The Journey of S/V Moonshine

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We're moving south but not fast enough. We find ourselves now in Titusville, FL and it's cold here. The low is supposed to be 25 degrees tonight. That's like below zero by Florida standards. It's been quite a ride to get here though.
     We stayed in Charleston for several weeks to get a few things done while there. We moved the car down so we would have transportation in the area and the folks there are nice enough to allow us to leave it there while we are spending the winter in the Bahamas. We also looked at a few houses there again, even though we're not sure we want to settle there anymore. We're just not sure were we want to end up. We manage to finally get out of Charleston and head south towards St. Augustine and pick up some packages there that we had sent thinking we would get there first stop from Charleston. NOT!! We got into the St. Augustine area around 2:am and decided to just sail south a bit and stall for time and then come back up north to come into the entrance in the morning........NOT!!! The wind kept building, the wave kept building!! I turned around at around 4:am and headed the 10 mile back to the St. Augustine entrance. By 6:am after pounding around for 2 hours I have gone a whopping 2 nautical miles. Terrible! Decided to swing south and go to the Ponce de Leon entrance 48 mile south of us. The waves were a constant 5' to 6' with an occasional 10 footer or bigger thrown in to keep things exciting. Needless to say coming into a narrow, rocky, windy, wave tossed entry was way exciting. All hands were on deck to watch for rocks, markers, boats sitting on the edge of the calm fishing. I just had to put the engine to full speed and surf into the entrance while waves were crashing on the jetty 50' away and shooting spray around our boat. Wow what a ride!! It's hard to explain an adrenaline rush like that. Got settled into a little backwater on the inside and could watch the waves crashing over the jetty from 1.5 mile away. Incredible! After that and seeing that the weather was to worsen we decided to travel the ICW for a few days. Came down to Titusville, Florida and have been here for four days. Shane ran into some kids he could hang out with so he is happy for a while. We rented a car and Christie and I ran up to St. Augustine to pick up the package we had sent there and the next day we went out to the Kennedy Space Center. That was very interesting. It was amazing to see all the sites that I have been seeing since I was little and the Space Program had just begun. Quite impressive to stand beside a Shuttle and it's fuel rockets. There was also an excellent 3D Hubble telescope film. Lots to think on after seeing all those things.
     Well we are off to find the warmer weather tomorrow. We'll head south on the ICW and perhaps go outside down the way till we get to West Palm Beach/ Lake Fort Worth area till we get a good weather window to go out to the Bahamas. We'll make the jump out to the "Banks" and spend the rest of the winter cruising around out there. So that's all for now. Sometime I'll catch you up on the trip south. Pictures are on the way.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let me step back a bit

