Friday, December 15, 2017

12/13-12/15 To Vero and into Lake Worth

12/13 Wednesday  It's getting warmer.  It is still chilly at night but we were still able to run from the fly bridge during the day.  There were still plenty of dolphin to see as we cruised to Vero Beach.  Vero is a lovely stop.  We pulled into the Vero City Marina.  The best thing about Vero is my son-in-law, Stephen's mom lives there.  Andi is a lovely person.  After picking up her grandson, Ryan, from school, she came to the marina and took me to Publix.  Andi and Ryan helped me lug the groceries to the boat too.  Andi treated us to dinner at the Citrus Grille.  Dinner was very tasty and well plated.  Andi told us about her family that had lived on Chincoteague Island in Virginia.  Andi had loved the Misty of Chincoteague book, too.  She had also been able to visit during a pony penning.  Andi remembered the movie too.  Of course, we talked about Catherine and Stephen and how they have given us three wonderful grandkids.  After dinner, Andi drove us back to the marina.  We promised to stop in Vero when we head north again.

12/14 Thursday  It is warmer and sunnier.  As we cruised along, we not only saw dolphins, but also manatees.  Getting pictures of dolphin is hard but trying to get pictures of manatees is impossible.  You can see concentric circles where the manatees break the water to breathe. Manatees do not really let their heads protrude, just their nostrils.  We did see a research vessel taking dolphin photos with long lenses.

Although more of Florida is built up along the waterway, there are still miles and miles where the marshes and mangroves are undisturbed.

Finally, we arrived in Lake Worth.  We pulled into Old Port Cove Marina.  This will be where the Hydrophilic stays until after our travels for Christmas.  We will then cross to the Bahamas.  Our Hydrophilic has never looked so small.  Here is the Nicole Evelyn on the other side of the same pier we are on.  It is an 87 foot Hatteras owned by man in NJ who owns a recycling company.  It takes a crew of 7 and has room for 10 passengers on board.  You can rent it for a week during the winter for $950,000.  That does not include expenses!

This is a very nice marina with a restaurant on site, a nice gym, and all the other amenities.

12/15  It was a busy day.  John washed the boat.  I went to the gym and did a workout from Assertive Fitness.  We saw the contrail of the SpaceX launch to the Space Station even this far away from the Space Center. 

There was another tow filled with sunken vessels that have been pulled from the waters.
I was fortunate to get a hair appointment at a Goldwell salon at 1 p.m.   It was in the high 70's as I walked there in shorts.  It is so nice out!!  The flowers were blooming.

The palm trees swayed gently in the breeze and a flock of ibises were feeding. 
On the way home, I stopped at the Italian market for Panettone and at West Marine.  I got the lay of the land so we can get other items done in the coming days and when we get back.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12/12 Lots of Dolphins and No Launch

12/12 Tuesday  It was another bright and sunny day as we headed south to Cocoa Village. Dolphins were everywhere.  They took turns frolicking in our wake.  I wonder if I will ever get to the point that dolphins do not fill me with awe.  Check out these pictures.

Along this section of the ICW, we saw lots of damage from Hurricane Irma to the docks along the Indian River.  Almost all of them had some damage.  This barge is still picking up sunken sailboats.

The ICW takes a turn through the Haulover Canal.  It is a narrow canal and very scenic.

It would have been a perfect day to view the SpaceX launch but they rescheduled to later in the week.  They call this area, the Space Coast.  This was our view of the Kennedy Space Center.  You can tell that we would have had front row boat if the launch had gone off.

My nails were a mess after working on the alternator yesterday.  After we pulled into Cocoa Village Marina, I called around and found a nail salon within a short walk.  I now have festive nails for Christmas. 
Cocoa Village is all decorated for Christmas.  They have all sorts of cute stores and restaurants.  I did a wine tasting at The Wine Lady and bought two bottles.  At the Ossorio, I bought cinnamon croissants for breakfast. 

