Nov 10 – 15: Using luck and speed

Lady's Island Br- from Factory crk

Lady’s Island Bridge- from Factory Creek looking toward downtown Beaufort, SC

Many vessels love Georgia but hate the ICW where shoaling is a huge problem in many places. Since Georgetown we’d been managing it with luck and adjusting our speed from time to time. Just because we only need 2 ½ ft of water doesn’t mean we want to hear the depth sounder squawk at 6ft.
From Tuesday on, the weather looked ideal to keep moving so I wrote up a sheet showing where we’d stop each night, the mileage and the problem areas for the day. Then I checked the tide at the trouble spots and for the most part we would naturally be OK. Planning for tide and current isn’t always easy but adjusting our speed up or down is easy so we handle it that way. Having fearless deeper draft boats right ahead of you doesn’t hurt either. :-)
Bea-utiful Beaufort, SC got a wave and glance as we opted to pass by this time. We anchored nearby though in Factory Creek which is lined with lovely southern homes, all with docks for their water toys. At the southern (entrance) end of the creek sits Lady’s Island Marina; a five-star marina that Twin Sisters may grace with her presence one day. We hear it’s a good stop. :-)

Ogeechee Rvr sunset

Ogeechee River sunset. We anchored off the channel in a spot we’d used before


Ogeechdee Rvr sunrise

Ogeechee River sunrise from our anchorage

We stepped off the beaten path near the northern tip of St Simon’s, GA; nearly running aground entering the very curvy Frederica River. Maybe I should have said, “extremely favor the south side.” This route takes you by Fort Frederica where we’d visited last November via RV stop in Brunswick. Cannons pointed but not fired; I think our disguise is working.

Fort Frederica- are those cannons pointed at us?

Fort Frederica- are those cannons pointed at us?


Almost ueless dinghy dock at Fort Frederica

Almost useless dinghy dock at Fort Frederica. Mind the 8ft tide here.

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Our next stop was Fernandina, FL. We’d zoomed through Georgia so quickly that I forgot we’d crossed the FL line.

This looks like the right section

This looks like the right section

The papermill was on its best behavior (ok, the wind was) and not until we were leaving the next morning did I start to gag. Walked around historic downtown area, shops, dining spots and a block north found Nana Theresa’s bakery :-). Scrumptious crumb cakes; three varieties to tempt you and they were delicious.

Sunset and a papermill

Sunset and a papermill

A trip wouldn’t be complete without a St Augustine stop. Although last December was phenomenal getting to see Rockapella perform free just a short walk from the state park on Anastasia Island.

uh oh we are in their sights

uh oh we are in their sights

Shopping, eating, tasty libations and a long over-due haircut for Russ helped us to forget how wavy and bumpy the mooring field was.

The Gourmet Hut has gotten fancier

The Gourmet Hut has gotten fancier with tablecloths and painted chairs.

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Crucial Coffee sits next to The Gourmet Hut and is one of many places to satisfy your caffeine craving.



Charleston- Still love it

Water taxi muscles its way out into wind and current- got much worse during the day

Water taxi muscles its way out into wind and current- got much worse during the day on Sunday

The decision to spend a few nights in Charleston, at the “rock ‘n roll in your slip” Maritime Center was based on 1) weather and 2) they owed us. Kinda helps that we really like Charleston.

Spring of 2014 we booked a spot at Maritime and the boat there wouldn’t leave as scheduled, so we ended up at St John’s Yacht Harbor and enjoyed a great week with a rental car and decided that things happen for a reason. The Maritime Center said they’d make it up to us and we thought, yeh right. But when we called and luckily fit into their most protected spot, the man we spoke to recalled our tale of woe and by 10am Saturday we were tied up, stern to for easier on and off.
Saturday was a gorgeous, unusually very warm and sunny day; one to be enjoyed before an extremely windy Sunday and a near total rain-out Monday!
I may have mentioned before that boat observation helps me pass the time and you can count on me to say, “We’ve seen that one before” and know where. So, we pull in to the basin and the large motor yacht in the corner looks familiar. Soon the people walk by, say a few words and tell us about the excellent farmers’ market today in Marion Square; which happens to be in the direction we planned to head. He looked very familiar, but the brain wasn’t working and that was that. Later that afternoon, he comes up to us saying, “my wife remembered. We met you guys in Castine, ME this summer; you used to have a sailboat, then on an RV and looking to get a power cat.” Well if that didn’t beat all.

