Not So Fast--Oriental is in the way

Spent the night anchored in Beaufort with the plan of heading up the Inter Coastal Waterway this morning. Around noon, we started looking at the guides and potential anchor spots for the night. Options were, stop early or plan for a longer day than we'd like, so we decided to see if the city dock (FREE) at Oriental NC would have a space. They did...pretty much. With the right kind of backing in right up to the silt on the bottom, (but there was a small power boat back there too) we tied to the dock for the night. Just a "little" more than the bow sprit hanging over, but who's measuring anyway? As with most places we stop, we found a lot to like, sure enough we'll be here for Saturday night too. This is a great little city for those who haven't visited. Everyone is friendly and the shrimp docks right next door are interesting. Make that fresh shrimp sauteed with garlic, onion, olive oil, butter and a little wine over pasta for dinner tonight...very tasty. We'll be hitting the farmers market in the morning, the marine consignment and of course stocking up on a bit more fresh shrimp for the eventual departure.

Look us up at www.towndock.net then click on harbor cam. We're the one stern in. See you there until Sunday morning.


The photo says it all about our 'sail' from Charleston SC to Beaufort NC . No wind. No sailing.

We're currently anchored, sipping rum, in Town Creek, in the middle of a sailing school. They have classes in the anchorage during the day. It's hard for some of the kids, one little boy hit us, and felt so bad, he cried. We didn't even notice. Tomorrow, it's up the 'ditch' and on to Norfolk. We'd like to be in Norfolk for the 4th of July. Or maybe not, it's nice not having a schedule!


A Whirlwind Week

Finally getting ready to depart. The bikes are packed, the water full, laundry done as well as most the repairs and projects we used as justification to stay for this long. Still awaiting a few head parts due in UPS in the morning...then off toward Morehead City. Maybe it's cooler there. We will hold hope.

The trip from Palm Beach to here, and the week in Charleston, have been filled with firsts: The longest passage we have done to date (379nm); The first time we spent an extended period in the Gulf Stream which Lynn already talked about...great sailing; Our first private air show as an F-18 came by from the offshore range, circled at altitude then did a low pass and climbing roll to be followed by another in the opposing direction (no photo's, tail numbers, etc...did I mention LOW?? Talking facial feature low here, as retired AF and knowing the rules...no need to cause trouble) and another complete circle; We though it would be our first off shore shuttle launch observation as we were passing through the danger field just prior to planned launch hour, even talked to the USCG to make sure were were within the rules and not within danger, unfortunately it was scrubbed in the wee morning hours; First BIG thunderstorm while off shore...not much fun, but maybe they'll all be a little less scary now; First harbor entrance outside our home port of St Pete we have entered at night...thought a lot about that, but big, wide, range lights all the way, well marked with a voice on the other end to ask questions; Had lunch with close friend Bruce Kilgore...first time we'd seen him in years and good incentive to stay in better touch; Met up with active duty AF Brother Seth McKee as he's preparing to leave Charleston for another assignment; And first time on an aircraft carrier, as we took the time to visit the Yorktown, retired here in Charleston.

All in all, a fantastic week, though it went by far too fast. Now off to get a burger and beer with Seth. Heading north...oh yea...right after UPS. Nice shirt Seth!


Dock Sleep

We made it into Charleston late Sunday night and are staying at the Maritime Center, right in the downtown area. It was highly recommended by friend Kitty, see blog for Equinox at right, and it's living up to our expectations. It's nice to be at the dock again for a week. We're having our mail forwarded and some repair and replacement parts sent. I can't wait to get out and see the city.
The cat is up and about again after our 3 day off shore trip. The first 36 hours were about all we could ask for in sailing. We got into the gulf stream right off of Lake Worth and managed to sail for 24 hours straight, going as fast as 10.1 kts. That's about as fast as our boat will go. We did 162 miles on the first day. Sometime Saturday night a storm blew through and the sea state was too much for Hjlmr. Winds from the west up to 30 kts and swells from the south 6-8 feet. It made for a REALLY roller coaster-like ride. A Twilight Zone roller coaster, one that never ends. We spent 10 hours trading off hand steering and sleeping on the cockpit floor. Our bruises have bruises and we're both taking Vitamin M (Motrin).


