McClellanville, SC – the ultimate small town experience.


With a population of ~500 residents, in McClellanville either you work for, or you are related to, a McClellan.

Meet Leland McClellan

Leland McClellan
Leland McClellan. Notice the AGLCA shirt!

Born and raised in McClellanville, Leland, a fellow Looper, was docked immediately behind Exhale.  After he helped tie up the lines he offered to show us around his home town.  The McClellan family roots date back to 1740, when Andrew McClellan, Leland’s great grandfather, ran a freight boat. On Leland’s maternal side, the Lofton family presence in South Carolina dates back to the early 1600s. A natural story teller, we knew we were in the company of a local legend. It was the most amazing small town experience ever.

St. James Santee Parish Church

Our tour guide said, “while it’s still daylight, do you want to see the Old Brick Church?” We ventured along the Old Georgetown Road, also known as the Kings Highway. Located in a remote portion of Francis Marion National Forest, we noticed there were no street lights, no electric or telephone poles, and no buildings as far as the eye could see. Traveling on a historic designated road, the carefully preserved “dirt” road was once used by George Washington.

Arriving at the old church, we knew we were getting special treatment when our host let us in the back door. We marveled at the historic structure, built in 1768.  Established by the French Protestant Huguenots, all it’s original glory remained intact.

Jeremy Creek

The well maintained docks at Jeremy Creek are owned by Leland Oil Company.


Shrimp Boats & Forrest Gump

When Hurricane Hugo hit McClellanville it devastated the shrimping fleet.  A resourceful film crew later used the wreckage in the filming of Forrest Gump! Jeremy Creek is still home to an active shrimp boat operation.

Shrimp Boat for Sanda
This one is for Sandra and Danielle

Soft-Shelled Crab

Let’s just say this was possibly the most delicious soft-shelled crab dinner we have ever experienced.  And yes, that’s a whole crab!  Thanks, Leland, for taking us to a local treasure, the Bent Rod.

Soft Shelled Crab
Soft Shelled Crab at The Bent Rod

Tiki Queen

Exquisitely cared for, the beloved Tiki Queen was tied up behind us at the Leland Oil Co. dock.  We look forward to connecting with fellow loopers, Leland and Karen McClellan, along the way.

Tiki Queen
Looper Tiki Queen

Next Stop:   Waccawache Marina, SC


Charleston History Lesson

Any fifth grader can probably tell you the Civil War (1861-1865) began in South Carolina, as we wandered around Charleston I realized I seem to recall bupkis about US History.


Fort Sumter

The construction of Fort Sumter began in 1829 in response to the War of 1812.


The hexagon shaped fort was strategically placed at the harbor entrance to defend the deep water port from British troops – and pirates.


When South Carolina seceded in 1860 there were four Federal installations around Charleston Harbor.  On April 12, 1861, under the command of Major Robert Anderson, Fort Sumter was guarded by only 85 Federal soldiers. After 34 hours of canon fire by the confederate militia –  who had seized Forts Johnson, Moultrie, and Cummings Point – only five Federal soldiers suffered injuries; no one on either side was killed.

The Fort, burned and severely damaged, was surrendered to the Confederate troops, marking the beginning of a long and bloody war.

Secession Map


Who was Hannibal Hamlin?

Once again it felt like there was a missing segment in my aging memory bank.  Staring at a vintage campaign poster for Abraham Lincoln (my (Mary’s) dad was something like a 6th cousin to Mary Todd Lincoln), I was totally perplexed. Next to Abe was some guy named Hannibal  – questioning the validity of the poster, of course I  “googled” him.

According to Wikipedia, Lincoln’s running mate was a Maine Democrat who changed his party affiliation when he joined the ticket with Abe, the very first Republican president. We learned (seriously for the first time) that the 15th VP, Hannibal Hamlin(1809-1891), successfully pressured Abe to pursue emancipation.  In 1864, Tennessee War Democrat Andrew Johnson (the name we all remember) was chosen to run on the Union Ticket with Abe.  Hamlin returned to his home state to serve as Senator of Maine, and was later chosen as Minister to Spain; in total he spent over 50 years as a public servant.

US Customs House

US Customs House
US Customs House, Charleston, SC

Inclement weather meant a tour of local museums – The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, preserved by the Daughters of the American Revolution, kept us mesmerized for hours – from the architecture to the entertaining docents, it was well worth the senior priced admission. The oldest building in Charleston was constructed above the original Battery.

