Beyond Beaufort NC by Christine

Aye, a lot has happened this last week!  I wish I would have had internet connection to break this post into sections.  In summary, we traveled 200 miles on the ICW in 4 days and one day we had to stop early in the day due to thunderstorms.  After reaching mile 0 on the ICW, we continued north to ‘negative miles’, as the boys put it, into the Chesapeake Bay.

The winds and storms finally let up some and we left Beaufort, heading north again on July 2nd.  Going through the Neuse River, just north of Beaufort was the biggest body of water we have crossed in a while.  The winds helped us along from behind and we managed to avoid the isolated thunderstorms still moving through the area.

Truansea sailing out of Beaufort, NC.  A classic sailboat in the foreground makes for a picture perfect start to the day.

Truansea sailing out of Beaufort, NC. A classic sailboat in the background makes for a picture perfect start to the day.

The following video is part of a typical morning for us.  We were headed up the Bay River in this video.

Going up the Pungo River, we passed a dredging rig.  Pictures do not do justice to how long these rigs are so I attached a video.  They drift in the wind so you do not want to be on the downwind side when you pass them in the channel.

In my last post, I showed some of the markers along the ICW.  The following mark is from a channel where you follow the red, right, returning rule, however the mark has a yellow triangle sticker on it, signifying you are also still in the ICW channel and this is the inland side of the channel.  After you are out of the channel, the marks revert back to green on the ocean side, red on the inland side.

Green, square dayboard marker with yellow triangle ICW.  The yellow triangles are normally on the red triangle markers.

Green, square dayboard marker with yellow ICW triangle sticker. The yellow triangles are normally on the red triangle markers.

Another example of a dayboard mark you need to understand to navigate the ICW.  Quiz, which side of this mark would you pass if you are headed northbound?

Another example of a dayboard mark you need to understand to navigate the ICW. Quiz, which side of this mark would you pass if you are headed northbound?

Mile 160.  We are getting closer to Mile 0 (zero)!

Mile 160. We are getting closer to Mile 0 (zero)!

Entering 'stump land'.  Just keep your boat in the middle of the ICW through here.  It is flat calm for this part of our day.

Entering ‘stump land’. Just keep your boat in the middle of the ICW through here. You can see that it is flat calm for this part of our day.

We have had a variety of sea life swim along with us while we sail, birds have landed on our boat and rode along with us, a variety of insects enjoy catching a ride and this butterfly enjoyed flying along Truansea, having a playful flight along with us for about 10 minutes.  I never would have thought a butterfly would do this.

There were quite a few dragonflies traveling along with us too and a bunch of them caught a ride and stayed with us for hours.

Dragonfly catching a ride on Truansea.

Dragonfly catching a ride on Truansea.

This one appears to be hanging on for dear life with his little legs.  The 'thing' he is clinging on to is what we call our mascot.  On our trip to Florida, this was on the dash of our vehicle.  On our entire sailing trip, it has been in our cockpit, above the instrument panel.  We really need to give the thing a name.

This one appears to be hanging on for dear life with his little legs. The ‘thing’ he is clinging on to is what we call our mascot. On our trip to Florida, this was on the dash of our vehicle. On our entire sailing trip, it has been in our cockpit, above the instrument panel. We really need to give the thing a name.

Another dragonfly hangs out on Logan's back while he does school work.  I had to laugh how it landed right on the fish's mouth on his t-shirt.

Another dragonfly hangs out on Logan’s back while he does school work. I had to laugh how it landed right on the fish’s mouth on his t-shirt.

Cole doing schoolworks as we sail along.  You can see where our mascot resides above the instruments.

Cole doing schoolwork as we sail along. You can see where our mascot resides above the instruments.

At mile 70 in the Albemarle Sound, boaters have to make a choice whether to take the dismal swamp route or the Virginia Cut route.  The Dismal Swamp Route we had been told is very scenic and is only 3 miles longer.   It is a shallow route and they recommend it only for boats with less than a 6’ draft.  Our draft is 4’9”, which gives us plenty of clearance under the keel.

