Along the ICW in Georgia
Typical Square in Savannah
Due to technical problems with our computer and with Yahoo (mostly Yahoo!), it has been 2 months since my last web posting. In that time we have traveled north from Florida, up the east coast of the US, through the New York canal system, and into Canada. However, this page will recount our travels in the month of May and will take us from Georgia to our arrival in New York Harbor. After I post this and the New York section, I will work on republishing the first part of the journey. If you have been following the original website, you will notice a slightly different format which will include about twice as many photos. Publishing photos through Yahoo was the biggest problem with the site. We will see how it goes with Front Page and our new web server. So, here goes. It better work this time!
On May 1 we entered Georgia, still traveling in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We passed by some very popular resorts on Hiltonhead, Jekyll Island, St. Simon Island, Cumberland, and Broughton Island which are all part of the outer bank of islands that forms the barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the ICW. While we didn't see any wild horses on the islands, we did see a huge variety of water birds, but alas, no dolphins in this part of the waterway. On May 3 we arrived in the city of Savannah early, by way of the Savannah River, and docked on the waterfront between a couple of river tour boats. We spent the day exploring the city and found it every bit as beautiful as reported in "Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil." It was laid out in a grid by the original English colonists. The grid included small parks every few blocks. This means the elegant old homes around these squares face these lovely green spaces. We also enjoyed the waterfront which features old warehouses and customs house renovated into restaurants, shops, parks, etc. Quite a lovely stop, but lots of current in the river made us pleased to cast off the next day and head to Beaufort, South Carolina.
Smooth Cruising on the ICW
Entering Charleston from the ICW
On May 4 we arrived in Beaufort which is another scenic little town on the ICW dating from the first settlers of the Carolinas. Lots of movies have been filmed in this town and the surrounding area including, The Prince of Tides, The Big Chill, and one of my faves; Forrest Gump. During the Civil War the residents abandoned their homes which were appropriated by the Union Army for housing and hospitals. After the war, the former owners were allowed to buy back their property if they could pay the back taxes, pay a fine AND pledge allegiance to the Union. Some of the largest homes were repurchased for $8 and some were not repossessed by their southern owners because of the third provision. We stayed in the downtown marina where we met 8 other boats headed north in the ICW to get out of the hurricane belt for the summer, including our pals on Beso. On the morning that we left, there was a strong current moving through the marina which caused a departing boat to lose control of his vessel, hitting Beso a hull-smashing blow on the nose with his anchor pulpit. Every captain in the marina leaped into action to get lines on that boat and keep him from doing any more damage. After a major Chinese fire drill, he was able to leave without hitting anyone else. When we started to pull away from the dock, the same current drove our bow into the dock (in spite of the bowthruster), hitting a piling and making a serious dent in the rub rail as well as the Captain's good humor! ... It happens!
Sunset over Indian Summer in the Alligator River
Homes on the the barrier islands
More smooth water & swing bridge on ICW
We arrived in Charleston, S.C., on Sat., May 6. What a great stop! First, we were docked across from a mega-yacht, reportedly owned by the attorney who won the big tobacco litigation. I wonder if he knows (or cares) that his captain and crew were smoking on the dock? We also met Bob and Barbara Dein who were at the dock in their DeFever 44, Gondola. The Deins run the DeFever Cruisers organization and they are the publishers of the DeFever Cruiser Newsletter. They have been following our website and publishing our adventures in the newsletter. They are cruising the east coast of the US this summer and still managing to publish the newsletter. They check out every DeFever they see. There are 428 members of the organization world-wide but I have no idea how many DeFevers there are world-wide. I bet Art DeFever knows!
