Just wanted to say a special thanks to everybody that came out for our "Bon Voyage" party on Friday night (April 11th). John & Laura (thanks for the training and the champagne!), Denny & MaryHelen (thanks for picking up all the "loose ends"), Janie & Jay (thanks for your services), Paul (thanks for shuttling us around!), Tom & Nancy (so glad to meet you!), Butch (Commodore!) and the Gang at the Yacht Basin...
Sat, April 12 - Amelia Island, FL to St Simons, GA
We left Amelia Island Yacht Basin en route to St. Simons Island, GA. It was a spectacular day! We couldn't have ordered a more perfect day for the start of our trip! The weather was flawless...sunny skies with just a little breeze to keep the bugs away!
Our navigating was pretty good - only took one tiny wrong turn - unfortunately it was very near the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base! The guards quickly put us back on course!
As we passed Cumberland Island and Jekyll Island - we spotted a few dolphins - and even a couple of wild horses on the beach!
We had calm waters all the way into St Simons - and had an easy approach to our mooring spot at Golden Isle Marina. Cap'n Tom and Crew did a great job at their first time docking!
Sunday, April13 - St Simons Island, GA to Thunderbolt, GA
We covered a lot of miles (97) today at sea. Conditions were perfect, so we decided to go out into open waters on the ocean in order to get to Thunderbolt (Savannah), GA earlier than scheduled. Entering the Wausau Sound, we saw some beautiful homes near Thunderbolt.
Our marina here was Bahia Bleu. Nothing special, but a new marina so it was very clean. Dinner tonight...Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto on board! Yummy.
Monday, April 14 - Thunderbolt, GA to Hilton Head Island, SCWe woke this morning to a rowing team and their coach yelling orders at his team. Quite something to see...not your normal alarm clock!
Left for Hilton Head at 9:45 am - arrived around 12:40 pm. Wasn't such an easy docking job today. There was an unusual current running at the dock of Skull Creek Marina. After a couple of tries to get into slip I-12 (and our first "souvenir scratch") we opted to tie up at the T of I-dock. Had a great dinner at Charley's Crab down the street.
Tuesday was Tax Day, so you know we had to spend a few hours doing that (well, Pete did anyway). But he and Tom finally did get some "free time" in the afternoon to relax and have a drink (or two) on the back deck!! Life is good!
The girls decided to take advantage of the great shopping here in Hilton Head. The Outlet malls here are really quite good.
Dinner was spaghetti on board...and we took a quick look at Shelter Cove after dinner. Beautiful boats, docks, shops, etc. We might have docked there, but it was already full due to the big golf tournament coming in to town later this week.
Wednesday we took a spin on our new "marine" bikes (they fold up!) around Hilton Head Plantation - this marina is situated at the edge of the Plantation. The weather was beautiful again. There are great bike trails all around the Plantation - so the ride was easy.
In the evening, we took a stroll around Harbor Town - with about a million other tourists!!! (Heritage golf tournament draws a big crowd) - but the sunset was really beautiful there. Concluded the day with dinner at Truffles restaurant in Sea Pines - excellent!
Thursday, April 17, 2003 - Hilton Head, SC to Edisto Island, SC
Came across some very narrow passages of water today, so we really had to take it slow - increasing our "3 hour" cruising time to 6 hours. And, of course, nearly every day threatens some sort of maintenance issue...and today was no exception. We now know that our Capn Tom (in addition to being named "head"master yesterday) can perform many duties. While en route today he detected an unusual engine noise - and, by gosh, he just went right down to the engine room and fixed it!! We now call him "head diesel mechanic" too.
Other than that, the ride was a pretty one - the weather was perfect (again!). We passed Parris Island and Port Royal - military bases - where we watched the fighter planes fly overhead. My personal favorite was watching the dolphins play in the surf of our wake...so close we could almost reach down and touch them!!
The scenery around Beaufort, SC was beautiful (...later we wished we would have stopped there...)
Since we were all pretty beat by the time we got the marina, we decided that an easy grilled chicken dinner on board would be just right. (Thanks, Craig & Nicole - the grill works great!!)