US Customs House Dungeon
US Customs House Dungeon
US Customs House Provost
US Customs House Provost – unique architecture

A dramatic statement of wealth, the Exchange was once home to the Constitutional Convention as SC became the eighth state to ratify the US Constitution in 1788. Ground level floors were used for trading and a post office while the basement was deemed a “Provost”, or dungeon, for pirates and war criminals. Most impressive, the majestic upper floor includes a grand ballroom used by President George Washington; perfectly preserved, it is now a popular wedding space.

Charming Charleston

The historic charm of Charleston was found in the cobblestone streets and well-preserved churches, dating back to the early 1800’s.

St. John
St. John’s Cathedral
St. Phillips
St. Phillips

Protection from a Storm

When the weather gets windy, you look for protection – when you are docked near the USS Yorktown, it feels pretty safe.

USS Yorktown

Next Stop:  McClellanville, SC – or somewhere nearby-ish

Rock me Mama, the Wind and the Rain

Eye of the Storm

As record storms slammed the east coast again, Exhale was surrounded by heavy wind, rain, and hail storms. Refuge was found in the historic port of Beaufort, South Carolina for three stormy days.

Beaufort, South Carolina

Dodging the rain, we toured the local community, finding several historic gems.

Historic Beaufort


Violets For Laura Jo

Fellow Loopers

In Beaufort, our dock mates were the delightful Easton family – Kim, Scott, Chris, Ryan and their Director of Guest Relations, Charlie.  Kimberly Dawn began her journey in Tennessee, they have been on the water since last summer. Similar in speed, together we plan to anchor out, once the storm clears.

Kimberly Dawn

The Few, The Proud, The Marines 

“I learned more about American History in the past two hours than I did in high school”, said Capt. Rick.  Without a doubt, the Parris Island Marine Corp museum has more military artifacts than any museum we have ever seen.  Take your time; it’s an educational, emotional journey.

Iwo Jima
Built From The Ruins
Southern Republic

Notice the viperous snake wound around the Southern Republic tree.  Proud of our deep California roots, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York connections.

What type of plane was that?

We marveled as the military planes flew by – we think this one was the Harrier, since it hovered overhead, as if it was suspended in motion. We saw multiple aircrafts in the span of 15 minutes – touch and go – high and low!

Is it a Harrier jump jet? Fly by


Southern Hospitality

Happy to be back on the water, we enjoyed the hospitality of South Carolina.

No Wake Please

Location, location, location.  These lucky birds secured an exclusive waterfront property.

Happy Dolphin!
Yep, the dolphin is faster!

Not all Boat Dogs are friendly – Stranger Danger

As most of you know, Maddie is a highly social dog. She loves to meet new people and she is quick to sniff new dogs, of all sizes. Bigger dogs, like Maddie’s best friend Chopper, are often the most friendly. Unfortunately, smaller dogs, especially Miniature Schnauzers are royal jerks. It turns out dogs that are actually at eye level can do a lot of damage in less than 5 seconds. After a malicious encounter I guarantee you Maddie will not be so quick to say hello. A hard nip on her ear and her neck may have scared us more than her!  A readily available first aid kit came in handy, and she seems to be okay.  Lesson learned, you are right, Mo; Stranger, Danger.

Looking for my body guard
Where was Chopper when I needed him?
For Josie and Alisha

After a rough storm and a mean dog, Maddie might be looking for a good bourbon.

Next stop – Steamboat, anchoring out with Kimberly Dawn.


Georgia on my mind

Off the beaten path on St. Patrick’s Day

Over 500,000 people were expected in Savannah for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade; since crowds are not “our thing”, we detoured up the East Channel Medway River. The water was skinny (shallow), as discovered by this go-fast boat.

Walking on Water?
Walking on Water?

Although it looks like that guy is walking on water, sadly, his boat is stuck in the sand.

Sunbury Crab Company – St. Patrick’s Day

Sunbury Crab Company
541 Brigantine Dunmore Rd, Midway, GA


We were headed to a local treasure in Midway, GA, Sunbury Crab Company Restaurant and Marina. MOTA and AGLCA members we recommend you detour off the ICW like we did – it’s well worth the journey.  Tell the owners, Elaine and Barney Maley, that Exhale sent you.  Call ahead, (912) 884-8640, you won’t regret it.

