As most of you are aware, Bill and I have been preparing to move onto Wright Tack so Bill can live his dream of living on his boat while I hope that it will become something that I love also. It’s been a very difficult 3 years while the boat has been undergoing major upgrades, selling our house and now completing the task by selling the remainder of our “stuff”. If there are no more major stumbling blocks, we’ll be bringing our lines with us instead of leaving them at the dock in about 3 weeks. We’ll be heading down to Ft. Myers Beach, FL for the winter and then who knows where we’ll end up. Sign up for updates and see the trouble we can get into!
December 12, 2016 we left Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, FL through the Seven Mile Bridge into the Gulf of Mexico. We had a 73 nautical mile trip ahead of us which is an extremely long day in a sailboat. Since it was a very calm day we ended up motoring all the way and to be honest it was boring – all we saw was water every where you looked. We did see what appeared to be schools of fish sort of flying over the water like they were being chased by something in the water. We ended up anchoring that night in the Gulf just south of the 10,000 Islands.
These 2 days of travel did include the “super moon” so the evening skies were just beautiful.
December 13, 2016 we pulled up the anchor to head out on what we thought would be the final trip which was 60 miles. We traveled closer to shore that day so at least we were able to see the shoreline of Marco Island, Naples and finally Fort Myers Beach. Bill was able to put the sails up during the day a little bit so that did increase the speed a little.
When the end of the day arrived it was too late to go into the marina so we anchored about 1 mile away right across the way from Sanibel Lighthouse.
December 14, 2016 – so when we woke up in the morning we thought we could get into the marina real early. Apparently Mother Nature had other plans for us because the fog was so thick we couldn’t even see the water!
We had to wait until 2:45 for it to lift enough for us to head into the marina.
But “WE MADE IT”! We got to our destination – Fort Myers Beach – the place that we left on October 19 to be at in the middle of December! Not only did we make it but we did it on time.
I hope that you enjoyed my first attempt at this and I will be back with a new blog when we take off for other destinations!
So with that I want to wish All of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
December 7 – December 11, 2016 – heading to Marathon
We left Miami as scheduled bright and early in the AM in not the best of conditions for a very long day for the waves to be smashing against the boat, but we made our destination for the day at an anchorage behind Rodriquez key.
It was a rather windy and stormy night and Captain Bill was up for awhile in the “wee hours” checking the anchor, hatches, etc. which made him push the snooze alarm a few too many times in the morning.
At the anchorage there were 3 other sailboats with us and they were gone when we pulled up the anchor (too many snooze alarms). We were going all day long without any other boats but us but as we got closer to Marathon (Boot Key Harbor) out of nowhere appeared 3 sailboats in the distance. Unfortunately, they were going to the same place we were going which was a mooring field that was assigned on first come first serve basis. Once you went through the bridge you would be assigned a mooring and not until. Actually, I called ahead and we were given a mooring and then they called on the radio and said that they had to take it away because there were others that entered ahead of us. (Hey, I figured what harm would it do to try).
So the mooring field is for about 250 boats
and over 100 anchored boats. We anchored our boat hoping to get a mooring but that never happened. On the bright side though we did have a rather interesting time while we were here.
The sailboat next to us had a young couple (in their late 20’s I’d say) that had just returned from Michigan. They both had dreadlocks and would have easily fit into the hippie scene in the 60’s. Yesterday we gave them a dinghy ride while towing their kayak to a job that they were going to get started on. To make a long story short it was way to far away for them to row back so we ended up towing them back. On the way back we learned that they were “artists” in the crafting and flame swallowing arts. Anyone who has been to Key West, every night they celebrate the sunset and they have a lot of this type there showing their talents off. That is what they are going to do in the near future.
Then on the boat on the other side of us is a man all by himself (he seems to be nice, but rather strange) …… all he does ALL DAY LONG is exercise in his cockpit. He’ll be out there for hours and then take a 20 minute break and comes back out – this goes on all day long.
This is a nice place to be, the people seem to be friendly and they have activities going on. A lot of the people on their boat blow Conch Shells around sunset which is rather interesting to hear – the dogs don’t seem to appreciate it too much though.
