Saturday, June 5, 2010


On and on, we are heading north on the ICW. It is 1014 miles from Palm Beach to Norfolk, VA, and at an average of 53 miles/day we will have completed the entire length in 19 days. We stayed at many beautiful anchoring spots and a few marinas along the way. All along the way, tides were of great concern because of shallow spots at low tide, but with another boat to follow, we did not go aground.

The final day, and the last 22 miles in North Carolina/Virginia, was the Dismal Swamp Canal, the oldest continually operating hand-dug waterway in the country. One of the first investors was George Washington. Digging by hired slave labor, digging began in 1793 and first opened in 1805. Today it is open for boaters interested in seeing the magnificent countryside of the cypress swamp. Locks at both ends lift you the 8 feet to the level of the swamp.

Unfortunately, a 65 ft sportfish traveled the canal the day before us at high speed leaving a huge wake. The bottom debris was so disturbed that every boat since complained of bumping logs and bent props. The sound of submerged logs hitting the hull was like a tennis shoe in a clothes dryer. With much relief and no damage we tied up in Portsmouth and had martinis on Duet.

Departing Portsmouth/Norfolk we passed the BigE, the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, and the George HW Bush, one the the newest aircraft carriers.

We are now heading up the Chesapeake, saying good-bye to our friends on Duet and are within days of returning home.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We are still traveling with a Duet, a Selene 43, on their way up the ICW to the Chesapeake for the summer. This was their 13th annual migration to Florida and back.

When we bought Phantom, it was also named Duet and was also based in the Chesapeake. Since both traveled annually to and from the same places, many people had them confused. By changing the name to Phantom we solved their problem.

Beaufort (BEAU-fert) is a beautiful waterfront city in central South Carolina. It was a welcome stop after a couple of long days through Georgia swamplands. After a leisurely walk about town we had dinner at a pizza restaurant and found out it was the local prom nite.

Osprey nest are all along the ICW.

The ICW passes through the Marines Camp LeJeune. The welcome sign.

Friday, May 21, 2010


We left the shallow waters of the Southern Bahamas and arrived at Sunrise Marina in Grand Bahama. It is a nice little Marina located near Freeport. We were only one of 6 boats there. At $30/day plus $7/day for all the water we wanted it was a good deal for us.

We left the marina at dawn on May 6th and crossed the Gulf Stream heading for North Palm Beach, Florida. The Gulf Stream current gave us a push north so we made the trip in under 11 hrs on calm seas. I couldn’t tell we were in the Gulf Stream unless I looked at the speed gauge. This major hurdle in our return home was totally and pleasantly uneventful except as we entered the Lake Worth channel a passing thunderstorm welcomed us back to the States. We took a slip at Old Port Marina where we met with Nordhavn Specialists and picked up marine supplies. There were several other Nordhavns at the marina having work done. It gave us an opportunity to meet other owners and compare notes and stories.

We stopped at Titusville to watch the shuttle Atlantis blast off. It was spectacular to watch.

Palm Beach, FL

On our way north on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) we stopped in Matanzas (near the condo Summerhouse where we spent many winters), Jacksonville, Ortega on the St John River and at Fernandina Beach the most northern city in Florida. We have chosen to travel in the ICW despite the shallow and narrow spots because of the beautiful scenery and the sightseeing. The ocean route is faster but there is nothing to see. In Fernandina Beach we met a veteran traveler who had a boat similar to ours and said that he was going north on the ICW and the scenery is not to be missed. So we are traveling with Duet at least to Charleston SC. Duet was also the previous name for Phantom when we bought her. During the past two days, we have completed the ICW through Georgia including Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island, Simons Island and Tybee Island, all popular vacationing destinations. We have just passed Savannah and are close to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

The ICW in Georgia and Sunrise in New Teakettle Creek

Friday, May 14, 2010


This is the second post tittled Atlantis. This one is the 32nd and final shuttle launch of Atlantis as seen from Phantom on Friday May 14 at 2:20 pm. Awesome.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Our visit to the Exuma Land and Sea Park continues with visits to Warderick Wells and Shroud Cay. Warderick Wells is the most popular spot in the park for boaters with waiting lists for moorings. We were lucky and got a good spot and stayed several days. Hiking, snorkeling and the scenic beauty are outstanding in this park and will long be remembered.

Our next stop north was Normans Cay, This island won imfamy as the base of Columbian drug runner, Carlos Leder, back in the 1970's. The old airstrip is now used for tourists and his bullet ridden house is in ruins.

We could not go past Nassau without an overnight at Atlantis. This is a massive waterpark and aquarium and casino all in one. The fish were nice but we enjoyed the real thing snorkeling in the BVI better. After a long dip in a nearly empty pool next to our boat slip and a restfull night we are now heading for the Berry Islands.
Don an Dayle

Monday, April 26, 2010


We left Big Majors Spot not knowing where we’d end up that night. We were looking for a quiet calm anchorage and found it at Cambridge Cay inside the Exuma Land and Sea Park. The anchorage here at Cambridge Cay is one of the loveliest spots we’ve encountered in the last five months. We are anchored in 12 ft and the bottom sand looks like it is only one ft deep.

After dropping the hook we dinghied over to a snorkeling spot called the Aquarium. The fish were waiting for us at the little pick-up ball. This area is reported to have some of the clearest water in the world and we believe it. We swam around multiple coral heads covered with healthy elkhorn, brain coral, sponges and sea fans. The Exuma Park is a “no take” zone allowing the native wildlife safe haven and replenishment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Eight days in Georgetown enabled us to see town (a 30 min walk), shop for tee shirts (one store), groceries, and the beach where all the cruisers meet for volleyball and their daily potluck happy hours. I would not want to spend several months there as some do.

Finally, the 30 knot winds let up and we headed north to Little Farmer’s Cay. The water depths on the Bahamas Banks are under 10 feet and our route took us over some 7 ft spots (that is a mere 18 inches under the keel). We anchored just inside a “cut” that separates the deep Atlantic and the shallow banks. A strong current develops in these cuts as all the tidal water on the banks flows “off the shelf” so to speak. We needed two anchors and rotated all night with each tide change.

Yesterday, we traveled just 3 hours to Staniel Cay, spot of the renowned Thunderball Grotto, a spectacular skylit underwater cave featured in the James Bond movie. This was our first good snorkeling spot since the BVI and we went prepared for the fish with Alpo nuggets in a ziplock. The fish were plentiful and encircled us waiting for the handouts. They did not wait patiently as they acted like piranhas chomping the ziplock to shreds. We took underwater photos but cannot get the film developed until we are back in the States.

We traveled just 2 miles to Big Majors Spot and Pig Beach. As you approach the beach in your dinghy, pigs swim out begging for handouts. We may go back and empty the snack locker of some old stale Oreos.

Don and Dayle