Thursday, May 18, 2017

Our last Leg Towards Home, April 6th to May 18th, 2017

     Saturday, 5/6  To Carolina Beach mooring fields. Pete walked the dog and that turtle was still on its log! We filled the water tanks, then crossed the canal, intending to wait until the fuel dock opened at 8 am.  The dock hand was in early and was helping us refuel at 7:30. We had the current with us for most of the day. At one point we were cruising at 10.2 mph thanks to that current.
     Once in the mooring field, our trusty, dependable, reliable outboard engine for the dingy decided to be ornery.  Thirty-two pulls and it wouldn’t catch!  Pete had to row the dog to the dock and back.  Randy, the “harbormaster,” came by to collect our $20 mooring fee.  He mentioned that now the mooring balls can be reserved and paid for via the Dockwa App. He also said that he would make sure that the mooring ball would be available for the boat who made the reservation. How is still a mystery, but it is a great option.

     Sunday, 5/7  We had 3 bridge openings today; one was Surf City, which had problems, thankfully, after we passed.  During our journey, we were passed by the MV TENACIOUS.  Pete had a long conversation with him during our stay at Sombrero Marina in Marathon.  He is a retired naval architect, who found a great, aluminum, Christ Craft Roamer hull and built the trawler from the ribs up.  She is a beauty and very roomy.  They are heading back to the Great Lakes for family this summer. 

Returning from Bailey's walk
   In Camp Lejeune, we shared Mile Hammock Bay with 7 other boats.  We anchored as close to shore as possible.  The totally reliable dinghy is not so reliable today.  Pete made a number of pulls to start the engine, but still “no joy.” It is going to need more attention that Pete can give it.  As a result, taking Bailey into shore is a much longer procedure.
Camp Lejeune artillery practice area
Warning at the north end
of Camp Lejeune's ICW

     Monday, 5/8 – to Morehead City.   Skies were clear and traffic light. It was another beautiful day, sunny, temps in the low 70’s and enough of a breeze to get an assist. We were about 3 miles from Camp Lejeune we heard the Howitzers beginning their afternoon target practice. We had a bit of the current with us and were able to average 7 mph for most of the trip.  By the time we reached Morehead City Yacht Center, the current was slack and getting into our slip was easy.   
     Once docked, I was able to borrow the loaner car to pick up the new gas can and hose for the dinghy. Hopefully, this will fix the problem with the dinghy. There was also a quick stop at Harris Teeter for the provisions for the next 10 days.  Pete worked while I ran errands.  He also met our neighbor on SV BREAK FREE. Patric and Karin are from Toronto.  This is the second time they have made the trip.  He is a diesel mechanic and suggested that the outboard engine problem might be the cylinder as the new fuel tank and line didn’t work and the spark plugs are clean.  Since they are heading north as well, Pat suggested that we anchor in the same spots so we could borrow their dingy (with a working engine!)

     Tuesday, 5/9 - We laid over in Morehead City for another day hoping to find a mechanic who could work on the dingy engine.  I took advantage of the time to do laundry.  While waiting for the machine, I had a chance to speak with Joan of SV CHANGING LANES.  She and John are returning to Newfoundland and happen to be friends and traveling companions with Pat and Karin. Once back at the boat, we invited both couples for hors d'oeuvres aboard PEKABU later this afternoon. It was a very enjoyable time.  We all agreed to leave at 7 am tomorrow, however, we have to head to River Dunes to retrieve our mail which has already been forwarded, while BREAK FREE and CHANGING LANES will be heading Goose Creek to anchor.  We will meet up with them tomorrow night at the top of the Alligator Pongo Canal.

Sunrise over
Morehead City Marina
The mild winter has the jellyfish
arriving about a month early
 in River Dunes Marina
     Wednesday, 5/10, To River Dunes-  We had a momentary view of the sun as we departed this morning before the clouds dominated the skies.  As we started out trek up the ICW, we were passed by a barge as well as 6 power boats.  There is a front coming in late tomorrow, and everyone is trying to make way before it come in.  Now we wish we hadn't had the mail forwarded to River Dunes.  The high clouds were around for most of the day and temps in the low 70’s. 
     It was a easy and quick ride to River Dunes as the current and breeze were once again in our favor.   After a fill up and a pump out, we were nicely settled on the T-Dock by 12:30. When I provisioned a few days ago, I completely forgot 3 items.  I was able to use the loaner car from River Dunes to head down to Oriental.  I didn’t know that the Oriental Piggy Wiggly now has a shuttle van that will pick up and return cruisers to the marinas.  Something to keep in mind for the next time we pass this way.  I even had the time and a beautiful area to take my walk.

