are encouraged. Just text a message, and Teresa will reply :-). Click Here for the website. Oh yes, we will be back.

Sirloin Beef Tips with Mark’s winter garden veggies.

Milestones: Columbus Day – Tuesday, October 12 (celebrated Monday); Birthday – October 14, Bushranger, Mark Rutherford

Next Stop:  Beaufort, NC

Treble in Paradise – see you VERY Soon.

Author: Exhale49

North Pacific Trawler

7 thoughts on “Unexpected Winners and Losers”

  1. We stopped at Coinjock and had a great experience. The key is to make your reservations 10 days in advance through Dockwa. Worked like a charm for us. When we were in Belhaven, we heard about the Spoon River restaurant and the new owners. Locals could not say enough good things about it. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to eat there. But, it is on the list for a future trip. We are currently at Southport Marina and saw Treble in Paradise pass the marina this afternoon. We hope to catch up with you guys in Ft. Meyers next month.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations!! An award truly deserved. Commiserations!! We all have our horror marina stories but yours is truly horrific. Loved the photos of Spoon River. It was a standout for us when we passed through Belhaven. Stay safe and travel well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry about your Coinjock experience. We’ve been there multiple times and were disappointed by some random event every time.

    Spoon River,however, was always a great dining experience even though Belhaven always provided some other kind of excitement.

    Safe travels. Can’t wait to hear all of the stories of your Florida to Maine cruise.


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: