Saturday, December 24, 2011

Miami Vice

The K'dults arrived Thursday for some Christmas Cruisin' in the Keys. We stayed at anchor just off the Venetian Causeway island of DiLido between Miami and Miami Beach. Just after dinner a commotion was noticed in one of the houses lining the harbor: Silhouettes of Police Officers with flashlights in hand were seen on the dock - intently searching the water and photographing trees. A few were on the second story deck.

A scramble for Freedom's three sets of binoculars ensued, we dimmed the salon and galley lights (but kept the Football game on) and headed to the cockpit. Questions were shot back and forth from mouths beneath the binos: "Is someone in the water?" "Wasn't there a construction crew there earlier? Maybe they stole something" "Could this be related to the road closing earlier that blocked all traffic coming and going to the island?" "Is that a gun?" "Can the cops see us?"

After a great deal of supposing at our end we noticed that the officers had left, and we returned to the football game,the dishes, the Internet, etc.

Within a few minutes, though, the house lights went on and a woman in skimpy black dress- or negligee - and a shirtless, well built man in shorts appeared, walking about, picking things up, putting them down, looking outside (oh no, are they looking at us looking at them?)Soon the woman reappeared in a red dress -- possibly a coverup for the black negligee. They were still pacing about as if they were searching for something. Finally, the man opened the sliding doors facing the water and they sat down to eat.

Once again we returned to what we had been doing, but the questions, conjecturing and supposing continued...

About midnight A. noticed a small boat with three men in black clothing nearing our stern. When they saw her they quickly squelched their light, and turned off the engine. As they drifted towards shore they pulsed a flashlight three times,as if sending a signal. She and C. followed their movements until a second boat appeared, also unlit and appearing to tow the first boat away - all in complete silence.
What was it all about? We'll never know - but we sure could have used Crockett and Tubbs...

*****Late breaking update: Intrepid Reporter and All Around Good Guy, our friend Jeff searched the internet and found mention of a burglary on Di Lido Island that very night. The homeowners discovered a break-in upon returning from work.Electronics, jewelry, and a bike were taken. Entry was made through the living room (waterside)door. It was the 5th such burglary in 2 months.Were the guys in the power boats involved? Or just fashionable men dressed in black returning from a night at the Miami Beach Clubs without enough gas to get home? Like I said, we'll never know.*****

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Back Where She Came From

Here is Freedom anchored off the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale - right where we found her about a year ago. After a fresh fish dinner on shore and a tour of Christmas Lights along the Waterway, we had a restful night before heading south to Miami.
Thank you to our friend and crewmate this week, Jeff, for snapping this photo. Aren't the clouds beautiful?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ready for the Winter

The Captain and I returned to Florida last week with two large duffles filled with everything from shorts to our favorite coffee to a hammock. After 3 trips to Publix ( one by car, two by bike)for groceries and Christmas lights; 2 trips to West Marine; and 1 trip to Total Wine and More, Freedom was stocked and ready for winter cruising.

We spent the weekend stowing supplies, and exploring Stuart before fueling up and heading out this morning. Destination: Miami, where we'll be meeting the K'dults later this week.

As an Ocean Trawler, Freedom does not go very fast (8 kts/hour on average), but consequently she does not burn much diesel. Today was the first time we have taken on fuel since we left the Chesapeake Bay, over 1200 miles ago. Typically we might use 1 gallon/mile, but on our trip south we used only .7 gallons per mile. As recovering sailors, we're feeling pretty good about that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Boats Along the Waterway

We see all sorts of boats along the ICW -- everything from jet-skis to shrimpers. And like the Tugs, some are bright and shiny and some have seen better days. Here is a small sampling of what we saw on our trip south:

Sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay...

Look at the scoop of her wake...

I love the Shrimpers....

Tug Boats

We see a good deal of commercial traffic along the ICW -- and I really enjoy the Tug Boats -- the workhorses any waterway. Some are big, some are bigger, some bright and shiny, some with a little rust under her belt, but they all have a job to do.

I love the red tugs owned by McAllister -- always in spit-spot shape -- and sporting an "M"! Here is one tied up off Mobjack Bay:

We see a lot of dredging equipment along the ICW (without consistent dredging, the Waterway would be unpassable for all but the most shallow-drafted boat). The dredges work all night, while the pleasure boaters are at anchor or in marinas. Here are two tugs bringing along a dredge near great Bridge, VA. When you see one of these big rigs come by, you get out of the way - fast!

And here's a Tug tugging a Tug

The Tug Boat Captains are always friendly, giving us a hearty wave or calling us on the radio. They are a good source of local knowledge and in my opinion, have a cool job!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Greetings from Stuart, Florida

We pulled into our slip Loggerhead Marina, Stuart, Florida about 10:40AM yesterday (Saturday, 11/19/11). With 1,194 miles under her, Freedom will be taking a well deserved rest before a Christmas jaunt to the Keys.

We all relaxed yesterday afternoon, and the Captain caught up with an old friend late in the day while Kate and I took a walk. It felt good to stretch our legs after 4 days away from the dock. Shore about 1/4 mile from our slip, and the marina amenities are another quarter mile - no lack of exercise here!

Many of the boats we have passed along the Waterway are tied up here too, it has been fun to say hello and hear about everyone's future travel plans.

Typically, the day before a guest leaves we ask them to help us swab the decks. It's become a tradition, something we look forward to, and something we don't mention until we hand them a hose and a mop .... Kate was a good sport about helping the Captain this morning while I stayed inside to watch the Food Network, oops, I mean to clean the galley and vacuum.

Once I am back on land and using reliable Internet, I hope to upload many of the pictures from our southbound journey. Keep checking back......

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Counting the Miles

Previous posts have included our mile posts along the ICW. But we have actually traveled further than those numbers indicate. Mile 0 of the Atlantic IntraCoastal Water is located at Norfolk, VA. Before arriving at Mile 0 we traveled approximately 180 miles from the Sassafras River.

Right now we are anchored at Mile 904.5 just south of Cocoa Beach (no sightings of Jeannie or Major Nelson yet). So, all in all we have 1,084.5 miles of water under Freedom, and about 90 more to go before we pull into our slip in Stuart on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hilton Head to Daytona, Miles 563 to 830

I had to end my Saturday update sooner than planned because of a sudden onset of ocean malaise. After a good rest on the settee, and a few gingersnaps ordered by crew member Dr. Bill I was up and about and able to enjoy our day off shore. (I love a Dr. who prescribes cookies, don't you?)

It really was a spectacularly beautiful day, and at the end we were treated to a remarkable sunset just as we anchored in Fernandina Harbor. It was a long but good day - we knew we weren't sailboating anymore when the football fans aboard were able to watch the PSU game while we motored 5 miles out!

Sunday was a day of rest, after the guys scrubbed the ocean salt off of Freedom and I got things back in ship shape order on the inside. Fernandina is a great stop -- a beautiful town to walk about, nice shops, friendy people on the docks. An International Bocce Ball Tournament going on while we were there. We never got to the tourney grounds, but we enjoyed the live music that went on all day and into the evening.

On Monday morning we said good-bye to Al and Bill and headed south to St. Augustine where we picked up this week's crew, my sister Kate. It took a while to get her onboard - the current required some extra work securing the mooring and the dinghy battery proved to be in need of a charge. Fortunately, the marina was able to give her a ride on their harbor boat.
Tuesday was another day off the Waterway, as we toured St. Augustine (I wouldn't recommend the Trolley Tour -- although it gave us a good overview of America's Oldest City, we also spent a lot of time turning around in parking lots.)

S.A. was founded in 1565 as a Spanish Military outpost. According to Dozier's Waterway Guide, it is "the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the U.S." 19th Century Spanish Renaissance architecture is prevalent.
Henry Flagler, tycoon, real estate and railroad developer and a founder of Standard Oil (along with JD Rockefeller) contributed a great deal to the development of St. Augustine. His Ponce deLeon Hotel, built in 1888 is now home to Flagler College. The lush grounds and exquisite architecture create a college setting unlike any I have seen.
Our timing was a bit off and we missed the tours of Flagler College, and the chance to see one of the best collections of Tiffany Stained Glass in the country. A good reason to stop back in St.Augustine in the spring!

I had read that Columbia was considered to be one of the best Cuban restaurants in Florida, so that is where we headed for dinner. Delicioso!

Another highlight of our day in S.A. was meeting fellow CCAers and Selene owners Jack and Diane who are aboard Airlia. We look forward to seeing them again along the Waterway or at a Florida Station CCA event.

We headed out just before 6:30 AM today following a long line of boats in the early morning fog. Tonights anchorage is just south of Daytona Beach, near R 44 where we are enjoying the 80 degree temperatures and a good breeze. Might be a good night for Margarita's on the Calypso Deck!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Martha's Galley

Astute readers may have noticed that I have a new companion food blog: Martha's Galley. It will combine my at sea and on shore cooking adventures. Once I get back to my PC, and reliable Internet, I will move my past posts from Freedom Fare to Martha's Galley. Until then, check out Martha's Galley to see what I'm cookin' now.

Saturday Update

It's a good thing we keep a daily Boat Log, including everything from engine hours to notable sitings throughout the day. After a busy week it is helpful be able to look back and see all the places we have been.

After leaving our anchorage at mile 141 on Sunday morning we headed for Beaufort, NC. The Pamlico Sound and the Neuse River proved to be more bark than bite making for an easy trip to Beaufort, NC. Dolphins played off our bow as we neared Beaufort.
We delayed our departure Monday morning for a chance to visit the NC Maritime Museum. In addition to its ever changing exhibit of artifacts from Blackbeard's ship Queen Anne's Revenge - which was sank in 1718 in the Beaufort shoals inlet - the museum houses an interesting display of techniques used to rescue crew and passengers from shipwrecks along the NC coast, replicas of NC workboats, and an impressive maritime library.
Beaufort itself is a charming waterfront town. The main street is lined with homes featuring plaques with the year of construction - some dating back to the 1700's and the name of the original owner - we suspect most of them were ship captains.

