22 November 2010 | Pine Island Anchorage, ICW Mile 765
Beth / no wind, sunny and warm
We finally slipped our lines and motored off down the ICW. It feels good to be on the move, although it was hard to tear ourselves away from our "home away from home" in Fernandina Beach. Steve jokes that he is running a group home!
We went to Jacksonville a week ago and spent the whole day doing errands. Steve had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic so we toured around there with Sandi while he was busy. What a grand place that is! Spacious halls and foyers, gorgeous art, a volunteer playing the grand piano in one of the waiting areas, a lovely peaceful garden with sculptures and water features, and a cafeteria with delicious and healthy food. These reflect the broader scope of attention to healing the whole person and we must assume that the doctors, nurses, therapists and other staff are equally impressive! Everything we read and heard indicated an admirable dedication to quality medical care for those who get on the patient list there.
Next stop was Costco from which we emerged with piles of boxes and bags and wallets that, while lighter, were not as empty as they could have been. Bulk buying surely does help when buying groceries for the next 4 months. The West Marine store was next on the list - interesting to see that this flagship store was practically empty - lots of helpful staff and a half dozen customers. A sign of the economy? or of Internet commerce? I was appalled to find that fenders were $52.00! The last time I bought any, they were around $25 and I thought that was bad. Jim spent a long time at the next stop getting our PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) tweaked so that it is registered in Canada. It was another boat show purchase and was a good price, but in hindsight, we might have been better off buying it in Canada. It cost $80 to switch it to a Canadian registration, and he couldn't just register it in the US because it had to be registered in our country of residency.
On Tuesday, Glenn and Edwina (Mariah) arrived at the "group home". They are Newfoundlanders living in Chester, NS and are having a Florida visit prior to spending the winter in Tortolla. We've all enjoyed fine dining from the Eberle/Swanson kitchen (Sandi's Georgia Red Sweet Potato dish is my new favourite), as well as at the Oyster Bay Yacht Club (pot roast and fish fry), and at Arte's - where we all had about the finest Italian food ever - gnocci in gorgonzola cheese sauce accompanied by big fat juicy shrimp stuffed with spinach and wrapped in bacon, combo pasta plates with a variety of flavours and shapes, an antipasta platter full of tasty goodies. We had eaten there several times but had never gotten past their delicious pizza before. Pablo's is always a hit for Mexican food and didn't fail us this trip either. We are getting our shot of the high life all at once, but it will be boat food from here on.
Jay and Deborah, whom we met at our nephew, Daman's wedding this summer live in Atlantic Beach and were able to come over for lunch on Sunday. It was fun to get to know them better and introduce them to Madcap, and in return, they introduced us to the most delectable little cakes I have ever encountered. Cami cakes are apparently a Jacksonville specialty - oh - such sweet and pretty little things!
This posting should have been titled Gastronomic Indulgence or some such thing since it seems to have been all about food! I also chuckle to myself as I write because it takes me back to my childhood when my Aunt Ursula used to write the Lower Debert community column for the Truro newspaper. Those social news columns were written by local women and were filled with "so and so" came to visit "so and so". I feel like I am doing the same now - and some readers will be bored, and some will have the same memories and some will say, "Oh! It is good to hear about "so and so"!
We did manage to tear ourselves away from all the social activity and get underway this morning - with a couple of regrets. We weren't able to connect with Sue and Terry because our schedules just didn't jibe, and we didn't get up to spend a day or two at Cumberland Island. In the spring ... in the spring.
We had a number of things to do in the morning so we decided not to go outside from Fernandina Beach to St Augustine as per the original plan. Instead, we left about 10 and travelled down the ICW to this pretty anchorage at Pine Island. There are 9 or 10 boats here - 3 of them came in after dark - and it is a beautiful quiet moonlit night with no bugs!
This is a good stretch of the ICW to do because there are no particular tricky bits and it has a taste of the marshes with egrets and pelicans and ospreys, along with some areas of grand houses with lanais bigger than our house in Halifax, cottages with folks fishing off the docks, and the ever present little sport fishing boats whose occupants give a wave as we pass. We weren't even in a line of boats - we met a couple heading north and were passed by one power boat.
Tuesday - St Augustine. Then we'll have to see what happens from there. We want to do the next stretch outside so weather will play a part, as will timing. It is an overnight sail from St Augustine to Ft Pierce. American Thanksgiving is Thursday and Vero Beach will be chock a block with boats. We need to stop there both to see friends and to pick up books to take to Ragged Island. A plan will present itself, I'm sure!
Oh - by the way - dinner on board tonight was pan seared tuna steaks, rice salad and green salad. mmmmmm.......