Friday, December 11, 2009

Simple Living...

We’ve arrived in Stuart, the weather has cleared and we have been enjoying company with friends.

As promised, in this post, we’ve opted to focus on the boat accommodations. On board we have 3 staterooms, 2 heads (bathrooms), a kitchen, a salon and the cockpit. As far as boats go, the accommodations are very generous – one of the benefits of choosing a catamaran. While we forgo the microwave, dishwasher and most countertop appliances, we do have a 4 burner stove, oven, deep freezer and refrigerator.

Our electrical needs are addressed by solar panels. Our cooking fuel is propane. And yes, we do need to stop periodically and get our sewage holding tank pumped out. Beyond that, we just travel along by wind or diesel motor and enjoy the simple living.

The Admiral
12/7/09 – 12/11/09
PS - Captain John and Admiral Ginger, thanks for the note! We've added your blog to our 'watch list' and hope to meet you at sometime along our route.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Never Fool with Mother Nature....

My last post must have upset Mother Nature - just days later she unleashed rain and rain and more rain. As we motored down the ICW Captain Dave was driving through a day and a half of downpour – not fun. With the rain also came the wind. Pictured here is the red lifeguard flag on the ocean side of Vero Beach. It is red to note the hazardous swimming conditions, wind and waves.

Even more disappointing than the rain, however, is that we missed the launching of the Delta rocket. We were traveling through the Port Canaveral area for several days when the rocket was supposed to launch. Unfortunately, the weather delayed the launch and we missed it. Well – there is always next year.

The Admiral
12/4/09- 12/6/09
PS - Dave K. - Glad to hear you are enjoying the blog and that you will get to head to warmer weather for the holiday.
PPS - The Crew of Tiffany Rose - I remain jealous of Christopher's manatee photo from last year. Dave's seen several manatee on our southbound journey this year, but all I've seen is manatee wake.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Waiting out the Weather...

We’ve spent the last two days enjoying Palm Coast while we’ve waited for a storm to pass. We’ve waited and waited and once the storm finally made its way to us it was nothing more than rain. The high winds predicted never materialized.

Even better, was that the cold weather that was to be behind the storm didn’t make it either. Looks like we will need to suffer through another day of 80+ degrees!

More to come.

The Admiral

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Docks of the ICW...

Along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) we see lots of things: homes, boats, wildlife and lots and lots of docks. Some docks are big, some docks are small, some have birds and some have none and then some have built ‘cottages’ on their dock bigger than some houses. I thought you might enjoy a few we saw between St. Augustine and Palm Coast.

The Admiral

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas is in the Air...

With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas lights began to make their appearance. Jekyll Island’s entry boulevard was lit with many shapes and colors including pineapples. With Marylee and Charm we motor-sailed offshore to St. Augustine and were greeted by the white lights and wreaths in the evening. The holiday spirit is definitely beginning to show!
Now just because we are seeing signs of Christmas, that does not include Christmas like weather. We've enjoyed low 70 degree weather the last several days - and we aren't going to complain a bit!

The Admiral

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast...

St. Mary's put on another awesome Thanksgiving party. We dined with friends John and Mary along with almost 300 others. The feast included 30+ turkeys and hams, over 150 side dishes, not to mention dessert.....holy cow!! The weather also cooperated. After days of cloudy and cool weather, the sun decided to shine for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful day!

The Admiral

PS. Dave R., we haven't forgotten your request for interior photos. Look for them sometime soon!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jekyll Island...

We had special guests arrive at Jekyll Island. Dave’s Mom, Dad and brother Matt drove down to enjoy the holiday with us. We viewed the Island’s history Museum, walked the Millionaire’s village and enjoyed each other's company.

The Admiral
11/21/09 – 11/25/09

Continuing South...

We left Savannah and continued the trek south towards Florida. Along the way we saw some beautiful old classic boats. Pictured here is a 1929 Trumpy named Freedom which had just been restored and was on her way to a party. What fun. Over several days, we would see her travel up and down the ICW with her guests.

