Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting Caught Up With the Blog

Okay now--we have pictures. Thank you for your patience! Somehow in all the boat preparation we misplaced our camara, so had to purchase a new one in Charleston.

Today is Day 10 (Nov. 28th) and the wind is blowing and a cold front is coming, but we are safely attached to a mooring at City Marina in St. Augustine, FL. John took this picture of the St. Augustine harbor last night. It's $20 to rent a mooring and with that fee you get access to hot showers, a laundry mat, dinghy dock, a shuttle boat to shore, and holding tank pump out. Such a deal! We'll stay here for a few days until the storm passes and the seas calm down. Then we're off to the Florida Keys.

These pictures are of our stay in the Ashley River, Charleston, SC. We anchor for free in this area across from the Charleston City Marina. Most of the boats here have no one aboard and seem to be in need of some attention. A guy who lives on one of the few inhabited boats here motored over in his dinghy on Thanksgiving and invited us to dinner on his boat. He said they call this anchorage "Water World."

We had Thanksgiving dinner aboard Caribbean Soul and were just cleaning up when the Water World guy motored up. So we thanked him for the invite, but didn't go over. We did go ashore later and got a cab to the Blind Tiger Bar and Grill downtown Charleston to watch the Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins in what John says was an ugly win. I don't know so much about football--I took my knitting. Here's Thanksgiving dinner on board. John still has on the headlamp he was using to repair some dark part of the boat while I roasted the turkey.

Then the next day (Nov. 25) we got up early to prepare the boat for another trip south off shore. The big project was to hoist John up the mast in a bosun's seat to install new halyards for the main and the jib. Well, all conditions were perfect--no wind, no waves--except that ol' puny Penny wasn't strong enough to crank John up the mast. I tried, but after struggling with a series of turns on the winch handle which didn't even lift John off the deck we knew something else had to be done. If we were going to go sailing, those halyards had to be installed and the only other option was for me to go up the mast--yikes! I had not even had my morning cup of coffee and here I was climbing into the bosun's seat being hoisted up the mast. Now that will wake you up! John didn't have any problem getting me up the mast and I really did okay--a little nervous, but got the job done. Yay!

John wanted to take a picture of me up the mast, but that would mean he'd have to go down below to get the camara--I strongly requested that he not do that so you'll just have to imagine what a 64-year-old lady in a bosun's seat at the top of a mast looks like.

So then we weighed anchor and headed out of Charleston Harbor.

And you can see the beautiful Cooper River Bridge in the background for hours and hours after we left the harbor.

The seas were good for sailing and all our equipment worked very well. The two boats in this picture are interesting. The big one on the left is a cargo ship being towed by the little dot on the right. The little dot is a full sized ocean going tugboat. I'm sure the bridge is about three stories high! Funny how things look so different out on the ocean even in the daylight. You can imagine how difficult it is at night when you can only see lights. We, however, have a new device called AIS (automatic identification system) that John installed with our chart plotter. All commercial vessels have to register with AIS and transmit information about where they are and how soon they will cross your path, etc. This is a wonderful thing--especially for nighttime sailing. You not only know what those lights in the distance are and where they are going but you can also radio them if you want. John radioed this sea tug when we were just 4 nautical miles away to ask if he could pick up our little sail boat on his radar. At first he said no, but then later called us back to say that he looked again and we were showing up as a little dot on his radar. I wanted to tell him that he was just a little green triangle on our chart, but the real message is that it's our responsibility to watch those big boats because they really can't see us little guys. Oh yes, and one more thing about this picture. Although you can't see it there is about 1/4 mile of towing cables between the huge ship and the tug. We watched them most of the afternoon and into the night. It was so great to have that AIS information!

This is what the deck of Caribbean Soul looks like when we travel off shore. John took this picture from the stern looking over the cockpit cover to the the bow. The inflatable dinghy is tied down along with a yellow can of disel fuel and a white one of fresh water. There's lots of water, water everywhere and lots of friendly dolphins who love to play in the bow wake.

We figured there must be some good fish in this sea too, but we've not had too much luck catching any. But our luck changed! John hooked up a shiny yellow Clark spoon to a handline trailed behind the boat. By midmorning, he landed what we think is a very handsome tuna. John filleted and I cooked it for lunch--it was terrific and you can't get fish any fresher than this! We didn't fish any more that day because we couldn't possibly eat any more! We will trail that line next time we're off shore, however.

That's all for now. We're thinking of all you guys.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Huddled Up in Charleston

Not much news from here.  We are still in Charleston waiting for another nice weather window.  Early last night we searched for a sports bar that would have the UNC v TN State men's basketball game, but no luck.  Back on the boat we got the game on our XM radio--yay!  Late night a huge thunderstorm whipped up on our little anchorage.  The anchor held well and Caribbean Soul got a nice fresh water wash down.  More later.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Charleston, SC

Caribbean Soul arrived in Charleston, SC today at 10:30AM after two days and two nights at sea. It was a great passage with perfect weather, but we're happy to relax and get a couple nights of sleep. While we're off shore John and I trade off watches--so I stand watch from 6 to 9 PM while John sleeps. Then John does a three hour watch while I sleep. It' a very effective way to sail at night, but we always feel a bit sleep deprived. I have promise pictures and will post some soon. Thanks for your patience with the pictures. We are happy adventurers aboard the sweet little sailing vessel Caribbean Soul.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sailing South from Beaufort

Well, finally we are under sail and heading out of Beaufort inlet at 9 am this morning. we figure it will take us a couple of days to get to Charleston, SC. Light winds out of the north and smooth seas--All of that is nice, but not very fast--averaging around 2.5 and 3 knots. It's about 10:40 am and we're just off ATlantic Beach! We did pick the perfect day to get going and test out the sails and to remember all the things you need to do to make the boat go. Just could not ask for better sea conditions! May need some engine assistance if we get any slower. We'll send a picture as soon as we remember how to do that. Thanks to all of you who help to make this adventure happen--especially our family who are so understanding of our desire to explore the big world in a small boat. More later.