Still working on the Nest
13 October 2015 | Kingfisher Bay Marina
Our boat projects are continuing to progress. The big task for Robyn is re-bedding some windows, along with painting the trim. My huge task is the soft spot in the deck. The deck has been cut away, exposing the soft core. I think it will be several more days of drying, digging out, and replacing the bad core. We are both anxious to get moving, but this project was a must before leaving Demopolis.
Our friends Mike and Cyndie left a few days ago. As of last night, they were at Pirates Cove. That is a place we have enjoyed on the GIWW, just north of Orange Beach, Alabama.
We went to Meridian, Mississippi, with Ray and Beth last Sunday. We all got supplies for our numerous projects, and had a great lunch before returning to the "metropolis of Demopolis". We have really enjoyed spending time with Ray and Beth. Ray is an incredible story teller!
Another couple we have met here is Larry and Bev, aboard "Canadian Flyer." Larry is 79 years young, and Bev is the most spry 81-year-old you have ever met! They sailed around the world on their 55 foot Tayana sailboat. It took them 15 years to complete their circumnavigation. They are now cruising a small trawler part time. Larry was born in Canada, and was a pilot for the U. S. Air Force. Hence, the name of their boat. Larry broke the sound barrier in his F86 during the early days of supersonic flight. You should see the way he lights up when he talks about it. Listening to his stories is like watching the movie Top Gun. They have led an incredible life, and won't hesitate to tell you they have been blessed. We've said it many times before, but it bears saying again, the best part of cruising by private yacht is the people you meet along the way!
We have decided to run to Walmart before it gets light, so I'll close for now. Until next time...
We're back on the Nest
08 October 2015 | Demopolis, Alabama
After spending the summer at home rebuilding the cruising kitty, we are back on Robyn's Nest. It's hard to believe we have been away from the Nest for six months. We got here in Demopolis, Alabama last Sunday.
Our insurance won't cover us for a named storm until the first of November, so we need to stay above 31 degrees latitude until the first. Although we may leave earlier if the weather looks like it will cooperate. In the meantime we are doing some maintenance projects. Yesterday we cleaned our aft enclosure, and tidied up the cabin. Tuesday we made a trip down to Mobile, Alabama to the Mobile Ship Chandlery to have a repair done to our dinghy. While we waited for the repair to be done, we did a little provisioning. It is about a three hour drive to Mobile, so that made for a long day.
We have friends here in Demopolis, so we have used some of our time here catching up with Ray and Beth. Last year when we were traveling, we met Mike and Cindy in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They had just purchased a boat in Little Rock, and were taking it to Nashville. Well they spent the last year preparing their lives and boat for the Loop, and they pulled into Demopolis yesterday. We enjoyed catching up with them.
We are starting to see at least one looper boat come through Demopolis every day now. This is a fairly important stop for a lot of boats, as this is the last fuel and provisioning stop before Mobile.
Today, we are going to begin our largest project on the boat. I have to cut away a section of the deck to repair a "soft spot". A soft spot on deck indicates where a leak has softened, or rotted away some of the core in the deck. I found the source of the leak, and so now it is time for this major repair. The deck is actually a top and bottom skin of fiberglass with a core in between. I will remove the top skin, clean out the bad core, replace the bad with new, and then glass back in the old top skin. With all of that being said, I need to close for now, and go to work.
Until next time...
Robyn's Nest is in Mobile
08 February 2015
First of all, I need to express my apologies for not keeping this blog updated. I will try to do better in the future. We are back home in Oklahoma again for a few weeks. The following will my attempt to get you up to speed on the last few weeks aboard Robyn's Nest.
Our last post was our stay in Biloxi. We really enjoyed our time there catching up with a few old friends and revisiting some of the sights and restaurants. Pat and Cathy were able to spend an afternoon touring Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis home. I think they loved Biloxi as much as we did.
We departed Biloxi on my birthday, January 20th. We cruised through the Mississippi Sound, through Mobile Bay, and ended our day at Lulu's Restaurant. Lulu's is a must stop for cruisers along the GIWW. The restaurant is owned by Lucy Buffet, sister of Jimmy Buffet. The food and entertainment are well worth the end-of-evening bill! BATT was the extremely talented one-man band for the evening. We consumed mass quantities of food and Yuengling beer, then spent the night tied to the dock at the restaurant.
The next morning, we headed to Barber Marina. Robyn and I had spent some time there in 2011, and the staff there remembered us. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing! Our main purpose in going to Barber's was to see friends we made in Kemah, Texas. We hadn't seen Cindy and Jonal in three years, and the reunion was just awesome. We stayed there six days visiting and exploring.
