Joined October 2021 Message
  • Day51

    Beaufort, NC to Stuart, FL

    November 28 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 72 °F

    We left Beaufort with the intention of staying offshore as far as Hilton Head, but our conditions were so favorable that our earlier than expected arrival into Port Royal Sound would be well ahead of daylight. Instead, we continued on and went into the Wilmington River in Savannah. We stopped just for fuel then made it all the way to the Vernon River to stage for the tide going through Hell Gate, an area of the ICW known for shoaling. After all of our offshore travel up to this point, we were looking forward to a leisurely cruise down the beautiful , winding wilds of the Georgia ICW. Little did we know...

    The Sounds in Georgia can be a challenge to get across in some conditions, but we fared well. We had favorable currents until we got into Cumberland Sound. There our speed was slow but we had enough wind to bump our speed up a little with the jib. When we got to the Cumberland River, skies started to look a little dark but radar only showed some light rain east of us and moving north. Whatever it was had more energy in it than we realized and, in a narrow section of the River, just before a sharp turn, a sudden squall caught the sail and total havoc ensued. We had another sailboat right in front of us, also under sail, who heeled so hard it looked like they laid the mast down. The next 10-15 minutes for Dave consisted of fighting the wind while trying to secure and bring in the jib, with the lazy sheet running wild and wrapping around the working sheet. For me it was trying to stay off the river bank and the boat in front of us while also trying to position the boat off the wind so Dave didn't have to fight so hard. When it was finally over, everyone was safe but it took a little while to recover. Dave could tell the jib had torn but we didn't know yet how badly.

    We kept going, down the St. Mary's River and past Fernandina, and anchored off the Amelia River. As Dave backed down on the anchor, we heard a loud noise and the engine seized and shut off. We knew we had wrapped something around the propeller. We called Boat US and they arranged for a diver to come to the boat the next morning. Fortunately, the anchor had grabbed well and we were fine until they came. What we were surprised by was the 4 ft section of line he took off which we realized was a section of the jib's lazy sheet. It had gotten cut by the prop on its wild flight during the squall and hadn't caused us any problem until we put the boat in reverse. Given the okay after the diver's inspection, we headed out again, only to hear a new loud noise coming from the engine compartment. Uncomfortable moving on until we sorted out the noise, and with Nicole approaching in the next few days, we elected to take a tow.

    Our storm plan was to go into a protected marina off the ICW but the tow driver informed us that the marina where we had made reservations requires you to go into it under your own power. He towed us, instead, to a marina in Jacksonville, right off the St. John's River where there was a mechanic on site.
    He made some needed repairs and was great to work with. The marina, however, was not in a great location to ride out the hurricane. Exposed to the St. John's River, the storm surge was considerable, covering the docks by a foot and bringing our lines up almost to the top of the pile we were most relying on. We saw winds of 52 kts (~60 mph). Fortunately we got through it fine.
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  • Day22

    Wiscasset, Maine to Beaufort, NC

    October 30 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    We left home on the night of October 9th with temperatures in the mid 30s. The first leg was easy except for about 4-5 hours of unexpected headwinds and confused seas along Jeffries Ledge (NH, MA). We transited the Cape Cod Canal in the dark, without any difficulty. Shortly after exiting the Canal we were passed by a large cruise ship, fortunately not until the depths outside the channel in Buzzard's Bay were sufficient for us to move out of the way.

    Our weather window looked so encouraging that we decided to bypass Long Island Sound and NYC with the intention of running all the way to Cape May, NJ before stopping. The stretch from Buzzard's Bay around the outside of Block Island and past Montauk was delightful, as predicted, but wind and seas unexpectedly came around on the nose, slowing us down so much that we realized Cape May was turning out to be an unrealistic goal. We went into a marina in Atlantic Highlands, where we enjoyed six nights of milder weather and beautiful walks while awaiting better conditions to proceed down the NJ coast.

    We were blessed with west winds coming down along NJ so, although we had substantial winds on the beam, seas stayed comfortable. We got into Cape May just ahead of some high winds, stayed at Utch's Marina for a few nights, then had an easy overnight down the DE/MD coasts and into Portsmouth, VA. We anchored for one night then, as usual, opted for the Dismal Swamp/ Pasquotank River route to get to Albermarle Sound. The duckweed in the Dismal Swamp was more extensive and dense than we had ever seen. We emptied a fully packed strainer and anchored for the night by Goat Island in the Pasquotank.

