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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Gordon and I want to wish all our friends a Happy New Year!!!

May peace break into your home (or boat) and thieves steal your debts... May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy... May love stick to your face like vaseline, and may laughter assault your lips... May 2010 be the best year of your lives!!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Jeremy

We arrived in Columbus and boy what a shock to the system!!! Cold and snowy and a POD to unpack…it arrived a bit earlier than we did. After almost 4 years of not seeing or using this stuff it is hard to look at. Andie will be able to use most of the furniture in her new home and only a few things will be left in the garage. It is nice to sit down to my table again and all 8 of us will be able to eat together around the table. Andie is worried about the glass table… both Emeryn and Havyn have already hit their heads or chins on it. Havyn likes the fact that she can hide her toys in the grapevine base and Emeryn tries to get to them through the glass.

This has been a busy week!! Jeremy celebrated his birthday on Tuesday and we celebrated by taking the kids to Young’s Dairy. This was on of my kid’s favorite places to go when they were young. You could get raw milk, cream, cheddar cheese, and some really great ice cream!! They had a petting farm and you could also see them milking the cows. My how things have changed!!! No more raw milk or cream and the petting farm is down to some goats, 2 chickens, 2 calves, 2 duck and 1 a loud lamb!! Havyn, Emeryn, Jeremy and Andie enjoyed the ice cream. Gordon and I stuck to hot chocolate…toooo cold for ice cream!!!

After the ice cream, it was down to Clifton Mill in Yellow Springs. They put on a Christmas light display that is spectacular. There had to be over a million lights!! Havyn enjoyed herself, however Emeryn was cold along with Nana & poppa!!! I have added a slide show so you can see what we saw, but it doesn't do it justice.

From there it was on over to Fairborn and Giovanni’s Pizza for not only Jeremy's birthday, but also some early Christmas celebration. John and Debbie met us for a pizza dinner...it is still the BEST!! Between the 8 of us we consumed 3 large pizzas, Havyn and Emeryn both had spaghetti,too…we also had a forth pizza made for carry out, nothing better than cold Giovanni’s Pizza.It was great being back in a familiar place where many great times have been celebrated.

It was a long day and both girls fell asleep on the ride home. The snow is falling and they are predicting 4 inches by morning…oh boy it has snowed almost every day we have been here!! Hope it was a memorable birthday for his first birthday in cold Ohio…HAPPY BIRTHDAY JEREMY

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fernandina Beach, Florida

We settled in at the Amelia Island Yacht Basin, luckily we were in the first slip from the bulkhead. This works out really well for Schooner and since they have a nice grassy area, Schooner is really happy. I checked in with friends Linda and Ally and Linda took me for a haircut…yippee…last haircut was in Surf City, NC!!! At least I will look good for Christmas.

I have been working on Emeryn’s Christmas stocking. but have hit a blockade. I have no stuffing! I guess I will pack it and try to finish it in Ohio or it will wait for Christmas 2010. Speaking of packing, did you know how cold it is up in Ohio?? Neither Gordon nor I have a winter coat!!! I am, however, packing 2 sweaters and 2 pair of jeans and my long johns to try to stay warm. We are back to wearing shorts now, so it has been easy to pack. Nothing we are wearing is going into our bags. I have even packed a bag for Schooner with her 2 t-shirts, raincoat, treats and bones to occupy her on the plane. This is crazy… I never used a diaper bag for my kids and now I have a doggie bag for Schooner!!! No she is NOT spoiled!!!

Some of you may know we once lived here in Fernandina Beach; that was 1982-83. Just before we moved I spotted a girl downtown that looked just like a girl I had gone to college with. But what’s the chance a girl from Enid, Oklahoma would be in Fernandina Beach? Come to find out ,it was her and she is still here!!! Debbie and her husband Wes had us over for dinner and it was 1973 all over again!! Debbie had met my sister prior to coming to Oklahoma State and the to of us both pledged the same sorority ….yep ya never knew I was a sorority girl. Debbie and I quickly became the pledges of terror. We came up with some great pranks to use on our sisters and par took on one or more of the $1 pitchers of Coor’s Stillwater had to offer. Wes and Gordon left us after a few minutes of reminiscing and went to cook the steaks!!! I guess we bored them. It was a great time after all those years to catch up. We have 2 other sorority sisters not far from here so we will have to plan a DZ reunion next year!! Debbie gave us her car so we could get around for a few days before we fly north…what a lifesaver it has been. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you Debbie and Wes!!

And wouldn’t you know… our bestes friend Dan and Debbie, stopped over night here, too!! We got to show them a bit of Fernandina Beach and take them to dinner at the Seaside Inn. We had great seating to look out at the ocean but a heavy fog rolled in and all we saw was soup!! Dinner was fantastic and again it was great to spend time with them. They were off early the next morning and wish them safe travels until we catch up to them again!!

We are picking up our rental car to get us to the airport, 6AM flights require not asking friends for a ride!!! Soon we will be in the home state of icy cold Ohio!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Brunswick, Georgia with Friends

After our late arrival the other night, it has taken me awhile to recover. Traveling a ditch in the dark is scary. You all know how well I see, especially without my contacts, but this is hair raising!! When we finally made the turn up to the marina, I was never so glad to see our dock and smiling faces!!

Brunswick is a really neat town and the docks are about center to Main Street. Schooner has a great grassy area to stretch her legs and by the way she has decided that playing with a golf ball is fun. She even retrieves it!!

We spent a day putting up Christmas lights on the boat. We trimmed the Bimini top in colored lights. I couldn’t talk Gordon into running lights along the life lines, it was too much trouble!!! Trouble is putting up lights on the house in 20° temperatures to me !! I pulled out the tree and decorated it and Gordon finished off the decorating the salon with the last of the lights. It isn’t the same as our home used to be, but when you add glade evergreen candles and put a burning fireplace video on the TV it comes close.

Sunday, we enjoyed a fabulous brunch with Dan and Debbie at The forth of May Café, it was definitely in the top 5 brunches of all time. The place was decorated beautifully for Christmas and the chef worked overtime with his presentation of the food. There was so much to choose from and we did really well at taking our time tasting everything!! I must say the eggs Benedict and the Mac & Cheese were my favorites.

This morning we walked around town with Dan and Debbie checking it all out. They have been here a couple weeks so they know it pretty good. Brunswick is a scrimping/ boat building community and still has many boats along the docks. Some offer fresh caught shrimp for sale, but we passed today. The American Cruise Ships that cruise the East coast and waterway make a stop here also. We met some of the crew and it sounds like it would be a fun trip for the non-boat owners out there. We stopped in a couple shops, which I will have to go back to, and checked out the Towns “Christmas” Tree and all their decorations. It is nice to see a place where it is still ok to say merry Christmas and not have anyone offended! We stopped at Foxes Pizza for a beer and a bite before heading back to the boat. Looks like we will be getting some rain and wind tonight….aaahhh its winter!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It’s Friday, the 27th of November 2009. Thanksgiving Day has come and gone and with it, the last vestiges of the turkey, cranberry sauce and the rhythmic tattoo of the rain that fell throughout the day.

I was up before dawn and, as I waited for the coffee pot to deliver up its magic elixir, I was treated to a magnificent sunrise off of the starboard bow. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the light breeze that wafted up from the south felt almost warm in comparison to yesterday’s weather.

After the mandatory walk with Schooner, I stopped by the marina office and asked if one of the dockhands could assist us with our lines. We arranged to meet in about 15 minutes and when I arrived back at the boat, Kim was up and ready to go. As if on queue, two dockhands appeared at 7:30 sharp, helped us with the dock lines and we were on the water within 5 minutes. Next destination, Brunswick, GA.

The ICW is serene today, not just quiet, but serene. This section of Georgia is primarily wasteland; comprised of tidal swamps and long abandon rice fields from a bygone era. There’s little or no traffic and we’re alone out here with sounding dolphin, wading birds hunting the shoreline and osprey surveying the entire scene from aloft. It’s the kind of day that makes the whole “cruising” lifestyle worthwhile.

For once, the current and tides work to our advantage and, at a consistent 7.5 to 8 knots, the miles fall rapidly behind us. As the sun begins to fall in the west, it becomes apparent, however, that we’re going to be 25 miles short of our destination at dark and 10 miles beyond any safe anchorage. A few quick phone calls are placed and some last minute arrangements made and we have a place at the Brunswick Landing Marina and our friends on the sloop, “About Time” waiting at the ready until we arrive. There’s only one “Oh, by the way” to this plan; the last 25-odd miles will have to be run through the twists and turns of the ICW in total darkness.

As the red ball of the sun vanished below the horizon, we poured out from the Little Mud River, into the Altamaha River. For the next hour, we ran north on a flood tide, reaching Buttermilk Sound, near Broughton Island, as the last gray bit dusk was snuffed out and we passed into pitch blackness. There was no water, no land and no reference for the next 11 miles, as we steered to the blinking red, green and yellow lights of the ICW markers.

Finally, we passed into St. Simon Sound at 8:00 pm. There, a sea of blinking lights that were visible in all directions greeted us. Lights from houses, businesses and cars along the shoreline blended with navigation markers, tower lights and other boats upon the water. It took a few minutes to get our bearings, but we soon realized we were entering the shipping channel that leads up to Brunswick, GA.

From the channel, it was another two hours (we were sailing against the current now) up the Brunswick River to the marina. We radioed ahead to “About Time”, who met us on the dock and at 9:30 pm, we were tied up safe and sound. It had been quite a day, 90 miles, traveled in 14 hours and of that, over three hours had been in the dead of night. Yes, it had been quite a day at that.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Isle of Hope, Georgia Thanksgiving

We arrived at the marina last night around 2pm and we were the last boat on the dock right behind a really big yacht!! This is the first time we have stayed here, we usually stay at Thunderbolt and get the free Krispy Kremes and newspaper each morning. We are trying out some new places along the way this trip and this place sounded really good. The marina offers a free loaner car for 2 hours so we used the car to locate WalMart...I needed a few things for our Thanksgiving dinner!! While out, we stopped in for dinner at Uncle Bubba's. For you that don't follow the food network, Uncle Bubba is Paula Denns brother!! We started off the meal with charbroiled oysters...yum, yum!! They were very similar to ones my mother used to make; oyster on the half shell, roasted over an open flame with garlic butter and covered with Parmesan cheese. Gordon had frest whole catfish, roasted potatoes and cole slaw, nice southern dinner! I had the shrimp po' boy with Deens' famous Mac-n-cheese and cole slaw. and we both finished the meal sharing chocolate creme brulee'. What a great meal after a long day on the water!!

