Saturday, December 22, 2012

Marking Time in Miami

 It’s been 9 days so far for Lynn’s stay at Mercy Hospital.  The care for the most part has been top notch and the Pulmonologist really seems to know his stuff.  There are at least 3 doctors that are involved in her treatment and at times it does cause some confusion about the plan of attack.  There is also an Infectious Disease doc and an Internist.  Each seems to have a slightly different idea for treatment, but the Pulmonologist seems to be the main man in charge.  Lynn’s only complaint is the food service.  Not necessarily the taste but never knowing what time the meals will be served and the lack of variety.  Most every meal is some kind of chicken with some kind of rice with some kind of vegetable.  Boring to say the least and since we are in Miami the taste is Latin American inspired.

The beautiful view of Key Biscayne Bay from Lynn's room

     Five days ago I moved the boat from Crandon Park Marina to the mooring facility at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove.  Moving it by myself was very easy as the water was calm and I had help at both ends of the trip.  At the marina a staff member helped with my lines as I left.  At the mooring field the shuttle boat and some passengers helped attach my mooring lines to the ball.  I am at a mooring ball close to shore and that makes it a short trip to the dinghy dock to catch a bus to the hospital.  While on the subject of buses, Miami has a great public transit system.  I can get to anywhere with minimal confusion about the routes.  The bus fares run from free to $2.00 depending on where you are going.  I’m going to try and get to one of the stations to buy a pass.  That way the cost will be cheaper than paying for each trip.  I’ve found where the two closest grocery stores are located and also many little restaurants along the routes that we can try once Lynn is released.

One of the many bus stops I've come to know and love

     Our hopes of having her discharged by Christmas were pretty much dashed this afternoon.  One of her lab test has shown a very hard to treat bacteria.  The name would take up two lines of type !!!!  The treatment is several days infusion of additional IV antibiotics along with all the other IV’s she has been receiving.  The news was not what we wanted to hear but it’s better to kill the bastardly bugs now than to go home too soon and have them resurface in a few weeks or a month. She is resigned to the fact now that it will be several more days before leaving.  The good thing is that together we will get to enjoy a good Christmas dinner with hospital food.  Maybe they will serve “Turquía y relleno con salsa gravy y puré de patatas” ?
     To all of you, have a Merry Christmas and please send us a note to let us know how you’re doing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My My It's Miami

     We were able to find a very nice spot to drop our anchor in an area called Belle Island.  It is at the end of Collins Canal, a main waterway for dinghy’s traveling the city of Miami Beach.  From this anchorage you can see several large cruise ships leave daily for the Caribbean.   They leave every afternoon at around 1600.  At night you can see the Miami skyline lit up with different colors of lights on the tall buildings.  Very beautiful !!!!
     I forgot to mention that while in Fort Lauderdale we ordered more medications as we had some due to renew before we switch to Medicare.  They didn’t arrive before we left but did the following day.  Bill and Terri on Second Option brought them to us as they had rented a car to drive home.  We met them at a place called Burgers and Beer, just a short walk from a dinghy dock by the Marine Police station.  The following day we and Sweet Chariot took off for a long, over 7 miles and  2 ½ hours, dinghy ride thru the canal system of Miami Beach.  Later that day I went to Publix for our final grocery shopping before we left for the Bahamas.  That evening we met with Laura and Graeme to decide when to leave the following morning and head to a place called No Name harbor for the night.  During the night Lynn started to develop a rather high fever and was having shortness of breath.  We carry an oxygen generator on the boat and promptly started it up along with doses of Tylenol.  We listened to a local Weather Guru called Chris Parker in the morning as this guy seems to be the one people rely on for accurate forecasts.  If there is such a thing as an accurate forecast !!!!  He said that the window to cross to the Bahamas was closing and to do it now or wait at least a week.  We radioed Sweet Chariot and told them that Lynn wasn’t feeling up to leaving and they made the decision to leave by themselves.

