Maryland - Virginia - Carolinas- Georgia - Florida
Sun 7 Nov 2010 15:22
Three weeks since our last blog, and we now find ourselves back in Florida. Obviously we've covered quite a lot of ground since the last blog had us in Solomon's Island in Maryland. From there we made a quick overnight stop at Deltaville, then on to Hampton, Virginia, where we have been before. And with good reason - the Best of British shop. I know, it's a bit sad, but we are now fully restocked with HP Sauce, Bird's Custard Powder, etc. And....the freezer now has real sausages and proper bacon (real Danish). What passes for bacon over here is the bit we'd normally cut off and throw away before
cooking it back home!!
From Hampton we started south towards Norfolk, the huge Navy port and thestart of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). For anyone who was not following the blog last year, the ICW is the "inside" route which runs half the length of the east coast of the United States, through rivers, creeks, man-made canal cuttings and inside barrier islands. It stretches from Nolfolk in Virginia 1095 miles to Miami in Florida. Along the way there are many inlets to and from the Atlantic Ocean, cities, towns, creeks, anchorages, marinas, much wildlife, and long sections of nothing (where it's very easy to lose concentration and hit something. Such as a large red marker post. But that's another story). For all but the biggest boats this is the normal route down the coast. The limiting size factor is the bridges, of which there are many, some fixed and some opening. The fixed ones all have a height of 65 feet above the water, so sailing boats need to have an air draft (mast height) lower than this. It is only sensible to transit the waterway in daylight, so we are making between sixty and a hundred miles a day, depending on how early we get up! Some places we stop a day or two; others we don't even go ashore - just stop for the night and carry on in the morning.
In a couple of places we have caught up again with old friends: at Oriental in South Carolina we spent a couple of evenings with Bill and Sandy onboard Dragonfly. They set off from there for the ocean inlet at Beaufort, and towards the British Virgin Islands, some twelve hundred miles away. This is exactly what we did last year, but sadly the weather was conspiring against them and they have now made it to Bermuda, and are waiting for a weather window to head south again. In Charleston, South Carolina, we anchored near the Delamare family on Charade. Lucas enjoyed playing with Romain, Ambre and Hugo again, while the grown-ups checked on the quality of the rouge of which Arnaud had just bought a case.
Another interesting stop was at Jekyll Island in Georgia. We spent a day ashore exploring on the bikes (see photo of me and Lucas - you can't see him: he's in the trailer!), including a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where there are many rescued injured turtles being treated and rehabilitated before hopefully being relaeased back into the sea. It also serves as to educate visitors a bit about the problems faced by turtles, and what humans can do to help them. All very interesting stuff.
The next stop was St.Mary's, which is on the Georgia/Florida border (still just in Georgia), where we went into the marina, rented a car and drove to Orlando to collect my mum who has come to join us for a two week vacation. We are now pottering on slowly southwards with mum, who is busy entertaining her grandson in between making scones and cakes. After she returns home in another week, we will be looking for a weather window to make our way over to the Bahamas (not very far), and start on our journey back towards the Caribbean.
That's about it for now, save to say that it is very cold (genuine frost here in Florida), and that somewhere in the middle of all of the above we "celebrated" my fortieth birthday. I'm trying to ignore it all really!
Photos this time include some of the sights along the Waterway including the wildlife. Lorraine selected the pictures, and has included one of a snake which was taken a long time ago (in Canada) - she noticed that we hadn't published it before.
Hopefully the next blog will report warmer conditions - I am currently wearing a woolly hat inside!