Farm Market Marion Square

Farm Market Marion Square


Lunch- tacos. One Pork One Chicken

Lunch- tacos. One Pork One Chicken

Glazed Gourmet Donuts- 481 King St

Glazed Gourmet Donuts- perfect stop after lunch and I checked one more place off my list

Tell me this couple wasn’t lucky on Saturday; gorgeous weather and no rain. Right at the Maritime Center. Bet a few boats (like us!) are in the background of some wedding shots.

Wedding on gorgeous Saturday

Wedding on gorgeous Saturday


Beautiful day for a wedding

Beautiful day for a wedding- they posed on the dock behind us :-)

Into South Carolina Nov 4 – 7

Another year, another few more feet sunk in

Another year, another few more feet sunk in

Mother Nature has blessed us with pleasant cruising weather, more so than average and we have moved right along at a low fuel consuming pace. Wed Nov 4 we crossed into South Carolina on a day with rain and T-storms forecasted but never materialized along the coastline.
Now about that bridge. Warning, I am about to rant. Well maybe not that bad but unless you are a boater/cruiser, you may think I am making a lake out of a puddle! On Tuesday we called Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach to book space for Wed and were told that the Socastee Swing Bridge 2 miles north of the marina had broken overnight and was not opening. Oh, we didn’t hear any Coast Guard announcement about that, ummm maybe Charleston sector was doing that, but for all of us southbound and still in NC we heard zilch. So I posted a comment on the Active Captain FB Group and that prompted a couple informative replies and a hazard mark got placed before the bridge noting the current status.

Socastee Bridge -our note in ActiveCaptain

Socastee Bridge -our note in ActiveCaptain

Wed would be a long (9hrs, 68 nm) day to Osprey and we needed to know if the bridge would open or not. We booked a spot at a marina 20 miles north just in case but we really wanted to get to Osprey and fill up at $2/gal for diesel.

Thanks to Ann on Traveling Soul you can see us departing Carolina Beach

Thanks to Ann on Traveling Soul you can see us departing Carolina Beach

We left Carolina Beach with a favorable current down the Cape Fear River and passed through the recently dredged but re-shoaling Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte inlets at mid-tide. Still, no announcements heard on CH 16, switch to 22 from the CG. We knew the bridge which is normally on request, was opening on the top of the hour between 7am and 7pm with crew assistance. Once we weren’t seeing any contradictory info, we cancelled Barefoot Marina and booked at Osprey, planning to catch the 5pm opening.

buoy work yay!

Buoy work yay!  Maybe they will put some where they are sorely needed.

Trust but verify is my motto and I remembered that the bridge info for this particular one included a phone number to call if boaters had complaints about the bridge. So I called and after two more calls, I reached the right person at the company who manages the opening bridges. He confirmed the opening schedule, was concerned that announcements weren’t being heard north into NC and explained that a part had to be machined (we figured that, I mean these bridges are old and you just don’t buy a replacement part at Ye Olde Parts Store) and the repair would take at least a few more days.
We vacillated on speeding up a bit to make the 4pm and in the end, with 40 mins to go and a flat calm stretch ahead, we burnt off some carbon and got to the bridge with 5 mins to spare, joining 4 others waiting.

Socastee Swing- opens at 4pm for the hopeful 5

Socastee Swing- opens at 4pm for the hopeful 5

The bridge assist crew stands by

The bridge assist crew stands by

Fueling up we learned that a pin broke and a crew was using a come-along to help the bridge open and then re-align with the road when closed. A good pin was removed and used as a model to have a new one made. Finally at 5pm at the marina, we heard Charleston make an announcement but it was just included with weather, etc stuff. Ok, done. Sorry, but seems the Coasties haven’t smartened up much in two years.
The other reason to get to Osprey Wed night, besides cheap fuel (other prices in SC were $2.40+) was to have a short day Thursday to Georgetown where we wanted to spend the day.
Although the rain had passed, the winds were low and- uh oh that means fog. Not dense here but we heard from you-know-who up at Carolina Beach that the fog was very dense there.

The always scenic Waccamaw River

The always scenic Waccamaw River

The Waccamaw is one of my favorite places, especially in spring when the osprey are nesting. Today was overcast, 71 degrees, low wind and we moved along at 9kts at only 1,800 rpm with decent current assist.

"Honey, I'm Good"! Enjoying the ride down the Waccamaw

“Honey, I’m Good”! Enjoying the ride down the Waccamaw with music from the flybridge

We like Georgetown. We especially like Independent Seafood and I was happy we could stop and fill our freezer with shrimp, crab cakes and salmon. The Red Store Warehouse sits in front of Independent Seafood, closer to the main road (Front St) while as you would imagine, the fish place is at the water’s edge.

Empty a couple of year ago, now with two artisan tenants

Empty a couple of years ago, now with two artisan tenants. A perfect fit for a grand old brick building

At the marina large trawlers surrounded us; a 1998 Fleming m/v Bee Haven in front of us on the face dock. While I finished up laundry, Russ had been chatting with her owners and next thing I know we are getting a tour of this stately vessel; remote-controlled shades, trash compactor, dumb-waiter and all!! At 60ft long you could get lost within her four levels, but I think we have the better dinghy. :-)

Repeating myself certainly, but after Georgetown lies the 60 mile stretch to Charleston Harbor, much of it through the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge. Not every trip yields postcard-worthy photos but the scenery is lovely and a bald eagle can always be spotted. If you are lucky you might spot a gator, but the one we saw in Georgetown before we left was photo-worthy.

very dead, very bloated as he flaoted by with the ebb tide past the marinas

Very dead, very bloated as he floated by with the ebb tide past the marinas

Friday found Twin Sisters anchored in a creek just one hour shy of Saturday’s destination, Charleston Maritime Center. We passed many sails throughout the day (had a nice chat with s/v Circe II from our home area) but as we approached Inlet Creek, the only boat ahead turned in and AIS indicated at least one other. So what’s the problem? Creek too small? No. But we had to anchor either before (close to the ICW) or past them with a hazard mark warning of an unknown snag problem with the end result one poor boat needed a diver to get them un-snagged. Let’s avoid that shall we?
The Captain had warned that if we had to anchor at all close to the hazard he was going to use the old anchor that we still had tucked away in a bow locker. I voted (more like pleaded) for dropping the shiny hook before the other boats but Russ would have none of that. So he turned the flybridge helm over to his trusty albeit nervous Admiral to motor slowly in, past the anchored boats, wave nicely, maintain position, then spin around and slowly head for the middle of the creek. While I am doing this, he dives into the locker, brings up anchor and rode and rigs up a way to drop it in, bring it to center and put on a bridle once the anchor has set. Thank goodness for very low wind and since I’d handled the helm like this, oh maybe 2 or 3 times, sure, no sweat. The throttles are smooth as glass and a pleasure to use and with the help of eyeballs and a zoomed-in chart view we managed to anchor dead center. All good, right? But looked how “well” we did :

Not the spot you really want to anchor on

We nailed the hazard mark! Using the old anchor hopefully ensured it would raise up fine Sat a.m.

For those not familiar with all this electronic chart stuff and what integrates with what, or not. Let me explain our situation; others will differ. We have a 10-yr-old Raymarine chartplotter/radar screen; call it what you will. In its day, it was darn top of the line. On Ortolan we had newer Garmin instruments, which we liked better but are getting accustomed to old Ray. :-)  On our new (to us) iPad we use Garmin BlueChart that supports ActiveCaptain, an online cruising guide and then some!

Compare iPad to Raymarine CP

Compare iPad to Raymarine- the iPad screen and chart view is sharper and easier to look at

So we can see ourselves on the Raymarine screens (lower and upper helm), but we only have one iPad and right now it doesn’t have a protective case nor a mounting bracket to place it by the helm. When anchoring today, the iPad with ActiveCaptain and therefore showing the hazard marks, etc sat safe inside at the “master” helm but I was operating from the bridge.

Layers of sunset over Charleston

Layers of sunset over Charleston

A beautiful ending to a pleasant day, but then the grill wouldn’t start and the mosquitoes swarmed and well, we stayed inside.

