Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saying Bye To The Bay

We've have a great time on The Chesapeake this year and we're somewhat sad to say it's time to head South. But, on this day, the weather is beautiful and it's forecast to be this way for a few a while longer. Still, we know cold and colder is inevitable — so...



Just a continuation of our normal cruising habits, we carried on by revisiting our favorite places and discovering a few new ones, making new friends while catching up with a few old amigos.
We've really enjoyed connecting with Jenny and Ted, our running buddies aboard Southern Star. Jenny, a Kiwi, gave us Yanks an excellent tour of our nation's capitol and it's history. We're all hoping to cross paths again before they start their long and epic passage back home to New Zealand. Yes, as it ofttimes happens, the last minute decision to ditch plans and run up the Potomac to DC was one of our all time better redirects. A large time was had, a capitol idea. (pun intended)

Mostly good experiences and nothing but great memories.

It truly has been a pleasant trip and at this point in our boating life, pleasant is what we're looking for. No, our run's not over; we've still got a lot cruising to do. As written in an earlier post, point A and point B is the same place to us and that would be Jupiter, but who knows where we'll indulge an impulse and, again, alter plans for the better. With all that said, we do look forward to going home and spending some time by the beach. Life's pleasant there as well.

And then there's Memphis —

We'll be adding more pics as we get the time and motivation.

Adios, Chesapeake — Good fortune and good health allowing, we'll do it again.



...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Plans Change

Waking early and going up top to put together a cup of coffee, I take a look out the window and see the winds have indeed stopped blowing. The cool weather and the warm waters are working together to paint this image of a foggy morning inside Solomons Island Harbor.


During our last couple of days at Solomons, we put together a loose plan to run down to Deltaville then on to York River to hang for a couple of weeks. Eventually, we'd motor to Atlantic Yacht Basin where we'd officially put an end to the Bay and have a bit of work done before starting our return South.

With that idea in mind, we left and made way out to the Bay. It was another nice soft day and the forecasts predicted the weather to hold for a week.


We'd been running for a few hours when the radio crackled and a friendly Kiwi accent came through, it was Southern Star.
We asked about their time at Trawlerfest and they asked about our plans and told us they were about to turn and head up the Potomac to spend a few a days in Washington, D.C.; I could see on AIS they were just a few miles in front us.
I told them our intentions and said hopefully we'd all meet up somewhere soon, wished them safe travels, and signed off.



I guess it was somewhere around Point No Point Light when Mel and I started rethinking our plan... then at about the same time we both said, WTF. We'd actually thought about DC a few weeks ago, but scrapped the idea due to business in N Carolina. However, the Hilton Head project had been rescheduled, so.
Quickly looking over charts of The Potomac, we did some calculations, discussed things a bit, then decided to forego the current plan, (typical for us), and like Southern Star,  head to DC.

A right turn at The Potomac was made.

For the sake of the pups, we found a little marina that wasn't too far up the Potomac and made arrangements to stay for a night.

White Point Marina


This little marina reminds us of some of "off the beaten path" marinas we loved to visit while running the Tennessee River. I'd forgotten the restful sound of quiet.
As the sun set and the moon rose, not much was resonating other than a skein of geese honking in the distance, an occasional fish breaking the surface, and the ringing in my ears.


The next day we caught up to Southern Star and it was decided we'd both stop and anchor just up river from Quantico, VA. We set the anchor at a little state park where we dropped the dink and took the boys to shore for their biz. Leesylvania State Park.

Another nice night and another fat moon.


Rising early, we both pulled anchor and motored toward DC.

Mel and I have been cruising rivers for many years and, while we do find The Potomac to be a pretty river, we're just not too excited about it until we get closer to Washington. Then, we start to see things along the shore like the above pic.
George Washington's digs, Mount Vernon.


As we get closer, the Capitol building and the Washington Monument appear on the horizon. Now, we're interested.

So we finally pull into Washington Channel, tie up at Gangplank Marina, and wait for Southern Star to arrive. After much confusion we end up moving slips where we tied up next to Jenny and Ted.

