Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nov 29 - Clewiston

Pictures added around 7:30 on Sunday...

Nov 23 – Banana River to Vero (mile 951)
We left Gotta Life and Sandpiper in Banana River and headed out on our own for Vero Beach around 10:00. It was an uneventful day on the waterway, although you can certainly tell the difference between traveling the waterway on the weekend and traveling during the week. There is so much more boat traffic on the weekend, and the boaters are far less polite and going blowing past without slowing down, so you end up rocking and rolling in their wake. We arrived in Vero around 3:30 and picked up a mooring. We were lucky to get one on our own as most have two or three boats rafted together. Gotta Life left Banana River too late to get here today so we are on our own. We went to shore and found out that the bus service doesn’t run on Sunday, so we couldn’t get Annie to the mall today. Instead we walked about a mile East to the beach. There are some shops here, but they were all closed because it is Sunday. We were able to find an Ice Cream shop that was open though! It finally feels like Florida with lots of sun and warm weather. There were pineapples growing in the garden by the beach and there are coconuts growing in the palm trees!

Nov 24 – Nov 27 - Vero
It was nice to have some time off from travelling everyday! We stayed 4 full days in Vero. Gotta Life arrived around lunch time on Monday. Sandpiper decided to keep going on to Fort Pierce where Bob and Ilene have some friends. Gotta Life rafted up with us so we were tied together which was great for the girls. There was school every morning. On Monday Annie Kristen and I caught the bus with Sheryl, Geneva and Erin and went to the mall. Annie was anxious to get a birthday present and she had her heart set on a cell phone. Surprisingly this actually made sense as we could get a pay as you go phone that is a lot less expensive to use in the US than the Blackberry we brought from home. So Annie got a cell phone for her birthday. It took a while to get to the mall and back, so we didn’t get back to the boat until around 6:00. We BBQ’d steak, hamburgers and chickenburgers for everyone for supper and ate on Gotta Life with the folks from Blue Heaven who was also rafted with us. On Tuesday afternoon we went back to the beach and the kids got bathing suits. They went swimming off the arch on the back of Gotta Life when we got back.

On Wednesday afternoon we took the bus to the closer mall to get some food for the Thanksgiving potluck on Thursday – we decided to take brownies. We did a trial run on the brownies on Wednesday night just to make sure they would be okay! (they were). On Thursday morning we got school done quickly and then went down to the Boater’s flea market. Miakado (with the twins) arrived yesterday and they came to the flea market with us. After the flea market we went back to the boat to get ready for the potluck. It started at 1:00. It was a real spread -–there were probably over a hundred people and the food was wonderful. We spent most of the afternoon there and then we went for a sunset dinghy cruise. We didn’t need any supper after the big feast at lunch time.

Nov 28 – Vero Beach to St. Lucie Lock
There were some long faces today as we pulled out of Vero and left Gotta Life. They are heading to Miami and then the Bahamas, and we are turning west today to go through the Okeechobee Waterway and across Florida to the West Coast. The day was saved when we had to wait for a bridge and we had two dolphins come right up to the boat. The water was clear enough that we could see them swimming under the water all around the boat. It was great! We traveled about 35 miles further down the ICW to Stuart and then left the main ICW and turned into the OCW (okeechobee waterway). We went another 15 miles west to the St. Lucie Lock. We locked through and were raised about 14 feet. There is a campground on the other side of the lock and we had a reservation there for the night. After we got tied up we went across the lock to the other side and had a walk on the nature trail. Didn’t see any animals, but we saw three badger tortoise dens. These tortoises burrow under the ground that is kind of different. We saw lots of animal tracks too. We were just as glad not to run into any alligators! It was getting dark so it was kind of spooky walking through the woods.

