Back in Hilton Head Island for Christmas

HHI SC Sunset
HHI SC Sunset

Hilton Head Island, SC has been warm and sunny since we got here 3 days ago. We even dug out the shorts and flip flops!

Ryan has been back to the top of the mast with another video…

We are anchored at our spot off Palmetto Bay Marina, trying to get some web work done for clients and p4p, and making preparations to go west in a rental car to spend Christmas with Shelly’s mom in Marion NC. Ian is driving up from San Antonio Texas to be there, then he will drive us back here in his new truck.

The plan is to slowly make our way further south for about a week before he has to head to his next duty station in NC.

The two days on the waterway just before making Wrightsville were cold and windy, and saw us hard aground at one point.

There is a spot in the ICW along Camp Lejeunne where an inlet from the ocean has piled up a bar of sand right smack in the middle of the channel. It is marked, but I missed the marker, and ran hard up on the sand at about 6 mph.

As this is not the first time running a boat aground, (sooner or later if you boat you will run aground!) the crew was pretty well versed in what to do.

First you try to sail off by using the sails to heel the boat as far over as possible which both reduces the draft and powers the boat forward. That didn’t work, and since the tide was roaring out and dropping fast, we quickly dropped the dinghy, lowered an anchor into,it and carried the anchor out about 150 feet to deeper water. Then we use the windlass to haul in the anchor, while hauling in the sails and powering with the motor at the same time.

That worked. Whew! If not the next step would have been to take the halyard (which is used to haul sails up the mast) to the dinghy and pull the mast down which would help,heel the boat way over…

Back in deep water and heading full speed for the drawbridge that opens only on the hour, we look back and there is another boat coming behind us heading for the same spot! We tried calling on the radio to warn them, and even jumped up and down waving our arms. We watched them plow right into the same shallow spot and go hard aground!

Since the dinghy was already down, I turned the wheel over to Ryan and told him to make the bridge, keep going and I would catch up after I helped the new boat get off.

And this is what they did during the hour it took us to free the boat that was aground!

The trip since Wrightsville has been much more enjoyable. Once the weather changed a bit, and we found ourselves ahead of schedule, we slowed down a lot…

We stayed two days in Wrightsville Beach at a free dock at Dockside Marina. The first night we had a nice dinner with Kyria and Danielle from paws4people, and the next night with Jim and Pat Henry who,we like very much. They are also followers of the blog and had lots of questions about what they had read. It was very cool to know someone actually reads this stuff!

The sail from Wrightsville to Southport was only 25 miles and it flew by as we has a 25 knot following NE wind gusting to 30 with a outgoing tide with us all the way put the Cape Fear River. At one point Yume was traveling over the ground at over 10 knots which is screaming for us…

Southport offered another free dock in the town harbor. We love these old fishing towns with the really old houses built by sea captains and passed down in the family.mof course, with Goose we get to walk a lot (twice a day) and we take advantage of it to see as much as we can.

This was a cool Christmas yard display…

We stopped on the way to Charleston at a small private island, dropped an anchor and took Gooose for his morning walk along a deserted ocean beach, collecting shells and letting Goose run free for a change. It was most pleasant although still a bit chilly.

Later that morning we sailed into Charleston and dropped anchor between the Municipal Marina and the Coast Guard station. Shelly and I walked Goose that afternoon, and were amazed at how much we were annoyed by a “city”. It was noisy, crowded, congested, and we decided not to hang around a tour like we thought we wanted to.

Part of the problem was we had just come from a night in McClellanville, a very small old seaport on the ICW just north of Charleston.

This town had been founded as a plantation in the 1700′s, then slowly turned into a community of old historical houses with small lanes fully of very old live oaks full of Spanish Moss. There were old fat dogs running free everywhere, and we stopped into the seafood market to buy a fresh whole flounder for $4 a pound and two pounds of rest shrimp for $3.50 a pound. They were delicious. And so was the town.

We much prefer McClellanville to Charleston!

Someone wanted some privacy and was building this house out in the middle of nowhere. No neighborhood covenants here!

After a nine hour motor (no wind) we arrived at Beaufort, SC, anchored and walked Goose that evening, then again in the morning for a 3 mile hike to the nearest grocery store for a couple of things before taking off for the short 30 miles to Hilton Head. It was another absolutely beautiful morning.

