Back in 2001, I posted a page about my journey south from Elkton to Thunderbolt. I've known ever since that I wanted to do
another trip like that, but I've never known when I'd get the chance. Well thanks to George, I got my chance this year. I've mentioned
George's tugboat before, the John Arthur. This 70 foot tug, built in 1942, has spent its life in
Louisiana. George bought the boat two years ago, and has been working ever since to get the boat ready for its journey to its new home in Chesapeake City. On April 14th,
George started the journey. It took 24 days total, and I was fortunate enough to be able to spend 7 days onboard, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Norfolk, Virginia. Eric
Miller and I drove down to Jacksonville on Wednesday, April 28th. I told him we were going to North Carolina, because I was afraid I'd have to go alone if I told him we
were going all the way to Florida. But I don't think he holds it against me now.
I'll never forget this awesome experience that I'm privileged to have taken part in. Thanks to Bob Carroll for keeping us all well fed during the journey. And thanks
to Bob Harris for finding us safe places to stay, and bringing supplies, as well as getting the John Arthur looking good again for its arrival in its new home! And of
course, thanks to the Georges for including me in the trip of a lifetime!
Here are some pictures from the adventure.
Here is the John Arthur. Bob Harris spent a lot of time during the trip painting the boat.
This dock was where Eric and I boarded the John Arthur on Thursday morning. The two boats in this picture were marine exploration boats from
Here is a shot of half of the six cylinder Atlas Imperial diesel engine. George has a much better picture of it
, which really shows off how big the engine is.
This is George's navigation system. Using a laptop loaded with software by Maptech, and connected to a GPS, we could always tell right where we
were, and where we should be going.
I don't know what the heck this thing is, but we saw it on our way from Jacksonville to Brunswick, Georgia.
Here is a lighthouse we saw somewhere down there.
As we passed through Georgia, we saw some beautiful houses.
We hit a lot of rain from Brunswick to Thunderbolt.
Here's another nice house we saw.
This is where we spent the night in Thunderbolt. We caught up with George's cousin, Kate, and her son. Thunderbolt was as far as I got on my 2001
trip, so this was the spot where my trips overlapped.
This is the marina that was our final destination in 2001. As we passed it, it was neat to know that I had officially connected these two journeys.
We saw plenty more nice houses as we headed from Thunderbolt to Charleston, South Carolina.
Here is another nice place.
For some reason it always seemed to be low tide during this trip, which wasn't good in a boat that draws 7 feet of water. These people had
amazingly long docks to get from shore to deep water.
We spent Saturday night in Charleston, where we caught up with Rachel and Nolen, friends from the Chesapeake Inn, who moved there in January. I
didn't get any pictures of them, so here's one of Eric.
Eric had to leave Sunday morning so that he could be back to work on Monday. We weren't too hungover from our night on the town, so his 10 hour
drive home wasn't too bad.
We saw tons of dolphins swimming and coming up for air. Sometimes they would swim right along with the boat! But they were too quick for me, this
was the best shot I got.
We passed more nice houses on Sunday. Our plan was to drive straight through as long as we could, to make up for lost time George had in Florida
before Eric and I arrived.
We ended up running aground at Lockwood's Folly at about 1:30 AM. We were stuck there until about 5:30 AM, when the anchor line broke and we lost
the anchor. But we were still better off than these guys.
Did I mention that it always seemed to be low tide? The guy on this houseboat seems perplexed.
Here's a sign for Belle Isle marina. These trees were really cool, and we saw them all over the place on our way to Morehead City on Monday.
This crazy pink house had some llamas running around the yard too. I took pictures of this in 2001, but I never posted that page. Sorry.
We stayed at this dock in Morehead City on Monday night. Check out these cool tanks.
I don't know what the heck this thing is, but it scared me so we tied up over on the other side.
Stephanie was the dockmaster and security guard at this place. Here's a shot of all of us after we got the boat tied up for the night.
Tuesday we hit some rough water on our way through the Pungo River towards the Alligator River. Here you can see water spraying up over the bow.
It wasn't too rough for a nap though. It was much easier to sleep when the engine was running and the boat was moving. This bunk is where I slept
every night for the week.
At the Alligator River Highway Bridge we took the dinghy into a marina, where Heiko Sunkler brought us an anchor to replace the one we lost. We
anchored out here for the night and enjoyed this sunset.
We got up early on Wednesday and started moving. We stopped in Coinjock, North Carolina, for showers. and a break. Here you get an idea of just how
high up we were in the wheelhouse of the tug.
This picture didn't come out too good, but I was showing that we were finally crossing the line from North Carolina into Virginia. We spent three
long days in North Carolina...
This sign for Capt. George's Seafood Restaurant was particularly amusing since our Captain was George.
Here is an old sunken tug.
The sun was setting rapidly, and we still had a long way to go to Norfolk, where I had to end my journey so I could be to work on Thursday. It took
us 3 hours to get through the last 15 miles of bridges and 1 lock.
Here's Norfolk at night. We were hoping to be here much earlier. Guess we shouldn't have spent quite so much time in Coinjock. I still had a 5 hour
drive home by car ahead of me.
Well, Norfolk was my last stop. Here's a picture of me and the crew I spent a week with. Back row: Bob Harris, George, Bob Carroll. Middle Row:
George, Me. Bottom Row: George. Lots of Georges and Bobs.
Although my portion of the trip was over, the journey continued. They spent Thursday night in Solomon's Island. On Friday, I rode with Mike
Underwood, heading south to catch them at the Bay Bridge.
We caught the John Arthur just south of Rock Hall, and rode along side of them up to Rock Hall.
The water wasn't deep enough to get into Rock Hall, so George decided to finish the trip, and make the additional four hour ride to Harbour North.
It was shallow there too, so George anchored the tug just outside of the channel, where it spent Friday night. They were finally home!
Utilizing the high tides on both Saturday and Sunday, George finally got the tug to the bulkhead at the marina. That's his spot for now.