Thursday, 30 May 2013

No 19/13 Portsmouth and Norfolk

Hi from Clare,                                                                 Wednesday 29th May 2013

We spent a few days motoring up the ICW to Portsmouth Virginia. We travelled with Aussie friends Carol and Peter on 'Jack Tar' and Harry on 'Malua'. We spent two days at Great Bridge on the free dock close to town and caught up with shopping and laundry. With all the mundane chores completed we arrived into Portsmouth/Norfolk on Saturday ready for some fun. Here we also met up with our Kiwi friends Brenda and David on 'Bandit' and so we had lots of playmates.

We all stayed in the little yacht basin where Eye Candy sheltered from Hurricane Sandy last year. Our first port of call was to revisit our American friend Bob at Mile Marker "O" Marine Supply. We received a hearty welcome with a slap on the back and a bear hug for Andrew and a kiss and cuddle for me; it was like we had never left. The following night we were invited along with Harry to share in a BBQ at Bob's home. It was a terrific evening catching up with Bob and Cassie and their son Austin; such lovely people and fun to be with, we are always sad to leave.

Andrew, David, Brenda and Harry.  Bob, Austin, Cassie

Monday was Memorial Day and so we enjoyed the parade. Many of the townsfolk lined the street and enthusiastically participated. The population of Portsmouth is 52% black and 48% white. We had a black family next to us and the mother was our entertainment for the day encouraging every entry as they passed with a running commentary "Now here comes No 34, what is it? Oh! The Lady Veterans" and she called out "looking good ladies - you're looking real good - done a great job - it's your day ladies - have a good one - looking good, looking real good" I must say she brought a smile to many of the participant's faces.




Memorial Day Parade

A short ferry ride across the river to Norfolk gave us access to a large shopping centre. Andrew bought a new pair of sandals which were well overdue. The old pair was purchased in Turkey and had been stitched and restitched numerous times, one might say they were well worn. I was delighted to have my eyes tested and then get new bifocal glasses made up in one hour. I bought both bifocal sun glasses and spectacles which I was in desperate need of after breaking mine late last year. The Optometrist said "this is a substantial script, how on earth have you been coping?" Well, had I known it was possible to have them replaced in one hour, I would have done it long ago. It's a far cry from the usual one week wait in Australia - God Bless America.
Eye Candy at the Norfolk OCC dock

Late Monday we moved the boat from Portsmouth across the river to a free OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) slip at Norfolk. We joined the OCC after we crossed the Atlantic as a requirement for membership is to complete a thousand mile ocean passage. The Norfolk OCC Port Captain welcomed us and eleven OCC members had dinner at their home on Monday night. For us, the main advantage of joining is becoming part of the cruising community. We already know quite a few OCC members and it is amazing how often we run into them.

We left Norfolk this morning and sailed thirty two miles to Yorktown, Virginia. We are now at anchor waiting for 'Jack Tar' and 'Malua' to arrive shortly. We will go and have a look around town before moving further north tomorrow.
Love Candy xx

At 12:32 PM29/05/2013 (utc) our position was 36°53.60'N 076°20.09'W

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, 20 May 2013

No 18/13 Fernandina and Cape Lookout

Hi from Clare,               Sunday 19th May 2013

We spent another day sightseeing at Fernandina Beach. It is a very pleasant town but it has no public transport. So we walked across to the beach on the other side of the island. The sea water is a bit murky but it didn't stop the locals. As you can see by the photo the water was flat calm and we were amazed to find that the life guard on duty had the red flag up. This is for 'large surf and or strong currents'. I thought of Bondi Beach and I wondered how they would cope with our Australian surf beaches. It took an hour to walk to the beach so when arriving back in town we rewarded ourselves with another frozen yogurt - just delicious.

