Monthly Archives: April 2014

Detour and Frolic

Arguably, our entire adventure, which started in November, has been a detour and frolic from our regular life.  But we’ve detoured from our cruise – in its waning days – to laissez a little bon temps roulez.   Committed as I am to attending the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (or, Jazz Fest) every year, those travel arrangements were made well in advance.  And certainly before we even had an inkling that we would be somewhere on the ICW when that date arrived.

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It’s been cold and blustery in the Carolinas, but it’s spring in New Orleans!

So, we left Calypso in Morehead City, North Carolina, and rented a car.

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The view from the docks at Morehead City Yacht Basin.

We spent a few hours exploring Beaufort (that’s pronounced “Bow-fort,” Rick), stopped in Richmond to visit my sister and her family, then arrived at home.

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I’m sure you’re surprised to learn that I found the houses in Beaufort, NC’s historic district to be very pretty and interesting.

After a bit of time for the PTSD of driving the Capital Beltway to subside, we flew to New Orleans.

What started as a loose commitment to gather with friends on the 20th anniversary of graduating from Loyola of New Orleans ended up being an imperative.  For before that date, Katrina struck, and I felt it more necessary than ever to give back (if only as a free-spending visitor), and to share with my friends the pleasures of the city.  This year, our 8th consecutive, our free-ranging group consisted of 9 people.

While I am a big music fan, I am not a particular fan of jazz.  And that’s the beauty of Jazz Fest: it’s way more than just jazz.  Over the years, we have seen Wilco, Mumford and Sons, the Decemberists, Jimmy Buffett, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, and Dave Matthews, among many others.  Not to mention dozens of local, niche performers who sometimes outshine the big names.

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Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band attracted an enthusiastic crowd.

Sometimes, even the sign language interpreters provide arresting performances.

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We could hardly take our eyes of this interpreter.  She was awesome!

Yesterday’s headliner was Eric Clapton, but I was there for John Hiatt – whom we ran into after the show.

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John Hiatt got the audience at the Fais Do Do stage going.

New Orleans is also a great restaurant town, so we will the empty spaces in our schedule up with great meals.  While you can still get a plateful of jambalaya or etouffe, I prefer smaller plates of lighter food.  So while there is usually a lunch committed to eating at Jazz Fest (the cochon de lait and duck po-boys are insanely good), most other meals are more restrained.  I had meals at Coquette (my favorite), La Petite Grocery, Borgne and Domenica.  As well as drinks at Bouligny Tavern and the Roosevelt Hotel.  If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, let me help you eat your way through town.

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Beautiful salad and dessert at Coquette.

By far, my favorite activity during this crazy weekend is people-watching.  The Fest brings out the class and the crazies.  A great many people wear the official patterns of various years’ Fests.

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This particular pattern shows up in many different forms.

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This is 2007’s design, which I own — alas, without the “coordinating” shorts.

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This lady is firmly committed to the 2014 watermelon pattern.

Others are a little more free-form in their attire.

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Some of the many intriguing looks.

Should you ever decide to attend Jazz Fest, here is a game to help you decide what to wear.  Roll a pair of dice to help you choose each element of your costume, starting from the top.  (If I don’t offer enough choices to correspond with all possible rolls, keep rolling until you get a number that works.)  NOTE:  I have witnessed ALL of these.

Headwear:

 2 – Nothing.  You didn’t realize how hot and sunny it would be

3 – Dreadlocks, but if you’re a Rasta, roll again

4 – A Saints or Tulane Green Wave ballcap

5 – A papal miter

6 – A Pith helmet

7 – A straw fedora

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Both Rick and John Hiatt rock the fedora.

8 – A battered and sweat-stained cowboy hat

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Emily’s cowboy hat is an example of one which is too nice to meet this roll of the dice.

9 –  A do-rag or bandana

10 – A Tilley hat

11 – A visor or ballcap advertising some event or place that has nothing to do with New Orleans

12 – A floppy tie-dyed hat

Sunglasses:

 2 – None. You didn’t realize how hot and sunny it would be

3 – Classic Ray Ban Wayfarers or Aviators

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Linda and performer Meschuja Lake have the aviators down, while Jim also wears the fedora.

