Gone Sailing

S/V Abigail Grace

09 March 2018 | Gasparilla Marina, Placida
08 March 2018 | Ft. Myers - Placida
07 March 2018 | Ft. Myers
06 March 2018 | RFYC to Ft. Myers
05 March 2018 | Clewiston Fl to Moore Haven Fl
04 March 2018 | Clewiston - Roland Martin Marina
03 March 2018 | Indiantown Fl to Clewiston Fl
02 March 2018 | Stuart to Indiantown
01 March 2018 | Stuart - in Port at RFYC
28 February 2018 | Peck Lake to Stuart
27 February 2018 | Peck Lake, Fl
24 February 2018 | West Palm Beach, Fl
23 February 2018 | Lake Worth, North Palm Beach to West Palm Beach
22 February 2018 | Fort Pierce to Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, Fl
21 February 2018 | Fort Pierce, Fl
20 February 2018 | Fort Pierce, Fl
19 February 2018 | Telemar Marina, Indian Harbour Beach, Fl
18 February 2018 | Telemar Marina, Indian Harbour Beach, Fl
17 February 2018 | Titusville, Fla to Melbourne Fla (Indian Harbour Beach, Telemar Marina)
16 February 2018 | New Smyrna, Fla to Titusville, Fla

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

09 March 2018 | Gasparilla Marina, Placida
Overcast, Warm
It’s Our Transmission
As the sun came up and we were having our morning coffee we received a call from Captain John. Captain John is the head of the service department at Gasparilla Marina. Within the hour he was aboard sv Abigail Grace and confirmed our transmission problems. Unfortunately, the service department wouldn’t be able to help us for at least 3 weeks. After several phone calls to transmission repair companies (1 very rude and arrogant man from a company that prides themselves on customer service) Greg located a local company that could look at the transmission within a few days. Only issue, Greg would need to remove the transmission and take it to St. Petersburg. Greg’s parents offered to give a hand and to take take Greg to St. Petersburg. After lunch with Gregs parents and a few calls to George (our friend and owner of Island View Marina in MD) Greg and his dad had the transmission out and ready to take to St. Petersburg next day.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

08 March 2018 | Ft. Myers - Placida
Sunny, Windy
Almost Counts
"Almost" doesn't count EXCEPT in hand grenades, horseshoes, nuclear war, and apparently us. Leaving Ft. Myers in our wake, we were up early and on our way. A beautiful day. Warm and sunny with a lot of boats, of all types and sizes, about. A bit windy and a little choppy but we were on the gulf side of Florida and "almost there". Besides, it wasn't snowing. The water went from a dark greenish color to turquoise and dolphins were everywhere. They played with sv Abigail Grace along the way darting across her bow and at times so close to her hull we could have touched them. The wind and currents picked up throughout the day making our journey longer then anticipated. When we make plans, we also look at other options and have a "back-up" plan, just in-case. Our back-up plan was to anchor near Cabbage Key leaving us approx 13 miles short of our planned anchorage for the night. But, once there the area was exposed to the wind and seas (approx. 4 ft seas at the time). So, we came up with a 3rd option to continue to Boca Grande taking a slip at the Boca Grande Marina for the night. We could get there before dark and would be protected from the wind and seas. This would put us approximately 10 miles away from our final destination of Aquamarina Palm Harbour - GREAT. As we continued toward Boca Grande Marina with anticipation and excitement of our accomplishments we were all smiles, we were "almost there". That is, until we heard a loud and unfamiliar noise. Initially, Greg thought it came from down below as we had been simultaneously rocked by a large motor boat passing close. But, everything below was fine. After hearing the noise a second time Greg dropped the anchor (right in the channel) and went below to investigate the noise. Nothing seemed to be awry. And "NOTHING" is exactly what happened when Greg put sv Abigail Grace in gear. She "didn't go" "didn't move". Well, didn't go forward that is. She went backwards fine. That's right, "hello BoatUS it's sv Abigail Grace our transmission went and we need your assistance" - again. We cancelled our slip at Boca Grande Marina and waited for BoatUS. When BoatUS arrived the rough seas made it difficult for Greg to untie the anchor "snubber line" (a line attached to the anchor when deployed to keep the stress of the "electric anchor windless" (pulls up the anchor)). So, Greg cut the line at the chain. But, then, somehow, the remote for the electric anchor windless got pinched between the anchor chain (rode) and anchor windless pinching and cutting the wires to the remote. Thank goodness we had a second remote below, just in-case. After several phone calls to marinas in the area that provided service, accommodated deep draft vessels, and had slips available, we were on our way - towed that is. Greg sat back and cracked open a few cold ones, talked on his phone, witnessed another amazing sunset, and enjoyed the ride (tow). We were towed approx 12 miles to Gasparilla Marina in Placida - "thank you" BoatUS We were in a slip and tied off just as darkness settled - 4 miles from our final destination of Aquamarina Palm Harbour. Almost!

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

07 March 2018 | Ft. Myers
Overcast, Warm
Almost There
It was an early and musical kinda day in Ft. Myers. The early part was due to our slip being directly behind the Ft. Myers's Police Department's boat (the positive is you feel safe, the negative is a lot of noise - early). The musical part was contributed by a man (Domenic) playing his saxophone in the public area right next to our boat - beautiful. The rest of our day consisted of reviewing charts and planning our route to our "final" destination - YES! That's right, we're "almost" there. Our plans are to leave in the morning anchoring in a cove shortly before Aquamarina Palm Harbour (our destination). The marina is located in Cape Haze and is directly off the ICW. We will need to wait until the next day as we need a rising tide to navigate the marked channel into the marina to ensure we don't go aground. After we made our plans we walked "down town" for an early dinner.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - RFYC to Ft. Myers

06 March 2018 | RFYC to Ft. Myers
Windy, Warm, Overcast
Sharing the Lock with a Mega Yacht
We departed RFYC just after 09:00. Our destination "Fort Myers". With our lines untied we navigated back through the narrow canal to the ICW. We continued west a 1/4 mile to our 1st lock of the day. Although we had arrived at the lock in no-time we had to wait for an east bound boat to transit the lock. As we waited, we jockeyed positions with a huge mega yacht "Savior-faire". The lock master requested Savior-faire enter the lock 1st and for us to follow once Savior-faire was secured. Savior-faire departed the lock first and was soon out of site. As we continued westwardly we passed several boats, a water skier, people fishing, beautiful homes and landscapes. We also navigated another lock and several bridges (before reaching Ft. Myers we had navigated 2 locks and more than 6 bridges). Before we knew it, Fort Myers was in site. We had made reservations at the Fort Myers City Marina and were tied off in our slip by 4:30. Other than our delay at the lock our trip was uneventful and scenic. Just the way we like it - esp. the uneventful part.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - Moore Haven

05 March 2018 | Clewiston Fl to Moore Haven Fl
Sunny, Warm, Windy
Scenic and Peaceful
The winds, although still blowing, had subsided and we were on our way. We motored back through the lock, turned left and continued on the ICW. It was scenic and peaceful. We saw several "big" alligators and other wildlife as we motored toward our next lock in Moore Haven. After exiting the lock we continued toward our destination of River Forrest Yachting Center (RFYC) - sound familiar. We stayed at RFYC on the east side of Lake Okeechobee. This is their west side facility. We turned off the ICW and navigated a narrow, and thankfully, deep canal to our slip along a cement wall. The canal was lined with boats on one side and rocks on the other. Just like the east side facility, RFYC is well maintained and has lots of grassy areas for the girls (where they later had a bath). We tied off just in front of mv "Concrete Idea" (Kerry, Karen, and their little toy poodle Orca). This was the 3rd time we encountered "Concrete Idea". The 1st time was in the Mayaca Lock, then in Clewiston at Roland Martin Marina, and 3rd/now, here. Kerry and Karen live on their boat and have traveled much of the east coast. They too are headed to Ft. Myers.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - Clewiston

04 March 2018 | Clewiston - Roland Martin Marina
Cool, Overcast, Windy
Tied off in the canal in Clewiston
The weather forecast for today wasn’t good. Forecasting high winds, rain, and rough seas. We decided to stay put and tied-off. Glad we did because the winds were howling. Normally we like wind, especially since we are in a sailboat. But, if wind conditions are too strong locks and bridges on the ICW won’t open and navigating the sometimes very narrow ICW can be unpleasant. We decided to go to breakfast at the marina cafe, but missed it. Trish, an employee at Roland Martin Marina offered us her car to drive to a local restaurant (still serving breakfast). After getting directions we drove to the restaurant but, they too had stopped serving breakfast - we had lunch. On our way back to the marina we stopped at the supermarket and hardware store. The hardware store had exactly what we needed - a long coated cable and lock (for the dinghy), and hose. They had it all - Yeh! Back at the marina we thanked Trish for her generosity and gave her a few dollars for gas/lunch - she refused - we insisted.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

03 March 2018 | Indiantown Fl to Clewiston Fl
Sunny, Gusting
We Got Tipped
Up and ready we untied our lines and motored to meet Billy at the railroad bridge. While waiting for Billy to arrive Greg deployed our anchor. Shortly after Billy and his assistant Ron arrived. They pulled up to our port side and tied off. Billy and Ron ran a pole up our mast. Attached to the pole was a line with weights. The pole and weighted line determine the correct angle/degree of tilt. Greg weighed anchor to ready the boat while Ron put large blue barrels on our deck. Once the barrels were secured Billy started his pump and Ron filled the barrels with water. Our boat started healing (tilting) to port and the weights at the end of the line touched the water. With 9 barrels of water, our boat tilted, weights in the water, Greg motored forward and passed under the bridge. We were through. Abigail Grace did the “Okeechobee Limbo”. The whole process was over in approximately 45 mins. Ron lowered the pole and let the water out of the drums while Billy packed everything back on board their boat. Before we knew it we were thanking them both and watching as they motored away. We motored toward Port Mayaca Lock- the next lock we had to transit. Initially, we were going to tie off to the dolphins for the night. The lake was rough because of the wind blowing and gusting. But, when we contacted the lock tender he informed us conditions were good and had improved. We untied from the dolphins and proceed to the lock behind mv “Concrete Idea” (from PA). Once through the lock we were on Lake Okeechobee. Although conditions had improved it was a rough passage across to Clewiston. Winds were blowing 15k with intermittent gusting. We put our headsail out which helped a little. Lake Okeechobee is shallow so when the winds kick-up it can get salty - actually “muddy”. After reaching Clewiston, we tied off in the canal at Roland Martin Marina. While Greg checked us in I cleaned up (some things got tossed around). We ended the night in celebration of being “tipped” and crossing Lake Okeechobee with dinner at the marina’s restaurant the “Tiki Bar”.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

02 March 2018 | Stuart to Indiantown
Overcast, Warm
Gator and Turtle
Our slip at Indiantown Marina wasn't available until after 2pm. So our morning was relaxing. Greg made breakfast, we walked the girls, and did some boat chores. Around 2:00 we untied our lines and headed to Indiantown Marina. It was a short day on the canal. We were there in no-time and tied off. Greg went to the office to check-in. While waiting for Greg to return I saw our 1st gator. Later while sitting in the cockpit a small turtle appeared. I tossed a few pieces of bread and watched as the turtle gobbled it up. We were low on water and decided to walk to a nearby supermarket. We had started walking but then realized it was further than expected, getting late, and looked like it was going to rain, so we decided to go back. The marina office had a little (very little) store offering soda, milk, and maybe 10 other items. We stopped there to see if they carried water. While in the office/store a couple overheard us talking and offered us a ride to the supermarket. They live on their boat at the marina and are outfitting it to head south in a month or so - and have a car. We took them up on their offer getting water and a few other items at the supermarket. Once back on the boat we had dinner and prepared for our morning departure.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

01 March 2018 | Stuart - in Port at RFYC
Sunny, Warm
Billy Called
Our plans were to continue toward Lake Okeechobee but, we hadn't heard from "Billy the Tipper". We left him a few messages along the way, updating him of our progress, but hadn't received a return call. Unsure if we should proceed, we decided to stay put for a bit. RFYC doesn't offer laundry facilities (more of a boat yard) and we had some much needed laundering to do. So we got creative using our cooler, a bucket, and our boat to do laundry. I am sure it must have been an interesting site for anyone navigating the canal. But, our laundry was done and fresh. As the day progressed we still hadn't heard from Billy. It was getting late and we decided it best to stay another night. Greg notified the marina office - Tracy. Just as we finished dinner Billy called and plans were made to "tip" us Saturday morning between 08:30 and 09:00. This was perfect except we were 22-25 miles away from the "tipping" location/railroad bridge. This is the equivalent of approximately 4 1/2 hours by boat (our boat). We called Indiantown Marina to secure a slip for tomorrow (Friday). Indiantown Marina is the only marina between RFYC and the railroad bridge. Unfortunately, on this part of the ICW there aren't many/if any places to anchor. We did our laundry, made plans to get tipped on Saturday, and have a slip at Indiantown Marina for tomorrow. Our day was a success.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - RFYC