One evening after dropping the hook, we went to work installing the new deck fittings. With Dave in the engine compartments below and me up on deck we were able to get them secure and can once again get our holding tanks pumped out. Hurrah!!

Next stop Jekyll Island Georgia.

The Admiral
11/19/09 – 11/20/09

Sunday, November 22, 2009


A new port of call – Savannah!! We both were looking forward to Savannah, but for two very different reasons. The Admiral – exploring and history. The Captain – food. We had read in 1000 Places to See Before You Die that Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah was listed. Since then Dave’s palate has anxiously looked forward to the fried chicken and good southern cooking that would await.

I have to admit, it was delicious. We arrived shortly before they opened. It was easy to find. It was the only place that had a line already forming outside. Once inside we were seated at a big dining room table with 6 other people. And the food – oh my! We passed bowls of potatoes, collard greens, black eyed peas, creamed corn, sweet potatoes, green beans, bbq pork, fried chicken, rice, pot roast, pork ‘n beans, cole slaw, biscuits and the plates just kept on coming. We all finally reached a point that we just had to stop passing food around because there was no room left on our plates. And the result – our bellies full like after a good Thanksgiving meal. (Note the photos taken were after we’d all eaten. We are embarrassed at how much we all ate and even more embarrassed at how much we didn’t.)

So what next? Well we needed to walk off some of that food so we boarded a bus and road around the city before choosing our stop to begin our walking tour. We walked along the waterfront and the old cobblestone streets. We even walked past a praline shop and Dave didn’t go in – the first time – just another sign of how content our bellies were from lunch.

Back on the boat, Dick and his crew at Sail Harbor Marina were extremely helpful in getting us parts for the boat, giving us a ride to the bus stop and more. For boaters in the Savannah area in the future – we highly recommend them!

The Admiral
11/17/09 – 11/18/09

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Charleston Departure...

Ahhh…the sun! Weather was clearing nicely for our departure from Charleston. One last stop, the fuel dock, to get the holding tank pumped out and we would be on our way. But not to be!! The deck fittings for both holding tanks are stuck – and stuck good! Dave tried a pipe wrench, a hammer, you name it we tried it, and the caps would not come off. Hence, no pump out in Charleston. Fortunately, we have plenty of holding tank capacity to take us through until we can get a repair.

About 25 miles down the ICW road from Charleston we dropped the hook went to work removing the fittings from the deck. Once removed, more effort spent heating up the fittings trying to get the caps off and more wrestling with big wrenches. The result – the caps are still stuck. So for now we will ride along with holes in the deck until we can get new parts or a repair.

Ugh….who would have thought! Fortunately, the sunrises and sunsets still make all the good stuff much better than the occasional bad.

The Admiral

Boat Chores and Catching Up with Friends...

With two more days in Charleston it was time to make sure we were well provisioned for the next week and to spend time with friends. First the provisioning: our primary mode of transportation when on land is our feet and our bikes. With the grocery store 3 blocks away we chose to walk. Along our journey we pass a huge parking lot which holds the cargo that comes off big ships. In this case the cargo is usually imported cars. A boatful of Mini Coopers had recently arrived and we couldn’t help but take a photo for Jacquelyn, our niece and Mini fan back home.

With Pat on Cat Maudy we dined at AW Schucks, one of the local restaurants that is recommended and one we had not had the opportunity to try in the past. Dinner was great and spending time catching up with Pat even better.

We had time to spend time with John , Mary and Goliath on Marylee also. Not having seen them since they left for the Bahamas in February, we talked stories of our boat adventures, exchanged books and enjoyed dinner in.

While it would be great to stay and spend more time with friends, it is time to move on. We would be leaving Charleston in the morning.

The Admiral
11/12/09 - 11/13/09

Patriots Point...

