Carolina Beach to Belhaven

We’ve seen some weird stuff along the ICW.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018:

We hung around in the morning and stayed on the Carolina Beach mooring ball until noon. The sky was cloudless and super-blue.  The water was flat but the temperature was only 40 so we were in no hurry to get underway.  Another Looper, Dream Fever, arrived to pick up the mooring ball next to ours, but we were already in the mode to pull out so I didn’t try to contact them.  They have the gold burgee signifying that they’ve already completed their loop.  Maybe we’ll get to meet them in Norfolk.

By 1325 we were approaching the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. This bridge will only open on schedule and the tide board on the fender only showed 19 feet of clearance.  Our mast reaches to 19’ 9”.  I radioed the bridge tender to see if he might open for us, but he has to stick to his schedule.  He did mention that he’s got 19 feet of clearance at the low steel on the closest to the fenders and an additional 3 feet in the center.  I held her close to the center and slipped under with room to spare, but from Jane’s perspective watching from below it was nerve wracking.

I really appreciated the tender’s info and he also said the next bridge was four feet higher, so I’d have no problem there either and by 1412 we were under the Figure Eight Swing Bridge and heading for Nixon Channel.  We had picked out several spots we might anchor for the night and thought we’d make it up by Camp LeJeune, but we couldn’t get to the 12 foot Surf City Swing Bridge in time for the 1600 opening.  Waiting until 1700 would have put us getting to the anchorage too late, so we backtracked about 3 miles to anchor in a very nice spot at Sloop Point.  There is a channel here that runs from the waterway out to an inlet.  Once I got us set, Jane pointed out that we are in the channel, but I assured her that we would see absolutely no boat traffic anchored here.  Within 5 minutes some locals come whizzing by about ten feet off our stern.  Well, the Captain can be wrong after all.  Other than a sailboat that came in later to anchor much further up, that was it and we were snug for the night.  It was our son Scott’s birthday, so we gave him a call while he was getting ready for a surprise night out in Nashville.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018:

We woke up early and decided right away to pull the hook quickly and try to make the 0700 bridge opening of the Surf City Bridge. I always perform my engine checks and wouldn’t skip it this time either, but buzzed through the checklist and by 0628 we had pulled anchor and were motoring out.  We reached the bridge just in time and went right through.

By 0840 we were crossing Chadwick Bay.  We must have been running just the right pace because we arrived at the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge timed for his 0930 opening and didn’t even break stride.

After we passed the warning sign for the Camp LeJeune live fire training, we began to hear the booms from their big guns.  We continued to hear it well up into Bogue Sound.  At times we were running against the current and others it was helping us.  At 1030 we were hitting 9.7 mph at 1800 rpms.  That’s a nice boost from the moving water.   Over the radio we heard a boat getting yelled at by the slower vessels getting overwhelmed by his wake.  This was providing a good bit of marine radio entertainment.  At one point I heard a captain transmit, “ASSHOLE!!”.  When the fast moving boat, Conniption VII came up behind us though, he slowed down somewhat; I guess having gotten tired of being cussed at.


By 1110 we passed across Bogue Inlet.  There were some ships getting loaded at the Morehead Terminal, but little commercial traffic to contend with.

By 1420 we were tied at the Beaufort Yacht Basin with help from Bobby.  Bobby was a wonderful host and they have a very nice facility including free laundry.  We had heard Spiritus calling Homer Smith Marina on the radio so we knew that Eddy and Linda Johnsen were next door. We called them and talked about maybe meeting for dinner.  Beaufort is full of history and there are lots and lots of houses with historical signs noting the original owners and year of construction.  Many are well before the Revolutionary War.  After a walk through the historical section we met Eddy and Linda at Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant.  The food was adequate and we greatly enjoyed our time with Eddy and Linda again.


They are a wealth of information about boating and the Great Loop.  Later on the boat we did some route planning laying out optional spots to stop over the next week.

Thursday, April 19, 2018:

We got up early and knew it was a day for some exercise. One of the eyes from our burgee staff had broken off and I needed a replacement, so we ran over to the Ace Hardware store over a mile away to make the purchase and that proved to be just far enough for us to qualify as exercise and walked back on a different route.  We had to traipse across a low spot and climb the embankment to cross a new bridge under construction.

Jane was doing some laundry (free machines, must use) and Bobby said he was cooking lunch and invited us to join him so we did.  He likes to cook for a group and there was plenty.  Eddy and Linda reached out and said they would be taking Homer Smith’s courtesy car over to the Piggly Wiggly for a grocery run and would we like to go, so we did.  Eddy and I dropped the ladies back off with all their new groceries at the marinas and then we went over to Morehead City to the NAPA auto parts store so I could buy the T-1 oil for my next oil change.  We also got invited to join the Johnsens aboard Spiritus for dinner.  Homer Smith’s is a shrimp packer and they had received a gift of fresh trigger fish from the folks there.  We brought wine and some guacamole that Jane whipped up. Spiritus is a gorgeous 36 foot Grand Banks that is treated with immaculate care.  The dinner was awesome and we really are enjoying getting to know Eddy and Linda better.


