Posts Tagged With: AICW

Seasons Greetings

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

29 Season

Summary of week:

To Jax

After spending a long weekend in Port Royal, the crew set out for their final push to Jacksonville.  They travelled four days and arrived in Jacksonville on Friday.

  1. On Tuesday the crew stopped in Herb Creek after a call from the crew of Monterey.
  2. Wednesday, the crew made a long day where they anchored in the Crescent River.
  3. Thursday, they made another long day and anchored off Cumberland Island.
  4. Jacksonville was an easy reach on Friday.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising south thru South Carolina, Georgia, and arriving in Florida. On the way she has dolphins swim in her bow wake.  Enjoy!

 

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 47 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

About the time the crew crossed the Savannah River and entered Georgia, the phone rang.  The skipper answered the call and found Rob on the other end of the line.  Rob and Glenda hail from Canada, and crew the Monterey.  Our crew last saw Rob and Glenda back in Jacksonville in May.  Turned out that Monterey was just south of Still Waters II.  The two crews agreed to pull into Herb Creek and anchor for the night.

Still Waters II arrived in the creek first and found a nice wide spot to drop the anchor.  The skipper noticed Monterey pull into the creek, so he radioed Rob and discussed rafting up.

Still Waters II and Monterey rafted in Herb Creek.

17.5

After the boats were rafted, the crews spent the evening talking and catching up on the last few months.

The skipper, Rob, and Glenda on the sundeck of Still Waters II

17.4

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Monterey weighing anchor and pulling away.

17.3

Waving goodbye to Monterey

17.1 Leaving Herb Creek

After leaving the anchorage, the crew spent most of the day making way thru the endless Georgia salt marsh.

Hi tide in salt marsh

18 Hi Tide

At the end of the day the crew pulled into the Crescent River and dropped the anchor for the night.

Salt marsh glows golden at sunset

20 Anchor in Crescent Creek

View from anchorage in Crescent River

20.1

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The weather has started to warm and the winds have fallen off which has combined to cause some very nice cruising days.  However, seemed as though the crew travelled most of the day at low tide.

Glassy smooth water 

21 smooth

Travelling at low tide

22 Low Tide

The crew did witness some interesting things on the way south.  The pelicans dive bombing the fish entertained the crew for hours.

22 Pelican22.122.2

The crew cruised by this interesting solar sailor with an electric motor.

24 Solar Sailor

And when they anchored off Cumberland Island, this herd of wild horses came out to graze.

25 Cumberland Island Horses

Friday, December 1, 2017

After weighing anchor, the crew cruised down the end of Cumberland Island and saw a few more wild horses.  Then they crossed over into the state of Florida and cruised down Amelia Island..

Wild Horse on southern end of Cumberland Island

25.1

Overhead view of Amelia Island with Atlantic Ocean above the beach.

28 Amelia Island

After crossing the St Johns River, the crew made a few more miles and pulled into the Palm Cove Marina to end the 2017 cruising season.

Next Week –   

Still Waters II will stay at Palm Cove Marina for at least a month.  The crew will transform into CLOD’s (Cruisers Living On Dirt).  They will travel to Texas to visit family and friends.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hope to see you back on board as virtual crew members in 2018 when the crew will head for the Bahamas.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Duck Hunt

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!  We have two new virtual crew members who have joined the adventure.  Welcome aboard smartvegrecipe and buildingtheloveshack!!

2.1

Summary of week:

15 Port Royal

Cool weather has descended on the crew with the lows in the high 30’s most nights.  The crew has seriously started chasing the warmer weather that Florida promises and traveled 5 days:

  1. On Monday, they anchored off Butler Island with an overnight low of 37.
  2. They made their way to Isle of Palms Marina on Tuesday to run the heater as lows fell to the mid 30’s.
  3. On Wednesday, they made a short 12 mile jump to Charleston and had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
  4. They continued through the Carolina salt marsh on Friday and dropped the anchor in the South Edisto River.
  5. They completed the week in the Port Royal Landing Marina on Saturday.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II leave North Myrtle Beach and begin her cruise south thru the salt marsh where she encounters some duck hunters. She takes a look around Isle of Palms Marina, and concludes with a holiday fireworks display from Lighting the Landing. Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 46 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Arriving or leaving North Myrtle Beach is always a slow go due to the number of water front homes with docks in the water.  In case you forget, there are many signs along the waterway here reminding the helmsman that you are responsible for your wake.  Consequently, the crew traveled south at idle speed (5 mph) for the first 20 miles.

After arriving in the Wildlife Refuge, the crew was greeted by some South Carolina fall color.  They also pulled into the Osprey Marina to take on fuel.  The marina has some of the less expensive fuel on the AICW, so the skipper always stops to top off the tanks when passing by.

The fall color:

3 Fall Calor in SC

3.1

Before they left the Wildlife Refuge they noticed a strange boat coming out of a side creek into the AICW.  The crew got a good laugh when they noticed that the boat was labeled as a school bus.  Must be a fun way to travel back and forth to school.

South Carolina School Bus:

4

A few hours later, the crew dropped the anchor off Butler Island for a cool night.  A sailboat joined the crew in the anchorage just as the sun disappeared for the evening.  The temperatures dropped rather quickly when the sun went down.

Sunset at Butler Island:

5 Butler Island Anchorage

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Unwittingly, birds became the theme of the day.  The crew woke to the sounds of shotgun blasts at day break.  Who knew that duck season opened over the weekend.  Then the crew spotted the first Bald Eagle of the day sitting on a pilling just after 0900.  Then at 0935, the skipper noticed that a local boat ramp and adjoining parking lot was full of trucks and empty boat trailers.

Bald Eagle enjoying the morning:

6

Then around ten, the duck hunters started coming out of the surrounding creeks and heading back to the boat ramp.  When a boat passed by and the skipper noticed the number of dead ducks onboard, he decided to try a little duck hunting himself.

The skipper attempted to wave down the next duck boat he saw approaching.  His first attempt was a miserable failure.  He adjusted his tactics with the second boat that approached.  He blew the boat horn to get the duck hunters attention, pulled back on the throttle to all stop, and opened the window to wave the duck hunters down.  The boat stopped but the hunters said they did not have any ducks.  Bummer, this kind of duck hunting has turned out to be harder than expected, 0 for 2.

By this time, the Admiral had come to the helm to question why the skipper stopped in the middle of the waterway.  He quickly explained the situation and had the Admiral take the helm as the third boat approached.  This time the skipper walked out on the bow.  As the boat got close, the Admiral sounded the horn and the skipper began waving his long lanky arms.  The boat slowed down, so the skipper yelled out, “Can I buy some ducks?”

7 Duck Hunters

At first, the duck hunters did not take the skipper seriously.  However, the duck hunters did turn around and pull up next to Still Waters II.  When they learned that the skipper really wanted some duck, one hunter grabbed a couple of ducks and tossed them over to the skipper.  The skipper tried to pay for the ducks but the guys just said, “Happy Thanksgiving” and turned back around to head home.

7.1

Not bad for not ever firing a shot.

7.2 ducks

Then around 1500, the skipper spotted two more Bald Eagles just standing on the shore as the crew passed by.  One flew off before the skipper could snap the picture.

8 Bald Eagle

After docking at the Isle of Palms Marina, the crew walked to the beach.  They were surprised how much it reminded them of Port Aransas, back in Texas.

Low tide at the Isle of Palms Beach

10 Isle of Palms Beach

The crew had planned to stay here through Thanksgiving, but the marina was full, so the crew could only spend one night.  The marina staff put the crew on the fuel dock for the evening.

Isle of Palms Marina:

11.1

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The skipper procured a spot at the City Marina in Charleston for two nights, so the crew made the 12 mile jump and arrived at the marina about noon.  After arrival, the crew walked around the historic district to gather the remaining items for the big meal tomorrow.

