Silver Maple Blog

Retirement adventures Canadian style


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Great September in Croatia

First of all, our thoughts go out to all our friends, fellow boaters and the people of the Abacos in the Bahamas, where we had so many wonderful experiences over the years. The devastation from hurricane Dorian is heart-breaking. Hopefully, things are starting to look up and people are beginning to get back on their feet.

September 15th to September 22nd, 2019 — Zagreb to Dubrovnik by car

When we land in Zagreb, Croatia, the sun is shining and it is in the high 70s F. Lovely! We pickup our rental car and head to the Astoria Hotel in downtown Zagreb. Driving is surprisingly easy here, and as we find during our time in Croatia, drivers are aggressive but courteous.

Zagreb is a modern city, that was a stop on the Orient Express so there is beautiful old hotel and large, elaborate train station. Since the war in the 90s, life seems to be back to normal and most physical signs of the war have been cleaned up. In conversations with locals though, we found that feelings are still strong. Most people in Croatia speak English, so it is easy to get around and ask questions.

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Woohoo! After a long flight, we are finally in Croatia!

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Randy in Zagreb

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Good beer in Croatia

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Our wheels for the week is a Renault Megane — roomy and peppy!

From Zagreb, we drive to the western-most region of Croatia called Istria. Historically, this peninsula was part of Italy, so we found great wine and wonderful Italian food. It is also truffle season, so many of the towns are having truffle festivals. Yum!

After a day of driving around Istria, visiting towns along the way like Hum and Motovun and enjoying the amazing scenery en route, we settle into our hotel in Rovinj before heading out to explore the town. We love Rovinj — a small historic town with narrow, stone streets and buildings, great restaurants, food, shops and harbour.

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Hum claims to be the smallest town in the world

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Randy leaving the store in Hum after tasting some of the local products like brandy and truffles

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Walking the streets of the mountain town of Motovun after a long hike up the hill

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Fruit stand in Motovun

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View from our hotel in Rovinj

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On the waterfront in Rovinj

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Great seafood in Rovinj at Scuba Restaurant

From Rovinj, we drive to Zadar. This is a larger city with ruins of a Roman forum in the center of it all and a Byzantine church built over some of the ruins. We wander the city and then meet Julie and Dawson, our friends from Toronto/Sudbury (who we know from sailing in the Bahamas) for drinks and dinner.

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Roman forum in Zadar

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Zadar gate to old town

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Speed limit is 130 on most highways

After Zadar, we leave Julie and Dawson and drive to Split. The highway system in Croatia is amazing. Roads are new with very little traffic. There are lots of tunnels to save time through the mountains and most appear to be newly constructed. Just outside Split, we stop in the historic town of Trogir. Lovely place with quaint narrow streets and cafes.

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View coming down the mountain into Trogir and Split

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Narrow streets of Trogir

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Trogir waterfront is alive with activity

When we arrive in Split, we walk around town and visit the Diocletian’s Palace. Not a surprise this is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site. There is wonderful history here as well as a lovely waterfront. The downside… there are tons of people from the multiple cruise ships moored in the harbour. We spent two days enjoying Split. On the second day, we meet back up with Julie and Dawson for a segway tour up to Marjan park that overlooks the city.

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Lee at the Diocletian’s Palace in Split

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The segway Tour shop in Split. Our favourite thing to do when we go on vacation is at least one Segway tour.

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Randy, Julie, Dawson and Lee on Segways in Split

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Visiting the Marjan Park by Segway

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Randy taking a break from the tour to see some of the park

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Dawson by the waterfront in the Marjan Park, Split

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The group in front of a historic church built into the cliffs in the park

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View of Split from the park above

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Renting bicycles to visit the Mestrovic art museum

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Randy admiring a Mestrovic sculpture

From Split, we drive towards Dubrovnik. Along the way, you need to cross through a small portion of Bosnia Herzegovina, but the border crossing is fast and easy. Before Dubrovnik, we stop in a small town called Mali Ston. We are told this is the place to get oysters which the area is well know for. We are at the Bota Restaurant as they are opening for some great wine and oysters.

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Border crossing to Bosnia Herzegovina

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Randy in Bota Restaurant in Mali Ston waiting for oysters

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Great Croatian wine!

When we arrive in Dubrovnik, it is gorgeous! Narrow streets, tons of stairs and lots of history. And, when we say stairs, we mean stairs! It is a beautiful place, but horrible for hauling our luggage to the hotel. Surprisingly, we manage to get there without a tumble down the numerous flights. As for the city itself, unfortunately, it too is a bit over-run with tourists. The crowds are coming close to Venice levels as people from the cruise ships flood the place. Regardless, it is lovely and since many scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed here, we take a guided tour and visit the old fortress that overlooks the walled old-town.

