Mid summer update

First, my trip back north in the spring of 2015, the longest trip so far.

I left Daytona for Myrtle Beach on May 1st, expecting to get to St. Simon’s Island in time to spend some time and then take a trip up to New Jersey to attend the Re Marriage of a couple of Ro’s high school friends. Great party. Stayed at St. Simon’s till June 1st. Nice place, good food, good beaches, friendly people. The restaurant at the marina was pricey but had very good food. Sal’s Pizza was the best I have had south of Brooklyn. I tried to head north once by going outside, but the seas were 7-10′ in the channel and I couldn’t get out.

June 1st I headed north inside. About 15 miles in the back of beyond of Georgia the engine started loosing oil. Stopped overnight just off the ICW at anchor and tried to figure it out, I still had 4 qts of oil so I didn’t call anyone. Next morning I started out and we lost all 4 qts inside a mile. Called BoatsUS and I was towed into Thunderbolt Marina. Got a mechanic to go over the engine, then I did the one thing you shouldn’t do, I mentioned that I thought it might be a leek in the aux oil pressure indicator feed line, BIG MISTAKE. He took it as gospel even though I said it was most probably not the problem, but he saw a drip and removed the feed line. Then he said it was good to go, so the next day I went. Half way to Beaufort the engine seized. Call to BoatsUS again, towed into Beaufort Downtown Marina. Had the mechanic, JD come out, he said the engine was dead, I agreed. Unfortunately JD could not handle a complete engine change so I called in the big boys from Marine Tech in Hilton Head Island. They could do it but the boat had to be at Skull Creek Marina. Called BoatsUS again.

Sidebar: If you own a boat bigger than 20 feet, and you don’t have BoatsUS towing insurance you should get it. All three tows were covered, over $2500 worth of towing for the yearly rate of (about) $150.

Anyway, towed the boat to Hilton Head Island (Skull Creek Marina) and got it set to have the engine changed, then I left to stay in Myrtle Beach with Ro while the work was being done. I’d tell you why I didn’t want to stay, but I don’t like talking bad about big lousy HOAs at big snooty Hilton Head Island Plantations. Not a place I would stay if I didn’t have to. The Marina was great, just hope you don’t have to go ashore.
Engine Installed
July 1st the engine is finally in, I go back down and do sea trials. All is good, brand new engine (Universal 3cyl. Diesel). I am finally on my way to Myrtle Beach. First day out I stop at Port Royal Marina fro lunch, just another cheeseburger in paradise, I fuel up and off I go only to stop at Downtown Marina to wait for the Lady Island bridge. Past that at the 3PM (last) opening and I am finally free from civilization for a while. That night I found a nice anchorage just past Fenwick Cut and spent an uneventful night there. The next day I made it all the way to Isle Of Palms. I was going to stay closer to Charleston Harbor, but the marina I was trying for would not answer the radio.
Oh well, the boat was doing 6.5Knts over the water at 2500 rpms so I was moving faster than I planned and was ahead of schedule. Spent the night in IOP and the next day I got past McCullenville without grounding. Put into Georgetown Landing for the night. Next day it was an easy cruise up to Ospery Marina. Put her in her slip, cleaned her up and went to Ro’s house.

Now, here I am on the 17th of August and I am planning my trip back south to Florida, departing October 1st.

Fall 2014

The summer is coming to a close and it’s almost time to migrate south. I took a long cruise up to Oriental, NC with a side trip to Point Lookout in July. Then on Sept 1st I sailed down to Fernandino and left the boat staged there for the trip south. I am in Myrtle Beach getting ready to go to Italy. Nov 1st I will sail down Florida till I stop or the land ends.

21 days on the boat.

On July 1st we departed Osprey Marina for a trip north. It was a beautiful day and we made it to Little River, SC. But with a hurricane coming we ducked into Cricket Creek Marina. The hurricane was a bust here but the weather was rotten so we stayed two nights. Top wind during “Aurthur” was 35mph.

Friday (the 4th of July) we took off for Southport, NC and had a nice trip, all electronics were working as advertised (rudder response is a little high but I’ll fix that when I get back). Got in to Southport about 4PM and we tied up at the north end of the Face dock, perfect for viewing the Fireworks over the bay.

Saturday we traveled unmolested to Wrightsville Beach. The trip up the Cape Fear River and trough Snows Cut was timed perfectly to take advantage of the tides. Had the famous “Fish & Chips” (Tuna & Taco chips) at Dockside Restaurant. Lots of people at the restaurant, which was also our dock for the night.

