About netgoof

Grew up in smaller town Iowa. Graduate of Iowa State. I previously worked as a program manager. I hold a 100 ton masters merchant mariners license.

Great Loop: Hilton Head

Days 46-48: March 4-6, 2023

While Savannah was great, and we could still have toured it for days, it was time to move on. We started up and made a 4-hour voyage to Hilton Head Island. And just like our boat, Hilton Head is shaped like a tennis shoe. The voyage puts us in the third state on our trip!

We opted to anchor out and try out rafting three boats now that Coda has joined the fun. That worked out pretty well except for the last morning where Steve was running around the boats like crazy waking people up when the anchor started dragging. More on that later…

The sunsets on the loop have been pretty amazing. the best have been at anchor over the various scenery we’ve encountered. The camera never seems to capture the actual beauty as well as seeing it in person.

The group decided to check out the Sea Pines Forest Preserve where there are shell rings that date back 4000 years. Amazing! We saw birds, turtles, horses, and alligators!

Our next stop? You guessed it! Ice cream! The group needed a snack before tackling more touristy stuff, so we headed to the shop area and sampled the large number of flavors. The Frozen Moo did not disappoint!

The last stop on Hilton Head was the Coastal Discovery Museum. They have a small exhibition area and some walking trails and boardwalks that take you around the property. We were there at low tide so got to see the tide switch and the water running back in.

Photo credit to Boris’ mom for capturing us enjoying our nature walk. Thanks Vera!

And now back to the anchor dragging… We had planned a nice leisurely departure from Hilton Head. A “get up and have coffee” relaxing kind of plan. That was all thwarted when just after 6 am we heard loud knocking and yelling. Tonia’s and my first reaction was “Damn it Boris, it’s not yet coffee time.” At the same moment, the anchor alarms started blaring and we realized it was someone trying to get our attention. We surfaced from below to find Steve running around yelling to start the engines. After three nights at anchor, we had started dragging and were heading towards the mooring field.

We complied and started up to stabilize the raft. However, the current was so strong we had drifted to the first mooring ball next to the anchorage. Luckily the dinghy was there to buffer us. The dinghy engine got caught up on the mooring line tied from the ball to the sailboat and prevented us from hitting any of the boats. We quickly got the raft untied and Coda and Saga were off. However, we still had the dinghy motor over the mooring buoy line. Not in a position to deal with it, we quickly decided to untie the dinghy (it wouldn’t go anywhere) and come back for it with the kayak. While not completely optimal with the current, it was better than trying to keep the entire boat from getting tangled up.

I maneuvered a distance away and Tonia got the kayak ready. When she was somewhat prepared (jumping in once lifejacket was on through getting caught up in the inflatable seat a bit), she quickly paddled her way over to the dinghy. The current was at a high point, so she had to paddle hard. She made it alongside the dinghy and climbed aboard. She tied on the kayak so it wouldn’t float away and with a couple grunts got the dinghy engine off the mooring line. With the dinghy now free, I went downstream in Lil Sudden to pick them up. This may have been the toughest part as it had to be done quickly so we didn’t float into other boats and so I didn’t miss connecting with Tonia.

It was a successful operation, and we were finally underway north. I would not recommend waking up in this way and definitely not missing coffee for it. Unfortunately, no photos since we were preoccupied at the time.

Day 46 Trip Details:
Thunderbolt, US to Hilton Head Island, US
Time: 4 h 1 m (10:06 to 14:08)
Distance: 21.13 nm

Great Loop: Going Bananas in Savannah

Day 44: March 2, 2023

It’s Bananas! BA-NA-NA-S!

We started out the day early taking Emily to the airport. It was sad to see her leave as we had a really great time with her.

We technically boated today though just from downtown Savannah to another suburban marina. We got off the dock about 10am and did the quick 1.5-hour trip over to the Thunderbolt Marina.

Once the boats were settled in, we headed out to the local Mexican Grill Jalapenos. It was a chill afternoon with Tonia working and us all waiting for the event that Boris had been talking about for at least six months: The Savannah Bananas!

Who are the Savannah Bananas you ask? The Bananas and their opponent The Party Animals are exhibition baseball teams that play “Banana Ball“. It’s baseball with some unique rules that make it extra fun to watch. The MLB could take a few of them to spice up their league. Just saying.

