Dec 16, 2007

A Trip Home To Michigan

We left warm and sunny Charleston. Descending down through the clouds into Detroit we were welcomed back to a grey, cloudy, and freezing landscape. Back in Michigan!

We met our teary eyed mothers at the airport. It was weird coming home. It took us 3 months to get to Charleston, and just 3 hours to get home. Everything is pretty much the same, which is nice because we feel at home!

Its been nice to live without tanks for a bit. The first night at home, my Mom turned on the water, full blast, and walked away while it warmed up. I jumped to the sink and turned it off.

"What are you doing?" my mom asked?

I was about to say "We're gonna run out of water if you let it run like that!" then I remembered "hey, there's no tank! we've got all the water we want!"

Dec 4, 2007

Third times the charm

So we tried to stop in Wilmington, North Carolina. No luck there. No jobs, No boat slips. We then went for John Island located in Charleston. Not bad, but 10 miles out of town, and not a very nice marina.

We are now at Ashley Marina, right in downtown Charleston. This place is amazing. We're talking prime location, free shuttle bus, free laundry, WiFi, free pump outs, free electric, and perhaps the nicest marina showers I have ever seen. When I say nice showers, I mean magazine worthy, millionaires home style showers. Ceramic tile, large glass doors, drenching shower heads. Showers on a cruising sailboat are a luxury, really nice showers are like hooking up with a super model.

So here we are. We have signed a 6 month contract, which will put us here until May. Maybe longer, because if the super model wanted you to stay.... wouldn't you?

Not to do more Southern bashing... but just some fun facts:
South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union before the Civil War. South Carolina was the last state in the Union to abolish Segregation. All that aside South Carolina was 68 degrees today while my hometown is under a blanket of snow!

Wheres the good in good bye?


Our good friends of what we have taken to calling the “International Cruising Club” (Ray, Irene, Sue, Peter, Roman and Ohla) have caught up with us for the last time. They stopped by to say good bye before they continued south. We had a big ol' jamboree with guitars, singing, and of course beer.

We're going to miss them a lot, but chances are we will see Sue and Peter on their way back North. Ray and Irene have invited us to crew on their boat when they cross the Atlantic. So, although we will probably never all sail together again, all is not lost.

Things I will remember and miss:

***Meeting Ray in the middle of the night, in the middle of a thunderstorm, our boats both run aground after the mooring balls had drug.
Ray: "hi my names Ray... tickle ur ass with a feather?"
Me: "what?"
Ray: "particularly nassty weather"

***My anchor dragging down towards peter's boat during "tropical storm 15" Peter says "looks like I’m anchored in your spot."

*** backpacks shouldered, exploring streets of unfamiliar towns.

*** "Pre-Dinner Drinks," which turns into "All night Drinks," which turns into "maybe we should leave at 9:00 am instead of 7:00 am .... oh lets just stay another day"

***Riding in a car with Roman who is saying "it's a known fact Americans can't drive in snow." As he turns past "wrong way" signs posted on "one way" streets, veers off the shoulder of the road, and in and out of the on coming traffic lane... all this leading me to believe "Canadians can't drive in the sun."

*** being called "the kids" by a bunch of “California Raisins.”

*** Late night comedy hour on the VHF Radio:
Me: c-drifters c-drifters, are you monitering this Channel?"
Ray: "no"
Me. "Thanks for the food, Irene's tatey hash was good"
Ray: "did you just say Irene's tasty ass was good? Steady on, tiger!"

*** Ray (after the cat falls in the water) "looks like you've got a wet pussy on your hands"

*** Ray on the VHF: "Okie Dokie"

*** Peter Burns on the VHF: "Carnation Carnation" (deviated from our name "cambryation")

*** Peter Burns on cooking "you take a stick of butter"



I could go on and on about the good times and the inside jokes that have accumulated over the last couple hundred miles. So I suppose I will just stop now. It is to say the least, that I have had a very good time, and will miss our new friends very much. But goodbyes are apart of sailing. LeeAnn and Irene cried, and so did a nice lady we had just met named Cindy.

