Home again, home again, jiggity jig

We crossed our wake!

My favorite parts of this trip – places, people, and activities.

Canada, Canada Canada!  From the minute we started down the canal system, I fell in love with Canada.  The Trent Severn was full of little towns like the towns we grew up in and stirred many fond memories in us both.  The best was yet to come as the Georgian Bay was pristine and beautiful with its clear water, tiny bays, and forests.  The North Channel was awe inspiring – the rock formations were incredibly impressive especially when viewed from the air when we did the 1000 islands tour.  I loved kayaking when we were at anchor, and fishing off the boat and off rock outcroppings I reached with my kayak. Beautiful Baie Fine – we could stay there for weeks. We saw so much there and feel like we barely touched the surface.  Canada is on our list of places we must revisit.

Once we came down out of Canada, there was a lot to see and do.  Door County fish boils, Mackinac Island with the horse drawn carriages, Milwaukee (my favorite city), Chicago, and then the river system!  The first part of our river journey was difficult, but once we connected with some looper friends to travel together, it became a shared adventure with some hardships made easier because they were endured together.  It was a huge accomplishment to everyone in our little 7 boat flotilla to make it through the last lock just as the sun was setting, and tie up at the wonderful Green Turtle Bay resort.  We celebrated together, and then one by one, continued down the river system at our own pace or with one or two other boats.   The Kentucky lake and river system south of Green Turtle bay was beautiful, pristine, and a much easier trip than when we first moved down the river.

Another adventure with a Looper flotilla awaited us when we made the 24 hour crossing from Apalachicola to Dunedin Florida.  We were stuck in Apalachicola with a bunch of Loopers for several days before we got a weather window to cross, and it got pretty cold. The trip across the gulf was a bit scary since we would be motoring not only all day, but all night long into the next morning, however we made it with our little group with no issues, and celebrated with bloody mary’s when we arrived.  Once we made it to Dunedin, it was the warm and gorgeous west coast of Florida for the rest of the trip down to our winter dockage in the Florida Keys, at Tavernier.

This spring as we traveled up the ICW on our way home, we had some issues with our prop shaft, but the delay allowed us to spend some fun time in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Once the boat was fixed we had a crazy day travelling through Miami and Fort Lauderdale on one of the first nice weekends in boating season.  After leaving Florida, we enjoyed our time on the ICW all the way through to the marina where we first bought the Quo Vadimus in Virginia.  We took a side trip on the Potomac where we enjoyed visiting Old Alexandria, Washington DC, and several other pretty spots along the great river, and we are looking forward to spending a couple more days on the Chesapeake while we move toward our home port on the Bohemia river.

One of our favorite parts of the Loop were the side trips we were able to take along the way by renting a car.  We were able to visit many cities that we have wanted to see, either for the first time or as a return visit as tourists.  In Trent we visited the Prince Edward County wineries.  We also rented a car in Orillia to visit Toronto for a couple of days.  We toured Green Bay, St. Louis, and Nashville TN as day trips.  We spent 3 days in New Orleans – one of our favorites. We’ve seen tons of sights that we probably would not have seen otherwise, and sometimes the best part was returning to the comfort of our own beds on the Quo Vadimus at the end of a long day or days of touring.

A few of our favorite places are where we spent time with family and close friends.  One of my oldest friends joined us on the Hudson for an overnight and a fun tour of a huge motorcycle museum.  We spent a few days in Rochester with Foster’s sister and her family and had a blast.  I met another dear old friend and her husband in Sarasota, family friends in Sanibel.  Our sons Mike and Dave came to visit for a week in the Keys. Pam & Gun helped make Miami/Ft. Lauderdale a fun stop.  In Hilton Head and Beaufort SC we spent time with my sister and my mom, and enjoyed seeing some sights and visiting an old family friend.  There were also places where we made new friends along the loop.  Frieda, Nancy, and Terry are some Canadian friends we met and spent a little time with. Dennis and Carol are Looper friends that advised us on the best spots in Door County and showed us the highlights of Racine. We became close with several couples in Tavernier where we learned about the Keys disease at first hand for several glorious weeks.  Finally there are the many terrific looper couples we met on the water in the Great Lakes, along the river system and the ICW – so many I can’t list them because I’m sure to leave someone out.   All are people we loved spending time with and who made a big contribution to our Great Loop experience.  One of the most interesting things was meeting someone who we met earlier on the loop, and comparing notes.

Life on the loop was life as we live it every day, but with amazing places and people thrown in.  We didn’t always have fun.  Sometimes we argued, sometimes the weather was terrible, sometimes we were in trouble.  Sometimes it was like going to a job every day – a really COOL job, but a job nonetheless.  We had some losses during the year – Aunt Hazel, my Dad, and our resident cat on board Belle.  Belle enjoyed her life on the boat more than she enjoyed her life on the hard, and had a very peaceful ending.  Dad, who had Alzheimers, was very happy about us going on the trip.  He remembered and asked me about it every time we spoke.

It’s hard to explain how amazing this trip is to people who have not been on it or on part of it.  All I can say is if you are thinking of going, just go!


#fishing&catching  #docktails  #bigorangeballsFTW  #LCBO  #canals  #lock_walls  #Bad_River  #Baie_Fine  #Hopewell_Bay  #Escanaba  #Door_County  #Milwaukee  #St_Louis_   #herons_vs_alligators  #kayaking  #quilting  #canadian_seafood=whitefish  #dolphinbabies  #Appalachicola_oysters  #shrimp_in_the_dinghy  #stone_crabs_vs_blue_crabs  #manatees  #biking  #a_good_internet_connection  #you_got_packages  #teamwork  #sunsets&sunrises  #marina_loaner_cars  #best_marina_loaner_corvette_ever  #maritime_museums_adinfinitum  #best_year_of_my_life


Gold Loopers

30 May 2015

The Quo Vadimus crossed her wake today (30 May 2015) 398 calendar days since our departure on 27 April 2015. If we don’t count the days having a wonderful time in Tavernier on our winter break we were on the loop 300 days. We covered 5,167 nautical miles which works out to be 5,942 statute miles across 154 travel days. (Yea I know, should have done some extra circles to get it up to 6,000 miles)

I want to thank Susan for going on this trip with me. She was great getting us docked or anchored at the 154 places we stayed and locked through the 105 locks we did. She made lots of fabulous meals and made sure we got fed even when we were too tired to think or eat. Susan was right there when there were problems like at Mill Lake, coming into unknown locations at dark and helping navigation in scary waters. She also did an amazing job with finding places to eat and visit. All this keeping a sense of humor and doling out the snark.

I’d like to thank the US Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Parks Canada, Parks Ontario and the NY State Canal system. Thanks to all the marina’s that gave us safe places to stay during storms, finding a mechanic on short notice, loaning us cars (all with check engine lights on ?!?) and showing us warmth and local hospitality. Without all of you there wouldn’t be a Great Loop to travel.

There were lots of Loopers on the way from our very first Loopers, Barb and Tom on “Toba“ that we met the second day out. “Serenity” with John and Kathy organized the first Docktails we had in Perry Sound. Roger and Wendy, the crew of “Le Hooker” showing that not just big fat trawlers do the loop. Stories from “Nuclear Fishin” by John and Susan about how sometimes bad things happen but you’ll get by it. “Reunion” gave us a ton of places to stop in Door County, Dennis and Carol then hooked us up with Kringle in Racine.

“Moondance” skippered by Berwick and Alexis led the “Looper Flotilla” down the Mississippi, Ohio, and into Green Turtle Bay, mostly on one engine. All the Loopers in the Flotilla became friends, a special thanks to all of you because we all watched over “Diablo” and kudos to “Roxanne” in becoming the little “Tug That Could” for towing a flotilla member out of our last lock. Sonny and Phyllis on “Corkscrew” – we’ll see you next year. The thrill of meeting Looper legends like the crews of “Carolyn Ann”, “Beach House”, “Sanctuary” and the master weather forecaster Tom and wife Patsy on “True North”. We also met Steve from the AGLCA, we’ll meet up with Janice and Kim another time.

Mark and Becky on “Mara Beel” for making the Ten-Tom a great ride. To all the Loopers that spent so much time in Apalachicola. Mary and Roger on “Ta Ta” putting together a Thanksgiving Dinner that couldn’t be beat for 22 people. And all the boats that went across the next day, I think it set a crossing record. “Pier Pressure” with Eric and Pam and “Prime Interest” with Lester and Irene were in my group that made our crossing go smoothly. Robert and Linda on “Errante” were a help on a number of times cross checking my course plans.

After our winter break with soon to be Loopers “Lake Effect” with Peggy and Dan we started meeting up with Loopers we had met before. We hung out on a few legs with “Seahorse” with Dan and Angie and the new Loopers of Charlie and Kay on “Plane 2 Sea”.

But Loopers were not the only boaters we met, and we were impressed on how many really nice people we met. For example as I ate my weigh in Canada in butter tarts, lots of people shared home made ones with me (they are much better than store bought).

The crew of “Akasha” and “KatyaLookin” made our first nights in the Georgian Bay special. “KatyaLooking” gave us the first inkling on how we should not stick to just the cruising guides by sharing Hope Island with us. The group at Wright’s marina were nice, but “our best friend Pierre” gave Susan his 5 best fishing locations and she caught a 33” Northern Pike. And no, those GPS locations are not available. “See Y’all” (Alan and ‘Dammit Sheri’) helped out when I earned my North Channel boater stripes. Or the boat earned the stripes as it may be, but it was all good. Because we were close, we did the far North Channel to Sault Ste Marie and I earned my “boated in all the Great Lakes Badge” We met amazing people, saw great places and had a great experience.

Susan’s bucket list included Mackinac Island. While there we got a tip from “Lollygagger” to go to Beaver Island. It was a good idea as we headed through the fog. I had practice runs with the radar, but this was our first time trying to miss boats in the dense fog. A little scary to just make out the Mackinac Bridge as it goes overhead.

We made Beaver Island and met a boater there and got sucked fully into doing the “Western Shore of Lake Michigan” Did Manistique, a great town and a great winery. Went to Fayette and the Snail Shell and met more people. Then Bay d’Noc to fish. Or I should say to catch. We have a big thumbs UP for the Upper Peninsula.

Then it was the West Coast of Lake Michigan. Fish Boil? Boiled fish “Is that some weird British dish? “ Wow they are cool. We had three on our trip. We went to Sister’s Bay, Devil’s Door and we saw Sputnik stuff. Door County was a blast, who would of though Cherry Salsa would be so good? Milwaukee was our favorite big city.

We met of other boats that were not on the loop and we tried to drag them over “Hey We are doing the loop, We Have Cookies!”. We got some to join, and others said they would think of it for their golden years. We created lots of new Docktail friends.

As a Bayliner owner, I’m on the Bayliner forum. I ask questions and get good answers. “If do the loop and spend 25-30 days in Canada, what will I see?. Your chart plotter.” So I ask about options and I get a 60 day plan to see Canada. I meet Terry who gives us a great tour of all the smaller spots in Perry Sound. Later on we meet Doug and Mona who consider Baie Fine home. We get fishing lessons, fish cooking lessons and most importantly how you can live on the Canadian waters for almost free. So much to do, so much to see, so many places in Canada for not a huge cost. And we did everything suggested. I also met Bayliner Members all along my trip, it was great to match names with userID.

The Bayline Board was also a help with mechanical questions that I had on the way. It’s always great to get help when you are in remote locations.

Once you reach Florida after starting on the East Coast, things should slow, but for us they sped up. The great times on the panhandle, doing “the crossing!”, the Florida West Coast and then meeting our new family in Tavernier. Tavernier was a never ending series of Docktails, smoked meats, the conch shell marching band, lots of good conversation and stories. Jeff you were right was very, very hard to leave in March; had we stayed another few days and we would still be there.

Our last months have been just as much fun as the first were. Coming up the ICW and visiting all the small towns. Taking the Dismal Swamp Route and going back in time. Up and back the Potomac to get a huge dose of US History.

Lots of Looper support with places to go, things to see, and so on. The harbor hosts we have found were super special they made our lives easier. Congrats to Freya Petersen and Don Bennett for winning the Harbor Host of the year award, you made your part of Canada very special to us. Ron thanks for your help in both Illinois and in Florida. The on-line Loopers that post about things they have done and a huge amount of details has been great. I was happy to be able to contribute back. It was great to meet some of them, but I’m not getting off the water, so there is still time. (Look for the boat with the hughe orange lock balls and gold Looper flag.)

If I’ve missed mentioning you, sorry about that, but I’m going to bet there is a post about you and pictures of your boat on our site.

We’ve lost two key people in our lives, Susan’s father and my favorite aunt, Aunt Hazel, passed away while we were gone.

Last but not least, kudo’s to my little buddy the autopilot. You steered for most of the miles and you did a great job. Sorry about dumping the wrench bag next to you and then whining about your skills until I moved it back. But you made the trip really easy to do, I can’t imagine driving 6,000 miles.

Buy a boat, get rid of half your possessions, put the other half on the boat, sail away with a person who is as crazy as you are, drive the boat 6,000 miles, visit over 160 different places that you have to dock at or anchor at, traverse over 100 locks, put up with wind, rain and the dark. Have your friends and family say that you are on vacation but you find yourself in a different job of 7AM to 5PM of trying to manage your new lifestyle. That’s the easy part.

Meeting and remembering 100′s of new people and places; being on the go so you don’t miss anything in the towns, cities or vast amount of open nature that is out there. Eating 3,000 calories a day of the freshest food and finest deserts (yay Butter Tarts) that you can get in 15 states and Ontario. That’s the hard part.

While we are arriving home without our beloved cat Belle, we’ve come home with 100′s of new friends, thousands of memories (and the pictures to go with them) and the sense of accomplishment for achieving a long time goal (40 years in the making!)


Bohemia River, MD

30 May 2015

We have become weather mavens the last 13 months. Today the winds from the South at 10 to 15 knots, gusts to 20. That means 2′ waves from the South. Gusts to 20 means they will be white caps and will start to build. Weather for Sunday is the same plus showers. So rather than do two nice days of 30 miles we will do one long day of 60+.

So it’s up and ready to leave the dock at 6:30. We are off and rather than go South around the island (and head into the waves (bounce, bounce) we will go through the famous Knapp’s narrows. While we did our last lock in Virginia two weeks ago, today means a drawbridge. We head out, call the bridge operator and he will open when he sees us. So push off and a little before 7 we are looking at the “closed” bridge. The boat behind us reminds the operator we are there, and by 7 we are on our way out into the Chesapeake.

We need to run West before we can go North, but that means broadside waves. I head SouthWest to quarter into the waves so we get a little bounce and a little roll for about 3 miles (half and hour) until I can turn 90 degrees and go North West.

It’s an OK day on the bay, 2 foot waves are nothing to the hard core fish guys and they are out in droves today. Lots are out trolling, so we need to watch out for the trolling boards that are about 50′ behind the boats. Most of them have flags on them so they can be seen. The captains have done this before, so it’s not much to keep out of each other’s way. But the autopilot isn’t happy about being pushed around by the stern waves so there is some bow dance that goes on.

By 9 the Bay Bridge is fully in sight as is a container ship coming up fast behind us. I call and he is doing 16 knots to our 8 so we pull to the side so he can pass us on the “One”. Susan got some great pictures of it going by and then later on on under the bridge.

At 9:30 we officially entered the Upper Bay and with a little luck we would be docked by 2:30. Oh, but as Mark says: “the tide givith and the tide taketh away” and I was now looking the wrong way at a falling tide. Oh well, we will slog along at 7 knots.

For the next few hours familiar places slid by. It was nice to start going “hey I’ve seen that before”. Love Point, Swan Point, Fairlee Creek, Still Pond .. At 2PM we passed by Turkey Point Light and we were officially in our home waters.

Susan has been doing GoPro time lapse photos along the trip, little mini movies of our adventure. So at 2:32 in the mouth of the Bohemia River we both stepped to the bow and held our Gold Looper flag, we were GOLD LOOPERS!

Susan took down our white flag and put up our gold one. We did a tour down to the 213 bridge to see if we could find any of our boater friends. A quick spin and we came back to Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor, our former and now home again. A 90 left, 90 right, spin starboard, bump it, bump it, shut it down and we were home!

Across the next few day’s we will post some trip wrap ups and stats so keep an eye out here.

Gold Loopers, YAY US!


Tilghman’s Island, MD

29 May 2015

Looking for lighter winds in the morning we got out of the marina at 8. There were a number of other boats that had the same plan, we were part of a parade that motored down the Patuxent River. It was a pretty smooth ride and soon we were turning North to head up the Chesapeake. The good news is the Bay is starting to narrow, you can see both sides when you are in the middle channel. We laugh on the trip, the chart plot for the first trip on the Quo Vadimus from Chesapeake VA to Bohemia River is still showing up.

Ahead is the Cove Point Natural Gas Facility. It was built in the 1970′s for that decades energy crisis. It fell to disuse in the oil boom of the 1980′s. It was resurrected and expanded in the 1990s amid a huge amount of controversy over having an LNG facility (that may go Boom) near to a nuclear plant (just a few miles at Calvert Cliffs). But the proponents won out and the expanded site went into operation. Enough gas can be stored to heat 375,000 home for a year. So the tank farm and the unloading port are both huge. But wait, there is more. With all the fracking going on the companies that own the port want to use it to export LNG. So the controversy continues.

Just North is the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant. It was built in the 1970′s and as a budding engineering student the day long field trip to see the plant was great thing to do. (My father had contacts in the 1970′s and the “stranger danger terrorist” hoopla hadn’t started. One of the side effects of the plant is that it heats the water of the Chesapeake and the fish just love it.

As we traveled along we ran into a number of 50 foot pools of fish that were swimming on the surface, the striped bass season was getting ready to start. The smaller fish swimming in school as protection are easy snacks by the much larger “rock fish”.

Around 11 we turned into the Choptank River and ran into a problem. As a mariner, I watch the charts and they are the guide. But the Coast Guard / Corps of Engineers often move buoy’s to match the actual condition (shoaling, channel moving, etc.) So the rule is follow the buoy, then follow the chart. Unless the buoy is really wrong then follow the chart at low speed. We’ve seen buoy’s set up in strange configurations in the river where you follow an S bend to get around them. But it looked like the red markers had been moved. Remembering that there had been heavy ice in the bay I dropped speed, followed the chart and kept a close eye on the depth finder.

That worked well for both of the markers that were well out of position. By noon we were tying up at “Tilghman on the Chesapeake” Marina. Tilghman’s Island has been around since the 1800 and has been home to oyster-men, crabbers and summer vacationers. In the old days you came by Steamboat and stayed the week until the next steamboat arrives. Today you wait in traffic to come across the Bay Bridge at Kent Island, fight your way down Route 50 through Easton and then down Rt 33 into the island. By the time most people try that they are tired in either Easton or St. Michales, so they stop there.

We unloaded our bikes and headed into the town center about a mile away. First stop was “Two if By Sea” for lunch. Susan went for fried rock fish, I went old school with a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. After we finished lunch we biked into town and across one of the few remaining 24 hour drawbridges in the US. It’s a very pretty place, lots of work boats that go out every day for crab or oysters, a smattering of pleasure craft for the locals. The fishing is great and there lots of water to explore in all of the coves of Talbot County. The Choptank River is to the south and the towns of Oxford and Cambridge are a short ride away.

Back to our cool boat for naps and catching up with things around the boat.

Towards 6 PM we headed off to dinner at Harrison’s. They have been a Tilghman destination for years and years. They were one of the first places to take boarders in the 1800′s. Dinner was good but it started us remembering other dinners that we have had on this trip. Some of our favorites were Susan’s Birthday dinner in Atlantic City at Docks (with the puffed potatoes), Dinner at the top of the CN tower, our first Fish Boil in Door County, and 2”Pork Chops at Patti’s. One that stuck out was from a year ago today, doing the lunch truck rodeo with my Sister in Rochester.

