July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Our Last Leg North
By Kismet, Monday, June 15, 2009

With his last article, on northern migration, Jim left off when we were only part way up the ICW, 750 miles from our final destination for the summer, Solomons, Maryland. As we continued north, after our stay in Savannah, we still had many sights to see, people to meet and miles yet to travel with lots of water to cover and explore.

The charming city of Beaufort, NC has many fine old homes lining the water’s edge.

Tom Point Creek, South Carolina, was our anchorage after we left Thunderbolt Marina in Savannah, Georgia, and it was shortly followed by a stop in Beaufort, South Carolina. The last time we were in Beaufort, in 2006, we’d attended an America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association (AGLCA) Spring Rendezvous. We have many fond memories of that event because we met some wonderful people with whom we still keep in touch on a regular basis. We were excited to return and have more time to shop and walk around the town that, because of the Rendezvous schedule, we didn’t have much time to do before. So, within minutes of tying up to the dock we descended on the small town of Beaufort with Jim in search of ice cream while I browsed the bookstore and gift shops.

It was fun to hook up with Pam in Charleston. Thirty years is a long time to go without seeing a good friend.

Our next stop, Charleston, was very special for me personally. Way back last fall I’d found an old friend, Pam Baugh Trudeau, on the Internet. It had been some 30 years since I had even talked to her. We made plans to reunite when we planned to stop in Charleston for three days. As it is with really good friends, even after so many years, it seemed like just yesterday that we were together laughing and having a good time. We spent Saturday together for a “girls” outing to the farmer’s market and a whole afternoon spent catching up on each other’s lives.

Georgetown, South Carolina, was next on our northern migration path. We docked at a little marina downtown along with Jim and Barbara on Golden Lily and Charlie and Jeannette on Highlander. We were in search of fried green tomatoes and hamburgers for dinner and although every place seemed to have them on their menu, we decided on the Goat Island Grill. After a long day on the water, 8.25 hours today, a good hot meal (outside of my galley) sure hit the spot.

Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina and a nice stop for boaters migrating north or south.

Three consecutive anchorages were our goal for the next few days before we reached Morehead City for a three-day respite to experience some southern hospitality at the beach house of some dear friends. First we anchored in Calabash Creek along with a slew of sailboats. This was a delightful anchorage, well protected and visually appealing. It was warm and not too buggy at dusk and we decided to have cocktails on the flybridge to soak up the atmosphere of this remote spot. The next night we anchored all by ourselves at Carolina Beach but this area of the water is lined with houses, condos, marinas, and of course, boats everywhere so we really didn’t feel alone. Our last anchorage was interesting; with a lot of aircraft buzzing around because of the Camp LeJeune base surrounding the water of the Mile Hammock anchorage. We saw several Osprey airplanes and helicopters doing drills and maneuvers. We heard what sounded like bombs way off in the distance most of the early evening. There was some activity by troops on shore by the boat launch as many more boats, mostly sailboats, followed us into this little harbor looking for refuge for the night.

We shared this beautiful anchorage with a group of sailboats for a peaceful night’s anchorage. Although a well populated area we were alone in this anchorage for one night.

We were in the midst of preparing to take off for our second Loop. Jim was away at a boat show and I was on the boat alone cleaning and organizing, when a group of about 10 Looper boats descended on our marina. This is a lot of boats to arrive all at once and there was a lot of activity surrounding our boat for some time after. As I went to welcome Robert and Kay Creech, on C-Life, in the slip next to us I saw a dinghy with a couple coming straight for our boat. The man in the dinghy was yelling and shaking his finger at me “You guys are the reason we’re here. The reason we’re doing the Loop.” Well I was intrigued and I think even flattered as Louis went on to explain that before deciding to Loop they had religiously followed our first blog and really knew a lot about us from that practice. It turned out that we had stirred their curiosity and wetted their appetite for doing the trip themselves. It was a wonderful thought that due to sharing our experiences someone benefited from reading about it. Most of this group of Loopers were weathered-in at our marina for almost a week, and this is were I got to attend my first, for this trip, Looper Happy Hour in our own marina’s boater’s lounge.

A lot of aircraft activity and maneuvers surrounded this popular anchorage at Mile Hammock Diane and Louis Wade made us feel like royalty as they show us what southern hospitality is really all about during our three-day stay at their beautiful beach house in Morehead City, North Carolina

Thereafter, every time we met up with them, or shared part of our trip with them, they implored us to come stay at their beach house in Morehead City for some R&R off the boat when going through their “neck of the woods” in the spring. They finished their Loop shortly after we got back to Florida from the Abacos and more invitations were extended and promises extracted. So, there we were, leaving Mile Hammock at Camp LeJeune headed for Morehead City looking forward to finding our land-legs and experiencing some genuine southern hospitality. For three glorious days we cooked and ate and laughed. During the day the guys did guy thing and the gals did gal things. We got caught up on laundry and provisioning. On the third day of R&R we all pitched in to help with chores needing to be done around the beach house.

