Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Safely Arrived In Chesapeake Bay

Norfolk, Virginia
36 50.7N 76 18.0W

The rest of the trip from Charleston, was equally as uneventful, we managed to sail the last 24 hours which was a nice change from the noise of the motor. The big highlight was to finally land our first Mahi Mahi, have never hooked one in Australia and they fight well above their weight so after losing about 3 on the way here it was very satisfying to let this one run and finally bring it on board after a 20 minute wrestle. (Photo in previous entry)

We arrived tired but happy after completing our longest ever passage successfully (450 nauticl miles in 72 hours), we found we slept much better than on any previous passages, so were if anything less tired than after a single night at sea.

We have made our way down the river to Norfolk and plan to stay here a week or so as our boxes will finally arrive from Australia after their 6 month holiday. That will mean Linda, me, Charlie the cat, the boat and all our belongings will actually all be in the same place for the first time in 6 months.

Once we have our stuff and now we are north of Cape Hatteras we have absolutely no goals or deadlines which is strange. So we will just slowly make our way up Chesapeake Bay exploring the various waterways and then if the mood takes us head up to New York and New England.
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Monday, May 28, 2007

Round The Carolina Capes

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
35 03.7N 75 18.4W

After 48 hours at sea we have just rounded Cape Hatteras, still a small matter of 135m to go before we are safely in Chesapeake Bay but the conditions at the moment are about perfect, we have a nice SW wind and are sailing at 5-6kts with 1-2kts of current from the Gulf Stream helping us along. The other milestone is we are just about to complete our 1,000th mile on Matsu, we did 5,000 cruising on Blue Lady so still a lot of sailing to do to catch up.

We have had to motor quite a lot, only sailing for about 15 out of those 48 hours, but the sun is out the sea pretty calm and we have caught two tuna, and now a Mahi Mahi so we have stocked the freezer up to enjoy it over the coming weeks.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

The Grand Ol South

Charleston, South Carolina
32 46.6N 79 57.2W

We have just completed our first week in Charleston, we have been waiting for a weather window to move north, but also enjoying a great city, very grand and very beautiful.

We arrived last Thursday after motoring all the way from Brunswick. It took us 26 hours and was quite an eye opener to the world of cruising for our visitors. Great weather forecast, but the wind never appeared, sufficiently bad that we ended up with no sails up at all as they were completely pointless. At least we now know the engine works well!

We hired a car for a day trip to Savannah, Gareth and I worked there for the summer in 1988 and I was really excited to go back and see it again. For those who haven't been it is the quintissential southern city, and well worth watching Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil just to see it. We strolled the streets and squares, had a beer in a pub we used to go to 20 years ago, and even found the restaurant Gareth and I used to work in. Sadly it has changed hands a few times, but still brought back memories of drunken fun times.

Our visitors drove back to Canada and since then we have walked the streets of Charleston, another stunning place, lot's of interesting alleys and streets and we have hit a period with two festivals on.

As well as enjoying Charleston there are a bunch of boats here waiting for weather windows to either head north or back across the Atlantic, so we have been doing the standard cruising thing of repairing each others boats and drinking in the evenings. We plan to leave tomorrow for the 450 mile trip to Chesapeake Bay, it's our longest passage yet by far, at least 3 nights at sea and we have to round the infamous Cape Hatteras so all very exciting.
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Monday, May 14, 2007

In A Marina!!

Brunswick, Georgia
31 08.9N 81 30.0W

We arrived here yesterday after a day sail up from St Mary's, we planned on anchoring and moving on, but the harbour is not great for that so we ended up going in to Brunswick Landing Marina for the night.

As you can see from the photo Josette was very excited to hit dry land at last! Charlie was equally pleased after 31 days at anchor he ran off to explore the marina and roll in the grass.

Since the last update we have been to Cumberland Island again with the guests, just as good second time round, more ruins, saw an alligator which made me happy I hadn't been for a swim, and on a less ecological note a nuclear sub.

We leave tomorrow for an overnight sail to Charleston, SC and to show Jo and Chris what life aboard is like we will force them to stand watch with us all night, so hello to the world of 3 hours sleep.
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tropical Storm Andrea

St Mary's, Georgia
30 43.1N 81 32.9W

We are currently safely anchored at St Mary's, Georgia as we wait for a sub tropical storm to die out. It appeared the same day as Josette & Christian and after a very uncomfortable night anchored at Fernandina Beach in 30 plus knots of wind we moved to the excellent protection of St Mary's.

Sadly for our visitors we have been stuck here ever since as the 30-40 knot winds blow from the north, that said we are now very good at cards and Yahtzee, and have visited every shopping mall in a 10km radius.

It should be sufficiently blown out tomorrow for us to take the crew to Cumberland Island before heading further north.
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Saturday, May 5, 2007

44th Annual Beard Contest

Fernandina Beach, Florida
30 40.5N 81 28.1W

Well what a day today, the town is alive with the shrimp festival and the highlight was the 44th annual beard contest, this guy didn't win but shows what a high standard we were dealing with.

Will Padman got to enjoy it all with us, I think he couldn't have picked a bigger event to fly half way round the world for!
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Thursday, May 3, 2007

History & Nature On Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island, Georgia
30 45.7N 81 28.4W

We have had a great few days here at Cumberland Island. The island is just over the border from Florida and has quite a colourful history, having featured in battles between the British and Spanish for control of the south, the War of Independence and the Civil War. The island has been used as a Plantation and most recently was home to the wealth of the Carnegie family, as Thomas and his wife Lucy built a huge retreat here for their family.

The Island is under the control of the National Parks Service now, and they have begun to preserve the ruins of the mansion the Carnegie's built called Dungeness. It must have been quite a place in the late 1800's and early 1900's, each of the children had also built homes here for their families and the island was just a pleasure palace for them all with horse riding trails, hunting lodges, swimming pools, squash courts, etc etc and all with over 200 staff to provide the food and service that people in that position require. They entertained the Rockefeller's etc of the American elite and sailed the big yachts on the river and sea here, it's like a scene from Jeeves and Wooster.

As well as the man made stuff there are stunning forests of oaks hung with spanish moss and a 16 mile long white sand beach, I will add some photos when we get near the internet.

We head back to Fernandina Beach tomorrow to meet Will Padman who is taking some time out from his work trip, and then Josette, Christian and Julia arrive for a two week holiday with us.
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