Saturday, December 4, 2021

Edisto Beach to Brunswick, GA

Well I have got behind on the blog, but felt I needed to close up this trip.  The last leg consisted of a couple of short hops.  Edisto Brach to Hilton Head, then Hilton Head to St. Catherine's Island, and then on to Brunswick, GA.

We had good weather for the remainder of the trip.  We stopped in Hilton Head and were able to get an Uber to the Laundromat and catch up on the essentials.


British Open Pub - Hilton Head

St. Catherine's Island

St. Catherine's was one of the more picturesque stops on the route.  Still very "low country" and marshy, we anchored close to the island and took a nice dinghy ride and  beach walk.  tHe island shores had some spectacular drift wood and weathered trees.

We even saw some nesting Bald Eagles close to the shore!  What an awesome sight!

Brunswick, GA

It was a short sail to Brunswick - the final stop on this trip.  Larry and Tracy have decided to leave SV TraSea here until January so they can get on land and await the arrival of new grand-baby.

Brunswick Landing is a great staging marina - very well protected and has great facilities with many live-aboards or transients waiting out the seasons.  We did get to see the last stages of the salvage operation from a sunken cargo ship that was transporting new cars and sunk on the harbor entrance

Brunswick Light

Salvage Operations
Special equipment used to cut the ship using a large chain

We had a wonderful time the past 5 weeks or so with Larry and Tracy.  Thank you for your hospitality and of course always - your great friendship!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Carolina Coast to Charleston, SC and Edisto Beach, SC

Wrightsville Beach to Georgetown, SC - Halloween!

Our voyage continued south from Wrightsville Beach.  We saw what looked like a weather improvement in the afternoon of Sunday November 31.  Ok, it was Halloween and we should have known better right?  Remembering back to November 31, 2015 when we were dismasted in the 2015 Pensacola to Cuba Race on our previous boat "Midnight Sun II" - yes, I should have known better than to tempt fate again.

Link to 2015 Cuba Video!  

Link to 2015 Cuba Race Blog:

But that's an aside to todays post - no we were not dismasted, thankfully.  I can say been there, done that, and I don't need another T-shirt.  The sail started out very ralaxed....then too relaxed as we had to motor, then - yes the wind blew and the seas got bigger - reminding us all of the same night in 2015.  We had winds in the mid 20s, gusting to near 30, clocking (of course) in front of the beam; seas quartering, building to 6-8 ft.  Arghh.... and we had promised the girls it wouldn't be like that - but here we were again.  But I'm happy to say, SV TraSea handled it in her stride, even if her stride was rather heeled and bumpy.  The good thing was that we were fast!  and we made it to Georgetown in great time.  We saw several boats coming out of the pass being tossed around quite badly as wind was against tide.  But once we made it through the inlet, we had a leisurely motor up the river to get to Georgetown.   

Georgetown, SC

Georgetown is another sleepy town on the South Carolina Coast that I had actually visited several times on business several years earlier.

It has a wonderful "Harborwalk" with several bars and restaurants  - but it was Monday and most were closed.  However, we did find a place to have lunch, later a beer, and a great meal at an Italian Restaurant called Alfresco Bistro on Front Street.

It was a short stop-over of one night, but we met some nice cruisers - even if they were on powerboats! We headed out the following morning bound for Charleston, SC

Georgetown Lighthouse

Charleston, SC

We arrived into Charleston Harbor as the sun was setting.  Charleston harbor is wide open with no real protected anchorages, so in anticipation of approaching weather, we found the best spot we could find just off the South Channel Range.  We had been calling the few marinas that we could get to (due to bridge heights, and were wait-listed.  I guess all spots had filled as others saw the weather approaching.  We were on a wait list at several places, but none seemed to be freeing up.  We sat at anchor the following day, as we didn't see an easy way to get into town.
Charleston - so near but yet so far!

We saw a number of other boats that seemed to have the same idea with several others anchoring near us.  While there was an anchorage near the marina with better city access, we had heard that many cruisers had issues with anchors fouling and had needed to hire a diver to retrieve them.  So we didn't risk it.

The following day (Thursday) , the weather didn't seem much different.  It had deteriorated a bit, but not terribly.  So we discussed our options - stay put and maybe see if a marina would open up; or poke our nose out of the harbor and see if we could continue on south, without too much discomfort.  We decide on  the latter.