    Although the engine hadn't overheated while in the Dismal Swamp, it started to the next day when we were almost to the Albermarle Sound. Additionally, we had been accumulating sea water in the engine compartment which seemed to be getting worse. Before getting any further into the "wilds" of NC, we decided to turn back and stop in Elizabeth City to sort out the 2 likely unrelated problems. We got a spot on the free dock provided by the Atlantic Christian University. Dave checked the impeller and all sea water-related hoses, finding no obstruction, and pumped air through the thru- hull to release any obstruction there. We think that's what eventually solved the problem as we've had no more issues with overheating since. As for the water in the engine compartment, we were able to identify a hose that had worn through and Dave promptly repaired that.

    Along with delightfully calm seas crossing the Albermarle we had very dense fog. At times our visibility was less than a tenth of a mile. Fortunately cruisers were communicating well by radio so, although there were 4 other boats we couldn't see with the naked eye converging with us as we approached the entrance marker to the Alligator River, we all safely made it through and the fog started to lift shortly thereafter.

    The next day we had a fair current going through the Alligator/Pungo Canal then following winds and seas, making for the best sail we've had so far down the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers. Anticipating approaching high winds, we came into the Homer Smith Docks and Marina in Beaufort, NC. We're hoping to go offshore Tuesday but haven't decided on our next destination yet. Stay tuned!
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    Thanks for the update! Stay safe [Dennis Arnold]

    10/30/22Reply

    Wow!! Amazing! But what is a fully packed stainer?? [Sharon King]

    10/30/22Reply
    Traveler

    Haha! A strainer that traps bad stuff that gets into the boat's plumbing!

    10/30/22Reply

    Got it! [Sharon King]

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  • The Long Journey Home

    June 13 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 64 °F

    We made an uneventful double overnight run from Ft. Pierce, FL to Charleston, SC. It was Easter week so the marinas were all full. We tucked in and anchored next to the USS Yorktown, which offered great protection from the winds that night. The next day we were able to get a slip in the Cooper River Marina, away from downtown but quiet and protected from the winds we needed to ride out for a few days. There was a freight container port right next to the marina, but we managed to have some good walks and see some wildlife along the nearby canals nonetheless.

    We had another brief offshore opportunity and went overnight from Charleston to Beaufort, NC. We anchored, for the first time, in Taylor Creek. The waterfront was busy, the main anchorage was crowded, and we didn't plan to go ashore, so we anchored well down the Creek and had a restful night.

    The only section of the ICW we did during the entire trip home was from Beaufort to Norfolk, which included several days in Dowry Creek Marina in Bellhaven, NC for, yet again, another wind event. We chose the Dismal Swamp
    route, anchored one night in Norfolk, then went into a marina in Virginia Beach to stage for an offshore trip up the Maryland and Delaware coasts.

    We got into Cape May, NJ just as the winds of an approaching Nor'Easter were starting to build. We sat out 8 days of high winds, rain and fog, awaiting the opportunity to go up the coast of New Jersey and into New York City. When we finally left, poor visibility expected to improve within a few hours, made navigating out of Cape May Harbor very challenging. The fog never lifted until we got into Long Island Sound. It remained so dense in the East River in NYC that we couldn't see both sides of the river until we got almost to Hell Gate.

    We had about 8 hours of beautiful conditions in Long Island Sound until the fog moved back in with a vengeance, around Bridgeport, CT. About 6 miles before "The Race," (a 3 mile wide deep channel of very strong current between Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound), we were approached from behind by a 300 ft long, 100 ft tall, cargo ship wanting to know our intentions. We were fighting the current and only doing 3.5 kts, so I asked him what he wanted us to do. He instructed us to hold our course and he would pass us on our starboard. We were relieved when we finally passed us as we could never see him. We could only hear his horn as he passed. Excitement like that helps you stay awake when you know you have to keep going for a second night! Yikes!

    We anchored in Onset for one night, then spent one night in the Sandwich Marina while conditions improved in Cape Cod Bay and north. The rest of our trip was fairly benign and we were excited to tie up on our dock early morning May 19th. It was a challenging sailing season weather wise but another good one overall.
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    Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy your adventures! [Jane Gingrich]

    6/13/22Reply

    Wow - welcome home! [David Libby]

    6/13/22Reply

    So glad your journey was a success. So glad you are home! [Marlene Ouellette]

    6/14/22Reply

    You two have quite the adventuresome spirit. Welcome home! [Joanie]

