A lot has passed in the two years since my last post.
Sadly, we lost our best friend and mate, Radar. Life aboard Istaboa was never the same without him. There's not a day goes by we don't think about the old boy.
COVID put and end to the company I started way back in 1994. The good news? All the longtime employees landed on their feet, some are doing better, a few retired.
Fortunately, the little marina wifi company, onSpot, is thriving and better than ever.
And so, we handed over stewardship of Istaboa to her new owners. It was an awfully painful day, but it was time. There were many reasons and justifications for the sale, but time has a way of changing everything — we are not yachtistas.
Still, our many memories are vivid and will be cherished.
Istaboa is now "Realm". She's living on the Chesapeake Bay, hopefully being taken care of and loved as much as she was during our time with her.
As George wrote all those years ago... We must be on our way and face another day.
Adios, Istaboa - you served us well for 16 years - we were so lucky to have had you in our life.
However, we're not ones to sit on our hands and reminisce.
This is our new mode of travel. We've not given our little motorhome a name, and probably won't, but we're looking forward to seeing and experiencing many of the places one can't get to via boat. This life is somewhat different, but essentially the same. We're finding RVers are very approachable folks, friendly, and seem happy to help when help is needed.
Today, we're in Hot Springs, Arkansas —tomorrow we're heading west to wherever and hoping our new ride will scratch our travel itch.
I started this blog in 2007 - What a wonderful trip it's been
Love John Prine -
Prine's one of those song writers you won't often hear on the radio, but when you do, you'll remember the tune and the lyrics... his songs make you smile and they warm your heart.
After all the health problems he beat, this damn Coronavirus took him out. He'll be missed, but to paraphrase something Jim Dickinson once said, "He's just dead, he's not gone.".
Think about it - we all hope to be old someday - so put on your masks when appropriate - show some respect.
Sunrise - Solomons Island, Maryland - Chesapeake cruise, 2013
If I remember correctly, it was an unusually warm fall morning. We had cranked up early to head south for Gloucester Point, VA and start our migration home to Florida.
Mel and I won't complain. We've always enjoyed our solitude, though we've never thought of it as something that could save our lives. Sadly... we do now.
Like most people, we wake up hoping this situation we're in was just a really weird dream, but within a few seconds we realize, no, it's not. There's still some bug, a virus, out there that's mercilessly killing some and making others gravely ill. We, especially me, are on the short list of folks more apt to contract this very infectious disease. Though it's now afflicting younger people it's us >60 folks that it's killing most often.
Then there's the damage this fucking plague is taking on the global economy. Yes, this contagion is killing many, but the toll it's taking on the healthy and those who survive is financially ruinous. Many businesses, both large and small, are being destroyed and millions of people are out of work. Honestly, I don't see how we'll crawl from the deepening debts that is this economic black hole anytime soon — but still, I have faith in capitalist ingenuity. We'll figure a way, it seems we always do.
Oft times, out of disaster opportunity is born, however one must wait till the flames burn out and the smoke clears. Unless you're Purell or Charmin.
Certainly not tragic, not death nor sickness, but not frivolous either, the lives and dreams of some of those we know who mess about on boats have been seriously altered.
No, these aren't the bourgeois yachtistas being catered to aboard crewed mega-yachts, they're regular folks who have worked hard for years and traded a well deserved comfortable retirement for one of self reliant adventure.
Our Kiwi friends are on a boat without a country. At this time, they're anchored somewhere around Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas. Per Ted, "We’re fine. Bahamas have total lockdown. Everything is closed. Can’t leave the boat.". At first they were allowed to go ashore for supplies, but now the Bahamian Government has stopped that. They can't move from island to island so they just sit on anchor waiting for something to change. To make their lives even more difficult, The U.S. will not allow them to come back either; seems they overstayed their welcome. Even though Ted is a U.S. citizen, theU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) says no, no, no - at least not for a undetermined period of time. Yes, I know, trapped in paradise. —right? — but after a while, trapped is trapped. There are other folks we know who were making their way south, down the Caribbean chain of islands, then to Panama to cross the canal. Once on the Pacific side their dreams would carry them wherever they dared; knowing Roam... a circumnavigation plan was in the making. Unexpectedly stopped by the authorities in Puerto Rico, they soon realized that plan was scuttled. After a bit, they turned north and due to travel restrictions the Bahamas were bypassed. It took 7 non-stop days at sea, but finally they arrived back in the USA. At this time they're quarantined on anchor somewhere around Vero Beach, Florida.
