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The Great Loop

05/31/09
North Myrtle Beach To Carolina Beach    Chart
(Lat: 34º 2.401'N Lon: 77º 53.538'W )

This was a great way to end our trip. We left Doc Holidays at 7AM and had a really great trip back to our home port at Federal Point Yacht Club in Carolina Beach.
The weather was magnificent and the ocean was calm and just as blue as it could be. We made the whole run in 3 hours and it was just spectacular on the ocean. The boats ran great and we were able to have a very smooth trip on auto pilot.
When we got back to our marina we docked the boats and then cleaned them thoroughly. After cleaning the boats we then took all our provisions off the boat and back to our houses. The weather was so nice we didn't mind cleaning the boats and just being with people at the marina.
Jackie was able to take pictures of our townhouse in Harbor Point and the Byrd's and Scandura's Houses in Federal Point. You will notice that not only are their boats bigger their houses are also bigger :-).
This was really a wonderful way to end our very nice 13 day trip.
05/30/09
Charleston To North Myrtle Beach Via Ocean    Chart
(Lat: 33º 50.506'N Lon: 78º 40.073'W )

We decided to go to North Myrtle Beach via the ocean vs. ICW. The seas were 1-2 ft waves only about 5 seconds apart for most of the trip and were hitting us on our port bow. It was very doable but we did bonce some and also got some sea sprays on our windshields. All 3 of us ran together for 60% of the trip and then the Byrds and us branched off just north of Cape Roman as we were going to the Little River Inlet and Sue and Jim were going all the way back to Carolina Beach.
We spent a little less than 7 hours on the water and arrive at Doc Holidays Marina in North Myrtle Beach. We fueled up and then put our boats in our slips and sprayed them down. Adam Wells the boat mechanic who helped us out with our bow thruster charger and new batteries at the start of our trip, arrived after we had docked and installed our new bow thruster charger. Adam did a great job for us and we would highly recommend him if you have a boat issue in the Myrtle Beach area.
We then got cleaned up and walked a short distance to Carrabbas and had a great dinner. After dinner we got out our chairs and sat on the dock, had a night cap and talked and then hit the sack.
It was a good day but tiring because when you bounce around some in the ocean for a fairly long period of time it starts to wear you down.
05/29/09
Charleston - Last Full Day

This was our last full day in Charleston. I walked the docks and looked at the boats/ships that were in the marina and took a few pictures of some really spectacular boats. One boat is an 80' Hatterus owned by Jerry Stackhouse. He was on the boat but people didn't pester him and he acted just like the other boater.
Later in the morning we decided to go downtown to the 225 Grille on the roof of the Market Pavillion Hotel. It is a very elegant hotel and the pool for the hotel is also in the Grille area and the views are great. We had a very good lunch and looked from all different angles of the roof to see the harbor, the market, churchs, etc.
We then headed back to our boats and got things ready for our trip tomorrow and also for a dinner we were having on Jerry and Becky's boat. Since it was very hot and muggy, we were also treated to afternoon thunderstorms.
We also heard from Sue and Jim and they said they decided to come all the way to Charleston from Hilton Head to be with the group on our last night in Charleston. They arrive right in the middle of a thunderstorm so they just cruised around until the lighting died down.
We had a very nice dinner on Jerry's boat and enjoyed the evening. We decided that we would leave at 7AM and head to Myrtle Beach via the ocean tomorrow.
05/28/09
Charleston

We had a great day starting with breakfast at the famous Hominy Grill. Food is wonderful but we probably didn't eat the healthiest choices. :-).
We then hopped on our bikes and rode from the City Marina all the way around the Battery and along the waterfront of the historic city. We took a number of pictures of the waterfront, Battery Houses, etc. It was a great ride of probably 10 miles.
After the ride we spent some time on our boats, catching up on emails, reading, checking our engines and then got ready for dinner. We decided to go to Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant for dinner. We had been there before but Jerry and Becky hadn't. We had a wonderful meal at Water's Edge. We walked along the fishing boats and even saw dolphins chasing fish in the Creek. It is a really neat area with restaurants and bars on each side of the Creek.
We used the Black Cab company to go to and from the marina to Shem Creek. They have really cute cabs and the drivers are very friendly and service oriented. We also took some pictures of the cab ride, crossing the new 17 bridge and views from the bridge.
I was a great evening and the weather was perfect. Weather is supposed to be nice for the rest of our trip.
Our last picture is the 4 of us in front of the Black Cab with space between us for Sue and Jim who had to leave the trip because of work commitments. We wanted them to know we missed them.
05/27/09
Beaufort, SC, To Charleston, SC    Chart
(Lat: 32º 46.706'N Lon: 79º 57.195'W )

