God Bless America!

July 4th mode
Cape Canaveral – even had to go through a lock

It’s been a very different last few weeks. We checked in at Cape Canaveral as our landfall port of mainland USA after our passage from the US Virgin Isles anchoring in what looked like a flood plain through a bridge and lock system. The water is dark green and full of dolphins. We missed a rocket launch by a day but got to see some up close as a second prize.

Quite an adjustment from the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas and the raw beauty of the rest of the Caribbean. But we remain ever grateful that America did not close its borders to foreign sailors from the Caribbean, providing us a much needed refuge from the imminent hurricane season. By the time we left, no other Caribbean island had opened its borders, we were lucky to already have visas to enter America.

Exploring St Augustine with a boat friend and of course Ellie who was acquired with pocket money

From there we bee-lined up to St Augustine where Andrew left us girls safely tied up to a mooring ball for 10 days so he could fly to San Diego to assist Megs, his sister, after an arm operation. It meant Mom was in charge of all the blue jobs too, like remembering to put the anchor light on at night, keep a beady eye on battery charge %, water levels, winching the dinghy up and down and arranging for a poop pump out. We’ve never needed to do one before releasing our tanks far out at sea but of course we weren’t moving for a while. Luckily the marina offered it as a free service, encouraging sailors not to do a dirty. I coyly told the honeysucker operator that it was my first time as he pulled up his boat and equipment next to LodeStar. He chivalrously told me that it wasn’t his first time and that he’d walk me through the process assuring me that it’s a clean and neat job, as long as I get it right! So it meant unscrewing the cap on the deck, putting on some latex gloves he supplied me (slightly worried now as to why I needed them) and inserting the pipe into the top of the tank, turning the lever across and holding on for dear life to the pipe that created the vacuum and sucked us dry and clean.

When a fast boat suddenly seems so much cooler than your own

Next was bailing the dinghy at 2am for fear it would sink in the relentless rain and I wasn’t strong enough to lift her onto the davits to release the plug and drain her. This was cause for a few cusses and curses in my soggy pj’s. We were close to the marina but it still meant we had to take the dinghy back and forth to get onto land. A job I normally naturally leave to Andrew. But we managed and explored town on rollerblades, ate ginormous ice-creams, and did a whole lot of fun touristy stuff with our friends on Dalliance and her crew of 5 (three girls yay!) who coincidently tied up to the ball behind us a few days before Andrew got back.

We even had a substitute granny (Marge, Andrew’s American Mom as she refers to herself) take us girls for some retail therapy to spend pocket money that had been saved up in the Caribbean and more specifically during lock-down.

Loving the antebellum architecture of the southern states

When Andrew returned we spent a luxurious night at his American parents’ house, Erin had a bath which she announced was like heaven.

I always seem to be wearing the same thing, probably because I do

It was then off to Savannah to meet up with the Irwins who drove down from Atlanta to see us for a fabulous catch up weekend (see liveaboards for a day blog), Neil (Andrew’s cousin), Abs and their daughter Maddie who were driving from Denver (it took 3 days) towing their new acquired motor boat to join us in exploring the surrounding creeks and stay with their great friends in Savannah.

Henry the egret

A whirlwind week of meeting fabulous people, exploring Dafauskie island on golf carts, catching lots of baby sharks – doo doo, and feeling the love and generosity of Southern hospitality. It really is a thing. We were teased about whistle nodders, sailors that arrive at a marina fuel dock and shake their head slowly from side to side exhaling a whistle at the price of fuel, only to then ask for the restroom, nick all the loo paper and soap and only buy 3 gallons of fuel after using the dock to nip to the grocery store. It’s always hard not to whistle nod when your cousin has arrived with a car and their friends have a washing machine!

Yay! Cousin Maddie
Exploring Dafauskie Island, only accessible by boat so conducive to golf carts
Being treated to a low country southern boil – thank you wonderful Woelba’s

Thereafter, we made it to Charleston for the 4th July, and although the big firework displays were Covid-cancelled, the private residences made up for it and we had a 360 degree view of fireworks from the comfort of LodeStar’s upper deck. In fact, the retail fireworks market had a bumper month.

Shem Creek with its shrimp boats and local charm near Charleston

Charleston, we loved, downtown is exquisite with an obvious French and English influence in the houses from design to colour. The coachman told us that in Charleston it’s not about keeping up with the Jones’, but being the Jones’. So the small space gardens are on display and taking photos of the flower boxes irresistible. Not only do doggies sponsor poop bags with their photo on the dispenser, but the public areas even have complimentary suncream dispensers.

Weather wise we have been melting. Real feel is 39 degrees, actual is 32 and humidity is 70%. The mozzies and horseflies are out in force in the evenings especially when we’re anchored in remote areas. And we had a large alligator glide towards us this morning whilst we were swimming! Thought Africa was wild….

Challenging the alligator

We’ve had another birthday on board and although there wasn’t a big party, video chats with family, a Bowdie-made boat chocolate cake and a few cool Amazon delivered presents made for a special 7 year old celebration.

A fun way to get a history tour of a Charleston – popular in most of the towns we’ve explored
River creek sunsets (and sunrises when I see them) are always mind blowing on a boat
Whistle nodding a lift to the Charleston Tea Plantation – only one in America – since it was too remote for Uber and we were pretty stranded
Gorgeous oaks dripping with Spanish Moss

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