Thursday, 20 November 2014

LIFE ABOVE GROUND. 19th November 2014

Since returning in the Cadillac, from the outward bound tour of the Eastern States, its been a mixed bag of boat jobs on the hard at Tiger Point Marina, Fernandina Beach, Florida! 

Taipan was waiting patiently for us in the work area when we returned, having been retrieved from the long term storage yard across the road. Still snug in her cradle she squats right outside the main office and close to the great amenities here. The amenities I refer to are the WC and shower. The only amenities relevant at this temperature. A pool would only serve as a reminder of the need for another jumper. The first job was to reinstall the in-hatch air conditioner. Oh dear... that was an anti climax. It has been used once for several hours only, and today I removed it so I could more securely shut up the boat.
Within a few days the temperature started to rocket downward and the heavy duty cold weather clothes and the heater were unearthed from the deep darker recesses after consultation with "The Book." (The Book is a small note book with an alphabetical index into which we write all the items aboard the boat..... in a column nest to the item we put its current hiding place, in pencil as it changes all to frequently.) The heater has not been turned off now for a week. This is Florida... this morning it was 26°F outside ... thats about -4°C.

Jobs commenced with the replacement of several thru hull fittings... I hear you say we have done them before. Its true we have looked at some and checked them and moved on. This time we bit the bullet and actually removed some. They were  fine. The new ones don't look as good. We put some new ones in and put some of the old ones back. All good and we even managed to glass in a couple so the number of holes in the hull is gradually decreasing. I think we started with 22. Now we are down to about 16. We also installed a new speed impeller with temperature sensor.

While the thru hull stuff was happening I put the clears and covers back on and did a few sewing repairs. The canvas lady from St Augustine had to come back to pick up the Boom Bag  because she had sown up the batten pockets when she did some repairs so its still not back aboard.

Just hauled out.
Next job of course is anti-foul. The boat was a mess when we pulled it out. We had the bottom cleaned by divers before we left Jacksonville about a week before we hauled out here, but it was not a pretty sight out of the water. The worst looking bottom we have ever had. We had noticed that the anti-foul appeared to be wearing off after only 6 months. Way down in the Caribbean David had to start diving on it and cleaning it frequently. The whole bottom was covered in small barnacles and the remains of long hairy growth which the bottom cleaners had missed. When the high pressure cleaner had finished it was evident that not much paint had gone onto the boat in South Africa. That was the first and last time we get someone else to put on our anti-foul. What it means is that the whole hull had to be heavily sanded with machines to get rid of the barnacles. About doubling the work required before anti-foul can commence. We had to have that done by contractors because the environmentalists insist on the use of fancy tools with air extraction. Finally we were ready to start painting.

Taped and painted with 5 gallons of  Marine AG 45% copper Ablative Black things started to look better. The scheduled dunking was postponed due to tornados and tides. We are off north again into the seriously cold weather for Thanksgiving so Taipan will remain on the hard until we return in the first week of December for relaunching.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

MAINE SOUTH




Marsh on the seashore at Kenerbunkport.
We accidently stumbled into the Bently Bikers Bar Campground on a Saturday night!  http://bentleyssaloon.com/  It was getting late and the State Parks were closed. We decided to stay in spite of the hundred or so bikes parked out the front. After pitching came we wandered down to the Bar. The music was good and the bar was packed. Not much sleep happening! The bikes were working out all night, just outside our tent. We recon there were a few headaches in the morning. The bar puts on a Sunday Breakfast and it is buffet style. This breakfast  made up for the total lack of sleep. The bonus was a shared table at breakfast with a lovely couple who live in Kenerbunkport and we now have new best friends in Ki and Bill.
Dropped into Boston to see the old Naval Vessel USS Constellation No luck. It's being worked on this week so it's closed to the public.  A visit to Faneuil Market instead but didn't really need to shop so moved on south to the Cape Cod Peninsular. 
Tuesday we drove out the Cape Cod Peninsular. It's Roughly 100km from the Cape Cod Canal which cuts through from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay. Province Town at the very end of the peninsular is the first site in the US where the Mayflower anchored. The Pilgrims aboard first set foot in the New World at Provincetown. They only stayed briefly, realising quickly that there is no fresh water. Province Town was a pleasant surprise. It's very cramped, with tiny streets and lots of shopping for tourists. There are more galleries here per kilometre than anywhere we've ever been before. It's obviously a very busy destination in the summer but right now it's pleasant even when its drizzling.