I thought that I'd try to go back and let folks know about some of the the highlights of our travels this past summer since I did such a poor job of keeping up with this blog. I know there are some readers that are interested about how and what happens as we travel. For the future, I'm also trying to link our daily log into this blog. I don't know if that's possible but if I can do, it it will keep you more informed on the daily happenings. We'll see how that goes.
So it looks like I left off after Shane finished working at with the National Scout Jamboree, so I'll go from there.
We moved from Urbana, VA to Deltaville, VA when Shane finished with camp. We wanted to be closer to the Chesapeake Bay and Fishing Bay Harbour Marina had much nicer facilities. It was a hot summer in the east and it was nice to have a pool as well as a more convenient slip set up. The whole idea at this point was to get Shane caught up with his schoolling.  That part went pretty well.  I also got a lot of work done on the boat and it was nice to cool off in the pool in the afternoon. This marina also had quite an active social atmosphere. There were inprompto parties and potlucks on a regular fact almost too regular. We made many new friend at this marina.
     Then came Hurricane Earl. Though many hurricanes started forming off of Africa and headed towards the eastern seaboard, Earl was the only one the came really close. The sailors in the area became quite concerned about this one. We weren't sure exactly what to do so.... we decided it would be a good opportunity to pull our boat out of the water and get some work done to it.  It ended up the Earl didn't affect the area but we were glad to get some things done. We installed an extra intake for a saltwater wash in our galley which also serves as a seawater supply for our refrigeration unit. We also pulled off all our sails and canvas which gave us a opportunity to inspect all those item. Along with a new bottom paint job, we refinished a lot of our brightwork (outside woodwork). We managed to stay pretty busy. After getting resplashed, it was time to start sailing north for the Annapolis Boat Show. We got many recommendations for places to stay along the way and one of them was anchoring in Mill Creek up near Reedville, VA. This is a great anchorage. Beautiful wooded shoreline surrounds it and very protected from the weather.
     Hey, Shane here. Yeah, its hard to keep up on this blog. Most of my computer time is spent updating my Facebook. Let me see, Mill Creek. Yeah, that place had this cool forested area with a beach and a bit of a cliff. I tried to climb up it, but fell into this dust mini explosion! It was awesome. Well, my dad and I had a fun hike back there, found a really old/rotted fish cleaning area and what appeared to be an old tornado path. That forest was the kind of place fairytale/elfen areas are made up, those plants did some interesting things.
     Mike back. So off we go north. Our next stop: The Solomons, VA. This area has great marinas, grocery stores and restaurants. The anchorage was great with mooring balls available at a reasonable rate. We could also pay for showers here and they were great too. Leaving in the morning, we had a bit of engine problems when a drain valve for the cooling system blew out. We anchored quickly and ran down to check the alarm going off.  Located the problem but had drug anchor in the meantime. When we looked out, we were dragging right up to a dock. This is usually not a good thing and my first reaction was to bring in the anchor some to pull us away from the dock.That worked well and then Shane said "Let's just tie up to the dock."  Duhh!  So we backed off the anchor, pulled the boat around to line up with the dock, and tied off.  Luckily, the anchor (which had been dragging) was loose enough to pull up. Unluckily the dinghy ended up under the fuel dock. Oh, what to do??  Ended up squeezing Shane into the dingy and under the dock which he then worked it out under the dock to the other side and out. Tight squeeze!  Of course, we ended up staying another night after running all over town to find another valve.  It wasn't to be found.  So we plugged the drain hole which wasn't a critical situation, and then headed to Annapollis, MD, in the morning. During this segment of our travels we were told several time that it was not good to go out into the Chesapeake Bay as there were 20+ knot winds and 2 -4' waves. "Yeeeeha," we said.  Being a heavy boat, that is when an Island Packet really does well. We ended up sailing wing on wing, with following seas most of the way from Deltaville, VA to Annapollis, MD.  It was a great ride!!
Having friends already in the anchorage in Weems Creek of Annapolis, we called ahead to get the lowdown. They informed us that there was a Navy mooring ball available in the area and we should hurry and get there. These balls are available first come first served to anyone that wants to use them. However, you can get kicked off of them if the Navy decides that they would like to use them.  Fortunately, they don't use them very often. Weems Creek is a great back water area, well protected, and has easy access to the Annapollis area.  The buses in Annapolis suck!... but that's another story. We spent a great three weeks in this location visiting with Christies cousin, Pam, and her friend, Wendy, a couple days; enjoying the boat show a couple days; and access to several marine stores that specialize in parts for our boat. We bought most of the items on our "Wish List" and had them shipped to back to Deltaville, for installation when we returned to the area while heading south. I'll save the southern trip for the next post.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Whoa, What Happened!!!

I got lost since last I posted. Sooooo much has happened this summer, I can't keep up myself. We stayed in Deltaville VA, for a month and met lots of new friends that we hope to see along our travels. We went to many parties and potluck dinners, learned several new card games, and how to play "fancy" dominos. Our good friends. Tim and Mary, are in the process of selling thier house like we did and setting out for a cruisers lifestyle. We've met a lot of people with Colorado roots including our friends, Kevin and Becky, traveling with thier dog, Danny. They hail from the Gunnison area and we hope to see them again this winter in the Bahamas. They are already there and it is rumored that their trip there was quite the adventure. We did make it to the Boat Show in Annapollis and spent lots of "Boat units" there. We didn't however make it to Washington, DC, because it started to get cold in the north and we had lots to do to get ready to head south again.
     Back to Deltaville, we went and had all the goodies we bought at the show delivered there. I spent several weeks there installing our goodies. The best thing I installed was a new linear drive autopilot. It has been great not having to manhandle the helm at every point. I also installed a new anchor windless, an 802 Icom SSB radio, an FM antena on top the mast, and rerigged the dingy to ride better on the davits. So now we have broken free of the hold that Deltaville, we can get have headed south again.
     We decided to travel down the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway) for a while since most reports of travels on the outside have been pretty bad. The Hateras area can be nasty in the best of times so we decided to skip that and the Cape Fear area.  We did manage to go through the Dismal Swamp Canal which happened to end up a wonderful trip.  The trees in the east were in full color and not to be missed.  Way nice!  The ICW is challenging enough in itself.  There are bridges and shoals and trees to
be avoided. 
     We know about the trees in the Dismal Swamp since one took out our wind indicator on the top of the mast and Shane had to climb up there and change it out. Shane doesn't mind that a whole lot since he is our deck monkey and likes climbing around in the rigging anyway. Fortunately, we didn't have to experience a grounding on any of the many shoals along the way even though it came close a couple of time. It is waaaaay stressful in some areas. So we did the ICW to the Cape Fear outlet and took off across the Atlantic to Charleston, SC. We are now tied up again at the Cooper River Marina. It's nice to visit with old friend from our stop here in the spring.

