Thursday, September 20, 2018

This is the end my friend

For some reason it has been difficult to write this last entry for the 10,000 mile tour. Maybe I am sad that it is over and this confirms it is indeed, over.
Enough mush. On with the story.

I am at home in NC and we just went through Hurricane Florence. While we fared well up in the RTP, our friends and neighbors at the coast and on the coastal plains have been hit especially hard.
The many marinas and boat yards will be out of commission for a while, making travel on the ICW difficult if not impossible for a while.
Our thoughts are with them.

When I last left you, David had arrived in Marsh Harbour, Abaco to join me for the final leg of the trip.

Off we went, leaving Mangoes Marina in our wake. Next stop was Great Sale Cay for a bumpy night on the hook. The anchor alarm woke me at about 2 AM and we had drug about 100 yards before the anchor reset itself. Of course I got very little sleep after that. 

Underway at dawn, next stop West End and Old Bahama Bay to fuel up for our trip across the Gulf Stream to Florida.  We got in at the tail end of a flotilla of boats fueling up for their Bahama adventures and had to wait in line for fuel. I was a bit worried about time because I wanted to check in with US Customs upon arrival and we were behind schedule.

Finally it was our turn and we topped of the tanks and headed west. The first hour was extremely bumpy but the forecast was set to improve towards the coast so he stayed the course. The seas did calm down and we made it to Fort Pierce City Marina, some 80 nautical miles from West End.

We were there in time to check in with Customs and Immigration but they would not answer the phone. The dock hand at the marina told us about a new app created by the folks at Homeland Security called CBP Roam that allows you to check in via the app and a video chat.
It took a while but I finally got it downloaded and used it to check in and, wonder of wonders, it worked! Score one for the feds. No trip to the airport, they didn't even require a video chat.
Just like that, we are legally back in the US.

Sunset @ Fort Pierce

The weather was in our favor (see red sky at night above)  so we opted to travel on the outside while we could. After two over night/fuel stops, we were in Southport Marina, North Carolina.

Cape Canaveral

Leaving Charleston in a fog

We did run into several thunderstorms but the views afterwards almost made it worth it.

From Southport we headed up the Cape Fear River, through Snow's Cut and out back into the Atlantic at Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach. From the inlet we headed East -Northeast to Beaufort Inlet, approximately 65 NM. On to Oriental, NC our next fuel and rest stop. Again running into and trying to dodge thunderstorms we made our way up the Pamlico Sound, passing the infamous Oregon Inlet and the famous Roanoke Island into the Albemarle Sound. We got caught in a storm and during the rocking and rolling our mast light support over the radome decided to go for a ride. Luckily the wires held while it was swinging around and we were able to subdue it without injury to crew. We made it into Coinjock Marina where we had a couple of much deserved drinks and some of the best soft shells we have ever had. We took off early the next morning to time our arrivals at the draw bridges to get into Norfolk.

Not the kind of sky I like upon departure

Looks like the floating barracks have improved since I was on one in San Francisco

Leaving Norfolk we encountered rough seas heading into the Chesapeake Bay.  We decided to pull into Bell Isle Marina in Hampton for the night and wait for the promised calmer conditions in the morning.

Those skies!

We left the next morning hoping to make Annapolis. That would be a negative.  The fuel gremlins that had plagued us came back to stand in our way.
We made it to Zimmerman Marine in Deltaville where we were able to get assistance and after two tries we were on our way! Needless to say a fuel polishing is in our future.

Off we go- next stop: Annapolis, home-port of the Knot Wafflen'!

Happy Captain - coming home

Flying our colors

Spa Creek Bridge - 0.6 NM from home

The first of many passages through the bridge

Well, we made it. 10,540 Nautical Miles. 1001 Engine Hours. Countless moments of joy, discovery, fellowship and oh shit, did you see that?!  

The boat was awesome, the crews were awesome and I can't think of a better way to have spent 16 months.

In the first entry for this blog I hoped that the reader would be educated and entertained. I know I was and I hope that all who read enjoyed what was shared.

That is it for this delivery. On to the next.

Till next time.....

Knot Wafflen' at home in Spa Creek

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Long time coming

When last you heard from me, we were trying leave Key Biscayne and get to the Abacos.  Between weather and bad fuel it appeared that it might not happen.

We finally made it.  It was an uneventful crossing (the kind I like) and we checked in to the Bahamas at Old Bahama Bay Marina, West End on Grand Bahama Island.

Rounding Cape Florida on the way to West End

Leaving Miami behind

Pat and I spent the night in Old Bahama Bay Marina on Grand Bahama Island and then headed east to a stop in Green Turtle Cay, then south into the Sea of Abaco with stops in Great Guana, Marsh Harbour and Little Harbour. The weather and sea conditions were not the greatest, but hey, at least we are in the Sea of Abaco!

Heed the sign! 

Again, Heed the sign!

Fishing in your Pajamas

It works! 
Hope Town on Elbow Cay

Pete's Pub & Gallery


Still life w/feet & Pete's Pub Blaster


Knot Wafflen' on a mooring ball in Little Harbour . You can see the cave where Randolph Johnston lived with his family back in the 1950s.    A fascinating story, lots on the web about the family and the art.

We ended up back in Marsh Harbour where Pat had a flight back to the real world and David was due to fly in 3 days later.

David arrived and we set our sights on Annapolis.

Till next time.......

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Across Florida and then down Florida - east coast style

Start out with a little love!

On our way to Okeechobee we spent a night at the Marina at Edison Ford in Fort Myers. The Museum there is still recovering from Hurricane Irma but is still worth a visit if you are in the area.

Thomas Edison's Pool.

The Ghost of Tommy.

The trees and plants were really damaged by Irma.

They are working hard to bring back the grounds to their former glory.

Looking for mullet. Crab trap bait.

On to Okeechobee!
David manning the lines in one of several locks to move us up to the lake level from the Gulf of Mexico and down to the Atlantic Ocean level

Second largest lake located in the continental US

Railroad bridge

We made it to Harbour Towne Marina in Dania, FL where David took off and I stayed behind to schedule regular maintenance work on the boat.

Patty flew in to join me and we started to plan our trip across to Abaco. Plan as much as you want. If the weather doesn't cooperate, no amount of planning will get you across the Gulf Stream.

Friends came to join us for our Bahama trip and low and behold a one day weather window opened up- 2 to 3 feet seas, winds 15 kts from the Southeast.  We took off only to be turned back after 20 NM due to an engine warning alarm. Crap.  2/3 of the way there.
Of course we turned around and limped back to port at 10 knots.
The guys from Sun Power Diesel were there to hook up the computer and diagnose the problem . At 5 o'clock. On a Friday. Really! 
Turns out the fuel filters needed changing even though they did not have that many hours on them. 
Great big shout out to Sun Power Diesel!

Of course the next day the seas were back to running 5 - 6 and that is a little to much for me. We took off south on the ICW and cruised through Miami and ended up at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State park at anchor in No Name Harbour.  A very quiet little harbour with room for about 25 boats and a fabulous restaurant, Boaters Grill, at the head of the harbor.

Unfortunately our friends had to take off since there did not appear to be a good time to cross that would make it worth while for them. So Pat and I are still planning our trip across.  Maybe Thursday. Keeping our fingers crossed!
If not we will probably skip the Bahamas on this trip.

Till next time.....