The Battery from the AICW:

12 Charleston

Horse and buggy tour in the historic district:

12.1 Buggy Ride

The Admiral managed to find her remaining items for Thanksgiving dinner in a neighborhood shop.  So the crew headed back to the boat.  Should be a great day tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Not much to report other than traditional parade watching, over eating, and another Tony Romo loss on Thanksgiving Day.  Oh wait, it just looked like Tony Romo.  Dak Prescott just looked that bad.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The crew left Charleston and continued south through the miles and miles of salt marsh.  Fortunately, the dolphins would break the boredom ever so often with an appearance.  There just is not much between Charleston and Beaufort.  No wonder they call this area the low country.

South Carolina Salt Marsh:

13 SC salt marsh

At the end of the day the crew pulled off the AICW and anchored in the South Edisto River.

Signs of life at the anchor spot:

14 Anchored in South Edisto Creek

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Must be the weekend because from the sounds of things, every human in these parts must be in the woods with a shotgun this morning.

The miles of salt marsh continue.

13.1

The day passed quickly until the crew reached the Ladies Island Swing Bridge.  After passing under the bridge the crew passed the Beaufort City Marina, mooring field, and waterfront homes.  This 6 mile stretch calls for No Wake and for our crew that means about 5 mph.  At the end of the No Wake Zone, the crew docked at the Port Royal Landing Marina.

Ladies Island Swing Bridge:

15 Ladies Island Swing Bridge

Beaufort Mooring Field:

16 Beaaufort Mooring Field

After getting settled the crew took off to walk the streets of Port Royal.  They learned that the best burger in town just happens to be cooked at the marina restaurant.   When they arrived at the Back Porch Restaurant, a crowd had already began to gather to watch the end of the ‘Bama’ Auburn game and prepare for the Clemson-S. Carolina game.  The skipper quickly sized the situation up and determined that most of the folks present were rooting for Alabama.  So when Auburn started to pull away, the skipper became a vocal Tiger supporter.

When the S. Carolina fans asked him who he would root for in the next game, he replied “Clemson, of course.”  The burger lived up to its reputation, but it was time to leave before too many more Gamecock fans arrived.

Boat Name of the Week

Stress Knot

Next Week –

The crew has decided to stop the dilly-dally pace south and get to Florida.  They should make Jacksonville easily before the end of the week where they will conclude the 2017 boating adventure.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Rescue 911

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

This short video shows the crew trying to help a sailboat who ran aground.  After pulling the bow around they were able to pull her into deeper wat

Summary of week:

Another strange week unfolded for the crew.  They were stalled in their journey south by two different waterway closures due to bridge issues.  They also were delayed as they stopped and rendered aid to two sailboats that had run aground.  Needless to say, they did not make much progress during the week, only traveling four days:

  1. On Monday, the crew had to stop short when the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge was reported broken and unable to open.  The crew stopped in Swansboro and had strawberry fritters at Yana’s.
  2. The bridge was repaired late on Monday, so the crew made way to Carolina Beach to visit some local friends, John and Ann Marie.
  3. The crew only made 12 miles on Wednesday so the skipper could stop and buy a auto pilot control head from a local consignment store.
  4. On Thursday, the crew entered South Carolina and stopped at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach where they will remain through the weekend.  A new construction bridge had the waterway shutdown on Friday.  Then the winds are unfavorable for travel over the weekend.

N Myrtle Beach

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising south through North Carolina.  Two of the three clips are the skipper running his mouth, while the third clip is a short piece just cruising along.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 45 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

 Monday, November 13, 2017

You just never know what you might see out on the water.  When the crew passed by Morehead City, they saw a ship loaded with wind turbine blades.  There must have been about 70 blades on the ship from Panama.  The skipper was wondering if they were coming or going?

12.1

The crew has also learned that boating plans are cast in Jello.  Today would reinforce the idea that you should never have a schedule on board, and that your plans should remain flexible.  The plan was to cruise to Swansboro, stop to have lunch, and then continue down the AICW to an anchorage at Camp Lejeune, in Mile Hammock Bay.

About an hour into the days cruise, the Cost Guard came over the radio and announced that the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge was reported to have a mechanical failure and could not open.  Since the Bridge clearance is only 12 feet, Still Waters II would not be going past Swansboro until the Bridge was repaired.

The crew made the short run to Swansboro and walked up to Yana’s for some peach fritters.  Unfortunately, the crew ran into more bad news.  Peach fritters are out of season and will not return till next spring.  The skipper had to settle for strawberry fritters instead.  This day is just not working out as planned.

strawberry fritters

After lunch, the crew returned to the boat and later learned that the Swing Bridge had been repaired.  The maintenance crew had to replace a hydraulic cylinder

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Before shoving off the dock, the skipper called the Camp Lejeune Range Director to ensure there was no live fire training going on today.  Once the Range Director gave the skipper the green light, the crew shoved off and headed toward Camp Lejeune.

14.1

The skipper had plans today to make the 0830 opening of the Onslow Swing Bridge.  However, these plans turned into Jello about an hour into the run.  With the Bridge in sight and only 10 minutes to the Bridge, a sailboat hailed the skipper and asked him to slow down.  The sailboat was clearly in the marked channel, notice the green marker,  but had still gone aground.  The sailboat was from Canada, so the skipper, with some minor nudging from the Admiral,  decided to give them some American hospitality.

15 Aground

Active Captain has a warning that there is shoaling on the channel side of the green marker.  These folks obviously found the shoaling.  The skipper went by the sailboat to sound the depths and determine how close he could get without grounding himself.  The depth was about 4.5 feet at the bow of the sailboat.

The wind and current were causing problems for the skipper, so it took three passes for the crew to get a line over to the sailboat.  Once the line was secure , the skipper began dragging the sailboat to deeper water.  Notice the water spray coming off the line at the bow of the sailboat.

15.1

After a few minutes, the boat was free of the ground and a new problem emerged.  How to get the 50 foot line off the sailboat and back on Still Waters II without crashing into each other.  Luckily the captain of the sailboat was able to keep clear and all ended well.

15.2

Well, except the crew missed the 0830 bridge opening.  The skipper guided the boat to the Bridge and waited for the 0900 opening.  After two days of trying, the crew finally got south of the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge.

16 Onslow Beach Bridge

The next obstacle to overcome was the Surf City Swing Bridge which only opens on the hour.  The skipper adjusted speed so that they could arrive in time for the noon opening.

At about 1130, the skipper was keeping an eye on a sailboat that was about a half mile in front, and was trying to determine if he should overtake them or slow down.  He was calculating time to the bridge if he slowed when he noticed the sailboat heeled over about 45 degrees and came to an abrupt halt.

The skipper hailed the sailboat and confirmed that they were indeed aground.  The sailboat reported that they were in five feet of water.  The skipper agreed to try and help get them off.  The captain of the sailboat launched his dinghy and brought a line over to Still Waters II.  The skipper used the line to pull the bow of the sailboat until she was pointed back towards the channel.

15.5

Then the sailboat captain took a stern line from Still Waters II and tied it to the bow line from the sail boat.   The skipper then pulled the sailboat back into the channel and deeper water.

15.4 Sailboat Rescue

Once free, the sailboat captain untied the lines and both crews were off towards the Surf City Swing Bridge.

16 Aground

The skipper likes to arrive 15 minutes early to most events because 15 minutes early is actually on time.  On time is late.  And if you are late, you just might get left behind.  This life philosophy worked well today, because once the crew got the line back from the sailboat, the skipper put the throttle down and arrived just in time to pass through the noon opening of the Surf City Swing Bridge.

The skipper did spot a couple of deer feeding in the yard of a home owner along the waterway.

17 Deer

The crew had two more timed bridges to make before they would arrive at Carolina Beach.  Between the Bridges and the sailboat rescues, the crew managed to arrive at the marina just at sunset.

19 Snows Cut at Sunset

The Joyner Marina is the homeport of John and Ann Marie.  The two couples first met at a one day Looper Seminar before either had a boat.  Then met again at the 2015 and 2016 Spring Rendezvous held in Norfolk.  This year, John and Ann Marie were south bound while our crew was northbound and met in the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal.

John and Ann Marie

After a few sea stories on the sundeck of Still Waters II, the four set off for Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn.  One of the truly fun and remarkable things about this Looper Lifestyle is the incredible people you meet and the unique experiences you get to have.

