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South on the Blue Hen of Lewes

From Vero Beach to Lewes
Jerri and Paul Ives
September 9th to September 30 th 2012

Blue Hen of Lewes: On the Sea Again

Hi Folks-

It's that time of the year, and once again we close up in Lewes and begin our cruise south toward Vero Beach, Florida. We decided to leave a bit earlier this year, and take a few days to explore some places on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay that we have not seen for awhile.

We originally planned to leave Lewes today (Sunday), but predictions of a strong front with heavy thunder squalls Saturday night, with fresh Northwesterly winds on Sunday encouraged us to accelerate the departure process and leave Saturday morning. Delaware Bay is not a pretty sight from a small boat in strong Northerly winds. A delegation of family and friends saw us off at 0900 as the new flood current began. We had a good passage up the bay, speeding up to 14 knots to get ahead of the increasing Southerly breeze and building waves. We entered the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal at 1400 and nice smooth water. Dark skies and nasty looking stuff on the radar convinced us that it would be prudent to anchor in the Corps of Army Engineers basin at Chesapeake City. Not our most favorite anchorage, it tends to get crowded and the soft mud bottom is not the best holding ground. Never the less, we find a roomy spot and get the anchor firmly dug in just as a blast of wind with heavy rain sweeps over us.

The wind soon moderates and shifts more toward the West, but the rain continues to pour for several hours. A nice fresh water wash down for the decks. We watch as a few more boats continue to trickle in, we are surprised to see Jim Fuller in Summer Skis anchor just ahead of us. Jim is a friend from Vero Beach Yacht Club and they are on the way back south from New England. We enjoy a nice dinner and a pleasant evening in the cabin while the rain drops make music on the roof.

Sunday morning, we are up to a beautiful, early fall morning: cool, a light NW breeze, and puffy white clouds in the sky. We enjoy a leisurely breakfast and some little jobs around the boat. Underway at 0930, we are happy to see that Schaefer’s Canal House and Marina is now open for business after several years of neglect. The Delaware Pilots and the Maryland Pilots lease a pilot station and dock there, we change pilots right in front of the restaurant. It is quite a sight to see a thousand foot long ocean going container ship pass so close to the shore. We cruise slowly down the Elk River, around Grove Point and into the Sassafras. We have not been back to the Sassafras River since we sold our last sailing Blue Hen, over ten years ago.

This river has many pleasant memories for us, we kept boats at both Skipjack Cove Marina and Georgetown Yacht Basin for many, many years. In the summer of 1933, our family lived in a little cottage right where Skipjack Cove Marina is located today. My new sister, Nancy, came home from the hospital that June, I was almost four years old, and our father moored our Skipjack, the Nancy Belle of the Bohemia River at a dock out front. We cruised up through the crowded harbor, chock a block full of marinas, moorings, and boats of every description. We decide to forgo the bright lights and head back down the river, anchoring at Ordinary Point. This was a favorite of ours in years past, but the constant parade of large power boats send swells in behind the point and keeps us rocking and rolling. We enjoy lunch and hope that the traffic will thin out as the afternoon progresses.

We enjoy the rare afternoon off, catching up on reading, writing the log, and even a little swim in the warm, fresh water. Tomorrow we will head down the bay toward Gibson Island and spend the evening with Pete and Dot Hoffman who are up from Vero Beach to house/dog sit for their daughter who lives on the island. Tuesday, a CCA luncheon at Annapolis Yacht Club, Wednesday dinner with friends at Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford, then cruising down Tangier Sound and the Virginia Eastern Shore to Cape Charles. We hope to head across the mouth of the bay to Norfolk by the weekend. We are anxiously watching news of a major bridge project in Norfolk Harbor that will completely close the waterway for at least five days. That is a story for another day ....

