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Where is TIDES INN Today?

Click on this link: Map Link. It will bring up a map showing the last 40 position reports of Tides Inn (callsign AI4FI). The blue balloon is the latest position. Click on the balloon to see a short comment on the current situation onboard Tides Inn. Clck on the "satellite" button to see Tides Inn's exact location on a satellite photo view.

Back on the water, with Jackson, Ella and Reed to Yorktown, VA

 After a long year of projects on the boat, commitments at our jobs, and other family concerns, we finally had the opportunity to get back on the water for a weekend with the grandkids.  Here's the Pirate Crew, ready for a night of partying and sleep prior to getting underway at 0-dark-30, tomorrow morning, bound for Yorktown, VA,

   It's a perfect day for sailing, blue skies, 70 degrees, winds 10-12, and light seas.  Capt Mark demonstrates to Reed and Jackson how to ease the genoa furling line as we set the sails.

   Ella has the lookout watch, making sure no enemy vessels sneak up and surprise us. Its unlimited visibility today. There are several ships out there today, but no one coming our way.
   Capt Mark gets to check out his new AIS receiver which shows all the commercial vessels within 30 miles or so on the chart plotter. We can see all the merchant ships entering the Chesapeake and heading for the Baltimore or Thimble Shoals channels. And, also confirm the two tugs and barges up ahead are at anchor and out of the channel.

   SAIL-HO, Ella calls out. Its a fast moving, 3-masted schooner coming down on us from the starboard side - not transmitting any AIS signal. Could it be a pirateer trying to cut us off?

   No, its only the Schooner Alliance based out of Yorktown taking some guests out for a local sail on this beautiful day. They're tacking back and forth across the York River with the wind and tide taking them downriver. Fortunately they also have an iron-genny to motor them back to port or the guests might have to stay onboard till the tide changes.

   Approaching Yorktown we'll anchor off the beach at the foot of the Yorktown Monument, site of the culminating battle of the US Revolution where George Washington accepted General Cornwallis' surrender following decisive victories by the French naval forces under Admiral de Grasse at the Chesapeake entrance and effective sea and land blockades by the French Navy and Franco-American ground forces under General Lafayette and General Rochambeau. Wait, whose revolution was this?

   Securely anchored, its time to head to shore and soak up some history, then a stop at Ben and Jerry's to spend my birthday gift certificate. Ice cream all around for the terrific crew.

   Its a great day for a tour of the town and battlefield including a trolley ride, waterfront walk and sea-chanty concert.  Oct 19th is the anniversary of Gen Cornwallis' surrender, 233 years ago, and date for the annual Yorktown Victory Days.

   Tides Inn sits quietly at anchor off the Yorktown shore.

   It was too good to last though, the next morning the wind was 20-25kts from NW putting us on a lee shore. It was time to up anchor and fly back to Chisman Creek with double reefed genny taking us downwind and down current at a great pace. We tucked into the creek and waited out the blow, heading back to our slip by 1700 with a gentle 8-10 kts. A great weekend trip.

North on the ICW through the Carolinas

   We departed St Mary's Inlet on a sunny day with light southerly winds and sailed/motor sailed offshore for 2 days coming back into the ICW at Georgetown, SC to avoid a passing cold front with strong thunderstorms.  The Waccamaw is one of the prettiest sections of the ICW and we really like to transit this area, but we were a little early for Spring conditions, the trees just starting to leaf out.

   The Waccamaw winds through a true Cyprus Forest filled with wildlife. One year we spotted 5 bald eagles through here. This year we only saw one, but saw lots of Osprey - more than we have seen before.

   In addition to the ospreys, there are herons and egrets all along the ICW. Also the playful dolphins pop up along the ICW usually close to the inlets.

   We anchored for the night, again behind Richmond Island near the Wacca Wache Marina, mile 383. There is room for several boats here. There were two of us behind the island this evening. Tucking behind the island keeps you away from the ICW traffic and their wakes and noise. Entrance here is deep right along the island shoreline looking to the right on the photo. Shoals on the left.

The next day we transited up to Little River Inlet and anchored for the night just inside the breakwater. Our plan was to leave at first light and make the offshore run up to Cape Fear River, bypassing the shallow shoals of Shallotte and Lockwoods Folly. Its a bad sign when Skipper Bob's guide tells you "Shoaling is always a problem here, Approach with caution."
   Unfortunately, the wind gods did not cooperate and we were looking at 15kts on the nose offshore. We revised our plans and went back to the ICW. No sense getting bashed up motoring offshore into 20kt apparent headwinds.  Both Shallotte and Lockwoods Folly were very shallow, despite both being dredged in Jan 13 when we were heading south. At low tide, (yes, all the gods were conspiring against us as we had to pass through the inlets at low tide so we could make the flood current at the Cape Fear River), we saw about 5ft in short stretches mid channel in both inlets, but got through without bumping.

   This was actually a very nice anchorage just inside the Little River breakwater on the red side behind the dunes. We were told you can carry 6ft for quite a distance behind the dune here and locals like to spend the weekend up this little creek. We dropped the hook in about 7ft and didn't proceed up too far as we had hoped to head out to see early the next morning. Once the sea breeze and the inlet boat traffic quieted down after sunset it was a very quiet and calm night.

   Next day we made it to Carolina Beach State Park and got Tides Inn tucked in on the T-Head as we had to return to Yorktown for a week for some work and personal commitments.
   The transit up the Cape Fear River was "interesting", sorry no photos. We had 20kts of apparent wind on the nose along with 2.5kts of flooding current carrying us up the river into the wind. That meant a bucking bronco ride but making 8.5kts over the ground with our modest 6kts through the water.
   We parked on the T-head because this pier has only 35ft slips. Turns out they put us here because we asked for 30amp power. If I had told them I had a 50amp converter, we could have been on Pier-A which are 40ft slips, but only 50amp receptacles. Worked out ok as we avoided having to maneuver into the tight slip fairways.

