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Mostly Retired on Eos
Stephen and Lynel Lemon no longer have an agenda...... There is a time to every purpose
Fernandina Beach
04/26/2012, Miles = 578

We stopped in the marina at Fernandina Beach to clean up and to prepare for an overnight passage. After looking at all the charts and talking to several people, it seems best to not go through Georgia on the ICW. Apparently congress has not given Georgia any Corps of Engineers funding since 2005, so there is very little dredging or other maintenance being done. Some areas are only passable at high tide, which really restricts travel time.
The knotmeter is working, but registering 20% low, so the indicated miles are off. I'll put in a compensation factor, but will eventually have to pull it again to see what is wound up in the paddlewheel.
Fernandina Beach, at the north end of Amelia Island, is an old and quaint town that is changing into an upscale resort destination. But shrimpers still use the waterfront, and there are two cranes for container shipping. There is a paper mill, but somehow it does not produce the aroma that we came to know so well in Longview.
We will leave Fenandina about 4 PM today to make an overnight run to Port Royal Sound in South Carolina. This timing puts us on a flood tide and should make going in easier. The weather looks OK with 15 to 20 knots of wind from the SSW. I'll put up the riding sail again to see if it helps at all.
Once we get to Beaufort (prounce "Bew furt" as opposed to the North Carolina town pronounce "Bow fort") we'll probably take a day to see the town before moving on.

Florida and the Bahamas
Daytona Beach

We have now completed 2 days on the ICW. The knotmeter did not work today...I pulled it and discovered that the diver had not cleaned it. Not everyone does good work.
The waterway is an interesting passage with constantly changing sights, but the channel is narrow and at times more shallow than the charts indicate. You have to pay attention all the time, and I'm discovering how glad I am to have a forward scan sonar.
We may make a shorter day tomorrow to stop in St. Augustine for a walk and maybe some dinner. Only a few more days until we are out of Florida!! I put the St. Augustine picture with this post, since it was really quite pretty swinging on a mooring off the city front.

Florida and the Bahamas
More Ft.Pierce

We decided to wait one more day before starting north. This gave us the opportunity to walk into "downtown" Ft. Pierce yesterday afternoon, and to be reminded again of how much we want to leave Florida. With the extra day I was able to arrange to have the bottom cleaned. Although I had cleaned the waterline, there was still a lot of moss and growth from our time up the New River. Barnacles had also started to appear, so it was worth having a diver clean and check everything.
Once again thunderstorms are predicted for late this afternoon and evening, so a secure marina slip will give us a much better night's sleep.
The current plan is to move north at whatever pace seems comfortable, stopping for a day if there is something of interest to see. Once we get to Fernandina Beach at the Georgia state line, we will decide whether to jump offshore (saving about 45 miles) or whether to stay on the waterway. Either way we are expecting to be in Charleston around May first.
I've uploaded a few Bahamas pictures to the gallery.

Florida and the Bahamas
Ft. Pierce
04/20/2012, Miles = 432

We certainly enjoyed Hopetown, but our Bahamas visit had to be short because of all of the time lost with the engine rebuild. We left Hopetown on 4/16 with overcast skies and 15-20 knots of wind, traveling to Great Guana Cay for the night.We had drinks at Nippers overlooking the Atlantic reefs, the walked through The Settlement and bought some home grown vegetables from Milo. The next morning the wind was down, so we went through the Whale Cay passage then back inside, heading west. We had originally planned to take 2 additional days to return to Florida, but the weather patterns suggested that we should move on. After a long day we anchored at Great Sale Cay for the night
The next morning we pulled anchor and were under way bt 0330. By 1030 we left the Little Abaco Bank and began our crossing of the gulf stream. Once again it was very impressive to see the effect of so much water in motion. By the time we approached the mainland the wind was up to 20 knots and the seas were very confused. The Ft. Pierce inlet was a welcome transit to the "inside" where we took a slip at the Harbortown Marina.
We spent much of the 19th clearing back into the U.S., and today we did re-provisioning and cleanup.
Major thunderstorms rolled through this evening...we were glad to be in a marina and will wait to see what the weather does before starting north.

Florida and the Bahamas
Hopetown Marina

The newly rebuilt Hopetown Marina was having a grand opening and offering half price slip fees, so we decided to stay a few days. This gave us the opportunity to visit the Hopetown Lighthouse for an evening tour by Sam the keeper. This is one of three remaining mechanically powered kerosene mantle lighthouses in the world, and has been operating for over 150 years. The kerosene is hand pump pressurized, the Fresnel lens stucture rides on a circular tank of mercury that keeps it absolutely level and allows it to rotate with very little friction. Every two hours the keeper or his assistant has to crank up the mechanism, like winding a grandfather clock. The kerosene mantle is like a giant Coleman lantern, generating enough light to be seen 17 miles out to sea. A unique glimpse of history.
Today we enjoyed the Hopetown museum, walked through town, and stopped to buy a loaf of freshly baked bread right out of the oven. On returning to the marina, we attended the "all you can eat" buffet at poolside. Construction is almost complete on the new Hopetown Marina Inn, which looks like it will be a first class facility. However, the internet connection is marginal, so I will have to wait until later to upload pictures
We will probably stay here another day or two, then will have to turn back northwest and await our opportunity to cross back to the U.S., probably at Fort Pierce.

Florida and the Bahamas
04/13/2012, Miles = 237

Leaving Green Turtle Cay, we had an easy passage around Whale Cay and then back in the cut. We chose to bypass Great Guana, since we will likely stop there on the way back. We anchored off Man-o-War Cay and took the dinghy into town. Loyalists from New England established the settlement at the end of the Revolutionary War, and for many years the community chose to limit interaction with the outside world. The people all have a certain similarity, as well as there own unique accent. From the anchorage we took the dinghy over to the Fowl Cay marine reserve and snorkled the reef.
A weather front was again forecast, so we moved over to Marsh Harbor and anchored for the next 2 days. Marsh Harbor is the third largest town in the Bahamas, with a population of 5,000, but very little to recommend it as a cruising destination. The front came through with wind, but not much rain, so we decided to cross over to Hopetown on Elbow Cay.

Florida and the Bahamas

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Mostly Retired on Eos
Who: Stephen and Lynel Lemon
Port: Santa Barbara, California
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