"No Sched..." Delivery from New London to Solomons
03 May 2016
5/3/2016: Photo is of a tall ship tied up in New London, CT. After selling Piper and closing on the new boat, we rented a van and drove to New London, Ct for the delivery back home to Solomons, MD. Our friends Rod and Pat Schroeder with years of experience made the trip with us. After spending a day checking out everything, we departed Shaw Cove in the rain, through the Amtrak RR bridge into the Thames River, past the Nuclear Submarine facility and into Long Island Sound. I basically made this same trip at the same time in 1985 bringing Artful Dodger home with a compass, VHF, binoculars and a Rand McNally road atlas!! It was light air all the way while motoring. There are lots of rock piles and obstructions in this area of Long Island Sound and one has to pay attention...as always. We could see the U.S. Coast Guard tall ship "EAGLE" out in the mist on a different heading. We did 40 miles and went into the city dock at Branford, CT for the night arriving just before dark. We were awakened at 3 am when the 6-7 foot tide swing went low and the dock lines were too short! We were healed over and had to cut one dock line to get free.
5/4/2016: We departed at 7:00 for another rainy, light air day for 57 miles taking a mooring ball at City Island YC. There were lots of rocks and shoals going into the harbor and no short cuts were taken. The launch stopped running at 5 and we had no way to get ashore, but we had a great dinner on board.
5/5/2016: We departed around 8:00 with another day of rain and were a little early to catch the max ebb tide going through 'Hells Gate' and the East River. It was just as exciting going through NYC as it was in 1985. Lots of debris after all the rain and a 2' x 2' x 15' timber got our attention early on. Still lots of ferry and boat traffic in poor visibility. We could hear the RC boat for the America's Cup trials on the radio as they were practicing on the Hudson River as we passed the Statue of Liberty. We headed out of the city to Atlantic Highlands, NJ Municipal Marina for fuel and a slip for th enight. We soon had steady 38 kts = 44 mph with 6-8 ft. seas (as reported by locals) on the beam coming from the ocean for the 11 mile crossing. No one had predicted thisl! There was a 1/2 mile long break water at the marina and I thought it would be protected...wrong...coming straight down the breakwater. The bow thruster had to be used to turn the boat around to get along the fuel dock. Another adventure getting off the dock and a immediate 90 degree turn and a 45 and another 90 to get into the slip with the enclosure acting as a spinnaker. There were 2' waves on the stern and a 6'-7- low tide. Not pretty taking a half hour to secure the boat. Only damage was a bent bow pulpit. A couple of boats broke loose from their mooring balls during the night and another sunk in the slip. The boat next to us was tied broad side to the pier with lots of damage. Total miles logged was 35. I was up at 5:30 and noticed a 35' sailboat in the travel lift with its running lights on and learned the owners were on board when it broke loose form its mooring ball and was almost on the rocks. The winds subsided at sun up and the yard was busy all day hauling boats. We had a nice lay day in the great little town of Atlantic Highlands with shopping, lunch ashore and church.
5-8-16: We left at 7:00 for another long day with some clearing. There was a yellow Finch that came aboard and stayed with us for about an hour. We did 86 miles to Atlantic City, which started out calm and built to 25 kts off shore. There were 3-4' waves and the boat handled them well while 3 miles offshore. We anchored just in front of the bridge with the stern to the waves as the tide won out over the 25 knot winds. Things finally settled down at sunset and we had a peaceful night.
5-9-16: We left at 06:00 in light air and decided to cut Cape May close, rather than staying out in the offshore channel. We were continually change course to dodge the shallow spots and save a lot of time. The Lewes/Cape May ferry boat crossed our bow while entering the Delaware Bay. The wind built to 25 again on the quarter against the current resulting in square waves and a rough ride. It was 87 miles to Cohansey Creek, NJ where we entered on low tide and did not see a lot of water. It settled down again at sunset and we had a peaceful night and had not seen another boat for 24 hours.
5-10-2016: Left at 06:00 again to catch the high tide and skirted across the flats to save time without any problems. We had an adverse current going the 15 miles to the C&D Canal as also through the canal...cannot get a break! We made a quick stop at Chesapeake City for fuel. It was under 10 kts of wind for the run down the bay, anchoring in Whitehall Bay logging 92 miles. It was good to be home (almost) and to put away the charts.
5-11-2016: Left at 08:00 in light air, misty and a favorable current for most of the way down the bay. We arrived in Solomons around 3:00 and were greeted by our good friends Dennis & Carolyn Chandler, Lloyd & Barbara Conley and then Dave & Lois Zonderman. Once secure in our new slip at the Solomons Landing condo, Dennis broke out a nice bottle of wine and No Sched... was officially christened!!
In case you didn't notice, it rained most of the eight days and the wind was either under 10 or over 25. A 42' boat does not sail very well under those conditions and it was all motoring. Overall, it was still a great trip, logged 489 nms and we ate like kings with all the preparations by Donna and Pat. We are looking forward to many more adventures on our new boat.
Sail Every Day....Even at 100 Years Old!
14 January 2016
Photo is of Terry and Mac on Great Guana Cay, Abacos rowing between the docks checking out the new arrivals. I tried to get a photo of Mac sailing, but he was always too fast and quiet. They go sailing everyday weather permitting and when the tide cooperates. Mac was 99 this time last year and a great incentive for all of us to...keep on sailing! Mac designed and built Mac 15's after the war (WW II) as he wanted to put everyone in a sailboat at a fair price. He owned a 36' yawl for 62 years that he sailed many times from his home in New Hampshire to the islands. They are the marina office using the WiFi every morning along with the rest of the crowd. Terry checks email while Mac peruses the latest Cosmo magazine. He is very witty, knows everyone and is a real character. They are up early everyday to catch the sun rise at Nippers on one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Locals gather and go back in the kitchen to help themselves to free coffee and catch up on the news. If you get there early, you may even find a coffee cup without a broken handle! He prides himself on having one of the last remaining rustic cottages on the island without any electricity. Someone asked him if that was a solar panel in his backyard and he grinned for awhile and replied....BUSTED!
Piper is back in Solomons, MD
19 May 2015 | Solomons, MD
Returned on Sunday, May 17th. It has been quite an adjustment after being gone for seven months! With a very wet summer, selling the farm and downsizing to a condo in Solomons....I would call it a grass/cardboard summer with not a lot of cruising! My plan was to go back and correct all the errors over seven months when typing like a bandit before losing WIFI somewhere and someone told me to leave it the way it is and I agreed. The track manager has me going to Cleveland, I believe and this is an error and I cannot figure out how to correct...so no, I did not go to Cleveland.
Wrightsville Beach, NC - Solomons, MD
04 May 2015
Since I am eight months late entering this...it is really hard to remember...so here it goes.
5/4/15: Anchored in Wrightsville Beach, NC after 72 miles.
5/5/2015: Anchored in Mile Hammock Bay, NC after 40 miles
5/6/2015: Anchored in Taylor Creek in Beaufort, NC after 46 miles. Went to dinner with some friends of Carole and Richard's who live nearby and who lived in Solomon's. I vaguely remember them and they were involved in the huge concrete sailboat project at Washburn's Boatyard as some may remember.
5/7/2015: Left in a 20-25 knots Northwester and planned to knock out 30 miles, but when turning the corner at the Neuse River it was a different story. Totally burying the bow and decided to head the four miles to Oriental instead, anchoring just before the bridge. Called my good friends Harry and Finola who live there and they showed me around along with a great dinner at their home. Carole did not leave the boat due to the blow. May Flies layed their gelatinous eggs all over the boat during the night.
5/8/2015: It was still howling in the morning, but dying down some. Got a late start and bounced around going up river with Kilissa following behind. Decided to take the Great Dismal Swamp route, rather than the Virginia Cut as T.S. ANA was still twirling around out there close by. Lots of protective anchorages on the Swamp and hardly any on the Virginia Cut route. We anchored south of the Pungo River canal with a few other boats after doing 61 miles.
5/9/2015: Decided to leave at 6:00 to make up some time and had a great motor sail for 91 miles and 11 hours to Elizabeth City, NC. It was blowing pretty good, broad side to the jetty and I decided to go under the bridge and anchor off the YC with Kilissa taking the jetty arriving later. I dinghied down and had happy hour with them along with another couple from NJ whom Donna and I met on the public bus in Vero Beach. Off to dinner at one of Richard's favorite watering holes.
5/10/2015: It was rainy and still blowing with T.S. Ana approaching. Kilissa decided to stay put and Piper ventured on up the Great Dismal Swamp and anchored behind Goat Island with no other boats around. I slept through the storm without any problems, so I guess it was not too bad.
5/11/2015: Still raining most of the day, made it through both locks and anchored in the channel just after Deep Creek Lock as there would be no more traffic for the day.... 38 miles
5/12/2015: Talked to Joe on Gemini who is a couple of days ahead and said everything was clear with the tunnel building in Hampton and he could not even tell where the construction was. Arrived at the South basin in Portsmouth around noon and walked up to the North basin and found my good friend Philippe on AdventureS with his friend Monique from Montreal. Kilissa arrived in the South basin and tied up behind me. Kent Utley from Portsmouth came over and we went out for dinner. 9 miles.
5/13/2015: Kilissa and Piper headed out mid morning with intentions of going up the bay some. AdventureS had already left the North basin. When entering Hampton Roads it was blowing pretty good out of the East with seas coming in directly from the ocean and we decided to go to Hampton to anchor. I went to the IMAX theater and when I came out to check out the anchorage, noticed a strange boat situation and went out to check it out. A boat came in behind me and must have run aground and then dinghied two anchors out very close to Piper and then went ashore. Piper was barely missing the anchor line as she swung back and forth. Two guys finally came back and spent quite some time getting the anchor up and motored off since the tide came up and never made eye contact or said a word!
5/14/2015: It was still blowing in the morning, but forecast to die down later. Piper left around 11 and buried the bow again going through Hampton Roads with a fair tide and waves coming in from the ocean. It got better after the turn to go up the bay. Called Kilissa and found out they were getting thrown around too much and went into Town Creek to anchor near Langley AFB for the night. My plan was to make it to Carter's Creek on the Rappahanock River to meet up with local Southern Maryland Sailing Association cruisers. The wind finally went flat calm going up the bay and I arrived in Carter's after 6 and just missed happy hour. It was great to be back home (almost), put away the charts and see my good friends on Ruste Nayle, Walkabout, Safina and Patty K Too!!!
5/15&16/2015: Left mid-morning with the group for Urbanna, VA with slips at the Town Center Marina. Lunch in town having fresh soft shells and more for dinner. Happy hour on the brand new Patty K Too (Catalina 445) two days in a row. The annual hydro plane power boat race was scheduled for the day and we all had ring side seats from our cockpits.
5/17/2015: Everyone decided to cut the cruise short by one day and bypass the Great Wicomico River. We departed a little after 6 for the 70 mile trek back to Solomons. After turning into the bay, I got a call on the VHF from a familiar voice..it was Philippe on AdventureS who was coming out of Deltaville and 15 miles behind me. He was going to try and make Solomon's by night fall and trying to figure out how he could get Monique to the train station to go back to Montreal....there is nooo way from So. MD, but we will figure something out. They arrived in the anchorage near the Holiday Inn and got showers ashore. Donna arrived the next morning and we all drove south to figure things out. Upon arrival, the 60 acres of fields were 3' tall as expected, but I did not expect the 5 acre yard to be 2' tall as Donna had fired the lawn service. We worked on getting train reservations and it was believed she would depart the next day at 10 pm. I started cutting the lawn as it was despicable and I had another day to show my friends the area. A couple of hours later, Philippe comes out and informs me that Monique's reservation is for tonight. You see, Monique does not speak any English and there was a communications breakdown. To the shower and the 2.5 hour drive to Union Station with no hitches. Arrived back at Piper at midnight for another night on here as home would be another half hour drive. Left in the morning for more grass cutting for many days and Philippe starting the long sail back to Montreal by himself.
Charleston, SC - Minim Creek, SC - Georgetown, SC - Calabash River, SC
03 May 2015
Photo is of Piper on a blustery day on the Mackay River, GA. Courtesy of Carole and Richard Hackett on Kilissa.
5-1-2015: Beautiful, 75 degrees, NW 15-25 for 61 miles to Mimin Creek, SC. Hard to sleep in Charleston with all the traffic from the surrounding bridges. Left at 7:30 to catch the first bridge opening at 9. Piper led since it was low tide to sound out the water as Kilissa draws a foot more. Had a couple of real low spots, but Kilissa got through. Passed a huge barge in the narrow channel who was barely moving and swinging all around. I could hear the tow line creaking as it sounded like it would snap anytime and severely frayed, but all got by. Anchored in West Minim Creek, SC with the wind howling but fairly protected and the wind calmed down at sun down.
5-2-2015: Beautiful, 75 degrees, NW 10-15. Left at 8 for the short 14 mile run to Georgetown, SC since we could not make it the day before. Fueled up, filled water tanks, pump out, trash, ice and anchored across from the city dock. Off for a mile walk to the Pig (Piggly Wiggly) with Richard. Happy hour at the Big Tuna and the Ky. Derby party/dinner. Nice town with lots to do, but little time.
5-3-2015: Beautiful, 75 degrees, NW 10 -15, mm 342, sea temp 68, 63 nms with favorable current most of the day. Ten hours of motoring with everyone who owns a boat out on the ICW today. Pushing hard to make it to Portsmouth, Va by May 11th at 12:01 am as they will be closing the Elizabeth River to all traffic for 48 hours. They are installing a new tunnel across the river. Construction is never on time and we do not want to stuck there for ...whenever! Not many places to stop/anchor prior for a couple of days. Need to average 50 nms a day for the next seven to get across to Hampton by then....just playing it by ear and the weather. Nice dinner on Killissa this evening with lots of boats here having to relocate the anchor.