Tomorrow, we head to Vero Beach.  My son-in-law Stephen's mom, Andi, lives there.  We will get together for dinner.  It will be so good to see her.

Monday, December 11, 2017

12/11 Another Sunny Day

12/11 Monday  We started out just as the sun was rising.  As we started out we were headed south east and the sun was right in our eyes and shining off the water too.  Thankfully, it rose in the sky and we started running more directly south.  Just like yesterday,  the temperature on the fly bridge rose to the high 70's and we took to the fly bridge for a fabulous cruising day.

Dolphins checked on us periodically.  We passed the Ormond Beach Bridge.  All the pilings for this bridge are decorated with dolphin and manatee.  One of the best parts of our travels is finding art hidden in plain sight.

The iconic lighthouse at the Ponce de Leon Inlet shone brightly today as we passed.

Tonight, we are docked at New Smyrna Beach.  There is an island nearby that is covered by birds.  They look like Christmas ornaments on the bushes.
I didn't get any good pictures but about 8 dolphins were playing in the waters just outside the marina.  They were making sounds like Flipper did and slapping their tails.  I was amazed.

As we cruised today, we could hear the fan belt squealing so after we tied up, it was time to tighten the belt.  It is hard to get to in the engine room and the fan belt had left some dirt.  After we got the fan belt tightened, we took advantage of the nice shower rooms here.

Tomorrow, we go to Cocoa Beach.  We will be heading south but looking to the southeast.  NASA is sending up a supply rocket tomorrow and we hope to see the launch from our boat.  When the last space shuttle went up, we met Christine at the Kennedy Space Center and were guests of one of the astronauts for that launch.  What was the most interesting then, was that you could see the launch first and then heard and felt the sound.  I look forward to that feeling tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

12/10 The Sun

12/10 Sunday.  Finally, the sun came out!  It was still cold though.  We pulled away from the dock early to take advantage of the rising tide. We ran the generator to warm the salon.  As the sun rose in the sky, even the salon warmed up.  Eventually, we checked the fly bridge and  it was so nice and warm up there.  It was in the high seventies.  We moved to run from up there.  We even opened one of the windows to cool it down.

The cruising was easy.  We passed St. Augustine.  It is one of my favorite cities.  In December of last year, when we stopped there, we enjoyed all the Christmas activities that we going on.  This time, I just got a picture of the St. Augustine Light House and the St Augustine Fort before the Bridge of Lions opened for us to pass under.

There is so much to see along the waterways.  This B and B is over the water had a huge shark sticking out over the water.

We stopped for the night at Palm Coast Marina.  There is a set of shops and restaurants called the European Village about a 10 minute walk from the marina.  As the sun set, the evening got chilly quickly.  The walk was nice though.  Our dinner was great and filling.  Neither John nor I had room for dessert.  Tomorrow, we continue south.  The day promises to be cold and sunny again.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

12/9 Florida, Not the Sunhine State

Florida, Not the Sunshine State
Saturday 12/9, we woke to another cold, raw day.  We skyped with our granddaughters in Houston, who were excited to tell us about the snow they had yesterday.  Then we headed south toward Florida.  The tide was rising as we made the twists and turns through the southern end of Georgia.  The water was very choppy as we crossed St. Andrews Sound but that didn't last long.

At St. Mary's there is a military port.  On our way there, we passed three military patrol boats.  They were going fast and had visible manned guns on the boats.  I didn't get the picture but rest assured, I was glad they were not after me.  We saw some ships in the port. 

This port also works on submarines.  This is what a dock for submarines looks like.

There was still no sun as we passed into Florida.  When we passed Fernandina, the boats were still stacked up om the shore from the Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  The marina docks are still closed there too.  This is the first time we are staying at the Jacksonville Free Dock on Sisters Creek.  The wind was about 17 miles per hour on our bow with a strong current running against us.  Thankfully, the crew of the Carolina, docked there came out to catch our lines.  We appreciated their help.  Pasta and chicken is on the menu for dinner.

