Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Myrtle Beach South Carolina....

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well, it looks like we have found a home for the next few weeks...  We are at the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club in a nice slip for the next few weeks...  The cost for a month was the same as a few nights, so we decided that we had to wait out hurricane season anyway, so Myrtle Beach seems like a nice place and the people here are very friendly and the price was right... So... Here we are....


A few days ago we found ourselves in Oriental. NC.  What a horrible place if you have a boat with 7 foot draft!  Shelley took the time to call the Oriental Marina before we arrived to see if we could be accommodated, if we couldn't find somewhere to anchor.  "No Problem" says the man at the marina...  After we nearly got run aground by a shrimp boat on our side of a very narrow channel entrance, we got to what was on the charts, a very small anchorage... Small was an understatement, and then a 34 foot sailboat decided to take the only deep spot, so we had no choice but to go to the marina.  We were told slip 10 could accommodate us nicely so we headed for there. Halfway into the slip we ran hard aground! 7 feet my eye! You would think the people who work there know how deep the water is at their slips wouldn't you?  After we got backed out and off the mud, we were directed to a wall on the other side of the harbor, where we were ASSURED there was enough depth for us...  We got tied up after running aground AGAIN on our way to the wall, then endured the NIGHT FROM HELL!

The winds picked up and we were broadside to the windward side of the dock and after EVERY fender we own was deployed we spend the next 12 hours literally bouncing off the dock.  As night came so did a dozen or more small boats with stinking 2 stroke engines and people shrimping by dragging nets up and down the harbor ALL NIGHT...  Between the stink, the wake from every boat and the ignorant asses on these boats shining spotlights into our bedroom window, we got NO SLEEP!

The next morning we tried to hook up with a rigger who was recommended to us, but they were too busy to help us and the channel to their shop was too shallow anyway, we tried to leave....  During the night the south wind that picked up made the water about a foot lower so we became STUCK in the mud at this wall we were tied to.  We walked the 3 blocks to the marine office to explain our predicament.  The man call Tow Boat USA, whom we belong to with their most expensive package, and were assured someone was on the way to help us...  2 hours later and 3 radio calls later, we were told that they didn't cover towing someone away from a dock!  Screw them!  I got a couple of dock hand to help us and we plowed our way off the dock ourselves and left ORIENTAL SC, with a promise to never return! As we were travelling to Beaufort, we noticed the water from the refrigerator pump was not what it should be.  We opened up the filter to find it full of debris and  few baby shrimp...

A few hours later just before we got to Beaufort NC, we got a call from the rigger who now had time to help us... We declined, and got to Beaufort where we anchored just off the Coast Guard Station in a little bay with easy access to the ocean.  A big storm came through that night and our 2 anchors held just fine!  The next morning we set off for Myrtle Beach. This was a 24 hour crossing.






Yesterday we arrived.  The trip was wonderfully uneventful and we are getting into the routine of overnight passages and found we weren't nearly as tired this time as we have been in previous trips...





Yesterday was also the day that we caught our first real fish!  Two actually.  The first was a 3 lb. Mackerel which we BBQ'd for dinner. DELICIOUS! The second was a 5 lb. Mahi Mahi who we threw back because our good friend Mike G. in Mexico would kill us if we kept one that small...  He says fish that small need to go back and grow....

After we arrived, we rested for a few hours and then got our bikes out and rode about 10 miles on some errands.  We stopped at West Marine and ordered a new cover for our dinghy and bought a few more lures for fishing.  Our old cedar plugs are getting pretty beat up...


Last night we went out for dinner with some good friends from Canada who are in Myrtle Beach on holidays.  Jessica, Deb and Tom drove us for dinner and then to Walmart where we picked up a few things we needed...  One of those things was a 100' piece of cable because CABLE TV is INCLUDED in our fees!  WOW! are we ever spoiled!




We had a good night's sleep and got a few chores done around the boat this morning.  We installed some "port visors" over the ports on our cabin windows.  They make it so we can leave our windows open when it rains and we stay dry...  In 100 degree heat, even when it rains we need good air circulation.



We also did some small repairs on the dinghy and got our laundry done...  This afternoon, it sounds like we will have to spend a few hours at the pool....  In the end, LIFE IS GOOD!


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Internet 2 Days In A Row!

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today we traveled just under 70 nm through some of the shallowest parts of the ICW.  There is nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of the marked channel with 6 feet of water on your depth gauge... (remember the boat draws 7 feet)... How is this possible you ask?  It turns out that the first foot or so of the bottom is silt and the keel just seems to plow through pretty well...

That said, it kind of weird when you see people really happy when the depth reached double digits!

We are anchored at the end of a 22 mile stretch of man made canal and we hope to reach Oriental NC tomorrow before some bad weather shows up on Monday.  With the distance we made today, we think that should be very possible....


Last night we met another wonderful couple sailing north on a 42' Catalina called Gypsea.  Lee and Penny joined us for a great meal at the "famous" restaurant at the Coinjack Marina...  Lee had the dish they are famous for, which is prime rib...  He ordered the "small" portion, and I swear it looked like a Sunday roast!... Shelley and I had seafood... we just can't help ourselves...

After supper we spent a little more time with Lee & Penny and then turned in for an early night....
Here are a few pictures from today's travels...








More when we next have internet...

Cheers!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Starting The ICW (Finally we have decent Internet!)