St.Augustine, FL - Wallys Leg, GA - Cattle Pen Creek, GA - Wright River, SC - Boo-fort, SC - S. Edisto River, SC - Charleston, SC
26 April 2015
Photo is of Kilissa with Carole and Richard Hackett from Solomons leaving Fernandina Beach, FL with 'ye olde' paper mill in the background.
4-23-2015: St. Augustine to Ft. George River, FL. Beautiful day for the 42 miles trip up. Anchored in the narrow river in about 15' of water, but with a very shallow entrance. There is a nice state park there that I want to check out next time. Lots of wild life to watch.
4-24-2015: Left at 10 after the tide came up some. Another beautiful day for the 22 miles trip to Fernandina Beach, FL. Took a mooring ball at the Fernandina Harbor Marina next to my good friends, Carole and Richard Hackett from Solomons on Kilissa. They want to go off shore, but cannot get a weather window and are going to continue up the ICW. Went ashore and had a nice dinner. Nice town and should spend more time there.
4-25-2015: Left at 9 after refueling everything. It was 51 miles to Wally's Leg on the Mackay River, GA. Mostly cloudy, some showers and blowing 20 out of the West. A little lumpy with the tide against the wind at St. Andrew Sound and St. Simons Sound. Carole had me over for a delicious chicken dinner and a very nice evening on the hook. Thunderstorms rolled in around 11 with buckets of rain, but pretty protected in the grasslands.
4-26-2015: Beautiful with winds out of the West at 20 for the 43 miles to Cattle Pen Creek, GA. Another day of winding through the grasslands. Grilled steak dinner on Piper with Carole and Richard.
4-27-2015: Cloudy, misty, rain and then sun for the 55 miles to Wright River, SC. Anchored in a strong current which the stern into the wind. Pretty much the same sooner or later at anchor.
4-28-2015: Cloudy with wind out of the NE at 20. Very lumpy with the wind against the tide going through Port Royal Sound, SC. Did 39 miles and are at mm 536, sea temp 71*. Anchored in Beaufort, SC harbor to possibly wait out a Noreaster and rain tomorrow. Dinner ashore with Carole and Richard.
4-29-2015: Rain delay until noon as the forecast was to clear. Caught the 12:30 bridge opening North of the city. The rain came back after 5 miles and poured, thunderstorms most of the 30 miles. Fighting a foul current the entire way to align for a high tide the next day to get through some skinny water! Anchored in the South Edisto River for a nice and quiet night behind some trees, mm 511, sea temp 66.
4-30-2015: Beautiful day with winds out of the W 10-15. Left at 8 and had foul current for most of the 55 miles to Charleston, SC. Did some motor sailing to help push along another 1/2 knot at times. Anchored at 5 across from the huge city marina with the stern to the waves again. Still buddy boating with Kilissa.
New Smyrna Beach - St. Augustine
22 April 2015
Beautiful, 73 nms, mm 778, sea temp 80
I went home for nine days to take care of domestic issues that consume land lubbers time. Good to be back in NSB. Todd/Sherry's new house has the drywall up and they should be moving in a couple of months. Joe Frost on Gemini stopped by for a couple of days. I missed Richard and Carole Hackett on Kilissa from Solomons by one day, but will catch up with them. There were three boats from Hampton, VA the day before I left and one was a Catalina 470 named Southerly II. Their previous boat was Southerly that they brought to Screwpile for a few years. I have a black/white photo of us rounding the windward mark and setting spinnakers in a pretty good blow. Southerly was a boat length ahead and of course I owed him 6 sec/mile!!
Left NSB at 8 this morning for the long haul North. The highlight of the day was when some huge dolphins were jumping out of the water to apparently try to catch white butterflies that were about 2' off the water. A nice little afternoon snack for them...not sure how they taste.
Arrived in St. Augustine at my friends Hank and Marion who I met in the Bahamas. Arriving on a very low tide and Hank had to come out in his whaler to pick me up while waiting for the tide to come up to get to their dock. Late happy hour at the nearby Conch House Marina and then delicious spaghetti at their condo. Stayed late re-hashing all our Bahamas adventures.
N. Palm Beach, Ft. Pierce, Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach
07 April 2015
Photo is of a large dredge boat on the Indian River.
3-26-2015: Dinghy in to Publix and catch a cab to Customs and Immigration for Donna to check in. The driver waited for us and a good thing as he had the wrong building and took us to the correct one. Donna will not be deported after all!! Dropped off at West Marine, lunch at Duffy's Sports Bar/Grill, CVS, Publix and a loaded dinghy on the way back. Thunderstorms all afternoon...glad we beat the weather.
3-27-2015: Headed North for the 54 nm ride to Ft. Pierce. Caught the first six bridges on schedule with no waits. Piper was leading a fleet of three and I kept the pedal to the metal to get them open and the other two leisurely came in. The big yellow boat could not make the last bridge and had to wait.
The forecast was for thunderstorms all day and you could see them all around. I was running low on fuel and needed to add five gallons, but it was kind of rough for doing that. With the wind on the beam around 15, decided to sail as the channel was straight for the last 20 miles to Ft. Pierce. Just had to keep it right in the middle of the channel as it is only 200 yds wide and then 3' of water on both sides. Could see close by sand bars with old trees on them. Great sail for about twenty minutes when a big gust came from out of no where, although you could see the storms all around. With the winch handle in and four wraps on the winch, it was very easy to get an override! It blew so hard that the override came out by the force of the wind and I forgot to tie stoppers in the sheets. Both jib sheets are now out in the water...on the deck to bring both back in...then start the motor while staying in the channel. A slight turn up, to get the main down/in. Donna got a pretty bruised right hand in all of this. Just when you think the adventures are winding down...another one pops up! Now the wind is probably (wind instrument not working) blowing a steady 30 and still have the fuel problem. Transferred five gallons successfully. The plan had been to go into Faber Cove on the East side at Fr. Pierce, but Skipper Bob Publications says it will only hold 6-8 boats. Plan B is to go to the City dock if full, but it is 5:30 and they are probably heading home. After the storm you could hear boast reserving slips there. Not a easy place to get into with 30 knots. There was only one other boat in Faber and very protected....I knew that I must be getting closer to my beloved Chesapeake Bay as protection is starting to return. Nice evening on the hook.
3-28-2015: Had an email from my good friend Paul from Canada who is in the area working on 'Tumbleweed' on the hard before leaving in a couple of days. Gave him a call and he loved taking a day off and showing us around. Dinghy in too kind of a private marina in a Condo complex...neat place, protected and reasonably price...hmnm. No problem, come on in and tie up in slip 27. Paul showed us all around and Donna conned him into taking us to look at the house that Steve from Green Turtle has for sale...gated community and got on another cars bumper! Renters were very cooperative with no notice in letting us look around. Lunch overlooking the Ft. Pierce Inlet with its tremendous current. A J 30 came in under main doing 10 knots and a huge cruiser was going on with a main doing 1 knot and black smoke coming out of the exhaust. Saw the salvage operation that is trying to remove a sunken barge out of the channel and had the channel closed for a couple of weeks before. Paul told us that he heard on the news the night before that the storm had 50+ mph winds, but when it hit the Gulf Stream, 122+ mph were reported....not a good place to be at that time. Just shows how vicious the Gulf Stream can be!!
3-29-2015: Left Faber Cove early on the high tide and took a slip at the City Marina on the West side of the Indian River. Nice town and just completed a 18 million dollar renovation at the marina. We almost stayed another day, but needed to get moving.
3-30-2015: Left at 9 for the 73 nm trek to Cocoa Beach arriving at sundown. Anchored just below the bridge in calm waters for the night.
3-31-2015: Left at 8 for the 55 nm ride to New Smyrna Beach and taking a slip at the City Marina. Floating Docks...how nice...after adjusting lines on every tide when in the Bahamas. Will be here for awhile with son Todd's family and grand daughters. Love this place!!!
Crossing back to the States
25 March 2015
Beautiful, 91 nms, 85 degrees, SW 5-10, then N 20+, sea temp 82
Photo is of dolphins that put on a 15 minute show for us about 20 miles from the States. They stayed next to the bow for 5 minutes before they saw me taking pictures and then took off....quite a welcoming committee! There are more pictures of them in the photo gallery under Piper Adventures 4.
Got underway at 7 am after checking on the weather one more time. Flat calm with some gentle 4' rollers. Power sailing with a full main and jib doing 6.5 knots. Took down the Bahamas courtesy flag and put up the yellow Quarantine.
One last look back at Settlement Point with lots of memories. The very small rock jetty entrance was the most traumatic. About five weeks ago, seven boats crossed from the States. Meteorologist Chris Parker warned in his am broadcast on SSB to get off the Atlantic early in the afternoon as a front was approaching from the SW and would last a couple of days. Six boats made it in well before dark, but one arrived in the dark. They hit the rocks and stepped off the boat onto the rocks without even getting wet. Someone was watching out for them! It could have been very disastrous or even fatal for the couple on board. By the next morning the keel and mast were gone with all their belongings washing out of the boat along with a wedding dress. I talked to one of the boats in Marsh Harbour that crossed with them and I guess they were inexperienced and waited too long to take the sails down and came surfing in and went out of control. Someone else said one of the lights on the jetty was out. The entrance is only about 200' wide and is why I waited 3 hours for the sun to come up before entering, but it sounds like they had no choice, but to enter. Shows you how fast the weather can change in the gulf stream.
Some of my favorable memories are the crazy roosters that are on island time and crow alll day long. The professional and amateur conch callers who sound off at sunset and of course the beautiful sunsets. I will not miss the salt on the boat, engine, air and on your skin...always dry, the ridiculous prices...milk - $12 a gallon, case of Coors - $75. Slip fee at Green Turtle only $32, but 3 loads of laundry were $36. There is a $15 water fee at West End even if you don't take any on and I never used a drop both ways. The electric charge was $22 at West End and $6 at Ft. Pierce, FL.
I went there not knowing anyone and now have a hundred boat cards with email addresses to stay in touch with...lots of new friends.
We never saw another sail boat going either way. There was one mega yacht and I believe it was Irish Eyes from Pittsburgh who came off the Little Bahama Bank and headed NW. About half way we started to pick up the NOAA weather forecast on the VHF...I just played it over and over again...so good to hear it after having nothing for 2.5 months. We started to see lots of small water bottles floating which was quite disturbing after being in pristine waters.
About 15 miles from the States, the winds abruptly went from SW to North around 20 for a close reach and reduced sail. This broke up the gentle rollers and big waves developed that were not too bad, but I would not have wanted it for 55 miles. Crabbing into the gulf stream most of the way to shore. Guess we beat the front! Waves were quite confused as expected when going through the Lake Worth Inlet at 5 pm. Headed South down the ICW looking for Gemini who is suppose to be anchored there, but I could not raise him on the VHF or cell. Could not find him and the tide was holding the boats against the wind....quite nasty and decided to headed North 5 miles to the protected end of the Lake...which is not really a lake. I went through the trouble and paid $27 and FEDEX fee for the local boaters decal to clear Customs and Immigration on the phone. This also meant a interview prior to departure with them. I called in and was cleared in about 10 minutes and instructed to take down the Quarantine flag. Unfortunately Donna has to report to Customs and Immigration within 24 hours and was initially told to go to Miami...got to be some place closer...yes...Palm Beach.
Green Turtle, Great Sale, West End-Grand Bahama Island
23 March 2015
Photo is of a Corottaman (no spell check) on the dinghy while anchored off the settlement at Green Turtle Cay.
3-23-2015: Listening to all the weather reports all morning and while not prepared, decided to leave at 10 am. I have found out that if one waits until all preparations are completed, you will never leave. Went up to tell Donna as she just started the first of three loads of laundry which went over big. We had planned to spend a week snorkeling on the NW islands and then head back. There is a big front that is coming in around Friday with just a one day break on the following Tuesday and another one for a week. Donna wanted to make Todd's for Easter and the only way to make it was to make a run before two weeks of bad weather set in.
Left around noon with 60 miles to get to Great Sale Cay...going to be a long day. The wind kicked up as predicted and when I called Joe on Gemini a couple of hours after leaving he was anchored about 5 miles ahead waiting to see what the weather was going to do as it was dead on the nose. I told him it was dying down, so Gemini and the two other boats with him got their anchors up and proceeded on. A squall came through and the winds held afterwards with every other wave breaking over the bow. It died down again after dark and all decided to try the East side of Great Sail on the South end about 7 miles down. Piper anchored around 10 pm in pitch black and dodging rock piles with the stars out....another adventure.
3-23-2015: Joe and the two other boats left at 5 am for the South end which was much shorter than the North. Since Piper got in very late and had to transfer fuel cans, etc, did not get underway until around 7. It was a flat calm motor for 60 miles to West End, Grand Bahama Island. Joe and the other boats took the Indian Cay cut to Settlement Point at West End and on across to Lake Worth at Palm Beach arriving around midnight. Since Piper did not have enough fuel, we had to go into West End to fuel up and decided to spend the night since the weather prediction that we got the day before was good for the next day. There is no communications or weather reports once you leave Green Turtle. Donna spent the day cooking up all the fruits and vegetables that we had on board since nothing is allowed back in the states. We will be coming in late in the day and a good chance that the US Coast Guard will stop and check. We heard a report that they found a onion on a boat and the owner threw it over board in front of the CG since the fine for throwing over would have been less than the possession fine, but they only got a dirty look! We took the Indian Cay short cut on a dead low tide....nooo channel markers anywhere as is typical in the Bahamas. Donna was standing on the bow watching for shallow spots and had some beautiful scenery in 5-6 feet of water. We saw what appeared to be a 10' long black colored shark who went up along the side of the boat, across the bow and back down. She loved doing this and wished that she had thought of it earlier. The fuel dock at Old Bahama Bay Marina closes at 4:30 and I was pushing it through the shallows to make it in time. A big sports fisherman was taking on 200 gallons of fuel and we made it although they were not happy about hanging around for my 25 gallons. They do not open until 8:45 and we hoped to be gone as soon as we can get up and going.
