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North –

To?  -As I’m writing this we’re tied up at Ft Pierce enjoying the company of those darn Kiwis aboard ‘Southern Star’.It’s always fun to catch up with Jenny and Ted. They’ve just finished a pretty extensive run of the Bahamas so plenty of island st…


Beirut – 2006Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Peep Show

Marina Cam at Herrington Harbour South Marina. One of the many cams the good folks at HHS had onSpot install. Watching these birds build their nest is fascinating.Thanks Herrington Harbour – Very Cool Link to other onSpot wifi Marina Cams  http:…

Happy Holidays

Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Winding Down – Brunswick, GA

Brunswick, GA — Tied up at St Simons; a Golden Isles sunset reflecting off the sound, pelicans and gulls ending the day doing what it is they do, all appears peaceful. Though, just a couple days ago, Thanksgiving Day, this was a different picture all together. A damp northerly wind was blowing hard and there was no sunset to be enjoyed, just gray, grayer, then darkness and cold.

In several ways, this trip is winding down.

Leaving Beaufort: With winds and seas in the unsettled state they were in, the choices were to run the ICW or stay put. Staying put was no longer an option.
Motoring south and winding down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, there are many bends and curves, the shoals around every ocean inlet must be taken seriously, and almost every mile of the way there’s some obstacle that must be overcome. Most are not as precarious as reputed (ActiveCaptain), but all bets are off, you’re compelled to give every one of these complications your attention or one of them could make for a very bad day.  Stress.
(Hindsight is 20-20: Unless there’s an unusually low tide, if you stay in the center of the channel there’s little to worry about.)
The stretch between Beaufort and Cape Fear is crossed with bridges all seemingly set up on schedules that are timed to penalize any boat requiring an opening—of course a fierce current is always pushing as you approach them and the incommunicado bridge tender’s watch invariably runs 5 minutes slow.

Needless to say, if one has taken on the mindset to get home, this is a chore, and this portion of the ICW is not much for stopping and smelling the roses so…  Push.

Past the Cape Fear River and back into the ICW, St James Marina is just a short way. A nicely manicured marina with an excellent restaurant onsite.

The Southport to Georgetown, SC run is not nearly as bad as it’s reputation. The water’s fairly deep and there are fewer shoals to overthink. Once pass Myrtle Beach, other than strong currents, this bit is not bad at all. It’s nice, actually.
Osprey Marina is a good stop. Tucked back into a forest of low country cypress trees is a little sanctuary of a marina. A pleasant stop that’s out of the current and staffed by nice folks who are happy to give you a hand tying up.
Back in the ICW and a full day’s run in deep water is Georgetown, SC. Harborwalk Marina is the nicest and closest marina to the restaurants and shops that Georgetown has to offer. A charming little town that’s at least worth a couple of days.

The next morning, looking across the harbor at a stack towering over a nearby mill, the winds seemed to have settled, the smoke bellows straight up towards the clouds.
The run out Winyah Bay is uneventful as is the run into Charleston and all the way to Ashley Marina.

The winds were relenting and the seas stayed somewhat still. Leaving Charleston Bay and easing out the inlet, all remains calm and the next leg down to Hilton Head is an easy day.

Passing by the 140′ Sailing Vessel ~ Athena

Soon however, the blow’s back and the affected seas have picked up considerably; the pleasant days in the ocean now turn less than so, but still better than working the ICW.

The next run, Hilton Head to Brunswick, offered up quite a bit more texture.

Plowing away from Hilton Head’s Calibogue Sound and out Tybee Roads, the approach was rough and busy. With northerly winds the following sea brought on nice speed and St Simons Sound got closer sooner than expected.

This same strong north to south wind created continuously tall nasty breakers all the way past St Simons. About 7 miles of contending with a beam bashing sea once again makes this a less than pleasurable day.

Though once it’s done – It’s done

Easing under the Sidney Lanier Bridge you’ll find Brunswick Landing Marina. A nice community of a marina that’s quite large. – Free Beer 24/7 – Nirvana for many.

= = = = = =

We stayed at Brunswick Landing for a few days and had a nice time while getting a bit of work done. We’ve tied up here before but it was a long time back. 14 years ago we brought the original Istaboa, a 62 Offshore, to downtown Brunswick and celebrated Melonie’s mother’s 80 birthday. The place hasn’t changed much since then… just the names and faces.
Thanksgiving was aboard. Excellent Roast Beef for dinner then a few episodes of the Netflix series, Alias Grace. Brunswick Landing did put on a nice Thanksgiving feast for the boaters, but it was rainy and cold out so we decided to lay low with the pups and enjoy ourselves.
We’ve now moved over to Morningstar Golden Isles Marina to stage our departure for Florida as soon as possible.

