Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St. Augustine, FL - Nov 30, 2010

Joy and I switched days as tomorrow her former work partner, Anna, is coming to visit for the day. Anna and Joy worked as lactation consultants at the Cleveland Clinic for almost 2 years. Anna was also working on her Master to become a Nurse Practioneer, which is the current position she has in Florida.

We arrived in St. Augustine this afternoon after a quite ride down the ICW. The ICW travel is a study in contrasts. On one hand you see these huge houses with boats worth a half a million dollars parked next to these expensive homes. On the other hand we walked over to a shopping center after parking at our boat. Half of the stores in the shopping center were empty.

Not sure if they were occupied once upon a time, but it shows how poorly the economy is doing. Somebody lost money in all these vacant stores, either the builders, or their bankers, or the renters who had to leave. This is the question that we have to deal with over the next two years.

As people have listened to the pundits talk about overspending, housing bubbles, etc. in my mind it all comes down to the simple fact that for a lot of people whose purchasing drove the economy, they just stopped buying the junk, the bling, and the klitz of STUFF that you really do not need. Now people are afraid to spend money, they want to pay down debt and hope their house equity does not disappear.

So time to get off the soapbox and share some photos of our first day in St. Augustine. This really is a great place to visit as its culture consists of Spanish and British influences. Last night I counted over 40 dinghies at the dinghy dock. The other pictures are of the City Hall and the University.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Jacksonville, FL

Well, we decided to stop at a Marina tonight instead of anchoring in Spring Cove. Major reason is that we only had a short schedule today, and a much longer one tomorrow. So we went an extra 6 miles today and tomorrow should be easier.

This marina is pretty empty. Most of their boats are rack storage. They are stacked 4 to 5 high in a very large boat barn. You can give them an hour notice and your boat will be in the water by the time you get here.

The ride today was very rural. In fact I only have one picture and there is not a house, car, or person in sight. We are in the northern part of Florida and it is very rustic.

Did get a chance to wash clothes when we got here and to see some tv, CNN news, around dinner time. Walked over to the Publix about a half mile away. Half of the shopping center is empty buildings. Not sure if they were ever used or businesses moved out. Sure is depressing to see all this overbuilding. Somebody lost a lot of money guessing on future demand, or as one person I used to work for said," Next person who uses pent up demand may be looking for a new job". That was back in the old days in Chicago.

Off to St. Augustine tomorrow.

We got our marriage saver headphones to use when anchoring, but no anchoring coming up until Thursday. They should cut down on the yelling back and forth over the engine noise.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Pirates of Fernandina, FL

When we told people that we were planning to sail to the Caribbean, many people asked what we were going to do about pirates. Well, we encountered our first pirates and all we could do was take their pictures! Fernandina is known as the home of the pirates and they play the theme very well. There were living pirates around town on Saturday, interacting with the crowd and pirate statues outside the stores and in the parks to take pictures of.

We enjoyed today with church, lunch along the ocean front, followed by renting bikes. If it had been low tide, we could have literally ridden along the hard sand down by the water's edge, but instead we road about 5 miles along a greenway, where we were on the lookout for alligators. No alligators, but lots of bird life, and turtles sunning themselves on logs in the swamp.

Our friends, Linda and Francis, took off this morning and will be ahead of us temporarily, although we should overlap one night in St Augustine. They have friends just south of St Augustine that they will visit with for a couple of days, while we will stay in St Augustine to visit with my former lactation consultant partner, Anna Purkey, who is a nurse practitioner in Florida. Linda is instructed to look for a place for all of us to have a pedicure/manicure in St Augustine on Tuesday afternoon, as they will get there a day earlier.

Tomorrow, after breakfast ashore, we will head for an anchorage in Sisters Creek, only about a 3 and a half hour motor/sail.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas in Fernandina, FL

Well, it is two days after Christmas. So what does that mean? It means major Christmas shopping in every store in town. We were planning on going to Cumberland Island today, but the weather was rather nasty. The wind was kicking up the inlet and the waves would have made sleeping tonight very rolly, so we bailed out when we got there about 10 am and went to Fernandina, FL

It is a lovely town with many shops. It took Joy and Linda the entire afternoon to cover four blocks of shops, both sides of the street of course. Joy bought some presents for Erin. I watched Ohio State crush Michigan, and Francis walked Sophia.
After the game I took a long walk around town, found the library and read the last two issues of Time magazine. Libraries are a great place for boaters to just crash.

The marina is owned by the Town, but managed by a private company. The new management company put in a dock store, built new bathrooms, and built a captain's lounge withe wide screen tv and WIFI.

Tonight at 6 pm was the Christmas tree lighting. Here are some photos of that service.