Maryland to North Carolina – 10/26 to 11/3

Calm behind Herrington Harbor's breakwater as we depart

Calm behind Herrington Harbor’s breakwater as we depart

All systems go Monday morning Oct 26; but first a pump out! This allowed m/v Traveling Soul to get close since they’d begun from further north.  :-) We could see each other on AIS which was good to know that our transmit and receive functions worked OK. The Bay was a tad rough but it improved with time and distance.

We pass by Traveling Soul - note the waves ( water that is)

We pass by Traveling Soul – note the waves ( water that is)

We zoomed along mostly at 12kts, wanting to make our anchorage at Dividing Creek before 5pm. Darn good thing the fuel came with the boat; we sure guzzled it up like drunken sailors on shore leave!

Our closest and only neighbor

Our closest and only neighbor- they had a little more swell coming in from the Bay than us.

The PDQ differs from our Maine Cat in many ways; one being that the anchor windlass is only operated via a remote that plugs in just under a forward deck hatch. This means the one who is at the bow has to operate it, so I have a new job. But Russ gets to operate the remote, use the wash down hose and give me hand signals when it’s time to go! Maybe this would be a good time to drag out those headsets.

Tues was a 65nm day and we slowed our pace, one because we needed to conserve fuel and two, the Bay was at times more uncomfortable than Monday. Our fuel gauges indicated, as it turns out, that we had less fuel than actual. Until we filled up at Top Rack Marina at ICW SM 9 we had no way to know. The forward fuel tank is only used by the genset but the boat has a transfer system that allows you to move fuel back and forth between the forward (70 gal) tank and the stern (114 gal) tank. Good thing. Top Rack has fantastic fuel prices; $1.93 all in for diesel. Almost makes you feel good about owning a power cat :-). The marina’s on-site restaurant, Amber Lantern is where you can dine your dockage away; since the food and drinks are good; we did.
Our VHF radio arrived (long story, not our fault) and Russ got it re-installed the following day and yippee! It works. Did a bunch of housekeeping things and got ourselves set (marina has excellent Wi-fi) with some straggler to-dos. Traveling Soul arrived to keep us company and of course we enjoyed the Amber Lantern again and got caught up them re: all the typical cruiser topics.

two TS at TR

Twin Sisters and Traveling Soul (note our boat names are both T and S) at Top Rack Marina

Thursday’s weather was much nicer than rainy and windy Wed and we puttzed along at 7- 8kts. This stretch has a lock and a few opening bridges which were uneventful but tugs pushing barges were out in force.

Nothing has changed in two years

Nothing has changed in two years: tug and barge #1 for the day


Currituck Sound meetup before COinjock

Currituck Sound meetup before Coinjock- we followed his instructions

300ft long

Just south of Coinjock: at 300ft long we followed his instructions too!

Most of the tug captains are great at communicating where they are, what they need to do and what they need you to do. They are usually more than accommodating and despite their huge size are relatively nimble.

Not sure Ann knew she was posing for this shot

Not sure Ann knew she was posing for this shot

Just after dark we got bombarded by what looked like fat blind mosquitoes; so loud Russ thought he heard rain drops- but no, just a million of these insects and half flew in when he opened the door! Out came the trusty wet/dry vac that we’ve been lugging around for years and bye-bye buggies.

Because we are a small boat, even 17ft of width (beam) doesn’t keep us from rockin’ and rolling when waves come at us broadside. Our solution is to do a PDQ maneuver and speed up from our usual 8kts to 12-13kts. At that speed we are on plane and zooming over the wave tops so they don’t have a chance to push us around! Had to cross Albemarle Sound that way, but moseying down the Alligator-Pungo Canal was about as calm and leisurely as you would want.

Pungo-Alligator Canal

Alligator-Pungo River Canal- pleasantly calm after a choppy start to the day


Slade Crk- just south of Belhaven

Slade Creek- just south of Belhaven,NC


Neuse Rvr b4 Oriental- no AIS

Neuse River before Oriental- no AIS of course. Always see military activity in this area

Saturday found us in Morehead City, NC (near Beaufort). Our friends Jim and Laurie (who we visited in Maine) were in the area (but not on s/v Magpie) and they stopped by to see our cozy cat. Dinner at Floyd’s 1921 House was a must and their southern-style menu with a twist is always a delight and choosing isn’t easy. Free dessert with a marina biz card. :-) What a tasty treat.
The weather forecast a couple of days ago was looking to keep us in Morehead, but Sunday looked good so we reluctantly moved ahead, missing Traveling Soul and more time with Magpie.

