Today I tied a monkey’s fist knot. This is what it looked like.
This knot can be used for hand to hand combat, especially if you make them with a weight in the middle. It can also be used in rock climbing by stuffing the knot into a crack to hold the line there. Its traditional use was one end of a line was tied to the boat and on the free end of the line you would attach a monkey’s fist to it. This made it easier to throw the line to other boats and you could throw the line farther.
On your way up the ICW we went to Charleston and we saw an aircraft carrier, a battle ship and a submarine. We were able to go on them all.
The York Town aircraft carrier was sunk in 1942 in the Battle of Midway. Later on they built another York Town. The York Town CV-10 is 888 feet long. It carried 90-100 aircraft, could travel at 33 knots, and could go 20,000 nautical miles at 15 knots.
My grandpa was in a the navy so he was able to tell me some good information about the aircraft carrier. He worked on the airplanes.
USS York Town “The Fighting Lady”
This is the recipe for chocolate chip cookies they used on the ship.
This is how big the ship’s anchor locker is!
The destroyer we saw was named the USS Laffey. The Laffey was hit by 5 kamikazes and 3 bombs but it stayed afloat. When the Laffey came into port, the navy repaired her. It was 376 feet long, could go 34 knots, and its range was 6,500 nautical miles at 15 knots.
Diagram of the hits the USS Laffey took.
The USS Clamagore submarine was a different kind of submarine. It was run on diesel, not nuclear power. This submarine was not used in war because it was built too late and the war was already over.
Our friends Deb and Don on Valkyrie encouraged us to anchor off the east side of Morgan Island after leaving Beaufort, SC so we dropped the hook on the east side of the island for the night. Not only is it a beautiful spot but the island is inhabited by rhesus monkeys. No joke. I would have thought we were off an island in the tropics listening to the monkeys screeching.
Some of the monkeys we saw on Morgan’s Island.
In 1979, over 1,400 monkeys were moved here from Puerto Rico. There are signs on the shore that warn not to trespass, not to feed the monkeys and say Federal Project. There is quite a bit of conflicting information on the internet as to what the monkeys are doing there and how they are being managed. At any rate, as evening approached, the trees on the shore near us started shaking and soon we started seeing monkeys all over in the trees with some of them in the grass near the shore. They were fun to watch and stayed for about an hour, some of them just sitting watching us, before they moved back into the forest for the night.
The evening got more exciting when Logan caught a 3 foot shark which we brought in the cockpit, but that is a story for him to tell on his next post.
The next morning we headed for Charleston to meet our cruising friends on Moonshadow and see the city. Unfortunately Laurie was out-of-town but we had a great time with Rob. He toured us around the city in their car and took us to Trader Joe’s. What a treat to have friends with a car and be able to stock up on some good food! Cruisers hospitality and generosity is incredible.
Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor.
We are at a fuel dock in Charleston. It was a busy harbor as you can see by the container ship in the background.
After exploring Charleston for a couple of days, we headed north and anchored in a secluded anchorage at Awendaw Creek. There was one other boat in the anchorage; otherwise our only other neighbors were the pelicans which we watched dive again and again for fish as the sun set. They repeated their performance again the next morning.
The ICW is different every day not only in scenery but in navigation challenges. We spend a good deal of time every day studying the charts for the following days. Some areas you can only go through at high tide or you will run aground, others are best during the ebb tide to catch the current to help us gain a couple of knots of speed. Some sections are best at slack tide so the current is not pushing us through uncontrollably. The swing and draw bridges have to be timed or you may be sitting there for hours waiting for the next opening. Of course there is always the weather to consider as well.
I thought I would show you not only some of the scenes we see along the way but some of the navigation aids and some photos of how we spend our days.
Some stretches of dredged channels you need to stay in have range markers on them. You need to line up the two markers so the white lines match up and head straight for them to keep in the channel. If you get off to the side, the white strips are not in alignment indicating you need to get back on track.
The gators are shy and we have not been able to get too close to any of them.
