Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dayton - at anchor

Crew coiling line after leaving the dock on Halloween
Happy Halloween, ah wait let me start that again. Today I woke up and put my tiny little costume on, a orange tiny witch hat on a head band, Halloween t-shirt, and black sparkly tutu. We went under  a couple bridges and a lot of boats past us, there was ten tiny speed boats and a couple big ones. I read Calvin & Hobbles and played on my tablet, some people went by and liked my costume and gave it a thumbs up. I also got Nana a ball mask, I got to go at the helm for a ways too. Then we got to are anchorage, I pulled in the dink and then we were settled. After that Grandpa and I went  to go bring Hoolie to shore, I helped get the dink ready. It is a nice little park and it sounds like some people are having a party next door. We are going to have a some popcorn and watch a movie tonight, well Happy Halloween. Sarah

Strange crew steered the boat too
We found an anchorage about 45 miles south of St Augustine with a lot of room and a nearby dinghy dock at a park. The travel weather was ideal with temps at 80 and full sunshine, couldn't be better, Florida is great! It's Halloween so Sarah came out today with her Halloween costume on which she wore all day. She had a mask for Ann and an eyepatch for me.So we celebrated Halloween in costume although she did not get a chance to Trick or Treat, not many places to do that when at anchor. 

We love the easy access to a dinghy dock at Bethune Point Park in Daytona
We went through the shallows at Ft Matanzas and found good water except by G81D where you had to favor the red side for 7 ft MLW. Otherwise, there were no problems. We're headed for Titusville Marina on Sunday where Fleetwing will reside for the next two months as we head north for the holidays before returning in January to continue south to Key West.  

Friday, October 30, 2015

St Augustine - We take the tour

In the lighthouse, a long way up!
This morning I got up and did my school work, I read a lot. Then we went to a tour train that takes you places, we went on it, there was one even near the marina. We saw the fort, old buildings, fancy old hotels and really nice churches. After that we got off to wait for a van to take us to a lighthouse, when we got there it looked really big. I was determined to go up 290 steps up and down, the view was amazing you could see everything. Everything looked so tiny and small, there was also a very nice breeze up on top. After that Grandpa and I went back down the 290 steps, Nana did not want to go up so we met her back down. I have to say my knees hurt coming down a lot, that was gym and history  class in one. The light house keeper had  to pull a thirty pound bucket of oil up all of those stairs. Then we saw a person hand carving a small sail boat that looked really nice and smooth. Then we met up with the van and went back to the boat for lunch, after that we went back to the train. We saw every historical thing or place in St. Augustine, then we played on a mini golf curse, I was third, Nana second and Grandpa first. It was really fun with all the Halloween decorations everywhere, then we headed back. I read a tiny bit and watched all the boats come in, there is really a lot, now am talking to you bye!  Sarah

View from the top
St Augustine now provides a shuttle in the mornings for either Publix or Walmart as well as other stores along the way such as Home Depot and Lowes. There is no charge for the shuttle and it's even advertised as free but they do accept donations. They pick you up right at the St Augustine Marina and allow for one hour for your shopping while they wait outside. They have shuttle service everyday of the week at two times: 9:00 to Publix and 10:30 to Walmart. 

A peacock in a tree? I didn't know they flew that high?
After the provisioning run we took a ticket for a tour of the city. The tour "trains" make 90 minute runs where you can hop on and off anywhere along the way. It's a great way to get introduced to the town. We took advantage of a free side trip to the lighthouse. Sarah wanted to climb the 200 plus steps to the top. I tagged along, it's a long way up! As expected the view is great and the look down will pump a little adrenalin. 

On Saturday we're headed for an anchorage at Daytona that we've used before. There's a dinghy dock by a park in the anchorage for Hoolie. The next day we're due in Titusville. Meanwhile, I posted a route on Active Captain showing a 10 ft MLW path through the famous shallows south of Fernandina. I wish the Coast Guard would buoy the path. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

St Augustine - at a dock

There was really no way to get at the fort
Today we didn't leave that early, enough time to take a shower. I read my book a lot and did my math, but before I read two pages in my book we were there. I coiled up the rope when we left the dock sat down a tiny bit and  then got ready to get the lines out. It wasn't  marina from marina, we have had some long trips and one hour is short for me. I looped the cleat this time, but the guy undid it to take it on another cleat that made me mad. I know he was just doing his job, it's just I really feel I caught the cleat when the rope stays on the cleat. After that I started on math and then chilled out for a while, It is crazy hot here about ninety (well it feels like ninety)! Then we went to Castillo de San Marcos fort that was real old. It was made with bricks of sand and shells, It had a interesting lay out so it is undefeatable. We saw big rooms with some had old carvings on them, the fort itself looks majestic with the drawbridge opening. At the top there were cannons on platforms of wood, also at each end of the fort were towers. The one tower that was the biggest faced the ocean  it had a bell to spot any approaching ships. After that we headed back to the boat because we saw all there was to see, as we went down the dock we saw more boats arriving. In mine time I made my own fort that is very awesome, with an alligator moat. We also saw fish that were tiny jumping out of the water, Nana said they were being chased. A big boat came in next to us that has shaded windows, and it is a big power boat. More and more boats come in and the docks start to fill up, we are having shrimp tonight a goodbye! Sarah

It was just a short trip today, a couple of miles to Ft Augustine. We took a dock at the town marina since we wanted easy access to downtown and the fort for Sarah. In the afternoon we walked over to the fort and I think Ann almost wilted from the heat. There was very little wind and I don't remember it ever being this warm in late October down here. 

