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April 18, 2011

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Nice Summer in Catskill

August 27, 2010

Well…. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve updated our blog so I guess now is a good time to get it going again.

Our summer in the Northeast has been very nice – warm and mostly dry. Charter business has been a little slow which we attribute to the poor economy. But, we’re still plugging away at growing our business while enjoying ourselves on the boat.

The past month we’ve been working on how to better advertise our charters and greatly increased our advertising budget. The saying, “Build it and they will come” does not mean “enough will come to make money…”.

A couple weeks ago we decided to do some advertising with our car. I went on-line to a website called and made up several vinyl sayings and stickers. Yesterday they arrived so we washed the car, put on all the stickers then waxed it so it looked nice. The car hasn’t been hand-waxed in probably 5 years but now that it has our business name on it, we decided it was time. I think it came out pretty nice!

Sunny Sail Charters Explorer

Last Wednesday we were eating dinner in the cockpit and the sunset looked like it was going to be exceptional. We took our dinghy out to the river and motored down to where we had a great view of the Catskill Mountains. We took some great pics including this one Laura snapped of me relaxing just before the sunset.

Catskill Sunset on Bill

Here are a few pictures of the great sunset…

Catskill Sunset 8/18/2010

After our charter last weekend, I decided to change the oil in the engine while it was hot. While I was changing the oil filter, I noticed our steering cable looked a little frazzled. I got out the flashlight and worked my way down to the cable. What I found really scared me. The ¼” stainless steel cable is made up of little strands wound together to make 4 big strands. 3 of the big strands are wound around the center big one. Two of the outer big strands were completely broken so the cable was working with less than ½ of its strength. YIKES! I check the steering cable several times a year (because it’s kind of important) but this section is behind a pulley when the steering wheel is centered. I usually leave the steering wheel centered after our charters to I know where it is the next time we go out. So… my forgetting to center the wheel after our last trip gave me the opportunity to find a big problem before it became a much bigger problem.

I hadn’t worked on these systems before so step 1 was to go on-line and figure out my options. Turns out the manufacturer of the steering system (Edson) had some great literature. Plus, they sold rebuild kits. Of course, the new cable was about 5 times more expensive than I had thought. But… Laura and I spent 5 hours on Thursday to remove our old steering cables and install a completely new system from the steering pedestal to the rudder. $700 later we’re back up and running. I’ll keep a close eye on the new cables to make sure they don’t wear in the same place but they should last a long time (10+ years). Here is a picture of the “bad” cable.

Bad Steering Cable

Friday, 1/8/10

January 8, 2010

Friday, 1/8/10
The past couple weeks have been very busy for us with driving home for Christmas (and spending Christmas sick in bed with the flu) and working on marketing our charter business in Florida.

We had a great time with our Sunset Dinner Charter on December 15th. The weather was very nice with 10 knot winds and just a few storms in the area. I used our radar to sail around the storms as we cruised out past Sombrero Reef and into the deeper ocean waters. Our guests were interested in everything as they have just started thinking about buying a sailboat. We mentioned that dolphins usually come around the boat and, on our way back to Book Key, we could see them swimming towards the boat then playing around the bow for several minutes. Kathleen (our charter guest) was very excited. After watching the dolphins playing for a few minutes, she turned around to me and said, “How do you get them to do that?” I laughed and said something like, “We trained them well….”. It was very cool.

Just before sunset we anchored and served a great dinner. The sunset didn’t disappoint and was awesome. Back to the dock a short time later and our guests were off to other places.

The next couple days we spent getting the boat ready for it’s lonely stay at the dock while we travelled home.

I picked up the rental car on Thursday morning (12/17) and we were on the road around 10 am after packing the car and closing up the boat. The trip back to NY was pretty uneventful as we spent the next two days heading north. We typically drive to South Carolina then take I-26 to Columbia and I-77 to I-81 north. This is a little longer than staying on I-95 to NJ but you miss all the big city traffic along with about $30 in tolls. We stopped in North Carolina for the night and we at Laura’s parents house in Esperance around 9:30 PM Friday evening. 1,700 miles in about 25 driving hours.