This is the Ladies Island swing bridge at Beaufort. Beaufort is another one of those old historical towns that is well worth visiting!

In a couple of days we will rent a car for the drive to Marion for the holidays, then back to Yume and back on the road.

We are not sure where we are going to visit, but we are sure it will be interesting and really look forward to it!

All of us want to wish you a very joyous and loving Christmas and holiday!

Norfolk to Beaufort North Carolina. Getting Warmer!

Early Saturday 11/29 we picked up the anchor and moved over to Waterside which is Norfolk’s version of renovated waterfront to meet our friend and dog trainer extraordinaire Gemma. She was quite impressed with the change in Goose in the year since we had seen her. A nice visit was had by all.
Then it was time to head downriver, and take the right hand channel to the Dismal Swamp Canal.

Making the turn into the river leading to the canal was nice as it got us out of the wind, but was also a symbolic leaving of the ‘north’ and making our way into the south.

But it was still chilly!

There are two locks on the canal. The first on the Norfolk side raises you up to the 20 mile ditch (dug by hand in the early 1800′s). There are three times a day when you can enter either side so you have to prepare accordingly. We locked through at 11am knowing we could make it 18 miles before dark to the highway rest stop that has tie up docks.

From inside the boat, you  can hear people getting out of their cars from the highway rest stop and walking down to the boats…

Even in December, by the time we got there, two other boats had the whole dock. They kindly made room for us, and we just tied up the powerboat that came in after us outboard of Yume.

In the morning there was frost on the docks and decks!

5 miles on we locked in to the southern lock with three others and dropped 8 feet to the river.

Then it was a nice morning motor sail to Elizabeth City, including this old hand operated railroad bridge!

We anchored and piddled the rest of the day in this cool old forgotten town. The sign showing the picture of the boat the Wright Brothers took out to Kitty Hawk is sitting in exactly the same place as Yume! (you can just see Yume in the back of the sign)

Underway early the next morning for the long run to Bellhaven. When we set out I had no idea I would be pulling into the anchorage after an absolutely wonderful day of sailing and a gorgeous sunset.

Goose and Ryan as usual are just as excited about sailing as I am!

The next morning found us out again in the fog early for the 60 miles to Beaufort. We sailed much of this day as the wind blew 15-20 most of the day from the NE which is good when you are going SE!

A day in Beaufort to rest and recuperate, and pull the transmission to tighten up some bolts that had come loose and we are ready to go again!

Next layover – Wrightsville Beach NC!

 

Brrr. Windy, Cold, and Rain!

There is a hole where Yume sat the last three months!

We left Ft Washington Tuesday at daybreak. It was chilly, but not too bad. There was enough of a breeze to get the sails up for much of the morning, then it was a motor 65 miles up the river to a place we could take Goose in, then drop an anchor.

They say ” Red sky at night sailors delight” but I think this is for the Southern Hemisphere, because the next day we got pounded!

We left early Wednesday with a goal of getting the rest of the way down the Potomac River (it is 100 miles from the mouth to DC), turn south into Chesapeake Bay, get around the Smith Point Light and into the Piankatank River where I knew we would need some really good shelter.

The forecast was 25-30 knot winds, rain and possibly snow. I just had no clue how big the waves would get.

This video clip will not do  the day justice at all. Let’s just say it would have been exhilarating if I was not frozen, if the boat had not been thrown around like a toy, if the wind and waves were not quite so powerful. But it sure makes you appreciate the anchorage!

