Finally in Florida
08 December 2009 | Fernandina Beach
Beth / 76F !!!
(This posting replaces the one in which I told you that 27 hours after we left Charleston, we arrived back there again!)
Those overnighters are always tiring, even when we maintain watches and get some reasonable sleep. But boy oh boy - is it ever nice to turn 4 or 5 ICW days into 27 hours on the ocean!
We departed Charleston on the ebb tide - about 1230 hours with a reasonable wind and I really thought we might be able to sail this one. No such luck. Once we turned out of the channel, heading southwest, that very nice NE 15 knot wind was right behind us. I always get grumpy for a bit when I realize we'll be motor sailing, but fortunately, Jim has learned to expect this and cope with it, knowing it will pass. We tacked a bit for the first while, trying to get a somewhat comfortable angle of sail so that we weren't yawing and pitching quite so much and eventually settled into a reasonable compromise - being basically headed in the right direction, with small adjustments for comfort.
The evening was quite magical, really, despite the noise of the engine. We were treated to a fabulous display of dolphin play. They leaped and dove, coming in close to the boat and moving away again. The sun was setting and both sky and sea were a subtle shade of pink. I managed to catch glimpses of sleek dophin bodies zooming along barely below the surface - grey under blue-grey just touched with pink. The magical part appeared when I looked up to the sky and saw a dolphin shaped cloud just hanging there low in the sky. It was pretty impressive! No pics - I decided to sit still and absorb it all.
I had cooked some pasta earlier in the day, so despite my wildly swinging stove, I heated up the Bolognese sauce, added in the fusili, tossed some freshly grated parmesan on top and voila - pretty decent dinner! The only thing missing was the red wine due to the Madcap rule of no drinking on passages.
We weren't alone out there this time - Oz flew along ahead of us, and Restless was travelling too. Restless had some engine problems for a while, but got them fixed up and came in under their own power. We saw a couple of "big ships" during the night bound to and from Savannah, but nothing that we had to take major pains to avoid. With our enclosure up, we were really quite warm, and hot chocolate and granola bars at watch changes took care of blood sugar levels and kept us alert. We have found that roughly 3 hour watches work for us - 4 hours are too long to stay fully awake, and 2 hours don't give us enough continuous sleep. Kind of like Goldilocks - we had to find out what feels "just right!" for us.
We turned into the St Mary's entrance channel just after slack tide so the ebb wasn't too strong, and made the turn to Fernandina Beach. By 1530 hours on Tuesday, we were pulling up to the Fernandina Harbor Marina. On past occasions, we've picked up a mooring ball here but there weren't any deep draft ones left so we pulled in along the inside of the long floating dock. (I am getting way too used to this!)
The temperature was 76F and humid so the first thing I did was take off my socks and roll up my pant legs. Yeah! Then, dark'n stormy's in hand, we were off to debrief the trip with Oz. At 6 our good friend Steve arrived to whisk us away to dinner at his and Sandra's house. It was absolutely joyous to reunite with them. Tina (our other local friend and my Healing Touch soul sister) and Mike, (currently doing some work for Steve) joined us so warm and wonderful conversation flowed as we dined on chicken, veggies, roasted potatoes and salad with a banana/custard concoction to satisfy our dessert stomachs. I managed to totter off to a comfy bed there before I fell off my chair and had the best sleep in weeks. Jim wasn't too long following me either!