This is the first mile marker sign we have seen on the ICW. 415 miles to go!
Logan hanging out on the bow of Truansea.
Is doing math multiplication flash cards really this much fun every day? For some reason, today 8X7 was really funny.
The boys just plain having another silly day.
Logan hanging out reading a book his friend, Max, sent him.
Cap’n Mark taking us north as the boys swat the green head flies that are abundant along this stretch of South Carolina. It provides them with hours of entertainment and exercise.
When they are not killing the flies, they are catching them and keeping them as pets. They made fly houses out of M&M containers given to them by our friends, the LaVignes back in George Town, Bahamas in February. You can see where they cut a hole in the tube and inserted a clear plastic piece from a water bottle so they can see their ‘pets’. This is one way to entertain yourself on a boat!
The dayboards for the ICW are green squares with odd numbers (with a small yellow reflective square on the top) along the ocean side of the waterway and red triangles with even numbers (with small yellow reflective triangles) along the inland side. The saying of “Red, right, returning” that sailors use when returning from the sea does not pertain to the ICW markers. The red and green inlet markers without the yellow reflectors have the traditional rule of red, right, returning so we have to follow the rules according to which waterways the markers are for. There are also sometimes small floating aides with an “A” after the number. These are placed in areas of shoaling and should be given a wide berth.
Osprey nest on one of the green ICW signs which mark the ocean side of the channel.
Red triangles mark the inland side of the channel.
Here you can see the green ICW sign ahead of us indicating that we need to go left and keep the sign on our starboard side as we head north.
Dolphins continue to grace us with their presence. When they decide to come and swim off our bow, they jump or surface and make a straight line right for us. They truly love to play with our boat and will roll on their side as they swim to look up at us.
On to Georgetown, South Carolina (we were in George Town, Bahamas this winter). This was a fun, small town to stop at and anchor for the night.
Coming in to port at Georgetown, SC.
Kids sailing class in Georgetown harbor.
Logan was able to catch his first bait fish here with the cast net we had picked up in Brunswick. The boys identify all the fish we catch. They usually know what it is before it is even brought on board since they spend so much time studying the fish identification books.
Logan holding the fish while Cole has the book out so they can identify it.
We are now at Osprey Marina near Myrtle Beach, SC. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and we have seen a lot of turtles and osprey in the area (as the name of the marina indicates).
Baby painted turtle we saw while taking our dinghy up a channel.
The turtles around the boats at the docks beg for food just like dogs.
Tomorrow morning we head out for a long day and our goal is Southport. Our cruising friends send us tips of places to go, places to avoid and places that need to be timed right. This along with the guide books has made for a fantastic trip up the ICW. Thanks to all of you for sending us and calling us with these tips!
Brunswick was a convenient place to stop over and wait out Tropical Storm Andrea.
We had not put the dinghy on the deck of the boat in quite a while but started noticing that we couldn’t get up on plane any more and wondered why. Once we brought it up on deck we discovered the reason why, we had baby barnacles! We had a quick discussion about drag and then the boys got to work scraping them off the dingy.
Barnacles on the bottom of the dingy.
Cole and Logan cleaning the algae and barnacles off the dinghy.
As always, we met some fantastic cruisers. Jesse (s/v Wind Dust) taught the boys to throw a cast net.
Jesse teaching Cole how to throw a cast net to catch bait fish.
Bill, s/v Memento Mori, also gave great fishing advice and took us shopping in his car to get the net as well as to the grocery store. Thanks Bill for carting us around town!
As always, there are boat projects to do. One of them was to replace the flag halyard. The boys love going up the mast. We borrowed Wind Dust’s bosun’s chair.
Logan replacing the flag halyard.
We anchored up Taylor Creek near Savannah for a couple nights and caught the bus into downtown Savannah. It was a big, rather touristy city had some cool architecture.
Side street in Savannah that shows its old style.
