The Diamond Girl Saga Continues

June 2013

  It's been a long time since we did our last blog update. Since then we have done a lot of traveling, including spending time in California and Oregon for the 2012 holidays. As always, we really look forward to seeing our kids and grandkids.
  We returned to Diamond Girl early in January and immediately started on some major engine maintenance and other projects. Bud had to rebuild one of the turbocharges and that turned into a major overhauling of the exhaust system. After putting over 4,000 hrs. on the engines, you have to take the time and spend the money to keep them in good working condition. After all of this work was finished, we were once again ready to continue south and travel throughout Florida.
  We left Palm Coast on January 28th and made our first stop in New Smyrna, about 40 miles down the east coast of FL. We anchored for the night and did a toast, at cocktail time, that the engines worked great! The next day we continued down to the Cape Canaveral area and made plans to meet up with some friends from CA and Ventura YC who now live in Port Canaveral. Alex and Diane are sailors and have cruised extensively.
Dinner with Alex and Diane at Port Canaveral YC.
  After spending a couple of days, we decided to keep moving and ended the day anchored in Cocoa Beach. We've been there several times and we consider it a really nice overnight stop. Vero Beach was our next destination. This is a must stop for us. It's one of our very favorite places to pick up a mooring and stay for awhile. We spent  several days but were anxious to keep moving and continue to update the Dozier's Waterway Guide that we work for.
  Stuart, FL is where the Okeechobee Waterway starts. The OWW is the route that you take to cross Lake Okeechobee and cut across FL to the west coast. It's 150 miles long and takes a couple of days. The lake is the second largest lake in the contiguous USA. It's also very shallow (12 feet). There are two routes to cross the lake; one is Route One and the other is the Rim Route. The latter is usually closed because there isn't enough water (4 feet or less), so boats that draw over 3.5 or 4 feet can't traverse it. This year because of all the rain they had last fall, there was enough water for us (we draw 4 feet) to do the trip. There really isn't anything that makes this a special trip other than the fact that you can say you've done it. We had plenty of water but were a little disappointed that there wasn't much to see.
The very beginning of the Rim Route.
This is the only bridge on the route and it is opened manually.
The bridge opened for us.

Slim's Fish Camp is the only sign of civilization.
 On the west coast side of FL there are also some great spots and things to see. There are 3 locks on the west side and at the most western lock (Franklin Lock) the Army Corps of Engineers while building the lock also constructed a small (8 slips) marina and a campground. It's run by the Park Service and is always a fun stop.
Taken from our slip at the Franklin Lock...a bird roost.

The Hyacinth are thick and pretty.

We've also anchored in this spot.
  Coming across FL on the OWW is always fun. We have come to really appreciate some of the out-of-the-way places that still exist in FL.
  We spent plenty of time on the "left coast" as the locals call it. We traveled south and north doing our updates and then we started back across the OWW again to Stuart. We stayed there for a couple of days then continued south to Ft. Lauderdale. We rented a car and traveled all the way to Key West. If you've never been to Key West, you owe it to yourself to go. It's very eclectic and different from almost anywhere except maybe Venice Beach in Southern California. The one thing that Key West can boast about is that it is the southernmost point of the Continental USA.
There was actually a line of people to take a picture here.
We did it from the car.
   We worked on the Waterway Guide updates through each of the Keys, and then started to head back to Miami and Ft. Lauderdale to do the same. Each area takes at least a day to check out so we spent enough time to do them thoroughly before we started to head north.
You can see Diamond Girl anchored in the background.
This is just north of West Palm Beach,
it's called Peck Lake and is just off of the ICW.

As you can tell from the sign, it is a National Wildlife Refuge.

At Peck Lake you're only a couple of hundred yards
from the Atlantic.
  Our next stop was back at Vero Beach. We told you earlier that it was one of our favorites. It is amazingly friendly to the boating community. It's also a gathering spot for the cruisers to meet and socialize. We see people here that we will only see once or twice a year.
Looking at the mooring field in Vero.
We saw this friendly Anhinga almost every day.
  This year was a special year for us to be in Vero. We celebrated our 50th anniversary, and we were able to meet up with some friends from Seal Beach YC that have taken 5 years so far to bring their boat around and through the Panama Canal. We met up with them the end of last year but hadn't seen them since. Ted and Joan are going to do the Great Loop and then head back to Seal Beach, CA.
Can you believe it 50 years and we still like each other!


