Florida

By Val.   On Dec 1 we left Charleston SC with the goal to get to Florida as fast as we can go, (which isn’t very fast on a sailboat)😬We entered Florida several days ago and can now say we are feeling more comfy. The nights are no longer dropping down to 2C and we don’t need to turn the heater on to warm us up to start the day. Since we left Charleston we have stopped only to get fuel and a few groceries otherwise we have been pushing to get south. So long days then anchor, sleep and do it again the next day.

We did take an afternoon and walked around the beautiful and historic St Augustine. Wow what can I say! As you enter into the harbour you feel like you are sailing into a European city. The architecture is Spanish with a huge fortress to welcome you as you come in. Castillo de San Marcos has been there for over 300 years beginning in the 1600’s, built by the Spanish to claim a little of the New World. One Ponce de Leon and his navigators came to understand the Gulf Stream and used it to travel back and forth to Spain. They would follow the Gulf Stream to South America, travel north to Florida and follow the Gulf Stream back to Spain, amazing! This route made Spain a very prosperous country in the 1600-1800’s where it cedes Florida to the US after the Civil War .

The fortress was never defeated unless changing hands in peaceful/treaty exchanges. The city hall is gorgeous with very Spanish architecture and I’m sorry that I didn’t stop and take a pictures all around me. The side streets are those narrow alley like walkways with all kinds of shops. It was a short but very sweet visit and we would like to stop in on our return voyage.

The weather has risen incrementally as we motor down the coast. Today (Sunday) it is poring rain out. The Captain is drenched but the Wench is dry 😬☔️. Tomorrow we will be in Vero Beach for a few days. I have a cousin whom we will visit and I’m getting very excited! I’m looking forward to catching up on life since I’ve not really spent anytime with him and get to meet his wife Susan. They have graciously opened their home up to us so we will stop and do laundry, get groceries and I will have a glorious bath. The shower cleans me bit oh I love to relax in a tub so that is one thing that I am looking forward to.

It has been a week of pushing hard to get closer to the ever elusive sweet weather and we both are happy to say 3 months later we are beginning to feel we can put on a pair of shorts very soon.

To all of you suffering through the cold, wind and snow I’m sorry but winter sports are great fun we will just miss them this year. Love to you all.

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What it is like to travel the ICW

This blog is for all those sailors in the Saint John area that are wondering what it is like to travel the Intercoastal Waterway.  I will frame it in comparison to travels along the Saint John River.

A day on the ICW is like leaving Saint John and traveling to Gagetown…. every day for 5 days in a row.

It would also be like going through the entrance to Grand lake, washdamoak and Bellisle all in a row… for 8 hours, including going over the flats near Shampers, with 1 foot under the keel.

It might be like traveling through grand lake and then going up the Salmon to Chipman, and then back again.

Some parts, like the “Great Dismal Swamp” would be like going along Manawagonish road, as if it was a canal. … for two days.   The trees in many places almost touch over  you….. and … there might be alligators.

 

Then you anchor and have supper and get up at 0600 and do it all again! After about a week you pull into a marina and pay your $1.50 to $3.00 per foot and have a chance to take a long shower, have a courtesy car, see some sights, have a meal out, do some shopping and then return to 5 or so more days as above.

The history that  you will see and experience will rewrite so much of what you were told in school.   We have spend hours in museums and reading monuments and talking to locals.   There is something to learn at every stop along the way.

If you have ever dreamed about doing this… go for it!

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Where is that heat???

To all who have continually encouraged me on whenever I have whined about the weather thanks but nothing has changed. ❄️🤔We are closing in on the Florida border, if all goes well it will be a days sail Thursday). Now I know we are not experiencing the (-)Degree weather but we are oh so close to the 0C that is considered the NB norm for the first of December. This morning we awoke to a 3C frosty cold morning. Now I am sticking with the Galley Wench role therefore not sitting out in the cold pushing the boat onward south. So, I gave Eric my scarf to wear and both of us wished we had hats!!!!! We have decided not to stop and visit but just go until we hit the pursued place of promised heat.

As I have been more ‘inside’ I have been trying to stay on track for Advent readings and for the past few days one of the reoccurring readings has been Psalm 90. In this psalm we see that God has been, is and will be around from the birth of the world to the end, that a day is a thousand years to Him,that he sees and knows everything about me including my secret sins, and He has never promised life to be easy. Yet still in His all knowing He has an unfailing love for us, for me, and that in the midst of my life he can walk with me and I can shout with joy and be glad all of my days.

