Playing Catch Up…

Playing Catch Up…

Wow…I have NOT been doing a good job of keeping you all up to date on our travels lately. Sorry! Gonna work hard on rectifying this, starting right here and now with this post. When we last left you, we were going through bridges trying to make our way to Wrightsville Beach, NC and today we are sitting in North Palm Beach, FL waiting for a weather window for crossing to the Bahamas, but a LOT has happened in the meantime! There’s been a couple of reunions, a concert, feral horses, a holiday or three….not to mention making our way through South Carolina and Georgia!

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-8858
Beautiful sunset shortly after dropping anchor in Wrightsville Beach, NC
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-8874
Another shot a few moments later. I will never tire of beautiful sunsets!

Two of the most exciting parts of this trip have been reunions with old friends. Sharon, my very best friend from middle school (just a few short years ago…) lives about three hours from Wrightsville Beach, NC and she drove all that way to come spend a day with us when we were passing through. What a great friend! This was only about the fifth time we have seen each other since we were thirteen, but somehow each time we get back together it’s like no time at all has passed! An amazing day spent with my beautiful friend!

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-8907
Jim, Sharon and I enjoying a chilly afternoon on Wrightsville Beach in late November
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-8887
Being silly trying to recreate a picture from the last time we saw each other three years ago (also in Wrightsville Beach), when I told Sharon that the next time I was here it would be on my own boat. Not sure she believed me then, but she does now!
Three years earlier looking out over the ICW from our hotel room
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-8895
And now, looking out from the water back towards the hotel we stayed in three years ago! Dreams do come true!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-0819
Only the best seashore towns have mermaid lights decorating the streets!

Less than a week later, on the day before Thanksgiving, we pulled up to a dock in Myrtle Beach, SC
and started looking for a restaurant where we could enjoy Turkey Day (my absolute favorite holiday, so I was feeling pretty melancholy spending it by ourselves!). We’d pretty much settled on Cracker Barrel…until I got a message on Facebook from Jessica, a very good friend of ours from high school (yes, Jim and I met in high school), asking us where we were. When she realized we were about a half hour from her, she invited us to her home for Thanksgiving dinner with her family! We obviously had no transportation, so she drove out to pick us up and then returned us safely back to our boat later that night. Mind you, we had not seen each other in 30 years!!! We were so grateful for the home cooked turkey dinner and had such a wonderful time getting to know her husband and younger daughter that we almost forgot to take any pictures at all, and by the time we remembered, her husband had already hit the sack. Bummer.

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9069
Jessica, Becca and us goofing around after dinner. Such a fun night!!!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9058
Meanwhile…earlier that day. Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve been at the beach on Thanksgiving Day!

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9002

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9006
At the dock in Myrtle Beach, SC
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-35
I mentioned a concert, right? Somehow I managed to talk Jim into hanging out an extra day in Myrtle Beach so we could walk to the House of Blues and see Kip Moore in concert! I think he loves me! Jim that is…
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-33
Michael Ray was one of the opening acts. And yes, I have a cowboy hat (or possibly two…) on the boat. It’s all about priorities, right?!?

We made it through the rest of South Carolina and then Georgia without incident. There are quite a few shallow spots and a lot of areas with shoaling through these two states. Everyone that we had talked to so far had at the very least touched bottom at some point, and at least one other boat had sustained some pretty serious damage, so we were quite nervous going through there with our six foot depth requirement. It feels so good to be able to say we made it from the beginning of the ICW all the way to North Palm Beach, FL (over 1000 statute miles!) without touching bottom once. A lot of folks say they would never take a six foot draft boat through the ICW, but thanks in large part to Active Captain and it’s many contributors, we were able to avoid all potential hazards!

Before heading out of Georgia we spent a glorious day at Cumberland Island riding bikes, admiring the feral horses, looking for shark’s teeth and walking the beach collecting shells and a few starfish. Apparently there are also feral pigs on the island, but thankfully we never saw any of those!

