2015-11-27– Black Friday Window Shopping–Cruiser Style

While the many might be taking advantage of the great shopping bargains, Magnolia’s window (weather) shopping is not looking too good right now. We are trying to get across the Gulf Stream and into the Bahamas. We will pass customs at Marsh Harbor, Abacos which is about 200 miles from Vero Beach FL, about 30 hours.

Below are the current conditions offshore. Not looking to inviting with 12 foot seas and winds 21 knots steady and to add insult to injury the wrong direction.


The next “sail window” (Tuesday 1 December) looks a little more inviting with seas down to a more manageable 6-8 and winds down to 15 still in the wrong direction.  


Candidate sail window #3 is looking like the least bad window…yea, we gave up on an ideal window for the foreseeable future! This one (Wednesday 2 December) puts more in the 4-6 foot range and winds down to about 8-10 knots still in the wrong direction so its going to be a motoring slog to weather. Stay tuned, we will see how this shopping extravaganza works out! 


While we are waiting for our window to open up we have been getting a jump on the holiday celebrations. It’s a bit complicated but there are three (now 4) boats from the

Shennecossett Yacht Club in Groton CT. We initially met met the whole gang our freshmen year of cruising and cross paths whenever we can. Since part of the contingent planned to be away for Thanksgiving so there was an early celebration in which we were included. Fun times! Thanks again to Kindred Spirit, Cutting Class and of course San Cles’




Our friends Bert & Prue just had Exuberant painted so we were quite nervous to come along side. Who wants to put the first mar on a beautiful new paint job…certainly not us!







Vero Beach always has a big Thanksgiving party. The CLODS (Cruisers Living On Dirt) donate the Turkeys and Hams and the Active Cruisers bring the sides. All total there are over 170 people seated. Below is our table out on the veranda along with the dinghy parking lot, no valet service.


11/28/2015 09:30 – Weather Update – as you can see the forecast for Wednesday continues to improves so, so far so good. Lets see if it holds. I sure is nice planning into a improving forecast.


Again, happy Thanksgiving! Be Safe A**2

2015-11-23 – GAMs(SSCA) – “Dealers”(Mentors) – Legs(Turkey)

Magnolia has been keeping up a full schedule since our departure from St Augustine. We made a stop in Titusville and then on to participate in the Seven Sea Cruising Association (SSCA)  GAM (Gathering of all Mariners) at Melbourne FL. We had a real treat in that Bob & Cory-Jeanne Cox from the Pentagon Sailing Club were also in attendance. Bob was one of our original sailing instructors back in the day. So far we have avoided disappointing him and embarrassing ourselves! 


While were ashore our friends Al & Michele were passuing through the area and decided to drop anchor nearby allowing a quick drive-by dinghy by visit. 


It was a complete surprise visit and whenever we see Kindred Spirit nearby, can not help but smile.


Continuing to Vero Beach our friends Ty & Suzanne Giesemann came all the way from The Villages FL for a visit. Our history is documented in “2013-11-05 Dealers, Enablers, What is Possible, All in 5 Years”. The long and short is Ty & Suzanne gave us our first exposure to the cruising life. Once again, its great to show our mentors we have tried to learn the lessons they taught us! Thank you for making time in your schedules for us Ty & Suzanne!


We intended to spend one night at the Vero Beach catching up with the our friends from CT.  We had a terrific evening but while we enjoying our reunion, our weather window to transit to the Bahamas was closing up! Oh well, we will have time to get to the Bahamas seeing friends though, that’s the best.


Al, doing his “Risky Business” impersonation!



The charts below shows what the weather looks like this whole week. Sad sad cause that is not what we want for a good crossing passage!


Below is Google Earth image with our planned route over laid. We will depart Fort Pierce inlet and cross the Gulf Stream before entering the Little Bahama Bank, a distance of approximately 60 miles. The water depth goes to about 2200 feet off Florida to a mere 22 feet across the banks. The water on the banks is so clear that just a little moon is illuminate the white sand bottom in the middle of the night.  Once on the banks it is about 140 miles over and down to Marsh Harbor where we intend to pass customs and settle all the paperwork for our stay in the Bahamas.


Below is the long range forecast for early next week. Hopefully this window will stay open long enough to get through!


We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with cruiser friends here in Vero Beach. Generally imagine a big pot luck with about 250 people. Should make for a wonderful holiday! Be Safe, Be Well and Happy Thanksgiving!

11-11-2015–Savannah–St Augustine

Magnolia has been promising ourselves to come to Savannah for a long time but had yet to make the time…finally we made it. We actually went to Isle Of Hope which is this lovely low country coastal island town.


This was the scene directly across from the Marina.


We met Catherine years ago the same time we met Mims and Vicki in the Bahamas. We surprised Catherine at her restaurant Maxwell’s in Savannah. We had a lovely evening catching up and Catherine joined us one evening aboard Magnolia. We are hoping to meet all of these ladies this winter in the Bahamas!! Fingers crossed!




Upon departing Isle of Hope we staged for an off shore passage behind St Catherine’s Island. As the two pictures below show…St Catherine’s is really out there on her own. We only spent the one evenning but we will keep this spot in our back pocket for another visit. Just beautiful.



Departing from St Catherine’s for sea the day started overcast but with a nice easterly breeze that promised and excellent sail.



We made a point of staying well off shore to avoid shipping traffic at the St Mary’s and St John’s Rivers, all the while enjoying a beautiful sail down the coast.


Even well of shore there was a fair amount of shipping traffic to maneuver around.


The inlet at St Augustine is not as large as we normally enter and exit but with the sun up and calm conditions we entered and anchored directly in front of Fort _______ with a lovely view of historic St Augustine.





The first order of business was to contact my Great Uncle Wayne & Carmen who happens to live just across the Bridge of Lyons, an easy 15 minute walk from the dinghy dock.  Magnolia at anchor (center frame) below. 



Annette stubbed her toe one too many times so elected to stay aboard and take a break from walking on it. I enjoyed a lovely visit with Wayne and Carmen and Annette joined us for lunch the following day.



We had a lovely visit to St Augustine and ALWAYS look forward to returning!

2015-10-31 Myrtle Beach —> Savannah

Returning from Washington we found Magnolia safe and sound, Kindred Spirit moored nearby and our friends Joe and Christine on the way for farewell dinner at the “Officers Club” at the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.  Joe & Christine have helped us more than I can say and thank you so much! Al & Michelle of Kindred Spirit (http://blog.kindred-spirit.net/) are old friends from the very first day this adventure began a couple years ago! We have not seen them in over a year but with all good friends, we never missed a beat.


The “Officers Club” is run by a couple who use to run my favorite wings place in NJ, the Jug Handle Inn on Rt 73 @ 130. They serve the wings just like they did in NJ and they are just as good!


First thing next morning it was time to get moving. We had just crosses the SC border and it was not getting any warmer!



We anchored for the night in the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the most beautiful locations along the east coast.


For those of you who did not check out the Kindred Spirit Blog #1 Bad on you Smile and #2 you would have known the “old” Kindred Spirit was a Morgan Sailboat very similar to Magnolia but the “new” Kindred Spirit is a Mariner Orient 38 Trawler.


Magnolia making her way along the Waccamaw River.



Magnolia and Kindred Spirit at anchor in the Waccamaw



The section of the ICW between Winyah Bay and Charleston is a notorious stretch of water because of the significant shoaling that has taken place. Thankfully there is a 6-7 foot tide through here so if you have time you can time your passage with the tides. With the goal of returning to to Washington DC in 3 days, we did not have that luxury. Because of her shallower draft Kindred Spirit went inside down the ICW while Magnolia staged for a early morning off shore passage.


Magnolia departed Winyah Bay about 4:30 AM. We have never been through this inlet before and transiting it well before dawn was a little nerve racking. Within 90 minutes were well offshore as the sun rose.


The 55 mile passage to Charleston was really fast with a good winds and a fair current.



Since the tides and currents were not favorable to go into a dock at the Maritime Center Magnolia anchored just west of the Ft Sumter for the evening.


The next morning  conditions were more favorable so we moored and got Magnolia settled.  This was the first time ever Annette stay onboard alone so wanted to make sure things were good and settled. Al & Michele were near by as an extra buffer.


Arriving in DC I spent the afternoon with my parents and even got a fun picture with my mom.


I was able to participate with my family in the Funeral Mass for my Great Aunt & Uncle Jim & Mona.  I could write a book on all they taught us about living a full life. I am going to instead follow their example. Thank you Jim & Mona.

I returned to Charleston find Annette had given Magnolia a real spa treatment giving her the full treatment below and above decks! Thank you for your hard work Admiral.

The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was literally a couple blocks from the Marina. A very sobering reality check that for sure….


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We made out way across town and visited with our friends Mims & Vicki. Mims had a few friends over for a lovely brunch, complete with Bloody Mary Station!


and yes the Admiral does have a dog on her lap. Tommy-Not-Jack is a real sweet heart. Sadly Mims would not let him come sailing with us. Since “Bunny” returned to PA recently we are always looking out for a replacement crewmen with big ears…Tommy certainly qualifies!


Seemingly we had to be on our way before we even got settled in Charleston.






Magnolia and Kindred Spirit had an easy trip down to GA. Kindred Spirit needed to make a trip home so we will be moving on with out them early next week. On the upside we got got to visit with our friends on Amici and Acappela as well. Annette and I will be belatedly celebrating our anniversary as well has giving the town a good looking over for a potential homestead as well. 


“Magnolia is clear….more to follow soon”