There were only two other sail boats at the marina, quite different from when we came over with about 30. I recognized the big Beneteau 57 that we went through the Whale Cut with. The lady on the boat walked by...you on the big Beneteau...yes and I like how you refer to it that way. Did you go through the Whale last Wednesday....yes...we were on Piper with you....the little tiny boat...yes and I like how you refer to it that way! Well ...the waves were 10' tall by the end of the 15 minute conversation. We both wanted to get pictures, but were being thrown around too much. And the ship that crossed over our bows very close. They were leaving for Lake Worth around noon the next day as the wind was suppose to build and they wanted wind to move the big boat...careful of what you wish for!!
The owners of the other sail boat which was a Hallberg-Rassy 39 named 'Virginia Dare' walked by. I remember your boat from Solomons. Yes, we are the second owner since Ron and Karen Wilson from Solomons/Pittsburgh sold it. Ron and Karen are SMSA members who cruised for several years in the boat. David and Lisa Cooper the new owners from Michigan sold their home and everything to go cruising. Spent the winter in the keys on a shake down cruise, just arrived in the Bahamas and will head to Maine for the summer. A couple of drinks while talking, showers and crash for an early morning start. Donna loved the resort and wished we could spend more time there, but have got to beat the weather.
Treasure Cay, Whale Cut Passage, Green Turtle Cay
19 March 2015
Beautiful, 19nms, 85 degrees, NE 5, sea temp 81
Picture is of another boat heading South in the Whale Cut Passage....photo of it flat is in the photo gallery.
3-19-2015: Left Treasure Cay after a dinghy ride through the canals. Headed for the infamous Whale Cut Passage. 5-6' seas against a ebb tide was reported, very sloppy and accurate. Donna got some good photos of a small ship in the narrow channel and are in the photo gallery. Lots of boats going both ways...rocking and rolling. The wind was only 5 from the North East and you can imagine what it would be like in 25 -30!! Glad to get through, but not to start the painful trip North very slowly. Anchored off settlement harbor at Green Turtle Cay for two days with flat calm water. I never knew the Sea of Abaco could be so tame for so long!
3-21-2015: Took a slip at Black Sound Marina for a couple of days. Kind of quiet at the marina with most boats gone that were there in January. Went by the big cat with the Screwpile gal on it at Leeward YC and I told her LG put her picture on his Screwpile face book and that he would give her a new hat next year (now this year) at Screwpile...big smile and thanks! Tied up in the middle of the T head. Roy the owner from Gainsville, Fl soon arrived after picking up his wife and girlfriend Millie from the airport in Marsh Harbour to stay for a week. Steve who rents Roy's house on the grounds for the winter returned from fishing with his wife Faye with some BIG fish! They stay in Roy's big rental house across the cove and Roy moves his big house boat from the marina to his house when his wife is in town. He designed the large house boat that is self sufficient with an ice maker, water maker and only draws 11 inches of water. He spends his summer on the in the shallows of the Bight of Abaco with his grand kids, canoes, kayaks, jet skis, etc.. Soon David the local fisherman arrived to check out the catch...just like old times. Joe Frost arrived by dinghy since he draws too much water to get into Black Sound and had happy hour on the pier. Then left for dinner at Harvey's in the settlement. Sat at the same table, same chair and same arrangement as before with Mike and Carla.
3-22-2015: Nice breakfast on the boat and then off to find a Church. Ended up at the Anglican Church in New Providence settlement with predominately Black Bahamians who sing an awful lot! Back to Piper for bologna sandwiches and then the nearby cart rental place. Off to the North side of the island at White Sound to pick up Joe who came in an anchored on high tide. Over to the Bluff House Beachside grill to check things out, then stopping at all the beach access roads for Donna to see all the way to the end of the island. Stopped by Lizzards Bar & Grill at the Leeward YC for an early dinner and a 2 for 1 rum special. Then back to the North side of the island to drop Joe off at the Green Turtle Club dinghy dock. Then back to turn the cart in....someone lost money on that deal with all the travel and gas usage.
Hope Town - Marsh Harbour - Treasure Cay
18 March 2015
Photo is of the lead vehicle for the 'Worlds Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade' sponsored by the Strawberry Monkey Yacht Club in Marsh Harbor, Abaco.
3-17-2015: Left Hope Town and gave up my prime mooring ball spot for harbor watching in front of the office for the Hope Town Inn and Marina. There are pictures of the marina grounds in the photo gallery.
Went to the anchorage in Marsh Harbour to join in the festivities for St. Patrick's Day parade. Walk 100' and receive a beer, another 100' feet and a green jello shot, another 100' and green rum punch at Snappas. Sailors will do anything for a free drink! Harry and Finola were all dressed up in their finest Irish attire and photos will be uploaded soon. Joe Frost was there and we all had dinner later at Wally's. Check out Joe's hat in the photos.
3-18-2015: Off to Maxwell's for provisions and a stop for the last time at the KFC. Another gorgeous day just like the past couple of weeks. Motored 14 miles to Treasure Cay for Donna to see the most 3.5 mile beautiful beach on the Sea of Abaco and spent 4 hours there....she loved it. Anchored out and not sure what tomorrow brings.
Hope Town, Elbow Cay (cont'd)
08 March 2015
The photo was taken at the awards ceremony, Hope Town Sailing Club. Jim the Captain/Owner of Patty Jean (Cabo Rico 42) from Vancouver...aaaaa, Harry 'The Trimmer' of Irish decent and Jerry the Englishman. Carl from Canada...aaaa... was not available at press time. Eighteen starters, tied for 1st!!
SMSA was well represented with my Screwpile shirt and 2013 Cruiser of the Year award 'very large sippy cup'! See details in previous post.
3-8-2015: Catholic church services at 12:30 under the fig tree with my Irish Catholic friends. The priest came on the ferry which was 25 minutes late. Only in the Bahamas is church service late. Wooden benches facing the water under a sprawling fig tree near the ferry dock with folks coming and going....Nice.
Afternoon with everyone by the pool with 'spring breakers' coming in.
3-9-2015: Took three dinghies down to Tahiti Beach for the day. OMG!!! Nice!! It was about a half an hour run with all three on a plane. Tahiti Beach is where a woman was attacked by a shark a month ago and very lucky to be alive! BASRA (Bahamas Air - Sea Rescue Association - cruiser volunteers) was there in eight minutes and had her in Miami within the hour...amazing. No government agency could ever do that. You can see the Tilloo cut from the beach and watched a big sports fishermen go through...not a good day for Piper to try it. Stopped at White Sound to check out the Sea Spray Marina and the gals found flip flops on sale. Back in time for happy hour by the pool.
3-10-2015: Left for Marsh Harbour and let my neighbors know to keep an eye out for anyone removing my reserved milk jug and taking my mooring. I will pick Donna up in the morning at the airport. Joe Frost (Gemini) is here and picked Jody up today. I will have a slip at Mango's Marina tomorrow next to them. Jody is in and had a beer on Gemini. Laundry and provisions at Maxwells.
3-11-2015: Arrived Mangos Marina after a wonderful night on the hook next to Gemini and they were soon off for Hope Town. Salt off the boat, fill tanks, clean boat and off to airport. Donna is here!!! Dinghy over to the Jib Room for their Wed. night rib special. Donna loved the 'bilge burner' specials while waiting for the buffet to get started at 7. Nice crowd there and late returning to Piper.
3-12-2015: Left early to get back home to Hope Town. Toured the lighthouse, all over town and the beach. Happy hour by the pool and stopping by Gemini on the next ball over for world famous Vernon's key lime pie.
3-13-2015: Piper left early with Harry and Finola, Chris and Liz on board to go to the Bare Foot Man concert at world famous Nippers. Joe and Jody (Gemini) left the harbor 45 minutes after us after calling to get the depth report which was under 5' outside the harbor. It was a beautiful sail up in 18-20 on the quarter. There were about 100 boats anchored in Fishers bay and settlement harbor. You can check out his music at www.barefootman.com. Attending one of his concerts should be on every ones bucket list. The Friday show is a little more mild mannered than the Sat. evening one. Spent time with Joe and Jody there and lots of friends from along the way. Showed Donna my old home for a month at Orchid Bay Marina. She loved the world famous beach at Nippers and spent a lot of time in the waves. Left at 5 for a motor back still in 18-20 on the nose and caught a beautiful sunset while arriving back at the mooring just after dark.
3-14-2015: Rented bikes to go to the end of the Cay to Tahiti Beach. Stopped at the Abaco Inn for the art show and complimentary wine/cheese by the pool overlooking the pounding waves of the Atlantic...best view ever. On to Tahiti...great again...stopped by Sea Spray for a drink and to buy flip flops...resting in the rocking chair on the porch and did not want to leave. Stopped at Papanasty's BBQ for dinner...not much in decor, but great food. Back to the boat at dark while stopping at a couple of boats to catch up on the days events.
3-15-2015: Brunch at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge...beautiful morning over looking the Atlantic again. Spent three hours there while waiting for Church services under the fig tree at 12:30 and the priest late again. Back to Piper to change and go out to watch the Abaco dinghies race, but the races were called off due to lack of wind. Kept on across in the dinghy to a island and Donna collected lots of shells. Happy hour by the pool.
3-16-2015: Pulled out a calendar and it hurt!! Need to start working back North...very slowly. Plan is to Marsh Harbor tomorrow to meet our Irish friends Harry and Finola to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the shortest parade in history! They left the harbor last evening on high tide and anchored out. Gemini should be there as Jody is leaving tomorrow. Short stop at Treasure on Tuesday and hopefully through the Whale Cut on Thursday weather permitting. Soooo much to do ...soo little time! There are new pictures in the photo gallery.
Hope Town, Elbow Cay
02 March 2015
The picture is the Hope Town Lighthouse. It has been keeping ships off the reefs off Elbow Cay for many years. It was sabotaged several times during construction as the locals liked all the wrecks! Elvis is the keeper who sleeps during the day on the grounds and is busy at night keeping it lite. It is the only manned lighthouse in the Bahamas and one of two hand-wound kerosene-burning lighthouses still operational in the world. There are pictures taken from the top of the light house in the photo gallery.
3-2-2015: Left Orchid Bay Marina along with most of the others. It was a sad day leaving everyone after spending a month together, but more adventures are ahead. One can build a bonding friendship on an isolated island in the ocean. I will be meeting up with Escape Velocity and Groovin later in the week. My buddy Paul the retired truck driver from Canada was headed for the Whale Cut and working his way back to Ft. Pierce, FL where he will pull Tumbleweed and drive home. He will then launch his 31' sail boat that he has in Canada and take off again for more sailing all summer. The Ft. Pierce Inlet is closed due to a sunken barge in the channel, so he is not sure of his plans until getting closer.
It was a motor South in 10-12 on the nose for about 15 miles to Hope Town. Arriving on a dead low tide while taking the deep draft route, about 5' water depth and below at times. I think it has shoaled up near the shore and my guess is that the shallow draft route may be deeper. Plenty of water once inside the harbor while lining up a couple of range signs on shore with binoculars. There are about 60 mooring balls in the harbor, no anchoring and very close together, so you can get up close and personal with your neighbor. They are owned by different folks with different markings and you have to ask around to find out who owns what. Piper is on one owned by the Hope Town Inn & Marina and can use some of their amenities. Took a tour of the lighthouse with it's incredible view! Kind of a touristy little town. Temps have been around 80 for the past few days, humid and a sea temp of 78 degrees in the harbor.
3-3-2015: Toured the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum which is quite interesting. Wyannie was a South Carolina loyalist who arrived in 1785 after the American Revolution with here two sons. They relied on 'salvaging' for their livelihood. The residents intentionally misled ships onto the reefs to reap the treasure in their holds! Very interesting 30 minute tape of the history of the Abacos. The salvage ships were amazing... one would think it was a large skiff or something...actually large sail boats surrounding the victim. Happy hour with Chris and Liz on Groovin and Deak and Chris on 'Chris Deak' by the pool at the marina....nice evening except the hot tub temp was 90 degrees! Deak and Chris are on a Catalina 387 on the next mooring ball and were over 15 minutes after tying up to invite me to everything...that didn't take long!
3-4-2015: Got on a cutter rigged Costa Rico 42 loaded for cruising to crew for the two day William Gillies Trophy race sponsored by the Hope Town Sailing Club. Going out and starting to think....why am I doing this...give it up..once an for all! Cutter rig...I know nothing about a staysail. In the swing of things by the start with Jim the Captain from Vancouver aaaa, Craig from Vancouver aaaa and John from Lakeland Florida. Sixteen boats started with six local ringers in mainly J's in 15 knots. It is suppose to be kind of fun race with loaded cruising boats, but I heard that word protest against us three times during the race. Just goes to show when two + boats get together it is never just for fun. I was driving when crossing the finish line and when the horn went off.....BAM....aground....over with the wheel and off with the jib sheet and we were off. The RC Chairman David in his finest prompt, cool, calm and collective English accent on the VHF, "Patty Jean please turn down wind to avoid a potential grounding" ...thanks David. Only in the Bahamas can you run aground crossing the finish line. Patty Jean draws only 5' 3" or 5' 6"! Iceman (Beneteau 49) grounded in the middle of the course with the tide going out...so it was a loong day for them! We sailed around for an hour or so waiting for the tide to come up so we could get back in the harbor. John who is anchored off Tahiti Beach in his big Cat called his wife to come up and pick him up. We ran aground again just as Mindy arrived. We were sitting there with all the sails up, heeled over, no one on the wheel and not moving...she had a very strange look on her face when approaching and ...what are you doing....John told here to come aboard for a drink and they hung around for an hour waiting for the tide to come up some more.
