On to Washington DC (Part One)

Approaching Washington DC, you can see the Washington Monument from a long way away since it is the highest structure in the area.  Numerous planes and helicopters flew over as we approached the city.  Busy Reagan International Airport is next to the river. Many helicopters fly along the river and we continue to sight an abundance of aircraft all around us. Neither Teresa or Steve have ever traveled to the Washington DC area, so we saw everything with fresh and amazed eyes.

Once we arrived at Gangplank Marina in Washington. we met our looper friends Charlie and Robin McVey from the motor vessel The Lower Place.  They arrived a few days before us and scouted out the lay of the land. It was wonderful to re-connect with them again in a different setting. We toured many of the Washington DC sites with them.  We saw the Capitol at sunset, the White house, Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery (such a moving, humbling place), Trump Hotel (refurbished home of the Oldest Post Office), and the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress. Books lined shelves and alcoves–many old volumes protected within a temperature-controlled environment. Of particular interest to Teresa was the quote: “I cannot live without books!”  We had the privilege of indulging in appetizers and drinks at BLT Prime inside the Trump Hotel.  Warm popovers graced our table at the start, followed by an appetizer, Clothesline Candied Maple Bacon featuring four slices of thick bacon suspended from a mini copper wire held on by wooden clothespins, and a dill pickle. How bad can it be–it’s BACON?! The presentation was worth it all as our server torched the bacon and a spring of herbs prior to serving. The food was absolutely remarkable!

We were thankful our wait for the US Capitol tour tickets was minimal. Normally, huge busloads of school children and adults filled the lines to the max. We just made it through before that happened. Experienced a good tour through the Capitol lingering in The Rotunda—heart and center of the Capitol. Paintings depict various events associated with the exploration and settlement of the United states such as “Embarkation of the Pilgrims” and “Baptism of Pocahontas.” Many of the larger buildings have gift shops with postcards and most any memorabilia you might desire.

The changing of the guard at Arlington is an amazing sight in precision and reverence.   The steps, uniform, and each detail are exact in every aspect.   We watched a changing of a ceremonial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and heard a soldier play taps as part of that process.

On Sunday, we worshiped with Christ Church Episcopal Washington Parrish where we understand Thomas Jefferson attended back in the day. A plaque on the outside church wall states the Christ Church was founded in 1795 and was the first church in the city of Washington. Friendly church people. We met Rev. Cara Spaccarelli who now owns a copy of Teresa’s book. Afterwards, we toured the neighborhood with a recommendation from Charles (gentleman we met in the front foyer of the church), walked past the barracks and commandant’s home.  Walking on the sidewalks in front of such varied colors and architectural design proved a treat all by itself. Homes created from various materials stacked next to each other, house next to house, without space in between; only rod iron fences separate families. Their mini yards often bore bricks or small vegetable plantings and flowers. I’m told families exercise and play together in numerous community parks sprinkled throughout the town. This particular section of town reminded me of back home, a place called Eastown in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first restaurant we stopped at said they had a 2-hour, 15 minute wait—we declined and moved on. Walking a few more blocks we came upon various diners and chose to satisfy our hungry tummies at Ophelia’s Fish House. Urban living to the fullest degree.

We walked between 5-8 miles daily while in DC. We also took advantage of Uber, and rode the Metro train for the first time. Hop on and hop off buses are popular. Also, our friends Charlie & Robin from The Lower Place highly recommend the Segway narrated tours which can be seen rolling here and there among the streets and popular buildings.

Thoughts while sitting on the Amphitheater steps of the Unknown Soldier:

Oh, the tears, the blood shed
Represented here in this place.
Row after Row after Row
White tombstones
Representing sons, fathers, uncles.
Real live people.
Real live losses.

Days gone by.
Ancestors, family, friends.
What sacrifices!
All to secure my freedom and yours.
Words cannot describe
The debt we owe
To the many who’ve gone on before.

I am humbled, speechless
Driven to my knees.
My only response
Is Thank You.
And then the tears flow.

I doubt that many other Loopers can claim they saw the sixth annual Running of The Chihuahuas. Dog lovers actually race chihuahuas in Washington DC. There were 16 rounds leading up to the race to determine the overall winner. The top three winners receive cash prizes.  There is so much to see and do here it is overwhelming, and we only sampled a small portion. We are thankful to be here and experience a taste of big city life and urban living.

