Wednesday, December 23, 2009

IntraCoastal Waterway - My Bucket List Trip :-)

A couple of weeks ago I went on one of the trips of my life thanks to Mike O'Dell.  I was able to cross some of my bucket list items off my list.  I can not thank Mike O'Dell enough for inviting me along on an incredible yacht for a fantastic week.  This was like the mother of all Geek Cruises - with long time friends and Internet legends.

Mike O'Dell asked Neil Groundwater (npg) if I would be interested in going on a week long trip down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).   When Neil asked me, I did not have to think a single yoctosecond about before I said yes.

Above is a picture that npg took of the front of Mike's 57' mega super yacht Bebop Tango.  Mike hates it when I call it a mega super yacht :-)  Since I do not know the difference, it certainly seems like a mega super yacht to me.  There is more technology on Bebop Tango than I could possibly even start to list here.

Above is a great photo that npg took of Mike's yacht called Bebop Tango.  Bebop Tango was designed by Capt. Ivar Franzen, Naval Architect.  Bebop Tango is described as a "Franzen 57" because she's 57' on-deck with the LOA (Length-Over-All) at 60'.   It was built by Walter Schurtenberger of Constellation Yachts and Multihull Technologies Inc. 

  • Kevlar
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Foam core
  • Honeycomb Core
  • Epoxy resins
  • 2 500hp Diesel engines
  • 1,200 gallons of fuel
  • ability to make fresh water on board
  • washer and a dryer, full kitchen 
  • easily sleeps 8
  • I am leaving out tons of innovative features, this is truly a one of a kind vessel

Above is a sign showing the distances on the Intracoastal Waterway.  We would travel about 150 nautical miles a day, usually at around 15 to 20 knots.  We started in Annapolis.  We would get going around 7:00 every day and try to be in the next port prior to sundown.  As soon as we were docked and tied up - the digital bar would be officially open :-)   On the morning of December 10th, npg and I rented a car in Savannah and drove back to DC in 10 hours.

Not every day was picture perfect :-)  Above was some rough water we had on Saturday.

One of the great quotes that Mike told me, that I had never heard before, is a popular line at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs in Berkeley, California which is, "Why use lead, when gold will do?"

Above is a great photo npg took while we were in Savannah.  That is me up top on Bebop Tango.  When I was asking Mike one of my many questions on the design of Bebop Tango, Mike said, "A boat is simply a series of horrendous choices."

From left going clockwise is Neil Groundwater, me, Mike O'Dell and Captain Fred Denniston.  This was a German restaurant that was the best meal we had the entire trip.  Thanks to Fred, Mike and Neil I did learn some things during the trip:
  • Right on Red Return or going south if it is not clear you are returning or leaving a waterway
  • Green Port Entering or going south if it is not clear
  • Clove Hitch, bowline and sheet bend are key knots to know
  • it is not a rope, but a line when you get on a boat
  • four lines are needed to secure a boat to a dock
    • bow line
    • stern line
    • two spring lines that criss cross between stern and aft
      • pads are used to protect boat from dock

Above was our favorite dessert of the entire trip at a German restaurant we went to where they specialized in fried Oreos.  Yes, it sounds nasty, but it was to die for...   This was a HUGE improvement over Captain Fred's choice one night at a Holiday Inn where the two main selling points of this restaurant was:
  1. As the waitress said, "This is a great restaurant, we get all of our food from Sysco."
  2. When we asked her was the carrot cake any good, her reply was, "Well, it is not as good as a HoHo."  She was correct on both accounts above :-)
Eating at Holiday Inn violates the Dave Edstrom Rule #42 Of Domestic Travel, which is NEVER eat at the hotel's restaurant unless it is the free breakfast, cold/hot cereal or you have ZERO choices and getting ready to pass out from lack of nutrition :-)

Above is just one example of the amazing technology on Mike's boat - a digital liquor bar.  I am not a liquor person, but I still like the idea of digital bar.  While Neil, Mike and Captain Fred would get a digital drink, I would get an old fashioned cold beer.

Above is an early morning sunrise on the intracoastal waterway in South Carolina.

Above is part of the main helm on the Bebop Tango.  Here is a video of me at the helm of Bebop Tango that shows the instrument panels off well.

Below was our itinerary:
  • December 4th Friday left from Annapolis
  • 4th Friday night in Deltaville
  • 5th Saturday night in Great Bridge, VA
  • 6th Sunday night in Oriental, NC
  • 7th Monday night in Little River, NC
  • 8th Tuesday night in Seabrook Island, SC
  • 9th Wednesday night in Savannah, Georgia
  • 10th npg and I drove back to DC

Above is the kitchen or galley as I guess it should be properly called.

Finally, above is a fantastic sunset on the Chesapeake Bay during an incredible week on the Bebop Tango with Mike O'Dell, Neil Groundwater, and Captain Fred Denniston traveling down the IntraCoastal Waterway from Annapolis to Savannah.