Saturday Laura spent the day baking cookies with her mother and just relaxing from the long trip. On Sunday we drove up to my sister’s house and I was a great surprise present for her 60th birthday party. She didn’t know we were coming home for Christmas and it was a very tearful reunion.

A few days later I started coming down with a cold and ended up spending 3 days in bed over Christmas. We didn’t do any visiting other then immediate family because I wasn’t feeling well enough. Sorry to our friends that we missed.

I was just starting to feel better when we left on Monday (12/28) for our drive back to Florida. It was snowing for the first couple hours then the roads cleared up and the weather was cold but clear for the remainder of our trip back.

We had one day with the car (12/30) before we had to get it back to Avis so we made the best use of it with a long list of places we wanted to visit. Lots of shopping and dropping off flyers to local businesses were on the agenda. We also visited the local Chamber of Commerce which we wanted to join so we could put our flyers in their Visitor’s Center. We couldn’t afford it last year but, after some negotiations, they let us pro-rate our membership for the 4 months we would be in Florida.

Monday, January 4th we had another charter. This time it was our shorter 2-hour sunset cruise with a very nice couple from Pennsylvania. The winds were blowing 20 knots out of the north and it was only in the lower 60’s – very chilly for a sail. But, they had a great time and we got the boat in and out of the dock without problems (one of my worries with the big winds…).

We took out an ad in the local newspaper which will come out the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Our plan is to more money on advertising this winter to get the word out to people in the resorts. Here is a copy of the ad….

Keynoter Ad 1-7-10

Laura has started working on refinishing the interior teak while I keep plugging away on marketing. We’re hopeful that our work will pay off in more charters so we can keep doing this for awhile. It’s lots of fun for both of us and we love meeting new people while sharing the great experiences.

Pictures from SC, GA and FL

December 16, 2009

This picture is from when we took a group sailing off Oriental, NC. Don (of the D and Don crew) is on the left.

Here is Laura enjoying the view from the bow while we are sailing down a part of the ICW in SC.

This sunset is from the ocean as we sailed past Mytle Beach to Charleston.

Here is another picture of Laura on the bow. We are sailing off-shore from St Marys, GA to St Augustine, FL

In the southern FL ICW, multi-million dollar homes are a dime-a-dozen. Here is my favorite…

There are always clouds over the gulfstream and here is the light from the sunset causing some great pastell colors on them.

Awesome sunrise just south of Key Largo, FL

Tuesday, 12/15/09

December 15, 2009

Friday, 12/4
Last night we anchored in one of our favorite spots behind a small island at Rock Point just south of Melbourne. It was a quiet evening and very comfortable.

We picked up the anchor just after first light and started motoring south toward Vero Beach. The day was beautiful and we made great time. In Ft Pierce we fueled up the boat (just 75 gallons from North Carolina) and continued down the ICW south. Just before dark we anchored on the south side of the Jensen Beach bridge to set us up for Lake Worth tomorrow night.

Saturday, 12/5
Another fairly nice day motoring down the ICW as the winds and swells off-shore would make for a very sloppy sail in the ocean. We motored down one of the most crowded areas of the waterway with multi-million dollar homes covering both shores.

We were happy to pass under our last bridge of the day in North Palm Beach late in the afternoon and motor into the nice anchorage in Ft Worth. I motored the boat up next to the west shore and we dropped anchor in 8 feet. The winds were clocking around and an hour later we were facing the opposite direction. Not a problem as the bottom in this anchorage is muddy with good holding.

Sunday, 12/6
The weather forecast is iffy for running off-shore tonight but we’ll plan to pick up our anchor and motor down to the inlet just before dark for an overnight run to Key Biscayne.

Just after lunch, we took the dinghy for a ride and found the dinghy dock at the north end of the lake. We dropped off our trash and Laura went to the grocery store for a few items while I kept an eye on the dinghy – this was not a very secure area. Back to the boat a couple hours later to put away the groceries and prepare for the sail off-shore.

At 4 pm we picked up our anchor and motored to the inlet. The winds were howling in the low 20s from the east which would make for a lumpy sea but a nice sail with winds on the beam. As we neared the inlet, I called on the radio for a sea condition from any boats off-shore. One fishing boat answered me and said the seas were 5-7 feet with 25-30 knot winds.