We got moving early Wednesday morning so we could catch the bus into Savannah at 8:45am.The bus ride into Savannah took about 45 minutes and we made many stops taking on people and letting them off...thank you public transportation...total cost $3.00. Once in downtown Savannah, it started to mist a bit, so we sought out a place to get some breakfast/lunch. We were told to try Huey's, a southern/Louisanna style eatery. Really good food, right on the waterfront. Then it was off to walk and shop for the day. The waterfront is littered with eceletic , antique shops and candy and peanut stores!! Peanuts are the only thing Schooner eats thats not dog food so she was in seventh heaven cleaning up the peanuts people had dropped!! Can't wait to get to pick those piles up!!! We had a great time, we even stopped in at Lady and Son's, Paula Deens place for a bite before hailing a cab to take us back to the marina. That cost us $20...buses don't run after 5!! I put together an collage of our day, so I hope you enjoy!!

Today is Thanksgiving!!! We started the day off watching the Macy's Parade. One day I would like to be in New York to see it, I just don't think TV does it justice. We talked with all the kids, sisters and some friends, (if you didn't get a call, we ran out of minutes) But we hope everyone had a blessed day. Gordon and I are both thankful for the many friends we have, new, old and ones to come our way, We are blessed with good health and if things improve with the economy we will be able to keep on traveling!! We had a traditional turkey (breast only) dinner with all the trimings including cranberry salad from Ohio. I think this is the first Thanksgiving it has been just the two of us....almost just another day on Current Jumper. We ended the evening watching a wonderful Georgia... sunset!

Moving farther south in the morning>>>

Monday, November 23, 2009

Harbour Town, Hilton Head, SC

We left Charlestown at after a trip to the farmers market one last time...needed to pick up some Italian spices for Marilyn and we also had a big breakfast there. We were pulling out of the marina by 8:45am and on the way south. It turned out to be a fairly nice day, we made bridges without much waiting and I was able to work on Emeryn's Christmas stocking. The ICW was quiet and not much boat traffic. we just kept going and going. after better than 9 hours, 3 hours after dark we tied up to the dock in Beaufort, SC. We had looked at places to anchor out but at about 5:30pm the wind kicked up and rain came down and it looked like we were in for some bad weather so G just kept us going. Have I mentioned how much I HATE traveling the waterway at night??? Really bad hate it!!! But we made it safetly, Schooner got to use land to do her stuff and I got a good nights sleep.

In the morning, we didn't move very fast at getting away from the dock, we only had 4 hours of traveling to get to Harbour Town. We met another Hunter 45"... we shared information and checked each others boats, then we were on our way!! It looked like rain for most of the trip south but of course it had to wait until we were pulling into the marina at Hilton Head to really let down!! Of course, I am the one that gets wet not Gordon when docking!!! It managed to rain most of the night so we didn't get to see any part of Hilton Head that day!!! Day 2, we were up and out early, the sun was sort of shining, in and out but no rain. Did I say we were at the Harbour Town Marina? It is the marina located on the southwest end of the island, at Sea Pines. It is marked by a replica, red and white lighthouse. It is the first time we have stopped but won't be our last. It is a very protected harbour and we have easy access to it from both the waterway or the Atlantic. There are many shops and a few resturants near-by and of course the lighthouse to tour. We made the climb and took many pictures before eating lunch. i But, it was after lunch that we partook in some shopping, but didn't find anything we couldn't live without though!! Can you find our boat in the marina???

Tomorrow, it is off to the Isle of Hope Marina and Savannah, Georgia. again it is only a few hours away so it should be a nice trip. We have already decided to hop outside and avoid Fields Cut and save the bottom and prop from any harm.....we have been told it is less than 5' deep at high tide...not good when you draw 5' !!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last Days in Charleston

It has been a whirl wind week with uncle guy and Marilyn here. We have been to West marine atleast twice and to Jason's Deli to eat. We drove all over so Marilyn could find her licence plate bracket with South Carolina and palmetto palms on it in red!!! If you are interested check out Palmetto Moon in the Citidel Mall they have many and all different colors to match your car!!

We also went over tothe new Park and pier in Mt Pleasant. They, the community, took swamp land, added fill dirt from making the Ravnel bridge and turned it into a wonderful park with many uses. There is a welcome center with a rentable room for weddings, art shows,etc. They put in large playground that is actually under the bridge so it is shaded most of the day. There is a fishing pier, that seems a mile long, with a small bait, tackle and sundrie shop. Onthe pier they put in adult swings and fixed tables with chairs for picnics. And totop it off thete is a War Memorial to everyone who has served this country of ours. The memorial is one of the best I have seen.

It is of a women accepting the folded flag of her soldier who died. All Mt Pleasant service men who lost their life in the service of their country is commerated on a fountain wall; even those dating back to the Civil War. Really quite impressive.

