Posts Tagged With: South Carolina

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

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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

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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

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Boys Being Boys

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventures!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.

20 Dawho River

We picked up another virtual crew member this week.  Welcome aboard olekautoindigo!!

Summary of week:

The crew spent Sunday enjoying Savannah, then shoved off Monday morning for Beaufort, South Carolina.  Wednesday the crew was underway again and spent the next two days cruising and anchoring out.  On Friday, the boat pulled into Harbor Walk Marina in Georgetown.  Saturday, the crew set sail for Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Week of June 11

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

Still Waters II VIMEO site

To view video of big ships leaving Savannah, an excited young girl watching dolphins in the bow wake, and cruising the Waccamaw River Cypress Swamp, click on this link.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

As you may recall, on Saturday the skipper gave Kim W. and Kelly F. a boat ride to The Westin in Savannah.  Kim was attending the Nuclear Energy Institute Emergency Preparedness Training.  Kelly was just on vacation to enjoy Savannah.  There were several other colleagues of the skipper’s from around the country also at the conference.

 

IMG_1978

The skipper (left) and Tim E.

 

Tim E. from Wolf Creek came by and toured the boat.  Steve S. from Beaver Valley also stopped by and took a short tour.  The skipper also talked with Kelly G. of San Onofre.  Small world when people you worked with about ten years ago all converge at the same location at the same time.  The skipper enjoyed seeing and talking with them all.

And what is a trip to Savannah without a visit to the Candy Store

IMG_1974

and Ice Creamery.

90

Monday, June 12, 2017

As the crew was shoving off the dock at The Westin, they noticed Kelly F. setting up for the day by one of the hammocks next to the swimming pool.  As the crew passed by, they all waved good bye.

There were several large ships coming and going into Savannah so the skipper had to focus on piloting the boat back the eight miles to the ICW.  They were greeted by this pelican when they finally made the turn and entered South Carolina.

1 stm 575

The crew came across this bunch of young sailors learning to sail.  However, one of them either was not having a good time or believed the lesson was beneath him.  When the crew got to the bridge you see in the background, there was one young wolf leaving the pack and sailing back to town.  One of the instructors in a motored dinghy finally noticed someone was missing and found the youngster at the bridge.  The instructor towed the lone wolf back to the pack.

4 stm 558 HHI

Jet skiers are always fun.  They like to jump the boat wake so they circle the boat like Indians circling a wagon train.  They come awful close to the boat sometimes, and so far, no one has falling off in front of the boat.  This groups hour of fun on the water must be over because they are following the leader back to the marina after waking the crew for about an hour now.  Ay yes, back to some calm cruising.

5 stm 558 HHI

The crew pulled into the Downtown Marina in Beaufort for two nights.

 

7 540 Beaufort, SC

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

After walking around town for a bit the crew found the local ice cream store and sampled the merchandise.  The ice cream was homemade but still not as good as Kawartha in Canada.

83.JPG

Geocaching took the crew over to an area where the town Carriage Tours depart.  While the skipper was logging his latest ‘find’, the carriage driver asked Emma if she wanted to feed his horse.  She walked up and got to feed Max four carrot bites.

IMG_1977

The last adventure of the day took the crew about a mile from the waterfront.  The marina goody bag had a coupon for free chocolate sand dollars, one per customer.  The coupon turned out to be a bit misleading.  The picture of the chocolate sand dollar on the coupon was about three inches in diameter.  In reality, the sand dollar was about the size of a quarter.  The peanut butter fudge was not all that good either.  I know this to be true because it took the skipper almost all week to finish off the fudge.  If it was good, that half pound of fudge would not have survived the first day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The cruise on Wednesday started out calm but overcast as can be seen in this photo taken at mile marker 530 in Brickyard Creek.
8 stm 530

There were also several small boats out checking their crab pots.

10 stm 530

The crew also spotted a few Bald Eagles.  It has been a while since they had seen any Eagles.

There were also many dolphins out playing today.  In the Ashepoo River, several dolphins surfaced and came towards the bow.  When Emma went out and looked over the side she could see two dolphins surfing in the bow wake.  She was pretty excited.

15 Dolphin Watch

The cruise continued thru the miles and miles of salt marsh.

18 Hutchinson Island

The crew dropped anchor at mile 487 in Church Creek near low tide.  A pod of dolphins swam nearby and then a couple of them swam up into the shallow water.  They would roll around in the shallow water.  Looked like they were trying to use the mud to get a back scratch.

23 Church Creek

Can you see the white of the dolphin’s belly?

 

Emma was a bit nervous about anchoring out.  But after watching the dolphins play in the mud she relaxed and enjoyed the peace and serenity.

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The crew weighed anchor and made way towards Charleston.  As they approached the city marina they saw another flotilla of young sailors.  The lesson must have been over because they were all getting towed back to the marina.

31 learning to sail in Charleston

There was a large tour boat dropping off visitors to Fort Sumner as the crew passed by.

32 Ft Sumter

And yes, once north of Charleston the salt marsh continued.

34 stm 460 Atlantic under bridge

When the crew arrived at the designated anchor spot for the night a thunderstorm was building.  The crew decided to press on in the rain rather than anchor in the down pour.  Ten miles later the rain let up so the crew waited for this shrimp boat to pass out of the creek so they could go anchor in Five Fathom Creek.

38 Shrimp boat in Town Creek

 

Friday, June 16, 2017

The crew weighed anchor and made way towards Georgetown.  The run was only 30 miles so the crew arrived about the noon hour and had plenty of time to walk around and explore the town.

On the way to the marina though, the skipper spotted eight gators feeding along the shore line.  Interesting enough, the gators were all seen within a mile of Alligator Creek.