Nov 29 – St. Lucie Lock to Clewiston
It was another beautiful morning when we got up. I took Kristen down to the lock so she could read the display on manatees and make some notes for a project she would like to do. The lock master came over to talk to us – he was really friendly. He talked to us about manatees and then he took us out on the lock and showed us where one was. We also found a beautiful moth. We left St. Lucie Lock around 8:30, ready for the challenges that lay ahead. We have to go under a 49" bridge, and while we measured and re-measured our mast and we’re sure it’s about 47’ it will be nice to clear through that and know we fit. We also have to go across Lake Okeechobee today. This whole waterway was closed for two years because of a lack of water. Apparently now there is a minimum of 8’. It is also supposed to be windy today and it can get pretty nasty when it is windy on such a large, shallow body of water. In the end we had a great day. We made it under the bridge, we went through the Port Mayaca lock and out into the lake. The lake had only a light chop, and the wind never really materialized. We were across the lake to Clewiston by about 4:00. It took us about half an hour to get Bird tied up to the pylons (aka dophins – don’t know why…) beside the waterway. It was a challenging experience and there was lots of creosote but while we offered lots of entertainment value to the folks in the picnic park across the way, all was fine in the end. We all went to shore for a walk around Clewiston. Clewiston is the "sweetest town in America" because of all the sugar produced and refined here. It also has a huge bass fishing reputation. The Christmas lights on the light posts are of a large mouth Bass catching a dragonfly. There is an entirely different feel to Florida here than on the East Coast. It is a rural, agricultural community. Homes are small and there are numerous trailer parks. Entertainment includes shooting the drag through the picnic park on Saturday evening. We found a grocery store, but all the labeling was in Spanish and we didn’t recognize any of the things we needed. We did recognize the Pizza shop and we ordered a pizza for supper. We were a little concerned walking back to the boat at dusk that we wouldn’t have enough light to see the combination to unlock the dinghy. We really hadn’t planned to be out after sunset. We got back to the dinghy and got it unlocked. The kids got in and put on their lifejackets, and then the Florida Fish and Wildlife Patrol boat came by. He was really glad we all had lifejackets, but was concerned that we didn’t have any navigation lights on the dinghy. He escorted us back to Bird and asked for our boat registration papers. He called them into the office, but apparently Canada isn’t on the same computer system, so they weren’t getting a response back on our boat registration. He was a really great guy, but it was kink of nerve racking wondering what was going to happen. In the end, he gave us a written warning on the navigation lights for the dinghy (rather than the $90 fine) and said he would follow up with us tomorrow if there was a problem with the registration. We felt really fortunate. When we went below on Bird she was full (I mean hundreds) of bugs. We don’t think they were of a biting variety, but we sure wanted to get them cleaned up. We had to keep the pizza box closed so they wouldn’t fall into the pizza!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nov 21 - 22 - Banana River

Finally - here are some pictures -- added some to the last posting too!

Nov 20 – Titusville – Eau Gaille (mile 914)
Mark and Brendan wanted to go exploring in the morning, so we had breakfast and were thinking about taking Rudder to shore when we heard Mark and Brendan coming back from shore. Apparently the causeway is owned by NASA and we weren’t really supposed to go to shore there. Oops. We left around 8:30 and had another uneventful day. Nice to not have things break for a day or two. We anchored in behind the Eau Gaille causeway around 1:30. Sheryl and Brian have friends that live near here, so they went to shore to check things out and to give them a call and they took Annie and Kristen with them. We went to shore shortly after them and there was a great park with a playground and tennis court. As we were going in the dolphins were corralling fish and doing all kinds of splashing around. There are also lots of birds – pelicans, egrets, ibis and wood storks. Were pretty sure there are manatees around as you can see them swimming out in the channel. The kids had a great time playing in the playground. Sheryl and Brian’s friends Brian and Linda came to meet us and they started shuttling us all to a restaurant for supper. There were 14 of us all together and it was a really fun time. Sheryl arranged for the waiters to sing Happy Birthday to Annie!
Nov 21-22 – Banana River
It’s Annie’s Birthday! In the morning we all went to the park. The guys walked up to the Discount Marine store; Erin and Geneva showed Annie and Kristen how to play tennis. We stayed there until about 11:00. Then we dinghied back out to the boats and moved across the Indian River and up the Banana River a little ways to the Telemar Marina. The Brian with a car was there to meet us and he began to shuttle us all to the zoo. Sheryl took the girls in the first trip, and Dave and I went in the second trip with Mark and Brendan. We had a great time at the zoo. One thing that was cool was the kayak trip. We paired up and filled up 4 kayaks, and then had a guided kayak tour around this island that had animals on it. That was pretty neat. The other thing that was really cool was feeding the lorries. We went into the aviary with all kinds of birds flying around. There were cockatoos, a koorkaburra and the lorries. The lorries look like some kind of small parrot, are mostly green but really colorful. You could buy lorry nectar and then the lorries would come and perch on your head, arms, or wherever they could find a spot. The birds were really excited and they would fight over the nectar. A couple of times a hawk flew over the aviary and the birds all got really scared and would all fly away. It was really neat and we stayed there quite a while. Around 4:30 we got a ride to walmart to try to find a birthday present for Annie. We had a list of quite a few things she wanted, but do you think we could find any of them at that Walmart today?? We got a giant birthday cookie and a card and then got a ride to Brian and Linda’s where they had made a wonderful turkey/thanksgiving/birthday dinner for all of us. We had a lovely evening. The kids swam in the pool and watched movies. All in all Annie had a great birthday even though she didn’t get any presents from us!
On Saturday we had planned to leave Melbourne ahead of Gotta Life and Sandpiper and go to Vero, but in the end we decided to stay here another day and get some chores done around the boat. The girls had a great day with the scooters and rip-stiks. They spent the entire day outside. In the afternoon Dave and I went for a walk to the grocery store. On the way we walked through a little park and saw three baby raccoons. They were really cute.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nov 20 - Eau Gaille Fl.

