30 November 2021
Last blog about Uproar was in June, 2021 when we sailed from the Bahamas to Beaufort, NC. Mid-October we drove Snow Flake to Beaufort to get Uproar ready to sail again. Lisa and I spent two weeks working hard on a bottom job, drive shaft replacement, watermaker membrane replacement, topside compound/wax and a long list of maintenance items. Not the least of which was a thorough cleaning of the interior including laundering the cushion covers. Every surface was cleaned, we had a bit of mold over the summer storage, the first time Uproar was stored in the past six years.
Uproar was launched with a bit of fanfare, Bill and Judy (S/V Whisper) happened by to help us deliver Uproar from the boatyard to Homer Smith Marina in Beaufort. Then gale force winds descended into the North Atlantic. Lisa and I were pinned to the dock for a week, waiting for better weather.
The “plan” was to immediately sail the 1500 miles to the Caribbean, enjoy the winter in the tropics, then sail to the Med, the last of our bucket list destinations. It wasn't just weather keeping us from heading offshore to the Caribbean. The Italian Consulate in Chicago was rather possessive of our passports. We had applied for a long-stay visa for Italy to aid in our Med cruising plans. “Sure, just give us a pre-paid, addressed envelope and we will mail your passports, gratzie.”
Well, we were sitting in Beaufort, waiting for good weather and still no passports. And no response from Chicago/Italy to our emails or phone calls. Now let me tell you, Beaufort is a mighty nice place to be stuck. What a cute little, historic town. Great bars, restaurants and our first nano-brewery. The Royal James bar has world class $5 hamburgers and cheap beer. It has all the ingredients for a perfect sailor's bar. One night we met two other Milwaukee cruisers and a handful of their cruiser friends. What a great time.
With no passports, our cruising options were limited to the USA. No problem, lots of cruisers just transit the east coast of the US, Maine or thereabouts in the summer, Florida in the winter. But Lisa was not excited about this option. She caught my nasty cold and everything piled up to where she decided heading back to WI was her best option.
I decided to keep Uproar sailing south for when our passport situation was straightened out. We would then have options, we could continue to the Caribbean, hang out in Florida or ? As Lisa says, “Cruiser's plans are written in sand at low tide.”
Now I'm on Uproar, heading south with no particular plan. What could be better? Well, Lisa being with me, #1. She is still coughing her head off (no Covid after multiple tests). Warmer weather would certainly help. It gets down to the high 30's at night. And I don't have any heat on Uproar. Normally our heat pump works as A/C and heat. But it took a crap in Beaufort. It also requires dock power to operate. That costs a lot! Docks start at about $100/night!!!!! I call marinas “boat jail.”
Most of the places Lisa and I have cruised don't even have marinas. We anchor out, wherever we want to. In a marina, there is little privacy, little cooling breeze and perhaps bugs and noise. No thank you! Not to mention the expense. But on the US east coast, marinas are the way of life. Still, not for Uproar.
I'm a guerrilla cruiser. I put an anchor down and dinghy to shore. From Beaufort, I sailed to Wrightsville Beach, NC, a beautiful spot with protected anchorage. There I was fortunate enough to meet up with Jamie and Cheryl from Pacific High and Dave and Dan from Bel Canto. I have known Jamie from years of racing in Milwaukee. We met Dave and Sandy in the Bahamas, six years ago. But cruising friendships endure. Dave and Sandy brought me along to Dave's brother's Thanksgiving dinner in Charlestown, SC.
Yeah, the trip from Wrightsville Beach to Charleston wasn't that great but we made it. Charleston was a fun place to explore on my bike but the anchorage was not that calm. Didn't matter, I spent much of the days off the boat, bike riding.
Now I'm in a river, anchored near Savannah, GA. I asked on a FB group for ICW sailing about a good anchorage near Savannah. All replies were for a favorite marina. No marinas!!! I studied the charts and found a “pond” right off the Savannah River and ICW intersection. It was a bit scary getting in here. Uproar has a very deep keel which is not easily floated in the ICW. Still, I carefully motored here and set the anchor. It is calm and quiet. Even sunny today.
This is a type of cruising not like anything we have experienced the past six years. It is not tropical, it is not particularly beautiful and the water is brown. But now I feel like I'm in the rhythm of the east coast cruising. Cruising friends, new and old are the best. People everywhere we go are most generous and welcoming. That sounds trite but far from it.
The two guys sitting next to me at the Brick sports bar for the Ohio State, Michigan game were both rooting for Michigan with me. Can't beat that!