So that is the short story. Lots of stories could be told and I'll try to get to some of those.
Really, I  mean it this time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deltaville, Virginia

Here we are in Deltaville, Va. We moved a wopping 20 miles from Urbanna, Va. Shane and I sailed the boat around Stingray Point to Fishing Bay Harbour Marina in Deltaville and Christie drove the car to the marina. It is a bit better located for access to the Chesapeake Bay and they have a pool for this hot weather. We will stay here another month to try to get Shane caught up on his school work, especially advanced Algebra. After that we will head to the Northern Chesapeake to go to Annapollis or Washington, DC. We plan on going to both areas and are trying to decide which to do first. Chances are we will sail around the Bay till the Boat Show and then go to DC. This way we won't be rushed to leave DC before we seen everything we went to see. It's then south to the Islands.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Southern Chesapeake

Visiting all the historic sites in the area has been great. Sooooooo must history it's hard to get to everything. Lots of Civil War and Revolutionary War sites in the area. It's hard to keep them separated at times. Christie and I have had a chance to visit other towns on the "Tidewater" and have decided to spend a bit more time here before heading further north. We will probably get another slip south east of our present location. The town of Deltaville, VA has a few more amenities that will help us get the boat more prepared for what's ahead of us.
Here is a picture of Don and Ellen in Williamsburg.
Over the last week we've picked up Shane from the National BSA Jamboree. He was disappointed that it didn't last much longer than it did. We also picked up a couple of stowaways for few days. Don Paul and Ellen (aka, Pilgrim and Baileys) joined us on our boat and traveled around the area to visit historic sites. A great time was had by all. Some of the highlights were Williamsburg, Jamestown and a really great Ice cream Shop. The weather was a bit hot but after we stopped to buy the Pilgrim some shorts all was well.
This is believed to be one of the original builders at Jamestown Village. Information is incomplete!?
Ellen should really know better than allowing people to take pictures like this. (they could end up on the Internet)

Unfortunately all good things must end and our friends had to continue on their journeys back to Colorado. We will miss having them aboard our boat. It was fun having friends to visit with from back home. We too will be continuing our travels soon. There is much to see and do in the Chesapeake Bay area. We don't know when we will be able to return to here. Our plans are for going through the Carribean Islands for the next couple of years. Maybe someday we will get back into the northern waters. As seems to be our moto, Who Knows?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Into the Southern Chesapeake