Here's another story: Istaboa and brand new Bellingham Marine docks don't seem to get along. After tying up and attaching our power cord to the pedestal at Gangplank, we kill the electricity for whole dock. Needless to say we weren't very popular with the other boaters. A bit of a discussion ensues with the dockmaster about the source of the problem, ELCI type breakers, and their pros and cons. Eventually we're moved to the older section of the marina and just next to Southern Star; no problem there with power, all's well that ends well. This has happened to us before with these new Bellingham docks and their new highly sensitive breakers. It's our inverter that's at issue, however I do find it interesting that we don't have the same issue with new Technomarine docks we tie up to. I also find it interesting the Harbormasters at the marinas with these new Bellingham Marine docks are overly defensive when discussing them. (think Ft Pierce Municipal, Marathon Marina, Stock Island Marina)

There are a couple of fixes, though not cheap.
http://www.proboat.com/2016/11/finding-fault-lies-elci-tripping/

 /http://waggonerguide.com/new-shore-power/

But I digress ... We've had a nice time in DC but, Damn! It's hard work being a tourist here. Averaging about 6 miles a day of walking amongst the swarms of sightseers has taken a toll on this old guy.





All in all, Washington is an amazing city and we've seen things that we always wanted to see. Maybe next time we'll stay a month. DC's worth a long stay.


 Now we're on the move again. The weather's being weird so plans are in flux  — Surprised?

Adios,





Sunday, October 1, 2017

Deale, Maryland

Herrington Harbour North - Tracys Landing

Just a quick hop across the Bay, the run to Tracys Landing and Herrington Harbour North was an easy one. On our way, there was hardly a breath of wind, the Bay was flat and the sky was clear. We were in no hurry so we saved some fuel and took our time crossing ... a good day.
Being here on marina business, the staff gave us a nice T-Head slip with a clear view of the harbor's entrance. After tying up and shutting down we walked the boys and familiarized ourselves with this huge marina.
At first glance, Herrington Harbour North appeared to be a nice clean marina with old fixed docks and a boat yard; after spending some time there we soon realized the place is so much more than that.

This little clip was shot with my phone just off the back of the boat. Again, it was worth getting out of bed every morning to see this.






We really didn't do much other than what we came to do, nevertheless HHN is certainly nice place to knock around. We'd been to the South marina before but never made it over to the North side. Big Mistake.
Herrington Harbour North is a definite do over marina. The grounds and the facilities are beautiful.

This Cheney family owned marina has a quality and personality you won't find anywhere else on the Bay. They call it Central Maryland Charm; Mel and I tend to agree. Everyone's pleasant, the staff, the contractors, and management team are hospitable, and the boaters all seem genuinely happy to be here. During our stay, not a negative comment was heard about the marina or the whole facility.
The yard is immaculate and has the ability to lift boats up to 80 tons; the many onsite contractors and vendors can do about anything needed. I'd been told there were depth issues getting in, but we saw nothing less than 10' all the way to the docks.

The onsite restaurant is quite good and certainly convenient. A warm Sunday afternoon brought a pleasant walk to Dockside's for a dozen Blue Crab; they gave us 20 and they were some of the best we've had on the Bay.
Pickin' Crabs and watchin' football — Mel was in heaven.

Local favorites, The Brothers Osborne, recorded a video just across the creek from our slip at Skipper's Pier. Not being a big country fan, I'd never heard of these guys, but I've since been told they are more than just local favs.

Nice video —

Mix it with rum mmm mmm mm mm





So we stuck around for 4 days and really enjoyed ourselves while taking care of biz; we'll be back again and stay longer next time,  just for the fun of it.

On this Sunday morning, we're down the Bay at Solomons Island again. This place is really starting to feel familiar; the track lines on our charts have become thick with the frequent trips in and out.  The nice folks at Zahnizer's have come to know us as well and they always seem find us a good spot to tie up.
Terri, the dockmaster, was just over tying on a fender for us. She didn't think we were aboard and took it upon herself to protect us from the strong winds that were blowing Istaboa against a piling.
Like I said, nice folks.

Across the way, the Krogens are stacking up. There must be a rendezvous coming up.



Not sure where to next, I guess we'll see when the wind quits blowing — it's been blowing like hell for two days and the weather's starting to cool off.

It's October already... Fall has fell... The days are getting shorter... Time flies...

Adios,


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saint Michaels, Maryland

It must be Sunday morning...


Leaving Annapolis and heading for Saint Michaels, the weather was beautiful. It wasn't a sunny postcard day, instead; a muted, desaturated depiction of a day that made for a comfortable cruise and a few interesting photos. Mel and I have always enjoyed running from inside the boat on cloudy misty days; much the same way as our dead of winter boat trips on the Tennessee River, it's kinda like cruising through an old black and white movie.

On this day, the Bay was flat, the winds were light; sunless and foggy, but not uncomfortably so.

