Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 101 (Dec. 15)

I know I don’t have the blog completely up to date but today we flew home for Christmas and we don’t plan on returning to the boat until roughly Jan 10th. I will try to get the last couple of days completed and posted but then the blog will not be resumed until roughly Jan 10.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
<3 Nice Butt Crew

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 94

We woke up and had a little bit of a late start, taking time to eat breakfast before we got underway.
We thought that since we went for so long yesterday that we would only go maybe 50 miles today and stop in good time (long before dusk).
While underway we noticed the vibration in the shaft getting worse and papa looked up a place where we could be hulled and have the cutlass bearing replaced and the shaft realigned. He found a place in Fort Peirce that seemed reasonable and was close...or he thought was close. Since he made arrangements for us to be there tomorrow we needed to keep moving in order to get close so we could get in early and give the mechanics time to inspect the boat before its hulled in the morning. So we looked at the carts and decided we would go to some marina on down the ICW.
It was getting late when we neared the marina and we were soo ready to pull in after what now was two long days of traveling...but there was a problem...none of the 4 marinas in the area had enough depth for us to get in! We were forced to carry on.
An hour and a half later the sun was setting and we reached Pauls Island. Here was an anchorage just off the ICW. We anchored in a little over 5’ of water and put up our stay sail. Tonight was suppose to be windy.
We were all exhausted and happy to sit in the cockpit and eat a light supper. It was warm and we rolled up the back of the enclosure while we ate.
At one point in time we heard either a dolphin or a manatee surface but by the time we got up to look it was gone.

Niki

Day 93

We left Palm Coast this morning. We thought we’d have a short 40mile day but we decided to press farther. 74 miles later it was quickly getting dark and we anchored just north of Titusville in the lee of the train bridge.
Today’s is a really short post but really all we did was navigated the shallow water and bitched about the ignorant power boaters who planed past us. OHH and i saw a pink flamingo! xD
Niki

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 92

We decided to layover a day. Today was beautiful. It was soo hot and sunny. Pretty much all day I worked on my slideshow since the fact that we could be going home any day had finally sunk in lol. Grama walked up and did some laundry and Papa and Gram’s did a little walk into town.

Since getting our TV we’ve had upwards of 20 channels that we could watch but here we can only receive 2 channels that are completely snowy =[. Later in the evening this started to bug Grama and apparently they had cable there so we decided to run a cord from the TV, through my berth, up my hatch and around the jib to the connection. When we looked on the dock there were 4 places you could plug in...and of course none worked lol.

While we were out fooling around we noticed people cheering and shouting merry Christmas on down towards the ICW. When we looked closely we saw a parade of boats decorated with Christmas decorations heading past. We had heard of the boat parade but had never been given a date or time so we thought we would run over and see if we could catch the end of the parade. We got there just as the last boat passed us =[ but then we were told that almost all of the boats had to turn around and come back past to return to their docks. So we pretty much got to see the whole parade =].

Once we were back on the dock we saw one of the boats that had been in the parade turning into our marina. We watched and they seemed to be having trouble docking so we went over to lend a hand and toss them their lines.

Once they were secure they offered for us to come aboard and have a drink with them, which we accepted. One of the couples was Dutch while the other was English and we chatted of a while.

After a while i headed back to Nice Butt and downloaded a movie for us (4 Christmases) and once everyone was back on board we made some supper and watched the movie.

Niki

Day 91

Since we were told that the dock was full today with reservations we had to get off the dock by 11:00 but we decided to explore the town once more before we left. We walked into town and found a horse and carriage tour and decided to take it.

We had to ask the driver to cut the tour short because we needed to be back at 11. When we were back on board we quickly slipped our lines and headed off to Palm Coast Marina where Dick and Ruth are.

It wasn’t too long before we were there but found no one aboard Grace C. We figured Ruth’s parents had come down and they we off at their condo so we just kinda hung out.

Niki

Day 90

Well i got up this morning and headed for the showers early. I tried to convince papa to layover here but that wasn’t happening so i wanted to quickly get up to the boat house and get online. When we were getting ready to cast off we had some more electric problems... which was a bummer but I headed up to the boat house to stay out of the way.

When we finally departed it was a short day to St. Augustine and we got in early enough to walk into town. The town had some amazing Spanish architecture with detailed balconys and borders. We walked down the main street and looked in a few little shops and eventually decided to go into a little Greek restaurant for supper.

After we ate we decided to take the lights tour we had heard about earlier. It took us around the town to see the Christmas lights and past the Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum that ran the lights tour.

When we made it back to the boat i took to sitting on the bow where i could get somewhat of an internet connection and could make a few calls home =].

Niki

Day 89

When we woke up this morning it was very foggy. With us not being able to get an early start going outside would be impossible so Kathy and Archie decided to stay. Ourselves on the other hand wanted to move and see something new.

We headed alone down the ICW to Jacksonville Beach. When we arrived we decided to mount our TV arm and out TV on the wall. It took a while but its sweet lmao. Shortly after we noticed we had started to have some electrical problems and papa had a guy come to look at it. Since we weren’t going out for supper right away headed up to the boat house where they’d let you plug in to internet. I stayed online until it was closing and even had the guy stayed a little late for me haha. This is a place where i would like to layover.

When i returned to the boat Andy (the mechanic) was just finishing up and we headed to the restaurant for supper. It was definitely a good choice. It was good food (and we had Gator Bites again) and they were having some sort of music might where almost everyone there was scheduled to sing or play a song or two.

As we were sitting there Grama said “it’s starting to feel a little bit like vacation” and I had to agree =] it was nice.

Niki

Day 88

We moved today to the outside dock so we could get an early start in the morning (where we were you needed to wait until slack tide before you could get out of the slip). Other than that it was a fairly uneventful day. Papa and I went up to a little cafe so we could get internet and then later on in the evening we watched Santa come and light up the St. Marys Christmas tree.

Niki

Day 87

Well another debate we’ve been having is everyone else has a TV with a little (but really good) antenna and they can get about 12 station in the middle of nowhere!...and Grama and I really want one! We brought it up to papa (again) and to our amazement he said ok and they went to look at TV’s today! Honestly i thought he would humour us and go look but there was no way we’d get one.

I opted to stay behind while they went because i wasn’t feeling too well and about 45mins after they left they called me and got me to measure the three spots we might be able to put it.

When they arrived back Papa was carrying a big box! =] We felt like kids at Christmas when we opened it lmao and it! He bought us a 19” flat screen and a swivel arm thing haha for when we mount it on the wall. We hurried and plugged it in and got the antenna on and sat there watching a couple commercials before switching through the channels.

Tonight we had Archie and Lindsey, the captain of the gorgeous sailing vessel Janey and his friend who flew down for a week for thanksgiving, and Kathy and Larry over for supper. It was a fun night, everyone chatted and although we did mute the TV we couldn’t bring ourselves to turn it off lmao.

In our talks we semi decided that Janey, Sinn Fein and ourselves would head out on Wed (today is Mon. Dec. 1st) and do a long day sail out in the ocean to St. Augustine, which through the ICW is a two day hull.

Niki

Day 86

Well today was raining and wet so us girls borrowed Ed’s car and headed to town. We spent a while in good will haha and then got some groceries and looked around Lows for some good LED reading lights for papa, as well as a stool! For the readers who we haven’t talked to this stool has been under debate for a while. Grama has trouble getting on and off the boat when we’re tied to short floating docks, and really sometimes i have trouble lmao we’re short :P, but the debate is where do we put it? We let Kathy convince us just to go back with it haha.

It was a long day of shopping and when we got back to the boat we just kinda flopped down and had a quiet night.

Niki

Captain’s Log

November 15 2008 (Day 71)

We are anchored in Whiteside Creek about 15 miles north of Charleston, S.C. awaiting weather improvement. We arrived here a little past 16:00 Friday after probably our longest, slowest day yet. We made good only 48 statute miles averaging barely 5 knots over 8 hours. Our departure in the morning from Georgetown S.C. was delayed by fog till 8:15. Both wind and current were against us the entire day. Overnight, winds were mostly over 25 knots with gusts into the mid 30’s. This makes for a sleepless night even ‘though the holding was excellent and the worst we could do was drift into shallows and go aground, which we did at low tide around 3:00. No harm no foul, just stopped swinging and actually got some rest. We didn’t drag our anchor but we set it on a rising tide in 8 feet of water and the tidal range in S.C. is upwards of 8 feet. Since our keel is like a mushroom with 2 torpedo like appendages we don’t fall over we just sit upright.

In addition to high winds we had some lightning and a bit of rain after midnight. A bit north of here closer to Beaufort N.C. a tornado touched down causing damage and loss of live. Our friends on Sinn Fein were thankfully tied to a dock at Swansboro N.C. while that whirled around them.

We have made reservations for the Charleston town marina for Sunday and Monday (they were filled up today) so hopefully we can be tourists in the southern ‘low country’ for a bit. From there Beaufort S.C. is 2 days travel, Savannah Geo. another day, then 3 days to the Florida border and another 3 days to Titusville where hopefully we will meet up with Murray and Heather Rand and Don Wilson. Given a few days for sightseeing and weather delays I hope to be in Titusville by December 1.

After experiencing some really cold weather since the lower Chesapeake Bay we have had several days of above average temperatures (70+ F today); hence the unsettled weather. We expect it to get colder overnight till mid week then warm to the mid 60’s later in the week. We ARE anxious to get to Florida.