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Lots of steep stairs in Dubrovnik

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The crowded Stradun in Dubrovnic

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Not all damage from the war has been repaired

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For Game of Thrones fans, Randy is standing on the stairs where Cercei started her walk of shame/atonement

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More stairs

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View of the old town of Dubrovnik from the fortress

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Gorgeous!

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Did we mention there are stairs?

After a great visit in Dubrovnik, we haul our luggage out of the old-town and catch an Uber to the harbour where we meet up with Julie and Dawson for the second leg of our Croatia adventure…sailing!!

September 22nd to September 30, 2019 — Sailing the Adriatic

One of the main reasons we sold Silver Maple was so that we would have the opportunity to travel to, and sail in, other interesting places. We did the Grenadines in the spring… and now a week in the Adriatic Sea! Woohoo!

When we get to the marina where Sunsail is based just outside of Dubrovnik, Julie and Dawson are already waiting for us. And, the boat is ready! We load our gear onto Diana II, a 47ft Jeanneau with three cabins and two heads. It feels huge with tons of space for the four of us. Just to try something different on this trip, we have signed up to be part of a flotilla of boats. There are about 12 boats in the group and the organizers make all the arrangements including the route, the marinas where we will stay, and group dinners. It is no muss, no fuss!

Unfortunately, the forecast the first day of our trip is for rain and thunderstorms. So, we stay in harbour and head out a day later than planned. Boo! When we do finally get on the water though it is lovely! Most of the time we have been in Croatia it has been sunny and in the mid 70 degrees F. Once we are out on the Adriatic Sea, it is more of the same. Lovely! We have fun sailing the first day, although the wind is against us most of the time.

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Weather delay for the first day of the sailing trip

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Harbour outside of Dubrovnik is surrounded my high hills

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Home-base for Sunsail Charters

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On the water at last!

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Happy Captain!

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Great day for a sail

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The beautiful Adriatic Sea

Our first stop is in the island town of Okuklje. Beautiful spot. Randy, Dawson and Julie head out for a paddle in the harbour. Lee walks to the top of the hill overlooking town to visit the historic church and take in the view. In the evening, we have a group dinner with the other boaters at the Maestral Restaurant. Really good!

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Heading towards Okuklje

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Entering Okuklje harbour

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Flowers in bloom in Okuklje

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Julie and Dawson out for a paddle in the Okuklje harbour

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Maestral Restaurant

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Church on the hill in Okuklje

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Great view from the top of the hill of the other boats in our flotilla arriving

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Flotilla tied up in the Okuklje harbour

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Julie walking the plank onto the boat in Okuklje

The next day, winds are down so we motor most of the way. We stop at Pomena for lunch and a swim — it is a beautiful little harbour in the national park. Later in the afternoon, we arrive in Lumbarda, Croatia. The harbour is close to a village called Korcula. We taxi in for dinner and a walk-about. Korcula is really nice! Kind of a mini Dubrovnik without the crowds. It has great cafes and narrow streets. And, it is a beautiful evening for a stroll.

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Dawson and Randy happy out on the water

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Lee and Julie are too!

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Doesn’t get better than this!

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Very stressful at the helm

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Julie in the galley preparing lunch

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Following, Delilah, another boat in our flotilla and her crew from Scotland, as we leave Pomena

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Which way?

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Arriving in Korcula

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Great evening walking around in Korcula

The next day is what the flotilla captains call a ‘free day’. Basically, they cut us loose while giving us a few options for places to go on our own and spend the night. We head to a place called Trstenik. It is an island with a small fishing village that is well know for its local wine. When we arrive, we have to wait for them to shuffle some of the fishing boats around before we can tie Diana II off to the wall. Once settled, we go for a walk through town and visit the wine store for a tasting. The woman there is the local English teacher at the school, but her family produces the wine. Oh, and is it good! Later we have dinner in one of the local restaurants. Randy and Dawson order Peka, a local dish that includes a variety of meat with potatoes, cooked in a pot that is covered with hot coals and baked for hours. It is really good!

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Adriatic Sea is sparkling

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Julie and Dawson, our very fun travel companions!

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Diana II tied up in Trstenik

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Checking out Trstenik before wine tasting

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Lovely village

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Great wine!

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Chef preparing Peka, a local dish cooked under hot coals

The next day as we pull out of the Trstenik harbour the winds are up, so we are excited that we might be able to sail. Short-lived though as the winds quickly die down and we are once again motoring. We stop for lunch in a nice spot along the channel that leads to Ston, our next destination. Great snorkeling. Water in the Adriatic is cool and refreshing. Perfect for swimming.

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Heading out of Trstenik

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Randy heading in for a lunch time swim

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Front row seats

When we arrive in Ston, we tie off along the wall and head into town. The town, and its counter part Mali (meaning “small”) Ston are surrounded by historic defensive walls, second largest in the world behind the great wall of China. We have a group dinner in town and finish the evening with some Bridge back on the boat.

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Diana II tied up and rafted up in Ston

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You are here!