Wildlife on the canals on Miami Beach

    After 4 days of feeling lousy and using all the meds we had on the boat that were supposed to treat Lynn’s condition, we decided to pull into a marina.  This way we could plug the oxygen generator into shore power instead of running it off our batteries and also be able to turn on the air conditioning.  Two days in the marina and Lynn’s still not feeling well.  Time to seek professional medical advice had arrived.  We took a taxi from the marina in Key Biscayne and went to Mercy Hospital in Miami.  After 4 hours in the emergency room she was admitted.  If this flare up runs it’s course she will be in for 5-7 days.
     We have decided to cancel our trip to the Bahamas and at this time aren’t sure what we will do after she is discharged.  Options are to stay in Florida where medical assistance is readily available, should it be needed again, or to find a place to leave the boat for the winter and drive home.  We, or I an another able body, would come down in the Spring and take it back north.
     I’ll be posting more as soon as we have figured out what we’ll finally do.  If I don’t send another post before, we would like to now wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Nov. 15 - Dec. 7, 2012

     It’s been too long since I’ve updated this Blog and I apologize to those who are following our adventure.  Much has happened and I’ll try to catch you up to date.
     On our second day in St. Augustine we were able to go ashore and have a great lunch with some of our friends from the Hunter Sailing Association we belonged to in the Annapolis area.  Jim and Steph Weeks live in Florida and Dale and Kim Seastrom just happened to be visiting the area.  We spent a few hours eating and talking about what has been going on in each other’s lives.  We even had a couple of beers from the list of over 70 drafts that are available at JP Henley's.  The following day the winds where strong again, 25K and we elected to stay aboard and not get soaked trying to go into the dock in our dinghy.  This was not one of our better stays at our favorite city on the ICW.

 The HSA group at JP Henley's
Lynn reading historical marker in St. Augustine

     The next day we departed for Daytona Beach and had to drop the anchor at the first high rise bridge because the tide was too high and we couldn’t fit our 63 foot mast under the span.  We stayed the night and had a very bumpy experience with waves and winds.  Are you starting to see a pattern here?  In the morning the tide was low and we headed for Titusville mooring field.  We had hoped to see our friends Dorothy and Glenn but again the winds and waves kept us pinned on the boat.  We were able to get fuel and water before grabbing the mooring ball.  Our night was somewhat calmer and restful.
     We then let for Melbourne for one night at anchor and then to Vero Beach where we got another mooring ball.  Sweet Chariot tied up with us and the following day we were joined by Second Option.  Lynn promptly went to shore and did 5 loads of laundry while I took the bus to West Marine for new cockpit speakers and did some shopping at the Publix for groceries.  On Thanksgiving Day Dorothy and Glenn arrived and we went to a lovely potluck Thanksgiving dinner sponsored by the Marina.  They provided the turkey and ham and the boaters brought the rest.  The food was good and plentiful.  Dorothy and Glenn spent the night aboard and left in the morning.  We, along with Sweet Chariot and Second Option, rented a car for 3 days and spent them going to the Wine Store, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and numerous other places to stock up on supplies for the Bahamian trip.  During this time I was having trouble with my outboard engine and found a mechanic that made “house calls”.  He quickly fixed the problem and now we have full power again on the dinghy.  We had ordered backup medications and they took longer than expected to be delivered to us at the marina.  During the wait we made lots of phone calls to schedule a Medicare call with our insurance provider and to find out about updating our Local Boater Option cards with our new passport numbers.