Kennerbunkport is a pretty place with one of the few ocean front drives on the entire coast. There are some very large mansions set on headlands and vast grounds. Allegedly the playground of the rich and famous for a few weeks in the summer. Most of the coast is privatly owned so you can't drive along the foreshore! We were also able to follow the coast some way next day south towards Boston. 
So many neat houses in Maine! So cheap!

We stopped at a neat little cottage, overlooking the ocean for the night  and caught up on lost sleep in comfort and warmth. It is getting very cold at night. The leaves are still great and several locals have told us that they are the best they have ever seen.

Steady days driving south from Maine. Very sad to leave. But it's too cold to camp in Maine for this little wood duck!

The night camp was a motel at Falmouth and a nice dinner at an English Pub. Heres to the Pilgrims!
Province Town at the end of Cape Cod.

Click here for

Saturday, 18 October 2014

MAINE MID COAST 17th October

We have done over 5000 miles and we have had to put in a litre of oil. There is an annoying electrical problem.......twice now.... Without reason the battery has discharged. We started the car this morning.... Drove a hundred meters... Went for a shower... Came back.... Flat battery!!... Weird! There is room for another battery so well buy one as a spare!! Minor problem we can always use batteries! A nice man from the national park bought his car along an jump leads and started us this am.

This hen of the wood mushroom was a whopper

The leaf colour is still lovely down here as its a bit later than where we were. 44deg N our furthest north.
The Moose are eluding us. They get some sort of tick which causes them to scratch off their fur, then they freeze to death in winter so numbers are down. They still hunt moose for meat and heads to hang on the wall! There is also a referendum coming to try to stop bear baiting and trapping. They call it hunting to bait bears with food then trap them and shoot them!! The two camps are strongly opposed to each other. Don't ask me how that could be called hunting!!
Gun shops are amazing.
As we headed south we came upon Camden....so we sort of got stopped again ... So many interesting boat yards an ship builders an harbour masters to talk too! Lovely old houses and nice coffee





Good lobster too. We ended up camping there 3 nights. Our longest stop to date bar New York. A Shaker furniture showroom and workshop caught my eye just north of Lincoln so we went back to vistit. Windsor Chairmakers.   windsorchair.com.  Huge old barn with people making handmade chairs and tables mostly ...but lots of stuff. The Two farm houses have been joined together and added to with a lovely big exhibition space at the back also filled with their furniture.  So many beautiful timbers to work with.
From Camden we Stooged south another 100 odd km to a campground near Freeport Maine. Tomorrow we will explore Bath. 

For Sale for around $250,000. So Cheap here.


Monday, 13 October 2014

NEW HAMSHIRE TO MAINE



North after Cape Cod, inland through Conrad we drove  for 2 Taipan days to get to the White  Mountains. Franconia Notch Campground. A Taipan day involves every back road and laneway......And no freeways. It was beautiful but freezing overnight, down to minus 4 deg. Seems everyone is going south, especially the geese and the campers.  We are still going north today another two days stooging Taipan style .....we went searching for moose. Found lots of tracks but no moose so far. Trip to LL Cote in Errol for some serious warm clothes. Man! The Guns! What a display! It's hunting season just started and the store was busy. Probably all the moose gone for cover as trophy hunters abound. The moose are a rootin an the hunters are a shooting! David had his picture took by a lassie who'd never seen an Australian before!! It's very outback up here. Drills for drilling holes in ice to catch fish. Snow mobiles. Huge piles of firewood. The campground at Deer Farm Campground just north of Kingfield Maine, is almost abandond. Beautiful leaves, amazing colours. 




