Friday, November 23, 2007

Winter trips

We had a great year with no hurricanes and lots of great sailing. Good Fortune is back in her winter slip in Morehead City. It is safe and convenient but we have to operate around a tidal schedule. The wildlife in the winter are very active, including dolphins, gannets, mergansers, loons,and loads of cormorants and pelicans. With a little advanced notice we are available for trips to the ocean and the barrier islands. Our winter prices have a minimum of four passengers or the equivalent price.
You may contact Capt. Ron at; 252-241-6866.

Don't forget to check with us for whale sittings!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Comment from passenger

I just got this e-mail from a recent passenger who also included a photo album. With thanks, I am sharing it here - Capt. Ron

Hi Ron: Thanks for the fabulous trip on Good Fortune - we all had a wonderful time and I greatly enjoyed hearing about your interesting life and listening to your wisdom about marine biology - fascinating. Big hugs for Tiller. Many more happy sails, Marcy - you can see my adventures here ; )
- Marcy

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The busy time

The next five weeks will be very busy. The best way to book a trip this time of year is to call my cell #, 252-241-6866. I'm on the boat a good deal of the time. Returning E-mail is time consuming and difficult this time of year.

I still have many openings, you just need to call.

Capt. Ron

The Bahamas are still there

The Bahamas trip this year was in late June instead of our usual trip in mid May. Yes, it was a lot hotter when I arrived. At least the boat had a generator and air condition.

We sailed for Wardrick Wells in the Exuma park and arrived after dark. Not the best way to travel in coral infested water but we anchored off shore and went into the island the next day. We had inoculated Alligator Cay with six iguanas in 1988 in the hopes of placing a population of Cycluara cyclura ordinata in a protected area in case the Leaf Cay population where some how wiped out. Getting 14 people ashore in an 11 foot Boston Whaler through rough seas with lots of nets and other gear always takes some time. Off loaded and on the beach we spent the entire day thrashing through the underbrush trying to round up the offspring of the six iguanas we had left there 19 years go. It proved very difficult because the animals where not bait sensitive and very weary of nets and nooses. Ten Iguanas where all we caught. A bit disappointing for so much effort.

We moved the boat north 10 miles the next day to Bush Hill Cay and went ashore in even worse conditions. At least the increased wind made it a little cooler. It had been two years since we had made a census of the other subspecies of ordinata. The San Salvador Iguana was inoculated on this Cay in an attempt to provide a safer habitat in a protected area. This iguana is smaller then the Allans Cay iguana but makes up for it in color variation. Blue with orange spots, orange with blue spots and yellow with green spots. The color variation is unique. We spent one and a half days, again thrashing around the island over rocks and through bushes to net just over 100 iguanas. Not a record for us, but a very good effort.

We where all sporting puncture wounds, scratches and sunburn by now. The next day we again sailed north to Alans Cay this time. The weather was windy with clouds and rain which made it difficult to attract iguanas, since they are sun lovers. We did a survey of the islands in the Alans group searching for new, untagged, animals and fresh nest burrows.

Our trip back to Nassau sailed through some more rain and high wind. Its always that way. We had large numbers of conch fritters, washed down with a fair amount of local beer that evening and made our way to the Airport the next day. It was exhausting but good, very good.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Off to see the lizzards

Ron and Good fortune will be in the Bahamas from June 23 to July1 to track the populations of Rock Iguanas in the Exuma Land Sea Underwater park.
I will resume charters on or about July 2 or 3.
Really, its just a conch fritter and beer drinking contest. Hope I win!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Turtles in the hole!

We sailed to the Cape Lookout turtle hole today. One Loggerhead was seen on the way out along with immature Gannets and a group of dolphins following one of the local shrimpers. We also saw several cownosed rays in the tide line off the Beaufort Inlet. We anchored in the turtle hole at slack high tide and ate lunch while we waited for the first turtle. In no time we started seeing Loggerheads all around us. The total sightings were 22 or so. The last turtle seen might have been a small Leatherback. Positive ID's are always difficult at best. This is the best time of year for turtle watching. The turtles are actively nesting now, according to the ranger, with twelve nests on the west end of the Cape so far. The snorkeling was not good due to windy conditions but the sailing was great. Smooth sailling back to Beaufort.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Update on Red-necked Phalaropes

We spotted a group of sanderlings two miles off shore on May 30th. The birds were feeding on comb-jellies grouped at the edge of the tidal line. There were millions of small jelly fish and the birds were feeding amongst them. Closer inspection of a photo taken at the time and a conversation with John Fussel confirmed that the birds where Red-necked Phalaropes. These birds nest on tundra ponds and winter in small flocks feeding on weed lines in the open ocean.
What a great sighting.