The crews of Sweet Chariot, Second Option and twomorrows

     Sweet Chariot and Second Option took off south and we made arrangements to meet them in Lake Worth as soon as the meds arrived.  I checked later that day and they had been delivered so in the morning we took off to meet up with our friends.   We met them the next day after a 10 hour day on the water.  The following morning I went to the Customs and Border Patrol Office and in less than 5 minutes got all our paperwork updated.  Again the wind and waves prevented us from going back in to shore for and sightseeing or lunch at the local TiKi Hut.  We left the following morning and dropped the hook in Boca Raton.  Guess what?  Right, high winds and waves keep us on the boat again.  We did try a dinghy ride the next morning but after a short distance decided we didn’t need salt water “showers” and went back to the boat.
     Our next destination was Fort Lauderdale, Cooleys Marina on the New River.  We all pulled in to this really nice and very inexpensive marina for 4 nights.  We were able this time to actually take the dinghy down the canal for a great dinner and social at an Irish Pub.  We were able to do some more minor shopping and clean almost 2 months of dirt from the outsides and inside the boat.  Did laundry again and spent a nice evening on Second Option watching a movie and eating popcorn.  On Friday, Dec. 7, we left Cooley’s and headed to Miami with Sweet Chariot and a boat called Truancea.  Second Option stayed for a few days in order to get a car and drive back to Virginia to see their brand new grand daughter, Emma.  We left the protection of the harbor and headed out into the ocean at about 10:00.  At around 10:30 the waves were so bad that we considered turning back but thought we would try moving farther off shore and give that a try.  We moved out a bit too far and ended up in the Gulf Stream and a 3-4 knot current against us.  By this time we were too far south to turn back but did work back towards shore, maybe 3 miles off.  The waves calmed a bit and we had a better ride into Miami. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finally in Florida

     We left Port Royal on Election Day and traveled all the way to the Herb River, Laura and Graeme went to Turner’s Creek.  They wanted to see Savannah and we thought we would wait to visit this city on our way back north.  From the Herb we went to the Wahoo River.  Great place for a Cleveland Indians fan, eh?  We received news that our nephew’s daughter was born and a good friend’s mother had died on the same day.  Funny how the world works, one life ends and another begins.  Spent a nice evening with two other boats and in the morning made our way to the mouth of the Fredrica River which is close to Brunswick, GA.  We have been here on other occasions and always have an enjoyable anchorage.  On the way to here we saw many dolphins and a Bald Eagle that was perched on top of a dead tree.
Natalie Elizabeth Brenner headed home from the hospital

     Next morning we motored through an area called Jekyll Island Cut which is noted for being very shallow.  We needed to catch it at high tide and we did.  We stopped for fuel, water and a trash dump at the Jekyll Island Harbor Marina and were greeted by the most pleasant people on the dock we have encountered so far on this trip.  We went about 10 miles south and dropped the hook right off the channel for a calm night.  In the morning we awoke to our boat covered by bird poop including undigested fish parts.  Not my favorite sight with my morning coffee.
     On Saturday, 11/10, we went to Cumberland Island to meet up with Sweet Chariot and their friends Jack and Donna on Kathrian.  Happy Hour was on board our boat and lasted too late for us to make a proper dinner.  We had an easy box dinner instead.  On Sunday we took the dinghy to shore and went to the Ranger Station.  Lynn sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet and I took off for a half mile walk through the woods to the beach.   On the way over and back I saw many campers but none of the wild horses that make this island famous.  We had a great dinner that night on board Sweet Chariot along with Jack and Donna. 
Lynn and Graeme with the Park Ranger on Cumberland Island

     Monday we arrived at Fernandina Beach, finally made it to Florida after leaving home 34 days before.  There we met up with our friends Bill and Terri Ellis from s/v Second Option.  They belong to the same sailing club as we do from the Annapolis area.  We went ashore later in the day for a fantastic dinner at the Marina Seafood Restaurant.  The wait staff are all sisters and they were a hoot!!!!!  I recommend this place to anyone while in this area.  On Tuesday we had a small flotilla of 4 boats making our way towards St. Augustine.  The current was so strong that at one time going under a bridge we were only making 1.9 knots at almost full throttle.  We stopped for the night at Pine Island, a small creek, with 11 other sail and power boats.  The winds kicked up and howled through the rigging all night.  Not the best evening we've spent to say the least.
     We are now on a mooring ball in the harbor at St. Augustine and the rain and winds have not stopped since we arrived 6 hours ago.  Winds are a steady 20-25K with higher gusts.  The dinghy was full of water as I forgot to pull the drain plug when I lifted it up on the davits.  We had plans to go into town but have decided to stay on the boat until tomorrow with hopes of better weather.  We will meet other friends from our sailing club for lunch and socializing sometime in the early afternoon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Charleston and South