Relaxation was our only reason for visiting St Michaels and we certainly accomplished that.
No work on this stopover, just a good time visiting friends and exploring one of our favorite places.
Steve and Jane, long time friends from our days at Sunset Bay in Stuart, have created a beautiful home with views that pan the harbor entrance; so they saw us coming in to tie up. Their thoughtfully renovated house truly looks like a page torn from a Chesapeake Bay Magazine; not too big, just Eastern Shore cool. It was good to spend time with them again, they're awfully nice folks, as are most of the locals we met. We're finding friendly to be the norm up here in Maryland.
That night, we all sat for dinner at the marina's Crab and Steak House. The small town lifestyle of St Mikes was prevalent; everybody knew everybody and now, much thanks to Jane, they know us too.


Hanging out at St Mikes is like stepping back into time, everything is as it should be. The harbor has the appearance of a 19th century fishing village. Walking the dogs through the neighborhoods is like stepping back into the 50s until you pass one of the old churches, then you realize just how old the town really is.


After a couple of days, we moved over to the Harbour Inn Marina and it was good that we did.
The distant Hurricane Jose passed by and pushed the Bay waters up so high that St Michaels Marina was underwater. No danger but we couldn't have hopped off the boat without boots. (we have no stinking boots, we're from Florida)


Steve and Jane loaned us their car and we drove over to Oxford to check out Campbell's Boat Yard. Scott Kinney at DeMillo's Yacht Sales actually let us test drive a 41 Back Cove downeast style boat. An interesting boat that would make a good little Bay cruiser. Pretty too.




Dinner for our last night in town was at 208 Talbot. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was even casual enough for us in all our boatiness. (we've been out for 5 months and we're quite boaty) The restaurant's an old house on the main drag that's a local favorite and understandably so. The steaks were great, however the homemade ice cream?!

St Mikes is a always a good hang and we always leave here not wanting to. The Lindemanns showed us a really nice time and we'll always stop here when on the Bay.

As I write this... We're tied up in Deale, Maryland at Herrington Harbour North Marina — another new stop for us on the Chesapeake.

More about HHN later.

Adios,

ps: Happy Birthday, Jane!!




Sunday, September 17, 2017

Annapolis

The Hurricane is over, Florida is busy rebuilding itself and quickly coming back to life, our home in Jupiter has returned to 100%, and now, we're back to doing what it is we do.  Currently, that's walkabout Annapolis.

Here, The weather's perfect.

We've spent quite a bit of time in Annapolis and we always find it interesting. The Annapolitans are  friendly folk. They seem to go out of their way to be kind to strangers. They love their city, boats, good food, and they don't seem to mind sharing all those things. We're grateful, we love all those things as well.

Everywhere you look is a photo that needs to be taken and I've taken quite a few.
The photo to the left is Back Creek. We were tied up at Port Annapolis before moving closer to town and Annapolis Yacht Basin. The Yacht Basin's pricey but worth spending a few bucks for a couple of days in the middle of all things Annapolis





Speaking of Hurricanes, before I forget — this link is to Southeast Cruisers' Net's list of marinas that have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Pretty useful. http://cruisersnet.net/marina-conditions-and-updates/

A beautiful weekend with perfect weather brought out all kinds of vessels and their toys. The harbor was crazy busy.


So to better enjoy the day, we dropped the dink, loaded up the boys, and went out to join all those boaters doing the same.


Dinkabout Spa Creek



The end of another good day, the sun goes down.

This is truly a cool town, our kinda place. We always daydream about picking up stakes and moving here to enjoy the city and the convenient cruising lifestyle that living on The Chesapeake Bay allows. The weather is a disagreement, Mel likes the idea of seasons, I do too — if we could exclude winter.

We'll stick around another day to watch some football and probably do another dingy ride; tomorrow we're booked into St Micheals. Just a short ride over to the Eastern Shore, it's an altogether different experience. There are old friends at St Michaels and it'll be fun seeing them again, been a few years.

After a week of stress and worry brought about by Hurricane Irma, it's certainly relaxing to kick back and absorb Annapolis.

Unfortunately, we're forced to remain mindful of the new storms currently spinning out in the Atlantic. Right now there are 3 different disturbances that could become something to pay attention to.

As Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, once said.

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...”

