“Smokin'” or “Warp Speed”: same result!

a see-yourself shine

Russ worked long and hard for this shine. Pretty good teamwork getting those boot stripes on straight.

After four weeks hauled out Twins and crew were ready to find a happy place on the water. NOAA and other weather sources indicated several days of benign traveling conditions. That clever Captain devised an aggressive schedule that would land us near the C&D Canal at the end of the third day. I mean is he crazy?  Getting up at o’dark thirty?? This guy hates getting up before 7:30!! You’d think we were going to be flying out on a tropical vacation.  But in all fairness, I am ALL for calm traveling conditions and since we were ready to go; let’s do it.

Each day brought rougher conditions than the previous, but with luck, skill and damn long days we covered 317nm (that’s 365 landlubber miles) in three days, anchoring in the upper Chesapeake’s Bohemia River Thursday, September 22 at 5:15.  Whew.

Wow, what a way to start what I call PDQ Yr 2, but you can also call it Nomad Yr 7 (4 yrs s/v Ortolan, 1 yr m/h Anne Bonny and this will be Yr 2 with m/v Twin Sisters).  Getting to be so many years I am losing track.

Kitchen Little- place of birthday breakfast dining- as we pass by on Sept 20

Kitchen Little (with blue awning)- place of birthday breakfast dining- as we pass by on Sept 20

We left Mystic very early so that we’d have time to pop up the CT River a few miles and fuel up at Old Lyme Fuel Dock, which saved 20cents/gal.  Long Island Sound gave us no trouble plus a bonus of favorable current most of the way to our anchorage immediately before the Throgs Neck Bridge.

M/V The General- the first of what will be many interesting vessels we see along the way. Yes a tree

M/V The General– the first of what will be many interesting vessels we see along the way.  Tree at stern?

fish going crazy

Fish going crazy!

When Russ started looking at the things we always do, like; current, especially in New York’s East River (which isn’t technically a river) and Hell Gate; weather (wind, waves, rain) and offshore conditions, we got a surprise. The United Nations would be in session that week and on various days much of the East River by Roosevelt Island would be closed to pleasure craft. Between the short good weather window and the need to get past the UN before 9am, we needed to end Day 1 as close as possible and the moderate-sized anchorage next to the Throgs Neck Bridge was as close as you could get.

The night was very calm but boy the highway noise never let up.

Sunset as seen from Little Bay anchorage next to bridge

Sunset as seen from Little Bay anchorage next to bridge

 

just before 7am Looking back at Throgs Neck Bridge

Just before 7am.  Looking back at Throgs Neck Bridge. Three photos with our devices; Russ had the winner

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Our CG escort past the UN bldg

Our Coast Guard small boat escort past the UN building. Keeps them from getting bored.

 

On the Roosevelt Island side, more enforcement vessels wait to enforce the 9am west channel closure

On the Roosevelt Island side, more enforcement vessels wait to enforce the 9am west channel closure

Our goal Day 2 was Atlantic City. The inlet is decent, not great, but boats have two places to anchor. One is subject to current so you will swing when it changes, and the other is tricky but you are more protected. We chose tricky and protected.

Waves and outgoing tide made for a slow soppy ride- but we sped up

Waves and outgoing tide made for a slow, sloppy ride- but we sped up

We are heading for the narrow cut between the grass and the beach

We are heading for the narrow cut between the grass and the beach

As often happens, we are entering a very narrow entrance, trying to follow stakes that mark the way in and a tour boat is coming out on our left side. We move right, too much and almost run aground in mud. Russ quickly reverses and I firmly indicate we NEED to go toward where that boat had been.  Leaving the next morning at low tide- oh I didn’t say that we’d come in one hour before low today- was really going to be “fun”.

Harrahs large moving lit sign

A red-sky-sailors-delight sunset behind Harrahs

Departing the Atl City anchorage at 7am

Departing the Atlantic City anchorage at 7am. Followed the stakes and the path out was obvious.

We moved along at 3000 rpm which means roughly 13kts, headed for the tip of Cape May, then rounding up into the Delaware River.  With wind and waves behind us the ride was OK but rougher than yesterday. Rounding Cape May was quite unpleasant as the wind and waves were more broadside, and larger. Russ mentioned later that we often hit 19kts down a wave. Once further into the River we slowed down and by golly the forecast was accurate and by noon we’d reached very mild conditions. Ahhhh.

A bit of sun and all was pleasant on the often yucky Delaware. Sorry George. An incoming tide moved us along with an extra 2kt boost and we realized we could also have a favorable boost through the C&D Canal if we continued on, so we did.

Wowza! What a start. Three days from Mystic, CT to the Bohemia River on the upper Chesapeake Bay.  We did it!  The re-balanced props boosted our speed and we are finally in line with other PDQ 34s. Burned a bit of fuel as expected; price one pays for smokin’ at warp speed!

 

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Our Real Vacation

Blues on the Beach- only this was a country band

Blues on the Beach- only this was a country band

I considered just doing a copy & paste of the same stops we made in 2014 at the start of our trip to bring Ortolan back up to Maine, but that would be way too lazy of me. Rather, you will continue to enjoy more photos and less verbiage.

Amazingly we did depart Deep River on August 1. We soon realized how protected the marina is (well, we did know that) when we stuck our little cat noses out into Long Island Sound after a ten mile trip down the CT River. The Old Lyme Draw bridge tender must have popped a happy pill because he opened up for us in between trains. We thought he’d give us a hard time with our height; the height board read a skimpy 18ft, which is what we are. Not taking any chances we always want 19ft.

Wind and waves on our bow quarter was less than pleasant but hey, we needed a reminder of how it can feel “out there”.

In the above photo you can see people milling about tables near the building. They are selecting free Block Island Wind Farm T-shirts and Frisbees. Yes, we got some too.  One or two wind vanes were up and we got a good look at them on our way east to Cuttyhunk.

 

The Block Island Sound WInd Farm is becoming a reality. Ferry headed into Old HArbor

The Block Island Sound Wind Farm is becoming a reality. Ferry heads into Old Harbor

We spent several nights on Cuttyhunk on a comfy inner harbor mooring. In summer if you want a town mooring, best to get there by 1pm or be prepared to anchor (not good holding) or take a mooring in the outer (not as protected) harbor or anchor out there. We like calm and not squeaky.

Our next stop was a new spot on the south (Vineyard Sound) side of Nashon Island, also part of the Elizabeth Island chain, named Tarpaulin Cove. Low winds out of the north that morning would find us snug in that cove and when the wind switched to SSW we’d be anchored in the lee of Menemsha.

Tarpaulin Cove - Elizabeth Island chain and yes, that's a cow

Tarpaulin Cove – Elizabeth Island chain and yes, that’s a cow

After lunch we headed over to anchor in Menemsha Bight near shore and close to the jetty entrance. President Obama and family were in town.  As best we could tell we did get within two miles of the house they rented. Any closer and the Coast Guard would have been mad at us.

Coasties guard near the Pres rental house

Coasties guard near the President’s rental house

 

Guarding the Pres is serious biz

Guarding the President is serious biz. We heard a few boats call on VHF to be sure they could enter the harbor, even though these guys were a mile away.

 

Classic Menemsha sunset

Classic Menemsha sunset

 

The usual huge turnout for sunset

The usual huge turnout on the beach for sunset

 

Loving the sunsets

Loving the sunset

We spent two nights anchored. More beach combing. More great seafood. More cute shops. Lots of chillin’ out. You know that song, “Working on her tan”? Me.

Next stop Lake Tashmoo. Last time there, in July 2014, we had the excitement of  s/v Julia Lee. I am happy to report that she’s since been soundly repaired and better than ever. How do I know this? Click What happened to Julia Lee.

