Thursday, December 13, 2012

We've been in St. Augustine, FL  for a week now.  We had intended to stay for just a few days, but we've enjoyed this beautiful, old city so much we're still here!  More about St.  Augustine later, but for now I wanted to share this picture of me and Jack on the balcony of the St. Augustine lighthouse.  He really wanted to go because he had heard it was quite haunted.  He climbed the 219 steps to the top looking for ghosts the entire way!  I thought he was going to ask for a refund because he didn't see any!  He wants to go back and night now. . .

Thursday, December 6, 2012


We spent two lovely days anchored off Cumberland Island, Georgia's largest barrier island.  All four of us were completely taken by the place.  It's so peaceful and unspoiled.  It's hard to pick my favorite part of Cumberland Island -- the moss-covered draping canopy of the live oaks, the feral horses, the spectacular ruins from a bygone era, the pristine beaches, the birds.  We spent our first day on the island hiking trails and visiting the ruins of the Carnegie mansion, Dungeness.  The mansion was built in the late 1800's and abandoned in 1925.  In 1959, Dungeness was mostly destroyed by fire that was a result of suspected arson.

The Ruins of Dungeness
Dungeness Safe

Fleur de Lis fire back

The feral horses on Cumberland Island have been here since the 16th century. There are approximately 150 that roam the island. They graze openly on the marsh and forest areas of the island.  They occasionally go to the beach, but we didn't see any while we were there.  My guess is they avoid the beach most of the time since all it really offers to them is a case of sand colic.    We were lucky enough to spot five on our way to the ruins.  They'll let you get close, but not too close. We probably would not have seen any horses had it not been for these two grazing in the picnic area.  They hung with us for several minutes before heading off into the wood.  We followed them and found three more.

There are wild turkeys on the island too.  Unlike the ones back home, these guys don't seem to mind our presence.  I wonder if they realize how lucky they are they're not hunted here. . .

After lunch, we took the advice of a park ranger and headed over to Racoon Key to look for shark's teeth.  When we arrived, there was already someone there combing the beach.  We introduced ourselves and she gave us some tips on where to find the teeth.  She frequents the beach often and has found over 5,000 teeth over years.  She said she pretty much cleaned the beach out for the week and gave the kids a handful of teeth!  I managed to find just one before the sun began to set.    The tooth I found is on the top right.

Day 2 on Cumberland Island was a beach day!  It was a sunny 80ยบ day.  We took this beautiful path that lead to the beach:
 And spotted a lovely Pileated Woodpecker!
We had hoped to see some of the other island wildlife like armadillos and boars, but they remained elusive!  We saw only one other couple while we were on the island and they saw 3 armadillos, but no horses!  Guess you have to be in the right place at the right time. We were the only people on the entire beach the whole day!  The kids played in the sand, splashed in the surf, chased seagulls and combed the beach for ocean treasures.  It was the most relaxing part of our entire trip so far.  The salt air did us all a world of good.


American Oystercatcher
Ghost Crab  

Another trip to Cumberland Island is on the schedule when we head North!  We barely touched the tip of the island!

Monday, December 3, 2012


St. Simons Island, GA

This morning we anchored on the Frederica River and went ashore to explore the military town of Fort Frederica.  First established in 1736 by British General James Oglethorpe on present day St. Simons Island, Georia. The end of the war with Spain in 1748 resulted in a decrease in the garrison at Fort Frederica and a decline in the population at the town.  In 1758 a great fire destroyed most of the town and by 1763 most of the population and the garrison were gone. 

It's a beautiful site with many ruins to explore.  We also visited the welcome center and checked out many of the artifacts found on the site.  The center had a nice little theater where we watched a short video about the history of the fort as well as the Bloody Marsh Battle.  A great history lesson for the day! (click on pictures to enlarge)

Saturday, December 1, 2012


We spent 4 nights on a dock in Wadmalaw Island, SC.  The yard at Marine Propulsion belongs to our friend, Anthony Black.  The yard sits on a lovely creek overlooking beautiful marsh land.  In the morning, dolphins swim around the boat fishing for their breakfast.  Everyone at the yard was so helpful.  One of Anthony's employees helped fix our idling issue much to K.'s excitement!  Fiona and Jack schooled in the morning and played with all the critters running around. There's a never-ending assortment of dogs running around -- Nipper, Happy, Lily and a 2 month old chocolate lab puppy named Sadie.  Of course, I can't forget to mention yard mascot, Aflac -- a very noisy and hungry goose!  In the afternoon the kids usually got together with Anthony's kids.  Fiona and Grace are about the same age and are now fast friends.  We toured the Charleston Tea Plantation on our last day.  It's America's only tea garden.  Not only did we learn how tea is made, but that Wadmalaw Island is also home to bobcats and 4 different poisonous snakes!  

Thanks for the great memories, Anthony, Susie, Simon, Rachel, Diana, Grace, Alex, Josh, Maisey and Talluaha!

Fiona & Jack feed Aflac

On the dock at Marine Propulsion

Fiona on the beach

Original tea garden at Charleston Tea Plantation

Fiona & Jack and the former jockey trolley 'Man 'O War' --now used for plantation tours

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cruisin' The Ditch

The past several days have been mostly uneventful.  The sights are lovely and we've spotted many dolphins since North Carolina.  We've been mostly confined to the boat since the weather has been windy and cold.  Most nights we anchor and some nights we've been lucky enough to dock.  Docking is great!  We get to hook up to power and take on water, so on those nights we get TV and long showers!  Our best stop by far was Thanksgiving night in North Myrtle Beach.  We docked at the Barefoot Landing Marina which is part of a touristy shopping center.  The very nice dock master loaned me his car so I could go grocery shopping.  We had Thanksgiving dinner at the House of Blues -- a funky restaurant near the marina.  Not a bad buffet considering they had been serving people all day including hundreds of homeless people at lunch time.  They also delivered dinner to area shelters.  If you ever have a chance to patronize one of the many House of Blues Restaurants (there are 13), please do. 

This morning we awoke to the most beautiful day.  It is finally sunny and 65°!  We took time to stroll the boardwalk before getting a late start.  We picked up a passenger just before departure.  As Fiona unhooked us from shore power, she spotted a lizard, caught him and brought him on board.  Current Morning Star pet populations:  3. 

The weather has finally improved and we can now enjoy our newly (partially) enclosed flybridge!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Celebrating Jack's 7th Birthday Onboard!

We had a great 1st day back underway yesterday and topped it off with a birthday celebration for Jack with a fresh baked cake! 

Seas were rolly as we got underway early this morning.  We are almost in Norfolk, VA (8:35am) and things will smooth out at that point.  Kids are sleeping through it! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

So much has happened since we returned to our home port in Maryland on October  11! We spent the month visiting as many of our friends and family as we could.  Fiona and Jack were so happy to be reunited with their classmates and cousins!  We completed a few boat projects --  new eisenglass on the upper deck which will make that area a wonderful place to spend time when in are in warm climates.  I got new dishwasher drawer!  No more water-hogging full-size dishwasher!  Many thanks to our friend, John on Siren's Call who built the perfect drawer underneath of it so I now have pot & pan storage!  Yeah!  I removed the carpet (yuck) from the bathrooms and gave each 3 coats of floor paint.   After even more discussion, we have decided not to change Morning Star's name after all.  Keeping the name saves us time and money and the name has grown on us.  We did get the hailing port changed on the stern. 

We survived Hurricane Sandy while we were there.  Our dock at Rich Neck on Tilghman Creek once again proved to be a safe haven from the storm.  K.  (with help from his brother Sean & our friend Oscar), did a great job of securing her from every point.  We stayed on Morning Star throughout the storm.  She was cozy and safe.  We took in a bit of water from the sideways rain, but that was it.  We were very fortunate the storm didn't come ashore where it was first predicted to.

The hardest part of our time in Maryland was saying goodbye to our beloved family home, Rich Neck.  The time had come to put the house up for sale in the Spring and by Summer's end we had a contract.  The contract 'went hard' as they say while we were home.  Settlement will be in mid-December.  30 years of memories.  K. and I were married on the property.  Our pets are buried there.  It is the most beautiful point of land in all of Maryland.  K.'s father cleared the land himself.  So, our hearts were beyond heavy as we did a final walk-through this morning and tears flowed by the buckets as we pulled away from the dock for the last time.  

New adventures await. . .

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stopped In Our Tracks!

We didn't get far from our anchorage at Sandy Hook this morning before we snagged a huge fishing net in our port propeller. K. tried to free the net, but we don't have our scuba gear on board yet and the huge mass was too much to budge.  Left with no other option, we called in a professional diver.  Of course he was back at Sandy Hook, so we had to turn around and cruise back on one engine, relaunch the tender and pick him up on the dock.  Once in the water it didn't take him long to cut the prop free of the heavy net.  The diver was very nice and only charged $75 for the job.  We had hoped to make it to Delaware Bay today, but will have to settle for Atlantic City.
K. prepares to go in to the cold, murky water

Fiona and Jack wait for Diver Dan.

Diver Dan surfaces with the offending net!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 4: Dolphins on the Bow!

Friday's highlight was easily the dolphin escort we received offshore between Block Island and Fishers Island! The playful group of common dolphins stayed with us for 1/2 hour!  After 11 hours, we arrived at Riverside Yacht Club.  K.'s Uncle kindly put us up there for 2 nights while we waited for offshore winds to subside.  The kids got a much needed day on land on Saturday, playing at the park. Dinner Friday night at the club with family and Saturday at K.'s Uncle's house in Greenwhich.  What a treat not to have to cook for 2 nights in a row!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cruising Day 2 and 3

Yesterday we cruised from Boothbay Harbor, ME to Gloucester, MA.  It was a foggy day and rainy, but we managed to log over 100 miles!  We had many feathered friends come aboard for a rest from their travels which had me singing "Hitchin' a ride, hitchin' a ride, gotta get me home before the mornin' light..."  One little guy flew in to the wheelhouse when K. opened the door.  Fiona caught him and set him free.  

Tonight we are moored in the Great Salt Pond of Block Island.  The morning began foggy.  Entering the Canal was tricky as visibility was less than 200 feet!  We were in radio contact with another vessel leaving the canal as we were entering.  We could see him on our radar, but did not lay eyes on him until he was just off our port side bow.  Once inside the canal, the fog lifted and we all relaxed.
Low visibility entering the canal. 
We made great time today despite the weather.  We are a day ahead of schedule!  Next stop, Riverside Yacht Club in Greenwhich, CT!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012



After 4 days of hauling our groceries and possessions on board in the rain, we finally weighed anchor this morning at 6am!  Morning greeted up with a lovely sunrise.  Seas are a bit up and down at times, but everyone is happy -- except the cat.  She threw up not long after the seas began.  Since then she's been holed up in a little corner looking pretty miserable.  Hopefully she will come around.  I moved her from the Fiona's cabin up to the wheelhouse which I hope will help.   Bella is hitching a ride South via automobile with a friend.  One less critter to worry about for now.  Arrived in Boothbay Harbor at approx. 3pm for the night.  Went ashore to have a look at the HMS Bounty which is hauled out at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.  We also got a good look at 'Amistad' on a mooring in the Harbor as well.  A pretty perfect 1st day!