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November 28, 2005

We finaly reach Daytona!

We left New Bern, NC on November 7th and had a pleasant motor sail down the Neuse River to one of our frequently used anchorages on the ICW at mile marker 187. Since our goal was to be at Daytona Beach (mile marker 829) before Thanksgiving, we had a lot of distance to cover in 2 ˝ weeks.
On Tuesday we were at the Camp LeJeune anchorage and the Coast Guard was using the Marine facility for a training exercise and we could hear and see the gunfire and movement all night long. The anchorage was very crowded with southbound boats and we were all squeezed to one side of the anchorage since the Coast Guard needed to other half of the anchorage for their maneuvers. The weather cooperated and there was little wind so it was not a problem. By early morning most of the boats had moved out on their trek south.
Our next anchorage was at Carolina Beach where we waited for the weather to become more favorable for an outside hop to Charleston, SC. By Friday AM it looked good and we went down the Cape Fear River and out into the Atlantic headed for Charleston. The trip went well with clear sky, favorable wind and a nice moon so by Saturday sun up we were entering the Charleston Harbor Marina and our assigned slip.
The Fresh Creek board had scheduled a meeting back in NJ and flights were expensive and inconvenient so we picked up an Enterprise car and headed north Sunday morning. In 14 hours we pulled into daughter Liz’s new home in Bensalem Township, PA, just north of Philadelphia. It was an easy drive with clear weather and little traffic. We helped Liz with several new house projects and raked leaves in her front yard – something I had not done for years and don’t miss at all. We also had a chance to drive to Yardley, PA for a nice visit and lunch with Marilyn and Hank Neely.
Tuesday we drove the rest of the way to the Fresh Creek office and the meeting Wednesday. At this meeting the Board voted to terminate the President of the Company and I volunteered to come back and help out part time to support the transition to new leadership. This put a real kink in our retirement lifestyle and schedule but is required to protect my ownership in the business. Hopefully it won’t be for too long and we will still be able to get to the Bahamas after the first of the year.
We had a chance to visit with Josh on this trip ad took advantage of his apartment as a place to stay for two nights. Sue was also able to reschedule her appointment with her oncologist from December (all OK) so we got that crossed off the list too. We got back to Charleston by Friday noon and did some provisioning before departing south again. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate so we ended up inside I the ICW for the next two days anchoring at Toogoodoo (really!) Creek, then Port Royal, SC (just below Beaufort, SC, then Turner’s Creek (really!), and finally Wahoo Creek the next four nights.
The time was getting short to be in Daytona for Turkey day, and the weather finally looked like it was favorable for a hop outside to St. Augustine, so on the 23rd we went out the Sapalo Sound into the Atlantic. At first the wind and sea conditions were perfect for the trip and we were making such god time towards St. Augustine that we could also go direct to the Ponce Inlet at Daytona and be at our destination about noon on Thanksgiving day. Mother nature didn’t cooperate and the shifted to the southwest so it was right on the nose and increased to 25 knots. We were being pushed further and further off shore where the weather forecast was for gale conditions. By nightfall the wind was blowing 25-30 and increasing steadily and we were about 10 miles offshore. We tried motoring into it to move back close to shore but could only make 1 knot against the now 35 knots wind and short choppy waves. It was ugly! The wind actually got up over 40 knots during the night but with a combination of tacks while motor sailing with only part of the jib out, we were finally able to enter the channel at St. Mary’s about 3 AM and anchor. Once we got inshore the wind dropped back to 10-15 knots and the waves flattened out. Fortunately it was clear and relatively warm so we came through it OK but it was the worst conditions I have ever been in and neither of us have any desire to repeat it again. The boat was caked with salt spray and had leaked water through the cabin so a lot of stuff inside was wet. We set the hook and crashed for a few hours sleep. So much for the plan to get to Daytona for Thanksgiving!
We stayed in the ditch the rest of the way with stops at Kingsley Plantation and St. Augustine before finally dropping the hook at Daytona Beach Saturday afternoon the 26th. We have had a nice visit with Cathy Schultz and Chuck Ellenwood at their place and also got to visit with Frank Hilson and his lady friend Joyce who were in town for the Turkey Run hot rod show at the Daytona track. They had an extra ticket so I got to go to the show yesterday and walk around. It is quite a sight and I found a nice “woody” station wagon which is my ideal retirement “old fart” car. A picture is on the web site. Frank had two cars at the show he wanted to sell and he got a lot of serious interest but didn’t actually cut a deal on either one.
Today we will move Omega to the Daytona Marina and Boat Yard with a one-month slip rental while we fly back to NJ to be at Fresh Creek. We return to Ft. Lauderdale Florida on December 15th to be at Carolyn and Ethan’s for Christmas. Beyond that there is truly no plan since I don’t know if I will need to be back at Fresh Creek after the first of the year. Stay tuned for further developments!

Posted by Dick at 07:09 AM

November 04, 2005

New Bern and the Cruisers Reunion

The first leg of our trip south has gone very well and we are now in Durham, NC visiting KAT, Jackie and my grandson Jaidan. The trip down the Chesapeake consisted of a one-day downwind sail to Solomons, MD in ideal conditions. The new spinnaker did a great job and with the falling tide we made good time and were anchored in Mill Creek by the entrance to Solomons by mid afternoon. The nest day was another down wind day to visit friends Bob and Ruth Kramer at their place on the Yecomico River off of the south side of the Potomac just 8 miles above the Chesapeake. They retired here a few years ago from North NJ and built a lovely home with a great dock for their Whitby 42 “Puffin” and visitors like us! We went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant that features fresh local seafood and had a nice time. They are also heading south towards the Bahamas so I’m sure we will cross paths with them in the next few months.
The two day trip from the Kramer’s to the south end of the Chesapeake was another downwind sail with a favorable tide to Fishing Bay and by the end of the second day we were able to get through the Portsmouth/Norfolk area and on to and through the Great Bridge locks before the end of the day. There is free docking at Great Bridge and a space was open (just for us!) where we ran into friends on Grand Eagle that we had just seen on Weems Creek up by Annapolis. The weather was forecasted to be bad for crossing the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds so we decided to hang out at Great Bridge for the next two days. There are a wide variety of stores nearby and I was able to get a number of small boat projects done while the rainy windy weather blew through.
The delay at Great Bridge meant that we had to push hard the next three days to get to New Bern by Friday night October 28th for the start of the Southbound Cruisers Reunion. We did over 65 miles each day in about 10 hours per day but came through the 5 PM opening of the bridge at New Bern and were tucked into a slip at the Sheraton Marina in time to join the happy hour with the cruisers group. This was the first time for the reunion in New Bern and it was a big success thanks to Bob Giddings and the others who took the initiative to organize it. They plan to do it again next year. Sue and I both won door prizes – a $20 gift certificate at a local deli and a boat bag so we really got our moneys worth!
We left Omega at a marina in New Bern and picked up an Enterprise car for our visit to Durham. As always, our visit has been fun and it is always exciting to see how much Jaidan has changed from our last visit late last spring. He now runs around and is just starting to talk. He will be 2 in March so we get the occasional preview of the “terrible twos” but mostly he is a happy fun baby. Jackie and KAT have adjusted lives and their work schedules to the role of parents well and Jaidan seems to be enjoying his day care experience.
We will be back on Omega by Monday and continue the trek south towards Daytona Beach for Thanksgiving. This gives a little over two weeks to get there so I hope the weather cooperates and gives us nice conditions for several outside hops in the Atlantic.

Posted by Dick at 09:51 AM