Cruising

Celebrating Holidays and People.

We were at the Trent Port Marina in Trenton Ontario on the bay of Quinte. Trent Port Marina is only a year or two old, and it is deluxe. But that’s not the story here.

Canada Day, July 1, 2016. We were ready to enjoy fireworks over the bay. Our transient slip almost at the end of the dock was going to afford us ringside seats for the fireworks display scheduled for this evening.  I had walked up to the marina to use the facilities, and was on my way back. I noticed a Grandma taking a picture of Grandpa and two boys. Being from the Midwest, we talk to anybody, I offered to take the picture so Grandma would be included. The group was very thankful. Then Grandpa said,”let me give you one of the boy’s cards.” Now Loopers and boaters seem to always be giving out boat cards, so I didn’t think much about it. Then Grandpa starts explaining, these are the Tebworth Brothers, Wyatt and Marshall. They play “Blue grass” music. We spoke about music and boats and fireworks for a while and ended up back on the boat all of us watching a great Canada Day fireworks display. No longer Grandpa and Grandma but Doug and Barb. The senior Tebworth asked if we needed anything and would we like to have a day off the boat. “We will pick you up and show you around or take you to a store if you need to pick up anything. How about coming to the house for lunch and the boys can play for you.” My answer? “Sure, but I got to check with the boss first.”

The four were there to pick us up right at 10:00. We cruised up the road to Lock 6 in Frankford to see what to expect, then back to the house for a great lunch. Wyatt and Marshall were happy to show us around the house. Barb and Doug put a great meal together, with lots of laughs, and now music. Even Cynthia and I had a chance on the standup Bass. Cynthia did pretty well, she’s got a place on the bus. I will have to drive and carry equipment. IMG_2753 During the afternoon’s conversation, we found out the boys have a fishing boat that they had purchased with some of their earnings. They like to get out on the Trent river, but have never been through a lock, also Doug and Barb have lived most of their lives in the area and have never been through a lock either. Well! That’s easy to remedy. We checked and arranged schedules then left Trent Port Marina a day early and all of us spent the day on Bright Angel. We went through 6 locks and tied up at the Frankford lock for the evening.

Later that evening the boys, Doug and Barb, plus their son Rob, brought dinner and instruments. Satisfied from another great meal we were ready for some “Bluegrass” music. We were not disappointed.

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Lady walking her dog stopped to enjoy some music.

Again, how blessed are we to meet these people. All along our way it has been the people we have met that make this trip the adventure of a lifetime.

Find out more about the Tebworth Brothers, visit their website TEBWORTHBROTHERS.COM or Facebook at Tebworth Brothers or you can check them out on Youtube.

 

 

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Cruising

Restarting the Journey (Can’t Stop Believing)

Wow!

We stopped at Lightkeepers Marina in Little River, SC in October of 2015. It was supposed to be just for a long weekend to visit with friends we met in the Spring. Now 5-1/2 months later we are getting ready to move again.

During our time here in Little River, SC we’ve met some very nice people and developed friendships that will last for our lifetimes.

Cynthia and I both have bittersweet emotions about restarting our adventures. It’s almost like beginning again. When we left Grand Haven, MI in August of 2014, (do you believe how long it’s been) we were apprehensive about our journey but excited about the adventure. Now we find ourselves having the same feelings. We are looking forward to more adventures and seeing new sights but leaving our good friends is hard.

We’ve been blessed to meet and enjoy everyone’s company, but now it’s time to reconnect with old friends, even if it’s only for a short time. Yes a short time, we plan to leave the Grand Haven area and head back South again. We live on the boat and need to follow the warm weather.

Over the winter months we’ve explored the area and found that we still have plenty to see. We have visited gardens, coastlines, haunted restaurants, and a historic NASCAR racetrack.

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Brentwood Wine Bistro

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Darlington Raceway Museum

We’ve spent holidays with new friends, and had a surprise visit from our oldest son. We’ve even joined a health and fitness center.

We always said that if we knew a place well enough that we didn’t need to ask directions it was time to leave. Well for the most part that’s what has happened. We can find most of what we need in our little area without asking, so it’s time to move on.

In preparations for starting we’ve checked and run the engines, filled water tanks, pumped the head, and looked for the best fuel prices, about 100 miles north of here.

We’ve been doing other jobs, varnishing teak, washing decks, checking the dinghy, and all the regular activities, taxes, meds, last-minute on-line orders, and saying goodbyes.

Some will be harder than others.

As luck would have it and the time of year what it is, other cruisers and Loopers are beginning their pilgrimages also, we’ve heard from fellow cruisers and many are moving through the area or on their way, so as we say goodbye to new friends we will picking up with others we haven’t seen in sometime.

Our long-range goal is to “cross our wake” in Grand Haven, MI and earn our Gold Looper Flag. Our short-term goal is to leave the dock. Cynthia was reminded of a Girl Scout motto, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold.”

We are off to seek new friendship treasures, watch for further updates.

 

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Cruising

High Tide / Low Tide

Growing up on the Great Lakes, tides were something that we learned about in science class. Something about the moon and gravity causing the water depth to change.
Now on our great adventure we have experienced tides first hand.

The best thing that has happened for us are floating docks. Floaters keep us and the boat at the same level as the water. They make it easier to tie the boat and get on and off.

Here at Lightkeepers Marina in Little River, SC our biggest worry with the tides are getting from the floating docks to the shore. Sometimes the ramp is an easy climb sometimes it feels like we are climbing a mountain.

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Low tide, get a running start.

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High tide, a nice easy climb

To get an idea of the change in water levels, look at the plant on the wall.

Here in Little River we have about 4-1/2 foot tides. We’ve stayed in marinas where there was very little change in depth and we’ve also been in marinas where we ended up sitting in the mud.

It’s always an adventure.

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Tangier Island, VA

As we came closer to Chesapeake Bay we asked what areas we should visit. Tangier Island was suggested a number of times as a destination. Some of the reasons were its quaint, it’s like stepping back in time, the locals have a different accent. No matter what the reason we headed for Tangier island on the eastern side of the bay.

View as we enter Tangier harbor

Tour boat dock and harbor as we exit on eastern side of the island.

Crab shacks

Crab shacks

With ALL my experiences  island residents, about 3 or 4, the real residents, not the ones that spend 2 or 3 months at a time. But the residents that live year round on the island. They  are an independent lot. They have to be. Islanders depend on themselves and other islanders.  Even with the advent and accessibility of mainland conviences there is a fellowship of the island.  These are people who even thought separated by a few miles of water have kept their heritage and way of life separate from the mainlands. This is the Tangier Island we found.

Family style dinner, ham, crab cakes, potato salad, cole slaw, pickled beets, clam fritters, beans, and fresh bread (very yeasty) and tea. No alcohol on the island

Family style dinner, ham, crab cakes, potato salad, cole slaw, pickled beets, clam fritters, beans, and fresh bread (very yeasty) and tea. No alcohol on the island

Looking out the channel from the Parks Marina

Looking out the channel from the Parks Marina

Parks Marina is the only marina listed in the guide books. From my research I found that its good to call ahead to let them know your coming, however, don’t expect to talk to anyone. Don’t let that bother you they will find room. I did just that and left a message.  We were meeting our friends on “Jet Stream” at the island. Jet Stream arrived at the island about an 1-1/2 before us and by listening to their conversation on the radio knew that they were at the dock and tied up. I called on the radio to give them our location and time of arrival.  Mr. Parks must have heard the conversation and called me on the phone. “Just come in behind your friends and I will meet you on the dock.” That’s what we did.

Second night a storm came through. These crab shacks were opposite where me parked.

Second night a storm came through. These crab shacks were opposite where me parked.

Crab shacks with extra pots

Crab shacks with extra pots

What you first notice about Tangier when entering the the harbor are the Crab Shacks on both sides of the channel. Small garages on docks with extra traps and tools. At each dock were either the larger work boats or a skiff. We also noticed that the harbor was a working harbor and there is lots of traffic. From the skiffs to tour boats, different work boats, and pleasure craft. Mr. Parks came out on the dock shortly after we arrived to help with lines. Milton Parks was no “spring chicken”. Parks had recently turned 84. He still runs the marina and is the only employee. “I do it all”, he said without emphasis on it. “That’s how we work here. My wife used to help out, but she died a couple of years ago.”  I followed him to what I thought was the office but ended up in his living room talking about anything and everything and nothing to do with sign in and pay. “I will catch up with you before you go”, he said. The phone rang and I made my exit.

Milton met us on the dock. That's his regular mode of transportation.

Milton met us on the dock. That’s his regular mode of transportation.

Milton Parks putting the moves on Cynthia

Milton Parks putting the moves on Cynthia

These are the “Waterman”.  These men may be more specialized then their ancestors, but they still make a living from the bay. I spoke with two men who had “taken the day off”. Instead of crabbing they were working the oyster bed. In previous generations the Waterman made a living from combining everything from hunting water fowl, crabbing, oysters, and fishing. Now I saw fishing charters, some commercial fishing, crabbing, and oysters. Seasonal and size restrictions to preserve the fishing have made locals look to other forms of income. Tourism has become active and there are restaurants, gift shops, rentals and Bed and Breakfasts to beacon the tourist dollar.

Work boat passing by

Work boat passing by

Another form of transportation.

Another form of transportation.

Heading to the oyster bed on his day off

Heading to the oyster bed on his day off

From our mooring we were able to observe the activities of the harbor. Typical work day for a waterman began about 4:00A.M. (yes I was up) I watched as they prepared for the day and left the docks before 5:00A.M. They headed out into wind and waves that we had decided not to attempt. Later that day we spoke with some people that had come on smaller boats and were stuck on the island because of the weather. I learned that the men were going to stay with the boats and the rest of the group had chartered a fishing boat to take them to the mainland. I bet that was a ride they wont forget.

Milton Parks' boat named after his Mother.

Milton Parks’ boat named after his Mother.

Tangier was visited by John Smith in 1608, during his exploration of the Chesapeake Bay. It lies about 10 miles off the southeastern coast of the Chesapeake, about 40 miles north of Cape Charles MD.  The island was used by the British during the War of 1812 as a base of operation while they harassed American shipping. During the Civil

Working the oyster bed

Working the oyster bed

War, although part of Virginia the population of Tangier did not believe in slavery and sided with the Union. The islander boast of visits from presidents and celebrities.

Located at one of the cemetaries.

Located at one of the cemetaries.

The names Parks, Thomas, Pruitt, and Charnock, are prominent on the island as we could see in the family plot cemeteries that are found in many of the back yards. The main street hasn’t changed a lot since just after World War II. Pictures from that era look about the same as they do now, except now one of the main means of transport are golf carts. The streets are narrow, only about as wide as two carts. Keep your hands in as you pass. Bicycles and scooters are also numerous along with the various 4-wheelers that are becoming more common. There are a few cars or trucks along with emergency vehicles.There is also an airport on the island and besides boat is then only other way to get to the island.

A family plot

A family plot

We shared the rent of a golf cart with our friends and explored the island, to the south end and a nice sandy beach along a trail that

Many of the founding families names on the headstones

Many of the founding families names on the headstones

brought to the airport and down the side of the runway. Through some of the side streets, just wide enough for one cart. Over bridges that cross the tidal estuaries to residential areas. The ground has to be 3 feet above sea level to accommodate a home. Land is a premium and wind and waves are eroding the island at over 5 acres a year. Hurricane Sandy flooded most of the south end of the island.

Beach information

Beach information

Bridge to the beach and beach trail

Bridge to the beach and beach trail

Trail that let toward the airport

Trail that let toward the airport

During our exploration we visited the museum, one of the 5 restaurants, passed the school. K thru 12, and visited a number of gift shops.

The islanders have a dialect of their own. It’s considered old English from the Cornwall area and has a unique sound. After a time chatting with some ladies in the grocery store they became a little more comfortable with us. We could tell because the accent became more prominent and at times we needed to have them repeat what they said so we could understand. Of course I also had to repeat at times because they couldn’t understand me either. Milton Parks told us that when he joined the Coast Guard in 1948 they had to teach him to speak again so that he could be understood on the radio.

One of the restaurants and the ladies in the carts offered tours of the island.

One of the restaurants and the ladies in the carts offered tours of the island.

Snack stand and rentals

Snack stand and rentals

Looking up the main street

Looking up the main street

Oyster shells outside one of the Crab shacks

Oyster shells outside one of the Crab shacks

Really raw oysters

Really raw oysters

Obey traffic laws

Obey traffic laws

After two days we left the island and traveled the short distance northeast up the Tangier Sound to Crisfield, Maryland. My first time in Maryland, and Cynthia’s first since 1968. We will see if it has changed at all.

Waterman heading out for the day

Waterman heading out for the day

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Georgetown, SC

Traveling north on the ICW from McClellanville, our next destination was Georgetown SC. We moored “Bright Angel” at Harbor Walk Marina in Georgetown. Close to downtown and within bicycle rides of groceries and other supplies. We were able to restock, supply, and reconnect with others we’ve met along the way. Plus make some new friends and explore the area.

Gated opening to a leased area for duck hunting

Gated opening to a leased area for duck hunting

Osprey nests. We learned that young will come back to the same area and build nests close to parents

Osprey nests. We learned that young will come back to the same area and build nests close to parents

While at the dock we met Miss Fran and Cap’n Rod, of Cap’n Rod’s Plantation Tours. Cap’n Rod grew up in the area and taught History. Rod is very knowledgeable and proud of his hometown. Miss Fran was not only very knowledgeable  of the area but also kind enough to take me to the lumber yard and also brought a number of transients to the grocery store. We’ve been lucky to have all the help from locals along our journey.

Front porch for rocking on a hot afternoon

Front porch for rocking on a hot afternoon

Oak trees planted in the 18th century shade much of the town

Oak trees planted in the 18th century shade much of the town

The “low country” of South Carolina is full of history, one morning on a bike ride I noticed many of the homes have plaques that state the circa date they were built. It was not uncommon to see homes from the late 1700’s along the large live oak lined streets. While traveling on Front street, I saw a plaque on a building that identified it as the location of the British Headquarters during the Revolutionary War. I had to think for a minute about that.

Georgetown is the third oldest town in South Carolina, founded in 1729 and became an official port of entry in 1732. Like most of the port towns along the Carolinas. Georgetown boasts that famous pirates frequented the area.

Scott and K.C. from Jet Stream

Scott and K.C. from Jet Stream

While docked in Georgetown we were joined by another Looper boat, “Jet Stream”, Scott and K.C. Calkin. Jet Steam was about to cross their wake after 5 years of traveling on the “Great Loop”, . We wanted to do something special in honor of their achievement. We booked a tour of the area with Cap’n Rod’s Plantation Tours.

Some of the former plantation properties are still in the original families

Some of the former plantation properties are still in the original families

Former Drs. house known to do surgery on the kitchen table

Former Dr. house known to do surgery on the kitchen table

We had a group of 6 plus Toots and

Canals all dug by hand.

Canals all dug by hand.

instead of going out with others on the 50′ tour boat Rod picked us up in a 20′ deck boat for a special tour. The confluence of the Waccamaw, Black, and Pee Dee Rivers is at the head of Winyah Bay. This made Georgetown the hub of plantations that produced Rice and Indigo. In the 1840’s there was over 40,000 acres of plantations and 780 miles of canals. The plantations were all operated by slave labor and the canals dug by slave labor. By the 1840’s ½ the rice consumed in the United States came from these plantations.

Plantation home

Plantation home, story behind the house the kids did not want the plantation and were going to sell it after parents died. Parents donated the plantation and made a wildlife preserve.

Parents get their way

Parents get their way

In Cap’n Rod’s

Cyprus trees,

Cyprus trees,

canal dug to shorten the length of time to get product to the river for shipment.

canal dug to shorten the length of time to get product to the river for shipment.

deck-boat we were able to get into the areas that the large tour boat could not. For over three hours we traveled into back waters and on some of the old canals to see old plantation houses and now wild life refuges. We learned that after the war the plantations could not economically produce at the rate they did before. The industry of the area changed from rice and indigo to wood and paper. Now many of the areas that were once rice paddies are now leased for duck hunting.

It was a great evening.

Sunset still looks good even over the papermill

Sunset still looks good even over the papermill

We had a great time in Georgetown and look forward to stopping again on our travels.

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Just another boring day

Mondays on board “Bright Angel” can be just like everyone else. The weekend is over and most people we are getting back into the regular routine. We like to travel during the week when the waterways are not as crowded. But this Monday we are still in Portsmouth, VA on the Elizabeth River right across from Norfolk, VA. We’ve stayed put for a number of reasons but our major reason is we’ve completed our goal of reaching the Chesapeake Bay, and now we have to set some new goals and decide where to go next.

Our sometime travel companions on board “Jet Stream” are having some work completed and we are spending some of our time with them, they have a rental car. We’ve gone to the store and out to dinner. Today “Jet Stream” took the rental car and went to explore the east side of the bay by Cape Charles. We decided to hang here and get a few things done. That is Cynthia is cleaning and organizing, which means I wont be able to find anything.

Feeling sorry for myself and bored, I was plopped on the couch reading a book. When Cynthia called from the fly-bridge. She was hanging out some wash.

“Hey look at this! They’re moving one of the Destroyers across the river.”

Turning the ship

Turning the ship

Sure enough, The repair facility was moving a warship away from the pier. We are not sure if it’s a destroyer or not, but it’s big and it’s a warship.

The tug on the right stayed off making sure everything went to plan

The tug on the right stayed off making sure everything went to plan

Tugboats moving into position

Tugboats moving into position

Braving the heat. We both watched as tug boats maneuvered the ship out into the river and back. About ½ way through Dearest said “I should get my camera.” A short time later I thought, turn on the radio and see if we can here any communications.

The blue/white boat is a pleasure craft that just moved through

The blue/white boat is a pleasure craft that just moved through

While Cynthia took some pictures we listened to the radio.

Then we heard a hail, “North Bound Pleasure Craft, North bound pleasure craft, this is Warship Seven Two” and again the same hail. “North bound pleasure craft, North bound pleasure craft, this is Warship Seven Two” Soon we heard “This is Warship Seven Two..no response”.

We wondered what would happen now. The ship was across the channel and not a lot of room on either side. With tug boats attached to the ship and others moving around to direct the ship to where they wanted it to go.

Then we heard on the radio “Warship Seven Two, Warship Seven Two, this is North bound pleasure craft, we will stay back here out of the way.” The reply came back that the pleasure craft could pass but they had to stay on the other side of the channel. “North bound pleasure craft this is Warship Seven Two, we are not under command and will be in the channel for another 45 minutes you can pass but stay as far to the other side as possible.” Sure enough soon we saw the pleasure craft coming down river close to the Portsmouth side.

We also heard a barge and tug communicate saying “we will come through but with plenty of steam.” We watched the diesel smoke from the stacks of the tug and a barge start moving down river gaining speed while it passed.

Barge and Tug gaining speed while it passes

Barge and Tug gaining speed while it passes

So, even on days with nothing to do, something happens.

Until next time, even the boring days can have plenty of excitement.

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Did you miss me?

WOW!

I have been gone for a while. Just started to look for the last entry on the blog and it shows as Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. Could have sworn I posted about Gulfport but I guess not.

Lots has happened, some great, some not so great, some scary, some reassuring. Some we can’t talk about yet.

We will bring you up to speed on our adventures and get more in-depth on some of the sites and places we’ve seen and things we’ve done.

First, just to let you know we are currently in Ft. Pierce, Florida and have started to head up the east coast. Our current plan is to move slowly and check out Chesapeake Bay this summer. Then in the fall head our way back to Florida and possibly the Bahamas when winter comes. It’s all tentative now but that is the plan. For now.

But first.

When we arrived in Ft. Pierce we ran into some other Loopers that have finished the Loop and now have their boat for sale. Their boat is also a Jefferson similar to ours. Jack, the owner, was telling a story of how while on the Tennessee River close to the Shiloh Battleground someone from a marina close by took a picture of their boat. They liked the picture so much they posted it in their blog. Former owners, reading the blog entry, sent them a message asking when they had changed the dinghy position on the roof. Going back to his blog entry he realized that the marina person took a picture of us instead.

IMG_1511Turned out pretty good, don’t you think.

Another quick story

While staying at Paradise Marina in North Fort Myers. Toots and I would regularly walk the area. One of our neighbors is Tessa Setser. Tess’ business is Sea By Sailing. She charters her sailboat and you find more information  at http://www.seabysailing.com.

That day I couldn’t find my regular sun glasses. So I grabbed a pair of extras that cover regular glasses. Tess saw me and commented, “if I had a Buick I would fit right in with the rest of the old farts around here.”

Tess and me

Tess and me

We took the picture in front of Ford but the effect is the same. Chicks love the “blu-blockers”

We will add some other stories of our adventures soon. Until next time, Smooth Sailing.

If you would like to see what I’ve been reading look for me on Goodreads

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