Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Monday, December 27, 2004
27 December, 2004. We had great speed nearly all day (up to 9 mph at times which is awesome for any sailboat) and made 67 miles today. We could've gotten even further south but there was no good place to anchor 6 to 8 miles south of New Smyrna Beach. This put us within about 120 miles of Ft. Pierce, our primary goal. It is just possible that we could make Ft. Pierce in 2 days. I really want to spend New Years eve with Michael and Natalie there. Anyway, there were shoals everywhere here so we anchored just outside the channel at about 4 pm. We watched a few episodes of The Simpsons and King of the Hill and went to bed early (as usual) so we could get an early start the next day. We are getting hungry for long mileage days now that Ft. Pierce is within our reach. We started out about 7 am. after coffee, fought the shoals and finally got into the channel about 7:20, just after sunrise. We saw dolphins right away. Several times, Rocky has been climbing onto the bow and seeing the dolphins riding right alongside us while I'm driving so we decided that the next time we see dolphins in front of us, he'll take the tiller and I'll get on the bow so I can finally see them riding in our wake. We saw some in front of us, I climbed onto the bow and wouldn't you know it, they rode our wake aft, right next to Rocky at the tiller. Oh well, dolphins are everywhere so hopefully I'll get a chance one of these days. We should get past the Kennedy Space Center today- our goal is Cocoa Beach.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
Thursday, December 23, 2004
23 December, 2004. We arrived here about 3 pm. We were going to continue the Cumberland Sound but as soon as we entered the Cumberland River, the waters got rough so we decided to wait it out until morning. We anchored next to the dinghy dock that allows you to walk to the Cumberland National Seashore. Just as soon as were secured, we looked over onto Cumberland Island and there they were- the wild horses of Cumberland Island that we had been reading about. But again, although we took many pictures, they were all too dark. I'm really starting to want a zoom lens. I watched the wild horses graze on the shore and the dolphins playing in the water next to us. It was a beautiful day but we knew another cold front was already on the way. We woke to freezing temperatures and headed down the Cumberland River, past the nuclear submarine base and across the Cumberland Sound. The waters weren't too bad until we entered the bay on the other side of the sound. The waves got pretty rough but we managed through them and into the Amelia River. Alas, we were finally in warm, sunny Florida where it was freezing! We stopped for gas at the Amelia Island Yacht basin, which was closing in 30 minutes for Christmas Eve. Sometimes I woinder how we get so lucky so often. It's very comforting to know that we have 20 gallons of gas as we head into the Christmas void.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Monday, December 20, 2004
Sunday, December 19, 2004
So the tide went out and we found ourselves sitting on the bottom, which was now the shore, angled at aboit 15 degrees. We could've scraped barnacles from our hull if we had any. It was quite uncomfortable and everything we put on the table would slide off. We took some pictures but they were too dark. It was pretty weird to see each other standing straight up inside the boat- it looked like we were leaning at 15 degrees. Then we missed our high tide opportunity in the middle of the night and the howling wind blew us even more onshore. We were now at about 20 degrees. At this point, we just hopped off the side of the boat to get ashore. We endured it all morning and at about 1:00 pm, we were able to wiggle the tiller enough to break free. We considered anchoring back in Mary Creek but decided to continue on.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
18 December, 2004. We saw dolphins all day on the way here, some even riding our bow again. Somewhere along the line, we had to switch out our empty gas tank and we saw a crab trap buoy go racing under the boat. We decided to follow it. I was poised on the bow with the boat hook, ready to capture whatever was attached to the line. There might as well have been 'Jaws' music going in the background or someone calling out "thar she blows!" as we pursued the unknown creature. It could have been a smart dolphin, carrying off an entire cage of crabs but we only knew that there was something alive on the other end of the line. As we got close, the great, fearsome creature pulled the large buoy underwater. We spotted it a few more times but it eventually disappeared below. We had certainly entered no-man's land (sea) because there were few, if any, marinas or signs of civilization for most of the trip. We anchored in Redbird Creek, among more frolicking dolphins and managed to secure nearly a dozen blue crabs which we boiled and ate (our revenge for the crab pots we've been avoiding for the last 800 miles).