We will be here all day tomorrow. Planning on going to the beach to rent bikes to ride around the island. Then it is off to St. Augustine to visit Anna, Joy's old work partner at Cleveland Clinic. Seeing Anna on Wed.


Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

Joe and I hope that all of our friends and family enjoyed food, family, and friends on Thanksgiving Day. We were thankful for being able to share Thanksgiving with new boat friends and my sister, Sally, and Manny. Today, Sally picked up three of us to go to the supermarket to reprovision for the coming week. After dinghing out to the boat to put away groceries, the four couples went out for lunch. On Thanksgiving everyone thinks they won't eat again for a week, but of course, that coconut cream pie after lunch looked good again.

In order to walk off the calories of the past few days, several of us went walking through the St Marys cemetery. What a beautiful and also macabre sight, with old tombstones from the 1700-1800s amidst the huge Spanish oaks covered with moss. The trees had to be as old or older than the gravesites. Then we enjoyed poking through a couple of bookstores and second-hand shops, before saying goodbye to Sally and Manny and returning to the boat.

This evening I put together screening that will keep no-seeums out of the boat. The teeny bugs are everywhere and love to bite, with an itch like a mosquito. Trouble is they get through regular screening. Usually, it is worse near the shore, but this evening they were everywhere, even out in the anchorage. We encountered one woman at the dock covered with netting from head to foot while working on her boat. She looked like a bee keeper, but it was to keep off the no-seeums.

Tomorrow we have a short sail to Cumberrland Island, a National Seashore in Georgia, only accessible by boat. There are miles of beach, marshes,trails, and campgrounds. A ferry service from St Marys takes people there, but wee will anchor just off the dock for the evening.


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Well today was the big day. The boaters Thanksgiving dinner in St. Marys, GA. There must have been 100 sail boats in the harbor as they served over 300 people Thanksgiving dinner starting at 1 pm. Local townspeople also joined in the festivities. This all started about 9 years ago when some boaters got stuck in St. Marys due to bad weather and the owner of the local hotel volunteered to cook a turkey for them. He ended being mayor for a while.

It just grew and grew by word of mouth. The event got coverage in the local paper, and next year should be even bigger. Here are two pictures, Sally, Joy and Linda Miko ( our new sailing buddies), and a kind of dark picture of the food tables.

Sally ( Joy's sister) and her husband, Manny, drove up from Stuart, FL to join us for dinner today. Afterwards we went to the movies, our first movie in about 2 months. The three of them went to see The Last 3 Days, and I went to the new Harry Potter movie. Sally is going to ride on our boat on Saturday over to Amelia Island, FL, and then drive back to Stuart Saturday afternoon.

The Space shuttle was pushed back to Dec 17 so now it is out of our plans. Next major stop is Vero Beach to visit Melody for a couple of days, and then down to Stuart, FL where Sally lives. Going to have some minor repairs done in Stuart: engine compression check, front head valve changed, and possible radio wire replaced.

Well that is it for now. We got our new camera and took some pictures, and trying to get the upload program to work.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anchored in the Wilds of Georgia

Hello Everybody,

We have missed a couple of days as a couple of times we ended up in poor Internet areas, we were too tired, or nothing exciting happened.

Well back to posting. We had a very interesting and long day. We are pushing to get to St. Mary's, Georgia, where there will be 300-400 boaters gathering for an annual Thanksgiving dinner. We left today before the sun came up and motored out in the fog. Fortunately the fog burned out quickly.

We had to go through Little Mud River, which is worst place on the ICW due to very low water and in fact is not passable during low tide. We got there 2 hours before low tide and got through without touching. Joy did a great job driving the boat. In fact I call her the Driving Machine. I also did not drive because if I did drive, she is a major front and back seat driver. SO might as well just let her drive.

Actually where we got stuck on the ground on previous days, I was doing the driving.

The sunrise was brilliant this morning. Hopefully pictures taken by the crew of Dream Catcher will get to us eventually.

Tomorrow if the weather is correct for sailing, we are going to sail out and then back in to avoid two other low water problem areas.

After St. Marys we are going to take a break for a day or so with Sally and Manny. Then it is down for the shuttle launch on Dec 3, then to Melody's around Dec 5/6, and get to Stuart around Dec 7/8.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Other Beauford

Today we are in the other Beauford, the one in South Carolina. I am writing even though it is an even day as I was just too plain tied out to write last night.

One of the aspects of boating is that your body adjusts to the rhythm of the sun. We wake up around 6:00 to 6:30 as it starts to get light, and feel it is time to sleep after 9 pm or so. Amazing what happens when you have no tv to keep you up at night.

We had a 45 mile trip to Mosquito Creek yesterday and then 22 miles to Beauford today. After we got here about 1 pm, Joy and I took the dinghy into town, had lunch and started walking around.

