Dolphin Spa Day

Ok, I will explain the title of this blog a little later. We left Osprey Marina at about 8:45 am on 10/23. We did not get to enjoy bagels as they had not been put out before we left, so off we go with our normal breakfast of yogurt for John and Potted Meat and crackers for me. It was very sunny and warm and we saw 2 gators and several dolphins. We anchored two nights in a row at two separate anchorages. It was nice to be “on the hook” again. But this area of SC has 7 foot tide shift. You don’t want to anchor at high tide in less than 7 foot of water.

We left anchorage very early as we planned to make it to Beaufort SC and dock at the city marina. We needed to make the Ladies Island Swing bridge before 3 pm or we would have to wait till after 6 for an opening. As we were heading there and right as it was becoming low tide we were waved at by a small stuck power boat. It was stuck on a sandbar. Now, in case you don’t know John, he is a Good Samaritan. He is waved over by a boater in need, he is going to try and help. Well the sand bar was getting bigger and bigger and they were getting higher up on the sand. At first we thought we would take s/v Dreamers to help, but the water was to “skinny” for us. I suggested trying to use the dingy. John did but we did not have enough horsepower to pull it out. At the last we saw them, they were gonna call Sea Tow. I am sure they got out either with help or waiting on the tide to rise. But we got through the bridge and docked at Beaufort SC City Marina. John went to Bi-Lo and I did laundry. After that we walked to dinner at Luther’s and “Stretch” waited on us and we got his yummy Pot Stickers. Yum! The next day we planned to move a few hours south to Skull Creek Marina and eat at Skull Creek Boathouse. We booked but did not know the marina was not within walking distance to the restaurant. So Uber to the rescue and we ate and drank (John Miller Lite and me Painkillers). It was yummy and we even had the same server Charlie we had last May while at the timeshare with Bonnie, Richard and Katie. The tide was so high and the current pinned us to the dock we could not get away from the dock till about 11:30. So we left then and got fuel and pumped out.

On 10/27 we crossed into GA and that was where she saw the dolphin spa day. Now it could have been several things, and we did not get any photos you can tell me what you think. As we were moving through a very shallow and narrow area we saw a bunch of mud on the sides of the ICW. The dolphins were either sliding up onto the mud like Killer Whales going after baby seals or having a mud bath at the afore mentioned “spa day” or they had an itch and were rubbing their backs in the rough mud. Oh I wish you could have seen it! On Monday 10/28 and Tuesday 10/29 we anchored on rivers in GA it was not bad there. We saw lots of dolphin but we got bit by lots and lots of noseeums. My Natural Bug Spray made with essential oils worked good and smelled great. I also did not have that smell of Off. I will bypass GA anytime.

The morning of 10/27 we left out of Doboy Sound Inlet in GA for an over night jump out. The ocean started with just some rolly waves but it was a great day. Of course once the sun went down it got very bumpy. I kept asking John is it the waves or are we hitting sleeping dolphin. I am gonna hope it was just waves. We came into FL at about 7 am at The Ponce de Leon Inlet and made it to the Titusville City Marina for a 2 night stay. Awwwwww it will be great to sleep.

Windy Days are Marina Days

On 10/18 we said goodbye to the great folks at Dowry Creek Marina to head to one of our favorite anchorages, Back Creek off of Adams Creek. It was a cool but sunny day and we made good time hitting a max speed of 7.4 knots with the assist of the main sail. We traveled with a large pack of cruisers off and on all day. We had a yummy dinner and since I was still getting over a cold, I went to bed early.

Morning came to this quite anchorage and I got some good photos. Over coffee(nectar of the gods) we made a change to our plan. We decided to find a marina since there was going to be a lot of wind and rain the next two days.

We made good time to to Topsail Beach Marina. Our max speed was 8.7knots. The rain started just as we pulled up to the dock. Could it NOT wait till after we got tied up? No it could not! We ate dinner had a few beers and headed to bed. While we slept the wind and rain came a calling. The next morning no wind in the marina and just clouds in the sky. We were about a 2 minute walk to the beach so after showers at large and nice bathroom, we headed out for a late lunch. We ate yummy seafood at a Buddy’s right on the beach and watched the waves hit the sand and the surfers hit the waves.

On 10/21 we left our friends at Topsail Beach Marina and headed for the Cape Fear River. We moved very fast reaching a max speed of 8.4 knots. At the South Harbour Boat Ramp Anchorage we dropped anchor at around 4 pm. As we we getting settled we met Robbie a fellow live aboard boater. He lives on a sail boat in that anchorage and was nice enough to come and see if we needed help. We shared our cruising knowledge and he shared some local knowledge. He thinks he may head north or south soon. I hope we run into him again. He was very friendly.