Friday, April 20, 2018:

Spiritus left early and we took our sweet time getting ready and pulled away from the dock at 0910 without assistance in between the tides and with a north wind of 15 to 20 knots. There was just enough water for us to cheat across the bar in the tiny basin which made our retreat much easier.  At 0935 we were in Russell Slough and it was nice cruising on a cloudless but cool day.  At 1008 we passed under the Core Creek Bridge and only making 7 mph against the tide.  By noon we were in the Neuse River and it was somewhat choppy.  The Neuse is about 5 miles wide and opens onto the side of Pamlico Sound.  At 1300 we passed Red Marker #4 and Jane noted in the log that we were in a 3 to 4 foot chop.  We made our way on northwestward and entered Bay River at 1415 with a speed of over 8 mph under protection from the north wind.  By 1433 Sabbatical was resting at anchor in Bear Creek in five feet of water on 50 feet of anchor rode.

We decided that we’d go on to Washington tomorrow.  That’s “Little” Washington as in North Carolina, not D.C.  We napped and then Jane did some curry magic with leftovers and tofu that was simply incredible.  It was a beautiful anchorage and we continue to be amazed at the beauty and our blessings.

Saturday, April 21, 2018:

It was foggy early so we remained on anchor until 0915. By 0940 we were back in the ICW.  We stopped at R. E. Mayo Co. in Hobucken to refuel.  They cater to shrimpers and commercial vessels so we’re comfortable that the fuel is fresh and know that the price is right.  The rickety dock is a challenge and while friendly, they’re not in a hurry to refuel a common pleasure craft.  We had to move from the original spot they sent us to and then wait while the fishing trawler Tamara Alane finished unloading their catch of flounder caught off of New York.

We took on 212 gallons at $2.88 per gallon including tax.  The re-fueling stop took most of an hour, but we’re in no great hurry anyhow.  Once back in Pamlico Sound we turned off the waterway going northwest to Washington.  We now put the Reds on the right and the markers were too far apart to see.  There was a light wind at our stern and the water was calm but with the width of the Sound it seemed at times like we weren’t even moving.  We finally floated through the railroad bridge and after 43 and a half miles had the lovely town of Washington on our starboard side.  We were greeted by a tent city of 2000 bicyclists in town for the weekend cycling events.

Jimmy and Ed came out to help us get docked on the T head at the public docks at 1650.  The docks here are fixed, not floating, but there is no tide up here.  We showered in the marina facility and then walked over to our friend Cathy Bell’s restaurant, Backwater Jack’s.  Mary at the hostess stand figured out who we were (Gator hat was a dead giveaway) and Laura came out too.  We were greeted as if we’d just returned from sea and had a fine time dining with Cathy’s mom Marty while Cathy and Laura worked the sizeable crowd.  It’s a fun spot and at one point, Laura was making the rounds with free shots of Captain Morgan.

The food was great and I stuffed a gut until I could eat no more.  They had a great band out on the patio.  Cathy was able to join us on the deck and we had a great time drinking wine, hanging out listening to the band and getting entertained by kilt man and the other cyclists celebrating.

They are a fun bunch.  Finally around 10:00 pm, tired and ready to turn in, we caught the free shuttle back to the marina.

Sunday, April 22, 2018:

We walked over to worship with Harbor Church in the historic Turnage Theater located just off the waterfront. They have a good preacher that is passionate and long-winded.  I thought we were going to miss lunch, but we stepped next door after the service and munched on fried veggies at Grub Brothers.  Later Cathy, Laura, and Marty came by for docktails aboard and they brought us a load of Backwater Jack’s swag including T shirts and wine glasses.  We had a great visit and lots of laughs and they were gone too soon.


The admiral decided that we should walk to El Charrito for a Mexican dinner.   The food was good and once again I ate too much.  Why don’t they just serve Tums on the side?

Monday, April 23, 2018:

We got up early and I did engine room checks while Jane took advantage of the laundry room since it was spectacular and the sheets and comforter could use a good washing. At 0900 I slipped over to the George and Laura Brown Library to see what resources they might have to assist with my genealogy research.  They have an ample history resource room and a dedicated staff person for history and genealogy research.  She was off, but I got her contact info and will reach back out for assistance.  Some of the earliest settlers in this area are my ancestors and not everything is available on line.  I’d like to have more time here for discovery, but alas it is time to move on.  We got off the dock at 1005 with Tom’s help and he noticed that the RR bridge was closed.  He called the tender on the radio who said he is expecting a train, but didn’t know what time, so he reopened for us to slip through and out into the sound.


