Jim the Wizard Mechanic.

The anchorage in Calabash Creek is not a place you want to spend multiple days.  Deep sea fishing charters speed by all day throwing a large wake.  It’s tolerable for an evening, and that’s about it.  Unfortunately, the forecast for the next five days called for heavy rain and thunderstorms.  We stuck it out for one day and then called an audible.

Perhaps more important than waiting out the heavy rain was the fact that we also wanted a better wind direction for our trip up the Cape Fear River.  Our first trip south we learned that high wind against the current on the Cape Fear equals 3.5 knots of speed at wide open throttle in a washing machine. Well, we can learn.

Continue reading “Jim the Wizard Mechanic.”

Holy currents, Batman!

Little did we know that from the moment we left Beaufort, SC it would be an almost continuous slog against some massive currents.  It seemed like no matter what we did or when we traveled, we were lucky to be making four knots which is damned frustrating – typically we like to see five knots or more.

The first day we fought the current the whole way, anchoring south of Charleston.  We planned to go outside the next day from Charleston to Carolina Beach, NC which would have taken us a bit over 24 hours, but by the time we fought the current to Charleston Harbor we weren’t comfortable with the size of our weather window and continued inland, still fighting the current.  Our friends on S/V Mer du Jour did go outside that day, telling us later that we made the right call given the conditions and slower speed of our smaller Pegu Club.

The next day we hoped to catch a fair current as we approached Georgetown, SC, but it was so strong against us that by the time we hit the area where we would get a boost, the period for the flood current had almost passed.  Gah!

What the heck was going on? Continue reading “Holy currents, Batman!”

May by the numbers.

 

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We had a first in May – zero spending in restaurants/entertainment.  “Entertainment” consists of one-off expenditures like movie tickets, museum or festival admissions, etc.  Not something like Netflix which is a subscription.  In April we went to get takeout at a local place in Vero that we had been wanting to try, but absolutely no one preparing the food or working the register was wearing a mask so I got spooked.

Jeff tried to convince me otherwise, but evidence of his lack of success is seen by the zero spending in May.  Now that we’re on the road again, we’re really looking forward to getting take out at some of our favorite stops in Beaufort, SC and Belhaven.  I hope they’re taking a few more precautions than the place in Vero was.

As far as traveling goes, in May we ripped off the very-sticky velcro and went from Vero to Beaufort, SC.

Here we go: Continue reading “May by the numbers.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if we live in Beaufort, SC some day.

After spending a week at Cumberland Island waiting for the weather to clear up, we finally decided that since we were in the south with summer approaching it simply wasn’t going to happen.  Time to continue moving north.

Every day the forecast called for at least a 40% chance of thunderstorms, and every day we were lucky and didn’t have any.  I bought a book about cruising in Georgia for the Kindle and it looks like there are SO many areas off of the ICW to explore.  Unfortunately with hurricane season approaching we couldn’t really take advantage of it, but we are armed with knowledge of some new spots we’d like to see when we make our way south again in the fall.

In the meantime we mixed it up a bit.  Instead of backtracking out of the anchorage at Cumberland, we continued winding up the Brickhill River until it rejoined the ICW.

Crossing St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, GA, we could still see the car carrier that had capsized and caught on fire last September.  It carried 4,000 Hyundais and Kias, and is in the process of being cut into eight pieces and removed.  The goal was to have it removed by hurricane season, but it looks like there is still quite a ways to go.

Continue reading “I wouldn’t be surprised if we live in Beaufort, SC some day.”

Finally getting to spend some time at Cumberland Island.

I’ve been wanting to spend some time exploring Cumberland Island for a while now.  I like National Parks and the idea of going to one that is only accessible by boat is VERY appealing.  With only 40,000 annual visitors, it’s a unique experience compared to a more popular National Park.  By comparison, Acadia National Park receives 3.5 MILLION visitors each year.

Cumberland Island was owned by the Carnegie Family before becoming a National Park, and it was thisclose to being developed when Carnegie descendants sold 3,000 acres to a developer of parts of Hilton Head Island.  Fortunately a number of groups joined forces to convince him to sell it to the National Park Foundation.  Once you visit the island, you immediately appreciate what a loss it would have been had the development occurred.

A visit to Cumberland was high on my list of places to see before we set off in 2018 (wow – we’ve been cruising for almost two years now!), but on our first trip south we were only able to spend an afternoon because the anchorage was very exposed to a weather system that was coming in the next day.  We walked around a bit but it was definitely just a tease and left me wanting more.  As it happened, however, on our way north last spring we bypassed it when we hopped outside from Jacksonville, FL to Georgetown, SC, and on our way south last fall we skipped it because we were freezing and wanted to find some warm temperatures.  This time, however, the stars aligned and I would not be denied a second visit.

