We have not posted anything for a few weeks because our boat (and our adventure) has not gone too far. We both have had to go visit clients for the last three weeks, and have not had a lot of things to report about. Here is what we have been up to:
Jekyll Island to Brunswick, GA (Saturday, 4/22)
Missing her Saturday morning routine, Denise went for a run in Jekyll Island before left and headed 8 miles up the St. Mary’s River to Brunswick, GA. The travel distance was not far, but we knew this was a good location for Mark to sit for a week and a good place for Denise to fly out of in order to visit a client in Ohio.
After we took on fuel, completed a pump out and secured our slip, we used the marina’s loaner bicycles to go to the farmers market nearby. It just so happens that they were having a Chalk Art Festival and we got to see some pretty cool pictures drawn by mostly young people. We also used the bikes to do a reconnaissance about the location of the Catholic Church, which was a little over a mile from the marina. We later used those same bikes to ride to church, and on the way back to the boat, grab a pizza at “Art of Pizza’ for dinner. It was good and we enjoyed having some leftovers to take with us.
Here are some pictures from today:
Brunswick, GA (Sunday, 4/23)
Since we went to mass on Sunday, we were free to spend the morning doing whatever we wanted. Since the marina offers free laundry, we took advantage of it and Denise was up early to get it started. The washing rarely takes a lot of time, but the drying seems to take an eternity. We forget that the commercial dryers are usually electric and nowhere near as efficient as the gas dryer we have at home. So, what started out as a quick chore, became an all-morning event.
After lunch we rode the bikes to the Winn Dixie and West Marine to pick up a few needed items for the week. It is nearly 2 miles from the marina and we had to ride through a not-so-great neighborhood to get there. Leaving the navigation to Mark (big mistake) we realized we had made a turn too early and ended up in a really-not-so-great spot, but quickly turned around and found our way back on the correct path. We finished our errands and went back to the boat for a cool beverage, rest and prepare for the week of work.
(Monday, 4/24 – Friday, 4/28) Denise had to be in Ohio all week for a client, and Mark worked from the boat and there was nothing of significance to report.
Brunswick to Isle of Hope, GA (Saturday, 4/29)
Today we knew we had a long way to go and since Denise had to fly back from Ohio in the morning, we knew it would be a late start to the day. Fortunately, the weather was good and the airlines were on time, and Denise returned back to the boat before noon on Saturday. Mark had Island Office all ready to go and all we had to do was untie the lines and go when Denise arrived. Changing and unpacking would have to wait until we were well under way.
We arrived at Isle of Hope Marina just after 5:00 pm, which was pretty good as we had cruised nearly 82 miles in 5 hours. Of course this included transiting several “no wake” zones on the ICW, particularly around Skidaway Island and Moon River – notoriously a slow area due to houses with boat docks and lots of SPOREs in the water (see Loop post from 9/8/2015 for a definition).
Isle of Hope Marina is a very nice place and many cruisers stop here on their way through Georgia. It has a very large screened-in porch for socializing, as well as a small marina office and ships store. The area around the marina is surrounded by some very nice Victorian homes and what appears to be a quaint town – which we didn’t get to see on this stop. We agreed that we would like to stop here on the return trip and spend a little more time.
While at the marina, we saw a familiar boat that was up for sale: Palmetto Paradise is owned by fellow (now Gold) Loopers Jim & Paula Stephens. We originally met them in Deltaville, VA and again several stops along the Loop trip. We were only sorry they were no longer on the boat and around where we could have reconnected with them.
Isle of Hope, GA to Charleston, SC (Sunday, 4/30)
Once again we had a long day ahead of us, so we headed out of Isle of Hope at 7:00 am and cruised the ICW passed Thunderbolt (Savannah) and Beaufort, SC; places we have stopped in the past, as well as Parris Island Marine Base.
We arrived in the Charleston area to a very windy day and fighting a vicious current, making docking a real challenge. As usual, Mark did a stellar job and we successfully tied up at the Harborage at Ashley Marina for the night. Our usual free-dockage at Bristol Marina (where we bought the boat) was occupied by boats from the “In-the-Water” boat show and they would be leaving the next day. So we put up for a night at this marina, literally next door. We then got quick showers, and took Uber to downtown Charleston for an early dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant (Basil Thai) and on to Cathedral of St. John the Baptist for 6:00 mass, arriving just in time for the start. After that we took another Uber ride back to the marina for the night.
Uber is all over Charleston and is the way to go to get around without a car. There is a high demand due to the City of Charleston University, and so there are tons of drivers. It has also been fostered by the tremendous growth in this once very quiet southern city. The decision for Boeing to build their plant in Charleston has spawned all types of ancillary business and the place has exploded with growth. In just the two years since we were here last, we are amazed at how things are changing. There are many cranes we see building things and once quiet streets are now full of people everywhere. Sadly, Charleston has been discovered!