40 gator near Alligator Creek

After arrival at the marina, the crew went to the Visitor Center.  The town has over 60 Antebellum homes that have survived the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.  Very unusual for a thriving coastal town because the British did their best to destroy the port towns of early America.  Georgetown managed to survive the Civil War without being burned down as many of the other port towns.

45 Visitor Center

The home across the street from the Visitor Center once housed the governor of South Carolina and his wife Theodosia.  After her ten-year-old son died in the fall of 1811 she was suffering from grief and depression.  Her father had just returned from four years in Europe, so she decided to sail to New York City to visit her dad.  Because her husband was governor and head of the state militia, he was not allowed to leave the state during the War of 1812.

 

46 Circa 1775

Theodosia’s house circa 1775

 

On December 31, 1812, Theodosia set sail for New York aboard the schooner Patriot.  The Patriot never arrived in New York and none of those on board were ever heard from again.  Rumors and folklore around the disappearance sprung up almost immediately:

– deathbed confessions of two different pirates claimed that pirates scuttled the ship and killed everyone on board

–  some believed that the Carolina ‘bankers’ lured the ship into the bank and killed everyone

– some believed that the ship was lost at sea in huge hurricane force winds Jan 2-3, 2013

The father she went to visit was none other than Aaron Burr, the third V.P. of the United States.   But he is probably more famous for his killing of Alexander Hamilton during their infamous duel.

Other older homes and pics of Georgetown.

 

47 Circa 1903

New kid on the block, circa 1910

 

 

48 Circa 1750

Circa1750

 

 

49 Colonial Bank Circa 1735

Colonial Bank, Circa 1735

 

 

 

88

Ice Cream Store, Circa 2017

 

Saturday, June 10, 2016, 2017

The crew shoved off from the dock and headed toward North Myrtle Beach where they would stop at Barefoot Landing for the weekend.  The run up to North Myrtle Beach is mostly on the Waccamaw River which leaves the salt marshes behind and navigates thru a cypress swamp.

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The crew saw many birds along the shores and in their nests.

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As the boat approached a bridge near Myrtle Beach, the crew saw a couple of young fellas sitting on the bridge fenders.

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Yes, that is a No Trespassing sign.

The Admiral shouted words of encouragement to jump in the water………………. and so they did.

 73

 

74

75

76

Yes, boys will be boys.

Boat Name of the Week

 29

Next Week –

The crew will leave Barefoot Landing on Monday and head towards New Bern, North Carolina.  They plan to stop in Southport and anchor out along the way.

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

Eric the Red

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The Good Old North State

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here reporting on the travels of our crew after leaving Barefoot Landing Marina and making their way across the state of North Carolina and part of Virginia.

But first one funny story about the good fortune of the skipper while at Barefoot Landing.  You may recall that our skipper has a liking to ice cream and he is on a mission to test as many ice creameries as possible while on this adventure.

 

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Someone living off the grid.  No external power.  Rain barrels for fresh water.

 

 

When he arrived at his favorite Barefoot Landing ice cream store there must have been 25-30 people jammed in line at the store.  He noticed that the servers were not serving and that someone was on the phone trying to troubleshoot the cash register.  Seems they had lost their internet connection so they could not charge the customer transactions.  (Do you see the irony in calling this machine a cash register?)

After about a five minute wait with no activity, the server on the phone hung up and announced that the ‘cash’ register was broke and that they could not accept credit cards, only cash.  Darn the bad luck, almost everyone cleared out of the store and left the skipper third in line behind two other older gentlemen.  One of the three reached in his pocket and pulled out some cash and showed it to the leaving crowd.  Needless to say they were not impressed.  The three had a good laugh as the young folks left the store moaning and complaining.  The skipper placed his order and paid cash at the cash register, what a novel idea.

Crossing North Carolina

Day 1, Sunday, April 24, 2016, The crew left Barefoot Landing about 0930.  As they travelled up the river they noticed more and more local boaters getting on the water.  The skipper was aware of an inlet not too far away and began to wonder if most of these folks were headed out into the Atlantic.  The skipper reviewed the weather and wave forecasts and proposed that they travel up to Southport on the outside, i.e. Atlantic Ocean.

After a little discussion the crew decided to go out the inlet and run on the outside as long as the forecasts were correct about the wave size.  When they arrived the Atlantic looked good so they proceeded out into the Big Pond.  They ran East three miles off of the coast for some 25 miles and then came back in at the Cape Fear Inlet.

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Coming back in at Bald Head Island

 

After getting back on the ICW they anchored out in the Bay at mile 305.

Day 2, Monday, April 25, 2016, The crew weighed anchor and headed north on the Cape Fear River at 0801.  The Cape Fear River does not seem as scary to the skipper as the movie made it out to be.  Actually very calm and serene.

Every day presents new challenges to overcome and today that challenge will be to make bridge openings on time.  Several bridges through this section only open on the hour.  Miss the opening and you have to wait for the next opening.

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Kite surfing the Bogue River

 

The skipper timed the Wrightsville Beach Bridge just about right.  Only had to wait for 15 minutes to pass through.  There was a funny exchange between the skipper and the Bridge Tender though.  The charts show the bridge to be 22 feet.  Still Waters II air clearance is 17.5 feet.  The skipper was looking for the clearance markers on the bridge to verify he could go under, but could not see them.  He hailed the tender and asked for the current clearance.  The Bridge Tender informed the skipper that there was only 15 feet of clearance. He also suggested the skipper wait for the bridge to open.

The Figure 8 Island Bridge had 22 feet of clearance when the crew arrived so they did not have to wait.  However, they arrived 30 minutes early for the 1400 Surf City Swing Bridge Opening.