     We spent 2 nights at Dewees Creek and rode out steady winds of about 17 Knots with gusts of around 20-22.  But we really never had the feeling that they were that high.  The anchor was stuck well and I put out 170 feet of chain as there was a lot of room to swing.  But swing we didn't.  We stayed pointed west into the wind the whole time.  We left on Wednesday, 31 Oct., and went into the Charleston Maritime Marina for a 2 night visit.  It's really hard to pass up a fantastic town like Charleston when you're on a trip south.  Our entry into our slip was not one for the record books, swift current and a mean cross wind.  No damage, no foul.

Our boat anchored in Dewees Creek

     We spent the afternoon cleaning the boat a bit, going to the drugstore and just enjoying the activity in the marina.  There is a water taxi service and a tour boat that make regular stops and departures with interesting people on board.  Great place to "people watch".  We took a PediCab ( rickshaw ) into town to meet Laura and Graeme at an Irish pub, Tommy Condons.  Had a great dinner of fish and chips and washed it down with Smithwicks.  Back to the boat with the same PediCab peddler and slept in calm winds.  The next day we went grocery shopping, twice, to pick up some essentials.  The winds kicked up again so we decided to stay put and not venture back into town, too cold and too windy for us to enjoy walking around.  More puttering on the boat and happy hour on board with Laura and Graeme.

PediCab in Charleston with Annie, our peddler

     The next morning we left as soon as the sun was up and we could see to steer.  Heading south we had to wait for one bridge to open along with an additional four boats.  Clearing the bridge we spent the next 4 hours traveling through winding paths of saw grass to arrive at a pleasant anchorage called Steamboat Landing.  Yep, an area where "back in the day" steamboats used to stop to load and unload.  The water was calm with almost no winds.  Laura and Graeme came over for a "Weenie Roast" and we talked of future plans.  Decided to go to Port Royal for three days and see a bit of Beaufort, SC.
     We left Steamboat Landing early in the morning and made it to Port Royal around 2 pm.  Mostly a rather boring trip with no winds and not much to see along the way.  Our first night there we had a great dinner of Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice on Sweet Chariot, Laura and Graeme's boat.  The next day, Sunday, my brother Ric and his wife Donna drove up from Augusta, GA to see us.  He took us to the PX on Parris Island Marine Base as we needed to replace our coffee pot that broke.  We couldn't find a coffee pot there but I did walk out with a great US Navy T shirt.  After a successful trip to Wally World for the coffee pot, we went back to the marina and ate a great lunch.  Later that evening Laura and Graeme came over and we watched some football on the TV since the marina has a cable hookup.

Ric and Donna at The Back Porch Grill

     On our last day at Port Royal we did a bit of grocery shopping using the free courtesy car provided by the marina and went into the town of Beaufort for a late lunch at Luther's.  Luther's is an old drugstore which has been turned into a nice pub.  Fantastic burgers and wraps with lots of different beers to sample.  Back to the boat for a quiet night of relaxing and reading.  Tuesday morning will find us on our way towards Savannah, GA as long as the weather co-operates.  