Our favorite anchorage of 2011, was the "Sugar Bowl" near Pensacola. Pat and Cathy had heard us speak fondly of it numerous times. So, despite our plans to backtrack to Mobile, we headed east to the Sugar Bowl. It was only about a 20 mile run, but was highlighted by dolphins, crossing the Florida line, and an amazing anchorage. After setting the anchor, we went ashore to explore the ruins of Fort McRee. Unlike the last time we were there, we used flashlights to pick our way through the entire underground bunker system. The dank air, thick concrete walls, and the well preserved remains gave us all an erie feeling of going back in time. We finished the afternoon collecting shells along the beautiful white beach and absorbing the sound of the crashing waves on shore. Gazing out on the endless blue ocean made all of us dream of the endless possibilities ahead of us!
The next morning we made an early start for Mobile. The weather conditions could not have been better for a bay crossing. One highlight of the crossing was two pelicans landing on the bow of Robyn's Nest! One of them hitched a ride for several miles! They are incredible birds even though they are scraggly and rough. We arrived late in the afternoon at Turner Marina on the Dog River.
We decided to stay a few days to pack up the boat, do a little maintenance, get in some sight seeing, and enjoy a little more of the great southern food. Fortunately, we were able to get together with Jerry and Sally of Fairhope, Alabama. They are another couple of fantastic cruisers that Robyn and I had met in Panama City. Our reunion in their beautiful town at Panini Pete's was awesome. The moment we saw them, the three years melted away and the bond was rekindled. We loved this couple and made a connection within five minutes of meeting them that day three years ago.
Pat and Cathy have really enjoyed cruising with us, and have decided this is the lifestyle for them. They had already started looking for a boat to call their own, when I found one at the Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama. Of course we had to go check it out on the way home! The boat is a Carver 350, and meets their needs perfectly. Our two days looking at the boat resulted in them making an offer, and it being accepted! We have lost our crew, but gained a buddy boat. Robyn and I wish them the best of luck and fair seas!
Well, that pretty much sums up the last couple of weeks aboard Robyn's Nest. We are already looking forward to returning to her. When we return, unfortunately we will have to repair a soft spot on the deck, which leads to painting the entire deck. That will be a big project. We also have plans to replace the defunct electric stove with a propane range, install a new hot water tank, and move the inverter to the pump room. Of course, after those big projects, there are innumerable smaller projects to do. Luckily, I enjoy working on the Nest as much as I do cruising on her. (Robyn likes the cruising WAY better!)
Until next time...
18 January 2015 | Biloxi Mississippi
We finally left NOLA on Friday. We went 30 miles east on the GIWW to the Rigolets cut, and anchored behind Rabbit Island. We pulled anchor early Friday morning and continued to Biloxi, Mississippi. The weather was just absolutely beautiful. I suppose my only regret for the crossing is that we didn't see any dolphins.
We are currently moored at the Biloxi Harbor which is within walking distance from the historic downtown. Today, we walked through town and stopped at the Filling Station for lunch; a place Robyn and I had visited on our previous trip three years ago. Robyn and I split a shrimp po boy with fries, and Pat and Cat did the same. The food and service are still exceptional! When we returned to Robyn's Nest, we all put on our shorts, t-shirts, and sandals and started washing the Nest. Now it's time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy this fantastic gulf weather!
Tomorrow, we will take the metro bus to Ocean Springs. We have been told that they have a very nice historic downtown. There is also a "Katrina House" community there that we hope to check out. Robyn and I have been kicking around the idea of building one in Guthrie. I think Pat and Cathy will tour the Jefferson Davis summer home museum while Robyn and I do a few more boat chores.
If anyone is planning a trip to Biloxi, go see Inga at the Old Biloxi Schooner, or have a po boy at The Filling Station!
We've made it to Biloxi! More to follow...
17 January 2015 | Biloxi, Mississippi
Today ended with an incredible reunion in Biloxi. When Robyn and I were here on our trip in 2012, we met this most wonderful woman at the Ole Biloxi Schooner Cafe. Her name is Inga, and she was our waitress for many meals. We have thought of her often over the years. When we got to the cafe, there she was! I have said many times that the highlight of cruising is the people you meet along the way. Inga is no exception. We just love her. When we were here in 2012, she invited us to Easter Dinner with her family. Regretfully, we didn't go. Well,we are once again invited to her home tomorrow to have lunch with her family. This time, there won't be any regrets. We're going to Inga's tomorrow for lunch!