Sunday and we headed south east East through some cow country, but mostly poor and abandoned places or for sale. No work up this way. Properties for $ 20k up.  Fall Colour still lovely. On the coast now near Ellsworth, Maine. We have booked for 2 nights to take a look around.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

NEW YORK, CONETTICUT, RHODE ISLAND MASSACHUSETTS. Whale of a time! 7thOctober



Well we have been flat out! Such a lot to see and so much research to do to find it all!
We were in NY camped at Battle Row campground on Long Island from Thursday night to Sunday night inclusive. We took the train from Farmingdale to Penn Station in Manhattan each day and didn't return to our tent till about 10 each night,  Its just another city really, but a BIG one! 



The 9/11 memorial on the Twin Towers site is very moving. Very still! There are two huge ponds with water falling into the foundations of each tower. The area of the site is 8ac, the ponds are huge. The water falls are 30 feet high right round the perimeter of each hole. There is another hole in the center where the water disappears. All the names of the victims are inscribed around the edge. The place was packed! Must be the most visited attraction in USA! The statue of Liberty was smaller than I thought it aught to be! We went round it but not up inside. 

The Rockefella Centre is a big shopping complex and would be the delight of some of my friends who will remain nameless. We did go to Maceys in Manhattan and David did buy a nice Ralph Lauren Polo vest!! Looks just like a Thomas Cook job. Proofed cotton outer but a bit more trim!

On the train into town on the first day we met Linda. She helped us sort some things to do and subsequently we were invited to her home for Bagel an lox on Sunday morning. We went along and had a great morning with Linda and her sister.

Gugenheim
Central Park is beautiful and was very busy on Sunday. Lots of buskers and music.  A very impressive group of break dancers and gymnasts.The gugenheim museum was smaller than I thought it would be and only 2 of the 5 floors were open so that was a bit of a let down. 

Carriage Rides in Central Park


We didn't notice lots of security around the city, but the cops we did see were very friendly and helpful.

The subway is pretty antiquated and the trains are fairly old. They still have ticket inspectors!!
Monday We drove East along Long Island to Orient at the end of the North Fork and caught a car ferry to Connecticut New London. 

Bit of driving up the coast.. North.... Now we are in New Bedford. Big whaling Center. Biggest fleet of Yankee whalers in the 1800s. Spent some time with the curator Michael who is married to an Aussie and has on display in the Museum, a piece of skrimshaw done by an Albany guy called ? Tomkin. It is a depiction of the incident where Ches Stubbs got his leg whipped off by a whale harpoon rope off Albany aboard one of the Cheynes Chasers. New Bedford Museum is very good and has an awesome collection if scrimshaw. Took all afternoon. We are now camped at a lovely State Park called Shawme Cornell. The ferrys to Marthas Vinyard and Nantucket Isl. We will probably not go though because it's an expensive tourist joint and we are running out of time to get north to view the leaves changing we are Leaf Peepers!! It's the time the leaf peepers come out to play! 




The architecture is amazing and the old New England style homes and mansions are absolutly stunning. Prices are pretty Darn good too. Water front homes 3 story colonial with jetty $600k amazing! And the list goes on!

Another weekender.
click here for more photos. New York

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

WASHINGTON DC to THE BIG APPLE 1st October 2014


Back to Alexandria as base camp for adventure into DC. Judith and Bobs hospitality going to be impossible to beat and their home is only 10 minutes from a Park and Ride Metro station so it's easy to get to the big smoke from the apparent isolation of their place. No camping here and being fed like angels


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First cab off the rank was the National Museum of the American Indian. This Museum really needs a prelude because it's major focus is on treaties and the current situation. We felt we didn't get enough grounding. Perhaps the National History of America Museum or something would have been better first. The building is stunning and the Restaurant is great.

Day two we spent at the Smithsonian Museum of Space and Flight. Huge. Amazing.....




Tuesday made tracks to Elk Neck where we have camped 2 nights previously and it was again a nice camp. The squirrels dropped stuff on the roof early so we had a fairly early departure ... For us. We were on the road by 9 had to do phone recharge and stopped for a picnic by a river in some tiny town. Came sort of along the New Jersey coastline. 




