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APRIL---Vero Beach, FL to New Bern, NC and on to Georgetown, KY

Sailing:

Motored down the ICW from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce on April 2 around 2:00 in the afternoon. Initial plan was to head to Charleston but would not reach Charleston before the winds go north so we changed the destination----headed to Beaufort SC. Not enough wind to sail. The forecast changed slightly---the wind will clock north sooner than previous forecast. The wind is on the stern--to make Beaufort before the winds go to the north...we had to boggy (motorsail). No incidents underway. Reached the Beaufort seabouy at 7:30 AM two days later. Wind from the southwest--waves about 4 feet so it was a little rough in the inlet. Reached Lady Island Bridge by 10:30 AM and at Brickyard Creek by 11:30 AM.

Moved up the ICW from Brickyard Creek to Charleston the following day. Arrived at the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut by mid-tide. Several spots with skinny water between Beaufort and Charleston. Dropped anchor off the ICW across from the Battery. Wind was fairly brisk and the current was strong ......after dropping anchor, Carl walked back to the cockpit to ask what I thought. My response, "If we go now, we can make it through the Ben Sawyer Bridge and anchor in one of the creeks north of the bridge before sunset." Anchor up! Reached Inlet Creek around 7:00 PM.

In the morning, continued north to Georgetown, SC. On the ICW low tide (what Carl calls dead low tide). Not far out of Inlet Creek ran into a pile of mud in the middle of the channel (south of the known problem area). DISCOVERY came to an abrupt stop .....depth sounder dropped from 8 feet to 5.0 feet in seconds. Carl took over at this point. He tried to power the boat through the mud---no results. Tried reverse--no results. Put the boat in neutral and said "Just have to wait for the tide to rise to float us off." However, the wind was blowing 20 to 25 knots so in a few minutes the wind blew us off and we were underway (what a pleasant surprise). Encountered a couple more skinny spots. Started to relax just a little by noon. Had a favorable tide to run up Winyah Bay to Georgetown. A big front coming our way so took a dock at Georgetown Dry Stack Marina.

When the winds clocked to the south after the front passed, headed to Beaufort, NC. Made excellent time. Arrived in Beaufort, NC ahead of schedule, that is arrived when it was still dark (4:00 to 5:00 AM) so both of us were in the cockpit---me at the helm and Carl helping to find the channel markers and providing words of encouragement. Our plan was to get into the harbor and anchor at the Coast Guard Station. Once inside, there was dredging equipment on the left side of the channel and dredging equipment on the right. Passed the anchorage to drop the sail then turned around to head back. Found a place to drop anchor at least until sunrise. Slept a couple hours then headed up the ICW to Adam's Creek to anchor for the night.

Carl is dressed warm for his evening shift! On the right is a little bird that hitched a ride with us. We even crumbled up crackers so it could have something to eat.

 

Last sunset of the season. What a red sun......no green flash.

 

The last leg for the cruising season was a short run from Adam's Creek to New Bern. Not enough enough wind to motorsail!

Anchorages:

Tied to the dock at the SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) Cruising Station at Brickyard Creek just north of Beaufort, SC for the night. What a great place to stay--the dock is 50 feet long (floating). Both water and power are available. As soon as we were settled, both of us took a nap and then prepared something good to eat for dinner. Went to bed early (still catching up on our sleep from two nights out).

The first anchorage we tried in Charleston was not comfortable at all. The wind was brisk, the current strong and it was a weekend with lots of boat traffic. Both of us decided it was best to move. The anchorage at Inlet Creek (just north of Ben Sawyer Bridge) was much more comfortable.....yes there was current and the wind was blowing but no waves and no traffic. Enjoyed a good dinner and a comfortable night's sleep.

Wind from the west and southwest when we arrived in Georgetown, SC. Met at the dock by two friendly and strong dock hands. For two days we were pressed hard against the dock. Used every fender we had to protect the boat. In addition to the wind ......rain. In spite of the weather---had a great time in Georgetown. Walked to the Piggly Wiggly for fresh produce and bread. Out for lunch at the Wild Fish Grill. Got my haircut and checked out every shop on Main Street.

Stayed at Georgetown Dry Stack Marina. We must be "early" because there weren't any other cruisers passing through. Seems like it was just us! Decided to go back to the same restaurant that we enjoyed so much last year but it went bankrupt. Another restaurant set up business there with a similar name. The food was good but not great. Luncheon menus had $5.00 shrimp tacos plus a $2.00 beer.

 

How do you like this boat??? It was in dry dock next to our marina.

 

Stayed in Georgetown to avoid weather. The photo of the radar screen shows the really bad stuff north and east of us.

 

On September 25, 2013, 8 buildings were destroyed by fire in Georgetown's Historic Downtown. The buildings were on the river side of the street. Eight historic buildings were destroyed by fire. While the town wants to rebuild---it isn't that easy. There are too many parties involved....FEMA, the city, the state, and the land owner. The buildings were in the flood plain so can they be rebuilt??? An artist in town painted a mural of the buildings prior to the fire.

 

Not much to say about our brief stay in Beaufort, NC other than it was great to get an hour of sleep before continuing on. The primary reason we anchored was to let the tide go down so we could easily get under the Morehead City Bridge. Easy trip up to Adam's Creek where we dropped anchor just outside the channel. By mid-afternoon the wind was howling at 30 knots. It was our last night at anchor this season......it would have been nice to have a nice quiet night. Had both anchors out so while the wind was howling, DISCOVERY was secure.

Have been in and out of the Beaufort Inlet many times. Still....it is different at the "wee hours of the morning". You see flashing light on the channel markers but the current pushes you so it is necessary to crab in. I was surprised to see all the ship lights inside the inlet not realizing it was anchored dredging equipment. Dropped our anchor just before dawn to get a couple hours of sleep. Oh, so easy to see the dredging equipment in broad daylight.

 

The Grand Marina in New Bern is very nice. Friendly dock hands, great shower facilities, $1.00 per load (washer or dryer) and free coffee in the morning at the DoubleTree Hotel. New Bern is birthplace of Pepsi Cola but before Pepsi...New Bern was the capital of the North Carolina colonial government, then briefly it was the state capital. After the Revolutionary War, New Bern became very wealthy and developed a rich cultural life. It was known as the "Athens of the South". In 1862, during the early stages of the American Civil War, New Bern was the site of the Battle of New Bern. Union forces captured and occupied the town until the end of the war in 1865. Due to the continuous occupation by the Union troops, New Bern avoided some of the destruction of the war years so many historical buildings survived. By the 1870s the lumber industry was developing as the chief part of New Bern's economy. The lumber boom lasted until the 1920s. One by one the lumber mills went out of business. Today only Weyerhaeuser manufactures lumber in the area. Since 1979 the Swiss Bear Downtown Revitalization Corporation worked to redevelop downtown. It helped establish downtown art galleries, specialty shops, antiques stores, restaurants and inns. In 2005, New Bern was identified as one of the best places in the US to retire.

Photo on the left (taken from a New Bern tourist brochure) shows the bridge over the Neuse River (foreground) and the bridge over the Trent River behind it. The New Bern Grand Marina is in the background.....this is where DISCOVERY will spend the summer. The next three photos are some of the New Bern bears.....sems like there are 2-3 bears on every block in the Historic Downtown District. The last photo in this group is one of several downtown courtyards.

 

Special Events:

Drove over to Cape Coral on the west coast of Florida to visit friends, Pam and Brian, for about 24 hours. Wanted to stay longer but a weather window was opening---did not want to miss this opportunity to head north on the outside. When we arrived, Brian was waiting for us while Pam was leading a Stretch and Balance exercise class down by the pool. Walked over to greet Pam and all her students. Brian then gave us the $2.00 tour of the condominium complex--huge pool, exercise room, bocci ball court and a gazebo with tables, chairs and a partial kitchen. Amazed how everyone seemed to know everyone. The complex has lots of organized events ......a great place for Pam and Brian. Out to lunch at Ford's Garage. The interior is reminiscent of old time service stations. The bar has a trench that is filled with ice......set your drink in the trench to keep it cold rather than relying on ice cubes. Drove around Cape Coral to get a lay of the land. Back to the condo in time to attend Water Aerobics. Out of the water just in time to get things set-up for Happy Hour and dinner with additional guests Fran & Maryjean Pike and Nancy and Roger Summers. Brian made chicken pasta and Maryjean brought an excellent spinach salad. Ate too much for lunch followed by appetizers so---no room for Pam's dessert. Everyone who had dessert, complemented her but I just could not eat another bite.

Love how Pam and Brian decorated their condo. Pam says the condo is a work in progress but it looks very complete to me. The guest room beds are very comfortable.....had a great night's sleep. In the morning, we listened to Chris Parker's weathercast via the internet. Yes, our window for heading north was there but the number of days before the winds turned north was reduced by one so it was time to go. Back to Vero Beach, 10 minutes at our townhouse, returned the rental car, picked up a few fresh provisions, put diesel on and off to Beaufort, SC.

Invited to Dick and Pat Peeble's home for dinner while we were in New Bern. Additional guests ....Kathy and Rodger (TALISMAN). Beer can chicken ....technically it was pepsi can chicken along with Bahamian mac n' cheese. I brought carrot cake with rum glaze plus whipped cream.

On the left....Dick and Pat Peebles (former owners HANANIAH ...a Saga 43). On the right Rodger and Kathy (TALISMAN) who we met in 2006 in Fort Lauderdale.

 

Enjoyed watching Dick prepare the dressing for the Caesar salad.....very meticulous about ingredients (sequence and quantity). The Peebles served Pepsi can chicken which was delicious.

 

Drove over to Oriental on Saturday. Ran into Mike Steere on SAPPHIRE who was walking near the free city dock waiting for the seafood shack to open up. Mike and Kathy already had plans for the day. But, Mike invited us to dinner on Monday. Walked down to the park to watch the Pet Parade then drove back to New Bern.

The Oriental Pet Parade sponsored by the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). PAWS is in its second year with the NEW LEASH ON LIFE dog-training program at the prison in Bayboro, N.C. New Leash on Life pairs rescued dogs with select prison inmates who train the dogs for eight weeks, turning them into well-mannered, friendly family pets. The dogs are vetted, vaccinated and altered, and house-, crate- and leash-trained. They are taught basic and advanced obedience skills, agility and rallying. At the end of their training session, these well-behaved dogs receive "Canine Good Citizen" or "Star Puppy" certificates from the American Kennel Club, and are ready to join their new, adoptive families. This worthwhile program also enables inmates to learn new skills, patience, responsibility and a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. When released, they have the skills and experience to find employment working with animals. At least two Canine Good Citizens (third row) marched in the pet parade.

 

On Sunday, heard BLUE HEAVEN call the Oriental Inn and Marina on the VHF Radio. I sent a text to Arlene asking how long she and Al would be in Oriental. I was thinking perhaps we could stop by BLUE HEAVEN before going to Steere's for dinner Monday night. However, Al and Arlene were only staying for one night. Arlene asked if we could come down to Oriental to join them for dinner. Decided that was a good idea! Had drinks and appetizers on BLUE HEAVEN then went to the Toucan Grill for dinner.

Al, Arlene and I outside Toucan Grill in Oriental, NC.

 

Monday late afternoon.....back to Oriental (three nights in a row). Dinner at the Steere's along with Kim and Steve (FINE LION). Mike and Kathy bought a home in Oriental this past winter. What a cute house--setting, size, layout and decorating. Good food, lots of wine and great conversation.

Appetizers at Kathy's and Mike's .......North Carolina shrimp and lobster salad from the Bahamas. Top right is Kathy and Kim and bottom left is Mike and Steve.

 

Our last night in New Bern......we met Dick and Pat at MJ's for dinner. In the morning, finished unloading the last of our stuff and closed the boat up. The car is stuffed full.....the trunk and the backseat.

Closing up the boat and Land Cruising:

Worked on getting DISCOVERY ready for sale for almost three weeks. Rented a storage room (about 2 blocks from the marina). The storage room was marked off into 4 areas (blue tape on the floor). Area One has all the stuff we will take to Florida--tools, extra bedding, towels and miscellaneous stuff. Area Two is the largest and contains all the stuff the person who buys DISCOVERY gets. Area Three is for Pentwater and Area Four contains all the canned goods that will be donated to New Bern's Food Drive in May. Almost every day, Carl looked at the waterline that was quickly moving higher and higher. Each time Carl returned from the storage building he's say, "There is another couple hundred pounds off this boat." Had some real snotty weather the last couple days. A tornado touched down about 20 miles north of us. A couple nights later it was all repeated.

How many more advisories can you have? Tornado warning, Tornado Watch, and Severe Thunderstorm Warning all for Craven County where New Bern is located!.

 

It is indeed a rare occasion when Carl scrubs the boat (I do the wash n wax while he takes care of the mechanical systems). Had to take a picture of him with a scrub brush!

 

One of the reading lamps was really corroded---decided to paint it. Carl took the one lamp down and I started to clean it up before priming and then painting with brass metallic rustoleum. Carl decided that he'd take all the reading lamps down (9 of them). Before I had the first one cleaned up .....changed the plan. Instead of painting, used wet fine sandpaper to remove all the crud and corrosion then shine up with Brasso. Below are "before" and "after" photos.

 

DISCOVERY has a new sign on her.

 

As I already mentioned, Carl had his eye on DISCOVERY's waterline. The waterline goes up 1 inch for every 1500 pounds removed from the boat. Carl estimates that the waterline on DISCOVERY is up 3 to 4 inches!!!

 

Oh, a man and his stuff. Carl in the storage shed.

 

Left DISCOVERY around 9:00 AM in a loaded Toyota headed for Scottsville, VA to visit friends, Stots and Cathey. Before leaving, used Map Quest for directions also have a GPS in the car. The directions from Map Quest and GPS were identical (at least for 90% of the trip) so quit using Map Quest and relied entirely on GPS. About 4 miles from the destination, found ourselves at the bottom of a gravel road on the wrong side of James River. To our GPS, Hatton Ferry Road continued across the river but it doesn't. Yes, there is a ferry there that only operates on the week-end AND when river conditions allow. It wasn't the weekend and the river was flooding from the heavy rainfall. Had to turn around.....head up a slick, muddy hill and try find Stot's and Cathey's place. In the end....had to call them for assistance.

Hatton Ferry Road is not a through road. GPS took us down a muddy slick road to the banks of the flooding James River. Could see the ferry on the opposite side which is where we wanted to be. The ferry wasn't running because the river was flooding. Bottom line is you need to go to Scottsville where you can cross the James River.

 

Stayed with Stots and Cathey for two nights. First night, drove into Scottsville for dinner. The next day toured around and visited the Jefferson Winery (tour and wine tasting). Bought an excellent bottle of red wine. Back to the house for dinner .....steaks on the grill with baked potatoes and grilled asparagus. For dessert....aple pie and ice cream.

Stopped at a convenience store that serves pulled pork, ribs and bakes outstanding desserts. The pulled pork was served on a potato roll (either sweet potato or white potato) with cole slaw on top of the pork. Very good food. Good tour and tasting at the winery.

 

Drove to Georgetown, KY. What a beautiful, scenic drive. Invited to dinner at Don's and Linda's home a few miles outside of Georgetown. Had a great dinner. It had been several years since we've seen Don and Linda (probably since 2002) so had lots to catch up on. Don and Linda have a dog, Jaxon, who took a liking to me (or at least I like to think so). Jaxon is a rescue dog .....a greyhound racer. Jaxon likes to be around people. However, we left the appetizer in the den when dinner was ready. While we are eating, Jaxon licked the bowl containing the appetizer clean. Suspect Jaxon might have been sick later that night. Didn't leave Don's and Linda's house until close to midnight so we did not wake up as early as planned!

Below on left is Don with Jaxon. On the right---just Jaxon.

 

We dragged our feet for a week hoping that the weather in Michigan would warm up. In reality, if we wait for the weather the warm up we won't be home until June! Time to get the wheels on this loaded down Toyota moving north.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
May 09, 2014