 

Adios,


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Irma's Gone


Day after day of staring at images like the one above, we had moved on, we'd resigned ourselves to and accepted the outcome of the overwhelming probabilities. Pretty much everything we owned in Jupiter, FL was about to be relentlessly swept away by this massive hurricane. Normally, we don't pay much attention to the weather-heads, but this time — just the size of the damn thing was undeniable.
We kept saying things to each other like, "it's just stuff", and "all that really matters is on the boat right now", nonetheless in our hearts and minds, we were controlling the sad thoughts that much of the business that we'd worked hard to build, our little bungalow by the beach, and our world in Jupiter was about to be blown away. Life was about to change.



Irma finally arrives.
Sitting on the boat, on the Chesapeake Bay, enjoying beautiful weather, it was unnerving seeing all this unfold on TV and the net, but as time went on, we started breathing a bit easier after seeing the storm leaving Cuba and pushing west. Now out of the "Cone of Uncertainty", though not out of the woods yet, it no longer looked like the end of the world as we know it.

Because we had access to the many surveillance cams onSpot has installed along the coasts, we were glued to our computers watching the increasing blow at the marinas that were in the path of Irma, .
Key West was the first to go dark, but before losing video I watched a large fellow, (wearing a child's life preserver?), standing in front of the Southernmost Point Buoy. He seemed to enjoy the massive breakers that violently smashed him head on - then hurled him backwards. He'd get knocked down and sweeped back to the street only to get up and do it over and over again. That's Key West.

North Palm Beach Marina lasted much longer, but eventually marina management was forced to cut power and it too went dark; the surge had pushed water over the fixed dock landings where the electrical power was located. Danger.
The Bluffs Marina stayed live till late but went offline after a large yacht broke a line and smashed into a power pedestal - completely knocking out power and water for the whole marina.
Then, other than the little Drop Cams, taped to the windows of our house, we were without eyes on the storm. A bit disconcerting, but...

As the storm moved North and the winds subsided, we starting feeling better about the house and the area in general. Though there wasn't much to see in the darkness, just knowing electricity and internet was still working gave us hope that everything was pretty good.

Then at 11:03, video died at the house, which means lost power.

Luckily, the next morning, other than no power or air conditioning, we discovered there was comparatively little damage, everyone's good, and all is okay other than a mess to clean up.

Thankfully, we seem to have dodged another bullet. There's still a life in Jupiter.
For us on Istaboa, if there's anything good that came outta the storm, it's the realization of what really matters most.
IT IS just stuff and all that really matters is on the boat right now.   (although there is a guitar at home I would have missed.) Realizing that everything in Jupiter was about to just go away had been fairly easy to accept; kinda liberating actually. We'd envisioned our old life as our new life — again.

Simple = (insert what you want here)

Our next door neighbor posted a video of Irma's blow on Instagram. Doesn't look too dangerous, but I bet the anticipation was killer.

A post shared by Glenda Green (@glendagreenart) on



Now, for the clean up.

I spoke with a couple of friends yesterday and both said they were amazed how quickly the area was being brought back to life. All agree that the South Florida's East Coast escaped disaster.

Old Port Cove Marina.
Mark Lavery told me that they are having electrical problems. The docks are okay, but so far power is not on. He hopes to have power back to the inner docks today.
North Palm Beach Marina.
Serious electrical issues. "It may be a while." was all Mark would say.
Ft Pierce City Marina
No power at this time.
The Harborage at Stuart
Fixed docks are seriously damaged. No power to the floating dock either.
Bahia Mar Marina
The marina is back up and running, per Megan Legasse, the GM
Soverel Harbour Marina.
The marina is okay, but no power for now.

miraculously, the marinas around the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas are reporting little to no damage.

That's all we've got for now.

Will and Carl, are assessing the damages and onSpot has already started rebuilding. Yesterday they went to Ft Pierce City Marina then worked down to Stuart to bring back 3 marinas there.
Of that group, The fixed docks at The Harborage in Stuart was hit hardest. Pics below






The guys have plenty more work to do, but as they did after last year's Matthew, they'll have them all back as soon as it's safe to do so.

Key West? We've yet to see anything there. It may be a while.


All in all, the storm wasn't as bad for those in South Florida as we had feared.

This crew is happy with the decision to keep on going North after leaving the Bahamas. The Chesapeake Bay is very pleasant... so far.

However, no one is exempt from Hurricanes on the East Coast. We just hope our luck continues.

Adios











Sunday, September 10, 2017

Solomons Island and Irma

Yep, another beautiful Sunday morning after a somewhat sleepless night.

There's a loss for words when trying to describe the feeling while looking out the salon window. Out there, the reality is the beginning of another beautiful day in Solomons' tranquil little harbor. Meanwhile, at home, in Jupiter, our house is being pounded and our friends, who have stayed put, are confronting Hurricane Irma that's bearing down on South Florida. (See live video of the effects of Irma here: NPBM)

Below, in the video that's streaming from a front window at Spearfish, as I write this, not much is happening. It looks just like last year's Hurricane Mathew that passed by without doing much damage.


Hope it stays that way.

Guilt is certainly not the descriptor that comes to mind, though anxiety is definitely in the mix. Conflicted doesn't seem to fit either.
Is there a word that combines fortunate and grateful? If so, that's it.

And then I turn and look out the salon window again —


Yes, anxious, fortunate, and grateful all apply. — God willing, we can add "Lucky" later.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the path of Irma. For those who stayed in Florida, please be safe. For those of us away, who have property in Florida — it's just stuff.

Adios,





Thursday, September 7, 2017

Live Video -S Florida- North Palm Beach/Jupiter/Key west


onSpot wifi Live Video Feed:
North Palm Beach Marina -Power or internet is down for now
The Bluffs Marina - Jupiter, FL
Key West - Power or internet is down for now
online — as long as possible.

 


The Bluffs Marina - Jupiter, FL

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Bay



It's another one of those peaceful Sunday mornings (My favorite way to start a day) quiet, overcast, the view from the salon window is like an old photograph, and so far, other than a few geese, there's not a soul stirring around the harbor.
We're now tied up at Solomons Island, MD - Spring Cove Marina where we're spending a soggy Labor Day Weekend. Though the sun may make an appearance today, it's probably too little too late; a disappointment for those deserving a sunny respite from work. Especially for the marina operators; all prepped to handle the large crowd of boaters who for the most part have canceled reservations.

So far, we're enjoying the bay, we always do. I like motoring to all our favorite towns and marinas while mostly running in deep-ish water — comfortable cruising — unlike the attention demanding shallow windings of the ICW or the long runs offshore with only the occasional ship or pod of dolphin to break the monotony. Mel likes the local restaurants serving good Blue Crab and local fish...  and the little shops. We both enjoy bumping into old acquaintances and making new ones, this seems to happen a lot on the Chesapeake.


Lady M, Marty and Amy, we've known them for years.  Now 88, Marty and his girlfriend Amy have been running up and down the east coast longer than most of us have been able to spell BOAT. Marty is a wealth of knowledge and experience, he's our personal cruising guide. If we have doubts about an inlet or a marina, we call Marty. Been there done that, many times. Yes, we can get that same info from a publication or online, but Marty usually shares an amusing anecdote to augment his bits of wisdom. We always enjoy their company and we did for the few days at Atlantic Yacht Basin while repairing our lightning damage. (Which, by the way, seems all good)







Leaving AYB and heading out into the Chesapeake, we found the Bay to be a bit sloppy, but soon the tide changed direction and all settled down.

Around Thimble Shoals Light, we made way toward the York River, Gloucester Point, VA and York River Yacht Haven. We've done this many times so with the comfort of following former track lines, we effortlessly skirted the shoal and eased into the marina.



We were surprised to see Southern Star on the same T-head. Istaboa was briefly tied next to N-47 Southern Star while at Old Port Cove. Later we got together with Ted and Jenny and we've enjoyed their company several times since.
Nice folks.





YRYH gave us a great tie, out on a T-head with a killer view from our stern. Waking early every morning and having my coffee with the sun rising above Sarah Creek was always a pleasure and certainly worth the effort of getting out of bed.













While at YRYH we endured a tropical disturbance that could have been much worse. With wind constantly blowing hard, gusts to 40mph, and hard rain all day, we discovered a couple of good leaks. Nothing that we couldn't quickly stop, although they did require some creativity to overcome. Wind and rain found the tiny breaches, duct tape and a plastic bag stemmed the leaks. A proper fix was done the following dry day.




 The next morning brought an end to bad weather and we started that day with sunny skies and pleasant temps. It's been a long time since we've experienced mid 70º temps, we're actually wearing pants. Nice.

So after a few days of weather, both good and bad, we untied and pulled out of York River.

We like YRYH; they've made many changes for the better and as we did a few years ago, we booked our slip there on a monthly. We'll be returning from time to time, making this our base on the Bay. It's a nicely tucked away marina that will make for a decent hiding hole in a blow. (we hope)


Our 90 mile run from YRYH to Solomons was nice and smooth. On the way up we passed through the fleet of commercial fishing boats from Reedville. We presume the Menhaden must be schooling.



