29 Aug 2007
Just a note to those of you we haven't seen or spoken to lately. We are presently in Florida a few days visiting friends and relatives but are headed out again tomorrow with stops in Atlanta and at the cabin in NC before going back to the boat. We plan to spend the month of September cruising the Chesapeake Bay before heading back to the cabin in October to check out the fall colors and attend the annual homeowners association meeting for out area. We will be back in Florida for the month of September and plan to see many of you then. I have attached a few photos from out adventures, the files are so large I will probably have to send at least two messages. Sorry we are going to miss the Labor Day Bash at Alan's, sounds like fun.
Love, Larry and Cat
17 July 2007
Back on the net again,
It seems that we are rarely around a place with good wi-fi that we can use. I guess we need to anchor out in more public places. Since leaving Charleston about three weeks ago we have covered some miles and seen some interesting places. We did one overnight offshore passage between Charleston and Wrightsville Beach, NC but the rest of our time has been on the waterway or sailing the sounds and rivers of North Carolina. One could spend many months doing that and never visit the same place twice. Our favorite stops were Wrightsville Beach, Beaufort, Oriental, Ocracoke Island, Cape Lookout and a few remote anchorages along the way. The boat is doing well and so are we, nothing significant has broken on any of us.
We have met several interesting cruisers along the way and enjoyed getting to know them over a beer on the deck. The most interesting pair so far is a couple of Brits from London who have been cruising their home built ferro-cement 50 foot ketch for the past 30 years. Robbie and Sue have pictures of themselves as teenagers building this thing back in the 70's, bell bottomed pants and all. They have been all over the world with it but this is the first time they have cruised the ICW. They plan to end up in the great lakes sometime before winter, have the boat hauled, and go back to England to work for a while this winter. They do have lots of interesting stories.
We plan to head back to the mountains for a couple of weeks at the beginning of August then hit the water for points north. By the way, the insurance on the boat is 1/3 of what it was in Florida anywhere north of Oriental,NC. We may find a new home for it up here somewhere during the hurricane season next year.
Love to All,
Larry and Cat
May 26, 2007 9:43 AM
It has been a while since I have been able to get an email out. We have really been on the move to make it to Charleston in time to meet up with Cat's brother Marty and his wife Rossie to go on the Carnival cruise with them. We have put a little over 1400 nautical miles under the keel since leaving Niceville and have seen everything from millpond quiet ocean waters to 6-8 foot seas in 25-30 knot winds. The boat has done very well under all conditions and we are convinced more than ever that she was an excellent choice for a cruising vessel. Our crossing from Appalachicola to Anclote Key was perfect with a full moon to give us light and 10-15 knot winds most of the time to give us a good sail. Had to motor some very early in the morning but not for too long. We broke in the autopilot during that time while one of us slept and the other was on watch and it did a good job.
We met up with friends Bill and Carol Jolley in Saint Petersburg and enjoyed dinner with them. They drove down to Ft. Myers Beach and joined us on the crossing over to the Dry Tortugas then took the ferry back from Key West to Ft. Myers where they picked up their car for home. The crossing to the Dry T's from Marco Island was a little more rough than predicted (yes Pat, we will join you in that suit against NOAA Weather). Instead of 10-15 from the northeast it was 15-25 from the north with large seas so it was quite an interesting passage but we made it all in one piece and the weather settled down for our stay in the harbor at Fort Jefferson.
Here are a few notes for our fellow sailors on the trip:
- In relation to the first email we sent--Remember to check with the Tyndall Range Control folks on missle launches and monitor channel 16, you may have to move on short notice.
- Port Saint Joe Bay is as beautiful as ever but the Port St. Joe Marina is getting expensive, it costs us $95/night for our 44 footer. It was $72/night in January but that was the off season. We had a great visit with family while we were there so it was worth it to us for the convenience.
- The City Marina transient dock at Appalachicola has not been rebuilt since the last storm and two of the marinas in town have closed so dock space is at a premium.
- Anclote Key is worth a visit by dinghy or Kayak while in the area. The whole Key is a state park and the light house, beaches and walking paths are great. For you fishermen, we saw more redfish and trout around Anclote than anywhere we have been with the possible exception of Port Saint Joe Bay.
