December 29, 2015

December 29, 2015  Day 37  South for the Winter 2015-16
Legacy Harbour Marina
Ft. Myers, FL

We have been here for over a week now and have stayed very busy. 

We had two Looper couples over for Christmas Eve dinner to share our traditional lasagna meal.  On Christmas Day we joined several other boaters for a potluck dinner and ate way too much.  We enjoyed talking to our family throughout the day also!

On Saturday we went out to breakfast with Rick and Margi and Darrell and Lisa and then drove to Port Charlotte with Rick and Margi to see the property they were going to buy. It is a very nice lot on one of many canals in the area.  We like the floor plan they have chosen for their house.

We made a big purchase on Monday and for the first time in almost four years, we now own a car!  We chose a new Jeep Cherokee and are very happy with it. Bill has been studying manuals all day. We went out to dinner at Cristof's with Rick and Margi last night to celebrate their new property and our new car!

We moved our boat to another slip (same marina) this afternoon and will stay here for about two months. Everyone is very friendly and welcomed us to this dock!  When we turned on our Christmas tree nights this evening, our neighbors applauded! 

We are taking care of cleaning projects when we aren’t visiting with others!  We do plan to get the boat up for sale and need to de-clutter it first.  Lots to do!!

We will spend New Year’s Eve with Rick and Margi and will have a “game night” on their boat.  And yes, food!! Joyce and Margi enjoy planning meals together and will do the shopping tomorrow, after pedicures. First things first!
We have had very warm weather in the high 80’s since we arrived.  It has been amazing.

We will write the blog again in a few days.

We wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!

December 22, 2015

December 22, 2015  Day 30  South for the Winter 2015-16
Legacy Harbour Marina
Ft. Myers, FL

After four weeks travel, we arrived at Legacy Harbour Marina this afternoon and will be here for the winter.  We are happy to be here! Rick and Margi, Looper friends on Journey, were here to greet us.

We got checked in and used a dock cart to pick up all the packages we had waiting for us.

We went to dinner with Rick and Margi at the popular Capone’s restaurant downtown for some great pizza.  We stopped back at their boat to visit for a while. We are pretty tired from our day of cruising which included going through two more locks today. Tomorrow will be a busy day provisioning and cleaning the boat.

We will probably not write the blog every day but will update it as often as possible.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015  Day 29  South for the Winter 2015-16
City of Moore Haven Marina
Moore Haven, FL

After 8½ hours of travel, we are so happy to be docked in Moore Haven.  We left our anchorage in Stuart at 7:40 this morning and went down the St. Lucie River.  We reached the St. Lucie Lock an hour later and were the only boat in the lock.  Two and a half hours later we entered the Port Mayaca Lock with one other boat. Sometimes the water level is even at this lock and you can just drive through. Today we needed to be raised two inches so we had to go through the whole process of tying up in the lock.   

When we departed the Port Mayaca Lock, we entered Lake Okeechobee.  With the winds today the forecast for the lake was a moderate chop.  It was not too uncomfortable but we were glad to get off the choppy lake water 39 miles later!  The exit is at a town called Clewiston and we entered the river there which is more like a narrow canal.

Our final lock of the day was at Moore Haven and we locked down about seven feet.  Five minutes later we arrived at the City Marina in Moore Haven. We were greeted by very nice boaters who had arrived earlier in the day.  We soon learned they are Platinum Loopers (Loopers who have completed the Loop at least twice.)  When Joyce walked across the street to pay for the docking at City Hall, she noticed a large Nativity Scene on the lawn and was so impressed the city had the courage to display this!  Well done!!

We had a quick dinner tonight. We are exhausted after our long day. But the end is in sight as we will arrive in Ft. Myers tomorrow, our winter destination!

December 20, 2015

December 20, 2015  Day 28  South for the Winter 2015-16
At anchor, St. Lucie River
Stuart, FL

We cruised for about 5 ½ hours today from Vero Beach to Stuart. It was windy but we were in fairly protected water much of the way. By 10:15 we passed Ft. Pierce; then Jensen Beach at 11:50. 