28 February 2018 | Peck Lake to Stuart
Sunny, Warm
St. Lucie Canal
As we were preparing to leave we noticed the basket we had given to Miguel and his wife sitting on our cooler in the cockpit. In the basket was fresh baked bread along with a note written in Miguels native language of Spanish. He and his wife had already weighed anchor and were gone. I translated the noted to English which contained their contact information. The bread was delicious. We departed Peck Lake at 09:00 heading a short distance to the Port St. Lucie Inlet. At Port St. Lucie we made a turn toward Stuart and the St. Lucie River - Mile Marker 1 of the Okeechobee Waterway (OWW). The St. Lucie River changes to the St. Lucie Canal as you head toward Lake Okeechobee. This part of the ICW was very nice. The waterway is very well marked, deep, and pretty. We had one lock to transit (total of 5 this route). The locks on this side of Lake Okeechobee raise vessels up to lake level. Today's lock raised us 14ft. Shortly after the lock was our stop for the day at River Forrest Yachting Center (RFYC) in Stuart. RFYC also has a storage facility that is hurricane proof. They offer a few transient slips along the cement walls of their basin. Our slip was perfect for the girls. They could run and play in the grass area that lined our side of the basin wall. RFYC was nice, secure, and the staff very friendly.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - Peck Lake, Fl

27 February 2018 | Peck Lake, Fl
Sunny, Windy
Miguel and Brad
Greg was up early watching as Tom raised anchor and disappeared down the ICW. A little later we too were weighing anchor, but we were headed north, to the Okeechobee. Our day was great. Greg had planned and timed all 10 bridges. We had no delays this time - it was perfect (the bridge part). We saw gorgeous homes and landscapes (didn't see the 1st time it was dark). Jupiter has beautiful turquoise water and lots of beaches along the ICW. Hobe Sound was active with boats, water skiers, swimmers, and people just having fun. Just as we entered Peck Lake we were hailed over the VHF. Kennebeck! Yes, sv Kennebeck was on the north side of Peck Lake and headed toward us. The last time we had seen John and Matt was in St. Augustine. They were now headed to Hobe Sound and then to Lake Worth (where we had just been) to wait for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. We had connected sv Kennebeck with sv Grace (David and Nancy) who were in Lake Worth waiting to cross too. As we looked for a spot to drop anchor on Peck Lake we went aground (oops - another shoal). It was the beginning of series of events. Miguel (don't know the name of his boat) from Argentina got in his dinghy and came over with his anchor to help us. He was so kind. But, we couldn't understand a word he was saying. While Miguel was trying to help us kedge-off the shoal, Brad on sv "At Last" was yelling and waving his arms. But, we could't hear a word his was saying. Miguel and Greg were successful in spinning the boat - enough to now hear Brad "just put it in reverse and gun it" "you have a flood tide". The only problem with this was "At Last" was behind us. Brad yelled "don't worry you won't hit me". So, Greg gunned it and we were off, missing sv "At Last". We anchored to starboard of "At Last" in deeper water. We put together a little basket of fruit and other goodies for Miguel and his wife and thanked them for their help. Brad (and his girlfriend Joan) invited us over for dinner and drinks - we accepted.


Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace / West Palm Beach, FL

24 February 2018 | West Palm Beach, Fl
Varied
3 Days in West Palm Beach with Friends and The Okeechobee
We spent several days anchored in West Palm Beach with Tom and Ken. West Palm Beach was a nice visit. It was clean. Lots of outside cafes and restaurants. There are trolly cars you can ride for free and bike stations. The bike stations have tools and a tire pump tethered to them and are free to use. You can rent bikes, golf carts (look like mokes), segways, jet skis, and more. They have concerts in the streets. A section is blocked off and the band sets up their stage in the street - really neat! At night the city came alive. All lit up and music playing. Across from our anchorage, amongst the gorgeous homes, stands a Banyan tree - absolutely beautify. The roots of Banyan trees grow down and take root wherever they touch the ground - really pretty. We had a nice stay. Visiting with friends and seeing the city.

February 24, 2018
Saturday - Tom took us on a "mural" tour. When we were in Virginia at the Atlantic Yacht Basin Tom had told us about the murals. They are painted by artist and displayed throughout the city. After showing us the murals we went to "Grease" (restaurant) for a late lunch. Many years ago (Grease) was a butcher shop. It still has the meat hooks and tracks hanging from the ceiling.

February 25, 2018
Sunday - Tom, Greg, and I walked to the Publix Grocery Store. Ken was on his boat. He was having problems with his generator and was trying to get it working. Later, Greg and I met Tom and Ken at "Bradleys" for a late lunch. This was our farewell lunch. We're all heading to different locations. Ken is heading for the Keys, Tom for Miami, and Greg and I to the Gulf Coast. Ken was leaving around 10:30 pm to head south. There are 21 bridges to transit from West Palm Beach (where we were) to Fort Lauderdale. Most, if not all of the bridges have "timed" openings. Ken was hoping the tenders would open the bridges for him "off schedule" since there would likely be very little road or water/boat traffic. We found out later Ken's plan didn't work. After lunch Greg and I took a walk and got ice cream.

February 26, 2018
Monday - we met Tom at Panera's for coffee, breakfast, and to go over our Gulf Coast charts. It started raining - pouring - really hard. The girls were on the boat and the hatches and port lights were open. It's a boat, it's suppose to get wet. Right! After breakfast we stopped and got Gregs glasses fixed, picked up Abbie's medication at the pharmacy, made a quick stop at Publix, and then back to the boat. Later in the evening we met with Tom and his friends Kathy and Victor (and their friends Dianne and her husband) at "Grease" for dinner. It was a nice dinner and the last time we'll see Tom until our paths cross again. Tom is heading south to Miami for a few weeks and then on to Marathon Key where he will meet-up with some friends and Ken.

Okeechobee
The water levels on Lake Okeechobee are currently elevated. As long as they stay elevated we can go across the lake saving a lot of time (vs going to the Keys and up the Gulf Coast). But there is only one problem. A railroad bridge that is 49ft. Our mast height is 50ft (51ft with antenna and wind instruments) therefore, we can only go across the lake if "Billy the Tipper" can tip us. Billy tips boats to get them under the bridge. He puts big drums on the side of your boat, fills them with water and "tips" your boat to the side. He has been tipping boats since 1995 - 23 years. He has never tipped a Panda (our boat make) or heard of one, but said he could tip us. We made tentative plans with Billy and are headed back north to the St. Lucie and Stuart. Here we will take the Okeechobee ICW route (OCWW) to the gulf.


Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - Lake Worth to West Palm Beach

23 February 2018 | Lake Worth, North Palm Beach to West Palm Beach
Sunny, Warm
Anchored with Tom and Ken
We woke to a beautiful anchorage. Lake Worth is large and “lake” like. It is located in North Palm Beach just off the ICW. The entrance to LW is marked very well, hence our being able to enter last night with a flash light. There were boats of all sizes and makes anchored throughout the Lake. To our port a marina full of mega yachts. The shores lined with nice homes and buildings. It was calm and pleasant - just like a lake. Last night our steering started making a noise. Greg checked it over but wasn’t able to find an obvious problem. He called George to trouble-shoot the problem/noise. After lunch we departed Lake Worth heading a short distance south to West Palm Beach. On the way we passed Peanut Island (Yeh Peanut), large cruise ships, mega yachts, a port, and many anchorage fields filled with boats. Tom and Ken are both anchored in West Palm Beach. Tom has been there close to a month and Ken arrived within the last week. We anchored below the Flagler Bridge near Tom and Ken. Ken motored over, in his dinghy, to say hello. The currents were strong and variable so we decided to stay on board for the evening to monitor our position/anchor. Great to see Tom and Ken.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

22 February 2018 | Fort Pierce to Lake Worth, North Palm Beach, Fl
Sunny, Warm
ICW and Bridges by Flash Light
We left Fort Pierce on an incoming tide. We were transiting the St. Lucie Inlet known to have shallow areas. With a draft of 5ft 9in we try to travel with an incoming tide. If we go aground with an incoming tide we have opportunity to free ourself as the tide rises. All our preparation paid off. We motored through the St. Lucie Inlet without so much as a bump - Yeh! TYG. Our plans included stopping at one of two places - Peck Lake or Hobe Sound and anchoring for the nite. We were making such good time we decided to keep going. As we continued south we would transit another inlet and several bridges (did I say several). Bridges work in several ways. Some bridges are plenty tall enough and there is no issue. Some require you to hail a bridge tender on the VHF (radio) to request an opening ie. opens on signal. Some open on a schedule ie. every hour and half hour or every 1/4 after and 3/4 after the hour. Railroad bridges are mostly left open (unless a train is scheduled). Therefore, when putting plans together we consider bridges, as well as, tides (also fuel, water, supplies etc). Our initial plans included tides and bridges to Hobe Sound (the furtherest of the two locations). As we navigated south through the Jupiter Inlet area there were three bridges to transit within a mile of each other. The first two work on signal and the third is timed. We were delayed at the second bridge due to heavy traffic. The tender couldn't open the bridge until the traffic cleared off the bridge. This delay caused a 1/2 hr wait at the third bridge (in addition to the initial delay). This one delay caused a "domino effect" for the remaining bridges (5 timed bridges). With each delayed opening it was getting later and later. Thankfully, the last bridge tender opened the bridge early for us. In the dark, by GPS and flash light, we transited bridges, navigated the ICW, and anchored in the dark. Note to self, "stick to your plan".

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

21 February 2018 | Fort Pierce, Fl
Overcast, Windy, Rainy
Winds and Currents
Our plans were to leave this morning but the winds were blowing hard, the currents strong, and the ICW salty. Greg checked with the office to see if our slip was available to us for another night stay - it was. We took a walk to the hardware store and then to the park. The Wednesday "Farmers Market" was being held in the park and we were hoping to get some fresh fruit and veggies. Unfortunately, it wasn't much like a "farmers" market at all - no fruit and very little veggies. It was more like a "peddlers" market than farmers. Peddling baskets, cloths, teas, cure-all juices (snake oil) - "peddlers" - very bizarre. We stopped for a late lunch and watched some of the Winter Olympics on one of the restaurants several big TVs. Just as we were leaving the restaurant it started to rain. Once back at the boat we checked the tide next day tide tables (where we are and where we are going), reviewed noaa charts, Skipper Bob, and Waterway Guides laying out our plans for tomorrow.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

20 February 2018 | Fort Pierce, Fl
Overcast Windy
Fort Pierce
After breakfast and a walk with the girls we untied our lines, headed around Dragon Point, then south down the ICW. Our destination Fort Pierce City Marina. It was a windy long day of motoring. We wanted to put our sails up but, once again, we were headed dead into the wind. This part of the ICW is wide and somewhat boring as everything is far off in the distance. After negotiation the strong currents and bridge at Fort Pierce Inlet we made a right turn following the fairway (with a bump) that leads back and around to the Marina. We got fuel then went to our slip. As we were tying off we noticed dolphins jumping and splashing. A couple on their motor boat opposite us said they were feeding. Just as we were watching the dolphins we noticed what we thought were logs in the water. Those logs were manatees. Carl, the dock- master, came by in his golf cart to make sure we were okay. After checking on us he gave Greg a ride to the office to complete the usual paperwork, get keys, passwords, and other marina info. When Greg got back we took the girls for a walk, had dinner at the marina’s Tiki Hut restaurant (you get a discount), and called it a night.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

19 February 2018 | Telemar Marina, Indian Harbour Beach, Fl
Sunny and Warm
Shore Power Cord
It was morning and Greg was going through his usual pre-departure check list - checking the engine, hoses, water filter, oil, fittings, etc. I was stowing cloths and preparing to get underway when I noticed our electric was out. Initially, we suspected it was a problem at the marina's outlet. After Greg and the dockmaster checked several outlets and electric cords they found the problem and it was with our shore power cord. Greg spent little over an hour fixing the connector to the cord. We use and need the cord while staying at marina's for electric. After all the checking and fixing was done it was too late to leave. The tides would soon be changing putting us at risks for going aground. We notified the marina then walked to "Doubles Restaurant" for an early dinner.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - Fl

