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

   

First Time Experiences
By Kismet, Friday, January 1, 2010

We can all remember the first time we rode a bike without training wheels or the first time we drove a car all on our own and how exciting it was to have this first time thrill. Today these activities all seem so routine for me, more like a means to an end. First time experiences are wonderful and if we could recapture those moments, for repeat performances, then what was once a unique experience would not become so routine. Obviously this is not possible! This is why Lisa and I try anchorages, marinas and boating destinations that are new to us as much as we can. Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to return to places we’ve had good experiences with such as Key West and Destin, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina and Morehead City, North Carolina. However, if all we ever did was return to the same places, we think boating would become a routine event and we would not have many new revelations or memories.

Notice all the boats facing upstream on the Savannah dock except for Shore Thing. Ed came in after the current had changed and did the right thing by docking against the changed tide.

We think Savannah, Georgia, is one of those places we could revisit without things becoming routine and that’s because there is so much to do and see. Lisa and I have had the good fortune of visiting Savannah, by boat, twice before our return this year but we’ve stayed south of town both times. To make things more interesting, on our way south this year, we decided to navigate the eight miles off the AICW up the Savannah River to the downtown city dock. Because the 300-foot face dock is first-come first-served with no pre-reservation available we improved our odds of getting a spot by using the web. We found a Savannah River web cam (www.wtoc.com) that updated a shot of the dock every minute. This webcam enabled us to see whether or not there was dock space available before we made a commitment to the eight-mile trek. We saw on the web cam there was plenty of room for Kismet and our buddy boat Bella Luna so our only concern was if there were any boats just ahead of us. The more miles we put behind us the more anxious we became, especially when a sailboat showed up and secured some of the face dock. We witnessed this on the live web cam. As we finally approached downtown Savannah, things did not look as good as we thought because of a 120-foot sailboat (not shown in the web cam) taking up a third of the footage with its long bowsprit barely visible on the webcam shot. The closer we got it became evident there would be room for at least one boat; two 40-foot boats would have been real tight with a lot of overlap, especially while fighting the strong current during docking. Kismet went in first, was secured and we met with the captains of Peacekeeper (the 120 footer), and two other sailboats. As Bella Luna jockeyed for a position, evaluating the possibilities the captains on shore decided to move everyone up and back to create more space. The two sailboats and Kismet moved up, creating 15 more feet while the huge Peacekeeper moved back 20 feet. With the newly created footage on the dock Louis skillfully docked Bella Luna behind us, with very little room to spare..

The camaraderie of boaters was definitely in full force this day as we all worked together for the good of another fellow boater. Granted we were only creating dock space but this first time experience would never have happened for us if we had not ventured past what was familiar to us. In the course of the next several days we experienced the same routine again as fellow boaters from Foreign Exchange, Shore Thing and Reel Estate made their way to the Savannah Downtown Dock after Peacekeeper, the large schooner left.

There were open tours of Peacemaker that Lisa and I took advantage of, their pilothouse is almost as big as our entire boat.

We spent three, fun filled, days taking in beautiful Savannah from this new vantage point, only a few steps from town. We walked the beautiful town squares, went to an art show in a square, tried two restaurants which were new to us (Six Pence Pub and Huey’s) and had happy hours with friends on the dock with the background of the city at our doorstep. The Savannah stop, due to the decision to try the downtown dock, had a lot of first time experiences for a third visit, we had great fun.

Here we are having a happy happy hour on the Savannah city dock, but it appears we’ve blocked the entire dock from foot traffic.

The nice part about not being on a rigid schedule, as we travel south, is the ability to explore areas off of the most direct route. In our case we had heard from friends about a unique marina and restaurant 49 miles south of Savannah and seven miles up the Medway River called Sunbury Crab Company Restaurant and Marina. Sunbury is a family operation owned by Elaine and Barney and run with the expert help of their two sons. Sunbury Crab Company has a classic laid back Key West flavor and after our fun packed one-night stay we all gave this establishment a thumbs up.

Our four-boat caravan to Sunbury included our friends Bob and Charlotte on Foreign Exchange, Ed and Linda on Shore Thing, Louis and Diane Wade on Bella Luna and of course Kismet. Each of us were experiencing this magical place for the very first time, together. After an eight-hour day on the water we made our way up to the Key West style, open-air restaurant and bar, located right on the water, for some cold beer. Elaine said the restaurant is usually closed on Mondays but she agreed to open up for our group of eight and we were delighted. Elaine took our first order of drinks and told us to help ourselves to any additional ones we wanted. All she asked was that we kept track of what we drank for payment when she returned. Now, this is a really laid back and a very unique first time experience.

