Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Autumn on the Waterway

Fall colors along the ICW
Leaving Wrightsville Beach. NC, we motored through the ICW heading for Calebash Creek which is in South Carolina where we anchored for the night. We got to experience two boats with foreigners, come in and squeeze in between us and the shore to anchor. It probably would have been okay if they knew what they were doing, but I never saw such lousy anchoring as they did.  They did not have a clue how to anchor! We were beside them but you have to figure when the tides changes you will be in back of them at some point. That is the scary part, whether or not they will drag into you. Another boat who was anchored there first and who were behind them pulled up their anchor and went further up the creek after an exchange of a few words. But luckily there were no strong winds and we made it through the night without incidence.
The next day we motored through the “Rock Pile” area near Myrtle Beach. You can see how narrow the ICW is with not a lot of room to go to the side when a tug or shrimper go by.

 One of the interesting things of this part of the trip are the homes you pass by. The homes leaving Wrightsville Beach were more the beach type homes like these.
Beach homes
 It is certainly pink!

Then you get some homes that make your eyes pop like this one!

 Next you have ones closer to Myrtle Beach that look like "McMansions" with waterfalls and landscaping that probably cost as much as our home.
Is it a house or hotel?

What a spread!

But then no more than five minutes down the ICW you see this type of living. To each his own!
The local trailer community.
We saw another interesting structure in Myrtle Beach area. We believe it was something at the airport but maybe it is the ground work for a flying saucer!!!!
UFO maybe?
Gondolas at a stand still over the ICW.
 The last thing you expect to see heading south are gondolas for skiers. I have shown these in past years. They are for the golfers to get to the other side of the golf course. But this was the first year we saw them stuck. They were hanging there stuck right over the ICW. Luckily our mast was low
enough not to hit them and we did not see any people in them.

That night we went into Osprey Marina. We could not pass up the fuel there at $2.04 gal., hot showers, laundry and a quiet night. The next day we headed down the Wacamaw River to Georgetown, SC.
Kayaker on the Wacamaw early morn.
 This is one of our favorite areas with a variety of trees and those with hanging sphagnum moss all along the river's edge. You are seeing some signs of colors changing but probably not like further north.
One of the many side creeks on the Wacamaw.
We got into Georgetown around lunch time. This is one of our favorite towns.
Georgetown, SC with the shrimp boats.

 Unfortunately, being Sunday most of the stores and museums are closed. Most importantly, the Independent Seafood store was closed. We always get the best shrimp for a reasonable price here, $8.99lb. for extra large. So we decided to stay two days to get the shrimp and enjoy the town.
We anchored in the harbor although most of our friends go to the marinas due to the mucky bottom. We were not there very long when a boat called “Natures Call” approached us. She wanted to let us know that they have free pump out service now, only working for tips. Having just been at a marina we did not need it but they need it here due to those living on their boats anchored in the harbor.  It is good to know they are trying to keep the harbor clean.
What an appropriate name for a pump out boat!
We met up with Maryann and Ron on Cavu and their friends. The men were at a restaurant/bar with football games playing while we women did the few shops opened in town. We also walked this historic town which was famous for the rice fields back in the 1700's. That is where people made their fortunes and so was the reason there were so many beautiful stately homes with the majestic live oak trees through out the town.
You can only imagine how old these huge live oaks are!
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Looking at one of the historical building in town.
Being the third oldest city in South Carolina, only after BEAUFORT, and Charleston, there are many old homes and buildings. We were admiring this preserved 1765 warehouse which is now being used for artist to sell their wares.  It is the oldest commercial building in Georgetown County.

We enjoyed an ice cream and then back to the boat for a light supper. The next day we enjoyed walking around town some more, and I got to go into many more shops to pass the afternoon away. Our friends, Kris and Craig on Tilt came in to a dock. We dinghied over to them had a chat and eventually back to our boat for a delicious Cajun shrimp meal.

It rained the entire time from Georgetown to McClellanville. We decided to try stopping at a place we never had been. Al heard from another cruiser that it was a quaint town as well as reading about it in a cruising guide. Unfortunately, we had to pick a rainy gray day. We planned to be there at mid tide or better because it does get a bit shallow going in and we are glad we did. We could not raise anyone on the radio or phone at the marina where we made a reservation because there is only room for 3-4 boats. We decided to go in anyway and as we neared the dock a guy comes running out to help us. I was glad because I don't think I could have lassoed the cleat. We got tied up and shortly afterward the rain stopped. After changing out of wet clothing we quickly got off the boat to head to the one restaurant in town called TW Graham's Seafood Restaurant. It was definitely a local favorite with simple down home cooking with ample servings. We shared a cup of delicious seafood bisque and each had the grilled shrimp, fries and coleslaw platter.
Can't eat too many meals like this, but once in a while it is great!
 And what is a meal in the south without hush puppies! The shrimp were yummy and all but half the fries were eaten. There were just too many!
Afterward we walked back and along the way saw the Arts Center. In this tiny town, they had a cute arts center where regional artist sell their wares. They also had room for classes and even had a room for guest artist come and stay to share their talents. The one thing that caught my eye were these bow ties made from feathers off the fowl that her boyfriend hunts. They were magnificent and expensive at $100. The artist is Lucy Houting and she calls her company, 12 Gauge Ties.  The manager said most people buy them for weddings and special occasions. They come with their own wooden box so that they don't get crushed.
Bow ties made with feathers!  Now there is something you don't see everyday!
Walking through the town we saw 3 churches in the quarter mile walk. The southerners do love their churches.
This was the quaintest of the churches we saw.
We also saw magnificent oak trees again. One even had it's own placard. It said it was a Deerhead Oak, 1000yrs. old, height 67 ft., and the longest limb was 70ft.  You can see how dwarfed Al is near it!
The yellowish spot is where a huge limb broke off.

