Thursday, August 23, 2018

July 12, 2018 SC to Wrightsville Beach, NC

We left this morning 8:00am at high tide to go out of the Little River Cut.  There are some tricky spots that are shallow at low tide.  You would never know there was a storm off the coast further north. 
Myrtle Beach from the ocean side

About noon, we had to decide whether we wanted to go up the Cape Fear River and take the Snow Cut over to the ICW to anchor at Wrightsville Beach or go around the tip of Cape Fear and enter from the outside.  We decided to stay out.   We had to go south aways to go around the Frying Pan Shoals.  This is a shallow area extending off the cape. 

We then headed towards the Masonboro Inlet aways up the coast.  About 4:30 we were heading into a squall.  We decided to prep the boat and head right through it to our destination.  We took in the jenny sail, which we had used most of the day.  We turned on our navigation lights, which you do if you are traveling after sunset, but this looked pretty dark.  We also put up our side curtains in the cockpit, so we could stay dry.  Then I prayed the rosary.  The last time we were at Wrightsville Beach in July 2014, we were hit by lightning.  I thought we might be pushing our luck, but we had no other option. 
the purple area is the thunderstorm

The rain stopped just before we reached the inlet.  We were anchored by 6:30, safe and sound. 

July 11, 2018 Calabash Creek, SC

We spent another day at anchor in Calabash Creek.  We are planning to go out the Little River inlet tomorrow, so we were waiting for better weather to go offshore.  We had enough of the ICW again.

Today Dave wanted to get in the water to change our zincs and check the through hulls.  When he got in the water at St Johns Yacht harbor to clean the prop, he noticed that the zincs needed changing.  But he wanted to wait until he had time to get out the hookah system  for breathing, therefore being able to stay under longer.  He also was looking for cleaner water and no alligators. 

Dave occasionally moves where he stores things on the boat.  Unlike me, he doesn’t make any kind of a recording as to where his things are stored.  Not that I haven’t offered to do that for him, but I need his help.  So… he is digging around looking for the zincs.  I hear a lot of muffled grumbling, but can make out one sentence.  “I just fxxxing looked at them!”  He finally found them and I documented that in my app What’s on My Boat. 

It was about noon by the time he got in the water.  He had to set up the hookah air compressor to run off of the Honda generator.  He said that makes for a good humming vibration down below.  So much that he couldn’t hear boats in the area.  He wasn’t concerned with them coming too close.  But the wave action will cause him to bump his head on the hull.  So while he was in the water, I stationed myself in the cockpit and would thump the boat 3 times whenever a boat was passing.  The system seemed to work pretty good. 

He brought up the zinc that was on the end of the prop.  When he reached to the one on the shaft to take it off, if fell off!  Guess it was time.  We were at that last marina for about 2 weeks.  The day we left, they told Dave that they had a problem on our dock with electrolysis.  Would have been nice to know that when we arrived.  Maybe we could have had a slip on a different dock.

Through hulls are connections for water to go in or out of the boat.  We have screens at the surface of the hull for every through hull.  Those need cleaning occasionally to keep the water flowing freely.   Then Dave spent some time cleaning the hull. 

We spent the rest of the day listening to soccer and having dinner in our cockpit.  It is so nice to have the breeze and NO BUGS!

new crab net with a blue crab

we have to take a lot of things out of the starboard lazarette to use the air compressor

zinc eaten away

happy the job is done

tools needed

July 10, 2018 ICW near Myrtle Beach, SC

Today we continued north on the ICW.  As we were leaving our anchorage, we saw an alligator swim across the creek.  Dave had wanted to finish cleaning the bottom of the boat, but had heard there were alligators in this area.  He was glad he followed his instincts.

The ICW was totally different from the last segment.  We had to pass the Myrtle Beach area.  Even though it was a weekday, it was still a vacation mecca.  There were the usual charter tours, fishing boats and jet skis.  One cute tourist attraction that we did see was a pirate ship.  There was a jet ski making circles around it, which I thought was rude.  But as we got closer, we could see that the jet skier had on a pirate scarf and was yelling at the boat.  On each side of the boat, there were water cannons and a kid at each one trying to hit him.  I thought that looked like fun. 

