Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from Florida!

We left St. Simons Island, GA yesterday morning. Our first task was to take on fuel. We were told of a place about an hour away that sold diesel fuel for $1.75. Most places are selling it for $2.50 so we were real happy to take advantage of the great price. We had not put any fuel in the boat since May of 2007 so it was time.

We anchored in another beautiful, quiet anchorage on the Brickhill River in south Georgia, just behind Cumberland Island with it’s wild horses and armodillos. As we turned into the river we saw another DeFever (the make of our boat). We had met the owners at the last DeFever rendezvous in 2007. We couldn’t get them on the radio because they had taken their dingy ashore to be with friends but we did catch up with them later by phone. It is fun to run into folks we know on their boats.

This morning we left the anchorage and crossed the GA/FL line. We wanted to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day in a marina, just more festive.

We are in Fernandina Beach, a historic town on Amelia Island, which is an interesting place whose claim to fame is their history. It is the only town in the US that has been under the rule of 8 different countries. We ate lunch at what was the first Customs House in the US. They also claim that the first saloon in the US was established here.

Tonight we are going out for dinner as tomorrow everything will be closed. Rick wants the ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner of hamburgers on the grill! The temps are warm, in the mid-70’s so we will enjoy them out on the aft deck.

Our next stop has not been determined yet. We’ll spend some time tomorrow coming up with a plan.

Well, after celebrating Christmas and just relaxing!!!

As we are writing this, we are listening to Christmas music on our iPod and admiring the beautiful tree that Jayne made for us with shells from NC beaches, thank you Jayne. To all our family and friends, we will miss seeing you this time but we both wish everyone a peaceful and happy holiday. And, of course, the big one…good health!!

We started this entry on Christmas Eve and are completing it on Christmas Day. We spent the day walking around the deserted town, doing laundry and relaxing, just as we had hoped. Here are a few shots from around town.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Still Florida bound!

Just a quick update from Rickshaw. We stayed in a beautiful, quiet anchorage on our way to St. Simons, GA. We were all by ourselves and enjoyed the sound of pines and palmettos whispering in the wind. On top of that we had a beautiful sunset. We hope you aren’t too tired of our sunset pictures!!!

We left mid-morning the next day to take advantage of the rising tides. We aren’t used to leaving so late but there were at least four areas that were 4-5 feet at low tide which would cause us anxiety. So, we took it slow and didn’t run into any problems. That was, of course, until the storm hit. I think the temperature fell about 30 degrees in just minutes. We were going through a large sound which meant it was very open and that the water and wind were both much higher. It got very, very dark and it was difficult to see because of the strength of the rain. Luckily, it only lasted about 15 minutes which sounds like a short amount of time but when you are in it, it seemed like a very long time. But, if we didn’t have that kind of fun, what kind of stories would we have to tell??

We got into the marina at St. Simon’s island around 4:30 and got ready to have dinner with Rick’s grade school buddy and his wife, Gayle and Dee. They picked us up and took us to a great Italian restaurant. Then they brought us to their beautiful new home where we snitched some Christmas goodies and took a few pictures. Gayle also bought us a new coffee maker as ours died the day before yesterday. Thank you Gayle!!

Tomorrow we leave for an anchorage and then on to Fernandina Beach, which is just south of the GA/FL boarder. We will be in Florida, yea! It is supposed to be close to 80 degrees on Christmas. That is pretty nice to think about.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Leaving Beaufort, SC (finally!)

We had a wonderful day today and exciting, too! We left Beaufort, SC where we had been at a marina for a week. We’ve never stayed at a marina for that long, but we needed some time to get the boat and ourselves ‘together’. We got a lot of chores done and felt very good about leaving. These guys are called Ruddy Turnstones because they turn up stones with their beaks to find bugs, I guess. They are all on one leg to keep warm we figure. Anyway, they were our dock buddies in Beaufort. The boats below were in the Beaufort marina and showed their holiday lights!

The weather was beautiful as we left the dock at 9:00. It has been balmy and, for the past few days, the temperatures have been in the low 70’s. One certainly can’t complain about that! In SC and GA you have to carefully plan your route using the tide tables. There are numerous cuts that we have to go through. A cut is a man-made connection between 2 bodies of water. Unfortunately, both SC and GA have not been given the federal money they need in order to keep the cuts dredged. The draft of our boat is about 5 feet and some of these cuts don’t even have that amount of depth at low tide. So, we need to time our voyage to take advantage of the high tides in this area to get through without going aground, not a good thing.

The Captain and me with our morning coffee.

We had been doing fine and were slowly following a sailboat through one of the cuts. All of a sudden, one of the engines died. I guess we are getting used to the ‘things break on a boat’ attitude because neither of us spazed out! I took over the helm and Rick went below to see what the problem might be. He determined that the fuel filter was clogged and changed it and the engine was up and running in no time. Thank goodness for his diesel school training. (Ed. Rick: I had been watching the vacuum guages on the engines for some time, but they weren't indicating a problem until, of course, the port engine coughed and stopped. One learns something every day aboard a boat ...!)

