Monday, May 4, 2015

Overnight at Skull Creek Island

I love overnighting at Skull Creek Island. It just has a Pirate ring to it.

We were all up early this morning because we were invaded by the dreaded no-see-ums overnight. No-see-ums are these insidious little bugs which are very tiny and seem to be able to sneak through bug screens. By the time we knew what happened, we had been eaten alive by these things. Bill and Bob moved up to the cockpit where it was cooler in hopes that it might be better, Jay and Matt rode it out below. No one got a lot of sleep and when daylight broke we were up and getting underway.

We had a lazy motor up the ICW. We saw some very scenic towns from the boat, and another bald eagle as well.

Matt ran out of cigars, and we did a touch and go in Thunderbolt, GA to put him ashore to go looking. After striking out there, we took Matt back aboard. Some calls were made to other marinas, but no luck. Finally, Matt hit paydirt in Habourtown in Hilton Head.

After that it was short hop to our anchorage at Skull Creek Island. Bill cooked a stir fry dinner, and we whiled away the twilight hours in the cockpit, enjoying some tobacco, having drinks, and planning future sails on the Black Dog.

Tomorrow morning will see us back in Beaufort, and we leave the Black Dog with memories and experiences from our latest voyage.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

To Sunbury

It has been a day of adventure for us.

It started early. Bill made a pancake breakfast, and soon after we bid farewell to our new friends, Myron and Dana, and their vessel, the Hold Fast. We wish them safe passage, and hope our journies intersect again.

We were underway by nine thirty, and heading up the ICW. We stayed in, since the winds were not favorable for sailing, but we found adventure in other ways.

As we motored north toward Sunbury, Bob and Jay launched the dinghy, and went ashore on St Catherine's Island, to examine the local fauna. Landings were made in two separate locations and shells were collected. Then Bill and Jay switched spots in the dinghy, and Bob and Bill explored a side estuary off the ICW in search of gators. After a fruitless search, they returned to the Black Dog, and we continued to Sunbury in earnest.

One exciting moment in our transit was the sighting of a bald eagle, always a majestic sight.

We tied up at the Sunbury Crab Company ( at five-thirty in the evening. Barny, Elaine, and their staff have gone out of their way to make sure our stay was perfect. They have very cool decor that had a very casual feel to it, the whole place has a very welcoming feel. We were very happy to use the shower they provide for boaters, washing away alternating layers of bug spray and sun block. We topped off the evening with a fabulous meal and live music. The meal was top shelf, and the key lime pie cheese cake was the perfect finish.

Sadly, we need to set out early tomorrow morning, because Sunbury seems to have some interesting history to it, and is one of Georgia's most famous lost towns ( . It would be interesting to be able to walk around a bit, but the time is not there. Perhaps on another voyage.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Port of Call: Darien, Georgia

We set out from St Catherine's by eight in the morning. Sadly, we saw no feral hogs on the island. We made good time getting to the open ocean, but the wind was just not there today, so we made a decision to make for the ICW (intracoastal waterway) to view some local sights and wildlife.

On our way in, we saw a fair amount of jellyfish and skates in the water, and we had a little show by a pod of porpoises.

Navigation in the ICW past the Doboy Sound was difficult due to inaccuracies in the charts. It was slow going as we searched for deep water, but there was a lot to see, including alligators and several species of birds. We also spied a nice little lighthouse on Sapelo Island, but it wasn't helping with our navigational difficulties.

We had to scrap our plans for Brunswick, as we discovered that the shallow waters  in the Little Mud River would prevent us from passing at low tide. It seems that the Little Mud River has the shallowest waters in the ICW, but it does not get dredged due to environmental concerns (according to the guide book). However, we read about a little town called Darien where we could tie up for free (they have 48 hour courtesy docking) so we planned to head for there.

All was going well unil we were near to our destination. The aforementioned chart inaccuracies put us on the wrong side of the channel, and we ran around. We applied a little Waffler ingenuity, and got the dinghy in the water to kedge the boat out with the anchor. The Wafflers strike again.

Once in Darien, we were assisted in docking by a cruising couple, Myron and Dena, who helped us tie up the Black Dog, and shared with us many useful cruising tips and navigation information for sailing south of here.

Bill, Bob, Matt, and I wound up at the Waterfront Wine Gourmet and enjoyed a libation at the wine bar there while we watched the Kentucky Derby.  We got a good tip there from the waiter to visit Sunbury tomorrow.