As we were motoring out the inlet, the winds were so high they just about stopped the boat even though we had a little tidal current helping us. I finally decided it was too much and we turned around to anchor just south of the inlet. The major reason I decided to change plans was we only had about 70 miles to go for the overnight sail. With high winds on the beam we’d be flying with only a little sail out. I didn’t think we’d be able to slow the boat down enough to get there after sunup. So… We anchored again.

Monday, 12/7
Up at first light and pulled the anchor for our loooooong day motoring south in the ICW. We really didn’t want to motor this part of the ICW but didn’t really have a choice with the weather and distances we needed to go. There were 18 bridges between Lake Worth and Ft. Lauderdale that had to open for us. They were all on different schedules but I was a pro at timing our speed to get at each one just before they opened. The day was fairly uneventful until we motored into our planned anchorage in Lake Sylvia near the Ft Lauderdale inlet.

As I motored into the inlet, I was following our directions to avoid the shallow area when the boat hit something hard and quickly stopped. I was able to move the boat a little with the motor but we were hard aground. For the past 23 years I’ve had towing insurance with Boat/U.S. but have never used it. Today was the first! I called them on the radio and a boat showed up about ½ hour later. They slowly pulled us off and we were floating again just before dark. We were happy to be loose except that two boats had come into the crowded anchorage while we were aground and took the only good anchoring spot. I motored the boat between them and the nearby private docks and we anchored in a small safe area with maybe 30 feet around us.

The wind helped by staying low and I spent a restless night checking the boats around us every couple hours. I think I ended up with maybe 3 hours sleep total.

Tuesday, 12/8
We picked up our anchor just after first light and motored out of the Lake Sylvia after a very anxious night watching the boats around us swing around the anchorage with no wind. Out of the Ft Lauderdale inlet by 8 pm and we turned south for a pretty nice sail to Biscayne Bay. The seas were a little lumpy but we stayed close to shore so we wouldn’t get slowed down by the north-heading Gulfstream.

As we approached Biscayne Bay, we checked the weather and wind forecasts then decided to keep going to take advantage of the favorable winds the next couple days. We knew we’d be anchoring in the dark at Rodriquez Key just south of Key Largo.

It was a beautiful evening and the last several hours were a lovely sail with our big sails out and 10-12 knot winds on the beam. As we approached the anchorage I could see 5 anchored boats on our radar with 2 anchor lights on – what could they be thinking? We motored around the anchored boats and I was just about to turn the boat into the wind when I heard something like a jet engine behind us. A big spotlight came on and I thought we were going to get run over by a large powerboat. I turned on our deck lights so they could see us better as they slowed and pulled along side. It was our Department of Homeland Security in a 40 foot center-console boat with four (4) 300 horsepower outboards (do they need 1,200 horsepower to outrun helicopters??). They asked us several questions then left about 10 minutes later satisfied we weren’t anchoring in the dark because we had 20 Cubans in the cabin.

We anchored in the poor holding of Rodriguez and spent a little while up on the deck checking out all the stars while sipping a glass of wine.

Wednesday, 12/9
We picked up our anchor just before sunrise and sailed out into the Hawk Channel. The winds were SSE and we were heading SW so it would be a close-hauled sail (sailing into the wind as close as we can). The Florida Keys form an arc starting south in Biscayne and end up almost west in Key West. Sailing down them allows you to change course to the west 5 – 10 degrees every couple hours. We hoped the wind would say far enough off our bow to allow sailing.
We sailed the first 3-4 hours then had to tack and motor-sail the rest of the day. We probably ran the engine for about 4 of the 9 travelling hours.

We arrived in Marathon around 5 pm and picked up a mooring to settled down for the evening. It was a warm day and night especially when the wind died in the early evening. Our plan is to spend the next month on the mooring and move the boat into the marina around the middle of January. This would save us a few bucks in marina fees (versus the mooring).

Thursday, 12/10
We woke up around 7 pm and it was very warm. Inside the boat temp was 82 and even with a fan blowing on us all night, I had drenched the sheets sweating while sleeping.