Yuengling, of course

We know, the cheddar cheese fries are not at all healthy, but they were more than decadent with an ice cold Yuengling, followed by the perfect portions of mahi mahi, grilled shrimp and a tender rib eye. The next morning we left at high tide, to reduce the chance of sand surfing.

Isle of Hope

Southern hospitality at this delightful marina includes a loaner car – thanks, Kimberly!

Isle of Hope, Georgia


Historic Savannah

Almost8 strongly encouraged us to explore the majestic waterfront – so glad we did!

Riverfront Plaza
Chippewa Square
Chippewa Square
Carriage Rides
Carriage Rides
John Wesley, founder of Methodism
Freemason’s Hall
British Pub – yes, Hazel, the phone booth works!
Chocolate Butter? Thanks Paula Deen
Butter Y'All
This one is for FixItAnders
Maddie was not interested.

The streets of Savannah were absolutely entertaining – unique little boutiques, live music, and delightful places to eat.  Okay, I couldn’t stop laughing when we discovered the Dancing Dogs Yoga studio; and then we found the Paula Deen store. Hey! My butter churned to chocolate – Butter, butter, and more butter, Y’all.

Canons and Steeples

Washinton Guns – Chatham Artillery
Independent Presbyterian Church


Recommended by the dock master, we parked near Madison Square, then headed north to the water front. Along the way we marveled at the architecture, and paused to admire the well preserved Washington Guns, which welcomed distinguished visitors to Savannah including Jefferson Davis, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, William Taft and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Thanks again Almost8 – the historic sites in Savannah were breathtaking!

Next Stop:  Hilton Head, South Carolina.


Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Proud to be Irish!

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all weekend, instead of leprechauns they have coyotes and beavers as the Irish mascots in Jekyll Harbor!

Irish Coyote
Jekyll Harbor
Irish Beaver?

We highly recommend the fresh shrimp dinner at the Riverhouse in Jekyll Harbor, GA. Tip: sit at the bar, enjoy the service and an ice cold draft.  If you opt to eat outside be advised, the aggressive little no-see-uhms are hungry, too.

St. Augustine, St. John County

St. Augustine is one of our favorite cities on the east coast of Florida, delicious local food and countless historic sites are abundant.  We spent a full week there last year so we only sailed by – but no worries, we will be back again, for sure.

Smoke on the Water

Anchored out in Ponte Vedra Beach, another magical experience.  Early morning waters included a wisp of fog.

Smoke on the Water
Ponte Vedra Beach
Jekyll River

Celebrating Shrimp Season

It’s easy to exhale when the water is smooth as glass!

Smooth Waters


Dream Catcher
Dream Catcher – Fresh Shrimp!
Shrimp Boat2


Wishing you sweet dreams, Stephen Hawking

With deep sadness the world said goodbye this week to a rare man.  Your brilliance and humor will be greatly missed, Stephen William Hawking. Enjoy the cosmos.

‘One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.’ 

Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

Next Stop – Sunbury Crab Company.

Ichabod and Anchoring Out

Early mornings in Melbourne are calm and still.

Melbourne Rowing Crew
Melbourne Rowing Crew


The popular marina bar is ominously named Ichabod. I wondered, is it a reference to the headless horseman or perhaps the Hebrew meaning “without honor”?  Well, we were here earlier this year, on Super Bowl Sunday.  There were about a dozen people in the bar merrily eating and drinking, with the big game in the background on multiple screens.  To our complete surprise, the bartender announced he was going to close the bar before half-time, shortly after we finished our first beer, so you decide …

Ichabod Marina sunset
Ichabod, Melbourne, FL

In Melbourne we met fellow loopers Ron and Debbie Hartwell, captains of Bucket List.

The waters of Fort Pierce included the entertainment of seasoned tugs who adeptly maneuvered a barge, along with small fishing crafts enjoying the crisp morning air.

Fort Pierce Tugs
4 guys fishing on a small boat.

From Cocoa Village to Daytona Beach, we marveled at the bridges.

Fort Pierce
CocoaBridge for Musket
Cocoa Bridge – a moment of silence for Musket.  We miss you!
Daytona Bridge

Anchoring Out

In New Smyrna Beach, FL we anchored out for the first time on this journey!  With two sailboats and another troller anchored nearby, we set the DragQueen (just ask Hazel, it’s an app with an obnoxious alarm that goes off when the anchor moves too far away), and poured a delicious glass of red wine. Yes, HereWeGo, you can join us anytime!