Now and for good reason, everyone's attention is on Hurricane Irma. Our intentions are to hang here for a few more days and take care of some biz. Then move on to Herrington Harbour and Annapolis, if we don't have to head back to York River to hide out.
We'd like to visit old friends over at St Micheal's and stop at a few more little port towns along the Eastern Shore before heading back — we'll see.

Damn, it seems every hurricane update brings even worse news for everyone on the East Coast. It's still early in development so no reason to start battening down the hatches yet - - time will tell.

Fake News? Don't bet on that.

Just crossing fingers for now.


Adios,







Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Laying Up - AYB

Sunrise - Atlantic Yacht Basin


Yes, we finally escaped the current at Morehead City Yacht Basin and made a short day's run to River Dunes Marina in Oriental, NC — though not without incident. A storm followed us almost all the way and finally caught up just before we pulled into River Dunes. Running from inside a protected pilot house heavy rain is never a problem, however lightning is a different story. Waiting out the blinding rain storm before easing into the skinny little creek that leads to the marina, thunder and lightning soon became the issues to deal with.

In all the years and all the miles of doing this, we've never had any problems with lightning; been in plenty of storms, but suffered nothing worse than the anxiety it brings.
Then - a loud bang, a flash, and we realized we'd been hit or almost anyway.

Sonar, chartplotter, and radar screens blinked then rebooted, I turned to head back out to the Neuse River and deeper water, then started working to bring back some electronics. Luckily, we've redundant nav systems on-board and our computer driven system was not affected. Charts and AIS were still running, but we had no depth info.

After a few minutes I had depth coming from sonar, but oddly enough no sonar screen - just the numbers. That was enough to get into the marina so we turned back to the entry point and headed in.
Things could have definitely been worse and we've heard many stories that were. We slowly motored into River Dunes basin and saw a beautiful marina where Rich, the harbormaster, stood waving at us from our dock.
The rain had stopped and the storm moved on. The rest of the night was quiet as I went about going through all the affected systems.

With all the redundancies aboard I was able to put together a working nav system and we pulled out the next morning, heading for Belhaven, NC and River Forest Marina.





Belhaven's another cool little town. The docks at River Forest are old, but the electricity is stable and the depths are good. The dockmaster's name is Henry Boyd III. He and a group of Belhaven citizens bought the marina out of bankruptcy. They're slowly rebuilding the docks, but the lovely old southern manor next door has already been brought back to mint condition. Henry and his crew are very proud of the project and love to talk about it. They also loaned us a golf cart and directions to town for dinner. Spoon River Art Works and Market is a fine restaurant. The local Black Drum was killer. The place was crowded.

That evening we went through another storm, but other than rolling us around for a few minutes there were no problems. We ended the day with a peaceful sunset



The next morning we made way to Coinjock, NC to spend the night. Coinjock is Coinjock. No, we didn't get the steak, but the soft shell craps were very good.

Then, AYB. We always stop here and throw a bit of money at James Taylor's crew. They do good work and this time we may need to take advantage of that.



All in all, as far as storm damage goes, we did okay.
Our main GPS was acting up, but after a reset it came back for the most part. It now shows us running at .05 knots while at the dock, but it's position seems to be okay. We have several ways to get GPS info so that doesn't stop the show.
One of our depth sounder transducers is dead.
Both Raymarine displays are blinky.
Ironically, the Sirius Weather Receiver was fried and has yet to return.
By far the most expensive damage is the KVH Satellite TV dish. It's toast.

I called our insurance company, and inquired about making a claim. They've since sent out a surveyor who thinks the damages are worse than I do. He explained how lightning causes crazy intermittent problems that usually show up at critical times. He's probably correct.


So, here we are, laying up at AYB, waiting to hear back from several folks.

There's good friends tied up just behind us and it has been nice catching up with them.
We've always liked it here. Always little projects to do and AYB has the essential supplies to get them done. The boats that come out of the lock can be interesting to see and the camaraderie amongst the boaters is always enjoyable




We're thinking The Chesapeake Bay will be our next leg, but news of Sea Nettles (Jelly Fish) may change that. The Bay full of Nettles is not uncommon this time of year. They clog sea strainers and stop air conditioning; not good in 90º heat .

And, as they so often are, our plans are still peculating.

Life's good ~

Cheers,






Friday, August 18, 2017

Tides In Our favor

After a nice couple of days in Georgetown, the weather settled and we continued our trip north.

Leaving Georgetown, SC was a trip. Inside the little harbor things were calm, a bit of current, but as soon as we made it into Winyah Bay the tidal surge grabbed us and slung Istaboa out to the ocean like a sling shot. At times I saw speeds of 13+ knots. (yes, speed is subjective)
Spitting us out into the Atlantic, that same tidal current propelled us toward Southport, NC at a good clip. Approaching Cape Fear, the day's destination, an incoming tide was pulling us into the inlet at almost 11 knots and we arrived at the marina earlier than expected.
Checked in and the boys walked, the seemingly scheduled afternoon thunderstorm arrived.


We were left with this big beautiful rainbow after the storm moved offshore. Fortunately, the brief, but torrential squall nicely cleaned the salt spray from the boat. (Bahamian Boat Wash) It seems the natural forces of the universe have been lining up and working in our favor for the last few days.


Yesterday morning, early out of Cape Fear Inlet, a strong tidal current pushed us out pass the long Frying Pan Shoals. Crossing at the Slue, a marked shortcut, we turned north and made way toward Beaufort Inlet and Morehead City, NC.
Arrival at the cut at around 5PM and making it into the Yacht Basin just before closing time, again, the tides were favorable. We rode the current all the way in. Then, like magic, it nearly slacked as we eased down the little canal that leads to the marina. Many know Morehead City Yacht Basin as a difficult marina to negotiate; however, on this day, it was a piece of cake.

Other than leaving the dock this morning, tides will not be a factor for a while. Running the ICW up to The Chesapeake, tidal range is minimal.

We've been quite lucky. Usually we find the current and wind on our nose which almost always makes for long miserable days. This trip, so far, it's been in our favor, all to our back.

Be that as it may, we know, tides turn, they always do.
We'll take what we get... as if we have a choice.

Adios,

8:30 update:
The tides did turn.  At the present time, we're pressed up against the dock ... thrusters are no match for this current.
We'll be here for a few more hours and make this a short day.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Low Country

Well, that didn't take long. Our intentions were to push out of Charleston with a heavy load of fuel and water and run all the way up to Beaufort Inlet. All the weather sites showed doable seas until Tuesday afternoon or later.
But, weather is as weather does, things changed. TS Gert became Hurricane Gert. Though the blow is not a threat to the coastline, the seas were getting crazy and they're predicted to become even more confused.
We looked at Southport as the next stop, but our timing was all wrong. We'd arrive in the dark.
Much closer was either Winyah Bay and Georgetown or Myrtle Beach.

We turned toward Georgetown.

We'd never been here though good things are often said about Georgetown.
Surprisingly, those good things were understated. What a cool little town.


We literally rolled into Winyah Bay Entrance with seas on our tail and made the fairly long run up to Georgetown. It's pretty far inland, 14 miles,  but we found deep water all the way and it's carefully marked.



 We've tied up at Harborwalk Marina where we found a nice long dock. From here it's a block walk into the quaint little downtown area that's neat as a pin. Even though it was Monday and many restaurants were closed, Alfresco Bistro was open; it's fare and service was truly fine. It's a funky little place, the hostess leads you through the kitchen to get to the main dining room, however it's the best dining experience we've had on this trip.





 All of this makes Georgetown a good hang.

Georgetown is a very old, (1500s), and interesting little town. Back in the 1700s their cash crop was the color blue. Really.  Indigo was the crop of choice, more so than rice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgetown,_South_Carolina

So, here we'll stay for another night. There's biz that's needing some attention and another day at rest won't be a waste.  If the seas ease up tomorrow, we'll continue our run up to Beaufort Inlet, if not, it's the freakin' ICW for a while.

A small complication: There may not be a slip anywhere in the Carolinas this weekend. Eclipsemania has taken hold of the area and it's seems everyone want to see it from their boats. All slips are booked.

Cheers,












Sunday, August 13, 2017

Charleston

Charleston - City Marina

Currently, we're tied up in Charleston

Yes, I know— it's been a long time since anything's been posted on this blog. We've been somewhat busy, but really, that's no reason. Usually it's photographs that inspire me to write something and I really haven't taken any photos that have roused me to open the blog and post.

We're always flattered and somewhat surprised when along the way a stranger speaks fondly of Istaboa and the blog we've done for more than a decade; I really don't know what to say when asked why I've not been writing much. That's happened several times on this trip.

Once again, it's a lazy Sunday morning, I've ingested a sufficient amount of caffeine, and gone through several days of unprocessed pics.
It seems we're always catching up, so ~~~~
Because it's August and we're just now heading north up the coast, this year's cruise has been somewhat different from those of the past. Hoping to avoid the packs of yachtistas at the marinas along the way, we waited till late May to leave for the islands. This strategy worked as we figured it would and most of our favorite marinas have had slips available without reservations.







Our last post was at the beginning of our run up the East Coast so I'll pick up there.




Leaving Old Port Cove we made a short run out in the ocean to Ft Pierce where we waited out an almost continuous line of thunderstorms. Storms have been the daily deciding factor for this whole trip.

After Ft Pierce, the seas had picked up so we ran the ICW all the way to Vero Beach. 15 miles.








Then out of nowhere Tropical Storm Emily popped up. We had just left Vero Beach Municipal Marina in the rain, (not realizing it was the outter bands of a tropical disturbance), and made way to Titusville.




Happily, TS Emily was a flop, just rain. We had a peaceful night at Titusville Marina streaming movies and fell asleep to the sound of raindrops falling on the boat. The next day we shoved off and motored to Daytona.


We stayed at Daytona Marina and Boatworks. We like this little marina with it's easy in, side tie docks, plenty of water, and there's a Charthouse restaurant onsite that's excellent. Happy Hour is great; small plates of gourmet appetizers, happy hour prices, and all just feet away from the boat. 

Our next stop was Palm Coast Marina. A nice/quiet little marina where we always stop for a night and to buy fuel.  Best prices in Florida, easy in and out.


The next day was a short run to St Augustine and Camachee Cove Marina. We pulled into Camachee Cove on a low/low tide and had to try several slips before we found one deep enough for us.
As you see from the above picture, storms are following us pretty much all the time, however we keep on running the ICW and manage to avoid most of them.

I hate the ICW - Mel likes it. After a day of negotiating the ICW, I'm exhausted. It's not just shallow water, actually it's not that shallow in Florida, it's the constant attention one must maintain to successfully make it to your next stop.
At last we to make it to Jacksonville and back out to the ocean. St Augustine to St Simons was the day's leg. No storms and relatively flat seas.

 There's a reason they call this area, Golden Isles

Saint Simons/Brunswick is Mel's hometown and here she had family waiting. I took this time to do a little business and catch up with chores on the boat. Mel visited the farmers market and brought home a few pounds of Georgia shrimp and fresh vegetables.



Next stop: Hilton Head. We've never been into Hilton Head, always passing it by saying that someday we should stop and check it out. We'll, we did and it really is a nice place.
We choose Harbour Town Yacht Basin to tie up. It's a great marina, though last year's Hurricane did extensive damage that they are still working through. We took a few days off and explored the island a bit, though the storms were back in full force giving up only half days before running us back in the boat. Still, we liked the area and we'll be back.


After a few days we chose a time to run out Calibogue Sound with good tide and pointed north toward Charleston.
Another fairly easy run with calm seas ended where we are now. Charleston City Marina.
We couldn't have timed it better. We eased in and called the marina, they asked us to turn around in the basin and back down about 500 feet on the inside of the Megadock. Slack tide allowed this to happen without incident.


We've done a bit of sightseeing while here. Took a buggy ride through downtown to see all the historic sights, a young fellow narrated the tour, and did a nice job of it.

Of course, we passed by Ft Sumter on the way in.

As we entered Charleston Harbor, in my mind (as there often is), a song played over and over again.  I've heard Randy Newman's Sail Away many times and always liked the melody and the hook, but I never really listened to it until I heard Etta James bring it home, as only Etta James can do.

On this day, the lyrics are painfully ironic:

In America you'll get food to eat
Won't have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You'll just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
It's great to be an American

Ain't no lions or tigers ain't no mamba snake
Just the sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake
Everybody is as happy as a man can be
Climb aboard little wog sail away with me

In America every man is free
To take care of his home and his family
You'll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree
You're all gonna be an American

Sail away sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay
Sail away-sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay





We'll be leaving soon, maybe tomorrow, depends on weather. We've realized that time aboard is good for us no matter where we are. We're still heading north, maybe the Chesapeake, maybe not. Point A and Point B is the same place to us and that would be Jupiter.

We'll be back when we get there.

One thing for sure, Istaboa is a happy boat.

Adios,