Tomorrow, we head further south.  The forecast is cold but is promising some sun.

Friday, December 8, 2017

12/07 and 12/08 It turns cold and rainy

Thursday 12/7, we woke to cold and rain in Thunderbolt.  That makes it a great day to travel.  We cruised the intracoastal with very little other boat traffic.  In GA, there is an area called Hell Gate.  It has earned its name and has lots of notations on Active Captain.  We went through without incident though. Hell Gate was heavenly at high tide.  For the night, we pulled off the ICW in the Crescent River anchorage.  It was a peaceful, wide anchorage with good holding.  But it was cold!   We kept the generator on and kept the heat on in our bedroom.

Friday 12/8, we pulled anchor to head for Jekyll Island, GA.  It was still cold all day.  We are very dry in our salon and run from the helm there.  We are snuggled in our sweatshirts.  We started out early so we had a rising tide to help us through the shallow areas without any problems today.  At St. Simon's Sound, we safely crossed paths with the Emerald Princess.

It was time for a late lunch after we pulled into Jekyll Harbor Marina.  Their marina restaurant is very good.  I had a salad and shrimp and grits.  Other boats here were decorated for Christmas with trees and figures. 
So it was time for me to pull out my Christmas lights for the Hydrophilic.  Fa la la la la!
Neither John not I felt like much dinner so we had appetizers, Irish coffees and dessert.  The rain has not let up though.  As I write this, we have thunder and lightning and pouring rain.   Tomorrow, we hope for the end to the rain and some sunshine as we cross into Florida.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

12/06 Fresh water replacement in Thunderbolt

Savannah Belle Ferry Juliette Gordon Low
So last night as we readied for bed, our fresh water pump did not work.  We checked the obvious; 1. we had water in the tanks, 2. the breaker was on, 3. we replaced the in house filter to make sure it was not clogged.   No luck.  The ice maker had not made ice in a while either.  Fortunately, we are at Thunderbolt Marina.  They have a huge boat yard here.  The tiny town of Thunderbolt is just south of Savannah on the Wilmington River and is dedicated to boating.

While we were waiting for the mechanic, John called around and a replacement pump was available just over 1/2 mile up the road in a very well stocked marine store.  I was up and back in less than a half hour.  The morning was pleasant and warm.  While waiting, I got a wash in and got to do a great work out on the stern deck. Chris and the ladies in my gym back at Assertive Fitness would be proud.
There were two boats of particular interest today.  One was from the Savannah Belle Ferry, the Juliette Gordon Low.  As a former Girl Scout, I always read about Savannah, as the home of the Girl Scouts.  Thunderbolt Marina takes care of boats from all over the world.  This huge boat, Blue Moon, is from Georgetown.  I just don't think I want to pay all the crew needed for this boat or I would buy one.

The mechanic came and indeed the pump was shot.  He replaced it quickly.  We had water from the faucets and were making ice in no time.  Meanwhile, the forecasted weather front came through.  It started to pour rain and the temperature dropped.  It is supposed to be rainy and cold for 3 days.  Ugh.
Tomorrow, we will head south again.  We will probably anchor for one or two nights so I might not blog.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12/4 to 12/5 Low Country of SC to Thunderbolt GA

12/4 Monday was still cold in the morning, but at least it was sunny.  We cruised past Charleston Harbor and headed to Beaufort, SC.  There is a Beaufort, SC and a Beaufort, NC.  Beaufort, SC is pronounced Bewfort; while Beaufort, NC is pronounced Bowfort.  Add in my Boston accent just for grins.  This area of SC is called the Low Country.  As in the picture below, there are lots of marshes and the land never gets very high.
 12/5 Tuesday was beautiful as we left Beaufort just after sunrise.  This sailboat left just ahead of us.
There are some areas known for having very low water and we wanted to get through those areas before low tide in the afternoon.  No problem, beautiful day, right?  WRONG!!  We passed Parris Island, where they make Marines, but as we crossed Port Royal Inlet, the fog rolled in big time.  Thankfully, we have radar.  These pictures will give you some idea of how thick the fog got. 
We used our horn to send out fog warnings every 2 minutes.  Boats were good about being on the radio and telling their location.  Here is a marker and how we could see it in the fog and then as we got closer.