Wednesday nite at Allaire state park in NewJersey.  Thursday saw an early start north. Lots of toll ways and lots of traffic. At one point we had seven lanes in each direction. All went well in till the George Washington Bridge which is double story affair and has lots of roads on and off splitting in every direction! Our Google lady couldn't keep up and we ended up getting in the wrong place...Hair raising!  But after a few tense minuits and a quick re route we were off again in the general direction of North! 

Once the pressure was off we stopped for coffee and decided to go back n do it all again! Found a camp ground right on Long Island and headed back into the fray! We achieved touchdown without further incident. Sheesh! Only about 3 hrs driving but we were stuffed when we arrived here.

Long Island at a Battle Row Campground, tenting for the next 4 nights. Cheapest accommodation in NY I recon... $25 per night! We will go to the city centre for the next four days to explore.  That should be about all we can handle!!

We will catch a train in, it takes about 1 hour we are told. The station is 10 min drive from the camp ground. 

The leaves are starting to turn and it's getting cooler so we will head a little bit further north east after NY then start making our way south again or we will freeze in the tent!

Click here for more photos of Washington 



Friday, 19 September 2014

VIRGINIA, PENNSYLVANIA , MARYLAND, VIRGINIA.18th September


It's nearly four weeks since we left Taipan in Fernandina Beach Florida. We have camped every night except one and travelled 4000 Kilometres. Since we left Taipan a month ago. Since our last update we have visited relatives in Virginia, the Gettysberg Battlefield Museum and Amish Communities in Pennsylvania, and the tall boat Show for the Star-Spangled Banner 150th commemoration in Baltimore, Maryland.

Our visit for a night with Juduth and Robert was just a foretaste of a longer visit which we are about to embark on in Alexandria, Virginia. We will take in the sights of Washington with them for a few days then if we need to see more we will return for a rerun in a few weeks.

After leaving the Skyline Parkway and Shanendoah Mountain region we headed cross country by all the back roads and lanes to Gettysberg. We followed the Potomac River north into Pensylvania and explored the C&O Canal.

The 184.5 mile long Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is located along the north bank of the Potomac River, starting in Washington, DC and ending in Cumberland, MD. The canal was built between 1828 and 1850, and it operated sporadically between floods until 1924. It has been turned into a public trail and is much used by bicycle and foot traffic. Certain stretches also permit horse riding.

We met a cyclist on the C&O Path and he recommended a visit to Gettysberg Museum so we headed of in that direction. 


Gettysberg, Adams County Pennsylvania. was settled the early 1700s and buildings have been largely preserved in the main town center. "In the summer of 1863, the farming community of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, became the site of the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. The fierce fighting left 51,000 casualties in its wake, turning farm fields into graveyards and churches into hospitals. The battlefield's first visitors were thousands of relatives searching for dead and wounded soldiers." The museum and surrounding battle fields took us 2 days to see and was fascinating. The highlight was the cyclorama. 

"In the late 1880s, French artist Paul Philippoteaux took brush to canvas and created the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama painting. He spent months on the battlefield researching the battle with veterans, a battlefield guide and a photographer. It took Philippoteaux and a team of assistants more than a year to complete the painting. The result is a breathtaking canvas that measures 377 feet in circumference and 42 feet high. Longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story structure, the Gettysburg Cyclorama oil painting immerses visitors in the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Today the Gettysburg Cyclorama is displayed  the way it was originally intended with an overhead canopy and a three-dimensional diorama foreground that realistically features stone walls, broken fences, shattered trees and a cannon."

The visitors center is very modern and has beautifully presented informative interactive exhibits which kept us enthralled for hours.


Next on to Baltimore. We learned from a tour guide that the Tall Ships were expected in Baltimore that day to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the writing of the National Anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner so we decided to drive down to the Inner Harbour and participate in the festivities.


There were a number of ships, mostly American and one old Dutch ship but overall it was a little disappointing after seeing the Tall Ships Fleet in the spectacular Cape Town Harbour just last year. Baltimore is a busy city with an interesting waterfront district and lots of history but we decided to head back out bush and leave our exploration of Baltimore to a later date and do it by boat! Easier to anchor and use Public Transport than to park the car.




