I was sure that once I left South Carolina I must have also left any chance of swimming with alligators. So when I looked at The Alligator River on the charts and I noticed that it resembled the shape of an alligator (or so i think!) I just decided that must be why they call it that. Clearly I was just ready to be done with worrying about little Captain Louie (or I) becoming snack food so I just told myself what I wanted to believe. We anchored right off the shore of the Alligator River Preserve and the sound of the frogs and other critters all night was both deafening and peaceful. And, yes, we did enjoy a very nice swim off the boat that evening. We didn’t see any alligators but it turns out indeed there are plenty there. I know… it’s called the ALLIGATOR RIVER!
The best part is we got to do some great sailing on the river. It felt like it had been weeks since I’d been able to turn off the motor and zip along under sail and it was fantastic. We set ourselves up for the night right at the north end to get an early start across the Albemarle Sound since Predict Wind called for 30 knots of “breeze” from the north the later the next day.
Enjoy this 360 degree video of sailing on the Alligator River (no alligators were seen).
We spent a night tied up at the RE Mayo Seafood Docks in Hobucken, NC. After seeing so many shrimp and crab boats (and crab pots everywhere!) it was great to see a working shrimp boat dock. We even picked up some shrimp to BBQ that night and it was the best I’ve ever eaten!
RE Mayo Seafood Docks is a tradition along the ICW and a great stop for fish, shrimp, scallops, and every possible boat part you could ever need! Wow… their store seriously has everything you need to fix your boat!
I hope you enjoy this 360 degree video of us leaving the docks. Pan around to see everything!
A couple weeks ago, Travis, self-proclaimed First Mate (a title he gives himself in this video and definitely has earned!), shows you the Bogue Sound from our bow. We had a really great day with some nice wind for sailing. We started off in Swansboro, NC after a night at Dudley’s Marina and were headed past Beaufort, NC to Sanitary Seafood because we were craving some delicious shrimp!
Unfortunately, I yet again had engine troubles once we started her back up. We were just a few miles from Morehead City, NC when the engine overheated. We dropped anchor and I tried to trouble shoot but everything that worked in the past did not work this time. As it was getting dark and we were in the ICW with no great place to anchor I called the tow boat and they quickly got us to Portside Marina in Morehead City. We stayed there a couple days and I got the engine fixed up (busted a hose clamp and had a badly leaking fresh water cooling hose). We also enjoyed some of the absolute best food I had in months at Floyd’s 1921. I will seriously go out of my way to stop here again just to eat at Floyds!
The wind noise is a little much in this video. Sorry! We were just so happy to have wind!!!
Crew member Monika, whom i connected with on the Facebook Group “Women Who Sail”, joined me for the trip from Brunswick, GA to Charleston, SC. We spent 30 hours at sea with little to no wind but had a beautiful night on the water. Storms were building all around us but we were right in the middle of a calm clear area. It was both eery and beautiful. This 360 degree video was shot about 15 miles off shore from Beaufort, SC.
Exactly 2 weeks after arriving in Florida I sailed (and motored) across the border into Georgia. Did I plan to be in Georgia? Well, no. But, storms and boat stuff change my plans just about every day… that’s all part of sailing. It’s great to have a plan but it’s vital to be ready to improvise!
Now, I am tucked into a great little marina in Brunswick, Georgia where I just enjoyed my first cruisers happy hour gathering at the marina lounge. Yes! And… to cruisers’ happy hours! OMG this marina has free beer on tap. Is it PBR? Yup. Is it free? Enjoy it. Met a great group of cruisers, most of whom have just made there way back here from a season in the Bahamas and many that have recently sold there houses and are just starting their new lives afloat. I plan to interview some of them soon and introduce you to them and their stories.
I’ll be here for a couple weeks to make some repairs and improvements to the boat and get ready for more visitors or a solo trip north. Will I make it to NY this summer? At this point I’d be pretty psyched to get to the Chesapeake Bay! Wherever I am it will be an adventure and I plan to always stay open to the possibilities each day presents.
Enjoy this 360 degree video of Becca, Kim, and I (and little Capt’ Lou) crossing over into Georgia and celebrating with a little St. Augustine Distillery bourbon. (remember, use your mouse to move the view anyway you want to look!)
After a night at sea, we tucked in at St. Augustine to check out the town and figure out our next move. We stayed at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, which is just south of the Bridge of Lions. This bridge was built in 1925 and is a bascule bridge (the spans lift up). It only opens on the hour and half hour and not during certain hours (like noon). The currents are also very strong here which we found out the hard way when we got pinned against the docks trying to back out of the slip! 😦
Enjoy looking around as we motor through the bridge on our way north up the ICW.
