2010.11.17 It’s Fall…… so it must be Thunderbolt !!!

Yes, indeed, here we are once again getting “Soli” ready for her 2010/2011 cruise southwards and she has weathered her summer well !!

We left Montreal on Monday 8th after a delicious lunch chez Mrs. B. aka Wendy, Catherine’s youngest. The U S border posed no problems thanks to our Nexus cards but once into the Adirondacks, the rain which had been falling steadily all day, turned to sleet and eventually snow as we were crossing the higher elevations. Not particularly fun, and we passed several cars which had slipped off the road, however we had no problem and arrived at our friends, Rick and Diane, in Clifton Park on schedule. We were treated to a delicious supper and turned in early as we had an early start the next day.
Our next stop was in New Bern NC to visit cruising buddies from last year and to visit a town, about which we had heard very good things. The distance was 1050 kms or 753 miles which meant that we had to be up and on the road in good time, but owing to a good breakfast and good conversation we did not get away until 07.45 hrs. The driving was easy, traffic comparatively light for the area through which we were travelling and delays none, so we were pulling into our friends driveway in New Bern at 20.30 hrs.

It was nice to watch the outside air temperature slowly rise as we moved south, from a chilly 1* C as we left Clifton Park to a high of 19* C and a cooler 12* C as we arrived.

A drink and a slice of pizza went down well, as we caught up with Gail and Dennis but it was an early night for us after all the driving..

McGuffin at her backyard dock...how classy is that!
 David & Dennis
Gail and Dennis with a New Bern bear (bern is bear in German!)

A quiet morning and then a visit to New Bern and lunch overlooking the Neuse River , followed by a walking tour of the town. What a delightful town it is too, twinned with Berne in Switzerland and with many Swiss connections etc. Gail and Dennis’ house is a delight, somewhat out of the main town but on a creek, “Macguffin” moored at the bottom of the back garden with her own jetty. For us the house was reminiscent of the old southern plantation houses with covered balconies all the way across the back overlooking the creek , boat and back garden. A wonderful visit and we shall miss the Kennedys on our voyage to the Bahamas this year.

We departed New Bern around 10.00 hrs and had a trouble and stress free trip down I 95 and into Savannah. Our first visit, of course, was to “Solitaire 1” whom we found in very good shape, even the Admiral had no complaints, and a cheery Kevin was even there to greet us. After a quick inspection it was off to find our hotel, it’s getting more expensive but still only USD 55.00 - a good steak dinner and bed finished the day.
Wonderful Victory drive in Savannah

Soli and VV were reaquinted!!!

This is what UV rays did to our dark green nylon cover!

Since our arrival we have been hard at work, the Admiral particularly so in the boat, cleaning and tidying the storage and complaining about the amount of bits and pieces that we have managed to accumulate over the years. My motto “you never know when

It will come in handy “ has tended to fall upon deaf ears for the most part !!!

We had a slight scare t’other day when we were unable to get hold of the chap who was storing our sails… did not answer our e mails, did not answer his office ‘phone or cell ‘phone and we were unable to leave a message as his mail box was filled…. etc etc . We had visions of being all set to leave but with no sails. A quick trip to Hilton Head Island reassured us that the loft was still in business and a very helpful neighbour promised to ensure that the loft delivered our sails in the morning. Whilst having dinner that evening we received an e mail saying …. sorry I have been camping and out of touch but I will deliver your sails in the morning………!!! Not very professional but all’s well that ends well and we now have our sails.

Today (17th) it was a beautiful bright sunny Savannah morning and we did indeed put up our sail . We were launched yesterday morning and in fact for the first time in living memory we were not in attendance for the launch, too busy chatting to Catherine Jnr. in Rome and ogling our newest grand daughter on Skype!! It was different to be able to admire that gorgeous dark green hulled machine gliding across the harbour from our car….. who are those lucky people to own that boat …???? Apparently the engine started first crank always a big plus!!
David and Kevin after the "splash"

Our new full cockpit enclosure is slowly taking shape and will be very nice once finished. Cindy our canvas maker was on board doing some last minute fitting just before we were launched and it is going to be very nice when all finished and will give us about a third more living space. We are impressed with the quality of work of the bimini and dodger . We are looking forward to getting to St Augustine Fl. and getting everything completed..

In fact we may well go directly to St Augustine and stay there for a week not only to complete the canvas but also to get all the bugs out of our refrigeration which needs some heavy duty attention… we really do not wish to have the same problems with that system as we have had for the past three years. I have promised Catherine a day or more in Cumberland Island just north of Fernandina Beach for the past eight passings and

on this occasion we were all prepared to drop the hook and walk through the reserve (the whole island is a nature reserve), but maybe we will give it a miss on the southbound voyage in order to get all our work done quickly in St Augustine and visit north bound next year.

So that’s it for us so far – the admiral will probably do some editing and add some words of wisdom … probably the next will be from St Augustine Florida.


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