 

Arlington National Cemetery 

 

Library of Congress

 

White House

 

Capitol Building

 

Washington Monument

 

Trump Hotel

 

Washington Train Ride

 

Running of the Chihuahuas

 

 

More about Washington DC to follow…………

Through Norfolk Naval Shipyard area and up the Potomac River

Once we returned to the boat, we visited Norfolk and toured the new Waterside area and the Nauticus Museum with Scott and Mary from the motor vessel Jaycie Lynn.  The battleship Wisconsin is on display at the Nauticus Museum. The Battleship Wisconsin served in World War II, Korea, and Desert Storm.  It was launched in 1944 and decommissioned in 1991.  It is 887’ long and had a crew of up to 2800 men.

We continued our trek north from Atlantic Yacht Basin (AYB) where the first encounter along the water way is a lift bridge and a lock.   The lock is a small 2’ drop, but it was the first lock we traveled through since last year on the rivers. We will not see another lock until the Erie Canal at Waterford north of New York City.

The trip through Norfolk Naval Shipyard area seemed overwhelming with all the war ships undergoing refurbishment and construction.   One of the aircraft carriers was heading out to sea as we passed through the area.  It was nice of them to put on a show for us. We also saw ocean going container ships in the harbor.

Once past Norfolk, we traveled up the Chesapeake Bay which is very wide and reminded us of Lake Michigan.  The bay was calm and flat on our way to the Potomac River.  We left the Bay to travel up the Potomac to visit Washington DC.  It took two days to make the trip up the river to Washington DC.

Our trip up the Potomac took us past the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge at Newburg Virginia.  The bridge has 135’ clearance above the water in the center.  There were workers suspended in bucket booms below the bridge.  They would be a candidate for the worst jobs television program.

We stayed at the Colonial Beach Yacht Center marina where we ate at Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar right off the Potomac River. The restaurant had a small beach with old skis fashioned into benches, old power boats as art, and sand boxes for the children. Very rustic, but we received good service with tasty food.

The trip continued past Quantico, Mount Vernon, Fort Washington, and many additional sights.  Our next blog post will be about visiting Washington DC.

 

Battleship Wisconsin

 

 

Norfolk Waterside Area

 

 

 

The lift bridge at Great Bridge just past Atlantic Yacht Basin

 

The Lock at Great Bridge

 

Norfolk Ship yards

 

Calm Seas on the Chesapeake Bay

 

Working on Bridge over Potomac River

 

 

Fort Washington on the Potomac River

 

Next post our visit to Washington DC…………

Atlantic Yacht Basin, a quick trip home, and on to Minnesota

From Belhaven, we traveled to Alligator River and then on to Chesapeake near Norfolk VA.   The trip was smooth and uneventful along the water ways.  A nice contrast to the last few days.  While we were at Belhaven, there was a severe storm in the night.  The wind blew from the east at over 40 and then switched around and blew over 40 from the west.   A sail on the boat behind us started to tear loose, so we worked to tie it up to keep it from doing more damage. After all that, we were thankful for a few calm days.

The plan was to leave the boat at Atlantic Yacht Basin (AYB) and rent a car to travel back to Michigan.   We planned to drive so we could off load several things picked up along the trip.  It was great to visit with friends and family back at home.   After a few days at home, we traveled to Minnesota to visit the grand kids.  The grand kids were having a dance performance and Nanna told Liberty that this year we were coming to see the recital in person.  Two of the grand kids and their parents were all in the dance performance.  We had a delightful time seeing the performance, going hiking, eating ice cream and s’mores, and experiencing a couple cookouts while visiting the grandkids.

After the visit in Minnesota, we drove home, and then flew back to Norfolk.  We had scheduled a quick haul and bottom wash at AYB to have the running gear and underwater zincs checked.  So out of the water onto the travel lift came Sanctuary.   Everything looked good except one of the zincs needed to be replaced.  When you have dissimilar metals in water and especially in salt water, they will corrode by a process called electrolysis.  If you put a sacrificial metal (zinc) on your under-water metal, the sacrificial metal (zinc) will dissolve, protecting your bronze propellers and stainless steel shafts.   With a clean bottom and new zinc, Sanctuary went back in the water ready to continue the journey.

While here at AYB, a fellow Looper, Susan from Suzy Q was hit in the night by a barge crushing her against the T-dock. Fortunately, she was not in her boat at the time so she was not injured. She’s understandably shook up. Susan just began the Great Loop 21 days ago single-handed. The barge company admits full responsibility and is paying for a room, food, and clothing for her in the interim. She’s in need of prayer as she navigates through the many tough decisions she needs to make.

At AYB, there are many unique and interesting boats to look at.   This boat yard specializes in taking care of many older one-of-a-kind boats.   They have a track type lift that can pull very large boats out of the water.  While we were at AYB, there was one on that lift that measured at least 100’ long.  The storage buildings are over water and the boats are pulled into the sheds.  After the haul-out, we were directed to dock Sanctuary inside one of the buildings, which worked out well because it has been raining for a couple days and more rain was predicted.

