After leaving St. Augustine, our next planned multi-day stop was Vero Beach.We left early on December 29th, anchoring in a place known as the Cement Factory and at Callilisa Creek the next night.
On New Year’s Eve we were motored down Mosquito Lagoon and then the Indian River.Although the forecast had called for 10-15 knots, we were instead getting a steady 20-25 knots, right on the nose.The water was rather choppy and the channel was narrow with depths of about 2 feet right outside.
Because there are never any engine issues in calm conditions with plenty of room all around (it’s always in rough water, or when you’re going through a narrow cut with rocks on either side, or trying to dock), at that moment the RPM’s on the engine dropped, almost to the point of stalling.Almost as quickly as it had dropped, it went back up again.A few minutes later, it dropped again, but not quite as severely as the first time.Once our heart rate returned to semi-normal, we decided to siphon our remaining diesel from the jerry jug into the tank on the off chance the choppy water was interrupting the diesel flow from the tank.Continue reading “It takes a village to change a fuel filter.”→
We reluctantly left Cumberland Island after a short visit due to the incoming weather, but it was the right choice.We tied up at the free dock on Sister’s Creek near Jacksonville and spent the next three nights hunkered down while the wind blew and the rain poured.We picked this particular spot based on the forecasted wind direction, and it did not disappoint.We were rather protected by Florida standards, and after the system passed we were ready to move on to St. Augustine.
St. Augustine was the first place we’ve been where some cruisers spend the entire winter.We knew that wouldn’t happen to us because we’d prefer a bit more warmth, but we were still looking forward to staying for a bit and exploring, so we made a reservation for five nights on a mooring at the municipal marina.We had such a nice time that we extended our stay for two more nights!
Sunday dawned cold and cloudy with temperatures in the low 50’s.Knowing that Monday was going to be sunny and mid-60’s, our plan was to leave our mooring in Beaufort, head down the ICW for a few miles and anchor for the rest of the day.This would keep us from having to pay another $20 for the mooring just because we were feeling wimpy from the cold weather.Of course once we got started we figured we might as well keep going.We motored for another 20 statute miles before anchoring in Skull Creek and warming up down below with some hot chocolate.
The next day we moved on to the Herb River, which is where we had planned to anchor while we visited Savannah.We had read that marinas in Savannah itself were very expensive ($3+/foot) and the river carried a lot of debris from the strong currents.People looking to spend a bit less either anchor in the Herb River or stay at a marina in Thunderbolt or the Isle of Hope.We were already planning to spend a few nights at the Isle of Hope Marina so we could visit my Uncle Ken and Aunt Sharon, so we decided to anchor for free for a few nights first.
The anchorage was only a 20 minute dinghy ride to Thunderbolt Marine where we paid $5 to leave the dinghy for the day.From there it was a short walk to a bus that would take us into Savannah.We had been looking forward to seeing Savannah for a while, and it was a lovely sunny day with temperatures in the mid-60’s. Continue reading “Georgia: Savannah and Cumberland Island”→
Our next planned multi-day stop after leaving Georgetown, SC was Beaufort (pronounced “Byoo-fert”, unlike the one in North Carolina which is pronounced “Bo-fert”).We hopped down the South Carolina coast, stopping in anchorages each night and sometimes for more than one night for – what else? – weather delays.
By now we were seeing dolphins every day which is so much fun!I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of it.We also saw our first alligator!I saw what appeared to be a log in the water and pointed it out to Jeff, and then we realized that it was swimming.Wow!Unfortunately it happened too quickly to get a picture but maybe I’ll get another chance in Florida. Continue reading “A new addition to our “Could we live here?” list: Beaufort, SC”→
At least once a week we ask ourselves, “Is it a cruise or is it a delivery?”We want to take our time going down the ICW, but if we stop and see everything we’re interested in, winter will overtake us before we get to Florida.As it is, weather delays have resulted in our being much farther north at this point than we had originally planned.Heck, we thought that we would be in St. Augustine, FL by the time we needed to return to Connecticut for Jeff’s doctor appointments.Where were we in reality?Hampton, VA.That’s a long way from St. Augustine!
As we left Oriental we decided we needed to start making some tracks south and switch from cruising mode to delivery mode.
We started off well, sharing an anchorage for the night by Morehead City with our friends from S/V Lone Star and S/V Duchess.The next morning we sadly waved goodbye to Lone Star as we headed off in different directions.They were going to wait for a weather window to make the seven day passage straight to the Bahamas, while we were continuing to take the slow route down the ICW.We are very much looking forward to seeing our good friends somewhere in the Bahamas!
After waving goodbye to Lone Star, we saw our first dolphins!
Below are the numbers for November, including what we spent. This month we finally entered the ICW upon leaving Hampton, VA and made our way south to Graham Creek, SC.
The cash outflow was slightly better than last month, but it skewed high due to the need to return to Connecticut for scheduled doctors appointments for Jeff. This meant that we left Pegu Club in a marina while we were away, rented a car, etc. Fortunately the appointments went well and he doesn’t need to return for six months, assuming nothing changes.
We also decided to bite the bullet this month and buy a new iPad (we were using a second generation which is now our backup) and upgrade my iPhone which was on its last legs (it was an iPhone 5 that I bought used several years ago). If it’s not obvious from the age of our old electronics, we rarely upgrade so unless they fall into the ocean we won’t be needing to buy new ones for several years.
A weather window finally opened up so it was time to say goodbye to Belhaven until the next time. And there WILL be a next time.After doing one final load of laundry and taking our last unlimited hot showers for awhile, we set off on a nice, sunny morning to get as far as we could towards our next destination – Oriental.We were side tied and had to back out of the fairway which was entertaining, but Jeff ably fended us off from the power boat behind us that had a raised outboard partially blocking our way.
We had been looking forward to visiting Oriental for literally years.Several years ago I read about the town on one of the internet sailing forums and we had done a bit of research into it to see if we might want to retire there someday.Calling itself the “Sailing Capitol of North Carolina”, Oriental has a population of approximately 900 people and over 2,000 sailboats.An entertaining and informative website, www.towndock.net, gives a glimpse of the local flavor, so after all of this time we were primed to finally check it out.
In order to continue down the ICW from Elizabeth City, you must first cross the Albemarle Sound. With a depth of about 15 feet, this can be a nasty bit of water if the wind is over 15 knots because of the chop that builds up, and people have been known to wait for quite some time to get the right weather window.
It had been pretty windy in Elizabeth City on Saturday but the winds were supposed to die down and be 10-15 knots on Sunday. Monday was supposed to be even lighter, but a weather system was going to move in later on Monday with strong winds for several days. Given that, we decided to head out on Sunday and hope for the best. The wind direction was going to be mainly behind us, so we hoped that would help.
After enjoying a peaceful night with the dock to ourselves, we were able to sleep in a bit before untying the lines and continuing our journey down the Dismal Swamp Canal. All of the people we had entered the first lock with on the previous day had traveled farther than we did, allowing them to make the 8:30 a.m. exiting lock. With 14 statute miles to go there was no way we could be there in time, so we puttered down the waterway enjoying the feeling of having it all to ourselves.