We've made it into the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay. It was quite a trip up the Inner Coastal Waterway. You have to pay constant attention to where you are. It is very easy to run aground in the, sometimes, shallow waterways. On the first section after we started out of Beaufort, NC we happened across one of the marinas that we stopped at to look at a couple of boats while we were in the shopping process. It was strange how it brought back memories of things we had done in the area while shopping. It was weird to remember how much we had done in the area but didn't remember at all while we were there. Things look sooooooo much different when you come into an area by sea. Anyway, we anchored in this beautiful backwater area away from the ICW. Shane and I rowed to shore and had a great hike into the wood along the shoreline. It was really fun to check out the eastern forest. We did much the same thing the following night. It seems that no matter where you go to shore and how much it looks like the last place it is still unique and fun to go on a hike before dinner.
The following night we came up to our first swing bridge. We have never gone through a swing bridge and didn't know exactly how they worked. As we were trying to do just that I realized that a big squall was going to beat us to the bridge so I asked the bridge tender if I should lay off till the storm passed by, and he said "That would probably be a good idea, captain." and it was. The storm brought 25 knot winds with up to 35 knot gust. Yeeeeeha!! Big winds, big waves. Finally got through the bridge along with a tug and barge coming the other way, which was exciting. Decided to stay at a little marina just north of the bridge. Low and behold, after we tied up at the dock and got to looking around we realized that we knew most the people in the marina. One guy , Buzz on Dalamar, was from Mobile, AL when we were there. It's truly amazing how many people you get to know along the way. A couple of days to rest up and avoid some more big storms worked out ok here. It was starting to get close to the time we needed to be in the Chesapeake so we could get Shane to the Boyscout Jamboree. On we traveled. After being in such laid back areas for the past few months it was mind boggling to go into the Norfolk, VA harbor area. LOTS of boat traffic, LOTS of bridges, BIG ships, BIG NAVY ships!!
We were followed into the Chesapeake Bay by a Navy frigate. It was a very interesting area, but was nice to get back to open waters again. Stayed out one more night in a little back water along the bay and then went up the Rappahanock River the next day so we could tie up in Urbanna, VA. Nothing seems to be easy or expected out on the water. Just before coming into this narrow little entry channel to the anchorage area another big storm hits us. We again have to motor around to avoid getting blown into shore. After the worst part was over we dropped the anchor to wait for the rain to let up so we could see were to go. The key here is "narrow entry", "unknown channel", "very shallow" if you miss. The charts and plotters  aren't always right on. We did make it in, finally, and got tied up to a dock. Urbanna, VA is one of the quaintest, quietest, friendly little burgs that you are likely to come across. We have enjoyed our stay here considerably.
Got Shane off the the National Boyscout Jamboree just fine. Christie and I have been busy working on the boat and visiting Williamsburg and other historic sites while Shane is away. Getting lots done and preparing for our journey to the Upper Chesapeake in a few weeks.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hey, On time in Beaufort, NC

So I'm getting at least one post up while I'm still in the area.
We arrived in Beaufort, pronounced Bofert, on July 9th at around 6:pm. We had a nice sail from Charleston, SC. The wind was good to us but still had to motor more than we like. We came into the Beaufort channel on an incoming tide. A real fast incoming tide. Mind you, we don't do fast. Our average speed is around 5 knots. We were coming up to a very narrow channel entry at almost 8 knots with breakers on both sides of the entry. I chickened out!!  I went back into the main harbor entrance and started back out. With tides against us we were doing a wopping 2 knots. Called Boat US to get some "local knowlege" and they said "Oh yea, you can go in there!" Yea right. I took a deep breath, realigned on the cut, and went in. Not graceful but I went in. You never now how out of control is until you shoot through a cut barely big enough for your boat, going almost twice as fast as you normally go, and at about a 15 degree angle off of going straight since the tide is definately in control. It's really hard to hold your breath that long!! Made it in and thankfully, we will leave by another route. We're going to the Chesapeake by way of the ICW and will be motoring the rest of the way to Norfolk, VA. For now, we are enjoying Beaufort. As seems to be the usual pattern, we plan on a one day stay someplace and it ends up a three day stay. Had to go see the great Maritime/ Blackbeard Museum. They have a great wood boat building shop next door all run by volunteers. So tomorrow we'll be heading up the ICW to avoid Cape Hatteras and should be in to Norfolk in a week or so. I'll let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Woke up this Morning