This Christmas season will be very different for Eric and I. No family events, no bustling around attending events, preparing for services, no shopping so we are able to absorb the gift of the season. We are grateful for our gift of time to do this adventure, for our kids, family and our love for Jesus.

As you can see not much to report on regarding landmarks and places but much more on on the bigger things in life. Blessings everyone

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It is beginnng to sound a lot like Christmas

I had a moment this morning as we were cruising down the Beaufort river and we found our selves listening and singing along to Christmas carols..

We did not bring much of anything for  decorations with us but do hope to get a few when we stop in Vero Beach.  We do have a very simple manger scene that is now adorning the magazine rack next to Val’s guitar.

 

We are now seeing white sand beaches, Palm trees and of course pelicans.. and listening to Christmas carols!

One of the things that we have started to do is to watch some of those Christmas movies the one that we watched the night we grounded was called something like “Letter to Santa”  These are always love stories of some kind, but do put you into the reason for the season.   We will try to watch a number of those, when we have a good Verizon signal.    That one was watched with my cell phone hoisted up the mast!

The other thing that came our way was the song that Stephanie just released.   Check out her FB or Blog and have a free listen.  That helped.

 

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A wild 24 hours

Arrival in Rocky Creek

We had an good and uneventful passage on our first day back traveling arriving in a designated anchorage called Rocky Creek.   They probably should not call it Rocky Creek but rather shifting sandbar creek, or mud creek or, You will probably go aground creek.

All was well as we set the anchor with in a few feet of the spot on the chart.    After we watched the first “Christmas Movie” of the season I noticed that the boat had a slight list to it.   I figured it was laying over a bit due to the current being against the wind and we were lying broad side to the wind (and now rain)   But I also heard a tell tale sign of water lapping agains the side of the boat, indicating that we could possibly be aground.

They say that there are two types of people that travel the ICW:  those who have run aground, and those that will.   We are now in the first catigory.

It was pitch black, sideways rain, no moon and we could not see the shore because of the glare off the rain when we shone the light.   Only the chart plotter and compass.   The chart plotter would not show our orientation because we were not moving, so looking at the compass was the only way to know how we were actually lying.

 

With some persuasion from the engine and windless we got off and got the anchor up and moved down creek a few hundred feet to the deepest spot we could find, after running aground once more.   By the time I had let out enough scope we were sitting in 9 feet of water, but it was low tide, so that was fine.

I posted a note to the Waterway guide with the two spots that were 3 feet deep either side of their marked anchorage spot.

This was not the end of the rain however as we were to find out in the morning.

We were up at first light as we had some challenging shallow spots and timed bridge openings to transit and wanted to be away as soon as we could.

I discovered that in all of the confusion the night before I had left the spreader lights on all night.   Good thing we have a good battery bank!   We burnt about twice as much as we usually do in a night, about 85 Amp hours.    You learn to be careful with electricity when you have to make your own every day!

As we set out we saw the flat bottom of thunder clouds to the north and east.    I had hoped that they were going to pass us by but it was not to be.   It rained that day between 6 and 8 INCHES!

We anchored in a beautiful anchorage at Beaufort SC.  Val has already talked about the difference between these namesake cities of NC and SC.   The rain continued through the night and we worked at drying our outer and under ware out.   The next day we decided to forgo the city tour and press on!

In the morning we saw a fragment of blue sky and some warm temperatures.

 

 

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Charleston is behind us now

We were nearly a month in Charleston.   At some point before we arrived I had to figure out a place that I could fly to Toronto to attend board meetings for Wycliffe Bible Translators Canada.   Since I am the chair of that board I wanted to be in a place that I could prepare for a time and then fly out.

To fly out with certainty I would need to know  about a month in advance where that place might be.    Not having done the IWC before, I was really unsure how far we would get.   Taking a very conservative approach I settled on Charleston while we were still in the Chesapeake Bay Area.   Charleston has an international airport with all the major Airlines in attendance.

Upon arrival as you have already read we did some tourist things and then Val headed to Sask to visit.   I spent some time prepping for the Board meeting and doing boat projects.  You have already read about Vals time, so here is something about mine.

