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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Traveiing the ICW

It has been a few long days, but we are making some headway. We left Charleston on Tuesday, after officially registering to vote and arraigning for an absentee ballot. We made good time the first day, all the way (80miles) as I said to Wacca Wache Marina in South Carolina.
We got moving very early Wednesday morning (6:45am), and were making great time sailing with the current and the drawbridges were working in our favor until we got to Sunset Beach, North Carolina where there is a pontoon bridge… Yes, I said Pontoon Bridge. Well, the tide was extra low so the pontoon wasn’t able to float in order to open, so they temporarily closed it (like for five hours.) This was just after some fortunate landowner informed us of where we were compared to New York and Miami!! With this new information, we took a risk and went outside (into the ocean) the rest of the way to Southport, North Carolina. I can’t complain too much, but it was fairly rough the last two hours of the trip, with 4-6 foot seas hitting us broadside and rocking the bejeezes out of us. We got to Southport Marina though before Schooner and I lost our lunches. While in Southport, (a cute little southern town with no fast food joints), we managed to find a great place to have dinner. It’s called MR. P’s and it has some of the best food anywhere, as they actually have a chef! Gordon had local “Black Grouper Oscar”, that’s sautéed grouper, topped with fresh crabmeat and asparagus, covered with a red bell pepper hollandaise sauce. OOH How Luscious!! I had braised veal, over fresh cheese ravioli, covered with a fresh tomato, garlic, and shrimp butter sauce. UUMMMMMM!! I sound like the waiter!! Anyway it was great and not badly priced. So much for the diet, but aaanh we’ll survive!!

It all starts again tomorrow…………………

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We left Charleston at 10:30am this morning after I washed all the bird poop off the boat... the current was with us and we made great time. We are staying at the Wacca Wache Marina on the Waccamaw River. It rained on and off most of the day (of course I washed the boat)and it's HOT!!! 107* Heat index so you can feel a little sorry for me, please!

We will head out in the morning before 7:30am. This way we don't have to pay!!!

More later

Sunday, July 27, 2008


It has been a few crazy weeks! After getting back to the states I have been on the go, go, go!!! First I drove Andie, Jeremy and Havyn back to their home in Kennesaw, GA. While there, I helped do some landscaping and I now remember why I live on a boat! My Knee has hurt ever since. While there I went with Andie to her appointment with her midwife…yes, we add another family member on January 1.
My guess is for a boy, but I’m just the Nana. She really would like another girl for hand-me-down purposes. (Patrick wore a lot of pink the first few years!) After a week, I drove back to Jacksonville Beach and to the boat. Thinking we would be able to leave was my mistake… sometimes I forget “it’s a boat”. It wasn’t until Wednesday that the “generator” was fixed and ready to go, but that was ok it gave me a chance to clean up the inside… the outside was getting it’s daily rain shower!

We left on Thursday for Fernandina Beach, Fl. and visited our friend Linda. We go way back to before kids so it’s always fun to catch up. We got up and on our way early Friday and went outside to (means we took the ocean route, not the waterway) Charleston. It was again another wonderful sail except for all the night traffic. You had to stay awake on watch…Gordon!! We were at the entrance to Charleston Harbor at 6:00am (22hrs traveling) and passed at least 50 fishing boats on their way to fishing! We chugged in slowly because we couldn’t get our dock space until 8:30… this would have been great if it was bright and I would have been able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise but nooooo… it was cloudy and about to rain and as I think of it, it seems to be raining every time we dock here in Charleston!!!

Any way we are safe and enjoying all the fast foods of the USA!!! Six months of none sure makes you appreciate it much more. We are going to “Melvin’s” (eat your heart out Guy & Marilyn) tomorrow … a Charleston favorite for BBQ. The plan is to leave on Tuesday, for Morehead City, NC to see Walter & Linda for a couple days, then on north. I will try to do better keeping my blog going … I have a good excuse, we haven’t been where there is internet, another reason for the signal booster…right Chip?!?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back in the USA

Today is July 17, 2008 and we are really back in the good ole’ US of A. It’s the land of Wal-Mart, cheap gas (Yes, compared to the rest of the world, $4.00 per gallon gas is cheap) and unlimited supplies of groceries, fast foods and anything else one can imagine. And, if what you want isn’t in the store around the corner, you can be assured it’s only a mouse click and UPS day away.

