Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

St. Augustine and South

In this blog entry I am going to discuss Thanksgiving, Saint Augustine and Dave and Joan’s departure from Traveling Soul. But before I do I am going to sp end just a minute on the most important football game played this year: ARMY BEAT THE HELL OUT OF NAVY AT LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. I know, I know. Some of you are telling me to calm down, it isn’t, after all, a life-death event. You are right – it is more important than life and death. It’s Army-Navy football!!!  Ok, Ok, let me move on a little more chronologically.

Our master chef at her Thanksgiving Meal Mmmmmm!

We arrived at the St. Augustine mooring field on Wednesday, 21 November, the day before Thanksgiving. Ok, let me just say it. St. Augustine Florida is probably our favorite city on the Waterway. It has glitz, it has glamour, it has history, it has excellent places to eat. And it has a mooring field where we can stay for $25 per night. There was only one problem this year. It was friggin’ cold. Ok, it wasn’t as cold as a witch’s heart, it wasn’t as cold as “death’s chilled hand”, and it probably wasn’t as cold as it was where many of my faithful readers live, but it was colder than I wanted it to be.  I actually (and I blush to admit this), I actually traded my shorts for jeans for three whole days.

At any rate, the first thing I did in St. Augustine was to get a haircut at Price’s Barbershop. Now Price’s ain’t just any barbershop, it’s special.  When I opened the door, the six chairs were full with barbers cutting and trimming hair, and there were about three of us waiting. I sat for about 20 minutes then spent about 15 minutes in the chair getting my hair cut and my neck shaved (ah, there is nothing like a nice, hot neck shave). Now, I swear, there was one guy who was in the chair when I arrived and was still getting his hair cut when I left!!! I don’t know why or what treatment he was getting. Maybe it was kind of like “Weekend at Bernie’s” and the guy was really dead. I dunno. Most barbershops nowadays would prefer to get you in and get you out as fast as they can, not here. Price’s in Saint Augustine. Remember the name.

After my haircut, just to enjoy the fact that I could walk again, I tooled around a little bit exploring the neighborhood and I made a major discovery. There was a $tarbuck$ between the marina and the barbershop!! As most of you know, Ann is – shall I say – a big fan of Starbucks. But Joan, the other female member of our crew, is an absolute maniac! For the rest of the time we were in town, the first stop we made each morning was the coffee shop.

A picture of St. Augustine's Bridge of Lions 
from our marina.

But I digress a little. The reason we had decided to come to St. Augustine on this special day is because they normally hold a “Cruiser’s Thanksgiving” at the City Marina. We went two years ago with our friends Russ and Lori aboard their catamaran Twin Sisters and had a really good time. The local cruiser’s net buys and cooks the turkey and the rest of us provide a side dish and/or a dessert. This year, however, the powers that be decided they would hold Thanksgiving at a different marina on the other side of town. For us to get there, we would have had to cook, dinghy to the dock, transport everything to a shuttle, take a shuttle to the other marina – and then reverse course when finished. That was just too much trouble and too many chances for something to go wrong. Besides, it was cold. We decided that we would have our own Thanksgiving on the boat. So, with some of our best friends ever, Dave, Joan, we all had turkey thighs, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, stuffing and gravy. MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm It was scrumptious.


Since we don’t have a car, in St. Augustine we usually buy a two-day ticket on the Old Town Trolley. The Trolley is one of those hop-on/hop-off buses that takes us to 20+ stops and explains the history of each.  We like it because we can take the whole tour, choose where we want to go, then either come back later in the day or the following day. It worked especially well this time because it was wet and rainy the first day and nice and dry the second. Because Dave and Joan were with us, we re-visited a number of places so they could see the sights. The major places we stopped and spent some time were:
The courtyard at Castillo de San Marcos. 
Imagine 1500 people living here for nearly 60 days.

·       Castillo de San Marcos: A National Park, it is the oldest masonry fort built in the continental United States. Work began in 1672. Although there is a great deal about the fort that is interesting, one fact that intrigues me is that in 1702 Saint Augustine’s 1500 or so residents took refuge in the Castillo during a British siege. I don’t think the fort was much more than 100m on each of four sides, so it must have been pretty crowded. Oh … and the siege lasted for nearly 60 days. I guess you had to love your neighbor.

·       Saint Augustine Distillery. What can I say? A distillery tour is always good, but here the tour guide is exceptionally entertaining and you get free samples!

·       Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. A bit kitschy, but they have a few interesting exhibits. One uses a planetarium to explain seventeenth century navigation methods .

·       Historical Shopping District (several times). There is a Fresh Produce Store in the “Historical” District. Need I say more?

·       Starbucks (several times)

·       Meals

o   We wanted to go to the Prince of Wales Restaurant which has the BEST fish and chops I have ever had. In fact, I had told Dave and Joan about it for several days before we actually made the trip. We get there and … it was closed. Well, to hell with them being closed on the one day of the year I wanted them to be open. We know another excellent lunch place that we also like – the Floridian. But it was … closed. I gotta tell you, I was beginning to wonder. But then we found an Irish Pub that served Guinness and Fish and Chips. Although it wasn’t quite as good as the Prince of Wales, it was good enough. How dare both of them be closed on the ONE day of the year I wanted them to be open. Harrumph!

o   Aviles Restaurant. We usually go to Harry’s, but they were so crowded, we went to Aviles which is almost next door. It was maybe a B/B-. But they really had cool menus – they lit up.

o   Tini Martini Bar. Ok, I know it is not quite a meal, but I really like the place. We each had a drink and great conversation. We WILL be back.

The one place we missed again this time was the local chocolate factory, but we learned that the weekend after Thanksgiving is not necessarily the best time to go to places that even during the times we normally visit have long waiting lines and even reservations! I guess we’ll save that for next time.

From the beginning, Dave and Joan had planned to accompany us through Thanksgiving all the way down to Saint Augustine.  Of course we all thought it was going to be warm at least part of the way down, especially when we reached Florida, but it didn’t work out that way. In Saint Augustine we had one less-cold day (not to be confused with a warm one), but it was when we reached Marineland that the temperature really plunged. At night it was in the upper 30’s. And that is cold, or at least colder that I expected and wanted. Anyway, practically dressed in their winter clothes, Dave and Joan rented a car at St. Augustine and met us at Marineland, our next stop. There they could spend a few final days on the boat and get their stuff ready to head back to Virginia. Marineland used to be a nice, inexpensive little stop on the ICW after St. Augustine with a few local sights to make it interesting. Now that they have added about twenty slips and hired a mini-dictator as dockmaster, it may be a while before we return.

