Saturday, July 21, 2007

Heading North

There are many cool places to sail and enjoy on a boat in Florida. Unfortunately, we are captives of our boat insurance company. They dictate where we need to be during Hurricane Season and Florida is not on the list of "safe havens". North of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina is where we must go.
We left Ft. Pierce on July 18th and headed out into the big blue Atlantic Ocean.
An ocean passage offers opportunity to catch a nap or two.
And to do some fishing.

Sailing north from Florida is fun because you can pick up the Gulf Stream about 15 miles off shore. The Gulf Stream is like a fast running river in the middle of the ocean. It runs south to north and at its axis it will run at 3.5-4 knots. Without much wind and only one engine running, we were moving at 11-11.5 knots. For non-boaters, that is lickety split fast. We made great progress north. After two days and two nights at sea we had to head towards land and seek shelter from an approaching cold front. The weather forecast called for lightning, rain, thunder and winds. We hate this kind of weather and being out in the middle of the ocean during a storm is not fun. Our mast is 64 feet tall and looks like a "lightning rod". We headed west and entered North Carolina at Cape Fear. We found a marina by 9 AM, took a much needed shower and jumped into bed for a nap. By 2pm we were engulfed in the storm. It passed quickly, no lightning strikes found our mast and the cool air that followed was much appreciated.

We continued our travels north via the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW). We love the countryside in the Carolinas and the ICW offers unsurpassed scenery.

These Ospreys give us the evil eye as we come close to their nest perched on one of the waterway markers.

There are beautiful homes along the waterways.
The ICW is often a narrow channel surrounded by lush growth....and a few bugs.
The people here are very friendly. It is not uncommon for the locals to offer you a ride to the store. This marina gave us the keys to their car and told us not to worry about gas since the car already had a full tank. "leave the keys under the driver side floor mat when you are done" were the only instructions they gave. We did not want to insult them so we took them up on their offer and headed toward the local seafood restaurant and grocery store.
We really enjoy the seafood here. The clams were delicious in this local restaurant. So were the scallops, the shrimp and the flounder.

We were a bit confused about what is considered a vegetable in this part of the country?

Since there are no hurricanes on the horizon we decided to visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina found at Ocracoke. The harbor here is small and very protected. There are gorgeous beaches, great hiking and biking trails and the seafood is superb. From here we continue north about 150 miles to the Chesapeake. We will be calling Deltaville, VA home for a few months. We look forward to our return trip to SD on August 18. We miss our family and friends and look forward to catching up on local news.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Regatta In Abaco With Dana

Dana arrived for a two week visit to enjoy the tropics and crew for us during the Abaco Sail Boat Regatta. We were happy to see her and so were Noah (left) and Cody (on her shoulders). These two cuties belong to our friends Diane and Clinton on Sand Dollar.
We celebrated her 23 rd birthday with cake, no ice cream. It is impossible to keep it frozen in the heat. We took Dana to our favorite beaches because keeping cool is always a priority.The golf umbrella is in high demand. Steve and Dana on Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay. This is one of the prettiest beaches around. It has a large shallow sand bar with crystal clear water and sugar soft sand.This is another great beach on Manjack Cay. We were the only ones on the long beach. The water is about 88 degrees and so is the air temperature. The humidity is 100%. Yes, it is warm!Dana and Anne compare skin colors. We wear sun screen all the time but still end up looking like a native.The Regatta begins with a party. The Stranded Naked Party has been hosted by Bob and Patricia for years. They cook 1000 hamburgers and 1000 hot dogs, fries and all the trimmings. Bacardi Rum supplies the Margaritas and the Rum Punch. This is a very popular event and hundreds of people descend on Fiddle Cay, a small deserted island, to drink and make merry.This is what Fiddle Cay looks like at 9 Am the morning of the party. We helped setup, decorate, cut food, etc.By noon the crowds have arrived, hungry and thirsty.Boats are anchored everywhere. Fine Line dinghy is front and center.

A group arrived in their sea plane for a burger and drink. We checked to see if Jimmy was onboard.

Our gracious hosts, Bob and Patricia live on this houseboat in Green Turtle Cay. This is the only time of year the boat leaves the dock. Patricia is from Brazil and Stranded Naked is her logo for her swimsuit company.Bob with his party hat on. Group photo with our friends on Sand Dollar, Alegria and Makai. Fred laying in front and his wife Kathy in the yellow shirt are from Huntington Beach, CA. Carla(hand on Steve's head) and her husband Dan (dark blue shirt) live on their boat with their two kids. They are heading for the Dominican Republic and then further south.Lots of people have pets on board their boats. This little dog found some cool sand in the shade. It was finally Regatta time. This is Fine Line performing pre-race manuvers. Rounding a mark during race.
Dana thought racing was a bit boring but enjoyed the helm.

The trophies were bronze artwork from a local artist. They are beautiful. We are accepting the second place trophy for the Green Turtle Race with Diane and Clinton from Sand Dollar. After every race there is another party. This is Nippers Restaurant where we celebrated after race two. It has a beautiful beach with a good snorkeling reef off shore.

Mount Gay Rum sponsored this party and the line for free rum was long. Not a problem for the captain. He just finds someone to chat with. Here he can be seen telling our competitor his handicap is wrong. Splash was the boat always out in front of us. It is a lightweight performance trimaran and did indeed have an incorrect handicap. Fortunately the race committee agreed with us and changed it. We beat him in the next race.

Later the limbo stick came out and the captain can be seen in the upper left hand corner showing off. Dana beat him but she is 23 and the captain is more than twice that but not three times that.......math problem.
The next day was a rest day for the captain. Mount Gay + Limbo= nap time. It was somewhat uncharacteristic of Captain Clean to lay in the sand but he really needed that nap. Good thing we brought the umbrella.

The Abaco Islands has truly been paradise for us. We sadly put Dana on a plane for home and began our journey back to the US. We will miss this beautiful small group of islands, the friendly people, all our new friends and the crystal clear waters. We arrived in Ft. Pierce, Fl. on 7/15. We will soon begin heading north towards the Chesapeake and will post our trip when we arrive at our next destination. We are not sure exactly where that may be but that is what makes our lives exciting.
Fine Line