Log of Calypso

03 June 2019
03 May 2019 | Charleston, SC
01 May 2019 | Brunswick, Ga
27 March 2019 | Palm Coast, Fl
11 February 2019 | South of the Tropic of Cancer
26 January 2019 | Red Shanks
12 January 2019 | Georgetown, Great Exuma Island
07 January 2019 | Exuma
30 December 2018 | Black Point Settlement, Exuma
25 December 2018 | Big Majors Spot
21 December 2018 | Nassau, Bahamas
15 December 2018 | No Name Harbor, ICW Mile 1096
01 December 2018 | Anchored in Hope Sound, Fl
23 November 2018 | Vero Beach, Fl
23 November 2018 | Vero Beach
04 November 2018 | Brunswick, Ga
28 October 2018 | Minum Creek, SC
21 October 2018 | MCAS Cherry Point, NC
14 October 2018 | Somewhere Between Deep Creek, Va and South Mills, NC.
07 October 2018 | Jasper, Ga

Taste of the Dismal

03 June 2019
Jeff & Wendy
After crossing the Albemarle Sound in a brisk north component wind last week we pushed on, passing through Elizebeth City. That evening we anchored at Goat Island which put us in a great position for the 1100 locking into the Dismal Swamp, at South Mills, NC.
Cruisers we talk to about this “Alternate Route” of the ICW, either love or hate it. This was our 14th trip trough the Swamp, so you can imagine what category we fall into.

Although we’ve bumped submerged logs, dodged floating stumps & branches, and even had a tree fall across the canal, in our wake, meer feet from Calypso’s stern, this is a very special place for us.

It’s history dates back hundreds of years. George Washington expressed interest in the Great Dismal Swamp, in 1763. He along with five others formed a company with the desire to drain the Great Dismal Swamp for farmland. Construction of the Dismal Swamp Canal began in 1793 and was completed in 1805 but the constant flow of water from Lake Drummond never stopped.

Over the years, The Dismal Swamp has been a secluded location for duels, a key component for The Underground Railroad, and an inspiration for story tellers and several prominent poets. After his visit here Edgar Allen Poe wrote his, “very dark”, poem titled “The Lake” based on a Native American legend about a young couple who disappeared after searching for each other in the swamp.

Today, the Dismal Swamp Canal is “the oldest operating man made waterway in the United States”. It is the eastern boundary of the 14,000 acre Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

We stopped for the night at a small dock about six miles from the northern lock at Deep Creek, VA. It was less eventful than our last trip when we were visited by an armed, “City of Chesapeake” Park Ranger. He made it quite clear that we were not to overstay our welcome, as he pointed to the 24 Hour Dockage sign. This time no 24-hour sign & no ranger...;)

The next day we were underway to make the 1330 locking out of the swamp. It was nice to take a few minutes to chat with Robert, as you know, the worlds friendliest Lock Master. On to the Chesapeake Bay!

Hope you enjoy the YouTube!


Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages
Jeff & Wendy

Where It All Began

03 May 2019 | Charleston, SC
Jeff & Wendy Gower
Thursday @ 1615, we anchored in the quiet of Elliott Cut (ICW Mile 471). After a long run from the South Edisto River were traveling had been slow with wind and tides against us most of the day. Aahhh, but that’s one of the things that makes traveling the ICW unique.

We planned to stay two nights at Charleston City Marina’s Mega Dock. That would give us time for boat projects, a visit by Wendy’s niece, Stephanie & her family, and to see the town.

Friday morning we took a “Slow Bell” to get going. Two reasons, first the bridge between The Cut & Charleston is restricted from opening from 0600-0930. Second, our reserved spot on the dock didn’t open up until 1300.

We lived in the Pre-Hugo Charleston the first five years we were married. Jeff was stationed at a unit assigned to the now decommissioned Naval Base. Wendy attended & graduated from The College of Charleston.

Docking against the ferocious Charleston tide, Friday, we moored Calypso with 8 dock lines and 6 fenders. Then armed with a Fit Bit to track our steps down The Mega Dock, off to the office we went to register and logged 2000-steps, one way!

For us, anchoring has always provided its own freedom, but sometimes you just gotta pull into a marina. After, loading fuel & ice, doing a load of laundry, showers, and a trip to the Coast Guard Base Exchange, for some essential libations, we were ready to hit the town.

Disappointed that one of our favorite Charleston Restaurants, A. W. Shucks, was gone we set out to find a replacement. Jeff offered to take us to the College of Charleston Cafeteria but......

We asked one of the college age dock hands what was new that he liked. He broke his response into two lists. One was, “When I Pay the Bill?” and the other, “When Grandma & Grandpa Pay the Bill?” We chose his first choice from his first list, The Swig & Swine.


Not disappointed in the least this place is located in an older downtown building. Sitting on the balcony overlooking Market Street we did some great people watching. When dinner arrived we stuffed ourselves on house made sausages, Brisket Burnt Tips, like meat candy, we had sides of corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, baked potato salad & picked vegetables which went down nicely with one of their many Craft Beers, on tap.