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; 
they make the latitudes and longitudes.”
.......



Dec 1, 2007

Arriving in Charleston, SC. Our home for the next year.

We arrived in Charleston, South Carolina at St. James Yacht Harbor. The marina was recently bought by a company in Maryland. I asked the first people I met how they liked the marina.  The primary complaint from one of the men was that the new marina owners made him take down the confederate flag from his boat.

The two men went on to complain about how it is unAmerican that the federal government made the South Carolina state capitol building take the confederate flag down. I see their point, America is supposed to be a free country... He said it was "heritage." I would have liked to say "heritage belongs in a museum, not on a capitol building" but I'm not that witty, and I didn't want to make a bad impression. I did however point out to him that the confederate flag is unAmerican based on the fact that is was used by the south upon their succession from the United States.

The men went on to explain that many black people took up arms to defend the plantations they worked on ... I'm thinking to myself "is it possible you are so ignorant?"

During my short time in the South so far, I've heard many people refer to "Yankees." It's strange, and a bit awkward. I keep asking myself "the civil war is over right?" South Carolina was the last state to abolish segregation in 1968. It is also apart of the bible belt.

LeeAnn has just finished reading a few books about racism, and I'm finishing up a book called "The God Delusion." To say the least I think we are going to have an eye opening winter. We're not in Michigan anymore.



Sushi checking out some shrimp. We paid 4 bucks for this pound of shrimp. We got well over a pound a few days later for free.

shrimp boats.
Fog creeping out from the swampy trees. This is alligator country.

Traveling down the ICW on a really calm day.

Nov 24, 2007

Just a quick post. We have to leave early tomorrow. We made it to Southport today. it's a really nice place. very pretty. Huge trees. lots of homes built in the 1870's. They've recorded a few movies here, including that one called Cape Fear with Robert Deniro.



LeeAnn in a big tree.

Looking over the Southport Harbor. Palm tree to the left!! HAHA jack frost!

Greedy pelicans waiting for a hand out.

Nov 21, 2007

Movin' Out!!

We thought we were going to Wilmington. I guess not.

We looked and looked. Called every marina within 20 miles. They either had no space, were really expensive, or said "we don't like yer kind 'round here!” And by that I mean that said they don’t allow live aboards.

Another problem with Wilmington is that it is really spread out making it really difficult to get around. We would have to buy a car. And last but not least... the main reason we were going to Wilmington was so LeeAnn could work at Petco because she already had a job lined up. They have no work for her though, so we have no reason to stay.

We are currently at Pleasure Island. They said there was a slip available and I was excited because it would be awesome to say “I lived on Pleasure Island."

When we pulled into the marina, Matt, our contact walked up and said "they're might be a little problem.."

He brought me over to a stern faced man who was standing at a large pile of squirming shrimp, ripping their heads off one by one, then tossing them into the water to be gobbled up by a swarm a fish.

"The committee is voting on whether we will allow a live aboard here. We already have two "no's" it only takes three" He said.

The shrimps head made a sucking noise as he decapitated it with his bare thumb.
"ok" I said, "How did you vote?” to which he replied "I can't tell you”

"Plop," goes another shrimp's head in the water. I looked around. It was low tide. The shore was reedy, there was a muddy landscape of a million dead oysters. The sun was baking a few jelly fish that had been trapped on the oyster beach by the receding tide, fish skeletons were littered about, and a there was growing pile of severed shrimp heads.

"No worries Fellas,” I said, “we were thinking of heading to Charleston anyway."

He said he would call the other committee members anyway. I asked him where is accent was from...
"New Jersey" He said.

Sonofabitch, Jersey strikes again!


If you click on the picture you can see it better, The tide is already up a foot, but you can still see all the land is covered by large dead oysters.


If you click on the picture you can see it better, The tide is already up a foot, but you can still see all the land is covered by large dead oysters.
Calling marinas with no luck.

Lazy cat never lifts a finger.

Nov 15, 2007

I never tell a lie!