 

Wycliffe Bible Translators is part of a family of about 100 organizations around the world that translate the Bible into the “heart language of people”.  We work usually with the established local church or other missions organizations.

Translating the scriptures used to take most of the life time of a single missionary.  Years ago when missionaries were sent to remote places some were known to pack their belongings into a casket, since that was how they might very possibly return.  Today a New Testament translation can be done in 6-10 years and is usually done mostly from national who have been taught how to do good translation work.  Beyond translation work is also litercy and scripture use work.   Often there are other ministries that spring up like church planting, education, poverty reduction, medical work, etc.

Now I know that some of you reading this blog will object strongly with the concept of bringing a western “religion” to other people groups.   That is the philosophy of much of the liberal west today.   Even being a christian is becoming increasingly unpopular , suspect and politically incorrect.

I meet more and more so called liberal thinking people who are intolerant of the faith that I profess.   That is rather ironic because a true liberal would provide space for many viewpoints.  I would like to offer a rather surprising article for skeptics to read.  Even if you are not a skeptic commend this to you.   I remain a believer in the Son of God and the Salvation that He so freely offers.  I have always believed that it has the power to transform lives and communities.

Through our studies as board directors of Wycliffe translators,  our President stumbled upon an article that draws an amazing parallel between those politically incorrect (now) conversionary missionaries and the rise of Liberal Democracy.     I promise you that this is an interesting read from a very practical point of view.   Another good reason to consider the claims of Christ.

Woodberry on Missions (1)

Click the link above to read the article.

One of the other significant thing that we did recently at Wycliffe was to sell our building in Toronto and move in with 5 other like minded mission agency’s to be better stewarts of our funds.   The additional benefit is the building of relationships with folks engaged in the same mission.

What to see a “Stack of Bibles”?

One of our former Board Members who is now a VP of Wycliffe Canada together with another staff member made this very impressive display of scriptures that have been translated in to languages that can be understood by people in their own mother tongue.   #endbiblepoverty

This is no where near all of them.  Lots more in the basement.

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Back on the water

I think it has been a month since I have posted a rseport so I guess I am long overdue. Since Nov 13 I have been in Saskatchewan visiting with Kait, Justin, David, Nathalie and the girls. It was a great time going to Norahs hockey games, cooking and just enjoying family. I got to see a little of Cold Lake Alberta where Dave and Nathalie live. Needless to say my time flew by and it was time to head back. In Edmonton I got to visit with my brother Gerry for a few hours. Time is such a precious commodity that really one needs to cherish our moments with care. I left Canada with a thankful heart and looking forward to returning in the spring.
Eric and I returned on the same day within minutes of each other. We headed back to the boat and both were ready for a sleep. This flying is not a relaxing way to travel. In Toronto I sat in a loaded plane ready to go but had to wait for a new part to be put in the plane before we took off. Now I do appreciate the care they take in keeping us safe but I could feel myself getting anxious as we were more and more delayed. I knew I had about an hour (which I felt was great timing) to get to my connection for Charleston. Well we chewed that up in Toronto so when I got off the plane these old legs ran to the other end of the airport to see if I could catch the flight. As I was leaving the Air Canada guy had a voucher ready for me if I missed my plane. Well I made it!!!!!!!! I was the last one on with no minutes to spare.
So our first day we spent doing all the laundry we could and getting groceries so we could leave on Saturday. We decided to head out right away and not visit the plantation now and will wait until our return. We really did enjoy Charleston, the depth of history, the spirit of the place and the people. Eric went to a church there for the three Sunday’s he was there and we want to return when we come back in the spring.
I am writing as we are now on the Intra-Coastal Waterway heading to Beaufort SC (pronounced Būfort) not to be confused with Beaufort NC (pronounced Bōfort), you will be corrected if you get it wrong 😬. We have decided to push hard to Vero Beach where I have a cousin, provision the boat there and then wait for our weather window to go to the Bahamas and be there by Christmas.
So the adventure continues and we continue to search for the ever elusive warm weather. My cousin Stan tells me Vero Beach’s weather is beautiful. Let’s pray.