We reached the St. Lucie Inlet at 12:45. This is the point one either continues south on the ICW toward Palm Beach and Miami or turns to enter the St. Lucie River.  We are on the river, which allows us to continue on to Lake Okeechobee and take the shortcut across Florida.

We only needed to have one bridge open for us and that was here in Stuart.  We are in a large anchorage and have decent protection from wind. Shortly after we anchored Joyce baked a batch of Christmas cookies. We had a light dinner and are just relaxing for the evening.

Tomorrow will be a long day of travel – nine hours plus transiting three locks.  The forecast for the lake is a moderate chop.  We will go as far as Moore Haven and look for a spot at the city marina.


December 19, 2015

December 19, 2015  Day 27  South for the Winter 2015-16
Loggerhead Marina
Vero Beach, FL

We got an early start this morning by leaving the anchorage in Cocoa just after 7:00.  We knew the winds would be getting stronger as the day progressed.  Within three hours, our 11mph wind became 22 mph.  It was mostly on our stern and we weathered through it.  There was not much boat traffic, a rare occurrence on a Saturday in Florida.

We arrived at Loggerhead Marina in Vero Beach, at 12:30 and went to the fuel dock first. Then we went to our slip and got secured. Thankfully the wind was much calmer on that side of the marina!  Joyce spent some time vacuuming, polishing wood trim, and doing laundry after we arrived.

At 5:30, our friends Dick and Deanna picked us up for a nice dinner in Vero Beach. They are at the municipal marina but also have their car here.  We visited for three hours and had fun reminiscing about our boating adventures.

We will head to a protected anchorage in Stuart tomorrow. The wind will be strong again!


December 18, 2015

December 18, 2015  Day 26  South for the Winter 2015-16
At anchor
Cocoa, FL

He caught a fish just as we passed by!
Entrance to the Haulover Canal

We were up early this morning to get an early start on our cruise to Cocoa. We did not like the forecast but it seemed unproductive to stay put.  We did encounter rain much of the day but it was not a problem.  The wind was not as strong as we had expected either.  Joyce took advantage of having the generator running this morning and did some baking for Christmas while we were underway.

We reached the Haulover Canal which connects Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River about 1015.  We like going through here because of the wildlife. We saw herons, pelicans, egrets, ospreys, and two manatees!  It is a very narrow canal and on sunny days is full of little boats.  We were happy to have it to ourselves!

We passed by Titusville and then anchored just south of the Merritt Island Bridge at Cocoa at 1330.  It is a big anchorage with easy access by dinghy into Cocoa Village. But, it rained again after we arrived and we opted to stay put.  Dinner was pizza on the boat!
Sour cream coffee cake is an annual tradition for Christmas morning.
So glad we have a big freezer on the boat!

Tomorrow’s destination is a marina in Vero Beach!


December 17, 2015  Day 25  South for the Winter 2015-16
Free city dock
New Smyrna Beach, FL

We left Palm Coast Marina just before 0800 and traveled south on the ICW for 5 ½ hours.  We had a sunny sky most of the day with clouds building up in the afternoon.  We had a lot of small boat traffic including one pulling a water skier today. We also had to have four bridges open for us. It is good that they open on request, not on a fixed schedule.  We passed Daytona Beach and the Ponce de Leon Inlet with its lighthouse.

We reached New Smyrna Beach at 1320 and found a space on their free dock. It is a small fixed dock that holds two boats but the dock is curved which makes docking interesting!  Joyce was prepared to lasso a piling but was happy that a guy walking by stopped and caught our lines. We had quite a bit of current and some wind. 

We decided to stay on board and relax for the rest of the day. We even had leftovers for dinner.

Tomorrow’s destination is Cocoa!


December 16, 2015

December 15-16, 2015  Days 23-24  South for the Winter 2015-16
This egret never moved when we walked past him
on our dock
The Bridge of Lions opening!
One of many lovely homes along the ICW

Palm Coast Marina
Palm Coast, FL

A quick catch up tonight.  We kept the rental car Tuesday morning in Jacksonville and ran some more errands. Joyce also had a doctor’s appointment.  We went out for lunch, returned the car and then spent the rest of the day and evening on the boat.

We delayed our departure until after 9:00 this morning to wait for the tide to come back in.  We had another good cruising day of over 56 miles to Palm Coast.  We passed St. Augustine at 1:00 when we went through the opening of the Bridge of Lions.  We arrived at Palm Coast at 3:40 and stopped at the fuel dock first to empty the holding tank.  Then we docked on the face dock.  Dinner was the pork tenderloin that we had cooking all day in the crock pot. It is always nice to have a meal ready!

We will continue south in the morning with New Smyrna Beach as our goal!


December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015  Day 22  South for the Winter 2015-16
Palm Cove Marina
Jacksonville, FL

Just a quick update tonight… It seemed strange to be driving a car, instead of a boat today!  We picked up a rental car at noon and first went to a UPS store to mail the remaining Christmas packages. From there, we went to Publix and made a sizable food provisioning stop.

We also made a decision to leave Jacksonville on Wednesday and continue south. This will put us in Ft. Myers on December 22.  We spent some time this morning making new reservations.

We had dinner on board and are watching television and reading this evening.  We are still running the air conditioner too!

December 13, 2015

December 13, 2015  Day 21  South for the Winter 2015-16
Palm Cove Marina
Jacksonville, FL

Always sad to see a boat that has sunk
Boat coming to the rescue of one with engine fire

Another good travel day of 4 ½ hours got us to Palm Cove Marina in Jacksonville.  We saw lots of small boats out today, probably because it was a warm Sunday afternoon. Even at the marina, small boats were constantly going in and out of their slips or being hauled in and out by the boat lift.  We did witness a small boat that had an engine fire. Before we could reach him, two other small boats arrived and they got everything under control.  Never a dull moment!

After we got secured to the dock, we decided to stay on the boat. We needed some down time!  Joyce also did a few loads of laundry and fixed a light dinner.  We spent the evening reading!

Tomorrow we will rent a car and run errands.  We will stay here at least three nights – we are still trying to plan the best schedule.  At any rate it is good to be in Florida. We actually had to run the air conditioning this evening!

December 12, 2015

December 12, 2015  Day 20  South for the Winter 2015-16
At anchor
Cumberland Island, GA

This is getting very repetitive but we are happy to say we had another wonderful cruising day!  We passed Jekyll Island at high tide which is a good thing with its shallow water, and St. Andrews Sound was very calm!

We passed the Kings Bay Naval Sub Station at 12:35 but did not see any submarines this time. The base is always protected by a security boat that makes sure no other boat gets too close.
St. Andrews Sound

Sunset at Cumberland Island
We arrived at our destination at Cumberland Island at 1:05 and anchored along with 10 sailboats!  We were happy to see another motor yacht arrive later this afternoon.  We did not see any of the wild horses that roam the island although we have spotted them in the past.  We have taken our dinghy to shore to tour the island on previous trips so we stayed on the boat this time. It is a very worthwhile island to explore though!

We also had a nice time chatting with our grandson, David to wish him a happy 10th birthday! 

We had dinner on board then watched a movie and read books to complete our evening.  Tomorrow we will go to Jacksonville, FL for a week!

December 11, 2015

December 10-11, 2015  Days 18-19  South for the Winter 2015-16
Brunswick Landing Marina
Brunswick. GA

On Thursday we traveled about six hours from an anchorage on the Vernon River to one on the Duplin River.  We had a very good cruising day including crossing St. Catherine’s Sound.  We intentionally anchored in the Duplin River at low tide.  Just beyond that is the Little Mud River and we definitely wanted to avoid that at low tide!

