Onward’s Cruise Journal 2010
Cruise N Up the ICW FL to NE

May 2010

17 May 2010; Los Angeles to Stuart FL

  • I departed Laura & Kurlen's home at 0350 for LAX airport. Before I left, Elena got her mom up so she could say hello to me before I departed. She locked eyes with me and when I began to sing the song I sang to her every morning, she gave me a big smile! A great note to depart on. I guess she will miss our morning cuddles as much as I will.
  • I flew for the first time with my iPad as a companion and it was great. I read the current month's National Geographic magazine I just received via Zinio, kept up with all the current news, did crosswords, watched a Dr. Who video episode, and read a book - and finished with 50% power left. Great!
  • I found Onward exactly as I had left it - a relief. On walking down the pier, I was a bit surprised by how large it seemed sitting in its slip. Once I got aboard, I noticed how limited the space was as I had not yet made the adjustment from land living to boat living.

18-21 May 2010; Stuart FL
  • 18 May
  • By early morning, I guess I made my adjustment to living aboard as the interior space seemed larger than I really needed - funny how one's perceptions change. I also managed to get in touch with Bob Langevin whose contact info I'd left aboard when I went to LA. I spent the day preparing Onward for departure.
19 May
  • Ron Draper arrived at Palm Beach International Airport and I drove down to pick him up. As we were walking out to the marina office to pick up my mail and a package, I encountered a diver cleaning the bottom of a boat and arranged for her to check out Onward. When we returned to the slip, the diver was just arriving and I got to take a good look at the waterline myself. What a mess! There was a thick growth of small barnacles and stringy weed all along the waterline. The diver said conditions in the area were tough this year. The bottom and waterline had been clean when I departed the Bahamas in April so all that growth happened in ~ 7 weeks. The diver agreed to come back in the morning to clean the bottom.
  • After a good dinner at a mexican restaurant to fix my craving for mexican food that wasn't fixed while I was in LA, we finished up the day with food shopping at Sams Club and Publix. As we were leaving Sams, I thought of the great Bose sound system I had given Laura and Kurlen for Christmas for use with their iPods and I was able to find one on sale!
20 May
  • Before turning in the rental car, we made a trip to West Marine. We were met at the rental car office by Bob Langevin who took us by his beautiful home which was nearby before taking us on to Manatee Pocket where we had a great lunch at Shrimpers, drank beer, and talked over old times. Bob and I are Chi Phis and had not seen each other since graduation from college until just before i left for LA. It was great catching up.

22 May 2010; Stuart to Melbourne FL
  • Onward departed Stuart after 0730 and made it uneventfully around the tip of Sewell Point and on up the ICW. I got to try out my new laser rangefinder from Extek given me by my son while I was in LA. This gives accurate measurements to 0.01'. I plan to use it to verify bridge height measurements in the future should I run into questions about the accuracy of signs as I did last November on the way S.
  • We anchored just before sunset just off of Dragon Point at Melbourne FL.

23 May 2010; Melbourne to Rockhouse Ck FL
  • I baked a batch of pepper biscotti after departure. My new way of baking them is much easier and the biscotti come out just toasted and do not get scorched.
  • A long uneventful day took Onward to Ponce de Leon inlet where we anchored in the small inlet where I anchored on the trip S. I was surprised to find a number of boats there - but then remembered it was a Saturday night.
  • Ron loves to drive Onward and we have an agreement that I will relieve him on request and pilot Onward through tight spots. It is wonderful having a competent pilot aboard. I actually get to do something other than pilot Onward.

24 May 2010; Rockhouse Ck to St. Augustine FL
  • An early departure from Rockhouse Ck put Onward in Daytona Beach at mid morning. I pulled into Halifax Marina and topped off diesel and water.
  • While underway, I baked a spinach pie and a proscittto, cheese, and tomato pie. Delish!
  • Onward got to pass through the newly completed Bridge of Lions at St. Augustine where they are now removing the temporary bridge used during construction. We anchored in ~25' of water just off the shore of Comache Cove Marina. The outboard ran well considering I hadn't used it since mid-April. Ron and I had great meal at Kingfisher restaurant at the marina.

25 May 2010; St. Augustine to St. Marys GA

  • Weather conditions were good offshore so Onward departed St. Augustine and headed up the coast to St. Marys. As we departed we crossed paths with Scandia who was going to make the trip inside.
  • There was no wind until late morning and it began to clock from N to NE. By 1400 it had picked up to >15 kts from the NW and seas began to build. I was happy to get in the inlet before the seas grew beyond 4'. We traveled up the St. Marys R and attempted to anchor off the town pier. Then bad things happened. The chain got caught on the chain stripper which somehow had been bent away from the gypsy and I couldn't raise the anchor or deploy more chain. Ron kept us clear from other boats in the strong current while I got tools and removed the chain stripper. I was then able to raise the anchor. The chain had gotten badly rusted while i was away from the boat and it was sticking in the gypsy.
  • Sometime in the morning, the main VHF started having problems and has lost receiving sensitivity but still transmits with good power.
  • I managed to get anchored up river and then we went into town to dinner and a couple of beers at Seagle's Saloon where I introduced Ron to the (in)famous Cindys who showed us her new 2010 red Corvette.

