Saturday, November 15, 2014

A View of the Real Life of Boaters

Ahhh...the beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Pictures of dolphins, eagles and other wildlife. Great meals on and off the boat. And I hate to be the one to tell you,  but that's not all there is to the boating life.

A real boater cherishes beautiful days on the water. But, that boater also loves a great marina. That would be a marina with clean showers that offer lots of hot water. AND, we love a great laundromat. This marina only has 2 washers and 2 dryers. But, they are clean and they work. The washers also let you use warm or even hot water. So we're going to have clean sheets. Now that's a great day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Outside Savannah

We motored all day today. Now, at 3:30, we are anchored near Thunderbolt marina. The scenery is amazing. On one side,  we have mansions. On the other side, we have the Lowlands of Georgia.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's not all fun

Alas, Dear Reader. Boating is not all fun all the time. Some days you must take care of the most mundane things. Today, we have cleaned. And now we are doing laundry. The great poster above the dryers looks like the good life of boating. But the truly great boating experience is a marina with a good laundromat. The laundromat here at Beaufort is usually great. But the marina is full. We've had to wait in line for our washers. And, it is hot in here! First time in a while that I've been hot in short sleeves!

It's a Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day here in Beaufort. And we are using our time here in the marina to do those mundane tasks that you avoid whenever possible. Mike is checking the engine while we work on cleaning inside the boat.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Beaufort, South Carolina

Once again we are visiting one of our favorite marinas. We are at the town docks in Beaufort. The marina has great showers, a good location right at the end of the river walk, and a courtesy car. We have decided to stay here two nights. We'll get some shopping done. We'll do some laundry. Nice easy days ahead. But, this evening, we are admiring the sunset.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Beautiful Sunset

We had a nice quiet evening here in Church Creek. The sunset was spectacular. And, it was so still that the clouds were reflected in the water.


It's Sunday,  and we are anchoring in Church Creek.  How appropriate!

Morning in Awendaw Creek

Today's picture is taken from inside the cabin. Yes, Dear Reader, it's cold and rainy out there. I will not be going out there to take pictures until this afternoon when the sun arrives.

Meanwhile, it's time for breakfast. We'll be having scrambled eggs and pastries from the Kudzu Bakery in Georgetown. No French Toast from raisin bread. They only bake that on Thursday. :-(

Our plans for today include heading towards Charleston. But, no rush to start.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sunset in Awendaw Creek

It is 5:39, and the sun is going down. Daylight Savings Time is not friendly to those of us who prefer the afternoons over really early starts in the morning.

So, we are working on dinner. I made a broccoli salad. Carol cut up a tomato and a cucumber. Mike is busy steaming the shrimp we bought in Georgetown.

We had a fairly quiet day - except for the five miles of skinny water- only 5 feet the whole 5 miles. It's those moments that add real excitement to your day on the water. One sailboat ended running aground. Note to boaters: be careful around McClellanville during low tide!

We navigated a great course that brought us to this anchorage and this beautiful sunset.

Short Travel Day

We left Georgetown at 10:45 this morning in gray skies. It is now 3:15 PM, and we are anchored in Awendaw Creek. It's a beautiful place in the Lowlands.


It's Saturday,  and we are getting ready to leave this hopping place. Check out the main street.

Friday, November 7, 2014

On the Waccamaw River

It's a beautiful day here on the Waccamaw River. Last night ended windy and cold, so we are all glad to see the sunshine. The bad news is that the temperature is not going to get above 65 degrees.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Calabash Creek

We had a pleasant cruise down the ICW today. It is beginning to warm up, so no sweatshirts. We have anchored in Calabash Creek. Good thing we got here early. Tonight's entertainment is watching all the other boats trying to squeeze in here.

The first shot is of the interesting sky. The second shows three of the six other boats  anchored here so far.


We arrived at Southport yesterday around 3. And, so did Bob. Yes, yesterday was Susan's last day on the boat. Bob was kind enough to not only do a run to Walmart, but drove us all out to dinner last night.

One of the marina folk recommended Mr. P's Bistro, so we decided to give it a try. This photo is from their website. We arrived after the sun had set, so I couldn't get a good picture.

As you can see, it is a local spot. And it was really hopping for a Wednesday evening. In fact, it was packed! Good thing we made reservations.

We did have really great food. The restaurant is known for its prime rib. According to our party members who ordered it, the acclaim is well deserved. The shrimptini cocktail looked delicious. And, Susan said it lived up to its looks. This restaurant was a great find.

This morning, we stayed a few hours here in Southport. 

We used the time to do laundry and clean the boat. We'll be leaving soon to continue working our way south. Meanwhile, today is a great day for clouds.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's a Parade!

Well, the storm back at Belhaven has piled up the boats going south. This morning, there were 9 boats queuing up for the Topsail Island swing bridge. And, almost all of them were sailboats. The bridge tender held us for 5 minutes just to get us all grouped up. Mike had the chance to play at keeping stations for a good 20 minutes.

Morning in Mile Hammock Bay

Here we are- up at COD (Crack of dawn) once again. Our stated aim this time was a leisurely trip down the ICW. Rule Number One: NEVER set those sort of goals. Fate will spend its time making sure that your plans do not come to fruition.

In today's scenario, we must be out of Mile Hammock Bay by 7 AM. The military is planning practice maneuvers that will start soon.

So, it is 6:20 AM, and the anchor is coming u

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dinner Tonight

Once again, Susan created an incredibly scrumptious meal for us. Tonight we had pork medallions in a red wine sauce. It was accompanied by apples, pears and sweet potatoes. Our side dish was steamed green beans. And, it was so good!

Mile Hammock Bay

We are anchored for the night in Mile Hammock Bay. It is a beautiful night. Check out the sunset. We also have a full moon on the rise. But we are not alone in paradise. There are 13 other boats in here. That is not counting the military equipment.

Overnight in Beaufort

We arrived much earlier in Beaufort than we thought we would. And, you can thank the work on the Morehead City railroad bridge for that. Because of the work, we took the alternate path called the Russell Slough Channel. It was five miles shorter than the preferred route. And, it was a nice path to follow. Carol is of the opinion that it should become our new favorite path for getting to Beaufort Docks.

Since we got into town by three, we went walking about. One favorite shop to visit is Seagrass Whimsical Gifts. The store has a great selection of collectables including little metal signs with sayings like:

They also have soulmate socks- whose motto is "Life's too short for matching socks." So, I bought my first souvenir. 

Yes, my socks do not match. Not only that, but they are made in America with recycled cotton. And, they are comfy.

At dinner time, we decided to eat at Clawson's- which just happens to be right across the street from us.

Yes, the food was very yummy. Check it out.

Today, we will head off toward Wrightsville Beach. Since it is a long trip, we will overnight somewhere along the way.

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3-On the Water Again

Our two day visit from Gale was finally officially over. Yes, Dear Readers, we spent two days pushed up against the dock in Belhaven because we had gale force winds. The weather forecast said that would change today, so everyone in the marina had been talking about leaving first thing this morning. Now, the Belhaven Marina had packed us in so that it could accommodate as many boats as possible. In case you didn't know, LUX is a big boat. We always get asked to be at the end of the pier if there are a lot of boats. So, yes, we were the last of four boats on the short pier in Belhaven. A short pier with deadheads in the water on the other side. This, of course, meant everyone was anxious to know our plans for this morning. Most specifically, they wanted us out of the way ASAP!

At 5:30 AM this morning, Carol was up turning on the hot water. By 6:15, we were out of the marina and on our way. Next stop, Beaufort.

Meanwhile, it is still cold. So, we made banana bread after breakfast. This particular voyage is well on the way to becoming known as the voyage of the daily oven users!

It is one in the afternoon, and it has been an exciting day so far. We started out with a bald eagle sighting. He was just sitting there on a green daymark.

As we sailed along, the rest of the fleet came out of Belhaven to follow our lead.

Yes, all those arrows are boats following along behind us. Yes, we are all headed to Beaufort. And, yes, the latest news is not good. Seems they are working on the railroad bridge in Morehead City. It will only open between Noon and 1 PM and after 3... Or maybe 5 depending on which report you wish to believe. So, we have decided to be adventurous and take another route. We are going to try the Beaufort Channel. It opens on the half hour until 4.

