Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas - from Nati!

We will be at anchor somewhere on the east coast of Florida this year for Christmas. We had our month in Melbourne, just finished off a good weekend with the "Chief & Mom in Stuart and are now making our way towards Miami and the upper Keys. We don't have an exact date of crossing over to the Bahamas yet but we'll worry about that once we make it a little further south.

So from the both of us & of course from Nati we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. May 2015 be even better yet!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's still too cold!

Today we pulled out of Melbourne and continued south.  We had a lot of fun with Tom & Jean and they took good care of us.  But, time to head south and get closer to the warmth we desire.  Besides, docks are way overrated and we wanted off!

Right now we are in a great anchorage near "Hole-in-the-wall" Island and it's great.  Maybe still a little cool but the anchorage is scenic, good holding and we are all by ourselves.  Can't get better than that.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Well, the job is now done.  That's right, we have now set a new Melbourne record for frying turnkeys on Thanks Giving Day!

We got over to Tom & Jeans home at 0715 and the first turkey just went in the fryer.  Anne went straight into the kitchen and I headed for the coolers to start pulling turkeys out and bring them into Anne to prep.  She easily had the hardest job as she had to do all the turkeys.  Tom, Chris and I had to just keep them going into and out of the hot oil.  On average the whole turkeys took 45-50 minutes each and the meat was sure tasty!  To set an even higher bar for the future, Tom cooked 6 more on Saturday as there were other folks who didn't get one.

Che' Tom doing his thing!
The frying station early on.

Cleaning those birds!

Good job and an atta-boy to all at the event!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Made it! Well, kind of anyways….

All the way down the coast we have been trying to stay in front of the cold weather.  For the most part that has been achieved.  That is until we make it to the sunshine state!  Now I know our friends up in the "arctic" (I mean SYR) don't want to hear it, we finally got caught with some lousy weather.

Double rainbow over St Augustine

While in St Augustine we knew a big cold front was coming across the country and we elected to move a day early to make it further south before it arrived.  A night in Daytona Beach gave us the mileage needed to make it to Titusville and there we sat.  For 4 nights we had wind (we were nicely tucked behind a RR bridge), rain and COLD!  We missed the freezing weather but still we went through all our Sterno and Anne made hot chili, soups and bread to keep the stove/oven going.  All in all it was fine but just not a sunny welcoming to Florida.  The wildlife didn't like the weather either and we had ospreys, eagles, white pelicans and other birds hanging around Nati.  The Ruddy Turnstones (now I call them the poop birds) loved sitting on Dingh-go.   Yuck!!

Lots of birds

Lots of white pelicans!

poop birds

We were not alone.  s/v Mutual Fun came along so we did have a great dinner on board Nati one night.  They even brought over the one pet dog that works on a boat.  "Buster is made from concrete!  Buster also eats very little and doesn't have to go to shore for a pee break.  Nice dog!!

So now we are in Melbourne for a couple of weeks.  Some boat projects but not a lot of news for now. We will give you the update of "Thanksgiving" ala Arnault later next week.  Almost time for turkey and more turkey!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ah……the sunshine state at last!

We have made it back to Florida once again.  We can't say its been really hot but there are no frost warnings around and most of the days have been easy enough to handle.  But it is not perfect every day….

What a waste!

From Cumberland Island we just motored down to Fernandina Beach for a couple of days.  We wanted to verify our LBO (local boaters option) information with immigrations so we wouldn't have any hassles coming back into our country.  The office is within walking distance so we had a nice walk, lunch and then we decided it was only appropriate to visit the oldest bar in Florida!  Yep, we found it.  The Palace Saloon has been around for a long time, over 100 years and it was funny to see the new and old right beside each other.  By the way the "Pirate Punch" is as good as people say!

