We've had a lot of guests and it's been great to have touches from home. Julia joined us in Palm Beach. We walked across a bridge over the ICW and put our toes in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time while she was with us! It felt like a milestone. We had some storms, wind that tried to wedge us between the pontoons of a research catamaran while docking and a tornado warning while she was with us but it all worked out. We also had the good fortune to reunite with friends, SaraJane and Sam, from Chatt who live in Palm Beach too.
Bruce's sister got onboard in St Augustine and we had several fun days traveling and running around Fernandina Beach with other neighbors, Deidre and Rick, who also rode with us up to Jekyll Island. We docked and the 5 of us had a phenomenal lunch - but the only food on the table that matters enough to mention is the boiled shrimp with hot butter - clarified butter with Frank's Red Hot. I could eat it for the rest of my life.
Victoria M joined us for the leg from Hilton Head to Charleston. An unexpected highlight was stop for lunch at Beaufort SC, sweet tea floats and a quick search around town for Carolina grits and gold rice. We continued on to our dock for the night at Dataw Island. We were giddy at finding the filtered water and ice station on the walkway by the golf course. We don't have much ice on board so it was a surprising treat!
Kayla joined us in Georgetown SC for Easter weekend. We had an exhausting Easter Sunday which included a 10 hour day with several of the most treacherous stretches of the ICW (hello Rockpile, Cape Fear and Lockwood Folly) due to current and shoaling. Those were were fine!! We tried to get in to Carolina Beach state park at low tide. A mistake. Even our tiny but mighty Ranger Tug with it's 2.5 foot draft couldn't get in. We watched a Looper friend go aground and get stuck then we hit bottom as well, but were able to reverse and get out. With a gale warning starting soon and wind picking up we moved on to the next option which was a fuel dock at Carolina Beach Marina. No one was around due to the holiday, but after 3 attempts to dock and getting blown off from the increasing wind, we secured all the boat lines to every cleat we could tie up to. The gale came in that night and I pretty much just prayed we'd stay on the dock and all the cleats would hold. A lot of wind. A lot of rain. A lot of waves. Not much sleep. We stayed on the dock one more day due to crummy weather but had a break in the downpours to get out and walk through town. Such a cute place! It reminded us of Port Aransas, TX but without so many shops. Kayla rode with us to Wrightsville Beach and we really enjoyed eating out and walking the beach and collecting shells there as well.
We offloaded Kayla at Wrightsville to catch a flight back to Lubbock and we continued on North and East. North Caroling has been one of our absolute favorites along the Loop. The waterways are beautiful and the boaters are the most considerate we've met.