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October 2009

Week One:

We love Elizabeth City! The people are so friendly and every time we stop there's always something going on. We decided to stay for two nights and we were encouraged to participate in the Special Olympics Bocce Ball tournament (they were in desperate need of players). We played for "Chowan County Sheriff's dept." We had two other players on our team from a local group home, Sandra and David, who enjoyed themselves enormously. In fact everybody had a BALL ('scuse the pun). There was also a Coast Guard rescue demo going on (Click here for 1 min video) and it was happening just a few hundred feet from our boat so we were able to see that too. Then at the museum more Coast Guard stuff was going on so we popped in for a peep.  In the evening we went on a Ghost walk of several houses around town. That was great fun. They even had the ghost of "Fred Fearing" (known to all boaters who stop in EC) greeting us at the cemetery.

The following day, weary from all the action we headed South trying to stop the butter from hardening! A very long day found us at anchor in the Pungo river for the night. It has so far been very quiet, not too many boats around. I expect they are all still waiting for the Annapolis Boat Show. An early start and a quick (wet) jaunt down to Oriental to visit our friends Pat and Gary in Whittaker Creek. We spent the night at their dock and had an enjoyable evening catching up on all their news. The next morning we left in the rain to reach Spooners Creek by mid afternoon and hunker down there for a couple of nights. The winds picked up to 20-30k and we were glad to be in a relatively safe spot. Vanessa was really glad 'cos there's a big shopping centre just across the street. Guess where she spent her day! Andrew meanwhile fixed the shower sump..again! Cleaned the bilge...again! and of course had to fix something on one of the outboard engines!!! 

From Spooners it was a short hop to Mile Hammock Bay and the best overnighter we've ever had there. Soooo calm and quiet. Marines day off I suppose. We left MH at 7am the following morning and dropped anchor in the Pipeline Canal at 6:30pm after making 9.2k down the Fear River with a 10-15k headwind. All the while......our C 80 Series chart plotter screen breaking up and giving us the "FEAR" of $$$$$$$ headaches!

Bocce Ball team..Vanessa, Sandra, Andrew, David (and Pearl the carer.)

Coast Guard demo

Ah, what technique!

The champs

One of the Ghost home tours

Early morning moon as we depart Elizabeth City.

Along the way

Mile Hammock at night


Week Two:

Very strange happenings - the chart plotter is back on course! Hope it stays that way. Whoops, spoke too soon. Intermittent problems like this are a nightmare.

We spent a night Lightkeepers Marina (mile 346) and our friends David and Mary K. came for cocktails, then they drove us out to dinner in N. Myrtle Beach where we shagged all night. (For all you Brits out there it's NOT what YOU think!) Apparently Myrtle Beach is the home of the "Shag" dance. It's very, very popular among the over 50's crowd, and it's akin to the swing and jitterbug steps. 

We anchored in Thoroughfare Creek in the Waccamaw River and had an uncomfortable night worrying about the trip line as it seemed to be attached to the hull and not the anchor! Pulling anchor the following morning all was fine and Vanessa was furious she'd spent another night worrying. A fast ride down the river at 9kts and we arrived at another "new to us" anchorage, Dewees Creek. We got in just in time for a nasty thunderstorm. The rain started as Andrew was setting the anchor. All looked good, then as the storm took hold the anchor dragged and we had to move or find ourselves stuck in the marsh. As Andrew pulled in the anchor he found a thick line attached to it reaching back toward the prop shaft....yikes! He took the bread knife from the galley and managed to saw the line and whatever it held off. Meanwhile the wind and current and Vanessa were going crazy. Eventually we found another spot to anchor, and spent another restless night.

We needed a good nights sleep and with more bad weather forecast we decided to do a 75 mile run down to Brickyard Creek, Beaufort. We had a lovely quiet night and rose very early the following morning to position ourselves 5 miles down the road in Factory creek for a day of maintenance and rest whilst listening to the rain pouring down ALL day!

And now the GPS Chartplotter has problems.

The pontoon bridge is to be replaced by November 2010

What happened here?

Morning breakfast on the go.

Rain on the way.

Another boat fix. The third float switch in the sump pump.

Herb River - just south of Thunderbolt.


Week Three:

It's been cold and it's been rainy! We took a day off at Isle of Hope for laundry and grocery shopping and it rained all day. We also took a look at the bilge pump......BIG mistake. Captain heavy handed broke part of it and now it's tied together with a plastic tie and waiting for the next "West Marine" stop. All in all our day at the marina was not what we'd expected or wanted. Still we plod along. Actually race along. We've been hitting the currents just right and it really does help. Charging thru Georgia we are hailed from the ocean by our friends Paul and Mary aboard Propinquity. Hadn't seen them since the Bahamas in March. They decided to call it quits on the outside as it was getting rough and we met them in Crescent Creek for and enjoyable evening of cocktails.

It's quite breezy day and night so finding a protected anchorage has been paramount. The "crew" needs her sleep. A pleasant night was spent at Ft. Frederica and then it was on to Florida. Along the way we were hailed yet again, but this time it was Sue and Paul on Oddysey and trailing them was Happy Clams. We shall meet HC once we get to Marsh Harbour as they are also going to be on our dock.

It is a small world. We have seen very few boats to date and most of the ones we've seen, we know.  We are traveling Fort to Fort it seems. We stopped at Ft. George and visited the Kingsley Plantation and we were treated to a hands on experience of "sea island cotton picking". It was a pleasant change of pace, and Andrew was very pleased he was not around for the cotton picking era! Laborious work indeed.

Next stop was an anchorage (we would not recommend) on the ICW just before Oyster Creek marina in St. Augustine. We were surrounded by crab pots and the depths were extreme, one minute we were in 32ft. and the next 5ft.  It was not a listed site and we shall not stop there again.  Bright and early the following morning we headed for OC marina and a visit with our friends Kent and Gretchen (Kinja Kat). On the way up the San Sebastian river we passed Tom and Linda on "Tomlin Too". We had met them in the Bahamas last year also. Small world!!! We spent an enjoyable evening with Kent and Gretchen and the following morning they let us borrow their vehicle and we rushed off to Wal-mart for some serious "heavy" shopping. We spent the night at the Cement Plant alone, well almost alone.....an alligator and heron kept us company.

Propinquity early on a cold morning.

Cold Morning

Hats, gloves, socks and long pants to keep warm.

Kingsley Plantation GA.

The Slave huts at Kingsley Plantation

They have been repairing this bridge forever. Bridge of Lions St.Augustine FL

The offending Crab pot that we "Re-positioned"

Pumpkin for sale in St. Augustine.

Downtown St. Augustine FL

Old house in St. Augustine.

Kent and Gretchen (Kinja Kat)


Week Four:

This week we've seen a raccoon, a manatee, an alligator, several dolphin, a roseate spoonbill, eagles, lizards, white pelicans and many other wild and wonderful creatures. That's one of the joys of cruising. Wild life is abundant, so are the mosquito's unfortunately! We raced to get out of the cold and we managed it superbly, however we are now in the heat and humidity and nights at anchor are not much fun with all the bugs buzzing around. A quick cool down courtesy of the generator and all is fine.

We were boarded this week by the "sanitary" police. That means an officer jumped on ship with a little vile of dye and flushed it down the loo whilst another officer looked behind the boat to see if anything was escaping into the waterway. We passed the test with flying colors and headed for the "free" dock at New Smyrna Beach. This was our first time there and we had a pleasant afternoon mooching (browsing) the shops and visiting the wonderful museum. Worth the stopover!

We got to Vero Beach mooring field early in the day and were surprised that there were only 10 boats there. It was a strange feeling to have the place almost to ourselves. We are experiencing record heat now and it's not much fun on the ball. We've been soooo grateful for the generator. A couple of hours blast before bedtime makes all the difference.  Vanessa has done her "charity shop" shopping spree. Vero has some very fine and fancy consignment/charity stores. We have picked up our bills, medicines, new macerator pumps $$$$ (don't even ask!) and fixed the refrigerator fan that just blew out. Thank heavens we didn't have lots of food in there. Andrew found a new fan at Radio Shack for half the price we'd have paid at a marine store and it's the same fan....we think.  With almost everything done, we left Vero after only 2 nights as we would like to see what this new mooring field in Stuart is all about. It's certainly cheaper.

A couple of nights at Faber Cove on the hook and we're "feeling hot, hOT, HOT!"  The nighttime lows are in the low 70's. Time to go to Stuart.

We stopped the walk...Main Street Bridge

Tied up at free dock, New Smyrna

Sunrise over Dragon Point

Guess where we are?

Waiting for lunch

Faber Cove trying to keep COOL