Sailing South

S/V Mariah with Trish & John Billings

15 January 2017 | Tropical Mexico
27 November 2016 | Mazatlan
25 May 2014 | Mission Bay, San Diego
04 May 2014 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
05 April 2014 | St. Maarten
17 February 2014 | Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, DR
31 December 2013 | Thompsons Bay, Bahamas
20 December 2013 | Long Island, Bahamas
01 December 2013 | Exumas, Bahamas
01 December 2013 | Exumas, Bahamas
11 November 2013 | Marsh Harbor, Abaco
31 October 2013 | Grand Cay, Abacos, Bahamas
21 October 2013 | Folly Beach, SC
15 August 2013 | Folly Beach, SC
17 July 2013 | Charleston, SC
14 June 2013 | Hilton Head, SC
14 May 2013 | Key West
18 April 2013 | Key West
25 March 2013 | Venice, FL
06 March 2013 | Orange Beach, AL

Adios Folly Beach

21 October 2013 | Folly Beach, SC
It’s our last week in Folly Beach, South Carolina as we finish our final preparations to head to the Bahamas. We are so excited that it’s hard to find the patience to wait for next week, but since our engine is in pieces, we have no choice. Remember all those overheating issues we had last January in New Orleans? Well, it all came back to bite us in the bum…as John was checking all the engine fluids a few weeks ago, he found oil in the fresh water coolant and I now know that that means the Head Gasket has a leak. As a result, we have been in the marina for the last month getting that fixed (Monday for re-install…cross your fingers). It has been a mixed blessing as we have again met many wonderful people in the marina who are not only fun to talk to and share evening cocktails, but they so generously lend us their cars for our never-ending trips to the grocery and hardware stores.

And we haven’t been idle either. We made a huge list of all the things we wanted to repair and divided the chores into the number of weeks left to us (6 weeks ago). Some of these items include rebuilding the wind generator and the horns, making Chaps for the dinghy (see picture), completing the sail packs, all work needed up both masts, pressure washing the anchor chain and cleaning out the chain locker (ugh! All those critters sure do begin to stink after they’ve been in there for awhile) and millions of other small things that have needed attention for a long time. Mariah is now in the best shape she’s been in since we bought her.

Our 4 month stay in the Charleston area has been wonderful. We enjoyed a month in downtown Charleston and the last 3 months here in Folly Beach. We had originally planned to go up the Chesapeake and maybe even further up the East Coast, but with John working and the heat and humidity, it became clear that we needed to stay put and rest for awhile. Now that John’s contract has ended, we are truly ready to be full time cruisers and we are so excited. Our plans for the moment are the following: Bahamas, Virgin Islands, St. Martin to see the Frye’s and then…make our way across the Caribbean to the Panama Canal and back to San Diego. Yep, we’re coming home for next summer. As we look at the charts, it looks like quite an undertaking and we aren’t sure we can make it that far in just 6 months, but we’ll give it a try and see how far we get.

But back to the fun we’ve had here in Folly Beach. The island community is very active about bringing tourists to the island and we’ve tried to participate in as many of the events as we can. One was the Folly Beach Float Frenzy where groups build floating floats and drift down the river from the boat landing down to the marina. It was quite a “frenzy” as the river runs at about 2 knots, the floats have no power, the inhabitants of said floats are far from sober and the trip didn’t seem long enough. As a result, there were probably more power boats weaving in and out of the group retrieving floats from impending collisions with the shoreline and each other and pulling them back up the river so that more fun (and spirits) could be enjoyed. Of course, the party at the marina afterwards was just as much fun. One of the motor boats carried Jeff and his guitar (and amplifier gear) and he serenaded the parade all the way down the river. We took our dinghy and spent some of the time floating with the group and some of the time racing back to Mariah (anchored in the river) to retrieve drinks and jelly fish sting balm.

In September, a lovely local Farmers Market began on Wednesday nights. All the locals showed up along with the band and the wine and beer. One of the stands sold fresh (live) blue shell crabs. We bought half a dozen for $10 and took them back to the boat. It was great fun getting them into the pot and good eating. However, since they are quite small, we decided that they are much prettier alive than they are worth the trouble of eating.

We are so relieved to have made it through the summer here on the East Coast. Although the locals claim that it’s been a mild summer, the heat (upper 80’s, lower 90’s) and humidity can be hard to bear. We are so thankful for the air conditioner that we had installed in Texas a year ago. But the water, although not clear, was very warm – 85 degrees at its peak! That is unheard of in San Diego where we are jubilant when the water hits 74 degrees in mid-summer. Now that it’s October here, the water has dropped to a frigid temperature of 75 degrees…and we won’t even go into it. I finally understand why our East Coat friends would never consider going in the ocean in San Diego! I sure hope that our blood hasn’t thinned permanently by the time we get back to SD.

It’s time to say good bye to our new-found Folly Beach friends and to thank them for their hospitality and good will. We will host a party (Mango rum concoctions shall abound) on the boat (slip E-22) at the Sunset Cay Marina this next Tuesday from 5:00 on and hope that any of you in the neighborhood will come so that we can say goodbye and thanks for the great times and the amazing memories.

While out of the country, our regular cell phones won’t be active, but we have set up a Skype phone account that relies on an internet connection. So, when we are connected to the internet, we can receive your phone calls and we will be able to pick up any messages left for us. Our emails will still be the same.

Skype phone #: 858-386-0122 –It is active now, so you can use it anytime.

Vessel Name: Mariah
Vessel Make/Model: Morgan 41
Hailing Port: San Diego
Crew: John & Trish Billings
About: John & Trish hail from Mission Beach in San Diego, are avid body surfers and dinghy sailors. They are in their first year of full time cruising.
Extra: We are cruising the East Coast of the US until November when we will head South again.
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Mariah's Photos -