Naturally the excitement this visit involved what else- a sailboat. sorry guys nothing personal. First we had teeny incident #1. Well we didn’t have it but we did help to cause it. Gulp. Not our fault, really. Lake Tashmoo was a lake until the skinny section by Vineyard Sound broke through in some storm. Sand loves to move around and a narrow opening means more current and thus more force to move sand. In other words, enter with caution shoaling occurring. But maybe not in the same place as last year, or the year before.

We read all about it in- yep you got it- ActiveCaptain.  Wanting to be our usual cautious selves we thought best to not arrive at low tide. Wanting to arrive ahead of the approaching rain, and not able to get an accurate time for tide, we managed to arrive pretty much at low. So we expected the depth alarm to sound (it’s set for 6ft). Enter favoring the “green side” which in this case means left, but then once just inside lord knows what you should do.

As we enter the lake a sailboat hails us, Russ answers at the upper helm before I can grab the lower mic. I knew why and I also knew that the depth sounder was reading 6ft and going down, and Russ needed to pay attention. So he tells the boat the lowest reading he saw was 6.2ft or so but by then even though we are moving slowly, we get a reading of 5.7ft; fine for us maybe not so fine for a sailboat. We anchor, it rains, we hear a boat hail SeaTow. Uh oh. They are aground just inside Lake Tashmoo. Gee, do you think? A short time later they got off and canceled the assist call. Whew.

Next we witnessed more impressive incident #2. The area where most boats anchor, because that’s where the moored boats aren’t, is loaded with eel grass. Not conducive to getting a lasting hold. We watched one boat bring up an anchor LOADED with eel grass and yet another had only a teeny strand. We’d anchored between these two.

Ok I’m getting to the story. Sailboat with older couple makes several attempts to anchor next to us. Russ shares what we learned about calling the Pump Out boat (and works with the Vineyard Haven Harbormaster in the Lake) to request a mooring. Not only is it poor holding but “they” want to replenish the eel grass for several environmentally friendly reasons. If we had known to call, we too would have been placed on an available mooring but since we were already well anchored, we should stay put. Oh but only for three nights, then “they” want you to leave.

Nope, the sailboat captain doesn’t call for a mooring and instead somehow (we missed seeing that exact moment) gets tangled up on the anchor line of a small power boat. He topples overboard. The Pump Out boat races to the rescue and returns the man to his boat (now wearing a PFD) where his wife (I assume) remained at the helm. The Vineyard Haven Harbormaster arrives. The sailboat captain dives in to try to untangle the anchor line that’s become wrapped around his rudder- thus keeping the boat in place. No luck, so the line is cut and a float attached. The sailboat gets a short hip tow to a mooring, the small power boat gets brought to one also since his anchor line was cut.  The anchor is retrieved and returned to the power boat.

By this time we are incredulous and yes, feeling a bit ..– no not really so I won’t say we were. We’d seen the power boat’s owner paddle out on his SUP so now what happens when he paddles out and his boat isn’t where he’s been anchoring probably all summer?  No worries, things worked out.

Always exciting in Lake Tashmoo

Always exciting in Lake Tashmoo. The misbehaved sailboat, the Pump Out boat and the Harbormaster

 

Sneak peak at the Wagner's new house

Sneak peak at the Wagner’s new house. Their house on Elizabeth Island (Bahamas) is named Top of the World. Maybe this one will be Pride of the Lake.

From the Lake you can walk into Vineyard Haven and enjoy shopping, dining (Black Dog), sightseeing and people watching. But I am sad to report that you cannot visit the wonderful bead shop as it has moved to Virginia Beach.

Friday night- our third and final allowed night, saw all moorings full as boats were having no luck with anchoring and the wind was due to blow with a possible T-storm. One boat dragged.  We watched our drag alarm (a visual app on the iPhone); puzzled that it seemed to show us further from the anchor than ever. With one mooring available ( we’d watched someone leave a short while back) we upped anchor and grabbed that ball. Precious little eel grass. Doubt we were dragging, but now we’d sleep well.  Saturday, off to Edgartown.

