Friday, May 29, 2009

Morehead City, Beaufort and cool and cozy Oriental

North Carolina has been great! We really have been enjoying the people, places, playgrounds fishing and boating here.
After leaving Little River we journeyed to Southport and then onto Wrightsville Beach. The kids enjoyed the beach at Wrightsville and were captivated with the local surfing scene. We stopped for fuel at the Dockside restaurant and they gave Laurel and Dakota a ride to the supermarket, talk about friendly!
From Wrightsville Beach, we slowly made our way to Morehead City where the kids found an excellent playground, we also found a great library and a lot of sights, we tied up at the Sanitary restaurant for ten dollars a night which was a godsend because our windlass broke down and hauling our 45 lb anchor and all chain rode by hand is a backbreaker.

The really cool part of Morehead City though is the sportfishing scene, we happened to be there during a tournament and got to see, huge fish. The excitement in the air is palpable.

Here is a Marling being offloaded a sportfishing boat, this one weighed in at 441 pounds. The minimum size is 400 for a keeper. The tournament winner was 645.5 pounds. There were also Mahi and Wahoo.

Laurel was captivated by this Marlin eye, so were all the kids as they all passed by and poked it at least once.

The sportfishing industry is strong enough that local fish cleaners will clean your fish for 35 cents a pound, not bad when just one boat can bring in over 600 lbs of fish. These guys were amazing to watch they could clean a dolphin in less than a minute.

The kids captured this green fellow, he got poked and prodded a bit but the kids did let him go.
This is a small black bass that the kids caught, inspired by the tournament they spent an afternoon catching small fish in front of the Sanitary Restaurant, they tossed them all back and had blast doing it.

Oriental! What a great place with great and really friendly folks. The locals treated us just great. This is Melinda teaching the kids the finer points of using a casting net. She runs a local website called and the kids made the website's front page. Thanks Melinda for lending us your net! They also made the local newspaper with photos of them fishing at the town dock.
The kids spent hours and hours catching fish with the casting net they threw most back but kept some for bait. They also caught some large crabs which we cooked.

This is a small flounder, Dakota caught.

This is Gill, he showed us his workshop his furniture and artwork, his wife Laura who is also an artist showed us her drawings. Everybody has been very welcoming in this very relaxed sailing town and we are greatful to them for the big welcome. Thanks!!

We are currently at the Oriental town dock in company of Joe and Sigi on Sigi 7 and the Mitchell and Jodi on Scarlett. Jodi and Mitchell trailered Scarlett from Ohio and are cruising here for a couple of weeks. Has been fun to hang out with them.

We also took advantage to do woodwork on the boat and fix the windlass with parts that came from Scotland. Also a big thank you to Bob Gerwig for the advice on the water pump. We replaced it, no more leak. Thanks Bob. Tommorow if all goes well we will head to Ocracoke to explore the outer banks. Hope all is well with you!

Best, C.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Waccamaw River, SC

One of the highlights of the ICW for us is the Waccamaw River. It winds its way from Georgetown for miles twisting and turning through cyprus swamps. Filled with wildlife, we spotted our first swallow tailed kite and first aningha here. We saw alligators, turtles, osprey with babies, listened to yellow bellied sapsuckers and a myriad of other birds. The swamp is so peaceful with glassy waters and only the sounds of nature.

Looking at turtles

Here are two turtles, most likely yellow bellied sliders sunning on a logbeautiful reflections Fishing in liliesOsprey mamma defending her nestLilly pads

Cyprus swamp

At the end of the day we rowed across the river to a dock to check it out and see if we could walk up it or not. It turned out to be building lots not yet being built on and we could walk up the long pier through the swamp and around the lots. We found some black berries to eat and enjoyed a leg stretch!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day, Charleston

Below is Laurel on Mother's Day morning enjoying coffee in the cockpit. I think the lads and me would have messed it up but Laurel was way ahead of us. The day before Mother's day she handed us a brown bag, the kind boutiques give you with cute little handles and all. She announced to us that this was her Mother's day gift, and we were to present it to her on Mother's day, a couple of hours later she suggested to the kids that it'd be a good time to maybe make some cards for Mom. I quickly figured out I better get makin one too.

In the end it went great and I coerced the kids to wake up, jump on Mommy and wish her well on her day. We spent that Sunday in Charleston at Patriot's Point which is a Naval museum. For their artifacts they have a submarine, aircraft carrier, destroyer and a coast guard cutter. We called the Marina that abuts it and they let us tie up to their sea wall for a few hours free of charge to visit the museum. Very nice.

The kids were particularly excited about visiting the submarine,"The Clagamore" (by the way Laurel is wearing her self picked present, it's the top) it really was pretty cool, specially seeing the fore and aft torpedos. The crew quarters are teeny. They fit 6 to 8 guys in the space of a medium size closet. The engine room temperatures went up to 120 deegrees and the noise of the diesels was fifteen times the noise of our little diesel with a crew of 23 assigned to it.

