On the Move, Part 1

SEASONS has been on the move lately. On May 1st we were in Savannah, GA and by June 1st we had moved 1062 miles up the east coast to Staten Island, NY. That’s an average of 35 miles a day. There were a few stops of more than one night, but otherwise a pretty aggressive schedule. The reason is we wanted to spend some time in the New York area with friends and my son Greg who works in Oyster Bay, NY. Then the plan is to spend most of July in the North Channel.

So this blog, will just be some of the highlights we enjoyed along the way.

Beaufort, SC is a beautiful city with a small town feel. There was a food festival and art night in the downtown area on the week end we arrived. Each little studio and shop stayed open later than normal and served wine, beer and appetizers to visitors. We stopped at one artist co-op and found a gentleman who worked in Glass.

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Dorothy is into Sea Turtles ever since our visit to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. We really liked a piece in progress, Marty Nash ( Pinto Bean Studio) was creating. The serving tray is of a Sea Turtle and is Green on White.   We bought the piece before it was finished and asked him to ship the tray to us along the way. He wanted to adjust the head a little, so before and after pictures of the tray.

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We rode our bikes over this bridge a few times to get to from the marina to the other side to downtown Beaufort.

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Sunset at Lady of Isle Marina- Beaufort, SC

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We did a lot of walking in Charleston, SC and to many sites and historic spots to list that we visited.

Dorothy’s friend Sophie came to visit and we were able to spend some time on the boat and out for a great dinner at High Cotton.

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Fort Sumter: The first Shot, April 12, 1861 started the Civil War.  I have enjoyed learning all the history about the Civil War as we travel. So when we arrived in Charleston, SC, a trip to Fort Sumter was on the list. The best part of the visit was the National Park Service Ranger. He was a great story teller and took us back to the political atmosphere before the war started.

The fort is fairly well preserved and was modernized during World War II.

The Fort Sumter Flag is a historic United States flag with a distinctive, diamond-shaped pattern of 33 stars. When the main flagpole was felled by a shot during the bombardment of Fort Sumter by Confederate forces, Second Lieutenant Norman Hall rushed to retrieve the flag and remount it on a makeshift pole. The flag was lowered by Major Robert Anderson on April 14, 1861 when he surrendered Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, at the outset of the American Civil War.

Anderson brought the flag to New York City for an April 20, 1861, patriotic rally, where it was flown from the equestrian statue of George Washington in Union Square. More than 100,000 people thronged Manhattan‘s Union Square in what was, by some accounts, the largest public gathering in the country up to that time. The flag was then taken from town to town, city to city throughout the North, where it was frequently “auctioned” to raise funds for the war effort. Any patriotic citizen who won the flag at auction was expected to immediately donate it back to the nation, and it would promptly be taken to the next rally to repeat its fundraising magic. The flag was a widely known patriotic symbol for the North during the war.

On April 14, 1865, four years to the day after the surrender and as part of a celebration of the Union victory, Anderson (by then a major general), raised the flag in triumph over the battered remains of the fort.

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We visited the Angel Oak Tree on St. John’s Island. The Angel Oak Tree is estimated to be in excess of 400-500 years old, stands 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2). From tip to tip Its longest branch distance is 187 ft.  There is considerable debate about the age of the Angel Oak.  Some contend that it is 1,500 years old.  Most believe that the more conservative estimates are more accurate.

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Sunset dinner at the Crabshack

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Santee River Anchorage

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Floating Swing Bridge, very unusual

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Quick overnight stop in Southport, NC

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Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a 246-square-mile United States military training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The base’s 14 miles of beaches make it a major area for amphibious assault training, and its location between two deep-water ports allows for fast deployments.

This sign makes you look around with concern as you pass the area. I mean what if the lights burnt out one day?

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Beaufort, NC is a beautiful small town which has history based on the waterways. One of the Highlights was the Maritime history museum. Th featured exhibit was the wreck of Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s pirate ship. They have many artifacts from the ship wreck site.

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Savannah, GA

I am still Moderating Safety at  Sea seminars while we complete the Great Loop route, Dorothy requires we stop in nice cities while I fly back to the Great Lakes. Savannah, GA, was one of those stops. We stopped at Isle of Hope Marina, just out side of Savannah. Isle of Hope is nestled in the middle of a scenic Historic District, and sits serenely on a bluff 40 feet above the banks of the river.  Our friend Sandra came to visit SEASONS for a couple of days and they played tourists.