We anchored by 4:00 in Calabash Creek.  There weren’t many good anchorages north of here on the ICW.  This area had a lot of crab pots and shoaling to work around, but it ended up being just fine.  We weren’t very far off of the channel, which had a lot of charter fishing boats going in and out of this creek all day. 
thought I'd take a picture of a bird on it's nest, Dave called it a "Beacon Bird"


swing bridge


swing bridge

pirate ship

July 7-9, 2018 ICW South Carolina

 July 7
We had a lazy day at anchor today.  We are calling our lack of sleep while cruising “boat lag”.   We had a great breeze in the cockpit and very little traffic.  So we enjoyed the day listening to the soccer World Cup.

European breakfast

July 8-9
We moved up the ICW today in South Carolina.  This was a beautiful section that was tree lined and very little boat traffic.  We anchored in Bull Creek just off the ICW and had the place to ourselves.  This area also had tall trees along the shoreline.  The reflections in the water were beautiful.  And the different colors from the sunlight were gorgeous.

We had another boat join us the second night.  That made for some good photo opps.  We stayed another day to watch what tropical storm Chris was doing off shore.  It seemed to hang straight off shore from us for a couple days.  You would never know it from the peacefulness of this anchorage. 

Dave had a South Carolina fishing license, so he thought he’d try his luck.  But no luck.  He didn’t feel like cleaning them anyway.  I purposefully have never learned to clean fish.

July 5-6, 2018 Road trip to Brunswick, GA then moving north

Thursday, July 5
We had enough points with Enterprise to get a free rental for one day.  Part way though checking out 2 of cars, the lady realized they were being sold and couldn’t be rented.  We were given a nice upgrade for the inconvenience.   

I returned with the car, we loaded it up and took off for GA.  Seemed crazy, but that’s how we fly.  On the way there, we started dreaming about the great GA shrimp.  We turned off before Brunswick and went to Darien, which is known for it’s fleet of shrimp boats.  We went to Skipper’s Fish Camp and thoroughly enjoyed our shrimp dinners.

We hit the storage unit and got out of Dodge.  We didn’t even make a stop at the Marina.  Back at St John’s, we made one more grocery store stop and also picked up a couple Asian appetizers at the restaurant next door.  Fun dinner with lobster bisque from Harris Teeters, spring rolls and fried dumplings/pot stickers. 

Friday, July 6
On my way to return the rental car, I started 2 loads of laundry at the marina laundromat.  Multitasking. 
these are the laundry bags Dave made for me

Dave woke up this morning thinking he should clean the prop before we leave.  The boat has been sitting here for almost 2 weeks.  We have to be able to motor through a cut when we leave here.  And growth on the prop can slow us down.  He didn’t want to take the time to get out our hookah system, so he used a snorkel and cleaned it one breath at a time.  He forgot to take a light with him, so it was all done by touch.  He could feel that the zincs were bad, too, but chose to do those at another time, with air and light.

When I returned, I finished the laundry and settled our bill.  Everyone here was very nice.  We would recommend this marina, St John’s Yacht Harbor.  And we may return on our trip south. 
St Johns Yacht Harbor from a magazine
We wanted to wait until about 1:00 or 1:30 to leave to take advantage of the tide going through Elliot Cut.  We wanted it to be close to “slack tide” when the flow is the slowest.  The water is changing directions from going in or out.  So the rest of the morning was spent wrapping things up.  Dave decided to flip over the dinghy on the deck.  It will be easier to see over it.  He flushed the air conditioner again and topped off our water tanks with their water.  Before you leave a marina, you have to wrap up the garden hose that is used for that.  And you have to store the power cords.  It was back to southern humidity and heat.  At least the bugs aren’t bad here. 

Dave also decided to add 10 more gallons of diesel to the bladder on deck.  So it now is holding 30 gallons.  He also has a long enough hose to be able to fill our tank from the bladder.  We’re looking forward to doing that.  It will probably be easier than lighting 5 gallon jerry cans while you are at sea. 


We made our salon table into a bed again.  We will be traveling at night, so the v berth can be rough to sleep in.  It’s more stable closer to the mast.  Plus, even at anchor, it will be harder to lift the dinghy to open our hatch for air.  We plan to be moving for a few weeks, so we will just get comfy in the salon area.  The only draw back is one of us has to climb over the other to get in and out.  Guess who!!

We left the marina about 1:00.  Going though Elliot Cut went fine.  Then we had to wait about 20 minutes for a draw bridge to open at 2:30.  That went well, too. 