We cycled home happy and contented. Just 60 miles to go to the mythical Loop Crossing, wonder if there will be a buoy at the mouth of the Bohemia.


29 May 2015

Looking for lighter winds in the morning we got out of the marina at 8. There were a number of other boats that had the same plan, we were part of a parade that motored down the Patuxent River. It was a pretty smooth ride and soon we were turning North to head up the Chesapeake. The good news is the Bay is starting to narrow, you can see both sides when you are in the middle channel. We laugh on the trip, the chart plot for the first trip on the Quo Vadimus from Chesapeake VA to Bohemia River is still showing up.

Ahead is the Cove Point Natural Gas Facility. It was built in the 1970′s for that decades energy crisis. It fell to disuse in the oil boom of the 1980′s. It was resurrected and expanded in the 1990s amid a huge amount of controversy over having an LNG facility (that may go Boom) near to a nuclear plant (just a few miles at Calvert Cliffs). But the proponents won out and the expanded site went into operation. Enough gas can be stored to heat 375,000 home for a year. So the tank farm and the unloading port are both huge. But wait, there is more. With all the fracking going on the companies that own the port want to use it to export LNG. So the controversy continues.

Just North is the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant. It was built in the 1970′s and as a budding engineering student the day long field trip to see the plant was great thing to do. (My father had contacts in the 1970′s and the “stranger danger terrorist” hoopla hadn’t started. One of the side effects of the plant is that it heats the water of the Chesapeake and the fish just love it.

As we traveled along we ran into a number of 50 foot pools of fish that were swimming on the surface, the striped bass season was getting ready to start. The smaller fish swimming in school as protection are easy snacks by the much larger “rock fish”.

Around 11 we turned into the Choptank River and ran into a problem. As a mariner, I watch the charts and they are the guide. But the Coast Guard / Corps of Engineers often move buoy’s to match the actual condition (shoaling, channel moving, etc.) So the rule is follow the buoy, then follow the chart. Unless the buoy is really wrong then follow the chart at low speed. We’ve seen buoy’s set up in strange configurations in the river where you follow an S bend to get around them. But it looked like the red markers had been moved. Remembering that there had been heavy ice in the bay I dropped speed, followed the chart and kept a close eye on the depth finder.

That worked well for both of the markers that were well out of position. By noon we were tying up at “Tilghman on the Chesapeake” Marina. Tilghman’s Island has been around since the 1800 and has been home to oyster-men, crabbers and summer vacationers. In the old days you came by Steamboat and stayed the week until the next steamboat arrives. Today you wait in traffic to come across the Bay Bridge at Kent Island, fight your way down Route 50 through Easton and then down Rt 33 into the island. By the time most people try that they are tired in either Easton or St. Michales, so they stop there.

We unloaded our bikes and headed into the town center about a mile away. First stop was “Two if By Sea” for lunch. Susan went for fried rock fish, I went old school with a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. After we finished lunch we biked into town and across one of the few remaining 24 hour drawbridges in the US. It’s a very pretty place, lots of work boats that go out every day for crab or oysters, a smattering of pleasure craft for the locals. The fishing is great and there lots of water to explore in all of the coves of Talbot County. The Choptank River is to the south and the towns of Oxford and Cambridge are a short ride away.

Back to our cool boat for naps and catching up with things around the boat.

Towards 6 PM we headed off to dinner at Harrison’s. They have been a Tilghman destination for years and years. They were one of the first places to take boarders in the 1800′s. Dinner was good but it started us remembering other dinners that we have had on this trip. Some of our favorites were Susan’s Birthday dinner in Atlantic City at Docks (with the puffed potatoes), Dinner at the top of the CN tower, our first Fish Boil in Door County, and 2”Pork Chops at Patti’s. One that stuck out was from a year ago today, doing the lunch truck rodeo with my Sister in Rochester.

We cycled home happy and contented. Just 60 miles to go to the mythical Loop Crossing, wonder if there will be a buoy at the mouth of the Bohemia.


Solomons, MD

28 May 2015

We work up to a great morning. Our marina is tucked well back of the Potomac so there was no wave action. The rainstorms that were predicted went well north of us.

We got off the dock early and our last 10 miles of Potomac was a mild chop. We turned north to go up the Chesapeake and ended up with a 1 foot following sea, the winds and waves predicted for today didn’t show up either.

Around 11 AM we turned into the Patuxent River and started our way up to Solomons Maryland. On our port side was the Navy Patuxent River Air Station. It was a busy day over there, lots of planes taking off and landing.

We got fuel for the next to the last time on the trip (one more fillup at our home dock). Pretty happy, looking at around $3.70 per gallon for the trip. Pumped out and filled our water tanks so we are good for the next week.

It was a hot day here on the boat so we stayed in for the afternoon. Susan found a really good place, the Ruddy Duck that was a bike ride away. I tried their local beers and we had great appetizers of crab cakes, cheese puffs and their signature Duck-a-dillios.

The temperature drop during dinner made the ride home easier and the boat was nice and cool. We only have a few more days to go we are only 98 miles from the Bohemia River.


Colonial Beach, VA (two more days)

23,24, 25, 26 May 2015

We got into Colonial Beach on Thursday with the intention of going one more place on the Potomac and then heading north. But the NOAA forecast for Saturday had waves of 2-3 feet.

Let’s talk wave forecast for a moment. When they say 2-3 foot waves they mean that 90% of the waves will be 2-3 feet. 9% will be bigger at 3-4 feet. And 1% may be bigger at 4-6 feet. Not happy thinking that every hundredth wave will be huge. So I opted to wait. And it may be a long wait, the weather looks this way until Thursday.

On Saturday we did a bike tour of town, there was a beach festival and we went up to see the car show and the vendors seling from everything from seashells to sauces. There were a lot of families on the beach, it was a great day of fun and sun.

Sunday we snagged the marina truck and headed around. On of the downsides of having family members that are recycle oriented is that I don’t want to toss easy recycled trash out. We have a lot of cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles. At this point we had lots so we headed out to the transfer station.

Of course the instructions of “head out of town on 205” neglected to say “West or East” and I picked West. After 2 miles I figured out that I was not going the wrong way but we came up to Wilkerson’s Seafood. Ok, See Food and Eat It has been my mantra, so we stopped. Susan had amazing fried oysters and I had the prime rib sandwich. (Ever wondered what happens to left over prime rib? Slice it into ¼” slices then do a quick grill, wonderful!)

Now going East we found the transfer station and transferred our recyclable items to their big recyclable container. Environment saved!

Virginia is the birthplace to three US presidents, and George Washington tops the list. We toured Mount Vernon, and now it was time to visit the birthplace. But first it was antique time! Susan had prior experience in selling real antiques, and I’ve spent many an hour looking at Junque. So we stopped at an Antique Emporium (aka a big barn filled full of stuff) to see what bargains we could find. Sadly nothing that we needed or wanted badly.

George Washington’s birthplace was pretty neat, there was a great visitors center that talked about his grand-father and father’s farms. Most of the early founding fathers were pretty wealthy, and it’s nice to see some of where they got their money from. I have been impressed with the National Parks tat we’ve seen this trip, lots of good info and places to visit, I’m happy that we purchased a pass to all the parks.

While Virginia is full of government contractors, some of their greatest exports is beer and wine. On the way home we stopped at one of the local wineries. Karma of starting off with Canada wines and ending with Virginia wines. The ones we tasted are pretty good and we selected a bottle to take home with us.

I’ve posted often about “marina cars”. They are all a little different, but most of them are run of the mill cars. One of the marina people wanted the truck we had to run to pick up some bigger items, so they wanted to trade us to take the car. It’s a 1975 Corvette. Umm, pickup truck for a Corvette, let me think, a nanosecond, and I’m in. In a wild squeal of burned rubber and flying gravel we were off!

OK, so not really. We both got into the car and had an “Ummm” moment, when we both realized that our butts were lower than our ankles. We were in, but there was a big debate if we could get out later on. Cool thing about marina’s they have 70 ton boat lifts, so we can get out here, the restaurant could be a different story. I gingerly back out, not a good thing to hit the stands of boats “on the hard” so they fall over.

We made it to the Lighthouse and got out of the car. Dinner was as good as a week ago. I had the mussels and a grilled portabella mushroom. Susan went for the filet steak. When kids say “awesome sauce” they are talking about the sauce she had.

The night was quiet, I watched NASCAR and Susan did internetty things. Monday will be boat tasks, mostly along the lines of cleaning.

Monday and Tuesday were indeed that, just hanging around the boat. I did get some things done and we did get bike riding in so from that standpoint it was good.


Colonial Beach, VA (return visit)

21-22 May 2015

The wind died down overnight but the rain came, so instead of yesterdays stunning bright morning, we woke to a gray drizzle. Since today would be a long day we opted for breakfast off the boat. Our first try, Jacks Place, a local favorite was closed. So we ended up at the French Country Cafe.

We had the “French Breakfast”, eggs, meat, a potato galettes and a croissant. They were very good. The place is set up semi cafeteria style. You place your order, you can pick up additional items, juice, coffee, silver, etc. and pay. Once your food they bring it to the table.

We met a Looper, the Captain of the “Zendo”, they had been at our dock but visiting with friends. They were headed down today to Colonial Beach and then on their way. (Turns out we saw them down there, they were anchored off in the harbor.)

Next we went to the Torpedo Factory Art Center. It started out as a munitions factory at the end of WWI and during WWII made the Mark III airplane torpedo and the Mark XIV torpedo for submarines. They have one of each on display. In the mid 70′s it was turned into artist studios. There are about 130 artists there now. Some of the spaces were open and we got a chance to see some great art. I picked up a card of a really cool kite sculpture. The sculpture is $1,800 so I’ll need to put it on my Christmas list.