Last night we did burgers and sausages on the grill over at Guy and Marilyn's campsite. Schooner got a chance to play at the dog park there at James Island County Park. She played with all the big dogs so she has been sleeping all day today. After dinner, we toured the Holiday Festival of Lights, that is set up there. They have been setting up Christmas light displays for 20 years and they do one heck of a job!!! They also display a super sand sculpture that is 20' long x 15' tall x 15 wide....a big one!!! If you are in Charleston between November and January, this is a great place to visit. Marilyn and Guy took us back to the marina and we said our good-byes, waterfalls and all, but we look forward to hooking up again in Florida next year...that sounds funny, next year!!

Today, we prepared the boat for travel, washed the poo from the deck, and checked our mailbox one last time. We stopped at Jestine's for an early dinner on our bike ride back from the Mailbox. Jestine's is a small diner looking restaurant that sits on the corner of Meeting and Wentworth Streets. We have noticed over our many visits to Charleston a long line to eat there. We were fortunate, no line at 4:45pm, but the place was full and a line when we left at 6:00pm. Gordon had the southern fried chicken, real mashed potatoes with gravy, fried okra, and cole slaw, I had the pork chop, mac-n-cheese and green beans. We shared corn fritters and 2 bowls of the tables bread-n-butter pickles, and table wine(sweet tea) to top it off ...a real southern meal!! It was so good, every bit was like it had been prepared at home. We will have to go again next stop over!!! Oh yea...the banana pudding with vanilla wafers finished both of us!!

Well it's goodby to Charleston and here we come Savannah!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Uncle Guy and Marilyn

We had a quiet weekend, we were doing odd jobs, cleaning and looking for future projects that will need to be done. We had 2 new enclosure panels made to replace the side entry ones. They are the ones that are rolled up the most and we were having trouble with the zippers tearing away from the glass. They are so nice and clear right now!! We did make a trip over to the Charleston Farmers Market and picked up some herbs to send to Patrick. They are the very best Italian blend we have ever run across and we tend to use it up quickly!! I also bought some fresh dill pickles with hot peppers and boy howdy will thet make you pucker and sweat!! We also managed to get in a nice bike ride after being cooped up after last weeks rain. They have put up a big Christmas tree in the end of Marion Square and decorations are showing up along King and Meeting Streets. Things are begining to look like Christmas although Thanksgiving is still 2 weeks away!! Uncle Guy and Marilyn got here around 2:00pm from Ohio and picked us up for dinner. We went to Melvin's...probally the best BBQ joint around!! Guy introduced this place to us back in 2006 and it has become a must visit eatery when in Charleston. It is so much fun visiting with Uncle Guy and Marilyn...we just pick up where we left off the last time!! I would have to say they are one of our oldest friends...they were there for the wedding some 32 years ago!!! But we are still young at heart...right!! We have plans to run errands tomorrow with them and more catch up ( not the red stuff) to do!! We have them until Thursday so it will be a busy week!! Better get some sleep.......

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fresh shrimp and Tall Ships

Today was one of those days when one after another the shrimp boats came to the Maritime Center for ice. We were able to purchase some from what I call the Vietnamese boat...the Captain and most of his 3 man crew are all from Vietnam...duh Any way, we were able to get some really fresh, head-on large shrimp for $20. Some, being 144 to be exact and they were what a store would call a 12- 14 count shrimp! Looks like some good eating on the horizon.

It has been raining since John and Debbie were here, but today it is beautiful except for being windy. The marina has bee full and boats have been coming and going despite the weather cconditions. There is a Tall Ship, "Spirit of Massachuttes"

that is here. It came in with damage to its sails and a mast from a storm it got caught in. The crew, which is made up of mostly college age students doing an internship, has been working non stop. They had all the pots and pans up on the dock the other day washing and drying them. I have never seen so many dirty dishes!! They must have been saving them for a rainy day!!! They had to redo the rigging and Vasoline the lines and mast...look messy and dirty to me but I guess it is better than when they used lard on them!!!

At one time there were 4 Tall Ships, The Spirit of South Carolina which makes her home there, The Spirit of Baltimore, and the Hindu, a privately owned and restored Tall Ship. It was quite impressive to see these ships, it is not something you get to see very often!! We did get a few good pictures to share though.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Charleston with friends

We have a couple days to catch up on laundry and scrub down the boat since it has warmed up. We were able to get a coat of wax on the back half of the deck. It is looking much better and the bird poo is hosing off much easier. Our bestes friends John and Debbie came down to see us today, they took time out from their vacation in Myrtle Beach . They brought me Mikesells potato chips and cranberry salad...yum!! Unless you have had Mikesells chips you wouldn't understand how good they are and NO other chip is like them. 4 twin bags to last me until Christmas !!! I am saving the crabberry salad for our Thanksgiving dinner if I can control the urge not to eat it.

John and Debbie got to the boat as I was rinsing the poo off the boat but I was so glad to see them I almost slipped getting off for hugs....2 years is too long between visits!! We went below and Debbie promtly became seasick so it was off to check out Charleston. I guess Debbie won't be sailing with us anywhere unless we have enough Tequilla or drugs to keep her oblivious to motion!!

We walked down to Market Street and visited the straw market looking for some good buys. Can you believe that a small basket not more than 4" diameter and 2" tall with a lid costs $250.00...OMG inflation I guess!!! Nothing new that I just had to have, the product selection was disappointingwith much of it coming from China. We did find a new spice shop, simular to a Penzeys, that had a really nice selection. Gordon picked out a couple spices he felt we needed and we were off.

That was enough to make us hungry so we headed to a new place we had not tried before...Gilligan's. The Bloody Marys lacked spunk but the crab cakes, shrimp salad, and crab dip got a thumbs up!! After lunch we walked back to the marina and got in the car and headed over to Sullivan's Island. Debbie was able to use her new camera for some shots of dolphin and pelicans before heading over to the Sullivan Island Lighthouse.
Unfortunatly, it is an active light so we couldn't go up in it. We decided to go back over to the Battery and watch the sunset!!! I hate that it is dark at 5:00pm...it makes the day so short!!

We ended the day at Tommy Condon's Irish Pub, with a beer and some Irish natchos ( fried potatoe chunks drizzled with ranch dressing, chopped onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, and Jalapeno's....way bad for you but oooohhhh soooooo good!!! Those of you that know me I hate saying good bye and this day was NO different and the waterfalls started as soon as we got back in the car and headed to the marina. I wish we had had more time together but Christmas will come soon> What a faboulous day!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Today is the 30th of October and, as of this morning, we have only two days left to get to Charleston, SC. Eons ago, or so it seems, we had to commit to a date of arrival at the Charleston Maritime Center (which is NOT unreasonable, since November is “Migration Month” for cruisers.) To arrive later than the scheduled date of arrival, could put one a risk of loosing their entire reservation. In order to guard against this happening, Kim and I have been in touch with the Maritime Center’s Dock Master on a daily basis. He knows where we are and he knows where we’re going. So, for Kim and I, it was up early again, at the butt-crack of dawn, as we had to be on our way.

We departed barefoot landing as the first light of dawn illuminated the ICW. Today would be a long haul because we had to make Georgetown, SC today, or the distance would be to great tomorrow to guarantee our arrival in Charleston on the 1st. Everything went smoothly as we navigated the waterway and we even made the Socastee, SC Swing Bridge without having to wait on it to open. We only had to slow down a bit when we were about a mile away from the bridge and reached it just as it started its opening sequence.

After the Socastee Bridge, we entered the Waccamaw River, which normally is one of the prettiest parts of the entire East Coast ICW. Today, however, it was butt ugly. Rain had started about two hours before we made the river and as we entered it, the rain began coming down in buckets. With the increased rainfall and drainage into the river came mud, which discolored the normally clean water, and partially submerged logs, which were dislodged by the rain induced run-off.

These floating logs, called deadheads, are a boater’s worst enemy. They can damage a boat hull or tear up a prop (hmmmm, that sounds familiar) if a moving boat hits them. So, we kept our eyes peeled and listened to the VHF radio, reporting deadheads we spied and watching for those reported by other boats. While we saw quite a few of them, we traversed the entire length of the Waccamaw River without hitting any deadheads.

We finally made Georgetown, SC around 4:00 pm and tied up at the Harborwalk Marina. Mike, who’s the dock master and a former Marine and Gabe, his dog, were there to meet us and help us get settled. After checking in and paying for our stay, Schooner and Gabe had a play date, while Kim and I stretched our legs and walked about the Marina. Thereafter, it was time to concoct a bit of supper and turn in early, because tomorrow would be another early start.

Damn, the time changed last night! Let’s see, fall back? Yeah, fall back. That means that 5:00 am is now 4:00 am and sunrise, which used to be at 7:00 am is now at 6:00 am. If we used to get up at 6:00 am, we now have to get up at 5:00 am, but it still feels like 6:00 am, which has us all screwed up. Are we the only ones who feel this way??? No matter what the time was, we had to be out on the marina by sunrise. So, we got up at 5:00 am and were on the water by 6:00 (sunrise.)

Compared to yesterday, today was absolutely beautiful. As we wound our way towards Charleston, the tide worked in our favor once again. We made great time through the canals and dredged areas of the waterway, aided by the tidal flow and the extra water depth created by yesterday’s rainfall. But, this false sense of security can turn on you in a heartbeat. The tidal fall here (the depth change between high and low tide) is between four and five feet and if you’re not watching the tide clock, you can find yourself sitting on the bottom. And that’s exactly what happened to another sailboat that was waiting on the Ben Sawyer Bridge to open.

The Ben Sawyer Bridge is the last bridge before Charleston, SC. Located on State Route 703, the Bridge connects the town of Sullivan’s Island with the mainland at Mt. Pleasant. The bridge only opens once on the top of each hour, so if you don’t make a particular opening, you could have as much as a 55-minute wait until the next opening.

As we approached the Ben Sawyer Bridge, we noticed a lot of activity on the north shore. As we got even closer, we saw a partially capsized sailboat, hard aground, about a quarter mile from the bridge. Apparently, the boat had not made the last bridge opening, so it moved over towards the north bank to wait on the one. Since the time was getting close to low tide, the water level must have gone down enough to trap the keel in the muddy clay bottom. As the tide continued to go down, the boat finally tipped over, hopelessly stuck until the tide come back up again (which could be four or five hours later.) Since a Tow Boat was on site, there was nothing for anyone else to do, so we thanked our lucky stars that that wasn’t us stuck in the mud and kept up our speed; passing through the bridge at its 3:00 pm opening. Charleston, here we come!

