Beaufort, SC (7/15 thru 7/24)

We left Hilton Head late in the day on Wednesday (7/15) for the short hop up to Beaufort SC. It was an easy and beautiful voyage to the Downtown Marina of Beaufort where we were greeted by the helpful dock hand. That evening we ate onboard then took a quick tour of the waterfront which was just steps from the marina. Music from the local restaurants could be heard from our marina slip at just the right volume.

The next day (Thursday 7/16) we rented bikes for the week, and started a full day tour of “The Point” – the historic district where there’s lots of antebellum old homes and churches. (many movies were made here such as Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, The Great Santini, Full Metal Jacket, Jungle Book, The Fugitive, A Perfect World, GI Jane, Forces of Nature, The Prince of Tides, and more).

We saw the First African Baptist Church with the grave of the first paster out back and oldest church in Beaufort = St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, and then went to the new church catholic church on Lady’s Island Sunday morning.

On Friday we re-positioned the boat to Port Royal Marina just 3 miles down the Beaufort River toward Parris Island (home of the US Marine Corp Recruiting Center) which we could see from our boat, but were not allowed to visit due to COVID. From the boardwalk in the Port Royal Marina you can see the bridge that Forrest Gump ran across in the movie right next to us. After settling in to the new marina, we took the bikes and went to the YMCA for a dip in the pool.

Saturday was a very busy day, starting back at the YMCA for morning workout, then biking to the local Farmers Market (two of Mary’s favorite things to do). We also stopped in at the local Piggly Wiggly and wine store to grab a few items for dinner. On the way back we found a local seafood market that had ‘oysters’ that Larry could not resist buying. Mary made an awesome shrimp dinner Saturday evening.

On Sunday we were up early for a 4 mile bike ride to St Peters Catholic Church, which was followed by another 4 miles into downtown Beaumont to enjoy an excellent Italian meal at Panini’s on the Waterfront.

Following lunch we were still ~5-6 miles from the boat by bike so we mounted up and rode a good portion of the Spanish Moss Trail that terminates near downtown Port Royal (very close to the YMCA pool, which was a perfect end of day activity after 14 miles of biking in >90 degree weather).

Monday thru Thursday were spend biking, exploring historic Port Royal including Cypress Wetlands, Sands Beach and the Historic Port Royal Foundation Museum.

The only museum we found open (due to COVID closing everything else) was the Historic Port Royal Foundation museum. The two people were so nice and told us all about the area with stories about people they knew from the last 60 years!! Port Royal flew 7 different flags during its history. Finished the day with planning and charcuterie back at the boat.

We rode most of the Spanish Moss Trail from Port Royal up to Merritt Field home of the Marine Corps Air Station just past Beaufort, SC. Daily you can hear ‘the sound of freedom‘ roaring across the sky as F/A-18 Hornets, F-35B & F-35C Lighting II fly their daily missions.

We did find a couple of local restaurant gems: The Carolina Tavern & Agave Mexican Grill

Friday morning we depart early for Bohicket Marina for a 1-night stay en-route to Charleston for 6-days.

Hilton Head Island (7/12 thru 7/15)

Sunday morning’s cruise was slow and steady for the 1/2 day journey out of Savannah GA, across the river into South Carolina. We motored up the Atlantic ICW past Tybee Island, then past Daufuskie Island, around the south end of Hilton Head’s famous Harbour Town (Sea Pines Resort), then up to Safe Harbor Skull Creek Marina near the home of our friends Stan and Tish Scroggin who live in the Plantation.

Odd event occurred on this voyage…. shortly after departing Bull River, GA our port-side engine gave us a ‘high temperature’ warning. So Larry quickly went to the engine room to discover that the raw water (sea) strainer was leaking around the top cover. One of the many beautiful things about having two engines is that you have the option to run on a single engine with ‘no worries’. So we motored onward with one engine pondering how to solve the problem. Turns out it was an easy solution, just let the water temp drop and then properly secure the strainer cover. We later concluded that when Larry had cleaned the strainers the day before, he had not properly leveled the top before tightening the wing nuts. Lesson learned.

We spent 3 wonderful nights in Hilton Head, largely thanks to the use of Stan’s vehicle which allowed us to drive around everywhere. Sunday night we dined at the Salty Dog on the south end at Sea Pines where there was live music and great food. Here’s a picture of a hermit crab at the restaurant that some clams were spitting at…

Monday we had some boat chores to do which included some dingy repairs. Once we had our chores done we took a dingy ride around the local area to check out the restaurant options for Tuesday night and were passed by a big barge!

On Monday evening, Stan & Tish invited us to there home for a fabulous meal of Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil skewer appetizers, thick smoked pork chops, a summer tomato pie, and grilled vegetables (eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini). Check out this photo of a gator in their backyard.

Tuesday was a beach day spent at Bradley Beach. The ocean was a warm 80 degrees, a perfect day for sun and fun! Later in the day Stan & Tish visited us on Living the Dream for ‘dock tails’ and Mary’s boat version of charcuterie. After snacks Larry & Mary took the dingy to Hudson’s On The Dock for great shrimp and some scallops, oysters… Yum!

