Thursday, May 16, 2019

Back Aboard

sunrise in Factory Creek, Beaufort SC

After our visit with Bob and Helene, we had use of the rental car for some extra time …. there was very little difference in cost for a 4 day vs. a week's rental …. which made life a little easier when we needed to pick up the outboard after its' servicing, and complete some shopping. 

While we had the car we revisited Hunting Island. We had been there decades ago with our children, Bob and Helene and their children, and my sister Margaret. It's a semitropical barrier island designated as a State Park where no development is permitted. It's pristine beaches are unique....

Hunting Island State Park

mother nature left alone

signs of erosion

Serenada's stay in Beaufort, SC was coming to an end. Servicing of the outboard brought it back to life :)  Woo hoo! No more rowing.  Gil went back up the mast one last time to reinstall the anchor light that Bob had helped him repair.

up there for the 4th time - reinstalling the anchor light

We reprovisioned. Gil picked up a crab pot (from Walmart). It seemed as if things were finally looking up for us :)  It seemed that way until... sputter ... sputter … sputter .... the outboard quit! WT_?   We hadn't had it back for 24hr.  

Thankfully we hadn't returned the car yet. Row...  row...  row your boat back to shore; try not to throw our backs out while lifting the outboard off the dinghy, onto shore, and up the boat ramp and into the trunk of the rental. Back to Butler Marine where we left it one more time. Would we have to replace the outboard? Would we ever get the family car (our dinghy) back? 

Before we got out of the parking lot, Butler Marine was already phoning us. Could we please bring in the gas tank and line? Turned out that the outboard wasn't getting fuel because the fuel line was blocked. I wished I had taken a photo of the blockage - we didn't think that issue was possible. We were thankful that a new fuel line was all that was needed; but we were also left wondering if that was all that was needed since the get go? Since Florida? We've been rowing and trying to fix it ourselves for how long? Jeez. We're getting too old for this. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A vacation FROM the boat.

Helene, Bob, myself and Gil

Here’s a confession.... this boating season hasn’t been the most fun yet. We’ve had gremlins aboard Serenada.... more than our fair share of issues. We so needed a little vacay OFF the boat. 

My brother Bob and sister-in-law Helene live in Hendersonville, North Carolina and so it was that we were able to escape! A visit had been in our plans. 

A call to Enterprise Car Rental began our short return to land life. Serenada was left at anchor in Beaufort, South Carolina. Luckily, it was a short row to the public boat launch; across from which was Butler Marine where our dinghy's outboard would be serviced and brought back to life while we were away.

The drive out of South Carolina's low country and into North Carolina's high country was interesting. Back home you might see the odd squirrel victim roadside, but here in low country you see armadillo and possums :(  Real Estate advertises 'Deep Water' lots amongst the grasslands where no water can be seen (?). Shrimp and grits can be had almost anywhere, and you can buy crab pots in Walmart (Gil did). Eventually the grasslands gave way to forests … tree tunnels, as described by Gil, my chauffer. They grow so much taller here than back home. Then into the foothills of the Appalachians.

Hendersonville sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, an incredibly scenic area. Bob & Helene escorted us on several hikes, enjoyed all that much more by us because we hadn't been getting off the boat much without that outboard working.

Our visit with Bob and Helene was awesome. We enjoyed the outdoors....

Bob leading the way

so zen

Blue Ridge mountains

We ate.... Helene is a fabulous cook chef. We just love her hospitality! She just always goes above and beyond. I wished I had taken photos of all of her creations. These were just a few of them...

“Just something quick"
(not in my house)

We enjoyed a tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery, which included a walk through their grounds showcasing their recycling and conservation efforts …. solar panels for power consumption, huge cisterns for rain water collection, electric car plug-in stations, bat and bird houses, mushroom infused shitake logs, and so much more; capped off with samples of their cold brews :)

chandelier at the brewery

waiting for the tour to start

brew samples

shitake logs

Back at their home, Bob (an electrician) helped Gil repair our broken anchor light, and Gil helped Bob start their garden. We took advantage of their shower and laundry facilities ;) and played games.

The weekend with Bob & Helene was a most welcome respite from our boat issues. It was great to spend time together enjoying! 


Monday, April 29, 2019

Fixing stuff...

aerial view of Serenada

Some describe cruising as constantly fixing your boat in exotic locations. Yep, that seems to be the case lately. We haven't been going anywhere. Weather's been great though, but when you're feeling exasperated, you'll find yourself complaining about it anyway (...too hot.... too humid...too sunny...)

Our anchor light doesn't shine, but the masthead nav lights do? I didn't think I had the strength to hoist Gil up the mast, but he figured out a way to use the bigger better cockpit winch for me to get him up there. The anchor light wasn't the only issue that required Gil's ascent. The radar reflector had come undone at one end, and the furler's foils have been separating. It was necessary to go up....

Captain Gil nearer to the sun

Lucky guy. He had the best seat in the house for the airshow! Our stop here in Beaufort, South Carolina happened to coincide with a 2 day airshow by the US Navy's elite Blue Angels in their F-18 fighter jets.