Nov 16 – Jekyll Island to Fernandino Beach FL!! (Mile 716)
We had a leisurely morning and finally pulled away from the dock around 9:30. It was still pretty windy and it was a challenge getting the boats away from the dock. We left last as we were at the end of the face dock and we got blown sideways into the little cove at the end of the dock. Dave had quite a time getting turned around and out of there, but all was fine in the end. We had to cross St. Andrew’s Sound, and in order to get around the shoals you have to almost go out into the ocean. It can kick up quite a bit in a high wind so we were cautious about going across it, but that too was fine. There was definitely some sea, but nothing like what we’re used to up north. We had a hard time deciding whether to stop at Cumberland Island or to go a little farther and get to Florida. Cumberland Island is a beautiful state park with wild horses and great walking trails, but given the cold temperatures, we decided to press on to Fernandino Beach. After some challenges in finding a mooring in Fernandino Beach we did find one and got tied on by 1:00. We had a great walk in this beautiful little town. It has great brick buildings and wonderful stores full of antiques. We got a few groceries at Fred’sa 5 and 10, and ice cream at the treat store. The folks on Gotta Life and Sandpiper went out for pizza, but we decided to stay on the boat for supper tonight.

Nov 17 – Fernandino Beach to St. Augustine (Mile 778)
We planned an early start but when we tried to start the motor at 6:30 the starter motor was making really strange noises. After a couple more tries, the starter wouldn’t work at all. Dave went to investigate and discovered that one of the two bolts that holds the starter in place had fallen out, and the other one was half way out. He was able to find the bolt and put it back together, but it took half and hour and we didn’t get away until 7:00. We expected to have a long day to St. Augustine as it is 68 miles but we had the current with us and we actually arrived at the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine a couple of minutes after their 3:00 opening. There were a few boats anchored on the north side of the bridge including Serenus and Miakado (with the twins that we met in Oriental) so we spent some time talking to those guys as we waited for the 3:30 opening. At 3:30 the bridge didn’t seem to be opening, so I called the bridge, and they said they weren’t opening as no one had requested and opening. That was pretty frustrating as we had talked to them at 3:04 when we asked them to keep the bridge open for us and they wouldn’t. Anyway, we had to wait another 30 minutes until the 4:00 opening. When we got through the bridge we went to look for a place to anchor. The anchorage is a little tricky as there are shoals in the middle of the anchorage, so Dave was watching the chart plotter really carefully, and then it started to get really shallow, even though it wasn’t showing shallow on the chart. To make a long story short, we ran hard aground and couldn’t get the boat off. Fortunately for us, a few minutes later a big power boat went by and rudely did not slow down. He created a lot of wake – I mean a lot of wake – probably 18-24 inch waves. Anyway, it was enough to raise us of the bottom and we were able to back off the shoal. Unfortunately, we also had to deal with the valleys between the waves and those kept slamming us into the bottom. We were hitting so hard that things were bouncing of the shelves down below, but in the end I was both glad to have a steel, full keel boat, and glad to be off the bottom. We were able to find another spot to anchor and had the hook down around 4:30 after a really long and tiring day. By the time we arrived in St. Augustine the bolts had loosened up again on the starter, so we took another crack at getting them tightened up with a different Allan key that Brian had on Gotta Life.