Linda and Francis came over and Joy and Linda went shopping for proper boating attire to wear for the rest of the trip. Highlights were skimpy party dresses and 3 inches heels, NOT. They both just looked and looked at almost every store on the street. Linda did pick out something for Francis to buy her for her birthday on Monday. After he came out of the store, he said the sales lady complimented him on his exceptional taste in women's clothing.

I spent part of the afternoon touring a 1800 Federal Style house that survived the Civil War. Very interesting. The talk was given by a lady from New Hampshire who is one of the volunteers. She volunteers 6 hours a week. All the flooring, walls, and major construction parts are original. The furnishings are period pieces but not from that house. Most houses in Beauford were looted during the Civil War and used to house Northern troops for a couple of years.

We are pushing on tomorrow, working our way to St. Marys for Thanksgiving. Sally and Manny are coming to spend the day with us.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's That Sound?

Periodically, we hear a sound from the sailboat that takes us a while to figure out the cause. This time it is the crackling sound coming from under the boat that we have heard the past 2 nights. Whenever we hear a strange sound our first thought is that there is a problem, so the past 2 days we have been looking under floor boards, bending our ear to locate the sound and worrying that something is wrong. So we mentioned it to our friend Linda, and she knew the culprits- shrimp! Apparently, the shrimp are either eating or just swimming by, but they make the noise.

Today was the history day with Joe going to Fort Sumter and I to a walking tour of old Charlestown, the original 8 block section that was the original walled city. We both learned about Charleston history from the revolution through the civil war into the 1900's. What a fun and busy city- great museums, elegant stores, churches, and 250+ year old homes. Joe just told me that Charleston just was awarded the designation of the politest city in the US. The old restored homes in the historic part of the city sell for $4-5,000,000 and these are not even on the water. There are no high risers and very strict housing preservation codes.

This afternoon Linda and I went provisioning- a long walk to the grocery store to buy food for the next several days. The marina shuttle van picked us up after we finished shopping, arranged by just a phone call to the marina. I don't know if all the northern supermarkets have this, but those in the south, provide a courtesy card for travelers, so we get all the savings and discounts available to local shoppers. We wouldn't have known this without learning it from another boater.

This evening we all went to Jestine's, a local Southern style cooking restaurant. The family that owns the restaurant had a housekeeper named Jestine for years. Many of the recipes are hers. She died in 1997 at the age of 112. The menu has a short story of Jestine and the lady's room has a picture of Jestine on the door. I had pecan crusted boneless chicken breasts, macaroni and cheese, and fried okra; Joe-bourbon flavored porkchops, potatoes and beans. Dessert was coconut cream pie and chocolate cake. Delicious!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We are in Charleston, SC at Charleston City Marina, the home of MEGADOCK.
It is a very large dock, about 2000 feet long where all the huge yachts park. We are down at the end just taking up our little 39 feet of dock space using our small 30 amp power cord. Some of these yachts take 480 volts AC drawing probably 200 amps of current. Their power cords are the size of ones forearms. One of the yachts had two Harleys parked next to it.

The big news here in Charleston is that the tax people are after the large yacht owners with a 10.5% personal property tax based on the current market value of these yachts. The kicker is that the boat has to stay here in SC 90 or in some counties 180 days of the year. So people keep them here and move them out before the 90/180 days come up.

We took the shuttle downtown from the Marina. Joy, Linda and Francis went window shopping after lunch. I went to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. It is a building here in Charleston that dates back to 1768 and contains the history of Charleston including its pirate period in 1717-1719, the Revolution, Civil War and the history of this city. Very interesting place and very informed guides. The dungeon wall in the basement is part of the original wall that went around downtown Charleston.

Tomorrow I plan on going to Fort Sumter while Joy is going on an old house walking tour of the city.

When I walked back this afternoon I went past the Ravenel house which has the claim of being the oldest house in the USA that has been owned by one family and always occupied by that family. The current Daniel Ravenel is the 10th generation of Ravenel males with the name of Daniel.

Well enough history for now.

ps We ordered a replacement camera and will be back taking pictures soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wet and Blustery

Our plans today were to motor part way to Charlestown and stay in an anchorage overnight, but as we got started it was evident that the weather was deteriorating and the anchorages in this part of SC were wide open to the wind, with not a tree in sight, but marshland everywhere. The wind was steady at 25 knots with gusts to 30, which is not ideal for an overnight anchorage with no protection. So we traveled 53 miles to Isle of Palms marina, just 6 miles from Charlestown. We only encountered one rain squall, with most of the rain due tonight. This was one of those days that you just want to get to your destination as soon as possible, but when going about 6 miles an hour, it takes all day. In addition, during most of the day we had little to no phone service. We felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere. Up until this point our Verizon phone has had good service when many other servers have not had coverage.