This is all so crazy, so surreal. Just weeks ago, the stock market was flying higher at every closing bell and these times were being hailed the "New Roaring 20s". Seems like one day we were dancing in the ether, then the next we were sequestered in fear, hiding from some unknown pathogen, scrambling for toilet paper.
At first we were told, "One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear" then we heard, "opened up, and rarin’ to go by Easter", after that, "Always known this is a real—this is a pandemic", and now, “It’s called the invisible enemy, and that’s what it is: it’s an invisible enemy,”. What's it gonna be tomorrow, next week, or next month? "We'll see"?
Okay, I'll crawl out of the Rabbit Hole now.
Life goes on if we're happy about it our not. Still, it could be worse, though not by much.
So these mornings I wake very early. I feed the boys, walk outside with them, and in the pleasant predawn temps I look up at the stars and hear the ocean's waves crashing on the beach. These moments without complication don't last long, but during this speechless hour or so there are no talking heads rapid firing worst case scenarios and death counts, there are no worries yet, there's just peace and quiet as the stars fade and the sun rises.
Once back inside, I pick up my laptop and shuffle through the thousands of pictures of the many places we've been so fortunate to visit aboard Istaboa. Every morning I put a new picture on the large TV monitor and all day, every time we see that photograph, it makes life seem better. Good memories are good things. We need all the good things we can get right now.
Leaving Nassau, we stand by to let a couple of cruise ships enter the harbor before we leave to turn north and point toward The Abacos.
Later that day, just off the southern tip of Great Abaco Island, we're astounded by a close encounter with a pod of Killer Whales. This was a very good day.
Those were —Good Days— Indeed
For those of you who enjoy boats, boating, and the folks who live the life: The story of the extraordinary lives of Nancy and Bob Griffith, who
circumnavigated the globe not once but three times between 1960 and the
late 1970’s, taking their 53-foot sailboat, and their kids, on 13 major
voyages to places no small boat had gone before.
It's streaming on Amazon Prime Video and well worth the time - and right now, most of us have plenty of that.
Several land based projects are standing in the way of any cruising plans this year, but it does look like we'll be moving aboard soon. We're renovating our home in Jupiter and having lived amidst that before - we'll not do it again. Our new home port, The Bluffs Marina, is just a couple of miles down US 1 so the boat will be the perfect base of operations. The Bluffs is as good a hurricane hole as can be found in these parts, however we're hoping that's a non issue.
With time on our hands, we'll take advantage of it and do some needed maintenance.
This weekend we motored down to the new Seahaven Superyacht Marina in Dania Beach. From there we just eased across the Dania Cutoff Canal to Playboy Marine Center where we've hauled out to paint the bottom. There will be new transducers to replace the old, and other things that can only be done while out of the water.
Craig at Hogan Marine Systems in Ft Lauderdale will be busy for a week or so.
There's something to be said for sitting out a year and making the time to catch up on projects.
When all this is done Istaboa will be looking better, inside and out, than she has in years.
I finally got around to updating the "About Istaboa" section of this blog.
Istaboa's new interior
inspired me to take a few photos and pictures often trigger an itch that only
writing about them can scratch. I guess every picture does tell a story.
This is the final installment of a multi-part section that covers finding N57-26
back in 2006 and the years aboard Istaboa that have led up to now.
For those into 57s, there's a lot about N57s in general and Istaboa in
particular — See the column to your left.
10 Years After
It's now 2020: The economy is booming, everything's great, —however— the boats
are getting bigger and the docks are packed with them. Many of our favorite
marinas have been bought out by large corporations, gutted of their
personalities, and it seems a knowledgeable dock staff is a relic from days gone by. Due to this current illusion of prosperity, the boat fixers are busy, most
are arrogant, and they're all elusive.
I'm getting older (and grumpier) and time is flying by, but it seems things have
changed dramatically in just a short time —Flashback to 2014
I guess we miss the easygoing days of the plain old "good" economy, however...
we tentatively adjust.
Still — life's good.