Continue reading “Finally getting to spend some time at Cumberland Island.”

It’s time to start moving again!

We went back and forth until nearly the day of departure.  We had been in Vero for two months – our longest stay in one place since we began cruising – and inertia had most definitely set in.  Vero was easy.  Getting groceries was easy, laundry, showers, and trash was easy.  We had some nice walking routes. A little voice inside my head said we hadn’t caught Covid-19 while we were there, so why press our luck?  Maybe we should just stay..  But that pesky hurricane season was coming and there wasn’t anywhere to sail.  So we ultimately decided to toss off the mooring line and head north towards the Chesapeake.

Although we had hoped to hop outside from Ft. Pierce, we quickly realized that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate so the inside it would be.  Really looking at the calendar for the first time in weeks, we saw that that Memorial Day weekend would kick off at the end of the week.  Uh-oh.  The Florida ICW is chaotic on a normal weekend, let alone a 3 day weekend shortly after Florida lifted its Covid restrictions,  We had less than zero interest in traveling on the water for any part of that.  Looks like we were going to be putting the hammer down.

Continue reading “It’s time to start moving again!”

April by the numbers.

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I have a cruising friend who also tallies his monthly spending to the penny.  We have joked on occasion about the number of cruisers who claim they spend $1,000/month or some other low number (a few even claim $500/month) but almost without exception they arrive at those numbers by “not counting” things.  Maybe they don’t count travel expenses back home, or the loan payment on their boat, or the radar they decided to buy.  Whatever they leave out, it’s not particularly helpful for those trying to figure out how much they might spend every month cruising full-time, which is why he and I both started counting and posting the numbers.

So this month we spent $1,695.96 – if you don’t count the water maker that we bought.  And believe me, there are people out there who wouldn’t count it.  But the fact is the money was spent.  So in reality this month we spent $8,060.83.  Ooof.  But as unpleasant as the amount may be, that’s how much we spent while cruising in April.

The good news is that this is the last upgrade for the boat – truly.  The only other possible thing we could ever even remotely desire is radar, and we are very unlikely to get that, so there you have it.  Barring some unforeseen catastrophe, we shouldn’t come close to a monthly number like this again until we swallow the anchor some day.  From now on, boat costs will consist primarily of maintenance, repair, or replace.  Looking at our available funds (and with no real desire to go back to work), I can say without hesitation that’s a very good thing.

Here we go:

Continue reading “April by the numbers.”

So now what?

 

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Where to go next on Pegu Club has been a frequent topic of discussion.  Originally we had planned to take our time, poking north, exploring North Carolina, and going as far as the Chesapeake.  We would then start moving south again, aiming to be on the ICW by October 1st so we could try to avoid freezing as autumn moved in, and arrive in the Bahamas ideally by Christmas or even Thanksgiving.  As it has for so many other people, Covid-19 completely upended those plans.

This is the first time since we began cruising that I’ve wished we had a land base we could return to.  Several of our cruiser friends have hauled their boat for the summer and gone home.  Stay-at-home orders are a completely different thing when you have an apartment or a house to wander around in vs. a 30 foot sailboat.  But we have to work with what we’ve got, so we started brainstorming.

Continue reading “So now what?”

Well hello, Vero Beach! Didn’t we just see you three months ago?

Between debating for a week as to whether we should leave the Bahamas, and spending 60 hours on our passage, we had plenty of time to discuss where we should go. Restrictions being implemented in each state varied, and it was too cold for our taste to head north of Florida.

Vero Beach quickly rose towards the top of the list. At $435 the monthly price for a ball was very reasonable, it was well protected from weather, and there was a grocery store within easy walking distance. Although we would prefer not to be in Florida for hurricane season, protection-wise it wasn’t a bad spot to be if we found ourselves in that position. And if things were so bad that everywhere was locked down for months, it would be sufficiently warm in the winter. Now we just had to get there while we still could.

Continue reading “Well hello, Vero Beach! Didn’t we just see you three months ago?”

March by the numbers.

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When March 1st rolled around we didn’t imagine we’d back in the U.S. by the end of the month, but here we are.

The Defender Warehouse Sale is traditionally at the end of March and we had planned to take advantage of the prices to buy a few upgrades, so this month was higher than the first two months. However, we have one very large upgrade coming up for April (the subject of a future post) which will make March spending look miserly. Ouch.

March opened with us anchored in the Exumas and closed with us sitting on a mooring in Vero where we will be until at least mid-May.

Here we go:

Continue reading “March by the numbers.”