If you ever get a chance to see a game, do it! They do travel around the country so check if they come to a stadium near you.

The players (above) by 1st and 3rd bases were “frozen” the entire game in a face off. The other teams would mess with both of them but they didn’t budge from their stare off the entire game and until well after it ended!

Below are a few video highlights. Enjoy!

Day 44 Trip Details:
Savannah, US to Thunderbolt, US
Time: 1 h 26 m (09:55 to 11:22)
Distance: 9.24 nm

Great Loop: Prohibition & Ghosts in Savannah

Day 43: March 1, 2023

On the 2nd day in Savannah, it was time to be a tourist. We did a self-guided walking tour around the historic area. But only after we had a snack at the local Parisian Cafe of course. As with many towns in the country, we stumbled upon my hometown fire hydrant. Good old Clow Foundry from Oskaloosa.

We strolled thru the cemetery to see all the old historic citizens of Savannah. And there are a good number that make the history books. It seems to be common that when Tonia, Emily, and I are together we find very old cemeteries. I think they are trying to tell me something.

Fountain at Forsyth Park


What? That’s not a thing on the Great Loop! But Savannah does have a museum dedicated to the amendments that instituted and repealed prohibition. We opted for the guided tour to get the full experience and our guide was pretty entertaining.

At the end they made us a few ‘bootleg’ drinks common during Prohibition. One option was a glass of moonshine and a beer chaser. It wasn’t the best drink we’ve tried.

Waving girl

Savannah used to have a girl that waved to all the ships as they entered and left the harbor. The story goes that she did not miss a ship in 44 years. Waving a handkerchief in the day and a lantern at night.


The tourist day was rounded out by a ghost tour. We think we may have caught some photos touched by apparitions. Spooky!

Sexy cat and dessert

The group that still had some pep decided dessert was in order. So, we followed Emily for a late-night jaunt across the historic area to have some fancy libations and decadent treats on her last night with us all. What better place to go than Better Than Sex? Next door to the restaurant was a cat cafe. In true form for the evening, it sported a real-live sexy cat posing in the window for us.

The restaurant was neat. May be better for a date than perhaps a group like ours but we still had fun with it. The electronic menus offered up provocative drink and dessert titles and descriptions. The waiter was a bit over the top with the innuendos yet, overall, a great time. The key lime pie was the best of the trip. So far…

Great Loop: Getting the band back together in Savannah

Day 42: February 28, 2023


We rolled into Savannah and reunited with our long-lost boat mate SteveO on Coda. Steve and his sister Barbara backtracked from Charleston to meet up with us. We were supposed to meet up in Florida, but Steve voyaged ahead to spend some quality time with his kids earlier this year.

Also waiting for us in Savannah was our good friends Jeff and Norma. They made the trek over from their home in Atlanta.

After a safe arrival beverage on the boat, it was time to continue the reunion at Wet Willies. Nothing like wings and a great alcohol-infused slushies.

After some grub and drinks, the gals went for a stroll along the waterfront to check out the shops and sights. The guys went back to the boats for, um, a nap? There were lots of fun shops where some immediate purchases (like the guys’ shirts above) were made. There were shops to try out southern-style pralines and sweet and savory cookies. The Marriott was cool as it was renovated from the old, abandoned power plant. The super-large atrium had humungous, person-sized geodes and fossil replicas as well as lots of other cool art. Even if you can’t stay there, it was neat to walk through to check out.

That night Emily decided we were going bar hopping. We did hit up two of the rooftop bars. First up was Top Deck with a chill vibe and great view. Next was the Electric Moon, which was pretty cool. Norma went with the fancy lighted glass, and they have a slide to quickly get to the lower lounge area! Jeff and I had to try it out!

Day 42 Trip Details:
Liberty County, US to Savannah, US
Time: 6 h 4 m (06:48 to 12:53)
Distance: 45.80 nm

Great Loop: St. Simons & Nowhere

Days 40-41: February 26-27, 2023

Before heading out, there was a little time for kayaking.

Then it was goodbye to Jekyll Island.

The dinghy ride to nowhere

Ok, technically we went to Brunswick. However, upon arriving we found the public dock to only cater to VERY large boats and no way to tie up the dinghy. The only marina there was not too friendly. Even offering to buy fuel didn’t get them to allow us to tie up for a quick trip to the grocery store.