The On Time II ferry docks at Chappaquidick

The On Time II ferry docks at Chappaquiddick.

The Vineyard is busier on weekends and we try to not make a move into a popular mooring field on a weekend day, but since we had to leave Lake Tashmoo, Edgartown with its large mooring field edged out Oak Bluffs. Again, arrive early enough for best luck. We did. It worked out and we stayed five nights. More shopping, a long beach walk, more great dining and plenty of R&R.

What a great sale; and it dwarfs the boat!

What a great sail; and it dwarfs the boat!

Another tasty breakfast with fab service

One morning we went in for a tasty breakfast with fantastic service. Edgartown has it all.

Too cute these young sailors

Too cute these young sailors getting towed to their safe sailing spot

 

Seagull joins us for breakfast. The Boch mansion straight ahead

Seagull joins us for breakfast in Edgartown. The Boch mansion straight ahead- some hotels aren’t that huge

After Edgartown we had a favorable wind/weather day to backtrack to Cuttyhunk and a decent day to go from there to Stonington, CT.  I noticed a pirate flag on the boat next to us and really had to smile at the name. Note the sailboat on the right. Look familiar?

Aye matey a pirate vessel at Cuttyhunk

The younger generation works the Raw Bar at Cuttyhunk

The younger generation works the Raw Bar at Cuttyhunk

Full moon rising as seen from Cuttyhunk looking toward the Vineyard

Full moon rising as seen from Cuttyhunk looking toward the Vineyard

This awesome ship was anchored in Cuttyhunk’s outer harbor

In days of old when ships were bold and pirates ruled the seas.

In days of old when ships were bold and pirates ruled the seas.

So was this lady.

S/Y Arabella- modern is nice too

S/Y Arabella- modern is nice too

Next stop: Stonington. More seafood, more great dining, a bit of shopping and some R&R time on a windy day.

Our plan was to return to Chester, a town up from Deep River, for the dreaded haulout. Long story short (yay!) we ended up changing to Mystic; but would that be for the best??

 

 

Homeward Bound: the Final Five

The sun sets along the Maryland shore as we approach the mouth of the Delaware

The sun sets along the Maryland shore as we approach the mouth of the Delaware

On the first day of travel my Captain said to me, “Honey we’ll have a following sea.” On the second day of travel my Captain said to me, “Ignore those swells, it’s just a following sea.” On the third day of travel my Captain said to me, “Ignore that thunderstorm, wind will squash the swells and we still have a following sea.” On the fourth day of travel my Captain said to me. “Ignore the pouring rain, no more T-storms, swells are all gone and we still have a following sea.” On the fifth day of travel my Captain said to me, “Five hours of sailing, no more raining, thunderstorms all gone, swells nonexistent and we still have a following sea!”
Kudos to you if you can sing that one. That about sums up our final five days; departing the Chesapeake just after 6am on Monday, arriving Sandy Hook, NJ at 6pm Tuesday and taking three days to land back in Deep River. In between we experienced calm, boring, exciting, tense, heart-pounding, happy, and exhilarating moments that made for a memorable end to our fourth cruising year.
The majority of the 241nm trip from Cape Charles to Sandy Hook was a motor-sail thanks to not quite enough wind too close behind us for us to sail at the required average speed to arrive before dark. We really wanted to arrive by 6:30pm to spend time with Makai. So except for a 4 ½ hr period Monday late afternoon, we either motor-sailed or motored using two engines. Sleeping was easy and while we didn’t do “watches” we both managed to get more sleep than usual. The boats during the night were well-behaved and we never spotted any commercial fishing trawlers. The glow that is Atlantic City appeared long before we ever got close. The best part of this trip north is the short night; dark was present between 9pm and 4:15am, barely enough time to get acclimated to it.