I started the engine to charge the batteries and refrigeration then put on a pot of coffee. As I was drinking coffee up in the cockpit, there was no wind and the sweat was running down my face. At 7:30 am it was 82 degrees, about 95% humidity and no wind.
Laura came up a little while later and I got out the computer to sign up for a month of Internet. As I was signing up, I said to Laura, “This is our last chance to change our minds and put the boat in a marina.” We talked about it for maybe 15 minutes and decided to change plans. Between the mooring fee, fuel for the engine, fuel for the generator, Internet, dinghy and wear and tear on the boat we figured the marina was only going to cost about $350 / month more than the mooring. Plus, in the marina we’d have instant access to the dock and be able to market our charter business much easier.
After running the engine for an hour, I changed the oil in our engine and transmission, cleaned everything up and brought the used oil into the marina for disposal. Laura and I then walked to the barber shop for two haircuts from “Jersey Girl”. I couldn’t believe all the hair on the floor after the hairdresser finished my haircut. It probably would have filled a small grocery bag after 2 months without a haircut. Home Depot was across the street from the Barber Shop but we couldn’t think of anything we needed.
Back at the boat slipped our mooring and motored to the marina where we tied up and spent the next couple hours configuring the boat for dockside. I charged the refrigerant in the air-conditioner (it runs out slowly when we don’t use it) and started cooling down the boat. It was 87 in the boat with about 95% humidity when we started.
We forgot that we had thrown out our box fan before leaving Catskill. We used it to push the air-conditioned air into our bedroom. Around 5 pm, we lowered the dinghy and motored the 3 miles to the City Marina where we tied up and walked back down to Home Depot to buy a fan. Geez! We were just here about 6 hours ago! Back to the boat and downstairs was getting much cooler with lower humidity. By the time we were ready for bed, the boat was cooled down to 75 degrees and much drier.

Friday, 12/11
Walked a couple miles in the morning (west on US 1). We spent a quiet day in the marina picking up the boat from 7+ weeks of travelling down the coast.

The marina and restaurant have changed hands over the summer. The restaurant was opening today so many of the boaters were going to check it out for happy-hour. We met some of our boating friends over there around 5:30 pm and had a good time checking out the new digs with new friends. Back to the boat around 7 pm for a lite dinner.

Saturday, 12/12
We walked a couple miles in the morning (east on US 1) and spent the day on general cleanup around the boat. Tonight is our first dock party! Willem (the marina manager and local party host) is going to deep fry a turkey which is left over from Thanksgiving. Boaters are bring side dishes and everyone is excited. Laura made bread and sausage dressing along with two Key lime Pies.

There was a Christmas boat parade that was supposed to start around 6:30 pm with all the boats decorated with lights. Everyone here was out at the fuel dock waiting for the colorful show. The first two boats were very nice but the third boat ran aground coming down the inlet. The next hour or so was spent getting that boat floating again and the parade didn’t continue until about 7:30 pm. We had a great time anyway and the food was awesome as usual.

Sunday, 12/13
Boat cleaning day! Laura cleaned up inside while I walked to West Marine for some cleaning supplies. When I returned, I washed down the whole boat with fresh water then used a diluted solution of Muriatic Acid for dissolving the stains on the decks and topsides. Laura helped with polishing the stainless rails while I cleaned the boat sides from our dinghy. A couple hours later the boat looked awesome!

Monday, 12/14
I decided to sign up with an Internet advertising site so did a little research and sent them an email. Since I gave them our florida-phone number, I got the phone out and made sure it was charged. While doing this I noticed there was a voicemail on it. I called our voicemail and it was from someone who had seen our boat on Friday and called Saturday morning for a charter!!!! I called him back and left a message saying we were available anytime this week.

At Saturday’s party one of our friends mentioned they were having problems with their computer. Laura volunteered my services and I agreed to take a look at it. (I don’t usually let people know I have any experience with computers because everyone thinks their computer should work better / faster and nobody wants to pay for having the work done) Later in the morning I worked on Sally’s computer for a couple hours. I didn’t find many problems but downloaded some scanning software for her to see if there was anything nasty slowing it down.

While I was working on the computer, the guy called back about the charter and BOOKED OUR FIRST SAILING CHARTER OF THE SEASON for tomorrow! Sally took Laura to the grocery store (as payment for my computer work) and we’re looking forward to the sunset dinner charter tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12/15
Today is a charter day so I’ll spend most of my time cleaning, polishing while Laura get’s appetizers ready and prepping for the dinner. Our guests will be here around 2 pm for the 4 hour charter. The weather is supposed to be nice but continued warm. I don’t think I mentioned before this that Florida has experienced record high temps for the past 10 days or so. Highs have been in the mid to high 80s with lows around 76. The normal high for this time of year is 75. Geez!

Thursday, 12/3/09

December 15, 2009

December 3rd and we’re still on the move. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with more than enough food to feed 300 people, I don’t think there were that many there, but it was a great crowd. We still missed our families though, and even though miles separated us, you were all on our minds and in our hearts and we are very thankful for our loved ones.

Friday morning there was a “swap meet” in town, and we took some books and DVD’s to swap, but no one else had DVD’s ..oh well, we ended up walking to the book shop and donated a few of the books I had with us. Friday night we met again with about 15 boaters, many others had already picked up anchor and were on their way. Early Saturday morning, that was us. We made it to St Augustine, but anchored as we got in just as the sun was setting. Then instead of wasting a nice weather day at a marina, we left Sunday morning early again and got to the Daytona area by mid afternoon. There we went into a Marina, where I did a bunch of loads of laundry. Bill did a thorough clean up of the boat with fresh water, filled the water tank which we desperately needed.. and we enjoyed a quiet night on the first dock that we’ve had to pay for since leaving NY 6 weeks ago.

Up at 8 we were once again on our way motor-sailing down the ICW to Titusville. On our way there we got a call from our friends Wendy and Chad.. they have crewed on Catamarans for the past few years in the Caribbean, but since the owner of the boat they were on was selling it, they decided to look into getting their own boat and doing couples charters themselves. They had found a gorgeous 55 foot Tyana in Ft Lauderdale under foreclosure. They were on their way north with it to St Augustine where they will have it on the hard and do some major work on it. They want to be ready to have it at the broker show in May in Tortola, BVI, where they will be chartering. They were in Melbourne, only a day away from Titusville, and on their way north, so we decided to hang out there to see them. There was also going to be a storm coming in on Wed- Wed night, and Titusville was a great anchorage to hole up for that. We enjoyed the next two nights having dinner with Chad and Wendy and I have just fallen in love with their boat.. maybe our next one?? Haha.

Today, Thursday, started out a bit cloudy, but we decided to continue our journey. Looking at the forecast, Saturday night into Sunday will prove a nice day to head off shore. Looking ahead, we’re planning on getting down to Lake Worth and head out from there. That will take us to Key Biscayne, only 2 days from there to Marathon!!

Wednesday, 11/25/09

November 25, 2009

It’s Wednesday, November 25, 2009 and we are in St Marys, Georgia. Laura took advantage of a local service to truck boaters to the closest grocery store and I walked about ½ mile to the community center where there is free Internet.

On Thursday, November 19th we received our “new” transmission late in the afternoon. I worked until 8 pm that night to install the transmission and hook up the new water lines to the cooler. I had removed the old transmission and purchased all the water lines and fittings I thought I’d need. The technician I talked to at Hansen Marine told me our transmission was “on the border” of being too small for our motor and the cooler would prevent future problems. The cost was only $150 so I couldn’t turn it down. Hansen Marine was excellent with us and even paid for the overnight shipping of the new tranny which I’m sure was a couple hundred dollars.

Friday we spent the morning cleaning up the boat and bring the broken transmission to a local UPS Store for shipping back to Hansen. As usual, we found friendly people at one of the docks who let us tie up our dinghy and leave it while we took a short walk to the UPS Store. There was also a nice grocery store right next door so after we dropped off the big package, we used our wheelie (little fold up cart) to truck back a couple bags of groceries.

Just before noon we pulled up the anchor and put our new transmission to the test against the strong currents in Snows Cut. There were no problems this time as we motored against the 3 knot currents for the next 1 ½ miles. As we popped out onto the Cape Fear River, the currents were just switching to the ebb which would help us go down to Cape Fear. We zoomed down the river at 7 – 8 knots while letting the mainsheet out to catch the following wind.