Ted and Joan  from "Panchita."
We finally left Vero Beach after 5 weeks and started our trek north. We decided that this year we weren't going to go all the way back to the Chesapeake Bay. We've done that for eight years and have always wanted to spend more time in the Carolinas. So we made some phone calls to see where we could keep Diamond Girl for the summer and made a decision to stay in Myrtle Beach, SC. The Myrtle Beach Yacht Club gave us a great deal on a slip for maybe 3 months or more, and that's where we are now. The people are friendly, the facilities are top-notch and the area provides just about anything you might want.
Our new summer home...MBYC.

The lighthouse marks the entrance to Coquina Harbor.

This is the entrance

  Now it will be time to do some cosmetic projects and get Diamond Girl back to her old self by doing some waxing and varnishing. We also plan on doing some exploring. There are numerous small towns that we want to explore. So stay tuned and we will try to update the blog much more often.
  You can also see us on Facebook just look for "Bud Lloyd". We do post quite often there.
Stay Well!

On the Road AGAIN!!

   After getting all of our problems fixed, we finally got underway and started our trip south for real.      
  We traveled from Great Bridge, VA to Broad Creek, which is right at the beginning of the Albemarle Sound. Wanting to get an early start crossing the sound, we left at 7:00 the next morning and had a surprisingly enjoyable crossing. The Albemarle Sound is one of the bodies of water, on the ICW, that is always a concern. The weather can really make for a tough crossing on this sound. Everyone dreads it!

5:00 at Dowry Creek Marina.

  We did our usual stop at Dowry Creek Marina. This is one of our favorite marinas and it's because of the owner and staff. They just can't help you enough and there is always a 5:00 gathering in the Captain's Lounge.
  Our next stop was going to be Washington, NC, also known as Little Washington. It's about 27 miles off of the ICW track, but we felt that we needed to explore it not only because it was there but also so we could update the Waterway Guide. The trip up the Pamlico Sound was great. The Pamlico Sound is another sound that you have to watch the weather on. We picked a beautiful day for the trip and found a really small and cute little historic town (founded in 1726).  There isn't much going on there, and it seems that the recession has taken its toll on this little town like so many others. But the people are very friendly and the town provides "free dockage" trying to attract the boating community. Hopefully it's working because they're trying hard to make everyone feel welcome.

Coming into Washington, NC.

Looking down Main St.

One of the little museums in town.

  After leaving Washington, we made our next stop in Oriental, NC., another small town that is very popular with the traveling boater. Everyone is friendly and helpful. There isn't much in the way of shopping here, but with a tiki bar next to the marina how can you go wrong. We also were lucky enough to get one of the two free docks available in town.
Diamond Girl sitting at the free dock!

The Bean. Some of the best muffins and coffee on the ICW!
Very popular with the locals.
  When we left Oriental, we traveled for several days and anchored at night. One of the anchorages is right in the middle of  Camp LeJeune which is a marine base. It's one of the best anchorages on the waterway. Very protected with great holding. A couple of more days of traveling and we stopped in Southport, NC at St. James Plantation Marina. We had plans to meet up with some friends from Long Beach, CA who have brought their boat around and through the Panama Canal. We made tentative plans 5 years ago to meet with them somewhere in 2012. Well, we did it and it was really fun.

Ted and Joan Palango with us in St. James Plantation.
  Leaving Ted and Joan, we needed to get fuel so we again stopped at Osprey Marina which always has some of the best fuel prices on the ICW. We got our fuel and stayed a night and then proceeded to an anchorage, Prince Creek, which has become one of our favorites because it is soooooo pretty.
Looking off the aft deck of Diamond Girl at Prince Creek.

Looking the other direction.

  Now we are anchored in Georgetown, SC and we'll be headed to Charleston next. We're picking up some friends from Long Beach (Mike and Ruthanne Ferreira) who are going to travel with us for a week. We're really looking forward to them arriving, and we are going to have a blast with them! Also, we're excited about showing them what we do.
  Don't forget that you can follow us on Facebook now. We are trying to post every day or two.