3-5-2015: Got the race results off the Cruisers Net in the morning. Patty Jean...3rd place...wow. I have not looked at their rating system, but I like it.
Heard from Joe Frost (Gemini) who is in Little Harbor and should be here in a day or two. In the marina office on the WiFi and in walks Harry and Phinola on Escape Velocity (S&S Bennett 48) looking for a ball. I have kept and eye out, but no luck. They are anchored out in the Sea of Abaco due to their 6' 6" draft. Hanging out with them..another tour of lighthouse...cannot get enough of that view...lunch across the harbor and checked out the beach at the Hope Town Lodge.
It was a full moon and a Full Moon Dinghy Drift was organized. About 35 dinghies tied together at sunset passing around snacks and playing bumper boats while drifting through the mooring field...a fun and beautiful sight with the moon and Elvis light the light early for us. Still no ball for Escape Velocity and cannot raise Joe on the VHF. With my new phone, I do not have his phone number.
3-6-2015: Talked Harry into joining the crew and racing on the Patty Jean for the second and final race day. Harry is a great trimmer and did his stuff. John could not make it due to the 'brown bottle flu' per wife Mindy! Light 5-10 was predicted, but we saw 10-15 with three windward legs and about a 8 mile course. We did not feel like we did that well, since the ringers did horizon jobs on us. Trying to get back into the harbor we grounded twice I think and was towed off by the RC boat. Race results were at 16:30 at the Hope Town Sailing Club club house. We raced on the water for perfection while all the ladies cooked all day for perfection with all the food. Race results.... 18 starters, 2nd for the day. Overall...tied for 1st place and losing the tie breaker for a 2nd. I like that boat!! Jim and Wendy are leaving for the Exumas on Tuesday, so no more racing. Escape Velocity still anchored out with a lot of confusion on grabbing vacant mooring balls through out the day.
3-8-2015: Escape Velocity made it in the harbor on high tide around 8 am with Groovin sitting in his dinghy holding it before anyone else grabbed it. Harry calls it "buoy rage". I got involved in one dispute the day of arrival. Coming back in dinghy...Piper go knock on the boat on my ball and tell them to move..ok...there was no marker saying reserved, so we are staying... I tied one on so you removed..ok..we will move, but not until our son comes back in the dinghy...ok...son comes back and goes off again...they move..old boat comes in and all is well again...relaying this between the boats...nothing like being caught in the middle. Heritage Day celebration in town with lots of activities. Lots of food, nautical arts and crafts. Great old photos of Hope Town. Unpredicted little front went through during the day sent those anchored out the harbor scampering for protection from the North....Escape Velocity arrived just in the nick of time.
Happy Hour at 5 aboard Escape Velocity along with Chris and Liz on Groovin. More great food and left at 10 pm! Five hours of talking about nothing but sailing with Harry and I re-racing the race a few times! Life is good...
Great Guana Cay
26 February 2015
The picture is the diesel fuel delivery on a barge at Orchid Bay Marina.
Still at Orchid Bay Marina at Great Guana Cay. Pretty much the same great routine. Keith and Chris have started playing guitars on the marina office porch for happy hours every evening. Got a gig at the pot luck at Grabbers for the last two weeks. See pictures in the photo gallery. Paul from Canada...aaa...brought some home made potato Vodka..well...it was well received. We have been having some extremely low tides due to a new moon (about 4 feet down from high) which requires adjusting all mooring lines on each tide...even the ones in the middle of the night.
My cell phone would not charge, so I went to the phone store on Treasure Cay last Friday (2-20-2015). Paul from Canada wanted to go and then Harry/Finola from Ireland joined in. The store was closed due to a strike and was told to go to Marsh Harbour. We had a great sail over, pump out on the way, bottom cleaning,lunch at Cocos, fresh roast for the crock pot and a beautiful sail back in 20 slightly cracked off. Finola from Ireland practiced her heavy air helming with a full main and 135% jib with hubby Harry trimming constantly. Harry is an old racer who really misses it and cannot keep still. We talked about taking Piper to Hope Town for the Founders day race on Tuesday with our top notch crew. We would have to take all the boats and spend the night there as it is too far for a day trip, so we will re-group when we move down that way in a week or so. There are pictures in the photo gallery of the sail across.
Went to Marsh Harbour on Monday to the phone store... new phone under warranty, but all the codes change. Walked back to dinghy dock, back to boat to get laptop and tablet and back to store to configure...then a short walk (2 miles) to post office, haircut, KFC, Maxwells for supplies and the liquor store....whipped. Spent the night at anchor and did laundry the next morning and spent another night. Motor back in flat calm standing on the deck watching the beautiful bottom in 8 feet of water at dead low tide and all the beautiful seastars. Got back at noon when everyone was leaving to go snorkeling off Nippers beach. It was still rough, got beat up and could not make it past the breakers. About 85 degrees, 95% humidity and a dew point of 93 degrees....a beautiful day. Another front moved in today with SW 25-30, so it is rocking and rolling again. At least we got a four day break between fronts and should be more of the same.
A lot of boats are starting to work their way back North. Les on Elizabeth from St. Mary's City, MD stayed here last Saturday night and got through the Whale Cut on Sunday as he had to get back to do taxes! Keith and Jill on Charmed Elisa from CT were pulling out yesterday and discovered a water pump problem and waiting on parts.
14 February 2015
Picture is on Groovin heading back from Man-O-War Cay.
Six of us went on Groovin (Catalina 34) down to Man-O-War Cay for 10 miles to their annual flea market. Nice sail down in 10-12 down wind and a lumpy motor back on the nose in 15 -20. We anchored outside the harbor and had T/T Pay the Piper in tow for the ride in. A very small and crowded harbor. Ran into the folks from Hull, MA on the lobster boats that were in NSB. They are staying in the marina for the winter. Saw lots of others from along the way down. A big occasion for the locals. well attended and a lot to see. Found a 35# CQR anchor in good condition for $100. Will get it changed out and give it a try.
Man-O-War is a dry island, but we made up for lost time soon as the anchor was up! Back to the marina for the rib special. Another great day in Paradise! Temps. remain in the 70's.
Great Guana Cay
09 February 2015
Photo is of a sucker fish that travels around attached to the bottom of WT's boat from Canada. He taps on the side of the boat and it comes out for it's feeding of cat food three times a day. I can't think of a better pet to have on a boat. There is a picture of WT tapping on the boat in the photo gallery.
Left Treasure on a very calm day and motored back to Guana in flat calm. No complaints after all the howling for the last few days. Decided to get a slip till the end of the month at Orchid Bay Marina due to the weather forecast for the next couple of weeks and their monthly special continues. Will use as a home base with short trips here and there. The nice thing about the Sea of Abaco is that you can sail most places in a day. Donna is coming to Marsh Harbour on March 11th for a couple of weeks, so not planning on going much further south. There is plenty to do at Guana and a very nice marina with nice folks. Another pot luck at Grabbers with about 40 and lots of food on Wednesday's. Wings at Sunsetters (Marina restaurant) on Thursday and ribs on Saturday.
I could hear the sounds of roosters crowing as soon as the engine was off and see the golf carts. Much better than the commercial and touristy Treasure Cay. Temps have been in the mid 70's.
05 February 2015
A little sea plane moored back in a canal. There are photos of it taking off in the photo gallery.
2-5-15 thru 2-8-15: Left Guana for Treasure Cay. My Life stayed behind since Chantal got a infection from no-see-um bites. It was a beat in 14 knots for the 14 mile sail. Half way over there was a thunder storm that lasted for around an hour. Had the big jenny out when it hit with a gust to 22. Took it in and things held a steady 18 with buckets of rain and thunder/lightning. Just like the good old Chesapeake Bay except for the color of the water. Motored very slowly for the last couple of miles waiting for it to clear to find the tricky little channel going in. Voodoo was at anchor with his new alternator. It was pizza night at the Tipsy Seagull with Alderann, Sanderling and other Maine boats totaling about 14 folks. We all agreed that is was the most expensive pizza we have ever eaten! Beautiful 3.5 mile beach with a totally different color. My Life arrived the next day in quite a blow! Waiting out another front, another one on Monday and another one on Thursday. Temps. are around 70, but blowing along with more anchor dragging. Switched to the Danforth, but not much better in clay and grass...West Marine confirms this as well. Took the dinghy up the canals for sightseeing and to see the sea turtles which are really fast under water.
Great Guana Cay
03 February 2015
The beautiful Atlantic beach. There are 276 photos in the photo gallery.
Have a slip at the beautiful Orchid Bay Marina with a lot of very nice folks. Temps. in the 70's. Went conch and lobster fishing in T/T Pay the Piper with the My Life crew. No conch, one lobster and one speared fish that got away.
Grabbers seaside grill had a pot luck for all the cruisers one night with about 25 attending and some locals. Very nice to get together with everyone. Enjoying the beautiful Atlantic Beach over by Nippers, but no snorkeling out from the beach due to the Northeaster that only stops to go SW and then NW again.
Marsh Harbour - Great Guana
02 February 2015
Partly Cloudy, 75 degrees, 12nms, sea temp 67
Photo is from the marina over looking the entrance to Great Guana harbor.
1-31-2015: Left Marsh Harbour and it was good to move along. Voodoo stayed behind waiting for an alternator and My Life left later in the day. It is more of a city with very narrow streets and big vehicles driving way too fast. Has a big super market, but the prices are more than double the states. A big liquor store with the only thing reasonable is rum made in Kentucky! Not sure how the folks survive, import tax on a vehicle is 85%. A 10k used care in Miami will cost you $18,500, then shipping and who knows how much registration, etc. is. A 7.5% value added tax started in January and that is on slips, ice, water, electric as well. Folks wash their clothes at the laundromat, but take home to dry outside.
Donna...ran into Marc and Ann on Alderann a couple of times in one day. They wanted to know when you were coming back! All The Moorings charter boats were changing out...the ones leaving ...not too happy. If you pay 5-10k for a weeks charter and it is too windy to leave the slip...well. One big cat broke loose from a mooring ball and took the ball with it (bad chain) and ended up with a big hole on one side.
It was a beautiful 12 mile beat in 14-20 to Great Guana. Anchored in Fishers Bay and dragged a little before getting it right. Great to see the beautiful water again. Took a slip at Orchid Bay Marina (50 cents per foot super bowl special) on Sunday for a couple of days to wait out another blow. Very nice place except for the no-see-ums by the pool. The kids (My Life) went out lobster fishing, but no luck. Went to Nippers for the super bowl. Dan (friend of Joe Frost) on Scarlett Lady is here and we had a good time together. He is thinking about buying a building lot over by Treasure...very interesting....hmmm!!!
White Sound, Great Guana Cay, Marsh Harbour
21 January 2015
Gorgeous, 83 degrees, NE 5-10, sea temp 70
Photo is of Joe on Voodoo singing the national anthem at the art show. There are 237 photos in the photo gallery, most with captions.
1/21/2015: Left Black Sound Marina and headed North to White Sound anchoring off the Green Turtle Club after getting fuel. Voodoo, My Life and Piper took the dinghies out and around to the Sea of Abaco to go conch fishing. A gorgeous day with Brenden on My Life catching a dozen (youth) with Chantal towing him to cover more area. Piper was not skunked and caught a throw back. Wanted to go out to the reef, but to far and rough in the ocean. Left at sundown in the dinghies for the two mile run to to Sundowners with My Life crew in T/T Piper and Voodoo in their dinghy. Beautiful ride back although very dark.
1/22/2015: Was planning on going by land out to the reef to go snorkeling, as it is too far by dinghy. There is a big blow coming for the weekend and Voodoo, My Life and Piper decided to head out instead to find a place to hunker down.
Headed down to Great Guana Cay for 20 miles. Through the Whale Cut Passage and into the ocean for a couple of miles with some good breakers salting up the boat again. The water was a totally different incredible color in that area. Anchored near the harbor and went to world famous 'Nippers' which sits up high on a bluff overlooking the third largest reef in the world...beautiful. There was a film crew there for the Bravo channel 'Below Deck' series. Joe from Voodoo got into the act...signed waivers and the rest will be history! Over to the Orchid Marina Bar for late drinks. Dragging anchors at 2 am when the wind picked up. I could not find Voodoo as he had no lights on. Finally he was up against the rock wall!! Bright beam light on the windows and no sign of them and I could hear their depth alarm going off. Getting ready to anchor again, put motor on dinghy and go in...then get the light out off of us, so we can see. They came out and I almost ran into them...turn your lights on...what..turn your lights on...what...finally. Hank got on the bow with his search light with Joe driving and I followed to calmer waters..Joe go left there are some big rocks...no answer..but turned anyway and we anchored again at 3 am. Joe said he could spit on the wall from the stern of the boat!