They were having a boat parade for Christmas but was cancelled due to the high winds. They’re also decorating and giving away bicycles to the local children, stockings under the Christmas Tree and a party for the local children.
At night it’s real pretty looking at all the anchor lights (some with Christmas lights).
Bill would like to possibly come back here in February but unfortunately it’s so crowded that we would have to be at anchor (if there was even room available).
So if all is well with the weather, we are planning to pull the anchor up tomorrow bright and early and go under the Seven Mile Bridge to enter the Gulf of Mexico and off to Ft. Myers Beach.
With no problems, the trip will take us 2 long days. So good-bye Boot Key Harbor – maybe we’ll see you in February!
November 25 – December 1, 2016 – On the way to Pampano Beach, FL
Finally the winds decided to leave so we headed out and had an easy day. Spent the night in an anchorage.
On December 1 we decided to get a marina for a few days because of the winds again, so we checked into Lighthouse Point Racquet and Yacht Club for 2 days which ended up being more. It’s a smaller marina than the ones we’ve been at but the boats there are not in our category by any means.
This dark blue boat’s name is “Never Better” which perfectly described it (made Wright Tack look like it’s dinghy). The couple who owned this boat were a great couple with a parrot 26 years old. On site was a terrific Restaurant which had special events most days and Bill and I took advantage of all of them.
Of course they also had a beautiful swimming pool with a tiki bar.
Bill and I basically had the pool to ourselves whenever we were there! Not to bad to handle.
When we were at this marina just about every yacht that was there was also being cleaned and polished by hired people. I think Bill got the guilty feeling because he started to clean the teak on our boat which needs to be done badly – it just might be a beginning. It would really be nice if we could get Wright Tack looking good instead of shabby. Everyone was great at this Marina and we would most likely return there in the future.
December 1 – December 6 – In the ocean to Miami, FL
Well we took off at about 7 AM to get some fuel and then on our way to Miami. As we were heading down the ICW we had a little shower and then the rainbow came.
We continued down the ICW looking at all the beautiful homes, etc. on our way to the Port Everglades Inlet in Fort Lauderdale to enter the Atlantic Ocean. The bridges are really becoming quite a pain to say the least. There’s at least a couple of hundred and you have to time a lot of them.
So we entered the Inlet and went out into the ocean. The winds were about 15 knots but with the direction there was no sailing to be done. In addition to the wind the waves were 3-5 feet and extremely uncomfortable for both Bill and myself. Fortunately we only had about 20 miles to cover and it was a real relief when we entered the Inlet going into Key Biscayne.
There’s a place in Biscayne Bay that’s rather interesting – Stiltsville. Apparently there were numerous houses where people lived up until I think the 60’s – there are only a few left but no one lives in them. If interested check it out at : www.stiltsville.org
So we’ve been anchored in Miami now for about 4 days, and has been a very entertaining place. People coming and going from boat to boat, boats loaded with people playing extremely loud Spanish music seeing which boat can play it the loudest. The first night we arrived there was a rap concert of all things and the nextnight fireworks. I think that a lot of this was celebrating the death of Castro.
The view of Miami from Wright Tack
was beautiful in the evening and then there’s a picture of the daytime.
And being on the boat you have to take advantage of the beautiful sunsets.
Tomorrow we leave Miami and head to Marathon in the Florida Keys. We’ll be hanging around there for a few days waiting for weather AGAIN and then we’re off to the Gulf of Mexico to Ft. Myers Beach, FL.
Carolina Beach to Coquina Marina in North Myrtle Beach, SC
We left Camp Lejeune bright and early to head to an anchorage at Carolina Beach. An uneventful day – a total of about 32 nautical miles.
On 11-1-16 we headed out to North Myrtle Beach, SC with reservations at Coquina Yacht Club in North Myrtle Beach, SC on Little River. Of course we had to go aground at an inlet or the day wouldn’t have been complete, but apparently it wasn’t too bad because we made it to our marina without a problem.