Returning to the marina, we ran into a John & Pam Ripple (“Jo-Ela”), a couple from Ohio we had originally met in Jekyll Island. We had noticed their boat when we first arrived, but no one was on it at the time. After some conversation about their plans, Mark enlisted his assistance to help move the boat to Bristol Marina the next day, as Denise would be going back to Ohio and not available.
(Monday, 4/29 – Thursday, 5/4) Denise had to again be in Ohio all week for a client; again Mark worked from the boat. However, he did move the boat to Bristol Marina – but not on Monday as originally planned. Storms and high winds had everyone staying in their marinas, so it was postponed until Tuesday.
Georgetown, SC (Friday, 5/5 & Saturday, 5/6)
It was a very late (early morning) arrival for Denise as her flight was significantly delayed through Atlanta and she wanted to sleep in. Therefore we did not get under way until after 9:00, but that still gave us plenty of time to get to Georgetown – 60 miles north. Last time we were here, we had so little time that we did not really get to see the town. So this time we planned to stay 2 days and do a little more exploring.
We arrived at 1:30 pm and were put in almost the exact same spot as when we were here doing the Loop; right along the wall. The marina here is very well run and the facilities are spotless. They have taken over the abandoned property to the North and are in the process of putting in more boat slips, and relocating the fuel dock. This will be a nice addition and allow them to host more cruisers who have come to love this town.
Shortly after arriving we learned that they were having a concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights in the town square. The main street was blocked off and they had places to put chairs or sit in the erected bleachers. The talent was mostly regional from the Carolinas with Friday night being sort of country and Saturday’s theme was more beach oriented “buffet” music. Of course we did not know who the artists were, but it added an element of fun to the weekend.
We had been told of a very good Italian restaurant (Diangelo’s) and we were in the mood for such food, so we headed there for a dinner. The place is fairly new and the owner was very nice. He came out and talked to us during our meal and told us about all the cruisers that come in. He mentioned how he really appreciates the support and that he is going to put up a wall of all the boat cards he has received from them. Naturally we gave him one of ours and wished him luck. Unfortunately, our meal was not that great and we were disappointed as all the restaurants in this town are known for being good.
After dinner we walked back to the boat, stopping for a while to listen to the concert. Since country music is not our forte, we did not stay around too long, but we enjoyed watching the whole community come together anyway.
On Saturday morning Denise got up and ran firsts out to a large park that runs west of the Intracoastal Waterway, and then up and down the city streets. She ran south to the steel plant that you can smell in the marina when the wind blows from that direction, and then eventually back through the downtown area. Here are some of the pictures from the run:
Later in the day we walked downtown and through all the shops; some of them kind of unique. Mostly, however, the shops looked like many other ones along coastal communities; filled with beachy-themed trinkets, t-shirts and other things. It didn’t take us long to go through it all, so we headed back to the boat for some boat chores. Here we had a chance to talk to a couple who had docked behind us on the marina wall the day before. They were from Long Island (East Hampton) and told us to look them up when we are up there and they will show us around.
In the evening we went to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for 5:30 mass, then on to The Townhouse restaurant for a quick bite to eat and some good food. Then afterwards we walked to the concert which was just getting underway, but only stayed for a little while.
When we returned to the marina, we ran into the only other Loopers in the marina that night. It was actually a two-couple owned boat who hailed from Northern California on a Hatteras 52 named “One Eye Dog”. We had met Ellen & Kimbob Sterrett earlier in the day, but now Larry & April Smith were also around, so we started to discuss the Loop with them. Before long we were invited aboard, and had drinks to discuss our East- Coast and Canadian Loop experiences with them. Although they had been on the Loop for 9 months, they were still about to experience some of the best parts and were excited to learn from us. Before long it was getting late and we had to return to our boat and make plans to leave in the morning.
Myrtle Beach, SC (Sunday, 5/7)
We left Georgetown at 8:00 in the morning and cruised along the ICW, leaving the low-country of South Carolina to more forested scenery. You can tell we were getting close to the North Carolina border. Just outside of Myrtle Beach we stopped for fuel at Osprey Marina – a much protected marina with a great reputation, but is a bit removed from anything. Since Denise would be staying on the boat while Mark traveled to a client-site, we wanted a place that had more to offer. Our only purpose for stopping was the great price for diesel fuel ($1.96) – and when you say “fill ‘er up” – cents matter!
