Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas from Tie A Knot

Gary and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
2014 has been another incredible year for us, from the bitter cold of Michigan in January (reminding us why we chose to move to Florida 17 years ago, OMG has it really been that long?)  to another summer cruise to the Chesapeake Bay it was a year that unfortunately flew by.  We met many new friends and re-connected with friends from our previous trips and from our home town, Algonac, (wishing we could make those moments last a lot longer than they did)  We also lost Gary's father, who I still feel I am writing this blog for, he was my BIGGEST fan, checking every day for my sporadic posts!  

We are now in Punta Gorda Florida, (chosen because of the central location between Tampa, Naples and my parents in North Port), where I have once again been caught up in the whirlwind of land life, if not actually "on shore" close enough,  as we are tied up to a very sturdy concrete dock and we have a vehicle which is getting a lot of use. Our son, Cory, is getting married in Naples on Dec. 31st and we will spend Christmas in Tampa at our son Kent's with the our kids and grand kids. 

Gary has been busy veneering, sanding and varnishing the helm and cabinets in the galley and I have been doing my usual frantic shopping and making Christmas gifts.  Tis' the Season....for CRAZY!

We are really enjoying Punta Gorda, the town is fabulous for walking and biking.  I'll do another post after the holidays on the highlights.

For now I just wanted to let you all know we are alive, well and BUSY bees! We hope you enjoy the holiday season as much as we plan to!!

Tie a Knot decorated quite decently, I thought,  until
'Scarry Grizzly' really put on a light show!!

               Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night....

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Another Good Week.....with a Chilly end


Whoa...I have hit an all time low reading my own blog to find out where I am and where I left off! I really should know don't 'ya think?  Anyway.......

                              Fort Frederica...the magazine  (with Tie A Knot anchored in the background)

We toured the Fort Frederica 'ruins'....lots of history on the Georgia Coast....not much left from the early 1700's but they seem to have been able to piece a history together that is quite impressive.  Forts are not usually my 'thing' but it is amazing to finally get some use out of my history classes of 47 years ago... OMG !!! I am sure learning more now than I did then or maybe it's just paying more attention.  So the lesson kids is, pay attention, someday you WILL use it.

The Fort is a National Monument. The property is covered with live oaks like this one that is over 200 years old.  They have mapped out the town and from early census (1740's census, really?) know where the butcher, baker and candlestick maker lived along with the town leaders :-)  There is nothing left though except a small part of the barracks and the magazine which was the starting point for getting the National Park Service to take over the property.  The town was built by James Oglethorpe between 1736 and 1748 to protect the southern boundary of the British colony of Georgia from the Spaniards in Florida.  It was the site of the land confrontation, the 'battle of bloody marsh' where the British successfully defeated the Spanish thereby keeping Georgia under British rule.

Being a Methodist I found this placque interesting.  The founders of the Methodist Church, John & Charles Wesley came here with Oglethorpe.


We have moved on. One night at the dock, Hidden Harbor Marina (GREAT marina small, very excellent service, and boaters lounge) to get some groceries. We were met at the dock by Bobbie and Alan, the staff there, and it turned out to be the best marina stop so far.  She was a stand up comedian in L.A. and is a VERY interesting woman. I absolutely loved her....we just clicked, not because I am funny, but I sure do appreciate a great dry sense of humor.  We shared lots of laughter!

Next a necessary stop for our Cumberland Island fix where we walked over four miles and didn't get lost and sweat off the pounds like last time.
Yes, once again, we got to see our Navy at work.  This time, in the day and a half we were there, we saw three nuclear subs being escorted out of the St. Mary's Inlet.  It is always exciting to see the subs and their entourage of 10 or so boats heading for the ocean.

We have not seen an Eagle on a marker before....this was our 4th Eagle of the trip and he was a beauty!
Cumberland Island Beach Seagull  rest stop

This little Sandpiper was hard to catch but I can be persistent...

One of the 143 (horse count 2014) wild horses on Cumberland.  We were very close but he was scrabbling for something to eat and payed no attention to us at all.  Nose to the grind.  We talked to a ranger and they do NOT feed the horses.
They survive the way they have since for over a century....on their own.
We arrived in Jacksonville thanks to the diligent communication from Terri, my email buddy.  She has been reading my blog and we have been in touch for the last nine months.  We finally got to meet Terri and her husband Larry who have a Beneteau sailboat in Jacksonville.. With the cold front and high winds predicted she encouraged us to try the JAX dock near her house and it has been a great experience.  Not only is the dock top notch it is free for 72 hours.  We went to lunch with them yesterday and today she and her friend Nancy drove me to the grocery store and took me on a driving tour of Fernandina. Where we saw the boats at the docks there and on the mooring balls bobbing like corks.  

Terri and of course I had to get Bob in the picture, he has been feeling 'left out'.

We also met Mark and his daughter Melissa who were bringing his newly acquired 49' Defever ( my dream boat) 'Miss Adventure' from New York to Florida. They pulled into the dock at Jacksonville right behind us after leaving Cumberland Island shortly after us in the AM. We had some great conversation time ...another new member of the lifestyle.  He plans to leave the boat in Stuart , Fl. until he and his wife can take it back to the Houston Texas area.

We were glad we made the decision to come here since we spent last night in 20 sometimes 40 mile per hour winds.  When I woke up this morning before daylight I thought this is what it must be like to be in a washing machine.  Water banging along the side of the boat being driven by the 30 mph NW winds on our stern and the wind whipping through every crack and crevice it could find.  Not to mention the 50 degree temperature in the was a windy day today and will be again tonight but it has been another GREAT stop on our trip home to Florida.

JAX (Jacksonville) 200' free city dock.  No power but water available. It is not close to downtown but close to the "North Florida Keys" (as Terri and Larry call it) a chain of Islands from Jacksonville to Amelia Island at the border. We are going to have to come back here and explore more and take a trip up the St. John's River to Sanford.

We will be leaving the dock shortly heading to Pine Island north of St. Augustine to anchor and then tomorrow a long day to Daytona.  No more shore stops until Merritt Island where we hope to be on Wednesday. ....and might I say it had better warm up!  It was 41 degrees out when we woke up this morning. Yesterday I had on long underwear!!    

Tie A Knot......Out


Monday, October 27, 2014

Oh, I am in Dixie!

Keeping with the program of stopping at new anchorages we heard about Marshside Mama's restaurant (as an experience)  on Daufuskie Island and thought 'never been there, sounds good' so what the heck...that became our stop for the night.  Another Georgia Island with a lot of history. There is a ferry from Hilton Head to the north end of the Island (the "resort" end) and the Island sports three golf courses, but Mama's is on the south end and this end is not a 'resort' destination but where the 'locals'  live and hang out. There is no bridge to Daufuskie, everything comes in by boat.

Here is a short history of Daufuskie....which was next to the county day dock which is right in front of the restaurant....

                               Just a little 'flavor' of what we saw of Daufuskie when we went for
                               a short walk before dinner.

Here we go with our dining "experience"......
                                                                Marshside Mama's

                                              and what do we have here?    The Loo!

       The building sticking out to the right houses the 'convenience' store and the post office.
                                          Most islanders drive gold carts or ride bikes

The evening's Menu
which is passed from table to table starting with the first to sit down (that would be us)!  

Some of the "Clientele"
Actually this photo has a funny (or maybe not to some) story.  While we were waiting for the menu to materialize, a guy came in with his bulldog and went they went into the kitchen, I guess to say hi to the "cook"....anyway he came back out with the dog and shortly after 4 dogs came running out of the kitchen!!  The waitress was shaking her head and trying to shoo them back into the kitchen when a Weimeraner  came in the door with a guy and all hell broke loose.  The dogs were running around the tables and this Great Dane mix came up to us.  The cook then came to the kitchen door and said she was going to have to take the dogs home, and we were thinking "finish the menu board first"!  Yes, it was an interesting interlude.  Hilarious really but I'd say their health department rating might not be 99.  The action was so fast this was the only picture I got.  I was 'living in the moment'.
p.s.  the Weimeraner stayed and he was a little mooch!  Luckily we didn't take Bob...sometimes missing out is a good thing!

This turned out to be one of those great 'dives' we love, because when you've been there you are not only having dinner you are having an 'experience'!

I didn't mention that it was also the first 'bingo night' of the slow season, we were invited to join in but wanted to get back to the boat, we turn into pumpkins when it gets dark you know.

Then we had ANOTHER experience....dark-thirty, have to pull up the dink because we plan on Savannah and a marina tomorrow, when.....just guess!!!

                        Dink almost up when the davit ceases up, one of our nightmares realized.
                                               The cable jumped off the track and jammed.

                                        Thank God 'McGiver', is still channeling Gary's body


                     This is the tool that saved the day....a come-along or hand held winch

and this is the reason I am never again to ask "Why do we have to have that tool aboard" and "Why are you staring off into space"..... he is thinking up things that could 'go wrong' and what tool he needs to handle it!   Point taken.

The next morning we left dink in place and had an uneventful trip to Savannah.  Unfortunately our plan just didn't work and we left the next morning.  Our only exploration ended up being Bonaventure Cemetery which we could ride to on our bikes.

Here is  Bonaventure, and a few things on the waterway in Savannah.

that's a 'lotta waxing honey!

Savannah's new mansions

my all time favorite, Antebellum mansion at Isle of Hope south of Savannah

so we won't forget we are in DIXIE!

We are now anchored just north of Brunswick in the Frederica River

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What A Life

My cousin, Lori, commented on my last blog "what a life"....and don't we know it.  I remind myself every single day how blessed we are in the journey we have chosen in life.  It may not always be easy, or as we were told "everyone would be doing it", there might be a bit of drama at times (of course I am referring to moi'), a lot of mutual frustration from living in such a small space, but are we better for it??   Yes, I believe so.

Case in point....this photo that I took last night as the sun did it's daily farewell.  Not doctored or anything (like I'd know how to do that shop....wouldn't know where to begin).... Just a perfect photo of an extraordinary part of our everyday life.  I think I should get a recording of 'Taps' so I can play it at sunset.  It brought tears to my eyes when the boater played his trumpet in Marathon at sunset.  One of those 'aaahh' moments of life.

Lordy....what's this?  The pack is starting to catch up with us.  All those cruisers heading south.  It will be interesting to see how many boats we end up with on October 31st anchored at Cumberland Island.  We have been in this Bull Creek anchorage just north of Savannah three times and this is the first time we haven't been alone! We know from Elaine and Lawrence on Elle and I that there is quite a large fleet on its way south, north of us.  We are in the first wave, I think, because November 1st seems to be the first Florida entry date with the 15th and the 30th of November bringing up the rear. 

Another first....we actually sat down and did some planning!!  Computer, charts the whole shebang!  Of course we were only planning for tomorrow.  It seems like overkill for a day, we'll let you know if it worked.


And for my stock market tip of the  Reynolds stock.  You may get rich while we go broke!!!  That's the way we roll.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Lowcountry and the OOO's

Early morning sunrise, I thought this was going to show itself to be a beautiful. 

The way the other half lives.....Charleston Yachties

We are now in what is called "the Lowcountry" of South Carolina. Originally dependent of plantation agriculture, indigo, rice, cotton, tourism is now the big money making gun here.  It is a land of smells, salt air, pluff mud ( a unique smell which is at once pleasant and unpleasant and is totally a "low country thing" let's just say 'it grows on you' ), very friendly people and a slower southern pace.  

Coosaw, Ashepoo, Wapoo, and my favorite Toogoodoo are just a few of the creeks and rivers where you can anchor in South Carolina. I called them the OOO's.  

We are trying to kill some time so are holding to our trip plan of anchoring in different places, it has paid off.  We have seen so much more than rushing through and not exploring. 

Ashepoo Creek where we dinghied to B&B Seafood and got some fresh shrimp for $8.00 a pound. They had a small "convenience store" section and we asked if they had milk....after a few minutes she came back with "yes we do, but it's frozen"! We politely declined, but the shrimp was great!!  I made shrimp scampi with half of it and froze the rest for another 'treat'.

                                                  Late afternoon on Ashepoo Creek

                             B&B Seafood in Green Pond South Carolina. The  population  of 1200 (must                                               be inland because all we saw were a very few modest homes )

                          A happy fisherman who we watched reel in a nice sized Spot Tail
                                off the dock at B&B Seafood, he was ........Happy!!

And the very happy shrimp cleaners....they were having such a great time together laughing while doing what must be a monotonous job. They were cleaning about 500 pounds of shrimp that had come in on the boats late the night before.  So we were getting it "hot off the presses".

My favorite anchorage was Toogoodoo.  It was BEAUTIFUL....right up there with Leadenham in Maryland.  Of course it didn't hurt that it was a gorgeous fall day.  Just a little breeze, 75 degrees and a sky that was so blue it hurt your eyes!!  We saw more birds here than anywhere else this trip. A Great Blue Heron and quite a few Great White Herons, a Green Heron, and not one but THREE Bald Eagles!  The Live Oaks were dripping with Spanish Moss,

                                Beautiful creek for vegetation, the live oaks were spectacular.

                 I did some research (love the internet) on Toogoodoo Creek and what a history.  The surrounding land was settled in the 1600's because of its deep water and high land in the low country of South Carolina.  It is about 30 minutes from Charleston or 'Charles Towne' as it was originally called in the 1600's.  There were many large plantations in the lands surrounding Charleston.  We stopped at a dock and talked to a man to find out a little about the area.  This house was a plantation that once owned thousands of acres  of surrounding land.  

This is a log cabin that is over 200 years old and it is part of 'Toogoodoo Bluff' (this is the south and they name their property here) this is what I found on the internet about it:                .

This wood barge was the find of the day.  I have been trying to find out about it but nothing specific comes up except the fact that this creek was part of a huge plantation and wood barges were used by plantations to move goods and people.  Wish we would have seen this before we talked to our "informant", we might have found out some of it's history.

                                                                   Eagle and nest

                                                                 Great Blue Heron

                                                         Eagle #2 after #3 flew the coop      

                                                      Monet clouds reflected in the water
                                Headed to our floating  home after our excellent 'creek crawl'

The end of another day on the water.  Bob & I settled in for the sunset :-)