Friday, December 17, 2004
17 December, 2004. As we are trying to put some miles behind us, we didn't stay in Beaufort. Skull Creek is just over the Port Royal Sound. We were quite thankfull for the low winds and mild waves. We have new respect for big water! We saw lots of dolphins today, some swimming just off our bow. It was all very exciting for us. We were boarded today! The Coast Guard Cutter "Tarpon" was their mother ship (I just like the way that sounds). The boarding party consisted of 4 young guys and a young girl. Apparently, our under-construction, half-finished sailboat matches the criteria for a drug smuggling vessel. The boarding officer looked pretty hard at our mess and decided not to rip up our floorboards. He left his gloves and a flashlight on our boat. Our only violation was the half-empty fire extinguisher that we used to put out the fire at the North Carolina Welcome Center. The next time we get boarded, all we have to do is show the paperwork from the CGC Tarpon and we should be okay. We also saw lots of military aircraft, large Coast Guard helicopters, many dolphins and a small upside down airplane near the shore on our way to Skull Creek. I thought about calling in the crashed airplane but there were lots of other boats around we were certain that it had already been noticed by the locals.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
16 December, 2004. Today was filled with a lot of "Hey, I'm running out of water!", and "Hey, this map can't be right!". We made some wrong turns, some mis-adventures reading the maps, but still made good time. We were hoping to make it to B&B Seafood for some fresh shrimp, just up the river from here, but alas, it got dark so we anchored. I can't think of anything else intersting here.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
12 to 15 December, 2004. We started the day in freezing weather in thick fog and had to take turns driving the boat for the first few hours. We saw our first naturally occurring palm tree on the way here at ICW mile 445 near Andersonville, SC. Shortly afterward, we saw some dolphins, and more later in the day. When we arrived in the bay near Charleston, there were many sailboats taking advantage of the wind. There was also an aircraft carrier (decommissioned, from the looks of it) on the northeastern shore. We pulled into the Cooper River Marina at about 5 pm. They have the nicest concrete, floating docks that we've seen yet. The marina is run by the county. Since our boat is actually 26 feet, 8 inches, we are starting to tell the marinas that we have a 26 foot boat since marinas usually charge per foot. We ended up paying for 25 feet since our slip is for a 25 foot boat. At 70 cents per foot and a $2.50 electric charge, we payed $20 here and can stay until just before 9 am on Tuesday (nearly 40 hours) since the fee covers a 24 hour period and the office will be closed when our 24 hours is up. They were very accommodating.
We met Gary, who helped us tie off. He originally came here for one month and has been here for 7 years. His friend, Joe, who drove me to Wal-mart and Home Depot the following day, originally came here for 3 weeks and has been here for 18 months. Apparently, it's hard to leave this place- even we stayed an extra day due to the cold weather ahead. The Wapoo Bridge, about 8 miles ahead, doesn't open between 6:30 am and 9 am which screws up our goal of 50 miles when we leave here. We're just going to have to anchor and freeze before continuing on to Beaufort, SC, where Rocky's mom has sent some deer jerky to the post office there. We were able to get supplies in town, showers, orders processed and lots of laundry done here. We also dried out the damp V-berth and carpeting.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Friday, December 10, 2004
We dinghyed to shore and right behind us came Lisa and Joyce, who we met in Elizabeth City, NC. They were going for ice cream so we joined them. They had emailed us the day before, after reading our blog, and told us not to miss the shrimp dock in Georgetown. Rocky and I picked up 2 lbs. of medium shrimp for $4.39/lb. just before leaving there. That was probably the freshest shrimp I ever ate. When we were at the ice cream shop, I ran across the street to the ATM and couldn't believe who was sitting in front of the bank- it was Barbara and Peter, who we met at the Alligator River Marina. I told Barbara we were going to pick up some more rocket fuel and that we'd probably see them again. They were docked at a marina a few miles away and had just come into town for some supplies. I took an expensive cab ride to the post office while Rocky cleaned up the mess from our five foot waves encounter. There was a health club on the waterfront that charged $5 for a day's use of their facilities. I told the girl at the counter that we just wanted to take showers and she said she couldn't charge us just for showers so let us in for free. On our way out, she said that her boss had come in and she had to charge us the $5 each. We had bilge pump problems here, too, which Rocky fixed in the middle of the night. Even when we stopped at the gas dock on our way out, we had to rouse the gas attendant from his houseboat. Georgetown also stunk from a factory right next to the harbor. We will never go back to Georgetown, SC.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
8 to 9 December, 2004. We hit a rock with our rudder on the way here. I was in 18 feet of water when we hit. The waterway just before and after Barefoot Landing is called the rockpile- very hazardous! Barbara and Peter, who we had first met at the Alligator River Marina passed us along the way and Barbara yelled over "You got rocket fuel in that thing?" We keep seeing them along the way and always look forward to our next encounter. The journey here also marked our entry into South Carolina. The sun broke through the clouds, it got warm and we got internet access just past the state line. I was reminded at some of the bridges just how much I enjoy being called "captain" by the bridge tenders. And also how much I enjoy them stopping traffic and lifting or swinging hundreds of tons of steel just so we can pass through. Just after crossing beneath the Barefoot Landing Bridge, there is a 500 foot free floating dock next to many restaurants and shops. There are lots of turtles here and an alligotor touring bridge. We didn't see any alligotors. I've been wanting a steak and it was Rocky's birthday so we decided to eat out. We bypassed all the expensive tourist trap restaurants here and crossed the street to Cracker Barrel where we got good food for a reasonable price.
