Arrived at Jenn’s and the Chesapeake

Leaving Carolina Beach State Park, we traveled the rest of the way to Virginia only challenged by the normal travel issues – that is of weather, shallow water, tidal currents and waves. We spent a day in Wrightsville Beach although it was only a short run from Carolina Beach State Park.  We just wanted to spend a day there.

From there for the remainder of the trip to the Chesapeake, it was travel most of the day, find a good place to stop at night and the more travel the next day. The weather cooperated most of the time.  We had very little rain and no real hot or cold weather. We spent one night in a marina at Morehead City, since no suitable anchoring spots were available. The only real challenge between there and the Chesapeake was the Albemarle Sound, where the wind was blowing over 20 and the waves were four to five feet with short period – what I call square waves. The two or three-hour trip across the Sound was not pleasant, but we survived with no ill effects.

As we approached Norfolk, the change in scenery was dramatic. We went from marshes and cypress swamps with little sign of civilization to an abrupt change with lots of houses, commercial buildings, industrial areas and other obvious signs of civilization. The ICW became busy with barges pushed by tugs and other boats all waiting for each Bridge.
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We spent a night at mile marker 0 of the ICW at Hospital Point across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk. We had great views of the cityscape, tugs, pleasure boats and ships going by from there. The next morning heading up the Elizabeth River into the Chesapeake, we saw more tugs; we also passed a couple of ships and the part of the Atlantic Fleet that was in port – very impressive.
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Our time in the Chesapeake was pleasant and of short duration as we motor-sailed up to Mobjack Bay and then the Severn River to Severn River Marina to haul the boat, paint the bottom wax the hull and solve some other issues. We lived here for a few years and enjoyed our time in this peaceful setting.
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At this point the bottom is painted, but we found blisters for the first time. (We will be required to address them on our next haul out.)

We still had projects to address once we got the boat back in the water earlier this week. These included replacing the halyard and anchor light. (Sandra noted when she was up the mast that the current light was cracked.) Our outboard is overheating and the problem, it seems, won’t be addressed till we get to Maine. I also got the new exhaust elbow installed and changed the engine oil and fuel filters. We want to eliminate as many potential issues as possible.

Since these are now completed and the weather will cooperate to let us leave in à days. We will continue our journey north to Maine, heading up the Chesapeake as the first leg of that journey.

Our visit with our daughter Jenn was short, since she was as busy as we were. Hampton Roads Academy is arriving at the end of the school year, giving her lots of end-of-year activity. We’ll get to visit her more when she accompanies us during part of our NE travel. Although we spent less time with her than we would have liked, she was a lifesaver, letting us use her car for numerous errands related to the boat work in addition to doctor appointments and provisioning for the upcoming travel.

As always, I end this with an assurance of more to come.

Captain Bob
Carpe Diem

P.S. In case you were wondering, Sandra keeps busy as we travel. Here is one of her most recent additions.
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Made the Local News

Since the last update, we traveled for two days to get to the marina at Carolina Beach State Park. All went well until I hoisted Sandra up to the top of the mast to change the anchor light bulb. As she reached the top, I found that I had an overwrap at the winch. After several attempts to free it, I went to the park office seeking assistance. Since nobody there really understood the problem, I had to explain the issue a few times.

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I finally determined that I should drop the jib and use that halyard to get Sandra back down. A park ranger helped me with the jib, but by that time the fire department had been called and had arrived with their ladder truck and an emergency vehicle. I then had explain to the captain how I proposed to get her down. He wasn’t convinced, being concerned for Sandra’s safety. He wanted me to move the boat to another dock where the ladder truck could reach her. I didn’t want to move the boat under these circumstances.
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The captain was the one with the white shirt on the boat.

Finally I was able to convince him and then cut the original halyard that was jammed and lowered her back to the deck after an hour of her being up in the air in more ways than one. She was a bit sore but otherwise fine.

So everyone left, but then a representative from the local NBC news affiliate arrive to do an interview. Sandra ended up on the news including part of her interview. If you Google NBC news Wilmington, NC, you should be able to see the news clip.
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Sunset from our slip

Aside from that bit of excitement, our time here has been quite pleasant. We went for a long walk in the woods to collect Long Leaf pine needles for more baskets. A longtime friend of Sandra also arrived for lunch and a bit of catching up.

The only issue here was the fact that the marina depth at low tide was less than what our keel needs. Although we sat on the bottom at low tide, it was not obvious, since it was so soft that the boat could still move some. We’ll leave at mid tide and should have no problems.

