Silver Maple Blog

Retirement adventures Canadian style


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!


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

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


Sunrise over Myrtle Beach, SC


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


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


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


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


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!


Lots of birds along the ICW

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Being passed by the ferry on the Cape Fear River


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


Silver Maple on the dock at Wrightsville, NC


Osprey by its nest on an ICW marker


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


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…


Silver Maple on the dock at Swansboro, NC


Happy Captain

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Captain enjoying a margarita on the deck in Beaufort, NC


Marker 200! Two hundred miles to Norfolk, VA.


Its warming up so layers start to come off

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…and another one


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


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!


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.


Silver Maple on the dock on Jekyll Island, SC

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Jekyll Island is a great place to ride bicycles


First transcontinental call was made from Jekyll Island in 1915


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


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


Lovely day!


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


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!)


Some rooms still have the upscale hunting lodge feel


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


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!


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


Lee bundled up trying to stay warm


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


The Morningstar Marina on St. Simons Island, GA


Captain still uses paper charts as back-up for navigation


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


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


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

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Lots of birds


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.


Passing barge traffic


Anchoring in Wallberg Creek, GA

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Dolphins visit us in the anchorage


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


Channel markers make great bird perches


Finally, a nicer day!


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!


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


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


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’


The flowers are blooming in Savannah


Beautiful hedges!


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


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


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


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.


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


We won’t argue with him!


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


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.


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


Lots of military aircraft around

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Pelicans still around even in the cold


Wow! That’s cold!

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Fighter jets overhead


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


Nice little town with beautiful old homes


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

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


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


Lunch at 82 Queen in Charleston, SC.


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


These houses are know as The Three Sisters


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


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!



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!


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!


Captain Randy with his new crew on deck


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


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


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!


Sunrise over Great Guana Cay


Celia at the helm as we sail towards Lubbers Quarters


The men on deck


Celia and Andrew getting salty


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


The ladies with the conch shell


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


Celia and Andrew on the deck having a good time


New sailors!

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


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


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


Beautiful Hope Town Harbour from the lighthouse


At the top!


Picnic on the beach on Elbow Cay


Listening to the performance at the Songwriters Festival

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The whole group at the Hope Town Song Writers Festival


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


Nothing better than family beach time!


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


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


Lee and Stacia enjoying yummy Caribbean Margaritas on Silver Maple


Lady of leisure with her morning Jo


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



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!


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…


On our way north!


We will miss the beautiful blue waters of the Bahamas


Captain on deck


Great day for sailing!

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


On the move…


Preparing to drop anchor at Allans-Pensacola Cay


Sunrise over Allans-Pensacola


Heading towards Great Sale Cay


Arriving at Great Sale Cay to anchor for the night


Sunset over Great Sale Cay


Early morning on the way towards West End, Bahamas

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A Dolphin comes to visit


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!


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


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


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


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!


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


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


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


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!