We have slowly cruised up the east coast, now over 1,250+ miles since leaving Marathon on May 23. We have taken our time and stopped to see sights and wait for bad weather to pass us by. We arrived in Chesapeake, VA on Friday, July 1 and will stay until Tuesday, 7/5. Then we will be entering the Chesapeake Bay, where we have decided to spend our summer cruising and exploring. We had originally planned to go all the way up to New England, but as boating goes, all plans are changeable! We have been on the Chesapeake before with our sailboat back in 2002/2003, but really haven’t truly explored it. There are people who have lived there for over 25 years and haven’t seen all of the possible gunkholes to anchor and explore. We know that it will get very hot this summer, so we will definitely be spending a lot of time in marinas, but also plan to anchor out as well. We will be also eating a lot of blue crabs! Yum!
So much has happened since we left Marathon Here’s a picture our track. Marathon is located at the southernmost point of our track. The one little area where it doesn’t connect is where we forgot to turn it on that morning when we left! Oops!
We left Marathon May 23. It’s roughly 200 miles from Marathon Key to Fort Lauderdale. We covered that in two days, anchoring for the night off of Rodriguez Key. It was a lovely, quiet anchorage. We bypassed the city of Miami and stayed out in the Atlantic Ocean because one-half of all of the bridges on the total 1090 mile ICW are located between Key Biscayne and Palm Beach. Since the majority of these bridges have restricted opening schedules, usually on the hour or half hour, it makes for a very long and slow day.
We ducked into Fort Lauderdale for the night, however the weather forecast was such that we decided to extend our stay to four nights and do some sightseeing. On our way in we passed a number of mega yachts which dwarfed us! It also brought back memories of when our boat was in the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last November 2015.
Upon leaving Fort Lauderdale, we went outside again and cruised up to Palm Beach, reentering the ICW at the Lake Worth Inlet. We entered about 2:00 p.m. on Memorial Day and we were surrounded by literally hundreds of jet skis, small boats and pontoon boats mostly driven by intoxicated teenage boys. One had to pay attention! We came through unscathed, but this was probably the most dangerous section of our entire adventure to date.
For the next few days we proceeded up the ICW, anchoring out until we reached Vero Beach, FL. We had heard many good things about Vero Beach over the winter and we decided to spend three nights and do some sightseeing and relax. Vero Beach is a very nice area, primarily a retirement community. It’s nickname is “Velcro Beach” because when people come there they don’t want to leave. Once again, the weather took a turn for the worse and we extended our visit to six nights. During our stay, we ran into Chris and Gail Wilkinson, friends from our winter stay at Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers. They arrived on their 42ft. Kadey Krogen, “Tortuga”, just days after his retirement! Their adventures are just beginning.
We then continued up the ICW stopping in Titusville and Daytona Beach before reaching St. Augustine. We spent three nights in St. Augustine because we had never visited this city and there are many historic sites to see. St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. We stayed at the City Marina which was within walking distance of all of the historical sites and the downtown area. This city is definitely someplace to visit if you have not done so.
After departing St. Augustine our next stop was Fernandina Beach, FL, which is located on the Florida/Georgia border. This was the first stretch of the ICW where we really had to watch out for shallow water. The ICW by design is supposed to be 12 feet or more for it’s entire length. Because of the many inlets and tidal activity, maintaining that 12 feet+ depth requires continual dredging in many locations in it’s entire length. However, the Corps of Engineers who are responsible for maintaining the ICW has suffered significant cuts in its funding over the past 15 years. As a result, the ICW has in many places become much shallower to the point where at times our boat, which draws 5’4″ only had one or two feet of water below its keel when coming through. Therefore, we often needed to time our travel north of St. Augustine to coincide with higher and rising tides. The State of Georgia and South Carolina are particularly troublesome. To avoid this entirely, we decided to do an overnight passage from Fernandina Beach to Charleston, South Carolina. This passage took 25 hours, 194 nautical miles, but saved us about five days of slowly winding through Georgia and the southern half of South Carolina.
The weather forecast for the overnight trip looked good with winds relatively light and generally behind us. The wave height predictions were for 2-3 feet or less. However, about one third of the way through we discovered the wave height prediction was relatively accurate, however they were coming from BOTH the E and the SW, which made for a very bumpy ride. On top of that, we were caught in a couple thunderstorms that worked their way through about midnight. The boat handled it fine and for us it wasn’t much of an issue, but both cats were seasick almost the entire way. About two in the morning our radar gave us a warning that we were on a collision course with another boat. It turned out to be a 944 foot container ship making his way to Savanah GA. Mark was able to reach the ship on VHF radio and they confirmed that we would collide and we both agreed to alter course. That explains the jog you see in our Delorme track.