Man, time goes by so fast out here. I finally realized I haven't posted in almost a month. Wow! We are now located in Beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. Lots of history here. It's also HOT! We sailed into here on June 2nd under trying cercumstances. We had heavy seas following us right in between the break walls and as we turned in following a couple of shrimp boats, we spotted a container ship coming over the horizon and one starting out of Charleston Harbor. For those who don't know, CONTAINER SHIPS ARE HUGE!!! The shrimp boat pulled off to the side so we thought he must know something we don't. Of course, it was the right thing to do. A few minutes later the two ships passed right in front of us, and they were moving. We pulled out following the shrimper and when we came to the container wakes, we went over the first and submarined into the second. YeeeeHa!!. After we got into the harbor we went to port and anchored in a nice cove that was just south west of Fort Sumter. It was great. The anchorage had great holding as we found out when a big storm came through in the night. It really blew but we were quite comfortable.
In the morning of the 3rd we motored around Charleston Harbor. It was amazing coming into the harbor,it felt like the 1800's. All the historic building and church steeples in the distance. The  huge modern bridges in the background do distract a bit. After our little motor tour ,we travelled up Cooper River a couple of miles to the Cooper River Marina. This is not in the heart of things, but is comparativly inexpensive and really secure. It lies in between some off loading tanker depots and the Old Naval Base which is now a training facility for Homeland Security. Not an easy place to get to by road.
After we arrived and got secured at the docks we took the train back to St. Petersburg, Fl to pick up our car so we could have it on the east coast. It was a wonderful time on the train. Watch the countryside go by and had lunch in the dinning car, etc. It was Shanes first time on a train. We had time while in St. Pete to pick up a few supplies not available everywhere and visit friends there. Always fun visiting St. Pete.
Driving back to Charleston we went by way of the Blue Ridge Mtns to see if we could invest in some property up that way. Beautiful area but a bit pricey. Still looking at properties in the Charleston area though.
We've stayed here about a month now. Shane has been able to catch up on some school work, meet new friends and have some free time to be on land. Christie has caught up on some of her sewing projects and reevaluated some of the things she brought to the boat. Unneeded or unused thing will be left in the car or trailer to see if maybe she could use them later. My self........I can't even seem to keep up on the blog post. :-)  I have gotten some thing done, like, Refinish the bright work (wood work) in the cockpit area. In an Island Packet, that's a lot of wood! I also respliced some lines, change an anchor chain and rode and ran a remote VHF to the helm. In all I seemed to keep busy in all the summer heat we've had here lately. The last four days have cooled off some and has been pretty pleasant here. So as usual I catch up on the blog about the time we sail off to another area. We are leaving today to sail to Cape Fear and then to Morhead City, NC. From Morhead City we will go up the ICW to the Chesepeake Bay and to points north. We will be somewhere in the Bay till the Annapolis Boat Show and then we'll head south to the Bahamas for the winter. I'll really, really try to keep up on this blog better.
Fair Winds to all

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Beautiful St. Augustine

We've made it to St. Augustine from Marathon, Fl. It took us 52 hours of offshore travel. We motorsailed most of the way because it was just too quiet out there. Saw a couple of waterspout offshore the first morning. It was quite concerning till I was sure we weren't going in the same direction. Then they were just interesting to watch. We came to the inside at the Ponce de Leon Inlet to refuel. Spent the night at a dock there and visited some local eateries and the Light House. It was a very nice area. In the morning we decided to travel up the ICW and visit the fort at Fort Mantanzas. It was a small fort built on the inlet to repell anyone that was trying to raid St. Augustine from the back door. Had a great visit with the reenactors there and the park folks were real nice to us "sailors". We continued up the ICW the next day to St. Augustine. Thought we would stay up the Sabastion River while here but the conditions weren't very good for a vessel our size. Almost stayed up the river via being aground in the shallow water. But we made it out safely and went on over to the regular anchorage by the City Marina. Glad we did. The facilities are great. Really nice marina, with  great showers and lounge for the cruisers. There are a lot of things to do in St. Augustine. Many many restaurants, and tourist kind of things. By the way, we're not "tourists" we're "trancients"...........way different!! :-) We are having a great time here. We got 3 day passes for the Red Train and rode it all over town. Shane loves going over to the Original Ripley's Believe it or Not. As though he hasn't seen enough strange things in his life. Maybe it's just so he can get a grasp on reality!? :-) We've had several people over for dinner or drinks, including one of my best friends growing up and his wife and an internet friend from Sailnet whose internet handle is Sailingdog. It was a great time visiting with friends down here in a tropical paradise. In the morning we will be heading up to Charleston, SC for a bit of a stay. We are going to tie up to a dock for a month and move our car from Tampa to Charleston. Kinda looking forward to a little time ashore. We're enjoying ourselves out on the water but it's not always a relaxing thing out there. We're always having to be mindful of the conditions around us, watching the wind and tide changes and making sure the anchor stays set and doesn't get all twisted up. We also have to watch and make sure the other vessels around us do likewise. It can be kinda unnerving at time when things go bump in the night. So anyway, I'll have access to Wifi and will be able to catch up on the blog map and my internet communications. Catch you all then.
Bill and his wife Michelle

Sailingdog and MtnMike

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time to travel

Hopefully we're going to leave Marathon, Fl. on Tuesday the 18th of May. Have to get up the coast for insurance reasons but need to move on anyway. We could easily get "stuck" here in Marathon like so many others. It is really nice and cozy here. Our next planned stop is St. Augustine, Fl. We really like it there and want to visit all the historic sites in the area. I would like to try to go a non-stop sail to there up the Gulf Stream but it's 384nm and I'm not sure we are up for that much time off shore. We'll see how that goes. We won't be so far out that we can't duck in if need be. We probably will never get quite far enough out to loose sight of land. That's always comforting. If that works out good then we will be more prepared to make another big jump up to Charleston, NC. We'll then try doing some ICW travel, doing day trips for a while anyways. We might end up staying in the Charleston area for a week or more, hard to tell. I'll post an update when we get to St. Augustine.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Working our way through the Keys.