As we came past Hilton Head Harbor Marina, we saw that their fuel dock was free.  They agreed to have us on the inside of the fuel dock to wait out the fog.  We were glad for the respite after the hours of fog.  The opportunity to get fuel was taken.  Eventually, the fog started to lift and we headed south again.  We still used the radar some though but made it through the area where there was low water before low tide.  The Savannah River was crossed.  Our destination was Thunderbolt Marina in Thunderbolt, GA, just south of Savannah.  It is a very huge marina where they work on all sorts of boats including boats that do Atlantic Ocean crossings.  This boat, Maverick, from London fueled up shortly after we pulled in.

Tomorrow, we hope for less fog.  The weather promises to turn cold and rainy for 3 days.  We plan to anchor out for the next few nights.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12/3 Traveling with a super moon

Tonight 12/3 is a super moon.  That means that the high tides will be extra high and the low tides will be extra low.  It also means that one has to plan the journey carefully.  We left Jeremy Creek just after 7 a.m. so we were traveling close to high tide through that area.  We could tell that if we had done it at low tide we would never have had enough water to pass without getting running aground.  The weather was cloudy.  It was 60 degrees but it was raw. I stayed bundled up on the fly bridge.  As we entered Charleston Harbor, the sun finally started to peek out.  Our challenges were not done for the day.  We had to transit Ellicott Cut.  This is about a 3 mile cut between the  Ashley River and the Stono River.  It was almost low tide now and the water was running very fast through the cut.  It was like running rapids.  John had the engine running hard and we were still going less than 4 knots, that is slow.  Emerging from the cut onto the Stono River had me celebrating.  Just around the corner was our stop for the night, St. John's Yacht Club Marina.  The sun was out in full now.  We have been here before.  The showers are nice  I ran a quick load of laundry and we took the courtesy car to dinner.  The super moon rose across the river.  It was huge in the sky.

It is  Sunday.  When we are underway, I get to attend Mass by listening to it on Sirius on my cell phone.  The Mass is live from St. Patrick's Cathedral.  Today, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said the Mass and gave a really good sermon on the start of Advent.  My gym buddy, Jill Saelen, gave me the St. Brendan medallion in the picture above.  St. Brendan is the patron saint of navigators.  I also grew up in St. Brendan's parish in Boston.  

Tomorrow, we plan to travel with the high tide to Beaufort, SC.  It is a great little town.  The last time we were there we went to the Kazoo Factory and Museum.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

12/ 1-2 We are finally off

After a several day delay, we finally left the dock on Friday, December 1st at 7:30.  We had discovered on Sunday that our refrigerator wasn't working.  Thankfully, we had not moved our food aboard yet.  Al, another boater at Joyner, diagnosed the problem and we ordered the part to be delivered.  UPS did not meet up to the overnight delivery and it was finally delivered on Thursday and we went to pick up the piece at the UPS headquarters in Wilmington.  Al had taught us how to install it and in no time we were cooling.  We got the food and slept aboard that night to get an early start on Friday.

The sun was shining but it was chilly as we headed out hoping to go to Myrtle Beach.  One of the nicest things on the Great Loop was coming into a new marina and hearing someone calling your name.  Well, as we headed into Barefoot Marina, we heard "Ann Marie!".  This is the home marina of Rod and Susie Busbee.  It was great to see them!!  They live aboard their new boat, a 65 foot Fleming.  We went out for Mexican and then for a tour of their new boat.  We traded stories of our travels since completing the loop and our plans for future travels.  They are such nice people and we wish them wonderful voyages on the new boat.

Then a knock came on the boat.  Our neighbors from The Tides, Marcie and Ed Scullion, were in the same marina too!  They love to take their boat to Myrtle Beach on the weekends.  They have just returned from a trip to New Zealand.  They said New Zealand has lots of small roads, sheep, cows and sailboats.  I loved hearing about their travels.

Saturday morning, we started out early.  We cruised one of my favorite areas of the ICW, the Waccamaw River.  The water in the Waccamaw is black because of tannins in the water.  It makes the river very reflective of the trees along the sides.  We stopped at Osprey Marina for fuel.  They always have the least expensive fuel prices.  They also sell the best Red Pepper Jelly.   I stocked up with 2 more jars.

We are getting in to areas of South Carolina and Georgia where we really have to watch the tides.  We were making good time and had the tide rising as we headed toward McClellanville, SC.  We had not expected to get that far.  This means we can go through Jeremy Creek tomorrow in the morning while tide is high.

So we have had two full days.  It will be early to bed tonight too.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

6/23 to 7/14 Heading South to Home

I got very lazy about posting to the blog.  My apologies.  We had a few bad days of internet and then I got behind.  We met so many wonderful people and had some unique experiences.  I feel like an ambassador for the Great Loop.  We met so many people who were thinking about doing it.

6/22 It was starting to get hot, not just warm, hot!  We cruised up the York River to Crown Point Marina.  A nice family sort of marina with a boat yard, two pools, grills, and laundry.  We had a couple of relaxing days there.  I grilled some extra sausages and got a few loads of laundry done, while cooling off in either of the pools.  Here we met the first of the couples who were dreaming about the Great Loop.  Our last night there, the sky was filled with spectacular rainbows that were so bright they reflected in the water.

6/25 We finished our tour of the Chesapeake and headed to Norfolk.  Once again we could see huge Navy vessels on our way in and out of Norfolk.  The support of the city of Norfolk for the military is impressive.  Things to do in Norfolk-1) Get my hair done-I had liked the way the stylist did it when we were heading north and got an appointment with her and was happy with the results again 2) Attend a bayou festival that was on the waterfront-Met a nice couple who had an extra free drink coupon. 3) Go to Guy Fieri's Smoke House-It was fun to look at all the pictures of the famous folks on the wall.  The food was good but I was expecting amazing.
4) USS Wisconsin and Nauticus-we didn't do them this time, but those are terrific take ins.

6/27 Prime Rib Time!  The best part of transiting the Virginia Cut is passing Coinjock, NC.  So first on our agenda for being back in NC was to dock at the Coinjock Marina and get reservations at the Coinjock Restaurant.  I ordered the Mate's Cut.  The Mate's Cut is 16 ounces of the best prime rib you will ever had.  The Admiral's cut is 32 ounces!  As it arrived on the table, I immediately cut a huge piece off to save for lunches on the boat.  Umm so good.

6/28 Albemarle Loop- Two summers ago, we cruised the Albemarle to Columbia in Tyrrell County and Manteo for the lost colony play.  This time we cruised up the Albemarle Sound to see Edenton and Albemarle Plantation.  I said cruised but really we just dodged crab pots.  There are so many crab pots placed helter skelter, even in the channel, that it took some of the fun out of cruising.
On the Albemarle Loop, each stop allows two nights free dockage.  There can be small charges for electricity but you can't beat the prices.

Edenton, NC was our first stop.  The lighthouse guards the entrance to the marina. 
Edenton had been the colonial capital of NC.  After the Boston Tea Party, the women of the town got together and boycotted tea, sending a statement to the King.  The teapot became the symbol of the town.

The  town can be walked easily but we also took the bus tour.  The Supreme Court of NC still holds court in the Old Courthouse once a year, although it is mostly used as a venue for weddings and other functions. 
The Cupola House has extensive gardens with ornamental gardens in the front and a very large kitchen garden in the back.
All the buildings have been maintained and restored.  Our boat looked large in this marina, so wherever we went when I told people we came by boat, they would say they had seen it in marina.  The entire town it seems walks the main street and the marina everyday.