18 February 2018 | Telemar Marina, Indian Harbour Beach, Fl
Sunny, Warm
A Visit With Family
Woke to another beautiful morning. Greg made coffee and french toast for breakfast. After breakfast we deployed the dinghy and mounted the motor. Then we did some boat chores while awaiting a visit from my niece Jasmine and family. Early afternoon our family arrive - Eli, Jasmine, and Oliver. After a tour of the boat we headed out to the store. Oliver needed a life jacket and we needed a few items. Once back at the boat we packed up some sandwiches and drinks for an afternoon dinghy ride. The dock attendee informed us of a nearby canal lined with homes and boats. That's where we headed. Oliver was having a GREAT time. Held by his life jacket and off the side of the dinghy he had hands, feet, and face in the water. Smiling, splashing, laughing, and waving to boats and the like as they went bye. We had our sandwiches and drinks while taking-in the sites. The homes were beautiful and well maintained. We returned to sv Abigail Grace to watch the sunset. Yesterday's sunset was so beautiful we were hoping for a anchor - but it didn't happen. We retreated below for popcorn and "Captain Ron". Before we knew it, it was 10:45 and our guest were leaving. They had a 1:45 minute drive home. It was so GREAT to see family, meet Eli and Oliver - it was a wonderful day.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

17 February 2018 | Titusville, Fla to Melbourne Fla (Indian Harbour Beach, Telemar Marina)
Sunny, Warm
Beautiful Sunset
Unhooked our mooring ball approx 09:30 and headed south with a destination of Melbourne. We were going to meet-up with Ken and Kaysone in Melbourne before Kaysone flew home Sunday (to Maine). Ken and Kaysone's plans changed. Kaysone left this morning and Ken headed south with hopes of going off shore. We continued to Melbourne as planned taking a slip at the Telemar Marina at Indian Harbour Beach (Dragon Point). It was a warm sunny day with lots of boat activity. As we arrived at the marina we were greeted by dolphins and manatees. After tying off and checking-in we took the girls for a walk and stopped for pizza at a near by restaurant. Our day ended with the gift of another beautiful sunset.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

16 February 2018 | New Smyrna, Fla to Titusville, Fla
Hello Brian
Up early for showers and walking the girls. We were excited this morning to have a visitor. Brian, a friend from Maryland whom we met at Island View Marina stopped by for coffee. It was a great visit and nice to see someone from home. Brian gave us a lot of great advice and info on the waterway and areas south. We pushed off from the dock around 11:30 with a little help from John (dockhand) and headed south towards Titusville. We motored past several areas that appeared to be hit hard from hurricane Matthew. The sites of sunken boats, demolished docks and homes is overwhelming - my heart sadden. It was sunny and warm, and for the 1st time I put on shorts and a t-shirt - that says something cause I am normally cold on a hot day :). It was a long day of motoring (no wind) passing small islets (little islands). Some islets support fishing camps. We saw lots of kayakers, small fishing boats, and dolphins (my favorite). One area we passed through is called Mosquito Lagoon. I must say it is properly named as shortly after entering we were bombarded with mosquitoes and small flies. After Mosquito Lagoon we transited Haulover Canal. It is a 1 mile-long rocky cut with jetties entrances (rocks on both sides of the entrance). The canal provides an easy passage from Mosquito Lagoon to the Indian River. The canal was lined trees, people fishing, rock ledges - pretty. Shortly after crossing Indian River we were in Titusville. We grabbed a mooring ball for the nite. In the distance we could see the launch tower and buildings for the NASA Space Center (saw vapor trail days earlier). It was a great day ending with the gift of another BEAUTIFUL sunset.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

15 February 2018 | Marineland, Fla to New Smyrna Fla
1st Manatee
The fog wasn’t too bad this morning so we decided to untie our lines and continue south. We pushed off the dock with a little help from Eric and motored on. The fog rolled in and out most of the day. It seem to stay just ahead of us, therefore, we always had good visibility. We say our first manatee on the Halifax River. I tried to take a photo but in all my excitement I didn’t press the button - oops. Just as we entered the Ponce De Leone Cut we bumped bottom. Greg gunned the engine and pushed right through - Yeh and TYG! It was a GREAT day. We made it to the New Smyrna Marina putting in around 50 nm. We check-in with family and touched base with Brian (friend from MD). Took the girls for their nite walk only to be surprised when we returned to our boat to see John and Bonnie of mv Enjoy standing at our bow. They were 2 slips over and had been there for 4 days - small world.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

14 February 2018 | Marineland Marina, Fla
Foggy, Windy, Raining
Fog
Happy St. Valentines Day to All
Our plan for today was to continue south to possibly catch-up with Ken and Kaysone. But, this morning it was foggy - dense fog. We decided to wait a bit to see if it would lift, but it didn't. Since we couldn't see the ICW markers and visibility was low we decided to stay in port for the day. Charlie on a mv (make Prairie) was going to leave too, but decided to stay another day as well. Not only was it foggy, it was cold and windy. Just not a nice day. Greg and Charlie split a cab and went to the local Publix for some groceries. I walked the girls, sorted and stowed some winter belongings (hopefully we won't be needing them). Later Greg and I took a walk through a nature trail which is located next to the marina. The trail winds around from the ICW side then crosses over to the ocean. Afterward Patrick and Michelle (mv GH) hosted us and John and Debbie (sailboat) on board their beautiful 47 ft Great Harbor. Patrick and Michelle recently purchased their boat in Florida and it's a beauty. John and Debbie are from PA and keep their sailboat in Baltimore, Maryland. All are headed for the west coast of Florida via the Okeechobee. We also met Jim and Pam (mv Silver Boots). They too were headed for the west coast via the Okeechobee. Jim and Pam have done this trip many times and offered some advice/info regarding inlets and trouble areas. Tomorrow's forecast is calling for more fog. We will see what Mother Nature brings in the morning.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

13 February 2018 | St. Augustine, Fla to Marineland, Fla
We Missed BoatUS
We wish we had more time to spend in St. Augustine (wish we would have stayed). The history and architecture is so interesting. There is so much to see. We departed 07:45 heading south with the hopes of putting in a “good day”. I did say “hopes”. All was going well until reaching the Matanzas Inlet. This is where we ended up spending the day, alone, with some dolphins. It had been a while since we called BoatUS, so I guess we where do. We had only gone approximately 15 nm before going aground. Around 11:15 Captain John came to our rescue (maybe). Capt. John told us the inlet markers “are all wrong” and they need to be change. He also told us of the many boats he has pulled off this shoal including a 134 ft yacht just recently. This was great news. We were confident he would have us off in no-time especially since we are only 38ft (what were we thinking). Capt. John tried for “at least” an hour to get us off the Matanzas shoal (key word “tried”) but, our baby wasn’t having it. Plan B - wait for the tied to rise then call Capt. John who will come back to try again. So, we sat on the shoal in the rain and wind. Dolphins swimming around. I swear they were laughing at us and saying “the deep water is over here” but as they say in Maine “ya can’t get there from here”. Around 5:30 (pm) Capt. John’s friendly face was at our bow. The night was falling and the fog was rolling in. Greg and Capt. John attached the lines to our bow. Capt. John gunned his engine and pulled, and pulled, and pulled. Greg and I looked at each with despair in our eyes and thoughts that we were spending the night on the shoal. Even Capt. John was looking doubtful. But then, with one last gun of this engine, giving it all he had, Capt. John pulled us off. Our despair was immediately replaced with yelling and smiles - Capt. John with the biggest grin. Almost dark and in the fog we motored to Marineland Marina (short distance) tying off just before night fall.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

12 February 2018 | St. Augustine, Fla
Hello Kennebeck
We stayed in port today. I did some laundry while Greg and the guys (Ken, Luke, David) walked to a marine store that is very popular here in St. Augustine. It’s kinda like a consignment store for boaters called the “Sailers Exchange”. It has all kind of boat/marine stuff. In between doing laundry and other boat chores Greg and I had a lite lunch together at an outside restaurant. Later in the day we took the girls to the park. After, we walked across the bridge (Bridge of Lions) to a small “mom and pop” market for a few items (African dried sausage - the best). On our way back we stopped at “Sarbez”. A quirky little place with few chairs or tables serving only drinks and grilled cheese sandwiches. My grilled sandwich was made of cheese, ham, avocado, and mango on sourdough bread and it was delish. Back at the boat we were preparing for departure in the morning when someone knocked and yelled to us. It was John and Matt of sv Kennebeck - we were pleasantly surprised. We hadn’t met before but have spoken to each other many times on the VHF radio. John and Matt saw us on their AIS (automatic information system) and came looking for us - so cool. They are spending a week in St. Augustine and then moving on to the Bahamas - Hope to meet again.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

11 February 2018 | Jacksonville, Fla to St. Augustine Fla
Pirates!
We untied our lines and motored out from the docks at “Sisters Creek” into the strong currents of the river followed by sv Surrender. Our destination St. Augustine. SV Grace and catamaran AquaDog departed later meeting-up with us in St. Augustine. It was an uneventful day (TYG) of motoring. Periodically we were reminded of the loss and devastation from hurricane Matthew with boats noted in the marshes or sunken along the shore lines. As we drew close to St. Augustine boat traffic increased. We passed pirate ships and site seeing vessels. Castillo De San Marcos National Monument (built in 1672) was to our starboard as we entered the harbor. After passing under the bridge we motored to our slip at the St. Augustine Municipal Marine where we were greeted by dolphins dancing in the waves. After tying off and paying or our slip, we were greeted by Fordyce. Fordyce has been following our blog and recognized us when we entered the harbor. It was so nice to meet. Fordyce is solo sailing his Nauticat sv Seadyce - amazing - hope to keep-in-touch. Later in the day we were joined by sv Grace and cat. AquaDog.

History/points of interest - St. Augustine was founded in 1565 as a military outpost, Is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the US, the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the US

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

10 February 2018 | Cumberland Island, GA to Jacksonville, Fla
Florida
We woke to a foggy morning. Around 10:45 the fog lifted and we weighed anchored. We navigated across the Cumberland Sound and before we knew it we were crossing over the invisible line in the ICW that separates Georgia from Florida. WE ARE IN FLORIDA. As we motored down the ICW stark reminders of hurricane Matthew where everywhere. From a barge filled with broken boats to sailing vessels littering the shore. It was heart breaking to see. We continued down the ICW past Fernandina to Sisters Creek. We docked just north of the Jim King Park in a small creek along with sv Surrender and sv Grace. Luke of catamaran "Aquadog" was already docked and graciously grabbed our lines. Luke is from Deal, Maryland. Later we all met on sv Grace for drinks and snacks before calling it a day.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

09 February 2018 | Jekyll Island, GA to Cumberland Island, GA
Wild Horses
We weighed anchor around 9:00a. Dolphins swimming between us and the shore - an early morning surprise. Our next stop, Cumberland Island. It was raining, windy, and cloudy. We had 3-4 ft seas as we transited the waters of St. Andrew’s Sound. Once back in quiet waters we passed several motor boats and military/coast guard boats. Our passage from Jekyll Island to Cumberland Island was a short. Before we knew it we were anchored. We launched our dinghy, got the girls together, and motored over to the camp dock at the Cumberland Island National Park. Ken and Kaysone were with us as we navigated trials with huge live oaks draped with Spanish moss. It was magical. We walked the trails looking for the infamous wild horses. It wasn’t long before I heard a noise coming from the brush. Behold my eyes, there were two wild horses. They were grazing. Our presence didn’t bother them. We continued following the trails in search of the Carnegie family estate ruins, also known as the “Dungeness”. It was built by the Carnegie’s in 1880’s and later burned (1950’s). Much of the mansions (59 rooms) ruins are still visible. While looking for the ruins we saw two more horses. One came within feet of Kaysone and I. He (it was a he) had wild eyes. I kept my distance. The ruins were eerie and incredible. In its day, the mansion must have been a grand and beautiful site. There were wild turkeys, buzzards, armadillos, and deer roaming the grounds surrounding the ruins. On the trail, as we headed back to the camp docks two more horses came running bye. Wow! That makes six horses. A couple approached us as we were getting in our dinks and asked if we had seen the horses. This was their second day at the park looking for wild horses. We felt so incredibly fortunate to have seen and come so close to the Cumberland Island wild horses.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

08 February 2018 | Lanier Island, GA to Jekyll Island, GA
63* / Cloudy
Short Sail to Jekyll Island
After spending a few hours going over the motor last night Greg and Ken where unable to find a cause for the white smoke coming off the engine - Ken gave his mechanic a call for assistance too. This morning after breakfast Greg motored the dink over to sv Surrender where he and Ken continued to look for a cause/solution. Early afternoon and back on board Greg happily announced they found the problem "a loose rocker arm". We raised the dink and sailed a few miles south anchoring off Jekyll Island just past the bridge and marina (near water park and public dock). Greg and Ken walked into town for a few items (missing a beautiful sunset) and called for an Uber driver to bring them back. We settled-in after enjoying some warm soup made by Kaysone - delish!