Our journey continues
14 January 2015 | New Orleans
We began the second leg of our great loop trip by leaving Oklahoma last Saturday morning. Pat and Cathy, Robyn's aunt and uncle, picked us up in Guthrie. They will be joining us again for this leg of the loop. We stopped in Memphis Saturday night and continued on to New Orleans on Sunday. We found Robyn's Nest to be in fine shape when we arrived at the marina. She had been "abandoned" for two months, and I was worried about her.
Monday, we did the tourist thing in New Orleans (NOLA). We walked around and had shrimp po boys for lunch. After lunch, we boarded a trolley and took a tour of the "Garden District". The Garden District wasn't what I expected. It is an old area of NOLA complete with old houses on live oak-lined streets. It was very nice. At the end of the trolley line, we had to disembark for the trolley to reverse. While we were waiting, we met a girl at the bus stop on her way to work at Cafe De Monde. Her name was Dawn. Her shift was to start at 4:00, so we agreed to meet again at the Cafe for beignets. On our way to Cafe De Monde, Robyn and I stopped for a quick chair massage then the four of us walked down Bourbon Street and on to the Cafe. After our little snack, we walked around Jackson Square, people watching. Our day was coming to an end, so we decided it was time to go back to Robyn's Nest. On our way to the car, we saw a film crew working on the street. We visited with them some, and discovered they were filming NCIS New Orleans. When we got back to the car, and were headed down the street towards the film crew, we were almost overtaken by a police motorcade. Just a little slower, and we would have been in an episode of NCIS New Orleans! (Damn it Pat! The one time you could have driven a little slower!)
Tuesday was a day on the boat doing maintenance. Today should be some more of the same. We're looking at a weather window that has us leaving NOLA for the Rigoletts Friday and on to Biloxi Saturday.
Home for the holidays
22 November 2014 | Guthrie, OK
Our cruise from Houma to New Orleans was pretty much uneventful and the weather was beautiful. We stopped for the night at the Boom Town Casino on the Harvey Canal. It was Robyn’s birthday, so we enjoyed a fabulous birthday dinner at the casino where we enjoyed meeting and talking to two interesting and funny Italian sisters!
The Harvey lock was closed for repairs, so we had to go through the Algiers lock. The Algiers lock was the first lock we had gone through with other commercial traffic. One large tow, two small tows, Robyn’s Nest, and Milady were all packed in the lock. Our stern was 10 feet from the back gate while the bow was over hanging the back of a tow. Needless to say, we were all a little apprehensive, but it went very well! As we progressed through the morning, the wind continued to pick up, making maneuverability more difficult with locks and bridges. Around 1:00, we made it to Seabrook Marina, which will be home for Robyn’s Nest for the next two months.
We are now home for the holidays and will work to refill the cruising kitty. Our second day home welcomed us with a little November snow. I, for one, cannot wait to get back to the gulf coast and warmer weather! We are both back at our jobs and are grateful to our bosses for working with our boating schedule.
So, there you have it. The first leg of our Great Loop cruise is history. When we return to Robyn’s Nest in January, we will continue without Milady. We had an incredible time with Kevin and Melinda, and will greatly miss their company and friendship. The purpose of their trip was to dock their boat in Pass Christian, Mississippi, Kevin’s home town.
We will return to the Nest the first weekend in January. Our goal for the next leg of the Loop will be Georgia. We will then come home again in April for our daughter’s wedding. We wish you the very best holiday season. Until next time...
The Eagle Has Landed
10 November 2014 | Houma, Louisiana
Well actually Robyn's Nest, has landed in Houma, Louisiana. We are tied up at a very nice municipal marina that is part of a city park. We will continue our journey East tomorrow.
The trip here was just absolutely amazing. We cut through a large cypress swamp. The amount of wildlife we saw on this leg was by far the most we have seen on the whole trip. Well I'm tired, and Robyn just about has dinner ready, so until next time...
10 November 2014 | Morgan City, Louisiana
Yesterday saw the arrival of Robyn's Nest and Milady at Morgan City. It was a very nice day down the Atchafalaya River. Upon our arrival, we saw a shrimp boat with fresh shrimp for sale. We bought 3 pounds of jumbo shrimp for $13. I had never cleaned shrimp before, so Melinda and Kevin gave us lessons on cleaning shrimp. We walked about a mile to a grocery store to get a few things we needed for our shrimp feast.