It was a little stormy in Charleston for the 2 days we were there but we toured anyway with our friends on Beso. On Sunday we took the city tour which included the grounds of The Citadel, the military school which was the subject of Pat Conroy's book "The Lords of Discipline" and the movie "Taps" with Tom Cruise. We saw the checkered parade terrace which reminded me of Ella's Terrace at SCR. We missed graduation by one day but loved seeing so much history in one spot. Sounds like their traditions around football and mascots rival those of USC. On the same tour we saw the old town of Charleston, which is right on the harbor, dating back to the colonization by the British, with many wonderful old homes overlooking Battery Park. One of the oldest residences has a cannon in the attic which landed there during the bombardment by the Union Navy during the Civil War. It was too heavy to remove so they just fixed the roof and left it there. It is now probably an asset for resale! We also visited Fort Sumpter which was a major tactical objective in the Civil War. Fort Sumpter was an active part of the east coast military defense system until after WWII. Now coastal defense is handled by the US Navy with non-fixed missile delivery systems. (More in the Hampton Roads segment) We enjoyed the arrival of a storm while at Fort Sumpter and during the dinner hour in Charleston. Poured rain but was not cold, therefore, everyone and everything just carried on as usual.... soaking wet!
Leaving Elizabeth City at dawn
Fred greeting Lionheart in Elizabeth City, N.C.
Moonrise over Lionheart, Alligator River
May 8 found us traveling the ICW again, anchoring in Cow House Creek across from Wacca Wacci Marina, followed by stops in North Carolina in Swansboro, Oriental, and the Alligator River. In the Alligator River, the captain of Indian Summer, a beautiful Flemming yacht, took the best glam photo of Lionheart I have ever seen. The sunset and moonrise on the night of May 12 was fantastic and fortunately recorded for posterity (see photo gallery).
A monument to the soldiers from Portsmouth who died in the Civil War. Portsmouth was founded by William H. Craford. This one's for you Bill.
On the hards again....those props are bent!
Sunrise in the Great Dismal Swamp
On May 13 we arrived at Elizabeth City, N.C., and were greeted by Fred and the "Rosebuddies." This is a huge volunteer hospitality effort made by this boat oriented township. We experienced similar efforts to make cruisers welcome in small towns along the east coast and well into Canada. Fred (see photo) and his "Rosebuddies" met us at the town dock to help us tie up and supply information on their town and an invitation to a wine and cheese party at 5:00 pm. (you know I never pass up a wine reception!) At that gathering we were apprised of the advantages of the next (and last) leg of the ICW....it was the trip through The Great Dismal Swamp. This trip is made in the Dismal Swamp Canal which was originally surveyed by George Washington (yes. THE GW, before the Revolution, first Pres, etc.!). Well, we took the Dismal Swamp Canal north on May 14. By the end of the day we had arrived in Portsmouth, Virginia; completed the 1200+ mile ICW, and wiped out both of our propellers when we hit a BIG stump in the Dismal Swamp. Evening found us tied up at Ocean Marine Yacht shipyard in Portsmouth with the hope of being hauled out to inspect the damage the next day. We were actually hauled out on Tuesday, May 16, and found the area of damage. On "the hards" for 2 nights, Nick stayed on Lionheart while we stayed in the local Holiday Inn (Nick had the best deal!). During our stay in Portsmouth, we visited Norfolk across the river, watched a number of US warships arrive and leave the great Norfolk shipyards, and enjoyed the lovely old town of Portsmouth. There are many historical sites and fabulous museums in the area that we plan to visit on our next trip there.....next spring. Yes, this was just a reconnaissance mission!
Submarine returning from sea in Hampton Roads
On May 19 (with new propellers all tuned up and Lionheart purring like a kitten) we headed north from Portsmouth, through Hampton Roads, into the Chesapeak. Hampton Roads is home to the US Navy with war ships coming and going daily. Rows of battleships and aircraft carriers lined up for refitting or new assignments. The Coast Guard is much in evidence in this area keeping anything and anyone from getting close to the war ships. It was a great day on the Bay and we traveled north to the Potomac River where we turned left and went into the mouth of one of the tributaries (the Glebe River) and anchored for the night. The next day we traveled north to Annapolis, Maryland. Our entrance into the harbor took us head-on into the Naval Academy. We took a dock right in front of the Annapolis Yacht Club and our good friends from Long Beach, Shirley and Merrill Knopf met us on the dock. We walked around the little town of Annapolis with the Knopfs and their son, Kevin, and his family, and had a traditional Maryland crab dinner compliments of the Knopfs. Kevin is an oncologist practicing in Annapolis and at John's Hopkins which is where his Dad went to school. The best part of all of this is seeing our friends after 7 months away!
