April 28 - May Date, 2007: Grand Bahama (Old Bahama Bay) to Southport, NC
April 30 - We are back in the good old US of A! It for sure was an interesting trip. The day - Saturday April 28 - started out with gorgeous weather - how else could it be on Grand Bahama, at Old Bahama Bay Marina? A number of boats had left already as we got ready for breakfast, checking out, undoing most of our docking lines, after having stowed away everything we possibly could to prevent it from falling - who knows what the day will bring??? As you read on our previous page, we had checked with "Windfinder.de" for the wind forecast over the coming three days all the way from Grand Bahama to Charleston. All looked good with the exception of a brief wind shift to "Northerly" (not good for conditions in the Gulf Stream). Since this shift was to take only 2 - 3 hours and the winds were supposedly 2-3 Beaufort only, we did not mind. The rest was to be all wind with "South" in it, i.e., Southwest, Southeast and plain South, also very weak. Well, we have a saying in German: "erstens kommt es anders und zweitens als man denkt" which translates very roughly into "never believe any forecasts as you cannot rely on them in the first place" - of course, this is a VERY LOOSE translation.
The last lines had been casted off and we left the harbor entrance of Old Bahama Bay at 0820. It looked wonderful. The wind was Southerly. We even could open the genoa for a change to help us with the speed. We had set course somewhat NorthWesterly (338 degrees) in order to enter the Gulf Stream and benefit from its strong current - a wonderful benefit with these winds. For some reason, it took very long to finally get into the stream (there is no sign, you just check the water temperature and the wave pattern, but since the wind and waves were in harmony, this was harder to see). We also did not want to make too much of a "detour" to our destination, Charleston, South Carolina. We had strong counter currents for at least 2-3 hours.
Finally, we were in the stream. The water temperature, normally around 27.7 degrees Celsius in the Bahamas, the temperature gage jumped to 30.9 degrees Celsius, later on even to 31.9 degrees. By that time, around 4-5 hours had passed, and our speed only increased slowly. We tried to find the center of the stream as that is where the strongest current is - again, not that easy because you just do this by trial and error. Meanwhile our speed had increased from 5.5 knots (due to the counter currents) to around 7.8 - 9 knots.
The day went by beautifully. We were happily sitting under our bimini, protected from the sun but feeling the warmth both of the water and the air. Unfortunately, the wind had died down and turned more Northerly. With virtually no wind, we had been forced to roll our genoa sail back in and just keep motoring. Because there was virtually no wind, we also did not have any impact on the waves - a good thing. The night was rather calm also. Juergen took the first shift from 1930 to 2230, I then from 2230 to 0130, Juergen the next and I the last. Juergen enjoyed the moon (almost full) until around 0500, I enjoyed the sunrise. We agreed to take turns with the shifts so that, the next day, I would take the first shift, etc., etc.
During the day, we had yet another visitor, this time a very tiny bird, another, different type of Warbler, with a bright yellow breast, yellow on its head and a tiny bit of red in black on its head. It was not afraid of us at all, walked very close by me, jumped onto Juergen before jumping on something else, even flew into the boat, seemed to inspect everything, came back out, flew around the deck area, flew off just to come back again. This time, unfortunately, it did not see that we have dodger windows, i.e., hard glass, and it bounced against it in a sort of crash landing. It flew again into the cabin, stayed there a little longer this time, then came out to inspect the rest of the deck. While I believe that the tiny bird (about 2-3 inches only - while the black and white Warbler had been around 5 inches in length) stayed on our boat a lot longer than we thought we cannot be sure. He just never came back into the cockpit. Who would after hurting ones head like this? I believe that he was there for longer than we saw him because quite a few hours afterwards, we saw exactly a bird like that near our boat and then flying off in a Westerly direction.
That same evening, we saw two whales glide by. Unfortunately, it went so fast as they went South while we were traveling North that we could not identify what kind of whales they were. We saw a few dolphins and lots and lots of flying fish which tried to escape from their predators by jumping out of the water and flying for stretches of 20 - 50 yards. It was a beautiful site as their wet bodies glistened in the water and their wings reflected the sunlight.
