April 28, 2016

April 26-28, 2016  Days 22-24  Spring 2016
At anchor in front of the Battery
Charleston, SC

There seems to be a pattern here. We did try to leave on Tuesday. Just as we were ready to cast off, we saw more smoke coming out of the starboard exhaust. So, we called the mechanic back and decided to replace all remaining injectors. They had to be ordered so we took the courtesy car once again and drove 40 minutes each way to pick them up on Wednesday.  By late Wednesday afternoon, the work was complete and the engine sounded good.

So, we cast off again this morning. As soon as we were free from the dock the starboard engine stalled out.  We made the decision then to keep going and just run on the port engine.  When we return to Virginia we will have it looked at by CAT mechanics to get to the source of the problem. We had hoped it was the injectors but it is apparently more than that.

We did have a calm travel day which was good. We had rain the first two hours, but it was not a problem.  We decided to go all the way to Charleston and anchor. We are happy to be anchored across from the Battery, lined with its antebellum homes.  We just beat a thunderstorm and were anchored before the rain started. There were huge threatening clouds!
We are anchored across from the Battery

Storm clouds at anchor!

We had dinner onboard and are relaxing for the evening – post storm and post boating concerns!

April 25, 2016

April 22-25, 2016  Days 18-21  Spring 2016
Port Royal Landing Marina
Port Royal, SC

Our one or two day intended stay at Port Royal turned into five days!  We decided to have another mechanic look at our starboard engine.  This was done on Friday and we needed to have one more fuel injector replaced.  Of course it had to be ordered and that spanned th
Dinner with Bill & Darlene at Plum's
e weekend.  So, we took the courtesy car this morning and drove to a Caterpillar supply company and picked it up. We also picked up fuel and air filters at Caterpillar.  Our mechanic met us afterwards and installed everything promptly. The engine ran smoothly and there was no smoke in the exhaust. 
The Dragon Boat team!

In the meantime, we had a wonderful visit with Darlene and Bill, old friends from our Ohio neighborhood and church who now live in nearby Bluffton. They came to our boat Sunday afternoon for a nice visit. Then we drove to Beaufort for a nice seafood dinner at the popular Plum’s restaurant.

Joyce also took time to finish all provisioning and got a haircut on the weekend. We have greatly appreciated having access to a courtesy car!

We decided to go out for dinner again this evening – this was just a walk to the end of our dock. The Back Porch Grille sits on the marina’s property. We had a nice leisurely meal on their deck, enjoying the view.  On the way back to the boat we saw a Dragon Boat with a crew of 20 people leave our dock. The crew is made of primarily of cancer survivors who row three times a week. They compete with other dragon boats throughout the state! How impressive!

The boat is clean, another injector and filters have been replaced, and we are ready to depart in the morning.  We will head back to an anchorage at Church’s Creek, south of Charleston that we have used several times.

April 22, 2016

April 18-21, 2016  Days 14-17  Spring 2016
Port Royal Landing Marina
Port Royal, SC

Monday was a long, but necessary travel day on the ICW through northern Florida, passing by Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach. By 1:30, we were in Georgia!

We passed Cumberland Island, where we usually anchor, but pushed on farther this time. We reached St. Andrews Sound at 4:00. The waves weren’t too bad but the ocean had not calmed down yet from recent high winds.

Luckily, Brunswick Landing Marina (Brunswick, GA) was still open at 6pm, (thanks to two other late arrivals) so we were able to dock there at the end of an eleven hour day.
Sunset on the Crescent River in Georgia

Knot Too Big at anchor on Crescent River

We met three other Loopers on Tuesday morning and after getting fuel, we departed with Ken and Donna on Knot Too Big.  This was a day to watch the tides in Georgia. We knew we would arrive at the Little Mud River at low tide, so we stopped at 1:30 to anchor. Knot Too Big rafted to us and we had a nice visit with them.  By 3:45, we resumed our travel and continued on through the spots that now had enough water. We found a peaceful anchorage in the Crescent River where we spent the night.