We left around 8AM this morning in clear skies and calm winds and headed to Charleston. We also left at near high tide so we had sufficient water under us as this area of the trip is notorious for some very shallow passage areas. We had very little boat traffic so we made good time and enjoyed the ride. About 45 minutes out of Charleston, we were hit by a heavy rain storm to the point that it was difficult to see so we went to idle speed until the storm cleared. By the time we arrived at the dock in Charleston the rain had dissappeared and we had a great but muggy weather.
After securing the boats we went downtown and had a nice lunch at the Southend Brewery and did some window shopping. Then it was back to the boats and relax. We decided to just eat at the docks so we pulled together some very tasty snacks and sat in our chairs on the dock, ate, drank, talked to people who walked by and watching the boats pass by. Great end to a nice day. Since we already showed pictures of this route in an earlier entry, Jackie only took a couple of pictures which I have encluded.
05/26/09
Beaufort, SC    Chart
(Lat: 32º 25.791'N Lon: 80º 40.51'W )

We left Sheltered Cove after a great stay a little before 9AM for our short trip to Beaufort, SC. The weather was glorious and the seas were calm. Even more important with the new alternator everything worked great on the boat. We enjoyed the views and docked at the Downtown Marina. We then went to Panini's for a great lunch and explored all the stores. We went to a fabulous place for dinner recommended by our friend Capt. Dee. The name of the place is Emily's and the menue was huge, the service exquisite and everything we ate, outstanding. I think it was the best place we have eaten so far on the cruise.
After dinner we walked on the waterfront and sat in some swing chairs to enjoy the view. We are only in Beaufort tonight and will head to Charleston tomorrow. Great Day.
05/25/09
Sheltered Cove

This was are last full day at Sheltered Cove and the weather cleared up and we had a beautiful and fun day. This was the first day of real and sustanined sunshine and it lasted all day.
As promised our boat mechanic showed up on time and installed our new altenator on the port engine and so we should be good to go for the rest of our cruise. We were very fortunate to have gotten this mechanic and get the part and have it installed over Memorial Weekend.
We said goodbye to Jim and Sue as they had to leave the cruise because of an important business opportunity so Sue drove back to Cary, NC, with her daugther and Jim flew out to see the customer. We were able to have a nice lunch with Jim at a nice French Bistro in Sheltered Cove before he left to catch his plane.
The remaining 4 of us went shopping at the nearby mall and found a few things to purchase. We mainly just walked and window shopped but it was enjoyable.
We then each went back to our boats to rest, read, catch up on email and get ready for dinner. We had a very nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant also at Sheltered Cove. All along the marina there are shops and restaurants and also each section has some form of music/entertainement. The food, atmosphere, great weather and sharing it with friend made it a very nice last day here.
Jackie took some pictures of our boats, some flowers in the area and she took several pictures of a crescent moon. We felt it was interesting to see the moon in the exact shape that SC uses on a lot of it State's logo of a crescent moon and a small palm.
One other point of interest. While most of the tides in the Carolinas are about 4 feet the tides in Hitlon Head and near by Savannah are 6 - 8 feet. That is a very large swing of water levels in the marina but the floating docks make it no issue for the boats. The only issue at times is walking from the floating docks up to the main dock at low tide. The ramp becomes pretty steep on low tide.
05/24/09
Sheltered Cove At Hilton Head

Today was exercise day and the weather was a little better in that the rain was only light and intermittent. The group jumped on their bikes and headed out to the Salty Dogs Shops and Restaurant in the very south part of the island. We thought it would be an 8 mile ride one way but what we found with all the twists and turns on the bike paths we rode a total of 27 miles for the day. Needless to say we had tender bottoms and other parts by the end of the ride.
Hilton Head is a great place to ride bikes as the paths are very nice and it is such a lush green island with many interesting homes, shops, beaches, golf courses, etc. to see. It is also quite flat so hills aren't an issue.
After the ride was over we cleaned up the bikes and everyone went back to their boats to shower, rest and prepared some tasty items for dock tails. We all gathered in chairs on the dock and feasted on our eats and drinks and listened to the music coming from the shops and restaurant area on the other side of the marina. It was really a lovely way to end our day.
We didn't take a lot of pictures because we were busy biking but Jackie did take a couple pictures of the parrots at the Salty Dog and one of the store area.
05/23/09
Sheltered Cove Marina