After leaving Beaufort we headed for Swansboro, NC where our "crew" for the week, Al and Bill were waiting for us on the dock at Casper's Marina. The lines were barely tied and I jumped off, map and reusable shopping bag in hand, to head to the local Piggly Wiggly. (I Dig the Pig). It was a race against time, as I needed to complete the 1.5 mile round trip and get my shopping done in a strange store before the sun set one hour later. I made it with time to spare thanks to a ride for last few block from the Casper's daughter who saw me lugging my heavy bag down the street.
Our long awaited trip to Cap'n Charlie's Seafood Paradise was once again denied when we discovered they are closed on Mondays.

Tuesday morning were off the dock at 6:20 (actually a bit later than usual). We had an uneventful cruise along the Bogue Sound to Southport, doing our best to arrive at the low bridges in sync with their scheduled openings. Taking advantage of the low tide we tied down our antennas to allow us to sneak under the Wrightsville Beach Bridge with inches to spare, and saving us a 30 minute wait for the next opening.
A sunset walk through Southport's neighborhoods rnevealed front porches with swings, cushioned rocking chairs, and lighted table lamps all beckoning you to come and sit a spell. It was all the Captain could do to keep me on the sidewalk.

From Southport we continued along the Bogue Sound through the feared areas known as the Rock Pile, where the slightest move off course could result in an unintended encounter with jagged pieces of granite lying just below the surface. We survived that area better than we did some new shoaling near Lockwoods Folly Inlet!

After 12 hours on the water we anchored in Winyah Bay, just off ICW Mile 410. It was a beautiful moonlit night.

In celebration of the warming weather, the Captain wore shorts on Thursday morning as we headed south past Charleston. From there two tug boats led us along the Stono River and the North Edisto River until we turned off into a quiet, isolated anchorage in Toogoodoo Creek. We were clearly in the South Carolina Low Country.

Friday brought us a colder morning with temperatures in the 40's. We passed Beaufort, SC (the Captain's ancestral home) on our way to Hilton Head Island. I'll write about that in my next entry.

Right now we have "gone outside" - meaning we are in the ocean bypassing the shallow waters of the Georgia ICW and taking the faster route to Fernandina Beach, FL. The seas are calm, and we can see a few other boats on the horizon, either fishing for the day or sharing our journey south.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We Survived the Rock Pile!

And the 4 kt current in Elliott Cut just after Charleston (where the current can be so strong it will turn boats sideways). Just in case you were wondering......

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Heading for the Rockpile - Mile 350ish

Tomorrow ( Wednesday) we will cross the Rock Pile -- an area near Myrtle Beach fraught with potential danger as we dodge submerged pieces of granite. With four sets of eyes and some good sense on board we should be fine. Wish us luck and stay tuned....

Another Kind of Freedom

 Just after we tied up in Beaufort, NC the other day, this beauty arrived.

Isn't she lovely?  Although her name is now Freedom (great choice!) the Captain suspects that she was once known as Sequoia, aka the Presidential Yacht!  You never know who you might meet on the ICW....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cue Willie Nelson (Mile 141 - 205)

On the Waterway Again. After a two day, three night weather-induced break we were up and on our way before 7 this morning. As we left our creek we encountered a line of southbound boats resuming their travels now that the winds have calmed.
The end of Day Light Savings Time will adjust our travel schedule a bit -- (even)earlier mornings and earlier anchorings each evening. We have amended our plans and will bypass Oriental, NC and instead stay at Beaufort (pronounced Bo-fort), NC tonight. I'm looking forward to a chance to get on shore and take a walk, and possibly visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum featuring artifacts from Blackbeard's flagship Queen Anne's Revenge found in the shoals of Beaufort Inlet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hunkered Down at ICW Mile 141

We were up and away from the dock before 7AM yesterday (Thursday 11/3) amid a long line of boats heading south. The day dawned clear and cool, but as soon as we left the Coinjock canal we were enrobed in a thick fog with zero visibility past the bow. Knowing we were in the midst of such a long line of boats brought comfort and concern. Radio calls let us know who was where, but from time to time a boat would appear at our stern and just as quickly disappear into the fog ahead. Some boats were forging ahead at a questionable speed and others, like us, were cautiously moving forward just above idle. Once or twice a panicked call came across the radio warning a fellow mariner to make a hard turn to port or starboard, lest they run aground or hit another boat. It was a tense time. After a white knuckle hour a call came over the radio announcing: "All you boaters heading south in fog: once you reach mark 151 you will find a beautiful sunny day." In fact, the fog lifted for us a bit before #151 and we enjoyed a crystal clear skies, calm waters, and a gorgeous fall day. The line of boats heading out of Coinjock sorted out by speed with the faster boats disappearing in the distance, and Freedom overtaking most of the sailboats. We followed Duet across the Albemarle Sound, down the Alligator River, across the Alligator-Canal, and along the Pungo River until we decided to call it a day after over 10 hours on the water, and duck into our favorite creek just before the Pamlico Sound.