To pass the time I kept tracking of stuff in the water and here is what I counted during daylight hours: 4 dolphin sightings, 1 dead bird, 1 baby bottle, 11 balloons and 2 “others” (undetermined)

Several motor yachts passed us throughout the trip but not until New Jersey (closer to shore helps) did we see other sailing vessels heading north. Many leave from Cape May or Atlantic City and by 8pm several had joined those already anchored at Sandy Hook.
A couple of hours before reaching the Sandy Hook Channel, marine warnings came up for thunderstorms, “capable of producing winds over 30kts, hail and cloud to ground lightning.” Vessels should seek safe harbor.” Sure, we’ll just zoom right in. We’d been watching the approach on the chart plotter; in navigation mode the weather radar (colored blobs showing rain, etc) is overlaid so you can see it easily. The wind had died to 8kts so we dropped the main and began motoring using both engines. Could we get in and anchored in time? Probably not, but we’ll see how it goes.
Who needs a report or delayed radar when you can see exactly what’s happening up ahead? By some miracle (me having used up every prayer and promise in my favor bank) the worst of what was nearby, passed just north of Sandy Hook. The wind kicked up to 24kts for a spell, shifted 180 degrees, the sky darkened but, sorry for the cliche, light shown at the end of the tunnel. By 6pm we’d dropped the hook next to s/v Makai who was anchored near the Coast Guard Station along with four others.

Once the light showers ended, Eric zoomed over to pick us up and get his long-awaited tour of Ortolan. Jackie prepared dinner for us and what a treat to enjoy someone else’s cooking! The protein was Mahi that Roy had caught off Hatteras; delicious. Cut into chunks and sautéed; along with the Mahi Jackie prepared sides of kale, sundried tomatoes and onion; steamed rice, caprese and slaw. Being on Makai felt so much like the Leopard 36 we chartered in BVIs, only it’s larger and easily accommodates 5 people and dog Topaz. Since it’s a charter version, each person/couple has their own cabin and bathroom. Our “meeting up with boat friends” luck was pretty crappy this year, but we are so happy to have met up with those we did. Much thanks Makai for being part of our cruising time.

Wednesday morning as Makai prepares for the very short trip to Atlantic Highlands

Wednesday morning as Makai weighs anchor for the very short trip to Atlantic Highlands

 

Fort Wadsworth sits below the Verrazano Bridge, guarding the entrance to the Upper Bay

Fort Wadsworth sits below the Verrazano Bridge, guarding the entrance to the Upper Bay

 

Looking up at the underside of the Manhattan Bridge

Looking up at the underside of the Manhattan Bridge

This carousel sits between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Lots of kids waved as we passed

This carousel sits between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Lots of kids waved as we passed

 

Tower One fills in the skyline with the Brooklyn Bridge (or maybe it's the Manhattan) across the East River

One World Trade Center fills in the skyline with the Brooklyn Bridge (or maybe it’s the Manhattan) across the East River. At 1,776 ft tall, it’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere

And for the Hell Gate report- max speed 10.4 kts because although we were there near maximum flood (current with us heading toward LIS) it wasn’t as strong as other times. A fun ride and since we’d have the current against us by the time we entered LIS, any help is appreciated.

A very scenic cove at Short Beach (Branford) made up for Bridgeport

A very scenic cove at Short Beach (Branford/East Haven) made up for Bridgeport

 

Got a great view of the Thimble Islands (Branford/Guilford line) as we sailed near shore on Friday

Got a great view of the Thimble Islands (Branford/Guilford line) as we sailed near shore on Friday

I’d like to know how often any forecast for LIS weather is even close to accurate. When the rain stopped we decided to leave our Bridgeport anchorage and chose Short Beach as a perfect spot. The wind was to be enough to sail the few late afternoon hours, but we only managed 1 1/2 hours in a 3 1/2 hour trip. Increased north winds at night never happened either but our spot offered great protection as well as scenic beauty.