Now a decade since moving aboard and putting Tennessee behind us; almost 20
years since we first started traveling about in boats, Mel and I have covered a
lot of water. And in all that time, at least one thing has become apparent, our
boating lifestyle is never glamorous and rarely exciting, but it is the life we
chose and for the most part it's exactly what we dreamed it would be —
probably in our DNA, but for sure our life aboard is not just a line item on a
list of things to do before we can't.
Like us, our boating habits have matured, as has our boat. No longer full time
liveaboards, we have a home in Jupiter, FL. (Mel and I finally asked the
question, "wanna live here?", one time too many.) We love our little beach house
and the simple life there we share with our dogs, nevertheless 90% of our time
is devoted to boats/marinas, and still, 3 to 6 months a year is spent aboard.
For us, and I'm not promoting our lifestyle as the boat life everyone should
subscribe too, but — for us — a good boat trip is to comfortably motor
around till we stumble on an out of the way place that's interesting but not too
crowded, then slowly blend in and make it home for a while.
That's the beauty of this boating thing: home is where the boat is.
Last year we spent
6 weeks in little Georgetown, SC
and had quite a nice time, however, I don't think we would've felt that way 10
years ago. Georgetown's a very calm and tranquil little harbor town — at this
point in our life, tranquility's a blast.
Years ago, The Abacos, Elbow Cay specifically, was home for a while. We once
tied up at Sea Spray Marina thinking we'd stay a few days and 2 months later we
That year the late spring winds, as they often do, blew hard and incessantly
into the summer months. The weather kept us tethered to the dock, however that
didn't stop us from making the best of the situation.
Mel and I made lasting friendships during that long blow that have stood the
test of time and in retrospect, if it weren't for those unfavorable conditions,
none of us would've ever taken the time to get to know each other.
During that, "Whisky Wind" (as Junior Maynard, the Dock Master, called it), no
matter what kind of boat you owned or what your socioeconomic status was, we all
played a part in each other's good time: everyone dressed similarly, ate the
same food, drank the same booze; we were all
trapped in paradise together, and life was good..
Every Saturday night was a Junkanoo and a big celebration.
Every Sunday morning was breakfast with Brenda's Bloodies providing post party
We once lived at
Compass Cay in the Exumas. for a while. Life around the Pipe Creek area was simply special, and after some time we
were welcomed to be honorary members of the Rolle family: an honor we're very
About two months into that stay, our stores of food and drink were depleted and
we learned to get by as the out-island folk do. Departing friends and boaters
would generously leave us their unused provisions, weather permitting and if the
mail boat showed, we'd make runs to Staniel Cay where the Blue Store or the Pink
Store might have some vegetables, and on a regular basis the local boys would
bring us fresh fish.
Tucker taught me how to waste not, "Clean da head, don't tro it away, dat's da
best part", he'd say. Tuck was right, fresh fish head, eyeballs and all, made an
excellent stew. (I'd eat the eyeballs, but just for effect... they really have
Following a nice Bahamian lady's instructions, a few onions, potatoes, lady
peppers, Bahamian thyme, a big clean Grouper head, thrown together and slow
cooked in a big pot fed us all for 3 days. Spider crab, lobster, conch - as soon
it was known we would cook, things just showed up on the boat and became dinner
for those who wanted it.
Tings to do wit fish
Maybe it was the overwhelming expanse of blueness, possibly the absence of
complication, probably the combination of all that and more, nevertheless that
long stay really was mind altering and forever changed my perspective. This is
when we first experienced the
zen of being -or- How to exist in the Exumas and not lose your grip on reality.
It took a while, but eventually we settled into island think. Need food? Go
fish, or conch: Don't worry about the small things, never get excited, find some
shade with a good breeze, and in between naps, watch the tide roll in and out,
and the tour boats come and go.
Kicking back in one of the ragged lounge chairs scattered around the shade of
the Compass office overhang, it was amusing watching the many big charter yachts
running pell-mell up and down the Exuma chain. Their crews were always busy
picking up or dropping off charters at Staniel Cay then anchoring at Big Majors
where their guests would take selfies with the pigs then, as they turned to walk
away, have one of those cute pigs bite them on the ass.
In the mean time, back in the shade, (and disrupting my naps, I might add), the
ancient VHF radio would be constantly crackling, "Compass Cay, Compass
Cay" and if Jamal answered, the yacht Caps would chat him up in hopes of
scoring a slip and shelter from the impending storms.