No marina noise, no wind, no rain, no trains, no air conditioning or running generators; it was the perfect quiet for a truly restful sleep!

Early morning departure was very chilly for Florida. As you can see, the task required a warm coat, long pants and gloves!  In short order, Rick deftly pulled up the anchor, and we were on the road again.

Anchoring like a pro
Butt Shot!
Long pants, warm socks, winter coat, shoes. Not the preferred attire for Capt. Rick.
Sunrise from New Smyrna Beach

Not sure where we will head next – maybe St. Augustine, maybe another anchoring spot near Jacksonville.

Trawlerfest 2018 – Stuart, FL

No, Hazel, the Exhale is NOT for sale. The North Pacific trawler is typically seen in the Puget Sound area – Canada, Alaska, and Washington. A bit of a novelty on the east coast, we opened our home to nearly 700 people during the 2018 Trawlerfest in Stuart, FL.  Our guard dog, Maddie Sue, made sure no one sat on her recliner.

Don’t even think about sitting here.

On Tuesday, the crowded looper seminar confirmed our general travel plans, with stunning photos of historic ports and scenery along the way there was only one rule – keep a close eye on the weather!

The Great Loop Route
Let Mother Nature determine the schedule.
Trevor Brice, Rick, Mary, and #8
Trawlerfest 2018
Stuart, Florida

Trevor Brice, President of North Pacific Yachts, tirelessly answered questions from curious boaters for four full days. Our dear friend, David Floyd, was the first overnight guest on the Great Loop!

Sunday Dinner Guests:  Thanks Howard and Ann Freedman for making the drive from Delray Beach. Together we found a hidden gem for dinner – Sauder’s Landing, 9815 S. Ocean Dr, Bldg S., Jensen Beach, FL. Nestled in a gated community, this waterfront local restaurant has the best crab cakes I have ever eaten in a restaurant (almost, but not quite as good as Marty Liljequist’s homemade)! The grouper bites were amazing. Save room for homemade dessert, the portions are generous with plenty enough to share.

And the winner is …

At the end of the festival, PassageMaker, the popular trawler lifestyle magazine, awarded a trophy to the top voted boat in the show. In addition to our North Pacific, boats on display included Azimut, Bavaria (thanks for the memories, looper blogger First Mate Kate), Beneteau, Cutwater, Fleming, Hampton, Horizon, Jenneau, Krogen, Minorcan Islander, Prestige (we miss you, Ann Hughes and Dale Morgan!), Nordhavn, Nordic Tug, Northern Marine, Ranger Tug, Rosborough, and Trawlercat.  Whew.

That’s right – in the midst of so many beautiful vessels, the 2018 People’s Choice Award went to Exhale!

2018 People’s Choice Award

Thanks Passage Maker for the truly awesome cheeseboard!

And now for a message from Mother Nature …

The boat show finally ended on Sunday.  Today (Monday) our departure has been delayed by the weather, giving us plenty of time to update this blog.

Storm Clouds

Next Stop:  Somewhere along the ICW, north of Stuart, weather permitting.

Waterfront views, ahhh, the life of a dog!

Where is your favorite bridge?  Perhaps several come to mind.

Ocean Blvd Bridge, Stuart FL
Ocean Blvd Bridge, Stuart FL
North Fork St. Lucie River
North Fork St. Lucie River

Around the world, brilliant engineers and architects successfully “bridge” commerce and recreation – majestically shaping the waterfront.   Bridges in many forms create efficient connections for land lovers; suspension bridges, cantilevered bridges, arched, cabled, and beamed bridges, you get the idea.  Traveling on the water, bridges can create major obstacles.  Fixed bridges are simple – either your boat fits underneath, or it doesn’t.  The minimum clearance for Exhale is 17′ 2″, after we lower the antennae and remove the radar equipment.  Moveable bridges can be more complicated, since they require an operator to open the bridge. Along the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW), one must be patient since some of the bridge workers seem to be on an unpredictable schedule.  That means we have drifted in the water anywhere from 5 minutes to nearly two hours.  Note to self, if you arrive at a railway bridge shortly before noon you will probably have enough time to make a sandwich, and possibly take a nap, before the bridge finally opens again.