A "real Joint"

Note the old Wurlizter & cigarette machines along with an ATM

After that we made our way down to St Augustine for a week or so.  The city is beautiful and fun.  Speaking of fun, it seems that old home days is in the house as many of our cruising friends seem to be congregating here at the same time.  So far we have come across:

  • Kismet
  • Slow Flight
  • Mutual Fun
  • Lime'n
  • Blind Faith
  • Carina (on the way here)
……….and a bunch of others.  They all are on their way south with some jumping to the Bahamas now and others just getting further south.  

Wait for us!!!!!

The sunsets are getting better!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We're close enough to see our home state! FLORIDA!

Hurry and wait.  Lately that has been the deal.  We hurried to Beaufort, SC to get secure for the big weather that was going to hit the whole east coast.  Then we waited for it to pass and when a window came we hurried outside into the ocean again to make a run for the St Mary's River.  But, as of this moment, if we want to we can actually see a segment of the Sunshine State of Florida.  We are now far enough south where the waiting is nice!

But first, our run to Beaufort SC was nice and easy.  Going through Winyah Bay only involved getting out of the way of one big-A barge doing a hip-tow.  Oh yea, it was on a corner so we stayed "way" out of the way!

Look out!

Not the best pix but they are two mature Bald eagles

At Port Royal Landing Marina we decided to stay for two nights as the wind and rain made for difficult traveling.  Besides the temperature was near 40 degrees so we had electricity for the 110V heater!  Nati was very happy to stay dry and we were too.

We're not leaving the boat today!
On Sunday, mid morning Nati and s/v Kismet left the docks and headed out the Port Royal Sound and we did a really nice overnight to Cumberland Island.  With just head-sail (wind was very deep behind us) we made it to the sea buoy at the St. Mary's river at 6am.  The moon was 3/4 full for most of the trip and the seas, although fairly large just rolled right under Nati and we maxed out at 9.7kts at one point.  The trip was one of the most fun we've had in a long time!  The last 3 miles to the anchorage was against the current but the hook was down and it was time for a nap.

7+  foot tides here
 Cumberland Island - We think after being here for two days is a "magical place".……from: Wikipedia:

"The island has three major ecosystem regions. Along the western edge of the island there are large areas of salt marshes. One will also see gnarled live oak trees covered with Spanish moss and the palmetto plants at the edge of Cumberland's dense maritime forest. Cumberland Island's most famous ecosystem is its beach, which stretches over 17 miles (27 km). The island is home to many native interesting animals, as well as non-native species. There are White-tailed deersquirrelsRaccoonsNine-banded ArmadillosWild BoarsAmerican Alligators, as well as many marshland inhabitants. It is also famous for its feral horses roaming free on the island

In the 1880s Thomas M. Carnegie, brother of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, and his wife Lucy 
bought land on Cumberland for a winter retreat. In 1884, they began building a mansion on the site of Dungeness, though Carnegie never lived to see its completion. Lucy and their nine children continued to live on the island, naming their mansion Dungeness after that of Greene. Dungeness was designed as a 59-room Scottish castle. They also built pools, a golf course, and 40 smaller buildings to house the 200 servants who worked at the mansion. The last time Dungeness was used was for the 1929 wedding of a Carnegie daughter. After the Crash and the Great Depression, the family left the island and kept the mansion vacant. It burned in a 1959 fire, believed to have been started by a poacher who had been shot in the leg by a caretaker weeks before. Today, the ruins of the mansion remain on the southern end of the island. The Carnegie family owned 90% of the island.

In 1954 some of the members of the Carnegie family invited the National Park Service to the island to assess its suitability as a National Seashore. In 1955 the National Park Service named Cumberland Island as one of the most significant natural areas in the United States and plans got underway to secure it.  They, along with others, also helped push a bill through the US Congress that established Cumberland Island as a national seashore. The bill was signed by President Richard Nixon on October 23, 1972. The Carnegie family sold the island to the federal government. With donations from the Mellon Foundation, Cumberland Island became a national park."