An undefeated soldier
As Sarah said, the fort was never defeated. The British came one time and occupied the town and sieged the town for 50 days but everyone retreated to the fort and the British couldn't get in. In spite, they burned the town down as a going away present when Spanish reinforcements arrived. The walls are made of a combination of small shells with cement type structure mixed in. The combination resulted in walls that dented when hit by cannonballs but did not fracture, a natural energy absorbing structure. 

It's a national park so my Golden Passport was honored for all of us. On the way back it grew even hotter, good thing we have A/C on the boat. After it cooled down in the evening, we walked into town to see the shops. They have several streets where cars are not permitted, nice for walking and looking. We will do more of the same tomorrow before leaving on Saturday for an anchorage in Daytona.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor - at a dock

Well, we'd rather have the boat on the right...
This morning we went off to Camachee Island, it is a new marina they have never been to. I started in my school work this morning, I read and now am on page 200 something. The trip  here was mostly work, but I did get a chance to write a little bit before we went in. I had the stern line like usual, but I couldn't quite throw the rope right. We went to the diesel dock first to refuel, then they moved us to our dock for the night. I tried to throw it again, but I only got half of the cleat. That made me mad, so after we got in I tried to practice with the ropes on the cleat. Then I put the step out and curled up the lines on the dock. It is so hot out here I think it was 90 degree when we came in, I also saw some birds resting on the bow of the boat. We don't want bird poop on deck so I went to go scare them off. We are having chicken salad for dinner tonight and bye!  Sarah

Great to be in Florida with the warm weather and great sunsets
We left Fernandina around 9:00 and negotiated the famous shallows south of there with an eight foot tide! That was obvious easy but I did map the path corrected for MLW and found a 10 ft MLW path which I'll post on Active Captain later. The rest of the shallow spots between Fernandina and St Augustine were unchanged and passable at low tide if you knew the path. 

We had intended taking a dock at Harbortown, just south of the St Johns River, but the condo governing body decided to not rent out slips to any mre transients given their past bad experiences, too bad for us. We we motored on south to Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor. It's not a bad place and makes a good stop before St Augustine which we'll go to on Thursday. We want tos how Sarah the town and the fort. It's a great place to visit if you've never been there before. Our normal route is to bypass St Augustine and anchor out at Ft Matanzas and then anchor out at Rockhouse Creek before winding up at Titusville Marina but with Sarah we thought we'd see the sights.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fernandina - at anchor, we dine out at Pepper's

Not a wise maneuver in my view - he got five blasts on the horn
This morning I woke up and we had breakfast. I read a bit of my book that was good and did my math for today. After that I had a tiny snack, It's a rainy day, but goes from a mist to a pour. I finished my book work then we go out to town. Nana went to go get her hair cut, then Grandpa and I went around and looked at stores. There was one store that had a fish and turtles out front in tiny ponds, I thought the turtle would be so much happier in the wild. We went into some stores with paintings, they were really detailed and looked so real. Then we met up with Nana and her haircut looked very nice I think. After that we went to a Mexican restaurant for early dinner late lunch. I had really good taco that had pork and onions in it. Then we headed back to the boat, I was pretty cold with the tiny drops of rain and the wind. Now I might read some more of my book and well we had dinner so bye! Sarah

There are a few places where we always dine out, Fernandina is one of them. We like the Mexican restaurant, Pepper's, which is only a few blocks from the Marina. There are lots of restaurants in the area of all types and lots of places to browse through. It's a nice, compact town. However, there's very little in the way of provisions nearby, it's devoted to tourists, not cruisers. 

It's Fernandina so it must be haircut day!
It was a rainy day and we were in the cockpit when we heard the ship danger signal, five loud blasts. Looking over in that direction we saw a small sailboat crossing right in front of a huge ocean going ship being helped by a tugboat to dock. I am sure they did not appreciate the sailboat crossing their path! 

