Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Charleston is a great place to see the evolution of bridges. This stone foundation is of a bridge is probably from around the early 1900’s. Notice that the stone work isn’t really the best in the world.
Next is a pile bridge. This is where they drove cement piles into the ground and built a road on top of the cement cross members. It looks like a big storm tore this one up.
After that they built a large steel truss swing bridge that is still used today. In fact, the bridge refused to work for us and we had to anchor for 45 minutes while they called a mechanic to come and repair this bridge.
This ugly thing is what we see the most of, the “high rise” bridge that spans most of the ICW today. It’s very efficient but has little beauty.
Finally, a beautiful suspended bridge over part of the Charleston harbor. Functionality and beauty all in one.
5 different types of bridges within a span of 3 miles representing (I’m guessing) about 100 years of bridge building. How neat!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The weather isn’t cooperating as we head north, strong NW and N winds and it’s COLD! Even Edie had to put her sweater on and get under a blanket as the day went along.

I tried to use only the clothes that I plan to take on the hike with me… I had everything on and was still cold!
Yet, even as cold as it was there are still plenty of things to see as we crawl along up the coast. The ubiquitous abandoned boats…. This one in the mud is about 28 feet with a cockpit wheel steering... whereas this one is a steel trawler that has been blown up on shore. We passed a shipyard south of Charleston where they were doing the bottom of the “spirit of Charleston”. Even in the cold weather the ICW signs were all covered with birds.
I hope that it gets a bit warmer tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Heading north

We made many friends down in Boot Key this year but the Appalachian Trail was calling so we turned north earlier than normal,,, and you can tell by the night time temp. Even though we are still in Fl the nights have started to get cooler (we had to add an extra blanket to the bed). When the weather cooperates, we sail on the outside but when the winds come out of the north we motor on the ICW. On those days, I’m up before 6 AM to make coffee, pull anchor and start north before the sun rises.
There is lots to see on the ICW but it’s boring motoring along at a slow jog.
One pleasant thing about the ICW is the amount and variety of birds. Whether it's flocks of white pelicans or watching the brown pelicans swoop down within inches of the water and glide in the boundary layer next to the surface it's all interesting.Sometimes, they just sit like sentinels on the posts as you go by. The shores are speckled with herons and ibis. Popping up from under the water are cormorants and an occasional dolphin. Yesterday for 20 minutes one stinker of a dolphin would continually surface right next to the cockpit and blow for air thereby blowing dolphin spit all over the deck, cockpit and me! I finally tried to yell at him but it did no good and I almost got a face full when I did.The birds give Edie something to do too, she barks and chase them away whenever she notices them. I think the abundance of wildlife that we see during the winter on the boat is one of the greatest attractions for me to the cruising life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spinnaker pole failure

The track car that rides up and down the track on the forward mast and holds our spinnaker pole failed today. (notice how it is bent?)
The plastic ends of the car broke and all of the ball bearings rained down on me as I was trying to pull the car down.
What a mess. The car (and the pole) came loose from the mast and we had to wrestle them down to the deck and tie the pole off to the lifelines.
A new car costs LOTS of money and West Marine doesn’t have it in stock. So, we will be poleless for the next week while we sail the rest of the way back to NC.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cannons of Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson was never fully staffed with cannons during its life span. There were several reasons for this.

First the foundations of the fort began to settle even before the fort was finished (that’s why the upper cannon ports were never finished). The engineers decided that the upper level could not hold the weight of large cannon.
Second, the cannon that the fort was designed for rapidly became out dated as advancements in cannon occurred during the civil war and third, being so remote, the fort never fired a shot in anger during its entire lifespan. Here are a few remaining examples of the guns that are on the upper walls of the fort.
Notice the figures on the tip of this cannon, date-1865 weight-26,000 lbs.
This larger one is a “Rodman gun”. It was the absolute top of the line gun of its day able to fire a 400 lb round up to 3 miles, of course the gun weighed over 50,000 lbs! Here's one of the only remaining Rodman guns mounted in its firing cradle. Impressive fire power that was never used.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gear for the AT

It’s been awhile since I posted anything, sorry to all. Life down in boot Key Harbor has been very busy. There is always something to do (socially) or something that needs to be done on the boat or I’m a bit tuckered out from my 9 mile walk every morning (with a full weight pack). I will be increasing the number of posts about hiking and less about sailing as the weeks go by. So, let’s start with my pack.

My Pack, is an “Osprey” brand and on the small size. I bought it small on purpose to keep me from being able to carry a lot of stuff. I’m trying to convert my hiking style to the ‘hike light’ philosophy. I’m shooting for pack that weights 18 lbs without water or food(about what a kid might lug to school). If you include them then the total weight (for 4 days of hiking) reaches 28 lbs. It’s a daunting task to pare down everything that you need for the next 6 months to just 18 lbs. The 18 Lbs. includes all of the gear to go from the tail end of winter to summer and back to late fall again. As of last Friday when I hiked up to the Public’s store and used their scales the weight was at a fraction under 18 lbs… so far, a success! Here’s what I have in the pack.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bike repairs

Our bikes are a means to freedom they give us a range that walking can’t achieve so, when my rear fender began to drag on the rear wheel I knew that I was in trouble. The “L” bracket that supports the rear fender had broken in two.
I bought another “L” bracket and then had to drill out the old and bolt in the new.
Afterwards, the fender was good as new.