Hi everyone. I'm back with a breif update. We sailed out of Key West and anchored near Little Torch Key and Little Palm Island. We visited with friends on Little Torch Key for several days. We had a wonderful time while there. While we were in Key West we bought Shane a surf board at Ron Jons. He decided to practice the other morning and while he was out paddleing around in the harbour a pod of about 5 dolphins came up and started swimming all around him. It was waaaaaaay cool. It was really hard to take a picture of the happening but I did get one, unfortunately it was like a Big Foot pic, fuzzy and just one fin.....looked more like swimming with a Shark!! Just one of those that Grandma doesn't want to see on the internet!!?? Anyway, we are now in the mooring field in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Fl. We can see why folks get stuck here. They ar really cruiser friendly and have all the amenities here in town. Nice showers, (real important in the tropics) wi fi, a work shop to use, tv, ect. Paid for a week and hope that the weather cooperates at the end of that time. It's nice to get a few thing done along the way. There's always something to fix, repair or replace. The latest improvement has been the installation of a Wind Scoop on the forward hatch. What an improvement in ventilating the whole boat. It's GREAT!! So tonight it's off to the air conditioned movie. Life is Good!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the Sea again!

Well we're back on the move. Life was good in St. Petersburg and we could see how easy it would be to settle  into the shoreside life. But it was time to go. Made a quick sail out to Egmont Key, not far past the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Had a nice pleasant night on the hook. Took off in the AM to head for Shark River......NOT! The alternater wasn't alternating!! Somehow blew a fuse that had no spare anyplace aboard. Ugh!! Decided we need that kind of electrical generation since it was the only reliable source of power we had. At least sort of reliable. We decided to go in at Longboat Pass Bridge and find a fuse. Sound easy?.....NOT! This pass has a reverse tide that doesn't seem to show on any charts. Tried coming in at the bottom of the ebb tide. That sucked us right up to the bridge as it was opening sloooooooowly! Made it through. We had been advised that there was an anchorage to the starboard of the bridge. That happened to mean IMMEDIATLY to the starboard after the bridge. Figured that out as we started sliding onto the bottom. Dang!! We did get to practice our ungrounding skills. Good Practice for about an hour. Anyway, we did get our electrical problems figured out. Only took a few days!! Now for the exit back to sea. It should suffice to say that it isn't easy to stop a 21,000 lb. sailboat when the bridge gets stuck half way up. Aaahhhhhh!!! NEGATIVE! NEGATIVE! NEGATIVE! Was my wifes response when the tender asked if we could make it that way!! They had to lower the bridge and start over. Exciting morning.
Our intended journey was to go to Shark River on the southern tip of mainland Florida, not to be. After getting out in the Gulf of Mexico we got on such a good tack and were sailing along wonderfully we just decided to go on to the Dry Tortugas instead. So the following evening we pulled into the bay in front of Fort Jefferson. Wow, what a beautiful location. Great snockeling, bird watching and tours of the fort. (snuck into the tours from the tourist boats) It was a great time. Stayed there for 5 days. Waited to pick another pleasant weather window to sail on to Key West.........NOT!! It started out pleasant even though the winds were contrary. By evening we were getting 20 to 25 kt winds right on the nose with no place to go, since we were in the South West Channel to Key west. Reefs blow us and reefs above us. The biggest problem we had, besides the 5 to 6' seas was we were sailing along way to fast and would end up coming into an unfamiliar anchorage in the middle of the night. What a night of bouncing around stalling for daylight.Made it in fine and tied up to the mooring ball behind Fleming Key and went to bed.  Wonderful.
Now we get to spend several days doing the tourist things in Key West. Truly a world of it's own in the Keys. Hard to explain. After leaving here we will continue up the Keys to Little Torch, Bahia Honda and Marathon. Hope to enjoy our stay down here till we start the larger leaps up the east coast to the Chesapeake. So for now it's Sloppy Joes and Key Lime Pie. Yum Yum!
Thanks to everyone for your nice comments. Hope I'm keeping you posted enough. Too bad we don't have access everywhere, but then again........
So long for now.
Stow aways to the Dry Tortugas

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hey there, I'm back. We've been really busy the last few weeks getting ready to head south to the Keys then north to the Chesapeake. It has been a great time here in St. Pete, Fl. We'll miss all the friends we made here but with the help of modern tech. we will be able to keep in touch better than ever. We finished all our work on the hard. Changed out our sensor through hulls and put on another coat of bottom paint. Buffed and polished the hull with Poliglo. It looks great.