Nov 18 – St. Augustine to Daytona Beach (Mile 835)
We really weren’t sure where we were going to end up today as there are very few good anchorages on this stretch of the waterway. When we listened to the forecast, they were predicting that another front was going to come through so we decided to make a reservation at the Seven Seas Marina, just passed Daytona Beach. We saw lots of dolphins today. When we were waiting at one of the bridges, Dave tried the bow thruster and it didn’t work – at all… After we cleared through the bridge Dave went below to see if he could figure that out. After some trial and error, he was able to get it to work one way, but not the other way – there was a problem with the electrical connections. He spent quite a while trying to fix it, but finally had to give up. Just before we got to the marina we went under another bridge and it was really beautiful – each one of the supports was covered in a mosaic of dolphins and manatees. We had a hard time getting into the marina slip without the bow thruster, but eventually did get tied up. Shortly after we were settled, the wind really started to pipe up and it started to get colder. We were glad to be in a marina. We went for a walk across to the Beach and it was really beautiful. The waves were rolling in and the beach was so flat and smooth with fine white sand. The kids couldn’t restrain themselves and it wasn’t long before they were all soaking wet playing in the waves. They said the water was really warm, but the air was cold and we got them back to the marina so they could get a warm shower. Dave spent a long time trying to get the bow thruster to work with limited success. He finally took apart the connector and discovered that the wire wasn’t tinned so it was all corroded. He didn’t have the parts to fix it so he left if for tonight and we went over and had supper on Gotta Life.

Nov 19 – Daytona Beach to Titusville (Mile 876)
First thing in the morning Sheryl, Eileen and I got a ride with the marina owner to the grocery store. It was interesting to talk to him. They had owned the marina for 30 years. A few years ago they were offered a lot of money to sell the marina, but when he thought it over he said to himself, "if I had that kind of money I’d take it and buy a marina in Florida – I already have one of those, so why would I sell it!" By the time we got back, Dave had the bow thruster fixed! We left around 10:30. It was a reasonable uneventful day, although at one point Dave realized that he had followed a power boat through a bridge and took the wrong turn. Fortunately it wasn’t a dead end and joined back up with the ICW and it wasn’t really any farther. We had dolphins with us all day and the kids had a hard time concentrating on school. It is very sad to see so many boats that have been abandoned and are partially submerged. We saw one today that didn’t even look that old. We were anchored a little north of Titusville by the Jay Jay Railroad Causeway. Turning off the ICW to anchor here it was very shallow, and it was really distracting to have a dozen dolphins swimming around the boat, surfacing and breathing loudly through their blow holes. After we anchored we had a quick trip to shore with Rudder on the causeway. It was a little difficult getting to shore as the water was really shallow and it was hard to get the dinghy to shore. I made lasagna for supper so we had the girls over from Gotta Life.

Nov 20 – Titusville – Eau Gaille (mile 914)
Mark and Brendan wanted to go exploring in the morning, so we had breakfast and were thinking about taking Rudder to shore when we heard Mark and Brendan coming back from shore. Apparently the causeway is owned by NASA and we weren’t really supposed to go to shore there. Oops. We left around 8:30 and had another uneventful day. Nice to not have things break for a day or two. We anchored in behind the Eau Gaille causeway around 1:30. Sheryl and Brian have friends that live near here, so they went to shore to check things out and to give them a call and they took Annie and Kristen with them. We went to shore shortly after them and there was a great park with a playground and tennis court. As we were going in the dolphins were corralling fish and doing all kinds of splashing around. There are also lots of birds – pelicans, egrets, ibis and wood storks. Were pretty sure there are manatees around as you can see them swimming out in the channel. The kids had a great time playing in the playground. Sheryl and Brian’s friends Brian and Linda came to meet us and they started shuttling us all to a restaurant for supper. There were 14 of us all together and it was a really fun time. Sheryl arranged for the waiters to sing Happy Birthday to Annie!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nov 15 - Jekyll Island

Lots of anchorages and not much internet - finally a place to post this!

Nov 6 – Thoroughfare Creek to Georgetown – Mile 403
We left a little after 7:00 so we would be in Georgetown early and hopefully get a place to anchor. It was a beautiful morning. The scenery is wonderful, and the early morning light and a little mist on the water made a beautiful start to the day. We were able to find a little spot to anchor of the town of Georgetown and we dropped the hook a little after 9:00. We went for a walk through town. Then Dave took Rudder and Kristen back to the boat and Annie and I looked in some of the little shops until lunch time. Later in the afternoon we walked to the grocery store and got them to give us a ride back to the boat when we were done. The girls made Peanut Chicken stir-fry for supper with Key Lime Pie for dessert.
Nov 7 – Georgetown
We decided to spend another day in Georgetown. The girls got their schoolwork done in the morning. We went in the dinghy to see if we could find any alligators but we couldn’t find any. We did see family from PEI with a girl on it so we went to go visit. The girl was Annie’s age. They left PEI in October in a van and had bought just bought their boat and were heading to the Carribean.
After lunch we went back to wander around Georgetown and later in the day we went to sit in one of the little restaurants over looking the river to have some nachos. On our way back to the boat we picked up Sheena (the girl) so she could come over for a visit. She stayed until suppertime and then we took her back to her boat. Kristen made Shrimp Creole for supper.

