Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Day Tripping to the Boat Yard!

Well, it's time for Summer Breeze to get hauled out of the water and have the bottom painted. Yep, one of those continuing maintenance jobs that has to be done, is costly and not fun. But a requirement! It has been absolutely beautiful here and now we have several days of good, hard and steady rain. And just in time for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival too! Dejavu my artist friends?  

But the rain was off and on and just a steady rain, not t-storms, so this was our window to take her to the boat yard. Since it was to be a short trip out to N Edisto River and Bohicket Creek and into Adam's Creek where Marine Propulsion has their yard, we decided to invite friends for the day trip and stop at Bohicket for lunch, then drop the boat off (where we had already shuttled the car to the day before).  James and Beverly joined us for the day and we brought breakfast to have on our way since we scheduled to leave at 7 am. 

Sunrise on the Toogoodoo Creek

Well, like all well laid plans... not all goes so well at first. As we got ready to unplug from shore power and the engines are warming up, Bruce notices that the starboard engine is not spitting out water like it's supposed to. So after cleaning out the sea strainer and checking absolutely everything he could, it worked better but still not great. Then a light comes on that we have never seen before with that engine. Well, that was enough warning for us! We knew we could get it to the boat yard on 1 engine but that creek is not a wide one and we would be entering as the tide was going out so we didn't think we could maneuver a turn around and docking with 1 engine so our vote was to not go. But then he talked to our personal captain and boat mechanic advisor, Bryan and he convinced us that it was ok. So after an hour delay, the tide and current was still good for a smooth departure so we are back on. And it was again a pretty good departure. We still don't have it down 100% but we are close! We did pop (another) fender ball off the dock. Pop! There goes another! But we are off with plenty of deep water to cross the sand bar! Departure was around 9 AM with an audience from the Nipper dock!
Beverly and I set up breakfast on the flybridge.

James enjoying the bit of sun that came out in between rains

Beverly learning how to be a captain
We travel in a light drizzly rain down the creek, Wadmalaw Sound and the N Edisto River.  The rain was to hold off until the afternoon but no, it was raining. Just a light steady rain but we are dry in the enclosed flybridge and enjoying the view. We looked at the weather radar again and the afternoon rain had changed to red and yellow bad weather cells to come over us by 1:00.  So we decided to abort lunch at Bohicket Marina, take the boat over to the boat yard and drive to lunch. Good move! The rain did stop enough for us to get the dinghy back on top. 

Well, I'm happy to report that we got into the creek and boat yard before the storm hit and we were ready with lines and fenders for a port side docking on the face dock, like we had planned with them the day before.  Easy peasy.... BUT the large sailboat was still there.... they hadn't moved it yet...  So, they meet us over at a slip instead. And we have never docked her into a slip before. That was actually something we have been thinking that someday (hopefully never) we would have to attempt. So not only did we have to turn her around in a tight creek but also back her into a slip. We had not planned on putting Beverly and James to work but I moved lines and fenders while Bruce sweated out on the fly bridge and gave them each a job of holding a fender and a line to throw, which they did very well.  And I want to say, that our new head phones work really great. 

Like my rope around the neck? They keep slipping off my head!
Bruce and I can talk in a normal low tone voice to each other and give instructions or info, without yelling... mostly. Thanks to our friends, Roger and Kathy Tatum for insisting we get them! They work great! Bruce did a fantastic job of backing Summer Breeze into the slip! The men on dock were helpful and got us set as soon as we threw the lines. One of them told me what I a great job I did talking the captain through the docking. Bruce can't see the back of the boat or swim platform from the where he stands so I have to tell him where and how much to go. The men were very complimentary of my handling that. I was proud! And our crew did a fantastic job of moving the fender where needed and throwing a line. Though the hard work was all on the Captain! He did a great job! Arrival was about 11:30 AM.

In the slip at the boat yard.
So Summer Breeze is there for a while. She'll have her bottom painted among a couple of other things to look at. We may not get her back before we leave on a trip in a couple of weeks so it may not be until July. It's amazing how empty our dock at home looks. We miss her already! And now that the floating dock is free again, perhaps we can use the Grady for a bit before she sells. 

Anyone interested in a 225 Freedom Grady White?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Summer Breeze cruising in our back yard!