The weather system created by Hurricane Ida continued her wrath. Skies remained overcast and the rain continued to pelt from above. It was cold and miserable.

Dad and I chose to go over the Patriots Point, Charleston’s Naval Museum as it was mostly indoors. Lucky for us it was Veteran’s Day and Vet’s and their guest were admitted for free. We even got a ride out to the dock to avoid the rain. We explored the WWII aircraft carrier going up and down levels to see the working and living areas of the ship. We viewed the historic aircraft on board. We even enjoyed the mess lunch on board where we went down to the mess hall and got in line to receive our meal on a stainless steel tray. Pretty cool.

Despite the weather, it was another great day touring Charleston.

The Admiral

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun and Hurricane Ida...

Mom and I had a great day touring several of Charleston’s historic homes. I have always been in awe walking the streets of Charleston at the size of many of the homes. Yet the reality is that once inside they aren’t that big. Especially when you consider that a large portion of the first floor would have been designated as office space for the man of the house.

After a day of walking I decided to kick back and read. I put on my pajamas, went below and crawled into our bunk. The winds had started to pick up and the rain had started to fall – all remnants of Hurricane Ida. A few minutes later I heard it – thump. I continued my reading then heard it again – thump. David was still in the salon so I asked him to take a look at what it might be. Moments later I heard David yell, “Joanne get up here.” So me in pjs and stocking feet raced up on deck to find David in a full wrestle with the bow line. With the hard winds the line had stretched and allowed the bow of the boat to move about 5 foot away from the dock. The only thing keeping us from running into our neighbor, a 48 foot Catalina, was the thumping I had heard which was the left hull stern striking the back of the dock.

In a panic I rushed 2 boats down and yelled for help from our friend John on Marylee. He came running up on deck in his boxers and bare feet. The three of us fought the wind to bring the bow back to the dock. We ended up having to use a line around a cement piling and a winch on board to bring the boat back in – it was damned windy! Once everything was under control the dock looked like Charlotte’s Web. We had run 5 additional lines from the bow and midship to the dock to secure the boat. We were going to make sure the boat was going nowhere!

Soaking wet from the rain, we helped John move Marylee back in her slip as she was at risk of her bow striking the dock.

It was an unbelievable evening. We returned to the boat, pulled off our soaked garments and had a cup of hot cocoa to take the edge off. There would be no early to bed tonight. The adrenaline rush from the event would keep us up for several more hours!

The Admiral

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Charleston Tea Plantation...

Our first stop on the Charleston tourist list this year was the Charleston Tea Plantation. With Mom and I being tea drinkers, it was natural for us to want to see the only working tea plantation in the United States. Tea making is an interesting process and prompts a lot of questions.

Tea is actually a bush. The leaves from the tops of the bushes are harvested every 1 ½ to two weeks to be used as tea leaves. We found it interesting that such a Small portion of the bush is used for making tea.

Once harvested, the plants go to the wilter where they rest until they loose about 20% of their moisture content. From there, the process changes based on if you are manufacturing black tea or green tea. (Yes, black tea and green tea are from the same plant.) If green tea is being made the leaves leave the wilter and are immediately crushed and made into tea. If black tea is being made, the leaves are allowed to oxidize for about an hour before they are crushed.

This is where many of our questions surfaced. We’ve all heard that green tea naturally has less caffeine and is more healthy than black tea. So if this is the case it must be the oxidation which allows for heightened caffeine and a fewer antioxidants. Right???

Well kinda. The reality is that green tea and black tea have about the same amount of caffeine. Green is slightly less but negligibly so. Now, I should note that the tea on the plantation is not processed as a decaf tea.

So what about those antioxidants and health benefits from the green tea over the black. Well, I suppose it is possible that during the oxidation process for the black tea that some of the antioxidants are lost, but the folks at the plantation indicate that there Is no documentation to suggest that green tea was healthier than black tea.


The Admiral

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Season Begins...