1-23-2015: Had a nice 12 mile sail beating to Marsh Harbor. Voodoo got a slip and My Life and Piper anchored. My Life had me over for fresh conch fritters soon after arrival which were better than Nippers the night before. Off to see Voodoo and the town. Joe and I went to an art show for the benefit of reef restorations on Sunday. Lots of beautiful local made things. There was a Bahamian comedian afterwards who got Joe to sing our national anthem since we were the only two Americans there. Joe is becoming quite the star..singing..movies..he will be Carlisle's super star when he returns on Friday. Went to the Jib Room for ribs last night and the film crew was there again, but Joe and Hank on Voodoo did not go since they took the ferry to Hopetown for the day. The fronts continue to come in day after day with no end in sight. Lots of things to do and we have been all over the place. Marsh Harbor is a big city for the islands and everyone comes here to re-stock. Got a bahamian phone with data since internet is very poor when found. Spent all week walking to the phone door to get it working...very slow and expensive. Probably will be here a few more days. It is in the 70's and not bad. Two storms and I raced back to the boat just in time for both. Excuse all the spelling, grammar errors, etc. as I have to type fast.
1-31-2015: Got a slip at The Mooring charter fleet dock to re-charge everything. Most likely will head back to Great Guana in the morning for the weekend.
Great Sale - Green Turtle
17 January 2015
Beautiful, 65nms, 80 degrees, NE 10-15, sea temp 71
The wind died down during the night. Picked Carla up who is from Newfoundland with her big pink suit case! Following Voodoo and Menorah on another beautiful power sail. Weaving in an out of all the beautiful islands and aqua marine water. Carla missed the last ferry out for the day. We arrived at Black Sound Marina at 4:30 and was greeted by owner Roy and crew. Some good drinks and snacks in the cockpit and off to Harvey's for dinner. Back to the boat and Mike wanted to go to Pineapples, so off we went down a long and winding cut through the woods and they were closed. Carla slept in the cockpit under the stars appreciative of the canvas to keep the dew off. She will send a bottle (jar) of moose and caribou meet for payment!
1-20-2015: Cleaned all the salt off the boat, filled water tanks and plan to leave in the morning. Walked into town again for the afternoon. They are having a dock party tonight with Roy and crew furnishing all the food and it was a feast. Mike and Willi..the big power boat here is from Oakton and said Miller Hieights is about three miles from them. Was telling them about your book...Bob was very interested as he was a grunt at that time!
1-19-2105: Voodoo with Hank from St. Augustine and cousin Joe from Carlisle, PA asked me if I wanted to go rent a golf cart and tour the island...yes.
Really neat place and check out everything along with the beaches. Very friendly folks who are interested in meeting us as much as we are meeting them. Very proud of their island and want to share it with us. Very polite and helpful kids with no crime and everyone leaves things unlocked. It is a shame the rest of the world cannot live like this. They should come here and take notes. Saw My Life (Brenden and Chantel) anchored in White Sound, wave and they dinghies in. Going come down to Black Sound for happy hour. Typical dock side happy hour, then to Pineapples (closed) and to Lizzies for another happy hour and eats. It was fun coming back with five of us on the cart.
1-18-2015: Up at 6:30 to get the crew ready to catch the ferry at 8:00. It was a beautiful flat calm morning which is unusual here. I will miss 'manual chart plotter Mike" who double checked courses with the Garmin. He was a lot of company and help.
Went with Roy on his golf cart across the sound to get breakfast consistently of boiled fish/grits at Lizzie's Grill, but they were closed. Gave me a tour of New Plymouth with everything closed on Sunday.
There are lots of new photos in the photo gallery.
Old Bahama Bay - Great Sale Cay
15 January 2015
Beautiful 80 degrees, E 12-14, 74 nms, sea temp 73
Up early and did the 2 mile walk into town. Not a lot there and caught a ride with the hotel manager on the way back. Left at 9:00 with another down pour when leaving slip with sports fisherman heading out and a tug/barge. Was planning on taking the short cut through Wood Cab, but visibility was down and did not think it was a good idea in a narrow channel. It was a great sail cracked off for 15 miles to Memory Rock (sometimes the light is working and sometimes not, but no problem in day time) then a 90 degree turn and onto the Little Bahama Bank. Jib down while on the nose. You could see the bottom in 12 feet of water for the next 50 miles in crystal clear (gin) water. Past Mangrove Cay where Voodoo (Hankd - FL) was going to spend the night. Into the anchorage around 8:00 with a French boat directing Menorah (Will - Texas) and he had a red strobe light for me. Amazing to find this spit of land in the night in such a vast area of water.
1-16-2015: A front came in during the night with 25-30 knot winds and two anchor dragging issues before dawn. About 6 boats in the anchorage. Finally put out 75' of chain and 75' of rode in 7' of water and it held. I have a Danforth with me and it may be time to switch out the Bruce in the sand. No communications or weather and channel 16 was more like a walkie/talkie with no one around. Bacon and eggs for brunch and a nice steak and potatoes for dinner. Voodoo arrived mid morning after getting beat up at Mangrove and then the ride up, plus a broken head and alternator. My Life (Brendan & Chantel) are looking for someone to give Carla their crew a ride to get to the Marsh Harbor airport. The same route Mike is going to take...catch ferry at Green Turtle to Treasure Cay and shuttle to Marsh Harbor, so Piper volunteered.
Gulf Stream Crossing
14 January 2015
Beautiful, Sunny 85 degrees, N 10, 80 nms, sea teimp 77
Piper just before sundown. Photo courtesy of Yvonne and Joe Watson on the Canadian boat 'Mudaki'.
The early Tuesday departure did not happen, since Chris Parker (Bahamas Meteorologist) said not to go.
We finally got out at 4 pm yesterday. It was a beautiful night with stars and some squalls. A little lumpy with confused seas from all the wind direction changes. About 25 boats were strung out headed in every direction. Everyone was in good spirits back and forth on the VHF with their route and glad to get moving. Donna...Alderann (Marc and Ann) had to escort Sanderling back into Lake Worth after Bobs GPS quit, about 15 miles out. You know how anxious they were to get going after waiting for 10 days. Modaki, who sat with us at the pizza party with the little Hunter 30 and I sailed very close together for 15 miles, when he developed engine problems, probably from fuel rolling around in the tank and picking up dirt from the waves. I offered to stay back with him as I would only waste time in the morning waiting for daylight so he could change out fuel filters, but he decided not to give it a try in the conditions and turned back on limited power. Met a couple of ships. We over compensated for the Gulf Stream current and probably did an extra 15 miles that was not needed, but better than having to fight it the other way. We arrived in West End, Grand Bahama Island Marina and resort around 4 am and circled outside the harbor until the sun came up. Coming through the jetty it poured and could not see anything. Actually did a 360 without realizing it, until looking at the GPS. Went to the Old Bahama Bay Marina with our yellow 'Q' quarantine flag flying. Took almost 2 hours to clear customs and Mike cannot leave boat until clearing. I had printed all the forms off the internet and filled them out before hand. Was told they were obsolete and they had new ones for everyone. Was told to take the yellow flag down from pennant halyard and fly the Bahamian flag immediately. Nice marina and resort and we can use all the amenities. Mike and I had a Bahama Mama at the pool bar before closing Going to Great Sale Cay tomorrow if the winds are right. Will get Mike to Marsh Harbor by Saturday for a flight out. Nice WiFi at the marina lounge, but it will be very limited going forward.
North Palm Beach
12 January 2015
Cloudy, 78 degrees, Muggy
1/10/2015: Photo is from the anchorage in North Palm Beach anchorage.
Sunny, 80 degrees, NNE 15-20. Went around in the dinghy and checked with other boats heading cross. There are a dozen that have been here for a week due to the weather and are getting antsy. Tuesday is looking good with the majority of them as well. There is a pizza get together tomorrow on shore. Went ashore at a MUST lock dinghy dock (chain link fence on shore) for some shopping. Had late lunch at Duffy's Sports Bar where it was rolling and re-charged allll electrical devices for 2-3 hours. Re-stocked again at CVS and Publix. Back to Piper at dark along all the Mc-mansions (the guys for the past 500 miles were just starter homes). Beautiful warm evening.
1/11/2015: Partly Cloudy, 78 degrees, East 15-20. Went ashore early and to West Marine, then to pizza place. About 25 folks with all different experiences. Turns out that no one is going to West End, but up more North to Great Sale Cay...developing plan C, D and E. Kind of the ring leader broke his collar bone riding a fold up bicycle yesterday...not leaving for awhile! We left early since we are going to the North Palm Beach marina for the night. Blowing 20-25 when leaving and going into fuel dock and slip. Nice marina with all facilities close to boat and Mike can park right in front of Piper. Laundry, water, full charging, and clean up.
1/12/2015: Cloudy, humid, showers, 80 degrees. Doing final preparations. Mike and Willi should be here by noon, lunch, more provisioning with a car. Transfer all stuff, Donna and Willi leave, Mike and I will go down to Peanut Island by the inlet to anchor for the night with some other boats and hopefully leave around 4-6 am. Got a nice pot roast in the slow cooker for dinner! Not sure of the route at this time....stay tuned.
Vero Beach - North Palm Beach
09 January 2015
Beautiful, 77 degrees, 64 nms, 63 stm, mm 1014, sea temp 70
Photo is of Renee, Donna and Philippe at Riverside Inn.
1/7/2105: A beautiful day with highs around 70. Philippe picked us up at 10 to show us around town. We ran into Casa Blanca (Bill & Sharon) on the dinghy ride in and talked for awhile. Bill is putting new gadgets on the boat and will be leaving soon. We had a nice lunch and afternoon at their condo, followed by happy hour next to the bridge.
1/8/2015: The front hit around 2 am with gale force winds coming right down the cove. We still were not rafted with anyone which was great, since there could have been some banging masts! With two short lines on the ball, there was lots of swinging. It had died down some by morning and we made the dinghy ride in around 10. We were anchored far south in the south mooring field and the dinghy dock is up by the north field...quite a ride. Took a bus into town and did some shopping. It was about 65 degrees and cloudy, so the solar panels did not charge much during the day, prompting an engine run before dark. Back to the marina lounge for showers, TV and WiFi for the evening and ordered a pizza.
1/9/2015: Left at 7:30 with Casa Blanca for a beautiful flat calm motor. The women's sculling team stayed in the channel and raced us for about five miles (photo in gallery) just a few feet away and we were evenly paced. Past Ft. Pierce Inlet, St. Lucie Inlet which connects with the Okeechobee Waterway over to the West coast, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Hobe Sound, and Jupiter Inlet. Through about a dozen bridges with time restrictions for openings. Arrived in the N. Lake Worth anchorage at 6:30 making good time considering all the bridges.
The plan is to move further South tomorrow to position for crossing from the Lake Worth Inlet to the West End, Abacos. All sources report a good weather window on Tuesday. Mike McCarey who has campaigned Chardonnay for years is driving down from NSB and will cross over and fly back the next day, unless I can talk him into staying longer. His wife Willi will drive Donna back to NSB to spend time with Todd and family.
Cocoa Beach - Vero Beach
06 January 2015
Beautiful, 80 degrees, 0 nms (paddle wheel fouled), stm 54, mm 952, sea temp 73
The photographer was up at 6:00 for the space launch, but it was scrubbed till Friday at 9. Still a full moon and a beautiful sunrise leaving at 7:15 for a flat calm ride all day. After 5 hours of motoring I noticed still no tide. I did some investigating and found the Indian River Lagoon is not tidal and it's not technically a river. What goes in the lagoon stays in the lagoon until the wind pushes it elsewhere...'sweet'. Passed 50 miles of mc-mansions where you could almost reach out and touch them on both sides of the channel...beautiful day.
There was a large Corp of Engineers dredge (yes, another one) blocking the channel with about a mile of red floating pipe looking like a big red snake that ended somewhere on shore. Eased by on the other side a few feet from them in 4 feet of water needing 4.5 feet! I wouldn't dare ask for instructions!
Arrived at the mooring field in Vero Beach at 3. It is almost full with double rafting as a blow will be coming through tomorrow. Philippe who I buddy boated with a few days is renting a condo here for the winter with his wife and is picking us up in the morning and showing us around. A beautiful evening with the days getting longer and watching a women's sculling team practice in the channel. Donna was a big help with the driving today as the skipper is still rusty from all the time off, but getting back into the swing of things. The no-see-ums are awful with the heat and the ice cubes don't last long in the drinks, but who's complaining.
New Smyrna Beach - Cocoa Beach
05 January 2015
Cloudy then Sunny, 70 degrees, 52 stm, mm 897, sea temp 71
Photo is taken from the Minorca complex with Ponce De Leon Inlet light house in the distance between the 2nd and 3rd buildings.
It was a great time in NSB for the past 5 weeks with the girls. Some of the highlights are the Orion Test Launch at Kennedy from the cockpit one morning, Joe Frost (Gemini) in the next slip for 3 days to help celebrate my birthday on Pearl Harbor day. Watching the boat parade in shorts with the girls from the cockpit with 34 beautifully decorated boats. Watching the construction of Todd and Sherry's house on Villa Way in Minorca. Lots of golf, not enough lessons. Fishing with the girls at the Minorca pier at sunset with the dolphins feeding close by trying to catch all our fish, but we out smarted them. They are very noisy when feeding and come right to the pilings. Watching the surfers, fishermen on the rock pile jetty at Ponce Inlet and watching the boats go through the chop! I never got run over by a car on the beach as does happen periodically. Lots of new transients in the marina every evening. Went sailing in the ocean one day when it was pretty calm and the Inlet is not all that treacherous (when calm). New Years Eve with Mike and Willi McCarey (Chardonnay - Z's) hitting the taverns on Flagler Avenue with all ages. Mike and Donna dancing to Mike's favorite song...'Brick House'..... Willi and I manning the stools.
I rode back to MD with Todd and family taking two cars and stayed for 8 days. Todd trailered his Key West 18 bow rider back and will soon be ready for the water. Lots of work on the house getting it ready to list for sale soon. Donna and I drove back and spent a week preparing to head South again.