     Thursday, 5/11, River Dunes to what was supposed to be top of the Alligator Pongo Canal.  When we woke at 6:30 this morning, Pete already had a text from Pat saying that they were going to continue on to Coinjock tonight to make sure they beat the front coming in early tomorrow.  After much discussion and review of the weather, we decided to head straight to Coinjock as well.

The catamaran that recently
burned and sank in Belhaven

Hobucken Fishing Fleet
Mayo's Bulkhead, Hobucken

A visitor to the shore of the
Alligator Pongo Canal

         We stopped in Belhaven around 10 to walk Bailey then headed north again.  We continue to make good time.  It wasn’t until we were traveling on the Alligator River around 6 pm when the breeze freshened.  By the time we requested the Alligator Bridge opening, the winds were about 18 from the ENE.  Once through the bridge the bridge tender told us to “be safe out there.  The front is approaching.”  We had no choice but to continue.  The winds were on our nose and the waves, though only 4-5 feet, were spaced perfectly to dig our nose into about every 5th wave.  Often, the spray shot over the Bimini and past the dinghy.  I still put down plastic over the salon cushions under the windows Pete recently resealed.  They only leaked a little. However, I didn’t think to close the cabin door fast enough!  We took a couple of waves that shot water under the windows of the binimi and deposited substantial water into the main cabin. When we arrived at Coinjock around 1:30-2 AM, the rains were breaking off into showers.  Inspection downstairs revealed a lot of wet.  Tomorrow will be busy!

     Friday, 5/12, At 8:30 the dock hand was knocking, asking if we needed to fill up with fuel.  Since we did, we were moved up the dock in front of 2 other sailboats, one of which was BREAK FREE.  After filling up, we were able to catch up with Pat and Karin.  Joan and John, CHANGING LANES, left this morning for Norfolk.  They needed to pick up the rental car, dive to Deltaville to retrieve their car, return and then pack some of their stuff into their car.  For the past few years, they have kept CHANGING LANES in Deltaville for the summer while they return to Newfoundland.  With the US dollar value being so much less than the Canadian, it is worth it to take the boat back home for a while. Pat and Karin were staying until Sunday morning and we decided to stay to Monday morning.  We will catch dinner together tomorrow night here at the marina’s restaurant
     It rained heavily for most of the day.  We spent much of the day, washing and drying out interior stuff…well, as much drying out as possible. The mattress was the most challenging, so we raised it and had 3 fans blowing on it for most of the day. Thankfully, by 7 pm it was dry. We did manage a well-deserved nap during in the afternoon.  After a dinner of Chili, we relaxed, then called it an early night.

     Saturday, 5/13, At 6:30 this morning, we had footsteps on our deck.  Needless to say, we were up and dressed in a flash.  The boat between BREAK FREE and us was attempting to leave.  Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate the current and was in danger of popping our dinghy.  Pat had tried to fend off, but couldn’t get into the cockpit due to the enclosure. I was able to slip a boat hook between the enclosure and fend off as they maneuvered.  Thankfully, no damage or injuries.
     The heavy rains have passed, but there are still scattered showers.  It was a good day to pull up the floor boards, clean and dry them before refastening them.  I had planned to do my spring cleaning once back in our home marina.  Instead Mother Nature dictated that this weekend would be better! The wood paneling was cleaned and treated, drawers and cabinets were emptied and cleaned.
     We were able to get some reading in this afternoon, then went over to the restaurant around 5:30. We had an enjoyable conversation over dinner.  It was a good thing we went over early, the line when we left was rather long even for a drizzly evening.

Army Corps of Engineers
     Sunday, 5/14 – BREAK FREE had already departed when Pete walked the dog at 6:45. The sun was out so we hung the wet rugs so that I could wash them later.  Once again, we were re-positioned on the dock.  Coinjock and Midway Marinas line each side of the canal in this area.  There is not a lot of room and no slips so boats are tied nose to stern, directly to the bulkheads.  Tugs come through 2-3 times a day and we even saw the Corps of Engineer’s boat come through and tie up at Midway’s dock. 
     I was able to do another load of wash plus all the rugs.  The rugs now smell great being in the sun and fresh breezes all afternoon!  Once everything was back in its place, down below looks great.  The decks no longer have any salt due to the heavy rains of yesterday, but the “brown frown” due to the tannin in the waters, will have to wait until we are “home.”
      The phone was busy today as “Happy Mother’s Day” wishes were shared.  I also took advantage and processed a mess of photos.  I might not have used my DSLR very often, but the camera on the phone can take some really great photos. It was a good way to spend Mother’s Day.

