Gladlee of Guernsey

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America 2008 Page 2

18th September - 6th October - UK

4th October - Kent - Pippas Birthday party:

Iris and James lighting the cake Pippa and the birthday cake

While in the UK we have gone to James and Iris's for the weekend. By coincidence it is Pippa's (Flippa's) 7th birthday party so we all enjoy sticky buns and a couple of beers (or more).

Benjamin helping out Princess Pippa

11th October.

We depart Washington and head back down the Potomac for Deltaville. A nice leisurely cruise and apart from a foggy morning the river is very kind to us with mirrored waters and beautiful weather. A couple of easy anchorages on the way down including our favorite - Mill Creek (the one near Reedville). The weather is due to turn though so we don't hang around too much and get down to Deltaville fairly quickly.

Fog Bank on the Potomac

Sunset on the Potomac

16th - 22nd October 2008 - Deltaville.

We have now arrived back in Deltaville for some last minute jobs and shopping before heading south to Florida by way of the Intracoastal Waterway. This therefore is the start of a new phase of our travels which obviously becomes "Latest News"  All of our previous summer exploits can now be found in America 2008.

23rd October - Fort Monroe

After a cold and "lumpy" day on the Bay we arrive at Fort Monroe for the evening. No time for sight seeing this time as we are heading for the Dismal Swamp the next morning.

24th - 25th October - Deep Creek Bridge

A bit of a lumpy first hour and then into the river at Norfolk which calms things down a bit. It is cold though!! We pass straight through Norfolk and arrive at the Deep Creek lock gates about an hour before they are due to open. After a short anchor and late lunch we pass through the canal and park up next to the bridge. We actually manage to finish up rafted on another boat with two more outside us. The supermarket is a very short walk so we manage another top up of important items - Beer and Wine. We stay over for another night here as we anticipate the next stop to be busy with boats.

26th - 28th - Dismal Swamp Visitor Centre

The Dismal Swamp Canal Gladlee on the Visitor's Centre

Deer on a track Out walking

We have a short but cold day on the canal and manage to go a whole fifteen miles as far as the Visitor Centre. We are the only boat there on arrival but by late afternoon there are sixteen boats rafted four abreast into the canal. Things have changed a little sine we were last here and there is now a foot bridge across the canal allowing access to the hiking trails in the Dismal Swamp proper. We spend three days here and hike and bike the trails. As you might see from the photo it is a bit cold with morning temperatures of about 3C or 36F.

29th October - Goat Island, Pasquatank River

Pileated Woodpecker - Goat Island Raccoon up a tree

On leaving the visitor centre we again have a really long day of four hours which includes the time to go through the "out" lock on the canal. It is still cold!!

30th October - Elizabeth City Docks

We have now managed to get as far as Elizabeth City, that's about 100 miles in 8 days. Our average is looking more like Visions!! Elizabeth City provide free dock space for visiting boats. Officially there is room for 14 boats but for the last few nights they have had over 20 each night. They also provide cheese and wine as long as you listen to the Mayors spiel in the late afternoon. Actually a very nice guy. We find a "real ale" bar and treat ourselves to some decent beer and a meal out.

31st October - Alligator River, North Carolina

Sunset with moon and star- Alligator River Pungo River Canal

We leave Elizabeth City with ice on the deck. It is cold!! We were originally going to anchor at the top of the Alligator River but have made such good time that we go on another twenty miles to the bottom of the river and anchor in very still conditions for the night.

1st November - Slade Creek

On through the Pungo River Canal, past Belhaven and into Slade Creek. For those of you who have kept up to date with our American adventure this is where we anchored in June 2005 and woke up to thick fog.

2nd November - Campbell Creek

Another fairly easy trip across the Pamlico River and into another very quiet anchorage. These quiet anchorages are few and far between due to the number of boats heading south at this time.

3rd - 6th November - Broad Creek

Dinner at Tom and Peg's Leaving the house early morning

Our second visit to Broad Creek also. This time because Tom and Peg live here (Starboard Home), who we know from the Med. They are as good as it gets for friendship and help. We tie up on their dock, use their house for internet, laundry etc and have use of their second car as and when we need it. Special people also as it was Tom that got Julie going with the Web Site - see the home page!!

7th November - Spooner's Creek

Having cut through North Carolina we are now back on the coast near Beaufort/Morehead City. One night in Spooners Creek where we have again been before.

8th - 9th November - Mile Hammock Bay

Easy but long passages at the moment get us to this anchorage which is owned by the US Marines. Last time we were here we had helicopters flying over us at one in the morning. This time it is weekend so no exercises. Our entertainment this time is provided by boats going aground in the notified shallow eastern side of the anchorage. A few hours and help from Tow Boat US before the worst one is floating again.

10th November - Wrightsville Beach

We seem to be visiting all the same places - not much to say that wasn't said last time.