Yesterday’s forecast showed east winds of 10 to 15 knots with a moderate chop.  I should know by now to recheck the morning of castoff and even still be wary that they underestimate winds.  Once we got out in the sound we were taking it on the bow with the winds out of the east.  I went down and removed the burgee so it wouldn’t blow away.  As we went further it got worse, but we were committed by this point and I knew it was just going to be rough and uncomfortable.  Soon, we were riding a bucking bronco rising up and smashing down into four to six foot waves.  When the bow would go down hard on a big wave the splash would go as high as our fly bridge.  It’s over 31 miles from the RR bridge to Wade’s Point where we can turn in away from the wind and head up the Pongo River to Belhaven.  I later admitted to Jane that there were several waves that very much concerned me in terms of safety.  I did not want to see one break over the bow.  It was a long and brutal day and Jane said she was scared at times and does not want to have another day like that.  Nothing got broken, nobody got hurt and there were no tears, but I know I will exercise greater caution in the future.  Finally, at 1420 we entered the Pungo River and relaxed a bit in the calmer waters, but still getting pushed around some with the wind and waves quartering from behind.  We passed a couple of tugs pushing barges in the opposite direction.  By 1550 we docked at Belhaven Town Docks with help from Harbormaster Greg and a couple of other boaters.  Belhaven is known as the birthplace of the Intracoastal Waterway.  It appears to be a sleepy little place, but cozy, and we opt to stay for a couple of nights with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast.  Greg made reservations for us at Spoon River Restaurant and what a surprise it was.  It is billed as true farm to fork and the menu changes monthly.  The place is fancily decorated, serves on white linens and puts out incredibly delicious food.  They don’t have a wine list, they have a wine room.

I picked out Folie a Deux Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.  Today was going to be our day of abstinence but the brutal day on the water gave us reason to choose a different day for that.  All the transient boaters in town seemed to be dining here as well.  As we finished, Regina and Jim came over to our table because they heard us talking to another boater and that we are from Gainesville.  Turns out they are the Loopers aboard Blue Ayes that had been towed into Beaufort a few days before.  They remembered that we had come by to see if they needed any help.  They are from Atlanta and are Tennessee fans.  We asked them to sit and chat and directly the owner of the restaurant came by our table with a goodwill bottle of cabernet.  I am getting used to this North Carolina hospitality.


Charleston to Carolina Beach


Wednesday, April 11, 2018:

Finally some sunshine! But it’s still cold; only 44 this morning.  I finished the last blog and got it posted.  I’m not a writer and it’s a tough chore because I’m so slow, but determined to keep documenting this delightful journey.  Jane took care of completing the switch of the MMSI registration number from the former owners.  I guess that will help the searchers know who they are looking for in the event of emergency.  We decided that we’d be leaving Charleston in the morning and Jane got our reservations switched from Myrtle Beach Yacht Club to the Marina at Grand Dunes on the advice of friends.  It will help keep the Uber costs down being more centrally located there.  The ship’s bursar has noted that we spent $137 on Uber in the month of March.  We used the marina’s courtesy car to go up to the Harris Teeter grocery (adequate, but not Publix) and got lunch at a Mexican restaurant, Zia Tacqueria (filling, but not remarkable).  After we returned, Jane did another load of laundry and we waited for our friends, Jerry and Susie Pick whose boat the Happy Ours has been here at SJYH awaiting their return from home in Tennessee.  They had to go home to do taxes like the good citizens they are. We said screw it, filed an extension, and sent Uncle Sam a lot of money. We hope enough but we’ll know the answer in October.  Once they arrived at docktails hour we chatted a bit before heading out in their rental car to Wild Olive (yes, Wild Olive again – it’s that good).  It was great to see them again.  We had not visited with them since we started the Loop.


Thursday, April 12, 2018:

We got up early and made the decision to leave on the high tide instead of waiting until 1300 for the slack low. We scrambled around a bit skipping breakfast and extracted from the slip at 0816 without help as the tide had not yet begun to move.  We needed a pump out of the holding tank so I eased her over to the fuel dock that doubles as the pump out station.  I tried radioing, but Jessica and Stan saw me coming and rushed down to help secure us.  By the time we were pumped out and ready to go at 0830, I was surprised by the amount of current that had picked up in just that short time.  As we were facing down current, I couldn’t get the bow to swing around fast enough to keep from hitting the lift docks, so I kept backing up to return along the fuel dock.  Jessica was awesome and kept helping get us back far enough so I had the room to turn.  The third time was the charm and I was able to goose it hard to port to get away from the dock and not have to file an accident report.  Once clear of the marina we headed north up the Stono River to rejoin the ICW at Elliot Cut.   After we entered the Ashley River on the east side of Charleston proper, we could see that we would encounter some interesting traffic in the area of Fort Sumter.

It was a pretty day and by 1000 we entered Breach Inlet. There are some nice homes here.

We intended to go and dock with Leland Oil Company in McClellanville and by 1400 we passed Jeremy Creek and changed plans cancelling our reservation with Leland and continuing towards Georgetown. We realized that we wouldn’t make it to Georgetown before the marina closed so we researched and found what looked like a good anchorage just off the waterway in Minim Creek.  It sounded like an ideal spot without houses and surrounded by nature.  We crossed the South Santee River at 1510.  When we arrived at our targeted anchorage we discovered that another vessel flying the AGLCA burgee, Babe, was also anchored there.  I felt bad that we had to encroach on their private spot, but there was plenty of room and we set the hook at 1552 in 13 feet with an ample 120 foot rode well off their bow.  Once we had everything set, I tried to contact Babe on the VHF.  I just wanted to get acquainted and somewhat apologize for disturbing their peaceful spot.  Apparently, their radio was off for the night.  I wanted to give them something, but not to the point of launching the dinghy and take ‘em a bottle of wine, so that’s when I hatched the idea to give them some entertainment.  I went online to the AGLCA website and looked them up in the member roster and got the cell phone number.  I called the number and got no answer, but left a voice message that went something like this:  “This is Sargent Leslie O. Bobo of the South Carolina Department of Wildlife.  I’m trying to reach the captain of the motor vessel Babe. Our radar and monitoring system have determined that your vessel is anchored in a restricted area protected for the mating habitat of the rare Minim Creek Squid.  We require you to remove your vessel and appreciate your assistance in the protection of the very rare Minim Creek Squid species.  I will call back shortly to make sure you have received this message.”  I waited several minutes observing to make sure they weren’t pulling anchor and then called back.