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
09 September 2012

Hi Friends

We had planned to take it a bit easier this year, and we have certainly been doing that. After several days of challenging weather and secluded anchorages, for the last several days we have been eating and socializing our way down Chesapeake Bay . We were underway from Ordinary Point anchorage in the Sassafras River on Monday, ran at our slow cruising speed (7.5 knots) down the Bay. A beautiful day, bright sun, little wind, and temperatures in the mid seventies. We arrived at the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron docks at Gibson Island shortly after noontime. The club is closed on Mondays so we had the place all to ourselves. In a little while, Pete and Dot Hoffman arrived to take us to their daughter and son-in-law's house for a relaxing afternoon of visiting, a delightful dinner, then back to the boat for the night. Tuesday morning we shifted 10 or 12 miles out the Magothy River, under the Bay Bridge, and on in to Annapolis. We stop off at the Yacht Basin and top off the fuel tanks, then next door to the Annapolis Yacht Club. We have a wonderful time at the Cruising Club of America monthly luncheon seeing lots of old sailing friends and enjoying an interesting presentation by Gary Jobson on the current America's Cup Races and the new multi-hulls that sail at 40 knots. We laughed with Gary about the time, many years ago, that he made a film for the University of Delaware aboard our Morgan OI-416, Blue Hen of Lewes.

We leave AYC and head out into the Bay, the weather is so nice we decide to keep going on over to the Eastern Shore. We pass through Knapps Narrows that cuts through the lower end of Tilghman Island. This is a heavily traveled waterway both by yachts and commercial watermen. The bascule bridge there logs more openings than any other draw bridge in the State of Maryland. Out into the Choptank River, then north up Harris Creek to a beautiful anchorage in Dun Cove. We have been here many times, tonight there is not a breath of air and the boat hardly moves. Wednesday morning dawns bright and clear, a light southerly breeze. We spend several hours at anchor, we have only 10 miles to go to Oxford. After several conversations with factory technicians about our new, misbehaving chart plotter, the consensus is the unit is faulty and needs to be replaced. We head on into the Choptank River mooring at Tom and Tricia Bliss's beautiful place on Island Creek. Tom kindly loans us his car, Jerri and I drive up to Graysonville on Kent Island where the friendly manager at West Marine gives us a new unit. Just so the day is not a complete loss, we stop at Annies on Kent Narrows for a delicious crab cake lunch. Back aboard, the new unit works like a champ. We drive to the Tred Avon Yacht Club with Tom and Tricia where we have a fantastic cocktail hour and dinner with many old friends. We have two tables of folks who were with us on the TAYC Cruise on the St Johns River in Florida last February, lots of sea stories.

Thursday morning we awake to another beautiful morning, a little fog which quickly dissipates with the rising sun. Fall cruising on the Chesapeake is a real treat: warm water, cool nights and mild days, light airs and golden sunlight. We are soon underway and out Island Creek into the Choptank River. We have seen very few other boats except for fisherman and crabbers. South on the Bay passing the Little Choptank River, Hooper Island, then east into Tangier Sound through Kedges Straits. We round Janes Island Light and enter the Little Annemessex River into Sommers Cove at Crisfield. Crisfield is the undisputed crab capital of the world, the shoreline is lined with crab processing plants and work boats and busy watermen are everywhere. Needless to say, "when in Rome ...", we walk uptown to the Waterman's Inn where we enjoy a delicious crab cake dinner. This place was recommended by our friends Rick and Diane Savage of Sinepuxent Bay near Ocean City, Maryland. We were not disappointed, even bringing some crab back to the boat to enjoy scrambled with our daughter's fresh farm eggs in the morning. We are among the few boats in this 450 slip state operated marina tonight, very quiet and peaceful. Tomorrow Cape Charles!

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
13 September 2012

Hi Friends

After a pleasant evening in Crisfield, which included a nice crab cake dinner, we are underway early Friday morning, out into Tangier Sound in early morning light. A beautiful sunrise, temperature mid 60's, light wind. We head on down Tangier Sound passing Tangier Island, a place we have visited many times. Most of the people on Tangier remained loyal to the Crown during the American Revolution. During the War of 1812 the British maintained a stronghold on the Island and harassed American shipping on the Chesapeake Bay. Up until modern times, the Island remained isolated and the people spoke Elizabethan English. Today with satellite TV, air transportation, and tourism, this is no longer the case although the island is a still very quaint place to visit. As we head down the sound, we meet the school boat taking the Tangier children to Crisfield to attend the public schools. We proceed down Tangier Sound in over one hundred feet of water, we meet Hush Puppy, a small menhaden fish boat towing a purse boat astern. Pleasant memories of my earlier association with the menhaden fishermen in Lewes.

