Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween

Our grand daughter's first Halloween.

Sweet Baby Lobsta

Fernandina is a neat little town. It'll be a fun week.
It's family week.... hadn't had one in a while. Looking forward to seeing the little dude, and the little girl. We really don't know her yet and Mel loves to squeeze babies.



Again — That Plan Thing

And again, we bailed on it.

We pulled away from Cape Fear inlet with the intentions of heading south to Georgetown and making Charleston, SC the following day. We knew a front was heading our way and we'd be stuck somewhere for a week... so never having seen Charleston made it seem like a great place to be stuck.
Then, as we left the channel we were amazed, the seas were incredibly calm. So smooth in fact we had a change of heart. We were kinda surprised at ourselves because just the night before we'd both declared, "Never anymore overnighters with only the two of us aboard!".
I guess declarations are like plans.
We quickly did a little homework and saw the weather system would hold for another 24 hours across the portion of the east coast we wanted to travel down.

The same system that was forecast for the day before, the one that let us down, was finally becoming reality.
Cautiously, we set a waypoint for Charleston thinking if it got bad again we could jump off at either Georgetown or Charleston, throttled up to cruising speed, were delighted to see 9.7 knots of speed, and took off.

It remained unbelievably calm, the whole day and the whole night.

It was a very dark moonless night, but the stars gave off enough light that we could make out a vague horizon... unless we ran through a patch of fog... and we did find ourselves in many of those.

It was surreal. We ran for hours in total darkness without feeling the slightest bump, not even the roll of a swell.

Running through the night in these conditions seems like you're flying, though we were making less than 10 knots.
It's a very weird sensation... like you're falling. I think I've said this before, but it is and you have to have faith that if you can't see it, or it's not on radar... it's simply not there. Like you're flying blind.

I once read an article about a couple who'd traveled alone together with there little dog aboard a 46 Nordhavn. They were somewhere out to sea, thousands of miles away from anywhere, and they hit something. Struck it so hard their boat heeled over and water flooded into their cabin. They never knew what they hit, it was dark, but whatever it was didn't stop them. The next morning they found no damage. They shrugged it off and kept on going.
Of course, what else would you do?

During the night, I would walk out on the bridge to gaze at the stars and I'd hear and see the splashes of dolphin around the bow. It was so dark that the only perceptible sight of them was a dark shadow, underlit by the phosphorescence made from the spray of sea water they created while playing in our bow wake.

Shooting stars were numerous and the only sounds to be heard were Istaboa's bow plying through the soft seas, the quiet consistent hum of her engine, the occasional playful dolphin chuffing through it's blowhole, and a compilation CD of Bob Dylan tunes "Chimes of Freedom" covered by a very diverse collection of  artists. (It's really a great grouping of about 75 songs and it lasts for hours.)
Oh yeah... our old friend, Sandy Carroll just released a new CD and we listened to her a couple of times. "Unnaturally Blonde"

It was one of those nights that makes you forgive the sea for those times like the one we had a couple of nights earlier.

Neptune must have felt sorry for us and decided to throw us a bone... just to keep us interested.

And the sunset —like the shot above and this one below— was equally extraordinary.

Still no Green Flash.

We kept pushing and made Fernandina Beach around noon; 28 hours all in all. It was a bit bumpy coming round St Simons and Cumberland Sounds, but the seas were on our stern and not bad at all.
Never a splash over the bow rail.

We also held that 9.7 knot average for the complete run. Guess that's what a freshly painted bottom and clean running gear will do for you.

Arrival—Perfect timing—Slack tide.

So here we are... tired, but happy we got a lot of miles done in a short time.

Now what?

Grand kids, Silas and Maddie.



ps... Talked to our friends aboard 'Two Drifters' this morning, they made Vero Beach last evening at sunset, safe and sound.
Non-Stop—Like all tough sailors do... as Dylan once sang.

Today's Pic

Not sure where it was taken...

