North Carolina Ups and Downs

One of Myrtle Beach's many Golf Courses

One of Myrtle Beach’s many Golf Courses

We left Osprey Marina at Statute Mile 373 on Monday, April 7th after breakfast, refueling and pump out. It was a cloudy but warm cruise that day. Through Myrtle Beach the ICW was a narrow ditch, and Jim spotted the place he stayed at years ago on a golf trip with buddies from home.

A Unique Wedding Proposal Along the Way

A Unique Wedding Proposal Along the Way

Long no wake zones made progress slow, as did waiting for 2 bridge openings. After only going 31 miles, we pulled into an anchorage spot on the Calabash River around 1:45, where we dropped the hook a short distance off the ICW, along with 3 other boats. Storm warnings were forecast, and the sky looked more and more threatening as the afternoon wore on.

One of several interesting lawn ornaments we saw along the way

One of several interesting lawn ornaments we saw along the way

The rain set in about sunset. We had leftovers from our previous nights dinner, and played 8 games of backgammon (Jim whomped me – 7 out of 8). While looking over the charts for our next day’s cruise, I realized that we were right on the NC/SC border. The anchor held well and we slept like babies in our front berth.

More rain greeted us in the morning. We pulled up a very muddy rode and anchor, and headed north again. Fog set in, so we ran with our navigation lights on. It was a damp gray day up on the fly-bridge. While traversing the Cape Fear inlet and going up the shipping channel we saw 2 large car ferries. About 3:00 we pulled off the ICW into a little river in the town of Carolina Beach and took a mooring ball. Randy, the marina owner came out in a dinghy about 5:30 with a bag of ice, and collected the $20 mooring fee and got us registered. So nice that we didn’t even have to take down the ding dong! The skies cleared for sunset, but then more rain followed. We watched the movie “Stir Crazy” and hit the sack.

Carolina Beach Mooring Field Sign

Carolina Beach Mooring Field Sign

On Wed. the 9th we drove 51 miles from Carolina Beach to an anchorage at Camp Lejeune marine base in Mile Hammock Bay. The morning clouds moved out, leaving blue skies. We went through the town of Wilmington, NC which borders the ICW on both sides. Another bridge opening at Surf City delayed us for 35 minutes.

Loon

Loon

Oddly we saw loons along the way, the Minnesota state bird. Normally they leave the NC and SC waters in March to head north for mating season. They must have some magical instinctive powers to know that much of the water up there is still frozen!

Sunset at Camp Lejeune Anchorage

Sunset at Camp Lejeune Anchorage

The sunset was very beautiful which we enjoyed from the bow. A few helicopters flew over, but otherwise all was quiet. Six other boats were in the bay anchored nearby. We cranked up the generator and I made beef stroganoff for dinner. Jim checked the Racor filter, and all looked fine. We planned our next day’s travel using the charts, our MapTech guide book, and some great recommendations from fellow cruisers.

Shoaling near Ocean Inlet

Shoaling near Ocean Inlet

We left our anchorage under clear and sunny skies. A few miles up we waited about 20 minutes for the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge opening. Right after clearing the bridge is the Camp Lejeune Firing Range. They actually close the ICW if live rounds are being shot, and your only notification is a sign with amber lights. Luckily, the lights were not flashing, so we were able to proceed. The waters gradually became wider as we approached Morehead City with a narrow channel and very “thin” depths (a term used here instead of the word shallow). Clammers were out at low tide on the exposed shoals with their rakes.

Beaufort, NC Waterfront

Beaufort, NC Waterfront

Our destination was the city of Beaufort (pronounced BO-fert, as opposed to Beaufort, SC which is pronounced BUE-fert). Established in 1722 as a customs port, it is still a busy place, the inlet crowded with fishing and excursion boats. We made our way to the historic downtown, which is up Taylor Creek, and off the ICW. We stopped at the Beaufort Docks for a pump out and slip, but decided to save some $ and grab a private mooring ball. The mooring’s owner cruised by captaining a ferry boat, and said he didn’t mind if we stayed for a couple of days.

Wild Horses Seen From Beaufort Mooring

Wild Horses Seen From Beaufort Mooring

After breakfast and showers the next morning, we took the ding dong back across the creek to Beaufort. We secured it at the dinghy dock in the hopes to get some supplies. Our first stop was part of the South Carolina Maritime Museum, a workshop where old boats are restored to their original glory, and new wooden ones are built. Across the street was the main museum, with its amazing collection of mounted fish and a great exhibit on the pirate Blackbeard. His flagship “Queen Anne’s Revenge” was discovered in 20 feet of water off the coast nearby in 1996, and they are still salvaging artifacts that make their way to the museum here.

Great White Shark Caught near Beaufort  Mounted in the Museum

Great White Shark Caught near Beaufort Mounted in the Museum

The streets in the historic district are lined with old homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries. We walked a long way in search of a marine supply place where we could purchase more filters, and finally found one. We bought a few groceries at the Piggly Wiggly and hauled them back in our collapsible wheeled cart. Steve, a volunteer who we met at the museum saw us walking, and gave us a ride back to downtown. We met another couple doing the loop in a Mainship, and had lunch at a great Mexican restaurant on Front Street.

Sea Gull Frenzy Trying to Pick up a Fisherman's Net

Sea Gull Frenzy Trying to Pick up a Fisherman’s Net

The wild horses were out on the island across the creek near our mooring site. We brought our purchases back to the boat. The wind had picked up, and it was a challenge not to get wet heading into the waves in the little dinghy. We grilled steak and planned the next day’s trip. The friendly people, the beautiful city surrounded by water, and the interesting history make Beaufort, NC one of my top 10 favorite stops.

Hazy Reflections

Hazy Reflections

On Saturday, April 12th we left the free mooring, and took the long way around back to the ICW because of a bridge with low clearance. The area near the inlet was crowded with weekend boaters, and long no-wake zones made for slow progress. Leaving Beaufort behind, the channel became more narrow, bordered by tall pines. Later the channel opened up into the wide Neuse River. Many sailboats were out, and it reminded me a little of Lake Pepin back home.

The Southport Shrimp Fleet Docked Along the ICW

The Southport Shrimp Fleet Docked Along the ICW

Jim checks the Racor filter about every hour while we’re underway. It was getting plugged with black sludge, so we had to shut down the engine so that he could change it. We drifted along in the wide deep river. We decided to head for the Oriental Marina and Inn in the town of Oriental, across the river and a little off the ICW. We pulled in, once again getting the outside T-dock. We got tied up, but had to re-rig all the fenders, as the dock was high and the waves a little rough.

Sunset from dock at Oriental, NC

Sunset from dock at Oriental, NC

A boat show was going on at the marina, so we walked around on the docks and through the booths. The town boasts more boats than people, and claims to be the “Sailing Capital of North Carolina”. We got an amazing bargain at a nautical flea market: 120 feet of heavy anchor line for $5! Then, we found a good marine supply place where we bought 4 more Racor filters. Jim bought ice and chatted with some of the people working the booths. I walked to a super cool shop in a house a few blocks away, and purchased a couple bottles of wine, and a few fun things for my grand-daughter.