     Monday, 5/15, Another exciting morning as our neighbors in front of us were leaving.  I was in the bathroom around 6 this morning, when I heard panicky voices.  I woke Pete to check.  They, too, forgot to work with current. It trapped their dingy against the piling and when they tried to maneuver it free, it popped the back seam.  His words to her were not very nice. 
      Since we were up, we decided to head out.  We need to clear the Great Bridge before 3:00 pm, as it closes from then to 6:30 for traffic.  Pete worked for a good part of the morning and I had the wheel during the pretty parts of today’s travel.  After clearing the first bridge, we were hailed by the sailboat in front of us.  SV ELDA, of Newport, has engine issues and requested we buddy with them up to the Atlantic Marine Center, in case they need a tow.  As they approached the second bridge, they asked if the bridge could possibly be opened a bit early so they would not need to change speed and possibly stall.  The bridge tender asked if he was declaring an emergency.  His reply was, “it will be if we stall.”  The bridge opened early and we continue on.  He was able to make it to the docks at AMC under his own power.
Variety of boats being
worked on in Portsmouth
     The third boat traveling with our group never spoke on his radio.  He was out lead boat, who slowly lead 9 boats into the Lock.  He was not rigged for the lock, chose the eastern side (without the rubber fenders built into the side) and had no fenders ready to deploy. Once the lock gates were open, we headed out first, but he gunned his engine and passed us…in the lock!!!  We just let him go and informed the other power boats that we would hug the eastern side until they all passed PEKABU.   They all passed SV MAJOR, too.  Heading through the Gimmerton Bridge, MAJOR once took the lead.  On the next turn after the bridge, Pete radioed a tug that was beginning to turn a barge in order to head north on the Elizabeth River out of Norfolk.  We just wanted to say out of his way.  MAJOR passed him during his turn, then cut the barge off.  The barge radioed, but with no answer, he finally used the horn.  MAJOR finally got the message.
Tidewater Marina and the Norfolk Skyline

On my walk through Portsmouth
      About a quarter of a mile from Tidewater Marina, we called in for our dock assignment.  As we were heading in, MAJOR called in and was requested to wait.  He stated that he was already entering the marina.  We just backed off until he was tied up. We didn’t have anything nice to say about him, so we were good and didn’t say anything.  It turns out that he was only two slips away from us.  Surprisingly, he came over to say "hi" and to ask if we were continuing on.  He needed to catch a flight and didn’t want to leave perishables on boat. Would we like the eggs, bacon, yogurt and half and half for the rest of your trip? I was good, said “hi” and “yes, thank you.” 
     After dinner, I was able to walk my 2.5 miles.

    Tuesday, 5/16,  Norfolk to Antipoison Creek.  We left around 8 so that we could catch the “little” current heading up the Bay today.  However, we had high traffic volume on the Elizabeth River.  At one point, we needed to wait for the tugs to turn around a Naval Reserve tanker. To pass them, we needed to head to the Navy side of the river.  As we were approaching the Naval dock, there was 2 inbound tankers, an outbound dredge, a stationary dredge, a tug floating mid-river all within a quarter of a mile.  As we were clearing this traffic, a tug crossed out bow heading to mid river to meet up with the inbound container ship.  Unfortunately, to miss him, Pete had to inch closer to the naval floating barricades, in front of the Naval Pier 5 Tower.  Two marines were signaling for us to pull out into the middle of the river.  We did so as soon as it was safe.  There were two additional container ships that we needed to pass before turning to head up the Chesapeake.
     The tide gave us a 1 mph push while the sail added another .5 mile.   Pete once again spotted turtle on the surface, while I saw a very large fish/dolphin jump completely out of the water!  It was a great motor sail up the bay. 

Tug with dredge on barge

Norfolk traffic!

Working tug with fire hose
Dredging ops on the Elizabeth River

Jet on carrier deck while in port!

Pelican, not seagull
on Green 13
     During the afternoon, we heard RED HEAD hail another boat.  It was Bob 435.  We eavesdropped.  Jeff is very pleased with Active Captain’s sale to Garmin.  It has become too much for Jeff and Karen to maintain and still have time for cruising.  The sale will free them up while providing the community with more technology, while maintaining the current functions for the community. The hats will continue to be distributed.
     As we pulled into Anitpoison Creek, BREAK FREE and CHANGING LANES were already anchored as well as 4 other boats.  Clear skies made for another quiet, but unremarkable sunset.

