North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

14 July 2018 | Grandy, North Carolina
14 July 2018 | Bell Haven, North Carolina
13 July 2018 | Morehead City, North Carolina
10 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
09 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
08 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
07 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
04 July 2018 | St. Augustine, Florida
03 July 2018 | St. Augustine, Florida
01 July 2018 | St. Augustine, Florida
28 June 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
18 June 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
16 June 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
15 June 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
14 June 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
03 June 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
23 May 2018 | Cape Canaveral, Florida
22 May 2018 | East Coast, Florida
20 May 2018 | Key Largo, Florida
19 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys

What Are You, An Idiot?

14 July 2018 | Grandy, North Carolina
George Stonecliffe
Channel 16 on our VHF Radio is for emergencies (Mayday, etc.), contacting the Coast Guard and marinas, besides hailing other ships and boats. A disappointment in South Carolina and North Carolina was how many times the word 'Idiot' was used on this channel to describe a passing boat that had too large a wake, or was somehow navigating poorly. I heard: 'What are you, an idiot? in a dozen different forms, including comments directed at an 'idiot' Coast Guard boat. Come on, my thought is, 'Who is this idiot on the radio?' :) Thank heaven all Carolinians are not this way. Most are gracious, patient, and friendly!

The Path Northward

14 July 2018 | Bell Haven, North Carolina
George Stonecliffe
After topping off fuel, and pumping out waste, we headed out at 9:15am, connecting with the ICW outside the Marina. 65 miles later we arrived in Bell Haven, NC, our anchorage for the night, This sunny Saturday had light winds to 10 knots on our nose. The forecasted southerly winds didn't materialize. There were more boats out in the ICW, enjoying the weekend. One surprise was a seafood company over 30 miles inland from Morehead City, that had 8 trawlers motoring in from the sea with their catch to sell retail/wholesale! This would take them 3-4 hours to reach their destination. In addition, we passed a tug and barge in a narrow section, taking up the center of the channel, and leaving us in 6.5' touching bottom before we could get into mid-channel after he passed. Tomorrow we will have over 20 miles of narrow channel with more issues like this one.

The Intercoastal Waterway

13 July 2018 | Morehead City, North Carolina
George Stonecliffe
From Charleston we stayed out on the ocean overnight, then came in at Cape Fear River and Southport (NC), thus avoiding some of the shallow and narrow areas in the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). We now had 300 statute miles to go to Norfolk, Virginia. On the 12th and 13th we enjoyed North Carolina for its fewer boats, fewer bridges to wait for openings, and reasonable depths in the ICW of 10-11'. A major disappointment at Morehead City had to do with an intersection in the middle of a small bay where there were many boats traveling every direction, and the channel buoys were unclear. There was a main channel turning, and two auxiliary channels forking off. There were two #2 bouys, 2 #3s, etc. We ended up between two channels on a sandbar in 3.1' Our draft ios 6.5'. Three frustrating hours later, and using a rising tide and welcome boat wakes we moved off the sandbar and back into the main channel. Humbled once again, we moved on to the Morehead City Marina for the night (diesel, pump out, dinner and safe rest. Saturday, the 14th, we will head north for the last 200 miles of North Carolina. We are avoiding the boisterous Cape Hatteras which one cruising guide said "no boats should go around". With Tropical Storms/hurricanes Chris and Beryl off shore, we are taking the safe route northward. Love to see all the homes along the ICW, beautifully manicured green lawns, so well kept up. And yesterday we went through an afternoon thunderstorm at anchor just off the channel. All is well!

Magnolia Plantation

10 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
George Stonecliffe
Today we provisioned for our next leg of the trip. Then we headed by Uber to the Magnolia Plantation on the Ashley River ten miles outside Charleston. Although the season for flowering trees, bushes and plants is Springtime, we did catch a few azalea, hydrangea, orchid, and assorted bedding plants in bloom. The namesake magnolia trees were past their blooming. We did however walk over six miles taking in nature tours, swamp tours, and historic tours on the 600 acres of property. Besides the egrets and herons, we spotted wood ducks, aningas, cardinals, chickadees, and the local titmouse. The alligators are still present, but hidden mostly under the duck weed in the lakes and ponds. Reviewing the weather reports, we intend to leave from Charleston and go north 110 miles to Cape Fear, North Carolina, where we will head back into the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway), and continue northward through North Carolina to Virginia hopefully by Monday the 16th. As much as Tropical Storms Chris and Beryl are keeping our attention, it's the afternoon thunderstorms that have our attention!

Historic Charleston

09 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
George Stonecliffe
As we wait out the weather of Tropical Storm Chris, we took in a day in Charleston. The horse carriage ride took us through historic parts of Charleston including many historic homes. However, there is little architecture before the Civil War, as the city was bombarded for over 500 days by Fort Sumter once the Fort was taken back by the Union army/navy. In addition there was a Great Fire, and also an earthquake (7.5) that affected the city after much of the rebuilding took place. We visited the John Calhoun mansion assuming that it meant the US Senator in the early 1800s that fought for secession, States Rights, and slavery. (He was the great orator that Henry Clay and Daniel Webster debated with on the US Senate floor.) But the house was actually built by Williams, a business tycoon, and then later sold to the grandson of John Calhoun. Regardless, the house was incredible with antiques and treasures from all over the world! Walking the historic area was enhanced by private gardens, city parks, and flowering trees. The big surprise was that the highest point in the city is 144 inches (12 feet). Three days ago in a huge thunderstorm, there were two feet of standing water on the city streets, an event that occurs several times each year!!! The city is on a peninsula between two tidal rivers, and this storm happened at high tide. The water had no place to go! In one of the graveyards, we saw the graves of two of the US Founding Fathers: Pickney and Rutledge. Quite a moving moment!

USS Yorktown, Aircraft Carrier Tour

08 July 2018 | Charleston, South Carolina
George Stonecliffe
Mid-morning we left on a tour boat for Fort Sumter at the harbor entrance of Charleston. The Fort submersed us in The War Between The States, as Fort Sumter was the start of the war when South Carolina attacked and defeated the US Fort. A sensitive 10-minute talk by a NPS guide shared the difficult issues leading up to the start of the war: slavery, States Rights, economy, southern culture, etc. After returning from Fort Sumter, we toured the gigantic USS Yorktown (CV-10). The first carrier Yorktown (CV-5) was sunk in the WWII Battle of Midway. CV-10 was built and named Yorktown in 1943, serving in WWII up through the Vietnam War, decomissioning in 1970. Highlights of our tours were listening to veterans speak about their personal experiences, seeing the awesome size of the operation involving 3,400 men and 90 airplanes, seeing an exhibit on all of America's Medal of Honor Reipients, and seeing two space capsules (Apollo 8 and one of the Mercury launches) that they had help recover from the sea. It was a proud moment for both of us as Americans.
While looking at the Medal of Honor exhibit, we noticed the newest addition by President Trump on June 26, 2018 giving the medal to 1st LT. Galen M. Connor for his heroic act in WWII during the Battle of the Bulge.
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 12/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
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Created 4 July 2017
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