It was Instacart to the rescue. We ended up putting in an order and having it delivered to us at the public park with a boat ramp close to the anchorage. It worked out well in the end though I really don’t understand a marina not willing to allow a dingy to tie up for provisions, especially if purchasing fuel. I get not wanting the derelict boat owners to continuously come in; however, you can solve that by charging a nominal tie-up fee, which we’d have gladly covered. Maybe it’s insurance, though charging a fee is the same as renting a slip so that should also cover it.

The quest for tree spirits

Mayli had read about the St. Simons tree spirits. Her, Tonia, and Emily were going to find some! They attempted to get a Lyft/Uber ride from the park to the downtown starting point except the rides were sparse or out 20-30 minutes. They decided they could use the movement and steps and walked the 3 miles to town.

The first stop, an ice cream reward at Moo Cow! It was delicious and hit the spot. Onwards to find tree spirits!

While on the search for tree spirits, they were able to take in the public fishing pier, park sculptures, lighthouse, and popped into a few stores. Emily would recommend against trying whole honeycomb unless you like trying to get wax out of your teeth for a long while!

The Golden Isles Welcome Center provided a map of where to find the 11 carvings on live trees throughout the island. The first tree spirit was an easy find! The full-size mermaid was right next to the Welcome Center!

The next one was a trickier find. Emily found an article giving clues to its location, which happened to be near a small hotel’s swimming pool. The third was an easier find as it was just in front of the Village Inn & Pub right next to the sidewalk. The next two were located in park areas across the street from each other just a couple blocks away—there were a LOT of trees so it took all three to search the many trees to find those two. With five of the eleven public tree spirits found (there are presumably around 20 as some are on private properties) and the rest requiring a bike or car to find, they decided it was time to head back. Thankfully, they were able to get a ride partway back after 5+ miles of walking that day! Funnily enough, the #11 tree spirit was actually located in the park where they started, though it was not easily visible. It was quite the fun adventure!

The day ended with a wonderful sunset.

As can be seen from the Day 41 map below, it was a long, almost 9-hour transit day. We contemplated stopping to break it up into two days but decided instead to get as close to Savannah as we could so Emily would have a chance to see a bit of the town before leaving us. There was, however, time for a little fishing! While we didn’t catch fresh fish for dinner as Emily really wanted, I did catch a sting ray. He was promptly returned to the wild as no one wanted Ray for dinner.

Day 40 Trip Details:
Jekyll Island Marina, Glynn County, US to Glynn County, US
Time: 1 h 22 m (11:13 to 12:36)
Distance: 8.05 nm

Day 41 Trip Details:
Glynn County, US to Liberty County, US
Time: 8 h 49 m (07:20 to 16:09)
Distance: 54.68 nm

Great Loop: The Jekyll Island Club

Day 39: February 25, 2023

The Jekyll Harbor Marina was really welcoming and also offered free bikes to use, so we took advantage. We all selected our bikes and took off for the historic district. It was an easy one-mile ride on a nice, paved trail along the waterfront. You’ll never guess the first stop…

We quickly found the Island Sweets Shoppe for some ice cream. Tonia’s peach ice cream was great! They also had chocolates in the shape of sand dollars, sea turtles, star fish (aka sea stars), and shells, not to mention HUGE gators! The shop is located in what used to be the San Souci Boiler House, which provided heat and hot water for the nearby fancy San Souci Apartments, and therefore the reason for the chimney you see in the pic with the giant oak that Michael of course had to climb with ice cream in hand.

After the sweet stop, we made our way to the MOSAIC museum to check out the local history and start the trolley tour.

Jekyll Island Clubhouse

Trolley stop to tour the Rockefeller “cottage”

The San Souci Apartments and other millionaire mansion “cottages” in the historic area near the clubhouse that accommodated the J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, Marshall Field, William Rockefeller (younger brother of John D.), Astor, Carnegie, Goodyear, and other families in the winter season.

At the end of the afternoon, we visited the turtle rehabilitation center. It was a nice facility nursing injured and sick sea turtles back to health for release to the wild when ready. There were also some babies too!

We had a little buffer time before dinner so biked around a bit more and we briefly checked out the Faith Chapel, which is still in use. It was simplistic yet with a few ornate features. It has two stained glass windows – “Adoration of the Christ Child” at the front of the chapel and one at the back, the latter of which was actually commissioned and signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, though it’s currently removed and offsite for restoration care. A neat feature were the grotesques, similar to gargoyles though on the interior beams.