A popular haven for boaters and sail boaters alike, Oriental was a pleasant stop for us as we were heading north.

Three days later, rested and five pounds heavier from the Wade’s southern hospitality, we left Morehead City and headed for Oriental, North Carolina. We knew it would be windy, as it has been most days on this trek north, so when we finally tied up we were glad to be in a marina, as even at dock there were big winds and rollers coming straight into the marina making us rock back and forth. Our friends Wade and Susie Ehlen drove over from their home in New Bern, North Carolina, to visit, have dinner, and share their plans for an RV trip to Alaska. We stayed an extra day here, as we didn’t want to venture out into the open waters of the Pamlico Sound under the current windy conditions.

Our friends Wade and Susie Ehlen drove from their home in New Bern, NC to meet us for dinner and an exchange of adventures past and future. We were fortunate to arrive on a night that a potluck had been planned by the staff and boaters already there. It was fun to meet others during their migrations north

The winds finally calmed down Tuesday morning so we were off to Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, North Carolina. The facilities of this marina are definitely designed with the boater in mind. They have a big boater’s lounge with everything you might need during your stay along with a pool just outside. We used the loaner car to take a tour of the small town of Belhaven and make a stop at the grocery store. We were happy that the night we arrived there was a potluck planned and we got to meet all the boaters, about 30, who were staying at the marina, most of whom were also migrating north.

Elizabeth City knows the definition of hospitality. They welcome boaters to stay at their city docks for free and celebrate their arrival with a little wine and cheese party on many nights when there are enough boats to participate.

The next day was perfect for our cruise to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. This is the home of the Rose Buddies, a group who’ve been welcoming boaters to Elizabeth City since 1983 with wine and cheese gatherings, along with fresh cut roses for the first mates, whenever there are enough boats in the harbor. There are welcome flags flying all along the dock and a big “Harbor of Hospitality” sign facing the slips, and of course the famous rose bushes line the walkways. The city provides this dockage free of charge and there’s hardly a minute that the townspeople don’t go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Elizabeth City is also the last stop before entering the Dismal Swamp route north.

The Dismal Swamp was fascinating and lush, with rich canopies of Red Maples lining the waterway.

Although the name is foreboding, the Dismal Swamp isn’t really dismal at all. It’s lush with vegetation, aromatic with wild flowers lining the banks of the canal, and a visual treat with the bright green trees and tannin-rich water under bright blue skies. But then we’ve always had mostly sunny skies and warm weather when transiting this area. I guess that it would be “dismal” if it were dark, cloudy, cold, and raining. We left Elizabeth City in time to catch the morning bridge opening and timed our arrival to the first of two locks, on the canal, by adjusting our travel speed accordingly.

We decided to make the trip through the swamp a two-day adventure by stopping for the night at the free dock provided to boaters at the Visitor’s Center located mid-way through the swamp on the North Carolina side. This enabled us to really absorb the lush surroundings and peacefulness all night long.

Arriving in Elizabeth River and the Norfolk area is in stark contrast to the remote-feeling Dismal Swamp. Rather suddenly after the last lock, you’re met with the industrial port with its abundance of freighters and ships and work yards.

Only minutes after we exited the swamp, shortly after going through the second lock, we found ourselves rounding a bend and ever so quickly the very industrial area of Norfolk came into view. This reminded us of the last stretch of anchorages on the Tombigbee River, which is so remote and eerie. When you leave the last anchorage on the river you feel as if you’re coming out of a small, narrow, tunnel and almost instantly you find yourself at the foot of the expansive Mobile harbor with its bridges, freighters, cruise ships, and of course the city of Mobile itself. Well, this is the feeling we got here also and we savor, and feel fortunate to have had, the experience.

We docked for the night in Portsmouth, across the water from Norfolk, and left in the morning for our last stop, Dozier’s Regatta Point in the small town of Deltaville, Virginia, before reaching our final destination of Solomons, Maryland. This marina has wonderful facilities for boaters including a grand porch, with many rocking chairs for socializing, an inviting pool, and comfy boater’s lounge. You’d think you were at home here as the facilities make you feel that comfortable.

We find ourselves excited with anticipation, during our last two days in Deltaville, to be arriving at our seasonal homeport of Solomons for the summer before we again migrate back south in the fall. We’re looking forward to experiencing all that the Chesapeake Bay area has to offer with plenty of side trips and more opportunities for making new friends.