This morning was 49 degrees and windy. Far to chilly for us. We are readying the boat to begin our travels south to winter in the Florida Keys. The first leg of our journey will be from Wrightsville Beach, NC to Charleston, SC possibly this Tuesday, Oct 4th. The photo is a picture of our dock at Seapath Yacht Club here in Wrightsville Beach. This has been one of the most enjoyable and accomodating marinas on our cruise.
We went to a fun event at our friend's, Dale and Sharon Smith, home today. They had a gathering of friends and neighbors to celebrate Dale's very successful knee replacement surgery. It was a pot luck gathering with a big pot of home made soup to warm our bodies & spirits as the fall weather has definitely arrived.
Left Wrightsville Beach at 8:30 Tuesday morning (10/4) and had a wonderful overnight sail to Charleston. We had a NW wind at about 12 knots and a current that was giving us a little push. We were able to pass the Cape Fear River shoals in daylight and then set a course through the night directly to Charleston. Beautiful clear skies, bright moon and mild temps made for a great sail. Arrived our marina in Charleston late morning on Weds.
When we were approaching the Charleston City Marina I could see what looked like an extremely tall mast or tower that was not there the last time we were in Charleston. Cathy was able to confirm that it was a sailboat mast and I was not just seeing things in my sleep deprived condition. We then pulled into the fuel dock directly behind the largest single masted sailboat in the world, Mirabella V. She is 247 feet long and has a mast 292 feet tall. We looked like a little toy up next to this beautiful ship. You can Google their website and see for yourselves what a magnificant ship it is. I have been able to visit with some of the crew members and it has been a fascinating exprience to learn of their adventures.
After getting settled and rested, we unpacked the bikes and have been touring Charleston, grocery shopping and revisiting our favorite restraunts and their fabulous Farmers Market. We will be here for about 10 days before our next stops in Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine, FL. We have a major storm approaching from the south and will have several days of heavy rains and strong winds before the next weather window to continue our travels south.
This morning we went to a Methodist church that is a little over 200 years old and in beautiful condition. A most friendly congregation and delightful service. After church we went to one of our favorite restraunts, Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar. Cathy had some great southern style shrimp and grits and we split a fabulous piece of coconut pie (we agree the best we ever had). Now it is time to diet for a few days.
We are so blessed to be able to continue our crusing life. We are also blessed to have such a wonderful group of family and friends. God bless to all.
Cathy and I have been busy getting projects done on the boat this week. As you can see by the attached photo, Cathy is busy tidying up the yard. We have been busy washing, polishing, air conditioning mainteance, repacking and rearranging parts and household items and securing the boat for tropical storms while we are traveling back to TX.
The Carolina's are well know for their shag dancing. We went to a local club on Saturday night and watched some locals that were very good shag dancers. We enjoyed the music provided by a DJ and contributed a little beach dancing of our own. After we left the club I was stopped by a local sheriff's deputy for not having my lights on. He thought I might be a drunk driver but he went along with my story that our previous cars had automatic lights and I forgot to turn on the lights in my rental car for the first couple of blocks. He did look over my TX DL and then told us to have a nice evening. We were having a great evening and the officer's professionalism and kindness let us return to the boat with smiles of joyful appreciation..
We have been attending Wrightsville Beach United Methodist Church that is located a couple of blocks from our marina. Great sermons and a very welcoming congregation. We look forward to Sunday morning services.
We will be leaving for our TX driving trip on 9/15. We will stop for a couple of days in Ashville, NC before visiting friends in Birmingham, AL, family in Biloxi and then on to League City. We will be back in cruising mode with new blogs in late Sept. We are looking forward to the cooler fall weather and our trip south to the Florida Keys.
As you can see by the attached picture I am having to fish my bicycle out of the water. The three stooges (Bill, Bill & Bill) were hoisting our dingy out of the water with the storm sail halyard and the bow of the boat swung starboard and knocked my bike off of the dock. As soon as I saw the bike hit the water I quickly realized it was not going to swim to safety. So I ended up taking the dingy anchor and dredged for the bike. Magically I hooked a bicycle fish. All resolved except for flusing out all the salt water and using corrision spray on the bike. Some projects are just more complicated than others.......
We are still in Wrightsville Beach and thoroughly enjoying the community. Great people that have been very helpful and have made our stay most enjoyable. We are working out regularly at the gym, riding bikes and taking walks in the evening. Cathy and I have each dropped a few pounds due to our active lifestyle and healthier eating due to her great cooking.
We are helping to babysit our freinds (Dale and Sharon) home and dogs while they are on an RV trip to Vermont. They left three of their six dogs and we are helping their granddaughter Jessika with the house and dog sitting.
