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25 November 2010

Day 40: aka Thanksgiving Day, at Hammock Beach

After several very nice days in the mooring field at Saint Augustine Municipal Marina, we made a short four-hour hop south to Palm Coast, Florida. There is a resort complex here that has a marina for residents and transients just right off the ICW. The marina area is splendid - the restrooms, showers, laundry, business center, fitness center and lounge are all part of a large new condominium building and are brand spanking new. A short shuttle ride takes you to the Hammock Beach resort itself, with multiple restaurants, pools, a spectacular ocean beach, and more things to do than one could manage in a week.
We were planning to leave tomorrow, but...we extended by one day. We are facing some weather challenges for going outside - wind is in the wrong direction, surf is a bit OTT, tide is wrong for an exit at Ponce - so plan now is to head to Canaveral in two ICW hops, Saturday and Sunday, and then to wait for better conditions for the passage home to Port Everglades.
Here are the pictures of the day; I posted them all on Picasa, but they are worth repeating here, I think.

15 November 2010

Day 30: Long time no blog

I've been posting pictures every couple of days, but for some reason not hitting the blog. Tonight we have moved on to Georgia: Goodbye Maryland, Goodbye Virginia, Goodbye North Carolina, Goodbye South Carolina. We are staying at Isle of Hope Marina; here is a picture JP or Susan took while I was maneuvering into the fuel dock:

and here is the very definition of service at a marina:

He actually climbed aboard to do the pump out for us. Very impressive.

I spent some time last night compiling some statistics for our journey so far:

~760 statute miles as counted mile marker to mile marker, including the trip down the Chesapeake from Castle Harbor

8 nights at anchor

22 nights at a marina, including tonight and tomorrow night here at Isle of Hope

5 "singleton" marinas

4 two-night marinas, including Isle of Hope

3 three-night marinas

1 free tie-up

We are averaging about 30 statute miles a day. Our longest day was 56 statute miles from Beaufort (NC) Docks to Surf City (Beach House Marina); our shortest 21 statute miles from Bull Creek on the Waccamaw to Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, SC. The rhythm and pace seem to work well for all of us; you can make the trip in +/- 50 mile increments in a slow boat, but it is much more fun and interesting at the 30 mile average.

Savannah tomorrow.

06 November 2010

Day 21: Bald Head to North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown

We docked this afternoon at Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, SC. We had a great day touring Bald Head Island on Wednesday the 3rd, then headed out at Cape Fear Inlet and back in 24 miles west to Little River Inlet, just at the NC/SC border, and on to a low-key overnight at Barefoot Landing Transient Docks (which for you cruisers out there has no showers at present; restrooms are just those of the mall itself). From there we made our way to the Waccamaw River - absolutely beautiful surroundings.

We anchored overnight on Bull Creek, just off the Waccamaw, about 22 miles from Georgetown, SC. It has gotten very chilly - forecast lows overnight tonight are near freezing - although the daytime highs today and tomorrow are still in the 50's and will be low 60's Monday and back to low 70's Tuesday through Friday. The transit of the Waccamaw has been a joy, because it is wide and deep - a bit curvy in spots, but it's great to watch the depthfinder when "low water" means anything under 15'.

We have a bit of a pickle for tomorrow, because we will hit a well-known trouble spot at McClellanville right about at low or low-ish tide. We may have to anchor just before it and transit at high tide in the morning. We have read various reports, from motorboats grounding, to less than 5' at mid-channel, to "no problem", so we will make our way there and see what happens.

If we are able to transit, then we may head on for Isle of Palms or an anchorage somewhere before Charleston; our friends who live there are in Fort Lauderdale right now (!) so we won't linger but make our way to Beaufort (Bew-fert) SC for a visit instead.

I'm uploading pictures via Picasa S--L--O--W--L-Y so I'll try to come back and add a few to the blog after that finishes...IF it finishes.

PS Susan and JP are slaving because I had to whack the floating dock when we came in here and now they are trying to SCRAPE the stuff from the dock off the hull. I didn't have much choice given the conditions (wind direction, slip and positions of other boats) BUT...

02 November 2010

Day 17: Bald Head Island, NC

Had a decent start - made the 0800 opening of the Surf City Swing Bridge, just a quick left from last night's marina

and thanks to a very kind bridge tender, we also made the Figure Eight Bridge; both Surf City and Wrightsville open only on the hour, so ideally if you are slow like us you try to make Figure Eight on the hour, make a leisurely 4 miles or so to Wrightsville to make it one hour later. HOWEVER...for the same slow sail boat, it is a real stretch to make the Figure Eight in an hour after Surf City, and we were about 4 or 5 minutes off. He opened VERRRRYYYY slowly for us, and saved us an hour of transit time today.

The last couple of hours of the trip were on the Cape Fear River, in a lot of wind and current; Susan was helming and JP navigating while I shivered with Pooh

The marina here is very pretty; we will stay two nights and explore the island by golf cart tomorrow. Here is one of the houses that surround the marina

01 November 2010

Day 16: Nice progress today

We had planned to go from Beaufort Docks to Swan Point Marina, but got off early (around 0725)

and made good progress despite our many friends.

Here is our last mile marker of the day; we actually made it to 260.6, Beach House Marina, just before the Surf City Swing Bridge.

We plan to head on south to Bald Head Island tomorrow, and treat ourselves to a couple of nights there. Keeping a weather eye on Tomas, which could be troublesome early next week.