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Curlew's Log
Washington, NC
Mary
05/06/2009, Washington, NC

Having traversed this part of the ICW three times - making a straight shot south - or north - we decided to begin to explore some of the rivers and towns that we pass along our way. We selected Washington, NC, some 33 miles up the Pamlico River from where it intersects the ICW, after hearing that it was a quaint and somewhat historic town.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Scott, skipper of Salty Spouse, a 36' Morris Justine, designed by Chuck Paine, who also designed Curlew. Scott and his wife, Inza, moved to Washington about eight years ago, and keep the boat at the marina here. They spend the winters here and travel during the summer on their boat. Scott and Inza took us to the grocery store and a marvelous seafood market - on what was a very bleak rainy day. We later had lunch with them at the Meeting Place Cafe - who offered a wonderful, varied menu with many interesting vegetarian offerings.

On Tuesday we were joined on C dock here at the Washington Public Dock by Doug and Mary Ann of Calculation, a 35.5' Bristol. They now live in Oriental, NC and also spend many months on their boat. We ran into them that evening at Pia's, a restaurant here in town and joined them for dinner. It was a very good meal, complete with good conversation.

Like everywhere else along the east coast, we had our share of rain, and tracked a storm front on TV while sipping a beer at a local bar. The front, which was headed for Washington was threatening to turn into a tornado. It was pretty interesting to watch the radar with minute by minute commentary on the development of this storm. Luckily, the tornado never developed, but we did hear that there were some tornadoes that touched in other parts of NC.

Today we walked several blocks to the laundry and are now preparing Curlew for our journey back to the ICW and homeward.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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Washington, NC Webcam
Thierry
05/05/2009, Washington, NC

We are in Washington, NC (the "Original Washington"). It is pouring rain. You can see us on the Washington Web Cam until we leave here.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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From Charleston, SC to Beaufort, NC
Thierry and Mary
05/02/2009, Adams Creek

We left Charleston on Friday, May 1 at 0630 and headed offshore to Beaufort NC, a distance of about 200 nm. We motor-sailed for a few hours, but around 1000 we turned the engine off and continued under sail. It was a beautiful sunny day. About mid-day we were entertained by a large pod of dolphins! They were swimming around and under the boat, riding the bow waves, jumping over each other and swimming upside down. It was quite a spectacle.

We sailed wing-on-wing with the main to port, on a preventer, and the genoa to starboard, on its whisker pole. During the day the wind continued to increase from 10 to 15 knots, and to 20 knots later, when I put the first reef in the main. Perfect with a following wind, but we were glad that we did not have to beat into it. At 0300 we rounded the Frying Pan Shoals, a notorious trouble spot where many ships have foundered. During Saturday the wind increased further to 25 knots and became quite gusty. I put 4 rolls in the genoa to reduce sail area again. The waves started to increase to 6ft, with occasional higher rollers of 8 or 10 ft. Probably the result of the combination of a left-over swell from the SE and wind-driven waves from the SW, the current wind direction. Some crests started to break, but we were able to keep the decks dry. At 1500 on Saturday we reached the entrance channel to Beaufort and a little later we turned on the engine. We sailed 200 nm in 32 hours, not bad for a heavy cruising boat such as CURLEW. We continued inside to find an anchorage a little north of Beaufort. We dropped anchor in Adams Creek, 228 nm out of Charleston.

Mary managed quite well with her patch, and was even able to prepare (reheat) dinner which she had cooked the night before.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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Beaufort to Charleston
Mary
04/28/2009, Charleston. SC

I left Beaufort to attend Lauren's (my daughter) bridal shower. It was to be a surprise, so I had to hide out for 2.5 days, and shop for the rest of her shower gift. Lauren works in the city, has her hair cut in the city, and parties in the city - so of course, she was doing all of the above the few days I was there prior to the shower. Thanks to Mike (Lauren's fiancee), my sisters and Lauren's friend Marsha, I was kept informed of her whereabouts, so I was able to avoid running into her. Her shower was a great success - she was somewhat surprised (someone let the cat out of the bag). What had her in doubt was that she expected me home the following Wednesday. Everyone said they had a great time - and that is the important thing. Her bridesmaids did a terrific job decorating and keeping things simple - which is what Lauren wanted. I had lunch with some friends, and visited with my family (and had several wonderful dinners - a few of which I cooked!!).