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Walls of Ston are second largest in the world behind the Great Wall in China

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Exploring Ston

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Randy and Dawson checking out some of the local fashion in the shops of Ston

The next morning, Lee is up early to hit the bakery in town for fresh bread — definitely one of our favourite things about being in Europe. Afterwards, Lee, Julie and Dawson spend an hour climbing the wall over to Mali Ston. Good hike and amazing views. We take the (level) trail back to the boat in time for breakfast before we head out.

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Beautiful morning in Ston

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Lee is ready to climb the wall!

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Julie and Dawson making the uphill trek

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View of Ston and the salt fields from above

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Down the hill towards Mali Ston

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Needless to say, downhill climb is much easier

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Yes, we hiked that!

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Julie at the helm as we get back on the water towards home-base

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Approaching the harbour near Dubrovnik

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A lot of sailboats!

After the morning wall hike, we travel back to the Sunsail home-base and the end of our sailing trip. The four of us have a great dinner at a restaurant a short Uber ride from the marina called Amfor, then head back to the boat to pack up. We have to be off the boat in the morning to fly back home. Dawson and Julie carry on with their vacation to Dubrovnik and the Plitvice Lakes National park. It is very sad the trip is over, but it was really great. We loved Croatia and will definitely be back!

 


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Bye Bye Silver Maple!

After some great years of sailing, we finally sold Silver Maple last week. We are sad to see her go, but won’t miss the maintenance and work that goes with owning your own boat. Having said that, this will definitely not be the end of boating for us. We are chartering a boat in Croatia this fall, and are planning to do more charters so that we can sail in new and exiting places.

As for this blog, we will keep it going so we can record our travels and adventures. If you don’t already, you can follow us by clicking the follow button on the bottom corner of your screen.

Fair winds to all!

 

 


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Sailing in the Grenadines!

Sunday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 10th, 2019

For those who have been following us the past few years, you may have noticed a lack of postings recently. Well, Silver Maple was put to bed at the end of the season last year and she is now up for sale. We decided it was time to move on to another chapter and some different adventures. We loved our time sailing the east coast of the US and in the Bahamas, but it is time for something new.

So, in keeping with that, we chartered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for two weeks. The first week we were with Jackson and his girlfriend, Laura, on a boat named Isaphil. And, the second week just the two of us on Willow Dew. This was both our first time sailing a catamaran, and our first time in the Grenadines. Always fun to try new things! For Laura, this was her first time on a sailing trip beyond an afternoon outing. She did great and is now a welcome addition to the crew whenever she would like to join us.

After arriving in St. Vincent at Barefoot Yacht Charters we climb aboard Isaphil, the catamaran that we will be sailing for the week. Lots of room for the four of us. The rocking motion is quite a bit different than the mono-hull we are used to, so there are a few green faces until we get used to it and take our sea-sickness meds.

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Isaphil — Our boat for the first week

We sleep aboard tied to the mooring ball the first night before heading into town for groceries and provisions the next morning. Then, we cast off for Bequia. It is a beautiful day, but the winds are high and so are the waves. We learn very quickly, that this seems to be par for the course here in the Grenadines. Unlike the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands where we have sailed previously, the waters between the islands here are deep and each trip is like doing a full on ocean crossing even if it is only for a couple of hours. The roughest waters seem to be between Bequia and St. Vincent. Okay when you are on a run with the winds behind you, but a bit crazy when the wind and waves are hitting you on the nose. Thankfully, on our first day getting used to the boat, the wind is behind us.

We spend a night anchored at Bequia which is a very pretty island with colourful houses on the hills, a cute town with friendly people and some very good restaurants. From there we continue south staying in Canouan, the Tobago Cays and Salt Whistle Bay/Mayreaux before heading  back north toward St. Vincent to take Jackson and Laura back at the end of the first week. Our last crossing is in the morning the day they have to catch their flight. On the trip from Bequia back to St. Vincent we are in some the highest seas we have ever sailed in with 3 metre waves. Crazy! Our crew takes it is stride though and we make it back safe, sound and salty.

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Colourful houses climb the hills in Bequia

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Laura on the dinghy dock in Bequia

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Painkillers quickly become one of our favourite drinks in the Grenadines

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Beautiful Bequia harbour at sunset

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Provisioning in the morning in Bequia via dinghy before we head out

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Crew and captain at the helm

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Sails up!

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Lee swimming off the boat in the Tobago Cays

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Captain can’t help himself… in the engine compartment even when its not his boat!

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Blue water of Tobago Cays

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Jackson and Randy snorkeling off the boat

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Bananagram is the favourite sailing game

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The group after snorkeling in the turtle preserve. No turtles to be found there but saw them later near the boat. Weird.

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Back on the water

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Approaching Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreaux

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Laura now an experienced crew member

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Beautiful Salt Whistle Bay

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Laura and Jackson swimming off the back of Isaphil

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Lee on the beach at Salt Whistle Bay

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Hmm…guess which one forgot to reapply sunscreen after swimming?

