A view from our dining room.........
We have been having most of our meals in our cockpit since arriving at Ft. Pierce on Sunday. Tonight we grilled tuna and were able to watch the pelicans dive for their dinner while the dolphins surfaced to breath and redive for their dinner. All of this happened during a quiet and beautiful sunset overlooking the Ft. Pierce Inlet and surrounding islands.
We arrived at Ft. Pierce on Sunday after an overnight sail from St. Augustine. We had the added challenge of navigating the Cape Canaveral shoals in the middle of the night. Seas were calm and winds favorable when we left St. Augustine but by the time we arrived at Ft. Pierce the seas had built significantly and the winds were a bit more challenging. These were definitely the most turbulent seas we have encountered with just Cathy, Sassy and myself aboard.
A beautiful day today in Ft. Pierce. We took a long bike ride to West Marine, CVS, the fish market and the historical district. We are definitely feeling the extended ride tonight. Yesterday Cathy scrubbed and washed the entire boat after our salt spray ride from St. Augustine while I worked on anchor and windless problems. Tomorrow we rewash the forward deck as several birds did a great job of personally autographing Cathy's hard work.
Tomorrow is household chores and time to get ready to move to West Palm Beach/Lake Worth on Thursday. We have a possilbe one day weather window before the next cold front passes thru South Florida.
We left at first light on Thursday 11/17 for West Palm Beach
It is a cold and very windy Saturday in St. Augustine. We have only had one opportunity in the last two weeks to make an overnite sail to Ft. Pierce and that was marginal. Offshore for the next several days is forecast for small craft advisories and gale force winds. We are tied up at a floating dock and we are still rocking and rolling with the waves, wind and tide. We may possibly be able to make our sail to Ft. Pierce later this week.
St. Augustine is a great town to be "grabbed by weather". Great history, sites to explore, good dining when Cathy is not preparing great meals, interesting shopping and a very good gelato store. We have enjoyed Sunday evening contemporary church services at one of the historic Methodist Churches. The congregation has been very welcoming and the messages insightful. We are doing a lot of reading, working out and bike riding along with catching up on chores.
Several days ago we were able to watch four Manatees (looked like two adults and two calves) swim under the dock ramp. Guess what? Camera was on the boat.
We have met a lot of cruisers who are heading south for the winter with most of them bound for the Bahamas. We have been gathering a lot of cruising and navagational information for our first trip to the Bahamas this sping. Our interest continues to grow as we hear so many great stories and tales of the Bahamas. It will be a good skills builder sailing in waters that are not only clear and beautiful but offer so many challenges due to their shallow and variable depths and tides.
We are looking forward to getting back to Marathon in the Keys. A great town to spend the winter. Beautiful blue waters, scenic and interesting wildlife (that is wildlife in the Keys and wild life in Key West), great bike trails,a great church, Key Lime pie and enjoyable dock mates that have all spent multiple winters in the Keys. We are hoping to get to Marathon for Thanksgiving if the weather will give us some breaks between a steady flow of Nor'easters moving down the coast. If not we will be blessed to enjoy Thanksgiving somehwere along the way. We will miss sharing this special holiday with family and friends.
We have been fortunate to be able to be taxied around St. Augustine for supplies and groceries by Roger and Linda Mullins and being able to enjoy several meals with them at some of their favorite restraunts. We met Roger and Linda in Marathon last spring and they live on Anestasia Island here in St. Augustine.
The weather was so severe over the weekend with strong winds and tides that we were challenged at times to walk on the docks. There was considerable damage to the docks and most boats had to be secured with extra lines.
I am amazed at the number of boaters that we meet each day that are heading to South Florida, The Keys and the Bahamas for the winter. This is an annual trek for many. I was very fortunate to sit with our dock neighbor (Bill Miller in a Krogen 48) and review their travels over the past several years via his chart plotter thru the Bahamas. He was a world of information and ideas. First hand knowledge is far better than all the cruising guides available. Now if we can just get some decent weather and start our travels south......looks like Sat 11/12 is a possibility.