In 1763, George Washington first proposed draining the swamp to harvest cypress for shipbuilding and cedar for shingles, then farming the land.  30 years later, he sold his part of the swamp to “Lighthorse” Harry Lee, father of Robert E. Lee.  Then in 1909, a lumber company purchased it and continued the harvest until the last tree was cut down in the 1950s.  After that the land was donated to create the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  The area has regenerated quickly from our view on the water and it now has tall trees and is abundant in wildlife.

Have you ever seen a blimp hangar?

Have you ever seen a blimp hangar?  We saw this unexpected, strange site from miles away coming up the Pasquotank River south of Elizabeth City, NC.

Blimps were used to guard again German submarines.  From the gondola of a blimp, shallow U-boats were easy to spot.  If a sub dived deep, the blimp crew used sensors that detected the vibrations of turning screws and the magnetism of a hidden boat’s steel hull to follow them.  The blimp crews then called the warships to let them know where the U-boats were.  The blimps could stay in the air for 2 days without refueling.

The ICW is full of the unexpected.  This restored boat from the Vietnam War was one of them.

This boat pulled in to Elizabeth City at the dock we were at.  No, Logan did not get to shoot real bullets out of it.  They have it equipped with propane tanks to make it sound like it is shooting real bullets.

This boat pulled in to Elizabeth City at the dock we were at. No, Logan did not get to shoot real bullets out of it. They have it equipped with propane tanks to make it sound like it is shooting real bullets.

Okay girls, I have missed the marksmanship nights this last year, but I am keeping my skills up.

Okay girls, I have missed the marksmanship nights this last year, but I am keeping my skills up.

Do you know how hard it is to take pictures of fireworks, while trying to capture the foreground too?  This picture does not do justice to the incredible firework show we watched from Truansea at Elizabeth City, NC.  They lit the fireworks off of a raft in the middle of the harbor.  We had the best seats in the house, all to ourselves on the deck of our boat.  I can’t imagine I will ever experience a better firework show than this one.  It was simply fantastic.

Mark in the cockpit 4th of July, 2013.

Mark in the cockpit 4th of July, 2013.

Heading up the Dismal Swamp in s/v Truansea, north of Elizabeth City, NC.  This section of the swamp is quite wide and very picturesque.

Cap'n Mark enjoying a peaceful morning underway.  All the bridge tenders, dock masters, etc., address you as Cap'n when they talk to you on the VHF radio.  Not only do they call me Cap'n too, but they say, "Yes Ma'am" which makes me smile every time.

Cap’n Mark enjoying a peaceful morning underway. All the bridge tenders, dock masters, etc., address you as Cap’n when they talk to you on the VHF radio. Not only do they call me Cap’n too, but they say, “Yes Ma’am” which makes me smile every time.

The water in the ICW becomes much browner as we progress into the Dismal Swamp.  This is caused by the tannins in from the trees.  On white hulled boats, it creates what people call, “The ICW Mustache”.

You can see the brownish water behind us.

You can see the brownish water behind us.

The lock at the south end of the Dismal swamp raises us up 8 feet.

The first lock.

The first lock.

The scenery is amazing.

The scenery is amazing.

Hooray, we made it to Virginia!

Crossing into Virginia on the ICW.

Crossing into Virginia on the ICW.

These are the only 2 boats we passed today.  Both trawlers had very clever names.

bed, boat & beyond

Steel Magnolia.

Steel Magnolia.

We planned on staying at the visitor’s center in the Dismal Swamp for the night but we found out we are here at the dismal time of the year.  The deer flies are horrendous here for about a month and a half.  They do not respect any of the bug repellent we have and bite us from head to toe, even on the soles of our feet and on our nail cuticle.  It is crazy!

Mark is holding a Scufflehead fly swatter.  Wonder what a Scufflehead is?  Go to http://scuffletown.net.  Mark introduced John in his last post.  John, did you have any idea how useful your flyswatter was going to be to us as we made our way north after meeting you?  It has killed unimaginable numbers of deer flies, horse flies and one really big cockroach.

We are all armed with flyswatters through a section of the Dismal Swamp.

We are all armed with fly swatters through a section of the Dismal Swamp.  The pile of dead flies in the bottom of the cockpit was impressive.

The ICW takes a great deal of concentration to go through.  Some areas we have to play the tides to make it through without running aground.  Other areas we have to run with the ebb or flow.  This section we need to keep a sharp eye out for floating logs and overhanging trees to make sure we do not catch our mast in the branches.