Bud and Elaine, and the good ship Diamond Girl

Starting South.....Again!

15 September 2012

Here it is September and guess what? We are beginning to head south to Florida again for the winter and spring. It's hard to believe that the summer is here and almost gone already, and we are getting ready to start our 8th year of full-time cruising. We are absolutley amazed!!

We spent a good part of the summer in Solomons Island, MD doing a lot of maintenance on "Diamond Girl." Bud repainted the engine room and then started on the engines. He changed all of the injectors on both of the big diesels and did a lot of other yearly maintenance. We also completed a bunch of other projects that we had been putting off. You have to stop traveling at times to take care of the boat that you depend on completely.

Solomons is great place to take care of all the projects. Not only did we have a lot of people living in the area that we knew, but all of the services that might be needed were there as well. We could walk to most everything, bum a ride from a friend when needed or just take the city bus to almost everywhere. We rented a car and drove up to Baltimore to visit some good friends (Jim and Cathy) and to Annapolis to have dinner with some other long-time friends (Terry and Nan). It was really a great place to spend a lot of the summer.

Now here we are...starting our trek south once again. We left Solomons before the 1st of September and spent the long weekend in Deltaville, VA at Regatta Point Marina. The Waterway Guide publication that we write for is headquartered there so we were able to see the people that we work with face-to-face rather than by email or phone. It's always nice to actually see the person with whom you're talking.

Regatta Point Marina
An impromptu gathering for dinner and conversation.
OH!  And a drink or two.


When we moved from Deltaville, we traveled to Portsmouth, VA for a dinner with some good cruising friends that we knew were in a marina there. So we spent a couple of nights anchored out and seeing Jim and Julie. It's always fun to join up with people you haven't seen for a while.

Yesterday morning we hauled our anchor up and got underway again with a very short day planned. We were just going to go about 7 or 8 miles and top off our fuel tanks with some diesel and then continue down to Great Bridge and tie up to a free dock for the night. Well....after taking on our fuel, our port engine wouldn't start. So after trying to figure it out, Bud decided that it had to be a solenoid on the injector pump. After tapping on it a couple of times, the engine fired immediatly. After a couple of more attempts, he and a mechanic were totally convinced that the solenoid was the problem. So we tapped on it again, started the engine and made a beeline for a boat yard only a couple of miles away. They agreed with Bud's assesment and ordered the part. It should be here on Monday, and then we can get this show on the road.

We will try to keep you better informed with more frequent updates. We also update on Facebook, so now you have more than one way to try and keep up with us.

As always, we love to hear from you. So send us an email and let us know what's going on in your lives.


Moving up the Chesapeake Bay

June 29, 2012

When we got back from our one month trip to CA, we found Diamond Girl waiting for us as usual. We had a great time at two of our granddaughters' graduations (one from high school and one from college.)

We had some maintenance plus a lot of provisioning to do and all of that took us four extra days. Then we were off on our trip, continuing north into the Bay and a summer of fun and a bunch of serious maintenance. Bud needs to really get into the engine room and not only do some painting but also some engine work.

When we left Portsmouth, VA we made our first stop in Hampton, VA. It was a short day, but we always like to spend some time in Hampton. It's a small town not far from Newport News.  It's very friendly and has a great anchorage that we like. We stayed for three days waiting for the weather on the Bay to settle down. So far this year we have had a lot of wind in the 20 to 25 knot range, which isn't at all nice when traveling north or south on the Chesapeake. So we just wait it out.

Coming into Hampton, VA

Hampton University

We left early in the morning with our goal to get to Deltaville, VA in one day. It's about 40 miles and that certainly isn't a long day, but there were also some thunderstorms predicted for late afternoon and we like to beat them into the harbor.

Deltaville is a small town, but it is where the Waterway Guide is located.  We wanted to see all of the people with whom we work. We only get to do that maybe twice a year. We really do work with some nice folks.

Wolf Trap Lighthouse

A view of the facilities at Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville.

A gathering for dinner at Regatta Point.
It happens on the spur of the moment.
 Everyone brings what they are going to
 have for dinner, and we all just eat and talk.

