Fixin' & Visitin'
23 May 2008 | Fernandina Beach, FL
We're still hanging out in Fernandina Beach and the wind has ceased to blow.
It has been a real treat to spend precious time with our friends Steve and Sandra again - in favourite dining spots around town and in the comfort of their kitchen. As is usually the case, we fell quickly into our pattern of enthusiastic appreciation of excellent food and stimulating conversation that ranged from cruising/boating to politics and global affairs. My brain stretches when I hang out with these people! We ate fajitas (Pablo's), pizza (Moon River), steaks (Surf City), shrimp (T- Ray's) along with Sandi's shrimp and pickled herring and Steve's spicy tostadas. We enjoyed an evening of community theatre - A Bench in the Sun. We met new friends, John and Lily, along with friends who were new last fall, Dick and Tina.
Sandra and Steve headed north on a car trip to Nova Scotia where they will resume their sailing excursions and we plan to meet up again somewhere in the Maritimes in the late summer.
When Sapphire and Solitaire arrived we paid a repeat visit to Pablo's, and did the rounds of West Marine and Staples and Wal-Mart in our rental car. (Enterprise has a great weekend rate) Tina Devoe and I managed to eat a wonderful lunch at 29 as we talked nonstop about Healing Touch experiences and caught up on all the magnificent energetic news since we last saw each other. She took me to an organic farm where I bought the crunchiest cucumbers I have ever eaten, sweet banana peppers, crisp purple carrots and feathery fennel.
Jim and I visited St Mary's, across the border in Georgia, where we picked up some parts that UPS was holding for us. We lounged around on the waterfront swings and walked up and down the tree-lined streets with ice-cream cones in hand - and mouth! Cathy, at the bookstore, told us a wonderful story of lending her car to four young people who were visiting town on a training ship and watching as twelve of them emerged from it when it was returned. As we paid for our book (Amber Room by local author Steve Berry) and told her we were boaters, she offered her car to us if we needed it. We had never heard of such trusting generosity until we started cruising and now it happens again and again; it is so heart warming. We walked farther up the street and stopped in at the used bookstore, Read Em Again, where we found more books and signed the wall, spying many familiar names as we perused the autographs there.
I bought a couple of new tops at the Pineapple Patch - with shape/without spots - and some new books at the Book Loft - Charlie Wilson's War, Tourist Trap (Carl Hiassen), Florida's Living Beaches (Blair and Dawn Witherington) with pictures and description of all sorts of shells and birds and plants that we've seen in the Bahamas and on this coast.
On Monday we moved around to Tiger Point Marine, just around the corner from the downtown waterfront - at the mouth of Egan Creek. Their technician, David, installed a new Zantrex charger, and diagnostician, Mike Harrison, spent hours going carefully over our history, tracking energy usage, and teaching us more about electrical systems than we had ever thought we could understand. He traced part of our problem to the alternator, took it away to be fixed, brought it back and reinstalled it. He took Jim off with him to West Marine to track down a new fitting for our shore power outlet that had also shorted out. All this was above and beyond his usual diagnostic services and we are immensely grateful. Add to that, the fact that he is a born teacher and really interesting person to talk with and we consider that we spent happy and worthwhile time with him.
John Gambill and Libby Ellis, owners of Hotwire Enterprises (www.svhotwire.com) arrived on Thursday night with our new KISS wind generator. They were on their way to the Florida Folk Festival and stayed to help us install it. Well ... perhaps I should say that we helped John!! Jim wired and connected; I was the designated locker diver whenever there were screws to screw or wires to tie up in awkward places. I'm pretty sure that by installing this, we changed the weather here. From steady winds of 15 knots and more over the days prior to installation, we didn't have enough to move those blades even an inch in the next 48 hours.
We have decided to wait a bit for solar panels. There is only so much we can do at one time - between financial considerations and decisions about where to put them. We know they will be part of our equipment eventually because Jim read that by using both systems, we could meet 90% of our energy needs. There is something really appealing about doing that without using fuel.
Madcap is turning into a cruising boat and while we are changing the look of her with all these gadgets, we are trying to keep her beautiful lines and graceful profile. This is a boat made for cruising and we have places to go and people to see.
It was a treat to be situated in the Creek for a few days; snowy white egrets tiptoed up and down the wharf on our starboard side, leaning far over and stretching out their long necks as they fished over the edge. Dolphins surfaced and dove along the port side as they moved up and down the creek. A blue heron stood motionless in the marsh grasses last night, red-winged blackbirds circled and called out with their distinctive voices. Mockingbirds sang great melodies from perches on posts. Apparently we missed a family of manatees on Friday night as we dinghied up the creek on a sunset bird watching cruise. Those mammals are like mythical creatures. We've seen signs everywhere to watch out for them but have yet to see one.
On Saturday we're off to T-Ray's for breakfast and to the Farmers Market with Tina and Dick; we'll move Madcap around to the main harbour; we'll do another load of laundry and pick up some shrimp and fish, and continue enjoying this area.