On Wednesday we're off for Harbortown Marina at Jacksonville. It's right on the ICW so we don't have to motor up the St John's River to the city proper. The marina was willing to rent dockage to transients until one unscrupulous couple sued the marina for supposed tripping on one of their docks (they are all brand new, in mint condition) so now they no longer welcome transients. They never made much money off transients anyway, they were just letting transients use docks empty for the moment owned by a condo as a goodwill gesture. However, the dockmaster knows us and we're still invited. It is really unfortunate that one bad apple can spoil it for everyone.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fernandina - at anchor

Sarah tried making conversation but no luck
This morning we didn't have to get up early we actually left at eleven o'clock. I read To Kill a Mocking Bird, it is getting really good, I love the characters. Then we arrived, it was a very short trip only hour and a half. I did all of my work and I read a little bit too. We went in to shore to the dingy dock and looked around. We saw some people that knew Grandpa from his website, we talked to them for  while. Then we walked down the street, it looks like a very old town. There was jewelry, clothes and books and we stopped by the bookstore because I am going through books fast. We looked around and found two from the series my aunt said were good. We walked around a little more and headed back to the dink. It was a nice and windy from the sky, we hooked back on then I read. I also played with Hoolie a bit, he's really cute and small. We are having something delicious for dinner bye! Sarah

Lots of shrimp boats in Fernandina - even in the harbor
Fernandina is only a very short distance away but it's always a place we like to stop at. They have a variety of shops to look through and a bookstore along with many restaurants. The marina is overpriced at $2/ft and the moorings are likewise too high at $20/night so we just anchor out. There's enough room for an armada, no problem and by anchoring you don't get the annoying mooring ball knocking up against the side of your boat at 2:00 am in the morning with wind against tide. The marina has a dinghy dock for use by those that anchor out with a fee of $3/day which is reasonable. 

Ready for Christmas?
So we walked through town and Ann and Sarah went through a bookstore to find reading material for Sarah, they found a couple of books that looked good for her age group. Fernandina is one of  the places where Ann always gets a haircut. They have an outstanding hair salon, Magna's Salon. If you don't make an appointment weeks in advance, you won't get in. They are very good and very popular and less than 1000 ft from the marina, right on main street. 

So we will be here another day and leave Wednesday morning. I'll take the girls out for a Mexican dinner Tuesday evening. We always have mexi at Pepper's, our twice a year treat. Sarah likes Mexican food too so she's also looking forward to the experience. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cumberland Island - last day

Sarah's main occupation on the island, taking photos of the wild horses
This morning we had pancakes for breakfast, I had two of them and they were really good. I read some out of my book and then we decided to go to the island. We saw four horses, they were so pretty and were in a field. There were palm trees that were pretty the grass their names are London the biggest horses, the small one Ella, and Lena. They were one little pack, then we walked aways and saw two more horses, a foal and mom. They had pretty white spot on there snout. I called the big one Tulip, and the tiny one Ginger. I took a lot of pictures, then some people said there more up ahead, but we didn't see any. After that we went back to the boat, I read up on deck because the breeze felt so nice and I wanted to enjoy my last day at this horse wonderland! After that we headed back to the island we saw Tulip and Ginger with the other horse now. We went down the path to go to the lily pond and on are way there we saw another horse. She was so pretty I named her Lily since we were headed to the lily pond. We saw the pond that was so pretty it had a palm tree in the middle almost like a tiny island. Then we headed back out and Lily was still there chewing some grass. We took a different path back that lead closer to the horses in the field. We went around them and said good bye. That's when we heard the horses talking to each other, with Lily. They talked a little bit and then we saw her running so beautifully to the other horses. It was interesting to see horses interact with each other. Then after the greeting we had to go, and I said bye to my wild friends. I drew some of the horses when I got back to the boat. I will miss them, but It will be an experience I'll never forget! Well we are having chicken for dinner bye. Sarah

They were used to humans and didn't run away but we didn't approach too closely
On a settled night, the anchorage here is great. I don't expect it to be so good if winds were kicking up 20 to 30 kts but with the winds less than 10 kts it's perfect. Early this morning there must have been fishing boats going out the inlet around 5:00 am since we rocked quite a bit. Once they cleared the channel, the anchorage settled back down again and was calm the rest of the day. 

The live oaks grow into really strange shapes. The wood has to be strong to support the long, horizontal branches
Our morning trip took us to the southern set of docks that were closer to where the wild horses roamed. The grounds looked perfectly manicured with the grass very short and the obvious reason was the horses. They were grazing constantly and the grass had no chance to grow to any height. The grounds were also covered with live oaks. We were told that much of the timbers for the early frigates of the new USA came from here. The live oaks are known for their durability and strength as well as growing in shapes that fit the odd bends in a boat hull. The wood is no good for furniture since the wood is full of a swirling pattern of grain. However, that mixture of grains make for a very strong wood since there's no fracture path through the swirls. 

Sarah was enchanted with the horses. They ran free all over the place. She must have took over a hundred photos! Luckily, they are all digital. She found one she especially liked and she's making a drawing of the horse. 

Monday is a new week for Sarah and algebra restarts. She's doing well in the subject and is working hard on the word problems. Sarah and I spend at least an hour a day during the week on algebra. Ann's covering French and English and for literature they are reading "To Kill a Mockingbird". 