Watch the trees to clear your mast going through the narrow sections!

Watch the trees to clear your mast going through the narrow sections!

There are 2 locks to go through on the Dismal Swamp section of the ICW.

Cole getting the fenders ready to go through the lock.

Cole getting the fenders ready to go through the Deep Creek lock.

Robert, the lock master at the Deep Creek lock asked where we were coming from.  When we told him we were in the Bahamas this winter, he asked if the boys had any conch horns.  The boys produced their horns from the boat and Robert blew them.  Not only was he great at blowing them, he could toot out songs on them and change the pitch of the horn by moving his hand in and out of the curl inside the horn.  He gave us an entire lesson on conch horn blowing.  We had no idea such variety was possible out of these horns!

He was also an expert in the history of the Dismal Swamp and gave the boys their history lesson for the day.

After we came out of the remote Dismal Swamp and turned the corner onto the main ICW, we were blown away by the sites of civilization.  Not just a house or two but full scale industrialization.

The first lift bridge we came to approaching Norfolk.

The first lift bridge we came to approaching Norfolk.  This was the first bridge we encountered that lifts up to a custom height according to the boats need.  Our mast is 59′ high and the bridge tender raised the bridge to 70′ for us.  Most all of the fixed bridges on the ICW are 65′ high.

The sight of Norfolk, VA ahead.

The sight of Norfolk, VA ahead.

WE MADE IT MILE O (ZERO) ON THE ICW!!!  We went almost 1,000 miles up this waterway.  What a trip it has been.  Another big check off our adventure list.

There were so many big ships, pictures do not do it justice.  We felt like a dragon fly bobbing on the water through here.

There were so many big ships, pictures do not do it justice. We felt like a dragon fly bobbing on the water through here.

another

ships2

ships3

hospital ship

ships galore

The sun sets on Norfolk.

The sun sets on Norfolk.

Not only are we excited to make it to Norfolk, but one of our Bahama cruising friends, Bill on s/v Providence is here.  We thoroughly love spending time with Bill and he hopped on the ferry to cross the river to where we tied up for the night.  He toured around the city with us.  One of the museums we went to was a Lightship Museum.  The first Saturday of the month, the museums are free – lucky us!

Portsouth Lightship Museum.

Portsouth Lightship Museum.

They were also having a nautical historical day so the boys, once again, got their history in.

Do any of you know what this is?  I did not before he explained it to me.  I'll let you readers try and figure it out!

Do any of you know what this is? I did not before he explained it to me. I’ll let you readers try and figure it out!

The next day we traveled up river 8 miles to the marina where Bill was at to prepare for crossing the Chesapeake the next day, a 60 mile run for us.

Cole petting Miss Kitty, who as bill puts it, owns him.  Bill is in the background talking to Mark.  I have met a lot of cool cats but Miss Kitty is at the top of the list.

Cole petting Miss Kitty, who as Bill puts it, owns him.  I have met a lot of cool cats but Miss Kitty is at the top of the list.

After we arrived in Norfolk, we received a call from our friends in Boise, Lisa & Rod, who are partly responsible for us taking on this adventure.  They did a 2 year trip through the Caribbean a number of years back and were one of our mentors in preparing to set out on this trip.  When Lisa called, she said something to the effect that they are visiting some friends on the east coast and wondered where we were at now.  I told her we just arrived in Norfolk.  They were doing a historical loop with their car that day and would be passing through Norfolk as well!  What are the odds of them and us being in the same city on the same day?  Crazy!  They stopped by the marina we were at that afternoon and had dinner with us.  It was great to see them in person and catch up.

Rod & Lisa from Boise!

Rod & Lisa from Boise visit us in Norfolk!

July 7th was a perfect sailing day as we headed out into Chesapeake Bay.  We were able to sail on a broad reach for most of the day, making our destination of Yankee Point Marina up the Rappahannock River off the west side of the Chesapeake Bay.

A beautiful day sailing Truansea across the Chesapeake Bay.

A beautiful day sailing Truansea across the Chesapeake Bay.

Fair winds ~ Christine

Waiting Out the Weather in Beaufort, NC by Mark

We arrived in Beaufort, NC on June 23rd and took a slip at Town Creek Marina.  When we returned to Florida we listed our boat for sale. A couple had seen our listing for Truansea and wanted to take a look at her before we arrived in the Chesapeake.

On the way up to Beaufort I noticed a few drips of diesel coming from a couple of compression washers on the fuel line that needed replacing.  Luckily the owner of the marina was working on his day off and I was able to buy the parts I needed.  After replacing the washers and bleeding the fuel lines, I noticed some new corrosion on the exhaust mixing elbow.  This could be a significant problem as I had learned from several other cruisers and although I had inspected the elbow before we left on this trip, we have also put 300 more hours on the engine.  Once again I was in luck, the marina had the elbow I needed in stock and even let me use their workbench to wrench the parts together.  The last thing I wanted was an exhaust leak with prospective buyers arriving the next day.

Old exhaust elbow starting to fail.

Old exhaust elbow starting to fail.

Installing new elbow.

Installing new elbow.

John and Marty enjoying a sail on Truansea.

John and Marty enjoying a sail on Truansea.

We took our guests, John and Marty, for a sail the next day.  With perfect wind at 15 knots, Truansea was sailing in the groove.  John brought a couple of harmonicas along for the boys and home schooled us all on the blues.  As soon as the weather lets up we will head north for a survey.

As is usual at a marina, we started meeting other sailors as we walked the docks.  At the end of one of the piers floated the classic boats a Pearson and a Swan 36.  We met their owners Mike and Eric.  Mike also owns a houseboat at the marina where he lives but takes his Pearson out sailing on the weekends or whenever the opportunity/wind permits.

Eric on Black Robe.

Eric on Black Robe.

Eric who is from Halfway, Oregon found his Swan on EBay in the Grand Cayman Islands.  He bought the boat there and sailed her back to the US. His advice for purchasing a boat in another country is to find a surveyor who can take a preliminary look at the boat to make sure the boat is being fairly represented before purchasing the ticket to see for yourself.  He was making repairs (as are all boaters) to his boomvang then heading out the Beaufort inlet to the Atlantic for an outside crossing to Charleston SC.  Mike was going to accompany him south and they were provisioning the boat while they also wait for a break in the weather.

Since the winds have blowing anywhere between 20 and 35 knots for the last several days, we decided to rent a car and visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and also see Fort Macon.  The fort was built after the war of 1812 proved how vulnerable the nations coasts were to attack.  The Confederate army briefly held the fort during the Civil War before being recaptured by Union forces after 11 hours of constant shelling.

Fort Macon.

Fort Macon.

Preparing to fire a mortar.

Preparing to fire a mortar.

A sailboat that caught our eye seen from Fort Macon coming into Beaufort is S/V Troll.

A sailboat that caught our eye seen from Fort Macon coming into Beaufort is S/V Troll.

The town of Beaufort is rich in maritime history.  Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge was recently rediscovered where she sank after running aground outside Beaufort inlet. Artifacts from the wreck can be seen at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

Model of Blackbeards ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Model of Blackbeards ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

The man who puts the ship in the bottle!

The man who puts the ship in the bottle!

Taking a break from boatbuilding. There is no shortage of old salts in Beaufort.

Taking a break from boatbuilding. There is no shortage of old salts in Beaufort.

The town also has a fascinating cemetery with graves dating back to the 1700s.  A brochure to some of the gravesites of interest can be picked up at the historical center and list, among other things, the grave of an officer in the British Navy who died on board his ship.  Not wanting to be buried with his boots off, he was buried standing up in full uniform.

Burying grounds In Beaufort.

Burying grounds In Beaufort.

Now that's an epitaph!

Now that’s an epitaph!

On returning to our boat yesterday, we saw a large double masted schooner aground just outside the channel.  I dinghied out to see if they needed anything while waiting for the tide to return.  Their massive steel schooner, s/v Troll, lay on her side unmoved by wind or waves.  The young couple on board had sailed her up from the Caribbean and are heading up the east coast on their way to Newfoundland then to Greenland and beyond.  Towboat US made vain attempts to free their boat, which finally refloated herself sometime between midnight and 2am.  We woke up to see her anchored next to us and look forward to hearing more of their story.

Troll aground just past the channel.

Troll aground just past the channel.

Troll at anchor the next morning.

Troll at anchor the next morning.

Fair winds,

Mark

Monkey’s Fist by Cole

Today I tied a monkey’s fist knot.  This is what it looked like.monky fist

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.

Here are some steps on how to make them.

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Step 5

Step 5

Step5

Step 5

Step 6

Step 6

Step 7

Step 7

Step 8

Step 8

Step 9

Step 9

Step 10

Step 10

End

End

Cole…

Navel Ships in Charleston by Logan

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.

York Town

USS York Town “The Fighting Lady”

 

This is the recipe for chocolate chip cookies they used on the ship.

This is the recipe for chocolate chip cookies they used on the ship.

This is how big the ship’s anchor locker is!

Anchor locker.

Anchor locker.

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.

laffey

 

Diagram of the hits the USS Laffey took.

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.

USS Laffey

USS Laffey

torpedo

torpedo

Logan

Onward to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina by Christine

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.

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.

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.

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.

Range markers on ICW.

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.

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!

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.

Logan hanging out on the bow of Truansea.

Is doing math multiplication flash cards really this much fun every day?

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 a silly day.

The boys just plain having another silly day.

Logan hanging out reading a book his friend Max sent him.

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.

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.

The boys made pet fly houses out of M&M containers given to them by the LaVignes that they had saved since Valentine's Day.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Coming in to port at Georgetown, SC.

Kids sailing class in Georgetown harbor.

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.

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.

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.

The turtles around the boats at the docks beg for food just like dogs.

Osprey nest.

Osprey nest.

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!

Fair winds ~ Christine

Brunswick, Georgia to Beaufort, South Carolina by Christine

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.

Barnacles on the bottom of the dingy.

Cole and Logan cleaning the algae and barnacles off the dinghy.

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.

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.

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.

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.beaufort house

Garden at one of the houses.

Garden at one of the houses.

One of the neighborhood cats we came across on our walks.  He obviously enjoys living here.

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.

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.

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.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

Fishing on the Intracoastal by Logan

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.shark1A 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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wty_Lylf1DE&feature=youtu.beshark best

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.ray

ray1

For bait we used mullet and now we catch our own bait that we catch in a casting net.shark bait

Logan

Fossilized Shark Teeth by Cole

There are many kinds of fossilized shark teeth.

Sand tiger shark teeth.

Sand tiger shark teeth.

mako

Mako shark teeth.

bull shark

Bull shark teeth.

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.shark teeth cole

We used sifters to find them.sifters

The first day was really hot so we came back later with umbrellas and more water.umbrella

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.

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.

megladon toothCumberland Island was a lot of fun but digging for sharks teeth was the best part.

Cole…

The ICW by Christine

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.

Hiking trail.

Hiking trail.

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.  castle ruins

Ruins of Dungeness on Cumberland Island.

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.

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.

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 pulling their camping gear.

Logan and Cole setting up their tent.

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.

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.

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.

Just plain having fun. Logan carrying Cole on the beach.

There was an abundance of horseshoe crabs here.

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.

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 bike on Jekyll Island.

Riding bikes on the beach at Jekyll.

Riding bikes on the beach at Jekyll.

The famous Jekyll Island Club.

The famous Jekyll Island Club.

They have a fantastic sea turtle center here.

turtle center

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.fishing boat

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.

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.

Fair Winds ~ Christine

Castillo de San Marcos by Cole

A few days ago in Saint Augustine, Florida, we went and saw a castle called Castillo de San Marcos.  It was built in 1695 to protect St. Augustine which is actually the oldest city in the United States.  It is a castle that has four corners and a courtyard in the middle.  The four corners are filled with earth so they can support the weight of the cannons on top.  The fort had a shot furnace.   It’s like an oven that heats up cannon balls until they turn red.  Then they shoot them at ships to burn them up.

Shot furnace.

Shot furnace.

They had a moat around the castle that they put water in when they were under land attack. 946421_589952881017936_1664430460_nWhen it was not filled with water, they put domestic animals in it.  This is a video of the fort’s defenses.

The castle was made of coquina stone.  Coquina stone is made of tiny sea shells smushed together.

Cole