Monthly Archives: June 2016

“My Bonnie lies over the ocean” Old Scottish Folk Song


Tropical Depression Bonnie, which formed northeast of the Bahamas in late May, kept us battened down in Charleston as the system intensified to Storm strength and moved north and west towards us.  Bonnie reached land at Isle of Palms not far from Charleston.  Lingering over South Carolina for a few days, Bonnie brought 6-10 inches of rain to much of the state.  Two people drowned in rip currrents along the Southeast coastline.

When the seas settled we headed north to North Carolina.  We intended to come in at Beaufort; however, as we approached Beaufort we received updated weather indicating good conditions for rounding Cape Hatteras.  Weather had pinned us down repeatedly over the last sixth months and we decided to take the open weather window and put this often dangerous cape behind us.


Our chart plotter way points “Fry,” “Look,” and “Diamond” depict Frying Pan Shoals, Cape Lookout, and Diamond Shoals respectively.  Each of these areas can be challenging with adverse wind and waves.  In the aftermath of Bonnie the ocean was still as a lake for much of our transit to Virginia Beach (in the upper part of the chart).  Soon after Virginia Beach we rounded Port Henry and entered the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.


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“[Y]ou can  never completely escape the pull . . . of Charleston . . . ” Pat Conroy

Leaving Fort Pierce Florida, we made for the Gulf Stream, which added 2-3 knots to our speed.  Three hundred fifty miles and 50 hours later after motor sailing with light winds and mostly calm seas,  we were docked safely in Charleston.  Enroute to the dock we motored passed Fort Sumter, the scene of the Civil War’s opening shots.  This casual encounter with landmarks in our nation’s history was the first of many during our 8 days in the Charleston area.


Our chart plotter track from Florida to South Carolina shows our way north from south of “Vero,” our way point for Vero Beach Florida to “Chas,” our way point for the safe water mark for Charleston Harbor, 330 miles to the north.  The slight bulge at the bottom of the track line marks where we headed east to avoid the unpleasant sea state caused by north winds hitting the opposing Gulf Stream.

1829-1861, Fort Sumter, South Carolina, USA --- Fort Sumter was the site of the first shots of the Civil War. --- Image by © Bob Krist/CORBIS

An Albatross-eyed view of Fort Sumter, which we passed on our way in to Charleston.   © Bob Krist/CORBIS.


Sumter from the water.

Charleston Harbor resort

The downtown marina was full, so we stayed across the Harbor at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.  The Marina offered free shuttles and an inexpensive water taxi to down town.


A walk down the street took us past John Rutledge’s House.  Rutletge played major roles in South Carolina and U.S. history, as South Carolina Governor, signer of the Constitution and Chief Justice of South Carolina and the United States Supreme Courts.


The H.L. Hunley, in the shade behind Eulalie, was a hand-powered Confederate submarine.  On February 17, 1864 it torpedoed and sank the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor becoming the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship.


Another slice of civil war maritime history caught our attention as we walked back to the water taxi.


The Yorktown aircraft carrier is moored a short distance from the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.  An unusual amount of unexplained activity prompted the ship’s curators to invite paranormal investigators to investigate the ship.  On Memorial Day, we took the Yorktown Ghost Tour, a nighttime tour, that discusses these phenomena with careful respect for those who lost their lives aboard.  For more information about these investigations see:


Colonial Charleston was renowned for its iron work, much of work remains today.

Charleston’s “pull” included whiskey and moonshine from the local micro distillery.  It was our patriotic duty to partake, although in the future, the Captain will skip the Apple Pie Moonshine for her single malt.

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Elizabeth Jean albatross

And now a word from the Albatross:

If Manatee has made his presence known in your life
It’s time to slow down and take the time to swim through your emotions. Let your emotions wash over you so that you can feel what is all percolating there. By allowing yourself to feel you are also allowing yourself to move forward and as you move forward you release the old emotional baggage that no longer serves you. This will open up a new wide range of possibilities for you.

Trust is also a big message that Manatee brings forth. Allowing yourself to move forward slowly and deliberately one step at a time will take you to your goals. Trust the path before you and trust your senses in guiding you there.

This creature is also reminding you to use all of your senses including the etheric ones. You will find your answers in the integration of your intuition, emotions and physical senses.


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“Florida, a mere peninsula confined between two seas” Jules Verne

Florida’s length is 447 miles, a distance greater than our multi day passages from the San Blas to San Andres, from Providencia to Grand Cayman, or from Grand Cayman to Isla Mujeres.  Thus, we might quibble with Verne’s characterization of our U.S. rentry point as a “mere Peninsula.” Our passage up the Florida coast included time in Key West, Marathon, West Palm Beach, Stuart, Fort Pierce and Vero Beach.  We visited old friends and made our first passage in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  Along with abundant sunshine, we experienced record rain falls and a tornado.  By the time the weather improved it was clear that summer had arrived to the Peninsula and we elected to head out to sea at Fort Pierce and jump several hundred miles north to Charleston, South Carolina rather than move more slowly up the ICW.  The amenities for cruisers along the stretch of the coast we visited eased our reentry to the United States and made us feel most welcomed.

Florida Map

We made it as far north as Vero Beach (adjacent to the pelican on the map) leaving hundreds of miles for future exploration.


The well preserved Key West neighborhoods and vintage architecture provided a wonderful setting to get our land legs back for a while.



We joined the crowd at Mallory Square to watch the sun go down at the United States’ most southern point.


Manatees come dockside to drink freshwater from drain spouts and run off from the ice machine.  At Boot Key a manatee family hovered nearby.


Sunset at Boot Key mooring field on Marathon Island.  Boot Key has an active cruisers network and shoreside facilities, including a shop space for boat projects.


We ventured up the ICW from Fort Pierce to Vero Beach.  Here, Elizabeth Jean approaches a bridge being raised to allow her 58 ft. mast to pass.

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