- The Dry T's are definitely worth a few days, there is a lot of interesting sea and bird life around and Fort Jefferson is a neat piece of history. Did you know that is where they put Dr. Mudd in prison after he was accused of being an accomplice in Lincoln's assasination?
The snorkeling around the moat walls and the outlying reefs is also very good. Oh, by the way, at least during the time we were there it seemed to be a popular place to sunbathe on your boat either with no clothes or at least topless for the girls. Fortunately those that decided to participate had the credentials to do it as opposed to some of the ones you told us about at St. Martins Dave.
- Key West is Key West and you should at least do it once. Pay a visit to Schooner's bar at the wharf and enjoy the beer, entertainment and beautiful boats at the dock. There are some good restaurants there if you snoop around away from Duvall street a little.
- While you are in the Miami area spend a night or two at No Name Harbor on the south end of Key Biscayne. It is in Bill Boggs state park and costs $15/night to anchor there (holding is fair, but well protected) on the honor system. You put your money in an envelope and place it in a slot. Pump out is convenient and free. The Boaters Grill at the head of the harbor features Cuban cuisine and is excellent and not too pricey. Lots of nice trails to walk and stretch those stiff boat legs.
- Also in the Miami area (Coconut Grove) and not too far from the Dinner Key Marina is Fairchild Botanical Gardens. What a beautiful place! My cousin works there and arranged a private tour for us along with my Aunt Mary. It is supposed to be one of the worlds top botanical gardens behind one in Singapore and I believe it. 83 acres of nothing but beautiful plants.
- We did as much of our passage up the east coast of Florida as we could offshore but high winds and seas forced us in some and we used the ICW quite a bit. Be very careful around Matansas Inlet (just north of the old Marineland) at anything but high tide. Lots of shoaling in around there. We ran aground once but managed to back off easily.
- Definitely stop and spend some time in St. Augustine, we plan to spend more there next time we are in the area and the anchorage north of the Bridge of Lions off the old Spanish fort is good and the City Marina is close with a free dinghy dock. Try out the beer and food at the A1A Ale house across the street from the Marina. It is a microbrewery and both are excellent.
- Tides and currents are an issue from central Florida northward, something we folks from the north gulf coast are not accustomed to dealing with. We sailed out the inlet of the Saint Johns River east of Jacksonville with a three knot current pushing us (9 knots plus boat speed) and some pretty steep seas in the inlet. Nice days sail up to St. Simons Island in Georgia where we tied up for one night at the Golden Isles Marina (not too expensive for fuel or overnight) and once again met up with friends Bill and Carol Jolley who were at their family house on Sea Island.
- The ICW in Georgia and South Carolina but especially in Georgia is very badly shoaled in many areas so get the latest from the Coast Guard on MLW depths and plan to do most of your traveling with the high tides if you draw more than 5 feet. We saw several areas that were less than that at low tide.
- Cathy and I are continually amazed at how beautiful this country of ours is from the water. You see things from that perspective that you would never see otherwise. We are also amazed at the money that has been spent on houses and boats. A lot of people have lots of money to spend apparently.
We plan to spend a week on the cruise with Marty and Rossie and then a little time at our cabin in NC before heading back out in the boat for points north. We will be in contact again.
Our Love to all,
Larry and Cat
Apr 25, 2007 8:00 AM
Cat and I finally started our long anticipated cruise last Thursday afternoon (April 19th) and are now in Port St. Joe, FL after meandering our way down the coast with stops at Shell Island and Crooked Island. The weather had been fantastic so far with good sailing and cool temps for sleeping at night. No misadventures other than having to make a mad dash back to the boat from a walk on the beach at Crooked Island when the Air Force decided to launch a drone missile directly over our anchorage. They called us on the radio (I had my hand held with me) and said to get back to the boat and move it as quickly as possible so we jogged the mile and a half back and got a lift back to "Carolina Breeze" from the range control boat with kayaks in tow. We had a great view of the missile launch from our new anchorage and the range control guys were very pleasant.
We spent last night drinking margaritas and playing games with relatives here in Port St. Joe and will be here one more night before heading for Apalachicola. We will keep you posted on our whereabouts when we can get an internet connection.
Larry and Cat