Always $umthing

Vessel Name: Always $umthing
Vessel Make/Model: Tartan 37
Hailing Port: Worton Creek, Maryland
Crew: Al and Diane Dashevsky
About:
Our current "water home" is a Tartan 37 sailboat, whose summer home is at Green Point Marina on Worton Creek, MD. Our local cruising grounds is the upper Chesapeake Bay. We've only been sailing for about 6 years, but now that we're retired, we will become "snowbirds". [...]
Extra: When clicking on the "Where are we now?" link, PLEASE DO NOT call rescue authorities if the boat hasn't moved in a while.
11 May 2013 | Green Point Marina, Worton, MD
09 May 2013 | Solomons, MD
05 May 2013 | Norfolk, VA
01 May 2013 | Dismal Swamp, North Carolina
29 April 2013 | Elizabeth City, NC
21 April 2013 | Southport, NC
20 April 2013 | Isle of Palms to N. Myrtle Beach
15 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC
08 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC
01 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC
31 March 2013 | On the way to Beaufort, SC
26 March 2013 | Daytona Beach Shores/Port Orange
20 March 2013 | Manatee Pocket, FL (St. Lucie Inlet)
04 March 2013 | Marathon, FL
21 February 2013 | Marathon, FL
21 January 2013 | Marathon, FL
01 January 2013 | Marathon, FL
25 December 2012 | Marathon, FL
12 December 2012 | Key West, FL
11 December 2012 | Blackfin Resort & Marina, Marathon, FL
Recent Blog Posts
11 May 2013 | Green Point Marina, Worton, MD

Chesapeake Bay or Lake??? Ans: HOME!

We spent Thursday night at Calvert Marina in Solomons Island. Was nice to have a courtesy car again to get food for Daisy and a couple of needed groceries since I will be on the boat for a few days while Al goes home to get one of our cars.

09 May 2013 | Solomons, MD

Almost Home!

We hauled anchor at Little Bay this morning at 6:15 and headed north. Was able to get sails up for a while, but of course the wind died, then picked up again - right on the nose. Ah, the sailing life! LOL! Today's pic is a scene I never get tired of...sunrise on the Chesapeake :)

05 May 2013 | Norfolk, VA

Patience, Patience, Patience...

As the sun is beginning to set on our adventure, we are learning how to be patient. It is a bit frustrating to be so close to home and not be able to get there.

01 May 2013 | Dismal Swamp, North Carolina

Dismal Weather in the Swamp

Early Tuesday morning we left Elizabeth City in light fog. After a fuel stop, we headed for the Dismal Swamp South Mills Lock. Traffic on the canal is light and there were only 4 boats, all sail, in the lock.

29 April 2013 | Elizabeth City, NC

Yes, it IS Always $umthing!

Oh my! What a crazy (and chilly) eight days!

21 April 2013 | Southport, NC

Sitting in Southport...

Spent last night at the free dock at the Provision Company and had a good dinner there. Left the dock this morning and headed out to the Cape Fear River...and promptly turned back. It was BRUTAL! Winds have been in the upper 20's gusting into the 30's ALL DAY! Forecast is for more of the same through [...]

20 April 2013 | Isle of Palms to N. Myrtle Beach

Score: Di 107 - Flies 0 !!!

As much as we like the Low Country, we DO NOT like the bugs. We have had our fill of gnats, no-see-ums, and mosquitos...and now flies!

15 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC

Painting done!

The painting of the hull and bottom is complete! It looks like a new boat! Can't believe how shiny it is...you can see your reflection!

08 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC

Biding our time in Beaufort

We have been in Beaufort, SC now for a week. The original plan was to be here for 2 weeks for the boat to be painted. However, we've had a bit of bad weather (quite a bit of rain) during the beginning of the week. So now it looks like we might be here a bit longer than 2 weeks. But as of yesterday, [...]

01 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC

OMG!!!

I'm still shaking! On the way over to Marsh Harbor Marina where the boat is going to be painted, Al walked up on deck to pull up a fender we forgot to pull in...and he FELL OVERBOARD!!!! Good thing we've practiced Man Overboard drills! He's OK...shaken and cold, but OK :)

31 March 2013 | On the way to Beaufort, SC

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

26 March 2013 | Daytona Beach Shores/Port Orange

Sitting and waiting...and waiting...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

20 March 2013 | Manatee Pocket, FL (St. Lucie Inlet)

Homeward Bound

Oh my! Where does the time go??? Before leaving Marathon we were so busy with last minute social activities as well as getting "ready" to leave...not to mention also nursing a cold...and the blog suffered. Apologies to all.

04 March 2013 | Marathon, FL

Old Man Winter. . .

. . . has found us. The past few days have been quite chilly, windy, and a bit of rain (as evidenced by the pic above of our friends bundled up and wearing long pants in Key West). Temps are in the 50's during the day with the nights requiring the heat on for a while in the boat. But we aren't complaining! [...]

21 February 2013 | Marathon, FL

Laid Back and Not Too Wasted...

(Apologies to Jim Morris for the blog title today...)

21 January 2013 | Marathon, FL

Time to Catch-Up!

So the question seems to be, "What have we been doing with ourselves for the past couple of weeks?" The short answer is, of course, immensely enjoying being in Paradise!

01 January 2013 | Marathon, FL

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!

25 December 2012 | Marathon, FL

Merry Christmas from Marathon!!

Christmas greetings to all!

12 December 2012 | Key West, FL

Reached the end of the road!

Today we joined Flint & Leslie Firestone and their friends George and Jan and hopped on the bus to Key West. Since the bus only cost $1.50 each way (Sr. Rate), it didn't make sense to drive down with the gas rate approaching $4/gal!

11 December 2012 | Blackfin Resort & Marina, Marathon, FL

Christmas at Blackfin

'Tis the Season...

11 December 2012 | Marathon, FL

Our "Home" - for now

Decided to share some pics of our "home away from home" with y'all. While it's true that "home is where the boat is", the boat is here at Blackfin. Enjoy the "tour".

09 December 2012 | Marathon, Florida

It's Beginning to Look like Christmas

We are enjoying being on "island time" :) Fairly lazy days, warm weather, and on the water...what more could you ask for??

06 December 2012 | Marathon, Florida

We're in Marathon!

We left Jewfish Creek on Tuesday morning around 7:45 and headed south, assuming we would stop in Islamorada or Tavernier on the way. We had the wind at our stern and even had tide with us (dumb luck!) and we were making such good time that when we got to Islamorada it was way too early to stop so we [...]

03 December 2012 | Jewfish Creek - Key Largo

Officially in the Keys!

We stayed in Fort Lauderdale a few extra days waiting for the winds and clouds to blow out. The pic above is the resident iguana at Las Olas Municipal Marina. When he kept coming by our boat, I decided he needed a name and started calling him Iggy. Saturday afternoon he even climbed on the foredeck! Saturday [...]

29 November 2012 | Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Vero Beach to Ft. Lauderdale

Well this will be another "catch-up" post since, again, our wifi connections have been poor or non-existent :(

22 November 2012 | Vero Beach, FL

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble...

...And that we did! Had a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with approx. 200 other cruisers here in Vero Beach. Had turkey, ham, all the traditional go-withs and lots of other unique dishes. The desserts were incredible! And everything but the turkeys and hams came from boat galleys! After dinner there [...]

17 November 2012 | Titusville, FL

Wind, wind, and more wind!

Whew! Lot of "catching up" to do! Our internet access has been sketchy at best. So what's been happening with us?? Since I last posted, we stopped in St. Augustine. Hung out on a mooring ball there for 3 nights since the weather was so lousy...blowing stink and rainy. While it was lousy for sailing/traveling, [...]

12 November 2012 | Jacksonville Beach, FL

There IS justice!

Anyone who sails will understand the "title" today that refers to the attached picture - whether you've traveled The Ditch or not. It is especially frustrating in The Ditch when the PBs blow by you, rock the snot out of you and sometimes force you over into the low water! Hence, today's caption.

11 November 2012 | Fernandina Beach, FL

Whoo Hoo!!! We're in Florida!!

Hooray! We're in Florida!

10 November 2012 | St. Simons Island, GA

Just Peachy in Georgia

Yes the weather the past 2 days HAS been peachy! Upper 70's - low 80's in the afternoons, but still need the fleece in the mornings and at night - brrr!

08 November 2012 | Savannah, GA

Savannah

Al found a Quest Diag. to have his labwork done. Since it wasn't within walking distance, a taxi was hired to get him there and back. While he was gone, Daisy and I strolled along the Savannah waterfront, enjoying the park and window shopping. Al came along and joined us for the second half of our [...]

07 November 2012 | Savannah, GA

Georgia on my mind :)

As anticipated, we hung out in Marsh Harbor Creek on Tuesday to wait out the rain. Between showers, we managed to get some boatkeeping chores accomplished. Daisy wasn't too thrilled to have to take her "shore breaks" in the rain as you can see from the picture. She actually likes wearing the raincoat, [...]

05 November 2012 | Beaufort, SC

OK, so we didn't make Hilton Head...

Left Mosquito Creek on the ebb tide and FLEW down to Beaufort, SC (that's "bewfort" in SC rather than "bowfort" as in NC) in 3 hrs. Original plan was to go all the way to Hilton Head, but decided to stop here and see a gentleman (Peter Gamble, at Marsh Harbor Marina) about getting the boat painted. [...]

04 November 2012 | Mosquito Creek, Green Pond, SC

On the way to Beaufort, SC

Left Charleston approx. 7:30 this morning and traveled 46.5 miles. FLEW through Elliot Cut and down the Stono River until the current changed. Saw beautiful scenery the whole day as well as lots of aquatic birds and a few dolphins. I kept thinking that I should have taken a Native American linquistics [...]

03 November 2012 | Charleston, SC

Tourist Days

Left McClellanville around 7:45 on Thursday, Nov. 1 and got into Charleston at 1:45 - better than we thought. Rather than go to the City Marina (megadock) which was very expensive, we opted to try the Maritime Center Marina on the Cooper River side of Charleston. The Marina staff were exceptionally [...]

01 November 2012 | South Carolina

Myrtle Beach to McClellanville

Sunday afternoon (10/28) we were so pleased to be able to get together with two of Al's friends from his days in the Jaycees - Sue and Mike. They live not far from Myrtle Beach and drove up to spend some time visiting. We hope to connect with them again on the way back.

27 October 2012 | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Heeeerres SANDY!

Spent yesterday (Friday) doing laundry (long walk), boatkeeping chores, dog bathing/grooming and then I borrowed a neighbor's bike and rode to the grocery store for a few things for us and others on the dock. Last evening we had a "Storm Watch Dock Party" on a neighboring trawler. Hmmmm....our next [...]

26 October 2012 | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Goodbye NC, Hello South Carolina!

We got an early start on Thursday, leaving Southport at 7 am. Even had to use our nav lights. The 45 mile trip to Myrtle Beach was a fairly slow ride as the tide and current changed on us along the way, shoaling to watch out for, bridge openings to wait for, no wind to speak of (what we had was right [...]

24 October 2012 | North Carolina

Swansboro to Southport

Spent Monday night in Wrightsville Beach watching the anchor...sleepless night (just didn't seem to have a good set - turns out we were set, just had more rode out than neighboring boats). Moved the boat in the morning to a better location - farther into the basin where there was less current. Then [...]

21 October 2012 | Swansboro, NC

Oriental to Swansboro, NC

Arrived in Oriental Thursday afternoon and pulled into Sailcraft Services on Whittaker Creek. We had noticed an unusual amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust. Since it could be a sign of a serious problem, Al contacted Beta Marine to find out who to contact in Oriental - thus the stop [...]

17 October 2012 | Belhaven, NC

Elizabeth City to Belhaven

We said farewell to Elizabeth City around 8:45 am. Sailing down the Pasquotank, we passed the blimp hangar pictured above. All blimps (except Goodyear blimps) are manufactured here. Elizabeth City is also home to the largest Coast Guard base in the country.

15 October 2012 | Elizabeth City, NC

Another Pleasant Day :)

Short day on the water Monday. We left the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center approx. 7:45 and made the first locking at South Mills.

14 October 2012 | Rappahannock River to Dismal Swamp Canal

Saying Goodbye to Virginia

We said "goodbye" to Joanne and her brother Friday afternoon and left Carter's Creek at 7:30 Saturday morning. We had tide, current, and WIND against us all the way down the Rappahannock and out on the bay. About a mile past Stingray Point (Deltaville), Al decided that he wasn't having much fun - to [...]

11 October 2012 | Carter's Creek, Rappahannock River, VA

Peeee Uuuuu!

Talk about a "stinky" day! :P Al removed the old head and some of the hoses today, then capped off the tank and the rest of the hoses - which we will remove later. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. We probably should have contacted Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" to do it for us! So while we [...]

10 October 2012 | Carter's Creek, Rappahannock River, VA

We're in Virginia :)

Internet access has not been great so haven't been able to update for a couple of days.

06 October 2012 | Annapolis, MD

Boat Show Day

Headed over to the Boat Show after installing our reprogrammed AIS transceiver (another item off the checklist - Yay!). Naturally we spent more than we had planned on, but our purchases will make our life aboard MUCH more comfortable. We pick up our new Spade anchor tomorrow afternoon since we made [...]

05 October 2012 | Chesapeake Bay

Here We Go!!!!

Left Green Point Marina around 10 am and arrived in Annapolis at 2 pm. Had both sails up briefly, but motorsailed most of the way. Wind was extremely light and when it did pick up enough to sail, it was right on the nose.

30 September 2012 | Green Point Marina

Moving In!

This is Move In weekend! We stuffed the car to the roof and headed for Green Point. Got down Friday later than we originally had hoped, so we put the refrigerator on to chill down and started moving "the stuff" onto the boat. Got our clothes for the first part of the trip put away then loaded the refrigerator. [...]

23 September 2012 | Green Point Marina, Worton, MD

SURPRISE!

WOW! We are soooo overwhelmed! Our wonderful friends at Green Point gave us a wonderful surprise Bon Voyage Party last night! Great friends, great food, clever and useful gifts! One of our "newer dockmates" even wrote and performed a song for us :) "Thank You" just doesn't seem adequate. An extra big [...]

14 September 2012 | Annapolis, MD

Finally got out for a short cruise!

Left Green Point this morning at 9:45 for a short cruise to Annapolis. Of course something had to happen. This time it was our chartplotter. Turns out we have 1 broken pin and a bent pin where the power cord attaches. At least we were going to Annapolis! If there is anywhere it can be fixed [...]

17 August 2012 | Worton Creek

Another item off the punchlist!!

Finally got the Wind Generator installed and wired!! Hooray!! Wasn't the easiest task we needed to accomplish, but we did it :) That's the good news. Bad news is we need to replace the 20 yr old refrigerator before we leave. While it is still working - most of the time, it is on it's last legs. If [...]

08 July 2012 | Worton Creek, MD

Our Boat Has the Right Name!

Yes, it's "Always $umthing"!! Two weeks ago we had not one, but TWO washdown pumps go belly-up as well as the refrigeration motor. Neither of these repairs/replacements are a particularly difficult job. But for our non-boating friends, I've attached these pics to demonstrate how even a "simple" job is [...]