We left our anchorage this morning (Friday) and headed south again.  Again we had a sunny and calm day which continues to amaze us! There is also very little boat traffic.  We passed the bridge at St. Simon’s at 1015.  By 1115 we were approaching Brunswick Landing Marina. At that point we received a call on the radio from a sailboat that had left the marina but had engine problems. He was just trying to caution us since he was in our path.  Bill immediately told the captain that we would tow him back to the marina.  We were able to do this successfully and all turned out well.  We stopped at the fuel dock first and then tied up for the night. 

The ICW is like glass!
We decided not to take a walk into the town since we were both tired. So, Joyce did laundry on the boat, and then fixed dinner.  We had a quiet afternoon and evening just reading and watching television. 
Towing the disabled sailboat

Tomorrow will be our last day in Georgia when we anchor at Cumberland Island.

December 9, 2015

December 9, 2015  Day 17 South for the Winter 2015-16
At anchor
Vernon River, south of Savannah, GA

This large container ship was coming down the Savannah River to go offshore.
We were at a crossroads to the river and wisely slowed down to let her go first!
Another sunset with beautidul reflections!

We don’t know how long this incredible weather can last but we are certainly enjoying it. Our four hour cruise today took us from our anchorage in Bull Creek near Hilton Head to the Vernon River, south of Savannah.  We stopped early to avoid being in shallow water at low tide. We will tackle those spots tomorrow at high tide!

We did some cleaning, talked to family members, cooked dinner and watched television this evening.

We will head to another anchorage in Georgia tomorrow!

December 8, 2015

December 8, 2015  Day 16 South for the Winter 2015-16
At anchor
Bull Creek, near Hilton Head, SC

Since we had a short travel day we did not depart Beaufort until 10:15 this morning. Bob and Janet stopped by to say goodbye before they drove home. We hope to see them this spring in Florida.
We had an easy cruise of just over three hours – warm, sunny, and calm!  We arrived at our anchorage at 1:30.  We did not want to go further today because we would arrive at a shallow area at low tide later this afternoon.

Bill changed the engine oil this afternoon and Joyce finished wrapping all the Christmas gifts.  We had a dinner onboard and relaxed for the evening.  We will head to an anchorage in Georgia tomorrow.

December 7, 2015  Day 15 South for the Winter 2015-16
Downtown Marina
Beaufort, SC

This was another very busy and fun day! In the morning, Bob & Janet drove us out to Hunting Island State Park to see the lighthouse and to walk on the beach. We had it to ourselves! Joyce found a perfect large shell to bring back to the boat. We also drove around the campground area. Beautiful place!

We came back and had lunch, and then Joyce and Janet went shopping with stops at Walmart, TJ Maxx, Grayco, and Publix. We did not get back until 6pm but we had a great time shopping and browsing!!  After we returned, all went out for a very nice dinner at nearby Panini’s. 

We finished the evening by returning to their boat and playing another round of Ticket to Ride.  Janet was victorious this time!

Hunting Island State Park Lighthouse

We had the beach to ourselves
We will leave tomorrow for an anchorage near Hilton Head.

December 6, 2015

December 6, 2015  Day 14 South for the Winter 2015-16
Downtown Marina
Beaufort, SC

This was another very busy day!  Bill spent much of the day replacing a water faucet with connections very difficult to reach and remove. He eventually completed the project and we could once again turn the water back on. 

Joyce spent time wrapping Christmas presents and baking bread.   Our friends Bob and Janet arrived after lunch with their adorable new puppy.  We walked to the Beaufort Christmas parade and had a great time watching the floats, bands, cars, horses. etc.  Afterwards, Bob drove Bill to a hardware store for a plumbing fitting.
Janet and Zeus!
Christmas Parade

We got together for dinner on Bob and Janet’s boat and enjoyed lasagna, salad and fresh bread! Then we played Ticket to Ride, our favorite train game! By the end of the evening we were all tired from our long day.

Tomorrow we will run errands, do laundry, and go out for dinner.