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Thumbs up and back on the water

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Crew hard at work

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Last night in the Grenadines for Jackson and Laura (on the beach in Bequia) before heading home

Sunday, March 10th to Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Week two we switch to a different boat (also a catamaran) named Willow Dew. It is just the two of us, so we head further south with a long trip the first full day from Bequia to the town of Clifton on Union Island. Each day the winds are 20 to 30 knots and waves are high even though the forecast is not predicting them. The Grenadines are not for novice sailors, that is for sure.

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Willow Dew

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Clifton harbour

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The town of Clifton on Union Island

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Lee on deck in Clifton

From there we stop at the beautiful Petit St. Vincent and then Chatham Bay. Both are lovely quiet spots with nice resorts. We finish the trip with two nights at our favourite place, Bequia before doing the crossing back to St. Vincent. Again, on the return trip, even though the weather in the Bequia harbour is quite and calm, when we head for St. Vincent, the winds are up to 40 knots on the nose with over 2 metre waves and driving rain. We are soaked through by the time we get to St. Vincent where the sun is out and it is a beautiful day.

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Sails up in the sunshine

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In the dinghy on our way to dinner at Aqua

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Checking the anchor is set well

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Lounging at the bar at the Aqua Resort in Chatham Bay

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Afternoon cocktails at Aqua. Yum!

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Dinner with gorgeous view of the sun setting

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Lee on the beach in Chatham Bay in front of Aqua restaurant and resort

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Back in beautiful Bequia

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Floating bar in Bequia with cruise ship in back ground. The big ships love this place as much as we do!

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Another beautiful Bequia sunset.

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Captain enjoying his arrival beverage

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Dinner at the Fig Tree in Bequia

It was great to be back on a sailboat for a couple of weeks. It really made us miss Silver Maple and our times living aboard. The Grenadines are beautiful and some sunshine and 80 degree F days were just what we needed. The catamarans were nice, but we have decided we are mono-hull sailors and will go back to that next time… on our next adventure in sailing.

Stay safe everyone! Hugs!

 

 


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Finishing the east coast

Friday, March 30th to Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

What a trip! The weather stays unusually cold most of the way as we continue north. From Oriental, NC we head to Belhaven, NC and stay at a nice marina called River Forest and explore the town. It is one of the few stops along the way where we have seen a town improve since we last visited it 6 years ago bringing Silver Maple down the coast.

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Silver Maple (right) on the dock at River Dunes in Oriental, NC

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Osprey keeps an eye on us as we depart from Oriental, NC

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Bouncy ride on the way to Belhaven, NC

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Randy at the River Forest Marina in Belhaven, NC with Silver Maple on the dock behind

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This is the River Forest Marina and event center in Belhaven, NC. Clearly, not your typical marina!

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Silver Maple looking lonely in Belhaven, NC

The  next morning we head towards the Pungo-Alligator Canal and Alligator River. When we get to the Alligator River Marina, we meet a nice couple, Sophie and Stephane from France on their trawler named Troll. We have cocktails together and then meet them for dinner again at our next stop in Coinjock, NC.

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Beautiful calm morning on the Pungo River leaving Behaven, NC
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Coyote crosses the canal in front of us swimming as fast as he can to get out of our way

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Danger? What danger? Hmmm…

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Captain enjoying some down-time on the deck through the Pungo-Alligator Canal

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Water is red/brown as if there is blood in it

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Coast guard does a fly-by

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When we exit the canal and enter the Alligator River, the wind picks up and so the sails go up too. Yeah!

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The Alligator River Marina is very modest — basically it is a gas station with some docks

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Silver Maple at the Alligator River Marina at sunset

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Silver Maple with Troll (Sophie and Stephane from France) at the Alligator River Marina

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Sophie and Stephane passing us the next day in the Albemarle Sound

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Dinner at the Coinjock Marina restaurant with Sophie and Stephane (Troll) from France

From Coinjock, it is on to Portsmouth/Norfolk, VA marking the end of the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) and the Carolinas. It is a beautiful calm day with Ospreys nesting on almost every channel marker. But, it is a hectic managing the timing of multiple bridge openings and a lock, so we are pushing Silver Maple’s engine hard.

We spend a day in Norfolk exploring and waiting out bad weather, then carry on to our next stop at Deltaville, VA. In Deltaville, the weather turns bad again so we stay put for a few more days before heading to Solomons, MD. The Chesapeake Bay is cold, windy and wavy both days we are on it. Heading to Annapolis from Solomons, our last day on the water is probably our roughest day yet.

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Building!

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Beautiful calm day on the canal with only being the ones we make

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Nesting pair

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Flying away as we approach

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Watching us from the tree as we go by

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The water is like glass — gorgeous!