This marina was really interesting! First it was basically totally operated (not construction repairs) by a woman who is retiring shortly since she’s 80 years old. One of the other marina guests helped us dock because she was in town running errands. Usually she’s the one that meets the boats and catches the lines and ties the boats up. She lives there on her boat and is considering selling and moving to a retirement community – I wish I had her energy. She was going to take me grocery shopping but she ran out of time and so did we – so we went out to dinner at a restaurant at the marina.
Another reason I remember this marina is that this was the first place that I really experienced what high tides were like (6-8 feet). The restrooms, showers, laundry, etc. were really high up ground and during low tide you had to walk up this rather steep ramp which we have never experienced before but had to look forward to a lot more like this.
November 2 and November 3, 2016 – Butler Island to Dewes Island
Left Coquina Yacht Club early AM and had a great trip – no problems at all and we reached our anchorage mid afternoon with beautiful weather. Along the way we did see a few areas that were obviously hard hit by Hurricane Matthew – a lot of houses with ruined first floors.
November 3 we left in dense fog at 7:45! I really don’t understand why, but Bill seems to love being in the fog – personally I’d rather be able to see in front of me!
The BIG thrill for me this day was that a dolphin was following our boat and after a lot of tries I managed to get a short video of him when jumping out of the water. We also had an area of intense nail biting due to shoaling called McClelland pass but we finally made it through. Then it happened!
At about 5 PM we were going towards our anchorage and I can’t remember what I was doing – going up or down the companionway of our boat probably turning on the windless and getting our earphones for anchoring. Bill was doing about 4-5 knots at this point and a shoal appears and BAM – down goes Donna backwards and lands on my back and head. I really could have been seriously injured enough for hospitalization. I had a bump the size of a nectarine within 5 minutes on the back of my head which we got to go away with lots of ice all night long. The pain in my back was enormous though – mainly on my lower back all the way across. Somehow I managed to get myself up and believe it or not I also managed to get into the cockpit so I could steer the boat while Bill anchored. I have no pain meds on board or muscle relaxers so I turn to my strong pills for headaches and it seems to relieve some pain or maybe just in my head. Bill made up the bed in the cabin for me because there was no way that I could make it up to the V-Berth. I’m not sure how I slept that night but I did – even with the shrimp eating stuff off the hull of our boat.
I almost forgot to mention that my phone also broke that day and you know how we can’t live without that! After the day from horror I actually managed to stay on the phone with T-Mobile for 45 minutes to get a “temporary” phone sent to Bob & Suzi’s house where will be visiting in a couple of days. Not exactly a good day for me!
OK – from here for about 2 weeks I apologize because my thoughts have not been into the blog due to the pain that I was in. I do have things to enter, but probably rather sketchy.
November 4 & 5, 2016 – On our way to Hilton Head, SC
When I awoke on 11-4, I was in a lot of pain which basically stayed with me all day – dozing on and off in the cockpit all day trying to help as much as I possibly could. Bill has had to do absolutely everything for us and will for awhile. We just went on our way down the ICW and managed to anchor after 48 nautical miles of traveling.
On November 5 we made our way into Skull Creek Marina in Hilton Head, SC. There were a few marinas in this location that were destroyed by Matthew – this marina only had it’s fuel dock destroyed. The current entering the docking area we were assigned was really bad and Bill had a rather difficult time maneuvering the boat in the right direction – it just had a mind of its own! Fortunately, there were about 3 guys on the dock that I actually managed to get lines to so they could tie us up. Phew! Another day completed.
November 6 thru November 8, 2016 – Hilton Head with the Huismans’
Early November 6 Bill’s best friend from HS, Bob, came to the marina to pick us up to take us to his and Suzi’s house for a few days. We hadn’t seen them for 7 years when we spent 3 weeks in Hawaii with them. It was great to see them but I only wish it could have been under better circumstances as far as I went so we could have had a little fun!
Hilton Head really took a hard hit with Matthew. Bob & Suzi had a huge tree fall on their pool enclosure and destroyed that, but didn’t touch their house. They also had a lot of other trees fall which opened up a view of a road that they didn’t have before. Everywhere you looked you saw blue tarp and most of the homes had enormous piles of cut up trees waiting to be taken away.