While most people would be upset with the passing of summer, I think Dave and I have actually looked forward to it. With our return to the boat, we’ve been as giddy as school children. Our smiles our broader. Our bodies, already, falling into that state of relaxation. All that, even with a ton of work to do in order to launch the boat! Go figure!!

Yet boat work went as well. With a wash and wax, Tropical Breeze’s hulls now shine again. The sails are up and the sheets run. Makeshift drain reducers have been installed on all the outlet drains in hopes of keeping out the occasional snake and minimizing wake forcing itself up the drains. The speedo/depth instrument which went out for repair is now back in place and working. And the list goes on and on.
We received a special request this year to better explain how things work on board. Our primary mode of transportation when we are at anchor is the dinghy. The dinghy sits on the back end (stern) of the boat and gets raised and lowered into the water using a pulley at the end of the mast boom. Attached are photos of the dinghy hanging from the mast boom as we are raising it for launch.

With the help of Miguel and Charlie, launch went without a hitch. The bilges are dry. The engines working properly. I almost hate to document our good fortune for fear it will jinx us.

We are now down river – back in Charleston. We were greeted at the Maritime Center by Jeff, Bob and many others who came in to help with lines during our evening arrival. We’ve barely left the launch ramp and already we’ve bumped into friends. Pat on ‘Cat Maudy’ is here. Friends John and Mary on Marylee are expected tomorrow. Yet boat friends are not the only people we will see while in Charleston. The Admiral’s Mom and Dad are also making an appearance. Stay tuned for more.

The Admiral

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Summer Recap...

Where did the time go? I know when we returned to Michigan for the summer Dave and I had great expectations of all the things we would get to see and do with our free time. We did a lot, but admittedly, in retrospect it seems like very little.

Our priority was spending quality time with family and friends. This included helping Dave’s parents with the rebuilding of their home which had, unfortunately, been destroyed by fire in February. We are happy to report that Mom and Dad moved into their new home in August and are settling in nicely.

When not with family and friends we found time to enjoy boating on the lake, kayaking the rivers and even took up golf for the fourth or fifth time. Once again we both failed miserably at the golf thing, but enjoyed our hacking enough that we will try again next year.

While we didn’t travel far from home often, we did make one trip south to work on the boat. Enroute we stopped at the Biltmore Estates to tour the mansion. We were both very impressed. So many of the old mansions you see in Europe have a few select rooms refurbished to their glory. With the Biltmore there are over 50 rooms to see, all restored to their original splendor.

Admittedly, during our time in the Midwest we did get homesick for the islands. While tropical islands were out of the question, we did drive north – yes north - to our most favorite island – Mackinac. We spent a fall color weekend their which included bicycling around the small island, fudge tasting and shopping. The fall weekend was a great close to our trip home before heading south.

The Admiral
Photo 1: The Captain Kayaking
Photo 2: The Biltmore Mansion
Photo 3: Bicycling Around Mackinac
Photo 4: The town of Mackinac Island

Friday, May 29, 2009

To Write or Not to Write?

Such a dilemma. Being back in the midwest, Dave and I have struggled with whether or not we should keep posting material on our land adventures. Do we? Don't we? Well at this point we are planning to not post our land based activities.

But please drop back again next fall/winter season for the continued Adventures of Captain Dave and Admiral Joanne onboard Tropical Breeze.

Have a great summer!!!

Admiral Joanne

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Play Time...

With the boat hauled and most of the chores complete it was time for some play. Dave's brother Matt arrived to drive us back to the midwest. So the three of us set out to explore Charleston and the surrounding area.

Our first, and most important stop, was to catch up with friends on Tiffany Rose. Dave, Shirley and Christopher had arrived in Charleston just days before as they continued their trek back home to Canada. It was great visiting with them! We will miss them, as well as all the great friends we've met along our journey very much!