I had to leave another message, this time instructing them to call me. Shortly, Mrs. Wheeler called and wanted to know what to do.  I quickly let them know that it was a spoof and we all had a great laugh.  Apparently, Mr. Wheeler is also a practical joker so I’m sure there will be some payback later.  They sound like a fun couple and we are looking forward to meeting them in person at the AGLCA Rendezvous in Norfolk.

Friday, April 13, 2018:


It was sunny and the high predicted at just above 70. There is a slight SW wind of 6 to 13 mph.  The run to Georgetown should only be about two hours.  We pulled up the anchor along with lots of tiny creatures (possibly the rare Minim Creek Squid?).   So I left the rode and chain out on the deck to wash off later when we dock.  By 0945 we passed the floating pontoon swing bridge.  You don’t see these too much anymore.


It got warm and we both changed to shorts. No sense arriving at dock in the tighty whities.   We docked at Harbor Walk Marina in Georgetown at 1105.  We were arriving midway of the falling tide which made me a little nervous especially when I saw the tight spot they had for us, but we snuggled right up to the dock gently and safe.  I cleaned the boat and called Tommy Howard.  Tommy is a distant relative that I’ve never met but had talked to him a few months ago after doing some genealogy research.  Our mutual antecedent is James Bush Howard, my great grandfather and Tommy’s great-great grandfather.  Tommy used to be the editor of the newspaper here and wants to write a story on our navigation of America’s Great Loop.  Tommy arrived and we walked to a long time local breakfast and lunch spot that looked like it probably did in the ‘40’s.  They offered home cooking and we stuffed a gut on large veggie platters.  Then Tommy gave us a personal walking tour of the town.


It is darling cute and loaded with history.  We saw places where George Washington visited and went to the South Carolina Maritime Museum.  There were throngs of locals at the Kaminski House getting their prom photos with the beautiful house and gardens for backdrop.

We returned to the boat and later Tommy arrived to pick us up to go to a BBQ place over near Debordieu. There we were to meet the rest of the Howard bunch and there was quite a crowd.  There must have been 20 altogether.  They are all wonderful folks and a loving and huggy bunch.  We swapped stories about ancestors and enjoyed getting to know each other.


Saturday, April 14, 2018:

We are on the move again, slipping out of the marina with several others on the 0902 high tide. Pete from Safe Haven gave us an assist getting off the dock.  It is a beautiful day, but rain and cold is expected tomorrow.  There is flat water but wind gusts to 22 mph are forecast for later.  Being a Saturday, there is noticeably increased traffic in the river.  At 1315 we had the Socastee Swing Bridge open and followed this little tug through.


At 1420 just south of the Robert Grissom Parkway Bridge, a cruiser came up behind and asked to come by on our port side. I obliged and moved over to the right of the narrow waterway in six feet of water.  No good deed goes unpunished and my six feet quickly became nil and we were aground.  Thank goodness the bottom was mud or sand and we were only at idle speed.  I was able to back off and we were underway again in just a few minutes, resolving to stay in the middle of the channel.  In another 25 minutes we were safely docked on a T-head at the Marina at Grand Dunes.   We seem to have friends to see everywhere we go and in Myrtle Beach we are seeing one of my Howey Academy schoolmates, Lyn Sue Kennedy Tayloe.  Lyn Sue came right over and took us to the mall so Jane could get some make-up (heaven forbid she would run out!) and then toured us around Myrtle Beach.  We got to see all the touristy honky-tonk area and then drove by some beautiful beachfront homes including hers.  Then we went to Publix (YEA!) and stocked up on groceries (and wine).  She dropped us off at the marina and pledged to return with her husband to take us to one of their favorite local restaurants.  Lyn Sue and Artie arrived back at the boat bearing a really nice chardonnay and a tin of cheese straws.  We enjoyed a glass of wine and got into the cheese straws before we departed to The Flamingo Grill.  The restaurant did not disappoint and we met both of the owners (2 Greek guys both named Dino) who are reportedly on hand at all times.


They have a large establishment (220 seats) and a great business going.  They obviously take care of every detail.  Sue and Artie wouldn’t let us pay for anything because that’s just how they are.  I hereby appoint them Myrtle Beach’s Ambassadors to the World!


Sunday, April 15, 2018:

We needed some exercise so we rode bikes around the Grand Dunes resort and development for an hour and a half. We came up on a black racer on the bridge.  He was quick to move on off.