In the early morning hours, the wind starting picking up - still with its Northerly component. Now the waves began to build and I woke up because I started feeling nautious. Not again!!! We had a very rudimentary breakfast in the cockpit. I made no coffee - it would have been virtually impossible with our beautiful thermos and the filter on top, even if I had felt better. I took up two kinds of cereal - Juergen prefers raisin bran, I just wanted oats with cold milk. I started to feel a little better after eating a cupful of this concoction, not something I normally eat. The chewable vitamin C obviously did not do as much its trick as it had been made out to be. The day worsened though the sun was shining and all seemed well otherwise. Our speed was good again, it seemed that we found the area with even stronger current, and so we motored on.
I had made potatoe salad on the first day, while under way - but all in the cockpit (peeling of the boiled potatoes and eggs, cutting cornichons and olives, adding mayo, salt, pepper and some other spices). It tasted quite good. This time, Juergen wanted sandwiches with liverwurst - another easy to make lunch - I took up into the cockpit the bread, the liverwurst, a knife, a wooden cutting board which my brother had made for me many years again when he was still a student in Marburg, Germany - Ulli, remember??? I also brought two cans of Coke classic. While it was certainly not elegant, it tasted good and again, I started feeling a little better after having eaten lunch.
But the waves got still higher (around 8 - 12 feet) - Juergen described the motion as if the boat had to climb mountains - the engine labored as the propeller had barely any water under it. That is how much the boat's bow rose out of the water before setting down into the next wave - hundreds of gallons of water rushing over our bow, along the sides and out again via the scupplers which, thank God, we have a lot of. Sometimes, there was so much water that the scupplers could not handle draining it and it went all the way over the toerails as well - unbelievable. Thankfully, we stayed dry in the cockpit though. Our dinghy was pushed sideways by one of the waves. It had been put on the foredeck, upside down, and tied down to the bow cleats and the handrails near its end - obviously that was not sufficient. So, Juergen, at some point when the waves had reduced somewhat - not enough for my taste - he moved forward - life jacket with harness on and clipped onto one of our two jacklines which we always set on ocean journeys - they are supposed to prevent the person moving about the boat from falling over board - at least the individual is attached to the boat and can hopefully be rescued. Jacklines are practically seat belt type lines long enough to be attacked from the bow to the stern of the boat, along the cabin combing and inside the shrouts (- part of the rigging that holds the mast in place on each of the boat's sides - I know I might get too technical for some of you, but I want to explain what they are, how they look and what their function). Still, it was not a comfortable site seeing Juergen go forward. He insisted that I stay behind to stop and turn the boat around in the event that something would happen. Of course, he was dancing around, trying to balance himself in the still uncomfortable wave action while, simultaneously working on resetting and retying the dinghy better. He also got wet as he was working forward... but that did not deter him. In the end, the dinghy was properly positioned and firmly tied again. He took advantage of being forward already by taking down the Bahama guest flag and replacing it with the quarantaine flag - we will be entering the USA and must clear through custom and immigration in Charleston.
Late afternoon, the wind calmed down quite a bit from the earlier 15-20 knots to around 10-12 knots. The Gulf Stream immediately calmed down also, at least for some stretches, and the areas of high waves and confused seas became increasingly intermittent only - helping my stomach relax as well. Another bonus - we started going at speeds of 10, later to 11 and over 11.3 knots. We could not believe it. We had made such good time in the first 24 hours despite the very slow start during the first 5-6 hours (186 nm). This seemed even better, and we continued calculating when we would get to our weighpoint from where we had to follow the channel into Charleston. We for sure did not want to arrive in the dark. If only we had traveled this fast the entire trip, we could have made it by diminishing daylight on Sunday, April 29 - Andrea's birthday. This way, we were wondering whether we would need to slow down to get there in the early morning hours. It was a fun game to play as the speed remained this fast for quite some time but then, we finally had to leave the Gulf Stream - it turns much more Westerly at the Northern Florida / Georgia border while our route continued almost due North. Our speed reduced slowly, in the end to around 7 - 8 knots. We decided that was good enough to get us to our weighpoint by 0700, and we continued.
Dinner was AGAIN potatoe salad as I really did not feel like cooking anything, and Juergen is such a great sport along those lines and claimed to be happy and content with the food he was served.
The night was uneventful - the moon shone again till around 0520 - beautiful to see. It made the night so much more pleasant than when all is dark and one feels so lonely. One ship seemed to head our way. It did not show up on our AIS which we thought odd. Maybe, they had turned it off as they were anchored for the night - the angle between that ship and us changed comfortably as we continued moving along our course. This time, I got to see both the moon set andthe sun rise. Juergen got up around that time. We prepared ourselves for the landfall, had breakfast in the cockpit (this time, coffee and some white bread with different jams and honey). I made a first call with our US cell phone at 0715 - to my brother's family as they would be the only ones reachable at this hour. The US family and friends were either sleeping or getting ready for work... We would call them later.
This also means that our 375nm to the harbor entrance buoy to Charleston had been traveled in 47 hours, not even two full days. We were happy and anticipated our arrival. Many boats were departing, most of them further North we assume, many of them from the Chesapeake Bay. We were wondering what their next destination would be. Right now, we were focusing on our arrival at the Charleston Maritime Center. We called them on our cell phone eventually and agreed to call them on VHF again as we got closer enough to be assigned out dock. They greeted us and stood ready to help us dock - our first floating dock in months!
We asked that the dockmaster call customs and immigration for us and started washing the boat. It was covered with so much salt that we just could not leave it like this for one minute longer. Eventually, the customs/immigration officials came - very friendly young men who also gave us some hints for Brit and Axel's sailing plans in the US - Brit, Axel, we will send you some information as soon as we get access to a scanner! It is not as bad as you might have thought, but it is important to have your visa for the US BEFORE you depart on your trip! - then we finally checked in with the dockmaster, went back to the boat for lunch - and fell asleep. We for sure were tired. - What a nice nap, lying in the cockpit, feeling the warm wind and relaxing our hurting muscles (from the many movements - from washing the boat - we made after all this sitting on the boat for so long). Tomorrow, we will try to start sight seeing in this beautiful town... We also want to rent a car and drive to Savannah, possibly, and definitely to "BEWfort" (really Beaufort pronounced that way), South Carolina. At some point on our sailing trip, we will most likely go to the town of "Beaufort", North Carolina (see the different pronunciation).
May 1 - our 26th anniversary. We woke up very late, obviously still catching up with the sleep we had missed in the two prior nights, had breakfast in the cockpit, very leisurely, watched two dolphins go by just in front of our marina entrance - we had seen those two dolphins yesterday already, coming and going, about 50 yards away from us. Now we are checking on rental cars as we plan on making the trip to Beaufort, SC, etc. Tonight, we will have dinner at a very nice restaurant - we have not entirely decided which of two - both highly recommended. We had checked this out at the Charleston Place Hotel, a gorgeous Orient Express Hotel I had stayed at once on a business trip. They were extremely helpful.
Last night, before we took our walk through town, a huge container shipe backed out of the harbor which is right nearby our marina. Then two Moran tug boats tried and actually succeeded, only after the second one arrived to help, to push the bow over to turn the ship around. It was a gorgeous and beautiful sight, particularly with the bridge and the aircraft carrier in the background. See for yourselves in our Gallery.
Last night, we were sitting in the cockpit - after our little town walk - having a glass of wine and enjoying the scenery, when an elderly couple waved to me. She asked what the flag under our spreader was or better, whether it was the Bremen flag (Juergen had hoisted the Hamburg flag for the first time in a long time). Of course, I responded in German as they had asked in German. After a few minutes of talking, Juergen invited Heinz and Margot (he originally from Chemnitz, she from Mannheim, both living in Toronto - he since 1953) to share a glass of wine with us on the boat. They joined, and we talked for about a little over an hour. Then they left as they had already had dinner. I still needed to cook. It was a fun conversation. They were here by car, reminiscing of his experiences as a U-boater (we don't know what his function was) in WWII - they had been shot down just around this area. He was one of 30 out of 50 rescued at the time. He then was in US war prison until the mid 1940s and later settled in Flensburg, Northern Germany. The couple went to see the cemetary in Beaufort, SC, where one of his buddies was buried, and visited other sites that he seems to have been to at the time.
We celebrated our anniversary at the Charleston Grill the restaurant at the Charleston Place Hotel. It was a most delicious and somewhat unusual dinner, a nice bottle of Sancerre, great life music (piano, bass and saxophone) and perfect service. They even served us a glass of dessert champagne and brought a plate with an easle and a board "happy anniversary", both made from chocolate, and more petit fours. We took these back to the boat as we had already had dessert and could not eat one more bite. Thus, I could also take a picture of the easle and board - see for yourselves.