Brunswick Landing Marina (July 10th) \ Cruising outside (July 11th) \ Savannah (July 11-12)

We made the very short trip from Jekyll Island to Brunswick on a sunny Friday morning to get ‘inexpensive $2/gal diesel’ and prep for an early morning ‘open water’ trip to Savannah.

Brunswick is a pretty neat coastal town that has retained it’s historical downtown storefronts. We ventured downtown to see the sites and grab a bite around 2PM at the highly acclaimed Tipsy McSways (burgers & beer).

One of the cool places was this historic theater, The Ritz. Although it was not currently being used, we were allowed to peak inside and take a few pictures.

It was a very hot day and not much going on or open downtown, so we headed back to the boat for some boat cleaning and a shower. Mary helped the local Dock master with a diesel fuel leak for about 20 minutes from one of the boats that had filled next to our boat. He was glad to have the help and gave us some extra absorbent towels for our future use, (as we used all our ours).

After 8PM when it cooled down, we went back downtown, ordered a pizza to go and stopped in the newly opened Silver Bluff Brewing to enjoy a craft beer with our pizza. Although tables were separated for social distancing and face masks were being worn by some, this location had quite a few patrons so we didn’t stay long.

Silver Bluff Brewing in downtown Brunswick

On Friday morning (7/11) we departed Brunswick for Savannah taking an “open water” route for ~80 miles.

The ~4 hours open ocean run was pretty easy, but not Mary’s favorite way to travel. We do burn a lot more fuel running at 20 mph, about 30 gph, but it’s an excellent way to travel if you need to go far and don’t want to take all day doing it.

As we exited the Saint Simons Sound we passed a huge salvage operation for the MV Golden Ray (lots of cool details about this shipwreck are available at this link https://www.npr.org/2020/02/27/810021749/overturned-cargo-ship-soon-to-be-sliced-up-and-removed-from-georgia-sound .

Once we reached the Wassaw Sound (just off of Tybee Island) it was very easy going up the Bull River to the marina. Interestingly the Bull River is very deep (>50 ft) in many places. Once docked, we did a quick boat cleaning and headed to Saturday evening mass at the local Catholic Church. The Flying Fish Bar & Grill (a short walk from the marine) was an excellent dinner choice. We met the neighboring boaters (Terry and Tammie??) and had some dock-tales later with them. On Sunday (7/12) morning we visited our neighbors again on their boat and met their two lovely friendly parrots (Bella in Green and ??) before leaving Bull River Marina.

Ready to depart Bull River Marina near downtown Savannah

Jekyll Island (July 7th thru July 10th)

This is one of Larry’s favorite stops so far. Lots to see and do on this lovely island. Rich with history and amenities. The marina is located near the center of the island and very close to all the major shops with historic downtown a short bike ride away. With complementary bicycles and a couple of temporary use golf carts we managed to see most of the island in just 2 days.

On our way to Jekyll, our dinghy tried to escape when one of the rigging ropes came loose and it started bumping in the water and against the boat. After this, we had to slow down as we towed the dinghy the rest of the way to Jekyll and Larry re-rigged the ropes after we were docked.

The marina was filled to maximum capacity with live aboards as well as transients. The high/low tide changes twice per day and it’s a significant 6ft change. Having floating docks is pretty essential in locations where the tidal changes are large.

Tuesday we took the golf cart tour and then walked back to the market to get a few items for the gourmet dinner onboard.

Went bike riding all around the island. The enormous old trees with moss looking air ferns attached were spectacular.

Then we went to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where we learned that one of their favorite foods was fiddler crabs! No wonder sea turtle nesting is so popular here!! They had a sea turtle rehabilitation area where turtles were recuperating after surgery or to get them back to good health. We also saw them doing actual surgery on a snake that had eaten a small plastic egg!! (no picture on this one — gross!)

Fernandina Beach (July 6th) coming and going

This was the route up to Fernandina Beach from Palm Cove

The marina at Fernandina Beach is near the historic downtown area and between a couple of large industrial plants (paper mills) and a huge ship repair facility. We walked around downtown, but it was raining, and by the time we arrived after our storm experience to get here, it was close to 5PM and many places were shutting down. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant within walking distance from the marina and then called it a night.

Living the Dream is in the center of this photo, our neighbors in the HUGE yacht next door were on the Reef Chief
Prior to the American Revolution several British military members occupied the coastal areas of FL and GA. Notice the large crane and cruise ship in the background which are >1/4 mile away.

After our harrowing experience the day before, we really studied the weather to determine the best time to leave out of Fernandina Beach. It looked like there was another chance for thunderstorms on Tuesday around lunchtime, so we opted to get moving early at 7AM to make sure we got to Jekyll Island before noon and avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.

Beautiful morning sunrise as we are leaving Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island at daybreak.