Probably somewhere around Oriental, NC.

Got a lot of good shots between Bellhaven, SC and Fernandina, Fl.
Haven't processed yet.




Low Country

Monday, October 28, 2013

It has been pointed out...

That if you look at the Marine Traffic Website, the name of our vessel is not 'Istaboa', it's 'Memphis'.
We made this change deliberately. It's a long story, but since we've made that change, we are hailed on the radio more often and have had more useful communications resulting from being contacted.
Me thinks... Folks find it difficult to pronounce 'Istaboa'.
We've heard:

We answer to those names also.

Thanks, Larry T.

(edited when I could think using a nearly functional brain.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013


We had great intentions.

Pulling into Beaufort just in time to make the inlet in daylight, we forged ahead with a weather forecast that appeared to be near perfect... and it proved to be so for about 3 hours.

The seas looked so good out from Beaufort that we dropped Plan A and went with the quicker route toward Charleston.
And, that's where it all went to shit.

The farther out we went, the worse it got. At about 10PM we made a course change to head back west toward shore; in hopes of finding smoother seas and some sanity.

Needless to say, the boys weren't happy and we weren't either. The seas weren't deadly, they were more like water torture. Constant water torture.

So Plan A was right all along. Should've stuck too it.

We still had to head east and dig back into it to get around a 15 mile long shoal—and that turned out to be the end of our long run with Two Drifters.

Rich and Ronnie have 10 days to move their boat to Florida... we don't have a schedule.
As we passed through Frying Pan Shoals Slue and we were still having our asses handed to us, Crew Istaboa made the call to change strategies and head back to shore to seek protection from the wind.
Even that didn't help.
So we bailed... and while we're comfortably tied up at Southport Marina off the Cape Fear River, Two Drifters are still out there slogging through the muck.
We truly hope the forecasts have finally been realized and Rich and Ronnie are having a beautiful evening amid very calm seas.

I just read an email from Active Captain where they made a point that applies well in this situation... The *most* dangerous thing to have onboard is a schedule.

Tru Dat!



ps... got some great pics as were leaving Beaufort. Will process later.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Long Run

Yesterday's run started out kinda bumpy. Crossing Albemarle Sound turned to be as rough as we've been told it would be in a blowin' WNW wind. The boys didn't appreciated that at all.
After the 2 hour crossing everything settled down.

The plan was to meet our friends on Two Drifters, but we made good time and the winds were brisk/northerly/cold and the designated anchorage didn't look too inviting so we pushed on the Dowery Creek Marina in Bellhaven, NC — about 30 miles further

This morning we start the first, and hopefully the only leg of our long run back to Florida.
We'll meet Two Drifters early this morning somewhere between here and Morehead City then try to make Beaufort Inlet in daylight.
After that? The long slog in —what we're told will be— fair seas.
Our plans are to stop in Fernandina if there's daylight, on to Cape Canaveral or further south if not.
Normally we do straight shot point A to point B runs, but this trip, due to the westerly winds, we'll be running fairly close to shore in order to take advantage of the calmer seas. A little longer, but less annoying.

If you care to, you can follow us via spot... here
I'm not sure Marine Traffic is working, but you can try... here

Of course, this whole plan is weather dependant... if it's not good as we go out the inlet at Beaufort... Never mind.... we'll try again.

Wish us luck, please.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Today's Pics

Those who stay at Atlantic Yacht Basin long enough will see 'Aphrodite' come in and tie up. The artisans here are the best in this part of the world at working with wooden boats and keeping their finishes looking like new.

She's a true piece of history and a work of maritime art.