Going to shore at Antipoison Creek
     Wednesday, 5/17.  Being anchored only 100 feet from shore makes taking the dog in much easier on Pete’s shoulders.
      We once again delayed out departure to take advantage of the current.  The breeze helped a little.  We were able to roll up the enclosure and put away our name banner from the stern.  Unfortunately, even with the breeze, we were inundated with black flies.  Once the screen was in place in the companion way, I did my big game hunting down below. I manage to find and kill 39 flies. Ever since Bailey chomped on a wasp about 4 years ago and needed to see the ER after hours vet due to swelling of her jowls, she is real skittish around anything that buzzes or flies.  She will stay below all day if there is a single fly in the cockpit. At any given moment today, there were at least 100 flies in the cockpit!  Thankfully, the insect repellent stops them from biting, but they do land.
     As we were approaching Solomons’ Harbor, Pete spotted SV WALKABOUT tidying the sails after an afternoon’s sail.  We got close to say “Hi,” and Lois suggested we get together for dinner.  It was wonderful to catch up with Dave and Lois at the Ruddy Duck.

Cove Point Light house
Red 78
     Thursday, 5/18.  As Pete returned from walking Bailey, he waved to BREAK FREE as they were passing Zahnizer’s.  We were away from the dock by 7:20. There was high clouds and the breeze is now out of the SW.  We waited until we cleared the fish traps to hoist the sails.  The winds were about 18 mph and we were doing 8 mph under sail.  Unfortunately, the winds periodically gusted so we needed to readjust the sails a number of times before it began to lessen.  Around 10:30, we needed to add the engine as the winds dropped to less than 10 and we were only doing 5.5 mph.  Around noon, the breeze was present only sometimes, so the sails were dropped and we motored for the rest of the day.  Once again the flies invaded. YUCK! 
      As we passed Poplar Island heading up Prospect Bay, there were quite a few barges with dredges both in the bay and in the Poplar Island Narrows adding more land to the island.  It will be interesting to see the new depths in that area. 
     We were able to make the 3:30 opening of the Kent Narrows Bridge. Our cruise officially ended at 4:30 pm when PEKABU was secured, electricity connected and we sat down and relaxed in our home dock.  When Pete walked the dog before dinner, he caught up with our dock mates.  I look forward to catching up with them also.  Tomorrow we head back to Charleston, this time by rental car, to pick up the Acura and bring it home on Saturday.  Then it is time to catch up with family!

Sunset over St. Johns River from rental car

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~  K & P

Friday, May 5, 2017

On the Move Again! April 5th to May 5th, 2017

Shore of Haulover Canal
     Wednesday, April 5th, we left Titusville by 7:30 AM as planned.  As we headed north on the Indian River towards Haulover Canal, we were hailed by SV Runaway, a Catalina 400, requesting a starboard pass.  When I heard the name, I thought I remembered meeting a “SV Runaway” in 2011, when we were in Sampson Key, Bahamas.  At the time, Runaway spend most of the year cruising the Bahamas and return to their home port is Solomons, MD, for the summer months.  As they passed now, “Solomons, MD” was on the transom. We hailed them again and sure enough, we had! We visited a little via the radio.
     The Haulover Bridge is currently in the “up” position while work is being done.  All 4 sailboats and the one cabin cruiser transited the canal without problems.  As we turned North in Mosquito Lagoon, we hoisted the main and motored sailed for quite a while.
Migration north in Mosquito Lagoon
      At the top of Mosquito Lagoon, are the fishing camps.  As we were passing, we saw a number of manatees as well as dolphins and their calves. We even encountered a couple of larger pods of dolphins.   While enjoying the beautiful breezes, mild temps, sunshine and beautiful scenery, we passed SV Walkabout, from Vermont. We traveled south with him in the Hobucken, NC area last fall!  He hailed us to let us know that we were blowing black smoke!  We immediately checked things out.  No explanation for the black smoke could be found, BUT Pete found a cracked exhaust manifold. Coolant water from the engine was pooling in the engine compartment. Walkabout hung with us to make sure we could continue.  Pete was able to remove the water and monitor the engine and cracked manifold for the remaining 4 hours of the trip to Dayrona.  The black smoke was probably a momentary burning of some buildup in the engine.  Without it, we would not have found the problem manifold!  Thank you, Walkabout!
Rockhouse Creek &
Ponce de Leon Light House
     Close to the Ponce De Leone Inlet, we were kept company by a very large turtle. We really could not get a good look at his shell due to all the barnacles.  I didn’t reach for the camera because I was positive it would disappear before I could take the photo.  Instead, we enjoyed the experience.
     After a pump out, we were settled into our dock in Halifax Harbor Marina by 4:30.  Pete called Comanchee Marina and was able to get a month dockage beginning Saturday.  He was also able to extend out stay here for the next 3 days.  The clouds came in at sunset and they were accompanied with a few sprinkles.  The heavier stuff is due to come through in the morning. This front has caused a lot of damage plus a number of tornados in the south, but not yet in Florida.  Glad we are staying put.
Daytona Post Office
      Thursday, 4/6.  Two strong bands of storms came through this morning around 6. After Pete rode the bike to the Post Office and back, he wanted to investigate the engine, so he spent the better part of two hours checking things.  When he cleaned the manifold, the pin sized hole became larger.  He used rescue tape and a hose clamp to insure it remains in place.  No leaks when the engine was kicked up in idle for a while.  Hopefully, this patch will hold until we can have a mechanic replace the part in St. Augustine.  
     Thankfully, the skies cleared and I was able to take a walk into the center of town.  Daytona Beach has put in a lot of strip malls.  Merchandise stores are limited along the main drag, Beech Street, but there are plenty of eateries!  So many great smells, Bailey wanted to visit each one!  Once back, I joined Pete and read for the rest of the afternoon.

