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Ruby Slipper
Imagination can take you anywhere -- even over the rainbow.
Great Reading!

What we're reading: --- The Widow Clicquot, The Story of a Champagne Empire & the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar J. Mazzeo - Linda LOVED it. Fascinating, fun & a great excuse to drink great bubbles.
--- When Pride Still Mattered, A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss - Bill says a good bio. If you're an American football fan, he is an icon of the sport & the book reveals a coming of age of pro football. Lombardi was ALL football, a genius in his time. Heartbreaking from HIS family's perspective.
--- The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larson - Linda was enthralled. Truely could not put down. Some very disconcerting passages dealing with S&M and forced subjugation of women.
--- The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larson - Linda JUST had to continue with his 2nd book. Same characters. Riviting.
--- Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci - Bill says good fiction, typical Baldacci. Fast read.

Books Read
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Offshore Pay Off
11/22/2010, Cumberland Island, GA

Ahhhhh...tranquil waters now after a 2-day offshore passage from SC. All is well for the MV Ruby Slipper, now anchored in the lovely waters off Cumberland Island, GA, a national seashore protected by the US Department of the Interior. Live oak forests where you can hear yourself breathe, sunlight diffused over these over arching historic trees, armadillos scurring about, wild horses prancing on the shore, gleaming white dunes, crumbling mansions of a by-gone era...this is one of our country's greatest parks. We'll hike the trails, see the ruins of old slave shanteys who worked the cotton fields, enjoy the pristine beaches & savor every moment of being alive. Next to St. Mary's, GA where we'll celebrate Thankgiving with many other cruisers & locals as the town provides turkeys, hams & raw oysters. We, cruisers bring the side dishes & desserts. Thanksgiving is a time for all of us to give thanks for all we have & mend bridges. Love you all!

Update on our Adventure
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Offshore Venture to Georgia
Cloudy, E 10K, 2-3' seas

Left Beaufort, SC & went offshore 72 Statute miles to Walburg Creek, St. Catherine's Island, GA! The goal was to avoid the zig zag serpentine passage that makes the 100 mile Georgia coast into 138 ICW miles with it's 8' tides & shallow shallows. Nice conditions tho rolly with the beam seas on the "high Seas." Ventured into St. Catherine's Sound & dropped the hook (200' of chain) in an 8' tidal range next to a low-profile retreat for internatioanly endangered species. Affiliated with the NY Zoological Society, the island is a modern day Noah's Ark with creatures in their care to be returned to zoos or the wild. Zebras, Lemurs, gazelles, rhinos, tortoises, cranes, etc. abound. Stunning beauty, pristine shores & quiet solitude. We are in heaven...with a glass of wine in our hands. Please take a look at the Photo Gallery for more photos. What's up with YOU????

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Ready to explore Beaufort, SC
Sunny, warmer

Short day run of 25 miles & anchored in the shallowest area we could find in Beaufort - 12'. Very deep waters around here (20-35') PLUS an 8' tidal range! So when one anchors in 12' (at low water) add another 8' and you get 20" which is generally pretty deep when ya gotta think about a safe scope. So, I put down 200' of chain for a 7 to 1 scope. Boring? Yes. Too much detail? Sure. But we'll sleep well tonite. Tomorrow, off to sight see this incredible small southern city...home of The Big Chill, The Great Santini & others.

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Exploring South Carolina's Low Country
West winds 15-20, sunny

Thanks to the help of some new cruiser friends we extricated ourselves from a very tight spot at a marina near Charleston, SC. Day continued going well as we meandered thru several rivers to arrive at our special destination - Mosquito Creek off the Ashepoo River, SC. This is truly one of the most sublime anchorages we've been to a winding creek with precarious unmarked shoals, traversing over a ship wreck & dropping the hook in placid waters surrounded by golden marsh grasses. We took the dinghy ashore to B&B's Seafood, purveyors of FABULOUS shrimp from their very own shrimp boat. Bought a pound & a quarter JUMBOS for $6/lb!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tonite making shrimp & cheese grits...a Southern specialty. While ashore, walked the crew dogs, Murphy & Trapper. Ah, life is so very good.

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Alligators, eagles, dolphins everywhere!
Gorgeous again, high 60s, sunny, cold front coming
11/15/2010, Isle of Palms, SC (near Charleston)

A stunningly beautiful 80 miles of Mother Nature at her best - abandoned rice paddys, golden marsh grasses undulating in the whispering breeze, alligators lurking nearby, dolphins performing at our bow, a bald eagle swooping down right before us for its breakfast fish & birds of every kind standing by watching the passing parade of yachts. Settled in for a day or so near Charleston as a cold front decends with its 25+ knot winds, rain & thunder.

