Thursday, June 12, 2008

Coming Home

Bill missed the Kingsport Lions Club Turtle Derby again this year as did this group of red eared sliders.

Purple Pickrel Weed along the side of Bull Creek.

Swamp rose growing where you would expect it to grow; in the cypress swamp along the Waccamaw River in South Carolina.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lately it occurs to me, what a long strange trip it’s been.

We are back home in Kingsport after being away for just over four months. The house survived in our absence. The exploding population of spiders and bugs did a good job of looking after the place for us.

Takes time - you pick a place to go and just keep Truckin on.

The trip north on the ICW was very pleasant. In Palm Beach we bought groceries, in Jensen Beach we waited out some high winds, in Melbourne we had a quiet night, in Titusville we did the laundry, in Daytona we anchored of the sewer plant, and in St. Augustine we spent the day touristing with Josh and the very pregnant Julia. From there it was Fernandina Beach where we tied to a mooring ball only to be told by the marina that our boat was too big; a problem that was easily fixed by anchoring nearby thus saving us the mooring ball fee. A quick run to St. Marys got us back into Georgia and gave us a place to sit out a frontal passage. In the Frederica River we anchored for the night just out of the waterway after being blasted by a thunderstorm and marbles of hail. We fueled the boat for the last time in Richmond Hill, GA and anchored in Birthday Creek although it was no one’s birthday. We made it through the famously shoal waters of Georgia without touching the bottom even once and entered South Carolina anchoring in Skull Creek behind Hilton Head Island. Figuring that it would become unbearably busy Memorial Day weekend, we sailed (and motored) to Beaufort anchoring off the town to do a little shopping, eat a restaurant meal, take in the Gullah Festival ($20 per person per day), and wait for everyone else to go back to work leaving the waterway for us. Anchored in the Ashley River off Charleston we had excellent WiFi from the nearby Mega Dock where the mega yachts were paying mega bucks for it. Georgetown got us the first full day of rain on the whole trip, so we stayed two nights, stayed dry, and bought scollops and fish from the nearby shrimpers. Bull Creek on the Waccamaw River was gorgeous with the spring flowers in the cypress swamp and brought our count of alligators sighted up to three. Little River, SC gave us another couple of marina nights (for a total of 11 for the whole trip) while we visited with Elaine, JP, Kenny, and Mary Ellen. Most importantly, we got a new working autopilot which freed us again from constantly steering the boat. An early departure gave us high water in the Shallotte and Lockwood’s Folly Inlets, but gave us a 2 or 3 knot contrary current in the Cape Fear River slowing us to a crawl. In Wrightsville Beach, NC we had our first midnight anchor drill when we bumped another boat on the tide change and had to move. In Mile Hammock Bay we got to see the US Marines run their boats onto the mud banks to practice towing them off again (and they needed the practice). We are better at it then they are. We anchored on June 4th in Cedar Creek off the Neuse River where we spent our first night out on February 4th exactly four months before to the day. In the morning we sailed back to New Bern and into the heat wave. With a forecast of 100° temperatures for the next few days and the boat’s air conditioner in Kingsport, we decided to forgo all the jobs on our maintenance list, to miss the Cherry Point Air Show, and to miss the marina’s spring breakfast party and hurricane seminar. We packed up and left on a four hour drive to Salisbury, NC to see Bill’s father and family and enjoy their air conditioning before coming back home to Kingsport.

Back home - sit down and patch my bones and get back Truckin on.

We had a wonderful trip and are still speaking to one another. A four month cruise was a great way to celebrate our 35th married year. Wonder what we should do for our 36th?

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