When we got back to the wharf, we put our feast preparations in in high gear! Oh was it delicious! We had blackened and lemon peppered shrimp tacos, red potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh garlic bread, and Louisiana lemon crunch cake for desert. I think I can get used to this!
Today we are going to go to Houma, Louisiana. There is a public dock there next to a city park, with laundry and other necessities within walking distance. Until next time...
We're off the Mississippi River
08 November 2014 | Old River Canal
Yesterday, we did our last 63 miles on the Mississippi River. Well kinda sorta. We do have a couple of miles on the Miss. to do when we go through New Orleans. We made it to what is called the Old River lock. We had to anchor out in a holding basin while we waited for a small tow to lock through. Once the tow locked through, the lock master called us on the radio, and told us it was our turn. After we locked through, we exited onto the Old River Canal. This canal goes about eight miles to the junction of the Red River and the Atchafalaya Rivers. We anchored for the night one half mile from the junction. We are now two River days from Morgan City, Louisiana.
We keep moving south, but the cold weather persistently follows us. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it will be too cold for the gators, and I really wanted to experience all of the wildlife the Atchafalaya Basin/Swamp had to offer.
Now, I have to tell you how I found this anchorage that we are currently in! Cathy and I were up on the flybridge. She pointed out a small floating dock with a barbecue grill on it. As I was looking at the grill, I had to point out that the dock also had an old toilet on it. She assumed it was a seat for fishing, I thought maybe otherwise! Anyway, as we were driving and looking at the dock, I noticed we were had only three feet of water under the keel! I looked ahead, and the red nun buoys were on the wrong side of the boat. "Holy floating crapper - we're out of the Channel!" I may have screwed up, but we had our anchorage for the night. All is well in our porcelain anchorage. Until next time...
We have made it to Natchez, Mississippi
07 November 2014 | Natchez, Mississippi
We made the 73 mile run to Natchez, Mississippi, yesterday. The trip was uneventful until we got to Natchez, and it was time to dock. I had made arrangements at Vidalia Dock and Storage to tie up to a barge for the night. When we started to make our approach, I realized they were parking us in a very tight spot where I had to weave in between some barges and tugs. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but now let's add 15 MPH winds and a 3 MPH current! I made it on the third attempt without hitting anything. My knees were shaking, and Robyn knew it was stressful for me because "Captain Bulldog" wasn't barking orders to the crew as we were docking!
We called for a cab to take us across the river to Natchez. We then walked through the wonderful old downtown area, which included homes built prior to 1800, visited a museum, and bought incredible fudge in a small shop downtown. We also had dinner at the Pig Out Inn. It had good bar-b-que with generous quantities. We finished the evening at a historical tavern called Bowie's Tavern.
Another cab ride took us back across the river to our boat with a pit stop at a liquor store for ice. Our next stop will take us off the Mississippi River, and onto the Atchafalaya River. I am really looking forward to the Atchafalaya. We are all hoping to finally see some gators. We have been in gator country since Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but have yet to see one!
Until next time...
05 November 2014 | Vicksburg, Mississippi
Vicksburg has a very interesting Civil War history. Vicksburg was under a Union siege for 47 days prior to July 4th, 1863. On July 4th, General Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to General U. S. Grant. General Pemberton was from Pennsylvania. He was a West Point graduate and a sitting Senator at the beginning of the war. Even though he was a Northerner, he believed the Southern States' cause was just.
The 47-day siege was extremely difficult for the citizens of Vicksburg; Both black and white, rich and poor. Many people retreated to the numerous caves along the Mississippi River. After Vicksburg surrendered, life under Union rule was just as difficult. The citizens had to sign an oath to the United States in order to conduct business, spend money, travel, and many other things we all take for granted. The influx of carpetbaggers just added to the torment and corruption.
Today, Vicksburg is a city proud of its past! Everywhere you go, there are reminders of the historical role played by this beautiful city in the war between the states. Where we are anchored right now, is where a very traumatic and decisive navel battle was fought. As I sit here typing, I know there are so many cannon balls under our keel. It really is exciting to be so close to history!
Tomorrow, we will continue our journey down the mighty Mississippi. Until next time...
We've made it to Vicksburg
03 November 2014 | Vicksburg
We made it! More to follow tomorrow.
Day two on the Mississippi
02 November 2014 | Lake Providence Harbor
What a great day we had on the Mississippi River today! We made approximately 50 miles, or halfway between Greenville and Vicksburg. The wind laid down considerably since yesterday. We made it to a safe harbor called Lake Providence Harbor. A tow boat captain on the river gave us contact information for a tow that operated inside the harbor. Once we were in, I made contact with him, and he invited us to tie up to his barge. When we arrived, he had his deckhands waiting to help us. Then the real fun began!