The reason we didn't go all the way to Charlestown, was because there is a drawbridge that doesn't open from 4 to 6pm, which would mean entering a new port in the dark.

After a nice warm shower, we headed over to the one local restaurant with a coupon for a free drink or hors'deuvres, which we got from the marina. This evening the restaurant was having a free wine tasting with free gourmet hors'deuvres. We had more food than we needed and free! What a treat! When we got back to the boat, I sauteed fresh shrimp which I bought right off the boats in Georgetown, yesterday. Joe had a little left-over spaghetti from last nights meal.

We are ordering a camera on line tonight, so that it can be sent to my sister, Sally, who will be joining us for Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Georgetown, SC

Well I walked about a mile today looking for a camera store to buy a camera to replace the one that fell into the water when I fell off the dock.

Used google to find the store, walked to it and of course, it had gone out of business. Afterwards I found out it had been closed for a couple of years. Most interesting sign on the store front, " Seller might help with financing".

We had a nice lunch at the River Room, next to the public docks. ]Joy had a shrimp creole, and I just a grouper sandwich. After lunch we split up and Joy went shopping. She found a bamboo nightgown to replace the one lost at Herrington North marina.

I went to the Kaminski family mansion. Harold Kaminski was a WWI and WWII veteran who became mayor of Georgetown after WWII. Went there because some of you might know that Kaminski is my mother's family name. Grandfather George Kaminski had it changed to Stone during the depression. Story was that a more English name gave you a better chance of finding work during the Depression.

Since we do not know much about our Kaminski family there is no way to know if we are related to the Georgetown people.

Tomorrow it is off for a two day trip to Charleston. We are looking forward to Charleston, it was one of the highlights of our car trip last year.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Aunny's Restaurant

We had the best Southern cooking of our trip at Aunny's Restaurant in Georgetown! Actually, the best Southern cooking we have ever had! One of Linda's boater friends came through here a few days ago and texted her that she had to have Aunny's coconut pecan pie. We lucked out because we found the restaurant before closing and it is not open on Mondays. Southern fried chicken, sides of mac and cheese, candied yams, and green beans, cold slaw, followed by coconut pecan pie and peach cobbler for Joe. Aunny opened the restaurant a year ago, serves Thanksgiving dinner free to everyone who comes in, and once a month, donates half the receipts that evening to charity. The price for dinner was $22(including tip), with Joe and I splitting a meal due to the generous proportions.

What a delightful day, motoring down the Waccamaw River. The banks were covered with trees with fall foliage and sparse housing. We had 5 sailboats in our parade down the ICW today with an occassional powerboat passing us by. The polite power boaters hail us on the VHF radio and ask if they can pass, usually, slowing their boat so as to minimize their wakes (waves).

When we arrived in Georgetown and were attempting to anchor, a gentleman from the shore yelled for us to pick up his mooring, which was close by in the mooring field, which we did. Later as we went ashore to find him and thank him, he told us that the mooring belongs to the boat Flo that left town and no one knows where the boat is. He and the captain of Flo are dock pals and he has been using the mooring all last week, so he thought he would share his friend's mooring with us. So if we are lucky and Flo doesn't return, we will stay on the mooring for two nights.

Boaters will give you the shirt off their back and their friend's mooring also!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Myrtle Beach, SC

We crossed into South Carolina this afternoon. The sky is pink as it is sunset at 5:37 pm.

It was an interesting two days on the water. The biggest thrill or scare depending on how you look at it is to moving southbound at about 7 knots and look down the river and see this very large barge moving ever so slowly NORTHBOUND AND TAKING UP THE ENTIRE WIDTH OF THE ICW. We were able to move over to the tree line so he could finally pass us.
Linda and Steve hit the trees but no damage to their boat, just to the trees.

Last night we stayed at St. James Marina in Southport, NC. Before that we were in Wrightsville Beach, NC. As we left Wrightsville Beach early yesterday morning, I thought I saw a bunch of dolphins in the water, so we motored on over to them. All of a sudden, I realized that it was a swim club of human beings swimming in ICW boat lane wearing black wet suits. This was a bad situation as it was early morning, and they did not have a safety boat out protecting them from boaters. We moved over and went around them, but my thought was that people can be really stupid and not even know how much danger they put themselves in.

Tonight, Sat, we are at a nice marina. For our $68 docking fee we got a bottle of white wine, and either $25 off dinner at one restaurant or a 2 for 1 meal at another. So this was a good deal for us. Plus diesel was cheap, and the dock hands even did the PUMPOUT, that has never happened before. Tomorrow it is on to Georgetown, SC, the third oldest city in SC after Charleston and Beauford. Going to visit all three of them for two nights.