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Amazingly calm

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Like a big mirror

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Waiting for the bridge to open so we can make a dash to catch the opening of the next bridge

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You can take the boy out of the country, but…

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Coming into Norfolk the scenery changes quickly to a busy port of military and ship building

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Working on an Aircraft Carrier

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…and Destroyers

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Making us look small

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In Portsmouth, VA the town across the river from Norfolk

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Walking along with river in Portsmouth looking across to an Aircraft Carrier in Norfolk

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The city of Norfolk, VA from across the river

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Silver Maple on the dock in Portsmouth, VA at the Tidewater Marina

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This little guy spends a lot of time looking up at us over the rails of Silver Maple on the dock. Apparently, he has learned that people on boats feed him, so of course we do!

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Ferry to cross the river from Portsmouth to Norfolk

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Lee and Randy on the ferry

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Approaching the Nauticus and Naval Museum with the Battleship Wisconsin

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Big ship

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Would be interesting to have an office with that pointed at you

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Tomahawk missile launcher on board

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From the ground it looks even bigger

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Silver Maple at sunset in Portsmouth, VA

 

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Leaving Norfolk and heading out towards the Chesapeake Bay

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Up close and personal with the Coast Guard as we leave Norfolk

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Cold morning as we pass the Aircraft Carriers docked in Norfolk as we leave

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We get passed by this strange looking military vehicle. Amphibious?

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Lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay

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Bouncy ride from Norfolk, VA to Deltaville, VA

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Busy shipping channel on the Chesapeake. We have to change course to get out of this guy’s way…

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Captain takes a little nap at the helm

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Lots of military aircraft fly overhead as we approach Solomons, MD

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Silver Maple on the dock at Zahniser Marina in Solomons, MD

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Last day on the Chesapeake is our roughest yet (click photo below to view video)

When we get to Annapolis, MD, we take 4 days to pack up all of our belongings and move off of Silver Maple. Our friends, Ruth and Bruce drive down with their trailer from Canada. We load it up and say goodbye to Silver Maple. The drive home is a bit treacherous with snow and freezing rain.

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Packing up!

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Randy packing up the storage locker

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Silver Maple on the dock at Bert Jabin’s Boatyard and Marina in Annapolis

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Bert Jabin’s is busy putting boats into the water for spring launch

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The harbour has sailboats as far as the eye can see…

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Ruth and Bruce to the rescue! They drive their truck and trailer down from Canada to get us.

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Out for dinner in Annapolis with Ruth and Bruce. Happy 34th Anniversary guys!

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Last look at Silver Maple (far side of dock on left) in Annapolis

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Rain and sleet on Hwy 401 after we cross the border back into Canada

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It is snow on Hwy 507 as we get close to home

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Winter wonderland at home when we arrive. Perhaps we are home too early…

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Randy gets the tracter out to clear the snow

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Trailer with all of Silver Maple’s contents waiting to be unloaded and unpacked

Now back at home, winter is still in full swing. Lots of unpacking to do to keep us busy until spring arrives. Which, hopefully, will be sooner rather than later…

 

 


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Visiting the cold Carolinas

Saturday, March 17th to Friday, March 30th, 2018

It has been a challenging few weeks of cold. Is spring coming …ever? We continue to take our time moving up the coast in hopes that it will warm up. Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees F. below normal and very windy. When we started this trip we had planned to do sections of it out in the ocean, but the weather just hasn’t made that possible and we continue to putter our way slowly up the Inter-coastal Waterway (ICW).

After a fun visit in Charleston, we continue north. When we hit Georgetown, NC they are expecting thunderstorms and tornadoes, so we leave the boat for a couple of days, rent a car and drive up to visit our friends, Ellen and Doug at their place in Huntersville, NC (just outside Charlotte).

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Silver Maple (right) at sunrise on the morning we leave the dock at Charleston, SC

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Passing the beautiful Charleston homes as we leave

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Lee sees her first alligator! We pass this guy along the ICW in South Carolina.

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Love the pelicans!

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Randy enjoying some brief sunshine at the bar before the storms hit in Georgetown, NC

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Great visit with Ellen and Doug at their new home in Huntersville, NC

Once the weather clears, we are on our way again through some of the pretty parts of the ICW. It continues to be cold — in the 30s F. at night and the 40s and low 50s F. during the day with high winds. In St. James Plantation near Wilmington, NC we stop for a day of golf. Our great golf pro, Doug Hammer, at Troon North in Scottsdale arranged for us to play the beautiful Reserve course in St. James. It is a cold day, but well worth it. Thanks Doug!

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Some of the prettiest parts of the ICW as we head to Myrtle Beach, SC

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Turtles!

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Lee and Randy at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach for some dinner and music

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Sunrise over Myrtle Beach, SC

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Captain doing his stay warm dance

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This poor guy was walking along the beach looking lonely on a small strip of land between the ICW and ocean

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Passing large dredging equipment on the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) in South Carolina

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Along the way we still see what looks like damage from hurricanes

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Ready for a day of golf at St. James Plantation in North Carolina

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Cold day for golf but lots of fun

After our golf break, we continue through North Carolina, passing through the Cape Fear River, visiting Wrightsville Beach, Swansboro, and Beaufort. We now have just 200 miles to Norfolk, VA where the ICW ends and we enter the Chesapeake. Yesterday the weather finally warmed up enough to remove some layers. Woohoo!

