Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Junkanoo is here!

We have made it out of the US!  We are currently in West End, Grand Bahama Island at the Old Bahama Bay Resort.  It is nice but we are feeling the itch to keep moving south and east.  We did take one day here just to relax and savor this long awaited moment.  Tomorrow we plan to move on to Port Lucaya on the southern side of the island.  Caroline has enjoyed the pool with a waterfall and is anxious to snorkel a reef.
Here are a few pics.  A couple are from Christmas, most are during the crossing, and a couple are from the harbor here in West End.
Our coordinates are: 26°42.091'N  078°59.511'W
Junkanoo is a celebration that happens here in the Bahamas around Christmas and New Years.  So, Merry (or happy) Junkanoo!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Season's Greetings

Hello all! I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I got 5 stitches for Christmas! Long story, short: slipped on wet dock, fell down go boom, in the process I kicked the edge of the wood! Everything is OK and it could have been worse. At least no one was watching! We have been waiting for a weather window and it looks like Monday is the day. In the meantime, we have been joined by friends from Fayetteville; Carrol Thomas and family are here on "Reel Time" and Dixon Dickens and family are here on "Turbulence". Its nice to see them.

Here are the GPS coordinates so everyone can check out the scenery we have been enjoying on Google Earth.

26°46.825'N 080°02.393'W

Have a safe and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Wait Continues!

We are still here in Palm Beach! The new electronics have successfully been installed and we may or may not have the water maker fixed by the time we depart. No worries, though, especially if I can get all the required parts to take with me. Sunday looks favorable for the short trip across the Gulf stream. Even though we are enjoying the area, we look forward to getting somewhere a little more remote. There are several cruising boats here, but they are waiting for after Christmas to head back to the Bahamas.

Caroline has found friends to play with in the afternoons once school lets out. They mostly swim and catch unsuspecting creatures that swim by. She did spot a manatee the other day but was unable to catch it!

Coco has even found a playmate! Her name is Luna and she is a Nova Scotia Duck Trolling Retriever. She's the marina's owner's puppy and she and Coco wear each other out!

Anyway, here are from shots from the area.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Poised to jump

We are waiting for a weather window from North Palm Beach to make the jump to West End, Grand Bahama Island. While we are here, we will be upgrading some electronics and have rented a car so that we can get around.

We have also had our first Manatee spotting. As we went under PGA bridge, we had two manatee surface in front of us. With no time to dodge, I had to cut the engines and coast right over them! The water and weather here is beautiful! Clear and blue! We expect a front to come through tonight, so we will see a little rain and heavy winds.

Caroline has made friends with other children here at the dock. They play together and swim in the hot tub every chance they get! Two have lived on a boat their whole lives and the other is from Denmark and doesn't speak much english. But, they get along great and are going to have a sleepover tonight!

I can't say enough about this area. The water is so clear, you can see all the way to the bottom at 20 feet!

We are having a great time but always miss loved ones back home. Wish you were here!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas is in the air!

We had a wonderful sail to Ft Pierce today.  Along the way we sailed behind a community named Wabasso Beach.  I had never heard of it but it was beautiful!  Not only were the homes magnificent, but the mangrove islands dotting the sound made me believe we were in the Keys. Both before and since, the land simply had a different feel to it.
Once at Ft Pierce, we discovered they were having their Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony.  What great timing!  So, we ate lunch, had our first HOT shower in several days, and enjoyed the local parade.
Its funny how simple things like a good meal, a hot shower, or even sharing a laugh with strangers at a parade bring joy to my soul.  I suppose the secret to enjoying life is being able to relish in the simple things.  After all, they happen whether we notice or not!
Enjoy the pictures:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July....

Yes it is Saturday and we have stopped to anchor just south of Melbourne, FL.  We stopped because the winds picked up and began to impede our progress.  Should that have continued, we wouldn't have made our planned stop at Vero Beach by nightfall.  Instead I decided to pull over, anchor and watch the Army Team beat Navy!  It all went according to plan except for Army beating Navy.  Oh well, there is always next year!
The good news is that winds should shift to the north overnight as a cold front moves through so we should have an easy sail tomorrow with favorable winds.
The past couple of days have been fun.  The weather has been warm and dolphin have enjoyed frolicking about - we've enjoyed watching them.

