We are writing this blog for one reason and one reason only. To provide a vehicle to make it easier to remain in touch with our family and friends back home.

Our plan is simple. Depart our home port of Goderich Ontario in the Summer of 2011. Cruise Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron while visiting some of the ports and anchorages we have missed over the years. As well as revisiting some of our favourite haunts hopefully with some of our very good friends with whom we have cruised with many times before. All the while adding up the miles and gaining experience with our new trawler. Our first and only self imposed deadline is to be in the Chicago area around Labour Day. South of Chicago, weather and circumstances will guide us!

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 16-19, 2013 – Charleston, SC

Interesting place and very busy docking at the Charleston City Marina complete with a shuttle car to downtown historic district and the local grocery store.  We decided on the horse carriage ride to give us a synopsis of the history and views of the famous city.  I have to say (and I hear Mark saying “well just say it”), I much preferred the tour of Beaufort.  The city of Charleston collects a piece of the pie and every carriage must make a stop before their tour and like a bingo game, a specific tour is allotted for us.  Being crammed in the carriage so as not to be able to turn my head or raise my camera, coupled with the downside of the bingo ball and the tour was a little less than anticipated.

 We especially enjoyed the downtown market and more specifically the education received at DNA Baskets, a sweetgrass basket vendor who kindly and eloquently gave his version of the origins and skills required in the creation of sweetgrass baskets.  The basket I finally decided upon was created by his wife who learned the skill from her mother, who had the art passed down from her mother.  These basket making techniques originated with West African people who came to South Carolina as slaves.   I commented that I would have loved to meet the maker of my basket, Darryl’s wife Angela and let her know how well he represented their family.  He whipped out his cell phone and proceeded to call his wife.  “Hi honey, Miss Terri would like to speak with you.”  So-o I was able to relate my thoughts to his sweet wife, who I am sure had just woken up from a nap!   The sweetgrass basket will take its honorary place at our Northern Bruce Peninsula cottage alongside the pineneedle basket purchased in Florida from a skilled craftswoman and the woven box, created by a Manitoulin Island craftswoman, I intend to purchase upon my return to the great white (white meaning snow) north.

Oh, we can’t leave Charleston without mentioning Mark’s little swim in the marina basin.  Earlier in the day he decided to soak Smudge’s pee pad off the side of the boat by tying a line around it and attaching it to the swim platform.  But there is a slight tide (6 feet) and current that was not factored into his thought processes.  So-o when he tried to pull it up, he discovered that it had wound itself around the rudder a few times.  Wasting no time, he put on the snorkel glasses, hopped into a bathing-suit, grabbed a knife and jumped in the murky waters of Charleston City Marina!  Smudge’s hero!  Mark saved the pee pad and didn’t even have to use the knife, although the barnacles on the dock posts left him with a few scrapes.  Upon observing this scene, a passerby remarked to me, “You have a good man there!”  “I heartily agree!” I replied with a smile.

Getting nowhere slowly

Watching over the stables

Charleston Antebellum house

Downtown Charleston house & garden


Front of Jail

Mark with tour horse Loretta

Terri trying to decide

Old church window

Charleston Downtown Historic Market

Terri speaking to DNA Darryl's wife Angela on cellphone

Day is done Charleston City Marina


May 15-16, 2013 - Beautfort, SC

Beaufort South Carolina is wonderful.  Only a low voltage issue at the Downtown Marina would shorten our stay.  We had initially planned to stay two nights but we would have to see all of the sights in one day.

As luck would have it when we registered at the office there was a horse carriage tour of the old city leaving in 20 minutes.  We were sold and soon on our way.

 Beaufort has done a wonderful job of preserving their past.  Most of the people and service businesses must realize that 70% of their income is derived from the tourism industry.  Their one production factory is unique in that it is the only one of its kind in the US.  It is a kazoo factory where all of the kazoo's for the whole country are manufactured.   Beaufort even has a kazoo parade.  Too bad we missed it.
After the tour we returned to the boat to do a little computer work and get cleaned up as we had dinner reservations.  Generally we eat dinner on board and try and have lunch out at one of the local eateries, but Terri had a hankering to check out one of the local restaurants that had received exceptional reviews.  The last few years Terri has become interested in all of the restaurant reality shows on TV.  She likes to apply what she has learned from these shows to our own little reality.  The place that we chose needed a little help and certainly did not live up to its reputation.  After a quick look around and spotting more than one deficiency we politely excused our selves.  This was restaurant row and we did not feel as though this was our best choice for the evening.  Long story short, we quickly found another establishment just a few doors away.  Saltus River Grill was the exact opposite and a real treat!  We rarely have raw oysters but this place assured us that they were indeed fresh.  That, plus the fact that they were fresh from Apalachicola, Florida that very day made them irresistible . From appetizer to the final bite of Terri's creme brulee, made this a night to remember.  Sadly the camera had been left back at the boat.