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yesterday we started our journey down the Inter Coastal Waterway.  Buoy #1 is in Norfolk VA.  Since our last entry we have been to New York City, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Norfolk, Virginia.
Taking on water in Yonkers NY
New York City

Lady Liberty
The BIG Apple

Our day in New York started early when we stopped for fuel about 20 miles north of NYC.  Then we stopped in Yonkers NY to take on some water and pick up a few supplies.

Then the fun began... Our boat is equipped with something called AIS, which is an electronic device that identifies other vessels also equipped with AIS and gives us information like the vessel's name, it's vessel type, its direction, speed and a bunch of other interesting stuff...  As we approached NYC it started going CRAZY!  There are SO MANY boats in the New York Harbor the poor thing just went NUTS!...  we spent 5 hours dodging everything from stupid power boaters (sorry Mike), to ferry's, to some of the biggest ships I have ever seen....  If you EVER want to test your skills as a boater, this would be the final exam...  You really have to know who has the right of way in what situation, and a mistake could end with a big problem...

In the end, we made it through.  Exhausted, both physically, and mentally... Even though I was at the helm, Shelley needed to keep her eyes and ears open relentlessly, until we finally came to a small bay just on the back side of Coney Island where we spent the night at anchor, looking at the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge...



The boardwalk - Atlantic City




Testing our Mustangs....

At 4 am the next morning we set off for Atlantic City NJ.  We were able to sail all day and arrived at an anchorage beside the Golden Nugget Casino.  Setting the anchor was really tough.  For the first time since we left, I felt the need to dive on the anchor to check that it was set properly.  I am glad I did.  Only one fluke was set and after re-setting it, I re-dove it so we could sleep without worrying.  We were in a very small anchorage with lots of boats and a 4 knot current.

The next morning we got up and took a local bus into town and explored a few places we have been before, including a few casinos where I am happy to report we left with $15 more than we arrived with, so after lunch at McDonalds, we broke even for the day...



While in Atlantic City we met a family from Germany who were just finishing up a year long cruise from Europe to the Caribbean, then up the eastern seaboard.  They will be selling their boat in NYC and returning to Germany later this summer... What a wonderful family....  We are really starting to enjoy meeting such neat people along the way...  We also met another couple heading north... not many people heading south... hmmm... do you think they know something we don't?



After 2 nice days in Atlantic City we headed out in crappy rainy weather into the ocean with 6-8 foot seas and 25 knot winds and a forecast that things would get better in a few hours...  Fortunately, they were right and by mid-day we were having a beautiful run down the coast until we came to a little cove just over the Maryland boarder where we anchored for the night.



On the 21st we headed out from there and did a 24 hour run to Norfolk were we arrived at 7 in the morning just past the first entry point and found some shallow water, through out the hook (anchor) and slept until noon, when we completed the last 14nm to Norfolk/Portsmouth VA.


Another tough day at the office...
We felt REALLY safe


We stayed 2 days in Norfolk/Portsmouth and have had a ball.  we blew out the furler line on the way in so we found a small marine store where we bought a replacement line for 15 cents a foot (we needed 100 feet).  Cheap you say?  the next day we went back to get another 60 feet to replace the davit lines, and the manager assured us it was 45 cents a foot, and that the  clerk that sold us the first 100 feet made a big mistake...  I should have bought the whole spool when I knew it was really cheap the first day... Oh Well, live and learn...

Yesterday, we set out to find a post office and buy some stamps to mail a few post cards.  Shelley has been trying to mail these post cards for 3 STATES! no one around here seems to sell stamps and the post office seems to ALWAYS be closed... no wonder the US postal service seems to be in trouble....

As most of you know I have been in the people business most of my life....  Today as Shelley was buying stamps, I asked a man who was coming in to check his post box, where we might find a grocery store...  The man, Mike, not only helped us with directions, but DROVE US, not only to the grocery store, but the bank, Starbucks, and back to the marina where we had left the dinghy...

What an INCREDIBLE experience... Mike is a married father of three children and 6 grandchildren who not only taxied us around, he also gave us an amazing tour of his home town (Portsmouth).  We learned so much, and had a wonderful morning, and an experience we will never forget...  It is so wonderful when we meet people like Mike in this world!

We went to Norfolk in the afternoon and had hotdogs and the same place we stopped on our way to Canada in 2010...  They seem to be the tastiest hotdogs ever...

Laundry Day!
Even Laundry is FUN!

We did some laundry later in the afternoon and enjoyed yet another glorious sunset... A perfect end to a perfect day!


Yesterday we began our journey down the ICW and only went about 10 miles before we stopped to buy fuel and take advantage of the cheapest fuel ever!  The price so far has been between $4.25 and $4.85 per gallon.  These folks sell the same fuel for $3.59 and offer a free dock if you buy dinner in their restaurant and spend $75.  SUCH A DEAL!  we really wanted a night with a dock, fresh water, shore power and most of all, INTERNET! As it turned out we got everything except internet...  the thing that does it, was broken, so we spent one more night without... At 6:30 we met up with Mike and his wife pat and went out for dinner...  What amazing people.  Our lives are so blessed....



Today, we will tackled the realities of the ICW in a boat with a 7 foot draft.... We only ran a ground half a dozen times, but none serious enough that we had to call for help...  Early this afternoon we arrived at Coinjock NC.  tonight we will try their restaurant...  This should be FUN!

Cheers!