Lauren and I went to two bakeries to taste wedding cakes. One bakery had us sample about 10 different cakes - served us tea - and had us meet with the chef to discuss our options. What a treat! We then went to see Lauren and Mike's new house in Audubon. It is absolutely beautiful and is designed for entertaining. From now on - its holidays at their house! (well, at least some of them!)

I was gone about 10 days, and got back to Curlew to find shiny wood trim and a very tan Thierry! He must have been working very hard while I was gone. We had drinks on board with Kirk and Lisa (from Thalia), and then Thierry and I had a nice dinner at Plum's. The next day we stocked the boat with groceries, had dinner with Kirk and Lisa on board Curlew, then left early on Monday to head to Charleston. We anchored just outside of Charleston Harbor so we could arrive early enough in the anchorage the next day to get a good spot. The current runs very strong here, and it can get a bit choppy when the tide turns and the wind blows in the opposite direction.

Today we lunched in town and walked along the historic district. When I come back in another life, I want to live HERE, in one of the old mansions!

Bahamas 2008/2009
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From Beaufort SC to the Stono River
Thierry
04/27/2009, Stono River, near Charleston SC

Mary left for Philadelphia on April 15. While she was away I sanded and varnished the caprail and drip rail (3 coats of Cetol gloss), the dorade boxes, the deck box, the stern seats and the flagstaff (2 coats of Epifanes varnish). Sounds like a simple job, but with all the preparation and clean-up it took the entire a week. Now CURLEW's brightwork looks as new again, and hopefully it will last for another year (well, maybe a maintenance coat in the fall). The derelict boat ("DB") mentioned in a previous post was the cause of some trouble again, as it seemed to have fouled its anchor and it drifted all the way up the creek. Fortunately the current took it away from CURLEW. At high tide, around 2000, after sunset, I saw a large tender with a red flashing light with DB in tow. They pushed it back on the top of a mud bank and re-anchored it in such a way that it would stay stuck there. Mary returned on Saturday April 25, and CURLEW raised anchor on Monday. We were glad to leave the anchorage, because the last few days it had become very buggy. Tiny no-see-ums, that bite and itch forever. We are now anchored in the Stono River, an hour away from Charleston, were we will be moving tomorrow morning.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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Exploring Beaufort
Mary
04/14/2009, Beaufort, SC

Since Thierry has been keeping everyone up-to-date with our latest mishaps and adventures, I'll share all the things I like about Beaufort.

Since we arrived almost a week ago, I haven't talked to a grumpy person yet! Everyone you meet at a store or restaurant is friendly and outgoing. Even today at the hardware store - which was incredible (sold everything from wood to fishing gear to clothing) - we spoke with two clerks who were ready to help us with our shopping needs and share anecdotes. I guess this is what they call Southern Hospitality!

Beaufort doesn't lack for a variety of dining and imbibing experiences. A favorite for lunch is Pannini's, serving great oven baked pizza and a variety of sandwiches, salads and other Italian dishes. They also have an outdoor bar and seating area. We had breakfast for the first time in Beaufort at Blackstone's. They made a perfect poached egg (for me), Thierry and our friends, Kirk and Lisa, all seemed to enjoy their breakfasts as well. Previously we had visited Plum's which offers a diverse menu - and we both remember having a good meal there.

There are probably a dozen art galleries - many with an eclectic variety of works in all mediums. I have a soft spot for one particular gallery where the owner told us "you don't look like boaters" - I took that as a genuine compliment (especially when you see some of the folks that live on boats and travel the waterways). We are truly fond of The Gallery owned by Deanna Bowdish, a distant relative of the author of "American Practical Navigator", a book we (along with most serious navigators) have on board. We have several of Deanna's paintings and have purchased others in her store on previous trips.

We discovered two grocery stores, a well-stocked Publix and a natural foods store. I can't tell you how excited I was to find a place that had a plethora of organic produce, bread and meats. I have been living on fish for so long, it was such a joy to make pasta with (turkey) meat sauce last night - it really was delicious if I say so myself.

Beaufort also offers a lot in the way of women's clothing stores and gift shops. They have a wonderful kitchen store, a terrific liquor store, a wine and cheese shop, and a great coffee shop which is fun to hang out in.