In the mean time we had a great Renaming Party. We crowded 12 hardy souls aboard and preformed a traditional ceremony.....well sort of. It was interspersed with some singing and general merry making.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Some update photos for your enjoyment.

This is the "Before" picture. This is when we went  to Mobile, Al. to purchase the boat. Notice the line wraps on the mainsail. Those are in preparation for Hurricane Ida. We eventually striped off the bimini and dodger and stowed all the deck equipment below decks. At this time it's hard to believe that this is the boat I bought.

S/V Moonshine! This is obviously the "after" picture. You can see why I have a hard time believing it's the same boat. Many hours of work in the transformation. It sure is nice inside too.
Added touches. This is our new cruising Spinnaker
So far we are still on schedule for departure from the St. Petersburg, Fl area around the 5th of April.?? Ya just never know when sailing. We are going to haul the boat out and do some work on the bottom through hull fittings and check out anything below the waterline. If anything is needed at that time we will fix or replace anything needed. We'll also put on anothe coat of bottom paint.
I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This is a picture of our refit in progress. We had the arch and davits installed by Lippincott Marine and I have just finished installing the Radar, Wind Generator and Solar Panels. You can also see a part of the Doyle Cradle Cover for the sail. We're very excited about our new improvements. Christie has been busy sewing covers for the outboard motor and grill. She has also done some modifications to make the tender cover easier to put on and holes for the davit lines. That is on top of making covers for our spare blankets that we can then use for pillows around the saloon, and a cover for the folding bicycle on deck. It has really been a busy time around here. It often seems I work harder around the boat than I did when I had a real job..........Or sort of a real job............sometimes!! :-)
Shane in the mean time is busy with his Studies and Sociallizing around the marina.
Hi all,
It's time to get you all updated on our statis. We have been docked here in St. Pete, Fl since the middle of January doing a major refit. We have installed and new arch, wind generator, solar panels, bimini, sail cover/ cradle pack, cruising spinaker, dodger, ground tackle, swim platform, davits, dive tanks racks and many more smaller items. I will post some pictures of our boat as soon as I can. It's hard to tell it's the same boat as before. We have been quite busy everyday doing some project of another. We are now waiting for the delivery of a new helm and as soon as that is installed we will be leaving this area. It has been a good time and we have enjoyed the people and activities in the area, but it's time to move on.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Continueing the Journey

Continueing on. It took us 3 days out at anchor to get our engine to start. Actually we had to, as Shane says, hire a professional. After changing primary fuel filters, secondary fuel filters, cleaning filter cases, priming, pumping and so on, we found out it was some paper towel that got into the tank and plugged the uptake and supply valve. Fixed!! So off we go. Sailed toward Apalachicola to refuel. All the regular entrys into the back bay were badly shoaled so had to get to the St. George Cut. Lost wind so Christie was happily motoring along when, BAM, run aground! Christie shut the engine down, BAD!! Waves kept lifting us and pounding us down on whatever it was we hit. Not even close to anything by all the charts and readings I took at the shore. Anyway, I got the engine on again and tried to back off....BAD! We by that time had gotten spun around by the wind and waves and I heard the crunching kind of noise. That's always BAD. Put it in forward and every time a wave lifted us we edged forward. Soon we cleared and heading for deep water. Hell of a day so far. We're a bit edgy by this time and still had to go through St. George Cut, read real tight, and on up to Apalachicola through strong winds and choppy seas.. To make a long story short, we came into the fuel dock at Miller Marine in the dark, nerves frazeled and made a perfect docking. The bad thing is, no one was around to see it!! Arrrrg! So it's off to the closes pub for beers. What a relief to be tied to a dock and safely back to shore.
A strong cold front came through that evening and dropped the temps down into the 20s at night and only in the mid 30s during the day. Picture above is ice on the dock in Apalachicola. Decided that wasn't a good time to try to cross the Gulf. It was a nice layover for a few days. Ate at some great seafood restraunts and bought some shrimp right off the boats. Great place. Rented a car for a couple days and drove around the area. Visted some friend we met in Mobile and went over to Panama City to buy some boat supplies. Came across a fella selling strawberries along the road from Plant City, Fl. They were by far the best berries I ever had. Incredible!
A few day later we got another favorable window to make our crossing. Sailed the boat upto Dog Island, just past St. George Island and anchored in this nice, protected little bay. Shane and I rowed the dingy over and explored the island. Very nice. We even got real close to an armadillo. One that wasn't smooshed on the road. :-) Sailed out in the morning into fair seas. Headed out to Green bouy #1 and set our course at 155 degrees and headed across the Gulf of Mexico. The crossing was rather uneventful. We kinda like it that way. We motor sailed the whole way and it took us 36 hrs. to make the crossing. It was nice to come into the channel to Tampa at Egmont Key and have this leg of our trip under our belts. We are better sailors for our experience and are much more comfortable with our chosen vessel. Island Packets are made to take the heavy stuff and we have lots of confidence in her ability to take much more than her crew.
We are now docked at St. Pete Marina and doing a major refit. Installing Wind generator, Solar generator, Arch, radar, chartplotter, new helm,  autopilot and more. As you see we came across the Gulf with a paper chart, a hand held GPS and compass. In other words, by the seat of our pants. We made it and are better prepare for it.  Hope this catches you all up on what's happening and I'll try to be more diligant on posting.