Where the hell are we? We easily lose track and I am having a total blank.... Spooners Creek! I knew it would come to me. They have palm trees here! They aren't natural, but the fact that they can grow them outside is a good sign!

From left to right -- Yours Truly, Ohla, Peter, Ray, Sue, Irene, and LeeAnn
This place is pretty cool. It is a little hide away for rich people. I'm sure it pisses them off that we went and anchored our boat right in the middle of their little lagoon. They pay millions... we pay nothing, and on top of it we bogart their unprotected WiFi signals! Ha!

Actually there is a Best Buy, Walmart, Lowes, and a lot of other chain stores within very short walking distance. Yesterday we walked to Best Buy, where I bought a WiFi antenna which now enables me to steal WiFi signals from the next rich lagoon over!!

There was an Arby's next to the Best Buy, and I was ecstatic with joy, I was so excited for a big Arby's Roast beef melt! but it was a new Arby's that hadn't opened yet. I was crushed. "sorry guys, I've had enough, I'm going home."

otherwise not much is up. We are VERY close to Willmington. About 80 miles. two days. We had to wait out today on account of some gale force winds.

Nov 13, 2007

Dismal Swamp, Alligator River, on to Cape Fear!

Sorry it's been so long!! We haven't even had cell phone service.

... now I have to try to remember what's happened since we left deltaville, I don't recall where we were last night.
We left Deltaville during a small craft advisory. the winds were not so bad though, 10 to 20, gusting to 25. the waves were around 5 feet. We were running with the wind so it wasn't bad... LeeAnn's aunt and Uncle call it a "Nantucket Sleigh Ride." because you ride down the front of the waves. We left all our friends in deltaville.

We arrived in Norfolk and anchored in a large bay. We anchored in the north side, because the south side was a restricted navy base. Helicopters were taking off and landing constantly. Norfolk is the Largest Naval base in the world... or so the cruising guide says. They build navy ships there, along with ocean freighters. We sailed south past big navy ships, with big guns. Men stood on deck next to the guns staring us down.... I waved, they didn't wave back. Bastards!
We saw three aircraft carriers, a submarine, and a lot of other navy ships I don't know the names of.

You have to look close but you can see a row of helicopters.



We passed by the Disimal Swamp canal. We wanted to take it but it was closed do to low water. The swamp was dug out by the slaves. The canal was damaged beyond use during the Civil War. After it was rebuilt, Edgar Allen Poe spent a lot of time on it, writing many poems including "the Raven." The canal also inspired the play "showboat."

That night we stopped in Great Bridge. Just 20 miles from where we started. There was a big cruise ship that had run aground on the ICW, and the coast guarde wouldn't let anyone pass south of Great Bridge. We rafted up to a 60 foot schooner and ate snacks with the crew. We stayed in Great Bridge that night and spent too much on groceries.


The next day we traveled some distance down the ICW. We anchored right off the side of the canal. I put our crab trap down with some old chicken scraps, in about 5 minutes I pulled up 3 blue crabs. I accidentally dropped one when I was trying to dodge his pinchers. So we ate two.



We then sailed across Abemarle Sound. This again was a crazy ride. Strong winds, and big waves. The Sound is really shallow. the waves are steep, and steely grey, it reminded me of being on lake Michigan. We flew across the Sound and made it all the way up the Alligator River. We traveled 50 miles in 7 hours... 50 should take around 9 hours for us. we averaged 7 knots... two whole knots above our average cruising speed. Our friends Roman and Olha caught up with us on the Alligator River. They traveled a whopping 70 miles to meet up with us that night.

We next headed to Pungo River. There we got our first showers since deltaville! It was a slow day... We had to traverse the Alligator Canal.. a long long, perfectly straight canal. The East side of the canal had burnt in a fire... the west side wasn't. it was an interesting contrast. We took a golf cart to the grocery store and spent too much money again... but it all looks so good! This was the first place where I felt like we were really in the "south." The main building at this marina was a big old white place. inside the walls felt like they were radiating heat that they had stored up from the summer.
Alligator Canal Looking East
Alligator canal looking West

Alligator Canal Looking South


After Pungo we headed to Oriental where we are now! it is a very friendly place, so we decided to stay an extra day. I'm sitting in a coffee shop that seems like it should be on a T.V. show. Every time someone walks in everyone knows the persons name and cracks inside jokes with them. There is a lot of laughing and although everyone is involved in private conversations, there is an overall conversation going on that everyone is involved in.