When Monday came around we decided to go to an Emergency Care Center to get some answers or at least some medicine that would help. Well after seeing a great doctor, x-ray and cat scan the verdict came back that I had fractured my T12 and he did give me some meds that never did take the pain away but made it somewhat manageable. We stayed there until Election Day and then went back to the marina to take off the following AM.
Back to the day when I fell, I mentioned that I was going to get a “temporary” phone sent to Bob & Suzi’s! Well it was suppose to get there on Monday – didn’t happen! Bob ended up bringing it to our boat after dropping us off earlier after being delivered there at 7 PM. This was only a “temporary” phone. The real replacement was going to be sent to a T-Mobile store in Florida (more about that later).
November 9, 10 & 11, 2016 – In the Savannah, Georgia area going to Brunswick, GA
Even boats like to eat so we had to stop for fuel which took forever because there was 1 man doing all the boats that were stopped so that wasted about 1 hour or so. Other than that the day was uneventful and grabbed an anchorage for the night.
The next day, off we go down North Newport River and apparently the tides are against us! (something that Bill has taken notice of since this time). We went aground at 8:10 AM (what a way to start the day). We even got to the point that we were sinking in the mud and heeling over a little to the point that Bill called Boat US for help because he was worried that if we heeled over much more, water would start coming in through the thru hulls. After some discussion, he suggested that we just sit tight and wait for the tide to come back up and it should just float the boat off the shoal. Just as we were starting to get off at 12:50 (yes – almost 5 hours) friends of ours from Rock Hall, Gay and Bruce, rode by so once we were off the mud we followed them for the rest of the day and again, anchored for the night.
On the 11th, Veteran’s Day, Wright Tack and Peal ventured to the Mud River. By the way did I mention that so far I really don’t like Georgia on the ICW. It really explains why a lot of boats go out into the Atlantic and once past Georgia they come back in. Unfortunately, I certainly was not ready to do that especially in the pain that I was in. We followed Pearl, but they don’t need as much water so they went thru and we got stuck again. So we made lunch and waited for the tide to come back up. We never did catch up with Pearl – I’m sure they’re at their destination already. There was a weather front coming through so we decided to go to Brunswick Landing Marina for a few days to wait it out.
November 12-14, 2016 – Brunswick Landing Marina
I’m not sure if mother nature was in my favor or not, but my back really needed these days to rest a little. Still not good but a little sleep here and there helps a lot. We have never been to a marina like this one before – the only thing lacking was a pool. They actually had FREE beer 24/7 on tap and 2 nights they added FREE wine. In addition to that, the washers and dryers were FREE. It was a little difficult getting a washer because I think everyone was washing everything on their boat. This was Bill’s first experience with doing laundry while being on a boat.
So while Bill is planning the charting for the next few days, we had to figure out a stop somewhere near Jacksonville, FL so that I could pick up my phone. Also we wanted to go and pick up our mail from the mail service in Green Cove Springs. Well, it figures……………..it’s not as easy as planned because of the low water in the area we need to be at. Since we were only 65 miles (1 hour by car) away we thought – car rental! So Keith got a call and I had a rental car in minutes. We stayed on Monday and took care of what we needed to do plus filled the frig and freezer up again.
November 15 -16, 2016 Jekyll Creek, GA to Fernandina Beach, FL
So all we’ve been hearing about is how horrible it is to get through Jekyll Creek if you need a lot of water. So Bill looked at the tide charts to see when the rising tide would be. We ventured out with fingers and toes crossed, with me making sure he stayed in the middle of the channel all the way. Well we made it through with no problems. The rest of our day went well until late afternoon when we went aground again. We sat there for about 2 hours and then turned around and anchored at Fernanadina Beach just off the marina – totally closed due to Matthew.
The next morning we left Fernandina Beach and arrived at the Jacksonville Free docks (in the middle of nowhere). There was only us and 1 other boat there for the night. There’s a couple that apparently visits the docks each evening to welcome whoever is there.