Our next stop was Albemarle Plantation.  This is a huge planned community with a marina, golf course, club house, casual eatery, and huge pool that overlooks the sound.  They were having a big weekend when we were there.  A golf tournament was going on and they were having a big anniversary, early 4th of July celebration.  Besides enjoying the pool, I enjoyed the decorated golf cart parade.  What a hoot that was.  One golf cart was towing a pirate ship with a young pirate aboard.  Another golf cart was decorated as a boat and had Uncle Sam waterskiing behind it on some type of rollers.  That night they offered an extensive firework display.  John did very well getting pictures of them.

7/2 Heading back to the southeast, we dodged a few more crab pots to the mouth of the Alligator River.  The Alligator River Marina has changed hands but we were met by the same dock hand who has been so nice to us in the past.  Two different couples approached us to ask about doing the loop and our Mainship.   One couple even came on board for a tour of the boat.  They don't own their boat yet, but are in the planning stages.  The other couple had a smaller boat but took our boat card and looked at the blog to begin their forward looking plans.   It is fun to meet folks who are so excited about the loop.  I hope they will let us know when they head off on their journeys.  An evening thunderstorms passed through and left this rainbow for us to ponder the beauty of the world.
One of the best parts of the Alligator River Marina is that part of it is a gas station with a grill.  The next morning, we made sure we got their homemade biscuit sandwiches to take along for the ride. 

7/3 We travelled down the Alligator Pungo Canal.  It is one of the last connecting sections of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and it was built VERY straight.  It is a good time to use Auto Pilot and smell the NC pine forests.
We stopped at Dowry Creek, one of our favorite stops.  We met some folks taking their new to them boat from FL to the Chesapeake.  We also met the folks aboard Rascals Retreat, who were the tail end of the loopers heading north because straight line winds had torn out their canvas and the metal frame of the flybridge.  As it turns out, on 7/5 when they were cruising to Coinjock, the fellow had a heart attack.  The story of all who helped them, included the owners of Coinjock sending a boat out with someone to climb aboard to help his wife dock was inspiring.  Thankfully, he was helicoptered to Norfolk where he had a successful bypass and is recuperating now.

7/4 We headed up the Neuse River just past Oriental to River Dunes Marina.  On the way there, we passed R E Mayo Seafood and were glad they were open on the holiday.  Everyone was pulling into the docks there for the wonderful seafood.  We stocked up on frozen scallops and some shrimp.  They were having a July 4th celebration at noon with hamburgers and all the fixings but we were a little early for lunch.  They are such nice people there.   We had been to River Dunes two years ago and loved it.  I particularly love the cabanas by the pool.  The cabanas have fans and curtains to keep out the sun.  The River Dunes community is very nice.  I joined in the water aerobics on two days.  At the pool side bar, we got to taste frozen "adult" freezepops, made with things like Not Your Fathers Root Beer.  They are hand made in containers that you can get at Walmart to make your own freezepops.  Another good idea.  They have a courtesy car and we made two trips into Oriental for dinner.  Oriental is known as the sailing capital of NC and definitely has way more boats than people.  While I was doing laundry, I met a man and his son who were doing their laundry too.  He told of going off-shore tuna fishing the day before.  They went to the same fishing grounds that were on the television show, Wicked Tuna Southern edition.  His laundry finished and I was waiting by the pool for mine.  The man and his son returned to the pool to swim with a HUGE piece of fresh caught vacuum packed tuna.  Wow.  After our 4 day respite at River Dunes, we were ready to head on.