Oriental Tiki Bar Toucan

Oriental Tiki Bar Toucan

That evening after dinner aboard, we walked to the nearby Tiki Bar, where it seemed half the town turned out to hear the live local band. We met an interesting odd fellow from Denmark named Jen Larsen, and danced to a few good old songs.

On Sunday morning the 13th of April we shoved off from Oriental and headed up the wide Neuse River. Sunshine, a light breeze, and warm temps lured us into a false sense of security. Leaving the Neuse River, the channel became a narrow cut, and we followed a barge from Charleston through this section. When we hit the wide Pamlico River the south winds had picked up dramatically. Again the filter plugged and we had to shut down the engine so Jim could change the filter. I was up on the fly-bridge while Jim was down below, and the huge waves rolled in, over and over, coming at us on our starboard side. I could hear things flying around in the cabin below, and the sliding door slamming open, then closed, then open. Finally we got the engine running again, and slowly creeped our way through the rough seas of the Pamlico River, and then the Pungo.

The Spirit Tree at Dowry Creek Marina

The Spirit Tree at Dowry Creek Marina

We hailed the staff at the Dowry Creek Marina, who helped guide us in and caught our lines. Again, we were directed to the outside dock with the waves pounding in at us. Extra lines and fenders sidewise were once again needed. The boat gouged some big wood chips out of a piling that is designed to keep boats from damaging the dock when they come in. Soon it was time for happy hour, which is an every day occurrence here at 5:30 in the community room. There we met fellow boaters, Mary the marina owner, and Nick the harbormaster.

Today is Wednesday, the 16th, and we are still here at Dowry Creek Marina, waiting on the weather. It’s not a bad place to be stranded, but it is in the middle of nowhere. I feel like I’m way up north on one of Minnesota’s largely unpopulated lakes. They have a courtesy car which we used to go to the closest small town of Belhaven. We did a little shopping, and had a great BBQ sandwich at ‘Farm Boys’.

5:30 Happy Hour at Dowry Creek Marina

5:30 Happy Hour at Dowry Creek Marina

We have planned our next few days of travel, but it is looking like Saturday may be our first chance to make a move. After heavy rains the last couple nights, the wind has now switched and is ripping at us from the north. At least we’re now being kept off the dock. With it, of course, came some very cold temps. Today this area is expected to break a low high temp of 54. This morning when we woke up it was in the mid 30′s.

We Saw These Wild Animals Along the Way - What Are They?

We Saw These Wild Animals Along the Way – What Are They?

We won’t be able to travel north until the Alligator River Swing Bridge resumes operation. When the winds exceed 25 mph the bridge will not open. Yesterday sustained winds were at 40 mph, and today there are gale warnings in the area. So we sit tight, and enjoy our 5:30 happy hour gatherings. Jim again changed all the filters, and borrowed an air compressor to blow out the fuel vents. He is installing a new door lock, and the laundry is done. We have terrible cell phone coverage here, and have tried a few times to call out without success.

Dowry Creek Marina

Dowry Creek Marina

Our route ahead includes crossing Albemarle Sound, a very wide open stretch exposed to the ocean. The marine weather forecast does not sound too promising with high winds every day, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. From there to Elizabeth City, then up the Dismal Swamp Canal where we will have 2 locks to go through. We haven’t been through one of them on this trip since the 50 we did in the first leg during the Autumn of 2012.

Cable Car Crossing ICW Channel near Myrtle Beach

Cable Car Crossing ICW Channel near Myrtle Beach

Our final destination on this leg will be Norfolk, VA, another 132 miles north. I will be going home to Minnesota for a couple weeks–just purchased my ticket to fly out on April 24th. Norfolk is at Statute Mile 0, and the Great Looper’s Rendezvous will be held during the first week of May. Jim would like to go to some of the seminars on the Canadian stretch of the trip, purchase some of the navigation charts we are missing, and add another Racor filter and shut-off valves, as we continue being plagued with fuel problems. I am looking forward to seeing family back home, and meeting my yet unborn grandson! Keep your fingers crossed that the winds die down soon, so that  we can make it to Norfolk in time!

Selfie at Anchorage

Selfie at Anchorage

“Thoughts will change and shift just like the wind and the water when you’re on the boat; thoughts are no different than anything else.”

Jeff Bridges

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

South Carolina Low Country

Wild pig on Skidaway Island

Wild pig on Skidaway Island

Because of the high winds, we spent an additional day at Denegal Creek Marina on Skidaway Island in NE Georgia. Our slip was actually on the outside fuel dock, so we didn’t get a lot of protection. We were able to spot some of the wild pigs that roam across the water from us.

Spanish moss amid new Spring foliage

Spanish moss amid new Spring foliage

We shoved off in the morning of March 31st, our oldest son’s 34th birthday, our sights set on Hilton Head, SC.  It was a beautiful warm sunny day, and the winds were very calm. Again, the ICW wound its way through salt grass rivers, twisting and turning along. More trees appeared on the islands as we passed, with new Spring buds and bright fluorescent green of new leaves.

For abut a mile the ICW runs through the Savannah River, which is the border between Georgia and South Carolina. Again we encountered some very swift currents, sometimes pushing us as we passed ocean inlets, other times bucking against us. We are still

Passed tug after narrow bridge with mega current

Passed tug after narrow bridge with mega current

getting used to the slowness of a trawler. Our average speed is roughly 8 knots, or slightly over 9 miles per hour. A long day of cruising is 65 miles, which we used to do easily in 3 or 4 hours in the Bayliner. But I’m thankful for the creature comforts we now have aboard.

Water front mansion across the salt grass marsh from the ICW

Water front mansion across the salt grass marsh from the ICW

Late in the afternoon we docked at the Palmetto Marina up the Broad River on Hilton Head Island. Again, we were on the outside T-dock, exposed to the wakes of bypassing boats. We walked to the nearby Hurricane Bar for happy hour, and met some interesting locals. Among them was Tommy Hawk

At the Hurricane Bar - Hilton Head Island

At the Hurricane Bar – Hilton Head Island

(famous skateboarder Tony Hawk’s cousin) who was a wild and crazy motorcycle and BBQ enthusiast. We enjoyed their company, swapped some of our life stories, and drank a tad too much.

Para-sailors at Hilton Head

Para-sailors at Hilton Head

On April Fool’s morning we went out for a delicious breakfast at the nearby Sunrise Cafe. We got going a little late, but it was pristine cruising weather. We drove past the picturesque town of Beaufort, SC, and the engine started hiccuping. Jim quickly dropped anchor in the channel, removed the engine covers, and examined the situation. Again, there was a lot of water in the Racor filter, which he drained. While pulling up the anchor, a boat approached us, telling us on the radio that his neighbor’s dock was available if we were having trouble.