Tonight’s dinner would be one of those unique experiences because it is Churkeychanga Time of year, November 1-22.  And just what is a Churkeychanga you ask?  That would be a roasted turkey breast, garlic mashed red potatoes, and cornbread stuffing rolled into a flour tortilla and then deep fried ’till crispy.  Then they smother it with jalapeno cream gravy and serve it up with a side of cranberry salsa.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

After a wonderful evening yesterday, the crew took a short 16 mile run down the Cape Fear River and pulled into the South Harbor Village Marina.  Today is the culmination of about a months work of effort to try and determine if the auto pilot works aboard Still Waters II.  Yes the skipper has manually steered the boat for just over 15,000 miles over the last few years.

He has determined that the auto pilot computer is still wired to the fluxgate compass, the rudder feedback mechanism, and the chart plotter.  The only thing needed to make the system work is an auto pilot control head.  The company who made the autopilot has been out of business for over ten years, so finding the control head has been a daunting task.

The skipper has chased a control head down at a local consignment store here in Southport.  After arrival, Rusty, the store owner came and picked the skipper up.  The control head turns out to be the right model number and looks to be in decent shape so the skipper purchased the part.  Rusty then returned the skipper back to the marina.

consignment

The skipper spent the rest of the day reading the User Manual and installation instructions.  After the head was wired into the computer, the skipper was able to adjust the boat settings in the pilot control head.  Once all settings were entered, the skipper performed dock side trials and the auto pilot passed all the tests.

The ‘new’ auto pilot control head mounted at the helm.

IMG_0073

Tomorrow the skipper will perform sea trials and hopefully commission the auto pilot for use.

Oh, and did I mention that the skipper celebrated today’s success by eating a hamburger at the Dead End Salon.  It was just to good of a deal to pass up half price burger Wednesday.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

To the surprise of our crew as they left the marina, they saw Avocet cruise by this morning.  The two crews last saw each other back in 2016 on the inland rivers.

21 Avocet

The skipper also spotted a buck that was hard at it chasing down a doe in the marsh.

22.1

22.3

The crew made him a bit nervous, so he pulled up and walked deeper into the salt marsh.  While he was thinking about his next move, the doe scampered off about two hundred yards ahead.

22.4

After the excitement of watching the deer, the skipper finally got busy and put the autopilot to the test.  The skipper tested the ‘compass mode’ of the autopilot.  Basically you give the computer a compass heading and the autopilot steers the boat along the heading.  The skipper used the autopilot for most of the day.

However, when the crew arrived in the ‘Rock Pile’ just north of Myrtle Beach at low tide, the skipper decided it best to manually steer until he gains more confidence in the system.

The skipper likes to go through here at low tide so you can actually see the rocks.  He says you do not have to wonder where they are if you can see them.

24 Rock Pile

And besides, you also get to see the turtles sunning on the rocks at low tide.

25 Turtles

Then it was just a few more miles and the crew pulled into the marina at Barefoot Landing. 

Boat Name of the Week

The crews oldest granddaughter loves all things Panda, so this one is for you Emma.

13 Bogue Sound

Next Week –

There is a bridge that is under construction about ten miles south of Barefoot Landing.  They have the waterway closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.  The winds pick back up over the weekend, so the crew will not move again until Monday.  They hope to make it to Charleston by the end of next week.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Waiting and Wind

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Antebellum home in Belhaven, dressed up for 4th of July and posting now for Veterans Day.Belhaven

 

Summary of week:

This would turn out to be one of the strangest weeks on the water yet.

  1. The crew left Norfolk on Monday and made a measly 12 miles to the Great Bridge Bridge.
  2. On Tuesday, they crossed the dreaded Albemarle Sound and pulled into the Alligator River Marina to wait out the weather.
  3. On Thursday, the wind dropped into the high teens, so the crew decided to make a go of it and made way to Belhaven.  Once again, they had to wait out the weather before getting underway for points further south.
  4. Saturday, the winds had dropped into the high teens again with forecast that the wind speed would continue to fall.  The crew made it to Beaufort, N.C. but had to dock in a 20 mph cross wind.

Beaufort, NC

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II headed down the Alligator River with some Gulls feeding in the boat wake.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The day started with the Admiral piloting the boat out of the Waterside Marina and back onto the AICW.  The skipper then took over the helm and guided Still Waters II through the many Norfolk boat yards and container ship transfer points at idle speed.

When they finally arrived at the Gilmerton Bridge, they noticed three other boats hovering in the area.  As the skipper moved forward, he noticed the normally open #7 RR Bridge was closed.  Turned out the RR Bridge had closed to allow a train to pass over, but was now stuck in the down position and halting all boat traffic.

1 RR Bridge Stuck Shut

The crew arrived at 1055 to begin the wait for the RR Bridge to open.  At 1128, it appeared that a maintenance crew arrived to start work on the RR Bridge.  By this time, there were now nine boats hovering around in the channel.

At 1210, the maintenance workers left and hopes were high that the RR Bridge would open.  The skipper called the RR Bridge Tender and learned that the crew observed had only come to pick up some equipment.  The folks that were dispatched to fix the RR Bridge had yet to arrive.  There were now 15 boats hovering in the channel, so the skipper decided to move out of the way and drop the anchor and wait.

Just after the crew set the anchor at 1214, the RR Bridge Tender came over the radio at 1216 and said the Bridge was fixed and would be opening momentarily.  At 1217, the RR Bridge was open.  The crew weighed anchor at 1221, but had to wait for the other boats in the pack to pass by before they could join the parade and go through the RR Bridge.  They passed through the RR Bridge at 1229.

The plan was to go a few miles further down river and pull into the Top Rack Marina to take on fuel and eat lunch.  When the crew arrived at the Fuel Island there was no room to dock.  Looks like our crew was not the only ones wishing to take advantage of the low fuel prices at Top Rack.

The crew arrived at 1255, had to hover out in the channel for about 30 minutes while others fueled.  After Leap of Faith left the Fuel Dock the skipper backed in and fueled up.  When they finished lunch, they noticed some boaters that they had met on the inland rivers last fall.  After talking with the crew of Let It Ride, our crew finally got back underway at 1425.

At 1450, they arrived at the Great Bridge Lock for the scheduled 1500 opening.

2 Great Bridge Lock

However, the Lock master did not open the gates until 1520, so once again the crew hovered in the channel.  Once the gates did open, then they had to wait for another boat to arrive.  They finally cleared the lock at 1548, almost an hour after arrival.

2.1

Since it was getting dark here at 1700, the crew was glad to see space along the Great Bridge Bridge wall that they could tie up to and bring this day to a close.

While docking, they did notice the sailboat in front of them had a hailing port of Kamah, Texas.  The crew is Wayne and Linda C.  They have been full time cruisers since 2004.

The skipper also noticed another Texas favorite nearby, a Dairy Queen was less than a half mile down the road.  There were Blizzards in the crews future.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The winds were predicted to be less than 10 mph all day, but were forecasted to build over 20 mph overnight.  Armed with that information, the crew decided to make a long day of it and try to make the Alligator River Marina on the south side of the Albemarle Sound.

This is Isla sliding under a 65 foot bridge with a 64 foot mast.

3 65 ft HWY Bridge

The crew made the 0900 hourly opening of the Great Bridge Bridge, then negotiated two more bridge openings.  They managed to clear all three bridges by 1030, but had only travelled 8 miles.  With 64 miles to the Marina, it became apparent that the crew would probably be docking in the dark.

The crew of ISLA, Wayne and Linda.

3.1

Sure enough the sun set at 1702, the crew arrived at the Marina at 1730 just as dark was setting in for the evening.  The  crew did find Let it Ride and Dragonfly on the docks.  The three crews had an enjoyable dinner aboard Let It Ride.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

As predicted the winds picked up and howled Tuesday night, all day Wednesday, and are still going strong Thursday morning.  By 0900, the winds had dropped to 15 mph out of the south, so the crew decided to make a run for it to Belhaven.  The hardest part of the day would be getting off the dock.

Still Waters II was facing east, with the wind directly out of the north.  The wind had her pinned to the dock fairly securely.  With the aid of two folks on the dock, the skipper’s first two attempts to free her were unsuccessful.  On the third attempt, he finally got the bow pointed out and gunned the engines to get away from the pier.  Unfortunately,  the last two inches of rub rail kissed a pilling.  The smack caused about a foot of the rubber rub rail to break.  The good news was that the rub rail did its job and protected the boat from any fiberglass damage.

After the excitement of shoving off the dock, the next mile and a half was the roughest part of the day.  The Marina is on the north side of a highway.  The crew had to travel with three foot beam seas out to the bridge to go under the highway.  Once the boat turned south the crew had a more enjoyable ride.

Sailboat enjoying the ‘freshened’ winds

5 Alligastor River

With the wind on the stern and following seas, the crew made good time down the Alligator River.  After cruising through the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal for 20 miles, they arrived at the Pungo River in the rain.

Birds feeding in the wake.

6 Gulls

Luckily, by the time the crew arrived at the River Forest Marina the rain had stopped.  Leap of Faith, Let It Ride, and Dragonfly also arrived later in the day.  A mini Looper Rendezvous on the docks as the crews all swapped their latest sea stories.

Dock hands waiting for the next arrival at River Forest Marina.

IMG_0018

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The theme of the week, waiting and wind, would continue.  The winds were in the mid 20’s with gusts to the mid 30’s much of Thursday night through Saturday morning.  The winds dropped down into the mid-teens on Saturday morning with forecast to continue to drop during the day.

This next section of water has some wide open and exposed areas so before leaving the dock, the skipper found three bailout locations along the route just in case things did not go as planned.

The crew shoved off the dock in 17 mph winds.  This time the wind blew them away from the dock and it was much easier to get underway.  Amazingly, the waves were only 1-2 footers and following which made for an easy ride on the Pungo River.

Seas as the crew crossed the Pamlico River.

IMG_0024

When they arrived to cross the Pamlico River, the wind had picked up to 19 mph and whipped up the waves to 3-5 feet.  The angle of the waves were off the back starboard quarter which caused the boat to fishtail back and forth.  The crew got across this nastiness in 30 minutes and entered a narrow canal where things were much nicer.

Another sailboat enjoying the wind.

IMG_0025

The crew of Leap of Faith were about an hour ahead of our crew and were texting back sea conditions in the Bay River and Neuse River.  Lets just say the weather forecasters were wrong again.  The winds continued to stay strong all day.  The crew passed their first bailout point and decided to press on to see for themselves the waves in the Bay River.

The waves in the Bay River turned out to be about 3 footers.  But with the direction of travel the ride was comfortable.  The skipper took an angle out of the channel over marked deep water that also helped to make for a calm ride.  They passed their second bailout location and continued south on the Neuse River

When they passed Oriental, the third bailout location, all seemed to be going smoothly.  With all the big water behind them, it would now only be another 15 miles in narrow creeks out of the wind.  Well of course, except for docking.

A small reprieve from the wind.

IMG_0027

When they came out of the narrow creeks, they discovered that the winds had picked up again.  The wind was now blowing in the low 20’s.  To make matters worse, the wind would be blowing directly across the boat while trying to dock.  It took three tries before the skipper was finally able to get the right strategy to back the boat in the slip.  He started backing the boat towards the slip, two boat slips north of his designated slip.  The wind blew him south and as he arrived in front of his slip he was able to get between the dock and the boat just south of him.  Good thing that big 60 foot boat was blocking the wind after he got in the slip.

After getting all secure, the skipper went up to the office to check in.  To his surprise, the dock master gave him a large bag of fresh shrimp.  This has been a strange week, but at least it will end on a good note with a shrimp boil tonight.

IMG_0028

 IMG_0030

  

Boat Name of the Week

Waiting at the North Landing River Bridge

4

Next Week –

The forecast continues to show wind to be a challenge to safe navigation.  So depending on how the weather actually plays out will certainly have an impact on how far south the crew makes it this next week.  They hope to get somewhere between North Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Hole Foods and Inconvenient Truths

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

IMG_0045

Moonrise over Norfolk waterfront

Summary of week:

Chesapeake

 

 

 

The crew left the safe haven of the Georgetown Yacht Basin and headed south down the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

 

The first stop was at Kent Narrows on Tuesday.

 

 

The cruise south was long on Wednesday as the crew skipped their first anchor choice and continued down Bay due to calm seas.

 

 

On Thursday the crew made way to Onancock for some good hole foods.

 

 

Friday, the crew decided to make 80 miles to Norfolk while the Bay was still calm.

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, and a summary of the day’s experience.

 

 

 

 

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II cruising down the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  The clip starts with some smooth sailing in calm waters.  The clip then transitions to some choppy water, and ends when a cargo ship and car carrier converge near the south end of the Bay.  Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 43 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The crew took advantage of the calm conditions to make it south to the Kent Narrows.  They arrived about 1600.  They were the only boat at the marina.  After they landed, they went to the Jetty Restaurant to enjoy another dock and dine experience.  While dining, the Admiral asked if they could stay on the dock for the night.  The Manager agreed to allow them to remain on the dock for the night.

the jetty

From The Jetty website.  Still Waters II was docked where the big boat is at, top left.

Wednesday, November 1, 201

The run today started out well.  In fact, about noon, things were going so good the crew decided to skip the anchor spot in the Choptank River and continue south to the Honga River where they had planned to anchor tomorrow.  The winds were out of the east at about 8 mph which resulted in fairly flat seas.  This looked to be a good decision until 1330.  Then suddenly, as is prone to happen on the Bay, the wind changed direction out of the south and the winds picked up to 12 mph.  This made the last three hours rocky as the crew cruised in 2-3 foot waves with occasional 4-5 footers.  A little boat spray from the pounding waves:

12.1

After the crew dropped anchor in the Honga River, the winds died down and the crew had a calm night on the hook.  Watching the sun set while at anchor.

13 Sunset Honga River

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The crew awoke to very calm conditions this morning.  The winds were light and stayed less than 5 mph out of the south all day.  with these flat calm sea conditions, the crew once again decided to skip a scheduled stop and push further south.  There are strong winds predicted for the weekend and the crew has set a goal to get off the Bay while it is still calm.

At some point on the way south, they counted 17 fishing boats working the same general area.  They watched intently as every once in a while a boat would pull up a basket and dump the contents.  However, they were not ever close enough to tell what the fisherman were keeping.

14 Fisging Boats

The skipper guessed that they must have been working an oyster bed.  The next day, the skipper’s guess was confirmed when an oysterman came to the dock with his ‘catch.’

IMG_0034

As the crew passed Tangier Island, the skipper decided to run a controlled experiment on the claims that the water level of the Bay is rising significantly.  You may recall that Al Gore often makes this claim as he peddles his brand of global warming.  His claim is that warming is causing the water level to rise and will eventually overtake the Island.

 

15 Tangier Island

Tangier Island

 

So the skipper decided to apply the scientific method to Al Gore’s claim:

Step 1: Ask a question. – Can we measure a difference in water level of the Bay to prove Al Gore right?

Step 2: State a hypothesis. – If water level is rising,  then we should be able to measure higher water levels from past Bay water level measurements.

Step 3: Test hypothesis. – Water levels were measured (sounded) back in the 1800’s.  Todays charts are based off of these 1800 measurements.  The charts used for the measurements were the NOAA charts, latest survey data updated in 1987.  These charts show Mean Low Water Level.  While passing by Tangier Island, the skipper will take three soundings of specific areas where he has agreement in the charts as to past water levels.  The soundings will need to be compensated for the tidal change at the time of the soundings.

Step 4: Analyze Data. –

Time 1850’s Chart Depth 1987 Chart Depth Tide Change Expected Value

1987 data + tide change =

Measured Value

Oct 26, 2017

Result
1230 59 58.7 + 1.6 60.3 59.9 Lower
1247 58 57.7 + 1.51 59.21 57.8 Lower
1300 43 43 + 1.43 44.43 43.9 Lower

First observation is that the water level was either the same or lower from the 1850’s charts to the more accurate measuring systems of 1987.

By adding the expected tide change to the 1987 chart data we arrived at an expected depth value.  Since the chart depths are ‘Mean’ water levels, we would expect some small variations in actual measurements.

