Swimming With Bears

On 5/5 we got up to our coffee and iced tea and started up the ICW to one of our favorite places Myrtle Beach. We stayed again at Barefoot Marina. They have great rates and the dock hands and dock master are great and very helpful.

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, I knew I wanted some good Mexican food. We took an Uber to Margaritas and ate well. It was almost like what we get at home in Chesapeake at 3 Amigos. The only thing missing was the “white” sauce. I have since learned that it is a regional thing. NO ONE outside of Chesapeake seems to know what it is.

We stayed in Myrtle Beach 2 nights and then we headed out on 5/7 for a quick trip to an anchorage near the Cape Fear River. The current runs fast on the river and we wanted to be close enough to make the tide. We anchored near the South Harbor Boat Ramp. That morning we woke to a heavy fog. It lifted before we had to leave but it was beautiful.

We made good time on the river and since it was a nice day we kept going till we got near Camp Lejeune. It was a loud night as the Osprey’s were doing touch and go landings near us.

At our nightly “nav” brief, John took a look at the rest of our course and we decided if the weather held and we did some long days we could make it home for Mother’s Day. That would be one sweet surprise for Frances.

Since we would have to time it just right. John took a tip from our friend Doug Sanderson’s blog. He has the m/v Slow Bells And is doing The Great Loop right now. He puts a waypoint on his navigation software so he knows the time he will make the next bridge. If the bridge only opens at certain times, he knows when he will be at the bridge and can adjust speed accordingly. We have been doing that and it works. Thanks Doug! You saved me again!

After Camp LeJeune we hit an anchorage at Broad Creek. OMG we found the Midges. We got up and they were all over the outside and on the inside. Sooooooooooooo yucky. On our trip down the ICW in November it was cold and we had no bugs to speak of. All winter in the Bahamas we had no bugs. Back in the United States we get “Love” bugs in Florida and Midges in North Carolina. When get home we are going to need to wash the boat.

As we traveled along the Alligator River/Pungo Canal we saw something cool. I am down below and I hear John call me up. “Something is swimming across the rive.” We both walk to the bow and there is a black head with ears swimming across. I said is that a dog? John said no it was a bear. So out came the camera and we were able to get some good photos. Bears, unlike dolphin, like to have their photo taken.

On 5/11 we crossed the sound and tied up at Coinjock Marina it was time for a good long shower and a yummy dinner we don’t have to cook. The next morning we hit Great Bridge in time to tie up at the free dock and Christy is able to pick us up for a surprise Mother’s Day lunch with Frances. It was so good be back home with the family! It is really hard to say just how much we missed them.

After lunch we had time to make it to our summer resting spot, Tidewater Yacht. As we slowly made our way to our slip, our dear friend Ted Haler from m/y Dream On came over to help us tie up. We were able to share a beer and hear all about his mission, dream, goal in life, Warriors in Peace. Check out his Facebook page. He is going to be doing great things for our Veterans.

So our big adventure is over for now and we already making plans for next winter. Still so much to see in the Bahamas that we have to go back. I will blog next an overview of our trip by the numbers.

Coming Home!

When last you heard from your intrepid travelers on 4/24 we were in West End on Grand Bahama Island staging to cross back to the US. It was a calm but dark night and at about 4 am we pulled anchor to leave. It was a bit dicey at first. We had seen 3 small islands just off West End and we could not see them at 4 am. But Captain John followed the course set and away we went. The water was very calm and almost like glass while we were out. When at last we saw land the waves got a little choppy. Not bad at all for only the 2nd time crossing the Gulf Stream!

The wind picked up as we reached Fort Pierce and we tried to anchor and contact US Customs via the app but we could not get it to work so we picked up anchor and headed for a slip at Fort Pierce City Marina under the yellow Q flag. That way it would be easy to Uber to the airport in the morning. When we took down our Bahamas Courtesy flag down it was very tore up. I think I need to get a better made flag so it will last more then one season.

I made a yummy dinner of homemade corned beef hash (note that it is a SOFT meal). And as we were eating, I bit down on something HARD. It was one of my lower crowns. Oh my God, how did that happen and I am soooooo glad it happened in the States. So now we have to go to check in and I have to find a dentist to put it back in. Thank goodness there was no pain.

After a great shower and a lot of phone calls. (A lot of dental offices are closed on Fridays. Who knew!) I found Schwerer Dental Care and Dr. Matthew Rolfes took care of me. They were GREAT!!!!!!!! I LOVE Dr. Rolfes! Since we were leaving the next day he was able to affix the crown back in but did advise me to see my regular dentist upon my return home. Then it was off to “The Walmart” for some food and cheap beer ($17.95 a case). Beer in the Bahamas was between $50 to $75 per case depending on where you were. We did not buy beer much in the Bahamas. The next morning we headed out to our next anchorage near Indian Harbour Beach. It was very quite there all night. From there it was north to Titusville for one night and then on to Rockhouse Creek anchorage where we staged for an ocean jump out. We jumped out at Ponce de Leon inlet and had a very rolly 8 1/2 hours in the ocean to St Augustine FL.

On 5/1 we headed up the ICW to the Jacksonville Free Dock at Jim King Park. It is a nice park but the current runs fast. We were the first boat to get there and John and I were having a hard time getting tied up when all of a sudden a small power boat came up and a man jumped off to grab our lines. They were so nice to help! All boaters we have met along this journey have been so nice. After they left and as we were getting our lines just the way we want, here comes boat number 2. We both helped him get docked and then we headed out to meet our Uber for a Walmart run.

On 5/2 we headed up the ICW. This is a part of the ICW we missed in the fall when we jumped out at Hilton Head SC for an overnight run into The St Johns River.

The ICW around Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island is not a very straight shot. It has a lot of twist and turns and at Amelia River Bend there is a stinky paper mill. Now since when we lived in Chesapeake VA and if you ever went anywhere on route 58 would have to pass the Franklin paper mill. We are very familiar with that smell. John did get to pass the Kings Bay degaussing pier. They do the submarines and John worked at the degaussing pier on the Elizabeth River that did ships. It was cool to see their set up from the water. John said they have it easy as the subs just move into the cables and in Norfolk they have to actually wrap the ships in cables. We made it all the way to Jekyll Island GA and anchored near Jekyll Harbor Marina.

We got up the next morning with a plan for an overnight ocean run. We left out of the Jekyll Cut on 5/3 at 8am and hit the ocean and we came in at Charleston Harbor on 5/4 at 7am. As we were out in the ocean we had a hitchhiker. Now when we saw him there was no land in sight. I am not sure how long he had been flying but I think he was tired, very tired. He found a spot out of the wind and just rested. Sometime in the morning he was gone.

We did not plan to stay in Charleston so we kept going till we came to an anchorage on the South Santee River. It was very good to eat and sleep, and sleep, and sleep!