Oh look, RVs

Oh look, RVs

Further along is the Camp Lejeune Firing Range that when active, closes the ICW for hours at a time.

They finished up Oct 30

Reason # 2 why we dislike this stretch, but no one fired at us this time; they finished up Oct 30th

Southern charm and rough around those feathered edges

Southern charm and rough around those feathered edges


Swan Pt- rustic and friendly

Swan Point- pirate friendly

Sunday night found us docked at Swan Point Marina; a rustic owner-operated place that we thoroughly enjoyed. S/v Blue Dancer was there too. We’d met Don at Herrington during our 5 weeks there. He was headed down to Florida with plans to leave the boat for a short time over the holidays, fly back to Hawaii then return and pick up where he left off. We traded info; but learned that his trip ended (until Spring) at Swan Point; back to Hawaii for the entire winter. What a bummer; the best laid plans get altered in a flash, but I think he will be happier sailing around the Chesapeake than “doin’ the ditch.”

Swan Point Marina- more like still an ugly duckling, but Blue Dancer was there

Swan Point Marina- more like an ugly duckling, but Blue Dancer was there and we had a good time

So a salty sailor comes over as we are setting lines and fenders and one of his questions is, “ So, why don’t you have a sailing cat?” Gosh but that is a good question. :-)
Then a FP sailing cat, s/v Stellar arrived and suddenly our dinner plans for three (Don was about out of food) blossomed to include three more. The marina offers a courtesy car which we used for a grocery run and then for dinner. Getting to Rick’s Steakhouse and Sports Bar took two runs but we all piled in on the return trip, acting way too silly- as in any of our kids would be mortified.

Don, Lori, Tom, Russ, I forgot her name and Sean

Don, Lori, Tom, Russ, I forgot her name and Sean

A two-day stay switched to one when we (Russ that is) quickly decided to leave- hey what’s a little rain among cruisers? The day included a couple more skinny spots where you had to perform the correct dance around the buoys, a few rain episodes and the first opening bridge that we fit under by lowering our antenna.

The once little-known new mooring field at Carolina Beach is now popular and we picked up the last of nine (but room for a few more!!) mooring balls. Rain, rain and more rain kept us aboard but since best-ever Britt’s Donuts is closed for the season, why bother going ashore? Notice that we haven’t used our new dinghy yet?

Wednesday we’d continue south, but to where? Stay tuned for “as the bridges turn… or not” :-)

Buying, showing, selling and stuffing

the sailboat show Oct 12

Annapolis Sailboat Show Oct 12, 2015

You’d think we’d done the moving dance enough times to know the process is lengthy, agonizing and always involves acquisitions as well as disposals. But boy this getting prepped process has moved along at a sailing snail’s pace! So much needed to be researched, double-checked and ordered (mostly) or bought locally; it consumed nearly half our time. And since my role as support staff, chief cook and bottle washer was limited; no electrician am I; the gargantuan portion fell to Captain Russ. Nary a complaint though. :-)

The motorhome and related accessories, like the RVi Brake, zero-gravity lounge chairs :-(, grill, road atlas all sold. Annie’s new owners have a bucket list that includes all the National Parks, so she will travel farther and wider than with us!

We needed to replace my vintage iPhone 3 and I was happy to get Russ’s hand-me-down 5 while he acquired a 6S at the Apple store.  Too hard to come by at AT&T stores. The young man at the store got his first look at a vintage 3; we all had a good chuckle. Look at the  changes since my iPhone3 in 2010.

stack 'em up

Stack ’em up. The 6S is so thin, it’s hard to hold.

We attended the Annapolis Sailboat show, not because we are sailors at heart but because the sailboat show is the weekend before the Powerboat show and we needed to shop sooner than later. We even made a brief appearance at the Power Boat Show’s VIP day to look at and purchase our new dinghy because the only “floor” model of the one we wanted was at the show.