It is nice to hear people say Yes, Ma'am or Yes Sir. People here at really nice.

Well that is it for now. Linda and Francis are still handing with us for a while, perhaps even till we get to Florida. They are an easy couple to travel with.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


No, not the Miami Dolphins football team. But real live dolphins that swim in the ICW.
They were all around our boat today as we motored from Swansboro, NC to Wrightsville Beach, NC. Took us about 10 hours to get here.

We left at 7am as we had four bridges to go under. They only open at certain times, either on the hour only or on the hour and half hour. Of course, Joy was wondering, " What do they do when there is no traffic. Why can't they open when they see boaters waiting, and no cars coming?" Don't know why, it is just the way things are. The rules are made by the US Coast Guard.

After arriving here in Wrightsville Beach, we took a walk on the beach with Linda and Francis. They told us about how in the first part of their trip going north, their transmission broke and opened up a water geyser in their engine room. They had to call the Coast Guard. Francis managed to plug the hole so they did not sink. They had to be towed by two Boats US tow boats, and fortunately were able to find a new transmission for their boat. They are a really great couple to travel with. We will probably be with them for the next two weeks.

Tomorrow we are going to stay in a marina, wash some clothes, food shop, try to fine a camera store and clean up the boat. Then it is off to Georgetown, SC for the weekend. Travelling 40-55 miles per day. Hope to make St. Mary's GA for Thanksgiving with Sally and Manny.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hard Aground

Well that says it all! A sailor friend told us that "if you haven't run aground, you haven't been around". We have been around!

To start the day, we motored from Beaufort to Swansboro, a small lovely town, with restaurants, shops, the old buildings along Main St, and friendly shop-keepers. Since we arrived early afternoon, we dinghied ashore with our friends, Francis and Linda, had lunch, walked, and shopped.

Had some very interesting discussions on their old jobs, working for the Library of Congress in DC. Linda did training for new Congressmen on policy, the legislative process, and history of different issues before Congress. Francis traveled around the world, working with new democracies. Very interesting! Also, very progressive in their thinking and political leanings. I knew we liked these people!

So as we walked back to the dinghy dock to return to our boat around 5pm, we noticed it was listing badly to one side, a sign that the keel was sitting on the ground. Not a good sign! When we left the boat and checked the depth gage, it showed 4 feet beneath our keel, a very sufficient amount, even with the tide going out. What we think happened was that when the tidal current changed, the boat swung in the opposite direction right onto a shoal. Our choices at that point were to wait until high tide at 11pm tonight and try to re-anchor at that point and hope that our boat would float off the shoal, or call the tow boat. As we were discussing our situation below deck, the tow boat operator came around and our friends called us to let us know that he was in the vicinity. Our towing insurance covers 100% of the costs, so back he came and got us off the shoal and afloat again! It took some doing, with trying to dislodge the anchor which had set quite well, and moving us in the right direction to deeper water! We had F and L take a picture from their boat, so I will download it when we can. The tow boat captain thanked us for helping to feed his family, as our Boats US insurance will be charged over $600 for the tow.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Lazy Day in Beafort, NC

Today was a lazy, sightseeing, shopping, fudge, ice cream and walking around day.

We got up about 7:30 or so and Joy noticed that we were really close to a boat that we had anchored behind the afternoon before. We had changed direction due to the tides and since we had out more chain than the other boat, when we swung around, we ended up pretty close to them. After she checked it out about 10 times in 2 hours, we pulled in some chain and now had nice separation between the two boats.

The daylight is getting shorter. It is now 5:30 pm and almost dark. We have the anchor light on.

In the morning, we took the dinghy into shore, parked in a spot we probably should not have parked in and started walking around town. Joy hit all the shops, Joe got the US Today and the local paper and headed towards the nearest coffee shop. Not for coffee but for lemonade.

Our friend, Francis and Linda, walked their dog, and did their laundry all before 11 am. We strolled around, ladies hitting the stores, men just walking. Finally found a nice place for lunch. After lunch, more walking and shopping. Finally back to the dinghies about 4 pm.

We took the two dinghies over to the shore on the opposite of the anchorage area so Linda could walk Sophia. However, as we got closer to the shore, we ran into soft mud and got stuck about 15 feet from the shore. Had to use the paddles to push ourselves back into deeper water. Fortunately, no damage to the outboard engine. Started right up when we got back out into deeper water.