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

07 February 2018 | Crescent River, GA to Lanier Island, GA
60* / Overcast
Mudd River
Since we are in Georgia we have to "work/play the tides". There are 8 foot +/- tidal differences (amount tide increases and decreases) which also equals strong currents. The times of high and low tides change everyday and because our boat drawls 5'9" (we use 6 ft) we have to plan our days around the tides otherwise we could go aground. Today, high tide was 2:38p so, we got to sleep-in a little. Greg cooked blueberry pancakes with sausage for breakfast - a nice change from oatmeal and cereal. Motor vessel (mv) Enjoy weighed anchor and departed a little before us. It is much faster and draws less than sv Abigail Grace and Surrender - we will keep-in-touch. Today we navigated the Little Mudd River which has some notoriously low areas without difficulty - we did wait for the tides to have enough water under our keels. The winds were gusting to 20mph making it a little salty but we kept on moving. We were hoping to anchor near Jekyll Island but due to the opposing tides and winds we decided to anchor off Lanier Island (near St. Simon Island). As we were approximately three (3) miles out from our anchorage we noticed a lot of smoke from sv Surrender. Greg quickly hailed Ken on the VHF. Ken and Greg did some quick trouble shooting over the VHF but where unable to find a cause - sv Surrender limped into the anchorage. Once both vessels where anchored, Greg and I deployed our dink and Greg motor over to assist Ken.

Rainbow
Storm

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

06 February 2018 | Herb Creek, SC to Crescent River, SC
63* / Sunny
Hells Gate
Up and ready to go - we were once again playing/working the tides as we were going to transit "Hells Gate". Hells Gate is a narrow, man-made canal between two rivers, Vernon and Ogeechee, just above where they merge into the Ossabaw Sound with strong currents, shoaling, and an approximate 8 foot tidal range. My stomach was in knots anticipating what was to come. Elliott Cut was terrifying (also a very narrow man-made/or dredged cut with strong currents and homes on cliffs/rocks lining the sides) - so what was something called "Hells Gate" going to be like. It was sunny, calm, and warm with a light breeze - the perfect day. Just as we were entering the turn for "Hells Gate" a dolphin crossed between our boats. Dolphins are a good sign and this one gave us a gift - a non eventful trip through "Hells Gate" (TYG). We and sv Surrender were smiling with joy as we continued to motor/sail on down the ICW. Later as we were snaking through the marshes of Georgia we were hailed by John and Bonnie of mv Enjoy - they were coming up on our port stern and joined us. Around 3:36 we watched the southern sky's for the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch. Although we couldn't actually see the rocket, we did see it's vapor trail (mv Enjoy aired the 10 sec countdown over the VHF). As the day was winding down we were hailed by sv Kennebeck now behind us (we had a convoy). We had first seen Kennebeck as we were entering Charleston area. We continued on (Kennebeck stopped a few mile back and anchored) anchoring for the evening in the Crescent River with sv Surrender and mv Enjoy.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

05 February 2018 | Beaufort, SC to Herb Creek, SC
56* / Sunny
Georgia
After the marina opened we fueled-up, untied our dock lines, and headed down the ICW. It was another great day of motoring/sailing. The ICW continued to flow through marsh lands and developed areas showcasing some incredible views of nature and beautiful homes. We put in another long day with sv Surrender passing some friends on the way, Casey on sv Misty and John and Bonnie on mv Enjoy. Our day ended as we dropped anchor in Herb Creek.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

04 February 2018 | Beaufort, SC
56* / Rainy Storms Gust 25-30mph
Go Eagles
We stayed in port at Beaufort Town Dock Marina as the weather reports were not looking good. It was over cast and rainy in the morning. The wind and rain increased during the early afternoon making it very unpleasant at the dock. Our boat, as well as, sv Surrender, and a few others were see-sawing at the dock - it got so bad we had to double up some of our lines and still our stern pulled away some from the dock - didn't help that the cleats were lose and moving too. The girls were going crazy, Gracie was shaking, Abbie was jumping from settee to settee, and Isabel was on the table. Greg's coffee cup half full and sitting on the table fell over (or Isabel knocked it over) and coffee was all over. Greg was in the cockpit locker trying to change the oil and hadn't noticed all the caus below. The coffee saturated parts of our chart book, waterway guide, and several other books/charts. There were coffee paw prints from Isabel all over the cushions. Once the weather settled Greg finished the oil change while I cleaned-up below and calmed the girls. The Eagles were playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl - got love it. We met with several other cruisers at a local restaurant with TV's so we could watch the game and a GREAT game it was. Yeh EAGLES - the new Super Bowl Champs.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

03 February 2018 | ICW Johns Island, SC to Beaufort, SC
53* / Sunny
Good Morning Tug
We were awaken around 05:30 to the alarm of our AIS (automatic identification system). A look above decks and the AIS confirmed our anchor was not dragging - all was quiet and well. We were anchored on the ICW outside of the Charleston area where there is a lot of commercial ship/boat traffic. Our AIS indicated a vessel over 5 nm away on the move. Around 06:15 we were quickly awaken again, but this time to a tug pushing a barge past our boats. The tug and barge passed to port of sv Surrender. We were anchored out of the channel ("more" out of the channel then sv Surrender) but it didn't matter it was still an "oh s___" moment. After recovering we weighed anchor and motored on. It was a great day we motored/sailed from the Stono River near Johns Island making great progress we tied off at the Beaufort Town Dock Marina just after sunset.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

02 February 2018 | McClellanville, SC to Stono River, SC (ICW anchor)
53* / Sunny
Elliott Cut/Near Miss
With water under our keels we were up and on our way. We motored through McClellanville passing a north bound trawler who was unable to get through yesterday as well (with a 4 ft draft). The sun was out and we motored/motored sailed along enjoying the views. Before we knew it, we were in the shipping/commercial channels of Charlestown. We continued past Charlestown to the Wapoo River (ICW) and the very very scary Elliott Cut. There truly are "no words". Seriously, it felt like we were motoring up hill, and at times like we were going backwards. It took forever (I was afraid to breath) or at least felt like it. The current was CRAZY, the cut narrow, and lined with BIG BIG rocks/boulders - it made the "rock pile" we had passed through look like a joke. Of course we went through on an incoming current - thank you Ken (not recommended) but we made it. Thinking the rest of our day would be a piece of cake (after Elliott Cut - I think it should be called the Devils Cut) we were in for a surprise. We were six miles past Elliott Cut when we were running out of daylight and water (low tide). Shortly after passing under the John F. Limehouse Bridge sv Surrender went "hard" aground. Greg hailed Ken on the VHF letting him know we were passing port side (as we still had water) and would stay on the VHF giving depths as we passed so he would know where the water was when off. Just feet after passing sv Surrender we too were aground. Little did we know, at that exact moment, Ken (sv Surrender) was off the bottom and little did Ken know we were stopped (getting an image in your head). We were just waiting for our dink to become a kayak (or worse). Ken quickly put Surrender in reverse spinning her around and aground again - you really just had to be there for this one. Now sitting stern to stern, aground, and in shock the sun was setting and it was, again, a beautiful sunset. In awe, we grabbed our cameras and started clicking forgetting the "near miss" and Elliott Cut. Once we/sv Abigail Grace was off the bottom we motored out of the channel and anchored. Shortly, Surrender too was off and anchored close.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

01 February 2018 | Waccamaw River, SC to McCleanville, SC
49 * / Cloudy
McClellanville, SC
We weighed anchor at sunrise and headed down the Waccamaw River, passing Georgetown to starboard, to Winyah Bay. As we continued down the ICW, crossing both the North and South Santee Rivers the tide was also go south, or north, (not sure) but definitely out. We were almost at low tide as we heading toward McClellanville :0. McClellanville is a known trouble spot for shoaling and shallow water and today it continued to maintain that reputation. Ken and Kaysone (sv Surrender) were ahead and just after in the entrance to McClellanville went aground (approx 4p). Greg managed to turn us around in the narrow and shallow channel. We motored half mile back up the ICW and dropped anchor to wait for the tide to change and for Surrender to float off the bottoms. Approximately 45 minutes later the tide changed, the water was flowing, and Surrender was off the bottom. It was getting late so we pulled anchor (we were in the channel) and re-anchored in Five Fathom Creek above Ken and Kaysone in sv Surrender. We witnessed another beautiful sunset. During the nite our anchor alarm went off sending us above decks. After re-rechecking our landmarks, all was ok. Surrender did drag anchor a short bit and re-anchored safely.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

31 January 2018 | Myrtle Beach, SC - Waccamaw River, SC (Simmonsville area)
52 * / Sunny
Swamp Sailing
We left Barefoot Marina with water under our keel (TYG) around 08:30 am. It was cool most of the day with light breezes and sunshine. We motored past some beautiful homes, golf courses, and scenic areas. A large part of our trip was through the "swamp river" (not its real name but what Ken and Greg called it as they radio'd each other - Ken was looking for people playing banjo's) - Cypress Swamp (real name). It was a long day of motoring toward our destination of Georgetown (South Carolina). We were about an hour away from Georgetown when the sun was getting low and so was the tide, therefore we though it best to anchor where we were on the Waccamaw River. We motored just outside the channel, anchored, and admired a beautiful sunset.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

30 January 2018 | Southport, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC
42* / Cold, Windy
South Carolina
We left South Harbor Village Marina at 6:40am untying our lines and sailing off in the dark. It was an amazing day - almost. We were ecstatic, jumping up and down, smiles from ear to ear because we made it through "Lockwoods Folly", "Shallotte Inlet", and the "Stone Pile" all in one day and without so much as a bump on the bottom. It was not without difficulty though, it was cold, the winds gusting to 25, the currents - crazy, and our blood pressures, esp. Gregs, were elevated. Still, though, we were just smiles as we were headed to the Barefoot Marina in Myrtle Beach, SOUTH CAROLINA. Yes! We made it to South Carolina and through some of the notoriously tough areas (there are many more to come too). But, this is just what we needed, a little boost for our egos - short lived. We motored under our last bridge and were following behind Ken in sv Surrender. We watched as Ken motored over to the floating dock at Barefoot Marina and Tim (the dock master) tied him off. Once we knew Ken was secure we started for the dock - Tim and his assistant waiting with anticipation to get our lines and tie us off - didn't happen. N0!!!! Are you kidding? We only had 30ft to go (that number is on the high side) and we were aground. All we could do was laugh and I mean lol (laugh out loud) - the perfect end to the perfect day :). The tide was changing and we were soon off and secured at the dock - all is good.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

29 January 2018 | Southport, NC
61* / Rain
Repeat of Yesterday
Today was much like yesterday - rain and less fog. It would rain then stop raining, the sun would come out then the clouds would come in and it would rain again. This process continued throughout the day. In between the rain Greg and I put the dink (dinghy) in the water and attached the outboard. It started without any problems and Greg took it for a quick spin (raining). Later Greg, Ken, and Kaysone got an Uber to the supermarket and Lowes. We needed bread and Ken needed a special size wrench. Once again, we all ate dinner aboard the Abigail Grace and made plans for tomorrows departure - its going to be an early one.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

28 January 2018 | Southport, NC
48* / Rain and Fog
Rain and Fog
It was another one of those - get your chores done kinda days. We woke to rain and fog and more rain and more fog - it went away then came back and the process started all over again - rain and fog and more rain and more fog. So our day consisted of walking the girls (between rain drops and fog) and laundry. I did every piece of laundry I could because not all marinas have laundry facilities - I wanted to get caught up and ahead. Ken and Kaysone joined us for dinner aboard the Abigail Grace and we called it a day - a rainy foggy day, but a good day.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