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Lots of birds along the ICW

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Being passed by the ferry on the Cape Fear River

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We are shadowed by this security boat as we pass a military base on the Cape Fear River

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Silver Maple on the dock at Wrightsville, NC

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Osprey by its nest on an ICW marker

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Bundled for the cold, we look like we are dressed for skiing not sailing!

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Sure looks like a loon! We’ve seen a few on the ICW, but we don’t hear anything calling at night. Do they come this far south?

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As we pass Camp Lejeune in North Carolina we see lots of military aircraft

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Helicopters pass nearby at Camp Lejeune

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No lights flashing so it is safe to carry on. Whew!

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We hear lots of loud ‘booms’ as we pass, so they are firing something…

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Silver Maple on the dock at Swansboro, NC

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Happy Captain

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Captain enjoying a margarita on the deck in Beaufort, NC

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Marker 200! Two hundred miles to Norfolk, VA.

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Its warming up so layers start to come off

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…and another one

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ICW follows a beautiful creek as we approach the Pamlico Sound in NC

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Sailing in Pamlico Sound

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It is nice to see lots of other sailboats as we pass Oriental, NC. It has been pretty quiet since we are ahead of most boats heading north.

Now in Oriental, NC at the lovely Grace Marina at River Dunes, we are once again waiting out bad weather. We had hoped to carry on tomorrow but now looks like it might be another day here. Not to worry. It is a very nice place and we are enjoying the break. Cheers!


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It is cold! Georgia to South Carolina

Wednesday, March 7th to Friday, March 16th, 2018

Well, we certainly weren’t expecting this! It has been cold, cold, cold through most of Florida, and now Georgia and South Carolina. Still we are making tracks, though admittedly we are doing it very slowly in hopes that spring will arrive up north and the storms will pass before we get there.

We have a great time touring around Jekyll Island, GA on bicycles. This island was historically used as a playground of the rich with many beautiful ‘cottages’ and a large Club House. Thankfully, the weather warms up a bit and it is a beautiful day to see the island.

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Silver Maple on the dock on Jekyll Island, SC

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Jekyll Island is a great place to ride bicycles

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First transcontinental call was made from Jekyll Island in 1915

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The Spanish moss hanging from the trees gives the place some great character

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The Jekyll Island Club House for the rich and famous, is now a hotel

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Lovely day!

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We take a tour of the Rockefeller ‘cottage’ called Indian Mound on Jekyll Island

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The former club house diningroom unfortunately requires jackets for the gentlemen and dresses for the ladies — not something we have on the boat, so guess we will have to take a pass this time (ha!)

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Some rooms still have the upscale hunting lodge feel

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Randy pretending to be a Rockefeller sitting on the porch of the Club House

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Exclusive multi-family residences are considered to be some of the first condos

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The wharf where the boats arrived bringing people from the mainland is now a nice, casual restaurant

From Jekyll Island, we head to Wallberg Creek, GA and then on to Thunderbold, GA just outside of Savannah. On the way, our mileage on Silver Maple passes the 5000 mile point. Wow!

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Another windy and cold day travelling form Jekyll Island to St. Simons Island, GA

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Lee bundled up trying to stay warm

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Settled on the dock in St. Simons the next morning after a windy arrival the day before

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The Morningstar Marina on St. Simons Island, GA

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Captain still uses paper charts as back-up for navigation

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Lots of technology including iPad and full Raymarine navigation system on the boat too

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Back on the water leaving St. Simons Island and heading towards Wallberg Creek, GA

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The Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) in Georgia is mostly through marsh areas

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Lots of birds

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Water fowl on the shore as we pass (Heron?)

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The buoys marking crab traps make navigation even more challenging. Birds like them to rest on.

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Passing barge traffic

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Anchoring in Wallberg Creek, GA

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Dolphins visit us in the anchorage

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A calm day on the ICW as we head towards Thunderbolt, GA which is just outside of Savannah, GA

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Channel markers make great bird perches

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Finally, a nicer day!

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Approaching Hell’s Gate, one of the notoriously shallow spots on the ICW. Georgia is frustrating to navigate because there are so many areas where the depth is so low we can only traverse when the tide is up.

While in Thunderbolt, we take a day to tour around Savannah, GA. What a great city! All of the squares give it a very peaceful feeling. And, the weather warms up a bit for us again for the day. Woohoo!

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Safe and sound at Thunderbolt Marina just outside of Savannah, GA

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Randy with our Segway Tour Guide, Ray in Savannah, GA

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Fountains in Savannah have been dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day

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Lee and Randy on Jones Street, historically one of the most prestigious streets in Savannah and where we get the phrase ‘keeping up with the Jones’

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The flowers are blooming in Savannah

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Beautiful hedges!