We proceed down the Bay passing Onancock Creek and many other interesting backwaters of the Virginia Eastern Shore. We enter the town of Cape Charles and are immediately struck by the apartment house with three front porches facing the harbor. As a young boy of 8 or 9 years, I remember visiting my great uncle, Charlie Millar, who was an official with the Delmarva Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He lived in one of the apartments and I remember sitting on one of those porches watching as railroad cars were being loaded onto large barges to be towed across the bay to Norfolk.

We dock at the new Cape Charles Town Marina; up to The Shanty for a wonderful crab dinner. I manage to polish off a dozen, nice sized steamed blue crabs, a quiet night on board. The wind picks up during the night, we roll a bit at the dock. The harbor is open to the west, we wonder what happens in there when the wind really blows.

A small cold front came through during the night, we awaken to clear skies and a brisk westerly breeze. Underway at first light, out into the Bay and across to Old Point Comfort and Hampton Roads. We take lots of spray over the cabin top, but it soon moderates as we approach the western shore. We enter Hampton Roads, several large container ships outbound and headed down Thimble Shoal Channel. I fondly remember the thrill of standing on the bridge of one of those largest, manmade, movable objects on the earth, controlling the ship as we proceeded to sea.

Very few boats in sight for a Saturday morning, we pass buoy R36, mile zero, officially the beginning of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. We duck into Ocean Marine and top off our fuel tanks, this is one of our favorite stops.

We proceed on down the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, turning off into Deep Creek where we are locked up about 10 feet into the Dismal Swamp Canal. A beautiful stretch of primitive waterway, we lock down at South Mills, NC, into the Pasquotank River, the upper part of which is covered with green duck weed from bank to bank. The water is the color of strong iced tea , we are in the waters of the North Carolina sounds. We pass up the docks at Elizabeth City in favor of a beautiful little cove just a few miles south of the town. A quiet evening at anchor, we have come 83 miles today and we are grateful for a for a cold libation and nice dinner. Needless to say, we are early to bed. Tomorrow Albemarle Sound ...

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
15 September 2012

Hey Y'all,

Munching along into the Carolinas, now I get to shake out that sand I put in Jerri's shoes almost 59 years ago. Underway from the anchorage in Forbes Bay, just south of Elizabeth City, on a beautiful Sunday morning. We discover the boat is covered (outside, fortunately) with small, soft mosquitoes. They tenaciously hang on and leave a little black lump of some kind of matter when you do manage wash them off with the deck hose. We proceed down the Pasquotank River into the beautiful Albemarle Sound. The weather is clear and bright, very little wind. This is certainly one of our smoother passages. We can see the Outer Banks of Cape Hatteras in the distance to the east as we enter the Alligator River and pass through the highway bridge that spans this wide river. A large mega yacht, Lady Cat, overtakes us shortly after we clear the bridge, we enter the Alligator-Pungo Canal at the south end of the Alligator River and we begin the 22 mile land cut that connects to the Pungo River. Half way through the Canal, a second mega yacht, Showtime of San Diego overtakes us at Fairfield high level bridge. We enjoy listening to the radio chatter between the two professional crews, they are obviously traveling in company and are well acquainted.

We leave the canal and enter the headwaters of the Pungo River. It is important to note that, once again, the buoy system changes here. In the rivers and inland waters of the United States, unlike almost every other country in the world, we leave red marks and buoys to starboard when we are entering port from sea. Leaving port, heading out to sea, the reds are left to the port side. (Red is left when port is left, Red right returning) In the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (thank you Bill), red marks are left to starboard cruising south, as if Norfolk was the sea and you are headed south on the ICW into port. It becomes a little confusing when the ICW becomes part of a major river system, then the buoy colors switch sides to the river system. If you look carefully, the river buoys will have a small yellow mark on them indicating that they are also part of the ICW but that you need to switch colors. Failure to observe this has brought many an unwary sailor to grief.

We leave the Pungo River, crossing Pamlico Sound, and entering Goose Creek. This is one of many natural creeks that were joined to form the original ICW. A peaceful anchorage in Eastham Creek, nothing in sight for miles around. We are underway at first light, a warm and cloudy morning with light air. We pass out the land cut into the Bay River, turning south again into the Neuse River. We sight several shrimp boats working the waters. The Neuse River eventually winds its way to New Bern, the first capital of North Carolina. (It is also the birthplace of Pepsi Cola). Early sailing ships came in from sea at Ocracoke Inlet and sailed west on Pamlico Sound, turning south on the Neuse to New Bern. We turn into Adams Creek, another creek/land cut leading into Core Sound and Morehead City, a major port in North Carolina. In an earlier life, I was friendly with the three pilots working there.