Faith clued us in to the famous “chicken roost” delly, but while the name sounds like that it’s actually Chick and Ruth’s. Isn’t that cute?

Chick and Ruth's in the heart of downtown

Chick and Ruth’s in the heart of downtown

All the flybridge compartments needed a thorough cleaning before Russ could organize them and then remove the icemaker which was being replaced by an Engel fridge.  Yes, we are making up for that faux Engel mistake.

He just kept pulling out stuff from everywhere!

He just kept pulling out stuff from everywhere!

IMG_2256 (800x582)The hallway in front of the dinette that runs across the salon is a narrow 19” wide but long at 96” and nary an off-the-shelf rug was that narrow. But all is available at this huge boat show and we came across “Welcome Aboard” who would make us the exact size rug we needed using quality materials and a non-skid backing :-). Well done and on time, sent all the way from California. Love it.

Oh so dreamy- my new custom carpet from Welcome Aboard

Oh so dreamy (fancy, schmantzy some might say)- my new custom carpet from Welcome Aboard

However, the rug ended up costing us far more than its $200 price tag. Funny how casual words can beget a major experience. We had bought a new anchor at the show; a Rocna like on Ms Ortolan only smaller. Somehow this fact came up as we finalized our rug order about one hour before the show ended. Oh yes, the Rocna is very good, but oh the Ultra is far superior…. and we got the full low-down. Off we went then in search of the vendor’s booth; we looked we talked we pondered we made an offer we accepted theirs we closed down the show, driving off with a 46lb shiny stainless steel Ultra anchor, state-of-the-art self-righting anchor swivel and a yacht-y Sovereign Australian grill with stand! The jury is still out on the quality of our decision so we’ll keep you posted… if we ever leave the slip and get to use either one!IMG_2199 (600x800)

Ultra anchors

Ultra shine!

Ultra shine!

Our minimalist social life included happy hour aboard m/v Traveling Soul where sweet Spot (a Bengal) reins as queen :-) She’s got Ann and Mike well-trained (they think it’s the other way) and they dote on her; easy to see why. Traveling Soul is a gorgeous 52′ Jefferson, so the living room looks a lot like a “regular” one.

She likes it!

She likes it!

Isn't she darling?

Isn’t she darling?

Spot surprised us all and went for Ann's delicious artichoke dip

Spot surprised us all and went for Ann’s delicious artichoke dip

IMG_2227 (800x576)Faith and Dan came down to see our new ‘cat’illac. IMG_2230 (800x578)We last saw them in Annapolis on our first trip south aboard Ortolan. (here’s a link to that post) Time, however short with both couples, was quality and we especially enjoy being with like-minded folk.
Nearly every single undertaking took longer than it should have; some tormented us for weeks but eventually persistence and brains won out over clever trouble gremlins!

One required venture out was a very quick trip to CT to register Twins, the dinghy, and donate way too much to the State’s coffers. But we also had to bring stuff (a very stuffed full MINI) to storage and pick up our mail. Fortunately time was available for a stop at our favorite local donut shop, Beach Donuts. :-)

Beach Donuts- the chocolate glazed crullers freeze well

Beach Donuts- the chocolate glazed crullers freeze well

Finally, m/v Twin Sisters became a proper motor yacht (did you know that across the pond, the term isn’t boat, it’s yacht?).

Russ applies our name and hailing port

Russ applies our name and hailing port


Weeks earlier, I got to remove the prior name and port, being a (former) hairdryer pro and all.

Weeks earlier, I got to remove the prior name and port, being a (former) hairdryer pro and all.

We love our new dinghy; has an outboard one step up from what we had before. Plus the smaller gas tank sits in the bow locker out-of-the-way. More about her in a future post.IMG_2206 (800x600)

Is the dinghy extra wide or the ramp narrow ?

Is the dinghy extra wide or the ramp narrow ?


Yes it is! Space is tight between boats so we have to get creative

Space is tight between boats so we have to get creative.

So here we are, the day prior to departure. Too pooped party but we raise our glass to all those who are living their dream and pursuing their passions.  We are (even me) eager to cast off and begin our ICW adventures and more.