Since we left Ontario September 7 [Niki insert- it was the 6th :P] this is the first time I’ve actually had a few hours to myself (plus the energy and daylight) to consider reflecting on the record Maxine and Niki keep asking when the fun will begin. But Niki has been working on a DVD presentation of our trip thus far and from the pics and dialog it all looks fun to me. I saw a shirt in Annapolis which summed it succinctly for me. “The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude”. Not to suggest their attitude is not stellar; but with the daily chores of moving a boat, cooking and cleaning, not to mention the Laundromat, they sometimes lose momentary sight of the many smiles, laughs, the beauty and the wondrous sights we’ve experienced each and every day. We live in a beautiful world and we are getting to see parts of it that can only be experienced from the water.

We left Lake Erie as we have often experienced it; rough, cantankerous, showing us how miserable it’s shallow waters can be in stiff headwinds. The trip across New York State through the canal system was work (39 locks in 10 days) but still we saw New York state as few others in this century have; magnificent river systems and mountain ranges connected by man’s ingenuity (and hard labour). Then the mighty Hudson River, in many places far deeper than Lake Erie and our first experience with real tides and currents. And railways !! Rail tracks cover the entire river (both banks). Johnny Cash singing Fulsum Prison Blues ( “I hear the train a coming, coming ‘round the bend”) rang in my ears the entire time along with the train whistles which echoed in our ears all day long (and night). New York !! Niki’s DVD will say it all and I need only add thanks to our friend and tour director Kathy McAuley from Sinn Fein for the New York experience. (Times Square, Central Park, Bubba Gump, the underground, 79th street Marina, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Avenue, Canal Street, all in 24 hours !!).

Atlantic Highlands on the Jersey side of New York is a quiet, friendly contrast to a bustling harbour that greets the entire world. Did you know the Atlantic ocean can be less than 10 feet deep for a mile or more off the coast of New Jersey? You can’t imagine Atlantic City (yes, the Donald !) from the water at night ‘till you see Niki’s pics. Cape May is both picturesque and a treacherous point of land to get round entering Delaware Bay. You learn about tides and currents quickly here. We did it right. The current here changes direction about 2 hours after the tide turns. The tide and current turn at different times as you work inland up an estuary. Leaving Cape May at low tide shortly after 6:00 and struggling for 3 hours to get around the Cape and into Delaware Bay (there is a canal that allows you to transit from the Atlantic to the Bay without rounding the Cape but our rig is too high to pass under the 55’ bridge), we caught the change in current immediately and carried speeds over the ground of 7 to 10 knots the entire passage up the Bay, Delaware River, C&D canal and into the upper reaches of the Chesapeake Bay where we anchored in the Bohemia River at 19:00 hours. It was mid afternoon that day in the canal our cell ‘phone rang to tell us of Mom’s death. The timing afforded me several hours of quiet reflection on a life well lived and a generation now gone.

We have sailed the Bay before and on this trip did little new except we finally got to the bottom of the Bay. Cold weather discouraged us from tarrying and exploring the Bay properly. We simply wanted south, only to find that the cold weather followed us. Nevertheless we enjoyed Annapolis, toured the Naval Academy for the first time and slowed our pace a bit to enjoy anchoring and becoming better acquainted with the fellow sailors trekking south that we previously saw from afar on the waterway and heard conversing via VHF radio. The folks cruising these waterways are as diverse as any group imaginable yet our common bond is a great equalizer. In jeans and sweat shirt executives, mechanics, artists, retired FBI, you name it, share conversation, advice, a hand with docking, and an occasional cool brew. The people we meet, and meet again and again as we travel on are rapidly becoming folks whose acquaintance we will savour all our lives. This is one of the great joys of cruising

The display of naval might at Norfolk was both exhilarating and chilling. But it’s definitely neat to hear warship number 39 talking to warship # 74 on the VHF, less so when it’s yelling at you. The dismal swamp is anything but dismal; the folks at Elizabeth City really do host a wine and cheese every night for cruisers. The mayor even comes round to say hello. The Sounds of North Carolina (Arblemarl and Pamlico) are huge and intimidating as is the Cape Fear River so named because it is the gateway to the ‘graveyard of the Atlantic, a very treacherous coastal stretch. We were fortunate to catch an ebb tide coming down the Cape Fear River and maintained speeds over the ground of 9 and 10 knots for several hours (This means the current gave us a 3+ knots advantage).

November 30 2008 (Day 86)

My idle reflections were interrupted by dinghy visitors and this is my first opportunity to resume my musings. We are in St Mary’s Georgia where we came for Thanksgiving, and to visit Cumberland Is. And now we are waiting out adverse weather again, this time tied to a dock. Maxine and Niki have gone shopping, it’s raining and blowing meaning it’s hard to get at any outside ‘boat chores’, and so I have another moment to myself.

We have toured Charleston and Beaufort S.C. and chosen to blow by Savannah. At St Mary’s we are just a few miles from the Florida border so our next stopover will be historic St Augustine which is 2 days from here. From practically no tides in North Carolina we immediately were faced with 8 foot tides in South Carolina and Georgia where the ICW winds mostly through grassy swamps and marshes. They call it ‘the low country’. For much of the route only the marsh and sand dunes separate us from the Atlantic and there are many openings to the ocean which make for a lot of shifting sand and shoaling (i.e. read difficult navigation and many opportunities to go aground). It feels like we have finally broken the ‘weather barrier’. For the past week we have had the weather we expected at these latitudes. There will be cold fronts still but hopefully they will be short lived. For Niki she felt like things were finally ‘as expected’ when she waded into the Atlantic on Cumberland Is. on a magnificent 20 mile sand beach. The Atlantic that day was a mill pond.

We aren’t as far south as we planned because we stayed longer than planned here as well as in Charleston but all in all we are content with our progress. Following a schedule is not what cruising is about. I think we are starting to get the hang of this way of life and are enjoying most of it. At Thanksgiving dinner we chatted with a couple who returned to land after 5 years of continuous cruising. They sold their boat last year and now have an offer in on another boat. Another couple from Fenelon Falls have been out for 18 months and say they will give it another 6 months before they make a final decision to abandon Ontario. I think we’ll last till next summer!! And that’s all I have to say about that (for now).

Wayne

Day 85

Well there’s no way we can top yesterday’s events but today we had pretty exciting day doing laundry! Haha (im really bored right now)

Ed lent us his car so Grama, Papa, Kathy and I all headed to town. We dropped Grama and Kathy at the laundry matt and then Papa and I went to find a place to get our hair cut. We found one and once Papa got his cut he fetched Grama to get hers done while he finished up the laundry.

Kathy had gone off to get a pedicure so we decided to go out for lunch at a little Mexican restaurant not far away. It was kinda odd but the server there had to shake everyone’s hand. He said it was nice to meet you to papa and stood there with his hand out until papa shook his hand =/.

When we got back to the boat we had a pretty lazy night just relaxing. We didn’t even bother to have supper we were so full after lunch.

Niki

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 84 (ok im warning you now this is the longest post ever!!)

We were suppose to head out today but we wanted to visit Cumberland Island.

This morning we headed up to a little boat.. trade.. thing lol it was like a garage sale. On the way back Grama and I checked out what time the ferry was heading over to the island and signed up for the 11:45 ferry. They tell you to get there at 11 and they do an orientation about the island and rules they have for visitors.

We were there on time and sat through the presentation. Part of the orientation was about the few roads and the 2 docks they had, one on each side of the island. You could be picked up on either dock at the appointed time. I thought it was hilarious when the ranger said that under no circumstances were you to attempt to touch or ride any of the animals on the island…who would be stupid enough to try to get close to a wild horse? And even if they tried there’s no way you could get that close to a wild horse.

We got to the island and again had a presentation about rules and some tips about where you can find different animals, and to make sure you keep an eye out to for shark teeth because they use the dredging from the river to maintain their roads.

We walked the beaten path towards the ocean. Since the 4:45pm return ferry was full we needed to be back in time for the 2:45 ferry so we needed to boogie. I doubted whether or not we’d see any of the horses in that time but I was determined to get to the ocean. Maybe 100 feet from where we started we heard some rustling coming from behind some trees. We kinda stopped for a moment to look and right there coming closer from the trees was a horse! He came so close and looked so calm around us he almost seemed domesticated. A moment later another came around the trees.

After watching for a while we decided to carry on. We headed up to the Dungeness ruins. Dungeness was a huge rich home…as in castle HUGE lol.



From there I noticed a few horses back in through the marsh a ways away. It was beautiful and kinda how I pictured seeing them. The one up close just seemed like a bonus lol. We kept moving and when we made it to the washrooms we saw a pregnant dun that didn’t seem to even notice how close we were.

We were starting to worry about the time because if you miss the ferry and there is no room on the last one you’re stuck there for the night…I kinda laughed at that and you probably will too but OMG they’re serious! They will not allow one passenger over there limit, rightly so, and therefore you are stuck. We picked up the pace a bit and it was like just suddenly the scenery changed and we were surrounded by pure white sand dunes and between them on the horizon you could just catch glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean.







We took off our shoes and enjoyed feeling the warm sand between our toes… but we quickly realized you couldn’t stray from the path because of some very sharp burrs lol. Eventually we came to a boardwalk that wound through the dunes and eventually led to the ocean. When we finally reached it I was so excited I didn’t even get any pics lmao.