We left NSB this morning and sailed/motor sailed in 16-25 knots from the North. Down the wide open Mosquito Lagoon into the Indian River, past Kennedy where there is a 6:15 am launch in the morning which we should be able to see. There is a sharp right turn into a rock laden jetty about 150 feet wide that leads into the Haulover Canal. Had the jib down and thankful for a reliable motor when making the turn very near the rocks! The waters are wide here, but very shallow. Depth in the channels are 8-10 feet and if you wander just a little bit, you are down to 4-5 feet! Still have to pay pretty close attention to where you are going. Had 5 bridges today and pretty much a fair tide. Currently anchored in Cocoa Beach where it will be a little choppy for the night with a full moon.
Daytona Beach - New Smyrna Beach
22 November 2014
Cloudy, Rain, 70 degrees, 20 nms, MM845, sea temp 60
The photo is of Piper on Piper. I picked Todd, Piper and Rilynn up at Halifax Harbor Marina with 15 -20 NE. The rain did not dampen the girls spirits as it was dry with the enclosure as they went about exploring Piper once more. Just a three hour ride to NSB with winds building to 25 when entering the slip at NSB City Marina. Went to lunch nearby, followed by a delicious Italian dinner by Chef Sherry. The marina is just a short walk to all the amenities of the town. The crew lives just five minutes away on the North Peninsula near Ponce Inlet/Lighthouse with 26 miles of beach to walk almost to Cape Canaveral and then 26 back if you are up to it.
11/23/2014: Fresh homemade cinnamon buns made by Sherry and delivered to Piper by the girls. Miniature golf in Daytona, playground near the Ponce Lighthouse, dinner at Crabby Billies out over the ocean. The fisherman walk through the middle of the restaurant with all their gear to fish in the deeper water...a very rustic establishment!
11/24/2014: Tee time with Todd at 7:50, lunch at Five Guys, gym, hot tub, pool, another delicious dinner by Sherry, fishing with the crew over on the ICW with dolphins all around...life is good.
Piper has logged 1,100 nm's, gone through or under 42 bridges and 2 locks so far. We will be here until the first of the year, so there will not be a lot of posts in the meantime. I do not want to make this a family vacation photo album and really bore you. Till the New Year.
St. Augustine - Daytona Beach
21 November 2014
Beautiful, 65 degrees, 52 nms, 53 stms, MM831, sea temp 53
The photo is of an old tug boat tie to shore between two mc-mansions! If you have to live in Florida on a boat...why not an old tug boat! It looks like it was laundry day.
A beautiful day with a fair tide most of the day. Five bridges the last half mile with another bascule only opening on one side. Anchored out for a somewhat choppy night due to the Noreaster that is brewing.
St. Augustine, FL
20 November 2014
Beautiful, 60 degrees, 13 nms, 13 stms, MM778, sea temp 52
The main photo and first twelve photos in the photo gallery are dedicated to the first grade students at St. Michael's Catholic School in Ridge, where our grandson Emerson attends. From email, I know they all enjoy pictures of bridges, big ships, water and eating on a boat. I think they must also like pirate ships (real and pretend), forts, cannons, and churches as well.
Left the anchorage at Pine Island at 08:00 after a very quiet and peaceful night. Trying to decide whether to stop in St. Augustine or continue on, but there is virtually no place to anchor for almost 65 miles to Daytona Beach. Needed to fuel up before going much further. In spite of a fair tide, decided to get a mooring ball in St. Augustine and start out early tomorrow. Picking up a mooring ball (3 attempts) by yourself in an opposing tide, does not work too well as the boat literally spun in circles after tying up. Caught it as the worst possible time and no approach would have been favored. Off in the dinghy to discover St. Augustine where I have been several times. Still a real historic gem and plenty to see...just get away from all those shops! Back to Piper by dark and got the dinghy back on deck as I do not plan to use for awhile. Sixty five miles to Daytona Beach tomorrow. Todd and the girls may join me for the 15 miles to New Smyrna Beach on Saturday, just before a Noreaster kicks up over the weekend.
19 November 2014
Mostly Cloudy then Beautiful at noon: 55 degrees, 59 nms, 55 stms, MM765, sea temp 51
The left over pot roast was great last night. The anchorage was not too protected and a lot of noise most of the night, especially the six hours when the tide was flooding and the stern was into the waves. Pretty cold (53 on boat) this morning and the wind still howling so no reason to take off early. Left at 9 with wind NW 15-20, which moderated through the day and warmed up. Into Florida, past Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville. Past a big Navy shipyard and across the St. John's River which is beautiful. One could spend a month on the St. John's as goes far South. Went about 10 miles in a straight canal with 12 feet of water with incredible homes the entire way. No worries and never touched the auto pilot for two hours. The most relaxing day yet. I could have taken a picture of every home, but you probably would not want to see them all. Got to the anchorage with three others boats around 5 and had time to straighten up and get a drink for another incredible sunset. A favorable tide most of the day. The main photo is of a Navy ship in dry dock. New photos were added to the photo gallery.
Brunswick, GA - St. Mary's, GA
18 November 2014
Beautiful, 55 degrees, 41 nms, 37 stm, MM 710 sea temp 53
Today starts week five...where did the time go. The cold front moved in, but not too bad. Off on the bike to West Marine for a boat hook. Trying to decide whether to leave or not. It is blowing 20-25 with gusts to 30 and that does not bother me, but low tide at Jekyll Creek is in an hour. It is bad enough with out the North blow. Talked to Todd who is not going to Key Largo for vacation since they all have colds, so I can step it up a notch again. Left at 11 and 7 miles later in Jekyll Creek it is 4 -5 feet...OMG. There is more mud showing than water the entire width of the creek. Richard Hackett told me not to go through there on low tide! Basically just idling and waiting for every inch of the 8 foot rise. Through the bridge and things get better depth wise. Past an Army helicopter complex to the East. Kind of lumpy out in St. Andrews Sound with the waves from the ocean. Down past another huge Navy submarine degaussing operation to demagnitize the subs. Could see coming in from far out when turning for the anchorage Anchored in the St. Mary's River around dark with another beautiful sunset and the wind still howling. Only 6-8 miles to the Florida line! The photo is of the normal 8' low tide on Jekyll Island.
Savannah, GA - Brunswick, GA
17 November 2014
11/15/2014: Beautiful then cloudy, 55 degrees, 63 nms, 59 stm, MM643, sea temp 51
Boat temp was 53 in the morning. Not bad at all. Very comfy in thermals, sleeping bag and two heavy blankets. Sailed most of the way in anywhere from beam to dead down wind in 15 -18. Anchored in Crescent River which is on Skipper Bob's list of anchorages. It states not to go 300 yds beyond the shrimp boats as it gets very shallow. There was not enough room to swing in this area so I kept on going panning with the chart plotter. There was a large opening around the corner in 60' feet of water and found 10' to anchor in. Philippe came over to warm up, have some snacks after a cold day for him. He ended up rafted for the night. Left early before all the water runs out and AdventureS dug some new channels for the charts.
11/16/2014: Beautiful 80, 45 nms, 41 stm, MM680, sea temp 57
A great day to be motoring with little wind and some very shallow channels. Past Blackbeard (these were his roaming grounds) and St. Simon's Islands. Through Hell Gate where about five bodies of water meet with no wave direction, just straight up in very shallow water doing 7 knots. Under the unique and beautiful Sidney Lanier bridge into Brunswick. Brunswick is about 5 miles from the ICW. We have slip reservations at Brunswick Landing Marina. A very nice place with 300+ slips that are all filled with 'snow birds'. Philippe and I are into town walking 1.8 miles for groceries and then a cab back. Everything out here is an adventure. The cab was very late and a tiny car. Pop the trunk...no room ..have a flat and trunk is full. A girl was in the passenger seat smoking. Please do not smoke as I am allergic and do not want to be sick all night...2nd request, flips it out, wild ride through town will bags piled to the ceiling. We had a roast chicken and salads on Piper, exchanged photos of the week and a box of wine. Philippe prefers only box wine! I decide to stay another day with four weeks of laundry to do, maintenance, etc. Todd and the girls are going on vacation to Key Largo and will not be back until Wed. before Thanksgiving, so I need to kill some time and no better place than here. Philippe needs to get going as his wife has arrived in Vero Beach to spend the winter in a rented condo and play golf. AdventureS will be on the hard and he will do the work.
11/17/2014: Cloudy, rain, 70
Philippe needs something from grocery store and he is on the bike to town. Started a roast in the crock pot which is the first time. My plan was to do this on the ICW while motoring with my 800 watt from Lowes to keep the battery up. Kind of afraid of a 30 degree heel and a mess in the sink...not sure if taping the lid would help...sure is smelling good. Things are so much easier on a boat, cutting veggies and everything is right there. Folding clothes is much easier as well than on a big bed. Forecast is now for tornadoes as one touched down in Florida. I look out and AdventureS is high tailing it down the river. He is a very kind, thoughtful and interesting person whom I was lucky to meet. I will catch up with him passing Vero Beach in January. Storms move through and no visit to West Marine. I really need a boat hook to pick up a mooring ball in St. Augustine...so early tomorrow on the bike. Nice 3,000 sq ft club house here with lots of things to look at. I can see why some folks stop here and spend the winter without going further...like Rich and Patty on Patty K from Solomons. the main photo is Piper going down wind in 15 - 18 somewhere in central Georgia. There are new photos in the Photo Gallery.
Beaufort, SC - Savannah, GA
14 November 2014
Beautiful, 75 degrees, 58 nms, 49 stm, MM 575, sea temp 58
11/13/2014: Fueled up and left at 9. Past Parris Island, not much to see, but they make Marines there! Sailed and motor sailed for about 12 miles. Through Hilton Head Island with beautiful homes, deep and open water..the least stressful day yet. Philippe on Surprise S told me in Beaufort that he was going to Savannah today and invited me along. While watching some dolphins, Philippe caught up with me and I asked if he wanted some company to Savannah and said please (he is tired of talking to himself as well). It was about 8 miles off the ICW, but the 4 knot current was against us the entire way up the Savannah River and arrived well after dark. Very interesting at night with all the ship traffic! It is a very industrial river with lots of ships, tugs, etc. with deep water right to shore. Tied along the city concrete floating docks downtown. Had a nice dinner at Billy's Crab House over looking the harbor watching the huge ships go by very close. A real tourist town right along the docks. Kind of a lumpy night with the waves from the tugs, ships, local shuttles.
11/14/2014: A little cooler and had to get out the blue jeans again. Walked all over town. Big cobblestone streets, walls, buildings all along the waterfront. Nice, big city with very nice folks. The interior of the St. John the Baptist church is a must see! Lots of parks, memorials and visitor kiosks everywhere. I was there once by car, but it is much better in a boat.
Left at 2 to get the outgoing tide. Past historic Fort Jackson with six big tour buses in the parking lot. Sailed some, Adventure S and Piper got into a dual as usual. Off the Savannah River, back onto the ICW and sailed for about 5 miles continuing to dual. We have got to stop that or someone will definitely be aground. Only 250 more miles and we will split up.
Herb Reese...to show my respect for my old friend, I anchored in Herb River, About 8 miles past the Savannah River. Very nice anchorage and thank you for suggesting. Did not get time to look up brother Bill. Have not seen him since around 1980 when we were both at Langley Pt. Marina, which is now Solomon's Yachting Center. Some familiar boats in the anchorage that I have not seen in three weeks! Where have they been...each one is a story!
N. Beaufort - Beaufort, SC
12 November 2014
Beautiful, 84 degrees, 19 nms, 20 stm, sea temp 58
Very quiet night surrounded by thousands of acres of marsh lands. The wild life on a calm morning is incredible! Left at 8 for the short (19 nms) down to Beaufort (Boo-fert) harbor with only one bridge. Anchored around 11 near the marina and public docks. Into town and followed (walked) with the horse driven carriages giving tours of the historic area...am I tight or what! No, just need the exercise! A very nice and large waterfront park is right on the downtown area. Late lunch at "Luthers'...very nice place that was recommended by Joe Frost, Carol and Richard Hackett. I received a call from Joe stating that he wanted me to retract the statement on the Georgetown post regarding his 'Big Tuna Bar and Grille'. He is worried that he will not receive his discount there any more and I should not judge a book by it's cover as most of those boarded up shacks on the water serve some of the best food around....I agree and will retract..I think. A comment on the blog would have served just as well and saved you a dime. Very nice day and a great little town that I cannot wait to come back to.
N. Charleston - N. Beaufort, SC
11 November 2014
Cloudy then Beautiful, 62 nms, 61 stm, MM51, sea temp 58
Anchoring in the grass lands is probably not a good idea when it is blowing. It is protected, but without any trees around, the mast catches a lot of wind. The main sail in-mast furler mechanism is loose inside and makes a lot of noise in the wind, so I will not be trying that again in 15-20. Left at 7:30 to catch the first bridge opening at 9. There was a bascule (opens in the middle) bridge later on and only one side opened as they were working on the other side. Fun, fun coming through in a ebbing current. Think I would like to take a flood dead on to maneuver better without pushing the stern around. Down the Ashley River past Charleston without stopping. My daughter Katie went to college for a year in Charleston, so I had already spent a lot of time there. Need to push on as the schedule is getting tight...need to cut out the three day weekends. The most dangerous thing on board is the schedule that is down below! Nice favorable current most of the day clocking 8.5 knots for awhile. Lots of winding through rivers, creeks and bogs. About 25 big power boats come by for a slow pass. That is...they come up on your stern wide open, cut the throttle and I throttle back as well...I never feel a ripple and they take off again...works when they know what they are doing. Anchored in more marsh land with a calm night predicted about 20 miles North of Beaufort, SC...cannot go by Beaufort without stopping!