4 – Oversized designer (Chanel, Gucci, etc.) shades

5 – Neon colored Wayfarer-styled shades

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Meschuja Lake’s dancer Chance has the neon shades making an impression.

6 —  Sporty Oakley, Maui Jim, or Kaenon glasses

7 – Retro cat-eye glasses

8 – Pastel-tinted John Lennon glasses

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Dan’s shades aren’t quite retro enough.

Top:

 2 – Nothing.  You like to live dangerously.

3 – A coconut shell bra.  Maybe Jimmy Buffett will turn up.

4 – Official Jazz Fest gear

5 – A sharp, ladylike dress (you can skip the “Bottom” category, or roll again if you are a guy and aren’t thrilled with this)

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This lady looked smart, even if a little overdressed.

6 – A cute little sundress in Size 4, regardless of your own actual size

7 – A tie-dyed t-shirt.  Maybe Jerry Garcia will turn up.

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8 – A long-sleeved safari-styled shirt

9 – A “been there, done that” shirt from a place or event that has nothing to do with New Orleans, but is intended to get an attractive member of the opposite sex to look at you and strike up a conversation

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10 – A tube top

11 – A “wife beater” tank top

12 – A bikini top, regardless of your size

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Bottom:

 2 – A grass skirt (see above)

3 – Camouflage pants

4 – Black jeans

5 – A miniskirt

6 – Nylon running shorts

7 – Overall shorts

8 – Patterned leggings

9 – Khaki shorts

10 – Bikini bottoms, regardless of your size

11 – A pareo

12 – A kilt

Underclothing:

2 – Visible bra, thong, or boxers (depending on gender)

3 – Well-fitting bra.  Where else are you going to keep your cell phone?

4 – None.  You like to hang loose.

Shoes:

2 –  None.  You like to live naturally.

3 – Cowboy boots

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I very nearly tossed  my boots in my suitcase, before deciding that the dust and dirt of the Fairgrounds wouldn’t be very nice for them.

4 – Hiking boots

5 – Wellingtons or other rain boots, even if it’s not raining

6 – Sports sandals like Tevas or Keens

7 – Crocs

8 – Flip flops

9 – Platform sandals

10 – Running shoes

11 – Birkenstocks.

12 – Delicate strappy metallic sandals

Accessories (choose up to 4)

 2 – Sunburn.  You didn’t realize how hot and sunny it would be

3 – A cute, properly outfitted toddler

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Kiddies should be wearing ear and head protection!

4 – One or more leis.  Jimmy Buffett may turn up.

5 – Feathers

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6 – Battery-powered fan

7 – A mango freeze or iced café au lait

8 – A guest pass pasted prominently on your clothing

9 – Giant hoop earrings

10 – Temporary or permanent tattoos

11 – Unnaturally colored hair

12 – A shawl

Now you’re set.  Just don’t forget the folding chair and the hand-sanitizer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cruising Life — Q&A

Harriet (ex-S/V Moondance) directed me to this humorous blog post that talks about the glamor of living aboard: http://www.cygnus3.com/how-to-liveaboard-a-boat/

In the meantime, since some of my devoted readership didn’t get to ask questions last time around, or may have more, I invite you to ask me more questions — in the Comments section, on Facebook, or my email (eva_hill@hotmail.com).  I may even give serious responses to some the questions.

Claustrophobia?!

I was in a cold, dark place.  In a varnished wood coffin-sized box that was open on top.  The box was at the top of a ramp, in a cave or mine or some other sort of enclosed chute, and it was about to be launched downward.  I had no control – no means of propulsion or steering or stopping.  I started yelling out “Help me!  Help me!  Help me!”  Rick touched my leg and asked what was wrong.  As my eyes opened (no contact lenses, no glasses), I blearily took in the low ceiling and the buffed cherry all around me.  “I don’t know where I am!”

I finally regained sensibility, and realized I was having another one of the similarly-themed dreams that have been haunting me lately.  Me, in a too-small space, and no way to get out of it.

Which is curious.  I occasionally have bouts of mild claustrophobia, but they haven’t done much other than keep me from entering caves or SCUBA diving.  And despite living in tight quarters these last 6 months, I generally haven’t felt deprived of space.

But then again, the v-berth, where I sleep with my head at the peak, might not help.