Sandra and I headed out to Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. The light station dates back to 1736. The tower stands 145 feet tall and has three Light Keeper’s Cottages nearby to visit. Ordered by General James Oglethorpe, Governor of the 13th colony in 1732, the Light Station has been guiding mariners safe entrance into the Savannah River for over 285 years. Sandra and I arrived on a winding day and had to climb quickly to the top (wind was 23 mph and they close the tower at 25 mph).

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View from the top

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Refreshments are required after a long climb. Rum floaters on top.

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The Savannah College of Art and Design was having an art festival at Forsyth Park and Sandra is shining like the sunflower.

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The Waving Girl, a statue of Florence Martus, who waves a handkerchief at passing ships on the Savannah River in hopes that her departed sailor-lover is on one of them.

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Wormsloe Historic Site is a 1736 Colonial Estate. Noble Jones around 1737, began construction of a fortified tabby house overlooking the major water route that ran past his property. The War of Jenkins’ Ear interrupted construction of the house twice. Jones competed his fortified home in 1745. Noble Jones rarely stayed at Wormsloe and the tabby house deteriorated. In 1828 his son George, started construction on a dwelling about a half-mile north of the original house. Since the construction seven generations of George Jones’ descendants have made the house their primary residence up to the present day.

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Just a few of the things to do in Savannah, We need to stop here again.

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Fishing update

I mentioned before, one of the things I wanted to do was to catch dinner. I had friends take me out and we were successful. Well I think I need a lot more coaching if Dorothy and I will ever have that gourmet seafood meal on the boat.

Some photos of my catches

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And too many small fish to count.

Sunset at Kilkenney Anchorage

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Clouds had a interesting effect on the sunset

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Georgia on my mind

These are some notes on the rest of our trip through Georgia.

After Cumberland Island we worked our way up to Brunswick, GA. This is a small left over boon town. At one time 16,000 workers were employed in the ship building industry. The company made Liberty Ships for World War 2 hauling personal and supplies. After the war ship building stopped and the area went into desolation. Today  it seems they struggle to find a an identity, tourism is a large part of their economy.

The marina was fantastic and full of friendly boaters and staff. We arrived on Easter morning and once we tied up several people invited us to Easter brunch. There were 50 boaters there with enough food for 100.

Side note; while we are traveling during the last few holidays we’ve never spent them alone. Thanksgiving was with a wonder family in Fairhope, Christmas day with boaters in Ft. Myers, News Years Eve with good friends in Naples, and Easter as mentioned above.

We enjoyed some bike rides around town and had a great breakfast at a local hangout, called Maggie Mae’s.  While we were having coffee, several policeman came in then a sheriff. A couple of law enforcement folks in plain clothes and some DNR officers. Everyone knew everyone. By the way the food was really good.

At the Marina there was a replica of the Columbus’ ship Santa Maria . It was a traveling display and educational tool. I took the quick tour, it was amazing how small the ship was. It appeared as if it was completely build of wood but upon closer inspection the hull was all fiberglass covered in wood and they did a nice job of concealing the twin diesel engines.

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SEASONS our 42 foot trawler is in the foreground.

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Sunset Brunswick

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Wuhoo River Anchorage. No signs of civilization anywhere. So peaceful.

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Sunset

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Full Moon Rise

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Cumberland Island

WOW, Add a visit to Cumberland Island to your bucket list.  The history, the scenery, the beach and the wildlife are all spectacular. Cumberland island is only accessible by boat. There is a commercial ferry bringing people to and from the island based in St Marys, GA. We anchored just off the inter-coastal waterway next to the island for 3 nights. A very peaceful setting with several other boats near us.

There are campsites run by the National Park Service, a few private homes, and a small very fancy hotel for places to stay. All sand roads with a few 4 wheel drive trucks and vans.

The first day we took our dingy over to the public dock and took a 5 mile walk to see some of the Dungeness ruins and look for the wild horses. Then we walked over to the beach. Not sure why I didn’t take any photos but it was very desolate and very little signs of human activity. the beach spans 18 miles the length of the island.