Our next big stop is Wilmington on the Cape Fear River. We are sad our cruising will be ending for a while... but we are excited to get to our destination and to make some money!


Being passed by a huge boat in Norfolk.
Chatting on the handheld with Navy boats in the back ground.


OK. I've spent too much time on the computer. It's LeeAnn's turn! Take care. Thanks f

Nov 6, 2007

Deltavile

... I have no pictures at the moment because the internet connection isn't good enough to load them... I'll get some up later!

We were supposed to leave for Norfolk, Virginia today. The winds are high and there is a small craft advisory, so we decided to stay.

Last night was crazy for us. We got to take showers. luxury. Then we ate dinner with our friends Roman and Olha on their boat Moya Mreeya. Their boat was docked in Jackson Creek. From their boat we had to walk 100 feet across a narrow strip of land to where our dinghy was docked on Fishing Bay.

To walk from Jackson Creek to Fishing Bay takes less than 5 minutes, to take a boat from Jackson Creek to Fishing Bay takes a little over an hour. As we walked I said to LeeAnn, "I bet the others on Fishing bay are still partying." We hailed them on our handheld VHF... sure enough "Hey Chad it's just us drunk people! Row over here we have something to show you!"

... LeeAnn and I were planning on an early night... we hadn't planned on dinner on Moya Mreeya, our hair was still wet from the showers... But we couldn't resist the fun. We rowed over to Sea Drifters to see what was up. They had about 40 Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs in a big basket. Peter was steaming them, and Ray was picking all the meat and putting it in a big bowl.

LeeAnn and I jumped in. Drinking and picking meat from the crabs. It was a great time. We stayed up until midnight, then made plans to head for Norfolk early the next morning.

video

An hour later at 1:00 AM the wind had picked up from the south. Our anchorage didn't provide protection from that wind, the waves picked up quick. Ray had to re-anchor, he was dragging in our direction. After that we all dropped second anchors. Ray and Peter stayed up until 3 AM to keep an eye on things. No one got much sleep in the waves.


Other Happenings:
We are almost done with the Chesapeake Bay. We are in Virginia, our 5th state. We had a court date in New Jersey for some unpaid tickets... we are now fugitives in New Jersey.

LeeAnn has moved up to drinking Vodka instead of those girly fu fu drinks. Sailing has obviously had a positive effect on her!

Our depth sounder is on the fritz. It cuts out all the time, for long periods of time. Imagine driving a car with half the windshield blocked. it's like that. But what the hell, If Christopher Columbus can find America with out a depth sounder, then I can find North Carolina with out one!

Nov 5, 2007


Navy stealth boat. Couldn't hear this guy until he was right on top of us.
We anchored near a navy test area. Right after I put the camera away a navy boat pulled up to us and asked if we had taken any pictures. "no" i said, "we don't have any cameras on board."
this boat could really move.




Not much time.
We are in Virginia. A place called Deltaville. Tomorrow we will hit norfolk.

Here are some pictures:

Oct 28, 2007

Brrrr!!! it's cold!

Seems all I can do these days is complain about the weather! If it's not Sunny and 75 degrees... I'M NOT HAPPY!!!

Just kidding. it is cold though. a chilly 60 degrees. Lowest high temp we have had so far. at least the sun is shining!

We have some parts being shipped in on Monday, then we are heading out of here!

Itinerary:
Head down the Chesapeake -- 3 days
Head down the Inter-Coastal Waterway -- 8 days..
Miles traveled: around 600
Miles to go: around 400

almost done. I'm excited to get moving. And I'm excited to get to our destination. There is a lot of work I want to get done on the boat. Leaks that needs fixing and hardware that needs replacing.
Here's Sushi Aunt Joni -- the little black dot in the big white sail.

LeeAnn on the boat "C-Drifters" last night. it was cold.
Jump!!

It's really hard to take a picture of a black cat on a sunny day. she just turns out as a black little blob.... but she's soooo cuuuttte!!

Oct 26, 2007

RAIN RAIN RAIN!!!

Ok. First day of rain... ok
second day of rain.... whatever...
third day of rain.... it's getting to me.

that's right. I've been on this boat here since 2:00 PM Tuesday afternoon. It has now been 74 hours and 41 minutes. I had a little jaunt outside yesterday, I rowed (in the rain) over to a friends boat to pick up some movies. Took around 15 minutes.

Today I went outside and set up a rain trap (in the rain). We ran out of pressure water yesterday. Don't fret. our pressurized water and drinking water come from two different places. I should have set up a rain trap last night. we would have got a lot more rain.

I used a sail cover. With ropes and weights I've made a big funnel that brings the water into our tank. It's doing a pretty good job. we are supposed to get some heavy rain this afternoon and tonight, so maybe we will have a full tank tomorrow morning! We could just go to a marina and fill up... but i'm lazy, and I don't want to motor in the rain. plus collecting rain water is way more cool!

The rain is supposed to stop tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait. I've done:
22 and a half sudoku puzzles,
watched 3 movies a day,
baked pizza,
cupcakes,
cookies,
read 2 full books,
drank all the beer,
painted a self portrait,
stared at a mirror attempting to read my own mind,
and
spent 300 dollars on ebay,


74 hours, two people and a cat have made this boat a lot smaller!

all rain all day makes CHAD a crazy person!
all rain all day makes CHAD a crazy person!
all rain all day makes CHAD a crazy person!
all rain all day makes CHAD a crazy person!

I've been listening to Stan Rogers. It's very nice. you should listen to him. I'm going to go cut my toe nails or something.

Oct 24, 2007

Singing in the rain!

It's still raining out. We have the boat lit up in candles, we are watching movies and eating CupCakes.

My mother has informed me that LeeAnn's Mother, Aunt Donna, and Aunt Ann would like to have some writing from LeeAnn's prospective.... I asked her, and this is pretty much what she said:

"Hey guys! I'm having a great time out here! Chad is the greatest and I'm SOO lucky to be with a guy like him! He is just so handsome, charming, romantic, smart, funny, adventurous, humble, and so so much more."

Yep. That pretty much sums up what she had to say. 


Sail naked... It brings color to your cheeks!

So today is going to be boring. It's raining. No going to town. LeeAnn is still asleep. I got up early to put our tarp up so we can run the generator and leave hatches and windows open. Then I worked on my Spanish. Hablar, nadar, bailar, llagar, regressar, ar ar ar. I'm working on my AR verbs. What's the first letter of the pirate alphabet? RRRRR!!!

Hasta luego!

Oct 23, 2007

Don't be fooled. That tub boat is huge. The barge is just so big it makes the tug look small! The waves these guys put up are huge.

The Bronx Zoo.
Broken down motor. Somewhere on the Hudson.
Atlantic City
Baking Cupcakes
Baking Cookies

Yada yada

Met back up with Ray and Irene, and some other Canadian friends Peter and Sue. Yesterday we toured around Annapolis. It was really cool. We walked down streets that George Washington walked down. We saw America's first capitol building (the first one was in Annapolis). There is a lot of neat history in Annapolis.

We are going to be stuck here for a while. A power boat wake knocked our stove off the counter on our way to a new anchorage, breaking two knobs off the stove. So we had to order new ones. It will take three days. It's not too big of a deal though. It's dangerous to head south of Norfolk, Virginia before November 1st because of hurricanes. So if we left Annapolis and made it to Norfolk before November 1st we would be waiting around anyway.

The picture below is of LeeAnn and Irene being read to by Kunta Kinte. Remember the book Roots? Kunta Kinte's slave ship arrived in Annapolis.
LeeAnn looking at the Kunta Kinte Plaques.
From Left to right: Sue, Irene, Ray, Peter.

Life is good.