The Sailing Capital: Annapolis

Did you know Annapolis, Maryland, is considered the Sailing Capital of the World? We’ve never seen so many sailboats, thousands of them lined the channels! This is a typical marina – mostly sailboats and only a few power boats. Joy Girl was lonely for her kind.

Last week in Virginia we saw Jamestown (the first English settlement) and Yorktown (where the final battle for our independence was won). Our American history tour continued in Maryland, which was home to four signers of the Declaration of Independence, plus George Washington resigned his commander in chief commission in Annapolis after the war. This was very significant because it was thought he might retain his power and rule like a king but, instead, he laid his military authority down to Congress and the American people and therefore solidified the foundation of freedom for our new nation.

A beautiful metal sculpture stands where they believed he retired and returned to private life. They still have his handwritten speech…it was quite moving to see such humility in the man who was to become our first President.

It was Commissioning (graduation) weekend at the Naval Academy so white-uniformed midshipmen were everywhere and we were excited to see their beautiful chapel, visit the museum and eat lunch at the Academy Drydock restaurant.

Because it was commissioning weekend, the Blue Angels performed over Annapolis! Joy Girl, along with hundreds of other boats, anchored at the mouth of the Severn River to watch the show. Unfortunately, Niki’s tummy was extremely unhappy for several hours as we bobbed around like a cork while boats of every size and shape wrestled for a spot to anchor. But after everyone settled down, the water was fine and the Angels screamed overhead.

This port of call was made even better by a visit from my old friend, Maureen McAuliffe, who drove down from DC to see us. We had wonderful dinner on the waterfront.

This afternoon we plan to arrive in Cape May, New Jersey!

First Flight, Great Light

As Joy Girl, her feline officers, and human crew continue to make their way northward, it would only be appropriate for a man with 35 years of flying to visit Kitty Hawk, NC.  As you may well know, this is the site of the first powered, manned flight in history.  On that glorious December 17 way back in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright’s years of research, dreams, and efforts finally came to fruition in a short 12 second, 120 foot long flight along the windswept sands.DSC04861 crif

In addition to the life size recreation of the famous (and I believe only) photo of the historic event, the National Park Service Wright Memorial includes a placard at the very spot from which their aircraft first became airborne, reconstruction of their 1903 workshop, living quarters, and hangar, as well as a full scale model of the rail from which they launched their flyer.20180511_135341

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Out in the distance, 4 stones mark the landing points of each of their successively longer four flights that day.  This is picture shows Craig at the touch down spot of the famous first flight, with the landings of flights 2, 3, and 4 behind me:DSC04847 crif.jpg

Several years ago while touring the Boeing factory in Everett, WA, I recall them saying that the fuselage of a 747 is so large in both length and breadth that the Wrights could have completed their entire flight inside of the jumbo jet!  A lesser known fact is that enhanced images of that flight suggest that pilot Orville may well have been wearing a hat from the vessel Joy Girl:20180511_144256 crif.jpg

While we were out and about, we took our rental car down to Cape Hatteras to visit the iconic lighthouse.20180511_160517_001 crif.jpg  Built in 1870, 20 years ago the famous brick tower was in danger of being reclaimed by the sea.  The shore, once 1500 feet way, had eroded to within 150 feet of the lighthouse, so they moved it!  After digging down around the foundation, they actually jacked the entire structure up a bit at a time, got it onto a rail system, and moved the nearly 200 foot high lighthouse 2900 feet inland.

Climbing the light involves 258 steps, roughly the equivalent of going up a twelve story building, in a dizzying spiral around the perfectly cylindrical interior of the tower (the cylinder, inside the conical exterior, is some of what gives the lighthouse its strength).  It took some breathing to get our aging bodies up there, but the view from the top, well, it took our breath away and was definitely worth the effort.  No picture can do it justice, of course, but we’ll leave you with this shot looking out over the tip of Cape Hatteras and hope that someday you will be able to take in this view in person:DSC04884 crif.jpg

Where Is Joy Girl?

For our friends and family who wonder “Where are those crazy Kozaks now?” we’ve created a Travel Map that displays our past route and current location. You can always find it by clicking the link “Where is Joy Girl?” at the top of our blog and you can view it here now:

We also get a lot of questions about the kitties and are happy to report that they are adjusting well and now sleep soundly through calm waters and no longer freak out in rougher seas. They are doing great!

Today we plan to harbor at Manteo, Roanoke Island then rent a car and drive over to the Outer Banks to see Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers Memorial, Nags Head and Cape Hatterus. We’re very excited to see those historic locations!


Cape Of Fears

We spent a few days on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, the home of Cape Fear. Wow, what a little piece of paradise.

Bald Head Island is only accessible by boat so there are no cars, just golf carts zooming around. Million dollar homes peek over the sand dunes and the beach is littered with lovely shells. Since it’s still early in the season the beach was basically uninhabited which allowed me mosey along to my heart’s content.

Hundreds of ships have wrecked off Cape Fear where the shallow sand shoals extend 20 miles out into the ocean. The US Coast Guard was formed here in an effort to save sailors from drowning. The “Graveyard of the Atlantic” starts here and goes up the North Carolina Outer Banks coast and includes the other two capes – Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras.

Our stay was made more wonderful by a visit from our dear friends Steve and Judy Bullard, who drove down from Raleigh-Durham, NC to see us. We boated, ate seafood, drank Nixie Lemonade, walked the beach, and had a great time catching up. Thanks for visiting, it was so great to see you!

OMG… Charleston!

They say a war for supremacy burns between Savannah and Charleston. These southern cities have a mostly good-natured rivalry to be considered the most beautiful and charming and therefore, the best bang for your tourist dollars. Really? There’s a contest? We don’t see it…

Charleston is the epitome of southern style, grace, and timeless beauty. From the waterfront to the French Quarter to the City Market, I was enchanted by her. She is an intoxicating mix of English elegance, French joue de vivre, a breath of Italian architecture and strong dose of American independence. She’s a jewel.

Now, for all you Savannah lovers, that party girl did give me a lasting gift and what is more suited to her than a drink recipe! At Belford’s restaurant in the City Market I had a delicious cocktail called Dixie Lemonade. Not too sweet, not too sour, and for some reason, it packs a punch. I promptly created a low cal version for the upcoming summer. The recipe below is for one drink but you can increase the dosage for more people or make a big batch in advance. I usually tweak as I go but this is pretty close:

Nixie Lemonade Recipe

  • 1 shot vodka
  • Dash of Couintreu or Triple Sec
  • Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 4 slices of muddled cucumbers
  • Chrystal Light lemonade powder to taste to sweeten the deal
  • Splash of lemon lime soda
  • Lots of ice

Y’all come back now, ya hear? We’re headed to Bald Head Island near Southport, North Carolina…

Beautiful Beaufort

Road trip! Our friend Shawna visited last week so we decided to take her on a day trip to Beaufort, South Carolina, a three hour boat ride. Rumored to be a pretty coastal town with antebellum homes, it sounded perfect.

And, oh, it was! The beauty of this little town took our breath away. Before the war (pronounced wa – ra) the cotton plantation owners built their summer homes in Beaufort to take in the cool breezes from the water. We enjoyed those breezes during lunch, facing the May river.

Waterfront Park

Founded in 1711, this is where the secession was born, where 600 year old Live Oak trees sway, where Spanish Moss falls in languorous strips, entire streets are filled with graceful antebellum homes, and where the Prince of Tides, The Big Chill and The Great Santini were filmed.

Typical street draped with Spanish Moss
Antebellum Home now the Cuthburt House Inn, built in 1770
Antebellum Home Gardens
Cemetery from the Civil War till now
Antebellum Home

The day was topped off with fantastic dolphin sightings as Shawna leaned over the bow (the front of our little ship) and several of them swam next to us, then rolled on their sides and looked up at her from the deep. There’s something thrilling about making a connection with a dolphin!

Our dear friend Shawna & Joy Girl

My only disappointment was that we couldn’t stay long enough. We definitely plan to go back and spend another day in Beaufort!

Georgia On My Mind

This past Saturday we took our first real trip aboard Joy Girl, heading south to Savannah, GA.  By car the drive would be less than an hour, but in our trawler it was over three hours.  Yes, that’s slow, but the comparative level of relaxation more than makes up for the speed differential.  Adding to the lesson of not being too committed to a schedule, dredging operations in our home marina (to make it deeper) delayed our planned early morning departure by well over an hour.  Still, the tides and weather were more than cooperative for a smooth journey to the south. Niki’s cousin Shari joined us for the trip and served as our tour guide and concierge ashore, having been there many times before.20180217_110949 crif.jpgUpon arriving at our destination, we docked at the Westin Savannah Harbor.  Joy Girl looked so proper, sitting right there in front of the grand hotel.  Directly across the Savannah River from the heart of the old city, the Westin is a more secure place to leave one’s boat than the city docks on the other side, and a short and free ferry soon took us right to where we wanted to be.

As we crossed the river, we were greeted to the sight of the Georgia Queen, an immense, four story tall paddle wheel boat, docked near the golden dome of Savannah’s City Hall. Maker:S,Date:2017-9-17,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-YThis grand lady made Joy Girl look pretty tiny by comparison.  But considering that Savannah is a busy port (the fourth busiest in the county!) and a city proud of its long history and heritage, the Georgia Queen seemed to fit right in with her surroundings.

A bit later the three travelers were savoring lunch at Tubby’s (which is what I would quickly become if I ate food of that quality and quantity often).  Suddenly we heard the booming blast of a horn.  The waitress announced “ship shots, everyone!”, and an enormous container ship came into view, making her way down the river toward the ocean.  20180217_122347 crifLook just in front of the big ship’s bow and you’ll see Joy Girl, looking way too much like a tiny minnow about to be swallowed up.  As she sailed majestically by, I was reminded of that old drawing of a little fish about to be eaten by a bigger fish, who in turn was about to be ingested by an even larger fish.  I have no idea how many containers these monsters can carry, but the larger containers (such as the red “K-Line” at the top of the sixth or seventh row) could each probably contain nearly our entire vessel and are stacked in rows 15 or more across and 6 layers high. Yikes!

Due to low tides, we took a slightly different route home, including a brief foray into the Atlantic.  Then as we headed back toward Calibogue Sound (at the south end of Hilton Head Island) we were met by a small bank of fog. MVIMG_20180217_164408 crif.jpgOur radar is somewhat antiquated and your author is thoroughly untrained in its use, but using the screen for guidance, combined with the hawk like vision of Niki and Shari, we successfully piloted our way back to clearer skies and safe arrival back home just before sunset.

Shelter Cove Sunrise

After a enjoyable meal and convivial time with local friends and relatives aboard Joy Girl, it might have been easy to think things couldn’t get a whole lot more idyllic.  Ah, but then we woke this morning, peered out the window, and saw what looked like an amazing sunrise in the making.  Tossing on a Fort Collins Cat Rescue hoodie but skipping my Tevas, I strode up the ramp to the wharf and was rewarded with this magnificent view:

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It was so glorious I almost forgot how frigid my bare feet were becoming on the 35 degree cement.  Well, almost….