May 10, 2017, Wednesday. 

In the Lowcountry, there are plenty of beautiful spots to explore and for us to continue to learn how to handle Summer Breeze. So we decided to head out for a couple of days.  We left the dock at 8:30 am right at high and slack tide with a successful and easy launch. 
We've been out of town and I've had a sinus infection and finally I'm on some good drugs so we decided I could recuperate on Summer Breeze for a couple of days. This is our 2nd voyage since bringing her home. The dolphins even joined us and swam at our bow on our way out. Unfortunately, I didn't get a perfect pic. All you can see here is their splash but it was pretty awesome!

2 dolphins swimming along our bow as we head out the creek

1st mate Bella

We decided to go the S Edisto River and explore up the river past the cut where we hadn't been before. It took us about 2 hours to get there and after cruising up and down a bit, we decided on an anchorage. The big annoying horse flies had been out so we were also looking for a bit of a breeze to help with that. After chilling out there for a bit and having lunch, we realized that we weren't as comfortable there as the water (we were up river a bit) had tons of cloudy silt and sand going by. Probably not good for the engines if we ran the generator later. So we picked up anchor and moved down river where the clouds of silt weren't. We anchored again at Raccoon Island anchorage spot (Active Captain) where there were 2 other trawlers already anchored up for the night. We had noticed a steady parade of sailboats and motor yachts cruising north as we headed south. It was a beautiful evening with a bright orange sunset followed by a perfect full moon. 

After a little happy hour and a nice shrimp and pasta dinner, we settled in for the night with the port holes and doorway all open as there was a gentle summer breeze blowing. Well at midnight, the current changed direction, the wind stopped and a swarm of mosquitoes flew through the boat! So up starts the genny and the AC and Bruce spent the next half hour killing mosquitoes! Then we had a quiet night! 

Thursday morning, we hung around the anchorage but after another weather check, we saw that the rain forecast for Saturday morning was even stronger so we decided to move closer to the Toogoodoo for the night so we could come in at high tide around noon on Friday. We pulled anchor at about 11:00 am and had some trouble with the snubber getting tangled up in the chain and of course, the swivel shackle was twisted again. Captain vowed we wouldn't leave the dock again without getting that fixed!  The wind had also picked up quite a bit. 

We had a smooth ride though at low tide, we encountered shallow water in the ICW, not only in Watts Cut but also on the north side of the 174 bridge. The lowest we had was about 2' beneath our keel.  We entered Steamboat Creek and found a suitable anchorage for the night at about 2:45. We had a great afternoon and evening enjoying some warm gentle breezes as the winds slowed down a bit.  

Friday morning, we took the dinghy down and went for a short spin. We had been needing to get it off and get the motor in for a checkup. We can't get it off at our dock because the crane would set it on the floating dock and not in the water! We then weighed anchor at 11am in order to get back home with an manageable tide. I'm happy to report that we had a successful and 95% perfect docking arriving home at about 12:45. The tide was just starting to run out at a faster pace and we struggled a little bit getting the stern of the boat close enough but we managed just fine! Yeah!!!πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ 

And I am getting ready for an art fair at the Tall Ships in Charleston so I was able to get more work done on one of my last paintings for the fair. Though I need a name for this one! It's a boat I took a photo of at Bowen's Island. Almost done!

Bella wants to know if she can "go" on her grass now...???

A little bit about voyage #1:
I didn't log our 1st voyage as it was quite traumatic for us so I think I can talk about it now. About 3 weeks of having her home and realizing that we had 3 weeks of travel coming up, we really wanted to take her out. The weather was good but it was windy and gusty. So against any good Captain's judgement, we decided to go anyway. The tide was rushing out, the wind was blowing and our dock departure was not pretty. Ok, that's all I'm going to say about it except that we do have a little bit of repair (paint and swim platform trim) to take care of - all can easily be fixed. We spent the night mid-way in our creek as we we realized it was not ideal for us to be out. And we couldn't get the GPS to work on the nav system. Turned out it was a simple switch we had not realized had been turned off. Details! We had a great evening despite all that, and the next day we returned to the dock with a perfect docking. Yeah!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Makes me feel fine.....