28 May 2012 | Worton Creek, MD

Memorial Day Weekend

Just back from spending Memorial Day Weekend at the Marina. Great Dock Party to kick-off the season Sat. evening...great food, great friends, great fun! Sat. morning we took the boat out and got to fly the spinnaker! Whoo Hoo!! First time it's been out of the bag...she's a pretty one. A friend sailing along took the attached pic of Al & I in front of the sail. Very hot, humid weekend - but very relaxing and enjoyable.

20 May 2012 | Green Point Marina, Maryland

At our "Summer Home"!

Always $umthing was put in the water last week and I got the majority of the "spring cleaning" done by Thursday. Friday morning we left Greenwich Boat Works at 9 am and had an uneventful motorsail to Worton Creek ("uneventful" is a good thing! LOL). Pulled into our slip at 5 pm.

03 May 2012 | Vineland, NJ

Welcome!

This is the year! As we are working through the Spring Commissioning tasks, thoughts of moving aboard in October for our journey south for the winter are never far away. Our general plans are to finish preparing the boat for the winter trip throughout the summer as well as doing a couple of "shakedown [...]

Chesapeake Bay or Lake??? Ans: HOME!

11 May 2013 | Green Point Marina, Worton, MD
warm, scattered showers
We spent Thursday night at Calvert Marina in Solomons Island. Was nice to have a courtesy car again to get food for Daisy and a couple of needed groceries since I will be on the boat for a few days while Al goes home to get one of our cars.

We left Calvert at 6:15 and headed up the Bay. The bay was nearly as smooth as glass and no wind. Past Annapolis, we finally got enough wind to put up some canvas to motorsail the rest of the way to Green Point. We pulled in to Green Point at 5:30. It was a LONG day (11 1/4 hrs) but better than dealing with rainy weather for our very last leg (if we had stopped in Annapolis as we originally thought we would).

Thanks to Rich, Frank, and Carol for welcoming us home! Now comes the "unloading the boat" part and some major cleaning...but it's all good. To those of you in the "pool" at Green Point - since you ALL lost, you can drop off a bottle of wine at any time. Feel free to leave it in the cockpit if we are not on the boat :)

Al and I want to sincerely thank all of you for "traveling" with us and checking up on us when you didn't hear from us in a while, and always being "there" for us!

As we close out this blog, we leave you with some Lessons Learned Along the Way:
1. Sometimes you have to count higher than 10.
2. Be sure to take spare parts - & replace ASAP if you use them.
3. The importance of sleep.
4. Anchoring in opposing wind and current is futile at best. Wait for a change in one or the other. Better yet - find a marina!
5. Stuff is just stuff - don't keep it for the sake of having it.
6. The laundry bag is always in the way!
7. A composting head makes living on a boat much more pleasant.
8. There really ARE some nice powerboaters!
9. It really IS a small world.
10. We make a good team.
11. If you can sit in your cockpit at the end of the day, safe and sound, with or without a sundowner in hand, it's a good day. Even if the "getting there" was less than pretty.
12. We are truly blessed to have such caring friends in our lives and to have met such wonderful new friends along the way. The cruising community is amazing!

That about wraps it up...so as Bugs Bunny would say...Tha-Tha-That's all folks!

Almost Home!

09 May 2013 | Solomons, MD
sunny, warm
We hauled anchor at Little Bay this morning at 6:15 and headed north. Was able to get sails up for a while, but of course the wind died, then picked up again - right on the nose. Ah, the sailing life! LOL! Today's pic is a scene I never get tired of...sunrise on the Chesapeake :)

Pulled in to Calvert Marina at Solomons Is. this afternoon around 2:45. Once tied up, we used the courtesy car to grab some groceries and dog food since I will be on the boat without a car for a few days once we get back.

When we got back from the store, we noticed the boat we had rafted with in the Dismal Swamp (folks from Brick, NJ) were anchored nearby...so Daisy and I rowed the dinghy over to say "Hello".

Weather looks pretty good for tomorrow, so our plan is to leave at the crack of dawn and go straight to Green Point rather than stop in Annapolis or the Magothy...it will be a LONG day, but the wx Sat is supposed to be less than favorable for traveling on the water.

Here's hoping....

Patience, Patience, Patience...

05 May 2013 | Norfolk, VA
WINDY!!!! and cold - rain a-comin' :(
As the sun is beginning to set on our adventure, we are learning how to be patient. It is a bit frustrating to be so close to home and not be able to get there.

We left the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center Thursday morning (5/2). After a delightful early morning motor through the swamp, we locked through at Deep Creek then headed for Rebel Marina in Norfolk on Willoughby Spit.


We "chased" this poor pair of geese all the way up the Swamp!


This was the Superintendent's house when the Swamp was being constructed.


"Mileage" sign at the Deep Creek Lock - we hit all the southern points but one!


The Little Tug That Could! How often do you see a small tug towing a larger one???

We considered anchoring in Willoughby Bay, but we both really wanted a hot shower. We had stayed at Rebel on the way south, so decided to go back there. Not only were we looking forward to longer hot showers, but it appeared that our alternator might be about to go belly-up. Our batteries had not charged after nearly a full day of motoring. Long story short, we got someone out to look at it and all is well.

We have been here just over 3 days, and it looks like we won't be able to safely head up the Bay until Thursday. The winds are wicked - and non-stop, the Bay is treacherous, and rain is coming for the next couple of days to keep the wind company. At least we are safe, comfortable, and in a nice location with the ability to get to any services we might need. Hopefully we will connect with one of my former business associates that lives down here and go to dinner with them - maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime, this is our temporary port:


The docks


The lounge - with full kitchen, large screen TV, new showers, and coffee always on :) and "Bay Queen" - the tugantine that the owner, Dave, lives on.


The decks - the back deck has a tiki bar, propane grill, and hot tub for anyone's use.

Thanks again to those that checked up on us! We are so blessed to have such caring friends :) As of now, it looks like we could be back at Green Point on Sunday. We'll see if Mother Nature decides to play nice...or not.

Dismal Weather in the Swamp

01 May 2013 | Dismal Swamp, North Carolina
chilly and rainy
Early Tuesday morning we left Elizabeth City in light fog. After a fuel stop, we headed for the Dismal Swamp South Mills Lock. Traffic on the canal is light and there were only 4 boats, all sail, in the lock.

Traveling the Dismal Swamp is peaceful and enjoyable. We saw much more wildlife on this trip through...


A nesting mallard

In this blurry picture, there really is a nesting goose.


A great blue heron stands guard over the canal.

We rafted up at the Visitor's Center with another boat from New Jersey that we had seen off and on since Southport.

Always $umthing rafted at the Visitor's Center dock.

Since it wasn't raining and not as chilly as predicted, we had an impromptu Happy Hour on the dock, followed by dinner with Paul and Judy on The Four C's.


Today is chilly and rainy, so we are staying put. Tomorrow we will continue on to Norfolk. Unfortunately, as we need to head up the bay, the winds will be from the N - NE and increasing into the teens as the week goes on...So I suppose we'll do some more pounding before arriving at Green Point. It's hard to believe we are so close to home.

Yes, it IS Always $umthing!

29 April 2013 | Elizabeth City, NC
rain, chilly
Oh my! What a crazy (and chilly) eight days!
We finally were able to leave Southport on the morning of the 23rd. The Cape Fear River was very calm as we traveled up and through Snow's Cut, and on to Wrightsville Beach. We set anchor around 2:45 and called the Newmans who were docked at a marina around the corner from the anchorage. We got together on Eagles Wings for happy hour and then walked to a nearby sports bar for a snow crab leg dinner. We also met the couple that was docked behind Eagles Wings whose homeport is Rock Hall - Greg and Linda Trigiani sailing aboard sv/Makana, a Catalina 42. Did someone say, "It's a small world"???


Dinner with the Newmans

"Walking" the dog in Wrightsville Beach...

Wednesday morning we caught the 8 am opening of the Wrightsville Beach Bridge (say THAT 3 times fast!) along with a bevy of other boats.

Stooging at Wrightsville Beach Bridge.

Had a pleasant journey to Swansboro - until we got there. We should have been at the dock by 4:30, but didn't pull in until an hour later due to an ASE (Always $umthing Event) that delayed us for about an hour as we entered Swansboro. We didn't feel so bad when we learned that another boat had an identical ASE the next morning in the same location.


This is a pair of red flashing lights that you don't want to catch you by surprise - at Camp Lejeune.


Probably most folks that travel the ICW have a photo of this pink house, north of Wrightsville Beach.....

But not to be outdone, there is now a second "pink house" that has a purple fence and trim:


Our "plan" was to leave Swansboro the next morning, bypass Morehead City/Beaufort and anchor in Broad Creek, north of Oriental. But we all know what happens to "plans" when a sailboat is involved - LOL! Coming out of Beaufort and crossing the Newport River, we were hit with not 1...but 2 squalls. Then swinging into Adams Creek Canal, we found the shoal. We were making progress leaving the shoal, albeit slowly. We saw a large fishing boat coming along and I hailed him on the radio and asked him maintain his speed when passing, because I wanted to use his large wake to our advantage. Anyone who has traveled the ICW in a sailboat will know how often the powerboats DO NOT slow down. Well, as luck would have it, this gentleman slowed down anyway, leaned out of his enclosure and yelled, "You want me to pull you off?" How lucky was THAT!??! After the 2 squalls and playing on the shoal longer than we would have liked, our nerves were a bit frazzled and we pulled into the first Marina on Adams Creek Canal (a very nice place), and called it a day.

The next morning, we had to wait until 7:30 for the fog to lift - we couldn't even see 100 yds ahead - and then headed for Belhaven. We got out on the Neuse River and literally pounded all the way up to Gale Creek. Once in Gale Creek, we were nearly t-boned by a barge that decided to turn into us. We were out of the channel and I talked to the captain telling him we would hold position for a port to port pass. He says "OK" -- and then turns into us! Go figure. Got a chance to "rest" and collect our wits through the next canal and Goose Creek...then pounded down the Pamlico River to the Pungo River. Of course we had to make a port turn into the Pungo River and rolled severely with winds in the high teens across the beam and occasional waves of approx. 4 -5 ft. The Pungo finally calmed down a bit as we got further up-river and we pulled into the Town Dock in Belhaven.

Belhaven's Town Dock has to be the best kept secret in North Carolina. It is a brand new dock, with room for 4 boats. Besides overnight dockage being free, they also provide free electric, free water, free trash/garbage disposal, and free pump-out!!!
After we tied up, a gentleman came along in a golf cart to welcome us to Belhaven. Turns out he used to be the Vice President of the Dansville Balloon Festival - a favorite of both Al and I when we were flying! What are the odds??? Since we had pulled in behind the Newmans, and were having dinner with them, Roy joined us at a local eatery just across the street from the Town Dock.

Saturday morning we followed Bill and Martha up the Alligator Pungo Canal and Alligator River to our anchorage for the evening at South Lake. We enjoyed a wonderful meal aboard Eagles Wings and a very peaceful night at anchor.

Always $umthing at anchor in South Lake

We were thrilled to find the Albemarle Sound flat as a pancake when we left South Lake to head to Elizabeth City. We had considered taking the Virginia Cut this time, but since the forecast was for the weather to deteriorate with wind and rain included, we decided to stop at Elizabeth City in order to have free dockage to wait out the weather. Naturally, we met a very nice couple from Virginia docked next to us and spent some time getting to know them.

So here we sit while it is cold and rainy. We are hoping we will be able to leave tomorrow would like to get as far as Norfolk, but with a needed fuel stop and 2 locks to navigate, we will most likely stay somewhere in the dismal swamp tomorrow night and get to Norfolk on Wednesday.

Guess I got a bit long-winded on this post...but it seems like a LOT has happened in the past week without having internet access to make shorter posts....

We hear that there aren't many boats in the water on D-Dock....hoping some of you get in by the time we make our way up the Bay!

Sitting in Southport...

21 April 2013 | Southport, NC
Chilly and WINDY!!!!
Spent last night at the free dock at the Provision Company and had a good dinner there. Left the dock this morning and headed out to the Cape Fear River...and promptly turned back. It was BRUTAL! Winds have been in the upper 20's gusting into the 30's ALL DAY! Forecast is for more of the same through tomorrow into tomorrow evening. We've moved down to South Harbour Village Marina about a mile south of last night's dock. A delightful marina with friendly, helpful staff, reasonable prices, nice showers, 2 restaurants on site, a huge park down the street for Daisy to get some exercise, and reliable WIFI! What more could you ask for?? I know, less wind - we're bouncing even tied to the dock!

So, like Daisy in the picture above, we are taking naps, watching TV, reading, walking Daisy, and meeting new people along the docks. LOTS of folks here from New England. Met a couple that had sundowners with Barb and Rich in Maine! Small world! They have now relocated to Solomons and came down to Myrtle Beach for the winter and are headed back to Solomons. They seem to look for the same weather conditions as we do, so we will probably see them frequently as we each head further north. Even without the wind, we are slowing down a bit to give our Canadian friends, Bill and Martha, a chance to catch up to us...they are about 2 days behind us.

As I was relaxing in the cockpit this afternoon, a liveaboard couple from Blackfin (Marathon, FL) came motoring by on their way to Baltimore. You just never know who you will meet along the way!

I probably won't post again until we start moving...and have WIFI. Hope everyone at home is keeping warm...last temps we saw were still pretty chilly. If it's any consolation, we've had to wear the jeans and sweatshirts the past couple of days, too!! :(

Score: Di 107 - Flies 0 !!!

20 April 2013 | Isle of Palms to N. Myrtle Beach
Cool, overcast, light showers
As much as we like the Low Country, we DO NOT like the bugs. We have had our fill of gnats, no-see-ums, and mosquitos...and now flies!

On Tuesday, we stopped at Isle of Palms Marina, north of Charleston, after seeing that our intended anchorage for the evening afforded no protection from the strong winds we were having. Since we still had plenty of daylight, we took Daisy for a walk to the beach about 3 blocks away. She had a blast swimming and playing on the beach!



The next morning we continued north, traveling through one of my favorite parts of the ICW - the Waccamaw River. It is a beautiful river, with cedar tree lined banks. We actually saw 4 alligators along the banks during the trip. We spent the night at the mouth of Cow House Creek - another pleasant, calm night!

Sunk at the dock in the Waccamaw...this will ruin your day!

Sunset at Cow House Creek - our anchorage on the Waccamaw River

Thursday morning we headed for North Myrtle Beach and pulled into Barefoot Landing (where we hung out as Sandy went up the coast). The tigers were back at the mall...for a fee you can have your picture taken with one of them...you should have seen the line of folks signing up!!

The adults...

...and the kittens

We planned to stay 2 nights due to forecasted storms and winds. The second day a Power Squadron group came in for the weekend. We agreed to have a safety inspection since they were training a couple of their members and then they invited us to their "docktail party". These folks know how to party! The food was delicious and it was nice meeting so many new folks. Several were former sailors, and a couple had moved south from New Jersey.

Today we are off towards Southport...stay tuned....

Painting done!

15 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC
The painting of the hull and bottom is complete! It looks like a new boat! Can't believe how shiny it is...you can see your reflection!



We were quite surprised how quickly the whole process moved along once the weather cooperated. The guys sure don't let any grass grow under their feet - working diligently and long hours.


primed and masked for the accent and boot stripe.


two days later...complete! Bottom was painted, through-hull removed, plugged and fiberglassed over the next day!


Now we just had to wait for high tide to be splashed!