As we got back to the boat we ran into Myron and Dena again, and we invited them aboard for drinks and conversation. They were great fun to hang with, and we all had a good time. They are very experienced cruisers, with interesting stories, and a wealth of sailing information to share.

After dinner, we will most likely collapse as we are all exhausted. And tomorrow we will seek out Sunbury.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Four for the Open Sea

It was a good day for sailing. Wafflers Bill, Bob,  and Jay were joined by new crew member Matt Flagg for a few days of high sea adventure on a sailing trip down the Georgia coast.

We got underway from Beaufort, SC at 11:30 am after breakfasting with Bob's parents at Blackstone's (and Blackstone's never disappoints for breakfast). We made a quick stop to pump out the holding tanks, and then we sailed out of Port Royal Sound. Once on the open ocean, the weather was just about perfect. While underway, we were able to resolve some issues with the reefing lines, and we enjoyed a nice easy sail down the coast.

There were some question about where to anchor overnight. Our first option was Tybee Island, however we could not locate a good anchorage on the chart. There were some other options down the coast, but we did not feel that we had sufficient local knowledge to navigate those waters in the dust. We opted to push a little further to St Catherine's Island. This island, interestingly enough,  is a preserve for the NY Zoological Society where they maintain some of their exotic animals. Additionally, there are feral hogs there, and we hope to see some tomorrow morning before we leave.

As we came up St Catherine's Sound and turned off to our anchorage, we saw a shrimp boat anchored with its net extended, and totally illuminated by its mast lights, making it look like a ghost ship. We dropped anchor just behind it at 9:20 pm. Having secured the boat, we settled into dinner and cocktails while we took turns regailing Matt with tales of Waffler adventures past.  We hope for an early start tomorrow, with the intent to make it to Brunswick.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New Berth at the St John's Yacht Club

Well if we couldn't be the Scourge of the  Seven Seas, we were at least the scourge of the ICW today!  We set out from McClellansville and made our way down the Intracoastal under the black flag.

Our jolly roger got plenty of appreciation from our fellow boaters, and we heard many an  "argh"  as we passed other vessels.

There was a good deal of wildlife to be seen as we made our way down, including a bald eagle. Additionally, the wind was good, and we were able to put the sails out and have a good sail around Charleston Harbor.

One bit of excitement was putting the dinghy in the water, and zipping around Charleston Harbor trying to get a few good pix of the Black Dog under sail. Hopefully when Bill downloads his camera there will be a few good ones in there.

We found a good marina on the Stono River, and after some difficulties mooring due to current, we got the boat secured.

We had a nice dinner at  Poogan's and then retired back to the boat for the evening.  We will close out this trip by knocking around Charleston tomorrow prior to our evening flight to NJ.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Unscheduled in McClellansville

It was to be a Waffler's trip for the ages. Bill, Bob, and I back under sail again together for the first time since 2009. We were going to be the scourge of the Seven Seas. We got scourged instead.

From the on set, we noticed that the seas were choppy, however the wind was good, and the weather report indicated that the choppiness would improve. As we made our way further out to navigate around Cape Fear and the Frying Pan Shoals, the weather report deteriorated and things got worse. The wind picked up to 10 knots higher than we were expecting, and the sea got rougher. Everyman on-board succumbed to the dread sea sickness to one degree or another.

To top it all off, there was no moon, making the night pitch black, which added an additional level of difficulty to an already challenging voyage.  We rounded the shoals at about 1 AM, and made a decision based on the worsening off shore forecast to enter the Intracoastal Waterway at Georgetown.

We made good enough time to Winyah Bay that we were able to make a good start on the Intracoastal and tie up in McClellansville. We are extremely excited at the prospect of a hot meal and hot showers. Tomorrow we complete the transition to Charleston.

Looking out at the sunset over the Intracoastal, it is hard to imagine that it is such a different picture just a few miles out to sea.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Closing Out This Leg of the Voyage

Today we secured the boat in Beaufort, and loaded our rental car to head home. It was a little sad to leave her alone in a new harbor, but Bob will be back to her soon.

Although we had to cut our sail short by a day, I think we crammed a weeks worth of sailing into two days at sea, and there was know lack of excitement.

I am looking forward to continuing to move the Black Dog up the coast, and, of course, more Waffler adventures.