You may recall how much I loved the part of ICW cruising called “Dances with Bridges.” Twins (seems like a good nickname) has an air draft of 26ft; 18ft with the antenna down and even less if we could lower the mast but we can’t, well not easily anyway. We’ll be able to scoot under many opening bridges; a few will require we lower the antenna but that is easy to do.

A cat comes back

No, not the same catamaran; a new one, well new to us anyway.  Dare I say that one of us felt the tidal pull urging him (oh gave that away) to return to cruising? I suppose this was inevitable as we loved the community and friendliness of cruising; not to be found (maybe under a rock) with RVing at all.  While sailing was a challenge, more exhilarating and exasperating at the same time, I could check that off my list and had little problem agreeing to return to the water in a power cat.

We found “the one” faster than expected and so the last month or more has been a whirlwind of activity and traveling.

The boat is a PDQ34, hull #100. Built in 2006. She’s in great shape and while she needs some additional equipment to meet our needs, she’s almost good to go as is. And boy can she go! Two 100hp Yanmars move her along swiftly, especially in calm waters. Ideal top cruising speed is around 14kts, while her ideal “slow” cruising speed is around 7kts. With only 17ft of beam compared to Ortolan’s 23 she won’t be as stable but she is wide for her 34ft length and will fit easily into many slips unlike Ms Ortolan.

Twin Sisters, fka Endeavour, fka Volare, recently completed the Great Loop with her last owner who purchased her solely for that purpose, checked that off his bucket list and is moving on to the next item.


Here they come as I wait on Traveling Soul with Mike and Ann

Russ arrives at Herrington Harbor North on Twin Sisters as I wait on Traveling Soul with Mike and Ann

Russ got to make the relatively short trip from Edgewater, MD to the marina while I drove Bonny and got to hang out with our friends on Traveling Soul who spent the summer at this lovely, friendly and safe marina.

Our new home dock for next 6 weeks

Our new home dock for the next 5-6 weeks


Note the very high waterline

Note the very high waterline when we arrived on Sept 17


The marina very graciously let us keep the RV parked in their huge lot for a few weeks

The marina very graciously let us keep the RV parked in their huge lot for a few weeks

Every day seemed to bring another thing to fix. The fridge had turned off once or twice so Russ pulled it out and cleaned off some connections and since then, knock on wood- which we do have! it’s been working fine. A bit too small, but we are going to add a small fridge up on the flybridge (replace the current icemaker – boohoo), and, are you ready??? Buy an Engel – not a faux one- the real deal –  to have more freezer space.

fridge fix time- cleaned connections

How convenient the fridge can just slide out on to the counters in my tiny galley.

We slowly moved aboard, making space and storing things in strange places as we went. The rain and wind-filled front that preceded Joaquin kept us inside for several days with claustrophobia a given what with all that stuff piled up. Of course we had to order stuff, mostly from Defender but Amazon was there too. Boy aren’t they slow now? Russ tried to do Prime, but long story short, it wasn’t going to work due to the marina having a physical shipping address AND a PO box.



We got so silly – thought we’d have a sleepover in the galley!

Now this gets very interesting

Now this look very interesting. I think the spare bed is oozing out into the galley.

But really, we were just blowing up the new air mattress to be sure it was OK. The original mattress and many, many other things the prior owner left behind, got put in the “Freecycle” box at the marina for someone else to use.

Blowing up air mattress (for esteemed visitors )

A test inflation of the new air mattress (for esteemed visitors )!

During all this moving aboard activity we had several inquiries about the RV and two showings. One was VERY interested and as I write this Russ is now into hour # three of showing them Ms Annie.  If this doesn’t pan out we have Plan B- so no worries.

Attending the boat show this weekend but since we already have the boat, we can concentrate on the vendors and the food and a Painkiller or two!


Catching up in pictorial fashion

Busy, distracted, bored, dismayed. All explain why the blog is so pathetically out-of-date. And spending a bazillion hours creating an hour-long DVD that encapsulates our four cruising years aboard Ortolan; that was an epic undertaking that I will never do again. Maybe a year at a time, but more than that, no way Jose.

Because I know we have interesting news and events on the horizon, the blog gets a kick in the pants with a short (ha ha) photo presentation that will get you all caught up. Quickly yes, but not fully. Oh well; maybe it’s better this way.