We left early the next morning as we were moving we called to see if we could get into Barefoot Marina in North Myrtle Beach but they were full up so we got some fuel from them and pumped out and then we had to find a new marina for the night. It was sunny and 80 most of the day and we had a good time on the water we saw lots of cool things.

We found a very nice place to stay, Osprey Marina. It was just before the Waccamaw River and down a creek. They are very nice there. $1.00 per foot with a swag bag of gifts, bagels and cream cheese in the morning if you leave after 8 am and high speed WiFi. If you want to stay for the month it is $10 a foot for the month. We met some nice people there and they helped us get tied up. This place could be a keeper.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Bahamas

Wow the five summer months at Tidewater yacht Marina in Portsmouth VA went by fast. Between doctors and dental appointments and boat chores we still had time for lots of fun.

We got to celebrate my mother-in-laws Frances 90th birthday and welcome in two great nephews to the family. Jackson who got here before we got back and Ashton who came this summer. We had John’s birthday celebration down in Southern Shores NC with our daughter Katie and John’s sisters Christy and Holly at Christy’s house. I even got to cook some in a real big kitchen.

We went to concerts with Donna and Bobby at Sunset Thursdays and also First Friday at Court Street. The city of Portsmouth has a several free concerts throughout the summer. We had a couple of great movie nights on m/v Dream On with Ted and Lisa. And many Taco Tuesday’s at Fish & Slips.

We participated in the Harborfest Parade of Sails in Norfolk VA with family. The Boonville Melon Festival in NC with Katie, Bonnie and Richard and for Katie’s birthday weekend we got to go to an Octoberfest in Charlotte NC and meet her friends Tasha and Emily.

We saw one hurricane with some flooding and a dock fire. We also saw about a month of days in July that were over 98 degrees. Our air conditioner worked hard to cool the boat those days but I got in some nice pool time.

At the first of October I got to hang out with my girls the JUGs (Just Us Girls) Donna, Kim, Kerry, Joanne, Susie and Bonnie at VA Stage Company’s production of Guys and Dolls. What fun to hang with them again. Later John took Bonnie and me to the Annapolis Sailboat Show and I think we sent Bonnie into boat overload. We did get some Pusser’s Painkillers in her and she was better after that. Oh and Bonnie and I both got new sunglasses from Shades of The Bay.

As for boat chores John added 2 more solar panels and installed a Jr Admiral seat for me. The base for my seat holds our new drawer freezer. We also bought a counter ice maker that has more than paid for itself over the summer.

So now it is time to start our journey south and we decided to leave a little earlier so we would not be so cold. We left Portsmouth on Monday 10/14 for the Great Bridge free dock. One last family dinner with Christy, Eric, VeNessa and baby Ashton at Big Woody’s and the next morning we were off bright and early at 7 am. We were looking to make it all the way across to the Alligator River Bridge on Tuesday to avoid some bad weather. While we did make it the one hour and a half wait at the North Landing Bridge made it later than we wanted to be. But John said when the sun goes down so does the anchor and we dropped at 6:45 pm. It was a great day and night being back on the boat. Wednesday we got wet heading to Belhaven NC so we snagged a slip for 2 days at Dowry’s Marina to wait out some high winds. Free laundry, clean & large showers and a courtesy car. How can you beat the great service.

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!

Our Last Month in The Bahamas

On 3/27 we left Palm Cay Marina in Nassau and headed over to the Eleuthera Islands. It was a bit of a blow so we were looking to get out of the wind and headed to Hatchet Bay. There is a very NARROW cut into the limestone cliffs and we were able to anchor. We stayed a few days till the wind died down.

On 3/30 we headed out to see “The Glass Window”. It is a cut in the land where you can see from the sound to the ocean. We anchored there overnight and it was worth it. You could see the water spray up higher than the road. Wow!

On 3/31 we headed up to Spanish Wells to anchor. We had a great lunch at Shipyard and the next night had a great happy hour at Wreckers. John had a dolphin welcoming committee to guide him in. We had a great few days there.

On 4/3 we left for Harbour Island via the Devil’s Backbone. That is about a one nautical mile reef in the way to Harbour Island. We draw about a 3.5 foot draft so we did the run on our own. A lot of boaters use a pilot to take them through, but we had no problem at all. The water was beautiful. We anchored off of Ramona Bay Resort and John and I rented a golf cart to go around the island. We did some shopping and we saw the “pink” sand beaches. The photos do not do it justice. We also went to the resort for their happy hour and dinner. John even went to the Pigly Wigly food store. It was just kind of nice to just hang out there.

We left to head to Great Abaco and we were able to anchor for the night just off the shore. The next night we moved up a bit to Sandy Point to anchor for another night. It was hard to decided were to go but since we were going to get some wind we headed into The Berry’s and Great Harbour Cay. We found a nice anchorage away from the wind but there were some noseeums at night . We met James and Carl there. Carl was selling his boat s/v Ishmael to James and he was going to take him back to the US. We enjoyed eating at the marina several times. They had Thursday night pizza and music. And then on Friday it was Chill &Grill. Were you could pick from ribs, chicken, steak And add 2 sides for $10. Best deal in the Bahamas. It was so funny but we saw our friends Rick and Elizabeth on m/v One More Moondance as they were leaving. We were soooooo sorry we missed them. We also saw Billy and Sierra on s/v Adrenaline I. John follows their blog Tula’s Endless Summer. That was kind of funny as we had also seen them at the October Annapolis Sailboat Show.

We left there on 4/13 and tried to go to the other side of the island to anchor but the wind was not with us so we changed direction and headed back to the southern Abaco area and anchored off Moore’s Island. It is just a small fishing village but we had lunch on shore and the owner of the restaurant took us in her car to their small grocery store. They were very nice people and the best ice prices in the Bahamas.

We left there on 4/17 and headed to Grand Bahama Island and anchored for one night then we headed to Flamingo Bay Marina for a few nights stay. They were a great marina only $1.25 plus vat per foot. We also had use of laundry, a water taxi to Port Lucaya Marketplace and the pool at Taino by the Sea Resort. We took the water taxi 3 times to Port Lucaya. We had dinner at Agave the first night and even enjoyed Miller Lite (it is very hard to get Miller Lite in the Bahamas). We ate at Giovanni’s Cafe for our anniversary and on our last night we had pizza at Pisces Restaurant. We spent several afternoons at the huge pool and enjoyed happy hour at the wet/dry Grotto pool bar. John and I even went down the water slide several times. Such fun.

After a great stay we left on 4/24 to head to West End to stage for a crossing back to the US. When we got there it was a nice anchorage but when we tried to set the anchor the first time it did not hold. It turned out we grabbed an underwater cable. It is good that John noticed it then and not when we tried to get underway the next morning as our plan was to leave at 4am and we would not have been able to go.

Friends and Family, Oh My!

We made it to Sandyport Resort before or Bonnie and Richard. (Darn airplane delays.)  So we headed for the beach bar Blue Sail for a couple of Sands and Sands Light while we watched the water and waited for our friends.  

Sandyport is what I would call a boutique resort.  It is small, but very friendly and very nice.  We had a great condo with our own balcony to watch the canal.  We got to see some spotted rays and turtles.  Nothing and I mean nothing can compare to the sound of water hitting the rocks outside.  We had dinner at Twisted Lime that first night. (yummy and great service)

Sunday morning the resort provided a continental breakfast and a briefing about what they have to offer and the area.   After that they took us to the grocery store in a shuttle.

The 2nd night we ate at Spritz an Italian restaurant.  All the places we ate at were within walking distance and within the Sandyport neighborhood.  Days were spent at the pool or beach.  We had one rainy day and John did our taxes and poor Bonnie hurt he foot and had to have have some medical attention.  We are all sure glad it was not broken.  It did not stop her one bit from enjoying the pool, beach, yummy dinners and her birthday.

We enjoyed Twisted Lime so much we ate there 3 times and even made it our last hooray!  Olivia was our waitress for 2 night and she was the best.  But all to soon our week of fun came to an end…….But then on to week 2 of vacation.

On 3/23 we head to the airport to say goodbye to Bonnie and Richard and pick up John’s sister Christy.  We are so glad she decided to fly down and spend a few days with us.  Since there was some heavy wind on the first day we decided to enjoy Palm Cay Marina where we had our boat.  It was nice to just enjoy the pool and beach.  We headed for Jaws Beach on 3/25.  It is called that as one of the Jaws movies was filmed in the cove.  Christy even “drove” the boat over.  On the way we passed The Atlantis Resort.  We even saw a parasailer.  Sunrise was beautiful there. 

After a toooooooooo short visit with Christy we headed out and over to Eleuthera.  Looking for the glass window, pink sand and more.