 

Dock at AYB where Sanctuary stayed while we went home

 

Spring has sprung up north

Visits with Amanda

Grand Kids Dance Performance in Minnesota

 

S’mores by the fire pit

Fire pit to cook S’mores

 

Grandkids

Some of the unique boats at AYB

Sanctuary gets a lift

 

 

Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, Southport, Wrightsville Beach, Mile Hammock Bay, Beaufort NC, Oriental, and then Belhaven.

Leaving Charleston, it was a perfectly flat travel day as we moved toward Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown. We planned to leave the boat for a week and take a quick trip home, but Teresa got sick so we visited a med center instead.  Minor sinus infection and fluid in her ear.   Picked up some antibiotics and that kicked the infection.  While there, we visited the Rice Museum.   We found out that the area including Georgetown had been home to many rice plantations back in the 1700-1800’s.   It was one of the richest areas in the country due to rice production.   The fresh water rivers and tides were used to flood the low fields in the area.   The tides would back up the fresh water rivers to allow the fields to flood.  They used gates on canals into the fields to keep the saltwater out.  Soon other areas of the country could produce rice cheaper and the area turned to other products.    Leaving Georgetown takes you through the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. We are finally seeing lots of tall trees with leaves! How refreshing from the normal non-descript rice patties turned marsh fields.

 

Birds looking for a hand out from the fishermen

 

Birds looking for a hand out from the fishermen

Rice Museum

 

We stayed two nights in Georgetown and then moved on to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.  We stayed just one night there and had dinner at the Yacht Club with John & Sandra from Compass Rose.  It was trivia night, but our table was not very good at their trivia categories, so the “loopers” did not win any of the prizes.

Anyone want a cheap shrimp boat

 

I did not know my mom had a boat……..

North Carolina – Day #225 & 2909 nautical miles. Just crossed the line over into North Carolina! Still seeing many mega homes with greatly extended docks out to their covered areas where the boat is kept. Due to the amount of marshy areas, owners must extend their docks to get beyond that and account for the great fluctuation in tidal changes.

 

So many long docks along the way

The next stop was Southport, North Carolina, home of harbor hosts Robert and Kay Creech.  We really enjoyed the seaport town of Southport which appears to be more affordable for regular people than the last three larger, more popular towns/cities. We met the Robert & Kay on their front porch which overlooks the water. Harbor Hosts are hospitable people who live in the harbor town and volunteer their time, and provide transportation for other loopers who venture into their town. We visited with them on their porch overlooking the bay and later on Short Vacation (another looper boat) for docktails.  Southport is a quaint little town with many opportunities to walk the historic neighborhood, shop, and eat. Provisions Company Seafood is a MUST casual restaurant to dine at and is within a short walking distance from Southport Marina where we stayed.

We were blessed to be just in time for the Southport Spring Festival featuring local artists, good, and music by the Brunswick Big Band. Steve was itching to get up on stage and play his trumpet too. On Easter Sunday, we were but a short distance walk to Southport First Baptist Church founded in 1871. Very friendly people who greeted us and afterwards we presented Pastor Thomlinson with a copy of Teresa’s book.

 

Some scenes from Southport

 

Sanctuary in Southport

 

We stopped in Wrightsville Beach for a night in the anchorage.   Once safely anchored, we took the dinghy to shore and explored the area taking a walk on the Atlantic beach Ocean.  It is a small beach community, but we did find ice cream on shore so it gets a good rating.

 

Scenes along the ICW

 

Day #229 – Into every life, a little rain must fall, and during the night, fall it did! But we were warm and cozy in our enclosed cabin area. Sanctuary anchored in Mile Hammock Bay near New River Inlet with several other boats. Watched dolphins swim around us, Osprey planes fly overhead from the nearby military base, and water birds dive for food.

Day #230, we completed 3000 nautical miles under our keel as we passed Camp Lejeune. Part of the waterway passes through the live Firing Range. There are large signs with flashing lights. A boat will be on station to block the way if they are conducting live firing exercises.   Lucky for us they were not active, so we passed through without delay.

We arrived at Homer Smith docks and Marina after the anchorage in Mile Hammock Bay.  From the marina, it is a short walk to downtown Beaufort NC.  There is a free museum with appealing displays of Black Beard the Pirate. We stayed two nights at Homer Smith. As we were getting ready to leave, we got a package of fresh tuna from the marina seafood supply connected with the marina.   They process a lot of seafood which comes off the shrimping and fishing boats, so it is a good place to purchase fresh sea food.

Fishing Boats

 

Beaufort Museum

Sunset at Homer Smiths Marina

 

The next stop was Oriental—the sailing capital of North Carolina. There is a free dock in town available, so we tied up there.   Dave and Liz, friends who used to live in Grand Rapids and kept their sailboat named Double Vision in Muskegon, moved to New Bern (near Oriental).   Dave came and picked us up at the marina and took us on a tour back to New Bern and their house.  Once Liz was done with work for the day, we relaxed for a while on their deck and went down town for dinner.  After dinner, we went back to the boat.   When we arrived at our dock, we received a big surprise that was not good.   We were docked to a very tall shrimp boat. A flock of cormorants (really, really crappy birds) landed on the upper booms and cables of the tall shrimp boat next to us.   The wind was blowing in the direction of our boat.  It was literally raining bird poop all over our back deck covering every inch.  After moving, hosing, and scrubbing for a couple hours most of the deposits were removed.  The second night was at a different free town dock and was much better.   The next day we attended the Oriental Boat show.   We did not buy a new boat there, but did find a few treasures.

Visiting with Dave and Liz

 

Oriental Town Dock

Oriental Yacht Club Flags

 

Leaving Oriental was one of the roughest days of our trip.   The wind was strong to begin the trip, but the waves were only about a foot so continuing seemed like a good plan.  After a while, the wind and waves continued to build on the Neuse River.  The river is about 5 miles wide and feeds into Pamlico Sound which is about 20 miles wide.   We needed to make about 12 miles to get to our planned inlet and get relief from the wind and waves.   The 1 foot waves soon turned into 5 to 6 foot waves. We considered turning into a bay along the way, but that would have taken almost as much travel as the one that was our original goal.   The boat was very wet outside and inside many things moved around, but thankfully we safely made it to the bay.   Froggy was looking very green, but also made it without incident.   We were very glad to make it to the dock in Belhaven NC.   We met looper friends Pat and Kathy from Southern Cross at River Forest Marina and went to dinner with them at The Tavern at Jacks Neck.   Jim, Jimmie, and Jim, have taken an old store front and remolded it into an amazing place.   The food and service was excellent, and the atmosphere is a beautiful nautical theme with lots of wood.   Come for the food, but also have Jimmie give you a tour and explain the facilities and history of the store fronts.  They also are working on opening a steak restaurant next door.  Fun town with a few shops, less than 2000 residents, nestled in a quaint setting.

 

The mess after the rough ride

 

River Haven Marina Loaner Golf Cart on the way to dinner

 

 

Fantastic Dinner at -The Tavern at Jacks Neck

 

The Manor at River Forest

 

 

Spring Flowers

 

Charleston and Patriots Point

If you are in the Charleston area, be sure and visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.   You will find the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, USS Laffey Destroyer battle ship, and USS Clamagore submarine. As part of your very reasonably priced ticket, you can also tour a Vietnam Experience along the shoreline.   It took most of the day to go through the exhibits, and we still did not see it all.   Our dock was right next to the aircraft carrier, so we could see Sanctuary from the deck of the ship. A big THANK YOU to all our military personnel—those who’ve gone before us and those who serve us now! We owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

There is a lot to see and visit in the downtown Charleston area.   The area is rich with restored old houses and buildings for very interesting architecture tours.   We met with some other loopers (Captain’s Choice and Panacea) and took an educational, fun carriage ride through the city.  Our driver’s name was Joshua and his horse was named Samson, the largest horse in the fleet. After our carriage tour, we gathered at very popular Henry’s Seafood & Jazz on the Market for a tasty lunch and time to chit-chat.  We saw some scary loopers on the stairway, but did not see the ghost that is reported to hang out there. Later, we were invited to St. John’s Marina for docktails with Kim Russo, Director of AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association). It was good to greet loopers we met from the past and some we’ve recently connected.

The Charleston College Sailing School is next to Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, the marina we stayed at.  Every day we saw small racers head out for training and then sail back in right past Sanctuary. A convenient marina to both the naval museum, the sailing school, and gift shop.

From our deck we watched cruise ships, container ships, local sailing yachts, and much more as they traveled through Charleston Harbor. Dolphins also loved to frolic inside and outside of the long exterior dock where we were tied.