We departed West End, Grand Bahama Island, on July 11th. We knew we had a long trip ahead of us, so we planned to leave the Bahamas around noon, which would leave most of the trip for the nighttime hours. After a lazy breakfast, Jeremy and Andie took Havyn to the pool to get a lot of exercise, which would, hopefully, tire her out and make for a good nights sleep while underway. While the kids were gone, Gordon and I stored things away and got the boat ready to sail. The kids returned from the pool around 11:45am with a tired little Havyn and, after getting everyone dry, we left the marina and struck out across the Florida Straits for the US.

The great god of sailing was in a really good mood that Friday, because he (she?) smiled on us and made the sea just like a giant slick of oil. This was our sixth crossing of the Straits and the first time it has ever been this calm. Additionally, there was an 8 to 10 knot breeze from our rear, starboard quarter that was perfect for raising the sails. We had originally intended to head for Ft. Pierce, FL, but the wind and the seas were so perfect that we made a course for St. Augustine, FL instead.

As we worked our way north, the gentle hum of the engine combined with the rolling 2 foot swells, at 14 second intervals, made everyone relaxed and sleepy. As darkness approached, Jeremy, Andie and Havyn gradually peeled off and went below to sleep. I wasn’t really tired, so I decided to take the first watch while Gordon caught the first four hours of sleep. From then on, we’d take turns at the helm every four hours until daytime. I was amazed at the number of cruise ships that passed us that night. I counted 4 on my first watch alone.

The wind and the sea stayed calm all night, and without any light pollution, the stars overhead were spectacular in both quantity and brightness. Now I’m not really good with constellations, but I can tell you this for sure. The Milky Way was so bright, it looked like the sky was full of iridescent cotton the starlight made everything on the deck visible, without the benefit of any moonlight. It was a truly amazing night to be out on the water. Anyway, Gordon and I switched off every four hours and before long, night was over and a new day had dawned.

With the onset of daylight, Jeremy, Andie and Havyn awoke and came topside to enjoy the day. They had the opportunity to see a pod of dolphin but only one would pose for a picture. As we got closer to the US and approached the Gulf Stream, the boat began to move faster and faster over the water and Jeremy couldn’t believe how fast we were going. Our forward speed, from both the engine and sails, combined with the Gulf Stream current to move us “over ground” at a fantastic speed of 11.8 knots (13.85 mph) which may seem slow, but, for a sailboat, it’s flying.

Without changing our course, we were able to dodge a couple of thunderstorms, as we worked our way closer to St. Augustine Inlet. The closer we got to St. Augustine, however, the more the swells grew in height. By the time we finally arrived off of the inlet (around 6:00pm on the 12th) the swell height had increased to six feet plus, but the wave interval had also increased to 16 seconds. (These were courtesy of BERTHA) The result of this was, the seas were like riding a gentle kids ride at Disney World and posed no threat or discomfort at all. We coasted our way into the St. Augustine inlet and, once inside, made our way to the sereneness of the Inter Coastal Waterway. Then, it was a short trip north to the Comachee Cove Yacht Club and Marina, which was were we spent our first night back in the States.

The next morning, we left Comachee Cove early (6:30 am) and headed north for 36 miles to the Palm Cove Marina, in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Here, is where the boat and Gordon are for the week to have some warranty work done, while I have taken the kids back to Atlanta.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On the Way...

I’m sorry I haven’t caught all of you up on our adventures. Well, here goes…

On Friday, we did get to celebrate Bahamian Independence. Gordon hired a taxi driver,” Snapper" Frith, Taxi #190, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, Ph. (242) 553-0743,to take us to Port Lucaya for the day. He drove us into town pointing out all the sights. Not much had changed for Gordon or I, but the kids enjoyed it.

Once at Port Lucaya, we did the shopping thing and were mugged going through the straw market.(Lady come inside. take a look!!) We had lunch at a Greek restaurant (WHAT??yes I know) and visited the Isle of Capri Casino (Only lost a few bucks) before taking a swim in the pool. I think that was Havyn’s favorite part.

We ordered “Dominos” pizza for dinner and had to endure the smell on the 45minute ride back to West End before eating. Nothing like American pizza and beer for a healthy dinner so I baked some brownies for desert!! Snapper came to the boat with us and had his first ever brownie, I don’t think he was impressed!! It had been a hot busy day and I knew the long trip ahead would start early tomorrow so I went to bed before the rest…I also was up before the rest that morning too!

PS…there were NO fireworks or partying that we could tell!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Last Stop Before the USA

After 2 straight days of sailing, we finally arrived in West End, Grand Bahama. We started out from Treasure Cay at 7:45am on Tuesday morning and, after 10 plus hours on the heel, got to Great Sale Cay, which is about 16 miles north of Grand Bahama Island, at 6:00pm. We dropped anchor and, once we were secured, I tried my luck at fishing, but wound up only feeding the fish. I think my hook might be too small, as I get lots of strikes but catch nothing. (Gordon just thinks my reflexes are slow!)

