OK!!!! No more foolin around. We gotta get places. When you go 7-10 knots (that’s almost the same as mph), you don’t get very far in a day. Some people could run next to our boat for 50 miles (Mike Knox) and arrive at the same time. Think of it this way. A days travel for us, which is usually around 40-70 miles with an average of 50 miles a day, in a car you could go the whole distance in an hour. It’s like driving from Santa Clarita to Oxnard, which was 51 miles, but it would take 4-5 hours to get there. Ya!! It’s the slow boat to China. Thankfully we are not going on this boat to China, but you get the picture.
We have areas that we have to go idle with no wake that have homes and docks. We have bridges to get under. Some bridges we have to wait for openings. We are navigating very shallow waters and have to watch the whole time. No eyes off the water AT ALL!!! There are so many obstacles, hazards, buoys, and a zillion crab pot floats. Cut the corner of the channel marker too close and you will run over crab pots. There are lots of pleasure boats with GO-FAST motors that throw us around in their wakes. We wake people also but that’s just the way it goes. We cannot ever get the boat over 9-10 knots in the inter coastal because things happen too fast. It’s supposed to be a cruise anyway. Sit back, radio on, chillin in my chair. I WISH!!! Although there are moments of that. I am the First Admiral-Stewardess-Line and Fender controller-Dockhand Coordinator-Radio Controller. When we pull into a marina, even if we only traveled a few hours, we are ready to relax.
The last 3 days have been travel days. We want to get up North soon. Andy really wants to get to the Cheasepeake and spend a bunch of time. There is so much to explore and we won’t even make a dent. It’s a fine line between getting there too early and it being cold, and waiting too long and needing to make our way to NY. The Erie Canal opens June 1st. (It’s already May 5th) We are trying not to be rushed, but we are. I am not sure why. I would be moving so much slower, but I am “along for the ride and I am not the Captain.” It’s all part of this game. My only disappointment this far in this trip has been a lack of girls. I have made a few connections, but we are all moving at our own paces. Some are way ahead and some way behind. You also don’t want to go on someone else’s trip and schedule. BUT, I would LOVE a buddy boat. My loneliness is palpable. Thank God I have a phone and once in awhile I get a good long talk with someone.
The scenery has been incredible along the way. I had just finished reading “Where the Crawdads Sing.” As we traveled thru the marshlands in Georgia I expected to see her on her boat coming around the bend. It was so vivid and the bird life was just incredible. We have seen so many Osprey flying around, catching fish in front of us and returning to nests high up in the trees to feed the babies. We have seen so many bald eagles, and all kinds of water birds all over the shorelines. It is the Nature Chanel right in front of us. This is one of the best things about this trip, and we are trying to savor each encounter. Plus the dolphins. We see them all the time. They are so different here because we see 1 or 2 and they aren’t really playful. They appear and dive down and then disappear. Trust me, I LOOK and always say, “come back and play.” We had one play in our wake only once. (I posted that video). Any dolphin appearance is welcome and appreciated.
This has been our daily route for the last week:
May 2nd. Myrtle Beach At Barefoot Marina
This was a stop over. Nice bike ride to dinner. Can you get a DUI on a bike? I almost got hit by a car with my dumb ass riding without a helmet. 🚑 (It messes up my hair!)
May 3rd Southport at Southport Marina.
This was another old town, with old stuff, and old houses. I did enjoy the town and again, we rode bikes all over and I didn’t die again! Thank you Jesus! We enjoyed the marina with fellow loopers. The marina hosted a nightly lecture by a guy who has done the ICW several times in a vintage sailboat. He was a retired Navy meteorologist. He talked about the weather and also areas of concern on the ICW from Southport to Norfolk Virginia. He gave us all a packet of color glossys to have on the helm to follow along. Honestly, it was a bit anxiety ridden with all the information. OY VEY!! Information is power but I think I prefer ignorance.
Here is a bunch of homes that date back to the 1800. Some said even earlier. Coming from California, we don’t have a lot of history. It all started on these East Coast Shores. It is very cool and I can only imagine what these people went thru.
May 4th and 5th Harbor Village Marina
This was basically a housing development with a marina. It was secure and clean.
The marina was surrounded by beautiful large custom homes in the million dollar range. We did not plan on a 2 day stop here but we had a short wind/rain event. I find these “stuck” days are exactly what I need. I get a chance to organize (I am that crazy person who loves to tidy up and clean). I put on a pot of split pea soup and cornbread, I chatted on the phone with some friends and relaxed. It was a wonderful respite day.