Later, Jane did some laundry (didn’t really have many dirty clothes but it was a free washer and dryer and she couldn’t pass it up) and I attended to some marine maintenance and together we planned out the route for the next week.  After a needed nap, we visited the Anchor Cafe for salads.  A storm was coming in and we got back to the boat before it hit.  We just got the tail end of it, but there was plenty of rain, wind and lightning.

Monday, April 16, 2018:

The forecast is for sunny skies with a high in the low sixties and wind out of the SW at 11 to 16 mph along with gusts to 23. I have chosen an anchorage at Pipeline Canal that looks good.  It is 46 miles which by my estimate would be a run of about 6 ½ hours.  Unassisted, we untie and let the wind help us get off the dock and then spin around in the fairway to exit the marina at 0937.  At 1111 the Little River Swing Bridge opens for us and sometime around noon we realize that we are in North Carolina.  We’ve got the waterway mostly to ourselves today and we’re enjoying the boating.  By 1315 we have crossed Shallotte Inlet.  We find ourselves in that water where the current is running against us and the wind at our back that creates a washboard effect on the surface.  At 1420 we’re in Lockwood’s Folly and it is slap low tide.  The wind has shifted, the waves are high and we bumped the bottom two or three times coming across in the rough water.  At one point, I thought we were stuck because we stopped and I took it out of gear, but the wave action was quick to help and we moved on again.  I was very thankful that the keel extends lower than the propeller and we’ve only just removed some moss growth or a little bottom paint on the sand.  We got beyond the inlet and decided to forego the anchorage at Pipeline Canal continuing on past Southport and into the Cape Fear River at 1600.  Cape Fear River seems to be aptly named as it was rougher than a cobb.  Here again with the current going out and the wind coming in.  We checked and found out we were operating in small craft warnings.  No wonder steerage was difficult.  We saw the ferries passing and got by the Archer Daniels Midland plant.   There was a restricted area by the Army base to steer clear of and a couple of tugs moving a dredge operation.

By the time we got to Snow’s Cut all was calm and we arrived at the Carolina Beach Municipal Marina to pick up a mooring ball. Jane registered us and paid on line for the $20 fee.  It had been a very long day filled with excitement and we were both worn out having gone 64 miles; our longest day yet.  We turned in after showers and a boatcooked meal.

Beaufort to Charleston


Tuesday, April 3, 2018:

I spent the morning writing while Jane organized and got some exercise. We finally left the boat at the mooring ball and rode (rode not rowed) the dinghy in to further investigate Beaufort.

First up was a rather lengthy walk to have lunch at Herban Market. It was simple and simply incredible.  Jane had a taco salad and I chose the BLT wrap.  Both selections were whole-food, plant based and were fully appreciated.  That necessitated some more walking around the pleasant town of Beaufort during which we did a little shopping followed by the 4:00 pm carriage tour.  Our tour guide/carriage driver was a Beaufort native and seemed to have a complete knowledge of the history.  Beaufort is so charming because Sherman did not burn it.  All the local population fled before it fell to the Yankees and so the town was used for most of the Civil War as a Union installation.  Once in the historical section, one of the first antebellum homes we stopped at was the Stoney House.  I wondered and imagined that it could have been built by an ancestor of my friend Laurence Stoney from Charleston.  I’m hoping to see Laurence when we get there.  Our guide related a most interesting story about a slave named Robert Smalls who, during the Civil War, stole a Confederate gunship, sailed his family to freedom turning over the ship and information to the Union, and later became a member of the House of Representatives.  Most interestingly, he was able to return to Beaufort after the war and buy the house of his former master for the unpaid taxes.  When the former lady of the house returned and thought she still owned the home, he took her in and never told her any different, caring for her as long as she lived.


After, at the Old Bull Tavern we enjoyed libations and black-eyed pea hummus with grilled pita bread.

We had a bouncy ride back in the dinghy since the wind had picked up, but I set the throttle at lickity-split and we only touched the tops of the white caps.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018:


Beautiful sunrise over Beaufort this morning.

By 0855 we were underway in the ICW. The weather forecast shows SW winds of 10 to 15 knots with gusts to 20 and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  I got some pictures of the historical homes along the river.

Within an hour we had entered the Coosaw River and by 1030 made it to St. Helena Sound. It was a warm day and when the captain gets hot – layers are shed.


As we entered Tom Point Creek at 1345 to anchor, the wind had picked up and it was getting cloudy, but we had Pandora-provided Beatles on the stereo, so we were undaunted.


We located the best spot to anchor with some wind protection provided by the trees. The creek is a little narrow here and it makes me nervous.  Even though the tide change creates current, we anchored in 13 feet of water with just over 5 feet of help from the tide.  I have become so confident in our Manson Supreme anchor that I only put out 62 feet of rode.  Normal anchoring guidelines recommend the depth plus the height to the bow sprit (in our case 6 feet) to be multiplied by 7.  So it would be 13+6=19; 19 x 7 = 133 feet of anchor rode.  I’ve got out less than half of that due to my concerns about the narrow creek.

There were only a couple of houses, but they were well up the creek so it is very private here.  Apparently, some well-heeled creek dwellers live here. There was no boat traffic on the creek with the exception of one crabber that came in right behind us checking his traps and continued on up the creek.  I wondered how far up the creek his traps run, because we anchored at 1400 and it was happy hour before he came back by.  I love these anchorages with the expansive surrounding marsh.  They are so private and quiet.