One of the deckhands gave us a tour of the Terral Tow Company's premiere tow boat. She is the "Kim King", and what a beauty she is. After the tour, we were taken to the Captain's bridge. The captain was very hospitable and informative about the boat and the company. He has worked for the company for nearly thirty years, and the pride he had in his boat and the company, was evident in everything he said.
Tomorrow we will continue down the river to Vicksburg. We have weather coming in a few days, so we will have to make a decision on whether to stay there a few days, or go on down the river to Nachez. I'm leaning towards touring Vicksburg!
We made it to the Greenville Yacht Club
01 November 2014 | Greenville, Mississippi
Yesterday, we made our final 15 mile push to the mighty Mississippi. The wind was blowing 25 MPH, gusting to 35 MPH. With the turbulence of the river, combined with the strong winds, driving required constant viligence.
After we got docked and tied up, we went to the yacht club restaurant for our first meal out in two weeks. Man was that steak good!
The wind has calmed a bit today, so we are hoping to leave around 10:00 and get half way to Vicksburg, Mississippi. If all goes as planned, our anchorage tonight should be Lake Providence, Louisiana.
Until next time...
Our new friends
30 October 2014 | MM 14.8 Arkansas River
Randall and Tammy Burchfield along with Sally
Once again, you meet the neatest people cruising
30 October 2014 | MM 14.8 Arkansas River
Today we traveled 33 miles towards the Mississippi River. We almost made it, but we got held up at lock 2. We had no choice but to anchor one more time on the Arkansas. Lucky for us that we did!
There is a state park near our anchorage, so we took the dinghy ashore. There were nice showers there, so as cruisers, we couldn't turn down unlimited hot showers. Pat was the first person done with his shower, and while he was standing outside waiting on the rest of us, a gentleman asked him if he wanted some fish. When I went outside after my shower, Pat asked me if I wanted some fish. After consulting with the ladies, we decided that we could indeed use some fish! Boy, did we meet the nicest couple! They are Randall and Tammy Burchfield. They have been staying at the park for several weeks fishing and relaxing. We spent the most incredible hour just visiting with them. Randall and Tammy, we will never forget your kindness!
Waiting on lock
29 October 2014 | Three mile above lock four on Arkansas River
We got an early start this morning after the fog burned off. We were trying to make it to Emmett Sanders Lock (4) before the 10:00 pleasure vessel restriction. We would have made it in time, except for the four barges in front of us. Due to the 10 AM to 2 PM pleasure vessel restrictions, we will have to wait to be locked through at 2:00.
The people you meet cruising
28 October 2014 | Island Harbor Marina, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
When we cruised Seanna, we met the most wonderful people. This cruise has already proven to be the same. When we got to Island Harbor, the first couple we met were Rick & Carol Hayes. They were imeadeately welcoming, and helpful. Rick took my homemade bracket for the generator to his shop and made an adjustment for me. Carol took the girls out to buy a few things they needed, and yesterday, she loaned us her car so the girls could go to the laundromat.
Yesterday morning, a 46' ChrisCraft came into the marina. Aboard were Mike and Cyndie Dyer. They just bought the boat in Little Rock, and are taking it to Nashville. They came aboard Robyn's Nest last night for cocktails, and to compare charts and experiences. They are a very nice couple that plan to start the loop this summer. We look forward to bumping into them again on the loop.
Then there is Jim. Jim is the owner of Island Harbor Marina. He has been extremely accommodating.he has taken me to town several times for parts and repairs. I guess Jim took over Island Harbor last spring in a very dilapidated condition. He has applied for a grant to bring the marina up to the standard we all expect and appreciate. I sure hope he can save the marina. This is the last marina on the Arkansas River, before you hit the Mississippi. I believe this marina is very nessacary for the pleasure boating on this section of the Arkansas.
We will never be able to thank Jim, Rick, or Carol enough for the hospitality that we have been shown here. We also wish Mike and Cyndie the absolute best luck on their trip to Nashville.
Until next time...
25 October 2014 | Island Habor Marina, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
We have been having issues with the generator since we left Three Forks. We had a bracket welded in Van Buren, Arkansas, and it broke yesterday. So we are going to get that fixed, get our Honda emergency backup generator running, and also repair a water temperature sensor problem on our starboard engine. I hope we get everything done by tomorrow, so we can take off on Monday.