Enjoying Life aboard Fine Lion
Come along with us as we cruise the US East Coast and the Bahamas
Staying Back ??????
11/18/2012, 35 01.5'N:76 41.9'W, Oriental, NC

The South River anchorage

OK, we knew it would be "different" not going south this year, but this!!!! We have spent time with some of our cruising friends and are really really regretting our decision. Since we are having a series of "boat issues" popping up, we have to live with our decision. Now the radar and chartplotter have crapped the bed. I guess the only silver lining is the fact that we will have some new systems for next year in Fine Lion.

A nice spot to hang out

We did get a chance to spend Veteran's Day weekend on the water. It was fantastic. We went to South River and anchored out. That meant that we grilled a couple of great steaks with baked potatoes and steakhouse asparagus. Naturally, we had a great bottle of wine. Ah...we miss it! Somehow a dinner like that is better on the boat.

Enjoying the day

There were a couple other boats in the anchorage as well, but it's a huge area. It could hold 75+ boats easily. That may have been our last outing for a while based on the weather patterns. It's not fun being cold...and now we're both white as sheets...pasty, in fact. OK, enough complaining.

Kim likes her "princess seat"

The horse farm pictures are due to Kim. She passes that location on her way to work and wanted to share the view. The trees are Bradford Pear Trees. See, we're easily amused.

What an entrance!

Yes, there are horses at a horse farm

We'll keep doing some blogs even though we're dirt-dwellers this winter. Hopefully I can find something of interest.

Happy Thanksgiving. Scott and Amy are coming down from Annapolis...we are excited!

End of Summer Update
09/22/2012, 35 01.5'N:76 41.9'W, Oriental, NC

OK, here's the deal. We have way too many "projects" to go south this year. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Several boat projects, foot surgery, Kim working in New Bern, etc., etc., etc. that are keeping us here. Come February, I may not be quite as flippant about it. It wasn't an easy decision, but it's the one we made. I do sound like I'm trying to convince myself don't I? Oh well, on to better topics.

We were lucky enough to have a visit by Kim's niece and great niece last week end. Ashley and her daughter Adelyn came in from the Denver area. Now, I have to say that Adelyn just may be the cutest little girl I have ever seen! She is absolutely gorgeous plus, her personality makes her a pleasure to be around.

Since I am getting over foot surgery, I wasn't able to make all the "field trips" the girls did. They arrived on a Thursday evening and we just had to visit the boat. Then dinner on the side porch, seafood of course - Mahi Mahi. Early Friday morning, they went to the beach. Why not, it's just a ferry ride away. Adelyn loved the beach. She collected hundreds of seashell treasures to take back home. We all then went to the Tiki Bar for TGIF Oriental style. When the band started, we strolled over to the outside deck at the Trawl Door for dinner. Ashley surprised me by breaking bad and having a great looking cheeseburger. Adelyn was happy with the bread and cheese appetizers.

Saturday was exploring Oriental day. They hit all the stores, found some things they couldn't live without, and Adelyn washed her seashells. Of course, there was plenty of swimming pool time. Dinner on the porch was seafood again - mussels and shrimp. Saturday was an early night as they had a 6:00 AM flight back home on Sunday.

It was a fast paced, action packed week end. The only problem was that it was way too short. Ashley and Adelyn were fantastic, and I made them promise to come back. I couldn't believe the weather. We've had hot, humid, and rainy weather all summer. This was the first nice weather week end all season. The weather gods must have known that Adelyn was coming to town. Kim and I look forward to their next visit. I just hope it's sooner rather than later. Check out these pictures.

On the foredeck

What a cutie

Beach Bunny

At the pool

At the wheel of the Fine Lion

Sitting in the "Princess Seat"

Tres Amigas

Cleaning her treasures

Wave Dancing

Mahi Mahi on the porch

Check out those eyes

Summer Update
07/10/2012, 35 01.5'N:76 41.9'W, Oriental, NC

How's that for a 4th. of July float! It's made out of milk jugs.