Built in 1837 

APHRODITE was built by the Purdy Boat Company and launched in May of 1937 for Wall Street financier and later Ambassador to the Court of St. James, John Hay (Jock) Whitney of Manhasset, Long Island.
Best described as a "Commuter Yacht", this elegant and sleek 74-footer would each morning whisk Mr. Whitney from his large two-story boat house westward down Long Island Sound and thru the East River to his Wall Street office. During the 45 minute commute Mr. Whitney would go up to the forward cockpit and read the Herald Tribune to catch up on the day's news.
APHRODITE'S guest list over the years reads like a "Who's Who" in the worlds of government, business and entertainment with such luminaries as Fred Astaire, Sir Laurence Olivier, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Henry Ford II, FDR advisor Harry Hopkins and Nelson Rockefeller aboard for summer day cruises down Long Island Sound. APHRODITE also once served as the site for a birthday party for Shirley Temple.

She's been restored beautifully.... the whole store here THE RESTORATION OF APHRODITE

Istaboa is crankin' up this morning and starting to move south. We may be out of touch for a while unless I find net... and I usually can.

I'll send out some Spot messages and you can track us via  if you wish.

It'll be good to be movin' again, plus it's getting cold.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Today's Pics

It's looking like we may buddy boat with Two Drifters for our run south, .... A couple we met back in 2007 in the Abacos and they're staying here at AYB preparing for the long haul.
Two Drifters is a 50 Nordhavn and can make about the same speed as Istaboa so we should be a pretty good match. We've crossed paths several times over the years and have talked about traveling together.

Two Drifters anchored in White Sound, Green Turtle, Abacos
Sunset in Whitesound

Rich and Ronnie have done the non-stop run from Beaufort, NC to Ft. Pierce, Fl many times. We may do the whole trip with them or stop off at St. Simons Island, GA. We'll see... sea conditions will be a large factor in this decision.
Their destination will be back to the Abacos sometime this spring before returning to AYB for the summer.

They're driving down from New England and should arrive here today... We'll discuss more later.
This could be fun.... Never done a long passage with another boat.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Aww Man...

Mr. Las Vegas's boat sunk.

Mr. Las Vegas’ yacht sleeps with the fishes.
A 65-foot luxury houseboat belonging to Wayne Newton filled with water and sank Friday morning at a marina on the Arizona side of Lake Mead.
No one was on board the boat named Rendezvous when it went down stern-first in about 45 feet of water, leaving the bow sticking straight up out of the water in a covered slip at Temple Bar Marina.

Today's Pic

Is a weird one...
Woke up early and heard the geese... stuck my camera out the pilothouse door and snapped this shot  off without focusing... you can tell, huh?
Anyway... I like the visual.
Hope you do too.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Today's Pic

Every hour... the horn blows and the parade starts. It is thinning out a bit.
The weather's been good and I believe a lot of the crowd has moved on south.
Maybe time to join.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Radar Love

Back to rain and cooler weather...
but Istaboa's back in the water and we're back home.
No complaints. Let it rain.

We're out on the front docks now and enjoying the boat parade. We've seen several folks we've met along the way pass by.

Not sure when we'll join the procession... but pretty soon.



Today's Pic

Blue Blades

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today's Pic

Shot over the bow... AYB

High and dry... 10' in the air... in a gravel parking lot, makes for a unusual perspective for my "Shots Over The Bow" collection.

The rain has finally moved on so the work has begun.

We've all enjoyed the hotel. Aloft is a different kinda hotel... a Euro design in a box and that's nice, A good bar with a great happy hour, and they're very dog friendly. Our room is a door away from the dog walking lot, can't beat that.

We're in the middle of what we call MallVille. Every town has at least one. Everything you want to eat, drink, or wear is within a half mile. We went to see "Gravity" yesterday just to treat ourselves after 8 days of sitting in the rain. Incredible effects. 3D is a trip... really made us duck a couple of times. The movie? Well... the effects were excellent and should be seen in a theater with big screen and big sound.
Ladies, You probably won't like it.

We should be back on the boat late tomorrow... we're told, but if not... the hotel life has been a nice break.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Today's Pics

Woke early this morning to check out the forecast and try to formulate a plan for the upcoming week.
Well... seems like more of the same except less wind.
Decisions to be made and plenty of time to make them.