There was good work done.
We brought communications to places where there was none. Those projects took
much longer than they would have in the states, but no one cared. Soon it
becomes apparent, the aim of Exuma life is to make the best of the moment. You
We'd take our little Albury to visit the other islands and do what shopping we
could, and soon, Mel and I became acquainted with some remarkable and
eccentric private island dwellers. They too were happy to have fresh company to get to know.
The Pickle Barrel Houses on Wild Tamarind Cay
Running up and down Pipe Creek everyday was like living in a dream. Sometimes
I'd just stop the Albury, look in all directions, and take in the view,
absorbing every shade of blue imaginable. Not a day went by without thinking how
lucky we were to be experiencing all of this, and being part of it.
Like backstage passes to paradise.
Late summer, sans tourist, the place is really amazing.
As evidenced by the video below, Compass can become very crowded during season -
gentrification strikes again - still a beautiful place, though.
Cat Stevens - Longer Boats
Longer boats are coming to win us
They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
Longer boats are coming to win us
Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door
All of this became the norm and soon I grew confident running the Albury around
the little-known routes through the rocks and shallows; understanding which run
to take at different tide levels, almost as good as the natives. Every rocky
point, every shoal, the water color, it all means something. Like obscure road
signs, you'd better pay attention to the details or you'd quickly end up on a
coral head, high and dry, or worse.
Hurricane Sandy - Over Yonder Cay
This was a magical time for us, however the spell was broken by September and
the peak of hurricane season. It became apparent that it was time for us to move
on and we left just days before Hurricane Sandy blew hard across the Exuma
Yes, that four months was an amazing experience and we still like to return
"home" and fall back into Compass life on occasion. We understand and respect;
it's not our world, it's there's, and we're thankful the Rolles share it with
The Chesapeake still holds a certain charm and we'll often bump around up there
during hurricane season. Annapolis is our favorite city, Solomons and the
Herringtons are our favorite hangs, but many of the historic, boaty little towns
A bit like the panhandle of Florida, the food is simple and good. Think local
crabs and oysters prepared so many ways.
We really like being around the folks on the Chesapeake. For the most part,
they're an authentic live and let live, good natured bunch; they love the Bay
and everything about it. We've made many memorable acquaintances and some great
friends there over the years; we always enjoy going back.
Wherever we go - there we are
We feel fortunate to be able to take our time, keep plans open-ended, and become
up close and personal with the many marinas in the many harbors along our way.
From Tennessee to Nassau, too many places to list, we've made ourselves at home.
In all our travels there's one thing we've always found to be true: *No matter
where you go, there you are. (*credit either Confucius or
If one has a curious eye and takes the time to look around, there's almost
always something unique and compelling to be found. (almost)
Maybe a funky little restaurant that serves up the best shrimp and grits, like
the Beaufort Cafe, the familiar comforts of Brunswick, GA, sometimes it's just
simple naturalness and the transcendental "being" thing happens, think Compass
Cay. It can be as contrasting as the helter-skelter of an urban harbor like
Nassau or the stillness of the Sassafras River, it really doesn't matter where
you are, if you're experiencing life from a boat, it's probably pretty good.
"And remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
We also love this verse from "The Boxer" — we too look for those places.
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places
Only they would know
Lie, la lie
So now we've become seasoned boaters, which is a kind way of saying we're
getting older, (which is a kind way of saying we're approaching old AF) and the
days of ambitious boat trips may be winding down for us. Never say never, though
we're quite content bumping around familiar places.
So with all that said, I'll sum it up with this mental image...
At the end of a long day, there are few things more comfortable than following
an old track line into a peaceful harbor and tying up in the sunset.
That's pleasure boating
Now hold on to that mental image and press play below
April: For a dose of reality, it's good for us to leave the beach, the manicured seaside estates with palm trees swaying in the balmy sea breezes, and make the grueling 1000 mile drive up to funky old Memphis for some much needed contrast —and, to see what our old home town is up to.
We were pleased to find our neighborhood booming with cool new developments that have been squeezed into the renovated old buildings. The, circa 1909, Brewery next door has been transformed into luxury apartments and the old train station will soon be an upscale boutique hotel. An eclectic mix of restaurants are popping up everywhere and they appear to be busy, business is good. The area is thriving with young folks zipping around on those annoying little electric scooters and the trolley cars are running again. Yep, it seems like Downtown Memphis is finally enjoying a long awaited resurgence.
