Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday 11/25/10
Welcome to Bill & Jill Schoonmaker. Arriving in Charleston to share our Thanksgiving. Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving Holiday with family, friends and loved ones.
Thanksgiving Day travel via United, no problem from Manchester to Dulles. Dulles to Charleston just OK following two hour delay and multiple gate adjustments. However, temperature adjustment from NH – 26 degrees – to Charleston – 80 degrees – not too tough to take. Rendezvous with Tess and Tony at Charleston City Marina and the MegaDock, truly awesome. Particularly the 120’ mega-ship complete with two deep fried turkeys and, apparently, just enough beer.
Endurance crew enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving-in-a-box complete with all the usual fixin’s including a delicious bird fully cooked in a cute brown wrapper. Tess provided a wonderful Pea-pple (half peach, half apple) pie; Tony provided copious amounts of wine and post-feast rum! A splendid walk around the myriad docks including a critical check of a 38’ Island Packet and back to Endurance for some shut-eye in preparation for tomorrow’s push off.
Friday 11/26/10

Despite a bit of wind and slapping rigging on the main mast, a great night’s sleep for all. Following a hardy breakfast of eggs, cheese, veggies, bacon, fried shrimp and grits, Endurance pushes off at slack tide, 10:50. First trial is clearing the Wappo Creek Bridge followed by the Limehouse Bridge with Jill on her first bridge watch. Very nervous; no problem. Cleared by three feet! Weather turns nasty as Tess insists that Bill take the wheel. Rain, wind gusts [to 39 knots!!], obscured windshield, an amazing effort for his virgin turn. Meanwhile, Tony, feigning nonchalance; doesn’t leave Bill’s side while Jill and Tess whup up amazing turkey salad sandwiches (turkey, celery, grapes, tarragon with a soupcon of mayo packed into pita bread with crisp Romaine. Fabulous. Pressing on, Tony and Tess carry the tough navigational chores while Jill checks to see who has contributed to her several “Words with Friends” challenges and Bill talks to daughter Emily about her Thanksgiving, which sounded fabulous! Three cuts and several narrow channels later, the veteran sea-people bring us into Rock Creek (SM 506), Tess while clearing of the windshield for the hundredth time, prior to taking the wheel, calls our attention to a mother and baby dolphin parallel us as we head to our anchorage. An amazing conclusion to a wonderful day, despite the weather, looking forward to a cheddar cheese biscuit turkey pie and the PERFECT sized salad for dinner and terrific fellowship on Endurance!

Finally some sun... 
First anchorage.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Photos from Charleston

Megadock at Charleston.  We are a quarter mile from the showers.  Almost a half mile to land.

One of the two haircuts they give at the Broad Street Barber Shop.  Luckily, I received the "Bad" one, because the other one is "Worse".  She puts a set of clippers on your head and (this is true) spins the chair!!  And then over the top before you can say "What!?#@??!" 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hightailed it the 53 miles to Charleston hoping to get a jump on approaching Holiday.  The ICW has been great, but it feels like we have seen it already.  Exciting to cross the harbor at Charleston.  Fort Sumter.  The Charleston City Marina Megadock.  So much history.

Eagle on watch.


Early morning start.

Fixer uppers in SC.

Is this bridge in Charleston, SC or Charlestown, MA??

Managed to approach the Megadock at slack tide.  Changed all fuel and oil filters.  Fueled up.  Pump out. And by day's end, ready to go to sea.  But we expect plenty of additional chores and maybe some Charleston touring before then.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anchored in the Calabash River at Indian River (Statute Mile 342) having a 59 mile ICW day on Saturday.  Took in a great view of the Atlantic Ocean as we passed Carolina Beach Inlet yesterday morning.  Sunday had two outstanding South Carolina features.  Birds and Golf Courses.  Tess wanted me to take a picture of one of these golf courses.  Unfortunately, there are so many, every photo frame had more than one golf course in it.  Wonder what they do down here?

Our Sunday night anchorage was classic.  Minim Creek.  Deep with a swif current.  No other boats.  Eagles, pelicans, terns, geese and frogs abounded.  Cocktails on the foredeck to watch the sun fade.  Beautiful end to a 74 mile day.

Great Speed!

Great sunset!!

Great night!!!
Tomorrow we gead South....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A few pictures...