As the tide dropped the creek got even narrower.  DSC_0959

As I was readying the shower on the fantail, a small dolphin announced his arrival with whooshes from his blow hole feeding, no doubt on the falling tide. I’ve heard about the technique they use around here called strand feeding, but I have yet to witness it.  We ran the generator for hot water and I showered on the stern (no pics of that.  You’re welcome) while Jane bathed inside due to the no-see-ums.  The carnivorous little bastards love her.

Thursday, April 5, 2018:

Low tide was around 0720 so we pulled up anchor at 1010 (from the same spot we dropped it), and pleasantly, it emerged clean. The morning was clear and cool with light winds out of the east.  We enjoyed a short cruise for the 25.6 miles and arriving with the tide, gently docked at St. Johns Yacht Harbor in the Stono River just south of Charleston at 1317.  SJYH proved to be a great choice in terms of restroom and laundry facilities, but can be a difficult spot to obtain an Uber.  We ran into Ken and Ruth from Horizons. Jane borrowed the courtesy car to go grocery shopping while I cleaned up the boat.  There was no Publix nearby, but she did well by visiting both Food Lion and Harris Teeter.  Later we were able to catch an Uber and went to Basic Kitchen for dinner.   Another excellent restaurant with great healthy vegan options.

Friday, April 6, 2018:

We decided it was time to go into Charleston for the day and thought it would be fun to go by dinghy. From SJYH it is only five miles to the City Marina going through Elliot Cut.  It takes about 15 minutes to deploy the compact inflatable and another 20 minutes to make the trip.  We stopped by the Post Office to mail some things and visited their Postal Museum.  It’s free so why not?


We walked further and settled on lunch at Basil Thai.  Excellent.  My friend, Harry Benedict works as a tour guide on the Gray Line bus tours and signed us up for his 3:00 run.  We were the only ones on the bus and received a tour unavailable to the public.


Charleston has so much history and Harry is truly an expert.  He dropped us back off at the City Marina where our dinghy was secured.  We stopped into Salty Mike’s for a beverage and to catch up on the Masters Tournament before motoring back to SJYH.

It was a warm sunny day, but we were glad to have our windbreakers for the ride back as it was cooling off and the 9.9 hp Tohatsu zips it right along.

Saturday, April 7, 2018:

Jim and Debbie Anderson came all the way from Columbia to visit and showed up at 10:00. We imbibed bloody marys on board before going over to Charleston Crab Company for lunch.  It is always great to visit with such good friends.

While we were at lunch the cruise ship American Star reappeared and steamed by under the bascule bridge.  Is this ship following us, or what?! Once back at the boat, the rain started and we played Jenga while reminiscing and catching up.   They left around 4:00 and Jane and I got a nice nap before round two.

Our old kindergarten classmate Patty Potter Baucom and her husband Mike came to pick us up for dinner at 7:00. We had expected to host them on the boat, but since it was still raining, we jumped in and went with them to the Maybank Public House for drinks before dining at Wild Olive (truly fine dining).  They wouldn’t let us pay for anything and dropped us off with a gift bag of really nice wine (Rombauer!!) and goodies.  Old friends are best and Patty is too sweet.  I think we got back to the marina around 11:00.  It was a long day, but filled with love.

Sunday, April 8, 2018:

Patty is not done with us and has Mike pick us up while she is preparing lunch. They have a gorgeous home on Seabrook Island on the marsh with a tidal creek.  We enjoyed BM’s on the dock (that’s bloody marys, you sicko) and some awesome corn chowder to stifle the chill.  After lunch we stopped by to see Bohicket Marina and that looks like a spot I’d like to visit next time.  After returning to SJYH we caught an Uber ride over to a reception on the city dock at St. Bart’s Yacht Sales for Loopers.  It was good to see so many familiar faces and meet some new folks.  I got to meet the captain of Ariel who anchored behind us in New Teakettle Creek and teased him about it.  We returned to our vessel in time to watch the end of the Masters and our little HD antenna brought in the CBS station for us clearly.

Monday, April 9, 2018:

It is rainy and cold. Jane did lots of laundry (including sheets and comforter) and defrosted the fridge.  I did some maintenance in the engine room.  Overall just a slimy day with the cold wet weather.  Finally, we went out to see a movie (The Leisure Seeker) at the Terrace Theatre. Couldn’t get an Uber for the 4PM show so had to wait until the 7PM showtime.  It’s a very poignant movie about an older couple (our age) struggling with dementia and cancer starring Helen Mirin and Donald Sutherland.  We both loved it. The Terrace Theater is one of those fancy theatres where you can get wine to go with your popcorn. And senior tickets were only $8.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018:

We had thought we’d be leaving today, but the weather is not cooperating. It is still rainy, cold and a little windy.  I’m not one to get in a hurry, so we’re staying put for today.  We did a good deal of route planning and finding spots to anchor or dock through to Norfolk.  As a result of our next intended marina not having room for us tomorrow (will still be cold anyway) and we can stay here for free because it will be the 7th night, we are opting to stay through Thursday morning before shoving off for points north.  The highlight of the day was my Howey classmate, Laurence Stoney, a Charleston native, came to pick us up and took us over to the Tomato Shed for lunch.  What a great place.  He had worked at the packing shed out back in the summers as a teen.  The comfort food was just what was needed. I hadn’t seen Laurence since school (1969) and it was very cool to spend some time with him again.