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Lee and Randy in front of the ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ house

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Savannah is a really nice, livable city built around 22 squares

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Spot where the bus stop bench Forest Gump sat on eating his chocolates in the movie

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Hey, we have a square!

From Thunderbolt, we do a very short trip to Hilton Head, SC marking the end of Georgia. Whew! The shallow depth of the Inter-Coastal Waterway in Georgia makes it very challenging.

Bad weather and gales are moving in later in the day, so we want to get tied to the dock as soon as possible.

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Back on the water, we approach some traffic on the Savannah River

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We won’t argue with him!

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The lovely Harbour Town Marina in Hilton Head, SC. We are out of Georgia!

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Silver Maple on the dock in Hilton Head next to our next boat… maybe?

From Hilton Head, we take off for Beaufort, SC. which is another very short run. And, then the next day we head towards Charleston, SC. This turns out to be a horrible day. Its cold, in the 40s and 50sF. Its windy, with up to 30 mph winds. And, its a long day where we are on the water early and don’t get in until the early evening. We are so glad to get to the St. John’s Yacht Harbour Marina just outside of Charleston.

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Cold again as we head from Hilton Head to Beaufort, SC

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Lots of military aircraft around

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Pelicans still around even in the cold

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Wow! That’s cold!

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Fighter jets overhead

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Bridge opens as we approach our marina in Beaufort, SC.

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Nice little town with beautiful old homes

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Heading from Beaufort, SC towards Charleston, SC. What’s with the cold!??

We take the next day to visit Charleston. Love that city!

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Sunrise at the St. John’s Yacht Harbor Marina just outside Charleston, SC

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Lunch at 82 Queen in Charleston, SC.

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Charleston, SC is one of our favourite cities with beautiful old homes and great food

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These houses are know as The Three Sisters

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Silver Maple safe and sound on the dock at the St. John’s Yacht Harbor Marina

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Noisy neighbours on the dock at the St. John’s Yacht Harbour Marina

Today, we are still on the dock at St. John’s Yacht Harbour. We will be moving Silver Maple later this afternoon into the a marina in Charleston where we will be meeting up with our friends, Doug and Ellen from Charlotte, NC. Looking forward to seeing them!

Tomorrow we will be back on the water!

 


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Lyon family visit the Bahamas and moving Silver Maple north

Tuesday, February 13th to Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

A warning in advance, it has been a long time since we last posted so this will be a long one. Time is passing so quickly it has been challenging to keep up with it all. We had a great visit with the Lyon family in February for four days — Stacia, Paul and the two 10-year olds, Celia and Andrew. It is the most people we have ever had on Silver Maple, but it was a blast. So glad Stacia and Paul made the trip down to the Bahamas with the family.

When they arrive we pick them up in Marsh Harbour and head to Fishers Bay, Great Guana Cay, to anchor out. We have lunch at Grabbers Restaurant and then hit the beach for some time playing in the waves. The Lyons seem to have no trouble jumping right in to the slower pace of life in the Bahamas. Well done!

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The Lyon family having just arrived, we hit the water to make it out of the harbour on the high tide and head to Great Guana Cay, Abacos, The Bahamas. Andrew is at the helm!

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Captain Randy with his new crew on deck

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Getting into the island pace of life at Grabbers on Great Guana Cay

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Celia and Andrew with their coconut collection on Great Guana Cay

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Celia ready for the waves on Nippers Beach, Great Guana Cay

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Andrew survives a wave hit

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Stacia looking lovely walking the beach in front of Nippers

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Fun in the water with Dad

The next morning we head to Lubbers Quarters for some snorkeling on an old sunken barge and then off to Tahiti Beach to anchor for the night. The following day, we make our way to Hope Town and stay a few days at the Hope Town Inn and Marina. While there, we climb the lighthouse, spend time on the beach and go to the Hope Town Song Writers Music Festival at the Abaco Inn. What a fun time!

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Sunrise over Great Guana Cay

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Celia at the helm as we sail towards Lubbers Quarters

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The men on deck

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Celia and Andrew getting salty

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A dolphin swims along side of us on the way to Lubbers Quarters

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The ladies with the conch shell

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Celia blowing the conch horn at sunset at Tahiti Beach to ensure the sun will rise the next morning

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Celia and Andrew on the deck having a good time

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New sailors!

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Stacia and Lee chillin’ at the pool at the Hope Town Inn

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Andrew watching the Manatee at the dock at the Hope Town Marina

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The Lyon family in front of the Hope Town lighthouse, the last remaining kerosene burning lighthouse in the world

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Beautiful Hope Town Harbour from the lighthouse

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At the top!

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Picnic on the beach on Elbow Cay

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Listening to the performance at the Songwriters Festival

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The whole group at the Hope Town Song Writers Festival

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Enjoying the waves on the beach on Elbow Cay near the Abaco Inn after the Song Writers Festival

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Nothing better than family beach time!