A different kind of Osprey.  Buzzed several times by a live Marine Corp. firing drill.  I thought the dinghy had exploded when I heard the first "ka-blam"!!

s Cut fishermen.  The banks of the ICW at low tide in southern North Carolina were filled with folks digging oysters.  Plenty of crabbers as well (luckily, none on board). 
Our first South Carolina anchorage.  It's almost like being in the South. Beautiful spot.

Today, we are heading South....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moving South again!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An excruciating day on US Air puddle jumpers (MHT to LGA to CLT to EWN) with a flat out run through the Charlotte terminal to catch the last leg to New Bern. No fun, but arrived intact and aboard by 4:30. Like starting from scratch in terms of what to do next, but started making and then attacking our various lists. Boy, does it get dark fast this time of year! Walked to Captain Ratty's in the dark (recommended by a budding Optometrist from Indiana) and back the same way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010.

Electronics guy arrived with a new Multiplexer (Back to the Future, Part 4 - The Electronics War) and spent a full eight hours aboard as frustrated as all of us. Having always been frustrated by electronics installations, I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. Well, never mind.

Met Jack and Diane (remind you of a song) Myles from Portsmouth. They have been coming to New Bern for years to visit her mom. Now aboard their trawler. Were round the worlders in the 1980s. Had a great dinner with then at a Harris Mansion. They are planning a Summer cruise to Newfoundland, so I may have found a temporary home for my Newfoundland charts.

Tomorrow we head South….

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Out of the slip and at the fuel dock by 0800. Heading down the Neuse River by 0900. The hard part is getting started and that part is now done. Our goal for the day is Morehead City, but on arrival we decide that the anchorage is too exposed and crowded with fishermen for an early end to the day. We press on. In 25 miles we should be at the Swansboro Bridge anchorage. That’s 25 miles into tomorrow’s 40 mile day. Putting us a half day ahead of schedule. We watch the beautiful sunset at 1700 (that’s 5:00 p.m. to you and me – kind of early for sunset, isn’t it?). Then the light begins to fade.

The logbook says we stopped and were at anchor at 5:30. What I know is that I could not see the anchor chain as it went down. Tess had to look into the anchor locker to confirm how much chain we had down. What I also learned is how those idiots lose fingers on their boats. They anchor in the dark. Their fingers get jammed somewhere between a moving anchor chain and a stationary piece of the boat. What idiots! Can’t they see? Not in the dark, apparently. I noticed a bit of red on the windlass in the moon light. I then noticed that I couldn’t feel the middle finger of my left hand. Lucky this idiot will lose a finger nail and not the finger.

All was made well by Johnny Walker, a fine red wine and Chicken Cacciatore. Food is what sailing (or at least being on a sailboat) is all about.

Tomorrow we head South….

Friday, November 19, 2010

We seemed to be underway at a reasonable hour, though the anchorage was thinned out considerably. As it turned out, being a 45 foot vessel among sailboats and trawlers closer to 40 feet, we have a speed advantage. WE passed the crowd (about five boats), but found that this meant that we would wait an extra 15 minutes at each bridge opening until they caught up to us. We were able to skip our Friday plan and move straight on to Wrightsville Beach. Now a full day ahead of schedule. As we turned left off the ICW into Mott’s Channel, we were followed by those five boats. All anchored in a great big anchorage at the end of a skinny and winding little channel. A great day. And now, a full day ahead of schedule.

Best of all? Friday is Cribbage Night!

Tomorrow we head South….

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The last time we were first to leave an anchorage was in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. We proceeded to almost run through a Salmon Farm in the fog and then reversed course for 90 minutes to avoid a big, black thunderstorm. This time, no such problems. On our way at 0700 (sunrise was not until 0647!!). A big 60 mile day was planned (that’s statute miles – 15% less than the nautical miles we are used to).