   Carolina Beach State Park marina is a nice place to stay with a flat rate of $30/night and good fuel prices. The marina was recently renovated with new floating docks. Most important, they dredged the approach channel which is now reported to be 6ft at low tide. We saw 7.5ft at mid tide (4ft tides), so the 6ft is correct for normal tide conditions. Unusual lows with strong north winds you would see less than 6ft.
   The marina is fairly empty of slip holders right now as they raised the annual rates after the renovation and scared many renters away.  But the transient rates are still the same low price.  Good deal.  There are walking trails in the park and its just over one mile to Carolina Beach for shopping and dining and beaches. We'll go back here in future transits.

   One never gets tired of sunsets at sea. The forecast was for scattered showers and thunderstorms but check out the blue skies we had all day.  We were hoping for a green flash but, too much humidity on the horizon with the approaching warm front that did bring thunderstorms the following night.

   Love that enclosure when you have winter/early spring temps to deal with and showers.  Short sleeve weather inside when the sun is shining.

   We made good time offshore from St Mary's north and bypassed Charleston for the Georgetown inlet.
   Why is it that the wind always blows hardest inside the breakwaters?  We had 20kts offshore and it was 10kts in Georgetown. Passing through the mile long breakwaters it was 30kts gusting to 35!  We were almost fully prepared with double reefs in sails but, it was still 30degrees of heel with the 30kt winds directly on the beam.
   The sturdy IP380 plowed its way in with no complaints and we could soon turn downwind and zip up the channel. We continued straight up the Wacamaw River, our favorite section of the ICW, and anchored behind the island off Waca Weche marina. Great protection for the thunderstorms that finally arrived that night.

   The Wacamaw River winds through a true cyprus tree swamp with lots of wildlife. One year we saw 5 bald eagles through here. None sighted this spring but lots of ospreys and herons/egrets.

   Tonight we're anchored at the Little River Inlet, just in from the breakwater on the "red" side. There is a creek that runs up behind the dunes where you can actually run further up but, we are here staged for an early departure tomorrow morning, back to sea for the run to Cape Fear River which we need to get to before noon to ride the tide up the river. There is a little bit of swell from the ocean that reaches us and plenty of wakes on this holiday Monday, but should quiet down this evening as the wind and traffic ease off.
   Heading for Carolina Beach State Park tomorrow to spend a few days.

Tides Inn is Northbound

   All gear stored, fueled and watered, and we're ready to push off from Brunswick, GA, and start the trek back to Yorktown.
   We picked a nice sunny day with light winds to leave the marina and motorsail over to Cumberland Island for our first stop.

Cumberland Island was famous for the Carnegie family winter retreat mansion and community. It is now a State Park with primitive camping facilities. Only accessible via boat or ferry.
   Great place for camping in April! I can't imagine being here in the summer.
   Here's what the mansion looked like in its heyday. It burned down in 1959 and all that's left is some ruins and outbuildings.

   Heading for the beach. The dunes are several hundred yards wide and there are no homes or structures along the shoreline. Just the natural beach.

   Lots of dead horseshoe crabs and rays all along the beach, maybe from the strong storm we had last week. But, here's a live horseshoe - hope he can make it in the sun till the tide comes back in.

   Not a crab but the real thing, wild horses that roam the island. Actually, not so wild, when Sue put out her hand they came wandering over to check out what she might have for them. Sorry boy and girls, nothing for you all.

   Soon it was time to head back to Tides Inn and enjoy the sun and evening sunset. While we were anchored here IP370 Two for the Road from Smithfield, Va, came in and anchored to tour around. Funny how you meet fellow local sailors in far away places.
   Tomorrow morning we set sail for Charleston. Should be a quick 24hour trip. We would like to get a little further north but there is a cold front coming in Sunday night so best to get off the ocean and not get too far north in a hurry. We'll enjoy some more of the Carolina warmth before pushing back to Yorktown.

St Simons Sound

   30 hours after leaving Charleston, we're arriving in St Simons Sound, Ga, passing by St Simons Lighthouse.  Fairly uneventful transit (the best kind), basically a motoring trip as the winds were light and just enough forward of the beam to not allow sailing. As usual, a bit of traffic at the Savannah Channel which we transit across between 11pm and midnight when you leave Charleston in the morning.  We had five cargo vessels coming and going to dodge through. Only one was a close pass and he made the necessary maneuver to pass astern of us as we poked along with the right of way at our 5 knots.

    We arrived at the St Simons channel at the same time as this car carrier heading up to the BMW plant in Brunswick. Note that our camera makes these ships look a long ways away, not the hundred yards he actually was.  We transit outside the deep water channel and stay out of these guys way.

   We're anchored off Morning Star Marina on Golden Isle just off St Simons Island (which is to the right of the bridge in the photo).   We have ten days to explore the area around the Sound before we have to return to Yorktown for February. We plan to take our bikes ashore and tour around St Simons Island tomorrow.


      We had lunch at Fleet Landing with our high school friend and had ring side seats for the Saturday afternoon sailing races. This is a photo from our lunch table on the deck. What a great day.

   How many cities in America still have foot operated drinking fountains that actually work (in January). This is just outside the City Marina.

   After a short visit it was time to push on further south. Fort Sumter is impressive, especially on a sunny day heading out to sea.  Brunswick, here we come.

S/V TIDES INN Homeport Dare Marina, Yorktown VA