Thursday, December 18, 2008

Warm Christmas Wishes from Florida

Although we enjoyed seeing the old homes of South Carolina, the temperatures were still requiring heat in the mornings and sometimes before bed. Since Georgia has a well-earned reputation for poor dredging of the ICW, we decided to take to sea again and head directly for Florida. Since this was a longer passage than before, and we had a lengthy winding trip to the Ocean inlet, we decided to spend an entire night at sea and go completely past Georgia. We motored out of Port Royal, SC about 3 PM and were gently rolling in the ocean as the sun set. Because of the excitement of it all, neither of us slept too much although Kim had several hours in the helm seat. All went well and we arrived at St Marys, Florida just as the sun rose.

The temperatures have been in the mid to upper 70s and in the 60s at night. Shorts and bare feet have taken over and it really feels nice. We have been visiting with friends and family here and are about to have some work done on the boat prior to heading to the Bahamas.

We have seen several boat parades and Christmas decorations are everywhere; even on the boats here in the harbor. I leave you with some of our favorite shots and the entire crew extends our warmest Christmas wishes to you all wherever you may be.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Old South and Fishin’

Welcome to the south. Beaufort, SC was our real introduction with warm temperatures, old southern mansions, hanging moss and southern friendliness. We took a day off school and did a walking tour of some beautiful homes that played an important part in the American revolutionary war. Since Beaufort was one of the few towns spared wartime burning and looting, we saw the original homes that were taken over by Union forces for their headquarters and hospitals.

We also spent a rainy day in Charleston which would have been nicer if the weather and our timetable were better.

Many of the anchorages along the southern ICW have been “interesting” to say the least. The tidal currents run 2 knots strong and reverse every 6 hours. We have resisted setting two anchors and the captain is always nervous to make sure the boat will be fine when the current reverses and the boat swings opposite to the direction of the initial set. Many nights I will stay up into the evening, waiting to see the boat turn safely and still remain firmly tethered to the bottom.

Once such night was up winding Awendaw Creek in South Carolina. A small boat was moving up the creek banks and stopping every 50 yards or so. A large flashlight came on pointing towards the mangroves and apparently searching for something. After 3 or 4 minutes, they would move another 50 yards and repeat the searching. I was a little nervous as they approached my spot since the creek was little more than 30 yards wide. I confess that I actually locked the doors and kept watching them. They seemed little interested in us although it was hard to miss our large boat even at night. Curiosity finally overcame any fear and I opened the door, stepped outside and lit up their little boat with my 2 million candle power search light. I asked what they were doing thinking they were hunting alligators or something. After their eyes recovered from my spot light assault, they came over to the boat and showed us the biggest catfish that I have ever seen. Apparently, they tie baited lines on the mangroves and come back and check them after a couple of hours.

Dear Reader, I may never eat catfish again.