Whisper Sailing

Bill and Judy's adventures continue..........

25 February 2018 | Exumas, Bahamas
21 November 2017 | George Town, Exuma
24 April 2017 | Bahamas
03 April 2017 | Thompson Bay
31 March 2017 | Great Exuma
28 February 2017 | Palm Cay Marina
17 February 2017 | Palm Cay Marina, Nassau, Bahamas
27 January 2017 | Little Farmers Cay, Exemas
14 January 2017 | Exuma Bahamas
26 December 2016 | Spanish Wells, Bahamas
19 December 2016 | Devils Cay, Berry Islands
19 December 2016 | Addison NASA Bridge
19 December 2016 | Cave Cay to Spence Rock
04 December 2016 | Abacos Bahamas
12 November 2016 | Jacksonville Beach FL
05 May 2016 | Darien, GA
23 April 2016 | Gulf Stream
22 April 2016 | Northern Abaco
10 April 2016 | Abaco
31 March 2016 | Exuma, Eleuthra, Abaco

Why We Love the ICW

09 December 2015 | ICW
So we are now nearly 900 miles into a thousand mile ICW trek. We would not have done it any other way. The sites we've viewed, the experiences we've shared, and the people we have met are more than memorable. I don't think we could have had them in any other venue. In many instances, we have traveled a water highway through a U.S. that isn't accessible any other way. Words don't do the experience justice, so I'm putting a picture gallery together that will hopefully share the remarkable scenery of the ICW.

For the non-boaters, the ICW is the Atlantic InterCoastal Waterway. It is an alternative to going 'offshore' or out into the Atlantic ocean to make the trip from Norfolk, Virginia to the Florida Keys. Some of the waterway is natural, rivers and lakes, but much of it is man-made canals, dredged out of swamp and marsh to allow sufficient depth for boats to transit. The entire route is marked with red and green buoys to guide the way between the shallow spots or the meandering creeks and rivers. Our chartplotter has a 'magenta line' that is a guideline of the route as well. Sometimes that magenta line is accurate and sometimes it shows us on dry land. Our charts as well sometimes don't agree with what we see before us, as currents and weather can change the underwater landscape on a daily basis. Thus, we've learned to follow the buoys rather than stay true to the magenta line.

Another challenge for us Great Lakes sailors is learning how to deal with the tides. In Georgia we experienced 9 foot rise and fall of the water level due to full moon tides. With our 4 1/2 foot draft (that is how much water we need under the boat to not hit bottom) we were always within the posted limits of the ICW, but had to be careful at low tide in areas that had shoaled in. Talking with the 'locals' often gave us a 'heads up' to areas we needed to avoid at low tide. The tides also produced lots of current, which sometimes made docking a challenge. It also gave us some wild rides, as the current can boost your boat speed if you are running with it. We saw 11-12 MPH in the Cape Fear River that way even though the engine speed was averaging 7-8 MPH. (GL sailors, the ICW works in MPH not knots).

Along the way we can stop in larger cities, such as Charleston and St Augustine, or lovely small towns, such as Bellhaven and Beaufort, to stay at marinas and visit the local attractions. We typically travel 30-40 miles per day. On other days, we opt to anchor out wherever there is calm water of an appropriate depth. The anchorages have offered surprises to us, who are used to the small coves of trees and rocks in the North Channel. The first time we anchored out in a marsh with miles of open space and water was disconcerting. But we learned to trust our anchoring instincts and found plenty of secure, peaceful places to "drop the hook". We've been fortunate that no storms have materialized to test our anchoring skills. We were in the marina at St Augustine when strong northeasters came through, and even there, the surge was sufficient to cause our dockmate to get seasick in the boat at the dock!

We meet people from all parts of the country in all types of boats. power and sail. Most of them are retirees, like ourselves, but surprisingly there are many younger people out for the adventure before they establish themselves in homes with families. Some make the trek down, and back up, the ICW each year, the traditional 'snowbirds'. Others, like us, are taking the boat south to get away from the rigors of the northern winters. Everyone has experiences to share, advice to give, and willingness to led a hand if needed. At marinas there is often an evening cocktail hour or a potluck supper to share. We chat, share boat cards and friend each other on Facebook so we can keep in touch.

The memories continue to pile up. I'll do my best to get the picture gallery online with expalnations of the remarkable places we've been.
Vessel Name: Whisper
Vessel Make/Model: Tartan 34-2
Hailing Port: Milwaukee WI
Crew: Bill and Judy
Whisper's Photos - Main
Every shade of blue-green-purple greets our eyes on a continuing basis
15 Photos
Created 24 April 2017
Our first island anchorages were in the Berries. Sugar sand beaches, clear blue water, conch and starfish, everyday a new wonderful experience.
10 Photos
Created 16 April 2016
We are spending over a week in Bimini waiting for weather to cross to the Berry Islands (a 75 mile crossing that will require two good days). So we walk, drive, and dinghy our way around North Bimini to learn about the land and the people.
20 Photos
Created 6 February 2016
There were many projects we did to upgrade Whisper to a more efficient, comfortable, safe and enjoyable boat.
7 Photos
Created 10 January 2016
The many contrasting scenes on the Intercoastal Waterway
36 Photos
Created 25 December 2015
Our favorite anchorage on the eastern shore. The cove featured St Martin Point house and grounds, a 19th century home with accommodations for eighteen people, currently available as vacation rental. Dan, the caretaker invited us to explore the house and grounds.
14 Photos
Created 28 October 2015
6 Photos
Created 27 October 2015
Workboat Festival
8 Photos
Created 26 October 2015
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
7 Photos
Created 25 October 2015
Boat show
6 Photos
Created 11 October 2015
Highlights of our stay in the Big Apple
14 Photos
Created 2 October 2015
Fixed bridges, lift bridges, railroad bridges, road bridges, bridges to nowhere.
8 Photos
Created 13 September 2015
"I stayed too long at the fair"
12 Photos
Created 11 September 2015
5 Photos
Created 1 September 2015
I walked from the yacht club to the downtown area to purchase a nautical chart at the general store. Charming homes from the mid-1800s with fenced in yards and patios. Main square at City Hall has umbrella tables and chairs to enjoy the fresh air. Lots of interesting shops and restaurants, wished we could stay longer.
7 Photos
Created 27 August 2015
Transiting the 243 miles of the Trent Severn Waterway system
5 Photos
Created 25 August 2015
Into the Georgian Bay
7 Photos
Created 6 August 2015
We took Whisper on a loop through the French River Small Craft Route with Russ and Lisa onboard. Uproar can't do the route because of depth...and maybe width!
8 Photos
Created 3 August 2015
We spent the past week attempting to show Sue all of our favorite places... we got in quite a few!!!
7 Photos
Created 23 July 2015
First anchorage in Canada
4 Photos
Created 14 July 2015
Scenes from one of our favorite places on Lake Michigan
5 Photos
Created 10 July 2015
Preparation for our extended cruise from Milwaukee, WI to the Bahamas and ????
3 Photos
Created 17 June 2015