Georgetown, SC - Charleston, SC
10 November 2014
Cloudy, some rain, 60 degrees, 63 nms, 52 stm, MM455, sea temp 53
Took a little side trip up the Sampit River to the Georgetown waterfront this morning after leaving the anchorage. A little disappointed...lots of derelict boats on mooring balls and anchored. This was after eight and I guess the cruising boats had all left. Saw Joe Frost's favorite hang out, the 'Big Tuna Bar and Grille'. Ashamed of you Joe! A little disturbing to see a couple nice RIB's tied up to a derelict boat! It was worth the hour out of my schedule and it was back down to pick up the ICW at Winyah Bay. Across the North Santee and South Santee Rivers. Fighting a foul current most of the way as evidenced by the nms vs stms and having to recalculate fuel consumption. Saw a pair of dolphins jumping completely out of the water...such beautiful creatures. Anchored about 10 miles North of Charleston in one of the many cuts along the way. Amazing that it is 60 feet of water back in the cuts (anchored in 20) and the main waterway that everyone uses is around 10. Dead low tide all afternoon and continuously working the wheel for more water. Sassy Girl is here with Piper (behave yourself), which is a big center cockpit older Bristol from Rock Hall, MD. We have been buddy boating since the blow in the Alligator River. Passed SurpriseS in the canal and talked for awhile on VHF. He spent the weekend in Georgetown to attend an oyster festival and had his fill! Sorry about another sunset....just could not resist. If you go to 'click to see full map', then bottom one to move around and then the top to look around (3D), you can see all the surrounding marsh lands in the anchorage.
N. Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, SC
09 November 2014
Cloudy, 60 degrees, 55 nm's, MM403, sea temp 53
Up early, shower at marina and walk across Rt. 17 to the diner with the mile long breakfast buffet for $7.99 (3 eggs made to order) I love Myrtle Beach! Say goodbye to everyone and left around 9. Great marina for $1 per foot with Boat US card. Lots of fixed, bascule and swing bridges today. There are 70 bridges between Portsmouth and Miami, I'm sure that you do not want to hear about all 70. There is a 20 mile stretch where there are submerged rocks call the "Rockpile" which keeps you on your toes. The photo is the cable cars that go above (65') the ICW to carry golfers back and forth. Lots of beautiful golf courses along the way and lots of beautiful Mc-Mc mansions....noo, palaces. Lots of new construction and SC appears to be doing very well. Building a new fixed 65' bridge back into the swamps for as far as one can see. Into the Waccamaw River which is very deep and welcome, but lilly pads grow all over the place and you grind right through them. I associate lilly pads with 6" inches of water to wet their feet, so I have a hard time going through them. The sun came out for the last couple of hours and it was a beautiful run in the flat calm water doing 8.3 in the fair current...hated to give it up, but only a fool would try it at night. Anchored in The Great Pee Dee River in Georgetown, SC and will not go ashore. New photos have been added to the photo gallery.
Calabash River to N. Myrtle Beach
07 November 2014
Beautiful 5 nm's
Hated to leave Calabash River...beautiful little river. Full moon still up at 6:30, felt like you could almost reach out and touch it. A boat anchored too close to another and there were some words exchanged! Belarus leaving with the girls running around on deck at 6:30. The little town is up river and known for it's fried seafood with five waterfront restaurants accessible by dinghy...visit on next trip.
Wise and Ella, do you recognize the Casino boat? I'm very sure it is the one we went out on five years ago while on the bus trip. Out 12 miles to start gambling. I was on the aft deck in a lounge chair where it was warm and everyone was up-chucking around me and you guys thought I was crazy! The only chair left!
Arrived Myrtle Beach YC Marina around 10 for a couple of days. The same routine plus washed the boat thoroughly to see again. Maintenance, paid bills (they do not stop when out here). Some folks have been living on their boats here at the marina for years...cheaper and more comfortable than a condo.
11/9/2014: Lay day - golf
Wrightsville Beach - Calabash River, SC
06 November 2014
Cloudy, 75 degrees, 63nm, MM342, sea temp 58
Out from the anchorage, back up the main shipping channel to pick up the ICW, past numerous creeks, rivers. Through the Carolina Beach bridge with 5+ kts of current, there was a state park there with people sitting on benches and I was face to face with them, sitting doing 3,000 rpm's. Through Snows Cut, into the Cape Fear River which is a major obstacle course with obstructions for the Army operations everywhere. Range lights help some, blowing about 18 on the nose and spray covering the dodger in poor visibility, better than covering my glasses. I have heard that it is impossible to race on the Cape Fear River and now I now why. The only other boat along the way was the Canadian on SurpriseS. I have passed him many times and we give the normal gestures back on forth. Down to the end of the river and around to Southport where you can see Bald Head Island in the distance. I love Southport, but need to keep on trucking since it is only noon. Need to slow down to nothing in several places that can be seen as extremely shoaled over wherever there is the smallest outlet to the ocean. You can see folks walking for miles on the dunes as often seen on the Outer Banks. A long haul arriving at sundown in the anchorage on the Calabash River. Belarus is here with the girls. Now in the vicinity of 8' tide swings and have to be careful with the depth when anchoring. We are anchored right on the NC/SC border and the GPS shows the change when blowing around..how cool is that.
Mile Hammock Bay - Wrightsville Beach
05 November 2014
Partly Cloudy, 51 degrees 39 nm's, 38 st. m, MM283 Sea temp 56
Got underway before the military exercises started. About 30 various size RIB's participating. Not a very pretty anchorage. Very low tide all day, continually working the wheel to find a few more inches of depth. It is only going to get worse the further South we go. Past Surf City, Topsail Island. Went to Topsail for a family vacation about 1990 and a great place. In 1995 a hurricane in June and another in August decimated the place. Could not rebuild for two years until berms were put out in the ocean and a new inlet. Timing for the bridges was awful today. Missed two, one hour openings by 10 minutes twice! Approached a Army Corps of Engineers small dredge boat in channel. Tried to call and no answer. Could not get by to starboard as there is a 800' pier with a john boat on a lift. You can always tell the depth of the water by the boat the guy has there. I will go on the other side really close and get their attention. I yelled over and all four had their heads down appearing to be busy and did not see the big sail boat next to them. Wham...there it is! Hey, you can't go through there, there is no waater. Really, where were you 30 seconds ago with all this information. A little smirk and the other three suddenly have nothing to do but watch. You are going to have to back off and go around. Easily said than done with 4 knots of current pushing you on. I assumed they would fend off if I bumped into them as they now had nothing to do. I did not get the opportunity to find out. Approaching the other side about eight inches from them and inching along in 4' of water needing 4'6". Got through and they finally went to work getting out a little pump. That will be a months work with the size of the sand bar. The floating greenies were trailing directly behind them and they were right smack in the middle of the channel. I should report them to Barack for their non-performance appraisals. Oh well, at least they are working. Another boat was talking to them the next day who asked what their options are since they cannot get through...turn around!
Plenty of bridges and into the anchorage at Wrightsville Beach anchoring next to the fixed bridge. Dinghy to shore, nice hamburger at sports bar, supplies at Roberts and back to boat.
Beaufort - Mile Hammock Bay
04 November 2014
Partly Cloudy, 51 nm's, 42 st. m, MM245, Sea temp 51
Got underway around 8:30. Down to the South of Radio Island, back North (RR bridge still closed) with 4 knots of current and back on course for the ICW, past the terminals, Morehead City with all the condo complexes, Atlantic Beach on the left, into Bogue Sound, with all the high rises out on Bogue Banks overlooking the ocean. Under the Morehead City bridge with the pedal to the metal in 5+ knots and the beautiful homes for miles and miles. Put the pedal to the metal for 20 minutes to catch the 3:00 Onslow Beach bridge opening. Had a foul current all day and would not stop. Made it through the Camp Lejeune Firing Range that will shut down everything tomorrow from 9-12. Watched the Harrier act like a helicopter and all the army equipment almost hidden in all the marshes. Could see some Navy warships through a clearing out in the Atlantic. Came up on a joint Military Exercise that was again quite intimidating. See photos in gallery just posted. Another 5 miles to nice anchorage which is also a staging area for the exercise....no sleep tonight! A lot of election day satire on the VHF ...the best one, "power boaters who make big waves and won't slow down are all Democrats and are going to loose today", was told to a power boater when passing. When the Navy Ninja exercise was going on and all the big waves, someone yelled at them on the VHF to slow down , "this is our US Navy, Obama trained no doubt".
Oriental NC - Beaufort, NC
03 November 2014
Beautiful 36 nm's, MM 203, Sea temp 52
Left River Dunes well rested after a weekend of hot tub and steam showers...aches and pains all gone and no trawler needed. Out Broad Creek and into the Neuse with 10-12 beam reaching. The wind petered out at the south end, through Adams Creek and down the canal. The Canadian boat Belausa passed us with the little girls waving off their hands, big smiles showing all the missing teeth. The tooth ferry would have to go to the ATM before visiting that boat. Guess they were on their lunch break from home schooling. What an experience for them. The Dad must still be working as he keeps his head down in his phone...probably running some big company. The Beaufort and Morehead RR bridge that is normally open is not. There is a pattern here with normally open bridges being normally closed on Mondays. Conflicting reports on openings and the Coast Guard is little help. Guess it did not open till after five. Casa Blanca and Chantebrise are heading outside at Beaufort and this delays them longer. Piper took the Russell Slough and Gallents Channel against their wishes...plenty of water there, but very confusing and trees growing out of the sand bars 300 feet away and covering several hundred acres. I will be able to avoid the broken bridge again tomorrow. Early for the Beaufort 204 opening, had to mill around in 3 knots current, then into Taylor creek anchoring across from the city docks. Three knots of current and if you go 40 feet over you will block the channel and 40 foot the other way is 3 feet of water, which I found out the hard way or in this case the soft way. I have found memories of Beaufort after coming ashore here 10 years ago. I helped bring Rainbow Ride (Valiant 42 docked by SMSA - has not moved since returning) back from Trinidad and after 3 days of 45 knots, then becalmed a day and could not get the main up from the reef, decided to come into Beaufort and fix. Went ashore for dinner with a 320 friend Chris Burti who lives nearby. Chris is the Mainsheet Technical Editor for the C320IA. When leaving Piper in the dinghy with head lamp on, someone was waving their hands from the shore. What did i do now! Ya wanna use my car to go to town to get some supplies!! Wow...up North..I am only use to getting yelled at for anchoring too close...very nice folks. We talked for awhile and was off. The motor ran out of gas on the way back and fun filling with the new fangled filler! All is good. Could not resist the photo of boats lined up in the current at Taylor Creek!
River Dunes Marina
01 November 2014 | Oriental, NC
10-31-14: Arrived at the marina around noon. This development started in 2008 and with the recession is probably struggling, but these are always long term projects. Went with six others in the courtesy van into the little town of Oriental from 3 to 5. Oriental's theme is that it 'has more boats than residents', my kind of place. Late lunch at M&M's, stopped at the Express Walmart. A Express West Marine is nearby.
11-1-14: Layday. Was going to check out a golf cart, but after a big steak/egg breakfast on the boat, decided that the Huffy 1 gear bike was more prudent. Very unique homes and no two are close to being the same. Lots of sold lots waiting to be built on. There is a wedding today and the wedding chapel is being decorated. Wedding deal is stay in the cluster of cottages, wedding in chapel, reception in club house. Daughter Katie - do not get any ideas!
Karl and Elaine Mielenhausen from New Bern came down at 5. Karl is the Past Commodore of the C320IA. Karl crewed on Piper during the Regatta in Solomons in August. He was instrumental along with Donna and John Santana from Staten Island in helping Piper 'bring home the bacon'. Karl is a great sailor and racer. He is currently involved in the Ensign Class in New Bern which is very active. Alex Kampf...good to know the Ensign is alive and well in NC!
After the awards /dinner at the Holiday Inn, Karl gave an excellent presentation on how to make an extended cruise on a 320. They left this time last year to go down the ICW and to the Bahamas. I was kind of sitting on the fence about going, but after the photos, I was sold on it. Karl, this is all your fault, but thank you very much.
After some 'dark & stormys' (appropriate for the weather) on Piper, we went to town for dinner at the Twin Silos..a nice hometown place.
11-2-14: The wind howled all night and the VHF at 6 said there was 40 knots gusting to 45. Piper was blowing around quite a bit, but nice and protected in this hurricane hole. There was a report of a gust to 52 here at 2:00 am. The big trawler that was in the marsh is here. Did a short haul in Bellhaven and everything was fine.
Alligator River - Oriental, NC
31 October 2014 | River Dunes Marina, Oriental, NC
10-30-14: So much for the peaceful anchorage in Deep Pt! A storm came through around midnight and the wind shifted to the North coming down the Alligator River the full fetch all night. Thinking everything was good for the night, I took a sleeping pill and that was a big mistake. Woke up to all the clatter, looked like boats were dragging anchor as well as Piper. Some boats up with all lights on and then completely off including the anchor light. Rich Freeman (Patty K) told me this was the darkest place on the face of the earth at night and he is so right. Let out another 100' of rode and since I could not see the boat behind me with no light, hoped that I was not dragging into him. Got the anchor up and 185 feet of chain/line at the crack of dawn...fun, fun in 2-3 seas and still groggy. A big trawler was in the marsh waiting for Sea Tow.