11th November - Carolina Beach

We have gone through one of the worst shoal areas in this region - Carolina Beach Inlet. First of the worries over - Julie driving of course. The tide was in full flow and you move from one side of the channel (the deep side) to the shallow side before you can react to it. A couple of miles on and we go to a new anchorage - Carolina Beach - deep water and very quiet with only two other boats at anchor.

12th - 15th November - Pipeline Canal

Although we have been told that this anchorage is now difficult because of local boats on moorings we decide to give it a go. No problem - it is very quiet with only one other cruising boat in when we arrive. We plan to stay a few days as it is due to rain heavily for the next few days.

16th November - Calabash, Little River Inlet

Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge Wood Stork

This was not the anchorage we had planned on for tonight. However a combination of tidal current against us and a broken bridge meant that we could not make our planned destination of Barefoot Landing. No problem though and this turned out to be a shallow but pleasant overnight. Visitors come for a beer from a boat that we have been seeing around and about - Briar Patch. By the morning we find out that the bridge is now working so head for the next destination.

17th - 18th November - Thoroughfare Creek, Waccamaw River, South Carolina

Transiting the Waccamaw River Pelicans on the beach

We've now come on to the Waccamaw River and from previous experience we know that it is a really nice passage. Good water depths for us and lots of changing scenery from narrow river to estuary and everything in between. This takes us past the main town of Georgetown which we bypass this time in order to make a few miles towards Charleston. We find a real nice anchorage at Thoroughfare Creek and decide to spend a couple of nights here due to high winds being forecast. Another visit from Briar Patch just in time for afternoon tea and Julies pineapple upside down cakes which had just come out of the oven. Who says she can't cook??

19th November - Graham Creek

Our last planned stop before arriving in Charleston where we plan to stay for a week in a marina sees us using Graham Creek. It would have been OK if Julie hadn't mention the fact that we went through a 6.5 foot depth at the entrance and that was at high tide. Our planned departure in the morning is less than half tide so we have a problem. We delay our departure for a couple of hours to let the tide come up and also watch another boat leave before us. We still manage to get the line wrong and see 4.5 feet (our draft) before backing off fairly quickly. Our second try sees us manage 7 feet so we are on our way. Phew!!

20th - 26th November - Cooper River Marina, Charleston

Cooper River Bridge with the aircraft carrier "USS Yorktown" at Charleston Julie at Caw Caw National Park

A nice relaxing week in Charleston where we plan to hire a car for a few days and do some sight seeing, hiking and top up on the necessary shopping - beer and wine of course. However we had not planned on the intervention of Barclaycard (Mastercard) who because of a problem of their own making had managed to freeze our credit cards. No credit card means no car hire even though we have debit cards. A few calls to Barclays (in India of course) eventually manages to release the cards and we manage to get the car for a couple of days. A great trip out to Caw Caw National Park allows us some great hiking trails in the swamps and forests. We finish the shopping and head off for all points south actually departing on Thanksgiving Day.

27th November - Tom Point Creek

Sunrise at Tom Point Creek Northern Loon

A simple overnight anchorage in the same place we anchored on our way up over three years ago. It hadn't changed much - water and grass really.

28th November - Brickyard Creek

This is another anchorage we used before - just an oxbow in the river slightly north of Beaufort in South Carolina. Note that there is a Beaufort in North Carolina as well. The north one is pronounced Bowfort and the southern one pronounced Bewfort!!! It does seem a little shallower than last time though and we are anchored in about 6 feet.

29th - 30th November - Port Royal

We find out that the bridge in Beaufort has had a problem and is only opening twice a day. A very rushed start sees us just making the morning opening. We really didn't want to go to far today - the weather is awful and we have a major "sound" to transit (like a major estuary) so we go through the bridge and find the nearest anchorage where we hang around for a couple of days to let the high winds and rain pass.

1st December - Bull Creek

Another simple anchorage but very safe. After another windy day we are pleased to baton down the hatches and have an arrival beer, dinner and an early night.

2nd December - Turner Creek, Georgia

We have eventually moved into Georgia. We missed this totally on our way north due to advance knowledge of a broken bridge so are quite looking forward to it. Despite the fact that there are lots of "sounds" to navigate and lots of shoaling creeks notified - including Hell Gate!!!  Turner Creek turns into one of our best picks. Deep water, a small marina where we can dock the dinghy and right behind the marina a large Publix supermarket. Also across the street and Ace Hardware store. Couldn't really be better.

3rd December - Big Tom Creek, Bear River

Another grass and water anchorage but plenty of water and very safe.

4th December - Duplin River

Shrimp Fishing Boat on the Sapelo Sound

We have now done most of the "sounds" of Georgia including St. Catherine's, Sapello, Altamaha, Buttermilk and St. Simons. It seems that every river we transit turns into a "sound". A small ferry dock allows us to go ashore, dump some rubbish and also stretch our legs with a couple of miles walk up the lane. We have however anchored in the Duplin River so that we can time our next days transit of the Little Mud River for high tide. Without the 8 foot tide we could not manage this transit as it has shoaled to 3 foot and less at low water. No problems though and we also manage the shoals of Jekyll Creek before our next anchorage.

5th December - Jekyll Island

A really simple anchorage just off the channel and within sight of St. Andrews Sound. This is about the biggest of the sounds but due to constant shoaling you actually have to go out about a mile into the Atlantic before dog legging back behind Cumberland Island. The weather is very kind though and we have probably the best weather we have had for weeks - maybe months. One of the nicest things we see this day is some local fishermen hand feeding a wild dolphin that has come to beg fish from them. Normally these guys don't have too much emotion of sense of nature but we are touched by what we see.

6th - 7th December - Fernandina Beach, Florida

After passing behind Cumberland Island - still has wild horses on it - and also passing the Kings Bay nuclear submarine base with all its inherent security we eventually arrive in FLORIDA. Fernandina Beach for those of you that have been keeping up with the web site is where we have a previous picture with the caption "I stopped smoking and came here"!! It is quite industrial and has two major factories pushing out steam and smoke 24 hours a day. What has changed though is that there are now mooring balls in the anchorage so we take one of these for two nights. The sense of security gives us two good nights sleep even though the wind gets up during the night. Tomorrow sees us start the final push for Titusville - the first of our winter homes - about one week away.

8th December - Pine Island, Tolomato River

Pine Island anchorage

One of many "Pine Islands" we anchored here previously on our way north. Another five boats keep us company overnight.

9th December - Cement Canal, Flagler Beach

One of only a few anchorages in the area this is literally an old canal for a now non existent cement works. It is a little narrow and we have to use two anchors to restrict our swing. The canal is also home to the "Sea Ray" power boat facility. It is shallow but we are now in very small tidal changes so no problem.

10th - 11th December - Seven Seas Marina, Daytona Beach

Julie on Daytona Beach

Some bad weather is forecast so we bite the bullet and go to a marina. Rather nicely though it is a very cheap marina so we spend a couple of days here at Daytona. Really nice walks on the beach which stretches for miles and a good bar within walking distance of the marina make this a fairly perfect stop.

12th December - Mosquito Lagoon

As the name might depict this is a lagoon full of mosquitoes!! We had planned to anchor in a Rockhouse Creek where we had stayed before but due to dredging in the main channel we found we couldn't get into the creek safely without going aground. We therefore move on another twenty miles or so and anchor just off the main channel. Not too much wind so it is OK but we would not like to have done this anchorage in any wind - would have been as bad as it gets.

13th December - Titusville

Our first "long stop" for some time. We are staying here in Titusville over Christmas and New Year and have booked into the marina for a month. We will rent a car a couple of times and get out and about. Also get a few jobs done and replenish the stores before we head further south in mid January. There are good parks here where we can ride to and most essentials are within walking distance. Our first outing to Merritt Island National Park see us not only finding "mummy" alligator but about a dozen of her babies. These are wild animals and not in a zoo and we are standing not more than twenty feet from mum with nothing but a few feet of water between us. The bikes are ready for a quick get away!!!!

Pictures from Merritt N.P.

Mother Alligator

Baby Alligators

Reddish Egret Hooded Mergansers

The Merritt Island National Park turns out to be an absolute haven for Julie and her bird watching. We see what are "rare" bird visitors to the area fairly frequently such as the above pictured Reddish Egret and the Sora Rail. We have now been back by car and will again be going back on the bikes. We also managed a day out and found the "Yearling Trail" which is named after a book and subsequent film which was made about the area in the Ocala National Forest just north of Orlando. More birds of course and this time the infrequent Scrub Jay was the rarity.

Shuttle launch pad Armadillo

We have of course not just seen birds. The pictured Armadillo is the Nine Banded variety and let us take a few pictures before scampering away. We are of course also very close to all the NASA facilities as shown above by one of the two shuttle launch pads. Unfortunately there are no shuttle launches planned until the end of February by which time we will have moved on. Apparently the last shuttle launch was a night launch and was spectacular - the last programmed night launch though.

Christmas on Gladlee

Manatee and Gladlee

Christmas this year was the first one we have spent on our own - ever -but nonetheless the effort was made and the decorations came out. A full Christmas lunch including turkey and all the trimmings (stuffing, cranberry etc) was duly cooked by the on board chef (Ron). Turkey is now the meal of the day until March 23rd!!!!! (Actually we just bought a small turkey roast).

One of the great things we do get in the marina are Manatees. These are quite big animals, bottom grass feeders and totally harmless that are ubiquitously called "Sea Cows". The actual size of the one pictured above is about ten feet long. These are funny animals. We wash the boat down and one of the females and her "calf" come to the side of the boat to catch the fresh water dripping over the side. Even rolling over onto their backs to make things easier. They are definitely ugly beasts though.



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