Heading North East out towards Pittsburg we were diverted to Lancaster Pensylvania,  by someone who mentioned that it was a center of Amish community and farming practice. We started with the Old Lancaster City Market and then the tourist center where we received lots of good info and set off to explore the Amish farmlands and markets. With our interest in horses and farming it was amazing to see these beautiful properties, immaculately laid out like quilting. No electricity, horses and Mules doing the work of modern


tractors with many modern machines converted for horse drawn operation. The children attend school compulsorily to year 8 then return to the farm. Girls learn women's skills and boys learn farm skills. The school houses are small one room schools, scattered through the community enabling the local children to walk or ride self propelled scooters. No push bikes!

  

The teachers are all Amish and usually girls. We spent some time with an Amish Harness maker, of whom there are many, along with traditional Buggy and coach builders, to service this community. 

Amish arrived in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s from Europe escaping from religious persecution. There are many communities scattered around the USA and numbers total around 240,000. Lancaster is the biggest area. We were just enthralled and spent 2 lovely days stooging around the lanes and back roads. The countryside is very productive and the farming is intensive, with crops of tobacco, maize, lucern and soya bean predominantly. 




Most farms also seem to have cows and pigs, chickens, ducks and often turkey's. We saw a couple of alpaca guarding some free range chickens, teams of Mules harvesting corn and lots of lovely buggies amongst other things. The food markets were full of delicious tree ripened stone fruits, berries, gourds we have never before seen, preserves, pastes, jams and all manner of delicious pies and baked goodies! It was time to leave!!


Amsih Farmlands near Bird in the Hand. PA
Heading south again towards Washington DC and Judith and Roberts home in Alexandria we made two overnight stops on the way. We were enthralled by the little town of Chesapeake City on the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal.

Chesapeake City MD
It's about 50 houses and about 20 in the central town. They are various sizes but small and terribly old and cute! The canal commences it's 14 nm path across the Delmarva Peninsular from the Elk River in north Chesapeake to the  Delaware bay. It was completed in 1829, one of the most expensive canal works of the period. It had 14 locks and was originally used by barges towed by mules and horse teams. It has since had all the locks removed and been widend and deepend to accommodate large ocean going vessels. This route cuts over 300 nm off the trip from Baltimore to Philadelphia.

George Washington on Bluebottle

Arriving in Alexandria over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is not for the faint hearted. Traffic is fast and plentiful, brooking no hesitation or indecision by these Aussies. Reliant on the trusty Google Maps app on the iPad for instructions as we were we just did as it told us and trusted our luck. Safely delivered on the other side a few minutes later we breathed a huge sigh of relief and bolted to the quietest lanes and back streets you can find in busy Alexandria. We arrived at Robert and Judith's home in Hollins Hills mid  afternoon. 

Hollins Hills is an Protected Architectural Historical Precinct  of Mid Century Modern homes. Hollin Hills  subdivision comprises about 500 houses built here in the 1950s The homes are set in woodland now, even though much of the area was pasture when it was built. 70 years on the trees are huge. Most of the houses have total privacy from each other. Relaxing in the sitting room as the sun sets, many resident birds feed at the feeders and deer, raccoon and fox regularly visit the pond to drink. A couple of years ago there was even a coyote. Its like being in the woods only 20 odd miles from Washington DC. 

David and Bob at Mt Vernon

The George Washington family home at Mt Vernon just south of Alexandria is open to the public and has been maintained as a national monument since 1868. Washington Home Mt Vernon. It sits high on the banks of the Potomac River and has commanding views up and down stream.  We spent a fascinating 6 hours exploring the large and well presented Museum and Visitors center and grounds of the estate after a guided tour of the home. His agricultural experimentation was a very worthy contribution to the future of Agriculture in America and its story is well told. On Saturday and Sunday we went walking. Up to the Great Falls. http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm North of DC first and a fairly short walk and across the Woodrow Wilson bridge on Sunday.
Woodrow Wilson Bridge



The Palace at Williamsburg 

Monday we hit the road again. South into eastern Virginia.  Williamstown VA, has a restored colonial city covering several square miles. It is a closed tourist precinct operating With costumed inhabitants, as it did in the colonial era. Shops and businesses are still making products from that era. All the buildings are restored or rebuilt. The vehicular traffic is horse powered. We were advised that we needed at least two days to see it all so we kept going and vowed to return with more time. 

The next couple of days were driving in driving rain and wind.......very appropriate... Not! We narrowly avoided tangling with a car doing 360s on the freeway in front of us. The girl escaped injury but the car didn't look too good! The 25 km bridge and tunnel system c o n n e c t i n g southern Virginia with the Eastern Shore over the m o u t h o f Chesapeake Bay was an adventure. Lots of big waves crashing on the piles, we were glad we weren't sailing!

You will find more pictures relating to this post at Virginia Maryland Pennsylvania





Thursday, 4 September 2014

ON THE ROAD 3rd September

Tiger Point Marina



We Left Fernandina beach and Taipan on Saturday 23rd August. On Friday we hauled her out of the water and made her fast on the big cradle  at Tiger Point Marina ready for storage for a few months during the worst part of the Hurricane season.

Our first stop was Jacksonville for a tent which we found advertised. It attaches to the rear of the SUV. With the back opened up we plan to sleep in the car and store all our stuff in the tent. 



The first campground was at Cathead Creek just out of Darien. A ranch style layout with cows over the fence and the only grass camp we have had so far. Very clean and friendly.  We managed to erect the tent without instructions and it appears quite satisfactory. 





Sunday we were off to Savannah. What a nice city that is! Lovely old waterfront with tram! Horses pulling carriages for tourists. Stooged a while there and should have spent longer but decided to head out to a camp ground onroute to Charleston. It was a horrid run down nasty place but we learning what to look out for now. 




Charleston is a big busy city with a lovely old centre. The museum was a total failure and has put us off museums for a while! So old fashioned. Loads of writing and lots of bad photos. Defiantly give it a miss! We spent two nights at James Park Island and explored the city and surrounds.





Several of the next camps as we headed north west were on lake shores.The lakes were made to provide a water source for irrigation and for power production. They also assists in controlling the flooding of the very low flat countryside. The north west of South Carolina is still quite flat but as we approached the border with North Carolina we started seeing a few hills! The biggest we've seen in months! 




Dreher Island State Park is a series of linked islands in a huge fresh man made lake.  It's fresh and surrounded by beautiful campsites set amongst tall pines and oaks. BBQ and table and chairs power and tap at each site. When we arrived about 330 we set up the tent then took a lovely long swim.... Well laze in the water really before dinner. Our first swim in the USA. 




There is some peanut cotton and corn country in the area. A few pivot irrigators but generally not very productive looking farms. Friendly people and pleasant driving. We take the back roads keeping clear of the freeways where possible. I drove for the first ime on some of the outback roads on the 4th day out. I thought I did ok. I didn't run any one down but a couple of lolly pop people jumped out of my way as I came through!! The car IS quite wide!  David took over again after a couple of hours!







As the big Labour day weekend approached we booked into Pisgah Mountain campground to ensure we had a spot. We've met a few tent campers and they are nice and friendly, doing what we are doing, winging it day by day mostly, however Labour Day weekend is big here. Asherville is nearby so we visited on Saturday and had a good day in the River Arts District. What a nice area. There was a mountain Music festival on called the Shindig on the Green so we decided to stay on and partake. Lots of music and clogging! Met some lovely people and exchanged addresses. Hope to catch up with them again somewhere! The drive back up the mountain in the dark and fog was a little nerve wracking, but better than being at sea in fog! 




It's interesting that here in the US horses are very much part of the scene. Many of the parks, both state and federal have extensive horse trails and special camp grounds and facilities all supplied at nominal fee. There are thousands of miles of trails! Many of them are multi use, bikes pedestrians and horses. Country about the same size as OZ and we have practically none and the ones we do have are under constant threat! 