The sun set, and the sky is a reddish orange. The boats are turning on their anchor lights. It is a very pretty sight. Looking across the field of boats, I am struck by the simple beauty of it all.
It fortifies the feeling I have for what we are doing. We know we don't know everything we need to know right now, but we are learning on a daily basis, talking to more experienced people. One couple we met yesterday has been sailing for 20 years, and still enjoying every day.


ps still looking for a camera store and an eye glass place to fix some glasses.

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Easy Day on the ICW

The weather is warming slightly and the sun was shining as we left River Dunes to head for Beaufort, NC (pronounced Bo-fort, as opposed to the SC town with the same spelling which is Buford). The challenge in Beaufort is anchoring in a tidal river, which means that there is a significant current and it changes direction every 6 hours. The town is on a front street all along the river, with lots of shops, restaurants, 3 bookstores, and lots of boat docks. So far, so good with the anchor holding through one tidal change with no problem. We should be quite comfortable here for two nights. Marinas in town charge $2.75 per foot, so for us that would be over $100 per night. We would rather spend it eating out with friends and new acquaintances, which we did, meeting up with a group of nine.

The farther south we go, the bigger the boats get, with many boats larger than ours. By the time we get to Fort Lauderdale, I have been told that there is a parade of 150 foot boats up and down the river and that it is fun to spend 2 nights at a marina, just watching. We will be on the lookout for a camera tomorrow, as we know that a picture says a thousand words.


Sunday, November 7, 2010


Well today was a great day at River Dunes Marina for several reasons, listed below not in any particular order.

Our good friend, Linda Franko, probably went nuts when the humble Cleveland Browns, our team, beat the NE Patriots, 34-14. I did not get to see the game in Oriental, NC as they had on the Ravens game on one channel and the Carolina Panthers on the other channel. I got highlights during those games and Internet news. However, Linda has NFL channel and she should be very happy. Linda and Steve are doing the Great Loop in their trawler. They were dockmates at East 55th Street on A dock.

Another great thing was church today in Oriental, NC. We used the courtesy car and got there a few minutes early. A lady came in and sat down in front of us. I introduced myself, she told us her name, Buckley, and said she was from Boston. Joy said she was from Boston, Mrs. Buckley said she grew up in Dorchester, but lived in Holliston a long time. Joy said her brother lives in Holliston. Mrs. Buckley said, "What's his name?" Joy said, " Mark Gabriel", Mrs. Buckley said, " Peter?"

Turns out that her son, Tim Buckley was Peter Gabriel's( our nephew) best friend in high school. Peter used to crash at their house on nights he was out too late to go home.

Goes to show how small the world can be and what you can learn by reaching out to a total stranger. You will never know unless you start talking to people.

Our travelling companions, Francis, Linda and Sophia ( their dog) Miko made it to River Dunes this afternoon. Linda camped out in the multi jet shower for a long time. We had a family style dinner in the club house. Everybody ate seafood chowder, and Joy prepared some turkey chili for me. Had about 20 boaters there for dinner.

We are leaving for Beaufort and Morehead City, NC tomorrow with the Mikos. Since Sophia needs to get off the boat twice a day, we are looking for anchorages that are easy to take the dinghy to or cheap docks.

That is it for today. Hope to buy a camera tomorrow. Linda said she would take a picture of the shower here at River Dunes and email it to us so we can share her experience via the Internet.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Showers!

I commented a couple of days ago that we are staying at River Dunes Marina, because of the reputation among boaters that they have great showers. I thought I better describe to those who are interested. They are wonderful- large, dressing area with large adjacent shower, modern tile, but the shower jets are the best- the overhead shower falls like gentle rain, and on the side of the stall are four more jets that you can turn on or off, like a massage. There is also a steam bath option! You can dial up the temperature to the degrees that you choose. A far cry from a boat shower, which in our case is a hand-held sink faucet that you lift up to give you a shower. Of course on the boat at this time of the year, it is barely 60 degrees inside.

We did take the loaner car into Oriental today, shopped at a verrrry small farmer's market, bought fish from a local fish market that is a shanty, open 2 days a week, and found a local selling fresh shrimp for $6 per pound. Knowing that Oriental is noted as the sailing center of NC, we were surprised at how small, quaint, and non-descript the town is. The local resident, selling shrimp, was a character- had to be close to 80 y.o., selling from his backyard, told me just how to prepare it. When I described it to Josh, he said it sounded like Forrest Gump, which he did, but much older. We are definitely in the South, with lots of "Yes, Ma ams", and conservative ideas. It is fascinating to me to see how people are impacted so much by the local environment. We are so much a product of our surroundings and experiences.

This evening, the marina offered a family style meal for $10 for cruisers. We met another interesting couple from Long Beach, CA who have been on their boat for 5 years. Seven of us shared drinks around a warm fireplace and then salad and chicken and dumplings in the dining room.