Nov 8 – Georgetown to Graham Creek – Mile 439
We left around 7:00 and had current with us most of the day so we were anchored in Graham Creek by 12:30. It was a warm and sunny day. It is a beautiful anchorage with marsh grass all around. There is a little oyster shell beach near the entrance to the creek were we could take Rudder to shore. We had arranged to meet Gotta Life here. We had been emailing back and forth with them since we were in the Dismal Swamp because they are also travelling with two girls. Sure enough, they arrived and were anchored a little after 1:00. It was great to meet them – Brian, Sheryl, Erin and Geneva. They are travelling with another boat, Sandpiper, with Brian’s parents and two of Brian’s nephews. The girls got a long great and were invited back after supper for a sleep over.

Nov 9 – Graham Creek to Tom Point Creek – Mile 495.7
We left a little after sunrise this morning. It was a beautiful morning and the sunrise over the marsh was spectacular. We had current against us most the day, and had to wait quite a while at two different bridges that only opened on the hour so we didn’t arrive at our anchorage until a few minutes after sunset. We had lots of dolphins swimming around us today so it helped to make the day go faster. Dave and Annie took Rudder to shore and found a huge horseshoe crab shell that measured 2’ from tip to tail. We were invited over to Gotta Life for potluck supper along with Sandpiper. It was a full boat with 8 adults and 4 kids. The adults ate in the enclosure in the cockpit and the kids ate below. It was a fun time.

Nov 10/11 – Tom Point Creek to Beaufort – Mile 536
We had another beautiful sunrise this morning and were underway a little before 7:00. We arrived at Beaufort a little after 1:00. Beaufort SC is pronounced Bew-fort while Beaufort NC is pronounced Bow-fort – it is a little confusing! We decided to go and stay at the marina, while Gotta Life and Sandpiper anchored off. We got tied up and were able to get diesel and water at our dock. We had a busy afternoon getting tidied up. I had ordered a math book for Kristen and had it sent to the marina -- when we arrived it hadn’t which was a bit of a pain. Fortunately it arrive on UPS about 30 minutes later so we had it in the afternoon. After we got organized and cleaned up, Gotta Life came in and met us and we all walked up to the post office. We were able to pick up the stove burner that Dave ordered and put a couple of parcels in the mail. After that we went for a long, long one mile walk to a grocery store. It was such a long walk we didn’t want to carry much back to the boat, and besides it had gotten dark. We picked up enough stuff for dinner and went back to the boat. Geneva and Erin stayed for supper. We got the laundry done in the evening.
We all planned to spend another day in Beaufort and planned to meet again in the morning in time for the Veteran’s Day parade.
In the morning I took Rudder for a nice walk along the waterfront in Beaufort. Beaufort has the most beautiful and gracious antebellum style homes along the waterfront. There are lots of beautiful trees that are covered with spanish moss and there are lots of palm trees too. We watched the parade and tried to borrow the courtesy car from the marina to go and get some groceries. The girls stayed in the waterfront park with the Sandridges and learned to ride on Rip-Stiks – they are like skateboards except they swivel in the middle and only have one wheel front and back. You can wiggle them back and forth to move them along a flat sidewalk. Kristen took a bit of a tumble and hurt her wrist so switch back to riding her scooter. We moved the boat out to the anchorage and then went back to town to walk around and look in some of the stores. We were back to the boat by supper time and we had a simple supper of hamburgers. Everyone went to bed early.

