Our passage to Charleston was also great in terms of the weather which we knew could be stormy. We did see and hear a few storms with thunder & lightening but they were far from us. Except for 3 squalls that nearly sandwiched us and that Kim skillfully guided us and s/v Beaudacious to avoid, we just held our breath and prayed that the bad weather would not come our way. Thankfully we did not intersect a single thunder, lightning or rainfall during the entire trip.
For most of the passage there was not a lot of wind except for one day out of the three-day passage in which we clocked speeds of over 9 knots. We arrived to Charleston Harbor safe and sound and entered its harbor in the morning, passing historic Fort Sumter on the way into the city. Fort Sumter is where the American Civil War began as decades of growing strife between the North and the South had made the Confederates weary of having Union troops holding this fort. Finally on April 12, 1861 the Confederate artillery opened fire on the fort, which surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four decades to take it back. After a long trip up the river we arrived to the Charleston City Marina at 11AM.
We had visited Charleston in 3 other occasions, the last 2 in 2004 when we were considering moving to this historic and beautiful place. We loved the city and our stay at the City marina which was conveniently located downtown, making it very easy for us to tour the city. This is one of our most favorite American cities for its historic background, grandeur, imposing architecture and friendly people. We stayed in Charleston for a little over a week but did not do as much as we could as we were busy in our boat working (Kim), Daniel finishing school and Maria getting the boat and the food ready for the passage from Charleston to Beaufort which was also a 3-day passage. We did walk some of the streets, toured the largest historic home in the city and took a Ghost tour at night which took us to a couple of graveyards with stories about ghost sightings. One evening we were invited to one of Maria former colleague's house for dinner. Chris and her husband, Richard, own a very nice home and hosted a delicious dinner for us. We were very thankful for their hospitality. On another evening another one of Maria's former colleagues (Kay) came to our boat for dinner. We had an enjoyable evening with Kay who put her market researcher's hat and asked us great questions that made us reflect upon our voyage.
We left Charleston on a hot day and sailed for 3 days to Beaufort, NC. The trip was good and uneventful, with little to no wind so we had to motor the entire way. In Beaufort we waited for the weather to be optimal to make the passage around Cape Hatteras to Hampton, VA.
We docked Kikuyu at the Beaufort Docks City Marina, right off the town center . Beaufort is also a very historic town, settled in 1609 and founded in 1617. Its historic homes have almost all are refurbished and kept up very well -they are spectacular! There is a nice Maritime museum and many coffee and clothes shops. It appears that the town has a large retiree community.
Unfortunately something happened to our pictures of Charleston and Beaufort when uploading them to our PC and we lost most of them. Some pictures of Charleston are shown in the Gallery of Pictures.
With the impressive Kennedy Space Center near our marina (Cape Marina), our visit to Cape Canaveral was marked by major events of the space shuttle program. From our marina's docks we saw the Atlantis space shuttle being carried atop of a 747 (piggy-back style) as it approached its landing strip at the Space Center the day we arrived. This was quite an awesome view of these two air/space crafts which had traveled for 2 days from California, making 2 stops to refuel as the quarter million pounds they weighed burned fuel at a fast rate. The morning before we departed for Charleston we sailed to the harbor in our sailing companion's boat, Beaudacious, to see the Atlantis shuttle launch. Unfortunately, the launch had been canceled in the middle of the night due to a fuel leak.
We stayed in Cape Canaveral for nearly 2 weeks while Kim went back to the US for some work meetings. With our friends Paul & Lynne from s/v Beaudacious Daniel and Maria visited the Kennedy Space Center one day and went to Disney World another day. Maria and Daniel also drove to Tampa to see their good friend Ampi who had quickly assembled a get together with some friends from the Rochester, NY area, now living in Tampa. Maria lived for 15 years in Rochester and met them all there. It was wonderful to see Ampi and the friends we had not seen in a while. Ampi's daughter and son also joined us with their respective families as well as Ampi's sister who also lives in Tampa.
Cape Marina was an interesting place. While a working marina with no frills, the wildlife we saw there was amazing. Dolphins swam around the boats, we saw a couple of turtles and, best of all, a family of 4-6 manatees seemed to live around the docks. One morning when we were leaving the marina we saw a mom and a child petting something and as we got close we realized it was a manatee drinking water out of a hose, with her body belly-up. We were able to pet it and it was so beautiful and gentle.
Cape Marina also had a group of interesting live-aboards. We were told that at one point in the '70s many hippies lived in their boats at this marina and there are still some who live there. There was a boat and a car painted the same way with peace signs all over. We took many pictures of this art work.
Soon after Kim returned and had a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center, we prepared to leave Charleston to Beaufort, NC, a 280 nautical mile passage.
We anchored in West Palm Beach for the night and navigated along the coast to Fort Pierce the next morning where we also anchored for just one night prior to making a 12-hour trip to Cape Canaveral before sunset. Nearly 400 miles long, the coast of Florida is about ½ the distance from Key West to our final destination in the Chesapeake Bay and Cape Canaveral was about 1/3 of the way. We were amazed at how long it would take us to get back home. But at the same time we wanted to see some places in the East coast of the US by water.
Our anchorages in West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce where just off the ICW and near entrances to the ocean. There were homes nearby but no dingy dock or way to hop on shore. Anchoring in the US is not as available as it is abroad so we have had to go into marinas, something we had hoped to avoid.