Our Adventures At Sea

17 May 2013 | Swan Creek, Rock Hall, Md.
10 May 2013 | Deep Creek Anchorage, Alligator River, N.C.
07 May 2013 | Carolina Beach, North Carolina
30 April 2013 | Charleston, SC
25 April 2013 | Charleston, South Carolina
16 April 2013 | Titusville, Florida
12 April 2013 | Vero Beach, Florida
02 April 2013 | Loggerhead, Stuart, Florida
29 March 2013 | Palm Beach, Florida
27 March 2013 | New River City Marina
19 March 2013 | Dinner Key, Miami, Florida
18 March 2013 | Rodriquez Key, Florida
14 March 2013 | Marathon, Florida Keys
07 March 2013 | Marathon, Florida Keys
01 March 2013 | Tarpon Basin, Key Largo
28 February 2013 | Long Arsenecker Key
27 February 2013 | Dinner Key, Biscayne Bay
25 February 2013 | Miami
24 February 2013 | Fort Lauderdale, Florida
20 February 2013 | Lake Worth Inlet

Coming Home

17 May 2013 | Swan Creek, Rock Hall, Md.
The Fleet Deploys
From Coinjock, Virginia to Rock Hall, Maryland in 4 days. That's moving! We had taken the Dismal Swamp route south from Norfolk into Virginia so, coming north, we opted for the different expereince of The Virginia Cut. Marshland until closer to Norfolk where the scenery becomes industrial, passage through one lock and one final bridge, the Gilmerton Lift Bridge, before arrival in Norfolk.

Unfortunately. our departure from Norfolk the next morning coincided with the departure of at least 3 ships from the Navy's Atlantic Fleet. So Sylestial Star ended up drifting in the harbor or moving to avoid a ship backing from the docks surrounded by security boats. At one point we were questioned as to our intentions! To stay out of your way, of course. Security takes the 500 yeard security zone and vessel intent very seriously when in a harbor!

Our anchorages in Fishing Bay and Solomons Island were peaceful and we made the 66 mile run from Solomons to Rock Hall in less than 8 hours, backed by a strong flood tide and head sail assist which translated to 8.5 to 9 mph on the Chesapeake!

So, here are the final numbers. Sylestial Star cruised for 2,678 statute miles in 6 months on the water, north and south, including 6 off-shore runs. And we added 445 hours to our engine, which performed flawlessly the whole way. A short haul at Haven Harbour showed no evidence of any problems underneath for which we are thankful - and no barnacles. Amazing!

We both feel happy and satisfied about our little adventure. It was quite an amazing experience. And we are both happy to be back on dry land. It will no doubt take a while to break what had become our routine in the small confines of a 37' sailboat and adjust to life back at home but we are ready for it.

North Carolina

10 May 2013 | Deep Creek Anchorage, Alligator River, N.C.
Camp Lejune
From the vantage point of the inland waterways, North Carolina presents a remote and pretty picture. Large sounds such as the Pamlico and Albemarle alternate with the natural beauty of the Pungo, Alligator and Neuse rivers. Last night we enjoyed a quiet evening on the hook at Deep Point. The night sky was spectacular with the Milky Way in it's full glory. We were surrounded by marsh land in this remote location and witnessed lightning 50 miles to our north. Very primeval as might have been the picture at the dawn of mankind.

We spent a night at one of our favorite places, River Dunes after which we anchored the next night in Mile Hammock Bay, which is part of the Marine's Camp Lejune training facility. We were treated to a display of Marine air power
which included a landing 100 yards behind us by a Boeing V22 tilt rotor aircraft, named the Osprey. The Osprey is a troop carrier that flys like an airplane and then tilts it's motors to land like a helicopter - pretty neat!

Our weather window is allowing us to now make good time headed north. We hope to reach the Chesapeake and Norfolk via the Virginia Cut no later than Sunday or Monday.

Departing South Carolina

07 May 2013 | Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Warp Speed on the Cape Fear
On departing Charleston on April 30th, we again had the pleasure of passing by Fort Sumpter, so emblematic of another troubled time in American history. It always strikes us as too small to have played such an important part as the fuse for starting the war between the states. It's controlling position at the entrance to Charleston Harbor tells another side of the story however.

North of Georgetown we again marveled at the remote scenic beauty of the Wacamaw River and it's Cypress swamps. We think it is one of the prettiest rivers we have seen. It also demonstrates how Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, so effectively confounded and eluded the British during the American Revolution by hiding there. Further north, it seems that each inlet also has it's own history of pirate havens and civil war blockcade runners.

We have continued our cruise north on the ICW, timing tides, currents and weather to make progress. Unfortunately, another Nor'Easter created a 6 day
layover at Barefoot Landing Marina in North Myrtle Beach, the location of more shops and restaurants than you can count. Our guess is that 80 percent of the areas GDP is restaurants and shopping.

Today, after negotiating Lockwood's Folly and several other inlets, we arrived on the broad Cape Fear River where we enjoyed a surfing ride north on a max flood and strong current. Eleven mph at 2,400 RPM's - not bad! After a night on the hook here in Carolina Beach we will continue running long days northwards, trying to pass through potentially problematic areas before the next Nor'Easter.