As we enter Morehead City, we get a blast of strong wind and heavy rain. These are the kind of days I don't miss standing out on deck at the wheel of our sailing Blue Hens. We cruise south on Bogue Sound in 20 -25 SSW winds, intermittent rain squalls. We dock at Casper's Marina in Swansboro, North Carolina. Once again we are the only transient boat here, we top up the fuel and water tanks. Jake, the friendly dock master runs us down to the Ice House for a delicious fresh seafood dinner. Their shrimp and grits are to die for. Tim, are your ears up? Although we are on the inside of the dock, a persistent swell rolls in and keeps us rocking and rolling most of the night. Jerri and I feel like a couple of milk shakes by the time we get up.

We are underway at 0545 in pitch black, pre dawn, with a couple of rain showers. The Marines at Camp Lejune are scheduled to begin firing heavy duty artillery over the waterway which is part of their firing range. This requires that the waterway be closed to boat traffic for long periods. Our early departure ensures that we clear the area well before the action begins. Not that we are adverse to our gallant Marines becoming expert marksmen, we just prefer they not do it on our time. We are pushing into 25-30 knot winds with heavy rain from time to time. We see one gust to 45, the boat handles well and we are snug in the cabin as out trusty Yanmar diesel pushes us right along. Jerri is preparing a nice pot of hot soup for lunch as we pass through Wrightsville Beach and another blast of wind and rain hits.

We cruise down Masonboro Sound, entering Snows Cut at Carolina Beach. We decide the Cape Fear River a formidable challenge in this kind of weather, and opt to dock in the Carolina Beach State Park and Marina on the western end of the cut. The state of North Carolina has recently rebuilt this pretty little basin with new floating docks and all the amenities. It is part of a large park and camping facility. The lady at the registration desk asks if we will be needing any fire wood! We enjoy a nice afternoon exploring the facilities, and a few jobs around the boat including catching up on the ship's log. Hopefully, the weather will clear out tonight, and tomorrow, we will travel the Cape Fear River to Southport and points south. Stay tuned!

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
18 September 2012

Hey Y'all,

We crossed into South Carolina today after a beautiful run under ideal weather conditions. The cold front that spawned all the wind and rain yesterday is still lingering off the coast, but today brings light winds and overcast skies that are very easy on the eyes as you are trying to look for markers on the waterway. We had a very pleasant run down the Cape Fear River in early morning light. We meet no traffic except the Fisher Island ferry and the passenger ferries to Bald Head Island, an upscale community at the mouth of the river. It is accessible only by boat, and they have built a new large facility just north of Southport that serves as a terminal for the ferries and a barge dock where they load containers with supplies for the community.

We leave the Cape Fear River, turning into the Intracoastal Waterway again at Southport, NC. We are welcomed by a pair of large porpoise as they jump across our bow. Good luck for sailors! We pass the town of Southport, like Lewes, Delaware, the home of many Wilmington, NC pilots. We pass the Pilot Boat Cape Fear at the dock. She is the sistership of the Pilot Boat Delaware, the first of a class of fast, deep V, twin screw, steel pilot boats built by Gladding & Hearn in Somerset, Massachusetts. There are probably 40 to 50 boats of this same design used as pilot boats around the world today. I take some pride in having been part of the original design of this boat, many years ago in my career. In fact, quite unintentionally, I gave the Delaware her first real sea trial when I boarded a very large crude tanker, five miles off the coast of Delaware, in 86 MPH winds during a hurricane two months after she was delivered. I am happy to say that both boat and crew lived to fight another day.

The waterway in southern North Carolina takes you behind barrier islands and beach communities, through fishing towns with quaint names like Lockwoods Folly, Shallotte, Sneads Ferry, and Supply. We pass numerous large shrimp trawlers at the many seafood unloading facilities, and under the new high level highway bridge at Sunset Beach. This bridge, just three miles north of the South Carolina border, recently replaced an old, one lane bridge floating on pontoons. The span had to be swung out of the way for boat traffic, a constant source of frustration for both vehicular and marine users. Not far into South Carolina, we cross Little River Inlet and begin the long land cut through Myrtle Beach, passing many of the numerous golf courses. One golf course is served by a tramway over the waterway. What was not too many years ago a desolate and lonely stretch of water, is now almost continuous condominiums, marinas, private homes and docks requiring close attention to navigation and slower speeds. At the southern end, we pass through the old swing bridge at Socastee and enter the Waccamaw River, one of the most beautiful stretches of the waterway. The pine and cypress forests come right to the edge of the channel, birds and all sorts of wild life abound.

