Hull 63 The Howells

(Continued)

During April and June 2008 Nellie pointed her nose generally northward on the ICW. She left her slip in Naples, FL and 1300nm later tied up in her slip in Church Creek, MD. It was a particularly windy spring. A gale created 9' waves in Charleston Harbor. Another blow saw 30kt winds on-deck as we did a 100nm day between Southport, NC and Morehead City, NC. The Dismal Swamp was interesting. A few days before our transit a Sea Ray hit a submerged Ford expedition (which had just been stolen and 'parked' in the canal). Weather forced us to spend three days in Norfolk before dodging yet more wind in the Chesapeake. Wind or no, the ICW is a delight.

Beginning in early December 2008 and into January 2009 Nellie did a 325nm winter cruise up the Potomac. She anchored within a mile of the White House and served as a great launching point for our many tours of DC. With water temps in the mid 30's, air temps as low as 19F, and occasional 30kt winds, it was, at times difficult to keep Nellie's crew warm while at anchor. Pulling into a dock and and connecting to the electric grid solved the problem. It was great having the Potomac all to ourselves as we saw only one other pleasure boat.

On 5 March 2009 Nellie's frozen dock lines we sawed off, a foot of snow was cleared from her decks and she headed south to warmer climes. At Palm Beach, FL she took a left, crossing the Gulf Stream and the Little Bahama Bank to arrive in paradise—aka the Abacos. It took five weeks but Nellie gunkholed the Abacos from Allans-Pensacola Cay in the north to Little Harbour in the south. After crossing back to the USA on 12 May 2009, Nellie retraced her track north. She made it safely to the Chesapeake on 23 May after covering 2680nm round trip.

After the 2009 Thanksgiving dishes were washed and put away Nellie D. left the Chesapeake and was Florida bound on the ICW. This 1750nm trip was one of the coldest and windiest to date. How cold was it? We got snowed on in Jacksonville and the 20F temperatures turned some tropical plants into green gelatinous mounds. The trip down Florida's St Johns river was like going backwards in time. We could feel the presence of the paddle wheelers as we passed by the historic towns and wharfs. Nellie finally made it to Key West too. But with slips going for $140/night she couldn't afford to stay their long ;-0 She crossed the Gulf and made it to her home port of Naples, Florida by the last week in February. She then cruised back to the keys to do some gunk holing. By June Nellie was put on the hard and spent the hot Florida Summer in air conditioned comfort.

Nellie spent the month of November 2010 in Ft. Myers, FL as Dave and Bicki lived aboard while getting their USCG Masters licenses. In December she cruised north to Clearwater, FL before returning to Naples.

In March 2011 John and Susan took Nellie on a Naples Yacht Club tour of the sites between Lake Okeechobee and Palm Beach. After John discovered oil coming from the turbocharger she was left in Ft. Lauderdale to have it rebuilt. Before escaping the many excellent services available in Ft Lauderdale, Nellie had a new exhaust elbow, new Airsep air filter, reupholstered salon and stateroom cushions, and a new dodger. The plan was then to go to the Exumas but that has been delayed until next year. Nellie went north instead and arrived in Church Creek, MD in May 2011.

In October of 2011 Nellie made a 34 day, 1320nm trip for Church Creek to Naples, Florida via the Keys.

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