Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Dismal Swamp NC and Virginia

The Dismal Swamp Canal was another highlight on the loop.  Loopers can take the Virginia Cut or the Dismal Swamp Canal.  So on Monday morning May 27th Memorial Day we were traveling the Canal.  This is a very narrow area of 28 miles that begins in North Carolina and ends in Virginia. It is all a no wake area.  The width across is barely room for two boats to pass.  There is a lock at both ends that only opens four different times a day.  Along the way there is the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center and state park which borders the highway as well as the canal.  If there is room you can pull up to these docks and not only visit but spent  the night on the free dock.  We were able to dock here and did spent Monday night along with several other boaters.  They do say to expect some rafting and we did have a small sailboat that did raft with us.  Remember you can only get in and out of the canal four times a day or you wait. The canal is full of history and was hand dug.  Part of this area was surveyed by George Washington.  This is a must see area that pictures alone cannot tell the story.  After waking on Tuesday morning we continued our trip on through the canal and we are now in Virginia. 

Dismal Swamp Canal

Dismal Swamp Canal

Welcome Center



Albemarle Sound to Elizabeth City

The last few days have been very scenic and enjoyable. I have not blogged for several days and have much to share.  This blog will cover the Albermale Sound to the small free dock at Elizabeth City NC which we made on Sunday May 26th. The Albermale is a huge and sometimes very rough body of water.  People wait to cross this large open area. We left out early on Sunday morning and found the seas a bit rough for half of the crossing. The waves were 3 to 4 feet  and then some. The sailboat behind us turned back for the cove but of course we did continue on.  We heard others on the radio who were also experiencing the wild ride.  After late morning the seas did calm down some and we made our way into Elizabeth City.  This is a small town with a free dock that welcomes visitors to its shores.  It is know as  "The Harbor of Hospitality"  and a group has formed called the "Rose Buddies".  Rose bushes are planned along the walkwalk. We stayed Sunday here and enjoyed the company of several other boaters.

Crossing the Albermale Sound
Elizabeth City Dock

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Oriental to South Lake NC

We did get under way again early Friday morning.  For the last two days we have crossed some very large bodies of water.  The winds have been 15 to 20 knots in the afternoons so we have been leaving early and anchoring early to avoid the rough waters. When we left Oriental we had to finish crossing the Pamlico Sound. We anchored Friday night in the Upper Dowry Creek just up from Belhaven NC.. Today we traveled the Pungo River and we are now anchored just off Alligator River in South Lake. We hope the winds are better tomorrow as predicted so we can cross the Albermarle Sound on our way to the Dismal Swamp Canal.  Temperatures here have really dropped the last 24 hours.  The high today is only 74 and no more than 76 for the next few days. It is full moon now and the lunar moon causes greater tide shifts.  The captain is busy reading the tide charts and listening to NOAA.

Full Lunar Moon
Rougher Waters

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sloop Point NC to Oriental NC

The last couple of days have taken us past several small towns and many creeks and rivers.We passed near Camp LeJeune and spent Tuesday night at Morehead City.  Wednesday took us across a large bay of water and into Oriental NC.  Our plans were to spend just Wednesday night here, but the rain moved in over night and we have decided to spent Thursdy here as well.  No bad storms but lots of rain and poor visibility. We were happy to be in a small but nice marina here in Oriental.  Oriental has the reputation of being the sailing capital.  Hopefully we will be offf early on Friday morning working our way toward the Dismal Swamp Canal cut. We wish everyone back home a great Memorial Day weekend.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Barefoot Landing to Sloop Point NC

Since leaving Barefoot landing on Sunday morning (fun time) we have been putting on the miles these last two days. We are now in North Carolina.  When I checked the Captain's Log we had put on over 2,300 miles already. We have seen several interesting sights along the way. We traveled through the Cape Fear River, Past an Army Military Ocean Terminal, Past Carolina Beach, numerous bridges of all sizes, and we plan on anchoring out tonight at mile 263.8 at Sloop Point if the Skipper Bob book is correct on the anchorage information. We are not seeing as many birds or dolphins at this point.  The intercoastal waterway needs to really be followed at this point because of all the shoaling in this area.  We have seen several dredging operations. Waters sometimes are not more that 8-10 feet where we travel. Beautiful homes seem to pop up every so often and then there are miles of open waters and trees.  We  must take time here to thank the two special guys back home who are holding down the homefront for us. We know they are giving up there free time for us and we REALLY APPRECIATE them.