US Navy's Blue Angels in their F-18 fighter jets

Gil reinforcing the radar reflector

That's enough to cope with, but there was more. The dinghy's outboard just won't start :(  Actually, it starts, but it keeps quitting. We've exhausted our own expertise (well, Gil's expertise - I don't have anything to contribute) and we're going to have it serviced. This may take some time.

Being retired, we have nothing but time. My brother Bob lives not too far from here in Hendersonville, North Carolina and we were planning to visit. We thought it'd be from Charleston, but it's looking like it'll be from here in Beaufort. That works too. 

While Gil's been working, I've been taking pictures ;)  ...

an osprey with a fish 

Friday, April 26, 2019

We finally SAILED

Finally SAILING!

Out of the shallow, narrow, winding rivers of Georgia and into some bigger bodies of water where we can actually SAIL. Woo hoo! It's so much more peaceful when the engine's not running. 

We're happy to be sailing, as are others. This small boat rally's looking sharp.

South Carolina's ICW waterway has a completely different character than Georgia's. It's far more developed....

Thankfully, there's still a lot of mother nature here also. We witnessed manta rays jumping out of the water, bottlenose dolphins swimming beside us, and bald eagles above.

a party of white pelicans

As we came into our anchorage in Battery Creek, Port Royal we were also treated to an airshow - similar to the Canadian Snowbirds - with several jets flying in formation. We weren't close enough to get any decent pictures :( 

It was our best day yet for this season, getting those sails up! 

fleet of shrimp boats in Battery Creek

18th - 25th April.2019 Georgia's IntraCoastal Waterway

tourist attraction at Brunswick Landing Marina

During our southbound trip down the eastern seaboard in 2013 we bypassed Georgia's ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) by passaging 'on the outside' (in the Atlantic) from Port Royal Sound in South Carolina to Cumberland Island in Georgia. That passage took us 19hr. 

As we wanted to experience it we chose to travel Georgia's ICW in our northbound passage. This took us 30hr. over a week's time period. Georgia's ICW winds along serpentine rivers and crosses several open sounds. It is predominantly shallow grasslands, where shoaling is frequent. 

Georgia's ICW is predominantly grassland

We came upon a few of these dredging operations, which are vital to maintaining the channel depths needed for transit.

dredging along Georgia's ICW

The tidal range here is 8 or 9 feet, so most boats will have no trouble at mid- to high- tide. "Mid tide and rising" is the mantra for travel; so we found ourselves "waiting for tide" :)  The changing tides create currents and we quickly learned to 'ride the tide' to help speed us along; choosing to anchor and wait for higher water, rather than be slowed by unfavourable currents. 

trawler passing to port

Islands on Georgia's ICW

oh look … trees!

Our first port of call after leaving Cumberland Island was at Brunswick Landing Marina. Cruisers Bruce & Terry, whom we met at Cumberland Island, had recommended this stop; and as we needed a new head (toilet) - I'm not going to go into details on this issue - and Chris Parker, the cruiser's weather god, was advising boaters to get into port because heavy weather was coming; we elected to go there also. We stayed a couple of nights, which was long enough to wait out the weather, get a new head, and partake of the free beer on tap with Bruce & Terry. Oh, and enjoy real showers, reprovision and do laundry. 

Weather was very settled for the week afterwards, and we anchored in several tributaries just off the ICW: Fredricka River, Wahoo River, Vernon River and the Herb River, as we made our way northward. 

party of brown pelicans

wild pig from a safe distance

wind surfing

When we got to Thunderbolt, a town very near Savannah, we were surprised to see several very tall masts (barely visible in the photo below) - mega sailing yachts - typically only seen in the Caribbean. This was surprising because the height clearance of bridges along the ICW is generally only 65'. Taking a closer look at our charts, we realized that Thunderbolt Marina was accessible to the Atlantic by Wassaw Sound; explaining their presence.

sunset behind Thunderbolt Marina and it's mega sailing yachts

A first for us happened while at anchor in the Herb River near Thunderbolt. These shallow waters are perfect for crabs, and there are many crab pots to be seen and avoided. We had thought we anchored well clear of all crab pots, but no.....     Sure enough one snagged us. It had an incredibly long buoy line on it, and it wrapped itself around our anchor rode :(.  We had gone to bed of course. The knocking against our hull woke us. We pulled the crab pot aboard along with it's line to prevent further wrapping around our rode. In the morning, we untangled and freed the line, just in time for the waterman who came to pick up his catch..... blue crabs.... yum! We've caught and eaten those in the Chesapeake and they are so sweet. He wouldn't sell us any though :(. I'm guessing they can get into trouble for that? Gil now wants to purchase a smaller version of one of these crab pots so we might catch our own.

A first - snagged a crab pot!

Then, another first....  an alligator!! We saw this guy crossing one of those many winding streams here in Geogia. No swimming for us.

Another first - an alligator!

Slow but steady, we're making progress north. We'll leave the quiet of Georgia's grasslands tomorrow when we cross the Savannah River to South Carolina.