22/11/2010/11:00 am, Pine Island Anchorage, ICW Mile 765
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.......
19/11/2010/10:48 am, Fernandina Beach, FL
Madcap is sitting pretty on her mooring at Fernandina Beach City Marina. We spent Sunday evening at anchor in the little channel that winds up through the marshes behind the mooring field, but because we planned to be away from the boat for several nights, we took a ball just as soon as one became available on Monday morning, and stayed for a week. ($15 per day or $90 for a week) That is a lovely little anchorage with space for a number of boats and not all that much further away from the dinghy dock at the marina.
Sandi, Steve, Jim and I had lunch last week with Marilyn and Vic (Whisper). We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at 29 South with Mike and Jennifer Harrison, and Steve and Sandi. Mike is an electrical engineer and was the trouble shooter guy who spent many hours on Madcap in the spring, trying to figure out the problem with the electrical system. Last Friday, Jim and I went off to St. Simon's and Jekyll Islands for a day trip with Steve and Sandi - so pretty to explore around - and then were slow to get to the boat yard on Saturday because we stopped to run some errands on the way. When we got there, we found a note from Jeannie saying they'd been there twice! Nancy and Bruce (Seabird) and Jeannie and Jim (Estelle) were anchored in the marshes I mentioned earlier, and it was a treat to have a little visiting time with them. We met for dinner and caught up on all the news and travel plans (back at 29 South - so delicious - southern food with a classy twist: fried green tomatoes ... pulled pork in spring rolls and in a Cobb salad that is sublime... crispy fried catfish with an oyster etouffe ... grilled mahi mahi on a bed of lima bean and fresh corn succotash ... mmmm.) What a delight to see all these old friends. (Nancy sent this pic) Despite the way it looks, we really have been working more than playing!
The exterior teak is pretty much all done (except for the hand rails which need a lot of work and will have to wait for another time) and we finally cleared and cleaned the cabin sole and applied the long awaited coats of Ultimate Sole. We bought that product in 2007 at the Annapolis boat show, intending to get it on that year. Here we are 3 years later, and while the floor deteriorated some over that time - dings and scrapes and areas where the finish was pretty well worn off - it looks pretty darned good now. It has a nice glossy finish that somehow also manages to be non skid. The product isn't available any more so I'm glad we have another can tucked away for the future. I also put some little area rugs down to help protect the sole, and got big towels to cover the settee seats in the salon and perhaps keep the salt out of the upholstery. Oh - another recommendation - the folks at Topstitch replaced the zipper in one of the cushions. Same day service with a smile!
We've provisioned and provisioned - and once again are supremely thankful for the storage capacity of the Bayfield 36's. Each year I get so overwhelmed with the mounds of bags and boxes, and yet each year it all finds a place. Mind you, I could still use another 6 feet on this boat. Every nook and cranny is stuffed full and because we put things wherever they will fit, there is sometimes not a lot of order and reason to what is where. The Bayfield bathtub is full again and not with bubbles! Anyone planning to take a shower will have a fair bit of shifting to do before there is room for a body in there! The aft cabin/aka garage is crammed to the ceiling. We bought a new Viking valise life raft this year, and that sucker takes up a whole lot of room. It won't fit in either of the cockpit lockers, so it will live in the aft cabin most of the time and be hauled up to the cockpit for passages. It is one of those things that we hope never to use, and it bugs me to have it taking up so much space. Ahhh well - good insurance I hope.
Another boat show purchase was a new 9.5 ft AB dinghy with a fiberglass bottom, and we are delighted with it so far. It sits higher in the water so perhaps we won't get as wet; it is lighter than the old Brig which means hauling it up on the beach and up on the davits will be easier; aaand, one more plus, it will be better able to handle last year's purchase - the Yanmar 15 hp outboard motor. Oh the places we'll go!!
11/11/2010/4:53 pm, Fernandina Beach, FL
As of Wednesday night, we were at the water's edge, and Thursday morning we were in the water!
We applied 3 coats of cetol on the rub rails, bowsprit and cockpit; we cleaned and waxed the hull (Collinette is our favourite product); Jim has gone over the electrical system from top to bottom. Along with our own efforts, many other people have been buzzing around Madcap - it's a veritable beehive of activity! Dave (from Tiger Point) painted the bottom and once Madcap was in the sling last night, he finished off the job by painting the bits that were under the pads of the cradle so we won't have a garden growing anywhere on the hull.
Larry (from the Sign Shoppe) put our new lettering on the stern and it is truly beautiful. Bob Roth came out last week to take pictures and talk about what we wanted. We dropped into the shop several times to change this and check that, and yesterday we saw the results. We have new MADCAP lettering and a new port of registration - we are now officially out of Halifax, NS, (and are now registered instead of just licensed). I'll add the pic later - my camera battery seems to have died.
Pat (Jackson Electronics) climbed to the top of the mast on Tuesday to replace the anchor light. He has given us excellent service through the winter, replacing all the things that got fried last year, and on Monday night, he flew home on the red eye from attending the funeral of a family member in order to keep the appointments he had on Tuesday - ours being one. That's an impressive commitment. Walt (Tiger Point) installed a new bilge alarm and put a fuel filter on our new dinghy - among many other tasks over the summer. Mark (Tiger Point) installed a new electrical panel at the nav station during the summer, and between them all, our fixes and improvements have happened. We have the feeling that all the guys have taken an interest in our Madcap and they all seem to like her just about as much as we do. Good thing there are so many successful outcomes and positive feedback because it sure costs money!!
Boatyard camaraderie is alive and well here. As we've worked, we've chatted with Denise and Steve (Charisma) two boats up the lane, and Cindy and Jeff (Salty Dog) across the way. We'll all be launching in the next few days and look forward to some proper socializing once we are in the water. Cindy loaned me her ladder and board scaffolding when she saw me climbing up and down our long ladder every 2 minutes and it was just the most wonderful thing. I'm sure it saved me a hundred climbs. I am sporting my annual crop of sailboat bruises, but they would be far worse without those boards to step along instead of an extension ladder to reach around. Jim and I are both feeling achy muscles, and weary bones and sometimes complete exhaustion at the end of a day. Thank goodness we do all this in pursuit of something we both enjoy so much!
On the fun side, we've managed a beer or two at the Green Turtle on 3rd St, salad and pizza a couple of times at Moon River on 14th St. Besides that, we've continued to enjoy fabulous hospitality at Sandi and Steve's with good meals, transportation, encouragement and stimulating conversation in the evenings. Sandi, Jim and I have walked the golf course on several mornings. Dennis and Jan (Lady's Choice) have arrived from Solomon's Island and we've had the opportunity to listen in on some highly entertaining stories. Marilyn and Vic (Whisper) are in the area and we hope to see them soon too.
After launch on Thursday we will stay on the dock at Tiger Point for a couple of days to clean the interior of the boat - no small chore - get the sails on, fill up with water, load groceries and all that sort of thing. We need some new fenders (and more boat wax before that job can be finished) and a whole cartload of other odds and sods from West Marine. The plan then is to go around the corner to pick up a mooring at Fernandina Harbour Marina. We stopped in there on Tuesday and were met with Sasson's smiling face and welcoming, "Here are the Madcaps!" No wonder this place feels like a home for us!
We are having trouble thinking more than 5 or 6 days into the future. We do plan to head south eventually and try to get to the Bahamas in early December!