Dakota sits in the cockpit of a fighter jet on the " Yorktown"

Below are the kiddos and Laurel on the Yorktown deck.

The Yorktown.

Here Dakota and Laurel check out some of the museum pictures on the Coast Guard Cutter.

When the kids got back to the boat they were so excited that they built their own Lego submarines, here's Dakota and his.

This is Alistair's
It had been a really hot and heavily humid day, when we found out that the Marina had access to a pool we spent the night and took advantage of it. Luckily we had storms and rain in the afternoon which cooled things down, specially for sleeping. We left Charleston the following day at 6:00 in order to make an early bridge opening and then had a short day to Minim creek. Around marker 26, ICW mile 423 to 420 we saw a whole mess of alligators, our first sighting. It was just below mid tide and once we saw the first one it became easy to pick them out. Very cool. We saw them in the water and on the edges of the marsh getting sun. We had a good night at Minim creek and continued on to the Waccamaw the following day.
We are currently anchored in Little River very near the border of North Carolina. Will post another entry soon about the Waccamaw.
Best, C

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vero Beach, FL to Beaufort, SC

Hello! Once again its been a while! We've been busy! After getting into Vero we had a visitor! Papa Charlie flew to Vero to see us, we were thrilled to see him, the kids couldn't stop hugging him and it was great!We had lunch together and sat and talked and caught up on the last days in the Bahamas and all the news.We got a chance to see a little blue heron on the docks at Vero, always a beautiful sight. So this is what part of the intra-coastal looks like. I loved the palm trees in a stand together, many were falling down as well. They always remind me of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
In St Augustine we stopped for a couple of days to explore the town and in particular the Fort Castillos de San Marcos. This fort is interesting because it is built of coquina, a stone made of sand and shells compressed together. The stone is porous and is the reason why the fort was never in almost 300 years defeated, the cannon balls would either bounce off or embed themselves into the coquina instead of shattering it as it would other more brittle rock. The fort only ever changed hands by treaty negotiations.

The museum is a living history museum and so you will find local volunteers dressed in Spanish military garb and firing cannons, on Saturdays the English were there too and muskets get fired along with the cannon in a changing of the flag ceremony that they re-enact.
Needless to say the following weeks 'how to' writing assignment ended up being "how to fire a musket"!

Viva Espana!
We moved on to Fernandina Beach where there was the annual shrimp festival happening. It was just terrible to eat cajun shrimp, cajun crawdads and cajun fries. We were all just so unhappy!=) It was awesome!!!! Lots of local artists, lots of food, very hot!! Fun!

AAAAAARGH! The Fernandinans take piracy very seriously and many people were dressed up and there was much pirate regalia to be had.
The shrimp boats decorated too, for a special ceremony called the blessing of the fleet, a blessing for the boats and the fishermen to keep them safe at sea.

From Fernadina we went to Cumberland Island, a park with lots of trails, beaches wild horses and climbing trees!!

The live oaks are gorgeous with the Spanish moss and saw palmettos underneath.

Dakota and Alistair ever in the water! Spearing something!

Happiness is a great climbing tree! We spent over on hour in this one!

After Cumberland Island we decided to go off shore to skip Georgia. This is because Georgia is notoriously shallow and long and winding on the ICW.

We made two hops one around 70 miles to St Catherine's sound and then the next day another of 35 miles to Tybee Roads and Hilton Head. We ended up in Beaufort, SC and took a couple of days break there. Charles is here holding a king mackerel that we caught coming in to St Catherine's sound. The conditions were about 20 kts of wind and 5-7 ft seas, so we had had a long day and were tired but much rewarded by the catch!! We had caught one other but he bounced off the boat when we were hit by an unusually large wave, thank goodness we caught another!

We arrived in Beaufort around 5 PM, anchored, ate and went ashore for a short walk, while there we scored showers which were very appreciated! We've been here two days and have had a great time, the town has a free dock during the day so we have been able to take advantage and clean, work on projects and just enjoy the luxury of getting off and on a a whim. There is a wonderful playground here too that the kids have enjoyed. We met some nice folks sailing with their three kids and that has been fun for all, the kids played a lot today and we adults talked lots too.
Tomorrow we leave and head for Charleston for a couple of days. Wishing you all the best and happy mother's day all you fabulous moms!!

More photos, my camera went missing so these didn't make the above that Laurel penned, alas I did find it eventually so here are some more pics.
The boys at the fort being pirates!

At the fort.

Firing the cannons

Leaving early out of Fernandina Beach.

Shrimp Boat
Papa Charlie!

Papa Charlie again!!

The boys drawing while the adults had a brew at A1A in St. Augustine.

Kids making friends in St. Augustine.