It was the first beach that we’ve been able to walk along and stick our toes in the water… Ok maybe this trip isn’t going to be that bad after all :P lol. Papa was way behind us and Grama looked at some shells while I went to wade into the ocean. It was sooo cold but after a moment you were numb and it felt nice.

All my family must be amazed because I hate cold water lmao but this was nice. The ocean was soo calm and flat and was accompanied by a sky that was so blue and clear it was hard to tell where the ocean ended and the sky began. I just stood in the water with the smell of the salty ocean, the slightest breeze that unlike most ocean breezes was cool but warm enough for shorts and the only sound was the trickling waves. The small waves from the tide coming in were hitting the parts of my legs that weren’t numb yet and were in a way the only reminder that this was real… I think we’re on vacation now =]. I didn’t want to turn around to see Grama motioning for me to get going but I knew we had to go.

I was surprised when I just caught a glimps of Grama’s back disappearing around a dune and Papa walking towards me. I thought he was just coming to grab me but he walked straight past me without saying anything. He quickly took his shoes off and did exactly what I did…just stood in the ocean taking it all in.

We headed back to catch up with Grama and met up with a park ranger. In our chat with him we asked if there was an opening on the 4:45 ferry and he called another ranger and sure enough there was =].

We walked past the washrooms and past some of the old houses and still we couldn’t even see Grama. It wasn’t until we passed the gates of Dungeness did we see her and still she didn’t stop walking back to the dock.

Finally we got her attention, caught up to her and explained that we now had another 2hours on the island. She was kinda disappointed that we couldn’t have spent more time walking along the beach but we decided to check out the small museum by the first dock and then walk the ‘sea camp’ dock on the other side of the island.

We slowed down the pace as we were walking and kinda kept an eye on the ground for a sharks tooth lol but by now we had pretty much decided that we weren’t going to find one. It was funny because about 20 seconds after I had said that I noticed something on the ground that was pure black and not the usual white or multi coloured shell shards. I picked it up and it was a smooth sharks tooth! From there we had our eyes almost glued to the ground haha.

About a min later there was some rustling in the leaves on the ground next to the path and when you looked it was an armadillo! None of us have ever seen one out in the wild and it was actually kinda cute haha.




By then we were nearing the first dock and there they have a big opening with a few palm trees. And there were half a dozen horses right there! A little closer to us was a colt and he eyed us for a while but let us pretty close to him =].






The museum was interesting but something that’s only a 5min brows through. Grama and I left papa in the museum and continued to walk towards the ‘sea camp dock’. On the way we lingered by the horses waiting for papa to catch up.

The trail to the Sea Camp dock was very pretty, with thick oak trees with vines and Spanish moss (which they remind you all the time that it isn’t Spanish nor is it moss; it’s an air plant related to the pineapple). You can’t see more than a few meters into the woods beside the path because it’s so over grown with untamed ferns and grasses. The sky is impossible to see through the canopy of the oaks and the vines and ferns growing on their branches. But this was our least favourite part of the island. We have now been walking for about 4 hours and are starving because we didn’t pack lunches thinking we’d only be gone 2 hours. The road was straight and continued for what seemed like eternity! We kept walking…and walking… and then we walked some more! We watched and strained trying to see the end of the road where we would be at the sea camp dock but we never saw an end to the road. Eventually we came to a small path off the road and it had a sign “SEA CAMP DOCK ->”.




It was just before 4 when we reached the dock and at 4 the rangers put on a daily even. Today’s was a movie on the history of the island. Well everyone who knows me knows I am by no means a history buff, but it was really interesting watching the movie and hearing about the tribes, the countries who fought over it and the families that shaped the island.

About ¾ of the way through the movie the ferry arrived to head back to St. Marys. The one ranger told us that the 4:45 ferry was their sunset cruise and it was. I can’t believe how quickly the sun disappears after it starts to set. It doesn’t linger on the horizon for more than a second before it’s gone. While on the ferry we saw several dolphins. A bunch decided to play and swim right under the bow! In this video we are traveling 12 knots (faster than our boat can go!) and the dolphins can easily out run the ferry!

video






Your now probably thinking this is the end of the day, right? Well, yes technically the day is over the sun has set and we’ve just made it back to land. But our nights just beginning :P.

As soon as our feet hit land we took off trying to find the nearest restaurant to grab a bowl of chowder. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but yesterday Maria met a young girl named Haley and they quickly became friends. Her and her father joined us for the thanksgiving dinner and we made plans for us to all go out for dinner tonight.

Once we had a bit to eat we went back to the boat to quickly wash up. We weren’t on the boat very long before we were called to head up to the restaurant. Since there were 9 of us we couldn’t fit in a van or anything so Ed (the dad) got us a limo xD.






We went to a little tiki bar for supper and one of the ppl that met us there ordered Gator Bites lol... so i guess i can add alligator to the list of different things I’ve tried on this trip.
Well as you can imagine as soon as we got back to the boat we sprawled out in bed and immediately passed out. All in all not a bad day =D

Niki

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 83

Happy American Thanksgiving! We got up this morning and Grama headed off for groceries with Kathy who had found someone to drive them while papa went to pay the dockage and I tidied up.
The thanksgiving dinner was from 11am when they started serving oysters (although you had to shuck them yourself) to whenever everyone left after eating the lunch/supper that was served at 1. There was soo much food it was unbelievable! It was a pot luck but locals would cook turkeys and ham for all the boaters who couldn’t cook them. Everyone had HUGE piles on their plates and we all looked like pigs lol but after 72 boats (about 176 ppl) were fed there were still 3 whole turkeys that hadn’t been touched! It was an amazing time and we talked to some of the locals who were the friendliest people. The rest of our convoy who opted not to come missed out!
We were so stuffed we opted for a lazy night and watched a couple of movies.

Niki

Day 82

I was amazed that Papa actually slept in this morning and wasn’t up right at 6am lol. This morning we are all splitting up again. Sinn Fein and ourselves are off to St. Marys for their Thanksgiving feasts and parties lol, Vertigo 1 and Grace C are off the Fernandina Beach FL, and the rest are laying over to further explore the island.
Before we took off I wanted a picture of the whole group together after that idea failing last night. So I rounded everyone up and we actually got the pic lol. I was pleased.
It took a lot longer than I expected to get to St. Marys. I got about 38pages of physics done lol!
We were a little leery about St. Marys because since it’s a big attraction to boaters at thanksgiving we expected it to be very cramped in the anchorage and we weren’t sure what the holding would be like, so we definitely wanted a dock. When we were heading up the St. Marys river we could see a lot of sticks (masts) and were kinda worried but Kathy called Lang’s Marina and secured dockage for both of us.
When we finally made it to the town we were surprised to see that how pretty the town is and the anchorage had a few spots where there was room enough to throw out the hook. We were slightly unclear as to where to go and we circled quite a few times and called the marina. Right away a local guy called us up on his handheld and said he’d show us to the marina and find the slips for us. This was greatly appreciated because it was low tide and there wasn’t much room to maneuver. At the dock we had at least 6 people to help us tie up and once that was completed they told us that there was a meet and great happy hour up at a local bar at 5, but in the meantime a Pusser’s party was about to start on our dock so we should go grab mugs. We chatted with all the boaters and a few friends: Plumbpuppet, Sunset, Blue Moon, Mariah (we talked to them on the VHF about the Ladies Island Bridge).
One of the couples we met were from Chicago and it was there first time heading south on their catamaran and along with them was their 3yr old son (who I was amazed to find was only 3 as he knows more about geography than I do!). Kathy pointed out that there was a park just around the corner and Maria, Quinn (the 3yr old), his dad and I headed up to the park. It was gorgeous! There was the park surrounded by palm trees and benches with a big water fountain and a small bandstand and some more benches placed looking out over the river.
At 5 we moved the party to the bar/restaurant where everyone brought a little something to munch on. Here we met some more boaters as well as some more old faces (One Day). It was very cramped lol but everyone was smiling and having a great time. Not long after the party started there was some live music.
By the time we got back to the boat no one was hungry and we just flaked out on the galley couch and watched a couple episodes of Cold Case.