We arrived at Charleston about noon the following day and went into a very nice resort marina across the Cooper River from the historic district of Charleston. We had reservations for four nights so we could thoroughly enjoy this beautiful, historic old city. The resort had a free hourly shuttle bus to the downtown area, which we took advantage of each day. We did a lot of sightseeing, a carriage tour and enjoyed some wonderful southern food. On what was to be our last day, another tropical low (Colin) came through and required us to extend our stay for two more days. We were in downtown Charleston at the old market when the front moved through. Within a few minutes winds picked up to 40 miles per hour, with occasional gusts to 60, torrential rain and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees. The temperature drop was welcome as the heat index that day was 110 degrees F. It blew and rained all that night and most of the next day, but we used the time to visit a US Navy museum which was adjacent to our marina. It had three WWII vintage vessels, a aircraft carrier (Yorktown), a destroyer and a submarine. We spent hours touring these fascinating ships. Since it was Father’s Day, Mark got in free!!
We left Charleston on Monday, 6/23 to continue our journey north. We had a number of short days due to having to wait for high tides to pass the shallow spots. At night we primarily anchored out in some beautiful, scenic anchorages. In almost every case, we were the only boat there. That’s one of the advantages to our late start in that the majority of the snowbirds going back north on their boats are long gone.
About a week later we stopped in Morehead City,NC for two nights, so that we could meet up with our friend Andy Horn. Andy was not far away, visiting his daughter, Captain Sarah Horn, who is a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps recently returned from the Middle East deployment. We had a great visit with Andy, although too short.
We then continued north to our current location, which required us to cross two large “sounds”, Pamlico and Albemarle. These are two large bodies of water between the mainland and the out islands of North Carolina. One passage was roughly 3-1/2 hours, the other was 4-1/2 hours. These two sounds are some of the most difficult water to be encountered on the ICW. While they are 40-50 miles in breadth, they are only 12 feet deep. As a result, any winds above 10-15 MPH raises very 4-6 foot waves which are very close together. Depending upon the direction of the wind, it can make for a very miserable passage. We got lucky crossing both with light winds and 1-2 foot waves on our beam, which was very tolerable.
We arrived at Atlantic Yacht Basin, which is in Chesapeake, VA – at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay, in the early afternoon of Friday, 7/1. We pulled in to take on some fuel and pump out our holding tank before going into our slip. Just as we tied up to the fuel dock, a series of thunderstorms moved through. We managed to get tied up in our slip before it really started to pour. It then rained for the next 10 hours at a rate of 1-2 inches an hour. There was much local flooding, and the river we are on rose almost 12 inches in a short period of time. Our plan is to depart AYB on Tuesday, 7/5 and enter the Chesapeake Bay where we will spend the summer cruising and exploring. It turned out to be a social whirlwind while we where at AYB. First, we saw a boat, Lady M, which had aboard good friends from this past winter in Stuart, FL. Then we ran into the owners of a Kadey Krogen 39, The Edge, to whom we introduced ourselves and then invited over for cocktails on our boat one evening. We had a lovely time visiting with them. The next afternoon, Mark was in the aft cockpit reading when someone called out “Hello Mark!” from a boat passing by. It turned out to be a Kadey Krogen Whaleback with Susan and Jeff Goode onboard, along with a captain helping them to take, their new to them, boat to Annapolis. We had met Susan and Jeff at one of the boat shows we participated in. The captain was none other than Sharvan from Stuart – who was one of the captains who offloaded our Next Dance from the container ship from Taiwan and also the who so skillfully taught Pauline how to dock Next Dance!! What a small world. Of course we joined them for cocktails aboard their boat and shared stories. Where we have been taking our time moving north, they made the trip from Stuart to AYB in six days, going offshore often and doing 12 to 14 hour days. Whew! That could not have been a relaxing journey, but they are on a mission to get the boat to Annapolis and get Sharvan back home to Stuart.
While here at AYB, we also managed to forget our wedding anniversary! Oh well…that’s the problem when the days just run into each other and we don’t pay attention to the date on the calendar. We celebrated with lunch at Woody’s, where we watched many Packer games in the fall of 2013 when we had purchased our 44ft Kadey Krogen, the first Next Dance.