As you know, good things come to those who wait and boy was it good! Friday’s forecast from a couple of days ago was saying 15-20kts of NW winds; perfect direction and boy would we fly with that much wind. Seas would be low (near the north shore, because LIS runs east to west) and off our stern. That morning as we got up, Russ checked three sources that all said NW 5-10; no sailing in that teeny bit of hanky wind. Again, who needs to read about the weather when you can hear it. As we cranked the engines you could hear the wind pick up and we raised the main asap, headed out the small cove and sailed well for several hours in the Sound before the wind backed down, forcing us to jibe a few times. The benefit of not being pressed for time is you can tack or jibe to keep sailing, rather than douse the sails and begin motoring.

The lighthouses at the Old Saybrook breakwater welcomed us at noon and even the Old Lyme Draw (Amtrak bridge) opened promptly; perfect timing on our part, not anything to do with Mr Grumpy bridge tender.

By 2pm Ms Ortolan was attached to the mooring we’d call home for the coming month. So much to do in that time before leaving for a two month cruise to Maine.

Lunch, lobster, laundry and laughter

Sailors aren't the only ones who delight in red sunsets

Sailors aren’t the only ones who delight in red sunsets

Our iSotherm freezer box thingy, better known as our faux-Engel or lately a P-o-S, has been making us a bit crazy with its inability to consistently regulate itself, often transforming into a massive power hog. Of course, this power hogging seems to happen at night when we can’t see that our house batteries have dropped below 12volts. We’ve tried setting it to Eco mode to conserve energy, but then it gets too warm. The last straw was when the ungrateful schemer put our behaving house freezer under its spell and we woke up to a low voltage house battery and a house freezer at 26 degrees that had been running for hours but not getting colder. Lately it hangs around 20-22 degrees which is acceptable for warmer water and air temps.

Fortunately the Russ-of-all-trades has a trick up his sleeve to nudge the house freezer into working properly and we think we’re good to go for another month or so. Cancel that- try only two days before it stopped at night again. The only answer for the faux-Engel is to consume all the food (can you say “have our son with us for 3 weeks?”) then switch to use it as a fridge; a mode that suits it much better. Or perhaps, as I think I’ve mentioned before, as a contribution to Davy Jones’s locker.  In this case L is for lucky we didn’t experience a major meltdown- the freezers, not us. Ha.

Monday we rode in style in Cort’s yet-to-be-named harbor taxi (little inside joke) to St Francis for lunch then over to Hamburger Beach/Big D’s/Monument to gaze upon the uncleared acreage; building permit pending.

Lots of visualization required. Lots are narrow but cross the island - harbor to ocean side

Lots of visualization required. Lots are narrow but cross the island – harbor to ocean side

The property is set back a couple hundred feet from the beach with a row of breezy Casuarinas offering limited camouflage. And would you be surprised to learn that the project is behind schedule?-by U.S. standards not Bahamian of course. A foundation was expected by now, but with no building permit just yet, the wheels churn very, very slowly. Maybe by next fall mon.

Later that afternoon we learned we’d be dining on lobster for lunch, but even one large tail can’t feed three so additional salads were prepared; not just by me!

Cort prepares fruit and yogurt salad, Russ bartends and I sautéed the parboiled lobster

Cort prepares fruit and yogurt salad, Russ bar tends and I sautéed the parboiled lobster

Lunch is served. Life is good.

Lunch is served. Life is good.

Wednesday would be the last day until Monday when we could easily and safely dinghy across the harbor without getting tossed about like salad with salt water dressing. Wednesday in George Town is propane day, when Clarence brings the truck over to Eddie’s Edgewater and the guys line up with empty tanks to be filled on the spot. (this isn’t the only way to do it just the easiest and perhaps most economical)

Over the past few days we’d been filling our water tanks, planning the last two trips today. We’d also purchased and dumped 15gals of diesel into our starboard tank (at $5.25/gal); as running the genset two-three times daily was sucking down the juice big time. Did I mention our power hog faux-Engel?

Met up with Cort at the market and soon we were driving north on Queen’s Highway on the left side of the road, the driver seated on the right. Way too weird.

Got the laundry started; not sure the last time I used machines without having to insert coins. Come lunch time we fell into our natural roles and managed to prepare tuna salad, spinach salad, fruit with yogurt (cheated- it was left over from Tues) and G&Ts in real glass. Sweet

Checking out the "camp house" plans, elevations, etc

Checking out the “camp house” plans, elevations, etc

Cardboard scale model of future camp-style house- front view

Cardboard scale model of future camp-style house- front view

An important order of business, seeing that Christmas is a week away, was to decorate and acquire a tree. This was an amazing event to watch unfold. Using items found inside or outside the house, a tree, complete with stand and tree skirt was erected within 30mins. The only purchase was the light set.

First- cut casuarinas boughs with machete found in closet

First: cut Casuarina boughs with machete found in closet

Create tree by sticking branches into upside down milk crate found in closet

Create tree by sticking branches into upside down milk crate found in closet

The branches wouldn’t stay upright very well, so we found a large plastic mixing bowl in the kitchen, filled it with moist sand. The crate fit snugly over it.

The side table was the perfect height- who needs the lamp?

The side table was the perfect height- who needs the lamp?

I found some sort of curtain in the linen closet for the tree skirt

I found some sort of curtain in the linen closet for the tree skirt

After this picture was taken Cort placed a few conch shells on the table at the base of the crate. Pretty good uh? Looks even better in real life- my iPhone doesn’t take the best quality photos.

A full load: laundry, water, meats in cooler, diesel and propane

A full load: laundry, water, meats in cooler, diesel and propane

Worked up an appetite after that strenuous tree raising so we headed a couple of miles north to a relatively new place, Prime Island Meats & Deli where they have stateside quality meats, salads, baked goods and deli meats.  You’d think we hadn’t seen U.S. meats in ages, rather a mere month. But this type of market is a rare find in the Bahamas. If I showed you a picture of the cuts of meat you find in nearly all Bahamas markets, you would understand. We snagged a piece of freshly made lasagna for $5, fresh sausage, and not frozen from prehistoric times boneless chicken breasts.  Cort scooped up a small frozen turkey for Christmas; wife and two grandkids arrive Sunday so he has been preparing.

Somehow we got back to the boat in our overloaded dinghy in calm seas (oh that harbor can get nasty) and felt very lucky to have a friend with a house, car and boat in George Town.

Thursday through Monday are forecast to be windy enough to keep us boat-bound much of the time. What better opportunity to bake, make ornaments and get a certain someone’s bed cleared off so he has a place to sleep come Monday night 🙂

Toogoodoo Creek

What a name uh? (An Indian name, but no luck on finding meaning) But it wasn’t Too Good for us looking for real wind protection that night. That morning was free laundry and provisioning at Harris Teeter. I met Denise on s/v Sloop John Dee and we exchanged weather reports. They were docked in front of us at the finger piers; we had a good chuckle at the dinghy name, “One Ringy”.  Get it? Ok, maybe not if you are too young 🙂

Like most creeks in southern South Carolina and Georgia, Toogoodoo is marsh-lined which offers minimal wind protection. Reviews promised a creek wide enough to accommodate swing room, minimal pot floats and if you went up it 2 ½ miles… voila! Tree protection. And that we did. Alone in our creek, exactly as described we settled in and watched another pretty sunset.

My view out the galley window at sunset.

My view out the galley window at sunset.

Although we heard the wind at night, we didn’t quite get the true picture until the trees stopped protecting us and wow- 22kts! From the north so it wasn’t too bad and with much of the trip to Beaufort, SC near high tide we had no depth worries through all the cuts that have become badly shoaled. Perhaps a jump outside is in order.

