Sandpiper and her crew have made it back to port in one piece, well, a few scratches and dents (on the crew not the boat) but we made it, and dang it feels good. After Charleston we kicked it into high gear, doing at least 50 miles every day, passing through the South Carolina swamps, the fried seafood capitol of the US- Calabash, NC, the war zone that is Camp Lejeune, a night in bustling Wrightsville Beach, a final stop in the quaint little town of Swansbro, and then a magnificent sail on our last day, doing a good 7-8 knots down the Neuse River in the 25 mph winds, and now it just a matter of cleaning out the boat and getting out of here.
The Carolinas on the ICW really are beautiful, with the marshes, the gnarly trees covered in spanish moss.
We have also been seeing lots of dolphin, and of course the plethora of water fowl that lines the channel. Going through Camp Lejeune we saw in the distance a group of somethings spraying up big jets of water and couldnt figure out what was going on, until they went right past us, a group of 15 or so amphibious tank looking things, each of them spraying up 2 huge jets of water, with 3 camo clad folk poking their heads out of the hatches. Mark was of course taking pictures, and as one of the tanks passed by, one of the soldiers took out his little digital camera and started taking pictures of us too as we passed. A little further down the channel we saw a huge Splash Mountain of a spray up ahead and realized it was coming from the tanks charging into the water at 30 mph from a dirt road leading into the channel. It was pretty cool. We made the entire trip home on the ICW without a single grounding, a task which many say is impossible, though it is much easier when you are following someone with a draft 6 inches more than yours. Brian went aground every day for 5 days straight, and we just scooted by him every time.
So now we are back on land, a little more cleaning, maybe some time to get reacquainted with the real world, and I will be ready to go. Kari is coming down on Thursday to get me and I will be spending some time in Philly as I adjust to life on land again. I am pretty excited to cook in a real kitchen again, I have been dreaming up some dishes I am going to cook once I get the chance. I think I might write up something about cooking on the boat, maybe post a few of my more popular recipes. Macaroni stuffing casserole, mango salsa snapper, spam sauerkraut stew, lime in the coconut crusted grouper, maybe I will write a boat cook book.