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The v-berth, this morning.  The 1,987,623rd consecutive day I’ve made the bed.

And lately, with all of the foul weather gear we’ve had to wear and allow to dry, the shower hasn’t been very roomy.

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That’s Rick today, on our way to Morehead City, NC, bundled up.  At least the sun finally came out and neither of us was wearing sea boots, like we did yesterday.

And the aft cabin is serving as our “garage.”

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Is it any wonder I have a spreadsheet that tracks all of this stuff?

And the nav station needs to be tidied up.

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Every home has a dumping ground, and ours is the nav station.

But while the galley is snug, I’ve learned how to manage without feeling too crowded.

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But I still always forget to get an ingredient from the locker behind the cooktop.  And don’t remember to get it until after I’ve lit the burner.

Of course, last night we were anchored in an anchored called Mile Hammock Bay.  Anchoring is allowed, but landing on the shore is strictly prohibited.  That’s because it’s right in the middle of Camp Lejeune.  Where they regularly conduct training with live ammunition.  Either they took a break for Easter, or we just couldn’t hear it over the howling wind.

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That might inspire a nightmare or two.

*   *   *   *   *

Fettuccine with Fish and Mushrooms

I’m getting to the stage where I’m trying to use up all of the provisions we’ve stocked.   So when planning dinner, I blindly reach into the freezer and choose some random protein around which to create a meal.  Last night, I pulled hog snapper (fish from Green Turtle Cay), and this pasta dish is what I concocted with it.

6 oz. fettuccine, cooked

Olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 oz. prosciutto, chopped

¼ cup julienned sundried tomatoes

½ cup sugar snap peas

14 ounce can mushrooms (fresh would be preferable, but they don’t last in the fridge)

½ pound fresh firm fish, cut in bite-sized pieces (I used the hog snapper)

1 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

8 ounces skim milk

¼ cup shredded parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste (don’t salt until the very end, since the prosciutto and parmesan are salty)

In a large saucepan, in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté the shallot and prosciutto until the shallot is translucent.  Add the sundried tomatoes, sugar snap peas and mushrooms and continue sautéing until warmed through.  Add the fish, and cook long enough for the fish to become opaque.  Add the oregano and butter, and cook until the butter melts.  Add the flour and toss to coat the other ingredients.  Add the milk and parmesan and cook until the mixture tightens.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss with cooked pasta.

Makes 4 servings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICW Blues

Maybe they are more accurately called the ICW Browns – that has been the color of the cypress-stained waters in this part of the waterway, until abruptly the water turned back to green once we passed the Cape Fear River.  But that wouldn’t have the same ring to it.

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The water doesn’t just look brown; it IS brown.  It’s like strong tea.

The last few mornings have found me covered to the top of my head with the down comforter, moaning when Rick wakes me just before 7 am so we can move north.  I feel like a high school kid not wanting to get ready for the bus, but when I wake up, I’m reminded that I’m on a great adventure.  But it’s not been very much fun lately.  In fact, it’s been downright miserable.

The weather took a real turn for the worse when we left Charleston.

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Charleston’s Battery on a grey morning.

With the rains came really low temperatures and high winds.  The first night out of Charleston, we anchored at my behest much sooner than we’d intended, since the weather was so terrible.  What could have been a gorgeous evening surrounded by salt marshes in the South Santee River became an anxious night at anchor, watching the wind gusting consistently over 40 knots.   And at anchor, we can’t run our heater because it requires 120-volt electricity.

The next day, I insisted on a marina (and believe me, I LOVE being at anchor) so we could plug in and be warm.  We stopped at Wacca Wache in South Carolina, near Murrell’s Inlet.

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The Wacca Wache marina, on an especially pretty and secluded-feeling stretch of the waterway.

And then the next day, at Southport Marina just over the North Carolina border.

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The Southport waterfront, with a light-heartedly named boat Booger.

(While we’ve been sequestered in our little ICW universe, there’s so much going on half a mile from us.  Wacca Wache, for example, seems like an idyllic little backwater stop, but the sprawl of Myrtle Beach is just moments away.)

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A cypress swamp in South Carolina.

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The ocean and beaches are never far from this stretch of ICW, but become especially evident when we approach an inlet from the ocean to ICW.  Swamps give way to dunes and beach houses (Cindy L., this picture of Sunset Beach from the ICW is for you.)