The crew caught a break though because a commercial Ferry was headed south so the Bridge Tender opened the Bridge early and allowed Still Waters II to pass.  Not bad, only 20 minutes of waiting this year.  Beats the hour wait from last year when the bridge Tender closed the bridge just before the crew was about to pass because so many boats were in line and car traffic really got stacked up.

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At about 1450, a powered catamaran passed Still Waters II.  Her name was ‘Next Adventure’ and she was flying a white AGLCA burgee.  When the crew approached Mile Hammock Bay to drop anchor, they noticed that ‘Next Adventure’ was already swinging on the anchor.  The skipper dropped anchor next to “Next Adventure.”

In a little while the skipper noticed that someone in a dinghy was rowing over to Still Waters II.  It was the captain of ‘Next Adventure”.  Tom Hoffmann rowed over to swap boat cards with our crew.  Tom retired after 31 years at the Kennedy Space Center.

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How to borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor

 

Day 3, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, Three unusual events unfolded as the day progressed.

The crew pulled the anchor at 0815 and headed north through Camp Lejeune.  They arrived at the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge at 0847.  While waiting for the 0900 opening, a crimson boat arrived at a high rate of speed.  The captain radioed the skipper and asked his cruising speed.  The skipper answered, “Usually 6-8 knots.  The captain then asked if he could pass them prior to the bridge opening.  The skipper maneuvered Still Waters II off to the side and then behind the crimson boat.  As the Swing Bridge began to rotate the crimson boat started forward and by the time the boat was between the fenders of the bridge he was throwing a huge wake.  So much for the No Wake sign hanging in plain view.

The skipper let that die down a little bit before he went through the bridge at idle speed.  He commented to the Admiral that that guy must be in a big hurry.  Not to long after that another person came on the radio and said that he was pulling back on the throttles and asked the red boat for a slow pass.  Obviously that did not happen because the next thing you here on the radio is “Thanks for the @#%$^ slow pass and huge wake.”

Then a little later, the crew heard the marinas in Swansborro hailing the red boat and telling him to slow down because he was in a posted No Wake Zone passing by town.  Again, he ignored them and was met with some sarcastic thank you’s.

The next strange thing that happened today was a report of a sailboat wrecking into the fenders at the Beaufort Bridge.  A sailboat captain hailed the Coast Guard and asked to go to Channel 22A.  The skipper decided to listen in and also went to 22A.  The sailboat captain reported that another sailboat, ‘Evergreen’ had come within 20 feet of colliding with him as they approached the bridge and then ‘Evergreen’ actually collided with the bridge fenders.

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That had to hurt.

 

 

The Coast Guard sent a boat out to find ‘Evergreen’ and then had them return to port for a safety vessel inspection.  The skipper suspects they got some other type of inspection also.  Something about walking a line and touching your nose.

When the crew passed under the bridge about 45 minutes later, you could see the damage to the fenders.  If the bridge fenders look that bad, I would hate to see the damage to the 40 foot fiberglass sailboat.

The final creepy event occurred after dropping anchor up in Cedar Creek. A few hours after dropping the anchor, the Admiral looked out the window and commented that it looked like the boat had moved.  The skipper jumped up and looked out, and sure enough the anchor had let loose and the boat was drifting to shore.  She was only 30 yards or so from the bank.

IMG_0007 (1), sunset Adams Creek

At least the view is good from Cedar Creek

 

The skipper got the depth finder turned on and determined they had 5 feet of water under the boat so he started both engines.  The Admiral hustled out to the bow and began retrieving the anchor.  With the anchor up, the skipper moved the boat back to the leeward shore and they dropped the anchor again.  This time they let out 150 feet of chain in 5-6 feet of water.  That should hold them tight for the night.

Never a dull moment on Still Waters II.  Needless to say the skipper did not sleep well as he monitored the anchor every other hour.

Day 4, Wednesday, April 27, 2016,

The challenge over the next several days will be the weather.  More specifically, the wind speed and direction.  Still Waters II will be passing through some large bodies of water that can get nasty with strong winds.  However, by the look of today’s weather forecast, the crew should have favorable conditions most of the day.

The cruise turned out to be pretty good due to the favorable winds.  The winds were normally blowing from the stern of the boat causing 2 foot rolling waves.  Still Waters II handles these just fine.  There was about twenty minutes though that they took the waves directly on the port beam and this caused some rocking motion as each wave passed under the boat.  Hope you did not get sea sick Teddy Paul.  It was only twenty minutes.

IMG_0030

Harvesting Oysters

 

The crew made good time and arrived in Belhaven to dock at the River Forest Marina.  The winds were building as they approached the marina and the skipper backed the boat into the wind.  The Admiral and Eddie, the dock hand, did a great job of getting the boat secured to the dock.

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Never know what is coming around the next bend

 

There were four other Looper boats in the marina.  The skipper talked to the Dock Master and learned that the boats had been there for three days waiting on a good weather window to leave and cross the Pungo River, Alligator River, and the Albemarle Sound.  These waters have a bad reputation.  The Dock Master said that the wind was supposed to die down over night.  The skipper hopes so, because it is howling at 20 mph at 2030.

The skipper talked to a few of the other looper captains and seems no body is ready to commit to leave in the morning.  Our skipper looked at the weather and expects to leave in the morning with winds less than 10 mph.  Time will tell.

Day 5, Thursday, April 28, 2016.  When the skipper woke and looked out, he noticed that one boat was already gone.  He noticed several others prepping to leave.  By 0700, there were only three boats left in the marina.  Our crew continued their morning routine and prepped to leave by 0900.

A storm blew thru and after it passed our crew safely left the dock with one other boat.  ‘Triple Threats’ captain, decided to sit it out one more day before heading on to Norfolk.  The morning cruise was comfortable but the skipper was mulling over how to proceed.  Most of the other captains were all going to stop at the Alligator Marina, just south of the Albemarle Sound.  Sounded like a good plan B for our skipper but he desired to get across the Sound.

IMG_0003, Aligator River

Getting passed in the Alligator River

 

 

The skipper decided to delay the decision of where to stop for the night and whether to cross the Sound until he actually got to the Alligator River Bridge.  Then decide based on weather conditions and time of day.  When they passed through the swing bridge the winds were in a favorable direction and there was plenty of daylight left to make it across the sound safely.

IMG_0004, North River

Sailboat in the North River

 

The crew had an easy crossing in two foot waves and about 10 mph winds.  However, they still had 10 miles to navigate before they got to a good anchorage location.  After nine hours of cruising and 80 miles the crew dropped the anchor.  But while dropping the anchor the anchor lower switch stuck in the lower position.  The skipper had to turn the power off to the windlass to get the windlass to stop letting out chain.  This should make raising the anchor interesting in the morning.

Day 6, Friday, April 29, 2016.  The skipper found a simple solution to the anchor issue.  The electrical connections for the switch are in the chain locker are easily disconnected. Does not solve the problem to disconnect the switch, but it did allow for the Admiral to raise the anchor in the cool misty rain this morning.

Another day of timing three bridges and one lock.  Two of the bridges open on the hour and half hour while the lock and associated bridge only open on the hour.  Initial plan was to try and make it through the North Landing River and make the 1300 opening of the North Landing Bridge.  Even with the fog reducing visibility to less than 2 miles, the crew made the 1300 opening.  The skipper kept monitoring his progress and adjusting speed accordingly to make the bridge.

IMG_0021

Shrimper at work

 

 

The Centerville Turnpike Bridge is 5 miles up the canal.  The skipper set the speed for 10 knots and arrived just in time to make it through the bridge for the 1330 opening.

Now just 3.2 miles to the Great Bridge and Lock.  The skipper set the speed at 6 knots and they arrived a few minutes early to be in a group of four boats to pass through the lock.  Two of the boats had passed our crew earlier in the morning but missed the 1300 opening and had to wait an hour.  A crew member of one of the boats commented on the crew’s ability to time the bridge and lock just right.

If the truth be known, the skipper has a little tool that helps him.  If you know the time of the bridge opening, and know the distance to the bridge, the little tool does the math and tells the skipper what speed to set the throttle.  Works every time.  The skipper loves math so he has fun checking the numbers for an on time arrival.

IMG_0007

Bald Head Eagle keeping an eye on the canal

 

With the bridges and locks behind them, the crew pulled into Top Rack Marina to spend the night.  The marina offers a good deal for transient boaters.  If you spend $75 dollars in the restaurant, you get to dock for ‘free.’  The crew was stopping here because of the fuel prices, so might as well stay and celebrate completing the AICW, again.

Day 7, Saturday, April 30, 2016.  The crew made the final 9 miles to the Waterside Marina in Norfolk on Saturday.

IMG_0016, heading to Norfolk

Big Barge on the way to Norfolk

 

They will spend Sunday cleaning the boat and getting her ready for company.  Monday through Thursday, next week the crew will attend the Spring rendezvous of the AGLCA.  Part of the agenda is called a ‘Looper Crawl.’  Think tour of homes.  The boaters at the rendezvous will open up their boats and let others tour and see what they like/dislike.  It is a good deal for people in the planning stage of doing the Loop.  Our crew has signed up to open up Still Waters II for the ‘Looper Crawl.’  The Admiral wants to make sure the boat looks her best for the guests.

Signing off for now, but I will bring you the latest news on the crew once they get moving again in a little over a week.

Next up will be the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays.

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Sweet Caroline

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric would like to welcome Teddy Paul aboard as a virtual crew member.  Ted is along time friend and fishing buddy of the skipper.  However, the skipper was not sure if Teddy Paul would actually come aboard.  Seems that the last time Ted went offshore fishing with the skipper, Ted got a bad case of the Gulf Flu.  He had a hard time keeping down breakfast.  The skipper promises not to take you out in that rough of water.

Eric here reporting on the crew’s passage through South Carolina.  In our last report, we left the crew at Hilton Head Island at Harbor Town Yacht Basin.  Turns out that the marina is part of the Sea Pines Resort and boaters get to enjoy all the amenities of the resort.  The crew reports that the amenities are wonderful!

SHORE EXCURSIONS – Hilton Head Island

 

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Looking across harbor at Still Waters II

 

The crew spent the first afternoon wandering around Harbor Town taking in the sights.  The first thing you notice is the red and white striped lighthouse as you enter the harbor.

The lighthouse was built by Charles E. Fraser in 1969 as part of the new Sea Pines Resort.  People initially ridiculed the idea of a lighthouse but Mr. Fraser pressed on and completed the project in 1970.  People referred to the lighthouse as ‘Frazer’s Folly.’

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Now, the lighthouse is the most recognized symbol on Hilton Head Island.  In fact, you may have seen it if you watched The Heritage golf tournament.  The lighthouse has helped the 18th hole of the Harbor Town Golf Links to become one of the most popular and recognizable finishing holes in golf.

The gentleman who is docked behind Still Waters II has his boat all decked out with red, white, and blue bunting.  He dressed up his boat for the golf tournament.  He is 82 years old and lives onboard with his wife.  The name of his boat is the ‘Ramblin’ Wreck.’  Yes, he is a 1957 graduate of Georgia Tech.  The skipper enjoyed listening to his many stories.

IMG_0011, The Ramblin' Wreck

The Ramblin’ Wreck

On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, the crew spent the day riding the complimentary Sea Pines Trolley around exploring the island.  Lunch was eaten at the Crazy Crab, who advertise that they have the best supplier of seafood on the east coast – the Atlantic Ocean.  The crew then took the Blue Trolley to Sea Pines Beach Club to view the seafood supplier.

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The Beach was large and full of people enjoying the day.  The interesting thing was the beach sitters were all a hundred yards from the ocean.  They were all aligned along the sand in a line that would be water front at high tide.  But because the tide range is 7 feet and the tide was out, the water was far away.

Next was a trip on the Green Trolley to the South Beach Marina Village.  The crew walked around here for a while and found some parrots that were entertaining.

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It was then time to head back to Harbor Town for ice cream and to check out the resort pool.  Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end and it is time to get ready to leave on a four day journey to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach.

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Sun setting on Hilton Head Shore Excursion

 

FOUR DAY CRUISE – South Carolina

Day 1, Wednesday, April, 20, 2016, the crew left Harbor Town and cruised almost 8 hours on a run to anchor in the South Edisto River.  The weather was perfect and the light winds made for glass like conditions on the water.

When the crew passed Beaufort, they saw ‘Plane 2 Sea’ tied up along the face dock at the marina.  ‘Plane 2 Sea’ crossed her wake back in Jacksonville just a week ago.  This makes her and her crew ‘Gold Loopers’.

 

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Kay and Charlie (from Ft Worth, Texas) hoisting the Gold Burgee

 

 

You may have noticed the white burgee (flag) on the bow in some of the pictures of Still Waters II.  Once a crew crosses their wake, they change their burgee from White to Gold.  Our crew aspires to join the Gold Looper Fraternity by crossing their w Continue reading

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Passage South to Jacksonville

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric here reporting on the southbound voyage of Still Waters II.  The crew has travelled 400 miles over the last 6 days and now have pulled into Ortega Landing Marina in Jacksonville, Florida.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

This turned out to be a beautiful sunny day to cruise 67 miles over eight hours.  About mid-day the crew turned into the Osprey Marina to take on fuel.  After a full day of cruising, the crew dropped anchor in the South Santee River (STM 420) for a good night’s rest.

STM 390, Waccamaw River

STM 390, Waccamaw River

Boat Name of the Day – On a 36 foot Carver motor yacht, “My Chelle’

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The crew put in a long day on the water and cruised 85 miles over ten hours.  The crew passed back through Charleston and reminisced docking on the Mega Dock.  As they passed the Marina there were several Mega Yachts on the Mega Dock.

STM 470, People enjoying Charleston Harbor

STM 470, People enjoying Charleston Harbor

There were also four small sailboats circling a motorboat. Looked to be kids learning to sail with a coach in the motorboat giving instructions.

STM 500, South Edisto River

STM 500, South Edisto River

The crew dropped anchor in the South Edisto River (STM 505).

Boat Name of the Day – On a small tug boat, ‘Miss Alignment’

Skipper hopes the owner of the tug also owns a tire store.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The crew was met by a Bald Eagle as they left the anchor spot to get back on the AICW.  They cruised 68 miles over eight hours.  They passed through the town of Beaufort, S. Carolina.

Crew getting the Eagle Eye

Crew getting the Eagle Eye

At the end of the day they were greeted by another Bald Eagle who observed them anchor in the Wright River.  (STM 573)

Bald Eagle eating fish

Bald Eagle eating fish

Boat Name of the Day – No good names today

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

As they were leaving the anchor location the crew was greeted by the third Bald Eagle.

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The crew put in 67 gloomy miles over eight hours.  The sun never broke through the clouds and there was a thick mist that just hung in the air all day.

Following the herd south

Following the herd south

On a brighter note, the mate spotted a big log in the water.  Upon further inspection the log turned out to be a Georgia Manatee.  First one spotted on the southern voyage.

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The dolphins have also started showing back up at most of the inlets that the crew crossed.  The crew always enjoys spotting the dolphins.

The crew dropped anchor in the Crescent River (643).  Only about 100 miles to go to Jacksonville.

Boat Name of the Day – Still no good names today

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The crew was greeted by another Bald Eagle as they weighed anchor and proceeded south.

While cruising through some shallow water the boat started to churn up some fish so the birds settled in behind the wake for a free lunch.  This is a video sequence at the end of the feeding frenzy.  Click on pic to watch the birds.

The crew put in another 67 mile day with little to report on.  They dropped anchor in the Cumberland Sound (710) with about another dozen boats.

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Boat Name of the Day – still no good boat names

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The crew was greeted by restricted visibility due to a heavy fog that was sitting on the Sound.  A couple of boats left the anchorage in the heavy fog.  Our crew waited an additional hour but conditions did not improve much.

Foggy, Foggy Morning

Foggy, Foggy Morning

Per the Coast Guard Navigational Rules, every vessel is supposed to have a ‘Look Out” while navigating the waterways to spot vessels and help avoid collisions.  Normally the helmsmen is also the Look Out.  The mate stayed in the fly bridge and acted as the Look Out while the skipper was keeping an eye out for the navigational aids.  The fog finally started to burn off and was finally gone by 0900.

The crew arrived at the St Johns River at 1124 and made a right turn to head down river to the marina.  The marina is located off the St Johns River on the Ortega River, 26 miles downstream.

Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville

The crew passed downtown Jacksonville and then arrived at a closed railroad bridge that was advertised to be normally open.  The skipper hailed the Bridge Tender and requested a bridge opening.  The Bridge Tender informed the skipper that a southbound train was headed for the bridge and that he would open the bridge after the train crossed.

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So the crew actually got to watch a train cross over one of these railroad bridges.  Another first for the crew.

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The crew then passed through the Fuller-Warren Bridge and headed into the Ortega Landing Marina.  The Coast Guard had an active rescue in progress so they were all over channel 16 on the radio talking with the Captain in distress.  That made hailing the Marina impossible.  While trying to call on the phone, the battery decided to play dead.  The crew had their dock and slip assignment already (B38) so they just went on in to dock.  The skipper found the B dock and then idled down to slip 38.  The fit was tight and the wind and current were strong.  The skipper started to back into the slip and managed to get her backed in, but with no dock hand on the pier the plan was to have the mate jump over to the pier and tie them up.  However, the wind was blowing them off the pier and the skipper could not get the boat over close enough for a safe leap. Luckily a few boaters came down and assisted getting the vessel tied down.

Winter resting spot, B38

Winter resting spot, B38

Ortega Landing will be where the crew winters for 2015/2016.  They have signed a three month slip lease that will expire the first of February with options to extend the stay.

However, they will spend next week cruising with new mystery guests who will arrive on Saturday and fly back to Granbury, Texas on Friday.

Boat name of the Day – ea harp, owners are both music majors, the man graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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Passage to North Myrtle Beach

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!  I would like to welcome Anna K. from Texas aboard as a new virtual crew member.  Anna is a long time friend of the mate.  Glad to have you aboard Anna!

Eric here reporting on the southbound voyage of Still Waters II.  The crew has travelled 234 miles over the last 4 days and have pulled into Barefoot Landing Marina for two days.  There continues to be new opportunities each day to sharpen the skills of our crew.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weather, specifically the wind speed and direction, continued to be a challenge for safe boating.  The wind for this passage was 12-15 mph out of the North-Northwest with gusts to 20.  With most of the passage headed south this was not to bad; however, at one point there were 20 miles in 4-5 foot waves that made for some exciting times.  Most of the day was spent in small chop of 1-2 foot waves with some really smooth water transiting some narrow canals.

Crossing the Pungo River at mile 140

Crossing the Pungo River at mile 140

While the crew was running the worst of the waves, they were tracking beside a red sailboat.  The sailboat looked like a hotdog in boiling water as it rolled and bobbed up and down in the waves.  The sailboat crew had on their full foul weather gear and were exposed to the wind, rain, spray, and cold.  Our crew was glad they were enclosed in the fly-bridge and out of the weather.

Mile 160 in Gale Creek

Mile 160 in Gale Creek

By 1530 the crew had had enough and found a cove in Adams Creek to drop anchor.  The cove was protected from the North wind but the wind continued to build during the night to over 20 mph.  The anchor held in the wind with another night of rocking in the waves.

View in Adams Creek where the crew anchored

View in Adams Creek where the crew anchored

Boat Name of the Day – On a small boat with a golf ball and golf tie – Par Tie Boat

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

There were a couple of interesting and amusing experiences as the crew continued south for 57 miles through narrow rivers and canals that make up this section of the AICW.

Mile 190, still in Adams Creek

Mile 190, still in Adams Creek

As the crew was approaching Camp Lejeune to pass through the AICW that borders the military installation, they were stopped by a military police boat at 1430.  The military police boat explained that the route was closed until 1700 due to live fire exercises in progress.  The crew dropped anchor andmwaited for the route to reopen.

Mile 240, Can you see the bridge in the distance

Mile 240, Can you see the bridge in the distance

While waiting, another four boats were also stopped which caused a small boat jam.  At 1555 the military police boat announced that the exercise was complete and that it was safe to proceed south.

Our crew had been the first to arrive and drop anchor.  The other boats all passed Still Waters II and anchored between her and the police boat.  So, once the boats were allowed south, Still Waters II found herself at the back of the pack.

Ahead of the pack was the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge that opens on the hour and half hour.  The pack set speed to make the 1630 bridge opening.

The crew had a good laugh when they arrived at the bridge at 1632 and found the bridge still shut and the four boats waiting for the bridge to open.  The skipper picked up the radio and hailed the Marine bridge tender on channel 13.  The skipper then requested a bridge opening and the bridge tender said he would be happy to open the bridge.  The horn sounded, the bridge opened, and all 5 boats passed through the bridge at 1635.

The crew wonders how long the other boats would have sat there before someone requested the bridge to open.  You may recall the following exchange on the northbound cruise at this same bridge:

Skipper – “Are you opening the bridge on schedule?”

Bridge Tender – “If someone requests the bridge to open, I will open the bridge.”

Skipper – “I guess I am requesting you to open the bridge then.”

Bridge Tender – “Then I will open the bridge.”

Experience is a wonderful thing.  Schedule or no schedule, one has to request the bridge to open before the Marine tender opens the bridge. Those Marines manning the bridge are having fun at the boaters expense.

mile 244, Hammock Bay

mile 244, Hammock Bay

The crew decided to drop anchor in Mile Hammock Bay.  When they turned off the AICW to enter the Bay there were 15 other boats already anchored.  Still Waters II made 16, and at least one other boat pulled in a little after our crew.  The crew found a spot over on the outside of the other boats and dropped anchor for a peaceful calm night.

Still Waters II with some close friends in Mile Hammock Bay

Still Waters II with some close friends in Mile Hammock Bay

Boat Name of the Day – on a sport fishing boat – E Sea Fishing

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another strange day greeted our crew as they put in 77 miles on the water.  At about 0900 the skipper ‘decided’ (using the word decided very loosely here) to take a side trip up the New River.  It was an hour later when it dawned on the skipper he was sight-seeing and off course.  The skipper turned around and made way back to the AICW.

The skipper was more than a little hacked at the navigator for missing the marker and leading the helmsman down the wrong course. (I will not mention that the navigator and helmsmen just happened to also be the skipper.) But the skipper believes that there is a reason for everything, and the reason became obvious later in the day.

High water in S. Carolina

High water in S. Carolina

At 1540 a Coast Guard boat approached Still Waters II and one of the Coasties directed the skipper to maintain course and speed.  Three Coasties boarded Still Waters II for a routine “Safety Inspection.”  The Coasties spent about 30 minutes onboard looking all through the vessel and reviewing the boat documentation paperwork.  Once they completed the inspection they reported that the vessel had NO Violations.  They were also very complimentary of the overall condition of the vessel.

Coastie leaving the boat

Coastie leaving the boat

As they were leaving Still Waters II and re-boarding their vessel they were also appreciative of the crew’s attitude towards the inspection.  Seems they encounter many crews who have a bad attitude towards the safety inspections.

The crew would like to thank the two previous owners for taking good care of Still Waters II.  The crew would also like to thank Captains Chris, Alyse, and Geoff for making sure she was incompliance with all Coast Guard regulations prior to the summer shack-down cruise.

Mile 280 at Mason Inlet

Mile 280 at Mason Inlet

The crew dropped anchor in the Cape Fear River at dusk near Southport.  This was not the best spot to anchor but the winds finally died down after midnight to allow some good sleep for a tired crew.

Anchor in Cape Fear River

Anchor in Cape Fear River

Boat Name of the Day – on a catamaran – Kat Cha Later

Thursday, October 29, 2015

After weighing anchor, the crew set off for North Myrtle Beach.  The crew put in 48 uneventful miles and tied up at the Barefoot Landing Marina at 1530.

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The most interesting thing for the day was the water level.  It has been several weeks since the Carolina’s had the 1000 year rain that caused so much flooding.  As the crew travelled south they have begun to see examples of the flooding.  There are still many boat docks underwater, and houses with water very near the front door.

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There are sailboats getting stuck at 65 foot bridges because their 63 foot masts will not fit under the bridge.  They anchor beside the bridge and wait for the tide to go down and get some more clearance.  There were two sailboats at a bridge showing 63 foot clearance that had been waiting for five hours to get under.  The two captains had the following radio conversation as our crew passed them:

Monohull – What is your mast height?

Catamaran – 63 feet, what is your height?

Monohull – 63.5 feet.  I am waiting for the bridge to show 64 ft clearance on the board marker before going under.

Catamaran – Good.  I will follow you under.

Monohull – I was hoping you would go first. I am chicken.

Simply amazing that there is still this much water around after so many weeks.  Water levels look to be at least two feet higher than normal.

Closing in on North Myrtle Beach

Closing in on North Myrtle Beach

Boat Name of the Day – on a 45 foot cruiser – Sol Mate

The crew plans to spend two days at the marina before heading back out on the AICW on Saturday morning and making the final push to Florida.

Till then may the wind be in your back and you find still waters.

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Run to North Myrtle Beach

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!

Eric dropping in to update you on the latest run to Myrtle Beach.  Seems there is an abundance of activities here in Barefoot Landing and I have been busy taking in the sites with the crew.  In addition, the skipper’s son showed up Saturday with Nikki and Abbie for a day cruise.  Lastly, the mystery guest arrived and is on board and ready to cruise north with the crew.

Mega Yachts on Mega Dock

Mega Yachts on Mega Dock

The run from Charleston to North Myrtle Beach was a total of 118 miles over two days, including 11 bridges, a fuel stop in Georgetown, and an anchorage.

Waterfront Homes

Waterfront Homes

The crew left Charleston on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 0915.  The course out of the harbor allowed a view of the historic homes along the water front as well as an interesting view of Ft Sumter from the boat.

Ft Sumter

Ft Sumter

After crossing the harbor the crew entered Sullivan Island Narrows.  As the name implies, this is a narrow cut.  In fact much of the day would be spent in these narrow cuts with places with names like Four Mile Creek Canal, Estherville Minim Creek Canal, and Western Channel.  As usual, the skipper maintained a constant vigil and navigated these waters with ease.  (Never mind the fact that he seems not to breathe often and spends much time all tensed up.)

Some narrow passages

Some narrow passages

A mid-day decision was made to refuel in Georgetown and press on to Myrtle Beach.  The crew will have to put Georgetown on the list of places to stop next time because all reports seem to be very positive on the town.

After fueling, the crew moved north another two hours and finally anchored in Thoroughfare Creek, just off of Waccamaw River at mile 400.

Thoroughfare Creek, Anchorage

Thoroughfare Creek, Anchorage

On Thursday morning at 0915, the crew pulled anchor and set off for Barefoot Landing Marina in North Myrtle Beach.  This run was gorgeous.  The cypress trees with Spanish Moss lined most of the way, and the water was much wider than the narrows from the day before.  Also, the wildlife was abundant through this region and kept the skipper’s eyes constantly moving to see what was next.

Osprey eating fish

Osprey eating fish

As the crew began to approach Myrtle Beach, the large homes began to take over the scenery.  However, with a nickname of “The Rock Pile” this area required eyes on the water and not much sightseeing.  The bottom begins to change from sand and mud to larger and larger rocks.  Many a boat has met its end here, but Still Waters II found a clean path to the marina.

Friday was a work day on the boat making final preps for visitors.  A five mile bike ride to Home Depot was completed in the morning.  Repairs made to several small items.  Then a two mile bike ride to the grocery store for final provisioning for this leg of the journey.  While out riding the bike, the skipper passed a sign that announced that Vanna White’s home town is North Myrtle Beach.  Who would of known.

On Saturday, August 8th, Mike, Nikki, and Abbie showed up for a little day cruise.  They managed to stretch the three hour drive from Columbia, SC into five hours so they did not arrive until about noon.  They boarded the boat, got their safety briefing, and set off for a short cruise.  They went about two hours and then turned around and returned to the marina.  They arrived back at the marina and docked at 1610.  It was now time to go to the airport and pick up the mystery guest.

Mike drove the skipper to the airport and they picked up Jessica Rogers.  She will be spending a few days with the crew as they continue north.

For those not in the know, Jessica is the daughter of Karen Rogers, the skipper’s cousin, who spent many a summer day vacationing with the Fuller family back in the 60’s and 70’s.  It is wonderful to carry on the tradition into the next generation.  Jessica will be onboard a few days before returning to work when school starts at the University of Texas San Antonio where she is a softball coach.

Welcome aboard Jessica!

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Run to Charleston

Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members! Eric here reporting on the latest movements of Still Waters II.

Almost as good as the skipper makes

Almost as good as the skipper makes

Our crew departed Savannah, GA on Sunday August 2 at 0950 and made way towards Beaufort, S.C.  The Savannah River is the border between Georgia and South Carolina, so it did not take long for the crew to venture into their third state.  This passage to Beaufort included 2 sounds, 2 bridges, and 48 more miles of rivers bordered by mud and sea grass.

On Monday, August 3, our crew pushed north to the historic town of Charleston, SC.  It was only last November that our crew came to Charleston for a one day seminar on the Great Loop, still with a J.O.B. and no boat.  My how things have changed in the last 6-8 months.  The run to Charleston was 66 miles of rivers interrupted by 5 bridge crossings.

Run to Beaufort Prior to departure, our skipper jumped on the free water taxi and took the round trip on the Savannah River, 3 stops to get back to the beginning.  This allowed the skipper to get some shots of Still Waters II tied up along the river front.

Docked in Savannah

Docked in Savannah

Other than the rain that dogged the crew most of the morning, the trip was uneventful. This coastal area of South Carolina is referred to as the ‘low country’.  A couple of characteristics of the area is the pungent odor which hangs in the air due to the marsh mud that is exposed at low tide.  The second is the endless expanse of marsh grass.  As the crew has moved north, the marsh is beginning to be broken with large live oak trees with huge canopies and hanging Spanish moss.

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Rivers are a little bigger here than back home in Texas

Endless marsh grass

Endless marsh grass

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Starting to see more trees as we move further north

Upon arrival at Beaufort, our crew decided to swing from a mooring ball for the night.  They picked T-3, moved in, the mate snagged the line, and the line was not what they were expecting.  As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.” One consistent thing about boating is everything seems to be different. No universal standards.  The skipper quickly looked around the mooring field to see how other boats were tied on while the mate tried to keep the strange mooring line in hand.  The skipper developed a strategy and the mate executed without problems. There is a day dock beside the marina that is free to use, so after a few minutes of rest and allowing time for the marina to dock a few boats that all arrived at the same time, the crew motored over to the day dock and went ashore.

Still Waters II at the day dock

Still Waters II at the day dock

They walked down the little town, looked at some historic homes, and did some window shopping.  They roll up the welcome mat early on a Sunday evening.  They wandered down to the water front park and found a large porch swing and took in the sites.  After a bit, they noticed the weather was changing for the worse and more rain was headed their way, so they got back on board the boat and motored back to the mooring ball for the evening. Run to Charleston Just outside the marina where the crew moored, there is a swing bridge that does not operate from 0700 to 0900 to allow people with a J.O.B. to get to work on time without interruption from the boaters.  The first opening is at 0900, so the crew followed a sailboat through the bridge at the first opening. IMG_0231 Still Waters II followed the sailboat for half a day.  After 35 miles, the sailboat made a U-turn and headed back to Beaufort.  Our crew pressed on to Charleston. The only real excitement came near the end of the trip when they entered Elliot Cut at idle speed.  With the engines in neutral, they were making 9.3 knots just carried by the current though the narrow cut.  With engines in idle, it made control of the vessel a little tricky as they floated towards Charleston. Thanks to Geoff’s training, our skipper was able to steer through bumping the engines rather than being a wheel weanie.  When they popped out into the Ashley River, the marina was right there.  All they had to do was find there docking assignment. They were put on the Mega Dock, so named because of some of the mega yachts tied up here in Charleston.  Makes Still Waters II look like a canoe. Shore Excursions Provisioning seams to always be harder than it should.  The crew needed a few items from the grocery store, so our skipper found a Piggly Wiggly only 2 miles away.  As luck would have it, a condo development is being erected smack dab on top of the old Piggly Wiggly.  A check of the map app, showed a Publix’s only 2 miles further down the road.  So off in search of the new shop.  Upon arrival, the goods were procured and the trip back on the bicycle was started.  Somehow, the 4 mile round trip turned into a 10 mile trip with 4 large bridge crossings.  Good thing the mate sat this trip out.  She would not have been impressed. image The mate took time to go walk down historic Charleston.  She loves the old houses and churches.  She wandered around for several hours in the historic section.  She reported that the young girls were buying loads of stuff at some stores called “Forever 21” and “H&M.” image Last bit of news today is a report of a little boat maintenance by the skipper.  He had been warned of this nasty job and was not looking forward to its eventual completion.  That’s right, time to change out the duckbill check valves.  These little rubber parts just so happen to be in the sewer line from the head to the holding tank.  It just does not get any nastier than that.  A couple of hours latter, the duckbills were changed out and the skipper was in need of a shower. A little history that our skipper must have forgotten. The H.L. Hunley was the very first submarine to sink a warship.  Happened back on February 17, 1864 during the war of northern aggression.  Within the hour she also sank here in the Charleston Harbor killing her 8 crew members. image Interesting enough, but more intriguing is that this was her third sinking.  She initially sank August 29, 1863 during sea trials, killing 5 crew members.  She sank again on October 15, 1863, killing all 8 crew members, including Horace Hunley. image She was found in 1995 and has been raised again in 2000 and is currently in a pool of water as restoration is in progress. Run deep, run silent. The crew hopes to get some good pictures of Ft Sumter tomorrow as they motor north to Georgetown.

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