Springtime is the best time in Memphis
Springtime means Azaleas and Dogwoods are blooming everywhere you look and the locals are happily leaving their unpleasant inclinations indoors as they come outside with smiling faces and warm neighborly attitudes. I guess everyone's been held hostage by winter's grip and finally, spring awards them with a deserved respite from the cold, damp, river winds downtown Memphis has endured for months.
April is the month for local festivals before the massive Memphis in May International Festival cranks up and downtown is inundated with hundreds of thousands of tourists.
Our local fav is the Crawfish Fest - we can't seem to find Crawfish in Jupiter or anywhere along the east coast, but in Memphis, in April, they're everywhere, every weekend.
Loflin Yard, one of our favorite bars, is an indoor/outdoor watering hole that's the backyard for the many downtown urbanites who have no yards. Folks bring the kids, their dogs, the whole family and enjoy. Shade to chill in the summer and fire pits to sit around when it's cold.
Good music and good food = good times.
As we always do, we've enjoyed our stay. Hanging with our oldest friends and walking through the authentic funkiness that Memphis has an abundance of brings back the whole spectrum of memories — however, with some regret, we're sad to say, it's about time to pack up and bid adieu.
It's time head back to Jupiter.
Nope — haven't written anything in a while, haven't taken any pics to speak of either, however, we've made the best of our time. Christmas in Jupiter was great; much better weather than Christmas in Memphis, and it was cool hangin' out on the boat up in Georgia. Mel's been hankering for some fall weather and Brunswick/St Simons did serve that up from time to time.
St Simons Sound Sunset
We rode out the thankfully benign hurricane season at Brunswick Landing then moved over to St Simons Island and Morningstar Marina for their view and breeze. We like spending time in Glynn County, the local culture is comfortable and the local restaurants are good— especially after Labor Day.
Maggie Mae's downtown Brunswick serves a blue-ribbon country style breakfast and the service is sincerely old school southern. Fox's Pizza is good too, but never pass up Willy's Wee-Nee Wagon and their Pork Chop Sandwich. It's in the hood which gives it authenticity and street cred. (Some cruisers we spoke with scoffed at Willy's but if you're into geniune cultural experiences, you've got to go to Willy's Wee-Nee Wagon.) Out on the island is Southern Soul BBQ and it's truly fine. At the marina is Coastal Kitchen serving their version of Shrimp and Grits. The Half Shell, Halyards, Barbara Jeans, and Benny's Red Barn - All Good!
Though it's 350 miles up the boring and sometimes treacherous I-95, we made the trip several times a month to check on the boat and boater buddies. It was a nice break from S Florida's summer heat.
We took advantage of our time in Brunswick/St Simons and made a few interior changes. Nothing major but the slight update made a surprising difference.
The ladies at Overall Upholstery on the island did a good job of recovering our Salon bar stools.
We considered home-porting Istaboa at Morningstar Marina, and she will probably soon return, but several maintenance jobs are needed and it's great place to stay if we decide to take on the house project in Jupiter, so we picked a good day and started the milk run back south.
Last year on our trip north we ran outside in the ocean. This year on the way back down we took the slower more complicated route and stopped at several marinas to take care of a little business. A layover in St Augustine followed by a short run and a few days stay at Palm Coast Marina. (We really like little Palm Coast Marina, Rosey, the Harbormaster, is a kind person and a pleasure to be around. We watched the NFL playoffs there.)
Then with the purpose of finding warmer weather we pushed rather quickly to Daytona and Cocoa Village.
Leaving Cocoa was somewhat exciting. As was predicted, a nasty weather front was pushing through and in the blink of an eye a nice day turned into a raging storm.
Off to the west we watched the blow heading our way with a vengeance, soon dark skies covered us and blacked out all sunlight, the wind was crazy, and it was raining sideways; on board, our instruments were indicating gusts of 50+. Luckily we were in a wide area of the ICW and our electronics were working as they should — for an hour or so we couldn't see much more than the bow of the boat but with an eye on the radar and chartplotter we slowly followed our old track lines. Then as quickly as it started, the storm passed and the sun came back out, though the harsh northwest wind remained all day.
Next up was Harbour Isle Marina - Ft Pierce, a quick bite at Chucks Seafood, and the following morning we cast off for home, Old Port Cove.
All in all, a nice, comfortable little run. Istaboa seemed to enjoy it, she hummed along, never missing a beat. It was a pleasure to be aboard, cocooned in her warm dry wheelhouse, during the bad weather we encountered leaving Cocoa Village. She heeled a bit during the big gusts but nothing more.
So now we're home, Istaboa's tied up at OPC, we're diggin' the Jupiter weather, happy, and as far as we know, healthy.
A new venturi windshield, new lifelines, new dock lines, and a new spare anchor rode hatch. I feel carpet will be replaced soon and there's a bottom job in our future.
Over the years, we've found that Istaboa treats us like we treat her - She's been kind to us so we reciprocate.
On long beach walks, a favorite diversion, this guy has been in my ears lately. Michael Franti. Very positive, very kind, a good mash-up of reggae/jazz/funk/folk and hip-hop.
Feel good music with a cause.
Cut from Wikipedia Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. He is also an outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues.
Worth a listen
So what's next for Crew Istaboa? We're not sure yet... surprised? After finishing a couple more boat projects, we sense a good stiff boat trip is in our future. In the meantime though... we're content.
This year we've not felt the urge to push ourselves or the boat. There's no specific plan other than to be north of Florida and we've accomplished that already. Hoping to resist complication and just be, we're patiently allowing chance to influence our travel plans for the next few months. It's said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. So we'll stay prepared and opportunity will likely appear sooner or later. If not, we'll just keep bumping around till it's time to go back to Jupiter.
No, we'll not put a lot of distance behind us this way, but we're not sure where we're going anyway so it probably doesn't matter.
On this day we're tied up at Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, SC. The second largest seaport in South Carolina, though it's more a sleepy little fishing village.
We've spent time here before and found the old seaport town to be a friendly place. Just off the beaten path and very quiet, there's a pretty little harbor that provides protection and relief from the strong currents of Winyah Bay. On the other side of Front St is a charming old neighborhood that's covered up in history; many of the well kept homes were built in the 1700s. Down the street we've found an assortment of good restaurants and shops.
Reckoning the whole might be better than the sum of it's parts, chances are, we'll become better acquainted with Georgetown.
The getting here has been good. We're enjoying the trip and the boat seems to be happy as well. The long run up the Florida coast was the right call, but for now we'll do a few short legs and take it easy. We've jokingly tagged this portion of our cruise, The Shrimp and Grits Run — for good reason.
Sunset over marsh grass at high tide - Brunswick Landing Marina
⌘ catching up
Done with Florida and arrived Georgia, we stay in the Brunswick area for a few days. Having been Mel's hometown and much time spent here in the past, it's familiar to us.
Over the years there were many lasting memories formed in Brunswick. Most of them simple pleasures like hanging out with family, heading shrimp, catching and cleaning crabs. Our best memories are from the many Christmases we spent here. These big holiday get-togethers always ended with the traditional Oyster Roast. At the Riverside house on a cold night, family and friends would gather around a hot oak fire, tell the same old stories, laugh, and drink lots of beer as we shucked and devoured bushels of fire roasted oysters. Mel's Dad loved putting all of this together and he worked hard at it: Sourcing the oysters, building the fire, even cleaning up the aftermath was a task he didn't mind at all.
Those were good days. Yes, Brunswick is familiar to us.
Like many times before, we shopped the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning to buy fresh peas and boiled peanuts. Local Georgia Cracker gourmet delights.
Next, we motored over to St Simons Island and Golden Isles Marina. Borrowing the marina courtesy car, we had lunch at Barbara Jeans - Shrimp and Grits and Crab Cakes.
A St Simons tradition, a fine little southern style family restaurant.
A little work was done for the marina then a quick weather check showed the seas were gonna be favorable. It was decided to move on to Hilton Head.
Leaving St Simons at first light on a falling tide we caught a nice ride with the current all the way out the long ship channel.
A few hours into the trip our favorable seas started changing as did the wind. Now a head sea, but not bad, just sloppy enough to make sure I washed the boat once we arrived at Harbour Town Yacht Basin.