     Friday, 4/7, I planned to do laundry this morning, but the machines were taken. Instead, I walked by myself into town. This time I was able to take photos of the architecture of downtown and the surrounding areas.  After lunch, I went up to do laundry. By dinner, I checked my Fitbit and found I did 4.23 miles between my walk and two trips to the laundry rooms!  
     Pete spent some time trying to get the bike out of 8th gear. Apparently, the bike found a way to protest a month on the deck, in all sorts of weather.  Pete thinks he needs to stop in at a bicycle shop for a new cable. 
Bailey keeping tabs on us
in the air conditioning
     While Pete and I sat in the cockpit reading, Bailey slept, wedged against Pete’s leg with her feet hanging off the seat.  It turns out we had a furry visitor.  A very friendly, black and white cat came onboard and into the cockpit.  She even smelled Bailey’s feet, while Bailey blissfully slept away.  Pete got up and tried to shoo the cat off the boat.  Instead she went up to the bow and was coming down the starboard side, when Bailey finally realized we had an intruder. It didn’t faze the cat. She attempted to continue to the cockpit.  Pete had to do the “baby with a dirty diaper” lift of the cat and put her off the boat.
     After dinner, we watched some TV and read. Then headed to bed early as we hope to leave by 7:30 in the morning.
     Saturday, 4/8, we had left the dock and were passing the fuel dock at 7:30 AM.  The dock hand was there with the pool skimming net to collect the keys as we passed and we continued on our way.
Mosacis under Daytona's Bridge
     We barely left the marina when the engine temperature gage was pinned at 260 degrees.  Way too hot to continue!  While I maintained our heading in idle, Pete checked the engine. No water; the rescue tape appears to be holding and dry; the engine smelled normal.  He then checked the engine temperature with the thermal reader.  Everything was perfect.  When we were coming down, we had a couple of trips with the engine temperature reading hot and other times it was reading cool. The sender unit was replaced last spring. Pete replaced the engine thermometer, but the problem still continued.  He thinks it might be the wire or the sender unit.  We will have to have that checked when the mechanic is replacing the manifold next week.  Just as a precaution, we reduced the cruising RPMs by about 5000 and every 45-60 minutes, he rechecked the engine and its temperature.  Thankfully, we made the trip with no engine problems.
     There appears to be another “rock pile” in the Bon Terra area of the ICW.  There are shelves of rock that line the shores, noticeable at low tide.  As we were traveling through this area, suddenly there was a very large, brown “something”, about 2 feet off our starboard cockpit seats.  Pete immediately thought it was a rock and put the transmission into idle. The “something” was actually a head, that had to be at least 4 inches across with a fierce hooked beak and a serving plate-sized shell, that belonged to a very large snapping turtle!  After calming down, we continued on.
We appear to be on shore!
The dredging on the Mantanzas
That's right! The buoy is about 10 feet
off the beach!!!
      As mentioned in Active Captain, there is dredging near the Mantanzas Inlet.  We passed a huge dredging barge and associated work boats. There was only a few spots where the depth was only 9 feet.  The scary part was looking at the GPS and seeing our boat icon on land!  Apparently, the current has carved away more of the land on the western shore.  The buoys are only about 20 feet off the shoreline, but the depth is 13+ feet.  Local power boats come through at full throttle while we cruising sailors took it much more slowly!
MATTHEW's damage
from last October
     It has been 5 months since Hurricane Matthew hit St. Augustine with severe flooding.  All the docks that were destroyed are still in the same sad shape.  With so many damaged docks, it will probably take a few years for the few companies that build docks to make all the repairs. Like Isabel did to the Chesapeake in 2003, Matthew seems to have carved some of the main channels in the St. Augustine ICW area deeper due to the volume of water he brought in. Even at low tide, in certain spots, we had 21 feet under the keel!   After making the 4 PM opening of The Bridge of Lyons, we continued pass the inlet. The current was very strong for the incoming tide, but the seas were very calm.
A very different
"Frank Geary designed" deck hous

