Charleston to Cape Canaveral
Bohicket to Cape Canaveral
We have planned this trip for months. It is the end of May and we are ready. The float plan is for us to go from Bohicket to Cape Canaveral, the hug the coast and cut over south of Ft. Pierce to West End. Then from there we will hit Great Sale, and on to Allens Pensacola. From there we will play it by ear. We have a month to cruise the area and make it back home.
The boat is provisioned and we are ready and anxious. After good byes from our marina mates and we are leaving with the tide. It is 1630; the weather forecast calls for light winds out of the SW with 2-3 foot seas.
We clear the banks and head for open water. A beautiful sunset and we are headed for the islands. Unfortunately around midnight the weather turns to crap. It is raining pretty hard and the seas have built to 5-9 foot seas and are confused and on the nose. Then I lose the Port engine. I struggle all night with one engine to keep headway. I decide to head towards the coast, maybe the seas will flatten a bit.
I get within 20 miles of the coast and am considering pulling in somewhere and wait till first light to work on the engine. But I decide to continue south and will work on it under way.
First light and the conditions are better and the seas a bit calmer. Diane is at the helm while I am working on the engine. I replace the Racor filters and the engines starts back up. I head for the rack with Diane at the helm, both engines running and full sails.
I wake up to the sound of the port engine dying again. I ask Diane our speed and we are still making 8-9 knots with one engine. So I decide to lie back down and get a little more sleep. I wake up to the sound of the sea racing by the porthole; startled, I again ask her what our speed is. Her reply is 13 knts, amazed, I check the winds and they are 15-20kts, she has trimmed the sails a bit and really is hauling ass. I commend her and delightfully lay back down.
Naturally when I take the helm, the wind dies and we are still beating into the seas hard. We are now making a whopping3 knts and no wind in sight. I decide to work on the engine again while it is cool. It starts for a while then sputters and stops. It seems to be starving for fuel. I have tried everything I know to no avail. Beaten and smelling of diesel I just figure we will get it looked at Canaveral. Diane stays up till around midnight then lies down. It is going to be a Lonnnnng slow night!
The seas finally shift when we are off of Jacksonville, we are making terrible time but it was a beautiful night. I hand it over to Diane around 0900 and lay down for a bit. When I wake up Shorty, aka, Diane, has Otto tuned in her feet over the side, and is playing with some dolphins. She has a huge smile on her face! I just laugh and think how kewl is this.
We make it into Cape marina with no real problems. I call a mechanic and he is due in the morning. So after walking the girls (Isa and Matillda), we eat a little bit and hit the racks.Trip totals are 346.7 miles, 68 hours, an average of 5.1 mph, on 41 gallons of fuel.
Lesson learned, NEVER LEAVE ON FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cape Canaveral to West EndCape Canaveral to Lily Banks
We are awakened to the sound of the mechanic knocking on the boat. We make a little coffee, and before we can finish our coffee, the mechanic lets us know our fuel line is blocked. He takes a fuel bulb in the fuel line, a couple of pumps and $75.00 later we are running. I call a fuel polishing service and he will be here early this afternoon.
At about 1400 the fuel polisher calls and cancels on us. So we decide to push on, I purchase a primer bulb and we get out of the inlet by 1430.
A beautiful Florida sunset as we head south. All the condominiums with all there lights are actually pretty from out here.
A good friend, Buddy aka Mudbug, once said ? you are island in the radious of your radar range” and that?? s how it had been for the first two days. Now until we make our turn east we will have the coast to watch.
I am watching some thunder heads coming off shore of West Palm. So I decide to make the turn early and try to either let them get out past me and come and follow them to the Gulfstream. Or get out in front and let them go behind us. Around midnight the plan goes to crap as the storms and us greet. I quickly drop the sails and get the weather gear out. The seas pipe up to 5-7 and we see 35 knts of wind and a ton of lightning. At one point the only time we can see the waves is during the lightning.