Army's Military Ocean Terminal
Cape Fear River Inlet

What a Dredging Machine !


Thanks Guys For All You Do

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Charleston to Myrtle Beach

The last two days Thursday and Friday we have put on a lot of miles.  Our day Friday began with a dolphin show.  If you zoom in on the picture below I believe you will see the baby that was being taught to surface for air by its two parents. This was the smallest dolphin I have ever seen.  Next up  we saw Charleston in the distance and passed by Fort Sumter.  The Captain just had to leave the channel for a closer look.  Fortunately the tide was up.  This part of the trip has been a lot of twists and turns, low water high water and miles of nothing. Last night we anchored off the intercoastal in the back waters of the Jericho Creek. After two long days of travel Myrtle Beach in only 40 miles today.  We plan on making a stop here at the Barefoot Landing Marina for fun. We should have no trouble of meeting our goal of being to Chesapeake Bay by June one.  Of course here on the water anything can happen between now ande then. 

Baby Dolphin and Parents
Fort Sumter

Charleston,South Carolina
Morning on Jericho Creek

South Carolina Public Schools
(zoom in)
Many here still travel across the water to school.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beaufort South Carolina

On Wednesday we left Georgia behind us.  After a full day of travel we had Beaufort South Carolina in sight.  Their city marina is right on the waterfront and a historic town like this one desereved a visit.  We pulled into the marina around 3:00 and took off on foot to visit Bay Street and to see the historic waterfront.  This is one of South Carolina's oldest and most beautiful cities.  Mike and I both agreed that we have never seen a prettier waterfront area.  Parts of the movie Forest Gump were shot here.  Parris Island is only eight miles from Beaufort.  The large old trees here have seen over 300 years of history.  I might make mention here that Georgia and South Carolina both are a problem for traveling boaters because of their huge tidal wave changes twice a day.  They can and usually do drop over nine feet per day tide change. Many large boats have to travel by high tide only and if you anchor at 12 feet of water for the night you would wake up stuck in the mud.  We did see several sailboats that were in mud moored and waited for high tide to lift them up  again.  The currents here are also very strong which is another reason we chose a marina for tonight. They have large concrete pillars that are on rollers to create floating docks. The intercoastal is a safer way to travel than open ocean but you must study and be prepared. A trip back to Beaufort some day is a good possibility.

Tide Table Drop (Mud Was Under Water)
Mansion in Beaufort

Beautiful Old Trees Line Bay Street


Downtown Waterfront

Overlooking Beaufort Riverfront and Marina

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jekyll Island to Turner Creek (Savannah)

The last couple of days we have been putting the miles behind us and enjoying the scenery.  We have been anchoring out along the way since last Friday and enjoying the cool breezes.  The weather is predicted to heat up beginning on Thursday. We saw Jekyll Island which at one time was a private island for the Goodyears and their friends.  There is a large hotel there now and several large homes.  The marina below however has fallen into disrepair and at low tide most of it sits in the mud. We did learn that Henry Ford in the beginning stuffed his car seats with Spanish moss but soon after everyone began complaining about an itchy bottom. They then found out that the moss contained chiggers.  Therefore the chigger caused the first automotive recall.  Last night we anchored in the Wahoo River just off of the intercoastal. We are anchored out tonight in Turner Creek ;we know that Savannah is very close by but with no vehicle we will save that town for a motorcycle ride next year.  We have been through Savannah in the past and it is a beautiful city. Tomorrow we will be leaving Georgia behind and entering South Carolina.

Lots of Marsh Area

Anchored in Wahoo River

Oncoming Traffic

Many Wide Open Bays on the Intercoastal

Sunday, May 12, 2013

St. Augustine to Jekyll Island

Today was our last day for Florida.  We entered Georgia today. Last night (Saturday) we anchored out at Sisters Creek in Jacksonville Beach which had just installed a very nice new free dock for transients just north of the boat ramp. We were able to get out and take a short walk around the ramp area. Mike of course had to throw in a fishing line.  This morning we did leave Florida behind. As we began our journey in Georgia we passed by Cumberland Island which our Skipper Bob book said to watch for the wild horses on this island.  We were amazed to see a couple as we passed by.  Today's journey ends at Jekyll Island in Georgia.  Many twists and turns in the intercoastal today.  We crossed several large bays and sounds today.  We saw the open Atlantic several times.. We have traveled 1,950 miles so  far, and have put 41 hours on the generator. This might have been a higher number, but the evenings have been cool and open windows do the job. Today was Mother's Day and we both called home to talk with our moms.  I also enjoyed talking to my children as well.  We miss everyone back home.  I will be looking forward to our short trip home in June for a visit before we continue on.