27 January 2018 | Wrightsville, NC to Southport, NC
56* / Cloudy
Checking Tides
After checking the tides/water levels (they say there are no tides ?), we were ready to untie our lines and head toward our planned destination of Southport. We motored down the ICW with only a bump around green marker no. 35 (we didn't get stuck, it was like we hit one of those "speed bumps"). There was a section of the ICW, between two inlets (sorry can't remember their names), where there were several pods of dolphins swimming and playing - there is something magical about dolphins. They would shoot across in front of our bow and then dive under - it was like they were playing with us. Before we knew it we were motorling through "Snow Cut" with its crazy currents to the "Cape Fear River". The Cape Fear River was calm and for the most part easy to navigate. We saw only a few recreational boats and a ferry. The captain of the ferry hailed us on the radio and went around us on the outside of the channel - he was really nice. Just as the ferry was passing to starboard it started to rain and fog rolled-in. We put on our steaming and running lights to be seen better - (kinda like head lights). Shortly after the rain started it stopped and the fog lifted. Before we knew it the Cape Fear River was behind us and we were motoring down the ICW to our destination for the night, the South Harbor Village Marina. After we were tied off we called Ken and Kaysone (Kaysone flew in yesterday and is now traveling with Ken) of sv Surrender. Ken went off shore from Wrightsville early this morning. We told Ken we would check in with him and were surprised when he was off the Cape Fear River. Ken was hoping to make it much further south but reported confused seas, rain, and wind. Ken and Kaysone came into the marina close to eight o'clock and were exhausted. We grab their lines and offered them a warm meal aboard Abigail Grace. We were sorry for their troubled day but were glad they were ok and that we could be their for them.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

26 January 2018 | Topsail, NC to Wilmington, NC
60* / Cloudy
Tom's Number is Still on My Phone
We slept well and woke to a quiet morning at the marina. Bob, Phyllis, Pete, and Mary were getting ready to leave and continue on south to Wilmington/Wrightsville. Bob and Phyllis left in sv Gabriel with Pete and Mary in mv Silence Rising leaving shortly after. Greg and I had coffee and then said goodbye to Mike. We were heading out of the marina just as we came in the previous night, when - no! We were in the middle of the channel (just like yesterday - we were in the channel right where Brooks told us to go). But, this time we were actually thankful we went aground - why? Greg had check the filter last night after coming into the marina (wanted to make sure there was no sand in it from the grounding) and had forgotten to open a valve when he was done. Had we not gone aground we wouldn't have noticed there was no water coming out/circulating and our engine could have been fried. Greg checked over the engine, opened the valve, and after it cooled started the engine - it started right up without any issues (thank you God). Once we knew the engine was ok we tried all our usual things to get unstuck - put the sail out, jumped up and down, Abigail, Isabel, Gracie, and I stood on the bow - but, as always, the result was the same - still stuck. So, I pulled out my phone and called Tom of BoatUS (his number still in my phone from yesterday). Tom showed up shortly after and without much effort (unlike yesterday) pulled us right off - thank you Tom. We initially planned on traveling 34 nm but, decided to stopped at the Wrightsville Marina so Greg could check the impeller. As we were coming into the dock we were surprised to see Pete and Mary ready to grab our lines. After tying off, Greg spent the remainder of the evening checking the impeller and going over the motor - all seemed to be ok - TYG.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

25 January 2018 | Swansboro, NC to Topsail, NC
60* / Sunny
Coast Guard
We departed Swansboro this morning and headed down the ICW along with 4 other boats - kinda. First to leave was Ken (sv Surrender/ME) second Bob and Phyllis (sv Gabriel/MI) third David and Nancy (sv Grace/ME) fourth Pete and Mary (mv Silence Rising/NY) and fifth/last us - when we untied our lines all were out of sight. Several hours later as we were motoring along we were hailed over the radio by Jim of mv Emerald Isle. We were pleasantly surprised to find he was in our wake - yes, we have one. Shortly after, he past us on our port stern and motored away - it was great to hear and see Jim (stepped out of the cabin and waved). We reserve a slip at Harbor Village Marina for the night as this part of the ICW doesn't have many (if any) places to anchor. I spoke with the dockmaster Mike and after giving him our info asked for local knowledge for areas of concern, he suggested we contact BoatUS. So, I did just that. "Brooks" at BoatUS stated the only area of concern was the area around marker 72 - there has been reports of shoaling. Well, wouldn't you know it, we made it through the worst part (marker 72), according to "Brooks" when we called him later to let him know we hit bottom and were stuck hard aground. Yep, that's right, aground again. We tried everything, put out the yankie, gunned the engine (when the 4 Coast Guard boats when flying by off our stern), jumped up and down on the bow, had Abbie, Izzy, Gracie, and me stand at the bow, and gunned our engine again (when two Coast Guard boats returned - passing on our stern and two on our bow) - we weren't budging. So, Tom of BoatUS came to the rescue. Tom had to work really hard to get us of the bottom - using his engines to prop-wash us off (about 45 mins. later). While Tom was busy getting us "unstuck", the Coast Guard came back, but this time in a different vessel (this one had a crane like thing on it). The Coast Guard (earlier had stopped and asked if we were ok, safe, needed anything, or were taking on water - we felt honored that these brave souls stopped to check on us - Thank You) picked up bouy 74 and placed it in the bow of their vessel. After Tom pulled us off, the Coast Guard put buoy 74 in its new location where the "Abigail Grace" was grounded - we were/are honored we could help the United States Coast Guard and other sailors. Once off, we continued on without difficulty to Harbor Village Marina where we were (surpisingly) greated by the familiar faces of Bob, Phyllis, Pete and Mary (vessels Gabriel and Silence Rising - vessels Surrender and Grace were further south).

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

24 January 2018 | Swansboro, NC
64* / Sunny
Our North Carolina Route
Today was a maintenance, cleaning, organizing kinda day. Greg checked over some mechanical things and entered data into the chart plotter. I was doing some general cleaning below when I received a call from David and Nancy of sv Grace. We had met them in Coinjock and they are also friends with Ken. Nancy said they had seen us when we passed through the Morehead City area and that they were now headed to Caspers for fuel and to take a slip for the night. David and Nancy arrived early afternoon and shortly after they arrived sv Gabriel motored in for a slip. After finishing-up Greg and I took a walk to the “Salt House” to have a late lunch/early dinner. Back at Caspers a motor cruiser was taking the last spot at the dock. We are all heading south and other than sv Grace it is a “first time” for all. Everyone is leaving tomorrow to continue their journey south on the ICW.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

23 January 2018 | Swansboro, NC
55* / Foggy
Foggy in Swansboro
We woke to Fog and wind. It had rained during the nite and early morning with winds blowing and gusting in the 20's. Although the rain stopped and winds calmed the fog soon rolled-in. Ken, who has been staying with his friends and using their car, picked us up and took us to the grocery store for a few items. After returning from the store Greg, Ken, and I walked to the "Ice House Resturant" where Mark met-up with us later. Once back aboard Abigail Grace Greg and I looked at our charts for anchorages, marinas, and discussed our options for next stop destinations while transiting south on the ICW.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

22 January 2018 | Adams Creek ( Cedar Creek) to Swansboro, NC
60* / Overcast
Our First Dolphin
We pulled anchor and continued our journey south with a destination of Swansboro where we will meet-up with Ken. Ken has been in Swansboro since Saturday visiting with his childhood/best friend Mark, his wife Maureen, and their family. It was a cool day as we motored along on the ICW. We saw delivery Capt. Kaitlyn (Easy Breeze) and her crew (Chia) entering a boat lift at a marina on the canal (they had motor problems early on). They waved to us and Chia took a picture as we passed. Later, just as we passed under the bridge in Beaufort (the third oldest town in NC), Greg spotted a dolphin off our port bow - our first dolphin, so exciting. We continue down the ICW passing some beautiful homes and scenic areas. At times, with the currents, we were doing 7 knots, making good time. We passed under the bridge coming into Swansboro around 3pm and tied off at Caspers Marina across the dock from Ken (sv Surrender). Ken met us at the dock with hugs and smiles - happy to be together again (we just need Tom). We are staying in Swansboro for two nights (some bad weather coming and so Ken can continue his visit with friends). On Thursday, for the first time, sv Surrender and Abigail Grace will sail together south to our next destination.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

21 January 2018 | Belhaven, NC to Adams Creek, NC
58* / Sunny “no wind”
Beautiful Sunrise
We woke to a beautiful sunrise, cast off our lines, and headed down the canal to the Neuse River (the widest river in the United States). The Neuse River can be rough and difficult to navigate, but today it was flat, calm, and windless - our flag didn't move. It's was another warm and sunny day. Other than passing a tug pushing a barge, several moored vessels, and two small recreational motor boats we seemed to be the only ones on/crossing the River. We entered Adamas Creek (ICW) and anchored for the evening off to port in Cedar Creek - the area actually smelled of cedar. Houses lined both sides of Adams and Cedar Creeks - but it was quiet with the exception of several passing tugs pussing barges. This was our longest day so far and it began with a beautiful sunrise and ended perfect with a beautiful sunset. I wish I could have captured the night sky to share with everyone - the stars were many and so bright - they reflected off the still waters of the creek and it was just beautiful, heavenly.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

20 January 2018 | Alligator River Marina, NC to Belhaven, NC
56* / Sunny
Ice - Again
Up and ready to go early, as per the bridge tenders instructions (by 6:00) as they are "still" doing work on the bridge and are limiting their openings. But, weren't we surprised to see we were iced in (again). A thin layer, but ice and we couldn't leave. Delivery Captain Kaitlyn (delivering sv Easy Breeze) called the bridge tender to make him aware of our situation. We were to notify him once the ice melted. Luck was on our side, just as the ice was gone a tug pushing a large barge was headed for the bridge. SV's Easy Breeze and Abigail Grace motored out and got in-line behind the tug and barge and passed through the swing bridge - we weren't taking any chances of not getting through. Once on the other side of the bridge Easy Breeze passed the tug and barge motoring out-of-sight. We remained behind the tug and barge most of the day (about a mile). As the afternoon approached the sun warmed us up inside the enclosure (to 80*) and it felt good to feel warm. Most of this part of the ICW (Alligator Pongo Canal) is narrow and lined with stumps. After transiting through the canal we stopped at the Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven for the night (same place Ken and Burt stopped). The Marina was closed when we called but the owner Neil offered us a spot at the fuel dock. Just as we were tying off we saw Jim (mv Emerald Isle) in the sound on his way to the downtown area of Belhaven for the night. Later Mike (employee of the marina and lives a few doors always) stopped and checked us in. The day ended with a quick ride into town (courtesy car that made a god awful noise), showers, laundry, a beautiful sunset.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

19 January 2018 | Coinjock Marina, NC to Alligator River Marina, NC
44* / Sunny
Sun and Sails
It was cold this morning when we left Coinjock and headed for the Alligator River Bridge. We navigated the waters of the North River and crossed the Albermerle Sound with little difficulty - Yes!. There were tense moments though, as channel markers continue to be missing or broken, and some barely visible and stump like (easily hole a vessel). We left approximately 8:40a and arrived at the Alligator Bridge around 3:00p and hailed the tender to request an opening. We were told the bridge is only opening before 6:00am in the morning and at 12 noon - they are doing required maintenance (it was closed for 7 days and was to open on the 17 to its regular schedule) . Unable to go any further we decided to go to the Alligator River Marina which runs parallel to the bridge and which will allow us a short run in the morning to make an opening before 6:00am. It was a great day with warmer temps and fair winds - we were able to put out our yankie and mortor sail - it was just what we needed - perfect.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

18 January 2018 | Coinjock, NC
34* / Windy
Cold and Windy
We woke to snow and ice - again. Our decks were covered with ice and snow and the wind was howling, so didn't go anywhere today. Greg made breakfast and later cleared the ice and snow off our cabin top and deck. I did some cleaning and laundry in preparation of (hopefully) leaving tomorrow. Forecasted predictions for the next several days are for warmer temps and sunshine - what!