It's official! 
Summer Breeze 

Taking the old name off. Mar Azul is a great name but we've had
Summer Breeze
picked out before we had this boat!

And yes, we celebrated with an official denaming and renaming ceremony
along with champagne. Even Bella had a little cup. 
We even added a green branch with a camellia bloom to "help guide us safely home".

Other updates.....
We have a new mattress. I'm sorry that I didn't get photos of getting the old one out because that was hysterical! Almost got my chance to use a chain saw! He and James had to fold it in half and tie it up after the mattress got the best of them. We had a good laugh. Getting the new one in was a bit easier. 
I ordered one from Wayfair, thanks to my neighbor Anne's recommendation! So we got it on the platform, took the plastic off, got it placed and it just opened up! Perfect! 

 New arm swing arm lamp in the main salon/galley wall. 
Bruce has been doing stuff in the engine room as well but I'm not sure what!
We are slowly updating and getting her ready for cruising! 
One day soon!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 13, March 9 and we are home!

Final travel day, hopefully if we make the high tide coming into Toogoodoo Creek late this afternoon.  We weighed anchor at 7:10 AM, pretty much missing the sunrise and "trawled" over to the Downtown Marina for our fuel and got there before it opened, which was the plan, so we could "practice" our docking. And so we got to practice.  There wasn't anyone at the dock to help which would've been nice but ok since we did want to practice on our own. We will have to be able to do that at home. 


Fuel dock at Beaufort Downtown Marina
And... not only have the gnats given us a SC welcome but the yellow pollen was all over the boat this morning and we could see swirls of it in the water! So we have that plus all the fallen oak leaves to look forward to when we get home. Yeah!

We traveled the ICW at low tide from Beaufort and found lots of shallow areas with less than 2' feet below our hull so we took it slow in those areas and happy to say that we never hit bottom. We entered the Toogoodoo Creek at 2:30, an hour and half after low tide so we hovered. 
White Point! Almost to the Toogoodoo Creek!
We practiced docking and backing up and playing with the current. All good practice. We really weren't sure when we could safely make the crossing over the sand bar at the creek fork so we opted to be safe and sure to not run aground (we made it this far so we couldn't let it happen just a few homes away!). So we did it at about 4:45 (high tide at 7 PM)  and we actually had 4' at the lowest! So we could've gone a bit earlier but we just weren't sure! So, now we know more of what our parameters will be. We were celebrating not running aground and then we see the real celebration! David Kennedy was out on his dock with a water hose giving us a "fire hose welcome" and Genny, Hugh and Doug were out on their dock as well! Now that was fun to see! Thanks guys! 
David with a firehose welcome!

Genny, Hugh and Doug
Genny Smoaks photo of us going by
We did have several offers of help to meet us at the dock for our first time, but we knew that we had to be able to do this ourselves or ... what? If we can't, well then sell the boat! Ha! Really appreciate the offers y'all but guess what? Captain Bruce did a fabulous job and it took only 1 try (unlike this morning at the fuel dock) and Captain Bryan had me ready with all the lines, fenders, etc and really it was a piece of cake! It will be even easier from now on after we have our fixed lines all set and we can grab with a boat hook instead of jumping off. Bryan did the "jumping off" as he is the only one on board that has knees that can still do that. And thanks to Carl Beck at AC Electric for getting our upgraded shore power done in time for the homecoming! The check is in the mail!

Thanks y'all for following along with us and letting us share our story here. I'll keep this blog going after we take some trips etc.. but there won't be any postings for a while. We have some maintenance and redecorating to do that will make her ours. And of course, the official renaming of the boat. 

We had some short days and some long days in our travels but the goal was to move her to her new home. We look forward to many trips, long and short in the future. But we are all glad to be home safe and sound and I may have said this before, thanks to Captain Bryan, our official Captain and ex Coastie. We could not have done the trip and learned so much about a boat like this without him. As many of you know us, we are not new to boating but we are new to a boat like this!  Bryan has jump started our learning process!  Oh and not only were the gnats and pollen and oak leaves here to welcome us but the azaleas are in full bloom! Absolutely beautiful!

OMG! We are looking... "salty"!
My yard of azaleas!
Miles today: 54

Total from St Petersburg marina to our home:  745  plus or minus a few here and there. 

As for my artwork, I did only 4, actually not completed any but am close on all 4. I had ambitions!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 12, March 8 Welcome to S Carolina!

We weighed anchor at about 6:30 AM. We were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise and light seas. 

Doboy Inlet sunrise
We decided to go off shore at Doboy Inlet.  The channel out was a long one and a bit choppy going against the waves, which is normal. Bella lost her sea legs and tossed her breakfast just as we exited channel. She does that when we go offshore at Edisto in the Grady also. 

As soon as we turned northward, the seas became much calmer. Rosie was fine but deemed it to be a "stay up on the fly bridge day"! We traveled north along Blackbeard Island and the Georgia barrier islands, Savannah, Hilton Head etc in about 25 to 40 feet of water and in about 2 to 4 foot seas with some pretty good swells here. πŸ€’  But overall, it was much calmer than it has been for the last week. 

There were whale sightings a few days ago here, so we are on the lookout. No whale sightings for us but I did see a large black tip shark! It surfaced 3 times and I got a good look at it twice. Then at the end of the Port Royal entrance channel, which is 10 miles long, we noticed an interesting ship that had stopped there. A bit later, we heard the coast guard talking to them and found out that they are a Great White shark  research vessel. A bit later, they had caught a Tiger shark and called the Coasties back to see if they wanted to come see, which they did. So, what did I learn here? LOTS and LOTS of sharks in this area!

Once we got into Port Royal Sound, both Bella and Rosie felt MUCH better🀒🀒🀒. 
We plan on fueling in Beaufort in the morning to satisfy the "moving the boat out of Florida"  issue with sales tax and hope to be home on the Toogoodoo tomorrow night! 
Beaufort River
Marine Basic Training Base, Parris Island... (we checked the reviews on Google... 3 Month All Inclusive Vacation!)
We anchored just across from the Port Royal Landing Marina and yes, we are in the Lowcountry! The gnats are here!  But we were welcomed back with a beautiful Beaufort sunset!

 Because we were able to go offshore today, we cut an extra day off the trip. We had hoped to do more offshore days but the weather didn't cooperate for that. We at least did get one each on the Atlantic side and the Gulf side.

A record set for miles and hours
Miles traveled today: 92
Total so far: 687.50

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day 11, March 7

We weighed anchor at 6:40 AM with a cloudy morning. Not too cold but not quite a summer breeze. I handled the anchor with Bruce at the helm. Apparently I still have lots to learn as Master Captain Bryan says I almost ripped the windlass off the deck. The chain keeps moving after you take your finger or foot off the buttons! I'm used to man-handling-pulling up the anchor! Have to admit, this is easier but I still have to learn "the touch".

We were very close to St Mary's Inlet where the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base is. There was definitely a patrol boat at the entrance.  

Cumberland Island Lighthouse
What is this? Close to St Mary's
Seas offshore are better today but not quite good enough for Co-Captain Granny. 🀒 it's been great so far, let's not ruin it now! Unfortunately, we were on Jekyl River at LOW tide. Our depth finder read 1.5 as a "last read" and we felt like we were plowing through sludge. Probably were! Saw several boats in the mud or aground here and there. (Note to self or other mariners that cruise through the GA ICW... make sure it is HIGH TIDE or go offshore!) 

Extremely narrow and shallow ICW

AND to make things more interesting, Coast Guard was boarding boats at Brunswick River just after Jekyl River and yes, we were boarded. That was interesting. Thankfully, Bruce and Bryan (an ex Coastie) were prepared for the trip with documentation, new fire extinguishers, flares etc... and they found no violations. They had never heard of our potty sanitation system so they said ok.  

It was smooth sailing after that for a couple of hours so I pulled the painting gear out again. Still working on these 2 plus another one that is not close enough to photograph yet....

 We anchored st about 3:50 on Back River just off Doboy Sound between Commodore Island and Queens Island with a view of Sapelo island lighthouse. We plan to go offshore tomorrow if the winds lay a bit which will cut some of the winding GA miles off our trip.

Sunset (almost missed it!) off of Doboy Sound looking at Queens Island
Traveled today: 62 miles

Total so far: 595