We moved back aboard on the 14th, then waited for the tide to start coming in to leave today. With a bit later start than usual, we only got as far as Mosquito Creek. Since B&B Seafood was on their "winter hours" and was not open, we had a free dock for the night :)


Heading for Charleston in the morning...

Biding our time in Beaufort

08 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC
generally mid 70's - bit of rain
We have been in Beaufort, SC now for a week. The original plan was to be here for 2 weeks for the boat to be painted. However, we've had a bit of bad weather (quite a bit of rain) during the beginning of the week. So now it looks like we might be here a bit longer than 2 weeks. But as of yesterday, the hull had been stripped of vinyl and sanded. Today is supposed to be a nice day, so maybe they will get the primer on.
Al found this wonderful B&B for us to stay in - Beaulieu House on Cat Island. I thought I'd share our temporary home with you...

Front view of Beaulieu House

Bedroom with comfortable King size bed

Huge bathroom - shower has 4 shower heads! The huge shower stall made it easy to give Daisy a much needed bath with warm water!

Comfortable sitting room with view of the water.

Huge kitchen with lots of storage room for all the stuff (food) I had to take off the boat.

While there is a front AND back porch, we mostly use the back porch since it is screened in (lots of no-see-ums here) and overlooks the water. I love watching the dolphins swim up and down the creek :) Since there is a table and chairs as well as the two rockers on the back porch, we can even eat al fresco, should we choose to do so.

This area is truly a bird lover's paradise! As I sit here on the back porch writing this, I'm watching a pair of bluebirds build a nest in a box attached to a tree in the backyard of the main house. Also watching a pair of cardinals, woodpeckers (the bluebirds got really miffed when the woodpecker drummed on the side of their "house"! LOL!), house finches, warblers, sparrows, and listening to crows in a nearby tree. When Daisy and I took our sunrise walk this morning, the air was filled with the melodies of many different songbirds and I lost count of how many different birds we saw - some of them on their northern migration. The surrounding marsh provides them with much needed sustenance for the long trip.

There is also a local herd of deer that we usually see in the late afternoons/early evenings. You never know when you'll come out your front door and find one standing there looking at you! Unfortunately, the only photo I've gotten so far is way too blurry to post.


They don't call this the "Lowcountry" to be cutesy. As you can see from this photo, the water/marsh comes VERY close to the houses. Docks built along the creek are VERY long to accommodate the 6-7 ft tidal swing. In fact, the marina where we are having the boat painted can ONLY haul boats at high tide as there is no water in the well during low to mid tide! We have to wait until at least mid-tide to leave their docks so there is enough water to accommodate our 4'2" keel. Geez! You might think we were in Georgia!!

We have been spending our time doing a couple of "boat cleaning" tasks, and a LOT of relaxing and reading, and taking Daisy on long walks. Since I'm using up most of the food that was on the boat, I'll have to do a pretty sizable reprovisioning before we leave. I anticipate that we will anchor out more on the way home than we did on the way down. We've actually gotten pretty good at it - thanks to the new Spade (love that anchor!). As long as we don't have opposing strong winds and strong currents! LOL!

Thanks, Dom, for the heads-up on The Chocolate Tree!!! What a great store!! Since I was on sensory overload while there and couldn't make a decision, we purchased 2 boxes of "seconds"...Yumm-O!!!!

We also had a chance, last week, to visit with friends from home, Cookie and Mike. They were at their timeshare on Edisto Island, not far from here. We drove down to Savannah with them for the day and had a delightful tour of the city and a delicious meal.

What a beautiful city :) Just love all the old homes and the numerous squares - really beautifies the city!

We received news from Boot Key Harbor that one of our new acquaintances there was demasted during a bad storm they had last week with 50-60 kt. winds! But not surprisingly at 9 am the next morning, no less than a dozen dinghies from around the harbor showed up to help him get the mast out of the water and secured to the boat. The cruising community is truly awesome!

Stay tuned, folks...more to come....

OMG!!!

01 April 2013 | Beaufort, SC
cloudy, showers
I'm still shaking! On the way over to Marsh Harbor Marina where the boat is going to be painted, Al walked up on deck to pull up a fender we forgot to pull in...and he FELL OVERBOARD!!!! Good thing we've practiced Man Overboard drills! He's OK...shaken and cold, but OK :)


















April Fools! Gotcha!

Happy Easter!

31 March 2013 | On the way to Beaufort, SC
cool, sunny
Happy Easter everyone!

We finally left Daytona Beach Shores/Port Orange at 8 am on Wednesday, the 27th and we were able to put 57 miles behind us, ending up at the St. Augustine mooring field for the night. Thursday morning we fueled up and caught the 7:30 opening of the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine (one of the prettiest bridges on the ICW). Amazingly, we were able to do another 61 miles, getting to the Fernandina Beach mooring field just before sunset. Have to admit, we didn't think we were going to get that far! We had TWO "Always $umthing Events" on the way which delayed us for at least 3 hours!!!!

Since unpleasant things always seem to happen in 3s, we had our third "ASE (Always $umthing Event)" the next day just as we passed St. Simons Island. All of a sudden the engine started belching black smoke and we realized a decrease in power. Anchor down, pan pan issued on the VHF, and Al was starting to make phone calls. After changing both fuel filters (which had been changed in Marathon before we left), we were back in business. We found a nice anchorage in Buttermilk Sound behind Dolbow Island and had a peaceful night in spite of a ripping current.

Yesterday, was our 2nd best travel day...67 miles in just under 10 hours. We were able to get the Genny out and were rolling along at almost 9 kts for a while! We stopped at Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah - hot showers, dinner out thanks to a courtesy car, and a very quiet night. As an extra bonus, Easter Sunrise Service was being held right at the marina.

Plan is to get to Beaufort, SC today, anchor in Factory Creek, and go into Marsh Harbor Marina, where the boat will be painted, in the morning. With it being Easter Sunday, there will not be any staff at the marina today and having been there on the way south we know that assistance docking there is almost mandatory.

It's been a wild ride, but we are almost at our destination for the next 2 weeks. It will be very strange sleeping in a "regular" bed and having a full sized bathroom...stay tuned!

PS - We arrived in Beaufort at 3:14 - Took 7 hrs to go 54 miles today...SLOW day :(


This is the largest "ship" we've passed since leaving Marathon. We've commented on how little traffic there has been on the ICW since leaving the Keys.


Daisy grooving on some Buffet tunes :)


As the sun sets at Dolbow Island in Buttermilk Sound...


...the moon rises over a peaceful Sound.


Sunrise over Dolbow Island as we hauled anchor.


Covered deck at Isle of Hope Marina. Easter Sunrise services were held here by the local Presbyterian Church. There were over 100 people in attendance!


View from the Isle of Hope deck looking out over the marsh. Always $umthing on far right :)


Once we got "settled" for the night at Lady's Island in Beaufort (Factory Creek), we got a brief rainshower...then this double rainbow! As I walked Daisy to on shore, a third rainbow developed, but of course I didn't have the camera with me :(

Sitting and waiting...and waiting...

26 March 2013 | Daytona Beach Shores/Port Orange
Chilly and WINDY!!!!
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
You know how sometimes you say something and then hope it doesn't come back to bite you in the butt?? Well my last comment on this blog has done just that! :( We left Manatee Pocket last Thursday morning to continue north. Along the way we noticed a severe drop in oil pressure in the engine. Made the decision to stop at Vero Beach to see if we could get it checked out. We took a mooring ball and began the process of troubleshooting/trying to get assistance. Long story short, when the oil was changed in Marathon prior to leaving, the oil filter turned out to be defective and all the oil leaked out of the engine! New filter, new oil, clean-up the mess...life is good again.

Vero Beach mooring field - not quite as crowded as Thanksgiving, but almost!

We watched this fire for miles near Wabasso as the winds made it difficult for the fire fighters to keep up with the spreading.

Friday was a good travel day! We made it all the way from Vero Beach to Titusville (73 miles) and took a mooring. We were able to get moored easily, and less than 2 minutes later the sky opened up! Talk about good timing!


Now THIS is how to make your boat work for you! (Seen near a bridge north of Vero Beach)

Leaving Titusville on Saturday we headed for a marina we had used on the way south in Daytona Beach Shores/Port Orange. Reasonably priced, no frills, very accomodating and helpful staff. Little did we know we would be here for 3 days! Initially winds and dangerous storms rolled through and all around us...then the winds just wouldn't let up...still 25 kts this afternoon. Being here a couple of days enabled us to get a couple small projects/boat-keeping tasks done, get to a grocery, and I was able to get Daisy to a Vet within walking distance to get her treated for tapeworms. So goes the boating life. We will move when we can and when it is safe. At least we aren't shoveling snow this week! :)


Community of white pelicans on approach to Haulover Canal. The Canal connects the Indian River with Mosquito Lagoon a bit north of Titusville.


We leave you with this parting shot of Pat's Riverfront Cafe - restaurant on-site here at Seven Seas Marina. This is perhaps the best kept secret in the Daytona/Port Orange area! All "home cooked" meals at reasonable prices - breakfast and lunch only. Good eats!

Homeward Bound

20 March 2013 | Manatee Pocket, FL (St. Lucie Inlet)
Upper 70's
Oh my! Where does the time go??? Before leaving Marathon we were so busy with last minute social activities as well as getting "ready" to leave...not to mention also nursing a cold...and the blog suffered. Apologies to all.
So here it is March 20. We have been traveling for 5 days and this is the first time we've had reliable internet service! So here's what's been going on:


The 37th Annual Marathon Seafood Festival was held March 9 & 10. Our group of friends all volunteered to work at the festival - our way of "giving back" to the community that is so "cruiser friendly". The festival is quite large with over 200 vendor booths, children's activities, blood drive, powerboats on display, all-day live entertainment (that was quite good!), and of course all of the seafood vendors selling "Keys caught" seafood. And lets not forget the adult beverage vendors as well :)


The 11th through the 15 was spent getting the boat ready to go, reprovisioning, having dinner with friends, and our last Wing Night with "The Crew" at the Hurricane (photo above).


Also found time that week to get hauled up sv/Queequeg's mast to install a new VHF antenna and reposition their topping lift. Thanks to Al for this great picture of my butt! LOL!

Left Marathon early on Sat. March 16 and headed up the gulf side. We had a perfectly peaceful night at anchor at Jewfish Creek. We lost a bit of travel time due to an "always $umthing experience", but had a pleasant trip through the creeks and sounds to our second night's anchorage in Miami.


This was the sunset we enjoyed with a glass of vino after taking Daisy to shore. We were anchored at Marine Stadium - thanks to Barb and Rich for the great suggestion! Marine Stadium is a well protected area with room for LOTS of boats just north of the cruise ship docks. Back in the day, they used to have powerboat races there, hence the name. THIS is Marine Stadium (on the southern shore) today...



The Miami skyline after dark from our anchorage.

Monday evening we stopped at Las Olas Municipal Marina so we could have dinner with my cousin and her husband. We caught a fairly early bridge opening at Las Olas to continue north on Tuesday. Bridges, bridges and MORE bridges! The trip south went MUCH more smoothly! We had to wait 1/2 hr for openings at least twice.


Back in the land of ICW Opulence - nice diversion from dealing with bridges :)
When we got to Palm Beach, we discovered that we had overlooked the fact that the Palm Beach Boat Show is this coming weekend. They start bringing in all the mega-yachts almost a week early! As we tried to get through the Flagler Bridge, we had to thread our way between a bevy of beauties waiting for their dockage assignments, all with a price tag in the millions. All of a sudden our 37 ft. sailboat seemed very, very tiny! LOL!


We initially planned on anchoring in North Palm Beach, but decided to take a slip at Old Port Cove so that we could invite Sally and Joey, our snowbird friends from home, for dinner.

Today's plan was to get as far as we could, and figured we'd at least get to Fort Pierce. But once again we lost a 1/2 hour at one bridge, and more time than we'd like at others. As we approached the St. Lucie inlet, storm clouds were building and more storms are forecasted overnight with winds increasing to the 20's and low 30's. We made the decision to stop early at Manatee Pocket rather than get "caught" in nasty weather. While we haven't gotten ahead of our "schedule" (not that you can really have one on a boat), we are still on-target. Here's hoping the weather holds for us and we don't get held up for days, somewhere along the way, before we get to Beaufort, SC.

Old Man Winter. . .

04 March 2013 | Marathon, FL
VERY chilly and windy - 50's
. . . has found us. The past few days have been quite chilly, windy, and a bit of rain (as evidenced by the pic above of our friends bundled up and wearing long pants in Key West). Temps are in the 50's during the day with the nights requiring the heat on for a while in the boat. But we aren't complaining! We have had such wonderful weather since arriving on December 4th. Tomorrow, we will have been here for 3 months. Where does the time go?

Since the last post, we've managed to keep quite busy. We finally got down to tour the Turtle Hospital here in Marathon. They do a wonderful job of rescuing, treating, rehabilitating, and releasing injured and sick sea turtles - mostly Greens and Loggerheads, some Hawksbills and Kemps Ridleys. Of course I forgot to take the camera when leaving the boat, but if you want to see lots of pictures of the turtles they are rehabilitating and photos of releases, check out their website at www.turtlehospital.org. It was a very educational tour and I'm amazed at the numbers of turtles they are able to treat, rehab, and release back into the wild. There are currently 13 permanent residents that are unable to be released back into the wild due to the nature of their injuries (mostly "bubble butt" from boat strikes). The conservation efforts in general here in the Keys are quite extensive - turtles, dolphins, manatees, pelicans and other wild birds, etc. The organizations involved are truly making a difference and educating the public is just as important as helping the distressed wildlife.

Feb. 23 was a busy day! I rode down to Sugarloaf Key with a gal I met at City Marina, who is also a quilter, to attend the local guild's Quilt Show. Lots of beautiful quilts. I was surprised the show was as large as it was and that the local guild was large enough to put on the show. After all, there is only 1 quilt shop and 1 craft store that carries fabric in the Lower Keys - both of them in Key West.

One of the many beautiful quilts at the show

As soon as I got back to the boat, we helped to celebrate National Pig Day by going to the Pig Races at The Stuffed Pig - a local eatery across from City Marina. All the pigs we bet on lost, but it was a fun outing :)

Al and Daisy waiting for the races to start.


The Big Guys race - the Pot Belly Pig Heat might have been the slowest race on record! LOL! Do they ever RUN???

That evening, a group of us just HAD to go to Salty's to hear Eric Stone again! Always good music and a good show :)

"Rockin the Tiki" as they say, to the music of Eric Stone and Steve Hall.

February 27 was the 42nd Wedding Anniversary of Bill and Bette Neumyer (sv/Sea Mist). We helped Bill surprise Bette with a small gathering of friends at the Tiki Hut at City Marina.

The Happy Couple - Bette & Bill Neumyer (sv/Sea Mist)

The group of well-wishers. For our Chesapeake friends, the guy sitting on the floor next to Al and his wife (first on left, first row standing, blonde hair) are Kathy & Gary on sv/Gatsby. Their homeport is Spring Cove Marina in Rock Hall. They are dockmates of the Ramseys, Yeomans, et al. Small world. They are staying at Marathon Marina (where George and MaryAnn Abbott are).

Sat., Mar. 1 found us back down in Key West. We took the bus down with 2 other couples then split up when we arrived. Al and I toured President Truman's Little White House and Ernest Hemingway's House.