Sisters Creek

Wild Horse Cumberland Island

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Day in St. Augustine

After arriving in St. Augustine on Thursday afternoon we caught a mooring ball at the municipal marina by the Bridge of Lions. We walked part of the city and decided to save the rest for Friday May 10th when we caught the Red Train Trolley for the complete tour of the town. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. This is a very historical spot to visit.  A day and a half is not really much to see what all this city has to offer. The mooring field itself is a beautiful sight set next to the Bridge of Lions.  Then comes the St. Augustine Fort which saw its share of battles looking across the intercoastal waterway. Down from the fort is the Fountain of Youth discovered by Ponce de Leon. Yes, we did visit this historical spot and drank from the fountain of youth. Maybe we will live for a long long time! Flager college is here and so are so many grand old buildings and churches.  Quaint shops line the brick streets.  Nowhere will  you find a fast food or chain store of any kind. Days like this one with good company always end too soon.

Entrance to the Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth

St. Augustine
Castillo de San Marcos

Bridge of Lions

Great Company

The Great Loop Continues

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Smyrna to St. Augustine

New Smyrna was beautiful.  We enjoyed waiting here for our daughter and son-in-law.  They arrived on Wednesday and we took off for Daytona. We enjoyed traveling together and the dolphins were perforimg for us all day.We arrived at Marineland Marina late evening and stayed for the night. On Thursday morning after a walk on the beach and the guys getting in the Atalantic we were off for St. Augustine.

Lunch at the Dolphin View
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Scenic Bridge Supports in Daytona
Dinner Guests

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Canaveral Canal to New Smyrna

Canaveral Canal (our Wake)
After leaving the Canaveral Canal we traveled on to New Smyrna which was about 61 miles. After arriving on Monday evening we decided to spend two nights here and wait for our daughter and son-in-law to join us on Wednesday morning. The trip to here was a great day and we pulled into Mosquito Lagoon where we enjoyed watching the manatee. We have spent all of today cleanning the boat, our clothes and getting in groceries.  Mike also changed the oil in MY Therapy today.  A job that was definitely due to be done. New Smyrna is a neat little town and we enjoyed walking its streets all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.       
Mosquito Lagoon ( Enlarge for Manatee)

Another Day on the Great Loop

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Stuart to Canaveral Barge Canal

The last two days we have been traveling up the east coast.  After leaving Stuart we traveled on to Vero Beach area and moored on another ball for the evening.  We walked into town and walked along the Atlantic Ocean.  Just by chance there was a concert that evening in the street called Saturday at Sunset.  We enjoyed some music and then walked the mile or so back to the dinghy and back to the boat.  Today we traveled a good 60 miles to the canal where we are now staying in a marina for the night. This area is just north of the town of Cocoa. We continue to enjoy the pelicans and the dolphins all during the day.  Our boat is doing a great job for us and so far no very large problems at all. Everyday brings something new and exciting to see along the way.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Indiantown to Stuart

The past two days has taken us the rest of the way across the OWW and into the ST. Lucie Canal. We tied up to our first mooring ball this evening  in Stuart.  We got hooked on our first attempt. After mooring we took the dinghy and went ashore to check out the historic town of Stuart. It is a neat little town.  We are enjoying the view this evening across the mooring field and the nearby Roosevelt Bridge.  The vertical clearance is 66 foot.

Our First Mooring Ball
Sunset Across the Mooring Field

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Caloosahatchee River /Canal

After entering the Okeechobee Waterway yesterday we spent the night at the Fort Myers Yacht Basin Marina where we took on needed supplies and enjoyed walking the streets of Fort Myers.  We left out this morning and have been traveling on the Caloosahatchee River /Canal  heading toward the Okeechobee Lake. We are anchored at mile 78 tonight and will take the rim route around the lake tomorrow. We have to keep looking at the calendar as the days seem to be all flowing together. You can lose track of time out here. Each day brings on new and sometimes trying adventures.

My Therapy in Fort Myers
Banyan Tree

Cows on the Caloosahatchee River
Tow Boat US to the Rescue (poor guy)
Hope We Never Need Their Help