We'll leave for Fernandina on Monday and anchor just outside the mooring field. Anchoring works best there since with the current, our boat does better with the anchor as opposed to a mooring ball which can start knocking up against the hull in the middle of the night when the tide changes and there's any type of wind opposed. At anchor, that does not happen and at Fernandina there's plenty of room to anchor. The marina allows anchored boats the use of the dinghy dock for a small fee, $3/day. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cumberland Island - at anchor

A canopy of trees
Today we were headed off again a little early and I was a little sleepy. We had cereal for breakfast, then I played on my tablet and read, got to tell you the trip there is  boring. It's when we got there, the breeze felt wonderful and we arrived to Cumberland island. It 's an anchorage and this island has wild horses! After we settled in a bit and ate lunch we headed over to the island ourselves, it's a national park so there is a dingy dock. There were big twisted trees with Spanish Moss, it hangs on trees but not attached that looks gray. It's pretty in parts but some times it looks dismal in a way, it was pretty when we saw it. I went down the path that had horse poop and tired to point out where they would be. We walked down the path onto the biggest and longest beach I have ever went on. Even there we saw no horses at all, I was disappointed with that land not a horse in sight. When we went back I saw an armadillo, in my excitement I ran to look at it, in my stupidity it also ran away. I seen one before and closer so I wasn't sad it ran away. I named it Marron that is brown in French, you say it like mah-rah. After that some people said the horses were by some grassy parts that we might go to tomorrow. After a nice glass of lemonade Nana saw some horses on the shore. There were three I named the tiny one Charlie, the big brown one Coco, and the last white one Bonbons that means candy in French, bohn-bohns. They were so pretty I wish I was on the island with them, then. After that I am talking to you, we are having tuna tonight bye! Sarah

A beautiful beach
We had never visited Cumberland Island in our previous five trips even though we had heard so many good things about it so this time, with Sarah, we decided not to miss the opportunity. It's a National Park so my Golden Passport is good, no charge. There's a place to anchor at no charge and a free dinghy dock.There's a beach to explore and even horses that run free. Sarah was fascinated that the horses were on the beach. They appeared to be drinking the water on the bay side. Isn't that salty? 

Horses drinking salt water?
We plan on spending Sunday exploring the rest of the park before moving on to Fernandina. The weather has finally warmed up with temperatures in the low 80's, nice. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hiddle Harbor Yacht Center - at their dock

Venus, Jupiter and Mars in the morning sky when I got up today at Thunderbolt
This morning we got up really early, well I slept in and they started early. The marina we were in gives you fresh made this morning donuts, that was so good. I did little work today and French am learning fast, un deux trios, one two three. I can count up to twenty, I like starting a language I think I can spell numbers better in French. Then I wrote in my book, then played on my tablet. It was long, left early came in late. I did the cleat when I threw the rope around it and the person tied for me. I put out the step and curled the lines, the marina is called Hidden Harbor that is really hidden. You go through this tight channel leading to our marina, we are leavening early in the next morning. We are having a some chili for dinner, P.S sorry it is so short we didn't do much in a long trip on the boat, bye.  Sarah 

We had to leave at 7:00 am sharp to have a chance making the Hell Gate passage. This spring I had seen 3.1 MLW which means there was only 3.1 feet of water at low tide. Now since we require 4 ft 9 inches to pass through we had no chance at low tide. However, we left at 7:00 so we could arrive at Hell Gate by 9:00 am when the tide there was 2.1 ft high. Theoretically, that should be enough for our 4' 9" keel (3.1 + 2.1 = 5.2 ft). 

Promises, promises - they laid the foundations but the orders never came for the condos
So amid much complaining from the crew, we left at 7:00 am sharp. The sun didn't rise until 7:30 so it was a little dark but we had enough light to see. We were the only boat visible as we approached Hell Gate, not a good sign - they all had the good sense to stay away. I had figured waypoints from a satellite photo where I could see the mud banks, a good plan if the shoals stayed in place between the taking of the photo and the negotiating of the shallows by me. Unfortunately, the two didn't seem to match.  The depth corrected for MLW (low tide) came out to 2.4 ft! Even with a 2.1 ft tide, that was not enough for my 4 ft 9 inch keel! So I felt the keel hit the mud and I motored on through, the mud was soft and gave way for the 200 ft or so I needed to clear the shallowest area. From past experience with Hell Gate, I knew that the shallowest part was at the beginning heading south. Soon enough I was in deeper water and proceeded to clear the cut although only deeper to the extent of a 5 ft draft for the next 500 ft before deepening further to 6 ft. 

That was quiet enough excitement for one day. We had intended stopping at Wahoo Creek but we got there by 12:30 which was too early to quit so we soldiered and when we reached our second choice, we kept moving. We wound up at Hidden Harbor Yacht Center just north of Brunswick, GA, a good staging area for the shallows at Jekyll Island. 

We hope to anchor out at Cumberland Island National Seashore. We've never been there and have heard great things about it. This year we're going to stop! Then it's on to Fernandina for a few days of rest. Today was a 10.5 hour day but we made it. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thunderbolt Marina at Savannah - at a dock

Seagulls love shrimp boats!
Today I woke up with Hoolie in my bed that was nice, but I was still a little sleepy. We went off to catch the 9:30 opening, it was like a bunch a of boat lining up to go through the bridge. I curled the ropes and put the step back, also it hasn't been cold for the past mornings we have been up early. I think it is about 84 degrees today and we have the AC on, it is hot. I did my work, and read out of my book am on page 63 I think. It was a really nice day out on the water, I had my lunch then we arrived. I threw the ropes and it landed around the cleat and I pulled, I thought I wasn't going to make it but it did. Then I jumped off the boat on to the dock and tied it, it felt good to be important in the crew. Then we did some laundry, Nana and I sat down so I wrote some out of my book am writing. We headed back to the boat with Hoolie, also I saw a MEGA, MEGA yacht it looks like a mini Crouse ship. I was amazed that some one had the money for that three story house on water. Then I put back the aft cabin because we were going to have a battery put in the boat but didn't. That is right in the aft cabin so we had to take every thing out that was tiring. Although I did put it back all nicely, I played on my tablet and draw a little bit. We are having fresh scallops for dinner bye! Sarah

Thunderboat is the home of megayacht repairs and outfitting
Day two of the shallows but we didn't find anything less than 6 ft MLW. We had another day of winds under 10 kts and full sunshine, just a beautiful day for traveling. I need to replace one of my 4D house batteries. It has shorted internally and run very hot. I disconnected it from the circuit and ordered another one from Thunderbolt Marine. Unfortunately, they crossed their wires and the replacement battery was not ready so we'll move on without it. I still have two good house batteries which is not ideal but enough. I'll replace them in Titusville.

The tides are moving to later in the day, not ideal now. To compensate, we have to leave Friday morning no later than 7:00 am to have 2 ft of tide at Hell Gate which only has 3 ft at low tide. With a total of 5 ft, I should be able to make it through with my 4 ft 9 inch keel, barely. Also on the bad side, the tide will be dropping so if I can't make it all the way through, I'll  be stuck somewhere in the Hell Gate passage until the tide returns, ouch. 

We are entering a part of the ICW where we can anchor out for the next several days with Friday night being on the Wahoo River. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lady Island Marina at Beaufort - at a dock

Lady Island Marina - nice place
This morning we said goodbye to Chariton and headed off. It was not that cold this morning, but still a little chilly. I helped with the ropes when we released from the dock and curled them up. I did my usual work today and read some out of my book. Then I went down stairs to eat lunch and read some Calvin & Hobbles  a bit, that was very funny to read. Then I went up to go play with Hoolie, he is so cute when he curls himself up in a ball. After that a designed some dresses just for fun and checked on the clay. They are just still soft so if some one stepped on it wouldn't crumble up it would be flat like a pancake. Then we were headed to the marina passed the bridge were going to go under tomorrow. I handled the stern lines, put the step out, and curled up the ropes. It has been a routine for me so am so comfortable with it. It should be, because it has been about six weeks on the boat for me now. We took Hoolie on a walk and he made a new friend, they  were playing like crazy. We were getting bitten like food out there with all the bugs so we headed back to boat. Then we put on the AC it was very hot, then I did started the blog, the one you are reading right now. We are having pulled chicken for dinner that I can't wait to eat yummy, bye. Sarah

A famous attraction at Lady Island - The Fillin Station, $4 for a hamburger and hotdog
Today was a great day for going south. We had the tide with us and we passed through all the shallows without a problem. They were all in good shape with plenty of water, for example:
Lowest Water Seen today:
Dawho River: 6.9 MLW 
Watts Cut:  8.4 MLW 
Fenwick Cut: 7.3 MLW 
Ashepoo Cut:  5.4 MLW at southern exit, deeper inside cut
Brickyard Pt (coming into Beaufort): 4.5 MLW in spots
I updated Active Captain for all the passages. 

In general, the water depths haven't been this good in years. There was a higher than predicted tide today according to the Charleston buoy tide monitoring station by 0.8 ft. which may explain part of the increased depths, except for the unexpected shallows around Brickyard Point. We managed to hit all of the shallows with a rising tide, no sweat when you do that. 

Beaufort is at war with the boaters going south. They applied to the Coast Guard to keep the bridge closed during the day except for two openings, one at 10:00 am and one at 2:00 pm. That would have effectively killed the southern migration. They obviously care nothing around their compact with the ICW going through their town. It's all about them and what they want, nothing about their stewardship of the ICW channel running through their town. The Coast Guard controls the opening schedule of all bridges across the ICW so they had final approval rights. Unfortunately, they approved openings on top of the hour during the day and kept the restrictive closures during "rush hour(s)" of 6:00 am to 9:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 6:00  pm. All this comes even though there's another bridge 65 ft high that's always open less than 5 miles south. 

We got at 4:30 and we'll leave in the morning as soon as the bridge opens at 9:00 am, I hate to bother them but then I need to go south. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Charleston - we visit the Charleston Natural History Museum - Guided tour!!

The former "dog park" is now finished - now no dogs allowed on the fields!
This morning we ate and got washed up, then went to the barn for a carriage tour ride. We sat on a seat in the back of the carriage, the horse that was pulling us was named Franklin, he is a big black horse that is really pretty. We saw a big house with unique feature like porches, doors, and the rim around the window. Then we got off and said bye to Franklin, there were other ponies, mules, and horses. After that we walked around in the market that was full of jewelry, baskets, and spices. Then we headed back to the boat to get some lunch. I got all ready for are private tour of a museum  of bones. There were dinosaur bones and eggs that was so cool to see because they're  so old. It feels like you're in a time machine seeing all these creatures, there were saber-toothed tiger and mammoth. There was also mammoth hair, I had a good idea for the creatures because I watched a movie with old animals. I got to touch a three billion and a half old rock, it was smooth and looked cool. After that we waited for our electric car service to come and picked us up. Then I draw a bit and watched TV it was a pretty peaceful afternoon. We are having chicken wrap for dinner bye! Sarah

Large horse, small kid
First on the agenda was a ride in a horse drawn carriage down the historic section of Charleston. I think Sarah enjoyed the ride and the horses more than the scenery. The horse was huge and it took only one to pull our carriage. All the other carriages had two horses. After the ride we had to walk down the indoor market with all the vendors. Selling hand made baskets was a big  business that Charleston is known for.

Our free, electric ride
In the afternoon we decided to take the Scoop ride service which is free although we did tip. They use electric cars to give personal service anywhere in Charleston. They will come and pick you up and take you where you want to go, all at no charge. I asked the guy, what's your  business plan? How do you stay in business? He replied that he has four cars and he sells the advertising space on the car which is supported by local merchants. He apparently makes a living with his fleet of four cars. I've never seen free taxi service with electric cars anywhere else.

Many thinks to Dr James Carew for his excellent guided tour!!
Scoop arrived on time and delivered us to the front steps of the Natural History Museum. We met with Dr James Carew, a professor at the Charleston College. We met through a mutual friend that read my blog on going down the ICW. He graciously gave us a guided tour of the exhibits, fascinating. The fossils have been meticulously prepared with a superb presentation.  

We plan on leaving Wednesday for points south. Once again the shallow waters start up again but we have a rising tide although not until the afternoon. First we have to get through a few shallows at near low tide, we ought to make it okay unless there's been a lot of changes since April - which is possible. I'll update Active Captain along the way and report on my progress through the "adventure" sections of the ICW tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

We visit the South Carolina Aquarium - Day two

Welcome to the South Carolina Aquarium
This morning we had breakfast and we went to the aquarium. I was cold so I had my sweatshirt and pants on, so then we headed there. It is a tall building, it had gorgeous views of the ocean, you could see everything. When you enter you saw a big tank full of fish with a little reef. We looked at all the beautiful colors on the fish, one looked neon almost glow in the dark kind of. There were tiny ones and big guys, with all different features. 

A small, free standing aquarium is by the front door
Then we moved up stairs to see a real Bald Eagle, it wasn't blocked by glass just string. It was so cool to see a live one, I have never seen one before. Then just behind me was an alligator baby of course, I got to pet the little thing too. After that we headed into a different room with a bunch of native fish and turtles. The turtles were swimming in the tank, it was cool to see how natural the habits looked. 

Pet and alligator!
Then we saw a white albino alligator it turned to face us and looked so cool and creepy. The person there said they don't survive in the wild because their bright white is easy to see as a baby and eat. Then we saw baby alligators swimming in the tank they were so cute and scary at the same time. After that we went in almost a green house at the top of the building and saw more fish in tanks with waterfalls. 

Pet a ray
Then we saw an otter swimming in the water, I thought it was amazing to see so many real live animals. Also we went inside saw a lot more fish, and a cute little bird on a fence inside. We went outside after that and saw big fish and up close birds and turtles. In a other tank there was sting rays, also a really cute turtle with the smallest little nose. There were a bunch of them in a pile under water, and one by one they came up to get some air. 

A starfish in hand
Back inside we saw little creatures and I held a starfish. After that we saw a sea turtle it was so pretty, I loved it. Also a big tank of lion fish with a eel, there is a jelly fish tank with a rainbow chart and you press a color and the jelly fish almost change color. 