From the Ben Sawyer Bridge, it’s all down hill (figuratively speaking) to Charleston. We dumped out of the river into Charleston Harbor and ran the last three miles to the Charleston Maritime Center unhindered. Arriving there 30 minutes later, we pulled into the Marina and were tied up in a matter of minutes. So, here we are and here we’ll stay for the next three weeks. We know that there’s some bad weather coming, but we’re tied up and secure and there’s no better place to ride out a storm than Charleston, SC.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


The Beach Boys used to have a song called Goin’ to Surf City, which was about Huntington Beach, CA. There is, however, another Surf City, in North Carolina. It’s quiet, has a great little, protected marina and some of the nicest people on God’s green earth. Oh yeah! If you’re a surfer, there’s something about this beach that makes the waves roll in when no other beach has surf. Kim and I like to go to the beach and watch the surfers who come here year-round and test their skills from dawn to dark. Getting to Surf City this trip, however, had a sense of urgency to it, because we had to get through the Marine Base at Camp Lejeune before Friday, October 30th.

After the Catamaran crew helped us off of the dock in Morehead City, we turned into the ICW and struck out for Camp Lejeune, which was Patrick’s and my old stomping grounds. We had learned from a Coast Guard broadcast that the Marines were holding a joint training exercise with the Navy, from 10/30/09 through 11/01/09 inclusive. Additionally, the Marines were looking for and disposing of unexploded ordinance on their live fire range, which borders the ICW, north of the Onslow Beach Bridge. For those three days, the ICW would be closed.

We traversed the Camp Lejeune portion of the ICW without incident and were privy to a display of our country's military might as choppers performed “touch and goes” and armored vehicles thundered along the dirt roads adjacent to the waterway. It was quite a sight (no pictures, it might be classified.)

After a quick stop in Sneed’s Ferry for fuel, (it’s the cheapest price for fuel on the entire ICW) we continued on south and made Surf City and the Beach House Marina at 4:00 pm sharp. After docking and paying for our night’s stay, we walked the three or four blocks to the local beauty shop, “A Beautiful New You Unisex Salon.” for Kim’s mandatory session with her favorite, ICW hairdresser. I go along to be the only roster in the hen house, so to speak, and the ladies there tease me appropriately. It’s a fun time.

From the salon, it’s a trip to the local grocery, the A.B.C. (Alcoholic Beverage Control) store and the bakery, where the lady behind the counter swears that her 6”x6”x2”, Cream Cheese and Raspberry Puree filled Turnovers haven’t one single calorie (I trust her and buy two.) Then it’s back to the boat for dinner and bed, because we have to be out of the marina and at the swing bridge for the 7:00 am opening.

From Surf City, we motored south towards South Port, NC. After catching the Bridge opening, we were treated to another glorious sunrise and took lots of pictures. We caught the current and tides just right and were able to run at normal speed the entire trip. It was another perfect day on the water

We arrived at Southport, which sits at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and the Wilmington Inlet, around 4:00 pm. This is a great marina with a friendly, professional staff. From the marina, it’s an easy walk into town, which has all sorts of stores and restaurants. Tonight, however, it’s dinner on the boat for us, as we have to be up early tomorrow and move on to Barefoot Landing.

On Friday, October 30th, we left South Port and struck out for Barefoot Landing. We motored through the familiar towns of Long Beach, Holden Beach and Ocean Isle, movng ever closer towards the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Upon reaching the town of Sunset Beach, NC, we sadly, passed through the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge for what may be the last time (it’s being replaced by a 65’, high-rise bridge.)

Finally, around 3:00 pm, we arrived at Barefoot Landing, which is located in the town of North Myrtle Beach, SC. It’s another one or our favorite spots and home to one of the best Italian restaurants anywhere; Umberto’s. We tied up the boat and spent an hour or so cleaning the deck and scrubbing away the dirt from the past few days running. Then, it was time for a quick shower, clean clothes and off to Umberto’s for diner.

The nice thing about having dinner at Umberto’s is, usually, you can eat the night you’re there and you can get another meal or two from the leftovers you carry home. We weren’t disappointed in the least. I had the Italian Pork Chops (one is a meal and they serve you two) and Kim had the New York Strip Steak (12 oz. of meticulously aged, finely marbled, USDA, Prime+ beef.) Then there are the side dishes; fresh baked Italian bread, roasted elephant garlic cloves, Italian stewed beans, salad, Angel-hair pasta marinara and garlic-roasted potatoes; you don’t just get one or two of them, you get them all. With dinner over, Kim and I loaded up the leftovers and waddled back to the boat; full, happy and ready to call it a day. Next stop, Georgetown, SC.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The AYB yard crew pulled us around 9:00 on the morning of the 16th. Once out of the water, we found that the prop was bent, but not so bad it couldn’t be straightened. We also discovered that the gel-coat on the rudder had been chipped in a couple of places, so that would require being up on the hard again, until the repairs could be completed. Our luck being what it was, the weather turned cold for the next two days; too cold to do the fiberglass work. We ended up being out of the water until the 20th, but with the repairs completed and the boat better than new, we were back in the water and ready to head south again (but this time, not in the damn Dismal Swamp Canal.)

We departed the Atlantic Yacht Basin at 6:45 am on October 21st and began our journey south, towards somewhere warm. It had gotten cold a few days in Chesapeake, VA and neither of us liked the feeling of being cold one little bit.