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

17 January 2018 | Coinjock, NC
Temp 38* / Cloudy
Snow - Seriously
With tonight's forecasted weather predictions of 2-4 inches of snow and winds with gust of greater than 30, we decided to stay tied off here in Coinjock. Late afternoon the winds picked-up and the snow came and boy did it come. It looked like we were in a blizzard. The snow was coming down sideways and the wind howled - once again, really glad we were tied off and had electric. Well, I guess we will see what tomorrow brings but as of now it is not looking good for leaving.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

16 January 2018 | Coninjock / Coinjock Marina
Temp 41* / Foggy
Fog
This morning and after a good nights rest, we had planned to continue down the ICW, crossing the Albermerle Sound and stopping for the day, anchoring in the Alligator River. Our plans changed when we woke to a very foggy morning. The fog was so dense and visibility so low schools were delayed for several hours. Forecasters reported the fog would lift around 09:00, then changed the it to 10:00, and then changed it to "by" 1:00. The fog finally lifted around 12:30. Leaving this late meant we would have to navigate the last 45 minutes in darkness. After last night and the uncertainty of channel markers we decided to stay here in Coinjock another night.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

15 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 38* / Cloudy
Where are the Channel Markers
Tom departed 07:30 from AYB Marina cutting a path through the ice. After saying goodbye to Ken and Dana (now back from Fla) we threw off our dock lines and motored down the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal (ICW) following in the trail of broken ice left by Tom. It was cold and quiet as we motored-on. There were no delays with bridge openings and the bridge tenders were nice to talk to. The Centerville Bridge Tender ask us to keep a lookout for a pair of sea otters he had seen earlier playing along the canal banks. We didn't see them near the bridge, but we did see them a mile or so down the canal playing and eating. The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal empty into the North Landing River which becomes the Currituck Sound (the ICW flows through these). The ICW was well marked thus far, but (as usual for us) this would all change. When the North Landing River opened up (got wider) the first four green channel markers were either down, in the water and difficult to see, or just not there. Not only were there numerous missing or down green and red channel markers along the way, but some were broken and barely visible in the water. There was a strong north wind blowing which was blowing the water out of the River and Currituck Sound lowering the water levels/depth (already low). This coupled with the missing channel markers made navigation difficult and we had run aground. We dropped our anchor and waited for the water to rise. The sun was setting when the water level improved enough for us to free ourselves from the bottom. Greg was on the bow with a flash light looking for channel markers or anything sticking out of the water as we continued to navigate toward Coinjock Marina and Restaurant, our destination. Unfortunately, in the darkness and without channel markers we went aground again. This time it was Wayne from TowBoatUS who came to our rescue. Wayne pulled us off the bottom and assisted us to Coinjock passing a tug and large barge with only a few feet to spare. Once we were all tied off we went into the Coinjock Resturant for a bite to eat before they closed. Later we were told the recent cold temperatures had frozen the North Landing River and Currituck Sound which is why channel markers are missing, broken, or down.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

14 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 33* / Partly Cloudy
Getting Ready
Prep day started with a walk to the laundromat and breakfast with Tom and Ken at Panera's - our new go-to spot. Usually I do our laundry at the marina but with all of us preparing to leave and only one working washer decided to go to the laundromat - a lot quicker. After breakfast and laundry we headed back to our boat. We saw Jim and stopped to say goodbye. While standing on the dock we noticed the ground by "Plastic Toy" move (felt like we were in a SiFi movie) leaving a divit. As the three of stood and watched the ground cracked and starting sinking. The divit was now a growing sink hole. We notified the dockmaster who put out cones and taped off the area. Apparently a water pipe broke, had been leaking, and caused the sink hole. Greg and I spent the remainder of the day organizing, stowing gear, and reviewing charts in preparation for our am departure.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

13 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 31* / Partly Cloudy
Amigos
We met Tom at Panera Bread for breakfast and to go-over his charts for the gulf coast side of Florida. It was a nice change. Afterwards we met-up with Jim (Capt. of Emerald Is.). Jim's boat was docked in one of AYBs many boat garages and he wanted to move it to the dock area where we were. Early afternoon the four of us (Tom, Ken, Greg and I) helped Jim bring his boat around. He has a beautiful 47ft Grand Banks - georgeous. Afterwards, Jim offered us his rental car to go shopping. We graciously accepted and us four amigos went shopping. Once we returned and thanked Jim profusely for his car, we (four amigos) walked to have dinner at El Toro Loco a Mexican restaurant - it was a good day.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

12 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 72* / Humid
The Ice Has Melted
Today was a great day. Three tugs pushing barges came through the lock, under the bridge, passed us, and kept on going - No one came back. After the second tug a recreational boat came through and docked across from us on the other side of the ICW. The other day Greg spoke with Dusty, the yard manager, about having some work done. Early afternoon Dusty and another employee came over and completed the work. Dusty operated the "crane like" machine lifting one of the workers up the mast to check our spreader lights, and install and attach the hardware for our lazy jack system and flag halyards. Greg was going to do the work himself but didn't want to re-injure his back. Dana of "Plastic Toy" stopped to say goodbye, he left today to drive his wife and their little dog (Austin) back to Florida. Ken, Tom, Greg, and I went to dinner at dDebs - again. It was pouring when we were leaving so we donned our foul weather gear, met Tom and Ken, and walked to dinner. dDebs was serving a prime rib special - Greg and Ken were all about the prime rib. After dinner returned to our boats and as Greg and I were getting ready to take the girls for their evening walk a motor boat came along side of us and squeezed in between us and Plastic Toy (with only feet to spare) - it was like they paralleled parked their boat - amazing - later we found they had a bow thruster. After returning from our walk an emergency weather alert broke on TV indicating we were under tornado and severe lightning watches - really. We made sure everything was secured topside, watched some TV and called it a night.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

12 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 65* / Sunny
Ground Hog Day
Starting to feel like we are living our own version of the movie "Ground Hog Day". The tug came through again this morning, turned around, and went back to the Lock side of the ICW. But, today the tug game through twice. The second time was around 15:30 but, as always it turned around and went back to the Lock side of the ICW. Gabriel and Tom of sv Maselle left today for Ft. Lauderdale Fla. They are boat delivery captains and are delivering a catamaran from Tortola to Ft. Lauderdale. Gabriel came by to say goodbye to everyone while Tom went to pick up their rent-a-car. Greg, Tom, and I walked to the "Lock Side" resturant which is located across the bridge for an early dinner. The warm weather today melted a lot of the surface ice and tomorrows weather predictions are for temps close to 70* with rain later in the day - this is all good news.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

10 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 59* / Sunny
It's Back
Around 8:10 am this morning the tug was back and to our excitement it was pushing a barge - a very very long barge. We were watching with anticipation and excitement as we thought the long heavy barge would definitely break the ice - right? Not so. The tug was able to push the barge just a few hundred feet past "Plastic Toy" when it stopped. The ice, so thick, accumulated in front of the barge preventing the tug from pushing it further. The tug had to unhook and maneuver itself around to the front of the barge in order to push the barge back to Lock side of the ICW. Although the tug wasn't able to push the barge far it did breakup the ice around us. In the afternoon Tom, Greg, and I walked across the bridge to "Buckets" resturant for lunch/early dinner. Later, Greg and I took the girls for a walk before calling it a nite. Tomorrow's forecasted temperature is predicted to be in the 60's which should surely help to melt the ice - hopefully the tug will be back.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

09 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 48* / Paritially Sunny
Hopeful
This morning we all were excited and hopeful as we heard a sound we hadn't heard for quite sometime. It was the distinct sound of the bridge horn blowing indicating the bridge was about to open. Everyone was off their boat and standing on the dock, watching in anticipation of the tug coming through. We had smiles on our faces as the tug gunned its engines and broke through the ice - it was so exciting. The tug was able to break a path approximately 600 ft into the ice before it turned and headed back - yes, headed back. The ice, at least five inches thick in places, proved to be too thick and difficult for navigation. Even though we were feeling a little deflated when the tug didn't make it through we were happy an attempt had been made to open-up the waterway. As we were headed back to our boat we were given more not-so-good news, the Alligator River Bridge is closing to all traffic for repairs until January 18th (we can't fit under this bridge). We are all still feeling hopeful, with forecasts of warmer weather coming, the ICW will soon be void of ice and snow and we will all be on our way. Greg, myself, Tom, and Ken went out for a late lunch at "Ddebs" - a much needed break. Hopefully the tug or ice breaker (or other) will be back tomorrow.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

08 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 23* / Overcast
Charts and Notes
The last few nights temps have been in the single digits and it has felt like it. Greg's back is improving with heat and rest. He continued to rest it most of the day until late in the afternoon when Captain Tom (Bonnie Jean) came aboard. Capt. Tom has made many trips down the ICW from Rhode Island to Florida and back again. He went over his charts and notes sharing his knowledge of the ICW with Greg. They went page by page and Greg marked our charts with anchorages and other relevant information. Thank you Captain Tom for this invaluable information.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

07 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 23* / Overcast
The Same
Still snowed in. Greg rested his back and watched movies with the girls. I walked to the grocery store with Captain Tom (Bonnie Jean) to get more heating pads for Greg's back and a few other items. On the way back we stopped at Panera Bread. Tomorrow is Monday and hopefully someone will clear the docks and sidewalks of snow.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

06 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temps 17* / Overcast
Nothing New
Greg continued to rest his back while the girls laid around (showing off their new doos above). Everything looks exactly as it did yesterday - snowed in. There is a front-end loader here but I guess it must not work, or the employees aren't allowed to use it, or they don't know how to work it because the marina roadway, paths, sidewalks, and docks haven't been cleared/shoveled. The snow is so deep that when I take Abigail and Isabel out I have to carry them and Gracie, I can't put her down - if I do it takes me half an hour to find her. Hopefully, someone will come in tomorrow and clear away some of the snow.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

05 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 11* / Cold
Digging Out
Today was a "digging out and get more snow off your boat" kinda day. We woke to temps around 11* which later increased to the low 20's. The sun came out for a little while which helped by melting some of the snow. I took a walk around the marina after letting the girls out and took some pictures. Capt. Dana of "Plastic Toy" started his engines (2 big engines with big props) which broke up the ice around our boats. Greg ran our engine, which thankfully started and ran without issue. After running the engine Greg rested his back until dinner - he twisted it yesterday. He has been taking Aleve, applying heat packs, stretching, and resting. Later we had dinner and watched a movie.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

04 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 21* / Blizzard
The Bomb Cyclone Blizzard
"The Bomb Cyclone Blizzard" is the new name given to the storm by forecasters. We woke this morning to approximately 11 inches of snow and our boat pitching forward 10*. Initially we thought the snow on our bow was the culprit for our pitching. Greg and I both went top sides and removed as much snow as we could with our cutting boards (yes, cutting boards) and "dollar store" dust pan. After removing the snow and returning below deck we were still pitching forward sitting no different then before we removed the snow. Returning topside, we noticed the boat was sitting far below the dock. Where did the water go? We couldn't get off our boat the tide was so low we were sitting on the bottom and pitching forward. Unbelievable, it was high tide but the water level was lower than we had experienced during the lowest tide. We unrolled the astroturf for the girls and continue to clean off the snow. Captain Tom (of Bonnie Jean) came by and offered us his shovel and 8ft ladder - thank you Capt. Tom. Later we learned Surrender (Ken's boat) and Maselle (Tom and Gabriel's boat) were also sitting on the bottom and either pitching or listing. The snow has final stopped but the wind continues to blow and the temps are dropping. The temps for the next few nights are forecasted to be in the single digits - burr - good thing we got those extra blankets.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

03 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 38* / Sunny
Why We Didn’t Leave
If we were ever doubting our decision to stay put until the "blizzard" (yes it is now a blizzard) passed the picture above of the boat stuck in ice on the ICW was confirmation staying was the smart thing to do. We took the girls to the groomers this morning and were walking to have breakfast at the Sunrise resturant. The resturant is across the bridge on the other side of the ICW. As we were walking across the bridge we saw the boat stuck in the ice in front of AYB marina (were we are). Little did we know we would end up spending the rest of the day with the Captain of that boat, Ken. Can anyone guess where Ken is from? Maine. After breakfast we came back to our boat and that is when we met Ken. Later we all walk to the hardware store (again) for tarp to cover our dinghy and Ken wanted to get a cube heater and tarp for his dinghy too. We all got our tarps but there were no heaters left - no cube or other heaters (so glad we got one yesterday) - they were SOLD OUT. We then had lunch, got the girls from the groomer, picked up some water and snacks, (Greg bought water yesterday but someone stole it while he was in the hardware store), and went back to AYB and covered our dinghy before the snow and nightfall.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