St. Simons Island to Beaufort

Tuesday, March 27, 2018:

The forecast is for mostly cloudy with winds out of the east at 7 to 10 mph and a high of 67. The tide at the Frederica Bridge is low at 1236, so I’m trying to wait until near then to shove off from the dock.  We borrowed the courtesy car from the marina and went over to Winn Dixie (mind you, it’s no Publix, but it’ll do nicely for what we want to stock up on).  We get all the heavy items we can, like water and wine and laundry detergent and bleach.  We also stock up on $30 worth of quarters for the laundry machines and go straight back to the marina.  Jane got all our goods stocked while I washed up the boat and refilled the water tanks.  We untied from the dock at 1205 without assistance and eased out into the Frederica River radioing the Morningstar Marina that we enjoyed their hospitality especially the Times Union and fresh muffins each morning.  The cruising was delightful and we had picked a spot to anchor that we could reach in only a few hours.

We were fighting the tide as we churned through Buttermilk Sound. After crossing Altamaha Sound and Doboy Sound, we arrived in New Teakettle Creek at 1645 to anchor in 15 feet of water with only 100 feet of anchor rode out.  It was very private with only the marsh surrounding us for miles.

The afternoon was breezy and the skies partly cloudy.  I remarked to Jane that it is so private, we could skip around the decks in our birthday suits, but she wasn’t game.   After a while, the sailboat, Ariel, that we had passed earlier, came into our private anchorage and anchored just downwind from us.  I kept an eye on our points of reference to make sure we weren’t slipping down towards him, but finally discretion got the best of me and we cranked the engine and moved about 300 yards up the creek to the east.  We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and danced on the fly bridge.  It was a perfect anchorage with slight winds, calm water, and no bugs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018:

Another beautiful forecast for a high of 74 and south winds of up to 14 beginning in the afternoon. We were late to rise, but didn’t care and pulled up the anchor at 1110.  As we exited New Teakettle Creek two boats were passing ahead of us and the lead boat turned out to be our friends, Susie and Jerry Pick, on Happy Ours. The cruising was so nice we kept resetting our plan on where to anchor.  We traversed Sapelo Sound, St. Catherine’s Sound, and kept chugging along to get through Ossaba Sound via the dreaded Hell Gate on the rising tide.

At 1715 we anchored in the Vernon River near the village of Montgomery.  We will only have to go about 14 or 15 miles tomorrow to get to Thunderbolt Marina in Savannah.

Thursday, March 29, 2018:

Looks like another perfect day for cruising with the forecast of SSW winds at 10 mph. The low tide at Thunderbolt Marina on the Wilmington River will be at 1354 hours. We took our time getting ready in the morning to time our arrival with the slack tide.  Docking in the current can be a real challenge with only the one screw and no thrusters for control.  We pulled anchor about 1030 and it was a nice day for a short boat ride.  We meandered past some beautiful homes on Skidaway Island.  We’ve heard other boaters complain about the  arriving at Thunderbolt Marina so at 1235 it was close enough to slack tide that the current was a non-issue and we nestled easily against the inside floating dock by the seawall.  We immediately ran into AGLCA legend Eddy Johnsen and his wife Linda.  Their Grand Banks 36, Spiritus was moored just ahead of us.  Eddy writes Eddy’s Weather Wag which gives looping boaters wishing to cross the Gulf from Carrabelle, Florida, going east to Steinhatchee and other ports south.  His advice on whether to cross or stay at dock is greatly respected among our members.  We also met the Loopers on Hydrophilic (John & Ann Marie Tyrell) who had been running just ahead of us for a couple of days.  At one point I wanted to hail them on the radio as Hydrophallic, but Admiral Jane would have none of that nonsense.  Later on the dock, they said that one of the boats that had previously travelled with them kept calling them Homophobic. Apparently, John and Ann Marie are good sports.

We cruised around the Thunderbolt area on our bikes for the afternoon to get some exercise. Later, we met the other Loopers at Tubby’s Tank House for dinner and enjoyed getting to know them and a new Looper, Jim Grenade, who’s preparing for departure soon aboard his recently purchased trawler, Idle Time.


Since we are docked so close to the seawall, the oak trees are dropping their stuff all over the decks and Jane got out her battery powered blower to clear them. Twenty minutes later it was a mess again.

We woke up early and went for a run-walk around the neighborhood passing a Thai Restaurant that beckons our return. Some weather blew in and I spent some time on boat maintenance repairing a split A/C duct to the forward cabin.  Then I turned my attention to the Northern Lights generator and changed the oil and oil filter and both primary and secondary fuel filters.  I got some needed advice from Eddy on priming the fuel filters.  Once I was done, I cranked up the genset and it purred happily.