As I came up from below and looked out over the bow for the first indication of our present conditions, I see a glimpse of color. Color! We've had so much gray that a flash of yellow and red stands out like a bolt of lightning.

As I stood in the pilothouse and watched this fellow fish, I noticed the fresh coating of rain drops on our bow rail.
Might not come out today either.
Well see.

Hope this guy has luck... He sure seems to be enjoying the peacefulness and solitude that the early morning brings.

I'm enjoying the color.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Glum In The Gloom

Fn' rain.
Relentless Rain!

All the beautiful weather that was bestowed on us, all summer long, has moved somewhere else — forsaken us.
There's a low pressure system that has squatted over this area and seems to have taken root, seems to have set up residence.

Floating here in the back of the marina with our stern window facing out, our view is the little spit of land that those at AYB call a parking/storage area; It's really just a small wooded island with worn out gravel roads — when we do gape out, it's either raining, threatening to rain, or blowing rain.
We've become a bit stir crazy...
Even the boys don't care to go for a walk. A quick trot to their favorite spot, do their biz, and a quicker trot back to the boat where it's dry. Then, they go into a dormant mental state that I'm personally envious of.
Mel's taken to cleaning the boat as a way to dispose of the unwanted anxieties of boredom. There's nothing dirtier than an old boat yard.
I'm either doing a little business, writing, watching old movies or documentaries, taking pictures, or Photoshoping the reality out of some of the photographs I've taken in an attempt to make them more interesting.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that there's a purpose to all this sitting.

  • We've had some plumbing issues and we're fortunate we're at a yard and not in the middle of nowhere on the ICW.
  • Little maintenance projects have been done under a covered slip.
  • The weather's been blowin from here to Beaufort and further south. 
  • We need to be pulled out of the water to have the bottom painted.
  • We need to inspect our running gear. 
  • It's will save us more than a thousand bucks to have it done here and... 
  • It will be done much better at AYB than in S. Fla.
We should send ourselves a daily email to help us remember why we're just sitting here...  glum in the gloom.

This view of the outback of AYB never seems to change.

Hopefully, tomorrow we'll have a dry day and they can start to work.

There's so many boats passing by; all the marinas and anchorages south of us will be crowded so it's probably best we stay put. Maybe a nice hotel for a couple of days can pull us out of our funk.
It would be nice if we were out on the front row... at least we could watch all the boats as they pass by. When the horn blows at Great Bridge Bridge and there's always an interesting parade of boat that stop for fuel or just slowly pass as they're heading south to wherever.

View from the front row docks.

Then on top of all the gloomy weather — today, the Saints were beat in the last second of the game by the New England Patriots.
Damn... Tom Brady
Sorry... really, sorry.
Things could be and have been worse..... not whining... Venting?

Anyway — Here's to a dry Monday.

Thanks for checkin' on us.



Today's Pics

Baltimore, over the bow...

Still rainin', going back to sleep.



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wish we were there

So tired of rain and mud. No end in sight.
Hopefully it stops Monday.

Today's Pic

Boats on the Bay

Still rainin'... going back to sleep.



Friday, October 11, 2013

Today's Pic

Well... This norther blew all our water away, but it looks like it flooded downtown Norfolk.

Waterside Marina is underwater.

I'm not sure how you'd get off the boat.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Today's Pic

Laser races at Solomons Island

Yep... still playin' with Photoshop.

Still rainin' and blowin' like hell.
When a good norther blows through here it sucks much water out of the ICW and the docks at AYB.
I've seen 3' feet disappear in less than 12 hrs.
On the other side of the Great Bridge Lock, the water is stacking up and they can't open... so, our buddy, Capt. Bobby McKee, is sitting in downtown Norfolk waiting and he doesn't know for how long.

Really glad we got stuck under this covered slip.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just a short story

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

Dedicated to JJ and his family.

