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Elixir's Sojourns South and North
Larry and Susan Burkett, with canine passengers Carrie and Baxter this time (definitely no help as crew!) and their trip south to the islands of the Caribbean once again
Home Again
05/22/2010, Yorktown,VA

Well, it was a qiock trip up the ICW. Lots of early mornings and several 70 mile days--even one 84 mile day at the end! Here's the itinerary: Ft. Pierce, FL to Cocoa, to Daytona, to St. Augustine, to Jacksonville Beach where we stayed for 4 days to visit Larry's family, to St. Simon's, GA, to Kilkenny Creek (still one of our favorite stops), to Beaufort, SC, to Charleston, to Reserve Harbor, SC (we plowed our way in altho' the brochure said MLW depth was 6 feet!), to Myrtle Beach, to Southport, SC, to Topsail Beach NC, to Morehead City, to Dowry Creek, to Alligator River/Albemarle Sound, to Hampton Roads, and FINALLY to Yorktown. Whew. Weird conincidence--as we went through the Great Bridge Locxk just before Hampton Roads, who should we hear calling Elixir but Cathy and Tom Dunn on Interlude who were also approaching Hampton, but through the Great Dismal Swamp Canal. Down in the Bahamas, we both spent weeks either just before or just behind each other, finally connecting in Georgetown. We invited them over for drinks and to have dinner--fun time--and today they are anchored in Sarah Creek near their "land home" and we are at the marina in Sarah Creek, busy off-loading months of "stuff". Great trip, but it is nice to sleep in a bed that doesn't move for a change.

Welcome Home
05/03/2010, Fort Pierce, Florida

We left Chubb Cay about 7:15 on Sunday morning and were immediately motor-sailing with a following sea and a following easterly wind. Seems like we should have been able to "just sail", but the wind wasn't strong enough and we wallowed with both sails up. Onto the banks, and then off at "Hens and Chickens"before dark. Overnight, the wind picked up and while in the Gulf Stream, Elixir got up to 10.5 knots--I think an all time high speed.
By 10:30am we were off Fort Pierce, the only boat within sight--except for this Coast Guard cutter. I (unfortunately) had mentioned about an hour earlier that I'd heard the Coast Guard boarding another boat off Fort Lauderdale for a Vessel and Safety Inspection, and remarked that " we've never been boarded."
Next thing I knew, the captain of the Cormorant was on the VHF, talking to Larry and asking where we'd been, where we were going, and when was the last time we had been "inspected" by the CG. As soon as the Captain heard the reply -"Never" - it was clear we were going to get a welcome home visit from the CG.
The cutter captain instructed us to continue along at about 5 knots while they lowered their jet drive dinghy into the water. They came up on the starboard side, off-loaded 2 guys (in their mid-20's I'd imagine). One then had to fix his vhf which wasn't working (he did-needed a new battery) while the other went below with Larry and checked: 1-did we have life jackets, 2. fire extinguishers, 3. flares, 4. condition of bilge (oily? too much water?), and did we display a placard about waste oil and garbage. Whoops--no placard on display, but even the CG didn't seem to think that was a biggy.
Twenty minutes later, the Coasties departed having given us a form that should let us avoid another inspection for another year. Thanks be to our friend Joe Pumilia at home, himself a mucky-muck in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, for his advice on how to properly equip a sailing vessel. And it's good to be back in the US of A.

Family Time
04/28/2010, Highborne Cay, Exumas

We had expected to be on our way to Nassau today, but the wind is up and would be on the nose for 30+ miles. So we sit, Adam will change his plane reservations, and we will be up and gone early tomorrow when it actually looks like we will be able to sail the whole way!!! We've had a great visit with Adam; he has gotten a bit of an island tan and has done a lot of snorkeling, and we've laughed and argued and done the normal family stuff. How come we are only a few years older than we were when he was born--and how did he get to be a grown young man? Where does the time go?

Sportfishing
04/27/2010, Highborne Cay, Exumas

Most of the boats at this marina are sportfisherman (sportfishermen?) and there is a special fish cleaning station at the end of one of the piers, attended several times a day with 10 or 12 nurse sharks awaiting leftovers. Here is the sign on the cleaning table--thought you'd like it.

A View from the Top
04/27/2010, Highborne Cay, Exumas

Going up to the top of the mast in a bosun's chair is not for the faint of heart-nor for folks over the age of 40. Since we have Adam aboard (in his early 30's), and since one of the spreader lights is out, and since we have a strong electric winch to raise the bosun's chair..
And since neither Larry nor Susan will ever have this view in person, we asked Adam to take a photo--from 60+feet above the water. Neat, isn't it?

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