On July 5 we officially entered the Chesapeake Bay! This area of big water has many, many beautiful places to visit and of course, blue crabs! We can’t wait to eat our fill of them this summer. But along with all of those wonderful crabs are the many thousands of crab pots that we will have to avoid while cruising. Always an adventure in boating. There are a lot of Kadey Krogen’s cruising here and we are sure to run into some from time to time. We have also met some other boaters who keep their boats on the Chesapeake Bay and we look forward to reconnecting with them. Our granddaughters, Ellie (15-1/2) and Anna (14) will be joining us (sans mother) for a week the end of July. We are really looking forward to having them onboard, sharing our current lifestyle and exploring the beautiful areas on the Chesapeake Bay. We sent them a picture of a jellyfish which are very prevalent in the water here. This will not make for much swimming, unfortunately. Hopefully, when we go up some of the little fresh water rivers we won’t find them and will be able to jump in the water from time to time. If nothing else, we can take the kayak or dinghy out. It’s the first time since they were just little peanuts that we’ve had them all to ourselves. Should be a blast!
Well, that brings us up to date. We will be on the Chesapeake until mid-October, when we will attend annual Kadey Krogen rendezvous in Solomons, MD. This will be the first time that we will be attending with our boat! It is quite a sight to see. Last year they had 150 Kadey Krogen’s there, from 39 foot to the 58 foot. After the rendezvous we will begin our journey south for the winter. We have not decided where we are going to stay yet, but still have a little time to make that decision. We are on wait lists for spots at several marinas.
We know that we definitely want to get to the Abacos in April 2017 and spend the month there. We then need to leave the boat somewhere north of the Florida/Georgia state line (insurance hurricane season requirement) by mid-May to fly back to Colorado. Scott and Emily are getting married over Memorial Day weekend 2017 in Grandby, Colorado. So we will be off of the boat for at least a week, maybe two.
If your vacation plans bring you the Chesapeake Bay this summer, please be sure to get in touch with us. We’d love to connect if we can!
Until next time, fair winds and following seas . . .
Pauline and Mark Masuhr
Well furriends, we’ve been cruising now for quite awhile. Most of the time, it’s purrfectly fine, nice and calm. But sometimes it definitely has not been fun for us. Yep, we’ve been seasick! It doesn’t seem to take much. Our mom sometimes tries to give us some motion sickness medicine (which we absolutely hate), and it helps for awhile. The worst was when we were out on the Atlantic Ocean for 25 hours. We didn’t eat for a day and a half and didn’t want to!! We didn’t think it was ever going to end. Not that it was really rough, we’re just “fragile”. Meow.
It has been fun to see lots of different places and people along the way. We really enjoy the different smells too! Ming is a wonderful fly catcher and she loves to gobble them up! We love it when we are at anchor. Mom and dad let us walk around all over the boat. We have no interest in jumping in for a swim – we just love to sit outside watching what’s going on around us. Especially if there are birds flying around us.
Meow. We’re in trouble. Even that angel, “Ming”. We both jumped off of the boat at Atlantic Yacht Basin. Mom walked up the dock to talk to some people and Ming decided to jump off and follow her. Well why not?? Oops! She got caught right away by dad (surprise) and he yelled at her. She hopped right back on. Me, I snuck right past him when he had is nose in a book and didn’t bother to look as I jumped off, walked quite a ways up the dock and into a lovely grassy area. Well, all of a sudden there was a golf cart driving up so I decided I had better high tail it back to the boat. Wouldn’t you know it? There was mom walking back and caught me! Well, I think dad actually got in more trouble than I did because he wasn’t being a good “cat watcher”. To say the least, we were chastised and put inside the boat. It sure was fun while it lasted! We had just heard them telling people that we were really good and didn’t jump off of the boa. Ha ha! Meow.
We’ve been told that we are now somewhere called the Chesapeake Bay and will be cruising here for the summer. We also hear that it’s going to be hot! The Chesapeake Bay is a large body of water and has many beautiful places to visit. Should be fun!
Got in trouble again this morning. Meow. I (Pema) decided to sneak out of the pilot house door this morning just as we pulled away from the dock. Dad, as usual, was not keeping a keen eye on us. Mom started looking for me and was getting pretty worried. Little did she know that I had climbed up to the flybridge and was laying under the dinghy! I guess I was pretty lucky that it wasn’t rough and get accidentally chucked off!! We are not allowed outside when the boat is underway. Meow. Well she scooped me up and took me back inside where I am again safe and sound, and she has relaxed.
Here are some pics of us that mom has taken over the past month. She likes the one where we are sleeping together. We don’t do that very often anymore. I often try snuggling with Ming, but she doesn’t always like it.
Pema (and Ming), Boat Cats Extradinaire!