Putting on the breaks in Vero Beach, Florida

We were pretty pooped from pushing each day through the long state of Florida. Dan & I admitted to each other that there were days when we woke up and had no idea where we were. So when we arrive in Vero Beach, we can catch our breath and relax.

Had some good sailing on our trip down the Mosquito Coast. We always see lots of cool wildlife on that day through the Haulover Canal.

Vero brings lots of opportunities to catch up with lots of land and sea friends.

We are treated to many beautiful sunsets here!

So here we sit in Vero Beach… The land of free public busses, unlimited supplies and warm weather. We are soooo itchy to move onto the Bahamas but will stay here through the holidays and give them a bit more time to be ready for cruisers who are ready to work.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We have so much to be thankful for. We will spend ours here, potluckin’ with lots of cruisers!💕⛵️

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SC/GA So Beautiful But Sooo Shallow!!!

In our last post, Dan wrote of our “experience” in Charleston.  I am quite good at pretending these incidents did not occur and moving on…  We did connect with two of our favorite cruising couples, Ron and Pam on m/v Legacy and John & Belinda from s/v Be As You Are.  So much fun and allowed me to leave Charleston on a good note!

Except for our very first trip south, we have always done an overnight ocean passage, about 27 hours, from Charleston to the border of Florida to avoid the many shallow spots in this section on the ICW.  Watching the weather, we determined it did not look like our kind of seas out there, so rather than wait it out we decided to head inside which takes about a week for the same distance.  Beautiful scenery but oh so shallow, rushing currents and tides around nine feet.  You REALLY have to pay attention!

 

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Cruising pals😍

Crazy tides

 

Isle of Hope, GA

Sunrise departures to hit higher tides in the shallows

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Car carrier “Golden Ray” on it’s side in a Georgia inlet – they’re not quite sure what to do about this…

Cumberland Island – my favorite stop even when we drag anchor in the middle of the night with it blowing in the 30’s.  Another of those “incidents” I’ve managed to erase from my memory….

We just left St Augustine a couple days ago.  Had a really fun evening with some of our Vlaun family.  Been wearing a hat daily to cover my fat mess hair – FINALLY took care of that issue !!!

Headed south and should be in Vero Beach Wednesday where we will put on the breaks and enjoy Florida for a bit.  Are we snowbirds????

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“Relaxing” in Charleston

So, we were so happy to finally get to Charleston to “relax” after some challenging travel days.  A storm was forecast for last night.  Some weather apps said 10-20kts and some said gusts to 35kts from SE.  The 2nd pic shows that SE is off our port bow with land a couple of miles away but I stupidly thought if tied properly that max 35 kts would be ok.  Around 7pm the fetch from the SE (the opening to the marina) was surging larger and larger right off our port bow.  By 10 pm the boat was surging so much I could see the bottom, almost to the keel when the bow lifted and the red gas tank on the transom was 1/2 underwater and the bottom of the dinghy dropped to within a foot of the dock. The boat was a dangerous bucking bronco and I told Marcia I thought she would break free. She was safely in the empty marina building.  One of the dockhands came down at 10pm to check things. One of my lines had parted and the 2 bow lines were chaffing through.  With help, the bow lines were long enough to move them to fresh areas.  We replaced the broken line and added more lines to carry the load.  One of the massive dock cleats broke and the line went free so we tied a longer line to a distant dock cleat.  By 12:30 AM the wind shifted to the south and the surge started to let up.  By 3:30 AM the boat was out of danger.  I had brought two long cockpit cushions to the Marina building and grabbed two small pillows and some dry clothes along with our important papers and cash.  We both got a few hours of sleep in the Marina building between my alarms to check the boat.  This morning we were fine.  Not a scratch!  The broken dock cleat was on our cockpit floor but did no apparent damage.  Today we will try resting in Charleston, part II.   Dan

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ICW woes…

The Intracoastal Waterway starts at mile zero Norfolk, VA and goes all the way to Miami, Florida.  We do a lot of this inside route but hop outside when it’s too shallow including skipping Georgia by doing an overnight in the ocean to Fernandina, Florida.  The day we left for Norfolk was 93 degrees.  Decided to try the Norfolk Yacht Club which has reciprocity with our club in CT.  It was a gorgeous facility with a fitness center, 2 pools and an air conditioned lounge which we hung out reading in for the afternoon.  Would definitely go back there!  Proceeded the next day past all of our impressive military ships and entered the ICW.

There are two routes south in this section – the Dismal Swamp and the Virginia Cut.  Had a bad experience bumping deadhead logs in the swamp one year so have done the Cut every year since.  There’s a lock and three opening bridges that day ending at Coinjock Marina.