Eagle Alley

Anchored behind Butler Island in the Waccamaw River approx. 10miles north of Georgetown, SC

Anchored behind Butler Island in the Waccamaw River approx. 10miles north of Georgetown, SC

After leaving Barefoot Marina we spent three days making the 100nm to Charleston and a two-night stay at the Maritime Center. Thanks to continued shoaling, some quite severe along the last 65 mile stretch, we needed to travel certain sections at mid tide or better. No way was a repeat of our Halloween adventures on my dance card and when I glanced at the Captain’s, his looked the same. When the tide range is seven feet you’ve got a lot to work with but some spots, as strongly attested to by ActiveCaptain reviews, had a little as 3 ½ ft at low tide. Now that’s bad. With no funds available, dredging will not be forthcoming.

Much of those last 65 miles takes us through the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge where, you may recall, my spy-glass gets a workout thanks to the plethora of, well, wildlife. The camera zoom was stretch to its limit more than once.

If you look closely you can see the camera shy eagle below the one on top

If you look closely you can see the camera shy eagle below the one on top

Osprey and eagle share a prime perch

Osprey and eagle share a prime perch

This one strikes a commanding pose at the water,s edge

This one strikes a commanding pose at the water’s edge

Eagle count: 9  Plus osprey, egrets, herons, pelicans and various small birds. No gators this time though.

Monday night before heading in to Charleston on Tuesday was a tad windy and the anchoring is your choice of creeks on either side of the ICW. To the east lies the marshes and ocean, to the west, marshes and mainland. We chose a creek with plenty of swing room on the mainland side and one that was a creek off a creek. Wind do your worst, we are snug near the creek’s edge. No fetch to slam us around. I like it when 25kts feels like 10kts.

Came upon this camper house boat thing on our way to anchoring in Long Creek

Came upon this camper house boat thing on our way to anchoring in Long Creek

Into the Groove

The shrimp boats sure catch a lot of seagulls! We are two miles to Cape Lookout

The shrimp boats sure catch a lot of seagulls! We are two miles to Cape Lookout

Warm day, clear water, long stretches of shell covered beach dotted with dunes, dinghy in to the beach and step into water; sounds much like the Bahamas to me. Ignore the very deep water (we dropped the hook in 26ft), the lack of rocks and coral (both in and above the water) and you could easily be convinced that your wish to “just get there!” had miraculously occurred. We joined a handful of other cruising boats who appeared content to admire the shore from the comfort of their vessel.

Looking out toward the Atlantic at Cape Lookout

Looking out toward the Atlantic at Cape Lookout

Armed with my usual tools of the beach combing and photo-taking pursuits, we headed ashore with plenty of beach exposed near low tide. How many is a bazillion?  Ok now double that. A veritable shelf of shells lined the beach on the inside (bight side); the ocean side even more.  No trip to North Carolina’s Outer Banks should skip Cape Lookout; sitting at the end of the line so to speak. Part of one of world’s last natural barrier islands, Cape Lookout offers something for everyone; from PWC-ers to hikers and cruisers. Small boats spent much of the day net fishing close to shore. They looked successful.

Sand, shells toes on the beach- life is good!

Sand, shells, toes on the beach- life is good!

For one day we’d be in the groove of sun, sand and beach; zooming over flat calm waters in Bunting, our only concern being how could we see the most in one day?

The lighthouse and Ass't keepers house which is now a museum

The lighthouse and Ass’t keepers house which is now a museum

The lighthouse area contains a boardwalk through the dunes and out to the beach

The lighthouse area contains a boardwalk through the dunes and out to the beach

Bunting rests on a small sandbar while we (me!) beachcomb

Bunting rests on a small sandbar while we (me!) beachcomb

 

The day ended with a gorgeous sunset

The day ended with a gorgeous sunset