Of course, it just got exciting here in the ICW. We had a sailboat in front of us going half the speed of everyone else. 

We had a big Cabo Rico sailboat behind us running full bore. And, coming right at all of us was a large tug. We try to pass the slow boat. It speeds up and takes the middle of the channel. The Cabo tries to pass us AND the slow boat at the same time. It can't overcome hull speed. And the tug just kept coming.

The Cabo just kept going. It finally pulled up as we were passing the slow boat. It passed the slow boat on the port as we were passing on the starboard. I'm just glad this is a wide section of the ICW. Wow!

Spoon River is Great

We had the best meal at Spoon River in Belhaven. 

Yes, if you order chicken on your salad, you get a half chicken!

Spoon River is a great restaurant on the Main Street in Belhaven. It was not open the last time we were there, so we were excited to have the opportunity to try it out this time. They offer a menu that includes lots of locally sourced foods freshly prepared. It is so fresh that the waiter apologized for our wait. He said that they had to make up more of the balsamic vinaigrette for the chicken salad. They only make up small batches at a time.

Nov. 1 & 2 - It Ended Up A Dark and Stormy Night

As we approached Belhaven, the weather forecast was beginning to look bleak. The winds were expected to go to gale force and stay that way for a while. So, we made the decision to hunker down here for a bit.

When we stop in Belhaven, we love to stay at the Belhaven Waterway Marina. It is a small marina run by a husband and wife team. It is within walking distance of the local restaurants. And, the owners will loan you a car if you need to go to the grocery store. They offer a laundry with one washer and one dryer. That's the bad news. The good news is that they are free! The other bad news is that there is only one bathroom. The good news is that the bathroom is fully equipped. The owners offer you soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Clean towels, washcloths, and mats are on the bench for your use. And, the bathroom is really decorated.

Halloween night was lovely. The temperature was cool, but you only needed a sweatshirt. We walked up to Fish Hooks for dinner. The best meal of the evening was the special- crab stuffed shrimp. Afterward, we stopped in the local variety store for ice cream. 

Saturday, November 1rst, started out beautifully. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. The clouds were building to the east. We went walking about town. First stop- the library. We love the Belhaven library! It is a gorgeous building. Every librarian we have met there has been so polite and helpful. And so very nice. They always have a hardback book sale- books for only $1.00! And, right by the desk, they have a rack of paperbacks that are free! And, they have free wifi and computers that you can use to check your email. Should you be stuck in Belhaven because of the weather, the library with its comfy seating areas is the perfect place to pass the time away.

We ate lunch at Spoon River. If you are ever in the area, be sure to eat here. The restaurant is making an effort to serve locally sourced food in interesting dishes. And, in our opinion, they do a great job. Everything was simply delicious. The best dish,though, was the house salad. For an extra $2, you could get it with chicken. So, we ordered the chicken. Check it out.

Yes, that is half a roasted chicken on that salad. Yes, most of it made it back to the boat. Chicken salad sandwiches are on the menu. 

As we headed back to the boat, the clouds were really beginning to fill the sky. And the wind began to blow. And blow. And blow. Since we certainly did not want to walk around in this weather, Susan and Gee planned another great meal. We had blueberry topped salmon served on a bed of butternut squash and pears. It was accompanied by Brussels sprouts sliced thin and sauteed with pecans. We enjoyed the meal. And, the wind just continued to blow.

The Woes of the Provisioner- A Cautionary Tale

The work of any provisioner can be just as taxing as boat maintenance. No matter how hard you try, crew members never tell you everything until you are all onboard and underway. You can usually get the big picture, but the devil is in the details.

We have sailed with diabetics and vegetarians. We have dealt with the gluten intolerant, nut allergies, citrus allergies, and a wide variety of personal food dislikes. Again, big picture. It doesn't even begin to cover those personal quirks. So, here are my suggestions for trying to get a handle on the care and feeding of your new crew members. LUX often recruits crew for long passages, so we have had many opportunities to learn about all the things people will and will not eat! Here are some of the things I have learned.