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Christ the King

This morning was a very special morning in the Life of our Church, St. James the Less in the Parish of Renforth.   It was the occasion of the ordination to the diaconate for Jonathan Hallewell.    Jonathan had been worshipping here for over a year and as the year went on and I announced my retirement it became increasingly clear to me and him and a bunch of others that he may be called to leadership in ministry at St. James the Less.
For me personally this was a great peace, because one of my greatest concerns was, who was going to follow.   God is the god of all provision and he has done this and not ourselves.
To be able to watch this event actually take place was one of the miracles of modern technology.     I was on my way to a local new church plant here in North Charleston SC from the marina and Val was at Kait’s house in Saskatchewan.    We both surfed in on Facebook live and were able to experience the service.
Earlier I had suggested to Jonathan that it would be a great blessing to us to be able to watch on Video, so he taped an old iPhone to the “wings of the eagle” … something prophetic about that no doubt!
Here are some of my impressions.

It looked like he did this about an hour before the service began, so I got to hear all of the “pre-service things, like John and Cynthia practicing, Linda getting the organ in shape and bits of conversation here and there….   Yes the whole world could have been listening!   Particularly moving was seeing and hearing David and Jonathan rehearsing the vows and generally preparing for what was to take place.
Next was Susan’s introduction.   It gave me great hope that the parish still has the call and character of Christ and is full of the spirit.   Susan you were true to form and so sensitive to the people and to the Holy Spirit as you introduced the service and prayed.    I am very proud of you.
Of course next we were hearing John and Cynthia lead worship.   The song selection and leading was as usual done with excellence and sensitivity, leaving lots of room for the spirit to speak and leave an impression on hearts.    Thankyou
Throughout the service we were seeing many friends and visitors participating.   There were clergy, friends and church members taking part, each one touching our hearts as we saw them pass the wings of the eagle.
Listening to the message by Bishop (moves diagonally on the chessboard) Edwards, was a treat.   It was an act of great love for David to come and do this so close to the time of Janets passing.  His call to us all was deep and practical and very real.
My last highlight was watching people come to the rail to receive communion.   Very emotional. This was the deepest moment for me.   The eagles wings witnessed most of the congregation come forward, kneel and then receive the bread and wine.   As the one who did this for over 20 years it stirred deep memories and emotions.
In a few minutes I board a plane and fly to Toronto to Chair meetings with Wycliffe Canada and then on Thursday Val and I both return to Tevah and head south.

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At Least it’s not snowing!

Val has left for a visit at Kait’s and I am hunkered down here in Charleston SC until I head up to Toronto for the last week of November.    I do have to say that the “Southern weather” can be a bit fickle!   We get one day where we comment that we have “beaten winter” or “turned the corner”… and then 5 days of overcast, wind, rain and cold tempetures.   I guess we will need to press on as quick as possible when we resume our trip!

The marina viewed from about half way along the pier leading to shore

In the mean time the boat is docked at the Cooper River Marina, a state park facility on the grounds of an old Navy Base.  The staff is extremely helpful and the facilities are modern, clean and well stocked.  It is in the middle of nowhere but the staff will always give you a lift to do some shopping or run to the airport.   I have met a couple of my neighbors and they are great people.

Found a small new church plant to attend on Sunday and made a couple of connections.   We were amazed at the similarities in our walk in the church and theirs!   Definitely a sense of connecting to what God is doing.    I will return there for sure this Sunday.

I have begun a long list of boat projects for the time that I have on the boat alone.  There are a number of “leaks” to be tracked down and fixed, some improvements to the living space as well as some electrical/mechanical issues to deal with.   It is great to be located in one place so that I can order stuff and recieve it.   I have found that even though we are in a major boating centre it is cheaper, easier and faster to find things on line either at Amazon or an independent dealer and have them shipped directly to the marina.    I have ordered some new gaskets for the ports, a new Alternator and a spare drive belt for the Autohelm.