We dock for the night at Bucksport. The marina and restaurant here have a long history and were very popular in years past. Recently there have been several changes of ownership, it is a nice facility and the present owners are very accommodating and trying hard to make a go of it. It is the typical example of small American private enterprise we hear so much of today. Private capital at risk, employing workers, providing a service to customers, and hoping to make a profit. The community of Bucksport was founded by Captain Henry Buck who was in the shipbuilding business in Bucksport, Maine, on the Penobscot River. He established several saw mills in South Carolina in 1820, and operated a fleet of sailing ships to deliver yellow pine and cypress timber up and down the East Coast.

We start down the Waccamaw at first light and soon overtake a Mainship 34 from Vermont. Perhaps they launched her on skis. This is one of the few southbound cruisers we have seen on this trip. The southern end of the Waccamaw River takes us past Georgetown, SC with its several marinas and small port supported by the local paper mill. The river runs into Winyah Bay, and we turn off into the ICW at the Minim-Estherville Canal, a land cut that crosses several rivers including the North and South Santee. We wend our way through the salt marshes, entering Jeremy Creek at McClellenville. We approach the Leland Oil Co Marina where we had intended to spend the night, but are informed by Dwayne, the owner, that T.W. Grahams, the local seafood restaurant, was closed for vacation. With not much else to see, we sail on down the waterway, entering Price Creek where we pick up a mooring established by our Charleston Pilot friend, Captain Creighton Walters. We are right out on the coast, next to Bulls Bay, with no sign of life for miles around. A wildly beautiful spot with sea grass, scrub pine, and an open inlet to the sea less than a mile away. We settle in with a libation, a nice dinner, and a peaceful night.

Friday morning is bright and clear, warm with a light NE'ly breeze. We head out Price Creek, and turn down the waterway for the last 20 miles into Charleston. We pass Dewees Island, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan’s Island, then out into Charleston Harbor, mooring alongside at the Carolina Yacht Club. Our friend Anne Poulnot arrives to pick us up, we close up the boat and embark on two days of shore leave with a small sea bag and piles of dirty laundry. We will set sail again on Sunday morning.

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
21 September 2012

Hi Friends,

Here it is Tuesday, the days fly by and we are in Cumberland Sound, anchored in Crooked River, just four miles from the Georgia/Florida line. We can see the large buildings at Kings Bay, the Navy nuclear submarine base. We spent several delightful days in Charleston with our dear friend, Anne Poulnot. We met Sherrill and Anne at an American Pilots Association convention in Philadelphia in 1960. We were both young pilots, Anne and Jerri hit it off right away, we had children the same age, both of us loved to sail and enjoy the outdoor life. We had parallel careers, Sherrill went on to become President of the Charleston Pilots and Vice President of the American Pilots Association. We visited back and forth for many years, they sailed with us on the Chesapeake and in the Islands. Sherrill passed away almost two years ago, he was a gentleman, and a man among men. He was a devout Lutheran. He reminded me many times that you never really lived until you have stood among a congregation of Lutherans singing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" on Reformation Sunday.

We had a good time in Charleston, some shopping, visiting, even managed to work in a Cajun chicken lunch at Bojangles. We made a couple of trips to the Carolina Yacht Club to do a little maintenance and run the generator on the boat. Construction at the club had required turning off power at the docks, we needed to keep the batteries up to run the refrigerator and freezer. Saturday night we attended a party at the Charleston Yacht Club, then went to the Carolina Yacht Club for dinner. What a send off, fortunately we didn't have to walk too far to the boat at the end of the dock.