26 May 2010; St. Marys to S Newport R SC
  • Onward was underway by 0730. The pesky low was still off shore and winds were NW > 15 kts so it was an easy decision to move N via the ICW with Ron at the helm.
  • After the problem with the anchor chain and windlass, I decided to see if switching the chain end for end might be better. I put a tarp on the bow, disconnected the chain from the anchor and pulled it up on deck. I found that the unused section from ~100' to 240" was is very good condition: clean with no rust and intact galvanized coating. However the chain was unbelievably twisted. It must have been a combination of the rusted chain together with knots of twisted chain that damaged the chain stripper. I spent an exhausting afternoon untwisting the chain - a real pain as I could only do a few feet at a time - moving the twist down the chain to the ends. I finally got the anchor reattached and the chain stowed in time for us to anchor.
  • All afternoon we were tormented by large flies that came and coated the underside of the canvas - and then began to look for us to bite. I spent all my free time killing them - many more than a hundred. The good news is they departed just before sunset.
  • I put water on to boil for spaghetti and then took a much-needed shower. It was good to have spaghetti and meatballs comfort food after a tiring day.

26 May 2010; Newport R to Skull Ck, Hilton Head SC
  • Onward was underway by 0730. The first thing I did was to get out the enclosure panels for the stern an install them. I put them in place, rolled up the windows and zipped in the screens. I also rolled up the windows and zipped in the screens for the stern side panels on each side. The flies were foiled! Our fly hunting was now reduced to eliminating the few insurgents that snuck by. Wonderful!
  • Ron and I were able to use my large channelock pliers and adjustable wrench to bend the chain stripper back so that it will operate properly.

27 May 2010; Hilton Head to Toogoodoo Ck SC
  • I installed the straightened chain stripper on the windlass in time to anchor off Beaufort SC where we went ashore for a walk and lunch. They were preparing for the annual Gullah Festival that runs over the weekend. Sounded interesting but I didn't want to lose a couple of days to see it. After a walk, a little shopping, and a great lunch, we were back aboard in time to make the 1300 opening of Ladies Island Bridge but in the hurry some things were lost from the dinghy and it took us until the 1400 opening to get things fixed.
  • Along the way, I installed a shelf to hold the Bose iPod sound system. Also, with Ron's help, I finally was able to install the 12-V fan in my stateroom that had been awaiting a second pair of hands for a couple of years!
  • After anchoring in Toogoopoo Ck - what a name! - we relaxed and spent the evening trading music on our iPods and sound systems - a great way to spend an evening.

28 May 2010; Toogoodoo Ck to Georgetown SC
  • It was another day where we blessed the enclosure with screens as Onward continued to travel through fly country. We were fortunate to encounter a tug pushing a crane barge before the Wapoo Ck draw bridge and got to get early openings because of him there and at the Bridge. A bit further on we touched bottom just N of G89 because the channel has shifted E. I was able to back off easily.
  • As we approached Georgetown, I decided to check the outboard fuel tank to see if it had water in it from when it fell out of the dinghy. It did so I decided to pour out the contaminated fuel into one of my empty diesel jerry jugs so I could put fresh fuel in the tank. In the process, the fuel connection to the motor fell out of the tank and was lost overboard. So now we had no outboard to get ashore when we anchored.
  • Ron was looking forward to the seared tuna appetizer served at Big Tuna's so I was bound and determined to find a way ashore. We pulled into Georgetown just before sunset and were fortunate to find the anchorage almost deserted and no boats at the town pier. I did a 180 and tied up Onward to the town pier. After showering, we walked into town and went to dinner at Big Tunas where we had great dinners in the bar. Ron got his fix of their seared tuna appetizer.
  • As we were docking, Ron had talked with a man on the dock who was originally from MD and told him we needed a new fuel tank for the outboard. He said he would look to see if he had an extra tank at home. When we returned to Onward after dinner we found a note saying while he didn't have a tank he would drive us to Walmart in the morning if we wanted. We stayed tied up at the pier overnight because it was so quiet and with the idea of being able to find a new fuel tank somewhere in the morning when stores opened.

29 May 2010; Georgetown SC to Southport SC
  • In the early morning I took a walk to the Boat Shed Marina where I was able to buy a new 6-gal outboard fuel tank and filed it with fuel. Now I will be able to use the dinghy again! We had another good day and got to Southport just as sun set and we tied up at the fuel pier of Southport Harbor Village marina. After a quick shower we were off to Joseph's Italian Bistro where I had a great veal parmigiana dinner and a lot of fun talking to the staff.

30 May 2010; Southport NC to Mile Hammock Bay NC
  • We topped up Onward's fuel and water tanks and headed N. Another good travel day brought us to Mile Hammock Bay where we found only 4 other boats. I quiet night of listening to music followed after we ate a great steak dinner.

31 May 2010; Mile Hammock Bay to Slade Ck NC
  • We ran into a bit of rain but otherwise it was another great day for moving on the ICW. We pushed on until just before sundown and anchored in Slade Creek.
  • Ron and I had worked our way through the pepper biscotti I baked on leaving Stuart so I decided to make more only to find I was short one cup of flour. I thought I had 10 lbs of flour as back up but couldn't find it so I substituted a cup of bisquick. Then I discovered I was short of fennel seeds and course-ground black pepper. I had pepper corns so I took out the "Magic Bullet" blender I had bought back in Dec 07 but had not yet used. It's small blending container was perfect for grinding up the pepper corns. Whew! I was getting bummed out at the idea of being out of pepper biscotti.