 

Submarine USS Clamagore

 

Aircraft Carrier USS Yorktown

 

Destroyer USS Laffey

 

Patriots Point Vietnam Experience

 

Carriage Ride Through City

 

Charleston Harbor

 

Sanctuary in Charleston

 

Loopers meet at St Johns Marina near Charleston

 

 

Bridge at Charleston

 

Dramatic Coast Guard greeting and another lighthouse with a lot of steps

Fernandina Harbor Marina was hit hard by Hurricane Mathew last year.  They are still working to recover from that and have only recently partially opened. The docks and facilities still need a lot of work.   They had an open t-dock available for us to stay on allowing us to visit the town and area.   The town is full of shops and eateries housed in the old buildings that have been updated inside.  The historic look of the streets and store fronts remained preserved.  We rented a car there because it was time to take Karen (Teresa’s sister) to the airport in Jacksonville.  We took a ride over to the beach on the Atlantic and watched surfers trying to catch the best big wave.

After dropping Karen off in Jacksonville, we continued to travel north along the ICW.  Soon after leaving Fernandina, we crossed the line from Florida into Georgia.  It took a long time to get around Florida since we first entered Florida in November of last year.  As soon as we entered Georgia, we were greeted by a large Coast Guard Flotilla.  They were well equipped with guns on many of the boats. One came up next to us and told us to keep over to the starboard side of the channel hugging the red markers.  They told us they were doing a training exercise.

We stopped at Jekyll Island Marina, the smallest of the Golden Isles of Georgia.  Jekyll Island was a winter retreat for Millionaires’ Club 1888-1942.  The most powerful American financiers chose the Island where they could relax and play in undisturbed isolation. You’ll recognize famous people who stayed on the island including the Rockefellers, Macy, J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, Sears, and Vanderbilt—just to name a few. If you’d like to read more about this winter refuge, I’d highly recommend reading “Splendid Isolation, The Jekyll Island Millionaires’ Club 1888-1942,” by Pamela Bauer Mueller.

Today, the Jekyll Island Club Resort has a large hotel with beautiful grounds.  Reminds us a bit of a mini Grand Hotel area on Mackinac Island, Michigan. There is a community of restored cottages on the grounds of the resort open to tour.   On the other side of the island is Driftwood Beach.   This is a very unique and photo rich location.  Driftwood beach is on the north east side of the island so storms and waves batter the trees along that coast.   When the tide goes out, there is a large area with huge trees on the beach.  The weathered and worn limbs/roots of the trees creates an unusual scene. People set up their beach blankets, umbrellas, and coolers among the random scattering of weathered trees and roots. It’s rather comical to see hats and wet towels hanging on extended branches. We walked the beach a couple of times marveling at the scene and taking pictures.

Our next stop was an anchorage on Walburg Creek. We spent a quiet night anchored there traveling the next morning to Isle of Hope.  We will spend a couple days at Isle of Hope Marina and visit Savannah from there.   The first day we took an Uber ride to the downtown Savannah water front.   We toured the water front area and some of the shopping districts up away from the waterfront.   As we were walking along the shopping district, we were surprised to see Phil and Mary (boaters from our LYH home marina in Michigan).  There is a lot to see and do in Savannah, and we sampled a small portion.

We used the marina courtesy car the next day to tour Tybee Island Light House climbing 178 steps to the top for a wide open view of the area.  The light is still functional utilizing a first order Fresnel lens which projects out 18 miles into the ocean. The tour also includes the museum housed in Fort Screven’s Battery Garland across the street.

We planned to leave Isle of Hope this morning, since storms were predicted, we stayed for another day.  The storms were uneventful here yielding a lot of wind and heavy rain (at least so far.)

The next planned stop is Beaufort South Carolina.

 

 

Scenes from Fernandina

 

Sisters on Sanctuary

 

 

Saying good bye in Jacksonville

 

Coast Guard Flotila

 

 

Driftwood Beach

 

Greeting at Jekyll Island for Sanctuary

 

Sanctuary at Jekyll Island Marina

 

 

 

Shrimp Boat anchored in Walburg Creek

 

Sunset in Walburg Creek Anchorage

 

 

 

 

Scenes from Savannah

 

Tybee Island Light Station and Museum

 

 

Isle of Hope

 

 

Sanctuary Sunrise at Isle of Hope

 

Rockets and Really Old Stuff

From Vero Beach, we travelled to the Cocoa, FL area and anchored near town.   Cocoa has a lot of small touristy shops and restaurants.   We watched the NASA websites about a possible rocket launch and were excited to learn that one was scheduled for the evening we were in Cocoa. The area is called the space coast and Cocoa is about 10 miles from Cape Canaveral and the Space Center.  The time came near for the launch, however they experienced a problem so there was a delay of about an hour.  Once the problem was fixed, the countdown resumed.  Suddenly it looked like another sunset toward the NW from our anchorage as the rocket started to lift off.   Right before our eyes, we could clearly see it take off and fly over our heads. Oddly, a short time later, the sound arrived resembling a rumble of jets taking off.  If you are ever in the area when a launch is scheduled, you should try to watch the rocket take off, it is amazing.

From Cocoa, we stopped for one night at Port Orange at Adventure Yacht Harbor marina located in a residential area. There was not much to see in the immediate area, but they did have a good restaurant on site called “The Boondocks.” Mikey Likes It joined us for dinner. They’ve travelled with us a few days now.   Along the way, we saw a few more dolphins who chose to be our escorts along the ICW. We always enjoy their visits and never tire of their presence.

Our next stops were in the St. Augustine area.  We stayed two nights on a mooring in St. Augustine harbor and then moved to a dock at Rivers Edge Marina exploring the city from both locations.   There is a LOT to see and do in St Augustine.    This is also a location of a lot of Really OLD stuff:

  • Oldest City in the United States founded in 1565
  • Oldest wooden school house in USA
  • Oldest street in USA– Aviles Street
  • Oldest house
  • Oldest masonry fort in the continental USA, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
  • Two beautiful old churches which we toured and gathered more historical information
  • Flagler College—originally the fancy Ponce De Leon Hotel built between 1885 and 1887 by Henry M. Flagler (railroad magnate) who instantly became charmed by St. Augustine. The hotel, now turned active college, boasts Tiffany stained glass windows, interior decorated with imported marble, carved oak, and murals painted by famous artists. Back in its heyday, the hotel had its share of famous visitors including three presidents lodged there. “Presidents stayed and the wealthy played” here. This tour is highly recommended. If Teresa lived in St. Augustine, she claims she’d sign up for a class or two in one of the college buildings.
  • Many old neighborhoods beg to be explored with numerous shopping opportunities
  • Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum constructed over 130 years ago. We climbed the 219 stairs to the very top and stepped out on to the open air catwalk. The climb proved well worth the effort as we looked out over the harbor and saw Sanctuary peacefully moored in Matanzas Bay, south of the Bridge of Lions.

St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the prettiest on the trip with its bold black and white stripes crowned with a red top.  Inside the lighthouse keeper’s home, they have interactive displays for the young and young at heart.  There were a number of school kids on site experiencing the lighthouse for their field trip.  Their bright yellow shirts on the winding stairways made for an interesting contrast.

One of the best shopping stops was the Sailors Exchange—finally a guy store!   They have new and used boat parts of every vintage you might imagine.

We were delighted to welcome Teresa’s sister Karen in St. Augustine. She’ll be travelling and exploring with us for a few days. From St. Augustine, we plan to move up the coast. Karen plans to head home from Fernandina Beach.

Rocket Launch

 

Dolphin Escort

 

Scenes from Flagler College

 

Chocolate Factory Tour

 

St Augustine Churches

St Augustine Lighthouse

Spanish Fort at St Augustine

 

Around St Augustine

 

 

S and T and Karen at Rivers Edge Marina St Augustine

Steve, Teresa and Karen at Rivers Edge Marina in St Augustine

 

 

St Augustine Teresa

 

 

 

St Augustine Sunset

St Augustine Sunset

 

 

All The Lonely Pools

Leaving Ft Lauderdale on the way to Stuart, we passed many mansions and super yachts.  As we passed each mansion thinking it must be the biggest; soon another once appeared that was even bigger.  The varied architecture and designs are quite the show.  Each mansion and even the “small” homes have their own pool, many infinity pools, where the water flows over the edge.  Some pools featured large plastic blowup toys.  Once in a while you would see a caretaker cleaning the pool.  Mostly it was just lonely pools one after another with no one swimming in them.   We thought since the pools looked lonely maybe we should stop and pay them a visit, but that might not have worked out well. Instead, we chose to just pass by, dream, and take photos.

Some of the large yachts we saw are available for charter.  If you google the name of the yacht, often times a page comes up with the specifications and price for charter.

 

Mariner III

Mariner III

Here’s information about one of those—a beautiful classic yacht called the Mariner III

“Mariner III is an absolute classic 1920’s yacht that has been superbly maintained over the years by loving owners.

Mariner III was built in 1926 for Captain James Griffiths of Griffiths Steamship Company. This classic 122′ fantail motor yacht, was designed by Ted Geary. Traveling to China to select the lumber for her construction, Captain Griffiths chose 3″ teak planking for the hull and very strong wood, called yacal, for framing. Originally named “SueJa III,” Captain Griffiths used the yacht to travel up and down the West Coast

Her reputation for excellence is known throughout New York, New England, Florida and the Caribbean. She has enjoyed guests on board from Jacques Cousteau, the Rockefellers, Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Robert Deniro, Don Henley, Jimmy Buffett and Madonna, in addition to a long list of corporate giants from across the country. You might recognize her from magazine ads for Ralph Lauren and Maybelline, fashion and travel editorials in The New York Times Magazine and many layouts in Victoria’s Secret catalogs.”

 Lady Kathryn

 

Another one was the   LADY KATHRYN V  which can be chartered for $450,000 per week.

“Constructed under the supervision of Moran Yacht & Ship and launched in 2011 by the Lurssen Shipyard, the 200 Ft. (61m) LADY KATHRYN V features spacious accommodations for 12 guests in 6 ensuite staterooms as well as comfortable and elegant interior living spaces and ample outdoor dining and deck space.

Due to her impressive and spacious tender garage, LADY KATHRYN V has two sea kayaks, two seabobs, two jet skis, two stand up paddle boards, inflatable tubes, water skis, wakeboards, and two 23 foot tenders.  She boasts a full gym. There is a full dive setup complete with a compressor so you will always be ready to go diving.  There is even a golf mat and clubs, so you can practice your swing on your own personal driving range.”

  • Leo Vecellio – Yacht
  • Yacht Name: Lady Kathryn (Named after owners wife)
  • Yacht Length: 62 m (203 ft)
  • Guests: 12 in 6 cabins
  • Crew: 15 in 7 cabins
  • Yacht Value: US$ 60 million
  • Owners Name: Leo Vecellio
  • Leo Vecellio Net Worth: US$ 400 m

 

Mega Yachts Along The Way

Of Course, The Motors Must Match The Color Of The Boat

 

Mansions Along The Way

 

Even mansions in Florida get termites, and when they do the cure is to tent the structure.  Once completely tented, poison gas is pumped inside and left for 24 hours.   Then the structure is uncovered and ventilated.   The gas does not stick to anything or leave residue, so once completely ventilated it is safe to go back inside.

 

Even Mansions get Termites in FL

Even Mansions get Termites in FL, tenting to kill the termites

 

Even Mansions get Termites in FL

Even Mansions get Termites in FL, tenting to kill the termites

 

From Stuart we traveled to Vero Beach, which is much more “normal” with regular houses and boats.   The marina in Vero is more Old Florida style with a nice park next to it.   There is a free bus that will pick you up just in front of the docks to take you to town.  We took the bus and enjoyed a St. Patty’s dinner special of a Reuben-sauerkraut sandwich at Kelly’s Irish Pub.  While dining, we enjoyed bagpipes (well Teresa did anyway) and an elderly gentleman on the squeezebox singing favorites such as “My Wild Irish Rose” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” It is a short bike ride to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean.  We rode over there and waded in the waves looking for shells and sea glass.  Even though we’ve been experiencing cooler weather, the water felt great. I am starting to understand why it is nick named Velcro beach.  Once here it sticks, and you do not want to leave.

 

Light house

Light House at Jupiter Inlet by Hobe Sound

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Already

 

While staying in Fort Lauderdale, we found out they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the Saturday before the actual date.  They have vendors and booths, bands on the stage, and a parade.   We had to see the parade because we consider St. Patrick’s Day an important holiday since our favorite daughter was born on that day.  Happy Birthday early. Amanda!!

The parade featured many bands, fire trucks, police vehicles, Star Wars, and even an elephant. They also had lots of bag pipes which is great if you like that sort of thing …

We toured the Stranahan house while in Ft Lauderdale.  Mr. Stranahan and his wife were instrumental in starting the settlement in this area.  The tour of the house proved interesting and informative. Teresa became so interested in the history of the mercantile turned homestead for Frank and Ivy Stranahan she’s now reading a book called Mystic Sweet Communion, by Jane Kirkpatrick. The book is a historical fiction based on the Stranahan’s life in the community along with their unusual association with the Seminole Indians in the area. Fascinating story based on facts with behind the scenes tales of how Ivy become a teacher, married a much older man (Frank) and ended up enlightening Indian children as well.

From Ft. Lauderdale we traveled past West Palm Beach seeing more and more mega mansions and yachts.  We anchored to ride out the thunderstorms, heavy constant winds, and rain pelting on the decks overnight. Next stop:  Stuart, Florida for a dock at Loggerhead marina. Miss Bailey came with us and we share the same dock.

EXCITEMENT on the DOCKS last night. We are truly thankful for God’s hand of protection last evening … A fugitive decided he’d avoid the marina locked gate, so he jumped into the water, swam to our neighbor’s boat (which was quite a distance from where he jumped in), climbed up a precarious swim platform, broke in their back door, and proceeded to warm himself inside their boat. Which, by the way, we share the same dock!

Upon returning, our friends found a shirtless “Goldilocks” in their bed. 911 called after they immediately evacuated their vessel. Soon our docks became a wall of armed police and a canine. Culprit taken away in handcuffs with only one expensive red shoe in tow.

Thank you, God, for our safety and the safety of our neighbors! We realize how the story could have had a much more tragic ending.

 

 

 

fire ladder flag

Flag over parade route flying from fire truck ladders

 

fire ladder flag

Flag over parade route flying from fire truck ladders

 

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ft Lauderdale

 

Stranahan House

 

 

 

S and T on Sanctuary

S and T on Sanctuary

 

Sanctuary in Ft Lauderdale on the New River

Sanctuary in Ft Lauderdale on the New River

 

 

 

From Quiet Anchorages to the Heart of the City – Mangroves to Concrete

We left Marathon after completing the repair and waiting out a week of high winds.  We traveled along the ICW to a very quiet and calm anchorage near Key Largo in Tarpon Bay.  Our next stop was Key Biscayne Bite and an anchorage near Miami in Biscayne Bay.   This anchorage was not as quiet with airplanes going overhead, many passing boats, and lots of continuous activity.   This wasn’t even the weekend yet. I believe the motto down here is: Every day is Saturday! With binoculars, we could spy on the Miami Race Week being held across the bay. It was fun to watch all the different classes/groups of racers.

The journey from Biscayne Bay took us right past the Miami city skyline, which we enjoyed the night before while anchored in the bay.   This route passed Miami, Miami Beach Hollywood, and many more beach towns.  We passed the Miami ship terminal and saw many cruise ships in port.  In the Keys, we saw nice boats, but in Miami the boats just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger still.  Many of their “dinghies” are big enough to take a long trip on.  Many bridges along the ICW had enough clearance for Sanctuary to pass under, but many required us to wait for the next opening.   To contact the bridge, you must call the bridge operator on channel 9 on the VHF ship’s radio.   We quickly learned you must use the exact name of the bridge when hailing them or they will not answer you.  Once you make contact with the bridge tender, they let you know when the next opening can be completed.  After Biscayne Bay, the ICW is narrow with large houses and tall condo towers on both sides.   Since the passageway is narrow, there is not much concern about waves from the wind, however passing boat wakes are another story.

As we neared Ft. Lauderdale, the amount of traffic continued to increase.  We passed more cruise ships and mega yachts.   Our planned destination was Cooley’s Marina up the New River in Ft. Lauderdale.    Traveling up the New River is a lesson in patience and an experience in MAJOR congestion, or insanity whichever you prefer. Congestion every inch and turn of the river: tour boats, fishing boats, all kinds of boats very big and small are everywhere!  Navigating through New River calls to mind one word: INSANITY!!! Later we were informed we’d arrived the first day of the busiest time of year—first day of Spring Break (Fort Lauderdale is the mecca for spring break,  Saint Patrick’s Day festivities and Parade).

We needed to plan the arrival for slack tide to dock at Cooley’s (amidst old historic Ft. Lauderdale). Since the tide is rising or falling, the current in the river can be significant making docking a challenge. Once the tide reaches its high or low level, the current flow slows and is called slack tide.  Quite the learning curve for us Northerners. Thankfully, our timing was good and docking was a non-event.  Rates are extremely low for this municipal marina (ask for Boat US discount which took ours down to $1.16/foot). We are almost directly under a drawbridge which operates 24-7 with few restrictions during rush hours. Whoosh-Clunk-Rattle as traffic flow comes and goes. Swoosh-Rock-Roll as boats pass behind our stern. Some going MUCH faster than the no wake zone suggests.

We had a nice dinner with the crews from two other looper boats traveling with us at this time (Miss Bailey – Myron and Linda, Mikey Likes It – Mike and Joell).  Once docked, we saw large mega yachts being towed up the river time and time again.  They do this due to the very narrow, congested water way. We plan to stay a few days and then continue traveling north along the coast.

 

 

7 mile bridge

Leaving Marathon going under 7 mile bridge. Just before the bridge was the southern most point of the Great Loop for Sanctuary.

 

7 mile bridge

Leaving Marathon 7 mile bridge.

 

7 mile bridge

Leaving Marathon going under 7 mile bridge.

 

Quiet anchorage

Quiet anchorage in Key Largo – Tarpon Bay

 

Cutting thru mangroves

Traveling through Mangroves following Miss Bailey

 

Cutting thru mangroves

Traveling through Mangroves

 

 

Sunset Biscayne Bay

Sunset Biscayne Bay

 

Miami at night

Miami skyline at night

 

Miami Race Week across the bay

 

Buildings and scenes along the ICW from Miami to Ft Lauderdale

 

Big yachts and even bigger yachts

 

Port Everglades

 

Ft. Lauderdale the New River – CONGESTION……