Fun in the Jekyll Island Club big chair!

Finally, it was time for some dinner! Hard to beat a waterfront restaurant so we settled in for some grub at The Wharf.

We ended the day attempting to get provisions from local market except it was more of a tourist souvenir store with some groceries that were quite expensive, like eight bucks for half gallon of milk! We grabbed a couple small things and called it. It was an adventure overall with Emily, Mayli and Tonia biking there and back in dusk and dark (on bike trails).

Day 39 Trip Details:
Camden County, US to Jekyll Island Marina, Glynn County, US
Time: 3 h 44 m (07:19 to 11:03)
Distance: 23.95 nm

Great Loop: The Ruins of Cumberland

Day 38: February 24, 2023

We’ve arrived in Georgia!

To maximize the day, we decided to get up at sunrise. That allows us to get the 4.5 hours of travel in and still have time to explore Cumberland Island. The charts showed that it was a half hour faster to travel on the outside (ocean) and the weather was good, so we headed out into the Atlantic as the sun was rising. Going on the outside in good weather is nice. The autopilot is set on straight for a few hours and there is less stress with traffic, windy rivers, and the water is much deeper.

After the trip we anchored next to Cumberland Island. Cumberland Island is home to the Dungeness Ruins. Dungeness is a ruined mansion that was donated by the Carnegie family and is now a national park. The ruins area is a vast estate where the family started on the island before each Carnegie child built their own mansions nearby. Unfortunately, the ruins exist because of a fire in 1959 that destroyed most of the house. It was fun seeing all the workings of an estate from the early 1900s and the beautiful island and grounds there.

Fun side note: In St. Augustine the trolley tour guide was super excited to tell us about the palm tree growing in the middle/top of the fork of Old Senator, a 600-year-old tree and longest-living resident of the town. However, we found a live oak growing around a full-size live palm! Check it out below and find the hidden climber.

The national park has a nice trail system and one of them leads to a neat and large beach. We took some time exploring the trails and walking down the beach.

Another interesting quirk of Cumberland Island is the wildlife. The island is home to many wild horses that can be easily seen wandering around the ruins and trails as well as the beach (see above). Careful where you step! We also spotted five armadillos along our way through the island and trails.

Day 38 Trip Details:
Jim King Marina, Jacksonville, US to Camden County, US
Time: 4 h 29 m (06:38 to 11:07)
Distance: 32.80 nm

Great Loop: Jacksonville & Emily Joins the Fun!

Days 36-27: February 22-23, 2023

We departed St. Augustine and with good weather took to the outside. Traveling in the open Atlantic is a nice change. While you still have to watch the helm continuously it’s a lot less effort because you are on the same course for a long period of time and the depths are not usually a concern.

We decided to stay on the outskirts of Jacksonville on a city-owned dock at Sister’s Creek. Boating into the city would have added a bunch of time and we only planned to stay one day, plus it was free up to 72 hours. The drawback to this location is Uber/Lyft are not as easy to come by and can result in a bit of a wait.

The free dock is decent. However, there is a large current running parallel to the dock, and it takes a bit of maneuvering to get the boat settled on. Dock was wide open when we arrived so and it only took two tries since the current blew us past the first time.

We were so excited for our first esteemed boat guest: Emily flew in to stay with us for a week!

Jacksonville Downtown (Feb 23)

On the 23rd we opted to take an Uber to the downtown area of Jacksonville. The start location chosen was Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop, of course. Though maybe not the best place to begin with as the kids didn’t seem to want to see anything else after and perhaps resulted in little tummy aches…hmmm, wonder why?

We spent a couple hours wandering around checking out the sites. It’s a nice downtown area but is a big city so has that feel. We did find a bunch of food trucks and hit them up for lunch.

Caught a little of the bridge coming back down after letting a boat through. This one had a lift mechanism versus drawbridge like Seattle.

Downtown fun with running statues!

After lunch we walked down to the Maritime Museum though opted not to tour it since as was very hot and admission workers said it would be miserable. Instead, we all decided it was time to go back to the boats and do some kayaking. Much easier to get an Uber in town.

Goodnight Moon! Goodnight Jupiter! Goodnight Venus!

