Monday, August 29, 2011

Sunrise to Sunset

Storms are gone....for now...and we are our way once. Again.  We woke up at 6:15 (OMG) to a beautiful crystal clear, calm morning.  Cast off the lines at 7 and experienced a pastoral day.  Being Sunday it was fitting. t From the sunrise in the pine forest of the ICW and Waccamaw River to the flat salt marshes that started as soon as we cleared Georgetown and Winyah Bay it was a day of big scenic change. Which I am appreciating even more the "second time around".  We travelled 78 miles today, a milestone, in 10 hours.  The tide was with us most of the way, so we virtually flew through the water at 8 mph on average!!

The Day Begins:

Bird land

This was the beginning of a 'look see'...notice the grey Heron on the right.
They cautiously checked each other out after we had passed by.

The Estherville Minim Creek Canal which takes us through the beginning of the salt marshes.
As you can see not much traffic.  We did see some smaller 'day trippers' but only 2 other large boats.
A small tug trawler and a sailboat.

We will now start seeing a lot more Terns & Gulls because of the 6' tides and the opportunity for rest they provide.

No rest for the Coast Guard

I wish I knew the story.

Marsh grass as far as the eye can see

Today is a very low tide because it is a full moon. 

High & Dry Channel Marker
There were about 50 of these docks (high & dry) along the ICW in this area, but  only about 2 boats in them.
We can't remember if it was the same in May.  Maybe they trailered them for the hurricane.

The end of a 10 hour day.

I don't think it can get any better than this!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goodbye Irene

Everything is A-OK with Tie A Knot .... and thanks to Budweiser NO rattling doors throughout!!
We don't know how high the gusts were yet. Hope to find out though. They came and went in intensity
with the clocking of the winds and we were very protected in our little corner of the marina.

Yesterday at 5:00

This morning at 9:00 (Easy to replace: a torn tarp over the sail)

Not so easy an entire new pretty poor repair to start with.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Butterflies & Flowers....

Their is a very large field on the marina property with a herd of Pygmy Goats, that belong to the owner of the marina.  Today I timed it right and got some pictures of them close to the fence as you can see they were quite curious.

We decided to broaden our horizons and take a walk down the country road beyond the marina.  You never know what you will find.  I might have chanced offering an apple if I would have had one.  Horses have a way of always looking so wise don't they?

Then I happened upon the reminder I needed.  Meredith knows this one.  "Butterflies & flowers", said over and over while raising your arms like wings. The calming mantra I will be using frequently I think.

Still a little time left for some fun and games.  The park and playground were deserted which gave us a chance to act like kids and lighten up a little.

So the morning gave us a break from preparing for Irene....and she is now a comin'.  It started to sprinkle around noon and as we know this will be an on and off thing as she gets closer.  We are still slated to be on the fringe at this time, to think that at the beginning of the week we wished we had stayed in the Norfolk area. I guess our angels ARE looking out for us, anywhere above here is NOT THE PLACE TO BE.
There are now a total of 5 boats here with people staying aboard.  The marina plans to be open as usual tomorrow even with high winds predicted and they are leaving the main building open for us tonight in case we need to get in.  So for now....all is fine.  I doubt any of us will sleep much but boy will we have stories to tell.
Our forward cabin is now our garage, Gary even took off the outer wing doors. Our deck furniture is tied to the back deck, and all the cushions and isinglass panels are on these bunks.

I think maybe I should send this into Budweiser!!  Filling the gaps in our 'very loose' cabin doors to keep them from rattling with the winds and leaking with the blowing rain, recycling at its finest.

So if Irene is saying: "Ready or not, hear I come"......WE are ready!!   Butterflies & Flowers :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This picture taken off the stern of Tie A Knot 5 minutes ago. "The Calm Before the Storm", actually it has looked like this all week. The people here are great. We just had another offer , "here is our phone number" we live 10 minutes from here, just call and we'll come get you! The marina is supposedly staying open throughout, so we will be able to go up to the main building and hang out. We might survive the 'togetherness' yet!
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting & Pacing

Hurricane planning is a waiting game that is for sure.  Every Irene's landfall changes and with the weather issues and earthquakes I think old Mother Nature is on a rampage.  Since we were originally going to head for Charleston, then Irene was slated to come in there, then I thought maybe we should run back to Virginia and now guess where she is headed.  I am the worrier and Gary is the reality checker. So I will be content in hoping that we are in a good spot and that  she won't  pull a fast one on us.  I am taking Dorian's advice and pushing her out into the Atlantic with big meditative breaths  (I know, like THAT'S going to work!)  

Life goes on as usual here, no one seems to be unduly concerned yet. Then again, they haven't had a big storm here in many years.  So I take their complacence with a grain of salt.  Gary has his battle plan ready but hasn't started to apply it yet.  A few people have been in here today checking their lines and getting the boats ready.  

                                                         Rascal............ the marina mascot 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricane Irene

As you probably have guessed, we are on the Intracoastal in South Carolina.  Myrtle Beach to be exact.  We debated on whether or not to keep going south but we have reached an area of few "Hurricane Holes" so we contacted our friends Gwen & Walter for any advice they could give.  They steered us to Osprey Marina as a hurricane hole marina that is surrounded by trees on an area of the waterway that is further inland.  It is really "out in the boonies" but we provisioned ahead and they have a very nice store with goodies and even a grill which is open Thursday thru Saturday for breakfast and lunch.  So we won't starve!

So we are here, safe for the moment.  Living in Florida we know that hurricanes can change course many times as is the case with Irene.  First it was Florida, then Southern South Carolina, now the outer banks of North Carolina.  Irene appears to be veering East which will be a VERY GOOD thing.  We are all praying she will continue this north eastern movement and blow out to the Atlantic. 

Our staying here or leaving the boat and heading inland is totally up to Irene.  The dock master has been very helpful even offering to take us with him inland if needed.  So we have a plan (only problem, it changes every day :)  
So keep us in your prayers and lets all help steer Irene out to sea!

Notice the Ice Cream freezer up front....yum.  Since we can't keep it frozen on the boat this is a real PLUS!!
Tie A Knot is at the end of this dock with trees in front and on port side

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NC Waterway


If you look closely at the slide show, hopefully you will see what I have, the changing scenery of North Carolina.  After the Chesapeake I am looking more closely now at the changes in vegetation and landscape that I see along the way.  What starts out as bleak, turns into a beautiful sunrise or smoke on the water causing an island to look like a submarine. There are the "towns" that you anticipate to be over the top that are "what were they thinking" and bugs that say...."wow I want to catch that ride!"  The scenery can change from desolate to lush in a half mile.  The anchorages are calm and inviting....and when you wake up early in the morning to the flat water and haze you think..."this IS paradise".  Then the day begins and you are off and running again to a new paradise.  
I am looking for things I may have missed on our trip to the Chesapeake.  It is really amazing to see the difference along the waterways.  Most times it is monotonous like the interstates, but then their is that moment that catches you and says 'take a picture of me'.
We are nestled on the free town dock in Oriental with a sailboat that makes us look like a cruise ship!  Behind us are the boats from the shrimp fishing fleet of Oriental and in front of us is the "town hub", the Bean coffee shop.  Where the retired men of Oriental sit on the porch telling sailing stories and watching the action in the harbor.
Oriental Hub......The Bean Coffee Shop on Oriental Harbor across from the free town dock.
 From the marshes of Northern North Carolina to the vastness of the Neuse River and Oriental.  Here are a few glimpses of our days.

Monday, August 15, 2011

As I write this we are headed South on the Virginia Cut.  We went through the lock at 1 pm yesterday and spent the night at the free dock at the lock with the sailboats, (we are honorary sailors with our love of free docks and anchoring with our windage being our sail!)

The first boat in this parade is Daydream and our acquaintances Malinda & Paul, full time live aboards who travel the coast & the Carribean throughout the year.  We first met them in Elizabeth City before heading through the Dismal Swamp Canal (which is currently closed due to fires in the swamp) again in Norfolk and Washington D.C.  We have seen them by chance more than any other cruisers and were surprised to also see them heading back to Florida this week.  Small world. ( We are the caboose on this train).

This morning we caught the 8 am bridge opening and headed down the Virginia Cut.  It is very different scenery from the Dismal Swamp Route.  Very open feeling and lots of pine trees.  We even saw a Bald Eagle!  We may make it though Albemarle Sound today.  We will see what the wind is blowing when we get there around noon.  It is only 14 miles of open water but shallow and treacherous in winds.