Start with the big picture. Send out a request for information to new crew members. These questions need to be included:

- Do you have any food allergies and/or food sensitivities? (Be sure to ask about food sensitivities. People will tell you that they have a nut allergy, but they won't mention that cranberries give them serious acid indigestion until you serve the turkey and cranberry wraps.)

-Do you have any dietary preferences? (Make sure your crew understands that you are looking for vegetarians, gluten-free, sugar free, etc. Also, don't forget to stress this. Some crew members will tell you they will eat anything until you serve chili. That's when you find out that they NEVER eat beans of any sort.)

But, as I keep saying, the devil is in those details. I found it best to try to drill down to some basics. Don't waste your time asking folks what they would like to have for breakfast. Ask them to tell you what they eat most mornings for breakfast. People will tell you about their favorite indulgences for breakfast, but they will inevitably fail to mention that they actually eat yogurt most days to avoid stomach distress. Crew members will tell you they will eat anything, but they don't always mention that they ONLY eat a certain type of cereal. 

Also, don't forget those morning beverages and the accessories! It's not just coffee or tea. It's coffee with milk or coffee with soy milk or coffee with..... You fill in the blanks. Then, it is tea with lemon, or tea with almond milk, or tea with..... Again, you fill in the blanks. And, let me tell you about sweeteners. I have had to work my way through sugar, honey, agave, and every version of artificial sweeteners known to man. And tea...Do you have any idea how many varieties of tea there are? I do now. Or, at least I am working my way through them with each new crew member. So, a word to the wise. Ask your crew members to tell you exactly what they drink in the morning. And don't forget to ask about juices- not only what kind of juice but also do they add anything to it. No, I don't regularly carry Angostura bitters. And, I won't know to bring bitters unless you tell me.

Continuing with the beverage theme, crew members need to tell you what they drink regularly. Don't ask for diet Sprite after you said you would drink anything. I need to know what you want to drink - unless you plan to bring it along with you.

And speaking of bringing it along with you...Don't surprise me with last minute items that you wanted to bring along. At present, I have at least five pounds of carrots on this boat. I try to plan to have just enough food to get eaten. It won't work out if you surprise me.

So, when planning for a long voyage with new crew members, take some time to make them answer questions about food preferences. We quite often plan a crew dinner before we take off. It gives us an opportunity to get to know each other even better. And, it gives me time to "grill" them before I'm on the boat grilling that food they never eat!

It's Halloween!

We have left the Alligator River Marina and headed down to the Pongo River canal. We are having our usual round of entertainment already. First, the waves were NOT 5 to 10 as predicted. Once we got through the bridge, the weather reported 20, and they were right. It was a nice and bumpy ride up to the bridge.

Once through the bridge, we began traveling with the weather. So, things have smoothed out for us as we continue south. We are now approaching the canal. And, those military jets are buzzing us once more! They are so close (and so loud) that we think they are aiming at our mast.

We are back to motoring after a bit of motor sailing because we really want to get to Belhaven before the weather turns. The prediction is for two days of nasty rainy weather. They might be right. The horizon is all reddish pink right now- a sure warning for sailors.

By the way, we just passed the hundred mile mark in the ICW. It is cold today, so we are really enjoying the enclosure.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Another Great Dish

Tonight's dinner was baked salmon with blueberry sauce served over butternut squash and pears. We also had Brussels sprouts sautéed with pecans.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

At The Bridge

We got up at the crack of dawn to get on our way. However, the big hold up for the day is our bridge tender. He thinks it is too foggy to open the bridge. What do you think?

So, it used to be that boats could be trusted to travel in bad weather. I guess those days are gone. So we sit and play at keeping stations. Mike has threatened to turn off the engines to check the oil. He thinks that will motivate the bridge tender. Carol pointed out that we might end up on the banks of the canal. Only, as usual, she said it more politely. She said, "I would prefer that you NOT turn off the engines at this time." She did use her best teacher voice- the one that warns you of dire consequences. Mike did not turn off the engines. And still we wait.

Why You Should Visit Cape Charles

Friends had told us that we needed to include Cape Charles on future itineraries. Carol really wanted to go. We thought this trip would be the perfect time to make that visit happen. We are certainly glad we did. And now, we think you should plan to visit, too. And, I need to tell you why.