Day 36 Trip Details:
Saint Augustine, US to Jim King Marina, Jacksonville, US
Time: 5 h 41 m (07:05 to 12:47)
Distance: 39.35 nm

Great Loop: “Oldest” European/African American settlement in the US

Days 32-35: February 18-21, 2023

St. Augustine, FL, goes way back. So far back it was in the 16th century. In 1565 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, a Spanish admiral founded the city. It went back and forth between Spain and Britain over the years, but its claim is that it has remained continuously occupied.

Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513 and found the Fountain of Youth in the city. We tried the water. It’s pretty yucky. Has a great sulfur aftertaste. Do I look younger?

Day 1 (February 18)

Our trip from Palm Coast to St. Augustine was pretty smooth though we had a shallow curve to navigate that a local had forewarned us about. Indeed, it was a tricky area, and we were happy to have the first-hand knowledge to get us through.

It’s always fun to see the random sights along the way: a place we’d neither fuel at nor be to towed to, Poseidon watching over us, gorgeous views of the many small marshy islands, remnants perhaps of a restaurant area with a BIG fish protruding out of the sign, a sunken sailboat—one of too many we’ve seen on the trip, and dolphins!

St. Augustine arrival

When we arrived, the wind was whipping. The marina dock was full, but they had space on mooring balls, so we took a couple. Out boat doesn’t allow for ease of bringing a line from the stern to the bow. Therefore, it was a little bit of maneuvering to get it all hooked up. Boris and Mayli dinghied over and helped out get us situated. We were quite thankful for their help during that wind and chop!

We safely made it into town by dinghy to do a bit of strolling. We hit up the oldest house museum right before close as they were having a free day. I’m glad we don’t live in the rustic olden days. After wandering a bit more, it was time for dinner. We hit up the A1A Alehouse. I’d like to say it was amazing, but my rating is just ok. Did I mention it was Sangria Saturday!

On the way back to the boat the wind had picked up even more. We knew we were going to get wet, so we convinced Boris not to make two trips. Probably a mistake as we took a few waves over the stern and quickly found ourselves in ankle-deep water. SOS! We’re sinking! Luckily the dinghy held steady, and we made it back to Lil Sudden where we could bail out the water. Definitely need a bigger bilge pump!

Day 2 (February 19)

On the first full day we planned to take the hop on hop off style Old Town Trolley Tour around the historic downtown to hit the main tourist attractions. Mayli had a list! It started out as planned and we hopped on. The first stop was the Castillo de San Marcos. The Castillo is the oldest masonry fort in the U.S. The Spanish built it in 1672 to fend off the British. The fort was made from coquina—a natural resource found on the Florida coast of a limestone composed of seashells. They liked it for the fort as it wouldn’t crumble when struck by cannon balls. It would just absorb them so they could recycle the balls and send them back at the enemy.

The fort has many cool areas to explore, and since it was Sunday, they had canon fire reenactments. The canon was pretty loud even though they only used a half pound of powder and not the three pounds the Spanish would have used for the same cannon.

The next stop on the tour was the Fountain of Youth. Yes, the actual one Ponce de Leon declared. Again, yuck! The theme area was very living history farm in feel. As we were wandering around, I got a message from my high school friend Turf who we planned to meet for dinner, and he was free earlier. We decided to cut our tour of the town of early and head to meet him at the alehouse.

Bar Hopping Intermission

The rest of the first day was spent checking out various establishments in the old town with Turf. We started again at the A1A Alehouse for a few beverages. Then we hit up the No Name Bar followed by the White Lion. And finally, we trekked further out to the Icehouse for some dinner.

Day 3 (February 20)

Tonia and I decided it was a good morning for a walk to check out the St. Augustine Light House. We started the journey by crossing the Bridge of Lions and checking out the lion statues on each end. Then we found coffee and “hot” cocoa. We happened upon a Whetstone Chocolates shop and had to stop. The lady at the shop was the nicest person and we had some good conversation while waiting for our drinks.

With coffee in hand, we continued walking to the lighthouse. On the way we went by the Alligator Farm. That place looks huge. We’ll have to add it to the list for next trip.

The route we took didn’t lead us directly to the lighthouse, so we probably walked a mile out of the way. Oh well, good for steps! I booked tickets online while walking up to save 10%.