Bridge of Lyons
St. Augustine Lighthouse
    After a pump out, and a fuel refill, we settled into our “home” for the next few weeks. We will wait here in Camanchee Harbor Marina until Betty and John (SV Andiamo) can meet us here.  John and Pete will do the outside jump to Charleston, while Betty and I take Bailey and drive up to Charleston. It won’t be a hardship to remain here for a while.  Besides meeting up with friends, I will be able to continue my daily walks, the engine will be repaired and hopefully, I will be using my DSLR instead of my little camera that has a phone attached!

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~  K & P

Our Stay in St. Augustine 4/9 -4/28
Canopied road with Spanish Moss
Back lit Spanish Moss
     We enjoyed our stay here in St Augustine.  Over the past few weeks, the boat has been cleaned; the stainless polished; the interior of the boat is being cleaned and reorganized; the engine’s exhaust manifold has been replaced; oil, belts and filters replaced; the engine temperature gauge/sensor/sender unit were replaced. The bottom was scrapped again, by a diver. (There can’t be any biocide remaining on the bottom.  We will have the bottom cleaned, the small blisters that were just found, repaired, and the bottom repainted once we are back in our home port.)  Finally (after 2 years!), we refilled the propane tank and I have been spending a lot of time dealing with insurances (tons of health claims as well as renewal or new policies for boat, car, etc.) The Acura finally has the problem with the air conditioning identified and repaired. (We had an air bubble that couldn’t be identified when pressure was measured for the Freon and initially the AC worked, but it usually opted to not function after a while. Pete asked them to run the car for an hour then check.  Sure enough, the car was hot and humid.  Removal of the Freon was weighed and was 8 oz. short; hence, the air bubble! Three pounds of Freon was reinserted and Viola! No problems!!!)) We took the boat over to the dock every 4-5 days for a pump out.  Camanchee does not have a pump-out boat, so we tried to do it early in the morning before the regular winds from the east made leaving the dock a real challenge. I continue to take my walks 5 times a week and used my handy small camera with a phone attached for some interesting shots.  Pete has backed off long walks due to his knee, which really needs to be replaced, but he and Bailey still get their twice daily exercise. And . . . Uncle Sam also received his taxes!
Clouds, Showers and Rainbows
The tidal marsh next to the marina

Beautiful home on one of my walks


Flowers after rain
Close up of the raindrops

         Photos from my walks taken with my the cell phone!

Scary tree
Some of the attractions
by the sightseeing train
   On the fun side, we took a ride north on A1A through Vilano Beach. There are limited areas where Pete might be able to use the drone, but the ride was pretty.  We stopped for dinner at a place called The Reef.  It is right on the beach, with delicious food, great service and is reasonably priced. We also took a ride south on A1A.  It took us really close to Jay and Pegg’s new place, so we thought we would drive over and check it out.  Both Pegg and Jay were outside and offered us a tour of their new home.  It is a great place and 11 feet above sea level!  Important, as their other home experienced flooding during Matthew last fall. We continued south to Flagler Beach, where Matthew stole part of A1A.  It is apparent that the relocation about 50-foot inland was recently completed, but many saw their ocean view lots reduced in size. Of course, we found a great place for ice cream prior to our return trip.
Vilano Beach by THE REEF Restaurant

     Ann and Howie came up one Sunday. We walked around old St. Augustine and enjoyed a great dinner at the AIA Ale Works. It also happened to be Easter, so the streets we lined with people, many of whom wore pretty outrageous hats.  Unfortunately, I did not get any photos of the characters who line the parade route or the parade itself.
Baby Manatee in the marina

Spider's web

Our daily keel cleaner
     Friday, 4/29, the last-minute food shopping was done and final cleaning and laundry completed. Betty and John arrived.  The four of us met Pegg and Jay for dinner at The Reef.  It was a great evening of food conversation, ocean breezes, and friends.  Betty, Bailey and I said our good-byes to our men, and headed to the hotel.  Pete and John made it an early night as they leave at sunrise tomorrow.
     The weeks here went very fast!