Nov 12 – Beaufort to Herb Creek GA – Mile 584
We’ve made it to Georgia! We had a challenging time pulling up our anchors this morning – in these waters there is a lot of current so you set two – about 180° apart. Normally we are able to pull up the little anchor first in the dinghy, but this morning it was the little anchor that was holding us so things were a little different. There were also quite a few sailboats around us and every one is moving into different places as they pull up their anchors. Anyway, we got away a little after 7:00. It was a little chilly but a nice sunny day. We were able to pull out the head sail and do some motor sailing. Shortly after we left Beaufort the engine started acting up and Dave figured out that there was a problem with fuel. He was able to turn the motor off and change the fuel filter while we were under sail. Unfortunately it is our last fuel filter and it looks like there is probably a problem with the fuel in the tank. We arrived in Herb Creek around 4:00. It is another little creek that winds off the ICW through the marsh and we couldn’t find anywhere to take Rudder to shore. I did try though and I found a little muddy patch in the reeds. He got all covered in mud but I’m sorry to report the mud patch apparently did not meet his high standards and we returned to the boat with lots of mud and some unfinished business.
The boys off Sandpiper met up with some friends in Savannah so there was extra room around the supper table on Gotta Life so we went over for supper. The next day we learned about the big adventure that Mark and Brendan had trying to get back to the boat at 1:30. They had arranged to leave their dinghy at a private dock and had the name, address and phone number of the owner of the dock. They didn’t realize that the gated community had a guard and when they arrived there on foot in the middle of the night the guard didn’t want to let them in. After leaving photocopies of their id at the gatehouse they were let in to walk the 1.5 miles to the dock. After about 20 minutes they were approached by 3 police cars! The guard had called the police to have them escorted to the dock! Anyway one of the police cars took them to the correct address and walked them all the way out across the dock to make sure they got into their dinghy and left the subdivision.

Nov 13 – Herb Creek to St Catherine’s Island – mile 619
It was really foggy in the morning so we stayed put in Herb Creek and didn’t leave until 10:00. I tried again to find some shore for Rudder and went quite away in the fog in the dinghy and didn’t see anything so finally I went back to the boat before I got lost. The fuel continued to give us problems today, but when we ran the fuel pump it seemed to keep the engine going. When Dave tried to clean out the old one it wouldn’t work at all. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep it going until we reach Jekyll Island. We got to Walberg Creek around 4:00 and the girls and I quickly got the dinghy down and set off to go the beach we’d seen a mile or so back. We have made our way back down to the Atlantic Ocean and we could see the ocean as we crossed a Sound before the anchorage. We didn’t have time to go all the way up the beach to the Atlantic, but it was great to see sand again – Rudder was impressed. The shoreline was really neat too as the sand had eroded away about 2 feet from underneath all the trees. There were lots of dead trees that had fallen down, and some were still standing with a couple of feet of roots showing about the sand. The beach was really flat and the tide was coming in so we weren’t there very long before the dinghy started to float off the beach so we had to cut our adventure short to rescue the dinghy.
We made pizza for supper and the girls from Gotta Life came over too.

Nov 14 – St. Catherine’s Island to Dalphin River – mile 649
We knew we had a short day today as we couldn’t go through the shallow Little Mud River at low tide, and low tide was mid afternoon so we knew we’d have to anchor before we got there. Gotta Life took Annie and Kristen for another adventure to shore and then we left around 10:30. We continued to struggle with fuel problems, as well as high winds and nasty currents but finally arrived at the Dalpin River and Sapello Island around 4:00. We wanted to take Rudder for a walk so we quickly dropped the dinghy and headed towards the ferry dock. On the way we picked up Geneva and Erin from Gotta Life. When we got to the ferry dock there were signs saying that there was to be no unauthorized use of the dock, but we decided to risk it and tie up anyway. We went for a bit of a walk, but dark was fast approaching and we didn’t want to be getting back to the boat after dark. Sapello Island has an interesting history and apparently has a really nice house that was built in the 1900’s and renovated in 1925 but we didn’t get a chance to see it.

Nov 15 – Dalphin River to Jekyll Island – Mile 685
We got an early start this morning and were heading down the river before 7:00. Little Mud River was no problem with the high tide but we were glad we hadn’t tried to do it at low tide. We finally had to take out the primary fuel filter and run with only the secondary filter. We spent the day hoping and praying we’d be able to get more fuel filters when we got to Jekyll. We got to Jekyll around 12:30, and we tied up at the Jekyll Harbour Marina. Shortly after we arrived the wind piped up and the rain started and we were glad to be here. The transient dock filled up really quickly as about 10 other boats all decided to come in here as well. We were so glad to hear that they do have our fuel filters here! Dave bought 4 and some fuel conditioner so hopefully we’ll be able to resolve the fuel problem. We were also glad to find that our WiFi antenna had arrived here safely so now we should be able to get internet below on the boat and not have to do all the computer stuff in the cockpit (and sure enough it works!)
After lunch we walked over the historic district and looked at all the mansions that were built by the American elite in the late 1800’s. There are a whole series of cottages with names like JP Morgan, Vanderbuilt, Crane, and Carnegie. There is a beautiful old building that was called the Millionaire’s Club where all these folks at their meals. Amazing to think of the business deals that would have been conducted here. There was talk that the Germans were going to bomb Jekyll Island during WWII as it would have had such an impact on the US economy.
While it is wonderful to be here in Jekyll we hope this storm front will pass through tonight so we can be on our way tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nov 6 - Georgetown SC

Just arrived in Georgetown and we have internet so I'll post what I have up until yesterday.

