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Summary of Art and Sandra’s Great Loop Trip on Magoo — May 10, 2010 to April 9, 2011

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Great Loop Route

We left Sneads Ferry, NC on May 10th and proceeded North on the ICW beginning our great loop trip. We travelled a total of 6,200+ miles, went through 130 locks, 17 states and, of course, spent the majority of the summer in Canada with its great cruising and crystal clear waters. We managed to do 4 side trips: 1) the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Boldt Castle just past Alexandria Bay, NY; 2) Up the Tennessee River to Chattanooga and back down to Rogersville Alabama; 3) St. Johns River to Blue Springs; and 4) up the Savannah River to the city of Savannah. We also did numerous side trips via rental cars such as Shiloh National Cemetery; the Everglades National Park, Merritt Island National Refuge; Sanibel and Captiva Islands; and the Kennedy Space Center just to name a few. We had family and friends on board 7 times for a taste of boat living and cruising fun (and work!!). Our favorite cruising was in Canada, the Tennessee River, and Florida for its friendly and scenic waterways. After 11 months, Magoo and crew arrived in Sneads Ferry crossing our wake on April 9, 2011. Well, time to get our land legs back!! We will always remember the great folks that we met along the way and the help and support that we gave each other. — Not to forget our children (Kyle and Cassie, and our lovely daughter-in-law Steph) for having watched over the home front freeing us to concentrate on this year long trip. We are so blessed to have such giving and loving children and grandchild; they make our hearts soar.

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May 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm

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April 4-9, 2011 (Last “Loop”) Sneads Ferry, NC

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April 4-9. We left the dock of Hazzard Marine, Georgetown, SC at 8am. We are exhausted and Artie is trying to get through the day without any painkillers, but we want to move on. There is rain coming in tonight so we want to get to Myrtle Beach, SC before its arrival. —

Visiting tigers at Myrtle Beach, Barefoot Landing

Boardwalk at Barefoot Landing

View across ICW of Barefoot Landing, Myrtle Beach, SC

We docked at Barefoot Landing Marina at 3pm. As soon as we got here, we explored the shops of Barefoot Landing for exercise and found out that there was a show at the Alabama Theatre. Since we enjoy shows so much, we bought two tickets for the evening. It was great!!   —  We plan to leave here tomorrow with our destination being Bald Head Island. Our friends, John and Kim, have a summer home there and we have made plans to meet them. — Yeahhhh, we are three more cruising days from home.

Shalotte Inlet

NC fishing fleet, a familiar sight in this area

There is no spiral staircase as found in most older lighthouses, but instead a series of ships ladders with a total of 131 steps to the lantern gallery level

At 9:30am (4/6/11) we crossed the North Carolina border at mm 340.9. The Capt’n and I sang soprano and did a little “jig” on the flybridge (on second thought, it was a “big” jig). It feels soooooooooooo good to be back in North Carolina again.

At 2pm we pulled into Baldhead Island’s marina. We met with John at 5 and went to dinner and we caught up with our events of the past year. The next morning it was off to the grocery store and we picked up a few supplies to get us through the next couple of cruising days. It was fun driving a golf cart to the store that John and Kim let us borrow while we are here on Baldhead Island. Later in the afternoon we biked the island which we enjoyed because no vehicles are allowed on Baldhead,  just golf carts and bikes. Having said that, we did find that the golf carts are going a bit faster than they did a few years ago. — In the evening we relaxed and had a wonderful home cooked dinner with Kim and John, gracious host and hostess for sure.

Captaining a golf cart on Baldhead Island

John, a fellow Power Squadron member, and the Captain

Peeking at "Magoo" docked at Bald Head Island

Bald Head beach

April 8. Left Baldhead Island at 8:30am. The current is with us going up the Cape Fear River and we are traveling at a good speed (for a trawler :-)). — It is a beautiful sunny day and we can feel the temperature warming up. It feels like North Carolina is happy to have us home and giving us a “warm” welcome; back where we belong!! — We arrived in Wrightsville Beach and docked at noon at the Wrightsville Beach Marina (it’s Azalea Festival Weekend–lots of people). We had a most wonderful surprise!! Two loopers came knocking on “Magoo”; Donna and Greg of “Lady in Red”. We traveled with them through Canada, Lake Michigan, Chicago and the first half of the river system. What a wonderful visit we had and look forward to more get togethers.

The last bridge on our trip (North Topsail)

April 9. Left Wrightsville Beach at 8am. The cruise was wonderfully familiar. It is difficult to believe that we are in our home waters where we have boated for years. Can we really be here after a year? Are we dreaming?? —
No, it was a trip of a lifetime.

As we went by our waterway house I could not contain myself — I started beeping the horn. I beeped it a lot!!  Some neighbors came out of their houses waving, shouting, to welcome us back. It was such a thrill; I found a tear or two on my cheek. Then we turned to port into New River and port again into Old Ferry Marina. And for the last time on this trip, we turned Magoo’s “trusty” engine off and heard  silence. We looked at each other and said “We did it!! We made it!!” We hugged,oh how we hugged!!  We gave each a hearty “high five”  and said yet again, “We did it!! — You and me a ‘Magoo’, we did it!! ”

Neighbors along the ICW

More neighbors along the ICW

Entering Old Ferry Marina basin..............

"We Did It!! You, me, and Magoo"

Old Ferry Marina

Welcome Back -- Our first sunset at home!!

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April 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

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April 2-3, 2011 Georgetown, SC

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One of many Osprey nests along the Waccamaw River

Old, old boats

Hazzard (not Hazard) Marina, Georgetown, SC

April 2-3.  Left the docks of Charleston at 7am before the winds can make casting off more challenging.  There is no protection here and it’s prudent to be careful with the winds pushing at our dockage.  As usual the Capt’n makes it look easy with his “Lenny” method (bow forward into the dock making the stern move out). —  This run reminded us of the river system with the desolate area and muddy waters.  About two hours before we docked in Georgetown (3:45pm) the wind blew harder and harder (30 knots).  It’s  a good night not to anchor, but to be here at Hazzard Marina (with 2 z’s not 1), Georgetown, SC.  —  Well, it’s better to be here than we thought.  Artie has been coughing for a few days (caught another cold), but this time he did “the big cough” and ended up in the ER.  And what a great ER here in Georgetown.  Every medical person that helped Artie from the doctor, to the nurses, to the clinicians was professional, thorough, and empathetic.  We can’t say enough “good stuff” about our experience with this hospital and staff.  As it turns out the x-rays were sketchy, but it was either a torn muscle or a hairline cracked rib.  Ouch!!  The capt’n has some prescriptions that are helping him through the discomfort; isn’t the modern world of chemistry great??

 

Waccamaw River

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April 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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March 31-April 1, 2011 Charleston, SC

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Back in the Day, if you were a guest in a Southern home such as this, it was a common practice for the host to place a pineapple on the mantle as an expression of welcome. -- If one day you do not see the pineapple on the mantle anymore, that is "the subtle message" that it is time to leave.

"Skinniest" house in Charleston. -- A kind resident let a family build a house in their driveway because they loved this area of Charleston.

St. Philips Church

St. Philips Graveyard (not cemetery-- a graveyard is on church property and a cemetery is not).

March 31-April 1.  Weather is questionable, but we’re heading out — t’storms chances are minimal and should not hit until after we dock in Charleston.  If we’re not lucky, there is a plan B.  —  At 3pm docked in Charleston at the municipal marina and all is well.  We dodged the rain, but it is windy.  This marina is huge with giganteus boats, oops, I mean ships.  We have about a half mile of docks to walk to get to the marina office or to shore.  Charleston’s downtown is not a walkable distance, there really is very little convenient to the marina but there is a van that will take us into downtown Charleston which we will do tomorrow (April 1).  —  We met some Heritage East owners at this marina; Shangri-la, Eileen and E. Don Smith from Connecticut.  They are considering doing the loop, too; and we feel they have a great boat for it (it’s “Magoo’s” twin).

Charleston.  It is the second largest city in the state (largest is the state capital, Columbia).  Originally named Charles Towne (1670) after King Charles II of England.  It adopted its present name of Charleston in 1783.  Charleston is known as the Holy City with the prominence of churches and many steeples dot the city’s skyline.  We took a horse and carriage ride to get the flavor of the historic district and did our own walking tour of some of the older homes on Church Street and Meeting Street.

Low Tide

The black bolts on these houses are "earthquake bolts". They were installed to hold the houses together after the earthquake of August 31, 1886.

The stones used to make Charlestons cobblestone streets are not native to this area. They used the ballast of ships to make these beautiful and long-lasting cobblestone streets. "Waste Not Want Not" --

Waterfront Park - this gazebo is a popular setting for weddings in Charleston.

Waterfront Park, Charleston

Our last view of Charlestons skyline as we continue our cruise North.

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April 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm

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March 29-30, 2011 Beaufort, SC

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Saxton House (1845) -- During the Civil War the Union soldiers occupied this house. -- The stairs on the left are to be used by only women, and the stairs on the right are to be used by only men. The reason is that men were not allowed to look at women's ankles!! It was considered a crime!!!

"The Hanging Tree" -- Our tour guide didn't say it has stopped being used!!??

Secession House (1810)

Thomas Rhett House (1820) is now a Bed and Breakfast

Filmmakers have discovered the photogenic Low Country and every year several major films are shot in communities along South Carolina’s Waterway.   The state has been called a movie star.  Some of these movies include:  “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson (Georgetown), “Cold Mountain” with Nicole Kidman (Charleston),  “G.I. Jane” with Demi Moore (Beaufort),  “Something to Talk About”  with Julia Roberts (Beaufort), and “Forrest Gump” with Tom Hanks (Beaufort).

March 29-30.  We’re off again, alone (you, me and Magoo) leaving the dock at 8:30am.  It’s cloudy and we’re looking at a rainy week, so progress is questionable.  There’s some stretches without marinas; we’ll just take it one day at a time.  Today our destination is Beaufort, SC, a place we have not been before.  So if we are rained in there, it will give us more of an opportunity to explore the area.  —  As we move along we pass the famous Parris Island Marine base, built in 1861.
Beaufort, SC is the second-oldest city in South Carolina (chartered in 1711).  It is noted for maintaining its historic character with its antebellum architecture.  This city has been featured in the New York Times, named “Best Small Southern Town”.  —  The military’s presence (U.S. Naval Hospital, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, and Parris Island close by) is a significant part of Beaufort.
The capt’n and I took a horse and buggy ride to get the highlights of the town and sampled a few restaurants cuisines.  The town has a beautiful waterfront park with lots of shops, restaurants, and beautiful old buildings.  —  We learned something interesting.  We knew that Beaufort, NC and Beaufort, SC had a different pronunciation, but often got it confused.  Our tour guide told us a way to remember the difference.  Beaufort, SC is BEAUtiful, and that is exactly how your pronounce BEAUfort, SC.   Beaufort, NC is pronounced a different way, BOWfort, NC.

Bay and marsh grass next to Beaufort's marina

Tabernacle Baptist Church (1840) -- During the Civil War the tombstones in the graveyard were used for surgical tables.

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April 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm

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March 25-28, 2011 Hilton Head, SC

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We have some company enjoying our first Hilton Head sunset.

At 8am we left the docks of Savannah when the current was still with us.  This river has a very strong current (at 3+ knots) and even though we don’t have very far to go, we left early to utilize the tide/current.  —    We enjoyed our stay in Savannah with all its history and beautiful buildings not to mention great restaurants (Hueys and Dockside were our favorites).  But we won’t miss trying to sleep on the boat here.  There is so much waterway traffic going in and out of Savannah’s port that we have been rocking and rolling all night (and we  ain’t talking about Elvis).  —  We almost left Kyle here.  The door to his bedroom was closed this morning, so I figured we would let him sleep since last night was especially “rockin’ n roll’n” but Artie said no.  Get him up to help us ready the boat.  When I knocked on the door and opened it, Kyle was not there!!!  My first thought that he went into the hotel and checked in so he could get some sleep, but alas, he was in the gym working out and taking a shower.  —  Wouldn’t it have been funny if we left the dock without  Kyle (thinking that he was sleeping in the bedroom on the boat).   Only kidding Kyle :-).

At 9:15 we crossed into South Carolina (yeaahhh!! — only one state away from home). Arrived at Hilton Head Harbor Yacht Basin at noon.

First night sunset Hilton Island, SC

South Beach, Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island is often referred to as the second largest barrier island on the eastern seaboard after Long Island and is shaped like a shoe.  Its total area is 55.5 square miles.  The beginning of Hilton Head as a resort started in 1956.  The year-round population is 47,821, but during the peak of summer vacation the population swells to 275,000.  So, I think that visiting this island in March was absolutely perfect with a comfortable amount of people.  — What’s interesting about such a small island is the unusual number of cultural opportunities it offers (Broadway-quality plays, symphony orchestra, the largesst annual outdoor tented wine tasting even on the east coast and other annual community festivals).   —  Hilton Head is known for its commitment to the eco system.   An environmentalist (Charles Fraser) changed the configuration of the marina at Harbour Town to save an ancient live oak (we could see this tree from where we docked).  This oak is known as the Liberty Oak.  Generations of children have watched singer/song writer Gregg Russell perform under the tree for over 25 years.

Setting the toddler style wearing some groovy sunglasses w/Daddy looking on.

Enjoying lunch "Isabel style" as Mommy looks on (photo compliments of Cassie)

Looks like a "hairy" fun time!!