Lastly, you can't appreciate Beaufort until you've had an opportunity to walk through the old neighborhoods with their magnificent live oak trees covered with Spanish Moss. These trees are truly incredible, the way they arch over driveways and streets, spreading for fifty feet or more. Generally they are found in the yards of lovely antebellum houses. I read an article that said having a live oak on your property raises the property value by $30,000.

I think I could live here - at least for a season; perhaps summer in Maine, spring in Beaufort, winter in Hope Town, and fall on the Chesapeake. Guess that leaves the in between time for Philadelphia!


Bahamas 2008/2009
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Retrieving the kedge anchor
Thierry
04/13/2009, Beaufort, SC

When we anchored in Beaufort on Friday I put out two anchors. This is often done when you are in a tight anchorage, with a strong current. The second anchor prevents "sailing around the anchor" in a current-against-wind situation. I had put out a small kedge anchor on 100ft of nylon rode. One evening I had to move the rode from starboard to port, in view of an expected change in wind direction that night. I did not have much line-length left to tie around the cleat, and I probably did not take enough turns around the cleat. Stupid mistake! The next morning I discovered that the line had slipped and that I had lost the anchor. I tried a few times to drag a little grapnel anchor from the dinghy back and forth across the bottom of the creek, but without success. I decided to wait for low tide that afternoon, and then give it another try. Mary and I went ashore for a walk, and we returned to CURLEW around 1500. In the meantime a derelict boat, that had been sitting high and dry in the mud at low tide a little further up the creek, had been re-floated and had anchored on a singe and very long nylon anchor rode, close to where we were anchored. Now it was low tide and after several attempts with the grapnel anchor I finally found the anchor rode. I was unable to lift the anchor from the dinghy. The holding power of this little anchor (a 10lbs aluminum Fortress FX-16) is truly amazing. I coiled the rode and tied it to a floating fender. I was going to try to retrieve it with CURLEW's strong windlass the next morning. When I looked out of the companion way the next morning I could not find the fender. It appeared that the derelict boat had been sailing around its anchor and fouled my fender and the attached anchor rode. This also meant that we could not move CURLEW to raise the kedge, as we would be dangerously close to the derelict boat. I decided to board this boat and try to retrieve our kedge from its deck. Unfortunately, there was nothing on deck that I could use as leverage. Lots of rotten wood, debris, and no strong cleat or sansom post. I hauled in as much of our rode as I could, and tied the end around one of the hawse holes. Then I hauled in on the boat's anchor rode and used the momentum of this heavy boat, and the current, to break out the kedge. It took a few tries, but in the end I got the kedge on deck. Success at last!

Bahamas 2008/2009
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A left-handed guitar player
Thierry
04/12/2009, Beaufort, SC

At the end of our walk around Beaufort we stopped at a little bar. A few people were sitting around an outside table. One was playing a guitar. We sat down with our drinks at the table next to the musical group. The guy who was playing the guitar handed it to another person, who flipped the guitar around, and started playing left handed. Now I could swear that the first guy was right handed. Indeed, the second person, whose guitar it was, was playing left handed, on a guitar that was built as a left-handed instrument, but strung as a right-handed guitar. So this guy was playing upside down, witht the bass strings at the bottom. I am not a guitar player, but I know some basics, and it was a strange sight. He had a good voice, and convinced Mary to sing with him.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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From St. Augustine to Beaufort, SC
Thierry
04/10/2009, Beaufort, SC