"Hooked" on the hook in Charleston

30 April 2013 | Charleston, SC
A medical emergency.....
Not surprisingly, we enjoyed our 5 days in Charleston, a city richly steeped in 18th and 19th century American history.  Well, enjoyed it except for a rather scary medical emergency.  Question: If a stitch in time saves nine, then what will 70 stitches do?  Answer: sew Tom's ear back together.

Yes, it's true.  Shortly after arrival in Charleston and anchoring on the fast flowing Ashley River, we discovered that our anchor was either dragging or our use of 100' of chain and too much line was shifting Sylestial Star dangerously close to our neighboring boats.  As we prepared to re-anchor, Tom's ear caught on a dangling hook used to support an upraised dodger window.  The hook sliced Tom's ear in half horizontally from the ear canal outwards.  What followed was a 911 call, arrival of paramedics on a fireboat, an ambulance ride to the
trauma center of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and some of the best medical care known to man.  Specialists took 1 hour and 70 stitches to reattach the 2 pieces.  In the meantime, Gary and Bill, from Gatsby and Sea Mist, re-anchored Sylestial Star by shortening our scope.  Many thanks to both of them.

Without any ability to return to Sylestial Star at 10:30pm, Sylvia and Tom spent the night in a hotel after leaving the hospital.  Transportation to the hotel was provided by the hospital. The next day, Sylestial Star was moved to the Charleston Megadock where she remained for the rest of our visit to Charleston.

And so, nurse Sylvia found herself cleaning Tom's wound twice a day and will soon remove the stitches that do not dissolve.  She has been a rock from beginning to end, calmly attending to her patient's needs.  

The doctors were pleased with Tom's progress at the follow-up appointment 4 days later and it looks like the ear will heal to normal, assuming we continue to follow the doctor's instructions, which, of course, we intend to do.

By the way, the offending hook has been removed.....and we enjoyed Charleston despite our emergency.

Big time Kudos and thanks to all the medical personnel involved and particularly to the specialists at MUSC Trauma Center. They were terrific.

A Long Offshore

25 April 2013 | Charleston, South Carolina
From Fernandina Beach, Florida
Jacksonville beach, FL to Charleston, SC
A cold front with high winds kept us in Jacksonville Beach for 4 nights.  Of course, the highlight of our stay in Jacksonville Beach was the wonderful time we spent with former colleagues and friends Fal and Lee and their wives Grace and Bruce Ann.  Each has retired to this area.  We all got together for dinner at Fal and Grace's, Had lunch with Lee at his club after which he took us on a tour of this golf club heavy area.  We saw the Players Club which is set up for the PGA tour stop in 3 weeks.  It is quite beautiful and, we understand, is the richest tournament in terms of purse and attendance.

Next stop Fernandina....We arrived in the early afternoon. There were some shifting shoals as we approached and one bridge with a 6kt squirrelly current to navigate, so we both had to pay close attention. After a quick docking, we toured the very nice town and met Gary and Kathy from Gatsby for dinner.  Later, Sea Mist with Bill and Betty arrived from St. Augustine after their long run. We planned to make the ocean run from fernandina to charleston together the next day. 

The weather window held for us during our 28 hour offshore run northwards from Fernandina beach to Charleston.  Offshore seas ran 2 to 4 feet with winds from the northeast 10 to 15, eventually 
moving to the southwest.  We stood 3 hour watches throughout the night and encountered, not surprisingly, evening shipping traffic near Savannah.  At one point Sylvia hailed a large ship as "ship bearing many, many lights" as we passed near the shipping channel.  They responded, doused all lights except navigation lights, and confirmed our CPA or closest point of approach as not intersecting so we continued on our merry way.  We led the procession of Sylestial Star, Gatsby and Sea Mist which was spread out over 3 to 5 miles of ocean, passed historic Fort Sumpter as we entered Charleston Harbor and continued on to anchor on the fast flowing Ashley River, across from the City Marina Megadock.

Relaxing in Vero Beach

16 April 2013 | Titusville, Florida
Where is Everybody?
So, where are all the northbound snowbirds? Not that we mind, but there were very few boats on the water as we and Gatsby motored the 70 statute miles today from Vero Beach to the Titusville mooring field, just across the Bay from Cape Canaveral. Perhaps we will see them as we continue north.

We ended up spending 6 nights in Vero Beach, enjoying the pool at Loggerhead and taking walks. This was a nice interlude as there was not much else to do on this side of Vero without a car.Gary and Kathy were in the next slip. We had dinner on board Sylestial Star with them one night but otherwise stayed onboard and relaxed, trying to avoid the oppressive heat and humidity during the day and several thunderstorms that passed through.

Our friends Skip and Harriet were back in Vero after selling their home in Baltimore. They are living aboard Moondance while they look for a new home in Vero, or should I say Velcro Beach. After cocktails aboard Sylestial Star including Gary and Kathy, the 4 of us enjoyed dinner at a nearby Italian
restaurant. We hope they find the home of their dreams.

Sylvia and I are now relaxing on the porch after a 9plus hour day on the water that started before 7am. Oh, the joys of cruising!

Vessel Name: Sylestial Star
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 373
Hailing Port: Rock Hall, Maryland
Crew: Tom and Sylvia
Sylestial Star's Photos - Main
20 Photos
Created 7 March 2013
40 Photos
Created 26 February 2013
21 Photos
Created 4 December 2012
3 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 10 October 2012

Who: Tom and Sylvia
Port: Rock Hall, Maryland