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Still moving slowly

     After leaving Mile Hammock we arrived in Wrightsville Beach and put the anchor down in Mott’s Channel.  There were only 4 other boats so we picked the perfect spot …………… we thought.  There was a 34 foot sailboat anchored a good distance in front of us that appeared to have been there for quite some time.  We had dinner and read a bit and then went to bed.  About 3 in the morning Lynn woke up and happened to look out the port.  The sailboat was now about 30 feet or so from our boat and parallel to us.  She woke me up and by the time I looked out the boat had moved to a more comfortable distance.  We both went back to bed but never really went into deep sleep.  When we got up in the morning the sailboat was right back where it was when we anchored, no problem.  While drinking coffee in the cockpit I looked up and here was the sailboat close enough that I could have filled their coffee cups!!!!  I now realized that they had only rope for an anchor rode instead of chain and a Hell of a lot of it to boot.  As a result they were moving in an entirely different direction from the rest of the boats around them.  We decided it best to start the engine and pull up our anchor and move a safe distance behind these people.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and reading.  We were getting ready to leave the following morning when we saw about 100 people in the water in front of us.  Looking closer and turning on the VHF radio we found out it was the annual Pier to Pier swim race.  Turns out there were close to 400 people swimming.  The Coast Guard had closed the channel for the race and we had to wait about 90 minutes before we could leave.

Our boat in Mott's Channel at sunset

     Our next stop was St. James Plantation Marina in Southport, SC.  We arrived at the marina in the early afternoon having had a great run down the Cape Fear River.  We did a couple of loads of laundry and then went to the Pub for a great meal.  We met some folks that were also traveling the same as us and talked about traveling together for awhile.  But the next morning they left before us and, aside from hearing them on the radio, we never saw them again.
     From St. James we went to the Barefoot Landing Marina to spend only one night.  This marina is located along side an outlet mall that also has some great restaurants.  Our favorite in the past years has been the River City Café.  This is a great hamburger joint that has barrels of peanuts at the door.  You grab a dish of nuts and proceed to litter the floor with shells.  We each had a fantastic burger, onion rings and fries.  Then back to the boat for a great night’s sleep.  In the morning we took off for Bull’s Creek which is off the Wacamaw River.  Along the way we saw four deer swimming across the ICW!! What a sight; unfortunately we didn't get any good photos.
     We stayed in Bull’s Creek for three nights.  Remember, we are still waiting for Laura and Graeme to catch up.  We have been in Bull’s Creek many times before but this time we tried a new spot to anchor and we loved it.  Better scenery and less boat traffic.  We called Laura on the phone and found out they were planning on being in Georgetown, SC a day earlier than we had thought.  So we left the anchorage the following morning and got fuel on the way.  We arrived there about one in the afternoon and found a great place to drop the hook and wait for our friend’s arrival.  They showed up around four and we all went into town to Buzz’s Roast, a local pub, for a welcome drink and some snacks.  The talk, of course, swung to the upcoming storm, Sandy.  We discussed staying put or getting a slip at one of the local marinas.  It was decided to stay at anchor and ride it out as the forecast didn't look like it was going to be too bad in G’town.  Back to the boat for dinner and to re-evaluate our plans in the morning.
     We woke up on Thursday morning and listened to the forecast.  It had changed a bit but we still felt comfortable staying at anchor.  Laura and Graeme, on the other hand, decided to get a slip in the marina.  As the day went on, Lynn and I kept discussing our choice and were good with it until a local came by and told us the holding in the anchorage was terrible.  We then decided to also get a slip.  Then while pulling our anchor we found it dug in very deep and difficult to get up.  Needless to say we were hooked well (we later found out from other locals there are only a couple of bad spots, we were in a good one). Never the less we went to the marina and tied up.  Laura and I walked down to the seafood market and each bought fresh shrimp for $4.99 per pound!!!!  After dinner we were ready to sit thru the first night of the storm.  Well, for the next 48 hours we got nothing but lots of rain and 14 knot winds with maybe a 20 knot gust every so often.  Sandy turned out to be pretty much a non issue but I guess it was better to be safe than sorry.  So we just enjoyed being tied up and having unlimited fresh water and electricity.  We did some more laundry to kill time and so we wouldn't have to do any in Charleston, our next destination.