The water was calm, as can be seen in the above photo,  so waves did not effect the measurements.

Second observation is that all three measured values were lower than expected value.  These differences were less than six inches and can be accounted for by the ‘Mean’ explained above.

Step 5: Draw Conclusion. – The water level as measured is basically unchanged.  Because the water level is unchanged our hypothesis that water level is rising is wrong.  Therefore, Al Gore is wrong.  Go figure!

Step 6: Communicate Results. – See above.

The skipper loves science!

OK, back to cruising ……….The main reason for pulling into Onancock was to try the healthy hole foods (donuts) and sticky buns from the Corner Bakery.  Some friends have told the crew that the sticky buns are the best in the world.

18.1

The donuts were very good, but they were sold out of sticky buns by the time the crew arrived.  In fact, the Admiral says the donuts might be the best donuts ever.  This was probably a good sign.   Another good sign was when they found this guy working the counter.  How can you go wrong when this guy is your counter help?

18.2

The skipper will get up and go get some sticky buns in the morning before they shove off the dock.

Sunset at Onancock Wharf:

IMG_0032

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Corner Bakery opened at 0730 and the skipper arrived about 0800.  He got a dozen donuts, but would have to wait until 0900 to get the coveted sticky buns.  While he was waiting, the Bakery began to fill with 5-6 older men sitting around a table drinking coffee.  When the first guy entered the Bakery, the man gave the skipper a strange look.  When a second guy entered and gave the skipper ‘the eye’, he finally figured out he must be sitting at the local ole guy fettle fart club table.

The guys were entertaining to listen to.  One of them was a 91 year old WWII Navy Veteran.  Once the group learned that the skipper was also a Navy Veteran, they forgave him for sitting at their table.

The WWII Veteran told an interesting story about how his ship was sunk by a couple of Kamikaze pilots near the end of the war as the Navy was closing in on Japan.  The survivors of the sunk ship were all given 30 days ‘Survivor Leave’ and sent back to the States.  He was actually still home on Leave when Japan surrendered.  The Navy processed him out of the service while he was on Leave, and he never had to go back.

After the sticky buns were procured, the skipper said good by to the locals and commented that he would be back in the spring.  The Romeo’s (retired old men eating out) said they would be there waiting to talk again upon his return.

I bet they are there everyday, so yes, they will be there in the spring  also.

The skipper delivered the goods to the boat and the crew shoved off for Norfolk. And yes, the sticky buns were as good as advertised.

The crew did not see any other cruisers until they got close to Norfolk.  As they left the Chesapeake Bay and entered the Elizabeth River, they had several boats following them.

IMG_0038

When they neared the Waterside Marina, they passed by mile zero of the Atlantic Intercostal Waterway (AICW) marked by this red buoy.

IMG_0042

The crew then passed by this building welcoming them back to Norfolk.

IMG_0043

The marina and waterfront have been under renovation since the crew last stopped here.  The new marina look.

IMG_0044

 

Boat Name of the Week

Norfolk

Next Week –   

The crew will continue south on Monday and hope to make Beaufort, North Carolina by next weekend.  They do have two large bodies of water to cross and will wait for the proper weather conditions before putting in those areas.  So we will have to wait and see how far they actually go.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Treasures of Memories

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

Who knew Pepsi-Cola was born in New Bern and was originally called Brad’s Drink?

IMG_0291

IMG_0289

Summary of week:

The crew did not venture far on the waterways this week because they spent most of the week on shore excursions with their grandkids.  They spent Sunday exploring New Bern.  They managed a day cruise on Monday afternoon for about 3.5 hours, and a Pirate Cruise on Tuesday out of Beaufort, North Carolina.  On Wednesday, they went to Plymouth to go bear hunting and actually saw four bears.

The grandkids headed home on Thursday so our crew took a day of rest to recover from all the fun.  On Friday, the crew cruised almost 60-miles and dropped anchor to spend a quite evening on the hook.  Saturday, they made a short 22-mile run to Belhaven and stopped at the River Forest Marina for the weekend.

New Bern - Belhaven

Moving north in North Carolina

To read the day-to-day travel log, click on this link.

Still Waters II VIMEO site

At the Box Office this week, is a short video of the pirate crew in training, practicing their sword fighting skills, the battle to secure the treasure, and celebrating the victory.

Beaufort Pirate Revenge from Still Waters II on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The grandkids arrived early in the morning to the New Bern area after a long two-day drive from Bryan/College Station, Texas.  After everyone (mainly parents) got some needed rest, The Lathers Crew showed up at the boat and the whirlwind began.  The skipper took the crew on a walk around town and the nearby parks.

While walking in the park and playing Pokémon Go, the skipper noticed the crew of Leap of Faith sitting on a park bench near their boat.  Turns out the bridge only opens at 1600 on Sundays so they had a two hour wait before they could move to the marina.

IMG_0241

Colonial Palace

IMG_0242

Monday, June 26, 2017

The skipper took The Lathers Crew out on a day cruise from the marina.  They cruised out about 10 miles and then turned around and headed back to the marina.  The Lathers Crew was fascinated by the bascule bridge opening and were excited beyond delight when they passed an Osprey nest with a mother and chick.

vacation 1

Eager anticipation of some of the Lathers Crew

The skipper was nervous as the proverbial cat on a hot tin roof, but the worry was for naught as The Lathers Crew managed to all make it back to the marina without anyone initiating a man-overboard-drill.  Not many pics of the cruise because the adults were all busy herding the cats, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Lathers Crew headed to Beaufort for a Pirate Cruise.  After a picnic lunch, it was off to the Maritime Museum where they participated in a scavenger hunt around the museum.  There were over twenty objects they each had to find to earn their reward.

IMG_0247

Seems the most popular items were the whale heart and Louie the Rat.  After all items were found they each got a sticker commemorating their success and a sea shell.

vacation 2

Scavenger hunters with list

Next it was time to take part in the Pirate Revenge Adventure.

IMG_0258

On the pier prior to adventure

IMG_0261

Safety Briefing

IMG_0269

Preparing for battle

vacation 7

Currently losing the battle

IMG_0279

Dividing the spoils of war

After the hard-fought battle to win the treasure, The Lathers Crew spent their new-found wealth on ice cream.  Well, maybe their Papa Fuller (our skipper) pulled a few George Washington’s out of his pocket and paid for the ice cream because plastic gold coins are not really worth much.  (but don’t tell The Lathers Crew.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Lathers Crew headed to Plymouth to visit the God’s Creation Museum.  When they arrived, they found a new Bear-Ology exhibit about the North Carolina Black Bears.

 

vacation 6

Beth doing an excellent job narrating the tour at the museum

 

They watched a 20-minute film about the bears and then enjoyed the museum exhibits.  The Skipper asked if there was anywhere nearby that they could go and see live bears.

vacation 3

In the theatre

vacation 5

Beth’s answer was similar to the disclaimer you get from any financial planner, “now I cannot guarantee you will see a bear……. but you might try the Pungo Wildlife Refuge.”

After the museum tour and the necessary shark tooth fossil dig, The Lathers Crew set off for the Pungo National Wildlife Refuge.

vacation

Digging for shark teeth

While driving around the Refuge, the crew spotted a lone Black Bear.  The Lathers Crew went wild.  Then after driving around some more they came upon another bear, and she had two small cubs.  And yes, the crowd went wild again.  Unfortunately, the skipper did not bring his telephoto lens, so the ‘Kodak Moment’ is not all that great.  But trust me, that is a North Carolina Black Bear and cub.

vacation 9

Sow and one of the two cubs

Thursday, June 29, 2017

As stated earlier, The Lathers Crew hit the road back towards home early in the morning.  They planned to head south towards Georgia to Amicalola Falls and then on to the Atlanta Aquarium to wrap up their 2017 vacation.  Ahh, to be young again and have endless energy.

 

vacation 10

Atlanta Aquarium

 

Our crew just lazed around all day to rest up from the whirlwind known as The Lathers Crew.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Our crew set out to make the 24-miles back to the ICW and then head east towards Belhaven.  After a 58-mile cruise, the crew dropped anchor in the Campbell Creek for the night.

While performing engine checks following the run, the skipper noticed the alternator belt was broken on the starboard engine.  The skipper decided to rely on the solar panels and replace the belt on Sunday after the engines have a day to cool off.

IMG_0293, stm 175

Back on the ICW at mile 175

Shortly after stopping it began to rain.  When the rain stopped a beautiful rainbow appeared, then a double rainbow appeared.

IMG_0304, stm 155

Sharing our anchor spot with these folks on a sailboat.

IMG_0301, stm 155

Saturday, July 1, 2017

After a morning rain shower passed, the crew weighed anchor and made the last 22 miles to Belhaven.  After getting docked with the help of a young dock hand, the dock master showed up and asked the crew to move over to the other side of the pier.  So they backed off the pier, rounded the T-dock, and pulled back up to the pier to get settled.  You can never get enough practice docking in 15 knot winds.

IMG_0305, stm 150 Pamlico River

Mile 150 in Pamlico River

The dock master said there was a 70-footer coming in and he needed that side to park the big boat.  There was also supposed to be four other boats showing up here today.  Looks like the wind and rain have kept them away.  The dock master did say they were ‘fair weather’ boaters and was not surprised by their no-show.

 Boat Name of the Week

The Scalawag

IMG_0274

Next Week –

The crew will continue their northbound journey towards Norfolk to complete the Atlantic ICW leg of the Loop.

Loop On

The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

A Crazy Two Weeks

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.  This update will also include the road trip to OKC where the crew got caught in a traffic jam that resulted in an overnight stay on I22.

Lastly, since my last update, Jay S. has joined on as a virtual crew member.  Welcome aboard and enjoy the cruise Jay!

69 St Simons Sound

Dolphin off the bow of boat

Summary of week:

The crew departed Jekyll Island and made a two-day run to the Isle of Hope Marina in the suburbs of Savannah.  The crew then took a road trip to Oklahoma City to watch the Women’s College World Series.   On the return trip to the boat they picked up a granddaughter who will cruise with them for a couple of weeks.  On Saturday, they picked up some friends from the Savannah airport and made an afternoon cruise to downtown Savannah.

70 St Simons Sound

 Sunday, May 28, 2017

The crew departed Jekyll Island and headed further north along the ICW.  It is only about 100 miles to Savannah from here so the crew plans to split the trip into about a 55-mile run and a 45-mile run.

There is very little between Jekyll Island and Savannah but miles and miles of Georgia salt marsh.  The crew saw very few other boaters out on the water.

71 STM 665 Mackay River, GA

Lots of Salt Marsh in the Low Country

The crew did follow a conversation over the radio between a recreational boater and the Coast Guard.  The boater ran out of gas and was looking for the Coast Guard to deliver some fuel.  The Coast Guard only helps boaters in distress, such as a boat actually sinking.  The Coast Guard asks tons of questions on their one-size-fits-all checklist and then tells the ‘not in distress’ per Coast Guard standards boater to call a commercial tow company such as Boat US or Sea Tow for help.

79 STM 635

Crossing the St Simmons Sound

After a good day of cruising the crew pulled up in the Wahoo River to anchor.  This was the first anchor stop since the boat repairs.  When they went to deploy the anchor, ………, well nothing happened.  The skipper checked under the helm for any loose wires, found one, plugged the wire back in, and still no anchor power.  The skipper then jumped down in the engine room and found the anchor switch turned off.  Turned the switch to ‘on’ and the anchor windlass began to work.  Imagine that.

80 STM 630 Anchored in Wahoo River

Anchored in Wahoo River

This was a nice place to anchor except the huge flies that decided to buzz the boat.  The flies got so bad that the crew had to retreat from the sundeck and go inside the boat.  Unfortunately, when the sun went down the wind died down also.  This was one hot night with temperatures only falling to 72 just before daybreak.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Another beautiful warm day to cruise.  The good days far outnumber the bad days, but the brain only seems to remember the bad days where there was some kind of ordeal to overcome.  Luckily our crew has not had many bad days on the water.

83 STM 610 Bear River

STM 610, more salt marsh

Again, there were not many folks on the water until the crew approached the marina on the outskirts of Savannah.  Then the boating traffic significantly picked up.

The Coast Guard had their hands full today though.  They dealt with another boater who ran out of fuel and a boater who ran hard aground.  Once again, the Coast Guard asked all their questions and then suggested the boaters call a commercial tow service.

86 STM 600 Green Island

Skipper spotted this wild hog out in the marsh

With more people on the water there were many folks using Channel 16 to just chat which is a big no-no.  The crew is in the Charleston Sector for Coast Guard response.  The Charleston Sector has a very short fuse when it comes to this inappropriate radio use.

The Coast Guard was constantly broadcasting a message that basically said “Channel 16 is for emergency and hailing purposes only.  Boaters using channel 16 should switch to a working channel.  Boaters using channel 16 for routine communications disrupts the Coast Guards ability to receive emergency calls.  This is Charleston Sector monitoring and recording Channel 16. Over”

90 STM 693

People enjoying Memorial Day

It seemed like someone would get on the radio and misuse channel 16 every few minutes or so.  This would cause the Coast Guard to parrot their above message, yet again.

The skipper thought about, but did not act on this thought.  Make an announcement on Channel 16 following the Coast Guard parrot message such as, “the Coast Guard repeating this long message every 5 minutes prevents the Coast Guard from receiving emergency messages. Over”

89 STM 593 Skidaway Narrows Bridge

Skidaway Bridge traffic jam

The crew just continued to monitor channel 16 as they motored on to the marina.  The crew safely docked and secured the boat at the Isle of Hope Marina to end a wonderful uneventful Memorial Day cruise.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The crew rented a car and started towards Oklahoma City.  The drive was going fine until 2215, about 30 miles south of Memphis.  All of a sudden there was nothing but red brake lights as the traffic came to a halt.  After about 30 minutes, the traffic in the opposite direction was also stopped.  After an hour, a medical helicopter landed, then left after another 30 minutes.

The skipper thought that the traffic would start moving after the helicopter took off, but an hour later there was still no movement on the highway.  As 0100 came and went motorists began making themselves comfortable for the night in their cars.  The truck drivers all disappeared from their cabs and made themselves comfortable in their sleeper cabins.

At 0500, the skipper woke up so he decided to take the mile stroll to the blinking lights to get a firsthand look at what was going on.  When he arrived at the road block, he found three police vehicles blocking all the traffic lanes and shoulder.  He also noticed the smell of asphalt.  On closer inspection, he noticed that the road crew had cut about a twenty-yard-wide section out of the road, shoulder-to-shoulder.  The road crew had laid new asphalt and were now in the process of rolling and compacting the new road surface.

The skipper walked back to the car and within twenty minutes he noticed the blinking lights were all off.  He then realized that some vehicles were actually moving up ahead.  Only problem now was that most of the folks were all still sleeping in their vehicles.  The skipper managed to back out between a few cars and an 18-wheeler and get over on the shoulder.  He then followed a Fed Ex truck up and out of the maze of cars on the highway.  The Fed Ex truck was also blowing his horn as he passed the sleeping motorists and fellow truck drivers.

All-in-all this was one of the most bizarre nights ever on a highway.

 Thursday, June 1 thru Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The crew spent most of the time watching the softball games to determine the College Division 1 Champion.  The 2017 champs turned out to be the University of Oklahoma.

The crew also spent quality time with their softball family.

IMG_4467

Softball in OKC

Wednesday, June 7 thru Friday June 9, 2017

The crew made a trip south to go pick up one of their granddaughters from Bryan/College Station and then headed east back to the boat.

Just west of Baton Rouge, the crew once again ran smack dab up on an all stop traffic accident.  An 18-Wheeler had gone off the road and was laying on its side in the trees.  This time the crew managed a whole six miles in two hours before clearing the accident scene and getting back up to cruising speed.

This resulted in a 0200 arrival back at the Isle of Hope Marina.  Friday was spent making the boat ready for the next leg of the journey north.

Saturday, June 10, 2016, 2017

The skipper was scrambling a bit on Saturday morning to make final arrangements for the day’s activities.  He needed to go to the Savannah International Airport to pick up two friends who were scheduled to land at 1045 a.m.  He also needed to return the rental car to Enterprise before the office closed at noon.

After returning the rental car, he used the marina loaner car to make the run to the airport.  The friends plane was on time and he managed to arrive at the airport within ten minutes of the guests getting their bags at baggage claim.  The skipper and guests returned to the marina where they put their luggage on the sundeck.  The Admiral had a large lunch spread waiting for them so they took the time to eat lunch before shoving off the dock.

IMG_4515

Kelly and Kim  in Savannah

The run was enjoyable as the crew and three guests made the three-hour run to downtown Savannah by boat.  Upon arrival in the Savannah River, the crew met a large commercial ship that was making 12 knots.  The large ship overtook Still Waters II in no time.

IMG_0002

Then a dinner riverboat arrived up ahead as the crew continued to push towards Savannah.  They cruised by Old Fort Jackson and then over to the Waving Girl Monument before crossing the River and docking at The Westin Savannah Harbor Marina.  Two of the guests are staying at the Westin while Kim attends the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Emergency Preparedness Conference.

IMG_0003

 

IMG_1968

Skipper, Kelly, Kim, Tim, and Emma

When the crew and guests were about to board the water taxi to cross the river to find a restaurant to eat at, Kelly noticed Tim E. also waiting in line for the taxi.  The skipper went up to Tim to say hello and before you know it Tim had invited himself to dinner with the group of five.  Well, maybe it was actually the other way around, the skipper invited the group of five to join Tim.  Either way, it was great fun spending time with Tim.

 

 

 

 

 

 Next Week

The crew plans to leave Savannah on Monday and hope to make Myrtle Beach at Barefoot Landing by the weekend.  The skipper said something about an Elk Burger with his name on it at Fuddruckers’s.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Back to Jack

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

 

bridge_of_lions_medici_lion[1]

Guarding the Lion’s Bridge

Eric here catching you up to date on the latest travels of Still Waters II. Click on this link to see the DAY-TO-DAY TRAVEL LOG.

I would also like to welcome Dirk and Pat, the crew of Wandering Star, aboard as our newest virtual crew members!  They will be launching their Great Loop adventure from Islamorada, Florida very soon.

Summary of week:

The crew made the last 70 miles to Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday.  From Jax, the crew rented a car and headed to Texas for the rest of the week to go spend some time with their grandkids.

Jax

Still Waters II VIMEO site

I have posted a short video of the run to Jacksonville, titled JAX

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The run to Jacksonville from St Augustine is about 70 miles by the ICW.  The crew got an early start and managed to get off the dock just after sunrise.  When they left the marina and turned towards the Lion’s Bridge, there were two sailboats waiting for the 0800 scheduled opening.

 

St_Aug_FL_Bridge_of_Lions_west_end06[1]

Lion’s Bridge

 

Still Waters II could slip under the 22-foot bridge so the skipper was trying to navigate towards the bridge and stay clear of the two sailboats.  The smaller sailboat captain had not posted a look out and nobody was actually at the helm.  There was one person in the cockpit messing with some lines as the sailboat was making a collision course for Still Waters II.

As the skipper was trying to avoid a collision, the Admiral yelled over to the sailboat and got the person’s attention.  He immediately looked up and made a course correction to avoid pending collision.

After this near miss the crew had an enjoyable run to Jacksonville.  The wind that had been howling for the better part of all last week finally decided to take a break.  The water was finally extremely calm.

IMG_0200

IMG_0201

IMG_0202

After a forty-mile run on the ICW, the crew came to the intersection of the ICW and St John’s River.  The crew turned left on the St. John’s River for the 26-mile run to Ortega Landing.

IMG_0206

Upon arrival in the downtown Jacksonville area the crew could see that the Railroad Bridge was open.  Unfortunately, as they neared the bridge they heard the bridge horn sound and noticed the RR Bridge begin to close.  The skipper backed the boat down and waited for the train to appear and cross the bridge.  As you can see in the photo, Still Waters II would not make it under this 9 foot clearance.

IMG_0208

The crew has not had much luck making this particular bridge.  Seems that they catch a train on the bridge each and every time they pass through Jacksonville.

IMG_0209

After the train passed over the bridge, the skipper expected the bridge to open.  However, the bridge stayed closed and the electronic sign continued to announce the arrival of another train.  After a few minutes more, another train arrived and also crossed over the bridge.  This train was moving extremely slow and had about 100 cars.  It took over 20 minutes for the train to clear the bridge.

IMG_0210

When the bridge finally opened, the skipper allowed all the small boat traffic to clear the fender area of the bridge before passing through.

IMG_0211

After the RR bridge delay, the crew headed towards the Ortega River and the last bridge of the day.

IMG_0212

Once on the other side of the above bridge, the crew headed to the marina to find their slip on the B Dock.  It was a tight fit in the slip, but the crew managed to stern Still Waters II into her berth.

Next Week

The crew will keep the boat at Ortega Landing in Jacksonville until April 10th.  They will then move the boat up river to Huckins to have her hauled out and some work performed.  After she splashes back in the water the crew will decide when and where they are headed next.

For the 2017 season though, they do plan to head north and cruise the Down East Loop.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

big, Big, BIG Boats

Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

Eric here catching you up to date on the latest travels of Still Waters II.

img_0253

Painted by Kobra, a famous Brazilian street artist.  Found in West Palm Beach.

I would also like to welcome Five Experts aboard as our latest virtual crew member.  Hope you enjoy the cruise around America’s Great Loop.

Summary of week:

After crossing their wake in Ft Myers, the crew took a few days off to celebrate their Gold Flag achievement.

okeechobee_waterway_map

On Wednesday, they headed out to start their second trip around the Loop.

They headed east across Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway.  On Friday, they turned south on the Atlantic Inter Costal Waterway at Stuart and anchored at Peck Lake.  On Saturday, they continued south and pulled into Palm Harbor Marina in West Palm Beach.

Link to see a map of the travel stops, day-to-day travel log, and skipper comments.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The crew set out on the Caloosahatchee River towards Moore Haven.  Unfortunately, it was raining when they left and the rain followed them as they made their way east.

img_0172

Looking out the front window, wishing for windshield wipers

Finally, about noon the clouds began to break and the sun rays found the water.  Interesting enough, it rained on the crew last time they passed thru on these waters.

img_0173

Looking out an open side window

However, the rain did not dampen the spirits of Still Waters II.  She had a big smile on her face when she docked at Moore Haven with her new Gold Burgee.  Day 1 of many in the books.

img_0178

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Today the crew would cross Lake Okeechobee.  The winds were favorable, meaning the crew would have light winds and following seas as they crossed the big lake.  Before they got to the lake though they had some good critter watching.

Many birds were out early feeding along the canal.  This one was caught in the act of catching a fish.

img_0180

They saw three alligators out sunbathing.  This was the first one of the day.

img_0183

Then just before entering the lake the crew noticed a crop duster in the air fumigating the local crops.  Then the plane took a course right down the canal towards Still Waters II.  The skipper thought they were going to get dusted.

img_0181

Then, just before the fly over, the plane pulled up to port and flew away.

img_0182

Soon after this little incident the crew turned onto the lake.

img_0184

Initially, the narrow channel is well marked.  But after the first several miles, the next twenty miles are met with fewer and fewer markers.  The last 7 miles only had one marker showing the way into the Port Mayaca Lock.

 

img_0185

Red and Green day markers at the edge of the channel

 



As the crew neared the Port Mayaca Lock, they heard a west bound vessel hail the lockmaster.  The lockmaster gave the vessel instructions to just motor through the lock.

img_0187

As Still Waters II approached the lock, the lockmaster gave her the green light and told the skipper that both gates were open and to pass through with No Wake.  After 9,500 miles, the crew is still experiencing ‘firsts’ on the Loop.  This was the first time to just motor thru a functional lock.

img_0188

Port Mayaca Lock, both gaates wide open

The excitement of no delay at the lock was short lived.  After clearing the lock, the crew noticed that the normally open Amtrak bridge was closed.  The skipper reached for the radio to request a bridge opening.  But before he could key the mike, he heard a train whistle and then the train appeared and crossed the bridge.  After the train was clear of the bridge, the bridge tender raised the bridge and allowed the crew to pass on down the Stuart Canal.

img_0189

Waiting for the bridge to fully open

The crew saw a couple more gators in the Stuart Canal.

img_0192

img_0206

While turning around to get some pictures of a gator, the crew flushed a Bald Eagle out of his perch. The skipper watched the eagle till it landed on a power pole.   After the gator photo shoot, the crew headed back east and took a few pics of the Bald Eagle.

img_0201

After docking, the skipper ran into a young couple from Texas who has stopped working, bought a 36 foot Cabot, and are cruising these Florida waters.  They just completed their shakedown cruise to Miami and back to Indiantown.  They have a list of things to fix and then they will head out to explore some more.  They plan to head over to the Bahamas for their next adventure after needed repairs.

Also at the Indiantown Marina, there was a bunch of French being spoken.  Turns out there were a half dozen boats down from Montreal spending the winter here.  The skipper spoke with them as they gathered around the table to enjoy docktails.

img_0209

Friday, February 24, 2017

The crew set out on the Stuart River and headed to the beginning of the Okeechobee Waterway at mile 0 near Stuart.  As they approached the Stuart Lock they saw this Texas flag flying off a sailboat leaving the lock.  The skipper flashed the hook ‘em horns sign and the sailboat crew smiled and flashed the sign back.  The sailboat’s homeport was Houston, Texas.

img_0214

As they entered Stuart, they had the challenge of making three bridges in a bunch of traffic.  A large floating barge crossed in front of Still Waters II and it was more than a little disturbing trying to figure out what the barge’s intentions were.  By the time the bridge started opening the barge had dropped an anchor and was out of the way.

img_0218

After the bridges, the crew headed for the Stuart Inlet which ends the Okeechobee and connects with the Atlantic Inter Costal Waterway (ICW) at mile 988.

img_0220

Stuart Inlet, Crossroads of Okeechobee and Atlantic ICW

The crew turned south and started down the ICW.  This is the first time the crew has seen these waters by boat.  This also marks the official first side trip of the second Loop.

img_0221

The cruise south witnessed many boats on the water.  This was one of the many interesting boats the crew saw.

img_0222

After dropping anchor in Peck Lack, the skipper launched the dinghy and rowed the crew over to shore.  They pulled the dinghy up on shore and walked through an interesting tunnel to the Atlantic.

img_0234

Beached dinghy near here

img_0223

Tunnel to the Atlantic

img_0225

Atlantic Ocean

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The crew weighed anchor and headed towards West Palm Beach in the morning.  Initially the run was through Mangrove lined channels.

img_0235

As the crew moved further south they began to leave behind the Florida Wilderness and more into the south Florida mansions.  This was an early taste of what was to come as the crew headed south.  Makes you want to ask the question, “Is that boat really bigger than their house?”

img_0237

When the crew arrived at the Jupiter Inlet the water had turned a beautiful turquoise blue.  There was a dredge operation in progress at the inlet due to constant shoaling in the area.  The skipper was busy navigating the busy construction area as they passed this lighthouse.

img_0239

The manuevering and navigating through the S-curves at the Jupiter Inlet finally gave way to more straight line cruising.  The crew passed some interesting yard art, or is that two chairs on that point?

img_0241

Cruising on Saturday was bound to result in many boaters as the morning wore on. More and more boaters continued to come out and enjoy the day.  This bridge tender announced that no boats were to pass until the bridge spans were fully open.  Even the little boats had to wait.

img_0243

After the bridge the crew entered Lake Worth.  The lake was one of the few spots that was not posted NO Wake today.  That lead to many boats speeding by constantly throwing all kinds of nasty wakes.  The crew was happy when they got across the Lake and back into a No Wake Zone.  Maybe the skipper will stop the moaning about No Wake Zones.

img_0246

img_0247

As they approached West Palm Beach they saw this mega yacht.  The little boat anchored in the foreground is 36 feet long.  Not sure how long the big blue boat is, but she is well over 150 feet.

img_0248

After docking the crew went walking around West Palm Beach.  The main drag in town is named Clematis St. but it was dead in the early afternoon.  The locals claimed that it will start hopping when the sun goes down.

In the meantime, the crew found the local ice cream store.  They missed it the first time walking by though.  The store is decorated in stuffed animals, and the crew mistook it for a toy store.  After correcting the error of their ways, they discovered the store specialized in Italian ice cream.  The crew took a chance and tried some.  It was good, but still not as good as the Kawartha Ice Cream in Canada.

img_0256

Next Week

The crew will be in route to Miami where they will rendezvous with some friends who are flying in from Texas.  After these folks get onboard, the crew and friends will head south towards the Florida Keys and eventually Key West.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

It Is A Small World

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here reporting on our crew’s attendance at the AGLCA Spring Rendezvous in Norfolk, Va.  In 2015, you might recall, the crew only met one couple from Texas, and the couple had lived in Arlington, Texas.

This year, there were six couples from Texas, and 25% of them had lived in Arlington, Texas.  In case you did not know, our skipper was born and raised in Arlington.  Rafe  lived in Arlington as a child and moved from Little Road to Boyd, Texas before Junior High.  He also graduated from High School in 1978, same as our skipper.

IMG_0011

Rafe’s  Cat

 

Lynn attended The University of Texas at Arlington earning her degree and eventually taking a job in Austin, Texas.  Speaking of Austin, two of the boats hailed from Austin, Texas.

IMG_0010

Lynn is what is known as a reluctant spouse for this journey, hence the name of the boat, Lerry Lynn.  However, she now loves being on board for three years and counting.

 

The two other Texas boaters hailed from Blanco, TX and Porter, TX.  Can you spot the Star Trek fan?

The crew spent most of their time sitting in presentations and learning more about navigating the Great Loop.  I will not bore you with the details of the seminar, but our crew definitely learned more about the adventure that lies ahead and is itching to get to New York City and beyond.

IMG_0009

The crew also finally got to meet Joe and Pam of Tasteful Traveler.  Still Waters II spent most of 2015 following in the wake of Tasteful Traveler, but the two crews never crossed paths and actually met.

The Looper Crawl was a huge success for the Admiral.  The crew showed Still Waters II during all three Looper Crawls.  The Admiral got many compliments from the folks who came aboard.  Several people came back each day to look at her again and take away some of the Admiral’s decorating ideas.  One lady even commented that the Admiral should start a Boat Decorating Business and help others finish out the interior spaces of their boats.

Still Waters II turned out to be a popular spot for people to just hang out.  On Monday, the Looper Crawl officially closed at 1730, but she had people onboard all the way to 1900.  On Tuesday, a crowd gathered and finally dispersed about 2000 because they all decided to finally go find something to eat.  On Wednesday, another crowd gathered and broke up at 1900 so they could attend the seminar dinner.

IMG_1654

Skipper, Christy, Doyle, Rafe, and Patsy

 

On Wednesday night, the crew went down to Abaco Lady and joined Doyle and Christy who hosted a sing-a-long aboard their boat.  The skipper was encouraged by the gathering to join in and sing.  He informed them that he was tone deaf and a prison singer – you know – always behind a few bars and never has the right key.  The crowd allowed him to just stay and watch.

IMG_1659

On Thursday afternoon the crew said good bye to another couple, Thad and Cindy, aboard Glorious Dei.  I suspect there will be many more meetings between these two in the days and months ahead because the Admirals have really hit it off.  In fact they have made some kind of pact together.  We will have to wait and see what comes of that.

Our crew left Friday morning in the rain after some of the other boats cleared out of the marina.  First destination was  Yorktown to attend the Blues, Brew, and BBQ festival.  The rain followed the crew most of the day but cleared long enough to get docked.  However, they were surprised to find the Hokule’a  at the Riverdale Landing in Yorktown.

IMG_0030

Hokule’a left Hawaii in 2013 to circumnavigate the globe.  The crew got to board and tour the vessel.  The skipper asked what the worst seas that they had encountered.  A crew member reported a stretch in the Indian Ocean where they had 20 foot swells.  The skipper thinks he will skip any passage on the Hokule’a.

IMG_0037.JPG

Still Waters II in the background of Hokule’a

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: