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Ruby Slipper
Imagination can take you anywhere -- even over the rainbow.
Home, sweet, home
07/06/2011, Annapolis

Hi all, sorry to not have updated you on our whereabouts! We arrived home May 1 & have been embroiled in a whirlwind of activities since! Family, friends, cleaning house & more have occupied our every moment. We'll get back to this blog as soon as we go cruising again. We're DEFINATELY going to the Bahamas for the winter of 2012-2013. May even squeeze in a trip to do a mini-loop up to NY! Thanks for all your support! Cheers!

Update on our Adventure
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05/09/2011

Cruisers, if you've ever dreamed of racing a major ocean race, check out this link to the Bermuda Ocean Race! bermudaoceanrace.com

We did the race in 2000 in our Tartan 42 & highly recommend it!




HOT Links!!
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Life is What Happens When you're Planning Something Else!
91 degrees in Norfolk, SW 15-20+K, 3-4' seas
04/25/2011, Norfolk Naval Sailing Center

Seas forecast for 3-4' today. Heading up to Deltaville on the Chesapeake Bay would be quite the rolly adventure. So, considering this & that Small Craft Warnings are beginning this afternoon for the next few days as another big cold front comes thru with severe weather, we opted to enjoy more benefits of being a military retiree. At Norfolk's Naval Base marina we are docked just feet away from a 4 star admiral's "barge" which makes our lil tug look like a dinghy! wAfter lunch, we are eager to see the sights of the world's largest, most powerful military facility (75 ships, 134 aircraft). Yes, we have "get home-itis" but we will have to chill out & enjoy the moment. Indeed, life is indeed what happens when you're planning something else. Home? May 1, 2 or 3 or...

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Days from home!
HOT!! SW 15-20 K
04/24/2011, Norfolk, VA

Anchored at Hospital Point heading to Deltaville, Va tomorrow for a few days until the weather up the Chesapeake Bay improves. Whooo, hooo...getting close!

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Almost in Virginia
SW 15k
04/24/2011, Coinjock, NC

Northbound to Great Bridge, Va. for the night. Then, maybe Norfolk Naval Station Marina for a few days to wait out more bad weather!

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Amazing Ocracoke
Linda 73 degrees, SW 15-20
04/19/2011, Ocracoke, NC

Our adventure on the M/V Ruby Slipper was one that entailed doing many things for the first time. It would have been too easy "doing the ICW" the same old way. So we made a concerted effort to get out of our comfort zone & the last week really epitomizes that - including navigating in fog with ZERO visibilty thru some of NC's more challenging inlets, weathering a monster storm at anchor & venturing "offshore" to the remote outerbanks of NC to the little-visited Ocracoke, NC

Three days ago, we anticipated a severe cold front & elected to anchor out rather than go in a less-than an exposed, uncomfortable marina. So, after lots of research we opted for the best protection we could find while still being at anchor. Southwest Creek on the South River, off the Neuse River in NC was the "winner." Expecting a big blow, we found 8' of water that was protected from southerly winds (the worst of what was anticipated). Holding was said to be excellent but we still put out 150' of chain with our 44 lb Delta anchor. This is considered a" "storm scope" of 10:1. We felt snug. Not smug, as we never take mother nature for granted!

Besides the strong to severe thunderstorms we had tornado warnings! This was going to be a "fun" night!

So, we took the pups ashore to the only place we could - an seemingly abandoned property with "No tresspassing" signs posted. But we decided to go for it as we didn't know when we could get off the boat with the dogs for the next 2-3 days! We crawled up & over a severely wrecked dock with boards missing & stumbled into overgrown grasses that was tick heaven. All was well as we found a road to walk. It was a good 45 minute walk that would have to do for a while.

Now, don't get me wrong, Murphy & Trapper are both trained to do their "business" on astroturf on the boat. They are GREAT boat dogs! But we like them to have regular exercise. At home they get about a 2-3 miles/day walk! On the boat it's feast or famine. Same for us, too!

Back on the boat we hunkered down for a long afternoon & evening. We had our PFDs out & a plan to abandon ship, if necessary. As the winds increased & seas swelled, Bill cranked on the engine (a 370 HP Cummins diesel) just in case we had to take the pressure off the anchor. The lightening show was spectacular! I would have enjoyed it more if I knew it were benign. We simply didn't know what to expect. Added to our discomfort, we were the ONLY ones out here & had NO connectivity! We had the VHF to listen to weather updates & any nearby radio chatter. But I felt so alone during this frightening time. TEven the voices of other cruisers is comforting! On the VHF we heard about the tornados & now we were in a Tornado Watch. Frankly, I was scared. I sat on the cabin floor with the dogs & I admit it, the dogs & I had our life vests ON! Capn Bill, thank God, was cool & calculating. He needed to be manning the helm & keeping a look out.

The worst winds we saw was 45 knots! That was enough for me! Seas were choppy but just about 2'. Overall not bad. At midnight the tornado warning & severe thunderstorms were over & we could crawl into bed...not until we each had a BIG drink!

Next morning we waited for the seas to settle & headed out for Ocracoke, NC. While underway we finally got connectivity back & heard 45 people had died during this storm that crashed across the nation spawning hundreds of tornadoes. A very scary time, indeed.

Now here safe in Ocracoke. It is a place very few cruisers travel to as it is so far off the beaten path & requires an "offshore" passage thru open waters. We made it successfully & were happy to find a National Park Seashore Dock for us. Great to get off the boat & enjoy this very charming & quaint, independent village that one can only get to by boat! We'll be here until the next cold front passes. Check out our great pics!!! Hugs to you all!

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Short Day Helped by Current
Linda NW10K
04/13/2011, Wrightsville Beach, NC

We waited out another cold front at Southport's Harbor Village Marina, NC for two nights. One night we were fortunate to enjoy dinner at the home of Rick & Jeanne Brown, friends from Annapolis who have since moved to St. James Plantation, a very, very chi-chi community. We had a ball catching up on Annapolis politics & news of their new community. Today, we waited until the very strong current on the Cape Fear River was in our favor before we head out. Current going our way AND wind going our way. Gained almost two extra knots for nearly 2 hours!! Nice to save $$$ on fuel. Anyway, anchored here for the night in this terrific little beach community. Tomorrow, offshore to Beaufort doesn't look like it's going to work, so we'll chug along for the night to Mile Hammock Bay (a US Marine Corps installation with fireing range where we cannot get off the boat!), then somewhere near Beaufort/Moorhead City for the night before our newest adventure to the Outerbanks of NC from the inside. Not alot of people do this. But we hope to be rewarded by prestine beauty & maybe some wild horses. Stay tuned for photos. (Oh by the way, check out the new pics I added the other day.) Hugs!

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Chugging Home on Steriods!
Linda - big cold front coming thru soon
04/12/2011, Patrick AFB, Rockhouse Creek, St. Augustines, Fernandina Beach, Wally's Leg (GA), Beaufort (SC), Tom Point (SC), Isle of Palm (SC), Prince Creek (SC), Southport, NC

We've been chugging home - Steriod Style! After departing Partick AFB's Manatee Cove Marina at the end of March we did "touch & go's" at Rockhouse Creek (one of our ICW favorite anchorages), St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, Georgia (1 brief leg only), SC & finally here in NC. A little over 600 miles in 8 days!

Highlights of our trip were visits by Ford Jones (who holds the record of 3 visits to Ruby Slipper while in Florida; Linda's gal pal from URI Jeannie Toohey came close with two visits - one in St. Augustine & one in Fernandina Beach (she lives in JAX); and lovely anchorages in Georgia & SC!

Yesterday we left the gorgeous Price Creek, off the Waccamaw River, SC for a grueling 80 mile passage to Southport, NC (via the Rock Pile which has a reputation all it's own!) of which 80% was in fog, often ZERO visibility, sometimes 1/4 mile or 1/16th of a mile. It was ZERO thru "white knuckle" inlets such as Murrels, Little River & Lockwood Folly. Lockwood Folly was very interesting as Bill was glued to the Plot Charter while I strained my eyes to spot any navigation markers. What was scarey was that ocean waves break very close to the ICW here. We could hear them but couldn't see a thing. Guess that was good! Why didn't we stop & anchor, you ask? Well, there aren't any anchorages along this lengthy route. We made it & in fact helped a boat called Palmetto Girl who was a moment away from going aground at the ocean inlet of Lockwood Folly. Bill yelled out on the VHF radio in the knick of time. We ended up leading the way for the duration of this fog-bound journey. Palmetto Girl was very appreciative for the breather.

Now here at one of our favorite stops, Southport Harbor Village Marina, NC as yet another cold front passes. Tonite we meet up former Eastport Yacht Club friends, Rick & Jeannie Brown.

Tomorrow we'll press on up the Cape Fear River to Wrightsville Beach. We enjoy the anchorage there. Then, likely to go offshore to Beaufort, NC in preparation for our trip to the Outerbanks! A first for us!

Hugs to you all! We're on track to be home by the 1st week of May! Whoo, hoo!!

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Chillin' Out Air Force Style
Linda - Rain, W 6K
03/28/2011, Manatee Cove Marina @ Patrick AFB, FL

Arrived yesterday for a few days. Ruby Slipper is tied up dockside next to a really cool Tiki Bar. Wonderful meeting up with more military retirees & active duty types at this fabulous "find" of a marina. No big boats here - sail boats with tall masts & any boat that draws more than 4' really can't get in here. Lucky us... in between the atlantic ocean & Banana River. Beautiful! Big thunderstorm this morning. Rain all day & expected to last all week. But still had a great walk with the dogs in our foul weather garb. More later!

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What we're reading
Linda, mid-80s
03/25/2011, Vero Beach, FL

Linda -- Just finished Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire. A terrific read about a young upper class boy in Cuba (pre- & post revolution). Also, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, eye-opening tale of African-American maids & the white families they worked for in the 1960s. Now reading: Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This classic of American Literature was written before the Civil War in 1852. All I can say now is: WOW!

Bill -- Reading The Voyage by Philip Caputo, an excellent tale of boys & their adventures on a Schooner. A coming of age story. Also reading: The Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison & Jay (political activists who wrote a series to articles urging a vote FOR a UNITED States rather than a CONFEDERATE States. This is pre-constitution stuff, folks. Heavy, but fascinating IF you really want to understand how our country came to be.

Kudos to Kindle for making so many classics available for free!

Books Read
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