 We ended up staying for a few days and making some new friends. Bud was standing on the dock one morning and a fellow boater walked over and started talking.  We found out that they were from Channel Islands, CA. We couldn't believe it. We knew a lot of the same people and did a lot of the same things; i.e., Predicted Log Racing!! You never know who you'll meet. Their names are Larry and Brenda Golkin, and they are members of ChYC. They have been back here cruising for 2 years, and are thinking of heading south this year and maybe shipping their boat back to CA from TX. It truly is a small world.

Leaving Regatta Point is always hard because it's such a great stop, but we needed to keep making tracks north. Solomon's Island was our next distination. We've been there many times and pretty much know our way around town.
Smith Point Lighthouse at the southern edge of the Potomac River.

Diamond Girl underway on a very hot and windless day.

Coming into Solomon's Island we were greeted by a Tall Ship!

We didn't get the name but the home port was Delaware....BEAUTIFUL!!

When we got to Solomon's Island we saw a beautiful Tall Ship (above).  It's always a great thrill to see these replicas...they are amazing.

We are anchored in Back Creek and have been enjoying our stay, but tomorrow we are leaving for St. Michael's and will be with a bunch of friends for the 4th. Our friends Susie and Greg have a gathering every 4th, and there will be a crowd at their home. We will be anchored in their cove and so will some of the other boats. We always look forward to seeing Susie and Greg and everyone else in the gang.  It never fails to be a fantastic time!
This is where we are anchored at Solomon's Island....
absolutely beautiful!

It doesn't get much better!

Quiet and serene.

We hope that everyone has a great 4th of July!!
As always, let us know what is happening in your lives. We love to hear from everyone.

Heading North 2012

June 4, 2012

Well, here we are again, back in California visiting with our family. We have one granddaughter graduating from college and one graduating from high school. It's hard to believe that they are getting that old and we continue to stay the same (ha, ha).
We had a great trip north this year. The weather could have been a bit nicer, but aside from that it went smoothly. We were only held up for 3 or 4 days because of bad weather, and it worked out that we were able to stop at some of our favorite marinas and wait it out. It usually takes us 21 traveling days to make the 800 mile trip from Palm Coast, FL to Norfolk, VA. I know that it sounds like a long time, but when you consider that we only make about 50 to 60 miles a day traveling 6 or 7 hour days it's not too bad. We just get too tired if we travel longer days, especially if we travel several days in a row. We aren't usually in any why beat ourselves to death.
Historic Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, FL
As usual on our trip north, we stopped in Elizabeth City, NC with the intent of doing the Dismal Swamp again. We love this trip and do it almost every year. By the way, we are in the process of finishing our 7th year of full-time cruising on the ICW. It's hard to believe that after dreaming of doing this trip for 20 years, we have actually been doing it for almost 7 years. We have realized our dream, and there is more to come because we are still having a good time! After we completed the Dismal Swamp, we traveled a short distance to Portsmouth, VA where we left Diamond Girl for a month while traveling to the "left coast" and attending the graduations.

 We are definitely proud grandparents!!

After all of the festivities here in CA, we will return to Diamond Girl and continue our dream. We are going to spend the summer in the Chesapeake Bay again, and then we will make our usual migration down to Florida for the winter and spring. OH!!!!What a life we live. We always say "somebody's got to do it and it might as well be us."

Stay in touch, and please let us know what's happening in your lives. We hope that everyone is having as good a time as we are.

Also, you can follow us on Facebook. Just look up our email address we do post a little more often than here.

Bud and Elaine
Diamond Girl

Winter and Early Spring 2012

  It's been awhile since we have made a posting to this blog so we will try to catch you up with what's happening with us.

  Upon returning from California after the holidays, we did some needed work on Diamond Girl, reprovisioned our food and supplies, then we decided that we needed to get going south. After a couple of days we reached our first destination which was Vero Beach, FL. We spent several days there, then left with our bow headed south again. Fort Lauderdale was our goal, and it took us two days to get there.
The New River
In the middle of downtown Ft. Lauderdale

Heading up the New exciting trip!