Friday, April 18, 2003 - Edisto Island, SC to Charleston, SCIt was a pretty busy day in the Charleston Harbor when we arrived in the afternoon, so we were content to just sit on the fly bridge and watch the boats go by...which proved to be quite interesting as we watched a few sailboats get "entangled" as they tried to enter the slips going against the current...whew! made us glad to be a "stinkpot"!
After a quick dinner onboard (BettyLou's famous steak hoagies!), we ran into town to take a quick look around the shops at the Charleston Hotel and had a drink at the Charleston Grill.
On Saturday morning, Capn Tom took on yet another nautical role: Short Order Cook!! (this was especially hard to believe). He fixed the whole crew a great breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon! How about that?
In the afternoon, the ladies took in a tour of one of Charleston's beautiful historical homes on Battery Street - the Edmonston-Alston Home, while the guys spent the afternoon examining the Yorktowne Naval Museum. We met up for dinner at the famous Hyman's Sea Shell for a terrific seafood dinner. We topped off the day by taking a narrated tour on one of the Palmetto (mule drawn) Carriages and a cup of coffee at the Moose Coffee House. What a great day!!
On Easter Sunday, we attended the Circular Congregational Church in downtown Charleston. The sanctuary is actually built in a rounded clover shape - no corners (so the devil can't hide there, legend says). Beautiful church, beautiful music and a glorious day! After church, we walked to Diana's for a quick brunch and headed back to the boat to enjoy the rest of the day on the water.
Monday, April 21, 2003 - Charleston, SC to Georgetown, SC
Had another great ride today. Gassed up for the first time - and even maneuvered around the gas dock without hitting anything (sorry, Capn, we have such little faith..!) The weather was beautiful - again!! We saw a terrific view of Ft. Sumter on the way out of Charleston Harbor and some beautiful homes on Sullivan Island.
We had a short panic when we realized we didn't have the right "chip" for the GPS chart - but cell phones saved the day - Capn Tom had one delivered right to the next marina. Whew!
After a scrumptious dinner onboard (BettyLou is awesome with the black beans and rice!) we took a bike ride through Georgetown...here's an interesting note: Georgetown happens to be the actual town where we bought the book "Honey, Let's Buy a Boat" over 2 years ago (while visiting the Wilson's in SC)...who would have guessed what an impact it would have on us...?
Here's an example of how nice the folks are that we meet on the docks...We needed some groceries and the neighbor 2 slips down gave us her car to go to the SuperWalmart..>!! Amazing. (Thanks!!)
Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - Georgetown, SC to N Myrtle Beach, SC
It was a slow ride up the ICW today, so we had lots of time to take in the scenery. We saw several egret nests - huge things atop the mile markers of the channel. And, believe it or not, we actually saw eagles soar overhead!! BettyLou and I actually saw one swoop down and grasp a fish out of water.
Cruising north up the Waccamaw River through Murrells Inlet was even slower since the river was very swollen from last weeks rains. Many homes were flooded. It felt like we were cruising right through their front yards.
When we arrived into Harbourgate Marina at N Myrtle Beach, it was after hours so we were on our own to get the boat docked - in a slip! Not easy for those of who are still "green" on getting this 48,000 lb floating house secured...I actually had to jump off the boat so that Pete and BettyLou could throw out the lines and let me tie them to the dock. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of yelling going on...good thing the restaurant was not open or the would have had quite a show outside their windows! Once tied (bow in) we decided that stern in would be better - and had to do it all over again!!!
On Wednesday, the guys took a long bike ride to the beach while the girls shopped at Barefoot Landing (we earned it after our docking experience, they said). In the evening, we were joined by Louis Genett and his wife, Jane - they came down from Charlotte, NC to take us to dinner in Calabash - the shrimp was as good as it gets! Thanks to the Genetts (especially to Jane who brought us homemade goodies!)
Thursday, April 24, 2003 - Myrtle Beach,SC to Wrightsville Beach,NC
Made an easy exit from our slip in the early morning, intending to take the ICW to NC - but we missed the 9am opening of the bridge, so we decided to take the ocean route. Other than an mild "unexpected stop" (really we just "kissed the bottom" Capn Tom), we didn't have any trouble with the route. Beautiful homes on Cape Fear River and great view of the Bald Head Island Lighthouse, as we came back in to the ICW.