The shrimp boat behind us in Georgetown with one of my God Daughter's name on it

     We left G’town early yesterday morning and fought currents and 15-20 knot winds on our way to a beautiful anchorage called Dewee Creek.  Both of our boats are sitting here for 2 nights waiting for the last of the winds to die down a bit and then we’ll take a slip for one or two nights at the Charleston Maritime Center.  This is our favorite marina in Charleston as it is close, within walking distance, to almost everything downtown.  And as a bonus, the cheapest place to dock.  After Charleston we will just take our time moving south and enjoying, hopefully, some warmer weather.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On The Move

We left Edenton last Wednesday and have been moving very slow so we can enjoy the anchorages and scenery along the way.  Our first day out was the longest, 9 hours, but the water was calm.  We then went to a secluded creek called Campbell Creek and spent 3 nights at anchor.  I was able to do some of the small projects that I didn't have time to complete at home before we left.  Next we went to Beaufort, NC and bought fuel, filled the water tank and dumped our trash.  We had another pleasant night at anchor in Town Creek.  We are now in Mile Hammock Bay which is a small protected area in Jacksonville, NC at the edge of Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.  This anchorage is very popular with boaters and has many different craft staying here every night.  This will be our third night here before we move along.  We had a pretty heavy rainfall the first night followed by some stiff winds that lingered into the late morning hours.  We are trying to catch up with friends Bill and Terri Ellis (Second Option ) who are in Charleston and at the same time letting Laura and Graeme (Sweet Chariot ) try to catch up with us.  It's a balancing act that I'm not sure we are winning.  But we will all get together sometime before we cross to the Bahamas, our ultimate destination.  Tomorrow we will head to Wrightsville Beach, NC and anchor in an area known as Mott's Channel.  After Mott's Channel we'll probably spend one night in a marina, St. James Plantation, in order to do laundry, refuel and top off the water tanks again.  Everything has been going well so far and we are really enjoying living on the boat again.  The weather has been comfortable during the day and maybe a bit nippy at night.  As we continue south we hope to see those nights a bit warmer.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Six days and counting down

Well, everything is completed on the project list that needs finished before we leave.  All food except produce, frozen, and bakery items have been loaded and there's still plenty of room left. The only other things to take down yet are clothes and personal stuff.  The goal is to leave on Sunday, weather permitting.  We'll take our time and hope to let Graeme and Laura, our friends on Sweet Chariot, catch up with us around the Wrightsville Beach area.  We have made the arrangements for our neighbors to watch the house and get our mail.  It's so nice to live someplace where there are such great people next door.  Lynn and I have both seen our doctors and have been given up to date immunizations and a clean bill of health to travel.  After missing out on traveling to the Bahamas last year we are excited to start another adventure.  We are looking forward to spending Christmas on one of the island chains and hoping for a visit or two from either friends or family. I'll post again as soon as we get underway and try also to add a new post at least once a week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What we'll miss the most

We wish we had these two little guys for our Captains this year but their Mom and Dad's need them at home.  I guess the hardest thing about being gone for an extended time is leaving the family.  We will miss our sons, their wives and of course our two grandsons more than anything.

In the last week I've completed all but 2 of our "must do" projects on the boat.  We have begun to stage items that need to go with us in the laundry room.  Once I finish replacing the fresh water tank sensor and put the Vee berth back together we'll start hauling everything down and finding places to store it and then probably forget where.

The weather here in Edenton is starting to look like the beginning of Fall.  The nights are cooling off to the mid 50's and the humidity has finally started to diminish.  We look forward to traveling south without hot steamy days and sweltering nights.  Plans haven't changed and sometime around the 1st week in October we hope to be back on the water.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Ready to leave 2012-2013

We've been working quite hard to get ready for our next trip south.  All the teak has received a fresh coat of Teak Oil and inside cleaned of all the dust and debris from basically sitting for over a year in the slip.  We had some mechanical problems addressed while in Virginia for a very short trip in July.  Fuel and water tanks have been topped off and only a couple of minor repairs still need to be finished. Provisioning has been started and already we are wondering where to put everything.  Plans are to leave some time around the first week in October and come back home to Edenton about the end of April or the beginning of May.  We will try to post on this Blog as time allows to let you know where and what we are doing.