The fog got pretty thick the first night and we knew it was going to continue throughout the following day so we decided to stay another day. The restaurant just above us let us plug into their outdoor electrical outlet so we were able to process orders. We had purchased 2 cell phones a while back and sent one to our friend, Michael, who receives our website mail payments and deposits them for us. Since Verizon to Verizon calls are free, we call him all the time. lately, he's been providing us with music from his vast online libarary via the cell phone. It's pretty cool. We met Bobbie and Gordon here on their trawler and printed up the Skipper Bob updates for them. Our financial situation has been deteriorating ever since ebay screwed us at Deep Creek. We are now relying on the random website orders that are few and far between.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
7 December, 2004. There were many delays getting here, including morning fog, getting gas, waiting for bridges to open, dredges in our way and the rough Cape Fear River that produced 2 foot waves and howling winds. Water was splashing up over the bow and into the cockpit for much of Cape Fear River but it was actually fun, instead of harrowing. We arrived just before dark. The docks were very cool, with lots of local seafood restaurants- a true harbor town. We went into the small town to find a place to buy cigarettes. There was a man and woman hanging Christmas decorations outside a Realtor's office and I asked them where I could buy cigarettes. The woman, who I later found out was named Kim, told me that there was a store about 7 blocks away and then asked me if I was on a boat. When I told her yes, she said "just take my car, the keys are in it." I think maybe a minute had passed since I first encountered her before she was entrusing me with her very nice SUV. So we took her car, got cigarettes, exchanged business cards and back to the docks we went. After that, Rocky said that his faith in humanity had been completely restored. Although it was windy, it was not cold for the second night in a row. It was a nice place to stop.
Monday, December 06, 2004
6 December, 2004. Their are many "inconsiderate" (for lack of a more accurate term) motoryachts out here. We've nearly been capsized on more than one occasion by their wakes. Just before mile marker 220 at 9:25 am, long before we arrived here, we were nearly capsized by "Defiant" who threw up about a 5 foot wake. If we see him again, we will not be kind. Usually, we can't get the names of the boats who throw up unneccessarily huge wakes because we're too busy turning into the wakes to see the name on the back. Defiant had the name on the side so we finally got a name, not that it will do us much good. Defiant also threw their wake at another motoryacht called "Two Healers" which had just considerately passed us. We saw Two Healers stop for gas and when they caught back up with us, the man on board held out a tubular can. I was under the assumption that they thought we dropped it and they were returning it to us. It was actually a can of cookies that he successfully tossed over to us. I was very glad that I was able to catch it since they had made such a friendly effort. We anchored at Sloop Point in about 6 feet of water. After the sun went down, we were thrilled that it wasn't very cold. Perhaps we had finally got a jump on old man winter. The ocean waves could be heard just beyond the barrier islands off to the east. Much of our journey through North Carolina brought us inland, away from the ocean. It was nice to hear the Atlantic without having to deal with its rough waters. Rocky loves the LED headlamp and wears it nearly every night. The 2 AA batteries that power it last forever. We left here at 8 am in dense fog. Although it looks cool, it's quite a hazard to drive the boat in. The fog is pretty thick and we're just putting along. We hope it burns off or we'll never make our planned free dock going this slow.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Friday, December 03, 2004
3 December, 2004. We stopped to get gas in Upper Dowry Creek and saw Duane and Flore there. We love meeting up with people that we know. Duane loves to use his radio and we hear "September Morn" (the name of their boat) quite often. We enjoy hearing radio chatter from boaters we know. We arrived and anchored in Pungo Creek next to Duncan and Stacey, who we had been basically traveling with since Elizabeth City. We didn't raft (tie our boats together) because of the possibility of strong winds but we were in yelling distance. They were happy to discover that we had taken some pictures of their boat under sail that we could email them. This was Duncan's third boat and he didn't have any pictures of them under sail. We planned on meeting up with them again in Oriental, which is known as the sailing capital of North Carolina, but we made such good time the next day that we continued on to Beaufort, NC. We hope to meet up with them again.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
2 December, 2004. We met up with Duncan and Stacey here. Stacey made dinner for us, which she had offered back in Elizabeth City, knowing that we were both going to Alligator River Marina. Rocky and I picked up a bottle of wine for dinner. The marina was basically a regular gas station / convenience store / restaurant that served the road running across the Alligator River Bridge, with some docks behind it and a small building with two washers, two dryers and a shower. It was simple but had the gas, ice and shower that we needed. We met Barbara and Peter who were traveling on their beautiful yacht. They were very nice but we didn't see much of them afterwards. Duncan and Stacey left before us but we quickly overtook them after traveling under the very cool Alligator River Swing Bridge. I stiil get a big kick out of these giant bridges opening just for little old me. We traveled up the Alligator River in 2 foot waves, which was much rougher then The Albemarle Sound that we had been fearing for nearly a week while in Elizabeth City.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004