On the positive side, we did run the generator for 4 hours without failure, so the night was not a complete loss. It was another hot night, however, and I didn’t get much sleep until Gordon pulled anchor this morning at 7:00am and turned a fan on me!! It was the best 2 hours sleep I’d had all night! The hum of the engine didn’t hurt either.

Schooner was a trooper during the trip. Although it was a long trip, she refused to poop on her pad, but at least relieved herself of pee there! She made haste getting off the boat when we got to West End though, and finally took care of “business!”

Having called yesterday to reserve a slip here at Old Bahama Bay Marina, and being told they were full through the weekend, we were surprised to find the place less than half full at 3:00pm today. And now, at 8:30pm, only a handful of boats have come in for dockage. It’s almost as if they don’t want boaters here!!

Also, I’m sorry to say that I lost my self-control today. We were told that the fueling station was on the port (left) side of the marina and arrived to see it was on the starboard (right) side of the marina. This was after Jeremy and I had set the boat and lines up for a port side tie. Gordon turned the boat around, however, and we were still able to tie up to the fuel dock on the port side, which is where our fuel inlet is located. Then, after securing the boat, the Dock Attendant told us that their hose wouldn’t reach and asked why we hadn’t pulled in with our starboard side to the dock. I was still trying to get a fender down, so I had pushed the boat away from the dock…. The hose reached just fine when we drifted back in!! Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly polite in my responses to him, but he seemed more worried about a pizza that was being delivered to the office than he was about our boat.

Upon leaving the fuel dock, another guy just started untying us and walked away. There we were, just floating away into another boat that had just tied up for fuel!! Well, we managed to miss the other boat and we also got a slip to stay in for the next two nights!! I have cooled down, after a swim in the pool and some AC, and am a once again my calm and serene self. LOL

On another positive note, as luck would have it, a local boy came by selling fresh conch and lobster (out of season now) and we had a great dinner of four fresh lobster tails for only $32! Gordon showed the boy how to get conch out with a drill and ice pick to save the shell. The kid said he’d never seen this done before and will now be able to double his money selling the conch for food and the shells to tourists! Be on the look out for small holes in the shells instead of the big slit!!

We will stay at Old Bahama Bay to celebrate Bahamian Independence Day tomorrow and hopefully show the kids some of Grand Bahama Island! The weather looks good for crossing on Friday, so hopefully, we’ll have a smooth crossing!! Yeah, back to the good old USA!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Moving on

We are now in Treasure Cay, Abaco. After 2 days at Hope Town, we made a crossing to Great Guana Cay and the famous “NIPPER'S Beach Bar & Grill.” We left Hope Town around 9:30 am and headed north, arriving at Great Guana around 11:00am and that was a good thing. The 3rd leg of the Abaco Regatta ended here at 1:00pm and with that a large crowd decended upon the town!

Nipper’s is located on the ocean side of the island, up on the hillside. The beach lies on the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world (Australia & Belize are 1&2). Andie, Havyn, Schooner and I took advantage of cooling off in the water, while Gordon and Jeremy drank a beer and checked out the scantily clothed women!! (Old, with fake boobs and flat butts!) Havyn took to the dance floor and rocked to the calypso beat of Ronnie Butler, entertaining everyone. We enjoyed a great lunch (includung watermelon) and headed back to the boat for an hour and half cruise to Treasure Cay. Since we are having generator problems, it has been easier on all of us to stay in a marina, but we will still have at least 2 nights on the hook coming up!

Treasure Cay has a great Marina and is an easy walk to the beach. We spent the morning swimming and snorkeling, although there wasn’t much to see but sand!! Jeremy found some shells, but is still looking for the elusive shark tooth! We had lunch at the COCOA BEACH BAR & GRILL and Havyn pigged out on mine and Andie’s grouper and fries. Gordon has tired of fresh fish and had his beloved cheeseburger and Jeremy had 18 conch fritters!! We watched as an afternoon rain squall built up over the water and made it back to the boat just before it let down on us. We have missed many of the showers, but not this one!! There was lots of lightening and thunder, so of course, we lost power for a bit.

For all concerned, we have been watching the weather channel, Barometer Bob, & Sail flow, and keeping check on “BERTHA” (thanks John for wishing a storm on us) and we should be fine. Her path right now is north of us and Gordon thinks it will help get us back faster as the wind clocks to the southwest. But, we do have a watch on it and will do our best to be safe!!