The ICW is a bit of a snore if you’re expecting the spine-tingling thrill of a sail. For me, it’s quite peaceful if pedestrian, sort of like driving 5&20 through New York to get to Buffalo instead of the Thruway. However, today’s meanderings brought us some beautiful glimpses of the real ocean. Little cut-throughs in 3-4 places show that magical edge between the vast Atlantic and the protected canal through which we motor. Shorebirds feeding atop this fertile strip, fishermen braving the precipitous edge in waders or shallow bottom boats, couples strolling the sands in the furthest away place they can find …just glimpses of magic of the day to day, but truly lovely. We’ve had idyllic weather. Cold, “oh my God cold” in the mornings outside the toasty covers; by mid-day we’re down to a light overshirt, as the sun begins to set we close up to save the final bits of heat. The skies are bright with that swelling moon. No clouds by day, no rain, no need for wind and no need to curse too much of it. So, no complaints from the First Mate, and a lot of delight in the little things.

Little things like two new, uncharted fixed bridges. Including one which replaces the last “pontoon” bridge on the ICW.

A beautiful day through the last 56 miles of North Carolina. But, we are glad to be done with this long state. We are now really in the South. South Carolina.

Tomorrow we head South….

And perhaps we'll have pictures!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Further updates from whence we left off...

Thursday, October 21, 2010
Well, Oriental was kind of a bust for us. The famous Oriental Marine Consignment Store was closed on Wednesday (October 20), so we’ll have to find another some day in the future. Went by Clancy’s Marina (Tim & Paula’s old haunt), had a Mocha Joe at The Bean (and used their free wi-fi) and spoke Outward Bound (Chris), a Nonsuch out of Barnstable, Massachusetts headed for the Abacos (we had met earlier in Elizabeth City). Wednesday was an intended lay day in anticipation of a front coming through. It did, about 6:30 pm. By then, the dinghy was up and we were prepared to leave. Thoughts of bigger fish to fry in New Bern were on our mind. Tess got a bunch of work done instead. Just a lay about afternoon.

Woke to fog today (Thursday), so wasn’t going anywhere soon. Worked on the Xantrex Battery Monitor (no good progress) and the Macerator (no good progress). Left about 1000 as soon as the fog cleared and motored into a SW wind of 16 to 27 toward New Bern.
Wow!! New Bern! One of our newest favorite places. The brand new Galley Store Marina is right on the Neuse River in historic downtown New Bern. The owner, Mark, spent about an hour with us tying up, plugging in, pump out, and talking up the Town. When we headed in to register, we got another 30 minute introduction to the Town and then given courtesy bikes to take an initial tour (Mark asked that I wait until morning before taking his truck to West Marine, because he had an appointment that afternoon).
And what a tour it is. Historic, gorgeous and well kept homes dating back to the early 1700s. A beautiful river-walk. Revolutionary and Civil War sites, signage and history. New Bern was North Carolina’s original capitol. It moved after the Revolution. They have rebuilt Tryon Palace and its gardens (the colonial era governor’s mansion – we are taking the tour tomorrow). And are opening on Friday a new $60 Million History Museum. Can’t wait. Glad we put off West Marine.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spent the morning with Mark's truck.  Laundromat, West Marine, Home Depot.  Then spent the afternoon replacing the macerator pump.  Most of that time was spent wrangling the hose which runs from the holding tank to the pump off the pump housing.  Now I know why they call it black water.  But its done. 

Met with an electronics guy on board to get the AIS installed.  He suggested a half dozen other jobs.  Quickly signed him up for all tasks.  We'll see how it goes once we are back.

Too exhausted to take the Tyron Palace Tour.  Even after a very long, hot shower.  Great dinner in town and preparations for our return home (thanks to Uncle Ed, who - you will recall - has imposed a November 15 Hurricane Watch on us).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tess' planned leisurely two hour drive to a 3:00 pm Southwest flight out of Raleigh was replaced by a Bright Idea.  Mine, I'm afraid.  Instead of driving to Raleigh, why don't we leave from New Bern.  The reasons: (1) an early morning flight, (2) US Air, (3) easily twice as expensive, (4) paying for checked baggage, (5) flying  through Charlotte, (6) and then Reagan, (7) that's three different planes, (8) we are now carrying all of our luggage, and (9) the wrath of ....  Bad idea.

The paln is for a week back to New Hampshire and then a flight next Saturday to Orlando for a week on Cocoa Beach to see the Shuttle launch.  (What Shuttle launch?  No Shuttle launch.  But that's a different blog.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gearing up for a Tuesday return to New Bern.  Thanksgiving in Charleston or en route to Savannah, is the plan.  The big risk is the US Air return trip to New Bern.  Can it go worse this time?