Nov 3 – Wrightsville Beach to Southport - Mile 309
It was pouring with rain today but we decided to leave anyway. We left around 9:00 so that we would have a high tide going through Carolina Beach Inlet where it can be pretty shallow. We didn’t have any problems with the reported shallow areas and we went through Snow’s Cut and then down the Cape Fear River. We arrived in Southport in 1:00 and it was really raining hard! We read that there was a dock you could tie up at by a restaurant if you ate at the restaurant, but that the restaurant would be closed for the season. We found the dock and tied up, only to find the restaurant was still open. They were going to be closed at suppertime so we had a great lunch there. It was a fun little spot and a big hang out for the boaters going down the ICW. It continued to be a pretty wet day, although the rain tapered off a bit and we were able to go for a bit of a walk before supper.

Nov 4 – Southport to Barefoot Landing SC– Mile 354.4
We expected to be staying put today as it was supposed to be another really rainy day, but when we woke up the rain had stopped so we decided to keep moving. It was a fairly uneventful day although at one point Kristen can up into the cockpit and looked back at the dinghy and said "what happened to the dinghy?" Dave and I both looked back to see that one end of the dinghy was no longer supported by the ropes that connect it to the davits. A pin had pulled out of one of the pulleys so it was sort of dangling. Dave was able to drop it into the water so we just pulled it along behind. Today we went through one of the last floating pontoon bridges in the US. It looks like a fixed bridge that is under construction will soon replace it. The are many new bridges being built and lots of new homes. The area around Myrtle Beach has really developed since we were here 15 years ago. We couldn’t get a spot at Barefoot Landing, but were able to stay at a nice marina across from Barefoot Landing. After we got settled we dinghied over to the shops at Barefoot Landing. It is a complex of little shops surrounding a man made lake, selling lots of things you don’t need when you live on a boat, but it was fun to look around. We went out for supper at Joe’s Crab Shack. After supper we went back to the boat to for a bit to hear what we could of the election results, and then the girls and I went up to the hot tub for a bit. We all stayed up in varying degrees of late to hear the election results, but Dave was the only one who lasted long enough to hear Obama’s victory speech. While there were parties all over the US when Obama won, it was pretty quite in the Barefoot Landing Resort marina – we suspected that there were a few people around us disappointed in the result.

Nov 5 – Barefoot Landing to Thoroughfare Creek – Mile 389
It was a little chilly in the morning. I took Rudder for a long walk to try to find a newspaper to get more details on the election. We had a leisurely morning to let the kids wake up slowly after their late night. The hot tub opened at 9:00 and we decided to go for a soak before leaving, so we didn’t actually leave until around 10:30. It continued to be a kind of chilly and overcast day as we carried on with our journey. We traveled through miles and miles of cypress swamp, which sounds kind of eerie but was a nice change from all the over-the-top real estate development we have seen, particularly yesterday. We pulled off the ICW at mile 389 and headed a little way up Thoroughfare Creek to a beautiful, peaceful anchorage. There are beautiful trees covered with spanish moss and vines. Many of the leaves are changing color and the leaves on the vines are bright red, winding their way up the trees. After we got anchored, we put the motor on the dinghy and went exploring a little waterside development off Thoroughfare Creek. I don’t think it took off the way the developers hoped, and instead there were just a few homes and cottages on each of the canals. We explored up as far as a little lake. It was all very peaceful and serene except for the moment when Annie saw the snake in the river! We took the dinghy back near the boat and landed on a high sandy bank and went for a walk across to the lake we had been on in the dinghy. We saw lots and lots of animal tracks. There were deer tracks everywhere and we also raccoon and squirrel tracks. There were some tracks that were about 3-4 inches across and had 4 distinct claw marks, but we weren’t sure what made them – maybe a bear or a bobcat. It was wonderful to be in this great anchorage with not another boat in sight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November 2 - Wrightsville Beach

Oct 29 – Belhaven
It was really windy and cold again today so we decided to stay put. The kids did school in the morning. In the afternoon the girls went to visit the boat tied up next to us. The boat’s name is Blue Ocean, the people are from Denmark and they have a 12-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl. Unfortunately their daughter doesn’t speak English. Their son’s English is pretty good, but he is shy to use it. The kids played Nintendo for a while and then played a bit of tennis. After that, we were going to go for groceries, but the golf cart was gone so we started the laundry instead. Just after we started the laundry the golf cart came back so we left the laundry and went for groceries. We took "Sailor Joe" with us. He is probably 80 years old and sails alone on a 25’ boat. He is quite a character. In the evening the kids from Blue Ocean came over and all the kids played Pit.

Oct 30 – Broad Creek (mile 172)
We left Belhaven around 7:30. It was a nice sunny day and it is starting to warm up. We were able to sail part of the day so that was great. Dave saw some dolphins in the distance but they didn’t come very close. We anchored in Broad Creek, a little north of Oriental around 2:00. Serenus (Noah and Vicky) anchored with us, but Carpe Diem decided to go the marina. It is really pretty here. The land is really flat and there are tall pine trees everywhere. We dropped the dinghy down so Annie, Kristen and I could take Rudder to shore. Noah and Vicky wanted to go for a walk too, and their dinghy was on deck so we took them with us. We had a great walk on a mowed path through the forest. It was really peaceful. We saw raccoon and deer tracks but didn’t see any animals. I made up the beef dish with beef from both boats and we went over and had supper on Serenus. Vicky went through the french book with me and helped me with my pronunciation. They are planning to head for Beaufort tomorrow and then head off shore.

Oct 31 – Oriental (Mile 182)
After much discussion we decided to have a really short day today and go to the little town of Oriental for Halloween. The free dock was full, as was the marina near the free dock, but they had space for us in the marina by the bridge – managed by the same people. We could have anchored, but figured it was better to be tied up for trick or treating. The girls and I went back to the first marina to register and on the way ran into people we had been tied up with in Elizabeth City. They told us there were some young girls on the catamaran tied up at the free dock. After we registered, we went over to say "Hi" at the cat - Miakado. The girls are 7-1/2 twins – Allianna (Ally) and Emma. They were really excited to meet some other kids and wanted to come right over to visit on our boat. Ally and Emma had lunch with us and played for a while and then went back to their boat while we went for a walk in town. After our walk, the girls went back over to the other marina to carve pumpkins with Ally and Emma. Annie and Kristen had supper on Miakado, and Dave and I had a quick supper of fresh shrimp back on Bird. After supper I took Annie and Kristen costumes back to Miakado so they could get dressed. Annie dressed up as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz by using part of her jig outfit (including the red shoes) and part of her national outfit. Kristen dressed up as Laura from little house by wearing her national dress, and my sundress over top. Their costumes weren’t perfect but they were pretty cute! Just as we started trick or treating we ran into Annie and Dietrich from Calliope and Bruce and Annie danced the jig in the middle of the road (with no music). They all thought that was pretty neat!
Trick or treating wasn’t as great as in Pictou – there are so many vacant homes here – but they still had a really good time. We met up with Dave back at the Halloween party back at the marina. There were lots of people we knew from Dismal Swamp and Elizabeth City so that was fun.

Nov 1 – Oriental to Swansborro – Mile 228
It was a beautiful warm day today. We left at 7:30 just ahead of Miakado. After we crossed the Nuese River we saw lots of dolphins playing in the water really close to the boat. It was so cool!! We passed through Beaufort and Morehead City and went down Bogue Sound. The waterway channel is really narrow here so it requires a lot of attention to make sure you stay in the channel and don’t go aground. We decided to stop at Dudley’s Marina in Swansborro rather than push on to the anchorage at mile 244 as there is a really shallow spot at mile 237 that we wanted to do at high tide (and in the morning). When we stopped in Swansborro 15 years ago it was cold and wet and it seemed like we walked for miles to find a banking machine. This was a totally different experience. It was warm and sunny and we had a great walk to the historic district of Swansborro. There are great little shops and the simple architecture of the houses is really neat. We walked back to the marina and barbequed steak for supper.

Nov 2 – Swansborro to Wrightsville Beach – Mile 283
Another beautiful day! Today we had dolphins all around us. A mother and calf were swimming right under the bow sprit of the boat and we could see them under the water! We didn’t have any problem going through the two shallow spots we were worried about. We had three bridges today that only opened on the hour so we had to think about getting the timing right on those. We ended up sailing for the last couple of hours as we only needed to go about 3 miles per hour because of the bridges so that was really nice. We got to the marina in Wrightsville Beach just after 4:00. We were glad to find a place to stay as a lot of the marinas are full and there is very limited room for anchoring here. After we got settled we went for a short walk and got some groceries.