Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Journeying North to Chesapeake Bay

Simple Life underway on the ICW
photo by Tricia Wehmer
     One of the FAQ's from our blog followers has been, "How do you guys manage to continue this migration year after year?" We sail offshore along the Atlantic seaboard whenever weather and seas cooperate which is also exhausting and not always feasible. This season Tropical Storm Ana had everyone running for cover. We sought refuge in the Stono River in Charleston, SC. "Don't you find it grueling?" The answer is, yes it is arduous if a plan of action isn't in place. One method that is primarily dictated by just how exhausted we become is stopping every few days to rest, recover and enjoy our anchorage area. A few days ago, we had a day of shore leave in Wrightsville Beach where we walked a couple of miles along the beach and enjoyed the funky beach town and a dinner ashore at Tower 7 a Mexican restaurant with surfer inspired decor.    
Simple Life on the Intracoastal Waterway
photo by Tricia Wehmer


     While underway on the ICW we use every available piece of information to plan our day. Now that we are back in the States mornings begins with coffee and Chris Parker's live Atlantic Coast weather forecast via SSB HF radio at 8:00 AM. Most of the time we're well underway at sunrise while monitoring his forecast in the northern latitudes. We also check VHF forecasts and weather apps such as Wind Alert.

An anchorage in the low country of South Carolina
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
      When transiting the ICW we rely upon numerous resources. Our favorite being Skipper Bob's Anchorages Along the ICW I am fastidious about jotting notes in the publication with valuable information we've gleaned over the years. The margins are filled with tidbits on grocery shopping opportunities, laundry access, WifI hotspots, the best places to purchase fresh shrimp right off the boats and most importantly, notorious shoaled areas from lack of government dredging funds. I also augment the Skipper Bob publication with Mark S. Doyle's iBook publication AnchorGuide for the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) Volumes 1 and 2

This little buck decided not to cross our bow in the
Alligator Pungo Canal in North Carolina
     Recently, quite a buzz surrounding the Active Captain software program has proliferated among those who travel the waterway. Boaters can join the site allowing them to read and submit comments pertaining to shoaled areas, marina reviews, lift bridge schedules, fuel and marina prices along with virtually any issue arising during an ICW transit. This free website has enabled us to travel without grounding this season due to updated information on problem areas. Do we still stress even though we have access to an array of information. Of course we do. Though, sometimes it feels like information overload, but shoals shift and that's a fact of Waterway life.
Sunrise at Deep Point anchorage in the Alligator River, NC

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Surf and Turf in St. Augustine

Our view of St. Augustine from the harbor
   The modes of transportation may be different; one a sailing yacht the other a land yacht, but the lifestyles are to a certain degree parallel. A recent stop in St. Augustine offered a rendezvous opportunity with cherished friends, Christine and Donald from New England. For some reason it's more exciting reuniting with friends in a place other than the familiarity of home. Christine and I have a friendship that goes back many years to a work setting with a maniacal leader at the helm. Those days bonded us and we often reminisce about our shared experiences. The coup de grace resulting often in hysterical laughter and retrospections.
Chris & Donald's RV at the campsite on Anastasia Island
St. Augustine, Florida

       Now that we have been freed for a number of years from work bondage our lives have once again become more or less parallel with fewer aggravations weighing heavily on enjoyment. Joe and I sail the Atlantic coastline to the Bahamas. Chris and Donald travel in their RV during winter months along the eastern seaboard to Florida. The course being similar in that both circumscribe the Atlantic coastline. They have a truck which tows their RV. We have a sailboat that tows our dinghy.


Chef Donald
     Last week our paths crossed during coincidental migrations north in St. Augustine, Florida. Chris and Donald called and invited us visit them at their campground on nearby Anastasia Island to see their new fifth wheel RV! They recently traded in their older model for the new improved, roomier, with all the bells and whistles version. This one has two massaging recliners! Not exactly roughing it. Their invitation included a tour and a steak dinner! Christine had been following our blog all winter and assumed we might be tired of eating all the fish Joe caught. Dinner was perfect. Grilled steak, potatoes and salad. Just what we'd been craving.

Great food, wine and friends

Michele & Chris enjoying G&T'a

Donald & Joe taking a break from the surf

      During the afternoon the boys went boogie boarding at the beach behind the campground. For the next hour Christine and I enjoyed conversations that drifted down old roads while watching our boys in the surf all from the comfort of our beach chairs.

The Lightner Museum
and Cafe Alcazar

    The highlight of our get together came a couple of days later when Christine suggested meeting for lunch in St. Augustine at Cafe Alcazar located,in the bottom floor of the former Alcazar Hotel now the Lightner Museum built in 1887 by Henry Flagler.

The largest indoor pool in the Alcazar Hotel
now the location of Cafe Alcazar

    The cafe is situated in what was once the world's largest indoor pool. The setting and lunch was as Christine described. Elegant. White tablecloths, attentive waiters, aromas of garlic and fresh seafood and a fine guitarist entertained us with his eclectic repertoire.

Cafe Alcazar as it is today

Christine & Donald enjoying great food,
wine and music
     The lunch was exceptional and the food exceeded all expectations. We lingered over wine well into the afternoon knowing that soon we'd all resume our separate migrations. Christine and Donald will be back in New England within a couple of weeks. We on the other hand will travel much slower possibly another month. Travel speed and weather restrictions hamper our progress. As of this weekend tropical storm Ana has restricted our travel plans. Simple Life has been hunkered down in the Stono River near Charleston, SC for a few days while the storm formed north of the Bahamas and took her time gathering strength and momentum north. She is expected to make landfall Sunday morning 50 miles north us us at Winyah Bay, SC.
As tropical storm Ana churns off the coast we
hunkered down near Charleston, SC 

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