Sunday morning we are underway, crossing Charleston Harbor, up the Ashley River and entering the ICW at Wappoo Cut. The current is running against us at 3 to 4 knots, we soon clear the cut and enter the Stono River. The current slows down and begins to run with us as we travel through the Low Country, passing a little shipyard at Yonges Island, then down the Wadmalaw River. This is the famous ACE Country I have mentioned before. Beautiful plantations on the Ashapoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers. We wend our way through the rivers and land cuts that connect them, out into the Coosaw River. We enter Parrot Creek, Morgan River, and tie up at Dataw Marina on Dataw Island.

Our friend, Jim Gourd, arives at the dock to pick us up. We enjoy a tour of the recently renovated Dataw Island Clubhouse, then cocktails at Jim and Babs' beautiful home in the community. We enjoy a delightful Low Country seafood dinner at the little restaurant at the marina, back aboard for a quiet night alongside the dock. Jim and Babs are excellent hosts, we always enjoy their company.

Underway early Monday morning, down the Beaufort River passing the charming town of Beaufort, SC. Out into Port Royal Sound, through Skull Creek and Hilton Head. Again we are struck with the fact that we seem to be the only cruising boat on the waterway, we have met and passed less than a half dozen transient boats since we left the Chesapeake. Down Calibogue Sound, past Harbour Town, into the Skidaway River, passing Skidaway Island and Isle of Hope. We anchor for the night in Big Toms Creek, an isolated spot with not a light in sight. A very quiet night.

Today we tackled the eight sounds of Georgia, (Saint Catherines, Sapelo, Doboy, Altamaha, Buttermilk, Saint Simons, Saint Andrews, and Cumberland) most of them open to the ocean. In spite of predicted 5-6 kt winds, we encounter gusts from 15 to 20. We pass through Brunswick Harbor, through the narrow cut past Jekyll Island. At the southern end of Jekyll Island, we enter Saint Andrews Sound. The channel here takes you out almost to the Atlantic Ocean to round shoal water and head back in. As I've previously mentioned, the waterway mileage is many times the point to point distance because the ICW follows creeks, rivers and sounds, sometimes tacking back and forth like a sailing ship. We anchor tonight in Crooked River, the captain takes a refreshing swim in the 78 degree water, checking the propeller and running gear while giving the waterline a little scrub. Tomorrow, onward to Florida and Saint Augustine.

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
25 September 2012

Hey there,

Here we are, just about to cross the Florida line after almost three weeks underway on what has turned out to be one of our most pleasant ICW cruises south in the boat. We promised ourselves, before we left, that we would not push so hard and try to smell the roses for a change. We have run mostly at hull speed of 7.5 knots, speeding up only occasionally to cross a large body of open water and blow a little soot out of the turbocharger. We had only one day of 96 miles which included stretches across Albemarle Sound and the Neuse River. The rest were in the 60 to 70 mile range, getting underway at dawn and anchored or tied up anytime between three to five thirty in time for a civilized happy hour.

This morning, September 26th, the captain is awakened by the smell of fresh coffee and an enthusiastic "happy birthday" from the First Rate Chief Mate. We run down Cumberland Sound making good time on a strong ebb current, another beautiful morning with clear skies and light breezes. We pass the town of Fernandina Beach, once a bustling shipping port that supported eighteen pilots. Today, my friend Bill Kavanaugh and his occasional assistant handle the traffic of several small container lines. We pass the Somers Isles alongside the port, loading containers for Bermuda. She is the sistership of the Bermuda Islander, a ship I have piloted many times out of the port of Salem, New Jersey. These two ships supply a large percentage of the goods imported by that island nation.

We run up the Amelia River, passing Amelia Island Plantation, a popular resort, crossing Nassau Sound and through the land cut leading to the Saint Johns River and Jacksonville. South of Jacksonville we run in mostly confined channels, through several communities, entering the Tolomato River which widens out north of Saint Augustine. We moor at the Inlet Marina, a very small but growing operation just north of Saint Augustine near the Villano Bridge. Dockmaster Jay greets us cordially, their fuel price, as advertized, is the cheapest we have found on the waterway. As we enjoy a drink in the cockpit, we have a ringside seat for the Comanche Cove Yacht Club Wednesday night Beer Can Races. They have about fifteen large sailboats out for a romp around the buoys. Up the dock to "Beaches" for a superb sea food dinner. The manager comes to the table with "happy birthday" wishes, we chat and he tells us of their plans to expand into a full service operation. We also chat with Jay Myers, retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, and the financial force behind the operation. He tells us that he went to Lewes often and had businesses in Ocean City. His favorite watering hole was Lou Ianaire's. Small world! The whole place exudes enthusiasm, again, the typical American small business enterprise. We wish them well in their endeavors.