We crossed through the Charleston Harbor and headed out to the open sea.  It sure felt good to be back on the water.  We entered Winyah Bay and anchored at the Georgetown Light off the ICW at 2:30am.  Luckily there weren’t many crab pots for Dave to look for with a spot light.  Long day!!
plantation owner's homes on the waterfront in Charleston
the Coast Guard station that we hear on the radio  

always fun to watch the shrimp boats

July 1-4, 2-18 St John's marina

When we got up Sunday morning, I was ready to jump out of bed and get moving.  Dave told me that the weather forecast didn’t look good for going off shore Tuesday night and Wednesday.  And north of Charleston, the ICW is known for shoaling and difficult spots to get through.  Plus, being a holiday week, there would be a lot of crazy boaters on the water.  So after discussing the pros and cons, we decided to stay until Thursday.  We hated to spend the money staying at a marina, but there wasn’t any place, in the direction we were heading , where we thought we’d feel safe. 

We spent Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday doing little projects.  Dave used some webbing to sew straps for our harnesses that would run through the crotch.  A life preserver can come off over your head if it doesn’t have a crotch strap.  We also have hoods that are in a pocket in the life jacket.  We took one out to “play” with it.  It keep the waves from hitting you in the face.

it doesn't actually fit on your arms, it attaches to your life vest
 On Tuesday, I made another run to the grocery store and picked up ribs to grill.  I thought I had bought the precooked ones that only have to be heated, but these had to be cooked.  The  marina has a grill for anyone to use by the pool.  So I took them up there rather than use our propane for a couple hours. 

Dave also did some fiberglass repairs on the boat.  He repaired a light fixture, some screen latches for our hatches, and our drink holders out in the cockpit. 


Dave added these protective covers for the corners of our solar panels
Sometime during these few days, we decided we should make a trip back to our storage unit in Brunswick, GA.  It was 200 miles away. and we won’t be any closer after we leave.  We were able to store a few things we really didn’t need and pick up a few things.  The real reason was because we were going to be traveling through a few states whose laws weren’t really clear on carrying some of our personal items with us.  That’s all I am going to say. 

Since the rental car businesses weren’t open on Wednesday, we decided to stay another day and go on Thursday.

We also checked into adding us on our son Peter’s car insurance as additional drivers.  Some other boaters have done that so that car insurance will cover rental vehicles.  Right now, since we don’t have car insurance, we can get collision and damage though our credit card, if it is for 15 days or less.  But we have to pay the liability insurance, which runs $12-14/ day. 

After discussing the situation with Pete’s insurance company, we decided to get our own “non car owner” policy.  It costs about $240/year and covers the liability for both of us.  We still have to use the credit card to cover collision and damage.  $40 of the fee is to cover under insured drivers if another car is involved.  We had checked into this when we first moved onto the boat.  I thought I remembered it being about $200 each.  And at the time, we didn’t know how much we would be renting cars.  We feel this was a wise thing to do. 

At dusk, we sat out on our boat deck and watched fireworks from about 10 different locations.  It was a lovely evening with out fighting the crowds. 

June 30, 2018 Portland Pudgy and fuel bladder

Joe and Erin are driving to Milwaukee, WI today, not Minneapolis, to see Erin’s sister.  So we had a nice breakfast together before they left. 

We decided to spend one more day at the marina to get everything ready to go off shore.  I cleaned the boat and prepared some things for meals while we were traveling.  Dave tried out the canopy made for our Portland Pudgy.  This will be our life boat, should we need it.  Then he moved it to the stern of the boat to make it easier to deploy.  He moved the other dinghy to the deck.  I helped when needed to raise it using the winch as Dave positioned it in place. 

Dave also back flushed our air conditioner and cleaned the screen again.  He felt better getting the sea water flushed out so it will work better the next time we need it.  We only use it if we are at a marina and have power. 

We bought a 50 gallon fuel bladder to carry extra fuel.  Dave positioned it on the deck aft of the mast and put 20 gallons in it.  Someone in Brunswick, GA had a 25 gallon bladder.  He could only put 20 gallons in it because of how it lays on the deck.  So we went with the larger one, and don’t need to fill it to 50 gallons.  Our fuel tank holds 53 gallons and we usually care 20 more on the deck in jerry cans.  We thought we would try it out, and maybe get rid of the jerry cans.  They make it a little harder to walk to the bow.  If we are off shore and need to motor, we will have more flexibility with more fuel.  It isn’t necessary this summer, but it will come in handy this winter if we go further off shore in the Caribbean. 

I used the marina’s courtesy car to go to church tonight.  I found a Total Wine store close to the church, so I made a mad dash through there before church.   They had their beer and wine sold separately from their liquor.  Good thing, or I would have been late for church picking our wine and beer, too.