Sunset over Camanchee Marina

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~  K & P

St. Augustine to Charleston 4/29-4/30

     Pete and John were underway by 6:15 AM. No problems exiting though the St. Augustine Inlet.  Waters were calm and the depth was never below 15 feet, even though the tide was almost low.  The winds were favorable from the south east at 10-15 so they motored sailed, averaging about 8.5 mph!  We were only able to keep cell contact for about 2 hours.  During that time, Betty and I received a few texts and she was able to track John though the Apple Friends app.
     Betty, Bailey and I left the hotel around 9:30 driving both cars north to Charleston. There were a couple of stops to stretch our legs and once to grab lunch at Subway.  Traffic was good and we made the trip in about 4.5 hours.
Bailey's adoring fans!
     Last night, Betty and I searched for a dog friendly restaurant that we could meet up with Betty’s friend, Drew, once we got to Charleston.  The best place between the marina and Drew’s place was California Dreaming. As it turned out, it was on the same street as our hotel AND it was only about 1000-foot walk!  Drew is a great young man, who Betty has known since Cub Scouts.  Betty and John served as his host family during his studies at the Naval Academy. He is now attending school prior to his assignment to a naval carrier later this fall.  We were able to visit for over 4 hours. Food and service were great and we talked about everything. It was such a wonderful time! Everyone who passed wanted to say “hi” to Bailey.    She was even surrounded by 4 girls dressed in their Holy Communion, white dresses. The triplets and their cousin were joining family to celebrate.  We finally said good-by to Drew around 8 after walking past a large group of patrons waiting to be seated. I don’t think people wanted to sit in our area, because the other 3 tables were often empty for long periods of time.
     Betty, Bailey and I returned to the hotel and continued talking.  The three of us had a great “Ladies Weekend.”
     Sunday morning, I took Bailey for a moderate walk, but it was quite humid.  After breakfast, the three of us walked again just to keep up our “steps” on the Fitbits.  Baily found a ball in one of the parking lots and had a great time.  Exhausted, she carried the ball back to the hotel.  
     I packed up my stuff and we loaded my car before heading over to Bed, Bath and Beyond over in Mt. Pleasant.  Betty needed to get a gift that not all BB&B’s carried in the store.  This one had it in stock.  It turns out that the store was located in a shopping center comprised of streets, strip malls and parking. As we came in, Betty noticed Burton’s Bar and Grille.  She and John had eaten in one closer to home and definitely wanted to go back. It would have been fun to shop, but we couldn’t with Bailey in tow.  Instead, we grabbed an early lunch at Zoe’s, since they had a patio where we could sit with Bailey.  While eating we received another Spot from Pekabu. They were entering Charleston Harbor.  Time to head back.
      The guys made great time.  They were able to motor sail for the entire trip.  They didn’t see any other pleasure craft and stayed closer to shore to avoid the shipping lanes.  The night was cool, but humid with sky was full of stars.  The ocean swells were abeam and made for a very rocky ride; being down below was challenging.  Neither of them got more than a catnap or two during the trip. The only time they had to slow down was to wait for the 1:30 PM opening of Wapoo Creek Bridge.   We helped them get into the slip at St John’s Yacht Marina.  After a quick catch-up, I tried to make dinner reservations at The Fat Hen, close to the marina. Unfortunately, they only serve brunch on Sundays.  Instead, I made reservation at Burton’s since Betty and John enjoyed it so much and we knew exactly where it was located. John and Betty headed back to the hotel, we did a quick straighten then Pete (and John) crashed for a few hours. We met at the hotel and headed to dinner.  Our appetizers were outrageous.  We had General Tso’s Cauliflower and thin strips of zucchini stuffed with Alouette cheese and covered with marinara sauce and graded cheese similar to parmesan…YUM!!! Pete enjoyed a burger while the three of us had tile fish over risotto with carrots and string beans.  We were too full to order dessert.  Dinner was excellent and we agree with Betty.  We definitely need to come back.
     Monday, 5/1, Betty and John made it home before the storms came.  I took advantage of the $1/ load laundry with 4 washers and 4 dryers at the marina.  Four loads of laundry were done while I luxuriated with the showers. I had a good morning, but Pete had problems with getting internet access for work. We receive a message from Verizon that we only had 2 GB of our 16 GB available after 2 days into the billing cycle! His MozyPro had changed their programming, ignoring the directive not to use the jet pack and was trying to back up all Pete’s data…all 93 GB!  Thankfully, Verizon’s programming throttled back our usage so it could not continue.  Unfortunately, after spending lots of time on the phone with Verizon, he found out that we need to use our phones as hot spots instead of the jet pack for the remainder of the month. What a pain! When I returned to the boat, the winds had kicked up to 25+ with even higher gusts.  We were rocking like crazy in our dock.  At one point, Pete attempted to readjust the lines and couldn’t reattach the line.  He was calling for help.  Thankfully, Louise, our neighbor was home doing boat chores and came to assist as was our neighbor across the dock.  I came just in time to help pull the boat over.  Thankfully, nothing was damaged and we were once again secure.