This is an ocean going tanker less 3/4 of a mile from me and you can barely see him. By 10 am, the wind was gusting over 30 knots, the rain had started, and the waves were becoming fairly large. By the time we turned the corner into the Chesapeake, I had realized the boat was doing much better than we. There were few leaks, when a year ago there would have been water squirting in everywhere.
The cold weather makes Yume sweat like crazy as she has no insulation.
We anchored in a little fishing harbor right next to this old smokestack that was lit at night. Cool! And it was so nice to be still!
Out again early Thanksgiving Day and heading towards Norfolk. After a couple of hours we decided to cut short the day, and made for Deltaville Va so Shelly could manage a nice dinner without having to worry about pots and pans flying all over the place.
We tucked into a very nice anchoring spot, listened to the rain, read books, and cooked. Yum.
You can see the oil lamps burning. With the temps around 30, we keep four or five of these lamps burning for heat, as well as placing clay flower pots upside down on the propane stove. When we get up, and just before we go to sleep, we run the generator to run both reverse AC’s to get it as hot as possible…
We were woken after midnight as the wind changed to the NW and started to blow again. You hear all kinds of noise when that happens and start worrying. At 245 am, we felt the anchor break free of the ground in a really strong gust of wind, and in no time Yume was aground in the mud.
These are the time that try men’s souls too! Ryan and I got dressed up for blustery, wintery, wet weather, and proceeded to make everything all right.
We were very fortunate this time as we could have swept down on another boat that was behind us, or hit the boat on the dock instead of passing through them, and coming to rest on a mudbank that was easy to motor off while pulling in the dragging anchor and 60 feet of chain.
Then we motored back to our original spot and dropped two anchors this time. Of course, the wind was done, and by 7 there was just a 10 knot breeze.
Lucky.
Today we sailed from Deltaville to Norfolk. By 10 the wind had picked up again and the crew were complaining about the rolling of the boat. With the wind coming up behind you at 25 knots, gusting to 35, you can sail as fast as the boat will go ( we hit 10 at one point) but the waves come up behind you to run under the boat creating a interesting rolling motion.
I liked it as we could turn off the engine, save some fuel, and enjoy a sail. But it is a bit chilly at 32 with a strong north wind.
We sailed right into Hampton Roads about 3 pm, right on past the Navy fleet, and up to a fuel dock to make sure we have plenty of fuel for the next several days as we head back into the Dismal Swamp Canal and into North Carolina.
The weather is supposed to be moderating for a few days (in the 60s during the day) before turning cold again midweek.
All we can do is keep heading towards south Florida!

Ice Alert!

After another sub 30 degree night there is a sheet of ice over all the inner marina this morning. Walking Goose has become a bit more challenging, although he absolutely loves this weather and can't wait to get outside, lift his leg up and expose himself to the frigid air every three steps!

We, on the other hand, are very excited for Tuesday morning to come around where we head Yume back south again

It has been an incredible three months. With all we have been able to do and see in the place where our government began, as well as give paws4vets presentations in many of the places few outside get to see, we are blessed through and through.

Thursday Ryan and I were the most underdressed patrons at BLT Steak on I Street, (the only ones not in a suit), where we met with a real lobbyist! Actually, Chris is the father of one of the p4p clients and a super nice guy who just happens to have spent his whole career dealing with politicians in DC. He had some great stories and we would have loved to sit there all day, but in DC they charge by the minute to sit in a restaurant. With my soup, his salad, and Ryan's steak sandwich the bill was still $85!

This is our display we set up 3-5 times every week since Sept at places like the Pentagon, SSA, all the Intelligence Agencies (the definition of oxymoron by the way), NSA, and military bases etc. We tell them about Service Dogs, and Veterans with PTS, and have Goose do his cool stuff like salute the officers. And we ask them to pledge part of their pay to paws4vets. We won't know until April whether we have done any good, but we feel good about what we have done!

We were fortunate to have a private tour guide through the Capitol Blg which was supercool. You can see they are working on the dome.

Ryan has made a promising start on his 2032 Presidential Campaign, having identified a number of issues to tackle. He will be no stranger to the halls of congress as we visited congressmen (and women) in both houses. He impressed them all no matter political affiliation. BTW, check on Ryan's latest animations on his site at http://Tewtiy.com. I'm impressed.

Of course we had to get a pic in front of President Reagan in the Rotunda of the Capitol.

Shelly and Goose are always the hit. Wherever they go…

From our marina, we walked and biked every road out and around in the neighborhoods, but took no pictures until just last week. It was nice watching the fall come and go. The ice I can do without.

 

We have been lost so many times in DC and Alexandria that I can get around without GPS somewhat. This is the worst place to drive I have experienced in my life. The traffic is worse in Atlanta and New York, but the roads are straightforward.

We enjoyed being on the carrier and watching the planes land…

We even rode the metro as it is the best way to get to the Pentagon.

But Goose, and the Phillips', have had enough of DC, and people, and traffic and we miss cruising.

So bright and early Tuesday morning we will start the engine, and head out this little creek into the big wide Potomac River, turn south and make our way back to marathon Fl for the rest of the winter.

If we are passing near you, please let us know if you would like to meetup and we will do our best!

 

 

 

The Yume Odyssey – a Different Approach to Life!