We were up and dressed before sunrise today, but with a check of the weather forecast for rain and gale winds over the next two days, and only 90 miles to travel until we pick up crew on Monday, we decided to stay put. As we wait for the skies to clear we'll be doing chores, reading, watching movies, checking the anchor, and enjoying the beauty of this isolated creek. A sailboat and another trawler are within sight, but in light of the weather forecast, I don't think there will be any visiting among the fleet.

Small World on the Waterway - Coinjock, ICW Mile 50

After a late departure from Great Bridge/Chesapeake, VA on Wednesday (we spent the morning waiting for a repairman who never arrived) we safely arrived in Coinjock, NC, the second last boat to tie-up at the dock.

Several of us were arriving at about the same time, but the dockhands got us in quickly and closely - the anchor of the boat behind us hung over our cockpit! Once tied up, most boat owners and crew jump on the dock, some with beer in hand, for a chance to stretch, put face to names we heard on the radio all day, and talk over What had happened on the Waterway that day (for us, why Freedom had suddenly drifted off course into shallow waters -- all we can guess that the AutoPilot chose an inopportune time to take it's union break!)

As we strolled the dock we stopped to admire a rugged looking trawler with lines similar to Freedom. As we were comparing boats, the owner stepped into the cockpit and revealed that his boat was hull #1 of the boat line that eventually became Selene. When introductions were made, all of a sudden we realized why Duet and her owner seemed so familiar: 10 years, and 2 boats ago, we were docked at the the same marina in Rock Hall, and when we sold our Jarvis Newman lobster hull, Duet took our slip!

Friendships are made easily on the Waterway, and we enjoyed dinner at the Coinjock restaurant with Duet's owners Carsten and Peg. Veterans of the Waterway and wintering and cruising in Florida and the Bahamas, Carsten and Peg were able to give us lots of ideas for where to go and what to do in those waters -

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the Waterway

After 2 1/2 nauseating days bouncing down the Chesapeake Bay, we entered the IntraCoastal Waterway in Norfolk early afternoon today. The commercial traffic was heavy at times, but I was happy to be in calmer waters. The Captain and I handled the Great Bridge Lock with relative ease, and tonight we are tied up at Atlantic Yacht Basin awaiting a quick repair tomorrow morning before heading towards Coinjock and dinner ashore.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Captain!

We spent the Captain's birthday bouncing down the bay. We left Solomon's Island in the early morning mist, slowly leading a parade of south bound boats out of the anchorage.

Freedom is now settled on the East River of Mobjack Bay -- not much color on the trees down here, so we are enjoying Fall anew.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Long Goodbye

Late summer and fall went by quickly as we brought Freedom back to the Chesapeake Bay, enjoyed a week long Rally with pthe Cruising Club of America and the Royal Thames Yacht Club, traveled (by air) to the west coast for the St. Francis Yacht Club's Men's and Women's Cruises and the National CCA meeting in Seattle, and made preparations to head south for the better part of the winter.

We planned, packed and provisioned in anticipation of departing yesterday October 29. Then Snowtober happened. With snow and gusts up to 40kts in the forecast we decided to stay put for another day, spending the day stowing gear, shopping at Walmart, napping and enjoying a second night of farewell drinks and dinner with friends along the Sassafras.

There was ice on the docks this morning as we pulled out of our slip at Sailing Associates and began our 1200 miles journey south. With the gulls as our escorts, we were ready.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Change in Plans

I was all set to post about last weekend's adventures on Monday morning. Freedom was being hauled for some repairs to the rudder and I thought I would pass the time by catching up with this blog and visiting the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Unfortunately, Freedom needs more repairs than originally anticipated, so we have abandoned our summer cruise plans. In fact, after a few busy days of clearing out and off the boat, we are back home.

Keep reading as I post more stories and pictures of our travels. But for now, the reversing falls on the St. John River will have to wait.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anyone Out There?

I have had a few requests for instructions on posting comments. here's the 411:

At the end of a post there will be a line saying (typically up to now) 0 Comments.
Click on that and a white box will pop up where you can write something.

Don't be shy! It's not hard, you don't have to say much, it's just that I always look forward to hearing from you. And then we can say goodbye to the number '0'.

So, let the commenting begin...

A Brief Interruption...

Please excuse this brief interruption in my happy, carefree cruise narration:

Dear Apple,

What do you have against Blogger, and the legions of bloggers who have purchased your expensive, yet oh so cool, iPad? All we want to do is post to our blogs, pictures included, from the road, or water in my case. And all you have done is made this impossible, reason unknown. Okay not impossible but awkward, and not "intuitive" like your products are said to be. So, today, Mr. Jobs and friends, call me annoyed.

First Mate Martha
Currently anchored in Woods Hole, MA

Posted above are 2 pictures Mr. J and friendsdidn'tt want me to put out there: Rainbow over Newport, and the Captain, Carla and Tyler enjoying the Calypso Deck in Edgartown.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Martha's Vineyard

We've spent the last two nights off Martha's Vineyard, first in Vineyard Haven and last night in the Edgartown Harbor. Not long after we moored in Vineyard Haven the Captain called my attention to a sailboat anchored about three boats away.I pulled out the binoculars to get a closer look and to confirm the Captain's suspicions. There she was: The Sabre 452 formerly known as Freedom: our 'old' boat, now known as Alliance. We knew she was also cruising up this way from her home port in Rock Hall, MD, but what are the chances we would all end up in the same harbor?