Just in case you think we are being Bahama-softened wusses complaining about the weather, temperatures had been in the 30s in the morning, with wind (on the nose) in the 20-25 knot range.  That means a formidably low wind chill.  And we’re not really prepared with the proper clothing.

My typical outfit has consisted of a t-shirt, fleece, windbreaker or foul-weather jacket on top; a ball cap with a pashmina scarf wrapped around my ears; sailing gloves; foul weather pants; and Keen sandals (my warmest shoes) with socks.  Fashion plates we are not!

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Me, in some of my many layers.

With the weather woes, we’ve come to the first stretch of the waterway I’ve experienced where the chart plotter and our actual position only have a passing familiarity.  Even under the best of circumstances, driving the boat up the ICW requires attention and care as the channel is often very narrow and makes many jogs, twists and turns.  Even though we use the autopilot, we are constantly making minute adjustments to our course.  Navigational marks help, and when in doubt, we follow the channel marks and/or stay in the apparent middle of the channel.  Rick and I take turns doing 2-hour watches, and whoever is on watch is concentrating hard.

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Dare you honor that channel mark?

However, this isn’t always enough.  On Thursday, in the middle of the marked channel, both on the chart plotter and visually, I suddenly found the depth drop from 14 feet to 7 feet to 5.4 feet (we need 5 feet).  By the time I throttled down and shut off the autopilot, it was down to 3.8 feet and I was touching the bottom.  We backed off the shoal – it was soft mud – and went on our way, but I was rattled.  The rest of the day, the chart plotter showed me at times traversing through land, even though in reality I was in plenty of deep water.

In the meantime, the one of us who is off watch is busy doing other things – making lunch, reading, blogging, fixing things, washing dishes.  But one of those activities has been informed house hunting (damn you, Merlin Ed, for showing us the Zillow app!)  Whenever we see some houses we like, the GPS and Zillow functions on our iPhones show us available properties and prices.

This has dovetailed conveniently with our 2-night stay in Wrightsville, NC, at the Seapath Yacht Club.

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The dreary view from the docks at Seapath Yacht Club — a marina I would highly recommend for its friendly and knowledgable staff.

Here we are a few minutes’ walk from Wrightsville Beach – which isn’t at its best in this cruddy weather.

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It’s spring break for a lot of people, and since they’re at the beach, they WILL go in the water and surf.

Similarly, a drive to Carolina Beach and Kure Beach revealed an equally bleak seascape.

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At Kure Beach, the colorful houses do little to brighten the day.

But a bonus has been the opportunity to visit the historic, active and attractive town of Wilmington.  Although it’s cold and rainy, the town looks lush and green, and there’s plenty of life in the old-fashioned downtown commercial district.

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An old-style downtown district with no chain stores, as well as rows of attractive restaurants and cafes along a waterfront walkway on the Cape Fear River.

And the historic residential district is equally appealing.

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I’ve already picked out “my” house….

Add another one to the list….

From Calypso’s Galley II

From Calypso’s Galley II

Now that we are back in the US, we have some different factors at work in the galley.  While we have greater access to some ingredients, they are not always practical to carry, keep or cook with in a boat’s galley.

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Fresh basil would be great to have.  But if you can get it, it doesn’t keep very long.  And my thumb is too brown to grow it the way some cruisers do.   So I keep several tubes of basil paste in the fridge, where they’ve kept for months.

We’ve also been dealing with some unexpectedly cold weather, as well as an ocean passage.

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Last night at anchor, we had gusts in the 40+ knot range.  Not a pleasant combination with cold temperatures.

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The cypress and salt marsh lined shores of the Waccamaw River in South Carolina are beautiful.  But 37 degrees in mid-April?  Seriously?

A handful of new or adapted recipes have emerged.