May 2 - we departed at 0900 to drive to "BEWfort", SC and from there to Savannah, Georgia. The ride was not particularly pretty, a lot of rather commercial road, flat, straight and totally uninteresting. Only short parts thereof were rural, showing bayou-type areas. I was wondering how many mosquitoes there are in the summer. Beaufort was founded in 1711 and has a lot of history related to the civil war times. The town / area also benefited very much from its early cotton trade with Europe when the pound of cotton went from 10 cents to 60 cents in no time as the US cotton was so much superior from cotton purchased from other parts of the world. Thus, many of the old houses, though often used as officers' quarters during the civil war, have not only survived but seem to be in very good shape, occupied by many of the locals whose background stems from these times. We had taken a city bus tour which, unfortunately, did not stop at all and made photography through the bus window virtually impossible. On that bus tour, the driver mentioned that a German U-boat had been shot down and one of the soldiers rescued passed away while on his way to a hospital in Charleston. The ambulance turned around to take him back to Beaufort where he was buried on the National Cemetary. - What a coincidence - because the man, Heinz, who had sat on our boat just two nights ago had visited exactly that grave of his buddy who, with him, had been on the U-boat.
Given that we did not really take any pictures while on the tour, we drove around a little to take just a few pictures, in part also to give you a feel for what it looks like. - It is very beautiful - but then, also very boring to live in, we decided.
So, next we went to Savannah, Georgia, again a rather boring ride through mostly boring countryside, not as much industrial as the ride to Beaufort was but just not particularly interesting - except for the large areas covered with grass and low level water. I am sure it is a bird's paradise.... not least for the mosquitoes mentioned earlier.
We are in Savannah right now. The paper companies (Georgia-Pacific, International Paper, and Willamette) contribute greatly to the unbelievably brownish air that seems to reflect the color of the river. The downtown has lots of old buildings, mostly banks and other corporate. We have so far not managed to find the beautiful homes I remember from my very first business trip to this town at least 12-15 years or so ago which endeared this town to me so much that I wanted Juergen to see it as well. So far, he is disappointed. I sure hope that we will find them tomorrow before heading back to Charleston.
We walked around a little, Juergen is resting while I checked on our emails - we have internet access for the first time since leaving Grand Bahama last Saturday, and I am presently just getting photos and this text ready for uploading so you can all be updated on what has been going on over the past few days.
May 5 - I am in New York, visiting with my friend Christa for the weekend, flying back tomorrow early evening as we want to provision, run last errands and then depart from Charleston on Tuesday morning early. We have about 85 nm to cover that day to get to Georgetown, SC, the next possible port of entry for us in terms of water depth but also number of miles to get into the harbor from the ocean - we dislike the 10plus nm trips just to get into a port (and having to drive those same 10plus nm to get out of it again) as it takes time we actually need to make distance.
We came back to Impromptu around 1800 after a brief detour via Kiawah island which Peter had raved about and recommended for us to go to. Well, it is beautiful if one likes a fairly sterile environment, well-groomed areas, private homes and low level apartment complexes hidden away in a parklike setting, surrounded by one golf course after the other and signs: no bicycles, no motorcycles, no pedestrians, and one needs a pass to go onto the island. For those of us who did not really have any business going there (other than to satisfy our curiosity), one is restricted to two commecial areas only - make a first right, then a third left. There is a hotel and a local market and shop. Alternatively, go to the seventh right - follow the signs to the Sanctuary, another hotel complex - etc. There must be natural areas on the island, not as groomed, not as sterile. Unfortunately, we did not see any way to get there, and we are wondering whether even the island population goes there (as walking is not permitted). We sort of were glad to get out of what we considered a rather restricted environment - where is that highly praised American desire for freedom and liberty? Certainly not Kiawah island... - sorry, Peter or whoever reads this and gets offended. It is our view and our reaction to the place... Obviously, lots of people like it as there are amply homes and apartment buildings on the island.
A 45 foot "Liberty" boat was docked on the other side of "our" dock. We briefly said hello but then took care of things on the boat and I started unpacking and repacking for my next day's flight to New York. The husband of Marcie (as we learned later) came by. We said hello, started chatting, and invited them over for a glass of wine. That was around 1830. By 2300 we all finally said good night. They had planned to leave at 0600 by rental car to visit his mother in Florida. We needed to get ready for my flight, and none of us had had dinner, just the cheese I had served with the wine... It turned out that Marcie and David from Colorado have been sailing for seven years and have actually circumnavigated the South American continent, including Cape Horn!!! They both get seasick but "get over it after a while". When they had arrived in Charleston the morning we left for our little car trip, they finished 73 days of sailing with two short stopovers, one in Cape Verde Islands and one in St. Helena. They plan on spending the summer with family in Bristol, RI, and want to go to New Zealand in the Fall - rather, start their slow trip South, through the Panama Canal, and across the Pacific to get to New Zealand eventually. We promised each other to meet up some time this summer to exchange more ideas etc. - Brit, they have a website: www.nineofcups.com - check it out... it might be interesting in terms of ideas for your trip. I will give them your website also. Maybe, you can communicate...if you like.
May 9 - We are still "stuck" in Charleston, SC, due to what has been categorized as the first tropical storm of this season, Andrea. The wind continues to howl, the seas even in our marina are large enough to make all the boats dance and bump and be pushed around at nature's will. We had hoped to leave tomorrow, Thursday, but as it looks right now, we might not even though it seems that we CAN take the Intra Coastal Waterway for the stretch to Georgetown, SC. This seems to be an approximately 50 nm trip, i.e., even shorter than the ocean route which we had initially planned on taking. Then, yesterday, sitting on the boat, listening to the wind and rain, we checked the charts and have been contemplating to go straight from here all the way to Ocean City, Maryland. Of course, we would do so if there was a decent weather window. Right now, it does not look like it at all. But then, what is better, being "stuck" here and waiting for the proper weather window or going in piecemeal up the coast with long days - still out in the ocean? We have not decided. The weather is supposed to start easing here tomorrow, but, we learned, in the North, another low is forming. That would not be good for our trip past Cape Hatteras. So, we are not making any decisions at this stage, instead, we are making dinner plans with other boaters (Kathy and Tom) who we had initially met on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos and who appeared here in Charleston a few days ago. They had left Old Bahama Bay Marina on April 25 and went straight across to Florida. Kathy needed to fly to a wedding. Tom moved the boat up via the Intra Coastal Waterway until Kathy came back. Then they moved up here.
I had gotten back from New York Sunday night, as scheduled. Chucky drove me to the airport after my experience with the airport train to the New Jersey transit line was more or less a disaster time-wise. I had to wait for the connection for 30 minutes, then the train arrived at Penn Station after another 30 minutes or so after which I had to stand in the taxi line for at least 10 minutes. The cab had to go a few blocks South before it made any sense to go East and then North to 57th Street. All in all, it took me 2 hours to get to our apartment and still cost me $ 34 - yes, the cab ride from Penn Station to Sutton Place was $ 18 including tip - amazing. I normally can go all the way to LaGuardia from our apartment for this kind of money and be generous with my tip.
It was great seeing Christa and spending time with her, talking about all sorts of things. Still, the weekend only flew by before we knew it. Now, I will see her only once we are back home with the boat.
Juergen picked me up from the airport. The wind was blowing so strongly then already that the boat healed at the dock. I added our two large orange fenders - you have seen them on previous pictures from Europe - in order to ease the strain on the other fenders and to give the boat a little more "cushion". On Monday morning, same story. The wind blew and there was no way of even considering to leave the next day. Juergen had known this on the weekend and made arrangements for us to remain in the marina for as long as it would take for the weather to improve.
We still have the rental car - extended it till tonight, went a little sightseeing, walked around town a little in beautiful sunshine, had a terrific Hamburger, the best French Fries in a long time, and amazing "Spicy Cilantro Corn Fritters". Once we complimented the chef on the latter, he immediately offered his recipe, a pen and paper. Of course, I copied it down so I can make them at home... for some of our family and friends to taste. We thought they were wonderful. Of course, they came with the sauce for which I don't have the recipe but I think I can manage to concoct something close to what it was.