02 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 28* / Cold
More Ice
Last night we saw the super moon reflecting so beautifully on the ICW and this morning we saw the trees across the ICW reflecting so beautifully off the ICE. Amazing, last night the ICW was liquid and this morning ice. Captain Dana of "Plastic Toy" (tied off ahead of us) and Captain Tom of "Bonnie Jean" (tied off behind us) both ran their engines to break up the ice. The ice was thick and although both captains were succesful and broke the ice, not only around their vessels but also around ours, the water 15 ft out from all of us remained frozen all day. It is cold and according to weather forecast it is going to get colder but not before it snows. Yes, snow again. Predictions are for a minimum of 3 inches and a maximum of 10 inches. Greg walked to the hardware store and purchased another cube heater while I stayed with the girls and did some cleaning. We thought it would be best to have a second cube heater on board encase we should need it. The snow is suppose to start early evening tomorrow and end Thursday but then the winds are going to blow greater than 24 mph. Tomorrow we are going to prepare the decks for snow and walk to the store for a few last minute items before the snow (hopefully). It is evening now and all has frozen over again. It is warm and toasty here in the cabin with our diesel furnace and cube heater and as I write this Greg and the girls are all fast asleep.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

01 January 2018 | Chesapeake VA
Temps 32* / Cold / Windy
Happy New Year
Wishing all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2018
Blessings to all
Love Greg, Diane, and Girls

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

31 December 2017 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 34* / Cold / Windy
Stocking Up
The weather forecasters are now predicting 3 to 4 inches of snow on Wednesday. With this in mind, Greg and I walked to the supermarket and stores to restock on a few items. In addition to food, we bought two more blankets in case we should need them.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

30 December 2017 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 42 / cold
Staying Put
We have decided to stay put at AYB until the Arctic low passes. We spent most of the day preparing for the forecasted freezing temps. Greg unhooked and drained anything he thought could possibly freeze. Afterwards, we did some laundry, took the girls for a walk, hand a nice dinner, and watched a movie before calling it a night.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

29 December 2017 | Chesapeake VA
Temps 28* / Cold
Iced In
We woke this morning to find we were iced in. Yes, the ICW was ice and the Abigail Grace frozen and still in the water. You could see the ice and how it buckled and froze around the pilings. Greg and the dock master each threw a rock into the ICW but they just bounced and rolled along on top of the ice. Later, we saw two large yachts go bye very slowly breaking and pushing the ice as they motored along. You could hear the crushing noise of the ice against the boats as they pushed through. After some morning chores, Greg and I walked to the supermarket to pick-up some fresh veggies, fruit, and a few other items. We also met another couple staying on a small sailboat up from us. They are Tom and Gabriel from Sweden.

Gone sailing / Abigail Grace

28 December 2017 | Chesapeake VA
Temp 32* / Cloudy
What To Do
This morning we looked at our charts and weather forecasts for the next several days. When reviewing our charts and planning our route we consider distance, fuel, water, food, number of bridges to navigate, (if they are railroad bridges, can we clear the bridge, do we need to call for an opening, and so on) and weather. Weather is considerd at our current location and at our planned/future destination and right now it is not looking good at either location. There is a cold spell, freeze, cold snap, artic low system (whatever you want to call it) coming across the eastern seaboard and it is going to be cold from Maine to Florida. If we leave here (AYB) our next stop is approximately 38nm away in Coinjock VA. There is a marina in Coinjock where we can stop and stay with electric to run our cube heater in addition to our diesel furnace but no other amenities in walking distance or close by. We can use our cube heater and diesel furnace here too and if need be there is a lounge were we can go with TV, couch, chairs, etc. Also, less than half a mile away is a supermarket, drug store, hardware store, and more. With forecasted temps of 4* and 8* we are seriously thinking it would be best to stay here versus moving on. Whatever our decision we will be here or in Coinjock until January 7th/8th when forecasters are predicting warmer weather of 40's during the day and 30's in the evening.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

27 December 2017 | Portsmouth VA to Chesapeake VA
38* / Cloudy
Virginia Cut
We departed Portsmouth Boating Center for our next stop at the Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina (AYB) in Chesapeake VA. Our destination wasn't very far but we had to navigate several bridges and to also transit the Great Bridge Locke. We were delayed 45 minutes at the Gilmerton Bridge due to the adjacent railroad bridge closing for a train. The delay at Gilmerton Bridge caused us to miss the 4 o'clock opening of the locke. The locke tenders let us waited inside the locke until the next opening at 5 o'clock. We were the only ones in the locke. This was the first time we had ever been in a locke - very interesting. AYB was a short motor after the locke and where we will spend the next few days. We wanted to anchor our way down the ICW but our motor problems and now the cold weather have dictated otherwise. With the forecasted cold front and nights in the teens we have decided to marina hop until (hopefully) reaching warmer weather.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

26 December 2017 | Portsmouth VA
Temp 48* / Sunny
"Ah Ha" Moment
Yesterday we spent Christmas calling texting and face-timing with family and friends. Our families cover the whole east coast from Maine to Florida plus we have a nephew in Texas. It was a quiet day here at the marina. Late afternoon Greg decided to tackle the task of moving the fuel filter to a location closer to the engine and the fuel tank. The fuel filter was in a locker in the cockpit far from both the engine and tank. It was while Greg was disassembling the fuel filter that he had an "Ah Ha" moment. He noticed fuel leaked out of the filter when he moved it. This shouldn't be so when taking a closer look he saw a gasket was in up-side-down. Hence his "Ah Ha" moment. It all made sense. We didn't have this problem with our engine before but Greg changed the filter prior to leaving on our trip in November - could he have put the gasket in incorrectly consistently 3 times? :) Excited but apprehensive the up-side-down gasket was/is the culprit to our motor problems. Today we took the girls for a walk finished the laundry and watched a movie. After the movie we settled in for the evening.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

25 December 2017 | Portsmouth VA
Temp 43* / Windy
Merry Christmas
Wishing all a Very Merry Christmas
With Love
Greg Diane and Girls

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

24 December 2017 | Portsmouth VA
Temp 42* / Overcast / Rainy
Hanging Out
It is Christmas Eve day and we are at the Portsmouth Boating Center (PBC). The marina (PBC) is actually closed for the holidays but the owner (Mike Davis) offered us a slip. He offered to come in and open so we could get fuel and water topping off our tanks before moving on. Mike also offered to stop by later to take Greg to the grocery store (if we needed) which he did while I did some laundry. We will be here for Christmas with a tentative departure date of Tuesday. Greg and I spent the evening taking pictures, decorating, and putting lights on our Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

23 December 2017 | Hampton VA to Portsmouth VA
Temp 56* / Sunny
White Knuckled
Excited to be in Hampton VA and for the day ahead of transversing the Elizabeth River with its many military vessels barges tugs and commercial ships. After much talking and discussion we thought it best to start with a new fuel filter - what were we thinking. Winds were gusting 16-20 from the southwest and temps were in the 50's as we weighed anchor and motored out of our anchorage - without any assistance from BoatUS. Headed towards the Elizabeth River and our next stop in Portsmouth I was at the helm when - yes you guessed it our motor bogged and (this time) sputtered. In 2-4 feet of chop at the mouth of the river in the shipping lanes with a military restriction area to port and a cargo ship (far off) heading our way I reduced throttle (as instructed by Greg) and we prepared to raise our sails. Our engine puttered on at 1.6 - 2.5 knots. Don't know how but we made it (great thinking Greg) across the channel and eventually to Portsmouth without stalling. It took 5 1/2 hours but we made it to our destination of the Portsmouth Marina. The marina is closed so we are tied off at the dock until tomorrow when the owner Mike will be in. We will get fuel and fill our water tanks to continue south towards the ICW.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

22 December 2017 | Deltaville VA to Hampton VA
Temp 42* / Cloudy
Early to Rise
We were up early as we had a long day (approx. 44 nm) to Hampton VA. The sunrise was beautiful and the bays calm - glass like. As we motored out of Ingram Bay we heard an all to familiar sound as our motor bogged and then stalled. We were perplexed as our motor had run perfectly since leaving Solomon's Island. We thought our motor problems were solved/history/gone/out a here. Anyway still in reasonably shallow water we anchored and Greg changed the fuel filter (thank God we picked up extras before leaving Solomon's Is.). There were small rust like particles floating in the fuel from the filter. With the new filter in place we weighed anchor and continued on motor humming along without issue. For the first time since leaving Solomon's Is. we saw another sailboat. They were several miles behind us for most of the day until they turned and headed in. The most interesting site was a jet ski rigged for fishing that cut across our bow. Otherwise we saw much of the same - fishing boats and freighters. The sun was setting as we entered Hampton VA and were motoring in the strong currents toward our anchorage for the nite in Willoughby Bay. It was just past Fort Wool when entering the marked channel for Willoughby Bay that we found the shoal that many boats are towed from - including ours. Yes it was BoatUS to the rescue again. Captain Robert said he pulls a lot of boats off this shoal as it has changed since the placement of the green can - obviously no longer marks the shoal. It was dark and Captain Robert offered to guide us thru the channel to the anchorage. We graciously accepted his offered and anchored safely and without incident. Captain Robert shared his local kowledge pointing out the military restriction area a few hundred yards away stating "whatever you do don't go there" but you are fine here this is a nice anchorage. Tomorrow onto Norfolk and the Elizabeth River.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

21 December 2017 | Reedville VA to Deltaville VA
Temp 43* / Sunny
Sailing On
We sailed out of Cockrell Creek around 11:30 with a destination of Fishing Bay Deltaville VA. The air was crisp and it was sunny which really warmed up the cockpit making it nice and toasty while at the helm - thanks to our enclosure. Today we saw a lot of fishing boats and a few freighters. We saw more boats out fishing today than yesterday. It took us a little more than 5 hours arriving in Fishing Bay around 16:35. We arrived and anchored just in time to take-in the beautiful sunset. Tomorrow will be a longer day as we are hoping to make Hampton VA.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

20 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD to Reedville VA
Temp 48* / Overcast
Palm Trees
Although we haven't gone far since starting our adventure we have spent the last seven days on an Island with Palm Trees (palm-ish). Today we departed Spring Cove Marina Solomon's Island MD for Reedville VA. We left the dock at 08:06 and arrived in Reedville VA at approximately 15:30. On our way to Reedville we saw a tug pushing a barge full of what appeared like sand, large ships/freighters, and lots of people on boats of all sizes fishing. At the start of our trip the seas were rough but as the day went on they settled and upon entering Ingram Bay were flat. Once in Ingram Bay we motored up Cockrell Creek anchoring across from the "stack". The "stack" is on our starboard side and is luminated. To our port is a marina and a work boat dressed in lights. Our anchorage is peaceful and quiet as we settle in for dinner and the evening. Tomorrow onto Deltaville.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

19 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 56* / Sunny
Gunk in Our Tank
We were up early today waiting for Kevin (mechanic). Kevin canceled his appointment yesterday and rescheduled for this morning. When Kevin arrived he and Greg got busy crimping the 4 gauge wire (oops) and looking at the gunk in our tank. Greg's concerns of the gunk in our fuel tank being rust were confirmed when Kevin put a magnet in the tank and pulled-out a lot of gunk/rust. With magnet in hand Greg continued to remove as much rust as possible from the tank. Once completed he removed any remaining small particles and impurities by "polishing the fuel." Then we took Abigail Grace for a motor and she ran without issue. We finished up our day by preparing for departure in the morning - I actually said departure :)

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

18 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 48* / Sunny / Winds Light
Success
Our 2nd sea trial was a success hence the smiles on all five of our faces. We ran the engine for a little over 2hrs without a hiccup. Motored back to the marina where we waited for Kevin (mechanic) to extract some sediment we noticed in the fuel tanks (Greg's equipment for this is at home). The weather was sunny and mild and once back at the marina the girls enjoyed a little walk. Fighter jets were out in numbers flying overhead loud and fast - our military is amazing. Our day ended with a celebratory meal (opening our bottle of wine we were saving for Christmas) and a movie.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

17 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 48* / Calm
Still Here
Today after some coffee and breakfast Greg picked-up where he left off yesterday with engine fixing stuff (or looking to fix stuff). He took things apart looking for rust or clogs and changed the pump and filter. Then he bleed the lines of air and started the engine. As usual the engine hummed without a glitch. Unfortunately we couldn't run the engine for long as it was low tide and we were sitting on the bottom. So tomorrow it will be sea trial time again. While Greg was putting tools back and cleaning up I took the girls for a walk around the marina and then did a little reading. Later Greg and I borrowed the courtesy car (thank you Spring Cove Marina) and went into town for dinner. Sea trial tomorrow morning- keep praying for us.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

16 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 38* / Sunny
Mechanic Greg
Today we were able to use the courtesy car supplied by Sping Cove Marina to do a little restocking and to pick-up some parts for Mechanic Greg. The girls enjoyed a change of scenery too. I think we were all getting a little sailboat cabin fever. Once back aboard Mechanic Greg got to work on a few things before it was time to stop for the day and have some dinner. Tomorrow Greg is going to change the pump and filter and continue to investigate for causes of our engine problem. If all works and it is early enough we will go out for a sea trial - pray for us.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

15 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 33* / Windy
No Go
We went out for our sea trial today and within 20 minutess our humming engine started to sputter. It didn't stall though and we were able to limp back to our temporary spot at the end of the dock on our own. No calls to Boat US for at tow today. But we did make a call to the mechanic. Once again Kevin appeared at our boat with tool bag in hand. This time Greg had a video recording of our sputtering engine to show Kevin in hopes he would be able to quickly diagnois our troubles and we could soon be on our way. But this was not to be. After hooking-up pressure gages and checking this and that Kevin was unable to come up with an answer. So here we sit. Tomorrow is Saturday and the mechanic is off for the weekend so Greg and I are going out to do a little re-stocking and to a marine supply store for some parts. Maybe with all of the helpful suggestions given by George, Don, Greg's Dad, and ChaCha for the source of our engine troubles we will be able to fix it this weekend - say a little prayer.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

14 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 30* / Cold / Windy
Is Our Engine Fixed
Greg worked hard all day going over the engine but was unable to find anything significant to cause our engine problem (at least we think). He ran the engine for several hours at the dock and it hummed along without any problems. Could it be fixed. Is it a miracle? We will go out tomorrow for a sea trial - keep your fingers crossed.

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace

13 December 2017 | Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 23* / Cloudy / Windy
At the Dock
Today we were hopeful for an easy resolution to our engine problem but this was not to be. Kevin (mechanic) came aboard but was unable to diagnois a problem as the engine ran fine while he was here. Without a resolution to our engine troubles tomorrow Greg is going to go-over the engine and look for any loose fittings etc. Otherwise not much activity today. Abigail was on the computer most of the day googling our engine problems (she's such a good little helper) while Izzy and Gracie were keeping warm snuggled up together. The weather has been cold with temps in the teens and winds at gale force. Our diesel heater (life saver) keeps us warm and while here (marina) we can use our axillary heater too. Although we are hopeful to have our engine problems fixed easily and soon I think we are all glad to be here safe warm and hooked up to electricity.

Gone Sailing - Abigail Grace

12 December 2017 | Solomons Island MD to Mills Creek VA
Temp 36* / Cloudy / Winds Light
Engine Trouble
With good weather forecasted for the day we departed Solomon's Island at 08:30 heading to our next anchorage in Mills Creek. Mills Creek is located off Ingram Bay and is report to be well protected with good holding. Weather predictions for the next couple of days were for low temps and gale winds so we wanted to take advantage of the good weather and sail on to Mills Creek. But this was not to be. As we headed for the Chesapeake Bay our engine bogged and stalled. Greg was able to re-start the engine but only to have the engine bog and stall again. We did some quick trouble shooting with nothing obvious to indicate a problem. We thought maybe we hit an oyster pot as they decorate the water in this area. Unable to re-start our engine the sails went up and a call to Boat Tow US was made for a tow back to Solomon's Island - Captain Mike to the rescue. Later back at Solomon's Island we had a diver check the prop for possible fouling - we were hopeful this was the problem. But this too was not to be. So we limped to a dock at Spring Cove Marina where a mechanic was scheduled to come out next day. Although we didn't make it to our next stop we were greatful for the day and for all the people who assisted us - Capt Mike, Diver, and staff at Spring Cove Marina.

Gone Sailing - Abigail Grace

11 December 2017 | Chester MD to Solomon’s Island MD
Temp 35* / Sunny
Casting Off

Today the sun was out, the temperature up, and the winds light. At 08:30 we departed for Solomon's Island MD. We arrived at approximately 16:30. It was a great day. The autopilot worked, the enclosure kept us warm, the artificial grass was a success for the girls, and the engine hummed along. The plan was to anchor in Back Creek but we grabbed a mooring ball at Zahniser's Yacht Center. After settling in we enjoyed a warm bowl of soup and mapped and planned our next day.

Gone Sailing - Abigail Grace

10 December 2017 | Chester Md
Temp 32* / Overcast
The Snow Has Stopped

The snow has stopped and it is cold and icy. Tomorrow's weather brings hope for departure.

Gone Sailing - Abigail Grace

09 December 2017 | Chester MD
Temp 29* / Snowing
Awaiting Weather

It's snowing and visibility is low so we won't be leaving today. Maybe tomorrow.

Gone Sailing - Abigail Grace

08 December 2017 | Chester MD
Temp 33* / Windy
The Start of Our Sailing Adventure

"Thank you" to our family and friends for your love and support. We want to share our adventure with all of you so please follow along and keep-in-touch. You can leave comments, email or call.

We Love You All

Greg, Diane, and Girls (Abigail, Isabel, and Gracie)

Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace / West Palm Beach, FL

31 December 1969 | West Palm Beach, Fl
Varied
Friends and The Okeechobee
We spent several days anchored in West Palm Beach with Tom and Ken. West Palm Beach was a nice visit. It was clean. Lots of outside cafes and restaurants. There are trolly cars you can ride for free and bike stations. The bike stations have tools and a tire pump tethered to them and are free to use. You can rent bikes, golf carts (look like mokes), segways, jet skis, and more. They have concerts in the streets. A section is blocked off and the band sets up their stage in the street - really neat! At night the city came alive. All lit up and music playing. Across from our anchorage, amongst the gorgeous homes, stands a Banyan tree - absolutely beautify. The roots of Banyan trees grow down and take root wherever they touch the ground - really pretty. We had a nice stay. Visiting with friends and seeing the city.

Saturday - Tom took us on a “mural” tour. When we were in Virginia at the Atlantic Yacht Basin Tom had told us about the murals. They are painted by artist and displayed throughout the city. After showing us the murals we went to “Grease” (restaurant) for a late lunch. Many years ago (Grease) was a butcher shop. It still has the meat hooks and tracks hanging from the ceiling.

Sunday - Tom, Greg, and I walked to the Publix Grocery Store. Ken was on his boat. He was having problems with his generator and was trying to get it working. Later, Greg and I met Tom and Ken at “Bradleys” for a late lunch. This was our farewell lunch. We’re all heading to different locations. Ken is heading for the Keys, Tom for Miami, and Greg and I to the Gulf Coast. Ken was leaving around 10:30 pm to head south. There are 21 bridges to transit from West Palm Beach (where we were) to Fort Lauderdale. Most, if not all of the bridges have “timed” openings. Ken was hoping the tenders would open the bridges for him “off schedule” since there would likely be very little road or water/boat traffic. We found out later Ken’s plan didn’t work. After lunch Greg and I took a walk and got ice cream.

Monday - we met Tom at Panera’s for coffee, breakfast, and to go over our Gulf Coast charts. It started raining - pouring - really hard. The girls were on the boat and the hatches and port lights were open. It’s a boat, it’s suppose to get wet. Right! After breakfast we stopped and got Gregs glasses fixed, picked up Abbie’s medication at the pharmacy, made a quick stop at Publix, and then back to the boat. Later in the evening we met with Tom and his friends Kathy and Victor (and their friends Dianne and her husband) at “Grease” for dinner. It was a nice dinner and the last time we’ll see Tom until our paths cross again. Tom is heading south to Miami for a few weeks and then on to Marathon Key where he will meet-up with some friends and Ken.


The water levels on Lake Okeechobee are currently elevated. As long as they stay elevated we can go across the lake saving a lot of time (vs going to the Keys and up the Gulf Coast). But there is only one problem. A railroad bridge that is 49ft. Our mast height is 50ft (51ft with antenna and wind instruments) therefore, we can only go across the lake if “Billy the Tipper” can tip us. Billy tips boats to get them under the bridge. He puts big drums on the side of your boat, fills them with water and “tips” your boat to the side. He has been tipping boats since 1995 - 23 years. He has never tipped a Panda (our boat make) or heard of one, but said he could tip us. We made tentative plans with Billy and are headed back north to the St. Lucie and Stuart. Here we will take the Okeechobee ICW route (OCWW) to the gulf.


Gone Sailing / Abigail Grace - West Palm Beach

31 December 1969 | West Palm Beach
Varied
Friends and the Okeechobee

We spent several days anchored in West Palm Beach with Tom and Ken. West Palm Beach was a nice visit. It was clean. Lots of outside cafes and restaurants. There are trolly cars you can ride for free and bike stations. The bike stations have tools and a tire pump tethered to them and are free to use. You can rent bikes, golf carts (look like mokes), segways, jet skis, and more. They have concerts in the streets. A section is blocked off and the band sets up their stage in the street - really neat! At night the city came alive. All lit up and music playing. Across from our anchorage, amongst the gorgeous homes, stands a Banyan tree - absolutely beautify. The roots of Banyan trees grow down and take root wherever they touch the ground - really pretty. We had a nice stay. Visiting with friends and seeing the city.

Saturday - Tom took us on a “mural” tour. When we were in Virginia at the Atlantic Yacht Basin Tom had told us about the murals. They are painted by artist and displayed throughout the city. After showing us the murals we went to “Grease” (restaurant) for a late lunch. Many years ago (Grease) was a butcher shop. It still has the meat hooks and tracks hanging from the ceiling.

Sunday - Tom, Greg, and I walked to the Publix Grocery Store. Ken was on his boat. He was having problems with his generator and was trying to get it working. Later, Greg and I met Tom and Ken at “Bradleys” for a late lunch. This was our farewell lunch. We’re all heading to different locations. Ken is heading for the Keys, Tom for Miami, and Greg and I to the Gulf Coast. Ken was leaving around 10:30 pm to head south. There are 21 bridges to transit from West Palm Beach (where we were) to Fort Lauderdale. Most, if not all of the bridges have “timed” openings. Ken was hoping the tenders would open the bridges for him “off schedule” since there would likely be very little road or water/boat traffic. We found out later Ken’s plan didn’t work. After lunch Greg and I took a walk and got ice cream.

Monday - we met Tom at Panera’s for coffee, breakfast, and to go over our Gulf Coast charts. It started raining - pouring - really hard. The girls were on the boat and the hatches and port lights were open. It’s a boat, it’s suppose to get wet. Right! After breakfast we stopped and got Gregs glasses fixed, picked up Abbie’s medication at the pharmacy, made a quick stop at Publix, and then back to the boat. Later in the evening we met with Tom and his friends Kathy and Victor (and their friends Dianne and her husband) at “Grease” for dinner. It was a nice dinner and the last time we’ll see Tom until our paths cross again. Tom is heading south to Miami for a few weeks and then on to Marathon Key where he will meet-up with some friends and Ken.


The water levels on Lake Okeechobee are currently elevated. As long as they stay elevated we can go across the lake saving a lot of time (vs going to the Keys and up the Gulf Coast). But there is only one problem. A railroad bridge that is 49ft. Our mast height is 50ft (51ft with antenna and wind instruments) therefore, we can only go across the lake if “Billy the Tipper” can tip us. Billy tips boats to get them under the bridge. He puts big drums on the side of your boat, fills them with water and “tips” your boat to the side. He has been tipping boats since 1995 - 23 years. He has never tipped a Panda (our boat make) or heard of one, but said he could tip us. We made tentative plans with Billy and are headed back north to the St. Lucie and Stuart. Here we will take the Okeechobee ICW route (OCWW) to the gulf.


Vessel Name: Abigail Grace
Vessel Make/Model: TaShing Panda 38
Hailing Port: Chester, Maryland
Crew: Greg and Diane - Abigail, Isabel, and Grace
Extra: Sailing - Sharing our Adventure with Family and Friends
Abigail Grace's Photos - December 12, 2017 - Solomon’s Island MD - Engine Trouble
Photos 1 to 8 of 8 | Main
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Passed barge with dozer on our way out of Solomons Island to Mills Creek
Greg crying after engine stalled
Greg and Capt. Mike
Greg and Capt. Mike discussing towing plan
Greg and Capt. Mike preparing for tow
The tow
Greg eating while being towed
Pretty boat with engine working :)
 
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