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Dolphins dancing at our bow, seas sparkling
Sunny, NW 15k (again), getting warmer
11/11/2010, Wrightsville Beach

Long day from Morehead City - 70 nautical miles (or 81 statute miles for you landlubbers) in 10 hours. Easily passed UNDER two bridges with a 20' clearance...soooo nice never could have done THAT with our sailboat. But had to wait for openings for another two swing bridges with 12' clearance. Saw lots of dolphins dancing in our copious wake, also enjoyed many herons, egrets & pelicans. The Bogue Banks are beautiful. tall pines, windswept oaks & people digging for clams. Sand dunes are also more plentiful as are palm trees sloooowly becoming more common. Passed thru Camp Lejeune & watched formations of Blackhawk helicopters swooping in seemingly on top of us. A cool sight the day before Veteran's Day!Sometimes this area of the ICW is closed due to live firing practice. But not today. I called & spoke with a marine to inquire if the range would be open to boating a non-commital yet confidential manner, he said, "Ma'am, you should have a safe passage thru this area." As the sun began setting dropped the hook at Wrightsville Beach, NC after FOUR times. Boy the bottom was gooey with a soft mud. Our anchor kept plowing thru it. Finally dug in with help of 225' feet of chain! So, here we are for a day or so to enjoy the town. Possibly to catch up with friends, Chris & Marsha Kellog of Endorphins. Hugs to all!

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Mile Marker 205, Still in NC!
Mid-60s, NW 15-20, seas minimal, sunny
11/09/2010, Morehead City, NC

Well Team Hughes is chugging along the Intracoastal Water Way aboard Ruby Slipper. After several nights of anchoring we treated ourselves to a slip at Morehead City Yacht Basin (near Beaufort). Diesel was relatively inexpensive - $2.86/ we topped off the tanks (160 gallons) as we know further south it gets more & more pricy. This place is terrific! Great dockmaster, Dwayne & Denise as a dockhand. They turned us on to a fabulous restaurant - Floyd's 1921. It was one of the best meals I have ever had! A blackened rare tuna steak (fresh off the dock across the street) atop asiago cheese grits encircled with collard greens sauteed with applewood smoked bacon! My captain enjoyed a shrimp napoleon with grits, tasso ham & a cheese topping. Both were southern meals to remember. Great to get off the boat & have a "date" from the fur babies who are doing wonderfully. Tomorrow we had hoped to go offshore & break from the "drudgery" of the ICW. But the wind would be right on our beam & the expected 3-5' seas would make for a very rolly ride! So, chug along we'll do...ranges to keep us in narrow channels, strong currents at inlets & rivers driving us crossways in the channel, shoals threatening to eat our rudder & prop, doing donuts in front of bridges as we wait for the tender to open for us (we are 14' high & can only sneek under some), fish nets, clorine bottle speed boaters that create wakes to rattle your teeth, tugs & barges that edge you ever closer to shallow waters, going from ICW bouy to bouy to bouy to... But we LOVE IT!! Off we go tomorrow to Wrightsville Beach, NC. Murphy & Trapper send woofs your way; we send hugs & kisses.

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Up at 5:15 a.m....WHY?
Rain, overcast, low 60s
11/04/2010, Coinjock, NC

Anchored off Hospital Point, Norfolk so that we could more quickly catch the many bridge openings & lock opening to facilitate a daylight arrival at our day's destination - Coinjock, NC - 56 miles away. Sooooo, to catch the scheduled operator bridge openings (most too low for us to shimmy under when WE want) we got up at 5:15 a.m. anticipating first light -- shortly. I was hauling up 125' of chain & our 44 lb anchor in the pitch dark while attempting to hose off the mud that I couldn't see but KNEW was there. poor back. Anyway, we navigated our way for 2 HOURS before the sun even rose when it dawned on my dear intrepid captain that the change over off daylight savings time is later than previous passages south thanks to energy-saving initiatives by our former President G. W. Bush. So, it was dark, very dark while we were negotiating our way bridge to bridge with the spotlight to see the darn navigation bouys. Overall, the day's passage was uneventful except for the TWO glorious Bald Eagles we saw. Safe & sound at Midway Marina in Coinjock for a brief shore fix. Tomorrow off to the Alligator River...enjoying a BIG cocktail now.

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Lumpy, Bumpy Ride
Linda, drizzle, overcast yuck
11/03/2010, Norfolk, Va

As a former sailor, I certainly appreciate our new baby, Ruby Slipper, an American Tug 34. The last 4 voyages south we were exposed to the "outside" environment all day long. November temps often hovered in the low- to mid-30s. We snuggled behind our dodger, bundled in long underwear, ski parkas, face masks & helms gloves with handwarmers. We would wear this same outfit for SEVERAL DAYS, even sleeping in them because we were to cold to take them off at night not wanting to risk frostbite. A hot water bottle was always at our feet as we slept. And, Murphy & Trapper, well, they (long-haired Cairn Terriers)donned fleece to keep their inactive bones warm too. Somehow visions of St. Somewhere kept us all going along with copious quantities of grog at the end of the day. Now, we cruise in comfort...heat, protection from rain & wind and the promise of arriving at our daily destination in a reasonably good mood. But today, we rocked & rolled our way to Norfolk for 56 nautical miles. Warm, dry but not too comfy. Anchored off Hospital Point in Norfolk we await the REAL start of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) at Mile 1. 999 or so miles to go! Tomorrow, several bridges to wait for & a lock to pass thru until our stayover in Coinjock, NC. This kind of adventure REALLY builds marriages! Team work galore!

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Team Hughes
Who: Linda & Bill with crew dogs: Murphy & Trapper
Port: Annapolis, Maryland
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Life is not about how well you weather the storm. It's about how well you danced in the rain!

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