Treacherous surf and treacherous icecream

We set off Tuesday lunchtime to sail 158 miles to Charleston. It was a bit bumpy for the first few hours but then the wind shifted behind us and we had a good sail in 15 -20 knots. We arrived into Charleston late Wednesday and rejoined our friends in time for drinks with Carol and Peter on the Aussie yacht 'Jack Tar' and Kiwi friends Brenda and David on 'Bandit'.
After a good night's sleep we all headed out on Thursday morning to sail 197 miles to Cape Lookout which is near Beaufort, North Carolina. Once again we had a terrific sail with the wind behind us averaging 6 knots for the trip. Eye Candy arrived first mid Friday afternoon giving us time to tidy up and shower before hosting drink that evening.
Along the way, we managed to catch two small Tuna. Not at succulent as Mahi Mahi and certainly more bloody. Andrew caught the first one while I was asleep. I woke to the smell of blood - if one little fish can give off such an odour I can now understand why fishing boats stink so much. Anyhow we have had tuna everything for the last few days and tuna mornay on toast for lunch today will be the last of it.
Yesterday we had a quiet day resting. We did a few boat chores and then went for a walk along a beach that stretched for miles. We took our swimmers but we didn't go in as the water temp is 19 degrees. The daily air temperature is around 25 degrees and the nights are cool.

Small Tuna and the gang at Cape Lookout

We will leave tomorrow and motor up the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway) to Norfolk. We came this way last year as it is more protected than going around Cape Hatteras and negotiating the Gulf Stream. We will motor in the day and drop anchor each night and sleep - woo hoo!
Love Candy xx

At 12:30 PM19/05/2013 (utc) our position was 34°37.16'N 076°32.85'W

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, 13 May 2013

No 17/13 St Augustine & Fernandina Beach

Hi from Clare,                                                             Sunday 12th May 2013

We set out from West Palm Beach for St Augustine and picked up the Gulf Steam which gave us at times as much as 4 knots of current to carry us north. By evening we had caught two Mahi Mahi and all was well. Then an un-forecast 20 knot wind blew from the North West and we punched our way through short seas for the night.

Our first Mahi Mahi and the Castillo de San Marcos, St Augustine

Two small birds arrived on the boat looking for refuge twenty miles out from land. One was timid and clung to the safety lines. The other one was very friendly and hopped around the cockpit, checked out below and even sat on Andrew's finger. The night was cold and windy; we were in long pants and fleecy jackets. The timid bird clung to life lines in the cold and the wind. It disappeared around 3am, never to be seen again. However the friendly bird spent the night sleeping in the corner of our cabin. Then it sat by the window in the early morning sun. It didn't partake in the water and biscuit crumbs we offered, but around 9am it few off to freedom.
The following day the wind went back to the south west and we had a good sail into St Augustine arriving around sunset.

When last in St Augustine we bought a new anchor chain and much to our disappointment it was rusting after five months. Andrew contacted the dealer by email and we anticipated that we would be in for a fight. However it couldn't have been better. The retailer asked us to supply him with a sample of the chain for identification. Thanked us for our feedback and then supplied us with a new chain from a different source. They bought the new chain down to the marina, the change over occurred without fuss.

Whilst at St Augustine we found a sane and reasonable Customs Officer who issued us with a Cruising License for twelve months. This will make life a lot easier as now (like last year) we only have to phone Customs when we move the boat. Before the Cruising License was issued we had to present ourselves to a Customs Officer to firstly check in and then again to check out. We found the process time consuming and sometimes expensive incurring fares to the local airport to attend the Customs Office.

Pete, Amanda and Mark, Kourtney and Andrew

Clare and Harry and the St Augustine anchorage

We also caught up with friends Kourtney and Pete on 'Norna' who are residents of St Augustine. We met in the Med but they have now returned home. As you can imagine they enjoy it when their former cruising buddies come through town. 'Balvenie' (Mark & Amanda) and 'Malua' (Harry) also arrived and so we all celebrated Pete's birthday with a few drinks on 'Norna'. Our two Mahi Mahi went a long way supplying everyone with plenty of fish for dinner.

The marina has a good laundry and so I stripped the beds and the covers off the couch and did eight loads of washing. Needless to say I spent the afternoon wrestling with the couch and the mattresses to replace all the covers. The washing trip was planned before we arrived but after our little bird had spent the night it became a priority; dear little thing!


Around Fernandina Beach township

We did a day sail north on Friday and arrived into Fernandina Beach in time for a sun downer. We anchored next to an American yacht 'Bright Ayer' who we had briefly met in Cuba. At the time Wayne and Betty had very generously lent us a cruising guide for Belize and Mexico. The plan was for us to post the book back to their American address when we were finished with it. So we had the opportunity to hand delivered the book the following morning before they departed around noon.