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Some nice folks give us a ride back the two miles into town from the Song Writers Festival in the back of their truck

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The whole crew on the marina shuttle back to Silver Maple after the festival

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Celia and Andrew with their favourite shuttle driver, Casey

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Lee and Stacia enjoying yummy Caribbean Margaritas on Silver Maple

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Lady of leisure with her morning Jo

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Loading on the marina shuttle to catch the ferry to their flight home. Boo!

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Bye!

After Stacia, Paul, Celia and Andrew leave, we take a day to prepare and then push off the dock and start our trek back north. The weather is in our favour so we make tracks for West End in the Bahamas, with stops in Allans-Pensacola and Great Sale Cay. West End will be our starting point for the crossing to Ft. Pierce, FL. The night before we leave for Florida, we have a nice visit with Debbie Meeker who lives in Freeport. Originally from Mississauga, she and her family have been family friends of the Potters for years. In fact, Debbie used to baby sit the Potter kids. Lee often refers to Debbie and her sisters, Kim and Shannon, as ‘cousins’.  So great to see her!

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The beginning of our trip north leaving Great Guana Cay and heading towards the Whale Cay ocean passage. Hoping the rainbow is a good sign…

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On our way north!

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We will miss the beautiful blue waters of the Bahamas

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Captain on deck

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Great day for sailing!

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Gorgeous! The Abacos Islands are giving us a beautiful send off.

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On the move…

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Preparing to drop anchor at Allans-Pensacola Cay

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Sunrise over Allans-Pensacola

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Heading towards Great Sale Cay

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Arriving at Great Sale Cay to anchor for the night

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Sunset over Great Sale Cay

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Early morning on the way towards West End, Bahamas

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A Dolphin comes to visit

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Amazing blue water as we arrive at West End, Bahamas near Freeport

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Lee with long time family friend, Debbie Meeker

The next morning on February 26th, we cross the Gulf Stream over to the US. It takes us 12 hours to make the crossing to Ft. Pierce, FL. It is a long day!

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Early morning start to cross the Gulf Stream to the US. Hey, it’s dark!

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Sunrise over West End as we head out

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We are not alone out here in the dark — lots of cruise ships and freighters!

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Good morning from the Gulf Stream

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Full sails and good wind

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Our tradition of a photo marking half-way across the Gulf Stream to the US

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Thank you Gulf Stream for the lift. We are moving at 9.4 knots! Woohoo!

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Tough to see, but this is our first view of land on the US side. Almost there!

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Dolphins come to escort us in to Ft. Pierce, FL after a long 12 hour trip across from the Bahamas

Since arriving in the US, we have been making our way up the coast the via the Inter-coastal Waterway (ICW). We had hoped to go on the outside to the ocean for some of the trip, but so far the weather has been too unsettled, cold and windy to do that.

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Sunrise at the Ft. Pierce marina in Florida

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Our first draw bridge on the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) in Florida

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Approaching our first fixed bridge in Florida. Will we fit?

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Close one! Yikes!

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Osprey in the nest along the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) in Florida

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No more blue water. Boo!!

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Approaching the lovely Cocoa Village Marina

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We watch the launch of the Goes 2 NOAA Satillite from Cape Canaveral while we are staying at Cocoa Beach. Very cool!

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Dinner at our favourite Thai/Sushi place, the Thai Thai Sushi Bar in Cocoa Beach. We ate there six years ago on our trip south with Silver Maple from Toronto.

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The NASA building at Cape Canaveral as we pass along the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW)

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Osprey patroling the Manatee slow speed zone

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Some Florida life on the water

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Lots of hurricane damage as we head north along the Florida coast

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We love the pelicans!

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The quaint New Smyrna City Marina in Florida

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Lots of wind so sails are up on the ICW

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Captain at the helm

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Silver Maple at the New Smyrna City Marina in Florida

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Eagle! Lots of wild life along the way.

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Weather has turned cold and windy! Ugh!

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The ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway) in Florida

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The European Village at Palm Coast in Florida

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Approaching St. Augustine, Florida

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Walking the historic streets of St. Augustine, Florida

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Lee in front of the oldest wooden school house in the US located in St. Augustine, Florida

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Silver Maple at the dock in St. Augustine, FL

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More hurricane damage as we arrive in Fernandina Beach, Florida

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Shrimp boat in Georgia just shortly after crossing the border from Florida

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Approaching the Jekyll Island Marina in Georgia

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Silver Maple safe and sound on the dock

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Randy over looking the marina on Jekyll Island

Yesterday we crossed the Florida – Georgia border and we are now at the Jekyll Island Marina in Georgia. Taking a day off from travel today to do some bicycling around the island. Should be fun. Tomorrow we are on the water again. Goal is to be in Annapolis, MD by mid-April. Still a long way to go.

Wishing everyone fair winds!