At 5:30 Steph, Isabel and Cassie arrived to spend the weekend with us before taking Kyle back “to the real world”.  —  We had a great visit and wonderful just to be together again (it has been a long trip).  Isabel enjoyed the huge playground and also had her own “chariot” to bike ride with us.  It was an enjoyable family outing on bikes and ended at the South Beach area of Hilton Head where we had a yummy lunch.  —  Kyle, Steph and Isabel stayed at the Harbor Town Inn where Cassie, Artie and Sandra joined them.  We all ordered room service.  Ahhhh, the bonuses of “civilization”.
This is one of the nicest stops of the trip (maybe it could have something to do with the company :-)).
Sunday noon we said our good-byes; “bye bye”.  It sure was quiet when our babies (young and old) left us by ourselves on Magoo.  Just you and me and Magoo again………………

Monday (rainy day) we did chores on the boat, got some provisions, laundry, and the blog (of course).  We are readying ourselves to start moving again tomorrow.  Rain has settled in and we’ll be making our way through the raindrops.  It’s all good though, cause we’re almost home.

 

The "Magoo Crew" at Hilton Head

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March 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm

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March 22 – 24, 2011 (Georgia) Walburg Creek anchorage, Isle of Hope, and Savannah

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Low Country Sunset, Walburg Creek anchorage, GA

Low Country Sunrise on Walburg Creek anchorage, GA

Low Country (GA)

Fenders have a second use on the hook (footstool).

Pulling the anchor up and leaving Walburg anchorage

March 22.  Woke up this morning at the Walburg Creek anchorage where Kyle made a magnificent breakfast.  Pancakes (with bananas, pears, and oatmeal added to the batter), and a boat in the “boon-docks” necessity, spam.  Yea, we had pancakes (healthy) and spam (well, spam is spam).  —  After that hardy breakfast, we pulled the anchor up and were on our way at 9:24am.  Our destination today is Isle of Hope Marina.  This marina is a member of the AGLCA, so it will be a welcoming port.  We were tied up by the owners of the marina at 1:30pm; red carpet treatment.  —  The name of this town is Isle of Hope, which can lead you to believe that it is an island, but it is not really an island.  It is a sandy peninsula with a high bluff looking over  Skidaway Island.   According to the web, the name Isle of Hope is biblical and means “house of mercy”.  The total area of this town is 2.1 sq. miles (kind of makes me wonder how we found it).  An interesting bit of history  back in the Civil War is that General Sherman and his troops came to town.   He had little respect for organized religion (according to historians) and so he had the bell of the town’s Methodist Church melted  in order to make some badly needed cannonballs.  —  Some film productions were made here and included:  “Glory” (an Oscar winner), “Cape Fear” (the original), “Forrest Gump”, and “The Last Song”.
March 23.  At 8am we untied the lines from the docks of the marina (Isle of Hope) and we are on our way to Savannah, GA.  Beautiful morning, low wind.  The current is working with us by moving us forward to our destination (and saving fuel, too :-)).  We docked at the Hyatt in Savannah at noon, had lunch, then we hopped a trolley to get acquainted with the city.  Beautiful old buildings.  It was a small miracle that Sherman didn’t destroy this city with all its history.  Sherman wanted to make cannonballs out of the church bells here, too, but the ladies of Savannah contacted the President and that was the end of that!!  Sherman and his troops didn’t do too much damage; although they did mar the cemetery by breaking a  lot of the headstones.  —

The old and the new

Commercial traffic on the Savannah River

Kyle boat shopping on the downtown Savannah dock

Savannah is the largest city in Georgia (established in 1733), and people from here  are called “Savannahians”.   Today its downtown district is  one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the US attracting millions of tourist every year.  —  We learned that Johnny Mercer was born here; didn’t know that.  Thinking about the songs that he wrote were a very happy part of our youth:  “Moon River”, “Jeepers Creepers”, “Days of Wine and Roses”.  —  Another  very famous lady was born here; Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of America).  Some believe that Savannah was named after the Shawnee Indians, the local Indians in this area.  Another belief is an English term “savanna”, which is a type of tropical grass.  —  One of Savannah’s largest employers is the  International Paper (we can attest to that company being here by the aroma when the wind blows a certain way–“phewww”), and Gulfstream Aerospace company (maker of private jets).  Of course, the port is big business here, too, maybe the biggest judging from the amount of big container ships going in and out of the port.

 

Talmadge Memorial Bridge - spans the Savannah River from Savannah, GA to South Carolina

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Alter of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

March 24.  We slept a little later today.  When we woke up, who did we find as a neighbor to our starboard but a dredger.  It snuck in last night when we were asleep.  This river’s normal depth is 12 foot but with the all the container ships coming into port, they dredge the river to depth of approximately 40 feet.

 

River Street, Savannah at Sunrise (our last morning) -- Kyle took this beautiful picture.

Leaving Savannah -- what a GREAT stay!! Even with the rocking and rolling hindering our sleep on the river.

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March 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm

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