The shores here are dotted with shingled homes, some big, some small and and some mega-sized. And the harbors are filled with a similar assortment of boats. There is a lot to look at! We ate dinner at the famous Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven (I know you've seen the t-shirts), and stopped for ice cream at Mad Martha's, where I also snagged a hat. Last night we avoided the crowds and stayed on board to enjoy Salmon BLT's on the Calypso Deck. It was a beautiful clear evening, with a cool breeze sending us all down below for fleece jackets. A welcome relief after the string of 100+ temperatures last week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heat Relief

One week ago: Even the swimming pool was too hot. Tonight: Wearing a fleece jacket. Sweet!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cruising Along

Freedom's engines were fired up Monday at 6am and with the Manhattan skyline barely visible in the distance, soon we were heading east across the Long Island Sound, destination Stonington, CT. It was an uneventful day, few boats were out and we made it to our (first) mooring at Dodson's Boatyard about 3:30. Some technical difficulties with the mooring necessitated a call to the dock master. Happily, they led us to a second, more protected mooring, and it wasn't long until we were secured.

According to our guidebook, "Stonington lays claim to having the most beautiful harbor on the East Coast." We will let you know what we think when our trip is complete. Stonington is also home to Connecticut's only fishing fleet.

We hoped to have another early start today, giving us the opportunity to visit with friends and family in Rhode Island later in the day, but we had to delay our departure while we waited for the water maker repairman. Yes, Freedom can make her own water -- don't ask me how. At a rate of 35 gallons an hour, we can go great distances, and take daily showers, without a stop at the dock - as long as all is going well. After not to long we were on our way and we are now anchored off of Jamestown Rhode Island.

Like any harbor there is lots to look at. Just after we anchored yesterday the afternoon sailing class came through the mooring field - the Optimist sailors singing, laughing, commenting on the boats nearby, and having a grand time. Late this afternoon the Captain
stepped into the cockpit just in time to see our friends Jack and Laura Gregg from Philadelphia sail by - a complete surprise for all.

Tomorrow we head for Martha's Vineyard where we will meet Carla and Tyler for a week of cruising Northward. A portent of good luck and happy days ahead was seen in the sky:A rainbow over Newport.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

North to Canada

Freedom is floating north, destination: the St. John River, New Brunswick, Canada. This is a big adventure for us, and has taken a good amount of thought, planning, provisioning*, and just plan old figurin'. So far, planes, trains and automobiles have been needed to get the crew on and off the boat, and we have only just begun....

The trip began on July 16th, leaving from the Sassafras River, Maryland and stopping in Cape May New Jersey for 3 days. With the Captain's sister, brother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law along as crew they headed towards Atlantic Highlands, NJ to pick up a cousin and his family for the trip through New York City. A unique and memorable way to the see the Big Apple! Freedom is anchored at the Noroton Yacht Club in Darien, Connecticut for the weekend while the Captain and crew enjoy a mini family reunion.

We took a lot of water over the bow as we traveled across the Delaware Bay en route to Cape May. We were lucky to find these very cute cousins (Julia and Monica) to clean off all that salt!

Wait a minute ladies...what's in those red cups? I guess they heard we can't bring all of our liquor into Canada.

*Head over to to read all about provisioning.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back on the Bay

By 6:30 AM we had made the Great Bridge Bridge 6AM opening and successfully passed through the Great Bridge Lock in Virginia.
Here's a look at the "ruler" inside the lock indicating how far you will rise or fall -- we only fell 1 foot.

It was very anti-climatic. Not at all like the Erie Canal locks I rode through on a tour boat.

As you can see here, we traversed the lock at sunrise. The lightening skies and morning quiet really added to the experience. This was good,, since it was such a non-event. Christine and I were quite disappointed. But, props to the Captain and Andy for knowing how to tie the lines and make it all work.

Joining us in the Lock was the Captain and Crew of the Mary Kathryn whom we had met waiting out the storm in Charleston. We are now running up the Chesapeake Bay together, destination: Solomons Island for a night at anchor before heading to Annapolis tomorrow (Sunday).
Before entering the Bay we traveled through Norfolk Harbor, under the watchful eye of gunners and patrol boats protecting the naval fleet. At 8AM, Mid-way through the harbor, we cheered as we passed Mile 0 of the Atlantic IntraCoastal Waterway. Freedom has now explored over 1,000 miles of the ICW, from the party at the sand bar off of Key Biscayne to the industrial and military waterfront of Norfolk.
We are now in familiar waters, dodging crab pots and letting the autopilot steer our way north.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Local Papers

Local Papers

Whenever we go ashore we try to pick up a newspaper and catch up on what’s happening in town and around the world. We can always read the latest news via apps on our phones -- as long as there is internet service -- or catch the news-loop on CNN, but there is no better way to tune into the local culture than the paper -- be it a big city daily or a small town weekly.