The weather forecast was good for an offshore run so we decided to exit the ICW just before Southport and were off-shore around 2 pm. After getting the boat on course for Charleston and setting our 3 sails for the broad reach (wind aft of our beam) we enjoyed one of our nicest ocean sails ever. The swells were 3-4 feet but they were behind us and very long. As each wave would catch us, it would gently lift up the boat and push us forward. Then, as it passed underneath us, the boat would settle on the back side of the wave and start picking up speed again on the next wave. It was very nice.

The seas were so calm, we decided to grill a steak on deck and eat dinner in the cockpit while underway. From what we can remember, this is the first time we’ve done this while on the ocean. Dinner was excellent but the seas and winds picked up again shortly after dinner. The boat was sailing nicely as we headed farther and farther from shore because the land bows away from our course around Myrtle Beach. I guess the farthest we were was about 25 miles from land.

Winds and seas picked up a little overnight which made it a little rough for sleeping. But, we usually don’t sleep well during our first night at sea so we were prepared to nap and relax during our off-watch time.

Things calmed down a little in the morning hours and we sailed into Charleston Harbor after a 120 mile run without running the engine. We continued down the ICW toward Beaufort, SC and anchored about 30 miles from Charleston. We had covered about 200 ICW miles in the last two days (and one night). Nice!

Sunday morning we continued down the ICW and anchored in Beaufort, SC around 2 pm. Turns out we had helping currents and winds almost all day so we made great time. It was a relaxing evening on the anchor and we watched a little TV before going to bed early.

Monday was to be another off-shore day so we left Beaufort around 7 am for the trip down the Beaufort River and out the Port Royal Sound. This was the first time I had gone through this inlet but there were no problems other than the typical Georgia scenario of having to go about 12 miles off-shore before turning south toward our destination – the shore in Georgia is very shallow for a long way out. During the night we were about 25 miles off-shore and the water was only 40 feet deep.

It was another lovely night on the ocean – especially since we were in no hurry. We only had to make 4.5 knots to be in St Marys inlet after sunup. Once again the winds were behind us so we had the full jib and mainsail out all night. The boat kept a decent speed until about 8 pm when we started the engine and ran at low RPMs the rest of the night. We could see many sailboats and shrimp boats around us all night.

Around 7 am we entered the channel just outside St Marys and slowly made our way up the St Marys River to the great anchorage right in front of the town. This time we had slept fairly well as the boat just barely moved all night.

St Marys has a great Thanksgiving celebration for boaters that was started 9 years ago by the locals. Now it is an all week party with something different every night. Tuesday night was a “painkiller” party where you bring your own rum and the mixers are supplied. They went through 10 gallons of mixers (fruit juices) before we left there and headed to a local pub, Seagles, for a pot-luck snack party. The place was hopping with about 100 boaters plus many locals. I was surprised to meet several people who were not on their own boats but drove into town just for the great party!

Tonight (Wednesday) there is an oyster roast with cash bar. Tomorrow the Thanksgiving feast starts around 1 pm. The locals supply turkey and ham while boaters bring all the fixin’s. I’m looking forward to a great meal but we both will miss our families during the holidays.

We’ll probably leave here on Friday or Saturday and our plan is to pay for our first marina in St Augustine. That will give us a chance to do laundry, fill up our water tanks and spend a little time ashore before heading down the Florida coast to The Keys.

Happy Thanksgiving from Second Wind!