I like anchoring out and Joe likes marinas and we talked today that a combination works well, as we have met more people when in a marina, but anchorages are easier on the pocketbook. We need both experiences.


River Dunes - Oriental, NC Nov 5

Well it is actually Nov 6, Sat. right now at 8:46 am, but I wanted to write about yesterday's activities and save today's activities for Joy to write about.

We anchored out in Broad Creek along with Chuck and Patty. We have been travelling with them for the last week or so, all the way from Deltaville to Oriental, NC. They are on their way south faster than us, because I think this is their third south, and our first. Had heavy rain in Broad Creek.

Woke up Friday morning and motored into River Dunes Marina. Now this is a marina. They have showers with multiple water outlets, plus the hot tubs and pool are still operating. Going to try the hot tub today.

We had dinner with Stu and Barb, they have a 41 ft Island Packet SP Cruiser, and live in North Carolina. It was Italian buffet dinner with some great food.

River Dunes is a development that is based around a marina and transient boaters(that is what we are called) are invited to some but not all of the activities. Of course, I could tell them I am interested in a building a house and they probably would let us go to everything. There are several developments in this part of the country that Stu says are in financial trouble. The original River Dunes developer went bust, and the banks took over.

Joy, Barb, and Connie did a laundry run in the afternoon as the dryers here at River Dunes are broken.

We go back and forth about staying in marinas versus anchoring. Marinas offer things like fuel, water, wash clothes, go to grocery stores, and most importantly, get to meet interesting people all the time. We swap our boat cards, call them on the phone, look out for each other.

The advantages of anchoring is that it is free. So Joy decided this morning that we need to do a combination of marinas and anchoring.

We are waiting in hope that Francis and Linda will catch up with us.

More from Joy. Still trying to find a camera store.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Annual Migration

As we motor sailed down rivers, thousands of birds were heading south for the winter. Along with the birds are the sailors. We are never alone out here in the ICW(Intercoastal Waterway).
As we left Elizabeth City yesterday, there were at least 7 or 8 boats, mostly sail, in the parade. We had the longest day on the water yet, traveling 75 miles, from dawn to dusk, with cloudy, wet weather. Our leader, Chuck, felt it best to go as far as we could due to the weather forecast over the next few days of increasing rain and wind. There are no towns along the way on this stretch, but plenty of small bays and creeks to anchor in. There had to be a dozen boats in our anchorage last night with most of them leaving with us at dawn today to go another 50 miles and get into safe harbor before the weather turned worse. Presently we are in Broad Creek, safely at anchor, watching the rain come down, arriving just before the heavy rain. The music CD that our niece Laura put together is playing all our favorite sailing songs.

Tomorrow we will stay at River Dunes marina, right here in Broad Creek, for 2-3 days. We are hoping that our friends, Francis and Linda, who had to stay in Elizabeth City to get a new battery, will catch up with us. This marina has a reputation for "awesome showers" and we can't wait to get in one and see what people are talking about. Amazing what turns on boaters! Broad Creek is very close to Oriental, NC, which is supposed to be a lovely city. The marina has a courtesy van to get us there for some sightseeing.

For those of you who are interested in geography and the ICW, I will try to give you some idea of where we have traveled through. You can go onto google maps and pull up the satellite view to see the area. It is amazing how the ICW is pieced together to allow boat travel inside so that we don't have to be on the ocean. Right now the coastal forecast is for 10-15 foot waves and winds to 35 knots, while we can be traveling safely through 2 foot chop and 10-20 knot breezes.
If you don't care to know, just skip this section.

Elizabeth City sits at the top of the Pasquotank River, quite wide across, running into Albemarle Sound, a wide open expanse of water fifteen miles across, that was very similar to sailing in Lake Erie, in that it gets choppy with any kind of wind. After crossing the Albemarle, we entered a narrow strait leading to the Alligator River, which supposedly got it's name from all the alligators, but there aren't any now. The strait isn't straight, which is why some boats run aground. In fact, two power boats were sitting aground as all the sailboats motored through, staying in the narrow channel. Twenty five miles down the river, which is up to 4 mile across, we entered the Alligator River- Pungo River Canal, which is man-made, connecting the two bodies of water. It runs 23 miles and is quite narrow- maybe 200 yards across. Our anchorage last night was just off the entrance to the Pungo River, another wide-open fifteen mile, upside-down L-shaped River, emptying into the Pamlico River. Down another canal, through the Bay River and Neuse River, to Broad Creek. It is a variety of scenery and water conditions, everything shallow- mostly 10 to 20 feet deep. All for now...