November 17, 2016 – St. Augustine, FL
We had a short day because we wanted to be able to enjoy St. Augustine a little. Great help getting into the dock which I’m really grateful for since I can’t do much plus the current there was crazy – like 3.5 knots. After we settled in we went up to town which was right there. We enjoyed a great dinner at what I think is Bill’s favorite restaurant – The Columbia. After that we walked around in the stores for awhile. We missed the weekend of lights by 2 days – that would have been nice to have seen.
Man playing pipes with flip-flops!
And of course, there always has to be one of these around! This was at the end of the dock we were on – servants galore!
November 18 -20, 2019 – Palm Coast, FL
The morning really didn’t start off all that well. We had help at the dock with the lines and then all hell broke loose. We got caught up in the current which decided to turn the boat around in the wrong direction – after panicking for a few minutes which felt like hours we finally broke loose and were on our way.
We had a great day on the water – NO PROBLEMS! We decided to go to a marina to wait out another front and we went to the Hammock Bay Resort. This was my favorite so far – big time! We obviously were at the marina portion – the resort itself was a few miles away. Where we were there was a gorgeous pool with hot tube area, lounges along with all the other things. When you showered you didn’t have to bring anything with you except your clothes – everything else was provided for you. The showers, etc. was located in a large building which also had Condos in it which could be purchased (if you were rich).
The 2nd day we were there we called the Bell staff and they came and picked us up to bring us over to the resort (that was also included In the cost). There was a ocean sand pool, a lazy river, an adult pool, a regular pool and a kid pool plus a big water slide. At the adult pool there was a bar and a place that served lunch. There was also the ocean beach but we never made it over there. Of course there’s always something lacking …..at this marina it was TV, poor WI-Fi and iffy phone coverage, but that was overlooked with all the other amenities.
November 21 & 22, 2016 – New Smyrna Beach and Coca Beach, Fl
Another day with no problems at all. We could use a fuel stop but none available today – it’ll have to wait for 2 more days. We stopped at the night at New Smyrna Beach.
We left early in the morning from the anchorage to head to Cocoa Beach hoping for a nice day! We just missed a launching by about 5 days but we did have a view of the launch area although far away.
NASA Launch Site
About 9 -10 AM I noticed that we had no water coming out of faucets. Bill had a water pump which broke a few days ago but replaced it with our spare. Well, of course we thought the new water pump had broken. We looked up in the books to find that there’s a West Marine in Cocoa so I called and they had some in stock. When we anchored, Bill went to see if he could fix and realized it wasn’t the water pump after all! A hose to our water tanks popped off and ALL of our water was pumped out of the boat. Fortunately, we do have 10 gallons for extra on board. Hopefully the Marina tomorrow will have water available. (post blog – all turned out fine).
November 23, 2016 – Going to Vero Beach, Fl
We left anchorage this AM around 7 and it’s such a beautiful morning! I’ll tell you, there are an awful lot of people down here living the good life. Right now it’s 72 degrees and it’s 9:45 AM. We’re headed to Vero Beach for tonight and most likely tomorrow – Thanksgiving! As for me I am getting better. It’s been almost 3 weeks since it happened and I only have meds for 1 more day and then it’s Tylenol I guess. I ache badly more than hurt at this point and it’s hard to get comfortable. On this Thanksgiving day I’ll be thankful that’s all that happened to me and not like it could have been.
A little friend
An interesting tree
I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving Day with your family and/or friends. Bill and I won’t be having a big dinner, but we do have turkey legs, stove top stuffing, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. We don’t have pie so it won’t be complete but you never can tell what we’ll find when we get to Vero Beach in mid afternoon. Update! The marina here along with the Power Squadron had a Thanksgiving Dinner for all – we all had to bring a dish with us and the turkey was supplied. There was more food than you could imagine. Good food and good company – what else could you ask for?
Location: Buck Island, Albemarle Sound, Alligatior River to Belhaven, NC
I will say, that one thing that Bill and I has had in our favor (for a change) is the weather! It’s not good “sailing” weather but being on the ICW there’s a lot where you can sail, so we’ve pretended to be a power boat for a lot of the time.
Anyway, this portion of the trip quite frankly (as far as I’m concerned) has been quite boring!
Buck Island was basically just an anchorage that we ended up going to.
