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Cruising on Destiny
Florida, at last!
cool, but sunny!
11/25/2012, St. Augustine, FL

Thanksgiving in Charleston was a gorgeous sunny day. After skype-ing the kids and grandkids, we walked into the historic district and enjoyed a delicious dinner at "Cypress" in the French quarter. Friday we met up with a dear friend, Cynthia, who used to sing in our choir in Hertford and now lives in Charleston, for a 2 1/2-hour breakfast! After breakfast we spent the day provisioning and preparing for our next offshore leg. We left Charleston on the ebb tide at 0830 Saturday, with a gentle breeze and plenty of sunshine. By night fall the winds picked up and we had 15-20 knots most of the night. With a clear sky and 3/4 moon, we had lots of light reflected on the water. Coming into the St. Augustine channel this morning was a bit of a challenge because it is not well charted. The shoaling can be very unpredictable, so the markers are moved around. But we made it and by noon were docked in St. Augustine. The weather for the week ahead looks good, so we plan to stay two nights and then continue down the ICW on Tuesday.

Thanksgiving in Charleston
Joannie/cool, breezy, sunny!
11/21/2012, Charleston, SC

Greetings from Charleston! Yes, we left Southport yesterday at 1300 and motor-sailed offshore into the night. By midnight there was enough wind for us to turn off the motor and just sail! We arrived at the entrance to Charleston Harbor at 0500 this morning. Though the winds had subsided some from the previous gales, the seas were still quite rocky. It was not the most comfortable offshore leg we have had, but our new auto helm worked like a charm - never missing a beat and allowing us to relax during those long, dark hours. We even played a game of Scrabble in the cockpit by flashlight! Now we are once again enjoying a few days in this delightful city. The marina is top-notch and the historic district with its museums and many wonderful restaurants is within easy walking distance. (We already made reservations at a very nice place for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.) We wish you and yours a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

don't mess with mother nature
Joannie/cold, rainy, WINDY!
11/18/2012, Southport, NC

The weather continues to keep us in port! Offshore, storms and rough seas... inland, coastal flooding. Today it is very windy and the northerly has us pinned against the dock so hard we couldn't leave if we wanted to - even with the bow-thruster! So we will be here a while longer. It's a good thing Ken Follett's books are 1000 pages!

ditto
Joannie/cold northerly winds!
11/17/2012, Southport, NC

Yes, we are still in NC! After a quiet night anchored in Wrightsville Beach we weighed anchor @ 0830 and headed south on the ICW on the flood tide. This is a very interesting area on the water. Leaving Wrightsville on the ICW you go through Masonboro Sound, Myrtle Grove Sound, Snows Cut (man-made connection) to the Cape Fear River. Along the way you pass a number of inlets to the Atlantic (not navigable, for the most part) and as you approach on the flood tide your speed may drop a knot or two. Then, after passing the inlet, your speed picks up from 3-4 knots. So without touching the throttle we went from 5.5 to 9 knots in a matter of minutes, repeatedly.
While underway we called ahead to Charleston City Marina and found they could not take us until Tuesday, so we needed to spend an additional day getting there and we decided to make it a night in Southport. (Good thing no one is expecting us for Thanksgiving dinner!) Now, despite the cold northerly winds, we are cozy aboard with shore power for the heating system, internet connection and good books. It is like being home with a fire in the fireplace! Tomorrow, South Carolina? Stay tuned!

11/18/2012 | Cynthia Brickey
Hey!
You two may be in C'town before me; I'm still with my aunt. So keep us posted!
Still in NC
Joannie/overcast and muggy
11/16/2012, Wrightsville Beach

After waiting 3 nights in Beaufort, NC for favorable conditions to do our off-shore leg to Charleston, we decided to continue southward on the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway). So Thurs morning we left the dock early and enjoyed riding the flood tide (making 9+ knots) for about 30 minutes when we came to the Atlantic Beach Bridge. Normally it has the requisite 65' clearance but with coastal flooding (result of Hurricane Sandy and subsequent storms) in the area it was only showing 62' at mid-tide. With our 63' foot mast we need at least 64'. So we dropped anchor to wait it out. After 4 hours we went under the bridge but could only drop anchor again for the night because there were no anchorages or marinas close enough for us to make in the remaining daylight hours. This morning we were up at dawn, weighed anchor and continued on the ICW in sunshine(!) for 10 hours, arriving at an anchorage in Wrightsville Beach, NC at dusk. The offshore conditions continue to be plagued with low pressure areas and "confused seas" (like being in a washing machine - NOT FUN!) so we will stay on the ICW tomorrow. The advantage to going offshore is that we can usually put up the sails and make better time than on the ICW. On the other hand, when we are inland we can avoid some nasty weather but we have to contend with bridge openings (sometimes only on the hour) and possible groundings in areas of extreme shoaling - like today at "Black Mud Creek!" But it is all in a day's adventure and we wouldn't trade it for anything!

11/17/2012 | Kent Saunders
Love reading about your trip from John's "book" and your "short stories"!! Keep'em coming!!!
Safe journey!!
We're off!
Joannie/overcast and muggy
11/13/2012, Beaufort, NC

Hurricane Sandy caused a mandatory evacuation of our marina in Hertford setting us back a week on our preparations for this cruise. But we made our departure on Sunday, Veterans' Day! Our first day we motored from sun-up to sundown and dropped our anchor in a sweet anchorage just south of the Wilkerson Br. on the Pungo River. At sunrise Monday we weighed anchor and had another 10-hour day motoring to Beaufort, NC. We will wait here a couple of days while the next front passes. Then we hope to sail offshore for the 30-hour passage to Charleston. Stay tuned!

12/04/2012 | Trish
Do you realize there was almost an 18 month hiatus on your blog? Seems crazy

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LIVING OUR DREAM
Who: JOHN AND JOAN ERNST
Port: HERTFORD, NC
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