Normally today would be an “it’s raining, stay in port day”. It’s about 64 miles back to Colonial Beach and normally it would be about an 8 hour run. If we leave around 11:30 today we will be with the falling tide the entire way. On the way up we averaged only about 7 knots since we were against the tide part of the way.

We got pumped out and took off at 11:45. As Mark says “The tide giveth and the tide taketh away.” On the way up we were against the tide doing about 7 knots. Once we got past the no wake zones, we set the speed to our normal RPM and flew down the river at about 9.8 knots the entire way (some peaks of 10.2) until we got close to the 301 bridge (near the Navy Test range). As we got closer the speed started to drop since we were in the next tidal pool. The test range was also “open” so we were able to stay on the Virginia side and cut a few miles off. The final result is we got to the Colonial Beach harbor and into Boathouse Marina about 6:00 PM. A six hour run vs the almost 10 it took to go the other way.

Because the temperature started off at 62, I fired up the generator and Susan made grilled cheese for lunch. It was nice to have a hot lunch on a cold day. For dinner it was chicken and her version of Spanish rice (rice, salsa, corn) and grilled onions and peppers.

We were both tired, I crashed early, she stayed up to see how one of her show season ending worked out.

Cold and a little blowy in the morning. I did laundry, changed fuel filters and got caught up on some email stuff. Susan cleaned and also did some email stuff.

For dinner we went Denson’s Market and has an amazing dinner. We went with the owner of The Boathouse Marina. The appetizer we shared are Sugar Toads with a Cheerwine reduction. The fish is the Northern Puffer Fish. They take the tail, bread it and deep fry it. You eat it like you would eat a chicken wing, there is a series of connected bones down the center. It was very good, but strange for us, but it’s a Chesapeake Bay specialty. Between the three of us we also had scallops, fresh swordfish and really great home made crab cakes. My side was spinach with bleu cheese and bacon. A great dinner. We got eclairs to go, along with home made sausages and crabcakes for later on in the week.

Our host took us on a tour of the town, so we got to see all the great little houses and the backstory on some of the town. One of the great sunsets of the trip was tonight, so it turned out to be a great rest day. We both feel really good, having the day off made a huge difference.

We shared one of the eclairs, they are HUGE and also very good. It made a great end to the day.


Occoquan, VA

18 May 2015

Today was forecast to be hot and it was, mid day temps went to 85, and there wasn’t much wind. But first things first.

We got up and had a slow morning. The last few days have had us up and going pretty early, so it was nice to hang on the dock a little while. We pushed off about 8 AM into the very still water. We swung around into the Potomac on a wide lazy arc to miss the shoaling at the tip of Colonial Beach.

Coming into the river we were soon approaching the Navy test fire range. A VHF radio call to the range officer on “Range Boat 3” confirmed that the range was active and we should move over and stay along the Maryland shoreline. We did that and facing an oncoming tide slowly worked our way up the river. And when I say slowly it was just that. Our normal cruise speed is engine RPM of 1,800-1,900 RPM and we go 8.1 to 8.4 knots. With the engine at 1,900 we poked along at 6.9 knots.

Based on our speed we knew it was going to be a long ride. But it is a very pretty one the Potomac has some good vistas.

Along the way we passed a government site with some big radar / satellite dishes, the world famous Quantico Marine Base, a really neat power line spanning the river and some amazing homes.

We turned up into the Occoquan River and headed up the very narrow channel. I had not thought the current would be so bad, so we were almost two hours later than planned. So we were at dead low tide, and showed about 4-5′ under the keel the entire way.

We got tied off and while we were checking emails, etc., there was a short cloud burst that went by. We were hoping for cooler air, but instead we got more humidity. There were rain bands to the west, it wasn’t clear if we would see them or not.

Dinner was at the marina restaurant, we did our appetizer selections and sat back to watch the view and enjoy our food.

When we got back to the boat the crews of “The Chief”, “Para’Dice”, and “Lady Min” were doing docktails. We joined in and got good tips on where to go and what to see across the next few days. The crew of “Para’Dice” is in the planning stages of their Looper adventure, so we talked some about our trip.

The rain bands that may or may not arrive and did so with a vengeance. The skys opened up and it just poured. (There was a ton of sticks and stuff in the water the next morning). When the rain quit I had a short chat with the Captain of “Para’Dice”, he had a few more questions.

On the plus side it looks like the new weather stripping on the upper helm door is working well. We’ll keep a towel there just as a safety measure but there was no moisture from last night.

Flashback: One year ago we were still in Ilion, NY, working our way through the Voss’ Menu (we are now regulars, after 5 days everyone knows our name)


St Mary’s, MD

16 May 2015

Another early start, today because we wanted to tour St. Mary’s Maryland.

The good news was the winds were from the South, so we would have following seas for the trip North. But the winds were up so there would be 2 foot waves the entire trip. Saying that the trip out into the bay took longer since I needed to go South some (waves on the starboard quarter) vs full abeam. Once out in the bay I could head north and put them on the stern.

While there was some sailboats out the only other traffic was a small container ship and two tows. One was pushing their barge (with lots of bow waves crashing over it). The second was actually towing the barge. This is the first time I’d seen an actual “tow” since we we left last April. It had to be hard for him to keep the line from taking up slack as they traveled over the waves.

At 11 AM it was time to make the turn into the Potomac River at Point Lookout. Again I needed to make the turn to put the waves on the Aft Port Quarter to keep us from tossing around. A few miles up into the Potomac River the waves broke down into moderate chop. By the time I got to the mouth of the St. Mary’s river the wind had dropped and we were down to swells.

St. Mary’s Maryland is one of the earliest settlements in Maryland and is where the first capital was. In 1634 Lord Calvert and 140 settlers plus crew to set up the first English settlement. The Dove was their scout boat, all of the families were aboard the much larger Ark.

A replica of the Dove is anchored outside the recreation of the town of St. Mary’s. We sat just outside the dock and got some great pictures. From there we went around the corner to St. Mary’s College and docked at their wharf. Graduation had just ended so there were lots of families taking pictures of their children. Wonder how many shots the “Quo Vadimus” is in? Talk about a photo bomb!

We walked through the very pretty campus into St Mary’s. There is a recreation of some of the original buildings. A few are on the former site and there is sections of the floor that are cut away so you can see the original basement floors (mostly brick). They have also set up the frames of a few other buildings so it’s easy to see what they looked like. St Mary’s reminded both of us of Fayette MI, the steel town that was abandoned in the 1800′s. They still have the frames of some of the buildings up so you can sort of visualize what it would have looked like.

One of the things I found interesting is that the fireplaces are in the center of the house so it heats from the center out. The chimney is more of a trapezoid type shape, so it was easy for the 1630′s settlers to build without them falling over.

We did a quick tour of the Dove. The mate said that there was no recreation of the Ark, it would take millions to build it and maintenance would be a problem. They did a demo of the “salute gun” that they used to signal to the other boat.

We walked back through the campus and made a quick stop at the coffee shop for a snack. Frozen microwave food is just the pits. But with most of the students gone it made sense to not have the cafeteria open.

We got back on the boat. There was one Gold Looper anchored out in Horseshoe Bay, but we couldn’t get the name of the boat. We cruised back up the St Mary’s and turned into our marina at Dennis Point. There is a huge fish tournament here, so we will take our time getting off the dock in the morning.

We got some gusty rain so I needed to run out and furl the Looper flag. When it rattles it sounds like the entire bow is coming apart. Likewise Susan adjusted the fenders to keep them from slapping around like a freshly boated fish.

We’ll do two slow days up the river and then spend some time in Alexandria VA. Next stop is Colonial Beach.

One year ago today we were starting our five day stay in Ilion NY Like here it rained, but unlike here it where it rained only an hour in Ilion it rained 2 days in a row and flooded the Erie Canal. Once the Canal was closed we had to spend the days in Ilion until it opened up again.


Deltaville, VA

15 May 2015

Excitement is in the air. We are recreating the maiden voyage of the “Quo Vadimus” from May, 2011. We’ve spent the last two days at Atlantic Yacht Basin, yesterday was pretty much goofing off.

Today we were off the dock at 6:45 AM. Once again one of those wispy fog mornings. We made the 7AM Great Bridge Lift Bridge opening. We slid into the Great Bridge Lock at 7:10 past the squawking geese (nesting pair at the end of the lock). We rose 18” and like our very first lock in 2011 our last lock of the Great Loop is over, no muss, no fuss.

We took it easy during the first two hours. Since the “Steel Bridge” is gone, there wasn’t anything to time for. We almost got hung up at one of of the rail road bridges, but the tender called out that I should pick up the pace and we passed under with lots of time to spare.

The Navy Yards were abuzz with a carrier and 4 warships coming into port. Lots of chatter and lots of requests by the Navy ships for people to get out of their way. I’m always amazed that people don’t pay attention and won’t move fast enough to get out of the way. It’s not like they could easily stop.

We were in the bay proper by Thimble Shoals by 11AM. We were happy that we waited out the weather from yesterday. Today we had 10 knot south winds kicking up a minor swell on our stern as we headed north.

This section reminds me how big the Chesapeake Bay is in the Virginia end. You can’t see the Eastern Shore and after awhile there is only water to the South and North.

Througout the day the winds picked up so when we turned into the Rappahannock the waves were 1-2′. We needed to angle off to get into the river so it was a little rolly for awhile. We got into Norview Marina to get pumped out. While there we talked to “Field Trip”. They had come up yesterday with the north winds and said that it was not a fun time.

Our slip was next to a custom 57 power cat. The owner told us all about it, it sounded like a great boat. He has the same problem most of us do, people say “wow, I want to come down and ride, but they never actually show up. He’s downsizing to a 45 power cat, I asked if he wanted to take a 45 Bayliner in trade and he said that he was a multi-hull sailor, no mono-hull for him.

But our little 8 hour 45 minute voyage of 62 nautical miles left us pretty beat. So Susan grilled pork chops and we were both in bed by 8:30. But it was a great day, we recounted the fun trip that we had with Dennis bringing the Quo Vadimus home for the first time. Ir was also great to have completed the last lock, 105 in total.