Anchored out in Mile Hammock on the 6th (Sunday) after a day of dodging all the weekend boaters on the ICW. Mile Hammock is a protected and dredged anchorage that is part of Camp lejenue, the Marine base. This spot is well known by ICW travelers but locals only use it for fishing. It was a very quiet night under an almost full moon. Four other boats anchored that night, it can fit about 15-20.

Monday we SAILED up to Morehead City. Morehead City Yacht Basin is a nice marina, we stayed two nights. Our original plan was to go outside here to get to the bay behind Cape Lookout. This was squashed but high winds and rough seas. So instead we went up the Adams Creek and across the Neuse River (again under sail) to Oriental, NC. A quaint little town that is a must stop on the ICW. Had dinner at M&M’s, also a must stop. And breakfast at Beans Coffee. Stayed two nights.

After Oriental we went back to Morehead City Yacht Basin getting ready to head home. But first, the next day was Saturday, Ro’s birthday.
My surprise for her was that I checked the weather and it was good, so we went outside and sailed to Lookout Bight.

Lookout Bight

Lookout Bight was as beautiful as we expected. The water was clear the sand on the beach was soft, the shelling was great. The first day we took the dinghy to shore and collected shells. That night was Ro’s birthday, and the moon helped, it was the brightest and largest moon in years. This was because it was also the closest it would come for a long time, it was called a “Super Moon”. Day two we took the dinghy to the cut in the dunes to get to the ocean. The water was warm, the surf was nil. But the sun was hot and we had a good time. Traveling back first we ran out of gas, then the oar broke. Climbing back on board the ladder standoff broke. This was the start of the troubles on this trip.

The next day (Monday) we started back to Morehead City. Right into the face of 25-30 knt winds and 7′ seas across our port bow. The 1 1/2 hours we were out in that it rocked and rolled like I have never experienced before. A boat that left the same time as we did tried to set his sails but we watched as they shook back and forth in the head wind the whole way. But we made it back to Morehead City with only one casualty, my computer fell and broke the screen, total loss.

Next day, the 14th, we set off for home only to be stuck in 30-35 knt winds. At first it wasn’t so bad, maybe 15-20, so I set my jib. It worked for a while, but the wind shifted and the sail luffed and the lines got tangled. I crawled out to the for-deck an tried to untangle them. I got beat bad by the ropes flaying in the wind. The sail suffered, too, most of the trailing edge lost it’s stitching and will have to go to the sail maker to be repaired. After I finally got the sail in I spotted Spooners Creek Marina about a 1/4 mile ahead. Called in but no response. Figured I could go in and at least regroup. Got in and the dockmaster was standing on the dock fueling a small fishing boat. He helped us tie up and we stayed for two days which rained all the time.

Finally took off from Spooners Creek on Wednesday. We got passed Swansboro and Sneeds Ferry but didn’t want to go all the way to Wrightsville Beach so we stopped at Harbour Village Marina a very nice marina with a good restaurant nearby that delivers. At least our bad weather troubles were over.

Next it was on to Southport. And then to Dock Holiday Marina and home at Osprey Marina without any more drama. It was a fun trip and lots of excitement, but we were glad to be home.

My Spring migration to Myrtle Beach is complete.

Lots to catch up on. I have been in Myrtle Beach since Monday, this is Thursday. I left Daytona on May 1st, stayed inside to St. Augustine. It rained real hard just as I entered St. Augustine harbor. Woke up on the 2nd to find a full day of rain and wind, so I remained in St. Augustine. Took a walk to the Sailors Exchange and picked up a rain slicker, the one I had was well worn out. The new one is a well known brand and very well made, Sailors Exchange price, $25.00.

Saturday, May 3rd started a week of really nice weather and I took off for Jacksonville. Got to Jacksonville Beach and stopped at Beach Marine for the night. Sunday I went up to Fernandina, the shrimp festival was in full swing, the harbor was jammed with boats and the docks with people.

Monday I was able to get away about 10 AM and stayed inside to Jekyll Island. Spent the night there to prepair for my first outside foray on this trip. I had originally planned to only go as far as St. Catherine’s Inlet and anchor in Big Tom Creek, but after looking at the charts I decided WTF I’ll go all the way to Port Royal. This would bypass most of Northern Georgia including Savannah. Went outside at Brunswick Harbor to 15 knt winds from the south west and 3 foot seas. Got the sails up and with the new Autopilot working well I set the course for 30 degrees Magnetic and didn’t have to touch a thing until Port Royal, over 100 miles. I met the Port Royal channel at midnight and set my anchor just before the McTeer Bridge 3 1/2 hours later. In the morning I motored up the waterway to Downtown Marina in Beaufort, where I stayed for two nights.

