Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Springtime in South Carolina

In upstate New York, it never feels like Spring until the end of April.  We're in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and it's definitely Springtime here. 

It's been unseasonably warm all along the east coast, including SC.  The mornings have been crisp though, down into the 30s, and we've gotten hard frosts.  You have to be careful on the slippery docks.

But then it warms right up, into the 60s and 70s.  The trees have started to bud.

I'm not sure if this is budding Spanish Moss, or buds.

In any event, it's green.

It was so warm that I decided to tackle the 13' Boston Whaler on the roof.  We need to get it running so that we can get the dogs to shore when we anchor out.  Like Drift Away, it's been sitting uncovered for 20 years.   I was told that it was running great back then.  

I installed a new fuel filter, battery, gas tank, and fuel lines.  I then needed to tackle the steering.  The wooden console was rotten in spots and the steering wheel wobbles.  I tried to remove the steering wheel, but  the nut that held it underneath was rusted solid.  I put a wrench on it and snapped it off.   The wooden console also collapsed.  No fixing that.

So now I'll have to hunt around for a new steering system, and I'll have to get some lumber to make a new console.  That put an end to this boat project for the day.   Time to sit in the sunshine and drown my sorrows with a defeated beer.   A defeated beer is similar to a victory beer except it's comfort food.

Pam joined me on the flybridge where we basked in the warm South Carolina sunshine and enjoyed the view of... goats in the parking lot.

The goats were loose again.   The dogs take great interest in goats.  We need to watch them, while they watch the goats.  Pit Bulls were bred to take down livestock.  I don't know if they still have that genetic trait and I don't want to find out.

Today we'll sadly be leaving Osprey Marina for Georgetown.  This is a very short trip of 30 statute miles.   It's now 9:30 AM on Tuesday morning.  It's warmed up into the 50s already.  Time to go!

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Place Is A Zoo

No, really.  This place is a zoo.  OK, I'm gonna go out on a limb here.  If you're cruising on the ICW, you have to stop at Osprey Marina for a couple of reasons.  First, it's a great place.  It's a really nice marina, and priced right.  Second, the Waccatee Zoo is a short bike ride (or a long walk) away,

This place made me smile.  It reminded me of simpler times, back when I was six or seven and my mom and dad would make a day out of going to Fox's Zoo in West Sand Lake, NY.  Even though I'm now supposedly a grownup, I giggled like a little boy the whole time we were there.  Pam laughed and laughed.  No, it's not the Bronx Zoo and no, there's no giraffes or elephants there, but trust me, you will love it.   Here's why.

Seriously.  Plan on stopping at Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach.  Bike or walk to the zoo.   Check your adulthood at the desk and be a kid again, just for a couple of hours.  Buy a cup or a bag of animal feed and have a blast.  All you cruisers now down south and making plans for the trek north, add Osprey Marina and  the Waccatee Zoo to your stops.  Waccatee Zoo is a time machine.  For just a couple of hours, I was six again.

Now I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, missing my mom and dad...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Internet Friends

We all have friends.  We have childhood friends, work friends, dog park friends, and neighborhood friends.  A product of Al Gore's internets are internet friends. 

I mentioned Jim and Sharon in our last blog, folks from upstate New York wintering over here at Osprey Marina.  They're not internet friends.  We met them the old fashioned way, backing into a dock with only one engine.   Yesterday, though, was a day of internet friends. 

Do you remember the early days of the internet?  Don't become too friendly with anyone!  He could be a serial killer!  There are plenty of weirdos out there!  That's all true, of course, but I haven't had the misfortune of encountering one yet.  Everyone I've had the pleasure of meeting has been great.

I met Al through a sailing message board.  Yes, I was a sailor for 40 years before buying Drift Away.  Anyway, I let Al know that we were in his stomping grounds of Myrtle Beach.  He called and invited Pam and I to go on a road trip to Charleston SC to hook up with mutual internet friends Rod and Patti.  You bet!  They picked us up Saturday morning.  Although we had never met in person, it wouldn't be hard to recognize each other.  Osprey Marina is a sleepy little place.  We'd be the people standing in the parking lot, and they'd be the people in the car.

So off we went for a two hour car ride, chatting all along the way, talking about mutual internet friends and the latest hot topics on the message boards, things of interest along the way, and things I've posted on our blog.   The dolphins came up, of course, and how awesome they are.

Arriving in Charleston, we met up with Rod and Patti, the "Catalina Kids".  We've met Rod and Patti several times over the years and followed their cruise from California to American Samoa, but we'd not seen their new-to-them boat, a gorgeous Mason 43.  They're on their way south, eventually through the Panama Canal and then back to their home base in California, but stopped in Charleston to make a few repairs.

This is the  crew.

Pam is on the left, with Rod, Patti, Al, and Yolanda next.  See?  They don't look so evil.  Of course, I'm not in the pic.  I'm holding the camera.

Historic Charleston is a nice little town, with many very old buildings.  The new buildings have been designed to blend in with the old.  As a fan of historic architecture, and as someone who has served on a historic review board, this is something I really admire and appreciate.

Since we'll be in Charleston ourselves soon, I'm just going to post a few photos to give you a flavor of what Charleston is like, and what a beautiful day it was.

We love Spanish Moss.

And gardens.

We had a great lunch in a downtown restaurant, made even better because someone picked up the tab (thanks Al!), and then dropped Rod and Patti off at their boat.  Al and Yolanda drove us back to Osprey Marina.  We persuaded them to join us on the boat to enjoy the warm South Carolina evening.  I had them wait on the dock while I got Ruby and Chevy off the boat to do their business.  The dogs are wild when we first get to the boat after leaving them alone for a few hours, and this was no different. They were both barking and whining with excitement, tails and butts wagging furiously.  Once their paws hit the docks, they went shooting up it at full speed, barking and hopping about as pit bulls do, stopping to bark and sniff hello to Al and Yolanda before dashing up to the lawn.

Al and Yolanda got onto the boat while I picked up dog poop.  Back on the boat, the dogs were all over us and Al and Yolanda, wagging their tails and licking everyone.  Eventually, they calmed down, but it took awhile.  Does anyone know where I can buy a tranquilizer gun, the kind that shoots those darts with the feathers on the back?

We sat on the aft deck, enjoying the warm South Carolina evening and chirping tree frogs.  After Al and Yolanda left, Pam and I moved inside.   It was getting a bit chilly so we closed the doors.   And then we saw them.  Mosquitoes.  Hundreds of them.   I've been told that mosquitoes are the South Carolina state bird.   Pam sprayed Off at them.  They laughed.   Pam then smooshed them with a fly swatter.   They didn't think that was so funny.

We're staying here until Monday or Tuesday.  We'll do a few boat chores if we can get up the motivation, but we'll pretty much just relax and enjoy the day.  I've heard there's a zoo of some kind down the road.  Maybe we'll go check that out.  Maybe not.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The World Through the Eyes of a Dog

In a previous blog, I mentioned a Christmas card I received from a mentally disabled person.  It said "Blessed are those who see the world through the eyes of a child".  That was about 40 years ago, but I never forgot it.  It came back to me today as we walked the dogs. What does a dog think when encountering new things, like dolphins, or goats?

We're taking a few days off from cruising.  We're now at Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, far enough south that I can say we're officially in the south.  We didn't turn the heat on last night, and pulled some of the plastic off the windows.

Osprey Marina is a nice, secluded stop, far removed from, well, everything.   The dogs can run off leash here.   There's plenty of room and not too many people around.  The marina has goats though, and sometimes they get out of their fenced in pasture, so we walk them off the boat on leash until we do a goat check, and then the leashes come off and the playing begins.

The dogs noticed something strange... what are they?

Ruby sat herself down to try to figure it out.   She sits funny because of knee problems.  We had her right ACL fixed over Thanksgiving, and her left one will be done sometime this year.

The goats noticed the dogs and all wandered over.

We put their leashes back on.  The fence wasn't really all that high.

The goats came over, but not too close. The male was the closest, no doubt to protect the female and the kids. 

Once everyone settled down, we took their leashes back off.

Ruby was visibly annoyed at something.  She kept spinning around and licking her paws and her butt.  Fire ants!

There was a huge ant hill nearby, and fire ants were attacking the dogs.  Everyone go for a swim!

After being debugged, we took the dogs for a walk down to the end of the marina road.  Across the road was Enterprise Stables and horses.  Like the goats, the dogs were intrigued by them as well.  Look at the size of them!

It seeems that animals are interested in checking out other animals.  One horse took a special interest in us and the dogs and came over to the fence to say hey.

He was particularly interested in the dogs, not us.

 We walked back to the marina.  From the hill above, we had a nice overview of the marina below.  This is a nice place.

That's Drift Away on the right.  No, I do not know how I'm going to turn the boat around to get out of there.

Friends Jim and Sharon, who are here on SharonB, took us to the Myrtle Beach boardwalk in the afternoon.  I rate this boardwalk higher than the fabled Atlantic City boardwalk. 

Pam wanted to dip her toes in the ocean...   not too close!

Thanks Jim and Sharon, for a wonderful afternoon!

Like us, Jim and Sharon have been cruising since September.  And like us, I noticed that they've lost track of what day it is.  Riding back to the marina, it went something like this.

"What's today?  Saturday?"

"No, I think it's Friday."

"Are you sure?"


We all know what time it is because we have watches.  Cruisers need to know when it's lunch time, dinner time, happy hour, etc., but we lose track of the day.  On Drift Away, we have a day clock.

For all you cruisers reading this blog, today is Saturday. Time to relax.