Chesapeake, VA

13-14 May 2014

So after the 90 degree yesterday in the Dismal Swamp, we woke to a 65 degree morning. I was happy it had cooled down and it made the mosquitoes die off. Flashback to the slaves that dug this by hand, not a happy time. We putzed around the boat and then at 8 AM pushed off into the channel.

It’s a 15 mile ride to the bridge and lock, and the Quo Vadimus idles at 6. So I took a tip from my friend Doug and just used the port engine for the three hours at just above idle and we were good.

So since you asked, we go slow since 1) the canal is about 40′ wide 2) there is a ton of material at the bottom and it sometimes surfaces you go past fast. There are two boats following us so I didn’t want stuff up in the water for them to hit. 3) There was rain / storm last night, so there is stuff for me to move around, but not lots of room to do it in. So it was slow, slow, watch the turtles and the snakes and the birds and life in the 1800′s drift by.

We got to the bridge right at 11AM in time for the opening. The bridge/lock master was really nice, the three of us passed through and got into the lock in short order. He had lots of good tips on places to go, anchor and eat. I noticed that he didn’t work for the Army Corps of Engineers, but for an outside service company. Wonder if they are outsourcing the lock work, but he said he had been there for 20 years.

We got out of the lock and did 8 miles to our next to last lock on this trip, Great Bridge. We locked through tied up about ½ down the lock. There is a nesting goose at the south end and boats make them cranky. This was the nicest lock on our trip with brand new rubber sides, we really didn’t need our fenders. We will pass through this lock on Friday and we are officially done with locks on the loop. Yay Us!.

Under the Great Bridge Draw Bridge and into Atlantic Yacht Basin. The Quo Vadimus was purchased here in 2011, so she has “crossed her wake”, but our official crossing won’t be until we get to the Bohemia River. We are stopping here for the great fuel prices at $2.40 a gallon. This is less than ½ price of what I paid in Rochester almost a year ago and $3 less a gallon than my top price in Canada.

Docking here is also cheap at $1 per foot, there have been few places along the trip this cheap.

I stopped in to see our broker, Bob, at Virginia Yacht Brokers. He said we could sell Quo Vadimus now and quickly, but said if we were still boating and having fun keep on going. He has sent a few future Loopers to us in the past to help with Looping questions.

We had a visit from a future Looper that has purchased a 4788 to start their loop next year. We passed along all of our Looper tips. (Go now, have fun, don’t listen to other Loopers on where to go make it your own adventure, but spend as much time in Canada as you can!) [irony]

While at the dock we watched a huge parade of boats from 20′ day cruisers to 70′ yachts. There were two RIB boats with marinnes and a support boat. After 6 the crew boats come out there have been two 8 man and one 4 man shell one the water. This is a really great place to watch boats come and go.

Susan made a great dinner that starred corn on the cob. It’s cool that local vegatables are coming into season, and yes this corn was from Florida, but as of 4 weeks ago that was “local”.

We are coming off the river system so stuff like winds and tides are making a difference again. The Thursday forecast is for winds from the north. That means that the wind starts at our home in the Upper Chesapeake and drags water down so by the time it reaches us waves are 3-4′ (or more). No trip north for Thursday.

Sleeping in was easy since it had cooled down again. We both got caught up on computer stuff (hey new title pictures!) and some other odds and ends. I happened to see a carpet cleaning company working on the mega yacht behind us and we asked how much to do our boat. Not much it turned out and we now have bright clean carpet. Yay us!!

Lunch was at a Japanese buffet that you order off the menu. Which would be more of a prix fixe, or table d’hôte, but those are more of a fixed menu. We had the run of the menu, but limits on some items. None the less we stuffed ourselves and waddled out an hour later. My big treat was Hershey’s Ice Cream in a small cup. We had the cups as kids and my children had them as kids, it’s really great ice cream.

Did naps in the afternoon and watched boats go by until baked chicken dinner. It’s amazing how good a simple baked chicken can taste.

After dinner I spoke to one boat, it’s a refit oyster buy boat, but now it’s a cruiser with the oyster spaces turned into nice cabins. I also saw the “Active Captain Boat”, so they made their goal of Norfolk.

Did a little engine work for the rest of the trip. I can’t get to the sensor without crawling into the engine, so that will wait for the weekend. The belts on the new alternator were loose so they got tightened up. Checked all the fluids and we are ready to roll.


Dismal Swamp, NC

12 May 2015

Out of Lamb’s Marina today at 8:30. Mr Lamb, the owner was nice enough to help us off with our lines. It really is a great marina, very happy that we decided to stay.

We went up the river with “Abamadream”. It’s pretty much no wake the entire 17 miles so it took some time. Fuel mileage was great I burned 1.2 gallons on the entire trip. We saw lots of snakes and turtles and birds on the way. The river and canal segments are close in, so when when there is traffic the other way it’s a squeeze.

The river is constant set of curves and twists. For most of the time we could not see the boat behind us. With the narrow passages it was very different that what we’ve seen before. The long straight run of canal was even more narrow, the feeling you are driving down a single track lane in the woods.

Did another lock, we are down to the last hand full. It was pretty easy, only a rise of about 10′. It didn’t take long, the only disconcerting thing was the brown water rushing into the lock. The tannin filled water here is pretty unusual. There is a lift bridge just after it, we slid quietly by the traffic.

There are three of us tied off at the visitor center wall. It’s 150, and all of us pretty much fill it.

Nice park, very nice center. The center talks about the early days of the swam with people like George Washington building an early canal in Virginia to make it easier to harvest the trees. In the 1805 the existing canal was completed, allowing traffic from Virginia into North Carolina. (The center sits a few miles south of the states border). In the 1800′s it saw lots of use. As the lumber business died off in the 1900′s the use fell. The last lumber harvest happened in 1960. Since then the water has been for boating, canoes, etc.

Susan and I walked around and saw a snake on the swamp walk and two turtles. There were supposed to be frogs, but we had to settle for small lizards. The crew of “Abamadream” saw a fawn with it’s mother. All of us collected ticks (uggg) I’ll most likely feel them all night crawling on me.

After a woods walk and touring the really nice display in the visitors center about the canal and the history of the swamp, Susan did a nap and I sat out under a shady tree to read a book. Ah the joys of paper books!

The three boats got together for docktails which was nice. Dinner was my favorite!

Other than the heat this is a nice place, there is to be some rain and temps will drop into the mid 60′s which will make sleeping easier. At this point I have the AC running off the generator so we are cool and happy.

The next few days are better weather as we set to go up the Potomac River. Yes we are stalling some before going home, but we would never be able to do the Potomac trip from the Bohemia River. (It takes 4 days to get to the mouth and another 4 to get home, that would leave only 6 days to do the 100 mile length of the river.

A year ago we were at the Shady Harbor Marina in New Baltimore NY. Where we found out that marina food didn’t need to be fried.


Elizabeth City, NC

10-11 May 2015

We both slept well last night even with the few spats of rain that we got. The new sealant for the door is working well, but I’ll see once the heavy rain hits.

We were up and off the dock at 6AM as the sun was just rising on the eastern horizon. An 8 knot wind was blowing, just enough to give a mild chop. We motored up the Alligator and into the Albemarle Sound. The eastern end of the sound is Kitty Hawk. If there wasn’t a storm coming we would have gone there, but we have our sights set on Elizabeth City.

With the winds from the east is was a mixed chop until well into the Albemarle then we started getting waves that caused a little roll. Once I was past the shallow southern end I was able to put the waves on the stern. That made for a much smoother ride since the waves were small and I was going with them.

By 8 AM we were in the mouth of the Pasquotank River and back to a moderate chop. Along the river is an airship hanger. According to the interwebs it’s one of eight remaining huge dirigible hangars built by the Navy during WWII.. It is currently used by TCOM, an airship manufacturing company, as manufacturing and test location. The massive corrugated steel on frame structure is 1,040 feet long, 150 feet high and 296 feet wide, constructed before the war effort made steel a limited commodity.

There was even an airship outside. I’m thinking that they will be moving it inside before the end of the day. We got some good pictures that should make it to the picture page.

Just past the airship is the US Coast Guard Airfield. It’s a huge sprawling complex with buildings along the waterfront. I had initially thought it was Elizabeth City, it’s that big.

We got into Elizabeth City around 9:30. The town is known for all the free docks that are available to boaters. Sadly the bigger ones were taken and I didn’t feel good about tying up to the long bulkhead wall. The wind and waves were directly into it, so we would be broadside to that, not a happy place to be. So we went through the lift bridge into much calmer and quieter waters.

There is a dock just past the lift bridge. It’s owned by the Jennette Company and you are free to dock there provided you eat at one of the places they sell food to. We got onto the dock without any problems and Susan got fenders out and we were good to go.

For a walk around the truck parking lot. Since they are not open on Sunday’s, the gate was locked, no way to get out and into the town. So it was back onto the boat, back off the dock and off to Lamb’s marina. They have a loaner car, so we would just drive back.

Thirty-five minutes later we were tied off at Lamb’s. Susan did an extra secure set of ties and put out some extra fenders. We had to wait until 1:30 to get the car, it was out with another set of boaters.

It was a nice bright day, we watched people come in and out of the marina in a wide variety of boats. Rowboats, small skiffs, a pontoon boat with a family out for the day. Even the Coast Guard rescue boat came in for what turned out to be an ice cream run.

Using her skills she had picked out a Mexican place for lunch. We had great food it was an excellent choice. Since it was Mother’s Day Susan got a rose as a gift.

For the last week I’ve been trying to get a haircut, I want to look a little presentable when we “cross our wake”. But from Georgetown until here all the places have been far away or booked all day. So I was excited to find a Hair Cuttery with a zero minute wait only 2 minutes away. 20 minutes later psycho Santa is gone and I look much better.