It had a huge branch that recently broke off in the storms from the hurricane.We have not seen too much damage from the hurricane so far.  There were a few stores in Georgetown that were cleaning up water damage but I heard Columbia, SC was hit bad.

As you can see, McClellanville is a shrimpers port.
Lots of shrimp boats tied up in McClellanville.

Due to the rain which started again, we did not get to see if there was a store to buy the local shrimp here but maybe the next time we can discover it.  Rain is due for one more day and then we will go in to enjoy Charleston hopefully in sunshine.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A bit of Intracoastal- A bit of Ocean Sailing

Our third and last day at River Dunes Marina, I took a walk with Maryann from Cavu and got this shot of the marina from across the basin.  Like I said it was a beautiful spot.
River Dunes- a great spot to stop!

With it still a bit cold, I decided to make chili and corn muffins for dinner and had Ron and Maryann over for a game of Sequence and dinner.

The next morning, out early once again heading to the Beaufort, NC area. Once we got out, Al realized that our chart plotter had no boat position. He pulled out our computer for a second option for navigation and could not get a position there either. Lastly, he got my Ipad and pulled up the Garmin Blue charts on it, and finally we had a boat postion on it. We did have paper charts and parallels ready just in case we had to resort to navigating the “old way!” Then I steered while Al was trying to figure out the problem. This happened to us on the last trip and it was the antenna. However, we just got a brand new antenna this summer. He checked the wire connections and such and finally just hit the antenna and the boat position was back. Not a real comfortable feeling!

On motoring days people ask me what do I do all day? I read, do crossword puzzles, work on the blog, download pictures, tend my little herb garden 
Basil, mint, parsley,rosemary and thyme.
and do my rug hooking. 
The background is a deep purple.
I am working on a very traditional floral which will be a table runner or
Here I am cutting the wool into thin strips with a wool cutter.
something to lay across the bottom of our bed. It is my first time doing fine shading with eight value swatches. I dyed all the wool for this project at home before I went to a 4 day workshop to learn how to do fine shading. I am quite pleased with it so far. Unfortunately, arthritis in my left hand limits how much I can do, but it will get done eventually.
A close up of "Rapture Plus Four" the name of the pattern.

Waterfront of Moorehead City near Beaufort,NC

We past through the industrial area of Moorehead City near Beaufort and reached Cape Lookout mid afternoon after passing this dredge in the channel going out there.
Don't want to tangle with this dredge in the channel!

Cape Lookout is such a pretty spot with the lighthouse and beaches on both sides of us.

Cape Lookout, NC

Fishermen came and put out a net nearby where we were anchored. The pelicans were waiting for dinner as you can see. It was fun watching them fly in and plop in the water and take off again.
Pelicans waiting for a treat!

The fishermen certainly got the action going with the pelicans.

This is a staging area for boats to go out in the ocean. That is what we did the next morning, leaving at 4am in the dark. All you have to do is go around two or three buoys and your out. It is neat to see dawn while you are on the ocean.
Dawn breaking while sailing in the ocean.

We were able to sail about half of the trip . Al decided to put his rod out and troll.
Al pulling in a fish.
 He actually caught something which made for some excitement for the day. 

Can you see his mouth and eyes?

 Unfortunately, we looked up what kind of fish it was an it looked like a Frigate Mackerel, which was indicated as poor eating, so back in the water he went.

20" Frigate Mackerel-poor eating but gave us some fun!

Wrightsville Beach, NC
We reached Wrightsville Beach, definitely a beach town, about 5PM and anchored up near the bridge. We ate dinner and went to bed. It was a long day!

The next day we met up with Kris and Craig on Tilt and walked to Harris Teeter grocery for some supplies and the exercise. Then we went into have lunch together at a restaurant called South Beach which was very good. It was a great sunny warm day for a walk on the beach as well. Later we had happy hour on our boat with Tilt and Laurie and Jim from Kismet who came in from the ocean that afternoon.
Dusk at anchor in Wrightsville Beach.
We had a beautiful old motor yacht anchor in back of us which gave us a pretty view to end the day. 
This is the pretty motor yacht in the morning.  Nice!

On to South Carolina for our next happenings. They had bad flooding from the hurricane so we don't know what to expect.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 19, 2015

From Seventies to Forties-Temps that is!

We continued on to Elizabeth City through the bright green duck grass that made the Dismal Swamp like one giant modern art canvass. Luckily it wasn't too bad because it has been known to clog filters and cause some problems.
Duck grass in the Dismal Swamp

We tied up at the wall in Elizabeth City across from the Albermarle Museum. The other boats who were with us at the Visitor's Center were able to get free slips. We were welcomed by the greeters known as Rose Buddies. They tend to be retired people who like to meet the boaters. This time however, we were greeted by a guy with a monkey on his shoulder. (Never a dull moment!)
An unusual Rose Buddy!  Yes, that is a diaper!

We have been here at least four times but it was the first time that they had a Rose Buddy Gathering at 4:30pm with wine and cheese. (If there are not many new boats or the weather is lousy, they don't have them.) 
Wine, beer and cheese and crackers for the cruisers

Susan and the former mayor.

 The tourism lady, Susan, greeted us and the former mayor told us all about their fine city, stressing the free docks and free museum that they have. Each lady was given a rose which has been the tradition since 1983.

Since the cruisers were all gathered together, ten of us decided to go to dinner at Groupers which was at the dock where we had gathered. It was a delicious and a good valued meal.

We left the next day and motored across the Albermarle Sound. We have never seen it so calm. 
The calm Albermarle Sound and one of numerous crab floats.

 It was somewhat boring counting the crab pots as I went. Al wasn't quite so bored because he was checking out why there was oil stains on our blanket which was at the point of the v-berth. He discovered that the windlass which was just repaired before we left was leaking oil, so he had his work cut out cleaning up and diagnosing the problem.
We motored the entire trip to the outside of the Alligator/Pungo Canal. The anchorage which we have designated as one of the ugliest, with its tall dead trees and scrub.

He is just paddling away.
One interesting boat went by, this fellow pedaling a sailing boat. Where he came from, we have no idea because we are out in the middle of no where, but he did give some bright color to a rather dull anchorage.
However it isn't all ugly, the next morning's sunrise gave us a beautiful sight as seen here.

Entering the long straight canal is always interesting because one side is in the shade and the other in the sunlight. You get foggy mist rising on the shady side with bright morning light highlighting the greenery and fall colors on the other. It actually is pretty.
The misty foggy side of the canal.
The sunny side!

We traveled on through the canal and to the small town of Bellhaven. Arriving early enough to put the dinghy in and go ashore to stretch our legs. I always enjoy the walk along the shore road with the wonderful southern homes.
Neat homes in Bellhaven.

Al raising the sail.
The next day we actually got to sail some!  It had been eleven days since we sailed.  Our friends on CAVU captured us sailing by them and emailed us the photo.
Blue Heaven finally with all sails up. 

We anchored in Broad Creek a pretty creek north of Oriental, NC. We enjoyed the peace and quite but were up early the next morning to enter River Dunes Marina by 9am. We learned you get full day use of the marina that way instead of pulling in late in the afternoon. This is one of the prettiest marinas around.

View from the Porch of Marina
 Several people we knew or had met earlier were here. I got some laundry done (the blanket with the oil!) and in the afternoon we had use of the courtesy car. We went with Ron and Maryann Smith from CAVU who had once been in our marina in Rock Hall and the couple, Margaret and Bob on Beyond the Sea who were next to us in Hampton, into Oriental for the Old Front Porch Music Festival. 
Bob Jones strumming and singing.

Part of our group enjoying the steel drummer.

We enjoyed his music the best!
Through out town various people or groups played their music on front porches as well as some arts and crafts and an auto show from old to new. We got a taste of the islands from a steel drummer and folksy music from several others. It was very pleasant and the weather fantastic.  A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

That evening the same three couple enjoyed a delicious meal together at River Dunes.

Sunday dawned and it was a day for some more chores. More laundry and food shopping. The courtesy car is a real plus for doing it. Many more boats came in and another two couples we know pulled in. Hayden and Raydeen on Island Spirit from our marina and full time live aboards, Bert and Prue on Exhuberant .
Later we caught up on all that happened last year in the cruising community with Bert and Prue over drinks. Being live aboards they don't miss much!

We timed getting to the marina quite well because it was in the low forties the other night and 38 last night. The heater was certainly welcomed. We had been in shorts for most of the trip with temps in the seventies and now the long pants, socks and fleece are out.The temps are to be increasing for the next couple days so we will be heading out but Al hasn't made up his mind where we are going tomorrow. He says “Later Arleen, I make the decision later.” So later it is!