Finally on our way

I'm back. I would liked to keep up on this blog for history and your enjoyment. I hope to post on here on a more regular basis.

We finally found a boat to buy. It's a 1990 Island Packet 38, hull #114. We bought it in Mobile, Alabama. We had a survey done on her just before Hurricane Ida made landfall at Mobile. For some reason the marina didn't want us to own a boat that the insurance company wouldn't insure!!?? We were allowed to purchase about a week later. After that we stayed in the Mobile area around 6 weeks to do a small refit. We changed most of the running rigging, anchors, sacraficial cloth ect. I built shelves in the cockpit locker as the locker is so huge that everything you put in ends up in a pile in the forward end. It was getting colder by the day and we really wanted to get on south. 
On a side note: We are so grateful to know Mark and Susan Simpson, in Mobile. They so kindly allowed us to stay at their home as often as we wanted/ needed to. We even got into watching "Survivor Samoa". It became a weekly event.  And while mentioning the Simpson Family, we were very fortunate to also know Scott Simpson, who let us stay on his Hunter 43 while we were shopping for our boat.
So off we go, with our new (to us) boat and went to the fuel dock. An adventure all it's own. Did I mention that this fuel dock stop was because we ran out of fuel during our sea trial. Had to sail into a fuel dock with 15 to 20 knot winds off the stern quarter. That was up the river. The sea trial out on Mobile Bay was very exciting with 30 knot sustained winds. This was linked to a family that had absolutely no experience with an Island Packet to start with. Yeeee ha!!
Anyway, back to our travels. We managed to cross Mobile Bay that day and anchored outside the entrance to the ICW. This section is known for it's narrow channels and barge traffic. We were mostly concerned with the barges. Heard them coming out of the channel most of the night. To our surprise we never passed a barge all the way to Pensacola the next day. It was a nice cruise along the "Alabama canal". As we came into Florida we were greeted by two dolphins that swam with us for a ways. We figure that they simply weren't allowed into Alabama for some reason. :-)  We anchored in the Big Lagoon, south west of Pensacola. It was pretty rolly that night. We drug anchor around 2:am and got washed up into the shallows.  Bouncing along the bottom has a way of waking one up right quick!!  The next morning was our well planned out weather window to cross the Gulf of Mexico......Yea Right!  It wasn't reeeeeeeeal bad but bad enough that 80 miles out and 20 hrs. of rough travel made us decide to hole up at Apalachicola for a while.  Now mind you that Apalachicola is 50 miles east of us. By sailboat that equates to 10 hours of travel, in rough seas, at best.  Well what to our surprise, the winds shift to the NW and built in front of an unpredicted storm. We're now quartering across 8 to 10 footers that were at 6 sec. intervals. That means short deep troughs. Can you say submarine?? When what should happen........we loose our engine!!!  So while Mom and Dad are down below trying to figure out what to do about the engine, Shane calls down and says, "This is a sailboat ya know".  Duh! So Shane, single handedly set the genoa and started sailing on a 90 degree easterly course. So I hollered up and said " Keep going, that will take us back toward Apalachicola."  So that's how we ended up anchored off Cape San Blas, Florida, working on our engine.
I'll pick up on our story in a little bit.  Be patient with me.