Albemarle Sound is a large body of water that apparently gets really rough, but we just had choppy water but it could have been a LOT worse.
Alligator River – sorry no Alligators! I was hoping to see one just to add some excitement! We made it through the winding river with no problems. I have 3 different books and charts that I’m watching to make sure that Captain Bill doesn’t miss something. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it!
Belhaven – we anchored outside of town along with about 6 other boats. We took our dinghy down and ventured into town which turned out to be not too much of an adventure. At one time it was a nice little town, but just like everywhere else, there must be a larger town nearby with a Walmart that took all the business away. There were a couple of shops that were open that had some really nice things and a couple of nice antique shops. We did go into the library to get on the internet. We grabbed a bite to eat and went back to the boat while still daylight.
We’ve been getting a lot of sleep probably due to the fact that the TV choices we’ve been getting are very minimal (PBS mostly) and for the past 3 days we’ve been totally off the grid – that part I really don’t like at all.
Hopefully my next posting will be more interesting!
Location: Adams Creek to Hammock Bay (Camp Lejeune, NC)
Left our anchorage about 7:15 AM heading to Adams Creek in NC. It turned out to be an extremely calm day and just enjoyed the ride until we reached our anchorage that had a sunken sailboat in the middle of it. They just had markers in the water to show you where it was.
The next day we woke up hoping for an uneventful day, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. When we left the anchorage we ended up having a current that slowed the boat by 2 knots but then a little later it made the boat go faster (good thing) and that went on all day long. We went by Bogue Inlet – I find it interesting how we go right by the various inlets and there’s the ocean, but on the other hand they also cause a lot of problems with the currents and sand movements.
A little past this spot we saw a small sailboat sideways in the channel and we were wondering what was going on and then the large powerboat in front of us stopped all of a sudden and had smoke coming out from the back and then we figured out why – because then we hit ground! Fortunately it was soft under the boat and we were able to get off with no problem.
Our destination for the night was an anchorage in Hammock Bay, which is also located in Camp Legeune Marine Base and Firing Range. Of course upon our entrance to the anchorage, we went aground again and again we got off with no problem. While we were there the marines made their presence known by coming in boats and dropping off troops on land – 3 different boats. I took this picture as they were leaving – wasn’t sure if they’d take my phone away while taking their pictures or not!
There was also a couple in a dinghy riding around giving out Halloween treats. For once in our life Bill and I declined.
We left Zahnizer’s Marina at Solomon’s Island thinking that the wind would have died down and the waves would be smaller – wrong! At the dock, the winds were fine but once out in the bay the story changed. We did try to do some sailing for a couple of hours and then the engine went back on. We ended up anchoring at Godfrey Bay which is just south of Deltaville, VA.
October 24, 2016- Location: Hampton, VA
We left Godfrey Bay and headed down to Hampton/Norfolk area. We had what Bill called “a perfect day”.
We sailed a majority of the day doing 7-8 knots average with very small waves. Bill was in his glory! The closer we got we decided to stay at the anchorage at Old Point Comfort.
It was a very quiet anchorage with only about 5 other boats – mostly from Canada. I entertained myself by adding a little bit of Halloween to the boat, compliments of my sister-in-law, Cheryl.
October 25, 2016 – Location: Norfolk Naval Shipyard to the Great Bridge Locks
Today is the day when we enter the ICW so I was looking forward to actually seeing what all the talk is about that I hear from other boaters that have done this trip.
We went by the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and saw lots and lots of boats which you are now also going to see! There were just way to many to take all the pictures and not enough time.
After we went past that, we came up to the Portsmouth, VA Navy Hospital and right after that was Mile Marker 0 of the ICW.
There are lots and lots of bridges on the ICW – some that are always open, some that open at specific times and some that you have to call on the radio to have them open for you. Out of 3 bridges that are usually open – 2 of those were closed due to trains.
After awhile, we approach the Great Bridge Locks which you have to go through. The lock hands help tie up as the water either rises or lowers for you. The lady at our lock was even giving out Halloween candy!
So after an interesting day, we are tied up to a free dock for the night after a quick dinner in the town of Chesapeake, VA. Tomorrow we’ll enter North Carolina!