Waddling, more than walking, off our dinner we strolled back to Calypso. Along the quiet streets that cut through centuries old neighborhoods we reminisced about our time here and the changes we’ve seen. Today, we celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary in this town, were it all began!

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

Stowaway

01 May 2019 | Brunswick, Ga
Jeff & Wendy Gower
After a brief pause to visit family over Easter with Calypso safely at Brunswick Landing Marina, it’s time to get moving again. But, not without a few thoughts on Brunswick.

Brunswick Landing Marina (BLM), is a secure place to leave your boat, it is a bit pricey for a months dockage. However, they have many amenities to offer, keeping some cruisers here for months & even years longer than originally expected.


Everything from free laundry, organized activities, free happy hour 3 times a week, and FREE BEER, everyday. Guess you get what you pay for!

While there we met up with cruising friends, Dawn & Richard, on Zama Dawn. Being very outgoing they volunteer to organize events and act as hosts to new & old visitors alike. One afternoon, they invited us to attend a Re-naming ceremony for two boats docked there. Like everything nautical, this ceremony is steeped in tradition, including refreshments, afterwards.


Coming dressed for the part of the “Supreme Presider”, Richard officiated the ceremony to pay homage to the gods of the Four Winds and a plea to Neptune to record the new vessel name in the Ledger of the Deep. All in good fun and with just the right flair!

For us, the best amenity was being only a few steps from old town Brunswick. This area of coastal Georgia dates back some four hundred years, long before
the arrival of James Oglethorpe and the first Georgia colonists in 1733.


City residents are proud of their history and it’s not hard to hear it in their voices while talking with a fifth generation resident or a shopkeeper who’s business has been running in the same building for over 100 years.


The Five Flags of Spain, France, Britain, the Southern Confederacy, and the U.S., represents the five different governments, over several hundred years, that have had an impact on Brunswick’s history.

While walking the quiet sidewalks it’s easy to see that this city, like many others, has had it’s fair share of economic hard times, however the City of Brunswick is on the rebound.

New and trendy businesses are popping up throughout old town.


This rum distillery uses only products produced in Georgia.


This will be the second craft brewery, opening soon.


Who da thunk it?

The first Friday of every month, merchants stay open late for what can only be described as a street festival. Helped along by hundreds of transient and permanent boaters at BLM, and enticed by wine & cheese, discounts, and special offers, the sidewalks are packed.


The events spill over into some of the many squares dotting old town.



Our favorite restaurant, Island Jerk, offers great food all the time, the special during First Friday’s is a $10 Caribbean Buffet and it overflows onto the street.

Brunswick has always had a maritime presence. The St. Mary’s Tall Ship Alliance sponsors ships and crews to visit Georgia coastal communities and educate school children on their maritime history.


One of several Tall Ships calling on Brunswick, S/V Lynx.


When the day came to get underway we discovered a bird tried to take advantage of our absence. It’s abandoned nest in our radar reflector was all that remained. No sign of a bird, eggs, or chicks. Hope there’s not a stowaway!

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

March Madness

27 March 2019 | Palm Coast, Fl
After a perky sail from Long Island back to Red Shanks the long range weather models showed a window that would take us back across the Gulf Stream.

So, on March 1st we left Red Shanks and said a farewell to Georgetown. Motor sailing in light winds and a 1-2’ chop in the Exuma Sound we once again trolled for Mahi with our colorful cedar plug, but this trip we would come up empty.

We past through the wide Galliot Cut on the incoming tide which pushed us along at over 7 knots. Here we transitioned from the deep blue water of the sound to the gin clear shallow water of the Exuma Banks. That night we anchored close to were we had nearly two months ago, off Issac Bay on Great Guana Cay.


The next morning we moved to Big Majors Spot. Here we would attempt another sojourn to photograph the pigs that make this home. That evening as the sun was setting and the high speed tourist boats left we made our way in.




With only a few cruisers left onshore we were greeted by several pigs, which seemed to have gained celebrity status.

Our mission accomplished we were off to Shroud Cay, in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. Here, an unmarked trail through the mangroves is only accessible by dinghy and must be done on a rising tide.

Tide & weather were not cooperating as yet another front pushed off Florida. It was time to look for protection from strong winds that would veer from the Northwest to the Northeast. The flat & very exposed anchorage at Shroud Cay was not the place to ride this one out.


How about Eleuthera? The protected harbor of Rock Sound Harbour was just what we needed. Better yet, since we had never been there, it would give us a new spot to explore.

As forecast, the wind came & went but then it was time to go ashore! Like Salt Ponds in Long Island the very friendly local community here loves cruisers. With a small but well stocked grocery, ultra clean diesel, and the hardest ice we’ve seen in the Bahamas, we have another new favorite spot!


On March 8th, we said our farewell to Rock Sound and headed for Current Cut. Here a 100’ wide & 60’ deep cut runs through Current Island. It’s a shortcut to the Northeast Providence Channel and the Gulf Stream beyond. It’s earned its name for the massive currents, of up to 10 knots! Any attempt to get through with the tide against us would be futile.