We woke up this morning to a constant rain that looked like it would last all day. The temperature was pleasant and there was very little wind but the rain was drenching. In the morning, Jackie took advantage of the rain to sleep in and I took advantage of the rain to catch up on emails, phone calls, and I finished reading my book. Through out the day Jackie did laundry in between our going shopping and out to lunch with our group and she also did a grocery run. There is a very nice art fair right in Shletered Cove for Memorial Day weekend so we also enjoyed taking that in when the rain let up in mid afternoon.
Since we had eaten a late lunch we decided to just have a light dinner on our individual boats and enjoy the evening which was now very pleasant. Jackie and I took a long walk and watched all the activity of people enjoying the restaurants, shops and muscial groups at Sheltered Cove. It ended up being a very nice and relaxing day. Jackie took a number of pictures of the marina and captured some wonderful sunset pictures which are below.
05/22/09
Charleston To Sheltered Cove/Hilton Head    Chart
(Lat: 32º 10.896'N Lon: 80º 43.858'W )

We woke up to find the skies had cleared and the winds had died down so we had lines up by 7AM. Today it was our day to lead the 3 boat group and we headed off to Hilton Head. We had a beautiful cruise and had the advantage of traveling through the very shallow areas at near high tide so it was more relaxing. We saw dolphins, fishing boats, 2 pirate ships, wonderful scenery, etc.
As we were leaving Charleston Harbor our generator alarm came on so we shut it off and cruised a little bit and then turned it back on. The alarm still sounded so we decided to just cruise without it which is not an issue as the boat is designed to run without it. It was a nice morning so we were not uncomfortable and enjoyed the cruise. We did notice our port engine volt gauge running low the but boat was running well. All that changed really quickly just as we were entering the very narrow channel leading to our marina at very low tide. All of a sudden our boat turned to the left and at first we were not sure if we had hit bottom or what was wrong. So there we were sideways in the middle of the channel and trying not to hit anything and also figure how to manuver the boat without our port engine. Using experience, the bow thruster and our starboard engine we successfully got straight in the channel and were able to dock the boat safely. We were very concerned something was seriously wrong with the boat and at first we couldn't get the boat connected to shore power because our powercord is electrically control and we couldn't get it out. We borrowed a power cord from Sweet Sue and used our spare cord and were able to get power to the boat. We then could power out the boats cord and connect everything the right way. So at least we had to boat in the slip and could enjoy our time in Sheltered Cove. Jackie went to the Dock House and they gave her some numbers of mechanics to call. But since it was Friday on a holiday weekend we didn't hold much hope of getting anyone. On her 3rd call she found a boat mechanic who was willing to come to the boat. He came and checked out the generator, the electrical system and the port engine. He determined the alternator was bad on the port engine and by running the boat without a working alternater or the generator charging the battery it drained the power over the 6 hour run. Since the port engine has an electronic controlled shifter, it would no longer engage the port engine drive. So while that made it a very exciting experience we didn't have any serious problems or damage. He also said the generator was fine and we probably picked up a plastic bag or debree leaving Charleston that set off the alarm but as we travelled it came free. So generator works fine also. He thought we would not be able to get a new alternater until Tues or Wed because of the holiday but since we were not on a tight schedule and in a beautiful place we were fine extending our trip. He did leave us a message that he found one and we are calling him to see when we can get it installed. So all in all a very good day and we can go to bed tonight not worrying what is wrong but knowing it is minor and easily fixed. Thanks be to God!
Jackie took some nice pictures which we share below.
05/21/09
Charleston SC

We used our second day in Chaleston to shop the many nice stores and have lunch. We were going to ride our bikes but with the threat of rain we took a cab to the historic area. We had a good time shopping and talking and had a nice lunch nice. It showered on and off but we were able to dodge the rain pretty well.
That evening Jackie and I went and had dinner at Marilynn's condo. She is the daughter of the very nice gentleman, Ken, who is a special friend of my stepmother Annie. Ken's wife died about the same time my Dad died and both Ken and Annie live in the retirement resort, Bellemeade. They started doing things together a while ago and we are thrilled that enjoy each others company and they are really cute together. Ken is 91 and Annie is 88 and they are both able to be very active and enjoy life.
Anyway, we had heard so much about Marilynn, who they call Mary, and she had heard a lot about us. So since we were in Charleston we arranged to meet. She invited us to dinner and fixed us a fabulous dinner and had a great time. We even got to talk to Annie and Ken over Marilynn's skype system. It was a very special evening.
We were so busy today that we didn't realize until it was over that we didn't take any pictures.
05/20/09
Grande Dunes To Charleston    Chart
(Lat: 32º 46.652'N Lon: 79º 57.141'W )

We woke up to dry weather and some sunshine for a change and dropped lines at 6:52AM heading to Charleston. We had a good run and while it was very windy it was clear. We also had a long stretch of the trip with the tides pushing us so we made good time. When we got to Charleston Harbor it was really rough so it made and exciting end to the trip. Also with the wind whipping through and heavy tide flow at the time we docked it make docking very exciting also. But everyone got into their space safely and we washed down our boats, relaxed a little and then went to a wonderful dinner at High Cotton. We hadn't eaten there before but the other couples had and promised us a great dinner. It was excellent and then after dinner each couple climbed in a bike driven rickshaw and the 3 peddlars raced back to the marina. It was great fun.
05/19/09
Grande Dunes Myrtle Beach

We got out our bikes and went to sales office to get permission to go over their private bridge and ride around the development. We stopped and took some pictures from the bridge that show the area. Like most developments this one is struggling and while it is a beautiful place and the commone areas are very well kept some of the construction sites and foreclosure home look pretty rough.
Since we are heading out tomorrow we did a systems check and we saw our bow thruster battery charger had flashing lights so we called a mechanic recommended by the marina and he came over to check it out. The tester should one of the batteries was bad but the other one looked ok. We decided to replace both batteries and felt that would correct the issue. We found out that we still had an issue so he called the charger company on their 800# and they said they would send us a new charger at no cost to us. Since we don''t use the thruster very much the new batteries should keep it functioning when needed while we complete the trip. When we head back North we will stop in Myrtle Beach for the night and they will install the new charger.
Our 3rd boat should arrive soon and we will all go to dinner and then rest. Tomorrow it is on to Charleston.
Note: We took more pictures but camera setting was wrong for the site and we are getting the pictures re-sized and then will add to this entry.
05/18/09
Carolina Beach to Myrtle Beach    Chart
(Lat: 33º 45.817'N Lon: 78º 49.111'W )

We started our SC harbor tour today in terrible weather. In Carolina Beach it was only 50 degrees with a lot of rain and the winds were blowing about 30mph. We delayed our start for a couple of hours hoping that the winds would die down some and rain become less heavy. We also called Jim and Sue Scandura, who we were joining up with in Southport and they said the wind wasn't bad there but it was raining.
So at 10:30AM we headed out of Carolina Beach in still very strong winds but once we made it through Snow's Cut the winds died down dramatically to 10 - 20 mph. We cruised the Cape Fear River with no problem and pulled into the Southport Marina to fuel up and pump out and then continued down the ICW with Jim and Sue to Myrtle Beach. Because of the poor weather there were very few boats on the water and the trip was not difficult.
We would have preferred to go by ocean from Southport to Myrtle Beach but seas were wild, 6-11' waves.
We pulled into the Grande Dunes Marina around 3:45PM. This marina is really nice. It opened about 5 years ago and is part of the Grande Dunes Resort and it is first class all the way. The staff here is very nice and accomodating and when you check in they give you a picture of your boat in its slip on a card which has all the marina information. They provide you a very good bottle of wine and discounts and information about the resort and area near by. There are at least 3 restaurants on the grounds in easy walking distance from the marina. We had dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse last night and it was wonderful. They had a special deal of complete dinner for 2 including dessert for $89 and the marina gave us a $25 gift card which the restaurant accepts even for the special price meal. After all the wind and rain it was a great way to enjoy the evening with Jim and Sue. The sun even came out after dinner. Tomorrow the weather will be better, breezy and temp up to high 60's. We will stay in Myrtle Beach while the 3rd couple, Jerry and Becky Byrd,catch up with us so all 3 couples and boats can continue on Wed to Charleston. Pictures will be added when we get them re-sized for the blog as we had the camera setting wrong. Will add them when we correct the sizing.