Monday, 30 May 2016

WYUNA sailing north on the Atlantic, US east coast on pirate and battle routes …… 2016

Our long 1st overnight-er was spent hand helming from Freeport, Bahamas to ST Augustine, Florida (the auto-helm stopped damn). Yes we were very relieved to arrive in the harbor, met by a thunderstorm, in our home away from home.  A rest up and up the river we docked for all of April to give WYUNA a new rig, polish, spring clean and do her annual services at the marine center.

Our friends Annie & Daryl welcomed us of NO Rehearsal. They live on board preparing for their pacific crossing – thanks to them we had get togethers at day’s end, a glass and home cooked cockpit dinners helped us unwind, plan our route and enjoy the jokes and camaraderie of workers on land.
For fun we had a big night out seeing Chicago & Earth Wind & Fire in a brilliant array of percussion music and both bands playing " if you leave me now", riveted to our basketball stadium seats.

We needed sail mates to join us to make it offshore on 17 April, and were very glad to see Robbi & Peter arrive!
(Phew no more work for a while).

Wyuna was ready to go north on the east coast, a Spanish pirate route ,with a good breeze & 4 of us on board cruising offshore for 2 weeks.

First to Amelie island, an old British town where we walked our legs off to the marshlands of national parks looking for REAL alligators.WE luckily bumped into a wildlife photographer who seeing how interested we were
showed us how to look for a rare sighting of mum moving her 7 babies downstream!

In these old coastal southern towns- historic parks are framed by leafed canopies of old oaks & Spanish moss dangling, picturesque and shaded places. We saw many colonial timber mansions of Gone with the Wind fame here. How wealthy were some British colonial settlers!

Every town has generations of families, who are happy to chat, give directions, and have a laugh -where y’all from? Even offered to buy us lunch if we bought a house from a realty man.  A few streets back live many black families who live in small cottages and like to ride bikes, sing and say Welcome, enjoy de ya stay here.

Our full day sail in 15knts was a hoot to Brunswick Landing, Georgia marina. It''s a yachtees haven, and a huge surprise was seeing friends Linda & John, and catching up at potluck dinners -byo own pot to share, with Liam & Annie from oz who have been cruising, living on board over 10yrs.
Many people live on boats here and the club has FREE beer, bikes to ride, and endless social nights for everyone - and transients like us a welcomed to join in. Gr8t can this happen in Melbourne town?

Happy sailors make for a great day on board. We  sailed on to Salepo sound, stopping overnight in inland waterways of peaceful marshlands and rivers to rest and be merry. Frogs and shrimp noises went all night long.  Peaceful on the deck at dinner, we all slept well with no other boats here.
Shrimp boats are everywhere on the 
Atlantic ocean and inlets so we are always on watch, so fresh shrimp & grits are a tasty and must treat in seaside restaurants.

Harbour entrances can be 10 miles into an anchorage. (Active Captain app is gr8t). Docking on City Dock at the Savannah Historic Area was brilliant- rows of old cotton houses, now bars, cobblestone waterfronts with market sellers, woman making swamp baskets. A stunning town of ornate houses and parks to soak up the beautiful neighborhoods, ice creams and arts designs. Yes most city's have municipal run marinas for short and long stays.

One day we visited the indigenous Gullah peoples crab & oyster farm closed in the 50's/museum in the swampland in their town to hear about the early days of women processing & men fishing.  Old hand built wooden boats and basic tools and processing made for a hard days work for women and men making a living. A strong community still runs this and live here.

We had a gorgeous night out together dining at Victor’s restaurant in a 17c terrace, next to a 17c War of Independence hand drawn Map, eating southern treats of fried green tomatoes, enchanted more than intoxicated. Thanks to Robbi & Peter’s generosity of treating us before leaving us! Yes our 2 weeks flew by and we've had a terrific time and we missed them, they drove in 1 day and we sailed on to Charleston in 3 days- the slow way.

Going 2 up on the leg to Charleston we learnt to anchor in silt & mud at Ediston river, avoid USA Navy Aircraft Carriers at sea, and look out for grey bottle-nosed dolphins to enjoy them playing on the bow.

Charleston is renowned for southern hospitality and a GRAND history where plantation owners built antebellum style mansions - living privileged lives. A tour of Calhoun Mansion is a fine example, now owned by a DC international Lawyer and collector, it’s his other home! The markets and art galleries are of southern crafts- we drank craft amber beers and ate delicious crab cakes and Maine blue mussels just like Portarlington’s.