Well...we're back. We've been back for almost a month now. We had a couple of blustery rainy days at Cape Lookout before we made the trip through Beaufort to Adams Creek and then on to the Neuse River and Oriental. We weren't in a hurry to get back this year. I guess that's because we know we'll have to deal with car, condo, doctor, dentist, and other types of "land" issues.

We had some weather at Cape Lookout

This is an unusual sort of craft that we saw in Cape Lookout

This year was no different. We've dealt with all of them. In fact, we're still dealing with them. I'm sure we'll get through all of them and be ready to get back cruising by the end of the summer. We do miss the water, beaches, and pace of the Bahama Islands. The whole attitude of the people where the standard response is "no problem" is pretty cool.

So far, we've been going to the happy hours at the Tiki Bar, enjoying the new bar/restaurant near us called The Trawl Door, going to pool parties, swimming in our pool, bar-hopping at the beach, attending concerts in New Bern, and completing a few boat projects. Kim is doing her basket classes and I'm actually looking for some sort of part time work. It would be nice to build up the cruising kitty a little.

You see lots of stuff in the Croaker Festival Parade

I'm sure we'll get to Annapolis at some time this summer, and Kim will certainly make a trip to Colorado, but right now no plans have been made. We'd also like to take a couple of trips on the boat to Ocracoke and Beaufort.

We had a fun 4th of July here in Oriental. They hold an event called the Croaker Festival. It's complete with a big parade, festival in the park, food, concerts and fireworks. It's always around the 4th of July and the fireworks are right off our condo. So we have a party that evening that ends with a great show from our porch. We'll do another update later on in the summer.

Kim and a couple of her "land buds".

Kim watching the parade

Part of the parade

For now, stay cool!

The Carolinas
06/01/2012, 34 12.189'N:77 48.245'W, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Sailors use GPS to determine their exact location. Obviously if you have a GPS failure, you're in trouble. However, if your VHF radio is working there is another way to determine if you are in the Carolinas. By listening to the radio conversations it is possible to tell because if you hear the following on the VHF radio, you ARE in the Carolinas:

- "How 'boucha (boat name) you out there?"

- "How 'boucha (boat name) you got your ears on?"

- "How 'boucha (boat name) come on back"

- "Ten four"

If that fails, there is another way to tell you are in the Carolinas. If there are flies larger than a house cat around, then you are in the Carolinas.

And then, when you see alligators in public places, you're in the Carolinas. Ain't they cute?

We are in Wrightsville Beach, NC after spending some time in Myrtle Beach, SC. That means we're in our home state, and getting close to Oriental. Can you tell we're not in a hurry?

These are jetskis on the ICW during "Bike Week" in Myrtle Beach.


06/01/2012 | Bill
When we were in Georgia we had a simular experience. You go to the Food Lion to fetch you some groceries. You stand in lion at the bank. and when I saw his lips movin' I knowed he was lion....
It gets worse!
05/24/2012, 33 30.931'N:79 08.618'W, Thoroughfare Creek on the Waccamaw River in SC

This looks like it belongs on a Home Depot lot, not on the water!

Just when you thought you'd be having a nice quiet evening, things change big time. We were sitting at anchor in a nice spot and decided to stay for another night when a couple of Home Depot sheds came around the corner. These things were just like the pre-fab sheds that are sold at Home Depot or Lowes only these were floating and had outboard motors. Remember I talked about anchoring etiquette? Well, these folks weren't cruisers. They were locals and had no idea about anything, except gettin' set up for the Holiday Weekend.

They circled around and ended up between us and the shore. They stopped where we would end up when the tide changed. We yelled at them (no radio action with them) to tell them that our boat would swing to that spot when the tide changed. It made no difference with them. They proceeded to "tie up" right there!

This was unbelievable! Idiot would be a level up for these people. They yelled back that they've been on this river for "forty @#$%ing years". I'm sure they had since they couldn't have gotten anywhere else. Jethro and Uncle Jed proceeded to drop a VERY small anchor and then tie the other end of each shed to a tree. They then tied the sheds together. It's easy to see how inbreeding occurs down here. How do you have a "discussion" about anchoring with someone that is tied off to a tree? When I told them that we would swing into them at the tide change, one of them said, "pull 'yer line tighter". We only had out 75' of chain in 18' of water. So I could tell that discussing such things as anchor scope, catenary, and swing radius would be a foreign language to these crackers. We would be too "up close and personal" with the locals in the middle of the night.

This was the other one

This was the end result of the boys tying up "butt to butt", becoming but buddies

We had no choice other than pull up our anchor and move. Obviously, when we pulled up our anchor Kim was very close to them and a verbal "exchange" took place. I was real glad we moved when we did. Dealing with them at 3:00 AM would not have been pleasant. In the end, we were chased out by a couple of Home Depot sheds!

So we moved to a nice spot a few miles away. Just another day on the ICW.

Our new neighborhood

Better locals

And more...

You know, when we were leaving, I'm sure I heard dueling banjos.

05/27/2012 | Jackie
What a bunch of yahoooos! Looks like your new company and scenery is much much better ! BTW love your new website. Pics are great, so much clearer! Happy Memorial Day. Be safe and watch out for the crazy people! :-)
The Intra Coastal Waterway
05/24/2012, 33 30.931'N:79 08.618'W, Thoroughfare Creek on the Waccamaw River in SC

Kim took this picture this morning.

The Intra Coastal Waterway, or ICW, is the major waterway for the East Coast. Basically, it allows you to go north and south "on the inside" not out in the Atlantic Ocean. There are times that the outside is too rough to go out.

It can be fantastic

Lots of Spanish Moss

Wildlife too

A postcard setting!

Most cruisers have a love-hate opinion of the ICW. Kim and I have a tolerate-hate feeling. The ICW requires total concentration. It's busy, shallow, winding, confusing, and has lots of bridges that we need to open so we can go through. Most of the bridges are on a set schedule. They open on the hour and half hour with certain restrictions during rush hours. If you miss a bridge, that means hanging there for at least a half hour to get the next opening. Along with all of those issues, you have the real problem of idiot boaters. There are lots of dumb people on the water. They have no idea of navigation, rights of way, or proper etiquette. There are a lot of do's and don'ts that I won't go into now, but suffice it to say, it is frustrating to deal with idiots.

They're everywhere

That's why we go outside most of the time. It's way more relaxing, the water is deep, and it's not crowded. In addition, you can travel at night which you don't do on the ICW very often.

We normally try our best to avoid the ICW. We'll often wait at an anchorage for weather to go outside. For some odd reason this year, we are doing more of the ICW on our return than normal. We have been "inside" from near Hilton Head to Charleston, then from Winyah Bay (Georgetown, SC) to Myrtle Beach, SC. That's a lot for us, and we'll have more to go yet.

A calm morning

The scenery is outstanding. The anchorages we've chosen are fantastic. We're trying new and different places. We are even going to a marina in Myrtle Beach. Mike and Kathy recommended it based on its proximity to an outlet mall. I'll let you know how that works for us.

Meanwhile, check out the pics of the ICW in South Carolina in the Gallery.

05/27/2012 | Jackie
Great pics. Looks like it is beautiful there! Love you! J.
Making the Crossing
05/08/2012, 29 53.147'N:81 18.353'W, St. Augustine, FL

You seldom see the Gulfstream that calm!

We were sitting at Devil's Hoffman Cay in the Berry islands when we checked the weather and guess what? It was a good time to make a crossing to the US. While we weren't planning on leaving quite this early, it was a good window to make a crossing. That counts for something. In addition to all this, I was having a bit of a tooth problem. I did see a dentist in Nassau, but it wasn't going away.

This was a nice day's results from a hunt in the Berry Islands.

So Sapphire and Fine Lion took to the high seas. We thought it would be a fairly gentle crossing, but it was amazingly calm. So calm, that we had to motor for the first 30 hrs. We plotted a course for St. Augustine, FL. We figured 48 hours to get there. While it's about 330 NM, we would be in the gulfstream for over half that time. That means it's as if 50 NM are taken off the trip. The gulfstream was flowing at 3-4 knots! We really made time. We even sailed for the last 10-12 hrs. at a slow speed to avoid getting into St. Augustine before daybreak. Overall, it was an uneventful trip.