Over the past several days we have picked up papers in Charleston, SC (multi-sectioned daily); Georgetown, SC (2 section daily); and Swansboro, NC (1 section weekly, plus inserts from Piggly Wiggly and the like). I was not the only crew member to peruse the obituaries in each paper and notice that everyone passes on differently in each location. In Charleston, you “go to rest in eternal peace.” In Georgetown, the departed “go home to be with the Lord,” and in Swansboro, well there you just “die.”

The expression we enjoyed most was from our friend Jim in South Carolina, who simply says you “step off the bus.”

Take your pick -- just not too soon.

Over the River and Under the Bridges

We have been in some remote locations and internet service has been very spotty this week, preventing me from keeping up with the blog. Here is a recap of our week:

Mile 309 - 229
After Monday’s adventure through the rockpile, Tuesday brought us a series of bridges through northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina. Many bridges along the ICW are 65 feet or higher, but others are anywhere from 7 to 12 feet. Freedom needs 26’. Some bridges open on the hour every hour, some on the hour and the half hour, and some by request. Some of those are drawbridges and some are swing bridges. Before every bridge on Tuesday we asked the question: do we throttle up and go for it, or slow down, relax and wait for the next opening? It made for some exciting moments, particularly when the tender of a “once an hour opening” bridge told us we needed to “put a beat on it” and that we did, just slipping through at the last minute. Phew!

Meanwhile on Freedom, Christine organized my galley -- what a treat! I’ll write more about that later on our companion blog, FreedomFare

We spent Tuesday night at Casper's Marina in Swansboro, SC where we foolishly ignored advice to go to Cap’n Charlie’s Seafood Paradise Restaurant.

Mile 229 - 141
Wednesday’s trip was much more relaxing than Monday or Tuesday’s - but just as long, covering 88 miles. We bid farewell to our cruising companions Gene and Carol on September Rose as they turned into Oriental, NC, and we continued on up the Nuese River. The Nuese’s wide body reminded us all of the Chesapeake Bay - a welcome relief after the narrow and rocky waterways of the past few days.

Wednesday night we found a remote, pristine anchorage off near the mouth of the Pungo River. The meandering shores were lined with grasses as far as the eye could see. Some locals stopped by, out for their first ride of the season, to say hello and ask where we were coming from and where we were going. The first and last boat we saw all night.

Mile 141 - 104
Right now (Thursday evening)I am writing at anchor at Tuckahoe Point on the Alligator River. We stopped here just after noon upon hearing the swing bridge a few miles ahead had been closed due to high winds (gusts up to 30 mph). We can see at least a dozen other boats at anchor waiting out the weather. Although the bridge opened a few hours ago we decided to stay put for the night. The Albermarle Sound lays ahead, and it should only be crossed in the best conditions -- even in an ocean going vessel like Freedom. It turns out to be a gift from Mother Nature -- we have all enjoyed the chance to rest, read, and recharge for the final days of our trip. Scrabble Tournament after dinner.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rolling Down the Rivers

We have made great progress on our journey over the past few days - covering 90 miles on Monday and 80 miles yesterday(Tuesday). That might not sound like a lot, but on the ICW it is like working double overtime.

On Sunday night we stopped in Georgetown, SC -- a beautiful southern town with tree lined streets, graceful homes with porches, and a church on every corner (or so it seemed). Georgetown, founded in 1729, is South Carolina's third oldest city (after Charleston and Beaufort) but it is also the probable site of the first European settlement in North America in 1526. Unfortunately, Sunday is truly a day of rest in Georgetown and no shops or museums were open. We had hoped to visit the Rice Museum -- this was major rice growing area until the Civil War and several devastating hurricanes wiped out most of the industry. I look forward to returning to Georgetown to take a walking tour of the city, visit the Rice Museum, sample the Hog Maw at Aunny's Country Kitchen Restaurant, and enjoy the chocolate chip cookies (rumored to be the best on the ICW) at the Kudzu Bakery and Mercantile.

Christine and I had hoped to be able to stop in at the Kudzu Bakery at 9AM Monday morning but the Captain and the tide had other plans.So, we were off, following September Rose, another Selene from Annapolis, through the cypress swamps along the Waccama River. This was the most remote and beautiful stretch of the ICW I have encountered. For most of the day we had no cell or internet service. While doing my TRX in the cockpit, I spied several bald eagles in their nests - some tending to their young. Leaving the swamps we grasped the steering wheel and entered The Rock Pile. When the ICW was established a cut needed to be made at Pine Island, SC. Undeterred by the granite ledge they discovered, the Army Corps of Engineers simply detonated the rock, leaving the rocky debris along the shore. At first, the ICW was wide and deep, but over the years, shifting tides have moved the rocks closer and closer to the boat traffic. If you go through at low tide you can see some of these errant rock piles, but at high tide they are submerged requiring diligent attention to the depth sounder and remaining on the "Magenta Line" -- the color of the line on paper charts depicting the path of the ICW. One false move and you are heading in for repairs. After a long but scenic day, we settled into a slip in Southport , SC where we enjoyed dinner aboard and girls vs. boys round of Catch Phrase.
Just before bed we looked out the window to see a row of three tugs pulling a minimum of 5 connected barges carrying dredging equipment -- quite a sight in the dark,and a convoy we would not want to encounter during the day in the narrow and shallow passages of the ICW. A long, busy and varied day --and I still haven't told you about Tuesday!.
Here is what one of the barge dredging convoys looks like in daylight. We came to realize they stay put during the day to avoid pleasure craft, and travel the ICW at night when folks like us are safely at anchor or at a dock.