By the end of the day the waves had turned fairly chunky and we butted our way round Savannah into Hilton Head.
Being the 4th of July, Harbour Town and Sea Pines Resort was swarming with lots of folks doing what lots folks do on Independence Day. That night, much to our young pup Muddy's dismay, there was a world class fireworks show.
We always enjoy our time here and particularly like the resort's restaurants. (Yes, Shrimp and Grits and a bowl of Gumbo.) This is a very well managed, award winning, marina. Harbormaster Nancy Cappelmann makes sure everything is top-notch.
A few days later we moved over to Shelter Cove Marina. Still on Hilton Head island, just further inland and up a creek. Shelter Cove is pretty cool. many places to eat (Shrimp and Grits), a coffee shop, a French bakery, and other businesses that cater to tourist. At one time there were two different bands playing at two different restaurants and both singing different Jimmy Buffett tunes. Cheeseburger in Paradise on one side, Margaritaville on the other... - I guess some things never change.
There was a strange weather anomaly, that soon became Hurricane Chris, sitting off the Carolina Coast and it wouldn't leave. At first we thought it prudent to hang out at Hilton Head and keep and eye on the storm, so we moved back to Harbour Town. Waking the next morning and checking the latest weather info things looked much better so we decided to take off and head North. Charleston was our next stop and we needed to be there at 4PM for slack tide. (if you've ever boated in this area you understand the slack tide thing.)
All day long the winds were calm and the ocean was slick, but as we got within 10 miles of Charleston the breeze picked up. Still nothing harsh, however off to the west dark clouds were building up over land. By the time we reach the ship channel everything changed. Wind gusts of 25/30 were turning our nice slick ocean into angry gray seas; a full blown thunderstorm was hovering over the entrance.
Weighing the options of circling around out in the ocean and waiting for the storm to pass or pounding our way up the channel, straight into a threatening squall — we chose the latter - hoping for the best when we arrive on time with slack water. Damn the lightning, full speed ahead.
And... that worked out well. In drizzling rain we eased into the marina at exactly 4:00 and tied up. Then the skies cleared. Yes, all's well that ends well. ☺︎
It was interesting tying up at a marina with an Aircraft Carrier - Patriot's Point
Charleston Harbor was full so they put us out on the far edge. It was rough. All night the boat would rock and heel over from the wakes of big ships passing by. We woke the next morning, finished doing what we came for, made the necessary calls, and moved a few miles up the ICW to Isle of Palms Marina.
Isle of Palms Marina isn't really anything exceptional, however on a sunny Saturday afternoon it's the center of the universe. Hundreds of small boats use the ramp to load and unload. There was a band playing outside and 2 restaurants (one serving Shrimp and Grits with Alligator Gravy) and a nicely stocked tackle/grocery/deli. It was incredibly busy, but not in a bad way. Everyone was friendly and courteous and a good time was being had in bulk. It was fun to watch.
Putting a double finger slip to good use, I was able to get to Istaboa's port side and easily do a badly needed cleaning. It's disturbing to find what happens to the forsaken side of an asymmetrical salon boat. Out of sight, out of mind.
We stayed here for 2 nights then left mid-day to run the skinny ICW to Georgetown. McClellanvilleis the snag on this stretch with a reported 4' water depths at low tide, however I believe this is falsely reported. (Boat geek stuff) We went through 2 hours after low tide and never saw less than 3.5' under our keel — (which by my calculations would make it 7' MLLW.) We were fortunate to be leaving on a rising tide; the current pushing us all the way to Georgetown. When we hit Winyah Bay, we were clocking 12 knots. Got in at 6:30.
So here we are, Georgetown - livin' easy. It's a cool little town and we're thinking we should to get to know it better.
So far every restaurant has been better than the last. (wonder if they have a gym)
The best to date— Shrimp and Grits with Pork Sauce — The River Room.
Harborwalk Marina is new (still being built) with floating docks; a nice clean little marina and Harbormaster Chris Carroll's intent is to make it even better.
Taking a walk across town looking for a pharmacy, I took the scenic route. This old town is lovely.
Old Antebellum, Low Country Charm
No, we're not sure when or where we'll be heading next. Mel would like to visit Bald Head Island at Cape Fear, she has a knack for picking good places - so that seems likely.