Did you know there is a Beaufort, North Carolina and a Beaufort, South Carolina? Did you know they are pronounced differently? North Carolina’s is pronounced Boh-fert and South Carolina’s is pronounced Bew-fert. I was unaware of this and when I called in to the Beaufort city marina in South Carolina on the VHF, the voice on the other end set me straight on my pronunciation. One of the locals told me both cities are named after the same person but their city’s pronunciation was changed at some point in the past.
At any rate, it is a beautiful little city. It is small enough to not feel overwhelming and there are no strip malls or chain stores to ruin its historical charm.
Garden at one of the houses.
One of the neighborhood cats we came across on our walks. He obviously enjoys living here.
If you stop in Beaufort, SC, take time to stop at http://atelieronbay.com art studios and gallery. They have 14 spaces on the top floor that intermingle through a series of hallways. The artists who were all extremely friendly and talented with a diverse style of artwork. They were working on projects and shared their techniques with us. Besides being talented artists, they had a variety of interesting hobbies, travel adventures and experiences to share with us.
Art in progress.
Our camera ran out of battery power after I took this picture. It is not the best photo but the artists were so interesting and fun, I had to put it in the blog.
We are heading to Morgan Island tonight and probably Charleston the next day.
Fishing in the intracoastal waterway is much different from fishing in the Bahamas. Here is a list of fish you can catch in the ICW: sharks, rays, tarpon, flounder and sea-trout. But we’ve only caught some of these fish. The first one we caught was the gossip tail catfish. It was very easy to catch so I tried to catch something harder like a shark. The first shark we caught was an Atlantic sharp nose shark. We caught it at night but it was only 1 foot long so I wanted something bigger.A while later we caught a 4 1/2 foot black tip shark. When we were bringing him up on our boat, he bit the leader off and got away.
After that we started to try to catch a ray. We set out the rod and after a while we had a ray on. It was the hardest to reel in. When we brought it up, it was a butter fly ray. Here are some pictures.
For bait we used mullet and now we catch our own bait that we catch in a casting net.
A couple of days ago we went to Cumberland Island and that’s where we found fossilized shark teeth which are black. Fossilized shark teeth turn black because of the minerals they have in them.
There’s so many teeth at Cumberland Island, I found 53 teeth in all.
We used sifters to find them.
The first day was really hot so we came back later with umbrellas and more water.
Some sharks can lose up to 35,000 teeth in a lifetime! The most common kind of shark teeth people find are from the Cenozoic which was about 65 million years ago. The largest shark teeth of any kind is from the Megalodon shark.
This is a Megalodon compared to a T-Rex.
Their teeth can get up to 7 inches tall or more, but we didn’t find any of these. This picture is from the internet.
Cumberland Island was a lot of fun but digging for sharks teeth was the best part.
A few of our friends and followers thought we sold our boat already and were on our journey traveling by car up the east coast. It dawned on me that not everyone knows what the ICW is. In fact, I did not really know what it was until we started our year-long sailing journey.
The ICW stands for the Intracoastal Waterway which is a 3,000 mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It starts at Norfolk, Virginia which is mile 0 and heads south. These miles are in statute miles. We are currently in Brunswick, Georgia which is marker 690 so we have 690 miles to go plus a few more as we head north up into the Chesapeake past where the ICW starts.
Before leaving St. Augustine, Mark noticed fluid leaking from the rear seal of the transmission. Since replacing the seal would mean taking the shaft off the engine and would require realigning the engine after it was replaced, he wanted to have this job done by a mechanic familiar with the process. A new seal was put in by the very entertaining mechanic (Bo) from First Mate Yacht Service and we were up and running in a couple of hours with Truansea’s engine in its ‘happy place’ (as Bo put it).
After leaving St. Augustine, we headed north up the ICW to anchor off of Cumberland Island. There is no bridge to the island so the only access is by boat. A ferry stops at the island twice a day to drop off and pick up passengers from St. Mary’s, Georgia. Once you step aboard the island, you feel that you have entered a magical place. The live oaks hang high overhead with twisting and turning branches that are dripping with spanish moss. The forest floor is thick with small palm trees and palm like bushes. The sounds are muted as you walk along the paths through the forest.