Here’s the happy group coming back to the boats after spending some quality time at Sunbury’s outdoor bar.

When it was time for dinner Barney along with his two sons prepared our food. The portions of grouper, crab, trout and ribeye steaks were large, the food was excellent, the service exceptional and all this plus reasonable prices. We all had to go out of our way to get to and enjoy our Sunbury experience but I’d have to say it was one of the most rewarding first time marina stops we’ve had in awhile. It was rewarding because we were able to experience a local gem of culture, local cuisine and meet a hard working family who went way out of their way to take care of us and make us feel at home.

Sunbury’s, it just doesn’t get much better!

The next morning, after saying our goodbyes to Foreign Exchange and Shore Thing, Kismet along with Bella Luna, continued on to Cumberland Island, Georgia. Cumberland Island is Georgia’s largest barrier island and was once occupied by the Thomas and Lucy Carnegie family during the late 1800’s and early 20th century and since 1971 it has been a National Park. Cumberland Island sits in the southeast corner of Georgia and boarders Florida.

Lisa and I have anchored off Cumberland Island two previous times, and have found something new to explore each time. On our last visit here we saw wild horses, armadillos and the ruins of the old Carnegie Estate, called Dungeness, at the other end of the island, all wonderful first time experiences.

Anchored peacefully off Cumberland Island we saw a rookery of Great Egrets and Storks.

I’d never seen so much hunting gear in one place before. Check out the end of the dock where we had to make our way through the maze of bags to get to our dinghies.

This time we decided to explore a different anchorage that offered a new area of the island to explore by foot. In the Skipper Bob Guide they talk about an anchorage up the Brickhill River, where you can anchor in front of the Plum Orchard Estate. This was our anchorage for the night. Plum Orchard was built by Lucy Carnegie and given to her son and his bride as a wedding gift in 1898. That’s what I’d call a really nice wedding gift! Always on the prowl for these new experiences we just couldn’t pass this stop up.

Because we had dropped our hook so late in the day we decided to go ashore the next morning. It was a good thing because when we approached the Plum Orchard dock it was loaded with about 60 hunters along with their gear waiting to be picked up by the St. Mary's ferryboat. We found out that there had been a managed hunt for wild boar and deer that had ended that morning, so our timing was almost perfect since, during a managed hunt, they close the island for safety reasons.

Plum Orchard was a grand old lady built by the Carnegie family and eventually donated, along with ninety percent of the island, to make a National Seashore Park back in 1971.

After negotiating past the hunters and their gear on the dock, we found out that they had bagged a total of 13 animals (6 boar and 7 deer). As we continued up towards the mansion we found that Plum Orchard has the appearance and feel of a grand palace and to think it was just a winter retreat for the Carnegie family. The mansion was closed during our visit but we did walk around the grounds, along its expansive front porch, peered into the windows and tried to visualize how the really wealthy lived 100 years ago. Keep in mind that the only way onto the island is the same as it has always been, by boat

St Marys, Georgia was our last stop before heading into Jacksonville, Florida to recharge our batteries and ourselves before continuing on to the St Johns River for a month long cruise. St. Marys, like Sunbury, is off the beaten track, but only by five miles. We anchored in the middle of the St Marys River, just east of the town dock. I mention this because the Georgia/Florida border runs through the center of the river, like so many other state’s dividing lines. After securing a good anchorage in the well-protected harbor, along with about thirty other boats, we dinghied into town for a tour of the third oldest city in Georgia, another first for us.

St. Marys is visible in the background of this ever so pleasant anchorage.

The real beauty of cruising is the never-ending opportunity to explore towns, rivers, islands, creeks and marinas we’ve never been to before. When we see or have an experience such as those we’ve highlighted from Sunbury, the downtown Savannah face dock or Plum Orchard Mansion they are locked away in our memories as first time experiences never to be repeated quite the same again. If we are lucky enough, our return stop may be better then the first but they can never ever be the same and that’s why a first visit is so special for us and why we tend to seek them out. Lisa and I find that the novelty of first time experiences can aid in keeping our lives interesting and keep our cruising lifestyle from becoming stale or routine.