7/8 Heading inland on the Neuse, we aimed for the Grand Mariner Marina in New Bern, NC.  We passed several sailing races from huge sailboats to little optimist boats along the way.  After Edenton, New Bern was the colonial capital of NC.  The downtown is very quaint with lots of good places to eat and shop.  Tryon Palace is a replica of the colonial governor's mansion and has been faithfully rebuilt. 
We took the trolley tour which included a tour of Cedar Grove Cemetery where many of their founding fathers and mothers are buried.  John and I will be buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Boston so this was interesting.
New Bern is the home of Pepsi Cola and we visited the site of the pharmacy where it was invented. We liked this sign at the Beer Army about Bruce Wayne and knew our son-in-law would find it funny. 
The Beer Army is known for its hamburgers.  I can honestly say it was the best, juiciest, medium rare burger, I have had.   Like so many small towns they had a fabulous hardware store where I found exactly what I was looking for to use with my white hoses on the boat.  I liked this fountain in the courtyard between the two main streets.
  New Bern was named for a city in Switzerland.  Bern means bear and the town is filled with decorated bears.  This one is sponsored by a company that uses phosphorus.  It is a periodic table bear.

7/11 The Neuse River is the longest river in NC and at the mouth of the river is the widest in US at just over 6 miles.  We headed east again and met back up with the ICW heading south to Beaufort, NC.  Out on the Neuse, we saw several military transports. 
We love Beaufort.  It is a real great boat town and we have been several times for July 4th with our neighbors from the Tides.  We had heard that Homer Smith Marina was doing a lot for transients and some of our friends had loved it there, so we decided to give it a try.  Homer Smith is also a shrimping business.  I have never seen so many shrimp.  Shrimp are brought in on the shrimp boats and processed right there.  Then 18 wheelers back up and fill with the shrimp to be sent to restaurants and groceries.  When we checked in, the owner gave me over 2 pounds of fresh shrimp.  Some I cooked immediately and the rest I froze quickly for future meals.  The temperature was very hot, so the next morning we put the dinghy into the water and dinghied around to the front of town.  This is across from Carrot Island, which is part of the Rachel Carson Marine Estuarian System too.  Feral horses also live on Carrot Island.  You can see them in the background of this picture.
It was a very nice dinghy ride and helped keep us cool.  For lunch, we pulled into the town dinghy dock and had lunch and an ice cream.  Of course, I did a little window shopping too.  For dinner our last night, we went to the Sanitary Restaurant just over the bridge in Morehead City.  It is long established large family run seafood restaurant.  You had to appreciate the sign on the wall, that had obviously been there for many years.   It made me smile.

7/13 This cruising day takes us down the ICW past Camp Lejeune.  But as we were leaving past Morehead City, we heard on the radio the Coast Guard was doing exercises.  As the morning progressed, we heard more radio chatter from Navy Warship 7 telling boats to stay away.  I think if Warship 7 had radioed us to stay away I would have fainted.  I couldn't even see them but found it intimidating.  Then we could hear booms even though we were on the ICW and these exercises were out in the ocean.  Just north of Camp Lejeune, we started to see military jets.  They came in close and it felt like they would land on the flybridge.  I know they don't look so close in these pictures but they were.  And they were loud.

Just after we went through the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge, the bridge tender announced that the ICW was going to be closed to transit by the military for several hours. 

Normally, we stop to anchor at Mile Hammock Bay at the south end of Camp Lejeune.  It was so hot, we decided to seek refuge at the Topsail Island Marina in Surf City where we could plug in and run the air conditioning.  The marina is right on the main street of Surf City.  It was a happening place and gearing up for the weekend.  We walked to dinner and after dinner,  I walked for an ice cream.  A good last night before heading home.

7/14 We knew that we were close to home when we could see the local fauna.  This giraffe lives just north of the Figure Eight Island bridge.
In no time at all we cruised past The Tides and headed to Snows Cut and Joyner Marina to our home dock there.

7/19 I am finally finishing this segment of the blog.  We heard about using Reflectix behind our outside curtains in the front of the boat.  We have bought it and installed it and it seems to make a big difference.  The house bathroom remodel started again on Monday and is almost done.  We have a list of chores for home and boat to keep us busy for quite a bit.  Lastly, we can prepare for our three grandchildren to spend two weeks with us.   I am looking forward to that.  The blog will resume with our next adventure.