On Monday we started wandering up the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive about 450m long. It's very historic and follows the Appalachian mountain trails of some ol Indian tribe!  It a lot cooler too up this way which is great for walking and sleeping.




We've done a little walking and marvelled at the amazing flora. Wild hibiscus, rhododendron, american chestnuts and the beech, spruce and oaks are just wonderful. Seen deer, coyote and lots of birds There is not much livestock and the grass seems to be just cut and rolled in bales. Some Historic sites, mostly reproductions but very picturesque. The countryside is beautiful. Farming dosnt look very prosperous but it's sure pretty. Lots of lovely ol wooden fences in that stacked zig zag style. No posts! 




It's really nice because there is no commercial traffic permitted on the Parkway. So no trucks! All just slow ol tourists like us! We have nearly done the 450 odd miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway and tomorrow we will start in the Shenandoah Narional Park on the Skyline Parkway. About 170m. We have arranged to meet Judith my cousin, and Robert her husband, at their mountain cabin in Hood, Virginia,on the 6th to spend a few days with them. Very much looking forward to catching up. They have a cabin about half way along the Shanendoah mountain range in the foothills. 

We don't have access to Internet very often and I can't load photos with the iPad so photos will come later.
There are more pictures of the areas we travelled at Georgia and the Carolinas

Thursday, 21 August 2014

MOVES AFOOT. 20th August 2014


We have had a busy time since arriving back to Taipan roughly a month ago. We hired a car, toured all over Jacksonville and St Augustine primarily looking for a decent 2nd hand car in which to do some more extensive touring. Second hand car buying is a huge raffle anywhere and here is the same. We decided on an Escalade or a Expedition both large 4x4 V8 gas guzzlers. We need to fit all our camp gear plus be able to sleep in it in bear country! Finally after much deliberation we settled on a Cadillac Escalade 1999 model. We met some people who recommended a good mechanic so we took it along and had some oil leaks fixed and a full service etc. It was pronounced fit for purpose so we are now mobile.

Last night on the marina in Jacksonville.

On the 14th of August we left River City Brewing Company Marina and headed to Sisters Creek anchorage at the mouth of the St Johns River in preparation for our first leg of the inter coastal Waterway. This waterway is  made up of natural inlets, saltwater rivers, bays, and sounds while other sections are artificial canals which create a safe waterway for traffic and the transfer of goods.  It became apparent during the British Blockade after the1812 war that the waterway was justified. The legacy is a fantastic water highway, 3000 miles long, from southern Florida to the Great Lakes and including the Gulf. 

Trying a spot of Bass fishing.

The major difficulty for us is that it was designed for masts shorter than 65 feet and some of the dredging is a little lacking in places causing a potential deapth problem for Taipan. At 7 ft 6 in we are told we are marginal. Taipans mast is 65ft 6in. This all means that we have to navigate the waterway on a rising tide and the bridges at lower tide. This take a bit of planning ahead and it all takes quite a while to get far. We spent the first day traveling steadily along at about 5 knots, managing to avoid the shallower water although we were pleasantly surprised at the depths. Almost nothing under 6feet below the keel. The only bridge we had to negotiate before arriving in Fernandina Beach 25miles north was showing 66 feet when we arrived. We touched with the antenna which is fine but decided to wait till the tide dropped to allow 67ft of air. At dusk we approached the bridge on a falling tide and with 67ft we didn't touch anything. 
We successfully negotiated out first 65 ft bridge.

We loved our day on the marshes. Its like a garden. Marsh grass is like long lawn. All even and smooth on top and neatly finishing at the water. Its very green at this time of year. There was very little traffic as it was Friday but Saturday there were lots of small fining boats out bristling with rods and full of families out to catch "theyselvs" a fish. The bird life is  phenomenal. Would seriously consider doing some more legs on the waterway despite the inconveniences and slowness of progress.
For now though we have tied up at Tiger Point marina in Fernandina Beach where Taipan will be hauled and set upon a very big strong cradle for the last couple of months of the Hurricane Season while we do a little land travel in the "new" Cadillac.