As we made our way down the ICW, we discovered that the new, newly straightened and tuned prop really improved the performance of our boat. With no wind, no current, and the engine speed set at 2800 rpm (the best power to efficiency curve for our engine) we were making 7.2 knots true speed, which is really flying for a sailboat. In short, this made us at par with most of the trawlers that are out here on the water and faster than 90% of the sailboats. By 2:30 pm, we had arrived at the Coinjock Marina, Coinjock, NC, which is home to the best prime rib in all of America. With a great dinner under our belts, we retired for a good nights sleep.

The next morning, we were off of the Coinjock dock by 7:00 am and on our way towards Manteo, NC. Manteo, on Roanoke Island, is the site of the first English Colony in the Americas, one of the nicest ports of call on the east coast and one of our favorite places. After a leisurely trip down the Albemarle Sound, we made the Manteo Town Dock around 2:00 pm and were snug in our slip in short order.

We planned to stay in Manteo for two nights, but once again, the weather gods intervened and changed our plans. After two beautiful days, a storm blew up on the Outer Banks and proceeded to stall over the area, which forced us to stay in Manteo for three more nights. This wasn’t necessarily bad staying the extra three days, but we had to be in Charleston, SC by the first of November and those three days used up all of our spare travel time.

On the morning of the 27th we got up a half hour before dawn and made ready to leave Manteo. At first light, we pulled out from Shallow Bag Bay and were treated to a spectacular sunrise as we sailed south towards Ocracoke, Island, which was our next planned stop. It was one of those rare days in sailing, where the wind and the current and your direction of travel all worked in harmony for the common good of the journey.

As we flew over the water at speeds of 8.5 to 10 knots, it soon became apparent that we’d reach Ocracoke Island well before 2:00 pm and would still have another day of travel to Morehead City. If, however, we continued on towards Morehead City, we’d make Adams Creek by 7:00 pm and maybe be able to go all the way to Morehead City in the dark. Worst-case scenario was, we’d anchor out and go on into Morehead City in the morning. With this course of action now the plan, we continued to take advantage of the wind and weather and flew on across the Pamlico Sound towards Adams Creek.

We actually make Adams Creek at 6:30 pm and, as the sun began to set in the west, entered onto the northern end of the channel. The anchorages along the way were crowded with sailboats and trawlers; all having taken advantage of the good weather to move down the Alligator River portion of the waterway and arrive here before us. In the light of dusk, however, we could see that the illuminated markers along the creek were all operational, so moving at night would 1) not be a problem and 2) allow us to move unhindered by other boats.

As it turned out, traversing Adams Creek at night was so easy that we made Morehead City and the Portside Marina, without incident, at 11:15 pm. It was so quiet at the marina that we were able to pull in unassisted, get the boat tied up, hook up power, walk the dog and fall into bed before midnight. Just to be on the safe side, I went back up before going to bed and put all four of our fenders between the boat and the dock. I don’t know why I did it, I just did; and it was a real good thing, because, once again, the weather changed.

We were awakened around 3:00 am by the beating of waves against the hull of the boat. To make matters even more interesting, the boat was jumping up and down at least three feet every two or three seconds. It would seem that one of those darling little North Carolina Thunderstorms had appeared out f nowhere and decided to blow like hell out of the east; the direction from which this marina had no protection.

I ran outside and began to check the lines and fenders. The extra fenders were doing their job, preventing our direct contact with the floating dock, and the lines, which Kim had doubled, were holding us securely in position. The sail boat in front of us, a catamaran, wasn’t in such good shape.

The cat’s owners had landed earlier in the afternoon (I found this out later) having survived a storm at sea that had shredded their Genoa. Exhausted, they’d gone to bed, having tied up at the dock with the bare minimum of fenders and lines. The wave action had popped their two fenders from between the hull and dock and their boat was taking a beating. I helped them push out their boat, reinsert their fenders and add a couple more. Then we rigged two more dock lines, which really stabilized their boat, and had everything secure by about 3:45 am.

As we all shook hands over a job well done, the two guys on the cat asked where we were heading and when. I told them we were leaving at first light, weather permitting, and they said they’d be up to help us off. They said it was the least they could do for us, since I had helped them secure their boat without it getting any damage.

True to their word, the guys from the catamaran were both up and sitting on deck at 7:00 am, as I came topside and prepared to leave Morehead City. After paying the marina for our stay, the two guys from the catamaran helped push us off the dock and we were underway towards our next stop, Surf City, NC.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dismal Day in the Dismal Swamp

Finally, we are back in the water after a week on the hard. Thank heavens the weather has been great, nice and cool at night and sunny during the day. We were surprised when at 4:00pm yesterday they decided to put us in the water. 4:00 is normally quitting time and there was only one space left on the face dock at the far south end…just for us!! It is a great place for Schooner, but the crew team yelling at 5:30 am is a bit unnerving. While work was being done, we met some of the greatest boaters. We shared drinks, snacks, meals and stories with many. I hope to meet again along the waterways.

This morning, we started out early, 6:45am moving off the dock in RAIN!! The Great Bridge opens at 7am and next is the Great Bridge locks next. We wanted to get through these 2 before the restrictions for rush hour. Both were uneventful…I have the locks down pretty well now that we use the non assistant side and I can tie off at mid ship and don’t get yelled at by MR. Grumpy Pants!! What Gordon forgot was the Steel Bridge also had restrictions and we had to wait close to an hour…aarrrgggg!! A steady rain and cool temps made it pretty miserable.