Truman's Little White House - no photos allowed inside :(


Ernest Hemingway's House - largest (and highest elevation) single home property in Key West.

Obviously, this cat can't read!

One of the polydactyl cats (commonly called six-toed cats) on the grounds. There are currently 45 cats living on the grounds - all carrying the polydactyl trait, approx. 1/2 of them showing the trait.

After our tours, we caught up our friends at Kelly's for Happy Hour. Then dinner at Red Fish Blue Fish. We had some time to kill before the bus ride back, so we wandered along Duval St and wound up at Willie T's for some music and refreshment before heading to the bus.

We met 3 couples we've become friends with at the movie theater today to see Life of Pi. The cinematography was terrific! The Community Theater is doing The Sound of Music which opens next week...we are hoping we can get tickets to see it before we leave.

The Marathon Seafood Festival is next weekend. We have volunteered to help - and will be working in the Food Tent Sat night for a couple of hours. The Seafood Festival is a major annual event here...they have live local music all day, lots of activities, over 188 booths of vendors/community service orgs, and of course the food tents of seafood, beverages, and Key Lime Pie!

Several of our neighbors have already left Blackfin with plans to return again next year. Only about 2 more weeks and we will also be heading north...stay tuned.

Oh yeah...will someone please turn down the wind and send the sun back down here??? LOL!

Laid Back and Not Too Wasted...

21 February 2013 | Marathon, FL
Warm again - mid 80's
(Apologies to Jim Morris for the blog title today...)

My goodness! It's hard to believe it's been just over a month since I last updated this blog! We have been thoroughly enjoying the Florida sunshine and relaxation, but have been quite "busy". Seems there's always something to do or someplace to go :)
We made another trip down to Key West with friends to see Jesse Brown at Hogs Breath and Jim Morris at Margaritaville. We rented a car this time since Jim didn't start until 9 pm and the last bus wouldn't give us enough time to enjoy the show.

Chillin' at Hog's Breath/Jesse Brown Band/Jim Morris at Margaritaville/John Patti playing the "road case" as a bass drum! Gotta love the ingenuity!

While we had the car, we drove up to the Dolphin Research Center at Grassy Key and spent a couple of hours there watching the dolphins and learning more about them and their training.

Dolphins "painting" a T-shirt

Momma with new baby born in December...too cute! You can just see baby to the right of momma - still learning how to navigate.

A couple of girlfiends (Bev and Bette) from Boot Key Harbor and I took the bus down to Big Pine Key where there is a large Flea Market each weekend. We actually went 2 Saturdays in a row and shopped until we dropped! LOL! Got some really good buys :)

Riding the bus to Big Pine Key / To buy or not to buy...????

Our friend Mike Wagner from Boot Key Harbor had a role in the Community Theater play reading of "Looking", so a group of us went to see it. Hysterically funny show. If you ever get a chance to see it, you MUST go!!


A gal I met online through the Quilter's Club of America sent me a message saying she was going to be in Marathon in Feb. It was really special to be able to meet her and her husband face to face. We got together for sundowners and dinner a couple of times and they met us at Big Pine for the Flea Market. They had planned to go to "Looking" with us as well, but unfortunately Steve injured his toe pretty badly and was in too much pain that evening. Thankfully, he is healing well. It's amazing how much Carol and I have in common...both retired teachers, both boaters, both quilters, both Creative Memories consultants (well, I used to be), and both have grandchildren.

Carol and me at the Flea Market

Carol and Steve aboard Always $umthing

The brightwork is well underway. AND we bought an auto pilot!!! When it arrived, the directions were fairly complex. I suggested Al ask for help on the cruiser's net the next morning. THREE gentlemen from Boot Key Harbor (2 that we knew fairly well) walked up to our marina that afternoon to help!! This community is amazing!!! With all of their knowledge and suggestions, Al was able to install the auto pilot the next day without a lot of frustration and swearing! Now we just have to take the boat out for sea calibration - hopefully within the next couple of days. Two of the guys even offered to go along to help with that part.

We have managed to cross a few things off our "Marathon Bucket List" and plan on working on the rest of it next week. Hard to believe it's time to start thinking about the trip home - it will be here before we know it :(

Time to Catch-Up!

21 January 2013 | Marathon, FL
Gorgeous! Mid 80's w/ lt. breeze
So the question seems to be, "What have we been doing with ourselves for the past couple of weeks?" The short answer is, of course, immensely enjoying being in Paradise!

We have been enjoying the laid-back lifestyle. Being on "island time" seems to require living by the mantra, "Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow" - LOL! But we haven't ALWAYS waited until tomorrow...

We joined friends at The Hurricane (on-site restaurant/bar) to listen to a group called The Doerfels. It is a family of 10 children, the oldest being 20 (I think), that have formed a band. 6 of the kids play in the band (since they "kicked Dad out of the band for talking more than playing"), and 2 of the youngest join them on stage to sing a selection or two. While their roots were in Bluegrass, their music has become all inclusive with the exception of rap/hip hop. They are VERY good! We listened to them for 2 hrs before heading back to the boat and they hadn't taken a single break in that time. The boys have even made their guitars out of hockey sticks! It really was very entertaining.

The "older" kids performing. The 6th sibling is the drummer behind the rest of them.

The 2 youngest join in for a "special" song.

One morning we rode our bikes down to Pigeon Key and toured the island. This is one of the islands where the railroad workers lived while the original 7 Mile Bridge was being constructed. Very informative and interesting. From the boat and back, that was a little over 8 miles of biking. Good exercise!

The Barracks for the workers - now converted into a museum.


The Bridge Tenders House.


Riding back to Marathon - 2 miles of bridge to go...

One Saturday evening we walked down to City Marina at Boot Key Harbor with Daisy and listened to several musicians staying in the harbor perform - including a couple of youngsters. This is usually a weekly happening at City Marina, so Saturday night "date night" is a freebie! Good music & dancing + good friends=another enjoyable evening.

One Friday evening we rode down to the City Park and learned Contra Dancing - a cross between square dancing and line dancing. Had a lot of fun with fellow cruisers! We'll probably go again in February.


"Circle left" - we met the folks we are dancing with in Vero Beach at Thanksgiving dinner.


"Balance and spin"

The next evening we went to a local eatery/bar (Salty's Waterfront) to hear Eric Stone. Great show!!


Eric Stone (on the left) was accompanied by a musician that is on a boat in Boot Key Harbor. With dancing 2 nights in a row, we may have to get new dancing shoes! LOL!

We were also lucky enough to catch another TropRock musician we like, Howard Livingston & Mile Marker 24 at Boondocks on Ramrod Key. It was so convenient getting there...we walk 2 blocks to get the bus (cheap!) and it drops you off right at the door to Boondocks!


Howard Livingston


At each of his shows, Howard auctions off a blender full of Margaritas made with his Evinrude Blender. The winner of the auction is given a gallon of Tequila, a gallon of Margarita Mix, and Triple Sec. They concoct the Margarita as they wish. Three guesses as to how much Margarita Mix and Triple Sec go into the blender - LOL! 100% of the money raised goes to Care Camp - a camp for children with cancer. This particular night's winner paid $1,100 for the margaritas. Folks we were with have seen them go for $5,000!

Our table for the evening. As you can see, it was SRO! And yes, the dancing shoes got a bit MORE worn that evening :)

More snowbirds have arrived here at the Marina so our group/pot-luck dinners and fish-frys are growing! I've eaten more fish since being here than in the past 58 years! LOL! This is such a nice place, the same people keep coming back year after year and it's like a big family reunion :)

We actually had a "cool day" (70 deg.) that was overcast, so we biked up to Crane Point - site of the first home in Marathon (and oldest outside of Key West) and nature walk. Also rescue/rehab/hospital site for wild birds in the area.

The Adderley House on Crane Point.

Took a LONG dinghy ride toward Vaca Cut...water got so shallow by Rachael Key that we had to pull the motor up and paddle! :)

And of course there are the never ending boatkeeping tasks - when your boat is your home, you need to keep it up just like you do at home. And I've finally gotten the teak stripping and refinishing started!
Unfortunately, we are still battling fleas - Frontline doesn't work down here, so have ordered new product. Poor Daisy - she's got some terrible bites. :(

Still on the "Marathon Bucket List" is:
Ø Another trip or two to Key West. We'll be going down one evening in Feb. to see Jim Morris at Margaritaville and want to go another day to do some more of "the tourist thing".
Ø 1/2 day of SNUBA at the reef - compliments of Santa.
Ø Trip out to Sombrero Beach
Ø Visit: The Turtle Hospital
Ø Check out the Flea Market on Big Pine Key.
Ø We'll also be meeting up with a fellow quilter (a "virtual" friend) from
Minnesota when she and her husband arrive in Marathon in Feb.
Ø Go to Keys Fisheries for their Lobster Reuben.

Note to Barb & Rich - Harbor is finally starting to fill up...Dockside threw in the towel and is now officially closed (they were trying to do repairs to stay open).

Last week, we had our first "real rain" - for about and hour in the morning. But the sun soon came out and it was a gorgeous day!

Since arriving in Florida, Al has been convinced that manatees don't really exist & the "Manatee Area" signs are a ploy to make boaters slow down. Well 2 nights ago (Sunday) a manatee came swimming up to our boat!


"Anybody home??"


"Wanna kiss?"


You really aren't supposed to touch the manatees, but this gal kept swimming around and when she was up close to us, she kept rolling over for belly rubs...so we obliged! I know the picture looks like the dinghy motor was touching her, but it's just the perspective...there was plenty of room :)

Hope 2013 is starting well for everyone back home! We miss you! We also miss the snow - NOT!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!

01 January 2013 | Marathon, FL
Di - Mid 80's
Happy New Year!

Al and I rang in the New Year with a group get-together here at the marina...we AGAIN feasted on oysters, lobster, clams, mussels, numerous appetizers and side dishes and the plethora of "adult beverages". Our friends from Boot Key Harbor came up to join us and Mike brought his guitar and harmonica so we had quite an evening of entertainment and sing-a-long and lots of laughs, followed by nice fireworks on the beach provided by folks staying on the property next door :) Of course we had to hang up the "Hangover Windchimes" this morning - LOL! Seriously, it was a very nice way to usher in the new year.

We want to wish all our family and friends a new year filled with many blessings, good health, happiness, and prosperity!

Merry Christmas from Marathon!!

25 December 2012 | Marathon, FL
Balmy mid-80's
Christmas greetings to all!

I know I'm behind on updating you all on our activities, but I'm going a bit out of order since it's Christmas...will fill you all in on last week within the next day or two.
Last night, everyone at the Marina gathered between our boat and the motor home parked next to us for a Christmas Eve celebration.
More lights went up around the palm trees, tables and chairs came out, "the boys and Daisy" donned their Christmas bandanas, and the cooking began!


We had enough food for an army and feasted on oysters, lobster, homemade conch fritters, fresh caught fish, lots of sides and sweets - and a few "adult beverages". Yum!!!

Cooking the lobsters/ seafood/sides/sweets


After dinner Kevin got out his guitar and we all sang Christmas carols (and laughed A LOT!!)


Even Daisy got into the singing :)


Muffet, on the other hand, at 4 mos old was still trying to figure out what all the commotion was about.

It was a wonderful evening and a great way to spend Christmas Eve!

Al, Daisy, and I want to wish you and yours a most blessed Christmas and holiday season!

Reached the end of the road!

12 December 2012 | Key West, FL
Overcast, pleasantly warm
Today we joined Flint & Leslie Firestone and their friends George and Jan and hopped on the bus to Key West. Since the bus only cost $1.50 each way (Sr. Rate), it didn't make sense to drive down with the gas rate approaching $4/gal!

We decided to take the Conch Train Tour since it has been MANY moons since we were last there, and memories aren't always as sharp as they used to be. Very informative and pleasant tour of the island, lasting about 90 mins.

After the tour, we trolled the waterfront for a place to eat an early dinner. Wound up at the Oyster Bar below A&B Seafood and enjoyed Happy Hour 1/2 price appetizers and drinks as our dinner :) Once our stomachs were happy, we walked over to Mallory Square for the famous "sunset party". Interesting place with the square filled with street performers and vendors, LOTS of people, and large number of boats in the harbor for "sunset cruises". Took some pictures that are quite possibly the best sunset photos I've ever taken - especially with a point & shoot camera :) No "green flash" this time...maybe next time.








Al and I enjoying the sunset

After sunset we continued to enjoy some of the street performers then walked up and down Duval Street before heading to the bus stop to come home.


Do you think Al was a wee bit tired from all the walking???

Trivia time: The Mile Marker 0 sign is the most stolen sign in the state - possibly in the country!

Looking forward to going to Salty's Waterfront with friends we made at Old Port Cove (Palm Beach) to listen to Eric Stone on Saturday night! Whoo Hoo!

Christmas at Blackfin

11 December 2012 | Blackfin Resort & Marina, Marathon, FL
'Tis the Season...

Even in warmer climates, folks decorate for Christmas. Here are some pics of the decorations around the marina:



And I would be remiss if I didn't include pics of our decorations aboard Always $umthing:


Holly garlands with lights and our Christmas Tree :) We also have lights and garland around the nav station but they didn't photograph well :(

Tomorrow we are planning to go to Key West with friends...more later!

Our "Home" - for now

11 December 2012 | Marathon, FL
Upper 80's - VERY warm
Decided to share some pics of our "home away from home" with y'all. While it's true that "home is where the boat is", the boat is here at Blackfin. Enjoy the "tour".


From left to right, top to bottom: One of the gardens - looking towards the apartments; another of the gardens; garden by the pool = all gardens have tables and grills; the pool - looks bigger in this picture than it really is - bit it's always clean and ready to use :)



From left to right, top to bottom: Our beach and lighthouse - and visiting iguana; beach - looking from lighthouse back towards marina; Pretty Joe Rock - much closer than it appears in this picture, it is for rent and includes a 2 bedroom house with several porches/decks and a dock, fresh water, and electric. BTW - it's for sale - only $1.8 million. Maybe I'll ask Santa - LOL!; last picture is the marina looking from outside the pool.

In the next post, I'll try to give you a feel for "Christmas at Blackfin"...stay tuned!

It's Beginning to Look like Christmas

09 December 2012 | Marathon, Florida
Upper 70's - bit of rain
We are enjoying being on "island time" :) Fairly lazy days, warm weather, and on the water...what more could you ask for??

Last night (Saturday) was the Marathon Christmas Boat Parade. We walked over to the other side of Boot Key Harbor and joined Leslie and Flint Firestone (met them in Vero Beach) on their trawler to watch the boat parade. They are docked at Dockside (Sombrero Resort) and since the judging for the parade was there, we had a "ringside seat"! The sailboat above was OUR favorite. We have not heard yet who the winners were.

Here are some more pics from the parade:


Start of the parade


Santa Claus is coming to town! (My second favorite :) )


Those dolphins "danced in unison" with the help of a crew member


Island Christmas


LOTS of lights, lots of tipsy people on board, we suppose their theme was "Christmas Party Barge".

I've gotten the boat decorations up, including our Christmas Tree. Will try to get decent pics to post next time. Until then, take care, friends! Stay safe, warm, and dry because it's always sumthing!

We're in Marathon!

