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

Sunbury4

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.  www.sunburycrabco.com

Dexter
Dexter
GeorgianHospitality
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!

IsleOfHope
Isle of Hope, Georgia

SavannahWaters2

Historic Savannah

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

WaterFront
Riverfront Plaza
Chippewa Square
Chippewa Square
Carriage Rides
Carriage Rides
Square3
John Wesley, founder of Methodism
HistoricDistrict
Freemason’s Hall
BritishPub
British Pub – yes, Hazel, the phone booth works!
Y'All
Chocolate Butter? Thanks Paula Deen
Butter Y'All
This one is for FixItAnders
DancingDogsYoga
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

Guns
Washinton Guns – Chatham Artillery
Steeple
Independent Presbyterian Church

Guns2

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!

IrishWolf
Irish Coyote
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Jekyll Harbor
IrishMascot
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
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Jekyll River

Celebrating Shrimp Season

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

SmoothWaters
Smooth Waters

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Dream Catcher
Dream Catcher – Fresh Shrimp!
Shrimp Boat2
Twilight

Birds

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

Ichabod

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 …

CraneCreek
Ichabod Marina sunset
Ichabod
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.

FortPierceTugs
Fort Pierce Tugs
FortPierceBridge
4 guys fishing on a small boat.

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

MimsBridge
Mims
FortPierceBridge2
Fort Pierce
CocoaBridge for Musket
Cocoa Bridge – a moment of silence for Musket.  We miss you!
DaytonaBridge
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.

Anchor2
Anchoring like a pro
Anchor1
Butt Shot!
Long pants, warm socks, winter coat, shoes. Not the preferred attire for Capt. Rick.
Anchor5
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.

PleaseDoNotSit
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.
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Trevor Brice, Rick, Mary, and #8
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Trawlerfest 2018
TrawlerFest2018
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.  www.sauderslanding.com

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!

TrawlerFest2018PeoplesChoiceAward
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
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?”

DogTantrum
Dog Tantrum

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

TinyHosue
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.

StLucie
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
Namaste
Namaste

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”

BlackMold
black mold
GitRDone
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.

BurgersAtRolandAndMartin

RolandAndMartin
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!

WyeTug
30′ American Wye Tug
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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!

BaldEagle
Bald Eagle