Approaching Annapolis, Naval Academy dead ahead
Idyllic anchorage in Glebe River, MD
May 21 through 25 found us in Baltimore, Maryland, visiting my dear friend, Gayle Lombardi, and enjoying another great historical region of the USA. Gayle and I have been friends since the sixties. She used to live in Seattle where I visited her almost every year on my way back and forth to Lionheart while we kept her in the NW. Gayle adopted a Russian orphan about 7 years ago and has been living on the east coast since then. It was a real treat to visit her again and see what a lovely daughter she has wrought in Caroline Lombardi. As always, Gayle knew where to get me a good haircut and color, the nearest Trader Joes (first time in 7 months!), and was willing to drive me around to the West Marine stores to fulfill the Captain's supply orders! While Gayle is not Baltimore's most enthusiastic promoter, we had fun doing the Baltimore Duck Tour, dining in Little Italy, and enjoying the harbor area which features some wonderful public art. We also drove to St. Michaels on the eastern shore of Maryland to see where the VIPs in DC have their retreats. Another area to visit on our return tour next summer!
Arriving in Baltimore Harbor
Tourists in Baltimore. Duck calls sent to grandchildren. Parents loved it!
The Knopfs in Annapolis
Leaving Baltimore on May 26, we headed north to the Chesapeak and Delaware Canal. As the name indicates, this canal connects the Chesapeak Bay and the Delaware Bay. We spent the night in a marina on the canal. The next day we entered Delaware Bay and turned north into the Delaware River and were docked in downtown Philadelphia by noon. We chose to spend the Memorial Day weekend at a dock because it gets crazy on the water everywhere on Memorial Day. Fortunately, one of Richard's high school friends from Los Alamos now lives in New Jersey. Bob Berglund drove over to Philadelphia and visited with us Saturday night. Bob took us on a walking tour of South Street in Philly and he and Richard had a great visit. On Sunday we took a brief tour of all the historical sights. I say brief because one could spend days or weeks seeing all the buildings and exhibits about the founding of our country and the framing of the constitution in 1776. However, the waterways called us and we pulled out of Philly on Monday of Memorial Day weekend, May 29, which was my birthday and still the crazy boating weekend. I want to note here that I received a brand new pair of stabilized binoculars for my birthday. They have really improved my bird, big boat name, and sign identifications enormously!
Arriving in Philadelphia via the Delaware River
Caroline Lombardi on Lionheart
We headed down the Delaware River, through the Delaware Bay to Cape May, New Jersey. We entered the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway at Cape May, carefully following Skipper Bob's Cruising Guide. The waterway is very shallow throughout (the technical term is "skinny water") and we promptly found the bottom and joined the "crazy boaters" who go aground through lack of experience or some other excuse. I wish I had a photo of this one as Lionheart, the biggest boat for miles, sat like a large toad in a small pond and waited for the tide to come in and float us. The Captain suggested putting down the anchor and starting the BBQ and pretending we were there by choice! The next day we left the Intracoastal and went out into the Atlantic for about 90 miles, skipping Atlantic City, and traveled to our last stop before NYC. We spent the night at a marina (loose use of the term) in Brielle, NJ. May 31 we left Brielle in a pretty dense fog and headed for the Big Apple.
Friends in Philadelphia. Isn't that a twist?
As we entered New York waters, we passed Sandy Hook and entered the deep water channel, still in the fog. We passed several large and small Coasties who were patrolling the entrance channel. As we approached the Varrazano Bridge which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island, we could not even see the entire bridge because of the fog. Just at noon, as we entered the harbor, the fog began to fade and we saw the skyline of Manhatten through the mist and Lady Liberty was an absolute stirring sight to see from our own decks! By 1:30 PM we were tied up in Lincoln Harbor Marina on the NJ side of the Hudson River directly across from mid-town Manhatten.
So, we actually made it all the way from Long Beach to NYC by June 1. There were many times when we thought it highly unlikely that we would meet this goal, but we did it! It took 222 days. Mileage report in next chapter.
As we entered New York Harbor, the Manhatten skyline appeared out of the fog and then Lady Liberty!
Approaching Savannah, Georgia
Lionheart Cruise: Georgia to NYC