If the dog could talk she would say, “Just sit back, relax, and marvel at the engineering and architecture” on second thought, she probably just wants to know, “when will dinner be ready?”

Dog Tantrum

That’s right, I made a mess.  And no, I will not pick up my toys …

Waterfront House for Bowser?

Is that a teeny tiny house? Perhaps it’s for bowser?  I can only speculate, but, if Almost7 was here he would probably say, “location, location, location”!

Come Visit us at the Trawler Fest at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina, 555 NE Ocean Blvd, Stuart Fl.  We are here through Sunday, March 11th.

Look for the 49′ North Pacific, in Slip 49.



Railway Lift or Guillotine?

The Port Mayaca Railway lift bridge was one of my favorite on the Florida water ways, until Almost8 pointed out it resembles a guillotine ….  you decide.

Port Mayaca Railway lift bridge on the ICW

We docked for the night in Indiantown, a well known safe haven. For a very small fee, boats and RVs of all types and sizes reserve a spot every year, in case there is a storm. During Hurricane Irma hundreds of boaters found refuge in the little village – no one was turned away – and none of the boats were damaged by the storm! We were thrilled to find Namaste, a well-loved sailboat previously owned by fellow looper, JoAnn McFall.

It was our first truly restful night of sleep, the perfect temperature with a gentle breeze flowing through the cabin all night.

A Village of BoatsTrucksRVs
Boats in the Parking Lot

Some of the boats have been there for a very very very long time; yep, that’s black mold.  Note the irony of this boat’s name “Git ‘R Done”

black mold
Git R Done

… this is why we have to wash the boat all the time, darn it.

Next stop – Stuart Florida.

If you are headed to the Trawler Fest, look for us at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina, Stuart, FL – Tuesday, March 6 through Saturday, March 10.

Hamburgers and an Eagle – Clewiston and Lake “O”

Should I stay or should I go?

If you enjoy a fresh and juicy hamburger, the kind that is really messy – filled with grilled onions, ‘shrooms, and bacon – we recommend you visit one of our VERY favorite burger stops in Clewiston, FL; Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina.


Roland and Martin, Clewiston

On Friday and Saturday nights the place is rocking – live music and dancing.  The beer is served really, really cold – so join the fun – or bring earplugs!

DAY 3 – A Nor’easter, 20 to 25 knots, blew all night long.  Early Saturday morning we pondered, “should I stay, or should I go?” If we stayed, would it be another sleepless night? If we left, would it be a miserable ride?  The Clewiston dockmaster, salty Captain Sam, cautioned us, “Stay off the lake or you might run aground between the swells – take the rim route, just take it slow.”   Take it Slow?  Well, that’s our only speed!

Lake Okeechobee is a massive body of water.  Most boats opt to traverse the middle of the lake, since it’s a direct route.  The second option is a perimeter route, an extra 11 miles or about 2 hours for a slow going trawler.  The center route can be a little overwhelming for novice boaters – especially when there is no land in sight. In good weather, the Lake can be up to 14 feet deep, but when it hasn’t rained for a while in spots it’s extremely shallow. Bottom line, getting stuck can cause tremendous damage to your boat, and it’s no fun, especially in nasty weather.

Heading Capt Sam’s advice, we followed a cherry red trawler from Queenstown, Maryland. Wye Tug bears a gold looper flag, that means they successfully finished the loop, some sections multiple times.  Exhale is a white looper, for now.  If you ever see a platinum colored flag, the boat has finished the loop multiple times!

30′ American Wye Tug
Slims Fishing Camp Swinging Bridge

Together we waited for the swinging bridge at Slim’s Fishing Camp to open. Thanks to Dick and Phyllis Radlinski, Wye Tug, who spotted an eagle along the way!

Bald Eagle

Unveiling the AGLCA Flag!

March 1, 2018 – Ceremonial raising of the America’s Great Looper flag.  Thanks everyone for the great sendoff, including Tyler and Jamie who joined us via FaceTime! Special  thanks to our dear friend and Future Looper, Dale Morgan, for the launch video.

Official White Flag Raised. Favorite Fish Shirt is ready to go!
Celebrating the Launch of a Dream.
Fort Denaud Swinging Bridge
Opening Slowly
Passing through
The Admiral Enjoys Sunshine