    6/15/22Reply
     
  • Day200

    Exumas (cont'd) and Starting Home

    April 20 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    We decided not to go any further south as our time to think about starting our journey home to Maine was approaching and the winds supported us moving north instead. We made our way up to Emerald Rock at Warderick Wells with plans to hike the trails we like and hadn't been on in three years. Strong southwest winds made the trip there easy but when attempting to grab a mooring, seas were rough and a wrestling match ensued with the mooring winning. I was unable to hold the boat on the wind and the mooring hook, already hooked onto the float of the mooring pennant, was snatched from Dave's hands and managed to wrap itself around the rudder post, causing a terrible vibration and forcing me to turn the engine off. Fortunately the prop was not involved and the pennant and mooring hook were holding us. We securely attached stern lines from each stern cleat to the mooring (see photo) and when conditions settled a couple of hours later, Dave attached a bow line to the mooring as well, released the stern line on the opposite side, and we worked the boat around. The next morning we were easily able to spot the water-logged mooring hook on the bottom nearby and I dove down and retrieved it.

    Our age challenged memories failed us as we tried to retrace the hiking route we took several times 3 years ago.We got significantly off course and spent enough time bush whacking that we both incurred Poisonwood rashes that plagued us for the next few weeks.These rashes are much like rashes from Poison Sumac and Poison Oak. We're very grateful for Hydrocortisone and Benadryl cream. If we ever choose to take the hike again (Dave says NO!!) it will be after downloading the Google Maps satellite view!

    Seeing a possible crossing window approaching but still almost a week away, we moved south again to Pipe Alley. We hid between the Mice and Rat Cay for some northeast winds then moved to our favorite spot in front of Little Pipe Cay for a few days. To us the water colors there are as dramatic as they are in the Land and Sea Park.

    We staged at Allens Cay then made a long day run to the Berry Islands,
    stopping first at Bonds Cay then working our way around to CoCo Cay (aka Little Stirrup Cay, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines). We anchored there just in time for a squall with 35 kt winds. The next morning we crossed to Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island and enjoyed a week in the Grand Bahama Yacht Club Marina, awaiting palatable Gulf Stream crossing conditions.

    With friends in Vero Beach, FL holding a brand new windlass for us, our destination from Lucaya was Ft. Pierce. We chose a day that was a little sportier than we would have liked, but the forecast for the following days warned of numerous thunderstorms with squalls coming off of Florida and across the Gulf Stream. The crossing was bouncy but tolerable.

    We had a reservation in Ft. Pierce City Marina and our friend generously delivered our new windlass to us there. Dave spent the entire next day carefully installing it. It's working fine, it's much quieter than the old one and we're thrilled that we won't be faced with manually deploying and retrieving the anchor by hand in the mud conditions the ICW often provides north from here on.

    We grabbed a window to jump offshore all the way from Ft. Pierce to Charleston, SC. We initially planned to stay close to shore so we could go into a closer inlet if we needed to, but once we got up to Canaveral and refreshed our forecast models, we decided to go for it and ride the Gulf Stream. When we got well into the GS, the waves were huge, spread out swells. Concerned that they were coming from the north and that increasing north winds could really stir things up, we moved over to the edge of the west wall of the Stream where we could bail if need be.The wind actually ended up being very light so our 2 nights out there were very easy and we made great time.

    One highlight of the long stretch was the visit by Stuart the stowaway, a Palm Warbler. He joined us for a couple of hours on the first afternoon, confidently exploring the cockpit and not fazed by our presence. He left that evening but found us again in the morning. We have often had birds rest with us for a while on long crossings, but something was different about Stuart. He'd leave for a few minutes, then come back. Eventually he didn't leave, instead making himself at home inside and outside the boat and even on our heads and legs. In the photo you can see he even let Dave stroke him. He seemed appropriately vigorous and curious but we were surprised at his desire for physical closeness with us. By late that second day he just wanted to hang out down in the salon. Figuring he was resting for a long trip north, we simply stayed out of his way and talked to him now and then. Alas, we eventually found him lying motionless on the floor next to the companionway. We were sad but we hope we offered him some comfort and serenity on his last trip north....

    We arrived in Charleston Harbor mid day Easter Sunday. All marinas we called were full, some through the entire week. We anchored in front of the retired aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown and enjoyed her protection from east winds gusting into the 30s that night. The next day we were able to get into the Cooper River Marina, not close to town but quiet and comfortable. We're glad to be plugged in as the past 2 night have dipped into the 40s with stiff north winds and we've had the heat on!