We got another early start on Wednesday and continued north. More timing was needed to get through Hell’s Gate, but we did fine. Soon we were passing small towns, such as Isle of Hope and Thunderbolt, south of Savannah.  By 3:30 we entered South Carolina, feeling good about our progress.  We anchored in Bull Creek, by Bull Island (near Hilton Head) with Knot Too Big, rafting together again.  We had a very nice shared dinner of chicken, rice, salad, and bread and enjoyed the company!  We have anchored here many times in the past, so it was good to share it with others

On Thursday we said goodbye as they planned to go further. We just took a 3 hour cruise to Port Royal Landing, arriving at 11:15.  Joyce took the courtesy car to Publix to do substantial provisioning. Bill cleaned the boat while she was gone.  The salt accumulation was terrible!

We had a nice dinner on board and relaxed after our busy day. We will stay here at Port Royal on Friday as well.

April 17, 2016

April 15-17, 2016  Days 11-13  Spring 2016
At anchor
“Mile 769” north of St. Augustine, FL

We spent Friday and Saturday in Daytona Beach for a total of six days!  The mechanic installed the new fuel injector Friday morning.  However, we still could not leave because of the wind.  Staying in port also gave us wifi access and Bill needed to do the taxes on Friday. Thank goodness that is all done!   Saturday was much the same with high winds so again, we stayed. Oh, and the cat came back for another visit - this time she came down into the salon!

We finally left Daytona Beach this morning (Sunday) and headed north on the ICW.  The winds were ok for a while and then picked up in mid-afternoon, creating whitecaps on the water.  We handled it ok. We were badly waked by a sport fisher boat however! Some boaters are rude and careless and he would fit in these categories!  The winds probably kept some boaters off the water even though it was Sunday in Florida!

We passed Ormond Beach, Palm Coast, and St. Augustine today.  We had to have three bridges open for us on our request.  We were able to get under the Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine because it was low tide. That bridge only opens on the hour and half hour. 

We also passed the St. Augustine Inlet and were amazed at the breakers on the ocean. No one would have wanted to travel off shore today!

We reached our anchorage at 3:10 and joined two sailboats who got here first. Even with the wind, we are well protected by trees.  We called our daughter to wish her a happy birthday, then relaxed with wine and cheese before having dinner.

We will try to leave at sunrise tomorrow and travel a long distance. Our goal is Georgia!

April 14, 2016

April 12-14, 2016  Days 8-10  Spring 2016
Daytona Marina & Boat Works
Daytona Beach, FL

The best of plans… When we left our anchorage at Cocoa on Tuesday morning, we intended to travel to New Smyrna. However, our port engine was running rough and we decided to go all the way to Daytona Beach to have it looked at.  We arrived at 4:30, glad to be docked after a day of uncertainty!

We had a diesel mechanic diagnose the problem: an injector, which Bill suspected as well.  We will get a new injector installed tomorrow, and are very happy it was nothing more serious.  Now we just have to wait for a weather window to continue our trip north. Winds, rain, and thunderstorms are in the forecast through Saturday. So we will stay put!

We took a nice walk today and went over to Halifax Harbor Marina. We were there last spring for an MTOA rendezvous.  Our friends, Ann and Ken on M/V Charis had just arrived and we visited with them for a while on their boat.
Loved the relaxed golden retriever out sailing today

An unexpected guest!
Apparently this cat visits everyone's boat!
We got back to our own boat before the rain began. We had dinner on board and just relaxed for the evening.
Sunset at Cocoa

April 11, 2016

April 10-11, 2016  Days 6-7  Spring 2016
At anchor
Cocoa, FL

We were able to do some relaxing on our second day in Ft. Pierce. We took a nice walk around the harbor area in the morning. We would like to come back here to spend additional time.  Later Bill took a nap while Joyce went back to Publix with Janet.  Then Janet drove Joyce over to Hutchinson Island to see the beach. It is a very pretty area!

We had a very nice shared Mexican themed dinner on Harmony with Janet and Bob; Ann and Ken; and Julie and Andy.

We departed Ft. Pierce at 0800 this morning (Monday), thinking we were “gone with the wind”!  Although the wind was 15-20 mph, it did not seem bad on the water, and we did fine. The only problem with the water was the sheer number of boats out there today!  Many of the sailboats were under sail in the channel and we had to adjust speed to get around them.  There were many motoryachts cruising north also – the snowbirds are going home!

We arrived at our anchorage in Cocoa at 3:30 after cruising 68 miles. We had expected more boats here, but we are just one of three.  We enjoyed cheese and crackers after we got anchored and are having a quick dinner later this evening.

Tomorrow we will look for an anchorage or space on the free wall near New Smyrna. 