LESSONS LEARNED: Never take a sleeping pill when at anchor. I would have awakened much earlier. I never turned the VHF on as I am sure there was some talk. I never got the updated forecast that evening. The VHF should be on scan every morning and evening listening for any problems with weather, bridge closings, etc. while listening to the handheld for weather. I should have looked out before dark to see the location of boats around me and then again at dark to see who had their lights on. Things would have been much better if the prescription pill had not been taken. I learned later that Piper did not drag, which is some relief knowing that the 22 # Bruce has never failed me in three years in some pretty good blows.
It's off again motoring down into the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal which is calm and very protected. Passed the C&C 40 from the day before and the skipper gave me a 'thumbs up'. Under the Wilkerson Bridge and into the Pungo River. Past Belhaven and out into the Pamlico River, down Goose Creek, and a left into Eastham Creek to anchor for the night with another big power boat. Very quiet and peaceful there with NE at 10-15. Called Casa Blanca who is an hour ahead that I will not be making Broad Creek for the evening which is another 25 miles. I only had 1/4 tank of fuel and it should have been enough, but no sense sucking up some possible gunk. Put 5 gallons from the jerry jug in with the hand pump. Works great with no spillage, but it must be calm to do so. Taking the trouble to put fuel in almost guarantees that the wind will blow the next day...and it did. Gale force winds predicted again for the weekend and everyone is making plans for hunkering down. Another nice evening. Logged 53 nm's.
10-31-14: Left at 7:30, down the canal, through the Hobucken Bridge, down Bay River in 10-15 with full suit out and a very pleasant beam reach. Right turn into the Neuse River wind up to 20 -25 still with full set up dead downwind doing 8 knots at times. Talking to Joe Frost (Gemini - Tartan 3700) on the cell and suddenly a whammm...Joe, I know what that was (unintentional jibe), guess I should get off the phone and pay attention. Flying down the river and almost forgot to make the turn into Broad Creek - what a ride. It would not have been fun to beat or motor back! Lots of rope burn, sore and achy. I should invest in a pair of gloves if I am going to sail downwind in 20-25. Is it time for a trawler! Got a slip reservation at River Dunes Marina (www.riverdunes.com) on Broad Creek. Wow - nice. Logged 24 miles nm's, mm 174
Elizabeth City, NC - Alligator River, NC
29 October 2014 | Deep Pt. at the end of the Alligator River
Logged 51 nm's
Left the public docks at Elizabeth City, NC at 08:00 after another beautiful sunrise. The locals come down to see the sun rise and take photos along the bulkhead where the slips are. Will do blog on Elizabeth City (great place) at a later date. Motored for a half an hour and the wind filled in and sails up. Beam reaching in anywhere from 10-20 knots. Down the Pasquotank River passing the US Coast Guard base where all the rescue swimmers take their training. The waves were quite lumpy and the wind dying off when entering Albemarle Sound and motor sailed across the sound and down to the Alligator River going through the bridge opening. Had a real drag race going on after the bridge opening for 10 miles with some other boats. Running with a C&C 40 tricked out for cruising and a large cat (Amazing Grace). The C&C puts out a reefed jib as the wind was building and going aft. Next the cat rolls out the jib....I can do that and I also can get the main up easily. Blowing around 20 now and the Cat is on my quarter and I am rounding up and hoping that he is paying attention. The wind got up to 24 and the cat took off...below 19 and he slows up and Piper takes off...back and forth and the C&C was left in the dust thinking...why did I stat this and put that jib out. The cat will fly in anything over 22. It was a lot of fun for 10 miles to help break the boredom. We had to make a turn, the wind was on the nose and took the sails in. When two boast get together it is a race...with 3 it is a real drag race! Arrived around 4 at the anchorage near the end of the Alligator in a large bay with about a dozen boats here. Very peaceful and another great sunset. Just another day in paradise.
Portsmouth to Elizabeth City, NC
27 October 2014
10-27-2014: On the phone with Boat US Insurance at 8 to extend coverage to Florida. Departed shortly for the 2.6 miles down to the Belt Line RR crossing bridge that is normally open. The bridge was having a typical Monday morning and it was not open...waited 45 minutes, down to the Norfolk & Southern bridge and it was open. Got to the Gilmerton Bridge just in time for the 9:30 opening, the Norfolk Southern bridge and under the I-64 bridge. Some how I got into the lead and was looking for the right turn into the Great Dismal Swamp Canal (GDS). There are two ways down the ICW, with the shortest and more direct being the Virginia Cut and then the winding GDS which winds around with the trees touching your boat, very narrow and lots of logs to bump into. It came up quick and as I looked at it, no, this cannot be the way, I cannot get in there, it is just a mud lead in the woods! Going through my new flip chart which I have not mastered,this had to be the way...then there was little sign pointing. OK ..let's do it and the rest of the fleet followed suit. Being the first to the Deep Creek Lock/Bridge that did not open till 11, I felt pretty good to be first. Then the Lock Master on the VHF..any single handers out there...that first boat looks like he may be one...affirmative...you need to be at the end of the lock, so let the other guys go first. There is too much velocity at the head of the lock when filling and you will not be able to adjust the lines by yourself...OK. All in and the lock closes...Piper ...you must be a pilot ...like a Piper cub...no...named after my granddaughter...let me tell you about my 3 year old granddaughter and he took off. Still shouting back to me from the other end of the lock while giving out brochures to everyone. Then, let the Elizabeth City bound boats go first, visitors center folks last. Piper...since you will be the last boat out, call me when you clear the bridge as I cannot see around the bend for the last boat...OK. Out of the lock and then wait for him to get in his pickup to drive the short distance to the bridge to open. Piper clear of the bridge...affirmative...let the traffic roll again. Talk about multi-tasking...lock master, bridge tender, tourism director, loving grand father and probably cut grass at the station between openings. Off we go winding our way down with the mast hitting the tree limbs. Cannot glance at your engine instruments for a second for the risk of hitting a tree. The advantages of being last is that no one can come up your stern for the next 2.5 hours till the next opening. It does offer some privacy as you change from blue jeans to shorts with one hand on the wheel and both eyes on the trees and hanging off the stern with one hand on the wheel (TMI). It's about 18 miles down the swamp to the NC Visitors Center where about a dozen boats raft for the night. Nice little museum that shows the history of the swamp, dug out with shovels and pick axes by slaves for the most part. It is quite haunted with tales of ghosts through out. The next lock folks come in just before dark. A big Canadian sailboat with three little cute blondes girls from 4-8 come into the raft. The girls have their assignments and are really cute in action. The oldest is on the bow with a heavy line coiled and through it as hard as she could and just barely misses...I felt so bad for her. I can see Piper and Rilynn doing that in a couple more years.
10-21-2014: Left at 7:20 before the nearby foot crossing bridge closes for maintenance at 7:30. The boats that are leaving are ahead of me and the rest are staying for the 11 South Mills, NC Lock opening. A little early for the 8:30 opening and boats are milling around in a very small area...again...last is good.
This lock is up and we will be lowered 8 feet. Out the lock and the same deal with the pick up and bridge. Through the little town of South Mills and the traffic is flowing again. Winding for many miles again and finally out into open waters of the Pasquotank River. Through the Norfolk Southern RR bridge at mm 48 that is very narrow and a cat that we passed barely making. Down the river to the Elizabeth City bridge opening with a barge blocking half the opening building a new bridge. Over to the city dock slips with Volunteer dock master Gus helping to tie up. Knot meter/log still not working.
Elizabeth City is known as the harbor of hospitality and it lives up to it's name. They have a welcoming party for all the cruisers with beer, wine, cheese, etc. Each boat gets a rose from the 'rose buddies'. There is a little talk on the town, tourism, retirement and navigation in the local waters. The little Canadian girls sat like tin soldiers during the talk as they do not know any English. The mayor dropped me off at the Food Lion on his way home. I walked back taking a break at the Sonic Burger! They have a great free museum there that I did not get to see. Should have spent another day, just like Portsmouth..too much to see...too little time. The majority of the boats here are Canadian...trying to escape the harsh winters. I asked Gus what time did he get here today. I stopped by at 4:30 am to check on things, walked over to have breakfast and back at 6. I stay until after the welcoming party is over...a very long day. I told Gus that when he retires to let me know and I will move down to takeover. It will be another 28 years since his Doctor said he would live to 100. That will work out for me as I will be winding down the sailing by then. I just don't know about the 4:30 am part yet. I have always wanted to live in a waterfront town where you can walk to everything and this would be ideal.
Hampton to Portsmouth
26 October 2014
Left at 11:00 for the short hop down to Portsmouth. Went to Waterside Yachting Center for fuel, water, pump out and trash. Got underway and 15 minutes later, Piper this is Waterside, you left your 20# bag of ice in the office. OK...be there in 15. Don't bother to tie up, just come by the end of the dock and I will throw the ice on the deck fer ya. Ok ...thanks. How am I going to do this, I just crashed into the dock for fuel while blowing 15 broadside. Now I have to maintain speed and get close enough for the ice...it all worked out. At least I did not forget my flip flops the day before going into town as I have done a few times in the past. I think the dock master is Diane's sister at Urbanna Town Marina...looks and talks just like her. After losing a half an hour it was down the channel and sail up in 15 cracked off. Lost the knot meter/log at 7 miles where that was. Down by the Norfolk Navy base with tight security, the ship yard, Norfolk Waterside Mall into Portsmouth. I was going to the North basin in downtown, but missed it, went into the South basin and a little crowded, a couple of minutes back up to the North and it was not protected in there, so back down to the South one. Nice in there...went to the museum and the Portsmouth Light ship...so much to see...should have gotten their earlier.
My good friend Kent Utley who lives nearby came over at 5 for a drink and dinner down town. Kent came to Solomons to race in Screwpile (www.screwpile.net) for many years. He was dressed appropriately in a Screwpile collared shirt for the occasion. He asked how LG was doing... just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary last night! How long is he going to continue doing Screwpile...forever...don't worry! Had our discussion on the controversial Cruising class. Kent departed at 10 with no dinner. Snacks on the boat while doing the people watcher thing and the ferry in and out every half hour was a lot better than a restaurant. LG, the 'Black Barrel' was hit pretty hard...send reinforcements!
Great Wicomico to Hampton, VA
25 October 2014
Logged 68 nm's
Left around 8:00 with a beautiful sunrise. Winds 15-20 out of the North. Very nice manageable ride. Quite choppy off the Rap. and Mobjack Bay due to a ebbing tide. Lost my $9.99 West Marine Boat Show boat hook overboard. The lazy sheet was around the boat hook secured to the hand hold. Thought about going out and getting it off, but the autopilot will not hold in these waves. I don't need it, will be hardening up at Hampton Roads anyway. Yeah, but I may have to tack at some point....like when a submarine pops up as we were approaching that area. I will just flick it off slowly, did not work...I will pull hard...that worked and the hook hit the deck and overboard.
Approaching Hampton Roads for the first time is quite intimidating. The charts have so much information on them that it is hard to read. Abandoned forts, structures...I never knew we fought some many wars. Chatter on the VHF...US Navy warship 54 inbound from sea taking the Thimble Shoals Channel...all vessels stay clear or face $400,000 fine, 6 years in prison and we do have the right to kill you if needed...ok..i got the message. A minute later, US Navy aircraft carrier 46 preparing to get under way at berth 6 outbound to sea via Thimbles Shoals, vessels stay clear, etc. Tugs pushing/pulling barges up and down the James River, pleasure craft headed down to Norfolk, huge container ships drag racing up the channel with sail boats try to cross over their bows...why has that sailboat slowed up...oh yeah, he just hit the three knot current. Six helicopters came from far out up my stern at mast level, door gunners with binoculars focused in...I am not a terrorist...it's just me and Piper on an adventure! I just stayed outside of the channel in 15 feet of water running next to the container ships knowing they were not coming over my way. Deep water next to Fort Monroe, Old Pt. Comfort Light, up the channel to the Hampton River. Hampton University on the right with it's beautiful grounds. The University was started after the civil war for freed slaves. The YC on the left and on up to Hampton Public Piers where all the action is and I dropped the hook just across from pier. Stiff Capt. Morgan while checking email and hit the sack. Exhausted, 68 nm's.
Nice breakfast on the boat, dinghy over and off to explore the canals by the University, up Sunset Creek with all the beautiful homes sitting right on the water and to the dinghy dock at the public pier.
Walk into town, very nice Air & Space Museum that is comparable to Dulles. It also has an IMAX theater and saw D Day (45 minutes) in 3D. Came back later and saw Space Station (45 minutes). Both were incredible. I talked to my sister Shirley later in the week and she asked if I saw the unmanned shuttle mishap at Wallops Island..no..it really hits home after just seeing the movie...the crew changes are pretty emotional. Lots of things to see...nice dinner before a night time dinghy ride back.
Solomons to the Great Wicomico River
21 October 2014 | Reedville, VA
Beautiful -Sunny 75, Flat Calm Motor
Had to replace (2) 4D AGM batteries before leaving. Got underway at 10 with Jeff and Laura on their Catalina 309 (Misty Bay) waving from the bow on our dock. My good friend 'John the Scot' saw us off on his Catalina 350 (CIARA) at Cedar Pt. Do you see the Catalina pattern here! It was a beautiful motor down the bay and with the auto pilot working, started getting things organized. Moved the diesel/water Jerry jugs aft another stanchion and the golf clubs from the V berth to the aft cabin and she is riding much better. Tooo many golf balls, but I am always losing them. Anchored in Mill Creek and hunkered down for the blow for the next couple of days. Grilled a nice steak, red skin potatoes, fresh tomatoes, peppers and onion from the garden....life is good and a beautiful sunset. Logged 54 nm.
10-22 23-2014: Lay Days with gale force winds. Steamed crabs, melted butter and a cold beer. Life is good...getting things organized.