After topping off the tank we continued north along the canal-like confines of the ICW. Here were found even more developed homes that lined the bank of the western shore. There were homes along the eastern shore as well, but much of this area is commercially developed. We were on the lookout for the cable car that carries golfers from the eastern side of the ICW to the western side, but we were sadly disappointed to see it was not operating. We later learned that the course is closed and the whole area is being re-developed.
Eventually, we pulled into Barefoot Marina on the western side of the ICW. Since we were staying a full week, “Jimmy” the dockmaster put us on an inside slip. This was a welcome relief as this marina sits right on the ICW and the outside docks can be very rocky. So he located us right next to his own boat, which coincidentally is named “Satellite Office”.
Shortly after tying up we met Tony & Shelley Lovette (“Luv-It II”), the couple in the slip on the other side of us. Tony recently retired and only 3 weeks ago they moved aboard their boat full-time after selling their dirt home. Immediately, they offered to take us anywhere we needed, or to let us use their golf cart. Southern hospitality at its finest!
After getting settled in we asked Tony if he knew of a good pizza delivery place. He told us that the best place to get a pizza was at “Putter’s Pub” no more than 1 mile from the marina. It is a part of the golf club that makes up the community for which the marina is a part of. It consists of single family homes, 4 golf courses, a restaurant/club house and the four condominium towers that face out on the ICW and are the backdrop for the marina. The condos have a pool that marina guests are entitled to use as well. Also on the marina property is a restaurant that had closed, but was scheduled to reopen the week we would be here.
Feeling adventurous we broke out the bicycles and rode to “Putter’s Pub” for a terrific wood-fired pizza. This was a great find and we were so happy to learn of it. It was delicious, affordable and the place was the “fun spot” to be. It is the community sports bar that overlooks one of the fairways, and has TV screens everywhere. Plus it has week-night specials including Taco Tuesday ($.75 each), Hamburgers on Wed ($6 each), and wings on Thursday ($.75 each). When we left the place was packed with golfers, families, etc. and we couldn’t help but wonder why all these people were still out on a “school night”.
We rode back to the boat and prepared for the next day. Mark had an early flight out to see a client in Canada and Denise had a long list of boat chores, as well as work to do.
(Monday, 5/8 – Thursday, 5/9)
After Mark left, Denise started in on the boat chores which included doing laundry, and waxing all of the interior fiberglass of the boat. This was a huge task and took nearly all day to do, but the boat looked so much better after it was done. This also offers it a layer of protection from the inevitable spills and salt air exposure.
Denise had also been in touch with Looper friends Dave & Betsy Frye (“Fryedaze”) who were just a few days behind, heading north to their home in Solomons, MD. They had wintered in Florida and were headed home. However, this morning they were passing by along the ICW and Denise was able to take their picture as they passed. We are hoping to be able to connect with them again in Morehead City, but certainly when we are in Solomons at the end of the month.
On Tuesday morning she went for a run in the golf course community. Although only wanting to complete 4 miles, but after taking a wrong turn at one of the roundabouts it was actually 5.5 miles by the time she got back to the boat. After a shower, Shelley took her to pick up a rental car so she could do some much needed provisioning, and to get a long list of chores completed. Throughout the day she hit Costco, Publix, a cleaners for drop off and pickup, and a much needed pedicure. She also managed to get in a trip to the Tanger Outlets and do a little shopping, and get dinner at a Bonefish Grill not too far from the marina.
On Wednesday after returning the rental car, it was work, work, work, and boat chores. Then on Thursday, Denise rode her bike all around the shops that line the eastern shore of the ICW – and where the Barefoot LANDING Marina is. We were so glad that we had chosen to stay on the western side; even though there are more restaurants on the eastern shore. It really is like a tourist shopping mecca with more t-shirt shops, souvenir shops, a House of Blues, and a performance theater.
During the week it was learned that upcoming events included “Bike” week, and the preparations had already begun. Vendor tents and tractor trailers were lining the streets and the shopping area on the eastern shore. By Thursday night the sound of bikes were all around and it was reminiscent of the day s we lived on High Flight (sailboat) in Daytona Beach.
Also on Wednesday, the “Bistro” restaurant at the marina had their soft opening, so Denise decided to give it a try on Thursday evening. She went with two other women visiting in a boat tied up on the outside dock. They were joined by Jimmy (Dockmaster) who, come to find out was a trained chef and had lived in Palm Beach and other parts of FL for many years. The food was very good, but the service was slow – to be expected when a new restaurant opens.
Eventually, Mark made it back from Canada despite a long layover in Atlanta, and he returned safely back to the boat around 11:30 pm.
Here are some other pictures from the Myrtle Beach area: