Friday, December 16, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The Adventure Begins--
FINALLY!!!! We untied the lines and left Point Marina. After months of dreaming, delays and waiting we finally set off. First stop just a few miles away in Oriental where we met Ralph the diver who cleaned our boat bottom and saildrives (these are the lower units of the engines that have the propellers on them). From there we crossed the
Out at Sea--
There was good wind until later that evening. We ran about 20 miles offshore and tried our luck at fishing. A couple of False Albacore hit our lures and Bill almost got us a Mahi dinner but it got away. Samantha is not too happy with the engine noise and the rocking of the boat. So far she has not been sick but pretty much hides and gives us the evil-eye. Our first day at sea ends with a beautiful clear sunset. Bill says he saw a small green flash—I missed it.
While out at sea, Bill and I trade off watch. We watch the radar for traffic and make sure the autopilot is tracking properly and not running us into anything. I do better if I sleep first so he woke me up around midnight because we were going to pass through the cut at Frying Pan Shoals. The buoy lights were reported out but we found them working. The only things we really had to watch for were the unlighted markers. Using the GPS, Radar, and spotlight we found them easily. The wind and seas were calm, which made this passage thankfully uneventful.
Saturday night we entered St. Mary’s Inlet and anchored at the southern end of
On Sunday we were blessed with beautiful weather so we took the dingy over to the Beach Camp Trail dock and walked the trail to the beach. A canopy of live oaks hung with Spanish moss and ferns led us to a large dune field then an expansive beach at low tide. Amazingly there are no bugs! In the intertidal zone I find dense populations of coquina clams, most with a little tuft of algae growing on the end. The algae sticks out of the sand where each clam is buried. Coquina clams are nothing new but I had never seen them associated with algae. It appears to prevent them from burying deep in the sand and I am not sure what it does for them. Shorebirds of many kinds were abundant and I found several live whelks sticking their “noses” out of the sand. Near one tidal pool I found a ghost shrimp that had climbed out of the sand. This is very unusual—the burrow openings are all over but the shrimp do not voluntarily come out of the burrows. They are quite slow and have very little defense. I put him in a tidal pool where he could hopefully dig down to safety.
Monday morning we got up early and dingied over to the Dungeness trail dock. Dungeness is the name of the estate first built by Nathanial Green (southern general in the Revolutionary War) and later acquired and developed by Thomas Carnegie. Most of the buildings are now in ruins. Again a canopy of live oaks led us to the estate entrance. We saw a pair of does and their fawns crossing the path on the way. We saw wild turkeys, large gobblers standing guard while the hens pecked, and several wild horses which were let go after the Carnegies abandoned the estate.
St. Marys to
Once we were out the inlet it was not too long before we left pristine saltmarsh coast and crossed into
Thursday, December 8, 2011
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