With the wind blowing over 20 knots the seas built into the 7-9’ range. Running with only the jib, Calypso was truly in her element during this 9 hour roller-coaster ride. Nearing the end of the tide cycle we passed through with only a few knots of current in our favor. Once safely through we anchored in the Lee of the Island, just before dark.


We waited a day for conditions to settle and on March 10th, under reefed main & jib sailed for Lake Worth Inlet, 200+ miles away. With only some ship traffic but a very tricky night approach into the inlet, about 36 hours later we cleared US Customs using the CBP Roam App.

After catching up on some sleep we headed to Vero Beach. Rafting with two other boats we took on some fuel, water, and provisions.

Today, as we wait for March to go “out like a lamb”, we are riding out the latest cold front that pushed off the coast and is forecast to stall. We decided to get a transient slip for a few nights at Palm Coast Marina instead of riding out 30+ knot winds on a mooring in St. Augustine. The marina is clean, with friendly staff. It’s close to several small restaurants and we have been able to re-connect with long time friends, Jim & Jeanne.

Our current plan is to head towards St. Augustine the end of this week to hopefully ride a 30 hour window north. How far, just depends on the weather.


Enjoy our Farewell Georgetown YouTube

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Thompson Bay, Long Island

11 February 2019 | South of the Tropic of Cancer
Located 165 miles from New Providence (Nassau) lies Long Island. Originally known as “Yuma” by the native Lucayan (Lue-ki-an) Indians who inhabited here. In 1492, Columbus changed the name to “Fernandina” after the King of Spain. It’s unknown how it inherited its current name but it’s believed to have come from sailors as they travelled offshore this 80 mile “Long Island”.

Sailing the 30 mile route from Georgetown with the first favorable winds in weeks, we arrived January 30th. We anchored at the north end of Thompson Bay near the settlement of Salt Ponds, with 25 other boats.

The following morning at 0815, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the local cruisers net, on VHF Channel 18. Every island has its own customs and Long Island is no different. We received a quick introduction on were to deposit trash, buy water, and tie up the dinghy.

There is one walkable grocery, gas station, bar & grill, and it is far from the “Adult Daycare” atmosphere of Georgetown, we instantly felt that here the pace of life slows.


The friendly nature of local people is infectious. Walking along “the” road, Queens Highway” we always got a wave, a honk, or the offer of a ride.


A resident allows cruisers to use his family’s dock as a dinghy dock because it’s more convenient than the Government Dock a mile away.


A lot of produce is grown on the island. Saturday’s Farmers Market is the time to get fresh, local, eggs, crafts, & veggies. It’s also the best place to find information on events like the cookout fundraisers we attended to support the youth sailing team.


Sailing is BIG! Every year, in June, The Long Island Regatta brings competitors from all over the Bahamas.


We rented a car with a cruising couple that knew the island. We were on our way to deliver the School & Art Supplies donated by the members of the Hancock Yacht Club. With plenty of time, and our knowledgeable guides we were able to take in some additional sightseeing.


Traveling south, we stopped to look at St. Paul, Anglican Church. Overlooking the island’s capital, Clarence Town, it was designed and built by Father Jerome Hawes, in 1884. He came to Long Island after the then existing church was devastated by a hurricane.




Then on to Dean’s Blue Hole. At 663 feet it is said to be the deepest blue hole in the region. Every year free divers flock here for an international competition. In 2008, the Guinness Book World Record for free diving was set here.


Traveling north the next day we were off to see the Columbus Monument at Cape Santa Maria. Unveiled in 1989 and standing 71 feet above the rocky coast, it’s dedicated to the Aboriginal People of Long Island.



The view from here is breathtaking ....


...but on further examination of the eroded sandstone cliff we see a face. Is this Columbus watching over the spot were the Santa Maria ran aground or is it an ancient Lucayan guarding this wonderful island? Spooky!


Long Island’s nearly 1000 students are renowned for great academic achievement. They are very well mannered and they’re teachers take great pride in what they do. That said, some items, like globes, flash drives, and art supplies, are either scarce or prohibitively expensive.

We have been very fortunate to be given the opportunity meet some of these great people, explore their wonderful island home and offer them some help.

Enjoy the YouTube...;)


Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

It’s Blow’n

26 January 2019 | Red Shanks
On the eve of the lunar eclipse, we were glad to be anchored in the protection of Red Shanks, near Georgetown. A strong cold front was exiting the Florida Coast moving quickly towards the Bahamas.

Although forecast days ahead by Chris Parker as the strongest front in the Bahamas this year, it was his e-mail forecast that rapidly increased the boat count here from 3 to 30.

Seeming like hieroglyphics, his forecast details read, “050-070@20-25< 090@25-30g38k today”, telling us to expect winds from the East at 25-30 knots, gusts to near 40.

During the 3+ days of wind, several boats that did not seek protection, drug anchor, one at night. Luckily there was no damage to boats or crew!

Enjoy the YouTube,


Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff
Vessel Name: Calypso
Vessel Make/Model: Westsail 32
Hailing Port: Clearwater, Fla
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Calypso's Photos - Main
Repair to Calypso's foredeck, mast step, rudder, & Seacock replacement
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Created 3 November 2016