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May  2012

Week One:

After a week of great weather we are now almost in North Carolina. Approaching Port Royal Landing Marina (very nice folks run the place) we happened upon a cruiser known by many who traverse these waters, MICHAEL.

Michael is now 84 years old and has been wintering in the Bahamas (Georgetown and surrounding areas) for 30 years. We first met Michael 5 years ago and we were so impressed that he was doing the trip on his own in a 45 year old small Catamaran "Wind in the Willows" . He makes the 3,000 mile round trip alone and after all this time he has become one of the great characters of the ICW. Michael had Polio as a youngster in England and still bears the scars from that time. However once aboard his boat he appears very comfortable. Just an amazing, cheerful and knowledgeable character.

Traversing the Georgia and South Carolina ICW bears much navigation attention. The tides in this area can be 8ft and some of the areas make even the captain anxious at low tide. The buoys are often moved due to shoaling, so you need to pay close attention. It's not all gloom and doom though. We saw more alligators in the Santee River, and on a nice day the marshes can be quite appealing.

Vanessa completed another project this week......a palm frond place mat. Thanks for the tuition Wendy (sv/Odyssey)!

The marsh in Georgia

Early morning in Georgia

Michael - see above

Entrance from South to Elliot Cut

A red marker on DRY land.

The Wacamaw River

Vanessa has completed her mat.


Week Two:

It's been a very busy week, visiting friends and racing on up the ICW. We briefly stopped at Barefoot Landing Marina so Vanessa could get her shopping fix. Alas, it didn't work as she was not at all impressed by the so called "outlets" there. On the other side of the waterway was Lo Que Se A (Judy & Gene). They'd spent quite a time at the Barefoot Resort this winter. They met up with us for dinner the following night, after we'd gone on to Lightkeepers marina where Roger Comer picked us up, and we all had a really good time catching up.

The following night David and Mary K. took us to their community "Kentucky Derby/ Cinco De Mayo" bash. A great time was had by all, and many people remembered us because the last time we were there we won all the money. Not so this time around!

Onward we went. We're doing 12/13 hour days and it's quite tiring. Also the weather forecasts we've been getting from NOAA are so far off base making our trip that more anxious. Case in point: one evening the winds were supposed to be out of the NW at 7-9 kts. We chose our anchorage accordingly - WRONG! As we approached the anchorage the winds picked up (not unusual, when you're exhausted and desperate for a quiet, peaceful night) to 20kts from the South.

We have a problem with our refrigeration so we are trying to get somewhere for help. Oriental seemed like a good spot and as we have friends with a dock there, and nasty weather forecast, what better place to stop. We pulled into Deaton's boatyard and they took a quick look at our problem.....as luck would have it the trouble seemed to have righted itself so there was nothing he could do. We docked at our friends house and waited out the storms, all the while the fridge was getting worse again. Time to rethink the situation and just push for home.

We spent all day traveling through the Dismal Swamp today and even though we are tired, the swamp was a delight. It's haunting and scary, tranquil and beautiful. A must try, as long as you only draw 6ft or less.

David & Mary K. Cocktails on Tally Ho before the race.

The hat ladies!

Ooh, more hats!

Look who's sailing.

Sun up in the Alligator river.

Approach to the Dismal Swamp.

Goat Island

In the Dismal

Gene, Judy, Roger and V.

Week Three:

We came through the Dismal Swamp Canal without hitting too many deadheads (deadheads are logs that have sunk to the bottom), and Robert (lock keeper) at the north end of the canal gave us an early opening at the lock and bridge so that we could catch the 2.30 p.m. opening of the Gilmerton lift bridge (it all gets quite complicated when there are set times for bridges and locks). Onwards to Fort Monroe for a bouncy night (not good with a West wind, and that's what we had), then an early start (5:45am) the next morning North. We did not know how far we could get, but at around 2p.m. we looked at the instruments and decided that we could get to Solomon's Island by sunset (8 p.m.) Things improved and we picked up 30 minutes to arrive at 7.30.  It was a very long day, but we did do 100 Miles. That's pretty good going for us.

The freezer has been giving us problems with not getting cold on one side of the plate, and self defrosting (it's not that kind of freezer!) so we made arrangements to pull in at Holiday Point Marina in the South River and get some expert help. On Wednesday afternoon the experts arrived with their special tools and could not find the problem ... however as we started the unit up again we heard a popping sound that none of us could explain and since then the unit appears to be working fine.

We left the South River on Thursday and had an uncomfortable couple of hours (N winds 20kts on the nose) to Annapolis. We took a mooring ball and went into town for lunch and a walk.  After lunch we went  Mill Creek for a quiet. However in the backyard of one of the beautiful houses dotted along the banks there was some function going on where they had pipers and dancers. It was very entertaining although not too quiet!

As we came through Norfolk

Rain ....... Heavy rain.

Entering Annapolis Harbor

Tour boat in Annapolis Harbor.

Bagpipes and dancers on the bank of the creek.

Left hand side of the freezer..... Working

Right hand side of the freezer.....not working

Week Four

On Friday, Paul and Mary (Propinquity) joined us in Mill Creek and we all had lunch at Cantlers restaurant. It was good to catch up with Mary and Paul since we had not seen them in several years. After a long lunch. We departed and headed towards our slip in Baltimore. Arriving at our slip old friends helped us in and we were happy to have their help.

On Sunday, our daughter Hannah came and picked us up and drove us back to our house.  And now the house maintenance begins...................

Mary and Paul looking younger than ever.

Good to see old friends

Jerry and Jim helped tie us up in Baltimore

Week Five

Jobs Jobs and more jobs. Oh joy to be at home. Have spent all week getting things done in the house. New barbeque, new garden chairs, new battery charger for the boat ($$$$) etc etc.