You may not think it's a small world on the water, but today as we were cruising we met up with our old pal Tom from "Sea Knight" - another boat from the dock at Amelia Island - on his own Great Loop Tour.
Friday, April 25, 2003 - Wrightsville Beach, NC to Swansboro, NC
Left SeaPath Yacht Club very early this a.m. in order to make the 7am opening of the bridge (we had 5 bridges to execute today!) Bad weather was in the forecast, so we wanted to be ahead of it. Craig ("CentCom") kept us updated by phone and weather.com. Went past Rita and Woody's house on our way to Casper's Marina - they gave us the "3 gun" salute as we went past!!! (That's them pictured on the dock in the yellow raingear in front of their beautiful home on the ICW) They met us on the dock as we moored, then took us to lunch at the Gourmet Deli. Great food!
In the evening, they hosted a wonderful dinner party for us and some of their neighborhood friends. The food was terrific, but the company was the real treat! [My favorite was Woody entertaining us with songs from H.M.S. Pinafore after dinner!!]
Saturday, April 26, 2003 - Swansboro, NC to Beaufort, NC
...I had to leave the boat today to get my Mom married off in Chicago...so BettyLou was our official journalist for the next week...
Rita joined the crew today for the ride from Swansboro to Beaufort. Weather was threatening storms, but only really had a few sprinkles. Once in Beaufort, the gang travelled to Pam's house for a terrific BBQ in her backyard complete with a Pig Roast! Thanks again, Pam.
Sunday, April 27, 2003 - Beaufort, NC to Belhaven, NC
We had another "guest" crew member today - Maslin (BettyLou's high school friend) joined the CrawDads for the ride to Belhaven...and she brought brownies!
Before leaving the dock, we had a visit with Jennifer & Dave from the "Jennifer Ann" - a reconditioned 60 ft steel party boat from Annapolis. Such a treat. We hope to see them again in our future ports.
Our cruise today in the Pamlico River covered 67 n miles - with 3-4 ft waves in some areas, but the boat performed perfectly! Once docked at River Forest Marina, we had to use the golf cart to go to town to get groceries - that was an adventure! Dinner was great at the 1890 River Forest Manor.
Monday, April 28, 2003 - Belhaven, NC to Coinjock, NC
After a smooth ride in the Albermarle Sound, we docked at Coinjock Marina. In the evening, we enjoyed cocktails and dinner with the Delancey's. Of course, the guys had to have the 32 oz prime rib - the Marina restaurant specialty!
Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - Coinjock, NC to Portsmouth, VA
Kudos to Capn Tom for backing the boat into the slip today like a pro! And the crew did well on handling their first lock today with no problems!
Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - Portsmouth, VA to Norfolk, VA
The Portsmouth marina didn't really offer much in the way of entertainment, so we motored on to Waterside Marina at Norfolk. From our slip we were just steps away from the big restaurant complex - Hooters! Joe's Crab Shack! and a very large shopping area, MacArthur Mall- yippee!
Paige's friend, Barb came to visit us today since she lives in the area. Also, BettyLou's cousin, JoAnn and her husband Ed stopped by.
Today we met Dan (from "Daja") who invited us to visit his marina In Gloucester.
Thursday evening, Pete & BettyLou were joined by friends, Roger & Helen for dinner at Outback. [Tom had to fly out this evening to join me in Chicago for the wedding] Also, friends Jim & Ann came in from Pulaski to stay for the weekend onboard.
Friday a.m. the ladies went off to the Spa at Dillards for the "treatment." The guys went to tour the ship Wisconsin and the Naval Museum. On Saturday, Jim"Handyman" and Pete went off to Home Depot to gather supplies for the neverending task of repairing little gadgets on the boat. Thanks Jim for sharing your skill!!
On Sunday, the group attended Epworth 1st United Methodist Church in downtown Norfolk. Built in 1850, this church had some of the most beautiful stained glass windows we had ever seen.
Monday's lunch was a visit with BettyLou's Aunt Dorothy and JoAnne. Thanks! Capn Tom returned to the boat today; Ann & Jim had to go back to Pulaski. Dinner was good at Kings Chinese.
...I returned to the boat on Tuesday, May 6th - amid miserable storms and tornadoes in the Atlanta area - after a 2 hr wait in the Atlanta airport, I was glad to reach the peace and serenity of the water again...