In Charleston we enjoyed the historic district, the market and the naval museum. I've spoken of the historic district during our previous stay so I won't dwell here, but it was our first opportunity to see the naval museum. What fun!! The naval museum is one of the most complete I've ever been to with a WWII aircraft carrier, a sub, a destroyer and a Coast Guard cutter all available to see. On board the aircraft carrier were aircraft from many vintages of naval history. It was very impressive!

But enough of fun....we did eventually have to get back to the task at hand and begin the journey home. What mixed emotions. We are excited to be returning home but saddened to be leaving the boat. Then perhaps, summer in the midwest will bring its own adventures.

The Admiral
5/10 - 5/14/09

Friday, May 8, 2009


Having arrived in Charleston the ‘real’ work of prepping the boat for haul out began. We took down sails, did maintenance, touched up sewing projects, packed and more. It was a lot of work but we were finally ready.

On haul out day we discovered a few surprises. We had picked up some freeloaders along the way. A tree frog had found his way into our cockpit and seemed quite content to just sit in the shade. He wasn’t very happy when Dave caught him in a towel and pitched him overboard. He did, however, find his way back to the stern of the boat where he sunned and dried himself for a while before taking off for the great unknown.

We also picked up a snake. Dave first saw him on the morning of the haul out underneath the boat in the outlet drain for the bathroom sink. When Dave inspected the drain closer he didn’t see the snake and thought the slimy little guy had gone. Not to be. The day after haul out we found him sticking his head out of the outlet drain again. He appeared to have had crawled deeper up the sink drain and Dave couldn’t see him on initial inspection. To get him out we ran water through the sink drain until he popped out and then lured him away from the boat. Hopefully we won’t see him or any of his cousins again.

We have yet to meet some of the other local critters. (And hope we don't!) We've been told there are hogs, bobcat and even a 3 foot alligator in residence. Should be interesting!

The Admiral
4/30/09 – 5/8/09

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Byewfort not Bowfort...

I always get Beaufort, SC and Beaufort, NC confused. The South Carolina town pronounced Byewfort, the North Carolina town pronounced Bowfort. Either way, whichever one I am in I tend to pronounce as the other and vice versa.

We arrived in Beaufort after an overnight sail from Jekyll Island / St. Simons Sound to the Beaufort Inlet. Tired, we were happy to see that the free dock was open and available to tie up. The dock is available from 6 am to 1 am each day. Our arrival at 8:30 was early enough to get a spot before the other boats began coming in.

Beaufort is well known for its antebellum homes many of which have been featured in movies. A tour guide told me the town has 17 movies to its credit - Forrest Gump being one of the best known of the group.

The community is lovely. The mature moss filled trees shade the sidewalks. The churches are all high steepled. You can loose yourself into the southern atmosphere by escaping off the paths of the main streets and onto the side streets of the area.

But with a schedule, it was time to move on. As we learned the stretch of the ICW from Beaufort to South of Charleston is like motoring through distant rivers. On the three day journey we saw very few boats. It was as if we were in our own world - alone with nature.

The Admiral
4/25/09 - 4/28/09

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jekyll Island...

Despite the fun, it was time to leave St. Augustine. With the weather continuing to be mild we opted to pop to the outside and day sail up to St. Mary's inlet at the Florida/Georgia border. From there we traveled to Jekyll Island, Georgia. It was our first time in Jekyll and will not be our last.

Jekyll Island was once the winter haven to the world's wealthiest. In the 1880's, 53 charter members of the club - including Astor's, Gould's, Vanderbilt's, Rockefeller's, Goodyear's and more - formed the Jekyll Island Club and purchased the island. They then developed the island to suit their needs. The Jekyll Island Club hotel is still open for business today and many of the member cottages can be seen in the Millionaire Village. The island became part of the Georgia State park system in the late 1940's. The state has done a remarkable job in preserving the community and maintaining the quaint upscale escape feel of the island. If your in need of an escape and are in the Georgia area the island is a must see.

The Admiral

Blog Archive