Here are some random pics of sights along the way and a few dolphin.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here comes the SUN!!!!!

Monday we left Jekyll and had a short run behind Cumberland Island to reach the cute little town of St. Mary's by lunch. St. Mary's is right on the boarder between GA and FL and just exudes southern charm. If you ever want to get to Cumberland Island, this is where you go to board the Cumberland Ferry.

We departed early the next morning and decided to go "outside" for the run to St. Augustine. We had decent wind and a following sea - just perfect for the 50 mile inlet to inlet trip. Coming in to St Augustine inlet was interesting! Breakers lined each side of the channel but once inside it was worth it for the view. For those that don't know, St Augustine is the oldest town in the US. The first night we ate at a great restaurant and then went on a Ghost Train. We visited several cemetaries and a couple of gardens, plus the Ripley Museum after it had closed! The tour included EMF (electro - magnetic frequency) meters and disposable cameras. I took pics with my digital camera too. Some of the pics did show anomalous "orbs". Creepy! We stayed an extra night in St Aug so we could visit the Spanish built Fort the next day and just relax. Alyson and Caroline played a round of miniture golf and did laundry while I checked a few of the items off the "to do" list at the boat. St Aug is a great town. If you never have been there, I recommend it!

Today we made it to Daytona Beach. It was the first day we had warm weather. I even broke down and slathered on a little sunscreen! It was a good day and the landscape is really begining to look like Florida. Palm trees line the ICW and grand Floridian Style houses abound.

Here are the pics from St Aug. Check out the Orbs and the cool fort!


Our current position is: 29°12.186'N 081°00.778'W

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jekyll Island

We have had a great time exploring Jekyll Island.  Yesterday, we all took a bike ride around the island.  We saw lots of cool sights and did a little exploring off the beaten path.  It was fun but a little painful sitting on that small seat for such a long time!
Here are the pics from our explorations:  http://picasaweb.google.com/lewisnance/JekyllIsland#
Last night, Jekyll had a "lighting of the Christmas Tree" festival.  There were so many things going on that it was pretty much like a fair or carnival.  They had live music, face painting, funnel cakes, Philly cheese steaks, inflatable jumping cages, candle making etc.  Caroline's favorite, however, was the snowball fight!  That's right, I said snowball!  They had a big square fenced off where they made snow so the kids could go play in it and make/throw snowballs.  It was quite unusual to be standing by in a t-shirt, perfectly comfortable, and watching snowballs fill the sky.  Even as a spectator, you had to keep a wary eye for the errant snowball hurled into the crowd.  Alyson learned that lesson the hard way :( !  Every so often they would have to replenish the snow.  They had a big chipper machine and ran large blocks of ice through it to make the snow.  While re snowing the square, the worker manning the tube that shoots the snow would let it "get away" from him, sending a great plume of snow into the unsuspecting crowd.  After the Christmas tree had been lit, everyone enjoyed a fireworks display and sang Christmas songs. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

Georgia on my mind

We have made it to Jekyll Island GA!  This is our stopping point to travel back to NC for Thanksgiving.  It couln't have come too soon!  It has been unseasonable cold this past week as you may see in the photos.  Another cold front moved in last night and the winds are howling!  In keeping with the season, I'm "thankful"  to not be out in that bitter cold wind!
Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  In the next week, I hope you find a time to be mindful of all the Blessings in your life.  God is good!
Here are a few pics of this leg of our journey.  http://picasaweb.google.com/lewisnance/CharlestonToJekyll#

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Running Hard

Well, we've left Georgetown and put three long days under our keel.  From Georgetown, we went to Charleston and stayed at the City Marina.  There, we got to visit with Mackenzie Hutaff.  She's now married and I can't recall her married name (sorry Mackenzie).  She works for the marina there in Charleston and is doing well!  It was nice to see a familiar face.
The next day we ran from Charleston to Beaufort, SC.  Beaufort sure seems like a wonderful little town and we look forward to spending more time there on our way back north!  The ICW south of Charleston was the most scenic we have experienced!  It is simply beautiful!
Today, we journeyed to Thunderbolt, GA.  We are still looking for the warm weather!  I sure am tired of freezing my (insert descriptave explectitave here) off while we travel to paradise.  I long to siesta in the warm sun and swim in clear blue water.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Few Days to Relax

Well, the winds have piped up again and so we have spent a few days relaxing here in Georgetown, SC. We have seen some cool old buildings and walked through the graveyard behind the Episcopal Church. Georgetown is a charming southern town with deep roots to the past. Rice was the crop of choice in this area several centuries ago. Today, it is more oriented toward lumber and tourism. Lots of eclectic shops line Main St which adds to its charm. The harbor also has a boardwalk that allows for scenic strolls along the river's shore.

Here are the photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Sf1gG2wUE6gTnw0FQDFf_g

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The trip south begins!

Monday, after a short day's journey from Topsail Beach, we arrived in the familiar waters of Carolina Beach. It sure was nice to see "home" again. We got to take hot showers in our own shower at the beach house. We washed clothes and watched news on TV - Caroline watched Disney (of course). We still, however, longed for warmer weather!

Tuesday, our attention was focused on reprovisioning. We had a great visit from the Boliek's and got to show them the boat and just catch up with what was happening back in Fayetteville.

Wednesday, we pulled out of Carolina Beach to begin the Southern leg (south of our home port in Carolina Beach) of our adventures. That first day we made it to Little River and stayed at Doc Holiday's. It was also a special day because it marked our first 1000 miles with just Alyson or I in charge. The first 1000 down, several more thousand to go! We are still looking for warmer weather. Yesterday, David Boliek bought Alyson and I, each a pair of gloves. We put them to use today! This evening, Terri Brownlee (Brian Watson's sister) and her daughter Peyton, and her son Trey, and her husband Mike all came to visit. Peyton has followed Caroline on her Blog (and ours) and just had to come and see it all for herself. I think she and Trey really enjoyed seeing the boat and trying out all the cool things (like the escape hatch in Caroline's bedroom).

Thursday, we left the dock with rain scattered skies. We only had a few hours of rain before it began to clear. Although we never saw clear skies, it did warm enough to shed most of the layers and enjoy the occasional sunbeam. By afternoon, we were well on our way to completing the Waccamaw river and by 5:00 were at the head of Winyah Bay. We turned west and headed in to tie up in Georgetown, SC (33°21.838'N 079°16.883'W). I've heard there is much to do and visit here, but we plan on leaving early tomorrow to put miles under the keel. We keep reminding ourselves that someday we will be under warm skies in a clear blue sea.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunset and Sunrise

Does it get much better?!?!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Here we are in Manteo, NC! We have seen so much in the past few days, so I guess I'll just start at the beginning. We are docked at the downtown waterfront. Most everything is within easy walking distance. Lots of cool little stores and tons of good restaurants. We spent an afternoon walking around and just getting a feel for this historic little town. The next day we walked to festival park where we took a tour aboard the Queen Elizabeth II. She is a full working example of the type sailing ship the English used to cross the Atlantic and begin colonization of the "new world". It was amazing to see how small a vessel she was, especially considering how many people she carried. The next exhibit was an encampment the English would have made the first few days here in Manteo. They were mostly tents with only a few more permanent type structures. The highlight, however, was talking to the people at the encampment. They spoke Elizabethan English and were extremely knowledgeable of the history of the era and area. We also watched a film giving a Native American perspective of the early settlement.

Soon, Chip and Lucas arrived. We were eager to get to Kill Devil Hills and see the Wright exhibit before the rain came. After a quick lunch, we were off. It was awesome to see the spot where such an important historical moment took place. It is truly a unique exhibit! The views from atop Kill Devil Hill were impressive, especially for being at the beach!

Next stop was Jockey's Ridge to blow off a little steam and roll/slide/jump off the edge. The sand dunes are massive. It is hard to gain a perspective of the enormous scale of the dunes without being there. It reminded me of being back in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.

The next morning we went to the aquarium amidst the sprinkling rain. It was fun, but nothing spectacular.

Lucas and Chip left on Tuesday afternoon and we have remained here in Manteo waiting out better weather. It has been terribly windy with gusts of 40 mph. Steady winds have been over 25. Right now it looks as if we'll be here until Friday morning.

In the meantime, enjoy some more pictures http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/5UcAI_k6fjXLEU2N1vbP_Q

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Here we are - Back in NC

Having left Leeds Creek, we spent nights in Deltaville VA and Norfolk on our journey south.  Norfolk on Halloween was interesting to say the least.  Everyone we saw walking in the downtown area was in full costume.  We saw zombies, ghosts, angels, clowns (scary not Ha Ha) old men, babies - you name it we saw it!  Leaving from Norfolk, we had lots of company beginning the ICW.  It was "bumper to bumper" all day long with numerous stops for bridge openings and one lock traverse.  But, it was a good day and Alyson had enough foresight to call ahead and secure a place for us to tie up among the throngs of Southbound traffic.  Yeah Alyson!!  We have another full day tomorrow which will lead to virgin territory!  Yes, Waters yet to be plied by the Aly Cat and her crew!  In the meantime, here are a few photos of the past few days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Waiting it out at 38°48.666'N 076°10.975'W

We are back in Leeds Creek.  We left St. Michael's this morning to attempt the slog against the wind.  It was rough and cold and I just didn't feel up to the task.  A little dejected, I turned Aly Cat around to settle in a good little anchorage and wait out better weather.  The forecast says we may be waiting here through Wednesday but I hope it has let up enough to leave Wednesday morning and make Soloman's Island.  In the meantime, Alyson has taught me to play Backgammon.  So far, we are all square in the win/loss columns.  When something exciting happens, I'll take a picture - but don't hold your breath!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

St Michael's Island

Here we are enjoying a wonderful festival at St. Michael's Island at 38°47.133'N  076°13.253'W
We had a visit from Kathryn, my sister and her boyfriend, John.  They stayed Friday night on the boat with us.  Caroline taught them how to play "spoons".  Saturday, we saw a Pumpkin carving contest, ate at a gourmet Pizza and Wine bar, shopped in lots of cool little stores, and visited the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  St. Michael's is steeped in a rich history.  It is known as the town that tricked the British in the War of 1812 and was first established as a shipbuilding community.
Sunday was race day here on the Island.  Coconut entered in the Dachshund Dash taking first place in her preliminary heat.  In the final round she clearly outpaced the field but entered the rabbit hole only after sitting by and watching two others go in first and second.  Still, we were awfully proud of our little Coconut!  She even brought her own cheering section from another boat here in the harbour.  After the races, it was clear she had won the hearts of more fans as she walked down the street - many calling her by name!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The middle of Mecca

Here we are in the middle of the sailing mecca of the east coast.  Yes, I know, there are squids (AKA Midshipmen - yack!) all around but I just popped a few Benadryl and I'm fine.  We are moored right in the middle of the harbor at:
38°58.517'N  076°29.026'W
Check it out on Google earth and you will see we are in the middle of everything!  Too bad we are only staying here overnight.  We are heading to St. Michael's tomorrow for yet another festival.  After that, we head south until it gets warm!  Sunny skies and warm blue water, here we come!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lots of Photos

Here is what you all have been waiting for! Photos, photos and more photos! These were taken over the last few weeks and include: Oktoberfest, fishing, hanging out, Tilghman Island and more!



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Return to the Severn River

It's Sunday and all the festivities on Tilghman Island have come to a close. We departed around 9:30 bound for Severna Park. The good news; the coffee this morning was simply divine. The bad news; the forecasters were right about their wind and temperature predictions. It was COLD! That aside, it wasn't too bad of a day for a cruise. It was especially scenic sailing into Annapolis and watching the fleet of sailboats with a myriad of rainbow colored sails, rounding the marks in a race at the mouth of the harbor. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge lay just behind and formed a picture frame backdrop as they turned downwind to pop their spinnakers. Upriver, fleets of dingy sailboats, with their blazon white sails, skittered to and fro like moths around a light. Tonight we tied up at the dock in Burt and Nancy's neighborhood. I look forward to having some Ludo's pizza tomorrow for lunch - I'm told its famous!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tilghman Island

Life on Tilghman Island is good.  The island hosts an annual festival, complete with rowboat races, anchor throwing contests, boat docking contests, boat races, and an assortment of locally caught and prepared seafood.  We enjoyed watching most of the events and sampling everything the vendors offered!  Yes, it was a little on the cool side, but it did little to cool the spirits of all the folks gathered to celebrate Tilghman Island Day.
We are currently docked at the Tilghman Island Marina at: 38°43.230'N  076°20.283'W.  Check out the island on Google Earth.
Tomorrow we will cross the Chesapeake, back to Yantz Creek.  We hope the winds will be gentle, but the forecast doesn't look good.  Expected winds will be brisk and right in the direction of travel.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still here...

