Monday, December 30, 2013

Yea, Yea, Yea... it's about time I updated this blog  - well here ya go...
Sean at the helm

Spencer, Tamera and Sean Great Bridge lock, VA
 Monday 30 September we departed Southport, NC in the early morning and headed on to Myrtle Beach enjoying our journey down the beautiful ICW.  Yes - we have one of the best cooks around... Tamera continues to spoil me with tasty dishes...

Shrimp, biscuits and poached eggs 

Everything's better with whip cream on it 
That's a tuna salad 
Continuing on we passed through Charleston, SC – big shipping port not very hospitable to small boats unless you have buckets of cash - so we anchored out just south the town.
Tamera and W.T after anchor detail
Moving on we ended up in Beaufort, SC. Our timing was inline with the Shrimp Festival which was outstanding. We  stayed at Lady’s Island Marina - what a great place – about a mile from downtown but half the price. What a cool place – full of history, friendly people, beautiful antebellum homes, great food ... Our vision was to stay a few days, we stayed a month!


Sean driving the pump out boat
We had the opportunity to have some visitors including Colleen Kelly, John 'the travelin man' Sullivan and all the way from Colorado Vivian Stonewall and her daughter Tamara. We took advantage of our location to visit Hilton Head, Savannah (where the new Sponge Bob movie was being filmed), Parris Island – where they make Marines and Fripp Island one of the prettiest spots on the South Carolina coast.

John, Vivian & Trouble

Lady's Island Marina put on a Low Country Boil

Tamera and John Sullivan in Savannah, GA

The view from our slip at Lady's Island Marina
 The wild life along the way has been incredible. We had so many beautiful Dolphins swimming along with us through the Carolinas and they just love to swim in front of the boat. We had one of them swim on our forward port side for about 1 hour- amazing mammals. We also saw an alligator or two...

.   We departed Beaufort on the 27th of October and moved on to Georgia.  The next several nights we anchored along the way eventually spending a night dock side in Isle of Hope, GA. Onward we pushed to a wonderful anchorage off of Queens Island, GA where we could see Sapelo Islands red and white lighthouse. Tuesday 29 October we crossed the line and anchored in Fernandina Beach, Florida!

The next day we left the ICW at Mayport, FL and traveled up the St. John’s River 20 miles or so through downtown Jacksonville until we reached Mulberry Cove Marina where we stayed for about a week. One morning we got to enjoy the sounds of the Navy Band marching down the street right in front of the marina - we had our very own parade.

Tamera's mother was supposed to come over from the west coast of Florida for a visit but she broke her hand and was in a cast making driving difficult so we rented a car and went over to check on her and help her out. We left Jacksonville the morning of November 7th and heading to St. Augustine. Here we found the best price for diesel fuel in Florida we topped off and planned to stayed just for the night. We woke up to winds out of the SE blowing 30 – 35 knots - not a good day to push on. So stay another day which gave us a chance to explore the oldest city in Florida. If your down that way a great place for seafood is Hurricane Patty’s - looks are deceiving -the food was outstanding! The following morning the sky was blue the air calm and we headed to Daytona Beach were we economized by anchoring out. The city was on fire with Christmas lights and the sunset could not be beat. Next stop Cape Canaveral were we anchored with a view of Kennedy Space Center in beautiful weather! We were lucky enough to view a rocket launch to Mars while anchored out.

  Early morning departure on Veterans Day took us past Dragon Point and into Manatee Cove Marina, Cocoa Beach, FL. As we pulled up to the dock there was a Veterans Day celebration going on with a band and all...
We really love this part of Florida Beach; uncrowded, great seafood, beautiful beaches, friendly people plus amazing wild life - we had several Manatee’s swim right by our slip. The marina has a very active yacht club with many activities - Sean was able to take a sailing course and qualify on the 14' Expos, great opportunity. 
Sailing class - two instructors one student - great ratio
Sean and I also took time to visit Disney World

 We enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving at Manatee Cove Yacht Club with Colleen, Dianne, and friends Gloria & Bob (who traveled over from the west coast of Florida to visit with us) and about sixty other members!
W.T, Dianne and Tamera
Kelsey and Tamera preparing chicken enchiladas'
  Time to continue south... we got under way on Tuesday the 3rd of December in great weather with the plan of being in Key West by the 9th. Our vision was to anchor out all the way down to the keys – no marinas, no shore ties – this let us test our abilities to be fully self sufficient – and it was great! First beautiful evening Ft. Pierce, Wednesday West Palm Beach, Thursday Hollywood (lots of bright lights), Friday enjoyed seeing Miami along the waters edge, so much nicer than traveling I-95.
One of the several dozen bridges between Cocoa Beach and Miami 
... more bridges...

...yet another bridge we need 25 feet to clear
Friends along the ICW
First catch in the Key's
 We arrived in the official start of the keys Friday night and spent the night in Thursday Cove/Barnes Sound (little north of Key Largo). Saturday we moved to Fat Deer Key -we thought for one night, but weather said 'NO WAY' so we ended up staying for two nights. We took advantage of this opportunity to do a little fishing – we were catching them like he knew what he was doing. From here we headed to Bahia Honda State Park just before Big Pine Key. Twelve slips at the marina – we were the only boat there. What a beautiful spot – you could walk up on the old Flagler bridge and watch the most spectacular sunset around. Plus I think it is one of the nicest beaches in the keys. 
Old Seven mile bridge at Bahia Honda

Tamera and Sean Bahia Honda, FL

Sunset Bahia Honda
 By this point we needed a few groceries – Sean can make a pound on roast beef and a half gallon of milk disappear quickly. We took the small boat to the next key over where we could get some provision to hold us over until we got to Key West. The weather looked good on Monday morning until we got underway outside the protection of the cove at Bahia Honda on the Atlantic Ocean side. Waves were running 5 - 7 feet not to mention the hollowing winds... it took all of about five minutes to make the decision to retreat back to Bahia Honda. From the beach you would never know it was that rough out there. We spent another wonderful day exploring the island and the beach. 
The morning of December 11th was a great day to get underway... King Neptune was much kinder to us ... three foot swells and light winds. It was a short four hour trip to Boca Chica Marina Key West, FL – so here we are!

The lid says it all...
Our plan for now is to sit here until sometime after the first of the year and than head up the West Coast of Florida towards Fort Myers – cross Lake Okeechobee and sometime after that on to the Bahamas...