Anyway, using Dave and Joan’s car we hit a sight or two that we had not been made before, especially the Saint Augustine lighthouse and a couple of sights that were repeats for us, but new to Dave and Joan, like the dolphin exhibit at Marineland and Fort Matanzas, just  little north of the marina. They departed on 29 November. I think and hope they had a good time, even with the below normal temperatures.

A picture of Ann and I atop the St. Augustine lighthouse.
Ann and I continued wandering down the ICW on our way to Palm Beach. We stopped one night at Cocoa to check on the progress they had made since the hurricane that shut down their dinghy docks. Lo and behold, we anchored right behind Kathy and George aboard their boat, Katrajena. They live in Solomons, just a few buildings down from us. We visited for a just a few minutes and they told us that there were some dinghy docks, but they were reserved for the “Rally from the Sun.” We know quite a bit about the Rally and its intrepid leader Wally Moran. Let’s just say that we wouldn’t stay at any dinghy dock that would reserve space for Wally and/or the Rally. I hope they make a lot of money off them, because they may never make money off me again.

Since we didn’t stay at Cocoa, we went a little further south to an anchorage around Melbourne called Eau Gallie (pronounced Oh Golly – by accident or on purpose? I really don’t know). We walked around the community a little and went to the local dockside restaurant, Squidlips. C’mon now, we had to go to a restaurant with a name like Squidlips. And you know what? The food was pretty good. In fact, although we did not have it, they were serving a Sunday brunch to the locals and it looked pretty darn delicious! Other than Squidlips, a nice anchorage and a decent dinghy dock though, Oh Golly doesn’t have much to recommend it.

After Eau Gallie it was on to Ft. Pierce. The first day we arrived it was actually w … w … warm! It cooled down the second day with a cold front, but it looks like we have finally found downright great weather!!!!!! At Ft. Pierce we checked out the downtown, watched the Army-Navy game with our friends Debbie and Glenn from Calliope (See below. She is a Naval Academy Grad. Never let it be said that I am not tolerant.) On, did I mention that Army won that game, 17-10? Aft er the game, we also watched the Ft. Pierce “parade of Boats.” Actually the boats were so spread out that it was more a dribbling than a parade, but some people really put out decorating their boats.  Kudos to them.

Ann’s Notes:   I have a lot to cover so I will get going.

There is something Michael has not talked about and I have not said anything – mostly because I did not know if I could keep up my own challenge.  Since last year on the boat I have tried to exercise daily – it all started at the small gym at our condo. I am now hooked on walking or riding my biking at least five times a week. While traveling down the ICW we pass under lots of bridges and many marinas are close to or next to bridges. That being said, I set a goal to walk across as many bridges as I could.   So far I have walked bridges in NC, SC, GA and FL, some more than once, it has been a lot of fun.

Spot. Enjoying the sun (finally) at Ft. Pierce
Our Thanksgiving in St. Augustine was a busy one. The weather to start really did suck, it was cold, raining and hard…plus it was windy, a full moon and high tide, making the streets flood. It was very wet. Dinner was fun to make on the boat, I had my time management and power management skills tested and did get the complete meal on the table on time and hot. I agree with Michael that St Augustine is our favorite city. We were happy to share it with Dave and Joan.

Right now we are in the Fort Pierce City Marina, enjoying our time visiting our good friends Lori and Russ. Also seeing a cruising friend we made last year at Treasure Cay, she happens to be a Naval academy grad, class of 1981. They are anchored in the Fort Pierce inlet, I invited they to join us when we went to the Farmers Market next to the marina. They downloaded their dinghy and tied up to our stern. We had a great time looking at all the fresh vegetables, purchased a few items and chatting away. Later that day they joined us in the Captains Lounge to watch the Army –Navy Game. The lounge has a flat screen TV with Dish channels. Michael and I arrived early to make sure we had control of the remote and find the right channel … that took a little while. Debbie and Glenn watched most of the game with us but had to return to their boat before the game was over. It was plain to see that Army was going to win…17 to 10. It was an exciting game to watch with friends.

I am getting excited about going home for Christmas and seeing Friends and Family.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Thank you for following us..

Traveling Soul…OUT

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

South to Saint Augustine

It was only about a five mile detour off the ICW and all reports indicated that the channel was well marked and deep enough. What those reports did not Say was that with every mile we traveled we moved a decade or so into the past and a hundred miles or more into the wilderness. Finally, we were closing in on our destination. By the time we got there, it was easy to imagine we were with three of our buddies on a boating adventure in the hinterlands of Georgia. And even easier for us to imagine we could hear music – banjo music. You know what kind I mean.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen as we headed to our fuel stop we felt we were in the backwoods of Georgia on the set of the movie Deliverance. Twang, twang, twang, twang.

We should have known something was amiss when we saw the name of the place – the Two-Way Fish Camp.  I don’t know about you, but I have never seen fish going two ways at once, nor have I seen a One-Way Fish Camp. Why you would name something “two-way” fish camp I could not understand. But we were there neither for the “cool” name of the place, nor for the banjo music. We were there because  of the price of the fuel. We needed about 300 gallons. In the past we had gone to the nearby Brunswick Landing Marina because they had excellent fuel prices. This year, though, they were charging $3.309/gallon. Two-Way Fish Camp, was charging only $2.69. That is about 60 cents difference; times 300 gallons is 180 bucks. 
This is a cast iron Cajun Classic purchased at that gourmet shop 
at Two-Way Fish Camp

From the moment we got there we could see it was going to be an experience. We had to find the fuel dock, then kind of slide the boat in sideways. It was then that the real fun began.  We started pumping fuel, then the automatic shut-off would engage and we would have to start again. Again. And Again. It was then that the dock hand wandered over and told us that we would have to use the slowest setting on the nozzle. Dave stood at the pump, which was about 200’ away, and would call out every 25 gallons. Eventually Ann joined him because she didn’t have anything else to do. She measured the flow and we found we were pumping 25 gallons every 9 ½ minutes. Remember we needed 300 gallons. It took 114 minutes, or nearly 2 hours, to pump the (&^$# fuel. During that time, Ann and Joan had an opportunity to visit the gift shop twice (actually, the gift shop was surprisingly well-stocked and … well, I’ll let Ann tell you about her major find).

Eventually we did get all the fuel in the tanks and were able to pay and depart.

Again, however, I got ahead of myself. Before the Two-Way Fish Camp adventure, we anchored for one night at New Teakettle Creek. The Creek is just about an hour or so from the Little Mud River and has nothing to do with teakettles. If the timing works, I like anchoring there, so we can control exactly when we reach the Little Mud – as far as I am concerned the scariest part of the ICW. I think we were at Higher, High water when we traveled the creek this year and saw nothing less than about 8’. It was after the Little Mud River that we took the Two-Way Fish Camp exit.

After fueling we finished the day’s trip by docking at Jekyll Island. Jekyll is one of our favorite spots on the Waterway. There is only one problem with Jekyll in November. It can be chilly cold. The day we arrived it was actually pretty nice, so we figured we had shown up at just the right time. The second day it was a bit colder, the third day it was downright cold and the day we left it was almost freezing (literally) However, we did bring sweatshirts, jackets, earmuffs (Ann), and other cold weather paraphernalia so we were prepared.

One of the "Cottages" at Jekyll.
Jekyll Island was, in the early part of the last century, a playground for the rich and famous. Some of the richest people in the country wintered at Jekyll from January through March. In fact, it has been said (by our tour guide for one) that during dinner at the Jekyll Island Club nearly 1/6 of the world’s wealth was represented in the dining room at Jekyll. Members of the Club and their families enjoyed activities such as biking, hunting, horseback riding, and tennis, and frequented the north beaches. Some of the wealthiest members built their own "cottages," mansion-sized residences that are mostly still standing in the 21st century. Even the wealthy suffered during the Great Depression, however, and the club had financial difficulties. When the United States entered WWII Washington ordered the island evacuated for security purposes, ending the era of the Jekyll Island Club. After the war in 1947, the State of Georgia bought the island.  

In the time we were there, we bicycled a LOT, toured the historic district, and visited two of the “cottages.” (Interestingly, because members were expected to dine together in the main Dining Room, there were neither kitchens nor dining rooms in the cottages). We also visited the sea turtle hospital, did some shopping (both at the grocery store and the little “mall” they have on the island, found a Starbucks, walked on the beach, and ate at one of the fancier places on the island.

The Dinghy Saga

From Jekyll the plan was to go to Cumberland Island. Although there are some homes on the island, most of the Island is a natural habitat for all kinds of animals and several kinds of plants. With that, a little history, several great beaches, a very nice anchorage, and a whole lot of peace and quiet, Cumberland is another one of our favorite spots on the Waterway.

As I said, that was the plan. We had known the outboard wasn’t operating perfectly, but before we left, I took the dinghy into the water, started it up several times, and putted around a little. Although it ran kind of roughly, everything worked. In Cumberland, the outboard didn’t even start up. I worked on it for about an hour trying to figure out what was wrong. I knew it was the fuel system, and was afraid it was the carburetor – the one thing I won’t dare to try and fix. As we later learned 90% of all outboard failures are carburetor problems. So, it looked like we would not be able to see anything at Cumberland. We had kind of planned on visiting the Kingsley Plantation next, but you also need a dinghy for that, so we missed Kingsley too. Although we could manage St. Augustine without a dinghy, it would be much better with one. So, we had to get the dinghy fixed. And thus our saga beganb.

Statistically, I’ll bet that as many boats break on Mondays as on Thursdays. It ought to be somewhere around 1/7 of all breaks, right? Not in our universe. Our boats usually break late on Thursday. We then get to a marina the following day and generally make a BUNCH of phone calls (most of which will not be neither answered nor returned – it is, after all late on Friday afternoon; in this case the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving week.) Then we worry over the weekend whether we will be able to fond someone and start calling again on Monday morning hoping against hope that someone will be available to fix your boat in the next day or two.  On Friday afternoon, Ann made about four phone calls, but no one was around. On Monday  morning, she made another seven to various repair facilities and mechanics. A couple of people answered, but, as one lady responded, “It was pretty slow until a week ago. Now we are full and can’t get to you for another week.” Gee, thanks. Of those who did answered or call back, we got basically the same response. We were in the process of coming up with Plan Q when we got a return call from Jim.

Now Jim was a bit of a bombast. He told us when he arrived, “THAT FUEL TANK IS A PIECE OF JUNK. ALL THOSE WEST MARINE AND WALMART FUEL TANKS ARE JUNK. ABSOLUTE JUNK.” When I asked him where we could get a new one that would be better, he ‘lowed as how no one but West Marine made them anymore, so he would just have to tell us how to treat our “PIECE OF JUNK.” Whereupon he gave us his take on fuel tank management.
·       Keep the fuel tank covered
·       Always loosen the cap when you are using it
·       Put on a fuel-water separator
·       Crank up the outboard frequently

Now, I know some of you have been using outboards and dinghies for a long time and wonder why Jim has these rules. To be honest, I don’t know. However, we asked him to make a fuel-water separator, we made our own cover and we loosen the cap when we are using the dinghy.

At any rate, about 3 hours after his initial visit Jim was back with all the pieces of the outboard that he had taken with him, put it all together and … it worked like a charm. I tried it out again later that afternoon and one more time the following day. It all seemed to work. But wait, there’s more. For that, however, you are just going to have to wait while I write something that reminds me why we actually like cruising.

This Osprey spent over an hour enjoying his Fish-giving meal.
While waiting for the dinghy to be repaired, we stayed at Camachee Cove Marina. Now, several of our friends have told us how nice the marina is and, to be honest, it is. It is in a housing development but has at least three boater’s facilities spread over the property. Each of the facilities has a head, shower, laundry, television and a book exchange – and everything was always clean. However, for us there were two “firsts.” Although the marina had a courtesy car, you had to show proof of insurance before you could borrow it. Now since we have been cruising (about seven years), we have been in a hundred marinas, maybe more. Some require you to sign papers saying you have insurance, some take your word for it, but we have never been to a marina that requires proof of auto insurance before they would lend you a courtesy car. We chose not to avail ourselves of that particular “courtesy.”  Oh, but wait. There’s more.