06 December 2012 | Marathon, Florida
Mid-80's, sunny
We left Jewfish Creek on Tuesday morning around 7:45 and headed south, assuming we would stop in Islamorada or Tavernier on the way. We had the wind at our stern and even had tide with us (dumb luck!) and we were making such good time that when we got to Islamorada it was way too early to stop so we decided to keep going...thinking that just maybe we would be able to make it to Marathon.
What we hadn't counted on was the "thin" water and a bay FULL of stone crab and lobster pots! Our Chesapeake friends understand what it's like dodging pots during the blue crab season. There is a BIG difference here in Florida. Since the ICW is not an official "shipping channel", they don't have to keep the pots out of the channel - and in many places there was NO WATER on either side!

Those dark areas have approx 6" of water!

At one point when I was at the helm, I traveled over 5 miles with the depth sounder reading 0.0 ft of water under the keel! There were a few times where we definitely left a groove in the sand, but we didn't officially go aground :) Bouncing over a few pots was inevitable...it was like a mine field!

We reached Marathon on the bay side, and calculated that going around to Boot Key Harbor would mean going in after dark. NOT our idea of fun! So we scrambled to find a place on the bayside and came up with this nice little marina called Blackfin Resort and Marina. The title pic is the three of us waiting for the sunset our second evening here.

We spent Wednesday walking the length of the Key (whew!)...checked out the Municipal Marina and then Marathon Marina. Decided to stay where we are - at least for now. This marina/resort is VERY quiet, is much closer to "services and stores" than the other marinas, has a "Green Point atmosphere", nice little private beach/party area, swimming pool, shady gardens with tables and chairs, laundry, HUGE shower, free ice, free potable water, and we were given free cable TV since their monthly rates are a bit higher than the others. The only thing lacking, at least for now, is the social atmosphere. But we listen to the cruisers net each morning on the VHF and can easily join any activities that are going on around the island. There are supposedly other boats and at least one motorhome still coming in "for the winter" here. So we figure things will be a bit more "lively" as time goes on. For now, we're enjoying the quiet :) Wednesday afternoon we walked the other direction to grocery stores, etc....so we were really ready for those "sundowners"!

Today we worked on some boat tasks and I took a walk to Home Depot. Tomorrow we will continue our search for a couple of used bicycles...and continue to enjoy Paradise :)

Stay warm friends...we're thinkin' about ya and wish you could be here!

Officially in the Keys!

03 December 2012 | Jewfish Creek - Key Largo
Mid-80's, sunny
We stayed in Fort Lauderdale a few extra days waiting for the winds and clouds to blow out. The pic above is the resident iguana at Las Olas Municipal Marina. When he kept coming by our boat, I decided he needed a name and started calling him Iggy. Saturday afternoon he even climbed on the foredeck!

Saturday morning my sweet cousin Isabelle and her hubby Tommy were kind enough to tote us to the grocery store (2) and Total Wine for some major provisioning. It was so nice to have a car to get the things back to the boat. It's hard to carry a case of water as well as other bags when you have to walk a mile!


Al and Isabelle fill up the trunk with our provisions. Thanks again Isabelle and Tommy! You're the best!


This is a sculpture that is on the Fort Lauderdale beach. Neat thing is, it is made of recycled water bottles! At night it is lighted and changes color.

Sunday morning we left Ft. Lauderdale and headed for Miami...stopped at Dinner Key Marina around 3:00 and took a mooring. Went ashore to give Daisy her "shore break" and walked over to Scotty's Landing - a popular cruiser's hangout. Had burgers for dinner there and headed back to the boat. Spent a very uncomfortable night on the mooring since the winds howled all night and the mooring field offered no protection...it was right out on Biscayne Bay, so there was a huge amount of fetch. Wasn't quite as bad as Titusville, but nearly so. :(

This morning we left Dinner Key around 8:45. We were hoping to make it to Tavenier, but with Biscayne Bay being so rough and the winds so strong, we knew within a couple of hours that we weren't going to make it that far today. So we stopped here in Jewfish Creek about 2:15 and took a face dock for the night. Relaxed for a bit, then took our wine and dog for a walk to the beach to watch the sunset. Whether we head on down the Keys tomorrow or not will depend on the weather tomorrow.


Just another crappy winter day in Paradise!

What a difference a day makes! Last night we bounced like a cork and tonight we could easily be "on the hard" the water is so calm! Should definitely sleep well tonight - LOL!

Vero Beach to Ft. Lauderdale

29 November 2012 | Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Di - WINDY, cloudy, upper 70's, rain
Well this will be another "catch-up" post since, again, our wifi connections have been poor or non-existent :(

Vero Beach has a weekly Cruiser's Happy Hour on Thursdays. Last week, it was postponed until Friday since everyone was pigging out on Turkey on Thursday. As expected, there was a good turn-out. Salty Paws provided the musical entertainment and they invite anyone attending to join in with instruments or voice.



We joined Martha and Bill on Eagle's Wings for a short while after the Happy Hour (we all ate too much to worry about dinner!)...and had a chance to say "so long". They will be heading back to Canada the first week in December for a week and then will return to Vero and Eagle's Wings to head for the Bahamas. We are hoping that our paths cross again, but will certainly keep in touch. Getting to know them has truly made the trip so much more enjoyable and our lives are richer for having had the chance to share part of the trip with them. Bill and Martha, if we don't see you before your crossing, we wish you fair winds, following seas, and Godspeed. :)

We left Vero Beach last Saturday, the 24th and traveled as far as the St. Lucie Inlet - stayed overnight in a protected area called Manatee Pocket which has several marinas and 2 anchorage areas. We dinghied down to a restaurant at the end of the "pocket" called Shrimpers and had a delicious dinner at a reasonable price :)


This is an unusual site on the ICW - sails up!! Finally had some room to sail!


Passed this boat (tug) on the way to dinner - anchored in Manatee Pocket. Yes folks, that's the guys CAR on the foredeck!! When he passed us the next day, I hailed him on the VHF to find out how he gets the car off the foredeck...he simply drives it off the starboard side!

The next morning we headed south for Palm Beach. At one point we had 9 sailboats waiting for the bridge openings! Talk about "traffic". It got interesting when we had to wait for the openings with 9 boats trying to hold their positions with wind and current. Since we didn't have far to go, we arrived at Old Port Cove Marina at noon. Sue says, "Hi!" to the Hampels.

We were able to meet up with our friends Sally and Joey from NJ who are snowbirds in West Palm Beach. Spent the afternoon seeing the sites of the area then enjoyed a delicious home-cooked dinner at Sally's condo. What a nice day! Monday we took a walk to West Marine and Publix - wore Daisy out - LOL!

"If I get off do I have to walk over 3 miles again??"

Tuesday morning we said goodbye to Old Port Cove at 8 am and headed south. Traveling south through Lake Worth was interesting to say the least. Seeing how "the other half lives" was unbelievable! Passing by all the yachts, mega-yachts, and humongous waterway homes could easily make you feel like a pauper - LOL!

Is this sailboat big enough???


What a thrill to see this boat up close! The Honey Fitz was JFK's presidential yacht. It looks like it's been kept in immaculate condition. Talked to the captain after he passed us and learned that the current owners purchased the boat from the White House in 1970.


Typical "snowbird" housing in a 55+ community. While they sort of look like military barracks, the price is right - and there's not a lot of housecleaning to do!


Sad sight along the shore of Lake Worth - anyone's guess as to the cause.

It was a long travel day - just over 9 hrs and 50 miles. We passed through a total of 20 bridges, 19 of which required an opening and only opened at certain times. Thankfully, we were able to "time" our arrival at the bridges so we usually had less than a minute to wait for the opening. We arrived at the Las Olas Marina mooring field at 5:15 - just enough time to grab a mooring, tie up, and take Daisy for a "shore break" before the sun set :) While tiring, it was a good day!

Note to Hampels and Amlings: The Lantana Bridge (south end of Lake Worth) is currently not in existence...they are totally rebuilding it - pilings and all, but from all appearances it will still be a bascule bridge when complete. Guess they couldn't buy enough land/houses to make it a high-rise :(

Yesterday (Wednesday), we spent the day doing laundry, getting out the warm weather clothes, general boatkeeping, and relaxing. We were able to meet up with my cousin Isabelle and her husband Tommy, who live near by. We met for dinner at a waterfront restaurant across from the mooring field and had a delightful visit and delicious dinner. Before dinner, we enjoyed sundowners with a fellow cruiser that anchored next to us in the Alligator River (seems like ages ago!) and was also in Titusville and Vero Beach the same time we were. Ed and his wife are from Washington state and he has been single-handing their Hallberg-Rassey 42 from Norfolk down to here. His wife, Theresa, flies in this weekend to join him and they will cross to the Bahamas as soon as they get the weather window - hopefully in the next couple of days.

As for us, our next stop will be a short travel day down to Miami - probably Dinner Key. We are currently waiting for these wicked winds behind the cold front that went through yesterday to lay down. From there we will plan out our route more specifically down the Keys to Marathon. At least it's warm :)


Gobble, Gobble, Gobble...

22 November 2012 | Vero Beach, FL
Bit warmer today, but still WINDY!!
...And that we did! Had a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with approx. 200 other cruisers here in Vero Beach. Had turkey, ham, all the traditional go-withs and lots of other unique dishes. The desserts were incredible! And everything but the turkeys and hams came from boat galleys! After dinner there were drawings for door prizes (Al won a gift certificate to a local restaurant within walking distance), followed by live music for listening/dancing. Very pleasant afternoon with wonderful company!

We arrived here in Vero Beach on Tuesday afternoon. The mooring field gets very crowded for Thanksgiving, so most of the balls have 2 boats rafted on the ball. Some even have 3.

The North mooring field


The South mooring field

I should have taken a picture of the dinghy dock at dinner!!! Looked like the Annapolis dinghy dock during the boat show!

Yesterday, we took advantage of the free bus and rode out to WalMart to pick up another vacuum and hair dryer. Both items bit the dust since we left. Since it was a Super WalMart I was also able to pick up some foodstuffs. But we did have to take it back on the bus, so we only got the must-haves for now. Then we rode out to the beach. Decided after seeing the rough surf that we were very content to be sitting on a mooring ball - even with winds in the 20's gusting to 30 for over a week now.

Thought you all might enjoy seeing some of the pics from the Cruiser's Thanksgiving (Thanks to Bill Newman for the dinner pics!):

The Crowd - and there were more folks sitting outside the building. Hampels and Amlings, probably some people you know here!


The Food - YUM! Yep - Fed an army! :)


The Desserts - Double YUM!


The Music - quite good!


Our Table - This event has gotten so popular that you have to go over to the building early in the morning and put your name on a table so you have a seat!

After dinner, returned to the boat and I took Daisy to shore for her evening "walk". Now, mind you, I've never been good with a tiller (always push it the wrong way)...so you should have seen me trying to get away from the dinghy dock! You ALL would have rolled with laughter! Actually, I was laughing at myself so hard it made it worse! But when push comes to shove (so to speak), you find a way to get it done and I FINALLY figured a way to remember which way to push the bloody thing to go in the direction I want...so Daisy and I did return to the boat without touring the whole mooring field. Yay!!

Our "loosely made" plans were to leave Vero tomorrow. What was that I heard about this place being called "Velcro Beach"??? LOL! Well we have decided to stay until Saturday, not only because Al became a bit injured today, but also because the winds are FINALLY supposed to come down to the teens on Saturday. Next stop...anyone's guess - we'll see how far we get! All part of the adventure!

Hoping that everyone back home had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! We were thinking about you and counted all of you among our many blessings. We truly have much to be thankful for this year :)

Wind, wind, and more wind!

17 November 2012 | Titusville, FL
Di
Whew! Lot of "catching up" to do! Our internet access has been sketchy at best. So what's been happening with us?? Since I last posted, we stopped in St. Augustine. Hung out on a mooring ball there for 3 nights since the weather was so lousy...blowing stink and rainy. While it was lousy for sailing/traveling, we donned our foulies and toured the city. Lots to see and do...took in the history of the oldest city in the USA as well as the original Ripley's museum and then the San Sabastian Winery Tour and wine tasting. The "title pic" is the old city gates of St. Augustine.


This is the Ponce De Leon Hotel, now Flagler College. Built by Henry Flagler (of Standard Oil Fame) in the late 1800's. This was truly "first class" - each room having a skylight, electric lights (4 yrs before the White House), and Tiffany glass windows in the dining room (still there today) worth millions!
It was interesting to learn that since electric lights were still so new, the guests were afraid of them. So Flagler hired a number of staff at $0.75/hr (a fortune back then!) just to go around turning the lights on and off for the guests!!

This is the exterior of the former Alcazar Hotel - also built by Flagler in 1887, mainly as a sports and recreation center for his guests in the Hotel Ponce de Leon across the street. This huge building included a ballroom with retractable roof for dancing under the stars, the largest swimming pool in the US at the time - also with a retractable roof, bowling alley, archery range, casino, etc. etc. The building now houses city offices, a huge museum, cafe, and antique shops.


St. Augustine Lighthouse - still in operation...as seen from our mooring. This light can be seen 13 miles out in bad weather, and over 20 miles out in clear weather.

By Friday we had had enough of St. Augustine and decided to move on in spite of the forecast. Turned out to be not such a bad day after all...cloudy and cool, but no rain. We stopped at a no frills boatyard near Port Orange for the night. Thankfully, there were 3 dockhands to help us tie up in the slip because the wind was howling and the current was ripping (against us, of course).


In Charleston we had a cruise ship welcome us...here near Port Orange we had a more animated welcoming committee - THE BIRDS!! We felt like we were in the movie!

Left Port Orange early this morning (Saturday) about 7 am and motored/sailed down to Titusville. Pleasant trip with the current carrying us most of the way and making 6-8 kts most of the day. Enjoyed watching the dolphins play and seeing the huge flock of white pelicans on the way. Even saw the first manatee!

Got into Titusville around 1 pm. Grabbed a mooring ball then dinghied in to the office to check in and walk Daisy. Took a walk for a couple of blocks, picked up some supplies and KFC for dinner. While Al was in KFC getting our dinner, our canadian friends called. They had come in behind us on the next mooring ball and invited us to dinner. KFC will keep until tomorrow. Had a lovely dinner with the Newmans aboard Eagles Wings. We are both headed out tomorrow. While we would like to be able to make it to Vero Beach tomorrow, we will have to make a stop along the way - maybe Cocoa Beach.

Our wind generator has been getting a good workout. It has been spinning wildly (except while moving and last night since we had shore power) for the past 5 days. The winds have been incredible. The wind gen has not stopped (or slowed down) since we picked up the ball 10 hrs. ago! In spite of the wind and a bit of a chop, we should sleep OK tonight...at least the mooring ball shouldn't be bouncing against the hull - I lengthened the bridle this time - lesson learned from St. Augustine!

Looking forward to warmer and less windy days...as are the local Floridians!







There IS justice!

12 November 2012 | Jacksonville Beach, FL
Di - cloudy, rainy, but warm
Anyone who sails will understand the "title" today that refers to the attached picture - whether you've traveled The Ditch or not. It is especially frustrating in The Ditch when the PBs blow by you, rock the snot out of you and sometimes force you over into the low water! Hence, today's caption.

We initially were going to hang out another day at Fernandina Beach since it was a dreary, rainy day. But it looked like it was starting to clear so we thought we'd take advantage of turning tides and head further south. The stretch we traveled today is what gave the ICW the nickname "The Ditch". At low tide (which we had at least half the way), there truly is just a ditch of water to travel in - and not a "deep" one at that! Earlier today we said, "Wow! And people think Georgia is bad when it comes to low water!"

We are currently in Jacksonville Beach. The batteries in our spot went dead just north of here and I didn't notice until we got tied up here at Palm Cove Marina. Publix about a block away, so we could walk up and get some supplies.

Tomorrow we will travel about 30 more miles south to St. Augustine. We have already reserved a mooring ball for 2 nights so will take the time to tour the city on Wednesday.

Note to Barb - Navigated the St. John's with ease. Crossed at about mid-tide...current not too bad - found marks easily. I just love when you are anticipating a "pucker moment" and it winds up being a "cinch"!!! :)

In the Di vs Al Going Aground Competition - Al tied the score today! LOL :P
Hey, when you are spending HOURS motoring and seeing nothing but marsh, ya gotta do something to pass the time!

It's funny...our boat seems to be somewhat popular. I was sitting at the nav station the other evening doing the blog and folks passed by on the dock...the lady said, "Oh look, Hon! There's Alway's $umthing! Remember we heard them on the radio?" (That was at least the 3rd time that's happened) Folks have watched us travel along by the AIS because of the name of the boat...can't tell you how many comments we've gotten from other travelers and marina personnel. And bridge tenders never ask the name twice! LOL! One tender even chuckled when I gave him our info :)

Hoping tomorrow is less rainy than today....stay tuned!

Whoo Hoo!!! We're in Florida!!

11 November 2012 | Fernandina Beach, FL
Di - sunny & WARM
Hooray! We're in Florida!

Sunny, warm day...shorts and flip flops made their appearance :)

Arrived in Fernandina Beach at 2:15 - at the city marina moorings.

Today's pic is Al searching for buoys among the mud flats of Georgia. Below is a pic of how "thin" the water was in the Cumberland Sound. At least we got to see some of the wild horses :)

Just Peachy in Georgia

10 November 2012 | St. Simons Island, GA
Di
Yes the weather the past 2 days HAS been peachy! Upper 70's - low 80's in the afternoons, but still need the fleece in the mornings and at night - brrr!

Yesterday we traveled from the Herb River down to Kilkenny Creek. Needed to get fuel, but didn't like the "marina" (term used lightly) but decided to end the day early and anchor in the creek. We certainly could have traveled farther than 30 miles - especially since it was so early. But looking ahead to the next couple of days and where we might be and available anchorages, we decided to chill out for the afternoon and enjoy the warm sunshine while listening to the sounds of nature all around us. Wonderful wide creek, no traffic...very peaceful and calm.

This morning we got started late for us - almost 8 am. We looked at the Duplin River for anchoring, but it was still very early and we knew there were several other options ahead. We were making pretty good time, although it seemed everytime we caught the current in our favor, we'd have to turn into another river, creek, or sound and have the current against us again! Sheesh! The ICW through Georgia has more twists and turns than a bowl of pretzels! It soon became apparent that we could easily make St. Simons Island...decision made. Tide up at Morningstar Marina, walked Daisy and Al surprised me with dinner out at the on-site restaurant. We had an absolutely delicious dinner and we both were looking for dock carts to roll ourselves back to the boat.

Today's pic is the sunset we saw as we walked up to dinner (Red at night, sailor's delight). Hope that's a good omen since the last report we heard was calling for rain.

As of this writing, I don't know whether we will take the time to go over and see St. Simons Island (we are staying across the river) or not. Assuming that we will move on, it remains to be seen whether we stop at Cumberland Island or continue to Fernandina Beach. So, we will be in Florida either tomorrow or Monday! Whoo Hoo!!! (And some people didn't think we'd make it past Norfolk!!) As of today we have traveled just over 675 miles from Norfolk (never figured out the mileage from Worton Creek) in 19 travel days (from Norfolk). Rich, I bet YOU know the mileage from Worton Creek! Stay tuned...

Savannah

08 November 2012 | Savannah, GA
Cool but sunny
Al found a Quest Diag. to have his labwork done. Since it wasn't within walking distance, a taxi was hired to get him there and back. While he was gone, Daisy and I strolled along the Savannah waterfront, enjoying the park and window shopping. Al came along and joined us for the second half of our walk.


Al and Daisy enjoying the walk in the sunshine. Now if it would just warm up! All of the locals are complaining about the cold, too!




This is the famous Waving Girl of Savannah along the waterfront.

After a quick lunch, we decided to move on. Current was running with us, and most of the trip we did over 6-7 kts, so the anticipated 4 hr trip only took a bit over 3 :)

We turned into the Herb River, south of Thunderbolt, and traveled a way down the river to find it a wonderful place to anchor. Took Daisy on a short dinghy ride to find some dry ground then back to the boat for dinner. Looking forward to a peaceful night's sleep - with NO rolling from the occasional passing freighter! LOL!

Always $umthing sitting peacefully anchored at sunset.


Georgia on my mind :)

07 November 2012 | Savannah, GA
Di - still too chilly for me! COLD nights
As anticipated, we hung out in Marsh Harbor Creek on Tuesday to wait out the rain. Between showers, we managed to get some boatkeeping chores accomplished. Daisy wasn't too thrilled to have to take her "shore breaks" in the rain as you can see from the picture. She actually likes wearing the raincoat, but doesn't like the hood .

Today we set out for points south, not absolutely certain where we would end up. Hilton Head was a bit too close to stop for the day, so our sights were more or less set on Thunderbolt, GA. Once again it was COLD this morning, so Daisy curled up in blankets for the ride while we donned several layers.


While enroute, we received a radio call from our canadian friends, the Newmans. They were headed to Savannah and suggested Happy Hour. While we were going to save Savannah for the trip back north, Happy Hour was just too tempting to pass up. Not only that, we always enjoy spending time with Martha and Bill - they are delightful company!
Traveled up the Savannah River...about 8 miles off the ICW. As we neared the city, Daisy realized there was something else to look at besides water, marsh, and trees.


After tying up at the municipal dock - a BIG thank you to Martha and Bill for the help, we enjoyed Happy Hour aboard Eagles Wings. A quick dinner (cheesesteaks) in town and we were done for the day. We had traveled for 7.5 hours - some of it very uncomfortable, and I had only about 1.5 hours of sleep the night before due to a sinus headache that just wouldn't go away.

Tomorrow, Al will look into finding a place to get some required bloodwork done here in Savannah. Not sure what the plan will be after that, but that's part of the adventure!

Message from Daisy to Missy: Woof, woof, woof, woof.

OK, so we didn't make Hilton Head...

05 November 2012 | Beaufort, SC
Di - 80's - very pleasant :)
Left Mosquito Creek on the ebb tide and FLEW down to Beaufort, SC (that's "bewfort" in SC rather than "bowfort" as in NC) in 3 hrs. Original plan was to go all the way to Hilton Head, but decided to stop here and see a gentleman (Peter Gamble, at Marsh Harbor Marina) about getting the boat painted. He was recommended to us by someone we docked next to in Southport. Amazing...we thought the price we got in Oriental was good. This guy gave us a price that was 1/3 what we got in Annapolis for Awlgrip! For just a bit more, they will also do the bottom paint. Only needs 2 weeks. We looked at several boats at the marina that he had painted and liked his work. We considered having him do it now, but since he just took in another boat that he promised to have done in 2 weeks, we said we'd plan on staying here 2 weeks on the way back - in April.

Business taken care of, we took the dinghy over to town with Daisy (about 1.5 miles). We didn't bother going over to the city dock or anchoring because Peter had said to feel free to stay here as his guest - especially since the weather was supposed to be bad tomorrow. Hard to say no to FREE, especially when you have hot showers and electric, and WIFI if they don't use the travel lift :)

Walked around Beaufort, looked into places to stay for an extended stay, spent some time at the beautiful waterfront park, and found a GREAT bagel store up one of the side streets where we had lunch and got bagels for breakfast.

Tomorrow we'll most likely hang out rather than travel in the rain. If we decide to go, me may only go as far as Hilton Head. We'll see....that's the nice thing about not having a schedule...we can go or stay as we wish without stressing over it. The biggest problem is getting OUT of this creek in order to have much time to "go anywhere"...8 ft tide here and when tide is low, we can't get out. Now if we want to leave late in the afternoon or in the wee hrs of the morning...no problem! Choices, choices, choices!

Since I didn't take any pictures in Beaufort, I thought I'd share a picture of Daisy playing peek-a-boo through the galley window. She walks around the deck "sightseeing" and then comes to the galley window to see if I'm cooking anything. Naturally, she knows the sound of the refrigerator being opened and the propane stove being lit - and she can hear an ant break wind 1/2 mile away!

On the way to Beaufort, SC

04 November 2012 | Mosquito Creek, Green Pond, SC
Di - windy/chilly in am - 80's in afternoon
Left Charleston approx. 7:30 this morning and traveled 46.5 miles. FLEW through Elliot Cut and down the Stono River until the current changed. Saw beautiful scenery the whole day as well as lots of aquatic birds and a few dolphins. I kept thinking that I should have taken a Native American linquistics course while in Charleston. We traveled along waterways with names like Wapoo Creek, Stono River, Wadmalaw Sound & River, Dawho River, Edisto Rivers (North and South), and Ashepoo River. We are spending the night in the most "normal" sounding place of the day...Mosquito Creek. If we do another 50 miles tomorrow, we will be in Hilton Head. Almost to Georgia!

Wind was right on the nose most of the day. Only time it wasn't, was when we were in a narrow cut or creek and even thinking of sailing would be ludicrous. At least it was warm today...warmest day in quite a few! Was finally able to shed the jackets.

Decided to stay tied up here in Mosquito Creek where we stopped for fuel. Cheap, but no services. But they do have fresh caught shrimp!! Our wind gen was humming away, until the thunderstorms started. Quite a light show...especially because there is no light pollution - we are really out in the boonies! LOL! Barb and Rich, remind me to tell you about the owner's dog here. Guess that's all for tonight. Even though the travel today was relatively "easy" it was draining having to constantly watch depths, search for markers (some of which were missing), and sound your way through a large section where the chartplotter is way off! "Just follow the magenta line!"...Really? I think not.

Looking forward to tomorrow...never been to Hilton Head. And the trip from here to there looks "interesting" on the charts. Heard from our Canadian friends this afternoon...they are in Hilton Head tonight.

Hope everyone at home has power back and is "cleaned up" from Sandy's visit. Heard y'all might have a n'oreaster with snow in the next couple of days...we are hoping the forecast is wrong.

Today's picture is the Ravenel Bridge across the Cooper River in Charleston. It is North America's longest cable-stayed bridge - and a "pretty" bridge. When the sun hits it just right, the cables "disappear". We could see the bridge from our cockpit - so pretty lit up at night!

Tourist Days

03 November 2012 | Charleston, SC
Di - still breezy and a bit cool
Left McClellanville around 7:45 on Thursday, Nov. 1 and got into Charleston at 1:45 - better than we thought. Rather than go to the City Marina (megadock) which was very expensive, we opted to try the Maritime Center Marina on the Cooper River side of Charleston. The Marina staff were exceptionally helpful in getting us docked - not only helping with lines, but also giving us valuable information regarding winds and current at the dock BEFORE we got up to the Marina entrance. We are tied up to a floating dock rather than being in a slip. It's a bit rolly, but tolerable. Price is right, walking distance to town and attractions, hot showers, dog friendly and FREE washer and dryer for transients!! They even drove Al to a propane retailer since it was quite far to walk, especially carrying a tank. Yes, Barb & Rich - you can easily dock here (I did ask about your draft).


This was a cruise ship they brought in to welcome us to Charleston - LOL! Actually, this ship was scheduled to go to New York City, but changed their itinerary to Charleston - thanks to Sandy.

Thursday evening we took a pedicab (or bicycle taxi) to The Hominy Grill. I had read that they had really good shrimp and grits - and the review was right. It was delicious. Al enjoyed his fried fish and red rice.

Friday we went over to Patriots Point by water taxi, but decided we'd rather not spend $20 a piece to see things we've either seen or lived. We grabbed a cup of coffee while we waited for the next water taxi. We were talking to the water taxi captain about taking a carriage ride in the afternoon but didn't know if Daisy could go with us. In true Southern style, he called the carriage company for us and found out that she could, in fact, join us. We stopped at the boat (next door to the water taxi stop), picked up Daisy and headed to town. Discovered that we were only a couple of blocks from the HUGE grocery store!


Al and Daisy waiting for our carriage ride.


Our carriage driver/tour guide. He was very good!


This is one of the waterfront homes in the area known as The Battery. This little gem recently sold for $8,000,000! And it's one of the "smaller" homes!

On the way back to the marina, Al kept Daisy outside while I picked up some supplies at the grocery store. When we got back to the boat, Al made reservations for a walking tour titled "The Dark Side of Charleston". After a quick dinner, we headed back into town and had a very enjoyable walking tour hearing some of the lesser known stories about the early days of Charleston (pirates, bawdiness, etc). Must have been an interesting place to live back in the day. Needless to say, we were pretty tired when we got "home" around 10 pm.


Today, Saturday (11/3) we caught the first tour boat out to Fort Sumter. Nice ride and interesting tour.

But the fun had to end sometime...took advantage of the free washer and dryer and did some laundry, cleaned up around the boat, washed the layer of salt off the boat, etc, etc.

Took the recommendation of a local gal we had talked with and walked into town to a restaurant called Jestine's Kitchen for an early dinner. The fried green tomatoes we had as an appetizer were very good and my fried chicken was delicious!!! Hot, moist, a whole half chicken! The slaw was also excellent. Al was not as impressed with his meatloaf - good, not great.

So...after all that...our plan is to leave at first light tomorrow so that we can take advantage of the incoming tide for as long as possible without leaving in the dark. At least we get an extra hour of sleep :) We'll see how far we get...

Myrtle Beach to McClellanville

01 November 2012 | South Carolina
Di / chilly, windy
Sunday afternoon (10/28) we were so pleased to be able to get together with two of Al's friends from his days in the Jaycees - Sue and Mike. They live not far from Myrtle Beach and drove up to spend some time visiting. We hope to connect with them again on the way back.

After having a pot-luck dinner with our dockmates at Barefoot Landing on Sunday evening (hosted by Art and Julie on their HUMONGOUS Hatteras - Gorgeous!), we said goodbye to Barefoot Landing around 8:45 Monday morning. Since we didn't have far to go to our next stop, we "slept-in" a bit. Winds were still strong and gusty so we motored happily along to Georgetown were we found a reasonable place to tie up.


The beautiful Waccamaw River on the way to Georgetown. For our South Jersey friends, this river would remind you of the Cohansey - only THIS river is largely tree-lined! Even has the strong current.

The Frains, our new friends from West Chester/Bohemia River, traveling much faster than us, arrived in Georgetown earlier and were docked closer to the center of town - about 2 blocks away. A shrimp boat pulled in right behind us as we finished tying up, so guess what we had for dinner!!??!!!


Always $umthing tied up at The Boat Shed in Georgetown. Yep, that's the shrimp boat that supplied our dinner right behind us. Thanks, Christine, for taking this photo!

Forecast for the next day was crappy, so we decided to stay another day and see more of Georgetown. What a neat little town. Of course you have to get used to the smell of the paper plant, but I'm sure if you live there you seldom notice it.