Low tide near Beaufort, SC

Low tide near Beaufort, SC

Gladly, we followed him, and tied up. Allan Rae aboard ‘Evening Star’ assured us that his neighbor Rick Butler’s dock was used for transients like us. It was a Great Looper and SSCA Cruising Station, available for those in need at no charge. It came complete with power and water, a wonderful example of the typical low country hospitality.

Low tide at Rick Butler's dock

Low tide at Rick Butler’s dock

Because of the new moon that night, low tide was lower than normal, the muddy bottom exposed for hundreds of feet in that flat country. I took advantage of the offer to walk the long dock, through Rick’s beautiful yard, and around the rural streets in the neighborhood.

Charleston Horse-Drawn Carriage - Driver was texting while driving.

Charleston Horse-Drawn Carriage – Driver was texting while driving.

April 2nd was another perfect cruising day with temps around 80 and plentiful sunshine. The rivers of the ICW were again bordered by salt marsh, passing many ocean sounds. We made it to the huge Charleston harbor, and had a little trouble navigating to the Charleston Maritime Center. That night we walked to Market Street, and around the historic

Charleston Cemetary

Charleston Cemetery

district, admiring the old houses, then stopped at an Irish Bar with live music. After a little grocery shopping (only as much as we could carry), we went back to the boat. But one problem, we were locked out! The key would not open the lock on the sliding door, so I suggested a window. Luckily one of the sliders in the salon was open because it was such a warm day. Jim was able to crawl in on the starboard side from the dock, and squeeze through. Another item to add to the repair list!

On the fly deck of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown

On the fly deck of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown

The following day after a couple loads of laundry we took the water taxi across the harbor to Patriot Point and explored the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier used during WWII, the Korean War, and to pick up 3 Apollo astronauts who had orbited the moon after splashdown. We got a private tour of the USS Laffey, a destroyer, saw an old submarine, and a recreated Vietnam supply camp. We water taxied across to the old historic district, and went back to Market Street. Being hot and thirsty, with achy feet, we stopped in at Henry’s for a couple drinks and some jambalaya. We

USS Destroyer Laffey next to the USS Yorktown

USS Destroyer Laffey next to the USS Yorktown

met up with 2 business men; one from Detroit, the other from Germany. On the sidewalk we had a nice long discussion with an old gent from England, who was slurping and munching on a large waffle ice cream cone as he talked. We hired a bicycle cab to bring us back, a young gal pedaling hard and fast to earn her wages.

Charleston was full of history and people from everywhere. Being an international seaport and tourist city, the harbor was busy with passing ships, tour boats, and water taxies. The marina we stayed at was security central (including Homeland Security) for the upcoming 10k Bridge Run, with an expected 50,000 runners. It was a bustling place, home to the South Carolina Coast Guard and even a cruise ship stop.

Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

On Friday the 4th, we left Charleston behind after re-fueling and pump out. Again, it was a little confusing making our way through the shipping channel to find the ICW, but spotted 2 sailboats heading that way, so followed them into the narrow river. We cruised about 65 miles that day, again with perfect weather, to Georgetown, another South Carolina historic city.

Charleston Homes in the historic district

Charleston Homes in the historic district

For about a 5-mile stretch, two dolphins swam right along next to us, almost touching the port side of our stern. It was so magical I laughed out loud! They stayed with us even while passing a sailboat.

Dolphins Swimming Alongside. Check it out on U-tube under rossmansloop.

Dolphins Swimming Alongside. Check it out on U-tube under rossmansloop.

We had no engine problems along the way through the low country, although we had black sludge and water in the Racor filter again once we landed at our destination of Georgetown. Docking at the Harborwalk Marina was a miraculous event. We both thought we’d be making a call to our insurance company! Between the wind, current, and tight quarters, Jim managed to spin us around and basically parallel park, sandwiching the boat between 2 others. I was thankful for the capable dock hand, who caught our lines and secured us before any damage was done.

Georgetown Clock Tower

Georgetown Clock Tower

That evening we walked Front Street and the large boardwalk along the waterfront. The pool tables at Castaways Bar lured us in for a couple drinks and games of pool. We saw an old 1956 Volkswagon Bug (great year), and went back to the boat for dinner aboard.

Georgetown Boardwalk

Georgetown Boardwalk

Yesterday we made it to the south end of Myrtle Beach. It was another warm and sunny day, and since it was Saturday, there were many weekend boaters out enjoying the weather. The ride here was different,  the low marsh country changed to woodlands along the deep water of the Waccamaw River. Late in the afternoon we pulled into Osprey Marina at Statute Mile 373. It is aptly named, with almost every marker along the way adorned with osprey nests, their twigs and Spanish moss obscuring the navigation number.

ARiverDerci on Dock at Osprey Marina

ARiverDerci on Dock at Osprey Marina

Since we were given a spot along the furthest dock from the marina office, they gave us a golf cart to use. Also, their is a large illusive resident alligator on site, sometimes in an adjoining swamp, or even in the marina basin. It is really beautiful here, with the mature trees surrounding the water, and an adjoining goat farm.

Golf Cart Path Used to Avoid Gator

Golf Cart Path Used to Avoid Gator

Shortly after arrival, a boat flew out of the marina past us. We complained about the wake, and found out the boat owner left the fuel dock without paying. Marina personnel were soon to follow, but the gal at the marina desk did some fast detective work and soon had phone numbers and the name of the guilty party. Soon the police arrived. That was our excitement for the night.

Today a cold front has moved in along with thick cloud cover. Alas, the jeans made another appearance today. We did a couple loads of laundry, Jim did some boat maintenance and hosed down the decks. In a little bit we are heading to a pizzeria (they are coming to pick us up), then to a nearby grocery store. They will deliver us back with our provisions to the marina. Such service! And I’m sure we’ll hear “y’all come back” when we leave.

On Water Taxi

On Water Taxi

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will cruise out of South Carolina, the beautiful low country behind us, and head to destination unknown in North Carolina.

A-RIVER-DERCI to y’all!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
"American Glory" in Fernandina Beach Harbor

“American Glory” in Fernandina Beach Harbor

Our last day in Florida, tied to the mooring ball in Fernandina Beach, was a rocky one. We were unable to leave via dinghy, as the waves would have crashed over us. One fellow in a sailboat made at least 6 attempts to secure to a mooring ball, to no avail. He reported winds at 39 knots. The Nina and Pinta departed, and the American Glory cruise ship came in. We passed her earlier at the railroad bridge in the St. John’s River in downtown Jacksonville.

Old marooned boat - Fernandina Beach along ICW

Old marooned boat – Fernandina Beach along ICW

Since we could not get off the boat, it became a day of cleaning, especially the fly bridge. Green pollen left a film on the windows, cover, and sliding glass doors. I cleaned inside the cabin as well, dusting all the floors and giving the parquet salon a shine of polish.

Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island

The next morning, in much less windy conditions, we left the mooring ball and headed north up the ICW. Our goodbyes said to Florida, we were anxious to see what Georgia had to offer, and we both decided we loved it! Our cruise that day of 31 miles took us into and out of 3 ocean inlets. The scenery along the way was spectacular, with salt marshes bordering the many rivers of the ICW, and forests deeper amid the barrier islands.

High Tide at Marina

High Tide at Marina

Low Tide at Marina

Low Tide at Marina

We passed Cumberland Island, the southern most barrier island in Georgia, and I tried to spot the wild horses that roam here, but did not see any. At times the tidal currents were swift against us, slowing us from 10 knots to 6; at others it was reversed. I am trying to learn more about the tide and the current and the effect it will have as we travel north. The tides are getting bigger as we go north; now approaching 9 feet. When the tide is low there are spots in the channel where our depth sounder recorded 3.6 feet, and I’m surprised we didn’t see more boats run aground.

Jekyll Harbor Marina Office

Jekyll Harbor Marina Office

Jekyll Harbor Marina was our first stop in Georgia, and it did not disappoint. The staff was extremely gracious and accommodating, one drove us to a small local grocery store where we did some re-provisioning (expensive)! Later we toured most of Jekyll Island via loaner bicycles from the marina.

One of the old "Cottages" on Jekyll Island

One of the old “Cottages” on Jekyll Island

Jim on bicycle tour - Jekyll Island

Jim on bicycle tour – Jekyll Island

A ship encountered in one of the many ocean inlets

A ship encountered in one of the many ocean inlets as seen through the Isinglass on the fly bridge

The island is full of interesting history, being the playground of the very rich in the early 1900′s. The founders of the Federal Reserve built “cottages” here, among them the Rockefeller’s. Our bicycle tour took us through the historic district on paths, then under huge pines (in days past I would have been scavenging the giant pine cones), past golf courses which Jim checked out longingly, to the beach side.

Golf Course water hazard - Jekyll Island

Golf Course water hazard – Jekyll Island

Here the well-preserved sand dunes created a border from the crashing surf, and many endangered turtles lay their eggs.

Our boat at Jekyll Harbor Marina on ICW channel

Our boat at the end of the dock at Jekyll Harbor Marina on the ICW channel

Back at the boat we took advantage of the shower facilities, then Jim drafted a letter to the Florida Dept. of Revenue and to the Dept. of Boat Enforcement. We had to prove that we had repairs done to the boat, and that we had left the state of Florida by providing fuel receipts in the state of Georgia. It was a relief to get that done and sent off in the mail. That evening after sunset I had a great encounter with a dolphin who kept surfacing near the boat. I like to think we were communicating telepathically.

Dunes and Beach on Atlantic, Jekyll Island

Dunes and Beach on Atlantic, Jekyll Island

On Thursday we had about a 40 mile stint on the ICW. Again there were many ocean inlets we had to navigate in and out of; and at one point we had to wait for the passage of a ship coming in to port. I joked that we saw more lighthouses than boats on the ICW that day. Again, the scenery was beautiful – very flat with many creeks and rivers winding their way along to the ocean sounds. Salt marsh grass was everywhere along the waterways, and the views went on an on in the flat country.

Sunset from our anchorage in the Crescent River

Sunset from our anchorage in the Crescent River

That evening we anchored out in the Crescent River, one of the many that join up with the ICW. Our spot fluctuated from 17 to 26 feet because of the tidal change, but our anchor held fine. It’s a little eerie because the boat swings 180 degrees when the tidal current changes, and luckily we have a pivoting anchor so we don’t have to re-hook. Our only concern was a nearby crab pot, but we encountered no troubles.

Marina Office - Delegal Creek Marina

Marina Office – Delegal Creek Marina

Friday we traveled about 40 miles to Delegal Creek Marina on Skidaway Island. It is off the ICW up a little creek with a tricky entrance, but I would highly recommend it, as it is much cheaper than anything else around the area. Before arriving we made it through Hell Gate, a very narrow section with bad shoaling, low water depths, and fast current.

Spring time blooms on Skidaway Island

Spring time blooms on Skidaway Island

Marinas here look like southern homes, with their raised front porches and shuttered windows. Again, the people were very welcoming, assisting us with our lines, and lending us the use of a golf cart. This barrier island was more beautiful than the last. Mature trees were everywhere, in the neighborhoods and along the boulevards. It is Springtime here, with flowering crabs and early flowers in full bloom. The oaks here all lose their leaves in the Spring, and many people were out raking up last year’s foliage. Paths wind their way along most of the streets, and we toured around, admiring the beautiful wooded and landscaped properties and golf courses.

Touring on the Golf Cart - Skidaway Island

Touring on the Golf Cart – Skidaway Island

We decided to spend 2 nights on Skidaway Island, as the weather has turned once again. The winds are now howling in from the northwest, but we are tucked in safely on a floating dock in the marina. We will have to play it by ear and see how the morning looks. It is supposed to be sunny in the high 60′s, but our concern once again, is the wind.

Cart Path on Skidaway Island

Cart Path on Skidaway Island

Today was another fun day here. After a late breakfast, hot shower, and laundry, we ventured out on the golf cart again, and toured all around the island. It was a short’s day, (yeah!) near 80 degrees. Cart paths and boulevards alike are lined with oaks dripping in Spanish moss, cypress trees, magnolias, giant pine, and palms. We climbed to the top of the look-out here with its telescope, hoping to spot some of the wild pigs over the marsh, but did not see any. New spring growth is popping out everywhere, and the people are very friendly. Southern charm abounds.

Windswept trees along the ICW - Skidaway Island

Windswept trees along the ICW – Skidaway Island

If the winds die down a little, we will venture out tomorrow, and say goodbye to Georgian hospitality, and hello to South Carolina. Because we stopped in Savannah in November on our way to Florida to go boat shopping, we have decided to bypass it. Also, the Savannah River has very swift currents, a narrow channel, and very busy boat traffic. Our first expected stay will be in Hilton Head. So, until next time, Ariverderci!

 

 

Link | Posted on by | 5 Comments

Georgia On My Mind

While Rick, a diesel mechanic whose boat was across the dock from ours, worked on the boat for a few hours on Saturday the 15th, I walked a couple blocks past the old Fort Foundation Park to a fantastic farmer’s market. A steel-drum band played Caribbean music as I made my purchases; brown eggs, pineapple, fresh squeezed orange juice, blueberries, soap, rice, green onions and more.

Full Moon Over Dolphin View Restaurant - New Smyrna Beach

Full Moon Over Dolphin View Restaurant – New Smyrna Beach

After Rick removed a filter and re-plumbed the fuel system, Jim and I walked to a nearby marine store and hauled back 10.1 gallons of diesel fuel, and added it to the starboard tank. The boat always draws fuel from that tank, and takes nothing from the port tank. All systems were a ‘go’, so we prepped for departing New Smyrna Beach the following morning. We had happy hour aboard a custom built boat named ‘Escargot’, with owners Royce and Carol. They are a friendly couple and seasoned boaters with many interesting stories.