This is the first time we have ever been in a slip within a marina and been asked to move after we had maneuvered into the slip, connected our water hoses and our electrical cables. Now you had to have been there. Our assigned slip was alongside a long straight dock. When we were initially maneuvering into our slip, the wind was blowing us off the dock. I have mentioned many times before that when the wind catches our boat from the side, we are as likely to go where the wind wants us to go as where the captain wants us to go. Well, the wind was only blowing about 10-15 kts, so it wasn’t terrible, but the dockhand helping us was a small, slim college kid who really didn’t know how to put a 55,000 pound boat into a slip – even with a captain as brilliant and as adept as me at the helm. It took about 30 minutes, but we eventually got there. We connected all the hoses, lines and cables and Ann started taking a shower. Then the kid comes up and says he put us in the wrong slip and we needed to move back one. I pointed out that, no, we didn’t need to move back one, He needed to move us back – and I would help. In the event, of course, although he (and a buddy) did most of the heavy lifting, we moved under the direction of Ann and me (with some help from Dave and Joan). Now Camachee Cove may be a fine marina, but it ain’t getting five stars from me.

Some of you know that Ann has turned into an “exercise walker.” She takes 2-4 mile walks whenever she can. At Camachee Cove that was helpful (since we didn’t borrow the courtesy car), as the Publix Grocery Store was about a mile-and-a-half or so away. She made at least two round trips to Publix and one, one-way trip (she ubered back with a cart full of groceries) to get the rest of the provisions we needed for Thanksgiving. While at the marina, we also ubered to the historical district for lunch at our favorite British Pub in the US – The Prince of Wales. There, they serve the best Fish and Chips I have ever had. Both Ann and I had been touting the place to Dave and Joan and we had made this trip specifically so we could have those luscious fish and chips. We arrived and … you guessed it ... the place was closed. That was okay, there is another restaurant nearby that we like, the Floridian. It was closed, too. Damn! What’s going on here? Eventually, we found a different British Pub and their fare was almost as good. Almost.

Usually I would stop here and wait to continue the blog when we arrived at the Saint Augustine mooring field. However, in the interests of continuing the saga of the dinghy, I must include one more section. Okay, we had placed a cover over the dinghy, had Jim put in a fuel-water separator and opened the gas cap. We had run the dinghy a few times between the boat and the dinghy dock and everything had worked out well. Then, after making a run to Starbucks (not ‘til next time will I discuss the Starbucks adventure), we got in the dinghy, started it and it promptly died. Another couple of tries and we saw that it was leaking gas – pretty badly. We identified the general area where the leak was, but of course we had no tools. I asked Ann to go to the dockmaster’s office and ask for a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.

Now, all the time Ann was gone I was cursing Jim, the man who the day before was our dinghy’s savior. Today, he was Satan incarnate, a saboteur who couldn’t even connect two hoses to one another. Damn Jim, your connection was JUNK, just JUNK (sorry, but I had to say it). At least that was what I was thinking. Meanwhile, Ann found a very nice French Canadian sailboater named Jacques.  Jacques not only lent us all the tools we needed, but he helped fix the leak. I’m afraid I have to take back everything … well … almost everything … well … some of what I have said about the pending Canadian invasion of the Bahamas.

Next time we will write more about Thanksgiving and Saint Augustine.

Mike, laying down, Dave, in the dinghy, Joan, supervising
 and Jacques helping get the dinghy back in
running condition.
Ann’s Notes:  I was told by the main author of the blog that I had two main things to talk about…the refueling event and my phone skills.

There must be something about off-the-ICW marinas and the state of Georgia. In our first year of cruising we stumbled into Kilkenny Marina, you can go back to the first year of the blog and read all about that experience. Cue the banjo music and the one item they had in abundance in the marina store was a barrel full of fly swatters. Anyway, we got to experience another off-the-ICW-marinas, the name is Two Way Fish Camp, I know the name should have been our first clue. The fuel was cheaper than the usual stop in Brunswick, however we almost spent a good part of the morning just fueling. The marina office was a little general store, it had your regular, old alligator head bookends (no library is complete without those). There was local honey, pickled eggs and all sorts of vegetables that were pickled, okra, corn, beets … you get the picture. Believe me, I had PLENTY of time to shop, those pumps were so SLOW. I did find a treasure, among all those pickled items, though. It is the cutest “Cajun Classic,” it says so right on the lid. That little pot in a gourmet kitchen store would be around $75 to $100, I got it for $29.99. I love cooking in cast iron, I can use my induction cooktop , as a matter of fact, I used the little red pot that night and made a bona fide French casoulet .

As most of you know, I am the telephone person, both on land and water. I handle everything from doctors appointments to marina repairs. When our dinghy engine would not start, yes, we did our best to repair it ourselves .If  you have never seen the tiny engine parts inside a four stroke outboard motor and how easily those parts can be dropped , you will understand why we called for a mechanic. Of course most of our boat break downs happen on a Thursday or Friday, now add the Thanksgiving holiday to the mix and I really did spend several hours on the phone over a two day period. I have the ability to be just as pleasant for the first and the tenth call. My mom always said you would catch more flies with honey, than vinegar. To make a long story short, we moved to a closer marina to St. Augustine , thinking there would be a better chance and more repair people. We did find one, it took about ten phone calls. We now have a dinghy motor that runs, a new water fuel separator, we have the fuel tank covered with a canvas bag.

All is well on Traveling Soul…OUT  

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Southport to Savannah

We know we want to spend Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, so while in Southport, we added up the number of days left until Thanksgiving, and compared that to the number of days it will take us to complete our cruise to St. Augustine plus the number of days we intend to spend in port sightseeing. We found a disconnect. It seemed as if we would have to drop some of our planned stops. Hmmm. Well, we certainly couldn’t delete Beaufort, SC – we have friends there and a couple of museums we want to see. We couldn’t leave Savannah off the list, as we wanted to take Dave and Joan around the city on the Tour-mobiles and we wanted to eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant. We certainly could not forget Jekyll or Cumberland Islands as these are two of our favorite stops on the Waterway. So, it was goodbye Georgetown, Fort McAlister, Darien, maybe even Ft. George, and everyplace else we had thought about stopping. Maybe next time.

Even by leaving these wonderful sites off our agenda, we were going to have to put the pedal to the metal and crank through some miles. We decide to push hard for three days straight, putting about 60 miles behind us every day and to anchor each night. That would put us about 180+ miles closer to our destination, which would catch us up and maybe put us ahead of schedule by a day or two. And we were off.

We had to time our departure from Southport with the tides because we were heading  for North Carolina’s infamous inlets (said in a sinister voice), especially Lockwood’s Folly (so named because a man named Lockwood built a boat at his house, then, when he was finished found that he had made the draft so deep he couldn’t get it out to the ocean, and Shallote’s Inlet. These inlets are notorious for shoaling up and causing cruisers fits. We left around d 0900 and got there about half way through the rising tide cycle – which is exactly what we wanted to do. We had no problems.