 We were both tired and knew we had a long day tomorrow.  It would be an early night.

 Charleston, SC here we come!
Cheers - Mark
Old Baptist Church

Antebellum House

Old Oak Tree - branches grow to ground and back up

Antebellum House

Sign in window - no not our Candice!

Public Library

The Beaufort Mermaid


Monday, May 20, 2013

May 13-15, 2013 – Savannah, GA

This was an enchanted place that was made more alive after we viewed the movie, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (borrowed from Darleen & John – Island Rhumb).  We docked at the Isle of Hope Marina which was a good taxi ride into the historic city of Savannah but a heavenly spot to stroll down the old oak canopied streets, air perfumed with the scent of magnolia and jasmine.

We opted for the trolley tour in Savannah, which gave us an informative overview of the downtown historic district.   What’s not to like with the preserved riverfront, 22 of 24 original park squares, diverse architectural and historic structures and having the honour of being named “America’s most haunted city”.

Lunch was superb as we dined at the Olde Pink House Restaurant and sampled some Low country Southern specialties such as She Crab soup and Fried Green Tomatoes.

This stopover will not soon be forgotten!

Historic Savannah

One of 24 squares (parks) historic Savannah

Sign in antique shop

Savannah Cotton Exchange building

Owen-Thomas House

Owen-Thomas House Courtyard

Terrmar @ Isle of Hope Marina

Isle of Hope Streetscape

Isle of Hope

Isle of Hope

Isle of Hope-House with Black Cat

Isle of Hope

Isle of Hope

Isle of Hope

May 11-13, 2013 – Fernandina Beach, FL & St. Simons, GA

Another milestone for Terrmar!   Our last stop in Florida is Fernandina Harbor Marina, Florida.  We stayed long enough to walk the downtown and see the quaint shops and restaurants.  Then it was time to continue north.

We meandered up the ICW noticing how the scenery was beginning to change as we entered the state of Georgia.  I was thrilled to capture a picture of a wild horse seen grazing on the beach on Cumberland Island, GA.  The horses were set free when their caretaker died and she requested in her will, that they should be allowed to roam wild and fend for themselves on the island.

We spent the evening docked at Hidden Harbor Yacht Club, St. Simmons, GA.  Small, quiet, beautiful and floating docks much appreciated because of the 7 ft. tides!

Pulp Mill @ Fernandina Beach, FL

Wild horse @ Cumberland Island, GA

Mud Flats of Georgia

Posts @ Hidden Harbor Marina showing low tide

Low tide @ Hidden Harbor Marina

High tide on ICW


May 8-11, 2013 – Jacksonville, FL

Our intention was to follow the ICW north and then take a detour south to explore the St. John’s River.  Well we got as far as the Marina at Ortega Landing and decided to just take a few relax days at this very comfy place instead!  Exploring St. John’s River was not in the cards for us but we did see Jacksonville from the waterside.

Estate Home
Estate Home

Boat Lifts on St. John's River

Marina at Ortega Landing
City of Jacksonville

Ortega River Bridge at sunrise


May 6-8, 2013 – St. Augustine, FL

We arrived at our destination, Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor at a rising tide.  The current can be extremely strong at this marina’s very narrow entrance and it did not help to have a small fishing boat exiting the entrance channel right in the middle.  Captain Mark fought the current and managed to keep Terrmar from ending up on the bank.  We would have liked to have more time to explore this city and definitely will return sometime in the future – so much to see and do!  We chose to tour the National Monument of Castillo de San Marcos and it did not disappoint.  It has over 335 years of history and was originally built by the Spanish to protect its settlements in 1672.

Castillo de San Marcos - South view

Mark standing on drawbridge over mote

Terri overlooking Bridge of Lions -South East

Tower facing South East over Matanzas Bay
North East Tower


Castillo de San Marcos courtyard

Approaching St. Augustine

St. Augustine Ocean Inlet