The storm blows through and no hrm done. I leave the sails down and we motor out into the stream. The seas are on the nose with 8-10 footers, so we are getting an occasional wave over the bows. While cruising along about 0300, I hit a wave and a flying fish comes through the observation flap in the bimini, and hits me in the head. A true wake up call. Otto is now at the helm and I lay down for a nap in the cockpit. I miss the sunrise completely. I jump up and check every thing out, and find that with making our turn east earlier than we intended, we had more set than plotted. Bummer!!!!! I damn near have missed the Bahamas. But luckily we can still make the banks at Matanilla Shoals, and clear at Walkers Cay. We make the bank around 1200 and decide to drop the hook on the Lily Banks. We catch a Barracuda and a nice snapper as we come over the edge, so fresh fish tonight. At around 1900 we are anchored in twelve feet of beautiful clear water. We have made it to the Bahamas.
Lily to Walkers
We wake to flat cal seas and a light breeze, we drink a little coffee and pull the hook. Walker?? s cay is busy as we pull in; they direct us into a slip. Unfortunately the slip is not as wide as it needs to be. So we tie up abeam to another boat?? s stern. I jump to the dock and clear us all in. We get an ice cream and a dog walk in and we are cruising south. Our anchorage tonight would be Double Breasted Cay. A beautiful motor sail over, we anchor off the southern tip and a quiet night is had by all
Destination today is Moraine for some snorkeling, and will over night there. We sail around the point and ease into the small harbor between the reef and cay. I immediately ?sand us”, a little reverse and we are free. I little snorkeling, a dink to the beach for Shorty and the dogs, we are finally on ?island time”
Marsh harbor to Charleston
We have made it to the beautiful Abacos. Our next destinations were Powell Cay, for an overnight, then stop in New Plymouth for provisions, and then across the Loggerhead Channel and anchor in Baker's Bay. We are planning on attending an Abaco Board Meeting. Which is going to be at Guana Seaside. A beautiful little motel and bar at the north end of Guana Cay.
Guana Seaside is owned and operated by Gerry, Bob, and first mate/bartender/manager, Glen. Bob and Gerri sailed down here from NH, fell in love with the island and bought the motel. Great food and REALLY cruiser friendly people.
Esteemed Board Members
The board meeting was attended by Abaco Skippy, Doctor Ralph, Jerry, Abaco Peach, and Debbie. All would be here for a week or so so we would see them again soon.
We have to pick up Susie in Marsh Harbor soon so we will spend a few nights in Baker's Bay then pick her up and head south. ,Our friends Hillary and Shawn (friends from the marina) were also sailing over. So we had friends coming in from all directions.
Us At Baker's Bay Hillary and Shawn
We pick up our friend Susie at the airport then back to Baker's Bay for the night. We enjoy another beautiful night. the conditions warrant a trolling trip down to Lower Pelican Cay. We don't catch any fish, but we have a great motorsail down and through the North Bar Pass. I tuck us in close to the cay, drop the hook. Another fantastic day!!!!
Lower Pelican Cay
We sailback north after some snorkeling and stopping at Hope Town and Tiloo Banks for overnighters. Then we drop Susie off, really enjoyed having her aboard for a week, and meet up with Hillary and Shawn, who had finally made it to Baker's.
While we are with them we do a lot of fishing and snorkeling at Fowl Cay Reef and on the reef off of the north end of Guana. It is fantastic! They have become very close friends. And we will miss them as the time has come for us to head back.
Baker's Bay to Bohicket
On about or around the end of the month I checked Internet weather and it agreed with Barometer Bob (Abacos cruiser?? s net), that the next four or five days the passage back looked real good. So we said all our good byes and headed north.
We left Baker?? s Bay and headed for Green Turtle for some fuel and provisioning first. Then headed for Allan?? s Pensacola for the first day headed back. Allan?? s had more people than I like so we anchored just north at the next Cay (Umbrella Cay). The second day was to Great Sale Cay for our next anchorage. Other than slaying Barracuda and seeing a blue hole, pretty uneventful. The next morning we head for West End to top off the fuel and get a night 's sleep before turning to 358?? .