    Our next plan is to leave here this weekend and go offshore to Beaufort, NC. From there we'll take the ICW to Norfolk, VA then re-evaluate!
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    sounds like a great adventure [DeBois Steve]

    4/20/22Reply

    All sounds great. I wish you were a few weeks delayed, we might have caught you. [Hayden]

    4/20/22Reply

    Hi from SV Nancy Marie. This is Wednesday the 20th. Are you still in Beaufort? We will be there the 21st and 22nd. Would love to catch up with you! [Nancy O'Malley]

    4/20/22Reply
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  • Day171

    Moving south, Exumas

    March 22 on the Bahamas ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

    Arriving in the Exumas late this year, we expected most of the fronts to be over with. Since the absence of a windlass is keeping us from wanting to move around a lot, persistent frequent wind events haven't really bothered us. We went right back into our favorite hideout in Norman's Pond on Norman;'s Cay for 6 days when a northerly came through. We were able to enjoy all our favorite spots there but, much to our dismay, the resort and upscale home development which we have been watching get underway for the past couple of years has really progressed. A member from one of the old families there confirmed our fears that the roads and beaches will be off limits before long. Luckily, we don't see a way the Pond can be made inaccessible...

    From Norman's we made short jumps down to Shroud and Hawksbill, which we hadn't visited in 3 years. Both among the Land and Sea Park Cays, they offer some of the most breathtaking array of aquamarine colors. This water is what keeps drawing us back....

    We anchored next near the grotto at Staniel Cay for a few days and got fuel and a few groceries and got rid of trash. Sunday we spent several hours attempting to catch fish on the Sound between Staniel and Great Guana Cays but only succeeded in losing a brand new lure to something big that Dave saw jump out of the water behind us. We're here now at Black Point on Great Guana Cay with newly clean laundry waiting for some winds to die down before we move a little further south.
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    You are killing me with your pictures. Hawksbill is one of my favorites. [Prue]

    3/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    Me too!

    3/22/22Reply

    Some of our favorite spots! Enjoy!! [Chrisy]

    3/23/22Reply
     
  • Day171

    Chubb Cay to the Northern Exumas

    March 22 on the Bahamas ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    We had a slow but uneventful crossing from Lake Worth, across the Gulf Stream towards the western end of Grand Bahama, then picked up speed and had an easy night the remainder of the way to Chubb Cay in the Southern Berrys. We stayed one night in the marina for ease of Customs and Immigration check-in and for fuel.

    We then made a long day run from Chubb, arriving at Allens Cay just after dark. Between the dark and the rougher than expected sea state, we were reminded of why we don't like to anchor at night. The next day we were eventually able to anchor in our favorite cove off SW Allens Cay. Unfortunately, our windlass (electric winch for the anchor chain) met its demise upon deployment there.

    With great contortionist maneuvering, assorted tools and a few resulting cuts/bruises and aches and pains, we were eventually able to remove the old windlass. Dave's attempts at disassembling it and repairing it were, alas, unsuccessful. It served us well but it's time to replace it. We have friends in Florida who are generously holding a new one for us . Dave will install it upon our return there in the next few weeks. In the meantime we will make every effort to anchor in calm, shallow water, to minimize the amount of chain we need to manage along with the anchor. Who needs free weights when you have no windlass...

    We decided to wait out the winds in the Highbourne Cay Marina We hadn't stayed there previously and appreciated the convenience and amenities, knowing we would probably be anchoring for the rest of our time in the Exumas. Dave had a BIG birthday while we were there!
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    When we had windlass problems we used a spare halyard with a chain hook (and temporary downhaul attached to halyard) to raise the anchor. Slow but saved Burt's back. [Prue]

    3/22/22Reply
     
  • Day147

    Stuart, Florida

    February 26 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    We made it down to Stuart the week before Thanksgiving and were able to get on a mooring in Sunset Bay Marina, close to the marina facilities. Happy to be back to such a nice little city and great spot to leave the boat for a month, we enjoyed nice warm weather until our flight home in mid December.

    Upon our return to Cay Paraiso in mid January, conditions stayed too unsettled for us to leave either to go further south or to cross to the Bahamas. We missed one good window while awaiting the receipt and installation of a new wind instrument, then several more potential windows closed right after they appeared.

