Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Playing tourists in San Augustine

We left Barefoot Landing around 7h30 with a little less than 300 miles to make it to Saint Augustine. Up to Georgetown, uneventful motoring through the Golf heaven that is Myrtle Beach. Going out through the Georgetown, I though I could turn south before the last marker and hit a submersible jetty that goes parallel to the channel all the way to the end. No damage, but a big scare and a reminder that no matter your experience, you are never totally protected against stupid mistakes. Sobering and humbling reminder.
Then we went on with our two nights crossing to Saint Augustine, a first for Karen. She did very well, just got a little quizzy at the end with the constant rolling caused by following seas. Nothing serious.
We got to Saint Augustine in time for the 8h30 opening of the Bridge of Lions, which allowed us a full day of playing tourists, including a horse drawn carriage tour, a Sangria in a tavern which uses local wine for the preparation and a nice pasta dinner in an Italian Trattoria recently opened.
I had rented a car late afternoon for one day so that we could do the provisioning today. We then visited the fort Castillo de San Marcos, something that I had never done although I have visited Saint Augustine several times.
Tonight will be quiet dinner on the boat, with a Halibut Chowder prepared by Karen. I intend to leave mid morning tomorrow to get to Cape Canaveral on the outside and arrive there early morning on Thursday. There is some strong wind forecast for Saturday and Sunday and I will adjust my plans accordingly. But I will get to Fort Lauderdale on October 31 late afternoon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stumbling into a front

Nothing unusual. As we are making our way south, a weather system (low plus a front) are making their way up north and the front is supposed to go through the Southport area on Wednesday. So, I decided to take a day off and spend the day in Southport. This allowed us to clean Papy Jovial outside as we are still carrying some of the dust collected in Portsmouth boat yard. The front went through during the night Tuesday to Wednesday, with lots of rain and very fresh winds. However, on Thursday the weather was a lot milder than I anticipated. But no regrets. Karen and I enjoyed a good dinner at the Cape Fear restaurant, we both enjoyed being safely in the dryness of the cabin as the wind and the rain pelted the boat. And we had time to work on the boat on Wednesday.
Most people know about Southport, but let me say that the downtown area is very very nice, with most houses dating back to the civil war era, but with new homes being built in the same style, which is unfortunately seldom the case here. On the waterway, between Morehead City and Carolina Beach, it would be difficult to name a winner on the ugliest house contest as there are too many challengers.
Tomorrow friday, it is still supposed to be windy and from the SW, but I am expecting to make Barefoot Landing, leave next morning late to exit the Waterway in Georgetown and head directly for Saint Augustine, arriving there sometimes on the Sunday the 23rd. This will be for Karen her first experience of being at sea overnight.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Although Belhaven does not have a lot to offer (three eating places, one Food Lion and two marinas), I really enjoyed spending a day and a half there. On Friday, Karen and I had a great country lunch at the one place that only opens for breakfast and lunch. We strolled a little bit around the few blocks of the downtown Belhaven and retired to the boat for dinner (juicy steak and green beans) and a quiet night. Saturday morning, Tom and Barbara arrived loaded with stuff (snacks, cookies, french litterature about Granville) , driving all the way from Wilmington to spend the day with us. We had lunch aboard Papy Jovial, then Tom drove us to Bath and Washington as I was curious to see those two places that I had never visited but that I intend to be part of my itinerary when sailing back up north. I liked both places very much, for different reasons. In Bath, there is not much in terms of shops or restaurant, but wonderful houses, some dating back three hundred years. Washington is a bigger places, with restaurants and shops and a city dock where you can stay one week for free.
We then drove back to Belhaven and had dinner at the other eating place, this time a full size restaurant with good seafood, after a short visit at Food Lion for wine and other stuff.
Tom and Barbara left us on Sunday morning and we cast off at 7:00 a.m., headed for Morehead City. Again, clear skies and nice weather although again with the wind in our face. We arrived in Morehead City to find the anchorage full and made the wrong decision to tie up at Port Side marina. Never do that with a SouthWesterly wind. We tossed around all night and very happy to leave early. However, we had on Sunday night an excellent dinner at the Ruddy Duck, next to the infamous Sanitary.
Monday was very much of the same, clear skies, stiff winds at times from the SW, and two bridges to deal with before coming into Harbour Village marina, my preferred stop when I can't sail from Morehead City to Wrightsville Beach on the outside.
The forecast for the weather ahead of us does not feel very good. We may have to spend a couple of days in Southport, and then go out and head directly for Saint Augustine.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heading South

Finally, Papy Jovial is moving again. This time, for a short trip in the neighborhood (Fort Lauderdale). Extracting ourselves from Norfolk was like pulling teeth. At the infamous Gilmerton bridge, the railroad bridge got stuck in the close position for almost 90 minutes. Then we missed the Great bridge bridge by 4 minutes. We tied up at the Atlantic Yacht basin for an early departure the next day. Which we did at 5:45 a.m. in the fog and in pitch darkness but we were able to make the Centerville Parkway bridge before it got restricted at 6:30 (we crossed at 6:15) and were able to make the 7:00 a.m. opening of the North Landing bridge. I then pushed hard and despite an increasingly strong headwind, we managed to reached Deep Point (mile marker 102) right at sunset. Next day, still with headwind up to 28 knots, we went to Belhaven marina where we arrived in time to get lunch there.
We are going to spend Saturday there and welcome my dear friends Tom and Barbara who will drive all the way from Wilmington to meet me.
Then, the weather looks like headwind all the way to Charleston and I will probably have to stay inside. The deadline is October 31 at Fort Lauderdale and we should be able to make it. (We is me and Karen).