Thursday, we leave at first light, another chamber of commerce day. Through the harbor of Saint Augustine passing the large cross commemorating the settlement of this colony by the Spanish in 1590. We have visited here many times, an interesting tour through early American history. We especially enjoyed worshiping at Flagler Presbyterian Church, an ornate structure in the Spanish tradition. They have a magnificent, big Aolean Skinner pipe organ built in 1889 that is still playing and sounds wonderful.

No time for touring today, we continue down the ICW, passing Matanzas Inlet and Marineland that has now been converted into a marina. We pass through Palm Coast, a large residential community built on canals. We meet a large tug and deck barge in Fox Cut, the Royal Engineer from Stevens Towing at Yonges Island, SC. In Daytona Beach, we pass under Carlton Black Bridge that has the most beautiful tile mosaics on the supports. We anchor south of Daytona Beach, behind Ponce de Leon Inlet in Rockhouse Creek. A nice sea breeze, and a refreshing swim in cool, green, ocean water. A gourmet dinner by master chef, Jerrie', our last on board this trip. Tomorrow, Eau Gallie Yacht Club near Melbourne, Saturday morning, a short run into Vero Beach! Beach!

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
27 September 2012

It's us again,

We have arrived! As I write, Blue Hen of Lewes is reposing quietly alongside the dock at her winter home at Vero Beach Yacht Club. We have already had lunch at our favorite deli, "Two Jays", the air conditioner is running at the condo, and the refrigerator is making ice cubes in anticipation of a well deserved happy hour. Trusty Chrysler Sebring convertible fired right up, and we have been busy unloading gear from the boat in almost 90 degree heat. We are cordially welcomed by our Pebble Beach Villas neighbors. As comfortable as we were on the boat, it is nice to be home. Off to a roaring start, the captain dons his vestments Sunday morning, and sings at two services with his chancel choir at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach. It really feels like we are already back into the routine, everyone has been so gracious welcoming us.

Friday morning, we were underway from Rockhouse Creek in Ponce de Leon Inlet in a heavy rain shower, our first rain since North Carolina. We spent a restless night at the mercy of no-see-ums who seem to find their way into the cabin no matter what you do. The screens only seem to put them into flying formation. We pass New Smyrna Beach and begin the long and somewhat unattractive passage down into Mosquito Lagoon, actually part of North Indian River. Are we there yet?. Through the Haulover Canal into the Indian River, passing Titusville and Cocoa Beach. The river begins to widen out, we see a few other boats as we pass the NASA Space Center facilities at Cape Canaveral. We pass the Canaveral Barge Canal entrance. This is a land cut through Merritt Island, connecting the Indian River and the inland waterway, through a lock, with the Port of Cape Canaveral and the Atlantic Ocean . We arrive at Eau Gallie Yacht Club and discover our friends Bruce Macintire, Nicky, Charlie and Suzanne Jacobs arriving at the same time. They have run up from Vero Beach to welcome us and help celebrate the captain's birthday. We have a great time in the pool, followed by cocktails on Bruce's boat, and dinner at the Yacht Club. There is really nothing wrong with having birthdays, they just keep getting better and better. After all, old age is only a number.

Saturday morning finds us underway at first light for the short run down the Indian River to Vero Beach. We tie up at in our winter slip at Vero Beach Yacht Club ably assisted by several of our friends. We ring up “Finished With Engines”, we’ve come over 1200 miles in twenty two days, our longest trip, but one of the best ones ever. We visited many interesting places, mainly took our time, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Blue Hen will be making mostly day trips, up to Squid Lips for lunch, and informal cruises close to home with friends and neighbors. We have no plans for extensive cruising this season, but will wait and see what the next year brings.

We have enjoyed putting this little account of our journey together, and we're grateful for the notes of encouragement we have received from many of you. To those who wrote us personal notes, we'll get around to writing back as soon as the smoke has cleared away a bit. I have almost four weeks of mail and other correspondence piled up on my desk, but we will work our way through it. After all, we are retired and don't have much else to do, right?

Jerri & Paul Ives
Aboard Blue Hen of Lewes
30 September 2012

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