This is what we look down at in the islands. This is over 15 ft. deep.

We got into the US in 48 hrs. on a Saturday. I was able to see a dentist on Monday and had a root canal on Wed. Welcome to the US! If we gave all visitors to the US a root canal it would solve our illegal alien problem. So that done, we are now waiting on weather to go up the coast. We won't travel in the ICW in Georgia or much of SC so the weather is important.

This is a submarine that passed by in the distance.

So here we are in the land of Sangrias and Happy Hours (that means half-priced drinks!). It's not so bad being on a mooring ball in the harbor. This is a busy town with lots going on.

Kim's fist lunch in the US. A big Burrito!

On another note, AYC (Annapolis Yacht Club) held a photo contest a couple of months ago. It was to show the AYC Burgee (flag) in exotic, funny, or interesting locations. We took one in the Ragged Islands at Hog Cay in the new "pavilion". Scott told me we won third place. Now that's pretty cool. I have to see if there's a prize for third place. I'll let you know.

Our photo entry.

Talk to y'all later.

05/12/2012 | Bill
Third place is awesome but I still think you shoulda went with 'loincloth" lol. Welcome back
A Date, is a Date, is a Date
04/20/2012, 25 29.53'N:77 43.78'W, Bonds Cay, Berry Islands

OK, what is the date? What is the day of the week? Those are things that you probably don't think about too much. Well, they are not all that easy for us unless we look at "electronic" gizmos like a laptop, etc. So all day Kim has been saying that today is Thursday. The importance is that her birthday is on Sunday. At least that's what she's been saying for days. Well, I know that her birthday is on the 22nd; and if that is Sunday, how can today be the 20th? You can see my dilema. I bring down satellite weather that says today is 4/20 so I have an outside source for the date, but it doesn't say that it is Thursday or Friday. So here I am in a state if confusion.

I was even having a problem with my pill pack that is usually very reliable for telling the day of the week. This morning I took Friday's pills and Kim was saying that it was Thursday! Wow, this is no way to start the day. So, I resorted to the laptop. That's when I saw the truth. It is Friday. I took the right pills, Kim's birthday is Sunday. The big blow starts Saturday night. All is well with the world. The universe is now back in balance.

I feel much better now as I go to face the day ahead. Whew!

We Got Out of Nassau
04/20/2012, 25 29.53'N:77 43.78'W, Bonds Cay, Berry Islands

We left Nassau on Tuesday. We went there because I had to see a Dentist. A tooth ache is more than a little annoying. I did have antibiotics and started them while in Cat Island. It was just an infection which the Dentist confirmed and gave me more good drugs. The dentist was very helpful and had a state of the art office. That's a good thing because I'm a sissy when it comes to the dentist.

Nassau has a population that is around 60% of the entire country. It is essentially a big city, and has traffic, stores of all kinds, produce, fish frys, restaurants, bars, boats, hotels, casinos, and just about anything you'd want. However, when I meet someone in the US that says they've been to the Bahamas and they've only been to Nassau, I tell them they've not been to the real Bahamas. That's like someone who's been to New York and they say they've seen the US. Not so bucko!

Nassau is good for a few things, but not long stays. We waited out a blow there and now we are in the Berry Islands. There's no cell service here so this update only has one picture as I have to use the Sat Phone to get the update out.

Lobsters are out of season, but Nassau Grouper is in. The picture shows two of the four fish I shot while hunting yesterday. The one on the right is a Yellow Grouper and the one on the left is a Nassau Grouper. These fish can easily change colors. They do it for protection, but this is their "playing dead" color. They sure taste good.

We'll be moving around these islands for about 10 days or so. Then on to Lucaya to stage for a crossing to the US. I'm sure we'll have more updates soon. When we get better communications and have more bandwidth, we'll put out more pictures.

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