We shoved off about 0800 and were in the Gulf Stream quickly with 5-10 knts of wind out of the Southeast and a following sea of maybe 2?? and 3.5 knots of current. Motor sailing making 10-11 was all right. We saw maybe three ships and other than losing all the water AGAIN, and running out of smokes it had been pretty smooth so far
We had lost the autohelm, so some one had to be at the helm constantly. The second night about 40 hrs into the trip a real storm finally nailed us. We were between St. Simon?? s and Savanna and I had been watching the wall of storms building all day. We were about 85 to 100 miles off, so basically had nowhere to go. After catching a Wahoo (45 lbs) just as the sun set . We hit the storms at around 0430.gusts50 knt and rain so hard I could not see to the bow and 5-7 footers over the bows. Three hours later we were still floating and I had found a pack of smokes in my foulies so life was good!!
Dock to dock 51 hours we were back safely in our slip and sleeping FINALLY.
Total days 5/28- 6/30=34 days
Total miles: 1200
We had a BLAST, learned more about our boat and ourselves than we ever imagined!
The Adventure Begins The decision had been made, the sea trials and survey had went very well. The closing date had been set. Little did we know that hurricane Isabel had made the same date in Annapolis.
After a harrowing trip, with trees falling in front of us on the interstate and a long night's drive, we arrived to find Annapolis flooded by the storm.The boat had come through the storm unscathed, thanks to Tommy and "Geese", of the Chesapeke Catamarn Center, and Dinnis Bixler of Multihull Co. She was safe and ready for us to take ownership. And it had finally come to pass.
This was the beginning of a new life. We had talked, and dreamed of this day. And it had finally come true.
This would be one of many trips to commision and provision for the trip home to Bohicket/Charleston.
The plan was to wait till after the boat show to bring her home. Dennis Bixler of Multihull Company had agreed to baby sit her and move her around to keep her out of the way during the show until we got back to start the trip home.
Not knowing a lot about diesels and needing a little help, we decided to ask Fred Elson/Mentor to fly up from Ft. Lauderdale and help with the delivery trip. He had been around yachts all his life and would prove to be a huge asset, except; he had a plan to eat as many crabs as possible from Annapolis to home. I never knew how much a little fellow like him could eat and sh-t.
I had figured that it would take approximately ten or twelve days for the trip if we did not tarry and pushed it a little. I had not learned schedules did not work for sailing yet. So we would shove off on November 14, which would also give us the Thanksgiving holiday for extra days off from work.
The plan was set and ready to implement!! We had joined the ranks of sailing poor
Bring On Another ThousandWe had NOT learned what that phrase meant until now!!!!!!!!
The genset installation and an engine tune up had been scheduled (that dreaded word again) to take place before we arrived. BUT when we arrived the mechanic was still working on it. Not a real problem as we had arrived a day early, and he assured us it would be done in time (another lesson learned, don?? t believe boat mechanics).
We provisioned and set the boat up to our liking so far nothing but fun. That night we picked up Fred aka ?crab eating machine” at the airport. Naturally he was late, and while waiting in the car, Diane had managed to bump into the car in front of her. When Fred and I arrived back at the car, the lady (LARGE black lady) did not take lightly to Diane bumping her car and was wanting to kick her little southern ass. The lady?? s husband (LARGE black man) had arrived on scene the same time as the police and us. Diane had locked herself in the car, but the men determined no harm no fowl, and we headed back to the boat.
The next morning we were to pay the mechanic what we thought we owed. New lesson was nothing costs what you think it will on a BOAT. So we had to Bring Out Another Thousand!!!
But the genset was installed, the engine supposedly serviced, the able-bodied crew ready, and we were headed south.
Annapolis to Norfolk Well we had all went to bed early for the departure in the morning. And a wonderful morning it was. Were we taking our ?Dream” home, it was ours, and ?living the dream had begun”.
