Friday, July 25, 2014


This trip we had decided to venture into new cruising ground so we left Oriental and headed up the Neuse River to New Bern.  It was well worth the 46 mile round trip.  We really liked New Bern and the marina was newly rebuilt after hurricane Irene and very reasonable.

New Bern has a long history.  Settled by the Swiss & Germans in 1710 it was the capitol of the North Carolina Colonial Government.  There are more than 150 homes and buildings on the National Historic Register and you can see most everything in the historical district on foot (well, maybe on 30 year old feet)!

We opted to take the trolley tour and the narrator knew his stuff...and kept putting in digs about those "dastard Yankees".  His best story was about two spinster sisters who had their home taken over by the Yankee soldiers with the agreement that they be allowed to stay on the third floor of the house.  As the story goes they spent three years on the third floor of the house, never leaving.  They got food, supplies and other services from neighbors who lifted them on a pulley.outside a window.  Since they had no electricity, or running water they obviously had some sanitation issues....but a pulley and some pretty darn awesome neighbors showed those dastard Yankees!!

When we left New Bern we thought we'd spend another night in Oriental BUT.....there were 21 shrimp boats in the harbor and I thought it was getting crowded with eight!  There was a spot on the dock but let me tell you a teeny little harbor, 21 shrimp boats, major smells of the sea (also known as 'stench') and the added issue of going from sleeping in a Wal Mart parking lot to a major league baseball stadium night game, we decided, oh hell no!  ( We know when to fold 'em, well usually.)

Here is a short slideshow.....

So we headed back out and next thing we know it is three uneventful days later and we stopped in Chesapeake, Va. at the Great Bridge Town Dock, no charge and easy access to a great grocery store and the Dairy Queen!

Now comes the story!!  We spend a peaceful night and the next morning about 8:00 the fire department pulls into the  park by the dock.  Woo hoo...some action (we LOVE action)....come to find out they were going to test a newly rebuilt fire system for oil fires.  YES!!  this is going to be great. So they started setting up the hoses...

 We talked to the guys from the welding company who did the rebuild and then to some of the fireman, all very nice guys who like talking to the boaters. When we saw them laying out the hoses we said "ummm, should we move our boat"?  The firemen said, you'll only get a little misting and we thought, 'ok,boat wash'....

First they tested the spray gun (not the technical term but I can't remember that) which was pretty neat.

Then came the hoses....after 30 minutes of tightening leaking fittings they started the pressure tests of the hoses. We were told they pump 3,000 gallons a minute! This was the beginning of the testing.  We didn't want to be trapped on the boat so we took a walk across the bridge to some thrift stores looking for books (never have enough of those).

When we started back from our little 'trek' we saw this.....  (hint here, notice the open door on the port side?)

From the bridge we saw this.....

and when a little closer it was..... "oh that's not looking good".

and.........I should have taken a picture of all the water but was too frantic.  You see, the wind carried the mist back on the boat and since we had left everything open on the port side (pure STUPIDITY, we know) We got a better wash inside than out!  It was truly, NOT funny.  The bed was wet, everything inside the storage table was soaked. I had every towel sheet and even some clothes put into play trying to soak up all the water (in the 98 degree cabin heat)!!  We had to turn on the generator to get the air and fans going to dry things up.  The salon was bad but not nearly as bad as the aft cabin, port side!  I think this one we will learn from!

 It's hard to see the water but there was about an eighth of an inch and a whole bunch of soggy paperwork.

A bucket for your thoughts?  Pictures on the wall soaked.....eeekkkkk  what a mess!!!

Gary sweating and putting foil in between the pages of our passports (yes sir, stored in a safe place, my storage table) trying to dry them out.   (They are now under his tool box, trying to flatten them out!!)

We did move the boat as soon as we came back and saw the water everywhere inside.  The firemen helped us pull her forward and were very apologetic and offered to come aboard and help us clean up. But, it was our mistake not to listen to our inner self and move the boat in the beginning, besides these are rather tight quarters and more hot bodies would only have made it more miserable!  They all came over and shook our hands when they finished the day long testing and again said they were sorry.

It's all part of the adventure guys!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


We may have felt like we spent the night in a Wal Mart parking lot but the rewards were SO worth it!!

                                                   All night generators and spot lights

                                                                       Oh yeah baby

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Very Good Days

We had a great visit with Jodie and Barry on "Love Shack"in Carolina Beach, I apologize to them for forgetting to get a picture of them and Charlie their  (real) 'boat dog'. Alas, we were having too much fun catching up!  We took an evening stroll through the Carolina Beach 'continual carnival' and laughed at the line outside of Britt's Donut shop.  At 9 pm there were at least 75 people standing in line for a donut!  Britt's is an institution in Carolina beach and the donuts are yummy (we had them last time we stopped, and no we didn't stand in line) but not yummy enough to stand in line for an hour. Carolina Beach is a favorite of mine.  It is a real "beach town", no mega mansions, and loads of people just enjoying the beach.  It brought a smile to my face.
Later as we were watching the full moon rise over the Atlantic from the boardwalk Barry commented on how "lucky we were to be experiencing all of this".  We agree.

Now for my latest "photo ops"

I must have taken fifteen shots as we were going up the Cape Fear River trying to catch a Pelican "fishing".  They were like dive bombers all around the boat.  I guess we were churning up some of the 'good stuff'.  Here are two in tandem.

Entering Carolina Beach's narrow harbor.  They have installed mooring balls which makes for a stress free night!  Below..."on the ball" instead of "on the hook"!  

Gary "wave watching"......or was that "babe watching"?

The 'Laurel and Hardy 'houses near Wrightsville Beach
This is our 4th trip on the ICW in this area.  Before it has always been in May and not much action going on, in fact we hardly ever saw another boat.  BUT,  let me tell you these Carolinian's (did I get that right?) enjoy their summer. They are boating, beaching, fishing, kayaking, rocking on porches and getting ready for a Sunday "slip and slide"!

That was our weekend.  We left on Sunday headed for Mile Hammock Bay at Camp LeJeune Marine Base.  What a change from the first time we anchored there.  Then it was amphibious training, last year it was helicopter training, this year nada!!!  I don't know if it is budget cuts or Sunday off but the place was being used as a boat ramp for the marine's pleasure craft.  Upside was no noise at all!

                        I did catch the moon at about 10pm, it's a bit grainy but you get the drift.

We pulled into Oriental at 3 on Monday.  They have a website, which lets you see if there is space available at the free dock and we are, as always, into that. Since the last time we were here they have put in another "town dock" so they have room for four boats at the free docks. The last time we were here there was one and it was full but that was in "snowbird season" ....this time we lucked out and pulled right into a prime spot.  It is posted as a 48 hour stay limit but they haven't told us to leave yet and we are 2 hours over our limit.  Hopefully they are glad enough to have us here feeding the economy in our tiny little way.  This town is VERY friendly to boaters, I guess it's because they are all boaters themselves.
If you go to Harbor Cam under Web Cams you'll see us like this.......first boat in the "shrimp fleet"

I never was enthralled with Oriental but this 2 day stay has gone far in winning me over. Gary spent and hour using anti -seize and a screwdriver to loosen the totally rusted chains on our bikes, we haven't used them in over a year, they need some LOVE. After he got them road ready we took off to the grocery store to get a few "things"....which always turns into too many we rode all around the back streets which always tells you more about a place.  I kind of like it....who knew.

The highlight of the past two days...besides the threat of violent storms which were going on all around us but never quite making it here, was the arrival of the shrimp boats today.  

Seven boats came in and unloaded their catch at the dock.  You'll see from the photos that this is really a tiny little harbor and with these 60 to 80 foot shrimp boats maneuvering into the docks to offload their catch and then into slips for the night,that these captains are, it was a cake walk.  

So here we are with a 46' Morgan sailboat between us and the "fleet"....though, I think I'd rather be a sailor than a shrimper !

SO......I asked around to see if we could buy some fresh shrimp since it looks like they brought in the 'mother lode' today.  Answer......YES, tomorrow at the tiny little fish market across the street.  YIPEE!!!  It'll be shrimp on the barbie' tomorrow night.

I told our 'duck mates' they better behave or we'd be having more than 'shrimp on the barbie'!

and hiding behind that piling is NOT going to get you dinner on my boat!

Life is good

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hot Fun Days

                                                              Lady's Island Marina

When we pulled into Lady's Island dockmaster Steve said "here for a month"? We said no, "for a night" and he said "that's what they all say".  Well he was right.  We ended up staying four nights and had a great time.  Beaufort is high on my we could spend a few months here list!

We had a 4th of July potluck (camera acting up, no pictures to share) and borrowed Steve's wife Gloria's car several times for trips to Wal Mart and Lowe's.  We also were invited to participate in a 'float'!

Gloria, Jann, Nancy, Steve, Nancy, Tom
Gary delegated himself as dinghy driver...

We all put life jackets on, (legs through arm holes) jumped in the water and were carried about a half mile back to the marina by the current.  It reminded me of taking inner tubes in the St. Clair River when we were kids and floating from North Algonac to Pte. Du Chene.  Aaah, reliving my youth, only then we weren't floating with cocktails in hand....  

The "floaters"
this house was one of a pair of houses on the ICW North of Charleston with no other houses for miles
it looks like it is out of a Steven King novel....being eaten alive

We anchored for a night north of Charleston in a marsh creek by this ,what we thought was abandoned, wreck.
Turns out it wasn't abandoned after all, there was a couple there the next morning.
I guess they're living their dream, or maybe nightmare....

The ups and DOWNS of tidal water life....the "fleet" was beached!

AND....I have no shame by allowing this.....showers in 95 degrees have become a quick dip in the water, suds up and rinse off with our swim shower on the back of the boat.

It has been HOT over 90 every day with 90% humidity and it is usually as hot in the boat as out.  Bertha and Beulah are two hot mamas and it takes HOURS for them to cool down! Hence they keep the cabin a little too warm.  Thankfully nights have been bearable with our 12 volt mini fan blowing on us.
Most days we get a bit of a breeze because we always try to anchor in open areas where a breeze will catch us.  There is nothing worse than being in a wind protected anchorage surrounded by trees and bugs when it is this hot.  These days remind me of the lyric from Bob Seger's 'Turn the Page'...... "and the sweat pours off your body like the music that you play".  I know, I know, too much information.  But what fun is it if you can't feel our pain!!
BUT...we could be freezing somewhere or in the desert with no water around so the truth of the matter is we are very fortunate and we know it.

We fueled up yesterday in North Myrtle Beach and did the long trek through the narrow waterway....Myrtle Beach is VERY spread out...we arrived at 1:00 only to find that the Little River Bridge at the North End was "under construction" and wouldn't let us through until 2:30.
Oh we were with a 42 Grand Banks in a narrow waterway right by a jet ski rental place and no place to go.  So we dropped the hook and took our licks.  The current kept us straight in the channel and the jet skis were a pain (but I do remember the mantra, "part of the journey") and we figured they could only go between the two bridges so they kept whizzing by for an hour and a was interesting though.  They started out looking terrified and going by fairly slow and as far from our boat as they could get but after 30 minutes they gained confidence and by an hour they were what they thought to be professional jet skiers and they were seeing how many inches they could get away from our boat.!  At 2:00 I told Gary one of them is surely going to plow right into us we need to move!!  Luckily the bridge opened on time and we didn't get done in by a yahoo on a jet ski.  I'd say they were a pain in the a*# but when I was young I most likely would have been doing the same thing!

Here they come again!!!!!!

 2:30 the bridge opened right on time.....

and this was the hold up....trying to repair the damage a barge did going through,
it wiped out the entire east side of the bridge foundation

We should be in Carolina Beach this afternoon, we are waiting for the tide right now to give us a good pull out of the ICW and a good push up the Cape Fear River.  Our friends Jodie and Barry are transiting back to Florida and we hope to meet them in Carolina Beach.

I'll sign off with this photo.  We have seen a lot of nesting Osprey and I got this one on Bull Creek where we anchored the other night.
 Osprey one on the nest and one flying the coop!

Friday, July 4, 2014

"El Galleon"

We decided we need a bigger boat....what do you think??

It seems like a good fit....

We think we'll need a crew, interested??

You will be working for....

Although you won't go thirsty...
and you're welcome to eat in the dining room...

And pirates can 'forgeddaboutit'..our guns are bigger!

So what do you say, are you ready to sail away??