Let's start with the Town Harbor Marina. The price is better than just right. As of October 2014, the off season price is just $1.50 a foot. The pump out is just one dollar. The bathrooms are clean. The showers have lots of hot water. The hands working there are courteous as well as efficient. Yes, we did notice that a cement manufacturing plant is right across the way. But, it was not as annoying as others have reported. Also, it has been reported that this marina is really far from town. There is actually a path from The Shanty across the railroad tracks to the Main Street through town. And, it is not that far to walk. Better yet, the path ends right in front of the Brown Dog Ice Cream Shop! And, the shop next to it plans to sell frozen yogurt! 

Cape Charles also has a great old fashioned hardware store. The aisles are narrow, and there is 'stuff' overflowing into the aisles. They have a nice selection of marine hardware as well. The staff not only knows hardware, but they can tell you all about the town and the other shops. That's how we found out that Vance's Furniture refills propane bottles! It's a bit of a walk from the marina, but it can be done.  We also learned that Vance's is a third generation family business that started with propane!

Also, do not skip Gull Hummock, the wine store. It has many things a boater might look for in town. They have a large selection of wines as well as craft beers. They have cheeses, chocolates, and ice cream. They even offer a small selection of gluten free foods. The Gull Hummock may not be able to meet all your needs for groceries, but it will appeal to the gourmets on board your boat.

The public library sells some books and gives away magazines. And, they have a very nice computer lab. It's worth a stop, especially since it is housed in an old bank building. 

Finally, back to the marina and The Shanty restaurant. Once again, Dear Readers, put it on your list of places to eat should you be traveling near Cape Charles. The food is so good. The ambience is very much a seaside shanty. And, the service is just superb. Our hostess/waitress really knew her business. She was smart, funny, and efficient. She remembered preferences, and she made sure the water glasses stayed full. We had a great meal at lunch followed by another great meal at dinner. According to the local brochures, there are lots of great places to eat in town. I can't talk about the others because we couldn't resist going back to The Shanty.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dinner Tonight

Tonight was Susan's turn to cook---YAY! So, of course, we ate very well. Tonight's menu featured
Chicken Marsala with a salad. The salad had lots of baby greens, blueberries, raspberries, and candied pecans. We were supposed to have gingersnaps with pumpkin cream cheese and whipped cream for dessert, but we ate way too much of the good dinner food. There was no room left for the gingersnaps.

We dined al fresco on our lovely outdoor area. Just to make it perfect, our table featured the newest addition to LUX. Susan's daughter, Laura, sent us a gift.

Yes, she sent us a flamingo LED light. Very cool, huh? It certainly added to the ambience for the evening. We had a great time tied up to the dock here at the visitors center for the Great Dismal Swamp.

Cape Charles - Worth the Visit

Well, we made it to Cape Charles in really good time. The sailors on board said it was a great day. I think they said that because the day was like being on a monohull- lots of bouncing, waves over the bow, etc. As a result, we found ourselves in Cape Charles just in time to enjoy lunch at the Shanty Restaurant.  And, that was the best decision. The Shanty sits right in the marina. It has that on the waterfront dive vibe going for it. But, the food was exceptional. The menu features lots of locally sourced fresh foods. And, they were prepared to just the point of yummy. The crab cake was so tasty. The fish and chips were crispy as well as flaky. And, the Shanty burger was perfect.

After lunch, we took a walk into town to try to find the local ice cream shop. The Brown Dog makes all its own ice cream, so we were dying to try it. We found the shop immediately. And, no surprise, it had closed for the season. However, the sign in the window did say that we could enjoy Brown Dog ice cream up the street at the coffee shop. So we set off in search of the coffee shop.

Along the way, we ran into the nicest man outside the hardware store. He asked what we were looking for, and then told us the bad news. The coffee shop is closed on Tuesdays! BUT, we could get a pint of the ice cream at the OTHER end of town at the wine shop. Ah, a perfect combination- wine and ice cream. But first, we took a detour through the hardware store.

WOW! Talk about your old time hardware store. If this place doesn't have it, you didn't need it! It was definitely a store that could be on the historic register. As you might have guessed, Michael did find something to buy.