Diane, on one of the long trips to Annapolis, had named the boat. Originally we had decided on "D&D's Dream" but had figured that, that name would be a VHF nightmare. So she came up with ?JusDreaming”. It was while we were asking ourselves, one late night trip, if we were just dreaming or would we ever find our boat.
It is a little cool but clear with a 5-10 knts. out of the southeast. The lines are untied and off we go. We needed to try to make 60 miles per day to stay on schedule, (that word again). I had figured the first few days would be under that, but we should make it up when we learned the feel of the boat. So our first destination is Parker Creek, I figured the northwestern side of the bay would give us some shelter.
As all our sailing had all been in tropical waters, the crab pots were amazing. Not amazing as in kewl, but they are so fricking many of them. It reminded me of doing a slalom course.
We motor sailed all day and decided to drop the hook around 1800. It was a nice spot with a little cove and a creek running into it. As we were unwinding and sitting on the trampoline and watching the sunset, a deer came walking down the beach. Life is good
We are up and moving early, coffee for Diane and I, and coffee and crabs for Fred. He REALLY likes crabs. The wind had clocked a little more from the north and the bay was beginning to build a bit. A nice broad reach with following seas. We made 11 knts surfing from time to time. That afternoon the wind shifted to dead on the stern. So the engines are running and we are still making good time. A few miles from the Wicomico River we lose the starboard engine. Fred is to the rescue; he begins to tinker while I continue at the helm. After a while he determines that the ?racor” was full of trash. He switched the filters bled the system and we had both engines again. But it was a
momentary relapse. Luckily we were close enough to the Wicomico, to pull in for the night. Unfortunately Diane was at the helm, I tell her to take the buoy to port. She ask if I was sure, naturally I said ?yes”, WRONG! We had just grounded her for the first time. I was really glad she was at the helm and not me J. A little working at it, and we were free and anchored in a beautiful little anchorage with two other boats. The mechanical problems would wait till tomorrow. Diane makes a great supper, Fred has crabs. And to bed we go.
We rise to another beautiful day. The wind is a little more northerly and still at 10-15. We motor over to Reedville, and cruise the harbor and look for a marina. I get on the VHF and ask for info. A kind sailor comes on and gives me direction to ?Tiffany Yachts” up the river a few miles.
An hour later and we are tied up to their dock. Really Really nice folks! Diane goes up to the parts counter and buys every racor filter they can find. We had to wait for the mechanic to finish a couple of other jobs then, he could fit us in. The owner tossed us the keys to their pick up and tells us to go to town and get some lunch. Like I said really nice folks.
We find a great little seafood restaurant with a fish market. A great lunch, some fresh fish and naturally Fred bought some more crabs.
Back at the boat the mechanic determines no one has changed or even cleaned the filters, so much for the mechanic in Annapolis. But he bleeds the system the engines crank and off we go. I figure the same anchorage should work. So we drop the hook without grounding and settle in. Side note is the mechanic nick named us "Captain Fatback, Pinky, and Reptile.
We have our morning rituals and off we go. I totally misjudged the conditions, so as soon as we clear the mouth of the river, I realize we have WAY too much sail up!!
A quick about face and back to protected waters and I throw a reef in and away we go.Today I know we need to make it to Norfolk. So we motor sail all the way with steep short waves on the nose.
We make the turn for Norfolk and get in line with all the ships coming in. We pass all the Naval ships and manage not to get run over. But by the time we get up the Lafayette River, to the yacht basin, it is dark, and Fred guides me, by shining the markers with the spotlight. It has been a long day but we are in Norfolk safe and sound!!
Norfolk to Wrightsville BeachDay 5
Well a little wind and the COLD front has moved thru. It is clear, cool, and calm. Morning rituals and off we go.
The Dismal Swamp route is closed due to Isabel so no options at this point. So we are headed down the ditch for the first time! I had read the guides and believed them about the RR Bridge, very seldom closing. I looked up and noticed the pulleys beginning to turn. A quick about, and a tight butt, but all is well. A large group of vessels bunched up and circled. This group will be together all day.