Stand by for great turtle sightings on June 7th.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Three trips toCape Lookout

We made three trips to Cape Lookout over the Memorial Day Weekend. The two hour ocean voyage along Shackelford banks allowed us to see a whole host of sea birds and aquatic mammals.
The birds included, Sooty Shearwaters, Greater Shearwaters, Wilson's Storm Petrels, loons and immature Ganets. The shrimp boats,while trawling, had collected dozens of dolphins,feeding behind the boat.
We saw at least 6 Loggerhead turtles in the turtle hole and two Kemp's Riddly Turtles at the jetty while we where snorkeling.
We also visited the light house and then went to Shackelford to see the horses. We also saw a deer on Cape Lookout. That's a first.

Future openings:
June 7th, turtle trip and snorkeling at Cape Lookout.
June 8th, 8 hour sail to Cape Lookout, two openings

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Whales and Tales

Good Fortune made two sails off shore today. The wind was North East at 16 K. Protected by Cape Lookout we sailed in smooth seas with a great wind. The wildlife was abundant and the water was incredibly clear. Dolphins could be seen ten feet under the bow. A Large pod was followed for about fifteen minutes as the young leaped from the water. We also saw a Sooty Shearwater, a rare sight in these latitudes. The fishing was good with a large blue fish and a spanish mackerel coming home with us.
This time of year a trip to Cape Lookout features a trip to the "turtle hole". There are more numbers and varieties of turtles in the "hole" then any other spot on the east coast. The numbers are greatest in June with fewer in July and August.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

April 14th marine science course aboard

Good Fortune and crew hosted a field trip for marine science students from Queens College on Saturday April 14th. The weather was perfect, with NE wind at 10 to 15 K and lots of sun. We had a great sail out to Cape Lookout and anchored off the west beach. We saw dozens of northern gannets and dolphins on the out bound sail. The carolina skiff was launched and students were shuttled to the beach. A dead baby dolphin and two dead loggerhead turtles were spotted and examined. The students collected at least one large knobbed whelk each. A large queen helmet, in nice condition, was also found. We also explored the rock jetty for invertebrates and algae. We crossed the island, to the bay side, and explored the spartina marsh for small fish and looked for more winter/kill turtles. Every one was hungry and tired when we returned to Good Fortune. The return trip was down wind through a water fall of diving gannets raining into the water. You don't see that every day. The spring beach holds the treasures of winter without the tourist pressure on wildlife and shell populations. This is our best shelling time.
This is what Good Fortune Coastal Ecology Sails is all about.

Capt. Ron

Monday, March 12, 2007

On the beach at Cape Lookout

Good Fortune left the dock at 9:00 am and anchored at the Cape at 11:30. A fast lunch and launch the shore boat. The beach shore line was covered with fresh shells washed ashore from multiple winter storms. A large Loggerhead turtle was freeze dried on the beach. The birds present where Pelicans, loons, gannets,cormorants, and offshore the ever present bottle nosed dolphin. No other people, just the local wildlife.
We have a trip going to Shackleford Banks on the 14Th with room for one more person. It will be a 6 hr. trip, 9:30 to 3:30 for $60/person.
You may reserve at 252-241-6866

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Winter shelling

The weekend of the 10th of March is reported to be 65 degrees with a 5 to 10 knot breeze. The shelling on Shackleford and Cape Lookout this time of year is unequaled on the east coast. Saturday looks like the best day. We will restrict the trip to Shackleford if the ocean is too rough. the trip will depart from our winter slip in Morehead City at 9:00 am and return at 4:00 pm. The cost will be $70 per person for the 7 hour trip.
Call for reservations at; 252-241-6866

Saturday, February 24, 2007

February 24th trip to Shackelford Banks

It was 39 degrees when we left the dock in Peltier creek. The wind was north at 15 so we set sail east in the intracoastal waterway for shackleford banks. The plan was to go ashore and search for ponies and great shells. The horses where easy. Two groups of five each where there to welcome us to the island. They are in good shape with fat bellies and lots of hair.
The ocean beach was loaded with great shells, big and small. Dolphins swam in the surf right in front of us the whole time we where there. The trip back was filled with large numbers of cormorants, loons and more dolphins. The temperature hit 55 buy 2 pm and the wind laid down.
It was a great day for both boys and their much relaxed mom.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The boat is running again

February 19th 2007

The engine room noise insulation is finally installed. In the process of removing all of the appliances from the walls including lights, fuel and oil filters and many wires, I have decided to replace most of them due to age and different levels of rust. What the heck, it's only money.
The walls are very white now and all the filters are new and shiny. One of the gizmo's I removed and did not replace was the Algae X magic fungus remover. The gismo was purchased at the Miami boat show in 1968 to clean the fuel before it reached the engine. the only thing it ever did was clog slam full of sludge and stop the engine. One hundred dollars of snake oil off the wall and into the trash.
Good fortune is now running again and ready to hit those spring beaches full of shells and other wonderful things. March and April are great for beach combing since mother nature has been left alone to do here wonders all winter. Its still too cold for swimming but the beach is loaded with treasures.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Where we reach?

In the Bahamas, when a boat noses up on shore, native captains will shout for a location by asking "Where we reach, Mon?" This blog is to keep readers up on the adventures of Capt. Ron White aboard the sailing vessel Good Fortune. He'll be letting you know where he reach.