This is the Town Clock in downtown Georgetown. Originally there was a market on the street level and the second floor was the town hall. Today the second floor of the building houses the Rice Museum - LOTS of rice grown here in days gone by - all the fields are now abandoned.


Our friends Bill and Martha Newman (Eagle's Wings) came in to Georgetown on Tuesday. I had already found the $2 beers & 1/2 price tacos so we met at the Krazy Fish for Happy Hour.

Wednesday morning we headed south early. We planned to anchor somewhere along the way since we knew we wouldn't make Charleston in 1 day. Well, sometimes things don't go the way you hope they do. We didn't like the anchorage - blowing stink and NO protection and difficult time setting the anchor....so we decided to go back a few miles to McClellanville.

The dock where we tied up was reasonable and when I asked about a discount (Boat US or the like) the owner said he would give us free electric. Works for me!

The "marina" was basically an oil company with a dock, showers, and free WIFI...and the creek looked like "Shrimp Boat City"! There were no less than 12 shrimp boats rafted up in front and behind us - we were the only sailboat/recreational boat around! But it was well protected from winds and current and we had a peaceful night's sleep. Even the shrimp boats went out quietly in the morning :)


Shrimp boats when we docked...and later that night...

Look out Charleston...here we come!

Heeeerres SANDY!

27 October 2012 | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Di / It's a bloody HURRICANE!!
Spent yesterday (Friday) doing laundry (long walk), boatkeeping chores, dog bathing/grooming and then I borrowed a neighbor's bike and rode to the grocery store for a few things for us and others on the dock. Last evening we had a "Storm Watch Dock Party" on a neighboring trawler. Hmmmm....our next boat just may be a trawler. Sure are nice and roomy while being good on fuel. Of course they don't run on air, but life is full of trade-offs. Something to think about......

Sandy made her appearance this morning between 3:30 and 4 am with a lot of huffing and puffing. The rain started around 6 am and was light most of the morning. Daisy & I got a chance to stretch our legs around Barefoot Landing during the sprinkles.

Daisy made another 4-legged friend. She can't understand why the cow won't "Come!". Must be just as stubborn as her!!


No sign of the alligators - they must be hiding from Sandy!


These swans, however, didn't seem the least bit phased by the change in weather!


This is our "shelter from the storm". There is twice as much dock behind where I stood to take the first pic. The boat in the foreground belongs to a canadian couple (the Newmans) we met in Elizabeth City and have kept in touch with by radio/phone. In the second picture, the Chris Craft in front of us belongs to a couple from West Chester (the Frains), PA that keep their boat on the Bohemia. It was interesting to find out that the Newmans bought their boat from someone on the Magothy. Small world!

Assuming we are still here tomorrow, we will be meeting up with friends of Al from his Jaycee days. If the weather clears enough for us to move, we will try to catch up with them on the way back.

Al and I both want to thank everyone for the calls, emails, notes, and text messages that you sent to "check on us". Please know that we are safe and feeling very blessed that we have such good and caring friends! Sending hugs to you all and praying that you too will be safe as Sandy makes her way north!

Goodbye NC, Hello South Carolina!

26 October 2012 | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Di / 80's day, upper 60's night
We got an early start on Thursday, leaving Southport at 7 am. Even had to use our nav lights. The 45 mile trip to Myrtle Beach was a fairly slow ride as the tide and current changed on us along the way, shoaling to watch out for, bridge openings to wait for, no wind to speak of (what we had was right on the nose :( ). But it WAS a pleasant trip!


Along the way, we passed this house at Mile 325. We thought the staircase to the roof patio/garden was rather unique.


No boating here at low tide! That darker area off the boat's sterns - NOT water! LARGE mud bar that completely "locks in" these docked boats.


Project Boat For Sale - FREE for the taking!

Pulled into Barefoot Landing Marina at 2:02 pm. This "marina" is 2 LONG floating docks along the side of the ICW. It backs up to Barefoot Landing - a large complex with 18 restaurants, oodles of stores (my favorites: the Fudgery and the Homemade Ice Cream Store :) ), the Alabama Theater, House of Blues, Alligator Adventure, Riverboat Dinner Cruise/Sightseeing boat pictured above, and a large lake with a couple of boardwalks crossing it. The marina docks sit quite far below the complex so we have a lot of protection from wind when Sandy arrives. Nice place to stay for a couple of days. Several boats we have been leapfrogging with have also pulled in for a couple of days. Stay tuned...Sandy is on the way!

Swansboro to Southport

24 October 2012 | North Carolina
Di - 70's to 80's day, 60's night
Spent Monday night in Wrightsville Beach watching the anchor...sleepless night (just didn't seem to have a good set - turns out we were set, just had more rode out than neighboring boats). Moved the boat in the morning to a better location - farther into the basin where there was less current. Then took the dinghy and walked to the beach with Daisy, strolled through town - stopped at the small grocery and picked up some ground beef for dinner and "Robert's Famous Chicken Salad" sub for lunch. At Robert's, they go through 100 lbs of their chicken salad a day during the summer season! Ate lunch beside the anchorage basin in the town "park". Delightful place. Back at the boat, took a nap, then made burritos for dinner. Spent a VERY peaceful night at anchor.

The vessel above came through the anchorage Monday night. In the dim light, it made me chuckle. It looked like they plopped a trolley care on a multi-hull base and called it a boat.

Apparently, if you live near Wrightsville Beach along the ICW, it's understood that you will try to "out-do" your neighbor with your lawn ornaments. Here are our picks for the "Bigger is Better" Category:



We left Wrightsville Beach at 8:30 Wednesday morning and headed for Southport. Came through Snow's Cut at low tide and had no problems. At high tide, you would have to stay away from the edges...lots of rocks that would be submerged. Ouch!

Motored down the Cape Fear River - quite a bit of traffic as well as a dredge we had to sidestep. Got into Southport about 1 pm. Going was slow at times due to the tide being out and constantly having to slow down as we went over shoals.

Pulled into the Provision Company and docked at one of their floating docks. Free overnight dockage if you eat in the restaurant. We opted to have lunch there and eat dinner onboard. Walked around the Southport Waterfront with Daisy then took a nap back on the boat. Hmmm... seems like we're taking a lot of naps! LOL!

We are watching the weather closely with the Tropical Storm brewing to the south. Our current plan is to go to Myrtle Beach tomorrow and hang there for a couple of days while the weather sorts out. There doesn't look like there's a "good" place to be within a day of Myrtle Beach if the storm amounts to anything. Better to waste some time and be safe rather than push forward and be sorry. Besides, I can think of a lot worse places to be waiting out a storm than Myrtle Beach!! :)

Oriental to Swansboro, NC

21 October 2012 | Swansboro, NC
Di / Cool on the water, 70's in town
Arrived in Oriental Thursday afternoon and pulled into Sailcraft Services on Whittaker Creek. We had noticed an unusual amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust. Since it could be a sign of a serious problem, Al contacted Beta Marine to find out who to contact in Oriental - thus the stop at Sailcraft. The Beta Marine rep. was going to be at the Marina on Friday to look at a neighboring boat's engine, so would look at ours at the same time. Upshot is, nothing was wrong with the engine, but Al had them change the oil and transmission fluid while we were there.

Left Saturday morning and had a leisurely sail to Morehead City.


Shrimp Boats docked along Adams Creek after off-loading their morning catch.

Once we reached Morehead City, we tied up at Capt. Bill's Seafood Restaurant (free dockage overnight if you eat there). Walked around Morehead, met some really nice folks, Daisy made some new 4-legged friends, treated ourselves to ice cream from the General Store, and had a pleasant afternoon.

Al enjoying his ice cream :)


This is Capt. Bill's Waterfront Restaurant - the oldest restaurant in the county. They are celebrating their 75th Anniversary. The place is HUGE inside, albeit "rustic". That's Always $umthing's mast behind the building.

Dinner was crabcakes - not the best we've ever had, but very good and reasonable. However, the server WAS one of the best we've ever had! Not only was he attentive and friendly, he brought us a slice of their famous lemon pie - just because. Since he knew we would be up late (more on that in the next paragraph), he brought us 2 LARGE cups of coffee, on the house, as we were leaving to go back to the boat. Southern hospitality at it's best!

Unfortunately, I forgot to look at the tide information (yes, MY fault), and we came back from our walk around town to find our home-away-from-home sinking in the mud and gasping for air! Not much we could do at that point with no water under us but wait for the tide to come in (and we aren't even in Georgia!). At high tide (midnight), we moved the boat to the neighboring fuel docks where there was reportedly MUCH more water...tied up and spent a short but peaceful night. Fueled up early in the morning and headed south. Had a very pleasant sail/ motorsail/motor down Bogue Sound and pulled into Swansboro and about 12:45. Along the way, we saw our first dolphins!!!


Dolphins swimming around and alongside the boat.

Once docked, we walked around Swansboro, bought some awesome fudge, then used the marina's courtesy car to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things.

Tonight will be an early dinner and early to bed since we are both "beat". We will try to get to Wrightsville Beach tomorrow...providing we get past Camp LeJeune.

Elizabeth City to Belhaven

17 October 2012 | Belhaven, NC
Di / cool mornings, fair afternoons
We said farewell to Elizabeth City around 8:45 am. Sailing down the Pasquotank, we passed the blimp hangar pictured above. All blimps (except Goodyear blimps) are manufactured here. Elizabeth City is also home to the largest Coast Guard base in the country.

We motored across the Albemarle sound as it was a bit rough...found the marks easily for the Alligator River. Hey Barb, Rich, Frank, & Carol...the magenta line was nearly dead on (although we crossed straight across and "cut the corner")!! We traveled nearly the full length of the Alligator River, looked at one anchorage and opted to move on due to the lack of protection from the north winds coming down the river. Finally settled on anchoring off Bear Point right before the entrance to the Alligator-Pungo Canal. Love, love, love that Spade anchor!

Spent a very calm, peaceful night in the river, once the jet training runs stopped for the day. Out of habit, I went out to check the anchor around 2 am. It was AMAZING!!! The sky was so clear and the water like glass - you could see the stars reflected in the water, and even identify constellations in the water!! I can only imagine viewing a meteor shower from that location!

Hauled anchor at 7:30 and traveled the Alligator-Pungo Canal. We were expecting a somewhat "difficult" ride after reading reports of lots of stumps, logs, debris, and shoaling. It was actually very pleasant and uneventful.


Almost surreal with the mist rising off the water in the canal as the sun was still coming up.


I'd LIKE to say we saw a beaver dam on the canal - but this is really one of several piles of debris removed from the canal by the Army Corps of Engineers.


But we DID see deer at the edge of the water. No swimming bears though.


At least it wasn't US this time! LOL!


It took 2 1/2 hours to get this boat ungrounded!! (The towboat was based at the marina we chose in Belhaven)


View from our cockpit at River Forest Marina. Almost feels like we're back in Atlantic City! Note the storm wall in the background...the entire length was lined with gulls and terns. In a shallower area were this rock jetty ends near shore, there were 2 pairs of mallard ducks bathing...They were the BIGGEST mallards I've ever seen! They were HUGE!

We've gotten conflicting wx reports regarding Pamlico Sound - which will affect the Neuse River that we need to navigate tomorrow. So we'll see what the reports say in the morning and make a go/no go decision then.

What WE want to know is...who is already "out" in the "How Far Will They Get?" pool at Green Point???

Another Pleasant Day :)

15 October 2012 | Elizabeth City, NC
Di / Beautiful Day - mid 70's
Short day on the water Monday. We left the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center approx. 7:45 and made the first locking at South Mills.

The North Carolina section of the canal was filled with duckweed.


Time for Al to have his picture taken "working the ropes" at the South Mills lock.

Once through the lock, just a bit more canal and we were in the Pasquotank River. It reminded us of "a larger Cohansey River with trees". For those not from the NJ area, the Cohansey River is a meandering river through marshland, running east off the Delaware River. We travel up the Cohansey each fall to winter store our boat. The Pasquotank, however, is MUCH wider than the Cohansey.


Local gentleman enjoying the upper Pasquotank for an early morning sail.

We arrived in Elizabeth City around noon. Eliz City provides free slips for 48 hrs on a first come first served basis. There are 14 slips and some bulkhead space. There are folks along the wharf to help you tie up your boat, and let you know where everything is in town - including the free shuttle 3 times a day to the grocery store!

Meet Sam - the "dockmaster" at Mariner's Wharf for the past 10 years. He sits on the park bench each day, waiting to welcome and assist new arrivals.

If 5 or more boats come in, they have a long standing tradition called the "Rose Buddies". The group hosts a wine and cheese party in the afternoon for all the cruisers...and give each captain a rose. It's a nice gathering, much local information about things to do around town that are free for cruisers, and even local knowledge about the river and Albemarle Sound - which can be a nasty crossing.

Took advantage of the shuttle to the grocery store to pick up a few needed items (and more wine!), and spent a very pleasant night in the Harbor of Hospitality.

Saying Goodbye to Virginia

14 October 2012 | Rappahannock River to Dismal Swamp Canal
Di/ Mixed bag weatherwise
We said "goodbye" to Joanne and her brother Friday afternoon and left Carter's Creek at 7:30 Saturday morning. We had tide, current, and WIND against us all the way down the Rappahannock and out on the bay. About a mile past Stingray Point (Deltaville), Al decided that he wasn't having much fun - to put it mildly. We discussed our options - running back to Deltaville, tucking into the Piankatank River, or forging ahead. We decided to stick it out and forge ahead since the tide would be soon turning and winds were forecast to become light. In less than 1/2 hr, the tide turned, and the winds came down. We put out the genny and were flushed down the bay until the wind died at the southern end of Mobjack Bay. Every sailboat on the bay was rolling in sails! We motored on to Norfolk and stopped at Willoughby Bay. While the bay is a large anchorage that can hold over 100 boats, we opted to tie up at Rebel Marine so we could pump more out of the holding tank. Rebel Marine is a very accomodating marina with large, clean showers, a hot tub, deck with tables/grill/bar, lounge with free coffee EARLY in the morning, courtesy car, WIFI and reasonable! Was strange to hear the National Anthem and Reveille played as we were getting ready to leave in the morning (Naval Base across the approach to the bay).

Sunday was a day of firsts - first time navigating through a busy port (although traffic was light), first grounding (Di's fault - in Deep Creek that's NOT so deep!), first ungrounding (Al to thank), first time going through locks, and first raft-up outside of the Chesapeake Bay (at the Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center).

We took the Dismal Swamp Canal route after passing through the Gilmerton Bridge. Got to Gilmerton sooner than expected, so had to "stooge around" for nearly 1/2 hour until the next bridge opening. There were about 6 boats southbound waiting for the opening. The bridgetender graciously kept the bridge open for 2 large catamarans and a smaller sailboat that were lagging behind at opening time. From the amount of radio "chatter" it sounded like the Virginia Cut (route farther east) was MUCH busier than the Dismal Swamp route.

Locking at Deep Creek Locks was a piece of cake. We thought we were going to have to wait for the 3:30 locking, but made the 1:30. Was out of the locks heading south by 2:00.

What a beautiful canal - pleasant ride!

Since we knew we couldn't make Elizabeth City before dark, we planned to stop at the DS Visitors Center. There were already 3 boats along the bulkhead, so we rafted up with one of them for the night - 2 very nice gentlemen going to Elizabeth City. Daisy got a run and then a second walk.