What To Do With FRESH Fish

Thanks to Alexis and Berwick (M/V Moondance), we had some fresh caught mahi on hand.  But we were in a marina the night I proposed to cook some of it, ruling out grilling.  My philosophy with pristine fish is to do very little with it – it’s just wonderful by itself.  So I quickly pan seared the mahi, drizzled a little Soy Vey Island Teriyaki on it, and served it alongside a salad of dark greens and boat-ripened tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

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If I’m inspired, I’ll make my own Dijon balsamic vinaigrette.  My recipe is unconventional.  The typical ratio is 3 parts of oil to 1 part vinegar.  However, to reduce fat, I flip the ratio.  To combat the sour-ness of the extra vinegar, I add a little Splenda.  To make my vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

9 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard

½ packet Splenda

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and serve over salad.

What to Do With FRESH Shrimp

We could hardly leave Charleston without laying our hands on some fresh shrimp – from a seafood market right near the City Marina.  10 years ago, I’d have cooked the shrimp in a pound of butter, but we try to be healthier these days!  So I used them with my go-to Thai seafood recipe (which I’ve adapted for the boat from Running on MT’s Julie’s recipe).

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Shrimp with Thai Red Curry

1 14.5 ounce can lite coconut milk

2 tablespoons Patak’s red curry paste

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 packets Splenda

2 tablespoons basil paste (ideally, I’d use a bunch of chopped fresh basil)

¼ cup julienned sundried tomatoes (normally, I’d use cherry tomatoes….)

1 cup sugar snap peas (you can use snow peas, broccoli, etc.)

1 pound shell-on shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cooked brown rice noodles

In deep skillet or large saucepan, combine coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, Splenda and basil paste and bring to a simmer.  Add basil paste, sundried tomatoes and sugar snap peas and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add shrimp and cook until just barely pink and no longer translucent.  Serve over brown rice noodles.

What’s Better Than Chili When It’s Chilly?

 We did an ocean passage from Cumberland Island, GA to Beaufort, SC.  When doing a passage, you can’t count on calm seas.  And regardless of the temperature inland, the wind and sea often combine to make things feel cooler.  Chili is a great meal to prepare in advance because it keeps well and is easy to eat from a deep bowl.  It’s also warming and satisfying.

In my case, I made a batch of turkey chili, which we ate not only on the passage, but have also served over tortilla chips with parmesan cheese as “nachos.”  As cold as it was this morning, the very thought of having it for lunch today gave us something to look forward to.

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Eva’s Turkey Chili

1.5 – 2 pounds ground turkey

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large can of beans, including liquid (I like pintos because they look nice and toasty, but you can use navy or cannellini beans)

1 large onion, diced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced (the color is for optics only; you can use red or green if you prefer)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 chicken bouillon cube

4 cups water

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon chili sauce (I like Goya’s picante sauce)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic in canola oil until the onion is translucent.  Add ground turkey and sauté until it’s cooked through.  Add water and bouillon cube and simmer until the bouillon dissolves.  Add seasonings and continue to simmer until the ingredients are combined.  Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

If the chili is too thick, add some water.  If too thin, add a bit of flour dissolved in water and cook through.

Serve with garnishes that can include tortilla chips, white cheese (I used grated parmesan) and sour cream.

 

 

 

Carolina In My Mind

Actually, James Taylor is from North Carolina, and I imagine the song was inspired by his Carolina, but I always think of South Carolina – and its Queen City, Charleston – whenever I hear it.

After leaving Beaufort, we wound our way through miles and miles of salt marsh to reach Charleston, where we’ve spent 3 nights at the Charleston City Marina.

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Beaufort’s Lady’s Island Bridge, opening for us just after dawn.  And lots and lots and lots of marshes.

One of those nights was on its (in)famous Megadock, stretching for nearly ¼ of a mile.  It’s a fairly swank location, with all the amenities one might wish for, and then some.  Its principal appeal is its location and the courtesy shuttle running all over the peninsula.

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Azaleas at the Battery, retaining the last of their blossoms.

We didn’t have a particular agenda in mind for Charleston, as we’ve visited many times before from rented beach house bases on the nearby sea islands.  It was more a matter of absorbing the ambience of this supremely lovely and gracious town.  Inhaling the rankness of plough mud at low tide as well as the sweet perfume of jasmine.  Feeling the warmth of the sun, as well as humidity (all of which is about to change and bring us record low temperatures).  Partaking of her splendid local cuisine, inspired by the abundance of her waters and land (meals at 82 Queen, Cypress, and a lovely lunch with our friends Shelley and Peter (Lifesong) at Slightly North of Broad).