The locks are new to us, but uneventful. We get some pictures and away we go. We are headed below Coinjock, NC, to a nice cove just off the icw. Nice calm night and finally get the follow-me-TV working. Fred eats some more crabs J and we hit the racks.
What can I say, but more ditch. It is starting to get boring. Yes we have seen lots of wildlife and cypress trees but this is what I grew up around. Our next real destination is Ocracoke Island. We will overnight somewhere, then cross the Albemarle, then to Ocracoke.
As we are heading in the channel for the harbor at Ocracoke we lose one engine again. This is getting old; obviously we have trash in the tanks.
We limp in and get tied up with no problems.I am really getting use to two engines and liking it. Fred really wants to see the museums, so we wander around a bit, and witness how hard the Outer Banks got the shit kicked out of them. At this time no one is allowed on the island in cars, due to the roads being closed and bridges being wiped out over the inlets. Fred offers to treat for dinner so we are eating out tonight.
We get a late start out, after changing the Racors, so we just ease across the Sound and find a good night anchorage tucked up in the river. It is very quiet, calm, and NO people. Nice day and night.
So tonight we plan to anchor behind ?Shackleford Bank”. So we up anchor and I immediately ground us, (or ?sand us” as Diane calls it). We have to drop the dink and pull ourselves off the bar and away we go. We make it to Shackleford and drop the hook. we decide to dink in to the beach. We are getting ready to go, when we look up and see a mare and foal walking down the beach. REALLY a cool site after so many miles on a ditch.
We make it to the Surf City Bridge today uneventfully. We catch the bridge so we decide to go in the little marina and go out to eat again.
Fred has to leave tomorrow and has arranged for a flight from Wilmington so we will drop him off at Wrightsville Beach. After a rain soaked walk to West Marine, where Fred buys us some presents for the boat and ourselves.
He grabs a cab and we are alone on our boat for the first time. He really saved our butts and was a great help. We will miss him, but I don?? t care if I ever see another crab for awhile. But again he was a great help. And I appreciate all I learned from him, again.
After dropping him off it is raining really hard and it is cold. So we decide Myrtle Sound is home for the night!
Ocracoke to Charleston Our First OvernighterCape Fear to Bohicket
After a windy night and a few of the boats, including us, dragging, we are up and out early. We get to where the ditch cuts off south at Cape Fear. I look at Diane and she knows what I am thinking. I ask her if she is as tired of the ditch as I am. She confirms and agrees, and we decide it is time for our first overnighter on OUR boat. I raise the sails and we head out of the inlet.
We are both excited to be headed for blue water and no more ditching it. We are after all; we are on a sound, and solid boat. The engines are off and we are again a sailboat.
We make it out of the inlet with no problems other than dodging some shrimp boats that were working the area. It was good conditions with 5-10 knts winds and clear, but it was still a little cool.
The conditions hold and we witness our first sunset at sea. This is our first overnighter on our own boat. So we are a little apprehensive, but we will be fine. Right after sunset I see a couple of other boats. ?Margaret E” is close enough to talk to and it is assuring to know that we are not out here by ourselves. We sail with them all the way, and they congratulate us for losing our virginity, really nice folks!!
The course is laid in so Diane takes over as we are off ?Cape Romaine”. The next thing I see is a huge ship passing behind us as we cross the Charleston Harbor entrance. Startled I ask her what was going on, her reply was the captain told her it was safe for her to cross his bow. So I guess she is doing fine so I go down make a little coffee and get ready for the last leg.
I turn the boat in to the N. Edisto inlet and head for Bohicket. As we get close I call on the VHF and Josh, at the marina, says he will meet us at the dock. He helps tie us off and our first trip is over.
We have logged our first trip of many to come. The trip consisted of 118 hours, and 760 miles.
Sunset at Bohicket Marina