On our next overnight-er it rained all day then wind came at night and ships all round us- love the Radar alarm and AIS ships register on route. Four flying fish landed on our deck, and a school of dolphins dived along the hull. We arrived at Moorhead City a seaport of powerboats on weekends and game fishing dock for marlin and wahoo. - not our sport.  Daryl’s tip to go to Beaufort instead, 3 miles up around the inlet was fortuitous.

Beaufort, Nth Carolina is a charm, a full anchorage. We went up river in this small fishing village where wooden boat and marine history is alive and well post-civil war. Most famous for the sinking of Blackbeard’s schooner Queen Anne’s Revenge 17c, still being salvaged 1.25 miles of coast.  ARghh love a pirate true story!  

Friendly local sailors, Jim & Anechy invited us to their home for BBQ shrimp lunch with other Leopard sailors Serge & Nicole, to taste home cooked fare and gave us a history walking tour. We felt at home laughing together over funny stories of foods, loves & sea antics going to the marine museum and local wine bar for pizza together.

So 2 Leopards catamarans tag sailed around Cape Hatteras outer banks an infamous coast of wrecks, battles and winds.  Thanks to Bruce’s weather watch, our 43 hrs cruising around the cape was magic- a gentle sail, motor, rain-out, morning fog, moon halos and dolphins on calm seas ( a quiet birthday at sea) -letting us float the last night, before motoring into Norfolk Port alongside huge ships and US navy carriers heading out the channel.

Going Ashore by dinghy we had shrimp, drank Napa valley wine , but a storm had gone through to 30knts.  Next day we toured the Fort Monroe museum the site of Union barracks ,beginning our entrée into the route of Civil & War of Independence of Virginia’s history trail – as British, French, African and Indian peoples battles for land and sovereignty was based right here and slaves escaped from Nth Carolina to these barracks.

LAST week we docked at Hampton City dock to do a driving to tour Richmond, Williamsburg and Jamestown the 1st British settlement in America. Civil War museums and battlefields form a huge tourist trail to see relics, re-enactments and hear stories of families, soldiers and leaders affected by these wars. A history deeply embedded in americans culture and our conversations.

Last night we joined in the street party of the City of Hampton band & street dancing and browsing in local shops and bars to experience the local community sunday all ages event- no one is shy to get up and join the dance line.

We had booked Aretha Franklin’s queen of soul tour in Durham, NC for May 19th.  Jim & Anechy kindly asked us to stay at their other home nearby for 3 nights, so lucky us, we got to enjoy their hometown and countryside. Our walks, café stops, and drinks with their mates brought laughs about oz dropbears, the US Primaries Hilary& Bernie v’s Donald now GOP leader unabashed voting of delegates and  fun joining Anechy in cuban dancing after dinner.

 Aretha IS queen of soul, harmony, R& B, gospel and big band rhythms! The 5,000 die hard fans danced, sang and clapped all night as she sang deep and lifted us higher with diva songs. ‘Aretha we love you’ we screamed as she played piano. For her finale of Natural Woman everyone went silent in awe of her talent and lifelong dedications. A woman of gold in sequins and pearls!

A quiet drive back to Hampton, along the Blueridge mountain parkway of the Appalachians gave us a taste of the 2000 ft high country forests of hickory, oak and pines where rolling bright green, tall trees and hiking trails are thick. Rain and fog stopped us walking too long.

Having a pint of British blood in us, we wanted to see James and York towns here to better understand the undying beliefs of Americans about British settlement and rebellions, 10,000 yrs. of Indian peoples and the immigration of African slaves to work on tobacco & cotton plantations for colonists to prosper and establish profitable colonies. Taxation, epidemics, hurricanes, greed & poverty led to fierce battles& losses til the wars resulted in abolition, freedom and voting rights- american liberty won.

The sites of confederate and union battlefields are big attractions. For us we hear from people of the  desperation of people to become independent and free from the mother country is echoed and still talked of as abolistionism, rights, laws and inequalities–and talking over dinners- most people we meet are disparaged by the presidential primary nominations process. A much more costly, long and endurance test for leaders than ours.

We've continued this week to follow the path of American battles, including Martin Luther King Jnr,s walk to the Capitol and President Obama’s victory to the White House at Washington DC-
by motor sailing up the Pontomac river for a week’s stay. Democracy at work!

Today's Memorial Day in DC, 100s of motor bikers are riding, Rolling Thunder in the Mall and the concert the concert is on so we're going to the Capitol lawns.


  1. Great read I have been following you on Facebook and this is much easier.Good to see you are both still living the DREAM. Mine starts again after the 17/6/2016.

  2. Wow! Thanks for taking the time. Great read and great pics.