 

Here is the complete list so far and the status:

Jobs while Val is away

Remote switch for Anchor windless – done
Charging circuit for Anchor windless Battery – done
Battery Box for Windless Battery
Clean drinking water filter -done
Lift and clean dinghy.   Store on deck – done
Reinstall and seal windless. – Done
Clean and mark anchor rode – on going (need to let the rope dry out, before I can paint the marks on it!)
Clean and fix oil sump and extractor pump – done
Shop for food – ongoing
Get new spare alternator – ordered
Get spare autohelm belt – ordered
Get spare oil filters ordered locally – he will call
Get oil – done
Find and fix leaks
         1 Front left Staunton on pulpit done
         2 Windless and foot switches.  Done
 3 at helm station – still a mystery, but I have some ideas!
Clean deck with hose – ongoing
Clean cockpit
Organize Vberth –
Add Velcro to screens in preparation for a climate where bugs can actually survive
Look for port window gasket – ordered
Hook on door in hanging locker
Fasten knife holder with L brackets
Get Alternator belts
Check bulbs in engine control panel
This is a Joggling board. A feature of many a fine southern home. Here is an article that explains this rather unique piece of porch furniture.

 

 

We did do a day of exploring the history of Charleston when we first arrived.    Spent 90 minutes on a city tour and went to the Museum.  Very though provoking and informative.    When Val returns we will go on a Plantation tour.    I will let Val blog about this aspect of the trip as she will do it so much better then I.
Yes this is a display of Chamber Pots. That would not be unusual for any Museum. The thing that was unique about this display was its Location. It was in the “men’s room”! And yes there was a similar one in the Ladies!

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Update or Maybe reflections

It’s been awhile since I have added my two cents to the blog. At Beaufort when we were getting the groceries I dropped my cell and broke it!!! So I was willing to sadly live with it. The problem was the broken screen caused a problem to type some of the letters. 😩 So off we went and had it repaired in Wrightsville Beach. The place was call CPR Cell Phone Rescue! I got a new battery and screen for $130 so Ms Galley Wench is very Happy.
The highlights for me in the last week have been:
The effects of Hurricane Florence has been significantly different as we have sailed down the Intracoastal Waterway. As we said last week Beaufort mostly suffered roof/water damage. Further down we can see how high the water was, docks twisted, huge parts of them missing, boats thrown on shore, houses damaged. We have been told that it was a result of all the water flowing down from North Carolina into the South Carolina waterways.
Since I last wrote some of the places we have anchored are Onslow Beach (Camp Lejeune)where it is like trying to pitch a tent at Camp Gagetown! As we came into the wee harbour you could hear the deep resounding BOOM of some really big explosives. Then in the early evening it was the sound of fireworks called automatic gunfire. It did settle down and all was quiet to sleep. I don’t think you could have fit many more boats in that harbour that night.
Next stop was Wrightsville/Wilmington. We did actually stop for a few days and did laundry got my phone fixed (yeah!) walked on the beautiful white sandy beach. We have actually started to say we are in the warm south and not in the winter weather (sorry you northern friends and family 😬) Lovely people, a warm, welcoming and relaxing time.
Myrtle Beach is a very long beach my friends, she is a mere 60 miles long of white sandy beaches,there seems to be no crowding here. I think the crowding comes in trying to find a parking place in order to go to the beach!
The Galley Wench was taken out to Ruth’s Steak house and mmmm was it good. I also made a lovely homemade guacamole and a mango salsa among other delicious meals. I don’t see the Captain hasn’t complained so I guess I’m here for another week.

We are now in Georgetown SC at one point the rice capital of the world. Who new? They a rice museum and a maritime museum that we have visited. The most interesting fact about the rice is it was the idea as well as the enacted by black slaves. The coastal area of SC is referred to as the lowlands. There were slaves from Ghana and Senegal who has experience in growing rice in their homelands. They made it happen and they made their masters very very rich. Just prior to the Civil War they were exporting over 70% of all rice for the world. Eric and I were discussing this and we were saying that in school we heard of plantations and always thought cotton or tobacco but never was rice a crop ever discussed. The local history we have learned has been amazing and revelatory.

I have thought often how I am very much a lame duck when it comes sailing. I’m not a sailor, I can do very little when it comes to repairing or maintaining the motor or any of the many other things that makes this whole trip happen. The sad truth is I have no desire to do those things either, Eric will sit at night to plot out our next days journey. The bottom line is I truly am just along for the ride and will feed the Captain since I would be in such a pickle if anything happened to him. We have a lovely working relationship but Unless something changes in me this will be a one of retirement gift trip. If you recall way back I had spoke of the Jersey coast just about did me in, I have spoken to several wives and I am not the only one who felt like ‘never again’ one gal came out of that trip with a broken rib so I did ok. We will soon head to Charleston and then on to Saskatchewan for me.

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