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.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Cumberland, Jekyll and Points North

Ann and I both love Cumberland and Jekyll, two of Georgia’s barrier Islands, and we wanted to share them with Dave and Joan. Unfortunately, the forecasters were predicting nasty winds and weather, and we were afraid that if we anchored at Cumberland, we would pay the price. So, instead of visiting them in the proper order, we shuffled things around. We decided to go up to the marina at Jekyll – to hide from the winds – then back to the anchorage at Cumberland so we could explore the island one more time. And we were glad we did. We measured winds at 50kts on our anemometer and friends of ours who were anchored at St. Mary’s measured 54. Needless to say the winds were a-whistlin’ that night!

One of the wild horses at Cumberland.
While it was windy, it wasn’t raining so we spent some time showing Dave and Joan one of our favorite places in Jekyll. Several years ago we had spent a week on the island and bicycled all over so we knew the attractions fairly well. We visited Starbucks, of course (several times), and the grocery store. We also took a golf cart trip to the Horton House. (In 1735 William Horton was granted the title to Jekyll Island by the trustees of the colony of Georgia. Following a Spanish attack that destroyed his first house on the island in 1743, Horton, with help from indentured servants, rebuilt a new home that still stands today.) We also had dinner at the marina’s restaurant and played a round of miniature golf. I would tell you who won, but since it wasn’t me and this is MY blog, I’ll just leave that detail out.

After Jekyll we backtracked to Cumberland Island. We downloaded the dinghy and went ashore. I just love the National Seashore at Cumberland. It is miles and miles of open beach, cluttered with nothing but seashells and the occasional chair and blanket from visiting families. This is the island where I first became an amateur “sheller” and where, in the past, I have seen wild turkeys, armadillos, deer, wild horses – and this time I even saw a raccoon! We also visited Dungeness, the Carnegie mansion that burned in the 1950’s, Light Horse Harry Lee’s original grave and we saw bunches of wild horses. In short, it was an action-packed two days.

After Cumberland, it was on to Brunswick Landing Marina where we bade farewell to Dave and Joan who had to get back home. We filled up with fuel, made a trip to the grocery store for essentials and, after waiting an additional day, were off, on our way back up the Waterway. We decided to pass up the banjoes that we heard the last time we visited the “Two Way Fish Camp” and the twangy voices of Kilkenny Marina, and instead anchored at a couple of the many beautiful anchorages we have seen as we have traveled the ICW.

Our next stop was Thunderbolt Marina, just outside Savannah, GA. To get to Thunderbolt, you have to pass through a spot named Hell Gate, one of the perennial trouble spots on the Waterway. As I was looking at my updated electronic chart, I saw a note that said, “Dredged to 12 feet, 1997.” What? Maybe long, long ago … in a galaxy far, far away … someplace named Hell Gate was dredged to 12 feet, but not this one and not in this century. Oh well, we made it through. I guess that’s what count s.

We wanted to stop at Thunderbolt primarily because our friends from Virginia, Frank and Sue Fucci, were visiting Savannah while traveling north in their RV. We have met Frank and Sue at several points along their travels, including Colorado when we were visiting my sister, Baltimore, where their son and grandkids used to live, and now Savannah. We had snacks and a beer or two on the boat, then  went to one of the local eateries, where even if the food wasn’t delicious, the weather was good and the company even better. It was also while at Thunderbolt that I finished Phase II of my sanding project. I have now completed the railing on the aft deck and the teak strip on the starboard side.

After Thunderbolt we were off to Beaufort, (Byou-fort) SC where we stayed on the private dock of our friends Kyle and Kathy from Now and Zen. They have a very cool home in Beaufort with a 50 foot dock that has electricity. They weren’t home, so they offered us the use of their dock. We needed – wait for it – a fifty foot dock with electricity – so we took advantage of their hospitality. The only little glitch was that we had to dock the boat ourselves, which we don’t usually do. Anyway, everything went well and, after docking, we enjoyed a cool beverage in their cool boathouse and enjoyed the day. Thanks Kyle and Kathy.

From Thunderbolt, it was a couple of nights on the hook, then on to Charleston. In my continuing effort to teach you damn Yankees how to speak proper southern, Charleston does not really have an “r” in it; it is a “w”. So, Charleston is pronounced, “Chawl’ston,” and that “w” is very soft. I learned that pronunciation from my friend Mark Tracy who has been in the city almost 40 years. Mark and I started West Point together almost 50 years ago and graduated together four years after that. I don’t think, though, that even Mark knows how thoroughly he has been assimilated into the southern collective. He has that “Chawl’ston” thing down perfectly. His wife, Roseanne, is originally from Joisey. Though she doesn’t have the southern accent down quite as well as Mark, she has nevertheless been assimilated almost as thoroughly as he has, and she is now a true southerner at heart. They took us for drinks on the roof of a local sports bar and we all had a great time.