We left St. Augustine, Fl. for Beaufort, SC on Thursday morning, a trip of 150 nautical miles. I expected it would take us about 24 hours. Because of construction the Bridge of Lions closes at 0700, so we hailed the bridge on 0630 and went through with two other sailboats. We exited the inlet on 0720, set sail (main and genoa) and turned off the engine. We had a nice breeze of 10 to 12 knots from the west, which made it a close reach on the port tack. On 0920 the wind had picked up a bit to 15 to 20 kts and I put in the first reef. Later the wind moderated and on 1245 I first shook out the reef, and then set our largest headsail, a "code zero", aka drifter, which is used for light air and is set on its own removable furler. A little later the wind shifted and we jibed the main to port, rigged a preventer on the boom to avoid an accidental jibe, and rigged the whisker pole to put the drifter to starboard. On 1515 the wind shifted to the SSE. I took the whisker pole down, put the drifter to port, and we continued on the port tack. At dusk I took the drifter down, and re-set the genoa. The wind had increased to 16 kts, and 15 kts is about the upper limit that I want to fly the drifter, especially short-handed. Also, it is our usual practice to take this powerful sail down for the night. If the wind suddenly increases, or changes direction, it can be quite a struggle to get it down, and you don't want to have to struggle on a wet and heaving foredeck in the dark. At 2315 we jibed again as the wind had shifted back to the SSW. During the rest of the night the wind continued to moderate and it became quite light around 0445 on Friday morning. Our speed had by now gone down to below 3 knots, and as I did not want to miss the favorable current running into the sound that leads to Beaufort, we, reluctantly, turned on the engine. On 1025 we dropped anchor in Factory Creek, near Beaufort, The trip took 27 hours, of which 6 under power. During the trip I had put out two trolling lines, and on Friday at 1630 we caught a fish, a "Little Tunny" of 6 lbs and 27 inches. The meat is very dark, and we will have to see if it meets Mary's edibility criteria.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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What Mary Read
Mary
04/08/2009, While cruising the Bahamas

A Patchwork Planet by Ann Tyler: I can't remember what this book was about. Either it wasn't worth remembering or its old age, but I do know I did not like this book as much as the Accidental Tourist.

Dust by Martha Grimes: This rather canned murder mystery is set in England and is told with what feels like a forced British dialogue. I believe Martha is from the south, and her bio says nothing of her background, so I can only assume she wrote with a voice that she picked up in movies or TV. She leave you with a cliffhanger at the end, but I don't think I'll buy the next book to see how it ends (if it ever does).

Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski: I hesitated for a long time to purchase this Oprah pick, but gave in after hearing an interview with the author on the Diane Rehme show (an NPR interview/talk show broadcast along most of the east coast - not in Philadelphia). This is the story of Edgar, a mute boy, who suspects his uncle of killing his father. The Sawtelles are a family of dog breeders who created a breed of their own - the "Sawtelle" dogs. These dogs are known for their intelligence, long lives, and loyalty to their masters. The book, which was well (intelligently) written, provides some interesting information about breeding and dog training. However, I found the book - like almost all of Oprah's picks - to be depressing, almost right from the start. It will probably be another ten years before I read another Oprah pick that hasn't been well vetted!

Zoli by Colum McCann: Zoli is a story about a Romanian Gypsy who becomes a popular poet and the impact that fame had on her life and her ability to remain part of the gypsy community. The book begins with Zoli as a young child as fascism spread over Czechoslovakia during the 1930's, and follows her life during the spread of communism and her eventual escape into Italy. What struck me most about the story is the ability of the author to speak with a feminine voice so effectively. I enjoyed this book, the history, and the author's method of storytelling.

Before I Forget by Andre Brink: This was a book I found at "Buck-A-Book" in Marsh Harbour.

Andre Brink is South African and has written many books including A Dry White Season (which I haven't read). This is the story of an aging writer (Chris Minnaar), who finds the great love of his life (Rachel), when his car breaks down. His relationship with Rachel (who is 60 years his junior) is not consummated, and it is this purer form of love and personal intimacies that she shares with him that forces Chris to explore this relationship compared with those of his past (which were many). I really liked this book. It provides a good overview of political issues that influenced Chris' life and writing, along with his view of the current war in Iraq.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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Boat aground!
Thierry
04/08/2009, St. Augustine, Fl.

No, not us. This Tayana had been circling the anchorage all morning and next time I looked it was hard aground on a (well documented) shoal. Now, in the old days, you would launch the dinghy, sound where the deep water is, and put out a kedge anchor. Then you would try to warp yourself off. Not anymore. After running the engine full blast several times (I could see black smoke from the exhaust!), he got himself even harder aground. Then I saw the skipper on his cell phone, calling Tow-Boat US, who showed up about 30 minutes later. It took a lot of effort to get him off.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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Derelict boats
Thierry
04/08/2009, St.Augustine, Fl.

It is amazing how many abandoned and derelict boats you see in Florida. It has little to do with the state of the economy: we saw the same siuation on our trip two years ago. This is a boat with a huge hole in the transom. The owner wrapped a tarp around it to keep the water out. Someone is actually living on this boat. We saw it on our trip south in December, and then it had a frayed piece of blue tarp. I guess it got a new one for the holidays. More pictures in the Photo Gallery.

Bahamas 2008/2009
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