Tuesday, 11/17/09

November 25, 2009

After a fun several days travel from Oriental, our poor boat is broke again. One of the chances you take with purchasing “rebuilt” equipment is there may be problems with it. Well… Our “new” transmission we purchased 6 weeks ago died yesterday as we revved up the engine to motor against strong currents near Carolina Beach, NC. The boat gradually slowed down in the currents and we thought they were too strong for our slow boat so we anchored for a couple hours until they calmed down again. We tried twice to motor against them with no success. I guess the transmission was slipping all the time and gradually got worse until it wouldn’t go at all in forward. So… I used my sailboat backing technique (which has become much better lately) to back into the protected anchorage and we dropped the hook on a beautiful calm day.
Earlier in the morning we had left Wrightsville Beach and motored about 10 miles to Snow’s Cut. Along the way we had listened to a great off-shore weather forecast and decided to go out the Cape Fear River and do an overnight passage to Charleston. This would bypass some of the big problem areas of the ICW near the NC – SC border. There are a couple inlets there where the bottom is very sandy and the water shoals along the ICW channel. It’s common to have a couple sailboats (which have deep keels) to run aground there every day. Also, this stretch of the ICW between Carolina Beach, NC and Georgetown, SC doesn’t have any good anchorages so we would have to pay for a marina somewhere around Myrtle Beach. Going off-shore around all that is very desirable for us.
Anyway, after we anchored I called the marine supply that had sold us this transmission. They told me they didn’t have any spares to send me and I would have to send this one back for a rebuild. That would put us here probably 10 days or so – not awful as this is a beautiful area. Later in the afternoon they called me back and said they had found a “core” (broken transmission) that matched mine and would rebuild it on Tuesday for us. The plan is to ship the transmission today and we should have it in 2-3 days (hopefully) then I can ship this one back in the same container.
There is wi-fi Internet here but it’s very expensive – $9.95 for a day, $24.95 for 3 days, $44.95 a week, $59.95 a month or $84.95 for 3 months. YIKES. Not bad if we were going to stay here a year! So, I’ve spent a little time figuring out how to update the blog using the Internet access on my cell phone. This is my first try so I hope it works ok.
We have a few boat jobs over the next few days – low priority stuff that I’ve been putting off – and will spend time taking the dinghy around and checking out this place. The beach is supposed to be beautiful and we’re looking forward to some long walks on the beach and around town.

Sunday, 11/15/09

November 25, 2009

Bill was up very early, but we waited until about 7 am to pull up the anchor and head out to New River Marina for fuel and water. By 8 am we were fueled up and on our way. Picking up the tide current we made some good time, but since we were only going about 40 miles today, we didn’t push it and had a leisurely motor/sail as the winds were very light and the sun was warm and inviting. Yay!! We’re looking at having a few really nice days for the week.
There were a lot more dolphins today, most of them a lighter gray, probably bottle nose. We see them ahead of us, then what seems like we’ll run over them, they are all of a sudden behind us, not surfacing by the boat like they do in Florida. I can’t wait to get down there. I just love the sea life. This winter, I plan on doing much more snorkeling.
We anchored early, around 2:30 this afternoon in Wrightsville Beach, NC. This is the first time I have been in here. It’s a very busy anchorage, I’m sure because it’s the weekend, but nice. Quiet now that night has fallen after a most beautiful sunset. I’ll never tire of the ever changing canvas called the western horizon.

Saturday, 11/14/09

November 25, 2009

Wow, we can’t believe that it’s been two whole weeks since coming to Oriental, NC. We have totally enjoyed our stay here. D and Don were excellent hosts, opening not only their home, but finding free docking not only for us, but about half a dozen other cruisers in the two weeks we were there. We teased them about having a revolving door and I’m not sure D ever knew how many were going to be there for dinner each night. We all pitched in for meals, even having a “left-over” pot luck one night. That was interesting and fun. Great conversation and a late night game of chicken-foot dominoes made for great memories. While D and Don work on an overhaul of their boat for the next few years, we’ll plan to make their home a stopping point on our way north and south. They are certainly wonderful people with big hearts! And Oriental is a wonderful little town. Thanks again you two!!
Now we are once again underway, making our way to Florida. Since “Hurricane Ida” came farther northeast than originally expected, she’s kept the last few days rainy and very windy. Although today was overcast, the “nice” winds made it a great travel day. We made excellent time, timing the currents in our favor, making 56 nm and getting to our anchorage Mile Hammock Bay, just after sunset. Traveling in this type of weather isn’t bad in the ICW, but “Ida” sure has done a number on the seas off the coast. They are still pretty wild and confused and will be for about 4-5 days, so for the time being we’ll be staying in the “ditch.”
We saw a few different pods of dolphins today. They seem to come in at the inlets and “fish”. A few times there were as many as 12 in one area, arching their fins up and slapping their tails. They must have found some really good feeding grounds. The dolphins here seem to be a dark gray or black.
While underway, I roasted some boneless chicken breasts and thighs and right after anchoring, made some chicken chow mien. With rice, crispy “noodles” and a glass of white wine, dinner on the “hook” really felt like we were “home again”. I hear the wind whistling outside, but toasty and warm in here, we’re ready for a good nights sleep.