Last night, after a little food shopping - we had to take advantage of having the car and filled up with more water also - the wine selection was not interesting at the super market, so we decided against buying any - we went to Hyman's Seafood and had our "usual", Juergen spicy shrimp and a dozen oysters, I the Napoleon of fried green tomatoes and a dozen oysters. We also ordered a side order of fried ocra - because we had never had it and wanted to taste it - quite delicious. Then, due to a misunderstanding with the waiter, we also got a side order of fried green tomatoes - and ate most of it all. We had a bottle of wine with all this and enjoyed watching people. Before we went back to the boat we walked around the block. It had started to rain, causing us to go back "home" rather quickly.
The night was very noisy and the boat bumped around in the waves as the wind kept pushing the water straight into the marina and at us. Sometimes, it was so noisy that it sounded as if we had hit rock, but it was only a larger than "normal" wave.
This morning, Juergen decided to get the dinghy on deck. It has a lot of growth on the bottom. The water is just rather warm - here still over 68 degrees Fahrenheit. He is removing the grime and will then hopefully leave it on deck right away. I was pleading for putting it away altogether, but he says it is very hard to deflate and fold so it would fit into the locker. It would be better as we would not have to worry about it when underway. Still, I understand his reason for leaving it on deck. It will have to be tied down better than when we took the trip from Old Bahama Bay to here. Meanwhile, he actually did decide on packing it up. It is in its bag which, in turn, is tightly tied up on deck but at the stern of the boat - out of the way of waves, we hope.
We don't know whether and when we will have internet access. It is impossible here in the marina. Maybe, we find a place in town. If not, you will not "hear" from us in a while. Don't be concerned. We will not leave unless the weather forecast is reasonably good. We are not masochists... and are very much for safety. I am at a little cafe right next to the public library in Charleston trying to upload this information, checking emails and the weather forecast. It seems that we might leave tomorrow, but via the Intra Coastal Waterway, to get to Georgetown. The issue is that there is one 65 foot fixed bridge - too low for us, but near low tide, we might make it. We will still investigate and check with a few people before we make the final decision. It would be great to get going - if only to Georgetown. At least, we would be in another place even if we had to wait out more weather there. Kathy and Tom can go via the Intra Coastal Waterway all the way, so they will be ok from there on, it seems. - We will keep you posted....
May 11 - we are still in Charleston though we could have left yesterday or this morning. But Marcie and David came back to their boat yesterday. They invited us for cocktails for tonight. So we decided to stay. The issue is anyway that we cannot go straight to Ocean City from here because of weather building further North, near Cape Hatteras. It is supposed to blow over 35 knots again, from the North - of course, and opposing the Gulf Stream. So, instead we will go to Georgetown tomorrow, will wait for the weather to pass, then move to Southport, near Cape Fear and hope to have enough of a weather window to go to Beaufort. From there, we hope to shoot straight North to Ocean City or Atlantic City before stopping over at Sandy Hook. From there, one more day of sailing and we will be back in Milford. But, as you can see, the weather keeps us in harbors for days as we really don't feel like moving in the Gulf Stream with opposing winds - you have heard / read the story before more than once.
May 13 - thank God not a Friday. We made it to Georgetown, SC, yesterday, an approximately 70 nm trip from Charleston, all on the "outside", i.e., NOT via the ICW. The weather was gorgeous, albeit virtually no wind AND from the North. So, it was time for our "iron genoa" again. Moving was slow as we seemed to have the current against us - slightly. About 25 nm from Georgetown, SC, we called Harborwalk Marina to reserve a slip for the night. He did not want to give it to us because he would not be there any more upon our arrival, and since he would only work as of 12 noon today, who would collect the dockage? Well, I gave him my credit card number and before we knew it, we had a reserved dock space. - If I had only known WHAT kind of dock space it would be. We had to go 18 nm up river before the town appeared, it was a beautiful ride past unpopulated islands - at least unpopulated by humans, instead, there were lots of birds, pelicans, cormorants, seagulls, larger birds we could not identify, terns, etc. John (Hamilton) if you read this and plan to go to Georgetown also, make a reservation at Hazzard Marine. It is a little further to walk to town, but the docks are floating and certainly look a lot better. You might also have to anchor as I don't know whether they would have dock space for a catamaran. Mind the mosquitoes - plentiful and vicious. So bug spray is a MUST!!!