Setting Sail Once Again

Looks like we'll be leaving Lake Worth in the AM. Weather looks great for a trip north, although not as far north as we'd first thought. There is a little crap shaping up around North Carolina so our current plan is Charleston. I have a very close AF "brother" there and this should be a wonderful chance to catch up. And cruising is all about the weather and no schedule...right?

We have done a lot of work in the last few days. For those who know, we made a lot of changes to Celebration in the last year and didn't put a lot of water under the keel with the new stuff, now we're paying for it a bit. On the other hand, we could have stayed at the home dock, (which we do miss...and all our friends!) or left anyway and sorted this stuff out in places like Key West, Marathon, North Palm Beach with some great sailing in between. Well, you know the answer. But it is working out great. Tomorrow should be a long hop, weather permitting. We'll update when we get there (somewhere).


Finally, Going North

We've rounded the Horn Of Florida! We decided it may be the only 'horn' we ever round, and so are celebrating. On the Good Ship Celebration, we celebrate just about everything.

We left Key Largo Sunday morning after some of the worst thunderstorms yet. Rain so hard we couldn't see the boats next to us, 30-40 mph winds, continuous lightning and thunder. It lasted for 2 1/2 hours. So much fun in the middle of the night. Our friends, Anne and Chris on Mr Mac (see blog to the right) had been in Rodriguez Key just before us and had mentioned the mosquitoes descending after dark, so I was ready for them. Bug nets for all the hatches and screens for the companionways. When I woke up at 11:30 and it was pouring, I slammed the hatches shut, catching the nets in the edges. Funny thing about bug nets, though, the rain runs in with them like Niagara Falls. It's a good thing we have so many extra bath towels. Ten soaking towels later, the rain eased. We had towels hanging all over until this morning.

We watched a huge thunderstorm form over Miami, as we were coming up from the south. It was really beautiful, mainly because we went around it. The sun was setting behind the storm, so it was back lit. We got into the Gulf Stream shortly after that and had a great night of sailing. We were doing 7-8 knots under the jib only. We got to Lake Worth (Palm Beach) in the dark, so had to heave to for a couple of hours before coming in the channel. We are sitting at anchor here for another day or so as we make a few repairs, see the local grocer and of course make a visit to West Marine. Don't need anything there, we just seem to make an obligatory visit when in port.

26 deg 50.332N
80 deg 03.242W


I Left My Heart...

Last night we were really glad to be on a mooring ball, this picture shows the heart shaped sunset just before the nightly thunderstorm. The storms have been frequent and fairly severe, and we're discovering the big difference between mooring ball sleep and at anchor sleep. We really liked Boot Key Mooring Field, nice people, laundry, a project room with big tables where I cut out shade cloth pieces for the cockpit to keep out the frying sun. We walked to Home Depot and the grocery store and did some stocking up, mostly shade cloth and cat litter.

We left Marathon this morning, 6:19, sharp. (You know how military guys are about everything being 'sharp'. ) We actually got to sail a good portion of the way! We just put down the anchor in Key Largo, off Rodriguez Key. I never imagined, growing up in North Dakota, that I'd sail into someplace from a Beach Boys song. Although, I have stood on a corner in Winslow Arizona, different group. Steve has rigged the second anchor in preparation for tonight's storm. We have a cold beer and are planning homemade pizza for dinner. Once again, Hjlmr and Nanni did a wonderful job of getting us here.
25 deg 03.539N
80 deg 26.915W


Laying Marathon

OK...so we are finally out of Key West. Kind of a good news bad news story. We really like it there...but after years in the Air Force and the many moves, we have this thing about liking it everywhere we've been. Attitude...and the cruising life kind of fits. We have realized that we have to stay at least a couple days everywhere we go. Soon after setting foot on the Dingy Dock, we meet people, and see things we really want to explore and get to know better. All pretty fun.

The trip here was just a slog...motoring (capital "M") to weather. We did outguess the weather men a bit in that they predicted east...we said it has to be a little south east...and good that it was. Steadied the ride and we did get a little "lift" off the flattened mainsail. The folks at the city dock operating the moorings here are wonderfully helpful and the facilities great for cruisers. There was a moment of excitement upon announcing our draft at just over six foot..resulted in a mooring assignment exactly 50 foot off the main channel...just enough room to swing. What's down the road? Well, we see a chance to head north to cooler weather via some south, southeast winds and don't want to miss it. We'll have to update you when it gets closer and we make the call.

24deg 42.250 N
81deg 05.858W