Apologies to those who I omitted, those who I included :-), and for not including the one thing you perhaps wanted to see but since you can’t miss what you don’t know about, no worries then.

Presented chronologically beginning with VT/NY to visit with Benj and Lily mid-July; back to Maine’s coast with stops in Freeport, Bucksport, Trenton (near Bar Harbor); westward to Shelburne, NH, then at Lake Erie’s Evangola State Park approx 27 miles south of Buffalo; finally back east to celebrate Benj’s birthday Sept 2. I did leave out one small detour, but that is best saved for another day.


Crown Pt Historic Park overlooks Lake Champlain and the Vermont border

Crown Pt Historic Park overlooks Lake Champlain and the Vermont border


A young family of Eastern Kingbirds. Here's mama with food!!

A young family of Eastern Kingbirds entertained us one day. Here’s mama with food!!


My name is Freya, nice to meet you. Would you like a brew?

My name is Freya, nice to meet you. Would you like a brew?

Freya loves the cat emery board

Freya loves the cat emery board


dessert by Lily

Delicious coconut/raspberry dessert by Lily

Benj serves dinner

Benj serves dinner


gorgeous veggies at farmers mkt

Gorgeous veggies at Middlebury farmers market


multi MINIs in Middlebury

Multi MINIs in Middlebury


Daily Chocolate- soooo good

Daily Chocolate in Vergennes….. soooo good


Officers' quarters

Officers’ quarters at Fort Crown Point


Desert of Maine

Desert of Maine: created by Mother Nature

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out tiny cabin on the left- bathroom and storage on right

We visit cruising friends in Maine at their beautiful cabin on a lake


view out on the lake

Lake view off the cabin’s dock


Fort Knox - no money here

Fort Knox – no money here though


D battery and old wharf used to bring in granite

D battery and old wharf. Across the river is Bucksport


Penobscot Narrows Bridge- one of 3 cable-stayed bridges in US

Penobscot Narrows Bridge- one of 3 cable-stayed bridges in US, and one very tall observation tower


Maritime Museum in Searsport

Maritime Museum in Searsport


camera obscura- acts like your eye and a camera

Camera obscura


Tramp chair

Tramp chair-totally bizarre


All about the Tramp Chair and why we should look at Little Elva

All about the Tramp Chair and why we should look at Little Elva


the actual boat in the photograph- Little Elva

The actual boat in the photograph- Little Elva


recently returned from 3 months out

Recently returned to Castine  after 3 months out


tin man and pig mailbox


top of Cadillac mtn

Top of Cadillac Mtn, Acadia Nat’l Park on Mt Desert Island


Sand Beach from Loop Rd

Sand Beach- looking down from Loop Rd


Easy walk along boardwalk- Jesup Path

Easy walk along boardwalk- Jesup Path



along the ocean path that leads right into BH

Along the ocean path at Bar Harbor.. how many faces do you see?


crossing the bar to Bar Island near low

Crossing the bar to Bar Island near low tide


view from Bar Island- Terrace Grille, Amer glory

Looking at Bar Harbor from Bar Island. that American Glory (gosh, she is everywhere!)


somwhere in Schoodic

Somewhere in Schoodic


The Balsams

The Balsams at Dixville Notch

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boom pier Andoscoggin rvr

Boom pier Androscoggin River


boom pier sign


a motley hiking crew

A motley hiking crew near Shelburne, NH and why don’t they look as fresh as the hiker below?


we hiked a teeny section of the AT

Because they didn’t find the Trail Magic- see below :-)


Non food trail magic

Along the AT good Samaritans leave various forms of Trail Magic


awesome meal and drink!!!

Awesome meal and drink!!! At SAaLT Pub, Gorham NH


we pose with Elvis

Eva, Elvis and I share a moment

breakfast on Sat

Breakfast on Saturday with my big sis :-)


Sooooo good and huge!

Sooooo good and huge!


key lime pie donut

Key lime pie donut. One more place to check off the list!

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Lily and Benj share Liquid Chocolate on ice at Middlebury Chocolates

Lincoln Peak Winery

Lincoln Peak Winery

Moo as he rules the table

Moo rules the table and wins most photogenic. Freya was either serving beer or doing her nails at the time.