I have to say that the phrase “a plume of tropical moisture” does have a nice ring to it. But, when you are trying to sail a boat up the coast of Florida it makes for very tough going! “Persistent downpours douse Florida” and “The rainy season in Florida will continue indefinitely” is how Accuweather is describing what I am soaking up each day!
I don’t mind the rain so much as the very powerful storms with high winds and lightning. When I woke up this morning I was alerted that meteorologists were watching a tropical depression potentially forming that would affect Florida and the Bahamas. So… Although it was a beautiful sunny morning, there were some nasty looking clouds moving swiftly towards me. Taking precautions, I reserved a slip at a marina just about 12 nautical miles up the intracoastal from my really pleasant anchorage last night just off the coast guard station in Ft. Pierce (note: if you anchor in front of the coast guard it is likely that they will board and inspect your boat. If you have a cute little dog in a life vest that sits on their lap they will likely miss something, just saying. They talked of taking Louie with them… ummm, no.)
So, of course, after docking at the marina (which costs more money than i can be spending – and, after asking at the next door Vero Beach Yacht Club for reciprocal docking (no go!) – Louie and I did some boat work and laundry as we watched the skies produce the most beautiful sunny day yet. Ugh… better safe than sorry? Well, tomorrow I might just push on anyway.
I must say though that Louie had a great day getting a couple walks and sharing french fries at the burger stand in Vero Beach.
I have another crew coming tomorrow. We were supposed to scoop her up in St. Augustine but we are quite behind schedule so she is renting a car to drive down to meet us. Hopefully Sunday we will head off shore and aim for South Carolina!
Things to fix at this point in no particular order:
dinghy motor (no idea if it even works have yet to try)
water in starboard bilge and bilge pump not working (okay this is priority!)
fridge (works on 110v but not turning on off the grid)
oh my gosh i am boring both of us. enough.
I hope you enjoy the 2 minutes of 360 degree video I shot today while on motoring up the intracoastal waterway near Vero Beach. Also, I read that the 1,300 pound great white shark named Hilton is currently swimming near by. Sorry, no footage of that.
It was a pretty uneventful and easy flight from San Diego to West Palm Beach. Arrived late at night so spent a night in a Motel 6 because they are dog friendly and less than $100/night. Those were the only good things about it!
The next morning I swung by West Marine for the first of many many trips there. Picked up the autopilot wheel kit I had pre-ordered to replace the one that had broken as the boat was being delivered. Also stopped at Trader Joe’s to start provisioning (getting food!).
Indiantown marina certainly isn’t convenient as it is 50 minutes from Palm Beach airport and 40 minutes from Stuart for closest shopping. It’s a nice little quiet place though. It was hot and sunny upon arrival and I worked up a good sweat hauling stuff from the car to the boat and unpacking into the early evening.
My first full day at the boat I spent mostly at Walmart! Yikes, for real it took me about four hours to get everything on my list … over a thousand dollars of boat supplies, food, tools, etc. I did find a lot of things there that would be way more expensive at West Marine though!
After that I got Louie his artificial grass so he can do his “business” on the boat. (He already used it late last night! Woot!). I also made my second trip to West Marine for more parts and new genoa sheets (ropes to control the head sail).
The second night on the boat the storms started rolling in and I got little sleep due to Louie freaking out and pacing and panting. I did get him settled down somewhat though. All day today it’s been storming but I’ve managed to get lots of needed work done (or started!) such as tracing some leaks from rain (grrrrr!!!!), leaking toilet, autopilot, dinghy inflating and hole patching, checking for LPG leaks, replacing genoa sheets, etc, etc, etc. there will never NOT be something to repair or improve. The plan was to start out tomorrow but that is pushed back one day due to storms, Kim’s plane delay (my friend Kim is coming to sail offshore with me to Charleston, SC!), and a couple more things that have to be tested and/or repaired before leaving the dock. Just tonight I found out the anchor light doesn’t work! What will I discover tomorrow? :).
The goal of this blog is to inspire with adventures both planned and more often improvised. However, I know many people are interested to hear how the boat is and what I’m doing to get this adventure started. The short version… spending money, getting soaked in the rain, and working my butt off to get this ship off the dock!
Setting east along the St. Lucie Canal on Wednesday and if all systems are go(ish) Thursday morning we will sail offshore with the goal of St. Augustine (about a two day non-stop sail looking at current forecast)
Had an amazing birthday and last day in San Diego before flying to Florida to the boat! Walked Captain Louie along my favorite San Diego place Sunset Cliffs, relaxing lunch and cocktails at San Diego Yact Club, and finished packing my SEVEN bags before heading to the theater. Thank you to all my amazing friends at Finest City Improv for an incredible party!