The weather the first day was kind of strange. There was a little bit of sun, a little bit of rain and a whole lot of humidity. Well, it could have been worse, I guess; it could have been snowing (which it soon would be in Maryland and Virginia). That night we anchored just south of Myrtle Beach, SC at what I call the Enterprise Landing Anchorage, which is really an oxbow off the Waccamaw River. We had anchored there before and had not had any problems. This time, however, there was a boat that arrived in the anchorage before we did and got the best spot. We went for what looked like the second best spot and had trouble finding a place that would hold the anchor. In fact we tried three more times before we found a location that had decent holding. Eventually, though, the anchor held when I backed down on it, and we spent a quiet night in the cedar swamps of South Carolina.

The second day was really warm and it was actually T-shirt weather. The cruise itself was nice and easy though, I must admit that it was a little long. That night we spent in Awendaw Creek, just south of that booming metropolis of McClelanville, SC. McClelanville’s claim to fame is … well … nothing. That’s why we didn’t stay. When we arrived at the anchorage, earlier than planned, there were already two boats there. One, a big 53’ Hatteras, was way over on the southern bank of the creek and appeared to be in the process of being towed by TowboatUS. According to his buddy who was waiting for him in the second boat, the Hatteras’ anchor had dragged the previous night and he had ended up aground in the marsh. TowboatUS had to wait until the tide was high enough to pull him off the bank. We let out a lot of chain that night and I made sure our anchor was secure before we went to bed. I also took my anchor alarm to bed with me and checked it several times during the night. In the event, we had to work the next morning to get the anchor unstuck from the mud. We weren’t going to drag anywhere. 

The third night we anchored in Toogoodoo Creek. Many of you may remember the reason I like Toogoodoo so much – because it is so much fun to both say and write. Toogoodoo turned out to be dolphin central as there were at least fifteen or twenty of them in the area just swimming and leaping and having a good ol’ time. On the downside, there was nice weather during day, but that night the spigots opened up and we had some serious rain. In fact, the weather that evening and most of the following day was generally yucky. I know, I know, I promised not to use technical terms. “Yucky” is a term we mariners use to refer to weather that is the opposite of “non-yucky.”

Ann, Dave and Joan -- and if you look closely, you will see 
Spot -- in one of the gre4at pix taken by Kyle and Kathy as
 we passed their dock in Beaufort, SC.
At midday on the fourth day we arrived in Beaufort, SC. As it turns out, our friends Mark and Becky aboard Sea Angel, and Tom and Christina aboard Tadhana were both there. In addition, Kyle and Kathy were also in Beaufort. Although we had met them in the Bahamas aboard their boat Now and Zen, they were in fact staying in their house in Beaufort (which has a nice 50’ dock, oh by the way).

We met Tom and Christina for lunch at Luther’s. Many of you know my opinion of dockside bars and restaurants. In any restaurant, Brown’s Law goes, you want three things: good food, quality service and an outstanding view. For dockside restaurants, you can, at best, pick two out of three. At Luther’s the food was really pretty good, the view was excellent, but the service was extraordinarily slow. It worked out pretty well, though, as we got to spend a lot of time with Tom and Christina and did some good catching up. Since Mark and Becky were at the same marina we were, we asked them over to our boat for drinks. We learned they were in the process of selling their boat and moving onto the land. Kyle and Kathy asked us to their beautiful new house in Beaufort for dinner. We ate, drank and generally had a great time. Kyle and Kathy also took a picture of Traveling Soul as we passed their house on the way further south.

 Besides visiting friends, we also wanted to visit a couple of museums in Beaufort. My personal favorite was the St. Elena Museum. Those of you who believe Jamestown was the first settlement in America are, of course, mistaken. Not only is St. Augustine the oldest continuously-occupied settlement in America, but St. Elena – though not continuously-occupied – is actually the second oldest settlement as it was occupied in 1566. Shortly thereafter it was declared the capital of all of Spanish Florida (which consisted, according to Madrid, of all of present-day Florida and substantial portions of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. The Spanish eventually gave up on St. Elena and abandoned the area for St. Augustine in 1587. St. Elena was later colonized by the French, the Spanish again, then finally the English who occupied it until the American Revolution. The story of St. Elena is the story of the interaction among the French, the Spanish and the English in sixteenth century America.

One of the batteries at Fort Fremont
We also visited Fort Fremont, a coastal artillery fortification designed and built from 1898 – 1900 to protect Port Royal from foreign attack. I guess we were worried about the Spanish since we had just defeated them in the Spanish-American War and there were really no other potential opponents on the horizon. The complex at Fort Fremont consisted of four gun batteries, one 4.7” rapid fire battery and three batteries of 10” disappearing guns. The fort was originally on 170 acres of land with numerous outbuildings, including an Administration building, guard house, barracks, hospital, stable, mess hall, bakery, commissary, post exchange, lavatory, and water tower. Of these, only the emplacements for the gun batteries remain.  All the other structures were made of wood and were demolished before 1989. What is left of the gun batteries is massive hunks of concrete. I mean massive (see the pictures). Today it is a state park on 15 acres.

In addition, we went on a carriage tour of Beaufort. Although the tour was interesting, I think the most important thing we learned was not always to believe tour guides. Ours was very good, though she was not completely, entirely, totally accurate on a few points. She did, however, point out that Beaufort was the second oldest city in South Carolina (after Charleston) and that there had been a number of films shot there. There was: The Great Santini (1979), The Big Chill (1983), The Prince of Tides (1991), Daughters of the Dust (1992), A Perfect World (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), The War (1994), The Jungle Book (1994), Chasers (1994), Something to Talk About (1995), White Squall (1996), Last Dance (1996), Gone Fishin’ (1997), G.I. Jane (1997), Animals (1997), Forces of Nature (1998), Rules of Engagement (2000), Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).

Our transportation on the Beaufort Carriage Tour. 
His name is Phillipe
In fact, Tom Hanks liked the city do much he later vacationed there. There is another story that is told about Barbara Streisand. When filming Prince of Tides, she was upset that the Marine aircraft were flying during the day and disrupting her filming. She called the Base Commander and demanded that he restrict flying during certain hours. He promised to see what he could do. The next morning three FA-18’s (very loud aircraft) turned on their afterburners over the city at 0300. Although the Commander later published a full paid ad in the newspaper apologizing to the locals for the stunt, when Ms. Streisand called, he reminded her about the “sounds of freedom.”  Ms. Streisand hasn’t been back. Anyhow that’s the tour guide’s story and she is sticking to it.

Mike, Ann, Dave and Joan at Paula Deen's Restaurant
in Savannah
Our next stop was Thunderbolt Marina just outside of Savannah. The reason we stopped was, as you might have guessed, to visit Savannah. We “ubered” into town, then took the Old Town Trolley (a get-on and get-off trolley) on which we visited a number of Savannah’s historical sites. We departed the trolley to eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant. Although she is well known in southern chef circles, our consensus was that the place deserves a good, solid “B” (Dave “A”, Joan “A-“, Mike “B”, Ann “C”). I (Mike) will say that the fried chicken is some of the best I have had – other than Ann’s, of course. But the sandwich I had was tasteless and the soup was cold and not very good.

After lunch we stopped at the Webb Military museum. It is the personal collection of … well, a certain Mr. Webb. He has collected military uniforms and paraphernalia from nearly all the nation’s wars. He even had a jungle fatigue jacket worn by General Westmoreland and two shirts worn by Bob Hope during his Vietnam tours. There was also a MiG 21 cockpit. Thanks to our friends Frank and Sue for recommending the museum.

Ann’s Notes: My portion of the blog will be quick, Michael wants to send this out tonight. Our adventures with Dave and Joan aboard have been fun  they have seen some locations and had some experiences that not everyone gets to experience – even if we had to skip a few of our favorites.  

I am going to call this portion of the blog “Dialing For Turkey Thighs” Let me give you a few facts… (I’ll refer to these later)

·       Population of Lady’s Island SC is 12,570

·       Population of Beaufort SC is 13,729

·       Population of Bluffton SC is 21,085

Y’all  ( please note, I do speak Suth’n) …Those of you who know me well know that I am a planner, it makes me happy and living that way is easy for me. So … most of y’all also know we have a big holiday coming up—one that involves turkey. We will be on a mooring ball at that time in St. Augustine FL with our stove running the generator. Add all those facts together and to me it equals quite a bit of pre-planning to serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Should be easy Right? Not so fast.

The screwdriver may be tough top see, but believe me it is there.
While in Beaufort we stayed in a marina that had a courtesy car because I planned it that way… I needed a courtesy car to get to the grocery store. Well…the “courtesy car” looks like a car but it came with a set of unusual driving instructions. Our first clue was that it had a Bahamian license plate in the front – those of you who know the Bahamas are beginning to get the picture.  The first instruction was to make sure you leave the screw driver in the gearshift . You see, although the car sounded like a modern jet plane, like a jet plane taking off as a matter of fact), the screwdriver kept the gearshift in place. Ok, we manage to get the car to the local Publix grocery store on Lady’s Island. All I want is four good size turkey thighs to cook. We went to the turkey meat section and they only had one package with two thighs in it. I talked to the meat manager thinking they surely had more in the back. Wrong…he told me a gentleman had come in the day before and bought two cases of thighs, so all they had was what was on the shelf. Well, they have a Walmart, down the road and certainly Walmart will have thighs. We get into the “sort of car,” drive to Walmart, and  NO THIGHS.

Let’s try Food Lion, back into the clown car, NO Thighs…good heaven there is not …ok…only two turkey thighs to be found on Lady’s Island. Please Note the population above.

Now the phone calls start, I called the local meat market, no thighs.

Called a Publix in northern Beaufort, no thighs…please note the population..

Called the Publix in Bluffton, twenty miles away, talked to Hector in the meat department, he is holding four thighs for me. The marina clown car cannot make that trip. Thank the heavens for our friends Mark and Becky. She has a car that looks like a car, drives like a car and does not need a screwdriver in any way shape or form. Michael and Joan drove to the store, I was DONE with the turkey thigh search. My conclusion … only towns with large populations have turkey thighs available for pre-planners, like me.

So when Dave, Joan, Michael and I set down for dinner on Thanksgiving, while floating in our boat, on a mooring ball, in St. Augustine FL…we will give thanks to Mark and Becky for providing the transportation to get those thighs. And for moi and all the pre-planning that went into the meal.

Just one more funny thing I found on Facebook that has to do with speaking Southern.

The southern definition of Namaste:

One southern asking another…

“There is a hurricane coming…are you going to evacuate?”

His friend’s response? … Namaste here

Mike here. Ok, I know it’s bad when you have to explain a joke, but for those of you who don’t understand southern, that translates to: “Nah, I’m ‘a’ stay.”

Traveling Soul …OUT

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Elizabeth City to Manteo

The Prequel

It was Friday, October 26 and there I was, navigating through a particularly byzantine channel just off the ICW and slightly north of Beaufort, North Carolina when I realized that we were on the wrong side of the channel markers. I immediately tried to turn back into the channel, but before I could get there, I heard the bump, the grind and the other unforgettable sounds of the hull getting hung up on the earth; we were aground. I tried moving backward, forward and all the other standard remedies. Nothing. I called the marina and told them we would be a little late, then I called TowBoat US (kind of a AAA for the boating crowd) and gave them our position and prepared to be rescued.

Little did I know, however, that that lovely my wife was on Facebook telling everyone what had happened. I mean my god, she could have at least waited until I made up a good excuse ... er … I mean until I determined the exact cause of this unfortunate incident. As you know, the National Transportation Safety Board can take years to determine the cause of accidents. I mean, while I am no fan of our current president, I sympathize that sometimes reportage gets ahead of the truth – or at least the truth as I want it to be known.

Again, however, I am afraid I am ahead of myself. Before I give you the detailed explanation of what happened and why, I need to discuss some other aspects of our trip.

After Elizabeth City

In our last entry we left you after touring Elizabeth City, the “Harbor of Hospitality”. After Elizabeth City we decided to go to Manteo, NC on Roanoke Island. To get there, we had to traverse the eastern half of Albemarle Sound. Although the afternoon part of the journey was okay, I must admit that the beginning was a little rolly. Everyone did okay, though, and we got to Roanoke Island without any real problems. Maneuvering through Shallowbag Bay, which is the area just in front of Manteo, however, was bit tricky as it is getting increasingly shoal every year. Nevertheless, we got into the marina with very little difficulty.

There seem to be two geographical areas of tourism on Roanoke Island, one in the north near the original fort, and the other in the center near the town of Manteo. The problem is that these two areas are 5-6 miles apart. That’s not a problem if you have a car, but on foot 5-6 miles is quite a walk. Needless to say we didn’t make it to the northern area of the island, and stayed near the town.

For those of you not as steeped in North Carolina history as I am (after all, I attended 6th and half of 7th grade in Fayetteville), Roanoke Island is the site of the first English colony in America, before Plymouth and before Jamestown. It is the location of the famed “Lost Colony” and is the birthplace of the first child of English descent born in America, Virginia Dare. Or, to be more verbose, as Wikipedia does

Roanoke Island was the site of the Roanoke Colony an English settlement initially established in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh group of about 120 men, women and children arrived in 1587. Shortly after arriving in this New World, colonist Eleanor Dare, daughter of Governor John White gave birth to Virginia Dare She was the first English child born in North America. Governor White returned to England later that year for supplies. Due to impending war with Spain, White was unable to return to Roanoke Island until 1590. When he arrived, the colony had vanished. The fate of those first colonists remains a mystery to this day and is one of America's most intriguing unsolved mysteries. Archaeologists, historians, and other researchers continue to work to resolve the mystery.

While in Manteo we did some shopping and had good dinner at Avenue Waterfront Grille and also to the Manteo Island Festival Park. There, they had a few interesting Native American exhibits, a couple of costumed English tradesmen plying their trades and a replica of the Elizabeth II, the ship that carried the colonists to the New World. We spent most of our time on the Elizabeth II. It was a 69’ vessel that carried 50 colonists plus their provisions across the ocean – a journey that took three months. As a matter of comparison, Traveling Soul is a 52’ vessel carrying four people right now down the Intracoastal Waterway.  Just sayin’ …

After Manteo we anchored at the end of the Alligator-Pungo Canal. There is an anchorage there at the mouth of the Pungo River that is one of my favorite anchorages on the Waterway. It has great holding and provides some protection from the east and the north. One reason I like the anchorage so much is that if there is serious weather, you can go further up the river and get protection from all sides.

We weighed anchor and proceeded to Beaufort, NC. Between us and Beaufort, however, was a large chunk of Pamlico Sound and the Neuse River. Was it rolly? Was it bumpy? Well, you will have to ask Dave or Joan because Ann and I thought it was just one of those things. Even Spot decided that hiding under a blanket was sufficient, rather than hiding under the table like she does with serious wind and waves. Besides it didn’t last for more than an hour or two, then we turned so the seas were pushing us forward, i.e. we had following seas.

After the unfortunate grounding incident – about which I will say more later – we arrived in Beaufort, NC. Beaufort NC is pronounced BOW-fort, in contrast to Beaufort, SC which is pronounced BYOU-fort. While in Beaufort we had two lunches out. One of the places was recommended by the dockmaster, it was called the Black Sheep and had a nice beet salad (at least that is what Ann told me, I personally, hate beets) , and some of the best thin crust pizza I have had in a long time (to that I can personally attest because I LOVE pizza). The other, which shall remain nameless (only because I can’t remember the name) was, at best so-so.

We also did a lot of browsing in the shops – with one exception. Ann, as many of you know is an accomplished chef who loves her olive oil. There is an olive oil store in Beaufort that we had to visit two or three times to get the correct oils and the proper containers for her to cook such wonderful meals.

A shot of the Olive Oil Store In Beaufort
We also went to the Beaufort Museum. The museum is pretty good. It focuses on findings from the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. In 1996, archaeologists discovered the ship in shallow water about a mile offshore near the Beaufort Inlet, so Beaufort has first dibs on the artifacts. We also took a tour of the city and got a chance to see a bunch of old houses (still in use). Some were “Sears” houses, which you could order out of the catalog and would be delivered, with instructions, on the train. From the look of the houses, they gave much better instructions for putting together houses than Ikea and others do today. We actually saw one house that brought together several of the Beaufort themes. Apparently in the 1950’s or 60’s Sears painted a house on Beaufort with their famous “Weatherbeater” paint. They chose Beaufort because it was on coastal North Carolina and they could leave it there for several years and show how well the paint held up through hurricanes and all the other inclement weather the sea can offer. At some point, apparently, Sears got tired of waiting so they brought in big fans, hired the local fire department and made their own “hurricane.” When it they ran the ad, Sears said it held up in hurricanes and referred to the house as Blackbeard’s old house.

Okay, now I will explain that for which most of you have been waiting. It is true that we went aground just outside the ICW on the way to our marina in Beaufort. For those of you who don’t know, in boating it is said there are two kinds of boaters: those who have been aground and liars. At least I am not a liar. How bad was it? Well, while this certainly isn’t the first time we have bumped the bottom or even stalled on the ground, it the first time in nearly 20 years of boating that have I called TowboatUS, so that means we paid $2800 for this tow. And do you know what? The membership is worth every penny. The TowboatUS Captain was young but very professional. He knew what he was doing.

Now my crack “Grounding Investigator” (moi) has analyzed several different possibilities for this grounding.

1.       On this voyage, Dave and Joan are acting as additional crew for Traveling Soul. They are fairly green and had never been aboard a grounded vessel, at least not a grounded Traveling Soul. If I need to, I will swear that I was simply trying to train the crew in the proper processes and procedures when grounded. That would mean that this was no accident; it was a well planned and executed training event. The fact that everyone thought it was real is testament to how well it was planned and executed.

2.       While he has been a member of BoatUS for 20 years or so and had never used the membership. He just wanted to see if everything would work as advertised. It did.

3.       The markers in this area are so screwed up and difficult to interpret that it is amazing more people don’t run aground. My award should read that “at great personal risk and with extraordinary courage he determined to challenge the authorities and show them how much dredging is needed.” Rather than be shunned, I should be awarded the Cruiser’s Cross (or some other appropriate award) so the authorities will do something about the markers.

4.       Or perhaps my favorite … Did you know Blackbeard grounded his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge just outside the Beaufort Inlet (it was just discovered in 1996)? I was just trying to get the full “pirate experience” by grounding Traveling Soul.

5.       With extraordinary stupidity I took my eyes off the markers that I was following and began focusing on where I was to dock. In the process I missed the (admittedly small) green markers marking the channel.

Since I have eliminated explanation 5, you can see my crack investigator (moi) determined that notwithstanding anything you may see on Facebook, I WAS NOT AT FAULT. And that is all I am going to say about that.