Freedom Fitness

As soon as we tie up at a Marina and tidy up a bit the first thing the Freedom crew wants to do is get on shore and stretch our legs! A good brisk walk always feels good. Our slip in Charleston was at least a quarter mile from shore affording us a good walk just to get to the showers. But, we don't go to shore everyday and on those days we have a few other options: exercise videos are convenient (but sometimes require more space for movement or equipment than we store on board); the stereo can provide good background music to established routines; and then there is our favorite: the TRX. Designed by a Navy Seal the TRX suspension training system utilizes nylon straps to create resistance from your body weight and gravity. It provides a terrific workout from the cockpit of the boat. There is nothing better than cruising along among the cypress or the marshlands while keeping up with our fitness routines. The view at the Y is much different!
(One thing I learned early on is that many yoga stretches, especially the one-legged variety, are not to be attempted underway.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

After a day of high winds, waves crashing over the dock, boats testing the strength of their fenders,tornado watches and "small people warnings" we awoke to clear blue skies, lighter air and calmer seas. So it is back on the ICW, destination Georgetown, SC. Andy is at the wheel, Christine is having her first shower on a moving boat and the Captain is navigating.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Charming Charleston

After a "skinny" trip up the IntraCoastal on Thursday - holding our collective breaths along the shallow parts- we anchored in Conch Creek for a night before tying up at Charleston City Marina Friday mornnng. A certain comraderie deloped among the boats we encountered in the shallow passages - exchanging valuable information on depths and hazards as well as sights on shore including a wild boar! It has been fun to meet many of these fellow travelers here at the marina.
We enjoyed lunch at Salty Mike's with Chet's good friend and College of Charleston student Ben Bevan and then took the Marina shuttle bus into town for a carriage tour. Our plans had been to leave today and head towards Georgetown, SC but stormy weather is heading this way so we have opted to stay put for another day. No complaints here! While the Captain and Al took the shuttle to West Marine, Donna and I explored the Saturday Farmer's. Market in Marion Square. We filled our bags with produce, local cheese, and grits. We're back on the boat for an afternoon on laundry, showers, and naps before welcoming Andy and Christine.
In the log book we will be certain to note that Charleston requires at least a 3 day stop when we head south in the fall.
Please excuse all typos - using my phone and the keys and font are small!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

You're Home

Those were the words uttered by Mrs.Charlene Webb, of Beaufort, SC upon hearing the Captain was a descendant of the many Barnwell's and Elliotts buried there in St. Helena's churchyard. And then she said, "Why, we're related too -- I am also a descendant of the Barnwell's." An impromptu family reunion in the church hall.

The Captain has family roots deep in the low country. One of the first persons to be buried at St. Helena's was Col. John Barnwell, also known as "Tuscarora Jack"because of the wars he led against the Tuscarora Indians. He was born in Ireland in 1671 and died in South Carolina in June 1724.

Col. John's grandson, Robert Woodward Barnwell, also buried at St. Helena's, was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, later the US House of Representatives, and also the President of the University of South Carolina. In 1860 he was a candidate for the Presidency of the Confederacy.
On the Elliott side, Brig. Gen. Stephen Elliott, JR CSA was best known for this defense of Fort Sumter, "converting its ruins into an impregnable fortress. After the War of Northern Aggression he was re-elected to the SC State Legislature, but weakened by wounds and exposure, he died a few months later in February 1866. Another notable Elliott found buried at St. Helena's was William Elliott II was a veteran of the American Revolution, wounded in the Battle of St. John's Island. After the war he developed plantations on Parris Island and Hilton Head, and he was the first to plant Sea Island Cotton in South Carolina. Born in 1761, he died in May 1808.

Here are some other images from St. Helena's and Beaufort, SC:

As you can tell, We had a fascinating day wandering about Beaufort, and taking a guided carriage ride. We then motored to Dataw (aka Datha) Island where we were greeted by Jim Gourd, a fellow CCA member, and enjoyed a fun dinner with Jim and his wife Babs.
This morning we are headed towards Charleston -- a two day trip.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Technical Difficulties

I finally had a good wireless connection today and thought I would upload a bunch of pictures. Noteto self: just because my computer at home has a slot for my memory card does not mean the Captain's l?aptop has the same. Second note to self : the teenage boys at Best Buy were wrong when they told me I did not need the us eb4 USB card. Bottom line: allthe photos I have taken with my good camera are trapped there until I return to Wayne. Meanwhile my cell phone pictures will have to do. Tonight we are anchored off of Bull Island in sight of Hilton Head. The Captain's. Family tree has the name Bull on it. But that is tomorrow's story!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mud and Hell With High Water