We had noticed on our way that the cooling water did not spurt out as forcefully as usual and that some water found its way out through other openings on our stern. What a surprise to see a grimey mess in our aft lockers once we were tied up. It took us 2 hours last night - then we could no longer see what we were doing and the mosquitoes had had a wonderful feast while we were busy cleaning and could not defend ourselves. This morning, we continued, this time not only with soap and water but paint thinner, Clorox, etc. The exhaust hose had separated from a connection that had been put in place two or three years ago. Juergen fixed it rather quickly, and all is well. Most of the lines are hanging to dry, the rest is back in its place - as clean as it could possibly get. We had lunch but have not gone into town yet. Since we read that Georgetown is supposed to have a beautiful historic district, we will take a little walk now...
We found internet access, not from the marina, but someone who has an unprotected WIFI set up. At least we can upload, check emails, etc.
On the evening of May 11, we had been invited for cocktails by Marcie and David and had a splendid time, drinking South African wine (which they brought from Cape Town), ate shrimp and fresh strawberries - life is good. We had terrific conversation. Poor David had to drive back to his mother-in-law as she decided that she could NOT keep their cat for the time they wanted to sail to New Zealand. So, another 1,000 m (statute miles, not nautical miles) before their cat would be back with them. He left at 0500 yesterday and, according to an email from Marcie, got back by 10 p.m. last night. We already agreed to meet with them this summer as they are visiting family (Marcie's sister) in Bristol, RI - and we have already exchanged emails... - I took two pictures of them as we had cocktails on their boat but I have not downloaded them yet - will do so in the next few days...
May 14 - Yesterday, Lila received her honorary doctorate at the University of Virginia. We had planned on joining her and her family and friends, but the weather had delayed us so much that we never made it close enough to Richmond. We regretted that a lot as we considered it an honor to be there. Thank God, Lila did not take this negatively. Instead, we hope to meet in New York early June.
We finally left our boat around 1700 yesterday to take a walk into town. The historic district had been written up as "worth seeing". Well, I am not sure whether we just don't see what we are supposed to or whether those who wrote this up just have a different idea as to what a historic district should look like. We were more than disappointed. In addition, we were thursty from all the hard work on the boat, and the wind was blowing cold air which we have not been used to in a while. So we went into a bar from which the sound of Sixties and Seventies music came. And we were not disappointed. We sat over a Coronas beer and listened to the three man band. A while later, we went back to the boat and got ready for dinner which we had made a reservation for at a local seafood restaurant. It was not great, but not bad. At least, we had some seafood which we really did not have much of on this trip - except, of course, at Hyman's Seafood in Charleston. Boy, do we miss their oysters and their fried green tomatoes!
We had hoped to leave some time this afternoon, drive down river and anchor some place so that, tomorrow, we would not have the long 18 nm trip down. But, the water outside the channel is very shallow. Juergen checked the charts. We could not find a place safe for us to anchor over night. So, we will have to leave around 0600 tomorrow to go to Southport, NC, close to 90 nm. Today, we will check emails, walk around town, check out whether we can buy propane somewhere nearby - one bottle is empty, the other almost, and we don't want to be without the possibility of making coffee, cooking dinner, while on the three day overnighter which we hope to take some time soon - most likely as of this weekend. Hopefully, we will have internet access in Southport to keep you abreast of our progress and the weather...
May 15 - Michi's birthday. Happy birthday, Michi. We will call you tomorrow as we will have been underway all day. Actually, we left Georgetown, SC, hat 0615 and arrived at the dock in Southport, NC, exactly at 1800 and in between covered just over 85 nm. We motor sailed all day. At least, there was a little wind from ESE which added a half or knot or slightly more to our engine speed without having to rev up the engine like crazy.The weather was beautiful, warm sunny, unfortunately the ocean swell came abeam and made me feel rather awful for quite some time. It disappeared after a few hours. The marina's docks here in Southport are brand new, floating. The marina offices, showers, etc. are still the old ones, to be modernized or built new "soon". So, we did not know whether or not we should stay just the one night or two. Then we sat in the cockpit over a glass ov wine and enjoyed the scenery. The marina and, especially our dock, is right next to a bird sanctuary. The many different bird species we saw were mind boggling, and we enjoyed watching the birds so much that we immediately decided to stay an extra night. This way, I can go and take pictures. I am sure, you will see some on our website.
Since this page is getting rather lengthy, I will start a new page as of May 16.