View of Atlantic from ICW

View of Atlantic from ICW

We shoved off Sunday morning about 9:00 after a hearty breakfast. Jim filled the water tanks. We fueled up at the nearby marine facility via tanker truck. We were nervous after all of our prior fuel issues, and we had a long cruise. Our destination of St. Augustine was 70 miles up the ICW.

Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine

Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine

Sunshine and warm temps were in store, although the wind made it a little less than ideal. We cruised past the Ponce Inlet spotting the lighthouse in the distance, past Daytona Beach, and by the canals in Palm Coast where we had purchased the boat. Finally, new territory to cover! We pulled into the St. Augustine Municipal Marina mooring field, and got connected to ball #32. We made it without mishap, with only a small amount of water in the Racor filter. Such a relief!

The Gates to the City of St. Augustine

The Gates to the City of St. Augustine

Overnight it poured, the rain pounding loudly above our berth on the bow. The wind roared and the lines attached to the mooring ball creaked to the rise and fall of the waves. On St. Patrick’s Day morning we donned our green, and braved the weather. We dinghied into the St. Augustine city dock, and roamed around the mostly deserted streets in the intermittent downpours. We walked the pedestrian-only St. George Street and stopped in the Mill Top Tavern for a beer and an Irish Coffee.

Chain around Flagler College, originally used to protect old St. Augustine

Chain around Flagler College, originally used to protect old St. Augustine

From there we took in the Castillo de San Marcos, a National Park fortress complete with moat and 12 foot thick stone walls. The only place really hoppin’ was the Irish Bar. That night we watched a movie back at the boat after another wet and bouncy dinghy ride. After sunset the wind died completely – eerily calm, and a couple dolphins surfaced next to the boat. The beacon from the St. Augustine lighthouse could be seen blinking in the distance, along with flashes of lightning.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine Lighthouse

We had another noisy rocky night during the storm with little sleep. The next morning we took the water shuttle into the city dock. The weather had improved a little, and we took the trolley tour of the city, learning much about its history. We passed over the highest elevation in town, a whopping 27 inches! My favorite point of interest was the old Ponce de Leon Hotel, now a dormitory at Flagler College. The ornate Spanish architecture was unlike anything I’d ever seen.

Magnolia Street - St. Augustine

Magnolia Street – St. Augustine

Another highlight was Magnolia Street, lined with live oaks adorned with hanging Spanish moss. St. Augustine would be a real shopping treat if money were no object. Although very touristy, the shops were unique and upscale. The city claims to be the oldest in Florida, but is really the oldest continually inhabited city in the U.S. Pensacola was actually founded earlier.

Dome in old Ponce de Leon Hotel

Dome in old Ponce de Leon Hotel

We departed St. Augustine Wed. morning the 19th. It was cold, in the low 50′s, but not as gray and no rain. We made our way up the ICW to our destination of Jacksonville Beach to a marina there. The tidal currents are becoming more noticeable as we head north, slowing us down or speeding us along, depending on whether the tide is going up or down.

Our boat docked next to the Nina - Jacksonville Beach

Our boat docked next to the Nina – Jacksonville Beach

We pulled into Beach Marine, following behind Tony and Sharon aboard ‘Summer Recess’, retired teachers from Michigan who are also doing the loop in a Mainship (albeit much newer and bigger than ours). We showered up and hit the tiki bar at Beach Marine for happy hour and a good live band. Then back to the boat for the arrival of the Nina and Pinta, the Columbus boat replicas. We last saw them in our home port of Lake City, MN in July. We met a nice family aboard ‘The Red Jacket’, from Nova Scotia, and a woman from White Bear Lake, MN who did the Great Loop aboard the Nina.

6-Mile Creek

6-Mile Creek

In the morning we shoved off again with help from our neighbors, and headed north, then took a side trip up the St. John’s River to Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida. The river was wide with a strong current, and ships lined the western shore. This is one of the few rivers that flows north. In downtown Jacksonville we got a free slip at Metropolitan Park docks, and paid $8.56 for electricity. The weather was warm and sunny, with a slight breeze, and we had the place virtually to ourselves.

Waiting for 'American Glory' to pass under the Jx-ville RR bridge

Waiting for ‘American Glory’ to pass under the Jx-ville RR bridge

The next day, another fair weather boating day with blue skies overhead and temps in the low 80′s, we ventured further south up the St. John’s, past Green Cove Springs. The surroundings became more rural after we left the skyscrapers of Jacksonville behind. The banks were green with many trees, and reminded us a little of the St. Croix and a little of the Tennessee, although the terrain was much flatter. We anchored out in a little cove along the eastern shore, and took our dinghy up Six Mile Creek to the Outback Crab Shack, in business since 1898.

Dinghy at Dock at Outback Crab Shack

Dinghy at Dock at Outback Crab Shack

Sky Reflections while on the hook

Sky Reflections while on the hook

The 'Grilled Platter' at the Outback Crab Shack

The ‘Grilled Platter’ at the Outback Crab Shack

There we had our best meal yet; grilled steak, shrimp, scallops, grouper, with crab cakes, corn on the cob, and boiled veggies. Yummy! We had enough left-overs for a couple more meals which we relished the next day. We raised our glasses and toasted my Dad, whom I’m sure went there when he was in the Navy during WWII. I can see why he loved this area along the St. John’s River.

A-RIVER-DERCI II on the Hook in 6-Mile Creek

A-RIVER-DERCI II on the Hook in 6-Mile Creek

Our anchorage was blissful, calm and peaceful. I would love to come back to the St. John’s and venture further up-river, as it is so beautiful. But the next morning we pulled up the muddy hook, and headed back to the free dock in Jacksonville. Again, it was in the low 80′s with low wind and sunny skies. ‘Summer Recess’ was in one of the slips, and Tony helped us get docked in the strong current. We walked to Jacksonville Landing, and listened to a free band, then hopped aboard the water taxi which took us back to Metropolitan Park. We enjoyed ‘docktails’ and Tony and Sharon’s company in their fly-bridge aboard ‘Summer Recess’.

Ship in St. John's River

Ship we passed in the St. John’s River

We shoved off about 10:00 the following morning, again with a little help from our friends. This time the current was in our favor, pushing us along at 9 knots going only 1700 rpm’s. Along the way we passed a ship in the channel, and three tugs heading to help get it into port. We turned left to head north up the ICW. It was very narrow, and wound its way through the marshes. Many locals were out enjoying the beautiful Sunday weather.

The Nina and Pinta at Fernandina Harbor Marina

The Nina and Pinta at Fernandina Harbor Marina

Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island was our destination, about a 40 mile trip. We made it in about 5 hours, and took a mooring ball at the Fernandina Harbor Marina. Lo and behold, the Nina and Pinta were tied up to the long outside dock, with many people taking the $5 tour aboard their decks. We decided to explore this most northern Florida town a little, as the weather was supposed to turn foul once again. We dinghied in, and walked around the quaint village with its many shops and old Victorian homes. This town reminded us both a bit of Red Wing or Stillwater back home.

Sunset from our mooring in Fernandina Beach

Sunset from our mooring in Fernandina Beach

Today the weather indeed turned foul, but we took the dinghy in to the marina, loaded down with 4 loads of dirty laundry. We will spend another day here to do a few minor repairs and cleaning. The waves and wind are blowing and bouncing us around, and currently the generator is running so we can get a little heat to warm up the cabin.

Marshes Along the ICW near Amelia Island

Marshes Along the ICW near Amelia Island

I’m already thinking ahead to our next jaunt when we will be saying farewell to Florida and venturing into Georgia, and wondering what lay in store for us there. Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Another Hold Up

Manatee catching raindrops off of our boat fender

Manatee catching raindrops off of our boat fender

Our last days in Titusville were full. Between final preparations for getting underway, and enjoying ourselves with dock mates, we were busy and time flew by. The manatees were thick in the marina basin, soaking up rays on sunny days, and slurping up the fresh water on rainy ones. We got used to the sounds of their exhale and inhale when they came up for air, and could tell by their cuddling that mating season was soon approaching. An occasional dolphin could be spotted in the marina basin, and one evening we saw a school of squid.

Gary installed the bilge alarm (while wearing a Holter heart monitor), and during the process we realized we already had one. The piercing alarm of the old one sounded and was a dead give-away. Jim invented a rain water capturing device, which Gary engineered and Jim installed. This will be helpful if we are anchored out for several days and our water tanks run low. He also added a Culligan filter system which we now use even when we fill the water tanks at a marina. We purchased a Brita water pitcher to filter the water once again. The difficulty in purchasing bottled drinking water and lugging it to the boat prompted those purchases. We also got a portable ice maker which we can only use when on shore power or when we run the generator, but in the end it should be a money saver.

New ice maker on galley counter

New ice maker on galley counter

Our new bedding :)

Our new bedding :)

Seventy-eight year old Dam Jim hurt his back trying to force a hatch on his sailboat, and ended up being taken to Parrish Medical Center by ambulance. Despite a compression fracture, and severe pain, this interesting old codger got back on board with a little help from his friends and a rented wheelchair. In a couple of days it was evident that he couldn’t stay aboard. Between the pain and nausea, and little relief from the same ortho docs that I saw last May, he ended up staying in a motel. I hope he has gotten some relief, and our thoughts are with him.

Gary had some health issues that same week. He has a growth on his neck, (which is rapidly getting bigger) and was having irregular and rapid heart beats, so was doctoring for those two separate issues. The folks on E-dock have become like family to each other, and we feel honored to have been embraced into their inner circle. If we needed a ride, the use of a vehicle, or help in any way, someone was immediately ready to lend a hand.

Jim's tan lines from his flip-flops

Jim’s tan lines from his flip-flops

One day Jim and I walked to a nearby barber shop, and I got the 2nd worst haircut of my life. (My sister Barb gave me the worst when I was 13 while visiting our grandparents in Des Moines).

E-dock Happy Hour

E-dock Happy Hour

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrated Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday with fried fish, cheddar biscuits, veggies and dip, wine and Rum, stories and music, jokes and laughter with others on E-dock.

Atlantis Space Shuttle Exhibit

Atlantis Space Shuttle Exhibit

The Cruiser’s Caravan took us to the Kennedy Space Center one day. The route takes you through part of the Wildlife Refuge, where we spotted several alligators. Our favorite part was the Atlantis Exhibit, where we spent 3 hours touring. It was incredible to see the shuttle up close, and learn so much about it. Inside we went on the Shuttle Launch simulator. You feel and hear in the same time sequence what it was like to be on-board a shuttle during the launch process. They claim it is the most realistic simulator anywhere.

"Driving" a replica of the moon rover

“Driving” a replica of the moon rover

Last May I was disappointed that we didn’t get to go to the KSC, but back then the shuttle Atlantis was not there.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

So our delay turned out to be a plus. Another highlight was the 3-D IMAX movie on the Hubble telescope, where among many things we saw pictures of the birth of galaxies, and you felt you could reach out and touch the stars. The use of the word ‘awesome’ is so over-used in our time, but this was truly an awe-inspiring experience.

One sunny day we drove the dinghy out of the marina, through the mooring field, to Cracker Jack’s, a restaurant and tiki bar under the causeway bridge on a pier that juts out into the ICW. We enjoyed people watching, then took a ride through the entire marina, looking at all the boats and where they hail from. More and more Great Loopers were coming in daily, heading north, and we talked to a few couples and swapped stories with them. It is likely that we’ll meet up again before this adventure is done.

Jim, ready for take-off

Jim, ready for take-off

Mike on banjo; Gary on guitar; and Jim on mandolin

Mike on banjo; Gary on guitar; and Jim B on mandolin

On the 7th of March we stocked up on groceries and did all of our laundry. That evening we enjoyed happy hour on E-dock, and helped Jim and Diane B celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.

Finally, the morning of our departure arrived. It was a chilly Saturday with a brisk wind, but we felt very ready. After a quick breakfast and a warm mug of Jim B’s spiked coffee, waiting our turn for the pump-out boat, and filling our water tanks, it was time. Our friends hugged us goodbye and helped us untie and shove off.

Jellyfish on the Beach

Jellyfish on the Beach

We had a difficult time getting out of the marina basin because of the wind, but after turning around in an empty slip we were able to putt out in forward. It was a little embarrassing with so many people watching and waving from the docks!

Our plan was to drive 34 miles to New Smyrna Beach and anchor out just south of Chicken Island in Sheephead Cut. But after cruising only 26 miles, the engine started running poorly, accelerating and slowing down sporadically on its own. Finally it quit altogether. Jim quickly dropped the anchor, then removed the back engine cover. We had water in the fuel AGAIN! He was able to remove the water, change another filter which was full of black sludge, and get the boat running again. Less than 1/2 mile up the ICW the engine quit again. This time we needed Boat U.S. to give us a tow into the New Smyrna Beach City Marina.

Tim, Boat U.S. Captain towing us into NSB Marina

Tim, Boat U.S. Captain towing us into NSB Marina

We pulled in about an hour before sunset, and got acclimated to the idea of being stranded. Jim spent much of the evening laying on the floor with his head down by the engine, straining fuel and removing water. Sunday we took a walk through town down historic Canal Street and to the park bordering the waterway. Most of the shops were closed, but we found a coffee and ice cream shop and each had a single scoop cone.

Monday we walked to Napa Auto Parts and a nearby marine store for filters, o-rings for the fuel tank caps, and rags. We walked to the Dolphin View restaurant and had fish sandwiches. From our slip we watch the fishermen return with their catch, clean the fish, and feed the pelicans the scraps.

Canal Street

Canal Street

Tuesday we took a dinghy ride through the mangrove lined channels, then out around Chicken Island in the ICW. Jim was able to get the main engine running smoothly, but could not get the generator going. So, we put it on a new battery charger that we recently purchased, and got that running too.

Jim, Louis Roger, Nancy, Marilyn and Pat at Barracuda's in NSB

Jim, Louis Roger, Nancy, Marilyn, Pat at Barracuda’s in NSB

We’ve had a few visitors while here in New Smyrna Beach. Jim’s cousin Louis and wife Marilyn, and their grade-school friend Nancy and husband Roger came on Wednesday. After a rainy morning, they came and took us to the beach where you can drive your vehicles on the hard packed sand. Large jellyfish lined the beach, waiting for the rising tide to take them back out to sea. We walked to a nearby tiki bar on the beach for a drink. Then they took us to Publix to get a few more groceries. After unloading, Louis treated us to dinner at Barracuda’s on the beach-front.

Marilyn, Louis & Pat on New Smyrna Beach

Marilyn, Louis & Pat on New Smyrna Beach

Yesterday we had a visit from Minnesota friend Don King. He trailered his Harley down for bike week, and is staying in Ormond Beach. In a couple of days he will head to Ft Myers Beach where he is expecting his daughter and parents to join him. We got the laundry done again, and Jim cleaned the sea grass from the strainer for the cooling system.

Jim and Don King at our slip in NSB

Jim and Don King at our slip in NSB

Today a diver came and inspected our hull, and replaced much-needed zincs to our bow thruster and rudder. Even though we got the boat running, we have hired a well-respected diesel mechanic to re-plumb the fuel lines and filters for the main engine. He is expected at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, and we are hopeful that we will be ready to head out again on Sunday. He could not come earlier because he was delivering a boat to the Bahamas. After eight nights here, I am once again anxious to get underway. The marina is small, with few amenities, but they have THE best showers we’ve encountered on the loop so far.

My favorite picture of us at the National Seashore

My favorite picture of us at the National Seashore

I’ll leave you with a quote from C.S. Lewis which I find fitting in our current situation. “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
We’ll just keep on trying, and through the trials and tribulations we keep making baby steps, and learning along the way.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Ready to Make a Move

We have checked off and completed most of the items on our ‘to-do’ list, and are starting to plan our first few days of travel once we leave our slip here in Titusville. Excitement is building to be on the move again. But we’ve been in such a great place and become such good friends with our neighbors here on E-dock, I will be a little melancholy to say goodbye. Our plan is to head north no later than March 8th.

IMG_1851

Our Boat Name and Home Port

Today we had our safety inspection, and will get an US Coast Guard sticker which we’ll put on the port side of our boat. This signifies to the Coast Guard that we have met all the safety requirements, and will be less likely to be boarded by them. Yesterday we were able to get the name ‘A-RIVER-DERCI II’ on the stern, after Jim spent hours removing the name ‘Matter of Time’ using oven cleaner, elbow grease, and 2500 grit wet sandpaper. We put our MN registration stickers on the port and starboard sides of the bow, after removing the Florida ones.

Good Year Blimp flying over Titusville

Good Year Blimp flying over Titusville

The new bow hatch was installed – it’s really nice, but should be for the price we paid!  Sun/rain shades were installed over the port lights which help to keep out rain. Jim installed a new accordion door for privacy in the front berth, and new speakers in the salon. We purchased a couple more stack-able chairs and a plastic folding table for the back deck, and are working on getting our portable intercoms to work so we can communicate between the fly bridge and the salon. The swim deck was reinforced and stained, and the swim ladder repositioned for easier access to the boat when the dinghy is attached and up.

Neighbor Jim Boat US Capt rescuing people on pontoon during tornado warning

Neighbor Jim Boat US Capt rescuing people on pontoon during tornado warning

Just a couple more items remain on our list. Anne is making a canvas snap cover for the opening where the ladder goes up to the fly bridge. Also, we purchased a bilge alarm which needs to be wired and installed – Gary will help us out with that.

The Henson's & Moore's

The Henson’s & Moore’s

We had a fun day with Vickey & Harold Henson, and John & Sherla Moore who spent an afternoon with us aboard. We took a windy ride through the ICW to the Haulover Canal and Mosquito Lagoon. The 3 girls rode on the bow until the wind sent water crashing over the side rails and soaking us. We saw many dolphins, grilled burgers aboard after returning to the marina, and had many a good laugh! That evening we viewed another rocket launch from our fly bridge.

Dolphins Swimming With Us in the Indian River

Dolphins Swimming alongside in the Indian River

We got a great surprise on Valentine’s Day when Anne delivered our new custom bedding (and made the bed). It is fantastic! Although the  V-berth is very difficult to make, it is now very comfy and beautiful to boot!

Kristin, Pat, & Calvin at the National Seashore

Kristin, Pat, & Calvin at the National Seashore

IMG_9259

Kristin & Calvin on Cocoa Beach

Our son Calvin and wife Kristin flew down from MN and spent 2 days on the boat with us. We enjoyed a trip to the unspoiled National Seashore and the nearby wildlife refuge. They brought a couple of bottles of Calvin’s excellent homemade wines which we shared. The weather was ever-changing while they were here, but we managed to enjoy a good combo of inside and outside activities, their company and conversation. The manatees were entertaining, and we played several rounds of ’31′. One day we took a drive to Cocoa Beach and had lunch at crowded Coconuts overlooking the Atlantic.

Jim, Mike & Tammy

Jim, Mike & Tammy

They used the Avalanche for the rest of their vacation, and on Valentine’s we decided to take a city bus to Mama Rosa’s, a little Italian joint with delicious red sauce, reminiscent of Jim’s Mom’s. But the bus schedule was wrong, and no more buses were running for the evening. Live jazz music was being performed in the historic district as we walked through town. Finally we ended up calling a cab, and thoroughly enjoyed our evening and our manicotti.

Gary and Patty with Shark Catch

Gary and Patty with Shark Catch

Early one Tuesday morning we drove to the National Seashore and met up with Gary, Patty, and Mike. They invited us to go fishing with them. It was a fun and beautiful day listening to the seabirds and surf amid the jokes and conversation. Mike caught most of the fish (blues), although Gary landed the biggest, a lemon shark. That evening we all enjoyed happy hour on the dock with fried fish, and I had my first ever taste of shark.

Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day

Sometimes at happy hour the musical instruments come out; guitars, mandolin, banjo, harmonicas, and a wonderful sing-along ensues. I find these most enjoyable, especially when we’re all trying to retrieve the words to old songs from the cobwebs in our minds.

IMG_9353

Michael and Tammy aboard

Our oldest son Michael and girlfriend Tammy arrived last Friday, and spent 3 days and nights with us. Again, we made a visit to the National Seashore where we did some shelling. On the way back through the wildlife refuge we spotted a few flamingos and an alligator on the surface of one of the many ponds. Sunday we took the boat out to the Mosquito Lagoon for some sun and fishing. Michael caught pin fish in the marina using salami on a bare hook. They were our bait fish for the fishing excursion. We had little luck, catching only one bluefish that was too small to keep, several catfish, and the big surprise, a BLOWFISH. We couldn’t identify it at first until Michael tried to pick it up and it inflated itself! Yikes, that was bizarre. After a little research we found out that they are the 2nd most poisonous invertebrate on the planet! So glad he didn’t get spiked! Before leaving with the Avalanche they drove us around town so that we could stock up. No more truck – we already miss them and that convenience.

Blow Fish in Michael's hand

Blow Fish in Michael’s hand

A Carver just pulled into the slip across from us on the E-dock. They hail from Kansas, and are also doing the loop, but their schedule got goofed up because of weather, so they are heading south for the Spring to more warmth. Like us, they also recently upgraded to a larger vessel. Seeing them on the move makes we want to start out again. And once again, it’s raining.

Until next time, Ariverderci!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

More Time in Titusville

Today is grand-daughter Ellie’s 2nd Birthday, and one month since we arrived in Titusville. Slowly we continue making improvements to the boat, and manage to squeeze in a little fun when the opportunity arises. The manatees have just returned to the marina. It is good to see their massive barnacled bodies and their whiskered snouts when they come up for air.

Manatee back in marina

Manatee and sea grass back in the marina

Yesterday, Gary Waid hooked up the new custom holding tank, and re-connected the macerator. The day before, he built a shelf in the closet where the tank is now housed, strapped and boarded it in place so it cannot come loose in rough seas. (We don’t want any more leaks)!

New hall flooring and 3 hold covers

New hall flooring and 3 hold covers

Jim is now re-installing the closet trim and door, hopefully putting everything back as it was. I installed vinyl flooring in the hall, giving us better access to the 3 holds in the floor below. Before that there was carpet and pad in this area which had to be removed each time you wanted to get to the storage holds.

Last week we had 3-1/2 days of non-stop rain, and encountered a new leak. The bow hatch (over our sleeping berth) dripped water, so during a rare dry half hour, Jim broke out the white duct tape, and sealed off the hatch. The new one just came, but alas, we’ve got another day of steady rain, so installation will probably not happen until next week.

Morning Fog

Morning Fog

I started reading the novel, Gitmo, which Gary co-authored, and am having trouble putting it down. Obviously, he’s a man of many talents. It is very entertaining and well written, and is set in southern Florida, the Keys and Cuba.

New 'drum' style table with storage

New ‘drum’ style table with storage

I was excited that Anne Dole came and installed the new drapery panels for the sliding glass door. We also purchased a new drum end table, a cylindrical design with center storage and bun feet.  This week I added a new throw (being used primarily to protect the jack-knife sofa’s upholstery) and pillow. We got new plastic patio chairs for the lazarette, but haven’t had much time to relax in them, as the rain continues to come in sheets. I think the manatees must be the only ones enjoying this weather.

New drapery panel, lawn chair and throw pillow

New drapery panel, lawn chair and throw pillow

Jim’s cousin Louis and wife Marilyn came for a visit, and we took the boat out for a cruise. I think they enjoyed being out on the water, as they have owned boats themselves for years, and now have a lakefront home in Canada not far from Baudette. We saw many dolphin and water birds of all kinds, including Roseate Spoonbills and white pelicans, more common in Canada and Minnesota than here in Florida.

Louis, Jim, and Marilyn on flybridge

Louis, Jim, and Marilyn on fly-bridge

Our first overnight guests arrived last Saturday. Joe and Linda Miske flew into Miami and drove all the way up to Titusville in their rental car. We took ‘Matter of Time’ out for a 3-hour tour in the Indian River and into Mosquito Lagoon. They brought beautiful weather with them, which we enjoyed after all the cold and damp gloominess. We grilled steaks on the new Magma grill, then played the game, ‘Cards Against Humanity’; a boat-warming gift from Joe and Linda, and had many a good laugh. The next morning after breakfast we drove to Sebastian where the guys played a round of golf, and us gals enjoyed the scenery.

Joe, Linda, Pat & Jim

Joe, Linda, Pat & Jim

An airport borders the golf course, where many people go up in planes to sky-dive, gliding over the golfers, and landing with their open parachutes right back at the airport. The golf course is also home to many turtles and tortoises. We had the pleasure of seeing a couple gopher tortoises, one near its large burrow, and a Florida softshell turtle. We also spotted Wood Storks, very tall and ostrich-like, feeding along the shore of the 16th hole pond. It was a picture perfect day.

Skydivers in the blue sky over the golf course

Skydivers in the great blue yonder over the golf course

After golf we went to the Nicholas’ residence and enjoyed their Super Bowl party; the big game was a bust, but as usual a few of the commercials were creative and entertaining. We imbibed, filled our bellies on 4 kinds of chili, had great conversation, laughed, and played ‘Left, Right, Center’.

Dolphin in Titusville Marina

Dolphin in Titusville Marina

The next morning after Mary’s nummy egg bake, we drove down to Surfside to Joe and Linda’s Blue Green timeshare condo on the beach. It was only about a block from the Best Western that we stayed at while our Bayliner was getting a new outdrive installed in Miami last March. It was good to be back!

We checked out the beach, grilled chicken on the outdoor grill, then took the bus down to South Beach (Sobe). We had such a good time, drank a few (very expensive) mojitos, shot some pool, hugged a palm tree, people watched (nowhere better), and laughed and laughed. We taxied back to Flannigan’s– a less expensive venue for a bite to eat, then walked back to the condo.

Joe and Linda - Enjoying their day on the golf course

Joe and Linda – Enjoying their day on the golf course

We continue to make little improvements to the boat. I shortened the cords on the mini blinds, as they swayed back and forth with the movement of the boat. Jim is changing out all the ceiling light bulbs to LED’s, initially expensive, but a real energy saver for the batteries once we’re off shore. We got the kitchen sink and faucet caulked, so no more water is showing up in the cabinet below. The contents of the bathroom cabinet have been re-stowed, and the sliding door has been caulked. Slowly, but surely we’re getting there!

Today we did Facetime with Ellie and sang her ‘Happy Birthday’, and got to see sons Calvin and Nathan, daughter-in-law Kristin, and Nathan’s special lady Brandi. We are looking forward to our upcoming visits with family and friends.

Pat making templates for floor tiles; Gary installing strip-light under cabinets in galley

Pat making templates for floor tiles; Gary installing strip-light under cabinets in galley

We are considering removing the name ‘Matter of Time’ and replacing it with ‘Ariverderci II’. It’s another outdoor job that requires a lot of elbow grease and dry weather, so we’ll let you know if that works out before we set out. One more month and we will be heading north and continuing on our Great Loop trip. I’m starting to get a little antsy. Until next time…♥

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments