Get a boat. It’ll be fun, they said. What started out as an early departure from Charleston this morning, turned into us making an immediate u-turn back to the boatyard. Today boating is not fun. Today I’m mad. Today I’m ready to turn this thing around and go back home. Wait, I am home, damn! Between trying to get off the dock at our friends house with a whipping current, and trying to dock in the boatyard with a whipping current, my nerves are spent! I’m pretty sure Captain has the easier job. I mean all he has to do is steer (albeit blindly sometimes) and listen to my commands…STOP. GO. PORT. THRUSTER. You get the idea. Me? I’m hurling lines, hurling my body and using every ounce of energy to stop a 25 ton boat. But I’m not good at docking Nautilus *yet*, so the scales will stay tipped…lol!
Anyway, once we throttled up to 9 knots, we were vibrating. Shaking as if a 7.0 earthquake had struck us! So here we sit, back at the yard, waiting for them to open tomorrow. A nine day delay, $1800 for prop repitching, and we. are. still. here 🤯
Rob is going diving to see if anything has wrapped around the props. Highly unlikely – we only went a mile down the ICW – but he’s gonna check anyway. The water is gross and murky. We’re gonna tie a rope around him so the current doesn’t take him away.
Me: “Hold on to the rope. Don’t float away”
Rob: “I should be fine. If I float away, grab the dinghy and come find me”
Me: “I need a cocktail”
Update: Rob survived…phew, and the props look fine. Nothing is wrapped around them. So, as the saying goes we’re making lemonade out of these lemons and will just enjoy another day in Charleston.
Tomorrow, I hope to hear the problem was no biggie and we’ll be on our way to Georgetown. Keep you all posted!
Now for that drink and a chocolate bunny.
Over and out!
xo, The Admiral
P.S. The Captain has blogged in the Captain’s Corner…wooohooo!
We’ve heard over and over that there is no such thing as *planning* when it comes to boating. All your fine tuned plans can and will be thrown out the porthole in the blink of an eye. Weather, illness, mechanical issues can wreak havoc on plans. Hmmmm, do you see where I’m heading here?!?
Let me catch you up. Last week we were in Beaufort, South Carolina. Whatever you do, do not confuse Beaufort (as in Bew-fort), South Carolina with Beaufort (as in Boe-fort), North Carolina. I think to do so is a mortal sin…lol! When hailing the marina on the radio, I kept repeating to myself “don’t screw this up, Jill. Just remember Beautiful Beaufort”. Phew, I didn’t let myself down!
We spent two nights in Beaufort. It’s a charming little town, with lots of historical sites. The entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. The waterfront is lined with 20 adorable swings. We were in the mooring field at the Downtown Marina of Beaufort, so we dinghied back and forth as needed. We did our own walking tour and saw historic homes, churches and other historical sites.
Swings line the waterfront
Beautiful Santa Maria was in town
She had a good day
The homes and trees were breathtaking.
Beth Israel Synagogue built in 1908 is still an active congregation today with approximately 85 families.
The historic Tabernacle Baptist Church was built in 1840. Buried in the Tabernacle graveyard is Robert Smalls, an enslaved African American who escaped to freedom in a Confederate supply ship and eventually became a sea captain for the Union Navy. After the war, he became a successful businessman and politician.
The no see’ums were still relentless on our trip to Charleston and the bug posse grew to include the largest, biting horse flies. Ever. At this point, I’m in need of a blood transfusion. I have bites on top of bites, welts on top of welts. Captain has two bites…Grrrrr! On a positive note, my fly swatting skills are on point. Me-6, Flies-0.
Charleston – You’ve Been Good To Us
I lived in Charleston 34 years ago for one year, but to be honest, my 20’s are a blur so coming to Charleston was like visiting it for the first time. When I lived here, I worked for a man named Bill Regan (he always called me Miss Jill). He was the city attorney. After some googling, I found the building I worked in. I had hoped that seeing the building would jog my memory, but nothing! It is all still a blur. But, hey, this building I once worked in is the bomb!
The gardens, its single houses, and the historic churches that date back to 1734, all had me falling in love with this city.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church was where George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshipped. Built in the 1750s, it is the oldest surviving religious structure.
Rainbow Row is the name for a series of thirteen colorful historic houses. The homes were restored in the 1930s and 1940s.
Stunning flower boxes were everywhere.
What I really fell in love with was the southern hospitality. It’s a REAL thing y’all!
One of the things we wanted to do while in Charleston was visit our friends, Brandy and John. We first met Brandy and John in North Palm Beach; they were our boat neighbors. They have a home on the ICW, so we were going to pull up to their dock and hang with them for a day…maybe two. Welp, here we are EIGHT days later and we’re still at their house. Yes, we are *those* friends that show up. AND. NEVER. LEAVE.
To back up a bit, we’ve been fighting a grey smoke issue for some time now and it’s been getting worse. Consensus was we were over-propped…basically the props are pushing too much water and overloading our engines. Sooooo, the boat was hauled out and the props went to a shop to get repitched. For the techie stuff, Rob promises to update his Captain’s Corner.
In the meantime, Brandy and John opened their beautiful home and hearts to us; which we are forever grateful! We were treated like rockstars! Dinners, drinks, carriage rides, but most of all friendship! God always has a way of putting you touch with the right people at the right time! I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. They are so incredibly genuine and have been so generous.
I had the privilege of touring Seabrook Plantation. I must have said “oh my gosh” a million times…what an experience! The house was built by William Seabrook in 1810 on 350 acres with magical views.
Good news for us (and for Brandy and John…lol)! The props are back and Nautilus is where she’s most happy…in the water!
Happy Easter and Happy Passover, everyone! May you be blessed with love and laughter! The Easter bunny will need to find me on the water as we are heading to Georgetown, South Carolina in the morning.
Day three had us cruising 84 miles from St. Augustine to St. Simons Island, Georgia. We cruised on the outside as the ICW through Georgia is winding and shallow in some areas. We’ve cruised that territory before and are not fans.
The ocean was bathtub flat; nothing but small waves rolling by. Unfortunately conditions changed as we approached the St. Simons Inlet. A storm was forming just northwest of us. Radar looked like we were in the clear, but the closer we got to shore the larger the storm grew. Massive lightning strikes were within 10 miles of us followed by loud boomers. Then the downpour, and what a downpour it was. Fortunately we were familiar with the channel into Morningstar Marina or we would’ve had a really hard time finding it. The crew grabbed its rain gear to prepare for docking. Captain Rob is a pro at this docking thing and he made it look easy even in these conditions. The rest of us, well we were soaked dealing with dock lines. Sometimes it pays to be the captain!
On Saturday, the bikini got tucked away and my extensive collection of bug spray came out. This could mean only one thing…we are in Georgia. Anyone love the scent Eau de DEET?! Not me! Hey no see’ums, I see you – and feel you too.
Morningstar Marina has a courtesy car, so on Sunday we provisioned and grabbed a quick beer. After all, it was National Beer Day! We then hit one of our favorite BBQ joints – Southern Soul. This place makes the best Brunswick Stew, ribs and burnt ends. Ever. It was even featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Back at the boat, we continued with our marathon of Yatzee and drinking, and then called it a night.
St. Simons Island to Thunderbolt and Savannah
On Monday, day 6, we continued for another 74 miles through Wilmington River to a beautiful anchorage in the Herb River, just south of Savannah. The river was deep so we felt comfortable with the anchorage. It also provided the backdrop for yet another amazing sunset.
As of today, we have cruised a total of 404 miles.
Day 7 brought us into Thunderbolt Marina. One mile as the crow flies from our anchorage spot to the Marina, but we were all glad to be docked for a bit, plus Thunderbolt made a great base camp to visit Savannah. AND…waking up to fresh, door to door delivery of Krispy Kreme Donuts was a huge selling point!
The mosquitos have followed us upstream and are packing a bigger bite! *Sigh* And not to be outdone by said mosquitos, there was a palmetto bug in my cabin. I let out the biggest scream, you woulda thought we were sinking. I’m not a bug fan…lol!
We spent 2 days visiting Savannah. What a charming city. It has that old world charm that I love about Europe. We binged at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, where we ate family style and passed around 27 different dishes. I’ve never had fried chicken like that in my life! We bumped into Paula Deen…just kidding, her store and restaurant are in Savannah. And yes, Paula I agree, everything is better with butter! We also visited the Prohibition Museum. What?!?! No alcohol for 13 years! Actually 21 years for Georgia because they went dry 8 years before prohibition!
I loved how much women were an influence in Savannah. From the historic Savannah Foundation, Juliette Low (founder of the Girl Scouts), the Ladies Hospital and the presence of women in the prohibition movement, the women of Savannah were a force to be reckoned with.
The homes and gardens were gorgeous…
As was the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Our last stop in Savannah was at the Pirate House for a rum drink where we learned about Three Sheets to the Wind, Hungover and being Shanghaied.
Unfortunately, our friends are leaving tomorrow. We’ve had such an incredible week with them onboard. So many great memories were made and we’ll miss not having them aboard. P.S. I’m thinking about Shanghaiing them! Wink, wink.
Tomorrow, Rob and I will head to Beaufort, SC and will cruise solo for the first time since leaving North Palm Beach. Wish us luck!
Let the adventure begin! We left North Palm Beach on Wednesday with our friends Doug and Sue. They are cruising with us to Savannah. They’re sailors themselves and make great boat guests. They also share our passion for travel and adventure.
It was like the dolphins knew today was the start of our looping adventure. They were out jumping for joy!
I love cruising the ICW through Jupiter and Hobe Sound. Lining the waterway were mansions and outrageous boats (I definitely had boat-itis) and the beautiful Jupiter Lighthouse. The day was pleasantly uneventful.
We cruised 62 miles to an anchorage just south of the Vero Beach Municipal Marina and were blessed with a beautiful sunset.
On Thursday we cruised from Vero Beach to Mosquito Bay which is just north of Cape Canaveral. Sue and I were on the bow when the boat in front of us drifted out of the channel, sideswiped Marker 52 and knocked it right off the piling! This guy was literally inches from hitting the piling head on! Rob immediately called him on the radio to check in with him. He didn’t have much to say other than he would call the Coast Guard to report the downed marker.
We passed through Haulover Canal, a mile long mangrove lined canal full of birds standing at attention and monitoring the waterway. Fisherman lined the sides of the canal. The canal took us to Mosquito Bay which is very shallow estuary with a narrow dredged channel that ran the full length.
It was starting to get late and we needed to find a place to anchor for the night. The charts showed only two small areas that were deep enough to anchor but we found our own area east of the channel which was 7 feet deep at low tide. Nautilus draws 4 feet. The anchor held tight and we got a good nights sleep although Rob checked it a couple times during the night.
Friday took us from Mosquito Bay to St. Augustine. Crazy what the definition of “slow pass” means to some people! I was driving when Mr. Testosterone passed on my port side. His wake was huge and it pushed me out of the narrow channel into 4 feet of water. Both the depth sounder and me were screaming. Thank gosh my Captain was standing by as he took the helm and regained control. The same guy waked someone else just north of us. That captain radioed Mr. Testosterone to *thank* him for the wake. His response was “then you should’ve bought an RV”. Other than this guy, everyone else on the water have been extremely courteous.
We moored on the #6 ball in St. Augustine Municipal Marina and enjoyed our cocktail and sunset of the day. Nautilus looked so beautiful just hanging off the ball. We’ve been to St. Augustine quite a few times before. We enjoy this quirky little town, plus our favorite Cuban restaurant, Columbia is here. We all hopped in the dinghy and went ashore. We strolled St. George Street, listened to live music bellowing from the many bars and ended the night with dinner and Sangria at Columbia. For the first time, we really felt like loopers.
Tomorrow we will be heading to St. Simons Island for a few days and will finally be out of Florida! So far we have cruised 240 miles.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!
There is really no way I can put into words the outpouring of love and support we received this weekend from our forever friends. Friday night was the bon voyage bash hosted by Betsy and Gordon. From the food and decorations, to the cake and singing, our friends went all out! I felt so aware of how great life really is!
Saturday night, the leftovers were moved over to Debbie and John’s house where they hosted the gang for more festivities (thanks for the use of your W/D, guys). Yayyy…I didn’t have to say goodbye to anyone the night before.
On Sunday, we had everyone over for pizza. It was fun to have everyone at our home. And, since we never formally christened Nautilus, it was a perfect time to do so! We performed the appropriate ceremony and asked the seas to watch over us.
What makes leaving easier is knowing these same friends will be cheering us along the Loop and will be waiting for us when we cross our wake!
It absolutely blows my mind to think that in five short days we officially become *Loopers* and start the adventure of a lifetime…Americas Great Loop! The Great Loop is a circumnavigation of the eastern United States and part of Canada. Our route will take us North on the Intercoastal Waterway, into the New York Harbor where we’ll pass right by Lady Liberty, through the Hudson River, into Canada, the Great Lakes, and then down the inland river system (Illinois River, Upper Mississippi, and the Tennessee River). We’ll then cruise through the Gulf of Mexico, making our way back to Florida where we started and “cross our wake.” We’ll cruise approximately 6,000 miles, traverse 140 locks and spend about 9 months for so on the water.
In 2017, we found *Molly*, a 48′ Ocean Alexander Classico. It was love at first sight. Within a month, she was ours! Boat names are very important. After throwing around what seemed like a hundred names, we appropriately named her Nautilus. The spiral shape of the Nautilus shell suggests that it can keep growing forever. There is no design for a final chamber. The creature must keep building new chambers as long as it lives. It cannot go back to the previous ones, they no longer fit. It cannot stay in its present space or it will die. It has no choice but to move on and on. It is a symbol for expansion and renewal! Perfect!
We purged most everything we owned and moved to South Florida where we have lived aboard full-time since October 2017. We’ve been busy working on countless boat projects, watching incredible sunrises, drinking, eating, and playing bocce ball. Did I mention drinking?!?! It’s a national pastime here in Florida.
The best part of Florida (and the hardest part about leaving) is the friends we have here. They are more than just friends, they are family! I can honestly say I’ve had some of the best times of my life. They are my tribe and each and every one of them has enriched my life so much! They are also some of the most generous people I know!
Off I go…our punch list of 32 items still has 5 remaining!