If shops existed on the ICW one would surely sell T-shirts emblazoned with "I Survived Little Mud River" or "Come Hell (please) With High Water". That pretty much sums up our day. We tackled Little Mud Creek this morning - a stretch of the ICW that lives up to its name. Although maybe it should be called Lots Of Mud Creek. We pressed on following the Georgia marshlands, escorted by dolphins, to Hell Gate, another notoriously shallow stretch. With a sigh of relief we turned into Moon River ( yes THAT Moon River the one that inspired Johnny Mercer to write the song sung by Andy Williams). Dinner as we watched the sunset over Moon River. Savannah tomorrow.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Georgia Bound

We had a great two nights in Fernandina Beach --one at anchor, the next at the dock -- giving us the chance to get out & walk about. Yesterday we said good-bye to Karl -- good shipmate and fixer of many things -- and hello to Al and Donna. Dinner onshore at Brett's was a southern treat, including: biscuits, fried oysters, bbq shrimp, buttermilk fried pork loin, collards, and grits. Fabulous!
Today (Saturday) we have begun our two day trip towards Savannah. I am hoping to have the chance to upload some photos taken along the way -- stay tuned.

There's always laughter on board when Al and Donna join us (check out her t-shirt)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Guns and Dolphins

The alarm rang at 5:45 AM so we could ride the tide from Jacksonville (Mile 740)to Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island (Mile 717) Florida. By 10 Am we had watched a pod of dolphins jump in the distance and swim close to play in our bow; witnessed an Anhinga dry its wings atop a piling; motored close to a bald eagle; and been approached by Homeland Security, with a large, scary 30mm gun firmly mounted on their bow, warning us to stay away from a large ship (named ARC). We wound our way to Fernandina Beach, arriving about 11AM. We will be anchored here, just off the downtown historic district and with a good view of the paper mills, until Saturday when we head towards Georgia.
Fun Fernandina Facts: It is Florida's northernmost city. Amelia Island, named after King George II's daughter, is the only place in the US to have flown 8 different flags, including the standard of the Conquistadors and the French Huguenots, the British Union Jack and the stars and bars of the Confederacy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jacksonville Bound

Freedom experienced a crew change on Sunday with the departure of Robin and Alan and the arrival of Karl. St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, was the changeover spot - and a beautiful one at that. Everyone enjoyed the chance to stretch their legs and enjoy a walk around town. Here's a photo of the Captain heading ashore with Freedom in the background, anchored at the West end of the Bridge of Lions.
Freedom is now cruising the St. John's River beyond Jacksonville. Tomorrow they will turn around and head back towards shore to pick up the First Mate!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Looking to the Sky

A Message from the Captain this morning (April 1st)
Yesterday - March 31st - around 15:00 we were whacked by thunderstorms and heavy winds. NOAA issued waterspout warnings but we did not see any. Stead 30 with gusts to 45 and lots of lightning. Glad to have a heavy boat with a full keel. Being inside was very civilized. The only foredeck work was dropping the anchor. A second squall line came through around 18:00 then lots of lightning and thunder all night.

Looks like a nice day and should have the current with us at least all morning.

This afternoon while passing Cape Canaveral theFreedom crew saw the last Shuttle on its pad. Too far away for a picture, but not for a farewell to another era in the the US Space Program.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On the Waterway Again

After a day off to rest and visit with friends, the Captain and his crew (sister Robin and brother-in-law Alan)were back on the ICW today. Here is an early morning report from the Captain:

Looks like a beautiful day and fewer bridges to slow us down so we should cover some ground today. Fueled up yesterday which was kind of frightening. Good thing we won't need to do that again for a couple thousand miles.
Went by Tiger and Greg Norman's houses. Wow, I'm in the wrong business.

Things got a bit less settled as the day wore on, with gusts up to 45knots. But the crew was warm, safe and DRY inside the Pilot House: the bright side to the dark side of boating!
Anchored tonight just south of Melbourne, FL at Mile 925 of the ICW after traveling 70 miles. That means that Freedom is 925 miles from the Chesapeake Bay.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Heading North

The Captain and (this week's) crew have begun the trip north to the Chesapeake Bay. They left Lighthouse Point Yacht Club in Pompano Beach, Florida yesterday March 28th. This is decidedly a cruise, not a delivery trip. That is, the days will be leisurely. Freedom will stop every night, and maybe even stay in the same spot for two nights. Trips ashore to explore, sightsee, or provision will happen on a regular basis, and nights at anchor will be sought after and savored. The crew will change almost weekly -- jumping aboard in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and at least one other port closer to the northern end of the ICW. A complicated relay of airplanes and cars will get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there. will be relied upon for up to the date information on what not to miss, what to avoid, and basically what's what on the ICW.
Follow along as we tell tales, post pictures and share the adventure.

A New Year, a New Boat, an Old Name

Freedom Lives! But with a new look and a new attitude: She is now a Selene 53', built in 2005. Yes, we have gone to "the Dark Side" but oh how lovely it is! Lots of space for comfort, lots of power for getting us where we want to go, and lots of plans for the future. First on the agenda: the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW)from Fort Lauderdale to the Chesapeake Bay.