A quick stop at Lowe’s for some hardware and it was back downtown. We found that most places were closed, but we did stop into Coaster’s, a local brew pub. It’s an interesting setup, you need to be a member to get in, but memberships are only a dollar. We had some great craft brews.

Back at the marina we met the crew of “Abamadream”, they have been on the loop for awhile, they started out on the Ten-tom. They had spent a month in the islands and were on their way to Canada.

Across the evening we got some decent rain, the leading edge of Ana passing us by. We would have rain off and on all night and into the day. We got caught up on some of our TV and both of us made some progress on the website. We are both surprised on how much effort the site is and how much work we will need to do when we get back trying to organize the 1000′s of pictures that we have taken.

In between the cloudbursts we walked down the marina dock. The far end is under 3” of water a sign that we got lots of rain and the SE wind is still pushing water into the area. We rode into Elizabeth City passing other marina’s with some level of flooding. Downtown wasn’t as bad, but there were sections of roads that had over an 1” of water, it made driving a little scary.

We had a great Japanese lunch and then hit the waterfront to check out the docks. The wind and waves were down, we would have been able to get a boat in today.

I was disappointed to find that the museum is also closed on Mondays, so we’ ve missed out on that. But we did get to the post office to get packages and letters mailed off.

Back on the boat the rains continued. So we both had extended naps to help recharge.

Dinner was simple, dirty rice. It’s one of my favorites and it takes no time to make.

Watching the weather looks like a pretty good day coming up, calm winds but highs in the upper 80′s so it will be interesting inside the Dismal Swamp.

A year ago we were in Kingston and Connlley NY on the hudson.


Columbia, NC

9 May 2015

We pushed out of Belhaven early in the morning. The winds are lighter and we needed to cross a sound and get up the Alligator River. We had some rolly boat moves on the day before with us leaving later in the day.

We backed out of the marina, it was easy with the wind on the bow and no current. We turned and headed back out the Belhaven breakwall. Once we got back into the Pungo River proper there was some moderate chop for the next few miles.

One of the interesting things to me is all the canals that were built. Most of them are before the civil war so it was mostly human power that built them. Men, pack animals and machines digging miles and miles of canals.

About 90 minutes leaving the dock we were in the Alligator Pungo River Canal. It’s over 10 miles long and connects the Pungo River to the Alligator River. It cuts the huge distance that would need to be covered by going out in the ocean. It’s also well protected, so merchant boats would have had an easier trip. It’s flat and calm in the canal and there isn’t much of a current flowing either way.

There was boat traffic today, we saw both power and sailboats heading in both directions. Boats going north were like we were, trying to beat the storm. From the home port on some of the sailboats they had a long way to go.

Turning into the head of the Alligator the wave action caused by the winds put us back into a moderate chop. But it was a blue sky day and it was nice to be on the water and moving forward. The Alligator is a long river and it took a fair amount of time to motor up.

We reached the swing bridge at the same time as “Antares”, a sailboat we’ve seen off and on for the last two weeks. With the bridge having two sides (it swings from the center) we sailed through together. After we cleared the bridge we turned left and headed towards the shore.

At the base of the bridge is the Alligator River Marina. It’s next door to a gas station / store / home cooked restaurant. The marina is well protected, there is a break wall that blocks all but a direct east wind. Since we had done so well backing up this morning we spun the boat and backed into our space. This would make it easy to get out in the morning. The dock was the perfect height to step off our boat at the pilot house.

We were set to go to dinner, there was a light sprinkle of rain, but we decided to keep going. Bad move, at 20 feet off the boat the sky opened up and we both got drenched. By the time we had placed our orders (NC style chopped pork and fried chicken) the rain had stopped and it was blue sky again.

Diner was fine and with the great internet connection we got a chance to watch a few shows. After dinner I ran back across to get us ice cream. Having an ice cream place near by is nice, one of the things we’ve liked about the small towns we’ve stayed at on the trip.

My weather planning is holding up, looks like the ride to Elizabeth City will be fine.

Flashback to a year ago, we were still in Newburg NY


Tropical Storm Ana

9 May 2015

I like it when a plan comes together. I’ve been watching (now) tropical storm Ana since we were in Myrtle Beach on 1 May. It had started out as a tropical depression and took it’s time forming.

Got a good briefing by Hank at Southport two days later. The depression was still taking it’s time to pull together, nearest estimate was landfall about 6 May.

We got to River Dunes on the 6th, it was a depression on the 6th, and made Tropical Storm status on the 7th. Most of the Loopers we were with were thinking to wait out the storm there. Mine was to continue to head north.

The storm was on a very slow NW/NNW path at between 3-5 miles per hour. It was out to sea about 230 miles, so landfall would be the morning of the 10th (2AM to 8AM was the spread). It looked like it would land about the SC/NC boarder and then turn north. The farther inland and north it goes, the more it dissipates the storm intensity. Being north would be good, less storm to deal with.

I decided on the 8th that we would move north. There were rain bands in the area and I almost didn’t go because it was raining. It cleared off and we were gone by 7:30AM.

We traveled to Belhaven the first day and Columbia the second day. We are at dock looking at at a blue partly cloudy skies.

I just got done reading the 2PM forecast on 9 May. Center of the storm will hit the SC/NC boarder about 8AM on Sunday. So that is close to my 48 hours to landfall guess. We are presently 250 miles NNE of the estimated landfall point. The storm at 2PM was 85 miles SSE of Myrtle Beach, or about 300 miles due south of us.

We will leave Columbia about 7AM and travel to Elizabeth City, we should be there about 10AM. To the south Ana will have turned north and be heading about 10 MPH towards me. Winds only extend out about 150 miles from the storm center, so I’m still looking at 10-15 knot winds for the trip

Ana will arrive in River Dunes will be about 8PM on Sunday. There will be heavy rains an the winds will be 60 MPH.

Arrival time in Elizabeth is about 8AM on Monday (well after I’m in port on Sunday).

Winds by then should reach tropical depression status, about 35 MPH, but we will still get lots of rain. I’m good with rain, it’s the high winds that bother me, no matter where you are, the winds still move the boat around.

By Tuesday morning the tropical depression will be off NYC, and the rain should have cleared, that will let us have a great trip through the Dismal Swamp.


Belhaven, NC

8 May 2015

As of last night I was going to read the weather in the morning and decide. We woke to rain an it seemed that the decision was made for us. Our travel boat decided last night they would stay, so it seemed to be an easy decision to stay.

About 7 AM it cleared off and started to really brighten. The weather radar showed the band of storms had moved north east and there was not a band behind them. Ummm maybe we should go. About 7:10 I watched a boat leaving the dock. I did a quick check of all the weather and decided we would go. So about 7:30, an hour after we were going to leave we pushed into the basin and headed out. I radioed back to our travel boat, they were going to stay.

Out into the Neuse River it got a little rough, we were in 2-3′ seas with our bow slicing through them. (The Neuse is often referred to as The Naughty Neuse), For us the Naughty part came 45 minutes into the trip when we turned so we were no longer sliceing bow first through the waves but taking them on the starboard quarter and some abeam. So we traded a bow/stern up and down by adding the motion of rocking side to side. This has a weird corkscrew feel. Lucky this only lasted 15 minutes and we were deeper into the river and it changed to moderate chop.

We entered the Bay River which leads to a canal. So moderate chop became flat. I burned some extra fuel flying through this section. We had 36 miles to do today, so going fast in the easy sections means I can slow and match the water in the rough sections. Out of the canal and into Goose Creek, and the chop started to build. We soon were in the Pamlico river doing our bow slice wave trick so it wasn’t a bad ride. We needed to turn up into the Pungo River, which would have made us go back to the roll/corkscrew motion. Except I ran a little farther to the eastern shore of the Pungo and turned up. The wind was blocked by the land so the waves were down to moderate chop and we followed that north to Belhaven. So other than the small amount of bounce in the Neuse, it was a pretty good trip.

Mostly blue skys, only a few gray patches. One place it sprinkled, but all in all a much better day.

Got into Belhaven at noon. We are along a wooden bulkhead that has two dozen of the lock bumper balls that we use. It’s a nice marina, good docks, power, washer/dryer, nice baths with showers. Downtown is a few block walk and I got the loaner car to go to Food Lion.

Food was great. Lunch was at Fishhooks, they had a lunch buffet for $8 that has some of the best fried chicken on it. Also pork chops, cheese with macaroni flavor, cheese with broccoli flavor and cheese with potato flavor, butter beans, succotash and sweet potatoes. If you are into fried foods and things with cheese, this is the best $8 you will ever spend.

Did email and planning for the next leg: Alligator River, Elizabeth City, Dismal Swamp (overnight), Atlantic City Yacht Harbor for some minor maintenance. Plus lots of looks at Tropical Storm Ana and what she’s going to do. It looks like it will get to me while I’m in Elizabeth City NC, so I’m pretty good with that.

Did the oil check and added some oil these last few longer, high speed runs have gulped down some oil. I check and top off when needed. We also filled water tanks, so with a pump out at River Dunes and water, we are good for the next 7 days and that takes us past the Dismal Swamp. Yay planning.

Dinner was at a place called Spoon River. Very nice decorations. Inexpensive beer and wine from local North Carolina Breweries. I went for the mussels appetizer. Mussels, sausage, onion, tomato boiled together. Served in a bowl with cheese and more sausage on top. Oh and a loaf of bread and a spoon to get all the broth. If you go, don’t mess with the menu, just get the mussels. Oh and when they offer the side salad, say no, it’s a distraction, the musses are the main attraction. $12, and a $4 beer and a nice tip you are out of there for under $20. It’s a no brainteaser. Or opt for the second beer and scramble around for another fiver for the tip. BUT GET THE MUSSELS.

It’s Friday night the places are hopping. We stopped in two on my search for Wooden Robot Beer. No luck, but we still have 145 miles of NC to go, I may get lucky and find a place that has it.

Off the dock in the morning to shoot 50 miles to see if we can stay ahead of Ana. I’m voting for the model that shows her going inland and up through Tenn and Kentucky helping out with spring rain.

[Flashback – one year ago we were in Newburg NY and took a trip to see Orange County Choppers and the Motorcyclepedia, and we had our first guest cruiser aboard]


River Dunes at Oriental, NC

6 – 7 May 2015

A late start today, the bridge we need to go under does not open until 8:30 AM. So we had time for a hot breakfast at the Dock House Restaurant that’s about 500 feet from our boat. Or so we though. We got there at 7:30 and got coffee and placed our orders right away. But by 10 after 8 there was no food in sight. Sigh. So we told the waitress to make it “to go” and about 5 mins later got our bag of food and headed back to the boat.

We slid around the corner to the bridge behind Seahorse and we were soon met by “Triad”. Triad is one of those go fast trimaran boats that has hydrofoils on the pontoons. We had talked to the owner a few days ago in Southport. He had said it will sail at just under 25 knots. Under engine power it would do 8 knots.

Promptly at 8:30 the Beaufort bridge opened and we were under way. The first 30 minutes of the trip is in pretty open water in the river. Once we entered the southern end of Cord Creek it would be a 100 yard canal and pretty much no wake for the next two hours until we got to the Neuse River.

At the entrance to the Creek was a sign that said “Will you marry me Leslie?” It was pretty weathered, we all hoped the answer was yes!.

We puttered along looking at the houses, a marina that was a “Great Investment Opportunity” (I have a copy of “Richmond’s guide to making a million dollars in the marina business.” It has a single page, “First take two million dollars….” ) There was a few dolphins along the way, but they were not interested in us, but were in the seafood we stirred up as we went along the bottom.

Along the way we met, and passed, the sailboat “Pagan Chant”, we had see him a few times since Marineland, it was nice to see he was still making good progress.

Once we were on the Neuse the water went from very calm to “moderate chop”. We were soon entering the channel at River Dunes. River Dunes is one of those fancy marina / expensive carriage house / McMansion planned community. They have 12 permenant residents now, but are building another 1100 houses.

The facilities are really nice, pool, hot tubs, really nice showers and a fancy clubhouse.

Before Docktails I met the very nice people that run Active Captain. I love Active Captain, it’s been a great help finding marina’s to stay at.

I also met the Captain of Sanctuary. He is a super Looper, he has a ton of great information and things that he posts on the forum. He has the best answers when he posts. A very nice guy to know on the Loop.

We had 10 boats for Docktails and then dinner. It was a pretty grand evening with lots of people meeting for the first time and getting a chance to know each other. The food at the yacht center was very good, the fried grouper looked great, the fried chicken and waffles had the sweet and savory flavors rolling, brisket was tender and juicy, all in all great meals.

After dinner there was an amazing sunset that everyone got pictures of. It would be interesting if you could stitch together a giant mosaic of the sunset from all the views.

Up early on Thursday, we were the first loaner car from the marina. Out at 8 and to the Piggly Wiggly by 8:30. We did serious provisioning with me buying junkfood, soda and snacks, while Susan does proteins a set of salads. Lunch meat and bread. I’m still in provisioning like I was a sea scout, lots of carbs (peanut butter crackers, pop tarts, etc). It’s very good that she’s cooking.

I was able to find 4 quarts of Amsoil to get me the yacht harbor in Norfolk to get some minor work done. I’m all tanked up and ready to go.

I tried for the second time to get a haircut, the guy didn’t show. I called into Oriental and asked for a 3PM and got shot down. So the psycho Santa beard is slowly coming to life again. I spent most of my day doing laundry and getting posts out and dealing with other email our there. As I started the loop I’d get email that I’d blow off since I’d need to deal with it in a year. The year is up and now I need to be better.

Docktails was fun, a few boaters showed up and we had a good chat. Two of the boats live hear, so we spent time about outlining easy trips North and South that we could recommend.

Dan brought his son’s beer. Dark color, slightly creamy mouth feel, can taste the two kinds of hops. It had a big head that stayed as we drank it.

Big discussion, go or stay. I want to go, the weather looks good and there isn’t a compelling reason to stay. We are docked far away from the center. It’s a 20 min walk to the “really cool showers” and the rental car is a pain of 90 mins where 60 of them are to town and back.

The weather on Friday will be like today, so it’s a low risk move to go 40 miles north. In my case we get docked at a city that has stuff vs out here with bad wireless and nothing to go to. The problem is that the current spot as meh weather for the next 6 days, not happy to sit and wait that long.

Dinner was enchiladas with chicken and cheese and corn on the cob. Very good, she has some green salsa that is very good.

Flashback, we were in Half Moon Bay this time in 2014


Beaufort, NC

5 May 2015

We woke to one of those wispy fog mornings where you can see pretty well, but the tendrils of fog are all around. The wind overnight had gone and the marina basin was very calm.

We met up with the crew of Seahorse and pushed them off the dock at 6:15 with the sun rising behind us. While he backed out of the marina we got started up, spun off the dock and were following them up river. Destination the Onslow Bridge.

The bridge is at the entrance to the Marine Base and is owned and operated by the Marine Corps. Openings are on the hour and half hour. We were told at the Southport briefing when the operator says 0700, he does not mean 0701. OohRah!

With Seahorse in the lead and a tidal push we were on track to make the bridge opening on time. But there was a dredge barge and it’s tow in front of us, that would mean passing the tow. I called the bridge operator. He explained that we needed to be there at 0700. I said it would be better if we followed the commercial tow. He explained that he wanted us there at 0700. I say that was fine, but there would mean either two openings, one for us and one for the tow, or a very long opening while he waited for the tow. I said it would be less inconvenient to the base personnel if we just tucked in behind the tow. That did the trick!

We fell in behind the tow and cruised through the bridge at 7:10AM OohRah!

As the fog burned away we cruised along helped by the tidal current. It’s really nice to get that extra 1.2 knots of speed to help reduce the trip time.

Another great day with perfect weather, flat water and lots to look at. Some really nice homes and visits by dolphins made the day fly by.

Oh and flying by were Looper friends on “Plane2Sea”, they were also headed into Beaufort for the day.

As we entered into the Beaufort area we saw USN Warship #24 on the horizon. They had come into port earlier in the day with the help of the Coast Guard (moving fishing boats out of the way). It’s amazing how the new era of Navy ships look compared to the ones from the 70′s. The USS Arlington is an “amphibious transport dock” or to us a mobile dry dock. Because it has to hold a boat inside, the superstructure of the Arlington is very high and has pretty flat sides. The entire boat is a series of hard angles blending in to keep the radar profile flat.

As we came around the corner there were about a hundred fishing boats. If the Coast Guard had problems moving them for a warship, they were not about to move for us. Since it was such a great day and we were early we picked our way through them.

With the big help from the tide and the early start we covered 40 miles in just about 5 hours.

We tied up at the Beaufort City Docks just before noon and helped Seahorse tie up behind us. We both had leftovers waiting and set up to meet at docktails. Our lunch was ½ of an avocado filled with shrimp salad. Yum!!!

After lunch Susan wanted to do laundry and nap, so I loaded up First Mate Pig and headed off to see Beaufort. The downtown area is pretty small, about 8 blocks from end to end and about 5 blocks deep.

Lots of cool small shops selling everything from ice cream to expensive art and antiques. About 4 blocks down was the Maritime museum. It had lots of good displays, Beaufort played a significant part in the Civil War.

Across the street is the yard for the Maritime Museum. They do some restoration, but mostly are building wooden boats as displays on how things used to be done. We had missed the Watercraft Weekend by a few days. Part of it is giving teams materials to make flat bottomed skiffs and a 4 hour time window to build them in. This year they built a dozen boats and by the end of build time there were all “mostly floating”. Sounds like something that would be fun.

In my quest for North Carolina brews continued. I went to the Backstreet Pub and the bartender was nice enough to set me up with a flight of three beers she had on tap. On the other side of the street, at Clawson’s I was able to have 4 more. I’m still on the hunt to find Wooden Robot Beer from Charlotte, North Carolina.

At Docktails we met up with “Seahorse” and “Plane2sea”. We were joined by new Loopers on “Snow Goose”. We sat and shared stories for awhile until sunset came.

Susan and I ended up our night watching one of the last episodes of Mad Men. It’s really nice to have great wifi.

Another great day on the Loop. This is our 6th day in a row of sailing, we will go one more day since the weather is so nice and then have a break day.

Stickers all around!

(Flashback, one year ago today we were in New York City)


Sneads Ferry, NC.

4 May 2015

I did some engine maintenance this morning, filter changes all around and topping of the oil. This should hold us until we get to Norfolk and I’ll get the oil changed.

We got off the dock at 8, a little behind my desired 7:30 start. But we had the tide with us and were soon ripping up the river.

There were a few bridges today that we needed to time the arrivals at. We caught up to our friends on Seahorse and they led the way. The Captain did a great job of having us “arrive” about 10 mins early, we then slowed down about 2 miles out and worked our way to the bridge. Lots of people would go slower the entire trip, but I’ve run into problems where there is an unexpected “no wake zone” that goes on for miles.

Just before the Wrightsville Bridge we got rocked and the iPad mount came free. It managed to slide down the front of the DC panel tripping the main breaker. The engines kept running since it’s all mechanical, but the loss of the radio and the gauges took me by surprise. I was able to figure it out pretty quickly and we were back in business.

Like most of North Carolina so far this section was a mix of residential areas and wilderness. It has more variety of scenery going on, but it’s still pretty flat areas. There were lots of people fishing and when the tide fell we saw people out raking clams.

We pulled into the Swan’s Point Marina S in Sneads Ferry, NC. ,and almost crashed the boat in the current. We were moving with the tide and when we turned broadside to the current the flow really grabbed the boat and kept us moving down stream. The entrance is marked by sets of piles and a breakwater, I just made it through. (We sent a heads up to the Seahorse, he went past the marina and turned up into the current so he wasn’t swept down).

Soon both boats were tied up. Swans Point Marina is a family run place, lots of local boaters that were very friendly. They have ties to the town of Sneads Ferry and the major place to eat there, the Riverview. We arraigned a ride and the owner came out to get us. It reminded Susan of the time we stayed in Oxford and they sent someone to pick us up from the restaurant.

The Riverview was great, they brought us warm hushpuppies and I ordered the fried spicy pickles. They are much better than the fried dill slices we’ve had before. Susan had the steak and I had two boneless pork chops. [Side story: We had dinner at Patti's in Green Turtle Bay and they serve a 2” pork chop that was the best pork chop I've ever had. I've not been getting them out to eat much since they are never near as good. The ones tonight are now second on my list. I have one leftover, there is a great lunch in my future.]

We took pie home since we were stuffed. The crew from Seahorse gave it high marks when we talked to them the next morning.

We got back to the boat with a plan to leave early the next morning, we wanted to make the next bridge opening at 7AM. Even though this was a long day at 7.7 hours on the water, the beautiful day, the smooth ride and the great dinner made it one of the highlights. Stickers all around!


Southport, NC

3 May 2015

By the time we hit the ICW all the other Loopers were well ahead of us. It was a very clear and calm day, it was a very nice ride. About an hour into it we crossed into North Carolina, a new state for us. Only one more on the trip (Virginia) and we will have them all.

We did see a dolphin later in the morning, the first one in a few days. It was close to one of the sounds so it was close to the ocean. The prior days we’ve been in long sections of canals. Plus the boat traffic was heavier.

Got into Southport and the marina right at noon. We had lunch of left over stuffed baked potatoes from Saturday. While Susan worked on loading pictures, I went for a walk through town. It’s a cute little place, but with being Sunday lots of places were closed.

Lots of places pn the loop have “Harbor Hosts”, someone that is willing to help out with local info, finding things, etc. I spent an hour with the Southport Harbor Host, Robert. He was a fountain of information about the area and about things to do on the next part of our trip.

As a service the marina also offers a briefing to sailors going north and south on the ICW. We went to the briefing tonight, there were 8 boats represented. The first part of the briefing was about the weather outlook for the next 7 days. There is a weird tropical disturbance that has the weather models confused. So he spent time explaining what to look for in the reports and how to interpret the results as the week progresses.

The briefer then went over things to look out for in the channels for the next 300 miles to get to the Chesapeake Bay. (It’s hard to think that we are only 600 water miles from home) There is shoaling in some areas, that is where the sand and mud have moved along the bottom to create shallows.

Providing we are two hours after and before low tide, we will be fine for the trip. We are in a perfect window to move, low tide is 5AM on Monday. It increases about an hour each day, so Tuesday 6AM, Wed 7AM, etc. So all of our trips the next 7 days have us with good travel times. I expect the tropical disturbance to figure out what it’s doing, that will have us in port for two days. By then we will be in the Dismal Swamp, it’s not as much dependent on the tide.

The best part of the briefing was he had printed up the slides so we could take them with us and study. I have some new sites to add to my weather page.

After the briefing we went to dinner at the “Provisioning Company” It’s an interesting place. You come in, read the chalk board menu and place your order. You then grab drinks from the cooler (beer/wine) or get sodas from the fountain. They have a huge pavilion, find a table and when it’s ready they bring it to you. We had the crew of “Seahorse” and “Just Us” with us. We all had variations of the crab cake / steamed shrimp combos. The food was very good and the portions were huge.

It was another amazing sunset, we all got pictures. There were also about 50 kayaks on the river since it was so calm. Full moon tonight so it would be a great night to be anchored out. On the way past the docks there was one of the America Cruise Line boats going by. I need to look into how they really work, it may make a nice trip back to this area.


North Myrtle Beach, SC

2 May 2015

Today is Susan’s second birthday on the Loop!

We are off to North Myrtle Beach today and are traveling with three other Loopers. “Plane2Sea” are people that we met up with in Georgia. The two new boats are “Horizon Chaser” and “Mighty Fine”. We met the two new crews at breakfast this morning.

Our first adventure was watching “Horizon Chaser” and “Mighty Fine” get waked by a Hinkley coming down the ICW. Not sure what is up, that was the fourth Hinkley that has done that.

We are now back into swing bridge country. There are about 8 bridges that we need to deal with between here and the Chesapeake Bay. The one this morning was pretty easy, there were two boats waiting when our group arrived. The bridge tender opened up and we went through.

The next 20 miles are a canal that is bracketed by homes and gold courses. The mega homes along the water reminded us of the area north and south of Palm Beach. It’s like the housing crash of 2009 never happened.

There is a place where there is an overhead gondola system with two cars. It’s part of one of those giant resorts that are all over down here. The parking lot is on the east side of the river, the golf course is on the west. They load golfers into the gondolas an fling them across the river.

One of the famous river areas in this section is “The Rockpile” It’s a narrow canal section that was cut out rock. Unlike other spots of pluf mud and sand, hitting the rocks is a bigger deal. (Pluf mud is that smelly mud that South Carolina is so famous for.) We came through about mid tide and there was lots and lots of room. There was a southbound sailboat that went by, he was on the phone and not really watching the markers. The crew of “Horizon Chaser” yelled that they were about to crash and the sail boat turned 90 degrees to miss the marker.

We arrived at the very nice Myrtle Beach Yacht club about noon. I was surprised by the low cost, only $1 per foot. I can see why people stay here a few days. Its a great place!

There was a wedding going on upstairs in the restaurant. So the crews of “Horizon Chaser”, “Mighty Fine” and “Quo Vadimus” headed to the steak house next door. Susan and I had the fish tacos, they were good but not the level of the ones from the Wilmington Farmers Market.

Naps for Susan and I for awhile and I topped off our water tanks. We then headed up to the pool area and met up with “Just Us”, “Plane2Sea” and “Diamond Girl” for predinner snacks. Just before the Kentucky Derby Post time, we moved up stairs to a big table. One of the boats (nameless here for legal reasons) put together a small derby bet slips. I had poor picks, but Susan had one of the top three. Of course both of our horses placed well out of the money.

Dinner was a group appetizer set, we had buffalo wings, Parmesan garlic wings, nachos, potato skins plain and with chili and egg rolls. Lots of food for everyone! The wings were huge and the flats still had the tips on them. An order of 10 would be more than anyone could eat.

Susan had a hot fudge sundae with pecans on it for her birthday!

After dinner we all headed to our respective boats. Some are going to Southport Marina, others will push on to Wrightsville. We have 7 good days of weather in our forecast so we will keep going until we get to the rain on Saturday.


Myrtle Beach, SC

1 May 2015

In the morning we left with the rising tide and followed Roundabout out the river. Another day of quiet rides and moving along at 9 kts with the help of the tidal flow.

About 10 AM we came across friends on “Debt Finder” and we chatted with them for a few minutes with them on the radio. It was nice catching up with them. That’s one of the nice things about the Loop is that you meet and then remeet people as you travel along.

We got to our dock early because of the extra speed of the current. The marina is very nice, brand new floating docks and it was very inexpensive at $1 per foot.

We did lunch on the boat and called a taxi about 3PM to take us into Myrtle Beach. There is an entertainment complex about 20 minutes away that Susan had scoped out. Lots of kid things to do as far as rides and arcades, lots of shopping for the parents. There is also about a dozen places to eat. With it being off season the place was pretty empty so we had our run of the place.

The complex is set up around a huge lagoon. Running across the center is a double zip line (over and then back). Susan had gone ziplining in Mexico and really liked it, so we decided to give this one a try. My last time on a zip line was in the back yard when I was a kid, it was one of those rigs where you hung on with your hands. Here it was a full seat harness like you would wear as a construction worker. They strap you in and send you up the tower to the top to clip into the rollers that will take you across.

The ride was pretty cool, having a little more mass than your average person I accelerated pretty quickly. Being slightly unbalanced in the harness gave me a slow spin so I got a good 360 view. I soon landed at the other side. Up a few more steps to the top of the tower and we were both on our way across.

There is a bridge that goes across the lagoon, we crossed it. On the way we marveled at the giant carp, they lay in wait in the water with their half dollar sized mouths gaping on the surface begging for food. There was a ride there where you climb inside an inflatable tube and you can crawl inside and then float across the water. It looked perfect for little kids.

We hit a few of the shops, picked up some new salsa’s for docktails, marveled at kids clothing that was $65 per outfit, etc. We did go to the MR Ducks store and he had a left over 2014 shirt in my size, and a 2015 in a color that I liked. We also went to Kligs Kites, a mecca for kiteflyers. I picked up two really unusual kites to try out. One is a very interesting kite that has a carbon fiber tension system.

Dinner was at the Liberty Brewing Company. We ordered the “Pint-o-Bacon” just to see what it was. It’s 6 strips of bacon in a pint glass with a maple/hot pepper sauce to dip them in. It was weird but fun just eating bacon. Susan had a steak and I had prime rib. And of course I had a flight of 5 different beers to try. One was a Maibock, a new term to me that I’ll need to go research.

After dinner we went to the Palace Theatre to watch a show. A family friend, Russell, is a BMX bike rider in the show. He is part of a three man group that does a 10 minute act on two side by side pipes. When Dave was younger he was into BMX and we went to see him and the other riders perform. Russell and the other riders were way over the top doing jumps, twists and loops. I wouldn’t think that a bike could put up with all that abuse.

There was also a magician that had some good tricks. He had an assistant that was very flexible so he was able to do a number of variations of the “saw the girl in half trick”. The best tricks were the ones where he had children from the audience participate.

The other big act was Christian Soninev and his dog Scooby doing acrobatics. He was very good, and the dog would climb on him as he move upside down.

We met up with Russell after the show, they will be in Myrtle Beach through Labor Day, so if you get a chance go see the show. He said that the cast (magician, dancers, bikers, etc) were set up in condos that are close to the beach and to the theater. A pretty good summer gig.

In the morning we will be heading out with three other Loopers that are in the marina. We’ll have a chance to sleep in since low tide is at 7, we won’t be leaving until 8:30.