It has been suggested by many people that I should start a blog so they can read about my sailing adventures.So grab a rum runner, put on a life jacket, and click on one of the pictures above to read short stories from my trips, look at some photos, and even watch some short video clips.
It is the height of the summer boating season, so we want to remind you to always, always WEAR your whistle while you are on a watercraft! Or if you are walking across a campus or parking lot, carry them in your hand. Keep it handy if you are hunting or fishing or anywhere you may be alone and experience an emergency situation.
NOT here (deep in the bowels of your pocketbook or bookbag):
but HERE (in your hand, ready to use):
NOT here (hanging on a peg on your boat):
but HERE (on your person):
NOTE: These whistles do not float! So, if you plan to attach your whistle to a life jacket, you might elect to attach it with a lanyard so that you can get it to your mouth without completely detaching it from your life vest.
PLEASE… don’t let a Google search of your name have results like THESE!
OH, a shameless plug… We plan to continue holding whistle giveaways at some of Keith’s favorite ports of call. If you would like to donate towards the project, checks can be sent to: Kelly Wyatt, P.O. Box 4481, Emerald Isle NC, 28594
We are thinking that our next giveaway will be somewhere in NC in May, 2015.
A quick note to let you know that our whistle project made the paper
Here is a link to the article: Safety whistles handed out to start Safe Boating Week
We’ll post a summary of the event and pictures soon.
THANKS to everyone who donated money towards the whistles, the graphic artist who donated the artwork, and to everyone who listened to Keith’s story and accepted a whistle.
This weekend is the service project we are holding in memory of Captain Keith.
If you are in Georgetown, SC, please stop by and pick up a whistle… and promise us you will wear it! Here is an article that was published in the Georgetown Times describing what we are doing: Family of drowned boater hopes to save lives of others.
Hi, everyone, or, should I say something nautical like “Ahoy, mates!”?
Several members of my family and Keith’s “brother from another mother”, David, will be in Georgetown, SC on Saturday, May 17 during National Safe Boating Week to distribute survival whistles to boaters in the area.
We hope to see some of you there!
This is a post of Saga’s Journey home, Day 2. I have included Facebook posts, in blue.
January 21 Kelly Sullivan Wyatt
7:00AM near North Myrtle Beach, SC
Good morning, swing bridge! We’ll be there soon!
Today Kevin and I left North Myrtle Beach (ICW mile 354) at 8:00. We had to wait for the swing bridge to … well, swing. The operator told us to “come on”, but when we got close, there were still cars crossing the bridge. So, we had to circle back and wait. Once we were through, we proceeded at a pretty slow rate — approx 4.5MPH. That would put us at our next destination (Southport Marina, ICW mile 309) after dark. With concern, we pushed on. We soon got up to over 6MPH using motor and jib sail, so our eta went back to between 4-4:30.
January 21 Kelly Sullivan Wyatt
near Carolina Shores, NC
Kevin and I pulled out of Barefoot Landing Marina at 8am. Late for sailors, I know, but we both got some much needed rest and actually slept better than either of us had in the last week.
After we left the “rockpile” stretch of the ICW, I read that we should have radio checked to see if there were any barges coming that we would have to avoid in the narrow channel. Oops. We believe that we just crossed the state line. Hoping to make Southport Marina before dark.
It was a pleasant day and the ICW was a straight shot, so I was able to take a number of pictures along the way.
All went well until Lockwood’s Folly Inlet. Hmmm. You can read about the trouble at Lockwood’s Folly here (and you can and learn why it is called Lockwood’s Folly here).
I guess we should have. We were going through while the tide was ebbing, it is a narrow channel with rip-rap along the channel’s edge on the west side and an assortment of channel markers. We drew our line, carried on…. and found ourselves grounded. Dang.
We called Boat US and inadvertently gave then the name of the previous inlet, where they could not find us. Once we got that straightened out, we had to sit tight for about 45 minutes waiting for help. The marine patrol came by, and I guess they thought we would be ok, because they left. We were a nice un-channel marker for the southbound sailboat that soon came by. While we were waiting, Saga listed more and more to her starboard side… I took a picture at 25 degrees, and she listed even more than that at one time.