Later we were going through another cut which would take us into the Savannah River which is a big shipping channel. We had noticed a Coast Guard helicopter going overhead for about 20 minutes but didn’t think anything of it. As we were getting to the head of the cut I happened to look up and saw a huge ship over the line of trees. It was making its way up the river. We knew we had to give way to the "big fella." As we turned the bend a small Coast Guard boat, with a machine gun mounted on it’s bow, came toward us very fast and hailed us on the radio. Nothing to make your heart pump fast when that happens! They told us to throttle back and stay where we were until the ship passed. No problem!! We were a bit surprised that the Coast Guard was helping to bring in the ship via sea and air but we guess that is Homeland Security at work.

We are now in an anchorage. It is a beautiful afternoon and we are the only boat here. The next two days will be a bit dicey as the tides aren’t really favorable for passage at the times we want to go so we may have to wait some of it out. Oh well, it is cruising and there is no need to hurry. Below, a dramatic sky as we cruised today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hanging out in Beaufort, SC

We have been remiss in updating our blog. Part of it is just getting used to the boating routine again. There are so many things to do that we haven’t left enough down time to blog. We have also been working on our boating plans. We are currently in Beaufort, SC. Here they pronounced it BEW-fort vs. the way we are used to calling our port city of the same spelling in NC, which is pronounced BOW-fort, the correct way, I might add!! These South Carolinians just do their own thing.

We have had so much fun traveling with our buddy boat. We love traveling with Vicki and Norm but for the short term, their travel plans have put them on a different pace than we need to be. So, we have decided to part company for a few weeks. Since we don’t have any particular commitments, we will take our time and head south at a more leisurely pace.

Since our last blog we have continued to travel down the Intercoastal Waterway from NC to SC. We have anchored out each night. It has been great. We passed this Coast Guard Bouy Tender Boat on our way. It may be hard to see, but they have 3 or 5 bouys that they are on their way to deliver onto the ICW.

This was a small anchorage in a creek off the ICW in SC. It was quiet and beautiful but very cold. Staying warm in a anchorage is a bit tricky. We don't want to run our generators all night so we run them enough to heat up the boat then turn them off and duck under 5 or so blankets on the bed.

We spent two nights anchored just south of Charleston, SC waiting out the weather. We were in a fairly protected anchorage but the winds were strong and we had gusts of 40 mph. The first night out our anchor dragged and we were awfully close to the docks on the side of the creek. We didn’t get much sleep that night as we kept getting up to check our proximity to the dock (well, one of us did anyway!). The storm provided a beautiful rainbow, actually a double rainbow, the next day. You can't see the entire rainbow in the picture but it was a treat to see.

You know you are in South Carolina when begin to see palm trees and all the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. Beaufort is such a lovely little town. Lots of history and beauty. The four of us took a long walk in the historic district. There are lots of small restaurants and shops.

The town has put a beautiful park near the marina. Norm, Vicki, Rick and I took advantage of the swings looking over the water. What a cool place. We'll probably be here a couple more days just hanging out and doing chores.

Monday, December 08, 2008


(But we realize that we might not get much sympathy from many of you today given the US weather report)

We are currently south of Myrtle Beach, SC. We spent two nights at anchor at Wrightsville, NC. We don’t run our generator at night, which is what provides heat, so we run it until things are warmed up and then turn it off before we go to bed. We have 4 blankets on the bed and that works great until you turn your head on the pillow in the middle of the night and you hit the cold side! Wakes you up pretty quickly.

Last night we stayed at a marina in southern NC because Rick’s son Matt was coming home from being in Atlanta for 3 months. We wanted to see him before we headed south. Matt picked us up and we had a great seafood dinner in Calabash, NC, just down the road from the marina. Calabash is famous starting the NC fried food business. So, we had a great visit and lots of fried food.

Here are a few pictures of our trip down the Intercoastal Waterway.

We anchored in a beautiful spot off of the Waccamaw river. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70's. Hard to believe after the last two days.

I don't know about you...but this sure looks like a outhouse!

Little River, NC

Capt. Rick with his warm cruising clothes!

Friday, December 05, 2008


We left our dock in Morehead City, NC yesterday morning, 12/4/08. Our plan is to head south to Florida for a few months, joining our boating rendezvous near Ft. Meyers at the end of February and then heading to the Bahamas sometime in mid-March. Our original plan was to leave in late January but our friends, Vicki and Norm who have a boat similar to ours, were heading south and asked us to buddy boat with them. Since we have been spending lots of time in doctor offices, we decided 'why not?'. So, we got things in order and our friends Jim and Nell will be watching the house for us and Nora will be forwarding our mail to us (THANKS AGAIN, GUYS).

We are really looking forward to having company on the trip. Buddy boating is a great way to travel since there is safety in numbers, we can help each other when (not if, it is a boat after all) we have any problems, and they are just great people to be with.

We had a beautiful first day of traveling, but cool...long johns, multiple sweatshirts and stocking caps. We anchored at a small place called Mile Hammock inside the Camp Lejeune marine base. Along the way we were treated to a show by two Osprey aircraft ... the next generation of craft which can fly both like a plane and a helicopter. They were practicing touch-and-go's and buzzed over us. We also saw several marine go-fast gun boats practicing with lots of marines and fire power aboard.

Today, 12/5/08, was a tad warmer but overcast. We ran down to Wrightsville Beach and are now anchored again.

Pictures will be forthcoming, so we hope you enjoy the blog. See you back in NC in June!