December 5, 2015

December 5, 2015  Day 13 South for the Winter 2015-16
Downtown Marina
Beaufort, SC

Such a full day!  We left our quiet anchorage just before eight and cruised for five hours to the Downtown Marina in Beaufort.  We made excellent time!!  We were at low tide much of the way and had to watch the water levels frequently.

As soon as we got docked we walked through the downtown park area on the waterfront and visited the Shrimp Festival. Then we walked through many of the shops.  Beaufort is celebrating all weekend! We had ringside seats on our fly bridge tonight for the Lighted Boat Parade. There were 19 boats of all shapes and sizes that were well decorated and with creative lighting! They came past the harbor twice.

We are staying here three nights and look forward to the arrival of our Looper friends, Bob and Janet tomorrow. They keep their boat here and are driving down by car for a few days.


December 4, 2015  Day 12 South for the Winter 2015-16
At anchor Church’s Creek
Sullivan’s Island, SC

Knowing we would have a long day we departed Georgetown at 0750.  It was very chilly in the morning!  We were fortunate to have favorable tide much of the way as the trip to Charleston is known for several low areas of shoaling. We passed by McClellanvillle at 1050 and Isle of Palms at 1330. We did fine although the channel was not well marked.  They are starting to dredge now and that will eventually help. 

We weren’t sure we could make it to our intended anchorage before dark so we called a marina to make a reservation.  Fortunately we reached Elliot’s Cut, just south of Charleston at 1515 and knew we could make it. Joyce made a quick call to cancel our reservation at St. John’s Yacht Club and we continued on south.
Our anchorage at Church's Creek,
shared with a sailboat

We reached Church’s Creek at 1700 and anchored just before sunset!  We have been here several times in the past.

We prepared a spaghetti and meatball dinner and relaxed after our nine hour cruising day.

Tomorrow we will go to Beaufort, SC and dock at the Downtown Marina for three days!

December 3, 2015

December 3, 2015  Day 11 South for the Winter 2015-16
Harborwalk Marina
Georgetown, SC

We enjoyed another good travel day although it was much cooler.  We departed Barefoot Marina and first traveled to Osprey Marina to get fuel. We managed to get an even lower price than last week at $1.849/gallon for diesel!  It was definitely worth the extra stop.

We continued on to Georgetown and docked at Harbortown Marina at 3:30.  As soon as we got checked in we walked around the downtown and visited some of the small shops.  Stopping here is a bit of déjà vu as we bought Carried Away here in Georgetown four years ago this month!  After completing our walking tour we came back to the boat and cooked dinner and just relaxed for the evening.

We will depart in the morning and head to Charleston, SC. 

December 2, 2015

December 2, 2015  Day 10 South for the Winter 2015-16
Barefoot Marina
North Myrtle Beach, SC

We stayed in port as planned and had a good day. Bill’s cousin, also Bill, and his wife Diane picked us up and we went to Greg Norman’s Australian Grille for a very delightful and leisurely lunch. 

When we returned from lunch we stopped to say hello to a couple on S/V Arabella, a beautiful vintage sailboat we had seen for the past few days. They just docked here this afternoon and came over later to Carried Away. We had a very nice visit sharing boating stories!

Boating chores today included baking pumpkin bread, doing laundry and bleeding the steering system.

Although it rained this afternoon and evening, we have a good forecast for traveling to Georgetown, SC tomorrow. 

December 1, 2015

December 1, 2015  Day 9 South for the Winter 2015-16
Barefoot Marina
North Myrtle Beach, SC

The day started off as overcast with even a few sprinkles but soon turned into a mostly sunny day. And yes, day eight was as calm as the others. That was especially good since we had to cross the Cape Fear River.  We passed familiar towns such as Southport and Holden Beach in North Carolina.  Dredging made passing by Lockwood Folly and Shallotte more comfortable!  We also reached another milestone when we crossed the South Carolina border!

We arrived at Barefoot Marina at 3pm and were happy to get tied up on their dock.  We will stay here two nights and get caught up on some chores. We also look forward to meeting Bill’s cousin and his wife for lunch tomorrow.