Niki

Day 80

We left the anchorage early in the morning and traveled another 60 miles down the ICW and Mud Creek >_>. Mud Creek is as slushy and muddy as its name would suggest. It could very well be the shallowest length of the ICW and making that leg at low tide is not the wisest idea…but who on this boat is wise? We hit Mud creek at low tide and bumped a few times but having 3 boats that draw more than us clearing a path…and in some places dredging for us lmao…wasn’t that bad. At Fredericka River we anchored for the night. We’re only 20miles from Florida! Our plans for the next few days are to take it slow and wait to get to St. Maries on Thursday for thanksgiving and the potluck thing they have their. So tomorrow we make a 15mile stunt to Jekyll Island, where there a tons of millionaire ‘cottages’ (HUGE mansions). This island once held 1/6th of the worlds’ wealth! But Grama laughed when Tony pointed out that more importantly there are a few herds of wild horses xD

Niki

Day 80

We left the anchorage early in the morning and traveled another 60 miles down the ICW and Mud Creek >_>. Mud Creek is as slushy and muddy as its name would suggest. It could very well be the shallowest length of the ICW and making that leg at low tide is not the wisest idea…but who on this boat is wise? We hit Mud creek at low tide and bumped a few times but having 3 boats that draw more than us clearing a path…and in some places dredging for us lmao…wasn’t that bad. At Fredericka River we anchored for the night. We’re only 20miles from Florida! Our plans for the next few days are to take it slow and wait to get to St. Maries on Thursday for thanksgiving and the potluck thing they have their. So tomorrow we make a 15mile stunt to Jekyll Island, where there a tons of millionaire ‘cottages’ (HUGE mansions). This island once held 1/6th of the worlds’ wealth! But Grama laughed when Tony pointed out that more importantly there are a few herds of wild horses xD

Niki

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 79

We had an early morning…well it didn’t have to be but we were lazy last night and decided to have our showers before we departed. One thing we didn’t take into account is that unlike most marinas there’s only one shower per washroom =/ so we fought over who went first. And all who know me know that I was gracious and let Grama go first while I went back to bed ;).
We made a good day and traveled about 60 miles and anchored in Kilkenny Creek Georgia. Papa wanted to deploy the ‘secret weapon’ again (our stay sail) and I was very reluctant after our last situation with it. I think we finally figured it out and it looked good once we got it up (its slightly reassuring when it looks like the package :P)!
We had very good holding and a quiet night…although I think Grama was about to cry when we finished the last episode of Ugly Betty! But we got her smiling again with a few episodes of I Love Lucy lmao.

Niki

Day 78

It was a late morning this morning but it was sooo windy and cold. The guys wanted to leave but since we had to navigate a wide river and cross a sound the women weren’t thrilled with the idea. There was a skippers meeting on Vertigo 1 about whether or not to leave at the 10am bridge. Diane jumped ship and came over and we had an admiral meeting haha.
We heard of the decision the men had made when papa called Brandaris to inform them of our plans…well this lack of regard for our input on our travel plans didn’t sit well with the admirals, like they didn’t even let us know what they were thinking before informing everyone else! Honestly I wouldn’t have minded leaving but we had received a phone call from Kathy and they’re going to catch up to us today with an ETA of 4pm!...well if we stay. As well there are 25-30knot winds and when there’s a free dock here why not wait?
The men decided to head out at the 2pm bridge since the forecast predicted that the winds would die down…well in an act of protest (with a few heated words) the girls took a cab to town. Papa and Tony were slightly worried we wouldn’t be back until 5mins after 2.
Well shopping kinda calmed us down and we made a few good purchases lol. But when we arrived back on the boat the men stuck to their guns and we were definitely leaving! Southern Cross and Brandaris had opted to stay behind but Grace C, Vertigo 1 and ourselves headed out on the 2pm bridge.
We made it to Skull Creek Marina and spent the night. Docking was a little tricky here. There was a lot of current! Grace C docked and had the current pulling her off the dock while we were docked opposite them and had the current pushing us into the dock at high speeds >_>. The only dock hand they had was a live-a-board who paid his dockage by working…Diane made a joke that was very cruel but true lol…he should be paying his dockage by promising to NOT help! He was soo old, a sailor past his prime…or a retired redneck we’re not sure haha. I plugged us into hydro but forgot to turn the breaker on and when I went back to flip the switch he freaked and asked me what I was doing! I answered that I forgot to turn on the breaker so I came back to do it. He pushed me out of the way and promptly turned the switch off. I told him that we had hydro once I flipped the switch, and he seemed oblivious to the fact I was there and unplugged our cord and wondered looking around muttering that now he’ll have to find another spot for us. By then Grama had come over and I quickly explained to her the situation. He then suddenly rounded on us and stated he’ll have to take it down there, pointing to the box where Vertigo and another vessel were plugged in. I pointed out that there were only 2 plugs over there and they were already occupied. He studied me for a moment and rolled his eyes and said well I’ll go see about that! Grama and I just waited by the boat unsure what to do lol. He came back shortly because the box was indeed full and he was now on the hunt for a new place for us to plug in. In the center of the dock was the box that contained all the fuses and Grama had checked and there was a 30amp plug we could use. We stayed quiet unsure if we pointed it out if he would let us use it. Well it looked hopeful when he headed right for it…but then he opened the cover of a 12amp plug and looked puzzled inspecting the plug and our cord. After a couple of minutes he decided that it wouldn’t fit and moved on to another 12amp plug, where he spent another min looking over the plug and our cord trying to figure out if it would work. Finally Grama quietly walked over and asked how about this one, while opening the cover of the 30amp plug. He kinda looked at her and then studied the plug and cord for another few mins. Well he decided that it would fit and played with it for a min turning the plug until it fit. Grama and I could hardly suppress a laugh of disbelief when he then said…now let’s see if I can figure out how to turn this one on. The whole time he seemed to be in his own little world, completely oblivious to our presence.
Well that was the most excitement for the evening. We made supper and watched the movie Taken, then of course some Ugly Betty to lighten the mood before bed haha.

Niki

Day 77

I was barely awake when I heard papa talking to Mariah this morning. They informed us that there would only be two openings at the Ladies Island Bridge, a 10am opening as well as a 2pm opening. So I was rushed out of bed and had no time to get out of my pjs before pulling up anchor in an attempt to make the 10am bridge, which was still 20miles south of us. We got underway and we’re making ok time. We thought we might make it. We talked to Tony and he informed us that the free private dock he had for us (a friend of a friend of a friend’s) and that it was in factory creek that was just north of the bridge. We decided that we would go through the bridge if we made it so we could get an early start and not have to wait for the bridge in order to move.
All was looking well and it was nearing low tide so we had a bit of a slack tide, when I decided that it was friggin’ cold and I was making soup! Lol. I brought some up for Grama and Papa as well. Papa put on the auto helm so he could eat…and we went aground in 2.5’ of water >_>. We tried backing out, pivoting out and we put out the jib and the main and tried to heal over enough so we could get out. We healed over to the rub rail and even then we didn’t budge. Brandaris wanted to try and help but we were stuck and they draw at least a foot more than us. A motor vessel named Christine who was passing by that only drew 4’ offered their assistance but hit bottom once trying to get near us. All we could do was wait a couple of hours for the tide to come up.
While we were sitting stuck Southern Cross passed us =] so they were finally caught up and so did another powerboat. We radioed them and asked if they would speed past and wake us in hopes we could dislodge ourselves…the wake rolled past us and we didn’t even budge!
Finally 2 and a bit hours later we got off and made our way to factory creek and met up with everyone =].
And we saw some dolphins =]


Grama and I wanted to see Beaufort (pronounced Be-U-fort unlike NC’s Beaufort that is pronounced Bow-fort, and let me tell you they get mad if you mispronounce it!!) So Diane, Papa, Grama and I headed across Ladies Island Bridge to Beaufort SC and arranged to take a carriage ride tour. The horse pulling the carriage was huge! He was a Belgian Draft named Duke that was nearly 20 hands. They had tried to get him into the Geniuses book but he lost by 1/4inch =[.


Niki

Day 76

Well we left the dock with Brandaris at 830 to catch the 9am bridge. One Day pulled up their anchor and traveled with us. We motored all day, saw a few dolphins and made good tracks. We anchored in Rock Creek, which has less depth at high tide than the charts show at low tide! The first time we put the hook down we dragged quite a ways before we went back to the opening of the anchorage and re-anchored with better luck. We then promptly put the motor on the dingy, mixed and grabbed drinks, and headed over to Brandaris to party! Lmao.
Later when we finally returned to Nice Butt we heard a vessel named Mariah hailing the coastguard but was getting no response. After a few mins they called for a radio check to make sure they were still on the air, and we responded that we could hear them in Rock Creek. After attempting to hail the coastguard a few more times they hailed us. Apparently they had just found out about the Ladies Island bridge being out of commission and wanted more information. We then drilled them about what they had heard because he hadn’t received any news of this and we were suppose to head through that bridge tomorrow. We arranged that if either vessel was to obtain any other information on it that we’d hail each other.



Niki

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 75

The cabin was 50 below last night we made papa buy a heater yesterday and even with it on it was freezing!
We decided to head off to town. It was fun browsing the market and making a few purchases (including a pair of gloves because it was sooo cold!). We even did a sightseeing carriage ride around town. It was neat. On the way home we made papa stop and buy an electric heater that would be more powerful since we’re plugged in.
When we got back to the boat Grama made some bouillabaisse for supper and after clean up called Aunt Connie.

Niki

Day 74

Departed at 830 to catch the 900 bridge…well we made it to the bridge no problems…but we never did go through the bridge. We were waiting just north of the lift bridge and the motor was making weird noises so we went back to the dock. There we had a mechanic come down and check it out but of course it didn’t make the sound while he was here. We then had a diver come and check it out but again finding nothing.
A little later Brenda and Walter Grasser showed up on Brandaris. We hung out and had lunch and later Grama and Papa took off for supper with them.

Niki

Day 73

Josh’s Birthday!..i miss you buddy <3
Well I guess papa was right…he was constantly joking when I bitched at him in the mornings that just think by the time the trip is through ill be getting up at dawn on my own…well lately I can’t sleep past 8 on the days I can sleep in =/
When I did get up we didn’t do much…updated the blog lol and worked on my video... pretty much all day.
Papa spent the day out going to West Marine and Wall mart.
We went to town and did a few shops before having supper at Bubba Gump Shrimp House and then groceries.