  Fort Lauderdale is an area that has every service for boats "known to man." It's the "mega yacht" capital of the USA. It's unbelievable to see so many yachts from 100 feet to 250 feet in one spot. It's also very busy with boat traffic. We stayed at Cooley's Marina and rented a car so that we could explore the Keys again. We decided that it was going to take us too long to do it by boat and still meet our deadline with the Waterway Guide. Yep...we are still working with the Waterway Guide as Cruising Editors, and Florida is part of our territory to cover. After we got the car and were in the mode of land travel, they gave us an extension on our deadline. However, we were already set to cover the Keys by land so we continued with our plans. It actually works out pretty well to do this area by car because it is so spread out that it's almost impossible to cover any of the land-based information on foot, which is what we would be doing if we were to take the boat.

  When we returned to the boat (after our land travels,) we got underway again and decided to retrace our tracks and go north to Stuart, FL and then across the state through Lake Okeechobee. We've done this trip numerous times but still enjoy it. It's like going back to Old Florida. There isn't a lot of development, and what there is is older and very low key. The marinas are small and not as up-to-date as they are along the coasts. But it's different! One of the stops that we made is at the Franklin Lock Campground and Marina. When the Army Corps of Engineers built the lock they also constructed a campground with eight slips for boats. The slips are adequate, and very inexpensive, with electricity and water available. It's a relaxing stop, and we usually meet some very interesting people.

  Fort Myers Beach was our next stop so we got underway again after a couple of days and continued down the Caloosahatchee River. It wasn't really a long way to Estero Island. Ft. Myers Beach has a nicely protected bay with a large mooring field and some exceptionally nice beaches. It's a popular Spring Break area for the college kids and it was packed. There is a large shrimp fleet that works out of this area also. It's an interesting stop.
White sand beaches on the Gulf
Ft. Myers Beach mooring field

  Moving along again, we traveled up the coast to Pelican Bay, which is on Caya Costa Island and is very protected being ringed by small islands and a very shallow sandbar. We like this anchorage! We have been there several times and always enjoy it. You can walk across the island to the Gulf and the beaches. The sand is very, very soft. Almost like walking on powdered sugar.

  Leaving Pelican and heading to Punta Gorda was next on our list. We went into Fisherman's Village Marina for a couple of days and stayed 6 days because of weather. The weather this year has been GREAT! Very warm but also windy. Even though we were anxious to leave Punta Gorda, we were having a good stay. Some friends from our California days (Frank and Ellen) live there now and we got together with them and had "old home time." Some of our cruising friends (Jay and Susan) winter there every year so we got to spend some quality time with them also.

  We had told our friends (Rick and Candice) in Cape Coral that we would be there on a certain date and kept calling them to extend our arrival date because of all the wind. Finally.....we were able to get across Charlotte Harbor and down to Cape Coral to visit with them at their dock and home. This has become a yearly stop for us and one that we really look forward to. We always have a great time with them and this time was no different. We left the boat at their dock for a couple of days and did some more land travel for the Waterway Guide.

  When we returned to the boat from our driving trip, we left and traveled back across Lake Okeechobee again heading over to the East Coast. We stopped in Stuart for a few days and then returned to Vero Beach to await Bud's brother Jim and his wife and daughter (Susan and Allie) to visit for a couple of days. We had a great time with exceptionally nice weather!

  After a two and a half week stay in Vero, we were really anxious to get moving again. As we were preparing to leave, Bud noticed a very slight leak in one of our exhaust hoses. So....there we were needing to have a mechanic come and change the hose for us. It's one of those jobs that Bud just can't do. These hoses aren't small, they are 5 inches in diameter, and very difficult to work with. Fortunately we were able to get a mechanic to come first thing in the morning, and we were only delayed one day.

  Now we are back in Palm Coast, again waiting out some winds that are supposed to blow 25 to 35 mph today. Oh well....we could be in a worse spot. At least we are in very nice area and know some folks here.

   Tomorrow is going to be nice so we will be back traveling again.

  Sorry this has turned out to be so long. I am going to try and make more frequent postings. (Elaine just said "Sure you are.")

  Don't forget to sign up to be one of our followers. Be sure to email us to let us know what is going on in your lives, too. We love to hear from everyone. We are again on Facebook, and I am going to try and post little snippets of our days traveling along with a few photos. It seems like a very easy way to communicate with a lot of people. Again, let us know what you think.

Bud and Elaine
Diamond Girl