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Dungeness Ruins

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Dorothy almost stepped on this guy.

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Wild horses roam the island freely and have for some 400 years. We saw complete equestrian life cycles, from new born foals nursing at their mother to those you wanted to put out of their misery. Our tour guide told us the National Park Service does not interfere in any way with these horses allowing them to live a wild and natural existence. The only thing they will do is move a deceased horse to a remote area of the island.

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On the second day we spent $50.00 for a 6 hour guided historical tour of the island. It was worth every penny. Our tour guide, Mike, had worked various jobs connected with the island most of his adult life and he was a great story teller. A small group of 9 hopped in a van and down the sand main road we went. He would tell us of the life on the cotton plantations and how Mr. Stafford was one of the best owners in the south. Yes, he had slaves but he treated them as human beings. They had work quotas and when fished they could use their free time to garden, read, or take leisure time. No one worked on Sundays. His workers were allowed to sell their excess harvest to the nearby townspeople. He also required all of his workers to become educated in reading, writing and math. This was against the law at the time but Stafford was left alone on the island. He also taught his slaves how to save money they earned and invest it. After the Civil War was over the freed men bought farmland and homes with the money they had accumulated.

In the 1880’s the Carnegie’s came to the island. Our tour guide did a wonder job of  taking you back to what life was like for the Carnegie family when they owned 90% of the land. Lucy Carnegie built mansions for her children on the island  who were married. Plum Orchard is one of those Mansions which is beautifully preserved.

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All original furniture, the desk is an early Stickley which is extremely valuable.

 

 

This is the little church where John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette were married on Cumberland Island in 1996. He chose it because he didn’t want the media to ruin the day. None of the locals even knew what was going on till it happened.

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Of course we had to do the typical tourist photo.

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There is so much to write about our visit to Cumberland Island. I can not do it justice in a blog. There are books written about the life style and the history of the people.

Sunset from our anchorage

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Go for Launch

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As a kid growing up in the 60’s the Space race was big news. I remember seeing one of the missions in my school classroom on a rolling black and white TV. My friends and family would talk about the Apollo Missions to the Moon. Then in more recent times the Shuttle missions were in the news. I never made it to Cape Canaveral to see a launch in person but I always wanted to. On the Great Loop Trip we were going to travel right past the Kennedy Space Center, so a stop to visit it was required. We planned a stay at Ocean Club Marina for a few days. My Son Garrett flew in and we purchased tickets in advance to tour the Kennedy Space Center. I highly recommend a visit. All of the displays are done very well with many of them highly interactive. The size of these rockets up close are jaw dropping. Past, current, and future aspects of the space program are covered. For the future we mainly hear about Space X in the news , but NASA, Boeing, United Space Alliance and many more operate from the center on future projects.

The best part was taking a Bus tour of the Cape grounds. We were able to get close to several Launch pads, Crawler transporters for rockets, and Launch control buildings. Seeing the Vehicle Assembly Building up close was awesome. The Skyscraper building you can see for miles. One of the massive doors was open and we could see workers (they seemed like ants) repairing a launch tower.

The icing on the cake was a scheduled launch of a Space – X heavy rocket while we were in Port Canaveral. This one had 3 boosters very similar to a Heavy rocket test launched a few years ago with Elon Musk’s Telsa convertible as payload. This one carried a Saudi Arabian Satellite. There were a couple of weather delays and we had to move on from Port Canaveral.  On Thursday, april 11th, we found a fantastic anchorage 10 miles from launch pad 39a with an unobstructed view. We were able to witness the entire launch and booster rockets return. Smoke and flames were easy to follow as the rocket went up and then the sound. A low rumble almost like distant thunder and we could feel a little of the sound pressure. We watched the booster rockets return to earth and land. Upon reentry they made a sonic boom which we heard and felt. It was all over quickly but a memory to last a long time.

A series of pictures from KSC and the launch.

 

 

Our view for the Launch. The arrow points to Launch Pad 39a.

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Go for Launch, Dorothy was a little excited, use sound.

 

2 Boosters landing

 

This stop will  make the top 10 list of our great loop adventure.

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