We stayed at the Charleston City Marina’s notorious MegaDock. It is probably 2000 feet long and we were at the very end It took us fifteen minutes just to get from our boat to the marina office and another five to get to the courtesy van parking place. I mean good Lord, we needed a ride to get to our ride!

This was our serving at Smoke. 
The smoked Cuban (center) was especially good.
While in Charleston we also took a culinary tour. Charleston is becoming quite the foodie Mecca and since we do not know which restaurant is at the top at any particular time, we took a tour. We visited three restaurants (and a gelato-joint for dessert) and had four courses at each. This particular tour focused on Upper King Street and concentrated more on the lighter fare that on the fancy stuff. At a place called HoM (House of Munchies) I liked the BBQ chicken on flat bread best.  (It was kind of like a pizza.) Ann, I think preferred the grilled cauliflower with buffalo sauce. At the second restaurant, Smoke, they gave us some of their famous barbecued chicken wings– that was as dry as any BBQ chicken I have ever had and a surprisingly good Cuban with smoked pork and their own with their own homemad thousand island dressing. For a side dish they had coleslaw very different than Ann usually makes. While I, of course, like Ann’s better (I know where my bread is buttered), she kind of liked theirs. The best course, however, was at Rue de Jean where they served us mussels in garlic butter sauce as well as pommes frites. They were both scrumptious; the garlic butter sauce was especially good.  For dessert, we went to Paulo’s. I am not sure Paulo’s gelato was the best I have ever had, but he is the neatest character by whom I have been served any Italian dish. He was kind of like a nice soup-Nazi from the Seinfeld Show TV – for those of you who recognize the reference. At any rate, after 12 courses and gelato for dessert Ann and I were both pretty full.

From Charleston we have only a few more stops before we reach home. We are going to have to keep moving and miss some of those places, like Georgetown, SC, as well as Bath and Plymouth, NC that I still wanted to visit. Oh well. I am going to close this so I can get it underway while we still have a good internet connection. 

Ann’s Notes: After proof reading Michael’s portion of the blog, I realized how busy we have been having fun. The visit with Dave and Joan on board was great. I really enjoy sharing all the wonderful attractions on the ICW. Now that I am really into walking, I appreciate my surroundings so much more. We did a lot of walking in Cumberland. Also the Park Service has a really great way to do their walking tour of the ruins of Dungeness.   If you have a QR reader app on your phone , you can point it at the sign and it will give you the  history  of the building or area that you are viewing. They also have the option of calling a phone number that gives you the same information. We used the audio tour a lot, it just makes the tour that much more interesting.

Ann and Dori on Charleston's Ravenel Bridge
Dave and Joan had a great time with us, as we always do when the four of us are traveling together. I think it helped Spot re-adjust to Michael and I and the boat.  They had to get back to VA to do some family stuff.

We have been lucky this year in meeting with friends alone the way. Frank and Sue are great friends and have stories similar to ours, only they  live on a land yacht. They both have a great sense of humor and spending time with them is always special.

Charleston… what a beautiful city and a beautiful bridge. I determined even before we got there to walk the Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River. This is how the story goes..

Back when we were in the Fort Pierce Marina in April, we had drinks and appetizers with our good friends Scott and Teri Miller aboard their boat Miller Time. Dave and Joan were with us, so naturally they were invited. Scott and Teri had friends with whom they were traveling together. They introduced their friends, Bob and Dori Arrington on Liberdade. Boat cards were exchange, a good time was had by all and we went our separate ways.

Flash forward to Charleston, we are eating dinner and watching the boats enter the fairway at Charleston City Maria – by the way we were on the outside of the Mega dock, great view but that is another story. Anyway, we see Liberdade cruise in; my new friend Dori was in the marina! I had been trying to figure out how I was going to make my goal of walking the bridge happen. Michael really did not want me to do it alone. It was far from the marina, and was a long walk. He wanted to make sure I would be safe. I went outside my comfort zone, called Dori and asked if she was a walker and when she said yes…I asked her if she would like to walk that beautiful bridge with me the next morning. We had a great time getting to know each other, we had four and a half miles to do that, and that distance did not included the on walking ramp to the bridge. It was a beautiful overcast morning, lots of clouds to block out the direct sun, a nice breeze  and two very motivated women. It was wonderful! We called Teri and told her that WE DID IT!!! 

After walking the bridge, going on the Culinary Tour was guilt free.  The tour was fun, the food good and I got to eat all the Brussels sprouts at the last restaurant, they were yummy. To top off the day, we saw Mark and Roseanne, shared the view of Marion Square and had drinks with them. It made for another perfect day in their town.

Also, we went shopping the Farmers Market the next morning, wonderful. I love Charleston!!!

Traveling Soul…OUT

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