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-0884

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4465
This was the scene we were greeted with as we pulled up to anchor at the southern end of Cumberland Island. Such beauty!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4477
It’s estimated that there are about 150-200 feral horses on the island. We probably saw about 30 the day we were there.

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4478

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4534

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4487
This horse (and eventually three more of his buddies) was walking along the beach while we were there collecting shells.
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4505
I brought these dead sea stars back to the boat thinking I would somehow turn them into Christmas decorations….maybe I should try for Valentine’s Day at this point!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4507
Any guesses as to what this is from?
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9360
The entire island is now part of the National Park Service, but Cumberland used to be private property. This is the Dungeness mansion, which was destroyed by fire in 1959.

And then, FINALLY, we were in Florida! And it was here that we heard for the first time shrimp on the hull of the boat and the Rice Krispies snap, crackle and pop sounds that we kept hearing about from other cruisers. It’s just the weirdest thing…sounded like the boat was sitting in a bowl of Rice Krispies! It was also in Florida that we had another reunion…although this time significantly less time had passed since the last time we’d seen these folks. We’d been trying to catch back up to Ron and Jackie on Hullabaloo for quite some time now and it felt so good to finally drop anchor next to them again in St. Augustine! We had missed them terribly! We spent a few days with them in this beautiful old city and then traveled with them on down to Titusville. Unfortunately, it was here that we bid them adieu once again. We stayed put in Titusville over the holidays, while they continued on further south to have their boat hauled so they could take a hiatus from boating. (P.S. We miss you two! Hurry back!)

Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9376
Our first stop in Florida – the free dock in Jacksonville.
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-4558
Not sure what it is about the St. Augustine lighthouse, but I’ve been waiting for years to see it in person!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9407
Reunited, and it feels so good!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9441
St. Augustine decked all out for Christmas. This picture really doesn’t do it justice. There were lights everywhere!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9490
Of course we hung around for St. Augustine’s boat parade!
Mangoes, Marley and Mermaids-9500
I’m pretty sure this is how Santa gets to all the boats that have kids living aboard! Also, if you look closely, you’ll notice mermaids on the bow. I sooo want a mermaid tail!


  • Angela Thomas

    January 23, 2016 at 7:17 am Reply

    Awesome! Awesome update! Thanks, Chris! The pictures and text – fabulous!

    PS: It felt so odd not sending you a Christmas card this year.

    Love you guys! Be safe!

    • Chris

      January 23, 2016 at 8:24 am Reply

      Thanks! It felt odd not sending or receiving cards this year (although I think there are a few waiting for me back home)! Hope all is going well in the Thomas household! Love you guys!

  • Sharon Holbrook

    January 23, 2016 at 9:35 am Reply

    Nice to see what has been taking place since I saw you two in Wrightsville. Always enjoy the photos. Travel safe, love ya.

    • Chris

      January 23, 2016 at 9:36 am Reply

      Thanks! Really trying to catch up…working on my next post now! Love ya back!

  • Ken and Deb

    January 23, 2016 at 2:10 pm Reply

    The skull. It looks like a sea turtle to me. The St. Aug lighthouse. My new screen saver! Thanks! For Great Lakes yankees, ya’ll gittin kinda brown! Just wait til you get to the islands. Then you will see what we call island time brown in short order. Thanks for taking us along. Ken

    • Chris

      January 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm Reply

      I was thinking the same thing about the skull. Glad you like the lighthouse picture! Can’t wait to get to the islands! Hopefully the weather will cooperate soon and we can get there!

  • Willow

    January 24, 2016 at 9:50 am Reply

    Hi Chris and Jim,
    We were wondering how you guys were. Glad to get your fun! Great pictures.
    Ps..I believe the skull on the beach is from a Giant Sea Turtle.

    • Chris

      January 24, 2016 at 9:52 am Reply

      Hi Willow! It sure looks like some sort of sea turtle, doesn’t it?

Post a Comment