Visitors may use the forest service carts or rent bicycles to get to explore the island with or get to their campsites. I think that part of what makes this island so special is not allowing visitors to drive on the island. There are a few forest service vehicles and car permits that have been deeded down from the Carnegies and other families that owned or still own property on the island. Otherwise, it is all foot traffic which makes people slow down, enjoy the wildlife and get some great exercise. There are no services on the island either, except for bathrooms and drinking water so you must bring your own provisions and pack out your refuse. This too makes a person more respectful of the land and nature.
The island has a long history, but I found interesting that in the 1880s the Carnegie family bought land on the island and owned 90% of it. In 1884 they began building a 59-room Scottish castle called Dungeness as well as pools, a golf course and 40 smaller buildings to house the 200 servants of Dungeness. No one has lived at Dungeness since 1929 and a fire since destroyed the castle. The ruins remaining inspire a feeling of what it must have been like in the heyday.
Ruins of Dungeness on Cumberland Island.
According to the forest service employees, Mrs. Carnegie deeded their horses to be able to live wild on the island when they left. There are about 150 horses on the island. We saw 3 newborn foals while we were there. Their lifespan is short compared to domestic horses, living only 10 years.
There a variety of wildlife on the island including deer and turkeys.
Turkey in the foreground with deer in the far background.
Hiking past Dungeness led us to an open area called raccoon flats. The fiddler crabs were abundant. They are fun little creatures to watch and learn about. When the tide comes up, they return to their holes and put a mud ball over the opening to their den. After crossing the flats there was another trail that led to piles of dirt from dredging canals. We had read in a magazine article that you could find fossilized shark teeth on the island and this is where we found a majority of them.
One of the beautiful flowers we saw on the island.
The boys wanted to go camping on the island so they loaded up the carts and trekked down the trail to Sea Camp.
Logan and Cole pulling their camping gear.
Logan and Cole setting up their tent.
The boys and Mark camped for a couple of nights on the island while I went back to Truansea to spend the evenings since the dinghies must be off the docks at sunset. Early one morning while hiking the beach we saw a couple of student researchers marking a turtle nest. One of the girls works on the island the entire laying and hatching season. We learned a great deal about turtles from the researchers and felt lucky to have been able to see a track made that night and the fresh nest. One of the things they are doing is genetic research which required removing one egg from the nest and putting it in a tube to be sent to the lab.
Cole, Christine, Logan and the student turtle researchers.
This is the track a loggerhead turtle made that evening returning to the sea after laying her eggs.
Just plain having fun. Logan carrying Cole on the beach.
There was an abundance of horseshoe crabs here.
We would have loved to have spent more time here but we have much to see and do up the coast so we said farewell to Cumberland and headed for Jekyll Island.
Navel submarine station we passed on the way to Jekyll Island.
Another cool thing we saw along the way was dolphins that appeared to be working together to herd fish up toward a beach where the dolphins could then feed on them. Our suspicions proved to be true and one of the locals told us it is the only place where the dolphins do this. These are some creative, smart dolphins.
Jekyll Island is another island loaded with history, most notably in my mind, was that the planning of the Federal Reserve System took place here. There are a number of historic buildings, with some of them still in use. The local marina at Jekyll had bicycles we could use so we set off exploring the island by pedal power. It was the first time we have been on bikes since we left Idaho. We had a blast and over the course of two days, rode the entire island. We were all tired and a little sore.
Riding bike on Jekyll Island.
Riding bikes on the beach at Jekyll.
The famous Jekyll Island Club.
They have a fantastic sea turtle center here.
Fishing off the sailboat has produced a few nice catches at Jekyll. One morning we caught a ray off the boat.
There were a number of fishing boats came in and out of the area. It was entertaining to watch them weave their way through the boats. They have incredible control over these big vessels.
Next we headed up to Brunswick ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea to find a safe place to weather the storm.
Sailing under Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Georgia ahead of Tropical Storm Andrea.
If the winds calm down some, we will head north again today, headed for Savannah.