    Almost 3 weeks later than we've ever left for the Bahamas, we are finally on our way. We had a pleasant motor sail offshore to Lake Worth today and plan to leave in the morning for Chub Cay in the Berrys. We are hoping to be in the Exumas by Wednesday.
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    Hello, this is wonderful to hear that you are both well and about to go to a beautiful area. We were so close to you. We sailed past Stuart twice as we went to North Palm a month ago. We decided to forgoe the Bahamas this year so we came back to St Augustine where we will stay until end of March. Please let us know when you will be heading back north again. Enjoy the tropics and stay safen [Nancy and Tom]

    2/26/22Reply
     
  • Day42

    Oriental, NC to Fernandina Beach, FL

    November 13, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    We skipped the stop in Beaufort and went from Oriental off shore all the way to Hilton Head. The first night was significantly different than expected. Three foot seas on the nose grew and became confused as the wind, stronger than predicted, clocked around to the north. Waves were cresting and breaking and it was uncomfortable. It's a good way to diet but I wouldn't recommend it.

    The second night was delightful once the seas got themselves in sync. The wind died way down so we motored, but the peace and quiet was welcome after the previous night.

    We spent several nights in Hilton Head. The highlight was a fabulous visit with our friends, Burt and Prue, which included a visit to their beautiful home, a walk in a lush nature preserve nearby, and a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum.

    It was becoming evident that the cold was following us. Not being in any hurry at this point, and with a Nor' easter in the forecast, we went and stayed 3 nights in a marina in Savannah. I had never been there and Dave hadn't been there in years. We took a guided walking tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery, considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, then an informative and scenic guided historic trolley tour. In addition to the multiple beautiful Live Oak tree lined squares, I was particularly impressed with the architectural restorations done by the students of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The sunny, cloudless weather added to the lovely ambience of a city I hope to explore again.

    We decided this year to take our time going through Georgia. While it's longer in miles and time than going offshore, most of the Georgia ICW is composed of wild, winding, sparsely developed salt marshes loaded with Dolphins and aquatic birds.

    Our last stop in Georgia was Cumberland Island. We had only been once before and that was years ago. We enjoyed a hike combining trails densely lined with Live Oaks and expansive beach at low tide. That was our first beach walk this trip!

    We're presently at a marina in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Fla. DUH! OSU is playing today!
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  • Day28

    Cape May, NJ to Oriental, NC

    October 30, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    We had a very pleasant trip off shore from Cape May to Portsmouth, Va., getting just ahead of a gale. We were happy to be in a marina until the winds died and enjoyed a ferry ride into Norfolk and a fun tour of the battleship Wisconsin and the Nauticus Museum. We were fortunate again to be ahead of another gale when we travelled down the beautiful Dismal Swamp route of the ICW, anchoring all by ourselves near Goat Island in the lovely Pasquatank River. We grabbed a 1 day window to get across the often unruly Albermarle Sound and were grateful to stop at a new-to-us, very protected anchorage way up the Alligator River, recommended by our buddies on Sailin' Shoes. With no signal to get a weather update, we waited to leave there until yesterday at noon, when it looked like heavy rain and wind had let up. We had a beautiful afternoon going through the Alligator-Pungo Canal, oblivious to the conditions out in the rivers. We were greeted, upon exiting the Canal, with rough conditions and winds in the 30s. We made a quick turn into the north part of the Pungo River and found good protection for the night. By this morning, winds had died down and we had an easy trip down to Oriental where we are at a dock so Dave can watch Ohio State play!
    We plan on leaving here tomorrow, anchoring tomorrow night, then taking advantage of a nice 2 day window to go off shore from Beaufort to Hilton Head. Yes, 2 more overnights, but even here it's getting into the 40s at night later this week. Just a little further...
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    Traveler

    Dave has to catch OSU! Sounds like progress is good and things are well! Keep traveling safely.

    10/30/21Reply

    Sounds like things are going very well. My daughter and son in law are at the Ohio State game as I write. Go OSU! [Marlene]

    10/30/21Reply
    Traveler

    Oh fun! Go OSU!

    10/30/21Reply
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  • Day20

    Long Island, NY to Cape May, NJ

    October 22, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    We had a beautiful, fast ride Wednesday from Port Washington, down the East River through NYC and around Sandy Hook, NJ. At first the conditions were glorious, with west winds 10-12 knots and an air temperature of 72 degrees. I was able to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine from the bow of the boat in shorts and a tee shirt. A few hours later, around Manasquan, the wind backed, seas built and we eventually had wind and 2, sometimes 3 ft, short period waves on the nose. So, we hobby horsed slowly the rest of the way into Cape May at noon yesterday. The Jersey shore never ceases to amaze us with its unpredictability.
    We plan to leave here tomorrow morning and sail off shore down to Norfolk, VA, arriving Sunday afternoon. From there we feel like we can start taking our time because it's getting warmer!
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    Congrats on another great run. You guys are pros at running offshore. [Hayden]

    10/23/21Reply
     

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