While leaving the next day, we heard a notice from the Coast Guard that the Alligator River Bridge was broken and would be closed indefinitely (this is a big swing bridge you have to go through)  We had to make a quick decision and thought it might be a bit windy but we’d try the Outer Banks route (we’ve done this a couple times but only in good conditions)  It was WAY rougher and windier than forecasted!  Blew in the mid 30’s the whole way to a fisherman’s harbor, Wanchese.  We were very happy to stop that day and waited another day to move on.  We have been out to Ocracoke from Wanchese but found out it got hammered by Dorian and were not allowing cruisers in.  Our only other choice was to go 77 miles, dawn to dusk to  Broad Creek anchorage, just north of Oriental, NC.  As our Brit friend Sue Torgersen used to say, “it was a lively sail!”  We ended up sailing with reefed sails more than half the trip going really fast, for us…

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(Wanchese is a strange place😁.  BTW, Those two horses and two goats LIVE in the basement of that house and came out that door😮)

Spent a couple days at River Dunes Marina catching up, cooking and reading, allowing the winds to calm down.  Yesterday we moved south to Morehead City.  HOPEFULLY, the wind will calm and the seas will settle tomorrow and we’ll go offshore to Wrightsville Beach – another dawn to dusker.

BTW, tomorrow will be a week and that bridge still isn’t fixed!!  Lots of boats sitting and waiting⛵️

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Down the Jersey shore, up the Delaware and down the Chesapeake⛵️

It’s 83 miles from Atlantic Highlands to Atlantic City.  We usually leave around 5am and get in around 5-6pm.  Never seem to get a decent sail but at least the seas weren’t too bad.  Saw three whales, a few dolphin and a very lost pelican – quite exciting!!

Left Cape May at sunrise past the Coast Guard station.  Had wind and current with us all day up the Delaware and into the C & D Canal so kept going to Still Pond anchorage at the top of the Chesapeake.  Managed to get in several hours of sailing and made really good time!!  Another 80 miles!

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Annapolis means fun and catching up with friends time!  We spent four nights there then hopped over to the Eastern shore.  Anchored in a creek south of St Michaels for a couple nights and a night off of Oxford.

Solomons brought us together with Anthony and Annette – m/v Magnolia.  Annette picked me up in her rental and we were off to a beach for some glass hunting.  Always great catching up with them!

As we make our way to the bottom of the Chesapeake and before we enter the ICW, we pull into Hampton, VA where Dan’s sister, Beth and hubs Rich come and pick us up for a couple nights in their beautiful Williamsburg home.  Two days of family, laundry, provisioning, comfy bed and lots of hot running water – they really spoil us!  Oh yea, and then there’s Rich’s grilled salmon!!!

In a couple days we’ll be entering mile zero of the ICW.  October is here but it still feels like summer.  Have to keep moving so we can avoid wearing shoes or sweatshirts😁. Happy fall, everyone!🍁

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And Off We Go!!

Departure date was September 12th.  House was buttoned up, boat stocked and had my last goodbyes with my mom.

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Love my Mama!!!😘

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Grabbed an SYC transient mooring so we could have an easy 6:00am departure.  Plan was to head down Long Island Sound and see how far we’d get before sunset.  Well, the current and wind gods were with us and we made it all the way to Port Washington- so much for taking our time! Erik & Kati took the train from Manhattan to meet us and do the East River the next day.  Their buddy, Peter, also hopped on board for the always exciting trip through the city.  It wasn’t a particularly nice day, but NYC never disappoints!

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After passing Lady Liberty we slogged south to Atlantic Highlands.! Had dinner with the kids then sent them off to catch the high speed ferry back to the city.

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REALLY GONNA MISS THESE TWO😍

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Left today and all we know for certain is that we’re headed south!!

This summer flew by!!! There was boat and house maintenance, catching up with family and friends, a disastrous used car experience (don’t want to talk about this😡), our son’s wedding with the rehearsal dinner at our house and even squeezed in some nice New England cruising.

Collecting quahogs for rehearsal dinner chowdah

Steaming and picking 30 lobsters for lobster rolls – figured the non New Englanders would find them easier to eat!

The Big Day – so lovely and we are now blessed with a new daughter❤️

Very busy and all good till the news of hurricane Dorian. The Abacos, specifically Hope Town on Elbow Cay, has been our home for the past 7 winters on the boat. We were stunned, sick and saddened by the news of such destruction on the island. We waited anxiously to hear that all in Hope Town had either evacuated or were together and safe. Neighboring Marsh harbor did not fare as well😢 Each day I would check in on their communications to see what they were doing to step forward. They are hardworking and resilient people and seem to be making progress in their recovery. So how can we help out??? Our current plan is to take our time heading south and be in touch with friends on the island to see if the harbor is safe to come into. We bring our own home and power (solar) but would need water, groceries and fuel. If these things are possible, we will go and help with rebuilding this winter. If the Abacos are not accessible, we may head further south. Plans are certainly up in the air but we did decide that winter in Connecticut is not for us!!

The lighthouse was lit for the first night since the storm. A sign of raised spirits and hope for Hope Town!

So, stay tuned and we’ll let you know, when we know, where we’re headed!

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