Schooner under sail - Charleston Harbor

Moving on to Edisto Beach, SC

We got underway mid morning after checking the weather and options.  Looking ahead at the weather for Saturday and Sunday, we needed something protected!  - see screenshot from 

Predicted weather for the coming weekend

We had some entertainment leaving the harbor - two container ships passing in the main channel and a sailboat nonchalantly ambling along in the path of both!  What was he doing?  Each ship and the pilots were trying to contact him on VHF, and each ship was giving him 5 horn blasts indicating danger.  Finally the guy answered and he was royally chewed out by the pilots.  And rightfully so!  He finally changed course and narrowly missed being in the news!  I have no idea what he was doing or thinking to get into that situation.

Anyway, when we poked our nose out in to the Atlantic, things actually seemed better than predicted.  We were sailing downwind; seas were probably 4-6 ft. but quartering -  so not bad at all.   We made good time, called ahead to a small marina at Edisto Beach and got a spot.

We arrived mid afternoon and had an easy passage into Edisto Beach.  Depths were deeper than shown on the charts and we had at least 20 ft. of water (at low tide) even into the marina.  The marina is small and friendly and in great condition with floating docks.  It's reasonably protected - at least as well protected as it gets in the Low Country of South Carolina.  Looking at the weather, its looking like we will be here until Monday (Nov 8, 2021).

Friday, October 29, 2021

Around Cape Hatteras - October 2021

It was a cool Fall morning of  Saturday, October 23.  We departed from the anchorage at Old Port Comfort, just in the bay off Hampton, VA.  After studying the various weather forecasts, it looked like we had a good 2-day window to get around Cape Hatteras to Beaufort, North  Carolina.  So we left the anchorage before sun up at 4am.

Sunrise, North Atlantic
With a combination of motoring and motor-sailing we had a comfortable and uneventful 2-day (one overnight) trip headed south and around Cape Hatteras.  We had all discussed this previously and decided that an uneventful motor-sail around this notorious Cape was far preferable to sporty weather.  And it was looking like a week of sporty weather if we missed this weather window.  As it happened a strong Nor-Easter was forming off the eat coast and we were watching it carefully.  Thankfully we were already south of the worst of it, but even so - not a time to be tempting fate with the weather Gods! 

As I said the trip was uneventful and pleasant.  As dark came, the moon rose - and Janet was happy.  She prefers what we have come to call "light night sailing" to "dark night sailing".  As it happened, many other boats had seen the window and decided to head south.  We were seeing about 20 boats within AIS range.  Some slower and some faster than us; but the pack was definitely headed south with many going to the same place as us.  

S/V Kaizen - Beaufort Docks

Arrival Beaufort, NC

As we made the turn around Cape Lookout to head in towards Beaufort, the wind picked up and we had a wonderful sail for the last 15 miles of so of this leg.  Once inside we called Beaufort Docks for a slip assignment.  It was easy to find when the directions are "come to the 160 ft. sailboat and await instructions".  And sure enough, there was a 160 ft sailboat, S/V Kaizen tied to the face dock.  Just look at the neighboring yacht mast heights in comparison - and these were typically 40 ft + boats!  Kaizen had a mast height of over 200 ft. and was a landmark that we could see well offshore.  As Larry said, "you know you have a big boat when your masthead light is an aircraft warning light!"

When we got ashore, I couldn't help but take a closer look at this monster.  Apparently owned by the owner of a local Lexus dealership - Johnson Lexus.  Now don't believe those salesmen when they tell you the price is just 5% over invoice!

Beaufort, NC is a great little town.  We stayed 4 nights while the wind blew in an unfavorable direction for us, but the location was great providing good protection for the boat, and the town had a great restaurants, a good wine bar, a small boat museum, free courtesy car from the marina to make the trip to the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store..........who could ask for more!  We were at the same dock, sharing the same hospitality as Kaizen...........and a bargain at the price! ($1.50/ft I think).

Boat Museum

Front Street

The town also had a nicely equipped laundry at the General Store.  So we were able to bet re-stocked, clean clothes and sheets ready for the next leg of the trip.  All was good!  A couple of highly recommended spots are: CRU  wine-bar; Beaufort Grocery (restaurant); and Aqua (restaurant).  Also, the staff at the docks bar are a hoot - and you get a free drink there just for docking.

Our next destination would be Wrightsville Beach, about a 65 mile leg.

Wrightsville Beach

We left fairly early on Wednesday October 27.  Winds were brisk......and well got brisker.  We thought wind would be behind the beam, but of course it was ahead of the beam popping up in the low 20s and since it had been blowing all night, seas were "disturbed".  So the morning was not a pleasant sail.  We were reefed and beating at times.  The wind strength and direction was quite variable making it a challenge to keep fair speed and a somewhat comfortable ride.  Thankfully, things improved as the day progressed, and just to keep us "hooked on sailing", the last couple of hours turned into a pleasant ride.

Anchorage - Wrightsville Beach

We pulled into the anchorage at Wrightsville just after sunset - which was Ok since Larry and Tracy had stayed here on their way north in July.  We had a delicious dinner on the boat of Chilli, fell asleep watching TV, then an early night.

The following morning, we went ashore to explore a little before then next round of weather hit us.  It a nice little seaside resort town; great anchorage that is well protected; with a nearby dinghy dock with good access to the main street.  After lunch and a drink,  we returned to the boat for the evening as the rain and wind set in.  Overnight it got quite windy - so sleep was on and off......but I am here, ready for another day - having my coffee and writing this blog update.
Beach - Wrightsville

It looks like we may be here for another day or more until this weather system passes - but that's OK, we have no immediate schedule!  Just as an aside - what's the most dangerous thing you can have on a boat?  Answer - a calendar/schedule!

Larry and Tracy - Our hosts and Owners of S/V TraSea

Monday, October 25, 2021

Through the Chesapeake and Around Hatteras!

Continuing South Through Chesapeake Bay

Our adventure continues on the beautiful SV TraSea.  Our trip through the Chesapeake Bay took us from Pasadena, MD with a short first hop to Galesville where we anchored on the Rhode River.  From there, we visited Solomons for a short overnight stay.  continuing on our way south, we transited the bay to the east side and spent the night at Tangier Island, staying at the Parks "Marina".  I say marina, but it is really a couple of old wooden docks.  While Active Captain says that the marina can accommodate several boat - its really about two.  

Mr. Parks, the marina owner is a real character.  He's 90 years old and still going strong! Tangier Island is an interesting stop.  Being just above sea level, the locals say its sinking.  It may very well be, or is it rising sea levels or both?  I am not sure - but still an interesting visit while it is still there.

Tangier Island
The community on Tangier Island consists of a small village with a couple of restaurants and shops.  Most were closed when we visited, but we did get a good meal at Lorraine's restaurant close to Parks Marina.

The town is dry, and you can't take your own alcohol into the restaurants......but other than that, it was a cool spot to visit.  The local industry is of course crabbing  and we had a delicious crab soup at Lorraine's

Bridge at Tangier Island

From Tangier Island, we continued south crossing back to the west side and stayed a night in a marina at Deltaville called Dozier's Regatta Point.  This was a nice marina located at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.  The marina is quite a hike from the town of Deltaville, but luckily the marina does have a couple of courtesy cars.  We took advantage of this and made a trip in to town to replenish some provisions.  Deltaville is a boat oriented spot and apparently has three times as many boats as residents!

Old Point Comfort Marina

From Deltaville it was south again, getting close to the mouth of the Chesapeake and our exit point to the Atlantic.  After a day-sail, we anchored at Old Port Comfort, near Hampton, VA.  We dinghied in to town and also to a local brewery called Oozlefinch - apparently named after a mystical bird.....or was it named by a drunk customer?  Either way, it had some interesting beers, and a food truck that made excellent fresh pizza!  In town, we found a quaint little wine bar - of course!

Oozlefinch Brewery

The next day, we motored across to Norfolk.  We saw some cool things along the way, especially as we passed by the Naval facility.  After all, its not every day that you get passed by a submarine!  

It was a very cool sight!  And there was quite a collection of naval ships in port.  Norfolk is a busy shipping port with both Naval and commercial ships passing by frequently.  

We visited the town of Norfolk, staying right downtown at the Waterside Marina.   We really enjoyed the day and overnight stay here and its certainly a stop I would recommend.

Norfolk - Maritime Museum

Tourist Day-sail

It was great to see some of the old sailing ships under sail.  These boats are now used for tourist day-sail trips from downtown Norfolk

Naval Ships - Norfolk
After an overnight stay in Norfolk,  we went back to the anchorage at Old Port Comfort ready to leave early the following morning.  Our next leg was to take us out into the Atlantic headed south around Cape Hatteras down to Beaufort, NC.  We had to go "outside" for this leg rather than using the easier route of the ICW due to S/V TraSea's mast height.  At 67 ft. she is too tall for the 65 ft. ICW bridges.  So the next leg of the journey would take us outside the Outer Banks, down past Cape Hatteras - known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic".  So we had been watching carefully for a good weather window, and believe we had one the following day. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Annapolis Boat Show 2021 and Headed South

Headed South with Larry and Tracy

We are fortunate to be on the water again - but this time not on our own boat.  We are helping friends Larry and Tracy bring their boat (S/V TraSea) south from Annapolis to Brunswick, GA.   We had a great few days in the Annapolis area staying on TraSea in Fairview Marina, Pasadena, MD.  We were able to spend 2 days at the Sailboat Show, before commencing the journey south.  We had not been to he show in couple of years due to Covid and other commitments, but this year it was packed!

S/V TraSea - docked in Pasadena, MD

I am not sure if people were buying boats, but there was certainly plenty of traffic and at least the vendors that I spoke to seemed to be having a busy show.  This year, we were not really looking for any big-ticket items, but we did pick up a few things including two-way headsets that I am looking forward to try out. I also got some ideas on boarding ladders for the boat and some contacts for a couple of piling fenders that I will likely add to our home dock.
Annapolis Boat Show - 2021

We also met several other boating friends at the show and stopped by the SSCA booth -  its always just a great place to hang out and share the latest boating stories!

Friends and Family

While we were in the area, we also got a chance to catch up with my cousin Elaine and her family.  I had not seen her in several years and it was great to hang out with them for an afternoon on TraSea.......and also have the opportunity to have dinner with her daughter Hayley and family.

Larry, Tracy, Janet, Neil, Elaine and Richard

Cold Front in the Bay

Yesterday (Saturday), we left the dock and started the trip south down the Chesapeake Bay.  We took an easy start as we had boat chores/preparations in the morning and a cold front was passing through in the afternoon with a small craft advisory in effect.  Winds picked up to around 30kts as the front passed through making the bay a little choppy - but no issues as the wind was  behind us.  We did make it a few hours south finding a nice anchorage in the Rhode River inlet.  
Cold Front Passes Through
Chesapeake Bay

Today we plan to make about 30 miles or so to Solomon Island.  With the passing of the cold front, temperatures have dropped from mid to high 70s into the low 60s! - giving us encouragement to head south to warmer climates!

More updates to follow as we make progress on the trip.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

September 2021 Update

Hello Friends!

I have not written very much on my blog this year.  That is largely because the emphasis of the blog is our sailing adventures and we have not had as much of an opportunity to sail as we would like.  Unfortunately, this has largely been due to family commitments and (see prior post)  and unexpected illness and trip to England.

Most of our close friends are aware that Janet's father, Donald Clough passed away following a relatively short but severe time knowing that he had terminal cancer.  We are thankful that Janet could be there during his illness to help out with care and other things.  I joined her and we were able to stay and attend the funeral and help family with other arrangements etc.  Don will be remembered by his family and many as a wonderful man, and he will certainly be missed.  He helped so many people - especially his family with virtually any project they took on.  He was very active in his former military regiment - The Royal Tank Regiment, and many of his friends and comrades attended his funeral. 

Donald Clough - known to Grandkids as "Tick-Tock"

As for us - we  brought the boat back home before heading to England.  We have made a few weekend trips locally but no major trips since our return.  Recently, we have been watching the Gulf carefully for tropical activity.  Tropical Storm Fred went to our east and Hurricane Ida thankfully to our west.  While the forecasters are talking about an active late season - I sure hope they are wrong!

We are planning to join our best friends Larry and Tracy at the Annapolis Boat Show in October and help them bring their boat "TraSea" back south.  Here's a link to their progress!

Location of TraSea

And after that, well we are in the process once again of writing new plans in the sand at low tide!.....recognizing the need to be flexible in times when we have significant unknows such as Covid and a period of what seems to be more extreme weather events.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Plans in Sand at Low Tide

 As most sailors know, even the best of plans are written in the sand at low tide. Meaning, everything is always subject to change. It may be weather, work, health, or any other host of reasons.  But the situation is that we did set off, made pretty good progress and made it down to Venice, Florida.  

Unfortunately we then got some very bad news about Janet’s dad’s health. He is in England and the situation is not looking good.  Given all of this, we decided that we had to turn around and arrange for Janet to make a trip to England to help out the family. As I write this we are back in St. Joe’s Bay at Cape San Blas, waiting out some weather, but making our way back to Pensacola. Janet has a flight booked for the 19th June - so at least we have a little flexibility on our schedule to get home. 

Anyway, that’s our situation as of now and of course things can change. For anyone reading this, I have a small favor to ask.  Please include our Dad, Donald Clough and Janet’s family in your prayers. We have a difficult time ahead.   

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Finally Ready - Off we Go

Time and Hard Work

It has taken a lot of time and hard work to get Midnight Sun III (MS3) ready to cruise this year.  Most of the work has been restoring her after the hurricane damage, but then there is always the routine maintenance on top of that and a variety of upgrades.

Upgrades have included:
  • hard top for helm station
  • New canvas - pretty much everywhere, including a new enclosure
  • the enclosure required a little innovation to fabricate a new grill stand
  • New Beta test Boat Monitoring system from Tocaro Blue (yes, we are a Beta test Boat)
  • fresh-water flush for master head (still in progress)
  • Added LED lights to the helm area – I added red (for night sailing); white (for general use at anchor), and blue – because I like blue!
  • Added LED lights to the mast – for no purpose other than “sex appeal” 😊.  I actually added these before the new mast was installed – so it made the project easy!
  • Added rub strip to the rear of each pontoon – to prevent scratching from the dinghy
  • Adding flushing ports to all air conditioners to facilitate cleaning the coil
  • Built an additional cabinet for the galley to add more storage for pans etc. and to provide better location for the microwave (we did not get factory option).
  • Added a new TV
  • Building an extra hanging locker for the Owner side (but this will not be finished before our trip)
  • Janet has compled the sewing for new dinghy “chaps” – they look really good and will extend the life of the dinghy
  • Added a new portable refrigerator which also works as an extra seat for the cockpit area (Janet is working on cushions)
  • Made larger seat bases for the bow/pulpit seats., and Janet is making removable cushions.
Wow - that's a lot of stuff and a lot of work!

So we are officially under way.....and then spent 2 days at Cape San Blas troubleshooting and fixing!   I tell you - the worst thing to do with a boat t use it!  

First, the new Weems and Plath LED masthead light looks to have water in it so  they are shipping us a replacement to St. Petes.   Then the watermaker....but that turned out to be the impeller on the lift pump and I carry a couple of spares. water tank gauge    I have no idea why that quit, but I will figure it out in some other exotic destination. 

So we have now made it to Apalachicola - one of our favorite spots.  Our route here took us to Panama City, And Cape San Blas first. We are Not rushing but are aware that we are at the start of hurricane season.  We plan to cross the Big Bend on Sunday/Monday to get us to the west coast of Florida.  We hope to get the masthead light replaced In St. Pete Next week - until then we are  sailing with some “jerry rigger” temporary measures and our steaming lights. 

Anchored at Cape San Blas

Now how many times can you say you have sailed by the Staton Island Ferry? Port St. Joe?😁
As it turns out, new ferries are being built in Panama City and fitted out in Port St. Joe!  What a sight!

So after Cape San Blas we travelled up the ICW ( Gulf canal and Apalachicola River) to Apalachicola. It’s a great trip that I never get tired of - even if we have to motor!

So, as I said, we plan to jump across Florida’s Big Bend tomorrow afternoon/ night.  Weather is looking calm and a light wind, so I’m sure there will be some motor-sailing ......but hopefully an uneventful passage.  

More to follow!