What a great day!
Then the big tank probably two story tall, with almost every fish,  sea turtle, shark, eel, and star fish. Then we went to see lemur that was cool gliding. After that I got a cute stuffed animal, then we went to pet tiny sharks and sting rays. They felt like rubber and wet, then we headed back to the boat, are you keeping up? Then we got some necessities for the boat, and we settled down and eat dinner bye. Sarah

I need to get Sarah her own blog, she had quite a day and she wants to tell everyone all about it. We went to the South Carolina Aquarium which is right next door to the marina. The exhibits are immaculate and very well done. Many of the exhibits have side attractions for kids and there were lots of kids in attendance. You could stand in a replica of an Eagle's nest and crawl through a log with hand puppets covering two holes which the kids then inserted their hands and activated. In another exhibit they crawled into a tunnel that ended in a plexiglass cube inside the exhibit of Lemurs running around the cage. It was all very well done and aimed at both kids and adults. 

A tunnel into the exhibit of live lemurs
There were a lot of touch and feel along the way with stations manned by volunteers who were all enthusiastic about spreading the wonders of the aquarium. It was well worth the visit. We later provisioned at Harris Teeter, one of our favorite markets only about 1/2 mile from the marina. 

We have one more day in Charleston where we plan on a trip to Charleston Museum of Natural History, a trip to downtown to see the Charleston City Market and perhaps a ride in a Charleston Carriage for a trip around town. On Wednesday we're off again for points south. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Charleston Maritime Center - at a dock

Snug tonight at Charleston Maritime Center
This morning I  was cold, with the north wind. I just now started To Kill a Mockingbird, It is a good book so far. I also took a little nap too, me and Hoolie snuggled up with the fuzzy blanket. Then aways down we stop to wait for a bridge to open because it opened by the hour. Then we made a long turn that was into Charleston, there is a bridge that looks really cool. After we were tied in we ate lunch, then we had to do some laundry. On a boat we definitely don't have room for a washer and dryer, so the marinas usual do have them. I made my pile, then we went for a walk. It is a very beautiful town, we saw palm trees, flowers, and well the ocean. Then we picked up the laundry and headed back to the boat. I folded up my pile and put it away nicely, I also watched TV. I saw on our walk was metal star fishes that were up beside the garden, we saw a museum we didn't go in. We  go might tomorrow, It looked like they had trees growing inside of the building. We are having spicy chili for dinner bye. Sarah

The passage through the Isle of Palms shallows was not without excitement. We saw depths down to 3.0 MLW and so would not have made it at low tide. However, we purposely made the trip at exactly high tide for the part just above the Ben Sawyer bridge and therefore had no problem. This stretch of the ICW is due to be dredged this fall but they have not started the dredging yet. It's as bad now as it was in the spring of 2015. By breaking the trip into two segments: one from Georgetown to Awendaw and the second from Awendaw to Charleston, the shallows become a non-issue, just take them all at high tide. 

The morning picture on a cold day, Hoolie likes heat
The marina here is virtually empty with only five boats in slips. I guess the cold weather (high of 61 today) is driving people away. The warming trend starts on Monday and reaches 70 by Tuesday, much better. We'll be here for three days we think and leave on Wednesday. We're not sure when we'll reach Savannah, depends on the weather and tides but probably in two to three days. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Awendaw Creek anchorage - at anchor

Our peaceful anchorage
This morning we had breakfast and we were headed off. I read a lot out of my book, so much I finished it and I think there is a third one too. When we took off I helped with the lines, coiling them, It was cold this morning (editor's note: 65 this morning). I think it is always cold since we head off early, plus with the wind it was freezing. I know from some of my followers up north are probably rolling there eyes since we are in South Carolina. I also draw a little bit, I draw the characters in my book. Then we arrived to our anchor spot, and It is very calm here, we haven't anchored in a while. Then I had a job to sew up the wheel, there is a metal wheel that has fabric sewed on it. One bottom part of the wheel was unsewn. After that I read Calvin & Hobbles, then I walked Hoolie with Grandpa. We get him in the dink which he is eager to go in, then we find a spot on the beach put the dink up close then he goes. Life as a boat dog am telling you! Well we are having burger with this spicy salsa and beans, I can't wait bye. Sarah

Coming through the Isle of Palms you have a choice of either making it in one pass and putting up with shallow water in the morning to get the high water in the afternoon north of the Ben Sawyer bridge or making the trip in two days so you have high water for both legs. This year we chose the two day option due to the timing of the tides and we're now anchored out at Awendar Creek. 

Hoolie's beach is high and dry at mid to low tide, right behind the boat
The trip down was no problem given the high tide passage but I updated Active Captain with MLW inputs. The shallowest water we found was near McCelellanville with a reading of only 4.2 MLW, see Active Captain for details. The rest of the passage was not much different from our spring of 2015 trip to the north. 

Sarah has turned into quite the reader. She finished her second book and gave us a synopsis of the plot this morning. It seems that the current trend in young people's books is to always leave them hanging for the next installment, this book was no different. 

We're in the Awendar anchorage and it's a beautiful night, not much wind and it's perfectly still on the water. There's only one other boat here and we'll probably both leave near 8:00 am to ensure high tide at the shallows north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge. However, the bridge only opens on top of the hour on the weekends. If we had transited during the week, the bridge would have been on demand. We're headed for Charleston on Sunday for two to three days, depending on the weather and how much we want to do. We will certainly see the aquarium and downtown shops at least along with provisioning at Harris Teeter which may consume three days, we'll see. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Georgetown - at Dry Stack Marina at a dock

And this was after the water receded several feet
I woke up this morning not too early, but early enough to make you tired. Today we are leaving, I helped tie the ropes. It was cold this morning, I had long plants and a sweat shirt (editor's note, it was 65). Then I did some algebra this morning and I really think I am getting the hang of it. Then I did some vocab, then French, I did a test to see if I could tell want the words are, but in French. I think it is cool  when you know a language, you can read stuff you couldn't before. Then I read a lot out of my book, I think there is a third one because they have to do all of this stuff in 90 pages. Then I went down to get lunch and played on my tablet a bit. After some time we were here in Georgetown, the marina is nice and we restocked up on fuel. I helped with the lines and curled them up, also I put the step out. The boat is a little high from the dock so it is easier if there was a step. Our step connects on to a metal part of the boat and hangs down, there is also a rope attached to the step then you tie the end to the boat. You don't want anything to fall in the drink (fall in water, boat humor). Now we are having a stuffed crab for a little bite and fish for dinner, so bye. Sarah

The Rt 544 bridge with a 1.2 ft tide
Even though the tide charts said the current should  be flowing out, it was still against us most of the morning and the current by Barefoot Landing was still ebbing to sea. So we left around 8:00 and headed south. There was and still is extensive flooding south of here by the Socastee Bridge area. Of some concern to some with very tall masts is the fixed  bridge just south of the Socastee lift bridge, the Rt 544 bridge. Today it showed 61.5 ft with a tide of 1.2 ft. according to the tide tables. The height was certainly affected by the flooding from the rains. There were two patrol boats to make sure no one went faster than idle through the area. Any wave would wash right into a window in a house. 

Just had to have fresh fish at the Independent Fish Market
The river was still clear of debris, even more so than in the past and once past the high water near the houses, we could resume normal speed. Shortly thereafter, the adverse current turned and we were zooming along at over 9 kts with the outflow of water from the flood. We got a dock at the Dry Stack Marina in Georgetown for the night. 

It's the wooden boat show weekend
We plan on taking the shallows between here and Charleston in two steps so we'll have high tide at the critical spots. So on Saturday we'll leave around 9:00 so we'll have plenty of water for McClellanville and anchor at Awendaw. The next morning we'll leave in time for a similar high tide at the shallows north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge. I'll report on what I find on both days here in the blog and on Active Captain. Then we'll be in Charleston Sunday and Monday, leaving Tuesday for more shallows further south, should be interesting. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Barefoot Landing - last day

This is why you call ahead  before entering the Rock Pile, you don't want to meet him halfway through
This morning I had some cereal for breakfast that was good. Then I read out of my book that is getting shorter, we also did some French and practiced the word we started. I also did algebra that wasn't so hard today, we did some language arts too. I met a cute small puppy that is the dock master's dog, Hoolie went crazy about her. Then we went out for lunch, it is a really big place there. It had a lot of pictures, and paintings. We had those napkins that stood up  on the tables. It was beautiful, big open room with windows that faced the water. I had lemonade in this fancy cup, had about three glasses. Then we walked in some shops. I went in the purple store and it was purple. I was eyeing this stuff animal, but I thought I should spend my money wisely. It was a purple panda that was so soft, then we went  to Nana's pick of stores. We went to Kohl's, and they had a lot of winter stuff ready in stock. We also feed the fish and spot, it was hard to get food to him since he is slow. There were so many big fish this time, I mean huge with the same stripes. Then we looked around more and went back to the boat. Well I was thinking of reading a little more so bye. Sarah

A very happy Sarah with her crab sandwich
We have several boats hanging out here with 62 ft masts waiting for the water to subside for clearance under the Rt 544 bridge. It's supposed to be 65 ft at high tide but it's only 61 ft now. It's plenty for our 55.3 ft mast but for some boats it's close. We'll leave at 8:00 and so will be at the  bridge near low tide, should be no problem. The Coast Guard is policing the waterways to prevent speeders. A bow wave at the height of the river now washes right into the houses through a window! 

The ducks are friendly and always looking for a handout
To celebrate our last day we had lunch at Greg Norman's Australian Grill, a great choice. Sarah had the crab cake sandwich and seemed pleased with the choice. Ann and I had our traditional fillet mignon. 

The end of our stay at Barefoot Landing
Then it was time for shopping. Izod has an outlet here that was having a sale on golf shirts at 80% off which resulted in $8 shirts, a good deal. It's a nice area to walk around in, well kept with lots of things to look at. All that is help by the weather with temperatures in the mid 70's and humidity around 45%, nice. Time to move on.