Well we are still here in Yantz creek taking it easy. I thought some of you back home might like to know what kind of a view we have been enjoying.


Some things just don't get old!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Google Earth

For those of you using Google Earth, try this Lat/Long format.  You should be able to cut and paste the coordinates and "fly to" our exact reported position.  Here are the coordinates in the correct format:  39°03.999'N  076°33.913'W
Let us know if it works for you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We made it

Well we finally made it to Annapolis last Friday. We found a cool little anchorage called Weems Creek which was away from all the "goings on" at the boat show but within walking distance from a grocery store, laundromat, and a handful of great little restaurants. We spent Saturday with Burt and Nancy Jackson, who live here in Severna Park. Their neighborhood had a great Oktoberfest party complete with bratwurst, home - brewed beer, and an Ohm Pa band! Fun was had by all! Caroline took third place in the pie eating contest!

Monday, Alyson, Caroline and I went to the boatshow to check out all the new gadgets. It was pretty much same as last year. Later that evening we went out to eat for Caroline's Birthday. Burt and his son, Ben, joined us at the Macaronni Grill. Yum Yum!

Today, we moved the boat down to Burt and Nancy's neighborhood to a little cove called Yantz Creek. It's located at 39.04.002N 076.33.923W. Look us up on google earth and you will see the exact cove we are in!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Didn't Fall Overboard!

Yes, I am on the boat with my family! I have been very busy and haven't had made time to write until now. The planning for this trip took some time to work out. If you have ever planned to leave on a vacation for a week and gone through all the preparations, you know just a taste of what I have been up to these last couple of months. We had to plan for being way for ten months . . .taxes, absentee voting, Dr. and Dentist visits for all, establishing automatic bill payments, working with the pharmacy and BCBS to get our meds in advance, finding a house sitter and the list goes on.

So our first day out, I was exhausted and I must admit, I had a tug of sadness as we left our home port. It was not a sadness for the material things left behind but for my family and friends. Along, with my melancholy came excitement that the day had finally arrived. We were on our way on a journey of a lifetime! I prayed for safe travel, for happiness for my family and for our eyes to be opened to all of the new things God wanted us to experience. Oh, and I prayed to see Dolphins on the first day.

The ride down the ICW to Wrightsville Beach was a couple of hours but as we left the inlet, the sun broke through the haze. It was a gorgeous day! I felt true joy as I sat on the trampolines with Caroline watching the boats go by.

The seas were calm and I felt no fear being out in the ocean. I took my turn at the helm and off the Starboard side came our first of many Dolphins we would see that day. Caroline and I were like little kids with such excitement to see them. There were other sightings that day of large schools of fish, sharks (2 of them feeding on said fish), Jellyfish as big as Caroline's head (as she said). At one point, a beautiful little brown and yellow bird flew as hard as she could to catch up with us so she could rest a while. Coco did try to chase her off one time and in doing so almost went overboard.

Speaking of Coco, she is doing well so far. She has found her favorite warm, sunny spots and loves to sit in my lap while I'm at the helm. She is still apprehensive about doing her business on the AstroTurf but is doing much better.

Oh, Lew and Caroline caught their first (of many, I hope) fish today. It was small and Lew decided to throw it back. Truth be told, I don't think he wanted to clean it.

We anchored off of Beaufort that night. We had dinner, watched a movie and went to bed early. This was a great day!

The next two days traveling down the ICW were pretty uneventful. The second night we anchored off of Belhaven and third night we docked at Alligator River Marina. In our travel books, it claimed to have ultra modern facilities. Caroline said they were "ultra ancient." It was really windy that night so I knew the next day would be rough. It was. We cruised across the Alligator River and into the Albemarle Sound straight into the wind and waves. I was like riding a bucking bronco. School was called on account of rough seas. It calmed down later but it was tough getting Caroline back on task. We finally docked at the Coinjock Marina. A nice marina with good seafood. Now, I have asked several people if they have ever heard of Coinjock, NC. No person has at this point. All I know, is we are in the Outer Banks.

We leave early tomorrow so we can make to Norfolk so I better get to bed! Love you and goodnight!


Closing in on Annapolis

We have had a great few days making our way north toward Annapolis.

We began Saturday morning leaving Carolina Beach. We motored up the ICW to Wrightsville Beach and went outside, straight to Beaufort. It was a gloriously clear day with smooth water. Although we had the engine running the entire time, we did get to put up the sails for the last 4 hours. We saw tons of wildlife. Pods of dolphin frolicking all around, bait balls being hemmed at the surface, a brief glimpse of a sea turtle, two sharks and Caroline caught her first fish by trolling are just a sampling of our encounters. We got in to Beaufort that night and anchored out in Town Creek just to the north of the drawbridge.

With an early start on the day, we had a pretty uneventful motor to Bellhaven. That evening, Alyson cooked an awesome dinner - sesame chicken with a wasabi salad. I awoke early the next morning and I couldn't see a thing! OH NO, I'M BLIND!!! NO, Wait, I can see the boat. I just can't see anything beyond the boat. As we slept, a thick fog had rolled in, enveloping our peaceful little anchorage. So, plan #2 went into effect. Sleep a little longer and hope the fog burns off soon. The weather radio said the fog would be gone by 8:30, but we still could only see about 100 yards. But, within 30 minutes , the fog began to dissipate and we could get underway. We made Alligator creek Marina that night and had one of their "world renowned" cheeseburgers. I must admit they were pretty darn good!

This morning, we were the only ones choosing to head north against the wind. Forecasts had the wind at 25 knots gusting to 30. I believe it was every bit of that. Our first leg we went straight across the Albemarle. I was rough!!! I began to wonder if I had made the wrong decision to go that morning. We had to fight to get off the windward shore. Once we had made it about 1/3 of the way across, the waves began to mellow but the breeze remained stiff. Did I mention it was unseasonable cool? I nearly froze at the helm. To make matters worse, the sun seemed to hide behind thick white clouds until we had nearly made our stopping point. At 1:30 we pulled up to the docks at Coinjock Marina.

We are currently 50 miles south of Norfolk and just below the NC / VA border. Tomorrow we hope to make Norfolk and visit with Chip, my brother.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Making Progress

Well we have certianly been busy these last few weeks. Caroline has learned to throw the cast net, ride in the dingy and climb the mast. The following link shows some pics of the highlights. Alyson took the picture from way up the mast looking straight down at the boat. You will know it when you see it!

If all goes as planned, we'll head back toward Beaufort on Saturday morning. I doubt if we'll hardly stop since we are running pretty tight for making Annapolis for the Sailboat Show. I expect to spend a good 5 days getting there. Updates to this blog may be light since we'll be concentrating on making miles and not finding an internet connection. Winds should shift to the east by Monday so we can do some sailing. Unfortunately, Saturday and Sunday promise to be motor days, or rather, motor daze.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We left Beaufort early Wednesday morning, crossing through the drawbridge at the nine o'clock opening. With winds from the north at 15 to 20kts, we set the main with a tripple reef and unfurled the jib. Aly Cat made good way for most of the morning. Under sail, our best speed was around 9 kts. Later in the day, the wind eased and we opted for motor sailing as we surfed down following swells. Top speed as we surfed with engine and sail was just over 12 kts. We averaged closer to 7.5 or 8. By late afternoon, Wrightsville Beach appeared through the haze. As the sun set in the west, we entered the jetty at Masonboro Inlet. We had made it! Back in familiar waters and just a few miles from our homeport.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wet Again!!!

Well, we are back in the water and ready for the final leg to Carolina Beach. Tomorrow Shields Harper and his son Alan will join me for the brief run to CB. We plan to go straight from the Beaufort inlet to Wrightsville Beach Inlet. It promises to be a great downwind sail with moderate wind.

Incidentally, Alan Harper just spent the summer working for Sail Caribbean as a Catamaran Skipper. I hope he can give me some tips.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

latest update

Alyson and I spent Sunday attending to various items, loading new cockpit cushions, and unloading/throwing away items on board that we won't need.  We filled several 55 gallon drums with the stuff we threw away.  I also got a chance to inspect the dingy.  Even though it has several slow leaks, I feel confident I can get all of them patched.  We are quickly approaching our departure and all is progressing well.  We should have all repairs completed by the end of the week and be able to relaunch her by early next week.  The time table will mostly depend on tropical activity heading this way as to when we'll put her back in the water.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

another pic

Here is a pic of after the cove and boot stripes were painted. There is still some masking tape on the cove stripe!

Work in Progress

Today the boot and cove stripes were painted. We (Alyson) finished with all the scrubbing and such. I got a few electrical problems corrected and am beginning to tackle the hatch leaks. I also had to dry out sails. It seems the groove that catches the water on the forward lockers drains directly into the lockers! As you might expect, anything in the lockers gets wet. One more item to add to my list. We are knocking off early and going to find some good seafood in downtown Beaufort tonight.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fwd: On the Hard

Well, we are currently waiting for maintenance to be completed.  There are a lot of little things that need to be taken care of!  Alyson and I are spending a couple of days on her simply cleaning and scrubbing every surface.  OK, She's cleaning and scrubbing - I'm just trying to learn all the new systems, trace wires, and generally troubleshoot anything that doesn't work properly.  Tomorrow I hope to post a picture of Aly Cat out of the water.  She sure makes the Lincoln Navigator look small by comparison!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bringing her home

When we bought the boat, she was some 200 miles up the Chesapeake from Norfolk at Georgetown MD Yacht Basin. Our first task was to bring her to Beaufort NC for a refit at Jarrett Bay Boatworks. For such a task I enlisted the help of master sailor and delivery Captain James "Bo" Petty. We began our voyage around 3:00pm on national marina day, Saturday 1 August. The first leg called for motoring 10 miles out the Sassafras river to the Chesapeake and a turn south. By the time we reached the Chesapeake, squalls surrounded the bay and lightning flashed all around. We dug in and soldiered on to make Tolchester on the Eastern shore just as the most violent of the storms approached and the sun disappeared across the bay. Once safely tied off at Tolchester, we discovered the power was out at the marina. That meant no hot restaurant meal, no real toilets on land, and no long shower in the guesthouse. But, just being securely tied to a dock was better than nothing! We awoke the next day to gloriously clear skies. Departing at sunrise, we set our course for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. By That evening, we had made it to a small river just north of the Potomac. We glided back into the gentle waters seeking a shelter for the night and found a beautiful bay to drop the hook. An early departure the next morning allowed us to close in on Norfolk by the late afternoon. With rush hour approaching, we knew the bridges would be under an opening restriction so we tied up in Portsmouth for a cold one and a Mexican dinner on the harbour. With restrictions over, we pressed on and made it through Great Lock in the Virginia Cut part of the ICW. We tied up after passing through the lock and settled in for the night. The following day we would see very little traffic compared to the Chesapeake, but would see much more natural and unspoiled beauty. We saw our first of a dozen or so Bald Eagles and Osprey too numerous to count. We made good time throughout the day only slowing to scrape our masthead antenna on the girders of 65' fixed bridges. That night we anchored at the entrance to the Alligator Canal. We had more squalls that night during which we ended up dragging anchor. Once our anchor was reset, we got a few more winks before starting the Alligator the next morning. Ah yes, the Alligator Canal; 20 miles of straight as the eye can see canal with houses few and far between. With the canal to our stern, we weaved our way along the Albemarle sound, across the Pamlico and up the Neuse River to Adams Creek. Jarrett Bay lay just 10 miles from the entrance to Adams Creek. We arrived at Jarrett Bay by 6:30. With Aly Cat's first inland passage already behind her, we tied up awaiting haul out the next morning.


This blog will chronicle the adventures of the sailing vessel Aly Cat