After living for a year and a half full time in Florida, we realized that we were not using Curiosity nearly as much as we had when we lived on the Chesapeake. Unlike the Mid-Atlantic region, Florida does not have many places to go for a weekend cruise – either it is a day cruise up the ICW to a restaurant or out in the ocean to fish or it is a week or longer cruise around the Bahamas or down to the Keys. Unfortunately, while we loved our Fleming for long distance cruising, it is not a great boat for just a day cruise – too big for restaurants and too nice for fishing. Also, having made the cruise from Florida to New England a number of times, Adrienne was no longer enthusiastic about six to eight-week cruises.
So with much regret, we decided that it was time to sell Curiosity and find a boat better suited for our Florida lifestyle. We knew that the best place to sell Curiosity would be at Burr Yachts in Maryland and so in June 2017, we began our last voyage north. If we were going to sell the boat, we wanted out of Florida before the hurricane season really started.
On June 12th, we headed north with stops at Vero Beach, Cocoa Village, Daytona Beach and St. Augustine. We spent two nights in St. Augustine enjoying the sites and the food. We were lucky and found a restaurant that was new to us called Preserved. It was fantastic. Previously, we had always been a little disappointed in the food in St. Augustine, but Preserved was excellent and definitely will be our go-to place in that city.
Early on the 17th, we headed out the St. Augustine channel. The channel had been recently remarked with buoys and exiting in good weather was not a problem. Nine hours later we pulled into Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia for the night and then left early the next morning for Charleston. Our normal plan would have been to stop at Hilton Head Harbour Town Marina, but they were still recovering from the prior year’s hurricane. The docks were up and running but they had no power. That could have been okay, except a weather system was moving in and we didn’t want to be stuck in Hilton Head if we could be dining in Charleston.
We arrived in Charleston at around 10 pm – close to slack tide but in total darkness. Even though the channel is well marked it was still a little nerve racking to maneuver to the Marina. But we made it easily and after navigating down the inside of the Megadock, we parallel-parked Curiosity between two other yachts and were soon safely tied up.
Being back in Charleston was a pleasure with great meals at both Slightly North of Broad and at Blossom. Our original plan had been to spend four or five nights in Charleston, but alas weather dictated an earlier departure unless we wanted to be socked in longer. Given the developing weather systems, we wanted to get out of the Atlantic as soon as we could. Early on the 21st, we took off for Southport, North Carolina and arrived at Southport Marina just before closing time at 7 pm. Eleven hours later we were back at sea heading for Morehead City. Seas were a little rough but nothing that Curiosity couldn’t handle and by 4 pm, we were tied up.
The next day we began our journey up the North Carolina stretch of the ICW. First stop was Belhaven, NC – home to one of our favorite restaurants Spoon River. We spent two nights in Belhaven waiting for favorable weather to cross Albemarle Sound. Fortunately on June 25th, the weather was good and we easily managed the Alligator River and the Albemarle Sound on our way to Coinjock. Then it was a seven-hour trip the next day to Hampton, followed by ten hour trip to Solomon Island, and a short five hour trip to Edgewater Maryland and Burr Yachts.
Our last voyage on Curiosity had come to an end. Our trip north had not been without its adventures. We developed a small transmission leak on the starboard side which required constant monitoring but in the end was not a big deal. Turned out it was just a loose plug. Then we noticed that when we were using the thrusters, we were getting low voltage warnings on the engine console. Turned out the house battery that the thrusters used was dying. Fortunately, I could tie the house battery to the engine batteries when docking and that temporarily solved that problem. I also thought that there was increased vibration when we were running but Adrienne thought it was the same as always. Turned out that the cutlass bearings were worn out and needed to be replaced. But now we were at Burr and all could be fixed with a sufficient outlay of cash.
We spent two days cleaning out the boat and loading all our stuff into a rented minivan. Burr promptly got to work on a list of items to be completed before the boat was put up for sale. We headed south with a heavy heart. I felt like I was selling off one of my children.
Ten days later we had an offer on Curiosity and within a month we were boatless.