I know we have been at one location for quite a while when a man stopped in his truck while we were bike riding and asked me directions to downtown and I could actually help him. We are thoroughly enjoying the local church, have been to a couple of outdoor concerts, taken a dingy ride to the beach and a kayak trip around a small island.
We are heading back to Houston via a driving trip in a couple of weeks. Will visit with family and friends, pick up and drop off items in our storage locker and I have a few scheduled doctor appts. We will then take a driving trip to DC and visit friends in Virginia. We are planning on returning from our DC trip before Sept 20th as Dale is having knee replacement surgery on that day. After Dale's surgery and rehab we will start getting ready to cruise south for the winter.
Our decision to spend the summer in Wrightsville Beach seems to have been a good choice. Wonderfully cool mornings and comfortable breezy evenings have allowed us to eat dinner and watch the sunsets while sitting in the cockpit.
July is almost behind us and the upcoming heart of the hurricane season is just ahead. Will be glad when we get past the Sept/Oct hurricane season and start heading south for a warm and active winter in the Florida Keys. We are planning on staying in the Keys thru the winter before heading to the Bahamas in the spring.
Cathy and I were interviewed today for an article in the Lumina News, a weekly newspaper in Wrightsville Beach. The interview explored our travels, our preparation for the cruising lifestyle, some background information on our lives and Sassy, memorable moments while cruising and how we ended up in Wrightsville Beach. The picture above is of two very delightful and attractive young ladies, Jenny the writer and Emmy the photograher. As you can see by the picture the cruising life is a real challenge. Cathy and I felt very proud that they would choose us for a potential article. We will let you know if the article is included in their next week's edition which comes out on Thursday.
Tonight we are going to the comedy play Ruthless in Wilmington with our friends Dale and Sharon. Until our next edition, have a most enjoyable and blessed weekend.
Bill & Cathy
We have been in Wrightsville Beach for almost two weeks. We are thoroughly enjoying our visit and the community. We will not be going any further North this year. We have decided to bypass the Chesapeake due to bridge challenges in Pamlico Sound. Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington is a great place to spend the balance of the summer. Great weather with wonderful cool evening breezes, no bugs so far and a fun and active community. The best reason to stop here has been our friends Dale and Sharon. Dale and I grew up as next door neighbors and have maintained our friendshp via long distance travels from TX & CA for me and CA, CT and NC for him. Cathy and Sharon enjoy many ot the same interests. I have enclosed a picture of Sassy and Merilee, one of Dale and Sharon's six dogs. I took the picture from D&S's patio deck during a 4th of July BBQ celebration.
Besides our great 4th of July BBQ, we attended a wonderful patriotic church service with Dale. He is a member of Wrightsville UMC. Cathy and I then were able to watch 5 firework displays sponsored by the surrounding communities from the Sunset Deck at the marina. A very patriotic and memorable holiday weekend.
We finally were able to get our air conditioner replaced via factory warranty. We have been challenged to keep the boat cool ever since Marathon and have limped the A/C along during our trip. I am also working on resolving several other boat issues that seem to be the result of our hurricane Ike damage. Some have been corroded electrical challenges and some were hidden damages that have just surfaced. I have larned that cruisers have a never ending list of things to fix and repair but Cathy and I seem to be catching up while we are taking a summer break.
We will be driving home in August for visits with family and friends, take care of some business issues and do some medical checkups. We will return in mid Sept, take a week long driving trip to tour Washington, DC and then begin heading South to spend the winter in the Keys and Bahamas.
We have been enjoying our workouts, dinner and visits with friends, bike riding, trips to the local farmer's market just a block away, great evening walks, the boating community and church. Will post another blog soon as our life is full of events that we are excited to share.
Tomorrow we will be leaving Georgetown, SC and heading to Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina for an extended stay. We have some major work to do on our air conditioning unit with a possible factory replacment. The A/C has been a challenge since Marathon. We also have a water tank leak that needs some major investigation.
We will be spending time with Dale and Sharon Smith while in Wrightsville Beach. Great long time friends and fun to be with.
Did bicycle tours of Georgetown yesterday and today. Yesterday Cathy was on a mission while on our bike ride to find some fresh and very cold homemade lemonade. Must have outlawed it during prohibition as there was none to be found. Very remote town about twelve miles into an inlet and river. Georgetown played a significant role in South Carolina" history.
The enclosed picture is of Sassy's new friend Ally (who hangs out under the docks at the marina).
More to come when we get to Wrightsville Beach. Still very hot and we are all struggling with the heat.