So we took off for the wine store. Believe it or not, it was OPEN. And, it was an incredible wine store. What a variety of wines AND craft beers. And olive oils. And gluten free foods. AND, best of all, a freezer with pints of Brown Dog ice cream. Mike bought wine and a pint of Muddy Hummock ice cream. Believe me, any trip to Cape Charles has to include a trip to Gull Hummock, the super wine store!

Back at the boat, Mike and Carol decided to walk off with the propane bottle to get it filled. They had to walk to the end of town to Vance's Furniture Store- the best place in town to get propane tanks filled. Meanwhile, Susan called to say she was on her way. We were able to have Susan pick up Mike and Carol! It all worked out so nicely.

Finally, we decided that the Shanty was so very nice that we would need to go back for dinner! Even yummier on the second visit. Wow! What a great place. The food was, yet again, just wonderful. But, it was outshined by the wonderful dessert.

Yes, that would be apple pie with salted caramel ice cream. The ice cream was made just for The Shanty by Brown Dog. Ohhhhh.... It was so good. We are DEFINITELY coming back to this place again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Beautiful Morning

We woke up to another beautiful morning in another beautiful anchorage. Now, we have headed off toward Cape Charles.

A note just for Linda-- look, the frames have a midpoint so that the horizons are lined up, if you want to play with the picture. Just for you, I worked to try to get that horizon just right. But, I just noticed that I left a little line of blue at the top. That would be why Linda is the photographer, and I am not.

On to the true issues of the day.....

I did not hop right out of bed today. That left Mike in charge. There was no Peggy to manage the morning beverages. The "regular" drill is to fill up the cups of the coffee drinkers and then the water left goes in the teapot. With Mike in charge, the first batch of water FILLS THE TEAPOT! There was NOT enough water for the coffee! And the propane ran out in the middle of the second pot of water! Seriously, I need my sous chef. And that would NOT be Mike!

Also, Carol does not like to play Yachtzee. This will be my third day on the water without Yachtzee. Yesterday, I gave in and played 500 rummy. And, as usual, I lost to our onboard card shark.

But, today Susan is joining us. Ah, reinforcements for the galley management. We will pick her up in Cape Charles, our first 'real' destination. Carol has wanted to visit for sometime, and this trip gave us the perfect opportunity. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

4 PM, and We Are Anchored

We did get an early start this morning when we pulled out at 7:30 AM. Leaving early let us catch some breezes so that we could motor sail for most of the day. Along with the ebb tide, the breeze let us travel along making up to 8 knots at times. 

At 3:42 PM, we are anchored here in Fishing Bay off the Piankatank River. It's a lovely spot.

You probably noticed that the pictures are not really clear. Even though the weather forecast said 72 degrees, it was rather chilly today. Carol and I ended up making muffins for lunch just to warm up the cabin. Then we spent all afternoon trying to keep the salon doors closed. Yes, Michael does hate those closed doors, even when he can see through them! Oh well.

Tomorrow, we head over the bay to Cape Charles. There we are supposed to pick up Susan. She will be joining us for part of the way south. I am looking forward to regaining a sous chef. With Peggy gone, I am working overtime just to keep up. Just to make sure I am living up to Peggy's standards, here's proof that I did the morning setup last night.

As you can see, everything is ready for breakfast. Yay, me!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's Cocktail Time!

We reached Solomons Island at 3:30 today after a great day of sailing. At midday, we enjoyed a great lunch of pumpkin butternut squash soup. Yes, Dear Readers, it was made by me. I am sad to report that I truly miss my companion in arms, Peggy the Sous Chef. We have already misplaced more food than you can imagine. Peggy is the queen of refrigerator managers. Everyone keeps asking where things are in the refrigerator, and no one answers- at least not correctly! Michael has volunteered to take on the chore of refrigerator diving, and he is working very hard at it. Not an easy task when no one knows where anything is.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of the soup. It has a garnish of pumpkin seeds and parmigiana cheese. And, it was yummy!

We made such good time that we arrived in Solomons before 4 PM.

We are anchored in Mill Creek. The cheese, crackers and drinks are out. We'll leave early tomorrow because weather forecasts say the wind will be good tomorrow morning. It promises to be a "wee doggie" day, but only until early afternoon!