Not everyone has it that easy, or so it would seem. These shrimp boats ended up quite hard aground. We passed them as we traveled.
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More to come, but we hope not as exciting!
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People cross the ICW on these gondolas to get to a golf course in Myrtle Beach.

Captain Bob
Carpe Diem

Charleston and beyond

We thoroughly enjoyed our two days in Beaufort, thanks in large measure to our friends Brian and Jann, whom we’d met in Marathon. They took us to the grocery and hardware stores as well as touring us around the area. A highlight was the visit to Hunting Island State Park.
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The beach at the park.
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The damage done by storm tides
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The lighthouse at the park

Of course we also managed to get a bit of extra rest after the overnight sail up from St. Augustine. Then we managed to fill up our water tanks and fill up on fuel and also get some laundry done.

But our goal continues to be to move further north. So after our two day stop, we left before 7AM and headed north to Charleston. It’s a two-day trip when you’re doing 6-7 mph, so we managed to get halfway there on the first day and finished the trip up to a marina in downtown Charleston on the second day. The Charleston Maritime Center is not only located within walking distance of the downtown but also provided us great views of the shipping traffic heading back and forth. At the marina, quite near our boat was a replica of a Spanish Galleon which we had first seen in Key West earlier this spring. While we did not tour it when we saw it in Key West, this time we decided it was appropriate for us to do a tour. We thoroughly enjoyed touring around the boat and especially talking to and asking questions of the Spanish crew that had traveled with the boat over from Spain.
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The galleon view from our slip
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This anchor is just a bit larger and nearly 2000 lbs heavier than ours.

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What a contrast – the galleon vs a new car carrier, probably full of BMWs from the SC plant.
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This may not look like much, but it was at the center of the slave market prior to the Civil War. Now it’s a center for tourist sales

A walking tour of Downtown Charleston included a Great Southern meal at a restaurant we had visited a few years ago when stopping there and also a chance for Sandra to buy some praline which she bought during our last visit and was anxious to try another sample. And as is our custom, we filled out water tanks, bought some diesel fuel and took advantage of the marinas shower and laundry facilities.

After two nights in Charleston we left the next morning bright and early as the sun arose and had challenges immediately. First as we were heading out of the marina we noticed a barge being pushed by a tug going right by the entrance so we had to slow down to accommodate its passage. Then we noticed that our GPS was not functioning properly and had to grab the tablet which had a GPS on it to use as a backup. A few minutes later we realized that a large car carrier was headed out and was not far behind us heading out the same channel we were going so we had to make some adjustments in our course to accommodate its Passage. Shortly thereafter we noticed that the GPS started functioning again. After that everything seemed to go Fairly smoothly and we traveled up the ICW to our planned anchorage on the South Santee River.

Traveling along the ICW, we had to deal with tidal currents and areas where the water was shallow. Even though we traveled through all of it at mid to high tide, there were places that we found the water not more than three or four inches deeper than our keel, so it was a bit upsetting. All ended well, and we had a pleasant anchorage that night on the South Santee.

Next day we headed out as the sun rose once again and managed to do well as we had tidal current pushing us along all the way past Georgetown and up the very picturesque Waccamaw River. Portions of the land on the shoreline of the Waccamaw were part of a National Wildlife Refuge.
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This shoreline was a cypress swamp. Perhaps you can see the eagles nest.

We saw lots of interesting birds along our route and not too many boats until we got further up the river. And since this was Mother’s Day we managed to begin to see lots of boats with husbands and wives and sometimes families taking to the water in their family boat. By afternoon it was a bit crazy with the numbers of boats steadily increasing. We anchored in a new spot not far off the river and watched à steady stream of small, fast boats and jet skis pass by for the rest of the afternoon.
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Boats passing all afternoon.

In preparation for our continued travel, we spent a bit of time looking at tide charts and notes from previous trips through this area to determine our best departure time for tomorrow in order to avoid skinny stretches at low tide. Hopefully we’ve got it right.

Carpe Diem
Captain Bob

To Beaufort, SC

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The rising sun as we headed out
from St. Augustine

The weather was quite pleasant for our two-day trip from West Palm Beach to Vero Beach. We had two issues along the way that slowed us a bit.

The first was an alternator wire that had deteriorated to the point that the vibration caused it to disconnect. We weren’t charging, and the tachometer was not registering. We stopped and found the source of the problem and redid the wire more securely. We started off again. A short time later the same problem reoccurred. I stopped again and checked and found a second wire had the same problem so I checked thoroughly all the wires around there and secured everything.