This brings me to May 9th, a Friday. I followed the Intracoastal through Southern South Carolina to Church Creek on Wadmalaw Island off the North Edisto River. At first I thought I would be in for a rocky night, but the wind died and it was as if I were in a marina.

Next day, Saturday, I sailed across the Charleston Harbor to Isle Of Palms, my last marina of the trip. Sunday I went up the ICW past McClellanville without a problem since I made sure I hit Jeremy Creek at high tide. This area is known for very low water at low tide. But I got through and continued on to Big Duck Creek between the North Santee Bay and the ICW, where I threw out the anchor for the last time.

Monday, May 12th dawned bright and windless as I lifted the anchor to head up the Waccamaw River to my summer home at Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach. Arrived at exactly 2:00 PM. Secured the boat and Ro picked me up to go to dinner and my first night in a real bed since the high wind at Cocoa forced me into a hotel back in January.

In St. Augustine, Sailing north again.

Sailed up to St. Aug from Daytona yesterday. Got cought in the afternoon “showers” . Need to get a little work done on the boat so I won’t be getting out of here till about 11. Only need to go about 25 miles so I should be OK (Unless the sky opens up again)……..(About 1 hr later)….I might be here till at least tomorrow. It is a perfectly miserable rainy day. Looked at the weather radar in the net and the rain streaches all the way to the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

Flagler tower

The Nomad has a completly integrated navigation system

I completed installation of my new electronics suite today. I have two chartplotters, a Raymarine A75 MFD at the helm, and the old Lowrance HDS8m at the Navstation down below. Added into the mix is a new Raymarine EV-100 Autopilot. The autopilot is connected to the Multi Function Display as are the wind and depth/speed inputs. Everything is “talking” to each other via a SeatalkNG Backbone with some NEMA 2000 inputs.

Nomad Navionics Suite

New Chart Plotter (Multi Function Display) To be installed.

I will install a new MFD starting tomorrow. It is the Raymarine A75 to go with the new autopilot and GPS receiver. They will be interfaced to give me more control and easier long passage in the ocean. I have already moved the Lowrance MFD to the Nav station. The Lowrance will also be completly intigrated with the autopilot and the other instruments, but It will not control the autopilot. I have the Lowrance on right now as I am typing this and I am reminded of why I wanted a new one. It has blanked out and restarted three times since I turned it on a half hour ago.

The New A75 Multi Function Display (MFD)

Raymarine A75 MFD

I remember my days at Sperry, I worked this type of equipment on the BIG ships, oil tankers, container ships, large ferries. I will have more and better “Navionics” than any of them at that time. If the Exxon Valdeze had what I have they would not have gone aground. I still can’t understand how that Italian cruise ship did run aground.

Next year I will go for digital radar, viewable from the Raymarine MFD.

I’ll get the 18″ Radome.

Raymarine Radomes

Oh ya….Because I can.

Back at Daytona, again

Moved back to Daytona (Loggerhead Marina) to prepair for my trip north. I will depart on May 1st with my first stop in St. Augustine.

My brother-in-law just moved into a condo across the Halifax River from the marina. Went over for dinner yesterday and had a good time. George's Condo This is George’s Condo taken from Loggerhead Marina.

This morning I got out the kayak and paddled over to the condo. But I didn’t have a phone, and no way of getting in so I turned around and paddled back. I might do the same tomorrow, round trip is 1.5 miles so it’s a good workout. Got in and out of the kayak on my new ladder, worked as advertised, easier then getting in and out at a floating dock. Need to get some wet shoes though.

Two years before the mast.

It’s been two years since I left California and headed east to live on the boat. All I can say is there is no change in my feelings about living aboard. Far from getting boring it is getting better. The past two months I have been in Cocoa, Fl, and on the 1st of February I will head north to Titusville. Only about 20 miles but the harbor is better, less exposure to the waves.

Living aboard has different appeal to different people, I like the solitude in the middle of a crowd. I can be alone or with like minded people, my choice. And I meet new friends almost every day.

Next month will be hard again, Feb 5th is the worst day. The last year I had with Helen was a painful bliss. Horrible what was happening, but Helen and I were never so much in love as that last year. I hope she had that always in her mind, I know I carry it with me still.