On the way, to Jekyll Island, we passed a naval base near Kings Bay and St. Mary, GA. As we approached the naval security area, we were hailed by naval security and reminded to “keep maximum distance” from the naval ships docked there.

This cute little lighthouse was between Fernandina and Jekyll Island in the St Andrews sound near ‘The Hole’, a location known for Lots of deep water.

Palm Cove (July 5th)

We departed beautiful St Augustine after church the morning of July 5th headed toward Palm Cove Marine, a short ~30 mile journey up the Atlantic ICW. On the way to Palm Cove, there were quite a lot of nice mansions and many docks on the water to motor by. Here are some of these great mansions we saw.

Notice the Mother -In-Law quarters too!?!

This sleepy little marina has a shallow entry but once we docked we found things to be quite nice, although at low tide, there was quite a bit of mud visible just 100 yards from the boat! Within a short walk we found a West Marine store, McDonalds and Publix. We’re all restocked now! We also hired a local diver to do a bottom cleaning ($120), which had not been done since early June in Titusville. We waited for high tide around 11AM Monday to avoid bumping the bottom or running aground when we left the shallow\narrow waterway out of this small marina. All was good until about 2PM when we were caught in a major lightening thunderstorm!!! We were pummeled with rain and talk about being nervous! One strike hit the water just about 100 yards from the boat and knocked the cellphone right out of Mary’s hand — she felt the lightening shock from the phone !!! Needless to say, we were glad when the storm passed and we were able to dock at Fernandina Beach Marina

St Augustine, the oldest City in the US (July 3rd – 5th)

In 1513, Juan Ponce de León, in search of the ‘Fountain of Youth & Gold’, landed on the shores of a new land which he named ‘Florida’ and claimed for Spain. About 50 years later in 1565 Spain founded the first city (St. Augustine). This beautiful coastal town has a rich heritage and is well worth visiting. We had a fantastic slip in the municipal marine adjacent to the Bridge of Lions.

We took advantage of the ‘Old Town Trolley’ to see the town as well as several tour packages (Old Jail \ Ghosts & Cemeteries \ Oldest Store \ Old Florida Museum \ Winery Tour \ Distillery Tour). At St. Augustine, we took the trolley and went to several locations. We walked around the historic downtown St. Augustine, and had a great Cajun seafood dinner. Some things we saw included the oldest house:

We went to the Fort Castillo De San Marcos and got pictures from outside since it was closed down by the National Park Service due to the Pandemic. During COVID-19, it sometimes seemed like we were the only ones at the sites.

We toured a Bourbon Distillery enjoyed several wonderful restaurants, watched fireworks from the back of the boat and

We went to the old Jail where we learned about prisoners and how they were treated. We also went to a ghost tour that included the jail(not worth it…)

Mary in the old Jail Cell – there is just enough room between the 4 bunks to stand up and that is all. No running water, no A/C, no toilet-only a bucket!

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine is “American’s First Parish” (450 years old). On Sunday, we attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine. We walked around the historic downtown St. Augustine, and had a great Cajun seafood dinner.

We went to the Fountain of Youth, but only outside. Several Peacocks were in the trees at this location.

Palm Coast (July 2nd)

A quick one-night stay in the lovely Palm Coast marina just off the Atlantic ICW between Daytona Beach and St Augustine. It was a rainy day, so we spent the afternoon washing the boat. There’s an awesome European Village within walking distance of the marina that had several dining options which were great after a long day. We settled on a great Italian dinner at”Mezzaluna”.

Speeding by Daytona Beach and the Speedway

We left New Smyrna mid morning and made our first stop to fill up with diesel fuel at Daytona Marina and Boat works — 268 gallons (@$2.48/gal, that’s a $663 fuel up)! The weather was beautiful with light wind, lots of dolphins, people fishing or pulling kids on tubes with their boats in Halifax river. We saw several beautiful mansions along the ICW.

The boat “slogged” along today — which likely means that a bottom cleaning is desperately needed. We arrived at Palm Coast Marina and docked like pro’s! Then began a much needed boat cleaning as the boat was black from 2 months of sitting in Titusville. We’ll have to clean the other half of the boat exterior tomorrow at St. Augustine Beach.

Happy hour started around 6:30 with Mary’s famous Rum Punch and then we headed down to the European Village — 10 minute walk from the boat. Had dinner at Mezzaluna Italian eatery for Mediterranean Salad and a Calzone. Yum!

Loop “Re-Start”

Finally back on the boat!!! We headed out this morning after a 5K run from the rental car place after dropping off the rental car at Titusville. It started out as a beautiful day, sunshine in the morning, lovely ride on the ‘I see W (ICW)’, we saw a manatee and a few dolphins/porpoises and several birds. Then we ran upon a major thunderstorm in New Smyrna Beach!!! All is well now we are safely docked and have started our Hump Day pub crawl.

In New Smyrna we saw this very cool florist shop that had these flowers made of old china plates. Also there was a neat bird bath in the window with 2 crows drinking/spitting water.