We were off and running once again. Shortly thereafter the engine room blower died. We heard a weird noise that was the bearings going bad. This was not as big an issue since many boats don’t even have an exhaust blower on their boat. We figured we could get a new one in Vero Beach.

With the help of the tidal current, we managed to get to the very familiar territory of the Vero Beach Marina by early in the day on our second day of travel and picked up a mooring in a surprisingly crowded mooring field.
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We had developed quite a list of things to do while we were here, so we planned to stay 3 nights. Since we arrived on a Thursday, this also meant that we would not travel on the ICW during the weekend. With all the local boaters, it’s a bit crazy out there on weekends, and we had decided a long time ago not to travel South Florida ICW on the weekend.

We got our bikes off the boat and rode them down to the beach for the weekly farmers market. From our previous experiences here, we knew of a beach where Maddie could go to in the evening and run free. So we took her there, and she had a great time.
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We also took advantage of the free shuttle bus to do some grocery shopping and to West Marine for a new blower. We got in some good walks including a walk down to the park for their annual Orchid Festival.
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On Monday morning, having filled up on fuel and water, we headed out north – the first time north of Vero Beach in four years on the boat. On this section of the ICW, we follow the navigational aids to stay in the proper channels. We also saw lots of osprey along the way, some of them building nests on navigational aids. It is spring, and so there were baby Osprey in some of the nests – very cute.
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At the end of our first day north we stopped at Eau Gallie, a place we had not stopped at before. It had a nice small Park to walk through, and we found a bakery that made Delicious Pies.
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This shark painting was on the side of a building.

The next day we continued our travel north and anchored near Titusville Florida. This would be a terrific place to watch a rocket blast off at Cape Kennedy. From our anchorage, we could easily see the building which housed the Rockets prior to Launch.

Traveling the next day we noticed some white smoke coming out of our exhaust. we slowed down and checked things out but could find no reason for the smoke. We called a mechanic and got some advice and travelled on with the smoke getting a little better as the day progressed. We anchored in Daytona Beach without getting off the boat but enjoyed a pleasant evening there. The next morning we started up again – more white smoke, and in a very narrow section of the ICW, lots of white smoke and the engine overheated. The problem turned out to be the impeller on the water pump. Apparently a blade had broken off when we first saw the smoke but the pump kept the engine cool enough not to overheat. So we didn’t, nor did the mechanic, consider that to be the problem. The second batch of white smoke and the overheating happened when a second blade broke. I put in a new impeller and thus ended the white smoke. The real challenge to working on the impeller in this section was that the ICW channel was very narrow, and there was no place to pull off to anchor, so we had to Anchor in the middle of the channel. While I got the engine work done, Sandra called boats to tell them of our predicament and ask them to go around us.

Three days of traveling brought us to St. Augustine – one of our favorite stops along the ICW. As many may already know, St. Augustine is the oldest city in North America settled by Europeans. So there is a lot of history here and a very interesting place to wander through. Additionally Flagler spent some time here building hotels of a very modern design for his time and also bought a railroad to provide a means for people to get down there for winter stays. He had a great influence on the city. One of his hotels is now Flagler College.
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A city with character!

The weather forecast looked quite appealing for us to leave the St. Augustine Inlet and travel north all the way to Beaufort, South Carolina. This would mean avoiding some stretches of the ICW that are shallow and winding.

We left on Saturday morning and traveled north with the conditions as predicted all day into the evening. Then something happened overnight that the forecast was no longer accurate, By late at night instead of getting the two foot waves and light winds we were getting four to six foot waves coming from different directions – a very unpleasant circumstance. By morning we didn’t feel great, and we headed into Beaufort totally exhausted.
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One highlight of this trip came as we approached St. Mary’s inlet. A submarine was being escorted in. It was really huge, although the photo doesn’t do it justice. Note the white wake on the right side of the photo. That’s the stern of the sub.

We are here now for 3 nights and plan to catch up on rest, do some visiting with friends we met in Marathon and just relax a bit. For those who travel this route you might be interested to know that they now have moorings where the old anchorage was located. Given the strong currents that run through here, this is probably a great idea and we were happy to pick up a mooring ball.

After this respit, we head off to another favorite stop – Charleston.

Captain Bimpeller Diem

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P.S. Here’s Sandra’s latest creation.