At the "ice house" museum
After our all day wandering on the island yesterday we have to say it is one of the most beautiful places we have been to.  Over the years we have stopped at both the north and south ends of the island but the late fall weather has always been cold and rainy.  It was a lovely day yesterday to hike the trails and visit.  To see the horses and trees in a natural state makes this place really special.  The Red Cedars, palms, spanish moss hanging on the live oaks made the long walk easy.  No bugs to harass us and the sun/breeze was perfect.  We'll let the pictures tell more of the story.

After tying Dingh-go up we step into this!

The wild horses of Cumberland Island

The "wild turkeys" of Cumberland Island

On our walk to Dungeness

The remains of Dungeness

Guess he isn't afraid of us!

The "Pergola"

We are guessing:  Mercury

Looking from the west over the main fountain

The salt marsh

The 17 mile long beach

Beautiful dunes

The "live oaks"

another one

Lastly another….

After our visit here we will continue down the ICW to Fernandina Beach and then down to St Augustine.  Both stops are nice and this year we have the time to enjoy our trip south through a portion of Florida.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Going south… step at a time……

Going from Annapolis to Miami can be defined as one long trip or a lot of small steps and I think that is the way one can describe it best…….. "one step at a time".  Every day and night means something else as nothing stays the same, it is always changing.  If you don't acknowledge that you can really have a lousy time at running the east coast of the US.  I think we are realists, we enjoy our life each day and acknowledge there is work and fun.  We don't think we are on some sort of vacation.  We're retired so that means we don't have to work for the "man", but it doesn't mean we play each and every day.

Right now we are in Port Royal, SC and it feels like we are in the arctic.  Wind chill is 31 degrees, the wind is howling and the rain is blowing sideways.  What the heck??!!   Two days ago shorts and t-shirts were the norm and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  Go figure.

To back track after Bath, NC we did our 3 nights at Oriental, now one of our favorite stops.  On the way we stopped at RE Mayo's warf and picked up some shrimp.  And a great price!  How about $7.99/lb.  3 pounds for around $25 bucks!

The boy's and the girl's rooms at RE Mayo

R.E Mayo dockside

Mmm, mmm Good!

In Oriental we timed it to be there for the weekend and met a number of new folks on the docks.  It was the along with annual chili cook-off!  We tried around 13 different chills, our pick only came in second but I still have to give Anne the 1st prize as her chili (if we had ambition) would have won hands down!

Let the sampling begin

Where's our chile?

Chefs "Rigor & Mortis" with their entry

Shrimp boat work horses

From Oriental we went to see Reiner & Renate near New Bern.   We wanted to hang out for a couple of days and also to get our fix at "Spunky McDuggles", a small cool pub nearby.  The dock at their home is tight but Nati just fits in and she is perfectly safe from the elements.

Good Times

Nati's replacement

Go Reiner, Go!!!

From there we had a good window to make our first run out to Cape Lookout.  It is really pretty in the anchorage with dolphins and sea turtles.  The anchorage is deep but the holding is good so we had our chance to see the wildlife, including the wild horses.

The wild horses of Cape Lookout

We saw many of them

Cape Lookout light

Almost deserted beaches

The tides are a little high here

At the last second we thought we had a good window to make a run on the outside so we left in mid day and decided to see how far we could go before the weather shut down.  It was a great run.  We were able to go all the way to the Little River inlet, 155nm over the course of 1 1/2 days.  We found another great anchorage right at the mouth of the river and nobody goes there!  Don't tell a soul..…  Leaving the next morning for Osprey Marina turned out to be a little slower though as we fogged in right after raising the hook.  When the fog arrived we were right next to the red marker so we moved out of the channel and dropped anchor again.  No problem, just 2 hours of hanging out.

Our morning at Little River

things are looking rather interesting

at least we have the buoy to see

From Osprey we elected to run inside and make tracks as there was the big front coming that is in fact right on us at the moment.  But……we are tied to a dock and have the heater running.  It's a nice 70 degrees inside Nati!