Finally after clearing the Steel Bridge, the turn off for the Dismal Swamp Cut is only a short distance. This was the first time we had attempted to traverse this cut. I was excited as we were going to pass down through an historic series of bridges and locks to Elizabeth City and a new passage south. Also it was prime fall color!!!

We entered the Deep Creek lock first in line, with 8 other boats at 11:30 am. The rain had almost stopped and this made it easier to handle the boat in the lock and more comfortable too!! The lockmaster/bridge tender, Robert Peek, was friendly and very helpful, this being our first trip through. We were about an hour loading and clearing the lock and when you get everyone out of the lock, Robert has to jump in his truck and drive 3/4th a mile so he can open the bridge for everyone. Fortunately for him, they only do this 4 times a day!! We were now on our way into the historic cut first made possible by George Washington to open up better trade routes south.

Well…that didn’t last very long!!!! We were just really settling into the trip when there was this big THUNK followed by 3 more; CRUNCH, BANG, SCREECH!!! We made it all the way to the 12 mile marker.

Yep, we had hit a summered tree! And that brand new prop ws now crunched along with the rudder. We pulled to the side and let the other 7 boats pass and turned back for the bridge. I can say I have been in the Dismal Swamp Cut, but it wasn’t the most pleasant experience!! We were able to tie off to a bulkhead and wait another hour for the bridge to open before re-entering the locks for our return trip back to AYB. This was an extremely slow trip back as we could only travel at a slow 4knots and with the bridge openings we were only able to get back just before dusk…a long, wet, cold miserable dayyyyyyyyyyyyy.

Plans are to short pull us in the morning and assess the damage...more later in the saga of "Current Jumper".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It’s been a long time since we’ve posted anything to the blog, partly due to not having internet at a few locations, partly due to working on trying to defeat government run healthcare and partly due to plain ole’ laziness. But, with all of these issues temporarily resolved, it’s time to catch everyone up on our escapades.

We left Washington, DC early in the morning, on my birthday. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and the sail down the Potomac was absolutely gorgeous. The day was so perfect that we made a whopping 62 miles and reached the town of Newberg, MD right about sunset. We anchored out just south of US Highway 301 and the “Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge,” which connects Maryland and Virginia, and went to bed with a gentle breeze rocking us to sleep. Early the next morning, however, the weather turned to crap!

We were awakened around 5:00 AM by the boat bouncing, waves slapping its sides and the wind howling through the rigging. The weather had changed and a cold front had moved in on top of us (NOAA lied and said it wouldn’t come in for another 24 hours.) We hauled anchor as soon as it was light and beat a hasty retreat on down the Potomac, towards the Chesapeake. Unfortunately, we could only make about 3.5 knots into the wind, so we made little headway at all. After being beaten for the next ten hours, we finally turned into the town of Ridge, Maryland and the Point Lookout Marina. It was very protected, secure and we spent the next two days there.

We had a small weather window on the 28th, so once more we headed out into the Chesapeake and turned south towards Norfolk. After about four hours, the wind blew up again and beat us on our nose. Once again, we were moving no faster than 3.5 knots and getting hammered by waves crashing over the bow every few seconds. So, once again, we turned into the nearest port (Deltaville, VA) and laid up for an additional two days. The only consolation was that Deltaville is geared to boaters, so we were able to resupply at the local market and do some service work on the boat while we waited for the weather to break.

On the 30th of September, the weather finally cleared and we went non-stop to Norfolk, VA, where we stayed at the Waterside Marina. We only intended to stay for one night, but learned that the 16th Annual Norfolk Harbor Party and Seafood Feast was being held on October 1st. We just had to stay and check it out.

The festival began around 4:00 pm at the city park, adjacent to the marina. For $40.00 per person, one could enjoy all you could eat of crab cakes, fish, clams, raw oysters, steamed oysters, scallops and the famous Harbor Party Clam Chowder. Additionally, there were strategically located, self serve Budweiser “Tap Trucks” and wine tents where you could drink your fill. Frankly, our bill in a restaurant would have been well over a hundred dollars each for what we ate and drank at the festival. An added bonus was, we were able to meet and speak with Bob McDonnell, who was later elected to the governorship of Virginia. From our impression of Mr. McDonnell, Virginia made a wise choice in electing him governor.

On Friday, the 2nd, we mounted out and headed for the town of Chesapeake, VA and the Atlantic Yacht Basin. There, we had the boat hauled for its annual maintenance routine and some additional enhancements that are hard to do properly when the boat’s in the water. While the boat was “on the hard,” we got a car and went shopping for supplies and Christmas goodies for our granddaughters. We met some new fellow cruisers, who were at AYB for the same reason as us, and share some food, drinks and stories of each other’s adventures on the water.

While the boat was out of the water, we’d been researching the Dismal Swamp Canal, which is the old waterway created by George Washington (that’s right, the first president of the United States) and is still in use today. We were told that our boat had a shallow enough draft (5’) to safely transit the canal and that we’d come out at Elizabeth City, NC and escape a lot of the desolate waterway between Norfolk and Morehead City, NC. So, on the morning of October 14th, with all of our repairs complete, we took off foor the Dismal Swamp Canal. And that's when our luck changed.