 Continuing the Story

One of the excellent displays at the Maritime Museum
of North Carolina in Southport, NC
After Beaufort we anchored for a night in Mile Hammock Bay and headed for Southport, NC. Enroute to Southport there are three bridges, the Surf City, Figure Eight and Wrightsville Beach Bridges that open on a schedule that defies any logic. It is absolutely impossible to make any kind of decent time through the three of them. I have asked my classmates, some of whom were professors of mathematics, some rocket scientists and one even a professor emeritus of engineering to calculate a schedule for making the bridges. No one has yet succeeded. I have detailed this conundrum in previous entries and won’t go say any more today. Except GRRR! Dame the state of North Carolina!

Okay, with that out of my system, I can tell you that we spent a day touring the lovely and historic city of Southport, NC. I had heard about the North Carolina Maritime Museum of Southport and had long wanted to check it out. It wasn’t very big and didn’t have as many artifacts as I would have liked, but it told the maritime story of Southport fairly well … at least through the Civil War. Then it kind of petered out. It seemed to say, “and in the 20th Century there were a couple of more wars. The End.” I guess any museum has to choose its focus and theirs was clearly the pre-revolutionary, revolutionary and Civil War maritime histories of Southport.

We also visited Fort Johnson and the Visitors Center which are one in the same. There, there was very little discussion of Fort Johnson and a lot of pictures of Southport through the ages. We checked out a few stores, then headed back to the boat. Later that evening, we had our friend Jim Treadwell over and all went out to dinner. Jim had been an underclassman in my company at West Point and later became my company executive officer in the 82nd Airborne Division. Ann had remembered that last time we came through Southport and met Jim and his wife Bess,we had gone to dinner at a place called “Fishy, Fishy Cafe.” Actually, what she remembered was their “Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon with Maple Glaze.” It was scrumptious a year ago and was scrumptious this year. Speaking of scrumptious, one of our new crewmembers, Dave Wolf, has asked to discuss scrumptiousity and our Chief Chef, Ann.

Dave’s Notes:

Thanks, Mike…Mike has often blogged about the great food on Traveling Soul.  I thought I would take a minute and review what we’ve dined on so far on our trip.  Here is a summary of the menu we have enjoyed since we left Maryland:

·       15 October:  Reuben Sandwiches (a tradition of ours to have Reubens  when we start a trip);
·       16 October:  Chicken and Carrots (another boat tradition);
·       17 October:  Ribs cooked on the grill with cole slaw and beans; Mike cooked half way on the grill
·       18 October:  Pork Chops stuffed with spinach and goat cheese (unbelievable);
·       19 October:  we dined out at Amber Lantern;
·       20 October:  Roasted chicken thighs with vegetables;
·      21 October:  Beef Stroganoff;
·       22 October:  Shrimp Bisque (this was a cool evening and begged for a great soup!);
·       23 October:  Spaghetti Bolognese with Italian sausages;
·       24 October:  dinner out in Manteo;
·       25 October:  Ribeye Steak on the grill with baked potato and salad; Mike grilled out
·       26 October:  Cornish Game Hens with stuffing and a side of roasted zucchini and squash;
·       27 October:  Rack of Lamb!  See photo…
·       28 October:  Shrimp ala “Homer Smith” and cole slaw (fresh shrimp right off the boat);
o   Mike’s note: Homer Smith’s is the name of the marina were we stayed AND the co-located Shrimp processing plant. We not only get the shrimp fresh, but at wholesale prices!
·       29 October:  Chicken Enchiladas ala Joan Wolf
·       30 October:  Ribeye Steak on the grill with tater tots (we are in the South);Mike grilled out
31 October: Shrimp Quiche (More of Homer Smith's shrimp!)

I think the above list gives you some idea of how well we eat on Traveling Soul.
One small portion of the hurricane damage we saw.

If I may delve into one more topic:  hurricane damage.  As we cruised past Elizabeth City and went deeper into North Carolina, we saw more and more examples of hurricane damage from Hurricane Florence.  As you might recall, Florence came ashore as a huge hurricane between North and South Carolina, then stalled, dumping many hundreds of inches of water on both the coastal and inland portions of this area.  It was followed up by the remnants of Hurricane Michael.  As we cruised down the ICW, it was amazing to see that some places were severely hit, while the house next door appeared to be untouched.  This view does not account, of course, for repairs that have already been made, but damage was pretty extensive in coastal North Carolina.  It will be interesting to see what South Carolina has suffered in terms of hurricane damage.

Ann’s Notes:  geez…Now I need to follow up after all the reading you have done already. I will try to make it semi-short.

We have had a good cruise so far, granted it has been on the cooler side of sunny at times. I can tell we are in the Carolinas by the amount of dark, sticky, smelly mud that is clinging onto every single link of our anchor chain. Hosing it off before it goes into our anchor locker can take an extra ten to fifteen minutes in the morning. You may be thinking…ok…no big deal … but when Captain Michael says… anchor up and underway by 7 or 7:30 …he means to keep that schedule. On my end, I just adjust the alarm clock to take into account all the other morning routines I do… get dressed, put in my left contact lens ( I only wear one -- mono vision works for me), put sun screen on, make the bed. Than the galley routine starts pour the coffee, have a little something for breakfast, listen to the weather report. Then it is time to go to the bow of the boat, take out and turn on the wash down hose, take a deep breath, put my foot on the windlass bottom and start to messy ordeal of cleaning the anchor chain, link by link. So… taking up 100 or 120 feet of chain, mostly covered in yucky mud can take a few minutes out of your morning. Michael and I have the routine down well and Big Bertha has held us faithfully, so she deserves my TLC .

Now…about the grounding and Facebook… if you are stuck, have good WiFi, time to kill while waiting for BoatUS to arrive and have loyal, concerned friends  that follow you…be honest…what would you do? You already know my answer… POST … day, time and Location… Just sayin’.

Spot, waiting for dolphins to appear
I want to thank Dave for reviewing the daily menu. Most of you know that I love to cook, have a wonderful stocked pantry and a  galley that has all the luxuries of home( but not a gas stove, I miss my gas stove when cruising). I did have to get a new Induction , mine broke just before we departed Solomons. I ordered a new and better one while underway, from Amazon , and had it delivered to Homer Smiths in Beaufort NC. That little cooktop is also a time saver in the morning. It can boil water in seconds for Dave’s morning tea and Joan’s oatmeal… it took several minutes to boil water in the microwave. Tick Tock…the Captain is waiting for Bertha to get her shower and get underway.

Thanks for following us…Blessings

Spot is well and enjoying her bird watching, dolphin watching activities.

Traveling Soul…OUT