After showers in the adequate marina facilities, we grabbed an Uber into Savannah for dinner at Alligator Soul. This place is in a basement, but it is upscale.  The hostess asked if we had reservations and of course I told her that yes we did, but we came anyway.  She got it with a smile and directed us to the bar.  They encourage dining at the bar, so we were happy.  We have been here before and know that the chef always has something special for the vegan diner.  It was awesome and Dan and Bridget, the bartenders, did a superb job serving us.  After dinner we walked down to River Street where most of the action takes place.  We found our way onto the only free stools at the piano bar in Vic’s Supper Club and imbibed therein a couple of the specialties.

Savannah at Vics

Some more strolling along the riverfront gained us some souvenir T-shirts before Ubering back to the marina.  On board, we broke out the cards for a game of Gin which I won getting lucky on the last hand.

Saturday, March 31, 2018:

Saturday involved another lengthy bike ride, this time to O’Reilly’s Auto Parts to exchange what I had bought in St. Augustine as white paint. It turned out after I had the primer applied to the generator pan, that the paint I had was some sort of peel off product.  I’ve got way too much work invested for any peeling off.  The exchange was painless (unlike the biking), and I got cash back.  We also stopped at River Marine for other various boat maintenance items.  It’s a great store, well stocked with good prices and near the marina.

For the evening, Uber is our friend again. Uber whisked us over to dinner at the Atlantic with our friend Sam.  She is a Savannah resident, who has just returned from her wedding trip.  She delivered us back so that she could see Sabbatical and we visited on the fly bridge.


The full moon brought a ten foot swing in tide.  Note the pictures taken from the same spot.

Sunday, April 1, 2018, (Easter):

I whipped up a batch of walnut pancakes for breakfast which were met with rave reviews from the entire crew. (ok, it’s only Jane, but still….) Then we’re off on another biking adventure to attend Easter Service at Connexion Church.  We needed to go through Savannah State College campus, but the gates were closed so we trekked the long way around, but still made it in plenty of time.  Connexion Church is the result of three churches that merged just over a year ago.  They were two black churches and one white church.  The congregants were most friendly, but their youth-led Easter service was less than spectacular.  In the afternoon we rode our bikes over to nearby Bonaventure Cemetery and walked around the beautiful grounds.  Didn’t find any dead people we knew.

Bonaventure Cemetary

We have continued to meet other Looping boaters and Docktails at 1700 in the screen porch of the marina was attended by Jean and Jerry Coleman (Making Memories) from Tarpon Springs, Jim (Idle Time), Dan and Jenny Lynn Girvan (Melody in Sea) from Michigan, and Ken Purcell and Ruth Frank (Horizons) from Chicago.  We were lucky to have such a group to share their knowledge and experience of various places on the Loop.

Later that night, we chanced upon Jesus Christ, Superstar on the TV, which we hardly ever watch, but we were trying to see if we would be able to watch the basketball game on Monday night. That is one great musical.  Amazing energy.

Monday, April 2, 2018:

We spent time prepping to leave with Jane doing more laundry and I filled the water tanks and attended to engine room checks. The forecast called for fog before 1000, but afterwards sunny with a high of around 83.  South winds around 10 mph should boost our cruising.  With the high tide scheduled for 1043, I’m in no hurry to escape the dock.  We cranked up at 1000 and eased on over to the fuel dock, not for fuel but for a pump out of the holding tank.  Patrick was there to help, but we were not getting suction.  Finally, I noticed that the other end of the hose was not connected to their pump.  Patrick screwed it back in and then the two of us wrestled the giant twisted anaconda (poop hose) to get it straightened back out.


With the tank drained we eased out into the river at 1030.  By 1125 we were crossing the Savannah River and into South Carolina.  While the crow may only have to fly 100 miles to cover the coast of Georgia, our circuitous route through the marshes and creeks seems like twice that.  Crossing the river, there was no commercial traffic to contend with.  At 1222 we were in the Cooper River and decided that we might as well enjoy cruising further and Jane called the Downtown Marina in Beaufort to see if we could have a mooring ball.  It looks good so we abandon our plan to anchor out and continue on.  At 1425 proceeded into Port Royal Sound.  There is some light boat traffic and ferries operating.  It also appears that we have spotted the cruise ship American Star again, but this time it was Independence.


We made it around Parris Island and into the Beaufort River and picked up a mooring ball at 1630.  With the dinghy deployed we putted into the dock, got registered and after walking about a bit stumbled into Luther’s for dinner.  We took a bar-height table near the bar.  I recommend Luther’s for drinks. (They have a help wanted sign up, and I think they’re desperate.)  The bartender seemed personable though, but she was a little overworked.  There was a couple sitting at the bar very near us and as we finished up our repast he eked out one clearly-audible flatulence.  Unembarrassed, he spun around, held up his hand and looking at Jane said, “My bad”.  Frankly, that’s an ice-breaker.  Turns out they are from Long Island, NY, and looking to move to Beaufort.  He was enthralled about out trip and we left him a card to follow the blog.  Now he’s in it.  We returned to the boat with the dinghy at giddy-up throttle and bathed aboard in the tiny tub.  We couldn’t get the NCAA championship basketball game on the TV and turned in after a long day.  We better be able to get the Masters this weekend, wherever we are.