On another note, We have been traveling with the cutest little Ranger Tug Boat. It’s bright red and makes you smile every time you see it. I started chatting with Ramie and Tim, the owners. Turns out they are best selling authors and have quite the story. I invited them to share my soup and hear their story. It started with a simple question. “How did your boat get its name, Miss Norma?” That lead to, “Its a long story.” We spent a few hours listening to their account of this story and I was blown away. I immediately bought the book on my iPad and devoured it as we travelled the next day. Look it up and read this very heartfelt story about a dying woman’s last days and the beautiful way she choose to live those last days. Kudos to Tim and Ramie, who graciously gave of themselves to make this happen. I am forever changed by it and I know its not possible for everyone to get so lucky. It does give you pause though, as you read it, because it makes you realize that people have options at the end of their life and how they want It to be. If more people chose to live without fear, think of the possibilities. There is a movie in the works.
This little green tree frog asttached himself to Miss Norma and stayed all day. We had a beautiful spider web that went from the dock to our back swim step. The morning we left I felt so bad to disturb it. I said a little prayer and asked him to forgive me for disrupting his house. We pulled away and I was tending to the lines and fenders. A VERY LARGE Spider crawled across my hand as I was wrapping my lines. I screamed and shook my hand and the spider went somewhere. I have no idea where. I ran inside and closed the back cockpit door. I’m sorry, but I HATE spiders.
May 6th Beaufort NC City docks
We pulled into ANOTHER historic town. They are all starting to look the same. Boardwalks with shops and restaurants. The Marina was central and awesome. We were only staying a night. We really needed a West Marina stop. The Marina had loaner cars. Instead of walking the town we took the “car” and went to West Marine, about 8 miles away. This errand was made important after Tim pointed out that our “fender balls where not big enough!” We bought some balls, but they are too small for the locks. Instead of chillin, we took this clunker to West Marine and bought “bigger balls!” I know we will thank Tim later.
May7th. Next up was River Dunes Marina NC
Our new Friends Ramie and Tim suggested this marina. They had been there before and described a very resort-ish beautiful place. I’m in!!! We pulled into the marina and noticed beautiful homes that looked like they had built in the period style with real gas lanterns and big porches. We checked in and they offered us a dinner reservation. I guess the restaurant is only open occasionally. Of course I said yes but didn’t ask anything about the menu, thinking it was a restaurant. Andy put on a pair of pants (he really loves me!) and we showed up to find they offered 2 things. A ribeye steak or soft shell crabs. Andy does not eat red meat and he is not a fan of this strange way to eat a crab, shell and all. He was a good sport and picked at it and we shared a nice bottle of Pinot. The clubhouse was gorgeous and just exactly the way I would decorate with chippy wood and vintage nautical accessories. There was a nice pool and hot tub. Andy went for a paddle and a bike ride, then we went to see the pool and take a dip. (My feet dipped). This place would be a fantastic place to have a large looper group because of the wonderful clubhouse to play games or have drinks and chat. We are headed out tomorrow morning to Belhaven. This may be a stop for a few days. Time to sit still and enjoy this town and catch our breath, grocery shop and meet up with loopers. We are starting to gather at each marina and Belhaven is one of the places people stay and coordinate routes for the Dismal Swamp. The Dismal Swamp is a very historic narrow cut that is notoriously shallow and can be problematic. We are going! If we don’t we will be sorry in the further. We will wait for the perfect day and go for it!
Belhaven NC May 8th
We are starting to meet cool people. We all seem to pull into the same marina about midday. It is a total trip. I was totally looking forward to this place and wanted to stay awhile. Well guess what, NOT!!!!!! We had the afternoon and we explored on our bikes. We had one of the BEST meal of our lives at a local place called the Silver Spoon. It was spectacular!! Ramie and Tim were waiting to go here to celebrate Ramies birthday back in March. I have to say, It was worth the wait. Unbelievable!
We planned on a rest stop here but instead we are trudging on the next morning. WHY?? BUGS!!!!! OMG!!!!! We left at the crack of dawn AFTER we hosed off as many as we could. We woke up to this horror and I was so focused on getting them off the boat and us on our way, that I didn’t get a single picture. I didn’t freak, I breathed deep, put on full leggings and long sleeves to avoid as many bites as possible before going outside to get the lines and get THE FUCK OUT!! We thankfully had smooth glassy water today and we saw fellow loopers on NEBO and we talked. “Who’s going where, what’s your plan?” This for me is EXACTLY what I signed up for. I am experiencing life every single day. The good, the spectacular, the bugs, the water, the new friends, the new places and mostly I feel so alive. Andy and I are having the time of our lives. We have moments of total discomfort but these moments pass. The next emotion is usually bliss. The daily changes, and the struggles are really awesome. Mostly, I am thankful for all of you who are engaged and taking this journey with us. I encourage anyone to chuck it all and GO!!! Man it’s been fun. We have traveled around 800 miles of our 6000. So much more to come.
Today as we traveled to the next spot THIS happened. No regard to our “pleasure craft comfort” as they sped by and thrashed us around. It is all about the unexpected and it all surreal!