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s/v Tropical Spice
10:30 AM Church Creek to Beaufort, SC
11/11/2008, Sunny, few cirrus clouds, breezy, cool

The smell of grilled cheese and ham sandwiches wafts up the companionway from the galley. The Captain is hungry and cold, the dog still asleep on his full tummy.

Just passed marker 197.

We have been snaking our way, twisting and turning running sometimes with the current at a speed of 9 knots. Sometimes against the current at 5 knots.

In this stretch the edges of the ICW are marsh on both sides. Our heading is presently SW with a turn to the W coming in a few moments.

The live oak trees are interspersed with with South Carolina's state tree, the White Palmetto.

I love their state flag.

The state flag of South Carolina was officially adopted in 1861. It has a white crescent and a white palmetto tree on a blue ground. Three white crescents (on a blue background) were first used on a South Carolina banner protesting the Stamp Act in 1765. In 1775, Colonel William Moultrie designed a banner for South Carolina troops; it had a white crescent on a blue field. When South Carolina seceded from the Union, the palmetto tree was added to the flag. The palmetto tree was chosen because this tree had helped South Carolinians defeat the British in a battle at Sullivan's Island (during the Revolutionary War). The South Carolinians built a fort out of palmetto wood, and when the British fired cannonballs at the fort, instead of knocking the fort down, the soft palmetto wood just absorbed the cannonballs.

Occasionally one sees houses across land we are passing. Range markers prevail and we notice that lining them up agrees exactly with the magenta line on our radar. Good Show.

The depth sounder sounds it's warning. The channel is narrow here.
The chart showed 15' but the depth sounder indicates 7.3. Even with our extra 2 feet the shoaling is evident.

The Captain quips that it is obviously cheaper to add range markers than dredge.

Finally, 10 to 14 feet of can relax.

I am sitting in the cockpit in layered clothing. Sweat pants and rain/wind pants, shoes, socks, heavy Irish sweater and West Marine offshore foul weather jacket.

I love looking at the shore line, both with binoculars and the camera zoom.

The marsh grass is tipped in golden brown, followed by a light green band, a marsh (wake and tide) grey mud area, back to green again. On top of the mud there is a gray thatch area, then rich black mud. It is sometimes layered with a shell layer - spoil perhaps.

At he shore line there is an abundance of open clam, mussel and oyster shells exposed by the tide and devoured by heron, egrets and seagulls.

Huge vacant osprey nests fill tree tops, summer occupancy only.

Marker 184 and the long anticipated dredges appear narrowing an already narrow channel. These are suppose to be the answer to the Captain's prayer. However, a north bound sailboat at the entrance of the channel coming in from St. Helena Sound with more than plenty of space to negotiate in pushes his way into the channel between Tropical Spice and the barge forcing us up onto the pluff mud bank. We are aground.

The smaller sailboat continues north and we rock ourselves off going back and forth.

Finally, open water. St. Helena Sound.

Stuck in Beaufort
Rain, rain, go away.....
11/06/2008, Town Creek Marina

Well..... we ended spending 3 nights here due to a low pressure storm system that would not give up. I got lots of laundry done, even washed Bosun's bed.

Took advantage of the marina courtesy car one day for the post office and the Food Lion. David and I were going to take turns sitting in the car with Bo when one of the girls in the marina who lost her dog a few months ago begged to doggie sit. Bo had a blast and we were able to grocery shop together for a change.

Met some nice folks who fixed the tank on our electrasan, and another couple who shared recepies with me.

In spite of foul weather, spirits were relatively high.

Gotta Keep Smiling!!!

Town Creek Marina to Mile Hammock Bay MM 244.5

Departed Town Creek Marina at 7:15 AM for Morehead.

South on the ICW
Location: Off ICW mile marker 203
11/04/2008, Town Creek Marina, Beaufort NC

We became Liveaboards Saturday, November 1, 2008!

Departed Colington Harbour, Kill Devil Hills, NC at 2:30 PM and headed across Albemarle Sound for Alligator Marina where we topped off the fuel. Diesel was $2.92 - only needed 60 gallons since our trip down the Chesapeake in May when we filled our 170 gallon tank at $4.50 a gallon in Baltimore!

Weather was warm, sunny and FLAT - dead calm flat.

Alligator Marina is just across from our summer on-the-hook hangout where we have enjoyed warm weather, steaks on the grill while swimming and puttering about in the dinghy for 3 and 4 day shakedown cruises over the summer.

Spent the night at the marina and left at first light heading SOUTH!

Huge barge came out just as we entered the Pungo River Canal. Actually 3 barges end to end with a tug on each end. It was carrying a large crane, very long shaft and other equipment. Interesting thing was that it was covered in foam. Tons of the stuff - which looked like icebergs trailing for quite a long ways behind. Forgot to get the camera out!

Mile Marker 110, soup and crackers for lunch. Bo enjoying bird and boat watching!. Quite warm, I am sunbathing!

Went under the RT 94 Bridge Mother and I crossed so many times on our way to stay at the River Forest Manor in Bellhaven on the ICW every fall so we could go hot air ballooning during their fall festival.

Miss her bunches! She would have loved Tropical Spice. I still use my now well-worn sailing gloves she gave me from the Grand Banks trawler she and my stepfather owned. Her sofa pillows are now in our salon. I guess a bit of her is ever present with me living her cruising dreams too.

Today's weather (Tuesday November 4th, 2008. Election Day!) is TOTALLY AWFUL! Big storm system - high winds 62mph and rain!!

We came into Town Creek Marina last night - just as the bottom fell out and the rains came down. Thank goodness for our Boat US insurance ( thanks guys at West Marine!!!!) there were boats on the hook in the channel into the marina - so...rather than bother the boaters my genteel captain (English manners to the max!) went around them and we went aground. Oh well, accidents happen.

Without the Boat US membership we would have incurred a $800 tow bill. Again, THANK YOU Nags Head West Marine guys!!!

On our way here, however, we saw a house I chastised myself later for not taking pictures of -- awestruck as I was. It was named "It is Five O'clock Somewhere" spelled out in multicolored letters with a large parrot leading the way. The house was chartreuse and hot pink! Definitely a fun, party house!

On the flip side - we also saw two lovely classic boats - one said 1933 Electric Light Company flying a Maryland flag. It was accompanied by a sister ship from Dover Delaware.

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Who: Dave, Peggy & Bo our Portuguese Water Dog.
Port: Colington Harbour, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
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