Today's Pics

What are the odds?

Leaving the Bay and downtown Norfolk, we were held up at a rail road bridge along with several other boats. As we were all hovering in wait for an opening, a fellow on a sailboat called out to us.
"Hey Istaboa, remember us? We were in the lock with you last July, on our way up the Bay."
I'll be damned... We did lock through with this same boat and we talked while waiting for the doors to open, they're from Vicksburg, MS. We laughed about our hard to pronounce boat names. Their boat is named 'Phalarope'
So, on the very same days, several months apart, we both locked through to begin our Chesapeake cruise... and end it.
We never crossed paths along the way at all.

Leaving the lock, I heard them hail AYB and say they were coming in and needed help tying up.
Turns out, they were inadvertently assigned our slip, the only slip left, the slip we had reserved a day earlier and had called and confirmed hours before.

After a certain amount of radio chatter and chaos, we were told to take a covered slip around the back in a canal. At first I was a bit annoyed because a covered slip meant no satellite dish and no NFL, but the sailboat couple walked over to apologize and even offered to give up their slip.
That was nice, but they couldn't fit under a cover slip... so we laughed, said forget it, and we finished the conversation we were having in the lock about the odds of meeting up again.

Turns out, all's well that ends well.
Look at this rain! And, it looks like it going to rain like this for the rest of the week. Our covered slip is pretty dry right now.

Sometimes the odds are in our favor.
Now if we could just get the rain out of the way and Istaboa out of the water for her bottom job.
But, even this is not so bad.
Marty and Amy, our old friends from Sunset Bay are here and another buddy, Capt. Bobby McKee, is delivering a boat down the Bay as we speak; he should be here tonight or tomorrow.
So it's like old home week.
Everything's good? Well... not everything, but that's a story probably best left untold.
(Hint... a blown out head pump.) 
Everything's good enough.

Thanks for checkin' up on us.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Today's Pics

A few pics from the Solomons Watermen’s Festival & Boat Docking contest.
This contest had all the excitement of a Friday night high school football game in small town Arkansas.
Plenty hoots and hollers,

 Steely eyed determination.

and skill...

Paid off.

A winner.

12th Annual Calvert County Watermen's Festival 2013-- September 22, 2013 starting at noon at Watermen's Wharf at the end of Solomons Island.  The Festival is perhaps best known for our BoatThe Maryland Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) or "Beautiful Swimmer" Docking Contest, during which work boats and charter boats compete within their divisions for cash, prizes and trophies.  Never a dull moment, this is a spectacular event to watch!  Beer, food and soft drink sales and exhibits by some of our sponsors will also be available.   Live entertainment will be provided by Deanna Dove, the Island Girl herself (below).

Monday, October 7, 2013

When you have time...

it's worth spending it to watch this.

Today's Pic

There's always something of interest to point a camera at while hangin' out at AYB.
Bored and playing with Photoshop produced some nice results.

Hopefully by the time you see this we've pulled the boat and are on the way to a hotel.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Today's Pic

As we were leaving Solomons we passed. 'Santa Clara'. We first tied up behind them in Savannah.

Proof they're working on your teak.

Santa Clara
44 Kadey Krogen

Meanwhile, we're sitting under a covered slip at AYB. 
We moved to a slip on the outside edge so our Sat Dish would pick up a TV signal. 
Mel wants her NFL.

We're supposed to be hauled tomorrow to have our bottom painted and the hull polished. And, whatever else we find when we pull her out.

We were worried about TS Karen, but that's not as big an issue as once predicted. Rain, on the other hand will slow down the work we want done.

Sounds like more time in a hotel to me. Maybe a vacation during our vacation.

We'll see.



Friday, October 4, 2013

Really, Still No Reason

Except...  It's Flamingo Friday!

Happy Weekend!!

ps... All our friends on the Northern Gulf Coast... Good luck with Karen.
She's heading our way too, but she'll be pretty tired by the time she gets here.