April 10, 2016

April 9, 2016  Days 4-5  Spring 2016
Ft. Pierce City Marina
Ft. Pierce, FL

We departed Moore Haven at 0750 on Friday and went right into the Moore Haven Lock with one other boat.  The waterway is narrow and is lined by some farmlands, swamp, and occasional small marinas, and homes along the way. 

Bill spotted something swimming in the water right in front of our boat and slowed down to avoid hitting it. He immediately realized it was an alligator. Fortunately for the gator and for us, we missed it!  We did not expect to see one in the middle of the canal – they usually stay along the banks or in the protected swamps.

We reached Lake Okeechobee around 10:00 and had an easy crossing. The lake was a little choppy but not a problem.  At the end of the lake we entered the Port Mayaca Lock and were alone in the lock which lowered us all of six inches.  We were now in the Sr. Lucie Canal at 1:00.  We continued on past Indiantown and had to wait about ten minutes for the railroad bridge to open.  We entered the final lock, at St. Lucie, at 3:40. Again, we were alone in the lock which dropped us about 14 feet.  By 4:00 we were on our way again, and headed into Stuart.  We anchored at Stuart with a few sailboats just after 5pm. We cooked dinner on the grill, relaxed, and spent a very nice, calm evening at anchor after our nine hour day of cruising.

On Saturday, we left our anchorage at 0800 and continued north on the ICW.  By 0920 we passed the St. Lucie Inlet, and by 10:00 we were passing Jensen Beach. There were several recreational boats out plus the boats heading back north to their home ports.  A typical Saturday on the ICW!

Today was at least a shorter travel day and we arrived at the Ft. Pierce City Marina at 11:50.  There is a strong current here, and that plus the wind, made docking very interesting and challenging, but Bill handled it well. We went to the fuel dock first and then to a face dock.  We were greeted by friends, Bob and Janet, on Harmony shortly after our arrival.  Since they are here for a month, they positioned their car here in advance.

Joyce and Janet went to Publix in the afternoon with two other Loopers, Ann and Julie, to do some provisioning.  Then at 5:30 the four couples all walked to a nearby seafood restaurant, “Cobbs Landing” for a very relaxing dinner.  After dinner we went back to Bob and Janet’s boat so we could see their puppy, Zeus. We first saw him when he was just seven weeks old. At 45 pounds now, he is a big puppy and so much fun!

Our plans were to stay in Ft. Pierce just one night, but as always we remain flexible. The wind forecast for Sunday is strong and we did not want to anchor in those conditions.  So, we will remain here an extra night!

April 6, 2016

April 6, 2016  Days 1-3  Spring 2016

Riverhouse Marina
Moore Haven, FL

We finally left Ft. Myers on Tuesday as planned, although it was hard to say goodbye to friends.  We got underway at 0800 under a sunny sky and light breeze. 
Carried Away departing
Legacy Harbour Marina
Cattle sharing the shade with white Cattle Egrets!

We traveled all day on the narrow Caloosahatchee River which winds past small towns, farm lands, and marshlands. We transited two locks, the Franklin Lock at the western end and the Ortona Lock, further east. We were one of six boats in this lock!

After cruising for eight hours, we arrived at Moore Haven. There are two long fixed docks here, one operated by the city and one a private owner. You basically dock yourself here! The private dock provides envelopes to leave a check for payment in a locked box. We do have power and water and Bill managed to find wifi available somehow!  We have been here a few times before and although there really isn’t anything to do here, it is a good stop.  We have enjoyed meeting several other boaters who are also lingering a while!

Our plan was to spend one night and move on.  However, the wind has forced us to stay three nights.  We have to cross Lake Okeechobee and do not want to do it in 15-20 mph winds.  So, we will depart on Friday and find an anchorage in Stuart, FL.

April 2, 2016

April 2, 2016  Day 132  South for the Winter 2015-16
Legacy Harbour Marina
Ft. Myers, FL

Just a quick post tonight. We enjoyed going out to dinner this evening with Rick and Margi. The past two days have been filled with planning, logistics, chores and finishing projects on the boat as we prepare for departure. We have decided to leave on Tuesday, April 5. Our route will take us east across Lake Okeechobee then north along Florida’s east coast and the ICW. 

We hope to be back in Virginia the first week of May. Then we will fly back to Ft. Myers to get our car!

We will post again once we have left our dock at Legacy Harbour Marina. We have been here since December 22!