Brunswick marks the end of a long nautical business trip. A tour to visit the increasing number of marinas that we do business with as well as those we’d like to build a relationship. We’ve caught up with many old friends and made several new contacts. It’s time to stop for a while and take stock of our labors.
This little marina WiFi company is a win for all those it touches; we’re proud of onSpot and it’s service.

This trip is also winding down for Mel and me.
Personally, I’m ready to be back home in Jupiter. To walk with my dogs on the warm sunny beach and sleep in a king size bed, to spend all the time I want in a large hot shower and have a car at my disposal; all the trapping that Mel and I happily left behind last May.
Mel is not quite as pleased as I am about tying up Istaboa, but me thinks she’ll enjoy all these things as well … in time.

This life is in our DNA, it’s not a hobby and not an item on a bucket list to check off, but sometimes, stepping away makes it all just that much better.

Something I wrote a few years back:

And, yes I know, there are those who feel there’s no better life than full time living aboard our boats, but we’ve been doing this cruising thing for many years and we like to think of the boat life as a dream being realized. Though sometimes, for us anyway, it’s fun to hop on the bus and say, “there’s no place like home”, and our dream remains floating somewhere awaiting our return. 

So yes, we’re happy to be heading home and now, conveniently, our the boat is just minutes away and we see it almost everyday.
There are a few projects needed to be done; a radar that blinks, electrical gremlins, but all in all Istaboa has been as kind to us as we’ve been to her. She likes to be run and enjoyed; we’ve been doing just that.

Like us, she also enjoys warm weather and Jupiter’s pleasant winter is only a few hundred miles away.


Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

South To Beaufort, NC

It’s a cold morning in Beaufort. The wind is brisk and out of the North, conditions we’ve not felt since leaving Memphis last winter. We actually broke out the jeans, sweatshirts, down jackets, and—oh my god—socks.

For the last day or so it’s been cold and rainy, we’ve mentally kicked ourselves for not going with the original plan of spending one night and continuing on South.
On the other hand, after a few hours here, it quickly became apparent that Beaufort’s a bonafide boaty little town and would be a good hang  – as usual we caved to impulse. Glad we did.

The first 2 days of our stay in Beaufort the weather was perfect.

The walk from the marina to downtown is through a picturesque little historic neighborhood. Only about 3 blocks and you’re on Front Street with all the waterfront shops and restaurants. Our first day out took us to Spouter Inn where lunch was excellent, but after asking around we discovered the Beaufort Cafe.
Not on Front Street, not a place most tourist would seek out, not expensive—however, The Beaufort Cafe is certainly worth the long walk down Cedar Street to experience this genuine Beaufort style diner. The best Shrimp and Grits we’ve ever been served. $8.95

We really like Beaufort, however the run down has been appealing as well.

As is always the case, leaving Atlantic Yacht Basin is good. It’s the perfect location for a boat yard. As we come and go we always seem to stop and contribute to the AYB Fund, though I must admit the last few trips it has seemed like paying the troll to cross the bridge. But, it is what it is and AYB can be invaluable sometimes so we don’t burn that bridge.

Finally, AYB dude is driving in the last screw as I’m warming up the engine, waiting on the bridge to open—then we’re off.

Deciding to bypass the customary stop at Coinjock, we keep pushing to Alligator River Marina. This makes for a longer day, but we really like this little marina in the middle of nowhere. Rumors are there’s not enough water at this marina for a boat such as ours, but,  as rumors often are …  that’s not accurate at all. FYI: Leaving the channel there’s good depths all the way to the entrance of the marina. Then, it does shallow up to 8′ all the way to the long transient dock. The gas station has excellent gas station food. Yes, it’s surely bad for you, but – are we actually doing this stuff for our health? Buy some fried chicken, it travels well.

Full Moon Over Alligator River
Next stop is Belhaven’s River Forest Marina. We stayed here for the first time on our way up this year and found it to be one of those places we’ll always visit.  It seems many folks pass River Forest by and go to the other marina that’s closer to downtown, but Henry gives us a golf cart to make the short run downtown to Spoon River Restaurant which makes it all more enjoyable.

Sticking with our plan this time, we stayed here for a couple of days.

On our second day, a beautiful Indian Summer day, all was good until a boat full of gentlemen came roaring in to get fuel and waked the crap out of us.  Slamming us against the docks, and badly bending our boarding ladder we weren’t too happy nor was the dockmaster . After a few words, with difficulty due to the captain being Argentinian, we got the appropriate insurance info and a possible resolution. We’ll see. Geico?

Leaving Belhaven, promising to come back, we made our way South unsure where we might end the day. 
We made a call to Morehead City Docks, but they wouldn’t commit to a T-Head slip – even though there was one available. At the time our plan was rise early and head outside to wherever. We’ve been held here in the past by strong current and we didn’t want that so a T-Head was important to us. No joy from Morehead City Docks so we started looking for something else.
Mel did some research, made a few calls, and at the last minute we pass Jarrett Bay to go to Homer Smith’s Docks. Not doing any homework, we’re unsure how to get to the marina, but after a call and fuzzy directions, we make it in and tie up. 
Homer Smith’s Docks and Marina is a perfectly descriptive name. Homer Smith was an old time fish wholesaler, looking around you’ll see the docks, crowded with shrimp boats and fishing boats; where we are out at the end is the marina portion. It’s small but the service and attitude here is refreshing. First they give you – for free – 2 pounds of shrimp that you just witnessed being taken off a boat, then they offer to let you buy more at $6.00 a pound. We bought 6 pounds. Floating docks, loaner car, weak WiFi that’s soon to be excellent, we’ve found our always stop at marina in Beaufort.
The next morning, planning to crank up and leave early, I walk up to find dense fog that’s only getting worse.
Knowing we’d need every bit of daylight to make it to Masonboro Inlet and down to Southport, we quickly realize that staying in Beaufort for another day will be a good idea.
It was, and around 11:00 AM the sun burned off the fog and presented us a glorious day. 
Checking the weather for the next day, it was forecast to be the same or worse in the morning. So, it was decided to give Beaufort another day. And we did—and a week later, we’re still here.
 Not because of weather entirely, we really like this marina a lot, just the smell of the place pleases our senses, but they offer a weekly rate after 4 days stay. The next few days were free.

Watching the shimpers and fishermen come in to unload is fun. They’re a friendly bunch, always happy to strike up a conversation as they go about refueling or unloading the days catch.

Staying here is being backstage at the fish docks.

Today, the weather’s howling and outside is showing huge seas.

Tomorrow, our time’s up, we’ll untie and head south on the AICW.  Not much fun, but it’s time to go.
Hopefully, soon the seas will subside and we can point outside to Charleston, Hilton Head, Brunswick, then home as fast as we can go.

We’ve had a great time on this year’s trip, worked hard, but enjoyed doing it. We’ve probably stayed at more marinas in more cities than we ever have and that’s been a blast.

We left Jupiter in May with a plan to go to the Bahamas for a couple of months then return. It’s now November and we’ve not made it home yet. We always know when it’s time to go home.

It’s time.


Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa

Saying Bye To The Bay

We’ve have a great time on The Chesapeake this year, but we’re sad to say, it’s time to head South.   Today, the weather is beautiful and it’s forecast to be this way for a few more days, but we know cold and colder is inevitable — so…

I’ve collected a few pics of the Chesapeake/Potomac portion of this years cruise and posted them here.

Revisiting our favorite places and discovering a few new ones, we’ve made new friends while catching up with a few old compadres.
We’ve really enjoyed connecting with Jenny and Ted, our running buddies aboard Southern Star. We’re all hoping to cross paths again before they start their long and epic passage back home to New Zealand. Yes, as it ofttimes happens, the last minute decision to ditch plans and run up the Potomac to DC was one of our all time better redirects. A large time was had, a capitol idea. (pun intended)

Mostly good experiences and nothing but great memories.

It has truly has been a pleasant trip and a this point in our cruising life, pleasant is what we’re looking for. No, our run’s not over; we’ve still got a lot cruising to do. As written in an earlier post, point A and point B is the same place to us and that would be Jupiter, but who knows where we’ll make another last minute decision and alter plans for the better. With all that said, we do look forward to going home and spending some time by the beach. Life’s pleasant there as well.

And then there’s Memphis —

We’ll be adding more pics as we get the time and motivation.

Adios, Chesapeake — Good fortune and good health allowing, we’ll do it again.

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Plans Change

Waking early and going up top to put together a cup of coffee, I take a look out the window and see the winds have indeed stopped blowing. The cool weather and the warm waters are working together to fashion this nice image of a foggy morning inside Solomons Island Harbor.

Our last couple of days at Solomons, we put together a plan to run down to Deltaville then on to York River to hang for a couple of weeks. Eventually, we’d motor down to Atlantic Yacht Basin where we’d officially put an end to the Bay and have a bit of work done before starting our return to S Florida.

Following that plan, we left and made way out to the Bay. It was another nice soft day and the forecasts predicted the weather to hold for a week.

After quietly running for a few hours the radio crackled and a nice Kiwi accent was heard; it was Southern Star. We asked about their time at Trawlerfest and they asked about our plans then told us they were about to turn and head up the Potomac to spend a few a days in Washington, D.C.; I could see on AIS they were just a few miles in front us.
I told them our intentions and said hopefully we’d all meet up somewhere soon, wished them safe travels, and signed off.

I guess it was somewhere around Point No Point Light when Mel and I went back to being quiet… then at about the same time we both said, WTF. We’d actually thought about DC a few weeks ago, but scrapped the idea due to business in N Carolina. However, the Hilton Head project had been rescheduled, so.
Quickly looking at charts of The Potomac, we did some calculations, discussed things a bit, then decided to forego the current plan, (typical for us), and like Southern Star,  head to DC.

A right turn at The Potomac was made.

For the sake of the pups, we found a little marina that wasn’t too far up the Potomac and made arrangements to stay for a night.

White Point Marina

This little marina reminds us of some of “off the beaten path” marinas we loved to visit while running the Tennessee River. I’d forgotten the sound of quiet.
As the sun set and the moon rose, not much was resonating other than geese honking in the distance, an occasional fish breaking the surface, and the ringing in my ears.

The next day we caught up to Southern Star and it was decided we’d both stop and anchor just up river from Quantico, VA. We set the anchor at a little state park where we dropped the dink and took the boys to shore for their biz. Leesylvania State Park.

Another nice night and another fat moon.

Rising early, we both left and made way toward DC.

Mel and I have been cruising rivers for many years and, while we do find The Potomac to be a pretty river, we’re just not too excited about it until we get closer to Washington. Then, we start to see things along the shore like the above pic. George Washington’s digs, Mount Vernon.

As we get closer, the Capitol building and the Washington Monument appear on the horizon. Now, we’re interested.

So we finally pull into Washington Channel, tie up at Gang Plank Marina, and wait for Southern Star to arrive. After much confusion we end up moving slips where we tied up next to Jenny and Ted.

Here’s another story: Istaboa and brand new Bellingham docks don’t seem to get along. After tying up and attaching our power cord to the pedestal at Gangplank, we kill the electrical for whole dock. Needless to say we weren’t very popular with the other boaters. A bit of a discussion ensues with the dockmaster and eventually we’re moved to the older section of the marina and just next to Southern Star; no problem there with power. This has happened to us before with these new Bellingham Docks and their new RDC breakers. I find it interesting that we don’t have the same issue with new Technomarine docks we tie up to. I also find it interesting the Harbormasters at the marinas with these new Bellingham docks are highly sensitive and overly defensive when discussing them.

RDC explanation here>

But I digress … We’ve had a nice time in DC but, Damn! It’s hard work being a tourist here. Averaging about 6 miles a day of walking amongst the swarms of sightseers has taken a toll on this old guy.
All in all, Washington is an amazing city and we’ve seen things that we always wanted to see. Maybe next time we’ll stay a month. DC’s worth a long stay.

 So we’re on the move again. The weather’s being weird so plans are in flux  — as they always are.


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Deale, Maryland

Herrington Harbour North – Tracys Landing

Just a quick hop across the Bay, the run to Tracys Landing and Herrington Harbour North was an easy one. On our way, there was hardly a breath of wind, the Bay was flat and the sky was clear. We were in no hurry so we saved some fuel and took our time crossing … a good day.
Being here on marina business, the staff gave us a nice T-Head slip with a clear view of the harbor’s entrance. After tying up and shutting down we walked the boys and familiarized ourselves with this huge marina.
At first glance, Herrington Harbour North appeared to be a nice clean marina with old fixed docks and a boat yard; after spending some time there we soon realized the place is so much more than that.

This little clip was shot with my phone just off the back of the boat. Again, it was worth getting out of bed every morning to see this.

We really didn’t do much other than what we came to do, nevertheless HHN is certainly nice place to knock around. We’d been to the South marina before but never made it over to the North side. Big Mistake.
Herrington Harbour North is a definite do over marina. The grounds and the facilities are beautiful.

This Cheney family owned marina has a quality and personality you won’t find anywhere else on the Bay. They call it Central Maryland Charm; Mel and I tend to agree. Everyone’s pleasant, the staff, the contractors, and management team are hospitable, and the boaters all seem genuinely happy to be here. During our stay, not a negative comment was heard about the marina or the whole facility.
The yard is immaculate and has the ability to lift boats up to 80 tons; the many onsite contractors and vendors can do about anything needed. I’d been told there were depth issues getting in, but we saw nothing less than 10′ all the way to the docks.

The onsite restaurant is quite good and certainly convenient. A warm Sunday afternoon brought a pleasant walk to Dockside’s for a dozen Blue Crab; they gave us 20 and they were some of the best we’ve had on the Bay.
Pickin’ Crabs and watchin’ football — Mel was in heaven.

Local favorites, The Brothers Osborne, recorded a video just across the creek from our slip at Skipper’s Pier. Not being a big country fan, I’d never heard of these guys, but I’ve since been told they are more than just local favs.

Nice video —
Mmm mmm mm mm
Mix it with rum mmm mmm mm mm

So we stuck around for 4 days and really enjoyed ourselves while taking care of biz; we’ll be back again and stay longer next time,  just for the fun of it.

On this Sunday morning, we’re down the Bay at Solomons Island again. This place is really starting to feel familiar; the track lines on our charts have become thick with the frequent trips in and out.  The nice folks at Zahnizer’s have come to know us as well and they always seem find us a good spot to tie up.
Terri, the dockmaster, was just over tying on a fender for us. She didn’t think we were aboard and took it upon herself to protect us from the strong winds that were blowing Istaboa against a piling.
Like I said, nice folks.

Across the way, the Krogens are stacking up. There must be a rendezvous coming up.

Not sure where to next, I guess we’ll see when the wind quits blowing — it’s been blowing like hell for two days and the weather’s starting to cool off.

It’s October already… Fall has fell… The days are getting shorter… Time flies…


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Saint Michaels, Maryland

It must be Sunday morning…

Leaving Annapolis and heading for Saint Michaels, the weather was beautiful. It wasn’t a sunny postcard day, instead a muted, desaturated depiction of a day that made for a few interesting photos. Mel and I always enjoy running the boat on misty rainy days while sitting nice and dry in the pilothouse; like cruising through an old black and white movie. On this day, the Bay was flat, the winds were light; sunless and foggy, but not uncomfortably so.

Relaxation was our only reason for visiting St Micheals and we certainly accomplished that.
No work, just a good time.
Our long time friends, Steve and Jane, have a beautiful home with views that frame the harbor entrance so they saw us coming in. There smartly renovated house truly looks like a page torn from a Chesapeake Bay Magazine; not big, Eastern Shore cool. It was good to hang with them again, they’re awfully nice folks, as are the other locals. We’re finding friendly to be the norm up here in Maryland.
That night, we all sat for dinner at the marina’s Crab and Steak House. Local Flounder BLT!

Hanging out at St Mikes is like stepping back into time, everything is as it should be. The harbor has the appearance of a 19th century fishing village. Walking the dogs through the neighborhoods is like stepping back into the 50s until you pass one of the old churches, then you realize just how old the town really is.

After a couple of days, we moved over to the Harbour Inn Marina and it was good that we did.
The distant Hurricane Jose passed by and pushed the tide up so high that St Michaels Marina was underwater. No danger but we couldn’t have hopped off the boat without boots. (we have no stinking boots, we’re from Florida)

Steve and Jane loaned us their car and we drove over to Oxford to check out Campbell’s Boat Yard. Scott Kinney at DeMillo’s Yacht Sales actually let us test drive a 41 Back Cove downeast style boat. An interesting boat that would make a good little Bay cruiser. Pretty too.

Dinner for our last night in town was at 208 Talbot. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was even casual enough for us in all our boatiness. (we’ve been out for 5 months and we’re quite boaty) The restaurant’s an old house on the main drag that’s a local favorite and understandably so.

St Mikes is a great old fishing village and we always leave here not wanting to. The Lindemanns showed us a really nice time and we’ll always stop here when on the Bay.

As I write this… We’re tied up in Deale, Maryland at Herrington Harbour North Marina — another great stop on the Chesapeake.

More about HHN later.


Nordhavn 57-26 Istaboa