Tuesday, 5/2, I ran last minute errands in the morning and we left around 2 pm for Toler’s Cove Marina, which is located just below the Ben Sawyer Bridge.  It is tricky to get into, but out of the currents.  We wanted to make sure we could clear the bridge before the 7 am closing for 2 hours.
Charleston City Marina Dock (The 3-masted ship is 400 ft+!)

Listening to the birds
One of the fishing fleet
Toler's Cove Marina Docks & Condos

Ben Sawyer Bridge at sunrise
Double sunrise!

The Pink Island House is still pink!

   Wednesday 5/3, we actually cleared the Ben Sawyer Bridge by 6:35 AM. The Coast Guard made an announcement at 6:58 that the Ben Sawyer Bridge would close at 7 AM and open at 9 AM ON THURSDAY, 5/4 for electrical repairs. Thank heavens we opted to stay at Toler’s and not Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina! We were lucky that our timing allowed us to pass through McClellenville two hours after low tide. A south bound boat kept reporting less than 4 feet, but we saw no less than 8.5 feet. PEKABU takes 5.5 feet.  It seems as if some are not following Active Captain suggestions and wandering into skinny water. We followed A.C. and had no problems with depth.  The rising tide gave us a push and we were doing 7.5-8.5 MPH quite a while.  When we approached the Winyah Bay, I was actually doing 9.2!

Ecosystem in a single tree
Succulent Hen among the flowers

     Thursday, 5/3, Georgetown to Myrtle Beach.  We departed Georgetown Landing Marina around 8:30 after I had taken my walk.  We had the outgoing tide, which made getting out of the inner side of the T-dock a bit easier.  However, once we entered the Waccamaw River, the wind and the current were against us.  This part of our journey is always beautiful.  It is where the lowlands meet the river, the cypress trees are incredible and the occasional ancient trees still standing. I would love to know the history they have witnessed.
   The brownish tint to the trees last fall have given way to the fresh, new spring greens and the empty nests are full of new osprey and a few new eagles. The slow journey added about 1.5 hours to our travels today.   At times, we were down to 4.5 mph and that was with the 0.8 mph push with the mainsail. We didn't mind the extra time to enjoy one of our favorite sections of the ICW. 


Canoeist enjoying the beauty of Nature

Unbelievable...Still with new growth!

One of the ancients has passed.


The Wecca Marina

My Happy Guy at the Helm
We finally caught up with the current as we neared Socastee. 
     About 3 miles south of Barefoot Landing Marina, where we will spend the night, I passed a south bound Catalina. As they passed, I noticed a passenger sitting on the port side , but it was the person at the wheel who looked vaguely familiar.  Then I saw ESCAPADE on the transom and it was Jon at the wheel! We quickly made radio contact. Dave, his friend, sitting in the cockpit with him and Gerry (SV RAGTIME) was down below. They, too, were tricked by Mother Nature, when then tried an outside jump.  Thankfully, they are OK and continuing to Florida to have work done on the boat.  We hope to catch up sometime this summer. If we hadn’t been slowed down, we would have already been secured at the marina and missed catching up with friends from our Chesapeake Catalina Yacht Club!

Lighthouse Marina, just south of Myrtle Beach 

      The intermittent rains started about 5:30 PM, but only for very brief and sporadic periods. It wasn’t until about 4 AM, when the intense stuff came through. We found that we still have leaking windows on our starboard.  Pete has been working on them, but this last leak is evasive.  In the meantime, we are spreading out plastic just in case.

Entrance to the House of Blues
Very interesting siding on
the House of Blues

The resident turtle at
Barefoot Landing Marina
Friday, 5/5, we stayed at the marina. Between the rains predicted on and off until 11 AM and the small craft warnings for this afternoon, it was a great decision. Pete had plenty of work and I wanted to catch up with the blog.  I have most of it written, but need to process the photos. Thankfully, the rains stopped and the skies cleared.  I was able to walk to Walgreen's, then cut over to The House of Blues for a few photos.  Returning onto the dock I found a turtle who seemed to be a permanent fixture on the log.  We treated ourselves to dinner in Greg Norman’s Australian Steakhouse.  It was a great stay. 

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~  K & P