Enjoyed a glass of wine as the sunset on the canal. So peaceful and calm. Lovely! Simple dinner of grilled shrimp and salad. Next stop - Elizabeth City, NC.

Peeee Uuuuu!

11 October 2012 | Carter's Creek, Rappahannock River, VA
Di - warm with a cool breeze
Talk about a "stinky" day! :P Al removed the old head and some of the hoses today, then capped off the tank and the rest of the hoses - which we will remove later. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. We probably should have contacted Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" to do it for us! So while we are dealing with the odiferous results for a brief time, the payoff will be huge.

While Al was messing up and stinking up the boat (LOL), I stayed out of the way by installing the rest of the safety netting on deck to keep Daisy from slipping overboard. Then my friend Joanne was kind enough to run us into town to pick up some hardware needed to finish the head replacement. We later joined her for dinner at a local restaurant that has been here for at least 60 years. Everything homemade - Yum!

While many things have changed in the past 30+ years since I lived here, its amazing how much things are the same. In some ways its like the county has been frozen in time - in a good way. I always said this was a place I could retire to. Hard to be a single young adult here, but a wonderful place to raise kids and retire :) In many ways its like the Eastern Shore of MD.

More good news! Our chartplotter arrived today - Yippee!!!

Tomorrow we will take care of a few minor boatkeeping chores, say goodbye to Joanne, then get an early start on Saturday. Next stop - Norfolk. Several folks have assured us we can make it in a day...and I know our mentors Barb & Rich did it in a day (they were 1.5 hrs closer to the bay), but I'm not placing any bets. We may decide to stop at Mobjack Bay and then go into Norfolk early on Sunday. Looking at the charts, it looks like it can be a very "confusing" area to navigate - and I KNOW it's a BUSY port. We certainly don't want to get there late and add the stress of losing daylight to the mix. So we'll see...we'll go with the flow and see what happens. Still need to check the tides...would be nice if they will be going in our favor...maybe the sailing gods will smile upon us. I'm sure glad we gave them all that champagne during our renaming ceremony :)

(Today's pic is the Smith Point Light - taken yesterday as we passed by)

We're in Virginia :)

10 October 2012 | Carter's Creek, Rappahannock River, VA
Di / Gorgeous wx - best day yet
Internet access has not been great so haven't been able to update for a couple of days.

We left Spa Creek in Annapolis at 9am (after waiting an hr for the bridge to open). Headed south to Solomons. Weather was horrible on the bay - windy, rainy, COLD!! We decided to treat ourselves to a marina in Solomons so we could get a hot shower and use the reverse cycle heat rather than our "fireplace". Stayed at Zahnisers. Nice place...felt like we were staying at the "Ritz of Marinas". Staff there extremely friendly - couldn't do enough for you...and also very dog friendly! Our kind of place :)

Having gotten a VERY good night's sleep and being warm once again, we headed out Tuesday morning. Our intent was to make it down to the Rappahannock. But weather again was pretty lousy and the bay pretty rough...so we decided to run up the Potomac to Smith Creek. We were going to anchor in Smith Creek since a friend told us it was such a good spot (thanks Frank!), but we were once again chilled to the bone and Al wanted more comfort. So we called and booked at Point Lookout Marina - the great rate we got made it hard to say "no". Met some really great folks - some going north, some south. Went to dinner with north-bound dockmates, Hannah, Bill and Peter. Went to a place called Courtneys...from the outside you would really think twice about going inside. But the food was FABULOUS! You were served by Mr. Courtney himself - and he caught the fish/crabs served that morning. His wife is his cook.

Left Smith Creek at 8:30 this morning, rode the tide out of the Potomac down to the bay and headed south. BEAUTIFUL day on the bay...Flew the genny all the way down to the Rappahannock but did motor because we wanted to get into Carter's Creek by a certain time. Got to my best friend's brother's docks at about 4:15. Got tied up, then Joanne (my best friend for the past 35 years) met us and drove us down to my old house - it's now up on cinder blocks since the property is below sea level...looked so funny! We had dinner together and now it's time to catch up on emails, this blog...and sleep! :) Tomorrow is a busy day...we replace our head and take care of other "boatkeeping chores".

The title picture is sunrise over Spa Creek in Annapolis. The first of many beautiful sunrises we expect we'll see.

The following pic is of the Point No Point lighthouse (I've always thought that was such a funny name!) . You can tell from the pic how lousy the weather still was on Tuesday. I've been taking pictures of all the lights along the way so I can make "my own" Lighthouse Poster like the one in the bathhouse at Green Point.



They tell me we can make it to Norfolk from here in a day...I'm not so sure...we'll see.

Boat Show Day

06 October 2012 | Annapolis, MD
Di - cool, breezy
Headed over to the Boat Show after installing our reprogrammed AIS transceiver (another item off the checklist - Yay!). Naturally we spent more than we had planned on, but our purchases will make our life aboard MUCH more comfortable. We pick up our new Spade anchor tomorrow afternoon since we made arrangements to purchase the one off the show floor. Also came "home" with a Froli system for the V-Berth. The best way to describe this for those who aren't familiar with a Froli system is a series of snap together square flat "springs" which serve to a) provide support under your cushions - like a boxspring would on a traditional bed, b) improve comfort, and c) provide airflow under the cushions, thereby reducing the incidence of mold/mildew...yes, it can get very "damp" living on the water. We had looked at composting heads at one booth, decided it wasn't in the budget right now and moved on. Then before we could get out through the gate, we passed another booth with composting heads. So we stopped for information only. Dontcha know, a couple passes behind us and says, "We bought that one 2 years ago and we LOVE it". Turns out they also have a Tartan 37 - 1 yr older than ours - and had the same odor problems that we can't seem to overcome. After purchasing the composting head they have had NO ODORS since. Yeah...we bought one. We will install it later this week in VA.

Ran into the Yeomans and O'Briens from Spring Cove at the show, so after drooling over the new Tartan 4400, then having a Painkiller and listening to Jim Morris at Pussers, we caught the shuttle back to Eastport. We dropped off our goodies, picked up Daisy and dinghied over to Spa Creek to enjoy sundowners and gumbo with the Spring Cove crew. Fun day.

Tomorrow morning we move over to Spa Creek to anchor overnight and then head out Monday morning. Still no chartplotter (it's "on the bench" at Raymarine), but we should have it by the end of the week. It will be shipped to our VA stop on the Rappahannock. So we will be sailing for a couple of days the "old fashioned way" with our paper charts. And I do have electronic charts on my iPhone...gotta love modern technology!

Here We Go!!!!

05 October 2012 | Chesapeake Bay
Di - warm, light winds
Left Green Point Marina around 10 am and arrived in Annapolis at 2 pm. Had both sails up briefly, but motorsailed most of the way. Wind was extremely light and when it did pick up enough to sail, it was right on the nose.

Once settled in at Horn Point Marina in Eastport, we walked over to Annapolis, picked up a few things at the hardware store, visited briefly with the Greers as they left the Boat Show, then walked up Main Street to a get together hosted by Carolyn Shearlock and Jan Irons. Carolyn and Jan have just published the BEST cookbook for boaters. I've known them both virtually for about 2 years so it was nice to finally meet them in person. The gathering was held at the Acme Bar & Grill. This place had absolutely AWESOME cheesesteak egg rolls. If you get to Annapolis, you've gotta try them.

On our way to the hardware store we ran into John Frinzi (a Trop Rock musician we follow) and learned he and James "Sunny Jim" White (another of our favorites) were playing Friday night at the Boatyard Bar & Grill in Eastport. So after visiting in Annapolis, we walked back to the marina, collected Daisy, and headed up to the Boatyard to hear John and James play a set. Called it a night early (for us) - tomorrow will be a tiring day with "doing the Boat Show".

Moving In!

30 September 2012 | Green Point Marina
Di / Fall is definitely here!
This is Move In weekend! We stuffed the car to the roof and headed for Green Point. Got down Friday later than we originally had hoped, so we put the refrigerator on to chill down and started moving "the stuff" onto the boat. Got our clothes for the first part of the trip put away then loaded the refrigerator. Saturday morning started bright and early with loading all the other stuff we will need for 8 mos. Shown here are the first two cartloads.





I kept thinking (sometimes aloud) "It's never going to fit! Where am I going to put everything?"

The picture below shows what the boat looked like when I was about half-way finished stowing everything. I was ready to tear my hair out at this point - LOL! It took all day, but finally got everything put away-and still had space! Got finished just in time to enjoy sundowners with friends. We all appreciated our new cockpit enclosure (almost finished!) that kept out the evening chill. One more locker to reorganize and then it's back home to finish up closing up the house. Just 5 more days!!!



SURPRISE!

23 September 2012 | Green Point Marina, Worton, MD
Di / windy!
WOW! We are soooo overwhelmed! Our wonderful friends at Green Point gave us a wonderful surprise Bon Voyage Party last night! Great friends, great food, clever and useful gifts! One of our "newer dockmates" even wrote and performed a song for us :) "Thank You" just doesn't seem adequate. An extra big Thank You and big hugs to Barb and Chris for getting it all together - no easy task with THIS crowd!! :)

It's hard to believe that in 12 days this trip is finally going to happen...it will truly be an adventure...and we are almost ready. Just a couple more "must do" things to ready the boat, and finish moving clothes and provisions aboard. Thanks again, Barb, for reducing my shopping list!

We have the following posted in our boat that I thought I'd share with you all:

"For the truth is that I already
know as much about my fate as
I need to know. The day will come
when I will die.

So the only matter of consequence
before me is what I will do with my
allotted time. I can remain on shore,
paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my
sails and dip and soar in the breeze."

-Richard Bode
Stay tuned...because we're "going for it"...
but it's "always something"....

Finally got out for a short cruise!

14 September 2012 | Annapolis, MD
Di
Left Green Point this morning at 9:45 for a short cruise to Annapolis. Of course something had to happen. This time it was our chartplotter. Turns out we have 1 broken pin and a bent pin where the power cord attaches. At least we were going to Annapolis! If there is anywhere it can be fixed expeditiously, its in Annapolis :)

Unfortunately, there was no wind so we had to motor down the bay. The wind picked up as we passed under the Bay Bridge, but we were so close at that point we decided to just keep motoring rather than but the sails up.

We got docked at Horn Point Marina with ease. If you look at our SPOT - that's the "Track our progress" link over on the right - you can see the actual slip where we are docked - gotta zoom in pretty far. There is no boat in the slip due to the age of the map, but it is the correct slip - LOL! Once tied up, we walked over to the marine electronic repair place. Turns out it is literally next door! How convenient. Our chartplotter should easily be fixed in time for our journey south. We will pick it up in 3 weeks when we make the first stop of our journey in Annapolis for the Boat Show. OMG! Three weeks from today!!! Still so much to do!!!

Had a delicious dinner at Davis' Pub here in Eastport. They have outdoor seating so Daisy could go with us. She was extremely well behaved and all the customers fell in love with her. When we got back to the boat, we got a free preview of tomorrow night's concert. John Frinzi and John Patti were performing at a private party at Dick Franyo's house - which is about 3 houses away from our dock. Way cool!

Tomorrow we look for the public transportation to get out to Bacon's, then have the Boatyard Beach Bash in the evening - Fun Times!!!

Another item off the punchlist!!

17 August 2012 | Worton Creek
Di
Finally got the Wind Generator installed and wired!! Hooray!! Wasn't the easiest task we needed to accomplish, but we did it :) That's the good news. Bad news is we need to replace the 20 yr old refrigerator before we leave. While it is still working - most of the time, it is on it's last legs. If we don't replace it now, it will SURELY go belly up when we are in some remote part of the ICW where there are no marine supply stores or technicians to install. That famous guy Murphy somehow always manages to find us and tag along - LOL!

This pic shows how we had to lay the pole across the dock in order to install the head - then had to use the main halyard to raise it back up into position...



So for now, we are plodding along working through the checklist trying to get all the "absolutely necessary" things accomplished within the next 5 weeks. OMG!!!! ONLY 5 WEEKS??? (Sorry, minor panic attack there...). I think it must be wine time :)

Our Boat Has the Right Name!

08 July 2012 | Worton Creek, MD
Yes, it's "Always $umthing"!! Two weeks ago we had not one, but TWO washdown pumps go belly-up as well as the refrigeration motor. Neither of these repairs/replacements are a particularly difficult job. But for our non-boating friends, I've attached these pics to demonstrate how even a "simple" job is time-consuming and just "a pain" - mainly because of space limitations. You use every available nook and cranny to store all the "stuff" you need aboard. Then when something needs attention, you have to UNLOAD that nook or cranny, twist and contort to fit enough of yourself into that small area, do the repair, and then put everything back. During the repair, you hope you don't have to move about the boat! LOL!
This is what the cockpit looked like to get access to work on the refrigerator motor:

The title pic is Al cramming himself into the lazarette to transform into Mr. Fix-it. For some reason the song Pop! Goes the Weasel! plays in my mind when I see this pic :)

Not only were those repairs completed (Thanks, Tom, for the help with the fridge!), but we've gotten the WIFI antenna installed and working. Next is the wind generator!

In spite of the maintenance issues, we've managed to get in a couple of day-sails and have enjoyed a few afternoons in the anchorage swimming and relaxing. We're hoping to get in a week-long cruise within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned....because it's "always something"! :)

Memorial Day Weekend

28 May 2012 | Worton Creek, MD
HOT!!
Just back from spending Memorial Day Weekend at the Marina. Great Dock Party to kick-off the season Sat. evening...great food, great friends, great fun! Sat. morning we took the boat out and got to fly the spinnaker! Whoo Hoo!! First time it's been out of the bag...she's a pretty one. A friend sailing along took the attached pic of Al & I in front of the sail. Very hot, humid weekend - but very relaxing and enjoyable.

At our "Summer Home"!

20 May 2012 | Green Point Marina, Maryland
Always $umthing was put in the water last week and I got the majority of the "spring cleaning" done by Thursday. Friday morning we left Greenwich Boat Works at 9 am and had an uneventful motorsail to Worton Creek ("uneventful" is a good thing! LOL). Pulled into our slip at 5 pm.

Daisy did really well on the trip down - only her second time out on the water. Turns out she loves to be a bowrider! She's not real happy about having to wear a life vest for 8 hrs, but she'll get use to it. I'll be anxious to see how she handles a heeling sailboat as we sail through the summer.

While the trip down was uneventful...something always has to happen with us. As I was taking down the mainsail before coming into the slip, the winch handle fell out of the mast winch - right onto my big toe at the joint where it joins the foot. OUCH!! Now you know why we named the boat "Always $umthing"!

We spent Saturday enjoying the gorgeous weather, reconnecting with friends we hadn't seen over the winter, meeting new folks at the marina and generally relaxing after installing the headsail. We hope to cruise with friends next weekend - destination unknown at this point. More later....

Welcome!

03 May 2012 | Vineland, NJ
Diane
This is the year! As we are working through the Spring Commissioning tasks, thoughts of moving aboard in October for our journey south for the winter are never far away. Our general plans are to finish preparing the boat for the winter trip throughout the summer as well as doing a couple of "shakedown cruises" around the Bay. And of course we'll reserve time to spend with our wonderful marina friends!

Check back as often as you wish to see the progress we are making and what fun and frustrations we are having throughout the summer. When we leave in October, I'll update this blog as often as possible so you can follow along on our adventure. Welcome Aboard!!
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