Sunday, March 30, 2014

No photo here…just an announcement for our family, friends and blog followers

Though our passage from Charleston, SC to Jacksonville Beach, FL was gentle (compared to most) Mark did not fare well due to his muscle disorder.  Once we were safely at Beach Marina in Jacksonville Beach we had a long talk and came to a different decision.  We are hanging up our topsiders and selling Silhouette.

We planned when we left Dallas that we would go cruising for 5 to 10 years.  Believe it or not we just celebrated our 5th cruising anniversary on March 9 of this year.

But we got to go.  We made new friends, got to go all the way to Grenada, spend 3 winters in Virgins and saw many, many other places as well during our travels.

What is next?  We think (as of today) that we are going to re-settle in Dallas. That is as much as we have planned so far.

A great t-shirt

We met some nice folks during our two night stay at Jekyll Island Marina but alas no photos.  The crew at the marina were very helpful and friendly.  .  I did snap a photo of this great t-shirt in the bar the last night were in residence.

They catch up

The Nina and Pinta catch up to us again while we were tied up at Jekyll Harbor Marina. 

A real bumpy ride…what…on the ICW, how unexpected

A little later we had a tricky passage (this is a copy of the area in Active Captain) and boy did we get bounced around.  It is kind of hard to see but the ICW route takes you out toward the Atlantic around all the yellow marks that are a bit higher than mid photo.  Then ducks back in toward Jekyll Creek and Island

The real scary part was that we had to stay within the confines of the ICW which was narrow at best and shallow - we saw 8 foot seas on the beam which caused Silhouette to roll 30 degrees port and starboard…the crew was really hanging on tight.

We had things below relocated (ie: cutting boards, baskets of glasses) that have not EVER moved during all of our sailing adventures.

It would have been OK in anything other than 20-25 knot winds out of the NE.  Don't try this trick at home.

De-magnetizer for subs

Guess this makes it harder for military magnetometers to 'see' a sub while submerged.

Mark, Chris and Don

We went out for happy hour and dinner a few days later…we stayed a bit longer than originally planned because it was a lovely anchorage.

Nina & Pinta…again this time in daylight

We left the next morning and caught up with the two tall ships at dock in Fernandina Beach.  That night we sailed to St Mary's looking to see if our friend from Bridgeton Marina was there.

I don't have a photo of us arriving.  Mark asked how Don would know we were in St. Mary's.  I said something like…don't think he will miss seeing our boat and sure enough he spied us before we dropped anchor and came over for a visit.

Nina & Pinta

The night before we left Jacksonville Beach the Nina and Pinta came into Beach Marine after dark.  It was a tight fit but somehow they made it…wonder how much water they draw (draft).

Lilly and Chris

Folks on the next dock over wanted to see our boat so came over one afternoon for happy hour. Richard (not pictured) and Lilly (not her real name, she is Russian and therefore I can not pronounce her name with anything close to accuracy ergo I gave her a nickname I can pronounce).  We enjoyed meeting them.

Head work

So the head work continues.  Here, Mark has epoxied the newly created piece of wood into the bulkhead.

New clutch plate

The windlass needed a new clutch plate.  This is the old one….you can see that the screw holes are hollowed out which is what was causing the problem.

Bulkhead scarf

Mark has been working on repairing the forward head/shower bulkhead. We fixed a water leak causing damage - now to fix the damage.

Here Mark is applying epoxy to the newly fashioned piece of wood to be scarfed into the bulkhead.

Ferry scene

Just looking out the front of the ferry from the car.

Can a car float…

While we were staying at Beach Marine our friend John gave us keys to his car to use - what a nice guy.  So…we drove over to Amelia Island to have dinner with J.R. and Terry one night.

We took a 'car ferry' at one point (I have never been on a car ferry before) so here is a photo of the car floating on the water per our Garmin.  (Not a great photo…but the best we could do…)

Bilge bunny

Since we decided to stop cruising and get Silhouette ready to sell one of the things on my list to do was to paint the rest of the bilges.  This is the before picture.

This is the 'varnish' bilge which is were we keep varnish, paint and associated tools.  As you can see, the corners are already white (they were the worst part) and the rest was painted using a roller.

Tim from New Bern

Then, Tim visits from New Bern.  He took his McGregor to Florida  (via trailer) and on way back he was kind enough to stop by for a visit.  We had fun catching up.

J.R. and Terry

J.R and Terry are the other reason we wanted to stop in Jacksonville.  They were our boat neighbors on Lake Lewisville and have now retired to Amelia Island.


enjoying a cigar.

Our first cruising friend.

So then…almost 5 years ago we were in Marathon Key, Florida and I (Chris) met John Hovan in the marina office.  We traded boat cards and thought we might see each other down island.

I saw him in Nassau at the Green Turtle bar and introduced him and Mark.  They became fast friends and you have seen his picture often on this blog.  Well, he came back to the states and is currently in Beach Marina which is one of the reasons we stopped there.

Local market

This is the local market which is more like a general store.  We provision here in preparation for going off shore.  I thought about renting a car and going to a 'real' grocery store but then figured it would cost more than just paying a little bit higher at this place.

We go out the Charleston Inlet and head south for Jacksonville Florida.  It is an overnight passage and for once we have fair winds and following seas.

Isle of Palm Marina

This is Morgan Creek Grill located near Isle of Palm Marina.  We ended up staying here a week, at first due to really nasty weather then because of the tides.

Silhouette has a draft of 6 and a half feet so we have to be careful with the tides.  The next part of the ICW has pretty bad shoaling so we had to await a rising tide.

Scenic boat yard.

It never fails to amaze us as to how many folks just let their boats sit in a yard and let them deteriorate.  In this case the whole yard is in tatters.

The weather report is telling us that the next few days are going to be very cold and windy.  We make the decision to pull into a marina to wait out the system coming through.

Cable car

A little later that morning I noticed on the chart book that there was something crossing the ICW labeled as 'cable car'.  Sure enough here there is a cable car - guess it was an alternative to a ferry crossing.

Construction crew on the bridge

The construction crew gets a bit of a thrill when the bridge takes them for a ride while they are doing repairs.  How fun is that?

This is not London Bridge

One of the fun things about traveling the ICW is that there are many bridges.  The high ones are usually 66 feet or greater in height.  Since Silhouette's mast is 58 feet high (plus 3 feet for the antennas) there is plenty of room.

The swing or bascule bridges range in height BUT all of these must open for us to pass through.

The ICW cruising guide and Active Captain gives the schedule for opening and tells the captain which VHF channel to use to hail the bridge to open.

Most open on a schedule of every hour, every half hour or on demand.  We found that we always call as some open when they say they won't others don't open when they say they will.  Keeps the mariner on their toes.

VOR Antenna array

Aircraft VHF Omni-directional Range beacon transmitter - for those of you who have never seen one.  I never realized how big one of these had to be.   This gives aircraft a radial range reference so they can determine their position with instruments.  Still used today, but GPS can also do this.  Great to have a second method for back-up.  These are found near airports.

Widow's walk

Thought this staircase to the widow's walk was quite ornate.  No widow in evidence however.

Hey Marvin…need to build one of these one your lake house…

On a clear day…

The next morning was clear so I took a photo of a picturesque dock.

Kahlenberg whistle rocks

As you can see from this photo the visibility was poor.  We had the chance to use our Kahlenberg whistle every two minutes to warn others of our presence.  Fortunately, we did not have any close calls.  We did however have a sport fisher follow us for about 4 miles - they were content for us to lead the way in the crud weather.

The Furuno Radar was indeed very handy in this type of weather, without it we would have had to anchor and wait for the weather to clear.  We are constantly in awe of folks who cruised far and wide with no electronics in the time before these became widely available.

On the ICW road for the first time.

We took off from Bridgeton Marina on April 1, 2014 and anchored off Town Dock in Beaufort, NC for the night and continued down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

On the 5th we were in the Cape Fear River in rain, wind of 25 to 30 and just for added fun fog.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Silhouette is southward bound again - finally.

Silhouette is southward bound again - finally.

And we make a different decision.

We usually go off shore to sail south as it is fast and better for us.

Since the weather has been so very awful we make a different decision.  We decide to take Silhouette down the 'ditch' which is the nick name for the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway).

Mark using the advise of friend John Hromadka has downloaded a program called Active Captain.  It is used for comments and navigation tips to and from folks using the ICW to warn of shoaling and many other issues.  As a member you can add comments to warn others of new problems or issues.

So we take off during a small break in the weather to go down river, then head south on the ICW.

Patty and other friends got up early to see us off - bye bye Bridgeton  friends.  Hope to see you in the spring.

Ice floating on the water

Ice floating on the water

Ice and snow on the deck

Ice and snow on the deck

Ice on the windshields

Ice on the windshields

Snow…on the hatches

Snow…on the hatches

Then - snow and ice, again.

Patty and I go grocery shopping on Monday - the next time anyone can safely get off their boat is Friday - here are the pictures.

Chris and a new frog friend.

A new boat pet - Kermit. 

Mark and Chris

Mark and Chris

Chris and Dwight

Earlier I mentioned that our friend Dwight applied the new rub rail to Silhouette but did not have a picture of him to show (after all I was in Texas when he was doing the work) - this is he!

Patty and Chris

Patty and Chris

Happy Hour with friends - Chris and Pete

We stayed for almost a week at Bock Marine (the weather was awful) and decided to go back to Bridgeton Marina to await a weather window.  It is too late in the season and very cold. 

Happy to see some of our friends again we have an impromptu happy hour aboard Silhouette.

Keel Guard

Here we have added Keel Guard (a 3M product) to the bottom of the dinghy.  The fiberglass was repaired before we left last year for the Bahamas.  After only a few months the glass was a bit thin - this fixed the problem.

Splashing Silhouette

Silhouette is finally finished and ready for the water by mid-January.  We put her back in the water and start working on our project list. 

AND - here she is…

Notice that we have also had new graphics made by Ralph's Sign Shop.  The grapes look like grapes again - the final touch to a very well done job.

Back to Beaufort

We fly back to New Bern on 1/8/2014 and go check out the newly painted Silhouette in Beaufort the next day.

Mark is pictured here with Silhouette and our new friend Bruce Mallard.  He is the master Awlgrip painter who did a fantastic job on our hull.  He must be the best painter on the east coast - we have seen no boat with a finer paint job than the one we received.

Dad and me on the 'potato' couch.

Dad and me on the 'potato' couch.

Dad shaving

On New Years Day I caught my Dad shaving.  Dad and I spent a quiet New Years Eve as couch potatoes watching some old western DVD's (John Wayne).  Sharon and Carl went to the Moose club and Mark was outside smoking cigars and talking to the neighbors.

Sharon, Carl and me.

Sharon, Carl and me.

New Year's Eve

On New Years Eve Sharon, Carl, Mark and I took off to check out some marinas.  Fisherman's Village is where we decide to dock the boat for the winter - unfortunately they have a waiting list.  We add our names to the list hoping for an opening by the time we sail around.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cedar Chest

We had a very calm day with rack of pork for dinner.  The cedar chest needed some cleaning - Mark has done some of the work, then everyone else got into the project to get it finished…it looked great when we were done.

The next day we headed for Florida for a short visit with my Dad, sister Sharon and her husband Carl…