Niki

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 72

Pulled up anchor and headed to Charleston. It was cold in the morn! I woke up and could see my breath it was horrible I thought it was suppose to get warmer the farther south you get!
It wasn’t a pleasant day for traveling but it wasn’t terrible. While we were navigating a bridge we received a phone call from Kathy on Sinn Fein… they just can’t catch a break! They left Swansboro this morning at 7am and came to the first bridge to find its broken down! So they’re anchored outside of it for I don’t know how long, could be a day or so…
Well we made it to Charleston. Gramas back is not doing well at all and she’s been confined to laying down. I jumped at the chance to get online and spent a lot of the day chatting with friends.
Before supper we decided to use Skype and call people and check on things back home. Aunt Connie refused to answer her phone :P but we did talk to uncle Dave, Aunt Betty, Aunt Marge in the hospital and then my dad to wish my little bro a happy birthday in case I can’t get on tomorrow…
Later I convinced Grama and papa to watch Wall.E with me =] and headed off to bed.

Niki

Day 71

Spent the day at Anchor. Well it was a warm but windy and wet day.
At some point last night Papa and Grama took down the stay sail because it was flapping against the boom and bimini. We decided to try and get it back up when the tide was heading out because with the opposing current and wind we were broadside to both. Well putting it up in winds in excess of 30 knots is kinda hard…and after a half hour we almost did a few 360s we aborted the mission hoping we didn’t wrap the chain around the keel =/.
After all the excitement we pretty much did our own things all day (and things Grama insists I do like hw :P). It was kinda lazy but I enjoyed it, although there was no wifi.
Before supper Tony and Diane came over for a bit and we chatted and watched a couple of dolphins play around the anchorage =].
We rocked and spun all night but luckily the holding was very good.

Side note: an update on our friends on Sinn Fein: Yesterday. Well they’ve been trying to catch up but the weathers been hampering their efforts. They called the marina in Swansboro looking for dockage since the weather was getting nasty…but the marina was full and tried to turn them away. They said look we need a place, so they let them tie in the well where they haul out boats. That night there was a tornado through the town and buildings were demolished and one local was lost…luckily Sinn Fein was undamaged and the crew safe.
Today- they still had 50 knot winds and bad weather so they stayed put.

Niki

Day 70

I woke up this morning to papa calling Grace C over the radio and laid there just waiting to hear Grama or him holler for me to get my but out of bed… I was quite delighted when it never came! Papa called Grace C to tell them that due to the fog we were going to wait and start later when it lifts! Sweet!
It was around8 when I finally pulled myself out of bed. I checked the temp and it was 21°C! We cast off and headed back down the ICW. It wasn’t long before we saw a few dolphins =] and not long after that a few bald eagles!
All the boats traveled single file and some passed occasionally. On one of the occasions the captain of the overtaking vessel radioed ahead to us and instead of saying one or two whistles (starboard or port pass) he radioed “Nice Butt I’m going to pass on your left cheek” Grama and I burst out laughing and it didn’t even phase papa. It wasn’t until tony came over once we were anchored at the end of the day did he realize the play on our name.
It was a long day, mainly because it was overcast and grey and the currents and wind were against us the whole day. We had hoped to get to Charleston but with the weather the way it was it wasn’t possible. Papa called to make reservations for tomorrow in Charleston but apparently they’re full so we’d have to wait until Sunday before we can get in.
We found a little anchorage not very far from our previous destination but it was literally in the middle of nowhere. Around the ICW at this point is all marsh and grass…at low tide you can see grass where you would have expected the channel to be. So basically where we anchored was just a whole in the grass, and nothing to protect us from the ocean winds.
Papa and I attempted to deploy what papa calls his secret weapon, but it’s just a stay sail. It took a while and a few arguments to do so, so I hope the thing works *rolls eyes*.
Once we all got settled Dick and Tony came over and then we all settled in for a quiet night.

Niki

Day 69

I was soo excited because I was to sleep in this morning!...but as the sun rose and flooded my berth with light it was hard to sleep. Normally I would just throw the covers over my head but it was way too hot!! :P For the last long leg of the trip it’s been freezing in the mornings with frost covering the canvas and it’s so hard to pull yourself from the warmth of the covers, so as much as I hate mornings I enjoyed this little switch =].
Grama and Papa headed off to do laundry and I stayed back to do hw.
Three hours later Vertigo 1 decided to leave and go to another marina which was $0.35 cheaper and had wifi, showers and so on. I went up to ask where the laundry mat was because if it wasn’t far id go see what they’re up to lmao. I went to the office (a shack with a desk) and the guy gave me a dirty look and told me that the laundry matt was 2 blocks up, 10 blocks left and 4blocks right…well right then I decided it was pointless to go try and find them. Then he casually asked if we were staying another night, I replied that I didn’t think we were but I wasn’t sure. He then informed me that we were past check out time and he would be charging extra since we were still on the dock. I told him that I would try and find my grandparents and we’d discuss our plans for the day, he barked at me that I better do it fast! Or I could sign the papers now myself… ok do I look like I have stupid written on my forehead? I told him I’m not signing papers considering one I’ve never heard of signing papers in order to leave nor would I be able to do so immediately anyways and I’m not of a legal age to do so. He just glared as I left. I had told Vertigo that we’d call on the VHF ch16 later so I decided to go call them and see if they would call papa’s cell since I didn’t have a phone. Well Tony wasn’t answering so I wasn’t sure how to get a hold of them =/. Eventually I opened up papa’s laptop and called him with Skype. They came right back and we left not very long after to where Vertigo 1 moved to.
Once we were settled Grama and I went to town. We checked out some of the shops. One of the shops we were in had Pirate-opoly and I really wanted it haha. So I convinced Grams to get it for me =]. She’s the best! :P. We also laughed because in the Christmas stuff they had out there was a pillow that I should have gotten. It said ‘who needs Santa, I’ve got Grandparents’! What can I say it would be perfect for me xD.
We got back to the boat and found Tony and Diane arranged for us to get 4lbs of fresh shrimp tonight their treat =]. I convinced Grama that we should make some potato salad to go with it…somehow I started it and then went to do some things and when I came back it was all done…
We had a late supper on Vertigo 1 and it was sooo good! We partied (well sat around lol) and then turned in for the night. We’re planning on heading to Charleston SC in the morn.

Niki

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 68

We had a standard morning up at the crack of dawn and casting off our lines…well we stayed on the dock and chatted for a bi first :P. We passed golf courses and summerhouses that were HUGE with 4 car garages, pools inside big glass buildings and dock houses that were the size of some apartments!
We were told we were now in alligator country but we haven’t seen any yet =[. It was a pretty uneventful day, I sat and worked on a slideshow I’m doing and then a couple of hours of hw.
When we got to Georgetown it was packed! We also hit bottom once just getting into the anchorage. We attempted to anchor but with the current and the amount of boats we opted for a dock. We picked the first dock we saw and tied for the night lol. It was $1.75 a foot, which is pricey for dockage, and the facilities were state of the art out houses >_>. But they did have wifi. Tony followed us and docked just behind us but Dick anchored out.
We of course had everyone over for happy hour lmao and that’s pretty much all we did haha

Niki

Day 67

We left around 730 to head to Barefoot Landing SC, which is just south of Myrtle Beach. I think I’ve mentioned that Diane and Tony have done the trip before about 10yrs ago with their 2 girls, well Diane knew what was in Barefoot Landing and as soon as we docked she grabbed us girls and we went shopping! Lmao. The boys later followed and at one spot there were those big sheets of plywood that are painted and you stick your face through…pathetic description I know but I don’t know what they’re called lmao. Well we all got pics xD


We also saw some huge ugly deformed carp =/
When we got back to the boat we had a lazy night, watched more Ugly Betty :P.
Niki

Day 66

Left Wrightsville beach and headed to St. James Plantation where we met Brandaris! It was a long haul but for a lot of it we were traveling at 8 or 9knots! We even managed 9.5knots for a while!...for sailors this is fast…but in reality its only 17km/h….so for ppl who comment that we haven’t gone very far, that’s why!
We arrived at St. James Plantation and fueled up and raced to the one available shower haha, though you’d think since they can hold 300-400 boats that they’d have more than one shower. Later the girls wasted no time in heading to Wall mart.
We had supper out and had some good seafood!

Niki

Day 65

We left Swansboro just as the sun was rising and headed on to Wrightsville Beach, which was I think one of our longest days yet. It was a 54mile hike with 3 bridges and at each one we were held up for at least 1/2h. But there’s always a ying and a yang because although the day sucked we saw over the trip a dozen dolphins =].
Wrightsville beach surprised us because ever place we’ve visited along the ditch (ICW) has been smaller than St. Thomas….Wrightsville Beach was HUGE! Like condos everywhere. There were dozens of boats in the anchorage and we found room to get settled in for the night. Papa really wanted to try out the stay sail so we tinkered around and got it up…we think it worked but there really wasn’t enough wind or current to tell.
Southern Cross, Grace C and ourselves decided to go out for pizza. It was good stuff but the table was smaller than the one in our galley haha and there were 7 of us squeezing around the table. Regardless we had a blast and went back to the boat very full.
We pulled out the little dvd player we have and watched some of Ugly Betty (the show that papa couldn’t stand back home because he never watched it but he now loves!). it was funny after when the fleet had a bit of a conference on VHF ch17 about the next days’ plans… all the guys were told to check the charts and look at the tides and so we can make a good run tomorrow…but papa just said “well I trust your judgment (to Denis) so I’ll stand by and watch Ugly Betty” lmao.

Niki

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 64

I started out typing today’s post by saying another early morning but by now I don’t think we have early mornings, before dawn seems pretty standard. Pretty much every travel day starts with entering the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway)right as the sun pokes over the horizon, traveling along the channel and navigating the bouys, lunch around 10, an afternoon snack(could be called a second lunch) about 1 or 2 and settling in for the night around 4 or 5.
Today we made ok time and decided to bypass Beaufort and Morehead City and anchor at Swansboro NC.
Not long after anchoring we had to try and do a man overboard procedure because our cover for the winlass went flying into the water and the current was taking it down stream fast haha. We scrambled to get the motor on the dingy and get the dingy launched but Denis with his dingy lift was a lot faster and he retrieved it for us. Since we had the motor all set up on the dingy we decided to go to each boat and say hi. I didn’t realize since it was so choppy that id get soaked!
Not very long after we made our rounds Dick took the ladies (Diane, Karen and Ruth) to town and we pulled up the motor and prepared our dingy to be towed tomorrow….and then Denis somehow let his dingy loose and it headed down the river haha. So we scrambled to get the motor back on the dingy to try and save Denis’s dingy. Luckily Dick had his dingy in the water and went to try and retrieve the dingy. So we stood by and waited incase they needed help. Well tony called us on the VHF and said “Nice Butt we have a situation, Dick is having trouble peeling dingy off of the bridge!”…and some guy came over the radio sounding disgusted and said “ok guys this is a hailing and distress channel only cut it out!” Grama looked at it for a min and couldn’t figure out why he was so upset because it was a legitimate situation…and then we all just about peed ourselves laughing haha!
There wasn’t room for many boats where we anchored but I wouldn’t recommend anchoring there as a first choice. The holding was good but with the 24knots of apparent wind and an opposing current, the boats just danced! One minute Grace C was swinging toward us and Southern Cross was facing the opposite way and the next they’re hurling past each other and trading positions. Each time you look and go “omg they’re going to hit!” but they never did. Later we were talking to Denis and he said “I never thought I’d be happy to hit bottom but when I did it was like =] ok going to sleep now” because when anchored someone always has to go and check the bearings frequently to make sure we don’t drag. Especially in the conditions we were experiencing.

Niki

Day 63

Moved to….I’m not sure what it’s called but its one creek north of Oriental. And of course we’re up before dawn when the water is so calm and reflecting the colours in the sky and if I was a morning person I might have even been happy to sit and watch it :P.
We left slightly ahead of the group but it was neat when power boats went to pass they called the Canadian vessel pulling the dingy…which after the first boat they realized related to the 4 of us haha.
It wasn’t a bad day slow and steady like normal. When we were approaching oriental we passed close by Unleaded and had a quick ‘hi’ and ‘how are ya’. He was attempting to sail since we had quite a bit of daylight left but there was hardly any wind.
We talked to Karen and Denis and they weren’t technically in Oriental but in Whittacker Creek which is very near Oriental. So here we met up with Karen and Denis =] and had a long chat before dispersing to our assigned docks.
Papa and Grama both headed into town in two different groups but I don’t think they purchased anything. After that we had a fairly quiet night and we plan to head probably to Beaufort NC in the morn.

Niki

Day 62

So the weather was bad and we (the admiral and I) decided if no one else was leaving because the weather was so bad then neither were we! Although Papa still made me get up =[.
Basically today we did the Belhaven Museum and had ice cream at the coffee shop where everyone’s been hanging out and Tony arranged for us to have crabs for supper!
The museum was…interesting…as in I would never go back nor would I recommend it…I don’t even think museum is the right word for it…it was like Belhaven’s Believe it or Not. It was a big dirty cement room with a ton of things piled everywhere. It’s like my Great Grandma Wonch’s house, with old trinkets pilled from floor to ceiling. You walk in and are overwhelmed by the musty, moldy smell (again like the mold-spore motel :P, long story) and there is this guy right at the entrance who tells you to sign the guest book and says ‘and we accept donations’ and will stand there until you donate something. Everything in the museum was donated by people in the community…and mainly by one lady. There is old clothing that should be in a climate control boxes out on manikins going yellow and falling apart. Half the time you couldn’t see the contents of the glass cases due to the amount of dust. They also had a creepy collection of things in formaldehyde. Such as 3 jars with still born babies of various ages, a 2 headed pig, an 8 legged pig, a 1 eyed pig (like the whole forehead was one eye =/), a jar containing a 10lbs tumor they took off of some lady at the hospital a block away and literally dozens of other jars containing different things! Just past that there is a little room that looks to have some posters from the world wars…but I didn’t get a good look because you’d have to squeeze pass a creepy stuffed turkey with a fake head and a goat looking head thing that is kinda like a deer head you’d hang over a fireplace, that were just sitting in the middle of the floor =/.
From there we went to the coffee shop which has become the Port Stanley Fleets hangout and I convinced Papa (which wasn’t very hard) to get ice cream xD and we hung out there for quite a while.
Tony and Diane made good friends with the girl who worked at the coffee shop and she arranged to get us a bushel of crabs and said she’d have her hubby come down to the marina and steam them for us!
So 5pm was the arranged time and as I said everyone gets there an hour or so early haha and true to her word she and her hubby came and steamed the crabs and she showed us how to crack them and everything…now I don’t think past this trip I would really ever go out of my way to do it again but as gross and messy as it was I enjoyed the crab! It melted in your mouth it was sooo good! But it is necessary to shower after you eat crab lmao scrubbing with soap doesn’t get rid of the smell at all!
I’m positive we’re leaving in the morning come hell or high water because papa is itching to move and a little sour we didn’t today. So next we’re off to Oriental NC.

Niki

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 61

We had a slow morning but met up with the mechanic and put the alternator back in. It was working =]!! So today we were off to a good start…until they made me do hw =[ lmao.
For the past couple of days Grama and I had been saying that we really should go to the grocery store but to get to the grocery store you need to go down the Interstate…in the golf cart. Until now we had put it off but we’re planning on heading out early tomorrow so we needed to go.
We got our things and got it the cart. Propane was high on our list and we were told there was a gas station on our way where we could get it filled. Well we were a little nervous but we headed down the road to the grocery store. Basically you go down the main road in town…the only one with any traffic and go about 2.5 miles and then you turn onto the highway for about 2.5 miles. Another thing about the golf cart that we didn’t realize before papa started driving is that the steering is horrible! For the sailors reading the blog they’ll understand when I say it’s like having weather helm! You steer dramatically one way and then the other just to stay in a straight line! The whole time with cars honking just before they pass you…which really just scares the crap out of you >_> lol. Well we passed on gas station thinking that can’t be the place to get propane because it really looked like it shouldn’t even be open… then we came to another gas station and pulled in and parked. Papa quickly got out…and when I was talking about the golf cart in a previous post I mentioned that there are no breaks…well we parked on a slight incline so as papa exited the cart we started to roll backwards into the gas pumps! We pretty much had to do a Barney Rubble stop, all feet out trying to push it until papa could get back in and move it. Meanwhile some locals have stopped to watch, and looked extremely amused. Well this wasn’t the place with the propane so we headed off to the grocery store. When we parked I kinda laughed because there are no keys, no locks, no doors even, so there is no way to stop anyone from going anywhere with it….not that they could get very far haha.
Well after shopping we loaded the cart and went to find the propane place. I didn’t think the cart could go slower then what it was previously, but it did… by a lot! We inched along the highway again with cars honking and scaring the crap out of us! We went to another gas station but they didn’t have propane either. So we headed back past the rickety gas station we saw on the way to the grocery store but decided that couldn’t be the one because we couldn’t see propane. Finally we saw a propane place and after waiting forever to cross the street and pull in papa went in to talk to the service desk. Of course there was no one there to help us at this time but we could come back in 3h and get it filled then! Which Grama and I said was out of the question! But there was a gas station just up the street we had passed and they filled propane bottles…she said it’s kinda rickety and you can’t miss it…
So we headed back up the highway to the rickety gas station we had now passed twice and sure enough they did do propane. She told papa to take the tank around back and she’d send the guy out in a few minutes to fill it for us. So we waited out back, and waited, and made a few phone calls, and waited...until finally papa went in to see what had taken so long because it was getting cold and it had been over 1/2h. According to papa the girl looked horrified when he walked in because she had completely forgotten about us and didn’t tell the guy we were there! Needless to say the guy came out immediately and filled our tank and we headed back down the highway back to the boat.
…we decided to take another road instead of the main street on the way back since we were starting to get familiar with the area and needed to get off the busy street! And we ran into Diane and Tony…really I love them but I just wanted to get out of the cart and sit on the boat haha. And then we ran into Dick and Ruth lmao apparently they all migrated to Nice Butt and were disgusted to find no one there to entertain them :P. I don’t think I mentioned it yesterday but Tony had arranged to get us a bushel of crabs tonight but the guy was a no show =[ and the marina we’re at was the place for us to meet at 5… so naturally everyone shows up early and has a pre-dinner happy hour haha.
But tonight we just had to cook our own meals and a quiet night. And we have an early start in the morn =[ we’re heading to Oriental.

Niki

Day 60

Laundry day. So Grama made me get up in the morning =[ lol I hate mornings. We got up and headed down to the laundry mat where we met up with Dick, Ruth, Diane, Tony
and Karen and later Ab. Papa left to get his hair cut…and for some reason came back with another jerry can and a few other items lmao, I swear he’s just as bad as Grama and I.
Eventually we got our million loads washed and folded and sent them back to the boat with papa while we took a look around town. Papa was suppose to drop the stuff at the boat and walk back into town so we waited, and waited, and waited until finally we decided to walk back thinking we’d meet him part way or that maybe he met with the mechanic. We made it back to the boat and found him chatting with the crews of Banshee and Plumbpuppet. So we moved the party back to Nice Butt and had a little happy hour, and decided to meet up at 5 for supper at a local restaurant. I think we made some more friends =].
No sooner had everyone left our cockpit then Diane, Tony, Dick and Ruth showed up to have happy hour lmao. We even had to kick them out so we wouldn’t be late for supper haha. It was a hard day of socializing xD.
We ate at the Fish Hook and it was really really good!

Niki

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 59

We had a fairly lazy morning…well at least I did lol. Lazed in bed till close to noon online talking to friends and then Papa decided we should walk into town…except then it was determined that I really should do more hw and I stayed behind and did work while they poked around town :P.
The guy came to look at the alternator and found some loose wires…since the battery is full we can’t tell if it’s working or not…so we unplugged from shore power and plugged everything that has a large draw in! lol hopefully once the batteries drain some our problems will have been fixed.
later when they returned we heard Vertigo I, Grace C and Whippoorwill on the VHF. So we talked to them and found out they were heading in to anchor near us =]. The group is starting to reassemble.
We talked and it was decided that Grama and I would walk up main st and they’d walk down and we’d meet each other…seemed logical. So we started walking and met up with two guys we had met previously that were at the same marina. They were taking the marina golf cart to the grocery store and since they were headed down main st they offered to give us a lift.
…well the only way to describe this golf cart is…it looks just like something you’d see in the flinstones haha. It has no breaks..not even an emergency break…it has no lights or anything. The more ppl in it the slower it goes (i.e. you walk faster then it) and it slows and you think ‘oh shoot it’s going to die’… but then it just picks up a little speed again.
Anyways we’re coming to a red light at the intersection in town so the guy who’s driving hits the breaks…the nonexistent breaks… and we’re reminding him (loudly) you need to put it in reverse to stop! and we’re coasting and coasting… and you wouldn’t expect it to coast as far as we did considering you could walk faster than we were traveling...and he’s still kicking and slamming the nonexistent breaks…and Diane described us as all having the arms flailing as we entered and stopped in the middle of the intersection >_>…and the driver tentatively said “…I think I should step on it”
Diane, Tony and Ruth all witnessed this. And after making it safely though the intersection we laughed and waved at them and told the driver there were our friends. The brother then said “they want to get out…” and the driver, thinking we were joking about the whole incident continued down the road and laughed and said “oh give me a break” finally the brother convinced him that no we actually wanted out lol and it took us another half a block to coast to a stop.
In the meantime Diane came running down the street after us lmao. We met and did hugs and Dick showed up out of nowhere lol and we decided to walk back to Nice Butt.
We got back to the boat and found papa on Skype with Murray and Heather Rand, friends from the sailing squadron who have done this trip for 10yrs…although I don’t get how :P. We all chatted for a while and caught up. It was nice =].
Later we headed up to the restaurant…it was good food but they definitely gave you a workout for it! We decided to go for the buffet because that’s all our waitress said they did, we asked where it was and she said just around the corner there…well it was just like papas just around the corner when we were finding the post office in Hampton! We walked around the corner and down the hall, and another girl pointed us through the doorway and through the office, and down another hallway until finally we came to the buffet lol! And then you had to find your way all the way back to your table! Needless to say I’m lazy and only made the trip a second time for dessert xD.

Niki

Day 58

Well I used to love today because with the clocks rolling back I always got an extra hour to sleep…well on a boat it doesn’t matter what time it is you get up with (…well mostly before) the sun =[. We departed Alligator Marina at dawn and headed through Alligator River Bridge, and the river was so flat and calm it was like a big mirror reflecting the rising sun =]. Nothing other than our wake disturbed the water and really it was breath taking. Lol and I had to comment that where our wake disturbed the water it still looked like a mirror, just one Fattie looked in xD (for those who do not know Chivonne, aka Fattie, she is one of my best friends and she is the skinniest person alive!..other than Steph...).
So we traveled to Belhaven, NC and docked at River Forest Marina. And as a little side note since I’ve had a few comments on the subject I did hw for an hour or so while underway!
Here they say they can try and help us with our alternator. But for the meantime I have wifi and showers so tis all good lol.

Niki

Day 58

Well I used to love today because with the clocks rolling back I always got an extra hour to sleep…well on a boat it doesn’t matter what time it is you get up with (…well mostly before) the sun =[. We departed Alligator Marina at dawn and headed through Alligator River Bridge, and the river was so flat and calm it was like a big mirror reflecting the rising sun =]. Nothing other than our wake disturbed the water and really it was breath taking. Lol and I had to comment that where our wake disturbed the water it still looked like a mirror, just one Fattie looked in xD (for those who do not know Chivonne, aka Fattie, she is one of my best friends and she is the skinniest person alive!..other than Steph...).
So we traveled to Belhaven, NC and docked at River Forest Marina. And as a little side note since I’ve had a few comments on the subject I did hw for an hour or so while underway!
Here they say they can try and help us with our alternator. But for the meantime I have wifi and showers so tis all good lol.

Niki

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 57

So papa woke me up early again =[ lol. We headed down the river and through the sound to get to Alligator River…which doesn’t have any alligators.
Here we stopped for fuel and noticed that our alternator wasn’t working =/ and our batteries were getting low not having plugged into power for 3 days. Banshee was pulling in here for the night but Southern Cross had moved on. We decided to stay and plug in because we didn’t want to be out in the river and have dead batteries and their wasn’t another marina for 50knots.
So we pulled in and papa went to work on trying to find a loose wire or something but had no luck and eventually gave up after determining it didn’t have to do with the electrical. Then he decided to change the fuel filters *rolls eyes* of course.
We finally ate dinner at 730 when he was finished…I believe he started at 3…but its better then not changing them..or Grama and I trying to do it lmao.
And now I’m going to watch a movie and head to bed!

Niki

Day 56

We decided to stay in Elizabeth City for the day to get groceries and have hot showers xD.
I was a little leery about walking around town after Denis and Karen got back from getting diesel… apparently while filling their jerry cans a van full of girls drove up to get gas and eventually a fight broke out. The police were called and when the officers arrived the girls started swinging at them and the police fought back with their clubs and even tasered one girl! And apparently the cabby or someone was talking about a drive by shooting =/.
We went to the grocery store and really we weren’t impressed…it smelled and looked waaayyy passed its prime papa even had to go stand outside because the smell bugged him…needless to say we didn’t shop, although the cashier (who I think owned the place) was very nice and told us about the festivities for the night (I forgot it’s HALOWEEN!)… I know there are a lot of you who are going to be extremely disappointed in me (Fattie and Matt lmao) but no I did not buy a pirate outfit to wear for the day…or any other day for that matter.
After getting a few more groceries at the CVS we took the boat to a nearby marina to get a pump out. And we had planned to move to the town dock after the incident in the morn and tonight being Halloween…but the available slip was 11’ wide and our beam is 11.8’ so we couldn’t fit =[. We tied back on the wall.
Just after we tied back on the wall Denis came to talk to us because the slip he was in was 12’ wide and he is only 10.8’ so if he moved into the 11’ slip we could take his and be on the town dock and not in the middle of the park. We told him that we’d talk about it after since Karen was busy and we didn’t need to do it immediately.
Apparently Papa and Grama had talked to a man that worked the town docks and heard about a little deli that served the best ruben sandwiches so we headed there for lunch. It was really good! To make the afternoon even better we headed up to the showers xD lol.
We did move the boat down to the town dock and in time for the wine and cheese party tonight xD. We even met up with Banshee, Phase II, and I can’t remember the boat name of their companion, and we met some new people, there was a couple on the boat next to us ‘Windsome’ that joined us at the theater later. This party was run by the mayor himself and was fun. From him we heard about their movie theater and later decided to go =]. It was sooooo cool! It opens at 6 and you enter and sit at a table which are set in rows kinda and on different levels so you can see the screen. And you have a dinner menu and once you decide on what you want you pick up the phone in the middle of the table, dial 0 and you order your food (they had steaks and really good food! And the desert menu was amazing!). So you eat your meal and at 7:00 the movie starts and you just turn your chair around and watch the movie. We watched Pride and Glory…it was ok kinda disturbing. It was definitely something different and I’d definitely recommend going there! All in all I’m glad we didn’t leave in the morning. The story Denis and Karen had from the morning really rattled us and we might not have stopped in on the way back but everyone we met was extremely nice and we had a great time talking to people.

Niki

Day 55

Early departure…well I guess technically it was a late departures for sailors >_> but it was early lol at 8am.
So today we did 2 locks. I thought papa said there were no more! But they weren’t bad dropping only 6’ and 8’. Just after the first lock we waited with about 5 other boats for the bridge, one of which being Banshee =], and we headed down the Dismal swamp in single file, kinda like kindergarten lol. Papa decided this would be a good time for a history lesson and pointed out that way back in the mid 1800s this swamp was a hideout for runaway slaves.
In between the 2 locks was the visitors center, just after the Virginia/Carolina border, we rafted off of Banshee. Here papa and I headed up to the check out the center and get some books about the waterways. Just outside of the welcome centre was a small cotton field and Papa decided we should play slaves today and pick cotton lol (he even tried to take down a tree later). We also noted that the center was multifunctional, taking care of not only marine traffic but the traffic from the I-17 that our chart plotter thought we were on lmao. As Gama said it’s such a great tool either telling us that we’re on a highway or in the middle of land!
We left Banshee at the welcome center and headed on to the next lock, meeting up with Southern Cross and 4 other boats just outside the bridge before it. We locked through and again headed down the swamp to Elizabeth City in single file.
On the way I was down below making little pizzas for papa and myself when the boat made a huge jolt and there was the sound of wood and glass breaking! I rushed up the companionway to find tree limbs everywhere! Papa ran into an overhanging tree! Once it was determined that we were ok I went below to shut the fridge and turn off the propane, before helping Grama clean up. We even had limbs stuck in the shrouds lol Papa didn’t want me to take pictures and Grama got the big limb out but later when papa went out to destroy the rest of the evidence Grama told me I had to take a pic lmao.
We arrived just 9mins after the Elizabeth City bridge opened and had to wait 51mins for it to open again due to rush hour =[ so we missed the Elizabeth City’s famous cheese and wine party that they hold whenever 5 or more new boats come in to the town. There was no room at the town dock for us to tie up but we tied to a wall nearby.
We invited Karen and Denis over for happy hour and had a very chilly night!

Niki

Day 54

Well early this morning Denis and Karen took off. We were going to wait until early afternoon on the assumption that the forecast would be correct and the wind would start to die down…which of course was untrue.
I called dad to wish him a happy birthday and had a brief chat with Kari since he was at work. It was nice talking =] and I lawled at her story, which I would tell because it was good but I value my life haha =D.
Later papa and I walked to the post office…he said he knew where he was going and I asked where it was after walking about 2 blocks and his response was “just up ahead”…4 blocks later I asked where it was and he said “just around the corner”…just around the corner I commented about the length of “just up ahead” and he said “let’s go this way I think I went a block to far”…2 blocks later he stopped and looked around and said “I was heading to the wrong steeple it’s the one over there I think”… I looked over there and saw 4 steeples in different directions and various distances away… so we kept walking and 3 blocks after that we finally found the post office so I could mail my siblings birthday gifts home lmao! (just as a side comment from the post office to the boat was no more than 5 blocks on the way home).
Well by now it was time for us to set out and head down to Dismal Swamp. Once we got out of the protected river it was blowing! Crossing into Norfolk we had anywhere from 27-30knots of apparent wind! And big waves and freighters! Then we passed the Navy’s docks with all their battleships! It was pretty neat. While we were passing we noticed the surveillance. Fighter planes kept circling the area. We had to get through a few bridges and we almost missed the last one. Papa called ahead to the bridge operator and she said if we could make it in 3mins she’d open the bridge. Papa replied that he believed we could and all she said was ‘bring it on captain!’ We made the bridge and docked for the night at a free dock not that far away. It was sooooo cold! And we closed the hatch, played scrabble and at night it was fifty below I swear it was 10degrees colder in my berth! Grama jokingly said you can come sleep in our bed…so jokingly I did xD I grabbed 2 of my blankets and ran over to their berth, I expected them to smack me and send me back but they didn’t lmao and I laid and watched a movie in their toasty warm bed haha. Eventually we all called it a night and I moved back to my FREEZING cold bunk =[.

Niki

Day 53

Well papa decided to head to the Space center with Denis and Grama came with me to shop around town to find anything else for birthday gifts. It was sooooo cold again it was just like being home…except I don’t have my comfy bed to curl up in =[. Basically we didn’t do much other then try to keep warm!

Niki

Day 52

Laundry and grocery day! Well basically we got up took the dingy over to sunset marina (closer to the grocery store and laundry mat) and we did laundry and bought groceries lol.
After returning to the boat I decided to go take a look at the space centre gift shop and see if I could find anything interesting to get for Shelby, Shi or Josh because all of their birthdays are in Nov. >_> lol. I don’t think anyone who celebrates all their birthdays enjoys cake for a while afterwards lol. But I was successful in finding a few things and headed back to get warm on the boat! It’s been getting colder and colder everyday!
Niki

Monday, October 27, 2008

Captain's Log

Captain's Log.
October 27 2008

It’s raining and cold and feels like we’re not nearly far enough south. At least we’ve not seen snow. For the most part our weather has beengreat but we have had a few cold days.

We left Havre de Grace where we left the boat to come home and sailed toAnapolis for a few days, then to Solomons Is. for a couple of days and onto Hampton Roads which is just across from Norfolk V. That was a 2 daytrek and we anchored in Antipoison creek overnight on the way down. Thelast day down was the very first day we were able to shut down the engineand just sail sail the whole day. It was a vigorous sail but (for me atleast) it was wonderful. When you have a course to make and limiteddaylight you have to use engine power if the winds aren’t quite right.

At Anapolis we toured the naval academy. Solomons Is. was till recently apleasant backwater but recently has become a playground for the rich. Itgot its name since it was there the marines trained for the Solomon Is.campaign in WW II. There we met a neat gal sailor who is an amazingartist. Also saw pelicans for the first time this week. Yesterday wetaxied across from Hampton Roads to Norfolk V. to tour the Nauticus museumwhich is all about the US Navy history and it included a walk about thedecks of the Battleship Wisconsin which was one of only 4 Iowa classbattleships deployed in WW II. It also served in the Korean War and theGulf War. Most of Uncle Sam’s naval assets reside in Norfolk and they’reall on display as we sail by. We also hear the various warships declaringtheir comings and goings and telling you to keep out of the way on theVHF.

In addition to these high lites our life consists of the odd restaurantmeal, cooking and cleaning on the boat just as if at home, findingLaundromats and grocery stores, and of course the obligatory socializingand happy hours with our comrades and others we meet along the way. Herein Hampton we saw a catamaran from Nanticoke that we saw in September inport Dover. So we chatted with the skipper. There are more boats withCanadian flags than with US flags making this journey.

We plan to leave here wed and move south. This is mile 1 of theIntracoastal waterway and our first bit will be through the Dismal Swampwhich is actually supposed to be the most amazing part of the waterway. We’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 51

We woke up this morning to papa’s phone ringing. Apparently we could move to a dock today and there was one for Southern Cross as well. So not very long after Karen and Denis headed in to dock and we headed down to get fuel and a pump out, just down the creek. Finally we got docked and found Jacque, Karen and Denis had been discussing heading to Norfolk to the Nauticus Museum. It’s a must see! The first 2 floors and the battleship the Wisconsin are free to tour and the 3rd floor which is a very interactive science centre cost a grand total of $8 ea. to tour. We had a ball lmao petting sharks, attempting to fly a naval aircraft in a simulation (attempting because I failed at it haha) and controlling robots that would explore a shipwreck. Eventually it was time to head back to the boats =[ we could easily have spent a couple more hours there had they not been closing lol. Well I guess I can’t say that all in all it was a good trip…I don’t think it’s safe to ask about our cab ride… it cost us $33 to get there in a cab that was a van… and then we couldn’t get the same cab home and we had to get 2 cabs and they didn’t take the same route as we had previously taken to get there and for some reason it cost $50 each cab to get home! Needless to say people we’re extremely pissed. But got back to the boat and made a great supper and had a movie night =]. We invited Karen and Denis over and we watched the Bucket List, which is a GREAT movie =]. And now I’m really tired and heading to bed! lol

Niki

Day 50!

This morning Grama decided I needed to actually do some school work (darn I was doing so well at avoiding it :P). Karen and Denis went to move to the yacht club down the creek…only to find the slip was waaayyy too small for their boat..and when they returned their anchorage spot had been taken..of course lmao. So we got them to raft off of us on our pillars lol.
After all that excitement we headed in for the showers xD they were nice. And guess what time it was after that?!? Happy hour on nice butt lol we had Jacque from Unleaded come join in as well =]. By the time he took off we were all getting hungry for supper so we headed up for pizza at an Italian restaurant. We had a blast…and then headed to bed haha at like 930.

Niki

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 49

Well we departed around 715am and headed south again.
The forecast said it was suppose to be ok in the morn but we were to have strong winds in the afternoon…which was correct…we had 24-25knot of apparent winds but we actually SAILED from about noon on! No motor lol! I had forgotten what it was like. Papa looked like a kid in a candy shop when the engine went off lmao.
We made it to Hampton Roads where we plan to spend a few days. In the anchorage we’re at there is pretty much no room! Papa had called to see if we could get a dock because Grama threw out her back again, but there were no available slips. We circled and circled and a guy on shore pointed out some pilings that marked the shallow water and told us we could tie to them =] we got the best spot in the anchorage lol! And we met up with a catamaran from Nanticoke, ON named ‘UNLEADED’ was the name and it seemed oddly familiar lol. Apparently we ran into him in Port Dover on the first day or our journey so he came over and we had a nice chat =]. It’s been a calm night so far and I’m going to head in early. I guess papas right, he’s going to make a sailor out of me…I’m heading to bed early on a Fri night!

Niki