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shopping in Elizabeth City, NC

What a delight, walking down Main Street, and seeing a throwback to the 50's and 60's. Linda and Francis joined Joe and I with our first stop being the candy store in town. After that was the department store, definitely similar to the stores I grew up with- the owner has had the store for 45 years and told us the store has been there since about 1900. Ladies hats with big brims, ribbons, and netting, men's shoes from the 50's, ladies' dress gloves(not for the cold). I wish we had a camera to share this priceless place with you. Next was the Super 10- an old fashioned 5 & 10- I bought warm gloves and a hat to keep my head and hands warm, long underwear for bed, and a sweatsuit, all for about $25. Yes it is that cold here in the South!

After our Main Street shopping, Linda, Patty, and I went grocery shopping. The store sends a car to the docks three times a day upon request. Great grocery store! Back at the dock was the daily wine and cheese party and then we looked over charts to plan the following three day motor/sail down to Oriental, NC. We will have two other boats with us- Chuck and Patty, on Soulmates, three years on their boat fulltime, are the experts and very ready to share their expertise. Chuck and Patty will part ways with us after that to head south quickly as they plan to be in Mexico by Christmas. Linda and Francis began their longterm cruising this summer, starting in Annapolis, where they live, traveling as far north as Block Island, and now headed south. The weather is expected to be cold and partially wet the next few days and we will stay in anchorages each evening. We will certainly enjoy any sunny, warm weather when it comes our way.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday - Nov 1

Well the first day of the month started off quickly. We got up and checked our email. Josh had sent us a message around 3 am that said his team in Surinam was flying out that morning to support the USS Iwo Jima in case Hurricane Tomas hits Haiti in the next couple of days. That is all the information we have at this moment. I image they will fly to the ship to be on board for a passage to Haiti.

We had breakfast with Robert the lock keeper at Deep Creek lock. He brings donuts and fruit cocktail and invites people to come by at 7:30am for a visit, before the first lock through at 8:30am. He is an historian about his operation. The current lock is the 5th lock, constructed in the 1930s. The first two locks were made of wood and only lasted about 20 years apiece. Then they built the third lock which lasted from 1828 to 1890.

The current lock is steel and concrete with a wooden facade. Robert is responsible for operating the lock and the bascule bridge for four openings per day. He operates the lock and drives his truck to the bridge to open the bridge for the boaters.

The second lock is 22 miles from Deep Creek lock We got through Deep Creek at 9 am, and should make the 1:30 opening for the second lock.

Made the second lock with about an hour to kill, just floating in the water in front of the lock. Did not stop at the visitors center, not much to see there. Next stop is the bridge at Elizabeth City, we are hurrying to get the 4:30 bridge opening, actually running the engine at 2500 rpm, 2200 is normal cruising speed, to get the boat up to 6.8 knts.

We were able to go faster than normal and got through the 4:30 pm bridge opening at Elizabeth City. It was a good thing as if we had missed 4:30 opening and had to wait until 5:30, we would have missed the 5:00 pm wine and cheese party put on by the City of Elizabeth for boaters. Joy got a rose and a fly swatter in the shape of a butterfly as a gift from the town.

We were able to get a dock on the wall on the starboard side of the boat. The wind helped push us into the dock without too much problem. As it is supposed to rain the middle of this week, I think we will be here until Friday. Only drawback to the City docks, is no water and no electricity.

Went to dinner at the Grouper Restaurant at the Marina. It is late at night, 9:17 pm and time to go to sleep. It is a brisk 62 degrees in the boat. I miss our diesel heater on nights like this. Since we have no electricity we can not run our 110 volt heater.


Sunday - Hallloween - Great Dismal Swamp

What a great name for a place to stay in for Halloween. We are in the Great Dismal Swamp. Its history goes back before George Washington. The canal was first proposed in 1728. Construction started in 1793, completed in 1802, and opened In 1805. Most of the first shipments were timbers cut down in the swamp, cedar and juniper.

We started the day at Hospital Point near the USS Wisconsin, which is a floating museum. The Wisconsin just opened up for indoor tours this past month.

The ride down to the Deep Creek Lock was very nice, the canal of course is very smooth and it looks a lot like the Erie Canal system in New York. This canal is operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, who also operated the lock at Buffalo and at Troy NY.

We walked into town with Chuck and Patty. After stops at the Food Lion, where we signed up for the MVP program, Advance Auto Parts where we bought some blue auto rags.

We stopped at La Familia, a Mexican restaurant in this small town, and had dinner with Chuck, Pattie, Francis and Linda. We are all veterans of Deltaville Boat Yard in the past week or so.
Linda's boat had a crack in their hull at the back strut. The yard was able to clean out all the bad fiberglass and get them back on the water in two days.

It gets dark early on boat time, so usually get to sleep about 9 pm and wake up around 6:30.