While Kevin was … indisposed… Saga suddenly shifted more upright. He… composed… himself and ran on deck to see if we were breaking loose. Sadly, Saga soon settled into more of an incline.
I was not freaking out — I knew we were safe, but I was almost in tears thinking that if we listed too much and Saga took on water, we’d lose her right then and there. I was upset at the cruelty of that to Saga and to Keith’s memory.
Fortunately, the towboat US fellow came along soon after (“Kevin– why is his boat so SMALL?”). Kevin let him know that Saga was an older boat and asked him to be gentle. So he hooked lines up to her bow and stern and proceeded to wash the sand out on her starboard side, and… WHAT, pull her more to her starboard side??? Yup, he gently tugged at her bow, gently tugged at her stern, washed out sand, lather, rinse, repeat. And then…. slowly… slowly… faster… faster… Saga up-righted herself and we were pulled off the sand. We were towed past the inlet, tested the motor, the rudder, everything we could and proceeded on.
Next on our plate was a *beautiful* rainbow. Yup, a rainbow. What does that mean on an otherwise sunny day? Yup, rain. It started to come on strong and Kevin suited up in rain gear (thanks, Kenny, for your dry sack full of surprises). I asked him if that is like carrying an umbrella — we wouldn’t need it. Well, we DID need it, but just for a few minutes.
It was about that time I saw a pod of dolphins. They probably came up to see what fools were NORTH BOUND in January! I was not able to get a picture of them. I kept my hand on the tiller. Soon after that we heard the rumble of thunder and some lightning. But, no more rain, and the storm stayed a good bit away.
Our two-hour delay put us into Southport after dark. We had to search for the channel markers that were not lit by flashlight for several miles, and we had to find the marina by flashlight. But, we made it around 6:15. There was no one to help us dock the boat, but Kevin did a fantabuous job of docking without dock-side assistance.
Once we got the boat settled and I collected my belongings (including Kevin’s warm hat OOPS), we went and had some wonderful pizza. We left Kenny and Kevin at the Marina around 8:00 and arrived home, traveling through snow and rain, around 11:00.
The final days of Saga’s journey home hopefully will be documented by Kevin and Kenny. In some ways I was sad to leave. It was fun time on Saga, something I never had with Keith, but some time with Kevin that I will always cherish.
This is a post of Saga’s Journey home, Day 1. I have included Facebook posts, in blue, from myself, friends and family. I have agonized over this — trying to get it to look just like it did in my Word doc, but I guess I can’t blog the way I can Word :).
Stay tuned for more posts about the trip from Georgetown, SC to Beaufort, NC, where Saga eagerly awaits future adventures under a new captain. Maybe I can shame He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named into sending me his posts from days 3 forward :)!
Today Kevin and I began Saga’s journey from the Harbor Walk Marina in the Sampit River in Georgetown, SC to Dudley’s Marina in Swansboro, NC. In Swansboro we will finish removing all of Keith’s belongings and leave Saga stripped of everything that is not “her own”. From there, we plan to put her in dry storage for at least a few months while we decide what to do with her.
We are *almost* as connected to this little boat as we were to Keith. I guess since Keith is gone, we feel an even stronger connection to Saga, and an overwhelming need to keep her safe. To that end, we begin a 190 mile journey that will span four..five… who knows… days long.
January 20 Wesley Wyatt
Kelly & Kevin setting sail
January 20 Stephanie Holt Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan and Kelly Wyatt heading north on Saga. Such an appropriate name. Safe travels guys, stay warm.
January 20 Kim Sullivan Oestereich
They are sailing siblings … Kevin P. Sullivan and Kelly Sullivan Wyatt … I want to hear the story after this adventure! ENJOY it as much as possible!! Keith loved you and loved Saga… And would want you guys to enjoy the journey… Hugs!!!
We left Kenny and Wes behind in Georgetown to handle paperwork and stay in contact with the authorities who continue to search for Keith. This would be a great adventure with Kevin under different circumstances, and I am very sad that I never took the time to go sail with Keith.
It would have been nice to leave Georgetown on a day and at a time when we could motor Saga along the Harbor Walk so that all of Keith’s boating friends and family could pay respects to a sad little boat who is leaving her captain behind, but, we had “fair weather and following seas”, a VERY long way to go, an unfavorable forecast for the days to come, and little knowledge about Saga, her idiosyncrasies and the waters ahead, so we left as early as possible.
The first order of business was for Kevin to give me a crash course in sailing. Remember that Kenny is a motor-boater, Kevin is a sail-boater, and I am a “no-boater”. Kevin and I had our own adventures together sailing a little sunfish on the Hudson when we were teenagers, including one time the current took us so far upstream we could not get back without the help of a Big Sailboat that towed us home… but I didn’t have “formal” sailing training like Kevin and Keith had. Yes, I know that to turn a boat you move the tiller in the opposite direction, but that’s about it.
So, Kevin proceeds to explain to me the engine controls: One for speed, one to put it in gear. At least I think that’s what I remember. He ends this little lecture with something like “If I fall overboard, just kick it out of gear and turn the tiller and come back to get me. ” (HELLO? IF YOU FALL OFF????) “But, I’m NOT going to fall off.” Phew, thanks for THAT, Kevin. And you think in a panic, after what we have been dealing with during the past few days, I am going to remember what you told me? I don’t even know if I’ve recorded it correctly!
Next we go through other important things. Like the LEFT side of the boat is the PORT side (“See, they are both 4 letters.”), the RIGHT side is the STARBOARD side. The BOW is… well, the front of the boat, and the STERN is the back. OK. Maybe he told me little memory tricks for bow and stern, but frankly, my head was getting full, my ears were cold.
Kevin turned the helm over to me (is that the correct nautical term?) once he knew that I could *at least* steer Saga and busied himself with getting other things situated on the boat.
We made it from the Sampit River into the Intracoastal Waterway and proceeded north, cruising along at a whopping 4.5 MPH. Did I mention earlier that we have 190 miles to go, and, approximately 10 hours of daylight each day? Doing the math, that is about 45 miles a day, and that is about 4 1/2 long days of sailing. Did I mention the unfavorable forecast? Kevin and I expected two reasonably warm days, but, Wednesday was supposed to be very cold and very windy, and then Thursday and Friday was expected to be even colder. We really wanted to get as far as we could today.
That’s about the time that Kevin decided he wanted to put the “sail” into my sail boating education. So I learned that the “jib” sail is the most forward sail on the boat, the “mizzen” sail is the sail that is furthest back and that the “main” sails are in between. And, oh, one is a furling sail, which looks to be a pretty cool thing. And…. we are going to use one of them.
So Kevin tells me about how there are two lines on the jib sail (one port and one starboard), and I’m thinking there might be another one, too, used for furling and unfurling the sail. So, we let out the sail secure it to one side and Voila! Another MPH or so.
Saga looks so pretty “under sail”… even if it is just one sail. That is, until the wind shifts and we need said sail on the other side of the boat. Now Kevin wants me to learn about “jibing the jib”. Do what?
Loosen this rope, tighten that one, secure … was it this or that rope?…, pull a rope. How hard can it be? I soon learn that moving the sail between sides of the boat is not that hard, and, can happen single handedly. I guess that is a large part of why it was possible for Keith to sail Saga alone. I proudly announced to Kevin that I posted to Facebook that I can now “jibe a jib”, and he dashes my confidence by asking me how I spelled “jibe”. Well, J-I-B-E, of course, how else you spell it? WRONG he tells me! It is G-Y-B-E. Now why would it be like that??? Not to be put down, I pull out my smart phone and soon report to Kevin that both spellings are acceptable. So, I am very happy to be able to jibe the jib, and if he wants to gybe the jib, that is fine with me! Looking this up while writing this article I found this very useful glossary of nautical terms.
January 20 Kelly Sullivan Wyatt
I now know how to jibe a jib.
Now we are cruising along. We are traveling along beautiful areas of the ICW. We see herons and other water fowl, we travel through cypress swamps. The canal is very calm, and we have an opportunity to talk and reminisce about Keith, his sailing, how much he loved Saga and what a cool little sailboat she is. We have lots of opportunities to take pictures of the canal, we have cellular access, so we can share these pictures with our friends and family who are anxiously waiting to hear how our journey is progressing.
Along the way we came upon a group of people jumping up and down on a dock on the port side of the boat. We waved and went on by, but were soon hailed by none other than Keith’s good friends Thomas, Ellen and Alyson from the S/V Island Girl. It is too bad we didn’t know we would go right by there, or we would have stopped for a brief visit. And it is too bad we didn’t think to ask them to get a photo of Saga sailing by. It seems that is just another “woulda-coulda-shoulda” that we thought about during this entire time in our family.
Being the no-boater that I am, I have never had the experience of a swing bridge. There are a number of these along the ICW, and we went through several along the way. Here is a video I took.
January 20 Kelly Sullivan Wyatt
Swing bridge at approx 35 of 190 miles.
“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
From Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. I will say I am glad the woods are NOT snowy… You, Kevin P. Sullivan??
The rest of our journey was uneventful. There were more interesting things to see including:
January 20 Kelly Sullivan Wyatt
near North Myrtle Beach, SC
We spent the last hour or better under sail only (no motor). Between the tide and the wind we went almost as fast as under motor earlier. Our max speed under motor+wind+current was approx 7.2MPH. We got to 6.3MPH with wind+current. It was quite peaceful and quiet when under sail only.
All in all, it was a long, but satisfying day. We made it further than we expected. We learned our way around Saga, and she tolerated us and took us unfailingly for 50 miles. After docking at the Barefoot Landing Marina, where a wonderful dock master took us to the grocery store, waited while we shopped and gave us a recommendation for a good place to eat (get the ribs at the seafood restaurant!), we called it a night early and immediately fell asleep.
January 20 Kelly Sullivan Wyatt
near North Myrtle Beach, SC
Kevin and I made it from Georgetown, SC to N. Myrtle Beach, approx 50 miles today. Tomorrow we will end the day around Southport so that Kenny and Kevin can spend the next sailing day (probably Thursday, since Wednesday there is supposed to be really bad weather) going from Southport hopefully to at least Wrightsville. This is a tough leg since it is in more open water with more traffic… And bigger boats.
I shoulda, coulda taken a similar trip with Keith, and wish that I had made the time to do so.
Moving the S/V Saga from Georgetown SC to Beaufort NC in January 2014. Rest in peace, Captain Keith.
Dear followers, it is with heavy hearts that Keith’s brothers and sisters share Keith’s obituary. We will be updating this blog with more of Keith’s sailing adventures, as transcribed from the many letters he sent to us over the years. A few of us will attempt to match Keith’s writing prowess with our own as we record the home-bound journey of the S/V Saga from Georgetown, SC, where her captain was lost, to Bock Marina in Beaufort, NC where she rests while Keith’s family plots her next course.
– Kelly Wyatt
Keith Edward Sullivan
June 4, 1968-January 12, 2014
Keith Edward Sullivan, 45, of Emerald Isle, NC, died January 12, 2014 by accidental drowning in the very waters he loved sailing. Keith was born June 4, 1968 in Houston, Texas to Janet (Jan) Lynch Sullivan and John (Jack) Francis Sullivan, who predeceased him.
Keith attended Cary High School and continued his education at Wayne Community College where he received an Associate’s Degree in Airplane Mechanics. But the pull of adventure was too strong and Keith went on to travel the country working odd jobs for many years before heading back to North Carolina. He then purchased his first sailboat, Soulshine, and traveled the Atlantic coast. Keith lived aboard his sailboats for many years, most recently S/V Saga, before his death. His sailing blog may be viewed at http://www.carolinakeith.com.
Keith is survived by a daughter, April Sullivan of Marathon, Florida; brothers Kevin and wife Stephanie of Hong Kong, Kerry and wife Hana of Sydney, Australia, Kenneth and partner Amy of Emerald Isle; sisters, Kelly Sullivan Wyatt and husband Wesley of Apex, and Kimberly Sullivan Oestereich and husband Bill of Apex. He will also be remembered by many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 3008 Old Raleigh Rd, Apex, NC 27502 at 11:00 Thursday, March 13. The family will receive visitors at 10:30 at the church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the family for a service project that is being planned in memory of Keith. The family will purchase survival whistles to hand out to boaters to encourage safer boating. Donations may be sent to Kelly Wyatt, P.O. Box 4481, Emerald Isle NC, 28594.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the good people of Georgetown, SC, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the local boating community for their support and assistance during the days Keith was missing.