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The architecture of Charleston is so overwhelmingly gorgeous that I chose to focus on an element of it in many of my photos: the window boxes, decked out in spring flowers.

On the second Sunday of every month, King Street – a main street with lots of shops and restaurants – is closed to car traffic, and it seems all of the town comes out to stroll its length, dressed in smart Sunday afternoon clothes.  We joined them, and spent a few bucks on shoes – my feet, which haven’t been in a closed shoe since November, alarmingly fit into a Size 42 (equivalent US size 10!!!), but they were really cute, so ….

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Of course, Charleston may be best known for her gorgeous residential district on the southern part of the peninsula, so that’s where I’ll leave this post.

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One feature shared by many homes is the side gallery/porch which is referred to as a piazza here.  They were designed to catch any and all stray breezes in an era well before the invention of air conditioning.

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Chasing Spring

As we’ve been making our way back to the US and northward home, we’ve timed – or tried to time – our journey to coincide with the arrival of full-fledged, bona fide, spring.  I have NO interest in being cold.   But spring has been elusive, even in Florida, as cold fronts have had us chilled in our bunks at night, and wearing unaccustomed layers of clothing during the day.

Yet despite the weather, there are places which in my mind are emblematic of spring.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve only visited in the spring.  Or because my mental image of them is inextricably tied with spring.

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This just looks like spring!

Unlike a lot of first-time ICW cruisers, we’ve not had the luxury of dawdling because of personal deadlines (various commitments, including work).  So we’ve had to prioritize.  While I’d have liked to visit several more of the Georgia Sea Islands such as Brunswick, St. Simons and Jekyll, we limited ourselves to Cumberland.

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As we were leaving Cumberland, we had to share the channel with a submarine being escorted into the river.  You don’t see that everyday!

We chose to go offshore, overnight, to skip the rest of Georgia.  The miles we did in the ocean were far more efficient than the distance we could have covered on the ICW.

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Just look at the twists and turns of the ICW we missed in Georgia by going offshore.

While we were out on the ocean, we found ourselves in unexpectedly excellent sailing conditions, and actually had to keep shortening sail to slow down.

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The Coast Guard also thought it was a good day, doing training exercises offshore.

We toyed with using the wind to our advantage and going as far as Charleston, but decided that we would rather enter the Port Royal inlet at night and NOT miss Beaufort, South Carolina.  (Pronounced Byoo-fort; the one in NC is pronounced Boe-fort.)

To me, Beaufort IS spring.

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The view as we make our way up the Beaufort River.

My first mental image of Beaufort is from the movie The Big Chill, which I saw very early in college.  While I joined my little clan of friends in trying to figure out which of the characters each of us was, or would be, I was also trying to figure out how to end up living in THE HOUSE!   Later, when I read Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides, his descriptive (if somewhat overblown) prose transported me there.  Rick and I finally got to visit when we came to Hilton Head for one of our spring tennis trips (which have since been replaced by a yearly pilgrimage to New Orleans for Jazz Fest).

I was smitten.  The azaleas were in full bloom and life in this exquisite tidewater town moved as if captured in golden honey.  Our arrival here, after 20+ hours at sea yesterday, was no less pleasing – though the azaleas were perhaps a week past their prime.  The juxtaposition of gracious neo-Classical southern architecture, salt marsh, and rioting vegetation make for an intoxicating combination.

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Salt marshes and flowers in bloom.  Wish I could bottle it.

We were docked at the Downtown Marina, sharing space with replicas of the Nina and Pinta.

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Our dockmates.

That resulted in quite a bit more foot traffic past Calypso than I would have liked.  But the weather was mild and sunny, so who could blame the visitors for enjoying a waterfront stroll.  Our location couldn’t have been more convenient for walking around town.

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Gorgeous.

As well, we caught up with our friends Ed and Tina of Merlin, who are also making their way north to Maryland.  We had dinner with them at a terrific restaurant (Saltus River Grill) that featured small plates with a lowcountry twist and, yes, another great facet of spring: soft-shell crabs!

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You’ve got to love a place that preserves its live oaks!

We’re on our way now to another classic – to me – “spring” town: Charleston, where we hope to spend a few days.  Hello shrimp and grits!