Last night we went to a wonderful Patriotic concert at the Trinity Episcopal Church in historic downtown St. Augustine (11/10/11). An annual event on the eve of Veteran's Day. Very well attended and a very moving service and concert
We should be leaving on Saturday for Ft. Pierce. Forty five degrees this am in St. Augustine and at least 10 degrees warmer in Ft. Pierce. South Florida looking better all the time
We arrived Fernandina Beach on Sunday after an overnight motor sail that turned into a motor trip. The winds were supposed to shift from being westerly to northerly but instead they shifted to being from the southwest, the exact same direction that we were headed. So in came the sails and we became a motor boat. With heavy southwest winds and currents we had a rough night. The wind did shift early morning around 6:00 and gave us a good ride to the St. Mary's Inlet at the Florida/Georgia border. We docked at the Fernandina Beach Marina and I began cleaning a lot of salt spray off the boat. While I was cleaning the outside Cathy was cleaning the inside and rearranging some of our gear that was tossed about during our trip.
The Fernandina Beach community has a nice historical district with great little shops and restraunts. A good coffee shop for the mornings that serves gelato for our afternoon walks.
The photo of the large twin masted wooden ship is a sailing high school class from Maine. They came to the dock this morning to fuel and get water and let the students do some personal food shopping. It looked like a lot of restocking of junk food to make sure their rations lasted on their upcoming long sail. The boat is from Proctor Academy in Maine and has approx 25 students on board. This is their last stop on their way to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Watching the crew work as a team and the respect they displayed for their captain and fellow crew members was quite refreshing.
As soon as the tropical storm to our south passes, which should be by Thurs or Friday, we will be off for a full day sail to St. Augustine. We will stay in St. Aug. for approx 10 days. A very fascinating city. One of our favorite stops on our cruising travels.
The storm passed today (Wed) with lots of rain and wind the last two days and now a cold front is settling in to North Florida. Should be around 45 degrees in the morning. We will be leaving for St. Augustine on Friday morning and attempt to ride a northwesterly wind south. Should be a fun sail and easy ride.
This morning was 49 degrees and windy. Far to chilly for us. We are readying the boat to begin our travels south to winter in the Florida Keys. The first leg of our journey will be from Wrightsville Beach, NC to Charleston, SC possibly this Tuesday, Oct 4th. The photo is a picture of our dock at Seapath Yacht Club here in Wrightsville Beach. This has been one of the most enjoyable and accomodating marinas on our cruise.
We went to a fun event at our friend's, Dale and Sharon Smith, home today. They had a gathering of friends and neighbors to celebrate Dale's very successful knee replacement surgery. It was a pot luck gathering with a big pot of home made soup to warm our bodies & spirits as the fall weather has definitely arrived.
Left Wrightsville Beach at 8:30 Tuesday morning (10/4) and had a wonderful overnight sail to Charleston. We had a NW wind at about 12 knots and a current that was giving us a little push. We were able to pass the Cape Fear River shoals in daylight and then set a course through the night directly to Charleston. Beautiful clear skies, bright moon and mild temps made for a great sail. Arrived our marina in Charleston late morning on Weds.
When we were approaching the Charleston City Marina I could see what looked like an extremely tall mast or tower that was not there the last time we were in Charleston. Cathy was able to confirm that it was a sailboat mast and I was not just seeing things in my sleep deprived condition. We then pulled into the fuel dock directly behind the largest single masted sailboat in the world, Mirabella V. She is 247 feet long and has a mast 292 feet tall. We looked like a little toy up next to this beautiful ship. You can Google their website and see for yourselves what a magnificant ship it is. I have been able to visit with some of the crew members and it has been a fascinating exprience to learn of their adventures.
After getting settled and rested, we unpacked the bikes and have been touring Charleston, grocery shopping and revisiting our favorite restraunts and their fabulous Farmers Market. We will be here for about 10 days before our next stops in Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine, FL. We have a major storm approaching from the south and will have several days of heavy rains and strong winds before the next weather window to continue our travels south.
This morning we went to a Methodist church that is a little over 200 years old and in beautiful condition. A most friendly congregation and delightful service. After church we went to one of our favorite restraunts, Amen Street Fish and Raw Bar. Cathy had some great southern style shrimp and grits and we split a fabulous piece of coconut pie (we agree the best we ever had). Now it is time to diet for a few days.
We are so blessed to be able to continue our crusing life. We are also blessed to have such a wonderful group of family and friends. God bless to all.
Cathy and I have been busy getting projects done on the boat this week. As you can see by the attached photo, Cathy is busy tidying up the yard. We have been busy washing, polishing, air conditioning mainteance, repacking and rearranging parts and household items and securing the boat for tropical storms while we are traveling back to TX.
The Carolina's are well know for their shag dancing. We went to a local club on Saturday night and watched some locals that were very good shag dancers. We enjoyed the music provided by a DJ and contributed a little beach dancing of our own. After we left the club I was stopped by a local sheriff's deputy for not having my lights on. He thought I might be a drunk driver but he went along with my story that our previous cars had automatic lights and I forgot to turn on the lights in my rental car for the first couple of blocks. He did look over my TX DL and then told us to have a nice evening. We were having a great evening and the officer's professionalism and kindness let us return to the boat with smiles of joyful appreciation..
We have been attending Wrightsville Beach United Methodist Church that is located a couple of blocks from our marina. Great sermons and a very welcoming congregation. We look forward to Sunday morning services.
We will be leaving for our TX driving trip on 9/15. We will stop for a couple of days in Ashville, NC before visiting friends in Birmingham, AL, family in Biloxi and then on to League City. We will be back in cruising mode with new blogs in late Sept. We are looking forward to the cooler fall weather and our trip south to the Florida Keys.
As you can see by the attached picture I am having to fish my bicycle out of the water. The three stooges (Bill, Bill & Bill) were hoisting our dingy out of the water with the storm sail halyard and the bow of the boat swung starboard and knocked my bike off of the dock. As soon as I saw the bike hit the water I quickly realized it was not going to swim to safety. So I ended up taking the dingy anchor and dredged for the bike. Magically I hooked a bicycle fish. All resolved except for flusing out all the salt water and using corrision spray on the bike. Some projects are just more complicated than others.......
We are still in Wrightsville Beach and thoroughly enjoying the community. Great people that have been very helpful and have made our stay most enjoyable. We are working out regularly at the gym, riding bikes and taking walks in the evening. Cathy and I have each dropped a few pounds due to our active lifestyle and healthier eating due to her great cooking.
We are helping to babysit our freinds (Dale and Sharon) home and dogs while they are on an RV trip to Vermont. They left three of their six dogs and we are helping their granddaughter Jessika with the house and dog sitting.
I know we have been at one location for quite a while when a man stopped in his truck while we were bike riding and asked me directions to downtown and I could actually help him. We are thoroughly enjoying the local church, have been to a couple of outdoor concerts, taken a dingy ride to the beach and a kayak trip around a small island.
We are heading back to Houston via a driving trip in a couple of weeks. Will visit with family and friends, pick up and drop off items in our storage locker and I have a few scheduled doctor appts. We will then take a driving trip to DC and visit friends in Virginia. We are planning on returning from our DC trip before Sept 20th as Dale is having knee replacement surgery on that day. After Dale's surgery and rehab we will start getting ready to cruise south for the winter.
Our decision to spend the summer in Wrightsville Beach seems to have been a good choice. Wonderfully cool mornings and comfortable breezy evenings have allowed us to eat dinner and watch the sunsets while sitting in the cockpit.
July is almost behind us and the upcoming heart of the hurricane season is just ahead. Will be glad when we get past the Sept/Oct hurricane season and start heading south for a warm and active winter in the Florida Keys. We are planning on staying in the Keys thru the winter before heading to the Bahamas in the spring.