Fernandina Beach is not the most attractive port to enter as there are two large pulp mills on the shore. The water due to the connecting St Mary's river is almost the colour of chocolate (we almost didn't want to put our new anchor chain down.) However the township is very attractive with well maintained buildings and homes dating back to early 1800s. The many boutique shops have lots of local art and crafts and the local self serve frozen yogurt shop with fresh fruits and many other temping additions is not to be missed.

More lovely homes

SO WHAT'S NEXT This afternoon we will go back into town and continue exploring. We will probably travel eight miles to the township of St Mary's and check that out tomorrow. We are waiting for a favourable wind to continue north. Our final destination will be somewhere in the Chesapeake Bay so we can leave the boat and head home in July.

Love Candy xx

At 1:55 PM12/05/2013 (utc) our position was 30°40.46'N 081°28.16'W

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, 6 May 2013

No 16/13 Lake Worth, Florida

Hi from Clare,                                           Sunday 5th May 2013

This is probably the best way to describe the past week. We left Marathon Tuesday to sail overnight to Lake Worth. By mid afternoon we experienced a thunder storm, 30 knots of wind and heavy rain. We gave up after forty miles and sheltered behind Rodriguez Key for the night. American friends Lyn and Russ on 'Blue Highway' were there also, the rain stopped, the sun came out and we got together for drinks and enjoyed a glorious sunset.

We left for Lake Worth the following morning and had a wonderful quick sail along the Miami coast assisted by 3 knots of current in the Gulf Stream. We ran into another thunder storm again experiencing 30 knots of wind, lots of lightning and torrential rain. We arrived into Lake Worth at 10pm in dead calm conditions after motoring for the last two hours; who can figure the weather around here?

We are now with lots of friends. Our Kiwi friends Mark and Amanda on 'Balvenie' and Aussie friends Harry on 'Malua' and Peter and Carol on 'Jack Tar'. Wednesday was check in day and the cruisers came away from the Customs Office feeling beaten up. There is a complaints system but the form needs to be signed and stamped by the said officer, so we won't be taking that any further.

Thursday it rained mostly all day. As someone said "we had so much rain the animals were lining up in pairs behind the boat". Andrew and Harry (Malua) went into town to T-mobile to get internet access. Andrew returned some hours later soaking wet. His wet weather coat kept his chest dry but that was about all. The dull and dreary photo of the anchorage shows it all. 

Anchorage on Thursday and again today
  Friday was a beautiful sunny day and so washing and shopping were the order of the day. Late in the afternoon we met in the marina's Tiki Bar for drinks. However our social gathering was cut short by another squall and more torrential rain, the anchorage was a white-out. Eye Candy dragged about 50 metres in the wind; good thing I had taken the washing in.

Yesterday we returned to the Tiki Bar for lunch. Our American cruising friends Steve and Karyn who live in Fort Lauderdale drove up to met us. Their boat is currently in Turkey and as we all met in Europe it was a terrific opportunity to get together again.

Drinks on Friday and Lunch, Sat with Carol, Pete, Harry, Steve, Andrew, Clare, Karyn and Amanda

After lunch Steve and Karyn took Amanda (Balvenie) and Andrew and me out to Costco's (members only) Wholesale Warehouse. We provisioned up with non perishables for next season. Steve then drove us back to the marina. An otherwise expensive and arduous job made easy thanks to Steve and Karyn's generosity.

For the last few days Andrew has been busy helping 'Jack Tar' and 'Malua' with their HF radios. 'Jack Tar' has a new installation and had very low transmission power and 'Malua' had a loose antenna cable. Both are working well now. 'Balvenie' wanted his solar panel regulator adjusted and so Andrew helped Mark with that also.

We all first met on the radio and although some people think the radio is just for a chat fest, the last few days s a good example of the friendships made and the help given and received within the cruising community.

Tomorrow we leave to sail 200 miles to St Augustine. We should be there by late Tuesday. Last time we were there is rained almost continuously. Let's hope for better weather this time.

Love Candy xx

At 10:24 AM4/05/2013 (utc) our position was 26°45.78'N 080°02.56'W

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: