Vero Beach, Florida - April, 2008: Misty takes a swim
After a nice stay, we left West Palm Beach in ideal conditions with m/v Gold Watch (Barbara and Chuck). That night, we anchored in Peck Lake and Chuck, Olga and Barbara took the dinghy ashore to cross the sand dunes over to the Atlantic and walk the beach there. Unfortunately, the surf was too strong to do any swimming. Oh well.
We then went on to Vero Beach , FL where we took a mooring for a couple of nights and that's where Misty became adventurous. So far, our little cat has been an ongoing source of entertainment and an exemplary sailor. She has pretty good sea legs and whenever the engine starts, she goes into her carrying case to sleep off the long passages. Because she's such a sociable cat, we take her visiting other boats when at anchor and she loves it. As soon as we call her, she climbs into her carrying case and waits for us to bring her over in the dinghy.
While at Vero Beach , FL , Mystic Bond was rafted together with Gold Watch which Misty had often visited at anchor. She was quite thrilled to be so close to her friends and be able to jump onto Gold Watch from our boat with little effort from the side decks. After her first jump, we even spent an inordinate amount of time trying to facilitate her passages back and forth with improvised gang planks between the two boats. In the end, she preferred to do it her way and suffered the consequences! At one point, she decided to jump from Mystic Bond's aft deck to Gold Watch's fly-bridge, some six feet away (three up and three over). She did manage to leap the distance, but the wax coating on the gelcoat (Chuck does take good care of his boat) did her in. As her paws slipped on the smooth surface, she fell between the two boats with one hell of a yelp.
She started swimming forward while Andre and Chuck dashed quickly to the swim platform and Olga ran to grab the fish net we had bought for just such an occasion. The guys called her and she turned around to swim from the bow back to the swim platform where Chuck picked her up. Once aboard, she slipped through his fingers and dashed into their main salon to shake herself off, spraying salt water all over their beautiful upholstery and joinery work. You never saw a cat so p..off! All we saw were two big eyes and front paws churning water at an extraordinary speed. We now know she can swim very well and fast. To add insult to injury, we had to give her a shower to get rid of the salt water on her fur. Check out the photo gallery to see how she looked afterward.
After this adventure, we went to New Smyrna where Bill and Joyce on board m/v Sea Smoke caught up with us, only to say goodbye again as they were putting the boat in storage and leaving for home in northern Michigan. We had met Sea Smoke and Annie (the airedale that Misty loves to hate) in Punta Gorda and had connected a couple of times thereafter. They are wonderfull people full of life, good humour and, like us, they appreciate good wine and food. The highlight of our evening in New Smyrna was a Lebanese feast put on by Barbara and Chuck and shared via "video-conference". Isn't technology wonderfull? Connected visually and by audio with their son and friends in Maine , both parties cooked a sumptuous Lebanese supper exchanging recipe tips, a few well placed barbs while they cooked and several toasts with Arak , the national liquor. Everyone pitched in and Olga was even coached on how to make stuffed grape leaves. Once all the work was done, everyone in both locations enjoyed a veritable feast and the pleasure of sharing it on a virtual basis with friends and family. The internet is certainly an amazing tool.
St. Augustine: Loop Closure Reprise - April 24, 2008
After this great evening, we went on to St. Augustine , where we had another adventure; this time it was the boat that took the brunt of it, resulting in some cosmetic damage. Unfortunately, another boat was involved and received some damage as well. As we were attempting to dock in a very constricted fairway, we were re-directed at the last minute to another slip by the harbour master. The current was running at 3.5 knots and despite our best attempts to control the boat, we were literally "swung" sideways against another boat and eventually came to rest against a big dock pylon. We lost part of our side railing and most of our pride as, to date, we've never had an incident like this involving another boat. Now we remember why we pay the exorbitant insurance premiums that we do!
We eventually got both boats secured and cheered up again quickly when our friends Jan, Joe and Mike showed up for a belated Loop Closure party. We did it justice and after some champagne and the gift of a brand new AGCLA Gold burgee, we caught up on each other's adventures and played tourist around the city with them.
Joe and Jan gave us our new Gold Burgee
Celebrating our Loop closure with lots of friends
Walking old St. Augustine
Old architecture with spanish tones
Savanah, Georgia, April 2008
We continued travelling north with Gold Watch to Savannah , GA where we stayed at the town wall and had a good visit. We stopped at many beautiful anchorages along the way and the weather was cooperative. We also added a new buddy boat to our fleet with Janice and Eddie aboard m/v Eagle's Nest, a very elegant Defever 49 from Mississippi . For the next several hundred miles, they were our travelling companions along the waterway and we all enjoyed their company and Janice's terrific hors d'oeuvres.
Beaufort, South Carolina - April, 2008
One of the highlights of our recent travels was our stay at Chuck and Claria Gorgen's house near Beaufort (that's pronounced Bewfert) in South Carolina . They have a wonderful house in an exclusive water front development. When the land was parcelled, the developer applied for dock permits and immediately built beautiful docks for each property. As it turns out, most of the houses have yet to be built and Chuck has become the "harbour master" for this terrific venue just off the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) close to Beaufort. We ended up as one of six boats at different docks around their house, all of us invited to visit with Chuck and Claria. They certainly exemplified the best of southern hospitality, organizing a traditional shrimp boil one night and a pot luck the second night. They are wonderful hosts and very experienced cruisers themselves. We hope to see them this summer as they make their way up north to undertake the Downeast Circle Route around Maine and the Maritime Provinces .
New Bern, North Carolina, April 2008
After this lovely interlude at Chuck and Claria's, we anchored out several nights, with a stop at Southport , SC and then made our way to New Bern , NC . We stayed there a week, replacing the damaged side rail and doing boat maintenance, enjoying the town and saying goodbye to the crews on Eagle's Nest and Gold Watch .
Our only adventure in New Bern was the rescue of Little Peep, a duckling which had strayed from mom and could not get back because of high winds. At the urging of Barbara, the soft heart, Andre managed to catch Little Peep and introduce it to Misty who was quite curious but unimpressed by such a little bird. Barbara took her back to the other side of the marina where she rejoined a few brothers and sisters and mom of course.
Since New Bern we have been travelling alone, making our way up to the Chesapeake Bay . After travelling so many miles in good company with other boats such as Two Can, 5th Quarter, Gold Watch and Eagle's Nest , it's actually a bit lonely. The weather has also turned a bit on us and we are encountering more delays due to heavy weather systems, "from Canada " of course. While seas have not been kind, the boat is handling well and Misty continues to soldier along with good sea legs. When things get a bit too choppy, she just jumps on your lap, wherever you are, and expects to be cuddled and reassured that she is still appreciated.
We will spend a few days in the Chesapeake and then move up the coast to New York and the trip up the Hudson River and Erie Canal . Wind and weather permitting, we hope to reach Lake Ontario by mid-June when we will publish our next update.
Olga and André on board m/v Mystic Bond.